Ideas and power

Having access to an idea is empowering. Owning an idea is power. -P

The Building and Investing Journal, Issue #1

Preview: “What I came to realize is that I hate the car dealership model. . . Lately I took a step back and said ‘If I were to do this the right way, what would it look like?’.” Recently, I asked y’all to share your stories of investing — expending time or money with the hope of payback/ROI, but without the guarantee of payback. Here’s a list member story we’ll keep anonymous. The rest of this email is that story, italicization and indentation avoided for the sake of readability: For a long time I kept doing WordPress and WooCommerce website …

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Some ideas and their owners

Off the top of my head, some ideas and their “owners” [1]. Tribes: Seth Godin Value-chain mapping: Simon Wardley Positioning: Al Reis Agile: Kent Beck Winning negotiations through empathy: Jim Camp and Chris Voss Value pricing for services: Alan Weiss, Jonathan Stark Retail customer development, Omnichannel Thesis: Kevin Hillstrom I wonder how many people had these same ideas, but did not relentlessly share and promote the idea? I don’t know how many, but I do know why their name isn’t associated in my mind with the idea. History is written by the victors. Maybe ideas are owned by the sharers. …

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Ownership

If you had to choose, would you rather “own” the relationship with your customers/clients or “own” a powerful/valuable idea? Quote marks used because you can’t really “own” either. In a consensual relationship, either side can leave, but you can have a direct rather than an indirect relationship with a customer. You can’t really own ideas either, but you can be so deeply associated with them such that evoking the idea almost concurrently evokes your personal brand. So given all that, which asset would you rather own if you had to choose? Feel free to ponder, reply, whatever. This is, of …

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Whitespace

Seth Godin identifies one of the core paradoxes of modern life: the short-term normal thing is actually the long-term risky thing. The normal thing — learning to show up on time and take orders, build something to spec at scale, blend into the “successful” crowd — is risky because it positions you to become redundant. Commoditization is the elimination of waste. This is great for human society generally. We get to stop wasting human energy on custom-building data centers, for example, and spend that energy on real progress instead. Builders of bespoke data centers, however, have positioned themselves to become redundant. …

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Opinions without data

A friend linked me to this: Does Content Length Predict Traffic Generated? The article is smart and probably correct and includes this provocative statement: “Opinions without data are irrelevant, so let’s look at the data to make this decision.” (source: https://www.christopherspenn.com/2021/03/does-content-length-predict-traffic-generated/) Opinions without data have: Gotten presidents elected Led to hugely significant decisions, both in our own lives and in the world Gotten people killed Saved lives Opinions without data are not, in fact, irrelevant. However, the article’s author is right within the context of their work. What’s interesting here is how he’s sending a signal about where he stands in his point of view.  …

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Content matters too

Earlier today, I watched Daft Punk’s breakup video. In a way, that video is all context; very little content. It has long scenes like this: No facial expressions (content), but you feel the emotion of a melancholy gaze and a human connection. Part of your point of view is defined by where you stand (context). The other part is defined by what you see from there and how you advise your clients as a result (content). Let’s talk content. You can certainly promote a point of view that is about something your market has figured out already. Nothing wrong with that, but there’s nothing right about it …

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The four directions

Points of view can be different in 4 basic ways. (I’m talking about consultants here.) 1: You can see the world from Data, Experience, or somewhere in between. 2: Your goal can be to create radical Transformation, incremental Optimization, or something in between. 3: Your style can be that of the forceful Disruptor, the more gentle Evolver, or something in between. 4: Your status can be that of the pedigreed Insider, the expert Outsider, or something in between. Painting the world in simple, artificially-binary polarities like this can help us reflect on and more deeply understand our place in the …

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Which is better?

In our point of view, we can see things from a perspective that leans towards Experience, Data, or somewhere in between. Which is better? The culture we live in worships Data. It would seem that standing in Data would lead to a more powerful point of view. However… Data does not get alcoholics to quit drinking. (“Your drinking has ruined 79.3% of the relationships in your life, so now it’s time to do the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life and quit!”) Data does not convince firms to specialize. (“Less than 30% of your market has specialized, so …

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We Invest

I’d like some stories from y’all about investing in your business. Send ’em my way and I’ll share back with the list. Investing: expending time or money with the hope of payback/ROI, but without the guarantee of payback. Feel free to send 1 or multiple stories. I can attribute or keep your story anonymous, your choice. Please say which you prefer. Thanks! -P