February 16, 2005

Podcasting Goldmine

If you haven’t heard of podcasting yet, you’re going to very shortly. It’s at the same stage in popularity blogs were about 2 years ago.

It’s essentially a mini-broadcast, but not live. Anyone with something to say can make a recording of themselves saying it and post it on their blog or site and direct an RSS feed to it and their subscribers can pick up the latest podcast when it’s ready and posted.

Incidently, you’ll see a link for an MP3 file at the end of this written post. It’s my first podcast with me essentially saying the same thing that’s in this post. I guess it would be considered a “simulpodcast.” (Maybe I’ll be famous one day for coining that term first. Hehe!)

Anyway, just as the blog brought citizen journalists access to the common folk, podcasts will give the citizen broadcaster direct access to the common folk.

Adam Curry, one of the original “VJs” back when MTV used to actually play videos, is widely considered to be one of the first major podcasters with his daily podcast called The Daily Source Code. His listening audience is growing by leaps and bounds and is reported to be more than 50,000 listeners a day.

Think of what opportunities await those creative enough to use this medium to its fullest. I would venture to guess that about .5% of the American population even knows what a podcast is right now. But how many know what a radio is? It’s just a matter of time before the masses start finding podcasts and content they enjoy more than the BANALITY that is local radio. No restrictions on what you can say.. imagine a million Howard Sterns.

What this means is, the content that does stick out has to be even better and more creative than the most creative heads in radio right now. (Not saying much.) I can’t wait to hear what wonderous things the regular joe blow citizen comes up with for us to listen to every day.

So, how to get started in this. This is a perfect time to get a foot in the door without alot of noise to get in the way. Any podcast these days will get listened to because there are just so few of them.

Eventually newspapers and websites will start putting their content into podcasts for people to listen to on the way to work. It’s a perfect time saver. It’d be cool to be able to “listen” to all the blogs that you read in the morning, instead of actually reading them. (I know… many of them have too many links, but the ones that have just content, those are the ones I’m talking about.)

But while we wait for the newspapers to start doing this, what’s to stop some enterprising soul with a lot of time on his/her hands to sit down and read the want ads out of their local paper and categorize them into separate MP3 files according to the category they are listed in the paper and then offer the recording to job seekers. It’d be way cool to be able to listen to the job classifieds in your area on your car stereo on the way to work instead of sloshing through them in the paper.

How about reading all the different business opportunity ads like out of the major local newspapers and USA Today and offering a butt load of them in a podcast for people like me who would love to sit and listen to hundreds of bus opp classified ads.

You could have an entire site dedicated to delivering MP3 podcast files, listed by category and city for people to listen to on their MP3 players. If you’re looking for furniture, download the “Furniture for Sale” file for your city. Looking for a Lexus LS400? Download the “Luxury Cars for Sale” podcast file for your city.

At first the files could be free and you can just insert, vocally, an ad or two of your own to pay for the service. But then once people get used to using them and start relying on them, you could start charging .25 cents per file… or whatever.

The opportunities in podcasting are incredible. My mind just swims with ideas in this area. I have to consciously stop thinking about it at certain times because it monopolizes my thoughts if I get started on it.

Check out ipodder to read more about this amazing new movement. Get your creative juices flowing and have fun.

Podcast - Podcasting Goldmine

February 14, 2005

Kicking the Niche

I love what Salesprocessdiva had to say about specializing or as she says it, “being first in your category.”

Be the first in your category. If you can’t be first, create a new subcategory in which you can be first. For example, who was the first person to fly across the Atlantic Ocean? Lindbergh, of course. Who was the second? No one knows, even though Number 2 presumably flew faster and more efficiently. Who was the third? Amelia Earhart. How is it we all know the third person and not the second? Earhart created her own niche in which she was first the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. Here’s another example. For years the market was full of cold medicines, many of which have since faded beyond memory. But we all know Nyquil the first “nighttime” cold medicine. Distinguish your product or service to the point where it has no competition.
[Via Business-Opportunities.biz]

I love this concept. It reinforces many of my own ideas that focus on being very specialized. For example, if you sell shoes online, don’t try to be the number one seller of shoes online. There are multi-billion dollar companies that are always going to beat you in that game.

Instead, be the number one seller of men’s size 13 by selling ONLY size 13. Or ladies size 6… whatever. I know most people’s immediate reaction to that suggestion is, “No way.. you’re missing out on 98% of the public.” True, but look at the pluses. You are narrowing your market so you know EXACTLY who your market is. Before, your market was mankind. Try doing an effective marketing campaign to “mankind.” But if you just sell men’s size 13 shoes, it’s much easier to reach your target audience. Heck, you could walk in the mall and just look at people’s feet and give a card to each person you see that appears to be about a size 13. I’m assuming that since you specialize on that size, you’ll probably get pretty good at spotting a size 13.

There are more benefits to going after such a specialized market. Once someone in your market knows about you, they are infinitely more jazzed about your store or website. Being someone who is a size 13, I know how hard it is to find good shoes in that size. If I came across a site that sold only size 13, I’d flip and never buy from another shoe store again, for the rest of my life. You are creating a social affinity group, just by selling one shoe size. As a size 13 person, it would feel pretty cool to shop at a site that knows me and can identify with me.

Another benefit is being able to undercut your competition. Think about it. First, your expenses would be WAY lower than a typical shoe seller because you don’t have to stock 10 sizes for one model shoe. So, you need a 10th of the space (or thereabouts) of what a traditional shoe seller needs and at the same time, offer a much bigger selection.

So instead of beating your head against the wall, trying to outperform, out market, out price the big shoe sellers, take the easier road while at the same time expanding your business. I’d rather have 10% of the size 13 shoe market than .00005 percent of the total shoe market. (You get what I’m saying… the numbers are just examples.)

So, kick the niche. The tighter the niche, the more likely you are to succeed on the internet as a small business.

February 11, 2005

Hu’s the Leader of China

I just got this via email. One of those things that sweep around the globe. But I thought it was so funny, I’m going to post it here for posterity.

It’s a take off from the “Who’s on First” bit by Abbott and Costello. If you haven’t heard that bit from them, you are missing one of the classic comedic routines of all time. It will have you on the floor, laughing

Anyway, here’s the modern version:

George: Condi! Nice to see you. What’s happening?
Condi: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China.
George: Great. Lay it on me.
Condi: Hu is the new leader of China.
George: That’s what I want to know.
Condi: That’s what I’m telling you.
George: That’s what I’m asking you. Who is the new leader of China?
Condi: Yes.
George: I mean the fellow’s name.
Condi: Hu.
George: The guy in China.
Condi: Hu.
George: The new leader of China.
Condi: Hu.
George: The main man in China!
Condi: Hu is leading China.
George: Now whaddya’ asking me for?
Condi: I’m telling you, Hu is leading China.
George: Well, I’m asking you. Who is leading China?
Condi: That’s the man’s name.
George: That’s who’s name?
Condi: Yes.
George: Will you, or will you not, tell me the name of the new leader of China?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he’s dead in the Middle East..
Condi: That’s correct.
George: Then who is in China?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir is in China?
Condi: No, sir.
George: Then who is?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir?
Condi: No, sir.
George: Look Condi. I need to know the name of the new leader of China. Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone.
Condi: Kofi?
George: No, thanks.
Condi: You want Kofi?
George: No.
Condi: You don’t want Kofi.
George: No. But now that you mention it, I could use a glass of milk. And then get me the U.N.
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N.
Condi: Kofi?
George: Milk! Will you please make the call?
Condi: And call who?
George: Who is the guy at the U.N?
Condi: Hu is the guy in China.
George: Will you stay out of China?!
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: And stay out of the Middle East! Just get me the guy at the U.N.
Condi: Kofi.
George: All right! With cream and two sugars. Now get on the phone!!!

February 6, 2005

Happy Birthday!

One of the most amazing men in American history would have been 94 today. Ronald Reagan was the single most influential and inspiring person to me in my 41 years on this plant. Bar none. I’ve missed him dearly. If it’s possible to love someone you’ve never met, it would describe my feelings for him.

February 1, 2005

Teach Ebay

In case you haven’t heard, ebay has upped their commissions to their affiliates. You earn commissions for signing people up as ebay members and generating bids on items up for auction. The low figure used to be $15 per sign up. Now it’s $20. The per bid commission has gone up as well.

Some ebay affiliates make over $1 million a month. That’s not a typo. Yikes!

So I got to thinking. The sign up commission starts at $20 per sign up. Why not rent out your local library’s meeting room, rent some old laptops for the day, set them up and put an ad in the paper advertising a free “Ebay Class” to all people who have never used Ebay before. Specify in your ad that if they’ve never signed up for ebay, the class is free. If they’ve already signed up and they just want to know more about how to use ebay, the class will be $25. (You can still get bid commissions off these attendees.)

If you get enough people to sign up consistently, you can buy your own used laptops (pretty cheap) and take your gig on the road. If you live in a big enough area, you could feasibly have a class every week. If you can get 50 people per class, 4 times a month, that’s 250 x $20. If you eventually own your own laptops, and you use the library which is really cheap, you can clear $5000 a month in sign up commissions. Of course, you’ll have them bid on something they want to buy, which will give you some more commissions. If you put together an ebay guide book of some sort or sell someone elses’ (through your Amazon.com affiliate account of course) that ups your take even more.

If you can have more than 1 going a week, that’s even better. Try to organize 1 a day. Perhaps in different parts of town or your state… wherever the numbers can support that many. Just hire someone to do the classes and you can just do the coordination part. Because if you have 1000 sign-ups per month, your commission is now $30 per sign-up. If you’re doing 30 classes a month, averaging 50 people per class, that’s $45,000 per month. If you have that many going on, you can pool your advertising money and do radio ads in a wide area… etc.

If you can do 60 classes a month, at 50 per class, you’re commission goes up again to $35 per sign up. Now you’re at $105,000 PER MONTH in sign up commissions PLUS the bid commissions you’d get with that many people bidding on things during the class.

There are numerous other ways you can add on revenue here. You could sell your attendees all kinds of add-on items. Use your imagination.

And so it begins…

I knew this would start to happen eventually. But I honestly thought it would take much longer than this. Wow.

I’ve said this before, but when major events occur like freeing a people to choose their own destiny, you really need to take a long hard look at the historical aspect of what you’re doing. What side of history are you going to support? I have to believe that spreading democracy is a good thing. I just have to… despite the sacrifices and there will be many more to come.

Our own history is packed full of sacrifice. But it has to start at some point. President Bush instinctively knew this. Someone has to turn down the road, even though they know there are dangers that lurk everywhere. This is the mark of courage. Going down the easy road for the short term acceptance is a road anyone can take because it requires nothing more than doing what we’ve always done before.