Good Day all, its Friday the 20th of February, how are you. I’m well (sounds like I’m talking to myself) anyway the podcast today was a tough decision, since I didn’t really have a theme to search for. As you know I try to get something that is inspiring and as well under the area of helping people realize that you can make a business or have a side hustle which is aligned to a passion or life purpose. At this time I am using this as a way to encourage myself also educate in the ways of being an entrepreneur. I continue to find more and more resources and have been so consumed by data that at times it’s really hard to keep up on what to view within the limited periods I have each day. While I try to come up with ways to provide more content in a more condensed way, I think I found the podcast I would breakdown for you it’s from Andy Drish and the Foundation podcasts, I have done a podcast with him way back in the earlies (like have done so many (30 something). His guest is Derek Halpern the creator of Social Triggers a blog that shows readers how to increase web traffic and sales using human psychology. In this podcast though he will be telling us that trying hard to come up with a unique business idea is wasting time when you can just implement something that could lead to a business even more valuable.

Here is the link to the podcast –

  • His first businesses – 2:18
  • Playing chess for push ups – 6:09
    (8:29) Chess influenced the way he thinks about life and human behavior
    (9:28) When you fight with someone our default reaction is to deny
    (12:25) Another example of redirection
  • Quitting poker to make a real living with a gossip site >_> – 15:41
    (17:21) When starting you first business the initial order of business is getting it going
    (18:18) Belief and Persistence
  • People want instant results – 22:11
  • Depression made him do something crazy – 25:57
  • Direct Response Marketing – 29:18
  • Sales copy vs Gossip copy – 30:36
  • Reading and doing to learn copywriting – 31:51
  • How did he get good at feeding content to his audience – 33:13
  • What if a person doesn’t have the traffic – 35:59
  • What is Derek aiming for with Social triggers – 37:48
  • Building networks with the gravity approach – 39:19
  • Do something you know works but do it differently – 42:48
  • Advice on following your passion – 45:03
    (46:04) Two analogies to further drive the point
    (46:51) You cant strike oil by digging 100 1 foot holes you have to dig 1 100 foot hole.

Key points taken

His first businesses – 2:18
He had an ice tea stand in multiple locations. He sold them for 25c per cup but the strange thing that people did was give them a dollar instead. So since they were being given dollars, might as well sell it for a dollar.
(3:24) Ad business in College – He used to read a website column a guy on campus had made and one day by mistake he clicked an ad on the site. He found out that the guy was getting paid 500 dollars per ad and on the side bar had about 5 ads which meant he was getting 2500 dollars for this site. This instantly made Derek make a website talking about the dumb things he did in college but wasnt as entertaining and no traffic was coming to his site. So he went to the source and found a link to gossip blog and that site had ads which were giving them 1000 dollars a week.

Playing chess for push ups – 6:09
He and his dad played chess for push ups and he lost a lot initially.
(8:29) Chess influenced the way he thinks about life and human behavior – If you say a word in a certain way to someone you should expect an automatic response. Once you can play moves ahead of time, meaning you know how the entire script will play out in your head before time, you can than manipulate the conversation.
(9:28) When you fight with someone our default reaction is to deny – An example of this is going to a coffee shop and ordering decaffeinated coffee, but how do you know that its decaffeinated? If you contest this by asking if its caffeinated since the person will not want to be put under the gun as being wrong they will deny it and answer that its decaffeinated. This is the use of redirection, the social trigger here people don’t like to be wrong and when they are challenged they will defend themselves or even lie about it. So you want to put people in the position to be right.
(12:25) Another example of redirection – “You ever wake up and feel really frustrated with how much email you have?” The initial reaction by the reader is to say no and they get disenchanted and stop reading. Instead you should state it like this: “The other day I woke up and I realized I was frustrated about the amount of email I had.” It puts people in position to say “I’m not frustrated but I know how he feels, let me keep reading.” You are turning it from a challenge to a place where people have the ability to save face.

Quitting poker to make a real living with a gossip site >_> – 15:41
For his site content he went through the net reading different pieces of advice then he implemented the advice and if it didn’t work moved on to the next thing. If something did work he would do that until it didn’t work anymore. No strategy just trying as much different things till he found the perfect answer.
(17:21) When starting you first business the initial order of business is getting it going, get the product or service out there. The blog Social triggers was not Derek’s first blog he had the gossip blog, then a fashion site, then a makeup blog, then blog that helped launch a software company. So by the time he reach to launching social triggers he had all this track record of experience and strategies to get tons of traffic.
(18:18) Belief and Persistence – Derek believed if there was someone out there doing a gossip site for money why can’t he make money with a gossip site. Once there is someone in the world that is doing something that you want to do don’t believe you can’t do the same. He and a friend start the site, the friend walked away after not seeing hits and no money coming in, around month three of the website Derek began seeing money and each month it got bigger so much so by the time the site was 11 months old he made about 20 thousand dollars.

People want instant results – 22:11
Most people don’t like rewards that happen in the future, that’s why we eat unhealthy today and complain in the future, this is why people don’t save for retirement. We just can’t delay gratification, but we need to learn to do this by selling ourselves on some sort of benefit that’s worth it. The example Derek gives is with social triggers which had now began getting some traction, he had talks with a well-known entrepreneur. He asked him what is his plan, Derek told him his plan is to get 10000 loyal subscribers then went I get there I will figure out what to sell them later. This is a good showing of delaying gratification because it proves that Derek was seeking the following and not the profits. When he reach 100000 then he finally decided to make a business out of the blog.

Depression made him do something crazy – 25:57
From having a popular website that was making money to selling it off and start working for fortune 100 club. All because he had no life outside maintaining the website, despite him just having to work a few hours a day. He yearned for a social life which was why he got the job. He stayed in corporate America for 2 years and then he read a biography on jack welsch of GE. With aspirations to be a CEO of a fortune 100 business, he rose through the ranks and then ended up quitting because there was not way he can reach to the top in less than 15 years.

Direct Response Marketing – 29:18
Derek got into this by reading books while riding the train to work, one of these books was my life in advertising by Claude C Hopkins. One thing he took away was in chapter 4 “The advertising man must learn psychology the more he knows the better.” That was his aha moment right there that triggered combining direct response and psychology and this made him think if the whole world is governed by why people do what they do then decided I should know exactly why people do what they do all the time.

Sales copy vs Gossip copy – 30:36
Same thing not any different to him, he was mainly focused on getting content out there that would spread quickly.

Reading and doing to learn copywriting – 31:51
Read all the books he could then began practicing it more and more till it became muscle memory.

How did he get good at feeding content to his audience – 33:13
Christine Day the former Ceo of Lululemon, she always looked for way to make them one the most profitable stores in their market. She was encouraging people to get feedback from the customers, the reason they were buying and weren’t buying by setting up folding tables close to the dressing rooms so employees can eavesdrop conversations. She had blackboards so customers can write their comments, she also personally went around eavesdropping in different stores. She then took all this information to see how she can make a better store, why he is bring this up is that you have to put in the time to learn your market inside out.
With social triggers when you sign up you get an email asking you to tell him what you are struggling with even if its something small, he reads every response. So reading each one gave him an idea of all the people who signing up for his site and the problems that they have. All that information at his disposal he didn’t have to create content on a whim he made content tailored to the people and the problems he read about.

What if a person doesn’t have the traffic – 35:59
Create a customer avatar based on the problem you are trying to solve, then write to that person. Also have things in place like getting them to respond emails, surveys etc to reality test your assumption. Note you may not always attract who want attract with your content. You will attract some people who are outside your assumptions but this helps you tweak your approach.

What is Derek aiming for with Social triggers – 37:48
“There is a gap between what science knows and what business does” Dan Pink This is what Derek is searching to find out.

Building networks with the gravity approach – 39:19
Just do something so big and so amazing that people reach out to you. Most of the connections fell in his lap mainly because the people were impressed by something he did or it was something they care about. To speed up this process it’s all about what you can deliver or how you can help them. Never ask a busy person for help, see how you can solve a problem they have and over to help for free as a way to get connected to that person.

Do something you know works but do it differently – 42:48
When he started the gossip site, he analysed all the top gossip blogs and grouped them based on topic (gossip blog on babies, one on celebrity makeup, one written by a gay guy to a female audience) etc. but there were none by a straight guy making snarky comments. As for Social triggers there are thousands of marketing blogs out there but none were talking about the psychology of conversion. This approach made him break into the industry and break in. You have to analyse the space and see what the top people are known for and do something different no need to be outlandishly unique.

Advice on following your passion – 45:03
Good advice but sometimes your passion is not connected to a business model, this means you better find a business model and get passionate about that.
(46:04) Two analogies to further drive the point – Its like lying on a bed of nails, when you create a website and you have no main focus point in your topics its hard for you to puncture the market. The reason being you are not going deep enough you are not applying enough pressure. But if you find that position to go deep enough to break through, there will be no problem.
(46:51) You cant strike oil by digging 100 1 foot holes you have to dig 1 100 foot hole. Niche down and be specific break in and then branch out.

Derek gave a great contribution in the podcast with anecdotes, psychology and straight facts. His advice analyzing the market you want to penetrate, as well as using chess to read people and using redirection as a way to figure if people are lying. Sticking it out and delaying gratification in the belief of your product or service for later rewards. Direct response marketing and learning from various resources to master copywriting and serving your customers by learning what their problems are. Using a customer avatar and prepping content to serve the customers you aim to attract, also building networks by helping others with their problems for free. Do something different from your competition and make a puncture in your market by focusing on one topic that can strike you oil. Finally following your passion may not always bring you a marketable niche but try to find a business model and be passionate about it.