My Story or Why You Should Care
How many faceless email lists are you on? I thought so, and for that reason I wrote this page about me. I think that, like me, you prefer to open email and follow someone you feel you know.
The next thing I want to discuss is all the information you probably get everyday in your inbox. In fact, I wrote a post about that (you can check it out here: Just Hit Unsubscribe.
But, let me tell you, information alone isn’t going to help you succeed, and it should be from someone you trust. There is just far too much information out there, much of it conflicting and some flat out wrong.
By getting to know my story, and reading my email and blog, I am hoping to gain your trust. Then you can take action, the right action. Without any action all the information and advice is meaningless and I want to see you succeed (really I do). It is a little cliche, but your success really is my success…
I Was There When It Started!
I have been involved with the web pretty much since it started, although I came late to the marketing aspect. You see, in the beginning days of the web, commercialism was frowned on; the whole purpose of the web was to share information. I still share too much information (that’s the college professor in me)!
At Tandon Computers I worked in technical research and part of our “communication” was on the Internet (note I didn’t say web!). After Tandon closed I did a lot of consulting as a programmer/systems administrator and made a lot of cash. Those were the glory days in the IT world and I was flush in cash as they say in Vegas.
My First Web Site (Circa 1994)
I still remember putting up my first website, salsablanca.com, around 1994 or so (yes it still exists). Back then their was only one place to register your domains and the price was all over the place, $200 one year, free the next. Boy was it nice when the monopoly ended and there was more than one registrar. You also had to prove you were a non-profit to get a .org domain back then, as .org was reserved (like .edu today).
BTW, notice the cool email me button, yeah spammers weren’t doing much back then.
There was no selling on the site, it was strictly information. In fact I don’t think it was very easy to sell stuff back then, no PayPal, no Google, credit card companies were very reluctant to give you a merchant account for this new Internet thing.
ArsDigita and the Web Explosion
In 1999, I went to a seminar at Cal Tech put on by Philip Greenspun. He started ArsDigita (AD) with Tracy Adams, Ben Adida, Eve Andersson, Olin Shivers, Aure Prochazka, and Jin Choi. They were into big iron, big websites and had notable clients like Site59.com, Infirmation, Away.com, and Siemens. Of course, the dot com bubble burst and that was that.
I moved on to use the ArsDigita software (now reincarnated as OpenACS) at Los Angeles Unified School District and others. It was the corporate culture at AD to spend 20% of your time writing and making it public. This just reinforced my web is for free stuff ideas. Even though I was creating websites for companies that were selling products, it never hit me that I needed to do the same!
As an example of all the free stuff Philip and others at AD put out for free, check these sites out that still have archives.
http://www.eveandersson.com/arsdigita/ Eve Andersson’s archives
http://aduni.org/ — AD University
On the decline of AD and the failure of Venture Capitalists (at least one man’s opinion)
When I Finally “Got It”
After running my own retail business and spending much too much time on the technology and not enough time on the business, I saw the light. Of course it came to late for my business, I shut it down after 1 year of never making a profit. The lessons I learned were invaluable though.
Stop spending time on tactics and spend time on the vision or strategy. Other people should do the work, you do the planning. Outsource (yes employees are outsourcers no matter where they are). You have heard it before, but I had to have it drilled into my head a few hundred times before it sunk in.
Well about 2005, the Internet looked so different from when I started that I finally took notice. I dove head first into the marketing aspects of the Internet, went to a bunch of seminars and bought too much stuff, really too much. I had some success, sold a few things, but I wasn’t really going for the internet marketing niche, I just wanted to sell my stuff.
One thing led to another and I realized it is time to stop beating dead horses. I was promoting products with a very limited market (the Cuban craze has long since gone). I switched my focus and started helping other marketers and because of my technical skills could make some decent money that way. I then said, “I am going to put out my own product for marketers.”
I went on the Warrior Forum and decided to do some PLR articles, sold barely enough to pay the listing fees, but the dream of making a couple of hundred for a weekends work were crushed. Also, the list building I dreamed of obviously didn’t happen either. I realized that even though I am a pretty decent writer, I didn’t really want to write PLR articles for a living. I was doing it without my heart into it.
The one good thing that happened with my Warrior Forum exploits (BTW, I almost never visit anymore, and I probably should), was other contacts and products. I became very selective, and more importantly was introduced to some lesser known marketers secretly making a good living, and in some cases a fortune, in Internet Marketing.
I got off many of the lists I was on that were just noise and gimmicks, and stuck with the guys and gals that were sincere. The ones that didn’t send a pitch in each of the 15 emails they sent every day. I concentrated on one thing at a time, started making consistent money and am slowly building a real business, not one based on some $997 course that Google will soon shut down.
Could I make more, sure, but I am lazy. I like to have a life, and am trying to get my schedule down to under 50 hours a week! The teacher in me struggles with the marketer to this day, but I strive to balance free stuff with my need to make a living.
So there it is in a nutshell, how I got from there to here.
What Else Am I Into
My main music site is Jon Griffin Music. Feel free to check it out. It has lessons, and of course my music.
You already know my first site Salsa Blanca, and as you may or may not have guessed, it wasn’t about making salsa, but about playing salsa, as in Cuban music.
My retail store in Las Vegas was a home brew and wine supply store. Yes, I know a lot about making beer, and if you are interested in it check out Ask The Beer Guy that is me. I teach beer and brewing at UNLV (see below). That has given me the nickname “the beer drinking professor.”
I am an adjunct professor at UNLV and teach in the Hotel College. Beer, Culture & Cuisine, and Serving Alcohol With Care are my usual subjects. Here is my faculty site http://faculty.unlv.edu/jgriffin