PreneurCast is a business podcast. Each week, author and marketer Pete Williams and digital media producer Dom Goucher discuss entrepreneurship, business, internet marketing and productivity.
This week, Pete chats with Ed Dale, Internet Marketing Impresario, about their mutual ‘bromances’ with running, chocolate and John Mayer, and they discuss John’s lecture at Berklee and the idea of focusing on developing an idea before you promote it
Pete and Ed talk about focusing on the idea before promoting it
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Pete and Ed Dale sitting in a tree, r-u-n-n-i-n-g
Dom Goucher: Hey there, buddy. How’s it going?
Pete Williams: Very well, Dom, very well. Yourself?
Dom: Very well, very well. Hey, actually you just brought something up there immediately that I wanted to talk you about. After last week with James Schramko deeming us worthy of a listen of a podcast and giving awesome feedback – thanks a lot, I actually went ahead and had a listen to Mr. Schramko’s podcast. And I picked up a tip up from him.
Pete: What was the tip?
Dom: It probably wasn’t the one that he intended. We’re on show number 14 now. And it occurred to me that I know who you are, you know who I am; but we don’t actually tell anybody who we are in so much as if you listen to Tim and James on their podcast. They say, “Hi, I’m Timbo,” and, “Hi, I’m James.” And everybody can work out who everybody is. But we don’t do that.
Pete: I always say, “Hi Dom,” and you say, “Hi Pete.” So people should be able to backward-engineer that, shouldn’t they?
Dom: Well, actually we don’t do that. There’s a lot of ‘mates’ and ‘buddies’ and all that kind of pal-y kind of stuff. But no, we don’t do it. Just for everyone at home: hi, I’m Dom and he’s Pete.
Pete: Yes, I’m Pete. I like long walks on the beach. I’m not a fan of candlelight dinners. I much prefer a restaurant with a good meal, being waited on. And actually, I do enjoy long runs in the rain; that is true. And I don’t mind the odd glass of red wine when I’m not training for an Ironman.
Dom: He missed an opportunity to say, ”I like piña coladas” and so on, and so on…
Pete: I do like yoghurt as well.
Dom: Apparently, were the only ones that like yoghurt or even yogurt, depending on where you come from.
Pete: Well, Ed likes it according to his emails. The guy who plays dirty.
Dom: Not quite got it there. I don’t think we’ll get surprised for that one.
Pete: No, no. They’re in context in the show. That was the whole idea of it. But anyway…
Dom: Exactly, exactly. And speaking of Mr. Dale.
Pete: He is the guest today. We had our very first guest on the PreneurCast, which is very exciting. We get to talk on a few different things and a bit of a man crush. What’s it called, a bromance? We sort of talked about a bit of bromance today about John Mayer.
Dom: Yeah. When you first said that you were going to interview Ed, I just thought, wow, two of the people that I know that know the widest range of topics possible. Between you and Ed, it’s like, what on earth are you going to talk about? How did John Mayer come about? Obviously, were going to segue across and put the interview into this recording. But how did the John Mayer thing come about?
Pete: Well, John is an awesome musician. He does a presentation every year, a couple of years, or has done for the last few years at Berklee university in California. I think he went there as a student learning songwriting. He goes back there, and a couple of years ago did a presentation on stage performance and stage presence. Then early this year, he did another presentation about creativity and songwriting.
I’m far from a musician. I know how to play, well, I knew how to play Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer on saxophone at one point. That’s about as far as my musical expertise goes. I’m a big fan of his music, but I’m also a big fan of him as an artist in the wider sense of the word. In his presentational clinic, as they refer to it as, he talked about how he goes about creating music – his thought process and a whole bunch of stuff.
And I thought, Ed being a marketer as well that we all know, a guitar player and also an equally huge John Mayer fan, it could be cool to have a discussion about the stuff that John talks about at his presentation at Berklee in the context of business and entrepreneurship, and obviously internet marketing because that’s where Ed’s focus is. So I thought it could be a great fit, a great chance to interview Ed and talk about something a little bit different, a little bit left of field, but also so, so relevant to this podcast.
Dom: Cool. That’s awesome. Well, hey, let’s get straight into it and let’s have a listen to how you got on talking to Ed.
[Pete’s interview with Ed Dale starts]
Pete: Ed, how are you today, mate?
Ed Dale: You are insane. I did some research on this Ironman thing.
Pete: I tell you, I’m insane for a number of definitions. But the Ironman is definitely a good one.
Ed: Let me get this straight. So just for kicks, you go and swim what, three and a half kilometers or so?
Pete: Yup. Just a bit over that, yes.
Ed: Right. Then just to refresh yourself after the three and a half-kilometer swim, which I’m reliably told by my swimming wife can take some very decent amount of time.
Pete: It’d probably be about an hour, I’d say.
Ed: An hour? Yeah, about an hour in the water. Then you think, you know what? Just for kicks, I’m going to jump on my $4,000 bike and go ride for what, 140K or something?
Pete: A hundred and eighty, mate. A hundred and eighty.
Ed: A hundred and eighty kilometers in Western Australia, no less. And then just as a cool-down, you’ll just do a full marathon.
Pete: Exactly. It’s definitely a perfect definition of insanity.
Ed: That is awesome.
Pete: So far so good.
Ed: Yeah? Well done. I’m a longtime listener.
Pete: First-time guest, and the first guest we’ve had, which is great, so…
Ed: I’ve got a text message. It just arrived from Danny Batelic about charts and things. But we don’t care about charts. We’re not interested in charts. But I’m so impressed.
Pete: Well, it’s been a goal for a while, and so far so good. I literally just got back from the masseuse for an hour on the table of pain. This is all about keeping your body in check…
Ed: Yeah, exactly. Because I know, doing my Poultry 5K and trust me, to me that’s like my Ironman. Two days before, I’d stuck to a very strong program. And I loved how you made the analogy between business and sticking to process.
Pete: In the last episode, yeah.
Ed: Yeah, loved it. And trusting the process because it’s so true. I was ready to go for the marathon. I’ve even done, well, not a marathon, 5K – a marathon for me. And by the day before, I went to lift this, like a pothole cover that had come off in the street. And I thought, being a good citizen, I’ll put the pothole cover back. And I thought, I’ve almost gotten… And then I had this horrible thought. I thought, “What if I’d actually done something bad then and I couldn’t run? After all months of work, I couldn’t run the 5K. That’d be devastating.
Ed: So I was touching all available wood that you are injury-free through it.
Pete: Yeah, so far so good. It’s pretty much my number one focus for the next 16 weeks or so. I get a massage every week, and the ice baths, and hot baths with salts and all that sort of crazy stuff. It’s definitely taking over the life, but it’s been the goal for a while – one of those things. If you have a goal, you dedicate yourself. You follow the process, and you work hard and without distraction, you’ll achieve it.
Ed: The thing that I like about the running, because for me, it really was something that was unthinkable. There are old friends who have watched me do this on Facebook and they are floored, flabbergasted.
Pete: I’m really proud of you…
Ed: Thank you. That’s right. It’s completely out of character.
Pete: ‘Tubby nerd,’ that was your tag. It was ‘tubby nerd.’
Ed: Exactly. But what was fascinating for me, it’s such a good experience when you’ve been doing something in the field and you get some competence at the field; it’s very good to remind yourself what it’s like to be an absolute beginner again. And if you’re in the business of teaching in any niche, it’s very humbling and a brilliant idea to go back.
It’s like people who go back and do school again. A dear friend of mine has gone back to university. He just turned 40 and he’s killing it. He’s absolutely destroying it, like he’s ducks of everything. It is so easy to him because he understands process and discipline now. Whereas, his first time around at uni…
Pete: Distractions, maybe.
Ed: It was all distraction all the time. So it’s fascinating to me.
Pete: Absolutely. And you did the Couch-to-5K, which was the process that you followed, a great iPhone app. And it’s been a running process or methodology for years. It sort of became really popular again recently because of the iPhone apps and stuff like that.
Ed: Well, here’s a bit of trivia for you. The person who created the Couch-to-5K program is a guy called Josh Clark who also happens to be, his day job is probably, the guru of iPhone user-interface design. He wrote the book Tapworthy, and I had no idea that it was Josh who actually invented the Couch-to-5K although it was years ago.
Pete: He didn’t do the app, did he?
Ed: No, he didn’t do the app. He sold it to the Cool Running people. He sold the concept and everything. But small world, very small world.
Pete: And you’re now doing Couch to 10K, is that correct?
Ed: I’m doing the Couch to10K, yup. Step by step.
Ed: You made the point, which I thought was one of my favorite points from last episode, that one of the biggest things people do is that they go from never having run to think, “Okay, I’m going to do a marathon.” And that doesn’t end well.
Ed: It really doesn’t end well. A few of my friends or some colleagues of ours are running in the Melbourne marathon or doing a half marathon and all that sort of that thing. I looked at it and I wanted to do the 10K, but it’s four weeks early. In the program, it’s four weeks. I’m going to do the five, which now I know I can do easily. I would have loved to do the 10, but it’s four weeks before I’d be properly absolutely guaranteed ready to do it. And I won’t to do it. I will wait and I’ll do a 10K after, in November or some time. Because I follow the process. And after the 10K, it will be the half marathon. And after the half marathon, then a marathon.
Pete: Oh, you want to get to the marathon stage.
Ed: Yeah, because I’d like to keep doing it.
Pete: That is awesome.
Ed: There are no fat people who run half marathons.
Pete: That is very true.
Ed: You can’t be fat and run a half marathon. So I enjoy the running. It’s a great mental break. I always thought people were idiots who said, “Oh, I feel much better after my run than before.” And after first couple of weeks of Couch-to-5K, I thought, really insane. You can’t be serious. I can barely get off the couch. But it’s true, it is absolutely true now. I always feel better. And if I get stuck on a problem or something, you throw on the FiveFingers and head on out, and off you go.
Pete: So you’re doing the barefoot running craze. You’re doing that thing as well?
Ed: That’s what I’m doing this time. That’s the other thing. It’s because I’m starting Couch to 10K, I’m doing it, well, not barefoot because I’m too much of a pussy for that; but I’m doing FiveFingers, which is as close as you can get. And I’ve got to say, wow, like no leg fatigue at all. I had to learn how to run properly…
Ed: But once I’ve got that, it was fabulous. I’m really liking it.
Pete: I think the secret to running the barefoot running stuff, and I think you’ve done it very smart whether it was conscious or not, is you’re starting again from Couch to 10K. So if you try to just put your shoes on one week and do your 5K run, and then next run session, just go to Vibram FiveFingers and run barefoot 5K. Terrible, terrible. But it’s starting out and getting your body back into that flow of running barefoot.
Ed: This is the thing, so I’m literally running. It seems like a joke at the moment. Rest three minutes, run one minute, which is for me now a breeze. But that’s the perfect way to break in the FiveFingers.
Ed: So, I don’t want to take over and host your show or anything. But as much as you did running last week, I think you’ve got an awesome topic for this week.
Pete: Well, obviously, running is a new love of ours together. I think the other male crush/ love…
Ed: I should say, before we go to that segue, I’ve got to give you credit. It was you. Because I saw your diet. Let me tell you, people. Here’s a little bit of inside baseball for all your listeners. Basically, I’ve known Pete for a long time. In London and elsewhere, in a couple of recording sessions we did for various projects, he walked in with a liter of milk and a huge family block of Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate.
Ed: And that was his lunch. I said, “You can’t be serious?” Because he’s a beautiful-looking man. He’s a fine, fine man of fitness. He said, “No, most nights, I’ll sit down with a block of chocolate and a liter of milk, and that’s it. That’s dinner for me.”
Pete: I still do it. It’s more dessert. I’ll also have a slightly decent meal. But I do that. Yeah, absolutely, a littler of milk and a big block of chocolate all to myself.
Ed: So I said, “I’ve got to get on that program.” Hey, I’m prepared. If I can get away with eating a block of chocolate and some milk, I’m going to run.
Pete: You’ve got to make sure you’re burning enough calories.
Ed: Yeah, that’s right.
Pete: On to our third love. So we’ve got running, we’ve got chocolate. Our third love, and I’ve been a fan of this guy John Mayer, the musician, the artist, for years from his music standpoint. And to give some kudos to you, a couple of years ago, I don’t know if it was a conversation we had, a blog post you wrote, or something in some sort of communication that I consumed, face-to-face or something like that; you started talking about John Mayer as The Thinker, for want of a better term.
And it’s just definitely worth having a conversation about John Mayer. Not about the music because I’m so not musical at all, I just really love his music and his songwriting; but just as a songwriter, as a producer, as an artist. It’s just worth having a conversation around.
Ed: Yeah, totally. When I got my guitar fetish/addiction, I got on to John Mayer very, very early on. I read an article in a guitar magazine, and what struck me coming from my background is how much thought this guy was putting into not only his music, but business, life, creativity; he had real views on it. And I started to know him. He’s a very talented guy. He’s done standup comedy. He’s featured in skits on the Chappelle’s Show. He had his own show there for a little while.
He’s a really, really, really talented guy. A geek, an absolute geek, was very much a member of the Apple family until the ill-fated Blackberry-sponsored tour. But very much, so much a real embracer of technology. He put a lot of thought into his art. A lot of people don’t give him the credit. I think when people look back, he’s one of the guitarists of this generation. And he is that because he puts so much respect into the previous generation.
His academia and thought into all of this stuff is fascinating. And it was proved to me by a lecture he did at Berklee in 2008, which I managed to get hold of an MP3. It was a fascinating recording. You could have a listen to it, and it could have been a business seminar. It really could have. He could have stood up there with any business-leading kid or manager.
Ed: It was superb. And interestingly of course, look, when he eventually got on Twitter, it was way before Lady Gaga in terms of Twitter and all these sorts of things. But then he disappeared, right?
Ed: He went quiet. And basically he felt that he, to use his words, was “vomiting away his creativity…”
Ed: By this need and urge to be on and publishing all the time. Effectively, if you can imagine, I suppose the metaphor is if you’ve got a tank full of water and that represents your creativity, he felt he was just letting that creativity roll and run out in 140-character bursts. Also, this was his Jennifer Aniston phase.
Pete: Phase, yup.
Ed: And that was another reason to admire John Mayer. Because if you’re tall, if you’re handsome, why not go out and shag every available gorgeous-looking Hollywood starlet?
Pete: Why not? Exactly right. Why wouldn’t you?
Ed: If you were in that position. I’m, of course, happily married. You’re about to be happily married. But you’ve got to admire him. If you’re 26…
Pete: Jennifer Aniston is on my list. I’d get a Get Out of Jail Free card with her.
Ed: So anyway, really, the full package. So John has been very quiet. He’s been working on his next album. Because his last album, and this is another thing which again, sets him apart, I think. He pretty much came out and said, “Look, Battle Studies was not my best work.”
Pete: I enjoyed it.
Ed: Continuum was far better.
Pete: Oh, yeah.
Ed: “I was really proud of Continuum, not so happy with Battle Studies.” Now, when do you hear an artist do that?
Pete: Yeah. Just critique themselves and just come out there and be so honest about it too.
Ed: Exactly. So that’s really, really is fascinating. And then of course he pops up at Berklee again. Because again, you can tell when somebody’s a real student of their art because they have a desire and a need to teach it.
Pete: He went to Berklee, didn’t he, as a student?
Ed: I believe so. I believe he went at least for a little while. But I think that’s interesting. People often ask us, “Why do you teach? Why don’t you just sit back and make money?” And it’s very hard to explain to people that A) if you teach something, it’s the best way to learn it; and B) if you’re a real student of what you do, you can’t help but want to teach it. And he does. He went back to Berklee and did this teaching session. And there was this wonderful blog post, which I put an incredible amount of effort…
Pete: We’ll leave it in the show notes too. So for the listeners, just check the show notes on iTunes and stuff, and you’ll have a link to that.
Pete: We’ll try and link back to the original audio file from the 2008 clinic, if I can find the link.
Pete: And also the audio from this year’s.
Ed: Which you told me about because I didn’t know that it existed. So I’m so excited about this.
Pete: It’s two hours long and it’s quite good. The audio is not great. But if you turn the volume up, you’re good to go. And I’ve devoured it on my running. I actually listened to it while I ran a couple of times.
Ed: Yeah. I get a lot of podcasts done in the running. It’s another reason to run too. You can listen to more podcasts. Geez, Dom’s quiet today.
Pete: He’s taking it all in.
Ed: He’s just absorbing in the backseat.
Pete: Yeah. But the biggest thing for me from his 2008 clinical presentation or lecture, whatever you want to refer to it as, he spoke a lot about stage presence, which I thought was really interesting. That’s when I first really started to think of him as a thinker. He actually really takes a lot of pride and thought into his stage presence, how he connects with the audience and how the stage show goes.
Because it’s not just about the music for him. And for most artists, it’s not. Look at Lady Gaga. It’s very much not about the music. She’s a fantastic musician, but there’s so much going on around that. And that was the biggest thing that stood out for me from his 2008 lecture.
Ed: Well, yeah. I think anybody who’s doing any sort of business, the business has to be more than just, well, as Gary Halbert always used to tell me, the delivery of the mud. He always used to call it that. He didn’t care, he’d say all the mud when referring to some client’s pride and joy and 20 years of work. It’s mud because he realized that it was the story, and the package, and everything around it was what really sold it. The difference between a memorable concept and just a ho-hum concept.
Pete: Yeah, absolutely. So this year’s clinic, again, it has been referred to as a clinic, but really it’s just a lecture and a presentation. He drops, in my opinion, some bombshells.
Ed: Oh, yes.
Pete: Just the ways he thinks and acts and creates. And I thought what we can do is grab a couple of the quotes that he mentioned, and just digest them and discuss them in the context of business and entrepreneurship because they definitely apply to both.
Pete: One of the things he said early on which I took some notes on was about the creation versus promotion, and the difference between that when it comes to music. It definitely applies to any sort of business. One of the quotes was, I’ll try and read this right. “You got the distraction of being able to publish yourself immediately,” in this day and age as a musician. Because you can kind of go out, you can create a song, chuck it on iTunes straightaway, throw it up on CD Baby, or the precursor to Facebook, the MySpace world.
There’s no distraction or distinction or separation between that publishing and creation, and that causes a lot of problems for a lot of people, particularly in the music world. I think that applies to business too. You’re a big talker or a big teacher about, you write, and then you sit on it, and then you look at it, and then you promote it.
Ed: Yeah. To try to tie this into what we do with online business, it used to be that traffic was super important. The creation of the product was the real bottleneck; that was the hard part. And now with all the tools that we have available just like we’re doing here, the concept of doing this at this level of quality five years ago was unthinkable.
Ed: So it has gone completely the other way. Where the product, it’s super easy to publish – to put up a video and put up a thing. But it’s hard to get the traffic and to think about the package around the delivery, and what’s the arc, what’s the story of what you’re trying to do, and what’s the process? We’re seeing, which I’m really pleased to see, all about evergreen business strategies at the moment.
Ed: And I really applaud this because it’s really thinking strategically about the entire process and how it’s sustainable for somebody. It’s sustainable but it’s also about thinking that every step of the process is, “Is this a win for everybody?” So that even if somebody comes through the process and they end up not buying whatever you have to sell, they really feel thrilled to have been through the process. And why not think about that? And what John was saying there was that there is no handbrake, there is no editing into that publishing, and that can be a real problem.
Pete: The quote he mentioned was you have to, “Manage the temptation of publishing yourself.”
Ed: How does this gel? Because I bang on about always be shipping and publish, publish, publish. How do those two things gel? I’m often quoted that market leadership equals content, times consistency. So getting your own content that you generated out consistently overtime will get you market influence. Dale’s ‘Second Law,’ which is not as nearly as well-known is that the reward you get for a piece of content tends to roughly equate with the amount of effort you put into it.
So what does that mean? That means, like 140-character tweet that you throw up in a minute and a half, will ‘get you X impact.’ Whereas, an article or a blog post that you’ve worked on for a week will get you dramatically more impact, more back link, more retweets, more everything as a general rule. Unfortunately, you never really know where one thing is going to take off and where another thing…
To my shame, the most popular thing I’ve ever done on Facebook was put up a photo of my bubblehead. I’ve shared gold with you people, and it’s the bubblehead that you share throughout Facebook? Really? I think that people are too quick. I would agree as a general rule that I know my writing got immensely better when… If you write something good in particular, you want to get it out there to get an opinion.
But I know getting it to rest, stopping, letting it rest, and then coming back to it will make it immensely better. And Halbert used to do this all the time when he was writing copy. He’d finish writing copy and say, “Okay, Ed. Come on.” And we’d just go for a drive down the Florida Keys or something. And we’d be talking about anything other than the project that he was working on because he knew that it had to rest. Stephen King shoves his first draft of the novel in a drawer for about six months, and then he comes back to it with a fresh set of eyes.
And it’s often where you get your hooks, your titles, your headlines – the things that really make the thing ‘the thing’ when you come back at it with your fresh set of eyes. But John’s taking it to a whole another level here because he felt that he was becoming a much more, what’s the right word, shallower as an artist because he was effectively vomiting, publishing all the time through his Twitter and various elements.
Ed: So he’s gone completely the other way. It will be fascinating to see whether this next album will be reflective of that.
Pete: Absolutely, absolutely. It will prove whether the stuff that we’re talking about tonight is actually worthy of a discussion. That will be the proof in the pudding, so to speak. Something else he mentioned, which I think you spoke about as well. I know Gary was like this. One of the other things that John mentions in his 2011 presentation at Berklee is a statement that says, “If you’re done, you go home.” But basically, the precursor to that is he talks about the rules for recording his new record.
He said he set himself some rules, some negative constraints, if you will. “No drum machines, no loops, no keyboards to start out with, no excuses, no breaks, no laptops, no nothing. If you take a break, it’s too eat. If you’re done, you go home.” And what he was talking about is that you just sit down and you write songs. You sit down and you produce an album.
You don’t get distracted by Twitter. You don’t get distracted by a phone call. You just get your bum in a seat and you work. And once you’re done, then you go home. I think that’s so important for any entrepreneur whether you’re an internet market writing articles or whatever it might be. You just have to do the work, unfortunately. You can’t just skimp on that.
Ed: Truly, when I read that, I wanted to have his babies. There are so many powerful concepts in just that one set of statements. Think about it. First, constraints. Creativity and the best art is always grown out of constraints. When you have no constraints, you end up doing nothing. Constraints are everything in a creative endeavor, in putting together a product. If you don’t have constraints, you’re in serious problems because you’ve got no deadlines. You’ve got no rules in which to operate. You’re flopping around like a fish out of water.
So constraints are crucial in any project. I worry and I fear when I hear somebody saying, “Oh, I’m going full-time in internet marketing. I’m just going to dedicate all my time to it.” I worry when I hear that. So constraints was a big thing. Then the other thing about it was, when you are there to do what you’re doing – in his case, writing a song; in our case, it might be writing an article or creating an autoresponder sequence or doing something like that; you sit down, you do that, you get it done. You might go at the toilet, but you come back. And then once you are done, then be done completely.
And that’s a lesson I have to learn, that is a lesson that I have to learn. I am super duper addicted to, thanks to the iDevices of the world, I can be ‘on’ all the time. I think it would do him a world of good, it would do me a world of good if I put down the iPhone for a little while. I applaud that as well. With mentoring students, when I hear somebody say they’re working 14 hours a day in front of their computer, I’m thinking, what’s wrong? What are you doing wrong?
Ed: Because it’s not the length of time. You cannot be effective for that long in front of a computer. You can’t. It’s impossible. If the best, most productive writers in the world like the Stephen King’s, the Pressfield’s and so on, can maybe put in two and a half, three hours intense writing, then who are we to think that we can spend 12 hours in front of a computer and be effective? You just can’t. Do what you need to do and then step up, get away, do something else. And Pete and I would like you to all get up, go for a walk for half an hour, and listen to a podcast.
Pete: Yeah, absolutely.
Ed: That’s what I’ve started doing. That’s my running. I won’t repeat exactly what I’ve got on my schedule for tomorrow, but the first word is run, the second word starts with B, and it’s scheduled into my day tomorrow. Because if I don’t, I’ll miss it. And I am much more productive when I know I’ve got a constraint. So you tend to be more productive because you’ve got a deadline. “I’ve got to get this done because I’ve got to go for my run.” And then, “I’ve got to get back because I’ve got another session of stuff that I have to do.” It works. It works much better. It’s something that I can be held a lot better at. But boy, I love that sentence.
Pete: Yeah. There were some gold he dropped. Over and over again, listen to it and read the article that we’ll link to it. There were just some amazing bits and pieces. And something else he said, which we kind of touched on already but I think it’s worth reinforcing it. He goes on to say, “I can’t stress enough how important it is to write bad songs. There’s a lot of people who don’t finish songs because they don’t think they’re good enough. Well, they’re not good enough, but still write it.” He goes on to say, “How do you it’s not a good song? It’s not done yet.” And it was very profound if you think about it from a creativity perspective.
Ed: It’s just brilliant. Let’s translate that into marketing, into an online business, internet marketing. If you don’t write the sales letter, if you don’t actually shoot the video and put it up; it’s not a video, it’s not a sales letter. It’s a concept, it’s a dream. This is something I’ve been very passionate about over the last six months or so. It occurred to me and was proven out, I’d be interested to hear what you think about it, Pete, is that as I interviewed successful Challengers from over the six years of doing The Challenge now, they very rarely got the idea that ended up making them all the money first time out.
Ed: In fact I can count, out of the thousands of people who’ve done it, less than two hands required for people who actually came up with their idea and the one that worked straight off the bat. It occurred to me that until you get neck-deep in the production of what you need to do, be it running, be it writing a song, be it creating a sales letter, be it creating an evergreen autoresponder and webinar sequence; until you’ve created one, and then guess what, yeah, it could be crap.
Most of the time, and I try to tell my students, give yourself permission to be ordinary, which was in that great book, Improv Wisdom, which our mate Dan Dobos recommended. Give yourself permission to be ordinary. See, what we do is we compare our crud with everybody else’s polished finished product. Edited, published. That’s what we compare ourselves with. It’s unfair. What we should be comparing our crap with is the first draft of anybody.
And let me tell you, Halbert’s sales letters, they’re honestly good, but they were crap compared to what they became. As they say in screenwriting, you vomit out the first draft. Listen to screenwriters. Their first draft is so far off what they end up actually going with, but they start. They get it done and they have a finished screenplay. The world is full of people who want to write movies. They have a dream to write a movie. There’s very few screenwriters because there’s very few people who are prepared to write bad movies. Because the only way you write good movies is write a few bad ones first.
Ed: So I love that. Love, love, love.
Pete: Absolutely. And in terms of the whole screenwriter thing that you mentioned, sort of talking about millions of people want to do something, funnily enough, throughout his presentation, John Mayer talks about his dad at one point suggesting he shouldn’t go into the music business and saying, “It’s like the NBA, son. Only a few people can actually make it.” And John had an awesome response to this. And he basically went on to tell the story.
I don’t know how he said it to his dad, but the way he portrayed it to the students at Berklee is that in the music world, and it’s very similar in the business world, ”There’s no set lid on how many people get to come in – it’s the art world.” Unlike the NBA, there’s X amount of teams and there’s 12 players a team. So there’s only so many spots you can get you into the NBA. In music, in business, in running and a lot of other places, there is no lid.
Pete: So, there is no cap on how many screenwriters there actually can be if you’re willing to do the hard yards, sit your bum in a chair, not go home until you’re done, write bad plays, and not publish yourself until you’ve got some stuff out there.
Ed: Totally, there is no limit. I think the difference is have you got the discipline to turn up on a consistent basis? Because what people miss is that consistency. Just like you’re training for your Ironman. And you said this last week, and it was so right. If you miss a session, you don’t get the session back, right? If you do miss a session, well, you just have to get back on the bike, so to speak, and keep going. Training for that event is all about consistency of training.
It’s all about following a process and doing that consistently. What I see a lot of people are doing is that they try to create an online business, say for example, in bursts. Or they try to write an app in bursts. They try to cram. And that’s not how to build something sustainable. I’ll take the person who turns up religiously every day and does half an hour of action-based stuff over somebody who does six hours on a weekend, every day.
I’ll pluck the person who does a half-an-hour religiously each day. People just don’t realize what they get into and what they miss out on by not being consistent. There’s true power in that because you build a velocity to things. So many people miss that because they do it in bursts and don’t get the full benefit of turning up and doing something as a practice.
Pete: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more and that’s what we’ve spoken about last week. I couldn’t agree more. One thing that John says in his presentation as well that kind of ties in with all of that, he made a statement around the point of, I’m trying to find it here. “This time is a really important time for you guys because nobody knows who you are, and nobody should. This is not the time to promote yourself. It doesn’t matter. This is the time to get your stuff together.” The stuff he’s talking about when he spoke about that in his two-hour presentation was that it’s not about just getting a quick hit and promoting yourself.
You’ve got to spend your time and do your apprenticeship, whether it be as a musician at school and just write lots of songs for a couple of years and get in that habit of writing songs and writing bad songs; or in business or internet marketing, you’ve got to start writing that blog post every week. Don’t necessarily even promote that. Just write the blog post and publish it every week. And then eventually, you can start building things to that blog post. Because the important thing is the consistency.
Ed: I’ve been so guilty, so guilty. And look, I really admired you guys. You did this with your podcast.
Pete: That’s right, yeah.
Ed: You put eight in the bank or something before you even really started talking about it.
Pete: We didn’t even submit it to iTunes. There was no way anyone could listen to the podcast until we got eight episodes in the bank. We had our flow. We found out how it was going to work. We were confident it was something that we wanted to do regularly. We made that commitment. We built that momentum before anyone knew about it.
Ed: To me, people do one thing and they’re off to do the course and write the Warrior Special Offer the moment they finished it. Yeah, it’s shooting yourself in the foot. Just make sure you get into the habit for your own protection and safety. Don’t tell anybody you’re writing a blog until you’ve done it for a month. Don’t tell anybody you’re doing a podcast until you’ve got the routine down pat and you’ve got a few in the bank.
That is the smart play to go. It’s so hard in this day and age because if you’re proud of something, you want to tell people about it. But you’ll be far more impressive if you get all of these things under your belt and then you get out there. Massive corollary between what John said in music and in business.
Pete: There’s probably that one perfect thing that I highlighted out of his presentation, which is probably a perfect place to end because we’re getting close to time. He says, “Forget about right time, right place – it doesn’t exist. Doesn’t exist. Does. Not. Exist. Nobody is going to sign you to a record company anymore – they’re not in the business of building an artist from scratch anymore. You’ve got to bring them what you already have.”
You have to actually go and do some stuff before you can promote, before you can get a JV partner to promote your product, before you can actually get some clients in your real-world accounting business. You have to actually have something there already. And that’s what you’re doing when you’re actually creating without promoting.
Ed: Look at some of the best examples, again, in our neck of the woods, internet marketing. I keep referring people to the Market Samurai and what those boys did. They proved it up in The Challenge over a couple of years. They didn’t have an affiliate program for the first two and a half years of Market Samurai. They got it to a point where it was right, then they did things slow. They didn’t have a huge product launch. They slowly started doing affiliate promotions with various people. It was word of mouth.
Like I said to Mike Filsaime and John Reese, “Market Samurai just sent us a check for $180,000. You might want to have a look at this.” And so they did. They were impressed and then word of mouth grew and grew. Finally, when it was ready to go, their business exploded when they opened up to all the affiliates. Because people were desperate for it.
That’s the Apple way. That’s the Apple way too. When they announced the product, it’s there to buy within the next week or two. Whereas, everybody else, they’ll do an announcement at CES for some prototype that’s not due for another 18 months. And they constantly disappoint and miss out and under-deliver. It’s such a huge lesson.
If you are good to your audience and you’re good to your ‘tribes,’ as Seth Godin would say, then you’re bringing a package, you’re bringing something of value, and you do great work, people are going to recommend you. We’re in an age where people are desperate. One of the reasons we get validation in this world now is by recommending things to other people and having them un-recommend those. That’s what Likes are.
Pete: Yup, the retweets, the comments on your Facebook, the Likes, the Google Pluses.
Ed: Exactly. People are desperate to find good stuff and that’s our advantage. Everybody who’s listening to this podcast, that is your advantage right now. If you’re prepared to put yourself out there, do content. I’m pretty sure I saw this on your, what’s that?
Pete: Noise Reduction?
Ed: Noise Reduction. It was Hugh MacLeod’s Evil Plans.
Ed: Amazing book. What a great book.
Pete: I saw you tweet that. I was in Bali. I was at the Bali Airport, probably one of the dodgiest airports in the world. They had it there. And I bought it there and read it while I was waiting for my four-hour plane delay that turned into a 13-hour plane delay.
Ed: Yeah, crazy. What I love – the analogy of the snowball. Is that you will you put out pieces of content and you’ll never know which one will buy. But unless you’re rolling the snowballs down the mountain, how do you know which snowball is going to take off? If there are no snowballs being rolled down the mountain, there’s not going to be any big snowball at the bottom. This is where this whole thing comes in. That’s what Mayer is saying here. He says you’ve got to write songs.
Sarah McLachlan, when she was in her heavy production, she would get into a studio, hit record and religiously record half an hour of something every day. And out of that would become the little hooks and the jingles and the things that would form songs. But she would do that. It’s in the process of doing stuff that great ideas come. The ideas don’t come first. You do not get this amazing gift from the deity of your choice, and that’s the idea and you go, “Oh,” and off it goes.
All these songs, all these great songs, all these great businesses, all these great things come from the act of doing it, not the other way around. It’s doing it, measuring, adjusting and doing it and that to me, Pete, is what’s exciting and what’s powerful. I think, both you and I, with students and with doing things, that’s the huge message – that nothing will happen until you start doing it.
Pete: Exactly. I couldn’t agree more. I think it’s a perfect point to finish on. As we said at the start of the show, there are links in the show notes to the 2008 presentation at Berklee if I can find it. It definitely leads to an awesome blog post that summarizes all of this from a music standpoint, and also links to the two-hour audio of his presentation which is definitely a must-listen.
Even if you’re not a fan of John Mayer musically, or from the pages of the tabloid, you think he’s a bit of a douche bag, I still think it’s worth actually listening to this from a business perspective. You might learn some stuff. Hopefully, you learned some amazing stuff from our podcast. But again, we kind of talked about it for 45 minutes. There’s two hours’ worth of content there that is really interesting. You might even get a better feel for who John Mayer is as a person.
Ed: Totally. He’s misunderstood. He’s nowhere near the bad guy that the tabloids make him out to be.
Pete: Well, Ed, thank you so much for your time, mate. I really appreciate you spending some time with us in your busy schedule.
Ed: Oh, thanks for having me. And, Dom, thank you. Boy, you gave me a lot of space, Dom. I really appreciate it. Seriously, speak up more. I enjoy you as much as Pete, listening to this podcast, mate. Seriously, speak up.
Pete: He was in a bit of a shy mood today. So…
Ed: He was really shy.
Pete: And also for people listening, you’ve got your new podcast too, mate. So let’s share the love. There’s no competition here. Let’s share the love.
Ed: No, there’s no competition.
Pete: There’s more room than in the NBA. There’s no ceiling on this sort of stuff. Dominiche.
Ed: There is only one spot. There is only one number one on the Australian iTunes Store.
Pete: You dodgy, dodgy guy.
Ed: But no, we’re not into that.
Pete: You played so dirty the other day.
Ed: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Pete: For those who don’t follow Ed and myself on Twitter. A couple of days ago, between Luke Moulton and Tim Reid who have their Small Business Big Marketing, Timbo and James Schramko who have their Freedom Ocean, Ed and Danny’s Dominiche – their podcast, we’re all very much at the top of the iTunes charts in the marketing sections, particularly in Australia. There’s a bit of crap-giving, shall we say, on Twitter back and forth.
Ed: Not by me.
Pete: We’ll, you tried to go the dignified route.
Ed: Who cares where I am. That’s not important. I only care about you, the listener, whoever is listening to this. The ratings and stuff are not important to us.
Pete: If you follow your Twitter feed, you’d think that because you tweeted, “Danny, we’re above this. Let’s not go down this path of bickering.” And within about six minutes, the email goes out to your entire list saying, “Hey guys, check out my podcast. Leave us a rating and response.” So to me that’s playing dirty – taking a gun to a knife fight.
Ed: I was about to say, to quote the immortal Sean Connery, “Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.”
Pete: But Dominiche, it’s all about selling websites or selling in general?
Ed: It’s all about buying and selling. Obviously, Danny and my background is buying and selling websites. But really, we want it to be more than that. I find the whole psychology and concept of buying and selling fascinating. And so we really talk about all sorts of things because everybody’s in the business of buying and selling whether they think they are or not.
Doctors are in the business of selling your diagnosis; lawyers are in the business of selling you their opinion. Everybody sells, everybody buys, and the fundamental supply right across the board. So we’re having a lot of fun with it. We’ll keep it nice and tight, and right on point, and really enjoying it.
Pete: Awesome. So far, correct me if I’m wrong, you’re doing a bit of a Michael Hewitt-Gleason thing here and talking about selling without actually selling anything. It’s just free content on the podcast. Is that right?
Ed: There’s absolutely no, and there won’t be. I love podcasts, I really do. I’m loving that you guys are doing it. I love listening to James. I love listening to Luke. And Allison Reynolds has got a great podcast.
Pete: Yeah. Absolutely.
Ed: I love listening to them because A) it gives me an excuse to go running, and B) when you think about it, when you’re speaking to your best mates, typically, well these days suppose you are on Skype or you’re on the phone, when you have chats. And to me podcasts are the most intimate delivery media. Because I can be talking to you now, I’m talking to you, wherever you happen to be – in the gym, while you’re driving or wherever you are, I’m talking to you, which is awesome. I’m such a huge fan. It’s my favorite way of consuming information by far. Like, literally by far, I love it. I’m just thrilled that there’s lots of good stuff for people to be listening to.
Pete: Awesome. Let me let you go, mate. Thank you so much for your time.
Ed: Thanks, Pete.
Pete: I hope you enjoyed talking about John Mayer.
Ed: Good on you, Dom. Speak up a bit next time. I know you’re full of so much more to say.
Pete: Probably nervous in your presence. Thanks, buddy.
Ed: See you.
[Pete’s interview with Ed Dale ends]
Dom: Ed, I just want to say, you’re completely welcome. I know you’re a bit shy on retiring. So Pete and I talked about it and I just said, “Look, both of us being on the call, we’d overwhelm him. I want him to feel open and able to talk freely. So I just took a backseat and I’m glad you appreciate it.
Pete: I appreciate it and that was great. So obviously, Ed and I can talk when we want to start talking. It was a long one. A bit of a longer episode this week. But again, it was, as we said at the end of our conversation, it’s filled with gold. I really do encourage people to check out the show notes and listen to the entire two-hour audio of John’s presentation that I was able to find online. If you don’t have the time, definitely read the article that was written as a review, which covered a lot of points that we covered but a whole bunch of other stuff too.
It’s such a good insight into a world-class artist and how they operate; how they think about the creative process, not only as a process but also as a business, and also as just a way of life and how to go about it. It’s really interesting. I really love that sort of stuff. And there’s some other stuff that I might actually mention in an episode in the future. I’ll put up a bit of a list of some other podcasts and episodes of interviews and things that I’ve listened to.
One was recently with Ben Affleck about how he went about writing and producing, creating a recent movie that he did. It’s really cool. I really find it interesting to see and hear and learn from people who are outside the business world how they go about doing their work and how we can apply that to what we do. It’s always good to see something out of context but then apply a different frame around it.
Dom: Absolutely, absolutely. Cool, buddy. Well, excellent interview. I’m really glad that you got that sorted out with Ed. And everybody, again, let us have your feedback. Let us know in the comments or on the email what you think. Is there anybody you’d really like Pete to get an interview with or me get an interview with? Because occasionally, I do ask an intelligent question. What did you think of the topic? But that was great. Well done, mate.
Pete: Thank you, guys. We’ll hear from you next… Or you’ll hear from us next week.
Dom: And hopefully, we’ll hear from you in between. Cheers, mate. Bye now.
Recording of John Mayer’s 2008 Lecture at Berklee on The Challenge Site
A Review of John Mayer’s 2011 Lecture at Berklee
Audio from John Mayer’s 2011 Lecture at Berklee
PodcastsWithEd.com – Ed Dale’s Podcast Site (cunningly named!)
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