Let’s get right to the Dire Warning (and your brain may curdle if you ignore this): I’ve been paying close attention to human behavior for longer than many of my readers have been alive.
Because I felt so clueless, even as a kid, I devoured every available source of “spying” on how everyone else managed to exist in such a strange world.
This included reading advice columns (street-level psychology at work with Ann Landers and sis Abby), monitoring adult conversations, and stalking older kids (who were navigating life just a few hormones ahead of me).
So I’ve been a one-man research center for decades.
I still haunt multiple advice columns online, see what the trolls are up to in the comment sections of NYT opinion pages, and (here’s the important part) discuss human behavior with a wide selection of colleagues both online and in person.
The discussions are critical…
… because there is a FLOOD of bullshit cascading down on us from every direction in the culture.
It’s impossible for one individual to keep track of the spin, urban myths, misinformation campaigns, and (especially) the really, really, really awful investigative reporting that passes for news organizations today.
My colleagues are biz owners and pro writers well-trained in applying high-level skepticism to incoming data, and following through on research when necessary.
We represent every age group of functioning adults in the culture, from all over the world (including the US hinterlands, Canucks, Limeys and other uncivilized joints), specializing in all kinds of different markets, hobbies, lifestyles and professional goals.
So when — for example — the media gets looped into a meme on how millennials (the generation of kids just now emerging from college) are bringing their parents to job interviews, and are incapable of critical thought (because of helicopter parenting) and just generally not becoming adults at all…
… we can look behind the glib stories and anecdotes and see a deeper truth.
Such as how all of us, from every living generation, have oodles of friends and family who meet every single detail of the problems now being assigned to millennials.
The lack of independence, the living at home until late 30s, the whining and narcissism and sense of entitlement…
… when you get a broader view, from older and younger colleagues, you quickly see how DEEP the bullshit can get in a media firestorm.
I hunt down photos and resumes of the reporters, and sigh.
They’re like, twelve (or 32 going on 12) — insulated, given vast unearned attention through posts and stories, and dishing out accusations based on minuscule life experience.
And yet the stories stick, and become “common wisdom”.
As a marketer, you need to immerse your bad self into the culture, and understand what your prospects know and — very critical — THINK they know. And what they suspect they don’t know, or feel paranoid about not knowing.
That means you’ve got to go deep, all the time, and have resources you trust to bounce incoming data and ideas off of.
Masterminds have always been my #1 tool for this.
I’m in multiple free ones, have paid for membership in others…
… and host my own very elite mastermind 3 times a year. (If you think you’d enjoy being locked in a room with me and a small group of focused entrepreneurs just like you, then go here to see how you might join.)
The arrival of the Web, and all the vast access to data and info it’s brought, has NOT delivered “truth” to your door.
Just the opposite — it’s piled up the BS so high that you need, more than ever, some serious resources to help you navigate the nonsense.
Humans like to believe we’re able to conquer worlds and markets all on our lonesome, like Hollywood insists.
However, I know of ZERO top marketers (and I know a ton) who operate alone.
They seek out, and USE, the advice and brainstorming of colleagues whenever possible.
Their decisions (especially the really important ones) are laced with facts, intuition, gut feelings, facts, input from peers, facts and more facts.
Not “common wisdom” derived from the cultural wasteland out there.
You wanna swim in the wealthy ponds, you best get hip to this.
Find colleagues you trust, from all age groups and as far from your usual intellectual echo chamber as possible, and never stop challenging every thought that enters your brain.
Alone, entrepreneurs are vulnerable to idiotic decisions.
Together, you may still go with the idiocy, but at least you’ll go into it knowing all the alternative data and opinion and advice...