$14 into $1,000 in one year
April 29, 2004 1:08 PM   Subscribe

I'm not a fan of followup posts, but this is cool enough to mention. Remember the challenging question of how to turn $14 into $1,000? BirdD0g has taken that noodle-scratcher of a problem and turned it into his personal challenge, and he's taking everyone along for the ride at 14bucks.com. He's got until April 15, 2005 to turn it over into a grand, which sounds like plenty of time, but that's a lot of profit to turn over (7000% return on investment). Who wants to take my $14 bet it doesn't happen?
posted by mathowie (38 comments total)
All depends, what odds are you giving? *grin*

Actually, it's quite doable considering the original question didn't limit the amount work you could put into it.
step 1) put away $14
step 2) find job
step 3) work job until you have $1 000.

Still, a pretty cool challenge, Be sure to post an update on april 15th 2005.

Nice site design btw.
posted by fvw at 1:15 PM on April 29, 2004

So how much did that domain and hosting cost him?
posted by bondcliff at 1:17 PM on April 29, 2004

This is a great premise for a movie. Let's hope Birddog sells it to some producer, it gets made, and somebody posts about it here for an inside the meta-park homerun.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:19 PM on April 29, 2004

It's kinda silly. I mean, he's already selling something. The point is to only use the $14. He's totally not doing it right.
posted by abcde at 1:27 PM on April 29, 2004

"...he's already selling something."

If he bought it (or a portion of it, apparently) with the $14, then what's the beef? Buying and selling is about the only method he's got, since he's apparently not going to gamble.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:36 PM on April 29, 2004

from the ebay auction:

Why am I selling this precious gem?
This auction is the first step in the 14bucks.com project which originated on ask.metafilter.com. (I can't link to ask.metafilter.com because of the dirty words on the site but there's a direct link from the 14bucks site.)

posted by rhapsodie at 1:38 PM on April 29, 2004

So how much did that domain and hosting cost him?

I created the website for one purpose only – to keep people posted about the progress of the challenge. It's not part of the challenge itself, nor is any money brought in by the website added to the assets.

In the initial Metatalk thread, dobbs made me an extremely generous offer. I accepted without spending a dime. The subsequent creation of the website – while it may help dobbs earn a little more for his album – does nothing to build on the $14. I was guaranteed $20-$30 before the creation of the website.
posted by BirdD0g at 1:40 PM on April 29, 2004

It's kinda silly. I mean, he's already selling something. The point is to only use the $14. He's totally not doing it right.

He bought it from me for the $14... sort of. He gave me the initial 14 bucks and I agreed to eBay the record and pay him everything it sells for up to $30. So, essentially, he's going to make $16 on his $14 dollar investment. What do I get out of it? He said he'd do his best to promote the auction. I'm hoping that nets me $16 more than it would have without his involvement plus I get to help on a project I think is neat.


In the initial ask.me thread, ac used foul language. If I link to it and someone complains, eBay ends the auction.

on preview...
posted by dobbs at 1:41 PM on April 29, 2004

I understand, BirdD0g, and I realize your original $14.00 is probably kept in a seprate bucket from the rest of your money, but it would seem to me if you spent more than $13.99 on the site then it sort of defeats the purpose of the whole thing. Since you're soliciting ideas from the site, the site is part of your investment.

This is a pretty neat concept, as I think I mentioned on the AskMe thread, I just think you already screwed it up.
posted by bondcliff at 1:48 PM on April 29, 2004

$14 to $1000 in that time frame is certainly doable. I play online poker, started at penny stakes, and turned $30 into approximately $6,000 in less than a year.

Accomplishing that goal without selling your soul on the other hand, that's a noodle scratcher.
posted by mosch at 2:00 PM on April 29, 2004

I don't think the hosting is part of it, he's just using it to document his progress (did anyone tell SaveKaryn that she'd get $20/month closer to paying off her $20k in credit card bills if she took the site down?).

I think it's a great challenge, something I wish my high school economics teacher used as a lesson, but that's a ton of ROI in a year, so I'll be surprised if he gets all the way there.
posted by mathowie at 2:00 PM on April 29, 2004

1. Set up stupid challenge site
2. Add Google ads and Paypal donation
3. Site gets passed around the blogosphere
4. Profit!!!

Bet if you get Google ads or offer advertising on your site, already with metafilter's mention, you'd make more than 1,000 within a year. Wouldn't have to do anything but promote the project and wait a year.
posted by banished at 2:01 PM on April 29, 2004

It would be more interesting given a higher dollar amount ($100-$1000) and seeing how much could be made on an investment that is replicable. Any money made off the sheer publicity does not count as replicable. Otherwise you have one of those "I just blew $1000, give me a $1" type sites.

The only thing I could think of was to buy large quantities of something people wouldn't normally buy large quantities of (spend $500 on used legos, $100 on supplies to clean them up, sell them for 75% profit). Pretty soon you would have enough money to make larger returns on an investment, say taking a junk $3000 car, cleaning it up and selling it for $4000. Then eventually buying and selling real estate. Of course then the experiment turns more into a small business and less of a job

Turning $14,000 into $1,000,000 -- now that's something.
posted by geoff. at 2:02 PM on April 29, 2004

Also... "On April 11th, 2004, my girlfriend and I found a total of $14 inside a bunch of little plastic Easter eggs." Do elaborate. Did you steal these eggs from little kids? Get them from your grandma? And why are you taking the 14 bucks without sharing half with your girlfriend if she helped you find the money? Will your girlfriend get $500 once you reach your goal?
posted by banished at 2:09 PM on April 29, 2004

From the site:

Do you think you have a great way for me to invest my assets and turn around a quick profit? Let me know about it by e-mailing me

Sorry to nitpick but he's using the site to help his progress, not just to document it. What if someone sees the site and emails him with a Really Great Idea that helps him get his $1000.00?

Now, if he did invest his original $14.00 into the site (assuming he found dirt cheap hosting) and used the site specifically to help his progress then I think he'd have a better chance.

He should probably just tell me he got the domain and hosting for free and to shut the hell up.
posted by bondcliff at 2:10 PM on April 29, 2004

At first I thought this was pretty trivial. You need to do a little better than doubling the amount of money each two months. The only challenge is getting up to that first $100. From there, between a combination of FatWallet and eBay, the other $900 in a year is easy.

So the challenge is getting that first $100. Here's my plan:

1. Banking deals. ING Direct will give you $50 for opening a savings account with a $1 deposit. That turns $14 into $64.

2. Free after rebate deals flipped on to eBay. Doing this as early as possible is key, since you have to wait for the rebates. It should be pretty easy to turn that $64 into $100 in the first round. Now you're two months in.

3. Watch FatWallet for good deals to flip onto eBay. If you've got $100, there are plenty of great deals on electronics that can be flipped on to eBay for a 50% profit. One round of these a month, and 50% profit/month will get you over the $1000 mark in 6-7 months.

A lot of you are probably pretty skeptical of my numbers and optimism, but it really is that easy once you get in the swing of things.

The question you're probably asking now is why I don't just do it 100 times over and make $100k/year. It's because it doesn't scale at all. Rebates have limits, stores have limits on their loss leaders, etc. Making $1000 from $14 is a lot easier than making $100000 from $1400.

I would think it was cheating, but if you could get a credit card involved, then this could be done in a month.
posted by AaRdVarK at 2:11 PM on April 29, 2004

And the album is already at $31.00. I think this should be fun to watch.
posted by Salmonberry at 2:11 PM on April 29, 2004

We could have a sweepstake on how much he eventually makes in dollars; a dollar per guess, winner takes all!
posted by carter at 2:14 PM on April 29, 2004

What about income tax?
posted by profwhat at 2:15 PM on April 29, 2004

Since you're soliciting ideas from the site, the site is part of your investment.

I definitely see your point, bondcliff, and I've debated this with more than a few people. It all depends on how you look at it. I mean, I began by soliciting ideas from the internet which I couldn't have done without a computer and internet service fees.

This is the way I feel the challenge will be the most enjoyable to all involved, so this is how I've decided to do it. Sorry if you think it's already too tainted to enjoy. Like I said, any money earned directly through the website will not be contributed to the challenge assets. I think that keeps the whole thing pretty clean.

On preview...

My girlfriend's family had an Easter egg hunt. Everyone who participated in the hunt was over the age of 18, so there was no stealing from children. I found $12 and my girlfriend found $2, so we're in this thing together (your contribution is appreciated, Katie Bear. xx)
posted by BirdD0g at 2:27 PM on April 29, 2004

Matt, I'll take your bet.
posted by dobbs at 2:37 PM on April 29, 2004

MetaFilter: He's totally not doing it right.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:47 PM on April 29, 2004

I have been doing something similar for years, though with a bit of a twist.

I regularly take what should be more than adequate amounts of money and reduce it to absolutely nothing within very tight time constraints.
posted by canucklehead at 3:07 PM on April 29, 2004

If this works, I'm moving back to the States.
posted by zaelic at 3:46 PM on April 29, 2004

BirdDog, I think you should also keep a log of roughly how many hours you put into this project, so we can see what sort of hourly wage you balance out to. It'll be interested no matter what happens, but if it comes to pass that you would have made twice as much selling burgers, I'd want to know that.
posted by whoshotwho at 3:49 PM on April 29, 2004

It's a cool idea and the site will be a good way to document it, but I think I'm definitely on the side that the site costs factor into the total. In the rules, can you go negative and then positive? Seems like if you could do that, you're really not starting with $14.

If you're using the site to document what you did, it shouldn't include a link to a current auction. Rather, you should post after you sold the record so that you don't get the benefit of the site advertising.
posted by jonah at 4:01 PM on April 29, 2004

I'm not going to say that the pittance it costs to register and host the domain takes anything away from the challenge. Birddog, you could just call it a loan to yourself that you'll pay off--your new goal is $1000+domain+hosting.

BUT, I agree that the site is something of a cheat, since it's gonna get publicity, and that's gonna get you $1000 really quick as one of these weird internet charity projects. But that's not really very interesting -- I'd rather see you make $1000 from $14 in near-total obscurity and then write it up afterwards.
posted by Hildago at 4:18 PM on April 29, 2004

You should sell water at freeway offramps during rush hour.
posted by ph00dz at 6:19 PM on April 29, 2004

Basically BirdD0g, they want you to give away all your posessions, your house, your car - no telephone, no transport, no nuthin': just you, the shirt on your back and 14 bucks.

Otherwise, man, it's a rip.

posted by Blue Stone at 6:58 PM on April 29, 2004

This is very doable. Even though %7000 sounds like a lot, when it is small change it is not so hard because the marketplace potentials are so large and the overhead so small. Turning %7000 on a million dollars would be nearly impossible. Turning %7000 on a 5 cents is much easier. That is the diffrence, scale. Cool idea, cool website, hopefully it turns into somthing much larger than just the $1000!
posted by stbalbach at 11:53 PM on April 29, 2004

For all you heathens, this is an old idea.
posted by beagle at 6:07 AM on April 30, 2004

BirdDog, I think you should also keep a log of roughly how many hours you put into this project, so we can see what sort of hourly wage you balance out to. It'll be interested no matter what happens, but if it comes to pass that you would have made twice as much selling burgers, I'd want to know that.

I agree with whoshotwho. I'm sure I could turn $14 into $1000 just by selling oranges by the freeway, but if it takes a year's worth of labor, it's a pretty crappy deal.
posted by malocchio at 9:03 AM on April 30, 2004

My god, what a load of pedants. Unclench, people: it's his gig, not yours.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:48 AM on April 30, 2004

This entire idea is stupid... of course you COULD make that money, "using only $14"... but you would waste hundreds of hours of labor thinking up crazy schemes to make 5 bucks or whatnot; in the end, you will see that you didn't use ONLY the 14 bucks; (paying for the website already broke your little bank); you worked so much for so little, and could have made alot more by just getting a job or doing something else. And it's NOT an experiment in capitalism, because just about anyone can get a job, even if they have less than $14 or no money at all. You won't accomplish anything, other than wasting alot of time. If you were TRULY going to be a capitalist and TURN the 14 into 1k, you would be coming up with ideas, not doing the actual gruntwork.
And anyone betting against him that he can't do it.... that is just as silly. Anyone could easily make 1k in a year. 3 bucks a day, can be easily had just be panhandling, having a job for a short time, etc etc. If he is willing to expend unlimited man-hours of labor, then he can make alot more (albeit he will be working super hard for little money). Plus the $14 of course, but there are all sorts of ways around that, such as valuing your own time at 1 cent per hour, or buying a website with other money to drive publicity to your ebay auction, etc etc.
This whole project really irks me, particulary now that my comment is at the top of your site. (And you didn't ask permission either). I want you to give up and admit your own stupidity in front of everyone.
If I wasn't so lazy and could be sure people would read it, I would write up a concise, organized essay denouncing your folly... but now I will just leave this comment here.
posted by ac at 1:20 PM on May 3, 2004

I repeat: unclench, it's his gig, not yours. My god, what a lot of outrage over something you're not remotely involved in and that will hurt no one!
posted by five fresh fish at 1:29 PM on May 3, 2004

I want you to give up and admit your own stupidity in front of everyone.

Attention everyone! I am stupid.
posted by BirdD0g at 1:45 PM on May 3, 2004

Well good, that's settled then.

For the record, I think it's an interesting, even if imperfect, idea. I don't see why any of ac's quibbles matter if you get something out of the experience.
posted by purplemonkie at 1:52 PM on May 3, 2004

Attention everyone! I am stupid.
Thanks! I can sleep easier at night now that this whole sordid affair has been put to bed.
posted by ac at 6:46 PM on May 3, 2004

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