Friday, 30 December 2011

The Sovereign Debt Crisis, i.e. WWIII

Michael Lewis is a very popular author so you might actually be familiar with some of his other works, such as The Big Short, Liars Poker and the Blind Side.

"Boomerang" is a review of the sovereign debt crisis. This is a global problem that 90% of Americans are clueless about.  This problem combined with the U.S. debt has the capability to be as fatal to our society as a third world war. Yikes.  Our government is trying to kick the can farther down the road so they don’t have to deal with it.  Michael Lewis' book will open your eyes to the issue from a few of the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) perspective.

Why is this important to me? I think the answer to that one is pretty clear, seeing as I just compared the sovereign debt crisis to WWIII. But really, this is a real crisis and it is everyone's problem. Unfortunately, with herd mentality comes the slaughter.  I recommend you get educated on this and start protecting
yourself! As usual, I've picked out a few key points to go into detail with...

1. Doom / Gloom – I am not a "doom and gloom the world is ending" person, but logic dictates that the debts accrued by the US and the European Union can not be sustained.  The question is – what happens when the defaults start? You really need to get educated and start protecting yourself. That is the most important.

2. Savers are Losers – Robert Kiyosaki from "Rich Dad Poor Dad" (have also reviewed) always says that savers are losers. He does not mean this as a derogatory statement.  What he means is that $1 today is the equivalent to 4 cents in 1913.  This means that the dollar has lost 96% of its value.  So if you keep your savings in dollars then you are losing money due to inflation.  In 2008, 100 year old
institutions were sold in a weekend (Merrill Lynch).  MONEY AND CURRENCY ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS and it makes sense to protect yourself so that you do not have counter party risk.  What this means is that if your money is in the bank, and there's a bank run, then you have counter party risk.  If you own real money like Gold or Silver, there is no counter party risk.

Michael Lewis travels the world and investigates the sovereign debt crisis by talking and seeing the effects first hand.  The book is a good story, I only wish it was fiction. Kyle Bass is the investor who shorted the big banks and predicted Fannie Mae would go bankrupt. He made millions of dollars by shorting the mortgage industry. When asked what the average person should do to protect themselves from the potential
financial carnage, he says buy Guns and Gold.  This is a scary prophecy from a guy who got it right once.

Look around and listen to the politicians.  President Obama in August raised the debt ceiling right in the last hour to AVOID CATASTROPHIC consequences to our economy. Those words are powerful but I guess the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is more important?  The U.S. masses are sleeping while this is going on.  Remember that the first thing Hitler did with his population is take away the guns before WWII? The bankers and Wall Street are taking away the value of our currency and nothing is being done to fix it.  There have been countless domino effects happening right in front of us and the only politician who remotely understands it is Ron Paul.  Unfortunately he will not be elected, but if he was, he would fix it.
The fixes involved will be painful.  Greece, for example, WILL DEFAULT because you can not change a whole culture of people overnight.  The GREEKS do not pay taxes.  They are suppose too but it is culturally acceptable to not pay your taxes and there are no consequences if you don’t.  In America, we were paying an average sales person $32 million per year to trade garbage securities.  Most of these traders would starve if they sold technology solutions yet they made millions of dollars while leveraging our future and country.  The mortgage bubble and derivatives can be blamed on less than 100 people.  A select few created these leveraged instruments and we are still caught in the middle of bailout talks.

Question – if you are drowning, does it make sense to throw more water on you?  If not, then why is the only solution to our debt problem, more debt?  This picture sums it up.  What the U.S. proposes is to increase spending and hope the economy grows. The current solution looks like this – you make $43,000 per year and have $78,000 in credit card debt thus the logical answer is to open another credit card to pay for the credit card debt.

We are borrowing money from China so we can fight in Afghanistan and Libya. – Unbelievable!!!

Anyway, that's enough for today. I hope you all have a fun and safe New Year's Eve. See you again in 2012!


Friday, 23 December 2011

The Marketing Edge & Small Biz

"Real-Time Marketing and PR" by David Merriman Scott

I picked up this book as Borders is going out of business.  This is no reflection on David as I would have purchased the book at full retail as well.  The title of the book intrigued me because our enterprise software platform is a “Real-Time” application and that is a unique advantage for us.  Thus the title hooked me to read the book.  I am glad I did.

If you are in a marketing position or have a business of your own then you need to read this book.  The tools and mind set of real time marketing levels the playing field and actually gives the small guy a huge competitive advantage over the big guys. Real-Time marketing is just that.  It happens right now and you need to understand the mindset to take advantage of it.  Remember that with social networks like  Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn and Google+, you are only three levels away from 1 million people.  Things travel fast regardless if it is positive or negative. When you are dealing with an opportunity to make money then real-time marketing is critical to capitalizing on it.  David demonstrates several examples in the book. Likewise, when you have a crisis and you bury your head in the sand then bad things happen. Most large organizations are buried under bureaucracy and do not move in real time.

For the sake of time, I am going to cover three points.

1. Real-Time Attitude – Successful business today moves at the speed of NOW.  I know this sounds cliché but it is true.  In the book David talks about a musician named Dave Carroll.  He was flying United Airlines and they broke his guitar in baggage.  Worse then that he saw them do it.  After doing all the conventional methods to have United solve the problem and fix his issue, they refused.  Dave, in
turn, created a song about the debacle and posted it to YouTube. This YouTube video has gotten 8.5 million views.  Now the Real-Time attitude portion of this is how Calton Cases created a Dave Carroll addition case to protect guitars while you travel.  Calton was smart enough to make a product, promotion and deal with Dave while the iron was hot.  United on the other had no idea about Real-Time marketing and said nothing.  They were getting flamed with bad service and the bureaucracy of the company got in the way.

2. What are people saying about you this instant?  The internet and Twitter are 24/7.  It is imperative to know and understand what is being said about you and your brand.  This allows organizations to take advantage of sales opportunities as well as customer issues.  When a crisis hits then you can be out in front of it and humanize it.  This is one of the big problems with larger companies.   They can be far removed and cold.  Online tools can change all that and have a positive impact on the bottom line.

3.  Real-Time Communications Policy – Does your company block Facebook and Twitter?  This is sure sign that they have no idea on the benefits of Real-Time Marketing.  Now, you also can not let your staff run free and post whatever they want.  Remember that everything on the internet leaves a digital footprint so you need to have guidelines.  IBM has 400,000 employees and encourages them to get involved on  Blogs, Twitter and other sites.  Think about trying to regulate this.  Well, in IBM fashion, they do a great job because they have the policy outlined to cover everything that is needed.  I recommend this for all companies because this will help keep legal and executive management from having heart attacks and give employees the freedom
to engage the market.

It is obvious that David is a pro.  Real-Time Marketing and PR is a great book and gives you a road map if you want to implement strategies for your organization.  He covers the Why, What and How aspects involved in getting it done. Thanks for reading. Have a great day & Happy Holidays!


Friday, 16 December 2011

The Business of Life: Business is Booming (If You Want)

This week we looked at "The Business of Life" by Christ Brady & Orrin Woodward. Let me start by saying this: It is time for people to proactively take their futures into their own hands. We are in trying times with the world economy and global challenges. The world will be a very different place in ten years. The question becomes this: Will you be left behind or will you create your own destiny? The personal debt of U.S. citizens is very high, so I understand that answering this question may seem like a pipe dream. 
Most people I speak with are busy treading water and can’t even think of crafting a life plan because the bills and debt burden are too heavy to escape. What is the answer? The key to happiness and freedom is hard work and the right business. I know money does not make the world go round, but it provides the grease that keeps the wheels turning. Money and stress are inversely proportional. I understand that Fortune 500 executives live with high stress, but at the same time they are not worried about their next meal. The poor live with much more stress.

Orrin and Chris chat about the 4 main growth industries that provide for business and growth opportunities. We'll take a look at those here...
1. Personal Development – This market is a multi-billion dollar industry. Personal Development products do work, but face problems where the execution of the material is concerned. Most people buy products like P90X which work really well, but they forget to actually do the behavior. This provides for a real opportunity to help and an excellent potential business.

2. Networking – Networking provides the power of franchising without the costs. The book "EMyth" states that 80% of businesses fail in ten years while 75% of franchises succeed. The main reason is franchise businesses are systems businesses. This means that everything is scripted and there is very little room for error. You can walk into McDonalds in New York or California and everything is the same. Systems businesses provide for scalability. Networking is similar but the startup costs are non-existent. The key here is to find the right leadership and company to partner with.

3. Life Coaching – Most people will not invest in a Life Coach. This is a real shame because the biggest way to success is to associate and emulate people who have already done it. Sharing great content and providing direction is a huge business opportunity. Check out, it provides free tutorials and has received more than 150 Million YouTube visits. This site provides real value that is actionable.

4. Community Building – Building communities is critical in the information age and much easier than in the past. Good content is the key to building communities. This is still hard work, but the benefits are worth it. In the software business, the size of the community is more valuable than the actual Intellectual Property. Examples of this are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. 
To wrap it up, I'll leave you with this quotes from Albert Einstein: "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading.


Thursday, 8 December 2011

Take Yourself to the Bank

You need to go where the money is. That's the bank. "Bank on Yourself" by Pamela Yellen describes a strong financial method to having money flow into your economy instead of out of your economy. These principles are very sound and work.

Why is this important to me? People today do not have robust savings. The savings rate in the U.S. is the lowest it has ever been. The financial community has been pitching 401K plans, 529 Education plans and other retirement vehicles. The problems with these instruments are numerous. People who wanted to retire in 2008 couldn’t because of the financial meltdown. Traditional banks utilize fractional reserve lending and with the debt crisis at historic levels, there is risk with the largest banks. Stocks have been a rollercoaster ride and the insiders have done well, the little guy – not so much

This book is full of testimonials of people who have utilized the system. What I am going to profile are some of the high level, long term strengths of this system.
1. Insurance– The vehicle to creating your own banking system is Whole Life Insurance. I know that Dave Ramsey and Suzie Orman pooh-pooh insurance all day but the fact remains that this is the safest vehicle out there for investing and with discipline can be the best. Insurance is guaranteed tax free growth and has been around for 200 years. These policies are 100 years older than the IRS. Using this vehicle to create a banking system would have eliminated all the bust cycles that have plagued the economy in the last 25 years

2. Taxes & Liabilit – Any financial plan has to be full cycle meaning that if you get sued, you will not lose your fortune. This is the case with insurance in most states. If you are a doctor and get sued, they can NOT touch your life insurance banking system. Taxes yield another huge advantage to this system. You can take a loan from your policies to buy a rental property and at an interest rate and write the interest off just like a typical mortgage. The strongest concept is that you are paying yourself back. The volume of interest goes to you and not the bank. Just like any business, it takes time to build up these reserves.

3. Habit– The key concept to remember is that if you finance purchases then you pay interest. If you pay cash for your purchases then you give up the interest. If you pay yourself the interest with your own banking system then you can achieve compound results. It is said that .34 cents of every dollar goes to interest expense. The critical point here is to understand that the “volume of interest” is what is important. In a conventional mortgage, the first 10 years of payments almost all go towards interest. That is the secret money maker for regular mortgage banks. The habit with this system is that you have to pay yourself back just like any creditor. The only reason this system will fail is if you steal from yourself. I cannot stress this enough, you have to pay yourself back.
I have touched briefly on this subject but I suggest strongly that you study it and implement it. You can check out other resources on the site for more information. I want to give you a personal example of the power of this system. I have been using it since 1999 and each year my policies have grown and the money has allowed me to buy other businesses. (My insurance banking system has not been affected by the Tech bust of 2000 or the financial meltdown of 2008. They have grown every year because it is guaranteed growth.) This strategy has allowed me to capitalize my own business without traditional banking loans. This is a big deal and the key to Economic Value add. 
Banking on Yourself is a long term strategy. If you are looking for a quick investment fix then this is not the tool for it. I hope you have found this short summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is cash is always flowing. The real question is where. The goal is to have it flow to you. And you can take that to the bank! 


Thursday, 1 December 2011

You're a Media Outlet

In lieu of the shortened Thanksgiving week, "Smarter, Faster, Cheaper" by David Garland has been the focus of our content for the past 2 weeks. At the bottom line, this book is about branding yourself and becoming a true thought leader. The good news is it takes almost no money to “go viral” in the social media world. This is truly a road map for David vs. Goliath. We can be just as effective as the big advertisers on Madison Avenue and create a more loyal following where genuine interaction is key.

David's book is broken down to 16 power-packed chapters. Since I don’t want you to fall asleep in the middle of reading this post, I will touch on the three I thought were the most important.

1. Selling Sucks: I'm talking about the old school pushy stuff. This does not work today. Think about it. If I cold call you and ask you to buy Widget X there is a 99% probability that you will not buy and be upset. If your neighbor tells you that you need to have Widget X because it is awesome, then selling becomes easy. When you're a thought leader and utilize Business Social Media, people come to you for help. Thus you do not have to sell; they will simply buy.

2. Be Your Own Media Source: This is important because it is the most elusive. People think you need to have a ridiculous amount of schooling in order to be a content provider. This is just not the case. If you have passion and like to learn then you can be your own media source.  The key is to give and help in the "area" you know.  You can start by creating how to: videos, audios and white papers. However, do not sell anything when providing this content. That's the whole point. When they're ready to

buy, they will come to you. This creates a community.

3. Tapping into the Power of Online Video: Video is powerful. With Twitter, YouTube and Facebook you can make video interactive and start two way conversations with your target markets. It's an excellent tool that lets you focus on your niche. Sure you can eat 200 hotdogs in 2 minutes and film it, but it won’t help your business even if 1,000,000 people view it. You want "viral" to happen in your niche. It's through these tools that you can create and identify niche markets for your business.

The ONE thing to take away from this book is that you can easily be a content creator and provider. Start by carving out 15 minutes of your day and writing. Even if you write like a 3-year-old, like I do, it doesn’t matter. The key to this is to start and do it daily. Write about stuff that you are good at and passionate about.

If you liked the content of this post, be sure to check back weekly for more businesses-targeted content. Please do not hesitate to pass this along and if you want to purchase David's book, there is a link on the Success Progress site. Thanks for reading and have a great day!


Thursday, 17 November 2011

Laws You Don't Have to Follow (But You Should)

The study of leadership is a life long pursuit. It's a journey. Most people when they hear “leader” think of flamboyant CEO’s or fast talking politicians.  When you dig deeper the opposite holds true. John C. Maxwell's "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" is a work that highly I recommend.When you build a company, people have to follow you if they work for you because their livelihood depends on it.  Building non-profits is not the same.  People CHOOSE to follow you and that is what makes his work so profound.

For the sake of time, I am going to highlight 4 of the 21 laws in this book.  All the laws are critical

and they all can be studied and improved upon independently so you do not have to master one to get to the next one.

1. The Law of Solid Ground: Trust is the foundation of Leadership.  When you look at Apple, people trust Steve Jobs.  There are no two ways about it.  You can't build a billion dollar business without it. Now think of Enron. These executives were building a house of cards.  They hid their motives and lied to employees and once the trust was broken, their careers were over. None of those executives could run another company again because they violated the Law of Solid Ground. It takes 30 years to build trust, integrity and character and 30 seconds to destroy it to an irreparable degree.

2. The Law of Influence: The True measure of leadership is influence- nothing more, nothing less. Think about this. Why would anybody retell  history from 480 BC?  The Spartan King Leonidas lead 300 Spartan soldiers into battle against the Persian army rumored to be in the millions.  The Persian army was made of slaves while the Spartans were free men.  The Law of Influence is seen in the fact
that Xerxes (the Persian leader) would kill any of his men for victory and Leonidas would die for any of his men. Needless to say the stand of the famous 300 Spartans is still remembered today as one of the greatest battles in history. All the Spartans stayed and died because they were fighting for what they believed in and following a leader bigger than themselves. That, my friends, is influence.

These are only 2 of the laws from Maxwell's book that I am summarizing for you. The others discussed in the book are just as important. What's great about this text is that none of the "laws" are deal breakers, per se. Everyone has their own distinct leadership style. What's yours? What aspects of a leader do you put the most pride in? Definitely makes you think. Thanks for reading, have a great weekend!


Thursday, 10 November 2011

Focus on This

"How to Survive the Most Critical 5 Seconds of Your Life" written by Tim Larkin talks about true self defense. By true, I mean street. I mean the real deal. Target Focus Training (we'll call it TFT) is the focus of this book, and it's how you're going to survive.  There are several aspects of this program that are very easy to do.  The key is to do them. Tim's a pretty credible guy. He has trained special forces and Navy Seals using the very techniques he reveals in this book. With that being said, I urge you to read on.

Life or death? You pick. To me, Life is important so I will spend the time studying a program that is taught to our nation’s elite fighting teams. The key differentiator, however, is that you can learn these concepts in a weekend. This is not a 20 year study. Good for us, bad for the bad guys.

 For this blog post, I am going to cover three key concepts that are the meat of the TFT program.

1. The Cause-State: The fighter has "first strike" capability. After the initial strike, the fighter continues to step into the man performing techniques in a constant rhythm, knocking him off-balance and conquering his space. The assault continues until he is completely incapacitated. Let's talk about this. When you look at a drugged up thug, they probably are not in the best shape. So why is that they are victorious against 99% of their victims?  They use the Cause-State along with A-Social violence as tools for victory.  I have studied martial arts and the targeting that Tim talks about to create the Cause-State can be seen in any good program.  The thing that is unique is the concept behind it and the true definition of violence and the Cause-State.

2. The Effect-State: The human body reacts instinctively to particular stimuli.  If you kick a man in the groin, he doubles over, extending his chin.  That gives you a chance to strike again, using the new target that has now become open.  Fighting with a solid understanding of reactions means never having to compete at the level of brute force. Techniques based on these principles lead to predictable results:
The man's incapacitation, disability or death.

3. Result: Your goal once you have identified the situation as life threatening is to use the Cause-State to keep the assailant in the effect-state until they are incapacitated.  This is where the true understand of violence needs to be understood.  You may be a companionate person but you can NOT assume if
somebody has a gun in your face that they are the same.  You need to use the Cause-State to save your life.

While this book is packed with tons of relevant information, if you are to take away any one thing from it, I hope it is the Cause-State. You can use this concept in any part of your life to be successful.  In business, you simply use it to keep your competitors in the effect-state. Understand this concept and
good things will come your way, my friend.


Thursday, 3 November 2011

Attention! Investors Read Up

"The Ivy Portfolio: How to invest like the top endowments and avoid bear markets" by Mebane Faber & Eric Richardson

Endowments have an investment outlook of forever.  They know how to avoid bear markets and bubble crashes.  These endowments use sophisticated investment strategies to limit the risk and maximize their gains.

This is important to me for a few reasons.

1. We need to emulate the best.  To figure out what these endowments have done on our own would result in lost time, money and opportunity.  Why not emulate the best.  Here is what the Yale Endowment has done.  If you would have invested $100,000 in 1985 then your investment would be worth $4 million today compared to the S&P at $1.5 million, 10-year Government bonds at $950,000.  The same amount invested in Harvard’s endowment would have gotten you $3 million.  These endowments know what they are doing.

2. Get Rich Quick in stocks is not a smart way to go.  Over the long haul you will probably lose money.  This does not mean that you will not make money in stocks but it means you need to be educated.  Think about it – we would be competing with guys like this who are the best of the best.  When you see get rich quick scams on TV just think about these endowments.  These guys are the best of the best and they
know who how to invest.  They beat the S&P by an additional 4% per year with 33% less volatility.  Competing with these guys would be like advising your son to drop out of school to play basketball with the goal of becoming the next Michael Jordan.

A fair warning, though: This book is not for the faint of heart.  They get into some pretty in depth stuff like mathematical algorithms, portfolio rebalancing, momentum, hedge funds, private equity, active management and passive management.

Rule one is critical.  Don’t lose money. Think about this if you invest $1000 dollars and lose 50% of it then you have to make a 100% gain just to get even.  This is the biggest destroyer of wealth. The Ivy Portfolio uses rebalancing and passive management to achieve results.  This is doable for the little guy. All in all, "The Ivy Portfolio" is a pretty intense book on investing but it profiles the two best endowments and how they do it.  The good news is there are a couple of things the small investor can learn from the book.  They are asset allocation, rebalancing and 13Fs (see these in the book).

I hope you enjoyed this short blog post. Thanks for reading! Discussion welcome.


Thursday, 27 October 2011

Economic Hit Men Hit Hard

This week's profiled book is "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" by John Perkins. What authority or insight does he have on this topic, you ask? Well, John used to be one. These "economic hit men" are highly paid professionals who cheat countries out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, US Agency for International Development, an other foreign “aid” organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control natural resources. Again, yes, John was one of these guys.

I believe that knowledge is power, and that is why I feel it important to share this book with you, and in this blog post, educate you on the very real threat these hit men pose.

Did you know that for every $100 worth of oil torn from the Amazon, less than $3 goes to the people
who need the money most, those whose lives have been so adversely impacted by the dams, the drilling, and the pipelines, and who are dying from lack of edible food and potable water?  The real problem here is that the people were promised by Economic Hit Men that their lives would improve because of oil extraction.  In reality, the opposite has happened.

Mr. Perkins breaks down the book by time frame from 1963 to present day.  For the sake of time, I will touch on different parts.  This book is basically a confession from John and his mission is to educate and change the behaviors.  He outlines at the end of the book things we can do to get the word out. They are as follow:

1. “In for Life” – Mr. Perkins had a profile that the NSA (National Security Agency) liked.  He could lie.  When he was accepted by the NSA he worked for a low key consulting group called MAIN.  The NSA is seven times the size of the CIA.

2. Why Statistics? Mr. Perkins worked for MAIN as an economist.  As an economist he was PUSHED to show positive statistics for countries that were in poverty but have very rich natural resources.  Thus they would approach governments with forecasts that showed highly reduced poverty rates in their country in exchange for infrastructure building.  Thus the argument was that we would lend the capital
resources to build the pipelines and do the drilling in these countries and in return the corporations would get the oil and subsequent profits.  The issue comes into play that the quality of living for the locals never improves.  In fact, the data shows that it worsens.

3. Saudi Arabia – This excerpt summarizes the book and makes a strong claim for American Empire building. In 1974, Royal family agrees to invest billions of dollars of oil income in U.S. Securities and to allow the U.S Department of the Treasury to use the interest from those investments to hire U.S. firms to build power and water systems, highways, ports, and cities in the kingdom.  In exchange, the U.S. guarantees that the royal family will continue to rule.  This will serve as a model for future EHM deals, including the one that ultimately failed in Iraq.

These practices need to change. We are in a particular economic situation where we can no longer afford these practices.  Middle class America is becoming extinct.  The real damage here is the shear number of people that were and ARE hurt by these actions.

Thanks for reading! More to come next week.


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Leadership is what makes groups, companies and organizations great. Leadership empowers the group to perform at optimal levels.  Dr. Chopra discuses in the book about leading from the soul.  I have never heard of this but the content of the book makes total sense.  Understanding the human hierarchy of needs and leading through those needs provides a framework for affinity and performance.

The Soul of Leadership is an excellent book that will help you in your quest for leadership knowledge.  It's different from other leadership books because it's human. Dr. Chopra is very distinct in what he means by L.E.A.D.E.R.

Look and Listen – The key here is to observe as an unbiased observer who has not judged anything in advance.  Obey your feelings.

Emotional Bonding – This requires the elimination of living in crisis mode.  It requires the clearing away of toxic emotions so you can clearly understand your needs and the needs of others.

Awareness – Being aware of self questions.  Who am I? What do I want? What does the situation demand? The team must also ask these questions of themselves.

Doing – At the end of the day it is all about 4. Doing – At the end of the day it is all about performance.  Groups can not win without doing.  Leaders must “do” by example.

Empowerment – The soul’s power comes from self-awareness that is responsive to feedback but independent of the good or bad opinion of others.  Empowerment is not selfish. It raises the status of the leader and team together.

Responsibility – Character and Integrity are big words that define a leader.  Responsibility for these actions are critical for a leader and a teams success.

Additionally, it is important to note that Dr. Chopra talks about Buddha and Christ in the book.  “They offered their followers an opportunity to meet their needs at the highest level, the universal desire for unity.” If you are not familiar with Dr. Chopra’s work, I will tell you that he always works from a higher level of meaning.  He has done some groundbreaking work and really is a source of inspiration.  In the quest for knowledge and learning, I recommend you study this book and the others by Dr. Chopra.

Thanks for reading! For more content, visit See you next Friday.


Thursday, 13 October 2011

Social Media and Booming Business

"Social Boom: How to Master Business Social Media" by Jeffrey Gitomer is a great book that is packed with excellent information regarding Linkedin, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter.  Social Boom describes the concept and importance of content creation and self branding.  If you are in sales or in business or
aspiring to be in business then this book is for you. Remember, social networking is so powerful because there is a never ending stream of prospects for your business or service.

Cardinal Rule: Everybody loves to buy but hates to be sold! Violate that one and die in the social world.
If you have not read anything by Jeffrey Gitomer, I suggest you start.  Jeffrey is an in your face type of person which is a good thing for the message that he delivers.  One of the best books I read was his on customer service. I'll profile that one later.

If you're looking to advance your career or take your business to the next level, think about this: When you go to a job interview, the first thing people do is Google you! What are the results?  Think about that for a minute and your heart may stop.  If you don’t manage this stuff then it will manage you and you will be left behind. Business Social Media is the new cold call according to Jeffery.  I agree with this 100%, and that is why I'm sharing what I've learned with you.

This book is packed with tons of relevant information. Too much, in fact, for the purpose of this post, so I will simply focus on LinkedIn and content creation.

1. Thought Leader– Are you a content creator and thought leader?  Do you blog or write papers in your niche?  Don’t worry because I did not either when I started this.  I will make this point from a business or sales perspective.  If you are selling a product and getting beat because of price then you are a walking brochure and not a thought leader.  Can you articulate your value from a customers perspective on one of three things either increasing their revenue, decreasing their costs or reducing their risk?  If you talk instead listen, then you are doing this all wrong. You need to get in the mind set of YOUR customer and get out of yourself.  This is why feature and benefit selling along with advertising are dead today.  The easiest way to become a content creator is start from where you are.

2. Passion – I have touched on this in several of my book summaries.  What are you passionate about?  Are you doing what you love?  If not, then start right NOW!  It is easier for you to work hard, smart and right on something you love then it is on a job that you hate.  This simple concept is the key to starting and becoming a social media guru.

3. LinkedIn – Do you have a LinkedIn profile?  If you are in the business world and do not have one then you are missing the boat.  If you have one, is it finished 100%?  At the end of this book summary do yourself a favor and create a LinkedIn profile and finish it.  You will be happy you did.  Also, work with colleagues to recommend you on LinkedIn.  When other people write good things about you then it is far more effective then if you write it about yourself.  This simple 3rd party reference technique is very powerful and will start you on your way to being a LinkedIn guru.

I hope you have found this post helpful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days.

One thing you can take away from this book is to become a content creator.  To do this simply carve out 15 minutes a day and write.  Even if you write like a three year old, which I do, it does not matter.  The key to this is to start and do it daily.  At the end of the book Jeffrey gives a great list of writing techniques that will help you.

Thanks for reading! Have a great day.


Monday, 3 October 2011

Thank You, Gary Vaynerchuck, for "The Thank You Economy"

"The Thank You Economy" by Gary Vaynerchuck is about building a one to one relationship with your prospect to go from customer satisfaction to customer loyalty. For a quick review, customer loyalty means that they will not leave and even forgive mistakes. Customer Loyalty is the holy grail of any organization. Loyal customers do the following:
1. Refer more business by word of mouth.
2. Spend more money with you.
3. Are at the high end of your life time value
4. Forgive mistakes and offer real suggestions for improvement
Now the key is - how do we do this with Business Social Media?
You need to understand this or you will lose to your competition. The good news is social media is wide open and most businesses, regardless if they are B2C (business to consumer) or B2B (business to business), do not use this effectively. This means that you can gain a huge competitive advantage over your competitors by simply being first.
Are you a business small business owner and think Social Media is not important? Perhaps you think it is not important because you do not have time to learn it. This is not uncommon in the small business world. I can attest to the fact that you can spend so much of your time in the business that you forget to work ON THE BUSINESS.
Do you run a large organization and simply afraid of the openness of Social Media? This is not uncommon. You see corporate speak that do not allow employees to use Twitter, Facebook and other social mediums. The problem here is that people are talking about your brand and you don't even know it. Take the blinders off and get educated. This has to start at the top of any organization. We will dive into more details now.
(EMBRACE THE SOCIAL MEDIA PARADIGM! All caps because I firmly believe in this.)
1. Stupid Quote 1: "This telephone" has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication." Western internal memo 1876
2. Stupid Quote 2: "While theoretically and technically TV may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility." Lee De Forest, radio pioneer, 1926
3. Brilliant Quote: "If I had a nickel for every time an investor told me this wouldn't work........" Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon
Ok, on with the show....
There are excellent examples in the book on how Social Media can enhance your business or leave you in the dust. I will touch on three points:
1. Thank You Economy Defined - Gary makes a point here to be real with your customers and engage them. This is a pull strategy and not a push strategy. Being real means apologizing when you screw-up, being humble and having a mindset of the customer. This does not mean simple push great deals and your products and services to your customers all the time. What Gary shows, time and again in the book, is that when you build a relationship then the money follows. People understand passion and sincerity. The bull shit meter will go up if you engage people and you are not sincere.
2. Ping / Pong effect - This is where traditional marketing (TV, Direct Mail, Radio) meets Social Marketing (Twitter, Facebook etc. like engagement and marriage). To put this in real perspective, think of traditional marketing as a one night stand. Companies spend millions on a 30 second Super Bowl add and hope they earn enough money to pay for it. As we have seen in the craze this did not work and wasted millions. Now if you view traditional and social marketing in the same plan then it becomes a marriage. You do a TV spot but with a call to action that people need to go to Facebook, Twitter etc. to continue the chat. This is an effective call to action. This allows you do measure your results and know the numbers of highly engaged prospects / customers. Once this happens then it is up to you to CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION and build a relationship.
3. Avaya Example: This really cemented it for me. We sell our software solution business to business and it is hard to visualize how Social Media will work. It is easy to see the benefits if you are a doctor or dentist. You have the content and expertise to engage your patients through social media to grow your business. The good news is this is wide open because 95% of doctors & dentists don't do this. Avaya sells solutions to businesses. In the book, Gary profiles how Avaya engages their user base and some of the payoff. In a nutshell, they use Twitter to answer technical questions and head off complaints before they mushroom. Avaya received a $250K deal because a happy Twitter subscriber recommended them.
The real power of the Thank You Economy comes from sheer numbers. Remember one thing: 60% of Americans right now use Social Media and the percentage is growing daily. Of those 60%, they also buy Business to Business stuff.
One thing you can take away from this book is to get educated right now on Social Media. If you don't then you will lose ground. Remember that human nature does not change but the way to engage has throughout history. Don't miss the Social Media wave.


Friday, 9 September 2011

Financial Education: Help Yourself!

Robert Kiyosaki has one glaring message. The U.S. needs financial education. Right now our education system is broken and nothing is being taught that prepares people for financial freedom. All of Robert's books are good and teach basics about financial education and the need for continuous learning. Rich Dad / Poor Dad is another famous book by this author. We will profile that book in a separate summary
The Cashflow Quadrant is a very important concept that people need to cement in their memory if they want to get a handle on financial freedom. The quadrant consists of the following:
1.) E - Stands for employee
2.) S - Stands for small business or self-employed
3.) B - Stands for big business (500 employees or more)
4.) I - Stands for investor
Traditional education prepares us for the E and S quadrant. The mantra has been go to school and then college to hopefully get a good job and save in a 401K for retirement. As many of you know this is not a good model in this day and age. On a side note, I was very fortunate to grow up with an excellent financial teacher. My father taught the principles that Mr. Kiyosaki teaches in his books Rich Dad / Poor Dad, The Cashflow Quadrant and this book Unfair Advantage. I can also tell you that most people are financially uneducated. Authors like Mr. Kiyosaki as well as Dave Ramsey are really needed and our doing what should be taught in our school system at a national level.
This can be answered by asking a few more questions. Do you know the difference between good debt and bad debt? Can you define an asset and liability in simple terms?
Do you know there are three types of taxes for income?
Good debt is anything that spits of positive cash flow and increases in value. Thus if you have a debt on a rental house that yields positive monthly cash flow then that is good debt. If you have credit card debt that you don't pay off each month then that is bad debt. In a nutshell, good debt makes you money and bad debt costs you money. Assets and liabilities! Anything that generates positive cash flow is an asset while anything that costs you money is a liability. Example: A business that generates monthly profit is an asset. Your home is a liability. I know many of you will disagree with this but your home costs you money each month. This is not a bad thing but because you need a place to live but it is a liability.
More reasons why this resonates with me, and hopefully does with you:
1.Knowledge - Knowledge put to use equates to power. There are several ways to make money be it in a business, real-estate, stock market, content creation, licensing deals, internet marketing or several other endeavors. The point here is that nothing happens without educating yourself. Warren Buffet the second riches man in the world is known for his constant reading and learning abilities. The premise of Unfair Advantage is with very high financial education, money flows in rather than out. You can pay zero in taxes and earn millions with very low risk by using other people's money in good or bad economics. This creates an extreme unfair advantage.
2.Taxes - Taxes are government incentives to get people to do what they want them to do. Thus because businesses create jobs and wealth, they have tax strategies as incentives to keep the economy going. There is one huge premise that people need to understand. I will lay out the difference. When you are an employee, you work, pay your taxes and then get your money to pay your expenses. When you are a business, you work, pay all your expenses and then pay taxes on what is left. This is totally legal and can boost rates of return legally. Remember one thing - Tax avoidance is prudent while tax evasion means jail time.
3.Debt - Good debt creates true wealth by allowing you to use OPM (Other People's Money). This is very powerful and requires discipline. This is one area I
wish this book talked about in more detail. Please note that debt used wisely can create leverage and unlimited wealth. To much debt used wrong can create financial ruin. Also, know that 85+% of the U.S. population has too much BAD debt. This is not what we are talking about. This needs to be taken care of as well to truly achieve financial freedom. The use of debt is an advanced strategy and needs to be used wisely which requires financial education.
4. Risk - The biggest risk in investing comes from the financially uneducated giving their money to financial planners and hoping things work out. This by far has caused large losses for people. Inflation is running rampant right now even though the government says it is not. This is a bigger risk for savers than taxes. Saving money as an investment is a bad idea because over time the value is eaten away through inflation. 401K's and mutual funds along with diversification are all pitched as NOT risky. This is furthest from the truth. 1. Mutual funds are subject to double taxes as well as fees which eat away at your returns. Also, you are not in control of your money. Note: This does not mean that ALL funds are bad. This is where financial education comes in. Several financial planners will tell their customers to diversify. According to Warren Buffet - "Diversification is a protection against ignorance."
5. Compensation - The rich don't work for money. Think about hard work for a moment. If you work overtime then you are trading hours for dollars. The problem becomes that your marginal tax rate increases as you make more ordinary income. Your overtime is taxed higher as you work more. I am not against hard work. Just make sure you couple it with SMART and RIGHT WORK as well. The rich work to buy assets that create cash flow. Your goal should be to have your money work harder than you do and make you more money as soon as possible.
What asset will pay for your liability? This concept was first covered in Rich Dad / Poor Dad. This simple question changes the whole frame of mind and if people followed it then they would be in much better shape financially. This means that if you want a new boat then what asset will pay for the boat? Once you grasp this simple idea then your world will change.

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Friday, 2 September 2011

Prep Your Mind, Up Your Luck

"How to Be a Billionaire" by Martin S. Fridson looks at the titans of wealth. It was published in 2000 so you won't see some of the new money from Google and Facebook in here but the principles are the same. Whenever you can leverage thoughts from such an elite group of people, it is worth it to take the time to study it.
Quick useless trivia stats to put in perspective how much a million, billion and trillion really are - If you were to count that amount of money and assume that you count $1 dollar every second then here is how it works out:
1. It would take you 12 days to count $1,000,000 dollars.
2. It would take you 32 years to count $1,000,000,000 dollars.
3. It would take you over 32,000 years to count $1,000,000,000,000 dollars.
Let's not even discuss the U.S. debt. I guess we should make all the politicians sit in the room and count until they hit it. It may be a more productive use of their time since they get so much done now!
These titans of wealth are the elite of money making humanity. This takes work. If you think of the best professional athletes then you will understand the dedication it really takes. Muhammad Ali started boxing at 10 years old and practiced his whole life. Boxing was his life's passion and it took that type of dedication to be the best. He did not just step in the ring one day and become the best. It took him years of self-sacrifice, dedication and sweat equity to get it done. The same is true for all the Billionaires profiled in this book. On the other hand, there is great knowledge to be used if your goals are big but maybe not that big. Let's say you want a more balanced life then you can still use these principles to make a ton of money and garner security and the good things that money can buy without pouring all of your time in the endeavor. The principles you will see in this book take OPM, OPE and OPT to the extremes.
This book is packed with principles used by different people to become billionaires. You may or may not agree, but the data is conclusive on their success. There are nine principles in total, but it is the first three that I'm going to focus on in this post for the sake of time and space.
1. Take Monumental Risks- "Fortune assists the brave" - H.L Hunt and John Kluge bankrolled their fortunes at the poker table. These men learned more about deals and money gambling then they did in traditional university. John borrowed $5000 from the bank and only used $1000 of it and then sold the business for $500,000. When he told the bank, the comment was "that is some leverage" - He asked - What is leverage? Years later he was sorry he asked. He amassed his fortune in Radio and LBO's (Leveraged Buyouts).
2. Do business in a new way - Sam Walton and Ross Perot both saw weaknesses in the market that they exploited. They built a culture of execution and market dominance. Wal-Mart may be the first company in history to generate $1 Trillion in revenue. This will summarize everything - According to Ross Perot - "The first EDSER to see a snake kills it. At GM, first thing you do is organize a committee on snakes. Then you bring in a consultant who knows a lot about snakes......Then you talk about if for one year." This is why Perot left GM after selling EDS to them.
3. Dominate your market - John D. Rockefeller and Bill Gates. Both were highly successful and dominated everything they touched. Both men created enemies and people ALWAYS questioned their tactics. With that aside you can't deny what they accomplished. They played to win. The story of Microsoft is one of shear dominance in the market. Gates exploited a whole and created an entire industry out of thin air. People questioned that Monopoly power that Microsoft had and they would be correct in pointing it out. This should be a goal of any entrepreneur - CONTROL YOUR MARKET. If you cannot be in the top 3 in your market then you need to get out of it. Gates lead Microsoft with razor sharp focus and expected the best. He leveraged his strength to branch into other profitable software markets. He read the encyclopedia cover to cover by age 11. You cannot deny his intellect.
How to be a billionaire is a simple road map to how the titans of business use certain strategies to amass fortunes. There is nothing better than investing a couple of hours and sucking out the knowledge of 300 man years of billionaire knowledge. This is, in my humble opinion, the best way to use leverage. That is OPE - leverage other people's expertise and use it for your own gain and to better society.
I hope you have found this short video summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days.
One thing you can take away from this book is to buy low. This is probably the easiest thing to do. Invest the same way you buy groceries and good things will happen. One really good deal can have big effects.
I was really lucky in my business; we merged with a company that was going to be dissolved by a much bigger entity. We picked up the company for pennies and added to our team 3 professionals that will enhance us 10 fold. Be patient and keep your eyes open. 
"Luck favors the prepared mind."
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Friday, 26 August 2011

More Money, Less Problems

"The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Success" 
by Dave Ramse
Bottom line- buy this book. Financial stress is THE biggest threat to our nation (and a lot of people!) right now. People are running scared every day as unemployment increases, the value of a dollar decreases and high paying jobs are disappearing. This book outlines everything you need to know and do to go from bankruptcy to financially fit. 
(Sidenote: If you have not read or heard of Dave, you will like him because he brings a southern down home common sense to his work. My grandmother was from Georgia and had a 5th grade education and she had more southern common sense than anybody I have ever met. Dave is the same way.)
Now I answer, why is this important to me? I'll start with this. Divorce rates in this country are north of 50% and the number one cause is financial stress. Dave talks about women having a security gland and the necessity for financial security. When the future is uncertain, women tend to be affected more than men. Dave discusses how to handle this a bit in this book and in much more detail in Financial Peace University. What ever happened to peoples' WORD? There were 1,593,081 bankruptcy cases in 2010. Yikes.
I think my grandparents are happy to be in the next world because SOME people in this country have lost their self-respect and have huge entitlement problems. I don't like making sweeping judgments and I understand that some bankruptcies are inevitable due to medical issues or trauma. I have no problem with that. But I will say there are a ton of lazy people thinking they can just wipe the slate clean and start over. Worse than that, they have done it more than once. This is like a part-time Catholic cheating on his wife but asking for forgiveness at Sunday mass each week. He figures he can just start over. This is a bad thing......and it doesn't work like that.
For the sake of time, I will highlight certain sections and the myths that Dave outlines ti get you to financially-fit status.
1. Financial Fitness is 20% how-to and 80% behavior. The concepts are really simple but it is the behavior that is hard. I can outline a diet and fitness plan for anybody in 5 minutes that will produce results. The question is will it produce results for you - i.e. will YOU do the work??????? Shocking Stat: 90% of Americans buy stuff they CAN NOT afford.
2. Emergency Fund - How many people have 3 to 6 month's worth of funds available in case of an emergency? I was really lucky to grow up with a financially astute father (thanks, Dad!). I thought I was 5 years old again reading Dave's book because all the things taught in the book were taught to me at an early age. I realize that not everybody is that lucky. The horrible statistic is that most Americans are 2 weeks away from financial collapse.
3. Dave outlines a myth that is very real. They myth is that if you loan money to a friend or relative, you are helping them. In reality, if you loan them money, the relationship will be strained or destroyed. The only relationship that would be enhanced is the kind resulting from one party being the master and the other party being the servant.
4. Golden Rule: The borrower is always slave to the lender.
Dave has a mindset saying: You need to be Gazelle intense when it comes to your financial fitness. You need to recognize that it is your behavior and your focus that will dictate if you become financially fit. 
If you are in a financial mess then the "how to" steps outlined in the book- WORK.
1. Create an emergency fund.
2. Tackle your debt.
3. Save 15% of your money
4. Eliminate all payments
5. Give
6. Imaging a life with no payment and all income.......Victory!!!
These 6 simple steps are easy to understand but hard to follow. As you know, most people will not follow these steps. This is why people gamble, and play the lottery. One of Dave's rants which I agree with is - "The lottery is a tax on the poor and people who can't do math."
Remember - "Where focus goes, energy flows" If you are in a financial mess then I recommended that you start with this book and change your mind set to fix the problem.
To live like no one else so you can later live like no one else is a brilliant saying. This basically means that you need to be disciplined and sacrifice now to have financial freedom and security later in life. Remember that if you are nervous about your finances now, it will only get worse as you get older. Most people do not think about their health and energy until they start to lose them. If you HAVE TO work into your 70's because you don't have money then that is a horrible thing. If you work in your 70's because you love it and DON'T have to then it is a blessing. Which do you want?

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Thursday, 18 August 2011

Are we there yet? Are you there yet? Just 4 Hours.

When I picked up "The 4-Hour Body" by Tim Ferriss, I'll be honest- I was pretty skeptical. Highly skeptical. Yeah, there are quick fix diets all kinds of other garbage that promise unrealistic results in an unrealistic amount of time. Eat cookies and lose 100 pounds? Really. Needless to say, this book is NOT one of them. I have great respect for the way Tim thinks. He is probably the best at "Smart Working". The initial thought about the book was this guy is probably lazy - far from it. And with that being said, this is a must read. I'll continue...
What makes it so good is Tim himself is the human test dummy. He does not recommend anything he does not try. You "gotta" respect that especially when you see what he tries. And this is important to me for a number of reasons.

The overriding reason this is important to me is because Tim cuts through the crap and all the misconceptions out there and provides real results to fat loss, muscle gain, strength training and nutrition. The best part is the interview with Nina Hartley. Since I need to keep this somewhat G-rated. When you read it, you'll know what I mean. Moving on.
1. 80/20 Rule - I am kind of a numbers geek. Pareto was an Italian mathematician and this is his rule. Basically it says 80% of the results comes from 20% of the work. If you combine efficiency and effectiveness, then the 80/20 rule has compound effects. The one weakness here is that you can become very efficient at in-effective work thus you need to evaluate what is in-effective and stop doing it. There is nobody better at this than Mr. Ferriss.
2. Parkinson's Law - This is outstanding. Basically it says that a task will swell in "perceived" difficulty as the time allotted lengthens. You can get a term paper done in one night, or you spend all term working on it. The difficulty of the project only seems more difficult by name - i.e. TERM Paper. To use this law effectively you need to focus on good- NOT perfection. Thus, you can get 95% effectiveness in 1 month, opposed to 100% effectiveness in 5 years. This is where this law has real value.
The 4-hour Body is packed with 600 pages of great material. Since I don't want to make a 10 hour video that nobody will watch, I will profile three core concepts on fat loss in the book.
1. Subtracting Fat - I picked this one based on sheer popularity. With the growing obesity issues in this country, I figured let's start with the most popular. Contrary to popular belief, cutting out fat does not make you lose weight. Tim profiles his "Slow Carb Diet" which does work. You can melt fat away by eating protein and vegetables the way he outlines it. In Tim Ferris fashion, he takes it to the extreme and profiles other ways to ignite fat burning. The hormonal responses to carbs, protein and fat are different. The real key here is three things:
1. 1,000 calories at 90% fat = weight loss of .9lbs per day
2. 1,000 calories at 90% protein = weight loss of .6lbs per day
3. 1,000 calories at 90% carbohydrate = weight gain of .24 lbs. per day.
Thus different sources of calories equal different results. Note: He does not promote "No carbs". This is a bad idea as the Atkins Diet of old shows. When people cut out all carbs, they lose weight but once they go back, they tend to put more on.
2. Consistent Tracking - This is simple but effective. People suck at creating new beneficial habits. That is why every diet fad always becomes a best seller because most people will not stick with one thing. To get around this, people need to see measurable results fast. The only way to do this is to track it. Track progress, cut yourself some slack, and you will see results over time.
3. Thermal Load - If you run a marathon you burn roughly 2,600 calories. A marathon is roughly 4 hours of running. Remember Michael Phelps? When training for the Olympics, he consumes 12,000 calories per day. This means that he would have to work 16 hours or the equivalent to 4 marathons every day. How come he did not balloon up and gain weight? The concept here is thermal load. Running a marathon gives you a burn of 2600 calories while working out in an 82 degree pool for the same 4 hours will burn an EXTRA 4000 calories. I guess we just kicked up the pool membership dollars......
I realize this summary does not scratch the surface on how good this book is but for the sake of time, I need to keep it short. Some other great topics covered in the book if you are interested are:
1. Gaining muscle mass and loosing body fat.
2. Increasing strength by working out LESS.
3. Six minute abs
4. How to gain 34 pounds in 28 days without Steroids
5. Reversing Permanent Injuries
One thing you can take away from this book is having a minimalist approach. One thing that shines throughout the book is the minimal amount of exercise that is required for extraordinary results. This is counter-intuitive and goes against the grain. This does not mean that the exercises are easy. That is the difference. Most strength and size work requires negatives and failure training. I have used several of these methods in the past and can say they do work. Depending on your goals, you can pick what to work on.
Joe Mosed invites you to subscribe to to receive free video book summaries. Our vision at Success Progress is to provide relevant & meaningful content to our user community. To view the video summary of this article please visit
(c) Copyright - Joe Mosed / Success Progress All Rights Reserved Worldwide.


Look for ideas - "You do not have to be Einstein to have a break through idea"

Free Book Summary One Simple Idea - By Stephen Key

 Stephen Key was a mentor to Tim Ferriss. If you are not familiar with Tim, he wrote two bestselling books, The 4 Hour Work Week and the 4 Hour Body. One Simple Idea is a "how to" book on licensing your ideas. Licensing is one of the most lucrative business models in the world. Think about these companies, Microsoft, Oracle and Apple. These companies all license their ideas and make more money per person than 99% of all other companies. I am a big fan of Real Estate but if you need to make money with less risk and less capital requirements, then licensing is the way to go.

Why is this important to me?
Most people are not familiar with the power of licensing and royalty checks. This book shows you how to do it and I will expand on the why.

Why licensing? I have had several businesses and I can tell you that licensing is by far the most lucrative of all. When you own the IP (intellectual property), your marginal revenue of the next license sold is infinite. That is a very good profit margin by anybody's standards.

Inversion is one of the most powerful learning strategies in the world. Inversion means to look at the opposite or reverse of something. I told you above that Licensing is one of the best models out there. Let's use inversion to show you why. When you sell somebody else's stuff, you are only as good as your next sale. This means that no matter what, you have to buy what you sell every time. Thus your gross profit can be anywhere from 0% to 50% based on your cost structure and the competition level. This is what Wal-Mart does. Note that they are the best cost cutters in the world and competing with them head on would be a disaster.
Let's suppose you are a consulting or service based company. Again, you are only as good as your next consulting gig. I know that consultants make a ton of money but for every hour they consult, they lose that hour of opportunity to do something else. Thus you are trading hours for dollars.

One Simple Idea is packed with great information and Stephen's 10 step plan that shows you how to do it. We will touch on a few points.

First of all, there are two major reasons to license. Number 1 is royalty checks. You can make money while you sleep. Now you are NOT trading dollars for hours because you can be doing something else and still receive checks. Number 2 is omnipresence. You can do this from anywhere in the world. You do not have to be handcuffed to a desk in some vaulted locked building. All you need is a computer and ideas.
Stephen outlines several key factors to being successful at licensing. For the sake of time, I will highlight a few of the topics in this review.

1. Look for ideas - You do not have to be Einstein to have a break through idea. If you have ever been shopping, then you can come up with ideas. The key here is to focus on thins that really annoy you. If they annoy you then maybe they annoy others. This is a starting point for a new idea. Think about problems and come up with solutions. This also gives you a reason to go shopping.

2. Prove your idea - The traditional licensing model works like this. Find an idea, build an expensive prototype, spend a small fortune for patent protection and hope it sells. This is why most people don't think of licensing as a viable career because the barriers APPEAR too big to bridge. Proving your idea before you spend any money is now easy to do. Google has built in traffic. It is a ready-made platform for idea creation and proof. One simple way to do this is to create a video of your idea and ask for feedback. You can do this for a few hundred dollars. This process alone will save you tons of heartache and money. You need to prove the idea before you do anything else.

3. Protect your idea- Contrary to negative belief; most companies do NOT want to steal your idea. The traditional way to protect your idea was to submit for patents. This is a very expensive endeavor. One thing Stephen points out to avoid this is a PPA. This is a provisional patent application and costs $110 to submit. This gives you Patent Pending status which is all you need for 1 year to prove your idea and get it to market. This one concept can pay for this book 5,000 times.

4. Pitch your idea - If you decide to bring your idea to market then you need to be schooled in business. This means you need money, management, and accounting, production, sales and marketing. Then after you have all this, you need customers. This is like a beginner climbing Mount Everest in the winter time. The odds all point to your death with this approach. Pitching your idea to the big guys is the way to go. They have the name brand, infrastructure and distribution channel to hit millions of people NOW. Pitching your idea is the best way to go and causes the most fear. Everybody hates to cold call but this is required for you to pitch your idea. This is much easier than it seems because companies want new ideas and that is the hook for you to get in.

One Simple Idea is an outstanding guide to help you turn your ideas into a royalty check.
I hope you have found this short summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is the PPA. The biggest obstacle to ideas coming to market is the shear cost of getting protection and the fear of somebody stealing your stuff. For $110, you can protect it for one year and if it makes you money then you can protect it longer. Remember, in this game, the first to market wins.

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