Category Archives: Neville

Cuba

For the 1st part of my 30th birthday, I went to the F1 races, then Noah threw me a surprise party that night.

For the 2nd part of my 30th bday, I went to Cuba (actually Noah planned this whole trip too…..that was damn nice of him eh!)

Cuba was appealing because it’s this weird “time capsule” of a place.  The United States has an embargo against Cuba, so Cuba has very little importing options….not to mention it’s a communist country (well….I guess technically it’s “socialist”).  This means the government can strictly control the imports, exports, the currency….and thus, the people.

For example, for the locals of Cuba:

  • …they are not allowed to leave Cuba.
  • …they are not allowed to use the internet.
  • …they are not supposed to get close with any tourists.
  • …they are not allowed to openly talk bad about the government.
  • …all sorts of other stuff.

There’s also not a lot of industry going on in Cuba….this means most of the local population is quite poor, many of them making something like $13 to $18 U.S. dollars A MONTH.  That’s right, A MONTH.

A doctor in Cuba, even a surgeon, gets paid only $40 A FREAKIN’ MONTH.

Almost hard to believe.

The way they survive on this small sum of money is because Cuba has two currencies (both of which outside of Cuba are worth nothing).

FIRST CURRENCY is called the Cuban Convertible Peso, and is roughly 1-to-1 with American dollars.  Tourists use this currency, and prices everywhere are pretty decent with this currency.  We could eat a nice lunch, complete with beers, for 6 people, for about $30 to $45.  Not bad.  Unless you’re eating at the really nice tourist-y places, you probably won’t spend a crazy amount on food.

SECOND CURRENCY is the Cuban Peso, and is for locals only.  Tourists aren’t supposed to use it, and the locals aren’t “supposed to” accept it from tourists (notice the “supposed to” in quotes).  This currency is 250 per 1 American dollar.  My friend heard that you could buy things RIDIIIICCCULOUSLY cheap in local areas if you somehow get a hold of this currency.

He found a place that would let him get some, and he decided to change just $20 U.S. Dollars. The lady at the front asked him, “Ummm….are you SURE?”  He agreed, and got a HUGE STACK OF $5,000 IN LOCAL BILLS.  It was like a giant strip-club stack of $20 bills!
Whenever we went to local places that accepted this currency, this is what we spent:

  • 4 bowls of ice cream at a sit-down ice cream parlor (4 scoops per bowl) = $0.20 USD total
  • Bottle of rum + mixers = $2.90 USD
  • Personal pizza =  $0.15 USD

After paying with local currency at every place possible (sometimes convincing is needed), my friend still had $10 USD in local currency left over!

However almost everyone we spoke with about Cuba told us the local currency was useless for tourists.  It worked well for us because 3 of us were brown, and my friend using the currency spoke very fluent Spanish.

However this local currency only worked in certain places, definitely not everywhere.  I still ended up spending about $2,000 in six days (about 20% was skimmed off each money exchange, and much of it was to pay for the big penthouse condo we rented).

BRIBING. 
One of the greatest parts about living in a society that’s “slightly less than 1st world” is bribing (well…presuming you’re rich in that country….otherwise it sucks for you)!

Anytime there’s a long line at the airport, it “can be solved” with some monetary lubrication.
Anytime you need a table at a restaurant with a huge wait…..no problem.

BEST JOBS IN CUBA:
In a perfect society, I’d think doctors, teachers, and businessmen should make the most money…..HOWEVER, in Cuba, we found out one of the best jobs to ever have is a bartender in a touristy spot!

The bartenders sling drinks all day, and get tipped in Cuba Convertible Pesos (about 1-to-1 with American dollars).  This means they can rake in $150+ a day.  And when you consider the average Cuban peasant makes something like $13 to $18 a MONTH, that’s a helluvalot of money.

The next best job is a taxi driver.  The government “owns” the taxis, but the drivers get to keep much of their tips.  Someone shuttling around tourists all day can make decent tips, and support an entire family pretty well on that job.

It was interesting yet kinda sad how a bartender or taxi driver make literally 100x what a doctor makes.

SAFETY:
The country actually felt VERY safe.  I have a reasonably good “Spidey Sense” of what situations will get me into “fake” trouble (ex: security guard telling you to stop doing something), and what will get me into “real” trouble (ex: going to jail in a communist country).

….and I gotta say, Cuba was pretty safe.  Since their criminal justice system is so harsh on crime, there is very little of it.  I heard pickpocketing and petty crimes are reasonably common, but serious crimes are not.

Actually in Mexico and China I’ve felt MUCH stronger security presences than Cuba.  I really expected to see armed guards everywhere around Cuba, but alas hardly saw a single one.  Even the police officers seemed chill and nice, and about 80% didn’t even carry guns.

Pretty much everywhere we went, the vibe of the country was “super chill”.  It was very safe.

GETTING INTO THE COUNTRY FOR U.S. CITIZENS:
Pretty much any other country in the world can openly travel to Cuba with no issue.  However Americans can’t legally go “just like that” because of the embargo we have against Cuba since 1962.  But there are many options to go:

GETTING A VISA:
American Citizens can go to Cuba legally if they have family members there, going for diplomatic reasons, going for foreign aid reasons……and the most common is “cultural” reasons.  This is for students and tourists.  There are many tour companies that will charge you money and get you a “legal” visa to Cuba…..but I’m almost certain some of these are scams, read the next way of entering the country:

GOING QUASI-ILLEGALLY:
U.S. citizens can “try” this little stunt if so chosen:
Get a flight to some country such as Mexico, Belize, Guatemala …wherever.  Then fly to Havana, Cuba from there.  Your passport will get stamped on the way out of the country, however, Cuba stamps only the Cuban visas (which any person can buy at the airport for $25 each).  This visa is just a piece of paper that’s NOT affixed to your passport.

This means for Americans, they stamp the paper on the way into the country, and the way out of the country.  So your passport is untouched.

For example, one could “just hypothetically” do this:

  • Go to Cancun, Mexico.
  • Buy a flight to Cuba.
  • At the airport, find a place to get Cuban visas.  They’re $25 each.
  • Fly to Cuba, have a good time.
  • Fly back to Cancun.
  • Fly back to the U.S.

From what I understand through research and talking to many people who’ve done something similar, the U.S. no longer takes the Cuban embargo ultra-seriously.

 

 

THE TIME-CAPSULE EFFECT:
One of the main reasons I wanted to visit Cuba right now, is the “time-capsule” effect the American embargo has on the country.  Essentially they have a bunch of old cars from the 50’s rolling around, no internet and very limited cell phone use.

I can go to a rural farm in India, and the farmer will be text messaging his kids.  However in Cuba I hardly saw ANY locals with a phone.  The only phones I saw being used were carried by hustlers, tourists, or students.

It was also almost wholly “brand-less” when driving around.  No billboards, no overt advertisements except inside the actual establishments.

 

 

LANGUAGE BARRIER:
You’ll definitely need to know some Spanish if you visit.  However you can make it around the tourist-y areas ok without it. All 6 of us on the trip spoke and understood at least A LITTLE Spanish.  Two people with us spoke damn-near fluent, so that helped a ton for using local currency, getting information, and exploring areas where tourists don’t go.

 

 

CULTURE & MIS-INFORMATION:
Initially I thought we’d see propaganda everywhere, kind of like I’ve seen in China….but to my surprise it was shockingly little.  Instead the people are left relatively ignorant of the outside world through not being able to leave the country, no internet, and mainly: Very little access to outside information.

Their bookstores only sold American literature if it was something like an old classic novel (Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway etc).  There were a lot of books about Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.  But completely absent were any new releases.

Almost no Cubans have ever left the country.  Almost no information about the outside world is easily seen.

 

THE CONTINGENCY PLAN:
After researching Cuba, it turns out things were pretty safe.  So here’s how I rationalized it:

  • 98% chance things would all work out completely fine and we’d all get home safe.
  • 1% chance of us getting stopped for questioning….perhaps get a small fine.
  • 1% chance that I somehow end up in a Cuban jail with no way out.

In the REALLY OFF CHANCE that I (or someone in the group) were to end up in some really deep-shit trouble whilst in Cuba, I made a small document called “The Contingency Plan.”  

I sent the document to two close friends who I trust, and also know my family & friends well enough to get things in motion.

The document contained certain contact information, and also instructions on where to find a small envelope which contained some bank account information. This bank account had immediately access to $200k in cash…..so if by some REMOTE CHANCE I didn’t arrive back home from Cuba…..the contingency plan would kick into gear and be well funded.

After going on the trip and seeing how safe the country actually was, I probably wouldn’t deem a Contingency Plan necessary for the next trip……but it was nice to know I had backups coming for us in case something happened.

 

 

 

SCREW ALL THIS WRITING, HERE’S SOME PICTURES! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Here’s some video highlights of the trip (me and my brother bought a $60 guitar in Cuba and made VERY good use of it)!

http://youtu.be/-eRVn5Kib5s

1st Edition of the The Neville Letters

Not fully sure about the name yet, but for now they’re called The Neville Letters. 

I’ve loooong wanted to make a physical snail-mail newsletter I send out once a month.

There’s something so intrinsically satisfying to me about writing something, then printing it on paper.  As I hold it in my hand, I think, “I….Neville Medhora…..MADE this thing.”
(I say it in my Caveman Voice) 

 

 

THE REASON IT’S PHYSICAL AND NOT EMAIL OR WEB:
For YOU.

When I just write something and hit “Publish” ….and it’s free …and I don’t really know the people I’m sending to…. the content is gonna be different.

I’ve always wanted to send “Things” to people, not just words.  I personally love sitting in bed with a physical book or newsletter and marking it up with a pen.  I take away MUCH MORE than a simple email to me.

The reason is UNDERSTANDING.

If I just say, “Hey, you should tell a story in your copy to increase conversions.”  ….that’s sort of lame, and won’t stick in your head.

IT’S MY FREAKIN JOB TO BURN LESSONS INTO YOUR BRAIN, so for example…..I’ve always wanted instead to send a box with a crappy little stuffed animal in it, and say something like:

“This stuffed animal rabbit was found on Howland Island towards the end of 1937….just 6 months after Amelia Earhart’s famous disappearance.  Howland Island is over 1,700 miles away from the Hawaiian Islands, making it one of the most remote places on Earth.

Humans had never visited the island till a search crew landed on it’s beaches.

What you’re holding here is not just a small, grey, stuffed rabbit with it’s eye poked out.  This rabbit was believed to be in the plane of Amelia Earhart (the first woman to fly across the Atlantic) when her plane crashed somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle.

This rabbit found on Howland Island was the exact type Amelia Earhart use to fly with as a good luck charm (confirmed by her parents).  What you’re holding in your hand is believed to be the ONLY PIECE OF EVIDENCE ever found of Amelia Earhart’s wrecked plane.

…..now look again at this piece-of-junk stuffed animal.  You thought it was a 25 cent item at a garage sale.  But now it’s priceless.  It’s value went from 25 cents to something that would fetch over $1,000,000 at a Sotheby’s auction.

Why?

THE STORY BEHIND IT.

DAMN that was good!

I made up the whole thing about this stuffed rabbit being found, but that person would now fully understand the value-adding power of a great story.  Physically holding that rabbit in your hands will make a HUGE difference in the way you grasp the concept of how stories can work.  It will be the difference between “understand the concept” and “A light switch in your brain turning on.”

I view it as my DUTY to press these lessons into people’s heads……and using a physical medium is still far more powerful than our current experience on the internet.

I think that’s worth a whole helluva-a-lot more than $100 every month.

My plan is so ultra-super-duper-hardcore burn ONE main lesson into people’s brains with each newsletter.

The lessons will primarily be in the kopywriting world……but in my mind, kopywriting and business are the same thing.

 

 

THE REASON I’M CHARGING:
REASON #1.) It’s like….work and shit to send these out.   I’ve long run a drop-shipping business and know it’s a pain in the ass to keep track of physical inventory and all the random real-world things that happen to a package.

REASON #2.) FOR YOU TO LEARN BETTER.  I was long a believer that all my products should be cheap as possible.  Lemme tell you, I HAVE CHANGED.  It has absolutely zero to do with making more money, and everything to do with PEOPLE WHO PAY FOR SOMETHING VALUE IT MORE. 

….and the MORE they pay, the MORE they pay attention.  

I have seen this countless times now…..most poignantly with AppSumo tests we’ve done:

Let’s say something like the wildly-popular and helpful SumoBusinessBlueprint.  We sell it for $69.  People LOVE it, they LEARN A LOT from it, and many go onto create businesses from it, or at least change their entire mind about how to start a business.

But we’ve tried tests where we sold it for $18 also.  It sold well at the lower price, but the engagement was low, the people learned very little since they didn’t value it (not everyone, but there was an extraordinarily noticeable drop in interaction), and people thought it was “just ok”.

We then tried selling this product for $1.  Yup, just 1 buck.

I thought it was going to be the most AMAZING deal people ever got, and they would all love me.

You know what happened?

THOSE MOTHERFUCKERS WERE THE LEAST-MOTIVATED, MOST-BITCHIEST, WORST CUSTOMERS WE EVER HAD!   

That stupidly low price did many things:

  • De-valued the whole product (when did you think something that was $1.00 was EXTREMELY valuable to you)?
  • Attracted basement-bargain hunters.
  • Made the course a total “impulse buy” which people could grab ….and then never use.
  • Lowered the ratings on the course as these non-perfect-customers would say, “This sucks I want a refund.”
We tried this on several courses, and the shitty results were consistant.
The craziest thing was…..when we price-tested higher prices (particularly $89), the satisfaction rate went UP!  The higher price scared away the bargain hunters and impulse buyers….leaving us only with people serious about bettering their understanding of starting a bid-naz.

 

 

—————————————————-

ANYHOW, If you can come up with a better name than
“The Neville Letters”, lemme know.  Current ideas I have are:

  • Nev Letters
  • Nev’s Letters
  • The Kopywriting Kronicles
  • Kopywriting Letters
  • Neville Medhora’s Kopywriting Letters
  • ?????

 

If you would like to start getting The Neville Letters in your physical mailbox, you can signup below.  The 1st edition is ready to send out (I actually already sent the 1st two copies to Noah, and my good friend Ryan):

I’m EXCITED AS HELL ABOUT THIS!  Hope you come join me on this journey.

It’s exactly $100/month (not $97, or $99.99 to help convince you buy….just plain-old $100).

You can signup below (make sure to enter your correct shipping address at checkout):

[NEVILLE’S LETTERS SUBSCRIBES ARE CLOSED RIGHT NOW!]

 

We got Simpson-ized

Well this certainly was a cool way to say “Thank You”!

Got this email sent to Noah and I recently from Rohan V:

To the Brothers,

Thank you, sincerely. Let me explain. I’m currently trying to deliver free education to 20 million people in Sri Lanka and I’ve learnt a ton from both of you, as well as acquired a metric shit ton of awesome knowledge via the ongoing @appsumo deals which will hopefully directly translate into both meaningful and lasting change for an entire nation within my lifetime.
I just wanted to reach out and scribble these sentiments down because sometimes it really is the simplest things that matter the most.
To the hustle compadres!

Rohan Vimalachandran

P.S – Had the attached done, hope you get a kick out of it!
He then attached this drawing he had made of us….HA!
Simpsonized Neville and Noah
He got the original image from a thumbnail of one of our Sumo Dojo videos:
Before being simpsonized
I thought this was a pretty great way to get someone’s attention. I’m guessing he had that Simpson-ized drawing done for just a few dollars, but it made all the difference (so much so I wanted to share it)!
Thanks Rohan!

Public Speaking Dojo

Here’s a little Sumo Dojo we did about Public Speaking.  Some do’s, don’t, tips, tricks:

 

SPEAKING of public speaking…..I spoke on Thursday about validating business ideas, and I wanted to warm up the crowd a bit.  I decided to make everyone sing “We Will Rock You”, and wasn’t sure if a whole crowd could keep up the beat AND sing at the same time.  See for yourself how it turned out :-)

That was fun!

My Zero G Experience

Well….I went on a Zero Gravity flight!

It’s a flight where you get on an airplane (a full-sized 727) and do parabola maneuvers that make you weightless for 30 seconds at a time.

It was kind of like skydiving, I always knew I wanted to do it.

Basically the plane does maneuvers like this:
Zero G Parabola Flight Path

Now the VERY FIRST THING everyone wants to know is “HOW MUCH DID IT COST??”

Well, here’s the after-tax price on my credit card statement:
Zero Gravity Flight Cost

$5,197.00 total cost. 

So yes…..this wasn’t a cheap little adventure (you can take a whole family on a vacation for that much money)…..but it was a “once in a lifetime” unique thing.  Plus when I go to space, I’ll have some experience :-)

So I’ll describe the whole day with words & pictures:

At 8:30am me and two friends (Steve and John) went to a Marriott where the ZeroG people were holding an orientation.  They have Dramamine and some other anti-nausea medications freely available (after all, this thing is nicknamed “The Vomit Comet”)!

Zero G Flight Orientation

After watching some videos and a light breakfast, they tell you to use the bathroom since there’s no bathroom on the plane (since regular airplane bathrooms tend to “spill over” when you do weird parabola maneuvers in them).  Gross.

One of the things I blatantly ignored was them discouraging you from bringing a camera.  They said in the air it was “very clumsy” to fiddle with a camera.  I still brought one anyway and put it in my flight suit (which you get to keep)!

They were gonna have a professional photographer onboard, plus a couple of high def video cameras to record all the floating.

Apparently this Marriott had Zero Gravity already!  ;-)

 

Soon after the orientation, they bused us to the airport:
Zero G Bus Trip

 

Everyone on the bus was pretty excited and ready to go floating!

 

We got down and saw the plane.  It was a full size plane, much like something you’d fly from Austin to New York in:

 

I naturally had to get my world-wide famous handstand picture pose.  This one was timed pretty well!
Zero G Flight Handstand

 

Here’s a picture of John, TAKING a picture of him throwing a phone in the air:

 

Everyone boarding the plane from the cargo entrance (the whole thing is actually a converted cargo airplane):

 

A group photo of everyone going floating that day. I stuck my tongue out like this  :-P

 

Me, Steve, and John walking Armageddon style towards the plane:

 

There were about 40 regular airplane seats in the back, and you can see the main floating area with padding the whole way around:

 

When we completed the takeoff and got to cruising altitude, they let us hang out in the main floating area.  Sitting like this was MUCH more comfortable than regular old airplane seats!

 

Since the plane must first do a high-gravity turn before low-gravity, they HIGHLY SUGGEST you lay down and stare at one spot on the ceiling for this part.   We would pull 1.8 G’s on this maneuver, so my 170 lbs body felt 306 lbs.

It just felt like a lot of pressure on your body, but not extremely uncomfortable (although anymore G’s and it would be uncomfortable):

 

Me jokingly falling asleep:

 

This is me in Martian gravity.  Our first parabola was “Mars gravity” which is 1/3 your weight on Earth.  The next two parabolas are “Lunar weight” where you weight 1/6th your weight.

This part was really fun!  You could jump & flip…..but when you hit the ground it didn’t hurt. You also would still come back down, whereas in Zero G you never fall back down without a push:

 

This was my first FULLY WEIGHTLESS picture.  It was fun just rising up off the ground with literally a tap of your finger:

 

John got these two great pics of him floating an iPhone.  He was actually trying to play Hangtime….a game he developed which got banned from the Apple App store.  You throw your phone high as possible and try to see how long it can “hang” in the air.  This is a CLEAR loophole :-)

These pics are particularly great since John is CEO of Mutual Mobile (a 250+ person company here in Austin):

 

John playing Hangtime as Steve flies around:

 

Everyone just flying around the cabin:

 

Another Superman pic:

 

Just hanging out in Zero G:

 

Eating a water bubble.  It seems so nice and spherical in the air….so it looks like a solid.  But don’t be fooled!  If you miss with your mouth, it WILL splash all over your face!

 

SO before I went onboard the Zero G flight, I thought THIS is what it would be like floating in Zero G for the first time:

 

However I quickly found out it was more like this the first couple of times we went weightless (30 seconds at a time):

 

After the 6th zero-g parabola I think it was much better…..but at FIRST you definitely have a difficult time controlling yourself.  Simply pushing off the floor with LAUNCH you upwards towards the ceiling.

Plus you’re often bumping into other people who change your trajectory.

I remember one time I just curled up into a ball and floated around the whole 30 seconds.  I would get bumped, pushed, nudged….around the whole area by other people or the walls.  It was fun to feel like a ping-pong ball!

 

After the  flight was done, we found out why the plane wasn’t flying in a straight line…..THESE goofballs were driving ;-)

 

I got one last pic in the plane….of course a full-gravity handstand:

 

The second thing after the “how much did it cost” questions….is “did you throw up in the vomit comet??”  The answer is: YES!

“THE NICEST VOMIT EVER”
I’m not sure I’ve ever been motion-sick before……but I know if I ever DID get motion sickness, the LAST thing I’d do is start doing flips, handstands, or achieving terminal velocity.  However that’s EXACTLY what I was doing the whole time.

For the last 3 parabolas I could feel a small part of my stomach go further and further up my throat each time.  By the last parabola, I could tell something was gonna give.  I grabbed the little air-sickness pouch they give you (everyone keeps one in their flight suit pocket), and wee bit of vomit came out.

HOWEVER it was the “nicest” vomit I’ve ever had!

Normally if someone vomits, it’s either because you’re violently ill, or very very drunk.  Both are not good feelings.  However, this was rather….dare I say…..pleasant?

I balled up the pouch when done, put it inside another…..and felt ok after that.

I kind of ignored feeling a little sick on the last few parabolas because I didn’t wanna waste my weightless time.  Only 30 seconds each, 16 times total (8 minutes of weightlessness).

If I ever do this again (or go to space), I’m going to take the anti-nausea medication they give.

By the end of the flight, I’d say at LEAST 50 percent of the people felt A LITTLE worn out or nauseous.  Not necessarily throw-up nauseous, but if you think about what your body just endured for the first time, it makes sense:

You were weightless for the first time in your life with NO visible reason why.  You endure 1.8 G’s for 30 seconds at a time, then go weightless and do flips & tricks for 30 seconds…..then you repeat that SIXTEEN TIMES!

By the end, it’s not TOO surprising your body is probably saying, “WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!!??!?!”

————————————————————-
“SO, WAS IS WORTH $5,2000.00 ?”
If you’re actually INTERESTED in this kind of thing, and you can easily afford it….then go for it.

If you’re either going to spend your hard-earned $5,200 on a car down-payment or $5,200 on this…..perhaps the car payment might be better.

However I wouldn’t recommend saving up for years for this.  ONLY if it’s easily affordable AND you really wanna do it….would I recommend.

 

SOME OF MY VIDEO:

 

A little side note:
I checked to see which astronauts were currently in space at the time of my Zero G flight (August 18th, 2012).  There were SIX humans in space….all aboard the International Space Station.  I checked their names:

people-in-space

Not a single Indian person…..nevertheless a Zoroastrian……so that means on August 18th, 2012…..from 12pm to 2pm ….

I WAS THE ONLY WEIGHTLESS INDIAN PERSON IN THE UNIVERSE!!

Only Weightless Indian Person In The Universe

Magazine images

Ha……this was a cool surprise.

I did a Skype interview for a magazine called Make App Mag which is releasing on the iPad soon…..and they made these images for some of the magazine pages based off the interview:

This was when my blue hair faded out into blonde, and I got a haircut, so I had frosted-douche-bag-tips:

 

I told the example of 520or90.com and how they validated their idea, and they made this graphic:

 

Here’s another they made….this time with my Facebook profile picture:

 

I’m an info-graphic now….I’ve finally made it! :-P

PRODUCING products

Hey all,

I’ve now made over 10 products on AppSumo:

SumoBusinessBlueprint
SumoBusinessBlueprint LIVE: CASE STUDY EDITION
Kopywriting Kourse
Kopywriting Kourse Kase Studies
Autoresponder Kourse
Social Krash Kourse
Sumo Diet Kourse
Course About Building A Course
Behind The Scenes of a Muse

Those are the courses 100% made by me.

I’ve also helped sell (or create) a bunch of AppSumo email template products and even a last-minute-but-well-selling course about hiring with Noah Kagan. And I even did 3 products before all the AppSumo stuff that were sold to someone else.

I’ve also done a bunch of these Sumo Dojo things too.

Now I can easily keep making products, and intend to continue….but there’s a major problem:

I ONLY KNOW SO MUCH SHIT.

It’s one thing to teach about things I know….and am good at, and have a proven track record at doing successfully (like kopywriting), but it’s NOT cool to hastily research a subject then teach about it.

It’s not fun for me.
And it’s a disservice to anyone buying that information.

I think most people would agree they’d rather be taught by someone EXPERIENCED in something.

Now on another note…..I’ve had the opportunity to occasionally “take over” the production of some of our products at AppSumo that were botched in some way or other (poor planning is usually the main reason).

And when I take over, it usually becomes a better product. I say that in a NON-humble way….and am OPENLY bragging.

My obsessions with being on schedule and conveying information in the LEAST painless way (usually by making it FUN) kick in when being in charge of the product.

The interesting thing is, I actually LIKE doing this! I thought the term for this was “directing” …but my video guy told me my role is a “producer”.

Whatever.

I guess I enjoy “producing” ….as much as I enjoy being in front of a camera, being behind it seems almost MORE important (think Steven Spielberg).

I enjoy when someone takes a course of mine and says, “Holy crap….after watching your course in two hours I now…” ….and then they gush about the benefits and actions they got out of it.

I LOVE the feeling of changing a persons life in a small way (plus I even get PAID for it).

So I might move more into producing some of these products, rather than starring in them.

Producing has a few drawbacks and some advantages.

DRAWBACKS OF PRODUCING PRODUCTS:

  • I have to find talented and knowledgable people to use as the star of the product.
  • I have to share percentages of the product with those people.
  • If the product is a flop, I get more blame (before…I was the only one disappointed.  Now other people have chips on the table too).

ADVANTAGES OF PRODUCING PRODUCTS:

  • I can crank out products MUCH faster (it normally takes me a full month to do my products….and usually by the end I’m killing myself working too much).
  • I can produce products in areas where I’m NOT an expert…..but I know people who are.
  • I can bring in people to produce awesome products that help the world….and me, and AppSumo.
  • The star of the product makes monthly income for the lifetime of that product and has to do little or no support work to keep it live.
  • I can comfortably make 2 products a month…maybe even 4 if I’m feeling ballsy.

So as with anything in it’s infancy, I’m not absolutely CERTAIN this will work out well, but it seems to have a shot.

With this course of action in mind, I’ve started going on the hunt for internet-famous people to star in these products. And since I live in Austin, and since I have cool friends who know other cool people……I think my first product might be made with Ryan Deiss as the star of the product.

Ryan’s got a $30,000,000/year company selling digital products (actually….the VERY FIRST QUESTION I asked him when he said he was interested was, “Why the fuck would you wanna make a product with AppSumo and not yourself??)

….his answer was, “To be exposed to a new market.”

I figured in this economy, and with a lot of people hating the sh*t out of their jobs….a lot of people would want to know how Ryan would start from scratch.

Even I’m kinda curious how he’d do it.

 

….anywhoozle, I’m still wondering what the topic of this new product should be.

Would you mind selecting which topics you’d be MOST curious to have a guy who built a $30,000,000/year digital products company teach you about?

Thank you!

Losing —- In a good way

Over the last few months I’ve been trying to GAIN weight.

During my previous six-pack experiment I realized that losing weight was also great because I FELT GOOD all the time from eating healthy food.

However with this weight gain stuff……I’ve been feeling like CRAP all the time.

In fact, I did a pretty bad job of gaining much weight since I simply couldn’t eat as much as I was supposed to everyday!

Adam from MyBodyTutor (who was helping me out) told me:

Eating is your JOB when you’re trying to gain weight.

I thought that sounded FUN!  I mean…..who wouldn’t want to stuff their face every 3 hours with lotsa food??

Well I’ll tell you this:  IT…..COMPLETELY….SUCKED.  

Eating became such a damn chore.

For starters, I always had to be around food…..and relatively healthy food at that (can’t simply eat fast food all the time).

I was supposed to eat at least 3,500 calories per day.

And at least 175 grams of protein a day (I weight about 175lbs right now).

Here’s what I looked like every time I realized how much food I’d be eating:

Plus I had to cut down on cardio exercises, and focus on weight training.  That meant less biking and outdoor stuff, and more pumping weights…..which isn’t all THAT fun on it’s own.


THE GOOD OF GAINING WEIGHT:

  • I gained muscle and got “bigger”
  • It was interesting to at least experience the weight GAIN part.
  • Could eat WAY more at restaurants.

 

THE BAD ABOUT GAINING WEIGHT:

  • I was full all the time, and usually tired because of all the food.
  • I wasn’t as “clear” in my head.
  • I had to use the bathroom a lot more….and things weren’t as “efficient” when going (picture THAT in your head)!
  • I had to actually cook stuff….don’t think I’ve used a stove for over a year before this.
  • I had to buy a lot of food all the time….I was going to Whole Foods pretty much every single day to get ready-made food that was healthy.
  • Every heavy meal zonked me out.
  • I enjoy meat…..but eating SO much meat concerned me.  Every meal was lots of protein which usually meant some meat.

I was actually REALLY BAD at following my diet requirements for gaining weight.  Almost every single day I missed my target calorie or protein intake since it was so damn much.

I just couldn’t do it sometimes.

I even called up Adam half-way through and told him I’d be cutting down my intake because it was interfering with my work (I had WAY less energy everyday).

 

WELL AANNYYYHOWWW….I’ve decided to start shedding the excess weight and get a bit more “cut” in the next few weeks/months.

I know posting shirtless pictures of yourself in the mirror is extremely douchey…..but it’s necessary as a point-of-reference….so here they are!

I can finally start eating healthier again….like this!

The Blue Hair

Posted a survey to see what color my hair should be dyed, and here were the results:

GREEN: 62 votes
BLUE: 45 votes
RED: 43 votes

Sooooo….I should be dying my hair GREEN right?

WRONG!

You see, a day before getting my hair done, I came to the VERY obvious conclusion that I DO GREEN SCREEN VIDEO ALL THE TIME!
For example, THIS video screenshot was filmed on a green screen and digitally replaced with a background image:

Obviously dying my hair green will pretty much NOT allow me to do green screen videos without them looking all jacked up, so I went with the runner-up….BLUE!

Here’s the quick photo-journey of it turning from BLACK to BLUE:

DAMN THAT’S SOME BLUE HAIR!

But I’m calling this color “Chameleon Blue” because the color constantly changes depending on the light.

For example, in the pictures above, I’m in the sunlight which makes the hair REAALLLLYYY BLUE.

But inside, you can almost miss the blue, like this picture I took while making this post:

Also the blue KEEPS ON CHANGING everyday!  Every time I take a shower blue literally POURS out of my hair (apparently this is supposed to happen for about a week).

Here are some unexpected results of this weird hair color thing:

  • Homeless people are starting to recognize me.
  • I can’t take a shower without worrying about staining the shower blue.
  • I can’t go into the pool or hottub without a huge trail of blue following my head.
  • I can’t sleep on white pillows.

Anyhow….thanks for voting on the new hair color.  I’m sure this will make me look insane and lose all credibility in any new product I put out :-)

-Nev

 

 

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UPDATE: (5-1-2012)
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So after a few weeks, the hair keeps changing color because the blue fades with every shower.  NOW my hair isn’t blue at all, it’s like this GRAY color!

It actually looks like I have a full head of gray hair, NOT blue!

In the sunlight you can still sort of tell there’s hints of blue:

Although now my hair just looks weird.  Look at this screenshot from an upcoming video I shot on green-screen…..you can see how odd the hair looks:

….not so cool eh :-/

 

ANYHOW……every time I get my hair made some weird color it always goes through phases.  While the awkward faded-blue-green-yellow stage lasted longer than I’d like, it’s now fading into a browish/yellow color which doesn’t look all that bad.

It’s part of the fun to watch the hair change everyday :-)

February 2012 Goals

Have YOU got your February 2012 goals set yet?  I have:

FIRST GOAL.) This will be a followup course to the SumoBusinessBlueprint (which has turned tons of wantrepreneurs into real entrepreneurs that have DONE stuff).

I’ll actually be finding ideas, validating them before launching, then making money off them….and documenting the whole thing.

SECOND GOAL.) Signup for music lessons again.
I took guitar lessons (as my Aug 2011 goals stated) for about 2 months….and then my tutor moved away to Houston.

He was great…because he wasn’t classically trained, and he made all the complicated music theory VERY easy for my dumbass to understand.

I got SO much better at the guitar from those two months of instruction….so I’m going back again for more music lessons.  Possibly a combination of vocal lessons with guitar lessons.