Learning How to Build a Website in College (and Burger King)
On the eighth day of my trip I was supposed to take it easy at Claude's Gite. Take a break from traveling and meeting SBI!ers and just wind down a little bit without thinking too much about how to build a Website and all that other SBI! stuff.
Then, I got an email from Amel (from www.junior-golf-guide.com) that she was teaching an SBI! class that evening at Dawson College.
I was torn between another pampering night at Claude's Gite and a visit with a class of students that were learning how to build a Website with SBI!. Somehow, I just couldn't imagine myself chilling out when I had the opportunity to see a real SBI! class in action. I had read about the whole concept of SiteSell Education in Ken's newsletters. But it just didn't seem that plausible to me to go to a real University and see the Action Guide being taught there.
And I'm glad I went because I learned a few more good lessons.
I headed back towards the West Island of Montreal. There, I met Amel who graduated from the very first SBI! class held at Dawson College in 2006. It was led by Don Coggan, Co-Director of SiteSell Education (you'll meet him in just a moment...). Now, two years later, Amel's teaching that same class (And there are over 20 accredited learning institutions offering the SiteSell course on how to build a Website!)
With Amel before going to class at Dawson
At Dawson we met Don Coggan's "Brother", David Edey, also Co-Director of Sitesell Education. Don and David are a happy duo and around SiteSell's virtual corridors, they are referred to as Denzel and Brad :-).
I say virtual corridors because SiteSell has no real offices. It's a completely virtual company!
It took me five years and flight over to Montreal to understand how this company works. Over the next two days, SiteSell "the company" and the "real people" who run it would all come to life for me.
Denzel, Uhhm, I mean David, presented me to the class and had me say a few words about how to build a Website that really works.
With David Edey (left) during the SiteSell course at Dawson College.
I feel pretty comfortable talking in front of people, so that wasn't a problem. But it's sort of awkward to be presented as "one of those" SBI!ers who have succeeded and whose success story is up at the top of the case studies and all that.
As funny as it may sound, I shy away from the spotlight. Well, what I mean is that I shy away from the spotlight when I'm not on stage. That's what I love about my performance. I'm on stage, in the spotlight for an hour or so together with my two musicians, and I'm holding the crowd real well, and they're all with me and the energy is fantastic. And then, the moment I'm off stage, I go back to my anonymity.
Although we've performed over 400 times around the country and regularly in National Theatre, nobody really knows who I am. And that's great!
The only time I was stopped on the street was about a year ago when I was driving my van into a town called Netanya. The van has this big decal on it that promotes our show.
My "Wanderer" Van...
At the traffic light this guy motions for me to roll down the window. So I do, expecting him to ask me about the show.
Instead, he shouts through his window, "Hey, you're the guy from SBI!, right?!"
So now I've got this virtual spotlight on me because of our case study that's featured here on the main SiteSell site... But don't get me wrong. I'm not whining about it. It's fun. Just a bit awkward, that's it.
So any ways, after giving the class at Dawson a little pep talk, I went outside with David who is no less passionate about SBI! than I. This guy is funny, real funny. He's another SBI! staff member who's mission it is to teach the whole world how to build a Website with SBI!
Unfortunately, David and I didn't have enough time because he had to go. Maybe luckily, because we would have gone babbling on forever. Talking to him got me in this fun horsing around mood, so I had him do this little clip with me.
After David left, I went back into the class to see if I could help some of the students out with the basics of how to build a Website and all that. And that's when something very unexpected happened to me.
I suddenly noticed that in class sat a man that had a striking resemblance to my father. He looked like my father did, before my dad had cancer and passed away at 55. I've had moments when I've run into someone that closely resembles someone else. This was, understandably, just a bit bizarre.
I'll branch off for a moment.
My dad was my best friend and the best father a son could wish for. He was also Tamar's best friend. He passed away about a year before Tamar and I set off with our Web sites and he never had a chance to see our success. Neither did he have a chance to see my transition and success in theatre. I could go on and on about him, but I'll stop myself here so that I don't get too emotional. If you've read the prologue to this story you already know that I'm an emotionally-challenged man :-)
So here I am at this SBI! class and I start talking to this guy about how to build a Website with SBI! and he really reminds me of my dad. He's just starting off and he's got a few ideas and he's been successful with renovating homes and selling them. He's got a noticeable speech impediment, so when I don't pick up a few words he's saying, he apologizes and says that he has Cerebral Palsy and that it, among other things, hinders his speech.
Get it? He apologizes to me...
That threw me right back to my first meeting on this trip with Anna. I remembered how she told me that she hopes to teach her son, who also has CP, how to build a Website so that he could one day be independent. And here I am seeing Anna's vision right in front of me. And I'm saying to myself - WOW! SBI! not only frees people from their day job - like me. It can help free people from their own physical disabilities. Now that is life-changing!
I really hope this guy succeeds. Not just because he reminds me of my father. And not just because he's got a few higher hurdles to jump over. But because he's out there like all the rest, going to night school at Dawson College, trying to learn how to build a Website, trying to make a real change in his life.
I parked my caravan in Amel's neighborhood and the next morning I was off to meet Don Coggan and his group of students in Bromont, about an hour southwest of Montreal.
Don lives in Bromont. It's a little city that's well known as a tourist destination for its downhill skiing, mountain biking, water slides, golf and also equestrian events.
All I got to see of Bromont was the Burger King!
That's where Don holds his regular meetings with SBI!ers who have finished his 10-week SBI! course and are meeting together once a month to keep in touch with real people in this virtual world.
This is the email that he sent his group:
Did you notice Don said in his mail "30 SBI! course alumni"?
Bromont's population is around 6000. If Don has it his way, soon the entire city of Bromont will have SBI! sites :-)
It's amazing to see how much SiteSell Education Don's got going on and how he is plowing ahead with such a fervor to sow the knowledge of SBI! in anyone who is out to give it a shot.
LEARNING how to build a Website with SBI! is a big challenge. TEACHING others the SiteSell Action Guide and how to build a Website is no less a challenge. But just like people find their way over the humps and succeed with building their Web sites, I'm sure Don will also succeed in finding the way to get across the important basics of site building.
And, in my opinion, one of the most important steps Don is taking is these Burger King meetings.
I find that it's really important meeting real people as you wade and struggle through the world of building your own Web site. You can pretty much drown if you're at home all day trying to figure out things on your own. It happens to many. And even if you have a great forum, like SiteSell has, it's still not the same as seeing real people that are running into the same walls that you're running into - and really TALKING to them and SEEING in their eyes how hard of a time they are having also.
You don't feel alone and it's really a big plus.
Lighting a (char-broiled) fire at the Bromont BK.
Don is also enthusiastically involved in the SiteSell Services program which offers Web building services based on the SBI! approach. It's a great concept and I'm sure that it'll be highly successful.
Not everyone wants to build a Web site on their own. For some, the whole Web-building world is just NOT exciting and intriguing in any way. They just want to keep doing what they love, but understand that the Web offers them a great potential to further advance their success.
And there's nothing out there like this service SiteSell has created, where people can get an SBI! site built for them or for their business at a fraction of what graphic designers and Web builders are offering. And most of the Web sites being built out on the www are not nearly as effective as the SBI! sites.
I think that this here is the best proof that the SBI! principles of how to build a Website really work...
After leaving Bromont, I thought about Don quite a bit. Not only because of our shared passion for SBI!. But also because it was the only time on my trip I had succumbed to the temptation of eating chemically-engineered fast-food. The Double Whopper had me thinking of Don - actually cringing - for several days thereafter.
I couldn't help but suggesting that he consider having his SBI! meetings at Mc-DON-alds.
He later told me that I had lit a (char-broiled) fire under the SBI!ers at the Burger King. And, regarding my McDONald's suggestion, he suspected that I was only trying to get back at him with something worse than a BK burger.
Can you see that Double Whopper eating the insides of my stomach?
I drove back to Hudson, left my campervan there, and the next morning, set out to downtown Montreal with GREAT anticipation to meet some of the SiteSell staff and, of course, Ken...