What going home with a hooker taught me about my business

These nuggets of wisdom shared by a brothel worker are more useful than most pieces of business advice you’ll read in a book.

Back in my days of crazy clubbing, I was talking to pretty much everyone in the nightclub (as you do) and met a chick with whom I quickly became friends. When the club closed in the early hours of the morning, she invited a bunch of us to go and hang out at her place.

Back in her gorgeous apartment overlooking the water, we sat out on the balcony with her husband while her four-year-old daughter slept inside. In passing conversation, it came out that she worked in a brothel.

I was fascinated by this — not so much by the industry, which I am in no way trying to glamorise — but by the fact she seemed to be relatively normal and not totally screwed up by the whole thing. So I asked her how she did it? How she managed to do her job and maintain a relationship with her husband? How she seemed to be so normal about the whole thing?

And she said to me:

“I find something to love in every client.”

This blew me away. My initial reaction was, “You are a far better woman than me.”

This conversation is something that’s stuck with me over the 10 years since. It’s something I think about often — when stuff gets bad in my business or I think I’ve got it hard, I think back to meeting this chick — to what she must have been going through on a daily basis in order to do her job. And I realise that if she can find a way to love every client, I have no right to bitch or whine.

The further conversation that morning gave me even further distinctions that I’ve carried forward into my business.

Hookers aren’t afraid of the money

It’s a cash-based transaction, baby. And if you don’t like it, that’s too bad. There are no freebies.

Pimping 101

While hookers aren’t afraid of the money – they also don’t do their own sales. On the street it’s the whole pimp culture thing. In a brothel, there’s management. Either way, the girls aren’t expected to do their own haggling. They provide service only.

Hooker Syndrome

Not mine — this is an actual business syndrome, wherein any transaction is worth more to the purchaser beforehand than it is afterwards.

Get your cash up-front and you don’t have to worry about accounts — and you don’t have to worry about chasing them afterwards.

The Ultimate GFE

There’s this concept called the “GFE” — or Girl Friend Experience — wherein the client pays the hooker the compliment that being with her is like being with someone he isn’t paying.

And, of course, the girls foster this. They sell the guys what they want — the “fantasy” — and then give them the dream they’re after — the “GFE”.

Because guys aren’t really buying sex — they’re buying the fantasy.

So what’s the GFE in your business? What are your clients really buying? What do they get on forums and talk about behind your back? What do they say to their mates about you?

When you know this, that’s where the real marketing magic takes place.

Mail Headers in Mail.app

If you’re like me and you have accumulated several email addresses over the years, but are wishing to use one email address for everything, here are some Terminal commands that will come in useful. Sure you could write some AppleScript if you were inclined, but save yourself the time and get your hands dirty in some Terminal.

First, to set a reply-to email address:
defaults write com.apple.mail UserHeaders '{"Reply-To" = "First Last <first.last@domain.com>"; }'

Second, permanently change the from email address:
defaults write com.apple.mail UserHeaders '{"From" = "First Last <first.last@domain.com>"; }'

Third, set a BCC email address for archiving and message stores:
defaults write com.apple.mail UserHeaders '{"Bcc" = "Email Archive <email.archive@domain.com>"; }'

And, lastly, do it all in one sexy command:
defaults write com.apple.mail UserHeaders '{"Reply-To" = "First Last <first.last@domain.com>"; "From" = "First Last <first.last@domain.com>";"Bcc" = "Email Archive <email.archive@domain.com>"; }'

DIY: X-Box Controller Mod

Ever been annoyed at how expensive PC/Mac controllers are, just to find that when compared to console controllers they come up as cheap and inferior? To get around this, simply modify your Classic X-Box controller to work with your PC/Mac.

This guide provides simple, step-by-step instructions to rewiring your controller that even a beginner can follow. There are two primary aims of this particular tutorial:

  1. Mod your controller to work with your PC or Mac
  2. Ensure you aren’t throwing money away and the controller will still work with your X-Box

Note: Please make sure you follow each step closely. It is important because in some areas there are warnings which if overlooked could completely ruin your day.

  • Step 1 - Requirements

    Heatshrink, USB Extension cable, X-Box controller, USB Extension cable, Cutting tools, Electrical tape.

  • Step 2 - Cut

    Cut both ends of the USB extension cable off about 4″ / 10cm from each end.

  • Step 3 - Remove cable casing

    Remove the outer rubber casing from the cable by cutting it with your smaller blade. Expose approximately 1/2″ – 1″ (1-2cm approx) from the end.

  • Step 4 - Remove cable shielding

    Inside the cable will be some highly annoying shielding to protect the cable, some is silver foil and the other is silver wire. Simply discard of all of this.

  • Step 5 - Remove wire casing

    Now expose a short piece of wire from the end of each of wire. Be careful, some of the wires are quite fine and will break easily.

  • Step 6 - Discard yellow wire

    Discard the yellow wire from the X-Box Controller, it’s only necessary for some of the X-Box light guns.

  • Step 7 - Pair your cables

    Pair your cables up. The FEMALE USB matches up with the X-Box end of the cable and the MALE USB matches up with the controller end.

  • Step 8 - Pair femable USB to X-Box adapter end

    This is reasonably obvious. The female end of the USB extension cable goes with the X-Box end of the cable. The reason for this is that we want the male end attached to the controller in order to plug it into your PC/Mac.

  • Step 9 - Cut your heat shrink to length

    Cut off approximately 3″ / 7.5cm of heat shrink, enough to cover all of the exposed wire.

  • Step 10 - Place your heat shrink

    Put the heat shrink over the cable BEFORE joining the wires or else you won’t be able to get it on. I made this mistake once and it was highly annoying.

  • Step 11 - Twist

    Twist the wires together at the end. Black to black, red to red, green to green and, amazingly enough, white to white.

  • Step 12 - Cover twisted pairs with tape

    Place a tiny amount of tape over each of the twisted pairs to ensure that none of the wires can touch each other.

  • Step 13 - Cover exposed parts with heat shrink

    Push your heatshrink down so that it is covering the exposed wire. DO NOT bond the heatshrink until you’ve tested the cables are working.

  • Step 14 - Pair male USB with controller end and repeat

    The male end gets attached to the controller in order to be able to be plugged into the PC/Mac. Repeat steps 9 – 13.

  • Step 15 - Almost-final product for testing

    Test your cables. Use the controller with your X-Box/PC/Mac in order to confirm everything is right. On OSX use Xbox HID Driver for Mac OS X and for Windows XP use XBCD.

  • Step 16 - Final product

    Finally, blast the heatshrink with a hairdryer or use a cigarette lighter to bond the heatshrink with the exposed pieces. Suddenly you have the final product ready to go.

What you should be left with now is a controller that can work with any and all of your devices. This will save you money on shelling out for expensive PC/Mac controllers, giving you a much better quality gaming experience.

I have tried this controller extensively with several Mac games, several emulators on Mac and various other cool stuff and have had no issues at all.

Disclaimer If you break anything along the way, it is so totally not my fault. I am really sorry if the instructions weren’t simple enough, but I am pretty confident they are and no one should run into any issues.

Separating Work Mitch from Home Mitch

Work probably means different things to different people. For me, I don’t wake up and dread heading into work (most days anyway), in fact most days the idea of hitting the offices excites me a little.

I love my job, my career path, my company and my colleagues. But when things get scary and stressful, leaving all that stuff in the office can be difficult, especially when things go wrong.

To quote my hero, Ari Gold:

Eric Murphy: Ari, I’m getting killed here. Vince isn’t happy.
Ari Gold: Of course he’s not happy. Nobody’s happy in this town except for the losers. Look at me, I’m miserable… that’s why I’m rich.

Now I’m not rich… not yet anyway… but I am successful. And I do know that a certain level of stress, or let’s call it urgency, is totally necessary to be good at what you do. Especially if you love your work and care about the job that you do.

So right now, after working 11.5 hours, I am going to leave Work Mitch at work and go have a beer with my best mate Matt. And I am going to enjoy it and relax.

Over and out.

Getting an apartment in Sydney

Finding your apartment in Sydney (and probably other places) in today’s rental market is a nightmare. People are literally lining up for property viewings, applying by the dozens, and in a lot of instances doing literally whatever it takes to get properties.

I viewed a property on Saturday with two friends, applied on Saturday and had the property secured by Tuesday. The reasons I was able to secure the property so quickly are two fold. And both of the attributes you have complete control over.

The two things that are absolutely vital to a good and quick rental application are a solid rental history and an excellent application. The rental history should already be taken care of if you’re a good tenant, but I will share some tips for an excellent application that were given to me by a 20-year veteran property manager.

  1. Be prepared – download applications from the real estate agents website or go to their premises and retrieve them, and have them filled out well before you even go to the property. Don’t be sitting outside trying to think of referees or rental histories, it’s not going to work.
  2. Be really prepared – have everything ready; your bond, your first month of rent and photo copies of relevant paperwork (drivers license, birth certificate, etc. etc.)
  3. Cover letter – they’re not just for job hunting; write the property manager a letter telling him about yourself and your situation. In our case there were 3 guys applying and we wrote a letter to make it very clear that we weren’t looking for a “party house” and that we are three professional guys.
  4. Introduce yourself – the property manager is potentially showing the house to dozens and dozens of potential tenants – in our case it was apparently over 200 people. Introduce yourself, hand in your application and cover letter while you’re there. This makes you front of mind right from the start.
  5. Follow up – don’t hand in an application and forget about it. Call the property manage and ask how the applications are going, ask if he needs any more information and remind him that you have all the relevant documents and the money ready to go. E-mails are a great follow up too as it prompts a response always
  6. Hedge your bets – you’ve maximised your chances of getting the property, now maximise your chances of getting any property that you’re interested in. You will like more than one property, so apply to more than one property. It’s like cheating; it’s okay if she’s doing it, right?
  7. Be polite – common sense, but I’ve heard of guys getting really upset over the property, this just won’t do anyone any favours.
  8. Have support – make sure all your references are prepared and your housemates (if any) are ready to go. Also, it helps if you’re a little younger your parents are on your side (thanks mum)!

I hope this helps anyone looking for a property and explains perhaps where you’ve been going wrong in your applications. It’s a tough market and you have to treat every application very seriously and maximise your chances of finding that dream apartment.