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Archive for the ‘Million Dollar Ideas’ Category

Who Really Invented the Internet?

Now There’s A Headline That Really Caught My Attention!

It’s from the July 23, 2012 issue of The Wall Street Journal written by L. Gordon Crovitz.

“The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all companies could make money off the Internet.” – President Barack Obama

Mr. Crovitz quotes President Barack Obama saying, “The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all companies could make money off the Internet”  It’s an urban legend that the government launched the Internet.  The myth is that the Pentagon created the Internet to keep its communications lines up even in a nuclear strike. The truth is a more interesting story about how innovation happens— and about how hard it is to build successful technology companies even once the government gets out of the way.

“The creation of the Arpanet was not motivated by considerations of war.” – Robert Taylor, Computer Scientist

For many technologists, the idea of the Internet traces to Vannevar Bush, the presidential science adviser during World War II who oversaw the development of radar and the Manhattan Project. In a 1946 article in The Atlantic titled “As We May Think“, Bush defined an ambitious peacetime goal for technologists: Build what he called a “memex” through which “wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified.”

That fired imaginations and by the 1960s technologists were trying to connect separate physical communications networks into one global network—“a world wide web.” The federal government was involved, modestly, via the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. Its goal was not maintaining communications during a nuclear attack, and it didn’t build the Internet. Robert Taylor, who ran the ARPA program in the 1960s, sent an email to fellow technologists in 2004 setting the record straight: “The creation of the Arpanet was not motivated by considerations of war. The Arpanet was not an Internet. An Internet is a connection between two or more computer networks.”

If the government didn’t invent the Internet, who did?

Vinton Cerf developed TCP/IP, the Internet’s backbone, and Tim Berners-Lee gets credit for hyperlinks.

But full credit goes to  the company where Mr. Taylor worked after leaving ARPA: Xerox. It was at the Xerox PARC labs in Silicon Valley in the 1970s that the Ethernet was developed to link different computer networks. Researchers there also developed the first personal computer (the Xerox Alto) and the graphical user interface that still drives computer usage today.

According to a book about Xerox PARC, “Dealers of Lightning” by Michael Hiltzik), its top researchers realized they couldn’t wait for the government to connect different networks, so they would have to do it themselves. “We have a more immediate problem than they do,” Robert Metcalfe told his colleague John Shoch in 1973. “We have more networks than they do.” Mr Shoch later recalled that ARPA staffers “were working under government funding and university contracts. …and all that slow, lugubrious behavior to contend with.”

So having created the Internet, why didn’t Xerox become the biggest company in the world? The answer explains the disconnect between a government-led view of business and how innovation actually happens.

Executives at Xerox headquaters in Rochester, N.Y. were focused on selling copiers. From their standpoint, the Ethernet was important only so that people in an office could link computers to share a copier.

In 1979 Steve Jobs visits Xerox Parc – “They just had no idea what they had”

Then in 1979 Steve Jobs negotiated an agreement whereby Xerox’s venture-capital division invested $1 million in Apple, with the requirement that Jobs get a full briefing on all the Xerox Parc innovations. “They just had no idea what they had,” Jobs later said, after launching hugely profitable Apple computers using concepts developed by Xerox.

Xerox’s copier business was lucrative for decades, but the company eventually had years of losses during the digital revolution. Xerox managers can console themselves that it’s rare for a company to make the transition from one technology to another.

“The Internet, in fact, reaffirms the basic free market critique of large government.” – Tyler Cowen, Economist

As for the government’s role, the Internet was fully privatized in 1995, when a remaining piece of the network run by the National Science Foundation was closed—just as the commercial Web began to boom. Economist Tyler Cowen wrote in 2005: “The Internet, in fact, reaffirms the basic free market critique of large government. Here for 30 years the government had an immensely useful protocol for transferring information, TCP/IP, but it languished…In less than a decade, private concerns have taken that protocol and created one of the most important technological revolutions of the millennia.”

It’s important to understand the history of the Internet because it’s too often wrongly cited to justify big government. It’s also important to recognize that building great technology businesses requires both innovation and the skills to bring innovations to market. As the contrast between Xerox and Apple shows, few business leaders succeed in this challenge.  Government had a role, but it is those who make it happen that deserve the credit.

The knowledge of how to use the Internet is a most important ingredient for business success. As a reader of my blog, I’d like to offer you a FREE copy of Denny Hatch’s 22 Rules for Internet Success. It’s yours for the asking; just send an email to: Send me a FREE copy of Denny Hatch’s 22 Rules for Internet Success

For Adults Only!! Oh The Places You Can Go!

Want to learn how to ride a wave, ballroom dance, or lead a cattle drive? You can, by signing up for one of the growing number of camps for adults.

The July 22nd issue of Parade Magazine ran this under the byline of Catherine Price.

  • Camp Unleashed

What it is: Four days of bonding with Fido; activities include “smell walks”, canine aromatherapy sessions, and dog-focused arts and crafts.

Locations: Asheville, N.C; Becket, MA; Miramonte, CA.

Dates: year-round

Price: $799-$999 per human-dog couple.

Try it if: Your favorite travel companion has four legs.

Web-Site: campunleashed.com

  • Culinary Institute of America Boot Camp Cooking Vacations

What it is: Two-to-five day cooking workshops, including courses in hors d’oeuvres, French cuisine, butchering, and baking, taught by the staff of the eminent Culinary Institute of  America.

Locations: Hyde Park, N.Y.; San Antonio, TX.; St. Helena, CA.

Dates: Various.

Price: $895-$2,195, not including lodging.

Try it if: You want to take your cooking skills from simmer to sizzle.

Web-Site: ciachef.edu

  • Adult Space Academy

What it is: Three days spent training like an astronaut. Wannbe Neil Armstrongs can participate in a hands-on interactive space mission and a model-rocket construction and launch.

Location: Huntsville, AL

Dates: Various

Price: $499, plus a $50 registration fee.

Try it if: You’d love to  take a spin in an antigravity chair.

Web-Site: spacecamp.com

  • Horseback Riding Camp

What it is: A long weekend or full week practicing equestrian skills like dressage  and stadium jumping. (Horses are provided or bring your own.)

Location:  Vershire, VT

Dates: Several summer and fall sessions.

Price: $750 (long weekend) or $1,590 (week)

Try it if: You’re an experienced rider, or just a beginner who’s ready  to saddle up.

Web-Site: vershireridingschool.com

  • Co-Ed Soccer Academy

What it is: A five-day camp  where players can develop (or fine-tune) their technical and tactical moves with coaching by former pros from Europe and the U.S.

Location: Westminster, MD

Dates: July 2013

Price: $685, including accomodations.

Try it if: The NFL  just isn’t your kind of football

Web-Site: soccer-academy.com

  • WB Surf Camp

What it is: Three days learning how to surf and stand-up paddleboard in relatively calm 80-degree waters off the North Carolina coast.

Location: Wrightsville Beach, N.C.

Dates: Various in August

Price: $595, not including lodging.

Try it if: You want to learn to hang ten without facing frigid water or monster waves.

Web-Site: wbsurfcamp.com

  • Ballroom Dance Camp

What it is: Five days spent tearing up the dance floor—for up to seven hours a day! —under the guidance of world-renowned ballroom instructors. (Female participants, may have  to sign up with a male partner.)

Location: Provo, UT

Dates: July, 2013

Price: $460, not including meals or lodging.

Try it if: Your answer to the question So You Think You Can Dance? is a resounding yes!

Web-Site: ce.byuedu/cw/dancecamps

  • Rockin’R Ranch Cattle Drive

What it is: The chance to sign on  as a cowhand during an authentic cattle drive through picturesque southern Utah.

Location: Antimony, UT

Dates: Sept., 3-8, Sept., 26-30.

Price: $1,095-$1,295, including meals and tent accomodations.

Try it if: You’ve seen City Slickers hundreds of times.

Web-Site: rockinrranch.com

  • Ultimate Adult Baseball Camp

What it is: An opportunity for serious baseball fans  to hone their skills with pointers from current Major League coaches.

Location: Peoria, AZ

Dates: Jan., 10-13, 2013.

Price: $2,795, including meals and lodging.

Try it if: You’d rather be out on the diamond  than trading fantasy picks.

Web-Site: pro-ball.com

If these wonderful adult camps are just a fantasy for you because you’ve recently been laid off and as much as you would love  to take one of these fun trips, you just can’t afford to until you’re back among the working again, consider my special offer on my book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE.

It’s a complete guide to starting your own home-based business. Successful mail order business owners call it the definitive guide to success in direct response/mail order.

If you would like to start a business that you can operate from your home no matter where you live then this book is for you. There has never been a better time to start your own mail-order business than now due to the power of the world wide web.

One of the chapters in this recently revised edition gives you all the information you’ll need to utilize the power of the Internet to make your business grow faster than ever before.

You’ll learn:

HOW TO GET STARTED

HOW TO FIND GREAT PRODUCTS

HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS PROFITABLE RIGHT FROM THE START

HOW TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCT FOR BIGGEST PROFITS

SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS

14 SURE-FIRE CHECK OFF LISTS THAT GUARANTEE HUGE PROFITS

and included in this new edition: COMPLETE UP-TO DATE INFORMATION ON HOW TO USE THE INTERNET TO SUPER CHARGE YOUR MAIL ORDER BUSINESS.

Best of all this book is sold on a money-back guarantee of satisfaction or your money back.

How To Become A Mail Order Millionaire is available from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h and you can now have it downloaded to your Kindle at amazon.com or you can save $10 and order it direct from the publisher for only $29.95, no charge for shipping.

To order: Send check or money order for $29.95 U.S. to SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue, Ste. 1032, Chicago, IL 60601 U.S.

You Can Get What You Want Just By Asking For It

Could it possibly be that simple? Read on and be amazed…

Sometimes in order to get what you want or need in life (both personally and professionally), you need to be wiling to ask for it.

It sounds like a simple concept, but few people ask for what they really want.

It sounds like a simple concept, but few people ask for what they really want. Instead they hope or expect others (spouse, friends, boss, colleagues, etc.) to already know what’s on their mind. Not only can these unrealistic expectations lead to disappointment and frustration, but they can also result in anger and unsatisfying relationships.

Here are a few tips to help you get what you want by learning how to ask:

  • Create a clear-cut goal of what you want. Avoid vague concepts. For example, perhaps you want more help from your spouse—ask them to be in charge of cooking meals  two nights a week. After all, if you aren’t sure of exactly what will make you happy, how will anyone else know?
  • Don’t be afraid of how others will react when you ask. Many people hold back from asking because they anticipate a negative response. If something is important to you and the request is reasonable, just ask. It’s unfair to assume you’ll receive a negative response.
  • Get an outside perspective by asking someone you trust who’s unaffected by the issue for advice on how to approach your request. An outside view can help you articulate why the request is important to you.
  • Think  through your approach and ensure it’s portrayed in an inoffense manner that explains the feelings behind your request. Use “I” statements instead of “you“.
  • Avoid indirect comments and the belief that you shouldn’t have to ask.

Passive tactics will actually decrease your chances of getting what you really want. Instead you could wind up feeling upset and bitter, wondering why the other person can’t read your mind.

While it can be difficult to ask for certain things, life becomes a lot easier once you accept that the people in your life are often willing to help but aren’t mind readers.

Who knew it could be so easy?

The Ink Well’s monthly bulletin featured the ideas above and if you ever have printing or publishing needs, check them out . You won’t be disapppointed. www.inkwellchicago.com

Wise words to wind up this weeks posting.

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”
Thomas Jefferson

and then from my favorite sage Ben Franklin:

  • A smile’s  an inexpensive way to change your looks.
  • Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.
  • One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time.
  • It’s better to be optimistic and a fool than be pessimistic and right.

Regular readers of my blog are aware of my book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE and how it’s helped many to realize their dream of owning their own business but if you are new to this site, and are interested in starting a business of your own, here’s a brief rundown of what it contains.

You’ll learn:

How To Get Started
How To Find Great Products
How to Make Your Business Profitable Right From The Start
How To Price Your Business Or Service For Biggest Profits
Secrets Of Creating Winning Mail Order Ads
14 Sure Fire Check Off Lists That Guarantee Huge Profits

and in this newly revised edition…Complete Up-To-Date Information On How To Use The Internet To Super Charge Your Mail Order Business

The book is sold on a 100% Guarantee of Satisfaction or Your Money Back!

It’s available from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h or you can save $10 and order it direct from the publisher for only $29.95 and shipping is FREE. Send check or money order along with your name and address to: SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1032, Chicago, IL 60601.

Think Positive: Seven Easy Ways To Improve A Bad Day!

Had a lousy morning?   Things looking grim?

Not to worry. The rest of your day need not be a disaster. It can in fact become one of your best, providing you take these simple steps:

  1. Remember that the past does not equal the future. There is no such thing as a “run of bad luck“. The reason people believe such nonsense is that the  human brain creates patterns out of random events and remembers the events that fit the pattern.
  2. Refuse to make self-fulfilling prophesies. If you believe the rest of your day will be as challenging as what’s already happened,  then rest assured: You’ll end up doing something (or saying) something that will make sure that your prediction comes through.
  3. Get a sense of proportion. Think about the big picture: Unless something life-changing has happened (like the death of a loved one), chances are that in two weeks, you’ll have forgotten completely about whatever it was that has your shorts in a twist today.
  4. Change your threshold for “good” and “bad”. Decide that a good day is any day that you’re above ground. Similarly, decide that a bad day is when somebody steals your car and drives it into the ocean. Those types of definitions make it easy to be happy–and difficult to be sad.
  5. Improve your body chemistry. Your body and brain are in a feedback loop: A bad mood makes you tired, which makes your mood worse, and so forth. Interrupt the patterrn by getting up and moving around. Take a walk or eat something healthy.
  6. Focus on what’s going well.  The primary reason you’re convinced it’s a bad day is that you’re focusing on whatever went wrong. However, for everything going badly, there are probably dozens of things going well. Make list, and post it where it’s visible.
  7. Expect something wondrous. Just an attitude of doom and gloom makes you see more problems, facing the future with a sense of wonder makes you alive to all sorts of wonderful things that are going on, right now, everywhere around you.

This originally appeared in: Inc.

Now that you’re thinking positive thoughts, think about something that could bring you a lifetime income eliminating the worry of your job disappearing or the company you’re working for moving your job to India or China or Mexico. Consider Mail Order! Never before has it been easier to make a good living working out of your home or apartment running your own mail order business. Why is it easier today? The answer is the Internet.

The internet allows men and women just like you to sell a product or service anywhere in the world. Everything you need to know to start your own mail order business can be found in my book: HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE.  It’s a complete guide to starting your own home-based business.

You’ll learn:

  • How To Get Started
  • How To Find Great Products
  • How to Make Your Business Profitable Right From The Start
  • How  to Price Your Business or Service for Biggest Profits
  • Secrets of Creating Winning Mail Order Ads
  • 14 Sure Fire Check Off Lists That Guarantee Profits
  • and included in this newly revised edition is up-to-date information on:

  • How To Use The Internet to Super-Charge Your Mail Order Business.

This book will provide you with an easy-to-follow “road map” to success in a business of your own and it’s sold on a complete 100% guarantee of satisfaction or your money back.

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is available on line from AMAZON at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h or as a reader of this blog you can order it for only $29.95 direct from the publisher and it will be shipped to you postage free. Send check or money order to: Superior Press 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago IL 60601

15 Simple Rules For A Healthy Happy Life!

REVEALED!  THE UNLOCKED SECRETS ON HOW TO ACHIEVE HAPPINESS AND PEACE OF MIND.

Suffering, he said, arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable.

Epictetus was his name. Born a slave in Rome in 55 AD and lived there until he was banished. He spent the remainder of his life in Greece where he taught philosophy as a way of life. Suffering, he said, arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable. He strongly believed that human beings have a duty to care for all fellow human beings. The person who follows his precepts will achieve happiness and peace of mind.

It is not known how he attained his freedom but he began teaching his philosophy and founded his own philosophy school in Rome until 93 AD when he and all philosophers living there at the time were banished.

Lame since childhood, he lived his life with few possessions and great simpilcity. For much of his life he lived alone but in old age he adopted a friends child who would otherwise have been left to die and raised him with the aid of a woman. Not much more is known about him other than his 15 RULES FOR A BALANCED LIFE. He died around 135 AD.

His philosophy became known as Stoicism. It is a philosophy grounded in accepting everyday reality. While some believe the term refers to numbness,  his original followers known as Stoics sought to maintain a balance between life’s highs and lows.

The philosophy of Epictetus is well known in the American military through the writings and example of James Stockdale an American fighter pilot who was shot down during the Vietnam War. In his book Courage Under Fire, Stockdale credits Epictetus with helping him endure seven and a half years in a North Vietnamese military prison—including  torture—and four years in solitary confinement.

The philosophy of Epictetus plays a key role in Tom Wolfe’s book A Man In Full. His philosophy is also mentioned in James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man; also in Franny & Zooey by J.D. Salinger and is referred to in Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie.

Psychologist Albert Ellis, the founder of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy credited Epictetus with providing a foundation for his system of psychotherapy and last but not least his philosophy is an influence on the acting method introduced by David Mamet.

EPICTETUS ANCIENT SECRETS TO A LONG, HEALTHY BALANCED LIFE!

  1. Know what you can control and what you cannot.
  2. Make full use of what happens to you.
  3. Seeking to please is a perilous  trap.
  4. Approach life as a banquet.
  5. Avoid adopting other peoples’ negative views.
  6. Never supress a generous impulse.
  7. Character matters more than reputation.
  8. Self-mastery depends on self-honesty.
  9. The virtuous are consistent.
  10. Be suspicious of convention.
  11. Widsom is revealed through action, not talk.
  12. No shame, no blame.
  13. Pursue the good ardently.
  14. Treasure your mind, cherish your reason, hold to your purpose.
  15. Disregard what doesn’t concern you.

In 1942 Another Mail Order Millionaire Started From His Home

Diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1939, Norman Edmund was quarantined in a sanatorium, where he watched eight of his 10 wardmates perish from the disease, But he turned the gruesome experience to his advantage. Unwanted by employers, who feared the young accountant could still be contagious, Edmund started an Army salvage business in his New Jersey home.

At the time of Edmund’s retirement in 1975, the company had sales of about $10 million.

That business became Edmund Scientific, publisher of the famous Edmund Scientific catalog. The catalog—loved by science geeks for more than half a century—still sells you-build- it telescope kits, antigravity devices, solar-powered gadgets of all sorts, and goofy-yet-instructional items like a brew-your-own-root-beer kit. Edmund saw the catalog as a much needed tool for science education, particularly after the Soviet launch of Sputnik in the late 1950s.

The Russians were beating us,” recalls Robert Edmund, Norman’s son. “You had to get your people involved in science.” Norman Edmund died January 17. he was 95 and had enjoyed good health since beating TB.  He started his first company, Edmund Salvage, in 1942 at the behest of friends who worked at the Frankford Arsenal, an Army supply depot in nearby Philadelphia. Edmund began taking in surplus military equipment, tearing it apart, and selling the components, including lots of lenses for amateur photographers and for industry.

Edmund Salvage became Edmund Scientific, whose flagship was the scientific catalog. “Edmund scoured hundreds of magazines a month looking for products and ideas“,  Robert recalls, “As a kid, stacked up, the magazines looked like a skyscraper to me.”

Later, Edmund Scientific operated a retail store from its headquarters in Barrington, New Jersey, attracting science buffs worldwide. Salvador Dali, during a period of interest in optical illusions, stopped by to examine prisms and lenses, says Alex Husted, a grandson of Norman’s. “Norman would buy train cars full of war surplus to get binoculars, and you’d get all this other stuff you didn’t  want—motors, gear boxes, random lab equipment.” Much of it went into  a space known as “the mad scientist’s room.” An annual tent sale—people camped overnight to get first crack at the oddball offerings—would clear the stuff out to make room for new shipments.

At the time of Edmund’s retirement in 1975, the company had sales of about $10 million. Robert took over, expanding the optics business and manufacturing lenses in-house. In 2001, Robert had to break some news to his father. He had sold the scientific catalog to an educational company. “The  world  was changing,” says Robert. “People weren’t buying kits. They were finding their science elsewhere.” His father took it hard.

New owners have kept the catalog going. Edmund Optics, as the family business is now known, has grown to $120 million in sales. And Robert is eager to describe a grant program he started two years ago, giving $80,000 annually to fund promising ideas of the sort his father might have championed. There is one grant in particualr. It went to a Peruvian who had developed a rapid diagnostic kit for tuberculosis.

Norman Edmund, 1916-2012.

This article first appeared in INC. The Magazine for Growing Companies under the byline of Jeff Bailey.

It’s never been easier or more necessary in these difficult economic times where our unemployment rate seems permanently stuck at around 8% to consider starting your own business. No other business I know costs less to get started in than Mail Order and with the help of the Internet allows beginners to run their own businesses from anywhere.. It can be started part- time to help your family ‘get over the hump’,’ put some bread on the table’ and when the profits come rolling in, it’s easy to make it a full time career like Norman and his son Robert Edmund.

The book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE contains all you need to know to make a go of this exciting and rewarding business. It’s sold on a complete money back guarantee of satisfaction. You can order it from Amazon for $39,95 plus s&h or as a reader of this blog direct from the publisher for only $29.95FREE shipping and handling. Send check or money order to SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1032, Chicago IL 60601.

12 Search Tips: How To Successfully Search the Internet

TRYING TO NAVIGATE the World Wide Web without help is like trying to do research in a library that has no librarians, a  jumble of card catalogs listing just a fraction of the collection—and 320 million books. To flounder less and learn more in your Web voyages, follow these search tips.

For a more accurate search, be sure to use phrases instead of single words.

  1. IF YOUR SUBJECT IS BROAD (cancer, archaeology, politics), start with a directory—such as Google or Yahoo—that categorizes Web sites by subject. Just pick the most likely subject, then drill down through layers of subcategories until you find what you want.
  2. IF YOUR SUBJECT IS NARROW (such as  a particular bed-and-breakfast you want to try), choose a search engine: Alta Vista, HotBot, Excite, Infoseek or Northern Light.
  3. FOR COMPREHENSIVE RESEARCH, use several search engines or try a meta-search engine such as Meta-Crawler.
  4. BEFORE USING A SEARCH ENGINE, read any instructions it offers. Yes, these documents can be snoozers. But each engine has its quirks, and knowing them will help you craft a more accurate search.
  5. WHEN CHOOSING KEY WORDS for a search engine, select six to eight words to help narrow your search. If you type just one or two words, you’ll likely get thousands or even millions of documents. use nouns whenever possible, and put most important words first. Put a “+” before any word you want to include and a “-” before any word you to exclude. (this works with most engines).
  6. TO INCREASE YOUR search’s accuracy, use phrases instead of single words. Put quotation marks around the phrase.
  7. MANY SEARCH ENGINES will let you refine the results of your initial query. Do it.
  8. WHEN YOU FIND a good Web site about your topic, check whether it provides links to similar sites.
  9. YOU MAY BE ABLE TO GUESS the address of specific sites. Many are “www,” a period, the name or acronym of the site’s operator, a period and three letters denoting the site’s type. Thus www.microsoft.com (commercial). www.fbi.gov (government) and www.harvard.edu (education).
  10. DOUBLE-CHECK your spelling. You’d be amazed at how many people misspell words in their queries.
  11. KEEP IN MIND that even if you type a precise query, many of the documents returned won’t be applicable. Computers (and search engines) aren’t perfect.
  12. REMEMBER: THE INTERNET does not contain the sum of all knowledge. You may still need to hit the library.

These helpful hints to make your searches easier and more accurate first appeared in an article Bruce Maxwell wrote for USA WEEKEND.

If you have an interest in starting a business of your own, the knowledge of how to use the Internet is a most important ingredient for success. As a reader of my blog, I’d like to offer you a FREE copy of Denny Hatch’s 22 Rules for Internet Success. It’s yours for the asking; just send an email to: Send me a FREE copy of Denny Hatch’s 22 Rules for Internet Success

Sears, Roebuck & Co…. The Facebook of 1924

When Sears, the Facebook of its era, launched its IPO it Sold Preferred Shares at $97.50. That’s more than $2,000 today.

Even people who don’t play the market thought about buying stock in Facebook’s initial public offering of shares. One hundred six years ago, Sears was its era’s version of a hot tech company. Like Facebook, Apple or Amazon, it wasn’t just a corporation–it  was a revolution. “the catalog was the internet of the day“, said James Schrager, a University of Chicago business professor. “Sears was Amazon“.  The young Chicago mail-order company selling its shares at more than $2,000 in todays dollars wasn’t for the common man. But the purchase of even one share would have been lucrative. Counting from 1924, when Sears entered the Dow Jones index, to 1996, and adjusting for stock splits, the Wall Street Journal calculated Sears shares soared 434,552 percent. The skyrocketing value was rivaled only by the young Midwesterner who founded it.

Sears retired in 1908 with a fortune estimated at $25 million. He died in 1914 more than a decade before the company he founded opened a single store.

Richard W. Sears was hailed in his Chicago Tribune obituary as a man “whose career typified the romance of Amercian business“. Mix the youthful risk-taking of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and the marketing instincts of Apple’s Steve Jobs– that was Sears. It started in 1886, when Sears was a railroad station agent in backwoods Minnesota, wrote historians Boris Emmet and John Jeuck in “Catalogs and Counters: A History of  Sears, Roebuck & Company“.

A shipment of gold watches arrived for a local jeweler, who refused them. The rebuffed wholesaler told the 22-year-old Sears he could have the watches for $12 apiece. he said yes, pivoted, and offered them to agents along the line for $14. With that type of watch retailing for $25, there was room for the agents to profit, and Sears pocketed $2 for every one he sold.

Within six months he had made $5,000, and his watch business started to outstrip his railroad salary. “The tail had begun to wag the dog“, he said in a 1906 Tribune article. Sears moved to Chicago, set up at Dearborn and Randolph streets, and hired a watchmaker “thin to emaciation“, Alvah Roebuck. Their watch company grew rapidly into a general mail-order company that used high volumes to enable low prices.

It was a recipe perfect for the time, when millions of rural Americans were disgruntled with their general stores. A barrel of flour in 1899 was $3.47 wholesale, according to the company, but $7-plus at a country store. Sears, Roebuck used comforting ads to overcome farmers’ fears. “Don’t be afraid  that you will make a mistake“, read one catalog. “We receive hundreds of orders every day from young and old who never before sent away for goods“.  The company adopted a money-back guarantee and “send no money” became a famed tag line. Richard Sears delighted in writing his own ad copy and, typical of the time, often pushed the envelope. One offer advertised a sofa and chairs–“beautiful plush for 95 cents“. (By comparison, a John M. Smyth ad in a 1906 Tribune offered a single chair for $1.50.) Only when Sears furniture arrived did the customer discover it was for dolls. Later, Sears would tone down the ads and was said to have concluded, “Honesty is the best policy. I know because I’ve tried it both ways“.

By 1905, Sears’ sales had surged past $39 million, passing Montgomery Ward, the Chicago company that had invented the mass mail-order catalog. Sears needed more capital to grow. Julius Rosenwald, who had joined Sears as a partner, asked old banker friend Henry Goldman for a loan, according to Rosenwald’s grandson and biographer, Peter Ascoli. Goldman suggested an IPO instead, leading to Sears, Roebuck’s sale of its stock in 1906. It aimed to raise $40 million, which proved crucial for surviving the Panic of 1907. For Goldman, co-managing the Sears IPO is still touted as a landmark for his bank, Goldman Sachs.

Only the rich could afford to buy stock in 1906, but Americans’ disposable incomes was growing, and the company took full advantage. Its catalog the “consumers bible”, made available everything from sewing machines to Encyclopedia Britannica to ready-to-assemble houses. “The story is the coming of the middle class“, Schrager said, “and the desire of the middle class to have more things“.

Sears retired in 1908 with a fortune estimated at $25 million. He died in 1914 more than a decade before the company he founded opened a single store. Sears leapt into the retail store business in 1925, as rural customers moved to the cities. A December 1924 Tribune, in announcing Sears’ branching out into brick and mortar stores, made note that “several mail-order houses have considered” such a move, “but heretofore they have confined themselves to their own method of merchandising“. Sears promoted the new store at Homan Avenue and Arthington Street in the Homan Square/Lawndale area as “easy to shop for men” with a “whole square block of free parking“.

The first Sears store on State Street between Van Buren Street and Congress Parkway opened to great fanfare in March 1932. By  1950, Sears had 650 stores nationwide, including eight major department stores in Chicago and stores in Joliet, Waukegan and Gary, according to the Tribune.  By the mid-1950s, Sears would be international, with stores in Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba, Colombia, Peru and Brazil.

Sears opened mall stores after World War II as customers headed for suburbia, teaming with Marshall Field to build the Oakbrook Shopping center, which opened in 1962. “Rosenwald and others had an uncanny ability to see which way things were going to go“, said Ascoli, who lives in Hyde Park, blocks from the University of Chicago’s Rosenwald Hall. By the 1970s, Sears was still the No. 1 retailer but Wal-Mart and others were on the horizon. Today Sears Holdings is No. 10 and its CEO acknowledged recently that “you change or you die”.

Sears still will probably have fared better than a company like Amazon when all is said and done, said Schrager, who likes to ask his students why Sears built the Sears Tower, which opened in 1973. “Because they could“. he said. “They were unbelievably successful. I don’t know if Amazon is ever going to build the tallest building in the world“.

Footnote to this nostalgic article which ran in the May 11, 2012 Chicago Tribune is that when Sears decided to consolidate all their employees in one location and moved them to a Chicago suburb, the Sears Tower was renamed the Willis Tower after their largest tenant. Another interesting factoid. Sears many years ago started their own radio station which quickly became one of Chicago’s major succesful radio stations with the call letters WLS, which stood for WORLDS LARGEST STORE.

Another true story on a start up company with very little capital chose Mail-Order, as a way to build their business and whose founders became MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRES. Can it still be done today? One of the largest and most successful On-Line companies still sells only by Mail-Order. Any guesses as to their identity……AMAZON! And speaking of Amazon if you have the desire to start a business of your own, a business you can run from anywhere in the world and one that has little cash requirements, you can get started by ordering a copy of my book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE from Amazon. Cost is only $39.95 plus s&h, or as a reader of my blog, save $10  and order direct from the publisher. Send check or money order for $29.95 plus $3.50 (total $33.45) to SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1032, Chicago, Il 60601 Book is sold on a money-back guarantee of satisfaction.

Little Known IRS Office That Actually Works For the 99%

This posting is considerably longer than any other I have ever done. Take my word for it. Ignore the “TL;DR” crowd, this one you will really enjoy! It’s the inside story about a government office that actually works to save all of us from paying more taxes than we should.

DEFENDER OF LAST RESORT…Nina Olson is director of the Taxpayer Advocate Service, whose job is to oversee “advocates” in every state. These employees of the IRS who represent taxpayers in egregious disputes with the service. The advocates are grease in the gears of an agency that gets jammed all too often.

Olson wins relief for 70 percent of the 300,000 people and businesses that open a case

There has been only one national taxpayer advocate, Olson, has held the position since Congress created it a decade ago. She presides over 2,000 caseworkers and data analysts–a sliver of the IRS, which employs over 100,000 people. Individuals, corporations, small businesses, even millionaires and sovereign nations have sought the help of the  Taxpayer Advocate Service, as have accountants and trained tax preparers who find the tax code and the IRS impossible to navigate. In a typical year, Olson wins relief for 70 percent of the 300,000 people and businesses that open a case, according to her office. Many of these petitioners have usually exhausted most other opportunities for recourse and are often experiencing severe economic hardship.

Though she has characterized IRS procedures as Kafkaesque, Olson empathizes with the agency. Congress is constantly demanding that it collect more revenue, both to bridge what’s known as the tax gap–the more than $385 billion discrepancy between the revenue  the IRS actually collects and the amount the government believes it is owed each year–and to pay down the federal deficit. While Congress demands more money from the IRS, however, it has not been generous in funding the agency.

Congress is also making the tax code more complicated every day. Right now it tops out at 3.8 million words, four times as long as War and Peace. The IRS doesn’t have the manpower to manage the scads of credits and changes to the code it is required to enforce. And computer glitches are entangling more people in audits than ever before–millions in just this year.

“For the majority of taxpayers, the IRS has become faceless, nameless, with no accountability and no liability.”

Part of Olson’s job is to target the agency’s failures and shame it into fixing them. At the same time, she’s looking at taxpayers and trying to figure out why some of them don’t pay. She recently gave a speech to the Federal Bar Association’s annual lunch with the  theme: How the 99% experiences the tax system. She started with the bad news:

  • One in three won’t get their calls to the IRS answered.
  • The wait time for half of all people who have written to the IRS is more than six weeks.

When I heard that“, she exclaimed, whacking her head, “I nearly hit my head against a wall.” “For the majority of taxpayers, the IRS has become faceless, nameless, with no accountability and no liability.” One of the attorney’s in the audience said “she’s completely right”. He called his dealings with the IRS “a hall of mirrors, where there are no real people and only disembodied voices with badge numbers.” He  was recently snarled with a two-year fight to reverse a $24,000 penalty for a client, a Midwest manufacturer. He said “No business could stay in business behaving the way the IRS does toward people.” The case was resolved only after he brought it to the local affiliate of Olson’s agency.

“I saw the consequences of an irrational and overly burdensome approach to tax administeration,”

Olson, 58, is an improbable insider, an animated woman who prefers hot pink blazers and jangly earrings to power suits. She lives in a D.C. townhouse and walks two miles to work every day. When she was younger, she wanted to be a painter. She studied fine arts at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and moved to Chapel Hill, N.C., after graduation to start her painting career. She took a part-time job working for a lawyer, whose clients were local wineries, coffee shops, and artists. Olson had a knack for numbers and organizaton, so friends and local businesspeople started asking her to prepare their tax returns. To her surprise, she was good at it. She bought a copy of the tax code and taught herself its ins and outs. In 1987 she enrolled in North Carolina Central University School of Law, taking night classes while working for the lawyer and raising her son by herself. Four years later she became a tax attorney. In 1991 the local bar association asked if she’d be willing to take on some pro bono work. Olson wanted to use her tax expertise to help those who were unable to buy groceries or pay rent because the IRS was levying their paychecks. The following year she started an independent low-income tax clinic, the first of its kind in the country. Soon  the clinic was serving about a thousand taxpayers. One woman was an immigrant from Egypt, who earned $10,000 a year as a hairdresser and was being charged about $35,000 by the IRS. The woman’s husband, who beat her, had defrauded the IRS without her knowledge. When the agency uncovered the scheme, he fled  the country. The woman could barely read English and had never filed a tax return, but the IRS viewed her as uncooperative. It took Olson four years to free the woman of her obligations. “I saw the consequences of an irrational and overly burdensome approach to tax administeration,” she says.

In the 1990’s the Senate held scathing hearings lambasting the agency for abusing taxpayers, which eventually led to the passage of the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act in 1998. The new law increased oversight of the IRS and included federal funding to expand low-income tax clinics. It also created the naional taxpayer advocate, a position that reported to then Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, not the IRS commissioner. Two years later she was appointed to become the first, and to date, the only director of The Taxpayer Advocate Service, whose position has no term limits. She told herself that she would stay until she got bored or until frustration with the IRS drove her to quit. “I’m not bored yet”, she says. “And I still have a bit more work to do”.

Olson’s story ran in the April 9–April 15 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek and this posting is an except from it.  As citizens of the United States we are all entitled to make use of this little known service that has resolved many tax problems of the 99%…and we are grateful for such an exemplary government employee as Nina Olson.

If you’ve taken the time to read through this posting and learned something you didn’t know before, as I did, I thank you very much and I would appreciate hearing from any new readers as well as regular followers.

The Greatest Entrepreneurs of Our Times!

Who Would be on your list?   This list compiled by the editors of FORTUNE MAGAZINE and published in their April 9, 2012 issue lists  their choice of  The Greatest. See if you agree. All information is based on calendar year, 2011.

  1. Steve Jobs/Apple…Sales 108.2 billion…Market Value $546 billion… Employees 63,300
  2. Bill Gates/Microsoft…Sales $69.9 billion…Market Value $30 billion…Employees 255,593
  3. Fred Smith/FedEx…Sales $39.3 billion…Market Value $30 billion…Employees 255,573
  4. Jeff Bezos/Amazon…Sales $8.1 billion…Market Value $84.6 billion…Employees 56,200
  5. Larry Page & Sergey Brin/Google…Sales $37.9 billion…Market Value $203.2 billion…Employees  32,500
  6. Howard Schultz/Starbucks…Sales $11.7 billion…Market Value $40 billion…Employees 149,000
  7. Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook…Sales $3.1 billion…Market Value $75-100 billion (est.)…Employees 3,200
  8. John Mackey/Whole Foods…Sales $10.1 billion…Market Value $15.5 billion…Employees 56,200
  9. Herb Kelleher/S.W. Airlines…Sales $15.5 billion…Market Value $64 billion…Employees 45,392
  10. Noira Yang Murthy/Infosys…Sales $6.0 billion…Market Value $32 billion…Employees 145,059
  11. Sam Walton/Wal-Mart…Sales $446.9 billion…Market Value $316.5 billion…Employees 2.0 million

Total Sales… $796.7 billion

Total Market Value… $1.4 Trillion

Total Employees… 3,063,000

Becoming  an entrepreneur is certainly a worthwhile goal if making a lot of money is what motivates you but there’s no guarantee of wealth and the majority of people who decide to start their own business, frankly do not succeed. It  takes dedication, long hours and a good idea. There are many bumps along the road to entrepreneurial success so be sure to look for advice and help from those who have been successful before. One guide I would highly recommend to  those who would like to own a  business of their own, one  that can be started part-time and is perfect for  those who would like to run it from their home is MAIL ORDER, also known as Direct Response. The internet has been an eye-opener and a game changer for mail order businesses and has helped create MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRES almost overnight. Just about every successful business you see online is a mail order business. Direct Response means  that products or services are sold direct to the public not  through brick and mortar retailers. Companies like AMAZONZAPPOS, FIRST STREET, STAUER, BRADFORD EXCHANGE, HEARING HELP EXPRESS, GRAVITY DEFYER, HABAND…just to name a few of the very successful mail order companies you see advertise regularly in magazines sell their products direct to the public.

As a reader of my blog I  would like to help you get started in this wonderful business  that changed my life and can change yours, too.

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is available online from AMAZON at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h…..or you can save $10 and order it direct from the publisher for $29.95 plus $3.50 s&h (total $33.45). Send check or money order along with your name and address to: SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1032, Chicago, IL 60601. Sold on a 100% guarantee of satisfaction or your money back.

Worthwhile Books