I’m giving away $3,000,000 this year

I’m a hardcore believer in New Year’s Resolutions. I’m talking super complex, month-by-month lists and goals that I spend nearly half of December planning.

Today, I want to share one my loftiest resolutions from 2014— to give away $3,000,000 in value.

I know what you’re thinking.. impossible! Unless you just happen to have a cool 3 million in cash laying around (and I don’t).

Instead, I’m giving away $3,000,000 in value.

What is value?

A major shortcut to success is to constantly create value for other people— to create something valuable. Something that’s worthy of time, consideration, and (sometimes) money. I find that the more valuable things that I create, the more successful I end up, whether or not I directly charge money for what I’m making.

One fatal flaw that new “producers” make is that they demand to be paid for all of their work, upfront, starting from day one. While working for free and being taken advantage of sucks, strategic investments and giving away value for free are real things. Sometimes you need to make the first move in a negotiation, give away something-for-nothing in order to reach an audience.

Look at How my opinion made it into the New York Times today by Jason Fried— Jason lists 10 years worth of steps, connections, and meetings that got his opinion into the paper. It’s the connections he made over the years that got him on the front page; the free advice, lunches, and coffees.

“Fuck you, pay me” only works to a point. Quality content is valuable and you absolutely should charge for it, but you don’t need to charge for everything. Philanthropy is real and doesn’t only need to be limited to the rich and famous. There are so many ways to give.

How I’ve given away $750,000 so far—

I’m lucky enough to have a blog that a fair amount of people read. Every time that I write a post that touches someone, it’s a tiny bit of value.

Here’s a few of the things I’ve done to hit the $750K mark—

  • Lots of talks! Sharing my startup experiences (for free) gives everyone in the room something enjoyable
  • DonorsChoose, Omakase Charity, YouCaring (more traditional giving)
  • Mentoring students at Uncollege; I dropped out of college and am grateful to give the advice that 19-year old me needed to hear
  • Hosting free, weekly office hours sessions on Mondays at 7AM PST. One-on-one value.
  • Writing super high quality email newsletters (totally free; no sales pitch)

How you can give away value

Start producing more creative work. Create value by making art, by writing, by creating open-source code. And then give it away for free. You’ll touch someone. You’ll improve your community. And (somewhat selfishly), you’ll see it repaid to you in the long run. Who knows, it might even get you into the New York Times.

I need your help!

There’s two things you can do to help me give away $3,000,000 this year—

  1. Leave a comment below and let me know what topics I can write about to help YOU personally succeed.
  2. Join me for free office hours every Monday at 7AM PST. Learn more here.


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6 thoughts on “I’m giving away $3,000,000 this year

  1. Hey man, great article! What are your thoughts on to-do lists and task management? Habits as they relate to success? What has been your single biggest change that has brought you the most value in your own life? How has it brought value to others as a result? Keep it up. ~Justin

  2. A successful novelist, Kevin Anderson, once told me that his secret was to Be Prolific. By writing prolifically, he quickly gained both his experience and publication opportunities. By publishing a lot, he increased his exposure and his fan-base’s loyalty. By co-authoring often with other novelists, he expanded both his professional network and his audience.

    While I’ve traditionally been a strict consumer, I want to create value this summer by keeping my GitHub profile and blog active and engaging with as many other people as possible along the way. This sounds similar to what you’re doing now (and have recommended previously). Please give us advice that will help us be as prolific as possible while creating value.

  3. Hi! I really enjoy your style and your topics! I’m completely sold on 1/10/1000. I was wondering if you had any great ideas about determining what it is that is most interesting/valuable/marketable about your personality/life/situation. How do we find our niche? I’m taking a motorcycle trip around the country this summer with my buddy and I want to blog about it, but I don’t want it to be another ‘look at me, I’m traveling’ kind of deal that is so popular with young people today. I want it to help people, to be of value, the way your posts are. I also want it to have spice! I plan on checking out the links to the charity sites in your latest post to see how we can benefit others while we live for ourselves on the road. Thanks a lot and keep up the good work!

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