Tenacious Me

tenacious
Someone described me last week as tenacious. She didn’t mean it in a bad way and was referring to my undying efforts and the extremes I was willing to go to for my book. We were at the time discussing my offer of 50,000 complimentary books to the organisers of the New York Marathon.

I do what I do because the alternative isn’t one that even deserves consideration. Yes, the mountain I’ve chosen to scale seems an impossible one, but the thing that keeps me going is the thought that I’m only one reader away from making this dream a reality. Here’s looking at you Oprah.  :)

“Commitment is when you plant your seeds and your feet on the same patch,” I used to say. And the day I give up chasing this dream will be the day that I fulfil it.

Tenacious. This here describes not a raging fire.  Just one that refuses to die.

Kony. True or false?

I was completely blown away by the Kony video when I first watched it, which was at the time somewhere around the 8 million mark. Because of its amazing production quality, the first question that came to mind was if it was a viral stunt. Myself having planned out many viral campaigns in the past, I know how believable these things can get, and I really didn’t want to be taken along for a ride. So like many others have done, I started digging. Past a certain point, I stopped, and questioned the point of even conducting such an investigation. And I decided I would record this video.

Google is my homepage

I’m often asked by people to help them with web strategies for their business, and the most common question I get is “How do I make it go viral?”

“10 percent science and 90 percent art,” I always say to them. And many are displeased when I break it to them that I can help them with the 10 percent bit.

My marketing plan for Fuel is over a hundred pages long, a conservative estimate actually. To date I’ve put into action 99 percent of what is on there, and I don’t think I’ll ever get to a hundred percent. You see, this marketing plan is a living, breathing and growing organism whose death can only be brought about by my own.  And that is how it needs to be.

Public tastes and habits are in a constant shift, and you’ve got to follow the herd wherever it goes, at least until you become good enough to predict their migratory path and arrive there before they do.

1-year plans do not work where online strategies are concerned. In today’s world, marketing plans that are not amorphous find their way into Darwinian doctrine, a “for e.g” designation ahead of its name.

Many have asked that I share my strategies with them. In fact I was approached by someone two weeks back to start a tech blog, something that I flat out turned down.

“Who’s got that time for that shit?” was the first thought to enter my mind.  And my second thought was… hmmmmm, actually, I had no second thoughts about it. Not until now. I was on Word Press doing some minor edits on stuff, and the text box looked rather inviting.

A video of their very talented dog. A shampoo. A singing video that will be their instant shot to fame. The spread is mind blowing. Everyone has their own lottery ticket, and to find success, each has to be approached differently. The topic of digital marketing is discouragingly broad and deep.  What I’d like to share with you is merely one concept that I employ for myself and for Fuel.

In London, I had the good fortune of learning under one of the best SEO specialists in Europe, and I picked up a lot from him. Google has since changed their algorithm for search many times, and I’ve done my best to keep in step.  The power to influence and dominate search has for a long time been of core importance to businesses worldwide. Yes, its influence has waned with the arrival of social networks, but still, it should not be disregarded.

“Google is my homepage.” I set this as one of the tenets of my marketing strategy about a year and a half back. The goal was to own a fair amount of real estate on Google, especially in areas related to Fuel.

An author is as much a part of his work, as his work is a part of him. Where in the past a book could stand on its own merit, that no longer is the case. We now live in a world where the behind the scenes footage has taken center stage. The public demands it. So despite being a person who’s always been uncomfortable in the limelight, I now found I had no choice but to cast it on myself.

The first thing I secured on Google was my name, Jeremy Chin. This was done by establishing a strong presence online. “Strong presence” can be defined many ways, but only achieved in one; by being relevant.  There are many ways you can cheat Google into thinking you are relevant, but never for long. And once discovered, they will not hesitate to blacklist your ass.

There was a time when you could Google my name and 9 of the top 10 results were related to me. And each time someone stepped into my territory, say through a platform like Vimeo, I would dive in there to dethrone them. Haha, the competitive side of me is revealed. I’ve not, however, kept my tenacity up in this area.

I always knew that me owning my name on Google would not be my shot to fame, but this was important groundwork that had to be laid. In the off chance that someone did want to find me, I wanted to make darn sure that they would.

Today, 90 of the top 100 searches for “Fuel” combined with “Jeremy Chin” yields pages linked to the book. Not to blow my own trumpet, but that is fucking insane, and the only way to achieve stats like these is to first have at least 90 pages out there on Fuel. No easy task I tell ya.

Each day, I have more material that flows from my computer than most multinational corporations. This stream of content make their way onto a whole range of platforms; mainstream ones like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, Soundcloud, Vimeo, Zazzle.

On Facebook I have 5 fan pages, each championing different things, but all very relevant to the book. Each is updated daily.

Where websites are concerned, I have a number that are active.

There is jeremychin.com. I’ve not had time to do much with this as far as the book is concerned but I keep this around because I’ve had it for over a decade now, and it is fully indexed by Google. I’ve also got  Fuel’s official website, fueldabook.com

And then there is justjezza.com, my blog site that gives a more intimate look into my head, and possibly the most human of my sites.

Fuelrunning.com is my line of Fuel-branded running merchandise. Thousands of items are available for purchase, each with Fuel branding on it.

The book’s CSR program is represented through ctrlztoday.com, an initiative I kicked into gear not merely to give back, but as a reminder of why I must keep fighting the fight

I chose to offset the disturbing eye-opening images found in Ctrl-Z with something more uplifting, so I created yichalal.info. Yichalal is a word that I used in Fuel. In Amharic, it means “anything is possible”. Fuel in essence is about the power of the human spirit to overcome all obstacles, and the word Yichalal captured that perfectly.

yichalalstrip

Each day, an image like the ones you see above, finds its way onto the website, each accompanied with text that complement the image. My goal with this project was to own the word ‘yichalal’. It took me 2 weeks to break into the top 20, another month to break into the top 10, and two months to wrestle the top spot from websites that have owned the word for years. There is still some jostling for the top spot, but once I have it securely in my grasp, I intend to flood cyberspace with thousands of these images, and anyone curious to Google the word will find themselves on my site, which also features the book.

All tiny victories in the overall war effort. But I’m on the march. The term ‘Fuel’ + ‘Book’ has also fallen into my hands. I have set my sights on ‘Running’ + ‘Book’.  And one day, I may just be brave enough to take on Amazon and go after ‘Book’. I’m still trying to ascertain if this is ‘crazy’, or if it is ‘some crazy shit’. For now, I say, “Go ahead, bring it”. Yichalal!!!!!

“I am building a fire, and every day I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.” – Mia Hamm

Stranger visits

She was wide-eyed in terror and uttered in Tamil that she was scared. The stare she planted on me will be one that will stay with me for a long time. The old lady had not slept in days, I think fearing that if she did, she would not wake. Tubes and wires flowed in and out of her body.

I asked if she would let me pray for her. She nodded. These days I pray from the heart, with words that are not my own. As I progressed deeper into prayer, the old lady got restless, and her groans got louder, frightful almost. Disturbed by it I stopped. I reached for her hand and she took it. She spoke not a word of English, so I had to talk to her with my eyes. With full conviction I conveyed to her that it was going to be ok, as if I knew something that she didn’t. I reassured her over, and over, and over again, until she believed me, and drifted off to sleep.

Only f64. No shallow pictures please.

If you know deep inside that you’re pretty, stop flashing your pictures across Facebook with your cool and pretty friends because it only shows how insecure, narcissistic and over conscious you are of your supposed beauty. The lives of many women are already privately tormented by the in-your-face media reminding them of what they DON’T have and you’re not helping with your glamour pics. Don’t
let the positive comments on the pics fool you. They do good only for you at the expense of other fellow women. Use your beauty for good use instead. Bring joy and care to the orphaned, the poor and the elderly by sharing your inner beauty. Women with real beauty don’t flaunt it.
REPOST this if you support the fact that all women are beautiful in their own way and deserved to be acknowledged for this.

glamour

A buddy of mine posted this on Facebook the other day.

If you know deep inside that you’re pretty, stop flashing your pictures across Facebook with your cool and pretty friends because it only shows how insecure, narcissistic and over conscious you are of your supposed beauty. The lives of many women are already privately tormented by the in-your-face media reminding them of what they DON’T have and you’re not helping with your glamour pics. Don’t let the positive comments on the pics fool you. They do good only for you at the expense of other fellow women. Use your beauty for good use instead. Bring joy and care to the orphaned, the poor and the elderly by sharing your inner beauty. Women with real beauty don’t flaunt it.

REPOST this if you support the fact that all women are beautiful in their own way and deserved to be acknowledged for this.

What disgusted me the most about this post was that there were people who commented who were defending this act, on the grounds that those who unashamedly splash us with their lavish lifestyle camwhoring would in fact inspire the rest of us to be like them. Wrong aspirations if you ask me.

On most matters I always feel there are two sides to a coin, but not on this one.

Some may say that it is good that these people publish photos of their wealth and success, so that others may aspire to be like them. But herein lies the problem with that. They are causing others to chase after the wrong things in life, the wrong brand of happiness. It is the gliterrati and fashionistas of the world that make ordinary people feel inadequate, to the point that they too go after material things. The world is in its state of complete shit because it is this one percent who are using up the resources of the 99 percent.

At the end of the day, many of these people are nothing without their bank accounts. And yes, I don’t doubt that they are valuable. But that shouldn’t be one’s goal in life. The goal should be to become invaluable.

Every once in a while, it is ok to not be ok. Right?

sandstorm

A crippling helplessness has locked up my body. I feel like I’ve gotten somewhere, but am nowhere. Where once I had the will but not the way, I now have neither.

My mind has just fallen 6 years into the past. It is January of 2006. Into the Jeep we ran and hid, the desert sands engulfing everything in view. Our vehicle shook from the force of the wind.

At this present moment I feel like I’m trapped in that sand storm from before, minus the Jeep. I am walking. Blindly. The sand is flowing like a river under my feet, not with me, but away from me. The Earth has turned into a treadmill.

I go now to sleep, full of hope, that this me will not be there when I wake.

A lil something to think about…

I seem to always be running out of space on my computer. The chore of backing up and deleting files on this laptop of mine turned from an annual affair to monthly, and these days to a bi-weekly one. I’m in a boat, and my boat has a hole in it, and the hole  gets bigger each day. Each day, I do my best to scoop water out of it. But now it appears that the hole has outgrown the boat.

I was clearing out some files a little earlier when I ran into this video I had put together for the StART Society Benefit Concert. So I decided to upload it to YouTube for archival purposes. For anyone unfamiliar with what we do there, StART is an academy that uses the arts and performing arts to bring healing to underprivileged children. This video was played through the overhead projector at the beginning of the concert.

I had never before used video editing software and this was my first attempt. I found it unusually odd actually, that despite all my hands-on-ness in the online field, that I’d only directed, but not dabbled.

Highlight Reel

Taunja, a friend of mine on Facebook, posted this really great quote on her wall today.

highlightreel

This is a great, great quote. But you know what I realised? If you’ve found your life’s real passion and engage in it everyday, your behind-the-scenes will totally kick the ass of everyone else’s highlight reel. Here, I’ll give you an example (I don’t currently live this life, but am working up to it).

“I spent the first half of my day writing at a quaint neighborhood cafe in the the suburbs. Every so often, I peered up to watch the world go by. In the early afternoon, I picked my son up from school and we talked a bit about how his day went. He told me about this new kid at school who dressed funny, and how he went up to talk to him because no one else would. After Oliver completed his homework, we decided we would make pizza and we got into a food fight. It took over an hour for us to clean up the mess, but it was well worth the 5 minutes of laughter.”

Others may tell me tales of their visits to castles in the sky, but it wouldn’t come close to my experience of heaven on earth.

Chinese Zodiac Reading For Those Born In The Year Of The Rabbit (1975)

According to the Chinese Zodiac for the coming year, I’m pretty much f***ed. Wealth will go down, relationship with loved ones will be weakened, career wise someone is out to destroy me, and they advised me to not provoke the Gods because disaster lurks.

Zodiac readings often end up being spot on because people become what they believe they will become. People with good readings get energized and go after their dreams full of confidence, and people with bad readings give up at the first hurdle, negative thoughts clouding their head, “It is as predicted…  it really is playing out. Why bother? I’m going to fail anyway. I’ll try again next year.”

The potency of a negative thought feeds off the strength your mind assigns to it. Don’t let a bunch of stars millions of light years away captain your life. If the scales are tipped against your favour, just scale harder. Make your future. And lets show 2012 what 1975 can do. Yichalal!

There’s no dream too big and no dreamer too small

ant

What is sad about this picture is that if you look at the reflection in the droplet, the world is upside down, and it looks as if the ant is trying, with its own might, to set it the right side up. No matter how hard it tries, it will never succeed. And no matter how monumental a task, no matter how futile it may seem, it will not stop trying. And neither should we.

The solution here, if we wanted to help this ant out, is not for us to help it roll the droplet, but for us to flip our world around.

* Image shared by Sherry Boyd through We Are Here To Inspire

2012 New Year Resolutions

traffic_lights_mist

I’m so battle-worn from 2011, I haven’t the energy to contemplate 2012.

In the past, I used to think up resolutions a couple weeks before the New Year arrived. I’ll say to myself:
New year.
New beginning.
New opportunity to make things happen.
Let’s start it off with a bang and let the momentum carry me through.

And the minute I locked down what my resolutions were going to be, I’d just run out the clock, and start afresh the following year.

This year, I’m not going to do that.  I’m not going to write off 2011 while it’s 2011. And if there’s something I’d like to do in 2012, I’ll start doing it now (unless of course it is the London Olympics that I’m taking part in).

I don’t need a sky full of fireworks to be my green light. I am my own green light.

I’m going into the future. You coming?

The smallest big hero

TERRORIST ATTACKS
I’d now like to talk about real world heroes, yes, real world heroes, not the ones that live in comic books.

Real world heroes vs comic book heroes… yes, there are similarities between them, but the main difference is this. With comic book heroes, more prominence is given to their abilities, whereas with real life heroes, it is about the qualities they possess.

Heroes inspire you to be better than who you are, and every now and then, when you need them the most, they swoop in and rescue you. Heroes earn their badges doing different things. And because we are all different, one person’s hero may not be another’s. To some, the Dalai Lama is a hero. To others it may be Steve Jobs, New York Firemen, or Mother Theresa.

For me, my hero is my son, Oliver. I tell ya, his laughter can power a thousand light bulbs, and he is my fuel. There are things in our world that I fight very hard for, good things. And I do it because of him. He is a huge influence on my life, as all heroes are, and I owe him for who I am today.

Children make parents out of normal people, and their dependence on you forces you to be less self-destructive, because you know you have to be there for them. Comic book heroes may be able to save me from goblins and robots and giant land octopuses, but they can’t protect me from that most destructive villain of all – MYSELF.

My Oliver can.