It’s no secret that I have a man-crush on Michael Ellsberg’s writing, and being a modern writer, he has a book, a website, a column in Forbes, and some videos of talks he has given. One of the talks he calls out is his counsel to young geniuses from the Thiel Fellowship Retreat. As expected, I loved it and took time-stamped notes so that others can benefit as well.
One note: the video is a little shaky and the lighting goes in and out. Don’t let that get in your way! The conditions were not ideal for producing a video: they’re in a room with bright windows, and Michael, the Thiel Fellows, and the cameramen all move around so it takes time for the focus and exposure to catch up. THE CONTENT IS STILL GOLDEN!
[I tried to embed the video but WordPress defeated me]
00:00 Explode the myth that you need to go to college to get an education
00:20 People hate Peter Thiel because he suggests that smart young people should not go to college
01:50 Education is hanging around smarter, wiser people and learning from them
02:00 College is one way to do this because there are brilliant people there, but it’s often inefficient because many professors haven’t accomplished anything in the real world
05:00 At college, some amount of learning and mentorship is given to you on a silver platter, so you don’t learn how to find them in the real world
05:40 The mentors you want in the real world don’t have office hours or published contact info
06:20 How do you find mentors?
07:10 The best thing you can do to recruit mentors is to GIVE to them
08:40 What do you have to give
08:50 FIRST THING TO GIVE: Advice. How can you give great people advice? You know things that people you want to meet want to know about
10:25 MYTH: Accomplished people have nothing left to learn; REALITY: You have valuable knowledge and accomplished people learn a lot
11:00 Ellsberg’s experience with copywriting
11:45 Entrepreneurs know and need to learn lots of areas of expertise
12:20 Youth is a valuable area of expertise that people pay consultants millions to know
13:30 Technical skills should never be underestimated
14:15 Beginning of interactive portion discussing how to connect to potential mentors
15:35 Start with chit-chat, move to inquiry about what they’re working on and ways you can add value, then offer
16:10 Role-play of how to connect with someone at a networking event – connect by giving. Ellsberg plays the role of seeker
20:55 Steer the conversation to areas where you can add value, then offer it
21:10 Givers gain, givers get
22:30 When you help someone get closer to their goals, they’re more willing to help you
23:10 Proactively look for ways to add value – people rarely admit or profess their weaknesses. That’s why you steer to ways you can help
23:50 “All the world loves a giver, all the world hates a taker”
24:55 SECOND THING TO GIVE: Connections
25:55 Giving a connection takes a couple minutes but can change someone’s entire business – it’s a highly leveraged activity
26:25 Key: it has to give value to both parties being connected
29:30 You can’t give with strings attached – people can tell. Trust that goodness will come back to you. Don’t be a used car salesman
30:40 Connections don’t need to be business only – they can be social, romantic, etc
31:50 Role play on making a connection
34:40 Connections are a network game – the rich get richer, so the sooner you grow your network the larger and more valuable it will be
35:40 Networking had a bad rap because most people do it poorly, as takers
36:25 Focus on giving. It’s not totally selfless because you’re choosing to give to powerful, valuable people, but in that context, give liberally
36:50 Measuring time taken – half of Ellsberg’s time was spent networking. One connection can completely transform your business and your life, so the time is highly leveraged
37:55 Put yourself in the right environment – i.e. business conferences like the Summit Series – and the returns can be tremendous
39:00 Social Networking – the non-useful ways are just entertainment. FB/Twitter/RSS people that you want to connect with – that is valuable and worthwhile
40:20 When your business grows, other people will be doing work for you, and your role will be the rainmaker, so there’s never too much networking
41:20 The best contacts/clients/investors/partners come through referrals
42:35 THIRD THING TO GIVE: Willingness to bust ass putting their advice into practice
43:00 Successful people want to leave a legacy, want to see more people use what they learned
44:40 The wrong way is to leach off of successful peoples’ knowledge and effort
45:05 Right way: do your homework, Google them, read news about them, read their Twitter feed, find connections, read their book, etc
46:00 When you contact them, have a SPECIFIC reason. NEVER say “I want to pick your brain” And it should be a question that they are uniquely positioned to answer. Their effort to answer is multiplied by your willingness to put it into action
47:40 Old models of education are crumbling, 22% of people with BA’s under 25 are unemployed, another 25% are doing jobs that don’t require a BA
49:30 These tools will help you get the teachers and mentors that will give you the education that will give you the success you want
Michael also gave a great interview on Mixergy. It’s worth reading or listening to the whole thing, but he gave two calls to action for people that want to improve their direct response copywriting skills.
- Eben Pagan: has a $30 million a year info marketing business, absolute master copywriter
- Dan Kennedy: master copy-writer, extreme hard sell
- Matt Furey
- Marie Forleo: brings in a more feminine touch to the art of copywriting and does it totally different style
- Jonathan Fields: much more of a soft sell, a master at very sweet, authentic, like you would, thereâ€™s just no sleaze with him at all
Get on all these lists. Itâ€™s free and read what they send you. These people are masters and you can just read their e-mails and see how they do copywriting.
2) Read these books:
- Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples ~$9 A legend in advertising for more than 60 years, John Caples’s classic work has been updated to retain all of the candid analysis and invaluable award-winning ideas from the original while bringing it up to date on the many changes in the field.
- Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins ~$7.50 or $1.99 on Kindle – Claude Hopkins expresses powerful, statistically tested truths about “salesmanship in print” which remain relevant through the decades and across all media – including today’s internet marketing.
- On Advertising by David Ogilvy ~$17 – “Advertising is salesmanship.”
- Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz – $lots (expensive because out of print) – “The person who should get this book is the person who would like to create a million-dollar business with an idea, a product, or a division of an existing business. There is simply no other resource that will show you how to do that with marketing.”
Expensive workshops are just people regurgitating the material from these great old books.
Thank you to Michael Ellsberg for being inspring at a time I needed it.