Explaining The Importance of Content Marketing

A content engine is a website that drives web traffic by delivering quality, easily consumable content, on a regular basis. Many new-media websites like the Huffington PostUpWorthy and BuzzFeed could be classified as content engines, and almost all of them are driven by advertising revenue.

Most commercial content engines drive revenue from selling advertising, sponsored posts and other advertorial content. They often employ a number of staff writers but also drive a large amount of traffic from content contributed by independent bloggers, journalists, etc.

While the content contributor gains credibility for having such a large site link back to their website, there is little compensation for contributing to these larger content engines. Sure, the exposure is good, and yes, it might make you feel good, but at the end of the day ask yourself this, “What do the content creators come away with?”

Corporate content engines?

Many businesses are adopting a formalized content marketing strategy in an attempt to build a larger online presence. It’s really the best way to stay competitive online anymore, and the content marketplace is only getting harder to penetrate.

Actually, thanks to the proliferation of concepts like inbound marketing, and companies like HubSpotMozCopy Blogger and others, having a content marketing strategy is no longer optional. It’s almost as if content marketing has become a mandatory part of having a real chance at competing online. And the more it evolves, the more difficult it will become to stand out from the crowd.

Preparing for the Future of Sales

Companies who can build the best corporate content engines are going to become the new leaders in the world of digital sales.

In a world where information is the only currency that matters moving forward, it becomes imperative to start thinking about how you can effectively leverage your personal story in order to grow online sales.

The problem for most companies is that it becomes quite a challenge to create enough content to make an impact online. After all, how is Bob the plumber going to compete against Business Insider when it comes to telling stories about building a business. Even if Bob has a better story to tell, he just stands no chance against a publishing house of that size.

The truth is that it takes a concerted effort to build a content engine, and most business just aren’t up to the task. Not because of a lack of effort, but because of a lack of understanding.

Many businesses simply do not understand how specialized an art getting noticed online has become, and they often underestimate its importance to the future success of their digital sales strategies.

Why is content so important?

Google and other search engines are getting smarter every day. Search engine optimization has changed completely and now revolves around the contextual and social relevance of your content as opposed to the number of keywords you can stuff into the post.

This empowers the individual content creator because it give them an opportunity to leverage their online influence in ways that were never before possible. It allows creatives to leverage their content as a currency of online influence. Something that will gives creatives a leg up in a world dominated by corporate agendas.

Which is exactly why we are building a collaborative content engine here at Raymmar.com. Something we are calling a Circle of Influence.

What is a collaborative content engine?

A collaborative content engine is basically a content collective. You might even say its like communism for online capitalist.

It is a website where content creators come together to share their work with the world as well as each other. A place where competition for quality content is intense and creativity is considered a Currency.

Think of it as an online art gallery for digital entrepreneurs.

By pooling our creative resources in this manner, we can create a powerful Circle of Online Influence which will then work together to cross-promote each others products and services inside of an inbound marketing masterpiece.

“Think Yelp meets Medium. With a Chamber of Commerce and a Mall of America mixed in.”

Because of the demand for quality content, a marketplace like this would allow the individual content creators to connect with consumers who are searching specifically for their solutions.

Imagine if, instead of just blogging for yourself, you joined a network like this, and took those powerful posts and put them to work for you and a community of collaborators? What if the content creators could then be compensated directly based on the quality of their individual content as a percentage of the overall influence of the entire network.

What if we created a place where content could finally be king, and the creatives were the true commanders of credibility. What if we just cut out the middle man and empowered the creative entrepreneur?

How can I get involved?

Right now we are in early development and planing phases of building this collaborative content engine.

We are looking for early adopters to help shape the future of this online Circle of Online Influence.

We need producers and curators, commentators and maybe even a few player haters.

ray.do is going to be a completely collaborative project, built around the idea of exploring the power of our combined creativity. We’re looking for people who are interested in helping us conceptualize and test the concept, and then to come together and execute on those ideas.

So. What are you waiting for?


In this episode of RayDO…

Jerry Banfield joins us to talk about building a presence online and whether you should hire a professional or try to do it yourself.

1:15 – Rated “R” for Raymmar

Why some of these podcasts have been a little crude in the past and how this is all a learning process online.

2:30 – Meet Jerry Banfield

Jerry has a large organic search presence on YouTube and is a monster at getting  ranked in search on YouTube and Google. He helps clients manage their online advertising campaigns and optimize sales from paid advertising.

Many people have recently asked me how I approach building a presence online so I thought I would give you some insight on how you can take our knowledge and use it to propel your website to the next level.

4:15 – It started as a personal blog

I explain a little about the beginning of Raymmar.com and the problems we have faced while transitioning the site from a basic online resume, to a full fledged content-engine. Do you pay for advertising? Do you use social media? Should you hire someone to help build your online presence? All of your questions about building an online presence will be answered in this podcast.

9:00 – The who behind the what

Companies segment themselves from their audience through their brands and their products, but I think that more companies should start letting the world see a more personal side of the operation in order to really stand out online.

11:05 – The difference between organic or paid traffic

Before moving too far into building your presence online, you should understanding the basic difference between organic and paid traffic . Your focus should be on creating organic traffic but once in a while, you might want to pay for a few ads to give your content a boost. Personally, I like to focus on building my presence purely organically, while Jerry thinks paying to spark some of that sharing is a smart strategy. What do you think?

 16:00 – What is a keyword?

We discuss the basic context of understanding keywords. Both long-tail and short-tail keywords. We discuss how to target them inside of your content so that Google and the other search engines can properly index your work.

You need to learn how to speak to Google but also understand that Google is getting very smart at understanding and reading what we write. Their artificial intelligence is getting good at reading the article much like a human does, so make sure it makes sense to you as an individual reader and not like some piece of keyword bait for a robot. You need to focus on writing for a real audience, not for Google, but, you must also understand Google in order to be as effective as possible in optimizing your website content and building your online presence.

19:00 The shift that is happening in Search Engine Optimization

We dive a little deeper into SEO and some of the trends we are seeing across the web. We are creating the future of SEO and how you think the game is played is not how you should be playing it. This is where the crux of our podcast theme comes into play, as we discuss whether you should do these things yourself or whether you should hire a pro.

21:12 – Agencies who steal from their customers

How do you know who you can trust when looking to hire online help and how do you decide who to pay when-and-if you do decide to hire someone to help you build your online presence. So many companies claim to know what they are doing and they do a good enough job of making it look like they know what they are doing, but there are a few ways to tell. (We give a few specific resources later in the podcast.) Me? I like to look at what they have done for themselves. Why would you want someone to build you a beautiful web presence when they have not yet done it for themselves.

24:03 – Is there a magical price you have to pay in order to get a good website?

Jerry tells us about a presentation he sat in on once where they said that you have a worthless website unless you spend more than $30,000. We discuss whether there is any merit to that statement or whether it is complete garbage.

25:40 – Vetting the agency

Look at the work. Look for them to be doing for themselves what they say they can do for you.

26:50 – Resources for learning to build an online presence

Hubspot – Visit their website, subscribe to their blogs and get your inbound marketing learn on.

Moz – The online leader for search engine strategy and beautiful content on understanding SEO

Copyblogger – Copy writing for the creative entrepreneur. Tips and advice on writing strong online copy.

29:58 – Paying people what they are worth

It is very easy to overpay when it comes to online advertising, exposure and presence. There is a reason that the people who know what they are doing  charge a lot of money. Sometimes we just trust people who have the storefronts and brick and mortar locations so even though they might not be the best, people seem to trust them to do business.

34:02 – One of the tools I use – Alexa Traffic Rank

Alexa has a chrome widget that I use which allows me to quickly rank each website I explore. It allows we to vet and explore a companies online reach and help you determine whether or not the person you are hiring actually has any real online credibility.

 35:59 – All that matters is what happens when I get to your website

The battle we are seeing with business owners and their attitudes towards the web sometimes. Cost per conversion, online sales are so much less expensive than selling

37:30 – It is a closed store when someone wants to visit

And that is stupid as a business owner. Some of these Buffoons are in big offices, charging lots of money and delivering shit work. Just because someone has a beautiful storefront does not mean they know what they are doing online.

43:10 – The corporate counter culture

What we are seeing as trends in the business world and how the workplace is evolving to a more results only work environment. We are going to lead the charge in changing the way that businesses do business.

47:45 – Jerry Stumbles into my master plan

This was seriously unplanned but after my mini rant, Jerry literally stumbles into my master plan. In a nutshell, he states my vision for Raymmar.com and how we help lead that corporate counter culture and how we can make sure that we are always delivering beautiful products and getting things done. #DoWork

51:10 – Don’t be afraid to try something new

Building an online presence is like tuning a musical instrument more than building a house. It is something that has to be constantly tweaked as opposed to just built once and done. Online collaboration and exploring with content is a smart thing and our final point is talking about trying new things online.

Sometimes showing some of your flaws and making yourself vulnerable can be beneficial in the long run.


A statistical traffic analysis of the top 12 new-media websites in Sarasota Florida. How do they all stack up? Read on to find out.

Understanding The List

People have recently been asking me how popular my website is in comparison to some other websites here in town. I usually just give them my traffic stats, but I wanted a better way to show how our traffic stacks up against some of the top new-media websites in Sarasota Florida (my home market).

I used Alexa rankings for each of the 12 websites and ordered them based on their traffic volumes and user engagement levels.

I understand that this is not an apples-to-apples comparison and Alexa does estimate some of these traffic stats, but it does show the impact of our overall reach and growing popularity compared to other influential websites in the Sarasota market.

I also understand that Raymmar.com is not a traditional media or “news” organization. We are however, a place where people come to think and ask questions about life in general. If you ask anyone in the media game, they will tell you that it all comes down to attracting eyeballs, so with that in mind, I figured it was fair to use a measurement of online eyeballs as a relatively easy way for people to understand our online reach.

Below you will find a screen shot of each sites Alexa rank and stats, along with a brief description of my thoughts on each of these Sarasota-centered media companies.

What is New Media?

From Wikipedia/New_media

New media refers to on-demand access to content anytime, anywhere, on any digital device, as well as interactive user feedback, and creative participation.

Another aspect of new media is the real-time generation of new and unregulated content.

What is Alexa traffic rank?

An excerpt from the About Alexa page

Our global traffic rank is a measure of how a website is doing relative to all other sites on the web over the past 3 months.

The rank is calculated using a proprietary methodology that combines a site’s estimated average of daily unique visitors and its estimated number of pageviews over the past 3 months.

We provide a similar country-specific ranking, which is a measurement of how a website ranks in a particular country relative to other sites over the past month.

The List

You can find a more thorough explanation of the logic behind the list at the end of this article.

#1 – HeraldTribune.com

View results on Alexa.com

It is probably not a surprise that these guys are at the top of the list considering the size of their national parent network. They have a daily newspaper and the largest online presence of any Sarasota based media company.

The Herald Tribune is also a subscription based website so they limit the number of articles you can read on their site before forcing you to sign up for a subscription.

Apparently you can get around it with some browser extensions or masking services but, with so many other places on line to get the news, I’m really not sure it is worth the hassle.


#2 – MySuncoast.com – ABC 7

View results on Alexa.com

MySuncoast.com is the website for ABC 7,  which is another top performer in the Sarasota media game.

With a headquarters downtown Sarasota and daily televised news broadcasts, they are one of the preeminent sources for local news here in Sarasota, although they could still use some help with their overall web presence.


#3 – Raymmar.com

View results on Alexa.com

I was fairly certain that I would be on this list, but I honestly never expected it to be at #3. Considering I am the only one-man-show on this list, it was definitely one heck of a surprise.

Raymmar.com has become virally popular over the last year and I have started to create a name for this website as a creative playground for independent thinkers all around the world. I have the #1 article on Medium.com right now, am regularly featured on the Huffington Post and just got picked up as a contributor to Elite Daily (658 Alexa US ranking).

Because of the websites increasing popularity on a national scale, I automatically gain credibility when talking about issues in Sarasota. You should definitely look for me to start infiltrating more Sarasota based search results in the near future as I start to shift some of my focus to the local market.

I am always open to online collaborative projects. If anyone reading this wants to talk about working on something with me locally, they can contact me here. Together we can continue to build awareness for Sarasota on a national level.


#4 – YourObserver.com

View results on Alexa.com

The Observer Group is another local media outlet that is a more niche-based print publication.

They are known for their local newspapers that are targeted to specific sections of the Sarasota market. For instance, they customize publications for Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota, Siesta Key and others. They even have a Black Tie section. The first one I noticed that specifically targets the Sarasota socialites. Something that many of the other Sarasota publications have in common.

This is also the first on the list that is not ranked under 100,000 globally, so there is no historical graph data. You can however still see their rank in the United States as well as their basic page engagement.


Just an observation:

You can see that the online competition for media companies in the Sarasota market is not that stiff. Any one of these companies could make a big jump up on this list with a fairly targeted shift in online distribution strategies. In case any of you are reading this…

From here on down the websites get considerably less popular. The next time I do a report like this I will probably open the field up to the broader St Pete and Tampa market.

#5 – SarasotaMagazine.com

View results on Alexa.com

Sarasota Magazine comes in at #5 with their popular local magazine.

I have no idea how big their print reach is, but their web presence is weak for an organization of this size.

It makes me wonder what kind of people are running the online marketing divisions at these local companies and how they justify their salaries.

The site is simple but plain and had no real pop. What I find to be truly ironic, is how poorly the present themselves online, considering how beautifully edited their magazines are.You’d think they might consider spending a little more time on building a beautiful web presence to match.


#6 – TicketSarasota.com

View results on Alexa.com

I actually liked the initial feeling I got when I landed on their homepage.

This was my first time on the Ticket Sarasota website. but there was a friendly image and the articles are laid out nicely so good on them, but you can tell by their traffic that it is still not that popular a resource.

I see immediately that I can search the Herald-Tribune restaurant listings and then I see the email address is ticket@heraldtribune.com and I realize that this is another facet of the #1 company on this list, The Herald Tribune.


#7 – VisitSarasota.org

View results on Alexa.com

Visit Sarasota cuts their teeth by preparing pre-arrival Sarasota Visitor Guides.

They were distributed to about 47,000 people last year and their website is actually colorful and vibrant.

They are so close to getting it right, but they need that final refinement to make the magic happen.

Headings, subheadings and paragraph breaks are all important to how the site content makes a user feel. There were some good articles on this site but the deluge of text on the screen makes the articles seem intimidating. Format the articles, break up the text and give your content some hierarchy and you might get people to stick around a little longer.

I understand that their priority might not be focused online but they did brag about reaching 47,000 people with their mailers. I reach more than 47,000 people in any given month and we have done hundreds of thousands of views per month so you have to think these guys are missing out on some online sales opportunities.


#8 – ThisWeekInSarasota.com – TWIS

View results on Alexa.com

This Week In Sarasota’s web traffic is on a steady decline if these web stats are accurate.

TWIS was founded by Matt Orr, and claims to be “The the premier site for what to do, where to go, who to know and what’s going on this week in Sarasota.” Sounds good but their traffic trends say otherwise.

There was some kind of connection between TWIS and a few of the folks over at the HuB, but that is long over and although I do not know the whole story, I do know that this website is nowhere near as popular as it used to be.

They do have a calendar on the site and have apparently partnered with Ringling Underground for their Culture Collective subscription which gives them some potential for a jump in this list if they leverage that relationship properly.


#9 – SarasotaDay.com

View results on Alexa.com

Sarasota Day is an online media company based out of the HuB and was founded by local entrepreneur, David Daly.

I contribute to this site once in a while and they have some great writers and story concepts but I really think they hurt themselves when they started requiring people to like their posts (like-gate) before being able to read them.

As of writing this article, they no longer require you to like their articles before you can read them but according to these numbers it definitely left a mark on their overall web presence.

I wouldn’t count these guys out just yet though, with the backing of the HuB and a surplus of creative contributors, they are a viable Sarasota new-media start up.

I think we can probably attribute this temporary dip to growing pains and you can expect to see them climbing this list in the years to come.


#10 – biz941.com

View results on Alexa.com

Biz941 has a clean website, but it’s terrible on a mobile phone. They are best known for their magazine and also have a large daily email blast.

I am however, once again left speechless that their web presence would not match the quality of their print publication. The cost to produce and distribute online content versus print media should be appealing enough for these guys to get their web-game in gear.

I have to imagine this trend in online media in Sarasota has to do with the demographics but I also think there are enough under 40’s to warrant a strong online media outlet that really gets it right. Maybe someone should do something about that.


#11 – SceneSarasota.com

View results on Alexa.com

Not a whole lot of data here and it is easy to see why when you go to their website.

It looks like it has not been updated in a decade and I don’t think much of their audience spends a lot of time online. I could be wrong but with an Alexa score above 3 million, these guys cant be doing more than a few thousand views a month online.


#12 – SRQMagazine.com

View results on Alexa.com

To me, this was probably the biggest surprise on the list.

Their magazine is beautifully laid out and quite popular throughout the community, but their website leaves much to be desired.

It’s hard to even have them on this list of new-media companies with a website like this but they do have a large print audience and clout in the community so here they are.

If someone from this magazine reads this article, lets talk, you need my help online.



WSLR-radioI wouldn’t feel right talking about Sarasota media companies and not mention being censored by WSLR – a community radio station in Sarasota. Lets just say they were not a fan of my work.

Their website is barely noticeable in the Alexa rankings and since their signal only covers the major Sarasota metro area, they are not a player when it comes to online new-media websites.


Bradenton-Herald Traffic StatsI also felt obligated to acknowledge the largest media outlet in Manatee County, The Bradenton Herald, in this article.

Their traffic would land them at the #2 on this list but I specifically only included websites that are based in Sarasota.

There is also Bay News 9 but that is more of a super regional outlet so again, I left them out. The next time I do one of these reviews I will probably open the search up to the entire Tampa Bay region.

The logic behind these rankings

This list is by no means a comprehensive, side-by-side comparison of the different media sites in the Sarasota area. I considered a number of local and regional media sites  and then selected the 12 that I thought represented the Sarasota market most accurately based on feedback from the community and extensive online search.

What I did not consider:

I did not take social media engagement into account or email list size while compiling this report. I also did not consider all of the little regional websites in St. Pete, Tampa or even Bradenton.

If you think I missed a popular, local, new-media website, then please let me know in the comments below. I want this article to be an accurate representation of the media websites in and around Sarasota, but I also understand that I may have somehow overlooked someone.

What does any of this mean?

Nothing. Something. Everything? I guess it depends on who you are.

These sites are all locally based and targeted specifically to the Sarasota market. Sarasota has an older demographic so it makes sense that some of media companies have a limited web presence.

The problem is that the times are changing and this should definitely be a wake up call for some – if not all – of the companies on this list.

If you are a retail store or restaurant owner, you might get your value out of spending some advertising dollars with a few of these companies, but based on these results, you might want to ask for some validated stats before renewing your advertising contract.

If you are looking to reach a larger audience, then you might want to consider alternative outlets for your online advertising dollars.

You might even want to consider hiring a consultant to help guide your online content strategy in order to scale your overall web presence.

Interested in having me help you increase your online presence? Learn more about what I do and why I do it and then click here to contact me


In this episode of RayDO: Brian and I talk about the sales process, discuss the benefits of LinkedIn and how to make sales personal again.

I am trying a new format to publishing the podcasts. The first number is a time stamp followed by a headline of what we are discussing at this point in the podcast and then the text is a further discription or explination of what is happening in the podcast.

1:40 – Leveraging Linked In

I hate LinkedIn and Brian tells me he has had some recent success with it. What do you think about LinkedIn as a social tool?

2:40 – Internet Marketing Is Secondary

Raymmar.com is really just a passion project. It is really just a playground for me to explore my ideas and test my theories about life and sales online.

It is less about selling anything in particular and more about exploring the ideas behind sales and how it interacts with the world around you. However, as we dins out later in this podcast, there is a bigger strategy at play here and eventually you will see the whole picture of what I am trying to do.

3:30 – Are Corporations Evil

Is evil exclusive to corporations? Or are they just groups of people making decision on your behalf?

Why the games being played in the media and elsewhere are just disingenuous and focused on manipulating people to fit an agenda. Whatever the agenda may be, we all have one and we all walk around trying to force it on the people around us. Whether we like to admit it or not.

5:20 – Change Something

Not happy with where life is headed? Then do something about it. Pretty simple really.

7:00 – Selling Business to Consumer (B2C)

We start talking about my experience in sales and how I ended up in Florida and how I came to be who I am and my quest to find enlightenment.

Car sales can be dirty so we talk about and dive into how some people might be taken advantage of in that type of buying situation. I also reveal a little bit about my evil side with relations to sales and why it is important to be an informed buyer.

11:40 – Is There A Road Map To Making Sales?

Breaking down a bit of sales theory and dissecting the myth that you can follow a certain number of steps and somehow arrive at a sale.

The truth is there is no magical number of steps to a sale but there are certain things that must happen in each situation before a sale can be made. Learn about creating a closed loop sales strategy as opposed to living inside of an up-then-down sales cycle.

14:00 – Making Sales Personal Again

It is ok to let a little personality shine through online. How to get creative as a small business with a small marketing/advertising budget.

15:03 – Is Anyone Actually Listening

Please let me know what you think about the podcasts in the comments below. Be sure to grab us on Stitcher and be sure to leave us a show review.

We are trying to build a community of like minded thinkers so this is all an adventure. I cannot know what you think if you do not share your thoughts so please take a moment to let me know what you think (even if you hate it) so we can keep making it better.

16:10 – What Do I Do With This Website

What do I do with all of this. What do I do with a website that started out as a place for me to share a few ideas to the world and has turned into a viral content engine online? How do I deal with the increase in traffic and the strategy behind that transition.

Correction – During the podcast I said we publish 4-5 articles a day but I meant a week and that obviously varies based on our schedule. 

17:15 – It Really Is just Me Building All Of This

Everything you see on Raymamr.com (for the most part) was built by your truly. I have really just been laying the foundation for what is yet to come. There are many things yet to come and we are really just getting started.

18:40 – An Organic Sales Engine

I give you a taste of my master plan for what is to come on Raymmar.com. You may want to go back to the 17 minute mark here so you can get the context of what I am doing with the website and how you can get involved in the circle of influence.

20:49 – Separating Sales From Serivce

Have we detached people from the buying process? When corporations focus on people instead of products then we might see a change in the way the world thinks about the corporate structure that seems to be getting such a bad reputation right now.

22:08 – An Introduction To SMART Marketing

Sales and Marketing as an ART – Attract new business, Retain existing customers and Transcend the competition. An introduction to the sales model we are working on.

23:40 – Are Some Companies Too Big To Succeed?

Understanding your customers. Why are some companies better at understanding their buyers and how some companies can get it and others don’t.

Why you should understand your buyers persona long before you start selling anything. Take a look at this guide to building a buyer persona and then listen to this podcast to get a deeper look into the personality of the people who buy your products.

28:30 – Creating Influence

A deeper taste of the master plan in world domination. How I plan on leveraging my Circles of Influence concept to drive real change in the world.

The influence of media and the draw of the power that comes with it. We are basically building a media company here that will influence ideas all across the world. People are either watching for two reasons. Either they think I am going to succeed or because they are waiting

32:00 – More about LinkedIn

We wrap up the show by diving deeper into LinkedIn again and I realize mid sentence, that they have just made some major changes to their user interface. I admit that LinkedIn is actually trying some new things and trying to make it better.

34:00 – Stealing Content

The trade off between generating original content and the balancing the relationships I have with some nationally syndicated websites.

An adventure in digital currencies.

Please excuse the vertical video and sound quality. This was an impromptu video that I grabbed quickly at the end of the day.

Why write this?

I recently spent the day in a high security, anti-static, temperature-controlled data center where I watched one of my clients set up the beginning of their commercial Bitcoin mining operation.

The world of digital currency is evolving quickly and can be quite confusing. I thought my readers would appreciate learning a bit more about Bitcoin and what it might mean for the future of money.

Watch the short video and then read on to learn more about Bitcoin.

The basics of Bitcoin

About 4 months ago I started talking to a company that needed help building an online presence for their Bitcoin start-up. They wanted to build a commercial Bitcoin mining operation and to be completely honest, I was totally clueless about Bitcoin.

I had heard of Bitcoin, but I really had no idea what it was. I had a rudimentary understanding of cryptocurrencies and considering my stance on limited government, found myself leery about the thought of a digital currency going main-stream in America.

Being the good capitalist that I am, I went out and dove head first into understand this new technology called Bitcoin. I was interested in not only landing a new client, but in learning more about this thing that has so many people taking sides on the future of money right now. I wanted to learn more about the technology that could revolutionize the world of finance, and forever change the internet as we know it.

I figured that since I regularly mention Bitcoin in my podcasts, and miscellaneously on this website, I should also try and help you better understand Bitcoin. I thought I would take this as an opportunity to give you a look at the new frontier that is digital currency. I ‘ll do so by pointing you towards the resources I used while getting my Bitcoin learn on and then breaking it down in a little more detail.

Listen to this

This is hands down, the best resource I have come across for understanding Bitcoin in one single sitting.

Joe Rogan and Andreas Antonopulos take you on an in-depth journey to help you understand what Bitcoin is, how it came to be and why you need to know about it.

If you are serious about understanding Bitcoin, then this is a great first step.

Seriously, listen to the whole show. They talk about how Bitcoin could disrupt the entire economy while fundamentally changing the way the world thinks about money.

“The combined computing power of all Bitcoin mining operations has exceeded that of the top several hundred super-computers on earth combined.”

 – Andreas Antonopulos

Visualizing the global spread of Bitcoin

How to get involved in Bitcoin

There are a few different ways to get involved in the Bitcoin community.

As A Developer:

Since Bitcoin is an open network of peer-to-peer computing power, there is an opportunity for growth in the form of third-party software applications that will allow you to interact with and use Bitcoin inside the daily life of the average person. You will soon start to see cryptocurrencies and digital dollars being used more and more throughout our favorite apps, as well as being integrated into the payment portals that we are all already used to.

Bitcoin is open source, just like many other online projects,which means that anyone can get into the back end and look at the code, make modifications and otherwise try to improve on the system. This is not to say that you could just go in and change the whole Bitcoin network architecture, but you can definitely find ways to innovate with this new technology.

Much like social media was an evolution of communication and the internet, Bitcoin is the evolution of money and information exchange. We will see software and online applications that allow us to creatively use the technology behind Bitcoin to do everything from eliminating identity theft & simplifying accounting to allowing for a secure form of digital voting.

These concepts might be a little difficult for you to wrap your head around if you are new to Bitcoin and I wont take it too far since this is an entry level article but you should know that Bitcoin is as much an invention as it is anything else. It is an invention of information and is just the first of many digital inventions revolving around the exchange of information that we will see emerge in the next 50 years.

As A Miner:

At this point in time, it would be pretty difficult for you to make it rich as an individual miner of Bitcoin. The main reason is the ever increasing network difficulty but the price barrier to mining on your own is pretty steep too. Bitcoin mining computers are highly specialized machines that are expensive and go obsolete faster than your average computer, typically lasting less than six months. The speed and pace at which people are building these mining computers is overwhelming and it is hard to think that the manufacturers are not the ones who are laughing all the way to the bank right now.

The high price point makes it difficult for anyone without access to substantial financial resources to get involved in mining Bitcoin with any real effectiveness.

This was not always the case though. It’s really the main reasons I find Bitcoin to be so interesting. There are so many people who have made millions in Bitcoin while it was still young that it is truly a new frontier for entrepreneurs trying to find a way in a world of digital currency. However, those days are pretty much over.

What we are seeing is the emergence of large scale commercial Bitcoin mining operations sprouting up all over the world. You even have manufacturers of Bitcoin machines who will mine with their own machines for anywhere from 24 hours to a few months before shipping the units off to their clients to install in their data centers.

It has become next to impossible for an individual to compete with the hashing power of these large commercial operations or the against any number of large Bitcoin mining pools around the internet.

If you still want to get involved as an individual then you can join a Bitcoin pool, or invest in an online mining contract but this is a high stakes game.

The volatility of the market and large fluctuations in the value of Bitcoin make this a very risky investment. Any investment in Bitcoin should be done so with the full understanding that you could lose your entire investment overnight.

As A Consumer:

This is probably the safest and most likely place for the average person to get involved. Don’t believe me?

An excerpt from this article on Mashable – BitPay Now Top-Funded Bitcoin Startup After Raising $30 Million

Those investors included some impressive names. BitPay raised funds from Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang, Founders Fund, a VC firm started by PayPal cofounder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel.

So basically, the big boys have noticed. The IRS recently ruled on Bitcoin which gives the currency some level of credibility and now we have some big money players getting into the game.

The next step will be when a major financial institution announces that it is working on a Bitcoin integration strategy and then you will know that this is not a test. It really is just a matter of time before transferring money digitally is as common as sending a text. Whether you want to pay attention or not this “Bitcoin thing” is making a substantial impact on digital commerce and will find a way into our lives moving forward.

Talking with a Bitcoin miner manufacturer

One of the most interesting parts of my day at the data center yesterday was getting to meet Yoshi.

Yoshi was here from China and was helping Digital Mining Investments set up their Ant Miner computers. The stories he told me about fraud in the Bitcoin business and the competitive nature among the manufacturers of Bitcoin mining hardware in China should be enough to scare anyone away from Bitcoin. There are plenty of companies out there trying to do it right but there are always those who want to take advantage of new trends.

He is the one that told me about the manufacturers who run their machines for a month before sending them out to their clients and he also told me about the diminishing return and exponential difficulty of becoming a Bitcoin miner. Since the machines are only good for a few months, the manufacturers of mining equipment are actually manipulating the market by controlling the total available flow of Bitcoin miners.

This is a baby currency but where there is money there is manipulation and Bitcoin is no different. At this point the manufacturers are at a basic level controlling the money supply in Bitcoin and reselling their machines to unscrupulous miners who really have no recourse since most of these manufacturers are based in China.

Yoshi laid it out in plain term that soon the shift would be away from directly mining for new coins (what happens when all Bitcoin are mined?) and then the play would be for institutional control of the Bitcoin network. Instead of mining they would be validating transactions and collectiong the transaction fees. Something that (as we explained earlier in the article) the individual miner would not be able to maintain due to the overhead involved and constant maintenance. The larger organizations can scale the operation and that is what you might see some of the larger hashing operations convert to after that point but that is a lot of speculation in a market that fluctuates so wildly each day.

Yoshi told me that the manufacturers would begin to buy up market share for processing capabilities. Think of Visa’s digital infrastructure. How are all of those transactions handled across a global network? They need infrastructure right? Even after all 21million bitcoin are mined the Bitcoin network will still have to validate all of the transactions that are happening on the system so it will actually be necessary for someone to step in and continue to bear the cost of running these massive computers.

Couple this with the fact that returns are harder and harder to come by for an individual and you can easily see how Bitcoin could become institutionalized and evolve into another household name.

But what about the fraud

Much like any major societal shift, the transition to digital currency is going to take us a while to figure out.

Think about the scams that happened when people first started selling products online.

Think about the phishing scams that were so prevalent when email first came around and how hesitant you were to put your credit card on the internet.

That was all just a few years ago and now we are checking balances online, sending money via text and depositing checks with the flash of a camera.

The American Dollar is used for a large amount of fraud across the globe and some might argue that banks are legally defrauding all of us anyway. Why would there not be fraud in the evolution of a digital currency.

We still deal with counterfeit dollars and people who want to steal and manipulate real paper currency on a large scale so why wouldn’t someone want to do it with Bitcoin as well.

Fraud is fraud, people are people and that is not going to change. Whether we are dealing with cash or a digital currency.

The cool thing about Bitcoin is that it gives us some unique tools to deal with fraud and theft, but those are for another article.

Should you get involved in Bitcoin?

This is a decision you will need to make on your own. Me? I think digital currencies or cryptocurrencies will be a big part of our future whether we like it or not.

As technology evolves and becomes more ingrained into our lives and daily routines, it’s hard to think that we won’t eventually relinquish our grip on a paper currency that is backed by a corrupted government. It’s not like a lot of people trust the dollar right now anyway.

It might not be Bitcoin itself but some form of digital currency will find its way into our lives in the immediate future. I still have my reservations about all of it and I will continue to approach the issue with a healthy dose of skepticism but that skepticism is quickly fading as I learn more and more about the inner workings of what might end up being the most influential inventions of my generation.

Got some thoughts about Bitcoin? Want to ask a question about Bitcoin? Leave it in the comments below and I will do my best to find the answer and get back with an answer.

subscribe with face and or else line-thin


How using Evernote and If This Then That can help you automate your contact management

What If: You could take a picture of a business card 
Then: automatically add that contact information to your phone and send them an invitation to connect on LinkedIn?

The purpose of this article:

Is to show you that it is possible to take a picture of a business card and have a series of automated events take place that will invite the person whose business card you just scanned, to connect on LinkedIn.

Disclaimer: I love Evernote!

If you follow my blog then you know I am a premium Evernote user and I have written articles in the past about how I use Evernote to improve both my professional and personal workflows.

I do not work for Evernote, and I do not receive compensation for writing these articles. I really just think it is a great app and I think it is something that can make your life better so now you know.

Optimize your networking

Once you set up this Evernote/IFTTT networking workflow, you can take a picture of a business card and have it sync the contact information to your phone and then automatically send them an invite to connect on LinkedIn.

If you are a sales professional or do a lot of networking, this is something you could be using every day to increase your overall networking efficiency.

There are other solutions to scanning business cards and keeping your contacts and sales leads organized but for the consultant or small business owner, it would be difficult to get this kind of customized workflow and automate the process for less than $50 per user per year.

Take a picture of a business card with #Evernote to connect on #LinkedIn

Highlight any text in this article to tweet it directly.

What you need to get started

  • Evernote Premium: You can use the business card scanning functionality with the standard version of Evernote but I think they limit the number of business cards you can scan unless you upgrade the premium account. You can read more about why I upgraded to Evernote Premium or just take my word that Evernote is worth the money for this feature alone.
  • Smart Phone**: I use an iPhone so I am not sure if this works on Android devices but I know that Evernote, IFTTT and LinkedIn are all available on Android so I do not see why these instructions wouldn’t work across other platforms as well. Don’t hold me to that though.

* IFTTT is optional and only necessary if you would like to use step two of this tutorial. 

** The instructions in this article are based on the iPhone interface so please excuse any differences that might arise on other smart phone interfaces.

Step #1. Evernote Settings – Save Scanned Business Card Information to Contacts

Reminder: The business card scanning function is an Evernote premium feature. This walk-through assumes that you are using Evernote Premium.

Settings > General > Camera > Business Card > Save Contact Info To Contacts

A: On the mobile version of your Evernote app go to the Settings tab.

B: From your Settings screen, click on the General tab.

C: Click the Camera tab from the General Screen.

D: On the Camera screen click on the Business Card tab.


E: From the Business Card Screen, select Save Contact Info To Contacts.”


(F) Optional – Connect Evernote Directly To LinkedIn

I got really excited when I found out that Evernote allows you to connect your account directly to LinkedIn. This means that when you take a picture (scan) a business card, it will try to reach out and find the person on LinkedIn and verify that all of the information is up to date and accurate and it even gives you the option to connect right from inside Evernote.

However, I was looking for complete automation. I literally wanted to take the picture and be done. It would have been easy enough to stop here but why not introduce you to a web app that you should be using anyway. Enter “IFTTT.”

How to scan a business card with Evernote.

*** You can stop here if you want – You can connect with someone from directly inside the Evernote App. You can go into the contact note and view or connect with the contacts profile directly from the contact note but again, this requires an extra step. Since I only scan the business cards of people that I want to connect with, I wanted a solution that would literally let me scan the card and automatically have an invite to connect be sent to the user. It is up to you how to use the workflow but either way is probably better than what you are using now. If you want to, you can stop here and everything should work fine but if you want to take it one step further go ahead and keep reading. ***

Start getting rid of those ugly stacks of business cards you have sitting on your desk. #YourWelcome

– Highlight text to tweet it –

What is IFTTT

From the IFTTT website: 

IFTTT is a service that lets you create powerful connections with one simple statement:


IFTTT is pronounced like “gift” without the “g.”

In other words… IFTTT lets you connect multiple apps (online software) to each other through their custom recipes, so that when something happens on one channel (Trigger), it causes something else to happen (Action) on another channel.

It is a very interesting and diverse productivity tool and definitely something worth taking some time to learn more about.

You can use it to connect with more than 100 of your favorite apps and they are always adding more so go ahead and get creative. Take a look at some cool recipes here and learn more about using IFTTT to connect your favorite apps.

Step #2 – How To Use IFTTT

You can use IFTTT from a computer as well as through the mobile app but we need this to connect with your phone contacts, so for this example I will once again use images from the IFTTT iPhone interface.

Once you have the IFTTT application installed on your phone, log into the app and create a recipe that directly invites every new contact to connect on LinkedIn.

Create The Recipe

Creating a recipe is easy. In the IFTTT app, just (A) click the little recipe bowl in the top right corner and then (B) on the plus sign as your IFTTT feed slides to the left. Once you get to the next screen, (C) click on the plus sign to start a new recipe. Create-a-new-IFTTT-recipe-connect-to-Evernote

Select A Trigger

Every time you create a new recipe you will need to set the initial trigger. For this example we are going to have IFTTT invite someone to connect on LinkedIn every time (A) a new contact is added to our phone. If this is the first time that you are IFTTT access to your contacts, then you will need to (B) authorize access to the app.

*IFTTT is a stand alone application so it interfaces easily with other apps and allows you to connect to all of your different channels with a single click in most instances.

Connect LinkedIn

Once you have connected your contacts app with IFTTT then you can (A) tell it what you want it to do whenever the initial channel is triggered. For this example we are going to find the the LinkedIn channel and (B) select the option to invite someone to connect every time a new contact is added.

Once you click the finish button the recipe will activate but don’t worry, you can test it, edit it and pause it at any time from right inside the mobile app.


Happy NetworKING

You can set the app to send you notifications when the recipe is triggered or not, totally up to you but either way, once this workflow is set up it will invite all of your new contacts to connect on LinkedIn.

Since the first step was to have Evernote save your scanned business cards into your phone contacts these two apps will now work in sequence to invite all of your business card contacts to connect on LinkedIn.

Another great tip: is to add personalized notes for each contact within the contact note itself. You can set up a format for doing this and just keep a running timeline on all of your interactions with the people that matter. So many people spend a lot of money on CRM systems but this is a solution for any consultant or even small business for that matter, but that is for another article. Feel free to share your favorite Evernote hacks in the comments below.

Do you use Evernote, IFTTT or any other software to help your networking efforts? Let me know about it or share your favorite IFTTT recipes in the comments below. 

Your Life is a lie master

The first episode of LizABoss ray.do takes us on an adventure through the hiring process.

Say hello to Liz. Much like me, you’ll either love her, or hate her.

Check out Liz Cotners website to learn more about her.

Liz is a career ninja who loves helping other people do what they do better. In this podcast, we dissect her bubbly personality and how having a positive attitude can help you get to your goals in life. She tells us that some people actually take her personality the wrong way; obviously someone can’t just be as happy as she is.

Are the people that judge you based on first impressions wrong? Or should you look deeper?

I’m no fool

We discuss the front that we all sometimes put up to keep people at bay. To stop them from really understanding what is really wrong with us on the inside. How we hide from the world, mostly in plain sight.

Getting high on careers

“I was so high and I kept getting promoted.” Liz explains the process of dealing with a fast paced career and then the shock of having it all fall apart on her. “It was such a high and a low” Liz further tells us about how she dealt with the hostile work environment and how mental health plays a role in understanding all of it.

We dive deeper into my depression and the medications used to treat it in my past as well as how I look at depression now. I talk about being unemployable and the HR nightmare that I often present to the companies I work for, and we weigh those negatives against the results I can deliver when I am given the right tools for the job and set free to solve the problem the way I see fit.

Is that the right or wrong way to look at it? Am I just stubborn or am I right in holding out for the opportunity where I get to call the shots and set the rules. Shouldn’t we all strive to hold out for the best version of ourselves possible?

Its all up to you

At the end of the day, it has to come down to your ability to deliver what you say you can deliver. You have to be confident and know how to sell yourself. Liz explains the importance of coming through on your interview and owning the product of you.

“You have to follow up.”Liz explains,” When you are on the job hunt, you need to make sure you follow up with people all along the way.” Her career advice is pretty straight forward but is in hot demand right now as a new generation struggles to cross the face-to-face communication and culture divide.

“Use social media to connect with them.” Liz tells us about ways to follow up with the companies you interview with. “Connect on LinkedIn, cold call into the company, whatever it takes. Find a way to follow up and network with the people that can help influence the decision making process.”

I sing Aladdin!

That’s right, I break into a song, as I try to interrupt Liz in one of her stories about her and her ginger husband. Right between that and muting Liz’s microphone I reveal some strategy about what we are trying to build on Raymmar.com and how I see the future of technology, social media and how I plan on breaking into that world.

Liz gets muted

As she brings up my least favorite networking organization I actually mute her mic. Right before we break into a discussion about the proper way to network. Should you belong to cult like networking groups or should you just network with cool people? Where do you find people to network with?

Networking is supposed to be about meeting other people, but forcing it in a structured format is not productive. I talk about the value of independent thinking, even when it comes to networking and influence building.

We talk about how thinking differently and learning for yourself can really help set you apart in the world but then you run the risk of becoming a target. Whether networking on a local or national level the dynamics for effective networking and relationship building are very similar. Be yourself, have a purpose and don’t be shy.

What the hell is wrong with a technical education

No one wants to go to a technical school… they all want to get a degree and pretend like a six figure income is waiting for them on the other side of that door.

Is that what we sold them? Is that what we have trained them to expect. Is that what our society breeds?

Do we encourage anyone to learn on their own anymore or are we teaching everyone to just read the headlines for their 14o character news updates? Is that the age we’re live in?

How can you not have a dream? How can people not see where we are headed and think about how to make a real difference. We do not teach people to dream anymore. To remove all restrictions from your mental path and at least envision the future you wish could be true.

We should all dream more!

We close the show by encouraging you to chase your dreams. To pursue your passions. Don’t be afraid to let your light shine! Believe in yourself and maintain a positive attitude and watch what you can do.

It works for Liz. It works for me, and I promise it can work for you. If you learn how to control your attitude, you can control whether you fly or fall.

Make sure you grab us on Stitcher or iTunes so you can take these podcasts on the road. And let us know what you thought of Liz in the comments below.

“You are doing sales wrong!”

Highlight any text in this article to Tweet it or share on Facebook.

It took some time to get him warmed up…

But Brian has a good mind for sales and helps me discuss and explain some major sales concepts and how they relate to life. We briefly mention his bio but feel free to learn more about Brian Geery and his work.

With 20+ years experience in the world of sales, Brian has worked with fortune 500 clients and been published in the Wall Street Journal along with many other publications. Join us as we discuss the world of sales and many of the other issues below.

What is a VP of Sales?

Someone with sales leadership responsibility. We talk about understanding the sales process and how to fine tune your sales engine. While Brian is still a little cold I throw him on the spot and ask him to pitch me while I pretend to be a customer who really just wants to throw him out.

How do you think he did? Let me know in the comments below.

Will door-to-door sales ever disappear?

We talk about my time in door to door sales and how to make a five minute friend. We talk about how I learned to sell on demand and the process that the company used to make us sales machines.

I think that door-to-door sales are on their way out but Brian claims they might hang out a little longer than I think. Which of us do you think is right?

Brian flips the script

Brian flips the interview and asks me about my business and how I have grown my online presence. He asks me about the three technologies that I think were most important in helping me get my blog off the ground. Here are links and descriptions of each technology and how I use them.


Learn more about WordPress 

The largest open source content management system on the internet. It is easy to use (there is a learning curve) once you get the hang of it, and can allow you to update your website easily, post new blog articles and evolve digitally. The core files are always being updated and there are numerous plugins that can help you do what you need to do.

There are some other low-cost website builders online but WordPress offers you the most scaleability and diversity of options. For the non-developer, non-coder out there, this is the perfect place for you to get into the web building world.

I plan on writing a comprehensive WordPress write up, along with my favorite plugins but for now, know that you need it and it could make your life much easier.


Download Evernote

I wrote an article here where I talked about my favorite features and why I upgraded to Evernote Premium. I still think it is the best, free or paid, note-taking app on the market.

The way their web clipper works with my web browser along with their email functionality has really helped improve my workflows and productivity. It will help you stay organized and keep track of everything.


What is IFTTT

I just mentioned this briefly in the podcast but it is an application you should know about since it lets you connect different applications and set triggers for different functions.

For instance, I have IFTTT set to ask a contact to connect on LinkedIn when I scan an Evernote business card. There is life-hack article coming on how to do this but for now know you can do it and go explore their website and create your own recipes.

Social Media:

I think as a whole, Social Media is the third most important tool I use online. I use Social media as a tool and although I am active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, I hate Linked In. I still use it and have a profile but I am not really finding it useful and that might be partly my fault. It just gets really hard to manage all of these channels and mediums by myself. Maybe soon I’ll be able to afford an assistant.

How to steal ideas

Brian calls it “Liberating” the idea but I call it stealing inspiration and I am not shameful about it. Brian asks me about my viral online explosion, I talk about stealing inspiration from all over the internet and talk about how I got my website to the top of Google in so many different categories.

I expose a little more of the big picture of what I am trying to build and talk about the fact that the whole world is socially engineered. Whether for good or evil, it just is because that is how we work.

One of my biggest challenges will be to help you understand the simplicity of these systems and how they are all interconnected. After that, it is up to you whether to use the powers for good or evil. Whether to chase the dream and be the best you possible or will you sit on the sideline and think about what might have been?

None of This is About the Money

I have no desire for massive amounts of money. Although I wouldn’t hate it or turn it away. My primary motivation is the elimination of the word “no” based a lack of a funding mechanism.

I make enough money to live and I am reinvesting every dollar I can into the infrastructure of Raymmar.com in order to increase the quality of the content we deliver on a daily basis. I also want to start introducing you to the other companies that I do business with as well as the creative people that I surround myself with.

As we grow we will also be looking for new ideas on how to bring other people with us. Stay tuned for how you can get plugged into the RayDO network.

Part Of It Is About The Aesthetics

We wrap up the show talking about my connection with Steve Jobs and how I see a lot of his character traits and flaws in myself. I talk about my desire to keep the website clean and fresh but also understanding the need to try and monetize it soon.

At one point I even mention my plans for monetization briefly as we talk about how I plan to grow Raymmar.com to the next level of social commerce. I explain the concept of building a trusted network of amazing individuals. People who we help get off the ground and help find their way online.

I hope to take amazing people and help them follow their dreams. I hope to give them a platform to change the world. I give a huge “thank you” to all those who listen and follow us so closely. We really do appreciate your support.

Apparently Brian had a hot date…

Or something like that because he jumped off the mic quick. We will definitely ask him back to talk more about sales but he was a fun guest and we hope you enjoyed him.

Make sure you subscribe to raymmar.com, grab us on Stitcher or iTunes and make sure you hang on. This is going to be a bumpy ride.

Are you doing something amazing with your life? Something the rest of us should know about? Tell me about it in the comments.

Subscribe and get new articles first!

Fill out the short form to subscribe. Subscribers will receive an email reminder when a new article or video is released on Raymmar.com learn more

Join more than 12K others who get my unique perspectives on business, life, love & liberty delivered directly to their inbox.
  • confirmation required.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“In a world of fast-paced digital design, I fear that good old pencil thumbnails are being forgotten.”

Shawn O’Mara –

This article first appeared on the ocreations website. Read the original article here.

I have been in the field of graphic design for what seems ages, starting in 1990.  I have been a design student, graphic design instructor at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, designer, art director and senior partner of ocreations design studio in The South Side of Pittsburgh.

I have always been a firm believer that designers need to be able to draw or bring their concepts to life on paper in order to sell their ideas to clients, art directors, designers, photographers and other people in the industry.  In the field of graphic design, the most important thing we are paid for are our original concepts. I feel that pencil thumbnails are the best and fastest way to take these concepts from inside your head to a format that others can view.

I wish I had $1 for every quick sketch on napkins, post-it notes, notebooks, notepads and desk calendars I did throughout the years. All of these super rough sketches are unleashed ideas. I honestly believe that if I waited until I developed them on a computer, they would either have been forgotten or become watered down.

If you are considered an artist or painter you are expected to be able to draw.  If you are a graphic artist you are also expected to be able to draw.  When you are labeled a Graphic Designer does that title make you exempt from the drawing portion of it? In my mind it does not.  I understand that the level of illustration and hand skills varies and that is ok. I personally do not believe that I am a fantastic illustrator but I know that I can still get my ideas across to people through my sketches.

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s graphic design department hosts a meeting with industry professionals to hear what they would like to see more of in our graduate portfolios….

The answer now, more than ever, from these professionals is:

“We need to see more pencil thumbnails and original concepts.”

I personally was thrilled to hear this because it gave me support for my beliefs.

So for the non-believers who think the idea of pencil sketches is a thing of the past, here is where I feel they are a big help:

  1. Getting the idea out fast.
  2. For a designer to sell his ideas to an art director or team member.
  3. For an art director to give fast direction to a designer or copywriter.
  4. For a designer or art director to provide direction to a photographer or illustrator.
  5. For a designer to get on the same page fast with a client.
  6. To get the real idea on paper without the computer dictating your direction.
  7. To illustrate different concepts prior to computer variations on an approved concept.
  8. To keep the ART in Graphic Artist (sorry had to do it).
  9. To keep the client focused on the general concept and not allow them to get hung up on exact fonts, colors or images in the early stages.

I hope this endorsement helps sell my ideas and keeps pencil thumbnails alive.

If you are going to start doing pencil sketches or if you are already using them, here are some simple tips to consider:

  1. Keep your thumbnails in proportion to the actual size of the job.
  2. Use good contrast to allow things to POP.
  3. Do a good indication of type (serif vs. sans-serif, leading, justification etc.).
  4. If you do not provide a contact sheet for images, then do a tighter indication of the images on your thumbnails.
  5. Try different concepts to reach the client’s objectives and target market, not just variations of the same idea.
  6. Use a grid. This really helps on multiple page publications.
  7. For thumbnails of multi-page publications, show a cover and 2 spreads for each thumbnail set.
  8. Be original, be creative and have fun.

As the Senior Partner for ocreations I always practice what I preach and provide my designers, photographers and clients pencil sketches when needed. I hope that this post helps get the pencils back out in the field and keeps the ideas flowing.

Shawn O’Mara is the President and a senior partner of ocreations. A Pittsburg based design firm offering affordable graphic design and marketing solutions. To learn more about ocreations and explore more of their work be sure to check out their website and online portfolio.

Interviewing for jobs can feel like searching for a soul-mate. Sometimes it takes lots of awkward first dates.


A first date can often include:

  • Sweaty palms
  • Anxiety
  • Fear of the unknown

You begin to pull into the driveway of your potential new employer. Your heart is racing as if you are about to ride the world’s tallest, fastest rollercoaster. You have practiced. You have shared this moment with your closest friends and family and now it’s “go time”.

You feel confident that you can answer basic interview questions: “Tell me about yourself” or “Please explain your employment history”. Even though many candidates have a hard time with explaining who they are as a person, we can all bullshit our way through these basic questions during a job interview.

Some call this “Fake it ‘til you make it”. Much like dating, we all tend to “fake it” until we find the right person. The same rule can apply to the professional world while seeking a fulfilling career.

It’s about finding the perfect fit:

What does the “perfect fit” look like to you?

Does it include a full benefits package?

How about paid time off, top-notch compensation, employee engagement (i.e. employee appreciation week), professional development and a flexible work schedule?

The perfect fit as we know is different for everyone. Interviewees should conduct research about potential employer prior to the interview and also during the interview itself.

How is this accomplished?

Read the company website. Most companies include a detailed section for history/about us/FAQs. You can learn an enormous amount of information about the company in a short amount of time browsing this information.

Blog postings or articles about company awards/community recognition may also provide good information. During the interview, ask questions about organizational culture and why others have selected this employer to be their employer of choice. It is also acceptable to ask about work hours or possibility for professional development/growth during the interview. If the employer does inquire about your desired compensation and benefits, it is OK to answer them.

Top 5 Interview “Do’s”

  1. Present a resume folder with your resume, cover letter, two letters of recommendation, and copies of any degrees and/or certificates. Resume folders are relatively inexpensive at Wal-Mart. The purpose of the resume folder is to leave the employer something more than just a resume. This folder containing extra information can definitely help you stand out amongst the competition.
  2. If the employer invites you to arrive dressed business casual attire, politely thank them for allowing you the option, but always wear a full suit to an interview. First impressions are everything and the job market is too competitive to fall short or only give 90% while trying to score your next job.
  3. Within 24 hours, send a follow-up thank you email. Do not write three whole sentences. By using bullet points, list three takeaways from the interview and how your transferable skills will increase results for the company overall.
  4. Be aggressive by showing interest! Follow-up within a week with a thank you call to ask where the department is in the hiring process. This is your last attempt at securing the position of your dreams, so make it count. There is no harm in placing a professional phone call once.
  5. Always, always, always ask for the business cards of the individuals you have spoken with. This includes the person that interviewed you as well as the Front Desk Receptionist. Some organizations have business cards of all key staff members at the front desk.  When this option is not available, simply ask. Note also that you can utilize LinkedIn to search for additional contact information if business cards are not available.

Interview Mishaps:

  1. When the interviewer asks the interviewee “Tell me about a time you went above and beyond to satisfy a customer”. This type of question can easily make anyone look good-make sure you prepare a stand-out answer.
  2. Refrain from arriving late without calling in advance if you cannot avoid it. Its one thing to arrive late if you called in advance. It’s another thing to show up bursting in the doors huffing and puffing while apologizing profusely.
  3. Do not ever walk out in the middle of an interview unless it’s for an absolute emergency. If you feel the interview is going south, you must maintain professional courtesy at all costs. By walking out, you may permantely burn a networking bridge for the future, whether this particular organization is a fit or not.
  4. Unbutton your suit jacket before sitting. It is proper etiquette while sitting down for a a nice dinner. The same rule applies to an interview/business meeting.
  5. Two ears, one mouth. Do not at any point interrupt the interviewer or become overly chatty. This could be a sign of poor listening skills, which are incredibly important to any employer looking to bring someone on for the long haul.

Interview Resources:

    1. www.hireauthority.com. This site is an excellent example of motivational interviewing for both the hiring manager and the interviewees.
    2. www.bls.gov
      1. Many times during the interview process, a potential employer will ask you for your desired compensation range. Explain that you have done your due diligence and based on current statistics for XYZ city and state, the range is XYZ for this particular position. For example, the compensation range for a HR Manager in Tampa, FL is $55,000-$70,000.
      2. Ask your undergraduate or graduate school Career Services Departments for a list of mock interview questions. Feel free to ask me as well: liz.woloszyk@gmail.com
      3. https://www.indiabix.com/hr-interview/questions-and-answers/
        1. Long list of many different questions to be prepared for

When will I know I found the right fit?

Similar to dating, you will probably get an instinctive feeling about job after the interview process. It’s OK to acknowledge the fact that all interviews are not perfect and you’re not a fit for every position.  Attending interviews and making new connections through networking are perfect for practice and providing options – without these experiences, you may never know which career direction is best for you.

No matter what stage of business you are in, you should focus on your brand now!

What is your brand?

Find it tough to answer that question?

Your brand is everything.

If you don’t have a well defined brand, purposely thought-out, clearly articulated and wrapped around researched buyer personas, then you have nothing.

If not you should stop what you’re doing instantly and read this article.

In this post I’m going to teach you why you should focus on branding first using sailing as a metaphor. I’ll also link to extremely valuable resources to help you define your brand.

Of course if you’re reading this odds are you’ve already started a business. Maybe you’re like me and you’ve been doing it for years. Does this article still apply to you?

Of course!


Because you can instantly change the course of your business and choose a direct tack that will lead you where you really want, and need to go.

If you could have another chance at a fresh start with your business it should begin with researching, architecting and building your brand. Though, many entrepreneurs (including yours truly) tend to be the ready, fire, aim type in which case you’ve probably already built a business that works to a certain extent. That’s awesome! I’ll get to you lot in a bit.

So why work on branding first?

Simply put, a brand isn’t just who we are, it’s who we want to become.

A brand is a goal on the horizon. If running a business is sailing a boat on uncharted waters then defining a brand is choosing a rich and abundant port to end your journey.

Without a clearly defined brand you’re destined to spend your seafaring life fighting tropical storms and drifting East and West, lost at sea. When a major wave comes over the bow in the form of a new competitor in your market who is stealing share left and right you won’t know how to respond or why you should in the first place.

After the tumultuous fight is over and you wake up to a red sunrise you know the challenges aren’t over and you’re not even sure why the hell you’re floating out here all alone anyways.

If you’ve felt like this in business then you’re like so many others. The good news is you can actually start this process whenever you like and reap the rewards immediately. Of course the longer you take to define your brand the further out to sea you’re planning to go before finding yourself lost.

Imagine instead you have a clearly defined brand in place. You’ve studied the globe and chosen a rich port in a tropical climate half way around the world. A country where the people will happily take you in, exchange goods with you, entertain you and care for you for the rest of your days.

So how do we get started?

The first step in branding is to clearly define your buyer personas.

Go back to your captains quarters and imagine spinning the globe daydreaming where you’d like to end up. What kind of people do you want to spend your life with as a sailor at port?

These are the people of your personas.

Why should we define personas?

Traditional marketing called for a brand that was simply creative or clever. Something memorable and perhaps cute. Then companies became clever through the guerrilla marketing era and began crafting brands that separated them from their competition, creating a clear gulf.

An example of this is seen during the rise of Intel. Prior to what some of us remember as the Pentium 1, computer microprocessors were named with numbers like 186dx, 286dx, 386dx, etc. At that time there were literally thousands of manufacturers of these processors and they were all scrambling to gain market share. When Intel announced the Pentium 1 processor 90% of the market disappeared seemingly overnight and were never heard from again. That’s the power of a good brand.

The past 60 years has seen the branding geniuses of Ogilvy & Mather and other admen, the tactics of which have been tirelessly played out.

While traditional branding still exists and thrives to this day we have access to deeper amounts of qualitative data on consumers and businesses allowing us to build more detailed profiles than ever before. Now our brands can be made to represent an umbrella that houses multiple personas that are served by the brand.

Ultimately you need personas nowadays if you want to succeed online and furthermore if you’d like a tight and relevant brand.

How do we define personas?

Right now you’re on your home continent unable to do business with this distant culture. So first you need to get in touch with them (carrier pigeon perhaps?) and survey them as a stranger from faraway lands. You need to find out who they are, what they value, what they’re like, what they want and need, what is their day-to-day life like?

These are all elemental questions in buyer persona development.

You shouldn’t start by asking your existing clients and customers these questions, because they’re right here lost at sea with you. If you just want more of this lost at sea business then define your personas that way, but seldomly will those who are lost provide good direction.

Instead you should start by surveying people who you think would buy from you, but whom don’t know you and aren’t familiar with your brand. These are the people in this rich port across the blue.

The reason you want people who don’t know you is because they’ll give you the most accurate descriptions of what they value, their pain points, triggers, contentions, etc.

I’m very interested in the work of Adele Revella at Buyer Persona Instituteas a consultative body for defining buyer personas. Their process for defining personas seems to be the most comprehensive, sophisticated and thoughtful while remaining very accessible in a world rife with industry jargon.

We’re currently sending clients to them for consulting and pursuing certification as buyer persona consultants ourselves.

Their 5 Rings Of Buying Insight™ methodology is bulletproof for defining personas and without getting into too much detail they are as follows:

· Priority Initiatives: Why do some buyers choose solutions like yours and why are some buyers happy with the status quo?

· Success Factors: What specific results do these buyers expect to see from buying your solution?

· Perceived Barriers: Why do your buyers think your solution won’t work for them?

· Buyer’s Journey: What details does a buyer consider throughout the process of deciding on a solution like yours and where are they impacted in this process?

· Decision Criteria: What does your buyer consider to be the most important elements about your competition’s offering and what are their expectations for each element?

If you learn by example then take their Example Buyer Persona and replace the info in each section with your own. Here are some more example buyer personas from Inbound Marketing software behemoth HubSpot.

For surveying your audience it’s best (not to use carrier pigeons) to use a manual process such as finding 3-5 people that might buy from you and asking for a detailed interview.

If you’re unable to easily track down a few people that you think may buy from you, or if you’d like a larger data sample then it’s possible to use a survey tool such as Ask Your Target Market (AYTM) to do the heavy lifting and sourcing participants in your survey.

Heck, you could even try Google Surveys, but I’m not as familiar with their ability to handle non-consumer related panels.

We’ll be using surveys later in the process of further defining our brand so keep those handy.

Once you’ve taken the time to develop your own personas, it’s time to craft brand messaging around those personas.

How do we start building a brand identity and messaging?

Now that you know a few things about these people from far away you understand they’re an entire culture. We just have to figure out where exactly we need to go to meet them, and what specifically we need to bring.

To do this I recommend starting your brand research with a SWOT analysis or Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats.

If you’ve ever sailed (or seen Captain Phillips), then you know the captain and the crew perform ship-wide inspections before leaving port. Everyone on the ship checks every part to make sure there is no crack, no broken jib or pirate gate that could pose a threat. All the engines, rudders, sails and lines need to be carefully checked to make sure there are no weaknesses. The team is assembled and assigned parts of the ship where theirstrengths can be leveraged. Maps are drawn out and weather patterns are scanned to determine opportunities for smooth and fast sailing.

How do we do a SWOT analysis?

So as in a ship ready for maiden voyage, you need to assemble every member of your company in a completely open discussion with dry erase boards, Internet access for quick fact-checking and reference, and plenty of time to cover all the bases. Then begin the SWOT analysis checking for each of the following:

· Strengths: These are internal elements that give you a competitive edge. Always compare strengths against competitors apples to apples, not your recent improvements to previous states of the company. Anywhere you’re perceived as outpacing a competitor is considered a strength. Examples of strengths may be highly unique talent in the design department versus boring designers in your niche, or a negotiator on your team who happens to speak multiple languages.

· Weaknesses: Call on the most negative and critical person at your company for weaknesses. I jokingly say negative because I’m an optimist to a fault. So in many cases someone’s just being realistic when I call them negative. You don’t need an optimist to point out your weaknesses, they’ll take it too easy on you. Examples of weaknesses may be a shoddy customer service department for a fast growing company, or a failing infrastructure due to poor maintenance protocols.

· Opportunities: This is where an optimist can shine. We’re looking for temporal or time-related opportunities where agile decision making is key. If a gap opens up for a moment this serves as an opportunity. Intel seized the opportunity to name the first microprocessor something memorable and push the hell out of it. From our sailing allegory, consider this the man in the crow’s nest looking for tailwinds to push us in the right direction.

· Threats: Threats are just the opposite of opportunities. Again think of a person in the crow’s nest looking for icebergs and storm clouds ahead. Examples of threats may be a declining trend in proprietary technology such as Sony Memory Sticks, or environmental factors that wreak havoc on your company such as floods or tornadoes, also strong competition from larger brands or low price competitors.

The SWOT analysis exposes all the hidden details about our business and brand and allows us to lay all the cards on the table in front of our company internally. If you’re truly forward-thinking about your management style you’ll then allow your team to start addressing all of these issues by giving them autonomy to be creative and find a fun solution for each one.

Now you know where your company is positioned in the market and you can begin crafting your brand messaging around your persona’s and your SWOT analysis.

How de we define the brand?

There are ultimately 5 steps that will lead us to a well defined, bullet-proof brand. You’ll hear them called all kinds of different things and we have our own sexy name for them, but they pretty much work the same way no matter who you ask. When faced with a difficult question in each of the 5 steps below, reference your Buyer Personas established in the previous steps to find good answers:

· Vision Statement: The Vision Statement describes that port on the distant horizon. This is what you want your company to become in the future. Ultimately this should be one sentence long and not explain howthe vision will be met, we’ll get to that in a bit. What are your most important products and services and which ones will you never sell? What is unique about doing business with you and how will people describe your business? Where do you want to be in 5 years?

Here are some example Vision Statements:

San Diego Zoo will become a world leader at connecting people to wildlife and conservation.

NPR with it’s networks of independent member stations, is America’s pre-eminent news institution.

Smithsonian is shaping the future by preserving our heritage, discovering new knowledge, and sharing our resources with the world.

· Mission Statement: The Mission Statement is defined as the purpose of the company. Mission statements should be simple, clear and concise.Don’t use industry jargon and focus on motivating people inside and outside the company. What are the specific market needs for the company to answer and what does the company do to answer them? What guiding principles define our approach?

Here’s a great example Mission Statement from Google:

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

· Essence: The essence is the intangible parts of your company that you want people to feel when they do business with you. The essence of the company should typically be defined with one word. What do people experience when they interact with your offering? Check out this great deck on the 9 Criteria For Brand Essence.

Example essences from a great HubSpot article include:

Volvo = safe
Disney = magical
Lamborghini = exotic

· Personality: This is what makes a brand really human. Personality is all about the behavior of a brand. This can be difficult as there can be too many characteristics you’d like to consider, but try to keep it simple. Think, are you smart and helpful? Are you polite and curtious? Are you deep and creative? Are you fun and easy-going?

· Unique Selling Proposition: The USP (Value Proposition or Brand Positioning Statement) is probably the most important part of the brand identification process. You’ll want to keep it down to a sentence or two that clearly describes your offering’s unique value and how it benefits your personas. This statement should define the audience, category of brand, offering benefit, differentiate brand from competition, and confidently assert the brand will deliver on it’s promise.

Consider the following for your USP; Whom are you speaking? (think persona) What market segment does your offering benefit? What’s your brand promise (rational and emotional) What makes your brand different and why should your personas care?

Here are some examples of good Value Propositions:

CampaignMonitorEmail marketing software for designers and their clients.

BaseCampEasy cloud project management software for companies.

How do we put it all together?

The final part is to put all of this together in a way that makes sense and works seamlessly across your marketing media.

I recommend creating a single Branding Guidelines PDF document that has all of your personas and branding work in the order we built it here. Then share this document with everyone in your company to make it absolutely clear what your company is and does. These are the captain’s orders.

Through the process of designing your logo, you’ll pull from this document and actually add to it once the logo is finished.

When designing your new site, you’ll be better able to architect content and map out pages because you’ll be trying to aim content at your individual personas and you’ll use your brand messaging to answer their needs in the most concise way.

When creating ads you’ll be targeting specific pain points for your personas and you’ll be able to segment campaigns to your various different personas.

Blog articles can be written to answer concerns your personas may have and bring down their barriers to entry.

As you’re sailing across the wild blue yonder you’ll notice that when challenges come up like new competition or outside threats, just hold your bearings true with your branding and personas and focus on your customer’s needs and you’ll be able to pull through.

Over time, your brand may need small revisions just like a rudder needs frequent adjustments to steer the ship straight. Before you know it you’ll feel the heat of foreign latitudes, hear the sound of unfamiliar sea birds and commerce bustling in the port of your dreams. Your business will then become what you once imagined it to be.

This article is a deep dive on the topic of branding originally covered in Who Wants A Powerful Inbound Marketing Plan For Free?

Jeremiah Smith runs SimpleTiger, an Inbound Marketing agency focused on helping businesses grow on the web through lean, simple marketing.

They specialize in SEO, content marketing and driving conversions through your site. Hit recommend below and follow me on Twitter

Inbound Marketing is a loaded term, and it’s expensive as hell. I’m going to unload it for you for free.

Read the original article here

Do you want a simple Inbound Marketing plan?

Why not learn a perfect plan first before paying a dime for help?

In this post I’m going to pour out the same plan I’ve told countless clients while they were insisting on just an SEO campaign. I’m going to show you how simple it really is to craft a bullet proof Inbound Marketing plan that almost any business can do on almost any budget and how SEO is really just one part of the process.

I’ll follow this outline in this specific order which is important if you want it to work correctly:

  • Brand Messaging
  • Developing Personas
  • Analysis, Research & Goal Setting
  • Getting Traffic
  • SEO & How It Fits
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Networking

Brand Messaging

It all starts with your offering.

Good branding should be done at the offering level. Let’s take your offering and wrap it in a message that people can understand.

The key to good brand messaging is to keep it simple, stupid.

There are 2 rules to branding;

  1. Be clear, not clever.
  2. Be different, not better.

You’ll never be the best so get off of it. And what the hell am I buying from you? Honestly. Just tell me. Don’t beat around the bush or try to woo me.

Branding in 2 rules:
Clear, not clever.
Different, not better.

Be ruthlessly clear and different in every way you can. No one should be able to out you, you. How about you buy this weight loss pill, it’s the best and it’s shaped like a diamond! No go? Ok, how about you buy this weight loss pill, it’s the only one that normalizes irregular hormones so you’ll burn fat safely. I just made that up. Don’t buy weight loss pills, silly.

To make an elephant statue from a single block of marble you simply cut away what isn’t the elephant. So in your branding, cut away what doesn’t matter and leave only what truly does.

Developing Personas

Now you need personas.

So what is a persona and how does it work?

A persona is a marketing concept for a grouping of people in your target audience that share the same marketing characteristics. For instance, a large portion of your audience may be C level executives at large corporations that have a pain point of financial trust, or middle managers at ad agencies that need creative help.

You need someone you’re pretending to tell your story to. Behind that persona is real people who we’ll be talking directly to later.

When you’re defining your personas I recommend naming them something memorable. For example; Jaded Jessica the ad agency middle manager who’s jaded because they don’t have a creative solution to offer their clients. Or Timid Tim, the CEO of a major corporation who needs a financial planner he can fully trust.

Grab this worksheet and fill it out for each different persona you might sell to. This is what it looks like:

Personas can be as simple or as complex as your offering and the pain points it addresses.

How many personas should you have?

I recommend no less than 3 personas.

If you have 3, then those are your 3 customers. That’s it. Think about them when you do anything for your business. How will it help them specifically?

Why 3? It’s a good number.

For real though, if you just have two you’ll notice through an 80/20 analysis that one means more than the other and you’ll end up focusing on one persona.

What happens if that persona no longer needs what you have?

If you’ve diversified your personas then you’ll always have someone who can use what you have.

Analysis, Research & Goal Setting

Let’s setup analytics on your site.

Which analytics platform should you use?

You’ve got optionsTons of them.

Just make sure it can track goals and specific events. We’ll call these conversions throughout the site.

Let’s say that again: Conversions

Set them up on your site so you can track progress on what works and what doesn’t. I recommend monitoring contact form submissions, purchase links, download links, anything of value. These are all conversions.

Landing Pages
Setup some landing pages on your site, at least one for each persona. Whether you’re using WordPress, SquareSpace, or some other CMS, you should be able to create landing pages on your site. If not, or if you just don’t want the technical hassle, do your self a favor and get an Unbounceaccount. You can create lot’s of amazing landing pages and get super nerdy with ‘em.

Unbounce is hands-down my favorite tool for building landing pages regardless of what site platform you’re on.

Once you’ve created said landing pages you need to have contact forms on them and set conversion metrics (e.g. goals) in your analytics platform. The contact form not only offers opportunities for your sales pipeline, but it should also subscribe new users to a lead nurturing program. Lead nurturing is just pedantic jargon for an email marketing campaign. Setup a MailChimp account and nag up to 2,000 people monthly with your emails for free, dude.

If you need a more involved platform there are marketing automation tools such as HubSpotMarketoPardotEloqua and I’m sure many more to follow. Most of these don’t just do email, but landing pages, conversion forms, CTAs, analytics, blogs, CMSs, the whole nine yards.

I recommend taking your product or service offering and writing your best sales pitch into a simple ebook or PDF document that’ll sit behind your contact form. When I say sales pitch I really just mean if you could only get one customer and you had to give them everything in order to get that one sale, give it to them. Don’t schmooze them with silly gimmicks. I mean sell to them like you sell to a bored teenager in today’s Netflix, DVR, Twitter, ad-less, 1 second load-time impatiensphere.

Your PDF should speak to the persona by answering each one of their major pain points, or contentions about your product/service/industry.

Finally, it should offer a gentle nudge in the right direction, a CTA if you will. (CTA = Call To Action)

Buy Some Traffic

Now that we’ve got our personas targeted with landing pages and answers to their problems, let’s bring in some people who fit those personas.

Though I’ve been “doing” SEO over 8 years, I highly recommend you start with an AdWords campaign. Even more so now that Google (not provided) is among us.

Trust me, you don’t want to invest 6-9 months and tens of thousands of dollars in genius content creation and social network back-and-forth, link building efforts, etc. only to find out the keywords you targeted don’t convert.

It’s better to spend a couple thousand dollars and a month or so to find out specifically which keywords will bring you sales. You should run ads to get enough clicks so that you close a few conversions from your site. Then track down the source of those conversions in your analytics and focus all efforts on those few keywords, ad-copy variations, etc.

Go back to your landing page solution and run some A/B tests on design variations. If you’re not using something sweet like HubSpot or Unbounce then sign up for Optimizely and generate multiple versions of your landing pages without knowing jack about code.

Optimizely offers idiot proof CRO and A/B testing.

Optimize your ad campaigns by bringing them from either broad to phrase, or phrase to exact match if you’re getting plenty of traffic, or the other way around if you’re not getting enough traffic. Also, run a negative keywords query report to find any BS keywords you need to exclude from showing your ad. This’ll drop your average CPC. There are lot’s of other things you can do to optimize your AdWords campaigns as well including:

Lowering your ad position to decrease CPC. This one is often overlooked as people tend to think you should be #1 but it can cost 10x more to be there for not 10x more clicks.

Launch a remarketing campaign and install the script on your site to bring back visitors who may have forgotten about you.

Optimize your landing pages from an SEO perspective in order to increase your Quality Score and lower CPC. We’ll get into a little more SEO stuff shortly. ;)

Now you’re probably wondering “Jeremiah, you just recommended buying ads, but I thought this article was about Inbound Marketing!” Well spank you for asking helpy helperton! The type of ads I’m recommending are only on search engines and only after people have searched for keywords that are directly relevant to your business. This means they’re ultimately Inbound.

SEO — How It Fits

There’s really no voodoo to SEO anymore.

Back in the day I’d tweak a few title tags and watch my clients roll in cash.

Not really, but it used to be a lot easier than it is now. Now you have to be totally legitimate if you want to win. There’s no quick and easy way, but there are shortcuts. I’ll get into some of those in a bit.

SEO nowadays is pretty much made up of three major buckets, each representing a different weight to the search engines:

Onsite Technical = ~25% of the search algorithms but if your site isn’t crawlable or accessible to the engines then it should be 100% of your concern. No amount of further optimization or marketing will save you from your site being completely inaccessible to the engines. Stroll over to WooRank and give your site a quick once-over. They’ll list a few major technical issues on your site and a few ways to address them. This should never be a replacement for a quality technical site audit from a company like mine. ;) But it’s a great place to check for free and quickly.

Onsite Content & Usability =~25% of the search algorithms look at content for relevance meaning anything from text and blog articles to videos, images, ebooks, web apps, etc. We’ll dive into the world of content momentarily. The delivery of that content is increasingly important. Search engines can see how people use your website and determine whether or not your users are having a good experience. Engines will reward those sites with good usability with high rankings. Think Amazon or Wikipedia.

Offsite Everything Else =~50%+ of the remaining search algorithm and that + means it’s increasing. If you think about it, the first half of the equation; onsite technical, content and usability can all be easily controlled and manipulated. But building inbound links from relevant trusted domains and getting original followers to share and mention your brand on the various social networks is much harder to manipulate. That’s why it’s so important to the algorithms. The best part about this difficult element is that if you build the best content you can find, they will link and share it.

Invest In The Best Content You Can Find

When I say the best content you can find I’m putting an emphasis on “find”. In the end, we’re going to create good content that people on social networks will be happy to share, search engines will be happy to promote and your target personas will find.

People will “bubble up” whatever they’re interested in and they find valuable on social networks. That’s exactly what Google wants too. They want to know what we’re talking about and what we like.

Now that we know our target personas, what keywords those personas are using to drive sales due to our ad campaigns, we know our landing pages convert into leads, and our site is well optimized for search, it’s time to start building some content to bring traffic in from organic and social sources.

Where should you start building quality content?

I recommend looking at your sales process first. What are some of the questions everyone seems to ask about your offering or industry? Chances are there are more people that have those same questions. You should answer them with a blog article.

Conversion Rate Expertshelped SEOmoz jack up their revenue by breaking down Rand Fishkin’s bulletproof sales process into one long landing page.

Then when someone asks that question online in the form of a search query (which more people are doing now than ever before proven byHummingbird’s Conversational Search) odds are they’ll find your post.

There are so many opportunities to write about your offering. For starters, get a stranger who truly doesn’t care about your business to critique it for you. Write down everything that comes to mind, you’ll find a list of blog articles.

There’s definitely a science to writing effective headlines and you should start your blog articles there. Why? They make a promise the article needs to keep. You’ll find it easier to stay on track with a good headline leading you, and readers will be more likely to look for that promise to be fulfilled by reading your post.

Write a long list of headlines and consider each of those a new blog article. Then come up with ways to argue against some of the headlines you’ve started, or maybe dive deeper into specific elements of each article with a new article.

The goal here is to completely cover every area of your business with information unique to you and answering the problems of your personas.

Part of this content process can actually take us back to our PDF we created before. Maybe by now we have all kinds of interesting info we can add to it. Beef that page count up and pitch it on your landing pages and ads as “37 Pages On Home Energy Savings” for example.

One of my favorite ideas is after you feel your blog has exhausted a topic, take all the articles on that topic and reformat them into a big sexy PDF document. Now pitch this to your email subscribers with a new landing page built specifically for this document and topic.

Hang Out With People On Social Networks

Don’t go try to lock down every damn social network, spreading yourself thin. Odds are your target users are only in a couple places. If it’s Twitter, then go to Twitter. If it’s LinkedIn, go to LinkedIn. You may not know for sure at first, try them all until you do know. But at some point, you’ll realize there’s one or maybe two social networks that really bring you the most quality traffic, sales, influence, content shares, etc. Maybe you get content shares on Twitter, but sales on FaceBook. Tweak your strategy to reflect this reality.

Ultimately, the best way to choose the one or two social networks you really need to be on is to find out which ones you like the most. It’s not rocket surgery.

If you like Twitter more than any other network odds are you’ll participate on Twitter more than any other network. If you really don’t care then survey some people that fit your personas and ask them what social networks they look at most for business related stuff. Keep in mind, just because I use FaceBook 32 times a day doesn’t mean I want to see SEO solutions there. I keep it personal on FaceBook and Twitter is more business for me.

Now that you’ve found your target network(s), what’s next?

I can’t tell you how many clients I work with that don’t have their Twitter bio filled out, or they’re using the default background and theme colors. Twitter literally gives you an inbound link in your bio, just type in your URL and it links it. It may not be an SEO friendly direct link, but it makes it easier for your followers to jump over to your site.

Fill out your Twitter bios! You won’t believe how many people don’t realize it can link to any site you want, just type in the URL!

Jab Jab Jab

Take it from Vaynerchuk; jab jab jab right hook.

A right hook in boxing is often the finishing move, but it’s made up of a series of well placed and timed jabs beforehand. If you just go in throwing right hooks you leave yourself open for a simple takedown from your opponent. The same is true in social networks. If you stumble in like a cocain charged sales junky hocking your shit at everyone they’ll make you look so stupid your brand will be tarnished and you’ll lose followers.

Say fun human stuff, be a normal person, link to something silly then share something important that you want to promote. Chit chat chit and then ask for help.

I totally recommend Gary Vee’s new book
Jab Jab Jab Right Hook

Think about it like this; you walk into a Starbucks and without making eye contact with your barista or even saying “hi” you just place your order. Sure you’ll probably get your order and be happy with it (if you even know what happiness is you antisocial dick.)

But what if instead you looked right at her and said “Hey there! How’s your day going so far?”, you’ll get a response and after 10 seconds of totally innocent banter you ask “What do you recommend?”. Sure you may know what you want to order already, but take a step outside your little comfort zone and find you might enjoy something different. The best part is the next time you come to this place, she’ll probably remember you.

That’s how social networks operate. They give you a chance to get outside your comfort zone, talk to real humans like a real human, learn something, share something, and grow with your community.

If a blog is a place for a business to let it’s proverbial hair down, then a social network is a porch for you to sit on with a beer and holler at your neighbors that stroll by.

Right Hook

Now your strategy can’t be all jabs. At some point you’re going to have to land a right hook.

Jabs are short, simple and repetitive, light impact. Right hooks are long, fully invested and should be well thought out and crafted before executed.

This is where you start to push your own blog articles, videos, ebooks, guides, web apps, calculators, tools, landing pages, etc. You answer people’s questions in short form on social networks and back up your answers with links to long form answers on your blog.

One of my role models Tim Ferriss is very good at delivering strong right hooks when he needs them. He has his audience so enraptured by what he says that when he asks for something we chomp at the bit to help him out.

Tim Ferriss delivering knock-out right hooks to a thriving audience.

For example; Tim will promote a book he truly likes and believes in on his own site where he gets a kickback of all sales. He’ll promote a startup that he’s invested in by recommending it to people who are looking to learn French for example.

An interesting thing to note here is that he’s helping himself by helping others more.

Once you deliver that right hook and give someone a link to one of your pieces of content or ask them to do something for you, switch back to jabs. Don’t bludgeon the shit out of your personas with right hook after right hook or they’ll delete you.

Every time you post a new blog article, carefully construct your right hook. Think about social proofs, psychological triggers, promises you can make with the least amount of words, etc.


Now you’ve gone through the entire process of building an Inbound Marketing campaign.

But wait…

Remember that landing page we created a while back? Well now it needs to be optimized a bit more to see if we can get more conversions from all this traffic we’re bringing in.

But once you’ve optimized your landing pages, you notice they don’t fully match your site anymore. Time for a quick UI redesign on your site.

But through the site redesign process a few technical issues have cropped up that need SEO attention.

While looking at your analytics for SEO indicators of performance you notice some interesting new search queries you haven’t seen before. This leads you to create some new content ideas!

Now you have more to share with your audience of followers who are all sliding down your funnel.

You’ll realize about Inbound Marketing that it’s a cycle that needs attention on an ongoing basis, and you’ve built the foundation. Just rinse and repeat.


I run SimpleTiger, an Inbound Marketing agency focused on helping businesses grow on the web through lean, simple marketing.

We specialize in SEO, content marketing and driving conversions through your site.

If this post helped you out, good, those are my jabs. Now here comes the right hook:

Hit recommend below and follow me on Twitter!

A Brief Disclaimer:

I am in no way affiliated with Evernote however, I just felt strong enough about it to tell you that:

“Evernote might just be the one app you didn’t know you couldn’t live without!”.

Enough Ass Kissing; Let’s Get To It.

Since May 2005, I have been journaling, writing, typing and documenting my thoughts, life-experiences and ideas. I used to actually write in physical journals but after I got my iPad I decided to make the switch to digital note taking. I was looking to find the best note taking app on the market. Preferably a free one.

I instantly fell in love with the simplicity of Evernote. Not just to take notes, but to actually use them in a productive manner. You see… I still have stacks of journals with some of my deepest, darkest thoughts sitting inside of them. Full from cover-to-cover with troves of beautiful words and thoughts never to be explored again. Unless of course, I decide to thumb through them but we live in a digital world and who wants to deal with paper anymore.

“I am actully using Evernote to digitize all of my old notes. By using the scanning feature in Evernote I can take pictures of my handwritten notes and convert them to searchable documents inside of Evernote”. I’ll cover that in a future article – Subscribe to make sure you don’t miss it.

Evernote Helps Me Remember Everything

I know that’s a play on their tagline but it just so happens to be true. I rarely ever went any further back than a week or two in order to review notes, business concepts, client interactions or anything else I wrote down daily in any of those journals over the years. I would write in the book and each new page would separate me from the last by as many new words as I decided to add that day.

It took a little while to get used to typing my thoughts instead of writing them all down but now I wonder how I ever survived before. I still use the Moleskin journals to jot quick notes or to capture a sketch but for the most part I use my iPad, iPhone or laptop to access the Evernote app. I love that I can have all my thoughts with me on any device at any time.

My Favorite Evernote Features.

Here is a short list of my favorite Evernote features in no particular order. Most of them are available on the free version so what are you waiting for?

Offline Notes: 

Now that I am an Evernote premium user I can set notebooks to be available offline. This allows me to have access on my devices even if there is no internet or cellular connection. It’s like special note taking app magic that allows you to work on everything everywhere.

Multiple Notebooks:

I used to always carry a single physical journal. I would write all my notes in the journal and try to differentiate the pages by folding them over to create partitions, using headers at the top of each page and then folding different corners, in different directions in order to mark the importance of any given note. With Evernote, I can have as many notebooks as I want and they are all brilliantly accessible and crossed linked through the app. Now… with Evernote Premium, I can even share notebooks and allow others to edit and update the notes inside of them.

*New Feature* – Notebook Stacks:

Now you can take your notebooks and organize them into stacks. This is a great feature because it gives me another level of sorting functionality. For example, before this feature was available, I had separate notebooks for each of my clients but they were all scattered around (Evernote sorts notebooks alphabetically), but now I can drop them all in a single stack and keep them in one place. You could even sort your contacts by importance or start a writing folder and then have separate notebooks for your blog, poetry, jokes, short stories, etc. That’s the beauty of Evernote, you can pretty much make it do whatever you want it to do. If you get creative Evernote can even help you do business better.


As a self proclaimed “WordPress Ninja”, I was already familiar with the concept of adding tags to my content. I always thought it would be cool to be able to add tags to my notes, and then be able to search by those specific tags. The tags even work across multiple notebooks so you can further interconnect your notes and then sort them easily and intuitively. 

Tag usage example: the tag “video ideas”  can be used on notes in my client notebooks as well as my “Blog Concepts” notebook, or any other notebook for that matter. This allows me to sort my notes by those tags and look at notes across all of my notebooks that use each specific tag. 

Business Card Scanning

One of their newest features, the business card scanning functionality is pretty revolutionary. For the professional networker, dealing with stacks of business cards can get annoying real quick. They pile up everywhere and much like your handwritten notes, often get left to gather dust. With Evernote Premium I can scan a business card and have the information converted to a contacts note inside of Evernote. I can even have it add the contact to my iPhone contacts instantly. Add a quick If This Then That recipe to the mix and all those contacts are instantly invited to connect on linked in. Seriously, it is that easy. Scan. Add. Invite. It’s pretty much like a cheat code for life.

Another useful tip:  Evernote can sync with LinkedIn to supplement the contact information for the scanned in cards. Freaking brilliant.

Presentation Mode:

This new feature is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Simply put, it gives you a clean read-only view of whatever note you are in so that you can read or share your note without distractions from the editor interface. It formats the articles in a streamlined fashion that fits right into my business workflow. I especially appreciate this functionality with my Apple TV as I can use it with airplay to share my note without having people climb all over me to see the screen on my phone. You could even use it as an impromptu teleprompter with the Apple TV and use your iPhone as a remote to control the scroll. You’re Welcome.


I work for myself. I don’t have a corporation behind me with robust relationship management software to help me track sales calls, territory management or any other aspect of my sales process. Out of necessity, Evernote has become my default Client Relationship Management (CRM) system. The ability to review my notes based on my GPS location is great for tracking on-location interactions with clients and prospects alike. This means that I can review all of those interactions on a map from any location. This is an invaluable feature for the on-the-go sales rep.

Whether I am talking to a cold call or sitting with an established client I always have my iPad in front of me with Evernote open and a fresh note waiting to document the conversation. I can even use the voice record feature and attach an audio account of our meeting to that particular note. I have used customized, CRM software that is not as user friendly or as robust as Evernote… just saying.

Evernote Inspires Me Be To Build A Better Business

Once in a while you come across a company that just gets it. A company that isn’t out wasting their money trying to buy market share with advertising or trying to interrupt your daily life with the story of their product. Instead they chose to create a better product. Bravo Evernote, bravo!

I have been watching Evernote over the last few years. I have experienced a few iterations of their software, I have watched them innovate, collaborate and elevate themselves to a true player in the world of cloud based note taking software. As an aspiring techie myself I look at companies like Evernote with the utmost respect. They are doing everything I preach about when it comes to social sales, amazing products, beautiful user interfaces, customer support to match and a culture of innovation.

“Other companies and start-ups would do well to look at Evernote as a model for how companies should think about creating, marketing and selling their products; online or otherwise”.

I used the free version of Evernote for a long time. I have sent countless invites to friends, family and even strangers. I am really just now learning all the intricacies and deeper functionality of Evernote. I am discovering  the true potential locked inside this powerful app and I absolutely love it. I always tell my friends that “Evernote will change your life if you let it” and, for that alone, I’ll pay for an Premium account for as long as they sell them. Why? Because I know they will only get better as time goes on. How do I know this? Well… because that’s the only thing they’ve ever done.

Do you use Evernote? Did I miss your favorite feature? Tell me what you think down in the comments section. 

The links in this article are affiliate links. If you got some value out of this article or decide to download Evernote, help a brother out and use the links above so I can get credit for the referral.

Join more than 12K others who have already signed up to get occasional updates and find out how our new publishing softwarecan help you grow your digital brand and monetize your online influence.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


The Collaborative Conundrum

It seems like these days, everyone wants to collaborate. The problem with collaboration is that people often mistake it to mean that you are willing to work with them for free. They think that collaboration means you are going to set your ambitions aside in order to help them achieve their goal. The truth about collaboration is that it is more difficult to pull off than people think.

I have collaborated quite a bit over the last few years. Some of those collaborations have been quite fruit-full and others, not-so-much. I have, over time, compiled a list of common collaboration mistakes and thought I would share them with you. They were initially published as part of another article I wrote on collaboration but I thought they were worthy of their own post.

Got any crazy collaboration stories? Leave them in the comments below. 

Avoid These 9 Common Collaboration Mistakes:

Before you begin your next collaborative project make sure you keep away from these major mistakes.

1.Terrible communication:

All parties need to be on the same page in order for effective collaboration to take place. You can use a note sharing app like Evernote or google docs to share ideas and work through the planning stages together. Whether you use software, note sharing or paper airplanes to stay connected you must have some established form of communication in order to collaborate effectively.

2. Failing to plan:

Collaboration is fun when it is spontaneous and you just happen to stumble across it but planning a meeting at least a week ahead allows people to better fit it into their schedule. Considering participation is key to collaboration, giving people a real opportunity to participate is vital to doing it right.

3. Selfish Collaborators: 

You must be willing to let people show you how they can contribute. It is impossible to discover anyone’s hidden (or not so hidden) talents if you don’t provide an environment for them to freely express and explore their creative faculties. Collaboration should not be sidestepped due to ideological interjections. People need to be free to explore the collaboration in whatever method makes them most creative. Judging books by their cover is a good way to miss out on a great collaboration experience. Do not let any insecurities prevent you from opening doors in life wherever you go. You never know who might be standing behind it.

4. Loud Mouths:

You know who you are. I am not talking about the guy in the corner who knows what he is talking about and interjects with useful contributions. I am talking about the ignorant tweedleberry who just likes hearing the sound of his own voice in a room with more than just himself sitting in it. Please know what you are talking about or don’t talk about it. Nothing will strip you of your credibility faster than bloviating on a subject on which you have only a marginal understanding. Shut your mouth, take a few notes and go Google that shit. Then maybe next time you can contribute something meaningful to the conversation instead of wasting everyone’s time.

5. Participation Trophies:

If you say you are going to do something or be somewhere or get something done, then do it. It is that simple. Do not expect the other collaborators to cover your quota. You must be engaged and willing to deliver on your word. You do not get credit just for showing up!

6. Keeping Quiet:

If something is bothering you then speak up. How is anyone supposed to fix anything if they all think its working fine. Leadership means speaking up. You might be surprised at who stands with you. This doesn’t mean you throw a creative coup, just that in order for this to be a meaningful collaboration you have to feel satisfied as well. In order to make sure this happens please refer back to miscue number one!

7. Too Much Structure:

It is important to guide the collaboration but not necessarily to control it. Too much of an effort to control the collaboration can result in an unhappy group. Also, be flexible with how people are compensated/rewarded for their efforts. Some people might need to make money from their collaborations and others might just be looking to pad a resume, gain a little experience or build some new relationships.

8. Political Posturing:

I am not talking about Washington DC politics. I am talking about back office, highschool clique style politics. You are not the only person with good ideas and there are often many solutions to every problem. Just because the collaboration is not taking place around your personal idea does not mean you get to run away from the table. You can’t run off to mommy every time someone gives you some harsh criticism. Learn to delegate and step back once in a while. One of the hardest lessons for a leader to learn is that in order to lead you must first know how to follow.

9. Sabotage:

This is the worst of all of them and is the only one that involves malicious behavior. Do not take advantage of someone under the pretext of collaboration. Do not steal an idea from your fellow collaborator only to pass it off as your own. Do not waste the labors of others with tedious repetition or futile propositions. You are hated amongst all of us in the creative world who would share our trust and knowledge with only the expectation of reciprocation, only to be slapped in the face by a sneaky saboteur. This is not cool and might even call for public humiliation. Maybe a titty twister in times square or an indian burn by Chuck Norris. Either way, it should hurt because you make it infinitely more difficult for the rest of us to do our thing.

Did I Miss Anything?

I am sure there are a number of other collaboration mistakes being made on a regular basis. Feel free to let me know what I missed in the comments section below.

Image Credit: https://hdl.handle.net/2440/51125


A few ideas that I think could revolutionize the grocery shopping experience. Read more

Breaking down the definition of the word capitalism and exploring the perversion of the word in America and around the world.

Why write this?

Political Correctness has pushed us so far out of the realm of honest conversations that so many people are scared to talk openly about anything that might offend anyone around them.

Not only am I hoping to start a discussion here, I am trying to start an all out war on the battlefield of ideas over the political incorrectness of being politically correct. That being said, read along, challenge what you know and let’s talk it out in the comments after we’re done. Get it? Got it? Good!

It’s not that I think you’re stupid…

Unless of course you actually do think capitalism sucks. In that case I would ask you to kindly pack your shit and head off to Europe, China or anywhere other than America really.

Maybe you would be happier in North Korea or some other tyrannical state. I hear the soviets are making a comeback! And before you say anything about how great Canada is, I direct you back to my “pack your shit” statement a few sentences back.

No one is keeping you here! If you think they do it better somewhere else then by all means, be gone! Just saying.

Now, before we get into the ideological debate behind the bastardization of the word capitalism, let’s understand the origin and root of the word.


The definition:

We will start out with a few generalizations about the word capitalism, I’ll explain why it really is that simple and the tell you why people who think capitalism sucks are really just plain stupid.

What is capitalism?




An economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit.


Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of capital goods and the means of production, with the creation of goods and services for profit.

Neither of these definitions tells us a whole lot about capitalism at its core so let’s dive a little deeper.

What is a capitalist?



A wealthy person (apparently you have to already be wealthy in order to capitalize on anything) who uses money to invest in a trade and industry for profit in accordance with the principles of capitalism. (We’re starting to see the skew already)


Wikipedia actually redirected me to the definition of capitalism that I listed before where I quickly ended up on a page about Karl Marx’s critique of political economy and his views on the capitalist mode of production.

This is where I start to get frustrated

Lets look at one more definition (capitalize) before I get started explaining why we need to be careful of how we let people redefine words and the context in which we use them.

What does it mean to capitalize?




1: Taking the chance to gain advantage from.

2: Provide (a company or industry) with capital. For this article I will ignore this definition as it relates to the funding of businesses and the capital (money) used to start and fund business ventures.

Let’s use a little common sense

If I am capitalizing on a situation, I am simply using that situation to my benefit. Where we pervert the game is in the governance and regulation of capital and industry. When we begin picking and choosing winners and losers.

Which is really part of why it bothers me when people vilify the word capitalist or capitalism. Furthermore, the system of capitalism has served to push forward technology and innovation and has free’d more people from the clutches of poverty than any other system before it.

If you think about it, the person who tells you that capitalism is bad is actually trying to capitalize on your intellectual ignorance and sway you into thinking that their definition is the one you should believe.

As if capitalizing on a low information audience is any different than a dishonest business capitalizing on an uninformed buyer.

This is not to say that people do not capitalize on the stupidity of others (it happens all the time), but since when does motive determine the definition of a word?

A politician might capitalize on his opponents weakness or mistakes just as easily as a business might capitalize on an opportunity stemming from a failed competitor or by taking advantage of an opening in the market for a new product.

A salesperson might capitalize on the stupidity of a naive car buyer, but is it not the responsibility of the consumer to also protect themselves? Is the world around us not always some battle which requires survival. It used to be jungles and wildlife, but now it is the wild world of consumerism and advertising which vies for our lives and souls. So yes, the salesman is sleazy for trying to take advantage of you, but you are naive to think that the salesperson would operate with anything other than their best interest in mind.

You see, we are all born with the natural instinct to take advantage of the situations that present themselves to us through the course of our lives. Whether it be for advancement financially, personally or intellectually.

Someone with a full-ride scholarship might be capitalizing on a lot of hard work leading up to receiving that scholarship. Just like an entrepreneur who makes it big by capitalizing on the years of hard work and struggles they put in before taking their company to the next level. Neither of which makes that person evil. In fact, it makes them smart, and we should applaud a system which rewards hard work and dedication.

We should applaud and protect a system that allows individuals to go out and create value in the world. But more importantly, a system that allows people to own the fruits of their labor. This is why capitalism is so important. Because in a capitalist system, the government protects the individual’s right to ownership of property. A fundamental tenet of a free society.

Humans are prone to greed

Generalizing all capitalists as bad would be like saying all Catholic priests are child molesters.

Whether in business, government, religion or life in general, people are prone to failure and greed, which eventually leads to an abuse of power.

That being said, assuming that all capitalist are bad and that they are all trying to get to the top solely by taking advantage of others is narrow minded, ignorant and impractical. The economy is not a zero sum game. It can expand and grow as new innovations are introduced to the market which means many people can succeed without others having to fail.

If you think business people and “capitalists” are bad people, then you should be willing to admit that people in general are bad, therefore the people that would teach you to hate a capitalist are also bad.

Isn’t your effort to convince me that capitalism is bad an attempt to capitalize on my ignorance on the true understanding of the word? Isn’t your effort to vilify the producers just an attempt to try and steal something you have not yet earned? What system would you suggest in its place? How should we treat the people and money of a country in order to produce a better outcome than what we are working towards today in America?

Let’s examine a few alternatives:

We already defined capitalism, so let’s look at some of the other “ism’s” that people might look to replace it with.


We could just give everyone the things they need. You know, take from the rich and give to the poor and all that shit. Some might say that we are already living in a form of socialism now as we have welfare systems and social safety nets of which more than 50% of our population participate in. And on paper, it sounds like a great idea to just give people their basic subsistence, but in practice, it never works.

This is not to dispel the idea of a Universal Basic Income, which I actually support at some level but will discuss in a future article. 

In a socialist world, there would be no accumulation of capital (wealth) and equality would abound! But the truth is that socialism has been tried (without success), time and time again, and you cannot guarantee an equal outcome for any large group of the earth’s population at any given time. What you can do is provide equal opportunity at success, which is really why America was so successful as an experiment in the first place.

That being said, I think everyone considers socialism to be a viable solution at one point in their intellectual evolution. Typically before they acquire any fundamental understanding of economics and free markets at scale. Don’t believe me? Just go ask someone on the street to share their hard earned paycheck with you. It likely won’t happen. But ask the same person for advice on how you should spend your money, and they will surely give it.

The truth is that at some point, the producers will quit producing and the entire system will collapse. Without compensation that is commensurate to the efforts, people eventually quit trying to produce and soon there are no goods or services (or anything else for that matter) to redistribute amongst the people.


After socialism comes communism which is really just a natural progression of state controlled means of production and equal distribution of capital. Which never seems to actually get distributed equally funny enough. To each according to their needs, from each according to their abilities. Or some stupid shit like that. What actually ends up happening is that the separation between classes becomes extreme and you eliminate any chance at upward economic mobility.

Eventually you end up with some dictator who thinks they are a god. A self inflated ego who runs around breaking shit like some pissed off toddler who needs a nap. Seriously, Mao, Stalin, Castro, etc. They all ruled over a communist regime which lead to death and despair for millions of people. Yet surprisingly you still see these dumb antifa fucks running around with the hammer and sickle on their flags while criticising the swastika on others. like for some reason the genocide attached to one is acceptable while the other is repugnant. Because obviously, they get to set the rules in every debate.

Communism sucks the life out of its people by propping up a select few who hold all the power. Eventually a communist society devolves into mediocrity and tyranny. Completely divided into have and have not while espousing equality for all. No middle class, no ability to separate yourself or change your station in life.


At least with socialism and communism you get a cursory effort to provide for the people. With Fascism, all you get is fucked. Essentially this is a complete dictatorial control of a country and their entire economic system.

Think Hitler and Mussolini here.

Another key problem with Fascism is the propensity for violence. In a Fascist system, there can be no dissent or second party. Often, Fascist dictators rule through the threat of military violence, and through the subjugation of their people. Yet even in these corrupt systems, enterprising and conniving business owners will find ways to snuggle up to the people of power in order to earn favors and to gain an advantage in the market.

Back to capitalism

There are many more political and economic philosophies for you to explore than the three I listed above. These are just the most commonly referenced and have all been tried in some form or another in the last century. I encourage you to learn more about each of them and understand their history, their implementation in the past, as well as their strengths and weaknesses as political and economic theories. In that effort you will find that none of those systems can hold a candle to capitalism in its power to change the lives of those who play by its rules.

I will once again point out the propensity for human corruption and highlight the fact that regardless of the system, there will likely be iniquity amongst the people. This is primarily due to the fact that we are all different, have different motivations, interests, pursuits, etc. Not because the economic system in which we live is somehow designed to hold us back. 

What I am trying to point out is that capitalism gives the average person (you and I) the best opportunity to carve our own path, to follow our own dreams and be rewarded according to our individual efforts in doing so. It is why America, has surpassed the rest of the world in innovation to this point, and why we were able to come so far in this country while others stagnate for centuries.

America’s perverted versions of progress?

This article is not intended to be a defense of American Capitalism in its current state. I believe we have made –and continue to make– major mistakes in our economic and political behavior as a country. We’ve been printing money like it’s going out of style, and although we since stopped, we’ve yet to feel the effects of that increase in our monetary supply. Furthermore, look at the amount of money we let influence the decision making of the people we send to represent us in Washington.

We have completely bastardized the idea of a free and open market, and to pretend otherwise is intellectually dishonest.

The problem is that America is no longer a purely capitalist society. We have evolved into a corporate oligarchy. A system where corporate money pulls the strings of all of the puppets in Washington. A system where the government itself is just a paid extension of the corporate crony machinery. A structure that has created greatness over the years, but one which is also now killing itself by suffocating the people who support it.

A truly capitalist society would strive to provide a level playing field so that its citizenry can compete freely. It would protect our ability to innovate and take risks on new ventures. Not seek to limit or diminish our potential for success. This is where regulators seek to find balance.

But instead we find our government striving to pick the winners and losers. Making investments or restricting industries in ways where the long term results cannot be predicted. And to write off that lack in leadership as a failure in a basic economic system is why I can plainly call you stupid for not understanding the nuance. At the very least it makes you ignorant and naive to the real problems we face as a society.

So where do we go from here?

Would you rather have a dictator telling you what to do? A monarch? A tyrant? An out of control government? Wait, we might already have that one…

But seriously. Tell me when the other systems have ever worked? I’m waiting…

When has a nation ever given up their individual freedom and ended up better off because of it?

Actually, I could argue that we are moving away from the ideas of free market capitalism and fair competition, and moving towards a systematically skewed system of social equality in name only. Instead of working to protect equal opportunity and a fair shot at the pursuit of happiness, we are working to ensure equal outcomes on paper at the expense of freedom for all in practice.

Furthermore, we have seen time and time again that the road towards socialism, communism, or any economic model other than capitalism for that matter, inevitably lead to mass oppression, a military style police state, and total control of the people and ideas which might otherwise power a free society.

So if you ask me, I’d prefer to put my trust in the people and in the market itself. I would rather see more competition, more innovation, and less government interference. I would like to see less influence from the corporate elite in the lives of the average American, and more opportunity for each of us to pave our own path.

Because I would rather be in control of my own destiny –for better or worse– as opposed to surrendering control to someone who has never met me, yet somehow thinks they can make my decisions better than I can make them for myself.

I would rather be in control of my own fate. To be in control of my ability to not only fail, but to succeed beyond all of my wildest dreams.

And I’ll take that every day as opposed to putting my faith in a state controlled corporate machine.

In closing

America was –and still is– the most amazing place to live in the world. There is a reason people risk their lives trying to get here in order to escape their oppressive regimes.

We are what we are because we’ve allowed people to realize the benefits of risk and reward. Have we messed up along the way? Yes. Have we gotten it mostly right? You better fucking believe it.

And if we find a way to correct that path, as opposed to looking for ways to turn from it, then there is no limit to what we can accomplish. But, if we continue restricting capitalism as a principle and vilifying the producers of this nation, then we will ultimately drag the entire country down with them.

Imagine a teacher telling the “A” students to not try so hard because they were making the “D” students look bad instead of finding ways to bring the “D” students up a level or two. It’s a little simplistic but it is in essence what we are encouraging people to do by pretending that some other system might serve us better.

We must stop telling people that success and profit are evil. But we must also not teach them that profit is everything that matters. We must teach people to be accountable for their thoughts and behaviors. Teach them how to go out into the world and create value for themselves and others. Teach them to reinvest their intellectual capital in themselves in order to advance their own agenda as opposed to walking around blindly advancing someone else’s.

Because I personally hate the thought of being anything other than exceptional. I hate the idea of striving for just good enough.

So, what do you say? How about we go capitalize on everything that makes humanity great and remember that we are after all, just people. Let’s remember that the slave masters keep the slaves uneducated for a reason. And let’s all set the shackles of societal stupidity aside and go build something beautiful.

If you liked this article then please, share it with a friend on Facebook or Twitter and subscribe below.

There is an uneasiness in the air about this place called the HuB. Part of it comes from a school-yard style game of telephone being played throughout the community, where Read more

Learn the basics of dealing with negative online exposure and the basics of online reputation management.  Read more

Keep these 12 tips in mind at your next networking event and see if you don’t start to see a huge increase in overall networking effectiveness.

I attend a lot of networking events as a young entrepreneur.

Most of them are local networking events put on by the chamber of commerce, young professionals organizations, or any other number of community events that I think might be good exposure for me or seedling company.

There is a time and place for the cold call or pressure pitch, but effective networking involves so much more than trying to perfect your sales pitch or make your next sale in a room full of other business people.

Networking is all about building real life relationships and creating credibility in the brand of you! Social networking is good but real world networking is still the real king. At least for a little while longer.

So if you are someone who is always looking to learn more, meet new people and build your personal network, then here are 12 tips that are field tested and battle approved to help you generate more leads at your next networking event.

1. Work the room

I know first hand how cliquey these things can get, so make sure you aren’t just showing up to talk to friends.

You want to make sure you are moving from conversation to conversation and group to group in order to meet as many new people as possible.

I’m not saying you can’t stop and chat with friends, clients, and other familiar faces but you should make sure you introduce yourself to a few new people at each event and make sure to make it around the whole room at least once.

2. Quit selling for a few hours

It wont take long to start being avoided like the plague if you go to networking events with the intent of selling people every time you talk to them.

Make it a point to get to know people and find out about what they do.

Be sure to ask a lot of questions. People always love to talk about themselves. What better way to make a five minute friend then to let them tell you everything about what they do.

3. Set a goal

Before the event you should have an idea in your mind of how many new people you want to talk to but be realistic.

Under no circumstances are you allowed to just walking around, randomly handing cards to everyone you see. Maybe meeting one person is an accomplishment for you. Good. Now you know. Start there and then work your way up as your networking ninja skills start to progress.

4. Talk to a stranger

You can see them wandering around aimlessly at almost every networking event.

Maybe you have even been that awkward person who is trying this networking thing out for the first time yourself.

Don’t be afraid to go up and talk to a random stranger, introduce yourself to someone new or pull someone in to your little group conversation. A friendly gesture like this goes a long way in the new persons eyes and is a signal of leadership to those around you!

5. Sometimes one is plenty

Just because you have a plan to meet a few new people doesn’t mean that if you meet one top level prospect you have to disengage from them in order to continue networking.

You should continue every conversation with anyone you think might be a good contact for you to make, even if it means chatting with them the entire event. You never know when you are going to hit it off with your next new client, referral source or heck, maybe even a new friend.

6. Keep a hit list

You should always have a number of top prospects in mind and know what they look like in case you get a chance to bump in to them at a networking event.

I’m not telling you to stalk anyone, that would be weird. But you won’t find a much better setting to approach someone you are interested in meeting than at an event where people are supposed to meet other people.

It is especially valuable if you have tried to reach out and contact them before. Maybe you have tried the old school unannounced visit at his office, a lead letter, email or a phone call but have not been able to get through. The networking event is a perfect setting to help them put a face to the name and possibly drive them to answer the next time you call.

7. Break up a clique

Don’t be afraid to approach the person you want to introduce yourself to, even if they are in a group talking to other people.

I’m not suggesting you to walk up and interrupt, and you should use your judgement when you think people might be having a private or personal conversation, but it would not be out of line for you to walk up, join their circle, and when appropriate introduce yourself.

8. Don’t be afraid to excuse yourself

If you are talking to someone and you feel the conversation is going nowhere or does not give you the opportunity to interject then don’t hesitate to excuse yourself and move on to the next conversation. After all, not everyone you want to meet, wants to meet you, especially if they are engaged in an intense conversation or chatting up one the people on their own hit list.

There is no reason to stand around in a group of people trying to meet someone if they are intentionally ignoring you or just leaving you out of the conversation. Walk away and meet someone else but don’t give up on them, you might just have to find a better time to approach.

9. To drink or not to drink? 

Me? I like to enjoy a brew almost anywhere, especially after work at a social networking event.

There is nothing wrong with having a couple drinks, but make sure you don’t cross that line. You know the line I am talking about.

Take it from a guy who’s made that mistake for you, try not to make an idiot of yourself in front of all these new people you have been working so hard to meet.

10. Be selective

There is such a thing as a serial networker.

You can easily fill your entire calendar with any number of networking groups, breakfast clubs, networking lunches and after hours events. It’s ok to explore different networking opportunities but focus your attention on the ones that actually give you an opportunity to network with people who can increase your overall influence and social reach.

11. Know the staff

Get to know the people that organize the events. The chamber staff, the committee volunteers, board members or anyone else that helps organize the networking events. They will be invaluable to you if you decide to get more involved or ever have any questions at an event. They are always willing to help and they usually know everyone in the room.

Not to mention it doesn’t hurt that you were nice to them when they are sitting around deciding which pictures make it in their monthly newsletter, magazine or Facebook page!

12. Follow up

Always make sure you follow up with any prospect you meet at a networking event. There’s a reason your contact information is on a business card.

Be sure to send a personalized email to everyone you met at the networking event. I always include a mention of anything we talked about, an invitation to meet for coffee or lunch. I close the email with a link to my website or a recent article from my blog and then take it from there.

Ultimate no-no: 

Under no circumstances does meeting someone at a networking event and getting their email off a business card authorize you to add them to your email lists! 

There is no better way to ensure that your email will be ignored than if you immediately start spamming someone.

Just be yourself, have fun and dont be shy. Think of it like this. You are actually doing someone a favor by approaching them because it saves them the trouble of having to come to you.