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Welcome to Michael's blog. Michael Andrew, (aka Michael The Maven) is a freelance producer, photography instructor, tech innovator, and when needed, disaster aid specialist.

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07.22.17         efficiency  

The Efficiency Playbook is now FREE on Amazon!

Ladies and Gentlemen! The day has come!

Get your FREE Efficiency Playbook right now on Amazon:
We are going to do everything possible to get the word out, but because this is a limited time offer, my recommendation would be to download it as soon as possible before it expires.

I've worked very hard for many years to finish this book, so I am very excited to be able to give it away to my faithful blog readers!

If you enjoy The Efficiency Playbook, I would be thrilled to have you review it as well!

Limited time FREE OFFER Efficiency Playbook right now on Amazon:

07.22.17         the maven nation - efficiency podcast  

The Praise Experiment - Episode #011

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. It is July 22nd, 2017. We have a huge day today. It is the day the Efficiency Playbook Free Offer should be available without any technical glitches. If you have not signed up for your free copy, go to theefficiencyplaybook.com, send in your email address, and we will send you the link as soon as it's available. It's supposed to happen today. For the next five days, barring any conflict, technically, with the code and stuff, I don't know. But as soon as it becomes available, I will send out those e-Kindle copies. It's only going to be available for a couple days so download it. Even if you don't want to read it right now, download it so you can read it later. Amazon prevents me from giving it out for longer than five days on the Kindle promotion program. I think you'll find it really helpful. I've put my soul into that book and I want to give it to you for free for the next few days.

Today's podcast comes from a conversation I had with a good friend, Dr. Drew in Arizona. We were talking about ... There's a chapter in the book where I talk about self praise, is that many of us feed off words. We get energy and we're activated when we hear compliments. And the truth of the matter is, we believe there's a deficiency of praise. People don't compliment and praise each other as much as we should. We were talking about, hey just compliment ourselves and it works great. And we were trying to figure out where this comes from. There's some psychology to this that, in another chapter that's coming on the podcast that I'll talk about, that why we are sometimes reluctant to see others do well and exceed into ... excel and all those things ... Sometimes it makes us feel bad.

But during this conversation we said, "How fun would it be to do an experiment where we ask everybody listening to the podcast to take one day and spend it looking for opportunities to praise people." That's the first part. And the second thing that we wished was that as children, our parents would have taught us that it is okay to praise other people. And maybe some parents do this, but I wasn't specifically really taught to go out of my way to praise other people. I was a kid, I was worried about my own stuff and all the other things I couldn't control. I was just learning. But if you have children, sit down with them and teach them how to give sincere, honest, personal praise to another person even if it doesn't benefit them. And the reason is, you get one compliment during the day that is sincere and meaningful, it really changes ... You feel amazing. Pick a day sometime in the next week, and go out and look for opportunities.

Now there's a few psychological things that have to be there, or else it's gonna backfire. Number one, it has to be personal, so you have to pick somebody specific. Number two, it has to be sincere. You have to mean it. It has to be something that is legitimate. It just can't be something that you make up. Third thing is, it needs to be unexpected. Go out and try this, and watch how people change. Watch how their mood changes. Keep it sincere, keep it unexpected, keep it personal, make it valuable to them, the feedback. I would even say avoid from any ... There's a part of criticism where sometimes you want to give somebody feedback and you tell them how to improve, I would even just stay away from that. I would just give them a sincere compliment and watch how they change. It's okay for other people to have a better day than we're having.

But the interesting part of that is their ... Is a really good probability that lifting others around us also makes them more positive. And if they're surrounding us, it's going to improve our own personal experiences with them. That is your assignment for today, is to go out and find at least one person that you can give praise to. If you want to spend the whole day doing it, I would love to hear about your insights. Your experiences that you have with this test, is to go out and to raise somebody's spirits by complimenting them where their efforts have been really spent on something.

In any event, that is the praise experiment. Teach your kids how to do it, teach them that it's okay to praise other people. Thank you guys so much for supporting the podcast. There's not a lot of you listeners out there, but I'm going to continue to do my best to make it worth your while to listen. Thank you guys so much. Have a great day. Theefficiencyplaybook.com, if you haven't signed up, sign up now. There's customizable links you can send to your friends. It'll track how many of your friends sign up, and I will give you the audio book and some other prizes if enough of them do. Have a great day today, guys, and I'll see you next time.

07.21.17         movie reviews  


It started off really strong (the first 5-10 minutes). Incredible visuals. I hate to say this, I had more empathy for the CGI pearl creatures than I did the humans who were shot in incredibly unflattering light. The chemistry and dialogue between them from the start was absolutely painful. I found myself asking myself over and over "Is there really nothing more to these lines?".

It dragged out far longer than it should. Halfway through the film, I found myself fighting the urge to leave with every fiber of my being. It was painful.

Id definitely say skip this in theaters, and probably as a rental unless you are super super bored.

There was some absolutely real talent involved in making this movie. Seriously. Unfortunately, it was bad where it mattered most, character development, plot, editing, quality of acting, you know those kinds of things.

07.21.17         movie reviews  


As far as movies go in general, yes, it was amazing.
As far as awards go, yes, it will win many.

As far as Christopher Nolan films go, it was not his best. Ill try to explain.

IN my opinion Christopher Nolan is one of the best working directors, and will go down as one of the best of all time. Take any of his films and compare it to the smorgasbord of terrible films and he always stands out among the rest. He has a very long pedigree of simply amazing films, even since Momento.

I appreciate that Nolan is always challenging himself, and he does not stick in one genre. He caught my attention with The Prestige, solidified himself with the Dark Knight series, and pushed far beyond what anyone expected with Inception and Interstellar.

The 3 intertwined stories in Dunkirk was very interesting and new. I appreciated it very much. The cinematography is beautiful and amazing, and yes, I do think you should see it in theaters, but temper your expectations a little.

Im being really nit picky here but a couple of the problems:

There was an over reliance of the Hans Zimmer score to create tension. It got old & predictable after a while and pulled me out of suspension of disbelief.

I think Nolan was trying to do too much. Trying to tell 3 stores diluted his efforts and made it harder to connect deeply with any of the protagonists.

What he did well? Made you feel and relive what those soldiers at Dunkirk did. You can feel their desperation, and for that, it was incredible.

It will definitely be among the best of 2017

07.20.17         the maven nation - efficiency podcast  

23 and Me - Episode #009

Good morning everyone! Michael the Maven here. We have a very important weekend coming up where I will be giving away free Kindle copies of the Efficiency Playbook if you sign up at Theefficiencyplaybook.com. We will send you the link as soon as it is available. There is also a way to share that link that can track how many of your friends signed up and you can get the audio book, we can get you as a VIP in my new social network coming up later this year, a free autograph copy of the book. It's free for everybody. You just sign up for the newsletter, we are going to give you the
kindle copy once it is available. It is going to be available in a couple of days. I just to remind you that it is supposed to happen this weekend barring a technical glitch

Today I wanted to talk about that is crazy important if you haven't heard about it already. It can really benefit you in terms of extending your life even. In the history of the world, we don't know how long humans have been on the earth if you're religious, many of you will think it's 6 or 7 thousand years, if you're not religious, it could tens of thousand of years. It's sufficeth to say humans have been around for a while.

In every human that has ever been born has been given a deck of cards, a genetic deck of cards with the problem of not being able to see what those cards are. We have an idea based on how tall we are, our eye color, things of that nature. Just general appearances, these are called
phenotypes. We've never been really able to take a peek at that deck of cards until recently. It's estimated that there are about a hundred and ten billion of people that ever lived on the planet. So if you take all of the people that are here now of the spirits of many thousand of years. Only recently, have we been given the ability to see what these decks of cards are. Why is this important? I want to get into Science of it but genes are physical molecules (DNA) are passed on from the parents to the children. Sometimes DNA makes mistakes when it is replicated. We start off as sperm and egg, a single fertilized egg, a single cell, and that cell replicates. It divides over and over and over. It's a cell division and that what makes a human. That's how humans are created.

If you have a gene that's passed on from one of your parents that have a physical change. One of the sequences, there is a way to see that now. This is really important! Coming back to the discovery of DNA in 1953, Watson and Crick, and some other scientists used some X-ray. There's a lot of ways to figure out that it's a double helix. That is the birth of molecular biology which is how these physical molecules relate to our actual development. It's a whole field of Science.

Now let's skip to 1997 where a movie called Gattaca with Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, came out. I would strongly recommend that you watch it if you haven't seen it. It's one of my favorite movies. This film depicts the balance in the struggle between nature, the genetics that we're given versus nurture, our surroundings, our decisions. The aspects of life that are playing on us. This is also a great film about the human realm. I think Gattaca is predictive of the future. It is really interesting because, in the movie, people are no longer judge in appearances, but the genes they're given.

A lot of this is based on every cell that has a nucleus. Your skin cells, your hair cells... if it has that nucleus in there, you can get a full DNA sequence of an individual. What happened recently, in 2000, the human genome project and Celera genomics had a contest where they race into the map the human genome to get a foundation. They basically mapped not everything because there's a lot of genes but they're cataloging the types of genes that control different rotations. If a gene has an exact base sphere change, it could cause a disease. This is why this human genome t is so important, it's because this database can be built of all these genetics diseases. So you can go in now, as of today, 2006-2007, 23 and Me was formed and many other sequencing businesses out there. Essentially the way it works is you swab your mouth, put it in the test tube, send it in, and they do some genomic sequencing. You are not going to get everything but you are going to learn many fascinating things about yourself, about your ancestry, where your genes come from. In some cases, it can help identify genes that you have that might create some problems in the future. This opens the door for a whole new type of science. Pharmacogenetics is one of them. It's pharmaceuticals that are specifically engineered to your own genes specifically. There is a predictive medicine. Scientists and doctors can look at your DNA and they can tell if there is going to be a problem in the future. It looks like a fountain of youth. So what happened was shortly after these services became available, Angelina Jolie, the actress, had a test done and it was discovered that she has a copy of BRCA gene, that contributed to breast cancer.

In the Efficiency Playbook, I talked about knowns versus unknowns and also probabilities. In any time that you can take an unknown and transform it into a known, you're at an advantage. You are dealing with something like your genetics, a lot of really important unknowns within the last ten years, we now have the ability to take a look at that deck of cards that you hold that was given to you by your parents. I talked about this to my friends... " Hey have you done it yet?"
I had it done. I'm happy I am linked to my dad. In 23 and Me, we can see some of my heritage and our ancestry and how it's connected. It's getting better. 23 and Me got me some trouble in FDA for kind of giving a medical advice. It's cleared up now. There are other services out there but coming back to this example, Angelina Jolie basically said there is a chance she can develop breast cancer. She preemptively took care of this. She had a surgery done. She reduced her chances of getting breast cancer significantly because she was able to take a look at her genes.

There are some people who say that 23 and Me test is not perfect for the BRCA gene. there is another company say that there are 250 bucks that are more accurate. But in terms of breast cancer, I think it's very important thing to figure out. Taking statistics in 2014 in the United States
237,000 women and 2,000 men have diagnosed some form of breast cancer. In 2014, there are 41, 200 women and 465 men died from breast cancer. Men get it as well. If this is one of the most common types of cancer among women, it's the number one death for Hispanic women, second most cancer-related deaths for whites, blacks, Asians, American Indians, It's worth taking a peek.

This is obviously related to efficiency because if you do have a gene that could create this issue, this preventive attack can extend your life significantly. I am not a doctor. I cannot give a medical advice, what I am suggesting is do the genetic tests and get the information. Take a look at your deck of cards. I have friends who would not want to do it but note that in the history of the world, there are hundred billion people have lived before us, they never had the opportunity. I think it is super exciting. This is when nurture has finally been able to hop the fence and do something about nature, the genetics that you are given, and we're given the ability to at least at some degree know something to do about it. It is a very exciting time, medically and genetically. I am not an affiliate of 23 and Me, it is a program that I use and want to share with you guys. Get out there and do the research. Read about Angelina Jolie, what happened and all that stuff, it's very interesting!

In any event, that is 23 and Me taking a look at the human genome, your human genome. Again, check out Theefficiencyplaybook.com, there are actually commercials there on the website. Once you register, you can see what's the Efficiency Playbook is all about. Coming out July 22 - 27. I'll send you an email if you sign up. Thank you guys for listening and I'll see you next time!

07.19.17         the maven nation - efficiency podcast  

How Does This Benefit Me - Episode #008

Good morning everyone! Today I'm going to talk about a question, an uncomfortable question that you should make a part of your life. It is going to really greatly improve your efficiency. The question is "How does this benefit me?" This is something that you should verbally say to other people when they come asking for things. In the book, I talked about a lot of wins and loss scenarios. Somebody wants you to do something for them and the reason this question is so important to me because there was a study done I'm sure you've heard of it were nurses at care centers made a list of the top 5 things that people regretted most about not doing. One of them was not saying the right thing at the right time, the right place for the right person. Typically, when people ask me for favors, it is usually pretty clear what they want but sometimes it is not clear what I am getting in return. This may be going to sound super arrogant or greedy. Sometimes it's just a miscommunication, maybe there is a breakdown or maybe I did not understand what the benefit was. I've come to learn that when I ask this question to myself as well to another person, things become crystal clear very quickly. If somebody comes to you and asks you for your time or your knowledge or service or whatever it is without any kind of exchange, in some ways that should be viewed as they're gonna take a little bit of advantage of you. I know this is going to make people disagree with me. But there was a time when I was in Alabama many years ago, I have a pickup truck and I helped some people move in my church. Word got that I have a truck and that I help people move. After a couple of months, I started getting phone calls almost every Saturday morning from people I didn't even know asking to not only use my truck but to use me as well to help them move for free! For no pay! I eventually figured out what was going on and how this was getting out. I confronted the person to stop giving out my phone number to people to become a free moving service. Something I wish I would have done is just ask each of these individuals how would this benefit me. Because when you do that, you're kind of exposing the person to acknowledging that you may not be getting anything in return. If they say it's for experience or for charity or for service, they're basically wasting your time. But if they say they are paying for it and you get the experience or do something for in return, then you have a fair and equal exchange.

It is brutal and almost slap in the face to ask somebody that question but in some cases, you can definitely clear up miscommunication, but it can kind exposes that they are trying to use you. So occasionally, I will ask that question if I don't fully understand the offer or if I feel that they are asking for my time or money. That's a really important question you're gonna be given offers all time. You going to see these offers coming into your lap. One huge problem that I see is that there are individuals out there who can't say no. For whatever reason, they just feel it's mean or it's wrong to say no when somebody comes and asks for help. I would say get comfortable saying no. Maintain that control, maintain your schedule. If you are not sure how you are benefiting from the requests, turn it down. This is definitely a great question to ask somebody when they come to you and it's not really clear what you are getting out of it. "How will this benefit me?"

In any event, thank you guys for listening and I'll see you next time!

07.18.17         instagram  

This combo has been so much fun and impressive, i...

07.18.17         the maven nation - efficiency podcast  

The Maven Nation - Now Live on iTunes!

Im happy to announce that The Maven Nation podcast is now available for subscription through iTunes. I believe this is the best way to follow, and currently iTunes is the only one publishing it. We expect to hear back from other services shortly. Here is the link:

The Maven Nation on iTunes

Im undecided on whether or not we will still post these in the blog, but seems that many visitors are playing and reading the transcripts here so, we will keep it for now.

Any constructive feedback is welcome!

07.17.17         the maven nation - efficiency podcast  

Bait-and-Switch - Episode #007

Good morning everyone! Michael the Maven here! Today we are going to talk about another class of people that I do not like. I think we've all been guilty of it at some point. I probably have done it myself. When I see this in a formal business setting, a huge red flag goes up and I say to myself "I'm not gonna deal with this person anymore." This is the bait and switcher. If somebody promises something upfront and then, later on, reneges because it was verbally given. I can't go on to details of this specific situation. At one point, I would definitely tell you guys about this.

There are people out there who know that a spoken word is very difficult to deal with. If somebody says something, it is very difficult to prove that later if there are no witnesses especially in film production, there are a lot of people who talk. They're talkers and they are not doers. There is a very obvious distinction. Everybody has a film they are working on but certain individuals never actually create a film. They are always talking about it. There is a website service I was trying to sign up for last week. It is all in one service.. all in one... one fee. That sounds amazing and so I go in there and sign up. There were some ad ons that you would spend some extra money for in order to get all the services. That is a bait and switch! It's when you make a promise, it turns out, guess what, that wasn't a promise. I realized that if this is happening during a honeymoon phase when I'm signing up for this product, they are kinda like deceiving me a little bit during the honeymoon phase, they are definitely going to deceive me later on. I decided not to use the service. That one thing alone, in the upsell, wasn't even that much money. It was the principle of it that they would bring you in under one guise and then they switch it to something else the examples that are really sticking out in my mind that I can;t really talk about was those individuals who make incredible promises to a number of people, but because those people did not sign contract, there was no way to prove it.

If you're giving somebody money, with the idea that they are going to pay you back, you absolutely need to have it written down on a piece of paper. This sounds very pity but it forms a legal record that will allow you to recover your money. Another thing that it will is to teach that person that you are not easy to take advantage of, not easy to get money from because there are legal documents.

That is one of the biggest mistakes I've seen in the business world if there are partnership or an agreement or relationship, there is no written contract. That's a huge mistake! That's how you defeat bait-and-switchers... get it recorded on paper with other witnesses there who are willing to testify if needed. Keep that as a red flag, if you see something or business or somebody offering you something and then they switch it, that is a form of deception. It is I believe unethical. I think your word is your bond. If you make a promise to somebody, you should keep it even verbally, even by a handshake. Even still, I prefer written contracts. Your memory sometimes changes.  You may be accused of being a bait-and-switcher just simply because your memory change. But when you have a written contract, the words are on paper and there is no misunderstanding. That solves the problem. So definitely write it down.

Thank goodness I have a really good and close friend who kept the pressure on me in a certain business transaction. Bait-and-switching is a very real, very underhanded tactic that some people will use.. will offer you something, will offer you the world and then once you give them that they want, they just say. "Well, that wasn't the agreement. That wasn't what I said This is mine, not yours." Better believe it. Be careful about those individuals who are offering you something. Get it on paper if the value is over $50.

Thank you guys so much for listening. I hope you have a wonderful day today. And I will see you next time!

07.16.17         instagram  

Sure had a fun time at the track tonight for a...

Sure had a fun time at the track tonight for a real world shoot between the #canon1dxii #nikonD5 and #sonya9 - thank you @tifftshiff for coming to help and taking this picture- I'm learning so much about each of these cameras and getting an idea of each of their strengths and weaknesses. #epicshootout

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