Mon, 23 November 2015
How to Become a Writer for A Major Publications Like Magazines or Famous Blogs and Get Paid for It? – Interview with Thai Nguyen
Be Efficient Tv offers tips and tricks from leading experts to help you make your life and business more efficient through an in depth interviews with different thoughtful leaders, business experts, authors, founders and millionaires. You will discover strategies that you can implement easily into your everyday life to help you save time and make the most of the time that you have. Experts from a variety of backgrounds and industries are interviewed regularly to reveal their personal secrets for being more productive. Whether you are interested in learning more about what it takes to start your own business or you simply want to be more productive in your daily affairs, the experts interviewed on Be Efficient Tv can help you to be more effective, well-organized, and efficient to boost your daily life and business experience and achieve bigger outcome and results with less time, effort, and cost. Be Efficient Tv is a perfect fit for Entrepreneurs and Wantrepreneurs Be Efficient Tv is hosted by Ahmed Al Kiremli a Serial Entrepreneur, Business Advisor, Learning Junky and Efficiency Expert. He has founded many different Offline & Online Businesses, such as (IRAQI TOUCH) the first Iraqi food franchise in the world, (GAMES CORNER) an inventive gaming brand leveraging “dead space” within malls and subsequently franchised the concept, (CLIMB AND SLIDE) a kids playground franchise concept, (BEST MOVIE RATINGS) the world’s best movie ratings app, (AhmedAlKiremli.com) a consultancy business & blog, and (BeEfficient.Tv) What Are the Types and Level of Experts on Be Efficient Tv? • The world’s top visionaries, thoughtful leaders, mentors, thinkers, business experts, advisors, and consultants. • Billionaires and millionaires. • Founders and CEOs for different companies and startups. • Authors/book editors/agents / publishers. • Investors, angel investors, VCs, and private equity experts. • Marketing strategists, technology evangelists, bloggers, developers, and Internet marketing experts. • Efficiency and productivity experts. • Successful entrepreneurs, so we can learn from their success stories and failures. • High-level executives in big companies, so we can learn from their career paths and experiences in their sectors or departments. • Top athletes, Olympians, and Paralympians. • Health and fitness experts. • Mindset and wellbeing experts. For Whom Is Be Efficient Tv? Entrepreneurs and Wantrepreneurs • People who want to improve their life and business and make them more efficient through learning. • Entrepreneurs who want to be more efficient and excel in their journey. • People who want to be happy and fulfilled by finding their real purpose and acting on it to achieve their vision and add value to the world. • Entrepreneurs who want to automate their business. • People who want to use innovative hacks to automate their life and business and make them more efficient. • Different types of businesses and startups. • Employees who want to transition from the employment life to the entrepreneurial life. • Employees who want to be entrepreneurs without creating a job with a larger time commitment. • Employees who want to have a more efficient career path. • People who want to add value to the world and leave this world with a great legacy. Ahmed Al Kiremli: Hi everyone this is Ahmed Al Kiremli and welcome to Be Efficient Tv. The mission of this web TV show is to boost the efficiency of your business and life through tips and tricks from leading experts. Today I have with me Thai Nguyen, he is the founder of utopian life, he is a writer, traveler, international chef and athlete, welcome to the show Thai.
Thai Nguyen: Thank you so much for having me Ahmed, I really enjoy your show and I appreciate being on.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: It’s a pleasure to have you, so tell me about the adventure from chef to sports to writing to living the utopian life, why, what and how did you do that?
Thai Nguyen: I think part of it has been my personality I’ve always had a very curious tendency and I just wanted to explore life and live to my fullest potential and part of that has been to step outside of my comfort zone and explore very different areas, a creative side in food and cooking and being a chef and then also wanting to push my physical self and pursue professional fighting and then with writing, pursuing my intellectual self, the part of it was just a journey of self-discovery and trying to find out more about myself what makes me tick and how do I leverage those aspects to create a lifestyle that I find not only meaningful that allows me to live my passions also.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Are all of them like writing and cooking and sports still going on or when they a certain period of your life and then you moved on to the next thing? Can you just tell me the history, your background how did you start in each one of these areas?
Thai Nguyen: Well I was born in Vietnam and as a six-month-old baby my parents fled the country after the war so we were both people, refugees, they made it over to Indonesia to a refugee camp there and then we got accepted into Australia where I grew up and it really went through a lot of identity issues, I’m an Asian man, an Asian child growing up in a very Caucasian Western world so there was a lot of conflict between who am I, and trying to discover that experiencing a little bit of racism a little bit of conflicts and really struggling to figure out life which I think is a journey that a lot of us go through finding out who we are and how do we fit into this world and society. As I asked those questions I explored the answers through finding different careers and so initially I moved over to Canada after I finished high school and I played rugby over there, I wanted to be a professional rugby player but then from there I transitioned into cooking, basically I wasn’t good enough to be a professional rugby player back in Australia so I focused on a career and cooking and I achieved a relative amount of success there and then from that I moved into the kickboxing the professional fighting and again I did enjoy the cooking but it didn’t ignite that passion within me and that’s when I ventured into kickboxing. Then I moved to Thailand.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you worked as a chef in some hotels and restaurants and then you quit the job, how are you living in that period of time?
Thai Nguyen: I worked for the Hilton hotel in Brisbane and other locations internationally and while I was doing that I thought they would just be something I would be very passionate about and initially I was I really enjoyed food I enjoyed being creative but after that it just came to a point where I just couldn’t see myself doing it for the rest of my life and I didn’t want to continue to invest in something that I wasn’t on fire about and during that time I had some friends start kickboxing and they invited me to come to the gym and training there and I did that and I had a couple of amateur fights and achieved some success and then I got invited to move to Thailand and again part of my explored of personality I jumped at this opportunity to move to a different country to live in Thailand to pursue the sport full-time so I moved to Thailand, but there for close to two years and while I was there I met some professors from school in Texas and build a relationship with one of the professors and he offered me a scholarship to move over to Texas and do my bachelors degree over there so after living in Thailand I ended up moving over to Texas, spending four years during my bachelors degree there.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: In what?
Thai Nguyen: In the humanities but it was very heavily focused on philosophy and theology so really beginning to immerse myself in that intellectual aspect and studying history, studying writing and I eventually finished that and just realized that I had a great passion for writing and that’s when I step down and began to build this brand of the utopian life.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Will you quit writing soon or will you continue to strive because is it like quitting and changing to different things as part of the discovery or are you a moody person and you like to change all the time?
Thai Nguyen: I think it’s a little bit of both, initially I didn’t have a lot of kind of ADD tendencies rather do something for a little bit but here’s the thing Ahmed I think I’ve come to a point in my life now where I’m about to turn thirty-one and I’ve done a lot of things a lot of self-discovery activities that come to a point where I’ve realized that a lot of success comes with consistency and investment into something and while it’s been fun reinvesting myself in different ways I think I’ve come to a point where this is something that’s going to be a lifelong investment for hopefully the rest of my life, I realized that writing is something I’m very passionate about, encouraging people to step out and with their dreams is something I’m very passionate about so I would like to say that this is going to be a venture that I invest a lot of time in.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What’s the meaning of the utopian life?
Thai Nguyen: Utopia is an idealistic place so we all have perceptions of what is ideal or what is, what does perfection look like and after times we’re told that this is unrealistic but I think the pursuit of the unrealistic ideals has some great value in it because even though we may not achieve that, getting close to that is a great goal and a worthy goal to pursue and that’s what the utopian life is about to think of what is your perfect day what is your perfect week what is your perfect lifestyle look like and to work towards that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And now your lifestyle for you is writing and traveling a mixture between these two areas?
Thai Nguyen: Absolutely, writing traveling and I’d love for this to turn into some full-time speaking at different events just stepping out of your comfort zone and breaking through some of those barriers that hold us back and creating the habits and the systems that will enable a person to productively move forward towards their dreams.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the main highlights of your manifesto?
Thai Nguyen: One of the major highlights I’d have to say is the idea that the question is the answer and the journey is the destination so often we make very clear distinctions between either or, I have to choose between the journey and the destination and often times we focus very much on reaching a certain goal if only I get to here then I will be happy, but what I’m trying to do is close the gap between these distinctions that we make that it’s not either this or that, it’s not either I do this or I do that but it’s a balance of both so it’s embracing the journey of life and also the destinations that we go for so it’s setting goals and it’s pursuing success but how do we do that, we realize that there are many things that we are already successful in and that we can celebrate but also use that to fuel us and push us forward toward that goal so just creating a more psychologically holistic and balanced approach to how we view our lives and to keep momentum constantly going and basically realizing that a lot of what we do and a lot of value is found in the journey and not only in the destination.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But don’t you think that sometimes the journey is painful not necessarily fun especially with the idea utopian life like let’s say your journey to writing, writing is tough sometimes don’t you think of quitting, that you think there is a conflict there somehow between the ideal life which is fun and the pain through the process of consistency? Yeah absolutely that actually reminds me of a Zen proverb that says before enlightenment chop wood carry water. After enlightenment chop wood, carry water. So it’s the idea that there are struggles in the journey there are trials and yes there is a clear distinction but at the same time there is a foundation that underlines the road through both of them that if we focus also on building a foundation that can carry both areas what we struggle through in the journey and what we celebrate in the success can still be carried in both hands and not to put so much weight on one or the other and that’s a struggle that I really went through when I was a shaft it was all about I need to become this five-star chef and achieve the top and my field so I ended up working like 12 to 14 hours a day because I wanted to pursue this level of excellence at the same time I forgot about just enjoying the journey of everything that I was learning same as professional fighting I wanted to be the champion and I trained my butt off, I got to fight in Singapore, Fiji, in Canada and fight in these great places but I didn’t get to enjoy being in the second place is because I was so focused on I need to win a championship and so it’s a… Making the distinction between the journey and the destination but at the same time having a foundation that carries both of them.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You started a site called wantrepreneur journey and like now you stop that you focus on the utopian life why, you want to pursue writing into entrepreneurship or you quit entrepreneurship or what happened?
Thai Nguyen: That’s a good observation, I tell a lot of people now there are different approaches that people give to starting of the business, some say you need to be crystal-clear with your blueprint and your approach, what do you want, what’s your niche, who’s your audience is your demographic, be 100% clear on that and follow that and initially that’s what I did, I took that advice and I wrote down specifically whatever you want and I think that’s great advice but I think at the same time it’s not the only effective advice that’s out there and realizing for me that things can change and you can be flexible with the rules that you put in place originally the entrepreneur journey was a very entrepreneurial and business focused so all the articles, all my interviews that I was doing was very entrepreneurial focused that I realized there was a part of me that wanted to touch on other topics as well, wanted to touch on lifestyle articles on more psychological articles on more philosophical articles so I did come to this crossroad and what I wanted to rebrand to become a little broader and I’ve learned a lot from that, originally I was very clear-cut, very straight and narrow this is the path but now I’ve realized your goals can change, your goals can shift and evolve as you learn more and that’s okay, there are some people that work very well when they have a clear path to go towards but there are other people that want to be very flexible and a week by week and see were the journey takes them so I definitely see two approaches now and then leaning towards this flexible approach where I have my ideas of where I want to be but at the same time and very okay with completely changing directions but with that said I’m very happy that I’ve discovered this utopian life branding.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And in the Internet world when you gave up the entrepreneurial niche, don’t you struggle with the general utopian life right now the utopian life you can talk about business different stuff, life but in the Internet world especially you hang out a lot with Internet experts don’t they advise you to stick with this niche that you can be famous or like be out there faster than a general term?
Thai Nguyen: That was some advice that I came to and it’s true, if you continue to hammer on the niche you are going to make progress, I think the determining factor for me was that it was still early on in the game for me I would hand out brands for maybe about five months before I made the shift and it was still early enough where my audience wasn’t going to be affected by the branding change so timing was a big part of it if I had been two years down the path with the entrepreneur journey I don’t think I would’ve changed it because I would’ve laid a much more solid foundation. So that was definitely a key factors that it was early enough in the game to be able to shift and I think in this formative years of whatever you’re doing it’s a buffer zone is a safe zone for you to explore and truly find your voice but definitely as the roots get deeper and deeper that’s when it’s more difficult to pivot and to change directions.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How did you discover the writing path?
Thai Nguyen: Through a few other people that were doing and I connected with one gentleman named Constable is a writer but he changed directions in his life are being working in bread delivery to starting a blog and becoming a successful author and then I was listening to a few other podcasts, John Lee Dumas who interviewed in person he is an entrepreneur on fire and Lewis house has the school of greatness so they were really making it more well-known making a popular sharing their stories and other people stories of being able to create business and lifestyle online that was location independent so that’s how I came across the idea and again I was trying to figure out what can I do with my lifelong turn that can enable me to live out what I’m passionate about.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is the difference between writer and author?
Thai Nguyen: An author is usually tied in with a book published so a writer is more tied in with journalistic articles or pieces and an author has a published book usually.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Are you working on a book and if you finish your book will you change your title into author? Do you think is more fancy?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: I think it’s different, I’m sure there’s a debate between whether it’s fancier not that I have been in contact with a few different literary agents and publishing houses so I’m about to submit my book proposal pretty soon I’m excited about that and definitely look forward to being able to refer to myself as an author.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are some of the famous publications that you wrote for can you just mentioned some examples for the audience to know?
Thai Nguyen: Sure Huffington Post would definitely be up there is quite a well-known publication that I’ve been writing for, entrepreneur.com I’ve got a large following there, a lead daily is a publication for generation Y, mind-body grin is another large one, so those are the major ones I’m actually interacting with an editor from the Atlantic so hopefully I can have some work featured on there but those are some of the major ones.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How does it work the process to be an author like a paid author for this publications for someone who wants to become a writer for this famous publications like yourself what should he do or she do?
Thai Nguyen: That’s something I get asked a lot some people will say did you get some special access to these things but no honestly there’s a submission process on these sites I just look at their contact information for the sites, some of them will have a submission page or an email but you can directly to submit to sell Huffington Post has a link have an email where you can submit an article to and basically that’s what I did I studied what some of these sites were publishing what kind of articles the type of voice and you’ll notice with a lot of these large publications they have a certain style so if you can figure out what their style is and create an article that fits in with that voice of the site then I wrote an article that I thought would fit in well submitted it to an editor and then I just got confirmation and a response from them.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So how does it work like they confirm and then they will set a price for it or they have fixed price what is the market price how does it work?
Thai Nguyen: It depends on the publication usually they have contributors which quote unquote they pay you exposure so for Huffington Post you only get paid if you’re a staff writer but usually there are causes and specific points with being a staff writer so sometimes you have to sign a noncompete disclosure so if I was to get paid by the Huffington Post that would limit but I’m able to write for other sites so I would have to sign and say I’m not going to publish my articles on a competing site if you’re a staff writer if your contributor then you don’t get paid but you get exposure and credibility but it doesn’t limit where you can write so that’s what you’ve got away up if you get on these sites usually if you have success as a contributor than they invite you to come on as a staff writer but depending on the publication some of them will limit where you can write so you got to think, what’s your approach, are you eventually going to want to monetize yourself through your brand alone or are you going to try to monetize through getting paid your other sites so that’s a personal decision that you have to come to.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And if you decide to write just for them for the entrepreneur magazine or for the other famous ones what is the market like how do they pay, per word or proposed?
Thai Nguyen: I think with the staff positions the few other publications that I get paid for I get paid per article and some of them base that on per word and some of that is based on say a minimum, one that I write for is a minimum of 600 words, a travel site that I write for his twenty-five cents per word so for 800 words that works out to be $200 an article so it really varies, you can set your price as a freelance workers you can set it usually as a writer it’s per word and…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: In general for 600 to 1000 words like how much those famous publications pay?
Thai Nguyen: With Huffington Post and entrepreneur honestly I don’t know I’m a contributor for them, for the travel site I think the 200 for 800 words is mid- to high-level so I would estimate that’s some of these other sites would pay around that range probably 2 to 404 6 to 1000 word article.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: As a contributor do you make your profile on those magazines but do they make it for you.
Thai Nguyen: Typically they allow you about three link backs to any products or site that you have and you are free to write your author bio so typically that’s in most of my communications with the sites they say include three links to whatever products you want to say after the coaching program say I’ve got my book is finished I use a link to Amazon for them to purchase that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How did that help you with exposure and also I see sometimes you post the same articles on your site or your blog after posting them on this publications don’t you face issues with Google in that regards or is it okay?
Thai Nguyen: There has been a lot of debate about that I think a few years ago you were penalized for having repeat content on the Internet but I think those rules have been relaxed and I was actually having a conversation with someone recently is still unsure about that so we’re kind of in this experimental stage where I’m actually seeing is there is going to be any sort of penalty for doing that but honestly I haven’t, there are some sites that say specifically, we don’t want this article published anywhere, so a site like mind-body grin will say you cant publish this anywhere not even on your own blog, other sites are more flexible and say you can publish it anywhere that in terms of traffic I haven’t seen any real dilution of traffic I still see a lot of exposure on Huffington Post and it’s a different audience and I still see exposure on my own site.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How do you see the exposure like if you were just right for your blog without guest blogging for those publications, how did that impact your brand?
Thai Nguyen: Sure, there’s one thing that comes with guest blogging and its trust, when people continue to visit a site there is an inherent level of trust that comes with it so when I first stepped out because my brand is unfamiliar people are hesitant to visit because it’s not that feeling of familiarity and trust so with these larger sites that I guest post for, people continue to go back and visit because I built this relationship and that’s key as well this whole idea of relationship building, the more people visit my site the more they feel they have a relationship with me as the writer but when I was starting off that something that so difficult to do, it’s like going back to your favorite restaurant versus going to a restaurant that just opened down the street, you aren’t sure if the food is going to be great or if the service is going to be great but to your favorite restaurant you’ve got no problems going back to that so these larger sites that have these larger platforms and larger audiences it’s been crucial for me in terms of getting extra exposure and again just building that level of trust and familiarity.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: At this current point of your life are you making more money from guest blogging or writing for these publications or from your own products?
Thai Nguyen: It’s been a balance and it’s been tricky in terms of again figuring out what is really going to benefit me in the long term and what is really going to align with what I’m passionate about so originally I was bringing in income through personal coaching and to be honest it didn’t turn out to be something I was passionate about, I was bringing in good money and that launched a writing Boot Camp a little while ago but I’ve come to realize it’s not something that sets that fire life in me and also even writing for other publications and getting paid for them, yeah it was bringing in money but again the money is meaningless if it doesn’t come with the sense of passion as well so I’ve drawn back and put all my energy into building my side my audience, and hopefully getting this book out and then getting the audience to sell it to and that’s one of the key parts in this book proposal, with the book proposal after the show I’ve got to keep track of all my articles that have been shared virally, I approve to them that I have an audience to sell this book too so I’m working on building my Facebook group, building my Twitter following, building my monthly unique views and all of that while it doesn’t bring in immediate income because a lot of it is working…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: It’s a long-term process yes.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So do you enjoy writing more than coaching, I mean in terms of coaching to you focus on coaching people to have the utopian life for coaching people to be good writers?
Thai Nguyen: Both I’ve done both originally some of it was just about clarifying their passions and then giving them mindset strategy mindset tool psychological strategies to cut away any sort of distractions to keep them accountable and build towards these goals, some of them wants to start similar things like an online blog and had to build an audience I coach them through that, other people were just purely personal goals that they wanted to achieve and other people were about writing how do they refine their writing and get to a point where they can be featured on larger publications.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you take on clients that you can help them get featured and how long usually does the process of featuring on these publications take?
Thai Nguyen: I don’t do any introductions to editors it’s mostly just giving them some of the tools that have helped in my own writing, some things to think about that they haven’t thought about before that goes into writing, looking at how long some of your sentences are, the tempo of how your article reads but yeah I work with them just to get their writing refined and use the tools that I’ve used to get on to large publications but again it doesn’t come down to any secret strategy, eventually you just have to think of an article that would fit well on these publications and submitted to them.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are some of these major tools that you use?
Thai Nguyen: It’s definitely looking at the tempo of your writing so if you were to read your article out loud, I really liked a piece almost in a poetic structure so varying up your sentences, sometimes if you have a lot of short sentences it reads in a very staccato kind of sense and it’s difficult to get through so how do you just make your article flow and try to minimize any sort of repetition and make sure every sentence that you say contribute some sort of value to the overall article, that’s one key thing looking at the way that you craft your title the way that you use different words, those are all huge elements that go into it, the way that you use visual words including emotional words, working you insert a story into it, how are you going to back up this point, there are plenty of things.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You didn’t have struggles when shifting from writing blog posts to writing a book? In terms of structure?
Thai Nguyen: They are similar and different in many ways also you can even look at the structure of an article as a boiled down version of the book so addressing conflict and resolution you still do that in an article as you would in a book that I think some of the major issues between an article and the book is a book isn’t necessarily a collection of articles but you still are moving through pieces that have a connection and a flow between say fifty different related articles so there are huge differences but at the same time I think when it comes down to the basics of writing you’re still utilizing the same skills for both.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: From your experience writing blog posts do you feel which one is preferred if people need to see points or paragraphs?
Thai Nguyen: It’s interesting I think people are beginning to move away from what they call lists, ten reasons for this several reasons for that because the way it seems like culture and intellectual culture works is it’s comparable even to fashion, there are these different trends and I feel like we’re moving away from these list articles more to short pieces and I’m always studying what’s trending at the moment so you have kind of this tension at the moment between list articles because they satisfy that psychological need that we have, we like to see things quickly and neatly.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Especially over the phone but it’s not deep it’s just points.
Thai Nguyen: Exactly, if you like we may be headed more towards collaborating maybe on a single point in an article and just digging deeper into one single point rather than moving from point to point to point. So I’m interested to see what direction we are headed and as a writer also but if I had to predict what the future is looking like I feel is that we may be moving away from list articles to more in-depth focused just on one point or one topic so I’m interested in where it’s going to head.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But don’t you feel that when, especially myself when I read the seven points or five points to something it’s more attractive to click on and sometimes when you know the style of a certain author that it’s long you don’t tend to click on it especially if you are reading from the phone and you need to really read it deeply.
Thai Nguyen: Yes absolutely and there are studies that show a lot of people will check out mentally check out or not even get through the first paragraph of an article so when people see seven or ten it already registers in their mind what to expect so people already have that sense of familiarity with the article and that typically engages them even more whereas if you just have a blank title and you don’t list the numbers unless you have a very compelling introduction to that article people aren’t sure how long this article is going to be how much of my time is it going to take to read through but if I look at something and I see this going to be seven points I know it’s going to take only a few minutes for me to read and they have that sense of expectation and knowing what’s to come in the article.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How do you plan your writing, how do you structure it?
Thai Nguyen: I usually like to try to take a unique angle on and add and contribute to something that hasn’t been touched on or if it has been then how do I come at this differently so I look at some of the leaders in the field some of the major publications look at Huffington Post and the New York Times in the Atlantic Washington Post the New Yorker and with what you have to say that’s what I’ve realized in any work while people are interested in what you produce they are also interested in whose producing that so the personality behind what’s being said not just simply the content that being said.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But you write your thoughts at the beginning before you do the readings or do you do the readings first and then you do the writing?
Thai Nguyen: Sometimes I change them sometimes I just write purely what I think about this and then I look for studies, I always try to bring studies into everything that I’m writing about so looking at journal articles and tried again content and sources that aren’t really touched upon so looking for academic journals is something that I do a lot, academia.com and just looking through what some professors and universities what they are producing.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you look at the top results in the search engine or do you try to go to certain publications and search about the subject?
Thai Nguyen: Certain publications, scientific American is one that I look at a lot, psychology today is another one that I look at a lot, I look at peer-reviewed journal articles which means other professors and other scientists and psychologists are also reading that work as well and using that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Do you have a goal in terms of words?
Thai Nguyen: Sure, I usually try to finish three different pieces of work and then moved away from at one stage I set myself a word limit of 3000 words a day but now I’ve moved more towards three pieces of work so I’m constantly working on three different articles and that allows me to have that sent a variety also, I write for an independent news publication and I focus on human rights and culture and I write for a couple of travel magazines so I usually have a travel article that I’m working on and then in the entrepreneurial and healthy living area I have those articles such as three pieces of work whether they are one of those I try to get at least two of them done a day and then typically pretty happy with that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What time do you like to write?
Thai Nguyen: I’m a morning person Ahmed so when I was living in Peru I was waking at 430 in the morning and I would go for a jog in the morning come back have a shower have coffee and then try to get most of my work done in the morning, usually when I hear six or 7 o’clock at night that’s when my brain is kind of fried out in the checkout.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: When you have an agreement with us publications different publications you have an agreement to send a weekly article or whatever you have an article you pitch them for the article based on you feel that this is going to suit the material?
Thai Nguyen: Mind-body grin, two articles a week entrepreneur I submit one a week for them and Huffington Post they don’t have any expectations but I like to do one article for them also and that for my own site I like to do two articles a week and recently I started opening it up my site up for guest contributions and guest articles as well. So I’ve had quite a few submissions to feature work there.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: When you did the structure of your book have you planned to use this material while you are writing the book as a blog post or just keep them private until you finish the book?
Thai Nguyen: I’ve Them separate there’s been a few things that have been related but because my book is quite different to a lot of the work that I am producing it’s a little bit of a memoir and its next a little bit with very practical areas so I haven’t really been able to double up on content which I think is a good thing, some others get criticized with saying a single your book is just a collection of your blog articles which I don’t think that’s a bad thing but for me the two have been very separate.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How to become a travel writer?
Thai Nguyen: A lot of it has been for me just because I love traveling has been very easy in terms of I just put together an article as I travel but for anyone that is looking to get into it I did an interview with quite a well-known travel writer Shannon Kaiser and the way she got started was she just went and traveled and just did the work. And that’s an important thing, a lot of people will go out and will try to contact editors or talk to travel magazines and ask them how do I get involved but if you compare that and pitch that against a person that has just gone to Dubai and written up an article and taken nice photos, say you’re the editor Ahmed one person comes to you and says Ahmed I want to be a travel writer for your magazine and another person comes to you and says on that I have this article that I’ve just written I would like to become a travel writer, you’re going to go with the person who is something put together.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So it’s about always the people who read about traveling or can it be just writers because they can afford getting paid from online publications so it doesn’t matter where they are so it’s good for their brains to refresh and travel and see different places while their writing as well.
Thai Nguyen: Yeah is your question does the person need to be an established writer to become a travel writer?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Yeah you need to reach to a certain level that you know the industry that you know how many articles like you are writing like you are now targeting you know how much you have to write for whom how much you will get paid so you know how much you’re going to get to cover your expenses so you can travel it doesn’t matter and even it will boost your writing the traveling.
Thai Nguyen: Yeah I think part of that depends on if you want to do that full-time or if you just want to do a couple travel writing articles as a hobby I think it’s good to have the industry knowledge and to have the structure of writing to do it but it’s not absolutely necessary obviously need to have the skills of writing to do travel writing but that’s not to say that any person an amateur who enjoys writing couldn’t do it I mean if you have that passion and you for find your writing to the point where it’s publishable, nothing is going to stop a person with no experience from going out which is the great thing about the world we live in today with the Internet and technology is that someone with no experience but has the skills is still able to bring in an income from doing something they are passionate about.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So for the amateurs out there you advise them to go look for these different publications see how much they pay and try to pitch them and start one by one or what do you advise? If you are just to start again now what would you do differently or what would you do it step by step?
Thai Nguyen: Absolutely my journey has been exactly that I had no formal journalism training I had no formal writing training I was the amateur and basically it’s important to have some sort of an online presence so I just bought a domain name or you can use WordPress there’s a lot of great free WordPress themes you can download you can set up in half an hour you can have a site featuring who you are and your work and that’s basically what I did and then I wrote an article and submitted it to a fairly large sized site and they accepted it and that’s when the exposure begin to come in so for any amateur just stepping out and doing the work, often we get paralyzed by asking a lot of questions and trying to do research which is good but research should always be going hand-in-hand with acting on it and taking some steps forward so for any amateur just right, just go ahead and put together an article that you think would fit for the publication but you want to submit to and to submit it to them.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the top five publications that you recommend amateurs to start with submitting to get some money?
Thai Nguyen: Sure there’s one site that’s based in I think the UK called Korea addict.com and they initially take you on just as a contributor and then they can start paying for you afterwards that’s a good site to start off with, there’s obviously another site called addicted to success.com, they don’t pay but that’s good exposure, pro-blogger.net they have a job board, job listings where writers can find freelance work and you can also submit to them to get exposure also, obviously the other two sites are elance and freelancer.com for any writers to get started on them that’s also a good way but just to realize the balance of those two in trying to find an income for your writing or your work, realize and be comfortable with the fact that you’ve got to build your brand and you have to build exposure for your work as well and it’s like that with many different fields and many different professions, when I was wanting to become a chef I was an apprentice and even though I was getting paid I wasn’t getting paid much and also I was doing extra work for free to gain the knowledge, I was staying back longer than my shifts, when I was an amateur athlete fighter I was fighting for free, I was putting in a lot of hours. So with any dream that you pursue after to view time as a good ROI you’re going to get returns on your investment of time you’re going to gain knowledge and grow in that area.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Do you edit your own writing or do you send it to an editor, do you edit while you’re writing or do you edit after you finish writing?
Thai Nguyen: At the moment I do edit my work, I have some readers who some loyal readers that will pick up any typos if they do get through, for sites like Huffington Post and entrepreneur they have their own editors as well but I always like to edit before I submit to them but one have that I’ve learned is once I finish an article out completely walk away for at least a couple of hours before I come back even in that short time it seems as if your eyes freshen up to the work that you’ve done and you’re able to see things in a clearer light so I try to edit as I go but I certainly also at it once I’m done and then usually take a break and then come back to it and have another read through even if I leave it overnight often also.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How do you write efficiently, what are the top five techniques that you do to write efficiently or habits?
Thai Nguyen: There is one technique which is called the flow of consciousness writing which I would do a lot of most evenings and just set yourself alignment of one page or two pages where you put aside any critical factors or lends that you have an just basically shut off that inner dialogue that likes to critique everything that we do and you just right, just let your consciousness flow and just build that habit of writing a lot of times, writer’s block happens because we overanalyze what we’re writing so to step back from that analysis factor and just write out without any judgment without any critique that’s one thing. Creating the habit of just setting that space in your house that becomes your writing oasis or your work oasis wherever it is it might be that room in your house but familiarity always breeds and creates that environments for more conducive work so if you sit down at your desk your brain and your mind acknowledge this is my workspace and you’re able to engage in that so finding a place that you’re comfortable with makes it conducive for your work and again building those habits of writing, figuring out of your morning or evening person, finding out where these hotspots are that are most conducive for you to do work so those are the three basic ones.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: I’m going to ask you about some of the material that you are written and you are an expert on, how can people quit their miserable jobs?
Thai Nguyen: A lot of times it’s difficult for us to see the mess subjectively when we’re in the middle of things and this whole idea of being in a miserable job, a lot of people that’s not what they, nobody actively seeks to be in a miserable position but it’s kind of flowed out of things that came out of unexpected things so firstly making that distinction between is it the whole field and profession as a whole that you dissatisfied with or adjust the position that you are in sometimes it only takes a little bit of a shift in your role to be able to get out of that miserable position, for myself it was basically seeking validation in where you want to go so I’d be hesitant just to jump straight out of where you are into something else without getting the validation that you need so say I was a chef and I was miserable with that and I wanted to become a writer it would be somewhat foolish of me just to quit my job I miserable cooking job and jump into writing without the validation. I think that’s one keeping you need to seek after is validation for what you want to head into because you might be passionate about it but you might not be passionate doesn’t mean that you’re good at it. Passion doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to create a living out of that, at that moment it doesn’t mean that it’s not impossible at all you just need to get your skills to a level that it is possible so if I was miserable as a chef and I wanted to become a writer the first thing I would do is evaluate my skill level in the field that I want to get into. So I would see where my level of writing is at and try to validate that by submitting posts and if I send out five articles and get rejected by all five obviously that tells me I’m not ready to step out from a miserable job yet, if I wanted to be a podcast or or if I wanted to start a business in a different field perhaps do some pre-consulting and see how many people are interested and just get feedback from what you want to get into so seeking validation would be the first and crucial step and then evaluating from there how far you need to go in order to build a viable business from that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How do you de-clutter your life and what do you advise people to declare their life?
Thai Nguyen: Start with one area and refine that, I believe that there are so many interconnected areas in life in Australia if you go to rent a house, a lot of the time the housing agents will be sneaky and they will look inside your car and see how well you maintain your vehicle because that gives you an idea of how clean and how well you maintain a house and that’s so true that so much of our lives are interconnected so if you focus on one area naturally that’s going to flow into other areas of your life for anyone that’s been in military service you know that one of the first things you do in the morning is make your bed neat and tidy and perfect because you build success in one area of life and it flows into another area there is a great quote that says, how you do anything is how you do everything so people often get overwhelmed with a question like Ottawa to clutter my life and all of a sudden I look at the overall mass of my life but realizing again it’s like that other quote how you eat an elephant, one bite of the time. You work on small areas so you begin by decluttering your living room and making sure that living room is perfects, making sure your desktop on your computer is always tidy and when you repeatedly build that habit in one area it naturally flows into other areas so for someone that wants to de-clutter look at where your immediately at and how do you clean up that immediate area that you’re in. So start with the room that you’re in and no doubt that will flow into other areas.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How to have a beautiful and meaningful life especially after this journey of trying different careers and different areas of life traveling and different writing and other stuff?
Thai Nguyen: I think two things are key, finding inherent value in finding external value so inherently what makes you happy and what makes you excited and how do you leverage that to contribute to someone else’s life I think those are two key areas that when happiness is solely confined to who we are that seems to run out quite quickly but if you look at extending that beyond the you are then you have something not only sustainable but something that is more hole in the human experience if you look at a lot of the most successful entrepreneurs and people in the world their success always extends beyond who they are, they are building something beyond their own lives but that goes back to finding something that really excites you. So something that not only you are good at but you passionate about but also influences people outside of your own life.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Success versus happiness versus fulfillment, which one is most important?
Thai Nguyen: You know I really think that you could almost bundle the three of them together I don’t think success even though it does happen, success shouldn’t come to the exclusion of happiness so I do believe you can be successful and very unhappy, you can become the CEO of the company and be very unhappy at the same time you can be both that and still unfulfilled, success can come with happiness, it can still come without fulfillment and if I had to tie in each one of them, success could be this one-dimensional, I’m the CEO making six figures, happiness could be that aligns with something I’m passionate about because you can be successful at something that you are passionate about all I could be successful as a chef and still be unhappy because it misses out on that passion element, so success would have to include something that you’re passionate about and then fulfillment is this idea of something that’s beyond yourself, to be fulfilled I think the key area is to contribute to the world to feel like what you’re doing matters. So for the three of them to be pulled together I think that’s crucial I don’t think we should aim at any single one of them to the exclusion of the other.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How can people find their purpose like if they don’t know where to go, how can they find their purpose? And why is it important to have a purpose?
Thai Nguyen: I think a great way is to imagine what your perfect day would look like and take away some of these elements, think about a lot of times we try to build their lives around something that really doesn’t influence what your purposes so society has built so much around materialism and the pursuit of money which is important I’m not saying it’s not important things but they influence the decisions that we make in a way that doesn’t help us in finding out what our purposes and really your purpose basically should be what excites you what you love doing but we let the influence of how do I make a living out of this influence and decision which is a secondary issue. Purpose should come first and that comes from finding what you love doing so if I was to ask you if money wasn’t an issue at all if you knew you were going to be successful, what would you do with your life? And personally that’s been a great question in finding out what my purposes and in people that I’ve coached simply asking that question has been liberating and realizing that I shouldn’t base my purpose and my passion around weather I’m going to be rich but sadly a lot of us do that. So removing that factor is really helpful.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the hidden blessings and failures and rejection and losing?
Thai Nguyen: Even with, I I read an article recently about emotions as well as, we try our best to avoid negative situations but really there’s not a person in life who is immune to negativity in life so how do we reappraise these negatives and things like losing and failure is going to realize that they come out of progress and progress is the key in almost anything as long as you’re moving forward as long as you are turning up each day trying to do something that’s progress and when you do hit obstacles it shouldn’t be viewed necessarily as a failure. If you change your lens of thinking and seeing these as carrying lessons they are all feedback and information on how you can improve and redirect and change directions so Marcus Aurelius is a really famous ancient Roman Emperor and he had this great quote that said, if you are disturbed or upset by anything external the pain isn’t due to that external thing but your perception of it. So when you change your perception of something it changes the experience of it also so I’ve learned to view any failure as a lesson and if you make that decision now in your life that any difficulty that comes your way is a blessing in disguise and you begin to look for that you’re inevitably going to find something in it so the rejected article doesn’t become my writing is terrible, the rejected article just means that I know now not what to do in my next article and just doing things in a supportive way rather than destructive way.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Why is it important to make or have a silence in our life or having rest?
Thai Nguyen: A lot of that comes down to our internal dialogue and the noisy world we live in, we live in a world and technology is great I love how small the world is getting in terms of technology in terms of access to information but at the same time you’ve got to think solely of who you are and realizing that none of these things are part of who you are. So what silence does this ultimately it strips you down to one of the most difficult things that we have to deal with which is ourselves and our internal dialogue and a lot of people call it the imposter syndrome or the lizard brain, we have this constant feedback going through our minds and silence allows us to confront that voice and often times the negativity that instills in talks to us in that way, really confront yourself and I believe a lot of success comes down to self-mastery, if you’re able to master your emotional self your psychological self then you’re able to master a lot of the external things in life, so silence and solitude has a way of basically confronting yourself and confronting your own inner demons and inner doubts, along with that silence has been shown just to have great benefits for creativity, we go through a process one we have insights called an incubation period where our subconscious or unconscious mind is constantly being exposed to so much information and then when we take a step back it allows all of this information to settle, to marinate and from that we have clarity and insights that stem from that. So living in a noisy world, silence is just crucial for us to step back to be able to breathe to separate ourselves for a bit and to enter back into the crazy world that we live in.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What do you do to boost your brain as a writer?
Thai Nguyen: There are these things called binaural beats I don’t know if you’ve heard of them what it does, you can find a lot of them on YouTube or you can buy some of the CDs but basically our brain emits different frequencies and they been able to measure this and neuropsychology where you have alpha waves beta waves Delta waves and gamma waves I when you experience high-level insights from that incubation period that I mentioned so what binaural beats are they sound one frequency into one ear and then another frequency into another ear and your brain balances out these two different frequencies and they put you in a mode of different concentration of alpha-beta or Delta or gamma so that’s one thing that I do sometimes obviously diet and eating I guess omega-3 rich foods are shown to improve brain efficiency so food like avocado salmon flaxseed, different nuts. Looking after your health is crucial for your brain health as well. And then different things with the binaural beats and also ginkgo and green tea have also been shown to have great benefits for your brain as well.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are some of the habits you’re trying to develop to stay efficient and productive?
Thai Nguyen: Daily timing is definitely a huge thing so waking up at the same time, I also use some different psychological habits also, one is exposing myself to difficulty on a daily basis and I do that physically through having a cold shower, I have a normal temperature shower warm hot but then to finish it off I turned on completely cold but while I do that I remind myself that I endure all difficulties and I overcome all obstacles and it’s a personal mantra that I say to myself just to reinforce that I turn on the cold water so it’s not only a psychological thing that I’m using these affirmations but also the physical and during of going through the cold water and it’s basically building off that I call it the psychosomatic relationship between your mind and body and there’s an author named Malcolm Gladwell who has a book called who has a book called blink and he talks about the psychosomatic relationship where they did one study where they took one group of people and got them to read words that were related with being old so they read words like bingo, Florida, shuffleboard and different words like this and they measured the speed at which they walked into the study as to when they walked out of it and simply reading a word, words are basically labels for a concept or an experience so when they read these words the brain began to register these words and it truly affected the body so the body and mind are fascinating in their relationship something as simple as a word can trigger off a neurological and physical response and that’s what I’m doing in trying to create that habit with having these cold shower but also reminding myself that difficulties and obstacles are going to be an inevitable part of this journey but I embrace them and overcome them and my body is reminded of it to the cold shower as well.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is your work and daily life routine look like from when you wake up in the morning until when you sleep?
Thai Nguyen: I try to get up quite early so before 5 o’clock and then go for a jog first thing just to keep healthy and fit then I come back of a coffee sit down and write for a few hours I usually work in a two hour spurt so I just try to focus and write for about forty or fifty minutes take like a ten minute break and then again forty or fifty minutes, take a longer break after two hours and then had something to eat go back to it again and I try to write in three stages, 32 hour stages and get in those three different pieces of work that I mentioned earlier and then spend the other time networking, email and people back, working on social media.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Best tools or hacks that you use for writing and traveling?
Thai Nguyen: There’s one great at that’s been a lifesaver called self control and basically what I’m able to do one that is just write down sites that I’m blocked for those two hours so I put in all my email accounts I put in on my social media accounts under self-control and activate that for the two hours that I do work so essentially blocks up the sides, I can access them or check my email all I do is just focus on my writing and work.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: It’s on Mac?
Thai Nguyen: It’s available for both I’m pretty sure, self-control.com I think I’ll double check and just confirm with you but it’s been a brilliant up and then obviously Evernote has been very good in cataloging and keeping track of all the useful resources and research that I come across.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are your other hobbies?
Thai Nguyen: I’m a pretty boring guy actually, I read and I write a lot, I guess I love getting outdoors and going for hikes that’s one thing when I travel I love walking around and exploring the different cities that I’m in. I’m in Houston now previously I just got here from New Jersey and it was great just to go for a jog around New Jersey, I was in Brooklyn just to walk around Brooklyn and New York and San Francisco I was there before so I just like getting out and just exploring cities and finding nice coffee shops to sit down and check out.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three writers and top three authors?
Thai Nguyen: Top three writers, Gretchen Rubin is a great writer, Ann LaMotte, Jeff Collins would be another good writer, top three authors certainly Malcolm Gladwell, Andrew Solomon is in the great writer and I really enjoy Elizabeth Gilbert’s work also.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three mentors?
Thai Nguyen: I’d have to say I got personal mentor is a philosopher and a professor based here in Houston named Russell Minnick, he has his own site Russell Minnick.com. Also my friend Constable he’s another blogger and writer he’s been a good mentor to me and I’d have to say a more distant on a non-personal level is Andrew Solomon, I follow his work and we contracted through email but he’s probably a mentor in a more distant sense.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Most important factors for success in three words?
Thai Nguyen: Keep showing up.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is the biggest failure moment in your life and what did you learn from it?
Thai Nguyen: I guess a recent failure is talking about something before it came to pass so originally I had a book planned that I wanted to be out in October last year and I did a few podcasts where I talked about having this book out in October but again what we talked about having a clear path of expectation and then things turn out much different from what we planned, that’s what happened I was talking about this book coming out in October 2014 and then things really took a different turn in terms of connecting with different literary agents and changing the theme and stuff for my book so I’ve learned, I felt like a bit of a loss of integrity because I was getting out publicly saying my book is going to be out in October but then all of a sudden I changed directions and it was just something that was I felt like there was an issue where I probably lost a little bit of trust with my audience and audiences of other podcasts that probably expected this book to be out at a certain time and didn’t come out so I’d say that was a small but at the same time of failure that had some effect that I’d like to avoid in the future so I’ve moved away from talking about things that I’m not completely certain about and just waiting for the product to be more concrete or even after the product is out to talk about it.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you pitched the publishers or literary agents first and then you write the book or you write the book finish it and then pitch them?
Thai Nguyen: First I was going to self publish it which is a lot of what writers and potential authors are doing and a lot of it depends on fiction and nonfiction, the way a lot of people with fiction books a lot of publishing houses want to see the completed work and want to see the whole product out there for whatever reason I’m not too sure but with nonfiction work which is what I’m working on usually they want to see just a proposal and 3 to 5 chapters that you completed because I guess they want more of a say in the direction of it and just more feedback involvement there so with my work it’s just been putting together the first few chapters, looking at the marketability of it so looking at your own audience and your strategy for marketing the book basically they want to know that they can invest in you can see returns on that investment so what is your audience look like what is your strategy what is your competition at the moment and how does your book stand apart from the competition?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: 2 to 3 chapters edited or just?
Thai Nguyen: Yes edited, but they still want the freedom to suggest and reedit that also.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Publishing versus self-publishing what did you shift in which do you think, which route should the author go if you can have both?
Thai Nguyen: At the moment there is still the sense where there’s a sense of credibility that comes with a publishing house and that can change in the future because self-publishing is gaining more and more credibility because there are some very good writers and authors that self publish but the reason I guess I shifted over to wanting to publish with the publishing house is I want to leverage also if I connect with a good publishing house, connect with their PR agency and their marketing strategies and trusting that they have a solid strategy for getting the book out there and there’s still again that notion that idea that there is that credibility that comes with a traditional publisher. So that’s one reason that I went over, also some of the earliest success I had been featured with these larger publications people have encouraged me to go and seek after a traditional publisher because I have the credibility because I have the ground audience so that was another factor that work towards me changing directions.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is the best advice that you have ever received?
Thai Nguyen: Best advice is follow one course until success that came from John Lee Dumas who I interviewed and that has been helpful there have been times where I’ve been tempted to again step into different fields and spread myself thinner but just to draw back and focus on that one thing which is the book now at the moment until I see some success come from that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What would you advise your younger self if you had the chance?
Thai Nguyen: To enjoy the journey a lot more and to focus on the destination and the goal but balance that out with stopping every now and then and just reflecting on how far you have come as you continue to head toward the dream.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: It would probably have to be that Zen proverb that I mentioned earlier before enlightenment, chop wood carry water, after enlightenment, chop wood carry water. It’s just a reminder that anytime we achieve a goal or level of success, we’re still who we are there’s still work to be done there’s still things that shouldn’t change through success as well.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three people that you’re inspired by?
Thai Nguyen: I’d have to say John Lee Dumas is one in stepping out and leaving his career in law and real estate to start a podcast and a very successful podcast at that. That has been something that really inspires me, someone from left field actually is Bethany Hamilton, I don’t know if you’ve heard of her. She is the major feature in the movie soul surfer, she was attacked by a shark and Gloucester entire arm in the shark attack and she was pitched to become this incredibly incredible world champion surfer and then when she had the shark attack everyone completely rather off and said she’s finished and now she’s bounced back she learned how to surf and balance with one arm and is now world champion surfer.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Wow.
Thai Nguyen: She inspires me on a personal level, another lady her name is Diane naiad she is the first person of any gender any age to swim from Cuba to Florida and she did that at the age of sixty-four without a shark tank and on her fifth attempt so she failed four times leading up to that over I think since she was the age of twenty-eight so for something like that just shy of forty years she continued to seek after the stream and it took her close to forty years but she achieved it and she was the first person to do that so it’s just a reminder for me to take a step back and even though I can be very impatient about achieving my goals, realizing that hey this may take a lifetime but if you that passionate about this dream of yours then to keep showing up, keep doing the work and just embrace that journey and trust that you’re going to reach your destination.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three books.
Thai Nguyen: I’d have to say far from the tree from Andrew Solomon and that’s much less practical than what most people may suggest but I think it’s a great book and just understanding who you are and the aspects that you can change about yourself and the aspects that you can change about yourself so he gives this illustration in the distinction between your vertical and horizontal identity and I won’t go into it in depth but it’s basically just thinking finding out who you are embracing the things you can’t change about yourself but leveraging the things that you can change about yourself that would be the first thing. I think the alchemist is a powerful book, everyone usually recommends that book and it’s just a powerful book for this journey of life that we are on. I think meditations that Marcus Aurelius is another great book, it’s been around for years and years I think he was from eighty BC but he was an ancient Roman Emperor I would recommend that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Last question, what makes you really happy?
Thai Nguyen: Being able to wake up every day and do something I love.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How can people contact you?
Thai Nguyen: I’d love to connect with the audience Ahmed so theutopianlife.com is probably the most simple and best way to connect I have my Facebook group connected to that site and also twitter and if there’s anyone that’s just seeking advice on how to step out and live your dream I would be more than happy to help them out.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thank you so much Thai for this very very rich information to knowledge that you shared with us.
Thai Nguyen: Thank you, thank you for what you do Ahmed I think it’s great to be able to inspire others and I’m very flattered to be honored, thank you for the work that you do.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thank you so much, thanks everyone, be efficient and stay efficient and see you soon with another leading expert.
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Mon, 23 November 2015
How to Distribute Your AudioBook into Audible and Other Audio Platforms – Interview with Jessica Kaye
Be Efficient Tv offers tips and tricks from leading experts to help you make your life and business more efficient through an in depth interviews with different thoughtful leaders, business experts, authors, founders and millionaires. You will discover strategies that you can implement easily into your everyday life to help you save time and make the most of the time that you have. Experts from a variety of backgrounds and industries are interviewed regularly to reveal their personal secrets for being more productive.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Hi everyone this is Ahmed Al Kiremli and welcome to Be Efficient Tv. The mission of this web TV show is to boost the efficiency of your business and life through tips and tricks from leading experts. Today I have with me Jessica Kaye she is the founder of big happy family and audiobook a distribution company, former president of the audio publishers Association and the Grammy award-winning audiobook producer with more than 500 audio titles to her credit. She is also a lawyer specialized in entertainment law, welcome to the show Jessica.
Jessica Kaye: Thank you, thanks for having me.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So what’s your background and how did you start in the audio world? After practicing law?
Jessica Kaye: I came after it in two different ways first when I was young I always wanted to be in the record business, I love music from the time I was a child and so when I moved to Los Angeles I took a class at UCLA extension which is part of the UCLA but this and for credit you aren’t working on the degree and the class was in record production and the record producer who taught the class a wonderful guy named Nick Benet who sadly is no longer with us was really excited about spoken word and he kept telling the class you gotta get on this, this is the big thing it’s coming around the corner guys you gotta pay attention which is interesting because he was a successful music producer so one of the other girls in the class and I started trying to put together a spoken word project, there was I think she was… I was going to say a local celebrity but I think she was a national spokesperson at the time for this MSG thing called accent. And we wanted to do a cookbook with her on audio. She had a big personality and would’ve been fun but we never got past the contract stages as sometimes happens so I did not earn experience and actually producing and audiobook at that time but I did learn a little bit about negotiating for one and then a few years later as us to become house counsel Vice President of business affairs for a local small entertainment company that made TV movies and occasionally feature film and they also publish audiobooks and it was a very small company I think maybe there were six of us working there may be eight once in a while, so I learned everything, it was very hands-on. After a few years there I started my own audiobook publishing company I should add that along with my love of music I’ve also always loved books and literature and audiobooks are the perfect marriage of those two things you get to work with the recorded arts… So that was pretty fortunate.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Since when do you think the audiobook era started?
Jessica Kaye: Long before I was associated with it there were I think maybe I could be totally wrong there was a company called Caedmon that started I want to say in the 50s and they had recordings of famous authors reading their own works I think like T.S. Eliot I don’t have more examples to offer sorry I can’t recall but around the mid-80s maybe it became a commercially more visible part of the publishing community so most of the major publishers had added audiobook departments at that time and a few small they weren’t small a few independent publishers and also popped up and I would say from the mid-to-late 80s onward is when it starts steamrolling into major growth.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You are a member of audio publishers Association can you tell us more about it?
Jessica Kaye: The audio publishers Association was formed I believe sometime in the mid-to-late 80s as a way for those in the industry to gather together to use their forces, their resources to heighten awareness about audiobooks back then if you worked in audiobooks by times out of ten maybe ninety-nine times out of 100 if you said to somebody at work with audiobooks they would say, first they would say what is that and then when you explained what it was they would say oh you mean for the blind? So even though there was already a commercial market for it many people have still never heard of it so that was probably part of the impetus for the audio publishers Association and it remains today a much bigger organization today than it was back then when I had six or eight or a dozen members and it still is out there promoting audiobooks as a genre and an industry.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is your current focus?
Jessica Kaye: What do you mean?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: In terms of happy big family and the other companies, Kaye Mills.com that you have what are the services that you provide?
Jessica Kaye: I see thank you so Kaye and Mills is a law firm I worked with a partner Kevin Mills and he does primarily entertainment law he works as production counsel quite a bit on feature films mostly independent feature films so the budgets are alone over the place with teeny tiny films to multimillion dollar significantly bigger films. So we both also do business transactional work if somebody wants to form a company we can help them with that if they have contracts we can negotiate or interpret depending on what area of law the contracts are in and then I also have focus in publishing since I spent so much time in audio publishing and also the company that I mentioned the entertainment company that I work with also did some book publishing and I’ve done some and I represented and still represent a number of authors and occasionally a publishing company or small distribution company for that sort of thing so I do quite a bit most of my focus I would say is publishing in business. But all contracts, neither of us do litigation we don’t like going to court so we don’t do it.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What’s the publishing Mills and why did you sell it?
Jessica Kaye: That was a company I founded in 1990 it was an audiobook company although over the years we ended up doing one paperback and we did about 200 audiobooks, I founded it I guess to have some autonomy in order to publish what I wanted to publish and also in order to have the freedom to come and go as I wished I had small children very small then so I don’t know I guess I just have the entrepreneurial bug I had gone back to school after law school, I got an MBA from USC the University of Southern California and I think it was the very last semester I was there I took the seminar and entrepreneurship and until I took that seminar I had thought you know the great will be great would be to work for a big company like American Express be a cog in the wheel that’s what I want to be I want to be a cog and then I took a seminar and entrepreneurship and it was absolutely the opposite of anything I had ever considered doing and yet that is what I ended up doing ever since.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So now do you pitch authors to publishers do you help them to pitch their material what exactly is the big happy family?
Jessica Kaye: It’s two different things so with big happy family it’s a distributor of audiobooks for digital distribution only so if somebody has CDs or any other hard copy format of an audiobook we don’t work with that we get audiobooks onto websites where they can be downloaded or streamed so for instance audible or overdrive that will distribute into libraries places like that that’s what we do at big happy family and at Kaye and Mills that’s where I will represent an author and in that capacity I will take their material to publishers and try to find a good fit for the particular book and author.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So nontraditional books only audiobooks or digital e-books as well or just audio?
Jessica Kaye: Yes and no with the law firm we will work with traditional books but we are not publishing them or distributing them we’re just trying to find a publisher for our clients in that capacity.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So like an agent you’re acting.
Jessica Kaye: Kind of like an agent. In that capacity I call myself a literary attorney and for big happy family we actually did take on and we did publish an e-book about a year ago and I help to do more of that I think we will be doing more of that. Along with the audiobooks.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is the overdrive that you said the company that distributes to bookshops like how do they do that like CDs how does it work?
Jessica Kaye: Overdrive distributes to libraries I think they do also have other markets now but as far as I’m aware they just to digital downloads so for instance once in a while I will go online to my local library and I buy a lot of books but I also take books out of the library and sometimes I will download an e-book from the library and that’s been supplied to the library by overdrive or a company like overdrive similarly you can take out an audiobook either by going to the library getting the hardcopy or you can download it to your computer without leaving your home and it’s overdrive and companies along with them there are others that do it as well that’s applied as audiobooks to libraries.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you downloaded to free or is it a membership through the library or how does it work?
Jessica Kaye: I think it depends on the library, my library there is no charge to belong to it this is the Los Angeles County library but I understand that some library systems do have a small charge perhaps to download an e-book or an audiobook.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Can you brief us about the entertainment law?
Jessica Kaye: Well it’s a pretty broad category so we have a pretty broad spectrum of clients there are the producers as I mentioned that we represent the ones who are trying to put together a project for television or film or even a web TV series anything you can think of direct to DVD all kinds of projects like that we work with musicians sometimes we work as I mentioned a lot with writers and that is a big part of entertainment often on my end it’s the book writers but we also work with screenwriter sometimes, we don’t like to submit we aren’t the kind of attorneys who take a project around to different studios to see if anyone wants it but if we have a client it comes to us and says I have an offer and the need a lawyer to make sure my contract is right that is where we step in with writers on screenplays.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is the difference between copyright and trademarks and intellectual property?
Jessica Kaye: Intellectual property is essentially I was going to say is property you can touch but of course you can pick up a book or a DVD but it’s the content between those covers or on that disc that is the intellectual property it is the expression of somebody’s work it is their writing or their film or their music as it’s been recorded or as it’s been written down or otherwise created, copyright protects what’s called the expression so let’s see I often have a client this happened just last week actually, the clients that I have an idea but I don’t want to tell anybody about it till I have a copyright on the idea and I had to tell her you cannot copyright and ideas you can only copyright what’s called the expression of the idea so she were to write a book or if she were to record an album whether it’s spoken word music otherwise that can be protected and in fact a copyright in the United States is protected you have a copyright in your material as soon as you create it.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: She cannot patent the idea?
Jessica Kaye: Patina something else altogether. A patent there’s actually a whole separate bar a whole separate you have to be admitted to the patent bar in order to be a patent attorney because most patent attorneys are engineers, in order to obtain a patent it’s often quite complicated and somebody such as myself would not necessarily understand what say I had pages and pages of code that someone want to protect with a patent or some sort of engineering idea it wouldn’t be something that I could comprehend and so somebody who has an engineering background most often I think you’ll find patent attorneys have engineering backgrounds. So that’s more along the line of protecting inventions that sort of creation but copyright protects your creative expression your books your CDs your music your film that sort of thing however having said that having said that it immediately has copyright in creation in order to have access to statutory protection with the United States copyright accords you have to register that copyright so you have your copyright but in order to, say somebody infringes it if you want to bring an action and obtain damages you need that registration.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But usually people just put the sign of copyright and that’s it means that it’s copyrighted, how can people register their copyright and how much does it cost how long does it take?
Jessica Kaye: Right that’s kind of a mess, putting that doesn’t do anything really just to put a C on your unregistered copywritten material, it’s copyrighted from the moment you created so you don’t ever have to worry do I have a copyright in my short story in my film, yes you do but in order to have United States government at your back so you can see somebody you need to register it with the United States copyright office and the fees for that very it depends on what you are registering it depends on whether you are doing it online or mailing it in your vision provide a copy of what you are registering and how long it takes that’s a good question too I just had this conversation with some lawyers on a listserv that I’m on because I had filed a registration for a client for his music recently and we got back the registration form very quickly and I just recently filed within the last month or so registration for a novel for a client and it’s not showing up yet as registered it’s not in the website we haven’t gotten anything so I asked these other lawyers what are you finding how long does it take to get copyright registration for literary work and the answers were all over the map and one attorney said that on the copyright website it should only take eight months. Somebody else said they been waiting to hear so who knows.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So in simple English what is the difference between copyright intellectual property?
Jessica Kaye: Copyright is just to secure your ownership interest in a sense to say that you are the one who has the right to do with the material as you wish it’s not for somebody else to do, intellectual property is what you want that copyright to protect, intellectual property is the creation itself and the copyright is the protection of your rights in that creation. And you have to are trademarks to… Trademark is to protect a term and name something that has come to represent the brand essentially in short so that is something also we sometimes get people saying they want a trademark in their book now you don’t get a trademark in your book you get a copyright. If you get a serious you can perhaps trademark the name of the series so Star Wars for example but not if there was one movie called Star Wars it would be difficult although once there were toys and all kinds of other derivative works then you can establish there’s a brand and get your trademark so that is essentially to protect your overall umbrella… What’s the word I’m looking for?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Of content?
Jessica Kaye: Not the content itself but the identification of the content. The name or whatever is identified with it.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: The brand. So what was your involvement in the project that got the Grammys I wanted to ask you about that?
Jessica Kaye: Okay well when I had my own company the publishing mills we had to Grammy nominated titles the first one actually won and that was for I don’t know if they call it best colony recording and that was sort of an interesting situation there was for a comedian called Jonathan Winters, he was very famous here I don’t know about where you are but he had been around for decades and had never won a Grammy award and he and I had a friend in common and his friend came to me with some recordings and said Jonathan has left voicemail messages on his answering machine a lot of them and they were in character different characters and he had gotten written permission from Jonathan Winters to release them as an album so this gentleman had quite a bit of material we went through it we tried to make it better sound quality than what you would normally have from answering machine this is before voicemail this is still an answering machine we edited it to take out some of the segments we didn’t think were very entertaining or to clean up the noise as we did what we could and released it as a comedy album because essentially that’s what it was they were little comedy skits that year left on his friends voicemail machine and that’s what the comedy Grammy was award for and subsequently we did an audiobook that was the authorized biography of the chieftains they are an Irish music group. They have a loyal following the world over and they been around for decades to they are very charming and so I just had a feeling that because they were so loved in the music world but that would be a candidate for Grammy award and it turned out that it was, we didn’t win that one now I forget who one that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Why is it hard for authors to publish directly to iTunes inaudible that’s only have all these publishing company specialized in audiobooks?
Jessica Kaye: That’s hard to answer because I don’t work for iTunes or audible but I can just tell you from my perspective what audible has done to make it easier I don’t know how many of your people who watch the snow about something called ACX and I know my understanding is is not available worldwide but I think they are trying to broaden I think it’s perhaps just become opened up to the UK but don’t quote that on me, the idea is that if you are the owner of the intellectual property if you have the rights to a particular book that is on Amazon you can essentially claim it by going to a CX and putting in the name of the book and having the Amazon page come up and say this is my property and I want to make an audiobook of it and then you can go ahead and either hire a narrator by paying them or sometimes narrators will work for a share of the earnings and in that way you can directly as an author get your material onto audible and audible in turn will put that audiobook on to iTunes and Amazon.com as well as audible.com so that’s one way. Other than that it is hard I think if you don’t have a book that’s on Amazon.com then I don’t know if ACX is available to you maybe it is?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: It’s not, they are complicating it they need like a transcript copy or like a copy on Amazon in order to take it to capital ACX and as he said it is not available worldwide.
Jessica Kaye: Yes so I imagine that will change as quickly as they are able again I have no insight into the internal workings of capital ACX or Amazon or audible other than to know that they like to grow so it’s my suspicion that they will grow into other countries as they can. I haven’t looked at the site in a while so I wasn’t sure if there was a way to put a block on their that was also not on Amazon, so if ACX is not available to an author then what you can do is find the distribution company such as mine if you already have the audiobook produced and if you don’t have the audiobook produced then you need to find I highly recommend you find a producer with experience in audiobook production rather than try to do it yourself because I hear an awful lot of very badly produced audiobooks and sometimes this is even the case when an author writes to me and says I’ve used a very experienced producer so I know this sounds great and I hear it and I think no it doesn’t which is really too bad because there is a standard, people who are buying audiobooks have listened to quite a few of them they know what an audiobook should sound like and if they hear something that doesn’t sound good then they may give a negative review which means you won’t have many future sales so it’s important to know that in a sense your audiobook any authors audiobook is competing with every other audiobook out there and it should sound as much, as close to state-of-the-art as possible, well edited sound wise, but only to get into detail about it but you shouldn’t be able to hear pages turning our people swallowing or retakes there is a standard and whether by going to audio pub.org and looking at members of the audio publishers Association or just doing a little research you can find producers of audiobooks and work with people the world over.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Through our communication you always say you’re in the studio so you help in the production sometimes some audiobooks? What you do in the studio?
Jessica Kaye: I do help I am an attorney and I do have big happy family as well but I still also do produce and direct audiobook myself so I am often in the studio, in fact that’s what I was doing when we were first speaking about a month ago by email I was in the middle of an audiobook project then so I am quite often in the studio I still love it.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you direct the narrator?
Jessica Kaye: I don’t narrate, I direct the narrator yes. The very good ones barely need the director but it is nice to have somebody there who knows how to pronounce the words or the inflection or the sentence should have this emphasis not that or whatever.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Now in the distribution you just focus on the digital side or also the CDs you help in that?
Jessica Kaye: I don’t help in that it’s not something that we do, the thing about CDs my feeling is unless you are a public speaker unless you’re doing what we call back of the room sales meeting you’ve given the speech and now this room full of people wants to buy your audiobook that’s great then you should have CDs but for most people they are not doing that people who want to listen to their audiobooks are going to the online sites to buy them so there are fewer and fewer places to sell CDs so we just don’t distribute them we don’t work with them at all.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Is your focus fiction nonfiction or both?
Jessica Kaye: Both, whatever, my criteria are pretty straightforward it has to sound good, the person who brings it to us has to aver that they have the rights to it and other than that there’s not too much that the comment on usually when I make comments to someone who sent us something is usually about the sound quality, the content the thing is when big happy family was small I would listen to every audio program that was submitted to us from start to finish but now we’re distributing hundreds of titles and I can’t do that anymore so I just listened to a small sample so I can’t actually gauge the content, there are, there is a clause in our content that says it’s not disparaging of anybody it’s not libelous it’s not this it’s not bad, typical kind of you are giving us something that’s going to get us in trouble kind of class.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the main platforms that you distribute to in terms of audiobooks?
Jessica Kaye: Well the main one as of the date of this interview is still audible they have a large customer base and on top of that they are owned by Amazon.com and have been for some years and in addition they have a distribution deal with iTunes so simply by getting your material into audible sister vision network you are also going to be finding your audiobook on Amazon and then iTunes so those are the big entities and as I mentioned overdrive which is very useful for libraries we work with the company called audiobooks.com similar to audible a similar concept, there is company called find a way which is grown tremendously they used to make I think they still make individual recorders that have one program on them so you buy this if you’re in an airport and you want to listen to let’s just say war and peace so you buy war and peace in the bookstore in the airport and you have the sole contain thing you have the headphone and the books already on it, the audiobook. But more than that they become a distributor as well so they also get things into different kinds of stores and maybe at the libraries I’m not sure and they also distribute now to scribbed, that’s a website as well that’s growing so we’ll see, we’ll see I’m open to all kinds of distribution outlets as long as they seem to be grounded in some kind of fact and not fiction.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How about Spotify is it selling audiobooks or is it only specialized in music?
Jessica Kaye: We have not worked with Spotify so I actually can’t attest to that I have seen anecdotal emails about music on Spotify people talking about how little they burned not just from Spotify but from Pandora as well the revenue is microscopic but I don’t know from personal experience I guess we’ll see.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How long does it take usually to list these content or audiobooks into these platforms?
Jessica Kaye: That varies depending on the place so and also depending on the urgency of the authors needs so suppose somebody came to me and said I have this audiobook we just finished recording but I need to get it on to audible within the next three weeks because there’s a major film coming out and for some reason we were lucky enough to get the rights then I would tell my liaison at audible that we have this audiobook that we need up right away and audible is pretty good about making sure that they get stuff up quickly if we needed that we try not to abuse that most of the time we ask our authors or publishers keep an eye inaudible check in from time to time see if your program is up at the start up within the month that the tell me and then I’ll go back to them and say to audible we’ve been waiting and can you tell me when to expect this normally it’s up within that time.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Are the authors, the licensors can they track the books can attract the sales is there a platform through you or how does it work the listed for them and then you as a publisher or distributor have access audible to see the sales and then you pay the author or licensor after six months or three months how does it work?
Jessica Kaye: Right we pay quarterly because we get reports quarterly so this is actually a really interesting thing to me and the frustrating thing for clients which is that through ACX I have been told that publishers who work through ACX can see the sales, they can see up-to-the-minute sales but if you work with audible not through ACX which is how we work with audible you do not have that option you cannot see real-time sales we have to wait we are totally dependent on our quarterly reports this is something I hope will change I’m not sure why one is able to do that but the other side isn’t but that’s how it is for now so we get quarterly reports supposed to be within sixty days of the end of the quarter sometimes it’s on time sometimes innocent and until we have that we cannot interned report to our clients so our contract says we will report within X number of weeks or days after we receive the reports because otherwise we would be responsible for something that reports that we don’t even have yet so once we get that… It’s not only audible but usually they arrived last we get pretty quickly emails from most of the other sites we work with overdrive actually we can go in and see anytime. I think that’s the one exception.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Which one does better, nonfiction or fiction in terms of sales is audiobooks and why?
Jessica Kaye: I’m not sure there’s a simple answer to that although there probably is a statistical answer but as far as big happy family goes it depends entirely on what the program is so for example we have a client that has a recording of she does all self-help audios how to quit smoking how to sleep things like that they do very well people are really interested in that sort of program and yet if we have somebody who has done a memoir that might be very moving and very important if people aren’t searching for that particular thing they may not find it and it may not do as well. So even within a genre with infection or with a nonfiction you have ones that do very well and ones that don’t same thing for fiction.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Do you optimize like when you post the audiobooks on audible do you write the description for the author do you suggest some things in terms of optimization or is it provided by the author in general?
Jessica Kaye: We don’t we have a form that they are sent that they fell in the relevant information the categories of the lungs and all that sort of info I did have a publisher just a couple weeks ago send me an email to say she was very frustrated because when she searched by a particular keyword her title was not coming up and so I wrote to my liaison at audible and I said exactly that and she wrote back and she said we don’t usually use keywords we do my requests only so we put in the request and they used it and so now that will happen when somebody searches by that topic her audiobook will pop up but I didn’t even know that I didn’t realize that this was something that we had to request I hadn’t thought about it at all nobody had ever asked me.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How does the fee structure work like with authors is a distributor?
Jessica Kaye: Big happy family only has one model of 50-50 revenue share we don’t have charges we don’t ask for any money upfront to put you in our listings or to take your materials in some them out but once the revenue starts being earned then we share it exactly evenly and sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes it’s not all the way around sometimes for us it’s not so good sometimes for the publisher they wish they had a bigger share sometimes we wish we had a bigger share, there are literally audiobooks that earn pennies so it’s the great even are we just have that one model and it may change over time but for the time being that’s what it is. I should add one thing even I said we don’t have any charges there is one charge and that is when we pay publishers who are not with the United States usually a surcharge we have to pay in order to send that payment and that charge we do pass on to the client.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How many audiobooks is it bad or good or very good in terms of sales if you can give us numbers from your experience like how many book should be sold within the first month or the first year and is it like getting still selling because people searching for these keywords on audible are usually just when you post it for the first year or two and then it will die out?
Jessica Kaye: I don’t really have an answer to that either I think the odds are that if you have a book that is in the news or tied into some major event you will sell more one that is happening but aside from that than your sales will dwindle unless it’s something that’s constantly in the news or if you have a bestseller that sells every year something like the great Gatsby where people want to read it every year and probably there was a blip when the film came out of probably did a little bit better but most audiobooks I don’t have a rule of thumb.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How do the exclusive rights work when you take a book and distributed can the author still distribute it to other platforms if you don’t have it or how does it work? And for how long does your contract?
Jessica Kaye: Our standard contract is five years, we do ask for exclusive download rights except for if the author or publisher is selling from their own site we always grant that right of course and if we have somebody who comes to us and says I want to put this on such and such a site and you aren’t selling there may I then usually we say yes unless we are in the process of setting up with that venue so we’re pretty easy-going this first distribution goes without like to stomp on anybody’s rights we want our publishers to sell as many copies as they can.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the struggles that you see authors who want to start or transform a copy of traditional book that they have and to audiobook but they go through?
Jessica Kaye: I think it would be what I was alluding to earlier which is not knowing who to hire to make that transition and maybe part of that is also thinking that they should be the narrator some of authors should not be the narrator there are some authors who are amazingly good at narrating like Neil Gaiman immediately comes to mind he’s so incredible at reading his own work and also I think for nonfiction if you’re an expert in your field then that’s a good idea to narrator on audiobook because for one thing, the narrator might mingle all the words that are specific to your area of expertise but also because you bring a certain gravitas to it you’re the expert you know you’re talking about but most of those can read bedtime story to their candor something but that doesn’t mean they’re going to hold the interest of the listener and that’s really what you’re trying to accomplish it’s not because you are nice enough for your voice is in good enough it’s just the ability to tell a story about section are nonfiction in a way that will keep people listening and hopefully recommending her audiobook.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: If I have a series of content let’s say interviews are different things usually do I take the rights for one by one or all the series?
Jessica Kaye: Our contract is not specific like that are contract is essentially for whatever it is that you have that you want us to distribute as long as it means the criteria that we talked about as long as it has good sound quality and you have the rights to it and it doesn’t infringe on anybody’s rights we usually don’t require that you give us all of your materials but you are welcome to.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the other projects that you are currently working on for the future?
Jessica Kaye: Well let’s see I’m starting I start directing an audiobook tomorrow called house of echoes by Brendan Duffy and it’s a creepy kind of thriller I don’t think you would mind my saying that. I hope not. So that should be kind of fun and when I just recently directed an audiobook recording of a classic, Thomas Hardy’s far from the madding crowd. And that I believe is being rerecorded because there is a film coming out so that is back to what we were talking about how you make something relevant again how you tie into the potential for sales and that by the way can I segue into a marketing moment here if you have the thing about audiobooks is the budget is usually nonexistent a tiny so to try to market is a big challenge it’s a little easier nowadays because of the Internet and all the list serves the talk about different genres of books and that sort of things but if you have an event or something in the media that you can tie into them that’s great that’s what we call piggybacking so if you can piggyback into the publicity for something else when you have a shot of increasing the sales of your book.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is the most famous title that you have distributed?
Jessica Kaye: We are distributing a recording of the great Gatsby, we are distributing a recording of several recordings of the Bible and that is something that sells perennially so do well-known children’s stories public domain children’s stories those do pretty well, Mark Twain’s stories are not all for children but on the classic fairytales that sort of thing they do pretty well those there’s always a new audience children ready to hear imagine if you’ve never heard hands-on Gretel.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: When you publish or distribute audible do you need a code for the book or how does it work?
Jessica Kaye: You don’t need one, no you don’t, they I think will assign one I don’t know if they still do that in the beginning when we first started working with them some years ago they talked about doing that but if you’re talking about a book identification code and ISBN code than the publisher if the publisher wants a code for the book they should secure their own code because it does allow you to move your book from the distributor to do the distributor otherwise if it’s identified with the distributor’s code than once you move to another distributor that code will work for you anymore.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you can you suggest like the author makes their own code and then gives it to the distributor to use it for the audiobooks or not?
Jessica Kaye: Yes and no usually we don’t even tell our clients that they need to even bother to get one because for audiobooks for digital audiobooks it’s less important than it is for hard copy for CDs and the like but if somebody does wish to do that if they do is to get their own code than yes we tell them they should do it themselves instead of relying… It’s expensive that’s why publishers don’t like to do it can be expensive I should say but if you buy enough of them at a time it’s less expensive and if you are planning to do more than one then you have all these extra codes for when you’re ready to use them.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You mentioned that your contract is for five years with the author wanted to cancel?
Jessica Kaye: With never said no.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How long does it take you to remove the content and what usually happens?
Jessica Kaye: When I get an email from an author or publisher wants to cancel then we usually say yes even if the five years or not up it’s like dating someone who doesn’t want to be with you why would you do that? And then we give notice to the sites that we work with us that we are no longer working with this publisher: take us down and when it’s out of our hands we don’t have the ability to go in and remove it ourselves so we just have to rely on them usually they are pretty good about it but once in a while we get an email from the publisher saying this is still up but once in a while I’ll get an accounting statement and see a title on their that we are being paid for the we don’t distribute any more so than I know that they didn’t take it down and then I have to go back to whoever it is and say please this is an hours anymore.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How many people are working with you now online or off-line?
Jessica Kaye: Personal there’s me this George Hoskins, I’m the person who does the contracts it’s my company I started it in 2006 and then George came along and he is the publisher liaison so that whenever there is anything technical I call him a tech guy I don’t know if he knows I call him my tech guy so all of the electronic media goes to George the metadata takes care of it for me he speaks metadata I don’t whenever there’s a glitch with the website either he tells me about it and I go to the site and say were having problems with this can you fix it or he will fix it if it’s something we can fix ourselves. Then we have somebody who helps us do our accounting statements because it’s a time-consuming and it’s essentially a manual compilation of all the seven reports we get so it was taking me too long so now we work with somebody who helps us to do that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is your daily life and work routine?
Jessica Kaye: If I’m in the studio I usually have to buy daily routine as I get up I do an hour of exercise usually and then I take my dog for a walk and then I go off to the studio if it’s a studio day than usually when I come home I have some emails to take care of or legal work contracts or otherwise contact with my clients and then of course I also have to check my big happy family emails and get in touch with people who have inquiries or questions and then if I’m not in the studio usually I will work at home for the first few hours of the day and then I go into my office and then I can talk to my law partner and we can work on things together or separately it depends on what projects we have going at any given time.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How much do you charge for if you take over the production of the audiobook per hour or how does it work?
Jessica Kaye: To produce it the answer to that is that it depends it depends on the project but typically nowadays most I think most people are looking at a cost per hour so what I usually ask is how many words are in the project and by word count we can come up with an estimate of what we think the finished our will be and then we give a quote but my quote isn’t the same for everybody because sometimes I have an editor working with me that costs less or costs more for a particular project and it depends on the studio if we are working at my studio and it’s less expensive than if we have to use a fancier studio elsewhere.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So each 10,000 words is about one hour?
Jessica Kaye: 9000.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Right, what’s your other hobbies?
Jessica Kaye: Well I guess you won’t be surprised to know I read a lot.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You read or you listen?
Jessica Kaye: I read and I listen, I live in Los Angeles I’m in my car a lot. I do listen. But I read constantly constantly reading. My other hobbies I travel I love to travel and I spend a lot of time with my family and my friends.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the must have or must use software is that you must use that make you more efficient?
Jessica Kaye: That’s a good question the first one is a word because I work with contract so much so I have to have word and of course I have to have the Internet but other than that for recording I have ProTools and I’m just making a peek at my phone to see what else I have…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are your top three apps on your smartphone?
Jessica Kaye: My number one app is actually my mail but my number two app is probably Viber so I can talk to people in other countries as long as I have Wi-Fi at hand and my third is probably map so I can find places and on how to get to.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three mentors?
Jessica Kaye: First and foremost my father who was really smart really eloquent but he was a very kind person and he loved people he was like the Uber dad everybody was his get as far as he was concerned if he could do something to help somebody he would do something to help somebody and he loved mankind and he also loved the law so everything I think I learned about respect for other people started with him. And then my mother my parents I grew up outside of New York City which is important because my parents took us to see Broadway shows a lot when I was a kid and that instilled in me a love of theater which by the way I left that out that is also one of my hobbies I go to a lot of theater and even on the board of a local theater, theater and music and literature are all intertwined and so I would have to say those are my top two mentors and my third mentor… That’s harder but I think maybe I’m going to give this one to Nick Benet who is the producer I told you about who said keep your eyes open kids because here comes spoken word and he was so right.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the most important factors for success in three words?
Jessica Kaye: Determination, education and bouncing back. By education by the way I don’t necessarily mean going to school I mean you have to immerse yourself in whatever genre or endeavor you are undertaking and then you have to be able to… You are going to get hit you are going to fall down unity a backup, perseverance there’s the third one.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is the biggest failure moment in your life and what did you learn from it?
Jessica Kaye: I thought about this when yes okay from a professional standpoint I should’ve sold the publishing mills much earlier than I did and what I learned from it is there’s a saying I don’t know if I invented it but I use from time to time which is we’ve all heard the saying opportunity knocks so when opportunity knocks open the door and opportunity knocked a lot while I had my company and I didn’t open the door I thought that opportunity would knock louder and I also think I was a little shortsighted in that I was so wrapped up in my sense of identity with being the publisher but company that I couldn’t…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So what is the difference between that one and a The family?
Jessica Kaye: That was a publishing company we actually would license rights to make audiobooks I would license rights and cast them and direct them I had a deal with distributors to get them into the marketplace, big happy family is only a distributor we don’t manufacture we don’t produce I do produce audiobooks but not a big happy family.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And what is the bigger opportunities that knocked that you think is bigger than that company?
Jessica Kaye: Well the opportunities that knocked were several times during the course of owning the company I received offers to sell it and I did not take those offers and then when I did get rid of the company it was because I wanted to move on and it wasn’t the optimum time to say the least so I think I held onto it for too long thinking there will be a better deal I want a better deal and that is not what happened and I wasn’t thinking about, I was thinking that that was have you heard the expression reaching for the brass ring?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Nope.
Jessica Kaye: Basically that means you want to have something it’s like when you ship comes in something wonderful is going to happen and then you are set but by selling the company that was the size of my publishing company I still would’ve had to go on to do something else and I hadn’t really contemplated but something else would be I was so wrapped up in that one business and I think that the important thing for business people to learn today unless they are in a business that they want to be in forever is to realize that there will be life after this initial business you are going to have another business or you aren’t but life is not going to start and end because you are but this one company so that was I think the biggest lesson that everything is temporary and take opportunities when they come.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the habits that you are trying to develop to stay efficient?
Jessica Kaye: This is interesting too because I’ve been talking to people about this very issue recently it turns out there are a lot of people like me who have a list of things whether it’s a realist or an email list but just in your head of things you need to do people are depending on you to do them. Want to get them off your desk and yet even though you know that you need to do them and people wanted to do them you aren’t doing and why? I don’t know the answer to that. I haven’t had anybody tell me why is this list of things we all procrastinate to do and yet we would be so much happier if we just did them and got them off our to do list so I’ve been working on just doing the things that I don’t want to have on my to do list anymore it’s time it’s past time so I would like to just learn to take things as they come just do them when they come in just do things on time get rid of them.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How do you change your mood when you’re depressed what you do?
Jessica Kaye: I’m happy to say that I don’t get depressed very often but I did the other day I was feeling blue and stressed and of all things I decided to eat a banana there’s a lot of potassium and bananas and they are really good for you and can be me changing and actually helped me a lot my stress was lifted so it’s a first and foremost make sure that your diet is balanced and that you are getting all the potassium and magnesium and nutrients that you need I think that is actually applicable to a lot of people. I think also by getting rid of those things on my list I was what I was stressed about.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Were walking the dog.
Jessica Kaye: Yes that helps as well.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is the best advice that you ever received?
Jessica Kaye: Right when I got out of law school I was in the Los Angeles County law library and this happened to me twice I was doing some research for a friend and two different older men came up to me at two different times and said oh you are new, whatever you do you should specialize. That was really interesting advice that I ignored because I thought that the most fun thing to do is a lawyer would be to be a general practitioner so you are doing the same thing everyday because it would be more interesting to have lots of different things come your way but in fact as I get older I found that those gentlemen were both right for me anyway the focus that comes with specializing allows you to understand the nuance the detail of a particular area whether it’s in law or any other business I think that makes a lot of sense, specialize.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: If you had the chance to advise your younger self what would you advise your younger self?
Jessica Kaye: Besides sell the company? I think I would have to tell myself to learn how to relax more and it’s not the same as taking time off it’s actually learning how to deal with stress because my young working life was very stressful so if I could go back and teach myself that I think that would’ve been…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: That’s very interesting, 90% of the people when I asked him this question the answer this question which is slow down relax because we are always in a rush when we are young and then we realize it isn’t worth it.
Jessica Kaye: Exactly everything that seems a big, there are some things that are big but by and large the things we’re focused on in any moment turn out to just be little blips in time. Even when it comes to raising kids all the things that are so upsetting Johnny got a D on this paper I don’t have a kid named Johnny by the way I’m just making that up but sure help your kids but it’s not worth tearing your hair out unless this is a chronic problem to know what I mean like of his little bumps in the road they are just little bumps in the road.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is your favorite quote?
Jessica Kaye: My favorite quote? I don’t know if I have one when I was in high school we had the opportunity to put a quote under our senior picture and I put ignorance is bliss. I think a lot of people think that ignorance is not bliss but I think after all this time I still think in some context it is.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three favorite books?
Jessica Kaye: My very favorite book and has been since high school is the heart is a lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, incredible novel about relationships in a small town I read it again recently and it holds up she was I think twenty-three years old when she wrote it it’s incredible. I’m not sure if I have two other favorite books. I’m sorry I love so many books.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You don’t read any nonfiction just novels?
Jessica Kaye: I do actually I do want to mention one other one this one is fiction and I love it so much that I’ve now been reading everything that this gentleman writes it’s a book called the shadow of the wind by Carlos Ruiz and I guess it was a huge bestseller but I didn’t hear about it until a couple months ago when a friend told me about it and it’s just enchanting and really well-written and captivating so I really recommend that. Nonfiction what’s my favorite nonfiction book? I’ve read so many that are so important, I guess just as a genre the ones I like our work people actually have the ability to focus on the subject and then expose it to us so that we can appreciate what other people have experienced or are still experiencing and usually those are sad books but sometimes there are lessons we can learn.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three people that you’re inspired by?
Jessica Kaye: Was that on my list? Top three people I’m inspired by… Well I know this is redundant but I will go back to my parents because not only did they said an amazing example for all of us and I come from a big family but they remained good people doing it and taught us more or less how to have a compass the points true North, some of us it stays there are some of us it wobbles a little but there were big lessons there for everybody and then I guess because it’s 2015 and there is still so much animosity among people this is a hard one but I guess I could say Barack Obama but I’m sort of leaning towards Martin Luther King because if you put yourself at risk to say things people don’t want to hear you say but there are things people need to hear it’s pretty incredible. I could’ve said Winston Churchill too.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What makes you really happy?
Jessica Kaye: Family and friends, good books I love coffee I love good coffee beautiful days travel, helping people I like that I’m able to help people with my law firm and also with big happy family but more so I think at the law firm, my dog I love him.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Last question how can people contact you?
Jessica Kaye: My email address is Jessicakaye@bighappyfamilyaudio.com or actually the email I check the most often is my aol address with is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thank you so much Jessica for your time and this valuable information I really appreciate it.
Jessica Kaye: Thank you it was a pleasure to talk to you.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thanks everyone be efficient and stay efficient and see you soon with another leading expert.
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أحمد القرملي : مرحباً جميعاً معكم أحمد القرملي ومرحباً بكم في البرنامج التلفزيوني “كن كفوءاً ” إن الهدف من هذا العرض التلفزيوني هو رفع كفاءتكم على الصعيد العملي والشخصي من خلال نصائح وإرشادات من كبار الخبراء وضيفتي اليوم جيسيكا كاي مؤسسة الأسرة الكبيرة السعيدة والكتب الصوتية لشركة التوزيع، والرئيسة السابقة لجمعية الناشرين الصوتية والحائزة على جائزة جرامي عن إنتاجها للكتب الصوتية مع أكثر من 500 كتاب صوتي مسجل لإئتماناتها وهي أيضاً محامية متخصصة في القانون الترفيهي مرحباً بك في برنامجنا جيسيكا
أحمد القرمل : شكراً لك, شكراً على استضافتي
أحمد القرملي : إذاًَ ما هي ثقافتك وكيف بدأت بالعمل بالصوتيات؟ هل بدأت بها قبل أن تمارسي المحاماة؟
أحمد القرمل : لقد وصلت إلى هنا من طريقين مختلفين في البداية عندما كنت صغيرة كنت دائماً أرغب بأن أعمل بالتسجيلات التجارية فلقد كنت أحب الموسيقى منذ أن كنت طفلة وعندما انتقلت إلى لوس انجلوس حضرت صف في ملحق جامعة كاليفورنيا وهو جزء من جامعة كاليفورنيا لكن من أجل بطاقة الائتمان أنت لا تعمل على الدبلوم الجامعي والصف كان عن الإنتاج القياسي وسجل المنتج والذي كان يدرس هذا الصف كان رجل رائع يدعى نيك بينيت ولكنه للأسف لم يعد موجود معنا وكان الصف حول الكلمة المتكلمة ولا يزال يدرسنا الصف هذا أكبر شيء وهذا يتعلق برجال الزاوية ويجذب الانتباه وهذا أمر مثير للاهتمام لأنه منتج موسيقي ناجح جداً فواحدة من الفتيات الأخريات في ذلك الصف ولقد بدأت أحاول وضعهم مع بعض كمشروع للكلمة المتحدثة فأعتقد أنها.. فسأقول أنهم مشاهير محليين لكن أعتقد أنها كانت المتحدثة الرسمية في ذلك الوقت لشركة جي أس التي تدعى اللهجة ولقد أردنا أن نؤلف كتاب صوتي عن الطبخ معها ولقد كانت شخصية لها مكانة كبيرة ولقد كانت ممتعة للغاية لكننا لم نتعاقد معها في الماضي كما يحدث في بعض الأحيان فلم أكتسب أي خبرة في إنتاج الكتب الصوتية في ذلك الوقت لكنني تعلمت القليل حول التفاوض ثم بعد بضعة سنين أصبحت نائبة لرئيس مستشار البيت للشؤون التجارية لشركة المشاريع الترفيهية الصغيرة المحلية لإنتاج الأفلام التلفزيونية وأحياناً الأفلام الروائية الطويلة ولقد كانت أيضاً تنشر الكتب الصوتية ولقد كانت شركة صغيرة جداً أعتقد أننا كنا ستة موظفين نعمل في تلك الشركة وربما كنا في فترة ما ثمانية أشخاص فلقد تعلمت كل شيء ولقد كانت مساعدة لي بشكل كبير وبعد بضعة سنين بدأت بإنشاء شركتي الخاصة لنشر الكتب الصوتية ولقد كنت أضيف إلى ذلك حبي للموسيقى ولقد أحببت أيضاً الكتب والمؤلفات والكتب الصوتية فالزواج المثالي يكون بين هذين الشيئين أن تعمل مع الفنون المسجلة…فلقد كنت محظوظة جداً
أحمد القرملي : منذ متى تعتقدين أن عصر الكتب الصوتية قد بدأ؟
أحمد القرمل : منذ زمن طويل فلقد كنت أرافقها على الدوام لقد كانت هناك على ما أعتقد ربما قد أكون مخظئة فهناك شركة تدعى كادمون كانت قد بدأت على ما أعتقد بالخمسينات ولقد كانوا يسجلون الأعمال الخاصة للمؤلفين المشهورين أعتقد مثل التي أس إيليوت ليس لدي أي مثال آخر أعتذر لا أذكر أي شيء آخر لكن حوالي في منتصف الثمانينيات أصبح الأمر تجاري وأصبح هذا القسم أكثر بروزاً في مجتمع النشر فلقد أضاف الكثير من كبار الناشرين أقسام للكتب الصوتية في ذلك الوقت والقليل منهم لم يكونوا قليلين ولكن ناشرين مستقلين وبرزت بشكل كبير أيضاً وأود أن أقول أنه في المنتصف الأخير من الثمانينيات وما بعدها لقد بأت بالتداول والنمو بشكل كبير
أحمد القرملي : إنك عضوة في جمعية الناشرين الصوتيين هل يمكنك أن تحدثينا اكثر عنها؟
أحمد القرمل : جمعية الناشرين الصوتيين قد شكلت أعتقد في وقت ما من النصف الأخير من الثمانينيات لتكون وسلة لجمع هذه الصناعات مع بعضها لاستخدام قوتهم ومصادرهم لزيادة الوعي حول الكتب الصوتية مرة أخرى ثم إذا كنت قد عملت في الكتب الصوتية من قبل كم مرة من أصل عشرة وربما تسعة وتسعين مرة من أصل مئة إذا قلت لشخص ما يعمل في الكتب الصوتية فإنهم سيقولون قبل كل شيء سيقولون ماهذا ثم عندما تقوم بشرح ما هو سيقولون أه أنت تعني أنها من أجل العميان؟ فحتى إن كان هناك بالفعل سوق تجاري من أجل هذا فلا يزال هناك العديد من الناس لم يسمعوا عنها بعد وربما هذا هو جزء من الدافع لإنشاء جمعية الناشرين الصوتيين وأصبحت بالوقت الحالي منظمة أكبر بكثير مما كانت عليه من قبل عندما كنا ستة أو ثمانية أو عشرة أعضاء كنا لا نزال نشجع الكتب الصوتية بأعتبارها صناعة
أحمد القرملي : ما هو تركيزك الحالي؟
أحمد القرمل : ما الذي تقصده؟
أحمد القرملي : من حيث الأسرة الكبيرة السعيدة والشركات الأخرى وموقع Kaye Mills.com الذي تعملين عليه ما هي الخدمات التي تقدمينها؟
أحمد القرمل : دعني أرى شكراً لك كاي وميلز هي شركة قانونية أعمل بها مع شريكي كيفن ميلز لقد تخصص بالمقام الأول بالقانون الترفيهي ولقد عمل كمستشار إنتاجي لمدة قصيرة على الأفلام الروائية ومعظمها كانت أفلام روائية مستقلة فميزانيتها هي وحدها تعتمد على المكان مع أفلام صغيرة جداً بميزانية ملايين الدولارات للأفلام الأكبر فكلنا كنا نعمل على معاملات الأعمال التجارية فإذا أراد شخص ما أن يؤسس شركة فيمكننا أن نساعده على ذلك وإذا كانوا قد شكلوا عقود فيمكننا أن نفاوضهم أو نفسرها لهم بالاعتماد على المجال القانوني للعقود ثم علي أيضاً أن أركز على النشر فلقد كنت أقضي الكثير من الوقت على المنشورات الصوتية وأيضاً الشركة التي قد ذكرتها لكم الشركة الترفيهية التي كنت أعمل بها كانت تقوم أيضاً بنشر بعض الكتب وكنت أقوم ببعضها وكنت أمثلها ولا أزال أمثل عدداً من المؤلفين وأحياناً شركات نشر أو شركات توزيع صغيرة بهذا المجال فمعظم تركيزي يمكنني أن أقول أنه على أعمال النشر لكن جميع العقود وأي منا كنا نقوم بهذا وتنقاضى عليه فإننا لا نذهب إلى المحكمة فلا نقوم بهذا
أحمد القرملي : ما هي منشورات ميلز ولماذا قمت ببيعها؟
أحمد القرمل : إنها شركة قد أسستها في عام 1990 وهي شركة للكتب الصوتية ولكن مع مرور عدة سنين لقد انتهي بنا الأمر مع غلاف عادي واحد وكنا قد نشرنا حوالي 200 كتاب صوتي لقد أسستها على ما أعتقد ليكون لدي بعض الاستقلالية لنشر ما أريد أن أنشره وأيضاً لتكون لدي الحرية في المجيء والذهاب ولأذهب متى ما أردت فأنا لدي أطفال صغار, صغار جداً فلا أعلم أعتقد أنه كان لدي خطأ أثناء تنظيم المشروع فلقد عدت إلى الجامعة بعد تخرجي من جامعة الحقوق وحصلت على ماجستير في إدارة الأعمال من جامعة جنوب كاليفورنيا وأعتقد أنه في آخر الفصل الدراسي لقد كنت هناك وحضرت ندوة عن تنظيم المشاريع وبعد حضور هذه الندوة لقد فكرت كم سيكون أمراً عظيماً العمل على تأسيس شركة كبيرة مثل شركة أمريكان إكسبريس ولعب دور مهم بعجلة الزمن فلقد أردت أن يكون لي دور مهم فبعد أن حضرت هذه الندوة عن تنظيم المشاريع ولقد كانت حقاً عكس أي شيء قد تطرقت إليه من قبل وانتهى بي المطاف للقيام بذلك منذ ذلك الحين
أحمد القرملي : إذاً أنت تدفعين المؤلفين للناشرين بالوقت الحالي هل تساعدينهم على إطلاق موادهم ما هي بالضبط الأسرة الكبيرة السعيدة؟
أحمد القرمل : إنها شيئان مختلفان فالأسرة الكبيرة السعيدة تقوم بتوزيع الكتب الصوتية فقط بتوزيعها رقمياً فإذا كان لدى أحدهم أقراص ليزرية أو أي نسخة مطبوعة بأي شكل آخر للكتاب الصوتي فنحن لا نعمل على هذا لكننا نطرح الكتاب الصوتي على شبكة الانترنت حيث يمكنهم تحميله أو بثها فعلى سبيل المثال المسموعيات ستوزع على أماكن مكتبات مثل هذه هذا ما نقوم به بالاسرة الكبيرة السعيدة في كاي وميلز هو المكان الذي أمثل به المؤلفين وبصفتي هذه يمكنني أن أدفع موادهم إلى الناشرين وأحاول أن أجد شيء يناسب حقاً هذا الكتب والمؤلف على وجه الخصوص
أحمد القرملي : فالكتب الغير تقليدية هي فقط كتب صوتية أو الكتب الرقمية الإلكترونية أيضاً أو فقط المسجلة؟
أحمد القرمل : نعم ولا ففي شركتنا القانونية نعمل على الكتب التقليدية لكننا لا ننشرهم أو نوزعهم لكننا فقط نحاول أن نجد ناشر مناسب لزبائنا بتلك الصفة
أحمد القرملي : إذاً أنت تتصرفين كوكيل؟
أحمد القرمل : نوع من الوكالة وبتلك الصفة يمكنني أن أدعو نفسي المحامي الأدبي للأسرة الكبيرة السعيدة وبالواقع إننا نقوم بنشر الكتب الإلكترونية منذ حوالي سنة مضت ونساعد أكثر بالقيام بهذا ولكن أعتقد أننا نعمل أكثر مع الكتب الصوتية
أحمد القرملي : ما هي ابعاد ذلك لقد قلت أن الشركة توزع الكتب الصوتية على المكتبات كيف تقوم بهذا على شكل أقراص ليزرية كيف يتم هذا؟
أحمد القرمل : أبعاد توزيعها على المكتبات وأعتقد أنهم لديهم أيضاً أسواق أخرى بالوقت الحالي ولكن بقدر علمي أنها فقط تنزيلات رقمية فعلى سبيل المثال عندما أدخل لشبكة الانترنت لمكتبتي المحلية وأشتري الكثير من الكتب لكنني ايضاً أخذ بعض الكتب من المكتبة وفي بعض الأحيان إنني أحمل بعض الكتب الإلكترونية من المكتبة التي قد زودت بها المكتبة بشكل متسارع أو شركة مشابهة للأبعاد فيمكنك أن تحصل على الكتاب الصوتي إما هن طريق الذهاب إلى المكتبة والحصول على نسخة مطبوعة أو يمكنك تحميلها على حاسوبك من دون أن تغادر منزلك وبشكل سريع والشركات التي تتعامل معهم وهناك شركات أخرى تقوم بهذا أيضاً وتطبق الكتب الصوتية في المكتبات
أحمد القرملي : إذاً أنت تقومين بتحميلها مجاناً أو إنها عضوية من خلال المكتبة أو كيف يعمل ذلك؟
أحمد القرمل : أعتقد أن هذا يعتمد على المكتبة, ففي مكتبتي ليس هناك أية رسوم للانتساب إليها وهي مكتبة في مقاطعة لوس أنجلوس لكنني أتفهم أن هناك بعض أنظمة المكتبات تفرض رسوم بسيطة ربما من أجل تنزيل الكتب الإلكترونية أو الكتب الصوتية
أحمد القرملي : هل يمكنك أن تحدثينا عن القانون الترفيهي؟
أحمد القرمل : حسناً إنها فئة واسعة جداً فلدينا مجموعة واسعة جداً من العملاء هناك المنتجين كما قد ذكرت لك الأشخاص الذين نمثلهم الذين يحاولون أن يضعوا المشاريع مع بعضها من أجل التلفاز أو الأفلام أو حتى على الشبكات كمسلسل تلفزيوني أي شيء قد يخطر على بالك أو مباشرة على أقراص دي في دي كل أنواع المشاريع مثل هذه ونعمل مع الموسيقيين في بعض الأحيان ونعمل كما قد ذكرت كثيراً مع الكتاب وهذا أكبر جزء من عالم الترفيه على أغلب الأحيان الذي أنهي به إنه كاتب الكتاب لكننا أيضاً نعمل في بعض الأحيان مع كاتب السيناريو فنحن لا نحب التقديم فنحن لسنا من نوع المحامين الذين يأخذون المشروع إلى أستديوهات مختلفة ليعرفوا إن كان هناك أي أحد يريده لكن إذا جاء إلينا زبون وقال أنه لديه عرض ويحتاج إلى محامي ليتأكد من أن عقده صحيح ومن هنا نتدخل مع الكتاب في سيناريو
أحمد القرملي : ما هو الفرق بين حقوق النشر والعلامات التجارية والملكية الفكرية؟
أحمد القرمل : الملكية الفكرية هي في الأساس يمكنني أن أقول أنه شيء خاص يمكنك أن تلمسه لكن بالطبع إنه شيء يمكنك ألتقاطه ككتاب أو دي في دي لكن المحتوى الذي بين هذه الأغلفة أو على هذا القرص هو ما يسمى الملكية الفكرية هو تعبير عن عمل شخصاً ما الذي هو كتاباتهم أو أفلامهم أو موسيقاهم الذي قد تم تسجيله أو كتابته أو إنشائه وحقوق الطبع والنشر تحمي هو تعبير لما يسمى دعنا نرى في أغلب الأحيان يكون لدي زبون وهذا عادة يحدث آخر الأسبوع الزبائن تأتي إلي ولديها فكرة ولكن لا تريد أن تقولها لأحد وحتى إن أمتلكت حقوق الطبع والنشر على هذه الفكرة فيجب أن أخبرها أنها لا تمتلك حقوق النشر والأفكار يمكنك فقط أن تمتلكي عليها حقوق النشر وما نسميه التعبير عن الفكرة فعليها أن تكتب كتاب أو تقوم بتسجل ألبوم أو حتى كلمات موسيقية وبخلاف هذا يمكن أن تكون محمية وفي الحقيقة حقوق النشر في الولايات المتحدة هي محمية فتحصل على حقوق النشر على موادك حالما تقوم بإنشائها
أحمد القرملي : إذاً هي لا تستطيع تسجيل براءة الأختراع على فكرتها؟
أحمد القرمل : براءة الأختراع هي شيء آخر تماماً فبراءة الأختراع هي شريط منفصل بكامله منفصل بشكل كامل فيجب أن يتم قبولك في براءة الإختراع لتكون وكيل لبراءات الإختراع لأن معظم وكلاء براءات الإختراع هم من مهندسين فالحصول على براءة اختراع إنه أمر معقد جداً في أغلب اﻷحيان وشخص مثلي لن يفهم بالضرورة ما أقوله أنه لدي صفحات وصفحات من التعليمات البرمجية التي يريدها البعض لحماية براءة أختراعهم أو بعض أفكارهم الهندسية وهي لا تكون في بعض الأحيان شيء يمكن أستيعابه فأي شخص لديه خلفية هندسية هو في أغلب الأحيان أعتقد أنك ستجد أن معظم وكلاء براءة الإختراع لديهم خلفية بالهندسة فهذا يحمي الاختراعات بشكل أكبر وهذا النوع من الإنشاءات ولكن حقوق النشر تحمي تعابيرك الإبداعية كتبك وأقراصك المضغوطة موسيقاك وأفلامك وهذا النوع من الأشياء ولكن علي القول أن أمتلاك حقوق النشر على الفور على إنشاءاتك يسمح لك بالحصول على الحماية القانونية في الولايات المتحدة حقوق النشر الممنوحة عليك أن تسجل تلك الحقوق للنشر فتحصل على حقوقك للنشر لكن بشكل نظامي لنقول أن شخص ما قد خالف ذلك فإذا كنت تريد يمكنك رفع دعوى وتحصل على تعويضات التي تحتاجها لذلك التسجيل ولكن عادة الناس فقط تضع علامة على حقوق النشر وهذا يعني أنه لديها حقوق للطبع والنشر فكيف يمكن للناس تسجيل حقوقهم للنشر
أحمد القرملي : وكم يكلف وكم المدة التي يستغرقها؟
أحمد القرمل : حسناً هذا نوع من الفوضى وضع هذا عدم القيام بأي شيء حقيقي فقط وضع علامة سي على النسخة الخطية لموادك دون تسجيلها إنها حقوقك للنشر من لحظة إنشائها فليس عليك أن تقلق على الإطلاق ما إذا كان لدي حقوق للنشر على قصتي القصيرة أو على فيلمي نعم لديك في نظام حكومة الولايات المتحدة فيمكنك أن ترى شخص ما يعود لك فأنت بحاجة إلى تسجيله في مكتب حقوق النشر في الولايات المتحدة والرسوم على هذا تعتمد على ما الذي تقوم بتسجيله تعتمد على ما تقوم به على الانترنت أو ترسلها بالبريد في رؤيتك وتقدم نسخة على ما الذي تقوم بتسجيله وكم الفترة التي تحتاجه هذا سؤال جيد أيضاً لقد أجريت هذا الحوار مع بعض المحامين على مشغل للقوائم الإلكترونية لأنني قد قمت بتسجيل موسيقى لأحد الزبائن في الأونة الأخيرة ولقد قمنا بهذا التسجيل بسرعة كبيرة ولقد قمت بهذا التسجيل في آخر شهر أو تسجيل رواية لزبون إنها لم تظهر أي شيء إلى اﻷىن كتسجيل إنه لم يسجل على الانترنت ولم نحصل على أي شيء فسألت هذا للمحامين الأخرين ما الذي قد وجدتوه كم المدة التي تستغرقه لتسجيل حقوق النشر لعمل مكتبة و الأجوبة في جميع أنحاء الخريطة وأحد الوكلاء قال أن التسجيل لحقوق النشر على الانترنت يجب أن تستغرق فقط ثمانية أشهر وشخص آخر قال يجب أن تنتظر لتسمع الإجابة فمن يعرف
أحمد القرملي : إذاً بكلمات إنجليزية بسيطة ما هو الفرق بين حقوق النشر والملكية الفكرية؟
أحمد القرمل : حقوق النشر هو فقط لتأمين مصلحة ملكيتك وبمعنى آخر نقول أنك شخص لديك حق للفعل بموادك ما الذي تريده وليست من حق أي شخص آخر الملكية الفكرية هي ما الذي تريد حمايته بموجب حقوق النشر فالملكية الفكرية هو موجود بحد ذاته وحقوق النشر هي حقوقك المحمية لذلك الإنشاء ويكون لديك أيضاً علامةتجارية…فالعلامة التجارية هو لحماية مصطلح واسم لشيء ما جاء ليمثل علامتك التجارية بشكل أساسي وباختصار إنه شيء ما إضافي فإننا في بعض الأحيان نحرض الناس على الحصول على علامة تجارية على كتبهم ففي هذا الوقت أنت لا تحصل على علامة تجارية على كتابك ولكن تحصل على حقوق للنشر ولكن إذا كتبت سلسلة من الكتب ربما يصبح بإمكانك الحصول على علامة تجارية كاسم لسلسة الكتب مثل ستار ورز على سبيل المثال لكن هذا لا ينطبق على أحد الأفلام التي بعنوان ستار ورز وهذا سيكون بالأمر الصعب على الرغم من أنه كان هناك ألعاب وجميع الأنواع الأخرى المشابهة التي تعمل ثم كان بإمكانك أن تنشأ علامة تجارية وبذلك تكون قد حصلت على علامتك التجارية الخاصة وهي في الأساس لحماية مظلتك بشكل شامل, ما هي الكلمة التي أبحث عنها؟
أحمد القرملي : المحتوى؟
أحمد القرمل : ليس المحتوى بحد ذاته لكن تحديد هوية المحتوى الاسم أياً كان يمكن التعرف عليه
أحمد القرملي : من ذلك العلامة التجارية, إذاً ما كانت مشاركتك في المشروع لإنشاء غرامي لقد أردت أن أسألك عن هذا؟
أحمد القرمل : حسناً عندما كان لدي شركتي الخاصة منشورات ميلز لقد قمنا بترشيح عنوان غرامي قبل كل شيء ولقد فاز حقاً وكان هذا فقط لأنني لم أكن أعرف حقاً إذا كانوا سيسمونه أفضل مستعمرة مسجلة وكانت هذه من أحد الحالات المثيرة للاهتمام كان هناك شخص كوميدي يدعى جوناثان وينترز كان مشهور جداً هنا لا أعرف من أين أنت ولكنه متواجد هنا منذ عقود ولكنه لم يفز ولا مرة بجائزة غرامي وكان لنا صديق مشترك، ومرة جاء إلي صديقه مع بعض التسجيلات وقال أن جوناثان قد ترك رسالة صوتية على آلة الرد على المكالمات في منزله ترك الكثير من الرسائل ولقد كانت بحروف مختلفة ولقد ترك تصريح مكتوب من جوناثان وينترز من أجل إطلاقهم كألبوم فكان هذا الرجل لديه عدد قليل من المواد وبدأنا القيام بذلك حاولنا أن نجعل نوعية الصوت أفضل من تلك التي تحصل عليها بالعادة على آلة الرد على المكالمات وكانت هذه الرسائل الصوتية لا تزال على جهاز الرد على المكالمات فقمنا بتحريرها لإخراج بعض الأقسام ولم نكن نعتقد أن الأمر سيكون مسلياً جدا أو لتنظيف الضوضاء كما فعلنا فالذي أستطعنا إخراجه كان عبارة عن ألبوم كوميدي لأنها كانت بشكل أساسي عبارة عن تمثيليات كوميدية صغيرة قد تركت في ذلك العام على جهازه للرد على مكالمات أصدقائه وهذا ما كانت لأجله جائزة غرامي للكوميديا وبعد ذلك قمنا ببعض الكتب الصوتية إنها سيرة مصرح بها للزعماء وهم جماعة موسيقيين ايرلنديين فلقد كان لديهم متابعين مخلصين في جميع أنحاء العالم ولقد كانوا متواجدين هنا لعقود لقد كانوا ساحرين للغاية ولقد أنتابني إحساسي أنه لأنهم كانوا محبوبين جداً في عالم الموسيقى فيمكنني ترشيحهم للفوز بجائزة غرامي واتضح بعد ذلك فنحن لم نفوز بتلك الجائزة لقد نسيت الآن من الذي فاز بها
أحمد القرملي : لماذا من الصعب على المؤلف أن ينشر مباشرةعلى موقع لايتون أو موقع أودبيل وهذا من حق فقط كل هذه الشركات المتخصصة بنشر الكتب الصوتية؟
أحمد القرمل : من الصعب أن أجيب على هذا السؤال لأنني لا أعمل في موقع لايتون أو في موقع أودبيل لكن يمكنني أن أجيبك من وجهة نظري ما الذي قد قام به أودبيل ليجعل الأمر أسهل لا أعرف كم عدد الأشخاص الذين يشاهدون الثلج حول شيء ما يدعى أسي أكس وأعلم أنني أتفهم أنها غير متوفرة في جميع أخاء العالم لكنني أعتقد أنهم يحاولون التوسع أعتقد أنها ربما أصبحت موجودة في الولايات المتحدة لكنني لم أقتبس ذلك من أجلي فالفكرة من هذا أنه إذا كنت صاحب الملكية الفكرية وإذا كان لديك حقوق لكتاب معين وكان موجود على موقع الأمازون فيمكنك بشكل أساسي المطالبة بذلك عن طريق الذهاب إلى سي أكس وتكتب اسم ذلك الكتاب فتظهر لك صفحة الأمازون فتقول إن هذا من ممتلكاتي وأريد أن أسجل هذا الكتاب صوتياً ثم يصبج بإمكانك القيام بهذا ثم إما أنك توظف راوي وتدفع له أو أنه في بعض الأحيان الرواة يعملون مقابل نسبة من الأرباح وبتلك الطريقة ويصبح بإمكانك أن تذهب مباشرة كمؤلف وتحصل على موادك على موقع أودبيل والأودبيل بدوره سوف يضع الكتاب الصوتي على موقع إلتون وعلى موقع أمازون أيضاً وعلى موقع أودبيل وهذه هي أحدى الطرق والطريقة أﻷثانية أعتقد أنها طريقة صعبة إن لم يكون لديك كتاب على موقع الأمازون فلا أعرف إن كان أسي أكس متوفر بالنسبة لك ربما هو متوفر؟
أحمد القرملي : لا أعتقد فالأمر معقد فهم بحاجة إلى نسخة عن النص أو نسخة على موقع الأمازون من أجل وضعه على أسي أكس الأساسي وكما قد قالت إنه غير متوفر في جميع أنحاء العالم
أحمد القرمل : نعم فأتخيل أنهم سيغيرون هذا بالسرعة التي يمكنهم القيام بذلك ومرة أخرى ليس لدي أية فكرة عن الأعمال الداخلية التي ضمن أسي أكس الأساسي أو الأمازون أو أودبيل وأخرين لأعرف مدى نموهم لكنها مجرد شكوك لدي أنهم سوف يتوسعون في البلدان الأخرى حالما يستطيعون لم أطلع على الموقع منذ فترة فلست متأكدة إذا كان هناك أي طريقة لوضع حجز هناك للكتاب الغير متواجد على موقع الأمازون فإذا كانت أسي أكس غير متوفرة لمؤلف فما يمكنه القيام به هو إيجاد شركة توزيع مثل شركتي إذا كان جاهز لأنتاج كتاب صوتي وإذا لم يكن لديه كتاب صوتي فهو بحاجة إلى توصية كبيرة فعليك العثور على منتج لديه خبرة كبيرة في إنتاج الكتب الصوتية عوضاً عن القيام بذلك بنفسك لأنني قد أستمعت إلى عدد كبير من الكتب الصوتية السيئة وفي بعض الأحيان هذا هو السبب أنه عندما يكتب إلي مؤلف يخبرني بأنه قد أستخدم منتج لديه خبرة عالية فأعلم أن الصوت سيكون ممتاز وأسمعه وأقول أنه ليس سيء إلى هذه الدرجة لأن هناك أمور قياسية فيه والأشخاص الذين يشترون الكتب الصوتية قد أستمعوا إلى عدد لا بأس به من الكتب الوتية ويعلمون ما هو الكتاب الصوتي وكيف يجب أن يكون وإذا سمعوا أي شيء لا يبدو جيد فإنهم سوف يعطون رؤية سلبية وهذا يعني أنك لن تبيع أعداد كبيرة في المستقبل فمن المهم أن تعلم في معنى آخر أن كتابك الصوتي والكتاب الصوتي لأي مؤلف يتنافس مع جميع الكتب الصوتية المطروحة في السوق فيجب أن يبدو بأحسن أحواله وقريب من الفنون الحديثة قدر الإمكان, وأيضاً تعديل الصوت بحكمة لكن فقط من أجل الخوض في التفاصيل لكن ليس عليك أن تكون قادر على الاستماع إلى صفحات فقط لتحول الأشخاص إلى مستوعبين فهناك معايير قياسية ويمكنك الذهاب إلى موقع audiopub وتطلع على أعضاء جمعية الناشرين الصوتيين أو يمكنك فقط القيام ببعض الأبحاث لتجد منتجين للكتب الصوتية وتعمل مع أشخاص في جميع أنحاء العالم
أحمد القرملي : من خلال اتصالاتنا كنت دائماً تقولين أنك في الأستديو فهل تساعدين في بعض الأحيان على إنتاج بعض الكتب الصوتية؟ ما الذي تقومين به داخل الاستديو ؟
أحمد القرمل : إنني أقوم بمساعدتهم فأنا محامية ولدي الأسرة السعيدة الكبيرة أيضاً لكنني لا أزال أقوم ببعض الإنتاج أيضاً والكتب الصوتية المباشرة لنفسي فأنا في أغلب الأحيان أتواجد بالاستديو في الحقيقة هذا هو عملي عندما كنا نتكلم من قبل في الشهر الماضي عن طريق البريد الإلكتروني كنت في منتصف مشروعي لكتاب صوتي ثم إنني في أغلب الأوقات في الأستديو فلا أزال أحبه
أحمد القرملي : إذاً أنت مديرة رواة؟
أحمد القرمل : لست راوية بل مديرة للرواة نعم الرواة الجيدون ليسوا بحاجة إلى مدير لكن من الجيد أن يكون لديك شخص ما يعرف كيفية نطق الكلمات أو نبرة الصوت أو كم يجب التشديد على الجمل ليس هذا أو أيا كان
أحمد القرملي : في الوقت الحالي في مجال التوزيع هل تركزين فقط على الجانب الرقمي أو تركزين أيضاً على الأقراص الليزرية وتساعد فيها؟
أحمد القرمل : إنني لا أساعد بهكذا أمور فهو ليس من ضمن أعمالنا فشعوري مع الأقراص الليزرية إذا لم تكن خطيباً عاماً وإذا لم تقم بما ندعوه العودة إلى غرفة اجتماعات المبيعات تؤدي بها خطابك وستمتلأ الغرفة على الفور بالأشخاص الذين يريدون شراء كتابك الصوتي وهذا شيء عظيم ثم يجب أن يكون لديك أقراص ليزرية لكن معظم الناس لا يقومون بهذا فالأشخاص الذين يريدون الاستماع إلى كتبهم الصوتية سوف يتجهون إلى مواقع الانترنت لشرائهم فأصبحت أماكن بيع الأقراص الليزرية أقل وأقل فنحن لا نقوم بتوزيعهم ولا نتعامل معهم على الإطلاق
أحمد القرملي : هل تركزين على الخيالي أو على الروائي أو على كلاهما؟
أحمد القرمل : كلاهما, مهما كان, فمعاييري واضحة جداً وهو الصوت الجيد فالشخص الذي يحضر ذلك لنا نجزم بأن من حقه القيام بذلك وغير ذلك ليس هناك الكثير من التعليقات فعادة عندما أقوم بالتعليق على شخص ما قد أرسل لنا شيء ما يمتاز بجودة عالية للصوت فمحتوى هذا الشيء عندما كانت الاسرة السعيدة الكبيرة صغيرة كنت أستمع إلى كل برنامج صوتي يقدم لنا من البداية إلى النهاية لكننا الآن نقوم بتوزيع المئات من العناوين ولا يمكنني القيام بهذا بعد الآن فاستمع فقط إلى عينة صغيرة فلا يمكنني تقييم المحتوى بناء على ذلك فهناك شرط على محتوياتنا يقول أن علينا ألا نستخف بأي شخص فقط لأنه غير مشهور فهذا لا يعني أنه سيء فعادة عندما تقدم لنا شيء ما فإنه يوقعنا في ورطة لدرجة ما
أحمد القرملي : ما هي البرامج الرئيسية التي تقومين بتوزيعها من حيث الكتب الصوتية؟
أحمد القرمل : حسناً البرنامج الأساسي إلى موعد هذه المقابلة هو برنامج الأودبيل فلديه عدد كبير من الزبائن وأفضلهم هم مالكي موقع الأمازون ولقد قاموا من بضعة سنين ببعض الإضافات فلقد وقعوا اتفاقات توزيع مع ألتون فببساطة عندما تضع موادك على موقع أودبيل شبكة الرؤية الشقيقة فإنك ستجد كتابك الصوتي أيضاً على موقع الأمازون ثم على موقع ألتون فهذه هي الكيانات الأساسية التي قد ذكرتها وأوفردريف هو موقع مفيد جداً للمكتبات وإننا نتعامل مع شركة تدعى أوديو بوكس وهي مشابهة للأودبيل نفس المفهوم وهناك شركة تدعى جد طريقك ولقد نمت بشكل كبير فلقد أعتادوا على إنشاء وأعتقد أنهم لا يزالون ينشؤون تسجيلات فردية موجودة على برنامج واحد تابع لهم فتشتري هذا البرنامج وإذا كنت في المطار وتريد أن تستمع إلى دعنا نقول كتاب الحرب والسلام فتشتري كتاب الحرب والسلام من متجر الكتب الذي في المطار وسيكون لديك شيء مسجل عليه محتوى وحيد ولديك سماعات ويكون الكتاب مسجل عليها بالفعل, كتاب صوتي لكن أكثر من ذلك أنهم يصبحون موزعين أيضاً فهم أيضاً يحصلون على أشياء مختلفة من المتاجر وربما من المكتبات لست متأكدة وهم أيضاً موزعين بالوقت الحالي لسكريبيد وهو موقع أيضاً ينمو كذلك فكلنا نرى فكلنا نرى أنني مستعد لفتح جميع أنواع منافذ التوزيع طالما ترتكز على بعض الأنواع الحقيقية وليست خيالية
أحمد القرملي : وماذا عن سبوتيفي هل هو موقع لبيع الكتب الصوتية أو أنه متخصص فقط في بيع الموسيقى؟
أحمد القرمل : لم نتعامل مع موقع سبوتيفي فلا يمكنني بالواقع أن أقيمه فلقد رأينا رسائل إلكترونية قصصية عن الموسيقى على موقع سبوتيفي والناس يتحدثون عن كيفية إحراقها ليس على سبوتيفي فقط لكن من باندورا أيضاً فالعائدات مجهرية لكنني لا أعلم من تجربتي الشخصية أعتقد أننا كلنا نعلم
أحمد القرملي : كم تستعرق هذه العملية عادة لإدراج هذه المحتويات والكتب الصوتية على هذه البرامج؟
أحمد القرمل : هذا يختلف تبعاً للمكان وأيضاً بالاعتماد على الحاجة الملحة للمؤلفين واحتياجاتهم فبعض الأشخاص يأتون إلي ويقولون لدينا هذا الكتاب الصوتي ولقد أنهينا للتو تسجيله لكننا نريد أن نضعه على موقع أودبيل خلال الأسابيع الثلاثة القادمة لأن هناك فيلم أساسي سنقوم بطرحه ولبعض الأسباب الأخرى ونحن محظوظون بما فيه الكفاية لنحصل على هذا الحق فسأقوم بالاتصال بموقع أودبيل وأقول لهم أنه لدينا هذا الكتاب الصوتي ونحتاج وضعه على الفور وأودبيل هي جيدة بما فيه الكفاية ليتأكدوا بأن يقوموا بالاعمال بسرعة إذا أحتجنا ذلك ومعظم الوقت لا نتعرض للاستغلال ومعظم الأحيان نطلب من مؤلفينا وناشرينا أن يبقوا أعينهم مفتوحة على المرئيات ويتفحصوها من وقت لآخر ليعرفوا إذا انطلق برنامجهم خلال ذلك الشهر ويخبروني لأعود إليهم وأقول لموقع أودبيل أننا لا نزال ننتظر ونسألهم هل يمكنهم أن يخبروني متى يتوقعون إصداره عادة وهذا الأمر متروك للوقت
أحمد القرملي : هل المؤلفين والمرخصين يمكنهم تتبع كتبهم ويمكنهم تتبع مبيعاتهم على ذلك البرنامج الذي وضعوه عليه أو كيف تتم هذه العملية الأعمال المدرجة عليهم ثم أنك كناشر أو موزع عليك أن تدخل إلى موقع أودبيل ليعرفوا مبيعاتهم ثم تدفع للمؤلف أو للمرخص بعد ستة أشهر أو بعد ثلاثة أشهر كيف تتم هذه العملية؟
أحمد القرمل : صحيح إننا ندفع كل ثلاثة أشهر لأننا نحصل على تقاريرنا كل ثلاثة أشهر وهذا شيء مثير للغاية بالنسبة لي وشيء محبط للزبائن الذين يتعاملون مع موقع أسي أكس وإنني أخبر الناشرين الذين يعملون على موقع أسي أكس أنه بإمكانهم رؤية مبيعاتهم ويمكنهم معرفة لحظة ذروة مبيعاتهم لكن إذا كنا نتعامل مع موقع أودبيل وليس مع موقع أسي أكس ونحن نتعامل مع موقع أودبيل فأنت لا تحظى بهذا الاختيار فلا يمكنك أن تعرف الوقت الحقيقي لمبيعاتك فعلينا الانتظار فكلنا نعتمد أعتماد كلي على تقاريرنا الفصلية وإنني آمل أن يتغير هذا الشيء ولكنني لست متأكد لماذا موقع يمكنه القيام بهذا بينما الموقع الآخر لا يمكنه ولكن هذا هو الوضع الحالي فنحن نحصل على تقارير فصلية ومن المفترض أن تأتينا خلال ستين يوم في نهاية هذا الفصل وفي بعض الأحيان ليس هناك وقت محدد وإلى أن تصلنا هذه التقارير لا يمكننا تقديم أي تقرير إلى زبائننا فعقودنا تقول أننا نقدم تقاريرنا خلال عدد غير محدد من الأسابيع أو الأيام بعد أن نتلقى هذه التقارير وإلا فإننا سنكون مسؤولين عن هذه التقارير التي ليست بمتناول أيدينا إلى الآن فعندما نحصل عليها …ليس على موقع أودبيل فقط لكن عادة إنها تصل متأخرة ونحصل على رسائل إلكترونية مستعجلة جداً من العديد من المواقع الأخرى التي نتعامل معها وفي أوفردرايف بالواقع يمكننا أن ندخل إليه بأي وقت ونعرف ذلك وأعتقد أنه الأستثناء الوحيد
أحمد القرملي : أيهما الأفضل الروائي أو الخيالي من حيث مبيعات الكتب الصوتية ولماذا؟
أحمد القرمل : لست متأكدة لكن هناك جواب بسيط على هذا السؤال على الرغم من وجود مجموعة إحصائية عن هذه الأجوبة لكن بقدر ما أن الأسرة الكبيرة السعيدة تعتمد اعتماداً كلياً على ماهية البرنامج فعلى سبيل المثال كان لدينا زبونة قد سجلت جميع الصوتيات بنفسها تتحدث عن كيفية الإقلاع عن التدخين وعن كيفية النوم وأشياء من هذا القبيل لقد قاموا بكل شيء بشكل جيد للغاية وكان الناس مهتمون حقاً في هذا النوع من البرامج وحتى الآن إذا جاء إلينا شخص قد كتب مذكراته بشكل مؤثر للغاية وكانت مهمة جداً وإذا الناس لم يبحثوا عن ذلك الشيء المعين فإنهم قد لا يجدونه وقد لا يقوموا بالبحث أيضاً فسواء في الكتب الخيالية أو الكتب القصصية سيكون هناك أشخاص يقومون بعملهم بشكل جيد جداً ولا يقدمون نفس الجودة في الكتب الخيالية
أحمد القرملي : هل تقومين بالتوصية مثلاً عندما تنشرين كتاب صوتي على موقع أودبيل هل تكتب وصف للمؤلف وهل تقترحين بعض الأشياء لتجعليه مثالي أو أن هذا يوضع من قبل المؤلف بشكل عام؟
أحمد القرمل : لا نقوم بهذا فلدينا نموذج حيث يرسلوه لنا وقد ملأوه بالمعلومات المترابطة فئات من الرئتين وكل هذه الأنواع من المعلومات وأنا أقوم بنشرها وفقط قبل بضعة أسابيع مضت أرسلت إلي رسالة إلكترونية تقول لي فيها أنها تشعر بالإحباط لأنها عندما قامت بالبحثبواسطة كلمة رئيسية معينة لكن عنوان كتابها لم يظهر فاتصلت مع الأودبيل وقلت لهم ذلك بالضبط فردت علي قائلة نحن عادة لا نستخدم الكلمات الرئيسية فأرسلت لهم بطلبي فأستلموا طلبي وأستخدموه وإلى الآن يقومون بهذا فعندما يقوم شخص ما بالبحث بواسطة موضوع كتابه الصوتي فإنه سيظهر له لكنني حتى لم أكن أعرف ولم أكن أدرك أن هذا شيء كان علينا أن نطلبه ولم أفكر به من قبل على الإطلاق فلم يطلبه منا أي شخص
أحمد القرملي : كم هي رسوم تنظيم عمل لتوزيع أعمال المؤلفين؟
أحمد القرمل : في العائلة الكبيرة السعيدة لدينا نموذج واحد هو 50-50 فقط لمشاركة العائدات وليس لدينا أية رسوم فلا نطلب من أحد أي مال مقدم ليكون واحد من مستمعينا أو من أجل طرح بعض موادك لكن عندما تبدأ بكسب عائداتك فإننا نتشاركها معهم بالتساوي بالضبط وفي بعض الأحيان يكون هذا شيء جيد وفي أحيان أخرى لا يكون كذلك فكل الطرق تدور حولنا في بعض الأحيان ولا تكون جيدة بما فيه الكفاية للناشر فهم يأملون في بعض الأحيان أن يحصلوا على نصيب أكبر ونحن نأمل بالحصول على النصيب الأكبر فأجور الكتب الصوتية ضئيل جداً فهذا شيء عظيم حتى إن كان لدينا فقط نموذج واحد وهذا قد يتغير مع الوقت لكن في الوقت الحالي هذا ما يحدث وعلي أن أضيف شيء واحد مع أني قد قلت أننا لا نتلقى أية رسوم لكن هناك رسوم واحدة وهي عندما تدفع إلى الناشرين الذين لا يتواجدون في الولايات المتحدة فعادة نتكلف رسوم إضافية فيجب علينا أن ندفع لإرسال تلك الدفعة وهذه الرسوم بالعادة نمررها إلى الزبون
أحمد القرملي : كم عدد الكتب الصوتية الجيدة أوالسيئة أو الجيدة جداً من ناحية المبيعات إذا كان بإمكانك أن تعطينا أرقام من خبرتك مثلاً كم نسخة من الكتاب يجب أن تباع خلال الشهر الأول أو خلال السنة الأولى وهل تدوم المبيعات لأن الناس عادة يبحثون عن هذه الكلمات الرئيسية على الأودبيل فقط عندما تنشرها بالسنة الأولى أو في أول سنتين ثم فإنها تموت؟
أحمد القرمل : حقيقة ليس لدي أي جواب على هذا السؤال حتى عندما أفكر باحتمالات ذلك إذا كان لدينا كتاب قد تم نشره على الأخبار أو في بعض الأحداث الأساسية فإنه سيباع أعداد أكبر مما يحدث عادة لكن ما عدا ذلك مبيعاتك سوف تتضاءل إلا إذا كان شيء يوضع بشكل مستمر على الأخبار أو إذا كان من الكتب الأكثر مبيعاً فهو يباع كل سنة شيء مثل غاتسبي العظيم فالناس يريدون أن يقرأوه كل سنة وربما هناك لقطة على الشاشة عندما يظهر الفيلم وربما يكون أفضل بقليل لكن معظم الكتب الصوتية ليس لديها أية قاعدة عامة
أحمد القرملي : ما مدى حقوق العمل الحصرية عندما تأخذ كتاب من مؤلف وتقوم بتوزيعه هل يمكن للمؤلف أن يوزعه على البرامج الأخرى إذا لم تقم بهذا أو كيف تتم هذه العملية؟ وكم تكون فترة عقدك معه بالعادة؟
أحمد القرمل : عقودنا القياسية تكون لمدة خمس سنوات ونطلب منهم حقوق التنزيل الحصرية إلا إذا كان المؤلف أو الناشر يبيعه من موقعه الخاص فنحن بطبيعة الحال نمنحه دائماً هذا الحق وإذا جاء إلينا شخص ما وقال لنا إنني أريد أن أضع كتابي على هذا الموقع وذلك الموقع وأنت لم تقومي ببيعه هناك فعادة نوافق معه ما لم نكن نقوم بالإعداد لهذه العملية لوضعه على ذلك الموقع فنحن متساهلين جداً في ذلك والتوزيع الأول لا يتضمن موقع مثل ستومب فليست من حقوق أي شخص فنحن نريد من ناشرينا أن يبيعوا عدد كبير من النسخ على قدر ما أستطاعوا
أحمد القرملي : ما هي النضالات التي ترين أن المؤلفين الذين يريدون أن يبدأوا أو يريدون الانتقال من النسخة التقليدية للكتاب التي يقومون بها وينتقلون للكتب الصوتية فما النضالات التي يخوضونها؟
أحمد القرمل : أعتقد أنني قد وضحت هذا سابقاً والتي هي عدم معرفة الشخص المناسب ليوظفوه ليقوم بهذا التحويل وأيضاً جزء من هذه النضالات تكمن في أنهم يعتقدون أنه يجب أن يكونوا الرواة فبعض المؤلفين لا يجب أن يكونوا رواة وهناك بعض المؤلفين الجيدين بشكل مثير للدهشة في الرواية مثل نيل غيمان الذي يتبادر إلى الذهن مباشرة فهو يقرأ أعماله الخاصة بشكل رائع للغاية وأيضاً أعتقد في المجال الروائي إذا كنت خبير في مجالك فستكون فكرة جيدة برواية كتابك بشكل صوتي لسبب واحد أن الراوي قد يخلط جميع الكلمات الموجودة ضمن مجال خبرتك لكن أيضاً بسبب أن ستضيف إليها بعض الوقار فأنت خبير بها وتعلم ما الذي تتحدث عنه لكن معظم هذه الكتب يمكن أن تكون قصة قبل النوم شيء ما بريء لكن هذا لا يعني أنك ستتعاقد من أجل مصلحة المستمع فهذا ما الذي تحاول إنجازه بالفعل فليس لأنك جميل بما فيه الكفاية وصوتك جيد بما فيه الكفاية فهذا يعني أنك قادر على إخبار القصص في القسم الروائي لكن في الطريقة التي تبقي الناس فيها يستمعون إليك وتأمل بأن يوصوا بالاستماع إلى كتابها الصوتي
أحمد القرملي : إذا كان لدي سلسلة من المحتويات دعينا نقول من المقابلات هل الأمر يختلف فعلي الحصول على حقوقي لكل مقابلة على حدة أو يمكنني الحصول على حقوقي على جميع السلسلة؟
أحمد القرمل : عقودنا ليست محددة على هذا النحو فالعقد في جوهره يتضمن كل شيء لديك وكل ما تريد منا توزيعه طالما المعايير التي قد تكلمنا عنها طالما كان الصوت نوعيته جيدة ولديك حقوقك لذلك ولا تتعدى على حقوق اي شخص آخر فنحن عادة لا نطلب منك أن تعطينا جميع موادك لكن أنت مرحب بك أيضاً
أحمد القرملي : ما هي مشاريعك الأخرى التي تعملين عليها حالياً من أجل المستقبل؟
أحمد القرمل : حسناً دعني أرى لقد بدأت سأبدأ غداً مباشرة كتاب صوتي لكتاب بعنوان بيت الصدى لكاتبه بريندان دافي وهو كتاب مخيف عن فيلم من أفلام الرعب أعتقد أنك لن تعارض على قولي هذا فهو يجب أن يكون ممتع وعندما كنت بالأونة الأخيرة أدير تسجيلات الكتب الصوتية الكلاسيكية ابتعد توماس هاردي عن هذا الصخب وأعتقد أنه أعاد تسجيلهم ﻷنه كان هناك فيلم قد طرح مؤخراً وهذا يعيدنا إلى ما كنا نتحدث عنه عن كيفية وصل الأشياء مرة أخرى كيف يمكن ربط إمكانيات البيع ومن تلك الطريقة يمكنني أن أطرحه في تلك السوق في هذه اللحظة فإذا كان لديك كتاب صوتي بميزانية هي بالعادة صغيرة جداً فمحاولة التسويق هو تحدي كبير وأصبح أسهل بقليل في أيامنا الحالية بسبب وجود الانترنت وجميع قوائم الخدمات تتحدث عن أنواع مختلفة من الكتب وهذا النوع من الأشياء لكن إذا كان لديك مناسبة أو شيء ما في وسائل الإعلام بحيث يمكنك ربطها معهم فسيكون أمر عظيم وهذا ما ندعوه بالإضافات فإذا كان بإمكانك إضافته إلى شيء آخر
أحمد القرملي : إذا كنت تهدفين إلى زيادة مبيعاتك من الكتاب ما هو أشهر عنوان كتاب قمت بتوزيعه؟
أحمد القرمل : إننا نقوم بتوزيع تسجيلات غاتسبي العظيمة ونوزع تسجيلات عديدة للكتاب المقدس وهذا شيء نبيعه بشكل دائم ونوزع قصص الأطفال المعروفة وقصص الأطفال العامة وهي تباع بشكل جيد وقصص مارك توين ليست كلها للأطفال ولكن هناك أيضاً القصص الخيالية الكلاسيكية وهذا النوع من القصص وهي تباع بشكل جيد جداً أيضاً فهناك دائماً جمهور جديد من الأطفال جاهزون دائماً لسماع الخيال إذا كنت قد سمعت عن التدريب العملي على جريتل
أحمد القرملي : عندما تقومين بالنشر أو التوزيع على أودبيل هل تحتاجين إلى رمز على كتابك أو كيف تتم هذه العملية؟
أحمد القرمل : لست بحاجة إلى واحد لا لست بحاجة له أعتقد أنهم سيعينون واحد لا أعرف إذا كانوا لا يزالون يقومون بهذا في البداية عندما نبدأ بالعمل معهم للتو منذ بضعة سنين مضت لقد تحدثوا عن القيام بهذا لكن إذا كنت تتحدث عن رمز لتحديد هوية الكتاب أو رمز الترقيم الدولي للناشر إذا كان الناشر يريد رمز لكتابه فعليهم أن يؤمنوا له رمزهم الخاص لأن هذا يسمح لك بنقل كتابك من موزع إلى موزع آخر إلا إذا تم تحديد رمز الموزع فعند الانتقال إلى موزع آخر فإن ذلك الرمز لن يعمل معك بعدها
أحمد القرملي : إذاً أنت تقترحين على المؤلفين وضع رموزهم الخاصة وإعطائها إلى الموزعين ليستخدموها في الكتب الصوتية أليس كذلك؟
أحمد القرمل : نعم ولا فعادة نحن لا نطلب من زبائننا ذلك وحتى لا نهتم بالحصول عليه لأن ذلك أقل أهمية بالنسبة للكتب الصوتية والكتب الرقمية منه في النسخة الصلبة في الأقراص الليزرية وأمور كهذه لكن إذا أراد شخص ما الحصول عليه إذا أرادوا الحصول على رموزهم الخاصة فنعم فنخبرهم أنه عليهم الحصول عليه بأنفسهم عوضاً عن الاعتماد علينا بذلك لأنه مكلف للغاية ولهذا السبب لا يرغب به معظم الناشرين فهو مكلف للغاية يجب أن أقول هذا لكن إذا أشتريت منهم عدد كافي في نفس الوقت فهذا قد يقلل من كلفتهم فإذا كنت تخطط للحصول على أكثر من واحد فعليك الحصول عليهم جميعاً عندما تكون مستعد لأستخدامهم
أحمد القرملي : لقد ذكرت أن عقودك مدتها خمس سنوات وإذا أراد مؤلف أن يلغيه؟
أحمد القرمل : لا نقول له لا على الإطلاق
أحمد القرملي : ما هي الفترة التي يستغرقها لحذف المحتوى وما الذي يحدث عادة؟
أحمد القرمل : عندما أتلقى رسالة إلكترونية من مؤلف أو ناشر يريد أن يلغي العقد فعادة نقول له نعم حتى إن كانت قد مرت الخمس سنوات أو لا فهو شخص لا يريد أن يكون معك بعد الآن فلماذا تتمسك به؟ ثم نضع ملاحظاتنا على المواقع التي نعمل معها أننا لن نتعامل مع هذا الناشر بعد الآن فلقد لغينا عقودنا وعندها يصبح الأمر خارج عن سيطرتنا وليس لدينا القدرة على الدخول وحذفه بأنفسنا فنعتمد عليهم للقيام بذلك وهم جيدين جداً بهذه أمور لكن أحياناً نتلقى رسالة إلكترونية من الناشر يقول بأن محتوياته لا تزال موجودة هناك وأحيانا أتلقى تصريح حسابي وأرى ذلك العنوان هناك وعلينا الدفع من أجله ونحن لم نعد نوزعه بعد الآن فعندها أعلم أنهم لم يقوموا بإزالته فإنني أرسل لهم مرة أخرى أقول لهم أرجوكم هذه ساعات إضافية
أحمد القرملي : كم عدد الاشخاص الذين يعملون معك بالوقت الحالي على الانترنت أو على أرض الواقع؟
أحمد القرمل : شخصياً هناك أنا وجورج هوسكينز، فأنا الشخص الذي يوقع العقود إنها شركتي فلقد أسستها في عام 2006 ومن ثم انضم إلي جورج وهو ناشر مناسب فهو يقوم بجميع الأعمال الفنية في الشركة فأنا أدعوه الؤجل الفني لا أعلم إن كان على علم بأنني أدعوه الرجل الفني فكل وسائل الإعلام الإلكترونية تذهب إلى جورج ويعتني ببيانات التعريف من أجلي فهو خبير ببيانات التعريف ولا أعلم إن كان هناك أي خلل في موقعي إلا إذا أخبرني هو بهذا فأدخل إلى الموقع وأسأله أين توجد هذه المشكلة هل بإمكانك أن تحضر إحد لإصلاحه أو أنه يقوم بإصلاحه إن كان شيء يمكننا أن نصلحه بأنفسنا ثم لدينا شخص يساعدنا ببياناتنا الحسابية لأنها تستغرق وقتاً طويلاً فهي بشكل أساسي تعتمد على التجميع اليدوي لكافة التقارير السبعة وإذا قمت بها بنفسي فإنها ستستغرق مني وقتاً طويلاً ولدينا الآن شخص يعمل معنا ويساعدنا في القيام بذلك
أحمد القرملي : كيف يبدو عليه روتينك اليومي وروتين عملك؟
أحمد القرمل : إذا كنت في الأستديو فعادة يكون يومي روتيني فعادة عندما استيقظ أمارس التمارين لمدة ساعة ثم أخذ كلبي للتجول ثم أعود إلى الأستديو إذا كنت في ذلك اليوم في الاستديو بينما إذا كنت في المنزل فعادة أتفحص رسائلي الإلكترونية أو أعمل على العقود المحلية بخلاف العقود التي تكون مع زبائننا ثم بالطبع يكون علي أيضاً أن أتفحص البريد الإلكتروني للأسرة السعيدة الكبيرة ثم أتواصل مع الأشخاص الذين لديهم أستفسارات أو أسئلة ثم إذا لم أكن في الأستديو فإنني عادة أعمل في المنزل في الساعات الأولى القليلة من يومي ثم أذهب إلى مكتبي ثم يمكنني التحدث إلى شريكي القانوني ونعمل على الأمور مع بعضنا البعض أو بشكل منفصل هذا يعتمد على المشروع الذي نعمل عليه بذلك الوقت
أحمد القرملي : كم هي الرسوم للقيام بذلك وإذا قمت بإنتاج كتب صوتية هل تكون الرسوم حسب كل ساعة أو على أي أساس تقدرون ذلك؟
أحمد القرمل : على الإنتاج والجواب على هذا أنه يعتمد على المشروع لكن عادة في أيامنا الحالية أعتقد أن معظم الناس تنظر إلى التكاليف لكل ساعة فما أسأله بالعادة أنه كم كلمة هناك في ذلك المشروع وعلى حسب عدد الكلمات يمكننا تقدير التكاليف وأعتقد أنه عند الأنتهاء من المشروع نعطيهم عرض بأسعارنا لكن عروض أسعارنا ليست نفسها بالنسبة للجميع لأنه في بعض الأحيان يكون لدي محرر يعمل معي بتكاليف أقل أو بتكاليف أكثر عن المشروع الأعتيادي وهذا يعتمد على الأستديو فإذا كنا نعمل في الأستديو خاصتي فهذا أقل كلفة عما إذا أستخدمنا أستديو فانسير أو أي مكان آخر
أحمد القرملي : إذاً من أجل كل 10,000 كلمة بالساعة كم يكلف؟
أحمد القرمل : 9000
أحمد القرملي : حسناً, وما هي هواياتك الأخرى؟
أحمد القرمل : حسناً أعتقد أنك لن تفاجأ عندما تعلم أنني أقرأ بشكل كبير
أحمد القرملي : تقرأين أو تستمعين؟
أحمد القرمل : أقرأ وأستمع فأنا أعيش في لوس أنجلوس واتنقل في سيارتي بشكل كبير فأستمع إلى الكتب لكنني أقرأ واستمر واستمر بالقراءة وهواياتي الأخرى السفر فأنا أحب السفر بشكل كبير وأقضي معظم أوقاتي مع عائلتي ومع أصدقائي
أحمد القرملي : ما هي البرامج التي تستخدمينها بكثرة التي تساعدك لتكوني أكثر كفاءة وفعالية؟
أحمد القرمل : هذا سؤال جيد البرنامج الأول هو برنامج الورد فأنا أعمل على العقود بشكل كبير فيجب أن يكون لدي برنامج الورد وبالطبع لدي برنامج الانترنت لكن بخلاف كل هذا لدي برنامج البرو تولز إنني ألقي نظرة خاطفة على هاتفي لأرى ما لدي أيضاً
أحمد القرملي : ما هي افضل ثلاثة تطبيقات تستخدمينها على هاتفك الذكي؟
أحمد القرمل : التطبيق الأول بالنسبة لي هو بالتأكيد البريد الإلكتروني والتطبيق الثاني ربما هو الفايبر الذي يمكنني من التحدث مع الأشخاص في البلدان الأخرى طالما لدي واي فاي ليساعدني بذلك وربما التطبيق الثالث هو الخريطة لأستطيع إيجاد الأماكن التي أريدها وكيفية الوصول إليها
أحمد القرملي : من هم أفضل ثلاثة معلمين بالنسبة لك؟
أحمد القرمل : أول وأفضل معلم بالنسبة لي هو والدي فهو شخص ذكي للغاية جداً ويتمتع بالفصاحة وهو شخص لطيف ومحب لجميع الناس فيمكنك أن تعتبره أب للجميع وعلى هذا القدر يشعر بالقلق إذا كان باستطاعته القيام بأي شيء لمساعدة شخصاً ما فإنه سيسارع للقيام بهذا الشيء ليساعده فهو يتمتع بحس إنساني كبير وهو شخص يحب القانون فأعتقد أن كل شيء قد تعلمته حول تمثيل الأشخاص الأخرين قد بدأ منه والشخص الثاني هي أمي فلقد ترعرعت خارج مدينة نيو يورك وكان لهذا أهمية كبيرة لأن والداي كانا يأخذونا لمشاهدة عروض برودواي كثيراً عندما كنت طفلاً وهذا قد غرس في حب المسرح الذي أصبح مع الوقت عندما قد غادرت تلك المدينة واحدة من هواياتي فأصبحت أذهب إلى المسرح بشكل كبير وحتى إلى المسرح المحلي, فالمسرح والموسيقى والادب كلها أمور مترابطة مع بعضها فيمكنني أن أقول أنهما الموجهين الأساسيين بالنسبة لي معلمي الثالث…هذا أمر صعب لكنني أعتقد أنني ربما يجب أن أعطي هذا الحق لنيك بينت إنه منتج ولقد أخبرتك عن الشخص الذي كان يقول أبقي عينيك مفتوحتين للأطفال لأنه من هنا تأتي الكلمات ولقد كان على حق
أحمد القرملي : ما هي أهم عوامل للنجاح بثلاث كلمات؟
أحمد القرمل : التصميم والتعليم والارتداد بالمناسبة بالتعليم أنا لا أعني بالضرورة الذهاب إلى المدرسة والجامعة بل أعني أن عليك أن تزج نفسك في أي شيء وتسعى للقيام به ثم عليك أن تكون قادر على القيام به وسوف تصل إلى هدفك وسوف تضع نسخة أحتياطية لكل شيء والمثابرة هو العامل الثالث
أحمد القرملي : ما هي أكبر لحظة فشل كانت في حياتك وما الذي قد تعلمتيه منها؟
أحمد القرمل : عندما أفكر بهذا عندما نعم من وجهة نظري المهنية أعتقد أنه كان علي أن أبيع منشورات ميلز بوقت أبكر من اوقت الذي قمت به بذلك والذي قد تعلمته من ذلك أن هناك قول مأثور لا أعرف إن كنت قد اخترعت ذلك لكنني أستخدمه من وقت لأخر الذي قد سمعنا عنه كلنا والذي يقول الفرصة تطرق بابك مرة واحدة فعندما تطرق بابك افتح الباب والفرصة قد طرقت بابي كثيراً عندما كانت لدي الشركة ولكنني لم أفتح الباب فلقد أعتقدت أن هذه الفرصة سوف تطرق بابي بصوت عالي وأعتقدت أيضاً أنني كنت قصيرة النظر بهذه الأمور فلقد كنت مختبئة وراء أحاسيسي لأنني كنت ناشرة لكن تلك الشركة لم أستطع
أحمد القرملي : إذاً ما الفرق بينها وبين العائلة الكبيرة السعيدة؟
أحمد القرمل : إنها بالواقع شركة للنشر ففي الواقع لقد حصلنا على حقوق الترخيص لإنشاء الكتب الصوتية ولقد حصلت على حقوق الترخيص وأطلقتهم ووجهتهم فلقد تعاقدت مع موزعين لطرحهم في السوق, الأسرة السعيدة الكبيرة ليست سوى شركة توزيع ولا نقوم بالتصنيع فيها أو بالانتاج إنني أنتج الكتب الصوتية لكن ليس في الأسرة السعيدة الكبيرة
أحمد القرملي : وما هي أكبر فرصة قد طرقت بابك وتعتقدين أنها أكبر من فرصة إنشاء تلك الشركة؟
أحمد القرمل : حسناً هناك العديد من الفرص التي قد طرقت بابي أثناء امتلاكي للشركة لقد تلقيت الكثير من العروض لبيعها ولكني لم أقبل بهذه العروض ثم عندما قررت التخلص من هذه الشركة كان ذلك بسبب أنني أردت الانتقال ولم يكن الوقت الأمثل على أقل تقدير فأعتقد أنني قد تمسكت بها لوقت طويل جداً لأنني قد أعتقدت أنني سأحصل على اتفاق أفضل فلقد أردت القيام بالاتفاق الأفضل ولكن ليس هذا ما حدث وليس هذا ما فكرت به فلقد فكرت أنه هل علي ان أستمع إلى عبارة البحث عن الخاتم النحاسي؟
أحمد القرملي : كلا
أحمد القرمل : بشكل أساسي هذا يعني أنك تريد أن تمتلك شيء ما هذا مثل عندما تأتي سفينتك ويحدث شيء رائع لك ثم تميل إليه لكن ببيع الشركة التي كانت بحجم شركتي للنشر وكان لا يزال علي المضي للقيام بشيء آخر لكنني لم أفكر حقاً بذلك لكنني لم أقم بأي شيء آخر فلقد كنت مولعة بهذا النوع من الأعمال وأعتقد أنه من المهم بالنسبة لرجال الأعمال أن يتعلموا في هذه الأيام على الأقل أنهم في مجال الأعمال الذي قد أختاروا أن يعلموا فيه إلى الأبد عليهم أن يدركوا أنه سيكون هناك حياة بعد هذا العمل الأولي وسيكون لديك عمل آخر أو لن يكون لديك لكن الحياة لن تبدأ ولن تنتهي بسبب هذا لكن هذه شركة واحدة وهنا أعتقدت أن أكبر درس هو أن كل شيء له وقته وأغتنم الفرص عندما تأتيك
أحمد القرملي : ما هي العادات التي تحاولين تطويرها لتحافظي على كفاءتك وفعاليتك؟
أحمد القرمل : هذا سؤال مثير أيضاً لأنني قد تحدث إلى الناس حول هذا الموضوع فهذه قضية يتم تداولها بكثرة في الأونة الأخيرة فهناك الكثير من الناس مثلي الذين لديهم قائمة بالأشياء مهما كانت قائمة حقيقية أو قائمة البريد الإلكتروني لكن فقط في رأسك الأشياء التي تريد أن تفعلها مع الناس تعتمد على طريقة قيامك بها, تريد أن تضعها على مكتبك دائماً وحتى إن كنت تعلم أنك تحتاج للقيام بها والناس يريدون القيام بها فأنت لا تقوم بها ولماذا؟ لا أعرف ما هو الجواب على ذلك لم أقابل أي شخص ليخبرني لماذا هذه القائمة من الأشياء نحن جميعاً نماطل بالقيام بها وعندما نقوم بها نصبح أكثر سعادة إذا فقط قمنا بهم وإذا أزلناها من قائمتنا فعلي العمل فقط على هذه الأشياء التي لا أريدها أن تبقى على قائمتي بعد الآن إنه الوقت المناسب إنه أفضل وقت فأريد أن أتعلم فقط أن أخذ الأشياء كما تأتي إلي وأن أقوم بهم عندما يأتي وقتها والقيام بالأشياء في الوقت المناسب للتخلص منهم
أحمد القرملي : كيف تقومين بتغيير مزاجك, ما الذي تقومين به عندما تصابين بالاكتئاب ؟
أحمد القرمل : إنني سعيدة بقولي أنني لا أصاب بالاكتئاب في أغلب الأحيان لكن إذا ما شعرت في بعض الأيام أنني مضغوطة فكل ما في الأمر أنني أقرر أن أتناول موزة فهناك الكثير من البوتاسيوم في الموز وهو طعام جيد جداً بالنسبة لك ويمكنه أن يغير من مزاجي ويساعدني كثيراً في إزاحة الضغط هذا أول شيء وفي أغلب الأحيان أتأكد من أن نظامي الغذائي متوازن وفيه الكثير من عنصر البوتاسيوم والمغنيزيوم والمواد الغذائية التي أحتاجها وأعتقد أنه بالواقع يمكن تطبيق هذا على الكثير من الأشخاص وأعتقد أيضاً بالتخلص من هذه الأشياء التي على قائمتي الأشياء التي تصيبني بالإرهاق
أحمد القرملي : والتجول بصحبة كلبك؟
أحمد القرمل : نعم هذا يساعدني أيضاً
أحمد القرملي : ما هي افضل نصيحة تلقيتيها على الإطلاق؟
أحمد القرمل : حسناً عندما تخرجت من كلية الحقوق كنت مكتبة المحاماة في مقاطعة لوس انجلوس وهذا قد حدث لي مرتين لقد كنت أقوم ببعض الأبحاث من أجل صديق لي ثم جاء إلي شخصين كبيرين بالعمر في مرتين مختلفتين وقالوا لي أوه هل أنت جديدة هنا فمهما كان الذي تقومين به عليك أن تتخصصي بشيء واحد ولقد كانت هذه نصيحة مهمة جداً لكنني تجاهلتهم لأنني أعتقدت أن أكثر شيء ممتع تقوم به في مجال المحاماة هو أن تكون ممارس عام فأنت تقوم بالشيء نفسه كل يوم لأن هذا سيكون أكثر إثارة أكثر من أن يكون لديك الكثير من الأشياء المختلفة التي تصادفك بطريقك لكن في الحقيقة أنني كلما كبرت بالعمر وجدت أن هذان الرجلين كانا على حق بالنسبة لي على أية حال التركيز الذي تقوم به في تخصصك يسمح لك باستيعاب الفارق البسيط بين التفاصيل في منطقة معينة سواء كان ذلك في مجال القانون أو في مجال الأعمال الأخرى وأعتقد أن هذا يضفي لك الكثير من المعنى, التخصص
أحمد القرملي : إذا كان لديك الفرصة لتنصحي نفسك عندما كنت أصغر ما الذي تنصحين به نفسك؟
أحمد القرمل : إلى جانب بيع الشركة؟ أعتقد أنني سأنصحها أن تتعلم كيف تسترخي بشكل أكبر وهذا لا يشبع عندما تأخذ إجازة إنه بالواقع أن تتعلم كيف تتفق مع ضغوطاتها لأنه في شبابي كان عملي مليء بالضغوطات فإذا أستطعت أن أرجع بالزمن فسأعلم نفسي القيام بذلك وأعتقد أن هذا سيكون
أحمد القرملي : إنه أمر مثير للغاية, 90% من الناس عندما أسئلهم هذا السؤال فإن جوابهم على هذا السؤال يكون التقليل من الاسترخاء فعندما نكون أصغر نكون دائماً على عجلة من أمرنا ثم ندرك أنه لا يستحق كل ذلك
أحمد القرمل : بالضبط فكل شيء يبدو كبير, هناك بعض الأشياء الكبيرة لكن على العموم الأشياء التي نركز عليها في أية لحظة لا تلبث أن تتحول إلى مجرد تغيرات صغيرة حتى عندما يتعلق الأمر بتربية الأطفال كل الأشياء التي تزعج جوني يوضع على هذه الورقة بالمناسبة ليس لدي أي طفل أسمه جوني ولكنني أسهل اﻷمر لكن بالتأكيد عليك مساعدة أطفالك لكن هذا لا يستحق أن تمزق شعرك إلا إذا كانت مشكلة مزمنة لتعرف ما الذي أعنيه الأمر يشبه عندما تصادف مطب صغير على طريقك فإنه لا يزال مطب صغير على الطريق
أحمد القرملي : ما هو اقتباسك المفضل؟
أحمد القرمل : اقتباسي المفضل؟ لا أعرف إن كنت امتلك أي اقتباس فعندما كنت بالجامعة كان لدينا الفرصة لنضع اقتباسنا تحت صورنا ولقد وضعت اقتباس الجهل هو نعيم فلقد أعتقدت أن الكثير من الناس تعتقد أن الجهل ليس بنعيم لكنني أعتقدت وبعد مضي كل هذا الوقت لا أزال أعتقد أن هذا صحيح بطريقة ما
أحمد القرملي : ما هي أفضل ثلاثة كتب بالنسبة لك؟
أحمد القرمل : كتابي المفضل والذي أصبح يدرس بالجامعات هو بعنوان “القلب هو الصياد الوحيد” لكاتبه كارسون ماك كولرز إنها رواية لا تصدق حول العلاقات في بلدة صغيرة لقد قرأته مرة أخرى مؤخراً لقد كانت بعمر الثلاثة والعشرين عندما كتبت هذه الرواية وهذا أمر لا يصدق لست متأكد إذا كان هناك كتابين آخرين مفضلين بالنسبة لي أعتذر ولكنني أحب الكثير من الكتب
أحمد القرملي : ألم تقرأي أية كتب روائية فقط روايات؟
أحمد القرمل : بالواقع لقد قرأت وأريد أن أذكر لك كتاب آخر إنه كتاب خيالي ولقد أحببته كثيراً بالفعل وأصبحت أقرأ كل شيء يكتبه هذا الكاتب وهذا الكتاب كان بعنوان ظل الرياح لكاتبه كارلوس رويز وأعتقد أنه من الكتب الأكثر مبيعاً لكنني لم أسمع عنه إلا من بضعة أشهر مضت عن طريق صديق لي أخبرني عنه إنه كتاب ساحر ومكتوب بشكل جيد حقاً وجذاب فأوصيكم حقاً بقراءته, القصصي ما هو كتابي الروائي المفضل؟ لقد قرأت الكثير من الكتب المهمة حقاً أعتقد أن نوعي المفضل هي الكتب التي تتحدث عن أعمال الناس فلديها القدرة على التركيز على موضوع معين ثم تعرضه لنا حتى نتمكن من تقدير ما الذي يشهده الأشخاص الأخرين أو ما الذي لا يزالون يعانون منه وبالواقع هذه الكتب تكون على الأغلب كتب حزينة لكن في بعض الأحيان تحمل بين طياتها دروس يمكننا التعلم منها
أحمد القرملي : من هم أكثر ثلاثة أشخاص تستلهمين منهم؟
أحمد القرمل : هل هم على قائمتي؟ أكثر ثلاثة أشخاص أستلهم منهم…حسناً أعلم أنهم كثر لكنني أود أن أذكر بالمقام الأول والدي لأنهم وحدهم هم المثال المذهل بالنسبة لنا جميعاً ولقد ترعرت في عائلة كبيرة لقد كانوا على الدوام أشخاص طيبين ولقد علمونا الكثير والقليل عن كيفية امتلاك بوصلة ترشدنا إلى الشمال الحقيقي البعض منا بقي هناك والبعض منا تزعزع قليلاً لكن كان هناك دروس كبيرة من هذا للجميع ثم إنني أعتقد لأننا في عام 2015 ولا زال هناك الكثير من العداوة بين الناس فهذا سؤال صعب لكنني أعتقد يمكنني أن أقول باراك أوباما ولكنني اميل أكثر إلى الملك مارتن لوثر لأنك إذا وضعت نفسك في خطر فإنك تقول للناس أشياء لا يريدون سماعها تقولها لكن يكون هناك بالمقابل أشياء يريد الناس أن يسمعوها وهذا لا يصدق على الإطلاق ويمكنني أن أقول ونستون تشرشل أيضاً
أحمد القرملي : ما الذي يجعلك سعيدة حقاً؟
أحمد القرمل : العائلة والاصدقاء والكتب الجيدة كما أنني أحب القهوة فأنا أعشق القهوة الجيدة وأيام السفر الجميلة كما إنني أحب مساعدة الناس فأنا قادرة على مساعدة الناس عن طريق مكتب المحاماة وأيضاً عن طريق الأسرة الكبيرة السعيدة ولكن أكثر عن طريق مكتب المحاماة وأحب كلبي
أحمد القرملي : آخر سؤال كيف يمكن للناس الاتصال بك؟
أحمد القرملي : شكراً جزيلاً لك جيسيكا على وقتك وعلى هذه المعلومات القيمة أنا أقدر لك هذا حقاً
أحمد القرمل : شكراً لك إنه من دواعي سروري أن أتحدث إليك
أحمد القرملي : شكراً للجميع كونوا كفوءين وأبقوا فعالين إلى أن أراكم قريباً مع خبير استرتيجي آخر
Tue, 17 November 2015
Be Efficient Tv offers tips and tricks from leading experts to help you make your life and business more efficient through an in depth interviews with different thoughtful leaders, business experts, authors, founders and millionaires. You will discover strategies that you can implement easily into your everyday life to help you save time and make the most of the time that you have. Experts from a variety of backgrounds and industries are interviewed regularly to reveal their personal secrets for being more productive.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Hi everyone this is Ahmed Al Kiremli and welcome to be efficient TV the mission of this web TV show is to boost the efficiency of your business and life through tips and tricks from leading experts and today I have with me Aaron Walker he is a life and business coach for a man who wants to live on purpose and he has built so many different businesses and sold one at the age of twenty-seven two of Fortune 500 company welcome to the show Aaron.
Aaron Walker: Thank you, Ahmed thank you very much.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Pleasure, so what’s your background and what kind of businesses did you build and how did you start as an entrepreneur at such a young age?
Aaron Walker: I started very young I’m from Nashville Tennessee and I started working when I was thirteen years old and a local pawn shop and I think you had asked me was a pawn shop and it’s just a place where people bring merchandise and borrow money for a short period of time is just to kind of get you over the hump to get you over a shortage and financial resources just for a short period of time and we made small loans up to a very large loans just depends on what you need was so it thirteen years old my dad was in the construction business and he remodeled a pawn shop in Nashville Tennessee, I talked to the owner and asked if you need any help there and he hired me immediately on the spot. I was still in school and on Saturdays in the afternoons I would go there and I would work two or three hours in the afternoon cleaning the store. Well Ahmed I fell in love with that business it didn’t take me long to let the people to love the environment and the atmosphere and I fell in love with it. I decided to go to summer school and night school for two years while I was in high school I had enough credits to graduate high school in the tenth grade I didn’t have to go my junior and senior year I just wanted to work, so as a result of that I met a lot of really interesting people, to businessman that started buying diamonds from me and called for me making investments they owned the twenty-first largest insurance company in the nation and they had a lot of money to invest. So I approach them one day and made an opportunity for them to go into partners with me and they said how old are you and I said I’m eighteen years old he said you just a child and I said well I know this business and I would like to go into it so in two weeks I decided the amount of money it would take to go into that business and approached them and they agree to it so in 1979 to 18 years old they gave me a checkbook with $150,000 in it and I said go up in it and I did it was very successful, and three years we paid off a ten year loan that we had taken out to open the first store. I sent the money and went and bought a second store I repeated that four times, when I was twenty-seven years old the company in Fort Worth Texas called cash America approached me, they were growing through acquisition and they want to buy my store and I told them it wasn’t for sale and they left disappointed, they made another attempt I told him it wasn’t for sale, I just built this new building and I didn’t want to sell it. They made three attempts to buy my store and finally I said I know how I get rid of them, I’ll make an offer that will make them go away and so he said if you are going to sell your store how much would it take and so I told him I said this is what I’ll take and he said we’ll take it well I didn’t know what to do at that time it was frightening to me I was twenty-seven years old I didn’t really want to sell but I had made a commitment so I went home told my wife and she agreed she said well it’s a good opportunity for us, let’s also we did, in about three months we were retired, I thought I had plenty of money and wasn’t going to do anything else well Ahmed have you ever taken a break have you ever stopped working for any length of time?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Yes you lose your purpose sometimes you don’t know what your purposes you don’t know where you are going but that time you are like having some knowledge in terms of how to invest the money that it will generate kind of an income so you can live financially free or did you start just spending the money?
Aaron Walker: Well I started investing the money and I was getting a good return, there was no problem with that the problem for me was I was bored, I had no purpose, I had no reason to get up and I was young I was twenty-seven years old, I was very energetic I had always worked very very hard I have a lot of grit and determination and I had no reason to get up so I was getting in to bed at the middle of the day because I was so bored and my wife came and woke me up one day and she said you have to do something it doesn’t matter what it is you have to do something, so I went back to the pawn shop and I made an offer to the owner but I work there one day a week just to let him take some time off and he agreed to that. I started investing money into his business because it was growing, well about a year to that process I had so much money invested in it we decided to form partnership, so for the next ten years I worked three days a week and my partner work the other three days, it was very good business was excellent and at that point I had met a guy named Dave Ramsey, he owns a radio show here and he’s on about 700 radio shows now I’m certain that you’ve heard of Dave Ramsey he offered me advertising for free.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Which year was that?
Aaron Walker: 1995. Twenty years ago. And I told him that I didn’t want any part in the radio show I had no interest in advertising and he said I’ll give you a week free if you’ll just try me.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: He was in the same city and he came to you like he knew your shop and he asked you that’s why?
Aaron Walker: He was speaking of the Chamber of Commerce breakfast in the city which my store was located and I went and heard him speak and he was telling about this new radio show he was going to have called the money game and he had a partner named Roy Matlock there were two of them and I invited him to see my store so I showed him the store and he said I would love for you to advertise on my show, well nobody had ever even heard of Dave Ramsey he was nobody he had just started and I refused, but finally I gave in I said I have nothing to lose, it will cost me anything if it doesn’t do good I’ve lost nothing so I tried it, Ahmed my business immediately took off very quickly the show was a hit here locally people of the show people started coming in daily buying merchandise selling things it was very very good for our business so I went to Dave and signed a contract an annual auto renewal contract within on his show every day for twenty years.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Until now.
Aaron Walker: Even now. We continually advertise on his show, out of that became a very good friendship so Dave Ramsey and I and our wives we went to Amelia Island and we took a vacation and we heard a speaker there named Bob Buford he wrote a book called Halftime, this book changed my life, I wanted to live a life of success and I wanted to make money but I also wanted to live a life of significance and purpose and meaning and I didn’t have success with purpose and with meaning I had success financially but I didn’t have the significance and I didn’t have the purpose so after I wrote that book I decided that I wanted to live more significantly I want to help other people more so fast-forward a couple of years in 2001, I was driving down a local highway here and a pedestrian walked out in front of me and I hit the pedestrian. It wasn’t my fault, it was an accident the pedestrian didn’t see me, but the pedestrian passed away, he lived for three days. Well Ahmad at that moment my life went before me and I said my life could be taken at an instant as well and I wanted to be sure I was investing in other people’s I can help them make a difference in their life that just for me not just for the success of me and having more money and more stores and more trips and bigger houses and more cars but about investing in other people so in 2001 I went to my partner and I said I’m going to retire I’m going to get out of this business completely and I’m going to get my head together and then going to decide what the future looks like so I took off for five years, I didn’t work for five years, I built a new house I took some time we traveled extensively and we decided what we’re going to do next. So I went into the construction industry.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Just before we jump, to explain to the audience more a pawn shop is like a small bank with less paperwork easier loans to get?
Aaron Walker: As long as you have collateral you bring the collateral and we loan you money for three months you come back in three months pay the loan off with the interest and get the merchandise back. 85% of the people that pawn pick their merchandise up.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you take something valuable or you put let’s say your house if it’s a big loan like with you you signed a contract or leave your watch really something like gold and you take a loan?
Aaron Walker: The main things we take in pawn our guns tools diamond gold silver, things of value and our stores are 10,000 ft.² our stores are big and we had 8 to 10 employees in each store, we made over 100 loans a day so we had very good stores.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And how much interesting usually take?
Aaron Walker: 20%.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Oh it’s high interest. 20% a year?
Aaron Walker: Per month.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Oh my God it’s like…
Aaron Walker: Is for short-term loans.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: It is. And then you sold these businesses?
Aaron Walker: I sold them I retired from that business in 2001.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But when you stay as an investor or partner or you didn’t want to?
Aaron Walker: That some of my story looking back now I would, looking back now I didn’t have trusted advisors I didn’t have a mastermind group I didn’t have many that I trusted I made the decision on my own, I was twenty-seven years old and I was too stupid to know the difference.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you sold all the pawn shops at twenty-seven…
Aaron Walker: No, I sold out when I was twenty-seven, four of the stores, I’ve owned a number of stores but at twenty-seven I sold all of the stores and then I went back with partners and bought another store and then I had it for ten years and then I sold it finally in 2001.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And now you don’t think of going back into it again?
Aaron Walker: I thought about it a number of times it’s a lot of hard work, I’m really enjoying what I’m doing now, coaching men and helping them to succeed and I don’t need as much money anymore I don’t need the money that I need, my children are grown my daughter is twenty-nine and the other one is thirty-one, my grandchildren are five, six, seven, and twelve so I don’t need the money like I needed it then so I don’t want to work as hard as I did then.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And the Internet now it is much easier to find your purpose or do some things, you can do things forever for ten hours a day while you are sitting home and that maybe will fulfill your vision does the right thing for you. And then you move to construction.
Aaron Walker: Yeah we built a new house a beautiful new house up on top of a really pretty hell really nice setting and we enjoyed it for five years and in the process of building the house the general contractor was so good I asked him if he ever considered a partner that we could go into business together. Never considered it because he is not a businessman he’s not an entrepreneur and I suggested he continue doing what he does and I would take my business experience and we would take his business to the next level and he agreed so we did and we took that business from one or two houses a year, he was building very nice houses but we became the number one builder in middle Tennessee for three consecutive years we built very nice multimillion dollar homes in the Nashville area and so after a ten year period once again I became very bored because it was managing and I’m not a manager I’m a creator developer I like to grow things I like to take things from small to large and then after I do that the challenge is over for me and I’m ready to move onto something else.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you don’t like to be an investor?
Aaron Walker: I do like to be an investor but only in things I’m controlling. I don’t want to be an investor in something that I’m not in control of. I want to control my own money I’m a big real estate investor I love real estate, 50% of the money I’ve made in my entire adult life has been through real estate, I buy property, we set out, keep it, sell it, flip it, any sorts of things with real estate so real estate is really good in the US and I know it is in Dubai as well the property values continue to increase.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You like capital gain or cash flow?
Aaron Walker: Well I like cash flow but capital gain, taxes are low here now 15% so capital gains after a year is only a 15% tax but we can do 1031 exchanges and buy properties and bypass the taxes altogether so those opportunities here to make money in real estate through cash flow and through capital gains.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And you get to management companies to real estate management?
Aaron Walker: I manage it.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you like the headache.
Aaron Walker: I don’t like the headaches but I would rather manage…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: With collection from the tenants?
Aaron Walker: Usually is with commercial properties I don’t like residential, usually its commercial and it’s very easy to get some unaffected in a commercial property it’s very difficult and residential, the judges here will side with the people that are residents because you don’t want to kick them out of their home there’s always a toilet leaking or roof leaking or a refrigerator that doesn’t work in residential and with commercial you don’t have that problem, the appreciation here is much greater and much faster and commercial property and I much rather deal with commercial property.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: By the way I forgot to mention I love your accent the southern accent is amazing.
Aaron Walker: Oh Ahmad I don’t have an accent you have an accent I don’t have an accident.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: No but like in the US you can sometimes hear different accents and I really love your accent.
Aaron Walker: Well thank you I appreciate that. I’m very country, very country.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Yes it is. You play guitar?
Aaron Walker: A little bit I’m not very good, Nashville is the country music Hall of Fame, all country music starts here. Do you like country music?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: I like it, yeah.
Aaron Walker: You know some of my clients George Jones I knew George Jones, Johnny Cash.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Johnny Cash love him.
Aaron Walker: They were good customers, he only lived about ten minutes from me where I live now is only three minutes to where he lived he doesn’t live there now he’s deceased but a lot of the country music stars live right here in Nashville.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Very cool. So construction you continued from which year to which year and also you sold the business are what happened?
Aaron Walker: Yes I did I retired when I was fifty years old I retired 3 ½ years ago.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: While you look forty now.
Aaron Walker: I turn fifty-four next week I’ll be looking for a birthday present from you, March 16, send a birthday present.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: March 16?
Aaron Walker: Yeah. It’ll be fun.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Done.
Aaron Walker: So I retired 3 ½ years ago from construction and I wasn’t going to do anything I decided the third time my final time I was going to retire well I have friends in a mastermind group we call ourselves the Eagles and in this group there are some very high profile men that own large businesses like Dave Ramsey Dan Miller Ken Abraham he’s a New York Times best-selling author has over 100 books in print these are all men in my mastermind group. And they encouraged me to coach they said you need to coach other men because you have thirty-five years of marriage and thirty-six years of business experience and the things that you can do and say would help other men to avoid pitfalls and you could coach them so I started mastermind groups which I facilitate now called iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another just as iron sharpens iron and I have one-on-one coaching. I chose men to coach primarily because I’ve been involved in mastermind group with men only for twenty years and I felt like I could say things to men but I couldn’t say to ladies.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you don’t accept women?
Aaron Walker: I’m not against women but I don’t coach women I just coach men.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: It’s a niche. And with Dave Ramsey and the other best-selling authors mastermind is it still going on until now like for twenty years?
Aaron Walker: We just finished we just completed our time together because now we are coaching other people I have another group called the torch in which I coach young men so they come to my office there is six men that are under thirty-five years old there are six men over fifty because we can hand the torch off to the young guys right so we mentor and coach those people will there’s only so much time so I don’t have time to do all of these groups myself and then coach and then do the mastermind group full-time wouldn’t allow it to go any further so we all decided that we would take the knowledge and the wisdom that we have as older men and we would take it out into the communities and help other people.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So the groups are off-line masterminds and the mastermind that you run yourself is online how does it work?
Aaron Walker: I have one group that meets online it’s in the Zune video conference room and that’s the way we do it just like you and I are talking now, there are 8 to 12 men per group and then I have groups that I meet with locally here in Nashville Dan Miller has a group called forty-eight days to the work you love and there are about forty of us and that mastermind group we meet virtually every week and four times a year we meet in person.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So how to join this mastermind that you have the forty-eight days something like that podcast?
Aaron Walker: That’s a closed group it’s not open, my groups are open groups, iron sharpens iron.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How much does it cost how does it work how many meetings a week?
Aaron Walker: We meet every week, we have a group starting April 7 a Tuesday morning at 830 Central time, the groups meet every week the same time online video conference room there’s 8 to 12 men in each group you meet with the same people every week it’s ongoing you don’t have to sign a long-term commitment you can join for a month if you don’t like it you get out. No one normally gets out because it’s so good it’s inspiring it helps you reach your goals it helps you establish your goals you hear from nonbiased people that can speak truth into your life they don’t tell you what you want to hear they tell you what you need to hear. The cost is $350 a month there is no commitment long-term. The value that you get though Ahmed is invaluable.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What’s the name of this group or mastermind?
Aaron Walker: Iron sharpens iron. You can get to it on my website view from the top.com.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: I’ve seen it but just to clarify to the audience when did you start the coaching venture? Which year?
Aaron Walker: I started two years ago, once I retired I get everything in place Dan Miller encouraged me to start coaching one-on-one first and then grow into the mastermind groups which we did now we have people in six different countries to participate in our groups I just finished a group 3 weeks ago and there were six different countries represented. So it’s a global process now it’s not just locally and we learned so much from people abroad just as we do locally and now the marketplace is not just our region geographically around us now we can have clients and prospects globally.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But is it mainly for people who want to learn off-line businesses or online businesses or anything related to business online?
Aaron Walker: Anything at all related to business because we are not just training people how to do off-line or online, we training people to do what we call personal assessment and we go through your ideals we go through your identity we go through we establish the relationships you need we talk about your faith we talk about your career we talk about your relationships we get a real understanding of what you are as an individual kind of an introspective look at who you are, once we get through that process I’ve created what’s called what do I want and Ahmed most people don’t know what they want most people just live reactively every day they just put out the fires everyday.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: By default.
Aaron Walker: I teach people to be proactive I teach people to think if I could wake up tomorrow geographically there were no limitations and financially there are no limitations what would I do with my life? How do I want to breathe into my children how do I want to raise them and teach them the character traits and the qualities that they need because they aren’t going to learn that elsewhere they’re going to learn that at home. And we teach people how to do those things so there’s a thirty question questionnaire of what do I want my life to look like, we help people establish goals we help people establish their dreams and put those things into reality. And then practically speaking but I do as I’ve created a course called steps to a productive day, and what we do is we start up very early in the morning with your day and we create a task is kind of like a to do list on steroids, it’s nothing at your day, I’m very methodical and regimented and in order to be successful you need to have structure so I teach people to have structure so those are some of the things that we do in the mastermind group and the one-on-one coaching.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the questions that you usually ask people to accept people how do you accept people and other levels of masterminds they progress do you ship them to another mastermind?
Aaron Walker: Yes there are, there are want-to-preneurs, solopreneurs, and entrepreneurs that can really live in the same environment. Some of the questions in the personal assessment have nothing to do with your ability to be accepted or declined we want to accept everyone that wants to learn so I look at the people, their level of experience if they have one to five years of experience, they have businesses that range from $100,000-$3 million they normally have the same things to discuss. I have another iron sharpens iron grip it’s very expensive it’s for people that are in $1 million a year minimum they have to have a $5-$15 million net worth and it’s expensive to be in that group it’s $3000 a month to participate in that group, we have weekly calls to check to make sure you’re progressing, we get together three times in Nashville for two days to come together to explore to encourage to meet to build a relationship. We have a private page that those people only can go to and communicate because people at that level and very quiet secret of things to talk about but they don’t want the marketplace to know what they need advice, they need people that understand what they want to know and can breathe life into them give them ideas you may be looking for transition and maybe looking for a merger and acquisition company to help sell your business you make for a succession plan in order to go to the next level and retire and transition to it may be a generational thing where you pass the business to your children so they are much different things to talk about for that group so I made the decision as to which group I put you in based on your experience.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Now do you participate yourself in the master group and a mastermind group let’s say with people your level, New York Times bestsellers experts or are you just focused on coaching?
Aaron Walker: Well I’m still involved in those groups I will always be involved in mastermind groups because I will never have learned it all. Everyday I learned, I’m an avid reader, I read 2 to 4 hours a day and I want to learn so I can teach others. When I’m in the mastermind group it encourages me and they share new resources and ideas with me and that I’m able to share those ideas and resources with the people that I coach I don’t think we ever reach a point where we’ve mastered it are we learned always need to be fed so I will always participate, I have a coach in Fort Worth Texas there’s a coach there Doctor Kruger is my coach the head of Baylor University medical Center over psychiatry and it helps us to understand why we do the things that we do. There are certain reasons that we participate in things that we do respond the way that we do there’s a reason for that so I hired a coach to help me understand why we do some of the things that we do so there’s always I just hired a LinkedIn coach to teach me better how to use LinkedIn, I could figure it out but I would rather pay him $500 and let him tell me how to do it, it takes me there faster. There is a client I had in the pawn shop business in Rapid City South Dakota he was three years old, and I coached him for six months, I flew out there and I coached him for six months, he said I took them from three years old to ten years old and six months because I got him to do all of the things that he needs to do because of my twenty-seven years of experience in that business, I knew what to do and he didn’t. That’s what coaching does it takes the experience and accelerate your business. So Ahmed I will always be involved in mastermind groups.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How much do you charge for one-on-one coaching?
Aaron Walker: I have three packages, one is called base camp it’s where you first get started I coach you an hour a day one day a week four times a month it’s $1200. I have a package called scaling the cliff for more advanced, $1500 there’s an hour and a half of coaching unlimited email unlimited text unlimited phone. I have a package called the summit and that package is $2500 a month, two hours a week, virtual or in person unlimited phone calls and unlimited text. I have another package that’s very expensive called the stratosphere and it’s for a weeklong coaching and we meet in a remote place off-site where you can fly in, $12,000 for the week. And it’s every day six days eight hours a day.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: When you started the coaching career two years back you didn’t struggle with marketing, what did you do how many team members to do have how do you market yourself mainly?
Aaron Walker: We do a number of things and I do have a team we use what’s called hubspot, hubspot is a very good marketing tool that helps create a funnel that puts people into the funnel and I create content daily either through blog posts I’m writing the course right now and it’s titled how to live a successful and significant life will the marketing that, twelve videos and six different modules so you’ll be able to buy that so we’re going to market that as well. I’m on a number of podcasts, I’m on 2 to 5 podcast interviews a week every week so I really get the message out there I have two full-time assistants that do nothing but social media on Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Pinterest Vimeo YouTube, we cover all areas of social media and we constantly are tweeting Facebook posts blog posts constantly so we’re very intentional about marketing.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Usually also those VAs pitch some other shows to be there other than some of the shows that find it to the content that you post online.
Aaron Walker: I do it both ways I have hired a VA that guarantees so many podcasts Jessica Rhodes she guarantees so many podcast interviews a week but I do it also I reach out, there was a movie producer and director from Los Angeles that food in Nashville we had breakfast the day before yesterday and he did an interview of me, doorpost and he is very noted movie producer and director at the start of the podcast but I reached him by reaching out to him myself we have to be very intentional about marketing and we are very deliberate, we do this daily, follow or connect around twenty-five people a day on LinkedIn and we reach out to eight or ten podcast is a day inviting ourselves to the show and as a result of being on more shows we get asked to be on more shows I was on John Lee Dumas’s, Entrepreneur on Fire twice and as a result of that he voted me to be in the top ten on his shows and out of that I get numbers of requests to be on shows now simply because he gets 1 million downloads a month and that’s a lot of people that are listening to his show and privileged to be on a show like yours.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thank you.
Aaron Walker: And hopefully someone will see me here and invite me to be there so we are very intentional and very deliberate about marketing.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the techniques to use for marketing and who is your online coach?
Aaron Walker: I don’t know that I have one online coach Michael Hart is very good, Dan Miller is very good, Dave Ramsey is excellent so there are a number of people that I watch, Aaron Hardy is very good, Jonathan Fields, there are tons of guys that are role models that are very very good in teaching how to do online. Jeff Walker read a great book called launch and it really helps you to market new products there are just a number of people out there that I admire and I watch I don’t do any of it exclusively I take certain parts of it, Guy Kawasaki is really good he wrote a book called the art of social media that is really getting coaching and teaching, I’m an avid reader when it comes to like the million or messenger or essentialism was a great book business brilliant, you can go on my website and download a lot of the books that I’ve read I’ve got hundreds of books there that are available for you to read that can help you but I think that times change so fast we’re in a world of information and technology changes so fast but we’ve got a be staying up-to-date nonstop, what we did three weeks ago may not work in a month. A friend of mine came to us when we were in our Eagles group and he said the problem with men over fifty is you are too old to unlearn and I thought man that’s a really powerful statement because the way I did it when I was young is not done that way anymore and I want to be the thirty-five-year-old mind in the fifty-five-year-old body I want to do it the way it’s supposed to be done now so I would just say Ahmed that we have to stay abreast of the technology we have to continue to read and study daily.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What works for you the best in terms of conversion is at the podcasts or other techniques online and other than those 2 VA’s are there any other people focused on conversion email marketing other stuff?
Aaron Walker: Yes I have 2 people that are contract labor that help me do conversion and the podcast does help with that I’m writing a book right now called an Eagles view and we’re going to be giving a peek behind the scenes of my ten years with the Eagles to show how these successful men built their business as well as how I built my successful business. With the conversions they come through being intentional, following up, and following back the people that follow us and when people retweet us we thank them and we comment to everyone that posts so it would be like inviting someone to your house for a party and you open the door and invite them in well now they are in, but if you don’t speak to them or serve them some ice water or some punch then you’ve done nothing but when you engage those people and you go back and check on them and you talk to them and you thank them for coming, it’s just the same virtually. If you just get people to follow you but you never follow back or you never talk to them than you can’t convert them, our conversion rate is very high because we engage people.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You hire people through let’s say outsourcing websites, oDesk, elance? How do you hire?
Aaron Walker: I have actually hired people that are in my mastermind groups. The two full-time assistants I have actually are my daughters and then I have virtual assistance that do different tasks I have one virtual assistant in the Northeast I’ve never talked to her on the phone that never met her in person I don’t know if she’s twenty or fifty but we communicate through email she does the task I don’t have the headaches I don’t deal with the problems and she completes the tasks that I give her at hand. I have other virtual assistance that does other marketing strategies for us we pay them a fee we designate exactly what we want done they complete the task and send the bill we pay them through PayPal and it’s over. So there’s really good opportunities now for virtual assistance.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Is there a strategist or conversion expert that helps you from time to time to change your strategy in terms of conversion of marketing?
Aaron Walker: Today at 3 o’clock have a meeting with a gentleman named Bill Seaver and he is a strategist we have reached a point now where we need to implement a plan to go forward because of the amount of people I’m talking to there’s no way for me to continue to trade my time for money if I’m going to scale my business it has to be more through product and convert these people more to online because there’s only so much time one-on-one and a very selective in who I coach personally one-on-one I want to be very cautious and careful that I have clients that are really wanting to do well. I don’t want my time to be wasted. In this business we have to become more strategic in nature and also my meeting today at 3 o’clock is about.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Why did you choose the name view from the top?
Aaron Walker: Nobody wants a view from the bottom, everyone wants a view from the top and my son-in-law actually gave the business that name we were strategizing over names and he said you run with some people and business that have kind of a view from the top and when he said it, that resonated so much with me I owned at that time fifty-five domain names I had bought thinking I was going to use one of those names and I did a test and I said the names at all the people I trust and in that I put the name view from the top along with the other names, 67% of people chose view from the top it was the only name I own and I said oh my goodness now I have to see if it’s available, I went out on domain whole.com it was not available so I contacted the people and I said I’d like to buy the name, they sold me the name but it was $3500 to buy that name, but it was worth it, people like it. That’s why I chose it.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How do we discover we really want in life to live on purpose?
Aaron Walker: Well, why would you not want to live on purpose? Why would we not want to live intentionally why would we not want to blaze new trails, why would we not want to have the life full of gratification and empowerment encouragement and that doesn’t happen by accident so my tagline is live on purpose I get up every day not wondering what I’m going to do today because I do steps to productive day, I want to be intentional we only have a short period of time our life is so limited, I don’t want to waste today I don’t want to have regrets and that’s why I live every day on purpose.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: People don’t know that there’s something called purpose they just live how they see the people around them live, some people watch soccer other people watch, some people smoke you pick up these habits and that’s the problem is people that they don’t know why they don’t know, they don’t know why they are unhappy they don’t know what is happiness or fulfillment.
Aaron Walker: I think that people have to look within themselves and a lot of times my purpose starts with my faith and so I really gain a lot of faith perspective in stating that we are really put here for a purpose and that could be to help other people so for me it was derived out of my faith.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What other questions should we ask ourselves to have more purpose in life?
Aaron Walker: I think some of the things, it’s a very selfish motive to think that you are put here just for yourself I believe in being a servant leader not only to my community but to my family and my children and I teach people on a daily basis that when you enter into a marriage a lot of your purpose is to serve your mate and meet their needs. As a direct result of that they will meet and serve your needs, I think we should do that for our children to raise them up to educate them in your purpose as an adult to convey secrets of success to instill quality traits and integrity and morality and honesty and all of those traits in order to be a good citizen and I think that one of our purposes is to do that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the essentials or must have things or must do things to have the life work balance?
Aaron Walker: I think one of the things is having people that will hold you accountable to a schedule you implement. I have a group of men that me to my house on Thursday mornings at 6 o’clock we meet every week and it’s to make sure that I’m giving enough energy and effort to my business making sure that I give energy and effort to my wife and my children and my grandchildren so I think a lot of the time we think that balance is going to just happen arbitrarily. And balance doesn’t happen and I tell men to embrace the tension the tension will never go away you think that you are going to be exactly balanced in work and life, and it never happens because new challenges present themselves new opportunities present themselves and we constantly are in a state of flux moving left and right so if we are worried about the tension and we embrace that tension more than likely we’ll be doing the right thing more than if we don’t embrace the tension so I tell men all the time, embrace the tension.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Tell us more about your book, an Eagles view and I going to publish it or self publish it?
Aaron Walker: There’s two schools thought as you know as an author and I’m right at the crossroads of making the decision to whether the self publish and have total control or go traditional publishing and lose control so I’m right at the crossroads I have recently discovered there’s a hybrid that we can do you can work with a traditional publisher but have more control and I believe that the process I’m going to go with. The book is simply about my life and the grit and determination that I’ve used to Excel, it’s also about the successful people that are around me and how I’ve watched then use these great character traits that they’ve embodied to grow the business they are very generous they are very thought-provoking they are very energetic they are very intentional and I’m going to demonstrate every bit of that in my book, the book will be coming out in the fall of 2015 and it’s called an Eagles view, I would love for you to reach out and by several of those books.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: I will especially if there is an audio version because I just listen to books I don’t read books.
Aaron Walker: There will be an audio version.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You cannot imagine how much I’m enjoying this interview and the value of the information you are sharing and I hope the audience really benefits from it’s amazing what you are sharing with us.
Aaron Walker: Well thank you Ahmed I appreciate that and I’ll tell you I’ll do an audio version and I’ll name it the Ahmed version just for you.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thank you so much thank you. You always talk about how important networking and creating relationships are and now I can tell why because you are really very good at networking and a very pleasant man I’m really happy not talking to you and I can feel the chemistry I am in Dubai and you are in the US and that is one of the main reasons I think for your success in networking, can you share with us some of the tips about networking?
Aaron Walker: I would love to do that I don’t really know why I started doing that at an early age my dad was very relational he never made any money but he loved people so I watch my dad you would love my dad you would want to hug my dad you would say you’re so friendly and nice and I watched my dad is a young child and as a result of that I intentionally started reaching out to men on purpose trying to build a relationship with them not for what I could get out of the relationship but what I can bring to the relationship. So I started doing that and about eighteen or nineteen years old and I will call people now during the day just to check on them most people when they get a phone call people say hey Ahmed how you listen while I’m talking to you let me ask you a question and that’s the reason they called it wasn’t to check on you, I don’t ask the question I called to check on Ahmed, how are you doing wanted to check on you became across my mind wanted to see how your family was and now they are thinking Aaron is really interested in me a call to check on me. That gives a sense of camaraderie it leaves an indelible impression on people’s minds because they think he really cares about me and now I encourage people daily I will send emails out intentionally I will sit and write emails to congratulate people, glad your book is coming out I’m going to buy your book I’m going to support you I’m going to encourage you, while the reciprocity it happens as a result of that people want to do things for you naturally just because you are kind and polite and gentle and you really reached out to them. Life is so fun as a result of that because my motives are pure my motives are good and I want you to be my friend and out of that business happens. I can teach people how to make money it’s not that hard to make money what really matters in our lives are other people building relationships edifying one another lifting each other up and helping them so I’m very intentional about building relationships.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Which platform on social media do you like the most to build relationships online? Which would you prefer yourself?
Aaron Walker: Twitter. It’s short concise immediate don’t tell anyone I’m not a Facebook fan it’s okay but I’m not a fan I like Twitter I enjoy LinkedIn but Twitter is probably my favorite because you don’t have to say a whole lot, 140 characters you say it you get your message and its instant, people can reply right back and I love Twitter.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are some of the other projects that you are working on now for the future?
Aaron Walker: I’m building 2 right now the primary ones are the book we’ve already talked about and the other one is the course on how to live a successful and significant life that will be coming out and about ninety days and it will be very affordable it will be twelve modules, six modules with twelve videos.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are some of the tools or software that you use that makes you more efficient?
Aaron Walker: A couple of the things we use that are really really helpful to me are zilliondesigns.com, a great resource to help you design documents or logos, papers websites, there’s millions of things they can help you design, scrivener is a really good tool I used to write with, most of the authors are using scrivener it’s a great tool so those are two of the tools I really use, Evernote is really good I’m not as big and that, Google Docs is very good we use Google Docs everyday so those 4 resources would be good.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Take us through your daily life and work day, what do you do from the moment you wake up until you sleep?
Aaron Walker: I’m a very early riser I generally am up between 4 and 5 AM every morning.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: An eagle.
Aaron Walker: Yeah I’m an eagle, I sit in my chair for ten minutes and meditate and drink a glass of water get my coffee going I love coffee I spent time reading the Scripture I spent time meditating and praying I have 2 prayer lists that I go through for family and clients I pray for them each day I spent the next fifteen or twenty minutes being quiet just listening just being still trying to get my day centered and then I open emails to make sure nothing drastic is up and overnight but I need immediate attention to I generally spend the next 2 hours reading, I read I keep 2 or three books going nonstop all the time right now I’m reading eMyth for the second time I just completed essentialism, millionaire next door, business brilliant there’s a number of books that I’ve just completed and I’m ready to start the new ones, after that I write for a few hours, normally have 2 to 3 coaching sessions either in person or virtual each and every day I generally eat lunch with my wife each day my office is at my home and building a new office now to expand into that’s larger on my property, I eat lunch with my wife and then I write or check email again for an hour after that generally by then it’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon and I have coffee for thirty minutes with my wife in our sunroom, by then at 630 in the day is over for me and we had dinner and then we try to relax and unwind for the evening and I generally go to bed at 930 or 10 o’clock every night so I’m a six and a 6 ½ hours of sleep, historically weekends I try not to work I reserve them for my family, I try not to work I will do the necessary things related to social media just to check on those or the email for maybe an hour each day but generally I try to reserve those days for my grandchildren and my wife and my faith.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Through the days do you have a structure other than this for the day like blog post or writing for this book or create a product?
Aaron Walker: I will repeat but it’s not structured as saying at 9 o’clock and went to write on this project I’m not that structured I’m not that deliberate I would like to be more focused and have designated times and I probably will work into that but as of today I’m not.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How do you remove the noise from your life and focus when you write to you write with no Internet?
Aaron Walker: I tell you what I do I found out this trick by accident my grandchildren were playing downstairs at my house one day and it was noisy and I couldn’t think and the noise was distracting so I put my headphones on and I love jazz music I love Kenny G and Kenny G was playing.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Saxophone yeah.
Aaron Walker: So I had my headset on and the music took me to a level I’ve not experienced before so all the writing I do now is the music, no words I can’t do the words I can’t hear somebody singing but I just listened to instrumental music primarily saxophone or jazz music like Kenny G but it really takes me to a level that I can write with no distractions. No Internet on no phone on I be distracted I have to be clear and I have to be listening to music.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Do you have a routine to sleep?
Aaron Walker: It easy for me to sleep I lay down and in thirty seconds I’m asleep and it’s over and I wake up at four or 415 no alarm I wake up on my own and my body has done that for so long it’s not hard for me to go to sleep at all.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are your other hobbies?
Aaron Walker: I’m an avid reader as we’ve already talked about I love to fish I love to play golf and I love to play with my grandchildren.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three mentors.
Aaron Walker: You probably won’t know any of them but Bob Warn is my top mentor he was a friend for many years before he passed away, David Landreth is my second mentor and that got picked three… Herb Berry would be my third mentor we’ve been friends for over forty years now he was the man I started with in the pawnshop business when I was thirteen years old, for four decades now we’ve been friends and to the best of my knowledge would never had a crossword so I would say he would be my third mentor.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Most important factors for success in three words?
Aaron Walker: Grit, determination and perseverance.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What’s the biggest failure moment in your life and what did you learn from it?
Aaron Walker: The biggest failure in my life and what that I learned from it? I would say selling the business at twenty-seven years old and would have paid larger dividends had I trusted advisors and mentors at an earlier age that would have kept me from making a mistake.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three apps that you use the new smartphone?
Aaron Walker: Top three apps, I’m not a real big app user but I would say Google does that count everybody has Google, I don’t know I give you top three I don’t really use that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the habits you’re trying to develop to stay efficient?
Aaron Walker: Probably reading even more, the power of habit was a great book if you haven’t read it you need to read that book it helps to identify cues in your life to implement new habits and stop all habits so some of those habits, the other habit that’s really tough for me and I want to learn to do this better my wife keeps me in check but at a certain time in the afternoon any to be completely finished and I want to exercise that more my life where I pick a time whether it’s six or 7 o’clock and I don’t pick up any more electronics I don’t write anymore I don’t return any more emails I devote my total attention and time to my wife so that would probably be a habit that I need to implement and work on most.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What do you do to change your mood when you’re down?
Aaron Walker: I read very positive motivational writing, I listen to podcasts that are very uplifting and motivational and music is a very good thing for me to listen to.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Aaron Walker: The best advice I’ve ever received would simply be to fear missing an opportunity more than I fear of failure, I want to go for it doesn’t matter in my life what it is I want to win I want to succeed I want to be the best at it so I fear missing an opportunity more than I fear failure.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: If you have the chance to go back in time and advise your younger self what would be advised to younger self?
Aaron Walker: Build relationships even more than I do now and have trusted advisors in my life that I run past every decision prior to making the decision.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Your favorite quote?
Aaron Walker: Can’t couldn’t do it and could did it all and that came from my mom I’m a very early age she would not allow children to say can’t she said you may not be able to do what you’re attempting but you’re going to try so she would say repetitively day after day, can’t couldn’t do it and could did it all. As a result of that I have great self-esteem I have the fortitude within me to try things that I may not accomplish but I’m going to try.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three favorite books?
Aaron Walker: Essentialism by Greg McCowan, how to win friends and influence others by Carnegie, the Bible because it resonates with my faith, and the fourth book if I could give another one would be, you said three I’ll quit.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three people you’re inspired by?
Aaron Walker: Top three people that I’m inspired by, my wife, should be number one because she is always there for me the second person that inspires me would be Dave Ramsey, Dave Ramsey has been a very integral part and Dan Miller would probably the third.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What makes you really happy?
Aaron Walker: What makes me happy is empowering others and helping them achieve their dreams and goals they never thought possible.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Is there a question that you think I didn’t ask you or something that you want to talk about?
Aaron Walker: Ahmed I think we cover the whole gamut I’m pretty sure we have I think of anything presently.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Last question how can people contact you?
Aaron Walker: View from the top.com, my personal email is there my Twitter Facebook anyway that you would like to reach me my personal cell numbers on there I would love to talk to you.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thank you so much Aaron I really appreciate this interview is one of my favorites that I have ever done.
Aaron Walker: Well thank you Ahmed I really enjoyed it it was a pleasure to be on your show and it was quite an honor thank you for having me.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: It’s my pleasure, thanks everyone be efficient and stay efficient and see you soon with another leading expert.
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Sun, 15 November 2015
What are the latest On Page & Off Page SEO Strategies that Really Works – Interview with Rand Fishkin
Be Efficient Tv offers tips and tricks from leading experts to help you make your life and business more efficient through an in depth interviews with different thoughtful leaders, business experts, authors, founders and millionaires. You will discover strategies that you can implement easily into your everyday life to help you save time and make the most of the time that you have. Experts from a variety of backgrounds and industries are interviewed regularly to reveal their personal secrets for being more productive.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Hi everyone this is Ahmed Al Kiremli and welcome to Be Efficient Tv. The mission of this web TV show is to boost the efficiency of your business and life through tips and tricks from leading experts. Today I have with me Rand Fishkin, he is the cofounder of Moz and inbound.org. Welcome to the show Rand how are you doing?
Rand Fishkin: Thank you very much for having me I’m well thank you.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: My pleasure so what’s your background before Moz and what are you currently focused on?
Rand Fishkin: Sure actually it turns out that I don’t have much of a background before Moz I dropped out of college in 2001 and basically have been working at the company that eventually became Moz ever since. So Moz is kind of my only professional history, I don’t really have any other jobs in the past. Prior to being in the role that I am now which is essentially I’m a contributor to our product strategy and our marketing a lot of our evangelism I’m also on our Board of Directors and obviously I’m a cofounder but prior to that I was Moz’s CEO and before that even I was an SEO consultant and even before that I did web design and development all of the company that eventually turned into Moz.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Why did you eventually step down as CEO and contributor what does that mean what exactly did you do?
Rand Fishkin: So individual contributor is just my funny idiosyncratic way of saying I get to do the things that I want to do that I’m good at and I don’t have any people managing responsibilities so there’s basically no one in the organization which reports to me directly with the exception of my executive Nikki and in terms of stepping down as CEO, there were a number of reasons, some of the big ones included I was very deeply unhappy at the time even depressed and didn’t feel confident or capable in leading the organization through a period of change and turmoil I was very disappointed with the product that we had produced up to that point and things of that much much better now and you can see that reflected in our numbers and the quality of the product and all those kinds of things but I was definitely feeling really down about that. I also knew that long-term I did not want to be the CEO of a public company and Moz is on a slow trajectory but on a trajectory to eventually having an IPO on one of the public markets likely the NASDAQ or the New York Stock Exchange so knowing that that was something that wasn’t something I wanted to do long-term or was passionate about it made sense for me to promote our longtime COO and my great friend Sarah Bird to the role of CEO and I think she’s doing a marvelous job in that position and I think she’ll continue to do a great job.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So is it because you are a bad CEO or it’s less fun when it’s a big company or what is it just like there is a shift in your goals that you want to relax and if you step down, most CEOs when they step down they don’t want to be close to the company and be a contributor or get involved in the decisions so what do you do that?
Rand Fishkin: I definitely took an alternate attack there, I am still very close to a lot of the decision-making process here at my was still very close to the company I certainly have not been relaxing I would say I work as much as I ever did as CEO in this new role just doing different kinds of things and I think the primary reason I don’t know that I was necessarily a bad CEO I think I was not as good a CEO as I could’ve been or should’ve been and I feel some guilt about that. But I think it was more a question of I was not passionate about the things that a bigger company needs from CEOs, those were not the things that inspired me and those are a lot of things about finance and reporting and…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But you did some of that at the beginning…
Rand Fishkin: I did a lot of that I was responsible for it I did it I think I did an okay job with it I just didn’t love doing it. It wasn’t the kind of thing that got me excited so I really wanted to refocus on the two areas of the company that I care about deeply and that’s the product and engineering world and the marketing. And I think that I can be more effective as a contributor on those things then I could be as a people manager and the builder of process responsible for finance and all that kind of stuff.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the financial problems that your family or you were facing before starting Moz and how did you start Moz?
Rand Fishkin: When I stopped out of college my family is here in the US we would be considered middle-class I guess now there a little bit more than middle-class but my dad was an engineer at Boeing so he worked on planes and my mom ran a small business that was essentially just a small marketing business that made a little bit of money but I think my parents combined income when we were growing up was in the 80s it was in the $30-$40,000 range and maybe in the 90s get a little bit more than that, pretty solidly middle income that my dad was a big saver he save a lot of money so he had a lot when he retired from Boeing which was just a few years ago and in 2001 when I dropped out of college my parents financial situation was fine but my mom had a little bit of debt and her business and unfortunately over the next five years that debt grew tremendously so by 2006 we had almost $500,000 in debt on that business which was really super rough and terrifying to deal with on a day-to-day basis, thankfully we were able to pay it off not entirely but we paid off the credit card companies such that they wrote off the debt so we didn’t know the many more money. That was great to get through that experience but I think it was a pretty rough time.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is Moz what are the services that you provide?
Rand Fishkin: Moz is primarily almost exclusively of software company so we make software for professional web marketers to be able to mostly help them with their Seo efforts and a little bit with their content marketing social media marketing in some aspects of outreach and PR and online visibility but very centered around Seo. That’s a personal passion of mine so it’s an area I’m really glad that we can help people with.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So it’s just like analytics software and brings data from social media replacing let’s say more data than Google analytics, what is it exactly?
Rand Fishkin: So Google analytics would be visitor analytics they show you people who visit your website what those people do on your side where they came from, Moz is really about showing your data from external sources like where you getting your links from, who’s talking about you on the web and what are they saying, how do you compare against your competition, when you see data around your rankings what other competitors are in those ranking positions, we do a crawl your website and show you certain errors and missed opportunities, things that you should be working on all that kind of stuff so it’s a little more prescriptive than just analytics I call it there are a lot of raw analytics data but it’s not the same kind you can get from Google analytics and then there’s a lot of insights and suggestions inside there too.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So if I’m a Moz Pro member does that mean I should not use any other software in terms of analytics?
Rand Fishkin: Definitely not that, Moz actually has a partnership with Google analytics and we integrate Google’s visitor data inside our platform and we actually recommend lots of other software so depending on who you are and what you’re doing you might think about using something like a minx panel in addition to Moz which will give you detailed customer data around your product usage you might consider an analytics package like a sum all which will collect all together all sorts of things and put together, you might consider another product like a has offers or attune both of which are around mobile analytics data for app developers so there is tons of analytics products that I would recommend out there Moz is certainly not an everything in one it’s really designed to help you with Seo and kind of the channels around Seo, a little bit of social a lot of content that sort of thing.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You have your own crawl Which is called Mozscape what does that mean?
Rand Fishkin: Moz scape is like us trying to replicate the backend of Google’s web infrastructure essentially we’re trying to crawl the Internet or most of it and show us where all of the links from pages are pointing to, who’s pointing to what what’s more important than what and then we try to build a lot of metrics on top of that to say how trustworthy are these sites how trustworthy are these pages how spammy are these sites, what are some metrics that correlate well with how sites and pages perform in Google’s rankings and that’s what we call domain authority and page authority so that’s kind of our goal with Moz scape to build a web index based on links.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Do you think that will develop into a search engine?
Rand Fishkin: Probably not in the reason I say probably not is because the search engine does have a lot more technical hurdles to cross other than just the ones we built today but also a search engine that no one uses is particularly valuable and I don’t think we would ever try to compete in the consumer world of getting people to use our search engine instead of Google’s, I really think that our data is designed to help people understand how they perform in Google and how they can improve their performance in Google as well as Yahoo and Bing to the extent that those players have some market shares as well.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Back to the title of contributor does that mean you don’t want to have pressure all the time and you are the spokesman of the company doing the interviews doing the media having the credibility of like you found of the company regardless of what’s going to happen because it’s kind of double thing that you are kind of representing the company but again you are not responsible fully of the performance of the company.
Rand Fishkin: It’s funny that you say that I actually haven’t completely divorced myself from responsibility for the performance of the company.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is going on inside you when you see something wrong when you see something you don’t like, what is going on inside you?
Rand Fishkin: I mean I still get insanely frustrated, Moz is very much still my baby and even though Sarah and I will occasionally disagree I think ninety-nine times out of 100 when something is wrong or something is broken I don’t feel it’s any less of my responsibility to try to go help that happen, what is the case is that I don’t have the way that my involvement works, it’s no longer I have people reporting to me who have people reporting to them who are directly responsible for this and I sort of grade their performance and I work with them to improve it and those kinds of things it’s really more that I try to chip in or I can be helpful I try to identify problems and point them out to people identify opportunities and solutions and then I let people run on their own and it’s also the case that I would say that I do certainly do a lot of external evangelism to your point but I certainly still have a lot of pressure on me both internally and externally because while I may not be the CEO of Moz I think most of the world who knows Moz still thinks that if Rand is doing well Moz is going to do well and if Moz is doing poorly than Rand is going to do poorly.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Even the number of interviews that you do comparing with the CEO… You can’t just call the CEO and tell her that change this or like they consult you and these things or like you just see the things happen and then you give your opinion? Are you just a consultant?
Rand Fishkin: I’m a little bit more of a consultant presents but a permanent consulting presents I’m more like a like an investor from a Board of Directors perspective and more like a what I would say is a trusted voice inside the company but a trusted voice not a manager.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You are not salaried you’re just a partner?
Rand Fishkin: I am salaried as well yes I have a very nice salary from Moz in fact I thought it was very kind that when I step down from the CEO role the board decided that they didn’t want to change my salary so I still have a very nice salary.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: With no pressure or less pressure. And how much do you own of the company?
Rand Fishkin: My wife and I together own just about 24% of it.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How did you raise capital for the company from 1.1 million in 2007 up to 18 million in 2012 and is there another plan now the next step is IPL what is the next up?
Rand Fishkin: In 2007 we raise 1.1 million from a couple investors but that process was actually the opposite of most venture capital processes, Michelle Goldberg and Kelly Smith actually pitched me they sat down and took me out to lunch a lot of times, Rand we think you can build something special would love to fund this and they convinced me to take money which is really weird but doesn’t usually happen. In our subsequent rounds we tried to raise money a few more times in 2009 2010 2011 and we actually failed at that but in 2012 I started talking to some investors early in the year and one of the people I reached out to hoping to get introductions to investors will actually Brad Feldt, for some reason I thought the foundry only did early-stage deals so I figured they were the match for us because we were trying to raise between twenty and 25 million at that point and Brad it turned out once we get on the call he said I can introduce you to some great people but let me tell you why should take money for me instead which again was one of those just really positive moments and I think it was a week after that phone call that it was only five or six days after that phone call we basically had a handshake deal on the agreement so it was just a wonderful process with the foundry I love those guys, Brad is a tremendous investor and has become a great friend also. And I would say for the future Moz is at some point in the long-term looking to do a public offering I would guess that will be in the next three years but it will be in the next five or six years and to do that I think Sarah is pretty passionate about trying to raise one more round of funding mostly to support some growth efforts and to give her some capital to be flexible and potentially try some acquisitions we did have some nice success with a few of our acquisitions.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But you are like in the positive in terms of profits, why do you do that is the point to increase the value of the company and maybe dilute more from give the investors back some more money?
Rand Fishkin: Probably not we probably wouldn’t do around where investors take money off the table I think that would be unlikely but we would do around for primarily the reason that we can accelerate the growth rate and we can do things before our competitors can do them or before the market tolerates them from a financial standpoint and we can kind of grow ahead of our budget so we’re on the cusp of profitability I think we are cash flow positive but still losing a little bit of money from an accounting perspective but pretty close to break even but that being said there’s a lot of things that we wish we could invest and I think in particular that Sarah wishes she could invest in that we can do so there’s some small start up out there that we really like rethink their supercool maybe it costs us to million dollars to acquire that company and bring the team and board we don’t really have that $2 million to go spend right now. We could but it would be very very risky if we put another thirty or $40 million in the bank then we can do that. Then we can make those investments, another really big one is we would like to grow our web index in our data substantially that requires a big investment of servers and we’ve made a few of those big investments would like to make even more before we have the income to support it because we think that the market will reward us if we can make those investments so I’d love to go spend six or $7 million next year on new hardware, that would be pretty risky at our current cash situation so those of the reasons we would raise money.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So content creation versus Seo is it like 80/20 % relation focus or how do you put it?
Rand Fishkin: Well you can do Seo without content, there is no ability to rank unless you actually have content to back up those rankings however that being said what I would say is that there’s a lot of folks who invest in content creation that are not thinking strategically or even tactically about Seo when they do it and I think that’s a missed opportunity a lot of the time. If you are investing in content creation what I would urge marketers and small businesses and start of all kinds to do is to think about think very carefully about who am I trying to reach with this content and why am I trying to reach them, is this content made for early stages of my final am I just trying to build brand awareness in my trying to make people aware of my product and my company, trying to get people to convert and depending on those you probably have different sources of traffic that you’re trying to send to them and search engines are almost always in that equation no matter where in the funnel we’re talking about. So I really urge people to mix their content creation strategy with Seo to have a deep understanding of Seo to understand what works and what doesn’t and what factors go into that and apply that to your content because otherwise you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to drive traffic.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But the problem of Seo always like there is a change always like even when you hire a different company each company has a different strategy so you don’t really know you have to test like for my website currently I’m working with more than two or three companies to test each one what will do and then measure the results so if someone starts a blog today and ran it for two years, a blog on a daily basis another one is doing the same blog or something similar but with Seo, how long will it take the one who is just doing nothing to have some of the pages or the blog posts ranked on the first page of Google comparing with the other one who is doing Seo, how much is the period of time?
Rand Fishkin: That’s actually a funny question because it’s possible that without doing Seo you could rank better than the person who is doing Seo depending on how you’re doing and what you’re doing and the reason that exists is because some bloggers inherently are really good at describing their content in the same way that the search engines are and it gains a lot of influence and amplification lots of links lots of social shares lots of on-site engagement lots of people talking about them and that’s what the engines care deeply about so sometimes you have those unintentional success stories from the blogosphere in particular but that being said if you are doing Seo and you’re doing really smart strategic Seo then part of that SCO should be all of those good things how do we get amplification how do we create content that people want to share, how do we get the press interested how do we make ourselves and links how do we choose the right keyword targets and title our blog posts in a way that is going to try and search traffic but also be very compelling for people who might share it in other places and doesn’t sound spammy or manipulative so if you combine up those things I think you are going to beat anyone who is doing content creation but not Seo.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So let’s start with home page Seo what to do in terms of headings and links how many links should it be, some people say that if you put so many links that will reduce the juice of the Seo work, meta-tags tell us more about all of these details what should we do on the homepage?
Rand Fishkin: So actually there’s a blog post that I would urge you and your readers to go check out and that’s called, it’s basically my illustrated guide to on page acquisition and I go through a very detailed think all through these elements and there’s lots of them that used to be true that no longer are so you bring up for example the dilution of link juice or link equity through having too many links on your site and back in the days when page rank was the primary scoring system that Google used, the old-school original 1998 page rank yeah that stuff actually mattered but ten years later which is now six years ago it didn’t matter almost at all and today it’s virtually completely useless the way I think about links on the page or how long should a page be or how many images should I use how much of my video be is what’s right for the user, what’s right for your audience did they want really long videos to they want lots of images are only a few do they want lots of links to external content or do they only want a couple what’s going to be most helpful for them because the best thing that you can do for your Seo is really about improving your engagement and your ability to earn amplification. So it’s become much less about the technical well I put this keyword in my meta-keyword site the engines don’t even use meta-keyword tags anymore or I position this term at the front of my title tag instead of as the third word in the title tag, that stuff really doesn’t compare to the value that you’re getting from hey I increase the engagement so that people are now spending on average 2 ½ minutes instead of two minutes on my page and people are now sharing it at a rate of one in 1000 instead of one in 10,000 people sharing it, those things will have huge impact on your Seo compared to kind of the little nitty-gritty of where to place a keyword or how long to make content.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Like just one point regarding that, the links like on interviews and be efficient, we have a section where we are putting maybe ten links of the websites of the guests plus the social media, some Seo experts advise to keep it some experts said no so now the point is it helping the users to have a better experience than keep it.
Rand Fishkin: Perfectly nailed it right so the value from an Seo perspective and Google is looking at a page or being or Yahoo whatever they are going to analyze and they are going to say hey is this helpful to users and they are going to look at a lot of other things, off-site signals, external things they will probably look directly at your Google analytics and say how long do people spend on this page but that’s a great leading indicator of all the things the engines do look at so as you improve that you’re going to improve your Seo so I would urge you to think like a should we link to every one of Rand Fishkin’s social profiles well maybe not but let’s link to the three where he is most active, should we link to every site on the web he’s ever contributed on? That probably doesn’t help anybody but let’s link to the two or three where people are really going to find value from it, that’s was going to help you the most because that’s what’s going to help your users the most.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How about the meta-tags what do you use like should we use Yost or certain plug-ins to do the meta-tags, how to deal with that? I like the Yost plug-in for WordPress I think it can lead you in the right direction to get some of that those last few details of Seo right so I’m a fan, I would say that if you well one of the problems I’ve seen as many bloggers many websites that use WordPress install that and then they don’t pay any attention to it and think because I’ve installed that I’m now doing good Seo but that’s not true at all, you have to go do the work that the plug-in is suggesting so if you are running a title tag and you can see hey this is a word I want to target well you should make sure that the pages really are on that topic in the meta-description has a compelling description of not just the page content but also why it’s applicable to a searcher who is just search for that phrase. The same thing is true in your title the same thing is true all across the board, I think my life just went out…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: No problem how about the slug and URL how to do it do you put the title of the post copy paste how long should it be?
Rand Fishkin: I like URLs that are of a readable length so basically I think it’s fine to use the title as the slug but what I really want to see is number one can you try to get the keyword in there if you can’t that’s okay but I would suggest try to get the keyword in there and the second thing in there is try to make the URL legible so when someone sees it in the search result they go aha! I know exactly what that’s about. Yes that matches against the title and the description and what I’m trying to accomplish, you’re really trying to create that information sent so that when a visitor when a searcher types and their keyword and they see your result they go yes that’s the one I most want to click. I think about it more as an ad for clicking on your page than for anything else.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How about tags and categories like how to use it, shall we display the tags live on the site put it in the back end, shall we have lots of categories and tags in the backend, was strategy to use?
Rand Fishkin: Most of the time I personally prefer categories over tags but I think reasonable people can disagree, again it really goes back to what’s valuable for your user so when people are visiting your site are they going to want content via tags are they going to want it via categories or subcategories how do they find the navigation to be most useful and that’s why target with your stuff so depending on how broader topics are and how your organizing things and how much content you have you might consider one the other both but it’s not a huge deal for Seo specifically as much as it is for Seo indirectly through user engagement and user happiness on the site.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And how about if the category is like directing like each post is within let’s say six categories that will not affect the Seo if it’s helping if it’s under those…
Rand Fishkin: If that’s accurate if that’s really where people should find no problem at all I think when people start to get spammy and they try to put every post in every category so it maximizes the link exposure you are playing the old page ranking game from the late 90s early 2000 and that’s not going to work at all and you’re diluting people’s ability to find good content when they do click on the categories, that’s going to harm your Seo more than it will help.
Ahmed Al Kiremli:, The headings like headings one, two, three should we use it in each post or how to use that and what else in terms of homepage do we have to do other than the things that we spoke about?
Rand Fishkin: Yeah for the detailed level like this tag that tag I might check out that post on illustrated guide to page acquisition but for the heading in particular I like VH1 tag or the heading tag you can use H2 or age 3 if for some reason your WordPress install is using some different CSS classes that’s fine but for that having the one that appears at the top I try to make that match the title tag of the page and what the surgery just clicked on because you don’t want them to click on something and get to the page and the headline is different from the title element they just clicked, that creates a dissonance that’s going to make a lot of people click the back button and you really don’t want that, one of the big things that will positively impact your Seo is when people click from the search results on to your page if they stay on that page and they have a positive experience there and they browse across the rest of your website that tells Google this was a great answer to that query. If they click the back button and they choose another result that tells Google you didn’t answer the query so almost everything you going to do on the page with your content you tags or headlines your titles is all about serving that searcher and making sure they’re going to be happy so they don’t choose back into somebody else.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How about the comment system like some people use social media they look into Facebook others use discuss or other plug-ins for the comment system, what do you like what do you not like?
Rand Fishkin: I’m biased to discuss, I think they’ve done a really strong solid job unless you have an audience that is very engaged on one of the social channels so if you know for example hey a lot of my readers are using Google plus and I see application of my blog through Google plus a good example of that is a lot of people in the photography world are very heavily on Google plus so there’s a lot of photo blogs with a bias Google plus comments I think that’s actually very smart same story with Facebook if you know that your audience is hugely into Facebook, a lot of mom and dad, parental blogs are like this, their audience is heavily on Facebook that’s where the sharing happens I think using Facebook’s commenting system for those blogs can make great sense too. It’s about choosing which matches your audience best.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Let’s jump into the keyword search like how should we do the keyword search should we use general terms or keywords for each blog post that we do, which tools do you use to choose those keywords?
Rand Fishkin: So I like every quarter every six months or even every year depending on how often you’re doing it going through and doing a big keyword research process saying here’s all the terms it raises that I really wish could be at the top of Google for creating that list, using ad words using search suggest or a tool like keyword tool.io to broaden out that list, doing some research and other sites what are people searching for on YouTube what kinds of content is being created around this topic by using a tool like buzz sumo and then aggregating all of that together and Google Docs or itself saying here’s my big list, which one do I want to write about this year? What I would do is I really like saying hey I’m going to pick twenty or thirty or forty of these keywords that are really important and I’m going to truly target them and the rest of this list is going to be nice to have, it’s going to be hey if I’m passionate about this topic if I feel there’s something really unique and new to say great all right a lot of if not I’m going to let my own creativity and imagination drive my titles drive my content because I think a lot of bloggers get very limited when they think only in terms of Seo keywords and they lose out on the potential of driving a bigger audience through content that’s really exciting and unique and doesn’t necessarily targeted keyword. I think it’s smart to half like hey these are the keywords are really chasing these are the ones that are nice to have but I’m not going to let this keyword universe limit what I can write about, I’m going to be as creative and imaginative and I’m going to work to the passions of my audience.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Longtail short keywords matter more or rank faster which one do you like more to start with?
Rand Fishkin: All that passionate stuff that you write about is going to be in the longtail it’s invisible you don’t really see how much the keyword volume is but it can work tremendously well and usually the competition is a lot lighter so rankings are much easier they just don’t send as much traffic per term and often times you can get a lot of links inventions and engagement and amplification all of which can help your entire website because of those positive signals that these posts are earning. In terms of the head of the demand curve, that’s where competition gets really heavy, I love being able to bring for those terms but I think it’s folly to think hey I’m going to target keyword XYZ really hard really challenging to get to and if that post doesn’t succeed and it doesn’t break for it well I failed and going to give up I’m going to move onto the next thing.
Rand Fishkin: I think it can be really smart actually to say I know it’s going to be hard to target this keyword and I’m willing to invest multiple posts, try to produce something on a regular basis that’s targeting that, see what sticks see what resonates with people it’s okay to have multiple pieces of content target a missing keyword or keyword phrase so long as there’s individual unique value from this posts and those are real posts that are going to resonate with people.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So now we’re talking about producing more relevant content regarding specific keywords how about off page like what should we do where to put a listing, local listings, other stuff what should we do in terms of off page?
Rand Fishkin: I like I do think there’s a few places where you can go out and sort of build or acquire links directly so I think it’s great to go after blog rolls think it’s fine to go after local or industry niche sorts of resource pages I think it’s dangerous to chase link directories, most directories are going to get you into more trouble than they will help you and there’s a huge amount of risk around link spamming Google these days the same is true for any sort of manipulative system so a blog carnival a private blog network, anything where you buy links on Fiver to get listed in all these places, submit yourself to 500 directories and search engines, that type of stuff is super dangerous. It used to be the case that Google would just ignore those things but nowadays they will penalize you actively penalize you maybe even been your site from Google for engaging in this kind of liking practices so I would shy away from them. What I do think works really well in terms of off-site and earning links is getting exposure to the right kinds of people who might link to you. And a lot of times that means social media Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Google plus Pinterest maybe Instagram what have you and a lot of times it also means reaching out over email to expose your content to the right people if you know that hey this writer at this particular website often talks about this kind of thing I got what I think is a great piece of content on it I want to share it with them maybe they want to it maybe they won’t maybe the shared on Twitter maybe they won’t I don’t care I just want them to see it, send them an email, build a relationship, starting a relationship on the web or in person. I’m is a great way to eventually get the links in the signals that you need to rank well.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How about like some Seo companies doing kind of a blog post but they are not as quality high-quality as the blog posts that you publish on the main site and they put it on certain sites out there with the link direct to your website?
Rand Fishkin: That’s dangerous territory, there’s a few times there are cases where a guest post will occasionally make sense someone from a blog you really admire and respect invites you to take a post that you created and published it on their site and a link back to your, that makes sense that audience is someone who would like this posted a link back call or they invite you to write something for their site, awesome but if it’s one of those things where it’s like hey here’s a guest blog directory or here’s an article posting service or I’m an Seo guy and then kind of shady I’m going to go out and get you fifty links by putting your post on fifty different sites that I know will take any old crap that you give them, that’s no barrier to entry and that stuff occasionally works for a short period of time for a few weeks or a few months but then you get penalized to get there and I may have to rebuild your blog from scratch or disavow your links and that shady Seo person who did it for you there just can go on to the next client, they don’t owe you anything they can just walk away but you are stuck with the pain and heartache of having those links hurting you.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So how to rank a specific keyword like most Seo companies when you work with them they put a list of certain keywords and they start doing some of these off page strategies and sometimes they link them indirectly like four times or five times between different sites then to your site to try to trick Google I don’t know. How can you really rank quickly for certain keywords is it only based on what you post on your site internally in terms of your content homepage?
Rand Fishkin: So really if you are trying to rank very quickly and you don’t care about ranking for very long then go ahead engage in that manipulative staff, I don’t work in that world but black hat Seo folks specialize in that stuff, ranking quickly but for only a few days or a few weeks before a penalty hits on the site never ranks again. If you are trying to rank in the long term what you need to do is build a website and a brand that Google is going to love and Google is only going to love things that people love. Specifically people who influence what gets shared and talked about and written about on the web so your job really becomes doing PR and brand amplification for your site and earning the credibility across the industry niche space and many other adjacent industries and wishes and once you have that once you have a website that’s a real brand, that people know and love in return to that has lots of good links the gets lots of shares they gets lots of mentions, ranking gets easier and easier and easier because everything you publish people start reading and sharing even before you done any work. As soon as you hit the publish button people are coming in checking it out they follow you on twitter they check out your Facebook feed the subscribed to your RSS they look at what you published on LinkedIn, they direct navigate to your site to see what you’ve written, that’s awesome. That gives you the power to be able to rank for almost anything just by hitting the publish button. The problem is it takes a long time to build that up.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How long?
Rand Fishkin: And if you aren’t willing to put in network then your only way to rank quickly is to do manipulative stuff that is going to hurt your site or fail or only last a few weeks.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How long does it take a long as a long time?
Rand Fishkin: I’ve seen people do it in as little as a year or two but for the vast majority of folks were talking about a 2 to 5 year commitment to build up a site where you really have that brand strength and power. This is not an overnight process but it is a competitive advantage.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: If there is a very good blog with daily or every two or three days a blog post very high quality what is the traffic per month, the healthy traffic per month that you would expect to that over one year or two years?
Rand Fishkin: It totally depends on the topic if you are in a space that’s really hot say you’re writing about travel which is a hot space lots of people searching for lots of people checking it out, you can expect in your first year you might be able to do a quarter million or a half 1 million visits and years later 1 million or 2 million visits but if you’re writing about plumbing in Western Virginia 1000 2000 or 3000 you be lucky because you talking about a very local area a small nation a lot of people pay attention to it so it totally depends on your area of focus and I wouldn’t try to compare yourself against the big blogs out there that are hugely successful, I try to compare yourself against the sites that are in your space that specifically are talking about the same things you are.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Which social media platform is the most important to Google, is a Google plus or Facebook or twitter or Pinterest?
Rand Fishkin: If you’re talking about directly important to Google in terms of will it help you is most likely to help you rankings it’s probably Google plus, if you’re talking about broadest reach that can expose your content of most people that still Facebook in most areas and occasionally it’s twitter and very rarely for some professional niche its LinkedIn. If you are planning to only be able to invest in say one or two maybe three social networks I would usually think about Facebook and Google plus and then I would think about where else is my audience are they on Pinterest or LinkedIn or twitter and then I would go after that third one.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How about if I have ten pages and then using hot suite or buffer to publish the same content at different times using the software’s is that like is it okay to do that or does it have to be different content for each page, what do you think?
Rand Fishkin: I think it can be okay I would just make sure it’s very dependent on are you being empathetic to your followers, if your followers are like hey I’m on Pinterest and I basically want to see the same immature the same tax but someone on Facebook wants to see and that’s pretty much the same thing someone on twitter or Google plus wants to see and you could post all fiber those in whatever times you want with the same content that’s fine. However if you know a lot of people are on Facebook the same once you have on Pinterest you should change it up a little and go ahead and do that it’s really about what’s right with sympathetic for your users how much crossover you have, which networks what timing, there’s some consideration there.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Is there any platform or software for distribution like distributing content that you can recommend?
Rand Fishkin: I like the ones that you’ve talked about, I’m a fan of buffer in particular and I know plenty of folk really like hot suite.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: I’m asking you in terms of your content on the blog not the social media platforms for distribution.
Rand Fishkin: There are some paid content what I call content remarketing platforms places that you can go, tabula, out brain, the Google ad network, Facebook, places you can promote and push your content to reach more folks by paying and I think that’s just fine again I would go and look at those services those websites, where they delivering content who is their audience, is a great geographically is a right topic wise is the cost structure working for you and then I test, you might say hey I’m going to have $100 budget on each of these networks and then I’m going to test how far and wide I can reach on tabula versus out brain versus Zemanta versus the Google ad network versus retargeting platforms maybe I’m going to use one of those and I’m going to try Facebook social ads in some twitter ads, awesome. Go do it. Now take the data you get back and say how many people did I reach, how many of them were the right people for me how far did it go how much did it cost me which one of my going to keep investing in based on the data?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What to do to speed up a WordPress site because it matters in terms of Seo like which hosting to use is it like WP engine is the best or like some people still have speedy websites on Go Daddy or blue host what do you think?
Rand Fishkin: I would say that’s actually an area where I don’t have a ton of expertise because I haven’t done a lot of speed testing across hosts, I have been very impressed by WP engine I think they’re great they are a little expensive but the quality is extremely high the speed is extremely fast, Heather Berner is the CEO there and very impressed with her I like them a lot.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Best Seo plug-ins?
Rand Fishkin: Best Seo plug-ins…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: For WordPress.
Rand Fishkin: We talked about Yost I like that a lot, I also I’ve been kind of impressed with I’m not sure it’s public yet but Full Contact has done something quite cool I might check those guys out, I like some of the plug-ins from Zemanta in terms of being able to recommend other content and be able to recommend your own content in the footer and build a network of course that’s pretty cool, trying to think of other ones that I might check out… I think those might be the few for right now, there probably are a couple others but I haven’t deeply enough research to in the last few months to give you a few but I will check some out.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Is having a footer on your site or sidebars very important for Seo or not?
Rand Fishkin: It’s not very important for Seo I think it can be very important for web standards people are accustomed to be able to scroll to the bottom of the page to see your contact info or get to your most important pages from there to see her social accounts get your address or phone number so I like having a footer I think it helps to make it clear whether the page ends and to provide that information but I wouldn’t worry about too much from an Seo perspective in fact I would recommend against shoving bunch of links for Seo into your footer I’ve actually seen that penalize people’s websites pretty directly.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Is the transcription will it at a great value let’s say if you transcribe your videos in terms of Seo or not?
Rand Fishkin: I have seen very positive effects and not just for Seo but also for user engagement and here’s the reason why, you and I were chatting about Seo plug-ins or about content remarketing networks and somebody might say hey I wonder if when Ahmed and Rand were chatting they talked at all about you know Zemanta, there you go you can do a quick search find it right in the copy you can see where it was in the conversation you confess for to that point in the video view really want to watch it is just a great service to users and it does help the engines also know what you’ve written about so if someone searches for podcast plus Moz plus Zemanta they can find this podcast specifically if it’s only in the video it may be harder for them to know so you can improve your longtail traffic.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How about if I have two languages on my site or three languages how should I do the meta-tags for the same post and other details?
Rand Fishkin: I think you do have options right in Google to basically set some folders or some domains as different languages on a website through Google Webmaster tools that certainly one way to go and you can also do different versions in the subfolder structure so you basically say this is Moz.com/EN which is English/blog post and here is Moz.com/BG which is Bulgarian and then here’s the blog post and Bulgarian and I’m going to link between the two of them to say that, you can specify if you’d like you can specify language in the headers it’s not absolutely essential but I think it can be friendly for crawlers and engines.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Any Seo companies that you recommend expensive or affordable like three here, three here, two here, two here, or people to work like membership sites in terms of Seo?
Rand Fishkin: If you search for recommended Seo’s or recommended Seo lists Moz is the top result for that and I’ve got a big list of companies that we recommend so you can check that are run on the web.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is inbound.org?
Rand Fishkin: Inbound.org is a project that Darna Shaw and myself created, hotspot now owns it and they sort of run it but I still participate in there and help out and the idea is people submit great content from around the world of inbound marketing stuff that marketers can deeply about you know statistics and blog posts and new reports and news and then there’s good discussion around this topics as well so it’s a good place to go if you want to keep up-to-date on what the industry is thinking about.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is your strategy to create content efficiently?
Rand Fishkin: For me it really starts with saying I’m going to limit the quantity of content that I create and focus really and quality and in addition to that I try to limit myself to saying I only want to cover areas of content where I think no one else has done a great job or no one else has talked about in the same way I have which is different from what a lot of other content marketers will do. The other thing that’s been a great tactic for me is to write about things online were I’ve had great off-line conversations as a catalyst for those. I really pride myself on saying hey if the conversation resonates in person if someone’s eyes light up they get really into it that’s probably a great topic for a post and if you start talking about something and they think it sounds boring or they don’t care then it probably is a crappy topic for a post. So that’s what helped me keep efficient.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Share with us some of the tools or software that you use that makes you really efficient, more efficient.
Rand Fishkin: Sure, I’m passionate about two tools for the social Web, one of them is follow or walk which is now a Moz tool, I use that a lot for searching bios for analyzing my account for looking at other people’s accounts and seeing who they follow or what they care about and the other tool that I totally love right now is Buzz sumo which lets the research content that has gone hot on the social web, what types of content people care about what worked and what hasn’t. Who’s shared content, those are both great and I’m actually a big fan of Twitter’s new analytics platform so analytics.twitter.com you can see all this data about how your tweets are performed I check that are pretty frequently and another one that I used to keep up-to-date on what’s being talked about in certain industries is fresh Web Explorer it gives me alerts about whether someone’s link to this I mentioned that and a good competitor to that is mention.net for those who are interested it will show you links but it will show you mentions kind of a better version of Google alerts.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Does your daily life and work routine look like?
Rand Fishkin: Madness. I travel a ton so when I am in Seattle I’m usually, I usually wake up pretty late and they go to bed very very late so I wake up between 9 and 10 AM and go to bed between 2 and 3 AM and I’m pretty active with meetings all throughout the middle of the day and then I usually walk to work and walk home have dinner with my wife and then I’m usually blogging and answering email and building presentations and doing my work work between about 10 PM and 2 AM.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Any hobbies?
Rand Fishkin: Yeah I really enjoy traveling I love spending time with Geraldine my wife and just going and investigating new places. I love I actually love seeing animals so if we go on a trip somewhere we can like, we were in South Africa recently and we did a little bit of whale watching, got to see some rhinos and all sorts of other cool animals so that’s a big happy for me.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Who are your top three mentors?
Rand Fishkin: Let’s see, over the years it’s kind of change but I would say hard investors have been big mentors to me so Michelle Goldberg from ignition and Brad Feldt from foundry and then another big one for me has been Darna Shaw from hotspot he and I chat and get together and build up a real friendship and it’s been very cool to see hotspot go public and hopefully Moz to try to do that too, some day.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three apps that you use on your smartphone?
Rand Fishkin: Let’s see, I started using Instagram I was a hold out on that social network and then now figuring it out trying to learn it because it’s so hard with the kids these days, I do use the Twitter app very heavily on my smart phone and what else do I use… Standard stuff Gmail, maps, I don’t use Facebook very much I use the Google plus app, I actually think trip advisor has done a great job making their app a lot better in the last few years I’ve been using that, especially overseas at home I use yelp, overseas trip advisor has much better coverage.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three favorite books?
Rand Fishkin: That’s too hard no way man. Let’s see, I love Catch-22 by Joseph Heller I think that’s actually one of my favorites, I really like Sherman Alexi who is a Seattle Northwest area he writes great stuff, Native American… And the third one gosh there’s a great book called the billionaire who wasn’t and I really enjoyed that it’s a business book more biographical but I like that one…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three people you’re inspired by?
Rand Fishkin: Very inspired by Bill Gates, I think what he’s done since leaving Microsoft has been pretty remarkable. Let’s see… I’m actually really inspired by Moz’s CEO Sarah Burch, her ability to do with complexity and hard things is amazing to me and I love seeing her do her work. I think maybe the third one out there I was recently in South Africa I mentioned and Nelson Mandela I think is an example one of the only people in the political world that I’ve ever been really impressed by I think it’s sad that the world lost him last year but it’s remarkable to see what his legacy is.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three movies?
Rand Fishkin: I think this has to be our last question because I’ve got a run but top three movies… I actually had a lot of fun watching the Lord of the rings movies that came out a few years ago those are great, I enjoy those a lot, maybe for the other two they’re not my favorite movies of all time but recent ones that I thought were pretty good I really liked a movie called Frank and robot kind of cool quirky film and a fun one and what else… Maybe my favorite movie of all time is probably the Royal Tenenbaums by Wes Anderson.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Last question what are the things that make you really happy?
Rand Fishkin: Really happy… My wife Geraldine makes me incredibly happy, helping people I love helping people I love helping people and then seeing them take off and do great things without my help, that’s really inspiring. And then I think it also makes me I love being in nature when I can getting away from cities seeing animals in the wild, that makes me deeply happy to.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thank you so much Rand for this very deep technical detailed really appreciate it.
Rand Fishkin: My pleasure. It was a great talk Ahmed I’m looking forward to getting it posted.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thank you, thanks everyone, be efficient and stay efficient and see you soon with another leading expert.
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