SEO War Story and Life Optimization Book

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 03/18/2009

I’m eventually going to have to write a book about how I got fed up being an internal SEO (and complete company operations guy) and went agency-side. It’s full of intrigue, deception and secret-of-my-success level strategy. I’m thinking the title might be “How I Mopped the Floor With My Sysadmin and Saved a Company.”

To this day, the matters are unresolved, but I am generally acknowledged for turning around a company that went pay-check to pay-check on bridge loans from investors. One of their press releases announced their 25% anual growth, putting them I would guess 10 to 20 million/year in the black.

Several times over the 15 years of my involvement with them (they still use my systems, and I consider myself involved) they have tried to turn off or undermine my systems to terrible effect. So far, they’ve only been able to replace the order management component with Netsuite and the Web content management system with Drupal. What remains intact is the heart of the system designed to directly carry out Peter Drucker’s stated mission of every company–to get and keep customers. It is uniquely designed to cure the symptoms of a problem they seem to have married themselves to–the subject of the book. It’s a case of a software system using a company, rather than the other way around.

Though I was deeply immersed in SEO before this company (my second stint there), it was the fire that tempered my broader skill-set. It unified in my mind application development, business, social engineering, politics, hardware and system administration. I am a different, and some would say meaner, person for this experience.

And even though their repeated lies and broken promises kept me from pursuing entrepreneurial paths that could have made me another Mark Zuckerberg, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It led me (kicked me) to New York where I met the love of my life, and now wife.

I’m basically now starting my life at 40, with a rich base of experience to work off of–from trying to lead a Commodore shareholder revolt, to running a check cashing where I shot an attacker, to forcibly extracting a close crazy family member from a foreign country.

Meanwhile, I’m a graphic designer and programmer that made the massively scalable HitTail app, including writing, narrating and animating the demo that made it so popular. I’ve mastered most pf the Adobe Suite, and studied under John Langdon, the model for Robert Langdon of Dan Brown’s books and designer of the Angels and Demons ambigrams.

My self-image is finally catching up with my actual life experiences, thanks to the light being shined on it now by my wife. I’m re-discovering my Judaism (or discovering it for the first time), and re-connecting with my love for animals.

All in all, at (nearly) 40 I’m embarking on a journey of life optimization of the sort that normally only Stanford and Harvard Grads get to do, and endeavors like Y Combinator are trying to fix for young people. I’ve been an SEO doing it for clients and websites for long enough. Now it’s time to do some life optimization, and the lens of writing a book before it’s too late is just the way to do it.

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