The One Reason I’m Keeping Meerkat and Deleting Periscope

Meerkat might have been the biggest star of this year’s South By South West (SXSW) event in Austin, Texas.  Just as quickly as it grew, it began to fizzle when Twitter launched Periscope a few days ago.  It doesn’t matter to me, I’m sticking with Meerkat for one simple reason.

meerkat

Streaming through Twitter is a feature people have wanted for a while.  In January, Twitter purchased Periscope to bring the people what they wanted.  But Meerkat grabbed the first mover advantage by taking over SXSW.

Investing In Process Not Profits

Warren Buffett is notorious for buying a business, then leaving them alone for years.  This is not very typical in the investing world but it proves he is making sound investments.

Time Loop

I’ve seen many companies acquired in long drawn out legal jousting matches.  Pricing negotiations, conference calls, redlines, and hard nosed tactics are often the what goes into an acquisition.  But it shouldn’t be.

Easy Start-up Success

Today at lunch I had the privilege of hearing a remarkable success story of a guy who quit his job, started a business, and in only one year, is living his dream.  I wanted to share this story because it is the type of small business I love because it proves that anyone can quit their 9 to 5 and start something incredible.

Young City Professional Man Success

A little over a year ago this guy was tired of his job as an investment banker.  Imagine hearing people share with you their brilliant ideas, then you find them funding so they can go live it.  All the while, you want to quit your own job.  That was this guy’s story.

New Beginnings

Today I’m pleased to publicly announce my departure from Allied Equipment, Inc.  During the last eight years I helped grow the company’s revenue by 2350%.  That equates to tens of millions in new revenues.

Austin'S Congress Bridge

It was quite an impressive and fast paced run.  The company is poised to grow further, recently starting a new field services business.  Both their field services and engineering groups are lead by outstanding individuals whom I was very proud to partner with.  I wish them all the best.

Moments of Monumental Change

Ten years ago today I was loading a BBQ pit into the bed of a guy’s truck.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a cute girl walking out of the grocery store.  I dropped the pit and told the guy I had to “see about a girl.”  He said “Good luck” as I sprinted across the parking lot.

change

I narrowly missed being hit by a few cars and a shopping basket.  I finally reached her as she was cranking the engine on her bright red Mustang.  I like to think it was my good looks, but she says she only rolled down the window because she thought there must have been an emergency.  The truth is, there was. 

Achieving More While Doing Less

This morning on my way to work I was listening to my Bible as I usually do.  I was listening to Luke 19, a verse I had heard many times.  This morning, however, the message came across differently.  It hit me like a freight train.

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Jesus provides us some wisdom on how to be a more efficient and effective leader in his Parable of the Ten Servants.   I use the New Living Translation.  Here is the part of the verse that hit me. I had to bookmark it.  “And to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given.”

The Why is the Way

Being a leader is a tough job, but somebody has to do it. Leaders are those that are willing to take the tasks that others won’t do and ensure that they get completed in the best way possible for their team.

The Why is the Way

The journey is incredibly long and difficult, and it’s often one that others have a hard time seeing. In fact, many people who follow leaders don’t understand why it is that they are being asked to do something in particular, which may lead to discontent among the ranks.

What Happens When You Lose Your Voice?

Thursdays are my direct report days.  I have back to back meetings with the people who report directly to me.  But today, I’ve completely lost my voice.

Lose your voice

Losing my voice brings into light just how much I rely on those around me.  Times like these reveal just how well a team meshes and I’m very impressed with mine.

How Viral Movement Can Change The World

While the headlines are often dominated by shootings, riots, war, and other despicable acts, one headline has swept the country that is generous and heartwarming.  The Ice Bucket Challenge.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge concept Vector EPS10

The fact that people have gotten behind such a movement isn’t surprising.  Nor is the fact that more than $50 Million will be raised for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) research.

This One Trick Increases Deep Sleep By 20%

I used to need 9 hours of sleep before I learned this one trick that increased my deep sleep so much, I now sleep less and have more energy each day. This is how it’s done.

Deep Sleep

This simple trick requires little more than tapping into our primal sleeping patterns. In 1992, the Journal of Sleep Research published research results in which participants had no access to clocks or sunlight. Interestingly enough, the participants soon had no idea what time of day it was and thus relied on their primal instincts to decide when to go to sleep.

The Secret to Higher Google Rankings

A few weeks ago an overseas firm offered me the unthinkable.  They had found the shortcut to higher Google rankings!  They would share all this with me, of course, for a small fee.

higher google rankings

Every blogger will receive an incredible offer to higher Google rankings sooner or later.  Every new blogger is eager to build their platform.  Post after post, week after week, month after month, they pour their heart and soul into blogging only to have 100 readers a day or less.

How Often Should You Blog

In 2011, I launched this blog with this post.  One month later I followed it up with this post.  I was still wondering how often should you blog if you want to grow a platform.

How Often Should You Blog

Recently, I released my findings of a study my team and I conducted on the top 30 blogs in the world.  Among the data we were looking for was the answer to the all important question to new bloggers, “How often should you blog?”  This post will answer this question.

There are two camps in the blogging world.  One camp is made up of 20 of the top 30 bloggers.  These bloggers prefer short and frequent posting.  The other camp is made up of the other 10 bloggers.  This camp prefers long, infrequent posting.

So which group is right?

How often should you blog, is only answered by your style of blogging.  While 8000 word blog posts can help you grow your blog, evidence shows that shorter, 450 word blog posts tend to work better.

For the sake of all bloggers, both long and short, we’ll address blogging frequency for each style.

Short Posts – 450 words average:  If you choose to write blog posts that are 450 words on average, as I recommend you do, you should then blog no fewer than three times per week.

What if you don’t have time to blog that often?  Don’t worry, we found two blogs that post short blog posts one time a week and still managed to break into the top 30 in the world.

Should you blog as often as you want?  Absolutely!  Of the 20 bloggers who preferred short, frequent blog posting, 13 blogged daily.  This doesn’t mean however that you have to post an article you wrote every day.  Many bloggers, such as Michael Hyatt, post 3 times per week but also post quotes, announcements, and other shorter items on “off days.”  There is no minimum to how often should you blog

Long Posts - Between 1200 and 8000 words: If you choose to write long blog posts, how often should you blog will differ greatly with your less wordy brethren.  Of the 10 top bloggers who wrote long posts, most averaged only 1 post per week.  Some of the longer, 5000 words or more, bloggers released a blog post only once per month.

Should you blog more often?  If you can, feel free to do so, but it doesn’t seem to help much.  We found only 1 blogger who posted more than 2000 words on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, this blogger ranked 29th out of 30.

If you’ve wondered how often you should blog, you’ve probably asked yourself the wrong question.  Our research shows that there is more at play than how many words each post should have and how often should you blog.

Post 1,500 words per week.  This, is the top commonality between all of the top 30 blogs.  Some choose to write three 500 word posts while others may opt for one 1,500 word post.  Even more surprising, some choose to wrote 6000 to 8000 words posts and only release them monthly!

Average 1,500 words per week.  It matters less how often you blog.  This appears to be the secret formula for the world’s top 30 bloggers.

How often do you prefer to blog?

How Long Should A Blog Post Be According to the Top 30 Bloggers

If you’re a blogger who has ever spent sleepless nights wondering if you’re doing the right things to become a top blogger, you’re not alone.  In fact, you’re in the majority of bloggers. Fortunately, this article will tell you exactly how to write the perfect blog post.  Don’t just take my word for it; this information is from the top 30 bloggers in the world.

How Long Should A Blog Be

To grow your blog, there are very few things you must do.  If your traffic isn’t rapidly growing, you’re missing one or more of these important things.  Don’t worry; this post will detail exactly what the top 30 bloggers in the world do to grow their traffic.

We’ve conducted extensive research on the top 30 bloggers in the world.  To do so, we used this list of the top 50 blogs in the world.  We ruled out the blogs that had multiple authors, since they were really just online magazines.  What’s left is priceless data that you can use on your own platform to become a world-class blogger with all the traffic that comes with it.

The first topic every blogger wants to know is, “How long should my posts be?”  This question is all over the internet with no definitive answer.

Michael Hyatt, a blogger on the top 30 list is an advocate for 500 word posts.  Seth Godin has made an insane impact on the world 40 words at a time.  Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4 Hour Work Week, has built a tremendous online presence, 5,000 words at a time.

With all these successful bloggers writing posts anywhere from 40 to 5000 words, how is a new blogger supposed to know what to do?

Here is your answer to “how long should a post should be?”

450 Words – Of the 30 bloggers we researched, 20 bloggers averaged 450 words.

1800 Words – The other 10 bloggers averaged 1800 words per post.  This proves that it is possible to build a highly successful blog by writing long, intense and very deep posts.  However, our study shows you’d be two times more likely to succeed writing shorter, more frequent posts.

Scannable – The consensus among top bloggers is that your posts should be scannable and easily read.  Use bulleted or numbered lists in your posts.

Frequency – The 20 bloggers who posted 450-word posts averaged 3 posts per week with some delivering multiple posts per day.

The objective of a short post is for the reader to consume small amounts of easily digested information on a frequent basis.  This increases a bloggers overall exposure by releasing more potential landing points on search engines.  Studies also show that shorter posts are less intimidating and tend to be read more frequently. This post is an example from one of the top 2 bloggers in the world.

Do you prefer writing longer or shorter posts?

Real Artists Ship – The Difference Between Tools and Art

Steve Jobs was famous for writing on an easel during a 1982 company retreat, “real artists ship”.  This mantra would change Apple forever.  It solidified two things that would define the company for decades to come.

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The events surrounding the retreat forced Jobs to focus his team on product delivery.  They had dedicated themselves to creating a perfect machine.  The only problem, like many perfectionists, they had no product.

A product is not a product unless it hits the market.  Before the day it hits the market, it is just an idea.  Jobs recognized this and spurred his team to deliver a product, hence “real artists ship”.

This phrase, Real Artists Ship defined two aspects of Apple that would later make it the United States’ largest company.

1. Apple creates art.  While most computer companies were building machines that would help people work smarter, Apple was creating an experience.  This was evident by their unwillingness to license their software to “clone” manufacturers.  There are two rules to being a company of artists:

  • You must create an experience.  If you’re creating a tool to perform something, you are not an artist.  Art is not about the product.  Art is about the emotions one experiences when they interface with the product.  This is evident in paint, music, and movies.  No one buys a DVD to own a piece of plastic. They buy the DVD (the tool) to experience the emotions of the artwork (the film).
  • Your experience must WOW your audience.  If you interact with a piece of art that does not evoke strong emotions, it is bad art.  A tool simply has to do its job to qualify as a tool.  Art must answer a higher calling.  Art must perform.  It must reach into your soul and pull out something you didn’t know was there.

2. Apple delivers.  The MacBook Pro that I write this article on is proof that “real artists ship”.  A dent in the universe cannot be made by an idea.  It is made through physical impact.  Proof of that is the currently “anticipated” Apple watch.  The idea has made ripples, but without a product on the shelves, it cannot make an impact.  To deliver you must do these two things.

  • Accept your work.  You can always make something better.  This is the plight of a perfectionist.  If “real artists ship” then real artists must accept their work at some point as good enough.
  • Exceed expectations.  You’re only as strong as your weakest link.  If there is a flaw, people will find it.  The only way to get people to look past the flaw is to blind them with fascination.  Deliver art that exceeds expectations and people will be able to look past your shortcomings.

The genes of America’s biggest company share the heritage of it’s artistic creators.  If you desire to succeed in the marketplace, take a page from the Apple playbook and become a company of artists.  Everything you create should be art that delivers.  And never forget “real artists ship”.

5 Reasons Why Natural Gas is the Future Fuel of Choice

When I graduated from college, natural gas prices were at an all time high.  The industry was booming and everyone was saying that natural gas is the energy of the future.  When prices fell by half almost over night, I was still saying‚ “natural gas is the energy of the future”.  It is as true a statement today as it was then.

Natural Gas

My career has been spent in the natural gas industry.  No matter what the price has been, the fundamental economics of natural gas continue to be solid.  Natural gas, more than any other fuel in the world, has all the makings of the best fuel choice for our future.

As oil production continues to decline around the world, we are forced to begin looking into alternative sources of energy.  No other readily available fuel has what it takes to maintain our economy as a whole.  Nor is any other source as abundant.  The kicker of natural gas is that it is domestic.

This is what our future natural gas fueled society will look like.

1. Security – Gone will be the days where the United States is dependent on fuel from hostile nations.  We will no longer need to protect our interests in the Middle East.  The North American continent will be mostly energy self-sufficient.

2. Transportation – 94% of our imported oil is currently burned via transportation.  In the new natural gas fueled society, all our vehicles will run on CNG (compressed natural gas) or LNG (liquefied natural gas).  The stations look and operate the same as traditional gasoline/diesel fuel stations.  These stations currently exist and are rapidly being installed along the highways of our country.  Allied Equipment is the nation’s largest manufacturer of CNG Storage Spheres for these stations.

3. Pollution Drops – With such a drastic reduction in particulate matter, our climate will have a chance to correct itself.  Global Warming will no longer be a threat.  Gone will be the smog of LA.  Air quality will improve and so will the health of the nation.

4. Costs Remain the Same – Thanks to an abundance of natural gas and the relatively low cost of production, natural gas prices shouldn’t exceed the $10 to $15 a Mcf (million cubic feet) range in the future.  This will result in gasoline gallon equivalent prices of an average of $3.00 or less at the pump across the nation.  Many natural gas fired power plants are currently supplying power to the grid at competitive rates.  Increasing the number of these plants will keep electricity prices from rising.

5. We Export – The United States currently will become a net exporter, funneling money from other nations into our own economy.  We are the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas”.  With current Asian demand at $16 a Mcf, the price should only continue to rise. Two new LNG export ships are currently on order and the Panama Canal is being expanded to accommodate these ships.  The United States could export LNG within a few years.

This natural gas fueled society in the United States is a likely scenario as oil production continues to fall, conflict continues in the Middle East, and Americans become more comfortable with hydraulic fracturing.  My personal hope is that my 2-year-old son is able to live his adult life in this natural gas society.

People may think I’m crazy about natural gas.  The truth is, I’m crazy about America.  I’m crazy about our economy, our health, and our security.  For these reasons, I guess you could say I’m crazy about natural gas.