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for quite awhile i feel like most of my PebbleStorm has been mostly about family & adoption, rather than prior years’ focus on ‘Unique Genius’.  it’s funny how everything i do is all facets of the same gem: perhaps seemingly different on the outside, but all different reflections of the same thing, with my family influencing my work, and vice versa.

for most people, i think work and family/afterwork are like oil and water – but do they have to be?

over the past few years the ‘Unique Genius’ ideas have transformed my business; i learn every day, working ~25 hours a week, with great people and a best-selling book.  i’m taking baby steps in developing my ‘Unique Genius Selling’ ideas, helping people learn how to make ‘selling’ (themselves, their ideas or products) a life skill that’s effective and fulfilling.


and my family continues to influence who i am and how i work, plus becoming a part of my content (as in the Hubspot presentation above), and coming to talks in person.  and with milkshakes…

my 10 year old daughter Aurora is my ‘unique genius sales apprentice,’ to learn more about teaching young kids healthy business & life skills early, such as being impeccably honest, empathic, and helpful.

for example, i’m teaching her a couple of simple sales/marketing techniques to use on her mother (shhhh, don’t tell Jess) such as “WIIFM”: What’s In It For Mom.  “Ok, so you want a milkshake – but how can you ask mom for one not in a demanding or selfish way, but rather a way that she gets something valuable too out of it?”   the idea is to teach empathy, value and communication while helping her get her milkshakes 🙂

anyway, i could turn this into a whole separate post in itself (and will sometime, after making more progress), but back to the point, i only see this trend continuing of seeing all my main interests merging or greatly influencing each other, step by step, year after year…

do you have some top interests that seem vastly different, yet – how could you begin to combine, share or merge them to improve them for yourself and others?  no step is too small to take in getting started or trying something new.



so – we’ve had lots of good news over the past weeks, plus some recent bad news…

1. death

my wife’s grandfather passed away on Monday;she was very close to him.  it was a stark reminder of how fast life goes by, and what it takes to not waste it.

making the most of your time isn’t about “taking it easy” (though that sounds good); you’ll find that happiness, wealth and fulfillment come from the temporary discomfort of getting out of your comfort zone and taking on new ways to grow, speaking of which…

2. life 

we’re adopting two more kids from Ethiopia next year:
adopting again; next stop = six kids

i’m now taking the older kids on business trips:
valentin comes with me to Hubspot’s Inbound Conference

…and using lots of family pictures in my Predictable Revenue talks:
Hubspot talk: Simple, Sane & Successful Inbound Marketing


3. news from Predictable Revenue

(if you’re not on the Predictable Revenue newsletter yet & want it, you can subscribe at


Predictable Revenue hit the #1 spot on best-selling list for sales & marketing ebooks (and was the 16th of all business books)!  thank you to all of you who’ve bought, read, recommended and reviewed it!

9 takeaways from a sales leader discussion

the team at SalesLoft did a great job summarizing a Hangout video discussion between myself, Kyle Porter (CEO SalesLoft) & Ken Krogue (President,  Check it out here –

audiobook now available: 

after a two year wait, there is now an audiobook version of Predictable Revenue!  i found a woman with a wonderful voice to record it; i like to think of it as Jane Austen (you’ll see what i mean when you listen to the voice artist) meets Glengarry Glen Ross:  check it out on

new “get to your first million” ideas

i’m doing a 4-part mini-series on the Sales4Startups blog on ideas around getting to your first million in sales.  the most recent post:
Part 2: What Kinds of Pricing Or Packaging Options Generate The Most Revenue?

sept 15 Predictable Revenue special 

if you’re a CEO or sales leader and are working on getting to your first million in sales, or want to speed up new sales by 2x-3x, email us about what it’d be like to work together, since we’re offering some ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ deals for companies who sign up by Sept 15 (to hit our own goals) …email


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[Update: the “Ask Aaron Anything” call recording is posted below]

I believe, in my soul, that the way we work needs to change, and that people only use 10-33% of their potential in work, today. If even that!

(Seen the Unique Genius videos yet?)

After working with hundreds of people, I KNOW that you have hidden talents and powers that can be turned into work you love, that makes you plenty of money… and that you can start finding it with only baby steps investments of time. I know this is possible… so the question is, WHY HAVEN’T YOU DONE IT YET…?

After 5,000 video views and a couple of hundred comments, I think I understand what you care about:

  • You want a clear notion of how you can “get paid to be yourself’ by combining your passions, interests and talents into a single, easy to start business, AND make a great income at it.
  • You want to get clear on what’s uniquely powerful about you – what can give you an unfair advantage?  What’s your shortest path to success?
  • You want to be able to do this in bite-sized, achievable steps, so that it feels simple and FUN (not overwhelming)!
  • You want to be able to start making this real without making drastic or risky changes in your life, even if you’re short on time or money.  Yay!

And you have some concerns and questions…

  • As someone with “Shiny Object Syndrome”, it seems like you keep scattering your energy and nothing ever really takes off.  But you want to be able to do all those cool ideas!
  • Perhaps you’ve been unsuccessful at it in the past, and are discouraged.
  • You have responsibilities and bills to pay. You’re unsure if you can find your passion and turn it into income without leaving your secure paycheck.
  • You have some conscious fears or hesitations that hold you back, and aren’t sure how to move forward.
  • Perhaps you don’t even know what you’re passionate about, or good at and don’t know where to begin figuring it out!

Does any of that sound like you?

If so, I’m putting together something for you (something that’s changed my life and will change yours), but I need you do 1 of 2 things (or both if you want to 🙂

1) EMAIL ME (my address is [my first name at pebblestorm dot com] or on Facebook: your biggest fear or frustration about doing something you love with your life and making plenty of money at it, and/or…

… an open Question & Answer call.  I’ll be hanging out on the line, taking ANY question you have about Unique Genius (or ANYTHING)…you don’t need to register, just show up!  I’ll stay on as long as you have questions.

[UPDATE: Here’s the recording]

Or Click here to download…

I really love talking with people about this stuff.  Good thing, since I’ve built my business around it, heh.  I’ll share more of the details of the thing I’ve been working on later this week, but first I want to get a chance to talk or email live with you, so please email me at [my first name at pebblestorm dot com] to share your questions or biggest frustrations with me…

Can’t wait to hear from you!  🙂

Aaron Ross

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The Unique Genius Superheroes Interview Series is about ordinary people who make money through their purpose & passions. They’ve found ways to combine enjoyment, money and meaning in their work.

Looking for some blunt talk about purpose + money + some swear words?  Gotta say this was a fun interview 🙂

Clay Collins founded “Project Mojave”, a business that teaches people how to use internet marketing to make more money. Clay’s Unique Genius is “helping people sell more sh__”.  (In loving &  authentic ways. Truly.  Check out the interview.)

Here are some of the topics we covered…

  • How Clay moved from working on card catalogs at the library to internet marketing
  • Why Clay would help people sell stuff if even if he didn’t make money at it
  • Why Clay can only get one thing done per day (not two), and why this works so well
  • Clay’s take on purpose, and why you shouldn’t care

Clay’s a good dude. Young too – he’s a precocious one.

Listen To Or Download The Interview

Click here to download…

More about Clay Collins

What of these resonated with you? Let me know!

About Unique Genius

There’s a process to discovering your purpose and turning it into a business you love. Find out the latest at

What Was Your Favorite Part Of The Interview?

Please leave a comment!

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Have you caught the Unique Genius videos?  (You can see the full overview at

Now Unique Genius is your purpose, translated into a successful, exciting business.  So this free series of videos teaches you two mainly about the two most important starting points:

1. How to discover your purpose (or mission), and answer the question “What do I want to do with my life?”

2. Learn how to turn all your ideas, interests and passions into a single successful business.

Some comments include:

  • “I watched the video this morning and got totally inspired. I have a fire lit under my ass!”
  • “Aaron!!! THIS IS MAGNIFICENT and BRILLIANT. I love the video. It’s very authentic and genuine. I can’t wait to share it to my network. Keep lighting those fires!!”
  • “One of the best videos and communication of both the problem, aspirations, and the steps toward making things happen”

In the video, learn:

  • How to start a business that can’t fail
  • 16 myths of what it takes to start a successful business
  • 6 common mistakes people make in turning this purpose into (lots of) income
  • A Unique Genius exercise
  • Lessons from some PAINFUL life & business mistakes I’ve made, and how you can learn from & apply them yourself

The video’s based on what I’ve learned from starting two kinds of businesses:
1) A conventional start-up: Spending $5 Million & working full-time for two years
2) A Unique Genius business: Spending $20-$100 and working part-time (4 hours a week) for two years

Forgetting fulfillment, freedom & happiness for a moment, which type do you think made more money?

This will be controversial to many of you because it’s so counter to what you’ve been taught by conventional experts.

(Forget market research & business plans? Enjoyment? Babysteps? Patience?!?)

I’d love to hear your questions & “skepticisms” (yes, I’m allowed to create words!) in the comments section of the video.

Register here to watch Unique Genius Video #2:


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Forget for a minute the idea of figuring out and creating incredibly fulfilling work you enjoy.

Let’s say you’re in a career that you may or may not like, but either way you have to make some money to pay the bills.  Let’s say the thought of actually enjoying work is probably more along the lines of “once I have enough money, then I’ll figure out what I want to do with my life and I’ll do what I want.”

Do you think the career track will create financial freedom for you?  How free is your boss, or theirs?  How many people do you know that have achieved financial independence by working for other people?

Even the Silicon Valley equity and stock options system is, except for the founders, more of a white-collar lottery than an actual path to financial freedom.

You will never achieve financial independence through working for others – you must start your own business.

At some point you’re going to have to start your own business. Just having your own business isn’t some golden ticket to wealth, but it’s a hell of a lot more likely you’ll get there than by clocking a job. I’m not saying you should quit your job – you need the income!  But at least make a plan to start your own business.

If starting a business feels like a “big leap” or a big risk – it doesn’t have to be.  So many people still believe it takes a lot of time (per week) and money and energy to start a successful business…

…but what if it doesn’t?

What if you could start your own business without much money or time per week on it, in which competition didn’t matter, and you felt fulfilled by the work?

What if there is a way to discover your purpose and answer the question “What do I want to do with my life?”

And a way to combine all your ideas, interests and passions into a single successful business?

Upcoming Unique Genius Education & Training

My purpose is to help more and more people ‘make money through enjoyment’ by discovering your purpose and turning it into a successful business.  Part of this includes democratizing entrepreneurship, to make it easier and more practical for anyone to start a business with confidence.

I have some complimentary training videos (part of a prelude to a full Unique Genius course) coming in about a week to get you started on envisioning how this is possible.

The videos and course are for you even if you don’t have extra time because of a current job or family.  Being busy can make it that much harder to figure out what you want to do with your life or work, and then stay on track. So I’m designing the content into bite-sized chunks that you can study and apply at your own pace.

You’ll want to study the videos, if…

  • You know that you are ‘meant for more’: to make more money, to make more of a difference in the world, and to have more fulfillment and enjoyment in work.
  • You want to be able to work on what you want, when you want, from where you want and with whom you want.
  • You want to align your interests, passions and values with your work, and become MORE successful because of it! You don’t have to make less money doing what you love.

I’m looking forward to getting these videos done and sharing them!

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I’ve been doing a whole series of Unique Genius Superhero Interviews (including some new ones coming in the next several weeks of people like Yanik Silver, George Kao, Clay Collins & Amy Applebaum), but now it was my turn to be interviewed, this time by Ali Berlin.

Ali Berlin (a life coach in San Francisco with a Saturday morning radio show) interviewed me recently about topics like:

  • Why I started PebbleStorm
  • Where the inspiration came from
  • How and why I broke away from the corporate world
  • the inspiration for Unique Genius,
  • tips and advice on finding your own Unique Genius (even if you have a full-time job and family and have little free time and energy)

The interview is a great first introduction to my own story and what PebbleStorm and Unique Genius is all about…including some practical tips 🙂

Listen To Or Download The Audio Interview

Or Download The Interview

Ali Berlin’s Original Post

On “Make Money Through Enjoyment with Aaron Ross”

Have More Questions For Me?

Leave a comment and I’ll answer them!


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The Unique Genius Superheroes Interview Series is about ordinary people who have created businesses they love around their purpose. They’ve found ways to combine enjoyment, money and meaning in their work.

Interested in learning more about someone who wants to “infect 1 billion people with the possibility virus”? Meet Michael Bungay Stanier.

Michael is the founder of Box of Crayons, a company that works with organizations around the world to help them “do less Good Work and more Great Work”. Michael was the 2006 Canadian Coach of the Year & is the author of Do More Great Work.

I found him last year, after he released the viral video “The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun” and loved his work and the style he brings to it!  Michael’s “Do More Great Work” has a lot in common with my own Unique Genius work.

Here are some of the topics we covered…

  • The 3 things you need to do more great work (and less good work)
  • How Michael secured a part-time contract to support himself for a whole year while he got started
  • How long it took him to “stumble along” to get clarity on his own Great Work (Unique Genius)
  • Michael’s “portfolio approach” of having a mix of paying projects + visionary projects
  • How his “8 principles of fun” movie helped him skyrocket him (after nobody cared for it)
  • How Michael organizes his environment & days to maximize his Great Work
  • Michael’s support systems he’s established to help him succeed & get through rough spots

And more, of course 🙂

Listen To Or Download The Interview

Want to download the interview?
Click here to download…

More About Michael Bungay Stanier

* You can buy “Do More Great Work” Book On Amazon
* Box Of Crayons (His consulting company)

About Unique Genius

There’s a process to discovering your purpose and turning it into a business you love. Find out the latest at

What Was Your Favorite Part Of The Interview?

Please leave a comment!

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The Unique Genius Superheroes Interview Series is about ordinary people who have created businesses they love around their purpose.

Everyone has a purpose (or “calling”), and there are always ways to turn your purpose, any purpose, into a business you love. It’s easier to live your purpose daily when you do it for work!

Chip Conley is the founder & CEO of Joie de Vivre, the largest boutique hotel group in California. He’s also the bestselling author of “Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo From Maslow”.

Chip’s found his calling twice in his life, and I was fascinated to find out if there were patterns between the two.

At 26, Chip left a highly successful career in commercial real estate to become a rebellious boutique hotel entrepreneur, and create a successful business through inspired employees.  In the past few years, Chip’s recent calling to teach companies & people how to become more successful is manifesting through his books and a seminars business.

One of the many things that I admire about Chip Conley is how he created a corporate culture of success at Joie de Vivre by focusing on his employees, and helping them find their own meaning at work. Chip believes that the success of a company depends highly on the emotional well being of the employees. Enjoyment at work creates happier employees, who create happier customers which leads to higher revenue growth & lower service costs!

Here’s some of what we covered in the interview:

  • The differences between a job, career & calling
  • How he’s found TWO callings in his life
  • How, before Chip was famous, he convinced Richard Branson to write a foreword to one of his books
  • How to create a corporate culture of recognition that juices employee morale & motivation
  • And more!

Chip also gives us a couple of examples of the “Emotional Equations” that are the basis of an upcoming book.

Listen To Or Download The Interview

Want to download the interview?
Click here to download…

More About Chip Conley

About Unique Genius

There’s a process to discovering your purpose and turning it into a business. Find out the latest at

What Was Your Favorite Part Of The Interview?

Please leave a comment!

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The Unique Genius Superheroes Interview Series is about ordinary people who have created businesses they love around their purpose. I recently had the privilege of interviewing Marc Allen, an internationally renowned author and president and publisher of the multi-million dollar company New World Library.

I wanted to interview Marc for two reasons:

1) Marc Allen and I think almost exactly alike! In many ways his writings follow similar principles to PebbleStorm, including (“Visionary Business,” “The Millionaire Course,” and “The Type-Z Guide to Success: A Lazy Person’s Manifesto to Wealth and Fulfillment.”)

2) Marc loves writing books that have an impact in the world and change peoples lives, and part of his work includes guidance on helping people find their purpose.

While much of the interview delves into both how he found his purpose and it led him to financial independence, we covered a lot of related ground, including:

  • What happened on the morning of his 30th bday that shifted the direction of his life 180 degrees.
  • How his “Ideal Scene” practice works (it was his single most important tool he used to change his core beliefs around life, work and money).
  • How he avoided bankruptcy at 35 and turned his finances around.
  • Why, in creating and building his multi-million dollar company, he never worked at it more than 30 hours per week.
  • His take on the three things a business needs to succeed.
  • Why he shares 50% of his profits with employees (I’m going to have to do a follow up CEOFlow interview with him!)
  • How being generous is the smart way to be selfish 🙂

Listen To Or Download The Interview

Want to download the interview?
Click here to download the interview…

More About Marc

You can find out more about Marc at and

Thank you George Kao for the introduction to Marc!

Coming Soon…

There’s a process to discovering your purpose. Register for a sneak peak of it at

Of course, once you find purpose, how do you turn it into a business you love?  That’s what the upcoming “Feed Your Freedom Mastermind” will be about, a six-month group coaching program that will be announced soon.  Click here for more details.

What Did You Learn From This Interview?

Please leave a comment!

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If I could share only one thing with you to make the biggest impact on your success, it would be to have you look closely at the people you spend your time with. You are a reflection of them and their attitudes and values – for good, numbness or toxicity – rub off on you!

After spending time with friends, family or coworkers – do you feel energized, powerful and inspired – or drained and exhausted?

The people you spend time with are like the soil to the dreams, business and life seeds you’re planting.

Optimistic, supportive, accepting people will help your Unique Genius bloom (along with your income, enjoyment and freedom).

Pessimistic, discouraging and judgmental people (including the ones we love) will crush your dreams, energy and success – or at least make it feel like you’re moving through molasses.

Valerie Young left a particularly insightful comment on why the people we love can be so discouraging: “The people who are least likely to support our dreams are the people who love us the most. Why? Because they love us. And taking chances like following a dream is scary to them and they want you to be safe.”


  • Which of your close friends, coworkers or family members are energy vampires that leave you drained? How can you limit your exposure to toxic or discouraging energy?
  • Which of them are inspirational and encouraging, and how can you spend more time with them?

It’s important to know this, because it has an enormouse affect on your own chances of enjoyment and success.

Don’t let people kill your dreams!!  Spend time with people that will support you, no matter how crazy you want to be 🙂

Dear Parents…

Parents are usually the first dream killers people experience in life (luckily, mine weren’t).

Did your parents support your aspirations, or discourage you from dreaming?  Please encourage your children’s dreams of what they want to be or do – even if those dreams aren’t ‘practical’.

A Quick PebbleStorm People Exercise

Here’s a simple worksheet (a sample from more upcoming materials) you can look through and print:

PebbleStorm People Exercise

Do You Agree? What’s Worked For You?

Has changing who you spend time with affected your business?

Sometimes it’s hard cutting off or limiting energy vampires – what’s succeeded for you?

Please leave a comment!

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The Unique Genius Superheroes Interview Series is about ordinary people who have created businesses they love around their purpose. Tricia McEntee didn’t create Esalen, but after she found her own purpose, she was promoted to the CEO role there.

Esalen Institute is an amazing retreat spot on the California coast, in Big Sur. It’s gorgeous and a place that holds all kinds of personal development workshops. If you’re from California, you’ve likely heard of it and how influential it’s been in the development of new ideas.  If you haven’t heard of Esalen, chances are you will in the coming years!

When I met Tricia McEntee, she was kind enough to share her story on camera (<5 minutes) about how she found her purpose in 2009:

Tricia’s Steps To Finding Clarity

  1. She was frustrated with work and wanted to make a bigger difference, creating a strong desire to find more of herself to give.
  2. She played, opening herself up.
  3. She spent time questioning, studying purpose and inspirational leadership at a workshop.
  4. She had a ‘trigger event’ to activate her purpose: a serious conversation with the chairman of the Esalen board about her future was scheduled.
  5. In preparing for the meeting, she was inspired over a weekend to create a collage of her passions and interests (activating it)…and as she completed it, her purpose came to her in about a minute!

How Did Finding Her Purpose Help Her Succeed?

1) She felt clarity in life and in how she could contribute in a bigger way to her own and Esalen’s future.
2) Four months later they promoted her from CFO to it to CEO when the position suddenly became available.

I’d bet that if Tricia hadn’t found this clarity of purpose it’s unlikely the CEO role wouldn’t have been offered to her…or at least that quickly.

Coming Soon…

There’s a process to discovering your purpose. Register for a sneak peak of it at

Of course, once you find purpose, how do you turn it into a business you love?  That’s what the upcoming “Feed Your Freedom Mastermind” will be about, a six-month group coaching program that will be announced soon.  Click here for more details.

How Did You Find Your Purpose?

Leave a Comment!


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pebblestorm-unique-genius-sketch-smallOne of the keys to getting clear on your purpose and dream work is to be more selfish than you’ve ever been before – stop holding yourself back by playing small!  You can small in all kinds of ways, such as the amount of money you want to make, the freedom you can have, or in the impact you can make in the world.

I don’t mean be selfish in a negative or greedy way that harms from others.  I mean be selfish in a way that preserves and sustains you, so that you can live the way you want to…and thus have the energy and ideas to make a bigger difference to others.  Are you being unselfish, or are you actually self-sacrificing yourself and your dreams?

By living and working smaller than you deserve, you limit your ability to make a difference in the world and to others. It’s the same reason that airlines tell you to put the oxygen mask on first before you do it for a child.

The following coaching exercise is a favorite of mine, and only takes two or three minutes. Give it a shot, and please leave a comment below about what you think or learned!

The Unique Genius “Ego Indulgement Exercise

  • Get ready to be more selfish than you’ve ever been before…
  • If you had more money than you could ever spend…
  • And all the friends and love and houses and travel and stuff and family and ___ and ___ you ever wanted…
  • There is nothing you want or need that you don’t have…
  • Imagine spending a couple of years ‘on the beach’ just relaxing, until you then get bored and know it’s time to create something…
  • You don’t need to work but want to do something meaningful…
  • What do you do/create?

Ironically, it is the kind of work or business you create at that point in the end, when you don’t “need” anything or to work at all, that will create the possibility of you getting all the other goods (money, freedom, success, etc.) with ease.

Here’s why it works:

1) By first satisfying your ego‘s ‘needs and wants’, it lets your ego chill out while you get clear on what you authentically are meant to do.  When you feel needy and stressed (“I need more money, time…”), it blocks your creativity, intuition and self-awareness, and thus access to Unique Genius insights.

2) Being more selfish than you’ve ever been means taking care of yourself and inspiring yourself first, so that you can help even more people / make an even bigger difference. It means dream bigger.  How many non-profit workers do you know who are making a difference, but are totally drained in doing it?  Couldn’t they make a bigger difference if they found ways to truly take care of themselves at the same time?

Want More? Three More Unique Genius Questions…

  1. What are you already doing for free to help people? (Or what would you do for free?)
  2. If you could be successful at anything (beyond or in addition to your current career or being a parent), what would it be?
  3. What’d you want to be when you were 8, and why?

With question #3, the “why” is the interesting part…what is behind it?  My personal example: I wanted to be a pilot – not because I wanted to fly planes, but because of the freedom.  So it’s no coincidence that freedom is so important to me today and to PebbleStorm!  Another example: a common answer for people who wanted to be doctors is because they wanted to be able to help people.

You don’t have to be a pilot to have freedom within your work, or a doctor to help people in your work.

How can you bring in those childhood desires or passions into what you’re doing today?

P.S.: Coming Soon

A 21-Day Unique Genius Self-Study Program – keep an eye out!

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While people in PebbleStorm are working on all kinds of projects – internet, coaching and more (like George Kao’s “Effective Social Media Marketing with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn”), Erin and Hong-Anh here have created a couple of great images that I wanted to share first as a complement to their words tonight (Wed, Aug 19) on the “Invitation To Inspiration” call!

Erin Halling: Helping kids Play Into Love with themselves, their lives, and their dreams.

“I found my Unique Genius! Whoo! It was inside me all along. It bubbled out a couple weeks ago while I was going over some of Aaron’s PebbleStorm slides and writing in my journal. I noticed that Aaron’s Unique Genius is made of two parts. The first is part is something he is good at- helping people make money. The second part is something he is passionate about- making money through enjoyment. Put the two parts together, and you have his Unique Genius- helping people make money through enjoyment.

So I asked myself, “What am I good at?”  I’m good at playing. I enjoy crafts, finger painting, baking, laughing, running around, tickle fights, pillow fights…basically, playing.

Then I asked, “What am I passionate about?” I’m passionate about kids loving themselves and believing in their dreams. I want them to feel confident and know that their lives are filled with infinite possibilities.

After that I put them together and came up with my Unique Genius-

Helping kids Play Into Love with themselves, their lives, and their dreams.

It seems so simple now. Every time I look at it, read it, or think it I get a little zing in my heart. It’s like I want kids to fall in love with themselves, but that is way to passive and doesn’t sound like fun. No, I want kids to Play Into Love with themselves.…full blog post: on “Play Into Love


Hong-Anh: “Helping People Manifest Their Heart-of-Hearts Vision”

Hong-An, who’s blog is “Miracles and Magic“, is an incredible gem 🙂  You’ll understand when you listen to her.  Part of her unique genius is helping others nurture their own unique genius…and the most recent visualization and explanation she’s come up with is this one…

“Helping People Manifest Their Heart-of-Hearts Vision”


She’s beginning with the intention and visualization here, and future steps will include fleshing it out in words or more images, and also how this will end up helping her make money 🙂   Actually – the making money part will be easy, since Hong-Anh is and will be a PebbleStorm leader in helping others with their own Unique Geniuses!

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pebblestorm-dollar-tao-sketchFor people working on discovering their Unique Genius, this quote is so perfect:

“Make peace with outrageous abundance. You are more likely to have a pure vibration and attract more abundance if you leave money out of the equation. But it isn’t because money is the “root of all evil.” It’s because it messes up your vibration, usually.”

The quote is perfect because worrying about money too early in the process of finding your Unique Genius will distort it, and stunt it.  Worrying about money (and status, and career) is why you don’t know what it is in the first place!

I wrote a blog post last year about while I knew PebbleStorm would make money sometime, I had no idea how it would happen: How will PebbleStorm [or insert your business here] make money?

This is the main reason why I tell people to keep their day job or some source of income while they work on their passion project part-time (as I have with PebbleStorm) – so they can be patient with how it manifests without needing to make money too soon.   Having said that – at some point you have to start making money from it, to actually make the idea and company healthy and grow it – money is like oxygen to a business.

It’s like a child growing up – you don’t want them to HAVE to work for money when they’re too young, although summer jobs can be good experience.  They can play with money and jobs, without ‘needing’ them.  And at some point, say in their teen years, holding more serious jobs part-time or in the summers can also tune their business sense.  You don’t want a 30 year old who’s never made money for themselves – that isn’t healthy either!  The trick is helping them learn how to be comfortable making money without letting “make money” become their main goal, something that distracts them from finding meaning in their life.

Although there are parts of PebbleStorm that I’ll still do free while I experiment, overall I am now shifting it to a money-making mode (over the next six months), because that is what will stimulate it’s ability to impact people (both more people and in more ways).


FIRST get clear on what you want to do with your life,

THEN find ways to make money from it.

You literally can make money from anything now because of the internet…once you get clear on what you want and your Unique Genius.


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    If you haven’t seen the updated PebbleStorm homepage links at the top of the blog – take a look.  It’s been really interesting leaving myself open to letting things evolve on their own, and then watching ideas and programs snap into place on their own!

    The Programs & Roadmap


    A) Feed Your Freedom “FYF”
    I’ve found it’s almost impossible for people to access their Unique Genius if they are stressed because of either a lack of time/mental space or money.  This program is designeded for professionals who want a mix of regular income ($5k-$10k/mo) and freedom (work just 1-3 days/week):

    B) Unique Genius
    For anyone wondering what they want to do next, or what their life purpose is:

    C) CEOFlow Freedom: “Turn your employees into mini-CEOs”
    This is for business owners/CEOs with employees, who are feeling overwhelmed and that her business has trapped you…more details on CEOFlow Freedom.

    CEOFlow Sales: “Create predictable revenue (CPR)”
    “CPR” here underlies all the other programs, because it’s hard to enjoy making money if 1) you aren’t making it, or 2) it isn’t predictable.  This program for now is focused on sales coaching/consulting for companies who want to ramp up sales or make sales more predictable.  The concepts will be a part of Feed Your Freedom as well, but in that case it’s about creating predictable income 🙂

    CEOFlow Adventure
    (Coming)…once you have money and freedom, why not some adventure and more fun?  This gets your juices flowing and will stimulate ideas and your culture to keep your sales and inspiration going!

    Unique Genius – Helping Yourself Through Others

    Not coincidentally, all of this is the same path I’ve personally been on and will be on (did you know your Unique Genius is about solving your own problems, past/present/future, for others?). Yes, that’s my own roadmap above – I’m right at the beginning of the green area!


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      img_4011The picture is from a casual get together of some PebbleStormers in Northern California, at Cafe Gratitude in Potrero Hill (yum!!).  From the left, we have online marketing and relationships guru Paul “Irish” Hegarty, social media expert George “TwitterBiz” Kao, Erin “Big Cheese” Halling, Hong-Anh “Love Bug” Ha, and Katrina “Needs a Nickname” Wong (suggestions anyone?)

      As much as everyone connects online these days, I find that in-person meetings become more and more important.  Small, local groups that can get together and support each other are a key part of my vision for the PebbleStorm community.

      Inside the Heads Of Other PebbleStormers

      Several PebbleStormers started their first blogs over the past couple of months, and you can clearly see their writing style evolving and maturing.  I, and everyone who reads them, appreciate their openness and willingness to share.  It’s inspiring!   One thing that you realize once you begin sharing both aspirations and fears…everyone around you shares similar feelings.  It’s not only you feeling inspired/scared/apathetic/motivated/tired/wired/fearful/confident/doubtful…

      What differentitates successful people from the ones with unfulfilled dreams is a commitment to keep making progress, to keep taking babysteps, even in the face of fears large or small.

      I will be to posting more and more excerpts from others’ blogs here on PebbleStorm among my own posts.  My vision for PebbleStorm is that I am just one member of a much bigger community based on trust; one strong voice among many other strong voices, because if I dominate the conversation it doesn’t leave much space for others!  I’m just getting the ball rolling 🙂

      Some of the blogs I will share from are mostly about PebbleStorm-y topics, some have a wide mix of topics of which PebbleStorm is a small part. Either way, the people behind the blogs are just fascinating, wonderful people, so you can’t go wrong.

      Onna “#1” Young

      I met Onna about a year ago (May 08?), and Onna was the first PebbleStormer.  She ‘got it’ from the very beginning, and I have been grateful ever since for her support and partnership. My prediction for Onna is that 2009 and 2010 are ‘building years’, and 2011 will be her breakout year (at the latest). Patience!  Onna has several great ideas she’s developing as her Unique Genius unfolds, and one I particularly think will help transform her will be the enjoyment of interviewing 100 of the most inspiring women CEOs (how cool!)  This is also very aligned with my intention of focusing on helping women entrepreneurs and CEOs.

      Blog: “Leaps And Bounds

      Excerpt from her post “Unique Genius – A Shift In Perspective“:

      How do you help yourself find yourself.  Mat Boggs said, “It’s like looking for water from the bottom of the ocean.”  Yes, agreed, it’s hard to see yourself when you’re looking for yourself.

      Aaron and I meet on Mondays for an hour or so go over PebbleStorm or  This time he said we’d find my Unique Genius.  And with some excitement and nervousness, I realize as I’m walking toward the hot food aisle, in the Whole Foods where we meet sometimes, that my future is about to change just a little more.  There’s some trepidation though.  “A mind once expanded never regain its original dimension.”  A favorite quote of mine and it’s so true.  You cannot be untainted by new ideas and perspectives. You just cannot!  There’s no going back.  My direction and path are about to shift another degree and I know this is a poignant moment…continue onUnique Genius – A Shift In Perspective

      Erin “Big Cheese” Halling

      Erin found me through Yanik Silver when he helped launch PebbleStorm (“Thanks For Making The world More Of A Place I Want To Live“).  To me, it’s clear that her dayjob has no relation to her total power and potential.  It’s an intention, not an accident, that her email and nickname is “Big Cheese”!  I’m also particularly excited about the “Appreciation and Acknowledgment Call” that Erin and Hong-Anh are planning to begin with the PebbleStorm community.  Who couldn’t use doses of either one?

      Blog: Happy Surprises

      Excerpt from her post “Unique Genius“:

      A few weeks ago, Aaron from PebbleStorm passed along the biggest compliment from a stranger, to me. It was awesome, and I have a feeling its going to be hugely instrumental in helping me change my life…

      You know how sometimes you wonder if what you have to offer will be valuable to anyone else. What in the world could I possibly create that someone would want? Here I am trying to come up with an idea for my dream business, and I have a few vague ideas, but I haven’t really run with anything yet. Like somewhere inside me I don’t think I have what it takes. I look around at all the other PebbleStormers and I see how good their ideas are- part of me is really inspired. But part of me is intimidated. What if what I have to offer isn’t good enough?

      I don’t think I’ve consciously had that thought, or maybe I have. Maybe it’s been hovering in my mind, slowing me down, permeating my thoughts about myself for a looooong while. In fact, it’s got a very familiar ‘ol’buddy’ feeling with it- like I’ve been living under it’s shadow since I was a kid.

      And then Aaron sent me an email that changed everything…continue on “Unique Genius”

      More Blogs

      Here are a few other PebbleStormers with blogs that I’ll be excerpting from… feel free to explore if you can’t wait 🙂


      Thank you Onna, Erin, Katrina, Hong-Anh, Tony and everyone coming for sharing here and helping inspire myself and the people around you!


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      What is your “Unique Genius”?

      December 23rd, 2008

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      pebblestorm-unique-genius-sketch-smallOne of PebbleStorm’s core ideas is “Unique Genius”.  I believe that everyone, and each company, has one, whether or not they know what it is or can harness it (yet).

      [Update: visit for a series of free Unique Genius videos]

      Your life purpose is to help others by sharing your inner self – but what does that mean?  How does that take shape in the world?  Here’s another way to think about it…

      Your Unique Genius inspires you. It is a mashup of your talents and enjoyments, done in a way that adds meaning to your life by making a difference for others.  For example, all the things I’m great at and enjoy doing (coaching, writing, sales, etc.) combine into “helping people make money through enjoyment”, which inspires me!

      What are your favorite ways to put your strengths to work in ways that help people with their problems or make a difference?  Once you have at least some direction on this, you can begin to build a business around it.  Yes, it will take time, likely longer than you want, but how will you get there if you don’t start in the first place?

      By the way, I find the most common roadblock to people tapping into this incredibly powerful source of inspiration is the phrase “but I could never make money at that…”.   Don’t worry about the making money part quite yet.

      Why it’s so important

      pstorm-sunYour Unique Genius inspires you, intrigues others, and gives your Dream Business (or Dream Work) resonance and direction.  If your Dream Business was a car, your Unique Genius would be the limitless fuel that powers it.  So unlocking your Unique Genius is a key part of manifesting your Dream Business.

      The resonance of your message should attract other people to you, either as customers or champions.  Keeping it simple is important, because you’ll use it to introduce your work to people.  When you share your Unique Genius with someone who’s relevant to what you’re doing, they should be intrigued by it, even if they don’t understand what it is yet.  You don’t need to explain what you do first – just get them interested enough to want to know more.

      Finally, a clear Unique Genius is something that keeps you on track, like a compass, even when things are hectic or you’re feeling lost.  I know that if I’m stressed with work, I can’t be making money through enjoyment, so something is wrong and I’m not following my own advice!

      Unique Genius and life purpose

      A Unique Genius is similar or the same as a life purpose, but I specifically like “Unique Genius” because it emphasizes that 1) everyone is unique in their own way, and brings their own “voice” to life and work, and 2) people do have a form of genius, even the ones that don’t recognize it yet.

      The more clear you can get on your Unique Genius the easier your path will be to creating your Dream Business.  Things will flow more easier – ideas, projects, customers, audiences, income…

      I really like this article on finding your life purpose: “How The Matrix Can Help You Discover Your Life Purpose

      Why it pays to be unique

      Rather than thinking about how broad your talents and passions are, instead, ask what is a specific purpose in life to which you can apply them, meaningfully?  A purpose brings focus and meaning to your enjoyments and talents.  It’s not an easy question, but when you start asking this question, answers will come.

      When describing your business and genius, try it in terms of “the result you create for others” rather than “what you do.”  People care more about what you can do for them than what you do. Here’s a personal example: “I do sales consulting” versus “I help sales organizations create predictable revenue” (

      How you know when you’re in the zone

      There is no “right” answer to what a unique genius is or how it’s described.  However, here are some guidelines:

      • It authentically inspires you
      • It offers direction as a guiding principle or compass
      • It intrigues others
      • It is simple

      These are also roughly in order.  For example, first figure out what inspires you before trying to simplify it or to inspire others.

      Note that “it is clever” is not on the list – it doesn’t have to be tricky or clever.  Start simple and meaningful, such as “help people express themselves through sculpture”, “motivate children to learn” or “bring happiness to seniors with pets”.  Expect it to evolve over time.

      Real examples

      Sample questions to help you crystallize it

      I’d suggest taking a blank page, picking a single question, and starting to brainstorming without trying to think about it too much.  There’s also a link at the bottom of the post to a worksheet with more questions.  Because your Dream Business is the manifestation of your Unique Genius (which in turn inspires and powers your Dream Business), the same questions are useful to reflect on them both.

      • If you could do anything for work, what would it be?  (Including the “I could never make money at that…” things)
      • Assume you have plenty of money and don’t have to work, but wanted to do something meaningful with your life…what would that be?
      • What are your favorite things to do?
      • How would you like to mash them up?
      • If you could help any kind of person, who would you help?
      • What did you want to do when you were 8 years old, and why?
      • What is your superpower(s)?
      • What do people come to you for real advice on?
      • What are your hobbies?
      • If you could make a difference in the life of someone you don’t know by writing a note or book, how would they be different after reading it?

      Here’s a sampling of “my enjoyments” that I listed out, as a way to kick the process off.  Of course I didn’t do the sketch until much later 🙂


      Don’t worry about other people

      The future of work is about collaboration rather than competition.  Even if two people seem to have similar Unique Geniuses now, over time they both will evolve in different directions, and are more likely to end up helping each other than competing.

      Also, your Unique Genius isn’t just what you do for people – it’s also how you do it.  Let’s say two people both describe what they do as “motivate children to learn”.  One might do it through videos with puppets, another through creating fun learning games.  There are infinite ways to be unique in what and how you do!

      More: Unique Genius worksheet

      View and download worksheet

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      It’s good to be back ‘online’ here!  I just returned from an amazing 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat in North Fork, CA (near Yosemite).


      There were 120+ other people there, evenly split between men and women and ages from 20s-60s., describes Vipassana as: “This non-sectarian technique aims for the total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation. Healing, not merely the curing of diseases, but the essential healing of human suffering, is its purpose.”

      And a booklet from the retreat continues:

      What Vipassana is not:

      • It is not a rite or ritual based on blind faith.
      • It is neither intellectual nor a philosophical entertainment.
      • It is not a rest cure, a holiday, or an opportunity for socializing.
      • It is not an escape from the trials and tribulations of everyday life.

      What Vipassana is:

      • It is a technique that will eradicate suffering.
      • It is a method of mental purification which allows one to face life’s tensions and problems in a calm, balanced way.
      • It is an art of living that one can use to make positive contributions to society.

      How I benefit from regular meditation

      Even before this retreat, I’d been meditating for about a year (simple observation of my breathing, not Vipassana) because:

      1. Meditation enhances my ability to focus. It creates mental ‘space’, helping me distinguish “activity” versus “productivity”. Ever feel like you’re so busy doing ‘stuff’, but when you look back, none of it felt like it mattered?   It doesn’t matter how hard you’re working to climb that mountain…if you’re climbing the wrong mountain.
      2. It opens up my creativity – I’ve had some great ideas come through!
      3. It enhances my happiness and contentment
      4. It’s enjoyable – calming and relaxing, like a mental massage 🙂  

      How I got started with meditation – slowly; babysteps!

      I started about a year ago, after beginning to work with an Ayurvedic nutritionist (which is also when I stopped drinking coffee and alcohol). I started with just a few minutes at a time in the morning, and slowly built from there.  Even now I don’t meditate every day.  For the past six months, it’s been about 3-5x per week, for 10-30min, and slowly getting more consistent over time.  I am increasing that now after the retreat.

      Attitude makes all the difference

      I’ve found my attitude makes a huge difference.  When I started a year ago, meditation felt like more of a chore, as if my conscious was a mom saying “eat your peas, dear”.  OK ok…grumble, grumble.  However, once I got the hang of it and stopped resisting, I began to look forward to it as an enjoyable, relaxing mental space, like a mental spa break ☺ Do you look at going to the spa as a chore?  The kid grew up and realizes they not only like peas, but even looks forward to meals full of them!  (Please ignore this analogy if you don’t like peas as an adult.)

      I heard about Vipassana from a friend about three years ago, and even though I wasn’t meditating at the time and had no idea what Vipassana was, I immediately had a feeling of “I want to do that!” (someday).

      The retreat: 10 days of silence to calm the mind and enable the study

      It’s called “Noble Silence” – no communication during retreat with other students or the outside world, either by voice, glance or gesture.  The purpose is to calm the mind, to enable one to really learn and apply the technique. You can see ask the teachers questions, and their is instruction, so it’s not totally silent.  I found the silence actually very easy, and it did make the practice easier to learn.

      Walking into the retreat, and leaving behind iPhone, camera, etc., and knowing I wouldn’t have access to email or my phone for 10 days, my mind immediately calmed down…


      How it went & what I got (including an unintended addiction)

      We had a suprisingly busy schedule, beginning at 4am, of meditation, breakfast, meditation, lunch, meditation, evening tea break, meditation, and then evening discourses. I was asleep by 9:30p each night. During the long meal breaks, I’d nap or take walks on the walking paths.  The food was amazing!  I became addicted to Celestial Seasoning’s “Bengal Spice tea“, a form of chai without black tea or caffeine. Yum!!  Don’t worry, caffeine addicts – they had instant coffee there too.

      Although some people had a really tough time in the first couple of days with the silence and hours of meditation, I found it was surprisingly easy; a piece of cake.  I had some tough days (Day 8 was a low one for me), but it was all worth it.  I was surprised that it was harder physically than mentally for me, because I wasn’t used to sitting like that for so long.  Many other experienced meditators brought their own cushions and backrests. For novices like me, the Center had a ton of cushions and benches there for people to try out and use. It took 3-4 days to figure out my ‘seating system’.

      Here are some of the specific things I got from the retreat:

      • A practice that will increase my happiness, calmness and awareness in all situations in my life
      • Clarity/confirmation that what I’m doing with PebbleStorm is exactly what I should be doing with my life
      • A GREAT image for PebbleStorm, using a tree to illustrate four levels of happiness, and how PebbleStorm helps people tap into the most enduring, meaningful forms of happiness.  It’s only sketched in pen now, I’ll have to play with it before I’m ready to post it here.  First a Sun, now a tree…I sense a trend here in using natural images in addition to my circles…
      • A shift in my thinking of the balance of buddhism/happiness thinking and capitalism in PebbleStorm (a topic for another day).  I used to think it was 50/50, but really the mix is more like 80% buddhism/happiness and 20% capitalism. By the way – if you’re unfamiliar with buddhism, its core isn’t religious at all, though sects have added rites and rituals. It is simply a system to help people achieve lasting happiness (“enlightenment”).

      Did I mention the 10-day retreat was free?  It’s 100% donation-supported.

      And by the way, the course is free.  Yes, lodging and TASTY meals for 10 days.  They do ask for a donation at the end, “to pay for others”, but it’s by no means required and there is really no pressure at all.  The entire worldwide organization, in 120 countries, runs on a donation and volunteer basis.  This is how strongly people feel about how Vipassana has impacted their lives!

      A worldwide non-profit driven by genuine, passionate commitment

      Both the practice itself and the non-profit organization teaching it at more than 120 centers around the world are fascinating.  Run by volunteers (even teachers aren’t paid), it’s a worldwide, well-oiled machine. The retreat ran like The reason the organization works so well is because of people’s passion for the benefits they receive from Vipassana…and they want to help others receive the same benefits.

      Now: integrating it to my (daily) life

      They recommend, as a minimum, an hour of meditation in the morning, and an hour in the evening.  Rather than start out strongly and probably have some discouraging breakdowns in the practice, personally I know I’ll be more successful with a gradually building practice (this is me – what you need to be successful might be very different). It’ll take me some time to figure out my routine and to really make it a part of my daily life. For the next three months, I’m going to do it as much as possible, at least once a day, but realize that I have some experimentation to do.  Especially since I’ll be traveling and moving quite a bit between San Francisco, Los Angeles and Buenos Aires…and any kind of travel plays hell with my routine.

      “I could never meditate, my mind is too busy/I have ADD…”

      I’ve heard this from so many people.  If your mind is so agitated, isn’t that exactly why you should work to tame it, to put it to work for you rather than being at its mercy?  Jumping into a 10 day silent retreat might be too much at first, but there are plenty of ways to try it out in smaller steps.

      A 3-minute practice and simple steps you can try

      Please Leave A Comment!

      Do you practice?  What works for you?  Leave any suggestions in the comments!  And I’ll share updates on my practice monthly as it builds.

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      Sketched yesterday while hanging out at the Manhattan Beach Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf…

      Click to expand…


      Your Unique Genius powers your dream business, creating the outcomes you desire. I just put some examples in 🙂

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      What is that special, unique combination (your twist) of talents that you enjoy practicing, are great at, and are framed in a way that is meaningful to others? What is your Unique Genius?

      Come join us this Wednesday, October 29th at 6p-7p PST if:
      – You’re simply curious as to what this whole crazy PebbleStorm thing is about )
      – You’re searching for inspiration or meaning in work.
      – You’ve worked through the Unique Genius handout, and have questions about it or would like to discuss it.
      – You’ve participated in a past PebbleStorm event, and have follow up questions.

      1. Introduction (15 minutes)
      * What is a Unique Genius, and why is it important?  How do you uncover yours?  What do you do with it?  How can you build your dream business around it?  Also see below for a link to download a worksheet.

      2. Discussion, Q&A (45 minutes)
      * Interactive discussion between myself and attendees about the prior topics.
      * If you have questions you’d like me to answer on the call, you can email me any ahead of time at aaron (at) pebblestorm (dot) com.
      * Otherwise, feel free to just join as a listener.

      Updated Unique Genius Worksheet
      I updated it as of 10/21/08.  Email me for a copy at aaron at pebblestorm dot com.  You don’t need to get this prior to the call, but I’d recommend it and at least looking through it.

      Conference Call Details
      Date: Wednesday, October 29th
      Time: 6pm PST
      Dial-in: (605) 475-6006
      Access Code: 366946#

      If you’re new to PebbleStorm, here are two links you can explore ahead of time:
      About PebbleStorm

      A Pebblestorm Overview – From HUB

      A regular schedule of conference calls

      Two weeks ago, we had a conference call on “Discovering your dream business,” with about 10 active participants and a half dozen listeners. One of the requests that came from it was for me to create a space to continue the conversations we started, say every couple of weeks.

      After the call on this coming Wednesday (29th), I will put together an ongoing schedule of future conference calls (and create a dedicated page here on PebbleStorm for the schedule of events).  For now, they’re free, and all that I ask in return is that if you attend, please tell 10-20 friends about PebbleStorm.  At some point, perhaps December, perhaps after the New Year, I’ll revisit/redesign what’s free vs. fee-based.  I’m always looking for requests of what YOU would want, so don’t be shy in sharing ideas or asking for formats/help at aaron [at] pebblestorm [dot] com.

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