The Secret to Success is Getting There First

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Author: Michael Warren Campbell – Reading Time: 3 min 58 sec.

Here’s How I made $200,000 in 48 Hours Following 120-Year-Old Advice by Mark Twain

“If you want to be successful, find out where the people are going and try to get there first.” ~ Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain

That quote changed my life. Now when I hear about something that might become popular, I try to position myself in the middle of it. That’s what happened in December 1999 where I scooped $200,000 in less than two days.

Here’s A Quick Story About What Happened

A significant shakeup was about to take place on the internet. ICANN – the entity responsible for domain names – lifted the 26 character limit on domain names. They replaced it with a 67 character limit. That meant long, keyword-rich domain names were coming available for the first time in history.

I knew there would be a pent-up demand for good names. So based on that intuition, I knew exactly where the people were going. I had to get there first.

I sat there thinking the day before ICANN was about to remove the 26 character limit. Dang, it! The East Coast people would have an unfair advantage because they are three hours ahead of me.

Then I remembered my Mark Twain mantra and said out loud, “Wait a minute! It’s a “worldwide” web! Who’s first over the International Date Line?”

I scoured over the list of known domain name registrars and found one in Australia called Melbourne IT. At 12:01 am on December 19, Australian time, I typed in a long domain name and waited for what seemed an eternity. (We were still using dial-up modems back then.)

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The domain name “” came back as available. A shiver went down my spine as I knew I had struck gold. But not so fast! I still had to register the domain.

Five minutes later, I had an email confirmation. It worked! I registered the first long domain in history. I had an instant 16-hour head start over the West Coast of America where I lived.

I called my friend Paul, who’s a coder, that also owned a hosting company. After I told him, he registered a long domain, and it worked for him too. In the excitement, I asked if he’d like to do a little business venture.

The plan was to have Paul contact Melbourne IT to see if they’d consider an affiliate program. If yes, Paul would hack together the code. Then he and I would split the proceeds.

Within hours we had an affiliate program in place. I sent an announcement to my thousands of newsletter readers. I told them they could register long domain names immediately through Melbourne IT. Hundreds of people started using our affiliate link, and the cash came flooding in.

You Should Have Seen the Chaos!

I was getting phone calls every ten minutes from the lawyers representing the American registrars. They were threatening to sue me, telling me to cease and desist or else.

Ha! I laughed in their faces. It’s a “worldwide” web. What part of worldwide didn’t they understand?

There are no rules that state you must register domain names through local registrars. The lawyers were blowing smoke up my asteroid. And they knew it!

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I found out where the people were going, and I got there first. I scooped a life-altering story and $100,000 from the affiliate program. Plus, I had registered hundreds of long domain names that I sold later for an extra $100,000 in revenue.

Now, this story isn’t to impress you. But if you are, I’ll take full kudos for thinking of the International Date Line idea. But, what I really wanted to do, was illustrate a few lessons…

Adapt and be willing to make quick changes. Big companies can’t do this. So it becomes the advantage of independents, entrepreneurs, and small business owners.

Adopt new technologies the moment they look promising. Don’t wait for a consensus or permission to do something if you think it’s going to be big. Take massive action and make it happen.

Never pay attention to people who say you can’t do something if you know you are right. These are the same people who will chalk up your success to dumb luck. Spouting that you were in the right place at the right time. But you and I know the truth. You planned it.

Strive towards having a network of friends and acquaintances who are skilled artisans. Because who you know is critical to increasing success. They can hack through obstacles in your path.

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The Real Secret to Instant Success

Find out where the people are going and try to get there first! Think of what their needs are likely to be. Then do whatever it takes to position yourself in the middle of that crowd. Divert the revenue stream and grab as much as you can while you can.

Even if you run a food cart, you can do this. Get the schedule for major sporting events in your city this year. Get the permits to set up your cart, half a block from the stadium. Then feed the hungry hoards as they go to and from the game.

Or, to put it another way; Listen, read and research, to discover a significant problem that people have. Source or create a product to solve that problem. Then sell your product to that preexisting market that’s desperate for a solution.

It doesn’t get any better, or sweeter, than that.

To your success,

Michael Warren Campbell

P. S.

What about you? What kind of successes have you planned for and won? Are there any events in the past that made a significant impact on where you are now? What are the biggest challenges you’ve overcome, and how did you do it? I’d love to hear your stories.

To chat about this article, message me @dmcorp on Twitter or dynamic888 on Skype. Please share this article with your friends, colleagues, coworkers, and anyone else that might enjoy it. Thank you!

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