Cybernetics and marketing? Yup. I am a fan of Mark W. Schaefer. He wrote “Return on influence“. A book that was ahead of its time. Hence “Cumulative Advantage: How to Build Momentum for Your Ideas, Business and Life Against All Odds”. With an interesting take on personal branding and marketing.
The principle of cumulative advantage states that once a person gains a small advantage over others in their field, that advantage will compound over time into increasingly larger advantages. He uses Tim Ferris as the example. I am a fan of Tim too.
From initial advantage to the seam of opportunity to sonic boom to reaching up and constancy of purpose. Constancy is another way of saying it is hard work for a long time.
With a little bit of luck. Because success is a collision of events. When a person has success, they are almost entirely unable to separate their role from the role played by sheer luck. Business consultant Martin Lindstrom estimates that 84 per cent of all businesses started from a random event.
Serendipity management or what Schaefer calls randomness in action. Unique insights are random, unexpected, and serendipitous. Insight requires two conditions: endless curiosity and the ability to see patterns. Creating insights comes through combining boxes or tumbling mental frameworks in new ways.
Systematic innovation is made possible by being aware of the ideas bombarding you every day, thinking about how these ideas might solve a current problem or connect to your life experiences, and then taking action. Some tips:
1. Connect your present to your past. 72 per cent of successful entrepreneurs started their business based on prior life experiences, without the benefit of any outside research.
2. Connect the people. Leonardo DaVinci didn’t necessarily “think outside of the box.” His creative breakthroughs came from mashing up the ideas of other people.
3. Go where the action is. Gemba is a Japanese term meaning “the real place.” In business, Gemba refers to the place where value is created. The master of this technique is author Martin Lindstrom, who has made a career of this immersive strategy.
4. Is the dog barking? If you’re in a situation where you would expect to hear a dog barking, and it’s not, never ignore that clue! This is an anomaly that can almost always lead to momentous insight. When something in your life or business doesn’t make sense, dig deeper. There’s a spark to be discovered.
5. See opportunities in crisis. Every downturn and downfall exposes magnificent opportunities for new ideas.
6. Create a collision-prone environment
He has an interesting take on intrapreneurship and uses Verifone as an example. Verifone makes an offer to anybody at Verifone who has a worthy entrepreneurial idea and a legitimate seam. He would provide initial financing and independent warehouse space for an office. But the innovator could no longer be a Verifone employee. No benefits, no salary, no safety net. He does not believe there is any successful way to have a true entrepreneurial movement within a company. He would pit two competitors against each other—one working in the cosy confines of a company office and an independent person working out of their garage who will starve if they don’t succeed—the garage person will always put in whatever work it takes to win. Read “Building the in-company change muscle“. A book about 25 books about intrapreneurship.
A seam is an undefended—or underdefended—opportunity. It is a fracture in the status quo. A seam is a white space with urgency. Seams emerge because of changes in buyer power, supplier power, availability of substitutes, or new rivalries. Seams open because of fluctuations in consumer tastes, culture, politics, fashion, and demographic trends. However, nearly 100 per cent of innovation—from business to politics—is inspired not by “market analysis” but by people who are supremely pissed off by the way things are.
Harvard Professor Michael Porter is the author of 20 best-selling books, including Competitive Advantage, one of the most important and revered business books of all time. The core problem was that Porter’s classic idea of sustainable competitive advantage prescribes a stationary mindset. But business is dynamic, and the speed of change is accelerating.
Once you’ve established some small advantage, the momentum depends on what you do with it. You need to act before your relevance collapses. And once you breakthrough, you build momentum that will take you as far as you can go, for as long as you can go! Strategy becomes any opportunity that exploits speed, time, and space.
1. Have you found an undefended opportunity? During your life, many doors will open. The key to success is recognizing the right time to open those doors and the right time to close them.
2. Is the opportunity a personal fit for me and my life? There has to be a personal fit. What you’re good at? What does the world need? What can you be paid for? And of course, what do you love? In other words Ikigai.
Is the timing right
The primary cause for an idea taking off as a successful business? Timing: 42 per cent of the successes were dependent on the right timing compared to 32 per cent for execution and 28 per cent for the uniqueness of the idea. Momentum begins when a worthy idea meets ideal timing. This is a key lesson about timing. Your innovation has to address a clear and present problem.
Is its worthy
“Worthiness” is a gigantic, judgment-filled concept. Is your idea worthy of a customer? Is it worthy of a battle? Is it worthy of the truth?
What does your intuition say?
Listen to both your heart and your head! Intuition is important when your experience is close to a new idea. The biggest challenge for an entrepreneur is knowing when to trust intuition. When your intuition says the time is right, it’s up to you to trust it. Read “Frequency“.
What does Google say?
As soon as you have a great idea, google.
Creating the boom
Posts that were shared by two influencers had 30 per cent more shares than a post shared by a single influencer. Posts that three powerful people shared received more than 100 per cent more shares. Posts that were shared by five people received nearly 300 per cent more shares.
- Find a way to get at least five relevant influencers.
- Hand-select early reviewers who love you and your work
- Shared the earliest positive feedback on your idea widely
- The most powerful content doesn’t win on the web—the most powerful websites do.
- The more momentum you have, the more power you have to ask for favours.
Today, the customer is the marketer. Company promotions and ads are becoming irrelevant because we avoid them and don’t believe them anyway. People believe each other. Their friends. Neighbours. Technical experts. Business leaders. Influencers.
SEO is a battle between the two biggest, meanest junkyard dogs in your industry, constantly duking it out for the top search listings. Today, more than 50 per cent of all search on the web stays with Google. Google sends the search traffic to one of its own properties or one of its paying customers.
Business success comes from cumulative progress. Momentum builds from just being consistent and focused. Familiarity breeds familiarity. You establish your voice, create content, and keep grinding it out until you become a story. Consistent effort is everything.
Of the 55 Nobel Laureates they studied, 46 of them (84 per cent) had studied under a previous Nobel Prize winner! There was irrefutable evidence that these authoritative men (yes, they were all men) taught the next generation how to work the system and continue a legacy of influence and momentum. You need a friend. Specifically, you need a friend with connections.
Get a mentor
The greatest value of mentoring that builds momentum is access. Access to opportunities. Access to insight. Here are some ideas on establishing a relationship with individuals who can help you build momentum:
1. Be clear
2. Study potential mentors
3. Develop a value proposition
4. Reach up. Don’t just find someone who has a job you want. Find the type of person you aspire to be.
5. The Big Ask
6. Let the relationship evolve organically
7. Gather a board of directors
9. Go the extra mile
Nurturing meaningful relationships with people who can help and guide you takes persistence and practice, but there is probably nothing more important when it comes to creating momentum.
Getting an audience is hard. Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, purpose and action over a long period of time. Focus on quality. Quality makes you different. Quality will always win in the end.No matter your goal, committing to constancy of purpose might mean years or even a lifetime of consistent effort.
1. Set powerful goals
2. Adopt an environment that supports the goal.
3. Change your role in the narrative. Humans live up to a narrative that is created about them over time. Your life becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and you may not even know it. Changing your narrative can change your life.
4. Lifeline relationships. The real path to success in work and life is through creating an inner circle of lifeline relationships.
5. Discipline sustains momentum. There are two pains in life. The pain of discipline and the pain of disappointment. Successful people choose healthy and productive habits over a stagnant life. Momentum requires discipline, determination, persistence, and work ethic.
6. Tenacity is critical to constancy of purpose.
7. Love the work. Success begins with enjoying what you do.
8. Devotion: Devote yourself to the focused, full-hearted, challenge-exceeding practice that leads to momentum.
9. Purpose: Work without purpose is nearly impossible to sustain for a lifetime.
8. Start over if you need to. It takes courage to begin. It also takes courage to end.