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The Richard Bliss Blog

One of our listeners reached out to me with a lengthy response to my comments on Episode 200 of Funding the Dream on Kickstarter, where I discussed fear and how it paralyzes us into inaction.

I’m posting his article as a guest post although he has requested to remain anonymous.


Young woman is in the fair about her futureThe future. Tomorrow. Next year. It is the cause of most our stress and fear. Not that things are terrible or unbearable today – although sometimes that is the case – but that we see disaster looming on the horizon. We fear a future that is not the one we would choose. We worry that things will not turn out the way we want. That fear causes us to act precipitously, or freezes us into unhealthy inaction. Fear, not the love of money, is the root of all evil.

Advertisers know this. Many ads play to our fears of a disastrous or decaying future. Act now, before it’s tool late. Don’t miss this fleeting opportunity. Don’t let this happen to you.

Newscaster and journalists know this. Our news is a litany of “distributing reports’ and ‘troubling developments’. If you want a real lesson in the use of fear, just listen to talk radio.

Politicians know this. Anyone foolish enough to support the other guy is inviting disaster. Fear wins elections, because most of us are afraid. Not of today, but of what will happen tomorrow.

Fear is, of course, a useful emotion that tells us not to mess with that rattlesnake, or to run when an overpowering enemy is approaching. That type of fear – fear of a clear and present danger – keeps us alive.

But fear also manifests as worry. Worry that we will loose our job, or our lover, or our status. Worry that we will loose what we have or that we won’t get what we want. We see trouble coming and we multiply it out, far into the future

This borrowing of tomorrow’s troubles causes stress, keeps us up nights, spins us off into daydreams of woe. Makes us hurt. Makes us sad or depressed. You may not be able to focus. To deal with the issue. You can’t see a solution because you can’t get your mind off the problem.

I know, because I’ve been there. I’ve curled up in a ball of stress and pain, worried about the future. I’ve had sleepless nights and zombielike days. Days of dull ache where I couldn’t get a thing done. Moments where the fear hits like a wave and the pain is a physical thing that took my breath away.

And most of those fears never came to pass

And some of them did.

And I survived both, and learned along the way, things that have helped me move past my fears. To set them aside when they come. To keep them from ruling me and to keep them from causing me to make bad decisions.

Learning to control my fear and redirect my worry has helped me to live a happier, more empowered life.

Well, you’ve probably heard me talk about getting on top of your 3 Ps of online branding: Predictable, Persistent, Presence. I’m happy to say I’ve been mostly walking the walk for some time now, but I finally have one more important piece in place: This Website.

This site binds all my online efforts for the last few years together in one central location. You can listen to my podcasts here, watch my videos, buy my eBook, subscribe to my newsletter, keep up with current projects, and find out about all my social profiles.

If you’d like any more functionality in this site (it’s RichardABliss.com for those of you getting this via RSS), let me know. I’m always happy to improve my connection to you.

If you don't like the answer, don't ask the question

It is seldom we get unfiltered feedback from those we trust. Oftentimes people spare their true opinion when they don't wish to hurt us. So when unfiltered feedback comes it isn't always what is expected.

If you are going to ask for an honest opinion on your performance, then you better be ready for the answer.

I recently asked a person for a critique of my performance and skill set, seeking an outside opinion of where I stood. I had my own personal measurement of my capabilities and was feeling pretty confident. Approaching someone who I respect a great deal, I asked them to rate my skill on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being perfect. I knew I wasn't perfect, but I my confidence was still pretty high.

The answer came back immediately. "1.5"


They saw my reaction, that I tried valiantly to hide, and begrudgingly revised their answer.

"Well, maybe a 2"

As I look back on this encounter objectively I'm surprised how quickly I became angry with the person who I sought out. I asked them because I valued their opinion. But when I received their opinion I was extremely unhappy.

Over the next few days I thought about this feedback. To be honest, I brooded. The first reaction wanting to be to lash back and argue, to fight, to defend. But with a bit of time and cooling off, I began to realize that the person sincerely believed my skill level to be that bad, which meant I was doing something to generate the perception. And what the feedback told me was I needed to change my behavior so that what I saw internally was also what others saw externally.

I realized their opinion was created by what they observed and the impact my behavior had on them.

I then went to a couple of other people, just to see if the basement grade level was justified or was it simply perception.

Two others felt that my skill set hovered around a 7 out of 10.

I liked their answers much better, but found the first feedback to be the one that caused me to improve myself the most.

If you don't like the answer, don't ask the question

Like many Americans, Richard Bliss and I followed in real time as events unfolded last weekend in Boston.  The remaining bomber, a kid who was believed to have committed an incredible atrocity, was trapped in a boat in a Boston area neighborhood, and the tension was palpable as we all witnessed the police capture him in a professional, humane way that made us proud to be citizens of such a nation.

The situation cried out for personal action.

Maybe it is the way we are now so connected that we feel a part of the events unfolding, like they are happening on our street.  In 1813 one waited days, weeks or even months for news from Boston to reach California.   By 1913, you could read about it the San Francisco Chronicle the next day.  Today, you can follow events as they unfold in real time.  We are there.  We are emotionally invested.  

The tragedy of the bombing and its aftermath left a great many victims in its wake.  Our hearts cry out for the parents who lost their 8 year old boy, and we are enraged by the picture of the bomber as he walks away, leaving his deadly backpack on the ground next to the boy.  We hear the tragedy and dignity in the voices of the Chinese parents who sent their only child to America to go to school, only to loose her life to some boys from Chechnya who also travelled half way across the world and killed her.  We are mindful of the fourteen victims that lost limbs to this violence, and the others who were injured in the blast, some seriously, and of the two police officers shot during the pursuit of the villians.  

Americans are famously generous in responding to such tragedies, and America has responded.  One Fund Boston was established within days to assist the victims of this tragedy and their families, and Americans, including Richard and I, have contributed.  The fund has raised over $10 Million already – a glowing tribute to the generosity of Americans. 

If non-profit charities like One Fund Boston and the American Red Cross are already raising millions of dollars to help the victims, what is the role of crowdfunding and social media?  After all, it is the internet and social media that allowed us all to be a part of what was happening in Dave Henneberry's back yard, so it seems it should also be a part of the solution.  But does it have a place?

That was the question Richard asked me on Saturday night.

I want to do something Richard said.  So, he did.

Richard is in a unique position with respect to Social Media and Crowdfunding.  Richard has been covering Crowdfunding on his podcast "Funding the Dream"  since 2011.  It now has 139 Episodes.  Richard has also been helping people raise money to fund their dreams on Kickstarter and speaks on Kickstarter and Reward-Based Crowdfunding across the country.  What Richard could do was start a crowdfunding campaign to help – but help who?

Dave Henneberry.

Dave Henneberry stepped into the middle of history Saturday evening when he noticed something amiss and called the police, who found their suspect hiding in Mr. Henneberry's pride and joy – his boat.  In the ensuing capture, the boat was damaged – history washed over Dave Henneberry's back yard and took his boat with it.  

Non-profit corporations can help the victims, but they would have a hard time replacing a man's boat.  Insurance contracts these days often have "terrorism" exclusions that excuse the insurance company from covering such risks.  Government aide seems likely to be targetted where it is needed most – to the victims and their families, and to businesses at the blast site that were damaged in the explosion.  But who will help Mr. Henneberry?  The crowd can.

The beautiful thing about crowdfunding is that it has not carved out for itself a piece of the pie – it has expanded the pie.  In every industry it touches, crowdfunding is bringing new products to market, raising millions of dollars to fund the dreams of project creators, and yet it is not hurting traditional markets.  More games, movies, records, gadgets, improvements and inventions are funded and made by using crowdfunding platforms and social media reach to find backers, and the tradional channels of production for those same projects remain as strong as ever.  

The same will be true here.  Raising money to replace a boat is a niche that crowdfunding may be able to fill, at least in part, without reducing the generosity of Americans toward the Non-Profits, NGO's and Government programs that will do the heavy lifting.  It does not shrink the pie, it grows the pie and allows generous, connected people to fill in the cracks and do something tangible to help.

The crowd, as it listened to social media that night, became Dave Henneberry's neighbors for an evening.  Please give generously to One Fund Boston or the American Red Cross or one of the many other Non-Profit organizations that are assisting the victims and their families.   And then, help your neighbor, Dave, fix his boat

It's what neighbors do.


Scott Pfeiffer Marshall Fredrick and Company~ Scott Pfeiffer is a business consultant at Marshall Fredrick & Company  (www.marshallfredrick.com ) and is the Lead Writer for the Funding the Dream-Team.  Follow him on twitter @fscottp, or link with him at

Also read Marshall Fredrick & Company's Blog: "On Business"  




Dave Henneberry stepped into the middle of history. In the process of capturing suspect #2 Dave's boat was riddled with holes.

Let's raise some money to help Dave replace his boat.



Guest Blog By Rodney Bliss

Speed limit 55Driving
down a San Diego freeway with my brother, Richard Bliss, we were in his wife's bright red
Mustang convertible with the top down. He'd just picked me up from the airport
and over the noise of the air whistling by us at 80 mph we were catching up on
lives, careers and kids.

around a curve we spotted a highway patrol motorcycle cop with a radar gun.
(The freeways are not 80 mph in San Diego like they are here in Utah.) Before
the cop even got his bike started, my brother was slowing down and moving
toward the inside lanes to pull over to the shoulder.

To our
surprise the motorcycle cop passed us on the left and turning around made a
"follow me" motion with his hand. Then HE sped up. We were almost back
to our original speed as we tried to keep up with him. I joked that it might be
best to take one of the exits that were whipping by us. We were actually headed
in same direction as my brother's house, not that we would run from a cop. . .
not when he could see us anyway.
Motorcycle cop radar gun

the motorcycle pulled behind a black SUV and flipped on his lights. The SUV
pulled over at the next exit and parked on the shoulder. There we were the
three us lined up: SUV with what looked like a young mother at the wheel, next
the cop's Harley Davidson with its flashing red and blue lights and then the
red sportscar with the two middle-aged guys.

policeman came back to our car first. Taking off his shiny sunglasses he asked,
"Ever heard of that show 'Let's make a deal'?"

but you don't look like Monty Hall," my brother responded with a smile.

the deal. I'm going to go write that woman a ticket, and I'm going to give you
a warning. But, if I give you the warning first she's going to be all upset.
So, if you'll sit here patiently while I writer her ticket, I'll let you off
with a warning. How's that deal sound"

. .OK!"

enough, he walked up to the lead car and after an animated conversation he
handed the woman a ticket and she drove off.

We still
weren't sure we were going to get off scott free in this. (Well, HE was driving
so I wasn't worried anyway.) The policeman returned to our car and said,
"Do you know why I'm not giving you a ticket? Because you didn't make me
chase you. You were going to pull over. You knew that you'd done wrong. That
woman was right next to you on the freeway and she kept going. She made me
chase her down. By the way, had you tried to turn off, I would have ignored her
and gone after you. . .and it wouldn't have been a small ticket. Have a nice

I was
dumbfounded. A cop sees two cars speeding. He gives the SUV-driving soccer mom
a ticket and let's the two middle-aged white guys in the candy-apple red
convertible off with a warning? Even after thinking on it for several weeks, I
still couldn't figure out why.

Speed limit 25Fast
forward a few months and I'm driving through Lehi, a small town in Utah. I've
picked up a member of my team and we're headed to pick up another member who
lives nearby. While driving down Frontage Road, next to the freeway, my friend
says, "That's a cop up there."

the speed limit on this road?"


thought it was forty. I immediately slowed down, but if we could see him, he
easily would have gotten us on radar. As we got closer I could see that there
was a patrolman sitting in the car. I pulled in front of car and stopped.

My friend
gave me a strange look, like "Do you WANT to get a ticket?"

policeman got out of his (still parked) car as I rolled down my window.

you know how fast you were going?"

Officer Boss honestly I don't, but it was certainly higher than 25." (His
name really was "Officer Boss" it was on his name tag.)

clocked you going 49."

I though the speed limit was 40 so I guess I was speeding even by my

asking us about who we were and where we going, he went back to his car to run
my license. My friend, belatedly told me about the number of people who drive
too fast on this road. After a few minutes Officer Boss was back at my window.

bet if I give you a warning, you'll NEVER go 49 on this road again."

Boss, if you give me a warning, I'll never go FORTY on this road again!"

a nice day."
Police car pulled over

And I
finally figured it out. I figured out why my brother didn't get a ticket for
doing 80 on a San Diego freeway and I figured out why I didn't get a ticket for
going nearly DOUBLE the speed limit on a residential street in Utah. It's all
about exceeding expectations.

officers were used to dealing with people who forced the police to chase them
down. Forced the police to prove, maybe in court that they had been speeding.
Basically, most people made the police really work hard. We didn't. My brother
knew he was speeding. I knew I was speeding. By being willing to own up to our
mistakes we exceeded the officers' expectations. We made their job EASY. And in
return, they made our lives easy.

business it's important to own up to the fact that you've made a mistake.
Owning your mistakes will achieve three important things:

1)    You'll be able to learn from
them in a way that you can't if you're trying to find someone to pin them on.

2)    You'll surprise those around
you. NO ONE owns their mistakes! Are you kidding?

3)    When the time comes that your
team is falsely accused of making a mistake, people will believe you when you
explain that your team didn't screw up.

When you
own your mistakes you build credibility. None of us want to make mistakes, but
we all know we all will. When it happens, own it. Learn from it. And then move

Oh and
watch your speed on Frontage Road in Lehi. 

IcecreamQuestion: How much money do you need to change someone's opinion about their favorite flavor of ice cream? 

Answer: Stupid question from a dumb marketing person.

Marketing isn't about CHANGING someone's opinion. Marketing is about finding people that want something and then crafting your message/telling a story to fit in with their worldview. 

Let me quote Seth Godin in his book, All Marketers Tell Stories:

"Don't try to use facts to prove your case and to insist that people change their biases. You don't have enough time and you don't have enough money."

His point is that people already have formed a worldview and they tell themselves stories to support that worldview. Your job as a marketer, according to Godin:

"…identify a population with a certain worldview, frame your story in terms of that worldview and you win."

If you are spending all your marketing money, budget, resources, and time attempting to convince people to change their opinion about something, you are going to fail. There isn't enough time and there isn't enough money in anyone's budget to change people's opinions.

CrowdFocus on finding a group of people who have been overlooked and underserved, and then deliver to them what they want/need and you will win.

If you haven't done this already, be sure to visit Seth Godin's blog on a regular basis. It might save you some time and money.