TEI Talks - 1 - Cultivating Expertise edited - v2
11:56AM Sep 13, 2020
direct response marketing
Welcome, everyone. Good to see those of you here in the chat.
And thank you for taking a risk by being here and showing up the first of this series of talks. I'm calling tea talks.
The topic today and ongoing is this thing I call the expertise incubator or ti for short.
Ti is a framework for cultivating expertise. Just the name of
the hosts of my lips, probably my favorite entertainment podcast. roderich on the line would refer to TI as a thought technology. And it is a sort of technology. It's to an idea about how to do something it's designed, it's intentional. It's empowering in the way that technology is or can be So, you know, when I think about this category of thought technologies, really frameworks that ti fits into, they're all frameworks for cultivating human capacity. And I think it's interesting to take these these things for granted. But they haven't always been around. You know, think about something like the idea of physicians in training, doing rounds in a hospital. And that's a, you know, a framework for cultivating expertise in medicine. And, again, it's easy to take that stuff for granted. It's been there a long time, a lot longer than any of us have been alive, but it hasn't been there forever. Hospitals haven't been there forever. I think about something like a young attorney, doing a clerkship at the US Supreme Court. And again, it's easy to take that kind of thing for granted. Oh, that's just what you do to, you know, go up through the ranks as an attorney and elevate your status. And your expertise. So it's easy to take this stuff for granted. But, you know, be good. None of these things haven't been around for forever. They're all inventions. They were all at some point invented and formalized. And hopefully it's not too, you know, boastful of me to say t AI fits into this category of frameworks for cultivating expertise. It's the same kind of idea. It's it's a rather loose, somewhat informal, but still a somewhat formalized framework for cultivating expertise in over this series of talks. What I'd like to do is unfold for you what ti is, how it works, how you can apply it to your own career, to cultivate new, deeper, self made expertise.
There are in My life, I should say at least but there are two instances of jealousy that I remember with just crystal clarity. The first is being jealous of a friend's girlfriend. And I'm not going to elaborate on that one today. The second is being jealous of someone's expertise. And that I do want to elaborate on today. I forget what the year was. Maybe we're talking 2013, something like that. And I was new to self employment. I was very not good at it. And I was hunting around for information about how to get better at it. And one of the people I ran across was Patrick McKenzie, who is a real I haven't met the guy so I don't know him personally but very generous guy. And was doing he was doing a lot of of work online work in public at that time, and I came across what he was writing podcasts he was doing with his podcast partner at the time Keith per hack. And I would see things like this, I would see Patrick McKenzie saying something something something. My weekly rate is $30,000. And I would be like, well flat out jealous of being able to command those kind of weekly rates. And, and having this just overpowering feeling of like, How can I do that? I want to do that.
I would see Patrick adding what felt like insult to injury was stuff like this. This is an excerpt from Patrick's podcast with Keith per hack. And you've got Patrick saying, I often joke that consulting clients really want to buy dramatic blog post readings as a service. And so let's see stuff like that. And the feeling was like, Oh, that's even worse. Because that seems like he's just standing up and reading blog posts to consulting clients and they're spending $30,000 a week for that privilege and that makes the position I'm in feel even worse, which is charging nowhere near at that time charging nowhere near those kinds of rate. This was what I was jealous of. And this led me some, I suppose interesting places. Ultimately And none of these were like the answer. But this led me to look at what folks like Patrick McKenzie were selling. Another kind of person who didn't, wasn't saying, you know, my weekly rate is this amount, but another person that I was paying a lot of attention to at that time was Joanna Wiebe and her business copy hackers. And that sort of combination of looking at what someone like Patrick, excuse me, Patrick McKenzie was doing. And someone like john we was doing led me to look at, literally what were they selling. And you know, a lot of times it was stuff like conversion rate optimization, or direct response marketing, or copywriting. And so where I ended up was, oh, that's the answer. I just need to get not even good or great at conversion rate optimisation, direct response marketing copy. Writing, I just need to do those things. And that will be an avenue to charging a lot more money. That was the feeling
reminds me of this cartoon. There's two kinds of answers simple but wrong. complex but right. That was my simple but Wrong answer to how do I how do I monetize expertise in the way that I see Patrick McKenzie doing? There is a mental disorder called body dysmorphic disorder. This is from Wikipedia. It's a mental disorder characterized by the obsessive idea that some aspect of one's own body or appearance is severely flawed. And therefore warrants exceptional measures to hide or fix it. So in a way, I think what I had at this time was something like success dysmorphic disorder, I was looking at other people's success and there was a kind of perceptual disorder. And I was looking for a jump back a few slides here tactics, that would be the answer.
That was looking really, I think, at the artifacts of what they had done, I was impressed by the artifacts, the weekly, you know, the the impressive weekly rate, the, you know, other things that were sort of artifacts of their success. And I didn't really want to do the work of learning conversion rate optimization at a deep level or learning copyright. Writing at a deep level what I seemed to want what I think I wanted was just, you know, I wanted that success. So something else I think you should know about me is that I seem to be incapable of like just learning a trade and being happy with what that trade offers. I seem to have this hunger to invent things for some reason. I did, however, recognize at some level that what folks like Patrick and Joanna we were doing was selling something that was related to expertise. And since then, I've come to understand that expertise has something to do with creating value by reducing uncertainty for people who are suffering what Jonathan Stark would refer to as expensive problems.
And there are expensive problems out there. problems in search of expertise. And these problems have no formal curriculum or credentialing connected with them. So, you know, Patrick and Joanna and others that I had really admired at this time, I had found and adopted these kinds of problems, these problems that don't have a curriculum or credentialing associated with them. So I think it may be as appropriate to refer to these problems as orphan problems. I think of a friend of mine, a colleague and friend of mine, David Baker, and, you know, he's identified one of these problems, which is folks who have started some kind of marketing agency business or digital shop. And they're kind of terrible at managing the business, they sort of lucked out a lot of times, not always they've looked their way into the level of success that they have. And then they're held back by their own lack of expertise in this area. That's a, that's an expensive problem. the right kind of advice makes a big difference in that situation. And so David has adopted this problem of effective financial management for this type of business, and invested heavily and cultivated expertise that addresses that problem. That's an example of an orphan problem that he's adopted. And, you know, to have a positive impact on these kinds of orphan problems. You have to invent the credibility of yourself. You have to invent the curriculum for cultivating the expert. He's that leads to that credibility. This realization for me, started to bring me closer to my desire to invent something that was progress for me. When you think about inventing credibility, I think you could imagine doing that in several ways. What I think is the the way that you actually do it is you let people in the market make up their own minds about you the expert. And I think the best way to do this is by publishing helpful quality information that helps them make up their mind about your your credibility and your expertise.
At this time, again, maybe 2013 or so, my model for publishing was what I saw folks like Patrick McKenzie doing. I can lump other folks in there as well. But what you see when you look at someone like Patrick circa 2013 2014, something like that was him publishing these infrequent, lengthy book like emails. They were so impressive in terms of the amount of information they contained, and the quality of the writing and they just were impressive in every way. And so for me at that time that became a model for this is how you publish such that others see what you're you're doing, they see your expertise, and it creates this credibility. So I started trying to do that and doing some additional experimentation along the way. Now if we go back in time to the year 2015, I had a book that I had just self published and I wanted to sell more of it. So I was looking around for ideas, advice about how to do that. And I came across this guy named Ben settle. And I've learned a fair bit from Ben settle. But anytime I mentioned this guy, I feel like I have to give something like a content or trigger warning he. It's just really hard to know if this guy if he's playing a part a character in his emails, or if he is actually a really sexist, misogynistic kind of guy. I don't know. I know when I hear him, like talk and be interviewed. It doesn't come across that way. And then when I read a lot of his emails, it does. So it's really I just find myself sort of confused about who he really is. So I need to mention that in case any of you go out and you know, sort of check this guy out. Ben settles definitely a full on advocate of direct response marketing, which is fine a direct response marketing as as a sort of tool set as a framework for doing marketing. It's it's neutral as a complete system for selling stuff online. And I think the incentives of direct response marketing are a little bit problematic. You know, it's just, there's a sort of, I think, a fundamental in compatibility with direct response marketing and selling expertise driven services. Ben settles also an advocate of daily emailing. I'll define that later in a more precise and relevant way in terms of us And our needs later in this talk series for now, I can tell you that Ben settle would probably define it as sending a marketing email with a strong call to action to buy something. And doing that at least five times a week. So we're talking again 2015 here late 2015, November, December 2015. Actually, I come across this guy, Ben settle. And I see him advocating daily emailing. And I see him saying things like, this is a quote from something you can find on this site. You're in, you're out, I just, I'll add a little context. As I read it, I just load up these emails that have already written set them to go out when I want and sit back the results our sales go up each time. So this seemed like a pretty good thing to me. At that time, I was sort of steeped in this idea of Applying direct response marketing to selling stuff on the internet. And I was following folks like Patrick McKenzie and Joanna Wiebe who is making a large part, that's what they they were doing was applying sort of classic direct response thinking to SAS businesses. And so it sounded really good to me. And so I started doing it. Remember, January 2016, is when I started sending daily emails. And what I started doing was using a style of writing and publishing stuff that was meant to be entertained, have a sort of balance between entertainment and education and sales. Here's an email just a screenshot of an email I sent. I don't remember when, but around that time,
I'll read out the call to action here. So just a little bit of context, this emails telling a funny story about a car mechanical breakdown I'd had and the search for the right mechanic. And so it ends up with this call to action. It's often as simple as finding the right mechanic, one who understands your business and what small changes will make prospective clients start showing up more reliably. I can be that mechanic for your software development business. And then I have a link to the services page on my website. And I know that was so persuasive that all of you watching are clicking away to go look at the services page on my site. There's an important sidebar here. I actually succeeded at publishing daily, whoops. Just the mechanics of it. I've just like getting an email out daily, which I'll define as every day that you work, you sent an email. So for me that was generally five days a week and I actually succeeded at it. So unlike my attempts to replicate Patrick Mackenzie's approach, which ended up for me and basically and failure, like I just didn't publish, I did not publish that consistently. When I was trying to do what I saw Patrick McKenzie doing, I actually succeeded at publishing daily. And this leads to, I think, a sort of counterintuitive part of the whole idea of daily publication, which is that it seems like because you're publishing more frequently, it will be harder. But I found that once the habit was in place, which took a little while, but once it was in place, it was much easier to maintain that habit and I saw other forms of success as well. There were book sales, there was list growth, and there was list engagement. And that all got way better when I started publishing daily. Now, the caveat here is that stuff like lists growth wasn't just from publishing daily. They were additional factors like putting in place lead magnets and that sort of thing. But there were book sales. These are the book sales.
I should be a little more accurate. The digital product sales are some courses and stuff, so resulting in some big monthly spikes in sales. And there's a caveat. A colleague of mine who's an our data scientist, helped me out at some point, and helped me realize that I had this idea that my daily emailing was just brilliant and effective and it was contributing to all these book sales and he looked at the data and and discovered that the vast majority of people who join my email list did so on the same day. They bought the book that I'm selling the positioning manual. And what that means is that the reason they join my email list is because they bought the book and they did not buy the book because they were already on my email list. So that kind of blew up my theory about the effectiveness of what I was doing with daily publishing in terms of driving book sales. But all of this is a little bit incidental, because the daily emailing led me to something that I think is far more important and valuable long term than the book sales. I started getting replies from my email list. Some of these are a little bit more recent, but I started seeing this maybe six or 12 months into the daily publication and getting replies like this. This is from someone who said I that he had forwarded an email on to a number of his clients because of the expertise that he saw reflected in that email. This is someone who is exhibiting trust in my expertise and, you know, trust in expertise coming from the market is. That's one way to think about authority. This person says, I'll be using these tips for my research project. Again, that's trust. And then someone responding to my point of view. And a point of view is the distinctive differentiating perspective that you have on something that matters to your clients. And someone is saying, I'd love to hear more about your I'll translate it to a point of view about this topic of innovation. So I wanted to sell more of a book. And I did sell the book, the lifetime book sales have been good. But instead of that What I really got that mattered is expertise, authority and points of view. Now, not all of this came from daily publication, but you know, it was some of it came from a combination of that and the client work that I was doing. But that combination is a very potent combination, and it was enabled by daily publication. Not a bad outcome. So at some point, I saw an opportunity to lead others through this same process. I sent this email to my list, apparently, Monday, July 16 2018. And I invited people to embrace with me a series of three challenges and three ideals. And I'm going to talk about those for the rest of today. And I'm going to talk a little bit about the first a little bit more about the first challenge of daily publication and the people who responded to this email We're amazing. And I continue to make this offer. That's one of the things I do is I, you know, people can pay me to participate in a group of people that I put together to embrace these challenges. And amazing people continue to respond. There's something about these challenges that seems to evoke that. So let's talk about what they are.
There's three challenges. The first is to publish daily. The second is to conduct research. And the third is to self publish your research findings. At some point, ti this program had five challenges and then I simplified it down to three because it seemed to better fit what is helpful for folks And the way I've structured this is I suggest that whether you, you know, join a paid cohort that I run, or you do this on your own, and I want both to be really good options for folks. I think spending three months on each challenge makes sense. There's a lot of thinking behind that, particularly with the daily publication and later in this talk today, I'm going to elaborate more on why three months, or rather, I'll describe the process the kind of kind of timeline that you'll experience. And I think you'll see how that fits into a three month schedule really well. So each of these challenge I think spending three months on the makes a lot of sense. Again, they are to publish daily conduct research, and self publishing research findings, and I think doing them in that order, makes the most sense also. There are also three deals that I encourage you to try to live up to as you focus on these three challenges. The first is this anything you create in this program should be good enough to spread by word of mouth alone. That's the first ideal. So word of mouth just briefly means that others encounter what you're publishing they are going to make the choice hopefully to share it without you incentivizing them to do so without you sort of prodding them to do so. Yeah, thanks for not purple cow. When something is good enough to spread by word of mouth alone, that is just the strongest indicator that it has value to the market. Second ideal anything you create in the expertise incubator if you give it away for free, should Be good enough that some people would gladly pay real money for it again. These first two ideals are really all about value, what you publish should have value. And the third ideal, you should be willing to work daily for two to three years to make ideals wanting to become true in your work. Another way to put that is you should be okay with not living up to this first ideal about the word of mouth and the second ideal about people being willing to pay for something that's free, you should be okay with people just not seeing that kind of value at first, for long enough to get to the point where people do see that kind of value. So you need to be okay with not living up to those first two ideals for quite a while because that is the path of growth. So if you were to embrace these challenges and start out with daily publication for three months, you will fail numerous times, sometimes you'll just fail to execute. And you'll be like I couldn't get an email out today. You will often fail to create sufficient value. And you will see the results of that. Sometimes it looks like people unsubscribing from your email list. And you will see these failures repeatedly. And you will say, That's okay, that's normal. That's expected. I knew that was going to happen. Because of this third ideal. These failures are expected they are the flip side of growth. We 100% expect them and you're going to live with them. And they're going to get fewer and fewer as you progress. The Daily public Challenge almost always creates this pattern. And thanks for that question for mix engineering. I'm going to sorry if I'm mispronouncing your handle on when we get to that question about research a little bit today, and then much more in future talks. We're getting there. Thank you for that. So when I say I've seen this in myself, I've seen this and others that have led through this process, this daily publication challenge almost always creates this pattern. Here's what the pattern looks like. It begins with
commitment and a structured commitment. You're saying, alright, for whatever reason, I want to try this thing. I want to try this daily publication thing. Maybe it's because I trust this Philip guy, maybe it's because I can see something in it that I've always wanted to try anyway. Whatever the reason you, you say yeah, I want to do this. And that's the commitment that leads to you producing, meaning publishing an email every day that you work. And that production involves time and energy. It's not It's not like a free, it's not a cost free commitment. It is a thing that you say, Okay, yeah, I want to try this, I want to do it. And then you have new moving parts in your life time that you're spending on the writing energy that you're spending on the writing focus that you're taking away from other things you could be focusing on. And that inevitably, leads to a conflict.
The conflict is simply between this new commitment and the existing commitments in your life. It's simple. It's it's not nothing. In interpersonal conflict, it's more like, I was already busy, I embraced this challenge. Now I am stressed for time or a client project went sideways. And now, I don't know when I'm gonna get the time to fulfill this commitment to daily publication. Or my family needs me or my kid is sick or whatever. There's just, you know, thousands of variations of what this conflict look like. But the fact that you eventually have this conflict is inevitable. So what that leads to is you start questioning. Hmm, maybe this whole idea was not such a great idea. Maybe I should, you know, maybe this Philip guy convinced me to do something that wasn't in my best interest. I'm going to stop doing the daily publication or maybe You know, maybe this made sense two months ago, but then, you know, we had a worldwide global viral pandemic, and things have changed. And I'm not so sure that this is still a good idea, you start to question the commitment. And this is totally normal 100% normal to to start to wonder whether the commitment was a good idea. And, you know, I'm not the kind of guy who's gonna say, Well, you know, don't question that commitment. And that was, you know, you're just undermining yourself. By doing that. Sometimes it makes sense to step away from commitment. But what happens if you are, if you still kind of are committed to this idea of deepening your expertise through daily publication, what happens next is, you say, Well, I want to do both. I want to have that time with my family and do this daily publication or I want to meet those those clients. Expect to And do the daily publication you decide you want to do both. And so you start experimenting. And this is this critical, beautiful moment. When you say I thought publication had to look like, I'll use myself as an example. I thought it had to look like the kind of emails that I see Patrick McKenzie sending these lengthy, almost book like if they're not like an entire book, they're like a wonderful book chapter is highly structured, incredibly well thought through, incredibly informative. You start questioning the idea that that's the only thing that creates value for your readers and you start experimenting with other things that maybe could be different ways of creating value. And that leads to some kind of breakthrough. Maybe it leads to a breakthrough in your thinking about How to better serve your clients. Or maybe it simply leads to a breakthrough in your approach to the emails. And then that kind of helps you renew your commitment to the daily publication. It helps you sort of adjust how you're doing it to better fit your life, the ultimate long term thing that it can do, sometimes the experimentation is not with the daily publication. I started doing this January 2016. And it didn't take long before I felt like I was addicted to it. I really enjoyed it. And so what I experimented with was other ways to make money in more profitable ways. And that came about again from that conflict, that feeling of like, I want to do this, I want to invest more time in it. So why why don't I just change some other things in my life so that I have that time to invest in it. That was my expense. orientation. And that's a really also, I think, a really wonderful outcome of the kind of pressure that you put on yourself when you embrace this challenge of daily publication. So that's the first pattern that I see. that feeds into this second pattern. I'm kind of building on a model here of sorts. You, you know, you have that kind of cyclical conflict and renewal of commitment that makes you better and better at the daily publication. And if you have a really pretty narrow client focus, then you create the conditions for three things to come together. The first is that narrow client focus. So you're focused on a really specific kind of client.
And there's varying degrees of how narrow that focus can be. You are engaging in what's known as deliberate practice. That's the second element here. So when you sit down to write an email and you're trying to make it valuable, you are practicing a skill, which is communicating expertise. And you're cultivating some new skills, which is exploring ideas in writing. And then this really interesting thing happens after a while, you start to become obsessed in a positive way, in an intentional way. What I find this isn't true for everybody, but if you stick with this practice long enough, you will start to be unable to not think about helping your clients in inventing and innovating on their behalf. Now, this is for some of you. The exit ramp you were looking for, to say okay, I've heard enough. I'm out And that's fine. That's good. If for some of you, that helps you make up your mind about this. Others of you perhaps are a bit, you know, undecided, and then perhaps others are still sort of intrigued, like, why would obsession be a good thing. And it gets back to the name of this framework. It's an incubator, it's meant to accelerate something that would take longer if you weren't doing this specific thing if you weren't applying this specific framework. So the obsession is a good thing. It's an accelerant. And getting to that point where you were obsessed in this positive, productive way, again, it takes a while it's, you know, it helps if you actually enjoy the writing, or you get to the point where you enjoy the writing and the publication. And it helps if you move through a couple cycles of conflict where the publishing conflicts with other things you're trying to do in your life because at that point, You start to feel like well, this is like a thing that I do that's important. I'm actually serving an audience here. Maybe they're a small, tiny audience, but still, I'm serving some people in an important way. And when all those feelings are in place, and you've had those sort of preliminary experiences, then the obsession is simply you, dedicating a lot of sort of mental CPU power to trying to make things better for your clients. So I see it as a very positive thing, this obsession. It's not the only way. This daily publication is not the only way to create a sort of obsession. The idea for doing these ti talks has been on my to do list for a long time, but it was, I don't know, three, four weeks ago, I said, Well, I'm going to do it. And I put a date on the calendar. And as soon as I did that, that obsession thing started happening for me. And I was thinking how can I make these you know, how can I handle this Technology for these talks, how can I make the content really good and interesting? And I just became obsessed with that? That question. So daily publication is not the only way to create that kind of obsession. But it is easy to get started with, it's fairly sort of low friction, there's not a lot of moving parts, it's easy to set up an email list. And the format is so fluid and flexible. If you will navigate a couple iterations of that conflict and experimentation process, you'll find that there's a lot of stuff you can do to create value with daily emailing. And it's, again a very fluid flexible format. So that's one of the reasons why I really push folks to consider using an email list as their vehicle for this first challenge rather than something else like what I'm doing today, a live talk. Nothing wrong with the live talk. It's just not as fluid and flexible. Les format. So for now, I do suggest waiting until you've specialized to do this daily publishing challenge because the the focus of specialization will give you, it'll just make things move more quickly. It'll give you a sort of beachhead to apply your thinking to in a more narrow way, which will end up being a more productive way.
So out of this combination of narrow client focus, deliberate practice, and becoming upset, comes the third thing that I've seen in a fairly predictable way. And it's more of a linear process at this point. The first thing that happens is, you embrace this daily publication challenge. You say, yeah, I'm going to give this a try. Let's see what happens. For a while you feel the burn. You feel The discomfort, sometimes the outright pain of change, and the changes, you're spending your time differently. And, you know, as I mentioned before, sometimes that creates a conflict. But at the bottom level of what's happening here, you're deciding to spend time differently. And so it hurts, it kind of burns. And, you know, maybe you're giving up something that you didn't really enjoy that much, or maybe something you did enjoy. Whatever it is, that level of change involves discomfort and a certain amount of pain. At some point, that feeling of this is hard. It hurts. That feeling subsides because you've, you've executed at least at a physical level, this the change that you need to do it, you've gotten to the point where you're sort of like, Okay, this fits into my schedule. I'm not having to constantly fight to find the time and the bandwidth to do this. So that feeling the burn phase ends, and then you enter the next phase, which I call the expertise cinema. And I hope you're all wondering whether those squiggly brown lines are our human waste that I've attempted to render, in my wonderful drawing style? And the answer is, yes, that's exactly what I tried to draw. So the expertise enema happens, because this whole thing is not easy. And because you're committed to the practice of daily publication, and so you do what's natural for all of us. And there's nothing wrong with this. I don't recommend not doing this. What you do is you say, what can I publish that would create value for people? And the answer to that question, almost Every time is not stuff I know nothing about the answer that question is things that I know something about things that I have some expertise with right now. And so you look around for expertise that is close at hand, and easy, relatively easy for you to package up into emails that you feel are useful to publish. And when you do that, you go through everything that fits that description. It's in a relatively easy, it's relatively close at hand. It's packable. I know how to explain it. And what you're doing is you're you're reaching for the low hanging fruit of your own expertise. And this again, I just want to reiterate is fine. There's absolutely nothing wrong with doing this.
But if you look at this from the perspective of your A year or three years from now, or five years from now, you're going to look back on this phase of your publication and say, oh, wow, that stuff was at the time, that was the best I could do. But like where I'm how, how this looks to me now, future you says that stuff wasn't really very valuable. It was stuff that almost anybody could have published. And so what I was doing, I now realize is flushing out of my system. The expertise that relative to where I am now is quite low value. And this is fine. But I call it the expertise enema for that system. You're flushing for that call it the expertise and for that reason you were flushing out of your system and stuff that is kind of low quality compared to what you will be able to get to And it's natural. And it's a normal that we do this and it's fine. It's just a little. Hopefully, I'm not messing things up for any of you that are interested in this path by telling you that you're going to go through a phase that later. It's not that it's going to make you cringe, or you think it's going to be like terrible stuff. But later, you'll look back on these the stuff you publish early on and say, Yeah, wow, I really have come a long way. That's the expertise enema phase. The next phase is hitting the wall. After that expertise, Anima you have reached for laid hold of packaged and published everything that you think you have to say. And you reach a point where you ask yourself with a real sense of gravity and seriousness. Is that all I have to say? If so, what's next? Do I start repeating myself? Do I? What do I do? I kind of hear yourself trailing off and you wonder if there's anything left and I call this hitting the wall. It is a precious, valuable, productive experience. I hope that all of you get to experience. It happens for a lot of folks around the four to five month mark, if you're publishing daily, maybe around 100 column post articles, emails, whatever, you know, 100 pieces of content that you've published is around where I see this happen. Maybe a little bit earlier Anyway, let's just say three to five months. I hope you get to have this experience. It is so painful. Especially if you're kind of a like a you know, sort of introspective, somewhat self critical I don't know who we're talking about here. But to me it's a really painful experience. And it's it's just so beautiful and productive if you get to have it, because what lies on the other side of that is what we're going for here. It's the whole point, which is thinking that gets turned into content, emails, what have you, it's thinking that reflects a unique point of view, and an innovative approach to serving your clients. So let me click back a few slides here. This is a sort of, you can think of this as a sort of larger version of the same cycle. And the way I expressed this cycle earlier was this happens on a small timescale, like, you know, maybe you you hit that conflict and then you question your commitment and you do some experimentation and then and then in a week or two, you've resolved that conflict and you're kind of recovered. admitted to this process. This is a lot this hitting the wall thing is a larger version of that same thing. And when you hit the wall you wonder it is this all I had to say is this the only way I know of to create value for my clients and then hopefully what you will do is do some experimentation and find that it was there was more that you had to say. And you have a way of thinking about and approaching your clients needs that is really distinctively you and unique. And
if you'll push through the wall, there's a very good chance that you'll get to this point where you are operating from a really differentiating distinct point of view and you're bringing innovation into the market. It takes experimentation to do that. And the nice thing about experimenting in this format of daily emails is the cost is very low. And sort of cycle time can be incredibly fast. And this again happens, I say the earliest I tend to start seeing this happen is around five months, maybe 100 posts, you'll start to see this kind of point of view, and innovation content start to emerge. For me, it looks like a number of things like what's come out of that for me. And, you know, I have to offer the caveat that some of my points of view I I can't prove that they have tremendous value in the marketplace, but they are certainly differentiating and distinctive points of view that I have on things like brand versus direct response marketing, and you Different styles of consulting that we might characterize as change versus optimization consulting. That's some of the stuff that's come out of this for me. And again, you know, it's still kind of TBD what the value of those are in the marketplace, but they're certainly distinctive points of view.
When you embrace this daily publication challenge, you will have the most impressive array of fears present themselves to you. And I can tell you again from having done this myself, have friends who've done it and have guided folks through it. These fears are not really that unique. Maybe Do you want to feel like a special snowflake for having these fears, but really, they're not actually that unique. They're pretty common. There's a list here. And it's not a complete list by any means. But these are some of the common ones. I've seen it when I was practicing this talk earlier this week, I tried reading through this list like the guy on the on the like car advertisement commercial who reads through the terms and conditions extremely quickly. I just couldn't really pull it off. I'll just pull one example. Let's see smallest size. A lot of folks who are interested in this idea of the expertise incubator are have no email list at all, or a really small email list or one that's, you know, email marketers would refer to as cold because you folks opted in a long time ago and you haven't been emailing much. And so you think oh, that's gonna make That's not work. I've got a small email list. There's no way I can, like do this and get the results that Philip is talking about. And you're wrong. And that's an excuse. All of these will not cause this process to fail to produce the results I'm talking about. Now, a lot of these things are our actual challenges, but they're small challenges. They're, they're things that you can work around and get around. They're not things that will cause this practice to fail to produce the results I'm talking about. So their fears. Now there is one failure mode and stopping the publishing prematurely before you hit and break through the wall. That will cause this process to fail to produce the results. So doing it you know, six weeks and then For whatever reason, you stop you decide to stop, or you decide to not keep going. That's the failure mode that will cause this to not work. And pronounced back to your question earlier, not having a clear enough focus. Maybe we can think of that as a sort of soft failure mode. But again, all that does really slows you down. Because you're not focused on a narrow enough set of problems or questions. It doesn't really cause a hard failure mode, the way that stopping the publishing would. These ideals are something I need to talk about a little bit more with you today. They're important the critical impact
the reason the The ideal is especially as a third ideal are so important is because of who you probably are. Most of you, if you took a Let's call the disc work personality profile assessment. Most of you are this particular personality type that combines two elements in this terminology. There's the evaluate you along various axes. And the D, and the C are these two elements. The D stands for drive or desire for dominance. And C is conscientiousness. And when you bring those two things into the same person, and they're both pretty strong and prominent, and then you have a very powerful, potent combination that makes for great entrepreneurs and it makes a lot of money for therapists. The reason it does so is because these two things. And I say this, by the way, as I've taken the disc profile and like that describes me, the C is a little more prominent than the D in my disc profile, but there's a strong presence of both of those. And we are so hard on ourselves. And not that other personality types can't find ways to be hard on themselves. But we live in this sort of constant ongoing, I call it a satisfaction gap between what between our vision for what we want to do and then what we're actually doing. And then it's the conscientiousness and the fact that you know, I'm explicitly speaking to solo folks here, solo business owners. So we don't have someone else to like blame when stuff isn't right and that conscientiousness is constantly scrutinizing We do or constantly showing the sort of imperfections and the shortfalls. So what we need to do is cultivate self forgiveness. And without that, this daily publication challenge, I think just kind of collapses. I think we, you know, we, we just we get too many The thing that makes it collapse. We get too many opportunities to sort of judge ourselves and scrutinize ourself and say, we're not living up. And that's what makes it collapse, I think is is that so we have to cultivate self forgiveness. And that third ideal that you agree with yourself to be okay with not living up to the first ideals for a couple years, gives you that window hopefully, of self forgiveness that you need to build up these other skills that the daily publication practice helps you build up. And eventually if you stick with it long enough, the publication, again, it's, it's not something you can do is totally isolated from client work. Ideally, it's a it's a compliment with client work. And eventually the daily publication leads you to what I call a value frontier. And it leads you there. They're very indirectly. So for, for anybody embracing this challenge, I think one of the common questions is like, what should I publish about? And my answer is pretty simple. It's a look at the overlap between what you're interested in and what's important to your client and start there. And from there, just follow your interest. And so you will become as you do this, sort of like a cow wandering around a cow pasture in, you know, the confines of the cow pasture or stuff. that's relevant to your client. meaning you're focused, you're sort of located in an area of study of questions or problems or areas of inquiry or opportunities to make things better. And that pasture of those things is is defined by what's relevant to your clients. And you sort of wander around that following your interest. And over time, you wear grooves into the ground and those cow paths start to tell you where you have the greatest level of interest. So just know that that's one of the normal things about this process. You're not going in a straight line anywhere you're kind of wandering around, it feels aimless. It feels perhaps even chaotic. And eventually, over time, it resolves into a sense of clarity about where your focus is. And somewhere, hopefully, multiple points along the way you find a value frontier, which is where
your clients face uncertainty about how to achieve potential value and avoid potential harm. And it's at that frontier because of the uncertainty that you have an opportunity to innovate. You also have an opportunity, you know, as someone who delivers a solution to this kind of problem, to share in the upside with your clients. That's where the research comes in that earlier question about the research I want to call back to and mention that I'm not going to go super deep into the research they just don't have the time to. But I am going to go super deep in a future ti talk to talk about the method and and so forth. But this is why this is going back to slide this value frontier. This is why ti has those those, those two other challenges beyond the daily publication. Once you find that value frontier, which you can discover through a combination of client work and high frequency publication, then you have an opportunity to execute research. The research is again a critical part. I want to talk a little bit about that in a moment. Well mix engineer Earth fluxo mudgear. As How do you share what you write with other people when you have no subscribers? And the answer is it depends. One approach is to invite a few subscribers through direct outreach. It's not fun. It's not like a sexy approach to that problem. And it is also very practical and not terribly, terribly difficult to do and can be surprisingly effective. So unless you have just absolutely no access to the market, you're trying to serve I would recommend just invite people to the email list, it actually works. And I have proof that it works beyond just me saying that it works. I've seen other people do this and see it work. And LinkedIn can be a resource, etc. There's obviously some nuance there. Because some markets, like if you wanted, if your market was all the people who are about to fire somebody, it would be pretty hard to find that market and use direct outreach to reach them, because that's an invisible characteristic of that person. And so there's places where this would not work, but just in in service of a brief to the point answer, you just invite people to join the list, and that would be one way to do it. Back to the research question. There's this sort of package of assumptions that people bring to them. So the idea of research so they hear the word research, and they think That's expensive. That's something that scientists do. That's something that academics do. Or it's obvious here that we're not talking about researching, like the best tires to buy for your car. Okay? We're talking about a different category of research. People bring assumptions to that category of research, and they think, oh, that's something that you have to be highly trained as a researcher to do. And I don't agree with that. I don't think that's true, and I hope to prove otherwise. In a later talk in the series. I love this moment in The Simpsons where Homer is up in space and screws something up on you for now, we may never know if ants can be trained to sort tiny screws in space. And that also kind of gets to that package of assumptions that folks have about research that it's it's not always useful. But when you found that value frontier, you have found an application for research because it can help incrementally reduce uncertainty not totally, not completely, but incrementally reduce uncertainty, which helps your clients who not always but tend to be risk averse helps them to make a decision that hopefully will work out better for them. So that's the role of the research in this framework. And I, I can't, like justify this fully today. But I can tell you that you can do this. It's a thing you can do.
Three more slides, and then we're done for today. I think the folks who benefit most from t AI are self employed because of this skin in the game that we have. And this hunger to make our business better that we have. I think it really helps if you've defined a clear specialization, it just focuses you're right In a much more productive way, said differently, it helps you hit the wall faster, because you get through that expertise Sanomat. And then you feel like you've run out of things to say within that clear, narrow area of specialization. It helps if you built a stable business because this is an investment, even if you don't join a paid cohort that I run. And this is not, this is not like a sales effort for those paid cohorts. This is me trying to spread an idea that I think is important and relevant to not actually not a ton of people actually just a pretty narrow group of people. But to do this, you have to invest at least time and energy and focus and so you need to have a stable business to support that, how stable, how profitable and that's up to you, but the you know, the feeling like things are not blowing up every week from a cash perspective would be one of the things I would look for and then you need Want it? The last three bullet points here really are about that you need to want to move into an expert market position, develop intellectual property, and you need to be able to invest. I'll say 10 hours a week, some weeks, it's more like 20. I think it makes a lot of sense to do ti as a group. So, I run paid cohorts through my business, Philip Morgan Consulting, I invite folks to sort of register as members in spirit so that I can invite them to a meeting every six months or so. And I'd love to hear that some of you have set up your own cohort. I think the support that you can offer each other as you navigate these challenges is really good. I like the model of a community of practice, which means that it's not like some, some person is telling you all what to do. You're all peers. You're all working on a shared set of challenges. And the focus really is doing the work and the practice and learning from that and sharing what you've learned with each other. And if you do decide to set something like this up again, I'd love to hear about it if you do, I think meeting weekly is a nice cadence. And I think starting off at least during the first challenge, when everyone is focused on this daily publication challenge, starting off with these question prompts, I think is a good idea. So when I run these meetings, I like to ask folks, did you reach your publication goal? Are there any wins? What was hard? What did you learn? And what are you going to adjust upcoming? Does I have found her useful questions to start with?
Just a bit of a recap here. So ti is three challenges and three ideals. They all matter. They all work together. The Daily publication challenge hopefully lead you to become obsessed with some questions some vector of improvement you're trying to create for your clients. And over enough time that leads to value frontier as you start to discover the places where there's a lot of uncertainty. And you start to believe, you start to have evidence that you can make a difference at those value frontiers. And so you start to innovate. And that's, I mean, if there's one thing that I feel like ti is about, it's that it's getting to you to the point where you're innovating on behalf of your clients. I think it's a good vehicle. I mean, you could eventually in the right with the right combination of factors you could get there, I think with just client work alone, but I like adding to this framework to the mix because it gives you more control. You control how much you publish, not completely. We're all limited by having only 24 hours in a day, etc. But you control the publication frequency, which lets you reach a higher velocity of cultivating your thinking. You got to be self forgiving about this. It's a, in a moving to daily publication, particularly as a brutally difficult practice, especially at first, although it becomes a habit and then for a lot of folks, it becomes something they really enjoy. You need to work in public so that you are exposing your thinking to feedback. That is another critical part of this that I haven't talked about a lot, but we'll talk about more in a future ti talk. There's only one thing that can make it not work that I've seen, and that is just quitting the publication. Thank you for being here today. I'm going to leave the live stream up and hang out and we can chat if you like. But thank you for being here today.