I found the secret to success in Chicago

adventure, design, Get to know Ori, Inspiration, product review, travel 4 Comments »

I’ve been trying to better myself for a long long time… I think we all do.  We read books on weight loss or business or people skills…  we take courses on goal setting and time management… and yet, it seems most of us go back to our normal routine (Don’t believe me? It’s been proven that the average new year’s fitness resolution is broken in about 3-4 days).   23% of resolutions are actually kept.  35% are broken before January is up.

We know how to lose weight (burn up more calories than we ingest), yet… most of us are upset about our excess weight.  Knowing doesn’t seem to be enough.  Aftr trying so many times, we just give up and claim something like “Well, it’s my genes,” or “I come from a fat family, there’s nothing I can do.”

This doesn’t apply to just weight… it applies to so many parts of our lives.We just give up, put our dreams and goals on the shelf, and make an excuse.  We think that we were not meant to have that particular thing in our lives.

I’ve given up on drawing so many times in my life. I wanted to be an artist since I was a kid.  I’d always quit  though… ’cause it took a lot of work, not just spending money on fancy brushes.  Recently, I made this image, and I’ll tell you how I was able to do it in this post.

I’ve tried just about everything, and I’m fairly sure I found an approach for accomplishing anything, that works (for me).  I discovered it in Costa Rica in late 2010… but I did not take action until this year– but boy, am I glad that I did!

Read the rest of this entry »

READING The Epic Tale of One Way Ticket to Maui

adventure, business, Couches, events, good deeds, humor, Inspiration, photography, product review, travel No Comments »

This is me reading out loud the way I got to Hawaii… and all the crazy stories that happened along the way. Thought I’d see how people like having it read for them.

Click the play button, or download it to your mp3 player of choice.
[wpaudio url="http://couchsurfingori.com/wp-content/uploads/movies/05-25-201-The-Epic-Tale-of-One-way-ticket-to-maui.mp3" text="Reading of The Epic Tale of 1 Way Ticket to Maui"]

The Epic Tale of One Way Ticket to Maui

adventure, business, Couches, events, good deeds, humor, Inspiration, photography, product review, travel 3 Comments »

Had to hit the beach within minutes of getting to Maui, with Craig Allen, and Terra Ganem“What are you doing for the next 2 months?”

“Seriously?  I hardly  know what I’m doing next week.”

“Over the last 2 weeks I’ve been thinking about that business idea you mentioned the other month… a lot… and you’re working Terra’s website anyways– why don’t I buy you a 1 way ticket, come stay with us, and if you want to get back, you have to finish the project, and get some sales!”

“Well, damn! For story-telling purposes alone, I have to say yes!”

And thus, I agreed to come visit Craig Allen and Terra Rose Ganem in Hawaii….  Read the rest of this entry »

Hell Run can go to Hell

adventure, business, product review, rant, Scam Warning No Comments »

hellrun.com-Leaping over FireI love serendipity – So many insane stories of it lately, that I can barely keep up.  Running in the HellRun.com Hell Run obstacle race was one of those things…..

One minute I’m being reminded that I said I’d run in an obstacle race, and have not taken any action on it (i.e. flaked out), and 2 hours later, I get a text out of the blue asking if I can run in an obstacle race to cover for my friend who already bought the ticket.

Yup.  I love serendipity.

What I don’t love however, is people not delivering on their promises. And Hell Run certainly did not do that!

You see, on their website, they have photos of people covered in mud… yet nobody got anything more than their ankles muddy… and even that was weak.

I’ll tell you the things they did, but when I get to the last one, you’ll see why I bothered to  write this post! Read the rest of this entry »

Being held prisoner, and how I escaped!

business, Information, product review, rant, Scam Warning 1 Comment »

Network Solutions was holding me captive

Have you ever been held against your will? Your only choices being to keep suffering, or to walk away from what you’ve worked hard for? Sometimes, if we want another solution – the one that works for you – you have to do what it takes. My troubles began over a decade ago…

The year was 1996, many people did not know what this “Internet” thing is (we were still in Web 1.0 then) . A 19 year old Read the rest of this entry »

If you are congested, this is a miracle.

Information, product review 2 Comments »

“You sound like shit!”  This was the first thing that 2 clients told me within the last 3 days.  My older brother just asked me to call back, because he couldn’t understand what I was saying. Yes, I am sick. It is rare, but it happens.

I suspect that it is an allergy to the Cedar Trees in Austin… Check it out, there’s an entire site dedicated to hating Cedars!  They have lots of facts… Austin, Texas voted the 2nd allergy capital in the USA by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

The upside is that I get to use one of my all-time favorite bad puns.. You think it’s funny, but it’s snot!  I say this every time I’m on the phone with someone, and I have to blow my nose. Hooray for silver linings, right?

But, I have been coughing up a storm, and my head felt as if someone shoved a balloon up my nose, into the brain cavity, and then inflated it…. my sinuses were so clogged, my eyes were blood shot.  I could not concentrate on anything, and I was constantly tired… it’s as if someone had just turned on the Tired Switch, and left it on.  I would sleep, wake up, and go right back to sleep.  Not cool!

My friend Isabella Jones had sent me her Betti Pot right before I went to Costa Rica, but Read the rest of this entry »

Couch Surfing Ori stickers are here!

announcements, design, Marketing Lessons, product review 4 Comments »
couchsurfingori.com stickers in black

Nothing says you're cool like having one of these on your laptop

They have arrived! After four years of traveling and turning strangers into friends, my logo can now be had by you!  That’s right! Couch Surfing Ori stickers are here! 

A day that you will never forget – The Beatles on Itunes

business, Information, Marketing Lessons, music, opinion, product review, rant, Scam Warning 2 Comments »
Apple's itunes announcement on its homepage

Apple thinks you are a tool

Apple is the king of marketing and creating hype.  Their technology has changed the world.  Their style has made technology simple, and pretty.  And now, they think that we are all fools. Me personally, I am waiting for the youtube itunes video of the person who came up with this latest scheme getting executed by firing squad.

Yesterday had all the tech sites wondering what Apple will announce today, as their home page announced with poor grammar that “Tomorrow is just another day.  That you’ll never forget.”  I gotta admit, with all that they’ve done, I too was curious what their announcement will  be.  What will they have people lining up around the block for this time?

Apparently, all the hype was to announce that the Beatles are now on iTunes.  Seriously?  That’s it?  That is worth shutting down the Apple home page for?

For those who were not aware of it Read the rest of this entry »

Pretzel Crisps – Incredible use of social media.

business, Information, Marketing Lessons, product review, video 4 Comments »
Ori Bengal holding up the Pretzel Crisps gift bag.

Check out my Pretzel Crisps Gift Bag

Many people see a marketing technique, and use it in a spammy way. I bash my clients when they use spammy methods, and I help them come up with more engaging methods. Here is some wonderful use of Social Media by Pretzel Crisps.  Just watch the video, it explains it all:

I am Siddhartha! Not your average book review!

Get to know Ori, Information, Inspiration, Marketing Lessons, misc, opinion, product review, rant, summary, travel 4 Comments »

A picture of Siddhartha's friend

I’m  warning you in advance, this is not your mother’s book review (takes me a tiny bit to get warmed up)! It has a lot of really personal stuff from my life as I reflect on the book, and is discussed in my fun (and language filled) manner.

Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse is a book that does not fit in my normal reading list. As with all things in my life, this too has a fascinating story and reflection.

It all started with Jaime. Read the rest of this entry »

Tools and Lessons for Unplugging and Writing

Information, Inspiration, opinion, product review, Tutorials 9 Comments »

This is a really information packed post about the processes, tools, and philosophies that I’ve learned about writing over the last few weeks.  I’m sure they’ll help you whether you’re writing a play, a novel, or a blog post. Please share this post, as it will help a lot of people overcome writer’s block, focus, be productive, and much more.

I admit that I often don’t know what day of the week it is. Couchsurfing takes me around to different people in many places, and I keep growing because of it.  Day of the week… not important most of the time.  But now that I’m actually working with a goal (remember:  Goals are dreams with a deadline) of writing my book, I am racing the clock.

The first lesson is probably the most important, and that is

Read the rest of this entry »

Do your research!!!

product review, rant 4 Comments »

This falls under “Holy shit!” – I don’t know if it’s 100% what happened… but I certainly have my suspicions…. especially after playing with Google for a bit! Stupid brutal honesty.  *sigh* here goes:

1st of all, you should read, or at least Skim “A Sad Post” because that is what I’m talking about in this post.

So today I woke up in a fine mood. I went to brush my teeth, and as I reached inside my toiletries bag to grab the tube of toothpaste by feel, I grabbed something else.  The item I grabbed is a green bottle with the label Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft Zune HD FAIL (video)

product review, rant, video 3 Comments »

Microsoft Zune HD FAILWhen Microsoft decided to enter the portable mp3 player race, I thought they were insane… now that I have one, I know they were!  Here’s the story (Scroll to the bottom to see a video- I’m even wearing my BurningMan goggles):

During SXSW Interactive, I left the press lounge (all you can eat Zone bars, all you can drink coffee… electricity, silence) to go shoot my next panel, and there’s KBJ (@KateBuckJr).  She’s talking to some people, and she (tosses me under a truck) says “Oh! You guys need to interview….”(grabs my by shoulder, yanks me in front of some dude, and some girl who’s running camera) “Ori… he’s a designer!”

“Uhhhhh….?”

“So.. what do you know about  Microsoft Website Spark?”

“Uhhhh….”  Kate was nowhere to be seen Read the rest of this entry »

The Daily Juice- Organic and Raw food and smoothies, also found on Groupon.

business, couchsurfing radio, Interviews, Marketing Lessons, product review, video 1 Comment »

The Daily Juice is on Groupon.comA lot of you remember that I lost 28 pounds in 30 days, and everyone kept asking me how.

The answer is…

My 30 day raw food progress

Click to see the before after

The Daily Juice.  It was at this place that I first sat down to chat with Craig Allen, and we ate and discussed raw food.

I had always been a brat about salads (ask my mom - she’s newly on twitter!).  I would not eat them (most veggies actually).  But that day, I tried the BBQ Coconut Burrito at Daily Juice.  Mmmmmmmm!!!!

Seriously! It was so good, that I was able to not only finish the meal, but also crush my disbelief that veggies can’t taste good without being fried (Tempura veggies aren’t healthy?? what?).  After that, I had gone on a 30 day raw challenge, and lost 28 pounds in 30 days.

I ran into my friend Lyn Graft, and told him about this contest I’m entering called Live Off Groupon (You get $100,000 if you can spend a whole year living off Groupons-  check their site to learn all about ‘em).  Turns out that not only did Lyn know all about Groupons, but his favorite Groupon Deal so far has been for Daily Juice.

I went in and chatted to one of the staff there today about the establishment, and their experience on Groupon. It was a lot of fun- check it out:

Now you know why this place is a healthy Austinite’s favorite hangout.  If you haven’t been, try it out.

Since I like to share marketing ideas, I recommend that you contact Groupon about being a deal on there. It would take you a long time to sell 1,000 smoothies (or whatever your product is)…. Groupon helps you get the word out about your business quickly. It’s tied into social media.  I even spoke about it as the marketing advice for Couchsurfing Radio Episode 9.

Couchsurfing Radio Episode 5- Peter Shankman on life, PR, skydiving, humor, flying, and more

business, couchsurfing radio, Couchsurfing Radio Episodes, humor, Information, Inspiration, Interviews, Marketing Lessons, product review 1 Comment »
Peter Shankman as seen on jdate

I love Shankman's Shirt!

Want free advertising? Want more credibility than you get out of an ad?  You need to listen to Peter Shankman’s interview.

I frequently refer to Peter Shankman as a roll model, ’cause he’s a spaz, funny, adventurous, and successful.  Last night’s call was haunting, because it showed that there were a lot more similarities (even the listeners were commenting on that). We also spoke about many other topics, such as bucket lists, skydiving, flying all over the world, and much more. Have a listen:

[podcast]http://www.couchsurfingori.com/couchsurfing-radio/couchsurfing-couchcasts/Couchsurfingradio-Couchcast-number5-January-25-2009-Peter-shankman-pr-skydiving.mp3[/podcast]

Download the episode for home/car/plane/etc..  listening.

Scam Warning- Viralee

product review, rant, Scam Warning 46 Comments »
Viralee logo

Viralee is a scam

As a business owner, or just someone trying to get a message out, you recognize that there’s a benefit to having large amounts of Facebook Fans.  Scammer Dominic Holland of Viralee realizes that you think that, and is willing to steal your money.

I study what a lot of the marketers are doing.  I use some of these things for myself, and many of these strategies work for my clients as well.  If you have a business, and need more traffic, then getting more fans is a good way of dong it.  Facebook allows you to buy targeted ads that will get you fans (good ad design, writing good copy, using the right images… all still necessary), but Viralee actually claims to sell you the actual fans… not just an ad to bring them over.

I tried them out at $99 (They’ve raised their price to $117 this week), which was supposed to get me 1,000 new fans on Facebook. The blog post I read about the Viralee scammers (back when it was unknown that they were scammers) said that they get the results within 5 days.  I got nothing within a week, so I wrote the main scammer, Dominic, to see what’s up.

Dominic replied: Read the rest of this entry »

A couchsurer’s view on “Stuff” (worldly posessions)

Get to know Ori, opinion, product review, rant, video 34 Comments »
CouchSurfingOri surrounded by STUFF at Cathedral of Junk in Austin, TX

CouchSurfingOri surrounded by STUFF at Cathedral of Junk in Austin, TX

Stuff!  We all have it! The thing is that it means different things to different people.  Some people think that we are nothing more than what stuff we’ve accumulated.

Have you ever been to soeone’s house that looks like a museum? Shelves upon shelves of little crystal figurines, and nice china, and walls of DVDs, and shelves full of books, and tons of walk-in closets, etc… ?

I wonder if they actually enjoy their stuff.  I wonder if they eat on that fine china… I wonder if they watch every movie.. I wonder if they read all their books.

You see, I have a lot of stuff too.  We all do!  But, do we actually use it after the first few weeks?  It’s a shiny object, and my marketer friends probably made the ad that made you want it…. but after you spent your money, or were gifted it, you probably got bored with it.  Clearly, there’s exceptions– computers, cell phones, televisions, but even those gather dust after we find a shiny new model.  The Ipod got replaced by the Ipod Nano, which got replaced by the Iphone / Touch – which got replaced by the Iphone 3G, which got replaced by the Iphone 3GS.

What’s my point?  I just realized that a lot of my stuff I have because people think I should have it.  What do I mean? I guess I should tell you my big plans first.

(If you’re in a hurry, just scroll to the video at the bottom) Read the rest of this entry »

Video: Google voice transcribes voicemail!

product review, video 4 Comments »

rotary--phoneWe’ve come a long way since the rotary phone. Now we have cell phones, and VOIP. Operators are no longer necessary, and neither are secrataries for the use of taking down a message.  You call, you get the beep, you talk, you hang up.  I get the notification that I have an e-mail, I call my voicemail, I listen.  Maybe I take notes about what you said….

and then came Google Voice. Read the rest of this entry »

Couch Surfing Ori Tool Recommendation: LMGTFY.COM

humor, Information, product review, Tutorials, video 7 Comments »
threesixtyfive | day 244

Sick of stupid questions?

We’re all guilty of asking someone something that would take us less time to look up than it would to dial it. Sometimes though, being asked too many of those obvious questions can lead to frustration.
“When does that e-Book reader go on sale?”

“What does WYSIWYG stand for?”

“Where can I find a cheesecake recipe?”

Come on folks!  Just because a person is a know-it-all, doesn’t mean they have to be a tell-it-all.  And with that, I’d like to bring you my 1st Webcam test and screencap usage tutorial (I make these for people when I build websites for them…. but I haven’t tried it for a product review).  Please let me know what you think… if you like the format, if you like the tool, if you’d like to see more nifty tools (most of the ones I have are more productive, but this one’s fun), or if you have any tools you’d like to see reviewed or explained.  Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »