LOL, ok, so we did get started really late this year. A month or two should be plenty of time to organize when you have some of the most successful internet entrepreneurs flying in from all over the world 🙂
That is the essence of thinktank. It is really just a big beach party, but a big beach party of big numbers, big help and big love.
We are going full bore on getting it all organized right now, and you can feel the energy and push beginning to build. As always we have some great old friends returning. We have one guy who came to thinktank as a mid level SEO, and is now running a multi million dollar company that he says came about mostly from contacts and ideas he picked up at thinktank.
I am so excited and proud to be bringing my new girlfriend Shannon, who’s site is about her career as a hair stylist,
You can check it out at TheColorStylist.com
Yep, some big changes in my life.
I know I think way too much about food. We have a new thing to debut at thinktank, which is Oscars. Oscars is in my opinion the best Mexican food in the world. I am not even kidding or exagerating. It is just amazing. We will have it for dinner one night. It is not Mexican food like you expect. They have a fisherman’s torta that will literally make you cry.
All of the veteran thinktankers are doing really well right now. I mean really well. Purpose Inc. has had it’s best year ever, by a long shot. If you are in the game at all, you are probably doing much better this year than past years.
I just can’t wait. It is usually the best 3 days of my year.
I was sitting with Jasmin today going over some of our finance stuff. I realized there was a discrepancy because of the way we were handling the money that came in from thinktank through Eventbrite, and then through paypal.
Jasmin said she had not seen any money come in from PayPal. I was really surprised, because we did an early sale to our group of closest friends before we start our formal announcement of thinktank. (LOL, yes I know we are hella-late, but we have so many good projects going lately, we have not had a chance to start accepting applications for thinktank.)
I go on paypal, and of course no money has come in.
I go on Eventbrite, and it shows we have done a bunch of sales, and thinktank is not an inexpensive event.
I give a big WTF, where is the money? Many thousands of dollars were missing.
Eventbrite has a 24 hour number, so in an unusual state of me of being a bit worried, called them and asked, where is my money?
The woman, in a nice British accent walked me through this, and the story unfolded.
I have used Eventbrite for all of my events over the past 5 years of so, and collected hundreds of thousands of dollars through the service. Since the beginning my account was set up to collect the money via paypal, just because it was easy for me to deal with it that way. It also was the only option they used to have.
Apparently over the past year Eventbrite changed their default settings, but did not tell me.
It used to be that when I set up an event, it defaulted to collecting the money through my Paypal account which I had set up years ago on Eventbrite.
Now Eventbrite has changed the default to process through their own credit card processing company. Huh?
I can’t imagine they set this up without taking a rip off of it.
thinktank alone collects alot of money. Can you imagine the amount they make off of all of the events in total this way?
The nuts part is that the fine print says, you don’t even get your money until after the event, meanwhile they collect their rip.
thinktank usually makes no profit, so can you imagine if I had found out I had to fund the entire event, costing about $100k, without getting any of the money until after the event. At this point, which is very, very rare if you know me, I am getting pissed.
So I ask what I need to do. We then spend 15 minutes setting up a bank transfer to get me the money immediately.
She then informs me I can not set up my old event to be paypal, and must now set up a new event. So now this years attendees are going to be split in Eventbrite across two events. No problem for the attendees, but more work for us keeping track of the bookkeeping.
She then takes me through the process of how to set up a new event using paypal. Go ahead yourself and go on Eventbrite, create an account, (It’s free), and set up an event where your money gets paid through paypal. Can’t figure it out? Neither could I. Neither could the woman on tech support.
After a few minutes of me hunting around the site, I finally figured it out.
So here are the problems.
1. People who have been using Eventbrite for years using paypal are now being switched over to collecting money through Eventbrites payment processor without any disclosure or warning in advance. Also users are not being warned when they set up a new event.
2. If you set up your event this way, then Eventbrite does not pay you until after the event is over.
3. The way which used to be default, is now buried down where you will have trouble finding it.
I think it is great that they are making money, and can set up their site any way they can.
On the other hand to make a change like this, on an almost $100,000 transaction without giving any noticeable notice is in my opinion much more deceptive than things I have heard affiliates being warned about by the FTC.
Eventbrite, if you have something else to say on this, let me know.
Even if it had been an office supply store making a change like this when I bought the same rolls of toilet paper I had bought for years it would have been curiously irritating. If it has to do with my banking, and you are now going to be taking a bigger piece of my income, and not giving me my money till after my event, and not letting me know you are changing the method, and when I want to change the method I have to drill down through layers of clicks.
That is the point where it deserves a blog.
If anything in this blog post is incorrect, let me know immediately so I can change it, but I don’t think so.
If you have had good success with another event website, let me know, it is time to change.
UPDATE – After going through all of the above with the customer support person, here was their follow up email the next day. They totally missed it.
My colleague has brought to my attention that you experienced some frustration with the inability to switch payment processors once tickets have sold.
While there isn’t a way to directly change the payment processor on an event once you’ve sold tickets, there is a “workaround,” which involves copying your existing event page, then transferring over the custom URL to your new event page. When you create your new event page, you can select PayPal as the payment processor, and transferring the custom URL will ensure that your attendees seamlessly reach your new page.
As for the 5 orders that have already taken place, I would be happy to reach out to our Payments team to arrange an advance payment of 75% of the gross ticket sales (minus fees) now. The remaining 25% will then be issued 5 days after the event.
Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to move forward with this “workaround”. I will respond with the steps to copy the event and transfer the URL and I will work with the Payments team to arrange the advance payment.
Last Update – 8/17/12 From Eventbrite: We absolutely recognize that the default payment schedule for the Standard Credit Card Processing option is not always ideal for organizers. With convenience and flexibility in mind, we offer the advance payment program for the Standard Credit Card Processing option, as well as the 3rd party payment processing integration with both PayPal and Google Checkout.
The system’s intended behavior is to default to the same payment processor that was used for the most recent event. In your case, this event absolutely should have defaulted to PayPal and thus, it does appear that an error of some sort occurred. While it is difficult for our team to determine the exact cause of this error, we are doing as much as we can to investigate and document the occurrence. This, in turn, is helping us understand the circumstances and reference them should we ever encounter it again.
This year was a kinder gentler thinktank.
The bar to get in was massively raised, both by what you had accomplished, but also more importantly by who you are as a person, and how you treat others.
Something weird happened at thinktank this year that I wasn’t expecting. It was an amazing time for my own personal growth. Not intended, in fact actually I really try to keep my own personal life out of thinktank, so I can really focus on the attendees. What happened to me was quite amazing, but as they say, What happened at thinktank…….. is covered under an N.D.A.
Nathaniel Broughton rolled in with Brandon Laughridge. The two of them found a lot of interest in their new link building service, spread effect. What I am seeing happening now, from a lot of the insider talk at thinktank, is that large businesses now know they need SEO, and many realize they need links. So while the hidden skills of SEO that many of us have known are becoming much wider known, the need for links is growing. As long as google keeps their algorithm mostly based on how many good links you have, the demand will be endless.
The event started with Mike Salvagio of SEOBrand, one of my great friends, Michael Mindes, and Shamus Brown, BBQ’ing breakfast for all of us. Two kinds of bacon, scrambled eggs, and organic pancakes, all made on a charcoal BBQ. After our tests, we knew it would be good, but it was beyond exceptional. We got huge raves on the bacon.
Having white peaches with Robert Drysdale in the morning, Sunday on the beach with his wife and baby, this guy who beats the crap out of people, gets hurt regularly, and having him look at my shin, and go, “What happened to your let?”, and me looking down to see two lines of blood and it swollen out about half an inch and about as around as an egg.
Sunday, trying to drop in on Deuces, and she pearls, and her board goes under water, and then pops up with the edge straight into my shin, feeling like my leg got broken, realizing no break, seeing blood running out, knowing that great whites have been spotted lately, and paddling back out into some excellent 3 foot waves in the sunshine at 15th street.
Sunday waking up with a splitting headache, after 3 hours of sleep, and texting deuces that I can’t get up and need to wait till 10 to surf.
Seeing two of my favorite thinktankers doing jiu jitsu on the concrete, on the patio of the Del Mar Motel at 3 am.
It was super exceptional to really connect with Nate Ritter, a fellow San Diegan. I had done a small amount of work with him in the past. Turns out he is a masterful programmer, who is doing some very, very high end work. A lot of the guys really got a lot out of him.
Having everyone laugh at me that I did not know you can not buy alcohol after 2 am in California. Then racing to find my friends something to drink, arriving at 7-11 at 2:00 am and 30 seconds, and the guy not willing to sell me any.
Having a group of Afgani girls sure I was in my mid 30’s. After hearing them talk for a while about what they had been up to, me saying, “I have a sneaking suspicion you guys did not celebrate Ramadan.”
Chris Daigle, and Ryan Deiss really helped thinktank massively with a last minute huge sponsorship. As a result the event was crazily better. Better food, better venues, the fact that we got to hang out at Flavor Del Mar, this super posh bar, with a view of the ocean. We would take it over each afternoon, and do our mastermind sessions to take it to the next level. Chris and Ryan are providing such amazing stuff at Digital Marketer Lab, It is basically everything they have figured out after selling more stuff online, in so many niches, that it would blow you away.
Now about the afternoon mastermind. After doing this for four years, and after being a trainer and a public speaker now, for much longer than most of my readers have been alive, we really figured out how to make this part of it work.
Dan Ryan and I at Seaside Chiropractic were talking, and I said, do you want to help me figure out how to run the mastermind, business, take it to the next level part. Dan and I talk, for probably 15 minutes, and when we were done came up with what was unquestionably the best thing I have ever seen take place at an internet business event of any type. Without giving away the secret, with the whole group working for two hours one day, and two hours the second day, all but two people in the room had solved their own biggest problem that was preventing them from achieving their goal. Then with the last two people who had not done it yet, we ganged up on them on Sunday and figured out solution.
It was the most generous, efficient, fun, unselfish, non-competitive application of brilliance I have ever seen in a business setting. The reasons it worked were because:
1. Dan and my brilliant format for running it.
2. My experience in working with this group for four years now.
3. The level of brilliance of the group.
4. The massive, successfull experience of the group.
5. The level of generosity and openness of the group.
6. The N.D.A. which gave everyone a safe place to comunicate.
At the beginning of the event, someone who turned out to be one of my favorite attendees, had not read the NDA before arriving. He said he was not going to sign it, and I told him I would refund his money and he could go. We negotiated for a while, got it all handled, and then by the end of the event we are great friends. LOL
I’ve learned on running this event to have very few rules, but if something is important, to be tough as nails in enforcing it. These are incredibly successful tough guys, who haven’t made it where they are by being soft. On the other hand, they are such independent creative creatures, that they excel in an environment with as much freedom as possible. As an example, if we don’t have a schedule, like the first year, then there is a small revolution. On the other hand this year, the sun finally came out on the third day, and about half the attendees were surfing, so instead of bringing them in (I was one of them), and putting them inside in a bar for the next event, I just let everyone surf as long as they wanted. Probably about a third of the things on the schedule never took place, as a result of everyone being so in to what they were doing at the moment.
And the winner of the best surfer of thinktank goes to Jeromy Stallings. He was just ripping it the first day when we had big waves, with big off the tops, and killer nose rides. If Tyler from Inusionsoft had gotten there the first day, I think he may have given you a run for your money.
More on infusionsoft. First off, thank you so much Tyler Garns for the massive sponsorship from Infusionsoft. Tyler is a killer internet marketer, and business guy, and is currently the head of marketing for infusionsoft. Tyler made thinktank for me, when while we were eating crepes at this cool French Cafe in Del Mar, Tyler says to me, “One of the girls at infuisonsoft ran in to my office after our webinar, and said “Did he really just say Monkey Balls on a webinar?” ROFL
Tyler works a lot with Frank Kern, so is used to a little bit of odd language in a webinar, but I think monkey balls was a first. I also totally dug learning more about Infusionsofts ability to do smart emails. Basically when someone opts in, it sends you an email, and then based on what you do, open or don’t open, click on the link or not, buy or not buy, it then changes what it sends you. All of it is totally programmable in a simple interface. I am trying to get Tyler to do a webinar to show everyone how to do this, since I know about half of the thinktank attendees are allready using Infusionsoft.
Having Mike Koenigs come to thinktank was really bitchen for me. I have been a fan of his for a while, and this was the third time we have hung out together. We are in that getting to be really good friends stage, and the more I get to know about this guy, the more I see he is the real deal. It is amazing to me that even though his info products do close to 10 million in sales sometimes, half of the attendees had never heard of him. Just a great, generous guy.
Sadly realizing thinktank is over, realizing it was the best one ever, and that I need to get out of my wetsuit and into real clothes.
Saturday night 9:29 pm standing up on a wave, surfing in the dark, while carrying a tiki torch.
Saturday night 9:25 walking out into the water with a 10 foot board, pitch black, and carrying a lit torch. The water all around me just glowing in the orange light, just breathtaking, with Joe Fier, and Deuces, each carrying a torch and paddling out with me.
I have a bajillion more memories, but have to run now for an appointment.
Thank you all for coming, you guys rocked.
You guys know how bad ass each and everyone of you are.
We created something no one had ever heard of, a non-speaker business event in the internet industry, where no one EVER sits around listening to someone talk, with an open bar, phenomenal food, an outdoor setting for most of it, and injuries and adventures, and turned it into what most of the attendees say is teh best business event they have ever been to.
Fajar thank you for handling the boxes, and being there from the beginning.
Cait, you became a real executive this time, and literally did a perfect job. (never yelled at you once 😉
Roseanna, thank you for tolerating thinktank again, and running the business events, so I could be an attendee.
Sara, you have given so much of your life for us, are so incredibly loyal and hard working, and ask for so little in return. I love you. 🙂
Deuces, thank you for taking out the bosses trash, and helping with surfing and being such a great friend.
Joel, thank you for sacrificing so much for thinktank, so much. Next thinktank we will put you in protective custody so nothing happens.
And here is to each and every injury of thinktank. It isn’t for nothing you sign the release of liability. Just my own list of injuries,
1. Hit in the jaw while teaching someone to surf. (It should be good by tomorrow, just a little sore LOL)
2. Getting hit in the shin at full force by a board that drew blood, and made a half inch bump, and then went back out surfing even with the great whites we have had around lately.
Oh, and let me thank the great white sharks that have been in our waters lately for not eating us when we went night surfing with the tiki torches. This will become a new thinktank tradition for the last day. So start practicing now, it wasn’t easy to stand up with a burning torch where you could only see 3 feet in front of you coming in on a wave!
Dave and Max, we are bro’s for life. Just can’t thank you guys enough for the friendship and fun.
As you know I have spent the last year diving into the info marketing space. My first product is almost done. (Little does anyone know it, but I did a medium size launch, $180k gross in 2 months, way back before landing pages existed.)
So one of the guys I have been the biggest fans of is Ryan Deis. He is one of the few folks that I stay subscribed to, and have actually purchased his products. Nate Hopkins, my buddy I am working with on my own info product, was Ryan Deis’s roommate back in the day, and worked with Ryan for years.
Ryan’s company consistently releases excellent info products, not just in the internet marketing space, but products you will not have heard of, cause you are not on their other lists.
So with all this info coming in, and releasing more info products than I think any other person or company, Ryan and his team have access to a massive amount of data.
What they have done is put this data into a membership site, where you can sign up, and learn what they just learned.
As we all know what is killing it this week, may not be next week, so you need access to what is working and what is not.
That’s why Ryan sent his number one guy Chris Daigle to thinktank, to keep a finger on the pulse, and meet the newest best guys around.
They are always on the road to keep an eye on what is happeneing.
So now I have been inside their new site, digitalmarketer.com and it is bad ass. There are honestly very few sites that I go to online to watch and learn. I guarantee this will be one of them. Quickly I watched an analysis of how someone has been killing it on Amazon, and getting Amazon to push their products for them. Really solid valuable stuff. They have a 30 day money back guarantee but you won’t need it, it is a no brainer.
And thank you Ryan for the mondo sponsorship of thinktank. Really first class, and from me and entire crew, thank you!
Earlier this week Frank Kern, invited me to go surfing.
I got to his house, waiting for the typical Rolls Royce to arrive to go surfing. No I am not kidding.
While I was waiting, there was another surfer guy hanging out in front of the house as well.
We introduced ourselves to each other, and it turned out to be Tyler, the head of marketing at Infusionsoft.
I had just signed up for Infusionsoft about two weeks ago. Goodbye Constant Contact and my inability to send out an email without a logo on it, and goodbye aweber, who would not just let me add in anyone I wanted to without opt ins.
After talking to Tyler about where we grew up surfing and what not, the conversation turned to what Infusionsoft could do. Turns out it is a hell of a lot more than email marketing.
So Tyler agreed to do a teleconference going over what infusionsoft can do which we will be doing next week hopefully.
Then Tyler says, hey, we could drop $XXXXX dollars for thinktank if you want. Do I want! Me loves me some thinktank, and the more $$ the better the party! So Infusionsoft is now our biggest sponsor of the event, but the others are not too far behind.
In the middle of a jacked up economy where a lot of people are still just plain old out of work, the ability to sponsor an event like ours really shows who is doing a good job, and still rolling in the dollars.
And yes, Frank rolled up in a new SUV, which is much, much more practical for surfing!
So Tyler, and infusionsoft, from all the thinktankers I am super greatly appreciative! The party will be even more rocking with your help!
First about the webinar today!
Sanjay, the well known thinktanker, who is the master of the forums, calls me up last week, and says, I want to give you $XXXXX for thinktank. I was like, totally, cool, the more the merrier! This post and webinar are happening as a result of the sponsorship, although I would have talked about Sanjay for free! His story is bad ass.
So last year, Sanjay was able to turn his company, in a way I don’t totally understand yet, into a publicly traded company, whose stock symbol is CRWG. Sanjay started this company when a couple of angry nerds were arguing on a forum, and Sanjay started another forum to get them somewhere to vent. At it’s peak, before the stock market dipped, his company was valued at 90 million dollars. WFT for forums?
Along the way Crowd Gatherer picked up a whole mess of forums, obviously 90 million dollars worth of forums is a lot of forums! and they also picked up a partial ownership in a fragrance company.
OK, so here was my own test results, honestly swear to god. I put some of the stuff on yesterday, and when I was talking to some girls in their 20’s who had no idea I was wearing it, they seemed to stare at me like a hot fudge sunday. Almost to the point where I was starting to feel a little uncomfortable. Then I asked my staff about the smell of the cologne, and one of them used the word enticing. Enticing is a good word you want people to say about your cologne.
So, this cologne, partially owned by Crowd Gatherer, if I understand it correctly contains some coral extract that is similar to a human pheromone.
Today I am going to do a live webinar with Sanjay, and I want to hear much more of the details of what this stuff is.
To me the cologne smelled very nice, not a fruity cologne, and not as dark and heavy as many of them, but a pleasant in between.
I will continue the experiment!
I’d love you to join us at 10:15 pacific time today for the webinar.
I am going to try to do it live from the beach again, we will see how that goes!
Sanjay is going to go over how he took his company public, and about the cologne.
Expect this cologne to probably be an affiliate offer sometime soon.
Yesterday was quite an interesting day.
I got an email, followed by a phone call, about a CEO position of one of the most ridiculously cool websites in the world. It is the website of one of the absolute coolest companies in the world. I mean, like Most Interesting Man In The World, cool. Probably not something I am going to do at the moment, but the thought of it was flattering, and the 0’s were pretty cool too.
So just to make the point, right while this thought was rummaging around in my mind, I was on the phone with Deuces, when blammo! God spoke to me, and the power went out in all of southern California.
Now this is kind of funny, because I was supposed to be doing a webinar last night from SoCali, Nathaniel Broughton’s secret cool internet kids of San Diego club. We kept rolling at the chiropractic office. Then when it came time to leave, I heard that freeways and roads were backed up like crazy, then started to wonder if we could even have the event.
Nathaniel got a text through, that maybe we would go to casa Robinson (Dana Robinsons mini mansion by the beach). Now about the food?
I just happened to have a BBQ, charcoal and matches in the back of my truck, leftover from the thinktank test breakfast.
So off to find food, and everything is closed. Jonathan’s market was taking people in one at a time with flashlights, and having you pay by cash, the approximate amount. That was so fucking bad ass. Everyone else just closed and ran for the hills. They will get a lifetime of loyalty from me for doing that. So I ran in and grabbed some baguettes, cheese, and spagetti sauce so I could make some mini pizzas for the party, and when I got home for the wife.
The line took about a half hour, and by the time I was running out, the webinar was supposed to begin.
So I tossed on my wireless card, fired up the laptop, and started the webinar while driving my car, through the blacked out parking lot! LOL
No comment about the drive from Jonathan’s to Dana Robinsons house.
I get to Dana’s house, I am doing the webinar, and I announce, we are now going in to Casa Robinson, where the party is going. By the way, I have the camera on so people can see me and what is behind me. We go into Dana’s house, me and the webinar attendees, and it is totally fucking black inside with a few candles. Door was unocked. I walk into the living room, and am shouting hello! We are live on air! but nothing but silence. It looked like the blair witch project, which is funny because Andy Jenkins lives a few blocks from there, and he did the special effects on the movie.
So I realized I am in Dana’s house, technically breaking and entering, (although the door was locked), and thought me and the webinar guests better get out of his house! So I found my way out, only to find Dana walking in. Awkward.
Dana of course is a good friend, and my own attorney, so we were cool. I wonder if it would have been a conflict of interest for him to represent me in a case where I had broken into his house 🙂
So all the boys were there, Dana, Nathaniel, Brandon, and some of their new Spread Effect employees/friends they had flown in from Saint Louis.
Dana and Heather got some chicken going on the BBQ, I found the most amazing tomato hiding on their counter, and made a French Brucetta if there is such a thing, all on the BBQ, and we had a make shift Socali feast! Dana made the comment that by about 9:30 everyone was getting tired just like we were camping, and we would all be up by 5:00. The odd thing was everything was not working, cell phones, TV, and anything electric. Oddly enough my mac air had some juice, and the wireless card was charged, so we were able to check things online a bit.
By the way, I got to start my day being interrogated by an attorney in an arbitration. Some of our patients, were going after an insurance company to pay their bill, so I got to go over what we did, how much it cost and why. The guy was a total #$%#, but it was a bitchen experience for me. I was able to be my typical relaxed happy self, answered his questions, and had a good time doing it. Nice to know I can do that one well if ever needed again 🙂
I am now a webinar guy.
At 10:00 in a few minutes, I am doing my first webinar
with Joe Fier, master of videos that convert.
Here is the link to register: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/347703822
Then tonight, all of this is Pacific Time, (is there any other time?) I am doing
a webinar with Matt Mickiewicz of 99 designs, who jut got 35 million in VC money
to develop more sites. We are going to be going over how to build software, build companies, and how he pulled it off. Here is the link to register for that one.
These are literally my first webinars ever, so all bets are off!
It is all some light promo to draw attention to thinktank.
Thanks for all the questions about thinktank.
We will be sending out a survey real soon to make sure we nail it on the head again, so everyone is over satisfied, sunburned full, by the end of the three days.
Hang tight, and stay tuned.
This year, the La Jolla Chiropractic office that you all know and love just blew up. I also have been working like a dog on my first info product. It will be in the small business niche. Stay tuned.
So, prepare to be swooned by thinktank fun shizzle coming to you real soon. 🙂
To answer the questions about the bracelets at thinktank. Last year my friend Jonathan Antonio in the Philippines got the bracelets for us. This year we wanted to do something cool again. We ran into a woman with a new Acai alcohol of all things LOL.
She told us they make it in the Brazilian rain forest. When they are done they have the seeds left from the Acai. The women in the plant, weave them into bracelets. She gave us a bunch of these for the drinking bracelets for thinktank. They rocked. Now you know where they came from 🙂
One of the great guys I met at thinktank this year, Mike from SEOBrand,(the guys with the killer landing pages) wrote me this e-mail soon after thinktank was done.
When I left ThinkTank on Sunday night, I couldn’t believe how sad I felt. I
had such an enjoyable time meeting everyone and hanging out, when I left, it
was sad. I didn’t want to leave. It was a very strange feeling — almost
like leaving school or a bunch of friends during my younger days — almost
like camp. Due to my extreme travel schedule, (I left Del Mar, took a red
eye back to Philly, picked up my passport from my wife and flew to Montreal.
Just arrived home late last night), it was absolutely wonderful to sit with
the leaders in our industry in such a setting. No pitches of products,
services or boring conferences — just a social but business like setting.
Your ThinkTank event is special and so are you! I will never miss a
ThinkTank (that is off course if you invite me back) as it was one of the
most productive trips ever.