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Dataset the table

A guy with a “run-of-the-mill” agency eventually becomes a New York Times-quoted author and one of the most recognized authorities in his field.

In the beginning, he thought he had no business advising other companies. What did he know? What was so special about him?

He persisted from humble beginnings in 1994 to now, having served thousands of clients over the years. His worldview about the businesses he advises is this:

Focused expertise intended for a small, well-defined market is the only way you’ll charge premium rates and stay in demand.

He learned this by 1) experience in working with many firms, and 2) collecting data along the way. In fact, the data he’s collected has not only contributed to his worldview, but provides fertile ground to test new assumptions, contribute to client projects, and act as a defensible differentiator for him and his business. But his worldview isn’t bulletproof.

He noticed that some firms without focus or a well-defined market didn’t fit his model. These firms succeeded despite their lack of operational or marketing discipline. What was the difference?

They hustled with supreme confidence. Those two characteristics – relentless hustle, with overwhelming and even misplaced confidence – are difficult to teach someone else. For many who have them, these are innate characteristics, not acquired ones.

What was he to do? He knew that the hustle and confidence may come over time, but small wins are first needed, and focus was the clearest path for his clients to transformation.

His worldview was safe, and the advice, tools, and consulting engagements he’s created as a result have been transformative for his clients. This person is David C. Baker, an accomplished author, consultant, and speaker. I highly recommend his book if you haven’t read it.

There’s no one single thing that’s led to his prevailing point of view, but collecting data is one of the foremost ways he’s learned what he knows. Did he know all of this in 1994? Of course not. He’s commented that he’s always learning, and his advice (and seemingly worldview) evolves over time. There’s no pressure to be perfect today, but there is to be better.

Collecting data is method #2 to developing your unique worldview.

Last week I published a podcast episode with David C. Baker, and I highly recommend it. In the episode, we talk about:

  • The characteristics of an expert
  • What kind of marketing reflects positively – and poorly – on an expert
  • The threshold of expertise – how much is enough?
  • The difference between content and insights
  • Why you should take risks in your marketing