One of the many things I’ve tried to steer clear of writing about in the last few years is “how to make money on the Internet.” It seems to me that there are enough gurus out there that will give you secrets to their success, or more importantly, sell you a course that will give you secrets to their success…in 12 easy installment of $49.95…and an add-on course that you can fly to learn all the stuff they didn’t teach you that REALLY will make you successful for a lot more.

Needless to say, all these people are pretty good at being successful at selling their secret to success.

Regardless, I’ve decided to step out of my comfort zone and give you perhaps one of the most important “secrets to success” that has helped me in the last 15 years in this industry succeed and build companies and publications.

First of all, I’d like to make it clear that I’m pretty lucky about my upbringing. Both of my parents were born fairly poor, especially my father who grew up in a one room house with a dirt floor. Despite his father dying while he was young and being raised by his mother, who didn’t speak Engligh, he managed to make something of his life and retired as the President of a major college.  Pretty impressive if you ask me. Both of my parents are actually pretty impressive.

 I was very lucky that I knew that people could come from very little, and “make it.” Whatever “make it” means, that’s up to you to decide but I knew that whatever you wanted to be, it was possible.

We didn’t have to listen to anyone when they told us what we should do, should be, and should think.

Pace Lattin & Heather Vale Goss

That’s what I learned at a very early age, and it stuck with me, as I got older. Everyone told me that what I was doing was crazy; that the companies I was building would never work out. Needless to say I built ad networks and companies worth hundreds of millions and ran companies worth even more.

I didn’t just sit down and do what everyone told me that I should do.

I remember in 2005 everyone was telling me that display advertising was good for only one thing. At the time the Right Media Exchange was being built, and they hired my company to work with them to build it, and then beta test it. We were thus one of the first companies active on the exchange and had access to a great deal of inventory very fast.

The idea of a media exchange was new, but everyone was certain of one thing: the only thing that worked on display anymore was brand advertisements.

They were wrong.

With the help of my graphics staff we built thousands and thousands of creatives, graphic animations, video-looking dating ads and flash games in banners. Loaded them up, spent the money and optimized them by hand.

The result was that we were soon buying over $100k of media day in display advertising everywhere. The profit margins on these were often through the roof, making twice as much as we spent on the CPA advertising that we ran.

This was something that was supposed to be impossible, and started among other things, a whole different way of buying and optimizing media.

I had always bought media for CPA advertising since around 2002. However, I had never been able to buy so much inventory at once, optimize it and move on.

What’s the point of this story? Everyone told me that this was impossible, that this type of media buying was not even remotely viable via networks because of both the quality of the inventory and the saturation.

I did what I thought would work, and it worked. no Guru told me what to do, no course advised me on how to make it happen. I just did what I thought would make me the most money and went with it.

Ok, so what did the Oracle say to Neo?

 “You’ll remember you don’t believe in any of this fate crap. You’re in control of your own life, remember?”