Monthly Archives: December 2012

7 Lessons from Building a $15-Million-a-Year Lifestyle Business with No Loans, VCs or Angel Money

Vishen draws seven important lessons he learned in the past nine years of building Mindvalley from scratch.

December 2012

Since we started Mindvalley, we’ve blossomed into an award-winning company with over 100 employees and revenues past $15 million a year (50 million in Malaysian Ringgit). We’ve become one of the biggest sellers of educational content online (mostly in meditation and personal growth but we’re expanding fast into other fields). We just hit 1.3 million subscribers and our 200,000th paying student.

But best of all, we’ve done it all without ever having to take any funds or loans. Which means I currently still own 100% of my business.

It did not happen fast. Mindvalley took nine years to build. Some years were fun. Some years were pure brutal.

I started with $2,000, lost money in the first two months, became profitable in the third month and just kept reinvesting profits into the company.

But the upside is total 100% ownership and a company that is built around my lifestyle, which means that it never ever feels like “work”.

This is important to me. I’m a lifestyle entrepreneur. Mindvalley was built around my passions – meditation, personal growth, play, culture, travel and epic interior design (our offices are magical). Having total ownership means I’m not pressured by partners, boards or investors to deliver something that I’m not passionate about.

Mindvalley HQ CollageThe Mindvalley Headquarters

But the climb was hard and long. And I almost lost it all on multiple occasions. I’ve made dumb mistakes. I’ve had dizzying successes. I’ve been depressed and I’ve been high. But most of all – I’ve learned and grown. And I want to share some advice.

If I could advise younger entrepreneurs who are starting out so they avoid the dumb mistakes I made, here’s what I would say:

1. Your College Degree is Meaningless (and sometimes a liability)

I (barely) graduated from the University of Michigan School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. My GPA was just over 2.5. I just could not focus on my engineering classes completely. (more…)

How Star Wars was made

Austin Kleon

DEC 14, 2012

From a great 1979 Atlantic profile of George Lucas:

Star Wars was manufactured. When a competent corporation prepares a new product, it does market research. George Lucas did precisely that. When he says that the film was written for toys (“I love them, I’m really into that”), he also means he had merchandising in mind, all the sideshow goods that go with a really successful film. He thought of T-shirts and transfers, records, models, kits, and dolls. His enthusiasm for the comic strips was real and unforced; he had a gallery selling comic-book art in New York.

From the start, Lucas was determined to control the selling of the film, and of its by-products. “Normally you just sign a standard contract with a studio,” he says, “but we wanted merchandising, sequels, all those things. I didn’t ask for another $1 million-just the merchandising rights. And Fox thought that was a fair trade.” Lucasfilm Ltd.,. the production company George Lucas set up in July 1971, “already had a merchandising department as big as Twentieth Century-Fox has. And it was better. When I was doing the film deal, I had already hired the guy to handle that stuff.”

…The idea of Star Wars was simply to make a “real gee-whiz movie.” It would be a high adventure film for children, a pleasure film which would be a logical end to the road down which Coppola had directed his apparently cold, remote associate. As Graffiti went out around the country, Lucas refined his ideas. He toyed with remaking the great Flash Gordon serials, with Dale Arden in peril and the evil Emperor Ming; but the owners of the rights wanted a high price and overstringent controls on how their characters were used. Instead, Lucas began to research. “I researched kids’ movies,” he says, “and how they work and how myths work; and I looked very carefully at the elements of films within that fairy-tale genre which made them successful.” Some of his conclusions were almost fanciful. “I found that myth always took place over the hill, in some exotic, far-off land. For the Greeks, it was Ulysses going off into the unknown. For Victorian England it was India or North Africa or treasure islands. For America it was Out West. There had to be strange savages and bizarre things in an exotic land. Now the last of that mythology died out in the mid-1950s, with the last of the men who knew the Old West. The last ‘over the hill’ is space.”

Learn English online: How the internet is changing language

13 December 2012
By Jane O’Brien

Online, English has become a common language for users from around the world. In the process, the language itself is changing.

Customers sit at computer terminals in a Philippines internet cafe.
Users check Facebook in the Philippines

When America emerged from the ashes of a bruising war with Britain in 1814, the nation was far from united. Noah Webster thought that a common language would bring people together and help create a new identity that would make the country truly independent of the British.

Webster’s dictionary, now in its 11th edition, adopted the Americanised spellings familiar today – er instead of re in theatre, dropping the u fromcolour, and losing the double l from words such as traveller. It also documented new words that were uniquely American such as skunk, opossum, hickory, squash and chowder.

An American Dictionary of the English Language took 18 years to complete and Webster learned 26 other languages in order to research the etymology of its 70,000 entries.

The internet is creating a similar language evolution, but at a much faster pace. (more…)

Hispanic television in America

The Economist

Lights, camera, acción!

Media companies are piling into the Hispanic market. But will it pay off?

Dec 15th 2012 | MIAMI |

SOME call it “Hispanic Hollywood”, but Telemundo’s frenetic lot in west Miami is a world away from a Californian studio’s. Props, sets and characters rotate constantly. Episodes that might take a week to shoot in Hollywood are wrapped up in a day so that its torrid telenovelas, or soap operas, can air on time. Body doubles mill in the hallway waiting to film a prison fight scene between a comely murderess and another woman. The props room is a jumble of coffins, stretchers, Virgin Mary statues and fake bags of cocaine.

Entertaining America’s Hispanics has become a big business. Once, Spanish-language programming was dominated by a few specialised firms, like Univision and NBC’s Telemundo. But lately the field has become more crowded. Ten years ago there were around 14 broadcast and cable networks catering to Hispanics; today there are around 100 on air or in the works, says César Conde, the president of Univision. Big players are piling in. In August Rupert Murdoch’s Fox and RCN Televisión of Colombia started “MundoFox”, a Spanish-language broadcast network. (more…)

BII CHART OF THE DAY: Mobile Video Surged Last Quarter

Business Insider
Alex Cocotas

Aug. 10, 2012

Business Insider Intelligence a new research and analysis service focused on mobile computing and the Internet. The product is currently in beta. For more information, and to sign up for a free 30-day trial, click here.
The share of online video plays on non-PC/Macs doubled last quarter. According to FreeWheel’s Q2 Video Monetization Report, non-desktop views now account for 8.2 percent of video view volume, comprising more than a billion videos views. Non-desktop views includes connected TVs, but given the enormous growth of tablet and smartphone sales, mobile is probably responsible for the bulk of the growth.

As we discussed in our mobile usage report, consumers are increasingly watching long-form content on their mobile devices. As a result, total video ads per video should increase on mobile devices, which has been the case in online video generally.

Online Video

Read more:

Gawker Media Acquires Guanabee; Will Launch Gizmodo en Español

In an effort to grow within the U.S. Hispanic market and Latin America, Gawker Media, the publishing network behind Gizmodo, Gawker and Deadspin, has acquired Guanabee, a Hispanic-targeted web site founded in 2006 by Daniel Mauser. Financial terms were not disclosed.

As part of the transaction, Gawker will acquire Guanabee’s assets and has hired Mauser as Head of International Business, Latin America. The company also announced the 2013 launch of Gizmodo en español, “La guía de gadgets.” Gizmodo, a site focused on gadgets and tech culture, is Gawker Media’s most popular site, registering over 9 million monthly unique visitors.

“Part of the plan is to expand the company’s international revenues,” Mauser tells Portada.  ”This includes US-Spanish speakers, Latin America and Spain, Mauser adds.  There are about 500 million Spanish speakers globally.

Gizmodo en Español will be the first site to launch under Gawker Media’s Kinja discussion platform, where readers participate in the story not only as commentators but also as content makers.

Currently, international revenues represent 5 percent of Gawker Media’s total revenues, and the plan is to increase this figure to 20 percent in the next five years. (more…)

The future of TV content delivery is the Internet

Technology news and Product Reviews

DECEMBER 8, 2012

Internet connected tv

It won’t be long before cable and satellite boxes go the way of the VCR. We have seen the future of TV content delivery, and it is the Internet.

The television, the tube, the TV, the box – Whatever moniker you ascribe to it, however you feel about its use or overuse, it is clear that, with respect to entertainment, it’s on the short list of the most important technological advancements ever. What’s also clear is that television is changing, morphing into a more customize-able, personalize-able experience; but it’s taken another of our watershed technological advances to spur it through its metamorphosis –  the Internet.

Smart TVs are beginning to realize their potential as they dual-wield the powers of connectivity and computation, and provide the consumer with a myriad of entertainment options that extend beyond plain old cable. This kind of maturation, however, may only be the tip of the iceberg. For now, Smart TV mostly takes advantage of a pre-set, on-demand cache of TV shows and movies. While these represent an enticing entertainment option, they’re not a substitute to live TV, but rather a supplement. Recently, however, we’ve begun to see the next step(s) plotted out.

Earlier this year, we reported that Dish Network and Viacom were discussing the prospect of partnering on an Internet TV service that bundled networks into smaller, lower cost packages, designed to cater to the interests of different demographics. Though this method of delivery has been slow out of the blocks, many see it as the presumptive favorite for the “future of TV” mantle. The only impediment in its way is the networks. Old fashioned cable delivery is easier to understand and to measure, and bundling services in a “leave no man behind” manner has proved effective in the past. Still, it now looks as if recent developments may force even the more obdurate networks to read the writing on the digital wall. (more…)

Money Ballsy

SI Vault

December 03, 2012
Chris Ballard


In the winter of 1995, long before Daryl Morey became the general manager of the Rockets and a cult hero to statheads everywhere, he was a tall, skinny, 22-year-old Northwestern undergrad working at an Illinois sports information company called Stats Inc. One of Morey’s coworkers, Michael Canter, ran a primitive, 20-team keeper fantasy basketball league. Morey, whose twin loves were sports and numbers, was determined to win it.

Unfortunately, his team, the Dallas Chaparrals, was not very good. During the draft Morey had fallen victim to the bias of overvaluing players from his beloved hometown team, the Cavaliers. By midseason it was clear that he needed to make a bold move if he were going to contend (and for Morey, as we will learn, there is no value in finishing second). So he dealt his first-round pick, Nets forward Derrick Coleman, for the 200th and final choice in the league’s draft. Making the deal appear even more foolhardy, the player Morey acquired wasn’t even on an NBA roster at the time. Still, the way Morey saw it, the risk—though great—was necessary.

A few weeks later, to the surprise of the sports world, if not Morey, Michael Jordan ended his retirement after an unsuccessful excursion into baseball, returning to the Bulls. And just like that, Morey had flipped the No. 17 pick in the draft—who went on to become the archetype for underachieving big men—for the greatest player ever in his prime. (more…)

How Netflix wants to change television forever

Dec 5, 2012

Netflix doesn’t just want to compete with traditional pay TV networks like HBO, Showtime and Starz – it wants to change television forever. The company envisions a future for TV in which old-fashioned things like ratings, schedule and recaps simply don’t matter anymore.

old TV

Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos called his company’s newly-announced Disney deal a game changer when quizzed about it by Harvey Weinstein during Wednesday’s UBS Media conference. The deal, which will bring new and catalog titles from Disney, Marvel and Pixar to the service, marks the first time a major Hollywood studio has chosen Netflix over a traditional pay TV network.

But Sarandos also made it clear that he doesn’t just want to steal away big blockbusters from the likes of HBO and Starz. Throughout the conversation, he explained that Netflix aims much higher: it wants to change television forever. Asked about how TV will look like in five years, Sarandos replied: “It’s gonna look nothing like we’re seeing today.”

So what is going to change? Sarandos gave us some good clues Wednesday:

Ratings don’t matter. Come February, Netflix is going to launch two original TV shows, andchances are that millions will tune in to watch the new season of Arrested Development alone.  But don’t expect Netflix to brag about it. Sarandos made it clear that he won’t release any numbers, no matter how good they are. “It’s a really irrelevant number,” for a subscription TV service, he argued, because it doesn’t have to sell large simultaneous audiences to advertisers. (more…)

Unauthorized Immigrants: 11.1 Million in 2011

Pew Hispanic Center
Press Release

December 6, 2012


Russ Oates


There were 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in March 2011, unchanged from the previous two years and a continuation of the sharp decline in this population since its peak in 2007, according to estimates by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.

The estimate for 2011 is not statistically different from totals for 2010 (11.2 million) or 2009 (11.1 million). The number of unauthorized immigrants peaked in 2007 at 12 million, and the decline since then has been the first significant decrease following two decades of growth.

The falloff in the stock of unauthorized immigrants has been driven mainly by a decrease in the number of new immigrants from Mexico, the single largest source of U.S. migrants. As the Pew Hispanic Center reported earlier this year, net immigration from Mexico to the United States has stopped and possibly reversed through 2010. At its peak in 2000, about 770,000 immigrants arrived annually from Mexico; the majority arrived illegally. By 2010, the inflow had dropped to about 140,000 - a majority of whom arrived as legal immigrants, according to Pew Hispanic Center estimates.

In addition, the number of Mexicans and their children who moved from the U.S. to Mexico between 2005 and 2010 roughly doubled from the number who had done so in the five-year period a decade before.

These Pew Hispanic Center estimates use data mainly from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of about 55,000 households conducted jointly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau. It is best known as a source for monthly employment statistics. The March 2011 CPS data upon which the 2011 estimate is based were released in September 2011.

In early 2013, the Pew Hispanic Center plans to release an estimate of the 2012 U.S. unauthorized immigrant population.

The analysis, “Unauthorized Immigrants: 11.1 Million in 2011,” authored by Jeffrey Passel, senior demographer, and D’Vera Cohn, senior writer, is available at the Pew Hispanic Center’s website,

The Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, is a nonpartisan, non-advocacy research organization based in Washington, D.C. and is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

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