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  •  Pure Networking
    Life picked me last for team Pure Networking.
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  •  Learnings: Long-Term, High-Value Clients
    Learnings about the format and content of a recent roundtable I hosted.
  •  Reminder: Long-term, High-value clients roundtable
    Just a reminder about tomorrow’s online roundtable
  •  Invitation: Long-term, High-value clients roundtable
    Fri Oct 13, 9am Mountain time, free, open to anyone interested in the topic, registration link herein
  •  Roundtable invitation: long-term, high-value clients
    Part 1 of a 2-part invitation...
  •  A Theory Of Marketing
    "Don't think like a fisherman. Think like a fish." —paraphrase of Gary Bencivenga
  •  Network-Based Marketing
    A different lens, perhaps.
  •  Some new writing on point of view
    It doesn't have hostage negotiation stories, but maybe you'll benefit from it anyway?
  •  Scenius
    There's this... tension, in life, between the individual and the collective. American culture is famously individualistic, so it's fun to explore the situations where a certain kind of collective produces value that an individual cannot. Again with that
  •  Losing my edge
    This interview with LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy is great. It has two obvious takeaways, the first about fear and failure as a creative. That's worth hearing (especially from someone responsible for a #1-charting record), but the second takeaway is the one I'd like to explore with you today. Here's the relevant (WhisperAI-transcribed) s...
  •  Seeking agencies/consultancies
    for a compensated research study.
  •  No recipes
    A very good read on platforms & a reflection on marketing worldviews, a weird computer hardware recommendation, and a last reminder about BPN
  •  An invitation: build a better professional network together
    I'm hosting a study group from June 6, 2023, to help introverts build a better professional network.
  •  LLMs; Some Practitioner Perspective
    Roland RE-501s; a $9 OpenAI API call; the wisdom of the practitioner combined with the audacity of the strategist.
  •  The Value Of Information
    Unknown unknowns are always a bear we have to wrestle in life. "The value of information" is the name this bear takes in the small-scale research world. Let's think about a simple research question: "who are a company's competitors and what do they do?" Next, let's try to apply the ole' "begin with the end in mind" advice. What's our research pl...
  •  The POV Breakthrough, Unmasked
    I hate it when I accidentally sound like a hardcore direct response marketer
  •  Money
    Asking and money seem to be correlated
  •  The Best POV Definition
    So I thought y'all were going to do my thinking for me... Nope!
  •  What makes you memorable (enough)?
    What gets people to connect the dots to you?
  •  Pandas, book ROI, and audio-umami
    I love arbitrary units of measure. The first one I remember coming across was a grade school science textbook that described some amount of force as "the force of 17 locomotives" or whatever. Here, in similarly ridiculous units of measure, is a delightful size measurement:
  •  How do we design good small-scale research questions?
    I got a good question about this research note: "How do you structure the representation (as data) and presentation (as a web form or series of sub-questions?) of a good question (like your #1) to ensure that your recruiting effort pays off maximally? In other words, 'I hesitate to give this question as is and leave a large blank for a participa...
  •   Lots, little, or no competition?
    You know you really need some help. A regular psychiatrist couldn't even help you. You need to go to like Vienna or something. You know what I mean? You need to get involved at the University level. Like where Freud studied and have all those people looking at you and checking up on you. That's the kind of help you need. Not the once a week for ...
  •   Is research bad because recruiting is hard, question
    Let's lead off with some definitions because, yeah, that's how you kick off an exciting article! Bad research: Research that does not meaningfully improve a specific class of decisions. Recruiting: Getting people to participate in your research. Y'all excited yet?

    When it comes to research, it's a good idea to ask two questions and look at the ...

  •  How I'm working to expand my network in a thoughtful way
    #ProfessionalsDo: Expand Their Network In Thoughtful Ways Authority-building is great. Content/digital marketing are great. But those are not the low-hanging fruit that all of us can harvest. Functioning like a professional is. This idea is the foundation of my recent business pivot. I'll periodically share over-the-shoulder looks at how I and t...
  •  More Information On Service Specialization
    One destination that starting out with service specialization can take you is a productized service. See WorstOfAll Design (, which delivers a very tightly scoped fixed price service to a loosely-defined audience. Another destination that starting out with service specialization can take you to is someth...
  •  Back on the horse
    One way you can maintain your street cred as an indie researcher is to write a book about indie research. The other way is to do some damn research. I'm pursuing both vectors. :) I'm not really qualified to write the book (in-progress preview here:, but as far as I can tell, nobody el...
  •  Explore-Exploit And Specialization
    At any given point in time, some specialists are unsuccessful, and some generalists are very successful. Is there a way to explain this, Mister Specialization? The model that most helps me make sense of this is the Explore-Exploit Tradeoff. Like all models, even all useful models, this one simplifies the world; it simplifies the world into two b...
  •  Buddhist Thought Leadership
    Just a quick share today of an article that gives an unexpected example of thought leadership: This paragraph provides a nice overview of what you'll get if you read the article: Buddhism had to gradually adapt and be adapted to become a part of the modern Western religious lands...
  •  A good POV example
    Examples of clear, good, or interesting points of view out there in the wild always catch my eye. Here's one: Here's an excerpt to give you a flavor of the whole article, which is an interesting read: There’s an almost ubiquitous cliché in the satellite imagery business that go...
  •  Songs with children's choirs
    How many songs sung by adults have a children’s choir somewhere in them? I could immediately think of two (Blood Flow, by Smog and Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2, by Pink Floyd), but that’s about it. How many you can you think of, and how many would you estimate? As I was driving around today, runnin errands and listening to The Wall, I though ...
  •  A beautiful example of writing up SSR findings
    Those of you who gave some feedback last week on my "no-RFP project" survey: THANK YOU! It's been really valuable, you spotted some stuff I was missing, and I'm looking forward to revising that survey based on your feedback. One of the (too-many) threads I've got going is writing a guide on how to do small-scale research. The public preview is a...
  •  Feedback Request: Survey questions on RFP-less consulting projects
    The next research question I'm focused on is this: How do those who have spent more than $20,000 on a consulting project that did not involve an RFP find the consultant they hired? Ultimately I'd like to interview 30 people who made the decision to buy >$20k of consulting services without using an RFP process. My overall intent is to better unde...
  •  There are 2 markets
    If we use email marketing or other "personal" forms of marketing, we do well to remember: there are 2 markets. There's the market that knows and trusts us. And there's the rest of the market. I drew a picture of these two markets:

    For convenience, let's call them the big and little markets. Guess which market is easier to sell to? Guess which o...

  •  How do I educate clients on the value of the thing I've specialized in?
    I just had the oil changed on my car. If the mechanic had insisted that I stand on one foot 3 feet to the left of the car and repeat a mantra while he did the oil change and furthermore insisted that what he was asking me to do would cause the oil change to work 70% better, how do you think I would have responded? How would you respond to this p...
  •  How Can I Get Hired With No Relevant Case Studies?
    This question came from a new email list member: "I don’t have a lot of client work under my belt. How can I convince my target clients to hire me when I have no relevant case studies to point to (yet)?" There are alternate approaches that reliably reduce or eliminate the need for case studies. I'll describe them here, and as I do, you'll think,...
  •  How Do I Get Management Or Ownership Buy-In To Specialize Or Position Our Agency?
    A new email list member recently asked how they could get management buy-in. They weren't more specific than that, which allows me to discuss both agency management/ownership buy-in scenarios in this response. There are 2 things you could be trying to get your agency's owner(s) or manager(s) buy-in for: The concept of specializing A particular s...
  •  Is The Market Big Enough? How Can I Be Sure?
    I love this question because it evokes such interesting related questions. The starting point question -- how big a market is required for a specialist -- is well worth answering, but it quickly leads to a deeper and more evocative question: What does it mean to you to know that the market is "big enough"?

    How Big A Market Does A Specialist Req...

  •  Why Is Specialization Scary?
    The difficult part of specializing is The Fear -- a basket of related fears that surface at the worst possible moment during the specialization process. The main real risk with specialization is flinching, which is exceeding your risk profile, and then hastily responding to a feeling of fear that arises during implementation. The Fear, very unhe...
  •  How Does Service Specialization Actually Work?
    In The Positioning Manual for Indie Consultants, I describe the 5 ways of specializing. A service specialization is one of those 5, and I've gotten at least one request for more detail on how service specialization works. A service specialization is usually horizontal in nature, but it's differentiated from a pure horizontal specialization by de...
  •  What is the Difference Between Positioning and Specialization?
    On one level, it's mostly a semantic difference, but I do think it can be a meaningful distinction. I'll argue full out that there is a distinction; you decide if it's a meaningful one for your case.

    Specialization is the decision. Over time, you implement this decision; the result of the decision and reasonably good implementation is a market ...

  •  What is the Difference Between Positioning a Product and Positioning a Service?
    Good advice becomes harmful when applied to the wrong context. Understanding the contextual differences between products and services allows us to properly interpret advice about positioning and avoid mis-applying it. On that note, this is a good place to remind you that I am writing for a very specific context: the solo indie consultant. Some o...
  •  What Should a Specialist Website Look Like?
    Gifted designers can stretch established forms in delightful ways, but for 98% of us, if we publish a book it should look like a normal book, and if we publish a website for our specialized business, it should look like a specialized business website. Let's explore what that looks like. In this article I'll avoid showing specific examples to hel...
  •  Aspirational vs. Track Record-Based Positioning Statements
    Is your positioning statement supposed to be a leading or lagging indicator of how you're perceived by the market? Can you use your positioning statement as a lever to level up? The short answer to both: yes. There's nuance you should understand, though.

    Your positioning statement should be clear. But can you talk about a desired future state f...

  •  How Much More Money Can Specialists Make?
    I've seen a spread of around $900,000/year in revenue between an un-specialized indie consultant and specialized indie consultant, but there's a cubic shitton of implementation work that separates those two revenue numbers. Specialization is just part of it. When you make the decision to specialize, there is no cosmic Human Resources department ...
  •  What Creates Credibility for a Specialist?
    There's a bucket list of things you can do, along with some clunkers to avoid. And luck! Luck always plays a role. This article is really meant to address the anxiety: "if I change my approach from generalist to specialist, will the change in context cause me to suffer a loss in credibility?" The idea of specializing raises the fear of being hum...
  •  What Does it Actually FEEL Like to be a Specialist?
    In terms of feelings that we have simple names for, the life of a successful specialist is marked by the feelings of wonderment, trust, dissatisfaction, confidence, and humility. These feelings spring from the specialists's shifting relationship with opportunity and mastery. Much of how these feelings manifest over time is determined by whether ...
  •  How Do I Craft A CLEAR Positioning Statement?
    The answer depends on whether you have a normal or weird business. Weird: suggesting something supernatural; uncanny; strange; odd; bizarre. — Source: various online dictionaries I work with a lot of weird businesses. Mine is a weird business, too. Rest assured: I use the words normal and weird in a value-neutral way to describe how commoditized...
  •  How Much Expertise Do You Have To Have To Specialize?
    You need less than you think, but more than none. We measure our expertise relative to the most accomplished expert in our domain, which leads to imposter syndrome. Our clients measure our expertise based on how much pain it helps them avoid or how much progress towards some important purpose is helps them make. This means we assess our own expe...
  •  How Permanent Is A Specialization Decision?
    As I like to say, it's not a face tattoo. :) The decision to specialize is one of the most important strategy decisions you'll make in your indie consulting business. With any decision, it's important to understand how reversible that decision is. That's because reversible decisions are less risky, and so you can take a different approach to mak...
  •  Mental blocks to selling advisory services
    It feels easier to sell services because it's a concrete deliverable. How can I move past the mental block that advisory work is "harder" to sell? This is a great question from my post opt-in survey. I'll hazard an answer here. (Listen to an audio version of this email: /consulting-pipeline-podcast/cpp-142-mental-blocks-to-selling-advisory-servi...
  •  I bought $10,000 of IP today
    (It was discounted to $10 :-> ) The report comes from Munro & Associates, which I talk about a little bit at the top of this podcast conversation with David C. Baker: /consulting-pipeline-podcast/cpp-090-david-c-baker-and-i-discuss-the-means-by-which-economically-valuable-expertise-is-cultivated/ Munro buys cars, takes them apart, and publishes ...
  •  The Death of a Market Position
    I've always interpreted Van Morrison's T.B. Sheets as the story of a guy who breaks up with his girlfriend after she gets tuberculosis (oof. cold!). I was reminded of this after one of my wife's nephews got tuberculosis while visiting Honduras (he thought it was COVID, turned out to be TB), so I re-read the lyrics to the song. The song's story i...
  •  Grazing -> cowpaths -> roads
    I love a good 10-year-overnight-success story. Here's one about comedian Sarah Cooper: Aside from a lot of hard work and followthrough over the years, what I see when I look at Sarah's path to where she is today is the cowpaths become roads thing in action. (Audio version of this email: /consultin...
  •  Connecting the dots
    I thought I'd take a crack at answering a question that came from my post opt-in survey. I'm doing this without the benefit of a conversation with my questioner, so I won't have all the context and nuance of such a conversation, but as my wife's grandmother used to say, it's better than a poke in the eye, isn't it? (Audio version of this email: ...
  •  Books, base hits, and homeruns
    I assume you will, at some point, write a book. (Audio version of this email: /cpp-136-books-base-hits-and-homeruns/) I think it's inevitable that if you're serious about this expertise/consulting thing, you'll need a bucket to catch the expertise overflow, and that bucket will look something like a book. Perhaps you will soar through the proces...
  •  Do experts have to be right?
    Some of them should be. (Audio version of this email: /the-consulting-pipeline-podcast-all-episodes/cpp-132-do-experts-have-to-be-right) When I rode a small bus from Creel to Batopilas at the bottom of the Copper Canyon in Mexico, the bus driver crossed himself before the scary turns. Most of the turns were scary switchback hairpin turns. (These...
  •  A can of beans over a hobo campfire
    A POV workshop participant reminded me of something we all need to hear from time to time. It takes more than one day to go from wherever you are now to the kind of life where a can of beans over a hobo campfire counts as a nice dinner. Disaster generally doesn't happpen as the result of one decision. Yes, you'll see stuff in the news that makes...
  •  Brand marketing for the niche expertise-driven business
    File this away for the day when direct response marketing starts to feel icky to you.

    • • •

    Sometimes I do the answer-a-question-with-a-question thing with my clients. I use this approach when there's no 1-size-fits-all answer I can provide. "It depends" isn't a very satisfactory answer in those situations. :) The question(s) I ask are meant...

  •  "Anxiety-adjusted returns"
    Smart people writing about risk-taking with investments is like candy to me. This article is the source of the mouth-wateringly delicious term "anxiety-adjusted returns": A bit more context, via an excerpt from the article: Risk management is not about avoiding risk, it’s about ge...
  •  Resilience
    There's a reason why safety is visualized in terms of nets. Why do your clients hire you? If you've got 40 seconds to answer a few anonymous questions about why your clients hire you, I appreciate your input:

    • • •

    I've been thinking about business resilience lately. Probably for obvious reasons:...

  •  6 models for sellin' transformation
    Talking about selling transformation today... 2 more days to register for the point of view workshop: /pmc-csw-point-of-view

    • • •

    I got a fantastic question from an email list member. The topic: sellin' transformation. I've been stewing on your thoughts about Brand vs. Direct marketing for expertise lead businesses and I've got a couple of ...

  •  A different sort of opportunity
    An Expertise Incubator ( participant recently got invited to deliver a half-day workshop at an industry event. The pay is acceptable, and the opportunity to build credibility and access is solid. This opportunity just landed in his inbox. He didn't use outreach or special industry connections to generate it. A ye...
  •  How to provide value?
    For a while now, I've had a post opt-in survey (fuller description of that: I recently changed it up, refocusing my questions around vision and blockers to achieving impact. This question came over the wire recently via that survey (I sometimes copy/paste anonymously-asked questions here w/o att...
  •  The barbell, yet again
    "All the world's information."

    • • •

    I get so frustrated with people calling the Internet "all the world's information", and thinking of smartphones as access to "all the world's information in your pocket". These phrases are marketing pablum, and a painful oversimplification of the reality of learning, knowledge, and expertise. No less care...

  •  Sales pages, PDF, and trust
    A sales page might be bad for your sales. How do you sell stuff without using the "Pain, Dream, Fix" formula? Or sales letters? You build up a trust asset. AKA, a brand. Then you use something more like a brochure and less like a sales letter to sell your thing. You do it like this: