Quitting your old job seems like a very sane thing to have done. Your position now is unrelated to your position before. By that I mean quitting your job was one event, and what you did afterwards was another. If the current situation isn't working out for you, it's not because you left the previous (horrible) situation, it's that you've unfortunately found yourself in another horrible situation.
In other words, deciding to quit your old job was probably a good idea. If going freelance isn't a good idea for you it doesn't invalidate the idea of quitting your job. It just means you have to come up with a new idea.
I feel for you though man, freelancing was tough. Especially if you made as many mistakes in it as I did. From what you say however, I wouldn't have stayed very long at your old company.
I agree that some sort of cushion/runway is very important. But why do you suggest 12 months? Is the idea that you can spend 6-8 months making no money chasing around contracts and then you've got 6-4 months to find a job?
Although you might start making money soon it can take more than one year to be able to consistently go above the $3k per month. Also, in the beginning you might need to put some money in the business like buying new computers, new cellphone, costs of creating a company...
Last but not least you should have an emergency fund for unexpected events and to able to find a job again if in need.
Of course this is not science, but I think most entrepreneurs (including me) are overoptimistic about the time it takes to reach certain goals.
> surely a harder working software engineer will make more money than a lazy one
"Whenever there is a hard job to be done I assign it to a lazy man; he is sure to find an easy way of doing it"
I always thought that it was the lazy programmers and engineers who got more done because they always sought out the quickest/easiest ways to complete a task. Ergo it's the lazy ones who are the most productive and therefore valuable?
(Or have I just been beguiled by an old wife's tale?)
As a colleague said "Wow, you can type really fast... for someone who only uses two fingers".
Now he's exaggerating a bit, but I am a slow typer that predominately uses index, middle and thumb. Now, I get stuff done, I'm a pretty smart coder but typing speed, to me, feels like a huge bottleneck. By far the most important area I need to improve on.
When I was in high school I took a year long typing class. It was difficult for me because being a computer nerd my whole life I had picked up a strange-but-fast form of two finger typing.
My typing teacher used these little cardboard cutouts that stood above the keyboard so you couldn't see the keys. These kept you honest. After that we just used some ancient DOS typing software that started you out typing strings of random letters composed of the homerow. As time went on it started introducing keys from the other two rows as well as numbers.
It was frustrating at first because of how slow I became at something I was normally fast at. However, in the long run my speed more than doubled once I learned how to touch type properly.
If you want to forcibly learn to touch-type, learning Dvorak is a very potent solution. The reason why you don't touch-type on QWERTY is generally that, frankly, there isn't a very compelling reason to. QWERTY doesn't reward you for it. You keep your fingers on the home row, and you get, what, the J? The K? F? The semi-colon? WTF? Why would you touch type? I'm not actually sure failing to touch type with QWERTY is actually a problem. It may actually be the most rational reaction.
Or you can switch to a sensible keyboard layout, of which Dvorak is the easiest to get support for (though not the only, and, abstractly, not necessarily the best, but mostly good enough). Now you get AOEU under your left hand and HTNS under your right, and guess what, you don't have to try to keep your fingers on the home row, because they're just there anyhow. It's difficult to imagine what a "non-touch-typing Dvorak user" would even be, at least once you've really internalized it.
Given how painful learning to QWERTY touch type can be, it's probably easier just to switch to Dvorak, learn the layout, then just naturally learn touch typing in the next couple of months without "trying". The total effort might be lower, even if the switch isn't free.
(This is all assuming we just take as a given that touch typing is desirable. I'm not sure about that, but I also think we lack the data to be sure either way, especially when it comes to long term effects.)
Colemak is another good alternative to Qwerty layout. It's still not as popular as Dvorak (Colemak support was not present in OSX until Lion), but it seems to be beating both Qwerty and Dvorak layouts when it comes to speed and learning curve.
I tried two quick examples in the browser for a little test. Thinking in terms on banal clipart I use the tag "happy" and I get back a very nicely shot photo of two attractive people making out in a doorway. Hmmm. Then I try "friends" thinking I'll get something a little more office appropriate and I get a nicely cropped image of two young ladies in bikinis frolicking on a beach.
Nothing R rated or tasteless, just not the kind of thing I want to explain to my boss who's looking over my shoulder. Think I'll be sticking with http://placekitten.com/ then...
Interesting... playing around with similar tags and some offsets, I got those results as well as some irrelevant images (aurora borealis for "friend"). Definitely a concern when you need the placeholders to be at least somewhat relevant.
Personally, I have no problem with using http://placehold.it/
pre-IPO, means a company that is not publicly traded on the open markets.
securitize (i assume) means to make their stock, or some portion of facebook liquid enough for buy/sell on a market. If there aren't people out there willing to buy or sell facebook that last part won't work.
Shorting something (in financial terms) is to bet against the product. For example, in normal publically traded stocks, you could pay someone to borrow their stocks of a company, sell the stocks off, wait a period of time (duration dependent on deal with original owner), expecting the stocks to loose value, then you rebuy the stocks, hopefully at a lower value. You make the difference between what the stocks started at, and what the ended at, minus the fee for borrowing the stocks.
Shorting stocks is tricky, really only works well over short timelines, and has unlimited downside (unlimited loss potential). For example, if you attempted to short google stock, and then the stock went to some astronomical value, you have to shell out the money to re-buy those google stock to give back to the original owner.
In Michael Lewis's _The Big Short_, some of the people buying CDSs (unregulated "insurance") on mortgage backed securities that they didn't own did the trades with brokers that had never done it before, but figured it out.
All it takes is a willing accomplice with the right connections.
Both responses you got were more or less correct, sorry for the jargon. I'm a programmer by trade and passion so I figured most would suss it out, I'll have to watch how much time I spend around people that work in finance in future.
Some minor details:
I want to bet that Facebook is worth way less than people think it is, as in the other responses.
The idea I had in mind doesn't require any liquid ownership in Facebook, but rather that people would bet against me. (Derivative/future, not equity)