Mike O’Donnell Spends a Week in Montreal – Sex Appeal – Championship Ring

Posted on June 24th, 2013 in Canada, My Story, Reflection, Toastmasters | No Comments »

It’s been over 8 months since I’ve been living back in the states. Canada is warm and the ladies are out, so I decided to go spend a week in Montreal on June 9th. Father’s day was the following Saturday, so I figured I would go up anyways from Sunday to Friday and hang out, work, and see a bunch of friends.

This is me driving up to Montreal in style:


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I stayed at Ben’s apartment for the entire week and he even had an open desk for me to work at in his office:


It’s crazy how we both have gone in completely separate directions. He transformed his marketing agency into a high quality video marketing company. He recently did a speech at Linked Quebec, which is the largest business group in all of Quebec. His speech on video marketing was 45 minutes long and he absolutely killed it. Ever since then his business has been booming with tons of video orders. He also has 3 people on staff working with him in his office. When we used to talk about our future plans, he always said how he wanted to get into video more because that was his passion and I always talked about getting into physical products one day. Very cool that we both followed our “Long Term” business goals in less than a year from separating.

I showed Ben my entire business model for Physical products and he’s actually super interested in getting into the space. I’m going to wait about 3 months so I can show him solid financials and then we discussed that I might take him under my wing and show him the ropes so he can get started himself. Personally, I love physical products because you don’t have to sell (there’s already demand) and you don’t have to deal with know it all business owners like I am now in my Marketing company. The best part of all is that I’m able to pick up and work from anywhere with an internet connection like I did for this week in Montreal (more on this later ;).

It was great to be able to see all of my old friends as well. My roommate Matt had been living in England for the past year and just moved back on that Saturday so I got to hang out with him. I also hung out with Hokuto, Mia, Adam, Synden, and everyone else. Here’s a picture of me and my sneaky little 32 year old Japanese friend Hokuto out to dinner:



Synden works as a chef assistant in 5 star restaurants in Montreal and it just so happened to be the grand opening of his new restaurant while I was there. Me and Adam were added to the guest list and got to hang out with tons of “Important” people and hot chicks for 2 hours while sipping on free wine and eating oysters. It was a really fun time and I also photo-bombed a few pictures from the Press.

Aside from my Montreal friends, I also hung out with Bob’s friend Mike Ruane and his brother for 2 nights. I’ve only met Mike twice before, but he’s a really cool dude so I called him up and we went out. Him and his brother are professional poker players and since online gambling is illegal in the U.S. they have been traveling the world for the past year and a half ish.

I also went out to lunch with the McGill Lacrosse coach, Tim Murdoch. He knew the owner of the restaurant so we got free food and he picked up all of my beers. It’s always a good time catching up with Tim and I need to do a better job personally of staying in touch with him. He went to Princeton and Harvard and is super connected. He lives a real relaxed life doing high level consulting for international companies. A couple months ago he actually introduced me to the CEO of a large franchise here in the U.S. They were locked in to a year contract with their marketing agency in New York, but he said he wants to do business together when he gets out of it. Sweet!

Tim and I also had a very interesting conversation about one of his buddies (My numbers for this story might be a little off, but they are in the ball park). Tim’s old neighbor sold his company for 40 Million a couple years ago and moved down to Miami. The guy had always asked for Tim’s consulting advice and Tim would help him out without charging him. Last year when the guy and his pregnant wife were visiting Montreal, they realized that her passport expired and they weren’t going to be allowed back into the United States. I’m not completely sure on the details there, but I don’t think she was an American citizen. They were terrified because they didn’t want the baby to be Canadian. They called Tim and within 24 hours he had his friends at the U.S. consulate clear everything and get them back to the U.S. Needless to say, this guy loves Tim.

So the guy has been getting bored just hanging out in Miami and he decides to start a new business. He hired a linguistics PHD from Oxford and together they created an algorithm that analyzes all public twitter feeds for investor sentiment on stocks. The idea being that most trading is done on inside knowledge and these guys all tweet little hints out without knowing it. Well, the guy invested 1 Million of his own money using just his Twitter analysis system and his smallest monthly ROI has been 6%. He averages around 30% on his money every month using just this Twitter algorithm. The guy is now in talks with Bloomberg and Bloomberg is going to be adding his Twitter algorithm into their main suite of products. Basically, this is going to revolutionize the way people invest. So cool that I’m only 2 people removed from this guy. Tim is always trying to hook me up with new business and the fact that they are going to be working together soon is going to expand his network even more. He’s a great person to know and I run a ton of ideas off of him.

That Tuesday while I was up there I also gave a speech at the McGill toastmasters. I called them up the week before and they scheduled me in and  made a big deal that  I was returning. That was awesome. I’m going to write a dedicated post to this speech, so more on this later…

On Friday before leaving Montreal, I went with Ben to the Atwater market to pick up some bacon and steak that he couldn’t stop talking about (with good reason). I picked up 2 different types of bacon from a small farmer. The first was called farmers bacon and the second was smoked bacon. Both were literally the most amazing bacons I’ve ever had in my life and up there for the best ever cuts of meat I’ve eaten. They were almost like pieces of Ham they were so thick. I actually grilled them up and made a video for Cave Tools about how to grill bacon. The steak was aged 30 days old and was the type of steak you buy in a restaurant for $120 – $150 apiece. I got 2 of them for $25 from this farmer and they were ridiculous as well. I shared all of this with my dad for father’s day:





One of Tim’s comments while we were out to lunch was that I need more sex appeal in my Cave Tools marketing. After looking at my Youtube demographics, close to 80% of my views are guys. He’s so right. As a marketer I’m embarrassed I didn’t even think of this, but I guess sometimes you are just too close to realize things like that. During my 7 hour ride home I had a lot of time to think and scheme and I had 2 major breakthrough ideas.

The first is the sex appeal idea. My friend Claire has huge tits and a great body. Why not have her do a grill brush review in a bikini? We were supposed to do the video this past weekend, but she backed out. New boyfriend wasn’t so keen on the idea (it won’t last).

My idea was way too ridiculous:

Scene 1: She jumps off a diving board and I slow motion as she comes out of the water with focus on her tits. She says something along the lines of, “Hi guys, I’m Claire. I have 2 favorite things to do during the summer time. The first is go swimming and the second…well we need to go back to my apartment for that”

Scene 2: Slow pan to the left and you see her taking a bite of a hot dog. She goes Opps and wipes her face off. Then she goes into how she loves grilling and likes grill brushes with a long handle and gives the review.

I talked to her today and we’re going to tone the video down a bit and shoot something next weekend. My big plan is to use that video to launch a big online contest. Any girls all summer long that send in a grill brush review video in a bikini get a free grill brush. I’d promote the hell out of the thing and see how many video submissions I can get. Any video with tits on Youtube gets thousands of views so I could brand every video and drive massive traffic to my product page with them. Afterwards, I want to set up a profiles section on the website for Cave Tools Girls and let them each have their own profile with a bio. Kind of like Barstool Sports. In all seriousness, think this could be huge!

My second idea has to do with my “Couch Surfing Across America” trip which I haven’t wrote about on here yet. More on that in my next post…

When I got home on Friday night, my McGill lacrosse championship ring was waiting for me. This thing is such a beast. It’s heavy and just in your face huge. The diamond all around the McGill M ruby shine off the light as well so it’s always sparkling. I’m not sure what to do with it because it’s so expensive and I don’t want to wear it or anything like that. Somewhere down the line I’m definitely going to just wear this thing to a business meeting where I need to impress some big whig or something like that haha



An Email to Some Close Friends – Michael O’Donnell

Posted on June 6th, 2012 in Canada, Goal Setting, My Story, Reflection | No Comments »

Hey Guys,


It’s been a little while since we have been in touch.


It has been a very busy month for Ben and I in Canada. Here’s an update on what I’ve been up to:




Right now I am managing the campaigns for 20 clients enrolled in a Local Search optimization program similar to the one I designed for the Used Car Dealership I worked with Millevoi Brothers.

I’m also overseeing a low end Reputation Management program for 190 clients across Canada. This program has been very popular and is growing every week!

I have either hired or been managing a graphic designer and a writer from the United States, a programmer in Tunisia, a programmer in Serbia, an SEO implementation team in India, and a couple outsourcers in the Philippines that help us out with data entry tasks.

Ben and I are also working on developing an entire Marketing campaign (both online and direct mail)  that we are going to use to sell more of the Local Search Optimization packages here in Montreal and then replicate the campaign in other cities across Canada. Were planning on launching the first batch on June 15 and are targeting 500 businesses total in the city broken down by industry and category.

The systems we have been designing are incredible and are the main reason we are able to manage a business of this size between just 2 people. The most important part has been that they are scalable so we can grow our client base without being overwhelmed.


And the best part of all: I love going to work every day!


Equity Investing:


We have put the equity investing initiative on the backburner for now while we focus on growing our core Marketing business  and are planning to return to it in about 3 months.

On the personal side, I am in the process of negotiating equity into Ben’s business, Convernet, with the plan to merge the businesses together in an official partnership within the next few months.


Personal Life:

Things have been going great. I am living 1 block away from the equivalent of South Street in Philadelphia so there is always fun stuff going on. My roommate is a 28 yr old graduate student and he and I have hit it off. I really lucked out finding such a great roommate and all of his friends are great too.


The city has a public bike system in place with docking stations all over the place. One of my goals was to get in to really good shape while I’m up here, so I have been biking to and from work every day.  The total round trip each day is 9.5 miles and most of the ride home is uphill.


My French is starting to get better and better. I have been trying to practice at least a half hour a day with Rosetta Stone. My vocabulary is getting pretty large, but I still can’t put sentences together on the fly. I just started French level 2 on Monday night so I’m hoping to learn some more complex phrases than the basic language I know now.






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