Your Personal Value Proposition – Alex Epstein
All right let’s do a quick survey I’ve met some of you but I know have a very diverse audience here so just want to ask two questions and before I give the questions they’re gonna be four categories of answer so you got to memorize a lot here okay so first is very clear I’ll tell you the question in a second but the answer is going to be very clear pretty clear pretty unclear very unclear got that very clear pretty clear pretty unclear very unclear okay so first question is how clear do you feel about what you want to do in your career so I’m just gonna going to count down so if you feel very clear raise your hand all right and and don’t try to impress me because if you all say very clear for both questions and there’s no reason for me to be here all right pretty clear pretty unclear very unclear okay well you guys are liars but and this is an ethics conference but all right so the second one is how clear are you on how to get there and by get there I mean do it in a way that’s that’s successful where you can enjoy it but also where you’re financially comfortable at the very least so someone’s trigger-happy very clear alright so interesting so fewer responses they’re pretty clear pretty unclear very unclear all right so I got some stuff to work with here so career I find fascinating any issue in life where everyone says they want something and almost nobody has it everyone says they want something and almost nobody has that nobody knows how to do it so one issue that we’re not going to talk about today but it’s worth pondering his education everyone says I want everyone to have a great education I never met one person who said they were anti-education right everyone wants all the kids to have a good education and yet they never do and nobody seems to be able to figure that’s those problems I always find interesting so we’re not talking about that one but it’s it’s it’s a good kind of thing to think about the one we’re going to talk about today is career because if you ask anybody they’ll say yes I want a career with two things one is I’m passionate about it I really enjoy it and two is that I have success in it and that includes financial success because with financial success we can not only enjoy our career but we can enjoy more easily every aspect of life if you don’t have any time for example it’s hard to enjoy your friends it’s hard to do things like go to the beach I say that because I’m from Laguna Beach that’s a particular bias of mine but whatever you happen to love to do besides your work you want to be able to do and yet it’s very rare if you ask adults have you made this work that mostly they’ll if they’re being artists they’ll say no and I remember as a kid growing up and being told you know you got to do this and you got to do that and and I would and then I’d say well why do I have to do that and they’d say well cuz that’s how you become successful and then I’d say why are you successful and they’d say yeah but it’s if you don’t really seem to love what you do and or be to be financially successful at it so why should I want to be like you maybe I should do something something different so there’s sort of two categories I think of people getting this issue wrong and you observe this a lot so one and I think the most cliche aspect of this is people who say who kind of make their career work financially but not passion ones so they they settle they do what’s quote-unquote practical and I went to Duke University graduate in 2002 and it was shocking to me how many of the students chose one of three career paths consulting Investment Banking or law school consulting investment back here in law school now it was very unlikely in my mind that 80% of the students at Duke University just happened to have a deep-seated passion for consulting Investment Banking or law school I don’t know that percentage but I asked everyone they say well that’s what I’m going to and I’d say well why are you gonna do that do you really I never heard you mention that once as something you were passionate oh yeah that might have never mentioned anything besides beard in terms of and basketball watching basketball in terms of what they’re passionate about but they say well you know I need to have a career right I need to have a career and so at age twenty-one twenty-two they already gave up they already gave up on doing something that I really enjoy and I think many of you have read The Fountainhead at the beginning there’s just this great line by Howard work about how if if I’m not doing something I’m passionate about I’m sent in sentencing myself to a life of torture so there’s that that thing like the the allegedly practical person who’s not passionate although it’s not really practical to make yourself miserable or bored so it’s not really practical but it’s at least financially practical now the other side of it is the side that I was more sympathetic to and I’m gonna talk more to this side today and that’s the side of you’re passionate about something but you can never really make it work so you’re passionate but you can never really make it work or you’re always struggling and I saw this as I’ll talk about in a minute my career is ideas and with people within the field of ideas and particularly with controversial ideas people who have been an influence lot buy and rent I would just see person after person and they couldn’t really make it work as that they’re always struggling and they never really seem to find a market and you see this in other fields you see it and are you know different kinds of art movies literature people talk about I’m really passionate about that but they can never really seem to make it work and that itself is incredibly incredibly frustrating cuz if you’re passionate about but you can’t make it work you’re not fully realizing the passion so for me Iowa is definitely on the the passion side like I had from age 20 at least I never occurred to me that I would do something that I didn’t really like like I’d rather go broke and in fact I did go broke as I’ll talk about in a second but it was just you know you’re gonna figure out what you want to do and then you’re gonna do it and I had this conviction I will make it work somehow like no matter what it is whatever it is I want to do all make it work and I think that is a good conviction if you actually know how to make it work which I did not but then that’s really what I want to share today how you can make it how you can make it work so when I was about 15 I think what I became passionate about started I was always a math science kid and I started I decided I’m hearing all these people argue about politics I’m so tired of them arguing they never make any sense they’re always just back and forth and it’s really annoying and my parents are in politics all their friends are in politics and they’re just jabbering and not my parents but you know they’re friends in case there are video not anyone in particular if you’re watching this video but it’s like I didn’t like things like that I like things like engineering you can solve and I thought well you should be able to think logically about these human problems like politics just like anything else and I started studying different thinkers than when I was 18 I read Atlas Shrugged and Iran and it’s like holy this person is on a whole different level I mean she’s just so clear and how she thinks about things so I just became obsessed and read everything I could just tried to understand it at the time I had intended to be a businessman in tech but I just by the time I was 20 it just became obvious to everybody this is what you’re obsessed with you should you should do this in some way so I decided alright I’m what I want to be as a practical intellectual or practical philosopher I want to teach people ideas because I think these ideas matter that somehow they improve their life now it wasn’t totally clear on how but I just had this conviction that that it’s going to improve their life and the first point to make is that I had no idea how to make this work at all I had the conviction that you could but I just I had no idea and on top of that I was very insistent on doing it exactly a certain way that was exactly the way you’re not supposed to do it so for example if you want to be in philosophy at the very least you got to go to grad school right I mean that at least has some sort of professional track or at least if you want to do philosophy people have to know that you have a PhD right you have to be dr.
Epstein that’s like well I don’t like I don’t like I could be Mia it’s not for me I know I don’t want to teach there I’m not gonna do that and it’s just like I’ll be good at my conviction as always I’ll be good enough where it won’t matter like nothing will matter if I’m good enough which is true with a qualification that we’ll discuss and I wanted to write for the general public about philosophy and you don’t see many people doing that I just figured that this is there’s something there there’s a way to make it work and and there was but it took I would say 13 solid years to make that work and I think a lot of the motivation for anyone who writes or speaks especially about any kind of personal development is try to help people save a lot of the suffering that you went through to figure it out so that’s why I’m giving this this talk because I was able to go from having no idea what I was doing to actually having a career where I get to teach people the practical value of philosophy now I do it in particular in energy and I can talk a little bit about my own work but I don’t think that’s super relevant today but the bottom line is just to give you an example of where it’s gone I now can go to businesses and it was always a goal of mine to teach businessmen philosophy and business men now paid quite a bit of money to learn philosophy like which seemed impossible 13 years ago so I want to go through the process of how you can of how this happened but but more importantly what the principles are for you so I like dealing in in concepts I think these are three really valuable concepts if you even get one of them and can apply it I think I think it’ll change your life honestly so they’re gonna be will repeat them a lot the career Venn diagram the customer avatar and solution selling sequence so career Venn diagram customer avatar and solution selling sequence and instead of doing questions at the end after each concept I want to take questions so so think of your questions actively because each of these has to be applied and feel free to bring up your own example now because we’re short on time please don’t ask an on question question where you give a speech and stuff but definitely definitely engage you know this is your opportunity I’ll be here at lunch I’m happy to talk to people I’m here all day but might as well take advantage of the opportunity now so let’s talk about career Venn diagram we all know Venn diagrams for math I found there’s a very powerful way to think of things and this goes to the the people who just have the passion but can’t make it work with the people who can make it work but don’t have the passion every sale every productive activity every trade which is about what this conference this is what this conference is about involves two things I think every career of course there are problems that you want to solve and I mean problems in the very broadest sense so this can be an aspiration that you want to fulfill something that you want to create but there’s something that that is needed and you can create something to make it better so there’s that’s what you’re passionate about so in my case I was really really passionate about among other things using philosophy to make issues really really clear so if people are confused about energy and I have philosophy as my toolkit I can help them think about it in a way that’ll allow them to make much better decision so whatever you are passionate about it might be passionate about you can think of it in terms of what kinds of problems do I like to solve and one aspect of that is how do i how do I like to use my mind and this is not really going to be the focus today but I think it’s important to have this as part of the picture and just to give you like a bonus concept that I think is useful if you’re thinking about this if you find it difficult to think about there’s one question that I’ve started giving to people lately that people find helpful and it’s kind of a weird question but because it’s it’s not exactly philosophically correct but it’s a helpful lead-in and so the question is when in my whole life when I’m working do I feel like I was doing what I was born to do so in my whole life when I’m working when do I feel like I’m doing what I was born to do and I find that that you know if you if you start introspecting for that when you’re doing different activities you’ll see and you’ll find it in unexpected places but you’ll see I feel totally in the zone like I feel I feel totally myself right now at this moment and time and if you can identify that that’s a very precious thing to identify so for instance for me I for me it’s really actually sitting down in front of a computer either writing or trying to solve some strategy problems I do tons and tons of speaking and I enjoy speaking and I enjoy but but speaking it’s rarely a hundred percent that for me the thing that’s that is one often when I come home from speaking I’ve been speaking on the road for two weeks and there’s some writing assignment or some problem it’s been in the back of my mind for three weeks and I haven’t gotten time and I just sit down and work on it’s like it’s just everything is right in the world so if you know that feeling it’s super super helpful so whatever for whatever that’s worth so but today we’re gonna focus on the problems that others want solve because I think this is this is part of making it it work and this this is in a sense the harder thing to do because it requires thinking as somebody else it’s easier to think of ourselves I mean front for understandable reasons we are ourselves but think about what I want what kinds of problems do I want solved but to think about it from another person’s perspective and to think of it very very deeply and deeply is going to be the key that’s a totally different that is a totally different skillset but it will change your life if you know how to do it so that we’re gonna talk about if you can think of somebody else’s problems and challenges with the same depth and precision and emotional connection as you can think of your own then you will be completely changed as a productive person because you always have to trade so you need to see it from their perspective it’s Greg saw me area in the room but any chance so Greg will laugh at this I think cuz we’ve talked about this so I just want to show you this was my first attempt when I was 23 years old at coming up with a business where I could teach people philosophy so this is a little distorted because it’s from the Wayback Machine which traces back to your old web page but the idea was I would be an intellectual bodyguard for businesses and the basic premise was if you look at and this is true by the way if you look at I’ll take fossil fuels although I didn’t know that issue back then if you look at say the fossil fuel industry they’re under attack now some of you don’t know my views or might disagree with my views so but just assume for this moment that I’m right because it’s just so you understand the example that fossil fuel the fossil fuel industry is a fundamentally good industry that they are under attack by certain ideas and I’d say at the core they’re the their attack under attack based on the idea that we that we should be green which is that our goal in life should not be focusing on maximizing human wellbeing it should be minimizing our impact on the planet and that whole focus makes us for example with something like co2 in the atmosphere expect that it will be a disaster even if it’s just a mild impact and ignore all the positive benefit so right now we’re in a culture where people talk about restricting 80% of fossil fuel use which is that’s 87 percent of the world’s energy use in the name of co2 and in my book I analyze if you look at this this is absolutely catastrophic for human life we should actually be using more because the benefits far outweigh the costs but because people think the ideal is not really about human well-being but about not impacting nature they don’t think that way so that in itself will not be fully convincing if you’re not familiar with argument but in any case the only point you need to understand here is that this is what I believed and I believe this and I thought well businesses should line up to my door right they should I know how important ideas are they need better ideas their communications are terrible they’re always appeasing their opponents I mean I could criticize them for ever and ever which was kind of a sign that I didn’t really understand the problem and can anyone guess how many not how many customers I got but how many enquiries I got zero so yeah zero so he’s 23 years old supporting myself not independently wealthy whatever stocks I had had I think I had probably sold to finance this little stage of my life so you know going broke so you start to makes you start to think about this you know if you’re starting to suffer that kind of pain like why can’t why can’t I make it work now the key the the important thing is this was actually a really good idea and it was completely legitimate for me to want to teach philosophy to businesses but I had absolutely no real understanding of the problems that they wanted to solve and here’s the key as they experienced them so I had a sense that oh they have to deal with attackers and they somehow need ideas but I had no idea what problems they actually encountered with problems a CEO encounters day to day how he’s thinking about those problems and therefore how I can connect with him and I can have this Venn diagram intersection between his problems the problems he want solved and the problems I want to solve I said no clue I didn’t think of the person at all all I thought about was what I want to do but that’s invalid because if we’re making a trade I need to be able to explain to him how what he wants to do is compatible with how I want to help them I’m actually helping him I can’t just say well I you know I’m gonna I’m gonna just throw out some philosophy and then you just pay me some money if you don’t see any value in it so this goes to the idea of the customer avatar this is one of the things I was really lacking before we get to that anyone have any questions about the career Venn diagram you can at least know not awkwardly if it made sense to you Elizabeth false alarm okay but people generally get that AE of career Venn diagram okay so now we’re gonna go with their problems and the way to understand their problems largely is helped by this idea of customer avatar now there’s no exact formula for this the basic concept is you want to detailed profile of the person you want to help and it’s so detailed that you can feel what it’s like to be them and I like these feel tests where you just know so in the same way it’s what you feel like it’s what you were born to do even though that’s really I mean nobody really you don’t really have an inherent purpose that way but you can feel like it’s oh you know oh this is like I get it I get what they’re going through so I think often parents with young children they’re with them so many steps of the that they can they can really empathize with their feelings well and also they care about them so much that they’re very dedicated but with somebody you’re thinking of doing a trade with so it doesn’t matter you want them to buy your art you want them to hire you whatever it is you if the more you understand about them and their problems and how they experience them the more you can help solve them so you look at these questions by the way this is a good time to point out everyone should have a handout now this handout is one that I usually give for talks that I give about energy so does a bunch of irrelevant stuff about energy on it all that I need you to do if you want is just put your email address on it so this will allow me to do two things one is I can send you some resources on this topic and at the end I’ll tell you why I want to send you just a sample chapter of my book in the email because I think it’s really important and this is the project I’m passionate about myself so hopefully you’ll sign up for that or if you find that paper is antiquated or if at some stoop as if as with some students at a college I recently spoke to you somehow think it’s wrong to use paper you can email me at Alex at Alex Epstein calm this is after it talks I felt very disappointed that I hadn’t communicated why it’s a good idea to use paper I should have added a postscript called the moral case for paper okay so you can email Alex and Alex f10 comm just puts drive in the subject or you can put that there and we’ll pick them up also if you want you can have one of if you fill that out you can have one of these handy I love fossil fuels pins alright so this is the this is the thing of the customer avatar so these are some examples if you look up customer avatar on the Internet it’s not a term that I came up with I believe a very good marketer named Evan pagan came up with it you can find these kinds of questions now we have to then circle back so once we have our customer avatar we have to circle back and ask a key question with our Venn diagram which is is there actually an intersection between the problems I want to solve and the problems they want solved because there isn’t always and in any transaction you have to be open to no deal right there’s no there isn’t actually a compatible thing if people who are really good at sales and and who are really pleasant to deal with in sales they’re all they’re looking for is is there actually a fit here they’re not looking for oh you should buy it they’re just we’re just discovering does this make sense and that you know that’s a much better way to handle it I think so you have to circle back and then say so with my concept if it had turned out I actually don’t know it how to help the businesses do this I would have to find another business model so you always have to be open to that but often your initial passion and initial desire will be valid you’ll it will be based on a real insight that there’s something in the world that you can improve there’s something valuable you can create but without understanding the customer and how they think about it you won’t be able to do that so any questions about customer avatar yes well so the question is what are the biggest mistakes people make when they’re trying to identify their customers airing what you need to the positive thing is you need to err on the side of knowing them too well it is almost important almost impossible to know them too well it really isn’t possible now you can end up wasting time and after time after a certain amount of time you can refine your process but at the beginning I mean everything like just and you know kids birthday what they do for hobbies and I’d say a mistake a methodological mistake in reaching this is not talking to real people this is a general mistake that people make they don’t like talking to real people but the easiest way if you want to get a sense of people is actually talk to them so quick example for me when I really one of my goals in the field of energy was to be what you can call a thought leader so to influence people in the culture but also influence the the the other thought leaders in the field and one way I came up with getting to know them and getting to see what they would respond to is I came up with a podcast called Power Hour which which still exists and I can mail people a link to it started it in 2011 and I was completely obscure then and very quickly what happened is I got to know almost everyone in the field or everyone I liked in the field and I could have never gotten that from just imagining it in my head so you have to actually survey people you have to get their own words so if it’s not in person do it over the phone if not on the phone do SurveyMonkey but you have to just survey the heck out of them if you find that you’re doing market research and it’s just at your computer in your head unless you have an insane amount of experience to draw from you’re doing it incorrectly that’s a that’s a great question anyway any more about the customer avatar yes does it change oh so she’s asking if the customer avatar thanks Keitha I’m still not good they’re repeating the question after all these years of speaking the yeah so does does it change over time well the thing that it changes over that’s very important is it changes over audience so in almost any career you’re going to be dealing with many many audiences so take in any given week what I’ll have so even I’ll take right now what I’m doing this week so I’m speaking at this which is an audience of people at least with an interest in Iran’s ideas it’s just an audience I rarely speak to these days but it’s really fun for me then on Monday I’m speaking at the American Petroleum Institute which is the the biggest energy organization in the world and then the Monday after that I’m speaking at Harvard Law School debating some environmentalists about fossil fuels and that’s – the Federalist Society but to the broader student body so those are three radically different audiences and the more I know about each the better some a couple of young women here we’re at Wellesley College where I spoke recently and it’s it’s a similar thing where when I’m there I need to know exactly what’s going on insofar as is possible but at the very least if you’re in ideas it’s different in other fields in any field really you have to know what ideas and arguments have they been exposed to so if you’re if you’re putting a product on the market the very least you have to know what are the alternatives out there how do people think about them because if I go there saying hey here’s my view of fossil fuels the end and it’s whoa well they’ve heard this completely different view and I didn’t engage it but you should have many different avatars for many different audiences okay another great question so let’s go to the final one which I think puts this all together so this is a bit of a mouthful solution selling sequence solution selling soup and by the way when you give me your email I’ll send out the slides to everyone I know everyone’s taking pictures and stuff but I promise I will send you the slides because there’s a lot of text here but the you are the four steps so based on the concepts we’ve discussed so once you once you know what you problems you like to solve once you know the problems that want to solve so uni it goes but now you’re actually trying to persuade somebody you’re trying to get them to see oh I want your solution I want to pay well for it and you know people start out skeptical for many reasons and in part because they’ve gotten burned a lot any of you ever seen any other peanuts comics by the way I’m just curious how what generation I mean I think they’re coming out with a movie zhenia never seen the thing where Lucy holds the football for Charlie Brown so it’s this thing we’re basically this girl Lucy holds the football tells Charlie Brown hey come kick it and every time he comes to kick it she lifts up the football and then he falls and she gets him to do this you know hundreds of times so most customers feel like that right like somebody promises them something really enticing and oh I’ve got a solution to your problems and then basically the football gets pulled up and it doesn’t work so people are suspicious and that’s one thing that I learned definitely dealing with industry there were also certainly suspicious of someone from philosophy with these controversial ideas coming to tell them how to do their job so first step this is really key and this can only come from the Avatar you have to start with the symptoms and this can be positive or negative it can be a desire or can be a pain but you have to identify the problem or desire as they experience it so I’ll give you an A Medical example that I recently went through I I tore my leg iment and my finger fortunately healed because I followed the doctor’s advice which he sold me on even though I didn’t want to do it so I had my finger heard I heard it during Brazilian Jujitsu it was kind of twisted a little bit I hoped it wasn’t a big deal so I come in I’ve got this symptom of my fingers a little bit mangled you know I hope that it’s not a permanent thing I hope I don’t have to have surgery or something like that okay so that’s the number one thing now number two is once you’ve identified the surface problem you need to identify than the root cause of the problem and this is where all the money and action and power is if you can do it if if you really have a new way of doing things that usually means you have a new understanding of a problem that people didn’t have before so let’s say with iron randon philosophy I didn’t have an eye dia that hey you know Alex the reason you’re confused about all these things in politics and all these things is because you’ve never thought about your fundamental ideas in life and therefore when you’re thinking about these things you’re using all these clashing ideas that don’t go together at all and of course you’re going to be confused but if you realize that well a lack of philosophy is the problem then it’ll it’ll you can make sense of it eventually so it went from you know at first all I cared about was being confused but then philosophy then it’s like oh what I want now it’s I don’t want to not be confused right it’s I want a better philosophy but you start there by identifying the problem so with the doctor did to me as he said look here’s what happens you know there’s a difference between a joint and a ligament basically the ligament you know I don’t know anything the ligament is what holds it straight I hope I’m getting this right and basically what you did is that tore and that’s why your pinky is mangled this way and if you don’t fix it then you’re gonna get arthritis and be very unhappy so even though you want to do jujitsu and go to the beach you shouldn’t you need to do something about it it’s like okay now might might experience change from my hand is messed up too I need a way to fix a torn ligament so this can be done on any level of sophistication you’ll see with any process so we’ve got that can we get the thing back up so then the next thing is identified the root solution of your problem of of the problem this goes to your understanding and desire to solve a certain problem if that’s really real then you can say wow I have a new way of doing this so in this case it was simple but it was hey look I got this little thing it’s called a splint and I but it’s a I have this custom splint that it’ll cushion you exactly the right way so that your finger in three weeks if you followed my advice and don’t do all the things you want to do your finger will be perfectly straight you know which it is Eva did a really good job so I but I didn’t want to do it but he explained to me the problem very clearly and he gave me the solution so I’m like yes I will give you my money and I will give you whatever you want me to do and then what happens afterward and he said and then after that you know you have a better chance of having your finger work for the rest of your life instead of having arthritis once you turn 40 like okay great so but he went through this process of the symptoms that cause the root solution and the results if you think of it this way it’s like you start out on the surface you go deep on the problem then you give the deep solution then you give the results that they experience now can anyone think of any other examples of so I just gave the example the dark can anyone think of any other examples of where you see this this methodology someone starts out with the surface problem they see the deep deeper problem they see the deeper solution and then they see the results that they’ll experience yes yes one thing he likens this to uh-huh a little bit Lean Startup methodology sorry Matt but how about how about a particular thing you’ve been sold on Elizabeth and questions that’s great sushi was talking I can’t do justice to that by recapping it but but it’s basically the way that we’ve the way that a lot of us I think encounter philosophy or or any the way if you think about more broadly people encounter self-help they have an experience of this as certain difficulties and then somebody says rightly or not like here’s the real problem but they don’t if you go from here’s your surface experience to here’s the solution doesn’t make any sense it and it does they can’t really relate to it whereas if you can go to the problem it’s it’s very very very effective so it’s it’s effective that’s I think the learning process that people go through so it’s it’s the selling process but it’s not artificial it has to do with the very nature of learning see where we are on time okay so any any questions about that process and if we can put it up one more time that would be great so this is and so selling and the broadest sense so you’re persuading you’re persuading somebody else about pretty much anything order you’re in a job interview by the way I should put in a plug for this if you’re interested in just general knowledge about really how to get the context of employers Nicole st.
Pierre is here she’s teaching a little later today and she’s taught me a lot about this in terms of how to deal with employers I am anyone who’s working they can no I have no master at knowing how to deal with employers I know much more how to deal with with customers but the same basic principles are involved so yes well but that’s a really good point so the question is how do you do this given that selling is seen and a negative light but you don’t you’re not always calling it selling you’re really just solving right you’re actually you’re just helping somebody out with some distinctive knowledge or ability or product that you happen to have that they don’t see and you have to recognize very legitimately they at the beginning do not have the relevant knowledge to make the right decision to improve their lives so I can just use the one that I use myself oh that’s with ideas in business today so if I’m if I’m talking to a group of energy companies what I’ll tell them is I’ll start off with the surface problem so with there it’ll be if you talk to anyone who does government relations in an energy company they will have to there are two things that describe them they are overwhelmed by attacks and they’re constantly reactive so as soon as I say those two words I never met one person in the industry who did not relate to that so see I’m I’m starting off with the the surface thing right and they totally relate to that and so first of all once you relate to them what’s gonna happen they think they start to perk up oh wow this person really knows what I’m going through he relates to me as against if I said you know what you know your real problem is you don’t have the right philosophy they just tune it out it that’s that that seems to be my agenda right it’s not relevant to them so it’s all about a learning process but then I go beneath and I say hey you know what if you look at the last 25 attacks that you’ve experienced let’s just ask one question are those 25 distinctive attacks or is there anything underlying that they have in common because if there’s something underlying then we might be able to do something about it otherwise we’re just fending off and I’ll ask have you ever heard of have you guys heard of the Hydra before in ancient Greece the monster so what happens it’s this multi-headed monster what happens when you cut off one head of the Hydra to grow back right so they’ll say the same thing to grow back and I’ll say well it’s really good in life if we can if we discover that these that lots of things hitting us at the same time or a Hydra then we can find a root cause then we could do something about wouldn’t that be good yeah of course they’ll say yes and and you can see full speeches online right do this and then I’ll say well if you observe each one of these attacks they have something in common which is that no matter what the specific attack every single one is based on the idea and the argument that we need to get off fossil fuels and switch to green energy whether it’s keystone whether it’s oil exports whatever it is it’s all based on the same data so notice I took the surface problem and then I put it down to the fundamental which is there’s this Hydra but the Hydra is based on an idea so before ten minutes ago or however many minutes ago this person had no interest in ideas ideas seemed irrelevant now ideas are the whole solution to their problem and then I’ll elaborate a little bit and say look so what’s going on is there is a moral case against fossil fuels that’s your problem right that’s the torn ligament right so that’s what we need to solve now in the way I’ve framed that what is the next logical thought if my problem is a moral case against fossil fuels what might I need but so what but this is all like I’m explaining it from a from my selling methodology but this is completely true what everything I’m saying just a matter of sequencing you’re right but you think that so then it’s so then I go to then I can elaborate on the solution but if you define the problem well enough that’s most of the work because then they then they will trust you to have the solution because you already are the one knowledgeable off the problem and and a lot of the solution will be embedded in the nature of the problem so if they get okay it’s a problem of ideas we need different ideas then I can say well the particular form of the solution of these three things like you need to implement these ideas in a nationwide campaign and invest in that and stop stop all of your you know what they do is they basically just endorse the idea that we need to get off fossil fuels but they say let’s do it in 30 years instead of five you know you explain well this doesn’t work at all for logical reasons so you need this campaign you need an educational campaign whatever the solution is but the core of it was explaining and getting beneath the problem that that makes sense and then you can see the results so then you can see you start out kind of with the nightmare at the end the results or the dream you can you can see oh well if we did this while my employees would be more motivated because they’d actually leave what they did was good and we’d be helping all kinds of people because more people could have our product particularly the poor the people the more they’ll benefit because the more they’re hurt by more expensive energy etc etc you can paint that and it’s real but imagine you skipped a step so you just started out by saying you know what if you pay me I’ll make all these problems go away and your life will be amazing right then you’re a huckster right or if you even said if you pay me I’ll give you a moral case for fossil fuels in this campaign and this thing and then all your problems it doesn’t make any sense right but when you do or if I just start it out with just the problem but not the surface connection so every step is logically necessary to for them to understand it’s a process of understanding it selling is derivative selling is the concept but it’s selling is a consequence so let me just go to sort of what this has resulted in for me so it’s and I just want to give this as an illustration of you know how far it’s possible to come I I’m not gonna have one of these Tony Robbins like now I have eight yachts and this kind of thing but but it what I’ve been able to do which is what I wanted to do was be able to really talk about stuff and write about stuff that I’m passionate about and think about it and and I think help really affect change in the world with it and and be financially successful enough with it where I can do pretty much anything else I want with my time and so that took a long time so hopefully these methodologies will help you and save you time in doing the same thing but does it give you sort of one sense if I look now for speaking just to give you a sense of even and even in 2011 when I started my own organization Center for industrial progress I had some idea that well you can make certain amount of money speaking people value speaking and and at the time I charged a thousand bucks a speech and except that nobody would pay so and people like you’re crazy nobody should pay you a thousand dollars I remember I negotiated my first deal and I was very grateful to the people because only one I could get a negotiated my first deal for five speeches for 4000 bucks so 800 bucks a speech including a debate with Greenpeace where I yeah prepared a lot and stuff and it was just but the reason was because I hadn’t really found a value proposition where what I could do really intersected with what other people wanted and by getting a lot better at what I did simultaneous with integrating it with what was actually valuable to other people I got to the point where every app group of people that I dealt with were more interested because I was delivering more value so I got a lot more impact with students I started getting recognized in the field and then I got recognized in the industry and then so if you just look at my speaking page now it’s sort of crazy because like they’ll talk about you know New York Times bestselling author and and like they charge you know 20 grand to have me speak this is my speaking agency and it was just this was completely unimaginable but in a sense it makes total sense because if you have something that you’re really good at and really passionate about that you believe in you’re probably really good at it ultimately if you’re not that’s a whole other discussion which we can have but if you are and you’re passionate about it and then you also understand completely the person that you want to help with it you will be so different from everyone else because almost nobody does that almost nobody really cares enough about what they do to do it well and cares enough about the customer and helping them to do it well so you just will come everyone else will seem to be moving in slow motion let me just make sure all right so we’re I’ll take a question or two in a minute but if you just want to get validation from someone a lot more successful than I am I remember an anecdote in the the Walter Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs which by the way I do not consider a good biography I think you should watch his interviews on YouTube which are unbelievable if you want understand jobs but there was a story in it where the author Isaacson seemed to disapprove of jobs where I thought this captured the essence of how he epitomized what I’m talking about today so there was and what was happening was he was talking about a menu and someone made a computer menu in a way that he didn’t like or he didn’t think it was perfect and Isaacson in effect is rolling his eyes with the way that he’s writing about the situation the guy says look Steve it’s just a menu and jobs just absolutely blows his top he’s just a menu do you know how many blank blank laying times somebody is gonna look at this in their lives and you think about that it’s it’s this intersection of he believes so strongly in creating these life enhancing products and he’s thinking so carefully about every little bit of the customer experience so imagine that you did that yourself you had those mindsets yourself you would stand out so much and no one would have any idea why it would just seem like well why did X why did you rock it to the top of the field and so fears but it’s because you got those two things right so hopefully that’s helpful if we just just to review the concept so there’s the career Venn diagram there’s a customer avatar there’s a solution selling sequence again hopefully share your information so you can get this and more and also so that you can stay in touch I’m I respond to email and most of the time and it’s I know but buy it for people in this audience in particular I want to help you because for me it’s it’s you know Iran is so meaningful in my life and so anyone who’s interested in her and wants to use her ideas in a practical beneficial way I’ll you know I’m happy to be here and I’m happy to help you in whatever way I can so thank you very much are we out of time five minutes for questions I’ll get you Elizabeth if there’s nobody else but well you also know me I’m easy to reach yes hahaha am i more skeptical when people try to sell me something I it’s it’s funny because I’m like this with everything that I know I am very analytical about it like I’m just watching their process so when I watch a speaker I can’t help but watch the mechanics of what the speaker is doing what they’re doing well that I can learn from what they’re not doing well that I can learn from so if you’re ever speaking and I’m in an audience do not look at me because I will have a very weird face when I’m responding but but so I’m always noticing and the mark of someone who is truly great is that they will make me forget no matter or they’ll do it I’ll know exactly what they’re doing I’ll be thousand bucks whatever you want I will know it happens all the time I mean I and it’s also like I can sort of short-circuit it so if I know they have a value this is like alright I know you’re gonna tell me you’re right about it I get it I’ll just give you the money and let’s save ourselves some time or vice versa you should really get better at this but yeah it’s it totally changed it totally changes the experience and put every piece of ad copy I read every I mean I never thought I would be really passionate about marketing but but it’s really about understanding very deeply your market and when in 2004 I had a real interesting discussion with my jujitsu instructor than a guy named Lloyd Irvin who is this it wasn’t as this amazing marketer and he would send out these emails he had a list of something like a hundred thousand people it’s probably hundreds of thousands now and I had a list of 200 people and I was critiquing him on his grammar and like did you know you made this grammatical error in this typo and he said well Alex you know thanks a lot for pointing that always correct these things but you should probably understand the principles that are allowing me to reach a hundred thousand plus people so it took me about eight years to get that into my head but it was a very is very valuable so one thing I’ll send out it’s just a couple of recommendations of marketing books because marketing books are really about understanding the psychology and valley use of other people rather than just here’s how to use Twitter that’s that’s derivative the medium is always derivative to understanding the market and having the right message I think there yes okay well oh there it is hi um so when it comes to a lot of problems that a lot of people care about problems especially that deal with guilt can more intimately with having roots in philosophy it seems like the part of that sequence in identifying the root might be easy for somebody who is interested in philosophy and understands the connection to business but convincing a customer of that seems something that would be a challenge and that before before you have results that speak for themselves for certain problems like political problems or problems regarding business and business environment and those kinds of things it seems like it’s difficult to convince your customer that you have the right root problem and therefore that you’re selling them the right method of solving their problem because they’ve never heard of that root problem or there’s all of these other things in culture or other philosophies or other people trying to get their attention who tell them that the root is not what you’re saying so especially with your business what’s your experience with that well so the I separate two things one is is it difficult for you to do n is it or is it inherently difficult to do because it’s no longer difficult for me to do but it used to be difficult but I think I could teach somebody they got if you give me anyone’s field now I think in five minutes I could come up with a decent way of doing the sequence because I understand because we have to understand is exactly the precise way in which the philosophy is impacting it it’s not because you don’t just say oh it’s objectivism or even humanism or something that broad so in what I gave you what I gave you works pretty well so I gave the example of what we’ve got the Hydra and so what am I doing even there I’m looking for a philosophical fundamental I’m not saying that but I’m just uh naming the point about fundamentals and then thing I’m focusing on is the ideal or the standard of value so if I say you know what the argument is always some form of we need to get off fossil fuels and go to green energy then on a certain level I’ve named a standard of value and I’ll call it that and what I found out in the last year I’ve spoken dozens and dozens of times about my book or the content of my book and what I found fascinating is what people respond to and what they don’t number one thing they respond to without question is the philosophy and the points about standard of value and more broadly the points about methodology because if you can show somebody a way of thinking about something that illuminates it’s it blows their minds it’s just that you have to be really clear yourself on how it can help them and and you need to be able to explain it really well and I’d say five years ago for instance I didn’t even know their problems I didn’t even know about the Hydra really I just knew Alex hates everything I see on TV I hate all the commercials I hate the way they’re always appeasing their attackers but I didn’t really know what is the life of a government relations person at an oil company like and so if I don’t know his exact problems how am I going to know the solution in the same way is if I’d imagined for a psychologist if you know they know a whole bunch of fundamentals that could be involved and maybe there are some Universal ones but to help the person they’d actually need to talk to them a lot and learn about their specific situation so if I didn’t want to email me or talk to me and ask about their specific field it’s good that that would be good in my view it is completely necessary to be done with iran’s ideas but it’s been done in almost none of the fields so my own goals are to do it in a lot of the other industry heavy industry field like GMO genetic engineer and all the ones that are attacked by the green movement but i think it is possible to do it with things like health care and spending and and also to the businessmen in that in that field it’s just a it’s a lot of work and if you sort of wanted to know the fundamental like bonus idea behind all of this that allowed me to come up with all of this over time is that really I think all of success is just a combination of intellectual honesty and persistence because so the intellectual honesty is at every stage you are honest with yourself about where you are in relation to where you want to be any kind of delusion in that you’re done right and that’s really hard because sometimes we’re not happy you know being having a bunch of credit card debt when you imagine yourself at the top of the philosophical hill yeah that’s not thrilling but it you know reality is what it is so if somebody is totally honest and and that extends to every aspect of my career that needs to be a certain way how good am i speaking how good am i writing how do I present myself whatever it is if you’re honest about that and you’re persistent then you will automatically gap between where you are and where you want to be so with this kind of thing if you come out of this and you know okay it’s possible to truly make philosophy real to somebody as a solution in their problem but I have no idea how to do it if you care enough and you keep being honest every step you make forward you’ll acknowledge and if you’re persistent you’ll do it but the the persistence is hard it’s easy it’s easy to give up and that’s part of why you want to think about what do you really like to do enough where you can’t give it up because it would be against your nature all right times up
As found on Youtube