The those who can and those who teach lie

free guitar lesson

You’ve heard the saying ‘there are those who can, and those who teach.’ Well, this is the greatest hoax of all time, well, maybe not all time, but it is definitely a hoax.

I’ve known people who are the worlds greatest at something, and can’t teach it.

I’ve known people who can’t do it, but teach it better than anyone who has ever done it.

I’ve known people who can do it, and teach it just as well.

I’ve known people who can’t do, or teach – but for some reason try to do both. (avoid these people where possible).

Here’s the thing, doing and teaching are both important. Two different skill sets. Add to this that two different students might have a completely opposite experience learning from someone…. one might love a teaching method which the other hates.

Arbitrary statements of truth are the real problem here. What works for one person might not work for another. What we need to do, is be smart enough to make up our own minds and forget the cliches, especially when it comes to making personal connections.

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Why the ecosystem is more important than market share


The caterpillar hidden in a tomato from my garden is great news for me as the gardener. While it’s one less tomato to eat, the presence of this little creature is enhancing the ecosystem I’m trying to build. I’ll put that tomato back into the ground. There’ll be more bugs, and butterflies which will make my soil more fertile. In turn they’ll help pollenate the flowers for next season, and they’ll be more tomatoes and resulting nutrition than their was last season.

While it is true that the bugs and competitors reduce my yield now, they increase it later by helping me create more of what I’m trying to grow. The systems approach takes longer, but usually creates more for all participants. This is why market share is never as important as growth. Market share is a me versus you, reductionist measure – it’s very yesteryear. The thing I’m trying to grow is the system. In a world of increasing abundance I want to participate in creating something which means more for everyone. I have little desire to dominate what is already here.

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More proof there are many paths to the same destination

The people in this video below have been two of my digital mentors for a long time; Gary Vaynerchuk and Seth Godin. Seth even blurbed my book! Both are in a very similar market space, and I imagine they both share many of the same customers. They are both NYT best selling authors on business in the modern era. Both provide keynote speeches to old industrial centric businesses. Both are proponents of the new era of technology and the incredible opportunity it provides, but in short they are both teachers.

This video interview below has a lot of interesting tension throughout it.  While they respect each other, they clearly don’t agree on many things. They both employ different tactics, and have a different approach to essentially achieve a similar outcome. It’s more proof that there isn’t a way, but many ways. And even though their philosophies might differ, both are incredibly authentic in their approach and go about their work in a way which suits them. And that’s exactly what we should all do – be the best ‘us’.

It’s worth watching and a great reminder that our ideal strategy is probably the one that best matches our personality.


If you haven’t got time to watch the video – my favourite have is to turn any youtube content into an MP3 on this link. Then you can listen as a podcast.

The problem with ‘How To’ advice

How to Advice

The internet is filled with How To advice. Which proves how important it is in building the life you want. But it has a simple flaw we ought remember:

How to advice is disposable.

How to’s are a set of tactics which need to change as the world around us changes. This means we need to constantly re-assess what we know, and ask if it is still relevant. With the pace of technological change today, this is a question we need at the top of our list.

This is why philosophy is always greater than tactics. Philosophy is enduring, and tactics and temporary. If we have a guiding philosophy on what we are doing and why, finding the best tactic for the day becomes infinitely easier.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.

Why profits are better than wages

profits vs wages

Profits are better than wages for two reasons. The first is, you can make money when you are not in the room. The second reason is a bit more curious:

You can sell a profit making ‘machine’, while you can never sell a wage. This means that every dollar you earn from profits has a natural multiple built into it. If you earn a dollar through profits you may be able to sell that dollar for 2, 3, 5 or more than 10 dollars.

In the end, it’s the simple difference between carrying buckets of water, or building a pipeline directly from the source.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.



Irrational fear and the waterfall

Jumping off a waterfall

You walk up to the edge of the waterfall. You look over the edge at the drop. It seems a bit higher than it really is. It’s a few meters or so. The water underneath is a beautiful green blue. It’s a popular place to swim and jump off. It’s deep enough and wide enough for some safe fun jumping action. You know it’s cool to do it. In fact, you’ve jumped off the same place a number of times. It’s always been a bit scary, but worth taking the plunge and a joyous relief when you do. But still, looking over the edge is nerve wracking, and the longer you look, the worse it seems. The fear takes over, and you become irrational about the risk. You hesitate and doubt yourself. Eventually you jump, and it turns out OK. Then you remember that it was always going to be Ok and you should’ve jumped much sooner.

I had a week full of waterfall moments.

I’m working on a number of projects where I’ve had to have uncomfortable discussions, and all of them have seemed more daunting than they actually were. Afterwards, it was clear I should’ve jumped much quicker.

A mate of mine calls this waterfalling – jumping off the waterfall. He says, ‘Just waterfall it Steve’. He refers to this story when he is scared of something as ‘un life threatening’ as a business conversation or cold call. We all are. And just like the waterfall, the more we hesitate the more our self talk creates fear. So the next time your at the edge, just jump. Remember it’s water down there, not concrete.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.


Don’t waste time finding the best person

The best person

Every now and again there’s a rock band who are global superstars, who also happen to have world class musicians in the band. Eric Clapton and Cream, Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. But more often the great rock bands have a style and an ethic which is amalgamation of the players. But these players are not world class on their own. I’d put U2 in this category. The four Beatles make the Beatles. John Lennon was a brilliant genius and successful solo musician, but he couldn’t make girls scream on his own. He was different.

In startups what we are really building is a team and a culture. We talk about trying to find the best coder, the best UX guru, the ultimate growth hacker, but we should focus on is having the best culture where amazing collaborations can happen. If we want to be the best at something, we should probably be working on our own.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.