The Mindset Question: Scarcity or Abundance

What Do You Want for Yourself, Scarcity or Abundance?
Funny question, I admit. Everybody wants for himself a mindset and a life of abundance. But then: why are so many people ruled by fear to miss something, by lack of confidence and self determination. The answer hides in the next question:

What Do Other People Want for You?
You bet there are plenty of people who would like to see you full of fear and negative expectations. Why? A mind dominated by fear and expectation of scarcity can be manipulated easily.
Example: Somebody comes along offering you a share of the Brooklyn Bridge. Today, but only today you get the part ownership certificate only for 50 Dollars. It will allow you to pass the bridge for lifetime! If not, there will soon be a time where you have to pay 50 bucks per day to pass. (Do not laugh! Many “Get Rich Quick” offers work exactly that way)
Some people dominated by fear might think: “Maybe I need the certificate tomorrow and buy it. This way they can be sure that they can still cross the river. Result: Money gone, no longer available for things really needed, and another useless object collecting dust on your hard disk, or occupying space in your living room. The irony: tomorrow comes something else along, something you really need. you had searched for it for weeks. But now no money available. It went yesterday to buy that brand new dust collector. Anyway, this is proof that you cannot expect that you can get things when you really need them. Proof of a world ruled by scarcity. Yes, life is so hard!
Many people know, consciously or intuitively, that it is easy to rule a person dominated by fear. So they spread stress and fear in their surrounding, making sure that as many people in their reach are focused on what they do not have. If they want you to behave in a certain way, they you offer a small incentive – and yep: Get it while you can take it! Forget this little string attached. You end up with something you may need maybe at some future time, but you paid a steep price for it, in terms of money, health, relationship or whatever. The next day you need money, energy or support from others, but there is barely anything left. Yes, life is hard!

What to Do About It
It sounds simple: you have to rule your own mind, make conscious decisions of what you want and need. Then go for it, and you will get most of it. This experience will help to grow your confidence and it will tell your mind again and again, that the world – or God – provides to you enough of everything you need. You will learn to focus on the good things you have and use. Life is so sweet, a song full of energy. People volunteer to help you because they enjoy to be with you. Even some money will be available when needed, because you do not throw it away for all those dust collectors.

Caveat
Mindset of abundance means to live a live governed by an attitude of gratitude and confidence. It does not mean to pretend that you are rich or have unlimited resources. Happiness is an obligation. This does not mean you should lie to yourself about your circumstance, happiness needs truth. But if you allow confidence to govern your mind and develop a habit of deliberate decision making, your resources will also grow.

For further reading: {openx:113}

After the Product Launch

This article is just kind of loud thinking about marketing information products on the internet.
The old model was to produce an ebook, video series etc. and to market it then via the own website, using PayPal or Clickbank as systems for payment and delivery.
Promotion worked mostly via affiliate networks and creating buzz using product launch techniques. Most products, even excellent ones, were dead a short time after the launch because all attention of affiliates and target audience was going with the noise to the next launch.
The need to launch even for the most successful internet marketers several high profile products per year just to stay in business and pay for their overhead did no good..

  • not for profitability
  • not for the quality of the products
  • not for value delivered to customers

Product Life Cycles without the Maturity Phase?
Even if we pretend for a moment that there was no quality problem with these many products released on a very tight schedule, the fact remains that the product life cycle was cut.
A normal product life cycle looks like this:

Here is a short explanation about the meaning and the function of the four product life cycle phases in terms of profitability:

  1. Development and testing naturally are investment phases, where you spend money. The cash flow is typically negative.
  2. After testing comes the launch. The goal is here fast and deep market penetration. This helps to establish the necessary scale to become highly profitable and to cement a competitive advantage over me-to products.
  3. A mature product should provide a stable positive cash flow over a reasonable time. This should make the whole project profitable, covering the cost incurred in the development phase and in the launch phase, pay for the cost of capital etc.
  4. The harvest phase is concerned with recovering as much as possible from the investment when the product becomes obsolete. This may be done by using assets as long as possible and not replacing them, by transferring resources to new projects and by transferring customer trust and brand recognition to a new project, if possible.

Now compare this to a graph I have drawn for a typical internet marketing product launch:

If you watch this graph you will see that the cash flow over the whole project is much smaller. In fact the cash flow is only positive in the final stage of the product launch and in the first part of the harvest phase. This means less profit, but it also means that you must strictly limit the expenses for product development and testing. The result is in diminished product quality.

Why Do Marketers Throw so Much Profit Away?

The shortcomings of this launch-and-run strategy are so obvious, that it begs an answer to the question: Why do people still use these aborted product life cycles?

I think there are several reasons for this. Some of them might be:

  • The digital nature of information products sold through the internet means that these products can be copied without effort by anybody. And they will be copied, because there are more than enough people around who do not care about copy rights and intellectual property provided both belong to others.
  • Affiliates will run after a launch. A successful launch means high market penetration. High market penetration means conversion rates will fall: Everybody will still buy only once, provided he likes the offer, whether 3 or 15 people tell him about the deal. And lower conversion rates mean less rewards for the same effort by an affiliate.
  • Limited product support, caused by the anticipated early end of the product life cycle erodes the value for the customer further and damages the value of the producer’s brand. Sales are hurt even more and the product leaves the marketplace even faster.
  • Limited resources for product development make for poor products. And poor products need pressure sales tactics, as they are accommodated in a product launch environment. Mature products do not accommodate pressure sales tactics, as products in the mature stage are readily available. Thus sales will break down after the launch.
  • The aborted product life cycle strategy allows still for some profits.

Possible Solutions
I am not the first one to note this problem, or to think about solutions. In fact there have been many product launches promising by themself to provide such solutions. The main strategy in the internet marketing place has been up to now to extend the product life cycle via continuity programs. This means, as far as information products are concerned, to drop-feed the information through a membership website or via coaching programs to the customer. It is easier to detect and act against illicit sharing of passwords and usernames than against outright copying of ebooks, videos etc.
Others left – at least as far as own products are concerned – the information product market and moved to ongoing services like web hosting, audio streaming.
But I think there arises a new opportunity to solve that problem: Platforms such as app stores by Apple and Google, Amazon offers for Kindle devices; probably Microsoft will establish a similar system, and regional book dealers will also try to develop such platforms.
Why do these platforms help us to solve the problem? First of all, they control the content distribution, i.e. on which machine an app or ebook might be copied or not.
But there is more: You can update an app on a mobile device to keep the quality high and the information up to date. This adds an element of the drop-feeding to your product, as mentioned earlier. And it allows you to offer a high quality product to new customers, while keeping the existing ones happy.
A third aspect: The cost for the user of an information product has two components: The money spent on the product and the value of the time used to consume the product. A mobile product reduces the value of the time the customer needs to invest to use the product. He can read and listen while sitting in a train, plane, waiting at the doctor etc. He can spare his quality time for his family and his customers.

Please Share Your Thoughts
I invite you all to share your suggestions how to overcome this problems in information marketing. If you have an idea how to solve the matter, or if you want to add another aspect to the problem description, please leave a comment.

The End of Privacy?

I reprint this article with Paul Myer’s permission. It comes from his newsletter Talkbiz.

His newsletter is one of the rare email pieces I miss when I do not get it.

But just read this issue by yourself:

“The Portable Voyeur”
===================

In the last issue, I put out the idea of looking at your online networks and niches as “virtual neighborhoods.” Nothing especially new in that concept, except that almost no-one in the marketing field talks about them that way. That discussion is mostly left to forum operators and social networking geeks.

In this issue, I want to talk about something closer to home. Literally IN your home. People spying on you using your own electronics.

Let’s start with the least intrusive, and work up to stuff you may not believe is happening. The last few are downright creepy.

….

There’s a thing called “IP geolocation,” which uses a database of IPs (numbers locating your computer on the network) and physical areas to show where a computer is located. There are a bunch of these, and the accuracy can be anything from very close to wildly off the mark. The good ones can narrow it down to a few blocks, in most cases. Sometimes to a specific building.

You can see this most often when you notice an ad on a site that’s used by people all over the world, but mentions your city by name. “[YourCity] mom discovers…” or “Man in [Hometown] loses 47 pounds using…”  That’s IP geolocation in its mildest form.

Twitter has offered the option for a while to attach your IP address to a tweet, basically trying to tell people where you are. You have to opt into that, though. It’s turned off by default.

Facebook’s new “Places” settings options enable a more advanced function by default. The idea is to make it easy for your friends to know where you are. Unfortunately, it also makes it easy for people you might not want to share your location with to find you. Or know when you’re not home…

It’s easy to disable this option, if you know it’s there and what it’s called. John Williams sent me a link to the instructions. You can read those here:

http://lifehacker.com/5616395/how-to-disable-facebook-places

Why would this matter? Well, maybe you don’t want your friends to know where you are every minute that you’re online. Or maybe you don’t want
world+dog knowing when you’re not home. Or maybe you don’t want your employer knowing you’re logging onto Facebook from work. Or from the park when you called in sick.

Just how much info should be distributed about you automatically?

But wait… There’s more!

….

There are applications on some portable devices and phones that can transmit the data from a GPS system to other sites. This can be used to pinpoint your exact address, and your location to within a few feet.

That’s how the “Places” function on Facebook works. And, with the default settings, your Facebook “friends” can “check you in” if they’re with you. Handy, if you’re careful about who your “friends” are, and who you allow to share the info. Given the default settings, though, it’s an announcement to the world every time you log in from a mobile device.

That can get into the realm of the dangerous. With it set to “Friends of friends” able to view the info, you could be broadcasting your location to burglars, stalkers, ex-employees, your employer, or even just that annoying person
you’d rather not see right now.

Given recent comments from CEOs Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook – “Privacy is dead”) and Eric Schmidt (Google – “If you have something that you don´t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place”), there is every reason to believe these services will be used as aggressively
as possible.

Both companies have said the comments were taken out of context. That could be easily believed of Zuckerberg’s remark. Schmidt’s is a bit less dismissable. None of that matters, though, when you look at the way their firms actually treat their users’ private data. Facebook set this option to “On” by default. Google initially opted every Gmail user into their social networking platform, Buzz, and created significant and foreseeable problems for some users.

I’m pretty sure I don’t want those sorts of decisions made for me without my knowledge or consent. How about you?

And it gets (potentially) much, much worse.

….

Apple has applied for a patent that has some deeply disturbing implications: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/08/24-0

The summary: They want a patent on software that, in mobile devices, would let them listen to your conversations and/or take pictures of you or your surroundings, without any way for you to know it’s happening. Just remotely activate those functions, at their own discretion.

It would also let them monitor biometric data and all of your online activities while using their devices. Ostensibly, this would be developed for purposes of preventing theft, or catching thieves. It’s even been suggested to me that Apple may want the patent to keep the idea from being used by others.

I don’t buy it. But that doesn’t really matter.

First, it’s nearly certain that, if this technology is deployed and not made illegal for use by private citizens, it will be abused. The theft-prevention rationale was offered, for example, by the Lower Merion school district, in their program giving laptops to every high-school student. “Only to enable recovery in event of theft,” they said. That didn’t stop people at the school from using it to spy on students in their homes.Yeah. Really.

One kid was disciplined for “improper behavior” that occurred at home, in his bedroom. The Vice-Principal used a photo taken using the webcam in the laptop as his evidence. According to a forensic analysis commissioned by the district, the school took 66,503 screenshots and photos using these systems. The school admits these include pictures of the kids in their bedrooms.

If teachers will do that, what would a corporation do?

….

So, if you have one of these portable devices, where do you use it? In what situations do you simply carry a cell phone, iPad or other portable computing device? Do you want people able to spy on you in all those places, at any time, without warning?

It’s been suggested to me that there is prior art that might cause the USPTO to reject such a patent application, or be used later to invalidate it if granted. That raises other challenges. Specifically, anyone at all could include it in
their systems.

Google has a cell phone OS. Just how much do you want them to add to their collection of data on you?

Then there’s the “social networking” phone, which is designed specifically for use with Facebook and Twitter. Do you want your kids to have one of those broadcasting their location to the world at every moment the phone is on?

This isn’t science fiction, folks. We’re not getting into foil fedora territory here. This stuff is real.

….

And then there are the outright criminals. There is already malware code in the wild that lets remote operators turn on the webcam on infected computers. That’s not a big deal if you use a desktop machine and don’t keep one connected, or disconnect it when you don’t intend to use it.

But what about the laptops and netbooks, and even some monitors, that are sold with a camera and microphone installed in the machine itself? The last two portables that I got have them. Where do you, or your kids or employees, use laptops?

This isn’t especially difficult stuff to do. And the market isn’t restricted to criminals. For instance, on the first related search I did, I found someone asking how to remotely activate the webcam on his wife’s laptop without her knowing.

Some of these devices come with GPS systems installed. Anyone who can access those will know exactly where you are, what you’re doing or discussing, and with whom.

Anyone want to market sound-proof phone carriers, with built-in Faraday cages? A month ago, I would have considered that a ridiculous idea. Now, I’m thinking it’s a niche.

….

Electronic security isn’t just about data protection any more, folks. It’s gotten very personal, and it’s about to get more so.

You can take steps to reduce your exposure to this kind of invasion of privacy. First, make sure you have proper security software on all your computers. That’s good policy anyway, so that’s not too extreme.

With the social networking sites, it’s a matter of watching your preferences. Also just common sense. And easy. Don’t leave external webcams attached when they’re not in use, if you have any objection to what you do in the same room with them being seen by someone else. Using a USB hub makes
disconnecting them easy, and it’s a reasonable precaution, with the amount of trojans running loose online.

With laptops and netbooks, just be aware that this stuff is possible, and take whatever precautions you may feel are appropriate. That might be nothing at all, for many of you. It could mean turning the thing off when it’s not in active use.
Or putting tape over the camera lens. Or, if you have the need or desire to be especially cautious, having a physical switch installed to prevent remote activation of the camera or microphone.

I can’t begin to guess what level of security will work for you. Some people won’t consider it an issue at all, and they may well be right. For them. For others, these are real concerns. It’s getting very easy to install this kind of
monitoring code, and there are too many people with incentives to do it. Employers, co-workers, competition, family members, and various less savory types. Brings new meaning to the word “spyware,” yes?

Make sure your kids are aware of the potential issues, too.

….

I’m told that law enforcement agencies have had the ability to turn on cell phones remotely as listening devices for a while now, with a proper warrant. I consider that a very different thing than random strangers being able to access these kinds of info at will.

As of this moment, I am not aware of this being a problem for cell phones and similar portable devices. Just keep this in mind, and pay attention for it.

Whether Apple gets that patent or not, it’s coming.

….

If it’s installed or used by any corporation, I have a suggestion that seems appropriate: The top officers and all members of the board(s) of directors should be required to carry one of the devices with them at all times, with the audio and video enabled 24/7, and streaming to the web for the whole
world to view.

Hey, if we don’t get to decide what we can keep private, why should they?

….

The idea here isn’t to scare you, or create some sort of conspiracy buzz. If that was the goal, I’d point you to an even more extreme, and equally current, example of invasive observation: http://talkbiz.com/r/iris.php

As you can see, this stuff is real. The technology exists right now, and most of it is already in use. It may not pose much of a threat to many of us, but it’s something to be aware of and to watch out for.

Knowing it’s possible is 90% of the battle.

Be careful out there.

Paul

—–===(*)===—–

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The Essence Of Freedom

Is freedom just another word for nothing left to lose? No, this is not the essence of freedom.
I took this line from a song of Janis Joplin, and it was one of my favorites. But later I struggled many years to liberate myself from the thought expressed by this song. Why?

Ability to Say No is Important
This song of Janis reduces the meaning of freedom to one aspect only: The ability to say no. But in truth, freedom is something else: It is the ability to make a choice. This means that you can do something, if you decide so, or you can leave it. Freedom means that you have the ability to determine the course of your live. Freedom is self determination.
If you have nothing, you are not free. If the essence of freedom is the ability to determine the course of your life, then you must have resources to be free. If you have nothing, and somebody offers you food, you must say yes to survive. And, having nothing, you must say no to many opportunities life has to offer because you cannot afford it. If you have nothing, you cannot help others. And if you have nothing, you cannot choose what to learn.

Master Your Things and Social Status
Janis Joplin misses the essence of freedom, when she said “nothing left to lose.” I do not say that anybody should be a slave of things, or of status. It is mostly status, talk of other people about somebody or something, and fear of that, what enslaves us. If we have useless things, we tend to forget them. Useless items will waste our resources, and slow us down, but they will not be able to control our mindset.

Fear Makes Slaves
Fear of gossip surely has the potential to kill off our ambition and make us say yes where we should say no. In postwar Germany, where I grew up, there were plenty of people who should have said no. And there was even more pressure on others, not to speak up and tell the upcoming generation what really happened. So, nothing left to lose said for me merely: “Do not provide others any leverage to force you to do anything.” This has some truth in itself, but it also smells like lost opportunity. It defines the essence of freedom in negative terms.

Positive Approach to Freedom
Let’s try it the positive way. If the essence of freedom means to have choices in life, and to choose what is right for me, how do I get there? This is not a trivial question, but one thing is sure: It involves learning. To identify the right choice, you need to anticipate the possible results. After making a choice, which means in this context setting a goal, you must learn how to reach there. This is done most effectively by looking for people who have done the same thing before. If you study them carefully, you will be able to follow their way.

Internet as a Game Changer
The beauty of the internet is that you can meet there people, who have achieved all kind of things. And many of them are more than willing to share, how they did it. Some provide {openx:29} Others offer and programs showing you how they reached the degree of freedom they have achieved. They help you to learn their trade and show their tools. Iif you have access to the internet, you can certainly reach such people.

Accept Your Responsibility
But this puts the blame squarely on yourself, if you allow yourself still to pose as a victim. Make the right choice, decide to grow. Determination to grow is the final essence of freedom. This determination will not remove the consequences of past mistakes immediately. But it can improve life faster and more profoundly than you can imagine. Wake up! Every journey starts with a single step.

The Aim is Personal Growth

Why to bother with personal growth ?
It seems that we are already grown up persons, who have already achieved many things in our lives?
I ask this question at the change of the year, which is usually a time to evaluate our success, review our goals and refocus our actions and energy.
Usually on the list of our goals we find earning money, paying down debt, maybe a new home, furthering education, helping our children, nurturing the relationship with our spouse. But to what end? What do we really want from life?

Personal Growth Means Taking and Giving
You may already have noticed, that on my list of goals are both, getting and giving. Improving financial metrics, getting the means for an enjoyable and convenient life, like a nice home, and taking care of others, giving to our family, but also to others in need.
To grow means in way to increase our ability to get and to give. This is like a cycle, taking better care of our customers or clients, getting more money for it, improving lifestyle, thus getting better energy, give more to those in need, close to us and not so close, learn by giving.
Now there needs to be a balance between giving and taking. Without this balance, personal growth can easily change into personal decline.

Giving Without Getting Leads to Decline
He, who gives more than he has, runs into a debt problem, ending up at a point where he cannot give anymore. And he, who takes without giving, will inevitably disconnect himself from other people, end up in an emotional vacuum, and personal growth will again make space for personal decline.

Taking Without Providing Leads to Decline
Why giving without taking does not work for a long time, is self explanatory. But why is it not possible to grow if somebody takes and takes, without giving? Think about it: If you see people suffer, and you know that you could help them out with ease, you will have to close your mind and hard, if you want to avoid giving. While closing mind and heart, you will not be able see, hear and feel other information. You have blocked the entrance door for it. This forces a person into decline.

Get More so You Can Give More
This means, the trick is: Getting more, to be able to give a bit more. This will lead again to get more, this will allow again to give more. In the process you will grow in spirit, in knowledge, and in happiness.
Obviously, you cannot help everybody, and you cannot help somebody forever. If Bill Gates would give only one Dollar per day to every hungry person in the world, it would not take a week until he for himself would have to beg, and then he would not be able to help anybody else.

You Can Change Only Your Own Life
Another example is a drug addict. Nobody can help him, before he makes a serious decision to change his life. And that is not only true for drug addicts, but for almost everybody. This is, because the ultimate help is not a material gift, but support in personal growth.
This is perfectly expressed in the old adage: “It is good to give to a hungry a fish. But it is much better teaching him fishing“.