This is a really fun subject on who to talk to when you are three feet from gold and this is one of my favorites. We spent some time talking to a lot of inventors groups, and we are about to embark on a 30 city tour over the country. As we have been going around these inventors groups, we have been finding that the problem with these is the mix of people. A lot of them are 12-step program support groups. There are a lot of grumpy and upset inventors that don’t understand and are frustrated with how hard it is to go on licenses. Some are even working with their products too long or their inventions are not getting anywhere or sometimes it might be hard to get funding. It is with this that there are grumpy meeting sessions that go on with these groups. It always happens. Some are even over excited about a product that is not that exciting. There are of course people that are coming into these groups who are in and out into doing something great. There are lots of these speakers and local groups that you could use to find something good there.
One of them does this group mentorship thing. One of the groups here in California meets twice a month. One time of the month, there will be a guest speaker of a topic on an open meeting to anybody who wants to come to it. Two weeks later in the other part of the month, there are all these inventors that wanted to present their invention and get feedback in the group to do so to save space. They present their ideas and everybody comments on something. Mostly it is a group of inventors, so the ton of feedback that they get is I don’t think always as helpful as what they want to be.
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Who to Talk to When You are Three Feet From Gold
Who to talk to when you are presenting to people who are on the same situation is very important because, you are getting the same viewpoints, and you are getting the same information back. This is why are number one rule is that you don’t talk to family and friends. Anyone who tells me that their family and friends love their product, my first instinct is to say, “Thank you and good luck with that.” I then do not work with them, because I don’t care what family and friends think. Funding people don’t care what family and friends think. They only care what the marketing is. They only care what your market traction is and where these things are, and if you don’t have that and none of those other people around you have that, how are you going to learn how to get that? That’s why who to talk to is important.
There is a stage where you say, “Maybe you need a 3D printer? Maybe you know a guy who has a 3D printer? Maybe you need these things in these inventors groups?” You need these things to talk to people at various stages of it. But this should not be a weakness test to see whether you got a product, you got a good idea, or you got a good concept. Even worse than that though, you can’t take it as a plan on how to go forward, because none of them have been successful yet. And if they were, they probably wouldn’t be there. That is why you really have to step up to a different crowd. If you want to get funding for your project, you then need to know where your start ups are going who to talk to inventors.
You need to be in that space. You need to be in incubators, you need to go to their presentations, you need to go to their support groups, and you need to be in a different place. You need to be more in the entrepreneurial groups and less on the inventor groups. Those are the people who are going to make it happen, and those are who to talk to.
The Story of the Book
We talked about the story, Think and Grow Rich which is Napoleon Hill’s book. It is written in a very different format. It is told in several books that are spin offs or extensions of Napoleon Hill’s original book. The story of 3 Feet of Gold from Napoleon Hill’s perspective is that perseverance is the moral of the story. Along with it goes dedication and focus. The story goes with a guy that comes across and discovers a little bit of gold, and is set in the gold rush in the 1800s in California. He then got excited, went home, and told his friends and family. They then got all the money to buy the equipment and he with someone went out there and started mining. They then found a little bit more and even grew more excited with it. All of the sudden, it is gone. They kept digging and they can’t find more as there are no more gold. They started to run out of money and patience. They were frustrated, and finally they just gave up and sold all of their equipment to a junk collector for next to nothing.
They thought they were lucky to get out of the equipment and make a little money back on it as they were getting out of that adventure. They then went home, and the junk collector said that this is really interesting. He had this land in the process, and so he got both of them in the deal and he said that he was going to consult an expert in finding gold. The expert came in, looked at everything, surveyed the land, and said that the interesting thing is that gold runs in a vein and that it runs in a specific direction. These guys went across the vein so they found the gold but kept going and missing it. They dug, they get to the gold, they got what was there, they got the dirt on the other side, and kept digging on that direction, but didn’t think to go up or down, or left or right. They haven’t gone 90 degrees from where they were going. If they had, they’d then discover that the vein runs linearly. This vein is what the basis for what is in Fort Knox became. They were literally 3 feet from gold, and they walked away.
The moral of the lesson is that the guy went on to be very successful and not give up because he learned his lesson, and he himself became a millionaire. He could have been extremely successful like the junk collector had he just not given up from 3 feet from gold. I actually don’t think that that is the story, that is just the way that I tell it. I think that the story is that he was never going to find it, because he was never smart enough to get help. He was never smart enough to learn on how he can find out what he did not know, or who to talk to when you are that close.
I think inventors are guilty of this a lot. I know that there are a lot of inventors in the 3D printing community and a lot of times we think that for a good inventor or entrepreneur, one must do it all, and one must do everything themselves. CEO does not mean Chief Everything Officer, it means that you know what you know, and you know what you don’t know. You hire to your weaknesses, you play to your strengths, and you build an organization, and you know who to talk to when you don’t know something.
When you are in these groups, and you are talking to people who are in the same financial situation or in the same situation of where you haven’t made enough progress on it and you don’t have access to selling it yet, and you are on the same stage of your invention, what you are really doing is that you have this group thing going on and you think that it can’t be done. You haven’t talked to people who know on how it can be done, you don’t know who to talk to. I have a few rules on the type of people that you need to go out and seek and you need to talk to. You need to go out and talk to people who know what they are doing. These are people who have done it again and again.
This is where I get frustrated. In the podcasting world, you build a podcast and you think you are an expert. You get one item that succeeds on Amazon, and you think that you are an expert. The reality is that I do not believe that I am an expert. Do I believe that I have come across and done something really exciting and cool and we have tripped on something that worked really well and that I can do five podcasts a week. Am I happy to share that? Absolutely yes. But do I think that I am an expert? No. It is an evolving thing, so I am not going to go out there and say that we are expert podcasters. We are successful podcasters, we did it, and we are very happy to share that with you. That is a very different thing when we consult in our regular business and we know when we are giving people advice in our regular business. We have done tons of it in the last ten years and we know how it works. We really know what we are doing and we know what we are saying. We have 50,000 hours of practice over our careers doing it. We are legitimate experts there and that is the case.
The Thing with Experience and Who to Talk to
You just have to be careful with those that claim to be gurus and those that really are. When you have repeated your success over and over again, that makes sense to me. There is also a modelling version where I see someone who did it successfully here. I think if I did that same application and applied it to my industry, which will work. I think that that is a really smart way to get on businesses. I think that that is not the most creative, because when you are modelling, it has been done before. You can be pivoting something from a different industry and then applying it to yours. You could be refining it and doing it better. We did that. When we started out on the podcast, we applied our launch method that we use for products and adapted it a little bit. That was the same method that we used and it worked, because we were launched in six weeks.
I am not just going to go and watch it; I am going to talk to somebody. I am going to go experience the modelling. I am going to go learn from them and that will be a big difference. Repeatability and modelling someone who does it while also speaking to them, is important. Whatever it takes to get their attention and to get them to be more than just mentors, is another one that I want to step into. If you really want to make this happen, mentorship is not the way to go for you. Mentorship is just, “Here is what I did, here is my advice, and here is how it is going to work in the industry.” It is not personally applicable to you.
We talked about this in another episode in coaching. Coaching is like someone who is sitting along and giving you the plays, and helping you to achieve your goal. It is tactical. They are in it with you. Doing it for you is also another way to make it happen. Either one of those two methods is what you need to get off the bench and get going while making it happen.
We had a business meeting earlier this week with a company that we may do some business with. What I admire about them is that it really goes into the original lesson of how hire the expert to help you advance your business forward and making sure that these people have a business that is about a year old and they are doing okay, basically they knew who to talk to. They want to take on the next level, and they want to have somebody who is doing well to consult with them. They were having trouble to get his attention. He is a high powered guy who is in high demand. He was offering a course and it was something that they really didn’t care about. They have an interest in it, but it wasn’t their primary goal for their business. They took the initiative to sign up for a course so they could get close to this guy and get his attention. It worked.
Sometimes, these things can happen in a little roundabout way. In this case, it is the perseverance to get the expert had really helped to get them to what they desired of who to talk to. Our perspective is that those who think that they can just sit and listen to a lecture, and that they can just get this information for free, and that is what so many of these groups do. Free information is usually useless. If you really want to accelerate, and if you want to succeed and you are serious about this, then you must pay for it. Expertise comes with a price, and expertise is going to do something good for your business, and that these require a payment. You must think about that.
The junk collector in the story paid for a survey. He hired somebody to survey the land and get him that report and showed him where the gold was. He didn’t ask his friends and family, he knew who to talk to. The reality with the people who don’t hire expertise because they don’t have money to do so, is that the improvement of your endeavor is going to be a lot slower. You could be cruising in neutral for a lot of time before you really accelerate into the business that you really want to be in. There are so many traps and so many things that you are going to fall into. There are so many things to learn along the way. We gained 50,000 hours in learning it. We learned along the way.
It is the shortcut method that you are paying for. It is the tactics that will really help you succeed. It is the practice that you need to get there. It is knowing all of that that makes it successful. It is knowing who to talk to. That is the lesson that we learned in Kickstarter tonight. This is where so many of the Kickstarters are so late because they have all the wrong teams and because they thought they needed to do everything themselves. They were late because they reinvented everything. They thought they didn’t need them. Instead of putting in the right budget and making that happen, they add features to their products, and they over featured them. They just don’t get the right team on board. They keep $30 million and they keep it with a team that has not done this before instead of moving up to a much bigger team to get things made.
There are so many we know that some are doing this very well, while others are so unfortunate because they don’t know who to talk to and struggle as a result. Hopefully, these lessons would help someone out there. The average salary of the five people around you is going to dictate what your salary is. The success of your business and product launch is going to be the average of the five people that you talk to, is their success level as well. If you are stuck in a group of people who have not done this before, you are in the wrong place. It is who you need to associate with, and who you need to talk to, to help you get to the next level.
If you are starting a business in the 3D printing industry, you can’t just hang around the crowd and expect to achieve. You got to go to a higher level. I have heard about the same thing a number of times. The five people that you associate with the most is another way that is said. If you are hanging with a bunch of people who haven’t made it yet, the chances of making money is very slim. You got to associate with another level of individuals out there. It improves you. You need to associate with people who can help you, and that’s who to talk to to get you to gold.
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