As 2014 Ends – What Have You Done? Is A Great Question To Ask

So here we are the final day of 2014. Many will look forward with excitement to set new goals, chart new courses et al. However, more than 90% (and maybe higher) will not continue their diligent path only 30 days in let alone 365.

They’ll become frustrated at the first sign of opposition. Some will blame the environment, their job, their boss, their spouse, the economy and so forth. I presume you get my point. The true issue here is none of the challenges have anything to do with whether or not you may reach any desired goal or outcome. What matters is how you deal with any and all challenges in finding ways to surmount them. In other words: It’s about you – not the world.

I’ve stated and wrote over the years that New Years resolutions are in many ways meaningless. They’re more or less “the thing to do because everyone else is doing it.” You should not rely on some arbitrary date to start or pursue a goal of any type. It should be started the day you decide – not some arbitrary holiday for renewal.

That said the end of the year is a great time for reflection. In other words, if you were setting goals and experiencing growth you should have a myriad of accomplishments that happened throughout the year, while simultaneously still have others that are still “in process” that will carry on into the next year.

If all you did was set one goal at the end of 2013 and gave yourself till today for accomplishment. If you didn’t reach it – then was the year a total worthless failure? I would hope you would say, “Of course not! I accomplished this, that, and the other thing but just not that one.” Which I hope brings light to my point I’m trying to imply in the reflection vs arbitrarily wishing.

So with that said since today is that reflective day I thought I’d share a few of mine that might help inspire you to seek larger goals or, push yourself to take those chances where the rewards are greatest where you see fit. Especially those of you that think or believe: The deck is stacked against you, you don’t have the resources so why even try, you don’t have the right connections, education, address, _______________ (fill in the blank).

For like you I also have been there and had to find ways to push through – and did. I’ve always used myself as the example and documented using verifiable, not pie in the sky, made up out of whole cloth examples.

There were a few things I thought I’d get out this year such as my newest book which I originally planned to release last month but changed my mind when I saw the newest release by Seth Godin. When I saw the advance copy I knew what was troubling me about mine and decided to pull it and start over and discussed my reasons why.

I had some who thought the reason why I pulled it was I hadn’t written enough to complete, implying that I probably hadn’t written enough words to fill it. (this usually comes from someone who themselves has the inability or makes excuses to write themselves)

When I answer that just this year between March and December I wrote on this very blog over 125 posts with an average word count of 1000 per which translates into the equivalent of 5 business books in less than 10 months. (the average business book today is approximately 25,000 words) Usually at that point I no longer get questioned on whether or not is was “the ability to fill a book.”

That said while on the topic of books. Although I did not release one this year I have had far more recognition, viewership, reads, impact and a whole lot of other criteria measurements than many others that did release a book, even some that are considered “best-selling.”

This year my articles, thoughts, quotes, and more have been shown around the globe on some of the largest as well as most informative websites today. My work has been alongside on the same pages as the top authors or authorities in finance, academia, business, and more. Whether I was quoted from my articles on my blog, re-posted elsewhere, or pull quoted.

I have used no social media (other than the sharing buttons on my own site) against what everyone in media would tell you (or sell you) that you must, must (!) be done in order to make an impact. I have done absolutely none of it to demonstrate – you don’t need to. For if I’m to express my talk, I need to walk it, and not only show it, but prove it.

While everyone was touting this metric and that metric as to “prove” one was relevant I shared my experience of how I handled this in a post back in Oct. when I shared how I address this when I’m in public. As I stated in that piece: Although I don’t use Twitter™ any one of my articles or quotes can be sent to over 2 million Twitter followers depending on where my work has shown up. And that’s just Twitter.

As far as viewers or potential audience size at any given time, it can be anywhere from 1 to 2 million on a near weekly basis, but has had verifiable gusts of as much as 30 million depending on which news source (or sources) carried it.

The blog itself this year decisively crossed over the “read in over 100 countries” threshold. (it’s actually 112) A mark that utterly staggers me still. Along with that subscribers to the blog has doubled this year. (and I wish thank every one of you personally, gratefully, as well as humbly)

Some of my articles have been noted by others as helping to move arguments forward where no one was either paying attention or worse – turning a blind eye.

In April of this year I wrote an article that came out as Michael Lewis’ was promoting his newest book “Flash Boys.” In that article I made the case and titled the piece: “If HFT Algo’s Were People They’d Be Perp Walked” At the time of this article, along with his book, all of both Wall St. as well as the regulating bodies pooh poohed people like myself and others. (many labeled as us “tin-foiled”) Yet, within 24 hours of my article being posted on the “paper of record” ZeroHedge™ in helping expose the whole High Frequency Trading issue, the Justice Departments decided that finally it might be time to see if there was any there – there. (Below is a screen shot of their announcement)

Screenshot courtesy of ZeroHedge

Screenshot courtesy of ZeroHedge

Was It me that caused this? I have no idea and I explained it in another article when people were questioning me about this very fact in an article “Am, I Front Running The HFT Story?” I made the case for where I have standing, nothing more. And asked for the reader to draw their own conclusions. (which I feel is the best way for authentic creditability)

This was just one instance where I found my thoughts, ideas, writings, or more in places that everyone tried to imply “I didn’t know what I was talking about for I’m not some Wall St. guy, what do I know?” It seems in retrospect I at least knew enough about both business, as well as common sense, for the elite of the financial media to take my thoughts seriously and actually quote or post them. Sometimes in the biggest financial market moving stories of the year.

One example is when Apple™ the largest capitalized business and probably most  revered company in the world made the announcement that they were splitting their stock and other market moving announcements (e.g. paying a dividend et al) With the myriad of people a news source such as MarketWatch™ could have quoted, interviewed, asked for insights, and more; I found myself as one of the two they decided to use as a resource. The other was Bob Lefsetz.

For those who don’t recognize his name immediately I’ll just use this example: We go into a night club and see a rock star we know sitting at a table and we say “Hey look it’s him!” That rock star in the same club sees a person like Tim Cook of Apple and says “Hey look it’s him!” Mr. Cook in that same club sees Mr. Lefsetz and says “Hey look it’s him!” So to see my thoughts alongside such a well-known media figure I was more than honored.

Those are just a few that have taken place and there have been far too many to list them all here. However, what I want to demonstrate, again, using myself as the example; is that all this and more has been done by someone who can barely spell cat without spellchecker, has made more grammatical errors, punctuation mistakes, as well as other abuses in using the written word that if the Inquisition was still around – I’d be first to be put to the stake. (and there are many who have written and told me that very thing should be done with me!)

Others have released books this year. Some are touted as a “best seller” because they made some list. Most that made that list sold about 20, or 30,000 to make those very lists. Accomplishments, yes, but if you know what to do, who to call, and how to allocate and manipulate your sales – anyone can do it. Yes, I’m saying just that. And you don’t have to take my word for it. You can search online and find the very people who do it which is why I no longer care about that metric. In real terms except for “show” it’s meaningless in many ways.

Let me ask you this: (don’t take my word for it you think about it and decide if there’s merit in what I’m stating.)

One person releases a book on let’s say “investing” or “finance” as it pertains to the individual. For what ever the reasons whether one agrees or disagrees with the books premise the book is deemed a “best seller.” Let’s say for benefit of the doubt (for I truly don’t know the metrics but I’ll err on the side of what would be deemed stellar if hit) the book sells 1 million copies. That would make it into “blockbuster” type status by any measure.

However, we know by empirical data that more than 50% of all business book sales never get their spine even cracked. In other words bought – but never read. We also know by this same data that of the remaining – less than half of those will be read more than a few chapters before abandonment. The remaining 25% falls into the same type of metric where less than 1/2 of those will actually be read from cover to cover. And that is being generous for it’s actually much, much less.

So based on these metrics you come to about 125,000 as true readers or viewers of your insights that may put them into action. And basically – that’s it. For it’s a book, and the way things work once the book is done – it’s done as far as relative metrics. (which if you do your own research you’ll find I’m right in line for back of napkin styled math. Remember as I always say, don’t take my word for it, you should know for yourself)

Now as for me. I have not written a book this year, yet I have written more than 50 articles (approximately over 75,000 words the equivalent of 2 to 3 business books) that have appeared across the globe to a verifiable audience of millions nearly every week. Not only have they been carried, but I have also been quoted or cited in some of the largest financial stories in regards to the capital markets this year alone.

So to ask the question I posed at the outset: Who’s truly making the impact if the true “goal” is: to make an impact?

I make this statement in response to quite a lot of feedback I received when I wrote my thoughts on Tony Robbins latest release. Some said “I was jealous” others were far more let’s just say “colorful.” But all in all the responses were quite genuine and some really wanted to understand my position, for many had just started hearing, or read my work for the first time.

One of those that questioned my motives insinuated I was just trying to “latch on” because that’s what guy’s in the “motivation” business do. (In some ways I did agree with him for as many of you know I deplore most as “snake-oil” hawkers) In other words I was neither “qualified” to question, along with “not nearly as known” as I make myself to be. As I said earlier, in a way, they are fair points so I answered him this way…

“I understand the point you seem to be trying to make legitimately. It’s a fair one if you truly want an answer to help yourself square a circle in your own mind, for I feel the subject matter in and of itself is something that can not be taken willy-nilly in today’s markets.

I like Mr. Robbins are in the “motivation” business. Yes, he’s been a big star, and has been on a big stage for a very long time. However, that said doesn’t mean just because “he” says or wrote something that others within the same field can’t nor shouldn’t criticize or, point out flaws if they can both see them, as well as articulate the reasons why they have a differing viewpoint based on understandable, definable, resolvable data or facts.

Arguing or trying to insert oneself into a story for the mere act of it is quite another thing. And If I were doing that or one could demonstrate I was, I would agree. But clearly I have enough intellectual property across the web as well as on my own site where my views have not only been expressed for quite some time, but I back up my assertions with evidence based facts whenever and wherever possible.

But I’ll also answer you with this screen shot that I just took, for I believe it also helps answer the other part of what you’re trying to find an answer to. i.e., “Who the heck am I to….”

If one wants to believe that the internet and search engines with their sophisticated as well as ever-changing criteria for algorithmic matches for relevance or importance matter. Then if the data shows X than in some ways there must be some credibility to it. For as we all know, search, and all the “SEO” that has taken place over the last few years has been not only pummeled, but Google™ itself has laid waste to many of the so-called “genius” ways one could game the system and get ranking.

So if one can actually get that ranking within not only a major figures news feed, but while that major figure is in the throes of an actual release window where not only themselves, but others across the media are writing and reviewing the work and are known as “some of the largest viewed portal across the web.” To be within the top 50 of that search result would be an accomplishment. The top ten would be a phenom would it not? So what does it say when you’re not only in the top 5 but in the top 3 as in the isolated box of most relevant articles? Remember, this is when a major figure is actively pursuing making that news. To wit:

Me on a TR story search Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 7.33.52 AMAs you can see, in an open quote search, with over 23 million responses, during the most saturated media period concerning Mr. Robbins and the release of his book. The number 3 position is occupied by my article. And, it’s not exactly conducive to the algorithmic scrape for relevance. It would have to be there because of algorithms based on viewership numbers, which gives it in my view even more credibility when I make the statement of “making an impact.”

Whatever or however you draw your own conclusions from here is up to you and I respect it. But now at the least you have some actual data to either contemplate – or completely trash. The choice is yours as it should be.”

Moving on; a few other things I had expected to have in place but, as things always do – sand gets into the gears and halts everything. e.g., Expanding the audio/video section along with making the blog (or splitting it) more useful.

As I’ve discussed in the earlier post in this article (the first hyperlink in this article) the blog has become very broad in its topics. Some come for motivation, others come for entrepreneurial insights, others come for a host of other reasons. Then they subscribe – get a post like I did on Ebola and “ding!” they unsubscribe. And as I’ve explained I totally understand why.

So the move has been on to make changes but, I was held up in a battle royale over a domain I owned and it was getting ugly. Well I’m glad to say that situation has finally been resolved and I’ll be sharing more in the coming weeks. So please stay tuned. I think you’ll like the additional feature.

I could go on, and on, but I think you get the point of this whole (maybe even long-winded) exercise to demonstrate it’s been quite a year. And I’m expecting even better things come this newest year.

As I’ve said many times “I’m just getting started.” I also hope that is similar to your mantra going into this year.

So….See you next year!

© 2014 Mark St.Cyr