November 4, 2016

How Do You Find The Right Path?

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Unsplash / Caleb Jones
Unsplash / Caleb Jones

I got lost the one time I went hiking. Then it started raining. It was on my birthday. 19 years ago. I fell and twisted my ankle.

About an hour later I found a road. I was soaking wet. I went to a restaurant and sat by a fire. Then took a train home. I was limping.

I had to work that night: interviewing drug dealers, etc.

I went to college for computer science. Then I went to graduate school for computer science. Then I got a job as a computer programmer. Then another one. Then another one. And finally another one.

I was on the wrong path the entire time.

My brother in law was going broke. He had a business making CD-ROMs. (What?). I showed him the Internet. I showed him how to start building websites for other people.

While I was doing that I was also pitching a TV show. I go to sleep early so I always wonder – who are the people out at 3 in the morning? So I started interviewing drug dealers, criminals, and others.

With my brother in law, we started charging a lot of money to do websites.$75,000 to make a 3 page website about Dennis Miller. What a joke.

And HBO gave me money to shoot a pilot which they ultimately rejected.

So my brother in law and I created a company, Reset, to do websites. We did the websites for the movies “Scream” and “The Matrix.”

We did the websites for the Wu-Tang Clan. We did the website for Miramax Films. For New Line Films. For Time Warner. For Bad Boy Records. For Interscope Records.

We did 100’s of websites. One time we did a website for fun. We invited a professional dominatrix and a professional submissive to come over to our photo studio. We had them dress in lingerie and bring their extensive collection of shoes.

While they were changing in and out of their clothes, my sister and I interviewed them. We made a website out of it.

That website helped us get the business of other creative websites.

I was on the wrong path though.

I hated having clients call me up in the middle of the night and yell at me. Who were they? Who were they to yell at me when I was working so hard?

We sold the business.

I started a wireless software company. My pitch: first there was the Internet, now there is the “wireless Internet.” I was right. But ten years early.

We got a lot of investors. $30 million worth. Then another $30 million. Yasser Arafat (secretly – I didn’t know until his death) invested. Many famous investors invested.

I was on the wrong path.

I got fired as CEO. Then my shares were taken from me. I got depressed for two years and didn’t leave my house.

I decided to go my own way. I didn’t need anyone else. I read 100’s of books on investing. I wrote software to model the stock market.

I day traded every day and was making money. Other people gave me money to invest. I wrote out 100’s of emails every day to people begging them to invest.

After awhile I had a good track record and many people began to invest.

I built up a good hedge fund. Then a “fund of hedge funds.” So people could invest with me and I would help them find other funds to invest in. I was doing well.

I was on the wrong path.

The markets were starting to fall apart even as early as 2006. The market would suddenly go down 30% and then pop up. I couldn’t handle the enormous stress. So I shut it down.

After that, I decided to get back to my roots. The World Wide Web! WWW.

I started an internet company called Stockpickr. Just to date it, I called it “The MySpace of Finance.” And it was!

We built up to millions of users a month. We sold out all the advertising space. We were profitable mostly because there was just two of us.

We sold just four months after our official launch. I thought I was DONE.

I lost everything. The financial market crashed right when I bought a house. This is now called an “Altucher Cocktail” and you pour it for people to make them go broke.

I was on the wrong path.

I’ve written 18 books. I wrote fiction. Business. Personal Improvement. Humor. I’m about to come out with a children’s book.

I’ve pitched TV shows. Reality shows. Scripted shows.

I’ve run venture capital funds. Hedge funds. I’ve worked for investment banks. I’ve sold companies to other companies many times.

I was on the wrong path.

I’ve been married. Divorced. Married. Divorced.

I’ve thrown out everything I own. Even an animation cel from “I Dream of Jeannie’s” opening segment. I loved it. Gone.

The wilderness is easy to get lost in. There are many paths. At night there are howls in the wind and I probably get more afraid than I should be.

In the day I explore but sometimes I feel as if I’m totally invisible.

When I am in the middle of something, I think, “This can be the right path – I love this.”

But often then it’s the wrong path.

I’m having the best time in my life. And I always have. I am living the way of the wanderer.

Right or wrong, I will never know. The way of the wanderer is to explore, not knowing in advance right or wrong. The wanderer is excited for the next adventure.

Today I’m going to go down my path. TC mark

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