…I think I have a pretty good life….and there’s two people I primarily owe that ALL to:
I had a great childhood because of them.
I was taught I could pretty much do anything.
My parents never forced choices on me like a lot of my other friends’ parents.
They were unbelievably fair with me.
They were never overbearing.
They always had their own lives and didn’t make me and my brother the center of their whole universe.
I grew up in an extremely loving relationship.
They always have fun with everything they do.
When I was younger talking amongst friends, I would hear, “OMG I never wanna be like my parents”. I told everyone the opposite. I DO want to be like them!
Warren Buffet always attests much of his success to being born into a winning hand of the “The Ovarian Lottery” because he was born at a certain time, to great parents in a nation that rewards hard work and innovation.
I feel I got the same :-)
Love you mom & dad (I know you read this)!
Most of the people I know have heard of Tim Ferris, or at least occasionally read his blog….and if they’re even semi-nerds, they DEFINITELY know him.
Ok, typing this is boring, I’m jumping to the pen:
It was actually pretty fascinating to hear him talk about his quick rise to fame…and how it was no accident. He used a lot of VERY CLEVER and untraditional ways to get his book out there…and it’s amazing how well it worked.
I have a new found respect for him.
It was also very cool that some very high up people at the conference during their speeches said how The Four Hour Work Week changed their lives! I previously thought the book was meant for not-very-big-time people…but I was very wrong.
I’m doing something right now that might be really fucking stupid:
I’m going to publicly name something I don’t like.
I’m going to publicly denounce something that might be totally my fault.
I’m also going to say something that MIGHT be better just left unsaid.
Posting something like this has been on my mind for a long time, but I think it’s sudden re-emergence is a combination of being a little ballsy from having to blog everyday, and re-reading a fantastic post Adam McFarland wrote. <– Go read that and the comments.
Let me jump right in then explain (before I start getting rational and cancel this post):
There are two companies I do not like. One is called RaveWorx.com and another is RaveHaven.com.
These companies were both started because of me. Not BY me….but because of me.
I love to share information to some extent. I enjoy it because it gives me something to do, and in the process it often helps people. So a while ago I created a six part series about how a business I created called HouseOfRave works.
Now there’ve been MANY clones of HouseOfRave, but most of them never get fully setup.
This was started by a guy named Karl Weinmeister who lives in Austin, TX. (which is funny because I live here too). A few years ago I saw this “rave products” website sprout up (nothing wrong with a little competition)…but a little research showed that the same Karl Weinmeister who owned the website WAS ALSO A VISITOR TO MY BLOG.
Innntteerresstting ::strokes beard::
I dug a little deeper and noticed he’d been involved on NevBlog through the comments and through direct email correspondence with me (he asked questions about how I setup my drop shipping business). Now he “all of a sudden” had the exact same type of business.
I rang up Karl (someone I’d never directly spoken to) and told him over the phone, “Hi, this is Neville.” He was stunned…but knew exactly who I was.
We met up for dinner a few times and talked. At least if I have a competitor I’d rather be on good terms with him.
I was glad my post had helped fuel Karl’s foray into starting his own business…but flat out copying my model…not cool in my book.
Did he do anything illegal? Technically no. I freely posted all that information out there for free.
A guy named Haroon Saleemi (who also was a reader of my blog and asked questions through the comments) popped up with a website called RaveHaven.com one day. I dug around and found out he had a blog. His blog was documenting him starting some businesses.
His 1st business: RaveHaven.com = Based off my HouseOfRave.com
His 2nd business: PartyRhino.com = Based off my BodyMonkey.com
It was almost HILARIOUS to read his blog posts about “How he came up with selling rave products online” without mentioning me. After I left a few comments on his website, he stopped blogging.
When I called Tarun, he pretended he didn’t know who I was, but quickly dropped that charade. He then said, “Well, you shouldn’t post what you do online.” Maybe he was right. Perhaps I should just hoard all my useful information to myself?
Anyhow, he was moderately cooperative with me (although not as much as Karl). I made it very clear that he was not to use any of my original photos or videos or copy. To his credit, I’ve never seen DIRECT rip offs of my site….although there has been been VERY obvious “renaming” of his products to reflect mine, and he once did a re-design of his website that used the HouseOfRave slogan “Light Up Your Night”. I called him about it…and to his credit, he changed it right away.
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT. Whether it’s rational or not….those are some people that kind of ruined blogging for me. There have been a BUUUNCCH of HouseOfRave copycats….and probably the ones I should be most worried about I’m not naming.
While I’m being all honest here, I may as well try to list my subconcious fears of some of these copycat businesses:
- I probably fear them a little
- I don’t want them to make them more motivated to improve their businesses
- I don’t want to reveal any big secrets of mine that have improved sales
- I don’t want to reveal time-sensitive secrets that give me a competitive advantage
Here’s a little excerpt from a comment I left on Adam’s post that inspired this post:
I admit I put up a guide which essentially shows you step by step how I built House Of Rave….however it’s meant as a LEARNING tool, not as a “How to copy me” series. The VAST majority of people who email me about that love the post because it inspired them, and they went on to create a similar MODEL businesses, but in a totally different industry. That’s FANTASTIC that a small series of posts I did helped someone start a new chapter of their entrepreneurial life.
…and therefore I occasionally search Google/Twitter for mentions of moi.
It’s always awesome when someone you really respect says something nice about you :-)
His link referenced this.
One of my favorite things on this Earth is:
Sitting at the state capitol building.
…in the wee hours of the morning
I have easily spent hundreds of hours here.
It’s open 24 hours, heavily guarded, meticulously maintained, and extremely quiet at night.
There is something that is simply marvelous about sitting on one of the war memorials inscribed with the names of thousands of people who have died, sacrificed and fought for the unbelievably cushy and enjoyable life I get to lead.
I sit there and read. Or plan. Or think.
It’s truly a humbling experience that reminds me we all stand on the shoulders of giants.
I sometimes wonder if others have such a remarkable place to call their own.
I used to do this with plastic water bottles,
but plastic bottles + lots of heat = not good.
So now instead of gross water that I never sip, I just keep different flavors of tea in the car all the time!
“What about your eyebrows”
“What the hell happened”
“Don’t ever do that again”
….all of these are various reactions I get from people whenever I dye my hair blonde.
Sometime in 2001 when we were at a lock-in for our church group…someone said, “Why don’t we dye your hair blonde?”
I have no idea who said this, or even why such an out-of-the-blue suggestion was made…but it sounded like a fantastic idea. Two of us immediately drove to the nearest Walgreens and bought a black-to-blonde hair bleaching set.
I learned that girls really like anything to do with hair….so I had no real input in this whole process, nor did I care. All I know is yadda yadda yadda my hair ended up like this:
Obviously it wasn’t true blonde…but more of an orangy-yellow color.
The reaction from everyone including my friends and parents was almost always the same:
- Stage 1: “What the HELL did you do?!?!?!”
- Stage 2: “Ehhh….I don’t like it, but it’s alright?”
- Stage 3: “It’s blonde…so what?”
That whole process generally takes about 5 or 10 minutes.
I was in college the first time I did this, and it garnered some interesting results. First of all, it was definitely a conversation starter. Secondly, I became exceedingly easy to recognize.
In one class I was working on a group project, and we collaborated with the professor to play a prank in the class which would “advertise” a fake product we were promoting (all part of the project). My cell phone was to go off, the professor would find me and make me go up on stage to set an example of me (she was particularly vigilant against cell phone use is class and was well known for it).
As the prank went according to plan, I apologetically walked toward the stage in front of the roughly 600 people in that class (all still in shock at the professor’s outburst at me) …then BOOM, I tripped over an extension cord! The entire auditorium erupted into raucous laughter as all my stuff, backpack and a huge stack of loose papers (I purposely bought to class for a more dramatic effect) went FLYING in the air and I came crashing down!
I got on my feet, completely mortified (I was acting), and yelled loudly into the auditorium, “IT WAS THIS STUPID EXTENSION CORD I TRIPPED ON!!” Right then, another group member got up and said, “Mrs. Cleveland, you know better than to use an old-fashioned extension cord, you should use the NO-STENSION cord!” That was our “imaginary” product we were promoting for the project.
Anyhow….a group of 600+ people saw me eat floor…and at the time I was a brown kid with blonde hair. EVERYWHERE I went on campus for the next week someone would say, “Hey, I saw you fall in Mrs. Cleveland’s class!” I met half the class simply because of my hair!
The next time I dyed my hair blonde was about a year later on 11-7-2002 (I know this because the photo info tag still has the date). This time it was in my college dorm, and I kind of wanted to do the blonde hair again. Obviously some girl chimes in and says, “OH PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LET ME DO IT!”
So once again…yadda yadda yadda I had a bunch of bleach in my hair:
(That’s right….I DID in fact have recessed lighting in my dorm. I ghetto-rigged it out of L.E.D. Christmas rope lights and duct tape).
Once again the hair was completely blonde.
One of the things that appealed to me about this whole change was it’s ability to MORPH. So my hair didn’t simply stay blonde, it would constantly grow black hair underneath. This meant it would go from full blonde, to black roots showing, to half-black-half-blonde, to mostly black and some blonde tips….and often some weird stages in between.
Also whenever I got a haircut it would change the entire look. Sometimes it came out good, sometimes it came out bad. It was always and gamble!
The next time I did it, the bleach wasn’t left in long enough for whatever reason. The hair came out more gold or orange, like this:
I could spike it up and it looked more punk rockish (or nowadays Jersey Shore’ish):
This picture is relatively accurate of the actual color it turned out:
Once this hair would grow out for a little while, it’d be time to get a haircut. Often the first hair cut would leave the hair looking like this:
It was black with golden tips:
Take a look at that last picture. During that time I would frequently get the “Are you you gay” question. I later found out that having blonde tipped hair and immaculately waxed eyebrows DID IN FACT look hella gay. It makes me cringe to think I walked around in public with eyebrows like that! You’ll be happy to know my eyebrows are currently big and bushy.
Now previously the hair bleaching had been done by people (or me)…all whom had no idea what they were doing. You buy the bleaching set, you mix some horrendous chemicals together, you slop it on my head…wait an hour and BAM. Blonde hair.
The goal was always BLONDE hair…not “orange” hair that always came out instead. So the last time I made my hair blonde (February 2010), I went to a real salon and told them to make my hair platinum blonde. I was curious to see what would happen.
They ended up bleaching my hair THREE times for THREE HOURS! Now that’s some DEAD hair!
They also made me sit under one of those heat chair things….it wasn’t the most comfortable thing. My hair was being bleached to death while sitting under this thing blowing very hot air at my head.
Fortunately I brought a book to read…the whole process took over three hours.
The first machine they put me under created a “swamp” effect…mainly just very high humidity and some heat. The second machine (above) would blow very hot air at my head. By the third time they put me under this thing, it was VERY painful.
This is a picture of the hair (look how dead it looks) after three hours of bleaching.
The end result. It kind of looks like a hairstyle a lesbian would have. Like I said before, I never know what it’ll turn out like!
The above is about a week or so after the bleaching. It would kind of naturally curl or stick straight up in the morning.
Below, I found whenever I simply pushed the mass of dead hair that happened to be attached to my head straight up, it looked like Kramer.
Just for clarification, I think looking like Kramer is a GOOD thing.
When the hair is down, it looks like a “Blonde Mop” on my head:
It’s difficult to show, but the hair looked “interesting” from the side in its half-black-half-blonde stage:
After a few more weeks, it starts looking even crazier:
At this stage in the hair’s growth, it just started looking crazier and crazier. I though it started to look like Einstein at one point….however it took on more the form of a DragonBall Z character:
The final stage of the hair got pretty long and curly. The day I cut my hair it looked like I was wearing a big powdered wig around….
I actually did not plan to cut my hair for quite some time. I liked how I progressively looked more insane as my hair grew out…but it was the same me underneath. Maybe there’s some sort of moral in that?
Eventually I decided to cut my hair because the maintenance was getting too cumbersome. Washing the hair required special shampoo and conditioner, and I kept playing with the hair which would make it tangle. I literally couldn’t run my fingers through my hair without them getting stuck somewhere through the journey.
A quick $11 haircut later:
….now the journey through styles continues as people think I got my hair highlighted with blonde tips.
So this is why every once in a while I change my hair color. It simply goes through an unknown cycle of looks, styles and generally-not-fashionable stages by itself. I never know exactly how it’ll turn out, and that appeals to me.
Cheers to looking insane!