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."

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