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The Smart Passive Income – Ask Pat

The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a big operation. I believe it just passed the 6.5 million download mark. The guy behind the show, Pat Flynn, is an online marketer who purportedly makes $40-50K a month—passively.

Hmm. I’m intimately familiar with Flynn’s line of work. And I know a lot of his claims can be substantiated. In fact, I work for a digital advertising agency, and I’ve contributed to several success stories not unlike his. But frankly, I smell a huckster.

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Now I’m not saying Flynn is selling snake oil or anything. And I’m sure he’s a decent human being. But the whole “passive income” thing is a misnomer. It insinuates zero maintenance.

I realize this is just a hook, and even the host admits “earning any type of income online takes a lot of hard work, a lot of patience and a little bit of luck too,” I still feel like he has a “you too, can make millions without lifting a finger” thing going on.

Too Easy to Be True?

Online marketing is heavily reliant on search engines, specifically Google, and ranking a site where people are going to see it gets harder by the day. As website creation approaches everyman utility, the number of competitors in organic (free) search for any given keyword will continue to grow exponentially.

Of course there are short cuts to that coveted first page of Google, but ill-gotten gains are typically temporary. And legitimate wins are usually hard won. Brass tacks: it ain’t easy to get your product in front of online shoppers.

Flynn gets his money through affiliate marketing—links on his “resources” page on his blog (or embedded live reads on his shows) that point to product pages on brand sites. Both he and his client, Blue Host for example, can see exactly how much traffic he’s driving. And he’s getting a taste of that traffic’s money. Each sale Flynn drives has an agreed up dollar figure associated with it.

Make no mistake, I’m not slighting Flynn. He’s a legitimate entrepreneur, and he has a clever thing going. But his venture is a complex web of social media optimization, studio production, online networking, and media buying. You’re not going to get where he is by simply listening to his podcast every day.

AskPat, Flynn’s new show, is the epitome of this approach. This new mini podcast features a question from a listener. And some of the advice is helpful, even for seasoned online marketers. The production quality is good, and Flynn is charismatic and intelligent.

But there’s no magic here. Even Flynn admits the real secret, like in any discipline, is many hours logged and vigilance. Maybe I’m just jealous. But I think this show a little reductive. And it’s certainly not going to make you 40K next month.

RT Podcast – Rooster Teeth Productions

A little background on Rooster Teeth Productions. It’s a production studio and multi-channel network specializing in live action shorts and animated content. They parody first-person shooter games, the most notable of which is Red vs. Blue. They’re a clever bunch, and their shows are very popular. As is their podcast.

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But if you’re looking for narrative arch, you’re not going to find it here. The RT Podcast is a group of friends kvetching about random ephemera. I was under the impression they covered movies and gaming. Maybe they touched on those things. Can’t say. They talk really fast.  A lot of voices, coming at you at varying levels, and at varying degrees of intensity and passion. These are funny people, with a lot to say. I can’t say I get it though.

I’m assuming this podcast is just a glimpse into an established lexicon with all kinds of reference points and inside information I’m not privy to. Sure, they talk about pop culture. And that’s accessible for most of us, but this show is a hit because the company is a hit. Nothing wrong with that. Seriously. Many great podcasts are based on much less. This one’s just not for me right now. Maybe I’ll revisit it in a couple months and reassess. Maybe I won’t.

Game|Life Podcast from Wired.com

I’m not a “gamer” per se.  I’m not a “gamer” at all actually. I do understand the draw and escapism these intricate digital realms provide people. I just don’t have 642 hours to master Assassin’s Creed IV or Doki Doki Universe. I’m open to new experiences, like listening to podcasts about video game consoles, though. The Game|Life Podcast has Wired.com behind it, so I figured it was a quality jumping off point.

First impressions: lots of enthusiasm. Founder and editor of Game|Life, Chris Kohler does not half-step.

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This was the first episode of the new year, and the discussion surrounded virtual reality headsets, specifically the Oculus “Crystal Cove” prototype (pictured). I think it’s also known as Oculus Rift. Here’s what I learned:

The new demo is not unlike Oculus’s 2013 demo, in that the player provides an immersive, 360-degree, visual/aural experience. but Epic’s  new prototype ups the ante: apparently you don’t need a controller to move anymore. There’s an externally mounted camera that tracks you with small LED lights.  Apparently, the frightening world of Lawnmower Man, starring Jeff Fahey, is now a reality.

And… I’m exhausted. I’m sure this is a quality podcast. The hosts are clever, and abundantly qualified. If you’re into games, it should be right up your alley, and you’re probably already aware of this show. If you’re not into games, you’ll probably be happier elsewhere, where the words “6-DOF tracking” are never mentioned.