Economics of Being Married & Vacationing

I was talking with Ashley the other day about vacationing. It seemed that everyone around us has, or is, going on vacations all the time. Take for instance my brother Nick. That kid has been everywhere. Not only that, but he travels all the time! He just got back from a trip, with some of his good buddies, to Mexico. Before that, he went on a cruise to Mexico. I am not bad-mouthing it, I am just jealous. Anyways, as Ash and I were talking about vacationing we got stuck on the principle of how to spend money.

My argument was that we spend as little as possible on the hotel, and spend that money elsewhere. Meaning that we would find a comfortable place to put our bags, and depending on the location, spend the money on activities. I think that the fun of the vacation is going places. That is why you left the house in the first place! My ideal hotel would look something like this:

Love Shack

It is not the best looking thing, but you get to spend your money on more things.

Her argument was simple. It was, if you want to have a fun vacation, you better put me in a nice hotel with an awesome pool.

Now honestly her argument is perfectly valid. When you vacation, you are trying to relax. You worked hard, now it’s time to hang out by the pool and enjoy the sun. Her idea of a hotel would be something like this:

Keyword: Dream
Ash's Dream

So this got me thinking, how are Ash’s vacationing preferences, as well as my own, illustrated mathematically? Honestly, I have no idea what the answer is. I just want to jot some ideas down, and see what sort of feedback I can generate.

So to start, I will throw out some parameters that will be needed. They are:

  • Probability of Winning the Lotto [L]
  • Winnings From The Lotto [t]
  • Savings Rate [r]
  • Discount Rate [d]
  • Wages Earned [w(ICON Health & Fitness)]
  • Benefits (money to be spent on vacation) [b(r*w)]
  • Time Frame
    • I will assume for all time before the vacation there will be 40 periods x ϵ [0,40]
    • The vacation will comprise of 5 periods x ϵ [41,45]

And from there, I have can put together (a simple) mathmatical equation.

Ashley’s Present Value of What To Save For The Hotel of Her Dreams = {e^(-dx)*(1-r)*w(ICON)+(L*t)} + {e^(-dx)*b}

You would have to integrate the first part of the binomial from 0 to 40. Likewise integrate the second part from 41 to 45.

Now, you may be asking the question, what does the expected utility for myself look like? It looks like this:

Tyler’s Expected Utility To Save For The Hotel of My Dreams = I DONT CARE, I WANT TO GO ON VACATION!



Confessions From Altucher

I wanted to share an article (even though it is just a list) that I read not to long ago. It was written by James Altucher, a managing partner at the hedge fund Formula Capital. He made a list of some confessions he wanted to get of his chest. Honestly, I would never want to do business with this guy.

Read it, and tell me what you thought.

1) I hit one of my cars with the other car. I had a Chrysler Pacifica and a PT Cruiser. I was backing out the Pacifica and I hit the PT Cruiser. Then I was like, “oh shit,” so I wanted to put the Pacifica back in the garage and pretend I was never driving it and that’s when I hit the PT Cruiser again. Then I left the cars alone and went inside. They both were dented almost beyond repair. I pretended as if I had never driven either

2) When I was 17, I found the bank account that contained the money my parents were saving for my college. It had my name on it so every week I went to the bank and withdrew money. Then I went to movies, bought books, clothes, etc until the money ran out.

3) In November of 4th grade I was caught shoplifting in the Kay-Bee Toy & Hobby Shop in Brunswick Square Mall. But I had shoplifted many times before then and had never been caught. If I had not been caught in 4th grade and taught a strong lesson (my mom yelling, “this is going to be on your permanent record!”) I’d probably still be shoplifting. But when my parents asked me if there were other times before this time I said, “no”.

4) I joined a cult in 9th grade. Nobody in my family ever knew. I was done with it by 10th grade. They charged too much money. They guaranteed that I would never have to reincarnate again if I kept joining.

5) In order to have a GPA high enough to graduate college I had to beg a professor to give me a higher grade in a class. He raised me from a “D-“ to a “D+” so my GPA went from 2.99 to 3.0. I was graduating a year early to avoid paying for another year so needed this desperately. Else I would never have graduated college and never would’ve gone to graduate school (where I was thrown out during year two).

6) In a year I won’t specify but more than five years ago I had a surefire technique for breaking into just about anyone’s email. Anyone who was potentially a threat to my business at the time had their emails read by me. And if they were really disruptive to my business I would disrupt their emails enough that they never bothered me again.

7) I tried to steal someone’s girlfriend. We all worked together. She told me she would break up with him. Then she told me she did break up with him. But she didn’t. The outcome was unbearable misery that affected four lives, three that were already born.

8 ) I had a car accident when I was 18 years old. I ran a redlight and almost killed someone. In the court case the lawyer encouraged me to lie and say the brakes didn’t work. So I did.

9) When I was at HBO I was helping to decide which companies would do which websites within the company. I had started a company on the side that was making websites for entertainment companies. I hired my own company in almost every instance.

10) One time, a very long time ago, I was angry enough that the police had to hold me down and then walk me to a motel that they made sure I checked into.

Things are different now. Every day now, when I wake up, I say my motto, “I’m going to save a life today”. Sometimes you can’t always make up for the past.  But its not about what bad things I did yesterday. Or what good things I’m going to do tomorrow. Its about taking a deep breath, enjoying the people who love you right now, and realizing that all of this can evaporate in a second.


Crazy, right?

Word Of The Day

The word of the day is ephemeral (e·phem·er·al/əˈfem(ə)rəl/).

Adjective: Lasting for a very short time: “fashions are ephemeral”.

Now you know!

Depressing Fact

I found this in a article about desired employers for college graduates.

As quoted from the Wall Street Journal:

“While the top 10 on the list featured several high-tech companies, few young professionals likely have the skills to win jobs at such employers. According to the Education Department, the top majors for the class of 2008 were business, health sciences and social sciences and history. About nine times as many people majored in business in the class of 2008 as majored in computer science.”

Utah Entrepreneur Conference

I spent my Saturday down at the University of Utah. The business students held a very informative conference aimed at student entrepreneurs. At the conference, there were three breakout sessions, each separated by networking sessions, and a keynote speaker.

I really liked the keynote, a gentleman that co-founded Avalanche Games, and his perspective on business. He started up the company with three other friends with really no goals in mind. His company eventually grew at was bought by Disney. He really was fun to listen to.

Update on Opportunity Quest

Just wanted to update my family, and whoever accidentally fell onto this site, that the Opportunity Quest orientation on Tuesday.

The orientation will be a good time to bring any questions that you might have. It is also a great place to network with the New Venture Consulting Group. They will be mentors for all of the participants and, after the ideas are submitted, judges for the competition.

After the orientation all are encouraged to register for both, Opportunity Quest and the Student Entrepreneur Conference. To register for Opportunity Quest, please visit the Entrepreneur Club’s website. Registration for the Student Entrepreneur Conference will be handled through the University of Utah’s website.

What Else Should I Be Doing?

It feels like I have tried everything. I have made posters, shirts, slides, adds, events, but I am still not getting participation. I have to make this a success, but how? How do you go and try to make hard-work look fun? A cash prize? Check. Free t-shirt? Check.

The thing that I am coming to learn is that, this might be a growing thing. That despite my efforts, this event has to be built over time. That year by year, this brand must be built. It just requires nurturing, patience, a little water, and sunlight.

If you are a student at Utah State, come check this out. I guarantee that our judges, the New Venture Consulting Group, will make you a winner. They will take that passion and get you the money you need to start your business up. Why wait?

More on Opportunity Quest

I have been trying to find effective ways to market Opportunity Quest. So far I (with a lot of help from my wife and Bergendi Hatch) have been working on a poster. It has really come a long way. The final version looks like this

Opportunity Quest poster with fist in middle.

This is going to get put all over campus. I am really excited for this thing to get under way. It is going to be a great tradition to look forward to every year. I really like that the competition is open to all students of Utah State.

In addition, all of the finalist will move onto the main competition at the University of Utah. If you are interested in participating let me know. This could be the beginning that your idea needs to be the next multi-billion dollar business.

Opportunity Quest

Earlier this semester I was given the privilege to be apart of the Entrepreneur Club. I was given the responsibility to organize a competition for USU called Opportunity Quest. When I first heard about it I was stoked. I thought, that organizing a competition was going to be easy. I basically got the final say on everything; the marketing, planning out the dates, and helping with the judging. It also seemed that this would look great on a resume. The shock is that organizing this is hard. I mean really hard.

To date I have had to meet with multiple people several times. I have designed a poster numerous times to ensure that when it prints it will look awesome. Dates have been scheduled, re-scheduled, then scheduled again. To say the least, it has been a whole lot of work to get just here.

Where is here you might ask? Currently, I have a poster designed that I will place across campus. I designed a t-shirt that will be a freebie later on. I designed a TV slide that will be displayed in key areas. In cooperation with others, I planned dates for events such as: orientation, registration, executive summary submission deadline, presentations for finalist, and a dinner for the finalist.

I still need to market a seminar that is in the middle of all of this. This is quite the task, but I have never regretted the responsibility. I truly believe that Opportunity Quest can foster a healthy entrepreneurial spirit. If you would like additional information concerning Opportunity Quest feel free to contact me.

Getting Ready To Graduate

I have been thinking, ‘what can I be doing to get ready to graduate.’ So far, this has only provided me extra anxiety, and a bad case of ‘the runs.’

In all honesty, there is plenty that I can be doing. The first step that I have been looking at is, how long do I have left? I have been trying to give myself a good timeline detailing the classes that I need and what can I be doing with the rest of my time.

Speaking of open time, I have been researching internships. When I first starting thinking them, it was confusing how to really maximize the experience. For instance, it is hard to get a sense of responsibility and leadership when you have none. It really is quite silly. Well as I have learned, the responsibility is completely on you. You really have to make the most of your time by shadowing every action that you see take place. A professor of mine was instructing us to ‘really put yourself out there.’ Meaning, you have to be the one to ask.

Another opportunity that I have tried to make the most of is networking. As of right now, I am participating within three clubs, at Utah State. This is really a three-fold initiative. First, it is a great place to learn of additional fundamental theories of business, theories such as Lean management. Secondly, within these clubs are some of the best students here at Utah State. I am in the middle rubbing shoulders with them. My fellow peers provide deep insight to current topics of study. Also, it is a great way to get a boost into the workplace. Third, participating in clubs provides great opportunities in leadership roles. Currently, I am helping the Entrepreneur Club in planning Opportunity Quest.

In total there is so much more that I can/should be doing. The possibilities are endless.