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Archive for 2008

I'm Immortal

Fooled by Randomness

I’m Immortal and I can prove it using valid and correct statistics! It’s pretty simple actually. To prove my immortality, I’m going to use the data from my life.

Here’s how the proof goes. Since the day I was born I’ve never had a day in which I died. Being my age, that’s just under 13,000 days. A fairly decent sample size (I think that with 13,000 flips of a coin we could determine the odds of getting heads or tails). But maybe for those of you who aren’t yet confident, let’s increase the sample size. In all 18,408,206 minutes I’ve lived (give or take a bunch) I’ve never died. Not once!

So based on my past data, the odds of me ever dying are less than 0.00…1%. In other words I’m virtually immortal! How cool is that?

However as we all know this logic is flawed, I will one day die. I’m no more immortal than anyone else. However there is no error in my logic. My sample size is large, quite large (over 18 million data samples with not one instance of me dying). Definitely enough to get a very high level of confidence, statistically speaking that is.

The flaw is that I can’t prove something positively, I can only ever really disprove something. In this case, just because I’ve lived over 18 million minutes without dying, doesn’t mean I’ll live another minute. In other words I can only prove that my theory is false, I can never be sure that my theory is true. I can be more confident, but I can never be sure.

And this is exactly what’s gotten the world in such financial trouble. Statements like “The market never goes down x% in a given month.” or “The US government can’t collapse.”. Our sample size just isn’t big enough. We can never prove this to be true, we can only disprove it. Just like we can’t disprove/prove we’re immortal until we die.

Therefore you have to be careful of what’s being said out there. Remember that rare events do happen, and they happen much more frequently than we think. Several are happening right now. The Feds bringing the interest rates to near 0%. The real estate market collapsing on itself. Deflation looking like it might be a real possibility. The government needing to bailout the corporate world on a never before seen scale. It’s all happening, yet it’s not possible. Another once in a lifetime event is happening again and again and again…

However there is good news. Learning and knowing to appreciate rare events can be an incredible benefit. You should plan for them, because although rare they do happen very frequently (that last sentence sure sounds like something Yogi Berra would say).

If you’re interested in learning more about this, I strongly recommend the books Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan (the inspiration for this post). Both are amazing books that will really open your mind. And they’re not just about finance, they can be applied to anything in life.

Thank you also Jian for recommending these books.

Tune into Small Business Radio Today


Today I will be on Small Business Radio hosted by Anita Campbell to talk about my latest book Blog Blazers at 1:30pm EST. Don’t forget to tune in as the topic of the show will be “Advanced Blog Tactics Used By Professional Bloggers”, which will come from both the interviews I conducted in the book Blog Blazers and my own personal experience. It’s going to be a great show so don’t miss it!

10 Most Popular Books in Blog Blazers

Xmas Presents

In my book Blog Blazers I asked 40 high profile bloggers which books they recommend you read. Below is a list of the top 10 books they recommended, with each and every book getting at least two or more recommendations. So if you haven’t already gotten all your Xmas presents, maybe you can get a book or two from this list to go along with your copy of Blog Blazers from Amazon!

  1. Clear Blogging
  2. Purple Cow
  3. Naked Conversations
  4. SEOBook
  5. On Writing Well
  6. The Elements of Style
  7. Cluetrain Manifesto
  8. Made To Stick
  9. The Long Tail
  10. Blink

Please note that these interviews were conducted about a year ago, so some books like ProBlogger from Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett where not yet available.

Nothing is Impossible

Sometimes not knowing you can’t is the best thing for you.

How many times have we been told we can’t do this or that? How many times have stopped only because we’ve been told it’s not possible? How many opportunities have we missed because we didn’t think we could do it? We’ll today I’m going to share with you the story of Cliff Young and the power of ignoring the “it’s not possible” advice.

In 1983 Cliff Young showed up to run a 543.7-mile (875-kilometer) endurance race from Sydney to Melbourne in Australia that takes place over 5 days. Being such a grueling race, you’ll generally only find world class athletes competing in it. But not in 1983. Cliff, then 61 years old, initially showed up for the race in overalls and boots to compete.

As you can imagine Cliff gathered a lot of attention before the race started. Most of it pretty negative. They told him, “You’re crazy, there’s no way you can finish this race.” To which he replied, “Yes I can.” and continued to give an explanation of why when he was younger he would run for 2-3 days at a time and round up as many as 2000 sheep over 2000 acres.

Still no one believed him. He did get attention because, well, you have to admit, it sounds like lunacy. How could this 61 year old man initially dressed in overalls and boots run a 5 day grueling race against world class athletes?

And then the race began. As you’d expect, the athletes quickly left Cliff in the dust. Not only that, but he didn’t exactly have the best running form. There was even some fear going around that he would hurt himself. But on the race went.

Now, before we go on, the common strategy for running this race by the world class athletes is to run 18 hours a day and sleep 6 hours at night. This way they can stay alert and keep running.

Not so for our friend Cliff. When he said he use to round up sheep for 2-3 days, he meant 2-3 days straight. Straight through the day and night that is. So instead of sleeping like the world class athletes, Cliff did the impossible. He ran through the night. He never really stopped (except to eat and some other basic necessities). He just kept going. He believed it was possible even though everyone else told him it was impossible.

Of course Cliff didn’t run as fast as the world class athletes, but he ran 24 hours a day for 5 days. If you do the math, running an extra 6 hours a day over 5 days adds up to a lot of time. It adds up to an additional 30 hours of running. And this gave Cliff a big advantage.

Not only did he finish the race, he won it!! And not by a slim margin. He broke the course record by 9 hours! Yes a full 9 hours. He crushed his competition.

So if someone tells you it’s not possible, just think of our friend Cliff before you resign yourself and give up. Think: What would Cliff do?

Blogger and Programmer T-Shirts for Xmas

Not sure what to get that special blogger or programmer for Xmas, other than a copy of the book Blog Blazers? Then you’ll want to check out these t-shirts offered by Andy Brice.

The best part is that not only will you be giving a great Xmas gift, but all the commissions from the sales will be split equally between two very good charities: jaipurfoot.org and sightsavers.org.

SightSavers is a charity that’s trying to alleviate sight problems all around the world. Last year Sightsavers and their partners treated more than 23 million people for potentially blinding conditions and restored sight to over 244,000 people. And Jaipurfoot offers an effective and easy-to-fit prosthetic lower limb that can be produced for a little as $30 and is provided for free by the charity. They have provided over 300,000 limbs in 22 countries.

So if you haven’t finished your Xmas shopping, check out these great t-shirts. My personal favorite is “Be nice – I have a blog”.

For more information and details please visit Andy’s blog.

The Rabbit Doesn't Always Win


Blogging is a marathon and not a sprint. Starting a business is a marathon and not a sprint. Achieving success is a marathon and not a sprint.

Sure you have to work very hard at the beginning, but you can’t stop after a short sprint. You have to keep going. You have to persevere. I’ve said it numerous times here, it’s not the quality of your idea that matters, it’s the execution over time that matters.

Now don’t get me wrong, you definitely should take advantage of the excitement and motivation that comes from starting a new project such as a blog. That’s a very good thing. But whatever you do, don’t lose your momentum completely. It’s ok to fall behind here and there, we all do it, but don’t stop. Whatever you do just keep on going.

The majority of time the difference between success and failure is that the person who succeeded persevered. It’s not quite as simple as that, but have no doubt that it plays a major role in success. It’s easy to get stopped by the first road block. Most people do. Maybe it’s that you don’t understand something. Maybe you’re tired. You’ve had a long week. You have a social event you’d like to attend. Maybe it’s that you’re not sure what to do next. Whatever it is, keep moving. Don’t stop whatever you do.

A classic example of a blog with really good potential is Hiring Horror. A lot of people like to hear about hiring horror stories. It’s entertaining and we’ve all seen too many of them ourselves. Which of course makes for a potentially very interesting blog. And indeed one was created, Hiring Horror.

Looking at the posts (please note I have no idea who’s behind this blog), they definitely jumped out from the starting gate. On the first day alone there were 4 posts! Then the next day there were 2 posts. Then the weekend came with no posts, which is not that unusual for a lot of blogs. Monday another 2 posts. A couple more days later, another 2 posts.

And then the momentum really started to fall apart. 5 days later there’s only 1 more post. It took another 4 days for the next post. Then a lengthy 11 days for the next post. Then 16 more days for the next. Now we’re at 21 days since the last post and still counting…

This is a classic example of starting off with a full sprint and quickly fading. Although I can’t know for sure, I suspect the authors (there appears to be more than one) were all excited and expected to write several posts a day. And at first they were really motivated and couldn’t wait to write. The excitement of something new was abound.

Then the weekend came which slowed things. After the following week, well, the excitement had probably worn off and it became something they had to do. The zest was gone. And so the posting ratio fell fast. And within a few weeks all interest waned and the blog pretty much died. Maybe we’ll see another post, but I wouldn’t count on it. And it’s too bad because it had the making of a good blog.

Unfortunately that’s the same way most blogs (businesses, projects, etc.) start and fade within a few months. Everyone gets excited. They get a burst of energy. And then once the novelty fades things start to crumble until the whole thing ceases to exist.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. You can succeed! You can make it! You just have to be aware of this before you start whatever it is you want to start. Make sure it’s worth it and push through it. As the movie Run Fatboy Run asks, what will you do when you hit the “wall”? Will you push through it or give up and go home?

Blog Blazers Free Shipping Until Xmas!

Blog Blazer Free Shipping Xmas Discount

Because of everything that’s happening with Amazon, I’m going to go on a lurk and offer free shipping for the book Blog Blazers until Xmas when you buy it directly from the official website (for Canadian and US orders). For international orders, until Xmas as well, shipping will be reduced to $5. In other words, I’ll cover your shipping costs.

I’m doing this because I’m very annoyed with this Amazon “Temporarily out of Stock” issue. I just don’t want to put anything in the way of you getting and benefiting from your Blog Blazers book before Xmas. The best part is that you don’t have to wait on Amazon to get free shipping. And you don’t have to buy $25 worth of books to get that free shipping!

So if you haven’t already bought Blog Blazers, now’s the time. This is special free shipping offer and it’s only going to last until Xmas!

Blog Blazers Amazon Status

Firstly let me just apologize for the on and off “In Stock” and “Temporarily Out of Stock” messages appearing on the Blog Blazers listing on Amazon. What’s happening is that we’re trying to work with Amazon’s JIT (Just in Time) inventory system and experiencing some difficulties as illustrated in the screenshot below:

Blog Blazers on Amazon

Basically the way it works for first time and self-published authors is that Amazon doesn’t want to order too many books ahead of time and be stuck with a larger than necessary inventory on hand. Nor can we blame them. From what I understand, most self published books end up selling less than 200 copies, and 60% of these sales are to friends and family. That’s pretty dismal. Of course that’s not always the case, there’s lots of examples of very successful self-published authors. The biggest I know of is Robert Kiyosaki who started his book series of Rich Dad Poor Dad as self-published. Another great example is Peter Bowerman with his book like The Well-Fed Self-Publisher.

In any case, Amazon is looking out for itself, and that’s perfectly understandable. Selling books is a business, and they do it well. So what happened with our book is that Amazon initially ordered a small number of books. Now before I continue, something to be aware of is that Amazon will only accept books they ordered if they come with a purchase order (barcoded). You cannot just ship books to Amazon to add to their inventory when you want to, you have to wait for them to order books. Makes sense.

Anyways, a lesser known trick is that they will often accept more books than requested as long as they’re part of the same purchase order and as long as the surplus is reasonable (don’t try to ship 1000 books when they ask for 20). However knowing that Blog Blazers is going to is selling well, we decided to ship some extra books with each PO (Purchase Order). On average so far, we’re shipping 2-3 times as many as they request per purchase order (sometimes more).

Getting back to our story, within a day of being released, the Blog Blazers inventory on Amazon was sold out. And it’s no wonder, the initial order was too small. Which means the status of Blog Blazers on Amazon fell to “Temporarily Out of Stock”. The next day, another PO came out, we did the same. And on it’s been continuing since…

So if you see the book Blog Blazers on Amazon with a status of “Temporarily Out of Stock” don’t worry, this is because Amazon is still trying to figure out how many books they need to have on hand to meet the number of books sold (JIT – Just in Time). And it definitely isn’t helping that the sales of Blog Blazers are increasing on a daily basis as more and more bloggers are posting about it every day!

I guess of all the problems I could have, this is the best one to have. But still…

Blog Blazers is NOW AVAILABLE!!!

Blog Blazers

A little over a year ago I initially wrote about my intentions to write a book in which I was going to interview some of the most successful bloggers online. At the time, I had already lined up 18 bloggers and the project was off to an exciting start. Since then, the number of bloggers interviewed in the book has exploded to 40. And quite a list of bloggers it is!

Today I’m proud to announce the book is ready and available for purchase!!!

At this time, you can buy it directly from our website: BlogBlazers.com, Amazon, and so on. However, please note that the ebook version is only available from the official Blog Blazers website. In addition, if you purchase from the Blog Blazer website, you will have the option to select the “bundle package” which includes both the book and the ebook (the advantage being that you can click on the links in the ebook versus having to type them in).

Below is the list of people interview in Blog Blazers (alphabetically sorted by firstname). You can also read the full bios of the bloggers on the book’s website.

It’s very exciting to finally have the books in print! It’s been a long journey, but well worth it once you hold your first print in hand.

Please don’t hesitate to drop me a note to let me know what you thought about the book. And if you have a blog and you plan on reviewing it, please let me know. I’d love to read your reviews.

And remember Xmas is just around the corner. So if you haven’t already bought yourself a copy, it would make a great suggestion for someone else who doesn’t know what to get you!

Blog Blazers Coming Very Soon!

As most of you have probably noticed, my posting frequency has been a bit weak recently. This is because I’ve been working extremely hard to get my upcoming book Blog Blazers to market. And do I have some very big news to announce within a day or so. So please stay tuned…



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