Category Archives: Uncategorized

Standing in the Bottom Line for Harry Potter

In just a little more than an hour, the seventh and final book of the Harry Potter Series will be released here in Utah. I love it! Lines for Borders, Barnes and Noble and Walmart are off the charts. It’s the kind of economic pandemonium that actually may shadow (the allegedly revolutionary–) iPhone.

As an entrepreneur and marketing manager, I get a kick out of Harry. How does he do it? It’s a fun thing to explore the incredible value of Harry Potter and his Deathly Hallows. A recent Harry Potter Revenues article suggests the Harry Potter brand values at more than 1 billion dollars. (Wikipedia suggests 4 billion.)

J.K. Rowlings is one great success story. Assuming she gets her 15% creative royalty, let’s do the math: Movie Revenues are already nearly 1.8 billion worldwide. Over 325 million copies of the book have sold–averaged at $20 per book) which means 6.5 Billion is sales. Not including paraphernalia, or the upcoming Harry Potter Land–J.K. is sitting at a cool billion herself. If only she could get a percentage of all the contra-ban rip offs in Asia:) I love this story.

But what about the otherside of the story? The side that funds U.K.’s richest woman–and the only person ever to become a billionaire from writing books?

The entreprenuer in me wants to know, “Why do people spend so much money for this paper and ink?”

Maybe I’ll run out to the bookstore and find out… There might be a few people there planning to spend a little money tonight… :)

Reducing Debt Accelerates Investment Opportunities

The most fundamental aspect of personal finances may be the simple “Rich Dad” addage, “Make sure your assets outweigh your liabilities.” Okay, simple enough.

I also like this little Saturday Night Live skit on eliminating debt that Steve Martin so accurately portrays.


Obiviously there are some things that do require debt. A modest home, a good education, transportation in some cases, and emergency circumstances. I’ll also admit that as an entrepreneur I sometimes find myself stretching the envelope for a start-up business… (I generally chalk it up to the “good education” category.)

There’s an interesting company based in Utah that guarantees to help people payoff their mortgage fast. This company, United First Financial offers a Money Merge account. From what I can gather, it is an investment group where people invest their mortgage money and pay off their principal faster with the returns.

This concept is great, but does offer some concerns. What about the security of that money? What happens if investments don’t pay off, or we suffer another strong recession? Participants in these programs need to make sure that their mortgage money will go towards paying off their principle every month. Some programs may entail a “float”, a period of delay in payments.

There is no question however that proper mortgage finance, such as making an extra yearly payment or carefully participating in mortgage investment opportunities can quickly reduce your debt and accelerate your ability to invest in your own assets. At least you can get some answers to questions you might have at the United First website.

Engage Technology Focus Group

The meeting with Engage ThoughtWare was extremely enlightening. The theory behind the technology is rather simple: Politics, Personality and Corporate Culture are some significant inhibitors to corporate success. By developing a system that eliminates as many of these as possible, productivity increases, profit increases, thus boss and employee are happier.

The technology has powerful organizational systems that could potentiall offer normal blog sites to reach unprecedented organization and follow-thr0ugh on their ideas.

The technology also offers a gated community wherein the development and sharing of ideas could only be accessed by those who are invited into the discussion. This way important conversations wouldn’t be crashed by unwelcome visitors and sensitive information could be identified and developed freely.

I would very much enjoy having this technology for Paul Allen’s page or Mark Cuban. I believe if the UI were made simple enough, it could have a very fast adoption rate and possibly spark an entire paradigm shift in the means of blogging and page organization.

We’ll see.

By the way, in my first day I got nearly a hundred views my first Youtube posting… About 1/100th of where I want to be someday… But really fun anywho…

The San Francisco Treat

I’ll be headed to a wealth building conference in San Francisco this weekend. I can’t lie that a big part of my motivation is an excuse to meet up with some of my good friends while I’m out there.

The conference is on Saturday, Jan. 14th 8am to 5:30 pm in San Francisco. I haven’t heard too many reviews about the conference but the general opinion is that everyone does learn some new things about wealth management, real estate investment, and other personal financial methods. People have also said that the things learned at the conference were not anything that one couldn’t learn online by doing some research.

Honestly, I hope to learn some good things from this conference. I want to learn how trusts work, and maybe some methods to protect the corporate veil, or set up limited partnerships within limited liability corps. Most of all though, the real reason any one should go to these conferences is to meet people. Find people who have similar interests and complimentary talents.

In the end, who knows what will come out of it. Either way, I’m looking forward to Ghirardelli Square and some Rice-A-Roni. I’ll be sure to post any good notes that I pick up while I’m there.

Cutting outside of the pie.

Are internet sales a fixed pie? Is there really only a certain amount of dollars that are spent on the internet that somehow need to be divided among the millions of online retailers?

While it may be a hard argument to win, I would suggest that it is possible to get first-time online shoppers to buy from your online store. The growth is small and takes a lot of work, (especially for online sales), but I believe it’s possible.

My dad is pretty anti-internet purchasing, but last year when I started my first online retail company, I simply assured him of the security of the site and let him know that it was the cheapest product on the internet. He bought 4 bottles. Now I know that it’s kinda like he was doing a favor, but the same thing can happen, even if you don’t own the site, but you promote a way for people to invest in the sales of the company. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not screaming to start an MLM or ponzi scheme, I’m just saying integrate some direct sales promotions for your existing customer base can enlarge the pie a little bit. :)

Spam: Enough to lose your appetite.

So I got blasted with a bunch of spam on my blog over the weekend. How irritating. As I was cleaning it up, I thought to myself, “Why do people spam?” My realist self quickly responded, “Because it must work.”

Spamming is on the rise. Like any growing industry, there must be something to it. Cnet has a great article about spam statistics and trends that pretty much identifies it as a problem that is not going away any time soon.

There is something very tempting about spam, (making it, that is). The old saying, “Any press is good press,” has some merit, even in spam-ridden circumstances. The advertising laboratory at Brigham Young University has compiled some research for one of my companies that sells local music for independent artists. The research they did showed that our website had less than a 5% brand recognition among our target demographic. Their research went on to indicate that over 50% of our target market would look at the website if they even knew it existed and 40% of those said they would buy music if they found music they liked while they were there… Clearly for this company it would be helpful if people just knew we existed.

Regardless of those statistics however, I hate is anti-spam and we are working hard to put together brilliant and legitimate ways to increase our organic traffic and brand recognition.

In the mean time, I’m looking for ways to reduce spam on my blog, but not require a registered login to leave comments. Any suggestions?

Finding your network…

The old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” certainly carries some weight in the world. It’s not everything, but it is certainly a key component of opportunity. Networking and the exchange/sharing ideas and information is undoubtedly one of the most valuable efforts for any entrepreneur. I whole heartedly subscribe to the Tim Sanders concept of sharing networks and ideas as freely as possible. (I recommend his book “Love is the Killer App“-although I feel it may have a few twists a little more liberal than I could fully endorse).

Although I personally subscribe to some online communities, (such asLinked In) I still believe there is no substitute for the good old fashioned introduction. If I read an article about a successful entrepreneur, or I have an idea that I would like to bounce off someone whom I know is successful in a certain field pertaining to a business idea I might have, I call them up or send them an email. Most successful entrepreneurs that I have met this way are happy to share a brief moment of their time to help out a fellow pioneer, (within reason of course).

A quick email is certainly the least risky way, but every now and again I may wish to contact someone directly by phone. (I have found thatZaba Search almost without fail has the contact information I need to call someone). If I feel the idea or question I have would be worth someone’s time, sometimes I’ll just give ‘em a call. Not everyone is eager to meet up, but most people can spare a lunch time to share ideas.

I’ve learned you just never know what’s going to come next and if an opportunity comes up that I can’t take advantage of, I’m more than happy to pass it along to someone else in my network of friends and fellow entrepreneurs.

Cingular Ctinks

I was a customer of AT&T wireless before they were purchased by Cingular last year. As an independent contractor and a small business owner, I loved the service and didn’t mind recommending it to partners and employees. AT&T was a great provider and I was able to get a mountain of promotional minutes through their different rate plans. After Cingular bought out the company however, they eliminated my ability to check out the minutes used up in my promotional plan with ATT. So, I still had a great plan, but no way to measure whether or not I went over my minutes.

Well as you can expect I went over my minutes. I called and complained because I didn’t think it was fair that I couldn’t see the minutes I used… they told me to go fish on any refunds of the overage charges, but if I wanted to see what minutes I had used I had to change over to their GSM technology phones. Well, that would have been great, except that at the time their GSM service was terrible in my area, and was extremely unreliable.

Long story made short, it happened again, only this time I went way over. I had no idea how many minutes I was using and I got hit pretty bad. The tragedy is that I couldn’t see my minutes. I didn’t have this problem with ATT Wireless. When I called Cingular, again they were gracious enough to reduce the overage charges by a third, (as a one-time courtesy, they said), but they added that there was no way to measure my minutes. They told me I had to switch to GSM. Now their GSM service is better but is still very unreliable in my area.

Now, I’m not the type of guy to sue someone. As a matter of fact, I am quite repulsed by the idea, however for a company that creates as much profit as Cingular to treat its customers with what I consider to be pretty manipulative tactics, I feel is really wrong. Apparantly Paul Weiss of Freed and Weiss felt that it was potentially of class action gravity. (His firm is the same one that won the suit against Hollywood Video for false late charges… click here to read about that). It’s only available through an idexed page so read it while it’s hot :) Either way, I wrote a letter to Cingular Wireless and I hope to hear back from them that we can resolve this issue quickly. If anyone else had the same thing happen to them, I would encourage them to do the same.

Anyhow, from my personal experience, I’m thinking I’ll probably end with Verizon Wireless for my next service provider.