Blogs - Bite ME!

The trouble with the internet is it presents itself wrapped in a cloak of timely-legitimacy regardless of the 'time' in which it is read.

I received an angry email the other day from Peter de Jager. For those who may have forgotten, Peter was [and still is] a respected international Speaker/Author and Computer guru. In the late 1990s, he enlightened the world as to the dangers of Y2K and warned that when the clock struck 12AM 2000, computers better be prepared to adapt to the next millennium. If not, the potential global consequences could be dire.

He was right and although he can't take all the credit, the world listened and the crisis was essentially averted.

However, in the year that followed, there was no shortage of de Jager-detractors who, in light of the calm that Y2K ushered in, were all too eager to publicly vilify him. Why? Because the potential pandemic disaster everybody got ready for never materialized. Instead of receiving thanks for his services, agenda-driven hindsight-specialists castigated him in all medias for causing the world to spend $Billions on what they deemed, unneeded, upgraded, computer systems.

History has vindicated de Jager but to date, he has never received the recognition he so rightly deserves. His service to the world extends far beyond Y2K. For example, on 911 when the towers came down, companies like Cantor Fitzgerald [a large Bond Company], were back in business within 24 hours, despite the total loss of their entire computer network. They can thank, in part, Peter de Jager for the impact he had on the corporate world in his pre-Y2K recommendations that clearly demonstrated the importance of 'backing up all data' at mirror sites: in Cantor Fitzgerald's case, New Jersey.

At the risk of sounding a 'de Jager sycophant' the point of this article is not to aggrandize him but rather to address why I received an angry email from this man whom I respect.

As a matter of reference, in 2001, I wrote an article entitled, Chicken Little and the new Disintermediation Myth! In it, I likened Chicken Little to those at the time, prophesying the belief that thanks to the internet and global fulfillment, the middleman on the streets and channels [resellers] would become extinct. My opinion then was, it wasn't going to happen. So far, nearly a decade later, I have been proven correct.

In the article, I compared this type of thinking to what ultimately led to the many 'Red-Faced' futurists that got Y2K all wrong and the now historic Dot-Com meltdown. The article, mentioned Peter de Jager for the simple fact that in 2001, he was the Y2K icon for the 'time'. He was also a political Y2K lightning rod whether one believed in him or not.

I'll admit my intent was to be provocative with the knowledge that anyone could rightly challenge my views, but with one caveat; legitimate criticisms, must be couched within the framework of the 'time the article was written' - 2001.

In Irving M. Copi, Carl Cohen's book, Introduction to Logic, they posited,"The full force of argument and counterargument can be grasped, in most circumstances, only with the understanding of the context in which those arguments are presented. In real life, context is critical". Going back, minutes after de Jager's angry email arrived, so too did a Google Alert informing me a Spam Blogger had reposted my article from 2001. Since there was no reference to when the piece was written, readers - de Jager in particular - were free to assume that it was current, which of course it was not!

Nearly a decade later, in spite of what we now know, my article appeared to be dragging up the past, shifting the blame for what happened in 2000, resulting in unnecessary discomfort for Peter's feelings and reputation, as well as my own.

Ironically, this, for me, was not an isolated incident.

Several months ago [May 2008], I receive another angry email, not so courteously written as de Jager's. In fact, it was downright vitriolic. It came from an American VP of Sales who had read my article "What Successful Sellers Know - Others Don't ... The Subtle Art of Closing" To say the least, he took unkind exception to it.

The article stated that most sellers think the Close takes place at the End of the sale but in fact, successful sellers know the Close can often start even before a contact with the customer.

I likened this strategy to what was going on in the world at that time. The day before [Wednesday, October 29, 2003] on CNN, the Networks and all the papers, George W Bush stood aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in front of a sign that read, "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!".

It was thought, the war in Iraq was won and it was won in only days.

I used this example to illustrate that the success of the mission could not be measured in the few days of fighting but rather the many months of preparations by 'Special-Ops' forces that worked behind the lines - ahead of time - ensuring the strategy was victorious. It certainly fit with the core message of my article which was in sales, the success of the sale is often predicated on the quality of the Close which starts with preparation at the beginning of the sales process, not the End.

Fast forward to 2008 keeping in mind that George W was wrong in his Iraqi War estimation and think about a VP of Sales that reads my article for the first time and thinks that its content is Current.

It bears repeating: The trouble with the internet is it presents itself wrapped in a cloak of timely-legitimacy regardless of the time in which it is read. Or to quote Copi again, "In real life, context is critical".

The methodology with regard to when a Close takes place, will stand the test of time. In contrast, the 'Times' themselves, more specifically, their ability to serve as legitimate example-evidence, have a limited shelf life. Clearly, five years of USA/Iraq history, in tandem with the appearance of the current legitimacy of my ancient article, posted on a spammer's Blog... had come back to Bite ME!

The Bottom Line:

The unbridled nature of the internet has its strengths and weaknesses. One being, it exists in an eternal state of recent authenticity. It would bode well for readers and bloggers alike to temper their interpretations until they can time-frame the context or circumstances in which the editorial / blog was written.

Paul Shearstone is an International Keynote Speaker / Author. He specializes in Motivation, Selling and Corporate Resilience Training. For more information on Paul's keynotes and seminars, or to invite him to speak at your next successful event, we invite you to contact him directly: 416-728-5556 / 1-866-855-4590.

Three Tips to Your Own Distinctive Newsletter Design

Now that you've got your newsletter up and running, are you ready to make it distinctive? Using a custom template can help your newsletter catch the eye of the subscriber as they sort through their email. It can also reinforce your brand and professional status. A custom template will put your logo, photos, colors, and other customizations into the email newsletters that you send out.

Three things you need to know about newsletter templates:

1) Unless you are very good with HTML and willing to study email clients and test extensively, it's best to hire a professional to design your template.

A professional designer will be able to use your existing website graphics to create something lovely. Expect to pay a fair price for the template. Keep in mind that it's something you'll be using over and over to promote your business and sending out hundreds, maybe thousands, of times. The cost won't seem as expensive if you think about the long-term value. Pricing will vary depending on the designer and your needs. A basic graphic header and graphic headings coded for a coach or infoprenuer's newsletter will generally be less expensive than a fancy template for a product seller that includes bordered product photo displays and other graphics work.

2) You need to be very specific with your designer in terms of what features you want.

If you want to have 5 sections all with different titles and image headers, be sure you let them know before they begin work. If you want expandable areas for content, or specific fonts, or links, mention it. After a template is complete is not a good time to say, "Instead, I really wanted..." or "But this image needed to..." Be as descriptive as possible and forward samples if you have them so that your designer has as much information to work with as you can provide. You'll like the end result better and your original price quote will be more accurate.

Remember also that your designer can offer valuable advice and guidance towards a template that will work well for your newsletter.

3) Using a custom template will require you to either know a bit of HTML code yourself, or have your content added into it for each newsletter by someone who does know HTML code.

A custom template is not going to work the same way as choosing a pre-loaded template in Aweber or Constant Contact. Those allow you to just "fill in the box" to add your content into their pre-designed stock template. With a custom template, the newsletter coding has been created exclusively for you, and you will likely need to edit your source code, then copy and paste the entire thing into a code box at the mailing services website. If you're changing images and other graphics it'll get a bit more complicated and you'll need to be familiar with image editing, uploading, and how to link to images to update that part of a template/newsletter layout.

Each time you send out a newsletter you'll have two options:

* If you're on a limited budget, plan to spend some time becoming familiar with your template and HTML code. It's not extremely difficult but it does require some time and effort. Discuss your plans and needs with your designer if you'll be updating yourself so he or she can make this process easier for you.

* If you're limited on time, plan to have your designer or virtual assistant handle your content for you each issue. Be sure to find out how much advance notice your designer needs to add your content so you can schedule it in advance of your sending date. You'll also want to proofread your content before you send it to your designer. You might also request that he/she login and send out your newsletter for you, just to be sure the code ends up properly entered in your mailing service so it displays properly for your subscribers.

You'll have to choose one approach or the other. Your designer can't update your newsletter for free and you won't be able to do it without knowing a bit about the inner workings of your template (code and/or images, as needed).

These three tips will help you get a template that works well for you, and learn to work with your template. Good luck!

Work at home mom extraordinaire Michelle Shaeffer publishes The Muses Brainstorm, a weekly ezine with tips to help you balance, manage, and market your home based business. If you're ready for inspirational guidance and bright ideas sign up free at

Backbone of the World

"Be wise and listen," said the Sun. "I am the only chief. Everything is mine. I made the earth, the mountains, prairies, rivers, and forests."
--Blackfoot Legend

George Bird Grinnell
Blackfoot Lodge Tails

In the high country of Montana and Alberta, the sun makes Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park new each day with the tints and shades on its palette of light. The rough mountains of the continental divide rise up from the great plains on broad brush strokes of grey, green, brown, red, and the gold of dawn's alpine glow.

Waterton-Glacier is the only park in the world that crosses a national boundary. Waterton was established in Alberta in 1895, Glacier in Montana in 1910. The two parks combined, under separate administrations, into a 2000-square-mile wilderness in 1932.

The Pacific cordillera has been called the backbone of the world. At the 49th parallel, the rocky vertebrae began as sediment deposited in a Proterozoic sea 800 to 1600 million years ago. Ripple marks created by water and wind are suspended in time within the stone. About 100 million years ago, massive movements of the earth's crust slammed the bedrock forty miles eastward over the younger rocks.

During the last ice age, glaciers plucked and scraped the rock along this thrust fault into horn-shaped mountains, hanging valleys, delicate ar?tes, amphitheaters where turquoise lakes are framed by whitebark pine and subalpine fir. Of the park's remaining fifty or sixty glaciers, Sperry and Grinnell are the largest.

Water, wind and ice shape and reshape the rocky spectrum of limestone, quartzite, diorite, and argillite that stretches from valley floor to mountain summit. The wonders of this rock unfold along every trail. East of the divide, thousands of hikers stop below the face of Going-to-the-Sun Mountain, Nat?si-?itapo, where some say the creator of these mountains watches over his world from within the living stone.

A former college journalism teacher, Malcolm R. Campbell is a contributing writer for "Living Jackson Magazine" and the author of the novel "The Sun Singer."

Camera Choices For Photography

In any discussion of IDEAL equipment, one of the most important points to consider, particularly for wedding photography, is weather or not the system you choose has a Focal Plane or Between the Lens shutter.

The most versatile is the Between the Lens shutter, as this system allows flash synchronization at ALL shutter speeds. Consider when you are taking photos outside in the gardens, or after the ceremony in front of the church. To ensure good photographs, virtually every shot you take should be with the flash as a fill light. This will help to eliminate shadows, overcome bright backgrounds (where the subject is normally underexposed, and therefore the brides face cannot be seen clearly), and ensures good tonal range throughout the image. Most digital and 35mm SLR cameras today are all Focal Plane shutters, some travelling vertically, most travelling horizontally. However, many of the more expensive models now have a higher flash synchronization speed up to 250th of a second. Olympus is unique in that its OM4 will sync at ALL shutter speeds, providing their specially developed flash is used.

Ideally, you should meter for the background light, and then balance the light on your subject with the flash. In other words, if the background light indicates an exposure of 1Dif the available light is f8 at 250th sec, then you need to expose for the subject about one stop lower at f4.6 It is usually better to have the flash illumination at about one or two ? stops less than the available light, for the most pleasing results. This prevents the flash from putting too much light on the subject, making it look unnatural, or from burning out any detail in the brides face or dress.

An interesting effect can be to deliberately underexpose the background. Lets say for the same lighting as above, you set the camera to ?11 or ?16, underexposing the background by one or two ? stops, and set the flash to provide enough light to correctly expose the subject. Experimenting in this way, can provide you with some interesting, saleable effects.

You can achieve different effects by trying several variations. Assume a background exposure of ?8, shutter speed remains constant at the metered value i.e. ?8 @ 1D60 for example.

So in effect what we are doing is under or over exposing the background by varying the aperture, and compensating the amount of light reaching the subject, by varying the amount of light from the flash.

The advantages of the 'between the lens' shutter, makes wedding photography quite straight forward. You meter for the available light, and set the flash to expose the subject about one or two stops less. If you are outside and moving around, and don't have time to set the camera on a tripod, you can use the higher shutter speeds, and larger apertures. The larger the aperture opening, is in fact, a smaller number, because it is the inverse of the fraction. If you have ever been confused by this, just remember that all values are given as a fraction, however, there is not enough room to print this on the camera or lens. So, an aperture of ?2.8, a small number, but a large aperture, is really ?1D2.8 . Conversely, a shutter speed of '500' is really '1D500'. By convention, the '1/' gets left off.

At the church, reception or hall, where there is little or no available light, you can also use the higher shutter speeds to eliminate any camera shake, while maintaining the correct aperture for the flash. The background, of course, will be underexposed (black), but in these situations, it is usually not of any concern. With a typical cameras however, you will be limited to 1D60 th of a second. This means you will need to take extra care when hand holding the camera to minimize camera shake.

The second situation to consider, is when using medium speed ISOs in the 200-400 range in bright daylight. You may be forced into exposures of 1D250 to 1D500 at ?8-?16. If we take the high side as an example, 1D500 at ?16, and our flash sync is only 1D60, we need to adjust the exposure by three stops, (500th-125th-60th), to maintain flash sync. So we need three stops of exposure compensation from f16 to f32. This is not possible on most cameras today. Further, we need more light from our flash.

Copyright (c) 2008 Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson has been photographing brides around the world for more than 30 years. If you are interested in making money with photography, then the course Tom has created can get you off to a great start. Please visit my website to learn all about starting your own studio.

Generation X - Will it Be the Hardest Working Generation in History?

Hard work, Good Music and Technology: That's Generation X!

It was intriguing to see Generation X featured on TV the other day, being part of that generation myself. When I saw how they were spoken of as probably the hardest working generation in history, that got me thinking if the generation would really deserve such an accolade.

In my grandparents' generation they worked hard all their lives, if they were lucky enough to get a job, and after retirement worked hard to live on a meager pension. More of them fought more wars than we did and the work was hard and uncompromising. Sure, there were those that swung the lead like there are in any generation, but most of them sure worked hard.

My father's baby boomer generation went to Vietnam, and then came back to what? He drove a truck for 30 years until he retired. It seemed the thing to do in these days: work all your life and then struggle during retirement on very little money. So in what respect could it be argued that Generation X might be the hardest working generation ever? That made me think about what I did and what I do now, and what people in general do that is different to warrant being described as such.

Do you know what? I think it's true! I didn't come to that conclusion easily, but if you think about everything you do in your normal day: the multitasking we carry out almost automatically, without even realizing it or thinking about it and then the jobs we do on top of that, then it sure makes you think.

We talk to each other and text to each other, send emails, log on and find out what we need to know online, we plan and buy vacations, buy travel tickets, listen to music or an audio book and get directions on how to get to our destination: all without getting out of the car, and we aren't even at work yet! Then we get to work, put in a full day of 10 hours or so, and then back home and finish our reports till the early hours. Is the world a better place for us? I think so.

It all started when I realized that I would always be just a Nirvana fan: I would never be them or like them. I would never be the great Kurt Cobain, and would have to find some other way of realizing my dreams. My mechanic job wasn't part of my future so I dropped the spanner and went off to the army.

In my 11 years I learned a great deal about leadership and about myself, and have never regretted a single day. But I still wasn't settled, and had all these ideas whirling around in my head: dreams of owning my own business, of inventing new things and of doing things better. Of being 'Better Than All The Rest', in the words of Tina Turner. Before long it occurred to me that this was entrepreneurialism, and that I was born to make it in life. No corporate job for me, no sir! I was going to go further than a 9-5 job or even the corporate boardroom.

When I thought of these things it occurred to me that was the spirit of Generation X. Our parents were forced to be tied down to a job for 30 years or more, and then retire on a meager pension because that was the way things were done in these days, unless you had rich parents or was born into a business. But not now. We created our own opportunities and a desk or factory job was not in our frame.

Gen X'ers are going our own way, and making changes as we go. We work from home, and develop online businesses that give us the money that allows us to do as we wish without fear of retirement. We are developing the technologies that we need to enable us to achieve all that, and we are successful at what we do. The old ways were not for us - we refused them and marched to our own drums.

And yes, we were hard working and were disciplined, because without these qualities we would not have achieved what we did. We understood business and how technology could be used within it to make us rich. Rich not only in cash but also in self-sufficiency and self-reliance, and we worked hard to get there. We noticed our parents get old and look old, and we decided not to let them, and so we applied our skills and ingenuity to the health and wellness industry in order to help them stay younger and look and feel younger. The baby boomers are still the majority of the population, and are a vast market for us to help to get what they want: to be healthy and look it. They are like us: they don't want to get old. We can help them and it gives you a great feeling when you help people. Especially people you love.

This is a massive industry, worth billions every year, and will continue to grow for as long as people get older. Work that one out! The time to take advantage of this vast resource of potential business is right now, and the business model most suited to doing it is network marketing. That is a great way to get your product out to all of these people that need it, and also a way of enabling everybody that wants it to have their own business that can be run from their own homes.

Network marketing can provide many rewards for the hard working, and the harder you work the more money you will make: just as it should be. If you don't want to do the work, then you will earn less than those that do work hard. There can be nothing fairer than that. Your income is not dependent on how well others do, on how much your company is willing to pay you, or even on a tiny percentage of the sales that you worked so hard to secure. You get paid according to how much you put in: put in the effort and you get the reward.

You can make from zero to seven figures every month depending upon your own personal effort. You have nobody to blame and nobody to thank except yourself in network marketing. You have no doubt heard of a lot of network marketing scams, and I am not going to try to pull the wool over your eyes. There are scams, and you will have to look hard to find the right company to join. Such a company will have a good product to sell, top class training in how to sell it, and perhaps even a website to sell it on. Get that and you are made.

You can get these things for as little as $50 a month. Some spend more than that on a meal whereas you can spend it on securing a great future, bringing you in residual income every single month of every single year. That is what we Generation Xers have achieved, in addition to the great music, the great movies and the multi-tasking that allows you to do so many things and communicate with people faster and cheaper than ever before.

We have also changed the way you do business, so that 30 years in a dead-end job and then retirement on next to nothing is not in your book. No bosses to fire you and no struggling through traffic for years on end. Yes, perhaps we are the hardest working generation, but we are also the cleverest, and know the best way to make money and live our lives.

Join us.

Doug Lee-

Doug is a proud Gen X'er and Professional Business Building Coach who specializes in Helping People Make Their Lives Better. He does this by personally teaching them to build a lucrative home business. To learn more about Doug Lee and his team visit:

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