Archive for the ‘Career’ Category

How to get 9,700+ upvotes on Quora

September 12th, 2017 No comments

Do you want to be famous?

Today I’m going to show you how.

It’s not as hard as you think. I attracted thousands of fans this year by just talking about pizza. I’ll tell you how you can gain celebrity status just as easily.

Pretty soon, you’ll get thousands of likes for every one of your posts. Your followers will explode. Parents will offer up their children for marriage. You can brag to your friends, and buy them all pizza to celebrate your glory.

But I’ll also show you why the wrong kind of fame is worthless.

In fact, today is just a prelude to a bigger, longer message. Today I will show you how to be famous. But over the next few weeks I’m going to show you what you should be doing instead.

By the end of the month you’re going to know all about the most important asset you can have, whether you’re an artist or a business owner. When you hear what happened to me, you’ll understand.


How I became a celebrity by writing about pizza

My road to fame started when someone on Quora asked , “What will happen to me if I only eat pizza?”

I shouldn’t have been wasting my lunchtime on Quora, but I couldn’t resist. (If you lived in Italy for three years, ate pizza every day and had nothing to show for it but a half-written book, what would you do?)

I gave my answer here. I thought I was done.

But within three weeks I had thousands of upvotes and hundreds of new followers. A few people even blamed me for the spread of diabetes, obesity and arthritis.

As I write this, I have over nine thousand upvotes and 1.1 million views, with more than 10,300 views this month alone.

You’re asking, “How does he do it? How does a guy with a laptop in El Sereno command the attention of a million Quora users just by writing about the pizza he ate twelve years ago?”

Today I’m going to tell you two ways to get famous.


This is how superstars in every field separate themselves from mere mortals

Italians talk affectionately about all things American being esagerato. The size of our cars, the number of those cars that crash or blow up in our movies, the ridiculous posturing of our politicians, and especially our appetites. The first secret to fame is exaggeration.

When I answered the Quora question, I might have exaggerated a little bit.

During my Italy years, it was normal to grab a slice of pizza at some point in the day. On Quora I might have said that I made a meal out of it every single day. I might have also implied that the only other things I consumed were espresso, wine, and gelato.

I wasn’t exaggerating the truth all that much, but it was enough to make me extremely popular.

Listen, I’m not saying you should sacrifice your honesty and integrity for fame. In particular, don’t ever lie about your products, their features, and what they or you can do. Don’t lie to your clients. Don’t lie to your spouse/partner/significant other.

But outside of business and personal relationships, you should be stretching the truth into fantastic shapes and positions like you’re taking it to a session of advanced Bikram yoga.

Watch any stand-up comedian and see what they do. They take ordinary, everyday stories and blow them up until you can’t help laughing. They exaggerate.

We can even take this a step further. Look at the most successful athletes, celebrities, and artists you can think of. They’re larger than life! At least in one facet of their life, they do something that makes other people whisper and point, shake their heads, chuckle, cringe, and secretly admire them.

Most of my one million viewers don’t officially approve of merrily traipsing around the Italian countryside, devouring stacks of pizza Margherita washed down with enormous jugs of aglianico wine, and finishing off with an affogato di cafe while watching the sunset. But it stands out.

Find something you can overdo, something you can exaggerate, and you’ll stand out too.


What does everybody want?

Another way to become famous is to tell people something which is both unexpected and something they want to hear.

All I did was make the case that pizza is good for you.

Of course it depends on what you put on the pizza, but nobody wants to cloud the good news with such trivia! Better just to add pizza to the list of comforts and vices we used to think were bad but it turns out they’re good for us:

Red meat
And now… Pizza!

As a one-time high school health teacher, I need to remind you that everything listed above is still bad for your health if you’re exposed to the wrong kind, the wrong quality, or too much.

And let’s face it, if your favorite vice is on that list, you’re probably abusing it. Don’t let my plug for exaggeration become your excuse.

But you’re not here to read disclaimers. You want to know all about fame. So look for ways you can give counterintuitive advice that will be good news for your prospects.

  • If you’re a financial planner, tell them why they should take longer vacations and eat out more
  • If you’re a fitness coach, discuss the importance and benefits of rest
  • If you’re a real estate agent, explain the benefits of paying off a mortgage as slowly as possible
  • If you’re a lawyer, describe an interesting loophole that can save your clients a lot of expense and grief

Now, let’s sum up what we know so far:

1)To become famous, exaggerate something. Put a visible aspect of your life into overdrive.

2)Tell the masses something that’s both hard to believe and something they will be happy to hear. (Dr. Oz had me at “Coffee is good for you”)

Now go on out there and do something to earn your fame! I want to watch you commit atrocities on YouTube. I want health freaks to name a new diet after you. I look forward to hearing anxious whispers about you coming from dark, smoke-filled rooms.

Most of all, I’m eager to see the masses stampede to do business with you, driven by your fame. They don’t even remember that you have competition. How could anyone compete with you?


What are you going to do about all those fans?

I told you I was also going to explain why fame is a waste of your time, so here we go.

I’ve got hundreds of thousands of Quora views, and thousands of upvotes and followers. But how many of my Quora fans need a copywriter? How many of them want to buy a book about biking across southern Italy and becoming the architect of your own fate?

Let’s address the elephant in the room. You can be famous if you want to be, but how many of those adoring folks are really viable prospects? And how will you even find them?

I’ve got an answer to that, too. Do this one thing (if you’re not doing it already) and you could multiply your profits and your effectiveness tenfold, according to some very reliable sources.

Next week, I’ll tell you what to do about that elephant in the room. I’ll show you how to harness and magnify the power of your new-found fame.

I’m going to give you the most important asset you can have, whether you’re an artist or a business owner.

If you want fame, and more importantly if you want customers and clients, you need to get this next thing right. If you subscribe in the space below, I’ll make sure you don’t miss it.


Introducing a new breed of entrepreneurial educators

August 1st, 2013 No comments

It’s been years since I’ve posted anything on this site. Literally. It’s a brave new world, and I’ll try to be quick about what I’ve been doing and why you should care.

We’re slowly emerging from the second worst economic period in our nation’s history. You can point your fingers where you will–blame the bankers, the Fed, the mortgage brokers–but ultimately this whole thing happened because we let it happen.

Some people should have known better. Most people didn’t, and that’s a brutal condemnation of our culture, our educational institutions, and what we’re teaching kids about business and economics. Masses of consumers bought houses they couldn’t afford, ran up debts they couldn’t pay.

Sure, the banks and the government made it easy to do this. Sure, some unscrupulous sales people encouraged everybody. But if most Americans had been smarter with their money, the crisis of 2008 could have been largely averted.

I’m on a mission to make Americans smarter.

In 2010 I turned down a project from an old and trusted client (and believe me, I really needed the money) in order to teach biology at a pilot school in one of the poorest neighborhoods in L.A.

I very quickly saw that virtually nobody in our public school system knows about marketing, how to start and run a business, how to sell anything (including your own services). “Entrepreneur” may as well be a French word. None of my students or colleagues knew what it means.

Last year I enrolled in an intensive, accelerated teaching credential program. I am now fully authorized to teach science. As soon as I get a teaching job I’m going to teach biotechnology. And self-direction. How to argue for your ideas and, more importantly, how to sell them.

There are others like me. Education is going through a revolution, and when we finally change the way people learn and the skills they develop, it will change society. There are entrepreneur teachers out there, not many of us but it’s a growing movement. You won’t find an organization (at least not that I’m aware of) but you’ll find us one by one on LinkedIn, Edmodo, and brave little blogs like this one.

I’m on the faculty for an online, entrepreneurial educational program called the Ron Paul Curriculum. I’m not fully aligned politically with RPC and the people running it, but what they’re trying to accomplish is important and inspiring. I’m honored and excited and grateful to be a part of it.

We need to teach the future Generations about self-direction, personal responsibility and empowerment. This is orders of magnitude more important than standardized tests.

Becoming a teacher is the toughest marketing job I’ve ever taken on. I have to win the hearts and minds of students and their parents. I have to sell my ideas to administrators. I’ll be doing some things no other teacher has ever done, using every marketing tool I’ve got in my arsenal, and of course constantly learning.

I don’t know what my “day job” is going to be a month from now. Even if I’m not in a classroom, even if I’m managing the social media for some new startup, I’ll still be teaching in one way or another. I’ve got my own new website in addition to the Ron Paul curriculum.

On some level, marketers have always been teachers. Now teachers have to be marketers. And entrepreneurs. I’m going to help them all find a way. I’m going to create outstanding learning opportunities for students, parents, and teachers around the world.

If you want to follow along on the adventure, check back here from time to time, or subscribe to Bold Words. I’ll soon be resurrecting that venerable publication, and I’ve got some surprises in store that will curl your ears.



It only takes 10,000 hours

August 25th, 2009 1 comment

Here’s a question you should ask yourself: If you could be really, really good at one thing, what would it be?

Over the years I keep hearing a little factoid cited by a lot of different people–you need to spend 10,000 hours doing something before you get really good at it.

This used to leave me dismayed. If you spend 3 hours a day, say, studying a language or playing a guitar, you’ll need close to a decade to master it. But there’s a bright side to this.

You probably spend way more than 3 hours a day on some things. You probably spend 6-8 hours or more selling, strategizing, tinkering and inventing, counseling, chiropracting or whatever else you do to earn an income.

When I lived in Italy, I lived with Italian roommates, and dated an Italian woman who didn’t (or wouldn’t) speak English. I read books and magazines during the 45-minute commute to work each day, and usually managed to squeeze in another hour or so of studying Italian. Around my 3rd year there, I was practically bilingual, I had dreams in Italian, and all kinds of opportunities were open to me in teaching, tourism, and sales.

Now take it to the next level. Your clients pay you because you spend hours doing something that they’ve only dabbled in, at best.

You can become a master by deliberately ramping up your hours on one particular skill. There are lots of realtors, but suppose you spend a few extra hours a day studying old buildings or a historical district. If you’re managing an IT company, you could become a master at a specific type of programming.

Likewise, 10,000 hours of selling is an investment that will pay you back ten thousand times in almost any industry or career.

And there’s one more aspect to this. Most people actually don’t reach the 10,000 hour level until late in their career, if at all. You could play a decent golf game after just 2,000 hours, but 10,000 hours is the Tiger Woods level. If you had to spend 10,000 hours mastering something, what would you want it to be?

Outside of your career, progress is slow, but not impossible. I put in about half an hour a day drawing and cutting with the katana. I’m not going to become a great swordsman anytime soon. But when most people are getting old and crackly, I’ll be like Gandalf.

Meanwhile, I’ll just keep writing for 8-9 hours a day, and maybe I’ll be able to retire a little sooner and have more time to practice.