Brian Yamabe

Inefficient and Imperfect

Manipulation Free Marketing

Everything I understand about marketing is quid pro quo. I have never heard it described in any terms that didn’t come down to manipulation. Content marketing is giving people useful content so that they will trust you and buy your product or service. Email list building is giving away something of value so people will sign up to your list and you can then monetize them. Gary Vaynerchuk has something close to being palatable when he talks about giving away things with value (jabs) and not expecting anything for any one individual in return, but ultimately gives those things of value away expecting that at least some individuals will respond to his offers (right hook).

So how do I propose to do manipulation free marketing? For one, I’m not sure what I plan on doing can be called marketing. And second, I’m not sure if it will “work” – meaning aid me in reaching my $2000 / year definition of success. The plan is to give a lot of useful stuff away and sell a few useful things. Like I said, I don’t know if you can call that marketing or if it will work, but that’s all I feel comfortable doing.

This is really all I’ve ever done and it’s never worked at a large scale before, but I I have an idea to give things away more consistently and I think that consistency will be the key. So what are these things I plan to give away? First is a podcast and second are small iOS apps.

I don’t have a timetable yet for either of these things but this really is the only kind of marketing I can live with.

Unprofitable Niche

In my last post I mentioned that I was focusing on a niche that is not known for being profitable. The niche I’ve chosen to serve is the devotional and educational needs of orthodox, liturgical Christians.

I have no illusion that this area is going to make me rich, but since I’m a member of this niche I know how much we could benefit from a wide range of resources and the satisfaction in serving this group is worth more to me than the profits. Plus, I do believe this niche can support the $2000 in revenue a year that I defined as success.

What are the next steps? Product creation and marketing. I have very specific ideas I want to test for both. The product has an actual business model and the marketing effort is something I could actually get behind (doesn’t just feel like sales).

Do you have an idea for a technology product that could serve the devotional and/or educational needs of Christians? Shoot me an email at ([] or tweet me @byamabe.

Getting Down to Business

How does a husband and father of two with a full-time job, elder at his church, and various other responsibilities start and grow a business in a niche which is not perceived to have a highly profitable user base? I don’t know, but that’s the journey I want to go on and document.

I’ve been walking on and around this path for a long time. I’ve created apps with no business model. I’ve done consulting with no long term plan for where to go. I’ve brainstormed and daydreamed. I’ve come to realize that this direction is where I’ve always headed, it’s just my definition of success that has needed clarity. At this stage in my life, with the commitments I have, success would be being able to pay for the development tools and software I use and honing my skills so that my technical chops are up-to-date if I were to lose my current job. On the revenue side that would entail generating about $2000 a year. On the skill side that would mean being skilled in a development environment other than Java.

That’s the introduction. Let’s see where this goes.

Erroneous Comments

I am more and more becoming aware that when I make poor comments, especially when responding online, I have been blinded by some preconceived notion about the argument the other person was making and not addressing what the author actually meant.

Most recently I asked the author of an (article on Swift)[] why he used tuples instead of multiple return values. Well, if I had done a little more digging I would have noticed that multiple return values are tuples. But when I originally read the article, I saw the named elements of the tuples in his example and didn’t connect that the multiple return values were tuples. Looking back it was quite clear, but I just missed it. Yes, I look foolish, but because I asked the author a question, at least I don’t look like a jerk.

I remember a couple of occasions online where I commented with my own arguments and looking back I didn’t fully comprehend the authors points and my own arguments just made me look like a loudmouth.

So, the lesson is to really dig a little deeper on an article you want to comment on. See if you truly understand the problem or issue the author is trying to address. Then if you still have a problem with their point of view, ask a question. Never assert your own arguments, especially online.

45 and Done With Goals

I got an email today about having goals that inspire you. At least a couple times a week I hear a podcast or read a blog post about goals. What do you want to do? What makes your heart soar? What speaks to you? What can’t you stop thinking about? It’s this inwardly focused goal setting that I’m burnt out on.

I’ve dreamed of the big career, big money, independence, blah blah blah. But I’ve never followed through on the goals I set to achieve those things. Why? Mostly because they aren’t the things that are important to me. I’ll take a few steps on the path to the “big goals” and then jump off the path to attend to what my wife and daughters need. I learned very early in my marriage what focus on your career can do (80+ hours for months at a time) and I never want to do that again.

If my employment situation changes it might be necessary to compromise on some the family stuff I’m able to attend to, but I’ll talk to my girls and we’ll make a decision together as to how to proceed.

I’m 45 today. I can look a lot of the goals I’ve set in the past and see that I haven’t accomplished them, but I couldn’t be happier with where I am. I have a wonderful family, a nice place to work, and a Savior who continues to deliver His gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation.

American Ninja Warrior

I was a fan of the original Ninja Warrior show from Japan and while I’m still partial to the motherland version, American Ninja Warrior is very enjoyable as well. That said, at the 2:50 minute of the video below, is the most amazing feat of creativity and athleticism I’ve seen on the either incarnation of the show and maybe ever.


The TouchID on my iPhone has been flakey for the last month so I took it to the Apple store and I got a replacement with very little hassle. The whole experience is why I stick with Apple products. I rarely have problems with any of my devices, but when I do I know where to go for support.

Keep Starting

I broke my habit chain in several areas yesterday. I was on a pretty good role for me, but the last day away on vacation got me out of a productive mindset. I’ve often stewed on failures like this and finally kicked myself into action after a few days/weeks got me feeling guilty or some external trigger got me to try to create another good chain. Or I would try to start the chain again right away, but the guilt of just having broken it would eat at me and I’d end up with a cluster of chains that were 1 or 2 days long.

This time I’m just going with the mindset that I will break the chain occasionally, but I’m going to keep getting better and have longer ones. I just need to start a new one right now. Not put it off, try to justify my failure, or any other kind of excuse; just start again. Of all the productivity tips I know, the one that hits closest to home is to just keep starting. Fail at something, just start again. Succeed at something, start again. Don’t like the outcome of something, start something else. Spinning on anything isn’t going to move you forward. It really is as simple as “keep starting.”

Going Swimming

I went swimming today with the girls. To be more precise, I went to the pool with the girls and they went swimming. I had my swim trunks on in case they wanted me to go in, but they had fun playing with each other and their cousin so I was off the hook. I read some and just relaxed. I thought about going in, but I wanted to remember this as the first time the girls went to the pool and didn’t need dad. I just wanted to soak in the fact that they are growing up. So proud of both of them.

Father-Daughter Golf

I had the pleasure of playing golf twice this week with my 12yo and it is truly one of the most enjoyable things I get to do these days. Each time we play she grows in skill and confidence. When she gets a little stronger we’ll be pretty even, and if I don’t step up my consistently she will start beating me.

My 7yo likes to golf a little and has some natural ability. I don’t know if golf will be her thing like it is for her sister, but I do want to find something we can do together. I know some people rightly criticize golf for how long it takes, but when those hours our spent with your daughter there isn’t much that can compare.