Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Million Dollar Expert's Revenue Model

Extract from Matt's soon to be released new book; Sell Your Thoughts - How to become a million dollar expert...

In traditional Japanese martial arts (Karate, Judo, Jiujitsu, Kendo, Aikido) originally there were only two belts - a white belt and a black belt. For years you wore a white belt and then eventually got your black belt. Typically, it would take seven to ten years to get a black belt. Some schools and some styles still operate in this way. In the early nineteenth century one of the Judo Masters decided to begin using multiple coloured belts to help students to identify their progress through this journey. It has been since adopted in many other forms of martial arts and is widely used today.

The purpose was to create a more efficient and effective training model based on gaining proficiency in certain techniques at each level before moving onto the next level. At white belt level the student would practice and become proficient at the most basic techniques - a straight punch or a simple throw. At the higher levels more complex moves would be introduced and the student would have a sense of their progress toward their goal of a black belt.

This process allows people to run before they walk. It also creates a trusted framework for focus. Focus on this now and you will then be able to focus on harder things. In martial arts there is always someone who comes along and wants to perform advanced moves on day one, sometimes they pull it off. More often than not though they hurt themselves (which can create great learnings) or others (which is not so great).

Through our work with thousands of infoprenuers over the last decade we have created the MDE Revenue Ladder. We borrow the martial arts belts to identify the different stages, and what to focus on at each stage. The journey to black belt and beyond typically takes three years.

We have identified several pitfalls that commonly occur when people are climbing the levels.

  • Failing to clarify their message and their market
  • Attempting to move up the Million Dollar Expert Revenue Ladder too quickly
  • Writing a book too early
  • Over-investing in office, staff and overheads
  • Doubting their ability to generate a million dollar practice

Like learning a martial art, you will progress more quickly in your practice if you take the appropriate actions at the right time in your practice. This methodology tells us what to focus on and what to do at each level in order to move through the belts to black belt and beyond as efficiently and painlessly as possible.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A shift in information control

When Google is your professor and Wikipedia is your encyclopedia, you can become a kitchen expert in almost anything. The problem with kitchen experts is they sometimes don't have the wisdom to know the difference between good and bad information. This is where subject matter experts come in. We need someone who can help us sift the information we discover and help make it relevant to our world.

Travel agents are realising this access phenomenon and how it's breaking down the old way they used to work. Today you can book flights and accommodation to almost anywhere online yourself. If you have recently been on a family vacation, you will have explored the location of the hotel on google maps using street view, checked out the hotels guest comments on tripadvisor.com and be pretty well informed about what it costs, where to go and what to ask for when you get there. You don't need the answers anymore, now you need a trusted advisor, someone who has been there, or sent people and got feedback. Someone who can take all that information and parcel it down into digestible bits of information that make your trip better, that's a Thought Leader.

We have moved simply from knowledge to applied wisdom, from expert to trusted authority. It’s this shift that information experts need to get their heads around.

How do your ideas make a difference?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Power of Paper, or... Sick of Good Ideas!

I have a confession to make. I love doodling on restaurant napkins and coasters. Some of my best ideas have been brought to life on some 'on hand' handy device. Lately my favourite is the waxed air sickness bags on airplanes. It's almost irreverent that a brilliant bit of thinking is captured on such a device.Trust me, I have all the gadgets and moleskin journals in the world but sometimes I indulge my hedonistic pleasure to grab a sick bag and write. Is it too much to suggest that the ideas are 'fully sick' (maybe on reflection)...

My point is this. In a world of high tech, don't forget the magic of high-touch. When you can draw something in front of someone rather than on a Powerpoint slide it's a kind of magic. Any old fool can make a Powerpoint slide pretty...can you make a sick bag worthy? ...me thinks you can.

For me, I can't help but think I would benefit from lifting the power of my visual illustration skills and scribble discipline.

How about you?


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Can you feel it?

There is a critical mass developing in the world of smart. Smart people are speaking out for what they want. And, there are many types of clever!
  • It's in the massive shift from monopolies and control paradigms to meritocracy’s and empower paradigms - The net is driving this.
  • It's in the discernment around substance and value with commercial offerings. People are moving away from long form sales letters and money back guarantees to legitimate learning partnerships - Gen-Y are hugely responsible for this.
  • It’s in the shift from annoying marketing to just for me, the way I want it - Highly competitive marketplaces are driving this.
So, what to do?
  1. Focus on servicing people around what you know and love. There is no room for you to exploit a marketplace you know nothing about. Your expertise is what it is and always has been.
  2. Become obsessive around delivering value. Work on a 10x return on investment with anything you sell. Can the end user get 10 times the value of the their physical and intangible investments? (BTW: it's about aiming for this, not promising this! You are 100% responsible for your end and so are they...)
  3. Reboot your knowledge every 90 days. Thought leaders are at the leading edge of thinking. Imagine that everything you knew last quarter was out of date this quarter (it’s not, but that’s a commercially useful mindset).
The smart (and no, I don’t mean high IQ) will drive all value and lead many of the commercial innovations going forward.

That’s why we at Thought Leaders have hitched our cable to the mantra “Helping Clever People Be Commercially Smart”.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

5 things we can learn from MasterChef Australia

OK, I have held out as long as I could before commenting on a reality TV show. This one though, is exceptional in so many ways...
It's an IP adaptation and improvement. Fremantle Media bought the rights to create MasterChef Australia. Having watched the UK parent show, there is much to be said for the great job the Australian production crew have done in making it colourful, contemporary and exciting. They have bought an idea and made it better.

Those in the business of commercialising ideas could learn something from that. It's a cracking example of content as marketing. In your face attention grabbing marketing is losing traction. As audiences get more and more savvy, it becomes about selling me things I am interested in at a time I am thinking about them. Read 'Permission Marketing' by Seth Godin if you want to start a journey of learning in this area and then follow it up with 'Free' by Chris Anderson and you will be on board with this insight.

It's an amazing example of a culture few of us get to observe. The career of Chef is an old one with a traditional Apprentice/Mentor structure. Gary was George's Mentor and now they are clearly peers in chefing excellence. It's a pleasure to see the respect they hold for each other on show. This translates to a fabulous dynamic with the contestants. The spirit in which they compete is one of humility and is focussed on a desire to create new value, (through the meals they create) it's abundant. Most reality shows are about withholding, scarcity and power-plays to diminish a competitor. In my opinion, the bouncy George and cheeky faced Gary have a lot to do with setting this tone. It's a brilliant tribute to expertise. Matt, the food critic, knows his stuff. Each guest Chef is a Master in some wonderful application of food preparation. The masters are as enamored with the guest Chefs as the contestants. They all celebrate one primary purpose: to move people through the creation of wonderful food. It is 'edutainment' at its best (for me at least).

If you wanted to learn something, this program is a model for future education. The students are interested in the topic. The teachers are passionate. Growth is achieved through a well balanced mix of challenge and competence. Then, just when it gets a little dry or academic, they plan a road trip. Imagine learning Italian that way or guitar or maybe even business.

Maybe, just maybe, more people who teach, manage or lead should look at MasterChef Australia as a role model. If that's reality tv... I am all for it.