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I see money as a measure of value.

The exchange of butter for chickens, and determining what exchange rate would be satisfactory for both parties, quite often does not take into account the effort, or cost, of producing the goods. Say it costs the butter producer 5 years of raising a cow, including the cost of grain and water, and also the processing costs, in the total cost of producing butter. Say it costs 6 months of very little grain and water to raise a chicken. Should the exchange rate reflect the "costs incurred" for production?

A market determines the value of these goods, as defined by the demand. That market value is explicitly defined by monetary value. In this view, money is simply a digital representation of the value of goods and services, allowing consumers and producers to more easily draw comparisons.

In many societies, a job in social services is valued much lower than say a job in IT. The effort involved might be identical, but the market determines the value of the occupation.

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Give it an appropriate prioritization in your life. e.g. "This is more important than X". And have in your mind the REASON why it is more important than X. The secret, that I have read, to success at difficult things is knowing your "why" - Why is this thing more important than X? What does success look like, and how does that compare to X?

Your "why" is what makes you get out of bed in the morning, makes you confront that issue you can't resolve, and to resolve it. If your "why" isn't strong enough, you will likely fail.

I read a quote a very long time ago that simply said "Imagine if man learned how to use all of that energy, that determination, all his resources that he uses for chasing women ... for something else more important?"

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read 148 days ago | link

Thank you, knowing why something is more important than something else is a good point.

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I was hoping he would post references as well. I think there are no literal "management design patterns", he just means there are "design patterns for management" in the form of "management best practices". So you would need to dig into each relevant area of management and read the materials on best practices; dealing with staff, customers, partners, boards, ...

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rrhyne 153 days ago | link

There are so many business books, there has to be something out there!

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scheff 153 days ago | link

A starting point. HN'd today.

http://firstround.com/article/Fight-Like-Youre-Right-Listen-...

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My small amount of research discovered that you can live in a serviced hotel room for between 15,000 and 30,000 THB per month, which is $500 - $1000 USD. This was in Chiang Mai. I explored a couple of different hotels.

You can get serious discounts for booking a room for 3, 6 months. Combine that with eating out for every meal (instead of grocery shopping and cooking for yourself) and it's an incredibly cheap option. Meals are as cheap as $1 each.

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Any suggestions on how to avoid the 'tourist tax'?

Are there westerners set up over there to help other westerners find cheap rentals, etc?

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jamornh 187 days ago | link

The "tourist tax" is quite difficult to circumvent. The best way is to make close local friends and get them to do all your ordering or negotiations for you. Normally food and drink prices are clearly written and are not over-priced unless you're at a tourist destination. Taxis are meant to always take meter so you should never take cabs unless they go by the meter. Some tourist-congested places are notorious for this (i.e. Platinum Shopping Center and Chatuchak Weekend Market), but it's quite easy to walk a little further from the main location and grab a meter cab. (At these places they also try to over charge locals, so it's not really just tourists :P)

Now, there will be instances where even local friends can't help. Such as entrance fees etc, if you look obviously foreign, you're going to be hit with a tax no matter what, but these places are usually tourist attractions and you're expecting to pay those anyways.

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homakov 187 days ago | link

Also get driver license

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Great write up! I'm thinking of doing the exact same thing. A couple of questions -

Why the limitation to being able to only do 6 months? Do they stop renewing your visa after that?

Have you looked at other neighbouring countries like Laos, Burma and Cambodia for a similar arrangement?

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Radim 187 days ago | link

It's probably because the OP had a double entry tourist visa.

You can renew easily -- or at least could, a few years ago. I lived in Thailand for two years, entirely on tourist visas.

Let me just add there's a marked difference between how OP describes his Thailand experience, and living outside of start-up/expat communities.

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scheff 187 days ago | link

care to elaborate?

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Radim 187 days ago | link

Why not. There's plenty of more detailed info out there, and I don't claim to be any sort of expert after mere two years, but here's two stereotypical extremes:

Tourist-eyes: beautiful beaches; nice weather; safe; cheap food; laid back, friendly smiling people -- PARADISE!

Live-and-work-there-eyes: rampant bigotry and racism (common to most SE Asia); dishonesty ("losing face" and all, again shared across SEA and not specific to Thailand); nothing ever gets done (the famous wait-for-crisis management aka the reverse side of the laid back culture); encouragement of keeping in line and professional mediocrity; (lack of) quality healthcare; dirt; systemic corruption and mafia; massive drinking in connection with ubiquitous handguns; relationships aka love the farang cash machine; farangs always 2nd class citizens no matter what (land ownership &c) -- BUSINESS OWNER'S HELL!

Now that's just to juxtapose two extremes, neither is "the truth".

When it comes to running a business, beware of that viewpoint #2. Freelancers who just hang out with other freelancers on the beach for a few months don't need to care, of course :) For serious business, Malaysia is much more organized and welcoming.

Hopefully I don't get downvoted for this paradise-shattering post -- I still have many Thai friends and I love the country despite all its problems.

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pieterhg 187 days ago | link

You're absolutely right on most of those points. With regards to the racism: I did experience it when I entered night clubs, and it felt weird I had to pay an entrance fee and the Thais did not. But on the other hand, I know foreigners (esp. Westerners, like me) simply cause a lot of trouble in night clubs and obviously hitting on their women. In a weird way, you pay that off with an entrance fee.

In my limited experience, much of the racism I saw Westerners deal with, was most of the times them behaving in a stereotypical Western way (loud, obscene and rude). I don't have a problem with that, but Thai do.

I've come very far by just being over-polite and friendly to everyone I met. Bowing a lot, smiling and always staying calm in conflict situations (e.g. outside at 4am with drunk people).

With regards to dating, I mostly dated hi-so girls, which in the end paid more for my drinks, than I did for theirs ;)

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Radim 187 days ago | link

Actually, I meant racism toward dark-skinned people (Thais or otherwise), not so much toward Westerns.

To wit, skin whitening is a monstrous business in Thailand.

I'll never forget the forest of umbrellas on really hot days, or people walking in long sleeves, just to fend off the sun and "stay white" :)

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scheff 187 days ago | link

I've spoken with a few of westerner businessmen in Thailand now, and they re-iterate much the same sentiments.

My view has become "go there as a tourist who happens to spend several months on business" as opposed to "go there with a view to doing business with the locals".

Likewise I have met some lovely Thai people. They are very caring and welcoming.

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pieterhg 187 days ago | link

Thanks!

The most I could get from the Thai embassy in Amsterdam was a double-entry visa. If I wanted a triple-entry visa (giving me 3x90 days or 9 months), they required me to have booked all my flights in and out of the country beforehand. That was a bit too much planning for me.

I believe there's education visas if you study Thai at a school for a year, but that seems like too much of a distraction while starting up a business.

Yes, I'm actually trying Phnom Penh in Cambodia in 2014. Cheaper, although internet connectivity might not be up-to-par and it's a lot less safe from what I've heard.

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maccman 187 days ago | link

Or Saigon - had a great time there.

http://blog.alexmaccaw.com/traveling-writing-and-programming

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homakov 187 days ago | link

Vietnam and cambodia are just shit compared to thai.

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pieterhg 187 days ago | link

I'm actually in Saigon right now! Do you have any recommendations for spaces to work? I am trying SaigonHUB on Monday.

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maccman 187 days ago | link

Hmm, I was usually working out of my hotel room or cafe's along Phạm Ngũ Lão street.

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maccman 187 days ago | link

You should try Siem Reap - much nicer, and seems almost european.

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notahacker 187 days ago | link

Or if you want somewhere relaxed Battambang has most of the benefits of Siem Reap (even day trips to Khmer ruins!) but without the tourist circus.

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studentrob 179 days ago | link

Not particularly unsafe, I live in PP. Lived in NYC previously and I liken it to that, just different things to watch out for. Mobile internet is good (Cellcard is the best), I think I've gotten up to 300KB/sec, though there is some lag connecting to, say, my Linode in NJ.. maybe a 1 second delay in the terminal. Anyway it's currently $1.50 for 7 days or 1 GB, whichever comes first, and I can reload if I finish early. I go to a coworking space (CoLab) for faster internet, all-day A/C, and a good quiet working atmosphere. I consider that membership part of my rent, though rent is cheap here anyway. Have a two bedroom, two bath, estimating 2,000 sq ft + a covered roof terrace, for $300 / month. And it doesn't get cold here =)

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janameri 187 days ago | link

In Phnom Penh you will get a decent 5Mb mobile connection reasonably cheap, but fixed 'broadband' prices are expensive, like $30/month for 256kb!!

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agilebyte 187 days ago | link

Presumably also because working somewhere for more than 6 months usually means you are tax resident and the visa is a tourist and not a work visa?

Not that it is probably enforced in Thailand.

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pieterhg 187 days ago | link

Yes, the law is not ready for this set-up yet. But as you mention, unless you cause trouble, it's not really in the Thai's interest to enforce that you might officially be breaking the law by working (even if it's for yourself).

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I'm currently creating a touchscreen voting application in HTML for low vision and blind users. AMA.

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Why are we still writing in mark down? Fair enough, as a techie, it's just assumed you will learn another "language" and be productive. But a creative writer shouldn't have to think "how many #'s do I need to press? what's the shortcode for italics?" They just want to be free to create. But they also want to see their masterpiece coming to life in all it's glory.

We've mastered the "Word editor" and it gives immediate feedback without reaching for a reference manual, why would we (inclusive: all writers) take a step backwards?

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debacle 213 days ago | link

> what's the shortcode for italics?

If you really have qualms about remembering * ... *, I think you probably have more problems on your hands than not being free to create.

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mfn 214 days ago | link

One benefit is that it's portable: your text will be rendered properly with the correct formatting anywhere markdown is supported (github, forum comments, blog post, etc). It essentially frees you from having to worry about layout and visual styling, which shouldn't interfere with the writing process.

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rat87 214 days ago | link

There's no markdown standard (although I think some implementers were talking about it) beyond the original implementation, some implementations may not even support that I believe hacker news supports a subset. It is portable in the sense that you get(probably browser portable) simple html after running it through a probably open source markdown implementation as opposed to complex word formatting formats like odf or docx.

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scheff 217 days ago | link | parent | on: Startup Common Sense

I found your post insightful and beneficial. Experienced much of it myself. Also, I've had similar arguments with other wannabe entrepreneurs at the start of their path. Hopefully the HN community can benefit from your experiences.

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I would be willing to consider the International Space Station an equivalent of the Moon colonies, as it serves much the same purpose; research and training, but is more convenient.

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ekianjo 233 days ago | link

It's way easier to build a space station than a Moon Colony. The technical achievement is very different in magnitude.

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mirkules 233 days ago | link

Fun fact: the ISS would be technically impossible to build on Earth because it would collapse due to its own weight. No gravity makes creating structures much easier both to move and to support.

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