Brian Armstrong

Video of My Apartment in Buenos Aires

I shot some video today while walking around BA.

It’s gotten a little bit colder here lately and it was overcast today but still pretty nice.

Here is the YouTube video:

Few other random discoveries since last week:

  • It’s more expensive to buy groceries here than it is to eat in restaurants. Sort of the opposite of the U.S. The people running restaurants must be buying it direct from farmers of something because they certainly aren’t buying food from grocery stores where I am. If you go try to put together a breakfast or any meal at the grocery store, it is about double the cost of just buying it at a restaurant. Luckily the restaurants are great here.

  • The house comes will a full time maid - I thought this would be really awesome, but it’s really not as awesome as it seems. Our maid, while very nice, doesn’t really seem to clean much :). The first day I was here she took my towels to wash them and I have yet to see them again. I’ve tried to ask her about them a few times, and she seems to understand….yet still I have no towels. I have taken to drying my entire body with a washcloth…this I keep in my room now for fear that it will also disappear to be “washed”. All part of the South American experience!

  • Shop owners here have this weird strategy: if we sell the same thing, let’s all put all our shops right next to each other. It’s sort of bizarre, they have these little “gallerias” where there will literally be 40 shops that all sell electronics or all sell leather, etc. The products in all of them are identical, prices are just about identical. I haven’t been able to figure out why they do this because they have no way to differentiate from the other guys. Like, if you are the 40th guy to open a shop with the same products in the same location, what are you hoping to accomplish? Aside from the occasional double starbucks, business owners in the U.S. are pretty good about saying “hey I’m going to open a gym, maybe I should go where there isn’t already a gym…”. Haven’t figured this one out yet. Update

After my last update on how the new UniversityTutor business model wasn’t working, I’ve made some good progress.

I added the new line to all outgoing emails as I mentioned and this improved things back to 1 or 2 invoices per day almost immediately. I also added a suggestion by my mother, to also include in the email how many hours of experience and reviews the tutor currently has. This would reinforce the benefits of accumulating these.

Also, as you (my valuable blog readers) pointed out, a big reason for the change I saw was the month. School was ending! Thanks for the reminder on that one…this was an important point that I had forgotten.

In short, I will continue to test it and expand it. I’m looking at some ways to expand it to other English speaking countries in the future. After debating a lot, I feel like the current business model is the right one. The number of tutors signing up is increasing dramatically now that there is no monthly fee. It will just take some time to adopt it I think. Update

Here is another one I could use your help one.

While there are a few more features I’d like to clean up on the site (such as designing the home page to direct people to add a page instead of search, especially in the early stages here) the site is about 90% complete feature wise for what I want.

The biggest challenge for the site now is to reach some sort of critical mass. It’s needs it’s community of early adopters who will evangelize it.

My best guess to accomplishing this right now is to partner with someone who has the permission asset to get the word out. I’ve emailed Tim Ferriss (his assistant actually) to see if I can get through to him. He will occasionally do advisory roles for things like this if he believes in it (in exchange for a small piece of the company), but he is a difficult person to reach so we’ll see.

What are your thoughts on how to accomplish this critical mass? Also, does the homepage draw first time people in well or what would be improved there? Please leave me a comment below.

Until next time, keep breaking free! Brian Armstrong