Category Archives: thoughts

Goodbye POWNCE :(

And now for a throw back WSYK on Pownce…

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2 Videos. Many Conclusions. What’s Yours?

Over the past couple of days these two videos struck me big time. The first is a TED Talk about the paradox of choice or put differently: having to much choice/freedom can actually be a bad thing; we all need a fish bowl to reach maximum welfare according to Barry Schwartz.

The second, I.O.U.S.A., is a 30 minute byte sized teaser for the 85 minute documentary. The film talks at length about the United States’ four major deficits: budget, savings, trade and leadership. It drives home the fact that these four deficits alone are the greatest threat facing the United States present day, and will mostly likely decrease the quality of life for US citizens, starting with my generation.

Once you watch both you can’t help draw correlation between the two in many interesting ways. And I invite you to take the time to watch both of them and then proceed to let the numerous ideas from both marinate for a while in that brain of yours. Enjoy.

The Paradox of Choice

Related Book => The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

I.O.U.S.A – 30 Minute Byte Sized Version
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Related Book => I.O.U.S.A.: One Nation. Under Stress. In Debt.

Where do you spend your time?

I think this is an awesome question to ask everyone you come into contact with over the next week. Whether it’s the peeps you know through social media or ‘real people’ such as co-workers, colleagues and fellow students: Where do you spend your time?

Where do I spend my time?

By day I work for Cake Financial answering every customer question that comes in by email or phone and engaging people on-site in conversations. I also help develop and execute user acquisition strategies (SEO, Social Media, Video). It’s amazing to see what smart hard working people can accomplish in such short periods of time.

Detail: Cake Financial is bringing transparency to the world of investing for the small time investor, that’s you, me and everybody else pretty much.

But that’s just my day job, by night I work my face off building the new-age-new network openSermo. The idea is to keep it real, keep the news real, no pun intended. Let’s really tell people what the frack is going on and do so in a way they can understand. Currently we have just one production, What Should You Know?, which I host. Hopefully you’ve already watched an episode if not, get over there and hit play! My time here is split between writing material, filming with my Director and editing with my Editor, Tim Hahn, releasing and responding to every email and comment.

Detail: openSermo is recreating the news broadcast.

When I can spare a few cycles I contribute to my side project A blog where I share investment hacks, approaches, and wisdom I’ve discovered and continue to discover. Read the background here

Detail: The Way To Build Wealth shares hacks, tips and wisdom on how to build wealth through investments in common stock.

In between all of these main tasks I read: magazines, newspapers (yes the real tangible ones, I love the feel and smell a real newspaper), books (currently reading Titan), blogs (my shared feeds). This is where I source information for What Should You Know? as well as keep on top of world and business news for This piece may have come last, but it is the most important.

What keeps me going?
The drive to change the world. I wake up everyday knowing that today is another day on my path towards making real change in the world.

How do I find the time?
I don’t own a television, and I don’t have a girlfriend or a family. The latter of which I will eventually have to figure out how to manage. No TV? Screw TV, I watch what I wan’t through Netflix, Hulu, iTunes and YouTube all on my computer. It’s tough watching epsiode of BSG on my 23″ widescreen monitor, but totally acceptable.

What do I need to start?
Going to the Rock Gym down the street and getting back into Kick Boxing. i.e. physical activities.

But that’s enough about me.

Where do you spend your time?

The Internet Destroys Culture

I read the piece, copied below the fold, in todays WSJ and it got the wheels turning. I am not sure I agree with Elizabeth Wurtzel’s argument in whole. I do understand the exportation of American Pop culture and its effects around the world and how it has helped America “conquer the world”, but I am not sure that decreased profitability for music and movies translates into a loss of American Popculture.The argument that music producers are honing in on one-hit-wonders because people buy music or steal music a-la-carte via the Internet does not resonate with me. I have no doubts that album and music sales are less profitable today then say 10 or 20 years ago. However to translate that idea into the argument that producers are focusing on one-hit-wonders does not make sense to me. Have you ever heard of a concert comprised of just 1 song?For what album sales lack in profits producers and artists can make up for in ticket sales. Use music as a marketing tool to sellout concerts, in compilation with memorabilia etc.Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead understand the “new world order” and are currently trying to figure out what works, not by fighting the tide by but utilizing the tides momentum to catapult theirs brands and art into another dimension.This brief rebuttal to Wurtzel’s agrument is aimed to generate thoughts from YOU.Do you think the internet is destroying American Made Entertainment? Blast some knowledge in the comments, or in a blog post of your own. Continue reading

Biography in Process

Imagine what information, advice, and ideas the world would have easy and free access to if the technology that is abundant today was available in centuries past. Granted we have a crap ton of books and essays and other writings documenting the histories, thoughts and ideas of great men and women; but what additional “gifts” would they have left us if they had blogs and YouTubes accounts?

What additional gifts would Benjamin Franklin have have left us? What YouTube clips, thoughts on meta-physics, blog posts on being industrious? It cannot be imagined how many more gifts he would have left the world. And this is only one individual! On top of that Franklin wouldn’t have had to entrust his life papers to a irresponsible illegitimate grandson, where they eventually found their way into a tailors shop and where used as patterns and weren’t rediscovered until 1840. Where as, a nice home at would have been much cozier.

But what about all the great men and woman of the world, since the beginning of time? dating as far back as Moses? Imagine if Jesus had a blog. That would be insane! and may even help answer numerous questions of today, questions many seek and questions many would rather not seek.

I am sure this idea of, the ease of which “gifts” can now be given to humanity is apparent to many, I however am finally visualizing and realizing the true potential and effects of the abundance of easy and cheap tech.

The downside is a constant state of information overload. However there are already many tools in service which help sort for the needles in the haystacks, targeting your specific interests, and I bet the tools will only get more refined and sophisticated.

All that being said I have decided to use my home here at and fresh out the box YouTube channel, ethanbloch, to post a constant state of updates, thoughts, information and experiences in and about my life. Even if this proves helpful to 1 person, I will be satisfied, however I hope it to be helpful to multitudes more then 1. You may be asking yourself what makes me special? Well my Mom told me I was special when I was 6!

Seriously though, I am on a mission to revolutionize the world, as I have been telling friends and family since 7 years of age, and I figure it best to not have to count on an illegitimate grandson to spread my “gifts” amongst the world.

Thoughts On Trade – Part 2

Please be sure to read Part 1 before continuing.

To trade or not to trade; globally that is. [cont.]

This is not an argument against globalization, but an attempt to open eyes and say “Hey, are you cool with this being the future.” Even though the future is largely uncertain you can estimate conceivable outcomes based on current actions and states of nature. This is what the point is here. So onward we go.

Firm A can’t pay $1 a day here but can move 6000 miles and whoa $1 a day is in fact possible. All the additional costs associated with moving production to another country far far away are recouped with the $1 per day labor. An executive may say “this is cool because now these same products sold domestically will be a degree cheaper and our bottom line will be a degree fatter.”

A question here arises: why would a domestic government be so cool with this situation when in fact that same government has policies in place against another country far far away from producing far far away and dumping domestically? In fact the country far far away winds up moving production into the domestic country, production ‘which doesn’t count for quotas’, so they can sell their products freely without government grief [a great example are Japanese car manufacturers who moved production into the United States in the 1980’s due to the Reagan administrations imposing of Japanese automobile import quotas, or more commonly called “voluntary restraint agreements”]. In that same breath that same government however, will allow one of their domestic firms to move production far far away and then dump this production domestically.

Domestic government A says if you do business here you must abide by these labor laws, these environmental laws and these tax laws. Or you can move your production to another country where you don’t need to meet any of our laws or restrictions and then you can just export your production back home. Destroy jobs and tax revenue, it’s okay, because if you aren’t braking the law on our soil we don’t give a flying f, just please go across the boarder and ship all your ‘domestic law breaking’ product back home, cause we as consumers will love to buy it and wont feel guilty that we are hurting our domestic country, or your country; because hey it’s being produced in a country far far away, oh and did I mention it’s so cheap?

Yes, that’s quite a critical assessment of free trade. However, it is probably also an inaccurate assessment and in contradiction, ideal globalization interwoven with free trade does and can yield magnificent results. A compilation of nations, which allow the free flow of capital goods and ideas, should and does improve life throughout the world, while modest in some places and grand in others. The current situation is not crystal clear and won’t be for years to come. An important question to ask is: are there really good jobs, aside from low wage service jobs, available for domestic workers that loose a well paying job due to globalization? Are we really lifting people out of poverty in developing trading nations, when they make $1 per day and of which many work in conditions that would be deemed illegal domestically? I hope the answers to both of these questions are yes. In terms of both, time will be the judge, and when we have a definitive answer it will most likely be too late to do anything about it.

Thoughts On Trade – Part 1

It should be dully noted here, I am not a qualified practitioner of economics. My thoughts below represent my outward thinking on the situation of Trade, thoughts that have been nurtured by countless books and articles. This is the first part to a multipart essay. It would be most beneficial if you would share your own thoughts, ideas, and or criticisms on the subject.

To trade or not to trade; globally that is.

Defiantly a large topic of discussion today, maybe even a large topic of discussion over past centuries. However, do we really have a definitive answer? Maybe the correct answers lies in the terms of exactly what one perceives as the desirable outcome. There is no doubting the benefits of international trade. Or better yet, free trade in and of itself has many data points which show us increases in standards of living and the enrichment of countries; some may argue it’s for the betterment of their citizenry others the exploitation. But how does one truly gage the advantage of trade between industrialized nations and nations developing. Between nations with strict labor and environmental laws versus ones with of no such kind of laws? I can definitely count the extra dollars in my pocket by buying products at reduced prices; reduced prices attributed to their production being in a country with more competitive labor in that specific product. This is just a single variable [labor] in the free-trade’s comparative advantage model which states, in short: free trade allows countries to pool their resources into the industries in which they are most competitive, thus in effect creating a sort of optimum efficiency between trading nations. Comparative advantages lay in the specific levels of productivity one possesses when producing certain goods and services. Productivity being the amount of output you receive per unit of input.

However the main concern with productivity is this: Offshoring and outsourcing, several firms [multinationals] state, is necessary because domestic labor is not productive enough. And by ‘not productive enough’ they mean they can’t pay $1 a day to domestic laborers to labor away.