Posts Tagged ‘education’

Beating the system, NYC style

June 26th, 2009
Location I used for pictures.

Location I used for pictures.

Conventional wisdom states that not having a college education is the end of one’s earning potential. To test the validity of this paradigm, I used a digital camera, a portable printer, a portable battery, and a power inverter to take pictures of people and print photos on location. I was a walking print shop, charging $5 per photo. The results were beyond my expectations.

Days before, I scoped out a spot I thought was perfect: The Raging Bull in New York’s Bowling Green Park. It turned out to be a terrible location. I only sold one print. After 45 minutes of trying, I gave up, packed my bags, and went to Times Square.

When I arrived, something miraculous happened. My sales skyrocketed 950%. Within 40 minutes, I managed to sell 10 prints worth $50 before my battery died. How much is that in terms of one year’s salary, assuming 40 hour work weeks? $150,000. According to, this is on par with the average salary that a doctor of internal medicine makes.

It is hard to extrapolate how much I can make in an average days work, as different hours of the day and different days of the week can affect business. It would be better if I averaged the earnings over several weeks. Some things to note:

  • I had a slow printer that took over a minute to print a picture.
  • The printer broke down once, costing me five minutes to fix. By the time it was fixed, a potential customer had left.
  • This was my first time. A seasoned professional on the streets would identify potential customers much faster.
  • I only had a hat with paper taped on that stated my intentions. A bigger advertisement would be more effective.
  • Times Square may not be the best location to shoot
  • I was not dressed too professionally

Although there is not sufficient evidence to warrant a firm conclusion, I imagine that with faster equipment, more experience, and a better location that I can be making much more. This simple test suggests that some aphorisms may not be true; it is definitely possible to beat the norm. Innovation and timing – two things that aren’t taught in school – are more important to financial success than going through an educational system that may even be hazardous to the mental health. We need to reform our paradigms and ken of education.


Free education

May 11th, 2009

Batter Blaster teamLast Saturday, while walking the streets, I passed by the construction of a massive tent.  Turns out, a California based company named Batter Blaster was trying to break the Guiness Book of World Records by creating the most amount of pancakes in an eight hour period.  One day later, I was paid to lead three teams to help break this world record.  We were able to shatter record by creating roughly 80,000 pancakes.  I don’t think I want to eat or flip another pancake for months.

It’s events like the this one that make this trip not only fun, but also educational.  I’m starting to learn about human interactions in the social sphere.  And so, I’ve been practicing my social engineering, not in the negative notion of using people for an end goal, but in the positive notion that building rapport is important in forming relationships.

The large majority of my trip from paid museums, excursions, and tours to riding horses, boating, and music CD’s has been free.  All of these were started with a mere introduction to a perfect stranger.  Goodness begets goodness, and if others see that you are genuine in your attitude, they will open up and trust you.  Dale Carnegie, an awesome public speaker and coruscating personality from generations before said this:

There is only one way… to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it.

It’s a shame that some of life’s most important lessons are not taught in school; it’s a code of the streets.