Meeting Up is Not so Very Hard to Do

meeting upSo. I’m on vacation. Everybody expects a lame blog post, right? I’ll try real hard not to disappoint:)

Meeting Up

I went to Chewelah Wa, yesterday with the express purpose of meeting Marcus Wahl of the Legacy Team. I was stylishly late, but made it in time to join him on the CSN Spreecast. I got to join in on a couple of discussions about the business, and I got to explain and apologize for the column I wrote about CSN that was less than flattering. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I had a great time.

But. I didn’t go there to be on a popular spreecast with four of the big dogs in this industry. I went to meet Marcus Wahl. Trying to guess personality and personability online is a fool’s errand. You can guess at it, but you can’t guess right.

Why does that matter?

You gotta press the flesh. You have to get close enough to see and feel. Skype video is good, and it goes a long way towards really knowing someone, but up close and personal is so much better.

Does this mean Marcus and I are friends? I don’t know. We are certainly not enemies, and at the very least, the basis is there for a friendship. Did you know that Marcus is a tennis player?

What does it mean?

Does this mean that I want to meet each and everyone of you? Well, at least in my case, yes. I am in the process of formulating a strategy that I can meet more people that I work intimately with.

Some I know better than others, already. Let’s take Janelle, Lynn M and Sunny for instance. When I meet them, I already know I am going to like them. Even if they have green things growing out between their teeth, I’m going to be just fine with them. My only worry is that I will measure up.

Meeting Up Again

So. There are a few people in SoCal and Phoenix that I would really like to meet. I’ll work on them, next. I think it is important, this face to face. The more people I can meet up with, the more people I know. The more people that I know, the wider my circle. The wider my circle, the more I make. The more I make, the farther I can go to meet people. Simple, isn’t it?

And In the End
I want to ride more. What better excuse than to be meeting someone that I know online?

I’m just sayin’

The Reason Why

The Reason WhyThis is brought to you from beautiful, exotic Jackpot, Nevada. I am in the process of going to see my Mother and to attend a family reunion.

The Reason Why.

Everyone needs a reason why they work. It’s not just about making money, that just isn’t good enough to get me out of bed every day. No, it’s about what you and I do with that money that makes the reason why we get after it like we do.

My reason is simple enough. It’s posted semi permanently just above my whiteboard. “I just want to ride.
When I want
Where I want
How I want.”

That’s it. So here I am, 800 miles from home, just me and my motorcycle. I got to ride the entire length of Eastern Nevada yesterday, from the pointed end all the way to Idaho. I’ll be in Idaho within 2 minutes of starting out this morning.

I don’t think that most of you realize just how sparsely settled and traveled some parts of the west really are. I was on US 93 almost all day yesterday, and there were times that I would go 20 miles without seeing another vehicle. Gives me LOTS of time to think.

Part of it is looking at what is there. A lot of people just drive through and see empty space. I started out yesterday in low desert, Creosote bush is the predominant vegetation with Saguaro Cactus present. As I gained elevation, Rabbit Brush became the main plant with Yucca and Joshua Trees. Further north, gives way to Sagebrush and June Grass. I know I’m getting closer to where I grew up when I start seeing Sage.

Part of it is thinking about my business. How do I want to proceed? Where do I want to attack? What do I want to highlight?

And certainly, part of it is just the pure, dumb joy of riding a motorcycle. I spend a lot of time just grinning.

So I have my reason, my why. I have my business, which I love. I’m closing in on 3 hours worth here, and I am at least marginally on vacation…

Spend some time today, knowing what your why Is.

I’m just sayin’

Find Time to Write

Time to WriteI’ve had a couple of questions lately about how I schedule my blog post writing. The truth is, I write in 3 or 4 different venues and do the writing for each at a different pace. I’ll try to explain.

How To Find Time to Write

When I started actually writing this post on Sunday afternoon, I thought it was going to be my 300th blog post. But then I remembered another 30 or so. I’ll try to announce 400:).

I write regularly at 3 different places. One is here, my flagship site. One is at the Lucky 13 blog once per week. One is at GadgetMelon, more or less daily. All have different timing and needs.

Here at Tom Wacker dot com, I try to put out two considered posts per week, along with the Saturday Shortstop feature. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Because I want to have lots of original thought here, I typically start gathering material together 48 hours or more before I post. Sometimes I know exactly what I am going to write, for other times I have a list of possible topics to sort through.

I want to have this post done 24 hours before it publishes, so that I have time to tweak and consider what I have written. I started this post on Sunday PM, and finished early Monday morning. So I schedule some time on Sunday and on Monday morning.

GadgetMelon

It’s a tech and gadget page (I’m still astounded that I CAN write for a tech page) so the information at GadgetMelon needs to be FRESH. Typically, I go way early on any given morning to find a subject. I have several places to check, and I want to be one of the FIRST to write about whatever. Means I find it and write it in basically 2 hours. I’m not perfect with it, and take too long to write a post some of the time. But it’s 2 hours out of every day. I schedule it. Hard schedule.

Lucky 13

I can start this on Sunday evening, but I want to finish it Monday morning just before I publish, so that it a fresh wrap up of the week that just finished. Another Monday commitment. But I also schedule the time for it.

The Total

Monday morning has an 8 hour blog commitment. Kinda like having a job, isn’t it? The only time I don’t completely love it is when the words don’t come easy. I can turn an 8 hour commitment into 16 every once in a while. Part of the process.

Conclusion

It’s really about commitment and dedication, and it requires passion and desire. I just absolutely love what I do, which makes it pretty darn easy.

I’m just sayin’

 

Saturday Shortstop: Derek Jeter

Derek JeterDerek Jeter. Repeat Saturday shortstop. A really good friend of mine went to Seattle this week to watch Jeter play his last 3 in Seattle. A 3 game sweep for the Yankees, and Jeter was instrumental in all three. Just like any 42 year old in his farewell tour.

CTP teams and the pressure the surfers put on certain servers every time they visit. This week was no exception. Several sites got critically slow this week. If the CTP teams popularity has done nothing else, it has revealed some server vulnerability at some sites.

Speaking of, it is hard for me to understand some of the low scoring teams. You have to have one Kore4 to have a team, so if that person simply logs into CTP everyday it’s worth 2800 points. At 11:00 pm EDT Friday, 5 teams were under that benchmark. Really? You have a team and don’t even log in every day? Begs the question: Why? I really don’t get it.

This week’s hacker watch: Tweetdeck (a popular ap for managing your twitter account), and PF Chang, a popular Chinese restaurant chain. In a related item, a British soccer sponsor managed to tweet the teams passport information just before a friendly match in Miami.

The Lucky 13 managed to move up to 2nd place in the overall rankings last week and to stay in the Premier League for the 7th consecutive week. We still are looking for 2 good team mates with a burning desire to be on the #1 team.

Before the start of the series, the Mariners gave Jeter a seat out of the old Kingdome, he is one of the last players in the game to have played there. They also promised him second base, as bookends of his visits to Seattle. A class act all the way.

Class act doesn’t hurt in business, either.

I’m just sayin’

Team Dimensions

Team PlayTeam Play

First things first. Lucky 13 has openings for two team members. This is NOT about how many points you can rack up. This is not about surfing 5000 pages per day. It is about being teammates on a strong and cooperative team. I am the leader, but I am not the boss. The team is the controlling entity. Feel free to apply.

I have been on lots of teams in my life. Athletically, to be sure, but also in business. Some were wildly successful, some were much less than the sum of their parts. What is the difference?

Team Dynamics

What makes a good team? What makes a bad team? What makes a mediocre team?

In most cases, the difference is not in the players, but in how the team works together. Truly good teams do much more than the sum of the individual. The members are ALWAYS thinking of how to help the team, and not so much about how to help themselves.

A mediocre team often has no real sense of direction, no firm goals and plan to achieve them. Every member may be trying to the very best of their ability, but a lack of specific goals and a firm idea of how to achieve them make the team a compilation of individual accomplishment.

A bad team doesn’t work together. Often include factions and cliques. “I told you that wouldn’t work” is common language here. Some members are doing the bare minimum to get by, and some are burning themselves up trying to excel. Not a pleasant environment, to say the least.

Team Scheme

Is a bad team slated to always be bad? A good team always good?

Nope. I have been on bad teams that ‘got it’. I have been on good teams that spiraled out of control.

The difference, generally, is dedication and direction. Willingness to ‘take one for the team’. A common desire given the opportunity to express itself. Sometimes the difference is so very slight…

And in the End

The biggest hit I remember in my career was a suicide squeeze bunt to win a playoff game. Didn’t travel 50 feet, and the biggest hit of my career. It’s the little things.

I’m just sayin’

Best Advice Ever

Best AdviceThis is one of those posts that has been hanging around unfinished for a while. Might be because it is too good to die, or because it is too bad to publish….

The Best Advice I Ever Got

I was a brand new Life Insurance agent, freshly qualified for my state license, when I went to work for the largest corporation on earth, Mutual Benefit Life. Life Insurance was a tough nut to crack then, it is tough now. When I went to work for MBL I had a 1 year contract with an advance against commissions. Means that they cut me a check every month whether or not I earned that amount in commission. This was well before Yota uttered his epic line “Do or do not. There is no try.” but let me tell you, MBL expected results. Soon.

In exchange for that contract, MBL agreed to give me extensive sales training and assign me to a ‘General Agent’ who had been there, done that, gotten the T shirt and written the book. They also agreed to provide me an office at the most prestigious address in Spokane, Wa. I became what is known as a ‘house agent’. Which meant they paid the rent, they paid for the coffee, and provided the Wall Street Journal. I also had access to a ‘pool secretary’ but since I was so junior, that was not too much:) I learned to do stuff on my own, including the Wang Mini, my first real exposure to computers. I learned how to run the Wang so well that my fellow agents would ask me to do stuff for them on a rush basis. They got to know, like and trust me.

Wild Bill Huestead

Bill was my General Agent. He was from Montana, and had grown up in the rough and tumble just like I had. He knew everything about everything and some stuff that that he didn’t even know. He was a relentless task master on the training, did it all himself. He wasn’t too fond of jackets, so was ordinarily in shirt sleeves, which meant that I could be in shirt sleeves too.

He did stuff by the book. His book. He never varied, never changed. You knew early on what Wild Bill wanted from you, and when. I just loved him, even when he was not so happy with me. One of the requirements in Bills book was that everything had to be written. You could have the brain flash of the century and before you could tell Bill, you had to write it up. No exceptions.

We had a small problem in the office about the distribution of resources. I’m not talking pencils and paperclips but the company leads. In my opinion it was pretty haphazzard, and I never got my share.

So. I wrote a half a page (I had an IBM Selectric RIGHT IN MY OFFICE) detailing the problem and my concerns for staff and personal moral. I screwed up my nerve, called Bill’s secretary to see if I could see him, and walked into the temple of the office. I sat, and slid my sheet of paper across the 4 feet of clear cedar between he and I. He picked it up, read it, UhHm’d a couple of times and turned it over to look at the blank side. Looked at his desk carefully (there was absolutely nothing on it except highly polished wood) and said:
“You must have dropped the other sheet on the way into the office. The one with the solution that you have come up with. A bright guy like you knows that I have plenty of problems, and don’t need you or anyone else to find me more. What I need from you is a solution. Why don’t you go find that other sheet?”

I went back to my teeny office with the steel desk and wrote up a solution to the problem. Took about an hour, and took it to Bill. He looked at it, smiled and said ‘Looks good. We’ll do that.’.

It’s my job to find solutions, not problems.

Postscript

I said in the beginning that I went to work for the largest corporation on earth (IBM was number 2) Mutual Benefit Life. Yet most of you have never heard of it. Why? Because extreme poor management and the junk bond king Jeffery Milken brought MBL down in 2 years. From the largest on earth to a fire sale for their physical assets in 2 years.

It really doesn’t matter how big you get.

I’m just sayin’

Saturday Shortstop: Don Zimmer

Don ZimmerDon Zimmer left us this week.  After 66 years in professional baseball as a player, coach and manager he leaves behind a zillion stories and memories to last forever.  We’re going to miss you Zim.

Don Zimmer had a specific impact on the game he loved, that will last far longer than he did.  Do you know what that is?

Seventy years ago yesterday the D-Day landings took place.  Don’t forget.

Am I the only one that is just entirely turned off by 100% Auto Assign TEs?  I am not very fond of the whole autoassign process, but 100% is ludicrous.  Why not just put up a sign “And Don’t Come Back.  You won’t have any credits to use anyway”?

Why is it that when you go to sign up for a site you go through the profile and finally get to the point where you can poke the ‘surf’ button.  Here comes the “You must have at least one site in rotation” pop up.  OK, I’m good with that.  I’m brand new, never surfed a page, so I don’t have any credits to assign.  Now I can surf.  No WAIT.  Another pop up!  You have to have a minimum of X% Auto Assigned.  Really.  Why not let a guy surf 25 or so pages and then make them do that to move on.  Talk about an excitement kill when what I really want is to get a look at your new site!

Lynn M wrote a very thoughtful post on the desirability for one day upgrades.  She covers the topic really well here on the Lucky 13 blog.  Since the Lucky 13 has fresh content every day, you might have to scroll down, or better yet, read down to see Lynn’s post.

Rumor also has it that not one but two Lucky 13 TE owners have made the switch and will offer 1 day memberships with the TEAMS events.  WooHoo.

Speaking of the Lucky 13, lots happened on the team that never sleeps this week.  We got a new logo “It was here or jail”.  We found, caught and excommunicated a cheater, and are in a real dogfight for the top spot for the week.  Got a couple of new teammates, too.  One thing that hasn’t changed is that we are in the Premier League for our 5th consecutive week.

In July of 1953 Don Zimmer was struck in the head by a pitched ball.  He lost consciousness and the injury required surgery.  He woke up two weeks later thinking it was still the day of the game.  Because of this incident, Major League Baseball made the batting helmet optional for it’s players.  Phil Rizzuto was the first to wear a helmet in a game.

 

What Works in Today’s Market

What WorksWhat Works in Today’s Market

I see a lot of advertisements every day, and visit a lot of sites. I like to see what works, and what doesn’t. Today I will visit several that do work, and that you can use, and probably throw in one or two that don’t work so well.

Give Away the Farm

On a large scale, the Legacy team are the absolute masters of this. They are giving their users and even those that just see their ads stuff all the time. Useable stuff. Good stuff. Stuff we all want. Credits. Impressions. Stuff we otherwise pay money for.

Go to any of the Legacy TEs and log in. After the OTO and the spotlight of the day, what do you see? You have won a free raffle ticket. Click here. (that is important). You click and what do you see when you claim your ticket? A whole gob of really great prizes (500 credits, are you kidding me?) and smiling winners. Of course I want my ticket. Every 100 pages you surf at that site, you get another ticket.

I always know that it is going to be me that wins tomorrow. Always. I haven’t yet, but I am already eligible for tomorrow.

What does this simple thing do for the site? Builds excitement and optimism right out of the gate. Plus one other huge thing. That simple ‘click to claim’ button gets me (and most everybody that uses the site) used to clicking on Legacy stuff, but it also reminds me that I have just taken something for nothing from them. I like to pay my own way, so I’m going to work at returning the value. Having your customers ‘owe you’ is a great position to do business from.

One that Doesn’t Work

Buy My Stuff. It doesn’t matter how pretty or how special, direct one contact selling is as dead as Julius Caesar.

Give Away the Garden

Win 10 with Lynn.   Lynn has built a huge following by giving stuff away. Lots of stuff including folding money and credits galore. Give, give, give. Never asking a thing in return. Well, maybe one little thing here and there, but the return for value? Out of this world. Win 10 with Lynn gives away stuff on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. So much stuff that one commenter on her blog assumed she was independently wealthy (she isn’t).

How does she do it? Hustle. She provides value at both ends of the transaction. Value to the site owners that provide her the prizes and value to the people that sign up for them.

What doe she get out of it? Mammoth exposure to all of her programs, and the odd, occasional sign up at some darn fine traffic exchanges. Not to mention that people know, like and trust Lynn.

Give Away the Vegetables

Kris Rogers has made a niche by finding free stuff online and sharing it with her readers at FreeRewards4U. She’s really not out anything except some research time and checking the offers out for herself before she offers them to her peeps. It helps, I agree, that she is a talented blogger, but people also get to know, like and trust Kris. Getting her ready for the next level of her business.

So there you go. What Works at 3 very different levels. Give stuff away isn’t the only thing that works, and I’ll explore that in a later column.

What can you give to (potential) customers that has value to them? Answer that question and you are on your way.

I’m just sayin’

Accumulated Changes

changes happenI am old. Near 63. I have lived what can politely be called an ‘adventurous lifestyle’. I have lost and found things and people all of my life. My life has become a series of accumulated changes.

Additions

When a business is brand new it is like a blank canvas. With little more than the right paints put on the right way, a masterpiece will emerge. So you start to add stuff. Some of it is stuff that you wanted to do before you launched, some of it is the obvious thing or two that you didn’t think of during the construction phase.

Subtractions

Some stuff just has to go. Parts and pieces that just never worked. You might try to improve them for a time, before you just take it away. Sometimes you have to add a substitute, sometimes the business is just better off without this piece. Changes happen all the time, it is a necessary part of doing business.

What and When

Did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci carried the painting Mona Lisa around with him for at least 14 years and that he repainted it entirely at least 5 times? He just could never finish it, could never deliver. One of the most enduring of the classic paintings, he could never consider it done. He always, right to the end of his life, had changes that he wanted to make. Is that why it is so good?

Your business is the same. If you make your changes right, a true masterpiece IS there waiting to be exposed.

Make the changes wrong and you end up with a bloated, non functional piece of garbage. In this case, it may or may not be a candidate for repair.

How do You Know?

You don’t. It’s that simple. You use your best judgement, your best experience, your best ideas. Some changes work, some don’t. You have to try them to see how they fit the master plan.

The great DaVinci tried 5 different versions of his masterpiece and never did consider it finished. If you are committed, can you do less for your business?

I’m just sayin’