Views From Kennewick

Friday, January 20, 2006

Lessons Learned In San Francisco

Just last week at this time, I was boarding the jet to San Francisco...a lifetime ago, it seems.
Traveling to my first seminar, it was difficult to keep my apprehension down. I'd never met any of the people that would be attending, I only knew them from a forum for copywriters.

Two months previously, I'd heard that Dr. Harlan Kilstein was mentoring copywriters and tried to get into the group. As I was new to the forum, I wasn't aware that the group had been closed for some time. It nearly broke my heart, because I believed that Harlan was the one copywriter that could give a relative "newbie" the assistance needed to make the leap into the unknown, because he'd done it himself, and thrived.

So, I mailed Harlan and meekly asked if he would be coaching students again. His reply..."Follow the bouncing ball."


I've heard of obtuse people before, but...

So, I followed the bouncing ball. In about a month I received an email inviting me to a seminar for copywriters in San Francisco. Harlan's sidekick, Tina Lorenz would be hosting a working seminar. Not a rah-rah type seminar (though I would expect those would be great fun) but a working seminar.

I emailed him back with questions, he replied with answers. I paid, I went. WOW!

In my earlier post below, my very first blog, I blogged about this seminar, so I won't re-hash it.
I do want to mention Ron Lorenz, Tina's husband, and Rusty, Ron's seeing-eye-dog.

Both Ron and Rusty hit the ground running with Tina and Harlan. What an amazing man Ron is, his perception, and the few times we spoke, revealed an exceptional human being. Of course, Rusty's an incredible human dog, too.

Even though the participants didn't get to see the sights of San Francisco...Fisherman's Wharf, the Embarcadero, cable cars, or Alcatraz, and not even Queen Wilhelmina's Tulip Garden,
it was a trip of a lifetime. Some did stay an extra day to see the sights, and from what I've heard, they missed a lot of the tours, because they were busy pounding ideas into their computers.

Too many years ago, I lived in San Francsico for a short time. Back then I might as well have been from Mars I was so out of my element, and my comfort zone. The beauty of the city stunned me, the bay, the bridge, the hills, everything. It was foreign and new, exciting, and unnerving. And I loved it.

It was a while ago...ok, a long while ago. Because of the circumstances, I didn't explore as much as I should have, and I sure didn't live there as long as I would have liked. I recall this wonderful Russian restaurant near Haight and Ashbury street. The rum cakes...ah...never had one like that before or since.

I spent an afternoon in Golden Gate Park, just wandering around, and I stumbled into that marvelous tulip garden named after Queen Wilhelmina. I'm not sure what it looks like now, but back then, it was a beautiful little enclave of pure tranquility and peace. I wonder the garden reflected her personality.

At some point, I met up with my compadres, and we wandered downtown for a while. It was the same summer day, rush hour traffic was bumper to bumper. Horns honked, people talked, we walked on and suddenly all we could hear were the pure, sweet tones of a flute.

As if stepping into a strange vortex, all of the rush hour traffic noise faded away. All we heard was the flute. Finally we rounded the corner, and the street performer played on. We stopped, and put some money in his flute case, leaned against the building, and inhaled the music...

..the memory of the flute player is the sweetest of all.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Seminars, San Francisco, And Monkey Underwear

San Francisco truly is a magical city, but the magic I was seeking had nothing to do with the city itself. The magic is in the "Monkey Underwear."

In fact, I saw one hill, beautifully studded with lights at night, and the airport Hyatt hotel.

You see, I wasn't there to enjoy the delights of San Francisco. Along with about 52 other good folks I spent three days in an intensive working seminar, learning various strategies of Internet marketing and copywriting (sales writing or business writing.) The last day was spent in a Q & A session that lasted 16 hours for some of the participants.

We slaved and toiled and enjoyed every minute of this mind blowing seminar. And I do mean, we worked! Each day from 9 a.m. to about 5 p.m. we were in session, a break for lunch then dinner, then up to the suite for several hours of more work. It was 12-16 hour days of intense learning from incredible people.

This seminar was hosted by Dr. Harlan Kilstein and Tina Lorenz. There are no words to describe the magnitude of this project, or the goodness of these people. I know the participants worked hard, but Harlan, Tina and their team were magnificent.

Dr. Kilstein and Tina Lorenz promised over-delivery of information, and they did not let us down. Every moment was crammed with useful information. They worked with us, they helped us, encouraged us to step out of our comfort zones.

Guest speakers included David Garfinkle, one of the greats of copywriting and a real mensch! Jim VanWyck, a superb human being, the kind that will watch your back and help you every step of the way. Joel Comm, the hilarious "go to" guy for AdSense. Alex Mandossian - human dynamo. And Sandra--Dr. Kilstein's right-hand woman, she is remarkable.

The kindness of these people, their concern and dedication to our collective success is beyond measure.

Did I mind not seeing the sights of San Francisco? Not one bit!

Did I miss going to Fisherman's Wharf? Nope. Didn't care.

All I wanted is exactly what I got, a learning experience unlike any I've experienced before.

They promised over-delivery, and over-delivery they gave. And, they gave more, and more.

Two comments worth note from the attendees; "I'm so glad I couldn't find a job, because now I can make some REAL money." And, "My God! I think we've sucked the Internet right out of the air!"

I'll take monkey underwear any day of the week.

Thank you, Harlan, Tina, Jim, David, Alex, Joel, Sandra. Thank you to all the attendees for this remarkable experience.