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872 Subscribers in 24 Hours?!

This guest post is by Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing.

Could you get 872 new subscribers in just 24 hours?

Have 1,587 subscribers by the third day?

And 3,381 within three weeks?

I didn’t think I could do it either, but I did, and in this post, I’ll show you how you can do it too.

Those first 24 hours happened on November 29th…

November 29 was launch day

November 29 was the day that my new book Engagement from Scratch! officially launched to the public, in a massive, frenetic frenzy of launch promotion activities:

  • I had built relationships with all the major players that I could find…
  • Studied the successes (and failures) of the book launches of big name authors like Tim Ferriss, Guy Kawasaki, Jonathan Fields, and Seth Godin
  • Built a mini-site and two video trailers to promote the book…
  • Wrote 28 guest posts about anything and everything relating to the book (including one right here on Problogger called Why I Wrote the Kind of Book That I Hate)…
  • Ran a “nominate your engagement superstar” contest on the blog, that attracted dozens of nominations for the position (Adrienne Smith was the winner)…
  • Spent over $2,000 on postage to mail out hundreds of review copies of the book…
  • And then, to top it all off, I wrote the ultimate book marketing guide documenting everything that I had done for anyone who was interested.

The results were impressive; 872 people downloaded the book in the first 24 hours, 1,587 had downloaded it by the third day, and the book keeps getting downloaded (on days with zero special promotion, I’m averaging 30-50 new subscribers).

So, am I telling you that to get tons of subscribers you need to write a book and have a huge, fancy launch?

No, not necessarily.

You see, the truth is that it wasn’t really the launch itself that made it all happen…

It’s about doing it fully baked (and then some!)

The real lesson that I learned from the book, from my co-authors, and from the launch, is that it really doesn’t matter what your particular tactics are; whether it’s a book, or a launch, or a contest, or a round-up of expert opinions, or a video series, or whatever – what makes all the difference is whether you’re doing it all half-baked, or fully, beautifully baked to perfection.

Here’s what I mean—these are some examples of half-baked ways of doing things:

  • Releasing a book: Outlining and writing it over the course of a month, getting a cover designed, turning it into an ebook, putting it on your site, maybe making it available on Kindle, emailing your list about it, and maybe writing a handful of guest posts.
  • Doing a round-up post: Sending an email to a few dozen industry experts asking them for their number one tip on your subject area, pulling it all together into a post, and publishing it.
  • Running a contest: Writing a post with a question, and asking people to leave a comment answering it, with the best comment winning a prize.
  • Writing guest posts: Committing to write one guest post per week, and really writing two or three posts per month (about 30 posts per year).
  • Doing a survey: Outlining a survey, plugging it into SurveyMonkey, writing a blog post about it, emailing your list about it, sharing it on social media, and then writing a post about the results.
  • Creating a video series: Making a list of things that your audience would be interested in, turning on a flip camera and recording yourself answering the questions.

Do these descriptions sound like viable strategies to you? Well, they aren’t—not even close. Here’s the fully baked way of getting it done:

  • Releasing a book: Research exactly what angle will most interest your audience, then do the work to create the best possible book that you can (reaching out to 30 industry experts and soliciting chapters from them if necessary). Get the cover designed, do the typesetting, get the book edited, and have it produced in paperback, PDF, and for the Kindle. Do an elaborate book launch with a minisite, two trailers, a contest, and dozens of guest posts.
  • Doing a round-up post: Spend hours coming up with three questions that your audience would just love to have an answer to, and will really get the contributors thinking. Then reach out to the experts with personalized emails explaining why you picked them for the project, and why their answers will help your readers. Assembling the answers into a series of posts, releasing them with as much promotion as you can manage, and sending personalized thank you emails to all of the contributors when the posts go live.
  • Running a contest: Choose a premise for the contest that will be valuable to contestants and to your audience, and come up with prizes that will be attractive and appealing. Put out and publicize a call for contestants, and then correspond with contestants over the course of a month and a half to get the best entries you can ready for show-time. Then display the entrants to your audience over the course of a month, and let them vote on the winners.
  • Writing guest posts: Committing to write an average of five guest posts per month, sticking to it, and ramping up to as many as 20 or 30 posts per month when you’ve got something big to promote, or that you want to spread the word about (writing more than 80 posts in a year).
  • Doing a survey: Come up with a series of questions to which data-driven answers would be valuable to your audience, and then crafting a detailed survey to gather that information. Then find over a dozen partners to help you spread the word about the survey, collect the data over the course of a week, do the statistical analysis to extract the results (or hire someone to do it for you), and create a report sharing those results with everyone who participated.
  • Creating a video series: Spend a month mapping out a detailed curriculum for your video series, and then scripting each of the videos. Carefully record and edit the videos, add music and effects, and create worksheets and resources to go with each and every one. Then show them to people to get feedback, and make them better before releasing them to your audience.

Do you see the difference? It’s the difference between doing just the bare-boned necessities of the strategy, and going all out, above and beyond to make it as much of a success as it possibly can be.

Half-baked implementations rarely work (believe me, I’ve tried), but fully baked implementations often do. Which begs the question…

Why is there so much half-baked stuff out there?

Near as I can figure, there are four big reasons why there’s such a huge amount of half-baked garbage circling around the interwebs and blogosphere, and those four reasons are laziness, lack of passion, bad advice, and fear…

The first reason is laziness

This is the guy (or gal) who’s bought the “internet lifestyle” routine hook, line, and sinker. They want to make tons of money without doing any work, and cycle through one short-cut scheme after another that doesn’t create value for anybody (except, they hope, for themselves).

This is the only reason for half-baked implementation that I have no respect for, and I wish the people who fit into this category would get out of the game, because they give the rest of us a bad name.

The good news is that there aren’t a lot of people like this, though—most of the people who might seem to be lazy are actually suffering from either lack of passion, or bad advice…

Then there’s lack of passion

This is much more common than actual laziness, because a lot of people confuse passion for their outcome with passion for the path that will bring them there.

In other words, they’re passionate about the lifestyle that their online business will create, but they aren’t passionate about the actual business—it’s just a means to an end, and they’re following it because they’ve been sold on the idea that it’s incredibly easy (which it isn’t). Unfortunately, if you aren’t passionate about the work that you’re actually doing, then you aren’t going to go all-out to make it all spectacular.

The solution to this is to find something that you really are passionate, and make your work all about that—because if it isn’t, you won’t be motivated enough to do the work that needs to be done.

There’s just plain bad advice

Yes, let’s face it, the internet is full of bad advice, and the particular piece of bad advice that I’m talking about here is the “don’t worry about making it good, just get something out there” idea that is flung around in action-oriented productivity circles.

The logic driving this advice is that doing something is better than doing nothing, but the truth is that if you’re doing something mediocre, it isn’t all that much better than doing nothing at all.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying that you should do nothing—I’m saying that you should brace yourself, take the plunge, and do something truly awesome. At this point, there’s usually one reason why people still don’t do it, and that reason is fear…

And then there’s fear

There are all manners of fear that keep us in the world of half-bakedness (to coin a new word):

  • The fear of failure (“What if I blow it?”)
  • The fear of success (“If this actually works, will I be able to handle it?”)
  • The fear of being judged (“Who am I to take on something like that?”)
  • The fear of being accountable and overwhelmed (“What if I tell everyone that I’ll do this, and then blow it?”)

These are all legitimate, serious fears that keep people from achieving greatness (or even taking the chance that they might achieve it) every single day.

A lot of people aren’t going to like my solution to this particular problem, but here it is:

Suck it up, and do it anyway.

Yes, we all feel fear. A week before my book launched, I was terrified, thinking “What if it bombs? The book is about building engagement—I’ll have zero credibility left!”

Well, that’s just tough—without taking risks, nothing of significance is ever achieved. And taking risks means that every so often, life is going to kick you in the teeth. When that happens, we nurse our wounds, pick ourselves off the ground, dust ourselves off, and try again.

So are you afraid? Probably.

Was I afraid? Definitely.

But I sucked it up, and so can you.

What about time? Isn’t that a reason, too?

The other excuse that people sometimes hide behind is time.

You’re working a full-time job, and doing your business on the side. You have a spouse, kids, parents, in-laws, and friends who complain that they don’t see you anymore.

In light of all that, is it fair to say that half-baked may be the most you have time to do?

Sorry, but no.

In the last year, I released a book, ran two contests, wrote 80+ guest posts, did a survey campaign, and created several video series… in addition to running my business, and planning a wedding.

Do you have to do all that to be successful? No, you don’t.

But can you pick JUST ONE campaign and throw yourself into it?

Yes, you can.

What will you throw yourself into?

Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration—in other words, the ideas are easy, but then it’s the work that separates the successes from the wannabes.

It’s throwing myself into the work that got those 80+ guest posts written.

It’s throwing myself into the work that grew Firepole Marketing into a recognized brand in just a year.

And it’s throwing myself into the work that got me 872 subscribers in 24 hours.

So if you were looking for overnight success, as in 24 hours’ worth of work that would get you a giant number of subscribers, traction, and money, then I’m sorry to disappoint.

But if you’re looking for the real secret to true success in business, life, and everything else, that you’re willing to put the time and energy into applying for real over the course of the coming year, then there you have it.

So what are you going to throw yourself into this year? What project will you take on, plan, work at, and build into something truly spectacular, and truly awesome? How are you going to change the world?

Find and answer to that question, and then get started.

Good luck, and godspeed. I’ll see you at the finish line.

Leave a comment and answer this question: what will you throw yourself into?

Danny Iny (@DannyIny), a.k.a. the “Freddy Krueger of Blogging”, teaches marketing that works at Firepole Marketing. Together with Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark and Mitch Joel, he wrote the book on building engaged audiences from scratch (available on Amazon, or as a free download).

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Comments

  1. This is really very timely. I’ve been getting stressed lately because I’m going on a 70-day solo backpacking trip in exactly 2 weeks and I still haven’t promoted it. I know a lot of travelers in the Philippines would be interested in my trip; it’s not very common to go backpacking in Europe for regular people (read: not rich) like me. I’ve thought of things I can do but you;re right, most of it is half-baked. Back to the drawing board for me! (Incidentally, would you know of any sponsors I can tap into? LOL)

    • Hey Aleah, I’m glad you found the post helpful. :-)

      I don’t know any potential sponsors personally, but if you think about all of the gear and equipment that you might have or use, the companies behind that stuff would probably all be good potential sponsors for you.

      And as for promotion, yeah – back to the drawing board, to come up with something awesome! :-D

    • Tim says:

      Hey Aleah, great idea about documenting a backpacking trip through Europe for the “not so rich” traveler.

      The need to heavily promote your adventure in the beginning isn’t that important if you choose to document your travels properly.
      1. Give your readers as much of a heads up as you can before hand. Maybe show off some of your equipment you will be taking and what some of the things you think you will need will be.
      2. Create posts about the general route you will take, some of the places you think you “must” visit and some that are a possible interest. Maybe a rough timeline on how long each leg of the journey will take.
      3. Give your readers a general posting timeline that you hope to follow while away. This will give your regular readers something to look forward to.
      3. I don’t know if you use YouTube, but this is the perfect time to start. You can record your backpacking adventures and then upload them to your channel every time you get a chance. These videos would be a great way to promote your blog as people are always looking up travel related videos.
      Even if you only uploaded a video or two every three days or so, and blogged on your site as well, you would end up with a heck of a lot of content by the end of your trip.
      4. recap and promote. once the trip is over you can do a recap post and video to show highlights of the trip and turn it into an easy to follow series that any new visitors in the future would be able to follow your travels from start to finish for years to come.

      I think that if you follow something like what I have written there that you will see an increase in the number of visitors to your site each week. On top of that, any unused footage or journals writing you may have not used can be utilized in the future for posts on days that you don’t have much to write about. Just pull out the old, unused content and title it as “The other day I was reminded of an old museum I visited” or something along those lines.

      Well good luck and have a great trip.

  2. Eugene says:

    Amen Danny! Thanks for mentioning my interview series too :).

    I think fear is huge. If I hadn’t been running a blog prior to launching my new one I would have never thought to just approach some huge names in the industry for a round up post. Most of whom I had no prior connection to. I mean..who the hell am I? Right.

    It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you just stop making excuses, act and be willing to treat failures as learning experiences.

    Congrats on the crazy results too!

    • You bet, buddy, it was great. :)

      Yeah, you’re right, fear is a big part of it. The thing is that the best way to overcome fear is to confront it head-on, so all you can really tell someone is to suck it up and do it anyway…

  3. Nico Julius says:

    Very interesting and inspiring article. What I’m wondering, but maybe you already wrote about that in another post, is it worth it to release a book for free that you’re also selling trough Amazon?

    • I’ve discussed that in a bunch of interviews, including ones that I did with Sean Platt, Tea Silvestre, and others. Google them – I think you’ll find the answers enlightening. :-)

  4. You’re right Danny, laziness and excuses are the main reason things get half done, I’m guilty of that, it was actually one of my New Years resolutions to put more effort on doing things right, even if it means getting less done.

    I’ve started by putting more effort in individual posts on my different websites, and I’m preparing contests right now ;)

  5. Paul Jun says:

    I watched the growth of Engagement from Scratch to about now, and I must say, everything you did was calculated, passionate, and inspiring.

    You have showed that with hard work, dedication — and like you said, perspiration — really pays off.

    You’re a go-getter, Danny. I think you inspired thousands of people to wake up today and work a little harder.

    So happy for you man.

  6. This is really some serious facts from your side but it is important you market the product in the right way right from the start. Good promotion is what is required from the beginning

  7. Josh Sarz says:

    Heavy duty tips here, Danny. Added another guest post to your amazing collection. Heh Good job.

  8. CSReader says:

    My blog is still very young, but I still learn a lot from your posts. I have 2 passionate goals at present: To be great at my full-time job and relationships; the second, to be a catalyst for positive change in my field of work, and hopefully my passion for everything I do will be contageous. Maybe down the road this will lead to other things, but it would have to benefit others in a big way. Success is others being better off for having known you. The process you describe illustrates that you actually care about your readers and you want to take pride in what you do. We’re all benefiting from that.

  9. Drewry says:

    Danny,

    This post is absolutely fire. I love it! In fact, I loved it so much that I gave you a link on DrewryNewsNetwork , and a link back to this blog post, in encouraging my web audience to come and check you out. This post is very educational, well thought, very articulated, and everything else that is positive. Thank you for putting out this good information :-)

    http://www.drewrynewsnetwork.com/f4/%5Beffectively-engaging-people%5D-world-wide-web-2501.html

  10. It takes a lot of passion to put yourself ‘out there’ and implicit belief in what you have to offer. ‘Half baked’ appears to be the norm and doing anything else would be swimming against the tide. With the kind of care and deliberateness you put into your product launch, I’m not surprised it did so well. Most people are just not willing to work that hard, more’s the pity.

  11. Very timely and inspirational. There are countless numbers of us out here evaluating what worked and what didn’t last year, while trying to develop new balls-to-the-wall marketing strategies for 2012. A lot of good take away here.

  12. alex says:

    Really interesting post and useful tips. Man, you’re a really record breaker and a successful businessman.

    For me, at the moment, the tips seem to be relatively easy to realize except for the book releasing, need more experience to share.

  13. Dwayne says:

    3,382 and climbling?!? That’s awesome, Danny. Guess fully baked is always better than halfbaked (except the movie). When I first started my online venture I will admit that I was VERY lazy and lacked inspiration once I realized how hard it was going to be. Then I got the kick in the a$$ I needed and decided I would make it work no matter what. Thnx for the breakdown of you book launch. Ill make sure I bookmark this for when I make my own product.

  14. Danny,
    Thank you for emphasizing again and again, that it takes a lot of work, relevant connection and commitment to do it.

    What I throw myself into is making people DO IT. Seeing through all the BS what is out there and find real value and produce real value.

    My question: How can you be selling a Kindle version and giving away free pdf? Does not in contradiction with KDP pricing?

    • Hey Attila, that’s great, and thanks for sharing. Nope – having it as a free PDF at the same time as on Kindle was intentional, and no problem unless you’re making it exclusive to Kindle.

  15. John says:

    Awesome post and congrats on your successful launch! It’s definitely true that many people, myself included, often hide behind time as a factor. It’s real easy to postpone your guest post idea and even easier to turn on the TV and forget your trying to start a successful blogging business.

    It’s all about the work you’re willing to put into it and that was one of my main goals in 2012. I doubt I can successfully write 80+ meaningful guest posts, but I’d like to write 12. We will see how I manage.

  16. John SBP says:

    Nice tips, I only dream I could have so many subscribers! I think it’s sometimes hard to get stuff right the first time, so I often go back and try to improve older stuff as well. The nice thing is, I often come up with new ideas while doing that.

  17. This is a kick-in-the-blogging-butt type of article. It is no nonsense. The article ignites my mojo again. It serves as a reminder that blogging, just like any other things in life, will take both inspiration and dedication to make it happen. It is a bad news for the lazy ones, but a good news for the rest of us, who are willing to put energy necessary to make it work. It is scary and will take a mind of a champion to conquer it. But all good things in life follows the same path. Success to you. Thanks for your blunt honesty! Godspeed!

    • Drewry says:

      what methods do you specifically use online today to promote your website? I have to agree with you about what is said in this blog post. I feel the same way too. Perhaps we can network and help each other succeed online, by way of blogging and unique content creation. How you feel about that? :-)

    • Thank you very much, friend, and the same to you. I’ll see you at the finish line! :)

  18. Mike says:

    I agree with these points. It’s so easy to get caught up in that “lifestyle” that we often over look some of the basics. I think a lot of times, even for seasoned individuals, we have to remind ourselves to stay committed and get through those times where we have a lot of other distractions going on in our lives. It requires a lot of work and patience but it pays off in the end for our businesses and goals!

  19. Bryan Ring says:

    Thank you sir! Very inspiring! I do read all the junk online and the dishonesty, I suppose I could fall into the category of just plain reading it all. Most people do get sucked into this and can’t see between the lines.
    Surely I cannot compete with the blogging PRO’s, nor is that my passion, even though i blog everyday.
    It may not be clear to anyone what my passion is, but me. My true passion simply is “Service”, the extra joy I get pointing small businesses in the right direction or the smell of freshly cut grass.
    Love how you have pointed out how to things in an order that can only be successful. Much success to you sir!

    • You’re very welcome, Bryan, I’m thrilled to hear it!

      I think the passion that you’ve articulated here is beautiful, and valuable to the people that you work with. I wish you lots of luck and success with it!

  20. Taline says:

    Very impressive and informative! I think anyone can sit there and make excuses to not give it there all. That’s usually why most will fail. If someone is persistant and works hard, they will reap the benefits!

  21. Here’s to being fully baked Danny :-)!

    When I read the first list, I actually thought it didn’t sound too bad. Until I read the second list. I’m aspiring to that one in 2012.

    Thanks for putting it all out there and setting such a great example!

  22. Vignat says:

    Nice tips.

    Thanks a lot for putting such a useful tip!!

    Wish I could have such number of subscribers!!

  23. Shelly Cone says:

    Danny that is some truly amazing stuff you put in this post. Thanks for the valuable insight. Specifically pointing out the difference between half-baked and fully-baked. That’s an important distinction. Now to decide what I’ll throw myself into first … :)

  24. This is awesome post which help others to work hard to achieve their goals.

    People including me often think ‘don’t have time’ to spend or due to laziness as you said, some times may be due to fear of Is it work? If it fails what can we do? Etc…

    This post is not only about your success, but it inspired me to work hard as like you and I realized the famous quote that ‘success doesn’t come, we need to bring it’.

    • Naveen, I’ve never heard that quote, but I love it, and I’m going to use it. Success doesn’t come, we need to bring it. Nice!

      Yup – the point of the post wasn’t to show off my success (which is still in progress anyway), but rather to point out that to the extent that I have been successful, it’s been because of the work, which anyone can do if they just sit down and do it. :)

  25. Barb Sawyers says:

    Do you sleep? You seem to be a force of nature. Seriously, though, I needed to hear how much work it is. Too many people make it sound too easy. Good thing it’s a labor of love. As I prepare to launch Write Like You Talk Only Better, I really appreciate your advice and motivation.

    • I’m glad I could help, Barb. It all comes down to priorities and hard work.

      I mentioned on Twitter the other day… if you can write a guest post in half a day, then 80+ guest posts in a year means 280+ days of slacking. Doesn’t sound like that much work anymore, does it? ;-)

      Yeah, it’s a lot of work, which is why it has to be a labor of love. But for those of us for whom it really is, as long as we’re willing to go the distance, we’ll get there. :)

  26. jennifer says:

    Okay needed that, I am all about help others grow, making banners, websites,vehicle magnet,etc. Last year out of fear I didn’t do,but I am giving it my all from now on. Anyone need help contact me I can take some of the load and help promote your business or event

  27. wow, this is a challenging article. Thanks! I am learning, slowly, so much more about all this. I am planning to release my first book in the next few months and I really want to do it fully baked.

  28. Webly says:

    This post really hits home with me. A lot of the advices can be applied to more that just blogging. I can relate with to the lack of passion. Sometimes we want something really bad but do not want to be bothered with the hard work involved or think those who do the hard work are crazy. One of my favorite posts.

    • Thank you, Webly, I’m thrilled that you liked it and found it helpful. Yeah, it’s the old “everybody wants to be a millionaire, but most people don’t want to do the work”. Well, it’s within grasp for people, but they’ve still got to do the work and do the grasping. :)

  29. Anne Wayman says:

    Oh Lordy! Just what we need to relaunch our 5 buck forum at aboutwritingsquared.com

    And yes I am willing!

  30. I think this post illustrates perfectly the flaws in just about every “get rich quick” scheme out there – to have real success takes real work and a lot of it, reading your account of how you prepared for the launch!

    • You hit the nail on the head there, buddy. Schemes don’t make people rich, value creating businesses do. And creating stuff like that takes real work – but it’s totally worth it! :-)

  31. Ersan Seer says:

    What a guest post, Danny–and what a place to do it!

    My favorite part was: “Sorry, but no.”

    :)

  32. Osckar says:

    Hey Firepole, you really hit it out of the field , you`re right all alone the way , that`s the kind of sincere, clear and open explanation we all need to hear every once in a while !!! Congratulations and a BIGG THANK U.

  33. Christina says:

    Wow, this is the most inspiring thing I’ve read in a while. I spent the better part of last year doing things half-baked, which for me, coming out of a long and serious slump, was better than nothing. But I’ve realized that the slump is well and truly over and it’s time to ramp things up. Thanks for providing a timely, much-needed and very specific kick in the butt!

  34. Your post speaks to the renowned work ethic of Thomas Edison, who said something very similar, “Genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration.” This approach of drilling down and really providing quality content is not only effective, it’s also the way Google has been heading with their recent Panda update and their attempt to rid the world of low quality content farm sites (250-word articles of keyword jibberish.) In my most recent blog posts, I’ve been adding visuals (paying iStock for good images), adding more bold sub heads, imbedding video, and doing other “touches” which demonstrate that time and effort was spent in creating a better reader experience (vs. writing to rank.) In addition to creating new blog posts, it’s also helpful to revisit old ones and “spruce” them up, adding better images and cross linking them.

    Also, Google now allows authors to take ownership of their articles so that your Google+ profile appears next to your content on search results. Then readers can add you to their circles and your content is likely to show up in future searches. Here’s a Google link on it. http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1408986
    Great article Danny, one that should definitely help a number of people gain traction this year vs. spinning their wheels.

  35. Anton says:

    Hi Danny,

    This post is awesome and the work is hard too. You know I have not so much the term half-baked in my mind but procrastination. Most people have the problem to do the first step, the most important step of your life and your business. I have an off line business and do the internet business at the beginning more because of curiosity to do something different in my spare time. But it is the same online as it is off line your have to work to have success.
    But this time I am convinced to get my writing done and I’m planning it ahead and I’m doing now all the research necessary to get it done. But it took me quite a time to do the first step – the most important. And this post of yours really get me more and more convinced that I’m on the right track and that I can do it.
    Great article Danny the internet has become has become some kind of mediocre with all the people that promise paradise on earth.

    Thanks Danny.

  36. Right here is the right website for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject that’s been discussed for decades. Excellent stuff, just great!