iPhones for Robots

There is a continually accelerating trend in the world today, although fairly obvious, most people probably haven’t really come to grips with it. The improvements of automated technology have made more and more jobs obsolete, and this is just the beginning. The trend seems to be on an exponential path, and yet the main stream media seems to not make mention of it.

A long time ago, in the era of my grandfather, people were once employed to make the elevator go up and down, and telephone operators were needed to connect you to other people. These days of course other than you pressing some buttons, both the elevators and phones are completely automated. Are you old enough to remember when you used to have to go see a real live human bank teller to get your money out of the bank?

Farming has of course gone through similar transitions, the amount of work done by many dozens of people can now be done faster by a sole driver of one machine, and even that one driver could be replaced by a self driving vehicle these days.

Automated Farming

Over the years, most people who used to work on the farm, have moved to the city to get work, no longer do they work to supply society with their needs, but spend most of their waking life creating documents which eventually get stuffed into filing cabinets where no one will ever read them again, or pushing some kind of product on the consumer.

Just as most farming jobs have become obsolete, the same type of thing has been going on with manufacturing jobs, as the robots are improving, the jobs they can do are getting more complex, in fact people are no longer needed in the modern factory at all, with today’s technology entire cars can actually be made by robots via 3D printing.

Though it took a long time to produce the plans for the first car, they can now be print out one after the other, 24 hours a day, with no sick days or holidays. The first car took forty-four hours to print, which may seem like a while, but imagine thousands of 3D printers going at the same time.

You might think that all the manufacturing of 3D printers would be lots of work for humans, however the printers amazingly enough, can replicate themselves, or even make larger or smaller versions of themselves, who then again can scale upwards or downwards.

In theory you can now order a car from a website, and it could then drive itself right to your house to pick you up. No human needed.

The same thing of course is going on with every other manufacturing business from clothing to iPhones. Even the age old job warfare is being replaced by robots

Rather than shopping malls, and sales clerks, websites now sell products, and robots can sort and ship them.

Once pretty much all these jobs are taken by robots, then there are of course no need for managers, accountants, bookkeepers, or really any office job at all. The robots just need to be told once what to do, and away they go. Nothing to manage there. The selling, and management of the sales, money transfers, tax and everything else can all be handled by computers.

So what exactly would a human be needed for in the ultra modern world then? Other than the initial deigning of new products, not very much. Although currently over seventy percent of jobs seem to be of no use to society anyhow.

The old idea was that for every bit of automation we created, from washing machines to vending machines we could all enjoy more free time, that the machines would continually free us from the menial task of daily life and create paradise. However most people these days who do have work, are working harder and longer than ever just to keep a roof over their heads.

As most of the once important blue collar jobs become obsolete, people are being forced to move into white collar positions, but the transition is not easy for many, and they end up soon going broke, which can lead to desperation, and the desperation can lead to crime. Crime of course leads to more crime enforcement, and often jail for many.

Once all the blue collar jobs are gone, most white collar jobs will follow.

It makes me wonder if the people who rule our societies have any sort of long term plan for the future of humanity, it seems to me that they do not. In a very capitalist type of society such as the US, automating all aspects of consumerism may seem like good business sense, in the short term the profits will be immense. However as robotics continue to improve, and as 3D printers keep replicating themselves and are programmed to make more and more things. Who exactly will have a paying job to be able to afford the things they sell?

I have spoken before of my wishes for the future of society, that I believe we should have some sort of new Renaissance, and new era of art, music, entertainment and creativity, but what I didn’t realize is that at that point we were in the middle of a small one, before spring of 2012, many people could actually make a living on the internet, good writers, artists and other sorts of entertainers were able to post things on blogs and social media, which friends would share, people would read them, possibly click on an advertisement along the way, and people were rewarded for their creativity. Things were pretty good back then, however during 2011-2012, things changed, most social media website who’s stocks were publicly traded got bought up by people who had other things in mind, namely directing people to their own news websites and stores, those who resisted found themselves under extreme pressure. The unedited streams of Facebook, Digg and the like became heavily edited, big business hijacked the social media, and search engine results became more Big Business oriented as well. Many popular blogs on publicly hosted blogging networks were quietly deleted by their big business friendly hosts around that time, all the writers work was lost, and many bloggers suddenly found themselves without an income, the blog sharing networks were also of course hurt, most blogging networks suffered great financial losses during this time, some of them lost the ability to use advertising from the large companies who had essentially hijacked the internet at this time, one of the biggest blogging networks of the time Blogger went out of business completely. Most internet based small businesses also disappeared around this time, or soon after.

It seems to me that in the future most jobs positions will be held by robots.

Again I ask “Who exactly will have a paying job to be able to afford the things they sell?”

In the future are they going to try and market iPhones to Robots?

EDIT: The robotic farmers have now arrived.

New Boston Dynamics video

Outsourced Social Media Advertising Campaigns – The Onion

This is a fantastic video in the spirit of TED talks, highlighting how Social Media campaigns work for large, and uprising business.

I get many e-mails each day from these types of companies offering to increase my social media rankings on the internet for a fee, but have often wondered exactly what they will do for us.

I think the following video explains it best, have a watch.

Cool hundreds of thousands of robots ! I wonder if my shirts will fit them.

What Should I Sell On The Internet?

As most of you know, I sell products on the internet to make a living these days, recently a friend of mine also expressed an interest in starting a similar type of business, so he asked me what I though he should sell to make some money. I gave him a few suggestions and explanations for my reasoning which I have put for you below.

I sell t-shirts, but I would not recommend this to others, had I understood the amount of stock I would need on hand and the work I would have to do to sell a few shirts for such low profit, I probably would not have quit my day job.

Click To Enlarge

91% Failure!
Click To Enlarge

What I recommend is that if you are going to sell stuff on the internet, and going to build up a new website from scratch as I did, due to a lack of visitors, you will find yourself lucky to make a single sale each day for the first year or so, therefore it is best to sell items that will not become quickly outdated. If you sell products you need to move quickly through, such as electronics, which become outdated, devalue quickly and have a low profit margin even at the best of times, you will soon find yourself stuck with a lot of stock that nobody will buy from you at a profit, also you will need to be updating the website faster than you can probably work alone and will need to hire a team of expensive professionals just to keep up.

Apache Helicopter

Sell Used Helicopters

I believe you should sell the most expensive items you can afford to, the reason for this is you have the opportunity to make the most profit per item purchased, or package sent. For example, I remember one time last year where I needed to get someone a particular color and size of shirt that we had run out of stock on, due to a high number of unexpected complications, it must have taken me about nine hours of my time to fill the order, this is not normal, but it does happen, and for my nine hours of hard work, I only received about seven dollars profit, if you compare this to people who sell helicopters online, yes you can buy helicopters online, who make a few hundred thousand for the same amount of time, you can see that my shirt business is not necessarily the worlds best idea, but it was all I could afford to start with.

If you are really low on cash, and have even less then what I started out with, which was approximately fifty thousand American Dollars, you can try some drop shipping companies. If you put “drop shipping companies” into a search engine, you will find all sorts of companies that hold all the stock for you to sell, and you can simply buy one item at a time from them, after your customers have already paid you, and then get them to send directly to your customers. This is a great alternative to holding stock, but I gave up on drop shipping in the first year myself, due to my lack of traffic, by the time I actually sold stuff, they were already out of stock on the items.

The biggest problem for any web based business will always be getting enough traffic to stay afloat, too many people subscribe to the “If I build it they will come” philosophy, which is probably a good reason why nearly one hundred percent of all web start ups fail. You really would not believe the competition out there that you have to deal with, you really have to be the best of the best to survive these days.

After four years of sixty hour weeks, and being fortunate enough to have most of the best shirts in the world available for me to sell, I am now almost making the same as what I used to make at one of the crappier day jobs I quit a decade ago, so you have to be seriously committed to do what I am doing. I heard someone say recently that to create a successful commercial website in today’s market you needed to have blind ignorant faith equaling that of many religions.

The Author Made Some Money

There is a constant push on the internet and in the news about how starting a web based business is a good idea, but statistics prove otherwise, it is a bad idea, in fact the only people that seem to really be making any money online are those that create websites for hopeful “entrepreneurs” or offer paid services to market their businesses for them. This reminds me of how a long time ago in the Klondike gold rush, the people who sold the miners supplies made much more money than the miners themselves. These are the people telling you it is a good idea, don’t listen to them too much, I would suggest never listening to anyone that is trying to get money from you.

If you still want to start an online business, you may as well get started, it doesn’t matter if it succeeds or not as long as you don’t invest too much into it. I started three websites before the one I have now, never made a penny off them, but this one does pay the bills. You should not think of the internet as a great place to get rich quick, these days the best you can hope for a chance to get rich eventually.

Those That Have No Chance – The New Internet Reality

I started this website about four years ago now, and although it took a good six months or so for things to get going, after some time, thanks to websites like StumbleUpon, Digg and especially Google. We eventually started to receive some highly anticipated visitors that were excited at what we had to offer, they linked it to their friends and liked it on the social media. Everything was going well for a while, after my first year of 80 hour work weeks I was already making a living on the website, and things were looking up. I showed a friend of mine a chart of visitors coming to the website, at this time a chart of its seemly exponential growth, and he said to me, “Just make sure those numbers keep going up.” and I said to myself, “This is simple, I will just keep doing what I am doing.” I wish it were that simple.

I ended up having a few unexpected problems along the way, some of which were caused by a combination of me trying to change the world, and my big mouth. I found that each time I spoke up publicly against a major power’s evil doing, my website suffered greatly. My first real hiccup came when I was very outspoken on this blog about something that China did, and was attacked by hackers so badly nobody could access the website anymore for days, I ended up forced to take down the post and within a day or so, all the hacking stopped.

The next great hiccup was from Digg, a website we were very quickly successful on, I am not sure if it was because I was selling a shirt that competed with one of their major advertisers, or because I became very outspoken against a different one of their main advertisers plans to rip down every sign of theirs across the word in order to change one of their major colors from yellow to green, in the hope of seeming more more environmentally friendly, this had bothered me because it would have meant destroying the already perfectly good signage and then creating more, my comment “Why don’t they just change the colors of all their packaging to green also so it blends in better at the side of the highway.” earned me about 10,000 Diggs up in a couple of days, but then suddenly and without warning or explanation, Digg banned me. No amount of e-mailing to Digg ever received a response, I tried making another account and resubmitting the website, but found that doing so would no longer allow us to be displayed in their search results, many other previous Digg users called this the “auto bury” list. So far the signs for this company in my neighborhood have not changed colors.

StumbleUpon and Facebook, kept us going on the social media side for the next couple of years, occasional someone would submit something of our to Reddit and things would pick up as well, thank goodness for these websites. On the search engine side, Bing and Yahoo always provided us with a few visitors, but Google continuously provided us with the majority. Google was a wonderful proponent for us little guys, and in my opinion what made the internet an interesting place to be, without them how could a website like Wikipedia, LOLCats, or Craigslist ever get started, and of course how on earth would anyone ever be able to see our selection of amazing t-shirts.

Not all remained good on the search engine front, during this spring, Google completely de-indexed us, we went from 1400 indexed pages down to 0, our PageRank went from four down to two even as we gained more organic links than ever. Google then gradually re-indexed us over the next month up to about 700 pages and then gradually over the next 8 months we lost most of our non-paid search visitor. I suspect it was just one of the many Google algorithm updates during that time, but also I wondered why the update did this to me, the goal was supposedly to get rid of link buying schemes as well as black hat trickery used to get better results in Google, but we had never done any black hat or grey hat SEO on this website, or link buying other than the Yahoo directory. We also have a very low bounce rate, high engagement, high repeat visitors, and even quite a decent closing ratio for our visitors. All of these should have told Google that our visitors were quite satisfied with the Google results that had sent them to us.

You can see in the image below that our impressions in Google Webmaster tools dropped to less than a third of what we were used to over a two month period.

April 11,2012 – July 10,2012 Impressions In Google Webmaster Tools Drop to A Third

We were not alone with our problems around this time however, the internet world shook in the Spring of 2012, and many websites experienced the same thing that we did. I would have said something sooner, but I though Google would have fixed it for us by now, and my previous lessons on the internet of speaking up always lead to severe punishment. Many small website operations such as this one disappeared in the last nine months, and I think many more will be giving up after this Christmas, here is one petition on Change.org that asked Google to reconsider, but they never did. I would like to sign it myself but the petition is already closed.

http://www.change.org/petitions/google-please-kill-your-penguin-update-l

A more technical article about Google’s recent changes, containing equally depressing graphs can be found here:

http://www.seorankings.com/4-recent-google-updates

Things changed since the nine months or so between our great deindexing till now, currently we are fully indexed in Google again, but are receiving very few visitors from them. I have waited almost nine months hoping Google would correct this, and am quite desperate that they do it before the Christmas rush, which is due start any day now.

The following is a one year graph of our Organic, non-paid Search Results from with Google from Nov 12 2011 until Nov 11 2012. It starts with our last years Christmas rush, you can see our gradual falling throughout the year. You can also see the right and left of the graph quite obviously do not line up, if it were the same as last year it would have.

One Year Of Organic Google Search Metrics

This is not quite the same story with our Google Image results which has remained pretty much rock steady throughout the year, even though we added approximately 20% more images.

Google Organic Image Search Remains Unchanged

Although I still feel some desperation about Google’s slow and painful dismissal of our website, things have started to look up. Unable to appease Google with our website’s massively decreased loading time, more accurate descriptions, and continuous freshly added content, we recently have been turning more and more towards social media for our visitors. Social media now seems to be a more reliable source of traffic for us than Google.

The new Google results seem to be less relevant than they used to be at times, at one time I would search Google for what I needed, and Google would deliver it to me like magic, sure there might be some garbage mixed in the results but I could quickly weed through them. Recently after trying a Google search three different ways for some computer programming code I needed, and each time manually reading through several pages of Google’s search results, I was forced to switch to Bing for the first time in months. Bing linked me to some great code on the first page of results using the exact same search that failed me in Google. Google kept trying to get me to go to eHow for answers, but they were not nearly technical enough for the type of stuff I was looking for, Bing however linked me to a personal blog of a fellow programmer that had the exact highly technical answer that I needed. Score one for Bing. I then switched my default search back to Google, but mentally noted that this might be necessary again in the future.

The graph below is from our server side, non Google Analytics program called Webalizer, it shows that even though Google dropped us pretty badly, we are surviving still with less of their help.

Increasing Popularity At Times Even Without Google


On top of all our other problems, recently Google discontinued Google Merchants, this once free service provided us very few visitors each day, but these visitors made up a decent share of our buyers. Google still provide a similar service, but now we are forced to pay for it, so far it is working out that we need to pay about $60 for each $20 retail shirt we sell, which is obviously a very large loss per sale. We are unsure if this is of any benefit to us, we do not know exactly what percentage will come back or recommend their friends to us, we are still testing, but suspect this will be a loss for us even over the long term.

Google used to allow us to make a living off the hundred page website I had three years ago, but now that we have expanded to 1500 pages, Goggle does not give us enough free visitors to make a living anymore for myself, let alone to support the company we have become. As thankful as you might think we should be toward Google for all the people they sent us for free, sometimes I feel like screaming at our Internet God “Why did you give us hope ?!” Sometimes I wish I had just failed in the first months of starting up, before I had invested so many years in this, as well as reinvested all the earnings, more of my own money, and some even borrowed from the bank that I need to pay back. Also we have to rent considerable more space than we used to due to the huge amount of stock we acquired. If things had not fallen apart with Google for us over the last year I would be singing their praises, but they have fallen apart badly, and it looks as though there is no hope in sight.

I can think of quite a few ways to try and advertise our way out of our problems, but we can not afford to make any mistakes with this. The idea is that if we throw enough money into advertising, it will lead to plenty more recommendations to others and hopefully create a buzz just like the big advertisers do, but we are not in the same league as the big advertisers, they make more money in a single day than we have in our four years, and we have to compete with them directly for the same advertising space.It is a risky gamble that we can only do for a short time.

Just like all the interesting mom and pop stores can no longer compete with the likes of WalMart in the brick and mortar scenarios, in the Internet’s current environment, we, and people like us, no longer seem to be able to compete with the “WalMart.com(s)” of the world.

I often feel angry when I read new articles suggesting others start an online business in this day and age, and feel sorry for anyone that takes their advice. I wish readers would first find out how successful the writer actually is, when they obtained their success, and what their angle is on recommending this to others, almost all of the time I find they are just trying to just sell you something, often it is an e-book, sometimes website marketing, or their website creation and hosting services sometimes of course it is a college trying to sell courses, or a bank trying to get you into debt so they can make money off the interest. It seems only the snake oil salespeople and big business are busy making money on the internet these days, not the writers, or small scale online stores.

I have come to the conclusion that there will not be very many true rags to riches stories based on the internet in the coming decade, unless miraculously Google goes back to the way they were or an alternate super relevant search engine somehow become the mainstream.

This website will keep hanging on here for a few years yet no matter what happens, the website has been paid up for the next five years or so and we have a few years worth of stock to go through before we can think about closing. I can only hope that our hard work for the last four years has somehow gotten our foot far enough in the door to survive in this current market, but this is more due to stubbornness than logic, as I do not believe the internet is fair for the little guy anymore. I am currently making plans to make a brick and mortar store out of some of my storage and office space, to keep my staff and I employed in case things don’t work out on the digital front.

In my opinion, the internet changed greatly in the spring of 2012, I feel it has been cut in halve, and I can’t quite figure out which halve I belong to.

On one side we have the “Haves”, and on the other side “Those That Have No Chance”.

I hope I am wrong.

Simple HTML Javascript Backbutton for your website

Here is a simple Hyper link that works in all browsers, and causes the user to go to the previous page.

<a href=”javascript:history.back()” title=”Back” target=”_parent”>
<— Back</a>

Enjoy !

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