Thanks Giving

Dear Attorney,

In 1620, several dozen men and women walked onto a ship.

Not a dry eye among them, for many it would be the last time they would embrace their mothers,
fathers, children, those they most loved.

A dark day. But the start of something extraordinary.

“Truly doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting. To see what sighs and sobs and prayers
did sound among them… what tears did gush from every eye, and pithy speeches pierced each heart…”

These words belong to William Bradford, later the second governor of the Plymouth Colony, describing
one of the darkest days of his life. A day that, in hindsight, would change the course of history.

A few years earlier, he had hatched a business plan. Bradford and around 400 other exiled English
Puritans who were part of his clandestine congregation in the Dutch city of Leiden. And business plan it
was indeed. Because it had to be funded by London’s merchant class.

These Puritans were tired of living on the run. And with the looming threat of a siege by the combined
forces of England and Spain, they decided that the time was nigh to, literally, find new shores.

Even their friends thought they were insane.

Previous attempts had been made to settle in Virginia. And most of the colonists perished in the first
winter. Even if England and Spain held Leiden under siege, their chances of survival were far higher
there in Europe. But these brave men and women didn’t want to survive. They wanted to live.

Free from persecution. Free to practice their own way of life. Free from the tyranny of an institution
whose authority they did not recognize. (I’m sure every attorney who escaped Big Law can relate.)

So, they planned an audacious venture. And somehow – by ways and means of which methods
historians still haven’t pieced together, and probably never will – they obtained capital from some of
London’s wealthiest merchants, permission from the Crown to establish a new colony, two second-
hand ships, a full complement of officers and men, and provisions for the voyage.

One of these two ships was Speedwell.

It was now docked in Holland, on that tearful summer morning. As those brave pilgrims released the
clasp of their mothers’ hands, kissed their infant children for the last time, and nodded to their fathers
with a defiant lump in their throat, they were under no illusions as to the dangers they faced.

However, like all entrepreneurs — including many attorneys going solo, or forming their first firm or
partnership — they were blissfully naive to the real hardships that lay in wait for them, and how tough
the journey would be. And I’m going to tell you the story of this incredible journey, in these pages.

For, as you probably realize by now, this is the true story of the First Thanksgiving.

And it’s to our shame that few now remember it.

* * *

Three days after setting sail from Holland, Speedwell finally landed in Southampton, England. Carrying
a secret cargo of scared pilgrims. And not a moment too soon. England’s King James I had just ditched
Spain, forming an alliance with Holland — under the condition that exiled English puritans be,
effectively, outlawed and then rounded up and driven from Holland’s cities.

Their ship was to rendezvous with the larger Mayflower, which was already carrying provisions
purchased from London, and they were to begin their journey across the Atlantic together immediately.

That was their plan. And, like most entrepreneurial plans, it went to hell in a handbasket the moment it
came into contact with reality. In the most unbelievable way.

The Saboteur Who Nearly Cancelled America

I mentioned yesterday that Speedwell and Mayflower were “second-hand” ships. Well, this wasn’t
entirely accurate. Both were old and, at this point, despite being refitted for their journey, now barely
seaworthy. In fact, Speedwell was an ex-Royal Navy ship, consigned to scrap. It was part of the fleet
that had fought and defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588, literally saving England from conquest.

(Isn’t it interesting, how history is filled with these coincidences?)

It sprung a leak as it approached Southampton, which meant both ships’ departure for the New World
had to be delayed by a few weeks. When the pilgrims finally set off again — already nervous because
their provisions were literally being eaten up — Speedwell sprang a second leak.

And, again, they had to return to port for extensive repairs.

By now, their situation was becoming dire. September was fast approaching. Western gales made the
Atlantic crossing especially dangerous at this time of year. Their window was closing.

After almost a week, they weighed anchor and made off a second time.

Both ships made it 200 miles into the Celtic Sea when a third leak was discovered in Speedwell. So,
they had no choice but to return to Plymouth. Crossing the Atlantic through storms was now inevitable.
If they didn’t do it now, the entire venture would be a failure. And persecution would await.

At this point, things were looking desperate. Their previous two stays in port had decimated their
victuals. By now, they barely had enough to cover their journey to the New World, let alone for surviving
their first winter in a cold, harsh, and strange land.

An interesting side note:

Yesterday, I introduced you to William Bradford, who later served as the second governor of the Colony
of Plymouth. When recounting this adventure years later, he believed that the master of Speedwell
deliberately sabotaged the ship. Not out of malice. But because he had sat down, done the math, and
concluded that they would probably deplete their provisions before reaching America, and that their
hope of surviving the winter was almost nil. He sought to save them from that doom.

The pilgrims took counsel. They decided to load Speedwell’s passengers and provisions onto the
already cramped Mayflower, and then abandon Speedwell in Plymouth.

So, they returned to port. And just as they had finished loading Mayflower, the winds subsided, and
they had to wait a further seven days for them to pick up again.

Bradford wrote in his diary: “We lie here waiting for as fair a wind as can blow. Our victuals will be half
eaten up, I think, before we go from the coast of England; and, if our voyage last long, we shall not
have a month’s victuals when we come in the country.”

When favorable winds returned, it was well into September. Ironically, having to sit in port and wait for a
breeze to come meant they would now have to journey through gales, squalls, and tempests.

Even back in Holland, their venture seemed audacious.

Now, it seemed like idiocy.

Crammed onto a small, creaking ship, with hundreds of live animals. If the Atlantic swells didn’t drown
them, there was a good chance they would starve to death or die of thirst long before they saw the
shores of America. Even if they made it to the New World, how would they survive the first winter?

They should have given up. But they didn’t.

They waited. And after seven days, they finally set sail from Plymouth and left England for the last time.
More than a month later than planned. Little did they know, their adventures hadn’t even started.

Puke, Prayers, and a Burial at Sea

The Atlantic is a monster in autumn. And her violent rages have claimed countless ships over the ages.
But this crossing was especially bad. Far more than any of them, even Bradford, had foreseen.

The Pilgrims spent the whole time cramped below deck. Trapped in a dark, cold, and wet cargo hold.
Crouching because the ceilings were too low for them stand. Breathing in the stench of rancid puke,
which slushed around their feet as the Mayflower was rocked by ocean swells.

Sometimes, the storms were so severe that her crew had no choice but to lower the sails and let the
Mayflower drift for days on end, even while their provisions diminished. The gales were so powerful
they would have ripped off her masts and left them all stranded.

One pilgrim who did venture on deck was swept overboard. Luckily for him, quick-witted sailors were
able to throw him a line and pull him from the ocean before he drowned. But he learned his lesson.

A few weeks later, one of the sailors dropped dead. He was buried at sea.

About halfway across the Atlantic, a particularly severe storm cracked the main beam of the
Mayflower’s hull. If one of the passengers didn’t happen to be carrying a “great iron screw” — as one
does — Mayflower would have snapped in half, and they’d have been sent to Davy Jones’ Locker.

A woman gave birth to a baby boy. She called him Oceanus.

Cramped in the dark. Shivering. Terrified. Hungry, with their provisions running dangerously low. All the
pilgrims could do was hold onto one another and pray to God. That they would make it to dry land
before they ran out. That everything they had been through hadn’t been in vain.

Their prayers were answered.

After 66 grueling days at sea, on the morning of November 9, 1620, Mayflower’s crew espied Cape
Cod. As the sun was rising behind them. They had finally reached the New World.

And just in time for winter.

All for Nothing?

The pilgrims intended to land on the mouth of the Hudson River. However, traumatized and exhausted
from crossing the Atlantic, the Mayflower severely damaged, they dropped anchor in Cape Cod Bay.

Another child was born a few days later. They named him Peregrine — from the Latin Peregrinus,
which means “one who has travelled from distance lands”. He was their first American.

As mentioned earlier, the pilgrims had, somehow, obtained a Royal Charter that entitled them to build a
new colony in what was then, at the time, known as Virginia. However, they had landed much farther
north than intended. They had no legal right to settle in Cape Cod Bay.

Signing the Mayflower Compact

Signing the Mayflower Compact, 1620 — by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1899). Public domain.


And so, to start their new life on the right foot — and have some semblance of law and order on which
to establish a new society — they formed a kind of “partnership agreement”.

We now call it the Mayflower Compact.

This document was, in a sense, America’s first written constitution. A forerunner to the one we all live
under today, the one for which you get out of bed every morning to fight and protect. And it was drafted
in that moment. As an attorney, I thought you might appreciate this.

Can you remember the moment when you signed your partnership agreement? Or, if it’s a PLLC that
you have — your operating agreement? You might not have been founding a colony. But you were
starting something wonderful. Something that you hoped would one day become bigger than you.
Something that might develop a life of its own. And it felt great, didn’t it?

Imagine how these pilgrims must have felt.

After everything they had been through, they were now finally “hanging their shingle” as a new
community. And, as you know from your own experience, this is the moment when…

Reality shows up to give you a cold, hard slap

For the first month, they continued to live on the Mayflower. By day, they explored the coast, scouting
for a location to establish their plantation and start laying down roots. And, by night, they sheltered
inside their ship, crammed together, waiting helplessly for winter to bite.

And bite it did.

That winter was particularly harsh. Over a few weeks, the Mayflower transformed from a floating
bunkhouse to a floating hospital. It was filled with the sick and dying.

During one of their expeditions, a few of the younger pilgrims thought they could see strange folks in
the trees, stalking them. When they tried to follow, they ended up getting lost. While retracing their
steps, they stumbled upon what was left of an abandoned village. It had belonged to the Natives.

The Wampanoag people had lived in these lands, mostly prosperously, for more than 10,000 years.
The last decade or so, though, had been disastrous for them.

Decimated by skirmishes with neighboring tribes. And ravaged by successive waves of disease, which
had been bought to their virgin shores by explorers and colonists who arrived before the Mayflower.

That settlement the pilgrims found was a ghost village. Its former occupants had perished. And they left
behind many acres of cultivated land. The pilgrims chose it as the site of their new plantation.

All through the winter, they toiled while shivering and hungry. Building houses in the snow. Laying
trackways. Preparing the land for spring, should they see it.

The Wampanoag knew they had taken their village. From time to time, they would shoot lone pilgrims
with arrows. Never quite stepping out of the shadows. Always an ominous feeling of dread.

The pilgrims just about made it through the winter.

But it cost them dearly. Half of the pilgrims perished, including many children.

When the crew of the Mayflower began to recover from disease, the captain ordered them to weigh
anchor and return to England at once. The pilgrims were now left behind to fend for themselves — with
no provisions, half their population wiped out, and surrounded by new enemies. Their land was still too
frozen to be worked. All they could do was hold on.

Things were looking bleak. Very bleak.

At this point, it must have seemed like everything they had endured was for nothing. That the safe
passage they had prayed for was, in fact, a curse. But salvation was waiting for them just around the
corner. And it came from the most unlikely place.

A Snakeskin and a Bundle of Arrows

It was March 1621.

Spring was finally here. And, without any warning, a Wampanoag tribesman walked into their colony.
He came unarmed, and introduced himself. For the entire night, he drank beer and talked with the
Pilgrims. And then he left. A few days later, he returned with another member of his tribe.

A man named Tisquantum, whose English was far better.

(The pilgrims didn’t know this, but Tisquantum was the sole remaining member of the tribe who lived in
that ghost village. He had been abducted by the explorer Thomas Hunt, sold to Spanish slave traders,
and then forcibly converted to Catholicism. Somehow he found his way to England and then, incredibly,
Tisquantum returned to America about a year before the pilgrims had arrived — only to find that his
entire family and tribe had been wiped out by those waves of disease. A truly magnanimous man.)

Over the following weeks, he and several other Native Americans in his tribe taught the pilgrims how to
plant and grow the corn stores that had been left behind in the abandoned Patuxet village.

They showed them where to fish. And how to catch beaver.

And, when the time was ripe, Tisquantum introduced the pilgrims to his tribe’s chief, Ousamequin.
It turns out that their tribe had been suffering continuous harassment from the neighboring Narragansett
Indians — who, for some reason, had barely been affected by the wave of diseases brought in from
Europe. They saw a “joint venture” opportunity. A strategic partnership.

Indeed, when the Narragansett became aware of the growing friendship between the pilgrims and the
Wampanoag, he sent a message to the colony — a bundle of arrows wrapped in a snakeskin.

William Bradford, whose diary entries I shared in my previous emails, was now leading the colony. He
understood that it was a threat, so he returned the snakeskin to the Narragansett tribe, but wrapped it
around a bundle of bullets and gunpowder. They understood what Bradford was saying — and from
that day forward, his warriors left the pilgrims and the Wampanoag alone.

(I often talk about the power of “lumpy mail”, especially when used to communicate an offer that your
potentials cannot refuse. But this might be the most visceral direct mail piece I’ve ever heard about.)

Ousamequin was grateful for the help. Very grateful.

So, he had his tribespeople coach the pilgrims through their first growing season in the New World.
They taught the pilgrims how to cultivate all kinds of different crops, maximize their yield, and, really,
build a large reserve of provisions to comfortably see them through the next bitter winter.

By the time autumn came, they had reaped a bumper harvest.

After everything they had been through. Their escape from England in the dead of night. Living as
exiles in Leiden, and then as outlaws. Flying from Holland under the looming threat of siege and then
persecution. A secret passage back to England. Three leaks, and two false starts.

Their Atlantic crossing, crammed into a cold, wet, dark, and smelly cargo hold for more than two
months. Almost drowning. Losing half of their brothers, sisters, parents, and friends to disease, and then
to the bitter cold of the American winter, and then to starvation. Having to bury some of their
precious children in small graves at the top of the hill.

It was all for this moment. Now, finally, their voyage no longer seamed idiotic. Their bravery, fortitude,
and sheer audacity didn’t seem so foolish. It was finally bearing fruit.

The First Thanksgiving

Can you remember the day when you reaped your first paycheck or distribution of profit from your law
practice? That moment when it finally sunk in — that everything you risked, all that hard work, those
countless hours of sacrifice, the sleepless nights, it was paying off — you were going to make it.

Imagine the sense of relief the pilgrims must have felt.

They were so elated, so thankful, that they laid down their tools and their puritan work ethic for three
straight days. For a festival of thanksgiving. And they invited their Native American friends to join them.

The First Thanksgiving, 1621

The First Thanksgiving, 1621 — by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863–1930). Public domain.

You see, to me, this is the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

It’s not about showing gratitude for the things or the physical blessings we have in our lives. It’s for
expressing our gratitude for the people who helped us get where we are today — all the friends and
those we love, who stood by our side in our darkest hour, who gave their time generously to us when
we had nothing to offer them, who rooted for our success every day.

We’re nobody without our friends and allies. If there’s one thing the COVID-19 pandemic should have
taught us, it’s that we belong together, as part of a tribe. Alone, we perish and wither.

For a few brief years, the pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribesman lived together in friendship. If it
weren’t for the deep knowledge that the Natives had of their lands, the pilgrims would have perished.
And if it weren’t for the guns of the pilgrims, Ousamequin’s people would have been murdered or driven
away by other hostile tribes. Their alliance saved them both.

When you sit down with your family and celebrate Thanksgiving next week, I urge you to look beyond
the drudgery of these last few years, and the politics, and the doom and gloom. Reach out to the folks
who helped you get to where you are today, and reconnect. Acknowledge the role they played.

These last few years have been tough for most of us. And none of us know what secret struggles our
friends and neighbors are enduring in silence, or what battles they’re fighting inside their heart or their
heart. A kind word from a friend, especially now— it can make all the difference.

At the same time, cast an eye to the future.

Whatever your goals are, for your law practice and your personal life, I can tell you with confidence that
having good people around you is critical. Strategic alliances don’t always need to happen by accident.

Now is a great time to begin planting seeds — to start finding the partners you need, to take your
success to the next level, and bring them onto your team.

* * *

It takes SERIOUS GUTS to be an entrepreneur. Whether we’re talking about founding a colony in the
New World, building and launching a new tech platform, or starting your own law practice.

Everyone dreams about a better life.

Few folks, however, are willing to venture to strange shores — to risk the comfort of the life they know
for the opportunity to create the life they want. They’d rather watch from the sidelines. Waiting to say, “I
told you so…”, if it doesn’t work out this time. Or, “I knew you’d do it!”, when it does.

Most of our attorney clients are conscientious people.

They know they couldn’t have done it on their own, and they’re quick to acknowledge the help and
support they got from their family and staff. A lot of them send Thanksgiving cards to all their staff and
partners, to attorneys who refer cases to them, even to many of their clients. Maybe you do as well.

Tell me, though:

When was the last time you stopped to thank yourself?

Like, really stopped to acknowledge everything your past self did, and had to endure, so that you could
sit here today and look back from a place of relative success? And when was the last time a member of
staff or junior partner sent you a Thanksgiving card, to thank you for creating their job out of thin air?

If you’re the owner or partner of a law firm, or if you’re a solo attorney who earns his or her own keep,
then you’re one of the rare wealth creators. It’s people like you who not only hold up the American
economy, but keep it growing. Who make America the world’s greatest consumer market.

Someone really ought to buy you a beer. 🙂

Unfortunately, I can’t send you a beer through the mail. However, here’s something I can do:
I’ve put together a special package for November only. For our Platform Program. An unapologetic
thankyou. For reading my emails every day. For being a part of our community. And, most of all, for
having the guts to be both an entrepreneur and an attorney at law.

The doors are open now. And before I tell you how to take advantage of it, here’s a quick summary of
what it’s about. So you can decide if this opportunity makes sense for you now.

Here’s the deal:

Special Thanksgiving Offer, for Platform Program

The Platform Program is our flagship service.

It’s for attorneys who want to attract 3-5+ additional cases per month from the internet. High-quality
cases, i.e. educated people with money, a sound case or need for your services, and the sense to
realize that trying to cut corners and save money on legal fees is a fool’s errand.

It’s not about getting your practice’s website on the “first page of Google” for commercial price-shopping
keywords. You already know this strategy doesn’t work. These keywords attract mostly timewasters
and telemarketers. Not quality cases. Nope. Our Platform Program is about getting your practice
ranked for a different type of keyword. We call them “advice-seeking” keywords.

These are the terms that high-quality potentials type into Google, when they want to learn more about
their situation and what they should do. They’re what people type into Google when they are invested in
the outcome of their case or successful resolution of their legal need. What potentials type when they
care more about getting it right than about getting a “deal”, when price is NOT their primary concern.

It’s the only service that helps attorneys rank for these.

Now, our Platform Program isn’t for every attorney. It’s not cheap. It’s a twelve-month commitment. And
there is often a waiting list. However, I’m going to give you a way to skip that waiting list.

If you’re ready to invest in your law practice — and sow the seeds NOW for your next harvest, and your
next season of prosperity — my Director of New Client Admissions is authorized to get you onboard
immediately, so we waste no time in getting your practice ready to own 2022 and the years beyond.

We’ve also put together a $4,125 bonus package. It disappears on November 30, at midnight. And this
package is in addition to the complimentary Speak-a-Book and professional photoshoot that comprise
the regular fast-action bonuses for Platform Program.

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This offer has expired. If you are still interested, please call us at:
(888) 225-8594 and email at:

What do you get?

Complimentary “Gold” membership of our White Glove Call Answering Service, for six weeks.

This new service takes care of all your calls for you – so you can work without interruption, enjoy your
evenings and weekends out the office again, and sleep like a baby at night. Never lose a new client to
competitors again… because you were too busy, too tired, or too burnt-out to pick up the phone. Every
call answered after three rings guaranteed, by motivated and consummate professionals whose full-
time job is to put your best foot forward to every person who calls, identify and qualify high-quality
cases quickly, and follow up as much as needed to get that business on your books.

  • Qualify that lead, to make sure the person calling has a viable case, the money (or assets) to
    afford your fees, and the right attitude – so you only give your time to PCs who are a solid fit for
    your practice
  • Establish your authority positioning as an expert on their particular case, and a respected
    advocate whose time is valuable and in high demand – so PCs put you on a pedestal and hang
    on your every word
  • Convert every serious enquiry into an in-office case review or consultation, a Zoom meeting,
    or whatever else your preferred next step is – so you have more opportunities to land new
  • Follow up without “chasing” in a way that is courteous, professional, and projects the highest
    values of your practice, yet is also persistent – so you don’t need to worry about business falling
    through the cracks
  • Send reminders and confirm appointments through email, SMS, and/or telephone outreach –
    so you don’t need to give them a second thought, nor waste precious time hanging around for
  • Nurture and educate your leads, by sending digital or printed materials – so they understand
    your unique value, have a more realistic expectation about fees, and show up pre-sold on
    retaining you

The Gold plan costs $750/month.

New clients also pay a one-time setup fee of $500.

You’ll get six weeks’ full use of this service on the house. As well as the regular deliverables and fast-
action bonuses that make up our Platform Program. And you won’t have to pay the setup fee.

But only if you join before the end of November.

There’s more:

You also get one year of managed LiveChat on your website, worth $3,000.

We will install LiveChat on your website, and provide a live operator (who is a native English speaker)
who is trained to turn conversations into enquiries for you. This could dramatically increase the number
of leads you get from your website, literally overnight. And you won’t pay a single dime for it.

This is our special Thanksgiving offer. As I said earlier, consider it an unapologetic thankyou. For being
a part of our community. And, most of all, for having the guts to be a lawyer and an entrepreneur — two
callings that, each alone, would crush the hearts of most normal folks.

I and my team salute you.

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This offer has expired. If you are still interested, please call us at:
(888) 225-8594 and email at: