Category Archives: My Ideas, Strategies, & Plans

Just Some General Notes

It is immensely satisfying to me when I say something on Facebook or Twitter about a particular subject, and a recognised expert in that field “amplifies” what I said by repeating it and mentioning my by name or link.

It is also immensely satisfying when someone I admire or respect follows me, or sends me a friend request.

Accordingly, I try to think about the other side of this. When my friends think of me as an expert or authority on a subject, and one of them says something on that subject, I consider “amplifying” it myself. Similarly, I keep an eye on the “People you might know” column in Facebook, and when someone pops up that I’ve got as a customer or have seen wandering around in the same circles I do… I send a friend request.

Whenever I go to Klout, I scan through and click the people who influence me. I make sure to distribute all my +K. Because it makes me feel good when I see someone say I influence them and give me +K in “Business,” which is them saying I influence their business decisions. That’s what I do. It’s nice knowing that it’s noticed and appreciated by an actual human being who opened his mouth and said something.

I click the “Like” button frequently. I retweet and @reply often. I +1 people’s posts on G+ whenever I go there. I leave a lot of comments. I click through a lot of links.

Because that is why I post on Facebook and Twitter and Google+ in the first place:  so  people will like it, and share it, and respond to it.

That is almost certainly why other people post on it, too. They want that little charge of “someone noticed!” when the notification pops up. They want a little attention. It makes them happy. And if you’re the one giving them the attention, then you start to make them happy.

“Attention is the currency of the future.” David Shapiro said that many, many years ago. It has become a mantra for me, almost on par with “Most ignorance is willful.”

Yesterday, a friend of mine posted on another friend’s Facebook wall. He said what amounted to “I don’t see any value in our friendship,” and in his explanation, I could see why.

There was no interaction. She was not liking and sharing and commenting and clicking through. Just posting her own shit, for others to like and share and comment and click.

Someone once said “It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.” I think it was John Andrew Holmes, Jr. – it’s quoted in Brendon Burchard’s book, which is linked on the sidebar, I believe at the beginning of the chapter on Connection. (It might be the chapter on Caring.)  Social media are supposed to be, well, social – which means maybe you stop talking about yourself once in a while, and interact with others.

In fact, maybe you should do a lot more interacting than talking about yourself.

Brendon Burchard’s Latest

I’ve got a copy of Brendon Burchard’s The Charge over here which I’ve had for a couple weeks, but didn’t get around to reading until I had that massive do-nothing day interviewing at Microsoft for a position that it turned out I couldn’t have on a bet. (I can’t discuss it in any meaningful way, because of nondisclosure.)

So for the next couple weeks, I’m going to be posting my thoughts on Burchard’s ten fundamental human drives… dealing with the five “baseline” drives first, then the five “forward” drives, with a slight break in between for Music Video Saturday and a midpoint commentary.

I’m a fan of Brendon’s, and tend to buy whatever he puts out at the drop of a hat. He’s a smart guy, and this is a smart book.

The basic idea of the book is that we’ve all got unprecedented access to information and tools and awesome shit we could do these days, and yet most of us are deeply unhappy and unfulfilled. I’ve been wrestling with this ever since… well, honestly, ever since I first realised my wife didn’t give a shit whether I ever got my business back off the ground again.

Burchard divides people’s lives into three types: the caged life, where you feel trapped and unable to accomplish anything; the comfortable life, where you have pretty much everything you need but aren’t really making much of a mark in the world; and the charged life, where you’re kicking arse and taking names and everything is awesome.

Most of the world is divided pretty evenly into the “caged” and “comfortable” camps. When I first got into the internet marketing world, I was very much in a “caged” life; now, I’m even more effectively caged, since my wife had been in a “comfortable” life and repaid me for my efforts  by pulling everything down around our ears in a desperate effort to make me abandon what I was trying to do.

Selfish, lazy, ignorant, and mean. “I want my life to stay exactly the way it is! But I’m not going to work for what I want! And I won’t talk to anybody about it, either! I’m just going to ruin everything for everybody else!”

But what isn’t dealt with very much in Brendon’s book – largely because, like me, he probably can’t entirely fathom the idea – is that an awful lot of people don’t want a charged life. The comfortable life, where they don’t make a difference, is all they really want in the first place. Because people are selfish, lazy, ignorant, and mean.

Making a difference is based on a fundamental idea of serving others. Brendon gets this. I get this. A lot of really great teachers and mentors and gurus get this. And when you really dig into it, you’ll find out that they are almost universally… religious people.

There’s no single common thread of religion. Burchard is a christian. I’m Jewish (Music Video Saturday is actually an observation of the Sabbath). Many other people have been Buddhists or followers of Islam. But when you really look at the greatest role models in the world, almost all of them are religious in some way or other. It’s very rare for them to be atheist or agnostic, and even when they are, they usually have a religious upbringing which instructed and informed their values.

I don’t believe this is a coincidence. Religion often rests on the idea that you have a duty to share your good fortune with the world – to help others whenever you can. And without a deep conviction that you need to help others, most people won’t do it if it’s even mildly inconvenient.

So Here’s Some Productive Shit

I’ve been talking about this a little lately, so I thought I’d drag it over to the blog.

The basic philosophy I’m working on right now goes like this:

– Product line

– Community site

– Flagship product

– Live event

If that sounds familiar, it’s because this is more or less the exact same progression Brendon Burchard lays out in The Millionaire Messenger.

What it’s missing is the fifth step of a coaching program, because I don’t want to do a traditional coaching program – and I don’t want to tell you what I am doing, either. There are too many buttfucking sons of whores out there who will rush out a shitty version of it, teaching the market that this entire class of products sucks before I have the chance to do it right.

See, that’s another thing about doing anything new and different. You only get a couple chances to do it. Especially when it’s radical and strange and there’s nothing else like it out there. People are, after all, resistant to change and unforgiving of new ideas.

Once upon a time, we had this wonderful technology come out where machines could talk to you. And the first thing we did with it was make funky fake swear words come out of a Q*Bert machine. But then, we made the Black Knight pinball machine threaten and taunt you as you played. And then we brought it out into the adult world by putting it in the Aries K Car.

So assuming you remember the Aries K Car, what is the one thing you most remember about it?

“A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar…”

If you are lucky enough not to remember this, let me help you imagine it: this is the same saccharine-sweet female voice that says “your call is important to us” while you are on hold listening to a fucking forty-minute flute solo.

Actually, if you don’t remember the Aries K Car, you probably don’t know what saccharine is either.

Basically, the car would tell you if the door was not securely closed, which of course is all well and good because who wants to drive down the street with their doors open?

And the way the car could tell if the door was not securely closed was that a little switch was closed. As in, conducting electricity. Because when you closed the door, it pushed on a little spring that opened up the switch.

Usually.

That switch didn’t open up very far, you see. So the difference between “shut” and “ajar” was about 1/32 of an inch. If it rained, a drop of water could get into the switch and prevent it from ever opening. If it was hot and dry, the seal around the door could shrink, and then the door would never open the switch. And over time, the hinges on the door would loosen up enough that… you guessed it.

“A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar. A door is ajar…”

For-fucking-ever.

So now, we can’t have talking cars. We couldn’t use voice in a car again until GPS systems came out, because it’s not a talking car, it’s just some shit that’s talking IN your car. The same thing happens over and over again in every industry.

Which is why most of my products to date aren’t revolutionary, just evolutionary. The revolutionary shit is in the batting box waiting for people to say “wait, this stuff is fucking badass.” Because if people can’t appreciate what I’m doing now, they will NEVER grok what I’m doing next.

So WTF Is Up?

It’s now been about a month and a half since I dropped off the radar.

There’s an old saying that if you want people to appreciate what you do, first you need to stop doing it.

For the past year, I’ve been broadcasting live as much as twenty hours a week. I’ve responded rapidly to Skype requests and participated heavily in both masterminds and forums. I’ve released several products which got great reviews, but which people didn’t really buy as much as I’d have liked.

Nobody seems to appreciate the amount of work that goes into these things.

An hour of live broadcasting requires between three and five hours of preparation. I dropped down to four hours a week for this exact reason: I simply didn’t have time to work the equivalent of two full-time jobs for the sake of a free broadcast. Even then, my broadcasts on TalkMarketingNow were basically a part-time job for which I never got paid.

Don’t get me wrong.

I love TMN, I love George, and I love my audience.

But the simple fact is, I need to get paid.

If I don’t get paid, I don’t eat.

And the reason I don’t get paid is, basically, I give away too much free shit.

I can’t count the number of nights people told me “this show could have been a product.” Granted, they’re full of shit, because I’ve turned the shows into products before and nobody bought them. Of course, if I turned products into shows, people showed up. If I gave products away, people took them. And those products would show up on pirate sites within the hour.

Because, you know, people do that shit.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not bitching that pirate sites exist, or that people are always stealing shit. That’s life. You can’t stop this sort of thing from happening, and no matter how much you shake your fist and scream about it being wrong, a larger and larger proportion of pirates just look at you and scratch their heads… because they don’t see what’s wrong about it.

If I buy a real book, I can give it to my friend when I’m done with it, right? Well, I’m done with this, so I can give it to my friend. I mean, why else would I have paid five times as much as a real book? I can buy, say, Drew Eric Whitman’s Ca$hvertising for under ten bucks. You charged me $47 for your ebook.

Are you telling me your stupid ebook is five times better than one of the top 20 advertising books on Amazon?

Of course not. If it was, you’d write a real book. And it would probably cost less than $10.

Let me be blunt.

Selling bits is stupid.

It is extremely fucking trivial to get your shit off the damn computer and into the real world.

The technology is not the problem. It is not – and honestly never has been – about how to get your ideas from your business into the hands of a customer. There are service bureaus doing this stuff all day long, and doing it shit-cheap.

You want a paperback book? CreateSpace will do that. Hardback? Lulu will do that. CD or DVD? The industry standard is Kunaki. Want that disk pasted in the back of a book? Vervante.

This ebook stuff is bullshit.

System Sixty Updates

There’s been some speculation about what I’m doing now that System Sixty is cancelled.

Let me clarify that a little: the System Sixty ebooks through Mooshpay are cancelled.

I’m moving the series to physical books through Amazon. Probably publishing through Lulu, potentially through Vervante. (Vervante l0oks like maybe they can bundle DVDs into the book on demand, so I can add video training.) CreateSpace is an outside possibility.

This was always part of the plan. I’m just dumping the “stupid ebook” portion of it. I was thinking about doing Kindle books, but then I had a few conversations with Brad Gosse about his Chronic Marketer book.

The blunt reality is that nobody respects ebooks. And given their long history, it is looking like nobody ever will. You get no authority, no respect from an ebook. Any dickhole can cut a PDF on their computer.

So there’s no Kindle version of Chronic Marketer, because Kindle versions don’t matter. They don’t mean shit. Sure, you can make some money with them. Sure, you can get a customer base that way. But nobody will know your name, OR the name of your stupid ebook.

They just have “this ebook by some guy.”

So when you say “I’m so and so!” nobody knows who the fuck that is.

And when you say “I wrote XYZ!” nobody knows what the fuck that is, either.

The best you can do is “I’m that guy who wrote that ebook!” and nobody fucking cares.

True story: I was on TalkMarketingNow one night, doing my show, and I said “hardly anybody can teach writing effectively.” And someone said that maybe I couldn’t, but he had this ebook that did a really good job and had great examples. And after insulting me for being such a complete retard and not knowing about it, he finally dug up the title – The .357 Article Method.

You know the punch line to this, right?

I fucking wrote that ebook. Two years ago.

See how far it got me? That guy didn’t have The .357 Article Method by Caliban Darklock. He just had this ebook by some guy.

And when you think about it, that’s all you have sitting all over your hard drive, too. Sure, there are a few people you know. I’m quite aware of the ebooks I’ve bought from Teresa Miller, Tanner Larsson, Mike Carraway, John Ritskowitz (RIP), Eric Louviere, and a whole slew of others. But do you know why?

Because I know these people. Like, personally. I didn’t buy their ebooks off a sales page. I was in a chat room with them and they said “hey, I just released this new ebook.” So I went and bought it, frequently without even knowing what it was about. Because they were my friends.

Did we become better friends when I bought their ebooks? No. Do I remember the names of the ebooks? No. I remember the subjects. Wait, I remember John Ritz called his The Six-Figure List. I bought PLR to that one. And I remember it because it is the single finest ebook I have ever seen in my damn life.

So I’m not doing this ebook shit anymore. Because of all the ebooks from all the people that are sitting all over my hard drive, I remember the title and author for exactly one of them… and, unlike most people, I actually give a shit about those things.

Some Bullshit I Used To Believe

There are a lot of people out there who have been saying that you don’t have to finish your entire product before you sell it – just 10% of the content. Then you drip out the rest of it over time.

But see, here’s the problem with that. If you release your product and it gets hundreds of sales, that’s great. You’ve just financed the other 90% of the product. Sure.

So how about if you only sell one or two copies?

Guess what! You’re now on the hook to develop the rest of the product. Whether it’s worth your time or not. Even if you got a tiny little 0.5% conversion rate on this shitty product (we all fuck up now and then), the little bunch of customers you can count on one hand has paid their money and expects you to deliver.

That’s like the shittiest test strategy ever. “I’m not sure this will work. I’m going to try it out, and if it doesn’t work I’m going to keep doing it anyway.”

That’s why I designed System Sixty the way I did. Each volume stands alone. If one of them doesn’t sell, that’s fine – the rest can be made or not at my option. If the whole series doesn’t garner any interest, I can trash the whole thing.

In any case, buying one volume doesn’t mean you get anything else. So the job’s done – I’ve delivered on my promise and you’ve gotten what you paid for.

I don’t really like this drip-feed thing unless everything’s already done. If I’m going to sell you thirty daily lessons in something or other, then I’d better have thirty lessons in-hand and ready to pass over to you. Because if I just make three of them and then say “I’d like to cash in now!” there’s a solid chance I won’t get a lot of sales… but I still have to finish the series.

It seems like a great idea when you’re making up in your head that hundreds of people will buy your shit, but it kind of isn’t when you drop your product on the market and only four people actually buy it.

People talk a lot about positive thinking and just having faith and trust that whatever you do is going to work, but the reality is that you have to do risk management. You think this is going to happen? Great! I hope it does.

But what if you don’t get that?

What if you get, you know, the opposite of that?

I’m not trying to bring you down here. It’s just reality: not everything you do is going to work. If something doesn’t work, what are you going to do? What does that mean? How can you get through it, and past it, and keep going… when it all goes wrong?

Pretending it won’t isn’t a strategy. It might be less stressful and more pleasant, but it’s just plain not going to work. Sooner or later you will fail. But that’s only going to be the end of the world if you let it.

Being Productive and Shit

There’s a very real productive way to use the bullshit math approach to business that all the gurus use.

See, if you look into Brendon Burchard’s products, he takes “I can only do this little thing” and builds it up into how you can do fucking incredible shit with that one little thing.

And if you look into Frank Kern’s products, he takes “I want all this expensive shit” and breaks it down into how much all that shit costs. Then he starts dividing it up and saying “here is what you have to do to get there.”

And if you put both of these things together, you can break all the expensive shit you want into little things you can actually accomplish.

But what they don’t say out loud is that neither of these things will get shit done. They’re yardsticks. If you have this little thing, and you want to know what big thing is getting done with it, then you look at the reality of what you are doing and do the math to see where it takes you. And if you want expensive shit, then you look at where it is taking you and say “when does that get me all my expensive shit?”

But Frank and Brendon like to just make shit up. Why, imagine that you had a $297 product. You would just need to make one sale a day, and that would be a hundred thousand dollars a year. You can do that, right? Who can’t do that?

Not so fucking fast. The word “imagine” literally means “make shit up.” What you have here is a prerequisite – first, you have to make a $297 product. And then you have to sell one every single day. Neither one of those things just happens.

But you can use it as a yardstick. If you want to make a hundred thousand dollars a year, you need to sell $297 worth of products on the average day.

So how many products do you sell on the average day, and what do they cost?

Let’s say you’ve got a $7 report that people buy once a week on the average. That’s $1 a day, or $365 a year, and if you divide your desired income by that… you’ll know how many more reports just like that you will need to write.

The key to any of these things is to divide up the thing you need to happen in a way that comes down to something you need to do. And it has to be something you can control.

Let’s take the $297 product idea. Yes, you can make a $297 product. But you can’t sell a copy of it every single day without having a customer who will buy it every single day.

That’s not under your control.

There are things you can make happen, and things you have to let happen. Know the difference, and make the former happen while you let the latter.