How This 43-Year-Old Research Scientist Generates $1.94 Per Year
Dan DeMarco Turned his Ph.D. Degree into a Money Losing Machine. This Article is About How He Did It and How You Can, Too, But Probably Shouldn’t.
After obtaining his Ph.D. in micro and molecular biology Dan DeMarco does a short post doc then takes a job in the central research and development division of a Fortune 500 company.
He’s employed there for close to 14 years before he moves on to a new role at another large and successful company in a different research and development role.
DeMarco soon realizes that no matter how hard he works, as a scientist he will never make nearly as much money as the spread sheet jockeys, executives, and salespeople at any company so he decides to embark on a second “career” on the side as a writer. Also, somewhere in that time he got really sick and spent a month in the ICU where he died a couple times, but then came back. Shortly thereafter his wife of only two years and the love of his life died unexpectedly. These events contributed mightily to his current financial situation and less then optimal mental state most days.
DeMarco writes in-depth articles on a wide variety of technical topics that nobody cares about, including philosophy, science, and argan oil. He also tries to be funny which does not go over so well since he really isn’t. The crippling depression (see above) doesn’t help either. In close to three years he sees his traffic rise from 50 views a day to just over 6000 and it only took him just over 1800 pieces to do it.
The lack of traction to his Medium articles soon becomes a launching pad for various other failures.
- He creates a line of microbiology art using photomicrographs of various molds from his laboratory. Despite widespread interest from up to 10 other nerds it brings in zero dollars in revenue.
- He develops a host of alternate logos for his current employer in his spare time. Lots of interest from other employees, lots of threats from marketing and legal department.
- He has no idea how to use or even what Amazon affiliate links are, which allows him miss out on another potential healthy stream of income.
- DeMarco even loses money from reading books. He does it by spending hundreds of dollars of his own money buying antiquated books on highly technical philosophical and scientific topics that nobody but himself and maybe five other people in the world care about.
Together, these initiatives cost him roughly $500 per month in cash spend and wasted time, he tells me.
The years he had spent writing on his Medium website continue to not pay off.
Altogether, DeMarco’s various projects and standard employment bring in close to $1.94 in total annual revenue.
Dan says he takes home about $0.16 a month personally.
He turns 44 in Dec. 2019.
In April 2019, his blog passes 6,000 visitors, according to his pitiful stats page.
DeMarco’s latest venture is a brick-and-mortar dog house in his backyard he had to build for his dog. He used scrap wood from crates people were throwing out because he couldn’t afford to buy wood at the Home Depot. He was able to buy some warped two by fours and crooked plywood from the scrap wood pile in the back of the store. That’s the shit they spray paint with a purple dot and although it is usually pretty fucked up in some way it makes for OK doghouse building materials, and is always marked down 75%. His dog hopes it is still on schedule to open prior to winter 2019.
10 Life and Business Lessons From Dan DeMarco
- Don’t pursue anything. All the usual goals and pleasures millennials strive for don’t matter because they are self entitled twits. As a Gen Xer he doesn’t give a fuck about anything — freedom, travel, intelligence, followers, money, sex — and realized as a teenager that they were all stupid. “It was immediately a wake-up call, and kind of fucking depressing” he wrote not that long ago, or he thought it, he can’t remember which. “My efforts up to that point had been focused on getting laid, but now that I still had not gotten laid, I wasn’t any unhappier. Arguably I was less unhappy since I’d ditched caring about anything realizing that all caring about shit got you was a sense of loss, and lots of masturbation.”
- Fame, I want to live forever, I want to learn how to fly, fame. As someone whose accomplishments relative to his age would definitely not get him ranked on any number of “30 Under 30”-type lists, DeMarco says: “Those lists are bullshit. I personally care about them exactly as much as I care about anything else, which is to say, I don’t.” Dan doesn’t write for Forbes or Inc. or Entrepreneur because “They would never pay me to write for them in a million years,” he says. “Besides, I don’t want to write stuff that people want to read, I’d much rather make them uncomfortable. The stuff I write I want to be forgotten in hours — Plus, “I couldn’t make fun of them,” he tries to smile but the crippling depression makes it hard so it comes out more like a strained frown.
- Put money in its proper place. “I don’t care about money,” he says. If money were his main goal he clearly screwed the pooch since he only has about 50 bucks to his name at any given moment. The fast lane for him he says would’ve been to stay in his kush job at Arby’s eventually moving into a manager role and then working there until death since he could never afford to retire. But: “Anybody who stays at work in a fast food restaurant until the day of their ultimate demise will not be happy,” he says. For DeMarco the lack of money is what motivates him. Without money he would be living on the streets and not the shithole apartment where he currently lives. Work is a huge part of that. He works “because I care more about having smart people around me who enjoy working with me, and because I don’t want to become one of those lunatic homeless people you see on the street all the time, just shambling around mumbling to themselves and occasionally screaming jibberish into the air while pointing their finger excitedly at nothing.
- Avoid reality. Routines are part of reality. Writing can be part of reality. Projects can be part of reality. You can do these things because someone told you you should or because you have to. Don’t do either, just avoid the topic entirely and dream of better days. Don’t have a role model to copy. Aim for things, not people, he says. Be yourself and strive to be great at what you desire most.
- Learn what SEO stands for. Dan says he once read an article where somebody said this was a good thing for making money. Obviously, this is why he has no idea what the fuck it is or what it does.
- The question “Where do you see yourself in 5–10 years?” is silly. “I have no idea,” he says. “I can’t accurately predict that far ahead. Hell I can’t accurately predict the next 5 minutes” Instead, he works totally in the now and never makes plans. Finally, he has totally unrealistic expectations of how positive the future will be.
- Saying “fuck off” is terrible advice. “Say eat me instead of fuck off,” says Dan. “Fuck off is totally played out. Eat me gets the point across, but is a bit less cliche.”
- His favorite organization tool: Eat me.
A final thought
Somebody once said in a statement that embodies Dan DeMarco:
“Gotta give him some credit for not killing himself, I guess.”
Original millionaires are made not by copying the path of another person or by following a formula, but by blah, blah, blah, fuck off.
Author’s postscript: Any similarities to the actual Dan DeMarco may or may not be coincidental, and this article is only loosely based on the original.