The Monthly Bug – Tools Edition

To reconnect has been great.  Even though I know cool stuff and interesting interactions are always a result, it still always amazes me of what comes from simply reaching out to others.  This past month has been no different.

Among other things, I have been asked what some of the tools I use are..

Here is a short list:

Contacts and Relationships
Gmail – Having a google account is crucial in my opinion to doing any sort of work online (email, calendar, analytics, reader, maps, etc, etc.)
Google Alerts – What are people saying about you, your business, your children…keep tabs on it for free
My website runs on WordPress.  Free with tons of support.
Write a hand written letter to someone. A piece of line paper and an evelope and a stamp.  You might be surprised be the reaction 🙂

Paypal – Used for purchases and small payments
Bank of America – Used for Checking and General Savings.  I set up Automatic Bill Pay for most of my bills as they are recurring and to chip away at debt.
ING Orange – Totally online bank I use for savings.  The transfer is automatic from my checking account so I dont even think about it.
Mint – Super smart and easy budgeting.  All online and free.

Azzurro Travel – The owner will take care of you (unless you mention me and then he might curse your bloody name, spit on his own foot, and hang up on you.)
VRBO – Temporary rentals around the block and around the globe.
Craigslist – Rentals, bikes, carpools, or whatever in nearly every metro on the planet.
CouchSurfing – Find a free place to crash and find folks to help you crash a party.

As with any traveling abroad, have fun, keep your head on a swivel, and steer clear of clowns.

Travel Reference:
Lonely Planet
Wiki Travel

UCLA Recreation – Until just recently, I had no idea someone that was not directly affiliated with the university could use the facilities.  Wrong again, smart guy!  Its even cheaper than most other gyms and has waaaay more stuff.  Gyms, pools, courts..hell…one can even rent a sail boat through them.  I imagine most universities have similar programs.
Exhale Yoga – Great small studio near my home where I like to get on the mat and relax, breathe, and quiet my mind.
Venice Beach Basket Ball – I try to hit the courts every few days.  A short bike ride and I’m there…ocean on one side and crazies on the other.  No other court like it.
Pacific Ocean – Lately, I’ve been swimming a bit more with the warmer weather.  The water is still freezing, but the effects on my mind and body after taking a dip are incredible.  I would find it hard to believe that someone could remain in a stale mood after a dip in the sea.

Aaron Loring Davis – Even if you never do a single thing with it, I feel its a good idea to reserve your name (and your children’s) on the web.  Use Instant Domain Search to quickly find versions of your name that might be available.  Then visit AFMU to register it.

Interweb Reference: – All things Search Engine Optimization and internet marketing
Digital Point Forums – Design, Development, Site Admin, all things internet support forum
Seth Godin – Marketing and Management

Real Estate
Los Angeles MLS Search – See all public listings in Los Angeles and Greater Southern California
Los Angeles Graphic Search and Ratings – Search homes with graphical representation of the city based upon price, safety, and schools.
Sotheby’s Global Luxury Search – Browse high end listings from around the world.

Other ways to stay in touch with me are to:
Subscribe to my blog
Friend me on Facebook
Link to me on Linkedin
Follow me on Twitter
or, for the love of all things easy, call me 310-663-2865

If more time has elapsed since we last spoke than you are comfortable with, please give me a jingle.

Until next time, Seth Godin wrote a pretty profound short blog post (20 second read). I recommend it:  A 5 step plan for just about everyone and everything.

Stay close,


Disclosure – I do not make one red penny off of any of these recommendations.  In the spirit of sharing, if you know of other tools that are free or close to it that you feel other might find useful, please share them in the comments.

Small Business SEO Case Studies

I have been working my behind off learning SEO.  I’ve been reading as much as I possibly can about best practices, trends, and black vs grey vs white hat methodology..and a lot of rather technical stuff in between.

I’m no expert and I do not claim to be.

However, I am learning some really cool ways to make a difference for your small business.  Im not talking about the gal that wants to sell things online.  I’m talking about the gal that runs a small business on Main St. and wants to take advantage of the internet as a lead source.

I can hear my father now..”Why on earth would you boot up the computer, log on to the internet, bring up a google screen and search for a hardware store? When you can just look it up in the yellow pages..”

There ain’t no helping him.

But for the rest of us, that love simply recycling, trying to tear, and using their fresh Yellow Pages as a target, we know that the internet, specifically Google, is the place to find relavant information.  And its not only searching amongst e-businesses like Itunes and Amazon, but also where to find the best place to eat or where to fix your car or the address of the hardware store.

I think about my parents and my grandparents.  How did they find a business to patronize? They looked in a directory or yellow pages and they asked a friend for a referral.

Yellow Pages and newspaper classified ads are dying to more relevant and more easily changed web based directories and Craigslist has all but killed the classified revenue stream for the Papers.  In the digital age we live in, it is easier to find a dozen or so reviews on Yelp and Urbanspoon on what is hot and what is not, that easily take the place of the referral from many a moon ago.

So what does all of this mean and why am I talking about it?

It means that if you run a small business, whether a plumbing company or a lingerie shop, in Garner or London, claiming your land online is paramount to your success and longevity.  And you wanna know what’s so cool about it..its damn near free!  (more on that later when I spell out exactly how to do it).

If you own a business or work for one that falls within this sort of criteria, feel free to reach out to me.  I would like to speak with you about how you might be able to rank higher within the search engines.  My advice is free, however I may ask to use your success as a case study in a product I am developing.

The Monthly Bug Is Back

I know, I know…its been a while. In fact, I think its been 16 months since the last installment of The Monthly Bug.

Yes, I miss you, too.

Some of you may ask, “What is this bug all about and why have I received it?” To which I reply, “Keep on reading..”  A handful of others might exclaim, “Where have you been? We missed you and your Monthly Bug!!” To which I respectfully thrust a rock star fist into the sky and yell, “It’s good to be back!  What’s up with you these days?”  And a dreadful handful of others might say, “Dammit!  I don’t want anything to do with you or your bugs.  Get me the hell off you list!” To whom I point at with out stretched finger and laugh at with all the compassion and genuine love I can, to alas, bid farewell.

The Monthly Bug is about me, Aaron Loring Davis.  Its about who I am as a man, what I think about, what I’m up to, where I’ve been, where I’m going, and how we might be able to interact on a deeper level.  The Bug also serves to let my circle know of ways in which I wish to be of service.  They include all things:

Los Angeles Real Estate
Business  Start Ups and Finance
Online Education and Learning
Internet Technology and Development
Search Engine Optimization and Online Marketing

If you have a question or an idea about any of these concepts, or even think you do, try me.  You might be surprised at the direction the conversation might go or the door that begins to open from our dialogue.

You’re receiving it because our lives have intersected at some point and I have saved your email address.  Don’t worry, most editions of this news letter do not have all of this mumbo jumbo, but it has been a while, so I figured a refresher was due.  Now, on to whats bugging me..

I’ve been busy.

Thinking back over all that I’ve experienced since we last connected, I find it hard to build a summary that can be read in a sitting. Where to start..

Near the time the Bug went on hiatus, I went back to my college roots.  I needed to be around fun people, a good vibe, and tasty libations thus hitched a gig working behind the big oak bar of Air Conditioned Lounge in Santa Monica for a few months.  That was pretty cool.  I’ve always enjoyed working late in a classy joint.  Part mixologist, part tease, part psychiatrist, part “I’m going to tell you like it is and you’re going to like it”, being a bar keep is some what of a right of passage in my eyes.

I went on a soul searching journey. I spent a month in some of America’s best national parks. Big Sur, Bonneville Salt Flats, Lake Tahoe, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Sleeping Bear Dunes, and parts of the Appalacian Trail…unreal! A number of factors said, Aaron, you need to take a break. You need to get out of Los Angeles for a minute. The teeth of the city can be sharp sometimes. So, I listened to myself and it served me well. I’m a better man for doing so.  Watch the video here.

I got certified as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). I feel that no matter what I do or where I go, knowing how to save another person’s life (or my own) is good information to know. I took my course at Cape Fear Community College and had a blast.  Since taking the course I have assessed two strangers in distress in the street before the paramedics arrived and may have made a difference.  It gives me peace of mind to know I can help another.  Read the whole story here.

I’ve started a campaign to reconnect, personally, with each and every contact I have.  Its gonna take a while, but the results so far (and i’ve only started) have been most interesting and fruitful.  Some of you may have already been contacted by me in some capacity, however it might be next spring if you name is Zohan..hahaha (I wish I knew the Zohan). Here is the whole enchilada.

I’ve been sailing with my neighbor and travel agent extraordinaire quite a bit and look forward to taking a class to get certified (so that I rent a boat for the weekend and such) later this year. The freedom and exhilaration of the sea excites me like nothing has in many years.  Here is a synopsis of my latest excursion.

I’ve tried to get on the yoga mat as often as I possibly can.  I actually went 12 out of 15 days last month and my body hasn’t felt better in a long time.  I realize I am a fortunate soul to live so close to Power Yoga and Exhale and able to learn from Bryan KestErich Schiffmann and Annie Carpenter.  Allowing my mind to quite has been a most interesting challenge.

I was asked to model for Bed:Stu shoe company. My dear friend Nicole Beltrami is their publicist and asked me to work it work it for an afternoon.  That was fun..and I got some killer shoes out of the deal.  We got some press here and here.

Despite retiring from top level rugby in 2007, I did strap on the boots in Jan and April of this year. The results scared me a bit. I had not been working out. I’d had more than one cheese burger, cigarette, and sleepless night since I’d been training with the egg twice or more a week.  But, I strapped the boots on any way. They say once a rugby player, always a rugby player and I guess they are right. Despite it being a rag tag team on a completely drenched summer day and not speaking the language, I borrowed pair size 12 boots (i wear 14′s) and my squad won the championship.  Click here for the whole tomato.   In April I traveled to North Carolina for my annual college alumni game.  On game day I woke up with a beer in my hand and donned a pair of pink slacks for a day in the sun.  I purposely did not bring my cleats or mouth piece or shorts, because I knew how tempting it would be to run around a bit…but my buddies egged me on and the the devil got the best of me..I borrowed a buddy’s cleats to get in a little jog against the current university side.  Not only did the alumni beat their asses, but I got MVP for the day.  I had so much fun playing ball with the boys at UNCW, I felt compelled to build them a simple website and managed a fund raising drive that raised $1,385 (to date). I’m so proud of myself for that one  (the money, not the retarded running around in pink slacks) This is what scares me a bit. The devil on my shoulder tells me that at 32, I’m faster, stronger, and more knowledgeable about the game than I ever have before.  Given I understand the game so much better now coupled with my growing belly and increased laziness, I am so much more efficient on the pitch its down right silly. My back, on the other hand, tells me to take up ping pong. We’ll have to see how things shake out.

I spent a month in South America. I made friends with some of the coolest humans I’ve yet to meet, sailed, played rugby, visited amazing museums, attended ridiculous outdoor parties, lounged on beaches listening to music I didn’t understand, observed some of the most beautiful people I have ever witnessed, sculpted pottery, did yoga for the first time in a class taught exclusively in Spanish, and reconnected with a limb from my family tree that had not been scene in nearly 40 years. Argentina in a word: AMAZING!  I wrote a ton about it, whereas the start is here and the summary is here.

I took my families company, InternetCE, online. My father has spent nearly 20 years building a successful professional education company and over the last year I’ve digitized our systems and curricula to deliver our course materials on the internet. To date we are approved to do business online in North Carolina and Maryland.  California, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and South Carolina are pending approval and we look forward to being able to be of service to the rest of the United States by years end or sooner.   In the mean time, through a partnership with national providers, and, we are able to afford prospective students an incredible library of accredited, relevant course work with which to renew their insurance, security, and capital markets licenses. My role with the company is technology and sales. I know just enough about coding to really break the site, but my knowledge base for search engine optimization is really starting to take off.   I have been asked twice to volunteer at the prestigious SMX conferences in Silicon Valley and Seattle this coming month.   My other hat, all things sales, is just starting to hit stride and I’ve been fortunate to secure several national insurance brokerage houses and a few more insurance service companies, as clients.  I’m proud to say that we’ve experienced growth every month since we launched the site and it doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon.  I asked a fellow while in South America about his awareness of the usage of the internet for learning and his answer was a resounding “No!”  Sure, the sample size was small, but I believe that given the overall presence of technology in Argentina, his view was probably not far off, if at all.  Talk about a market?!?  While the physical classroom will not be going anywhere any time soon, as tech gets cheaper and cheaper, the restrictions on growth for online learning are nearly inconceivable. I’m syked!!

The real estate market is starting to breathe clean air..a little bit. Its starting to take shape.  Increases in value are yet to be realized in any sort of recordable capacity, however deals are ripe for the picking.  Understand, that while I believe this is the trend across the country, I can only speak to the specific markets in which I am intimately familiar.  Those markets are Venice, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, and the Sunset Strip.  When I say that deals are to be had, allow me to explain.  Even in this market, where the media and your neighbor continue to talk about a sky that is falling, there are still sellers that want to sell and buyers that want to buy.  People are still  having babies, getting married, having the in-laws move in, thus need more space..which means they may need to buy, which means they also may need to sell.  The other side of that reliable coin are those families that send a child off to college, get divorced, or get laid off and need less space…which means they may need to buy, which means they may need to sell.  You see, the dynamics of living life do not change.  A home may not be the revenue source for families like it was 5 years ago, but people still need a place to live.  Inasmuch, given the rarity of a buyer that is poised and able to make a purchase coupled with the genuine need of some sellers (I’m not talking about the seller that has defaulted on 3 loans..I’m talking about the guy that just got transferred and has 60 days to find a new place in another city), there are deals in this marketplace.  There are deals where everyone wins.

Now, given the pulse of the market, a lot of eligible sellers are not publicly advertising their homes for sale.  In fact, almost every single transaction I’ve been fortunate enough to broker over the last 2 years has been private.  For this reason alone, it is essential that one enlist the service of a broker that is connected to the market place when searching for or attempting to sell property.  A lot to soak in, I know.  Chew on it a bit.  Think about how individuals and families have used real estate to not only build wealth since the beginning, but relish in coming home.  To make a physical structure a place they can call their own..  Think about how you might be able to take advantage of opportunities that are quietly presenting themselves.  If you are toying with the idea or just are curious where to get started, feel free to drop me a line.  I would be honored to be of service.  If you retain assets and may be interested in divesting in order to put those funds elsewhere, feel free to connect with me in confidence.  I can very quickly let you know if my network of buyers and investors might be a match for your property.  It is also ok to tip toe.  You do not have to dive in.  Test the waters.  Interview different people and ask advice from those you trust.  Get a feel for the person you are working with.  Listen to your gut.  In fact, I might not be the best fit for you and your interest, but I am happy to help where I can.  And even if you’re not in Los Angeles, I may also be able to furnish a solid referral via my network of colleagues that span most major metros in the world.

In any event, I love real estate.  I think its cool.  I an fascinated by it.  I love the way property can used for so many different things.  I love to watch a house become a home.  I love the numbers and finance that go hand in hand with real estate.  I love being a part of the transfer of important properties on the West Side of Los Angeles.  If any of that makes your ears turn up a bit, let me know.  The conversation will probably be fruitful.

All in all, its been an interesting year or so. Ive been fortunate to be able to travel, learn, grow, and meet a most interesting collection of people from all over the world. Now, I’ve settled back in my home in Venice, Beach California and my schedule is taking on more structure, however if history repeats itself, that probably will not last to long before the next adventure peeks around the corner.

Whew! That was a hell of an email.  I like to write, but that was a lot, I know..To recap:

I’ve missed you
I’m thankful to be back
I’m open to talk Internet, Real Estate, & all things Fun
I live beautiful life and want to share it
I hope your life is beautiful and hope to be a bigger part of it

With all of that in mind, if more time has elapsed since we last connected than you are comfortable with, please give me a jingle. I love to debate, discuss, advise, learn, and engage in thoughtful conversation. The door to my home and office is always open.

Some other ways to stay in touch with me are to:

Subscribe to my blog
Friend me on Facebook
Link to me on Linkedin
Follow me on Twitter
or, for the love of all things easy, call me 310-663-2865

Stay close,


ps – I’m working on uploading all past editions of The Monthly Bug (almost 2 years of writing) to my site as we speak for your reading pleasure.

If you like to wear silly hats and have more than one oddity and want to unsubscribe, click here

Reconnection with each of my contacts – Update #1

It’s been a little over a month ago since I committed to reconnecting with each of my contacts.  You can read the post where I laid out the parameters of the project here.

The progress has been relatively slow, however even still, the response has been rather fortuitous .

I was able to make it through the  A’s in my cell phone as it seemed easiest, given I was traveling when I started the project and because I found myself a rider instead of a driver on most occasions while on vacation.  This lead to my ability to text and email with greater focus than what I might normally be presented with.  I was able to knock out 5-10 connections while waiting for a friend or riding to see another.

The contact is brief, as I meld noting a unique personal life intersection, that the recipient and I share.

In total, I reached out to 89 people and I am proud to have entered they’re lives.  The responses to my connections have been received with gratitude, excitement, anger, humility, a wall up, industry, and more..

Highlights include:

– An opportunity to consult with a very respectable firm, which may prove to be quite lucrative.
– A blind date that yielded great conversation and a most delicious beer.
– An incredibly easy conversation with a friend I’d not seen in 3 years or so, whom I randomly saw again in the grocery store only a few days later.
– An awareness of what a friend had experienced when we took a spiritual retreat nearly 4 years prior, of which I was completely unaware.  His insight was profound and stayed with me many more days following our brief exchange via email.
– A belly hurt inducing laugh with 2 old rugby buddies (one if LA and one in NY) about the shenanigans be embarked upon with feverish ferocity back in the day.
– Shorts notes from some of my broker colleagues giving me their point of view on the pulse of the emerging real estate market.
– A smiling conversation with an old lover that now lives in Russia, whom at the time I wrote was attending the wedding of a mutual of which I would have probably never know about.
– Sound advice from an older gentleman whose presence and tutelage more resembles that of a wise sage than that of that just an ordinary human man.
– A humbling new awareness that the last time I spoke with a particular person, that I had really hurt her feelings.
– A sales pitch.
– Humbly making a call to say that I was sorry for a past misunderstanding, of which has yet to be returned.
– A general sense of catching up with life with around 10-15 more
– Several contacts had contact info that was incorrect, thus got purged from the archives
– A handful of folks who had no clue who I was.  1 of them proclaimed “Stranger danger’ and asked not to be contacted again…I wish she could have heard my distracting laughter after having read that and “Take care”

So, its been a success so far…and I’m just getting started.  At the rate I’m going right now,  having contacted nearly 100 people in a month, I can logistically anticipate making it through my phone in approximately the next 12-15 months.  It was actually sort of fun to write someone that I had perhaps met only once 5 years prior, and try to guess the response.  I was wrong, regarding what I thought they might say in return, about 50% of time, which did not surprise me.

I’m going to stick with it.  I found new growth, humility, laughter, serendipity, resurfaced memories (good and bad), and so much more.  It makes me feel connected, thus part of, a people that are moving through their lives.  They to are learning and growing and  wishing and dreaming and working through the doldrums and collectively working toward making life grand.  Inasmuch, given my daily aspiration to achieve the a fore mentioned progress, helps to make my life more grand.

To those whose lives I touch and vice versa, I humbly say “Thank you!”

Stay close

Connecting with each of my contacts, friends, connections, and followers

Without question, the relationships I have forged in my life are one of my strongest assets.  I’m going to reengage with each of them, personally.

Today, I have:

1,393 Contacts in my phone

1,046 Facebook Friends

96 Twitter Followers

326 Linkedin Connections

Granted, I may not have personally met with each of them.  Some of those contacts are friends of friends or leads that never resulted in a larger relationship, but I believe I’ll be able to connect on some level with every one.

I am not sure how many I can do a day or how long it will take, but I suppose we’ll see.  I am also unclear on how best to manage my connecting with folks.  Perhaps a note in their file within gmail contacts, but I’m not completely sure.  More on that as I move forward.

I am curious as to how I might be able to serve, create, and discuss with each of them. What will come of it?  What opportunity is poised to be set free? What if I am reminded I never returned the salad bowl and have to ante up?

I’m excited!

The format will be simple:


Hey {first name}! Remember that time {unique, personal thought or life intersection}??  I hope all is well 🙂



The connection might be longer, but not shorter.

Stay close.

Sales Software

I’m using right now to manage my sales pipeline. I like it. It has lots of bells and whistles.  I’ve used Act! and Outlook and Gmail with Gcal.

All of them get it done, but they are to much.  To many bells and whistles.

I appreciate fancy reports and the ability to add one’s dog’s name to a client file, but I don’t need it.

I wish an app existed for two purposes, to track calls and when to call again.  It would spanned my office computer, cell, and ipad.   Super, super lightweight. Really easy to navigate on a mobile device. Accessible from lots of different platforms.

That’s it.

I would pay much for that, than a software program that comes with 6 hours of tutorials on how to use it..

Request: I need birthday wishes from my friends around the globe

Clifton (Chip) Farrior Davis III, my dad, turns 60 on April 23rd.  If you have moment, please send me a little diddy wishing him well or perhaps a photo of yourself, “happy b-day” and perhaps your location scrawled on a piece of paper.

Send an email, a text, comment below on this blog, facebook, twitter, linkedin, voicemail, snail mail, smoke signal, morse code.. anything is perfectly fine!

The old geezer certainly loves all of my friends and he really gets a kick out of being their friend as well.

I know that it will mean the absolute world to him (and me)!!

Many, many thanks!