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Do you wish PU met more of your needs?

Would you want Power University to cover more than only advanced social skills?
Yes.
No.
I'm not sure.

Hi everyone,

I just started reading The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman.

In his chapter on value creation, he makes the case that, to make your value offering as appealing as possible, you should build it with the goal of connecting with as many of the five core human drives as possible.

PU sort of does that already.

For example, the core human drive I believe PU currently solves is:

  • The drive to learn (the desire to satisfy our curiosity): other examples of this are academic programs, book publishers, and training workshops. (Companies that promise to make us more knowledgeable or competent connect to this drive.)

And, the case I've been trying to make with my suggestions for TPM's marketing is that PU also satisfies two more core human drives:

  • The drive to acquire (the desire to obtain/collect physical objects and immaterial qualities like status, power, and influence): other examples of this are investment brokerages and political consulting companies. (Companies that promise to make us wealthy, famous, or powerful connect to this drive.)
  • The drive to bond with others (the desire to feel valued and loved through relationships): examples are restaurants, conferences, and dating services. (Companies that promise to make us attractive, well-liked, or highly regarded connect to this drive.)

However, if Kaufman is right, we should update PU so it satisfies the final two core human drives as well.

For example, one of those final drives is:

  • The drive to defend (the desire to protect ourselves, loved ones, and property): examples are home alarm system manufacturers, insurers, and martial arts training programs. (These are companies that promise to keep us safe, eliminate a problem, or prevent bad things from happening to connect to this drive.)

Interestingly enough, PU already has a list of "cover your ass" (CYA) strategies in its "Foundational Steps of Personal Empowerment: Add Up the Small Things" section (such as saving emergency numbers, always carrying some cash, installing a dash cam for your car, and so on).

So, going by Kaufman's advice, we should build this small section out into (potentially) an entire module.

But, I'm not sure I agree that that's the right course of action.

It's not the aim/goal of PU and I think it's still fairly valid to make that small section of PU its own separate value-offering (such as a lead magnet called "15 Ways to Cover Your Ass for When Things Go Wrong in Life" or something).

Then, in classic lean startup methodology fashion, split-test that lead magnet against others magnets to see if the market actually wants that and, if not, throw away the idea to make sure you're not building something nobody wants.

Still, I figured it'd be interesting to ask though:

Would you want Power University to cover more than only advanced social skills?

Thank you for sharing this, Ali!

I personally think -and maybe wrong- PU may satisfy the drive to "know more", albeit what it wants -and I believe does- deliver is more in line with "acquiring".

Indirectly, an partly people may miss that one, is that it also helps a lot to "connect and bond".
Very differently than how most current resources do, more from a position of both power/high-status, and power-tempered realism.

I'm already taking notes for a lesson on "how to make friends / develop a social group from scratch" -still TPM's style: with power dynamics and social strategies in mind, and with examples and concrete steps-.

Generally speaking, I'm personally wary of making PU a jack of all trades though.

Hence why I'm interested for the future in a product on socialization and, albeit that's a bit more off-topic, also a product on critical thinking.

Speaking of critical thinking / skepticism:

 

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Made a thread about the general principle.

Assessing This Source

Going highly unfiltered here and sharing my gut reaction.

As soon as I saw the "core human drives" and didn't recognize Josh Kaufman as any scientist I'd heard of -but as someone who has a product out-, my BS radar started beeping.

Not necessarily that he's wrong.
Maybe he's great.

But that "core" keyword put me off.

Is it core, or more like "important things people may seek or want, depending on the individual, but none of which can have a claim as to being "foundational" or top priority for everyone, or even most people".

My (unconscious) thought process:

  • Who says that those are the core human drives?
  • I've heard many people coming up with "core human drives/needs" before, never from good contemporary scientists, and always felt more like "the gurus' own opinion"
  • Who were the others? Oh, right, gurus and marketers
  • Based on what?
  • Could anyone of them truly claim or back up their claim with either science or at least some logic and critical thinking of why these were core, and not just some random needs that different people may or may not have, at different levels?
  • Yes, OK, let's see what he's got
  • No? OK, I don't buy it
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Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on December 2, 2022, 6:17 am

Thank you for sharing this, Ali!

I personally think -and maybe wrong- PU may satisfy the drive to "know more", albeit what it wants -and I believe does- deliver is more in line with "acquiring".

Indirectly, and partly people may miss that one, is that it also helps a lot to "connect and bond".
Very differently than how most current resources do, more from a position of both power/high-status, and power-tempered realism.

Yes, thank you, Lucio, my mistake.

When I say that my marketing suggestions have the aim of highlighting that PU satisfies two more core human drives, it's because I believe it does also satisfy those drives, not simply because I want to "make this case for PU so it's more appealing and potentially gets more sales". (Of course, maybe no one was thinking that, but it wouldn't have hurt to add to my note that I offer these marketing suggestions because I believe the value is actually there, not just because I want people to "think" the value is there.)

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on December 2, 2022, 6:34 am

Assessing This Source

Going highly unfiltered here and sharing my gut reaction.

As soon as I saw the "core human drives" and didn't recognize Josh Kaufman as any scientist I'd heard of -but as someone who has a product out-, my BS radar started beeping.

Not necessarily that he's wrong.
Maybe he's great.

But that "core" keyword put me off.

Is it core, or more like "important things people may seek or want, depending on the individual, but none of which can have a claim as to being "foundational" or top priority for everyone, or even most people".

You're right, he's no scientist and he doesn't claim to be.

He's simply read a lot of books and The Personal MBA is a culmination of his research and findings on business.

As far as core human drives applied to business, his attitude (summarized) is:

  • "If you're going to build a successful business, it's useful to have a basic understanding of what people want."
  • "The most well-known general theory of what people want is Maslow's hierarchy of needs."
  • "In (business) practice, I prefer Clayton Alderfer's theory of Maslow's hierarchy, which he called ERG theory...first existence, then relatedness, then growth."
  • "ERG theory explains the general priority of human desires, but not the methods people use to satisfy them. For that, we must turn to other theories of human action."
  • "According to Harvard business school professors Paul Lawrence and Nitin Nohria, authors of Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices, all human beings have four core human drives that have a profound influence on our decisions and actions...[the desire to acquire, bond, learn, and defend]."
  • "There's a fifth core drive that Lawrence and Nohria missed. Number five: the drive to feel. The desire for new sensory stimuli, intense emotional experiences, pleasure, excitement, entertainment, and anticipation."

All of these are quotes from the book.

No big claims that he developed this "core human drives framework" himself and that he's right or everyone else is wrong.

If anything, it seems I'd need to look further into the work of Nitin Nohria and Paul R. Lawrence to validate their theories.

All that said, I think your point and critical thinking analysis are both valid. Many gurus create concepts that are misinformation to promote themselves and their businesses.

But, I haven't gotten that vibe from Kaufman yet. So, so far, so good.

Edit:

Added more thoughts.

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Lucio BuffalmanoKavalier

Got it on both counts, Ali.

And thank you for explaining more on Kaufman.

I think this goes back to a different approach we have to people/information.
You're more open and more "willing to give people a shot until proven otherwise".
I'm more on the skeptical side, I start skeptical. and I have a bigger tendency to "distrust anyone who, based on what I know/think, doesn't immediately make sense, until proven otherwise".

And I think it's great we have a different approach: I may miss great wisdom with my approach.

I think the best approach in these cases is to justify our position, and then being open to being wrong.
I'm glad to hear that I may have been wrong here.

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Thanks both really interesting discussion.   I had seen the book rated quite highly in a lot of places but then I am often disappointed.  Numerous highly respected people in a variety of professions recommended crucial conversations as a book they buy their staff but then when I started dipping into it I found the scenarios were spot on but the dialogues and suggested actions were a bit suss.

Sounds like Kaufman is a good synthesist and honest broker.

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Lucio Buffalmano

Back OT.  My personal opinion is that PU is the best product in the world on personal power and social dynamics.   And I really love that Lucio often references the forum.  To me PU and the forum were always like batman and robin unbeatable team.

What stands out for me is the depth and comprehensive coverage in a specialist area.

My opinion is keep the peripheral articles as lead magnets because the core product is so bloody good.  In terms of a marketing model it should be trying to capitalise on a hero product.

Focus on marketing now over product diversification and development because the product is amazing.   Being twice as good as the competition is enough you don't get much benefit from being 5 times as good.

Sorry Lucio I know nothing about being a web entrepreneur.  So throwing some probably ill-informed ideas out there.

Are there any awards in this field that we could nominate TPM for.  Awards have their own marketing so that is nearly free beer.

And Lucio you used to do interviews.  Those industry websites are always hungry for copy.  I wonder now that you and Ali have a business relationship could you split the time.

 

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Thank you so much, Kevin, it's super useful!

Comprehensiveness VS Diversification

I totally agree with you on depth/comprehensiveness in one area, VS product diversification/proliferation.

Going for more products or trying to cover anything beyond the main focus would be the marketing equivalent of what picking new enemies and warfronts is to warfare: fail to concentrate forces, and spread yourself thin (see Germany in WWII).

Would be happy to see those products come to light, but it's either in the distant future or, even better, someone from TPM (or someone capable and trustworthy anyway) who spearheads it. I'm hopeful that may happen eventually.

Development VS Marketing

You're also right o this point.

The benefits of X5 better than the rest when you're already X2 mean little to nothing when it comes to marketing/sales.

Though the development is something that I'd always keep on doing because that's not part of selling to me.
That's part of my personal drive/mission/passion.

Still, your points about marketing stand because one could certainly do both.

Interviews and getting some press on publications is a great idea, and something I may want to do more of -also because most people in the "industry" don't seem to like mentioning or referencing TPM as a good resource / a resource they're also learning from-.

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Sorry Lucio - I didn't mean to imply you were just in this for the money.   It is enlightened self interest for us.  If we don't keep you in caviar and ferraris you might close our cubby house!   A little less cheek tongued - obviously it is your depth of scholarship in this field which is the bedrock for TPM.

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Lucio Buffalmano

LOL thanks Kevin, and absolutely all good, I get what you meant.
And you're also absolutely right TPM can/should do more marketing-wise.

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