Category Archives: Philosophy

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Mark Pincus’ Two Core Philosophies In Building Their Succesful Gaming Company Zynga

I wanted to share two core philosophies that Mark Pincus @markpinc had on building his company Zynga. We sat on this interview during the Startup2Startup event, you can see the whole interview here.

Mark Pincus On The Inspiration Behind Social Games And The Future of The App Economy

Last night Dave McClure interviewed serial entrepreneur Mark Pincus, who has run the social game development firm Zynga for the past two years, growing it to over 300 full-time employees and an estimated $50 to 100 million in revenue.

After speaking briefly about his past entrepreneurial experiences, which started in the 1990s with Pointcast competitor Freeloader and most notably includes the early social network Tribe, Mark dove into the inspiration behind Zynga and social games in general. He described how his experience with Tribe taught him that he was more interested in building extensions, or plugins, for social networks than the social networking containers themselves. So when Facebook prepared to open up to 3rd party applications in 2007, he jumped at the chance to become that network’s premier social games provider, even though many people – including Facebook’s own Dave Morin – doubted the viability of social games at the time.

Aside from believing that games were simply the “coolest thing” for people to do together on social networks, Mark believed they fit two particular insights. First, since Tribe had suffered from user engagement, with its most engaged members actually costing the site much more than they gave back, Mark was looking to build a product that aligned engagement with monetization. Gamers tend to spend more money the more they play, so Zynga was established with the idea that it could make money from the early days and enjoy even greater revenue as engagement increased.

Mark also realized from his own gaming addictions that people were willing to spend money to beat others in competition. Gamers who don’t have the skill to beat their online opponents without assistance are often eager to pay for advantages, or power-ups, that make it possible for them to win faster and save time. Zynga was therefore predicated on the notion that virtual goods should impact gameplay, not just add extra value around the edges.

So far these insights have paid off, with Zynga exploding in growth over the past year from about 60 employees to over 300. This has been a managerial challenge for the company, and it has required the institutionalization of corporate processes that were vital if irksome to many employees. He described how startups need to introduce delegation at around 50 employees and really start to bend under the weight of 200+ employees. For Zynga, this required painful changes to how things are run, but Mark says these changes have laid the foundation for another doubling in the company’s size.

Mark’s most intriguing remarks of the night were about how he predicts online distribution and monetization to change over the next 5-10 years. He believes that we’re moving towards an app economy where most internet services with be distributed over platforms. These apps will derive most of their revenue from digital goods and services, not advertising. Basically, users will begin paying for things online at a much higher volume, and developers will use metrics and game mechanics (even with non-games) to maximize engagement and profitability. A corollary to this trend will be making all consumer services more fun, since enjoyment encourage users to pay for more virtual goods and upgrades.

This paid goods vision of the web hinges on the availability of better and more pervasive payment systems. However, Mark thinks it’s still to-be-determined how the payments market will play out, and he anticipates that there will be many players at many different levels of the ecosystem. Because of his optimism for online payments and the app economy in general, he encourages all of the big players (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc) to get more involved as platforms or risk losing out on the more private corners of the web.

Source: http://startup2startup.com/2009/06/30/mark-pincus-on-the-inspiration-behind-social-games-and-the-future-of-the-app-economy/

Should You Increase Or Decrease Your Marketing Budget During A Recession?

I found this video over at the MediaTrust Blog and thought it was good enough to share. It’s a short video with some good content that is pretty valuable, I especially liked the part about sometimes the competitors lose belief in what they are doing and don’t do it as well when they should be doing the opposite. Of course that is true, but sometimes it takes someone to put it out there, to sit back and realize we all do that to ourselves sometimes and undervalue what we have, and that we are solving problems.

If I Had To Do It All Over Again

In every one of our interviews I asked the other person, “If you had to do it all over again what would you do differently?”  It was interesting to see the responses from people and for the most part they said they’d do it all over the same exact way.  But if I look back on my past and if I had to do it all over again, I absolutely would not have done it the same way.  In fact I know had I done it differently I’d be in a much better position years ago than I even am now.  Even though maybe they said I’d do it the same all over again because their lifestyle is good now, I still find it hard to believe that if they know what they know now, they’d repeat and do the same things over again.  Here’s what I’d do differently and this little bit of wisdom could easily shave off around 4 years of your learning curve, especially if your planning on trying to build a company and create your own product.

If I had to do it all over again I would not have wasted my time trying to build out several different unscalable businesses that would never get to be big over the course of 4 years.  Four years…. I wasted alot of time, had I only known.  

I was watching a presentation from Gurbaksh Chahal [vid1, vid2, vid3], and what really struck me is how he built a company from the age of 16, and sold it in a few years for 40 million.  He’d sign a non-compete agreement for about 3 years, after it finished he’d then do it again and later sell Blue Lithium which was sold for over $300 million.  What was most interesting to me about the whole story was not about his humble beginnings of having nothing and then becoming a successful serial entrepreneur who now in his later twenties is now worth hundreds of millions of dollars, instead what was interesting to me, is “How He Did It,” but even more than that, it was most interested that “How he got the idea to begin with.”  And HOW he got the idea the way he did, resulted in him being positioned in a marketplace with a product that had an exit that could be capitalized with a high probability if then just executed. 

Gurbaksh was 16 and he was trying to make some extra money, he actually applied to work at McDonalds and got denied.  From there he just decided he could make money on his own.  He began researching how to make money and he found a company called DoubleClick.  He thought to himself, “DoubleClick seems to be doing good, maybe I can just do what they do”.  And what a good idea, and a great place to start.  Right there at that momment he was about to build something, that if he excuted would be worth something, right there he positioned himself in a marketplace that had alot more potential.    And he saw that DoubleClick had an ad-serving technology that was performing well and G, which is Gurbaksh’s nickname, decided to make a DoubleClick Ad-Serving Compeitior.  Which he did.  And then he begun programming the thing at the age of 16 and then later sold the thing in several years for over $40 million dollars. That company was ClickAgents.

Now heres the lesson to learn, and learn it well because this can really help you if you plan on building a product and re-selling it.  What G did, and why it became a quicker success is simply because he took an existing model that was already working well and copied it.  His business plan was simple, make an ad-serving technology like DoubleClick, do some things differently or whatever, and build out a technology that “already has a demand for it”  Build a product that already has a market and a high chance of making money if he could just execute.”   And just by having the right idea, and jumping into an already active and lucrative market he was able to position himself to make alot of money if he could execute properly, which he did, $40 million dollars worth of execution before he was even 20……

And then look at me.  I was building an eBay business in high-school re-selling peoples stuff, I started a car audio and installation business during that time, and then trying to build small websites at the time.  Only if I had chosen something a little more scalable like G did when I first got started…  I spent about 2 years doing that, and working a job. Which was great, but it would have been better if I started doing a doubleclick when I was a kid, instead of working a job and trying this ebay thing.

Then leaving high school I thought it would be great to build a craigslist for colleges.  I spent 9 months on that, which we built well, we built culture just like we do with meetup202 now, but later that’d fail.  Why was I wasting time trying to build a craigslist for colleges, to sell textbooks?  

Then I got in to multi-level marketing which honestly was great because I learned so many personal development skills, sales, presentation skills and communication skills, but I spent 6 months on it and that diddn’t materalize.  After the college sites and MLM I now offically spent a year on two businesses that weren’t really scallable. I diddn’t know what I was doing.

I would later quit that try to do real-estate for 3-6 months, then go back to school where I’d then spend 9 months building a local rental site for college campuses.  Then finally my friend introduced me to affiliate marketing, which was a quick way to produce income for myself, and my friends Sean and Noah over at GetClicky created an analytics company GetClicky that was doing well.  I then decided we could do some type of search analytics for affiliate marketers and Tracking202 began.  I only wish I would have jumped into Tracking202, or even just a more scalable sector more early on.

I mean lets compare, here I’am for 4 years trying to develop some cool website and try to develop my own business model around it, and at age 16 G copies DoubleClick, an already succesful enterprise company and jumps into a competitve market, executes then a makes a fortune.  

Do you see the difference?  It’s so simple.  Because he started with a better idea mocking off an existing idea he instantly put himself in a better position for growth.  While here I’m figuring it out, I would have been so much better had I even just picked a product and competed with the other companies in the space.  

Know that competitors in the space qualifies the market because something is there.  And it sometimes sucks being the first in the marketplace with a new product, it is extremely difficult.  You have to pioneer the business model and make everything work. And if you do succeed and finally make it work, you’ve qualified the market and now competitors will jump in.  If you just take an existing product that is already doing well and already sells tons of items, but you can simply do it better you’ve already put yourself ahead of the game than some silly web 2.0 internet entrepreneurs trying to make some crazy widget that has no model or no business model.  

Listen, I wasted so much time, I hope you can find some value off of this.  If I had to do it all over again I would have chosen a product that already had an existing market, I would not be trying to develop some new web 2.0 product that has no real business model or something that I’m trying to invent.   Luckily now we have finally found a product with a real business model, there is plenty of competitors in the space, most of our competitors are VC’d backed and there is a market here.  And we have many different business models we can spin off of Tracking202 and its all now because we are entering a market that other people are already in and we are going to try to do it better than what everyone else is doing.  I still have friends making silly websites that will never become anything.  

Just Keep It Simple:

  • Wes, age of 16, tries ebay, working job, local craigslist, mlm, real-estate, local rental sites, and then finally finds PPC Analytics a finally scalable product and begins. compared to.
  • G, age of 16, said “Ah DoubleClick looks like a good business to get into, bam— does it and sells outs for $40 million”
  • — G would later do it again selling Blue Lithium for $300 million, by again, making an ad-serving technology.

I hope you get the picture. 

Learn from my mistakes, this is one of the things I would do differently had I do it all over again. I wish I woulda have saw a better model to start with and copy, I wasted 4 years of my time experimenting and only now coming to understand the importance of it.  And the funniest thing is I don’t even think G recognized that idea when he got started.  He just saw that seems like a good idea, I thought ebay was a good idea.  I should have programmed an ad serving technology 6 YEARS AGO, but I didn’t know.  

This is just one of the things I would have done if I had to do it all over again. Another short thing to tack on to this, I should have moved to Silicon Valley 4 years ago and dropped out of college or even high-school honestly.  G grew up in the silicon valley when his parents moved as well, so that also helped him.  Your location does affect your startup.  If you don’t agree with me, try moving to alaska and doing a web 2.0 startup.. Location does matter, its about being in the best spot you can be to build your business. For us that is here, and its one of the best business moves we’ve ever made. If your serious about web development, you should really be here.

If you found this interesting, please comment and let me know what you think. -wes

New Year’s Accountability

It was interesting to see all of the bloggers write their New Years Resolutions when the 1st of the came around. But I thought to myself — how many of theses people declaring their new goals actually accomplished their last years goals?  Or how many actually remember what they sought out to do last year and kept themselves accountable?

New years is not only about making new goals for the year; but it is also the end of last year, and the supposed deadline that you were to accomplish last year’s resolutions.  Many bloggers forgot to write about what they planned on doing last year and if they succeed or failed.  I mean what good is a new year’s resolution if we fail to be accountable and check whether or not we accomplish the goal a year later?  

The most frightening thing I’ve seen is that some peoples’ New Year’s resolutions have the same thing as last year.  Which of course means they didn’t do it last year, and simply forgot to post about it? 

We can’t go around being lazy with our commitments.  Because if we fail to commit to things, telling ourselves we are going to do this or that–we lie to ourselves. And lying to ourself over time weakens our mind, body and soul.  Remember that goals are a double-edged sword, if they are repeatedly failed over and over again–it really shows how much that person understands about goal settings.  And they build a habit of failing goals repeatedly.  And sooner or later they fail enough goals to become weak at setting any more goals, and every goal from there on out seems so elusive.   Remember that, “Everything let down in your performance affects the rest of everything you do.”  

And hitting the goals for what it accomplishes isn’t what is important.  What is important is the person you become during the process.  Are you becoming a person who lets yourself down repeatedly and fails to accomplish goals?  Or are you becoming a person that is becoming consistent at making commitments and keeping them?    

So if you did make new year’s resolutions this year.  You also need to look backwards, and check your last year’s resolutions as well–because if you didn’t what’s the point of setting any goals if you never look to see if you accomplished them.

Here was my last year’s resolution: was I accountable? This is a snippet from Jan 08 of last year.

There is going to be a lot to come, I’ve made my next goal at the top of my blog, you will see us Alexa ranking 20,000 by the end of the year, and we will hit it, I promise you, I’m going to put on my intense goal setting and make it happen, honestly we should probably be 10,000 by the end of the year, but 20,000 is already a done deal, I’ve decided to make it happen. [source]

Tracking202 Alexa RankingSo we did that, and we ended at Alexa 12,000ish.  Now Alexa isn’t really important at all, in-fact Alexa is pretty worthless as it isn’t worth really anything.  But what is important, is that is that slowly but surely we are building a track-record of setting goals and achieving them.  That we don’t mess around, and we mean business when we say and declare a goal we make it happen.  That is more valuable than the Alexa ranking any day of the week.  

Just setting goals does nothing– accomplishing goals is what is important. Not just setting, but accomplishing them.   Setting goals won’t change your life.  Accomplishing goals, and becoming a skilled and accomplished goal setter can change your life.  So are you just setting goals, or are you actually accomplishing them?

So check yourself right now. If you set any goals this year; lets stop right now and check up on our progress.  Any real goal setter who knows what they are doing actually follows their progress on a daily basis and can tell you whether or not they are on track to reaching your goal.

If you just recently set a goal this year, and haven’t checked on it yet…. It’s already been 26 days, and it means your probably not good at setting goals and achieving them if you fail to check your progress. (that is goal setting without goal commitment) and has little value, if any at all–because it does no good to set a goal and do nothing with it.

So if you set your goals–check to see where you are now, and if your on track, and if your not you better get to work.  New Years has passed, and its now about being accountable to what you said you were going to do. 

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. 

Grabbing the Tab At Dinner (all-the-time) Can Sometimes Create Tension

Yesterday I noticed in slightest of forms of how I can sometimes generate tension between other people trying to be as nice as possible.   I have a bad challenge of sometime wanting to grab the tab every time I go out and eat with other people, and although it may seem good in nature, and does have some benefits, there are sometimes drawbacks as well.  I’m not taking about the money aspect, I’m talking about building relationship tensions.

I’ve noticed if done repeatable it can create a slight bit of tension between I and the other person with whom I’m eating with.  Now let me forewarn you, this isn’t like a hating tension, we are all still good friends in nature, but by covering sometime and not allowing the other party to it can create the slightest bit of tension between you and the other person. Because now they feel like they owe you, and weren’t able to ‘clear the deck.’

The main reason that I try to grab is that we are in the relationship building business, we are in the entertainment business, like most of the companies in this industry we like to take very good care of our customers, and it isn’t that they are just our customers, in what we do relationships are huge in this business, it is a small industry of very powerful individuals.  So anytime we can do someone for someone else we work with, we will always go all out in trying to do what we can to serve. 

So naturally we want to cover the costs for whatever it is, especially of course when it is at one of our own-hosted events.  But what I noticed yesterday is that doing so repeatbly, over time can create tensions.   For instance if someone wants t pay, we should let them because it allows them to clear their deck, and feel like they contributed, and allow them to not feel like they are indebted.  (which they aren’t really, but I can see how the other party may feel that way.)

See I think, (I think) it’s fine, if you want to grab the tab at the first get-together with new people, but if later that day, so you eat again and do it again (for instance going to dinner) and you want to grab the tab again, you may be (and may not be), in the slightest of way building tension with the other party because they might want to chip-in too, and your not allowing them to do so.

Only after reading the book by Guy Kawakasi, which I reflected on a short chapter here, I was able to see it.   Last night we were at the Seattle Meetup, we had grabbed lunch and paid for everyone to go to the gaming place, which really isn’t that expensive and we were planning on hosting it because it was our event naturally.  But at the last dinner James paid for the dinner, which was cool, that allowed him to help as well.  But what I noticed (seeing it from the other side, of not paying) that another member was interested in chipping in, but James went ahead and grabbed the whole tab.  Which is what I’d normally done, but now sitting in the other persons’ shoes, even though I didn’t want to grab the tab, I could feel the other person really wanted to chip-in, because they felt like they owed us for the previous stuff we did.  But only after a day I realized it, and noticed that it does cause some tension and that the way to do it is to simply allow them if they want to, to chip-in.   Now James is a great guy! And I’m not saying anything bad about the situation, everything at the dinner was good, everyone is good, but I noticed that it can cause tension with others (but not everyone), depends who it is, but now seeing that it can cause tension with certain people.  It was my fault for creating that atmosphere, of ‘I got it, don’t worry about it’ and paying for dinner in the first place.

But again, everything is fine in our relationship, James is awesome and did nothing wrong, and of course I’m not calling out, but this post is more about ‘reflecting’ and noticing ‘the smallest’ of improvements that can be made, and challenged to see if we can’t improve upon them.

This post is about having more finesse in your relationships, even though everyone is in good standing, as an entrepreneur for someone who wants to be really successful we need to look at the smallest of improvements we can make.  It is about trying to become a master communicator, and not that I’m one, but I will try my best and study it, and notice even the smallest of areas which were we can improve upon.  Even though grabbing the tab is good and its doing favors, it’s more the best way to build relationships, a higher-level of more sophiscated relationship mastery is needed, and that’s what I hope we are all trying to achieve. 

The athletes receiving medals this year at the Beijing Olympics didn’t earn their medal when they crossed the finish line.  They earned their medal in the gyms and working out everyday, in the gym where they practiced their sport everyday is where they became a gold medalist.  Only in public everyone saw they were a gold medalist, but they became a gold medalist in the daily workout routines they had. 

Remember.  It isn’t the big things in life that matter, it is the smallest things in life, the things that don’t seem to matter at all, the things we did every day that   make the big differences in our life.

Getting More Unproductive As Your Business Grows.

Although it may appear from the outside looking at a company as it moves forward, and becomes more successful that stuff is now getting done faster and faster.  And in some respects they are, but in a lot of aspects they really aren’t.

Unfortunately I have noticed a decrease in overall productivity in the last 1-2 months and only until now I’ve really started to ask myself why and found the root core reason why it is.  I’m staying busy sure, but being busy, and being productive are two completely different things.  The core reason I’ve found now that I’ve been unable to develop as much as before, as the company has moved forward there are a lot more obligations to take care of, and we are actually a smaller team than before as well.  But even as general, there are more people to talk to now than ever before, and all of that takes away from what I need to focus on.

At the early stage of any your startup there is won’t be much demand for your time.  Your flexible and you don’t have any customers to respond to or big contracts you need to keep track of, and because of that you can just focus on doing that one thing you need to do, for me it was programming the first beta of Tracking202.

I moved to San Francisco on about a passive income of a little more than $1,000, barely enough to live.  But it forced myself to succeed, because I had to, and not knowing anyone in the city and not yet having any customers to talk to, or anyone else really for that matter, I was able to go to work, and be productive and not just bus.

But now the complete opposite is true, as we have moved forward it has been becoming increasingly difficult to get even just the simplest of things done.   Where as before we were bootstrapping and all we had to do was code all day, now, we work with many people, we have customer support posts/twitters/aim/emails to respond to, affiliate networks want to work with us, we are going to events, we are putting on events and simply talking to a lot of people.  After we have gained momentum the world load, more so the relationship maintenance has gone up considerable and has taken us away from our business, which is developing software products.   Going on AIM any more is a disaster, as with over 400+ affiliate marketers on a single AIM name you can expect to get nothing done when logging on anymore.  That is why starting next month I’m going to probably remove AIM completely and switch entirely to email.

There are many distractions attacking for our time every-day.  I’ve only now in the past two months realized the core reason that I wasn’t getting anything done, its not that I haven’t been busy, I’ve been working, but talking with everyone has replaced programming, which is what I should really be focused on.

So what is the point of this post?  That as you start to move forward your going to get distracted, more things come up to do, and you are only one person, you either have to scale out the team, or go-back in a cave and focus on that one thing you do best, which is generally the best route.  Make sure to focus on what you can be the absolute best at in the world.

Stay focused on what your doing, you can really get 200% of the work done, in ½ of the time, lately I’ve been distracted, but starting next month all AIM is going off, and we’re going to launch a new product.  That is what we need to do.  And I hope you can focus on what you need to do, I’ve lost 2 months of productivity, maybe this post can share some insights into the future distractions that will arise for you and you’ll know about them in advance and be able to adjust better than I was.

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.

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