- Experiential marketing learning for independent consultants

The Expertise Incubator is a community of practice. We learn by doing. As a group, we face a series of 3 foundational challenges, spending 3 months focusing on a challenge before moving on to the next.

The challenges produce both the substance and artifacts of economically valuable expertise. The substance is a fluid command of your area of expertise, a point of view you can comfortably articulate, proprietary research, and valuable intellectual property. The artifacts are a body of work and an audience that sees you as an authority.

You can participate in TEI as a paying member, or a member in spirit. You do gain access to resources when you pay to join a cohort: a Slack group which is the digital connective tissue of our community, and a valuable corpus of knowledge and best practices organized in a private wiki.

But mostly, you gain access to a group of fellow practitioners; other remarkable business owners who have also embraced these 3 challenges. You also gain access to a powerful “skin in the game” effect from the relatively small financial commitment and the relatively large personal commitment you make to facing the challenges at the core of this program.

The Expertise Incubator applies extremely productive pressure to each member. The expertise you cultivate in the 9 months of the program is diamond-like in its beauty and value.

TEI supports your progress on three core challenges:

  1. Publish something on the internet daily (at least 3x/week) for the first 90 days of the program. After the first 90 days you are free to decide if you want to continue this daily publication practice or not. The goal is to deepen your expertise and your ability to communicate it in the way that only high-frequency publication can.
  2. Do research for a decision making tool for clients. The goal is to augment your expertise with some original research so that later you can formalize your expertise and research into a decision making tool. You’ll begin this research during the second TEI challenge.
  3. Distribute the expertise you’ve gained in the program in a new, high leverage way that works without you being present or burning a bunch of energy. You might use the research to line up speaking or podcast guesting engagements. You might use it to build a prototype decision making tool that you then pilot with clients. Or you might simply turn the research into a publication that reports on the findings and offers prescriptive guidance. All are potentially good routes forward. You’ll choose your specific challenge here based on what you learn during the second challenge.

Those three challenges are the core of this program because they represent the 80/20 sweet spot of building authority and economically valuable expertise. There’s other stuff you can do to build this kind of rare, valuable expertise, but there are not other things that offer as much leverage.

Think about it like reducing bodyweight and regaining physical fitness after a period of being out of shape. There are lots of things you could do, but only two things most experts agree you must do: 1) build strength through progressive overload strength training and 2) maintain a caloric deficit. This program is like that, but for your business.

If you join a TEI cohort, you, I, and the rest of your small group will meet via Zoom video call once per week for 90 minutes to discuss progress, troubleshoot roadblocks, and share learnings.

As we do so, we will be guided by 3 ideals:

  1. Anything you create in this program should be good enough to spread by word of mouth alone.
  2. Anything you create in this program — if you give it away for free — should be good enough that some would gladly pay real money for it.
  3. You should be willing to work daily for 2 to 3 years to make ideals 1 and 2 become true in your work. In other words, you should be OK with not living up to ideals #1 and #2 at first so that you can build up the skills you need to ultimately achieve those ideals.

Who is this for?

Self-employed professionals who look like this:

  • Have defined a clear specialization
  • Have built a stable business
  • Want to move into an expert market position
  • Also want to develop unique intellectual property that definitively differentiates you from others
  • Can afford to spend 10 hours/week working on your business

Format of Paid Cohorts

If you pay to join a TEI cohort, there’s a structure designed to help you succeed.

TEI Foundations Program

You start with the 9-month long Foundations Program.


  • Up to 5 people per cohort
  • One 90m online meeting per week
  • Private Slack for Q&A, troubleshooting, etc.
  • Private wiki to help you get up and running faster
  • Price: $2,100 per quarter or $700 per month

Paying to join a cohort will support your progress in the following ways:

  • Accountability: me, the group, and the money you’ve invested all bias you towards taking action. We meet weekly as a group to support each other.
  • Connection: Slack room, others doing the challenges with you
  • There’s a private wiki you’ll have access to. You’ll discover best practices, and useful tips for executing on the 5 challenges. You’ll grow even more by contributing your hard-won learnings to this wiki.

TEI Graduate Program

Those who complete the 9 month-long series of foundational challenges can opt to join the TEI Graduate program. In this program, you make 2 commitments each quarter:

  1. Embrace a Graduate Challenge
  2. Teach a 90-minute Graduate Seminar & Q&A, where you teach something you’ve learned that would be relevant to TEI members.

There’s also an all-graduates mastermind-style call weekly to help you get feedback on business decisions or specific expertise-driven projects you’re working on.


  • You embrace one Graduate Challenge per quarter
  • I facilitate one 90m all-graduates mastermind call every week; open to all current TEI Graduate members.
  • I set up one graduate seminar + Q&A every month; each graduate expected to teach a seminar every 3 to 6 months; open to all current TEI Foundation and Graduate participants.
  • I set up regular outside expert Q&A calls; open to all current TEI Foundation and Graduate participants.
  • Price: $2,100 per quarter or $700 per month

Even if you decide to not continue from the Foundations to the Graduate program of TEI, all current and past members and members in spirit are invited to a twice-yearly online TEI gathering and invited there to share what you’ve been up to.

Free curriculum

You can pay to join a TEI cohort, but you can also participate in the program on your own. I want to support both options, and that’s why the program’s Foundations curriculum is available right here for free: https://theexpertiseincubator.transistor.fm/ (Currently audio lessons; I’m working on turning these into richer video lessons in line with the new 3-challenge format)

The curriculum consists of several lectures for each of the program’s 3 core challenges. If you want to, you also can sign up for an email list that drips out the curriculum. This might help you stay on track with the challenges as a “member in spirit” rather than a paid member of a cohort.

Again, the free curriculum is here: https://theexpertiseincubator.transistor.fm/ (Currently audio lessons; I’m working on turning these into richer video lessons in line with the new 3-challenge format)

If you are participating in TEI as a member in spirit, and would like me to invite you to the twice-yearly gathering, please notify me here so I can do that:

Interested in joining the next Expertise Incubator cohort?

The two best next steps are to 1) check out the free curriculum above and then 2) use the form below to let me know you’re possibly interested in the next TEI cohort.

There’s no obligation here, you’re just signing up so I can notify you when the next cohort of The Expertise Incubator opens up:


When are the group meetings?

Different times for each Foundations Program cohort. I spend aseveral weeks assembling each cohort from among those who express interest, then I poll the group to find a meeting time that works for everybody. We meet at whatever that time is on a weekly basis unless I’m traveling or on vacation in which case you still meet without me and with a designated facilitator (one of your group) in my place.

What proof do you have that this program works?

Below are some generous, unsolicited gift from TEI participants: