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Archive for October, 2008

October Expense Report

October 31, 2008 4 comments

(or where I buck the Income Report trend on make money blogs)

Well, here it is……The end of another month online and the end of another month making money on the internet for free.  I’m not going to give you the traditional Income Report, because, well because everyone does that, and I know that those of you who aren’t making any money online just get jealous reading about all the dollars flowing into our pockets.  And jealousy is bad.  Ok?  Ok.  good.  So I thought a blog expense report would be the way to go.  I think if every blogger who was making money for nothing on the internet showed an expense report, a lot less people would try getting into this industry.  Of course, I suppose that would be bad.  Cause then we couldn’t flog you our books on the new super secret method never before revealed guru’s own way of making piles and piles of cash on the old internets.  It would put a lot of people out of business.  Why?  Well, lets take a small side step and do a little basic Accounting course……

Accounting 101 with the Underdogblogger

Yep.  Accounting 101 – Net Income is not something many blogs talk about.  But net income is essentially Sales – Cost to create goods – Operating Expenses.

In the make money on the internet crowd, I normally see Income reports that are more what I would call Sales.  The cost to create the sales/goods and the operating expenses are overlooked.  And I believe if we take these into account, then you have a very different view of how much money you can make on the internet.  Now cost to create goods and operating expenses sort of blur, so we will treat them as roughly the same thing.  This can include your hosting costs (amortised per month), your domain name costs (if you’ve bought one), your electricity used running your pc, your broadband charges, even the wear and tear on your computer if you are going to get all anal about it.  Sales – well obviously this is the money you bring in.  You know those pretty screen shots every long ass sales letter has showing you the money rolling in to the old paypal account.  Those are sales.

Ok, back to my expenses report.  Now I’m going to do something unique here, I’m going to include labour charges.  Labour you say?  Yes!  labour!  Because time spent doing this could be spent doing something else.  I’m going to assume a nominal charge of £6 and hour, which is a little above minimum wage here in the UK.  that’s about 9 dollaaaaaahs 60, but fuck it, the USA used to be a colony right?  So were gonna work in pounds for a change!  And we are going to put “u” into labour, and honour no matter what the crappy spell checker says. Hah! Ok expense report:

Cost of domains: £0
Hosting: £0
Labour: £180
Other expenses: £10

I’m estimating other expenses ’cause I can’t be bothered to work it out, but I figure it covers electricity for use of my computer and depreciation of said pc, as well as broadband costs and a delicious latte made on my Saeco Superautomatica

Total expenses: £190.  You Americans can go to xe.com to get the dollar version.  You will notice that I spend no money on the domains or hosting, because I’m on a quest to make money on the internet for free. That means I use free resources to make money online.  Griz manages to do it as outlined on his make money for beginners, and I figure I fall right in there (the beginner bit).

Now, imagine if the “A” list celebrity bloggers put down and expense report.  Imagine their labour cost alone.  Because I reckon most of those guys have egos the size of small nations and won’t be seen dead valuing their time at 6 quid an hour.

Yeah.  Well there you go.  This has been another cynical non-money making blog post brought to you by your favourite Underdogblogger.  Hope you enjoyed the novelty value alone.  More importantly, behind my cynicism is a serious point.  Making money online for free will, in a rather unseemly oxymoronic display, cost you…..in time alone if nothing else.  Don’t be mislead by all those income reports.  It’s not all money for jam.

Btw, happy halloween.

Oh man, I can’t resist posting something about this whole Andrew Sachs prank call thing.  I mean c’mon Brand and Ross should be fired, not for the content of the show, but for the fact that the show wasn’t funny when it was meant to be comedy.  And how about Georgina Baillie?  aka Voluptua?  Did you say attention whore?  Shame on you…. 🙂 That girl sure saw a quick way to 15 minutes of fame.

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Categories: Potential Tags:

The curse of the ad blind

October 28, 2008 4 comments

(or where I attempt a humorous post on the disease that can kill your adsense income – ad blindness)

Ad blindness…..the most annoying and potentially lethal disease of any casual web surfer.  These days, it isn’t at all uncommon for people to boast about being ad blind.  They flaunt it like its a good thing.  They boast that they are so hip to the subculture that is the internet, that their very subconcience simply edits out the portions of a webpage that feature any sort of adverts.  But it isn’t a good thing.  And I’m here to tell you why being ad blind isn’t a good thing.

As a beginner trying to make money with adsense sites, I would really rather people were not ad-blind.  I would prefer that they found my webpage, and looked at the adverts there and then clicked on one of them.  Really, if you think about it, this would benefit the people who are ad blind as well.  I mean the very fact that they have typed a search string into google, and found my webpage (even if google is using latent semantic indexing) means they are interested in the subject matter.

Now, I don’t mind saying, my adsense site is not bad.  All the adverts are very relevant to the niche I’m targetting and the information on my webpages is accurate, factual – it is quality original content.  Not laced with brilliant humour like this site….oh no, I’ve purposefully made the writing bland in an effort to make people look around the page for something else to do….I don’t have lots of outgoing links that could cause the ad blind to potentially stumble out of my website.  In fact the only outgoing links are adverts.

…….so I think the ad blind surfer is in fact doing him or herself a severe disservice.  For example, no matter how much they read the information on my site, they will not be able to purchase what they are looking for from me directly.  I am merely a middle man…..but if they weren’t so ad blind, they could clicky on one of my adverts and hey presto, purchase the very thing they were looking for!  Damn!

The cure is simple.  A website that has no content, only adverts, that once you browse to, your browser’s buttons become disabled (including the little x to close it) so all you can do is click an advert.  Somehow, I suspect this is against the google terms and conditions though.  So damn your ad blindness, it is nothing to be proud of!

Categories: Flotsam Tags: ,

The underdog throws you the bone of LSI

October 23, 2008 6 comments

(or where I howl on about Latent Semantic Indexing)

You know what?  I’m a bit surprised.  I haven’t seen a lot of blog posts about Latent Semantic Indexing.  It’s pretty good stuff LSI.  I’m telling you.  Not quite Aldos Huxley, Doors of Perception good (as an aside I’m not suggesting any young pups go about trying to open the old perception Huxley style…..drugs are bad K? good, glad we cleared that up).  But unlike Huxley opening his mind and allowing his senses to become fully aware of everything around him that he was previously filtering out), search engines are historically very bad at filtering out unwanted or irrelevant results. LSI will act like a natural filter to your favourite search engine’s mind.  Kind of like an anti-door of perception.  or a door of anti-perception. erm.  something like that.

Basically Latent Semantic Indexing is all about associating language and terminology, creating lexemes I had a geography teacher who used to say “if you don’t know the jargon associated with a subject, you can never discuss it”.  He was a pain in the arse, but he was right, and Google knows he was right.  So LSI attempts to understand the jargon around a subject area in much the same way as a human would.  A search engine using LSI will rank a page higher if it seems to contain more of these associated words, because the search engine will assume that whoever wrote the page knows about the subject matter.

Hmmmmm, you say.  That’s gonna really fuck up keyword stuffing.  Probably.  Unless you start to understand your subject area, you are going to be screwed when it comes to ranking if latent semantic indexing becomes more important.

How will the search engines associate words you ask? Good question, young pup!  I don’t know is the answer, but a couple of methods spring to mind……the use of a lexical database.  Essentially a lexical database groups words into cognitive synonyms.  What?  Basically the words mean similar things.  So finish and complete – both words mean the same thing, though there can be subtle differences in meaning and usage….we generally “finish a meal” we don’t really “complete a meal”…in this sense finish has a subtle side meaning of consume, but at the same time it still means we have come to the end.  The other thing I suppose the search engines could do, is take currently well ranking pages on subject, analyse them and use the language in them as benchmarks for constructing an LSI database.  I hope they don’t go down this route, because it would really need a lot of clean up, simply because there are so many of “us” around who are trying to dominate the search rankings by hook or by crook.  Just because a page is number 1 at the moment, doesn’t mean it is well written, or semantically correct……it usually means it has the most number of backlinks.

Now the astute among you will be wondering what the bone is that I’m throwing.  You’ve been patient, and probably read a bunch of stuff about language that you couldn’t care about so here you go……surf over to your favourite search engine – Google, and type the following in ~weight.  Now consider the search results.  Pretty cool eh? (If you can’t figure out what is going on, don’t be afraid to ask).

I don’t know how much LSI google uses at the moment, but one thing is for sure, when latent semantic indexing becomes more and more important, we will get a big shuffle in the search results and we will all have to start becoming experts in subjects we currently know nothing about, like for example the lexemes of language.

Now that was worth the price of my blog alone.  You all owe me a drink!

The Ego of Blogging

October 22, 2008 3 comments

(or where I wonder how often you can check your blog stats in one day)

Blogging really can feed your ego.  In fact, in a lot of ways, blogging is really vanity publishing taken to the nth degree.  The ego of blogging is a vicious hound that can bite you in the arse at anytime.  Be warned.  Heed the cautionary tale below and avoid bad, evil blogging ego.

So, it’s pretty familiar for webmasters to check their stats.  Weekly, Daily, Hourly, Half-Hourly.   Well, all webmasters except Clog Money – he just doesn’t care at all.  I remember reading a day in the life of a prominent blogger (who I don’t think much of to be honest so I won’t name him), whose day went something like

Wake up, check blog stats using fancy schmancy laptop (include affiliate link to said fancy shmancy laptop)

Eat breakfast, check blog stats using computer in kitchen or a special wired up bowl of cornflakes, reading the stats in a matrix style display but with cornflakes scrolling around in the milk instead of a scrolling ASCII green screen* (include affiliate link to cornflakes, or milk I can’t remember)

Take shower, check blog stats in the shower using a fancy shmancy waterproof mobile device that he picked up at the latest blog expo (include affiliate link to said device)

Dry off, check blog stats on bathroom mirror which scrolled matrix style only using condensed water drops from the steam from his shower instead of green scrolling ASCII infiltrated green screen terminal  (’cause like he is so technological that even his bathroom is hooked up to the interwebs)**  ***

Stroll, scuttle or scamper to bedroom (with or without towel wrapped around waist), check stats in hallway using voice activated hallway computer (affiliate link up towel).

Get dressed, check blog stats using bedroom pc (affiliate link to linen, jeans, shirt, trainers, and deodorant).

Go to desk, check blog stats.

Pick up pen, check blog stats (affiliate link up pen).

Compulsively Refresh blog stats like a junkie on meth until lunch.

Take wife out to lunch at fancy restaurant, check blog stats over lunch using non-waterproof mobile phone (include affiliate link to said mobile phone), completely ignoring wife, and lunch, except to take photo and affiliate link up organic steak burger.

Drive home, checking blog stats using car’s on-board stat checking device (affiliate link to car, on-board device and gas station)

Fuck’s sake……At this point I got the message and stopped reading the post…..and by and large the blog, for several reasons…..none of which I will go into.  I don’t think the dude really needed a computer at all….all he needed was a little device that showed him a graph every minute or two that had an upward trend in comparison to the graph he saw a minute or two earlier.  This made me realise a few things – checking your blog’s statistics can be visciously addictive, and can severly hamper productivity.  The other thing it made me realise is that running a blog is very much tied into our egos.

It is enormously self-satisfying to watch our page views climb through the day….analyse the hell out of how many uniques we had, how many RSS subscribers signed up, how many people left comments on our blog….ahhhh feels good…..people notice me……people think I am important…….I must be important……..I feel better about myself now….etc etc etc.  As humans, we suffer what some traditions would call a “monkey mind”……we cannot focus on one thing for any substantial period of time.  The internet is the perfect antidote for this because we can hit the refresh button and have a new screen jump at us, keeping us entertained, feeding our addiction to self, to ego, to the illusion of the importance of what is essentially impermanent.

Checking our stats just feeds our ego.  We feel better about ourselves if people read our blog, we feel better about ourselves if we get lots of comments, we feel better about ourselves if other people blog about us.  The ego of blogging is very powerful.  But we have to keep reminding ourselves that this is not important.  Okay lets take a step back.  It is not that community is not important, and it isn’t that communicating with people is not important….it is that ego is not important.  Doing something to feed your ego will ultimately never satisfy you, it will not fill whatever void is there, only mask it.  You will want more and more and more and more and never be full.  Though at some point in this cycle, you will probably be full of shit 🙂

Checking stats should serve one purpose in any marketing endevour – to tell you what is and isn’t working.  To allow you to hone your page, your SEO, your writing, your website to better make it do what you want.  If you are just into blogging for the social side – you just want friends, then forget the stats – comment on other people’s blog, send them an email, and make some friends.  If you are online to make money, then checking your stats ever five minutes like a 5 year old with too many e-numbers in their diet will only take away time that could be spent on more important things.  Check your stats, by all means, analyse them – but remember that stats are only usefull to plot a trend over time.  One day’s worth of stats is useless, a month’s worth of stats can show you a trend, help you plan and better your site.  One day is an anomaly.  A spike could just be the digg effect, in which case, it probably isn’t all that usefull as data.

Now, where was I – oh yes ego.  Um one thought on this, though you have no reason to take me seriously. A few people have been blogging about the law of attraction and thinking positive and all that – something I might expand on some other time, but subjugating negative thought will never work in the long run.  You cannot attempt to squash what you fear into a little corner of you psyche and expect it never to rear its ugly head.  The only way is to face down what is behind the negative, what is behind the fear, find the root, make peace with it, understand it as part of you, understand how it affects you and how you can flow from the extreme reactions to a point of equilibrium, fully conscious of what just happened to you.

*okay this isn’t really true – you can’t get the internet through a bowl of cornflakes.  But you should be able to!  Kellogs I want royalties on that idea!

**forgot to add (include affiliate link to said bathroom mirror)

***okay, you can’t get the internet through your bathroom mirror either.  But you should be able to.  Ikea – royalties please…. k? thnks! bye.

Categories: Inspire, Potential Tags: ,

Short

October 21, 2008 6 comments

(or where I figure out what my blog is about)

hang on…..I’m still thinking.

on a side note, you know, I have had demonstrated to me how important backlinks are.  The right backlink from the right blog can do absolute wonders for you.

Categories: Flotsam, Jetsam

Sink more money into that bitch

October 15, 2008 3 comments

(or where I pontificate on sink design and how it pertains to making money like water on the internet)

Underdogblogger's Sink

Underdogblogger's Sink

Stick with it……This is my bathroom sink. I hate cleaning it. And I’ll tell you why. See, my bathroom sink has a design floor in it. There is a spot in front of the plughole that seems to pool water. More importantly, when I’m cleaning my bathroom, this spot pools dirt infested water. See, I live in London. We have very hard water here. Limescale is the enemy! And to effectively remove limescale without using industrial strength bleach and other nasty chemicals…..which I really prefer to keep out of my household as much as possible, you have to apply a little elbow grease.

Underdogblogger's Sink With Debris Arrow

Oh, how you taunt me you debris collecting area

I’m not afraid of mucking in. I’m not afraid of scrubbing a little. I think it builds a bit of character. I mean – I don’t trust anyone who isn’t at least prepared to clean up their own shit. So I use one of those little scourers to clean my bathroom. A nice eco-friendly cleaning solution (take your pick) and a little bit of scrubbing with the scourer takes the limescale right off. Problem is, little bits of limescale and scourer debris form and pool right in front of the plughole.  Yep – right there – lookit right where the green arrow is pointing. It’s a pain to wash down the plughole. You have to sort of push it with your hand or sponge to encourage those little devils into the waste pipe. That isn’t how it should be. It’s a sink…by definition, water (well anything liquid really) should just roll downwards into the waste pipe. I know the debris are composed of little bits of solid, but they should be carried by the water…..they aren’t that heavy.

Stick with it, this post gets better….
So, there’s a design floor in my sink. Bad! I don’t like it. I went looking for a new one, ’cause these little things do bug me. But you know what. I couldn’t find anywhere that actually had a working model for me to test. Nowhere in my local bathroom specialist shop (erm ok, Wickes and B&Q) could I test a working bathroom sink. Sure, they look pretty. But they don’t have running water plumbed in. How can I test them? How can I see if they are better than mine? I think this is a fundamental floor in bathroom sales. They should have a few different sinks plumbed in, and give you the option of running your routine on them to test them out. You know, brush your teeth – check the toothpaste is properly propelled down the hole by the force of the water. Do a little cleaning, make sure it scrubs up nice and that the debris are propelled down the plughole. That would be cool. I could get behind that. Heck, I would have bought a new sink if I found one that worked! But no. All I find are various dry, though very sparkly looking bathroom sinks, just waiting to be swapped for cash. Hmph…not impressed.

Now water flow is very difficult to model. And I expect your average budget sink is not designed with complex water flow models on a CAD system. I expect they are made in a roughly pleasing looking shape that basically tapers towards the plughole. So I’m on the lookout for the most sharply contoured sink I can find. That should do it.  That should sink the damn debris.  Oh-hohohoho.  C’mon not even a small chuckle?  Geez, lighten up.

Stick with it……

The very notion that you can make money online by purchasing a product which you cannot test out is the same….erm ok, not the same, but take a small leap of faith. All the products look shiny, just like the sinks. They all look like they will help funnel piles of income towards your wallet much like the sink looks like it should funnel whatever is thrown into it down the plughole. But, internet traffic is like water; pretty tricky to model, pretty tricky to predict. So the system cannot be foolproof. Imagine what it would be like if the pros took an about turn and started allowing you to test the methods before you paid up, much like I want to test out some sinks before I hand over my dosh.

Hmmmm.

Stick with it………

There’s an interesting thought. Do you think they would still be wallowing in money? I’m not so sure myself. I suspect, much like my sink, much of what is out there would do nothing more than trap money tantelisingly close to your wallet, but not actually in it, much like my sink traps debris oh-so-close to the plughole, but doesn’t actually deliver the final push. See, the sink is like the search engine….the water represents internet traffic and the tap – erm the tap is the spark of life that makes these people exist and by pure serendipitous circumstance sit on their pc looking for your webpage…nevermind, the tap isn’t important….Let’s consider the golden egg of internet marketing – organic search traffic. You want the tap to open, traffic to flow into the sink of the internet and be funnelled into the plughole that is your webpage. Yes! No! Wait – I’m not saying your webpage is a plughole or in any way shape or form equivalent to a sewage transport mechanism. But yes, you want that traffic like water flowing into your plughole-like webpage. What you don’t want is for the traffic to get stuck, the debris to sit there, next to your plughole-like webpage, but not actually in it (can you be in a webpage?). Now whether we are selling a product ourselves, affiliate marketing a product or relying on adsense, organic search traffic will be our golden egg. Crack that little bugger and you will have golden omelets forever. Social traffic is nice – the community is cool, the people are fun, but they ain’t gonna make you rich. Well I suppose they might if you build up enough trust and rapport with them and then flog them something. But then it would have to be of real value – well it would for me. I wouldn’t want to sell some crap to my friends, even if they are only virtual buddies. I’m not saying all internet marketers would sell their grandmother, but it is the sort of industry where your morals can quickly slide out from under you. If you dabble in selling a weight loss product you don’t believe in, or a method you don’t follow, or some dating site with a webpage that preys on people’s fear of being alone, then your morals are on perched on top of a banana on a tiled floor, and getting heavier by the minute….pretty soon; morals; flat on back. Anyhoo, back to the old sink and plughole. Given that we want organic search traffic, what products or courses should I purchase? The ones that could teach how to get organic search traffic.

Stick with it…..

Consider that piece of software or that ebook you are buying. Is it the most sharply contoured method that will have traffic and money flowing into your pocket almost as quickly as water flows into the plughole? Is it my ideal sink? Or will it simply take your money and leave the traffic sitting in a puddle, much like my sink takes leaves my cleaning debris? So much of this industry is funded by continually placing fear into people’s minds. Making them believe that they are only one more secret away from being an internet millionaire.
Bullshit.

But then, I’m not making millions flogging another ebook you don’t need. So I don’t really know what I’m talking about 🙂

I do know though, that bathroom sink design needs to be re-thought. Maybe I should do away with the sink and just have a big pipe. I don’t really ever run water into my bathroom sink anyway. Its only job is to catch my toothpaste when I spit and get a little dirty every week so that I have to clean it, and go about my struggle of washing down the debris.  At what point will the sink of the internet become the plughole?  When will the search engine be the internet?  Maybe I should be the search engine.

Now while I’m on the subject of water. Here’s something bizarre. I don’t really get modern art. Kind of like I don’t get freeform atonal jazz. I just miss the point. But there is this artist who placed an istallation in a museum shop. The piece? A bucket of water. ” Wow” you say?  “Deep” you say?  “Symbolic” you say? Here is the bizzare…to get the water into the bucket, he employed a plumber to run a pipe from the nearest bathroom to the shop, filled the bucket from the pipe and then had the plumber remove the piping again so there was no trace of the bucket filling. Hmmmmmm. Much like the relationship of this anecdote to the rest of this post about making money like water, I just don’t get it. I told you, I know some strange stuff.

Now, try not to use the phrase “Stick with it” in conversation today….. 🙂

Crunch

October 8, 2008 1 comment

(or where I tell you how to Recession-Proof your blog)

It is time to stop pussy footing around the recession.  We are in full on credit crunch scare mode.  Newspapers, TV, Radio, Internet; every form of public media has been rallied to fuel the fear of us all becoming poor, destitute, homeless, unemployed, miserable fuckers.  Lovely.  Depression is sure to set in, simply because we now expect it to.  Money is tight, simply because we now expect it to be so.  So since you cannot get a loan to save your life these days, it is a good idea to take stock and ensure your physical and virtual assets are recession proof!  (can you say link bait? mwahahahaha)

Don’t kid yourself, your blog is an asset.  One of the ones that I expect you will spend a lot more time with now that you can’t afford to go out and get blind drunk in the hippest vodka bar.  But what happens to the internet in a crisis?  Do people stop clicking search results?  Will they stop commenting on your blog?  Will they sink into an inconsolable funk and not even turn on their computer?  Can you influence them to turn on and surf over to your blog with the power of your mind alone?  And more to the point, how can make sure your blog does not suffer during the credit crunch?  What are the simplest steps you can take to make sure your blog is recession proof?  In reverse order:

5) Take frequent backups – as the credit crunch bites into tech companies and the cheaper hosting companies begin to fold like a pack of cards, make sure you have your nightly backup so you can bring your site up on a new host double time (and since when the crunch really hits, we will all be unemployed, you may as well

4) Who has the fairest data of all?  Mirror your blogs!  Wow – never thought of that did ya?  I think everyone should mirror their blog right now!  The mythical duplicate content penalisation is the least of your worries as electricity bills soar and hosting companies institute a time sharing rota – don’t be surprised if your host decides to only switch on their servers for a few hours a day in order to save on electricity! 🙂

3) Neither a borrower or a lender be (except in times of crisis).  Use some of your adsense income to set up a loan shark company.  Well credit is hard to come by at the moment, but those of you making a tidy profit from your blogs can now diversify, by offering unsecured loans.  This could be a fantastic way to become a total bastard and scoop up some property when your borrowers eventually default on their payments (as they most surely will because they are not savvy enough to be blogging for moolah).  Be sure to hire some heavies to do your debt collection.

2) Diversify your interest – invest in soft commodities like a bank’s domain name.  I mean banks are folding and threatening to fold left right and centre, but their domain names generally have beautiful page rank and great backlinks.  Snap up a bargain today – make them an offer, I hear they need the money 🙂

1) Build your backlinks.  A website can never have too many.

0) Hit the governemnt up for a bail-out package.  Heck, the internet is only slightly less virtual an environment than the entire banking system; governments seem to bail out the banks, maybe they will give you a little cash injection to keep you sweet (how about it Gordon?  I’m cheaper than the banking system – I mean I reckon 50 million would do me, that’s a bargain given the 50 billion you’ve got to steal from the tax payers to bail out the fuck up the banks made)

-1) Dominate some recession-proof niches.  Think about it, what are people going to be doing during a recession?  Looking for part time work, looking for frugal living and money saving ideas, looking for porn (let’s face it it is probably recession-proof)  Look for Giffen goods – those that violate the law of demand – to promote in affiliate schemes. (Yes, I know that Giffen goods are thought of as a micro-economic embarrasment, but they are in the cannon of work now so just fucking live with it).

-2) Make sure your TLD is not .is – I hear Iceland are going bankrupt and you wanna get out before that ship sinks……… 😉  O wait, you’ve missed the boat er i mean gone down with the ship already.

-3) Stop stealing money from your nan……pensions are practically worthless with the current downturn in economic climate.

-4) Get your SEO in order.  Don’t follow my SEO Suicide tactics of not putting my keywords in my blog-titles.

So there you have it many lots of ideas on keeping your blog recession-proof.  I think negative numbers get a raw deal in internet lists, so I’ve thrown a few in there just to help them out, be thank full I didn’t start on the imaginary numbers like eleventeen or all the money in the banking system.