Elevation Fitness In Private Beta

6 March 2010 | talking about Internet

I can not express how excited I am about Elevation Fitness. A product designed for personal trainers to keep track of their clients. I have been working on this project with an amazing team of people for over 2 years, and I am happy to say we went into private beta this week.

Elevation attempts to do away with paper and pencil for personal trainers and move their client management to the Cloud, where all software should be. If you are interested please signup for the private beta and let me know what you think.

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Stealing Is Ok! Might Even Make You Rich

2 March 2010 | talking about Internet, Leadership

Paul Wagner, (CEO of Forkfly), sent me this YouTube video today of Steve Jobs talking about how they build products. He outright says he looks around at what others are doing and shamelessly steals them. Apple then takes the stolen ideas and puts their own twist on the product often makes it much much better.

Through my past client work, and now through my work with startups I am constantly running into people that want to reinvent the wheel. They want to start from the ground up as if there are no great ideas out there to steal. In the web world I am very very confident that if you are trying to build something there is an idea you can steal and make better. I think every project should start with finding an example to build from. I don't believe in just trying to build something without a stolen idea as the foundation.
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Real Estate Vs. Da Stock Market - Part #2

23 February 2010 | talking about Real Estate, Stock Market

From my first post (Real Estate Vs. Da Stock Market - Part #1) many people contacted me and told me that they disagreed with me. The stock market and the Real Estate market were not the same. Many people expressed that they liked Real Estate, (and made it their "thing"), because they had far more control over the investment. You can pick your tenants, you can pick your lender, you can remodel, and so on. While in the stock market you have no control unless you have the capital to be a major share holder. All you have is the ability to cast your vote in a share holder meeting. While this is true, in fact you do not have much control over the direction of the company you own stock in, you have control over if you own the asset or not. In terms of personal wealth, this is way more powerful than than the direct control you have with Real Estate. Having the ability to liquidate your ownership in an asset within seconds is very powerful. When managing your assets their is two parts; growing your assets, and protecting your assets.

Wise investors can spot a downturn coming, such as the one in late 2007. No one really knows how bad a downturn is really going to be, but a wise investor should know when to shift from capital appreciation mode to capital protection mode. Below are the things you can do to protect your stock and real estate assets in a downturn.
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Real Estate Vs. Da Stock Market - Part 1

11 February 2010 | talking about Real Estate, Stock Market

One of the things that drives me nuts, is when I hear people say "Real Estate is my thing", or "Real Estate is what I am into". It is not a drug it is an investment! You buy Real Estate, (as an investment), for it to go up in value and maybe collect rent. Hmmm, that sounds just like buying a stock, and the rent would be the dividend (or even a stock buy back). Real Estate, (from an investment standpoint), is not a way of life. It is not something you are into. It is not "your thing". It is 100% an investment. So many people, particularly young people, don't get that. With this post I am kicking off a series of blog postings talking about the importance of understanding all markets not just the one "you are into".

First of all lets clear somethings up. When I say Real Estate investment I am not talking about your home, or a vacation home. Those have personal emotional aspects; you need a home to live in and you love staying at your ski condo on the weekends. I label these assets as personal property, there is a luxury element you may or may not be paying up for. I am talking about the rental property you purchase, to collect rent, or even flip.

Second thing I want to clear up, I am giving general statements and rough numbers in this blog series. With any investment there is always another side, another stat, another point of view. I get that. This is what makes markets if we all thought the same way no one would buy or sell anything. This is just one man's view. I hope you can share you view points in the comments below.

Lastly, I am not talk to the people that do this for a living. If you are a Real Estate Developer, or a hedge fund manager you have built a business around a particular asset class. While I think every point I am going to make applies 100% to you as well you can make a business case against some of my statements and I might agree with you.
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Eviction: The Other Way To Handle It

9 February 2010 | talking about Land Lording, Real Estate

Eviction ImageEveryone thinks being a landlord is all fun and games. You sit back each month and just let the money roll in. I have even talked to some landlords that complain about what a pain it is taking all their rent money to the bank each month. Don't get me wrong, being a land lord can be a very rewarding job, part time or full time, but this week has been particularly hard for me as a landlord. Which reminds me there are times that this job is not very rewarding both emotionally and financially.

I had to evict a tenant this week for being over 30 days past due with rent. These days people are not past due with rent because they are just unwilling to pay rent, they are past due because they truly have no money. This particular tenant truly has no where to go nor the means to go anywhere. The particular labor market this tenant works in is just dry right now. There is no work. So I am left with a very big decision to make; Do I move forward with the eviction, or continue to hold out. Part of me says it is my American duty to help out others in this slow economy, and part of me (the business man) tells me I have to do what is best for my business.

Furthermore, I also have the problem of this tenant might not have anywhere to go. I can post 72 hour notice but the tenant will not leave because they have no where to go. Leaving me with the addition hassle of having to file papers with the local court and have the tenant removed. Normally, this is the best way to go because then you would get a judgement for the amount owed as well, but if the person is not working you will not have any means to collect anyway. So whats the point?
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Apple, Why Are You Becoming Microsoft?

3 February 2010 | talking about Internet, Stock Market

Bad Apple
Apple, I want to love you, I really do.  I've even put up with your high prices because your designs are sleek, your user interfaces are nice on the eyes, and you've been on the front-lines of technology advancement on the behalf of users.  At least, you were.

I'm not so sure anymore.  There's no doubt that the iPhone is one of the most innovative devices of the last decade, but the same cannot be said for the antiquated App Store.

The approval process to get your newly designed app is ridiculous.  Apps are not only filtered for content, but in many cases, it takes weeks to get approval for your app to be download by eager customers.  And why?

In today's market of fast-paced and ever-growing e-commerce, being forced to tailor your business model on the requirements of a single channel makes no sense.
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Take The Bull By Its Horn

17 January 2010 | talking about Small Business, Stock Market

take-the-bull-by-the-hornsSomething that has been frustrating me more than anything in the last year. With the slower economy I have been able to spend more time just talking to people; strangers, family, friends, and just about anyone else that has something to say. Being a business person the conversation often heads down the path of success and how to achieve it, but so many people I talk to don't want it bad enough. They would rather talk about it then do it. I am not just talking about building a business. I am talking about getting a job if they are unemployed, upgrading your current job, or starting a business.
When the economy tanked in 2008 I more or less lost my job. Every project I was working on dried up and went away. I like 10% of America right now I did not have the ability to collect unemployment, so I had to make a big shift in how I as going to support my self almost over night. Luckily, I was ready and the shift was something I was able to make quickly. I will get to what helped me in my shift in a second, but first a little rant. I have talked to so many people that are on unemployment and they are doing nothing with their lives. They talk about how they want to use this time to better themselves. They talk about the businesses they are going to build during this time. They talk about the personal brand building they are going to do to help them upgrade their employment when they go back to work, but they spend a great deal of time sitting on their ass playing video games or something.

Just Get Off Your Butt And Start Building

The key to bettering yourself in this context is to just get working on you goal and never quit, and more importantly never discount anything. Every little aspect about what you are doing maters. For example; I tell a lot of people looking for a job or looking to upgrade there job to start building their Internet personal brand. Start a blog, upgrade your Facebook page, start a Linkedin page, heck start tweeting. I hear over and over again; "That stuff does not matter in my industry", "The people looking at my resume don't know what a computer is", "Yeah that would be nice but there are better things for me to do". I am officially calling each one of you out on this. You got 90 year old grandmas on facebook, you are living in a cave if you have never Googled someone, and lastly how does it hurt? This is one little example of something you should be working on late at night to help in your building process. This a way better use of your time then trying to get to the next level on what ever your video game of the week is.
Most importantly, how does it hurt (I will say it again)? If you build an amazing web life and your future employer, investor, customer never reads it how does it hurt? You got a few less hours a week playing video games? Our lives are moving to the web. I promise you in a few years you will be giving urls to future employers instead of paper resumes or emailed pdf copies. Why would I review a one page bulleted list of how cool you are when I can go to your personal sites and find out who you really are; can you write, do you spend more time talking about how drunk you were last night or do you really reflect on the issues of your industry?
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Douche Bag Or Brillant, I Say Brillant

19 November 2009 | talking about Internet, Leadership

So I continue to not be sure if I am in Gary Vaynerchuk's camp or not yet. He is too new. Will he be a voice and a business leader in 2020? I don't know. I sure hope so. The problem and at the same time the driving force of Gary is the first thing everyone says is wow that guy is a "Dush-Bag", but yet they keep listening. We are so instilled not to like someone like that, but yet this new world is changing our social norms. Yeah he comes on strong. Yeah he has a bit of a know-it-all fashion to him. I feel the same way about Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, and Donald Trump. Would you call anyone of those guys Dush-Bags now? All those guys have built empires. Gary has a long ways to go before he will be next to those guys, but the thing is he is very much like those guys. He gets it!!! He sees how the marketing world is changing. He see the power of content. He see the power of self branding. He also understands hard work. If you believe in him or not right now it does not matter, but if you do not realize this guy has a amazing view of business and one route you can travel with it, your a fool. Until I get to meet Gary, or until I can publicly trade his stock (that is when the truth comes out), I will continue to keep my Dush-Bag flag radar on, but will truly admire him as a business person.

I just watched the video below. This guy is dead on when it come to social media. Everyone that is interested in how the world is changing should watch this video.

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What I Admire In A Good CEO

18 November 2009 | talking about Leadership


I Am A CEO Stalker

I have to admit, I am a CEO stalker. Not in the creepy sit outside their house kinda of way. However, I must admin I did drive by Warren Buffet's office and house a few time. When I say I am a stalker I am more of an admirer. I am someone that loves getting inside the mind of a great CEO (or CEO type person). I read as much as I can about them, I watch all the interviews, I track the performance of their companies and more. Some CEO's are very hard to follow and some are very easy to follow. Some are more out spoken and some value their privacy. Some of the CEO's I love to follow are Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Jamie Dimon, Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson, T Boone Pickens, Brad Feld, Jason Mendelson, Jim Cramer, Jack Welch, Tony Hsieh, Gary Vaynerchuk, George Soros, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs and many more. I mention all of these guys because they are all over the board. Not one of these guys are the same in any one way. Some are really successful and fame found them, some have become famous just telling you they are successful (and clearly they are but we might not have known had they not told us), some of these guys have been very successful using themselves as marketing objects to push their wares. Every one of these guys and many more are worth studying and understanding. They are wired in a very special way.

The Know-It-All CEO

Today, I found myself day dreaming about how do I personally filter these guys. When any person speaks you have to filter what they say. How can I tell who is pumping their wares and who is speaking from the heart? How can I tell who is really an expert on the topic or just had a few lucky turns in life? Nowadays everyone is some sort of expert, thanks to the Internet. One things keeps standing out when I watch, read, and listen to these guys talk. Some of these guys will outright tell you what you should be doing in sort of a know-it-all fashion. Sometimes when you are so entrenched in a topic you do become a know-it-all because you very likely might be. Years of experience does make you a know-it-all in certain topics. I do not mean that as a put down, but I feel so many CEO types just stop after they got their first break. I believe that is a mistake. If a CEO made a few correct choices, and was successful their no dummy but I would not add them to my list of truly great CEO's.

The Long Time Great CEO

I feel the truly great CEO's are not know-it-all's, they a great processors of information. They truly believe they can not know it all. There is always more information to process. The less know-it-all CEO's will not answer questions directly. They might give you some big picture guiding principal, but they will also explain the factors that contribute to the question you are asking. A great CEO in my view, might not know the correct answer but knows all the possible inputs and knows all the possible outputs. A great CEO is a sponge of knowledge. I believe a great CEO can take all the soaked up knowledge and process it in a case study type fashion and make a decision. So many CEO's got lucky and made a few great decisions that got them where they are today. The great ones just use that first few lucky decisions as another input stream and continue to seek out other input streams as well.
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I Think I Am Going To Buy Crush It By Gary Vaynerchuck

22 October 2009 | talking about Internet, Small Business

I just watched a great interview of Gary Vaynerchuk by Rick Turoczy (@turoczy) at his blog Silicon Florist. I watch Gary a bunch on the internet but unlike many things I see seek out I have never drank the Gary Vaynerchuk Kool Aid. Often when I find a blog or some great site I get all hyped up on it and visit the site everyday. I have always been a random passer by'er of http://tv.winelibrary.com so I never really understood why everyone was getting all jazzed on his new book CurshIt.
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