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✏️ ON MY MIND
Important: I’ve got a question at the bottom of this email regarding the future of this newsletter. Please read it and reply when you have a few mins.
For The Love of the Game
Recently, I heard two amazing people share stories that made me think differently about what it means to be successful. Ex-pro-basketball player turned podcaster JJ Redick and NBA hall-of-fame announcer Doris Burke shared their deep love for basketball and how it shaped their lives.
What struck me was that it wasn’t about winning championships or making it to the top. It was about something deeper—their love for the game, their hard work, and the joy they found in mastering their skills.
🏀 From Court to Classroom: The Unifying Power of Passion
Doris reflected, “This game, right from the time I was seven years of age, has literally shaped my life… It’s been my safe spot, it’s been my soft landing spot.”
Similarly, JJ said, “It’s always been basketball for me… There was nothing in my life outside of obviously my family, there was nothing in my life that I felt more a part of than when I was on a team.”
Their words resonated with me as a former amateur basketball player during high school and early on in my work life. But if I’m honest, I was never good enough to pursue it as a professional career.
I’ve found my calling in the art and science of learning, teaching, and guiding others through marketing.
The thrill of uncovering new insights, the camaraderie of sharing knowledge with a dedicated team, and the satisfaction of guiding others keep me going.
Teaching marketing to new business owners
🎭 The Psychology Behind Learning: An Endless Fascination
Throughout my journey, I’ve often pondered over questions like:
Why do some people lead and others follow?
Why do some rise to fame and fortune, whilst the majority don’t?
Why do some companies and products like Lego, Nintendo, Vegemite, and Mi Goreng stick around for decades whilst others disappear just as fast as they appear?
The answers to these questions have much to do with where people focus their attention. What are they obsessed about?
Doris Burke said, “Give me a ball and a gym anywhere… Give me a problem to work out, and I’ll go out there, and I’ll get my mind right.”
Doris became a master of her domain (commentating about pro basketball) because it was more than just a sport to her. It made her feel a certain way – being in the gym with a basketball allowed her to clear her mind, to focus. All her worries went away.
Just like Doris found solace and purpose in the gym with a basketball,
Artists find their escape and self-expression in their artwork.
Teachers find fulfilment in nurturing minds and shaping the future.
Business owners find satisfaction in building something from scratch, and seeing their ideas come to life.
Those who truly excel, who leave a lasting impact, have a deep connection to their craft that goes beyond external measures of success. It’s a feeling that cannot be quantified, a sense of purpose and fulfilment that fuels their dedication and perseverance.
They are driven by the love of their craft, the joy it brings them, and the profound impact they can make through their work. It’s all about creating lasting value.
🔬 Active Participation: Learning from Marketing Experiments
My passion for learning and teaching isn’t confined to academic concepts. In fact, I’ve never completed any formal education in marketing.
It extends to actively participating in marketing experiments and campaigns for myself and my clients. This hands-on approach to marketing has been a goldmine of knowledge and experience.
It’s one thing to study marketing theories and strategies, but another entirely to put them to the test in real-world scenarios.
By diving into these experiments, I’ve learned what truly works, what doesn’t, and how to adapt and innovate when a campaign doesn’t go as planned. This practical experience has been invaluable in enriching my understanding of marketing and refining my teaching approach.
More than half of digital marketers are self-taught. Less than a quarter have formal degrees.
If your job post demands a “degree in marketing,” I’d rethink that. How many amazing candidates are excluded with that (frankly irrelevant) requirement? https://t.co/96hNBKmvk7
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish)
Feb 23, 2021
🚀 The Authenticity Drive: Truth is a Magnet
In recent years, I’ve been fascinated by the power of authenticity and its ability to serve as a powerful magnet while simultaneously repelling those that don’t resonate.
💡 Influence and Authenticity: Learning from the Greats
I draw inspiration from polarizing figures who have made their mark by being true to themselves, despite their flaws:
Richard Branson: Adventurous spirit, but some criticize his leadership style as too impulsive and lacking attention to detail.
Melanie Perkins: Has a disruptive design vision, but others have noted that her perfectionism can slow down decision-making processes and hinder adaptability.
Elon Musk: Audacious vision for the future, yet some have pointed out that his demanding leadership style and tendency to take on too many projects simultaneously can lead to challenges in execution and timelines.
By recognizing both their strengths and weaknesses, we learn that even influential figures have areas for growth.
It’s essential to embrace authenticity while also being mindful of how our leadership styles can impact our endeavours.
As inspiring as those public figures I mentioned have been, I’ve also met and worked with incredible humans. Each one of these people have touched my heart and influenced my work:
Didi Gaorii, the Director at Sunshine School Laos, who has dedicated her life to providing quality holistic education for children.
Kiran Bir Sethi, the founder of the Riverside School in India, known for her innovative approach to education (and TED talk). Because of Kiran, I was inspired to launch Design For Change Laos in 2011 (with Didi Gaorii’s support).
Sombath Somphone, a leading voice for sustainable development in Laos. Sombath was abducted from a Vientiane street in 2012 and has not been seen since. 11 years on, and his leadership is definitely missed in a country that desperately needs it.
Jia Jiang, known for his ‘Rejection Therapy’ and his pursuit of overcoming fear.
“Generally I’m known to be a serious person, and therefore serious persons are generally pessimistic. But at the same time, I’m simple and practical… and from that point of view, I’m optimistic… I basically come to the point that I would not be able to change the world, but I should do whatever I can, no matter how small, just to give meaning to my life, and also to pay back the society which I have taken from to attend school… Giving back is a pleasure.”
— Sombath Somphone
These individuals stand out for HOW they move in the world, demonstrating their personal values through their actions. As well as their humble approach to leadership. They have inspired me to strive for greatness in my own journey.
🔍 Sharing Insights: From Results to Reflections
A critical part of my role as a guide is sharing what I’ve learned from various marketing experiments – both successes and failures. Real results, even when they’re not what we hoped for, offer potent lessons that can guide future decisions and strategies.
I believe in the power of transparency, in sharing not just the triumphs but also the challenges and missteps.
Failure is often frowned upon, but in reality, it’s one of our greatest teachers.
By sharing these experiences, I aim to foster a community of lifelong learners unafraid of taking risks and pushing boundaries.
📚 Intertwining Passions and Identity: The Lifelong Learner
Like JJ Redick said about his basketball passion, “When you do it for a long time, it becomes so ingrained in your identity… I still want to be a part of it.”
My identity is deeply intertwined with my journey of learning, teaching, and guiding others. The lessons I’ve imparted, the minds I’ve helped expand, and the knowledge I’ve gathered are not merely about professional success. They are about the person I’ve become in the process.
In the end, it’s the love of the game – whether it’s basketball, teaching, or something else – that drives us. It’s about pursuing our passions, overcoming challenges, and making a difference uniquely.
What’s always been driving you from a young age? What’s the common thread that persists until this day?
Hit reply and tell me about it. I’d love to know.
PS. By the way, if you’d like to listen to JJ and Doris’ conversation, here’s the video:
(This newsletter was drafted with the help of GPT-4 and edited by yours truly.)
🔨🧰 MARKETING TIP
3 Reasons to Look Beyond ChatGPT for Keyword Research
I saw this posted on Linkedin this morning:
Many of these posts are going around, and they’re pretending like ChatGPT is an adequate replacement for proper keyword research tools.
The reality is that ChatGPT is not “killing” paid SEO tools.
1️⃣ Limited Data Accuracy: ChatGPT’s responses are based on the patterns it has learned from the data it was trained on. However, it may not always provide the most accurate or up-to-date keyword insights.
2️⃣ Lack of Search Volume and Competition Metrics: ChatGPT may not provide detailed information on search volume or competition for specific keywords. These metrics are crucial for understanding the potential traffic and competitiveness of keywords.
3️⃣ Contextual Limitations: While ChatGPT excels at generating human-like responses, it may not fully grasp the nuances of keyword research and SEO.
Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Ahrefs’ CMO had to say about this:
👍 3 THINGS THAT CAUGHT MY ATTENTION
On May 9, Aisha’s podcast crossed 1 million downloads. Learn how she was able to launch a successful podcast with this case study.
Is this the Twitter replacement we’ve been waiting for?
3/ Watch & Play: City Guesser
I was introduced to the City Guesser site and game when I witnessed C and her niece playing it together. Even though her niece is in Sydney, they were able to connect and have a blast remotely. I could hear their excitement as they shouted their guesses about which city and country were displayed on the screen.
It was a delightful experience showcasing the power of technology to bring people closer, no matter the distance.
You can play City Guesser with a family member, friend or colleague in another physical location using voice chat. Open the game on your computer, share your screen, and communicate through voice chat to describe the clues and guess the location together. It’s a fun way to connect and explore different cities no matter the distance.
City Guesser is one of the apps on https://virtualvacation.us/. The creators state on their About page, “We created the first iteration of VirtualVacation within 4 weeks to help people experience the wonders of the world while in lockdown.”
If you want a taste of what the game is like, here’s a video of a youtube playing the game. (mind the language)
💸 WEALTH BUILDING TIP
10) Generational wealth must be protected:
~70% of families lose their wealth by the 2nd generation
~90% of families lose their wealth by the 3rd generation
Teaching yourself & your children personal finance are a must because many schools don’t teach it.
— Andrew Lokenauth (@FluentInFinance)
Jun 22, 2023
🐦 COOL SOCIALS THIS WEEK
Nobody told me podcasting is this hard.
✅ Website, logo, name
✅ Booking guests
✅ Figuring out format
✅ Pre-recording briefings
✅ Choosing music
And after all that, I’m only 50% done. There’s still publishing and marketing! 🥵
— Lesley 🍕 (@lesley_pizza)
Jun 16, 2023
This is me on a 10 mile solo hike at Silver Falls State Park in Sept 2021, two weeks after I quit my job as COO @ConvertKit, the creator economy startup I had helped build for 5 years. I was burnt out, depressed, & felt a loss of identity as I left a job that meant so much to me. https://t.co/Kpw44xmE5d
— Barrett Brooks (@BarrettABrooks)
Jun 21, 2023
🔥 Narrated Tours is SOLD 🔥
· The Challenge: Go from $500 to $5000 in 8 weeks
· The Team: Me + ChatGPT as my copilot
· The Idea: AI Audio Tour Guide
How I did it 👇 https://t.co/evLc5PloBv
— Hazel Lim (@byhazellim)
Jun 21, 2023
🔧 TOOL OF THE WEEK
Have you tried Hiver yet? It’s an awesome tool that helps you engage with your customers and team right from Gmail.
Our team’s been using it to deliver fast and consistent support while collaborating and tracking team performance directly from our inbox.
Hiver allows you to:
Manage shared email accounts like support@ and info@.
Assign emails with a single click, track which emails are open, pending or closed,
Collaborate with colleagues using Notes, and
Categorize emails through Tags – all inside Gmail.
You should check it out!
Let me know what you think.
🤔 PARTING THOUGHTS
I’d love your honest feedback
So here’s the deal…
This weekly newsletter is a small bet that I took starting September 16, 2022. I’ve since written and published 44 newsletters.
It’s currently taking me 2-3 hours per week to put this newsletter together. This is costing me time, energy and money (I’m paying Beehiiv $49 USD / month) to keep going.
The growth of this newsletter has been slow. I get about 5 new subscribers per month. I don’t currently get leads for my business from this newsletter, but I do get positive comments once in a while.
I’m not looking to get rich from this. I just want to make it sustainable and continue offering something useful to my readers.
So something’s gotta change.
How can I make this newsletter valuable enough that you’d pay $5 a month for it?
I’d love your honest answer. Maybe there’s not enough value here, or you’d like something more. Perhaps you’ve seen someone else offer something cool that I might want to try? Hit reply and let me know.
Thanks for reading,