The Mice Ate My Plan

“The best laid schemes o’ mice and men                                                                                         Gang aft agley”                                                                                                                               Robert Burns    1785

This was not the post that I started to write for today.  That post is hanging in my ‘draft’ file and may or may not make it here.

But my friend Andrew Stark wrote this post.  Yes, take the time to read it, it will open in a new window and will show you, in less than 500 words, how to make money in this venue. You don’t have time to read 500 words?  Shame on you.

Then my friend John Brewer published this post. Another one you ought to read.

In fact, if you find yourself in the second post and not in the first, you have some questions to ask.  Like “What the Hell am I doing, anyway?”

I’m just sayin’

 

The BEST Autoresponder

So. It’s my opinion that the single most needed tool in this business is an autoresponder. The reason we always hear “the money is in the list” is because it is true. And to build a list you need an autoresponder.

Rocket Responder. TimTech’s autoresponder. The guys at TT have done a simply amazing job here, and what exists today is a polished, high functioning piece of gear.

It is a piece of gear. An autoresponder is utterly necessary to anyone that wants/needs to do business with email. RR is the third AR that I have used, and is much the best of them.

It is absolutely made for a blogger. Made for. There simply isn’t a better way to notify your subscribers to your blog, and hasn’t been anything like it since Google cancelled their RSS reader.

Rocket Responder is not only built for building a list, it is very reasonably priced. And the first 30 days are FREE! It is stone cold simple to use, much easier than anything else I have tried. Much easier.

So. You know you need it, you know that you want it. Have I got a deal for you! Sign up for Rocket Responder and I will give you a free upgrade at Your EMail Series. YEMS was built by the genius Sunny Suggs and gives you step by step instruction for building your list.  Her sentences have verbs in them like:  Do this, Next do, You must.  Very straightforward and simple.

It’s a natural pair, RR and YEMS. Both great products, and you get 30 days of RR absolutely free and a free upgrade at YEMS 30 days is plenty of time to get your list started.

Isn’t it time? If not now, when?

All you have to do is click on one of the Rocket Responder links and then subscribe to the List when you are offered the choice. I promise you it isn’t a spam list, it will be used only to get you the upgrade I promised:)

I’m just sayin’

The Curious Case of Daniel Goettman

Consider the case of Daniel Goettman. He looks reasonably normal, his children certainly look normal, he has a job and a family and a house. All the normal stuff.

But we need to look at his undershirt and see if it has the Superman S on it.

Eighteen months ago, he was just normal as pie. The first time I ever bumped into him was when he answered a support ticket at Top Hits 4 U, his brother Eric’s terrific Traffic Exchange. It turns out that I wanted to do something that wasn’t readily doable at TH4U, and that Eric had just hired/convinced/cajoled/threatened him into doing support.

He took real good care of me, got me fixed up just the way I wanted to be, and promised changes at TH4U to be able to do what I wished. All in all, a very good support episode from my perspective.

But nothing in that encounter that hinted at what was to come.

A few months ago I got an invite from Eric to alpha test a new website. Did I want to alpha a new Goettman project? Does a bear do his deal in the woods?

Eric gave me a brief synopsis of the site, and I had to tell him, honestly, that I wasn’t a gamer and probably would much get into a role playing TE, but I would be happy to give it a test ride or two.

Boy was I wrong.

Turns out It was/is Lords of Lothar, which has only just revolutionized all ideas about the TE industry. And there was Daniel listed as owner. Made me happy, I figured I could suck up to Daniel as a new owner because we had already met. And I was completely sure that it was really Eric’s project…

Wrong again.

Not that Eric didn’t help, not that Eric didn’t do plenty, but this was Daniel’s all the way. He did much of the coding and tweaking and mistake fixing and all the stuff that goes into making a website of this magnitude. So, he’s a genius coder, that’s no big deal.

Steerriike three.

Daniel LEARNED the code necessary to get this complex site up in much less than 18 months.

Did you get that? Daniel LEARNED how to code so he could do it himself.

He isn’t a prodigy that has had a keyboard in hand since age 4. He doesn’t have a college certificate in any computer language that I know of. He’s just a regular guy that learned to code and then built a large active website in about a year. Nothing to it.

Let me see here, somewhere in my pile of excuses is the one where ‘I can’t do that! I can’t code a lick.’

I’m just sayin’

Mentor of Mine

This shapes up to be one of those ‘personal’ posts as opposed to ‘business like’. We will see.

I mentioned a mentor in my last post (Je Suis Charlie) that happened to be a Muslim. The post itself made me think of him and others in my life, and just how fortunate I have been to have these people in my life right when I needed them.

Abdullah Bin Adam was not born to the faith,and that was not his given name. In fact, he was born quite some distance from it.

He had started out on the docks and ended up owning a shipyard in the greater Seattle area where he mostly worked on fishing trawlers and some pleasure boats. His yard could handle anything up to 100’ in length, a pretty big deal.

It’s a rough and tumble life on the docks. You have to be as good with your fists as you are with your hands. The primary language is pretty coarse, to say the very least. It is survival of the fittest, and not a particularly good fit for a man of peace.

It turns out that Abdullah may have had a bit too much to drink a time or two, and he lost EVERYTHING. He was given a copy of the Koran shortly after he first sobered up. He read it, asked some questions and made a fundamental change in his life. And I do mean fundamental.

He not only helped me in my journey to put alcohol and drugs behind me, he taught me much about life in general. He still knew the language, and I’ll bet if need be could have whipped his weight in wildcats, but his life focus had changed.

His biggest gift to me was the concept of Inshallah. Rough translation is ‘In Service to God’, but he explained it to me in language I could understand, something like this:

“You do something for somebody, you see. A favor or a good turn or maybe a few bucks in a time of need. But you can’t tell ANYBODY what you have done. God already knows, and you lose all your brownie points if you brag about it”.

So, I guess there really are some business lessons here.

You can ALWAYS help somebody with something. It isn’t really important what the thing may be, what is important is that you give of yourself.
It’s NEVER too late to change. What you were yesterday has very little to do with what you shall be tomorrow if you make the effort to make a change.
It doesn’t matter where you started, it’s where you end up that counts.

I’m just sayin’

Je Suis Charlie

I am Charlie

That is the English translation of the title of this post.

Je Suis Charlie

I’ve started this post enough times that the news that spawned it has become rather stale, but still I need to talk about Charlie.

Charlie Hebdo is the name of a French satirical Newspaper. You might remember that the offices in Paris were raided one morning by Muslim thugs who proceeded to call out and kill multiple employees. An all in all extraordinarily bloody act remarkable in the degree of cowardice that the killers showed.

What was the motivation? According to the killers, Charlie Hebdo had parodied the Prophet Muhammad and the employees that participated in the article needed to die. Along with a few others, probably just for the sport of it.

I don’t know about you, I don’t know about anybody but me, but my God is larger than that, and has no need for humans to carry out that sort of vengeance. Really? Why would it be necessary to send humans to do that deed? Really?

That isn’t the point. Neither is this a forum for Muslim bashing. I have friends that are Muslims, that truly serve Islam. One of the great mentors of my life was a Sunni Muslim. Don’t even begin to go there with me.

No. The point is, Je Suis Charlie is more than a slogan, it is a way of standing up to some of the foulness that exists in our world. I am Charlie. Means that I am part of that, I chose to be. Come for us all, there will be even more.

You see, I know I am just dumb ass out in the far reaches of the Sonoran desert. But with Je Suis Charlie I am linked to people all over the world.

I AM Charlie.

I’m just sayin’

Net Neutrality

Neuter your pets, not the internet.

The FCC has spoken after many months and it seems to be a huge win for ‘net neutrality’ advocates.

For better or worse, the US dominates the internet and regulation there of. It may not be the best possible system, but it is the system that is in use. I won’t for a minute say that it is right that the Federal Communications Commission sets the rules for the world wide web, but that is simply the way it is.

The FCC has decided to treat ISPs like providers in the 1934 Communications Act. Which is a really good deal for those of us who worried about a ‘tiered internet’ with many of us being relegated to the slow lane wihile the money players went fast. If this goes through, it should do that, protect you and I from a tier system. A net very good thing.

But is the FCC and Title II the right answer? I really hate to see the FCC have very much power over the innerwebs, also.

Do you remember TV censorship as late as 2001?
Do you remember the ‘profanity ban’ on TV?

What happens to our internet when the American people elect a deep south Southern Baptist that is convinced that ‘Damm*^ Frank. That suc^%s and fu!@#s” should be reduced to a continuous beep going to feel about an open internet? Probably not as free as we know it today.

On the whole, something needs to be done. Currently, internet regulation is left to the suppliers and providers. I mean, it worked out well for us when the Mortgage Bankers ran the credit business, didn’t it? Or when Wall Street self regulated? That was fine, wasn’t it?

So. We need regulation and oversight. No question. The problem with a Federal Commission handling it is that it can quite literally take decades to make any major changes.

<sigh> I guess the best thing to say is that it could have been worse and wonder if it will BECOME worse. And that is the never poplular long-view on things. We can always hope that the FCC gets it right the first time.

I’m not sure

I’m just sayin’

Opinion Extraordinaire

New Player

This isn’t what I had planned today at all. I had an incredibly witty post about something crafted in my mind, and then I checked my email one more time.

There was a notice of the first review at opinion writers dot com from my friend Matt Badura. Wow! There is a new player in our world today. Matter of fact, there is a new game. This is just incredible.

You can (and should) read this for yourself right here. Be sure to sign up for email notifications while you are there, just in case the next one is anywhere near as good as this.

Beautifully written, logically crafted, well stated. There is simply no doubt in my mind that I have moved one notch down the ‘best one million blog writers’ list today. It’s epic.

Now for the rest of the story (Sorry Mr. Harvey. I couldn’t help myself).

How many of you heard of Matt Badura one year ago? I knew him very casually because he had a name that I could remember and he was hanging around TE Live on a regular basis, making himself known in chat. And just not much else.

What happened?

CTP Teams. Matt jumped in RIGHT AWAY and organized a pretty decent crew that you might have heard of, SurfAholicsAlpha. Yes. The guys that beat my team out of everything but their lives. One of two teams that has never been relegated to the Competitive League (care to guess the other? :))

As the leader and most visible member of the SAAs, Matt quickly cut his chops in TE Land. He has been an absolute fixture right from the first day. Stamped himself as a huge action taker and ultimate capable leader in this business.

In a surprise move, Matt retired as leader of the SAAs in January. Instead of being like an old plow horse put out to pasture, we see this in less than ONE MONTH. Wow. Just wow.

The obvious question is ‘What is holding YOU back?’ Maybe even more germain is “What is holding ME back?”

So the next time you hear somebody question the validity or need or possibility of CTP Teams I want you to imagine the sun glasses encased vision of Matt Badura. Yep, you know the one.

CTP teams is a playground that is filled with endless possibility. If you chose to work the Badura model, it will work just fine. It’s not the only one. It is simply up to you.

I’m just sayin’

The Perfect Offer

What makes the perfect offer?

I think it is really subjective and individual. What is the perfect offer for me right now might not be the perfect offer for you ever. I suspect it is a moving target that is never hit with any consistency. But every once in a while…

I think I have a really good offer going right now, might even be perfect for the right people. I am offering free upgrades at Your E Mail Series and TrackeryMe to anybody that will sign up to Rocket Responder and/or trck.me under me. What with all the XP and bonuses and such going on right now, it is a serious chance to learn how to use your new tools. You can see it here.

But it’s not really the perfect offer. I’m getting to that….

I need to remind you that I am now into my 51st year of riding a motorcycle. It is truly my first love, and a lifelong pursuit. I have lusted for a great many motorcycles in those years, from the first (1968 Harley Davidson Night Train) to today’s lust for a new Connie. The most consistent lust through all those years has been Ducati. A smallish Italian company, they just keep building motorcycles that are just over the cutting edge. I have a minimum 45 year lust for one Duc or another.

4 years ago, I got my first Ducati. The very first MultiStrada, the 620. In my mind, it is the DSC_0004-1most beautiful motorcycle ever built (see for yourself. This was mine) I traded a Suzuki BKing for it (and the fool gave ME cash). Yes it was too small for me, I weigh almost as much as the bike does. Yes it was maintenance intensive. Yes, it went through tires like it was alergic to them. It was a Ducati. My Ducati.

And then I hurt my back. I was over a year without being able to work at anything (or even really ride a motorcycle, DSC_0001though I did). I am self employed, and I had 0 income over that time. The Duc was much the most sellable possession that I had, and it was the first to go. It was the only piece of machinery that I had named. Pato Rojo (Red Duck). My lust goes on for ANOTHER Ducati.

Which brings me to the perfect offer. It came innocently enough in an email from Motorcycle Classics, a magazine and website that I frequent. 2 guys have written a coffee table book dealing with the whole 60 years that Ducati has been in business.

I know it is too expensive at $60. I know I don’t need another ‘research volume’ and certainly don’t need one on Ducati.

But it was the perfect offer. I hope it gets here soon.

I’m just sayin’

Refrigerator Magnets

Disclaimer: If you came looking for a business related blog post, sorry. It’s not.  I wrote this a while back, and really like it.  I’m going to post it on my Motorcycle Blog, also…  I hope you enjoy the ride…

We were talking about refrigerator magnets, right?

Yeah, I used to buy them for my mother when I traveled. It was a thing I could bring home to her because they packed small (I don’t think she ever wore the Sturgis shirt I brought her) and Mom loved to travel so she’d look at the magnets and imagine the place…Worked out real good for both of us.

Any way, I was out on I-90 when I saw the green clouds with flat bottoms and knew I was about to get in trouble. I picked up the pace a little (rural South Dakota. Not many police) and ran hard to get in front of the storm.

I did, and eased back down near the speed limit after about 100 miles. Decided I needed a smoke and water, so stopped at Fort Something or Other. Got my water, had a smoke and went in to BS the shopkeeper when I saw them. Refrigerator magnets. All 50 states sorted by state. I was standing there trying to decide if I only needed the ones I had already been to or buy forward for the whole trip. Decisions, decisions.

Then the place rattled. My first thought was earthquake, but then the sign blew off the front of the store. The damn storm had caught me again. I saddled up and was gone in 30 seconds, running hard again.

I planned to camp at Badlands NP that night, so pulled off at the eastern exit for the Park. Got gas and water and a couple hot dogs at the store there. I was just about ready to roll when another one rolled in. A long rider, no doubt.

I went and visited for a few minutes, then headed South to the campground. My guy pulled in about a half hour later. I set my tent extra careful knowing the storm was coming. It actually passed by about 50 miles away, and was beautiful from the campground.Sundown in Camp

I had my stuff torn down and packed long before sun up. I drank coffee until it was light enough to see. I carried my ‘left over’ coffee up to my new friend and got moving. I took a couple hundred pictures in the next 3 hours, and wobbled into Wall, SD hungry and ready for more coffee.

I chose a restaurant right across the street from World Famous Wall Drug. Well, in all honesty, everything in Wall is across the street from Wall Drug. It covers 2 city blocks, and there just really isn’t much more that isn’t across the street from the Drug Store. Anyway, I bought a local paper, took in my maps and found a table in the back near where the locals sit.

I hadn’t even gotten coffee when my buddy from the night before wandered in and joined me. We were having a very pleasant visit when a guy walked in, walked right up to us and flipped us the bird. Yep, middle finger about a foot long with a great big grin behind it. I started to be offended until my friend flipped him back. Then I remembered ‘The Adventure Rider’s Salute’ I got my ‘wave’ up in time to not be considered rude. The guy visited for a couple of minutes then joined the locals table.

So. We ordered our breakfast from a cute farm girl (aren’t all waitresses in SD farm girls??) and talked routing. I was headed for Leadville, Co next, but my friend warned me off. Said there was a super marathon (100 miles at over 7000’ elevation) and his wife was running in it. He was going to pace her a ways, and then they were headed for Canada for a week on the Beemer…

We were just about done with breakfast when I mentioned the refrigerator magnets. He said “I’ll bet they have them across the street in Wall Drug.”

And that’s why I was a day late getting home. Refrigerator magnets.

I’m just sayin’

Time In

OK. Confession time. This is the column that I intended to write when I started the last one that I wrote. That one spooled off in it’s own direction, I’ll try to stay closer to the line with this one. Thank you for your patience.

Time. A very limited commodity. Depending on what you are doing, available time can get to be incredibly short.

Take advertising, for instance. I have read many studies and surveys that claim you have less than half a second to capture your intended target with an ad.

Half a second. Everything clearly points to that time frame. If your website doesn’t load in less than half a second your click off rate will go WAY up. This is a ‘hurry up’ industry.

We are a little lucky here in TE land simply because of the way TEs work. Almost every one has a ‘pick up tray’ that opens the next site while the current site is being shown. How long is it? Think of how long you hear the ‘bomb’ beeping at the Legacy sites and TERL. That particular site loads REAL quick so you have an easy time knowing how long the ‘pickup’ lasts.

Which means that when I click the surf icon your site comes right up. It’s been ready for at least a couple of seconds. The viewer gets to see your ad in all it’s glory right away. (Your ads DO have glory, don’t they??} You have at least 2 seconds for your ad to be up and running when the intended target opens it. A great deal.

That brings me to the point, finally. If you have an advertisement that viewers need to wait for you are wasting your credits, time and money. It is incredibly stupid. Stupid.

Let me give you a hint. Those incredibly complex backgrounds that look so marevelous after 10 seconds? Get rid of them. Putting multiple banners (all hosted at a different place) in one advertising block? Dopey. They NEVER load on time. Video that takes of 1 second to load and play? CHOP. If your video takes over a second to load, either make it smaller or reduce the quality.

OK, granted it’s your time and money. You can do what you want with it. But if you insist on wasting it on ads no one will look at, why not send it to me? I won’t make that particular mistake.

I’m just sayin’