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November Updates/Reflections: The Journey to Discovering Who We Are & What Next

Apologies to my last post being rife with errors. There’s a lot to do and currently I am the only one doing it so that means that sometimes in trying to keep to a regular schedule editing errors happen. I haven’t had the time to fix them, but am happy to introduce some major happenings.

Year of 2016 Exploring, Researching & Finding Our Voice

I went to school for game development and graduated about 6 years ago. When I was in school there was no react.js, there weren’t that many html5 game engines, you could forget about node.js. I hated javascript and didn’t want to touch it. After spending several years struggling with mental illness, homelessness, and shifting from job to job (trying to do things I didn’t love to make money to do something I did love) I ultimately stopped. A lot of things pushed me into starting this dream job I had, saving the world via games and writing. I started out with a few projects that are still in development.

I spent the entire first year of 2016 rebounding from homelessness and trying to steer this ship. I didn’t know who I was, I just knew what I wanted from life. I didn’t know how to set up a wordpress or launch my own website with web hosting. I knew html5 and css3, but not so much javascript. SEO, Marketing, bootstrapping all that was stuff I was learning. When people would ask me what my name was, I’d stumble and say, uh…erm…Zenratstudios? We take it for granted that we’re born John Smith or Mary Jane and that that is who we are, but for me. I’ve always searched for me, always tried on a different name, never quite sure who I am, always worried that when I did find myself that people wouldn’t like what they saw and abandoned me in droves.

All of that changed in 2016, and at the end of September, start of October everything finally came together. I had built 4-5 different wordpress sites from scratch, I had played with phaser and worked on Unity games on the side, I had found my voice and my identity, and most importantly I developed my new personal motto: Alone I can get far, together we can save the world.

Kieran Murghein, CEO & Founder of Zenratstudios was not only born, but my mission to recruit and discover allies, to give this company a purpose, to pursue with full force and passion my goals to “Save the world” or get pretty damn close became real. I was ready to launch and go public with who we were for the first time in over a year of behind the scenes development.

This journey has been a very personal journey because as I have grown spiritually, mentally and emotionally as a person so too has the potential for Zenratstudios as a company to grow. I can only take it so far, and my goal is to take it as far as I can individually, but my dream now, my focus is raising enough funds to pull together a team. I’m not letting money stop me from building a foundation that I believe can help make the world a better place, but I also understand how having more resources and money will make life a lot easier.

October Team Building & Launch

Last month the focus was outsourcing and launching One Million Heroes. I feel I successfully did that. I knew it was a bit ambitious to launch unknown and try to start a fundraising campaign with the deadline November 2nd — December 2nd, but I went in knowing that we would most likely fail. What my goal has been this month is to really market and to get known, to experiment with what works and what doesn’t. Is there any interest in what we’re doing? By the end of October I concluded there is an interest in what we’re doing, but the problem is we’re not well known enough for one and our One Million Heroes website may not be professional or even clear enough, and needs more polish and more outreach.

November Elections Throw A Wrench

Prior to the Election I developed a few strategies, but after the elections I was encouraged to change some of our methods. You see before the election I thought being pro Bitcoin, pro Blockchain and emphasizing only Bitcoin would be a problem for us. But after the elections when the stocks temporarily shot up and the amount of anger, and changes people want to see we realized. We are a non-profit organization who are all about change. We may not be every body’s cup of tea or flavor, but we are an all-inclusive group run by a group of nonviolent warrior monks who call themselves Guardians of Life, a branch of a long and ancient sect whose roots you can discover if you play the ARG “Guardians of Life”. They have one and one mission only, to save the world, not with dogma, or religion, but with proactive action and solutions. They have one religion and that is Love and acting upon that love, and using that love as the basis of building upon every single thing that they do. November’s Elections showed us that people want change. Most people don’t want to take real actions and develop real plans for change, and so our mission has become not to put timeline and deadlines on that change, but to give time. Now we make it mandatory that to use our services you have to be willing to take action steps. To show you are willing to be the change you want to be, these are action steps but we think it’s necessary.

We would love to develop or utilize an API that is similar to Circle that allows an instant exchange of BTC or other currency for fiat, something similar to Shapeshifts API. But this is something I need to think more on.

Fighting “Pressures” To Conform & Bend To The Will Of Others

As a Green Libertarian with some anarcho-pacifism tendencies November’s elections empowered me. I saw and continue to see opportunities that people are tired of the current establishment, that they want change, and there are a large group of people who want both PEACEFUL change and their FREEDOM, so there is an audience for me I just have to tap into it. I also saw Bitcoin rise in response, seen as politically neutral, and it gave me courage to speak up about my positions. I think I am a minority but that my minority is a growing one.

Removing the deadlines also took some pressure off of me. As before the deadlines I started to feel stressed and pressured and consequently down. I felt really down because I wanted to focus on designing and building quality products, but at the same time I wanted to focus on my child, and at the same time there were a few friends and even some family in my life who either didn’t support me or couldn’t see the vision. It was something I simply had to show them. Not having that support can at times be lonely, when you feel like you stand alone in your thinking. When you have to face people every day who tell you what to do and what to think to be a good person. There are more than one way to stand up for a government you believe is broken or flawed.

Running Zenratstudios, getting it off the ground has put a lot of strain on my family, my biggest support has come from my therapist. In the end I don’t always know if people are hearing me, but I do know that somewhere out there are people who will. The greatest thing I’ve done is to separate myself from my work, that’s how I’ve been able to get over my anxiety on social media. It’s not about me it’s about my mission, my purpose, my work. Recently I was feeling discouraged. A lot of my friends are either all Democrat or all Republican though the younger groups that I’m around are 100% Millenial and they hear me the most. But there is a lot of hate I receive especially from the Democratic party for my strong beliefs on liberty, love and freedom and deciding not to play this current broken system but to work on developing and building a system of our own, that we can test and explore on the side without even getting rid of the broken system at least initially.

Then someone posted this on their wall:

I first ran for Congress in 1999, and I got beat. I just got whooped. I had been in the state legislature for a long time, I was in the minority party, I wasn’t getting a lot done, and I was away from my family and putting a lot of strain on Michelle. Then for me to run and lose that bad, I was thinking maybe this isn’t what I was cut out to do. I was forty years old, and I’d invested a lot of time and effort into something that didn’t seem to be working. But the thing that got me through that moment, and any other time that I’ve felt stuck, is to remind myself that it’s about the work. Because if you’re worrying about yourself—if you’re thinking: ‘Am I succeeding? Am I in the right position? Am I being appreciated?’ – then you’re going to end up feeling frustrated and stuck. But if you can keep it about the work, you’ll always have a path. There’s always something to be done.

– Obama

And it reaffirmed everything I was doing. I see the world differently from other people. It’s like my eyes are broken. I have to be the only one I know who when I dream am dreaming simultaneously of different people and emotions at parallel times, I see the entire story forward and backwards. When I am awake and I look at people I see two sides of the same coin. Yin/Yang always, nonduality. I see all the little pieces and the cogs, and I see a puzzle of how it’s all interconnected and fitting it together. You say Democrat, Republican. I say it’s the same coin with two separate faces. You say Light vs. Dark, Evil vs. Good, same coin, different face. There’s always a root and the roots are always the same. There’s a word for this, nonduality, but there’s not a word for that experience. I never thought I’d face resistance for refusing to believe in the extreme polarity of the world, for acknowledging differences but trying to bring them together. That I’d be called selfish for walking a middle ground.

People say that enlightenment is just like that, but I don’t believe in enlightenment. I believe in “Growing into Awareness”, growing into a higher consciousness. The term enlightenment comes with all of these connotations that put unfair expectations on people. No matter who we are, we will always be having a human experience so long as we exist in the human form. Cultivating a loving heart, meditating, all of that doesn’t replace our human experience. Which means we can get lost at any point, we can lose our way, we can become the fallen Hero, the fallen Monk.

I’ve always walked alone in my path, both spiritually and philosophically. But the Trump/Obama coin has made me realize that I can do this. I started this company with 1,002+ personal demons, and now I have only 2 to face. So without any further ado here are my strategies for the rest of November.

November Strategies

Marketing on Autopilot: Twitter (Primary), Facebook (Secondary).

I concluded I do not have the time on my own to market for Zenratstudios. At the moment I use Buffer which is a lifesaver. Buffer enables me to post on Twitter in advance. I try to schedule posts a week in advance, but with the new One Million Heroes campaign sometimes what I end up doing is posting everything a day in advance. This way posts that got good likes and retweets are readed to the next day. I’m still working on my strategy there.

I’m not as active on Facebook, and we recently launched our ARG. To date no one has solved any of the major puzzles we have put out there which come rife with rewards and Hero Points. This tells me we aren’t doing a good job getting people to care. There are two communities. The blockchain community and the non-blockchain community. They both require a different strategy, bringing the two communities together requires effort.

The non-blockchain community has been put off because we only offer Bitcoin as a pricing option. We temporarily offered Paypal as an option, but my worry here is twofold. Chargebacks and scams with paypal and other are an issue. Another issue is that I am very adamant about Zenratstudios being its own entity. I do not want to control the assets of Zenratstudios and more importantly I want everything we do to be transparent. Bitcoin and other currencies like it are the perfect system for universal currency. Blockchain and the technology it was built on while simple can help bridge the gap between virtual and physical worlds. My goal for Zenratstudios is that it be international, belonging to no one country. The problem is “I” am owned by America and the way Zenratstudios is owned right now is that it will be double-taxed as though these funds belong to me, and I truly believe these funds belong to us.

Another reason why is because I resist the government trying to say it owns me or controls me in anyway, and as a result Zenratstudios is bankless. Going against the establishment means going against the banks, and that has meant turning to solutions like bitcoin for our company. It’s part of the reason why I attempted initially to be very protective of my identity, fear of being made a target, but now I feel whatever happens, happens.

Either way, It’s very important for me to be able to raise enough funds to incorporate Zenratstudios separate from me, to give it its own bank account, and to treat myself as no different than any other Guardian of Life working for Zenratstudios. I serve Zenratstudios and Zenratstudios serves life. Unfortunately using Blockchain has turned off a lot of people.

Right now we have created no reason for the blockchain community to care about who we are and the non-blockchain community has no easy way to join us. For now the focus now is on providing the best services and products and hoping that as we continue to tweet and post, that we’ll gain a slow and steady following.

Moving from Shopify to Woocommerce: Less Expensive Shop, no Annual fees

To get the shop launched quickly we originally launched on Shopify with Sendowl, but after doing the math the costs to maintain Shopify + Sendowl came up to be $633/month. With no money coming in and because most of my sites and subdomains were and are on wordpress I concluded that Shopify was a price we could not afford to pay especially with limited funds coming in. I cancelled Shopify and this past weekend began transitioning to WordPress using Woocommerce.

We now utilized “TheGem” theme from themeforest for our shop, it gets the job done, is quick, and I don’t have to touch much code unless I’m being anal retentive. There are some things that we had to drop for the time being. Integrating reward points into the shop system, bundling. We want to make the nomination form free, but Woocommerce does not offer a free plugin for this out of the box so I’ve added a small 4.99 fee to the website. It is possible to get the nomination form free by simply emailing us. My goal is to implement product bundling and chain bundling, with a reward system like SUMO, but this will cost some money and so it has temporary been added to our wishlist/we’ll see pile.

Outsourcing to premium Themes: Less Code, more Content Focus

One of the biggest changes I made is the decision not to code for the website anymore. I love coding, but the work that goes into building a website, making sure everything is working and to have a seamless experience so you don’t have to code back-end, is a lot of work. I’m not an expert with WordPress and PHP my strength is mainly HTML5, CSS3 and some react.js/javascript. Given the right amount of time I can code a proper website, but that would take me an entire month, including debugging. So I made the decision that I would not be touching a line of code unless it had anything to do with game development.

This means that I am taking down all my made from scratch websites and replacing them with premade themes.

  • The main website and the Shop are going to be utilizing “The Gem” Theme from themeforest.
  • My Workshop utilizes the “Invent” theme from themeforest.
  • One Million Heroes is going to get revamped too, I am taking down the site and going to be purchasing a gallery based or shop theme, with integrated social media.
  • Our Magazine called “The Omnididact’s Hero Magazine” will possibly be utilizing a free theme, or I’ll be purchasing a theme for that.

No more coding for me. I’ve decided that paying a small fee will help reduce the work, and allow me to focus on actual products. It’s a small investment that goes a very long way to freeing up my time. My goal is to focus less on coding the website and more on creating content strategies, producing quality products and services and marketing to generate revenue, to build our pay-it-forward economy.

Rebuilding One Million Heroes Site

When I first built One Million Heroes I did it from scratch. I was very proud of it. Looking back on it, it was going to be hard to maintain. I learned a lot building it but I was better off utilizing a gallery with facebook features and perhaps even a ‘random’ post plugin generator. As a result we plan to make major changes to the site. I am temporarily taking it offline this week and will rebuilding it.

I’ll be working on getting content for my Hero University up and I’ll be working on getting Our Magazine up. I have a lot of work to do, and since I’ve removed the 30 day deadline with One Million Heroes there’s a lot of less pressure on me to stay up around the clock. Now I can sleep in a little longer, rest, relax, and get work done. I’ve got one main site down, a few more to go. I estimate between now and January things will be complete and I’ll be ready to do some market reach into the blockchain communities.

Rotating Projects: Creating Quality Services, Getting Noticed, Building Community

Zenratstudios is a ‘wheel’, at the center is our pay-it-forward economy, and then surrounding the wheel are different features to it. I want to work on products. Getting our games out there, but those are secondary to our primary focus, raising income. Our focus is integrating 3 of the main wheels into Zenratstudios and then building a community around that:

  • Hero University – behind the scene I am working on our workshop. Right now it’s writing up the content, creating a content strategy, a business plan, and roadmap for it. Essentially I am working on building workshops designed specifically for future Entrepreneurs, Activists & non-profits who are stuck and need support. I want to form an allegiance of Heroes, and partner up with people like Khan Academy or similar. I am looking to run an online hybrid decentralized university that works with blockchain technology and our pay-it-forward economy. Initially we’re going to start small with workshops, and gradually incorporate more features. Receiving feedback on how we can best serve future heroes in the making. We are going to be a school for Peace and Heroism available to all.
  • One Million Heroes – this is the first fundraiser to a longterm plan. Essentially we want to be the Blockchain of Nobel Peace Awards. A blockchain version of the United Nations with allegiances. One Million Heroes is a stepping stone to a long-term plan by which we fund heroes through scholarships and awards. Our main focus here is essentially to raise money to be able to actually give money to people for this to work.
  • The Omnididact’s Hero Magazine – The Hero Magazine is where we are going to interview Heroes all over the world. We want to interview and showcase indie game developers and their work, put them on display, review and play their products, we want to showcase writers with epic fiction and world, and too writers who write spiritual and financial tips. Non-profits and Activists making a difference. We also plan to integrate a random feature so you can find new and creative works. We search for the people with the best dreams, and offer ways to directly contribute to those projects. The Magazine is all about bringing those people together. We have grand plans for this site. The Hero Magazine will probably be our only ad-dependent site. Our focus is content managing strategy and searching for Heroes to write about. This is not hard to find, but will take some work.
  • And more.

Note: I apologize for all the errors that you encountered during this post.