January 31, 2005

AOL is Evil - Use Humor with Truth in your FAQ

I try to use some humor in my FAQs. For instance, the last question on one of my FAQ lists is:

“Why is AOL evil and what can I do to fight the evil that lurks among us?”

Now, mind you, this is a site having NOTHING to do with internet access or email or anything like that. So, it kind of jumps out at you when you’re reading the questions in the FAQ.

I’ve tried to combine humor with a bit of sardonic and edgy opinions (that happen to be true.) I go on to answer the question:

Oh, where do I start? AOL is evil because of their utter lack of respect for their users. If you use AOL, you are not actually taking part in the internet community. You get to look around a bit, but you have been walled off from the real experience. But the most IMPORTANT reason AOL is evil is they routinely filter your messages and then not bother to tell you that they filtered your messages. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten email after email after email, each increasingly more hostile, from AOL users who are angry that I’m not responding to them. When in fact, I’ve been responding within minutes of my receiving their email. It’s just that AOL IS FILTERING IT OUT AND NOT ALLOWING THEM TO RECEIVE MY REPLIES.

AOL USERS - VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION: If you don’t get a reply back from me within 6 hours, there is a VERY high likelihood that AOL is being their typical evil selves and not allowing you to receive my email. They are notorious for this. As long as you use AOL, don’t expect to receive 100% of all your emails. So at least give me a fighting chance and put my email address in your white list before emailing me if you use AOL. Better yet, drop AOL like a lead balloon. As a matter-of-fact, if you can prove to me that you’ve dropped AOL’s service and joined another ISP after reading this, I will send you a free XYZ product. That’s how much I hate AOL. Try me!!!! :-)

Evil, evil, evil, evil. AOL bad, bad, bad.

I have yet to get someone to take me up on the offer, but I fully support the demise of this evil company. And if you’re a marketer that relies on AOL for your business email, you should be hung from the deepest gallows for making such a HUGE mistake. There is no telling how much business you are losing from not getting your customer’s emails. Not to mention the fact that it labels you as a newbie or someone not very knowledgeable about the internet… etc. It’s just yucky. I wish I could simply filter all AOL emails into the garbage and tell people on my sites that if you send me an email from AOL, you’ll be SOL. But, alas, that would be stupid because SO MANY PEOPLE still use AOL. Why? I just don’t understand it.

I’ll get off my high horse now.. but not before saying one more thing. I think the business community should get together and mark a day in the future… for instance, March 1st. On 3/1/05, we should all send an email to all the AOL addresses in our customer/prospect lists and offer them a HUGE discount on whatever it is we sell, if they forward to us a copy of the email that AOL sends out to people who cancel their AOL service. If the entire business community bands together, we could essentially reach the entire customer base of AOL in one fell swoop. We could perhaps eliminate 10% or more of AOL’s customer base in one day if we offer a big enough incentive to our customers. In the same email, give them specific instructions on cancelling (because AOL makes it VERY difficult to cancel) and give them plenty of alternatives and links to sign up at those alternatives… etc.

I’m telling you, we have a LOT of clout and could wreak havoc on AOL. Nothing would make me happier.

Of course, AOL would simply filter all the emails coming into their system on March 1st that contain the terms, “AOL is evil.”

Alas, my dream has faded…

Evil wins.

January 30, 2005

Geez Louise - Liberals Will Be Jumping Outta Windows

I’ll bet there aint a wacko liberal alive right now that aint looking for a window to leap out of after reading this from the new Baghdad mayor… (I define “wacko” liberals as those that automatically hate the letter “B” because it’s the first letter in the word, “Bush.”):

“We will build a statue for Bush,” said Ali Fadel, the former provincial council chairman. “He is the symbol of freedom.”

Yowza, yowza, yowza. Make sure you keep Michael Moore, Sean Penn, Janeane Garofolo, BarbRA Streisand and all the other liberty hating libs (except for their own liberty of course) away from open windows. They just might thrust themselves out in agony, ears bleeding and heads exploding from too much talk of freedom and liberty.

Why stop them, you ask? Well, who’s going to provide the entertainment during the next presidential election?

I love it when I’m on the side of history… on the side of bringing hope to places that never dreamed of it as recently as 2 years ago. Despite the sacrifices made by many, ask an Iraqi how it feels to not have to walk around in fear of your entire family being exterminated because you didn’t or did do something that Saddam didn’t like.

Walk a mile, my brother, walk a mile…

January 26, 2005

blogTshirts Launches

I’ve officially launched blogTshirts.com. It’s one of the 274 businesses I’m constantly in the middle of developing. This one has finally bubbled to the surface. I’ve got in place the proper equipment to facilitate its success and now all we need are bloggers to jump on board.

SIDE NOTE: I just wish I would have had all this t-shirt making equipment back before the election. I was doing some REALLY good business with one of my spur of the moment ideas at runwithbush.com. The idea came to me on a Friday, I built the site on Saturday morning, placed a couple of blog ads and google adword ads and was making money with it by Monday evening. The problem was, I was using cafepress to do the t-shirt fulfillment so I was getting VERY LITTLE per shirt. I had to do the custom graphic for each shirt and upload it which was a major pain. If I had the stuff to do it myself like I have now, I would have been raking it in. I sold a TON of these shirts the month before the election. Scads of them! (I still wear my Bush/Sherman shirt!)

Anyway, I digress… so, why would a blogger choose to use blogTshirts.com to fulfill t-shirt orders for their blog? Besides little things that you’ll only realize once you order and receive a t-shirt, the price is the biggest draw. We specialize in blog t-shirts and that’s it. So, we don’t have to maintain a large inventory and staff and facility and all the other overhead that goes into maintaining an operation like cafepress or zazzle. The two major players in this category. Each of the blog owners that sell their shirts from our site receive $10 for each shirt sold. The shirts are priced at $23 and we don’t charge the customer for shipping. So, if you do the math… cafepress charges YOU $14 for each of your store’s shirts ordered. Then they charge the customer at least $4 for shipping. That’s $18 per shirt right off the top. So, you’d have to charge $28 per shirt in order to realize the $10 profit per shirt that we’re offering by selling the same shirt at $23. Your blog visitors get a less expensive shirt option and YOU get more money at a lower price.

Not to mention the hands off nature of our service. With cafepress, you have to do all the image uploading, maintaining the store, paying monthly fees if you have a pro store… etc. With us, we give you an image you can advertise on your blog and a link to link it to. Viola! You’re in business. Yes, you can give us a custom image if you want one, but you don’t have to do anything other than give us the image.

So if you have a blog, check us out. Who knows… maybe your readers want to show others that they read your blog. At least give them a chance. :-)

P.S. In case you remember a post back in June of last year about $150 t-shirts, it was placed on the backburner. I still think it’s an incredible idea but it’s going to take way more time than I have right now to dedicate to it.

January 24, 2005

Wanted: A Few Good Entrepreneurs

Pay: The knowledge gained in participating. :-)
Reason to do it:
Because you are a remarkable entrepreneur and you’re as curious as hell.

Seriously. I’m looking to recruit a few of my readers to conduct an experiment. The actual work will take 16 hours to complete. It’s not rocket science, but I need someone who considers themselves a remarkable entrepreneur.

The chosen candidate(s) will need to be able to devote at least 2 hours a day (until you reach 16 hours), preferably from 6pm to 8pm to go door-to-door conducting a survey. There will not be any sales involved. Just door-to-door, ask some questions and then give the person who just took the survey a handout. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.

You’ll need to be able to have access to neighborhoods containing single family homes. You’ll also need to research whether you need a license to knock on doors in your area and get one if it’s needed. Every neighborhood/town has different requirements. If it costs anything, I’ll pay for it.

Please don’t ask what it’s about because unless I select you, I won’t tell you. The person I select will need to be a VERY reliable person and trustworthy.

I can tell you that this experience COULD be life altering but at the very least, an eye-opening experience that will add to your ongoing catalog of ideas. Right?

Please send me an email (click on my profile at right and get it that way) and let me know a little about you and where you live in the country. Where you live isn’t crucial, I just need to know what the general area is like. Also, tell me why you want to do this.

Are you curious? Take a shot. Take a shot. Everyone’s gotta have stories for their grandkids, right? Haha!

January 20, 2005

If you don’t agree with this, I pity your outlook on life!

I know President Bush’s inaugural address will be documented and thanks to the internet, will be accessible to anyone with internet access from here to eternity. But there is one part of his speech that I want my blog to be attached to. I want it to live through time, resting on one lone page of my blog. I believe what it says is vital to America’s continued success and dare I say, it’s very existence. I thank God, each and every day (literally) that we had a man such as President Bush come along at this time in history and that He gave the majority of this nation the notion that it was the right thing to do to vote him into another term. Here are the words I’m talking about:

America’s vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the maker of heaven and earth. Across the generations, we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation’s security, and the calling of our time. …

We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies. …

When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public and the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration, a witness said, “It rang as if it meant something.” In our time it means something still. America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength tested, but not weary we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom.

May God bless you, and may He watch over the United States of America.

He always has and always will.

January 18, 2005

Charge for the Printer, Not the Ink!

If you’re here regarding my earthquake prediction, click here for more info.

On to my normal subject matter… business ideas!

As everyone knows, printer companies get their revenue off the back end and not so much the front end. Meaning they charge an arm and a freaking leg for ink cartridges but you can get a decent printer now a days for $40. The conventional wisdom is to get them in the door and then charge the heck out of them to use the printer.

What if a printer company came along and ENCOURAGED 3rd party sellers to make ink and cartridges for their printers? (Can you say open source?) This would create competition which would result in lower ink pricing. But then they could charge their profit on the front end. Instead of charging $100 for your really nice printer, charge $400 for it. But make sure the customer knows that your ink is practically free, it’s so cheap. All other factors being equal (quality, etc) I would buy that printer in a HEARTBEAT over their competitors. I can’t begin to tell you what names I’ve called HP after my $25 cartridge runs out every week. It pisses me off to no end. I also have a color laster printer that I got under Xerox’s free color laser printer program. Let me tell you, there t’aint nothing free about it. One set of ink sticks cost $200 bucks. And that’s just for ONE COLOR! There are three colors plus the black sticks.

If there were a company brave enough to operate against the convential wisdom of emphasizing back-end profits, they’d be selling printers left and right. Then, of course, when you can get ink much cheaper, you’re more likely to print a LOT more. If you’re printing a lot more, your printer is going to wear out faster than the other print companies that use gold in their inks. When your printer wears out, who ya going to go too for your next printer? Yep.. and so the cycle continues and hopefully putting all these other greedy bastards out of business in the process.

Please, someone make an expensive printer and practically give away the ink. Please! You have your first customer, right here.

Update: Case in point. Read this. How long are printer companies going to get away with crap like this without the customer finally saying enough is enough and not buying their stuff anymore? Hopefully soon. I know I’ll never buy a HP printer again. Never. Bastards!

January 12, 2005

More on the earthquake prediction… wow!

It appears my prognosticating post has begun to be noticed. Traffic yesterday was about 500 visitors. Today it was over 5100 visitors. The vast majority of it was from an Italian website that is comparing me to Nostrodamus. Yikes! So, benvenuti to all my Italiano visitors. (Interesting note: I was stationed in Italy when I was in the Air Force. San Vito down by Brindisi.)

Anyway, for those that can read English… please don’t compare me to Nostrodamus. He saw visions, I just hear or physically “sense” seismic activity. There’s a BIG difference. Mine is a physical sense, his was an “etheral” sense. My abilities have nothing to do with psychic phenomenon in any way shape or form.

Anyway, thanks to all of you that vouched for the authenticity of my earthquake prediction post back in September. Much appreciated.

I’d like to take this opportunity to defend myself a bit. There are people out there saying stuff like this:

I guess this proves that you can predict an earthquake at any time and be sure that one is around the corner.

My prediction is that there will be breathable air tomorrow.

Why do people feel a need to exagerrate in response to something they don’t understand? What a lousy analogy, anyway.

It would be different if I were constantly “predicting” things and then one time out of my hundred predictions, something actually happens. But I’ve never publicly predicted a thing in my entire life (I’ve logged predictions, but never made them public.) So, when someone who has never tried to predict anything in his entire life, suddenly, out of the blue, posts the following on September 5th, 2004:

I woke up this morning to what I expected, major earthquake activity. I went to bed last night convinced that the activity would happen in the next 24 hours and I was right. [Original prediction was on the 2nd] There were two sizeable quakes in Japan only 5 hours apart. They were even announced on Drudge’s news page, which is pretty much the litmus test for whether a quake is major enough to make it to the news or not.

But, for some reason, because of the intensity of the “thing” that happens to me before earthquakes, I don’t think those two earthquakes are going to be the end of it. I believe we have some more coming up in the next 24 hours or so. But because seismic activity is so dependent on many things, it could be that what I experienced is the set up for something really major in the near future. Who knows… it’s such an inexact science. But don’t be surprised if we get another big jolt somewhere before it quiets down.

Three and half months later, we have the largest earthquake on planet earth in 40 years. Now, I don’t even think any of the famous psychics out there can prove they said anything close to what I said that close to what actually happened.

Just take it at face value. Yes, it could have been a major coincidence, but boy it was a big one. I mean, I didn’t just say, “There’s going to be an earthquake.” In the original post, I said:

I have given a lot of thought to this entry before posting it. Only because I don’t want my readers to think I’m loopy. But, based on my historical accuracy and the level at which this particular event has been presenting itself, I believe I should at least mention it. Get it down on paper, so to speak. I’m writing this at 9:00am (PDT), September 2, 2004.

The physical symptom I get that presents itself prior to earthquakes happening was so intense and so severe that I thought I had to get it on public record. That is definitely putting one’s self out on a limb, wouldn’t you think?

Then to reiterate just how much I was convinced that something major was going to happen, I closed that post with this:

I just hope the intensity of the event doesn’t directly correlate with the intensity of the physical manifestation I’ve been experiencing. If it does, it will be absolutely devastating. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

Again, I have to repeat myself here. I didn’t JUST say, “Oh, BTW, I think there’s going to be an earthquake sometime soon.” I said:

“…something really major in the near future.”

But of course, there are people even debating on what the definition of “near future” means.

Geesh!

It is what it is, people. If you want to believe in coincidences, fine. If you want to believe I can hear frequencies emanating from seismic activity, fine. If you want to believe John Kerry had a chance at becoming President, fine. Whatever.

But the bottom line is, I said what I said when I said it.

To hammer home my absolute confidence that something was going to happen, I posted this on September 29th:

This thing that happens to me before seismic activity was so intense (it’s never been so intense) that I had to conclude that it would result in an intense seismic activity or series of activities. Stay tuned…

That quote is referring to the actual physical thing that happens to me in my ears. It happened over a 2 day period at the end of August to the first day of September. I was actually deaf in one of my ears during that period of time and was about to go see the doctor when it subsided. It’s never been that severe since I began sensing seismic activity 20 some years ago.

So there you have it…

January 10, 2005

Need some help from my regular readers…

If you have been a regular reader of my blog, I need you to do me a favor. If you remember reading my post back in September about my earthquake prediction, and the followup post a few days later, please post it in the comments. It seems my prediction is getting a bit of attention in the blogosphere and there are those in our community who are accusing me of backdating the predictions. Understandable accusation, of course. But with something of such magnitude, it would be pretty stupid to falsify it because of how easy it is to catch someone doing that.

Meanwhile, I’m going to get with blogger.com and see if they can send me an email attesting to the fact that I did indeed post that prediction in September.

Anyway, if you remember reading it, please say so in the comments. I don’t have a whole heck of a lot of readers, but I have enough that I can at least get some people to vouch for me. :-)

Thanks!
Dan

January 4, 2005

Cool Ecommerce Tool - But Does it Increase Revenue?

I came across a nifty sales tool again just recently. I’ve seen it before but for one reason or another, I’ve always had to pass on it as not being “there” yet.

Well, I believe it’s about as “there” as it’s going to get now. It’s called oddcast. Blogger doesn’t allow you to use javascript in your posts, so I can’t post a demo here. But follow the link and check it out.

So, okay… it’s cool with a slight nifty factor. But does it translate into sales? I’m currently using it at a few of my sites. I’ll let you know if it helps.

My guess is, if you have something to actually SAY instead of just using it to show how cool you are, it may be able to play a role in increasing your site’s return on investment. We’ll see.

The price is pretty affordable. If you pay annually, most of us small time biz people can get by with an account that costs about $10 a month. That’s definitely in the sweet spot for small businesses.

I’ll report back my findings later.

January 1, 2005

Indonesian Earthquake… Predicted?

If you’ve followed my blog for over a few months, you might remember that I made an earthquake prediction back on September 2nd, 2004. In that prediction, I said this:

I just hope the intensity of the event doesn’t directly correlate with the intensity of the physical manifestation I’ve been experiencing. If it does, it will be absolutely devastating. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

There was actually two earthquakes in Japan a few days later. They were big enough to make it on to Drudge’s site. But I voiced my opinion that I didn’t think that was the end of it. Only because the physical manifestation that I get before impending seismic activity was of such intensity that I was convinced that we were in for a very major event soon. In my subsequent post reporting the two Japan quakes, I said this:

But, for some reason, because of the intensity of the “thing” that happens to me before earthquakes, I don’t think those two earthquakes are going to be the end of it. I believe we have some more coming up in the next 24 hours or so. But because seismic activity is so dependent on many things, it could be that what I experienced is the set up for something really major in the near future. Who knows… it’s such an inexact science. But don’t be surprised if we get another big jolt somewhere before it quiets down.

After what happened on December 26th, I sure wish I had been wrong. :-(

Update: I’ve been urged to mention my book as it relates to this post. My ability to sense earthquakes could be directly related to this. I try not to mix this blog with my book as I don’t want people to think I wrote the book as a “biz opp” but I think it may give context to how I have the ability to predict earthquakes so accurately. God only knows if there is an actual link. But my guess is that there is, somehow.

December 22, 2004

Michael Moore Uncovers Christmas Plot to Stiff the Naughty

Oohh… I just said, “stiff” and “naughty” in one sentence. Gotta love that.

Anyway, if you view life out of the right eye more than the left, you simply must go over to Cox & Forkum. They have the best editorial cartoons on planet earth. Here’s their latest:

I absolutely love this. I laughed and laughed and laughed when I saw this cartoon. Good stuff, Maynard.

CrispAds Update #2

More on my CrispAds testing. It seems to me that this is a good way to swap traffic with other bloggers without spending hardly any cash.

Let me explain. One of my ads currently running (as an advertiser) is for this blog (dansherman.com). This means other bloggers are showing my ad through their CrispAd insertion. When their visitor clicks on my ad, I get charged.

When one of MY visitors clicks on an CrispAd that I’m displaying here on my blog, I make money.

To date I’ve earned $1.88 in CrispAd revenue but I’ve only SPENT $1.50 to bring traffic to my site through my CrispAd advertisement. Of course, I’ve had CrispAds running on my site for a few days more than I’ve been advertising dansherman.com through CrispAds, so that could a bit skewed, but I’ll report how it goes over time.

If this continues, I’m essentially swapping money with other bloggers through CrispAds and exposing my site to more people in the process. What I’m really doing is growing my readership without spending any (or very little) money. Assuming that visitor comes back over and over. :-)

That’s a great plan. Traffic for almost nothing. I can dig it.

“Bye Bye Ink” Launches

My post a few days ago about the demise of the daily newspaper and how a saavy journalist-type person can take advantage of that demise, got me thinking and researching.

So, henceforth, as if I didn’t have enough things to do, I will be blogging the demise of the newspaper industry. I’m calling the blog, Bye Bye Ink. The introductory entry has been posted.

December 21, 2004

CrispAds Update

I’ve been using CrispAds now as a publisher (see ad in this post) as well as an advertiser. I’ve made a whopping .46 cents so far as a publisher (thanks to the two people who have clicked on my crispads.)

The amount I’ve made really means nothing because it’s really only relative to how many people have viewed my ads. That is the statistic that one should look at. My stats so far are actually fairly promising, given the absolutely untargeted nature of the ads being displayed. The ads I’m displaying are getting a .54% clickthrough percentage. That’s nothing to write home mom about, but let’s run the numbers for instapundit.com. If Glenn Reynolds were to achieve the same percentage I’m getting, instead of .46 cents, he would be making somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 to $300 a day in revenue from CrispAds.

Those are the numbers as a publisher. As an advertiser, I’m doing better. I’ve since added more ads for other things I do, but the one ad I’ve had up for a few days now is actually getting a 1.45% clickthrough ratio. That’s freaking incredible considering the product I’m advertising is just about as untargeted to a typical blog audience as you can get. (It’s a “general population” type of item.)

This time I’m putting it in the middle of the post instead of at the bottom. Hmmm… how does it look?


BTW: Please look at my ads, but don’t click on them just to earn me money. It’s not fair to the advertiser. Only click on them if you are truly interested in what’s being advertised.

I’d like to close with a suggestion… I’d love to spend more as an advertiser but they need more publishers to DISPLAY MY ADS. Come on bloggers, get with it… I’m begging to give you some money through CrispAds. Sign up and start displaying some Crispys, shall we?

December 20, 2004

Calling All Bloggers

This post is meant for my fellow bloggers out there. Please check out a new service I will be launching shortly at blogTshirts.com. It’s not fully functional as of yet, but I’d like to get a core group of bloggers signed up and get their own blog’s t-shirt up on the site before I go forward with the hard launch.

Also, any feedback you would be willing to provide would be appreciated.

December 19, 2004

CrispAds.com - New Blog Advertising Service

I thought I would be the first to market with this concept, but someone else beat me to it. It’s called CrispAds.com and they allow you to insert text based ads in your RSS or ATOM blog feeds. (I’ve inserted an ad into the bottom of this post.)

I think this is a marvelous idea. (Of course I think so since I’m working on the same type of service at my domain blogtextads.com.)

CrispAds is a bit sparse from a feature standpoint. But that’s to be expected since they just launched. We’ll give them some time to implement better reporting features as well as better instructions. There’s absolutely no “help” links in either the advertiser or publisher login screens. Plus, I ran into some troubles trying to create a new ad in the advertiser’s login screen while using Firefox. But the folks at CrispAds were quick to respond and they might even have that glitch fixed as I write this. I haven’t tried it with Firefox since I reported the problem.

Part of the reason I don’t allow full text of my blog entries to be seen via blog readers is because the advertising isn’t carried over. So with the advent of ads that can be seen through RSS feeds, this will be good for all parties. It will allow readers to read entire posts via the convenience of blog feed readers like bloglines.com and other such services while at the same time allow bloggers the chance to be paid for all their reader traffic, not just the traffic to their hosted blog presence.

I’m really surprised Google hasn’t already entered this space in a big way especially since they own blogger.com. Curious.

December 16, 2004

Goats and Sheep

I was just listening to the radio in my garage while packaging up Santas and I heard the talker discussing the difference between sheep and goats in the experiments they were conducting on some human subjects regarding skepticism…etc. She said they called the people who were willing to be guided basically anywhere, sheep. Whereas the people who continually questioned things and chose their own way were called goats. Presumably because this mirrors the personalities of the actual animals the groups were named after.

I was thinking how this relates to the entrepreneurial world. Entrepreneurs are goats and all other people are sheep… that is when it comes creating value in exchange for compensation. I don’t mean this in a derogatory fashion. The world needs sheep and the world needs goats. I’m just labelling the two.

Us entrepreneurs are always in search of something that will change our world and we’re willing to move (or climb) mountains in order to implement/start/create/initiate it. Whereas sheep are very happy looking down and following the herder’s directions, content to keep with the herd for fear of being devoured by any stray lion. In essense, they are motivated by the fear of what might happen to them if they strike out on their own. Whereas goats are motivated by what they might find on the other side of the barn. If the lions eat me, all well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I know this is a loose theory, but I think you can follow my line of thinking. Bottom line, be a goat in life, not a sheep, if you want to see something other than the rear end of the person in front of you in life.

Now go make a net profit.

December 6, 2004

Cool Biz Tool

Just came across this over at Dane’s blog. It’s a business card cutter. No more hanging chad looking roughness on your home printed card edges. You can use the business card template built into any word processing software (or even design software like Publisher) to design your card and print your cards on to any paper you want. Then use this new business card cutter to make clean edges. I haven’t tried it, but I would imagine it works fine. Pretty cool.

December 4, 2004

The Energizer Vampire Strikes Again

The liberal movement in this country is like the energizer vampire. They just keep sucking and sucking and sucking and sucking the lifeblood out of our culture.

They won’t stop until we’re all moving around like zombies with a blank stare in our eyes and absolutely no belief in our hearts.

I’m so angry, I could spit. I’ll let you be the judge.

Capitalizing on the Demise of an Entire Industry

I’ve been talking about this with my friends and family for a little over two years now.

Daily local newspapers will be dead within our lifetime (if you’re in your mid 40’s or younger.)

More and more news is coming out of the newspaper industry that is VERY bad for them.

I have my own testimony. I used to subscribe to the Oregonian. The only option we really have here in Portland. It’s an ultra liberal rag so I stopped subscribing. (I had this ongoing fear that I would spontaneously puke while reading it.)

Evidently my cancellation didn’t mean much to the Oregonian as I continued to get the paper. I won’t get into the full story here because it’s long, painful and full of expletives on my behalf. Suffice to say, we FINALLY stopped receiving the damned thing, but only after months of multiple phone calls and much yelling on the phone. They were bound and determined to keep me on their circulation, regardless whether I actually read it or not or whether I actually paid for it or not. This is a good example of just how desparate they are to keep their perceived circulation numbers high. I say perceived because I’d be willing to bet you that a VAST percentage of the papers that go out now-a-days end up being used as bird cage liner without one eye being laid upon the text.

Here’s a test. Call and cancel your newspaper subscription. I’d lay 10 to 1 odds that they will offer you a reduced rate and if you continue to insist, they will finally offer it for free. Try it. You can always subscribe again later. (God knows why. Perhaps you have a bird.)

Eventually, advertisers are going to start getting a good whiff of the smelling tablets and awake from their love affair with the local paper. This will drive them in droves to the internet, radio and TV. Of course, that will be the end of the paper as we know it. In order for a paper to be viable and have compelling articles, they need to have a certain number of subscribers. If they fall below that number, they are history. It doesn’t matter if there are still X number of readers. If they don’t have critical mass, they are dead. That’s the problem.

So, it’s really just a matter of time. As the internet generation gets older and more used to reading their news online, in real time, newspapers will fall like flies. Think about it. We can get our top local news on our TV. As for all the other news, we’re not going to want to read about it 12 to 24 hours later. We want to read about it NOW. As it happens.

Here’s the entrepreneurial angle… identify this future trend and think of a way to position yourself to capitalize on it. Advertisers are still going to want to reach local audiences. That demand is not going to go away just because print newspapers are going away.

Here’s my take on the future of news delivery. We’re going to have a few people in each community that step forward (perhaps good names who were also top reporters left over from the newspaper implosion) and they will deliver news, in real time, via their own blogs. They will specialize in a very local angle. For a city the size of my own (Wilsonville, suburb of Portland, pop. about 14,000) we could have just one or two people who are the focal point of all news that is going on in Wilsonville. If a bank is robbed, a local person knows to email or call Mr. Wilsonville Blogger. He in turn gets it posted on the blog within minutes of the robbery. Locals who have this blogger in their bloglines list (or whatever RSS reader they are using) will see an updated posting. They read it and that bit of news is done and over with. In this particular case, the news could get out so quickly that the robber could be spotted by someone who just read the blog and looked out their window seeing a suspicious guy matching the description of the robber. He calls the police and viola!, the guy is caught. All because of NEAR REAL TIME reporting via a local newsblogger.

That same scenario could never have happened under the 24 hour wait that newspapers are hopelessly locked into.

You wanna start a blog? Start a local news blog. You’ll be way ahead of the pack and you’ll be in place and in perfect position to take over when your local newspaper exits the news delivery space. I suspect there will be a lot of little 5 person newsrooms with the blog as their method of delivery. They will be able to specialize in your community and have great, up to the minute news as well as good commentary… etc. It’s not only doable, it’s inevitable. Mark my words.

December 2, 2004

Replaying Your Life

I just got done reading a really interesting book called, “Replay.” It’s the story of a man who dies at the age of 42 (or something like that) and right after his death, he awakes again in his dorm room in college. Essentially, he relives his life over and over and over, each time dying at the very same time and date when he’s 42 years old. He even tries to prevent it one year by checking himself into the hospital the day before and he STILL croaks.

It’s interesting the things he chooses to do each time. Incidently, during all his lives he’s conscious of the fact that he’s reliving it over and over. So, mentally, he’s lived over 100 years by the time the story ends.

It got me to thinking about what I would do if that happened to me. Can you imagine living your adult life again, not to mention 5 times. It would be cool knowing all the things you know about history. Just the financial markets alone. Wow!!!! He does do a lot with what he knows about what will happen on the stock market… etc.

Anyway, check it out. It’s a great book.

November 25, 2004

Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

I think it’s important to know a little about the history of our holidays, here in the US. I particularly like the history behind Thanksgiving. It really speaks volumes against the backdrop of liberal organizations, such as the ACLU, attempting to remove references to God from every fabric of today’s society.

As much as religion-hating liberals try at all costs to deny our heritage, this country was borne out of a fundamental belief in an almighty God. Indeed, the very basis of the independence argument was based on the belief that what God has granted us, we have not been able to experience under the yoke of the crown. Therefore, they threw off the yoke. But without a higher power than the King to appeal to, what justification would there have been to go against his wishes?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

If belief in a God was not the foundation or the justification for declaring our independence, what was? Rights granted by another human (King or anyone else) cannot be unalienable. Without the unalienable rights granted to mankind by his creator, there is no legal justification for us to establish our independence from the crown. In other words, they recognized a moral higher authority.

There were two key steps as I see it, in establishing our independence in such a way that it cannot be destroyed. First, they believed in rights granted to us as humans by our creator. But unless you have a belief in a higher power, you can’t understand this step. (Which is why liberals have such a hard time with this concept.) Second, they claimed or secured those rights through the consent of the people. But recognizing that our rights are not granted by men but by almighty God, they removed the possibility of someone lording power over the people because no one can claim to be equal to God. This is why America is the nation it is. We are a nation beholding to no one but God (a moral and just God, Mr. Osama) and responsible to one another for its fair governance.

George Washington’s proclamation regarding Thanksgiving is even more telling as to how our founding fathers stood regarding the important of recognizing a supreme being. Here is the proclamation:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted’ for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have show kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d dy of October, A.D. 1789.

(signed) G. Washington

From Spark’s Washington, Vol. XII, p. 119

I got this from here.

I’m thankful, today, to have been born in a country as incredible as America. We have the power to rule the world, like no other country has in the history of mankind, yet we choose to use it for the good of mankind instead of the ruin. I realize we aren’t perfect. But I know that as long as our eyes and hearts, as a collective nation, stay focused on the moral high ground and our belief in an Almighty God stays strong and a part of who we are as a nation, we will endure until the end of the ages.

November 17, 2004

Great Quote

Got this from Incoherent Ramblings:

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.”

John Stewart Mill

November 15, 2004

Dancing Cars

Just thought you’d like to see this commercial. Incredible viral ad campaign. I’ll bet this will be seen by a million people in 1 day alone, if it hasn’t already.

Hat tip to Gizmodo for this one.

November 14, 2004

Addresses of Political Donators

I’ve already discussed an idea I had regarding the use of free political donation address databases, like this one.

Well, I never got around to sending out any direct mail to these people advertising my original political t-shirts, like this one. (BTW: I made about $2000 on that shirt idea, just advertising on blogs… etc.) I wish I had because it would have definitely been profitable. But I only have so much time in my day and that never made it to the top of my list.

But now I’m seriously contemplating doing it with some other things I’d like to sell that have a political slant to them. I’ve had a script programmed that can extract mailing addresses of donators based on their political party and/or zipcode. It’s quick and easy… instead of having to manually copy and paste each record by hand. Yowza! No way.

So, just for you, my readers. If you think you’d like to send some direct mail to these politically charged individuals and advertise something you sell, I will extract any zipcode you’d like for a flat rate of $10 per zipcode. You can tell me if you want republican or democrat or both, as well. I gotta justify my time in doing this and sending it to you. The results will be in a comma delimited flat file and will give you only their first, last names, address, city, zip and party affiliation.

I can’t guarantee the deliverability or validity of each address, obviously, as this is coming from an open source database. A lot of the more famous people (zip 90210 has a lot of famous people in it) are obviously using their agent’s address or some other non-descript address. But who knows, they may get the mail that comes to that address, in their name, anyway.

Regardless, I’m just providing an easy way for you to get the data. You can get it yourself as well. It’ll just take you forever. :-)

So, if you want me to do this for you, send $10 per zipcode via PayPal to orders @ orderdept.com. Be sure to let me know the zipcode(s) you are wanting me to query and if you want me to remove either party from the results, as well.

Oh, and if you’re smart, and you know of someone else who would like this info… you’ll tell them you can get it for $20 per zipcode and resell them the info. :-) Remember, ALWAYS think of ways you can make money from what you know. And information CAN be the most valuable commodity on planet earth.

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