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Do you enjoy fast food or going into retail shops? Many companies hire mystery shoppers to test the customer service of their stores. A common one is Subway, which hires mystery shoppers to ensure that "Sandwich Artists" are following all the franchise guidelines. If you have time and can travel to different places, this could be a good side hustle.
Track down your expenses. To soar your efficiency on cutting your expenses, it is vital to keep track of them. Pick one of the numerous expense tracking applications there are around, like Money Lover or Mint, and record every single penny that goes in and out of your wallet. After 3 months or so, you should be able to know where most of your money go and what can you do for that.
Monetize a hobby. While some hobbies actually cost money, others can be transformed into a profitable business venture. Ultimately, it depends on what your hobby is and how talented you are. You could turn your love of photography, for example, into a part-time gig taking family portraits and wedding photos or selling prints on Etsy or at arts fairs.
Or again, what about the contrast between Microsoft and IBM? Again, since my book was published, I've acquired friends at Microsoft, and I've learned about Microsoft's organization, which is quite distinctive. Microsoft has lots of units, with free communication between units, and each of those units may have five to ten people working in them, but the units are not micro-managed, they are allowed a great deal of freedom in pursuing their own ideas. That unusual organization at Microsoft, broken up in to a lot of semi-independent units competing within the same company, contrasts with the organization at IBM, which until four years ago had much more insulated groups. A month ago, when I was talking in the industrial belt of North Carolina, the Raleigh-Durham area industrial belt, I met someone who is on the board of directors of IBM, and that person told me, Jared, what you say about IBM was quite true until four years ago: IBM did have this secretive organization which resulted in IBM's loss of competitive ability, but then IBM acquired a new CEO who changed things drastically, and IBM now has a more Microsoft-like organization, and you can see it, I'm told, in the improvement in IBM's innovativeness.
So these stories of isolated societies illustrate two general principles about relations between human group size and innovation or creativity. First, in any society except a totally isolated society, most innovations come in from the outside, rather than being conceived within that society. And secondly, any society undergoes local fads. By fads I mean a custom that does not make economic sense. Societies either adopt practices that are not profitable or for whatever reasons abandon practices that are profitable. But usually those fads are reversed, as a result of the societies next door without the fads out-competing the society with the fad, or else as a result of the society with the fad, like those European princes who gave up the guns, realizing they're making a big mistake and reacquiring the fad. In short, competition between human societies that are in contact with each other is what drives the invention of new technology and the continued availability of technology. Only in an isolated society, where there's no competition and no source of reintroduction, can one of these fads result in the permanent loss of a valuable technology. So that's one of the two sets of lessons that I want to draw from history, about what happens in a really isolated society and group.
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Now let's finally apply these lessons to comparing different industries or industrial belts within the United States. I mentioned that when I was growing up, Route 128 outside of Boston led the world in productivity for an industrial belt, but Route 128 has now fallen behind Silicon Valley. Since my book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" was published, I've spent a lot of time talking with people from Silicon Valley and some from Route 128, and they tell me that the corporate ethos in these two industrial belts is quite different. Silicon Valley consists of lots of companies that are fiercely competitive with each other, but nevertheless there's a lot of collaboration, and despite the competition there is a free flow of ideas and a free flow of people and a free flow of information between these companies that compete with each other. In contrast, I'm told that the business of Route 128 are much more secretive, and insulated from each other like Japanese milk-producing companies.