Reinvigorated, renewed and ready to rock again

22Feb10

We’ve come full circle, i.e., back to the law biz, although in a completely different way.

Last June I had grown terminally stale with the lawyer training business, so I fired myself and set out to identify a new challenge/opportunity. My strategy was to insert myself into a vibrant idea stream and see which ones interested me and were aligned with my skills and experience. I created this blog to share the journey with those interested.

At the time, I speculated that industries undergoing the most wrenching change might logically offer such opportunity because they were completely redefining themselves. Through November, I investigated four emerging sectors: electric cars, sustainable construction, wireless media and education.

While I accomplished the easy goal of reinvigorating myself intellectually via the robust idea stream in those sectors, I learned that my strategy was sound but my timing was off. Each of those emerging sectors are at an early stage of evolution, e.g., proof-of-concept, early prototype or research grant stage; none were yet experiencing the kinds of strategic- or systemic sales problems that I solve. It will be awhile before they need someone like me.

I remain confident of the economic viability of SpeedRaceway, our electric go-kart track in Denver, however, my desire to participate actively conflicted with the control-freak founder, so I’ve gone back to being a passive investor.

A month or so ago I was trading ideas with Craig Levinson, who was a frequent client in the lawyer-training biz and who has become a good friend during that almost-decade. We discovered a glaring weakness in the introduction processes included in sites like LinkedIn and others, a weakness that we can solve by automating one of the core processes in my longtime ResultsPath training program. We decided that this would be a worthy venture, i.e., fun to create, having a big economic upside, and delivering positive social impact, e.g., connecting the unemployed and under-employed with those who need their skills the most.

In the course of looking for a co-founder with the technical capability to build and iteratively develop the product, I met Brad Doyle, of LightSpeed Marketing Group, the marketing arm of LightSpeedVT. During my site visit, I saw that LSV has the most sophisticated virtual training I’ve ever seen, that Brad has a brilliant subscription economic model, and has mastered the art of selling the training online. His virtual training has helped multi-level marketers recruit, engage and retain their distributor networks, adding hundreds of millions of dollars in incremental revenue. NADA is about to make VT available to all 16,000 US car dealers. Two years ago, General Motors took a look at his sales training and decided they could build it themselves; this year they acknowledged that they couldn’t and signed on for Canada, then expanded it to a global program.

As we walked through his production facility, I mentioned that of the 1.2 million licensed attorneys in the US, about 600,000 are in private practice, and roughly 500,000 of those practice solo or in very small firms, e.g., 20 or fewer. Further, that market is almost completely ignored by sales trainers and consultants because cost of sales is too high relative to these small firms’ buying power. However, when you leverage modern technology and sell virtual training to these lawyers online via credit card, you can provide high quality training/coaching at a very modest individual monthly subscription, e.g., $50 (which is less than coffee money), and do very well on the aggregate revenue from tens of thousands of subscribers.

When I said that I had legal industry visibility, an established brand, a proven training program and 18 years worth of content to monetize, his eyes lit up and he said, “Let’s do it.” We shook hands on a revenue- and equity-sharing deal (which we’re papering now) and we’re gearing up to go to market in 60-90 days.

What we’re going to do is “virtualize” me, i.e., make it possible for thousands of lawyers virtually to have a 1:1, interactive training/coaching session with a video “me” via the Internet, 24/7. For a better explanation than I could write here, click to hear poker star Daniel Negreanu’s description of the virtual poker training that Brad’s group created for him.

We’re about to raise a modest amount of capital to finance development and launch. To avoid violating securities laws, I can’t put particulars in this post, but would love to speak with you about the opportunity if you’re receptive.

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15 Responses to “Reinvigorated, renewed and ready to rock again”

  1. Congrats. Love it. Can’t wait to hear more. Glad you got your groove back.

    • 2 Mike O'Horo

      Thanks. I’m really juiced. Lots to do before even thinking about self-congratulation, though.

  2. Congratulations Mike on your percolation and resulting brainchild. With your creativity and energy, I’m sure this new venture will be a great success. Look forward to seeing you in Denver where I’m interested to learn more. Would love to help. All the Best.

  3. 4 Mike O'Horo

    Since we have no conference entry badge, our password, shamelessly stolen from Blazing Saddles, obviously would have to be, “Badges, we don’t need no stinkin’ badges.”

    Since we’re D-list at this event, we’ll have to get Kathy Griffin as a spokesperson.

    How about “‘Out’ is the new ‘in’?” Remember, when all the geeks were at the official school function, all the cool kids were outside, making out.

  4. 5 Lisa Dutton

    ‘way interesting, Mike. I’ll be watcing with great interest, and wishing you all the best. Keep us in the loop, will you?

    • 6 Mike O'Horo

      Thanks. BTW, I absolutely loved your “2 hrs w/Jesus vs. going to church” positioning statement suggestion. We’ll definitely have to run with that.

  5. Rock on Mike. Drop me a line when you get to NYC–looking forward to connecting.

    • 8 Mike O'Horo

      Thanks, Justin. Actually, I meant to call you to solicit some early stage feedback and advice for 20 mins or so. When might be convenient?

  6. Mike: Sounds very exciting. If you are coming to Denver I would love to hear more about it.

    • 10 Mike O'Horo

      I’m definitely coming to Denver, arriving midday Wed. When might work for you?

  7. What great news Mike! I admire your entire process, and am thrilled to see how you’re landing. Your skills are too robust to remain untapped, so this is very good news! See you in Denver? Can’t wait to hear more!

    • 12 Mike O'Horo

      Nancy, your enthusiasm and consistently positive attitude are a gift. Thanks for sending it my way. I’ll be in Denver; see you there.

  8. Brilliant, Mike. Glad to have you back. As someone who knows first hand the value of your insight into taking a lead to the gripping point, I look forward to seeing your new enterprise in action. We should talk. Good luck. Hope to see you in Denver where I’ll be “hanging around” the outside!

    • 14 Mike O'Horo

      We’ll form the Ex-Officio Hangers-Around-Without-Portfolio. Whaddya think? How can we give it some cache and exclusivity?

      • I like that idea. Exclusive sells.We could send out some “you’re not invited” invitations to our Ex-Officio Hangers-Around-Without-Portfolio dinner party and watch em weep! Tee hee. See you there.


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