The Carmen - Playa Del Carmen
The Younger Years
I was born in Las Vegas, Nevada. I have one older brother who is about 2 years older than me. Both of my parents rule.
When I was about 5 my family moved to Gardnerville, Nevada where I grew up. My childhood was fairly straight-forward and normal. I spent the summers riding dirtbikes, skateboarding and hanging out with friends. When I wasn't outside I was inside playing video games. I was a big time video game fan when I was a kid. In fact, I wanted to create video games when I was younger. They were my life.
When I wasn't playing video games I was playing music with my friends. I got my first guitar when I was in middle school and I fell in love with it. I've always loved music and continue to play music on a daily basis.
In school I usually got pretty good grades -- I was an A/B student. I did enough to get by but I wouldn't spend the extra time to get 100% because I had better things to do. I always thought the smartest kids in school were the ones who could get the best grade with the least amount of work.
Towards high school I started to develop my entrepreneurial side. I started reading books like "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" and "How To Win Friends And Influence People" and they really resonated well with me. Things I had always thought about were expressed clearly in these types of books.
I got my first job when I was 14 at McDonalds. I was too young to work anywhere else. By the time I was 16 I started looking for other work. I really wanted to work at a local grocery store with my friends but they weren't hiring. So I kept going back there every day after school asking in person if they had any openings. After a month of pestering them the manager finally said, "You know what, we'll just hire you". And they did.
I remember coming home from work one day and telling my dad that it was nice getting a steady paycheck. Being an entrepreneur and owning his own business, my dad got upset at me and said it's not good to rely on a steady paycheck. He said I should be my own boss. And that is exactly what I had been working towards.
When I was around 13 or 14, around the time broadband was kicking in, I had REALLY developed a huge passion for Flash development on the Internet. It combined things that I had always enjoyed, animation, user interaction, technology and such. I became so passionate with the Internet at this time. I remember buying book after book on Flash and crushing them. I would do experiment after experiment learning the program. I would do everything I could to be the best at it. And while I never became the best, I did become pretty good. Good enough to land local jobs with people I knew. That's kind of what got me started with my entrepreneurial career. I would build websites for people during high school.
So while working at McDonalds and the grocery store I was also building my own freelance Internet business on the side. I designed and developed websites for clients. I was following something I was passionate about. I remember getting my first check for $2,000 from my friend's mom and thinking to myself, are you freaking kidding me? This is work?
So as high school started to near the end it was time to consider college right? My mom wanted me to go to school. My dad said I didn't need it. My mom eventually won the battle and I went to the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, Arizona in 2003. By this time I was already pretty damn good with computers and I was also on my way to becoming a full blown entrepreneur. Needless to say, these two things go against school.
College sucked. I hated it. The people were dumb. The teachers were dumb. It wasn't for me. It was easy, time consuming and irrelevant to real-world problems. Even though it was a computer school it was terrible. I knew more than the teachers.
During school I managed to pay my rent and everything by doing freelance web work on the side. The actual school tuition was paid compliments of my grandparents. I so wish I would have taken the money and invested it instead. We all make mistakes.
Life after college
I somehow managed to survive college for 2 years, received my Associates degree and bailed. By this time I had taken a tremendous liking towards going on random job interviews and receiving free lunches. Yes there is such a thing as a free lunch :)
This eventually led to me meeting up and starting a company with a seasoned businessman right at the time I was getting out of college. This guy I met was very sharp and had created some pretty good size businesses in the past. I was hoping to learn some stuff from him. And I did.
The year was 2005 and we created an Internet marketing company. At the time he owned a banner and sign store and had been killing it by marketing his business online. He was pretty good at getting traffic from search engines. He showed me the tricks of the trade. This was new to me and very interesting because it complimented my skillset. I knew how to build and develop websites, but I never knew how to market them and manage them really. This is where I learned the business side of the Internet. This is where I learned to not make money making websites for other people, but to make money with my own websites. I learned that websites are assets.
About 1 1/2 years in my current business partner, Marvin, started working there as an attorney. We clicked instantly. We both shared very similar core values. I remember everybody clearing out of the office around 5:00 PM everyday and continuing working there. 7:00 would roll around and Marvin was still there. 9:00, he was still there. This guy was a workaholic like me. He wasn't afraid to put the work in and get it done.
Day after day we would work late building this business. Eventually we started developing our own ideas that we wanted to create. We had our own vision on where to take the company and it clashed with my original partner. We knew that eventually we would have to leave and we did. In early 2007 we bailed and started our current company, DBD.NET.
New Business: DBD.NET
Our vision for DBD.NET was to basically build websites that we controlled. We wanted to work hard building a network of websites that provided value for people and made money. That is what we set out to do and that is what we did.
Now mind you, starting a new business is never easy, especially when you're not rich. I had about 10k to my name and we needed to make this thing profitable. Yes, I could always freelance and make a few bucks here and there, but that's not what I wanted anymore. I wanted a business with PASSIVE income. I was done exchanging time for money. And so was my new business partner.
We both scraped by. We cut back. We sacrificed. We did what anybody has to do when going for it. And it was freaking hard and stressful. I got down to $50 in my bank account. I remember going to Walmart and buying potatoes with Marvin. I remember eating beans and rice for a week. It wasn't easy. And yet I loved every minute of it. Going through those initial stages of starting a real business is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It tests you from all angles and you grow enormously. There were times where we had to take side work in a few occasions, but every free second we had was spent trying to find a working business model. That's real business. Just getting in there and making it work. No office politics. No college degrees. No talk. Just gold old-fashioned action.
We tried everything. We tried big plays with investors, we tried small ad networks, we tried large community sites, we tried automated content sites and everything in between. After about a year we did find it. And we found it well. By early 2008 we were profitable and back on our feet. From then on we have never looked back. Things have continued to get better and better for us.
For about 5 years or so we rode the Internet marketing wave of SEO. Toward the late 2000's SEO was becoming really big and there was immense opportunity to take advantage of it. We built many of our own sites that sold and affiliated various products. We also had a number of clients which we marketed for and helped improve their traffic and conversions on their websites. This was the golden age of Internet marketing when people were killing it with SEO and PPC. This is when the competition was super low and you could rank on Google for huge keywords with relative ease.
Internet marketing was our bread and butter for a long time. With time more competition started to enter the space and companies like Google started to make it increasingly difficult for less established brands to receive traffic through their website. Over time SEO slowly started to get phased out and traffic also started to become more dispersed through social media like Facebook and Twitter. There was and is still immense opportunity with proper SEO, however, the days of throwing up a website and ranking it in a few days are few and far between.
We were able to see the writing on the wall and knew that SEO was becoming more and more competitive and we would need to look for something else if we really wanted to move forward. SEO was great but it also sucked building your business on top of another business like Google. We were always trying not to step on their toes and at any moment they could give the notorious slap and remove your website for any reason at anytime.
During this time we were always on the lookout for new opportunities. During this time we tried a number of different businesses ourselves and with associates. We had many, many failures but we kept on trying. We knew that SEO was slowly on the way out and we were looking to supplement this income with something else.
Around 2011 or so I started seeing a guy on an Internet marketing message board I frequented talking about this new thing called Bitcoin. He was talking about how it was going to be the next big thing and he was super into it. Okay, sure buddy, never heard somebody selling me on the next big thing before. At this time Bitcoin was in the $1 - $2 per coin range and virtually nobody had ever heard of it. Nobody knew anything about cryptocurrency at this time. The general stigma behind Bitcoin at this time was extremely negative.
But there was something to it.
Since the stock/real estate market crash of 2008 I had been an ardent student of finance and trying to get a better understanding of economics. This research led me to believe the entire fiat system throughout the world is in disarray and in need of competition through the free market. I had since been slowly accumulating gold and silver and was on board with the fundamentals of what money is and how it works.
So knowing what I did about fiat money and economics, when Bitcoin came along it was like seeing the light. When I came across Bitcoin it was like discovering the way to actually fix the global money system from the bottom up.
Now mind you, I didn't immediately go all in on Bitcoin because I didn't fully get it. I didn't get how it worked or scaled or anything else -- just like everyone else. Nobody understood it at the time and nobody knew if it could ever work. But everyone knew there was something there with it.
So I fumbled with Bitcoin in my head for a year or so and finally in 2012 saw the price slowly rise to around $40 or so. At this time I decided it was time to get involved in this. I just saw way too much opportunity in this whole space and my business partner thought the same way.
We were fortunate enough to have the insight to get in relatively early when the space was still fairly new. Some might call us lucky but having started over 30 failed businesses now I know that winners aren't luck. I get how it works and I understand the failures that are necessary to finally get a winner.
I see the future leading me towards my main passion in life: helping people. I really want to help people. I want to educate people and make their lives better. The only reason I have ever been in business is to help others. My primary reason has always been to acquire money so that I can fund operations of uplifting the world. That is my goal and that is my mission. I am slowly chipping away and doing my part.
So yeah, that is me. Sometimes I may come across as an ass in my posts but I'm really never that serious. Anybody who knows me in person knows that I'm a big goofball. I am very sarcastic and like to joke around a lot. I never take anything too seriously and get along with all people. Deep down I truly care about all people and want to help the human family. I am doing the best I can everyday.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the blog of a white, male, capitalistic asshole ;)
Good friends at Breckenridge