Many well-known marketers claim that without failure there is no success. It’s like that in chess too. And basically I’ve learned that feeling is true. It’s pretty difficult to know, in advance, if a new idea, implemented, will work. The “key” part is NEW.

I have one list or subset of lists of people who are unapproachable. Couldn’t even be convinced that “not breathing” is not a good plan for sustaining life.

Everything can’t be a winner but a copywriter tries to determine in advance, to the best of their ability, if it is possible to float a system, scheme, or whatever you want to call it without knowing more about the prospect.

For example I may hear from someone who is interested in my Nimzovich Defense book (which I work on every day). So I might put them in a list for “Newbies.” I wonder how they found out about this book in the first place. There is usually no back and forth of emails between me and them. They must troll the net (lots of those, and often, amazingly stupid people).

Down the Rabbit Hole

Some years ago I met a guy from Maryland who managed to talk me into a possible business collaboration. Moronically, I even invited him to my house for a couple days. That’s a bad sign right there. It turns out we had nothing in common, at all, and I whisked his ass to the airport in short order, long before his plane was due to take off. He wanted to set up a business (chess) with me, and guess who was going to be the major funder? It wasn’t him.

He was a troll. He sat in front of his terminal all day long looking at e-Bay prices of chess stuff. He himself was tighter than the skin on a Jefferson nickel. And he had lots of “ideas,” or I should say, “bad ideas.” These were so pathetic, that once I heard each one, I already KNEW they would never fly.

His teeth looked like he was on meth while doing his trolling. Of course if I had been married at the time, doubtlessly he wouldn’t have spent more than 15 minutes in our house. But I have that nuttiness of “considering” possibilities which “sound” hopeful. Then again I’ve always propounded that “hope” is not the best of strategies for future success. Now I have a lot of failed experiences under my belt and it gets easier to dismiss whacko concepts.

The Chess Butler has a core of excellent people I deal with. How do I get more to convert to our way of doing business? Not an easy question to answer. Every time I get down to the “nuts and bolts” of establishing a website, I am reminded of ALL the costs and efforts to maintain one. In fact, it almost becomes totally consuming and I will hear from nitpickers and the like who have never even tried the things they suggest themselves. They are looking for a lab rat, to what purpose I am not sure.

Moving On

Today I have to get New in Chess Yearbook 111 out to those who have autoship subscriptions. That was one of my ideas that worked. When we were Chessco we instituted that one a long time ago. If you would like to sign up to automatically get each edition in flexible or hardcover, just drop me a line ( I’ll tell you what the expected cost will be, and you will be on a list to get the NEXT one.

It’s like moving forward one day at a time. It actually works but it is so sloooow. Some chess buyers don’t trust anyone other than the Chess Federation. The guy who runs “sales,” I don’t trust him from personal experience! And then there are those who say “Amazon” as the first word out of their mouth about anything! Say,, how’s that FIRE PHONE doing for you?

One other thing before it’s time to get into the shower: referrals, the lifeblood of business. It’s the number one way of growing a catalog list (“they” say). But I find in my efforts, “no one” in chess wants to refer. Don’t know what the fear is, but I would swear NO ONE has chess friends they are willing to tell others about. This has got to be about a WIN-LOSE situation as far as I can tell. Otherwise, what could it be?

When I hear, “Me and my buddy George play chess several times a week and we are about evenly matched” I get the feeling that there is no desire for George to be told about The Chess Butler because George might improve and before long there will be no more “evenly matched” status attached to their relationship. Jealousy concerning the “unknown!”

Just as in a “by-the-by” kind of way, if you think fishermen are the biggest liars on the planet, you haven’t met chess people who are the biggest exaggerators on the planet! Somehow it is supposed to make the story better, and, I’ve been guilty of it myself! Remain calm, pretend you’ve told the story 20 times already.

Feedback is always welcomed. Just be nice, don’t kick the dog, or hit someone in the face in an enclosed elevator!

Bob (


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