Gary Vee says stop working on your weaknesses and double down on those strengths.
James Altucher says he had to work on speaking to crowds and had to work on many his weaknesses.
This gets ridiculously convoluted. So here ya go,
Double down on your core strength, and work on whatever weaknesses the core is supported by.
If you’re a business consultant, you double down on your ability to understand business, but work on your weakness as a marketer to convince people to get your service (don’t work on becoming a world class web developer).
If you’re an actor, you double down on your ability to do impressions, but work on your negotiation skills to get a bigger raise (don’t work on your singing career).
Communication (public speaking, sales, marketing, negotiation) is the universally needed skill you always have to work on.
So, work on 2 things: 1) Your core competency and 2) Communication.
It’s neat to think about that writers in the past used bold, italics, and underline to emphasize things in different ways.
But writers on the internet can’t use underline anymore because it’s implied to be a link to click on, more so than it’s something that’s important to call attention to. Maybe underline wasn’t ever so great or needed, and bold was good for headlines and italics for quoting someone, but did we ever need the underline? Do we even miss it? Probably not.
I watched a video by Gary Halbert, arguably the best copywriter that wrote “The Boron Letters” that shaped a lot of the way direct mail ads were written. As a kid, I’d read these letters selling me the best speed reading techniques, kung fu secrets, and ancient wisdom from Zen monks.
The video I watched was 30 years old. It talked about bulk rate vs 1st class postal rates and how to stuff envelopes.
Obsolete garbage…or was it?
But I’ve been looking for timeless truths hidden inside all short lived techniques.
His universal truth was highly relevant:
1) Do something different than your competitors (don’t use bulk rate, use an actual stamp),
2) Seem like you’re their friend (do hand written stuff),
3) Break their unconscious patterns (if you had a sales letter that looked like a news article, it would actually get read).
Important to note is #3, because it took the internet many years to catch on and abuse that technique. So maybe 66% of his specific material was outdated, but even the last 33% was enough to likely produce massive success.
Also, the fundamentals didn’t change at all. Plus knowing some specific techniques could have helped you come up with the next stage of marketing where you now:
1) Do something different (put ads on Instagram instead of AdWords),
2) Being friendly (may be giving away content),
3) Breaking patterns (instead of typical “CLICK NOW!”, discourage it by using a click-bait title like “Don’t click on this background report check if you’re not prepared for the results – they may shock you.”)
Providing value doesn’t go obsolete, and outdated techniques that provided value will always have truths behind them that you can uncover.
Your language colors more than you think.
If you use $1 in hopes to turn it into $2, it’s an:
a) Investment if the odds are in your favor
b) Gamble if the odds are out of your favor
Consider the workaholic that works so much and makes so much money that he doesn’t have enough time left over to spend his money or time.
If the gamble worked out, he was “dedicated” / “passionate“, (eg. The company built got acquired and he retired at 30)
If the gamble didn’t work out, he was “obsessed” / “addicted.” (eg. There’s was no time left in the day to use the cash to exchange for anything)
The more based in reality your words can be, the easier is to see reality and make good decisions from there.
If hurting your self is inherently painful, but if you like hurting yourself on some sort of level, what does the brain chemistry look like for a masochist (is it all cortisol or dopamine)? There’s a lot of studies on this that are pretty interesting.
Simplifying everything allows for the greatest progression many times. Let’s simplify the world economy…
Corporations buy time (employees), mark it up and sell the time back to you (time saving devices), or they sell you drugs (dopamine), which is what you’d do with your time.
You’re spending money on either:
1) Dopamine from 2 means – a) things (a nice sofa) or b) experiences (Hulu subscription),
2) Increase the amount of time you have for that dopamine (a dishwasher, a lawn mower). I think saving time is becoming a bigger market than the things you ultimately use your time up with (either things or experiences).
People squander time, just like money. But people are wrong when they say what’s wasted time. They say you’re wasting time reading fiction and watching cat videos. But down deep, that’s all there is. So, someone needs to say it,
The meaning of life is…cat videos.
If you’re getting your dopamine from watching funny TV shows, that’s as good as life gets. If that feels meaningless to you and you need to save the world to feel good, you better get saving. The problem is just like a real drug addict, you need more to get the same high. So sitting on the beach drinking margaritas doesn’t give you the same ‘fix’ as the first week of drinking.
A good example of squandering your time is spending 4 hours at work so you could afford to QuickPass Toll lane that will save you only 2 hours of time. You traded your time for a -50% Time ROI. In contrast, paying $200 a month for health insurance so you can be saved from cancer and extend your life 15 years is a massively profitable Time ROI.
Wasted time is either: a) time not spent feeling good or b) time not invested in things to increase your free time.
I mention time is a currency in another article about people wanting more time and forgetting why they wanted more time to begin with. Why’s this happen? When people work 1 hour, they’re gambling that with the money earned they’ll get more than 1 hour back or have the funds to use it for dopamine via stuff / experiences. Gambling feels good and is highly addictive.
Workaholics get cash to later be traded for time or stuff. He’s gambles that his 1 hour of labor now gets him 2 hours later (“If I work 80 hour weeks for 3 years, invest all my money, I can retire and have time for the next 20 years!”). Not all gamblers are workaholics, but all workaholics are gamblers. Note: If you get dopamine from your work, you get called “passionate” (not a workaholic).
Since gambling is a dopamine causing experience, people can find themselves always desperate for more time for no other purpose other than to gamble for more time.
Britannica, the most successful encyclopedia business for 244 years failed, not to World Book, but to the internet.
Yellow Cab, failed not because of their competitors, but (likely) to Uber / Lyft.
Walmart closed stores, not because of K-Mart / Sears, but because of Amazon.
Ted Levitt (the Harvard profession that coined the word ‘globalization’) says the railroads are failing because they think they’re in the railroad business, instead of the transportation business.
Phillip Morris isn’t losing to Kool or Camel, but to vaping.
Sometimes you can beat monopoly going head to head (Facebook vs Myspace, Walmart vs Sears, VHS vs Betamax).
But it may be easier / faster to beat a monopoly by competing out of their industry.
Sometimes these are the easiest wins because:
a) there’s not as many businesses competing with monopolies from outside the industry and
b) monopolies have become monopolies usually from being exceedingly focused on their competitors, and don’t see treats from outside the industry. There’s many stories like Walmart saying Amazon was a blip and was in a different industry than brick and mortar retail, UPS and FedEx have said Amazon Logistics is in a different industry (we don’t know what will happen here), Britannica said Microsoft’s desire to distribute the books on CD-ROM wasn’t their competitor.
Businesses that beat monopolies either start with a more specific customer, or a much broader one.
1) Twitch took the gamer segment of YouTube
2) Facebook started with college kids only before expanding to compete directly with MySpace
1) Railroads vs Transportation in general
2) Cab companies vs public transit / Uber
3) Wikipedia’s product was education for everyone vs Britannica that wanted to provide a product for the wealthy
If you’re looking to compete with a monopoly, the question becomes not so much “how can we be better” as much as it’s, “How can our market be more broad, or more specific, or what outside industry could we compete from?”
What is this site?
Self improvement for smart people.
I follow business leaders, gurus, and philosophers and note things others missed that I’ve found valuable.
This site is my precious treasure chest of ideas on business, philosophy and life. And hopefully during your pillaging here, you get your mind blown.
My life’s goals are to help summarize the human knowledge base, dispel self improvement myths, and achieve a resultant and unrelenting state of 24/7 euphoria. I’m kidding, but we’ll still try!
Follow along on my journey!