An Illustration From the Grand Master about Making Money Online

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Few years ago when I was really looking for answers on how to make money online, I learned a great lesson from an illustration.

This thought-provoking illustration has been stuck with me, as it re-emphasizes creating value. Want to know what I learned?

Charles Jarvis, the great American humorist, tells the story about the man who goes into the pet store to buy a pet bird.

He sees dozens of caged birds with tiny price tags dangling from their little legs. He scans each price tag one by one: $5, $5, $7 ……… and then $50!

“Hmm.” He wonders. “This $50 bird looks like all of the others. What could be so special about this one?”

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He asks the store clerk. The clerk replies that this one is very special because it can talk. The shopper is impressed enough that he buys this special talking bird and takes it home. The very next day he returns, so disappointed.

“The bird didn’t talk”

The clerk asks, “Did he look in his little mirror?”

“Little mirror?. I didn’t buy a mirror. Does he need a mirror?”

“Of course,” replies the clerk. “He looks in his little mirror and sees another bird in there. He thinks he’s not alone and starts to sing, starts to talk. Got to have a mirror”

This sounds reasonable, so the customer buys a mirror and leaves. The next day he’s back again disgruntled.

“The bird looked in his little mirror,” he says, “But he still didn’t talk.”

“Well,” ponders the clerk. Did he run up and down his little ladder?”

“Ladder? Does he need a ladder?”

“Ofcourse” replies the clerk. “Don’t you feel better after you exercise? When your little bird runs up and down his little ladder, those endorphins start pumpinh in his little brain. Makes him want to sing. Makes him want to talk. Got to have a ladder.”

“How much is a ladder?”

“It’s $12.95.”

“Give me a ladder.” And off goes the customer. The next day he is back, with a scowl on his face.

“The bid walked up and down his little ladder. He looked in his little mirror, but he still didn’t talk”

The clerk listens to the angry customer and then asks, “Did he swing on his little swing? You see, when the bird swings it makes him think he’s back in nature. Makes him want to sing, makes him want to talk.”

“How much is a swing?”

“It’s $7.95.”

The customer grudgingly buys the swing and leaves. But the very next day he is back again, angrier than ever.

“The bird swung on his little swing. He ran up and down his little ladder. He looked in his little mirror. But he still didn’t sing and he still didn’t talk!”

“Hmmmm,” thinks the clerk. “Did he tinkle his little bell?”

The customer doesn’t even wait for an explanation. Determined to see this out to its conclusion, he grabs a little bell, throws some money on the counter and storms off. You guessed it – the next day he is back again! lol

“The bird’s dead!” he exclaims.


“Yup. Dead. His little feet sticking up in the air. He got up this morning healthy as could be. He looked in his little mirror.

He tinkled his bell, he ran up and down his little ladder, he swung on his little swing, and then just before he keeled over and died, he looked over at me, a little tear forming in his little eye, and he finally spoke to me. “He said, “didn’t they sell birdseed?!

Let that story sink in for a moment.

The internet is full of dead and dying businesses that have been distracted by the bells and whistles of technology, they’ve ignored the lesson of the birdseed!

The birdseed is what people need! (Value, solutions, information, etc)


  • Find out what your audience needs.
  • Discover what they’re really passionate about
  • Spurn the solution into a product(s)/service(s)
  • And SELL