Moats and rancid water

Philip Morgan

Moats are, by definition, a body of water that doesn’t flow anywhere, so moats are going to get stanky. Probably covered with algae and filled with nasty bacteria. Much more like an algae-covered pond than a clear, flowing stream.No wonder so few of us want to build one for our business!Most of us do work we really love. Creative, impactful work. Y’all are changing the world through code, and I’m changing the world through y’all.You’re in the fabled catbird seat, laying on a bed of roses being fanned and fed grapes by your choice of attractive human.At least, that’s what your work feels like compared to moat-building, which is going to feel—at times anyway—like being waist deep in rancid water with bird-poop bacteria in it.Maybe do it anyway? The moat does have a valuable function!I think the best moat for your business is uniquely valuable expertise. Not skill, which is easily commoditized, but expertise.The first cohort of The Expertise Incubator (TEI) is going really well. I don’t think anybody’s cried yet, though the participants have a whole ‘nother 2 months (at least) of the daily publication challenge before we move on to the next challenge, which involves designing and executing a research project that can form the underpinnings of some kind of IP (in the services world, intellectual property is your expertise packaged and made usable by non-experts. It can be shockingly profitable once it's built, but building it can be a completely speculative exercise. The profit of IP comes largely from your risk-taking, not your awesomeness as a researcher).At the David Baker seminar I was at last week (they’re wonderful events; do check one out in the future), a few people walked up to me and asked about TEI, so this semi-organic expression of interest tells me it’s time to see if I can get another cohort of 5 people together to start in April.What is TEI? It’s briefly explained here. There’s a “secret” podcast at the bottom of that page that goes into more detail. It’s a series of 5 challenges (started w/3 but I added 2 more) and 3 guiding principles. It helps you cultivate mental toughness, discipline, and the essential components of valuable expertise.Y’all remember what David Byrne taught you last week, right? Never say something just once in your email marketing. I’ll say more about TEI in the coming weeks.If you're interested in joining this next cohort, just hit REPLY and let me know.-P