I love music.
Queue up the right tune, and no matter what my mood is, it can get better.
I can (and have) spent whole days consumed by the exquisite synergies created by the feature called “Genius Playlists”, thoughtfully included in iTunes. Hours would pass without a single song skipped – just one great jam after another… The Stones, Skynrd, Zeppelin, The Crystal Method, Dire Straights, a little Metallica, some Cannonball Adderley, even a little Fat Boy Slim.
The music ends. The song usually concludes with an elongated sustain on a powerful major chord. Silence, then a different set of rhythms spin up to take its place and the next new song beings.
The metaphor of music is about as close as I can come to explaining why I left StomperNet. It’s not perfect – in fact, re-reading it again, it does moderately poor job explaining the tactical and strategic reasons that influenced my decision to leave.
But I think it might just capture the emotion perfectly.
One Imperfect Hallucination Point of View
The purpose of this blog post is to offer the kind of perspective that the previous public-press-release can’t. Not necessarily the definitive “answer”, but certainly a point of view. The fact is, there is no ONE answer because the reasons for my departure are as varied as they are complex. And I don’t mean to condescend to anyone reading this – because the reasons are not really beyond anyone’s ability to understand, they just may be beyond my ability to articulate.
“Tipping Points” – not just for Cows
By now, our culture’s overachievement complex has ensured that a company’s arrival “at a tipping point” is not only a critical evolution in the course of “business”, it’s also been elevated to one of the few meaningful goals that every Entrepreneur should (apparently) strive for.
I felt like we nearing that point at StomperNet. After slogging through some excruciating moments, growing pains, and a whirlwind of an economy, the amazing people at the company found their stride, their center of gravity, and most importantly, discovered their own personal passions. And while we were not (technically) saving the world, there were days where the attitude and drive of the team sure made it felt like we were.
But as it turns out, the emotional and intellectual fuel that I had to spend on StomperNet was mostly used up getting it to that “Tipping Point”.
I realized this when it was my turn for our daily StomperNet Faculty Office Hours. And it wasn’t a gentle realization either – it was like an airbag deployment.
Just for context, “FOH” is where StomperNet Customers and a Faculty Member gather for a mini-mastermind session on a nifty little conference call service called “Calliflower”. For that one scheduled hour four times a week, members ask questions about their business directly to whatever Faculty Member is leading the call.
I LOVED FOH. I actually looked forward to it. I would volunteer to take extra sessions just to “boogey down” with the members. And if I do say so myself – I was a MACHINE during these calls.
There was something unusual about this particular session – besides it lasting 3 hours and 45 minutes. It wouldn’t become clear until I got the very last question – from a member in Australia who stuck with the call until after 4am his time.
His name is Andrew. He’s probably reading this along with you right now. This is pretty much all his fault.
Destruction from Down Under
“Mate, what makes you so passionate?” Andrew asked. The damn Australians’ always bring the heat.
FOH has but a single rule: Strict Confidentiality. All the members agree not to share any private personal or professional information that’s discussed outside of the call – even URLS or keywords of campaigns that we discuss.
This rule has resulted in an environment where a HIGH degree of candor is expected and shared. While I’m not entirely sure, I think Leslie Rohde may have made a member cry during a site review on a FOH.
So, when asked about Passion, I gave an understandably passionate and completely candid answer.
While I was preaching from that soapbox it was like I was on some sort of perverse autopilot. I realized midway through my 6-point answer that the StomperNet song I had been jammin’ to for the last 3 years had come to an end. If you were on the call, you probably remember the uncomfortable pregnant pause as my reality rebooted.
Like I said, it wasn’t all my fault.
For the 3 hours before Andrew’s question, the topic of this FOH was anything but typical StomperNet fare. SEO, PPC, and ecommerce – the staple subjects that StomperNet is known for just didn’t come up, at all. Link Text, Keyword Density, CTR, Quality Scores, and Page Rank – none of the typical StomperNet disciplines were even mentioned.
Instead, I found myself gleefully thundering out answers to questions about Web Video, Conversion Psychology, Inner Game, Operational Processes, Team Collaboration, Email Copy…
And I loved every minute of it. All 225 of them. This wasn’t just a new song – it was an entirely new playlist.
The Stiff Breeze of Self-Awareness
I’m lucky to call John Reese a Joint Venture Partner. I’m even luckier to call him a friend. And in his capacity as my friend, he gave me some advice that ultimately ended up changing my career.
“Do a happiness audit. Write down a list of all the things that you do during the course of a week and put them in categories according to the level of Joy they cause in your life.”
Happiness Audit = FAIL
One of the reasons I left StomperNet is because it became clear there are topics that I now REALLY want to teach that don’t necessarily align with StomperNet’s core competencies.
Let me be crystal clear – I remain pretty excited about SEO, PPC, and ecommerce – they’ve made me a mighty fine living over the last 9 years or so. And there’s more to teach there because there’s still more to learn.
But my heart and consequently my focus had shifted to other interests. The irony here is what I was doing FOR StomperNet in terms of Web Video, Inner Game, Conversion Psychology, etc. was causing me to become seriously interested (Some might say addicted) to these teaching these new skills. It’s kinda like the first time you do a bump off of the edge of your black card in a Vegas Skyloft. The next thing you know, you’re selling your kids baby clothes on eBay for an 8-Ball and tickets to Ka.
Or… something like that.
Ooooh LOOK! A Kitty!
For example: No – you don’t need to go through my 4-point Transderivational Search Flow Chart to write a killer email subject line. But when you see your open-rates double because you took the time to study Experiential Behavior, it’s kinda cool.
No – you really don’t need to compose custom music just for a FreeLine Marketing Video. But I get such a charge laying down tracks to match the emotional and intellectual message that StomperNet’s videos tried to convey that I spent the extra few hours doing just that.
I LOVE teaching. Yeah, I know I’ll probably regret that little bit of candor sometime in the future when one of my many detractors spews the tired old quote, “Those that can’t do, teach”. But as long as I’m a client at LucasFilm, and a Post Production Supervisor for Haxan Films, I won’t let it bother me all that much. Except on Monday mornings.
And I LOVE multi-media marketing. Using Sound and Picture to teach others and market products is a discipline that seems to be custom-made for my soul.
I know that…
When I sit down in front of my workstation to write that script…
When I fire up Photoshop or Keynote, or PowerPoint to make those slides…
When I start flying through the time-line editing in Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro…
When I start laying down musical tracks in Abelton, or Logic, or Sonic Fire Pro…
…I feel completely empowered.
And empowerment leads to self-actualization, which leads to a mid-life crisis, which leads to Lean-Cuisine for 3 months, which leads to lots of Buy/Sell paperwork and Purchase Agreements, which leads to 2-seater sports cars, which leads to the Bosley Hair Restoration Clinic, which leads to…
It’s different than doing SEO. I’m certainly not the rocket scientist that Dan Thies, Jerry West, or Leslie Rhode is when it comes to understanding the Search Engines, but I was pretty damn effective at the practical application of SEO. But the practical application of SEO feels nothing like the practical application of media marketing, at least to me. THAT feels like eating Zero-Calorie Stromboli.
SEO, for example, requires that you effectively leverage some emergent and undocumented properties of Search Engine Technology and still partly depends on the cooperation of other site owners in order for you to build the most effective page authority.
Video marketing puts you in COMPLETE and UTTER control of the communication where gauging the results are often as easy as just watching what you’ve created (at the least the way that I’ve become accustomed doing it).
Video marketing has also never failed me – EVER. (Wez kewl like dat)
Every time I’ve done it or taught it the outcomes have been extraordinary. And for my part, it was so much fun that it never seemed like work – not even once.
Despite the common and rampant misconceptions, it’s never been about the tools or technology either – it’s been about the message of persuasion – and when you believe in your message (and please understand, I’m more idealistic about what I do now than I was before StomperNet launched), the entire process is as pleasant as breathing in cheese-cake flavored air.
Most people don’t realize that when I made the marketing videos for StomperNet’s original launch that I did it with a 30-day trial of Camtaisa, a 30-day trial of PowerPoint, and a $29 USB headset Microphone. The sales numbers that have been tossed around about that launch seem to shift depending on who is telling the story – but the fact is, that cheap-ass little production was worth over $10,000,000 dollars in sales in the first 12 hours.
Not bad for some trial software and a mic I got from Target.
It is never about the tech – it’s always about the Story. During the StomperNet Launch it was about the drama of making $16,000 a day from Natural SEO, the excitement of using Eye Tracking Heat Maps to show how we consume Search Engine Results Pages, and the hope the viewer got from seeing it happen to the 50 other people that we had mentored before the launch. The StomperNet launch was clearly a team effort, but while it was underway, even then I knew that I was doing at least one of the things that I was supposed to be doing.
Oh Hai! I fix’d Ur Destinee!
Maybe to help put it in perspective – think about this: When you were 7 years old, can you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up? If you now find yourself doing that thing that you wanted to be when you were 7, there’s a moderately high percentage chance that you’re REALLY happy doing it.
When I was 7, I was the second person in line to see Star Wars in Brighton, Michigan (Thanks Dad!).
From that day forward, I wanted to make movies.
When I was 12, my family lived close enough to Marin County, California that I could ninja around LucasFilm and take tours of Industrial Light and Magic.
When I was 19, I transferred to New York University’s TISH School of the Arts – otherwise known as NYU Film.
After hundreds of TV commercials, dozens of Infomercials, hundreds of hours of NFL Films shows, and a handful of Feature Films, I find myself as passionate about telling stories with pictures as I’ve ever been.
The fact is, for 32 years of my life, I’ve known what I’ve wanted to do. And for the 3 years that I was CEO of StomperNet, I tried to incorporate that passion into StomperNet’s core marketing.
The results were great. I’ve been all at once praised for the quality of videos that we produced at StomperNet, and admonished by other Internet Marketers for raising the bar higher than it had ever been previously – making it un-cool to release bad videos anymore. Don’t get me wrong, it still happens, it’s just un-cool.
It was still just A thing that I did. It wasn’t THE thing.
“We Can’t Stop Here Man – This is BAT Country!”
And so for those three years, I got to occasionally exercise my passion for media marketing. But it was just a small part of what I did every day.
And as it turns out, that amount was small enough that it failed my happiness audit.
I’m spending so much time talking about media marketing that it might seem to you the sole reason for my decision to leave StomperNet. It’s not. It was just the most clear and tangible reason. It was the most familiar.
Like I mentioned, that last Faculty Office Hour(s) call turned me on to some other disciplines and skills that I’d been DOING as the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer – I wore a lot of hats at StomperNet) that I hadn’t spent much time teaching.
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn PRO”
For example, I’m a big fan of Repeatable Processes. Once you discover a process for doing something that is 80% effective, it’s time to memorialize it (write it down) and use that process over and over again. That might seem completely obvious, but you’d be stunned at how often that simple concept fails to occur to most Entrepreneurs. It fails to happen even more often.
Mind Maps and I get along swimmingly. I’ve usually got Mind Jet running whenever I’m sitting in front of my computer (I made a mind map of this post before I wrote a single word). There’s something about mind maps that just make sense to me – they work far better than flow-charts or check lists or any other organizational tool that I’ve ever used.
In fact, I used them so much to communicate processes to StomperNet Staff that I used the Poll Function in our Collaboration Tool (Called Jive Small Business) to find out if the staff liked them or not.
80% did. That was enough for me.
I made mind maps for Email Subject Lines, Email Copy, Landing Page Copy, Sales Funnels, Sales Copy, Shopping Carts, Upsells, Video Script Writing, Joint Venture Partnering, Video Sales Letter structuring, Lead Generation…
Boil Boil Toil and Trouble
The point being, I spent a LOT of time creating processes on Topics that had NOTHING to do with what StomperNet was teaching. But it was ABSOLUTELY what StomperNet was DOING. And in order to create a process that works with 80% consistency, you’ve got to spend some time figuring out how to do it the right way.
And I’ve found you don’t spend very much time figuring “stuff” out to the point of committing it into a Mind Map (that your entire company uses) unless you REALLY LIKE DOING IT. Human nature is pretty consistent in that way.
Yeah, I’ve got a Mind Map that I use just about every time I write an Email Subject line. I don’t know what that says about me personally, but I do know that when I was figuring it out, I had a damn good time doing it.
And I like to teach stuff that I have fun doing. Alas, PlayStation Secrets didn’t test well on ClickBank, but if it did, you could bet your wireless rumble controller that I’d be working on the autoresponder series for that mofo as we speak.
Some might say this is about the grass being greener somewhere else. Maybe.
But this wasn’t all about me. There were some external forces to consider…
“In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane”
I’ve been a partner with Brad Fallon since 2004. In that time, I’d guess that we’ve generated something like $40,000,000 of revenue from our joint activities. In order for success of that magnitude to occur, our partnership had to leverage our different, individual strengths – and luckily that occurred pretty naturally.
For example – I’ve always enjoyed hands-on, nuts and bolts operational activities. Chris Watson (Publisher of StomperNet’s NET EFEECT) once said “AJ leads from the front”. I would not presume to argue with Chris, as he is ALSO Australian. I like brainstorming the marketing funnels, the positioning and timing of campaigns, the width and breadth of the offers and the details of the content and products.
And to his credit, Brad let me run with those things pretty much unopposed.
Brad also has his own set of Strengths.
The late and VERY GREAT Ken Giddens once told me that he thought Brad was a “Collector and Connector of Talent”.
There’s no doubt that Brad is that and more. Brad had formed relationships with many of StomperNet’s key faculty members and staff before StomperNet existed. And one of the reasons that StomperNet hit the ground running as fast as it did was simply because Brad had created relationships that could easily be deployed when the time was right.
A telling moment occurred at the first StomperNet Live event. Leslie Rohde took the stage and deftly described the nature of the “Brad and Andy” (which would later come to be known as “BrAndy”) relationship in 2 sentences flat. It went something like this:
“Brad finds the biggest truck he can, takes it to the top of the highest, steepest hill he can see, points the steering wheel at a location at the bottom of the hill, hits the gas and… jumps out. Andy runs to catch the truck, leaps into the drivers seat, guides it around the pot holes and flaming oil drums, fixes the brakes, and pulls it into the driveway at the bottom of the hill. “
In 2006, I think that was about as accurate of a metaphor as anyone could synthesize to describe a truly complex working relationship.
But in 2009, things had changed because people as they inevitably do, change.
Brad is constantly educating himself. He’s a voracious reader and has a nose for identifying concepts that the mainstream will eventually take interest in. He was extolling the virtues of books like Good to Great and Blue Ocean before they hit the bestseller lists. I think that ease with which Brad absorbed High-Level concepts drove his perspective in a real and fundamental way.
In the fall of 2008, he immersed himself in the teachings of Eli Goldratt who is most often recognized as the author of the “Theory of Constraints” and “Critical Chain” business management principals.
For the sake of simplicity, these concepts are far more operational in nature than anything that Brad had studied or adopted before. And as it turns out, he liked it – a lot.
With Brad’s new interest in Operations, and my new interest in NOT operations (heh), the partnership ALSO found itself reaching a tipping point.
This smells like a Billy Joel Song.
Even though Brad left me mostly to myself, I always felt an obligation to respect our original shared vision for StomperNet. Even when I felt like it was time to take the company in a new direction, I still felt compelled to honor Brad’s big picture ideas.
I don’t mind admitting how difficult that was at times. And it wasn’t as if Brad was Monday Morning Quarterbacking my every decision. It was just a personality trait that I had – and will probably carry with me (In some form) in every future partnership that I have.
When Brad told me that he was interested in being the Hands-On Operator, one thing became clear as day – in order for Brad to have the best chances of success, he needed to NOT have a partner that would second guess his every operational decision.
I’d spent my entire time at StomperNet making operational decisions and more, so I was pretty sure that unless I was out of the picture, there would be no way that I could just leave it up to him – I was just too conditioned and used to having my arms wrapped around it all.
I’d be lying if I said that I would have stepped aside if I didn’t have my own powerful new ideas in the context of what I wanted for my new career. But mercifully, our mutual realizations happened nearly simultaneously – probably preventing a power struggle that would have torn StomperNet apart.
What will happen to StomperNet?
No doubt it will change. The personality of a small business, especially one in the Internet Marketing space, can’t HELP but be driven in part by the personality of the owner.
I found it next to impossible to position the company with the slightly aloof, clinical, and somewhat emotionally detached demeanor that most small companies have. I just couldn’t do it. I have, for lack of a better description, a big mouth and idealistic disposition. And during my time as leader, I think (for better and sometimes worse) the company took on parts of that personality.
Brad’s personality will definitely affect the way it communicates with the marketplace, so some sort of change both in service scope and in communication tone is inevitable. But there is no doubt that his personality will be more appealing to certain segments of the market where my bluster and abrasiveness was clearly not (What do you mean drug references and sexual innuendo in email copy are not Best Practices? Lawyer, PuuuLEASE).
That coupled with my belief that StomperNet has evolved from the tumultuous Start-Up it was in 2006, to the “going concern” that it is now put Brad and StomperNet in a position to make some substantial gains in this space.
On a side note, StomperNet’s recent tease about 09.09.09 has already caused a stir. And it should. In July 2008, the foundation of what will occur on that date was the topic of a Strategic Planning Meeting. The goal was to discuss ways of taking StomperNet more mainstream. The first part of that plan was the journal now known as “The Net Effect”. The second and additional parts of that plan will happen at 9am on the 9th of September. Keep an eye out – it should be…interesting.
I Can Haz teh Vakashun?
This is the hardest part to write because I’m just not sure anyone gives a hoot. It feels kinda egotistical to even talk about it because it’s essentially all about me me me. But for the morbidly curious…
Yes, I’ve moved to California. To be more accurate, I’ve moved BACK to California. I was born here, endured high school in the 80’s here, and now I’m back, and deliciously unemployed. But it’s a blue state so I should have no problem getting that 3-bedroom beach townhouse subsidy from the government (Shout out to my Rightwinger buddies there).
I chose San Diego for a LOT of reasons. First and foremost, it’s so damn cheap to live here…
Second, the weather. I’m told that I suffer from a “disorder” called SADD. Seasonal Affective Disorder (for Dummies – I added the last part). Basically, when it gets cold and gloomy, I get depressed and cranky – and fat. So, I’ve THAT going for me.
Of course, this might have just been my mom trying to subtly tell me that I needed to cut out the carbs and get a life – I’ll never know.
Since the average temperature is 72 degrees and it’s sunny 300 days out of the year, I’m hoping that my countenance will begin to look LESS like raw bread dough and a bit more like burnt, leathery middle age.
Third, about a month ago my best friend Robin Cowie moved to Los Angeles. Some folks know that Robin was until recently the President of World Wide Brands. He’s also one of the original producers of The Blair Witch Project.
Robin and I are like brothers. For all intents and purposes, he’s a family member – our families vacation together, do business together, I’ve watched his kids grow up, his sister Colette and I are like peas in a pod, and we’ve been shoulder to shoulder through the best and worst times.
That kind of a relationship is unique and precious enough to never let distance interrupt its good works.
Robin’s move to LA and mine to San Diego also signal a re-dedication to our mutual Film Careers. “Blair Witch 3” you say? That’s a topic for another blog post.
Fourth, they say that your income is the average of the 5 peoples income that you spend the most time with. If that’s the case, I am now in some crazy good company. The greater San Diego area is home to some amazing Internet-Centric Entrepreneurs, and many of them I’m lucky enough to call my friends.
Brainstorming, collaborating, and hell, just hanging out with people like Paul Lemberg, Mike Koenigs, Bob Serling, Jason Moffatt, Matt Trainer, Frank Kern, John Reese (who was very gracious when he discovered I now live 218 yards from him and did not immediately sub-let his place and move to Orange County), Frank Kern, and Trey Smith is not only good for my soul, it’s good for business. It has been, however, a productivity black-hole the last 2 weeks. But I needed the break (Owe…my liver).
Gary Shmerling, the new President of StomperNet, and someone I’m proud to call a mentor once told me “You can achieve anything as long as you don’t care who gets the credit”. I now have lots of people to do that with. It wasn’t me that got us kicked out of Sushi Express after too many Sake Bombs – it was a TEAM effort.
None of us is as smart as ALL of us – that’s why to this day I remain a STRONG advocate of Master Mind Groups in any way shape or form. And while the vocal minority likes to rant and gnash teeth about the insidious “Internet Mafia Illuminati Cell” that’s forming out here in the Peoples Republic of California, I swear to you, unless your idea of La Cosa Nostra includes P’WNING every song in Rock Band 2 on Medium, then the cannolis are safe.
Fifth – Arnold Schwarzenegger. Nough’ said.
Sixth – Medical Marijuana. Now, if I can just get a doctor to say there’s something wrong with me. Oh Wait… That’s right, I’m SADD! YES! (P.S. I’m mostly kidding sorta kinda you’ll never know got any on ya I don’t inhale)
Who is the idiot that invited Reality? And why does he look pissed?
While this next thought doesn’t have anything to do with California, it was a MAJOR factor in my decision to leave StomperNet and how I intend to conduct the remainder of my life. But be warned – it’s FAR more personal.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have a vast array of life experiences – I’ve been dirt broke & I’ve been financially independent. I’ve worked for a slave driver & I’ve been my own boss. I’ve traveled & I’ve holed up in my home, not leaving for weeks because “I could”.
And having sampled all of those experiences, I’ve realized that the single biggest bringer of joy and self-actualization are the relationships that you pursue and make throughout your life.
Most of my closest friends know that Janeen is the Elmer’s glue that keeps me mostly together. And not just personally. She’s been the Director of Events for EVERY StomperLIVE since the very first, my executive assistant, and professional cheerleader. She is every bit as responsible for my success as any ANYTHING else meaningful in my life is. She’s been a devoted employee of StomperNet, and was warmly referred to as “The Den Mother” and “Bringer of Malomar Cookies”- the woman knows snack-food.
And 4 months ago, she was diagnosed with a Tumor near her carotid artery in the left side of neck.
Glory often walks hand in hand with your doom
I’ve gone into shock 3 times in my life. The first was when I was 5 and my forehead rammed into a 4-inch lag bolt when the family van slammed on the breaks and there was no seatbelt law (Happened in California, BTW).
The second was when I was 17 in Camden, New Jersey when an understandable disagreement over a quantity of [REDACTED] lead to a [REDACTED] [REDACTED] pulling out a [REDACTED] and emptying the [REDACTED] in my general direction.
The third and last time I went into shock was when the Ear Nose and Throat specialist described the procedure that would cause yearlong facial paralysis that Janeen would endure post tumor removal as a result of the 5-hour surgery.
Fight or Flight – its part of the post-sympathetic nerve reflex system. As the doctor coldly droned on, casually gesturing towards the MRI films, I wasn’t about to take flight.
But I couldn’t kill him either (Although later I would reconsider that option). So I shut down – tunnel vision, nausea, ringing in the ears, cold sweats, dizziness – everything. Does not compute. Run-Time Error. They were going to peel back 9 inches of her face just 2 millimeters from her main artery. It was horrifying.
But God Bless her, as I lay hyperventilating in the examination room (Boy do I know how to stop a Pre-Op consultation COLD), she smiled broadly at me and said in an English Accent, “Honey, it’s just a flesh wound”.
Janeen and I meet just when I strapped into front car of the multi-year Roller-Coaster ride that was StomperNet. And during that time, she’s NEVER stopped supporting me even when it became clear that I was a bona fide work-a-holic. When we should have been “dating”, I was already working 80 hours a week.
Now, her life was literally at stake. And for the 3 years before, I had taken everything that was magnificent about her for granted.
“Mankind has survived all catastrophes. It will also survive modern medicine.”
My mother is a retired ICU and Trauma Nurse. My sister (Also a RN) runs the Neurological Ward at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia. Fumbling my way through sobs and angry portent, I explained to them Janeen’s prognosis.
“Awww HELL NO” bleats my sister. My mother took a somewhat more direct approach; “Andy, get her the F**K away from that quack”.
And then she got on a plane. 4 hours later, mom was pouring over the digitized MRI’s and screen sharing them on a Skype call with my sister and the head doc in her Neuro Unit.
Cut To: 90 days, 4 MRI’s, 3 Aspirated Biopsies, and 2 Specialists later, an Interventional Radiologist pronounced judgment – and although Janeen might die someday, it won’t be from anything on those MRI’s.
In fact, it wasn’t even a Tumor.
For almost 4 months, I stared down the possibility that I might lose my soul mate.
See how fast NOTHING in this world matters when a loved one is being threatened and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. Trite little phrases like “Every day is a gift” take on profound meaning.
And while I couldn’t change the last 3 years, I will have something to say about the next 30.
Now it’s her turn to get my undivided attention. I’m looking forward to dating the woman that’s been my truest companion, soul mate, and best friend. I wonder if I’m even any good at it? And there’s always the possibility she discovers that she is WAY too good for me.
I’m not saying I’m gonna start watching the Oxygen Network or reading Elle, but I’m going to start manscaping and put deodorant on every single day from this point forward.
It’s the end of the beginning
Professionally, there’s lots left I’d like to do. I’ve been on vacation now for 14 days and I’m pretty much over it.
My Kindle has gotten a work out to be sure, and I’ve been up with the Sun every morning for a 4-mile walk/run/wheeze/collapse. I’ve had my fish taco, enjoyed Mexican food that doesn’t come from a place with the word “bell” in the name and measured the time it takes for the sun to touch the horizon and then fully set (2 Minutes 43 Seconds) on 6 separate occasions.
It’s time to go back to work. Not like before, but its still time.
No, there will be no “AndyNet”.
Although, I was thinking of “CamperNet” – I’d get a group of Entrepreneurs with VW Buses and Birkenstocks, head to Yellowstone, camp out, make Smores’ with Peyote, and talk about Internet Marketing and rainbows all while playing unplugged renditions of “And I Ran” (Flock of Seagulls, 1983) on a slightly out of tune guitar I got the day before from Amazon Prime.
The price point would be 81 beads and a peg-collared polo shirt made of hemp.
Does this come in Pill form?
The first thing I’m going to do is spin up a very exclusive tiny little MasterMind Group. The working Title is “Guru Therapy”, not because the word Guru is cutting edge or anything, but because it best describes what I’d like the group composition to be – Entrepreneurs who are in the process of carving out Authority Status in their niche.
I’d like to advise, consult, collaborate and bake Smores with people who are experiencing the same sort of challenges that I have over the last 9 years of my own Entrepreneurialship (Made up a new word there…)
One thing I’ve learned from working so closely with Small Business Owners is that missing the Big Picture is FAR too easy when your head’s down working IN your own business. I’ve watched little companies literally multiply their top-line from making little changes in ops and perspective all based on 10-minute conversations I’ve had with them. This is certainly not a boast, just first-hand experience. And it’s not because I have a wand to wave, or Magic 8-ball to consult – it’s because I’ve been there, done that, and gotten the Press Release. :)
So, the first Guru Therapy group is gonna be a tiny little High-Touch Brain Trust of already successful folks who need a little help and group-support to find the OverDrive gear in their business. Daily reading of FailBlog.org will be required.
A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.
My pet project, however, will be quite a bit larger in scope. For the last 15 years of my life, I’ve been producing media professionally, and sometimes just for grins. It’s time to formalize that experience into a full-blow training course for Entrepreneurs.
Video on the web is here. It isn’t going anywhere, and for the very short future (we’re talking months, not years) it’s still a wee bit of a novelty for some markets. But if you don’t believe that in the span of something as short as a hockey season that video is going to become a dominant force for all things sales and marketing online, then go ahead and keep rearranging those deck chairs on that ocean liner where you thought you saw Leonardo and Kate Winslet snogging.
For me, making video is about as easy as breathing. And I know I can help other folks realize the unmatched persuasive power that a well-crafted video marketing campaign can bring to their business. After all, StomperNet used Video Marketing to sell Video Training. And that turned out pretty cool, so…
This course has been welling up inside of me for a couple years. It’s time to let it out and see what happens. I was using the working title of “Andy Jenkins Definitive Web Video Production Master Course”(I probably came up with that powerhouse of a title immediately after looking at quarterly tax returns), but once again, a very serious mastermind meeting set me straight. On the advice of the non-existent Internet Mafia Illuminati Cell of San Diego, I think I’ll call it “Video [REDACTED]”.
Thank You Sake Bombs.
“For fear of taking risks in life I’ve missed a lot of fun. Now the only things that I regret are things I have not done.”
Use that statement with caution.
For example, you don’t want to be the only person you know with a favorite bar in Disneyworld.
You don’t want to wake up late Sunday morning after closing the club at Mass Control Live and ask your wingman “Why did I make a hit-list last night containing only McDonalds” and have him say “You tried to order a Margarita McFlurry and when they said they didn’t make those you called 911”.
And don’t tell the kids you’re baby-sitting that candy canes are bones of reject elves.
Change is good. Comfort zones are, well, comfortable – but not always productive. No matter what happens next, I walk away from StomperNet proud of what I had a hand in creating, and proud of the people who Henry the Fifth’d themselves to the benefit of it’s customers each and every day.
Hindsight is always viewed through 20/20 glasses. Putting them on takes some courage, but it’s ALWAYS worth doing. Looking back, the list of things I would have done differently is probably much longer and more scrambled than this already rambling post. But I take comfort in the fact that I’m not any dumber than I was when the fellowship began.
I spent a few minutes thinking about a good movie quote to wrap this spaghetti up. I figured that if you read this far, you deserve a decent payoff. I’m not sure if you should read anything into it, but…
…it makes me smile.
“I find I am so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams…
The Shawshank Redemption
I’ll be seeing ya around.
P.S. My next post will be called “Upsells – The Insidious Conspiracy of Lego Land and Sea World”. I just can’t help myself.
P.P.S. Please – do leave a comment or note.