I’m building a house for Makers in Pittsburgh, PA. In case you missed it, here’s Part 1: Why Build a House.

Next, we’ll talk about finances for the land, the house, and home ownership.

The exact numbers depend on what, where and when you’re building… but here’s a rough guide for those brave enough to try!

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Don’t worry, I’ve done all of the heavy lifting

The Land

If you’re building new, you need an empty plot of land. These can be difficult to find in a city. But, when you do find them (outside of NYC or SF), they’re pretty reasonably priced. My 5,000 sqft plot cost about 50k, less than 10% of the total project cost. Since there were no plots actively for sale in my area, I used Google Maps’ satellite view to find empty plots, the Allegheny County Real Estate website to look up owners, and then sent them hand-written letters. …


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Mkr.House in progress

“People think building a house will save their marriage — but, just like having kids, it won’t. Building a house can’t be to fix things, it must be to make a good thing better.” — My real estate agent

This is the first in a series I’ll be writing about my home-building adventures. I’ll be including lots of details, photos and financials as a future guide to myself and anyone else brave enough to embark on this journey.

Why?

Before embarking on your journey, it’s worth writing down your 2–5 core principles. Why are you building a house? …


Our focus is under assault. Over $100 billion was spent on online advertising in 2018 alone — all trying to distract us from the things that really matter.

One of my New Years’ resolutions is to be more focused — both in how I live my life as a whole, and how I spend each minute.

To that end, I’ve created a Chrome extension to help me be more focused when using the Internet, by slowing down and removing color from distracting sites.

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Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash

I’ve tried tools that totally block distracting websites before — but it’s hard to completely block distracting websites, especially when they’re sometimes valuable (for example, I consider both email and Facebook Messenger distracting — but too valuable to give up entirely). …


Climate change is happening. Is your investment portfolio ready?

Although we can still mitigate the truly catastrophic damage forecasted by 2100, the absolute best case for 2050 is 1.5*C warming and 150 million refugees. That’s going to significantly reshape the economic landscape — and the stock market. Let’s explore how you can prepare.

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Photo by Nicholas Doherty on Unsplash

The Shorts

First, let’s consider what companies are going to struggle the most over the next 30 years of climate change. You might short them — or, at the very least, remove them from your investment portfolio:

  1. Fossil fuel extraction & consumption, including oil, coal and natural gas companies, power utilities with large coal portfolios, airlines and gas-based car companies. Responsible investors are already divesting from these by the trillions. The SPYX index, which mirrors the S&P 500 minus fossil fuels, has outperformed the S&P since its inception. …


Although the science of human damage to the environment is crystal clear, the steps to reduce our impact can be murky at best.

To celebrate the Global Climate Strike, I’ve done extensive research on the largest causes of emissions and where we as individuals can have the biggest impact for the least effort.

Here’s why it matters: You’ve probably heard that the climate will warm 2*C, which doesn’t sound bad. But that’s only if we take immediate, effective action. …


Part 2. Read Part 1 (Geopolitics of EVs). Part 3 coming in November.

In Q2 2019, Americans purchased 4,430,000 passenger cars.

2.1% of those (92,599) were electric vehicles — up from 0.9% in 2016.

Electric Vehicle (EV) sales threaten $4.3 trillion in annual revenue ($3T from gas automakers, $1.3T from gasoline):

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Analysis

To understand what a shift to 100% electric might look like — and whether it’s even possible — we’ll need to understand the three core auto industries: making, dealing (selling & repairing), and fueling.

Finally, we’ll explore two hot topics that influence these industries: Consumer Demand and Executive Compensation.

1. The Making of Vehicles

In 2008, the US Government spent $80 billion of taxpayer money to bail out America’s “Big 3”, with promises that they would become more efficient. …


Part 1 of a series on electric vehicles. Part 2: The Business of EVs.

In 2016, Americans drove more than 2 trillion miles.

Converting to an all-electric fleet would reduce the environmental impact of all those cars… but what challenges would we face, and what can we do about them?

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Image courtesy of Unsplash

EVs face geopolitical challenges on three fronts: getting the resources, fighting incumbent industries, and gathering political support for climate change. But first, let’s talk about why EVs are important:

Starting with the Why

  1. Switching US cars to electric would save 750 million tons of CO2 + CO2 equivalents (CO2e) per year¹ and significantly improve air quality. …


Make your retirement savings work for you — and the planet.

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Photo by oldskool photography on Unsplash

Our planet is worth saving — but it can be difficult to figure out how we, as individuals, can make a difference.

There’s already a lot of good resources for taking political action and making lifestyle changes like biking instead of driving and eating less meat — but there’s a third weapon in our arsenal: eco-forward investing. Investing money you already have in companies that care about the environment.

(Want to get straight to the strategy? See the 60 second guide at the bottom)

Why Eco-Friendly Investing?

This approach is beautiful for so many…


After 100 years of paying expensive consultants to try and train the bias out of employees, companies and psychologists finally had to admit defeat. The human brain is just too flawed.

But they still needed those human employees. In those same 100 years, AI had failed to reach its much-hyped promise of replacing all human jobs. The world still needed doctors, lawyers, engineers, even salespeople.

Enter =, a new well-funded startup designed not to eliminate bias from humans, but to eliminate bias from anything humans entered into a computer.

Their first product was limited — eliminating bias from promotions and raises — but their ambition was vast: to one day eliminate bias from everything, down to the messages you send coworkers. …


Almost $10 billion is spent every year to convince you that automobiles represent freedom and success, but modern urban planning studies show that every trip you make with a car makes you poorer, less healthy and less happy. Let’s cut through the crap and find out the truth.

Cars are Bad for Your Wallet

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Source: AAA

You might be surprised at how much owning a car actually costs: AAA calculates the average cost of new car ownership at over $9,000/year!

Think you’re being clever with that used car? Money Under 30 estimates the cost of used car ownership at $6,000/year, which totals to over $2,000,000 lost over the course of a 50 year career at a 6.5% interest rate (stock market). …

About

Todd Medema

Technology, Entrepreneurship and Design to make the planet a better place. Pittsburgh, PA.

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