The Expertise Incubator

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After publishing about 100 posts, you'll have to figure out what to do with the innovative ideas that are arising within you.

Show Notes

  • Urgent vs. Innovative 
    • Open 
      • Car horn sound 
      • What's the information value of a car horn? 
      • It's a signal, but how informative is it? What can you learn from a car horn? 
      • It could mean like 10 different things, right? 
      • Email list unsubscribes are like a car horn. 
      • Talking about unsubscribes led to a fascinating conversation with Bob L from TEI, which led to this TEI audio update for you. 
    • There's a thing that happens when you get further into this daily publishing practice 
      • I've seen it in myself 
      • But now that I've seen it in TEI participants, I can talk about it 
      • Many thanks to Bob L for helping me frame it better. 
    • The path 
      • As a reminder, you'll probably start out with the Expertise Enema 
      • You'll also just be feeling the burn 
      • Then about 3 months in, things will stabilize somewhat 
      • You'll hit the wall at some point too, perhaps a bit before the 3mo mark, though that depends a lot 
      • Then, you'll reach 100 posts. That's about the earliest you'll start sensing this change 
    • The change 
      • PoV starts to emerge 
      • And also, maybe, you start to innovate 
      • And then, you really start to wonder what you should be writing about 
      • A tension emerges. Let's meet the components of this tension. 
    • The innovation content 
      • Some examples from my world 
        • Change vs. optimization consulting 
        • Brand vs. DR 
        • Nobody asked me to explore these areas, and the value of me exploring them is still quite speculative, but I can see the exploration paying off over time 
        • Or maybe instead, they're just part of the cognitive infrastructure I need to be more effective. Either way... 
          • We take infrastructure for granted. No one says "thank god there's electricity in this city of 1 million people!". We just expect it. 
          • Likewise, experts have parts of their cognitive infrastructure others take for granted. 
          • So maybe that's all I'm doing here: building cognitive infrastructure that will soon be taken for granted. 
        • Plenty of prospects have said to me: "I have a positioning problem". No prospect has ever said to me: "I have a need-to-transition-from-DR-to-brand-marketing problem". Yet as I explore this issue, I see more and more who do! 
          • DR feels cheap and manipulative and needy to them and they don't know why 
          • And I'm starting to see that they also focus on change consulting more than optimization consulting 
          • I see a mechanism at play in their business (which I see as a system) that they themselves can't see. That's POWERFUL, at least once I master the articulation of this insight/PoV. 
      • I have a niche-famous friend who has hired a marketing firm. I see exactly how and why they're tarnishing his brand and how he'll either have to cause them to change a fundamental aspect of their approach, or fire them. 
        • They're clumsily using DR in a brand marketing context. 
      • An attempted definition of "innovation content" 
        • It's meant to help your clients innovate 
          • Could be focused on the earliest-adopting 10% 
          • Could be focused on the most serious/ambitious 10% 
          • Could be focused on opportunities/threats that are 3 to 5 years out 
          • Could be incorporating context in a new way, or considering new heretofore unconsidered context 
          • Could be modeling the kind of thinking they need to do to innovate 
          • Is mostly oriented towards change rather than optimization 
    • Compared to the "urgent" content 
      • We might also frame this as "commodity" content unless it also includes a strong PoV or unless it fills an information gap (which is a temporary condition that exists around new "rising star" platforms) 
      • Plenty of prospects have come to me saying they have a positioning problem. 
      • Plenty have certainly come to DCB saying they have a profitability or business operations problem. 
      • These are the problems or needs of now. They're "home improvement" rather than "the hero's journey". They're an aspirin rather than an aspiration. 
      • This is the kind of content that we believe is able to shake loose prospects from your email list. 
        • I think of this like an electron doing a quantum jump. 
        • The electron jumps in response to conventional DR methods 
          • Agitating pain 
          • Connecting benefits to a strong CTA 
    • The tension 
      • The tension, said succintly 
        • What's the right ratio of these two forms of content? 
      • Two anxieties feed this tension 
        • The innovation content will alienate leads who are on the list for the urgent content, leading to them unsubscribing, costing us business opportunity 
        • The innovation content will position us as out of touch with the urgent issues, costing us business opportunity 
          • In other words, we'll build a reputation as somehow out of touch as an expert practitioner that can help now 
          • Fear: we'll develop a reputation as a useless "futurist" 
      • A reasonable desire feeds this tension 
        • The desire: get some kind of ROI on all this effort!! 
    • Is there a resolution? 
      • The ideal resolution, I think, is whatever leads to a reputation as a "visionary practitioner". You do both, but with a certain tone, filtered obviously through your personal style. 
        • The tone (subtext of what you're writing): OF COURSE we can help with the urgent. We've mastered that so much that we spend a substantial part of our time exploring the innovative, but not at the expense of our mastery of the urgent. 
          • The tone of the urgent content will be highly prescriptive (do this), matter of fact, comforting (you got this), and -- above all -- have a resonance of competence. 
          • The tone of the innovative content will be different. 
            • It will necessarily be more exploratory, perhaps more tentative. 
          • It's critical to not let the more tentative, exploratory, uncertain tone of the innovative bleed back  into the urgency content. I mean the actual tone of the writing can still be confident, but it's a confident exploration of the uncertain or the unknown. 
        • Some models 
          • John Wimberley practicing setting up his tripod 
          • Advante garde jazz musicians who still spend two hours a day running scales 
          • Medical researchers who still do a certain amount of routine clinical work 
      • This certainly leads us to think about the nature of change itself 
        • Some change is discontiguous in nature, but a lot is gradual and continuous change 
          • So there's almost always going to be a way to contextualize the innovative within the urgent. Or the urgent within the innovative. 
          • With this in mind, I don't worry too much that some focus on the innovative -- even significant focus there -- is going to make you look out of touch or totally irrelevant to the day-to-day urgent. 
          • Ex: marketing online in the context of an Internet where aggregators have 100% won and regulation or other forces have failed to reign them in 
            • the urgent advice is given in the context of this innovative thinking. What do you do *today* to prepare for this eventual future? How do you do things *today* so you are not screwed over by this coming reality? 
            • The innovation content is still relevant, except to those in some kind of survival mode who believe they can't afford to think very far forward, or simply aren't inclined to. 
            • The breakthrough: I don't want them as clients anyway!! Do you? 
      • The resolution of the anxiety 
        • If you have an impulse to explore the innovative, GIVE IN TO IT. Indulge it! 
        • It may have a short-term cost in terms of unsubscribes or perceived relevance to your market's urgent day-to-day needs 
          • In a larger sense, joining a daily email list is kind of like dropping in on a conversation between regulars at a bar. If you can tolerate lurking a while, picking up on contextual clues, and then gently inserting yourself into the conversation at a carefully-chosen moment, you'll be fine. Some people don't have what it takes to do even that, and they're going to find the daily email list version of the bar conversation intolerable. 
          • In other words, there are so so many reasons for people to unsubscribe from a daily email list. A low unsubscribe rate is not why you publish daily. There are deeper, more important reasons why. 
        • But remember: you're iterating quickly here. You're publishing daily, which means you'll learn quickly. Even 3 months of not quite getting it right won't hurt you long term. 
        • You'll pretty quickly (in terms of months, not days) get to a point where the urgent and innovative are good "dance partners" for each other. They'll inform each other in a virtuous way, and they'll each act as a filter for the kind of clients you want to work with. 
        • If you have this impulse and don't surrender to it, you won't do that on-the-job learning that leads to this more powerful position as visionary practitioner. So give in to it! 

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