Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

Better to write, than to not write at all

I decided a few days ago, that it is better to write something, even ever so small, than to write nothing at all.

I got this from one of the Hive Global Leaders Program at Harvard University Unconferenced sessions. The session was on effective story telling. One of the key concepts was to write out all of the main events/concepts that you wanted to share in a story.  Although somewhat obvious in my opinion, however, what I thought what was great about it, was that you don’t necessarily need to add anything more if you don’t have time to share.

If you want to share the story about the lord of the rings and the hobbit — you could probably share the story by talking about 5-8 distinct events that happened during the story. If you have more time you can add filler to all of those, making each event/section longer. However, if you don’t have a lot of time, you could just leave it with a sentence per event. If it’s short enough you could actually tell the high level ideas of the story to someone on an elevator ride in 15-30 seconds.

SPOILER ALERT FOR HOUSE OF CARDS: For example, here’s the events/key concepts for Frank Underwood’s character in the House of Cards.

House of Cards spoiler alert

Now without ever watching it, you get a fairly good understanding of what’s going on.

What’s nice about this is, I don’t feel like I have to now share a full blown story now every time I want to share. Many times I’ll come up with an idea for a blog post and I’ll write it in my to-do list. But generally, the blog post doesn’t get written.  Now, I’m committed just to writing out the key concept, if I want to share anything else, I’ll add to it, just like I’m doing now. Otherwise, I’ll just leave it super short and that will be it.

I don’t need to share an entire story each time, I need to share the important parts about it, and that could be a few sentences or even just one.

So this is why I’ll now write something, just to write, instead of writing nothing at all. I’m looking forward to some super small blog posts now. And maybe, I’ll proofread if desired, maybe not.

My Self Expression Leadership Program Project

I’m enrolled in the Landmark Curriculum for Living courses. They were recommended by my friend, Ryan Allis. The third program in the series is the Self Expression Leadership Program. Your objective is to create a project that’ll impact the community.  The project is suppose to be a self expression about what matters to you in your life.

I decided to take on a project that’d help anyone, anywhere, anytime get access to a mentor (human and or artificial intelligence) that’ll help them pursue their dreams. My goal is to have at least 50+ young adults being mentored on the platform before April 2015. I’m super excited for this project. I’ve always enjoyed helping people pursue their dreams. I use to do it when I was involved in MLM and with our 15+ meetup202 events around the world, where we taught people how to make a living through internet marketing.

Build an organization to make a difference, not to last forever

I was scrolling down my Facebook News Feed today and saw that Mark Zuckerberg was talking live, in a Town Hall Meeting. I went to check it out & was fortunate to watch the last few minutes of the talk because I found a few of his ideas very insightful.

An audience participant asked him the question, if he was scared of seeing Facebook die in the future because of other social media companies in the past not working out. I didn’t think that question mattered very much, because he was talking about how companies like MySpace failed before.  However, Mark put an interesting spin on his answer.

He said he doesn’t think much about that at all, the companying dying.  He thinks it’s actually quite strange that a lot of companies have the objective to live forever.  Facebook’s objective is to make the world more open & connected, and that’s all that matters to Mark. If they’re able to do that, they did their job and that’s what was important.  Not if they were able to last forever. Making a difference was what was most important, not longevity, he’s always asking himself if he’s doing the right things to make their mission become a reality.

I found that useful, because when I started Follow, I wanted to build an organization that would last long after I died. As I meet more missionary entrepreneurs that’s what I wanted to do, have a big enough mission & build an organization that stands the test of time. Which I still think I’d like to do.  However, after hearing Marks talk, I don’t think that’s really the point and I think he’s right.  The objective of the organization is to achieve it’s purpose, not to live forever. Obviously their purpose is huge and Facebook may be around for a long time in order to accomplish it, but lasting forever vs. achieving your purpose is an important distinction to understand, they’re both different objectives.  The later, achieving your purpose, is really the most important. That’s what your organization exists for.

I’m attending Singularity University’s Executive Program in September

I’m very excited to attend Singularity University’s Executive Program this September (2015). Ryan Allis from Hive recommended it to me last year. I’ll be attending with a beginners mind, starting fresh & learning about new exponential technologies that’ll profoundly impact humanity in the near future. I’ll likely start a new purpose driven organization after attending this program.

I’m currently transitioning out of the internet advertising industry because I don’t believe online advertising is the greatest problem for me to spend my life on solving. Some potential future areas of focus for me may be in; education, finance, renewable energy and or artificial intelligence.

I’m really looking forward to it! I feel a bit uncomfortable about it because I’ll be entering into entirely new waters. However, I cherish this process of being on the edge of my seat and doing what’s uncomfortable because it’s always made me feel the most alive.

The first part of my entrepreneurial journey was to create businesses primarily to make money & provide financial freedom. The second part of my journey will be focused on contributing to humanity in the greatest possible way I know how, and to do that, I’ll have to build purpose driven organizations that can scale & make the positive changes we want to see in this world.

“The Singularly University’s Executive Program (EP) is a week-long workshop or custom program that offers corporate executives and entrepreneurs the tools to predict and evaluate how emerging technologies will disrupt and transform their industries, companies, careers and lives.”

WordPress xmlrpc.php brute force attack

The server that hosts this blog has been down consisnelty for the last several months.  Every time I restart the server to make it work again, a few hours later it would crash again.  I figured some malicious activity was occurring.  I finally found someone trying to brute force attack my wesmahler_wordpress blog using the xmlrpc.php file thousands of times per second, causing my tiny micro AWS EC2 server instance to stop working due to CPU overload.

I tried moving all of my DNS to CloudFlare and turning on DNS protection, but that didn’t seem to fix the issue.  Finally after digging deeper into the issue, they were attacking the file directly using my ip address, because my wesmahler_wordpress blog would render when someone went to the IP address of my server, skipping my actual domain name.  This allowed them to get around my DNS firewall.

I just decided to block the IP address for now, hopefully that’ll do the trick.

$ iptables -I INPUT -s -j DROP

My HTTPD server logs basically looked like this: – – [21/May/2015:05:37:22 +0000] “POST /xmlrpc.php HTTP/1.0” 302 – “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible: MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0)” – – [21/May/2015:05:37:22 +0000] “POST /xmlrpc.php HTTP/1.0” 302 – “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible: MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0)” – – [21/May/2015:05:37:22 +0000] “POST /xmlrpc.php HTTP/1.0” 302 – “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible: MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0)” – – [21/May/2015:05:37:22 +0000] “POST /xmlrpc.php HTTP/1.0” 302 – “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible: MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0)” – – [21/May/2015:05:37:22 +0000] “POST /xmlrpc.php HTTP/1.0” 302 – “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible: MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0)” – – [21/May/2015:05:37:22 +0000] “POST /xmlrpc.php HTTP/1.0” 302 – “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible: MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0)” – – [21/May/2015:05:37:22 +0000] “POST /xmlrpc.php HTTP/1.0” 302 – “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible: MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0)” – – [21/May/2015:05:37:22 +0000] “POST /xmlrpc.php HTTP/1.0” 302 – “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible: MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0)”

The blog should now be back online. I have several sites hosted on this server, so I wasn’t sure which site was the issue, now it looks like it was this blog and specifcally they were directly hitting the IP address & trying to brute force attack a wesmahler_wordpress file, which seems to be a common issue: – Creating an Extraordinary Life – Day 3


Today was all about how to create an extraordinary life at Hive.  I’m calling it day three, but it’s actually the official 2nd day of content out of the 3 day training course.   It was another amazing day of great people, presentations, discussions, reflection, massages, food & san francisco views.

It started off, like each day, with an amazing breakfast at the office.  Following breakfast, we had an incredibly fun yoga session, lead by a local instructor.  We practiced yoga individually and together as a team.  Doing yoga poses as a group was the funnest part for me.  For instance, we did a group chair pose with 30+ people all relying on each other to make it work.  It was just a really fun and challenging thing to do together as a team.  Ok, it wasn’t that hard, but some people almost fell over a few times.  We did that and many other group poses.

Today, the Hive team offered something new for everyone.  They put together a whiteboard which would allow people to sign up for 20 minute massages throughout the day, offered by Message Pointe, a local massage therapy company.  As much as I wanted to sign up and receive a massage at some point, everyone else was super excited about it, so I didn’t sign up for any spots so everyone else could instead.

The discussion topics for today were:

  • Creating an Authentic Purpose
  • Designing Your Life Plan
  • Life Plan Feedback and Mentoring
  • Impactful Public Speaking & Confidence
  • Becoming Unreasonable
  • Creating a Personal Financial Plan
  • Holistic Mindfulness & Health
  • Connecting With World Class Mentors
  • Peer Group Discussion

My and everyone else’s’ favorite session, was the Holistic Mindfulness & Health training, lead by Rich Fernandez from Search Inside Yourself.   Why did everyone love it?  I think it’s because Rich did an outstanding job showing technically how the brain reacts to certain situations.  Then with the group, doing meditation practices that’ll acutally help you to be mindful and think about how to react to those situations intelligently, instead of acting out with our primitive flight or fight responses.

I’ve had conversations about the amygdala before with my best friend, Cam Boehmer.  The amygdala is the actual physical, primitive part of our brain that developed first for human survival, it’s the part of the brain which signals the flight or fight responses.   Cam previously worked at Google previously and attended these mindfulness sessions, I believe by the same person.  He received a lot of value of of them.  Cam would always rave to me about the newest findings and tell me about how the primitive brain works.  But during this session was the first time I really heard it from the best speakers about it, and I finally got it.  It was incredible to learn directly from Rich and try mediation practices that’d help you to be mindful of the amygdala and how to control it.

We practiced two different types of meditation.  One was where you’d focus on your breathing and try to have a clear mind. The normal type, from my limited knowledge of meditation.  The second type was where you focus on everything external, listening, feelings, smells, sensations and everything else around you.   I enjoyed doing both of these because you could then switch between the two occasionally.  This was  a great way for me to keep my mind clear, because I didn’t always have to do it the full time.  I could better have a clear mind after I let my mind wander a bit, focusing on everything external to me for a while.

Before leaving to lunch, we really got into the core purpose of the day.  The purpose of the day was to start helping us design our life purpose & plans, which we’d work on for the day and following day.

Hive believes in order to be an effective leader, you need to be able to simply & clearly articulate your life’s purpose.

Now, some say, and I’ve read in a book lately that disagrees with the idea of having a life’s purpose.  Some argue that sometimes life is just about exploring, and that you don’t have to stress yourself out if you don’t know your purpose yet.  You may or may not find it.  They say if something comes up you can go for it, but that you shouldn’t feel obligated and bad if you haven’t figured out your life purpose yet.  But they don’t really emphasize on ever getting to finding it either.  Now Ryan, in his presentations talks about the fact that there are periods in your time where it could be good to be exploring, without having a life purpose, but, eventually and hopefully that not after too much time, you should figure out what it is that you really want to do with in life.

I am inclined to agree with Ryan and Hive’s major emphasis of how important it is to have a life purpose.    People’s life purposes, or I’ll also call missions, don’t always have to be all the way defined at first if you’re just starting out. But a general direction, or even just the simple idea of you want to roughly do in life, whether it be “helping people” or “becoming an entrepreneur” even by itself can create a huge difference in your life.

I speak from personal experience about this.  The only reason I’ve been able to live my life, and do some things, which I think are pretty amazing; traveling around the world for a year, building a company remotely, selling a company, helping people become entrepreneurs, becoming a pilot, having an awesome relationship & much more, is because I was fortunate enough to have the simplest of idea of just wanting to be an entrepreneur when I was growing up that’s now allowed me to do all of this.

Having that one simple mission, or in my case a desire to own my own business, even before I knew what the world entrepreneur meant, has made all of the difference in how my life’s turned out.  Having this simple idea in my head of starting a business is the reason that I was able to drop out of college without being scared was because I knew what it was I wanted, it didn’t require a college eduction.  So many of my friends and colleagues never figured out what they wanted to do in life.   Even after college they are still not sure.  Unfortunately, the reality is, without having some kind of life purpose, they never really make any meaningful change in their life.  It’s only until they do, they’ll really start making significant process.  It is incredibly useful in your life, to figure out, how you want to spend your life living.   Now, I’m not saying everyone has to have it figured out right away, but my gosh, my life has been made so much simpler knowing the simple fact of me wanting to be an entrepreneur, that ever since the age of 14, I’ve been able to work towards that goal and now be where I am today.  Without that idea, I would have never done what I’ve done. I would just be a ship floating around the ocean with no sail, no direction of where I’d want to end up.

What was also so great about the simple concept of wanting to be an entrepreneur, my single purpose at that time, that I only realized until lately, is that it was so broad that it allowed me time to figure out the specifics of how I would use entrepreneurship in my life’s purpose.  I didn’t know that I wanted to be a technology entrepreneur that’d be focused on helping small businesses acquire customers online & showing businesses how they can make a difference in the world.  All of that came later.  I was fortunate enough to have such a broad concept of my purpose, just being an entrepreneur, it was so flexible and opened ended I found out a way to make it work.   With the concept of just being an entrepreneur, you can do so many things.  It’s almost impossible not to find a way to be happy being an entrepreneur because there are so many ways to do it.  But over time, you’ll figure out what type of entrepreneur you really want to be, and that’s what the difference between now and when I was in middle school was.

So for me, I believe having that simple idea was the only way that I would ever be in this position today.  Otherwise, I would not know what I wanted to do.  So I think for everyone, the earlier the better, if you can figure out what you want to do, you’ll be able to start earlier and go for it.  Even if it’s the wrong purpose, you can always change it.  Just start making progress on something you believe your passionate about, if you find out you’re not passionate about it, you just have to change your direction.  But at least you gave it a shot, you’ll eventually find out all of the things you don’t want to do to find, and only be left with things that you enjoy doing.

So if you don’t currently have a life’s purpose. Your purpose can start broad, maybe it’s you just love movies, or you find the ideas of entrepreneurship, writing, helping people, sharing, speaking, entertainment, energy, technology, games,health, spiritual, food, engineering, space or anything else interesting to you.  Find some broad sector or category that you could be interested in.  Those simple ideas, once you start working in then, you’ll eventually figure out exactly what it is specifically in those broad topics that you want to focus the rest of your life one. Eventually, you’ll figure out what your purpose in life is.

For instance, your interest could be in food, and leave it as general as that.  Maybe then you’ll end up creating a catering company that bring awareness to businesses of the types of sustainable foods they should be eating, and why it’s important to the health of their employees.   A simple interest in space, could have you reading websites all day about space and eventually landing you a job at nasa or a company like spaceX.   For me, a general interest in wanting to be an entrepreneur, has now lead me want to be a technology entrepreneur who helps business create a more joyous, abundant and sustainable world.

So at Hive, they recommended you to try and come up with a 15 word sentence.  A sentence that describes what your life’s purpose is.  It’s supposed to contain, what you want to do and a method of acutally measuring it, if your mission was successful.  For instance, instead of your purpose to preventing global warming, your purpose could be better defined as preventing the earth from going above a specific temperature.

On the last day, everyone would share their life’s purposes.  Creating these purpose statements was difficult, it seemed most people found this task difficult.  I think most people have the difficulty of trying to make their purpose too specific but then, not too broad.  I shared a similar challenge.  To give us some time to reflection on our life’s purpose, we went and took a field trip to Bernard Heights.

There we reflected by ourselves and tried our best to write in our notebooks, what the purpose of our life could be.   We wouldn’t have fully polished purpose statements yet.  Today was just the practice, on the last day, all of the leaders from our group (everyone is considered a leader), would share their life’s purpose with everyone else.

After writing in our notebooks and reflecting, we had an amazing lunch on the hill.  We’ve had great food, every meal.   Hive’s done a great job feeding us.  After eating, we took a fun group photo, shown here. I’m on the left.


After lunch, Hive brought in some mentors to work with our groups (we split into groups of 3-6 people always) and help members in our group better define their life’s purpose.  Moving towards the end of the day, Ryan lead a discussion on how to be financially free in life. While I think initially at first, some people challenged the idea of why you’d want to potentially be a millionaire, because they want to be selfless leaders and share everything.   They question why they should want to have a million dollars or net worth.  I think eventually who needed to hear it, got his point about doing it to be able to take care of yourself, so then you can take care of other people.

While of course, myself, being an entrepreneur, I completely agree with importance of mastering money, so you can use it to assist you in your life’s purpose. While your goal may not be to acquire wealth in life, you should be aware that finances are very important part of life, it’s energy you need to pursue your mission.  If you want to affect change in the world, you need to know how to invest & save your money, so you’ll have the financial resources to take care of your family, take risks and pursue your life’s passion at the same time.  If you don’t have your financial plan figured out, you’ll never be able to have the time, resources and energy to do what the world needs you to be doing. It’s extremely important.

To end the amazing day, the entire group traveled to Treasure Island.  Hive put together an outstanding dinner at one of the old converted military buildings there.  While I’ve been to Treasure Island many times, I’ve never ate dinner there, so it was even a new experience for me that I throughly enjoyed.  The team at Hive has done an incredible job showing the class some amazing views of our city, San Francisco.  Dinner would close at 10, and after that, I needed to go to sleep.  I went to bed at 2am, and I’d have to wake up at 6:30am to prepare for the 3rd and final training day.

IMG_4325 IMG_4326 IMG_4327 IMG_4330 IMG_4331 IMG_4334 IMG_4337 IMG_4345 IMG_4350 IMG_4352 IMG_4356 IMG_4357 IMG_4362 IMG_4365 IMG_4372 IMG_4375 IMG_4375 IMG_4381 IMG_4384 IMG_4386 IMG_4388 IMG_4389 IMG_4391 IMG_4392 IMG_4393 – Understanding Our World – Day 2

It was another amazing day.  Today, was the first, of our 3 day training for Hive.  The first day was really just a fun networking event, but now we’ve started the core of the training.   The training took place at the office in San Francisco.

This is a list of all of today’s curriculum:

Day 1: Understanding Our World

  • Species-level Philosophy (John Rawls & The Original Position)
  • Global Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Human Progress Measurement
  • How to Create a Sustainable & Abundant World
  • Systems Thinking
  • The Future of Science & Technology (Clean Energy, Nanotech, Genomics, Neuroscience, MedTech, NUI, Mobile, Big Data)
  • Understanding Exponential Technologies (Taught by Singularity University)
  • Using Business for Scalable & Sustainable Change
  • Philanthropy & Impact Investing
  • Peer Group Discussion

The key points I personally took away were:

  • Species-level Philosophy – How to feel empathic for & think in terms of what’s good for not just yourself, your family,  community,  nation, gender, humanity, but all species, everyone, everything in the world and even outside of our world.
  • Future of Science & Technology and our everything is exponentially growing – One of the things I didn’t realize, or at least think of this way.  Is that I’m familiar with 3d printing. But I never realized 3d printing is now a method of people of sending, digitally, physical products to other people. For instance, you could buy a “clock” from someone online, and then print it out in your home.   It almost feels like transportation of physical goods, but it’s just re-printing structures and I never thought of it in that way.
  • Using Business for Scalable & Sustainable ChangeI’ve already started talking about this concept of creating businesses that serve huge purposes that affect positive change in this world.  But it was great to re-affirm it and see more examples of how it’s being done.
  • Integrity discussions & presentations – While I’m unable to share my exact experiences on this blog because it’s so personal, it was great to dive deep into learning & discussions about an individuals integrity and how little everything can affect everything.  While I already know, and most people know that integrity is important, it’s acutally a huge challenge and opportunity to really have full integrity.  It’s more than just being a good person, it’s also about being committed and following through, doing everything you said you’d do, whether they were for to yourself or expectations you’ve set with other people.

All of the food was being catered by one of our class members, Rebecca Jean Alonzi who runs a catering company.  All of the food was amazing.  Lunch was served at the office.  For dinner, after arriving on a crazy bus with loud dance music.  We all went to an art gallery, networked and ate dinner together.

IMG_4272 IMG_4275 IMG_4277 IMG_4273 IMG_4278 IMG_4279 IMG_4280 IMG_4281 IMG_4282 IMG_4283 IMG_4284 IMG_4285 IMG_4286 IMG_4288 IMG_4289 IMG_4291 IMG_4292 IMG_4293 IMG_4294 IMG_4295 IMG_4296 IMG_4297 IMG_4298 IMG_4304 IMG_4306 IMG_4310 IMG_4314 IMG_4315 IMG_4317 IMG_4290 IMG_4321 IMG_4316 – Becoming a purpose driven leader – Day 1

I just got back from my 7 month trip in latin america, i will write about it more.  We’ll later go to asia for another 5-6+ months soon.  But before we go we stopped back in san francisco and I was lucky enough to arrive the day before the Hive leadership training, which started today and I’m going to share with you now. 

I recently applied to, and was accepted into the first leadership class.  Hive is a leadership organization that trains and connects extraordinary leaders between the ages of 21 and 39.    It was started by my friend, Ryan Allis and Adam Pumm, whom I just recently met. Both amazing people.

In addition to the amazing organization’s volunteer group, there are some outstanding individuals in our class from 16 countries, ranging from a 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, to a co-founder of a multi-million dollar business focused on social impact, to a Rwandan genocide survivor who is now a touring public speaker and many more. 

I joined Hive because I wanted to lead a more purpose-driven life.  I want to be more than just an entrepreneur who creates businesses. I want to become a missionary entrepreneur who will create a sustainable & long-living organization that’ll positively change the world, and teach other entrepreneurs how to do the same.

Today was the first event, a dinner at the “starship,” basically the headquarters of both, Ryan’s startup and the Hive organization.   We were able to network and meet many of the 30+ individuals that were accepted into the group.   I’ve never networked with so many social entrepreneurship & non-for-profit leaders.  It’s been incredibly interesting to meet & learn from these people who have a huge passion for helping the world.  It’s much different than our normal networking events at various difference entrepreneurship or internet conferences where people are always just talking about money and building “successful” companies.

While it’s great to learn from the rest of the group, on how others are making a difference in the world.  I see a need, and I’m excited to share my knowledge with them, on how to make the financial aspects of their organization grow so they can fulfill their purposes in life.   The intersection between wanting to help, and being able to help people while knowing how to drive a financial vehicle that’ll fulfill that mission, is really, where I believe, all of the magic lies in.  I’m excited to bridge that gap with some of the people here.

For me, it’s learning how to have a better purpose that helps others.  For them, it’s how to become better at driving the entrepreneurial vehicle that’ll allow them the financial independence and capital to see their mission succeed.

At the dinner, we split up into groups of 6.  We shared out stories, what we wanted to get out of our life and the event and learned a lot about each other.  In our group was;

Lauren Burke, an outstanding leader who helps developing immigrant youth, human trafficking rights and much more.   She wants to change the world by having every human to be recognized of equal worth, despite birthplace and nationality.

Jessica Steffens, a 2 time USA Olympian with a silver and gold medal in water polo who wants to change the world by inspiring active, healthy lifestyles that both appreciate and improve the world.

Peter Bonanno, who works in social enterprises and is helping bring enlightenment to schools.  He wants to change the world by giving everyone a greater well-being, sanity, peace and happiness.

and Nadia Anggraini, an Indonesian native who works in an organization who funds social enterprises and wants to change the world by using business to alleviate poverty in Indonesia & Southeast Asia.

Last by not least, Yasi Baiani, our fearless group leader who is a volunteer at Hive. She’s from Iran originally, and wants to help people in the middle east reach their full potential like she was able to do.

I have yet to really meet everyone else in our class, but I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend.  The dinner was just to kick things off.  The next 3 days will be all day training, I’m excited to see what the hive team puts together next.

PS:  If you’re interested in checking out Hive, they’ll have their next Global Leaders Program during March 21-24, and CEO program from Feb 21-24.  You can learn more about it by going to their website,










Being Uncomfortable: My 14 Month Travel & Work Trip Around The World


I believe a life well lived, is a life full of great experiences.  Trying new things, lots of things. Experiencing everything that life has to offer you.   Try new things that excite you, scare you, challenge you and make you uncomfortable from time to time.  It’s those experiences that you’ll never forget and cherish when you’re older.   We don’t look back at our lives and think about all of the things we did that were “comfortable” and “easy to do”, we look back at the things that really challenged us, made us grow, made us think, made us ponder, made us better and how we eventually overcame those obstacles and went on to do something amazing with our lives.

I personally love the feeling of being uncomfortable.  I love the feeling of having your heart flutter a bit because you’re thinking of doing something that scares you.  You know what I’m talking about, that nervousness you get when you’re about to do something you’re scared to do.  Many people will back down form whatever they were going to do when they feel that way because it’s uncomfortable & scary, they’d rather not do it because they want to feel comfortable & safe.   Whenever you feel that way, I challenge you to go after it and do what was scares you anyways.

Whenever I start feeling uncomfortable before I do something that scares me, I just do it and dance with my fears.  Once you dance with your fears and do whatever it is that was scaring you, you’ll realize it wasn’t that bad and you’ll feel outstanding afterwards, because you faced your fears and overcame then.   The old saying goes, “live an uncomfortable life now, so later on in life you’ll live comfortably”.  It’s true.  If you constantly dance with your fears by going after things even when you’re feeling uncomfortable, you’ll start to actually enjoy that state and really cherish the growth you’ll gain from constantly pushing yourself.

For me that’s what this trip is all about.  My beautiful and loving girlfriend, Gissel and I have begun our 14-month trip around the world.  We like to say world, but it’s really half the world.  As much as our trip sounds fun, which it is, it’s also incredibly uncomfortable because there are many uncertainties surrounding it, specifically around how I will get my work done.  It’s a little nerve-racking, but that has made the trip even more enjoyable & exciting than just taking a vacation for 2 months and not working at all.  Half of the fun will be realizing a dream that it is possible to make more money while traveling than staying at home and having more fun doing it.   That’s a fun thought, isn’t it?  To be even more successful, traveling all the time than you would be staying at home.  While challenging, it is possible to be more successful while traveling (or taking a vacation as some would say), it’s a different belief and it can be true if you believe it.  So going after that challenge, that’s fun, going after that goal is rewarding in itself without the things I’d see everyday traveling.

About our trip!  Our journey starts in Mexico, afterwards we’ll continue to Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, then to Thailand, China & Japan.  We’re basically doing Latin America for the first half, and Asia for the last.   Each country we’ll be visiting for about 1-3 months, we don’t want to just travel quickly to the countries, we really want to live in different places and see what it’s like to be there.  A 2 week vacation is just too short, having a month plus in each country gives us a lot more depth than we’d ever have going to and from places quickly.

I’ve been in San Francisco for almost 5 years now.  It’s been an amazing city; I’ll come back to it when we’re done traveling.  Silicon Valley is just amazing and I love what bay area is doing here.  I could pass on the expensive living of course, but I love everything else about it.  Although as much as I love the city, I’ve been here too long, it’s time to try something new.   Of course other people have lived here longer, but I’ve lived here long enough to figure it out and make it work.  That’s the problem.  My biggest growth curve was dropping out of college when I was 19, getting in my car and moving down to downtown San Francisco by myself with no friends and starting a company.  That was scary, but incredibly fun and exciting.  It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in my life and I’m incredibly happy that I did it.  It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.

Now a days, although there is still of course always more to learn there, I’ve been doing the tech thing for awhile now and it’s really gotten a bit boring.  It’s getting a bit routine.   Routines are scary for me.  I’m not growing like I did when I first moved here and put myself in an impossible situation that I had to succeed.  Living here has gotten to comfortable because I know I can do it.  Once you know you can do something, there’s no more growth from doing it.  What’s important is doing something more that you never thought you could actually do, challenging yourself.   We need to try things that we think might not actually be possible and then make it possible.  Once you start doing things you know you can do and do it, you will never grow any more, you can’t get any better because you already know how to do it.  Push yourself, become more, try to do things you don’t think you could do, once you try it  you’ll surprise yourself.

So for me, traveling around the world for 14 months feels like dropping out of college when I was 19 and moving to SF to start my first web company, Tracking202.    This trip is about challenging myself and seeing if it’s possible to provide even more value to the world through entrepreneurship than I could if I was staying at home.   I love it.    This trip is seeing if I can do something I’m super passionate about and figuring out a sustainable income from it instead of just creating businesses for the sake of “making money”.  It’s the challenge of seeing if we can have an even more productive team working remotely than if we had a team of people showing up to an office everyday.  It’s about seeing if I can have an even better  & improving relationship with my girlfriend while building a better company at the same time.  It’s an exciting time, it’s a growth time and I highly recommend to anyone out there reading this to try something like it if you haven’t done it before.

I have to say thanks to my buddy Josh Wexelbaum who shared his story traveling while being an Internet marketer for 2 years with me.  It was his story and having other friends travel all the time while I was sitting at the office that eventually pushed me to do this trip.  That and my girlfriend wanted to teach English in Spain for a year but we decided to do something a bit more challenging and exciting.   If you will be traveling to any of those countries and would like to come visit us please send us an email.  If you’re stuck in the office working all the time, challenge yourself and see if you can do it remotely for a month.   Traveling doesn’t have to be a vacation; it can be a lifestyle and a productive one if you change your beliefs about what’s possible and start working on it to make it true.  So challenge yourself and explore the world if that interests you!

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How I went from rich to completely broke

This is a guest blog post by Dennis Yu.

The other day, a consultant I hired was whining about how I pay him only $260,000 a year. I’m sitting in a Motel6 eating McDonalds, wearing pants I got for $19 at TJ Maxx, on my old Droid phone.

I’m trying to display empathy at his argument about there are so many other programmers who make more than that.

On Wall Street, the clients are chauffeured to work, while the partners take the subway. Mayor Bloomberg takes the subway. David Filo, Yahoo! founder and billionaire, takes the train to work and lives in a normal apartment.  Warren Buffett lives in his old house in Omaha, Nebraska.  Insert your own examples.

A year ago an ex-employee stole the most valuable things I owned and sold them on Craigslist. That’s why he’s an ex-employee. If you’re a cycling nut, you know how much two full carbon racing bikes with Dura-Ace cost. It’s funny that his last name was Larsen and that the guy he sold them to stiffed him on one of the bikes. Larsen complained about how he got ripped off.

And some other folks ran off with all the electronics I had– a $20,000 Pinifarina projector, theater quality sound system, 30″ monitors, and other stuff. Not stuff you can get at Best Buy. Anyway.

I gave my car away to my maid, since I wasn’t even using it, as I travel so much. So I don’t own a car.

Two weeks ago, I forgot to lock my stuff up at the 24 Hour Fitness, so my MacBook Air was stolen. My fault, of course. That $2,600 machine was the last valuable possession I had.

So I bought a $249 Chromebook. Guess what? It works just fine.

And now I’m down to nearly nothing. No car, no place, no fancy things. I suppose if you really wanted it, you could steal my old iPad that’s beat up.

There’s nothing you can steal from me. How liberating is that?

And yet, the most valuable thing I have is my knowledge of online marketing, which I will freely give if you ask.

Back in 2009, you may have remembers the article I wrote on TechCrunch– “How to Spam Facebook Like a Pro“. It angered a lot of spammers in the affiliate space, though the honest folks among us loved it. The king of spammers wrote a blog post attacking me. Of course, it was untrue, but hey– this is the Internet. The Paparrazzi say whatever it takes to generate attention, moving from one trend to the next, posturing success.

You know how the game works. The most successful people don’t need to beat their chests. They’re humble, like Wes Mahler. If you’re launching a new product every week, that probably means all the others ones have lost their steam.

I was tired of pretending– going to Ad-Tech parties I didn’t really care for, buying overpriced booze for people who weren’t really friends.

Did I impress you?

How dumb is that– to pay money to torture yourself.

But back to the consultant who I’ve been paying $1,000 a day to work on our software. I was like that 15 years ago.  Easy come, easy go. Hit me up in person and we’ll swap stories about how stupidly we spent money.

There are studies that show that happiness increases up until about $80,000 a year. Then it goes down from there. Most of the wealthy people I know are miserable. Do you know a few of these folks, too?

I got my mind on my money and my money on my mind

I heard someone say that thinking you’ll be happy when you’re rich is like taping sandwiches to your body to solve your hunger problem.

One rich friend of mine is a billionaire who built another50,000 square foot house and started a foundation for his second wife to manage. He’s estranged from his son and now has nothing left but a lot of money and property across the globe. His ex-wife got one of the largest divorce settlements in United States history. And I’m sure his unhappiness level matches that.

So a few years ago, I decided that what made me happy was going on adventures, teaching,  and creating jobs.

And why not start a company that could enable me to do all of that?

I decided that I didn’t need to make a lot of money– or spend a lot of money to pretend I had a lot of money.  Or even change my name to be YuMoney.

The affiliate world had taught me that if you work super hard, you could make a lot of money. If you’re not there yet– keep at it. It will come.

I had met a lot of good people, but there were a few bad people that poison the industry.  They further the notion of scarcity– the zero sum game that means my gain can come only at your loss. So I need to barricade myself in my hut from the wolves outside.

But the reality is that they are Neaderthals in a cave, while it’s sunny and tropical outside. It’s self-imprisonment. Don’t listen to them.

If everyone is doing the same thing and pushing the same products, then perhaps others can rip you off. And if whatever you’ve done is so simple that you can be ripped off in a heartbeat, then it really wasn’t unique enough, was it?

If you create your own product of sufficient value, you don’t have this issue. Wes created Tracking202 and now Follow. And I created BlitzMetrics.

And in our products, ironically, the more we share our techniques openly, the more demand we generate for our stuff.   The more broadly you teach your best stuff, the more people are attracted to what you’ve built.

It’s no longer about stuff that is easily copied– some keyword list, landing page design, special affiliate payout, or whatever.

It’s unlikely anyone will try to copy our product.  We’ve worked super hard, so anyone who follows must work just as hard and write content that is just as fresh.  Heck, if anyone can build a stronger analytics system to measure Facebook traffic, they deserve to win. In fact, I’d want to partner with them.

When I first started doing affiliate marketing back in 2005, I ran Google AdWords to on Neverblue and CPX.  I already knew something about PPC, since I ran it for Yahoo! Personals.

After a week of messing around, I was breaking even. Two weeks in, I was making $100 a day in margin on super long tail keywords at 4 cents a click. A month later, sitting in front of the computer in my pajamas day and night eating Hot Pockets and drinking Gatorade, I was making $700 a day in profit on $1,500 in spend.

The FedEx guy would come every few days to deliver my check, which I didn’t believe was even real. Some weeks, it was $20-30,000. I’m sure the teller at US Bank thought I sold drugs or something. They’d see a guy who looked like a bum– hadn’t shaved, clothes wrinkled, making deposits in the middle of the day, coming in on his bicycle.

But that was necessary training to build the software we’re building now. Had I not spent those years learning how to hands-on optimize campaigns 24×7, I wouldn’t be able to write the logic for our Facebook ads tool.

Okay, I’ll admit that probably 60% of that time was just logging in to click refresh on my revenues and expenses every two minutes. It’s as if the act of clicking refresh somehow helped support the campaign, like a baseball player’s lucky underwear or something. I’ll bet you’re superstitious like that, too.

It’s the knowledge that you gain from working hard that is your true value. I saw Warren Buffett say that Uncle Sam can tax you on the things you own, but not on the knowledge you have. So the best investment is that of yourself.

We give away our software totally free to schools and non-profits. We have training materials on Facebook ads– free, too.  Some people say it’s good enough to publish. But all I really care is that people get some value. And if they see these techniques to be valuable, they can either manually implement it themselves or use our software to automate them.

If you build a really solid product, your training guides and software usage manual are the same thing.

It’s the know-how you’ve accumulated that you can turn into rules that a machine can follow. And that’s what software is.

So I’ve started years ago as a dot-com millionaire who sold his Yahoo stock and bought fancy things. To now, I’m a guy who probably owns less than you do. I’m not some Buddhist monk who lives an ascetic lifestyle. But I’ve not let things get in the way of doing what I enjoy.

What is it that you really want to do?