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The “odometer lesson” is from the dark ages of online business (back when I started in 1996)… but the lesson was powerful, and it's something I've never forgotten. And I think it's the biggest reason why I'm still around 20 years later.

Next up… Day 10: Impulsive Decisions and Consequences

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28 Replies to “Day 9: The Big “Odometer” Lesson”

  1. Good video. The ease of creating websites has certainly changed in the last 20 years. It is interesting to hear how people look for the negative rather than the positive. We discussed that very topic during a meeting yesterday. Best to you!

    • My experience is that most investors think they can spot an up trend. This goes along with the market being driven by greed and fear rather than charts. If it was not so everyone would learn how to make money if the market was going up, down or sideways. Instead the herd mentality sets in bulls charging ahead and the bears going into their caves.

  2. I wonder… is there a snapshot of mindset differences in what you shared about your interest versus their interest? Was there interest in bear markets driven by fear, while yours was driven by anticipation of opportunity? However, most bear market’s are actually opportunities too, so maybe that’s not a good example…

    Anyway, that’s just another thought from a curious mind…

    Thanks for sharing a great example of how to focus on your audience’s interest versus your own. A very good reminder.

  3. Jeff:

    We provide music for Corporate, Social and Wedding Events.

    I appreciate the video today for two reasons:
    1. Great reminder about how actions / statistics help reveal prospects needs and wants.
    2. I will be reviewing and tweaking the materials we use to gather clients wishes.

    And let me thank you for all the videos I did not take time to comment on.


    • Another thought

      In my kind of work I could think the best would be lets say Bach, Brahams, Stravinsky, Ellington, Armstrong, Sinatra, Beach Boys, Chicago ETC

      If those are not the styles they client wants we adapt or either away.

      One year Downton Abbry, Madmen, Great Gatsby, and as always the Top 40 from the past 100 plus years.

      Is this always the best music?

      It is always what the customer requests.

      Unless for example the request it for Death Thrash Metal ETC in a road house honky tonk at 2:00 AM. There is a time and a place to say no not that not there not then.

  4. Thank you for that Jeff. I appreciate your clarity won through trudging this path. It’s truly intriguing to see where people’s areas of focus in mass and the unexpected results that manifest when we track activity. Identifying and creating something that is authentically appealing to those areas of interest is an art thank you for helping with the finer brush strokes..

  5. Interesting and that seems to suggest most people have a negative outlook. It might also explain why markets move up more slowly than they move down – because more people react more quickly to a down move (+ of course fear has a more immediate effect than greed)

    • @John: actually… I think it’s because people are more motivated by fear than they are by the potential for gain. I didn’t know it back then – but it’s been very well established by social scientists.

  6. Wow, Jeff! A double dose of awesomeness today! I completely get it now. As a business owner, online or offline, you have to give the people what they want, not what you think they need. It’s just that simple! And, by giving people value with more of what they want, that’s how you grow your business. Brilliant and humbling….I have a long way to go in this area. Thank you though for the motivation I needed to get going and focus on giving my customers more of what they want!

  7. So. What do I want? You’re giving it. Clear, realistic info about good business practices in a relatable, non mystical, non arrogant way. Thanks!

  8. Great presentation thank you for sharing. I find your distinction between what we, as consumers, want and what we need helpful to hear. As service providers, entrepreneurs, using the analytics tools helps us understand what our consumers are interested in, with the intention to first meet their Wants.
    Is this based on the idea that consumers are often unaware of their needs, yet, are more conscious of their wants/desires? Are you suggesting that in order to meet our clients needs we first have to address their wants?

    Thank you for the support.

  9. Coach Matthew


    Hi Jeff,

    Thank you for sharing the valuable information.
    There are a few things that really jumped out from below the surface:

    1. Your PERSISTENCE has served you well, as it will all of us.
    2. Regardless of your resources, you can always find a way to succeed.
    3. Your audience, followers, and/or tribe may not become who you originally set out to serve.

    Once again, thanks for sharing and congratulations on your 20 years online.

    Positively Yours,
    Coach Matthew

  10. Jeff, I love your 20 year series. It’s a nice mix of vulnerability and expertise. And you share a lot of lessons learned that are very useful.

  11. I remember the page counters. It never occurred to me to put them on every page, I just wanted to know if people were looking at my website (which was hand coded html). Then again, I wasn’t trying to run a business either, I was just putting up a website that I was interested in. There was no Google, or Bing, or Alta Vista, you got to a website by word of mouth, or chance.

    In the last 20 years things have gotten much simpler, as far as getting a website up and running, and most importantly, looking nice, but they’ve also gotten much more complex, with code for analytics, popups, pixels, and other forms of tracking. Once Big Business discovered the Web, it became serious business.

    I miss the old days, but I wouldn’t trade today for anything. People feel comfortable giving their credit card online, and buying things from anyone who has a well presented website, and a product of value. That’s good for business.

  12. Jeff, this customer focus is awesome! I’d love the simplicity of the story about learning this lesson but I’d love to hear about more ways that you’ve used to find out what the customer wants. Your book just arrived at my door yesterday so I look forward to reading more about your experiences there.

    I’ve had a lot interactions with individuals that believe they are customer focused and know what the customer wants but they have no data to support their assumptions. They just ‘know’. The danger here is they unless you’ve asked the customer what they want or have data to indicate what the customer wants you really don’t know. Usually these assumptions are wrong and like your example in the video people are surprised when they do learn what the customer wants.

  13. Ndifreke Atauyo


    I went into online business because of desperation to help pay my second semester’s school fee back in 2001 in my first year as undergraduate and I was motivated by the potential for gain when I saw the list of clients Dr. ken Evoy had for his Site Build It website and their wonderful testimonials. After trying product launch formula on web design nigeria – the results were outstanding. Jeff, you are a God sent to my web design business and your PLF has changed my life greatly. Thanks man!

  14. Rita Griebel


    Jeff Is there a plugin/ap to put o n ones website now? That is a really good idea.

  15. Michael Wagner


    I love that this is one of your recurring themes, Jeff – to discover what people want, to give people what they want and to sell them /the market what they want. It’s great to hear this over and over. When I’m working on my content, and the creativity is flowing, it can be so easy to forget this and just fall in love with my own ideas, which might or might be what my market wants. Truly, this is one of your keys to success and will be a key to all of our successes. Thanks once again!

  16. Still watching after 9 daze!
    Yeah, Jeff, I remember the late 90s. Learned to code in HTML, word by word, painful stuff. Also had a free website.
    Keep up the great content!

  17. Hey, Jeff!

    What I like about these videos is not so much the information about marketing. What you are saying is sort of common sense to me and it’s out there so much, but the way you present it, in the context of your personal experience, giving me a glimpse of the backstage of your business, your path is priceless. Mainly because you are one of so many that I follow and even though you are my first internet marketing love (blushing), I haven’t been following you so much lately. But with this series you resurfaced on my map. I love the idea of the development of the story in episodes. If you continue like this with the chronological storyline on which you pin the “lessons” you learned, I’ll get truly hooked and I’ll definitely see all 30 of them. Well, even if you don’t, I’ll still see them. 😉 This idea is super cool. And I love how you shoot each one in a different space of your house. You make me feel closer to you and I’m thinking again that maybe I should bet on you to help me with my business which is in its embryonic stage. Good vibes, Mo.

  18. Okay, big reveal. I am not even TRACKING that data. No wonder my results are what they are. I don’t even know which articles my audience prefers. And I have over 25K followers!! Crazy!! This is a major oversight for me, I will rectify this with our team this week to get this reporting in place. I don’t know which blog category or blog post is the most popular. I know on FB one of my videos has been views 28k times, and on Youtube one video has been viewed 25K times, but they are the main ways people come to my site right now along with an evergreen funnel that is running just in time via Stealth. Thanks again Jeff for the valuable lesson. Sharnee

  19. Patricia Reed


    Loved this video thanks Jeff ! You remind me to keep askIng my tribe what it is they really want and value, and how can I deliver it better ! Your content is priceless thank you! Patricia

  20. Thanks again Jeff. I have been checking the page views and length of time of the page on my websites, sometimes that is disappointing…from today I will look at this information in a fresh way. much love Anne Jennings

  21. Anthony Beckman


    Awesome idea. Sell them what they want and give them what they need.

  22. Wow, Jeff! You could have felt like you wasted SO MUCH time trying to get into grad school and beat yourself up for it, but instead all that prep and sitting in that lecture is what gave you the clarity you needed for your future. I don’t believe that those kinds of investments are ever wasted. They are the stepping stones to get us to the next part of our journey. Hats off to you for acknowledging that landmark moment and having the guts to stand up and walk into exactly what you were suppose to be doing! How encouraging for the rest of us!

  23. is there anything today that looks like what the internet was back in 1996 when you started publishing?

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