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What It Takes

What It Takes

Ranger Up Leads the Way

By Callie Oettinger | Published: November 21, 2014

Nick Palmisciano was earning a quarter million a year when he learned he was being promoted — a promotion that would add another hundred thousand or so to his income.

The promotion announcement landed on a Friday. The following Monday he gave his notice.

“I knew that if I took that promotion, the golden handcuffs were being slapped on and Ranger Up was going to die—and I was going to spend my life working for other people doing something I really didn’t care about that much,” said Nick.

What is Ranger Up?

In Nick’s words, “Ranger Up is a content machine.”

Don’t let the t-shirts and jeans on the home page of its site fool you into thinking it’s an apparel company. Yes, there’s the clothing, but if you dig, you’ll find a full-fledged media company, leveraging its free content to move pay-walled content.

Unlike many other content providers, who are struggling to monetize their content, offering a free article here and there and then banking on the hope that readers will buy a subscription instead of site jumping to another URL where more free content is available, Ranger Up offers a seemingly endless supply of videos and images—including the original series “The Damn Few” and the “Rhino Den” blog. The content being created by Ranger Up is distinct. It isn’t available in bulk online, which means its audience is digging in its heels and sticking around for more. In turn, this content has helped them engage, retain and grow a community that pays for content, too, in the form of t-shirts and jeans and signs and other gear, rather than site jumping for its next dose of free content.

How’s that working for Ranger Up?

According to Internet Retailer, Ranger Up’s “high level of engagement is what drove $750,000 in social commerce sales for the e-retailer in 2013—as 28% of its total online sales came from shoppers who clicked to the site from social networks. The role of social networks in driving traffic is even greater: Nearly 39% of Ranger Up’s 2013 traffic stemmed from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube . . . . That earn[ed] the merchant the No. 2 spot in this year’s Social Media 500, which ranks online retailers by the percentage of traffic they receive from social networks, a measure of how effectively they are reaching their audience via social media.”

Let’s Backtrack a Bit . . .

Posted in What It Takes

What It Takes

What It Takes

Thinking Like a Writer

By Shawn Coyne | Published: November 14, 2014

[Join to read more of Shawn’s Stuff]

We all know this story, or some variation of it.

Will Geer teaches Robert Redford in Jeremiah Johnson

Back in the wilderness days, a mountain man pulls fish out of a creek bed, one after the other with seemingly little effort.  He’s made a bunch of traps out of brush and twigs and has set them in a prime fish-feeding hole. And now he’s reaping the harvest.

A starving homesteader comes upon the mountain man and begs him for help. The mountain man notices that that homesteader has on a nice winter coat, one in far better condition than his own. (more…)

Posted in What It Takes

What It Takes

What It Takes

Click and Clack, the Crossover Brothers

By Callie Oettinger | Published: November 7, 2014

Happy Holiday from Tom and Ray Magliozzi (aka Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers) of NPR's Car Talk at their "law offices (aka production facility)" in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. (Tom Magliozzi, L, Ray Magliozzi, R.) Caption and image credit: Car Talk

I knew little about cars—yet I tuned into NPR’s “Car Talk” and then stuck around for years, clinging to “Click and Clack’s” words.

Tom and Ray Magliozzi (a.k.a. Click and Clack the Tappet brothers) were a mainstay in my life, introduced by my father, who was a fan of their humor, accents, alma mater, and car knowledge.

I tuned in the first time to listen to what Dad was raving about. I stayed for every reason other than for the talk of cars.

Theirs was the ultimate crossover show—a program that attracted the mechanically inclined, as well as the mechanically illiterate. The show had “car” in the title, yet the audience colored far outside that one-category border.

We’ve talked about the crossover audience on this blog in the past, those individuals who don’t seem like your prime audience, but are indeed just that. How to attract them?

Laughter is one option.

Doug Berman, Car Talk’s producer, recalled Tom’s laughter, up there with great comics who laugh at their own jokes:

It was almost a force, almost separate from him . . . It was always lurking, trying to come out. And he would see something funny coming a few sentences away, and he would start to laugh while he was talking, and he’d kind of be laughing and it would almost overtake him like a wave.

Then there’s passion—which isn’t an option, but a requirement. (more…)

Posted in What It Takes
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