Expectations | Approaching the Unknown

hydr8I was hired by an attorney last month to provide an EXPERT report on internet marketing and SEO. I have to say I was flattered. It was my first experience with officially documenting my expertise (however much/little I have) in my field. I also must say I really enjoyed it. So much so in fact that I’ve decided to write another EXPERT review.

This time, however, I’m going to review a sports drink. I feel like 24+years of playing sports establishes me as somewhat of a knowledgeable figure on the subject. While I was working for Anasazi (a wilderness survival program for troubled youth) we had a saying that was used to the point of exhaustion. “Hydration is happiness!!” In writing though, I’m going to now change that to “Hydr8tion is happiness.”

It’s probably been around a long time but last night was the first time I had tried QT’s Hydr8. I was super skeptical because I’m always disappointed in new sports drinks. I always go in expecting it to taste like Gatorade or Powerade. When it doesn’t, I deem it as a “medicine” taste and usually end up not even drinking half of it.

To be fair, I approached this drink the same way. Consequently, I WAS disappointed at first sip. I did sort of like the taste after a few gulps though the first contact was too strong in my opinion. Again, because I was expecting Gatorade. Then my wife tried it and said, “it’s not bad. You just can’t think of it as a sports drink. Imagine you’re drinking juice. You have to go in with no expectations.”

When I did that, I’m not kidding there was a world of difference. I LOVED it!! I had the Mango flavor and it sort of tasted like Snapple’s Mango Madness.

Then I started thinking about what Kylie had said. I think we can apply her advice in many things in life, especially things we haven’t tried before. When you go to Thailand, you can’t expect it to be like America. You’ll be sadly disappointed and your trip will be a complete bust. I know missionaries from my church that have spent two years in Thailand (one of the most exotic and beautiful places on earth) but were miserable the whole time they were there JUST because they were expecting something different than what it was.

Cultures are different, people are different, sports drinks are different, schools are different, families and personalities are different. By approaching each one without expectations, we can usually find something about every one of them that is unique and likable.

How do YOU approach the unknown?

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Looks Can Be Deceiving

looks can be deceivingDo you ever hear something from someone and just get that vibe or feeling that it’s fake? For some reason, you just get that notion that they are trying to sell you on something that sounds good but you just don’t get that warm or comforting sensation inside that they are telling the whole truth or any truth at all for that matter.

I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about when I say this. It’s like when you’re older brother is overly anxious to pass you the sugar for your cereal bowl and you find out only later that he had swapped the sugar for salt. There’s just something out of the ordinary with his tone of voice and actions. It is in these situations where you usually end up realizing the fallacy of the offer very quickly.

The reason I bring this up is because of an advertisement I saw last night at the Fitness Works in Chandler. Above the drinking fountain there was a poster advertising an upcoming body building event in Mesa. The headline read like this:

North Valley Plastic Surgery presents Natural Western USA Championships Body Building.”

Now I don’t know about you, but when I see body builders I’m already kind of creaped out by their larger than life statures (especially women body builders). You immediately question whether it is natural or not and I presume that none of them ARE natural.

Then you throw in the “plastic surgery” sponsorship in the headline!? It’s almost like they want you to know it’s fake. Is this part of their reverse psychology marketing scheme? Do they think for some reason that consumers have gotten educated enough on the capabilities of plastic surgery and that EVERYBODY is doing it that they want you to think, “hey, you know what, I DO want to get that boob job. I DO want to get that new nose… then I can look ridiculously jacked out of my mind like that guy! Like a total friek of nature!”

I’m not really sure what they are after with that endorsement but as far as I’m concerned, I’m 100 times less inclined to get plastic surgery now and I’m just as scared off from the body building event as well. Not that I would ever consider plastic surgery in the first place, but seriously, this has to be one of the worst marketing efforts I’ve seen.

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missing-linkThe other day Dallin told us a riddle that no one was able to figure out. The riddle he related goes as such, “you’re in a room with X amount of gold bags and a scale that will give you one reading one time. Each of the bags has real gold except for one bag which weighs slightly different than the rest. How do you figure out which bag is the faulty gold bag?”

We were all stuck on it the rest of the day. It seemed impossible. My solution to weigh one bag, add another and another and another until you get a different reading didn’t work as it did not follow the guideline of only being able to receive ONE reading from the scale.

I finally gave up this morning (4 days later) and Googled the riddle. I ran into a web post that contained the riddle and the answer. However, to my frustration, the riddle here actually read like this, “You have 10 bags of gold coins, 10 coins per bag, 10 grams per coin, but one bag of coins weigh only 9 grams per coin (because of low quality). How do you find out which bag contains low quality gold coins? You may use a scale only one time.”

So there WAS more information!!!! Dallin was holding out on us (probably not on purpose. His version was most likely the way it was related to him and he still figured it out, but you would expect that from Dallin. The guy’s a genius.)!

It made me think of some clients who ask you to help their business succeed online without providing you with what success in their market actually means. Of course, a ranch land investor is going to have a different conversion rate than an online clothing store. To some point, it is the marketer’s responsibility to research and determine the market benchmarks and trends, but the business owner also needs to take the responsibility of ensuring the marketer knows exactly what he views a successful campaign to be.

So let’s make sure we get the story straight. If we want someone to figure out a problem, we need to provide the tools and means they need to succeed at debunking that particular dilemma.

By the way, here is the solution to the riddle 🙂 Try to figure it out first though!

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“Lost Job… What to Do” Guide

Lost-JobI, as I’m sure many of you do as well, have a couple of friends who just recently lost their job. Because they’ve lost their job, they’re left asking themselves what to do. It has been a struggle to watch them go through this process. It pains me to see such qualified people be out of work and without a way to provide for their families. This is the most disheartening thing in my opinion, that though they love their families and desire so much to be able to provide for them, they are now in a situation that leads them to doubt their ability to do so.

Notice I didn’t say that, “they are now in a situation where they CAN’T.” I didn’t say this because it is not true. This should never be true if a person is fit physically and mentally to work. Physically able is a no brainer. I think most can decide whether they are physically able to work. However, the “mental” part of it is the most important. It’s easy to do things that will make a person mentally unable or unstable to work. This is not going to be a guide on what TO DO if you lose your job. This is going to be a guide on what to do if you want to lose your job, or if you don’t want to find another job. By following these steps, you’ll know exactly how to make yourself mentally unstable and/or unable to work or find a job. You can then use the opposite of these suggestions if you’re looking for the alternative result.

Don’t Work

This is probably the easiest way to lose your job. It is also the easiest way to not find a job if you’ve already lost it. A job is work. It means you actually do something. There is a saying in Thai that I like. It says, “tham dii dai dii tham chua dai chua.” Literally translated it means, “do good get good do bad get bad.” If money is good (in this case it is because it helps you provide for your family) and your boss has money, you need to do what your boss thinks is good. This usually means you do what he tells you. It’s quite simple really. If you do what you’re expected to do and you do it better than expected, you’re not going to be the first on the chopping block

Don’t Care

It’s easy to not work if you don’t care. So if you want to kill two birds with one stone, first don’t care, then you won’t work. If you do work, you won’t work better than expected because you’re heart’s not into it. This is a great “one-two punch” for losing your job and/or not finding one

Don’t Be Punctual

If you want to be able to say, “Lost job. What to do,” you’ll need a good steady dose of showing up late to important things. You can get a good start at being “unpunctual” by not caring. See how it all fits in together? Usually, people who aren’t punctual don’t start off at work. They start off with showing up a few minutes after curfew. Then, they don’t show up for dinner. Then, baseball practice. Eventually, everything and everyone else’s time takes a backseat to theirs and they can’t be relied upon for almost anything. Again, great way to lose a job.


I want to use this as more of a means of not finding a job once it’s already been lost. It is the one that I see the most and, to be completely honest, I think we all are guilty of this at times. Complaining gets us no where! Complaining waists time and energy. These are two things you can’t afford to waist when you’re out of a job. The more time we spend thinking of everything that’s gone wrong and finding people to tell about it, the less time we spend actually caring, working, and doing good.

Moping and Feeling Sorry

My friend that just got laid off said that the second he suspected that their might be tough times ahead at work, he put in three applications to different job offerings. This didn’t give him any time to mope or feel sorry for himself. I realize that sometimes losing a job can come as a shock and it is always going to leave a knot in your side. However, the perfect formula for keeping you in the “jobless” situation that you’ve been placed in is to think about how bad it is and how much life is unfair. It IS unfair, that’s a fact. Getting over that and getting to work is the formula to overcome unfairness.

So let’s review, if you want to say, “Lost job. What to do,” you’ll need to do a total of 5 things. You’ll need to not care about much. Because you don’t care, you’ll stop doing your best work and maybe even stop working altogether. Though you may show up for work, you will want to be late everyday and tell the boss to shove it. You’ll definitely lose your job after this and as a result, you need to mope around for at least and few weeks and then complain to everyone you come in contact with about the situation.

And that, my friends, is my, “Lost job… What to do” guide. Also, I deeply apologize if I have offended anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings.

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Pre-Game Face

Go Ducks

When all is set and done today, I hope I still have this face on. You always hear about game faces and how, when you’re getting ready for a big event you should, “put your game face on.”

In my opinion, your game face shouldn’t be something you have to “put on” right before something important. If you do this, you only have your game face on maybe 0.0009% of your life. Even if 0.0009% game face equals 10% success, just imagine what having your game face on 100% of the time would do…

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Google’s Code vs. Oregon’s Play Calling

oregon placardsSEO’s and internet marketers have been trying for years to “crack” Google’s algorithm so that they can “beat the system” and obtain high search rankings for themselves and their clients. There’s so much talk about what Google is and isn’t counting anymore and how much emphasis is being placed on certain mediums (ie. twitter mentions and other social media buzz, on-page optimization, number and quality of inbound links, content generation…etc.) Rand from SEOmoz even posts a list of 224 potential ranking factors for SEO experts to comment on in their upcoming survey of what the most important ranking factors will be for 2011.

With the seeming complexity of Google’s code, it’s easy to get caught up in the mystery of it all and spend hours upon hours delving into the endless possibilities of what you could or should do to stay ahead of the game. Even if you were able to finally figure it all out, who’s to say that tomorrow it will even be the same. That’s what I feel like is one of the best parts about my job. Each day the game changes. I for one hated working for Wells Fargo and multiple other jobs growing up and having to go to work everyday just to do the exact same thing I did the day before.

However, if the game is changing so much and there is so much mysterious complexity to figuring out how you should or shouldn’t spend your time, what is the best way to prepare and what should you do with the hours your charging your clients to work on their marketing if you aren’t exactly sure how to tackle the job?

My conclusion to this is that yes, you need to put the hours in each day to stay on top of the ever changing industry knowledge. However, as much as things change in the search world, the core principles are the same. Know your industry, offer better content than anyone else in the industry, be social, give away what you want to receive (this means links too:), and be consistent.

To provide a little analogy, it takes the same thing to succeed in this line of work as the Auburn Tigers are going to need to gain success against Oregon’s complex offense. As most of us know, the Duck’s have implemented a new, super bewildering, play calling method this year that has confused opposing team’s defenses. Instead of focusing on cracking their system, why not just stick to the fundamentals of football and try to beat them at that. If Auburn plays tough, hard-nosed defense, contains Lamichael James, and Cam Newton and the offense drive the ball down the field and score, they have a great shot at withstanding Oregon’s high powered offense.

In the end, it’s all about hard work, limiting mistakes, and having a little bit of creativity. Can’t you say the same thing for finding success in any field though?

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Can You be Both a Suns Fan and a Lakers Fan?

Suns vs. LakersYes!!! However, you walk a very fine line and you basically have to be able to take criticism from both sides as opposed to just one or the other. Most will disagree, but I for one will be happy regardless of the outcome of tonight’s game.

Anyone who knows anything about Suns basketball knows that we notoriously hate the LA Lakers. I am probably one of very few though, that likes the Lakers and have for a very long time. I’ve been a Laker fan since the first year Kobe was brought on. He’s the best player in the NBA and has been for years.

That said, I just recently started liking the Suns in the past 4-5 years. Since I live in Arizona, I have the right to like my hometown team. I can’t find it in me to hate the team I’ve always routed for though. So what do I do when the two teams play each other? Well, I’ll tell you what I’m doing tonight… I’M GOING TO THE GAME OF COURSE!!!! My first NBA game and what a game to attend! Look for tweets and fb updates throughout the game! See you there!

Suns vs. Lakers 01/05/11

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When You Know You’ve Made It

The Top of the GameAs much as I hate Apple products, mostly for reasons that follow the stereotypical “Apple Haters,” I have to hand it to a company that puts out such “cool” products on a consistent basis. My problem with Apple isn’t because I think their products are bad, on the contrary, I think they are fantastic. I think the main reason I’m rubbed the wrong way with them is that they KNOW they are great. Anyway, I won’t get into the “therefore’s” and “hence’s” that follow that fault.

How Did Apple Do It?

What I did want to talk about is the fact that Apple KNOWS that they’ve made. It’s not because they brought in $3.25 billion in Q3 alone last year. It’s not because they sold over 300K ipads the day it opened on the market. It’s also not because a youtube spoof of Steve Jobs and the made up product the Apple I-Rack has over 5,000,000 views. No, the real reason has nothing to do with any of these.

So what is it? How can you tell when a company has reached market nirvana (dominance)? The reason I know Apple has done it is because no matter who you are, if you have the new Macbook air, the number of different people you’re likely to spark up a conversation with in a given day literally doubles. It’s the same story for those who had an iPhone in 2007. And for those who got an iPad early last year. When you can take a dorky, 119 pound 19 year old with glasses the most popular guy in school in just one day, THAT is when you know you’ve made it.


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Bad Timing

Is it just me or is it inevitably true that every single time you get sick it happens to be the absolute worst possible day/week/weekend to be out of commission? I remembered on Wednesday that my favorite band of all time was playing a show in Tucson the next day and we decided we would go for a Pre-New Years celebration. Then, the next day, we would celebrate New Years Eve with family and friends at the Jimmy Eat World concert at Tempe Town lake, stay up late, and wake up early to hike Camelback Mtn. on Saturday and then sleep the rest of the day.

This was supposed to be my “much needed” break from work and everyday life for the past several months. Well, wouldn’t you know it, I woke up Thursday morning with the worst head cold ever. I forced myself to go to the concert on Thursday, had zero fun (I mean, my head was already pounding even before the concert), and then was knocked out for the entire rest of the weekend. Of course, I wake up Monday morning as fit as a fiddle just in time to start a new work week.


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The #1 Year

Today is one/one/oneone (1/1/11). Okay so really it is supposed to be 1/1/2011 but for all intents and purposes there are 1’s across the  board. In fact, there will be an unprecedented 4 days this year where this will actually be the case. Usually, around this time of year, people are recapping the year that has past and looking forward to the coming new year and contemplating on how they can change to make it a better year than the year before. There is something about this tradition that gets me excited, especially this year (the year of #1).

In 2002, I was entering my senior year of high school. At pole vaulting camp over the summer, I met Justin Smith from Peoria. This guy was an athlete in every way shape and form. 6’3”, built, chiseled, fast as lightening, and could run you into the ground in the mile. He was the #2 dec-athlete in the entire Southwest. However, for Justin, #2 was not in his vocabulary.

We were roommates at camp and each night we would lie in our bunk beds before going to sleep and just talk. We talked about everything, life, sports, girls, careers, religion, and anything else that goes across a 17 year old’s mind. One night, as we were talking, he told me a story of when he was in kindergarten that helped me put “success” in a new light.

His teacher told the class to write down on a piece of paper what they wanted to “be” when they grew up. Everyone wrote down their dreams of either becoming an astronaut, a pilot, a fireman, a lawyer etc. The teacher then read through the answers each student had put. When she got to Justin’s, she came over to him and said, “Justin, you didn’t finish yours. You said that you wanted to be “The best.” Well, what do you want to be the best at?” Justin calmly answered, “I don’t know… just the best.” He’s lived by that motto his entire life. He told me that no matter what challenge or obstacle he faces, he challenges himself to be the very best he can be in overcoming it.

Since that night, I’ve thought back often on the story and what it means to me to be “the best.” Being the best means we try our hardest at everything we believe to be right and we try our hardest to block out anything we believe to be wrong in our lives. I didn’t realize it then, but being the best really has nothing to do with your position in life compared to another’s. It does, however, have everything to do with what you’ve managed to accomplish with what you’ve been dealt.

If, at the end of each, you can look at yourself and say, “I’ve done all I could today to be who I know I should be… me” then that is what matters. At the beginning of this year, I hope we can all make a renewed effort to be the best. If we will, I can see the year of #1 being “the best” year ever!

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