Description

Abbey Lovett is a soon to be Praxis participant who’s always experimenting and believes entrepreneurship is more important for kids than academic subjects. She had a lemonade stand with employees at age of nine and she hasn’t stopped.

We discuss her education, the importance of debate, why her entrepreneurship camp failed, and how she made the decision to apply for Praxis.

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Meet the hosts

I'm an entrepreneur, thinker, and communicator dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. I'm the founder and CEO of Praxis, an intensive ten-month program combining real world business experience with the best of online education for those who want more than college.

discussions

  • I know that project ideas are a dime a dozen. They are useful only if someone takes them and executes a plan to make them a reality. The idea I’d like to share with you would require more skill, energy, and time than I alone could devote to it. So I’d like to get your feedback and measure the interest. Here it is. Since bitcoins can be paid in fractions (e.g., .0001 BTC) and since payment transactions carry little or no transaction fee, it is feasible to create a micropayment website for digital. As you also know, for most of history, artists were supported by patrons, not by property rights in copies of their works. Well, with bitcoin micropayments, nearly everyone can afford to be a patron of the arts, and they can reward the artist according to the value they perceive they got from the work (there are some songs I just cannot do without), and according to their own financial ability.I am convinced that if copyright was less restrictive, artists would benefit in ways that perhaps they cannot now envision. The idea is simple. Creators upload digital content to the site. They assign certain hashtags to it and post in one of several categories. Videos, music, photos, datasets for 3d printing, writing, art, advocacy and causes. Any content posted to the site is downloadable if a bitcoin tip of any amount is paid for it. The content can be played/viewed on site for free, but to download and copy, you need to tip the creator at least, say, .00001 BTC. Imagine a musician who posts a song in either audio or video or both. The more tips she earns, the higher she gets ranked. The higher he gets ranked, the more tips she receives. It’s a relatively frictionless way for a creator to get content to the end user and get paid for it in a way that could work in a filesharing world. So the concept is similar to twitter, instagram, tumblr, with hashtags that enable searching, but it also employs other performance ranking methods like the bitcoin tip data. Content creators are paid through a voluntary payment system. It’s sort of like crowdfunding in that regard. All content uploaded is royalty free and can be used for any purpose by anyone who gives a tip of any amount and downloads the content. Maybe you use a creative commons license to make sure nobody else claims it as their intellectual property. I really don’t think artists need the governments’ guns pointing at folks who copy their works. I think people would reward them anyway. Say someone uploads a dataset for a 3d printer to the site. Folks can tip him/her in increments that would be too small to pay via paypal, credit cards, etc. The transaction fees are too high. You could tip .0001BTC for a download and pay no transaction fee. Revenue for the site would come from advertising and/or by charging artists a small commission on their monthly or annual gross bitcoin tips. Creators could even assign a portion of their gross bitcoin receipts to be used in advertising on site to get featured ranking, ala Google or Facebook. Say you’re in Copenhagen, across the street from a building you’re curious about. Your phone alerts you that the 3d dataset for the building is available on gratuity2. You’re feeling generous so you tip .001BTC for the dataset. Back home, a 3d printer spits out a scaled down copy for your desk. Imagine that a kid in Latin America puts together a little music video with his phone. He uploads it to gratuity2.com and it goes viral. A million kids throughout the world tip him .00001 BTC. A small thumb drive he bought at the local market holds a free bitcoin wallet in it. The next time he plugs it into any internet device, bang, he has 1000 BTC in his wallet. Say an artist posts an original song and it goes viral. Fans around the world tip her because they love the song. The higher her ranking, the more BTC tips she receives. Now say some advertiser grabs the song and uses it in their commercial for something (let’s say shoes). The terms of the license require only that the creator get credit (Maybe her QR code for her bitcoin wallet is on screen in the corner for a few seconds). More people hear the song in the ads and decide to download it and tip her (confession – I bought a Lady Gaga song because I heard it in a car commercial and liked it). There is the potential for a frictionless, direct relationship between artist and fans. And no strong arm copyright police. No centralized power in the hands of a few media companies. Maybe it turns out that copyright law is not needed because it is clear that this system both rewards creators and is an incentive to innovate. I.P. need not be a political issue. If a system like this took off, copyright law could become irrelevant. It’s a pro voluntary payment system. That’s the idea in a nutshell. Maybe it would fit somehow within liberty.me. It’s actually pretty close to what liberty.me is already doing. I invite your feedback and any interest in collaborating to make something like this a reality.

    Jump to Discussion Post 3 replies
  • I am a beekeeper, and I primarily sell my honey wholesale to stores.  For most of the stores, I deliver cases of honey with no price tags.  I let the store deal with that.   I have one store that insists on being a pain.  They have over 300 suppliers of local products on consignment, and everything is on a computer inventory system.  When I started selling there, I was required to put price tags on with a regular price tag gun, and to also put a 4 digit SKU code on the price tag.  The cashier just enters the 4 digit code into the cash register computer – the customer is charged the correct price, and it also adjusts the inventory and sales records.   The store has a brilliant marketing idea, and they have a great location in a huge shopping center. (50K people a day visit this shopping center.)  And they just opened up a 2nd store at another shopping center that just got built.  But the store has serious management problems.  They have hired too many people because they were friends, instead of hiring workers based upon competency.  As a result, the cashiers are incredibly slow.  I’ve seen them take 5 minutes to ring out customers when it should have taken less than a minute.  (I used to be an assistant manager of a gas station when I was 20, so I know how quickly you can clear a line of customers.)   The owner knows there are problems with checkout times.  They have been encouraging vendors to put bar code price tags on items to help speed up checkout times.  Starting 1/31/16, the bar codes will now be mandatory.   If they didn’t sell so much honey, I would tell them to go pound sand and not sell honey there anymore.  As it is, I made over $600 last month.  (Most of the stores I sell to, buy about $300 a month from me.)   My problem is that I am technologically impaired.  (I grew up without a tv or telephone.)  I still use a flip phone and don’t have a tv.  I don’t have an Ipad or laptop – my computer is a desktop, and desktop computers have served me well for 15 years.  I have the labels for my honey bottles custom printed.  The people at the store tried telling me some gibberish about how to print my own bar code labels, but they might as well have been talking Greek to me.   Does anyone have any experience printing bar code labels?  Or is anyone interested in some work printing some bar code labels for me?  I need 3 different bar codes for the 3 sizes of honey I sell at that store. (12 oz $7.00, 16 oz $9.00, and 32 oz $16.00.)   I would probably only be buying 1000-2000 labels a year. I am currently paying around 14 cents a label for glossy, color labels for my honey bottles.  I only need a basic black and white bar code label that I can stick on my bottles.   The store that sells my honey calls itself a small business incubator.  I considered asking management to ask other vendors if they were interested in printing labels for other vendors (like me) who are technologically impaired, and have absolutely no interest in printing my own labels.   But I thought I would ask you all first, and see if anyone here was interested in some work.  I don’t do bitcoin, but I do PayPal or can mail a check.

    Jump to Discussion Post 16 replies
  • Hi All, If you haven’t yet heard of the Life Liberty Advocate program, you might like to check this out: https://lifelibertyadvocates.com/ They have a program where you can earn part-time and full-time income promoting the principles of liberty. I’ve listened to many of their materials and it is some of the best liberty education materials I’ve heard. Anyway, if you are looking for a way to be able to afford to devote more of your time to the cause of liberty, this may be a great opportunity for you. Cheers! Pat

    Jump to Discussion Post 25 replies
  • In today’s world, is beekeeping an ideal libertarian occupation?   I am a beekeeper.  I have beehives located on other people’s farms, on a handshake agreement with the landowner.  Bees will fly 2 miles in every direction, gathering nectar from lands owned by other people.   Beekeeping (apiculture) is the oldest form of agriculture in the world.  Some of the oldest known laws deal with beekeeping.  Historically, beekeepers owned the hives, and the contents of the hives.  Free-flying individual bees were “God’s bees”, which prevented beekeepers from trespassing onto any of the 5000 acres in that 2 mile radius of the hive, if the beekeeper were pursuing their “escaped livestock”.  (Laws in some countries do permit a beekeeper to pursue a swarm of bees as long as the beekeeper has maintained eyesight of the swarm at all times since it left the hive.)   As a beekeeper, you are an entrepreneur.  The old-time bee books suggest that a beekeeper should consistently be able to get a 35% return on investment (ROI) annually.  It may vary from year to year, but you should be able to average 35% annually.  (Personally, I find 50% to be very achievable.  I have 75 hives, and around $30,000 in bees and equipment, and I have had almost $18,000 in honey sales so far this year.)  It is not uncommon for beekeepers to double their money in a year.   I helped a small commercial beekeeper in 2010 who ran 820 hives for honey production.  He had his best year ever, and we harvested 161,000 pounds of honey.  He sold every drop as cash sales, and accepted no checks.  (I personally witnessed one sale of $40,000 in cash.  It took the buyer a couple weeks for his bank to be able to get him that much cash.)  He sold the honey for $1.65-$2.00 a pound, depending on the quantity purchased. Myself and the beekeeper took care of the hives and pulled honey, and there were 2 other cash labor workers back at the workshop extracting the honey.   I live in Ohio.  In 1904, Ohio passed legislation giving state inspectors the right to inspect all beehives and equipment and all your facilities whenever they wanted.  This legislation was in response to a disease affecting honeybees called foulbrood which slowly killed hives and would spread to other hives.  At the time, the government’s solution was to burn the hive to prevent the spread of foulbrood.  By the 1940’s, there were antibiotics which cured the bees. (Sulfathiazole)  But the government program was already functioning, and it is hard to stop a government program once it has been started.  Residues of sulfathiazole were found in honey, and eventually the use of sulfathiazole was banned, but by that time a safer antibiotic Terramycin was already in use. (Terramycin is still a common livestock antibiotic, and can be purchased without a veterinary prescription.)   Eventually, beekeepers got tired of state inspectors burning their hives when the inspectors claimed to have found foulbrood.  (Inspectors were often beekeepers too, and it was not unknown for inspectors to burn out competitor beekeepers under the guise of controlling foulbrood.)  Some beekeepers ultimately filed a lawsuit against the state, and in 1986, the US Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit ruled that the mandatory inspections were a violation of the 4th Amendment protections of unwarranted searches.  (However, it did still allow inspectors to inspect beehives with the beekeeper’s permission.) http://www.leagle.com/decision/19871988808F2d1180_11791/ALLINDER%20v.%20STATE%20OF%20OHIO   While I am “supposed” to register the locations of my beehives with the state, it is very common for beekeepers not to register their hives.  But should I obey a law, if there is no enforcement of that law?   I personally filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the State of Ohio, in an effort to see how many violations of beekeeping laws there had been.  Since 1904 to date, the State of Ohio is unable to find records of a single prosecution for a violation of ANY beekeeping law.  However, in subsequent FOI requests, I was able to document thousands of instances of violations of law committed by bee inspectors who had failed to follow proper reporting requirements for inspections.   I suspect that most beekeepers who watch a few YouTube videos on bee diseases, may in fact be better educated than the state bee inspectors.   In 2013, I attended Apimondia, an international beekeeping conference, which was held in Ukraine that year.  Ukraine is a terribly corrupt country.  It still remains heavily socialist, and is not at all friendly to small businesses.  Despite such a hostile environment, Ukraine is the number 5 honey producing country in the world. 1.5% of the population are beekeepers.  (If you travel across the rural countryside, it is astonishing how many beehives you see.)   Why is beekeeping so successful in Ukraine?  It is because everyone can afford the cost of a beehive, and you can go from wild lands to harvesting a marketable product with zero opportunities for corrupt government regulators to force you to pay fees and bribes at every step of the way. (Which is how most business ventures in Ukraine are.)  Not only that, you can sell your honey as a street vendor for cash, depriving the government of the opportunity to tax your earnings.   I believe beekeeping is an ideal libertarian occupation or hobby.  You are an entrepreneur.  You get to harvest a crop gathered by bees on lands you do not have to pay to use, nor do you have to pay taxes on those lands.  The government has no way of knowing how many beehives you have, or where they are located, unless you choose to tell them.  You can sell your honey for cash, (I know beekeepers who sell $200,000+ a year in cash sales) and the government has no way of taxing you on your sales, unless you tell the government what your cash sales were.  It is virtually impossible for the government to enforce any beekeeping regulations even if they wanted to.   Legendary investor Jim Rogers tells people they should learn how to be a farmer.  Beekeeping is a form of farming.

    Jump to Discussion Post 44 replies
  • Hi everyone, My partners and I recently opened an online store with liberty-oriented Tees and stickers — www.WryGuys.com — and we’re now exploring our options for marketing and promotion. To date, we’ve started Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, we’ve done some SEO work, and we’ve also run a handful of banner ads on Antiwar.com and the Libertarian Reddit. (We’re donating a portion of the profits to AW.com and the Future of Freedom Foundation.) My partners and I are exceedingly busy with other responsibilities — i.e., full-time jobs, grad school, families, etc. — so this venture is simply a fun side business for which we have limited time. However, we’re intent on success, and we hope to build a venture that 1) consistently covers its monthly expenses, and 2) provides a source of reliable funding for AW.com and the FFF. The Internet’s awash in opinions about marketing methods and techniques, and we’re newcomers in a notoriously competitive market segment (i.e., Tees and stickers). We want to ensure we’re making wise use of our limited time, so we’re looking for a knowledgeable, liberty-minded marketer with experience appealing to libertarians, AnCaps, Constitutionalists, and Voluntaryists. For now, we’re simply looking for an initial, strategic consultation, but if we find the right person, it could certainly develop into something more. QUESTION: Do you know of someone who fits the bill? If so, please post below, or drop me a line at info AT wryguys.com. Thanks, Scott …

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