‘Automation’ Category

Book Review: “The 4-Hour Workweek: Expanded & Updated” by Timothy Ferriss

January 4th, 2010

We originally reviewed “The 4-Hour Work Week” here. As we said, the three chapters on “Income Autopilot” are probably among the best, concise step by step guides to building a successful, profitable, automated internet store. But this book is more than that — it’s how to reboot your life. Reading this book is like taking the red pill and discovering you have been living in The Matrix. It’s about escaping the rat race, yes, but — to use another movie metaphor — “You’re no longer part of the System. You’re above the System. Over it. Beyond it…. We are” the New Rich (NR), as Ferriss calls it. The author says: “How is it possible that all the people in the world need exactly eight hours to accomplish their work? It isn’t. Nine to five is arbitrary.” This and other “rules” are just so much software that has been plugged into our brains. Ferris teaches you DEAL (or DELA if you are currently employed), which stands for Definition, Elimination, Automation, and Liberation. The new expanded edition has over 100 pages of new content, including updated resources and more real word examples and suggestions from members of the NR.  It’s about how to use technology more effectively, but it’s also about making more effective decisions — i.e., applying the 80/20 rule to everything, ruthlessly. Topics include outsourcing, mini-retirements (rather than waiting until you’re older) and the concept of geoarbitrage. We recommend you take this red pill. Here’s the link to Amazon:  The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content.

(Reviewed by Rich Dog Millionaire.com)

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A Lesson From “The Twilight Zone”

January 1st, 2010

We were watching  “The Twilight Zone” marathon on Sify and saw the stopwatch episode (“A Kind of Stopwatch”) — where Patrick Thomas McNulty gets a most unusual stopwatch that can freeze time. What struck us was the scene — the black and white  office life of the early 1960s. All of the employees — each at his or her desk — each doing seemingly monotonous, repetitive tasks — only to be interrupted by the favor of a breakfast cart, with coffee and a coffee cake. The protagonist, McNulty, is the oddball — in a world where oddballs do not fit in. In his narration, Rod Serling calls McNulty “the biggest bore on Earth.” He fills the office suggestion box with all kinds of ideas — oddball ideas — that have no place in this world (but could perhaps be a fantastic product for an internet store, a half-century later). It’s like this episode is a parable (or fable) in which the stopwatch is the key to escaping this black and white world. Only the story was written by someone from this world, so the stopwatch becomes immoral (McNulty uses it to rob a bank).

But this is what really struck us: Human beings are still doing the same damn thing a half century later — the same habits, the same lifestyle patterns. Of course we have and use the our technology — the internet, email, etc  — but we use it in ways that essentially reinforce obsolete routines. For example, we all get in our cars to sit on the highway during rush hour, to go to and from offices — back and forth, nine to five. We spend hours at our desks and hours in meetings. When we should be harnassing our ideas and dreams, like so many McNultys, using current technology to build internet businesses instead of filling suggestion boxes.

(original content by Rich Dog Millionaire.com)

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Musicnotes.com Hits $1 Million Sales Per Month (Update)

December 1st, 2009

As reported in Internet Retailer, www.musicnotes.com  has hit sales of $1 million for the month of Nov, a 25% increase over last Nov; with annual sales of $11 million. Musicnotes sells licensed sheet music of nearly 110,000 songs that can be downloaded — no shipping or handling necessary. This is the kind of business we like — finding a niche  and designing an automated architecture, with repeatable sales. The company was founded in 1999 and is based in Madison, Wisconsin. Is privately-held, and currently has about 40 employees. The site now reaches about 120,000 visitors per day and 20% of its sales are international.

UPDATE: A reader just advised us of a possible scam related to musicnotes.com. We do not know if it’s true.

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Zappos.com: $1 Billion in Sales

April 18th, 2009

This week The Economist magazine has an interesting article on Zappos.com, the online shoe store that is branching out into other products. Computer Science graduate Tony Hsieh started the company in 1999 and last year it rang up sales of $1 billion. Zappos is distinctly different from many online stores in that it is decidedly not so automatic (as opposed to the Amazon model). Hsieh once described Zappos as a “A service company that just happens to sell shoes.” Job interviewees are asked who their favorite superhero is. New employees are given an option to quit for $2,000. All this to weed out those who are not committed to the wow-service culture of Zappos.

Again, this is an example about finding the edge and the niche. While most internet wags harp about the greatness of automation and working as least as possible (Rich Dog Millionaire is guilty as charged here), other guys are going out and making a billion dollars by essentially doing the opposite. Hsieh is building a brand that he can expand into other areas, not unlike Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.

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Book Review: “The E-Myth Revisted”… And Why Most Internet Businesses Will Fail

April 8th, 2009

“The E-Myth” books by Michael E. Gerber are not generally internet-biz oriented but the series has been among the best-selling business books in years. Do you know what the “E-Myth” is? Basically, it’s the fatal assumption that many, if not most, entrepreneurs have, in starting up and running their business. The assumption is that: knowing the job equals knowing the business. In other words, consider a character that Gerber introduces to us, in “E-Myth Revisited”: Sarah, who is an expert at baking pies. She assumes that, because she knows the techincal side of the business — baking pies — she knows the most important part of the pie business. But she doesn’t, not even close. Just because you know how to set up a website, or you are pretty good with Adwords, doesn’t mean you know how to run an internet business. Another point Gerber says: “If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business, you have a job.” This is also what Tim Ferris was saying in his great book, reviewed here, about the importance of automation.

The way Gerber explains automation is through the model of franchising. Eighty-percent of all new businesses fail within the first five years, 75% of all business-formatted franchises SUCCEED. Franchises concentrate on building a business SYSTEM that can operate automatically — and autonomously — without you having to be there, and it can be expanded — and duplicated — which is what empires are made of. Consider Sarah’s pies — and consider the McDonald’s Big Mac. Is McDonald’s Big Mac the best, tastiest hamburger ever? Most would say no — but McDonald’s is a $40 billion a year business, with nearly 30,000 restaurants in 120 countries.

So look at it this way, whether you are a blogger or internet retailer or any other internet entrepreneur: If you want to grow and build a successful business, what can you learn from McDonald’s and others? Nobody else is talking about this today in “cyber world.” For these reasons, we recommend: The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

 

(reviewed by www.richdogmillionaire.com)

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Buzz Bin: FAP Turbo — “$21,448 in 92 Days on Autopilot”

March 25th, 2009

At the top of the charts now is FAP Turbo, an autopilot-trading- software for FOREX. Forex is the foreign exchange market – the buying and selling of foreign currencies, one of the largest and most liquid financial markets in the world.

FAP Turbo  says that the “advantages of trading Forex are obvious”:

**Low Startup – You can start with as LOW as $50!
**Huge Market – $3 TRILLION traded around the world every day (Actually, the Forex market is bigger than ALL the world stock, bonds, and futures markets combined!)
**24/5 – Non stop action, 24 hours a day 5 days per week (Monday through Friday)
**Volatile – The most volatile market in the world…what does that mean? HUGE opportunity every moment of the day
**Low Cost – While with stock trading, futures and options you pay spread plus commission, with Forex your only “cost of trade” is spread (that can add up to ALOT!)
**No Cornering – Unlike any other markets, it is IMPOSSIBLE to corner the Forex market….and, no matter how many people trade with the same robot its efficiency and profitability will remain intact (HUGE plus)!
**Up & Down – Profit from rising and falling prices…you don’t care which way the market goes. Ohhh…and, unlike with the US stock market, you don’t have to wait for an up-tick for shorting!
**No Size Limit – Trade as BIG or as SMALL as you want! This is something that ONLY the Forex market allows you.

FAPTURBO insists that: “You need to know absolutely nothing about the Forex market or Forex trading to benefit day in and day out from FAP Turbo’s cash-producing power.”

If you are interested in Forex trading how-to, check out ForexMentor: Techniques and Secrets Used by Commercial Institutions and Banks — “the way the big dogs do it.”

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Automation: Pro-Selling on Amazon Made Easy

March 23rd, 2009

We’re big fans of automation — it’s all about maximizing your profits and minimizing your labor and expenses. There are a lot of small — and not so small — businesses selling on Amazon. (Ever see the option to buy used copies of a book you’re looking at on Amazon? — there’s a substantial business there.) It’s time for our inaugural “Automation” post : SellerEngine specializes in third-party software for entrepreneurs who sell product on Amazon. Here is info on “SellerEngine Plus” (quoted from their site):

**If you are an Amazon ProMerchant selling books and media, SellerEngine Plus offers the tools and the speed you need to price competitively and keep all your listings up to date.

**Enter your listings quickly and accurately by downloading your listings directly from Amazon, scanning them in using templates, or importing from files. SellerEngine Plus automaticaly retrieves the available information for the items from Amazon as you enter them, saving you hours!

**Our customizable, information-packed interface makes it easy to see at-a-glance not only all the details for your listings, but also what the competition is up to. When you need to make the same change to many items, you can edit them all at once in SellerEngine Plus!

**The proof is in the pricing! Use our Reprice Rules Wizard to create pricing strategies for the different segments of your inventory. Run price checks in real time, and use our price check status flags and the retrieved competitive information to be confident you have priced your items for maximum profitability!

**SellerEngine Plus puts you in control of your listings. Create your listings locally, and then upload directly to the Amazon Marketplace through SellerEngine Plus, when you are ready! Our orders retrieval system keeps your listings synchronized, so that you won’t accidentally create double listings.

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