Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Millionaire Blogger?

“Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.” - Charles F. Kettering

"The Millionaire Blogger." That's what my friend had told me that he was going to call his blog pretty soon. "The Millionaire Blogger!" pretty cool, I thought. "Ron" figured that by March of 2012 or so, he'd have a million reads and his new business would be worth at least about $5 million-plus US dollars to him by 2013. So, he figured that he could be one of the very people who is a millionaire and blogs. Ron was hoping that he could blog and help others make money and live better... I liked his idea.

Well, now, he figures that he can hit the million reads mark, but the $5 million-plus dollars might have just gone up in smoke. Poof! 

You read that right; I've said before that I have some very rich friends, but I also have many almost rich friends. One of them is my friend Ron. 

Ron and his partners (and investors) started a new company that they had  estimated that would have sales of about $20 million dollars annually by end of 2013 and, if Ron sold his founding shares in the company, he stood to gain anywhere between $3.5 to $10.5 million US dollars. Not bad for four years work.

Ron told me yesterday that things seem to have not turned out that way at all. I had warned him.

Ron said that some very disturbing facts have come to light, so he had gone through serious bouts of worry, desperation and stress... Sometimes Ron  says he spends an entire day depressed and starts drinking early in the day (I know, he'd been calling me and ask me to come over many times up until six weeks ago). Ron said his wife thinks that he shouldn't get depressed, but I understand Ron. I would imagine that most people who spent nearly two years working without pay on a brilliant project and then started up that project to great success only to find out that they'd been screwed by their investor, would be depressed. 

Some people would want to kill themselves... Or the investor. I might fall into the latter category. 

I can't go into too much detail, but, just two months after starting up his new company, Ron and crew were such darlings and big news in the media that they drew attention from some of the biggest investment firms in Japan. Soon, they were able to have one of the biggest and most famous companies in Japan become a strategic investor. People were blown away. I was. I said to Ron, "You guys just started up! How in the world did you manage to get that company to invest in you?" Ron just smiled.

I think most people might be depressed when they found out that the strategic investor wasn't actually interested in their company and their idea as a separate, mutually beneficial entity but were only interested in stealing that companies ideas and technology and using it for themselves.

It looks like they did that too... In spite of my efforts to warn Ron and his partners what I thought the real motivations of their strategic "partner" were. Ron listened to me. But Ron's parters were all on seventh heaven when they concluded an agreement for investment. This deal was big news all over Japan.

Ron told me about negotiations and I gave my advice. Things he told me just  didn't sit right with me and I warned Ron. Ron tried to warn his partners, but they wouldn't listen. They were convinced that the partner was interested in them as a mutually profitable partnership. I suspected that they were only interested in using Ron's idea for their own ends. I convinced him of the same.

Soon, though, Ron and partners only saw dollar signs in their eyes, I was still suspicious of the investors motivations... In fact, at the only meeting I attended, I felt that I could read the investors motivations like a cook book sitting open right in front of my face. The thing on the menu? Ron's company.

I was right. But, as a mere advisor, I can only do as much. Ron and his partners took the bait; hook line and sinker. They refused to listen or even be suspicious.  They signed the contract, the partners got their way,... So, now Ron's company  lost. 

Ron's company lost the battle. But they haven't lost the war. 

Like I said, Ron told me that he had been depressed and seriously stressed out, but something happened to him six weeks ago. We met and I recommended to him that he change his mind and take it easy and not to stress out about it anymore. I told him to read a blog post by James Altucher who talks about how he lost MUCH more money, $20 million dollars to be exact, and, instead of lying on the bed getting depressed, he decided that he was going to "surrender."

Yeah. That's it. He surrendered. Surrendering didn't mean giving up, it meant that he allocated his fate to "whatever happens, happens." 

That's what I told Ron to do a month and a half ago too. To give up. I have always believed that everything happens for a reason and, if you look for the positive, you'll find it and out of any bad experience, something good will come.

I told Ron to decide to let his life go to fate, faith, God, nature, the spirits, fortune, whatever you want to call it. I told him to decide that he wasn't going to stress and fret. I told him to decide that he was going to keep on going and not let this negativity stop him. He had to keep going and doing what he does best.

I told him to remember that the company that stole his companies idea and technology may have won the battle for now, but they haven't won the war. There is still a huge opportunity sitting there and I ask that he consider picking up the pieces, assessing the situation with a calm and collected frame of mind  and figure out how to put them back together into something even better than before.

Just because, say, a convenience store across the street comes out with a new  cash register, that doesn't mean Ron's convenience store on this side of the street is going to lose all their customers and close up shop. Nope. 

This might sound contradictory, but here's the way I would see it if I were in Ron's shoes. I told Ron that I would think: 

"I may have lost everything already, so I haven't anything to more to lose. They can't do anything to damage me anymore at all. So there is nowhere to go for me but up." 

Things can just only work out for the better that way. 

They can't damage me anymore, but I can do damage to them. Great ideas come from great minds. They have stolen an idea, but they haven't stolen my minds. Positivity will create more great ideas. If they had great ideas, then they wouldn't have needed to steal mine. So, this incident just proves that they cannot create innovation, but I can. I will. Time is on my side."

I asked Ron that he and his CEO and staff come up with some new ideas. Ideas that they would have never imagined had they not been forced to think of a different way and a different angle though this experience.

It worked like a charm! I saw Ron yesterday and we had lunch together. He was a changed man.

He told me, 

"Mike! I have given up my fears and given up my stress and worries. I have, like James Altucher recommends, given up my future to "the Force" (Star Wars) and, no, that doesn't mean that I am going to lay down in my bed and pout all day, that means that I am going to think, plan create and grow.

I believe that, from this experience, my company and I can be taken on a different plane and a different path towards success... In fact, since we have come up with a new brilliant plan we are more convinced than ever that the new way is better than the last. Now, instead of grief and despair, I can see how we can make an even better project and make even more money. Thanks to you.  

But, as with all things in life, nothing is certain and it is a bit of a gamble. But isn't that what's exciting? After all, what is a successful business? It is not a breakthrough technology or just a plan. There have been many companies that had excellent plans and totally new and breakthrough technologies that have failed. But the successful business or plan is created by having great people; the right people. I know we have the right people riding on the bus and we are going in the right direction.

I'm thinking now that our new plan will greatly upset our "partner" because we've set it up so that they are left out. They took from us what they thought was useful. But, the problem is that, if they knew what they were doing in the first place, they would have never needed us. They took what they wanted but failed to recognize the future of this business. We were in it longer than they were and have already seen from the streets the results of our efforts, we had already been evolving the process. They have just kicked off their system (that is a mirror of ours several months ago) filled with all the things that we realized were wrong a long time ago. We certainly are not going to point out the error in their ways.

Several months may not seem like a long time, but in the Internet business, several months is a lifetime.

I won't look to our strategic "partners" as "criminals" - what one of my founding partners called them - but will look upon them as the competition... 

They might be the competition but we were the originals and we are the ones who are the leaders and the creators and the ones who will always be the innovators. They won't. They will always be the copy machines. Drones without new ideas."

I was so happy to see Ron back to his old self. Ron's always been one of these super go-getter guys. You know,  ready to climb Mount Everest by lunchtime and at a dinner meeting in Paris by 7 pm.

There's a lesson here from Ron for you, me and all of us.

I don't want to get depressed, stressed or mad. You shouldn't either.

In my case, everyday, no matter what, I have decided to keep doing the best. I won't get sad and I will keep going out and meeting people and talking about and promoting my business. I will keep reading books and sharing new ideas. 
We all need to take a total assessment of our situations at all times. Things might seem bad at this very moment, but look at the situation overall. That there are troubles and difficulties are expected and obvious. Rome wasn't built in a day. We all must use our way of thinking to create good self-fulfilling prophesies and not negative ones. 

Regardless of your situation, you can do the same thing too. Do not fret about your situation, but use it as a lesson in life. Use it to learn and to better yourself. Falling into a state of worry, fear or depression, will only make the situation worse. Remember the story about "self-fulfilling prophesy." You can create a better situation for yourself but you must first create that situation in your own mind. 

That's what I am going to do... As well as giving myself up to fate and faith and knowing that, if I always do right by myself and others, good things will surely come to me. And they can come to you.

Like they say, the best revenge in life is success.


Andrew Joseph said...

Mike... the last line of this blog summed up what I thought back when I was 17 years old and being picked on/bullied in high school. I thought to myself that one day, I will show all of these losers that I matter... that I am a somebody... that I am a success.
More often than not, I feel that way. I'm glad Ron does, too.

diego.a said...

How come you and Ron are not partners? You two work well together.

mike in tokyo rogers said...

I wish I could be a partner... But usually being a partner requires that I cough up a lot of money for the privilege... I suppose I could ask my wife to increase my allowance. You think she would say, "OK"?

diego.a said...

Ooops... I forgot your wife is already your partner in every meaning of the word. Nevermind ;)

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