It doesn’t take a lot of time, money, or sacrifice to do an incredible amount of good. Hence the name of this post (and potential series): Five Minutes on Friday. Even if it’s not Friday, this post might interest you…
Can you — and can I — take just five minutes each Friday (or Saturday, Sunday, etc.) to fix big problems and feel awesome in the process? Sure. It need not suck or feel like work. In fact, it can be like getting a Christmas present. Or perhaps like slaying bad guys as The Punisher.
Pretty sweet on both sides. Here are two quick options for your five minutes this week…
Listen to Music, Save Japan
Make a $10 or greater donation to Music for Relief for earthquake and tsunami relief in Japan and receive a kick-ass exclusive compilation of music from incredible musicians. To get people to take action, the offer is only good for a few days. Listen to the music (listed below) and make a donation here: http://japan.downloadtodonate.org/
Hoobastank — Running Away (acoustic)
Shinedown – Shed Some Light (acoustic live)
Sara Bareilles — Song For A Soldier
Flyleaf — How He Loves (live)
Staind —Right Here (live)
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus — 21 and Up
Angels & Airwaves — Hallucinations
Taking Back Sunday – Best Places To Be A Mom
Placebo – Bright Lights (live)
Black Cards – Dr. Jekkyl & Mr. Fame
B’z — Home
Surfer Blood – Take it Easy (Live)
Ben Folds – Sleazy
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy – Starlight (live)
Counting Crows – Colorblind (live)
R.E.M. – Man on the Moon (live from Tokyo)
Talib Kweli – GMB
Plain White T’s — Rhythm Of Love (live)
Elliott Yamin — Self Control
Pendulum – Witchcraft
Patrick Stump – Saturday Night Again
Linkin Park — Ishho Ni
Pretty sweet, right? Click here to download the tracks.
Email/Call a Company, Save 200,000 Sharks
More than 100 million sharks are now slaughtered annually to fuel the shark fin soup trade. The soup is non-nutritive, expensive, and doesn’t even taste particularly good (yes, I tried it in China in the 90′s). It is served mostly as a status symbol at Asian weddings, formal functions, and high-end restaurants.
How is this fine soup made?
Shark fins are cut-off the sharks in a process called “finning.” The practice is wasteful, unsustainable and ecologically unsound. Here’s how it works: sharks are caught on long-lines (miles of line floating in the oceans, affixed with hooks and bait), brought to the boat, and have their fins are hacked off. Next, since shark meat isn’t worth as much as shark fins, the mutilated but normally live animals are thrown back in to the water to sink and die.
Sharks cannot reproduce fast enough to keep up with mass-production shark finning. In the Atlantic ocean alone, shark populations in many species have decreased more than 90% percent in the last 15 years alone. It’s fucking disgusting.
I wanted to be a marine biologist for nearly 15 years, and if there is two things to remember about sharks, here they are:
- Most sharks don’t attack humans and have no interest in us whatsoever. I’ve dived with hundreds of sharks without incident.
- If you destroy apex predators (predators at the top of the food chain), the rest of the food chain topples soon thereafter.
If the oceans go to hell, so do we. To stick it to the bad guys and help the good guys, here are two five-minute options:
1. Boycott and Publicly Shame Restaurants That Serve Shark Fin Soup
Below is a list of Canadian and US restaurants that still serve shark fin soup. Boycott them, write to them, and — corporations hate bad PR — publicly shame them for inhumanely slaughtering sharks, using blogs, tweets, Facebook, e-mail, or whatever you have:
The University of Miami offers year-round shark expeditions, including weekly tagging trips in the Florida Keys, Great White Shark expeditions in South Africa, and Diving and Tagging tiger shark adventures in the Bahamas. Click here for more information.
If you have other creative ideas on how to promote ocean conservation, please contact Dr. Neil Hammerschalg at nhammerschlag-at-rsmas.miami.edu. To learn more about shark protection, visit these sites:
Once upon a time, two entrepreneurs had an idea: what if we used traditional bookbinding to make iPad cases?
It was a fun idea.
Then it suddenly became very, very profitable. The two entrepreneurs, Patrick Buckley and Craig Dalton, named the idea DODOCase and soon had sold more than 10,000 iPad cases at $60 a pop.
Soon thereafter, they were featured in The New York Times and had a multi-million dollar business on their hands, to the tune to $4-5 million a year.
That could be you.
See, DODOcase was far from alone. They were part of a simple experiment, a business-building competition I launched jointly with an incredible start-up called Shopify.
The results were amazing:
Revenue PER HOUR for the duration of the contest: $696.38
Total number of orders placed: 66,503
Most important — Total businesses created: nearly 1,400
1,400 &^%$ing businesses, created by people just like you.
People who’d become comfortable in a routine. People who’d dreamt of starting their own company… someday. People who just needed a quick slap to get off the tranquilizers of their 9-to-5. But did I say “people just like you”? Scratch that — 1,400 businesses, many of them created by people far less capable than you.
$100,000 Grand Prize
VIP trip for two to New York City, where Seth Godin will cook you dinner
One-hour power session with Gary Vaynerchuk
VIP trip to San Francisco, where you’ll visit the Googleplex and have dinner (and wine, of course) with yours truly at one of my favorite restaurants in the world… Read More
What did Twitter look like before it was Twitter? Let us begin the story with an image…
Jack Dorsey’s first sketch for what would become Twitter (Photo: Jack Dorsey and d0tc0m)
This photo was first shown to me by Peter Sims, a former venture capitalist and now friend.
Pete and I share a number of common interests: wine, K-os, long dinners, and above all… little bets.
It’s a favorite topic of conversation.
Perhaps a year ago, after a quick tour of the Stanford Institute of Design (d.school), Pete and I sat talking about start-ups in Tresidder dining hall. He was working on a new book about innovation, which he wanted to bridge different worlds, to explain the shared traits of the game changers.
The question he posed was simple: if you look at the biggest successes in the world, whether Apple CEO Steve Jobs, comedian Chris Rock, or award-winning architect Frank Gehry, what do they have in common?
Answer: the bigger they are, the more small bets they make.
Becoming the best of the best is less about betting the farm (a common misconception) and more about constant tinkering. Within Pixar or within Amazon, there is a method to the madness, but it’s not haphazard risk-taking.
In the following guest post, Peter will look at the unlikely evolution of a little tool. It’s a little tool now used to overthrow governments, and a tool that’s become a company some value at more than $10 billion: Twitter.
Waterfall in Aix-en-Provence, France. (Photo: Mat3270)
“Didn’t you write that you believed BrainQUICKEN couldn’t be sold?”
The question — a common one — was from writer John Warrillow and for an article in Inc. Magazine.
The embarrassing answer was “yes.” In 2005, I had assumed it was impossible to sell my then start-up and, as with most assumptions, I was dead wrong. I sold BrainQUICKEN in 2009 and learned volumes in the process.
For example: counter to expectations, I ended up caring more about lack of strings than maximizing price… Read More
“How did you hit #1 on The New York Times bestseller list?”
Historically, I’ve answered with “That’s a long, long story.” If pressed further, I would explain that I couldn’t go into the details until I hit #1 a second time. Alas, in publishing and in life: once you’re lucky, twice you’re good.
Now, I can finally share the inside baseball of all I’ve learned (and witnessed) over the last five years.
For the first time, I’ll be deconstructing the biggest hits in publishing, including the preparation and execution of launches for my two books, both of which hit #1 New York Times:
The 4-Hour Workweek… (published April 2007)
#1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, #1 BusinessWeek
Called “The most surprising self-help hit of the decade” by Men’s Journal
More than 1,000,000 hardcovers sold in the US alone
Nearly four years unbroken on the New York Times Business Bestseller List
Sold in 35 languages, 60+ printings
An Amazon Top-10 Reader Favorite of 2007
AdAge “Best Product Launch for 2007”
Digital sales: 4.8% of total units
Advance paid: < $100,000 (signed before publication)
The media were kind in 2007, with quotes like “best self-promoter of all time” (Wired) and “branding wunderkind” (FastCompany).
But it wasn’t me. Not at all. It was due to process. To wit, the 2010 release of The 4-Hour Body:
The 4-Hour Body… (published December 2010)
Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller, #1 six out of the first eight weeks
Nearly 500,000 books sold in the first four months
Selling at FIVE times the rate of The 4-Hour Workweek
The #1 most-highlighted book of all time on Amazon (screenshot here)
[Note: The 4-Hour Workweek is currently #5, just below the Bible]
First business author to jump non-fiction categories and create another instant #1 hit
Digital sales: 30% of total units, 90%+ of which is Kindle
Advance paid (largely based on the proposal’s marketing plan): $2,000,000+
For the first time, I’m going to explain how my team did it all, ranging from flexible first principles and guidelines, to trench warfare and exact wording in pitches and partnership proposals.
It will be covered in a single seminar –
OPENING THE KIMONO®
Repeat Engineering of #1 — The Future of Book and Content Marketing
Dates: August 19 – 21, 2011 Location: California wine country, confidential retreat location. Details sent upon sign-up. Available spots: Limited to 200 people. Policies: No media coverage, no Twitter, Facebook, or other coverage of the event, and no recording whatsoever.
Who is it for?
Authors – Increase both advances and bestseller probabilities Publishers/Agencies – Know which authors to bet on, sign bigger authors or win auctions, and increase your homerun ratio PR/Marketing Professionals – Attract and retain the best clients who believe digital execution is the future Anyone who wants to compete with (and learn from) the newest generations of whiz kids, rather than be defeated by them.
This seminar is not about buying your way onto the lists or the latest social media fads, though we’ll explain how people do the former. This seminar is a roadmap for the rarest of recipes: a repeatable and ethical content-creation and launch process that will put your product at the top and keep it at the top.
In sum: We’ll cover all of the most important lessons I’ve learned (and witnessed) over the last five years — and discover how to find elegance in the chaos.
The experience will include exact details of:
* Building marketing into content creation, and the value of working backwards
* First principles and overarching strategies in a digital world: the core of testing
* Timing of PR and phased outreach — exact calendars and e-mails
* How to build a high-traffic blog in minimal time, plus fatal mistakes
* Borrowing approaches from movies, and the art of the calculated tease
* How and when to use pre-sales (almost no one gets this right)
* Tools and tricks for project management without micro-management
* Secrets of the “Lean Launch” model
* Review copies and advanced copies — viral approaches
* Uses and misuses of Twitter and Facebook (I’m an investor in both)
* How to test high-leverage contrarian approaches without betting the farm
* How to combine offline with online, and when not to
* Dozens of real-world case studies
* Special guests seldom or never seen in the book world
* Much, much more…
It will also include fine wine, extensive Q&A opportunities to address your specific situations/challenges, high-level networking, and, of course, the beauty and wonder of wine country.
Once this event is sold-out, it is sold-out.
Just like TED and similar high-end events, flights and hotel are not included, but numerous surprise goodies will be provided on-site.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS EVENT HAS ENDED. PLEASE DO NOT FILL OUT THE BELOW FORM.
The following is an interview with Daymond John, CEO of the clothing brand FUBU, whom I’ve come to know and respect. If there were one mantra I’d associate with him, it’s “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Can’t afford billboards? No problem — just pay retail store owners in key areas to let you spraypaint “FUBU” on their overnight roll-down security walls. His drive and improvisation has led him from sewing cloth in his kitchen to #15 on Details magazine’s list of “50 Most Influential Men.”
It would seem he’s just getting started, but I’ll let him tell the story… Read More