Ignorance Is Not Bliss

You probably wouldn’t recognize a Monet painting if you saw it in my living room.

You probably can’t comprehend the other-worldly talent of LeBron James if you you weren’t a fan of Basketball.

You probably can’t appreciate the excruciating hard work that went into the 4-year training of an Olympic athlete.

So guess what happened when a world-famous violinist played a violin worth $3.5 million, in a NY city subway, pretending to be a street musician?

Sadly, greatness fades when surrounded by ignorance.

When The Outside Makes The Inside

You know that saying about not judging a book by its cover? How it’s what is on the inside that matters?

The cover does not always have to be for others. The cover can sometimes help create the content inside. Even make the content come perceptibly better.

Enjoy this inspirational time-lapse video of how a homeless drunk veteran went through a physical transformation first, before that change eventually resulted in personal transformation.

It’s the same concept behind the motivation for weight loss, for example. Looking good can make you feel good.

Sometimes, it’s not just about the inside changing the outside.

Sometimes, we just need to feel good first, before we can be good, and do good.

 

Where I Am At

“It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times”, wrote Charles Dickens.

That’s exactly how it has felt for the last couple of years.

On one hand, my wife’s father, and both my parents – all passed away in a span of 3 years, leaving our kids with no grandparents, and leaving us utterly devastated.

And on the other hand, my career has gone from good to Great to UNBELIEVABLE! (including the ALL CAPS & “exclamation point”). My wife and I both have been able to quit high-paying jobs, become full-time entrepreneurs, move to beautiful and pleasantly sunny San Diego, California. We work full time from home, we’re always there when the kids come home from school, we eat lunch together as a family every single day, we basically do whatever the heck we want, whenever we want – all while we grew our business by 1,000% (yup, one thousand percent) in less than 1.5 years.

So yes, it has been the best of times, and it has been the worst of times. A very big roller coaster ride.

And as the year comes to an end, I have been reflecting on where to go from here.

From a career perspective, I do have a best-selling book under my belt, a successful online business together with my wife, and am part of a wonderful community of customers, associates, partners, peers, and fans (yup, I apparently have some fans too!)

I am looking to take my personal brand to a new level this forthcoming year: I plan on doing more blogging, more speaking, more consulting and more coaching. And it was during this time that I happened upon a course called “Experts Academy” being promoted by a person named Brendon Burchard.

I was first introduced to Brendon’s products earlier this year when all of the big marketers in the industry were promoting his product. I received an email from at least 20 different people pitching his product “in my face”.

To be honest, I was a little turned off at that point. Plus I was in a different place in my life at that point, and did not give it further thought.

Over the months to follow, after the hype had died down and the launch had ended, I somehow kept running into Brendon’s videos, audio and other content from time to time, and the more I watched and absorbed his material, the more his brand grew on me. And I found the stuff he was teaching to be something not too many people taught (or taught like he did), very powerful and eye-opening – even for me, someone who has “been there, done that” in the online marketing world.

So this time around, when I found out that he’s re-opening the doors, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

I’m in a place right now where I am looking to actively and aggressively go into the “Expert” space, and launch more products in the coaching, consulting and seminar space.

This is exactly what the doctor ordered for me. And I have already decided to buy the course. Most people would consider it “expensive”, but for me, it’s going to be pretty “cheap”, because this is exactly what I’ve been wanting to learn, courses like this from someone who has proven themselves are rare to come by, genuinely good people like Brendon are even rarer, and the value I’m going to be getting from this is going to be so immense, that it is going to be the best gift I’ve bought myself in a long time.

Going by his free videos, his reputation, and his results, I predict this is going to be the product of the year. And if you could purchase just one thing over the next entire year, then let it be this one.

Even if you don’t buy the course, it would be crazy not to at least check out the bucket-loads of amazing free coaching that he’s giving away as part of this product launch. And as you watch each video, be sure to study the whole launch strategy – especially the “12 positioning tools” video that teaches how to market yourself as a a high-value, highly-paid expert starting starting today.

I have never, ever watched any “how-to” video for longer than 10-15 minutes at a time – ever. But I watched the first video which is like 45+ minutes long, in one sitting, completely mesmerized, furiously taking notes, while my brain was going so nuclear with all of the possibilities, that it could’ve probably powered my entire San Diego neighborhood!

Oh, and use this free FireFox plugin (one of my favorites) to download the launch videos, as even the free information is just too good to be skipped and forgotten. You will be watching them many times over, so make sure you save them to your computer for offline viewing.

- Ravi Jayagopal

P.S: So Where You At? What have you planned for 2011?
Do comment below.

PPS: Some of the links in this blog may result in an affiliate earning for this web site. We do not recommend products for the sake of earning a commission. Rather it’s the other way around. When we want to recommend something, we check if they have an affiliate program. If not, we recommend it anyway.

Arthur Ashe

Inspiration from (friendly) spam I received in my email….

Arthur Ashe, the legendary Wimbledon player was dying of AIDS which he got due to infected blood he received during a heart surgery in 1983…

From the world over, he received letters from his fans, one of which conveyed: “Why did God have to select you for such a bad disease”?

To this Arthur Ashe replied:

“The world over, 50 million  children start playing tennis, 5 million learn to play tennis, 500,000 learn professional tennis, 50,000 come to the circuit, 5000 reach the  grand slam, 50 reach Wimbledon, 4 to semi final, 2 to the finals, when I was holding a cup I never asked GOD ‘Why me?’. And today in pain I should not be asking GOD ‘Why me?’ “

Arthur Ashe, the legendary Wimbledon player was dying of AIDS which he got due to infected blood he received during a heart surgery in 1983…

From world over, he received letters from his fans, one of which conveyed: “Why does GOD have to select you for such a bad disease”?

To this Arthur Ashe replied:

“The world over, 50 million  children start playing tennis, 5 million learn to play tennis, 500,000 learn professional tennis, 50,000 come to the circuit, 5000 reach the  grand slam, 50 reach Wimbledon, 4 to semi final, 2 to the finals, when I was holding a cup I never asked GOD ‘Why me?’. And today in pain I should not be asking GOD

‘Why me?’ “

Twitter: @Replies Rock, DMs Over-rated

What’s the the most powerful feature of Twitter?

It’s definitely the ability to send an “@” reply to anyone on twitter – without their permission.

Now “great tools come with great responsibility” (yup, just made it up :-)

Spam people on twitter, and you will get blocked, labeled a spammer, folks will hate on you, and word can spread very quickly. So obviously, you don’t want to spam folks and screw up your brand and reputation.

The “@” reply is so powerful that you can basically send a “tweet” to anyone who has an account on Twitter. Did you know that you can send a direct message to anyone from Bill Gates to Beyonce Knowles?

How cool is that?

Just remember, all “@ replies” can be seen publicly by everyone on Twitter.

But Twitter DMs (Direct Messages) are “private” tweets. They are seen only by the recipient. But before you can send someone a DM, they must be “following” you first.

Now there are Social Media experts who will tell you to simply “follow” everyone who follows you.

Now why would I want to do that? Just so that they can send me a DM?

Hey, if they must send me something in private, then it is probably important enough for them to go to my web site and send me an email. Or call me. Or @reply me and ask me for a way to contact me privately so we can take it offline. After all, if it’s that important, then I’m sure it deserves more than 140 characters.

And if I am following 17,541 people, then my twitter stream is going to be moving so dang fast, that it makes it practically worthless!

I only follow people, whose “tweets” I’m interested in.

I follow people because I want to know what they’re saying.

I want to know that they’re thinking.

I want to know what they’re reading, writing, selling, ranting about.

So to blindly follow everyone who follows you, makes no sense.

So here’s my take on this:

* Follow only those whose messages (and/or their timeliness) you’re interested in.
* Auto-DM’s and Auto-Follows are for spammers
* Feel free to use the @reply to butt-in to conversations in a relevant, non-spammy, non-commercial way
* Add meaning to a conversation, add value, and grow your network

Your impending “online rock star” status then can’t help but follow.

Why WordPress Is The Absolute Best Platform For Your Membership Site

NOTE: WordPress is right for you, only if you want to actually launch your membership site some day, make money from your site, and do not wish to spend an insane amount of time creating and maintaining it, and only if you do not wish to spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars outsourcing the creation and maintenance of your site

I recently happened across a blog post that presents an argument about why you should not use WordPress for your membership site.

That seems to have caused quite a stir among my target audience (who are basically people who want to start a membership site using WordPress).

A couple of them wrote to me and asked me for my opinion, 1) because I am such a big evangelist of WordPress, and 2) because I have developed a Membership Plugin for WordPress.

I read the argument with interest, and of course felt that it was a very extreme, one-sided worldview of WordPress. I tried to comment there on the site itself, but I got a message that “the site owner has blocked you from commenting”. Not sure why. I will try again. But in the mean time, I simply had to post this here.

So, after you’ve read Alex’s argument for why you should not use WordPress for your membership site, read my (well-rounded, well-educated and balanced, IMHO :-) opinion about why you would be foolish NOT to use WordPress for your membership site – especially if you’re a small-biz owner, info-product marketer, blogger or Do-It-Yoursef’er, and don’t have a big team or a big budget to outsource your membership site development.

My note to Alex…

Alex,

Having developed WordPress and Non-WordPress scripts for almost 15 years now, I have to respectfully disagree with your argument for not using WP for membership sites.

Let me try to present an objective argument here.

You wrote:
>>it doesn’t matter which one you will choose to use as they all share one big flaw – their dependency on the core of WordPress!<<

I am the developer of a plugin called DigitalAccessPass (DAP), which does *not* have a dependency on the core of WordPress. DAP is a separate piece of software, that can be plugged on TOP of wordpress, and only needs a simple, light-weight “Plugin” that acts as a “bridge” between WP and DAP. In the 15 months since the launch of DAP, and 10 months prior to that when we were developing DAP, WP has released a huge number of updates in those 25 months (2+ years), and we have *never* had a single instance where a WP update affected our script.

Again, it’s all in the design, right? DAP was deliberately designed from the ground up *not* to have a dependency on *any* CMS, not even WP. That’s the reason why DAP works right out of the box with regular, plain-ol HTML web sites, and using the “bridge” plugin concept, can be integrated into other CMS like Joomla, Drupal, etc (Joomla plugin for DAP is in the works as I write this). In fact, with just a little bit of work, DAP can be made to work with every imaginable CMS out there, for this very reason.

>>By themselves they will not function and same goes the WordPress core<<
See above. DAP will function all by itself with just regular HTML web sites.

>>WordPress is Open Source and its code is constantly under scrutiny not only by the good guys but also by people who are looking for a way to compromise your site<<
I can kind of agree with you there, but then, even software and services from even high profile companies, like Google and Microsoft get hacked or gamed. So, just because it’s open source doesn’t mean it’s more vulnerable, and just because it’s “closed source” doesn’t mean it is secure. It all depends on the developers and the community behind it.

I mean, non-WP sites get hacked all the time because the shared-site owner left a PHP script in there that’s vulnerable to XSS attacks, or left the permissions wide open inviting hackers to come join the party. That actually says more about the security of PHP itself, and the security of a shared-host environment. But why blame WP for that?

>>You quickly contact support of the developer who created the plugin you use for Membership Management before jumping into upgrade, as you have to ensure that it will continue to work with new version only to learn that he is taking romantic vacation on secluded island somewhere in Fiji and will not be back for next couple weeks…<<

Yes, I agree, that if you went with a small-time, one-man-developer solution, then regardless of whether they are in Fiji, or get hit by a bus, you’re going to be in trouble. That’s why you pick software from companies like mine, which have been around for 15 years, have written millions of lines of code for small businesses as well as for the enterprise, have a team in place for support, and won’t be going away any time soon (we can’t, because this is what we do :-).

>>I personally prefer that my membership script is separate and with dedicated support!<<
DAP totally fits the bill here :-). It is separate, and has dedicated, “non-outsourced” support :-)

You are recommending a downloadable script solution at the end of your post – one which is developed in PHP. PHP has always been (arguably) one of the most insecure programming languages, just because, if you didn’t quite know what you’re doing, it allowed newbies to easily shoot themselves in the foot. Of course, PHP has come a long way since then, but it’s still not the most secure language.

Are we next going to start recommending that no one should use PHP scripts at all, and instead use something like Java or .NET?

So, whether it’s a programming language (PHP), a content management system (WP) or an operating system (Windoze), the solution is only as secure as its developers, the company backing it, and the community supporting it.

And most importantly, the security of a site is only as good as the actual “user” using it (if you download spyware and infected .exe files from the web and your computer gets infected, can you really blame Microsft for it?).

I guess you could blame MS, but that doesn’t mean you’re right.

So, when it comes to the quality of code, extensibility (hooks and filters and plugins) and the community, and the insanely large user base, WordPress simply can’t be beaten.

And when it comes to a membership script for WordPress, DAP also can’t be beaten :-)

My humble $0.02 :-)

Appreciate the soapbox, the opportunity, and for your great post which seems to have evoked so many great responses :-)

Thanks much!

- Ravi Jayagopal
Founder & Developer, DigitalAccessPass .com
(Membership Script for WordPress)

I’m hoping to augment this soon with a more detailed article about using WordPress as the platform to build your membership site.

So stay tuned by subscribing to this blog or by following me on twitter.

Feel free to pass this link to other WordPress lovers, and don’t forget to add your comments below. And no, I won’t block them – even if you’re Alex ;-)

Turning Lemons Into Lemonade

Do you sometimes bitch and complain and whine about your life?

If only your parents had given you the right education…

If only you were given your due recognition at work…

If only your family loved you…

If only you had more customers…

If only you had more people promoting your product…

If only you had a super-affiliate sending out emails to millions…

If only you knew how to write sales copy…

If only, if only, if only….

Here’s something that will help you stop bitching, and start counting your blessings.

Here’s how you “Work with what you’ve got”.

And trust me, you’ve already got a LOT!

The “3 Foot Giant”:

Life Without Limbs:

Once you’ve read this, also check out this post.

How To Destroy A Brand In 30 Seconds

I’ve been a fan of Guy Kawasaki for a while now.

Not a fan-boi type, but still admired him enough to call myself a “fan”.

I follow him on Twitter, read his blog occasionally, and love to watch his videos as he is a great presenter and speaker who adds a lot of humor and wit to his speeches.

And then, I started reading about his recent keynote speech at SES 2009, NY (Search Engine Strategies).

Watched a couple of videos. Read a couple of articles.

He says stuff like… (paraphrasing here)..

* Twitter is just a marketing tool

* It’s all about how many followers you have

* Go get as many followers as you can

* Autofollow everyone just because they followed you

* It’s ok to “Ghost-tweet”.

Wow, that’s like Seth Godin saying it’s ok to spam, and email is just a marketing tool you should use to spam folks thoroughly.

Wow, that’s really shocking!

Someone I held in such high esteem, talking with such emotional disconnect and impersonal attitude towards followers (who are basically your fans – like me!).

Yeah, it did take more than 30 seconds. It took probably about 15 minutes. But the Guy Kawasaki brand has been irreparably tarnished, from where I stand. And where I stand is all that matters to me, doesn’t it?

Yeah, it doesn’t take too much to lose your fans. Just a little bit of disrespect will do the trick.

Guy Kawasaki: Un-followed.

1) Article: Guy Kawasaki: Twitter As a Tool for Social Media

2) Sage Lewis Interview: SES 2009

What Would – - – - – Do?

I believe it is critically important to have role models, teachers, mentors, gurus, leaders, spiritual guides – from whom we can draw courage, inspiration, enlightenment, guidance – in times of need at various stages of our life.

So here’s a short list of my role models, who have all tremendously inspired me, taught me, and given me courage in difficult/tough/desperate/sad/challenging times.

Times when I ask myself…

What would Nick Vujicic do?

What would Seth Godin do?

What would Steve Jobs do?

And of course, I never stop thinking this….

What would my beloved Father do? (And what is he doing now?)

rnjayagopal

- Ravi