Category Archives: General

Noah Kagan meets Financial Samurai – Lots of nuggets.

I was in a slump.

I’m a podcast junky. And none of them were talking to me.

Then, kinda out of the blue, Noah Kagan (who I listen to frequently) interviewed the Financial Samurai.

Dang did that interview hit the nail on the head for me. I listened to it three times, back to back to back. Then a few more times after. SO many nuggets.

There are many, but here are a few highlights that stuck out to me:

  • 40 hours a week is arbitrary.

Spend the 40 hours a week on the job, and then spend another 40 on the side hustle. Do that for 2 or 3 years and then suddenly you’re making enough to have choices.

  • Forecast your misery.

It’s great to be excited about the job you’re in, but keep an open mind to the concept that 10 to 20 years down the road you might just hate it. Be prepared for that by starting now.

  • Financial jealousy is the wrong lens.

Compete for liberty. Someone whose worth is 5 times more than mine is poorer than me if they’re tied to meetings, deadlines, investors, lawyers and any other bureaucratic BS.

  • Brand yourself online.

The samurai would be SHOCKED if we could not reach a modest income of $3500 per month after three years of disciplined web posting. Meaning, 2 to 4 times a week. I’m not that disciplined at the moment, but this has renewed my motivation for providing content.

  • Never fail due to a lack of effort.

It’s easy for us to say we’re not smart enough, or we’re unlucky but there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that prevents us from trying hard.

There’s a lot more in their conversation, like:

  • Investing in real estate.
  • The Shock Doctrine. (mine was Djibouti)
  • Optimizing for happiness.

I took notes on all of it and have since added the Financial Samurai to my feed.

I currently use Stitcher for my podcast listening – and use the ‘Listen Later’ feature to reduce data usage.

I’m using WordPress and Bluehost for my website, with which I am working on my branding.

My side hustle is The American Edge, a growing knife sharpening service.

Hey Tark

I was scheming with Tals at Langs party.

She said you were conversing not long ago about an open bar at your class reunion.

Not the “free” booze,

But that the bar was bought by one of your classmates who invented/developed something that was purchased by Apple.

And you weren’t that guy.

I wasn’t that guy either.

But, what are you doing about it?

That long chain of simple twists of fate that someday include a major monetary transaction…start with 1 simple twist of fate.

I was telling Tals about starting a knife sharpening business. Here I am, with several engineering degrees, an Officer in the United States Navy who previously operated shipboard nuclear power plants, starting a knife sharpening business.

It would appear…that I’m aiming a little low.

But it’s hard, man! How the hell am I going to sell my chicken coop monitoring app to Apple if I can’t even get my neighbor to let me sharpen her knives?


So, maybe starting a knife sharpening business is a little less about knife sharpening, and more about business.

Maybe what I’m doing is building an email list.

An email list of people who have a history of exchanging money with me, but also know that my word and reputation is legit.

And here’s the thing, man. Let’s go conservative;

  • Let’s say 10% will be repeat customers who take heed and value sharp cutlery and tools and decide to get a new grind every 6 months. Thank you kindly, I love you guys! But that means that 90% walk away.
  • Of those 10%, maybe half will bring me new business. Thanks guys and gals!
  • Of the remaining 5%, maybe half will buy my ebook, or download a building plan, or support me on Patreon, or join my Egg Club, or provide venture capital into my pastured poultry operation, or…
  • BUT! What about those outliers, Tark? The Black Swans. The 1% that actually direct the path of the future.

Could you believe it if what I’m really trying to do is increase my odds of finding or becoming a black swan?

That dude that bought you that tasty IPA, he’s a black swan. Pick his brain clean, man.

Here’s how: find a way to add value to his life, and then extract value to your own. Screw this coffee or lunch BS. Send him something valuable, then do it again, and then send him your pitch for that product that will change the future.

Frankly, I don’t care what you do, but you have to do something. Why?

  1. Because you’re smart enough to influence the direction of man.
  2. You’re wise enough to only do it to better mankind.

Thanks in advance.


PS. Instead of sending you this email, I’m sending it to the world, because it applies to everyone.

Quick Tip – Use Passwords to Improve your State of Mind

If I were a betting man, I would bet that when my daughter is my age she won’t have to deal with remembering passwords the way we do. Even now I unlock my phone with my fingerprint. Biometrics. How about a webcam retina scan for logging into your machine and websites?

Regardless, passwords are a reality of life as we know it. Until recently, I thought they were a nuisance. Now I see them as an opportunity.

If you have to log into your computer at least daily, force yourself to use that as an opportunity to improve your state-of-mind.


That’s a good one. It mixes upper and lower case letters, substitute some numbers for letters, like ‘3’ for ‘E’, or ‘@’ for ‘A’ and it’s long! An often overlooked critical feature of passwords, length.

But here’s the killer, now every day you’re writing to yourself that ‘today will be the best day yet!’


In Noah Kagan’s recent podcast he outlined several mechanisms to improve happiness and life quality.

No more dishes in the sink.

Build a life of discipline starting with the small stuff. Maybe all the little things can add up to something big.

Doin’ It

I’m making it happen. All my plans are now re-listed online, this time on this website. Also, I’ve been running, pushing and pulling to get this ol’ bod back in shape. I even got to huck some hammers last night in the rain (Ultimate Frisbee lingo).

The next step is to redirect my to the current location for the plans. Then I need to tackle the marketing to get the word out that these are available. I suspect I will start the push on social media, but the real deal is to find the right people drawing crowds out there and get their support.

Of course, there is also the layer light. I need to get that code up on GitHub, and develop the kit with some more pictures and building directions. Drive hard, drive smart, and this truck will roll.

A New Approach

The process of getting mobilized is indeed an emotional roller coaster of sorts. But, while I was checking in it occurred to me that, what if this is the best thing that happens to us, meaning myself and family?

How could that be, or better yet, how could I lend a hand to destiny so that it is?

Well, here’s how. This is an opportunity for me to be reminded daily that I would rather be home. Let that serve as a daily reminder that I need to be pursuing mechanisms to free me from the chains of the system, the grind, the working for the boss. Furthermore, in the absence of my family I need to re-embrace my entrepreneurial spirit and get busy.

Here are some new commitments:

  • Reform my habits to return a culture of fitness to my life.
  • Start the daily writing of the affirmation that, I, Matthew Rowell, will become financially independent from the system.

I woke up this morning and ran along the coast with intermittent pushups, dips and situps. Now I’m posting on my blog. Keep it up, man.

Getting put on hold


I’ve been invited to spend a year in Africa. Though I’d rather keep working the homestead, I didn’t have much say in the matter. My hopes are to keep improving the site and online marketplace while I’m away but I can’t really say for sure how this will all shake out.

Keep the light on for me, Kat 🙂


Entering the New Year

Lots of activities going on to kick off the year:

  • On the homestead we now have a plan for the garden – ordering seeds soon.
  • Installed the second Layer Light for the girls up at Mimi and Bobo’s farm. One more is almost complete, hitting the market soon.
  • It’s COLD, looking for feedback on whether or not to supply heat to the hens.
  • Lot’s going on at work – Currently designing power supplies and data acquisition units for at sea testing in a few months.
  • Tried my hand turning PVC on the lathe at work – easy day – awesome results.
  • Bogart is growing up to be a very jumpy great pup, we look forward to working with him.
  • And the Navy…lots going on here too, working on nailing down the AT for this year.

Look for updates on the Layer Light to come soon.

Christmas Marks the Start

This Christmas, 2014, marks the beginning of the “blog” that will turn into the home page for future endeavors. Top of the list is the resurrection of Charitable Woodworking. On the list is also the revealing of the Layer Light as well as a Home and Work project page to outline the engineering and project management I continue to work on.

Here’s to 2014, may 2015 bring awesomeness.