Category Archives: Books

Are You A Hedgehog Or A Fox?

What’s with this idea that having tons of “projects” is a good thing? Although it may be true that being a shareholder in several businesses that run without your involvement profitably is an ideal situation to be in, but to many aspiring entrepreneurs seem to think having lots of projects for the sake of having projects is a good thing.  Most of the time entrepreneurs try to do way too much.  And the great gift we all have to see an opportunity and go for it, becomes our Achilles’ heel because we then try to chase after all of them.  

Success is not determined by the amount of projects you have going on.  Even though it might sound cool to have several things going at once, to me it sounds amateur.  But not lets just take what I have to say, let’s take a look from Jim Collin’s point of view as well, the author of Good To Great, a book that took 20 years to study the greatest companies in America and what they have done to outperform all of their competitors exponentially over the century.  One of the concepts he talks about, which I absolutely love, is the Hedgehog concept, which I’d like to share with you:

The fox is a cunning creature, able to devise a myriad of complex strategies for sneak attacks upon the hedgehog. Day in and day out, the fox circles around the hedgehog’s den, waiting for the perfect moment to pounce. Fast, sleek, beautiful, fleet of foot, and crafty—the fox looks like the sure winner. The hedgehog, on the other hand, is a dowdier creature, looking like a genetic mix-up between a porcupine and a small armadillo. He waddles along, going about his simple day, searching for lunch and taking care of his home.

The fox waits in cunning silence at the juncture in the trail. The hedgehog, minding his own business, wanders right into the path of the fox. “Aha, I’ve got you now!” thinks the fox. He leaps out, bounding across the ground, lightning fast. The little hedgehog, sensing danger, looks up and thinks, “Here we go again. Will he ever learn?” Rolling up into a perfect little ball, the hedgehog becomes a sphere of sharp spikes, pointing outward in all directions. The fox, bounding toward his prey, sees the hedgehog defense and calls off the attack. Retreating back to the forest, the fox begins to calculate a new line of attack. Each day, some version of this battle between the hedgehog and the fox takes place, and despite the greater cunning of the fox, the hedgehog always wins.

Berlin extrapolated from this little parable to divide people into two basic groups: foxes and hedgehogs. Foxes pursue many ends at the same time and see the world in all its complexity. They are “scattered or diffused, moving on many levels,” says Berlin, never integrating their thinking into one overall concept or unifying vision. Hedgehogs, on the other hand, simplify a complex world into a single organizing idea, a basic principle or concept that unifies and guides everything. It doesn’t matter how complex the world, a hedgehog reduces all challenges and dilemmas to simple—indeed almost simplistic—hedgehog ideas. For a hedgehog, anything that does not somehow relate to the hedgehog idea holds no relevance.

Princeton professor Marvin Bressler pointed out the power of the hedgehog during one of our long conversations: “You want to know what separates those who make the biggest impact from all the others who are just as smart? They’re hedgehogs.” Freud and the unconscious, Darwin and natural selection, Marx and class struggle, Einstein and relativity, Adam Smith and division of labor—they were all hedgehogs. They took a complex world and simplified it. “Those who leave the biggest footprints,” said Bressler, “have thousands calling after them, ‘Good idea, but you went too far!’ ”3

To be clear, hedgehogs are not stupid. Quite the contrary. They understand that the essence of profound insight is simplicity. What could be more simple than e = mc2? What could be simpler than the idea of the unconscious, organized into an id, ego, and superego? What could be more elegant than Adam Smith’s pin factory and “invisible hand?” No, the hedgehogs aren’t simpletons; they have a piercing insight that allows them to see through complexity and discern underlying patterns. Hedgehogs see what is essential, and ignore the rest.”

So are you a hedgehog or a fox?

I try to be a hedgehog.  And this is how it relates to my life and business, so you can take this concept and if you like it you can apply it to your own life. 

Our hedgehog concept is simply this, we need to become the absolute best software provider in the ppc affiliate tracking space.  Anything other than that matters nothing to me, real-estate is not important any more, or making money online in general, or starting another project, or even personal affiliate marketing for that matter.  I will only do whatever it is that helps us become the leader in the space, anything other than that is not important whatsoever.  And until and only after we do become the best at that, then we will maybe move on and try to dominate another niche.  It may take 10 years to become the best in the space, that’s ok, because we’d rather be the best in the space than 2nd place somewhere else. 

If we are unable to become 1st place in whatever we do, we won’t do it.  We were thinking about doing some large high volume email marketing with over 15-25+ million email addresses with rev-share deals with affiliate networks.  We could have made a significant income, once email gets going it isn’t uncommon to hear mailers make anywhere around $5,000-$15,000 or more in a drop.   We could have done this. 

We also could have done mass internal search campaigns and utilized our technology only in-house and made a fortune which some other super affiliates have decided to do.  We’ve shown almost half a dozen individuals how to earn over $10,000/day through affiliate marketing, and we could have done this for ourselves as well, but we did not.  We could have scaled out our affiliate marketing business to over $50,000/day or more, and although you think we may be bluffing we have friends who do that and more, even past the $100,000/day barrier on some rare occasions.  But we did not, and I have not worked on any personal campaigns for over 6 months because doing it does not help us become the best software provider in the ppc affiliate tracking space.  We have to give up the opportunities to chase one opportunity, and do something we can really become the best at.

Whatever it is your going to do, do it, focus on it, and really make a big impact when you do it.  If we rated everything we were able to do on a 1-10 efficiency scale, it would be fair to say that most things we can do at about rating of 6 most people wouldn’t want to see.  But things that we could do at a 9 or even 10 rating, people would pay to see.  Do something you can really be proud of, not to be ok at several things, be the best at one thing, once you are the best at that, then move onto something else. 

Don’t focus on your weaknesses, your weak at them, focus on your strengths.  Don’t waste time working on a small side project, when you could be building one really big project and make a huge impact with it.    Stop getting distracted by all the opportunities out there, and chase after the one opportunity that you can do the best.    Distractions are the killers of dreams….

Here is a real-life example of this at work.  My friend Rob is one of the sharpest people I’ve ever met, he is one of the most successful entrepreneurs that I personally know in our age group.  Here is an example of someone who has spent the last 6 years working full-time on his businesses.  Although he started with one, web-hosting and built his customer base, and started acquiring other hosts.  After some time he brought on a partner to manage operations so didn’t ‘have’ to be there every day working on the company

Then he went to build a voip business, and spent a large amount of his time doing that when I first met him.  He has built some technology in house, and after over a year has now hired a full time president of the company to take over, he pays him salary and the manager now runs the entire business.  Rob is now able to work on other projects, because he has built them correctly and then he can move on.  He is now starting a new business with my other good friend and starting to do the same thing. Build it, and then put people in place to manage them.

See the point is this, when he goes and does something, it doesn’t do it ‘half-ass’ he goes in puts in his 10 hours a day over 10 months in a row and goes to work, after he builds it, then and only then he puts someone in place to manage his business.  He isn’t working on 100 things at once; he does things, actually does them, and then puts people in place to manage the projects.  That is the model you want to follow, Rob has done it extremely well and he continues to do it up until this day.  There are several people that rob has manage his projects now.  

Take his story and then compare it with a new entrepreneur, trying to “do several projects at the same time.”  The inexperienced entrepreneur tries to do everything Rob did at once, while Rob did one at a time, then put people in place to manage them.  The inexperienced entrepreneur trying to do them all is unable to focus his time to really build one project huge, he is to scattered, like the fox trying to do to many things.  They do all their businesses half-ass, and the result is a bunch of half-ass projects, when they should have just focused on one and built it.   The inexperienced entrepreneurs excuse is, “having multiple streams of income is good,” even though none of the projects provide any streams of income at all.  If anything they provide streams of distractions and lost progress that could have been made.  In this scenario the inexperienced entrepreneur is the fox, and rob was the hedgehog.

If you want to learn more about this concept read the book by Jim Collins, Good To Great.  Are you a hedgehog or a fox?  How many projects do you have going now?  If you have 3 or more, you are most likely a fox. 

Cloning Dinners

Cloning Dinners is a simple, but powerful concept to maximize your time networking with others. I wanted to say thanks to James Seligman from the Seattle Meetup202 Group for recommending Never Eat Alone, the book that I read this from. It’s an awesome book, I highly recommend it. An example of a super cloned dinner is Ian Fernando’s IANteract dinner, where he took out 20+ people and paid for dinner. This helped strengthen the relationship with Ian, and other affiliates at the dinner.

This text will be replaced

Favors – Why Asking For Favors, Can Be Good

So I always use to think, up until now, that doing a lot of favors for others builds the relationship with the other person, and try to ask for as-little back was the way to build a great report with someone.  But I can see the opposite side now, on why it is good to also ask for favors in return as-well, because it can relive the pressure of someone feeling like they owe something to you. If you keep giving and ask for nothing, they will be less likely to ask for more favors, and in doing so you will be less likely to receive help from the relationship if you ask nothing in return, and give give and give.

But if your only giving and don’t allow yourself to receive the relationship is not as good as it could be: because we have stopped the giving AND receiving of favors to one’s self. I just read this and I’d like to share it with you here, the last part is what made me re-think a significant part of how I try to do as many favors as possible for people, but I can see why it wasn’t always the best way to just keep giving, and try to ask as little as possible in return.

“GIVE FAVORS: There’s a karmic scoreboard in the sky.  This scoreboard tracks what you do for people. If you want to be a world-class schoomzer, ensure that you’re hugely positive on the scoreboard. You accomplish this by helping people-especially folks who seemingly can’t do anything for you.  And do this without expectation of return. Eventually, the scoreboard will take care of you.

 

RETURN FAVORS: Since I believe in doing favors, I surely advocate returning favors.  When something is done for oyu, you have accepted a moral obligation to pay it back.  Great schoomzers return favors and do so with joy.  This not only moves the scoreboard a little in the positive direction but enables you to ask for more favors.

 

ASK FOR THE REUTRN OF FAVORS: Counterintuitive as this seems, you should ask for the return of favors.  Doing so reduces or removes the pressure from a person who feels he owes you somethign.  Thus, it provides an opportunity to clear the deck.  Then the other party can ask for new favors.”

 

The Art of Start – Guy Kawasaki,

Elite MasterMind Forum – If Your Serious About Reading and Personal Development

For anyone who is serious about reading and studying success, we have just put together the EliteMasterMindForum. This was a long-overdue idea that I wanted to implement over a year ago, and posted about doing it last week here.    This is an open invitation for anyone who is interested in reading, this is not another business, but more just a way to read great books and discuss them with other people.  Anyone is welcome to join, although most people will join and quit because reading one book a week is extremely difficult, yet extremely rewarding. 

There is a tremendous wealth of knowledge that great people in the past have discovered, and shared with us by writing the ideas into books. The Elite MasterMind Forum’s purpose is explore the books, and re-discover the great ideas of the past to learn them ourselves so we can implement them in our lives and make quantum leaps in our self-development and business life.

Each week we read a life-changing book that can help us in any aspect of our lives we are wishing to improve at the time, topics such as: business success, health, financial success, relationships, sales, marketing, entrepreneurship, communication, networking and anything else we feel necessary. In our forum we discuss the ideas from the book; debate ideas and talk about how some ideas we could apply to our life.

This forum is about discovering the great ideas that leaders from the past have learned; this forum is for like-minded-success-oriented people who are looking to become better, stronger and wiser. The Elite MasterMind Forum is dedicated to studying success, and implementing successful ideas in our lives.

One Book A Week

Hey everyone, just wanted to give you an update on the elite mastermind reading group.  I’m in process of setting it up right now, I was going to use BaseCamp, which we used before in another collaboration group but it got to spammy after-awhile because it replied on email, I’m programming a simple script for us to collaborate on, it’ll be ready soon.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Blink was an interesting book about the first two seconds of looking–the decisive glance that knows in an instant. I just finished reading it on my Kindle. The book centers on the concept of how fast we really do make judgments, called “thin slicing”, and how deeper analysis can sometimes provide less information than more. It is all about cognitive speed. If that doesn’t make any sense at all, its hard enough to try to explain.  I made a lot of notes on the book and I’d like to share them with you here, there is a lot of information here.

“There is one emotion that he considers the most important of all: contempt, if Gottman observes one or both partners in a marriage showing contempt toward the other, he considers it the single most important sign that the marriage is in trouble.”

“What it suggests is that it is quite possible for people who never met us and who have spent only twenty minutes thinking about us to come to a better understanding of who we are than people who have known us for years. Forget the endless “getting to know” meetings and lunches, then. If you want to get a good idea of whether I’d make a good employee, drop by my house one day and take a look around.”

“Sometimes we’re better of if the mind behind the locked door makes our decisions for us.” (the guy instinct, he is referring to, that we get in a blink of an eye about something)

(in reference to 6 minute speed dating) “If you are enjoying the connection, time goes quickly. If you aren’t, it’s the longest six minutes of your life,” she said contagious, winning spark. “You know, girls are really smart,” Jon, a medical student in a blue suit said at the end of the evening. “They know in the first minute, Do I like this guy, can I take him home to my parents, or is he just a wham-bam kind of jerk?” Jon is quite right, except it isn’t just girls who are smart. When it comes to thin-slicing potential dates, pretty much everyone is smart.” (in reference that within just a short time, we really can gather enough information about something to make a decision yes/no)

“We need to accept our ignorance and say, ‘I don’t know’ more often.”

“Most of us, in ways that we are not entirely aware of, automatically associate leadership ability with imposing physical stature. We have a sense of what a leader is supposed to look like, and that stereotype is so powerful that when someone fits it, we simply become blind to other considerations.

“If you buy a car from Bob Golomb, he will be on the phone to you the next day, making sure everything is all right. If you come to the dealership but don’t end up buying anythimg, he’ll call you the next day, thanking you for stopping by. “You always have to put on your best face, even if you are having a bad day. You leave that behind.”

(in reference to trying to remove prejudice) “It requires more than simple commitment to equality. It requires that you change your life so that you are exposed to minorities on a regular basis and become comfortable with them and familiar with the best of their culture.”

“Insight is not a lightbulb that goes off inside our heads. It is a flickering candle that can be easily snuffed out” (in reference to that even though we might in a blink get a gut-feeling of something, we can easily be fooled and misinterpret the situation)

There are, I think, two important lessons here. The first is that truly successful decision making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.”

“The second lesson is that in good decision making, frugality matters. John Gottman took a complex problem and reduced it to its simplest elements: even the most complicated of relationships and problems, he showed, have an identifiable underlying pattern.”

“Because buying jam is a snap decision. You say to yourself, instinctively, I want that one. And if you are given too many choices, if you are forced to consider much more than your unconscious is comfortable with, you get paralyzed. Snap judgments can be made in a snap because they are frugal, and if we want to protect our snap judgements, we have to take steps to protect that frugality” (in reference to most times we over-load ourselves with to much information and block ourselves from taking decision action in the right step because we have to many choices, or to much information to think of a good decision quickly)

“Cheskin was convinced that when people give an assessment of something they might buy in a supermarket or a department store, without realizing it, the transfer sensations or impressions they have about the packaging of the product to the product itself. To put it in another way, Cheskin believed that most of us don’t make a distinction–on an unconscious level– between the package and the product.”

“They served two hundred people Christian Brothers Brandy out of an E & J bottle, and the E & J Brandy out of a Christian Brothers bottle. Which brandy won? The Christian Brothers, hands-down, by the biggest margin of all. Now they had the right taste, the right brand, and the right bottle. The company redesigned their bottle to be alot more like E & J’s, and, sure enough, their problem was solved” (E&J and Christian Brothers are both brandy drink companies. What they found during taste testing, that regardless of which companies brandy was in E&J’s bottle people said it tasted better than the Christian Bottles bottle. Even though they swaped the acutal drink between the two bottle, when ever people drank the brandy out of the E&J bottle it was better, even if it wasn’t E&J brandy in it. It even went as far to say that the taste testers said now that Christian Brothers’ Brandy that was in E&J, tasted better than the E&J in the Christian Brother’s Bottle.

“The general rule is, the closer consumers get to the food itself, the more consumers are going to be conservative. What that means for Hector is that in this case he needs to look pretty literal. You want to have the face as a recognizable human being that you can relate to. Typically, close-ups of the face work better than full-body shots. We tested Hector in a number of different ways. Can you make the ravioli taste better by changing him?” (in reference to ravioli can on the store shelfs)

“Masten picked up a can of Hormel canned meat. “We did this, too. We tested the Hormel logo.” He pointed at the tiny sprig of parsley between the r and the m. “That little bit of parsley helps bring freshness to the canned food.”

“When Del Monte took the peaches out of the tin and put them in a glass container, people said, ‘Ahh, this is something like my grandmother used to make.’ People say peaches taste better when they come in a glass jar. Just like ice cream in a cylindrical container as opposed to a rectangular package. People expect it’s going to taste better.”

“When you are in product development world, you become immersed in your own stuff, and it’s hard to keep in mind the fact that the customers you go out and see spend very little time with your product,” says Dowell. “they know the experience of it then and there. But they don’t have any history with it, and it’s hard for them to imagine a future with it, especially if it’s something very different. That was the thing with the Aeron chair. Office chairs in people’s minds had a certain aesthetic. They were cushioned and upholstered. The Aeron chair o course isn’t. It looked different. There was nothing familiar about it. Maybe the wod ‘ugly’ was just a proxy for ‘different.'”

“if the Aeron had just been a minor variation on the chair that came before it– the act of measuring consumer reactions would not have been nearly as difficult. But testing products or ideas that are truly revolutionary is another matter, and most successful companies are those that understand in those cases, the first impressions of their consumers need interpretation. We like market research because it provides certainty– a score, a prediction; if someone asks us why we made the decision we did, we can point to a number. But the truth is that for most important decisions, there can be no certainty.”

The first impressions of experts are different. By that I don’t mean that experts like different things than the rest of us–although that is undeniable. When we become expert in something our tastes grow more esoteric and complex. What I mean is that it is really only experts who are able to reliably account for their reactions.”

“If you were to approach a one-year-old child who sits playing on the floor and do something a little bit puzzling, such as cupping your hands over hers, the child would immediately look up to your eyes. Why? Because what you have done requires explanation, and the child knows that she can find an answer on your face.”

“But one of the things that Van Riper taught me was that being able to act intelligently and instinctively in the moment is possible only after long and rigorous course of education and experience. Van Riper beat Blue Team because of what he had learned about waging war in the jungles of Vietnam. And he also beat Blue Team because of what he had learned in that library of his. Van Riper was a student of military history.”

It’s the kind of wisdom that someone acquires after a lifetime of learning and watching and doing. It’s judgment. And what Blink is–what all the stories and studies and arguments add up to–is an attempt to understand this magical and mysterious thing called judgment.”

Judgment matters: it is what separates winners from losers.”

“Hooker choked, and I hope that after reading this far, you recognize the characteristics signs of judgment’s fragility. From experience, we gain a powerful gift, the ability to act instinctively, in the moment. But–and this is one of the lessons I tried very hard to impart in Blink–it is easy to disrupt this gift.”

“This is the second lesson of Blink: understanding the true nature of instinctive decision making requires us to be forgiving of those people trapped in circumstances where good judgment is imperiled. There’s a third lesson in the Chancellorsville story, and in the time since Blink was published I’ve come to think that it is the most important lesson of all. Lee outthought Hooker, even though he knew far less about Hooker’s army than Hooker knew about his. Hooker was the only one who knew exactly how many soldiers his enemy had. Hooker was the one who had two hot-air balloons up in the sky giving him perfect aerial reconnaissance of his enemy’s position. Le won the battle despite knowing less than Hooker. But now that you’ve read Blink, you’ll know that I think we ought to turn that sentence around, and say that probably Lee won the battle because he knew less than Hooker.”

(in reference to instead of pre-judging musicians before they stepped on the stage to see if they were good enough to be hired, they would put a screen so the reviewers couldn’t see the person and would just rate the performance based on the music alone, not their appearance, not their sex, not their race.) “It was only when the screen went up that the maestros’ judgment was restored. Think about it. How much of the “information” in an audition is visual? Seventy percent? Eighty percent? It’s mostly visual. An audition is supposed to be an exercise in listening. But mostly what we do is look. How is the musician dressed? Is she tall or short? How does she hold her instrument? How does she carry herself while she’s playing? In the classical music world, 80 percent of the information available to the maestros was removed, and lo and behold, the maestros suddenly exercised much better judgment. As I’ve talked to people about Blink over the past few years, I’ve been amazed at how often this point has come up. In fact, I would venture to say that no argument in the book has resonated more with readers than this one. We live in a world saturated with information. We have virtually unlimited amounts of data at our fingertips at all times, and we’re well versed in the arguments about the dangers of not knowing enough and not doing our homework. But what I have senses is an enormous frustration with the unexpected costs of knowing too much, of being inundated with information. We have to come to confuse information with understanding. “

“The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding.”

(in reference to the court systems like the musicians, how some people are pre-judged before they even get to say anything are are condemned more often just because on peoples biased opinions.) I think that the accused in a criminal trial shouldn’t be in the courtroom. He or she should be in another room entirely, answering questions by e-mail or through the use of an intermediary. And I think that all evidence and testimony in a trial that tips the jury off to the age or race or gender of the defendant ought to be edited out.”

This is the real lesson of Blink: It is not enough to simply to explore the hidden recesses of our unconscious. Once we know about how the mind works–and about the strengths and weaknesses of human judgment–it is our responsibility to act”

That is all my notes from Blink, took awhile to read? I hope there was some valuable information here, it sure took a long time to type this all out! What’s your thoughts on this format after you have read the whole thing, is it good, did you find something like this with points highlighted from the book good. I put them all here, was it to much or to many? What’s your thoughts on the ideas, and more specifically this post, and if I should do more like this on each great note I can find and share with everyone!

 

 

Sharpening Your Edge – New Mastermind Group and Looking For Serious Entrepreneurs

During the 18th century two brothers walked out to the forrest, both had axes in their hand.  They planed on cutting down as many trees as they possibly could within six hours.  The two brothers, Abe and John are about the same age and have the same physical build, they are equally strong.  It is a bright early morning, and they figure there is about six more hours of sunlight, so they will see how many trees they can cut down within the six hour time period.  

As they walk to the cutting area John decides to challenge his brother Abe to a competition,  “Brother Abe, I bet you that I can cut down more trees within 6 hours than you can.”  Abe replies, “Oh really? We’ll just have to see about that.” The two brothers agree to see who between them can cut down the most trees within the six hours.

At noon they arrive to the area where they are supposed to start axing.  John starts right away and beings axing immediately.  After about an hour he cuts down his first tree and looks over his shoulder to see that his brother Abe has not cut down any trees at all.  In fact, he notices Abe isn’t cutting at all, instead he is just sharpening his axe.  John shrugs in disbelief that his brother is sharpening his axe, so he continues to axe himself and after another hour he cuts down a second tree.  After he cuts down the second tree he looks over to his brother Abe again whom he finds is still sharpening his axe!  

“What are you doing Abe? I’ve already cut down my first two trees in two hours! I’m going to beat you,” yells John laughing at Abe. Giving no attention, Abe continues to sharpen his axe. In disbelief John turns around to the trees and begins cutting down his third tree.  After another hour John has cut down his third tree, he is cutting about one tree down per hour.  John feels confident that he will win, because he has already cut down three trees so far, and his brother Abe has not even begun axing yet.  

As John starts to start cutting down his 4th tree, he sees his brother get up and start axing.   Within 20 minutes of cutting John hears a big thud, he turns around to see a tree was just cut down by his brother Abe.  Abe had cut down his first tree within his first 20 minutes!  

“He must of just got lucky,” John thinks to himself.  But then another 20 minutes passes and Abe cuts down another three, while John is still working on his tree. The next 20 minutes Abe cuts down a third minute, he has now just cut down three trees within an hour.  John finally cuts down his forth tree.   So on the the fourth hour, John has cut down four trees already, and his brother abe has cut down three! 

It appears that John is cutting down a tree every hour, but his brother Abe with the sharper axe is cutting down 3 trees an hour!  Six hours finally comes out, and John’s total is six trees cut down, and his brother Abe who spent the first three hours sharpening his axe, cut down nine trees in the last three hours.  

Who cut down the most trees? Abe did.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “If I had six hours to cut down trees, I’d spend the first three hours sharpening my axe, and the last three cutting down the trees.” Lincoln was a smart man.

Even though John spent the whole six hours cutting down trees, his axe was so dull that he was only able to cut down one tree every hour.  While on the other hand Abe invested the time sharpening his axe and was able to cut down three trees per hour.   So what’s the point of this whole story?

The point of the story is to cleary show that someone who invests the time to develop their own personal skills has a great advantage over someone who doesn’t take the time to invest in-themselves.  The person who avoids studying and becoming a better entrepreneur fails to someone who has taken the time to invest in themselves and become a better entrepreneur.  

It shows the dramatic difference between entrepreneurs, that for example, in ten years two people starting out at the same spot can have completely different levels of success because one person took the time and invested in himself, learning how to be a great entrepreneur from people have already done it, when the other simply just put hard work into his business but never learned the best possible way to build his business. 

Now the actual story that I told you was a fake one, I made it up.  Although the quote by Abraham Lincoln is a real.  Then why the story?  Using stories is a great way to teach a piece of philosophy.  Philosophy by itself is somewhat boring and engaging, but throwing it into a story makes it fun!  Rich Dad Poor Dad the book is basically about two things, number one, we should increase our financial intelligence, and number two, buy assets and not liabilities.  But it was his story he told that you remember, and the story that taught the lessons which made it a new york time’s best seller.  So that is why I embed the lesson with a story, you’re more likely to remember the story.

How do we sharpen our axe?  There is two primary ways of learning new things, and becoming better, stronger and wiser.  Simply broken down they are: Learned Knowledge and Activity Knowledge.

Learned Knowledge is more passive knowledge that you gather from reading books, going to seminars, listening to audio books, reading quotes and learning from other people.  The other, Activity Knowledge is knowledge you acquire by doing and learning things sometimes the hard way.  

We need both types of knowledge to really excel.  If you just try activity knowledge all day you are learning the hard way, you don’t have to read any more.  You’ll figure out what works by trial and error, and you’ll learn new things.  And if you just read all day, what good would that do?

The sharpest and brightest people in life, in my personal opinion are those who are constant learners of good information, but then apply the knowledge immediately.  They switch off between learned knowledge and activity knowledge daily, and do both, and excel at what they do.  Each day they do what they do better.

I personally know older entrepreneurs that have small businesses that they have grown to 1-5 employees.  They have been working for 10+ years in their business, their business now looks about the same it did years ago.  The reason the business is about the same is because as of today entrepreneur of the business is the same as they were years ago.  In other words, the entrepreneurs businesses haven’t experienced any growth because the owner hasn’t changed himself.  They have the same old ideas and tricks they had years ago and use, and doing the same things they did before are getting them the same results.  In other words even though they are working hard at their business, they aren’t getting any better at it, so they find themselves after 10 years at roughly the same income level as before and frustrated.  They think they know everything there is about their business and refuse to accept the idea that there is anything else they can do, so they fall into the trap.  They fall into the trap that there business won’t grow any further because they won’t grow personally.  They are so busy chopping away with a dull axe, they completely forgotten to sharpen their axe, and if you give them a book, they say their to busy.

Here is a key note to remember: “Your income seldomly exceeds your level of personal development,” Jim Rohn.   To receive more in life, we have to become more.  

So let us together, not become someone who works all day with a dull axe.  Let’s put in the time axing away at our business, but lets spend time also sharpening our axe.  So that each day we become better than the next and really grow.  

I myself have been failing in some aspect on sharpening my axe lately.  Studying personal development has become like a roller-coaster, one month I will read 3 books, and then the next month none.  I tried once to read a book every week but I failed, miserably.  

Although I just received my Kindle in the mail today, probably one of the best devices for learning I have ever come across of.  I liked it so much I bought one for my dad the same day. Now I have access to all the best business books and books on philosophy in a second, I can download through the air instantly and read them immediately.  All my library is now on a single device which is must easier to read than a single book, I strongly believe now with this tool I can really read one book a week.  I’m going to give it all to start this up, if I can read one book a week that is over 56 great books on entrepreneurship in a year.

I plan on sharing as many ideas from the book with you as I possibly can, it’s good for you and me.

I would also like to extend an open invitation to anyone who is serious about entrepreneurship to join me a new mastermind personal development group.  I thought about putting together one over a year ago, and now were going to do it.  If anyone here is interested in reading one great book a week and discussing them each week please comment here and we’ll get together a group of 10-20 serious people who are interested in seriously sharpening their skills.  

In order to read a book each week you will be probably have to dedicated an hour to two hours per day in order to accomplish this, it is a lot of work, and it is not for the light-hearted, reading one book a week is extremely hard, yet I believe, it will be extremely rewarding if we can get it down.  I need your help,  sometimes the best way to get big things done is to get work-out partners who help each other get through.  If I find you slacking on reading I’m going to get on you, and I’d expect you to get on me.  So if your interested in joining me in a new reading mastermind mind group, please let me know and we’ll do this.  I might require everyone to have a kindle, as a serious requirement, its $359, but the best money you can spend is money invested into self-development.  Don’t short-change yourself when it comes to your own education.  I’m not asking anyone to buy a piece of junk, I’m asking you to invest in something that if used, will earn you literally millions maybe billions if you are really sharp, in the near future.  

I hope you again found some value in this post.  Remember the story and the quote by Abraham Lincoln, “If I had six hours to cut down trees, I’d spend the first three hours sharpening my axe, and the last three cutting down the trees.”  How many hours this week did you spend sharpening your axe?

Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language”.How To Win Friends and Influence Them by Dale Carnegie

How to win friends and influence them is one of the greatest books of all times, it is probably the greatest piece of literature ever written about mastering the art of communicating with other people. It has sold of 15 million copies globally and it has been on the NY Times Best Seller List for over 10 years. If you have not read this book you are cheating yourself from being enlightened with possible some of the greatest insights on human relationships and communication skills you will ever come across in your entire life. We are going to explore one of the ideas in this book and how we apply it to our business.

One of the principals in the book talks about how powerful it is to use another persons’ name during communication. Don’t you feel a great sense of importance when someone 2 years ago remembers your name personally? It is extremely powerful when someone remembers your name and you will notice it.

You know the people who always say, “I’m bad at remembering names.” What they are really saying is, “I don’t pay enough attention and I don’t put enough effort to try to remember your name.” Start getting good at remembering names; let us not be like the average joe who can’t even remember a name, and even worse, brags about it! The ability to remember names can pay you huge dividends in the future.

Michael Gerber, the author of the E-Myth, another incredible book to have in your library, talks about an experience he has going to the local 24-hour fitness. Take a note at the simple, yet extremely powerful automated system 24-hour fitness has created to achieve a very high level of client fulfillment and membership retention.

“Here’s another example I love. When I check into my exercise club, 24-hour Fitness, I swipe my membership card into a similar system, and each time I do, the person at the counter hands me back my card and says, and this happens every single time, ’Have a good exercise, Michael.’ Have a good exercise, Michael. Can you believe it? Every time that happens, Sarah, I feel seen! They know me, even though they don’t. Just like me, your client wants to feel seen, and using their name is one of simplest ways to satisfy their need.”

an excerpt from Michael Gerber’s E-Myth Mastery, page 311.

What an incredible little system 24-hour has there, swipe your card and they’ll say have a great workout Wes. Incredible? I thought so when I first heard it, driving down to San Francisco in my car during my move listening to my audio books. It just made me say WOW. You know when you say WOW when an athlete, say, an NBA player makes a huge dunk or does something incredible. Well I say WOW when I hear about entrepreneurs implementing incredible systems and processes. I mean when I walk into a McDonalds, I say WOW, seriously. What an incredible attention to detail the entrepreneurs have put in place here to create a multi-million business that a HS student can operate after reading the Operations Manual, or simply the How To Run a McDonalds manual. That is world-class entrepreneurship at work, that excites me! Wow some of the innovations and systems that entrepreneurs have put in place amazes me.

But lets get back on track instead of learning about how Wes says WOW every time he sees cool business systems at work shall we?

When we can see a great simple concept at work, like the one they put together at the 24-hour fitness, we could easily implement this ourselves too. So here is a little trick that I’ve been using for the last couple months when talking to customers through AOL Instant Messenger.

Anytime someone new, whom I’ve never talked to before messages me on AIM, they’ll ask their question and I’ll of course help them out. But while were talking I will always end up asking for their name. Why? So when the next conversation comes around, I check my message history with meebo (which stores my message history so I can go back in the history and lookup their name, and is also web-based, so I can access it from any computer). So with meebo I can look back in my message history and find their name, of course this only works if you asked them for their name in the last conversation which I always do. Then I can respond back to the 2nd time we talk with a completely customized and personalized reply. Now instead of “sure what can I do for you,” it turns into “Sure absolutely what can I do for you John!”

And they will notice that you remember. And they will think to themselves, “they remembered my name? Cool.”

It is even best, and this does happen quite a bit when someone messages and says, “Hey wes, we talked earlier, you might not have remembered me but, I was wondering if I could get help on …..”

My response?

“Hey Joe, of course I remember ya! Sure lets go ahead and fix this issue for you.”

Now that’s what I call exceeding customer expectation! Do this with 1,000 customers, and guess what. You just exceeded 1,000 customer expectations. Can I get a wow, that’s pretty cool?

You can apply this simple concept too now. Just remember the principal that peoples’ names are important to them. And just make sure you catch their name on the first conversation so on the next one you’ll know their name!

So remember names, never let yourself be caught saying, “I’m bad at remembering names.” Those are the lazy people who can’t remember names because they simply don’t understand how important names are and they don’t put any effort into trying to remember names. But you will. So now you can say, “I’m good at remembering names.” How many times do you hear that?

So till next time! We have the bay area meetup202 event on the 31st this month. There were 16 people there last time, and out of 16 brand new faces, I have spent the time to remember each and everyone of them. They were: Matt, Jeff, another Matt, Pete, Claudia, Luba, Jimmy, Christian, Nana, Michael, Giovanna, Silver, Justin, Lana, Alexander and Amy. Oh also, the Café owners are Amy and Andrew.

I hope you received some value from reading this post today. Take charge, and take care. Start the process of becoming a skilled communicator, and the world is yours.

When the idea is hot, take action, action pronto, action immediately!

Well as I was taking a break from programming BeaverRent.com, I had an idea that I will pursue.

Whenever you have an inspired action, thought, or idea, you should take immediate action towards it.  As Anthony Robbins says, before you leave with a great idea, start the task immediately, just take ONE step towards doing what you want to do.  Do not leave the idea without taking some sort of ACTION towards achieving it once you had the idea.  Take ONE ACTION towards the idea before you leave the scene.

So of course, I took action immediately on the first step towards the idea. 

The idea was to start writing up another book, but only so because I feel I have found a title worth writing about, and have an interest in doing it.  I have though about this book for several months now, and it finally hit me, if I had a book by the title I just thought of, it would well, imho be a best seller.

The book I was previously writing was about the law of association, and how you become like the combined average of the five (5) most people you associate with the most.  I was writing that book, I had 50 pages done, until my computer crashed, and I literally lost the entire book.  I later never started it back-up for lack of enthusiasm about the topic, and doubt that it would not be that successful of a book in itself.

When you are thinking about starting a long-term project, like a book it sure takes alot of work.  One philosophy to making the work seem easier is breaking it down.  If you had to write a whole book of 100 pages.  You could break it down, and write one page a day.  One page a day to difficult, how about one paragraph a day, every day.  The key is every day, and only do what you are suppose to do in a day, don’t go past, what we want is not a sprint acouple days, but a continual steady slow disciplined progress towards completing the task.

You could even do one sentence a day, and after a while you have a book written. (One sentence a day, thats pretty easy.)

When the idea is hot, take action, pronto, action, immediate!

I’m going to be starting my one-page a day again, on my new title, this should be good.  I will not be disclosing the information about the book until it is ready, this one I’m going to go through with certainly, my gut feeling is in this one. 

When the idea is hot, take action, action pronto, action immediate!

My Library

 Here are most of the books/audibooks/programs in my library.  I have an ipod nano which has 95% audiobooks on it, and a new 30gb ipod video which is 100% audiobooks only.  No music just personal development, interesting.

— Book Library —

How to Read a Book
Good to Great
The Lessons of History
The Magic of thinkign big
What’s your exit strategy
7 Stratgeies for wealth & happiness
Inspire any audience
The winning Attitude
Developing the leaders around you
Becoming a person of influence
Life’s greatest Lessons
Getting to Yes
Life is a series of presentations
A random walk down wall street
How to talk to anyone anytime anywhere
Profiles of Success
Six Great Ideas
Exit Stragedy
The Slight Edge
SELLING-tom hopkins
THe paradox of Choice
The worldyphilosophers
The E-myth
E-myth mastery
The tipping Point
Think and Grow Rich
The Leader in You
How to develop self-consicese and influence people by public speaking
the quick and easy way to effective speaking
How to stop worrying and start living
How to win friends and influence people
Public Speaking for Success
Little ed Book of Selling
Bulletproof Asset Protection
The Ultimate Gift
Grinding It Out: The Making Of Mcdonald’s
Business @ the Speed of Thought: Succeeding in the Digital Economy – bill gates
Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
he Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing – Virgin Empires
Andrew Carnegie – biograhpy
Einstein: His Life and Universe
Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
Sam Walton: Made In America
Gandhi
Mellon: An American Life
Success Acceleration
Ideas and Opions

— IPOD Library —

77 Laws of success with women and dating
9 Steps to Financial Freedom
America’s Greatest Tatx Screts Revealed
Becoming a Sales Superstar
Big Picture Investing
Cougar To be Rich
Cultivating an Unshakable Character
Decisions
Designing your life
Effective Manager
Financial Freedom
Get the Edge
How to be a NLP
How to Be a winner
If it ain’t broke, break it
Laws of Money, lessons of life
Lessons in Mastery
Live with Passion
Manifesting your Destiny
Master with Women
Personal Power
Personal Power IIPositivity
Psycology of Winning
Accelerated Wealth
Revolutionary Wealth
Road to Wealth
Total Estate Planning
Total Lawsuit & ASset Protection
Sales Dogs
Secrets of the Universie
Secrets to Success
Sell your way to the top
Success and the Self-Image
The art of Exceptional Living – MUST SEE
The Cerfiable Salesperson
The fountain of Wealth
The weekend millionaire real estate investor
Transforming debt into wealth
Unlimited Financial Success
21 irrefefutable laws of leadership
Never accept advice from anyone more screwed up than you are
Unlimited Power
The seven habitits of highly effective people
mastering the seven habits
Jim Rohn’s weekend mastermind program

— Video Library —

The Secret