Table of Contents
Digital Summit in Phoenix with Steve Wozniak
by James Lange, CPA/Attorney
I am in Tucson, Arizona on a hiking and biking vacation. The desert mountain scenery is spectacular. There are about 100 miles of beautifully paved hiker/biker trails that run through the city and up into the mountains. It is not only a biker’s paradise but also a hiker’s paradise. The city is literally surrounded by mountains that provide way more great trails than I would have time to hike, even if I was here for months. Then, there is the jewel of Tucson, Mt. Lemmon that climbs 7,500 feet over 26 miles that provides fabulous biking, hiking, and sight-seeing on a gorgeous mountain road.
The mornings and evenings are cool, but the dry air seems to mitigate both the cold and the heat. It warms up to about 65 degrees in the middle and later part of the day, and most days are very sunny. It is also low in allergens. In many ways, it is a lot more attractive for a winter get away or even snowbird location than Florida.
While here, I noticed there was going to be a Digital Summit in Phoenix, and I thought it would be interesting to attend. It was. What is coming down the pike in terms of technology is pretty incredible. Some of it I like, and some of it I don’t.
What I don’t like is that Google and everyone else seem to be catering to the short attention spans of the millennials. By the end of the year, according to some researchers, 75% of Google searches will be spoken into a cell phone. The conference speakers all recommended that content creators, such as me, make everything “mobile friendly.” And a flood of new emojis are about to wash over us. It is a bit ironic; we will be able to communicate just like the cavemen…in pictures. They also recommended making communications including articles on websites and emails shorter and simpler. Thank God I don’t have to market to millennials. I prefer to send out meaningful articles, emails and even books, rather than short sound bites that can be read in a 10 second glance at your cell phone while driving your car. That said, my last two books are much shorter than my flagship book, Retire Secure!
Even my old high school buddies are guilty of constantly looking at their emails and texts rather than just enjoying each other’s company when we get together for our “boys’ weekend.” In an unusual move, we are meeting two times this year and our next weekend is in Las Vegas, rather than at my house, which has been our tradition. We are wild and crazy guys. We will likely stay up until 1:00 in the morning drinking diet coke and playing bridge. My bridge goal this year is to learn 2 over 1, something I should have done years ago.
I must admit I was one of few people with graying hair, and it seemed most of the attendees were paying as much attention to whatever notifications popped up on their cell phones as they were to the speakers. It didn’t matter if they were in session or between sessions. I found them distracting. I can’t imagine how distracted they were splitting focus with every ping on their phones. I like to be engaged in what I am doing in the present. I prefer to answer email and even texts when I can answer thoughtfully on my schedule.
Luckily, I don’t have to market to millennials or even my short attention span friends. I will continue my long emails, long articles and will try to convey meaningful information. I will not pay one of the speakers $100,000 to help me with my “backlinks” strategy so I can get higher rankings in Google. Rather, I will just continue to put up good articles and even offer my books for free on my website. I will also leave the entire 190 hours of audio files with their transcriptions on the website so people can listen or read as much financial information as they can stand. I think I have the best audio library for IRA issues in the world. I have interviewed most if not all the major IRA experts, at least once and more often multiple times on my radio show and the archived shows are available for free on my website.
What did I learn about digital marketing? One concession I will make to search engine optimization (SEO) will be to attract as much attention as possible to the Death of the Stretch IRA. Somebody needs to alert IRA owners to this threat and more importantly, offer recommendations for dealing with it. As such, for the next several months I will be posting a short video and a blog and sending out one email per week on the Death of the Stretch IRA. If you have not already received a hard copy or the digital version of my latest book, The Ultimate Retirement and Estate Plan for Your Million-Dollar IRA, please call our office and ask Alice to send you one or go to www.paytaxeslater.com and download the book for free. Be sure to read the addendum too. If you have a friend or colleague with a significant IRA or retirement plan, we would be happy to mail them a copy or they could download it from our website for free too.
Another area where I am a walking anachronism—I still use snail mail extensively. Most of the people there would have thought I was a complete moron for sending out hard copy newsletters and books to my clients and business friends. I suppose for a younger audience, they may have a point, but some of the stuff the speakers were advocating simply left me confused. For instance, we saw a preview of a commercial for Las Vegas motels. Lots of glitz, lots of women scantily dressed (all the men were completely dressed) and the background music literally shook the room. At the end of the commercial, they didn’t say, go to this website or call this number. Nothing. It just ended. I can’t imagine how that will be effective.
To be fair, there are trends that I liked. Google is getting more and more sophisticated and seems genuinely interested in giving you the exact information you are searching for. The search engines are getting harder to trick and Google is punishing web site developers who engage in shady SEO strategies that lead searchers astray.
Another piece of good news was “email is here to stay.” I find email very valuable, and it seems I am doing what at least one speaker recommends: email your list with the best and most useful information that you can. If you are not one of my 10,000 subscribers, please feel free to sign up on our website. The convenience of email allows me to send out updates and new information as it becomes available.
One area I need to improve is I need to survey my email readers to find out specifically what topics they are most interested in and segment my list so that not everyone gets every email. We have done a little bit of that in the past, but attending this conference convinced me I need to do a better job giving readers exactly what they want instead of giving everyone the same thing. That would be quite difficult with hard copy newsletters, but relatively easy with email, especially if you are set up on Infusionsoft, our email contact manager.
Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, was the keynote speaker, and his story is interesting. He said he never wanted to be a businessman, just a nerdy engineer. He was working for Hewlett Packard and doing personal computing on the side when he met Steve Jobs, who was the consummate salesman and marketer, but who wasn’t technical. He had to be talked into leaving his job designing calculators for engineers which was closer to his comfort zone than starting a company. He seems to be very charitable too. He kidded he didn’t have much money anymore because he gave it away to several former wives, but he also gave about $20 million to some of his early computer buddies who encouraged him to work on what we now know as Apple I and Apple II. He thought they deserved it, even though they didn’t own any stock. He is also known as a philanthropist.
We also learned he was a bit of a prankster. This is a funny story. When he was in college, he invented a remote control that could make a TV go blank. He would go into the TV room and persuade people that they had to hold the antennae at an awkward angle standing on one foot to get the TV to work. When they did what he said, the TV worked, when they relaxed their stance, the TV would go blank. The geniuses at Stanford were guessing it had something to do with the grounding of the antennae when people stood on one foot, but had a technical explanation of why it didn’t work if they stood on both feet. A harmless prank that made me think of the old TV show, Candid Camera. He still likes gadgets, and he likes his Apple watch. We had our picture taken together, both of us holding up our Apple watches—I like gadgets too.
I enjoy sharing some of my thoughts. I hope you enjoy reading them.
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
1 teaspoon sea salt
Juice of 1 lemon
2 (8 ounce) boneless, skinless wild salmon fillets
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno
1 tablespoon rinsed capers, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
12 butter lettuce leaves
2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced
In a large skillet, bring 6 cups of water and ½ teaspoon of the salt to a boil over high heat. Add the lemon juice. Gently slide the salmon fillets into the boiling water. Reduce to a low simmer and poach until the salmon is cooked through and opaque, about 5 minutes. Remove from the water and set aside to cool to room temperature, 5 to 10 minutes. When cooled, flake into small pieces.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, capers, lime juice and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and mix well. Let the salad stand while the salmon cooks and cools. Then gently fold the salmon and cilantro into the salad.
Divide the lettuce leaves among four serving plates. Then divide the salmon mixture into 12 portions and spoon a portion onto each leaf. Top the salmon mixture with the sliced avocado, fold the lettuce around the salmon and avocado to form a wrap, and then serve seam-side down.