World Domination 101.01: Tiny,Tiny Steps

World Domination 101.01: Tiny,Tiny Steps

SUMMARY: So how does one get started on a plan of world domination? In my case, by taking very small steps, equally-balanced between adopting the right mindset (which for me is to admit I “want more”) and creating a plan of some kind that will be measurable. I’m starting by establishing some basic assumptions about myself and the “terrain” I’ll be facing.  This ongoing series of articles is part of the new Methodology “World Domination” category here on the blog.

My plans for world domination have been upset by the onset of the New England winter, whose chill temperatures have put me into a non-productive cycle. It’s harder to get out of bed in the morning, and I spend much of the rest of the time grumping about the house looking for sweaters. This is that time of year when approximately 10% of the things I own will break unexpectedly, and I am dealing with each incident on a case-by-case basis. And so as it was with the invading armies of Napoleon and Hitler as they faced the impassable Russian winter, my grand plans of indomitable productivity have ground to a halt. I am at the mercy of simple logistics and overextended mental supply lines. Time to rein in my plans. Which was, actually, to make a plan.

Preliminary Procrastinating

Before getting to that plan, I did get a few things moving. Although I’m grouchy about the procrastination, at least I’m doing other pseudo-useful things.

  • The Emergent Task Planner Pads have been shipped to Amazon. That means that they’ll be for sale as soon as they’re received and scanned into inventory. I’m planning on buying one myself, to see how they package and ship them. I’m looking forward to writing up the process one of these days. This may be an easy way of getting into online merchandising for a lot of people. Anyway, keep an eye on the Emergent Task Planner Listing to see when they become available.
  • My dear friend Erin has one of those new-fangled Kindle Readers, and told me that they’re now making blogs available by subscription. Any blog with an RSS field can be downloaded to a Kindle for a monthly fee of 99 cents and up. It’s a fairly new program, and I haven’t seen much buzz on it, but it was pretty easy to set up. So now for $1.99 a month you can read on your Kindle what you can read here already for free. The Kindle does a passable job of formatting the blog, and while the benefits of republishing my content on Kindle aren’t apparent to me, who knows?
  • A commenter on yesterday’s LCD monitor arm post asked where I’d found them for under $300, and while I was looking up the info I noticed an “add to aStore” link at the top of the screen. I clicked on it and discovered that the Amazon Affiliates program lets you collect your favorite items in a page that you can brand. You can read about the aStore here; it essentially is a referral program that earns you 4% on a completed sales transaction. While referrals are nothing new, the aStore concept is exciting because I can finally create a list of stuff I like that you can buy. For example, every once in a while someone asks me for a list of my favorite design books. I’m just getting going on it, but you can check out Dave’s Pile of Useful Stuff.

Master Planning

I’m at Starbucks now, determined to spend 10 minutes drawing a plan. Here are the ground rules:

  • Foremost: “increase sources of income so I don’t have to worry about money.”
  • Secondly: “make money by writing and making things.”
  • Thirdly: “inspire directly by example, and empower indirectly through disseminating knowledge.”

Here’s the strengths that I think I have:

  • insight and observational acuity
  • clean graphic and information design
  • genuine interest in people’s stories
  • unrelenting drive to clarify and understand
  • demonstrable ability to write and create a presence on the Internet
  • ability to express thoughts in a variety of media and technologies

Here’s the tangible stuff that people will actually pay for:

  • stuff that will help them make or save money
  • stuff that will help them gain better control over their process
  • hope, inspiration, and the means to achieve their dreams
  • reliable service that will take care of mundane responsibilities
  • exceptional work that elevates their own identity and reputation
  • expert guidance in a confusing world

There are a number of weaknesses I have that I will have to deal with:

  • I hate accounting of all types. This could be solved with money. Need to make money first.
  • I really am not good at maintaining any kind of regular habit without an external pacing mechanism.
  • I procrastinate when it comes to organizing my own material.
  • I do not gladly accept average work, no matter how well-intentioned.
  • I have high expectations of people I work with, and of myself.

This is starting to remind me of designing a campaign for Dungeons and Dragons, except in this case I’m the one being pitted against imagined challenges. I can think of the first and last lists as my character attributes, and the middle list as terrain. Why terrain? Creating products and services that people will actually buy into is a matter of meeting the three fundamental challenges:

  1. People won’t buy what they aren’t interested in.
  2. People don’t buy stuff unless they are sure it works.
  3. People want the best value for their money.

Then add to that:

  1. People love a bargain.
  2. People are delighted when they get far more than they expected to get.

Keep in mind that all five of these points have to be met from their perspective, not yours. Which makes that a much more interesting and difficult proposition. You need to get to know the people face-to-face, at least initially, to get an idea how your goods and services are going to strike them. And that prospect to me is not unlike getting to learn the “lay of the land”. Hence: terrain.

The master plan might look like a number of destinations on a blank map, I’ll take a stab at drawing that tomorrow.


  1. Lynn O'Connor 15 years ago

    World domination, interesting. There are those in the world who like to tend what is, nurture what is, create gently and quietly outside of anyone’s conscious awareness. Then there are those who want to be history makers. You fall into the latter category, as do I. This means we have high points when our voices are heard wherever we release them, and low points when we feel silenced, for whatever reason, from the external world or equally often, from the world within. I am engaged in the study of Tibetan Buddhism, because it promised to “train the mind” and I thought I sure needed some of that. I am getting it slowly, my jittery mind with so many aspirations has developed calm moments. It is fine to be a history maker if the history we make is to “free all sentient” beings. I think you surely have that as your aspiration, I hear it in you all the time. You love encouraging people to find their own voice, to find their own medium. The other kinds of history-making are less fulfilling. Most CEOs are not happy. Most politicians (obvious wanting to make history) are certainly not happy.

    Just some random thoughts upon reading your post this morning.

  2. Amanda Pingel 15 years ago

    World Domination 101 was pretty cool.
    World Domination 101.01 is hilarious. 

    Reminds me of that old cartoon: “It’s time for me to get organized; together, I can conquer the world.”

    But good for you for overcoming your fear of success.  Or at least recognizing it, which is half the battle.

    I am concerned, however, by the statement:
    “I hate accounting of all types. This could be solved with money. Need to make money first.”

    In my experience,
    little money + lack of financial acumen = little financial mistakes

    big money + lack of financial acumen = big financial mistakes = little money

    You’re gonna have to have SOME kind of accounting system, even if it’s not as pretty and well-graphed and sorted as mine is.  :)  Even if it’s handing your statements to an accountant and saying, “Deal with it.”  You track everything else in your life—how can you hate accounting?

    I also really like the idea of the D&D character starting off on a mission with attributes, equipment, and flaws.  I’ll send you my character sheet; I’ve been toying with this system for personal development.

    Cheers and good luck!

  3. Dave Seah 15 years ago

    Lynn: I am trying to marshal my forces, and I guess to me that feels like taking over the world. Why aim lower? I also have a soft spot for mad scientists and super villains… misguided perhaps, but driven by passion and principle. I don’t know if there’s a non-evil version of this. Oh, of course…Oprah!

    Amanda: I don’t really track everything in my life. I observe in great detail for a period of time, draw some general conclusions, and then move on. My goal is to find a set of principles that allow me NOT to track things, but yet be assured that it’s all working.

    I do need to find an accountant, but I have never used one or even seen someone use one. Do you literally just throw statements at someone and make them deal with it? It seems…wrong!

  4. Sid 15 years ago

    I use a CPA.  She’s very nice, reasonably local, and I’m assuming she does a good job.  I know to save every receipt that is business related and everything is organized and divided that I need to divide:  invoices, bills, expenses, etc, and then I add the totals up and provide her with everything in case she needs to double check.  She then does the tax return for me and files it for me.

  5. Evelyn 15 years ago

    You’ll want a bookkeeper during the year, and an accountant for taxes, and tax planning.

    Have you thought about hiring a virtual assistant for doing the bookkeeping part? If you scan your receipts, they can do the data entry to your online accounting system, or google spreadsheet.

  6. Dave Seah 15 years ago

    Sid: Maybe I need an accountant declutterer to set up the home system. I should talk to her though.

    Evelyn: That’s an interesting idea to use a VA for receipt scanning / bookkeeping. Do you know anyone who is doing this? I’ve heard of places like shoeboxed that will accept your mailed-in receipts and organize them for you.