Lending Club and Digital Marketing Professionals

Jul. 14

For those who have been reading PPC Ian for a while, you know that I’m a fan of investing. Investing is a passion of mine, and it makes sense, it’s all about the numbers (just like customer acquisition marketing). Today, I wanted to write about Lending Club (affiliate link, I earn a commission and would be very grateful if you open a Lending Club account via my links), and why Lending Club is especially relevant to those of us in the digital marketing field. Disclaimer: I’m not a financial advisor and this is not financial advice. Please consult your own financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

First, an update…

I started writing about Lending Club back on February 26, 2012. Some of my historical Lending Club Posts:

Lending Club Net Annualized Return

When you look at my historical posts, I like to include a screenshot in each that shows my account stats, especially my net annualized return. Here’s how it’s trended:

  • Feb 26, 2012 Net Annualized Return: 13.16%
  • Apr 23, 2012 Net Annualized Return: 12.99%
  • July 3, 2012 Net Annualized Return: 10.76%

So what’s my current net annualized return after several years of investing via Lending Club? I’m at 7.64% as of July 13, 2014. This isn’t as good at the 13.16% from my first post over 2 years ago, but certainly isn’t bad given current interest rates available via other alternatives. Moreover, my net annualized return has been trending in the 7% range for a while now (I feel like it’s somewhat steady in its current range). I’m happy with my performance and expected it would even out in its current range for a few reasons:

  • New accounts have very few defaults because they are new. Over two years later, I have experienced a handful of defaults. These are to be expected and have lowered my overall return. We’re comparing a mature account to a brand new one.
  • My principal and interest reinvestments have largely been focused on lower-risk loans. These carry lower interest rates. I wanted to start building my portfolio with a low-risk base, and layer in higher risk loans once the base is established.
  • In today’s market (more on this later), 7.64% net annualized return is no joke, that’s a great number, one that can generate some serious returns when compounded over time for a number of years. I’m hoping it holds in this range for the long-term!

I’m adding to my Lending Club portfolio, and it complements my digital marketing career

These days, I’m focused on building my Lending Club portfolio for a multitude of reasons. I wanted to share why I think it’s great for digital marketing professionals and why I’m so focused on Lending Club.

  • Did you know that Google Invested In Lending Club? As a digital marketing professional, I watch Google very closely, not only their core Search business, but their investments across-the-board. Google’s investment in Lending Club makes Lending Club even more relevant for those in the digital marketing career, from the simple perspective that Lending Club is now partially Google-backed. Become a Lending Club investor and you have one more lunch/dinner conversation topic for your Google meetings as well. I’m a big fan of finding common topics of interest in networking and building one’s career. Lending Club is a great topic!
  • Did you know that one of my old bosses is on the management team Lending Club? As someone who was a really super boss (and someone who gets digital marketing), I put a lot of faith in the Lending Club platform for this reason. Lending Club has a solid management team. It’s all about the people, and I like to invest in great people and great management teams.
  • Lending Club offers financial flexibility via massive cashflow, more than most other investments I have experienced. Do you live in the SF Bay Area or another expensive area? Chances are “yes” if you work in enterprise-level customer acquisition. As someone who knows first-hand how expensive it is to live around here, I like investments that offer flexibility. Lending Club is just that. On a regular basis, you receive cash flow from Lending Club, both principal and interest. It’s up to you whether you want to reinvest that money or withdraw. If it’s a time where you need some extra cash, you can just withdraw the principal and interest as it’s paid out. The coolest part: You don’t have to sell any loans to access the cash flow. There have been times when I have needed some extra money and I have withdrawn from my cash flow. There are other times (like recently) where I have reinvested. For this reason, I view LendingClub as a very flexible vehicle.
  • There are not a lot of investment opportunities right now that offer superior levels of return. In the Bay Area, real estate prices are sky high. The stock market is at all time highs (although there are pockets of opportunity for savvy investors). By disintermediating the middle man, Lending Club has carved out a niche where you can still receive some great returns on your invested capital.
  • It’s really fun. I like to mine through data, as a data-driven digital marketer. Lending Club offers a ton of data and opportunity to get as detail-oriented as you want when choosing your strategy.
  • I like helping others! Each time I invest $25 in a Lending Club loan, I can sleep at night that I’m helping someone out. Lending Club offers great interest rates to borrowers and helps people in their time of need: Credit card debt consolidation, financing work on their home, funding medical expenses, and so many other scenarios. I feel like I’m investing in people. On the flip side, I feel like the borrowers know that and do their best to pay back the loans since their fellow peer is helping them out. Great returns come to those that help others.

As always, it makes sense to be financially prudent, and only invest what you can afford to lose. Why not start small and then add a little bit over time? I personally take advantage of recurring auto-deposits to my Lending Club account so I’m able to invest in a few new loans at a time, on a recurring basis. This spreads my risk (in case a group of bad loans are clumped together) and also since I’m only risking a little bit of money at a time.

Interested in trying it out? If you don’t already have an account, here’s my affiliate link: Sign Up For Lending Club Today (affiliate link). I will receive a commission if you sign up via my link and would be grateful because it helps support the costs of running PPC Ian. That said, no worries either way, and I thank you for reading!

Important Disclaimer: I’m not a financial advisor and this is not financial advice. This post is just for entertainment purposes. Please consult your own financial advisor before making any investment decisions.
Image in this post © PPCIan.com

SEO Networking Lunch With AdLift

Jul. 12

I wrote a post a while back about my Lunch With Top SEO Agency AdLift. I’m a huge fan of tradition in networking. It’s important to build friendships with the best-of-the-best, and AdLift is just that. Our tradition: Networking lunches at Chef Chu’s in Los Altos. (Side note: Looking for an SEO agency? I highly recommend contacting AdLift today.)

PPC Ian AdLift Lunch

Networking With Johnny From AdLift At Chef Chu’s

I originally met Prashant Puri (CEO & Co-Founder) and Johnny Shami (VP, Business Development) at Search Insider Summit. I was immediately impressed and have stayed in close contact with these guys ever since. They are true experts in SEO (search engine optimization), based here in Silicon Valley.

Last week, Johnny and I went to Chef Chu’s in Los Altos, a tradition for our PPC Ian : AdLift networking lunches. I’m a big fan of Chef Chu’s, some of the best Chinese food around, with a truly healthy and fresh perspective. I ordered the cashew chicken lunch special, and will be going back again very soon (it’s delicious and healthy).

Do you work long hours? Are you busy? Prashant, Johnny, and I are for sure. Prashant is busy traveling the globe, growing AdLift’s business at warp speed. Johnny and I worked for weeks (actually months) trying to find a date that would work. I think we had to reschedule at least 5 times. However, we made it happen! (It’s all about determination and not giving up, especially when it comes to something as important as networking.) I cannot say enough about the power of important friendships with the best-of-the-best in digital marketing (or your profession of choice). It’s all about the people.

My career advice for the week: Build out your network and make these types of lunches happen! See how you can add value. Help your friends out as much as possible, and make a positive impact. It’s all about building great friendships and seeing how you can add value! I have personally built my career with a friendship and service-oriented perspective. I am amazed every single day at the opportunities that come my way thanks to hard work, giving back, and collaborating with great people.

Image from SEO Lunch © PPCIan.com

Tips For Brainstorming At Work

Jul. 01

When brainstorming ideas for business and life on my own, I often enjoy Taking A Hike (or a run for that matter). What about brainstorming as a team at work? What are the best ways to approach a collaborative group brainstorming session at your job? Today, I wanted to share a few insights and tips:

Lightbulb

  1. Approach your brainstorm with a positive, collaborative mindset. All ideas are valid. All ideas are worth consideration. Even if you don’t like a particular idea, please be open and encouraging to your teammates.
  2. Bring plenty of sticky notes and pens. Brainstorming is so much easier when everyone can write down their ideas and then stick them on the wall.
  3. Think outside the box. Bring crazy, big ideas. No idea is too large. Big ideas get the team thinking, even if they are not immediately possible.
  4. Start off the brainstorm with a fun, team activity. For example, go around the table and share your favorite music artist and how their music relates to your company. Anything that gets the team thinking in new ways is valuable. Brainstorming requires unique, new ways of thinking.
  5. Consider involving a variety of contributors from teams across your company, and partners too. The more diverse the viewpoints at the table, the greater opportunity for big ideas.
  6. Be incredibly careful with your words. Do not say anything that could remotely be considered as negative or putting an idea down. Brainstorms thrive in a supportive environment.
  7. Arrive on-time with an energetic attitude. Get a good night’s sleep before the brainstorm, and arrive on a full stomach. Consider bringing snacks too, for the entire team. Brainstorms require energy.
  8. Prepare for the brainstorm. Do a little brainstorming on your own before the big event. Also, prepare background materials that may be of help to the group. That said, also think in the moment and don’t be closed to new ideas. The best ideas come in a team environment.
  9. Be considerate of everyone at the table. Try not to be the only one contributing ideas. Don’t overpower the discussion. That said, make sure you are heard too, and don’t be afraid to speak up. The best brainstorms are all about equality and fairness to everyone in the group.
  10. Take really great notes. Take photos of the board and collaborative notes. Don’t let any of the the great ideas go to waste.

Image of Lightbulbs Brainstorm © iStockPhoto – hjalmeida

I Ran In the 20th Annual Lupus 5K

Jun. 16

Just over a week ago, Nicole and I participated in the 20th Annual 5K Run and Walk For Lupus. Benefiting the Lupus Foundation of Northern California, this great event made an impact on those in need. It was our honor to participate in this particular event for the third time! Here’s a fun photo of PPC Ian after completing the 5K race:

PPC Ian Lupus 5K Run

Each year, the Lupus 5K is held West Valley College in Saratoga, CA. I particularly enjoy this event because of the beautiful setting, in the foothills of Saratoga. It’s a great course with rolling hills and plenty of nature/scenery.

For those who have been following me for a while, you may know that I’m into running quite a bit these days. I’m not a particularly fast runner, but I’m great with long distance and consistency. It’s such a great way to get in shape, clear your mind, and have some time to think. I have found that my running has increased my overall focus and energy. It’s amazing the business and life insights that hit you while running!

It’s equally fun to leverage running as a way to rally behind an important cause. These events are so much fun because they always bring together a top-notch community of winners. Busy professional who’s also looking to stay in shape and give back? Definitely consider some local charity runs this summer! Just remember to stay hydrated and practice.

Image in this post © PPCIan.com

London and Paris, A Vacation To Remember

Jun. 08

Recently, Nicole and I visited London and Paris, truly a journey to remember. I’m so lucky. My amazing wife had a special business opportunity in London, and I just had to tag along. We turned our journey into business and pleasure by extending our time in London, and also visiting Paris. Today, I want to take a moment to share my story and takeaways from this journey. In a nutshell, I loved it, and cannot wait to go back! in fact, this trip re-ignited my passion for travel and changed my travel outlook.

Ian and Nicole Lopuch In London

I’m going to divide this blog post into three sections:

  1. Our Time in London Before Adobe Summit (pleasure/holiday)
  2. Adobe Summit EMEA (business)
  3. Our Time in Paris After Adobe Summit (pleasure/holiday)

Also, you will find pictures throughout the post with a lot of them at the end. Thanks for reading!

Our Time In London

Let me start by saying I can take no credit for this trip. Nicole is the travel/Europe expert between the two of us. She booked everything, and crafted a vacation to remember. I am truly a lucky husband, I hit the jackpot! My half of the bargain: I’m taking us to Hawaii this summer.

Some highlights:

Barbacoa London

When we first arrived at London Heathrow, we took the Paddington Heathrow Express train to Paddington Station. I truly love the trains and public transportation in Europe, and thought the Paddington Express was first class. At Paddington Station, we picked up some neat Paddington Bear stuff. Paddington Bear is the coolest!

We then took a taxi to our hotel, Marriott Grosvenor Square. All I can say is, "Wow!" Definitely the nicest Marriott I have ever stayed in, and one of the nicest hotels overall that I have experienced. The location, amenities, culture, and overall vibe earns Marriott Grosvenor Square 5 stars in my book! Here’s the crazy thing: Everyone kept telling me, "Don’t expect the same amenities/luxuries in Europe as you’re accustomed to in the US." On this trip, the amenities exceeded my wildest expectations, thanks to Nicole booking everything top notch!

My favorite part of the overall trip was these first few "free days" in London. I learned that London is home to more billionaires than any other city in the world. I can certainly see why! We walked around Hyde Park, we went shopping at Harrods, we saw the Michael Jackson Thriller Live show, we went on a double decker bus, we shopped like crazy! As a lifelong Michael Jackson fan, the Thriller Show at Piccadilly Circus was especially fun. A group of amazing performers celebrated the life, legacy, and spirit of Michael Jackson. With so many fun shows to choose from, I hope to return soon to see another.

It’s not only about the big things, however. The small things made London special too. I’m talking about having Pret A Manger at every corner (We love you, Pret, please come to San Francisco), delighting in our daily dose of Costa Coffee, enjoying the language (English in the UK is so neat), admiring the architecture, and enjoying the people. I really enjoy gardening and respect a lush, beautiful garden. We experienced many of these in London. All of that rain (which I personally miss in the midst of our California drought) produces some truly lush gardens.

Adobe Summit EMEA

After a few wonderful days in Central London, we grabbed a taxi to Adobe Summit EMEA. This year’s Summit was at the London ExCeL Center, located near the Docklands. An interesting fact: This year’s EMEA Summit was larger than last year’s Utah Summit. Adobe, you rule!

Adobe Summit EMEA Ian and Nicole

While Nicole was working, I had the pleasure of working too. I attended Summit and learned so much about the Adobe Marketing Cloud. I’ve been fortunate to experience some truly memorable and impactful conferences lately. Everything about Adobe Summit was first class.

More than anything, I enjoyed the people, both the presenters and the Adobe employees. The global perspective had an impact on me. I especially enjoyed hearing brands such as L’OCCITANE, Danone, and Accor present. I was so impressed with the Danone presentation that I actually purchased shares in Danone upon arriving home. (Full Disclosure: Long DANOY.) These companies truly have their eyes set on the future. I was equally impressed with the hospitality and general kind nature of Adobe’s EMEA team. I met with at least five Adobe employees 1:1 and learned so much.

The last night of Summit, we went back to Central London for dinner at Barbacoa, a recommendation from one of Nicole’s colleagues who lives in London. There are no ovens at Barbacoa, everything is prepared via a wood-burning fire. I experienced the best steak of my life. The setting was second to none with amazing views of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Our Time In Paris

Eiffel Tower

After Summit, we took the Eurostar train from London to Paris. I couldn’t believe it: Nearly 200 miles per hour, first class treatment via luxurious seats and a delightful meal on the train, and we’re in another country in less than two hours! Europe has it all figured out when it comes to transportation!

In Paris, Nicole booked us at K+K Hotel Cayre on St. Germain street. We had a top floor corner suite with views of the Eiffel Tower from our balcony. K+K went above and beyond. It’s a boutique hotel so you get a truly personalized level of service. The kind people at the front desk greet you by name, the breakfast buffet is amazing, the rooms cannot be matched. I give K+K my absolute top recommendation.

K+K Cayre Paris

K+K is also all about location. We walked to the Louvre, and saw the Mona Lisa and Venus De Milo. We walked to The Eiffel Tower and enjoyed a Smarties ice cream cone in the park while gazing up at the Tower. We walked to local French cafes and enjoyed watching people walk by.

We also enjoyed a river cruise/tour on the Seine River and shopping on the Champs Elysees. So much amazing architecture and culture in Paris, a truly remarkable city.

So there you have it: Europe vacation 2014. I brought a lot of Europe home with me: The culture, the friendships, the passion for walking and being fit/healthy, the overall global perspective. There is so much out there, and I truly cannot wait to visit again. We had an amazing vacation, and I’d truly recommend that anyone considering making the trip goes for it! Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the photos below.

More Cool Pictures From Our Trip

Marriott Grosvenor Square

London Red Phone Booth

Thriller Live London

Adobe Summit PPC Ian

Adobe Summit EMEA 2014

Disclaimer: Not a licensed investment advisor. This is not investment advice. Just for entertainment purposes.
Full Disclosure: Long DANOY

All images in this post © PPCIan.com