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Whatsapp and International Masterminds

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Jawa Mastermind

Thanh and I recently had an interesting email thread with one of our readers Mark P., where he mentioned:

What I think would help me the most was to form/find a meetup with like-minded individuals for us to bounce ideas and strategies off of. Just composing this email has been therapeutic.

To which Thanh responded:

I can definitely recommend to find like-minded people so you can bounce off ideas. Aaron and I do this all the time. Even though we are miles apart (I’m in Budapest, he is in Bangkok) we still bounce off ideas on calls and text messages, including with our friends. Try to see if you can setup your mastermind group and get together once a while – this will really help. Sometimes when you work through your stuff, like your goals, by yourself it can seem hard but with support of others it will make things a lot easier.

One of the ways we implement this concept of a mastermind, is through an amazing piece of technology called Whatsapp (iPhone, Android, Blackberry).

Introducing Whatsapp

Whatsapp is a real-time cross-platform application that uses data to send messages. What this means, is that you can send message to ANYONE in the world, as long as you have a smartphone and data connection (be that a cellular data plan, or a wifi connection).

I know, sounds awfully a lot like iMessage right? Well here’s the thing – long, long before iMessage was even heard of, Whatsapp was making the rounds in Asia as the top paid App Store application, and with good reason. It’s the first time that we’ve had access to free, instantaneous, cross-platform international communication.

While iMessage requires you to have each others’ Apple IDs (an email address), Whatsapp works straight away as long as you have someone’s phone number in your existing address book. This is HUGE, and probably a large contributing factor to Whatsapp’s success/dominance as the main phone-based instant messaging platform.

Using Whatsapp

There are a couple of things you need to do to use Whatsapp to its full potential.

Take a look at this:

Whatsapp Contact Screen

You’ll see the way that I’ve set up his (fictional) phone number – I’ve tagged it as USA, meaning that it is his United States number. I’ve also prefixed his number with “+1”. “1” is the international dialing code for the US/Canada. The “+”, tells my phone to start an international dial, regardless of which country I am in. This is important, because in different countries, you have to dial a different code for international numbers.

For example, in the US, you dial 011, then the country code, then the number. In Australia, you dial 0011, then the country code, then the number. The “+” sign is a universal translator that handles that first “001” or “0011” for you.

Go through your address book, and change ALL your contact numbers to international format.

E.g., convert 0455-555-555 to +61455-555-555 (an Australian mobile number) or 415-555-555 to +1-415-555-5555 (a US SF Bay Area number).

I also like to tag each number with what country it is from (e.g., USA, Thailand, Hungary etc). This is because my contacts typically have different cell numbers for different countries.

Now let’s take a look at Whatsapp itself (iPhone version, from what I’ve seen, BB and Android versions are similar).

When you first load up Whatsapp, it will ask you confirm your number, then it shows you a list of all the people in your address book who already have Whatsapp – it will likely be a LOT more than you think, especially if you don’t regularly prune your address book.

Feel free to play around with the application and all the settings and functions – what’s more interesting, is the mastermind aspect which I will get right into.

A couple of things you’ll want to change.

  1. Your Status, like this:
    Whatsapp Status Settings
  2. Install Emoji (those cute smiley icons you see everywhere). On iPhone, find the Emoji Free! app and use that.
  3. Under Settings –> Chat Settings, you’ll want to set your name to something recognizable, as this is what your friends will see when you message them:
    Whatsapp Chat Settings
    This correlates to:
    Whatsapp Incoming Chats
  4. Make sure you turn notifications on. You want to get Whatsapp messages the same way you get SMS and phone calls.


Your chat screen looks something like this:
Whatsapp Chats Screen

Group chats are symbolized by the multiple-person image and the chat subject, individual chats are tagged by the person’s name.

Two-way masterminds

As I’ve mentioned before, I use Whatsapp to talk with Thanh all the time, even though we’re in different timezones and continents.

For example, here is a recent chat where we were discussing the upcoming AE series on Sex and Motivation:
Whatsapp Chat

It’s pretty straightforward. You send a message, do the quick calculations to work out if your friend is awake or asleep, and either wait for a reply, or go about your business and let Whatsapp notify you when a reply has been sent back.

A couple of interesting things to note:

  1. You can see what time a person was last online (in the example above, Thanh was last online at 2:27pm my time).
  2. That timestamp will change to “typing” or “online” depending on what they’re currently doing. If they’re typing in a different chat, it will also show up as “typing”.
  3. Whatsapp comes with read receipts. One tick means your message has been sent, 2 ticks means that your message has been received and read.

International Masterminds

Now that you know how to use Whatsapp, here’s how you leverage the technology to greatly increase your capabilities, and thus results.

Napoleon Hill-style masterminds were all about meeting in person, to discuss things. Whatsapp lets you do this regardless of geographical limitation.

For example, in one of my masterminds, I have:

  • Thanh – in Budapest.
  • Dr Ngo – in Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Stark – in London/US/all over the place.
  • JB – in London.
  • Micha – my roommate in Bangkok.
  • Dr Wong – in LA.
We discuss a lot of things – business, wealth strategies, how to create viral marketing campaigns, networking, social skills, and a good amount of general chitchat. For example:
Whatsapp Mastermind

Details blurred to protect the less-than-innocent.

It may seem subtle, but this is really the next evolution of masterminds at an international level, and the sad thing is that most people see tools like Whatsapp as a new instant messaging program for high school students, rather than a valuable business and networking tool to leverage.

The fact that you can send text, images, audio and video (all for free, over data) is an added bonus.

Whatsapp Usage

Yup, pretty sure I’ve saved quite a bit on SMS. 

But wait, there’s more!

I want to give you some more actionable things you can do towards building your own International Masterminds, based on my own experience.

You can build them a number of different ways:

  1. Shared experiences. This is by far, the most effective way. People you’ve met while traveling, partying or going through some sort of event or seminar together, are usually extremely motivated to get their lives together, and the best sort of people to mastermind with. These are by far, the most valuable masterminds that I belong to.
  2. Seminars and Events. This is a subset of the first. For example, I like to attend Affiliate Summit, because it’s related to my (other) business. I meet people there, exchange numbers, tell them to hop on Whatsapp, and BOOM – instant mastermind.
  3. Existing Contacts. Don’t neglect your already-existing friends, family and acquaintances. Many of them have likely done amazing things since you last saw them, so reach out however you can (email, Facebook, phone call), get their latest mobile number and get them on Whatsapp.
  4. New Friends. If you’ve moved to a new city or just decided to expand your social circle, be sure to collect numbers of people who have similar interests to you, and get them on Whatsapp. A good way to meet people with similar interests is to attend Meetups in your city.

Next Steps

  1. Get Whatsapp. There are alternatives like Kik or iMessage or BBIM, but for the moment, Whatsapp seems to be the defacto platform for Asia/Europe/Australia, and is starting to reach the US too. Plus it’s not iPhone/Android/BB-specific.
  2. Find people, network, mastermind!

Photo by: JD Hancock

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Posted by aasim  | November 21, 2014 at 3:18AM | Reply

add me friend only international girls and groups add me my mobile and WhatsApp number is +919923752722

Posted by John  | January 4, 2013 at 6:46AM | Reply

Can you guys confirm that anyone can see your “Typing” status even if you are messaging someone else? Does the other person only see “typing” when im typing to them or any of my contacts? I have found very mixed responses to this and haven’t been able to test. Your article does say that you will see this even if they are not typing to you. Can you please confirm. Thanks.

Posted by Rish  | December 13, 2012 at 8:30PM | Reply

Very well defined. Absolutely in love with whatsapp … Sharing was never this fun . Whatsapp is here to stay.

Posted by Nelly  | October 30, 2012 at 10:22PM | Reply

Nice one ..I have a question you said you can see if a contact is typing either to you or to another contact?…but that’s only when that conversation is open or always, because that mean you will see some times a day some contacts as typing but it is not to you ?…I have never seen that …


Posted by Horpealorpc  | July 27, 2012 at 10:05AM | Reply

WhatsApp is cool, need an international number!

Posted by Jasleen Chahal  | June 14, 2012 at 8:25PM | Reply

Hey, I’m trying to add someone from australia…. so it’d be +61400-000-000 right?? I tried doing that but it hasn’t worked, although I know that the other person also has whatsapp.

Posted by Aaron Lynn  | June 18, 2012 at 4:57AM

Hey, Australian mobile formats are in:
+61 4XX XXX XXX.

I use that for most of my friends back in Sydney and it works fine. Sometimes Whatsapp takes an hour or so to register that your friend has Whatsapp installed.

Posted by appiah macbeth  | June 9, 2012 at 6:38AM | Reply

just started using whatsapp n i must say it’s interesting!

Posted by khanye  | June 6, 2012 at 11:24AM | Reply

I need code for what’s app ?

Posted by Dr. Wong  | April 3, 2012 at 5:25AM | Reply

Do you program ‘Mr’ and ‘Miss’ in your phone book because it’s more efficient to call Dr. Wong?

Posted by Candice Herbert  | April 1, 2012 at 3:50AM | Reply

Great overview it was helpful..but i have one question…. can you see the amount of times your own phone connects to whatsapp just like someone else can see “Last seen” if you connected.

Candice :)

Posted by Thanh Pham  | April 1, 2012 at 5:05AM

As far as I know that is not possible in Whatsapp.

Posted by Mark P.  | February 21, 2012 at 4:19AM | Reply

Hey guys, thanks for putting this post up. Since our email thread I’ve tried to find non-marketing meetups but not much luck. I’ll give this app a go and keep you guys updated. Thanks again and be well.
Mark P.

Posted by Asian Larry  | February 20, 2012 at 6:36AM | Reply

Can I join this group of yours? How much? You tell me, I’m in. I love you asian efficiency guys. 

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