DOES DONALD TRUMP KNOW ABOUT THIS? lets you make money giving out your email address. You decide how much it’s worth. If you’re a big shot, or you think you are, you could charge $100 per message.

That’s what Ben Horowitz does. As of last January, he’d made over $8,000, which he donated to a charity called “Black Girls Code.” He’s one half of the consulting firm Andreessen/Horowitz. Marc Andreeson founded Netscape, the first web browser, and is otherwise a general hot shot. We’re not sure what Horowitz does. (Just kidding. Horowitz sold a software company to Hewlett-Packard for $1.6 billion, and was a major investor in Skype before it was sold to Microsoft. He consults.)

After signing up at, we wondered if this would be a good way for would-be authors to find publishers without going through an agent. We typed in “Penguin Group” and got an associate editor at Penguin Random House. We contacted him for $1, though he has yet to reply. (The contract gives him seven days, then it’s kaput.)  We only have to pay if he responds. He’s looking for interesting people to write books about business challenges.

The site makes suggestions on whom to contact, such as Deloitte Corp. or Google. So we contacted Sean Melis, a consultant in Deloitte’s Australian office, for $1. He lists himself as knowledgeable about artificial intelligence and the so-called “blockchain” undergirding the Bitcoin crypto currency. We asked him about that. We’re the first to pay him to answer a question, but he sounds smart. He said the most exciting thing about the blockchain is “the decentralized future it paints.”

It’s all done in Bitcoin, which can be translated back and forth with dollars. We got 84 cents just for signing up and completing a profile; it’s stored in Bitcoin. If Bitcoin shoots to the moon, it may be worth $8 someday. Wow, party time. We decided not to keep the money we earn, and chose “Folding at Home” as the recipient, one of five choices; they do disease research.

Businesses are using to send paid surveys to senior engineers, executives and other presumably smart people who otherwise couldn’t be bothered to reply. For example, we could send a mass email to 50 Stanford students and professors for $10 per reply.  The recipient gets a note like: “Complete this survey and get $10.”

We looked over their lists to get other ideas. A venture capitalist list lets you send a mass email for $50 per reply. It includes over 20 firms with over $25 billion in investable capital. The “Angel Investor” list lets you get replies from 50 angel investors who have written checks for at least $10,000 within the last two years. There are other lists for startup founders, “blockchain personalities” and others. This could go on and on, and probably will.

Pesky Email

A reader asks: “How do you know if someone has opened your email?” A question that has occurred to all of us.

If you use Microsoft Outlook or the premium version of Gmail, which is part of the $5-a-month “G-Suite,” you get an option to ask for a receipt. For the rest of us, there’s a free extension called “Boomerang for Gmail,” from It’s boomerang time!

With Boomerang, you can have your email sent again automatically, if the person hasn’t opened it within two days, or whatever time period you choose.  Even better, you can put off looking at email you know you have to look at eventually.

Suppose a bill comes in. It isn’t due now but you don’t want to forget about it. Tap the boomerang icon in your Gmail window and it won’t reappear until the time and date you chose.

Apps for Going Vegan

Joy hasn’t given up her leather jacket, but she’s a certified friend of the furry and a vegan.  Here are some vegan apps we just learned about.

  • Forks Over Knives” is a $5 recipe app for Android and iPhone. The recipes we’ve tried so far have been great, and they make it easy to add ingredients to a shopping list. The app includes soups, side dishes, salads, decadent desserts and more. There are free recipes at
  • VeganXPress, $2 for iPhone, tells you what’s vegan at chain restaurants and fast food places.
  • Bunny Free from tells you if a product is cruelty free. In other words, it didn’t make some bunny go blind for being used to test cosmetics.

Why go vegan? See and

Sneaky Apps

Joy’s friend Frieda commented one day that Joy was getting a lot of text messages. She wasn’t. Every half block or so, her phone would tootle. But it wasn’t text messages, the sounds were from dozens of apps that sound off every time something new comes in. Don’t let this happen to you!

Go to settings on your phone and find the “Notifications” area. There’s a setting for each app to allow only silent notifications. In the new “Oreo” version of Android, there’s a setting to “allow notification dots.” Each app has a dot in the little picture of it on your screen; you see it if there’s something new to report.

Cheapest Day to Fly

According to, a travel site, the cheapest day of the week to fly out somewhere is Friday; Monday is the most expensive. Friday travelers average a $100 savings, whether they’re flying in the U.S. or abroad. Monday is the cheapest day to come back and Thursday is the most expensive. The odd thing is, this pretty much holds no matter whether you’re coming or going.


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