I spoke with Dan yesterday.
He’s got a small patch of turf in a dark corner of fintech, fending off some mighty big competitors. He’s concerned that if he doesn’t change his business he won’t have one left to support his young family. Could I help? Sure. Let’s talk.
Early on in the book he talks about ‘super powers’ of the Superman variety. That is, the special individual ability or quirk each of us brings to our endeavours that gives us an unfair advantage over our competitors.
Considering Dan’s request I thought I’d better work on mine.
You see, the experts we turn to are only one or two steps ahead of where we are now. Scratch the surface and most have the same doubts and questions as you and I. Self assured and decisive on top – lime jelly underneath.
How does an expert actually be an expert?
So how do they make it all work?
I believe they simply know who they are. They know their Superpower. They understand their unfair advantage and have a way of reinforcing it every day.
I have a story I tell myself whenever I doubt who I am and I’d like to share it here.
For a few months I’d been sitting on the opportunity to organise a fundraising event for the local football club at the town’s public hall. It was suggested by my then girlfriend’s father that our band could play. Of course our band could play. We had six or seven songs in the bag. We were ready.
But the six or seven songs posed a problem. Yes, we’d be repeating them. But this still left an hour or two to fill. I was now thinking disco. Disco? Yes, disco. Mobile disco to be exact.
As the day approached I went to work.
I was able to cobble together a DJ rig out of our family stereo system – amplifier, cassette tape deck (look it up) and turntable. I figured I could get away with only one turntable if I made a mix tape of all the tracks beforehand, and using the cassette as my other turntable the songs would run seamless.
I’d also discovered a large fibreglass sphere in the scrap yard of my dad’s business. It was nearly 3m in diameter and a chalky red colour that had begun to fade in the famous Australian summer sun.
Dad and his business partner found it impossible to throw anything away, so the sphere sat there in the yard waiting, a relic of an earlier wild venture into playground equipment that hadn’t gone as planned.
It would have sat on legs if it had any. Legs with a ladder and slide attached. As it was, it was sitting in the dirt. It was perfect. Now I’d need to cajole one of the workers into helping me weld legs from steel pipe and cut out the holes I needed for the task I had in mind. This was done one Saturday and the spaceship was loaded onto a trailer and brought home.
I made my own light boxes. Bought a $100 strobe light, too.
For the sound, I’d hire a small P.A. from my friendly guitar shop. When I brought it home on the day of the event, I noticed my cat taking an unnatural interest in it.
The spaceship had landed and it was beautiful.
A self contained dance machine.
The event day came and needless to say it went well. I’d decided that I wouldn’t be the DJ all night so I hired my friend Lee to be my DJ. This turned out to be a good thing as he ended up being the DJ for all my future exploits.
The family stereo was never really the same after that but the spaceship was a hit. And that’s all that mattered.
We ended up with another gig out of the night and so my first business was off to a roaring start.
I was 15 and still in school.
I ended up running a successful mobile disco business. I was pulling $250 a week in cash, paying my DJ $50 and leaving me with $200 profit. I sold the business a year later for $1000. I’d had a taste and now set my sights on bigger things.
This is the story I tell myself.
- I’m a Producer.
- I’m an explorer.
- I’m an entrepreneur.
- I create, conduct, cajole and coordinate.
- I work with people and passion and purpose.
- I finish.
- Project by project.
- Bit by bit.
Yes, I’m a marketer, but that’s only part of it.
What story do you tell yourself?
Oh, and the P.A. I hired for that first gig? Well, our family cat’s unnatural attention was sprayed all over it the following day before I took it back.
And Superman’s real superpower? He knew who he was.