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Smarts and Success

September 24, 2013 — 12 Comments

Here’s the problem with success.

A lot of people are not successful because they are not smart.

Yet you meet a lot of successful people who are not smart.

By smart we do not mean IQ, we mean the more general “know what they’re doing” and “aren’t totally delusional head cases.”

It’s obviously hard to draw a clear line around who is what but it’s not an outrageous statement to say that people are often their own worst enemies…many achieve things blissfully unaware of this fact, or on occasion, in spite of it.

This is not so much a paradox as it is the factor of luck (God favors fools, as they say). Or you could call it injustice, I suppose, because sometimes on days where stuff isn’t going well for that rest of us, that’s just how it feels.

But you cannot let this fact of life discourage you. You can never let it be a reason for slacking off or not having your act together. That some idiot might have be rewarded says what, exactly?

That you wish you were more like them? I don’t think so.

Focus on yourself. Attend to the areas where lack of understanding or skills are holding you back. Let the others be “lucky.”

My Library

September 17, 2013 — 30 Comments

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I have a post on ThoughtCatalog today about how and why keeping a physical library is important. It was fun to write–most of it all it was fun to look at pictures of my what looks now to be a paltry collection from 2008 (right when I started at American Apparel) and my collection today.

I definitely don’t look at “having lots of books” at the accomplishment. That would be a rather pathetic thing to take pride in…because no matter how many books I will have, it will probably never exceed the amount of books in some crappy small town library. I’m proud of the time and energy I put into reading the majority of the books. I’m humbled by how indebted I am to the authors. I also feel fortunate to have been able to create two (going on three) of my own books from it.

To answer some questions about my methods:

-I don’t read ebooks unless there is no other way to get content (or if I am researching something and need it right now).
-I don’t do audiobooks for a couple reasons. 1) I don’t spend that much time in the car and when I work out, I prefer not to be working. 2) I don’t speed read but I am faster than most narrator. 3) There is absolutely no way to take notes or mark passages. 4) Honestly I think the only full audio book I’ve ever made it all the way through was the reading of TMIL and that’s because they paid me.
-These are not all the books I’ve ever owned. Like I said, I cull the herd fairly often–particularly when faced with having to physically transport them.
-I used to also keep a library at my office but I don’t have one anymore which is nice.
-Yes, it drives my girlfriend nuts because they make moving a nightmare (Thanks 1-800-Pack-Rat. You saved me)
-Yes, I understand I am in the minority here or at least part of a dying breed. Whatever. Of all the “old” traditions to stick to, a three or four thousand year old one strictly observed by basically every smart and accomplished person ever seems like a good one to go down with.
-Yes, I get that it involves more work–especially the commonplace book system. Things are not supposed to be easy, and this is especially true when it comes to valuable things. It’s worth it many times over.

Some more high res pics can be seen here, here, here, here, and here. If anyone wants to send in photos of their own, I’ll see if we can’t do a post about that too.

My Resources for Growth Hacking

September 10, 2013 — 9 Comments

A week after release, #1 business bestseller on Amazon, but I ended up writing a lot of articles in support of the book. I also did a fair amount of interviews and videos (some of which are still on their way).

Before I go any further, I wanted to everyone for their support and say that I hope you’ve enjoyed the book. If you did, please go review it on Amazon–it makes a difference.

Anyway, I thought I would collect them all the articles in one spot for people who wanted to read them or who are looking to get started with growth hacking. Of course there are also the bonuses in the back for the book for anyone who reads it and sends in their request to the email address.

What Is Growth Hacking? A Definition and a Call to Action (Huffington Post)
Don Draper Is Dead: Why Growth Hack Marketing Is Advertising’s Last Hope (NY Observer/Betabeat)
How to Growth Hack Anything–Lessons from a “Bittorrent Best Seller” (Fast Company)
Your Job In Marketing & PR Is Dead in the Water (Thought Catalog)
Growth Hacking Your Way to Viral Lift (Medium)
The 5 Phases of Growth Hacking (Mashable)
How Facebook, Twitter and other startups got big (Marketwatch)
An Introduction to Growth Hacking: 3 Quotes to Explain the Future of Marketing (Clarity.fm)
Ryan Holiday on Growth Hacking With Harlan Kilstein (Youtube)
Growth Hacking Hangout with Ramon Ray (Youtube/Infusionsoft)
& more to come…

My New Book *Growth Hacker Marketing* is Now Out–Why I Wrote It and How to Get It

September 3, 2013 — 28 Comments

So…the big day is here. My new book, Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing and Advertising is available today. As a Penguin Single, it’s available as an ebook on all the major platforms first (B&N)(iBooks)(Kobo)(Amazon). The audiobook is coming and possibly an expanded print version depending on sales.

But it begs the question: Why did I write a book about growth hacking?

The answer is simple. Because this is the future. Run down the list of some of the biggest brands in the world, brands that are quickly becoming staples of our generation: Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Dropbox, Airbnb, Evernote. Who built them? How did they become so big, so fast?

The answer is growth hacking. It was responsible for building billions of dollars in value for essentially next to nothing–faster than its ever happened before.

What was not used? Traditional marketing. In fact, Facebook’s only stab at it–an ad with Weiden & Kennedy–was a total and embarrassing flop. Forget Don Draper and David Ogilvy. Start thinking about Andrew Chen, Sean Ellis, Jesse Farmer, Aaron Ginn, Noah Kagan and a new freshman class of marketing geniuses.

I wrote this book because it was a chance to document the future of marketing before anyone else. Growth Hacker Marketing is the first dedicated book to the topic from a major publisher. And since Penguin/Portfolio approached me to do the book, I was able to set certain terms–namely the price (only $2.99)–which I designed to open it up to a new audience.

As you’ll also see in the book, coming to understand what growth hacking was and how it worked was a personal awakening for me. It’s a scary thought to wake up one day and realize that much of your job and its skills have been made obsolete. But that’s exactly what growth hacking has done–not just for me, but for everyone who is trying to promote something.

The game has changed and it was growth hackers who changed it. I saw this myself on Tim Ferriss’s last book launch, where having thrown all the traditional techniques out the window, we were able to sell 250,000 copies and create a #1 bestseller by partnering with BitTorrent of all people.

I hope you read this book and begin to understand how and why and what this all means. Even if you’re not a marketer, you will at some point, launch a product, start your own business or publish your own book or music. This book is designed to brief you on the unconventional tactics used by the best in the business.

I hope you enjoy it.

Comparison

August 6, 2013 — 26 Comments

Nothing can make you reevaluate your life quite like attending a party where most of the people are much more successful than you.

Not because it’s humbling. Not because it inspires you to do more or make more money (which is what too many people focus on in these situations)

But because occasionally you will run into someone–a person who has objectively done more or has more success than you will likely ever have–who, nevertheless….

-Has less swagger
-Talks less about themselves
-Is more interested in other people
-Is still willing to learn (has less emphatic opinions)
-Dominates the conversation less
-Undersells their accomplishments

You can’t run from or deny this–this implicit counterexample right there in front of you. It is a wordless indictment of you and the hubris and pride you’ve picked up over time.

And then you have to ask yourself, what’s my excuse? Where do I get off being such an asshole? It doesn’t look so good in comparison, does it?

Or I suppose you could miss all this or lie to yourself–giving yourself a bunch of disingenuous answers as to why you act like you do. But that’s another flaw on top of all the others.