Why TEI?

Philip Morgan

I rarely have “sales calls” for The Expertise Incubator (TEI). This is because 1) I am probably doing something wrong in the marketing approach for this, my favorite service offering 2) the program is a bit new and still gaining awareness in the market and so 3) most sales are to my email list and to folks who have been aware of TEI for a while. I did have a sales call recently, though, and got asked a thrilling question about the program: "Why do you offer TEI?". I’ve never been asked that before! The question came from a dude who runs an agency for purpose-driven orgs, so it makes sense why he’d ask it, and I’m glad he did. Here are the reasons why I offer TEI: 1) I love seeing TEI participants take risks and increase their tolerance for risk-taking. Working in public is a form of risk-taking. Facing the possibility that your current expertise doesn’t actually go very deep is a form of risk-taking. Starting a challenging habit and not knowing if you can keep it up is a form of risk-taking. I love the growth I see happening in the wake of this risk-taking. 2) I love seeing the second-order consequences of folks engaging in the 3 challenges that make up the TEI framework. For example:

  • I love seeing folks publicly announce that they are undertaking small-scale research and experiencing how that changes their audience’s perception of them for the better.
  • I love seeing folks work on building a consulting business but discovering that what their audience needs now is a community and building that in parallel with their original plan.
  • I love seeing folks do research that generates digital product ideas for them.
  • I love seeing folks try writing and discover instead that video is a better medium for them.

There are other second-order effects, of course, but I love seeing the novelty and innovation that comes out of TEI. 3) I love seeing participants grow wings and not need me anymore. This stings my ego a bit too, but it’s 100% in line with the purpose of TEI. 4) Ultimately, this self-sufficiency is related to what I love most about TEI, which is that it cultivates self-sufficient genuine thought leaders. Not every time, of course, but more than anything I’ve done in the past and more than any other program I’ve seen out there. TEI induces something I call the expertise enema. If you challenge yourself to publish something worth reading to an email list every day you work, you will do what we all do at first: you will reach for the parts of your expertise that are easy to package up into an email. The low-hanging fruit. The safe, well-understood ideas that are pretty much ready to package up for distribution. Most of the websites I visit that have an “Insights” item in the site navigation are full of this low-hanging expertise. I do not compare it to shit facetiously. Most of it is literally verbal and mental shit, and its authors are lazy and timid in their usage of publishing to create value for their audience. If you publish once or twice per month, you may remain at this superficial and horrible-smelling layer of your own expertise for years. You may never flush all this shit out of your system. Publishing daily for at least 3 months forces you to flush the superficial, low-hanging expertise out of your system. What usually happens next is magic. What happens is a result of engineering a breakthrough in your thinking, and after an uncomfortable period I call hitting the wall, the breakthrough happens. I fucking love seeing this happen. When it happens, a seed has been planted. That seed eventually results in the aforementioned ego-stinging “I don’t need you anymore, Philip” moment. This moment eventually arrives because once you have gone through the expertise enema, hit the wall, and broken through, you are capable of genuine thought leadership. And at that point, you always know what to do: you befriend your market’s uncertainties and use your ability to produce genuine thought leadership to answer that uncertainty. You’ve done this at a small scale with TEI, you’ve experienced what this feels like, and you can repeat it again on your own as often as you like and at larger scale. This is what I love most about TEI. It is a program that is capable of producing self-sufficient thought leaders. And with delightful frequency, it does. -P The next offering of the Specialization Workshop starts February 9. One reason to avoid waiting to the last minute to register is that if you want a 20% early-bird discount, I’ll give it to you. If you wait to the last minute to register, I won’t. Details: /workshops/specialization-workshop/