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The Housekeeper’s Digital Purse: Algorithms in My Pocket

March 9th, 2019 by Michael Dyet


Hmmm, can I manipulate the power of algorithms to my financial advantage?

We are living in an era when our every digital step is observed and recorded. This data is consumed by algorithms which digest it and spit out predictions of what products or services in which we theoretically will be interested.

Case in point. I recently posted a blog article which referenced the self-serve investment company Questrade and the flat rate real estate agency Purple Bricks. Since that post went up, my Facebook feed has been populated with commercial posts for these two companies.

Mind you, in that article, I expressed my dislike for these two companies. So the posts that pop up for them only irritate me. If the technical wizards are listening (and they always are), you need to refine your algorithms to take into account the tone of my references.

But since lurking algorithms are a fact of life, perhaps I can manipulate them to my advantage.

I would very much like to win a million dollars. Half a million would also be nice and I could make do nicely with a quarter million. I do not want to be bombarded with ads or posts for lottery tickets. But I would very much like to receive a post in which an algorithm predicts the winning number in the next Lotto 649 jackpot.

Of course, this would only be helpful to me if I was the only one who received this ad as it rather defeats the purpose if a boatload of people get the same post.

My car is getting on in years. I do not foresee having the funds to buy a new(er) car in the near future. While I do not want to be inundated with posts from car dealerships. I would be happy to receive posts from dealerships which have a new car on the lot which they need to get rid of, to make room for the new models, and are interested in giving away that car for free.

In this brutal winter we are having, I would love to get away to the sunny south for a week. I cannot afford to buy a trip package. But I would be happy to receive posts from vacation companies who have one slot left in an all-inclusive package they need to clear out and want to give away to a deserving consumer to round out the campaign.

You can see a trend. I have plenty of wishes but not much money to use to make them come true. In these situations, I find that liquor can be a useful coping mechanism. It occurs to me that wineries probably have occasions where something goes awry in the production process. The resulting batch is below standards which would hurt the winery’s reputation if it was sold.

In this situation, I would be happy to receive posts from wineries with a few cases of wine to give away gratis. I am prepared to drive a considerable distance on short notice to help the winery out and pick up a few cases for my personal consumption.

I have heard the metaphor of The Housekeeper’s Purse used to explain the basic economic principle that you cannot spend more than you can earn. But perhaps I can manipulate the millions of algorithms out there to refine that metaphor.

The Housekeeper’s Digital Purse: You can spend more than you earn if you are paying with a purse full of algorithms. Certainly worth a try. Wish me luck!

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at or the novel online companion at

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Millensenly Mar 21, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    Wow! Thank you! I continuously needed to write on my website something like that. Can I take a part of your post to my site?