Monday, December 3, 2012

My Crazy Hat-Loving Cousin

pile of hats
I’ve got a cousin who loves wearing hats. Absolutely loves them. Somehow, he loves Longhorn football even more. This kid has quite an extensive hat collection. It’s pretty unbelievable. He’s got anything from stylish knit hats to eccentric party hats. He does have some athletic hats in his massive collection, but in my opinion, not as many as he ought to, given his huge obsession with football. So my other cousins and I got together and went to Longhorn Planet and browsed their collection of hats. They’ve got quite a bit to choose from! We picked out several and we plan to box them all up separately for Christmas. One of the first University of Texas hats we picked out was very classic style-wise. It’s unique in that it’s a special tribute to the Triple Conference. The UT primary logo is featured on the front of the hat and is beautifully embroidered. It’s made of wool ad acrylic and has an adjustable Velcro back strap. We know it’ll be a warm, durable, stylish addition to his collection. The second of the hats we picked out was very different from the first. This hat features a flat brim and a snapback enclosure instead of Velcro. The interior features a moisture-absorbing sweatband and is 100% cotton, so it’ll be perfect for occasions when he’s more active. It, like the other hat, also features the embroidered logo. The last of the hats we got him is very different from the first two. This hat is a one-fit hat called the “Gray Kicker”. Instead of the typical orange and white Longhorn colors, this hat is a warm gray that blends beautifully with the orange embroidered logo and some burgundy accents. It’s definitely the most unique and different of the three and we bet it’ll be his favorite. Since this was my idea, I’ll make sure this one is from me!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How Headhunters May Help

SAN MATEO, CA - JUNE 07:  A representative wit...
I'm going to get off task a little bit here from my normal job search tip comment, as the view of "headhunters" has been on my mind for quite some time now. Are "headhunters" "gods"? Are they all pompous and arrogant? Do they hold the keys to your future job search success? Do they provide employers with valuable services? Some people think so. . . employers and job seekers alike.

Headhunters, aka "executive search consultants" or "executive recruiters" or "executive recruiting consultants" whatever terminology you want to use, can often be viewed as such, mainly by employers who hire the headhunter to fill a specific position. The "headhunter" maintains a certain mystique about themselves. Do they deserve that mystique? There are many employers who stand in awe at what a headhunter can accomplish when given a job spec or position to fill after they have tried for months to fill that same position. I have stood in awe at some of the impossible positions we have been asked to fill and have been successful in filling! There are job seekers who may be potential candidates who are afraid to approach any headhunter because they aren't really sure how that headhunter will react. They are put on a pedistal for everyone to admire.

On the flip side of that coin, there are job seekers who aren't afraid to approach a headhunter, but because they don't know what the role of the headhunter is, or, because when they think "headhunter" they think that individual or company can find them a job, they become disillusioned and angry toward the headhunter whom they think should be working on their behalf. For example, they'll look for a specific job role like physician jobs from a site like this: but headhunters might not specialize in that particular area. I just wanted to throw this idea out there. I have much more to say to finish this thought but that is for another day. I don't want to make this blog too long as I'm sure you have other things to do. But before I go, I'd be interested in knowing what you think about "headhunters"? Remember, whether your comments are positive or negative, keep the comments appropriate!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pontoon Boats Know Where to

Seal of the United States Federal Communicatio...

As I was driving home from work today, I needed to find an alternate radio station, as my beloved go to station decided to shut down its AM signal at sunset, in accordance with FCC regulations. I remembered hearing something about the lefties having some new station/programming to combat the other side of talk radio, so I began working the tuner in search of the signal.

Eventually, I found it, and they were running through the day's headlines during an extended break from that time slot's program. The story I broke in on was of a newly-established wildlife refuge here in the state, the quote at the end of which went something like, "the glaciers did such marvelous work in this region 10,000 years ago, the least Minnesotans can do is to preserve it."

There was a brief station identification, followed by a block of ads, the first of which was a nature company, advertising how their products are great and green, and how you should use products to help out the environment. I think that's pretty smart advertising, it's almost like they knew exactly what would be talked about on the radio show. If I was selling boats, I would certainly want to appear on a radio station about boating and summer, immediately after they talk about the importance of owning a boat or being out on the water next summer.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Blogs are like Books

Image representing MSN as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

During the early days of the internet, I found myself passing work time through a slow AOL connection and reading discussion groups and usenets. Why did I read these? Because the content on these were submitted by readers and were updated daily.

Fast forward to the introduction of the web in 1994.  Most web pages were static, once you read them that was it.  They were updated maybe once a month.  As the web evolved the news sites like Yahoo & MSN had daily updates.  But reading the news gets old and it’s not really that captivating.

Blogs can be like ongoing TV shows.  They can be the source of many hours of reading.  With the advent of blogs, we became exposed to literally millions of on-going real life stories posted by the everyday person. When reading these blogs, one gets caught in a life story. We get to read about what other people are doing as they do it.  Best of all, we can comment and make suggestions and actually make a difference. It’s like reality TV that interacts with you.
It’s no wonder that people are addicted to blogs. They have great un-edited content. They have new posts daily. You can interact directly with the author. And there is a blog for every subject in the world.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

When in Oklahoma, do as the Sooners do

I've never been a big fan of Big 12 football, but from a distance I've respected their craft and the devoted fandom. I really thought the loss of Nebraska to the Big 10 last year would have really hit the poor Sooner fans hard, as they have been one of the two chief rivals in Norman for the past decade along with the Texas Longhorns. Turns out, they're very good at redirecting their anger.

I caught a game last year while in Oklahoma, an early season throw away game against someone I can't even recall, and I got to ask a few fans about the rivalry, and it was almost unanimous amongst those rocking Sooners apparel (of which there were many).

They hate Texas. More than before.

So they've got that going for them...which is nice (channeling my inner Bill Murray on that one).

Now, for some QB motivation:

Tom Brady, quarterback of the New England Patriots, is highly considered as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. He and quarterback Peyton Manning are compared to each other and are considered two of the top quarterbacks in the NFL today. Brady was a 6th round draft pick in the 2000 NFL draft. He came from Michigan, one of the top football colleges today. He was not expected to be as good as he is today. It’s quite ironic though how Tom, a 6th round draft pick and Peyton, a first round draft pick, are very similar in their stats and both come from very different backgrounds. Peyton of course came from a very advantageous background, having his father, a former NFL quarterback, as a mentor. Peyton was also the first pick of his draft class.

Two men. Different backgrounds. Similar stats.

It goes to show you that anyone can accomplish anything they put their mind to. There are a lot of underdogs in the NFL today. Who knows when the next Tom Brady or Tony Romo will come out of the shadows and get a chance to take what they were never given. Tony Romo wasn’t even drafted. In the end, it doesn’t matter where you came from, whether or not you were a first round draft pick. It just matters if you can play the game. If you have a passion to play the sport you are good at and you don’t give up, you will succeed.
You can look at any sport and you can see a true under dog story. The most common story today would be the 2007-2008 New York Giants football team. They won against all odds. You can win against all odds too. It just depends on how bad you want to achieve it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thanks PepsiCo!

New favorite snack food
New snack food (Photo credit: Telstar Logistics)

It’s no big secret that major snack food companies are in hot water for their role in contributing to the childhood obesity problem. Now, this is fair in a sense, but it’s also extremely unfair too; it is not really all their fault…someone is buying these unhealthy snacks for the children.

At any rate, due to their being under fire, snack food companies are actually trying to do something about it. Now, they are offering low-fat, sugar-free varieties of their products, and even, as far as PepsiCo goes, building playgrounds for children.

I think this is awesome, because in truth, they are doing much more than the parents who are buying the junk are at this point. If there was a collaboration at work, parents and the companies both doing something, maybe we’d actually be getting somewhere; add onto that the children actually exercising, rather than playing video games and we’d really go far!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Big Medical Breakthroughs

CPR: cardiopulmonary resuscitation
CPR: cardiopulmonary resuscitation (Photo credit: eesti)
Huge advancements have been made within modern human history, and many of them came in the medical arena. Within the past century, the world say many groundbreaking advancements in the medical world. It's exciting to imagine what the future holds for this century.

One of the most important accidents that ever happened, the potential of Penicillin was realized when  Sir Alexander Fleming at the St. Mary's Hospital in London noticed bacterium being dissolved by a bluish green mold. This discovery gave rise to many more antibiotics used today, and undoubtedly have saved millions of lives ever since.

CPR was actually invented in the 1950s by Dr. Peter Safar and has since been the most effective method to revive and/or save an unconscious person's life. Standing for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, it is widely taught in today's world to lifeguards to doctors.

The artificial heart was invented by Willem J. Kolff, a Dutch born medical researcher. Robert Jarvik helped him complete the design, which can beat over 100,000 times a day and sustain a person until they can find a suitable heart transplant. Artificial hearts were not the only rise in artificial equipment used in the medical world. Artificial knees, hips, spines, arms and legs have all made tremendous gains even within the past 50 years, with the help of the development of products like bone screws and phaco handpieces. These advances have also given way to a booming industry of orthopedic manufacturer companies.

Who knows what's in store for our future, but after looking at what's happened in the past, I'm quite optimistic!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Steel builds a Nation

Barbed wire (rusting after years of hard work)...
Barbed wire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Even before the start of the industrial revolution, steel has played a major role in our country. It has been used countless times in warfare in the form of equipment and weapons, and was used to build structures and equipment that could not be supported by other materials such as brick or wood. Great examples include our modern railway systems and the transformation of wooden vessels into iron clad giants.

During the industrial revolution, the world experimented with different means and methods of creating steel. Many traditional methods included making cold drawn steel, which was high in strength but low in flexibility. With the technology and ability to heat substances to higher temperatures, manufacturers were able to make more flexibilte but high durability products that could be used to make barbed wire and other meaniful products through wire rod.

As technologies continue to develop, we continue to find new uses for a timeless material. The materials used in our cell phones and electronic devices often include small parts of steel that are crucial for the devices functionality.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Network Marketing In Its Purest Form

Copyright © Donovan Baldwin

NOTE: Although this article is about network marketing, its principles can be applied to its newest and increasingly common cousin, internet marketing. A majority of internet marketing programs and businesses are network marketing programs in the final analysis. One common error shared by new internet business owners, or non-internet business owners, is the assumption that they should market their program in a more standard manner. However, if you consider the cost of advertising your new internet cellular phone service against, let's say, Verizon Wireless or some other major wireless service provider, the task of competing with such a giant in a normal advertising arena is daunting at the least and frankly impossible at the worst.

That's where the network marketing thing comes in.

When most people sign up for any network marketing programs, internet based or not, they usually have no idea what they have actually gotten themselves into. Many will join a network marketing program in the expectation of easy money, an idea often provided by the network marketer who brought them into the business. They commonly try to apply standard marketing techniques, or at least as they understand them, without also understanding the forces which they are operating against as pointed out in the Verizon example shown above. Even those who simply want to start their own home business just to get out of the rat race, spend more time with the kids, or start a retirment fund, find that the costs in money and time of running a real business, internet business, brick-and-mortar business, face-to-face network business, or lemonade stand goes against all their expectations if they try to do it using standard marketing techniques. Their dreams of financial freedom often become a financial ball and chain attached firmly to their wallets and their watches.

However, all is not lost if they apply the purest form of network marketing and forget about going head-to-head with the Verizons of the world.

In its purest form, network marketing is simply one person telling another. The classic example is the time you chose to try a certain restaurant because a friend recommended it to you. I recently had my car repaired at a garage recommended by the home inspector I used when I bought my house. The home inspector seemed to be an honest fellow with ties to the community, so I was happy to take his advice, and I was not disappointed. I could have looked all day in the phone book to find a mechanic who may or may not have been as reliable.

Unfortunately, a network marketer cannot rely on this passive sort of word-of-mouth alone. He or she must become active, hence the "networking" aspect of this sort of business.

No matter what goods or service you choose to represent, there is almost certainly a business entity capable of providing it as well as you...perhaps even better! Even so, many network marketers make an excellent income because there ARE plenty of people willing to buy from someone they know and trust, even in those cases where the product may be more expensive or delivery takes longer. Sometimes, these sorts of purchases will be for convenience as well as for friendship's sake. Take Avon, Mary Kay, and Arbonne, to name a few. Excellent products, but anyone can go to the abundance of drug stores, groceries, and Wal-Marts and purchase cosmetics...perhaps even at a lower price. They buy from their distributors out of friendship with their distributor, respect for the product, or the benefit of having their order dropped off at their home or office...or a combination of these.

The most important point is the personal friendship with, or respect for, the distributor, but the most important aspect is probably trust. I can purchase synthetic motor oil anywhere, but my friend sells AMSOIL, and it is a reliable, dependable product, so I buy it from him.

So, how do you network market in the purest way?

As pointed out, the big boys probably have advertising and supply channels pretty well locked up. There's not a whole lot that you can do against that, although this does remain a possible way of gaining customers, particularly if you are at a point where you can afford extensive advertising or a widespread sales team...the reason for building a downline if the company uses a multi-level marketing model. Under normal circumstances..."normal" to me means not a lot of money, a hearty dislike for sales, and being an amateur compared to the delay the "marketing" part of the equation and concentrate on the "networking" side.

In a standard network marketing situation, you can do such things as join organizations, offer free information or services, or participate in community activities. These bring attention to YOU, as opposed to your business, but, once you become known to, and respected by, the people you come in contact with, they will be more likely to purchase goods or services than if you were to merely offer to sell them something.

In an internet marketing model, there is not that much difference. Again, going head to head with the major players in your arena might not produce much, particularly as you are not known to your potential customers, and you probably do not have the budget or expertise to overcome this disadvantage. However, you CAN offer free information or services and gain the respect and trust of potential customers in this way. You can join discussion groups (most commonly, forums), or groups which might have an interest in your product or service. Again, the purpose is not to "sell", but to "network".

In either scenario, if you and I were to meet and I were to immediately tell you that I sell website hosting, for example, or an internet marketing course, your defenses would be immediately raised, and you would be prepared to defend yourself against my efforts and perhaps even sever the budding relationship. If, however, I can prove to you that I am on your side, am interested in many of the same things as you are, and that we can have a fruitful relationship whether there is an attempt at "selling" or not, a point may eventually be reached where you will reach out to me and ask me about my website hosting services or the internet marketing course.

You know the funny thing about this? I am forced to be a nice guy! I have to be a contributing member of society and have redeeming social value. I must make friends or fail! The old saying is, "to have a friend, be a friend." How tough is that?

About The Author:

The author is retired from the Army after 21 years of service. He has worked as an accountant, purchasing agent, optical lab manager, restaurant manager, instructor and long-haul, over-the-road truck driver. He has been a member of Mensa for several years, and has written and published poetry, essays, and articles on various subjects for the last 40 years. He has been an active internet marketer since 2000, and now makes his living online. To learn more about improving your marketing performance, please visit To read more articles by the author, please visit his blog at, or

Dotcomology - The Science of Making Money Online

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Copyright (c) Donovan Baldwin

I knew the first time I met him that he was just out to get my business. After all he was a salesman. That's what his card said, that's what his job was, and that's what he did for a living.

I don't trust salesmen, and I bet a lot of the people who read this don't either.

It's not surprising, I guess. There are a lot of salespeople in the world who will do or say almost anything to get a sale, and a lot of times the things they say are lies or half truths, and the things they do are deceptive and deceiving. Just like a lot of other things in life, it only takes getting burned a couple of times to make you distrust all of their ilk. (C'mon, who uses "ilk" anymore?)

I was a federal purchasing agent, so it was MY job to deal with salespeople, and I got to see a lot of the bad ones. I got to see a lot of junk passed off as quality goods, and sometimes I had help clean up the mess or deal with the aftermath. This wasn't the first time, either. I had been a business manager for a mental health facility in northwest Florida, an accountant for the Florida State Department of Education in Tallahassee, and a fiscal consultant/accountant/purchasing agent/comptroller in a regional office of a federally funded education program. I had been taken on a few rides and, like I said, I don't trust salesmen. I had gotten to see enough of them in action.

Over the years, I had begun to stereotype people in sales. When they walked in the door, the first thing I thought was, "Uh-oh. Wonder what he/she's going to try to push off on me this time?" I had my defenses up and it showed. If a sales person gave me a compliment or made a joke, I figured they were just trying their tricks to get inside my defenses, so I just hardened that wall, didn't give them any more time than I had to, and then forgot about them.

Then along came Steve.

He was the major rep assigned to our account by a local office supply and equipment firm. We did a lot of business with them, so there was no way to avoid dealing with him. He was smooth, but pleasant, and it was difficult, but I managed to keep the wall up.

I couldn't understand why the other purchasing agents were always calling him and placing orders with him. I could see what he was doing. He worming his way into their confidence so that they would place orders with him, but I could see right through his act and could follow his every move.

Then the day came that I ordered something that the local store didn't have in stock but needed quickly. It wasn't a big order and Steve was on commission, but he drove a couple of hours to get to another store, pick up the order, and then drove back and delivered it personally. He probably didn't make any commission on that order.

A few days later, I placed another order. This one was a little bigger, so he had more at stake. As it turned out, his firm had discontinued those items but he bought them from another company in the area and sold them to cost.

The day finally came when I had been trying to track down something for one of our departments but was unable to come up with a supplier or even a manufacturer. I didn't even have anything other than a description of what I was looking for. I don't remember anything about the item, but I DO remember Steve. When I had totally exhausted all my resources, I picked up the phone and called Steve. He had never heard of this sort of thing either! I was up against a wall.

The next day, the phone rang. It was Steve. He had spent hours calling contacts and suppliers all over the country with only a description of what I was looking for. He had come up with a manufacturer and a supplier, and he gave me the addresses and phone numbers.

In network and internet marketing, it is often said that one of the first things you need to do is establish a bond of trust between yourself and the customer. It works in a lot of places, this "bond of trust" thing.

I will never know if Steve did the things he did because he was a good guy, or liked me, or had made a promise to his dying mother. Maybe he did what he did because he was a salesman and that's how he knew to make sales.

Well, it worked. He made sales. It didn't take long for me to start slipping business to Steve whenever I could. I trusted and respected him, and I owed him.

After all, wasn't he the one who taught me that not all salespeople are just out to get my business?

You know something? Maybe that's not the only thing I learned.

About The Author:
Dotcomology - The Science of Making Money Online: Download your free copy today (over 300 pages of internet marketing hints, tips, and business growth ideas.
I have run a successful online business for years
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This post originally appeared on Thursday December 8, 2005.