Monthly Archives: December 2015

'Out of the Box' Rubik

Mind Your Beans: Spring JMS Management with JMX

I ran into a problem at work this week that caused me an inordinate amount of time to get working. My foo faltered and I felt weak. In the end, however, I rallied and conquered the problem. I share my solution with you here…

Here are the technologies in play: Weblogic 12c, IBM MQ 8, Spring 4.1.1

My difficulty arose from a problem in being able to change the number of Concurrent Consumers in a Spring JMS component, called the DefaultMessageListenerContainer, using JMX (vis-a-vis jconsole) .

The API Docs for the DefaultMessageListenerContainer (Spring 4.1.1) seem to imply that the setConcurrentConsumers(int concurrentConsumers) method can be (easily) invoked to make runtime changes, like when managed by a JMX component.  Alas, I found getting this method to work much more of a hassle than the Java Docs implied…

Rather than simply calling the setConcurrentConsumers(int val) method with a new value from the JMX Setter, I had to first stop the container, ensure the stop() method had completed, then call the shutdown() method.  Only then could I call setConcurrentConsumers(int val) with any positive effect.  Here’s a code snippet:

After calling the setConcurrentConsumers setter, you then have to invoke the afterPropertiesSet() method before restarting the JMS Container…Not at all what I expected to have to do to be able to dynamically change the runtime configuration of this component. Moreover, the number of Concurrent Listeners created always seemed to be the value provided plus one (I have no idea why), so I just decrement the provided value prior to setting it (life’s too short to wonder what our frameworks are actually doing).

C’est la vie. Maybe this helps save you some time on your project.

As an aside, I think JMX is a cool technology to leverage in the JEE stack. I don’t get why more JEE Shops (that I’m exposed to) don’t leverage this technology for Production Application Management.  JMX is generally quite simple to implement, especially when using Spring…

Building a Business Vocabulary – I

I’m trying to build-up my business vocabulary and acumen.  Why?  Because I am pretty comfortable as part of the technical team of an organization.  When you’re comfortable, you’re not growing.  For over twenty years I’ve worked in back-office cubes building technology for organizations.  I now want to have a larger focus, a better grasp of a company’s big picture – and no, I don’t need another degree (MBA), and associated student debt, to get me there.  I want to be a successful entrepreneur one day.  To that end, here are some words I am committing to memory, because to walk the walk, you gotta talk the talk:

Entrepreneur:  ‘A person who organizes and manages a buiness undertaking, assuming the risk for the sake of the profit.’  — Webster’s NewWorld Dictionary

To be an entrepreneur, you have to take a risk if you want to realize a profit.  There’s no getting around the risk part, by definition.

Capitalist:  ‘1. A person who has capital; owner of wealth used in business; 2. an upholder of capitalism; 3. loosely, a wealthy person.’  — Webster’s NewWorld Dictionary

Grant Cardone introduced me to the term ‘Capitalist’.  I never thought of becoming a Capitalist until I heard him mention it as a desirable characteristic.  Sell or be sold.

White Space:  Hmm.  This one is kind of tough to define.  You won’t find this defined in your average home Dictionary (mine is Webster’s NewWorld Dictionary, which I’ve had since College).  Essentially, in the context of business, this term refers to potential opportunities in the market where there might not be as much competition; a place where new businesses might have room to operate.  Here’s a 2010 HBR article that helps further define the term.

I first heard this term from listening to a Gary Vaynerchuk talk.  I highly recommend positioning yourself to hear Gary V. talk shop at some point if you can.  It’s all about the hustle.

Revenue Per User (RPU):  According to Investopedia, RPU is ‘[a]ratio used to express the profitability of a company on a per-user basis. RPUs are calculated by taking overall revenue and dividing by total number of users.’

I first heard of this term listening to Nathan Latka’s ‘The Top’ Podcast.  This cat is a business genius and I highly recommend his podcast.

Real Rate of Return (RRR): According to Investopedia, RRR is ‘[the] annual percentage return realized on an investment, which is adjusted for changes in prices due to inflation or other external effects. This method expresses the nominal rate of return in real terms, which keeps the purchasing power of a given level of capital constant over time.’  For example, if you make 5% return on an investment, and inflation is said to be at 3%, then your RRR is really 2%.

Again, I picked-up this term from listening to Nathan Latka’s Podcast mentioned above.

Affluenza: According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary online, this is defined as ‘extreme materialism and consumerism associated with the pursuit of wealth and success and resulting in a life of chronic dissatisfaction, debt, overwork, stress, and impaired relationships <Affluenza is particularly rampant in the United States, where we place a high priority on financial success and material possessions. — David Hawkins, Breaking Everyday Addictions, 2008>.  

I heard this word today while standing in line at my Bank listening to a News Story on the TV.  This is one of those ridiculous words, like ‘twerk’, which has no place in a proper dictionary.  From my perspective, Money should be used to buy Financial Freedom and experiences, not more stuff.

Ohana
Ohana

“It’s not about money or connections. It’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone when it comes to your business.” – Mark Cuban

Freedom Fast Lane Live, Austin, TX : Day 3

Day 3 of Freedom Fast Lane Live

Here are my notes from Day 3, the last day, of Ryan Moran’s Freedom Fast Lane Live Conference (December 11-13th) in Austin, Texas.

Jaime Tardy and Ryan Moran – Habits of Millionaires

  • Fitness is a top focus of top tier millionaires.
  • Half of millionaires she interviewed eat Paleo.
  • Millionaires tend to work all the hours they can, not reduce work hours (ala Four Hour Work Week).
  • Millionaires know their strengths and play to them.
  • Getting really good at hiring the right people is critical to success.  Culture Index.  Disc.
  • Need clarity on direction in order to create a strategy and steps to get there.
    • This is the key role of a CEO.
  • Make Agreements with employees, not Expectations.

Ryan Deiss

  • In Internet Marketing, need to find the sweet spot between Direct Response and Branding.
  • Bank Vault anecdote relative to online relationship with potential customer.  Need to make deposits and build trust before making withdraws.
  • Book: ‘Product launch Model’, by Jeff Walker
  • Retargeting and Pixel Pushing now more important than list building.
  • Place Pixels now even in the absence of direction and strategy; figure out how to monetize later.
  • The future is Cost Per Pixel (CPP).

Robert Herjavec

  • Sometimes it’s the people you are targeting that makes all the difference in sales.
    • Took $17 million Ugly Christmas Sweater business to $600 million by targeting University students.
  • Poor people save money, rich people buy time.
Robert Herjavec talks shop
Robert Herjavec talks shop
  • Runs the largest privately held CyberSecurity Firm in the world.
    • Slow growth, but there was a tipping point.
    • Biggest competition now is IBM.
    • Took a while for his market to mature and get hot.
    • He was doing $50 million a year and still did not fully realize the size of the market.
    • Trick is to invest ahead of the curve, to anticipate future demand/market, not react.
    • Always know the growth forecast for your company for the next year.  If you don’t hit your numbers, figure out why and adjust.
    • Oracle and Microsoft took 10-12 years to hit $50 milly mark.
    • Growth is hard; dreams are good but you need a path to get there.

Unfortunately, we had to leave to catch a plane before getting to hear all of Mr. Herjavec’s discussion with Ryan Moran.

Conclusion

  • Everyone needs to be an entrepreneur today, for a host of reasons.  Everyone needs to learn to sell.  Sales cures all ills, up to a certain point.
  • Getting to the top takes work and the willingness to out-work everyone else chasing similar dreams.  Sometimes, it takes losing everything and starting over…several times.
  • At least two immigrants were part of the multi-millionaire speaker list at this conference: Gary Vaynerchuk (Belarus) and Robert Herjavec (Croatia).  There is something unique about people coming to America with nothing and crushing it financially.
  • Taking a company to $50 million can take 10-12 years, if you’re lucky.  Making more than $50 milly is rarefied air.
  • Big, successful companies need great employees to reach the big $$ objectives.  Be serious about hiring the best; help employees achieve their dreams and they will help you (Jeff Hoffman). Culture Index, Disc assessments.
  • Per Nathan Latka, on ‘The Top’ podcast, episode 140, Ryan Moran paid out about $150k for this Conference.  He sold somewhere between 400-500 tickets at around $1495 per ticket (people who bought two or more tickets were given discounts on subsequent tickets).
  • We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.  The more time I can get around high rollers like Gary Vaynerchuk, Grant Cardone, Jeff Hoffman, Robert Herjavec, etc., the better.

Austin in the background

Freedom Fast Lane Live, Austin, TX : Day 2

Day 2 of Freedom Fast Lane Live

Pat Flynn

According to Pat Flynn’s website (Smart Passive Income), he brings in around $120k a month, so I was really interested to hear him speak and to perhaps get a glimpse into how he is able to bring that much money in each month.  Here are some of Mr. Flynn’s key points:

  • Analogy of internet users in a pyramid.  Lowest level of pyramid composed of ‘Casual Audience’, then ‘Active Audience’, then ‘Connected Community’ and finally ‘Raving Fans’ at top of pyramid.  Goal is to move ‘Casual Audience’ to the ‘Raving Fan’ level (ala Kevin Kelley’s 1000 True Fans).
  • Book: ‘Ask’
  • Book: ‘The Power of Habit’
  • Small moments with individuals can add up to a large ‘Raving Fan’ base.
  • Follow up with customers on Product Sales.  Make sure customer happy.
  • Highlight Users and Sponsors in Blogs and Podcasts.
  • Idea of Factory Tour: Invite fans behind the scenes.
  • Makes most money from affiliate marketing, sponsors, advertising, etc.
  • Excellent at building trust with audience.

Travis Sago

  • Break big problems/goals into manageable steps.
  • His goal is to make $10 million next year by working with just 20 people.  If he can find $2 million hidden in 20 people’s companies, and take a 25% cut of the find, that’s a $10 million year.

Grant Cardone

This cat energized the afternoon with thought provoking rhetoric on his philosophies of work, making money and keeping money:

  • If you want success, you need to learn to sell.  Sell or be sold.
  • Real Estate is an important piece of the wealth building puzzle.  He emphasizes multi-family and apartments with average rents around $900.
  • Mr. Cardone’s Biggest Life Mistakes:
    • Started Small
    • Stayed Small
    • Did not reinvest
    • Did not collaborate
  • First good thing he did was to wait three years before investing $350k in a $1.9 million, 38 unit multi-family/apartment building.
  • Never take advice from quitters.
  • Got to have schwag.
  • Never, ever, ever quit.  Ever.
  • Continuously work on who you are.  Like yourself.  You need to have confidence in yourself.
  • Spent $400k on personal investment this year!
  • Simplify your choices: More, Less, the Same.  Which do you choose?
  • Don’t be who you are, be who you SHOULD BE!
  • Feed The Beast and starve the doubt.
  • Buy Real Estate (multi-family), and do not sell.
  • Real Estate and Art are the two places to have money during inflationary periods.
  • Rent where you live, and rent what you own.
  • Never be a Buyer; Always be a Seller.
  • Be an Entrepreneur now so that one day you can be a Capitalist.
  • Only reason to go to College is to meet people.  Good skills for younger generations to learn are Spanish and Mandarin.

After two days of intense learning, it was time for a few margaritas in down town Austin…

Margaritas

Freedom Fast Lane Live, Austin, TX : Day 1

Go Big, Or Go Home

I love the title of Ryan Moran’s Podcast, ‘Freedom Fast Lane’.  He’s putting on a live conference this weekend in Austin, Texas called ‘Freedom Fast Lane Live’, and I’m here in Austin attending the conference.  I really wanted to attend a conference this year.  I feel like conferences give working professionals the ability to get out of their environments, mingle with people they don’t know and learn something new.   If you’re not growing you’re dying.  The same holds true for business.  Growth and development is THE name of the game.

I debated on what kind of conference I was going to invest in this year.  I have not attended a professional conference in years, so this year I was determined to make it happen.  I am going to grow professionally, not die!  In fact, I now want, and expect, myself to grow exponentially.  No more half-assed expectations or settling for mediocrity!  My life is going to change significantly in 2016, for the better.

I thought I might want to attend some tech conference like BlackHat or OWASP – all Computer Security Conferences.  But these conferences seemed too focused and narrow for me at the moment.  I need to think big and be around other people who think big.  I need to blow the roof off of my current status quo.  I therefore settled on attending a conference centered around Internet Marketing and Entrepreneurship.  In my mind, this is the most important thing I can focus on in my career at this time.  Dream big, go big, or go home.  I believe that investing in one’s self is imperative for personal growth and development.  I also believe that Ryan Moran’s Conference has the potential to help me take huge steps forward in my personal and professional growth.

One of Austin's monthly Internet Marketing Parties,
One of Austin’s monthly Internet Marketing Parties,
Austin City (Without) Limits
Austin, City (Without) Limits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided to blog about my experience each of three main days at the conference…Here are some of my takeaways from Day 1:

Day 1 of Freedom Fast Lane Live

Jesse Elder

  • Goal Setting and Practice are the keys to achieving all that you want.  Practice is imperative in the realm of entrepreneurship.
  • Appreciate Everything, need Nothing, Have it All.
  • There is no Risk when you are clear about what you are doing and are fully committed to your objective.
  • Measure personal growth and progress by looking at where you were in the past relative to current state.
  • Exclude ‘Yeah, but’ from vocabulary – dream-killer talk.  Words matter.
  • Human beings are Energy.
  • In order to achieve entrepreneurial success, we must overcome our fear of disapproval; remove the need for approval in the first place.

Jeff Hoffman (Priceline.com founder)

  • Starting a business is a way to achieve a better future for yourself and others.
  • Write down dreams and goals and put them where you can see them daily (e.g. index cards on bath room mirror).
  • Design your own future, don’t let others dictate it.
  • Dream Big, Work Hard, Create Value
  • Solve Real Problems
  • Chase Excellence
  • Info-Sponge (form meta ideas from themes in disparate places).
  • Focus on Operational Excellence
  • Deliver the right message to the right customer.  No one wants to buy your shit!  Get to the root of why a customer is giving you money!
  • Clearly define success and failure and time-box (Define and Sign).
  • Book: ‘Straight-Line Leadership’
  • Treat employees like your company depends on them; how can you help employees achieve THEIR dreams?

Mark Jenney (RVShare)

  • Money does not create happiness.  (I’d like to find that out on my own, thank you)
  • Ask yourself these questions to determine if you should continue in current professional path:
    • 1) Are there any happy, old Rich guys who do what I’m doing?
    • 2) Does what I am doing now matter?
    • 3) If I stop what I am doing now, would the world be better off?
    • 4) On a scale of 1-10, how important to humanity is what you are currently doing with your life?
    • 5) Would I be totally happy and fulfilled 10 years from now doing what I am currently doing?
  • Authors Note: It sucks to have high expectations of life sometimes…
  • Silicon Valley, as opposed to Internet Marketing Companies, creates more Billion Dollar Companies because they focus more on contribution – helping others get what they want, rather than simply extracting wealth from others.

Gary Vaynerchuk (Vaynermedia)

  • Re-emphasizes that one key ingredient to success is practice…and hard work.
  • Attention is an asset.
  • Actually look at 50, $50-$100 million dollar companies and learn how they got to that level.
  • Look at White Space in economy right now and look to fill a gap.
  • Focus on personal strengths and outsource the rest.
  • Get people to give honest feedback on your skills and abilities.
  • ‘Work your [f$#@&*$] face off.’
  • People skills are the most important skill right now.

Reward for a long day

'Out of the Box' Rubik

Building An Email List

I’m working on a website right now for my Ocean Rowing Expedition next year (http://www.1000leagues.com), and to help keep in touch with interested people, we are building an email list (click the ‘Join Our Team’ link).  Initially, my plan was to simply create a Google Contact Group, add emails to the Google Contact, and email the list our updates by putting the Contacts in the BCC field of our email communications.  This strategy did not last very long as Google Gmail starting blocking our outbound email and treating them as span.  So at around 50 email addresses on our list, we had to migrate to a new platform.

I chose to use MailChimp as the next platform for maintaining and emailing our list.  So far, I am really impressed with MailChimp.  For a list our size, and the frequency we send communications out (about once a week for around 62 members), this platform is free and delivers a disproportionate amount of value for the cost.

MailChimp offers really cool reports on how many people have received your email, how many have opened the email, which URLs contained in your email were clicked, etc.  Moreover, the email templates MailChimp gives you for creating your email campaigns are really nice looking and easy to set up.  So far, I am really impressed with MailChimp.

This week I listened to a Pat Flynn Podcast, at Smart Passive Income, where he interviews Bryan Harris, who really offers quite a bit of additional help in how to build an email list.

Crossing the Economic Chasm: From Average Wage to Economic Freedom

I was curious about putting the salaries of the US National Average into context with the salaries of the Top 1% earners, American CEO’s and Billionaires.  How significant are the disparities between these groups?  For people in the lower and middle class, how much money do they need to be considered among the Top 1% earners in the United States?

Consider the following data I found on the web…According to the Social Security Administration, the average American salary in 2014 was a paltry $46,482.  Given the cost of living in the United States, this seems pretty bad (perhaps not relative to India or Ethiopia, for example, but for America, it’s bad).  This is especially scary relative to the average CEO salary: $16,316,000.  The average income of a person in the top 1% of all American earners is $717,000.  Then there are the Warren Buffet Billionaire types…Warren Buffett earns roughly $37,000,000…A DAY!!  The amounts of money some American individuals bring in each year is simply staggering!

Here is some context represented in the following bar graphs:

Average American Salary relative to the Average Top 1% Salary
Average Income Relative to Avg CEO Pay
…relative to the Average CEO Salary…
Average Income Relative to Top 1%
…relative to Warren Buffett’s DAILY salary…
G4
…relative to Mark Zuckerberg’s Net Worth.

The average American wage earner truly has their work cut-out for them if they want to live like the average Top 1% income earners.  But the average Top 1% income is not even in the same Solar System as the income of the average American CEO.  And Billionaires?  They are in a whole different Universe.

So what’s the average American wage earner to do if they wish to achieve financial freedom like the Top 1%, the Average American Millionaire or Billionaire?  That is the question I would dearly love to answer for myself right now…