When I founded Envision TV and started to building the company, it became apparent that I needed a way to share where the Personal Improvement industry came from, the current state and where I felt it would go.
This seemed like a monumental task to somehow tell the story of an industry that has changed the lives of so many people in a simple and concise manner. I really did not know where to start. The idea floated around in my head for a few weeks.
Then one morning as I laid in bed I was hit with inspiration. It was 3:44 Am March 1st. I suddenly knew that I had to start writing. I was not sure where it was going, but I had to start writing. I grabbed a pad and pen and sat down and began.
By 5:11 am I had written the final word. I looked at my pad and thought “Where in the heck did that just come from”.
While I was writing, I had the voice in my head saying, “Go to sleep.”, “What’s wrong with you?” “You have no idea what you are doing”. I of coursed ignored it. When I finished, I realized at that very moment that everything I have ever studied and learned over the years had kicked in all at once and worked exactly as it was supposed to.
I have been reading books, listening to audios, watching videos all my life on the power we all have inside ourselves and I know its true. But for some reason at 5:11 am, that morning it became more real to me then ever before.
The following is what was created that night. It tells the story of where the Personal Development industry came from. The important milestones of its growth. Where it is today and what I believe it can become.
I hope you find it enlightening and perhaps inspiring.
1937 – Think and Grow Rich was published. It was written by Napoleon Hill, who was a speaker and lecturer. This book was the solidified beginning of the Self Help and Personal Improvement markets. At the time, the delivery mechanism was through books and public seminars.
1952 – Mr. Hill meets W. Clement Stone, and they become business partners. Stone was the Chairman of Combined International Corporation, a company that would later become one of the largest insurance companies in the world. Together, Stone and Hill published Success Unlimited magazine, which later become Success magazine.
1956 – Earl Nightingale produced The Strangest Secret. The record sold over 1 million copies, making it the first spoken record to reach Gold Record status. This and many records to follow earned Nightingale the title of Dean of Personal Development, amongst both peers and the public.
1960 – Nightingale narrated a condensed version of Think and Grow Rich, which was produced by the Success Motivation Institute. That same year he founded the Nightingale-Conant corporation with Lloyd Conant. The company was created to distribute Earl’s audio programs with a simple yet marvelous purpose: to help people realize their full potential … to make them successful and happy.
1978 – Nightingale-Conant made a strategic decision to begin publishing and marketing new authors, and added Denis Waitley as its second author. His recording The Psychology of Winning reached Gold Record status when it sold 1.5 million copies, making it the best-selling audio self-improvement program all time. Because of the success of Waitley’s program, the company began to publish a variety of authors.
As we rolled into the 1980’s, the industry’s distribution platforms were Books, Audios, Videos, Seminars and Personal Coaching.
In 2006 the Personal Improvement market place had reached $6 billion in size. By 2013 it had doubled to $12 billion.
Since 1937, the personal delivery of Personal Improvement has remained the same. Everything from the posture and tone of the speaker has been replicated for the past 100 years: from Napoleon Hill in 1937, to Zig Ziglar in the 1980’s or Tony Robbins in 2000. They stand on a stage, separated and above the audience, heard through a PA system. All videos produced show the speaker on stage projecting his voice to the masses in the audience.
Rarely, since Hill began speaking publicly in the 1930’s, has the speaker’s voice and animation not resembled preaching. The audios and videos created from these events are stage plays: one-man stage plays.
So, in the past hundred years, the distribution mechanism has barely changed. Audio was added in the form of records 60 years ago. Video was added 50 years ago.
During this time, delivery was never really personal. In 1993, Tony Robbins for the first time successfully made it personal with his audio program Personal Power, when he told the listener to turn off the cassette player and do the exercise. He waited a minute and said, “You did not stop the tape, did you? Stop the tape now and do the exercise.” That was the program that made Tony Robbins a household name around the world.
As Robbins’ fame increased he published many books and audio programs, but he eventually got away from that personal approach. He went on to produce mega improvement events that lasted five days and had 6,000 people in the room.
These are financially successful events generating over 40 million dollars per event. They are entertainment spectacles full of music and dramatic staging, and, most importantly, with Tony Robbins on stage. But nobody in the audience gets that personal feeling they received when he said, “Stop the tape.” You felt, back then, that he was talking to you. “Stop the tape” felt personal and it impacted you on a greater, deeper level then these massive events. Now, Tony is an untouchable Personal Improvement Entertainer on stage a football field away from an audience that is too far away to see his face. So, they watch him on a giant TV screen above them. There is a disconnect…
As technology has leaped forward, distribution remained very much the same: Audio, Video, Books, Seminars and Personal Coaching. All of these, with the exception of Personal Coaching, can be scaled because you only have one coach that reaches one person at a time. But Tony showed us we could get close. “Stop the tape” got people engaged and made them take action. It was as close to real interaction as we had seen before.
Personal Coaching, or “Mentoring” as we like to call it, is the most impactful of all. And the part of Personal Coaching that has the greatest value is when the student is listening. We have two ears and one mouth, and for years mothers have told their children that these are also the proper proportions to use these appendages: listening twice as much as you talk.
The way a speaker delivers on stage is different to the way a Mentor delivers. We call him a speaker because he is on stage speaking; but he is speaking to the crowd, not to you. His arm movements, tonal inflections, posture, volume and even his words are different than that of a Mentor. Think about your heroes – the people you read about and are inspired by. If they came to your home to mentor you, would they erect a mini stage, set up a PA system and place yourself 100 feet away from them to eventually have them talk to all the furniture in the room?
The most impactful way of transferring knowledge is the way a Mentor does. He talks to you, and you listen. He is there in front of you, and he speaks to you. His words, body posture and tone all convey a message that is more of a conversation than a show.
It is this that Envision captures and delivers to the people that want to change their lives. We could offer the standard mass showmanship of the other platforms, but this personal connection is the most valuable essence we can deliver to create the greatest impact on the people we help.
A New Platform
2016 – Virtual Reality starts to become a viable platform in general. It started with Oculus, founded by Palmer Luckey, in 2012. Know as Rift, it was a virtual reality headset designed for video gaming. Then they launched a Kickstarter campaign in August to make virtual reality headsets available to developers. The campaign proved successful and raised $2.4 million, ten times the original goal of $250,000. Two pre-production models were released to developers, and the consumer product was released on March 28, 2016, with new design incorporating specialized VR displays, positional audio and infrared tracking systems. But it was very expensive, with entire rigs costing upwards of $3,000. This limited the marketplace dramatically.
Before the first model hit the market in 2016, in March of 2014 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg agreed to acquire Oculus for $2.3 billion in cash and stock.
In November of 2015, Oculus partnered with Samsung to develop the Samsung Gear VR headset. The headset works with Samsung Galaxy phones. Snap a Galaxy phone into the front of the headset and you have VR in your hands for a hundred dollars.
Gear VR started coming to market in 2016. Then all other phone companies followed. Mobile phone became the delivery device, marrying a phone with an inexpensive headset the phone snaps into. Suddenly there are over 100 million or more distribution points for VR, with apps and videos that give people the experience of grand scale: riding roller coasters, walking on the top of a skyscraper, climbing Mount Everest… fear, excitement and vast experiences are what VR has been delivering.
And Now, the Shift
What nobody has been using it for is to take the realism of 360-degree VR and that immersive experience to make it intimate, creating a beautiful real place that is opulent – a world that makes you feel success, wealth and achievement. It’s like the feeling you get when you go to an auto show room and sit inside that 150k sports car. That visceral experience is possible with VR.
Envision sees an opportunity and is developing immersive experiences using 360-degree VR to transport an individual to another place: the most incredible library in a mansion; a New York penthouse with 360 views of the New York skyline; a white sanded beach warmed by the sun of Aruba. Envision VR transports the participant there as he or she puts on the VR goggles. And just doing this changes you, because your mind believes you are there. No matter where you turn your head, you are there and cannot look away.
People sitting in a cubicle at their work can put on the headset and transport themselves to their ideal scene. In the process, they transform their thoughts and feelings, and their mind too. Now take this environment they are in, and before them appears one of the greatest Mentors on the planet.
Just as the Virtual World they have been transported to feels incredibly real, so is the Mentor before them. The Mentor talks to them; but not with the movement, tone or indirectness from the stage. It is intimate and real. Think about how it affects this person and the way he actually experiences it. This is different then reading a book or watching a video. Just as if he had the chance to sit down with Steve Jobs, he would listen with eyes and ears wide open.
Envision VR’s delivery tech transfers knowledge in a way that is deeper then any Audio, Video, Book or Seminar could ever be. The only way it could be better would be if it were actually one-on-one with the Mentor in person.
This is why we created Envision VR, to take the power of Virtual Reality and tip it into a new direction. We take Personal Improvement and give it an immersive delivery platform that reaches people more deeply than ever before.
To do this we have changed the way VR is used and changed the way speakers deliver. We transform speakers into Mentors, and the result is the deepest form of knowledge-transfer available on the planet. We call this Immersive Personal Development.
Scale… The Big Question Answered
The ability to scale to hundreds of millions of current users of cell phones and make that our distribution platform is the key to grand scale. We are taking the mobile phone distribution platform and turning it on its side, snapping it into a headset and delivering an immersive path to greatness. It is single greatest distribution platform on the planet because it is the most highly accessible possible, as it is in the hands – or near – each person 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.