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Brian Soule

Sep 23, 2008

The Logic of Loyalty

During my sophomore year in college, I got a call at two in the morning. It was my friend Quattro.

“Brian, can you come pick me up from the hospital?” “Sure” I said, “I’ll be right there” As I got dressed, I wondered what had happened. It turns out that he had been hit by a drunk driver. His truck was totaled but he was okay.

Incidents like that make you think about why we have friends. Are they there for your own recreation? Or do they serve a greater purpose? I know at least a hundred people that would gladly help out if something happened to me. These people know that in a heartbeat I would do the same for them. A community of genuinely loyal people is the greatest asset one can possess.

Not only does our community shield us from uncertainty, but without it we couldn’t be successful in life.  

Imagine you are a construction contractor. Will you make more money if you,

      A.     Save money by performing all of your own physical labor, equipment leasing, accounting, marketing, and taxes?

Or   B.   Commission experts as your company grows?

If you would like to be anything more than a helpful neighbor, the choice is clear. Becoming a financially successful contractor requires strong relationships with experts like subcontractors, accountants, and laborers.

In the book good to great; great companies are proven to focus on one thing and improve on it, year after year. These are the companies that are successful for decades on end. This principle applies to individuals as well. Organizations become successful when their members focus on being the best at one thing and then share that contribution with the group. Trying to do everything at once is like trying to boil the ocean, it's simply impossible.

When applied to our personal lives, the principles of loyalty and focus enable what we can never achieve alone.

While less than 15% of college students join fraternities, the vast majority of presidents in the last century have been in them. While the social fraternity may not be for everyone, we can all learn from their successes.

What follows is a random fraternity experience that I had:

I was at a gathering on Saturday night; two guys from a band were visiting and talking with a few of the brothers. They were from El Paso and had been in town for a few days promoting their music.

"We're in Austin promoting our band" Stated the Bassist. "We've been playing shows and we're looking to make it big". 

"Talk to Eric, he works with KVRX." (an Austin radio station) One of the fraternity guys replied.

That casual statement opened the door that took the band to the next level. Utilizing Eric’s experience in communications allowed the band to focus on what they do best, writing great music.

Your community could be a church, a non-profit, a sports league, a sewing circle, whatever you are interested in. The stronger the bonding experience, the better.


1.     Become extremely good at one thing and share it with your community.

2.     Develop meaningful relationships with trust and loyalty

In this world, you get what you give. The more loyal you are to your community, and the better you get at that one thing, the more successful you will be.

Aug 31, 2008

The Thought Market

How is it possible to tell what the population is thinking at a given point in time? By using a free service called Google Trends. Trends measures how often people search for a given word or phrase.

Here is a graph of the searches for "Wikipedia". Interest rose gradually until summer 2005 when growth started accelerating. The site achieved preeminence in 2007 and 2008. Searches drop off during the holidays, suggesting that Wikipedia tends to be used during work. 

Here are the queries for "Ron Paul". The drop in searches after the primary show that he may be having difficulty converting his campaign inertia to long term momentum.

Google Trends delivers what was nearly impossible almost five years ago, a precise time line of the interests of people all over the world.

Aug 9, 2008

New Computer Smell (How I bulletproofed my computer and got rid of Viruses forever)

Eight weeks.

That was how long it took for my computer to fail. I was knee deep in a new version of my business plan and now all I could do was watch my PC as it restarted itself over and over. Not only was my computer broken, but I could no longer access my work. If I reformatted, all of my data would be lost. Three weeks worth of research was now stuck in some algorithmic black hole, I could only hope that it wasn't lost forever. The only solution was to cross my fingers, pay 35 bucks and take it to a computer repair store.

Four days later I had a broken computer, and a burned CD with my multi-million dollar business plan on it, hanging on for dear life.

Almost 100% of patients who successfully beat cancer report the experience as having a positive impact on their life. Though not as serious, nearly losing all of my work got me seriously thinking about improving my relationship with my computer. Looking for a solution, I started thinking about computer terminals at the library, or at school. Every time someone sits down, the computer is as good as new. It restores itself to normal and runs quickly, like the first day it was used. If library users could enjoy this "New Computer Smell" year round, why couldn't I?

After asking around for a few days, I discovered a program called Deep Freeze. The program works by restoring windows to the same state, every time it is restarted. Like getting to use a brand new computer every day. I also discovered that by creating a "partition" on your hard drive, you can virtually create two separate hard drives. By "Freezing" the one that windows is on and keeping the other one "Thawed", you can now save your data while making sure that windows works as well as it did the first day you bought it.

I reformatted (or erased) my hard drive, reinstalled windows, and installed deep freeze. That was more than a year ago. Since that day I have never had a single computer problem.

How to get rid of viruses forever 1. Save your important data (a burn CD or USB drive will do) 2. Stick in your Windows CD and start a normal reinstall. 3. Setup will ask you where you want to install, it will give you the option to create a partition. It looks like this. Create a smaller partition and install windows on it. (20 GB)  Format the remaining space as the D: drive. 4. After installing, configure windows how you like it and move My Documents to your second hard drive. 5. Download and install Deep Freeze. (A free trial can be downloaded here) Set it to freeze your C: drive, keep your D: drive thawed.

To install a new program, simply use deep freeze to "thaw" your computer, Make your changes, and then restart back into a frozen state.

Your computer is now bulletproof. You can open your Windows folder and delete system files, change all of your settings, or download viruses; once you hit restart your system it will operate as well as it did the day you bought it.

Aug 6, 2008

How Online Marketing's Heavy Hitters Play, a Simple Guide to Multivariate Testing

Have you ever wondered how high budget websites achieve their pleasing layouts? They use something called Multivariate Testing to scientifically test different versions of the website. This determines which test website creates the most conversions (sales) or retains visitors the longest.

**Multivariate Testing: **A process by which more than one component of a website may be tested in a live environment. It can be thought of in simple terms as numerous split tests or A/B tests performed on one page at the same time.

So how does it work?

Step 1: The marketer determines how detailed he wants the test to be. Depending on how much time or traffic is available, the marketer will choose many or few variables. MVT (Multivariate Testing) experiments can be mapped with an array.

This experiment has three test elements with two different variables of each.

Step 2: Element Selection - Once you have determined how detailed you want your test to be; you must now select which parts of the site to test. These include: Headlines, Navigation, Offers, Text Format, Price, and Buttons.

Step 3: Element Variation - After choosing what elements to modify, the next step is to decide what modifications to make. This is the most creative process of MVT. How should you address your audience; should you be emotional? stern? helpful? should you sound like an expert? How should you site look? should you give the user many choices, or few? should your site have moving parts? Should you erase those buttons or keep them?

It is helpful to know that viewers tend to look at the top left of a screen and move from there. Here is a heat map of the Google search page. Red marks where viewers tend to look the most.

MVT Software: Includes SiteSpect, Omniture, and many others. As MVT can be a tremendously profitable activity, software has been historically expensive. In 2007 Google released their free website optimizer.

Multivariate testing allows great marketers to become exemplary.

Jul 25, 2008

The Scalability of Google Culture

I toured the Google campus on Friday with the fitness program benefits director Josh Glynn. It's true, Google is almost certainly the best place to work in the country.

Things you can find at Google...  - 5 or 6 eclectic cafeterias  - Fitness centers all over campus  - A program for authors to come and speak  - Politicians, Tech specialists, and other influentials regularly touring the campus  - A program allowing engineers to spend 20% of their time on their own projects  - Bright decor that has a positive effect on your mood  - The same 250 square feet of space per employee that most companies use, but instead of having solitary cubicles and offices, 3-4 Googlers will share a workspace. These work spaces foster collaboration and provide the health benefits of human interaction  - Grand pianos, Foosball, Ping Pong, Public bicycles and masseuses.

How can the benefits of Google culture be easily applied to any company?

1. Initiate shared work spaces. Shared workspaces increase collaboration and decrease heating costs. Josh went from solitary offices to a shared space. He says that he misses his coworkers when they aren't around. This collaborative environment increases creativity and mental health. 2. Create an athletic program. Paul Carrozza of Runtex has stated that his corporate running program decreased health insurance claims by 60%. Exercise also improves cognitive health. Astute employees create astute profits. 3. Use a horizontal corporate structure. At Google there is very little hierarchy. Tasks are more based on creativity than the requests of a boss. The best solution to your company's marketing problem could be contributed by an electrical engineer, or vice versa.

4. Brighten up the decor. Google recognizes that color affects your mood. The logo reflects this philosophy .

Check out this photo essay on the Googleplex


Jun 30, 2008

Why Blogs are Better than Everything Else

Why has the blogosphere been so wildly successful in the last four years?

1. Blogs cater to a more educated demographic that most mainstream media seems to avoid completely.

2. It is a well known "secret" in the publishing industry that a good book is really just one stellar chapter with ten chapters of filler. A blog entry is written at the ideal length to communicate the idea at hand. Try visiting the blog of your favorite author. A few entries will most likely communicate the message of a complete hardback. Like this free manifesto of Seth Godin's The Dip. It conveys his entire book in ten pages.

3. Blogs are far more precisely marketed to their particular niche. This "Long Tail" lets people read about their specific passion, (like Kite boarding) and enhances reader loyalty.

"Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. "

- William Strunk


Jun 24, 2008 Book Update

I have been doing extensive book research in the field (my restaurant) and in scientific journals. My tips have been astounding my coworkers.

The book will answer questions like How can acting like an ape increase your tips? What short term investment has a 1,300% return? How fewer choices mean bigger gratuity.

To celebrate, anyone who has left a comment on my site or signed up for the Soule Opportunity Network will receive a free copy of my book on the release date.

May 29, 2008

Wake Aid Product Lab

I have just published our logo prototypes in the new Wake Aid product lab.

The lab has a survey/input section where you can give input on our logo prototypes. Anyone who gives their opinion can get a free bottle of Wake Aid when the product launches for consumer testing.

May 25, 2008

Evolutionary Arbitrage

Imagine the world 10,000 years ago. Our hunter gatherer ancestors roamed the earth; scraping together what little food they could find, and avoiding dangers that could claim their life at any moment.

Now fast forward 10,000 years. The descendants of those very same tribes live in air conditioned homes, with clean water piped in directly. Our lives now are far more secure and predictable than our ancestors could have ever fathomed.

While our environment has changed greatly, we have not. Our brains are still programmed for life outdoors. **Our instincts have trouble adapting to a paper-shuffling, domestic lifestyle. **

For this reason we see epidemics of depression in office workers, and "ADHD" in school children.

Evolutionary Arbitrage – Creating products that are friendly to, or exploit human instinctual nature.

What are some examples of evolutionary arbitrage?

Nintendo Wii – The Wii transformed video games from a sedentary pastime to a full blown activity, selling 30M units in the process.

Hummer Brand - Nothing satiates a reptilian subconscious like climbing a 60 percent grade or fording 24 inches of water.

4 Hour Work Week – Millions of people are fed up with sitting in a cubicle from 9-5 and are working from wherever life takes them.

Sometimes thinking about the future means studying the past.

May 24, 2008

I have started working on my first eBook: TipScience, how to double your tips using five psychological principles. You can check out the storefront I have set up at

I am doing research for the book, (waiting tables) and would like to finish within 20 days. (by June 13th, 2008)