Monthly Archives: October 2007

House Of Rave Version 3.0

Since the last overhaul of my business HouseOfRave.com, I haven’t really done much to the business except for change suppliers (no small task). The initial changes I made nearly tripled profits in just a few months, and I’m hoping I can replicate that success and more.

So recently I’ve been making a couple of changes which will hopefully take HouseOfRave to the next level. To start, the changes I made over the last week were:

Upgraded Policies Page:
Clearer return policies, shipping policies and other information reduces the amount of inquiries I get about these things.


New Product Listings:
I’ve recently added a whole Disco Balls Section and Lamps Section to the site, and will continue to add several products per day to existing sections.

HoR Embedded Player:
A while ago I updated the highly popular videos section on HouseOfRave by putting all the videos on YouTube. The problem is YouTube ends videos by showing other related videos which takes viewers back to YouTube. Even when you click on the video, it takes you away from my site.

To solve this problem, I’ve now got a HouseOfRave-branded video player installed with my own logo and all.

I’m in the process of upgrading the videos to this format, and I’ve also got the comments and rating system like YouTube’s coming within the next week. The new Version 3.0 video section will also allow users to upload their own videos and have them rated by other members.

Email Newsletter Signup:
One of the fundamental ways of getting people to return to your site is by having a newsletter sent out. I started up the HouseOfRave Newsletter again using the GetResponse online application (as recommended by Yaro’s site).

I put the simple signup form on the header in order to start building a larger subscriber list. I’m thinking maybe I should move the signup for to the right-hand navigation instead?

It’s been over 2 years since I’ve really made any big changes, so it’s kind of fun mixing things up!

Attending An Elton John Private Performance

A little over 2 years ago I attended a private charity fundraiser event which included a private performance by Elton John. This past weekend I got word that this event was being held again so I decided to go. Based off the PHENOMENAL performance and “fun-ness” of the event last year, I didn’t want to pass this chance up!

Last time I went, I actually had to duck out during the first part of dinner because there were absolutely NO seats left. However this time I was lucky enough to get a seat at one of the tables they kept for last minute invites. They brought in a 5-star (or diamond) chef to cook the nights meal, so naturally every course was delicious.

Another cool thing about this time around was I got to sit RIGHT next to the stage for the whole performance. As I was holding my camera up to record some clips of the performance, it dawned on me that I was watching a private show by Sir Elton John, sitting right against the stage whilst sitting right next to Lance Armstrong and a bunch of rich & famous in Austin. Just a fun feeling :-)

The Fundraising Power of Elton:
These events always have auctions, and this one was no exception. Each of the 8 items auctioned off raised several tens of thousands of dollars apiece, but that wasn’t enough. Elton John took the mic and auctioned off a private dinner with him for you and your friends in any of his homes in France, London, Atlanta, Paris….and the list goes on (He listed like EIGHT different places he lives).

They started this item at $10,000, and it quickly escalated $5,000 higher with each bid…quickly shooting up past $50,000, then $70,000, then over $100,000! It soon became apparent that three different parties were set on winning this private dinner with Elton John, so they all went to the stage to collaborate. A few seconds later, each of the three parties agreed to get their own Elton John private dinner for $150,000 a piece! That’s $450,000 for the Andy Roddick Foundation in less than 3 minutes!

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VIDEO UPDATE: 11-12-2007
Here’s a 1min 45sec video of Elton playing Tiny Dancer I took from the stage where I was sitting. I forgot to upload it when originally writing this post. I don’t know if the sound and picture quality captures it very well, but Elton John delivered a mind-blowing performance!

I’m fortunate enough right now to have people that know about these events and even help me get in. This event was pretty easy to crash since I was helped out and given the needed wristband for entrance. However, the end goal here is to one day be in a position where I can afford to donate $12,000 for a table at these kind of events. Obviously right now I can’t drop that kind of cash on a single event, but meeting people at these places might definitely help get me there one day.

And by one day I mean within the next two years.

The TED Site is Awesome

There’s not many sites (particularly blogs) that I’ve found which consistently put out great material that I enjoy, but I’ve gotta say, http://www.ted.com/ has been doing a great job for the month I’ve been reading it.

I’ve never previously heard about it, but there’s a big conference held every year in Monterey, CA. called TED (Thinking, Entertainment, Design) with different speakers, guests yadda yadda…..but this conference has some of the most genuinely interesting stuff I’ve seen, and on a wide scale of subjects.

I keep a track of the TED Blog everyday, and would highly suggest checking out the ridiculously interesting TED Video Archive which contains some pretty amazing speeches by some pretty amazing people. They are each almost 20 minutes long, so I watch about one a day. I’m very impressed at the professional level these speeches have been filmed, so it’s like you’re at the speech itself.

Just thought I’d share!

Donate Buttons On Sites

I’ll admittedly say I’ve downloaded way more than my fair share of illegal copies of software many, many times. Even HouseOfRave.com was originally built with a piece of software which I downloaded the demo then cracked the serial number during high school.

Not that this would solve the solution, but it would be nice if companies had small “Donate” buttons on their sites somewhere, much like shareware sites have. I would love to send $100 bucks or so to Adobe to thank them for their software I’ve used for so many years, but there’s currently no good way of doing this.

Not that $100 makes up for the price of the software, but at least it’s something I can afford and would be willing to send. Perhaps companies should setup these “Donate” accounts to where the company takes 15% of the pot, and the rest is somehow divided up to the developers. This would be like a virtual “Tip Jar” for the software developers.


Pictured: Me giving Photoshop a hug.

When I was in high school and college there was NO WAY on earth I would pay for software. This was especially true for things like Adobe Photoshop which cost well over $1,000 to legitimately buy, but are also extremely easy to download for free from various sources.

From what I know about companies like Microsoft and Adobe is they make a majority of their money from businesses that must legitimately buy their software. They make much more here than in the individual consumer market.

So suppose one day when (if) I grow up, I have some sort of firm that deals with graphic design in some way and I eventually have to buy software to support this. My most logical choice will be an Adobe product since I’ve happily used their products for years with great satisfaction.

However right now it almost seems illogical for me to pay $1,000+ for the latest version of Photoshop when I can so easily go to mininova.org or some other BitTorrent site and download a full version completely gratis.

A while ago I put a little inconspicuous tip jar on NevBlog on the bottom-right navigation bar…

…and its actually got a couple of donations! Perhaps I should put one on HouseOfRave too in case someone enjoys the free videos or pictures, would like to send some money, but doesn’t necessarily want to buy anything.

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Speaking of these little virtual tip jars, I always thought they can be used as an interesting way to get a bloggers attention (like Steve Pavlina or some other big dog blog). You could send them a series of small denomination donations: $1 the first day, $2 the next day, $3 the next day….just to mess with them :-)

Tim Sykes’ Book – It’s Actually Good

As I got his first rough-draft book for reviewing in the mail, I almost threw it in the trash like I do most of the promotional books I get. They’re usually something along the lines of “Make Millions Without Lifting A Finger” or some equally outrageous (yet unrealistic) title.

Tim’s book “An American Hedge Fund: How I Made $2 Million As A Stock Operator & Created A Hedge Fund” caught my eye because of the title and the fact that he is only two years older than I am (he is 26 now).

I started to simply skim through the book, but to my surprise it was actually quite an interesting read! His book described how he would work out of his dorm room in college (which sounded very familiar to me) and trade stocks. I did this too once, although not near to the level he got. Sometimes he would gain as much as $130,000 in ONE DAY!! Needless to say I was very enthralled by the story:

From $12,000 in Bar Mitzvah money, Tim turned that into about $1.65 MILLION in less than 3 years! I was a little skeptical about him claiming to be a big shot money guru, because he traded during volatile times in the stock market. Impressive none-the-less, but I feel a truly seasoned money professional can make money throughout every type of stock market (like TheKirkReport.com), but Tim wasn’t even old enough to have experienced more than 1 or 2 types of markets.

Surprisingly he didn’t tout himself as a big-shot money guy, but it shows the reader about his absolutely risky trading habits which luckily paid off for him. Of course turning such little money into so much money still takes lots of skill.

While I was in New York I got a chance to meet up with Tim, and he’s quite the cool character! We met up at the really slick W Hotel bar called WetBar (sorry, I forgot to get a picture) and started talking about all his ventures. Really cool guy. He now has his own web series with his own camera crew and everything on MSN Video and TheStreet.com, plus has been on CNBC many times, interviewed cool people like Richard Branson and has done some very interesting skits to teach people about stocks.

I told him he was going to be the Bill Nye the Science Guy of stocks one day because he makes his lessons informative yet interesting at the same time.

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One of the other things that fascinated me about this kid was instead of him publishing his book through a big publishing house, he decided to start his own publishing company to release his book. This caught my attention, because I love it when people embark upon an industry they know little to nothing about and succeed in it. So instead of going with a big publishing house and getting very small returns per-book, he can go through himself (and Amazon.com) and make a large sum per book. I love it!

If you haven’t heard about Tim Sykes by now, I have a feeling you’ll be hearing a lot more about him soon. I do know one thing though, his personality is a love-him or hate-him type. We were supposed to attend the Trader Monthly 30 Under 30 party while I was in New York, and Tim actually got DIS-INVITED!!! HA!!

Apparently the previous year he showed up in a bath robe to the party (which I think is completely hilarious and a nice break from the stuffy suits that always show up).

Check him out.