Life at the intersection of wisdom and luck


I was recently a guest on Joseph Jaffe’s remarkable daily streaming program. If you have not ever caught an episode of “Corona TV” do yourself a favor and tune in. It’s hard to describe. Sort of a cross between smart people talking over coffee and a variety show. Totally fun and worth it.

Anyway, I was a guest on his show recently and to my surprise, he kicked off a discussion of my book with a beautiful “Seated Soliloquy.” It was so poignant and relevant that I wanted to share it here. Joseph makes a connection between “wisdom” and “luck” that is spot on.

Here Joseph’s view:

Cumulative Advantage is my good friend Mark Schaefer’s newly released book. There is a lot more to this book in the subject matter than meets the eye.

Now Mark is not naturally a provocateur. He is a thoughtful man. He is considerate. He is super smart. So basically he’s the opposite of me!

wisdom and luck

But that said, if “by going there,” he touches an exposed nerve, then he will go there and do what has to be done … because he is a truth-teller

So when he says content strategy is not enough; social media isn’t enough; SEO isn’t enough (by the way that probably eliminates about 180 of my 205 guests to date), I immediately thought of my advice that I give startups founders and entrepreneurs. I say to them: “Your success depends on four factors: two you can control; two you cannot. What you can control is the idea and the execution of that idea but what you cannot control is timing and luck.”

Oh and by the way, Mark says luck isn’t enough either Damn it!

The only thing that therefore remains is timing, but I want to use Mark’s rubric … his filter … his overlay, if you will. I think maybe I need to reframe timing. Because it’s really about what I would call the “extension of timing” or to use another word — momentum.

So do you want it in even less jargon? How about this? When you get out in front … and stay there … the odds are on your side.

Why? Because people are lazy!

The path to least resistance resides above the fold at least when search results are concerned. Our entire being is designed to reduce that which is complex to that which we can count on our 10 fingers. In fact, here are the top 10 reasons why that works That was a joke by the way 🙂

In a world where marketing has been built upon a foundation of differentiation and competitive advantage, it’s time to shake that foundation to the ground. Cumulative Advantage is the “dynamic” to Competitive Advantage’s “static.”

Whereas the theory of Cumulative Advantage is grounded in some troubling historical challenges, in reality, there is an equal and opposite counterbalance that should reassure us all.

Talent + hard work + consistency pays off, but you still need an X Factor which could be as simple as this: “when you see an opening, go for it!”

And when you get your nose out in front, keep it there at all costs.

In a world where everyone will get their 15 streams, clubs. or “sea shanty” songs of fame, the winners will be those who don’t just gain an advantage but press and extend that momentum into an unfair advantage called Cumulative Advantage.

I just thought that was beautifully done and I wanted to share it with you.

Here is the whole episode hosted by Joseph Jaffe. I really got ramped up on this one …

Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions. He is the author of several best-selling digital marketing books and is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

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