How do we restore trust in not only the media, but in the process of exchanging reliable information on a mass scale without perverting the message or quality of content along the way?
Explore a photo gallery of a recent photo shoot with Little Skull Photography here in Sarasota themed around the idea of censorship and blind faith.
We survived Irma. And by that I mean Mother Nature took it easy on us. Here is a short video we made to remember the experience.
Shoutout to Chris Brown for letting me crash his bunker.
- Video excerpt from the Hobbit
- Video excerpt from Evan Almighty
- Song is the instrumental version of G-eazy Some Kind of Drug.
New media is driving a fundamental shift in how we communicate at scale, and we will soon have to make a choice about how to move forward as a society.
A introspective post about people who walk around looking at the world through their own narrow ideological blinders.
Learn everything you need to know about where we have been and where we are headed here at Raymmar.com.
An in depth article that explains how a single blog post changed my life, and why you should start building your own personal online brand.
Explore my videos and get an inside look at our software startups, advice for how to build your own digital business, and random rants about life.
Is America about to get the president it deserves?
After blowing the first Unhireable Podcast, I’ve decided to release the individual segments as separate videos.
This first one is a deep dive into what people think it means to be Unhireable.
To get a diverse range of opinions, we went out to the Mall at UTC (and promptly got kicked out), stopped by the HuB to ask some entrepreneurs, sat down with the founder of Sarasota Day, and even interviewed a few randoms out on the street. All with the specific intent of finding out what people think it meant to be unhireable.
It’s part of a long term project we are working on here at Raymmar.com, and is an idea we will be exploring further in our future videos.
Were you surprised by any of the answers?
What do you think it means to be Unhireable?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Watch a passionate presentation that outlines the 5 steps to every sale and explains how social sales will evolve over the next decade.
I just talked to the boss. He said your raise is effective just as soon as you are.
This article was featured on the Medium home page!
When I was 19, a boy drowned at the pool where I worked. I was the first responder. This is the story of that day as I remember it.
Dedicated to Murphy Shurig. Aug 4, 2002
The screams were coming from a group of boys who moments ago were playing and throwing a ball back and forth. They were regulars at the pool but I didn’t know any of them well.
This was my first summer at this particular pool, so I hadn’t gotten to know all of the pool rats yet. I did know that they were all above average swimmers though. They were also just on the edge of my zone, (the part of the pool a lifeguard is responsible for watching). It was right where my zone and the other life guard’s zone intersected.
I thought they might be trying to get my attention as part of a game they were playing, something that is not all that uncommon. But when I looked over, I saw them holding up one of their friends. They were lifting him to the edge of the pool.
I looked over in time to see them setting him up on the edge and let him go. Just in time to watch his pale body fall lifeless to the deck.
And then time stopped…
THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!!
In what seemed like slow motion, I jumped from my platform on the guard chair down to the ground. I’m not sure why, but as I ran over to where the boy was laying, I pulled the whistle and lanyard from around my neck and flung it away.
When I got to where they had dropped his body I saw my worst nightmare laying on the ground in front of me. His skin tone was not natural. Not blue like they show in the movies, but not like any color skin I had ever seen before.
I checked for a pulse. It was there, but it was weak. The manager on duty must have noticed that something was going on because she started to walk over.
I screamed at someone nearby to call 911, and ran to the guard shack for gloves and a mask. Thing I should have had on me at the time.
When I got back, the manager had starting rescue breathing. She must not have had the airway opened properly because that air went right into his stomach and not his lungs.
How do I know? Because vomit, that’s how. Lot’s of it. Right into her mouth!
Watching the kid throw up should have thrilled me, except this was not voluntarily evacuation. The air she was breathing into his stomach just needed to escape… along with whatever he had eaten for lunch.
I straddled his lifeless body and started thrusting above his pelvis and just below the belly button. Pelvic thrusts to make sure the airway was clear and to help purge the rest of whatever was left in his stomach so we could try the breaths again.
She cleared his mouth with her finger, put the mask over his mouth and tried to give him another breath. He threw up again but this time was different. This was a mild mix of foamy whiteness and whatever else was left in him from the previous purge.
I look to my right, towards the two other pools. The rest of the lifeguards are still sitting in their chairs. People swimming as if nothing was happening. I noticed that the lifeguard who had her back to me was turned around to see what was going on. I could tell she was crying. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to sit there and not be able to react.
My first thought was anger. “Why aren’t you helping?” And then I realized it was actually a good thing. It was a big facility and if they had cleared the pools, a huge crowd would be gathering around us.
Even then, a crowd was forming. Small at first, but the people who had cleared the slide pool were starting to notice that something was seriously wrong.
I continue scanning the scene. It was like time was frozen but I wasn’t.
I locked eyes with a mom who was standing there with her two kids. One on either side of her, under each arm.
“Get them out of here!” I shouted in her direction.
Where is the other lifeguard that was watching the slide pool with me? Shouldn’t she be handling crowd control? Did anyone call the paramedics? Breathe kid, Please just take a breath on your own! Dozens of thoughts were shooting through my head all at once.
I finally see the other guard. She’s standing over by the front gate, probably waiting for the paramedics. She was also crying.
I look back down, another breath, still nothing. I check for a pulse again. It’s there, but barely. No chest compressions, yet.
It get’s a little fuzzy from there, but those few minutes felt like forever. The next thing I know the paramedics were there and it was all I could do to get away from the seemingly lifeless body.
I took a step back and fell to my knees. How could this be happening to me?
I was prepared for this. I was the guard who was always stressing the importance of training. I was the guard who suggested that we start doing weekly in-service trainings, but “that would not be necessary at this pool!” is what I was told it.
“We’ve never had a drowning or major accident at this pool. There is no need for that kind of training.”
That’s what the manager told me earlier that summer. The same one who had just been mouth-to-mouth with a lifeless 13 year old boy.
What a shitty time to be thinking I told you so!
That was just a few days before another ominous conversation I had at the beginning of that summer. A conversation in which I told my girlfriend at the time (a lifeguard at the same facility) that “Someone is going to die at this pool.”
I wasn’t specifically saying that someone would die that summer, but I sure as shit said it, and I hate that about myself. I hate that I saw it coming and still did nothing.
I saw that the training was lax and that to most of the seasonal staff, life guarding was about getting a great tan and hanging at the pool all summer. They were all strong swimmers, and the pool was in a wealthy neighborhood. After all, things like that aren’t supposed to happen here.
At least that is what they thought, before that day.
Could I have done more?
I hated myself for not being more vocal. For not being more adamant when I saw someone sitting in their chair sideways, or ignoring the pool. I should have spoken up when I saw someone using the rescue tube as a pillow, or reclining in their chair for a better tanning position. But I was the new guy. What was I gonna to do?
It wasn’t like I spent the summer before that managing a another local pool, and the summer before that working the wave pool at a large water park. I quit counting after 100 rescues that summer. But not at this pool.
There we were, half way through the summer, and I hadn’t made a single rescue. Maybe they were right. Maybe nothing bad was ever going to happen here.
So I started to relax. I started to become complaisant. Mostly I just wanted to fit in. And after a few times of being called “Pool Nazi,” I decided to roll with the cool kids. I decided to set my intuition aside and do things their way. I decided to drop my guard.
But I should have known better. Because I was also the guy who had been through everything you could ever go through as a lifeguard. I was the guy who knew, that at any moment, something could go wrong. The one who should have been prepared. But there I was. The first responder, and unprepared. I was the guy who failed. And it might have cost the kid his life.
To make things worse…
The police wanted to talk to us right away. They took me and the other guard, the one who had run to the front gate to wait for the ambulance, and put us in the back of a cop car to fill out the required reports. A cop car that just so happened to be sitting at the base of the steps that lead to the entrance of the pool.
It left us sitting so that everyone leaving the pool, as it was being cleared, would have to walk by and see us sitting in the back of that car. I felt like a criminal. I couldn’t stop shaking. No tears though, those would come later.
After I was done with the police I went into the office where some of the pool staff and management was talking. I remember trying to call my parents to come pick me up, driving was out of the question. My dad answered the phone.
Before I could get a single word out, I started bawling. Uncontrollable tears as the reality of the event began to set in. One of the managers, or maybe one of the board members (I can’t really remember) took the phone from me to explain the situation and have them come pick me up. I was 19 years old.
A piece of me died that day, even though the kid lived. But just barely. He would never regain consciousness.
It would take me more than a decade to realize how this event had changed my entire trajectory. To realize that it sent me on a spiral of self destruction that would eventually lead me to drop out of college, move across state lines and bury myself in whatever distraction I could find.
I spent a lot of time at his bedside the next few days, until the family decided to take him off of life support. His pain was over. But mine was just beginning.
A final round of tests during an autopsy revealed that he suffered from some sort of heart condition. It just happened to hit him while he was under water. They said that the same thing might have happened to him if he was playing at a baseball diamond, or in his back yard.
But he wasn’t at a baseball diamond. He wasn’t playing in his back yard, was he? He was at a pool. He was at my pool. And I was the guy. I could have saved him!
I was left to replay the events of that day in my head over and over. Wondering what I could have done differently. Knowing that none of those thoughts were productive but allowing them to eat at me nonetheless.
The local fire station set up some counseling for us, but it wasn’t at all helpful. How was an hour of talking going to change anything? The memory would be forever engrained in the deepest creases of my mind.
I would later meet with the boy’s parents and deliver a letter I had written to them. Two letters actually.
One was a firsthand account of the events of that day (in a sealed envelope in case they didn’t want to read it) and the other was a letter offering myself to them, in whatever way they might have me.
They never blamed me for the events of that day, but they didn’t have to. My worst fear had come true, and I blamed myself.
A metaphorical post intended to inspire the creator in all of us.
Update: A year later, Avalos is facing another Murder charge for attempting to kill an inmate in prison.
Imagine you are at a dinner party. You are at your friends house but you only know a few of the more than thirty people that fill the room. Look to your right, now to your left. Three days from now, one of these faces is going to kill three people. Who will it be? Could it be you? Could it be me?
It’s like a scene out of a movie, something you’d never expect to experience in real life. You never image you’ll get a call telling you to turn on the news because one of the guys you were at dinner with a few nights before is accused of going on a murderous rampage.
It is not something you think about while sitting at dinner with friends and great food enjoying the camaraderie of a family birthday celebration. But this particular party would quickly be overshadowed by the actions of one young man.
He left his 6 children without a mother, 2 more wthout a father, a church without their pastor, friends without friends and family without family. And after confessing, he will probably spend the rest of his life behind bars.
At one point, he was trying to convince me that Mexican hip hop was better than American hip hop, but that argument was settled quickly as the crowd decided that the music coming from another friends phone was more worthy of being plugged into the small set of speakers that were sitting on the countertop in front of him.
He had a tattoo on his neck, coming up from underneath his shirt, something that looked like a cross with a name on it, but hey, lots of people have tattoos.
I never got a warm and fuzzy feeling while talking to Andres but I didn’t get a bad vibe from him either. He was just another guy in the room.
I could tell he was street savvy because of the way he talked and carried himself but I have a varied past myself so I try not to judge anyone based on first appearance.
Most of the nights conversations were centered around the home made Thai food that was being prepared in the kitchen and outside on the grill. It was delicious and there seemed to be so much love in the room.
I guess that’s what makes this all so hard to take in, what makes it all so difficult to comprehend. How can the same guy, who sat there talking to me about lettuce wraps and bad beer, be the same guy who just ripped the lives of three families to shreds?
I don’t know the guy other than the few hours we spent hanging out that night so I am not going to assume to know what was going through his head, but if you ask me it was not murder. Not that night, not in that moment.
So what causes a person to snap like that? What causes someone to gun down three people in cold blood? Could anyone else in that room have snapped like he did or was it his destiny to be a murderer? Was there something in the stars that said it was his time to go, or was this simply the hand of someone’s god?
Does that mean that I am capable of murder? Does this mean that we are all one missed step away from fatally falling apart?
How is it that we can seem so normal on the surface but be falling apart inside? Why are humans so good at hiding their pain? How come we wait until it’s too late before we let someone know that we are about to blow?
There have been no reports on a motive, but what motive can there be for a crime so heinous other than self hate? And if you have so much hate that you are willing to kill, then why not kill yourself instead? Why not end your own pain as opposed to spreading it like a plague by killing those you love?
I’m not one to advocate for suicide, but if it means saving the lives of innocent people, at the expense of assholes who can’t express anger, other than through the barrel of a gun, then I say go ahead and blow your fucking brains out.
Because no one’s life should ever be cut short by the actions of another man. That’s the one gift that no one should ever want to give. We have no ability to create life and should therefore think twice about taking it. Shit, you should think three, four, five or even more times about doing something so stupid. And once you think you’ve thought it through, then write about it and think about it some more. Tell a friend about it. Do something to get it out in the open and please, give someone a chance to stop you before it’s too late.
You might just learn to understand and love the dark parts of your soul. And you might just save someone’s life in the process. Maybe even your own!
By the way, this is a real story, and you can help support the families of those involved by clicking the link below and donating to their GoFundMe campaign.
A short audio poem that will surely move your soul.
The history of Raymmar.com and why I am uniquely qualified to help you grow your online presence.
Let me save you some time here.
There is no secret to building a brand online.
- It takes time and a lot of great content.
- It takes a good story and a willingness to open up and make yourself and yes, your product vulnerable to the world.
- It means sharing the story of why you do the things you do as opposed to trying to trick people into helping you do them.
Once you break that barrier, you can begin to build trust with your audience and turn your online presence into a revenue generating machine that can help you spread your message across the world.
If you are interested in learning more about how to do just that, click here and let’s talk about how I can help you optimize and grow your online business.
Raymmar.com started out as just a simple online portfolio…
I was just starting out as a marketing consultant and trying to build a name for myself online. I bought a cheap hosting plan on GoDaddy, installed WordPress and bought my first theme. I had no development skills, and zero dollars to spend on any of it, but I was going to take over the world.
The site was pretty gross. At the time I thought it looked good, but a few friends told me they wouldn’t come back until I changed how it looked.
I was bombing my Facebook feed with requests for people to “Like” my page and to “check out my new website”. That is, until a friend sent me an article from The Oatmeal about how to get more Facebook likes.
To make a long story short, the article said to quit begging friends for Facebook likes and start creating content that they would actually like.
I had been so focused on trying to get people to my website, that I forgot to give them a reason to come in the first place. There was no reason for them to stay when they got there or come back if they did decide to visit. And even the few people who came had little to see, and even less that was worth sharing.
I set out to find a better theme, and then learn as much about blogging, search engine optimization and inbound marketing as I could. I wanted to learn everything I could about how the internet worked and I still had quite a few things to learn about writing words that people would actually want to read.
Starting to tell a story
I started trying to express more of my personality online. I started playing around with online memes and Infographics. I began writing more in depth articles (like this one about email marketing) and tried to understand the best marketing practices by actually practicing them.
I started writing articles about the town I lived in and wrote a couple stories about the incubator I was working in at the time. I was testing my writing abilities and trying to find ways to use local events to boost views and engagement.
I started sharing part of my personal struggle but not in an attempt to gain sympathy or pity from my audience. I did it in an attempt to inspire them. To show that determination, hard work and the willingness to fail fast are things anyone can learn and use to accomplish their goals in life.
I was able to convert my story into something people cared about. Something someone looking to find a place online would do well to learn quickly. My audience finally had a reason to come back. Now they were rooting for me.
But how to get to that next level? How would I shake things up or separate myself from the millions of other online bloggers?
“I know, I’ll start making videos!”
Said the guy who had never shot, or edited a video in his life.
My first video did pretty well online and I was happy with the couple thousand views it got but I wasn’t prepared for what would happen when I released my next video.
I published the rant on a Friday afternoon. By midnight it had 5,000 views.
Friends immediately started messaging me, telling me that I was crazy. Even some of my fellow content creators told me I had just ruined my career. They said I was stupid to put something like that out to the world. That even though I made good points, I had also made a big mistake.
The next day that video did more than 80,000 views. That Sunday it did 221,505 page views and another 77,007 the day after that. Then Facebook shut down the link. This was the first, but not the last time, that Facebook throttled my content.
Not only did they block the post, but since my commenting system was connected to Facebook at the time, I lost the ability for people to comment on the post as well as losing the 900+ comments that had already been made.
Although the video got blocked from Facebook, I still got a big viral bump from it and it helped me build an early subscriber base. I now had a small group of people to update with new posts, and I had an article that was giving me some credibility with Google.
Over the next few months I kept writing and made a few more videos. Nothing took off like that first video, but I wasn’t worried. I now understood that the path to building a strong online presence would be slow and steady. It would be about testing and trying, tweaking and breaking, constantly evolving until the site gets to the point where people can’t help but spend time interacting with it.
In my mind, the goal was to build a library of evergreen content. I was telling beautiful stories and stocking the digital shelves of my website with arrangements of words that people liked to read. Available to anyone, at any time. This is the real key. Sticking with it. Sure the viral posts help but those will come eventually if you just focus on telling great stories and putting your best work out to the world.
Over the next few months, I set out to refine the website and prepare it for the next traffic explosion. In the process I connected with a group of people that asked me to come out to CPAC with them and be their on-air personality on Radio Row
Keep in mind, I have no formal training as a journalist, reporter or anything that even resembles either of those things. What about my radio experience? That hadn’t happened yet so I was a total rookie! But what kind of blogger would turn down an opportunity for that kind of exposure on a national level?
While preparing to head out for CPAC, I wrote and published an article titled 7 Reasons You’ll Never Do Anything Amazing With Your Life. It was not until a couple of weeks later when I looked at my web stats and saw that I was getting a thousand views a day, two thousand, three thousand and then one day 26,000 page views. Turns out that the article was going viral on Medium.
That month (February 2014) we did 1 million views on Medium alone and another 1.5 million in the following four months. We still do 20-50K views a month on Medium and while that traffic might not be directly tracked on my site, the hundreds of thousands of people who did come to my site from Medium were already highly engaged with my work. This means they subscribe at a much higher rate which is definitely one of the perks of being a top publisher on Medium.
There have been other articles that performed well online. Namely this one, and this one. The exposure I got from these articles lead to being asked to become a contributor at the Huffington Post, Elite Daily, and a number of other notable online publications. All of which have gone a long way towards helping me gain credibility as a writer, but for me, the focus has always been on turning my website into the center of operations. The rest of these things are just part of the distribution mechanism but any aspiring web mogul would do well to make sure their website is the hub for all of their online interactions.
All of this exposure was giving the site a boost in search rankings which is one of the things that young blogs can struggle with. This past July, the website was showing up in Google search results hundreds of thousands of times per day. It seemed that we were not only gaining credibility with readers but with the search engines as well. And remember, this is all organic. There is no paid advertising behind any of this growth at all.
All in all, over the last year (not including the Medium traffic) we did just under a million views on my personal website and gained more than 10,000 email subscribers. Sure the web traffic is still erratic and I am sure it will continue to be that way as it grows, but I drive regular engagement, have a steady base of repeat visitors and am regularly getting leads from all around the internet. All of which has allowed me to work from home and be my own boss.
Making a confession
I do not have magical marketing powers or any secret tricks to teach you about how to be a better blogger. I can only tell you that the moment I started sharing bits of my personal story with the world is the moment that the world started actually listening.
There is so much noise online and so many people are always trying to sell you something, that most people enjoy it when someone is honest and open with them. They appreciate it when you share your goals and struggles with them, and I think that businesses can learn a lesson from all of this as well.
I think that businesses can learn a little something about lowering their shields, and letting their customers see the people that actually make them a great company.
Tell me the story of the immigrant CEO or the mom who created the product to help her kids. Tell me why you make the product, not why you think I should buy it. Let’s start making better products so that we can restore some level of faith in a sales process that has become completely perverted over time.
These last few years have been an interesting journey. They have taught me how to be a one man media mogul and showed me how to broadcast my message to the world. My web presence is now bigger than most of the media companies in my local market and I will continue to hone these skills until I pass each of them up alltogether. I will continue to publish high quality content and keep helping creative entrepreneurs and small businesses do the same thing along the way.
So if you have a business, product, or website that you are looking to build an online presence for, then I’d love to hear from you. Whether we do business or not, I love to connect with other people who are doing cool things online.
Anyway. Hopefully you have enjoyed this story and maybe you’ll even come back for another one sometime soon.