Dorie Clark: The Long Game (2021)

Ein super Buch für alle Lifestyle Entrepreneure. Erinnert uns daran, dass ein Lifestyle Business ein Marathon ist, kein Sprint. Wie wir diesen Marathon durchhalten, davon handelt dieses Buch.

Take-home Messages

  1. Es dauert 5-6 Jahre (oder 3 Jahre, wer weiß das schon, jedenfalls lang), bis das Business abhebt. Oder noch länger.
  2. Wer lange genug durchhält, kann exponentielle Returns erwarten (Zinseszins-Effekt).
  3. Dabei müssen wir okay damit sein, dass wir in einigen Bereichen schlecht und/oder langsam sind. Wir müssen aber strategisch entscheiden, in welchen Bereichen.
  4. Ein guter Coach bringt Energie.
  5. Unconventional payment: Die Gegenleistung muss nicht immer Geld sein.
  6. Wenn es keinen „Branchenverband“ oder „Berufsverband“ gibt, in dem du dich mit Gleichgesinnten in deiner Profession austauschen kannst, dann gründe selbst so eine Gruppe! Möglichkeiten gibt es genug (online)!
  7. Keep the faith!
  8. Ich bin der nächste nächste Seth Godin: Ich suche mir mein Ladl aus, und ich erinnere mich daran, wer ich in 20 Jahren sein werde (Seth Godin ist nämlich 20 Jahr älter als ich).
  9. Vergiss nicht, was du schon erreicht hast.

Meine Notizen

5-6 Jahre

  • “Everyone loves 10x returns and the luster of breakthrough innovation, of course. But the problem is, it takes time. “It takes typically five or six years for a product or a business to get to scale,” Jonathan [Brill] says. There’s a ramp-up period to see if things are working, to adjust, and to optimize.” (S. 7)

Everything takes longer

  • “Everything takes longer than we want to. Everything.” (S. 8)

Exponential payoff

  • “I’ve come to understand what few recognize: the rate of payoff for persevering during those dark days isn’t linear. It’s exponential.” (S. 11)

We can attain almost anything – but not instantly

  • “[…] we can attain almost anything we want – but not instantly. If we’re methodical, if we’re persistent, and if we take small, deliberate steps, we can arrive there. The going may be slow at first, but the advantages of those actions, compounded over time, can lead to stunning results.” (S. 13)

Buch: Uncommon Service (Frances Frei, Anne Morriss)

  • “Their focus was on customer service, especially in retail businesses, and they tried to understand why so few companies were outstanding, and so many were… meh.” (S. 40)
  • “The answer quickly became clear. The businesses didn’t want to turn off any potential customers, so they tried to be everything to everyone. We all know that doesn’t work, yet companies couldn’t resist the urge to do the exact same things as everyone else. Led by smart and highly paid executives, they failed to execute on the most basic element of strategy: making choices. Meanwhile, it turned out, paradoxically, the most successful companies were the ones who were unafraid to choose what to be bad at.” (S. 40)
  • “If you’re going to be great at anything, it comes at a price. The trade-off that most companies refused to make was accepting that in order to be great at something, you had to be willing to be bad at something else.” (S. 40)

Choosing to be bad

  • “Choosing to be bad is your only shot at achieving greatness. And resisting it is a recipe for mediocrity.” (Frei/Morriss, S. 41)
  • “Saying yes to everything means being average at everything. Saying no, conversely, is what gives us the rare opportunity to be great. That certainly means letting some people down.” (S. 41)
  • “Decide what to be bad at. You can’t do it all. In order to be great at something, accept that you’ll be terrible at something else. Refusing to make that choice leads to mediocrity.” (S. 48)

Total project costs

  • “The problem isn’t saying no to terrible, boring opportunities: those are easy to dismiss. The problem – for Manbir, me, and most professionals – is knowing how to balance competing priorities when the offer is quite tempting. That’s why it’s so important to fully understand the hidden costs, including the physical and emotional, behind saying yes.” (S. 47)

Ask for more information

  • “A great way to triage requests for your time is to ask people for more information. Many won’t bother to follow up, and you’ll quickly discover that others haven’t done their homework properly, and you can weed out their requests.” (S. 49)
  • Das ist auch ein Grund, warum gute Coaches vor dem ersten Gespräch einen Fragebogen versenden und ausgefüllt haben wollen. Das schreckt viele schon ab, mit denen es eh nicht gut zu arbeiten wäre. Wer diese Aufgabe allerdings gut erfüllt, der ist es wert.

Optimize for interesting

  • “Wherever we are in our lives, we may not yet have identified something overtly meaningful that we want to do or are good at. But we all have things we’re interested in and want to learn more about.” (S. 58)
  • “But if it’s interesting, that curiosity spurs us towards mastery and may ultimately lead in useful directions, such as new personal and professional connections, a book deal, or a successful campaign to preserve local wetlands.” (S. 58)

Nicht mit einem Kompromiss starten

  • “If a goal is worth pursuing, it’s worth pursuing the version of it we actually want – not one that’s watered down to protect our ego.” (S. 67)

Geile Ziele

  • “When it comes to optimizing for interesting, what’s really interesting isn’t a goal that feels manageable. It’s working toward a goal that’s remarkable.” (S. 69)

Investing in our future selves

  • “When we make the choice to optimize for interesting, we’re investing in our future selves. We don’t know where it will lead, and that’s the whole point. Playing the long game means preparing ourselves for an uncertain future, where, because of the effort we’ve invested over time, we’re ready to take full advantage of the opportunities life presents.” (S. 71)

20% time

  • Google: “We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google.” (S. 74)
  • “The concept was originally created by the company 3M, which allowed employees “15% time” to innovate, leading to creations including the Post-it note.” (S. 75)
  • Marissa Mayer: “The dirty little secret of Google’s 20% time [is that] it’s really 120% time.” “In other words, these special projects are “stuff that you’ve got to do beyond your regular job.” (S. 75)
  • “One estimate from a few years ago said that only 10% of Googlers make use of 20% time. […] Most professionals are so focussed on fulfilling their day-to-day responsibilities, they never make the effort to embrace 20% time. But that creates an opening for you.” (S. 75)

My year of “Uniquely New York” activities = little bets

  • “Every single activity was a learning experience and a good story to tell later on, whether it was amazing or not.” (S. 81)
  • “All of them, ultimately, were “little bets”, microexperiments to see what resonated. Some were perfect just once […]. Other activities stuck, though.” (S. 81)

Why pay for a coach?

  • Zach Braiker: “It brings me energy. It cultivates my curiosity – for real. It’s refreshing to spend time in someone else’s world for a while. I also really enjoy hearing my tutor’s perspectives. She’s so sharp and always finds ways of looking at the narrative I would never have thought of […].” (S. 87f)

Gründer: Win – even if you lose

  • “Make sure that even if you lose, you still win.” (S. 90)
  • “It’s useful to identify the minimum benefit you’ll get out of a given situation or opportunity, even if nothing else breaks your way. Perhaps it’s exposing you to a new industry, or helping you make connections.” (S. 90)
  • “If that minimal outcome alone sounds intriguing, then the project is likely a good bet. Any additional benefit – job offers, or consulting opportunities, or other things we can’t control – is simply a cherry on top.” (S. 90)

Think in decades

  • “There’s a well-known saying: we overestimate what we can accomplish in a day, and underestimate what we can accomplish in a year. That’s true, and it’s even more true that we radically underestimate what we can accomplish in a decade.” (S. 90f)
  • “[…] the power of compound interest is dramatic. What at first seems small and meaningless ultimately enables you to put massive distance between you and your competitors.” (S. 91)
  • “Think in decades. If everyone else is thinking a few months or a few years out, you can create a massive competitive advantage for yourself if you’re willing to go slow – and perhaps ride out short-term losses or setbacks – in order to achieve much bigger things over a period of ten years or more.” (S. 93)

Overplaying our strengths and ignoring areas where we are weak

  • “For instance, it’s easy for a writer to just crank out book after book. He knows the process of researching and putting thoughts to paper, so he does more of it, assuming that’s the winning formula. Instead, he’d have far more success if he took the time to market each book by doing podcast interviews, webinars, speeches, and guest articles. That seems obvious, but so many of us are caught in our own version of that mistake.” (S. 95)

Procrasti-learning, Seminartouristen

  • “I once had to stage an intervention with a friend who complained constantly that her business wasn’t growing the way she wanted it to. After a cursory round of questions, the reason became clear: Instead of doing things that might actually generate clients, like asking for referrals or writing articles to generate publicity, she kept signing up for new courses and certifications. She had spent untold sums of money searching for the training that would magically enable business to drop into her lap. But learning doesn’t generate income on its own.” (S. 103)

Creating

  • “Creating is how you can make a contribution to your field and attract like-minded people to you and your business.” (S. 105)
  • “The key is to make yourself “findable” by the people you’d most like to do business with.” (S. 105)

Connecting

  • “But if you’re hoping to establish yourself in a given field, making an effort to get to know that world is key.” (S. 107)
  • “If you’re a sworn introvert or lone wolf, connecting with others may seem frivolous – a needless diversion from your “real work”. And you can get away with ignoring it for a while. But eventually, having a tiny network becomes a roadblock.” (S. 107)
  • “Your ideas won’t get the traction they deserve (because there’s no one to amplify them). You’ll be in the dark when it comes to pricing or other sensitive topics (because strangers don’t disclose that – only friends and close colleagues do). And you won’t get the opportunities you’d otherwise qualify for (because you need someone to suggest you, but you’re not on anyone’s radar).” (S. 107f)

Reinventing yourself

  • “No matter how good you are, you can’t win any game by doing the same thing all the time. […] We all have strengths, but too many of us overplay them […].” (S. 112)
  • “When you learn to think in waves, you’ll choose your tool to suit the moment, and ensure that you don’t stop and don’t stagnate. That’s how you win.” (S. 112)

Give back by creating and sharing

  • “[…] give back by creating and sharing what you’ve learned.” (S. 113)
  • vgl. Projekt Genesis = Sonntag

Schreibtisch ≠ Arbeitsplatz

  • Annmarie Neal: “For an innovation economy worker, the best ideas may come from taking a long walk or two-mile swim. The desk is not the place where real work may happen.” (S. 121)

Unconventional payment

  • “Phil, the photographer, routinely accepts unconventional payment terms that help him create the kind of “epic freelance life” that he wants.” (S. 121)
  • Auch meine Lifestyle Entrepreneur-Beratungskunden könnten mich in Sachleistungen bezahlen (tit for tat, UB für SEO etc.). Das bringt mir Leverage und schont den Cash Flow meiner Kunden.
  • “But what’s less often appreciated is that money isn’t the only form of currency.” (S. 125)
  • “Gegenleistungen” können auch anders aussehen und trotzdem wertvoll sein.

Networking

  • “What stresses people out isn’t networking per se; it’s the idea of using people. In actuality, there are three types of networking: short term, long term, and infinite horizon. It’s short-term, transactional networking that gives the whole enterprise a bad name, and I’m going to suggest we avoid it whenever humanly possible.” (S. 133f)

No asks for a year

  • “The strategy I follow personally, and recommend to others, is no asks for a year.” (S. 136)
  • “Waiting for a year to ask for any favors prevents anyone from inferring that you have an agenda. And frankly, it stops you from having one, even subconsciously. It lets you step back and concentrate on building a genuine friendship.” (S. 137)

Create a group yourself

  • “But what if there isn’t a group of peers or colleagues that you’d like to break into? What if no such thing exists? In that case, you can create one yourself.” (S. 138)
  • “The point is to build connections with high-quality people.” (S. 139)

Keep giving back

  • Laura Gassner Otting: “I became part of the cool kids in this group, because I kept giving back. I learned something about book publishing. I learned something about podcasts, and I would just share the resources over and over again. And all of us can do that. […] I started creating these online friendships with people that I never met before, who I’d totally be scared to actually call in real life.” (S. 144)

Infinite horizon networking

  • “If you do good things with good people, good stuff always seems to come.” (Laura Gassner Otting, S. 145)
  • Laura Gassner Otting: “[…] if you go into life with the idea that you’re serving others, that’s going to keep coming back to you in multitudes.” (S. 146)
  • “When you connect to others with an infinite horizon — no agenda whatsoever other than being helpful and deepening your relationships with interesting people — that’s how opportunities happen.” (S. 146)

Keeping the faith

  • “Here’s the thing about playing the long game: at times, it can be lonely, maddening, and unfulfilling. It’s worth it in the end; we know that intellectually. But in the moment, it often feels like a complete, humiliating waste of time.” (S. 157)

Strategic Patience

  • “If you can practice the art of strategic patience — not blindly waiting for good things to magically happen, but understanding the work that needs to be done and making it happen — you’re far better off than almost anyone else in your realm.” (S. 165)
  • Wer das kann, ist attraktiv.

2-3 Jahre

  • “I tell participants in my Recognized Expert course that they have to be willing to do the work of sharing their ideas publicly for at least two or three years before they start to see any results. It’s a huge leap of faith — so much time invested for a very uncertain outcome. It’s easy to see why others wouldn’t bother or would quickly give up. But that becomes your competitive advantage.” (S. 164f)
  • “[…] often for my clients, around two to three years in, you do start to see the “raindrops”: the little victories that show you’re on the right path. And by year five, you’ve opened up an almost unsurmountable distance between yourself and the competition. When potential clients type a term into a search engine, it’s your articles that come up. When they listen to a podcast about your area of expertise, you’re the guest. And when they want to hire a speaker, or a high-level employee, or an expert consultant to advise them — you’re the only logical choice.” (S. 165)
  • Das ist eine sehr attraktive Vision, wenn der Zinseszins-Effekt zu wirken beginnt.

How has it worked for others?

  • “Do you actually know what it takes to succeed? Most of us don’t. And as a result, our expectations can sometimes be way out of line.” (S. 168)
  • “The first [step] is to identify role models who have accomplished all or part of what you’d like to do. The goal is not just to gawk or admire, but also to study their path deeply so you can understand exactly what they did on their way to success and interrogate whether the same moves are right for you. The second is to get a clear understanding of their timeline so you’ll know how long, realistically, it should take for you to show results.” (S. 169)
  • “We can make ourselves smarter and more resilient if, from the outset, we truly make the effort to understand what success looks like. How have other people done it? What does it require, in general? It’s possible that you may develop a better or smarter way to succeed, but that should be a pleasant surprise, not your up-front expectation. If it takes everyone else three years to make something happen, don’t assume you can knock it out in six months.” (S. 196)

Ich bin der nächste nächste Seth Godin 🙂

  • David Burkus: “I am unashamed of jovially referring to myself as the next, next Daniel Pink. I say that partly as a joke, partly to position my writing in people’s minds with someone they’re more familiar with, and partly to remind myself that this is going to take twenty years. I remind myself that while I don’t have the results that Dan Pink has in 2020, I do have the results he had in 2001.” (S. 170)
  • Das ist SUPER!
  • “[…] our heroes have a head start of years or decades […].” (S. 170)

We have to make our bets

  • “Sometimes our bets pay off, and sometimes they don’t. We have to make them anyway.” (S. 180)

Aber bei allen anderen geht es viel schneller!

  • “Playing the long game becomes a painful challenge when it feels like others are advancing and we aren’t. It can feel shameful not to have all the answers, or not to be the best, or not to be as far along as we’d hoped or imagined.” (S. 192)

Long-term thinking requires sacrifice

  • “Long-term thinking, and the actions that enable your eventual success, require sacrifice — including, at times, the sacrifice of our dignity and pride. If you’re willing to endure the discomfort and humiliation, the rewards can be powerful. But most people aren’t.” (S. 193)

Jeff Bezos: The seven-year horizon

  • Jeff Bezos (2011): “If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people. But if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people, because very few companies are willing to do that. Just by lengthening the time horizon, you can engage in endeavors that you could never otherwise pursue.” (S. 199f)
  • “Most of us, truth be told, aren’t ambitious enough. Sure, we may spout wild dreams — I have multiple friends who have announced that they want to be Oprah one day. But when it comes to making concrete plans to actualize that, we get timid.” (S. 200)

It’s easy to forget what we have accomplished

  • “It’s so easy to forget what we’ve accomplished. And when we do, we lose sight of the powerful fact that if we’ve done it before, we can do it again. With effort and enough of a horizon, almost anything is possible.

Erwarte keinen Applaus!

  • “No one ever gives you credit for doing what’s slow and hard and invisible: sweating out that book chapter, doing a colleague a favor, writing that newsletter.” (S. 206)