In this episode:
01:05 – Manly versus St. Pete’s, Florida
04:51 – The Alter Ego Effect and General Patton
09:50 – Producing a human, price changes, and working less
15:07 – So who really coined “Who, not how”?
17:02 – When you’ve got 1,000 investable hours…
24:27 – Thinking in terms of effective hourly rate
28:33 – Byproducts and their benefits
37:12 – Working in time blocks
39:05 – Setting things up for future you
48:11 – The things you can’t outsource
50:12 – Lessons from history
54:13 – Anticipating a new decade
James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. This is Episode 701. And I’m sitting here in a hotel reception, the Hilton, actually, in St. Pete’s, Florida. It’s not Russia. That’s in the USA, with Dean Jackson.
Dean: Wow, imagine that.
Dean: Here we are, doing our periodic podcasts. Were we… this is five, or six?
James: Yes, yes. It’s one of those.
Dean: Five or six.
James: Out of 25.
Dean: Of the periodic podcasts. And you know, for those people who are following along, they would know that this podcast normally is scheduled to take place in August.
Dean: And it’s already October. So they might have been thinking, they’ve already given up after five years into their 25-year commitment, but no.
James: No chance.
Dean: No chance. We had a schedule change.
Manly versus St. Pete’s, Florida
James: We have. So you’re actually coming to Australia in November this year.
Dean: I am.
James: A little bit warmer than usual.
Dean: Well, that’s the thing. I’ve been five times. And the first, I got spoiled because the first time I came, it was beautiful, you know? High 60s and just sunny and nice. And the second time I came, it was a little bit cooler, and I thought, oh, a little cooler this year. And the next year I came, it was kind of back up again a little bit but still on the cool side. And then the last two years that I’ve come, it’s just been…
Dean: …freezing. And last time I was there, we did the podcast in the freezing cold house.
James: In a cold house. It was almost within the limits of bare feet. Yeah, and I remember you said, Why don’t they just put a heater? And I said, They probably can’t afford it. And you said, Why? I said, Because this house would cost a fortune. And you said, Well, how much would this house cost?
James: You were off by at least a digit in your estimate.
So here we are. It’s actually much warmer in Florida.
James: And I’ve had the great pleasure of visiting your home, which was a nice gesture. You invited me out there to the ranch, and I got to see what life’s like for Dean. Lovely place there, very quiet.
James: Idyllic, rural-esque.
Dean: So yeah, I mean, you didn’t really get the whole, you came in the back way, and I kind of live on the edge of the town. But yes, very quiet, especially where I am, like, just in my development there. It’s very idyllic and quiet.
James: Yes, idyllic. I could see you’d get a lot of things done in that environment. Like, it’s a super productive zone and setup for comfort. And we also had John Carlton, as well.
Dean: Yes. What a great visit. We had some fun. So John came in a day ahead, and we spent the whole day together and then you arrived the next morning.
James: It’s like when you’re traveling with royalty, you know, you send them in early to reconnaissance, to check out.
Dean: An advance man. Yeah.
James: And got the all clear.
James: And I said, You know, guys, I’m supposed to be staying at the Hilton. He said, The Hilton will survive without you, John said.
Dean: Yes, that’s exactly right.
James: But we’re here now and we’ve been at this event, Kevin Rogers’ event, Copy Chief Live 3. And it’s going well.
Dean: Yes. I’ve been at all three.
James: Right. This is my first one. Last year was prohibited because of…
Dean: St. Petersburg is abuzz.
Dean: They’re abuzz about…
James: They’re abuzz with copywriting marketers.
Dean: The news that James Schramko is here from The Land Down Under.
James: I’m not the only Australian here – there’s quite a few. And it’s a long way to come, but it’s definitely worth it if you’re interested in the sort of topics that get talked about here.
Dean: Copywriting, uh huh.
James: But beyond that, there’s been some themes coming through in the presentations today about mindset, about how to turn that individual expertise into actual productized service and then grow and scale those businesses; to use some devices that take you beyond just writing words, and seeing yourself as more than that.
The Alter Ego Effect and General Patton
Dean: And it’s really cool. I mean, Todd Herman had a great talk about his Alter Ego Effect. And it’s funny because the most common thing that he gets is people say, yeah, I’ve been doing that, like not really thinking about it as Alter Ego type of things, but it’s a natural thing that we do that nobody will talk about or that you realize that we have been doing things like that. Especially you, with your, you were even so far with the Superman.
Dean: Yeah, underneath that was really the closest thing to really alter ego.
James: Yes. Like, I remember asking myself that question, Who do I need to be to get the results I need to get? And I also remember realizing how powerful the mirror is, when you look in that mirror and you can empower yourself to be whatever person you need to be. And even one of my mentors used to make me watch movies like Patton. I think he was trying to instill some of the, in the role that I had as a general manager, he wanted me to have some General Patton leadership attributes.
James: But I don’t think he wanted me to slap people with their glove. But he did want me to be feared by the enemy. And that guy was unstoppable.
James: And he also used Rommel’s tank warfare book against Rommel on the same battlefield that he wrote the book about.
Dean: I didn’t know that.
James: It was a classic. There’s so many metaphors in that movie. But one of my favorite ones is the scene where they’re coming up to a village and all the troops are back to back, and he comes up in his little jeep. He’s like, What’s going on? And they’re like, Oh, there’s a hold up on the bridge. So he gets the jeep to drive all the way. They’re being shot out from the other side of the river by the enemy, and he flies down the outside, they get down to the bridge, and on the bridge is a donkey and a cart, and it won’t move. So he goes up to the donkey, he shoots it in the head, and they push it off the bridge. Because, like, seriously, one donkey is holding up his whole platoon, and they’re getting shot at.
James: That’s the constraint.
“There’s a donkey on the bridge.”
James: And he just eliminated the constraint, and they can go cross the bridge and take out the enemy. So that was probably the single most powerful metaphor in that book about the Theory of Constraints, about not letting one bad egg cause the whole platoon to go down. When he found an unsatisfactory employee, he would come up to me my office and he’d say, “James,” and I’d say, “Yeah?” “There’s a donkey on the bridge.” And he would point and I would have to go out and metaphorically remove the donkey. That was code for “Get rid of them.”
Dean: Oh, my goodness.
James: There was a lot of lessons in that.
James: But you know, I would have to channel my General Patton in that moment to do something that was difficult for the better good of the business.
Dean: Yeah. That’s a really interesting thing. Because when you think about it now, the many roles that we play, like, you know, you’re a new father; you’re also an old father.
James: I am. Yeah.
Dean: And you’re a new husband, newish. And you’re a business owner, and you’re a surfer.
James: And I’m a new surfer, but I’m also an experienced, older man.
Dean: Right. Exactly.
James: I was at a surfing cafe, and some kid crumpled up a paper bag off his meat pie, and just chucked it on the floor. And I looked at where he dropped it on the floor, and then I looked up at him. And I looked at the floor, and I looked at him and then he looks at me. And I’m like, you’re going to pick that up, right? He goes, Yes, dad. Oh, he had this whole attitude.
Dean: Oh, man.
James: And then he just walked out. He didn’t pick it up.
Dean: Yes, dad. Oh man.
James: It’s like, wow. You have all these roles in everyday life. You have to choose which one you want to be.
Dean: And it’s amazing when you get to choose and actually like, think through, who does this character need to be?
Dean: That’s interesting… I like that idea a lot. I like that idea a lot.
“You’ve got to wear many hats.”
James: Even John Carlton said today, you know, You’ve got to wear many hats.
James: It’s another way of saying it.
Dean: Yeah. Even the copywriters talk about voices, having a different voice.
James: Yeah. So everyone’s doing multiple personalities.
James: Now it’s become okay to talk about.
Dean: Yes. That’s it.
Producing a human, price changes, and working less
So, what’s been your big developments over the last year since the last periodic podcast?
James: Well, produced a human.
Dean: Yes. So that’s a big, you know, produced a human.
James: That creates quite a lot of scenarios. But one thing that made me extremely conscious of, is I noticed the absence of sleep in the beginning. Like, it’s devastating in terms of the change in sleep.
James: I was doing brain-training apps. And as soon as the baby came on, I couldn’t reach my peak scores anymore. It makes such a difference. And then I was really fortunate – gosh, at least I’ve got a good routine and I control my schedule.
James: I’ve been disciplined with my three-day workweek. And I was very fortunate that I’ve leveraged things to be able to operate with the baby. Up until this trip, I have not missed a single day, even during the pregnancy. So that was a realization. But also, it made me even more want to leverage my time. So I went through some rate changes in my packaging. I simplified.
Dean: I mean, the rate changes you were describing to me, we’re talking about, like, a 10 times rate change. Like, a 10X.
James: Yeah, it’s, one program was a 10X change, and in the other program it was, would have worked out at three and a half times. So I just realized my time is actually more and more valuable. And I’m much more experienced, and I’m attracting better clients. I’ve got more data. I’m getting great results for everyone I work with, and no one says no to the pricing. So in tune with that, I actually increased the value of the offer. It’s not enough just to change the rate. I changed the design and look and feel of my…
James: Everything. I got all the sales copy tuned up, because I’ve got help from Brian. On the previous episode, I went through how that worked. But he was able to message me better than I was, and convey the value that now matched the rates. And I also added extra features to the existing members that made it really great value for them, especially for anyone who was on an older rate, they get the benefit of it. But new members coming in are still getting a great deal, which is evidenced by, this week alone while I’ve been away (I’ve been away for a week and a half so far), I’ve actually had a record week in sales.
James: Right. And as you’ve said even on your presentation today, a lot of the things you’re doing haven’t changed for the last seven, 10 years. My core thing, I haven’t really changed it for now three months, but it’s just snowballing and compounding.
Dean: Uh huh.
James: And then when it spikes, it’s like an extra thing now.
I have to pay a lot more tax, apparently, because my income is going up again, and I’ve got to up the rate that we pay ongoing to counteract…
Dean: Your quarterly.
James: Yeah, we do. Our quarterly is now significantly adjusted. Just in the last three months, just from that single cluster of changes.
James: So it’s not just one change; it’s a geometric change across the board. And it’s had a massive impact. But I’m still the same person.
James: I have the same, or slightly less, clients. But significantly more dollars per effective hour that I work.
James: And I’m trying to work a little less, and get paid a little more. I reckon there’s a book in that.
Dean: Yes. That’s a good one. If only there was a book. That’d be a great book title.
James: And you know one thing I’ve noticed? It’s not good to assume people know everything we’re talking about here. So we’ll direct listeners to Amazon or Audible to buy the book, Work Less Make More. Some people might be listening to this as the first episode that they’ve ever listened to.
Dean: That’s true.
James: And I think because we’ve been present for all of our episodes, we presume they know everything we’ve ever published.
James: And rarely, that’s the case.
James: I’m interested, what’s been big for you in the last time since we recorded?
Dean: So much, so much. Like this, you know, I’ve had a new awarenesses about time. Which is funny, that we’re kind of in parallel path on a lot of things. And we don’t talk a lot in between when we get together. Maybe we message every now and then, but really, it’s the big annual catch up.
James: Probably the 12-hour time difference.
Dean: Yeah, exactly.
James: Or 10-hour difference.
So who really coined “Who, not how”?
Dean: Yeah. We know that we’re in tune and that’s enduring and and it’s good to kind of document and share the things that we’ve learned. Well, one of the big things that’s happened is this ever-increasing focus on furthering the “who, not how” model of thinking that, you know, it’s so much better to ask who instead of how to do something, and find out who can bring the how with them. We’ve got a whole vocabulary around these things. Dan Sullivan from Strategic Coach, he’s really taken to this.
James: He published a book on it.
Dean: He published a book about it, called Who Not How.
James: So everyone would think he invented it.
Dean: Well, he credits me right on the…
James: Right. But the fact that he’s got a book…
James: And I use it on a slide of mine, and I credit you.
Dean: Okay, yeah.
James: And then I saw his book.
James: And it made me question enough to ask you.
James: Dean, who coined this term? Because Sullivan’s got a book on it.
James: And you said, No, no, he credits me in the book.
Dean: Yeah, yeah. And so the vocabulary, we keep coming up with new ways of doing this, the who-cabulary, we call it.
The idea that it’s become one of the foundational things of Strategic Coach, where the first objective is to who yourself up from tasks that you could replace yourself with a who, and you’re creating what we call a who-ed up hours. So the freed up hours you’ve got, who-ed up hours. And so the goal is to who up 1000 hours. Except for people who are coming with a standard 2000-hour work week, or whatever, work year.
When you’ve got 1,000 investable hours…
And so the funny thing was, I was already looking at the, because I’d been working on this for so long, and I only do the things that only I can do, and so I did the calculations that my contribution, my thing, what it takes to run my business, is 417 hours of my time to run my base business. And that includes the podcasts that I do; I do nine three-day Breakthrough Blueprint events (I count those as 10-hour days). So 270 of those hours are the doing the Breakthrough Blueprint event, doing my member calls for our Email Mastery. All these, this all comes down to about 417 hours, which is elegantly about 20 percent of a 2200-hour annual thing, right?
Dean: It’s serendipitous that it turned out like that. But so I’ve got the hours. Now the idea of thinking about, now I’ve got 1000 hours, if I think about it as an asset now, then putting a value on it, like you know, talking about looking at your effective hourly rate, the time that you’re actually spending – not your billable hour.
James: It’s what’s your revenue, less your costs is your profit divided by the number of hours.
Dean: Exactly. And so, when you look at that, then if I’ve got 1000 investable hours, that I have, that I’ve got the opportunity now to think like a capital allocator. Where’s the best place to invest this capital for the highest return?
James: And you can compare business vehicles, relationships, models.
Dean: Yes, exactly. And so I look at that, and I had a couple of realizations about it. This is where I thought, well, what do I really like? Like, what’s the thing? I actually like working with people one-on-one, as you do.
Dean: I think it’s the most efficient, and the best result-getting model. I don’t like trying to manage a group dynamic just to create and manage a group. And I realize, I’ve done enough of those that I realized that all the real results and the breakthroughs came from working with people one-on-one.
Dean: And I enjoy it and I’m good at it and got a framework to do it from. And so I decided that what I would do with this thousand hours is I would allocate 200 hours towards doing more of that, a private coaching group. And I decided, this was almost a year ago. Now it’s just about last Thanksgiving. And so I just said, Okay, I’m going to start a private coaching group and I’m going to do it as, like, a consulting card where people get an eight-hour card that they can use one hour at a time for over eight weeks or eight months or whatever they want to do.
James: Like a gym 10-visit pack.
Dean: Absolutely, yes.
James: Like my surfing instructor, he sold me 10 surf lessons.
Dean: Just like that. And so I thought okay, so if I do that, and I’m willing to allocate 200 hours towards that, one of the realizations that I had was that you can’t spend 1000 hours at one time. And it’s a pretty profound thought that, you know, the maximum, when you really look at it, you’re not gonna spend or invest more than 10 hours, absolute maximum, in a day, right?
And the thing is that as soon as I am done with today’s 10, I get another 10 added right on to the next day in the year.
Dean: So if I think about them as a rolling 200 hours…
James: You have a replenishing stock of billable hours.
Dean: That’s exactly it. So now I keep this at 200, and we keep in my daily dashboard, I have a formula that shows the number of committed hours that I have outstanding.
James: So it’s like a service debt.
Dean: That number has to be below 200. So if it’s down to 192, I can take on somebody new. If it goes lower, I can add on.
James: And the other thing is, you’re getting paid in advance.
James: And most people won’t ever use all of them.
Dean: Well, that’s true. I’m noticing that some people…
James: We used to sell five-hour, 10-hour website development packages. It would be very rare that someone actually uses all of them.
Dean: That’s interesting, right?
James: So you’ll have some redundant hours there. It’ll catch up on the average, or whatever it will be.
James: In fact, I still have only used six of my 10 surfing lessons. It’s been around two years.
Dean: So I’ve had some people who’ve been using them. But I look at the dashboard right now, I’m at 144. So I can top it up if I want. Yeah. And that’s a fun thing. Just thinking, the reality of how we experience and have time at our disposal, is the only time we can spend is today. Right? There’s only now. I can’t spend tomorrow’s time today.
James: You know, the fun thing that comes with time is that you can buy other people’s time.
Dean: That’s exactly right.
James: And they will sell it to you. It’s called a job.
Dean: Yes. And that’s also funny because of the behavior rental agreement.
Dean: That’s what a job is, a behavior rental agreement.
James: You know, I’ve been approaching this at a really similar point. One of the very first activities I do when I’m coaching someone is the task transfer – list all the tasks and let’s transfer them to someone else.
James: That was a less elegant way of saying, who, not how?
James: Your way is much more elegant.
And I’ve also worked out what my time commitment is. So I’m prepared to commit 20 to 25 hours a week for my business.
Dean: Which would put you at about 1000 to 1200 hours a year.
James: It does. It’s about 1000 to 1200 a year. Yeah. Which is where you were half that, and now you’re topping up.
Dean: I want to get to that. I’m aspiring to that.
Thinking in terms of effective hourly rate
James: And, you know, the funny thing is, if you work out the numbers, if you were to work out, like, $100,000 a month profit, and 100 hours a month, you work out roughly $1,000 per effective hourly rate.
James: It really helps protect you from doing very low-value activities when you’re working with that framework. You normalize to that.
James: And you think, No, I wouldn’t do that job. It’s not going to end up turning into that sort of rate.
James: And so it’s an easy decision-making choice. No, that’s something I shouldn’t spend time on. Or, yes, that’s something I should spend time on.
Dean: Yeah. It’s a great thing when you do have that awareness of what that hourly rate is, and you realize how much you can actually like, when you think about, let’s use $1,000 an hour as the thing. If you think about, even with somebody at $50 an hour, you’re getting a 20X. If you can, in one hour, give a great brief, a great articulation of a what. The key to equipping a who is to be crystal clear at articulating the what, the outcome that you want. And if you can do that, you get that thousand hours or that thousand dollars invested with that time. It gives you a multiplier, also, of that $50-an-hour person times 20 hours.
James: Plus, the other thing is, when you are on, like, in your case, when someone’s buying your time, you’re switching out of Dean into their world. Like, you’ve switched off your life temporarily. And you’ve become completely beholden to them.
James: But you’re very motivated at those rates, compared to if it was 10 bucks.
Dean: Right. Yeah.
James: You know, your waitress at the cafe diner, motivated at 10 bucks an hour. You care, but not that much.
Dean: Right. Exactly.
Dean: I agree. And that’s why the thing is, that’s why I say, like, the thing of taking that at whatever the value is, like on the cards, it works out to be, you know, roughly almost $2,000 or $1800-something an hour for those…
James: If they get used. It’s going to average up.
James: Plus, I really liked that it’s self-paced, because it’s on them, and not you. Whereas if you have a set time, and the time is exceeded, you start getting people saying, oh, I didn’t get a chance; can I redo it again, so that, you know, the timer is on, and there’s more pressure.
James: So you’ve got a very interesting approach there.
Dean: And the whole thing is then, that sets the baseline. Now, I look at that, that I’m willing to do those 200 hours for that, and I look at that as the minimum that I want to get for those things, so that now, on the other end of this, I can take 200 purely investable hours of speculation or, you know, result or profit sharing or those kind of hours investing in something, being paid for the results. And setting up longer term.
Byproducts and their benefits
James: I’m curious, do you have a byproduct from this as well?
Dean: Do I have a byproduct?
Dean: Not specifically. For Email Mastery and things like that, I do. But for these one-to-one calls, I record them, but for their benefit only. I’m not, like, recording them and then packaging it into a product. Listen, now, I tell James.
James: I think that defeats a lot of the purpose of having privacy.
James: In my case, I always take written notes. And I strain the written notes after the call. If there’s anything that I haven’t already got in my life sheet, I put it into its category tab and I’ll add to my database.
James: And that is where I pull from.
Dean: What would be an example of that? Now that I think about it, I’ve said some things in those conversations that I’ve had really great articulations of some things.
James: Yeah. You probably wrote them down?
Dean: Yeah, well, they’re all recorded and transcribed.
James: Then you would pull the new bits of information out; you put them into a, there’s a German note-taking system that I read about from Ed Dale, he actually sent me. It’s like a tabbed index system that you, imagine it’s by topics. Let’s say one of the topics is email mastery is the topic, and then within that, there’s like, how to do a super signature; there’s how to do conversational email replies; there’s the nine-word email.
James: Then let’s say you come up with a new thing altogether. It’s like a coupon with deadline technique, right? Like the coupon deadline email response. Then you would go into the nearest category, and then you’d create an extra tab for that. And then you put it in there. So after the call, you say, oh, I came up with this great idea in this call. I’ve just invented it. I’m going to put it in my tab database system.
James: And now that’s your body of work. And over your life, you can build up a brain of all your best ideas in one source.
Dean: I like that.
James: Now someone says, Oh, Dean, can you come to my event and talk about conversational email? You go into your tab database (I use mine on a Google Doc), and you just pull out your notes, which are just in the cleanest, most simple, concise, form. And you could build out a slide deck.
James: You could talk about them as a podcast; you could make a book from it. I do a new training every month in SuperFastBusiness membership, and most often, they’re coming from my notes that I’ve collected as a byproduct of doing my coaching calls.
Dean: So, Joan Rivers had a file folder full of, actually like, a wall of file folders full of every joke, like, all type-written out so she could go on to speak to the farmers association and pick up some…
James: I remember, I used to have a speaker’s handbook, and it had it all the topics, and each topic it had some quotes on that topic, it had some bullet points about it. But this is my life sheet that is a body of work. Everything from a webinar structure to a sales letter checklist to how to sell a membership, how to do retention – it’s all there in bullet points, accessible on my phone.
James: And it’s built up over doing calls.
Dean: Those are all archived?
James: Yes. There’s a tab along the bottom, by number. And then there’s an index at the front.
Dean: I mean, these are archived in SuperFast?
James: In SilverCircle, there’s frameworks and checklists where I’ll sometimes put them. There are some checklists and SOPs in SuperFastBusiness, but they usually materialize as a monthly training.
James: So if I have a monthly training on how to sell on the telephone, it will have come from my bullet point notes in there, after five clients will say, James, I’ve got to sell this over the phone. Okay, well, here’s what you’ve got to do. And I’ll pull up my life sheet, I pull up the sales, telephone sales, and I see my notes to myself from the last 17 times I’ve answered this question. I say, Okay, Dean, this is what you do. So now, I’m leveraging my own training database to make my coaching much less effort. Plus, if I come up with one new thing with you today, I’m going to add that for next time. And now I’ve got a whole book there on that topic.
James: I actually did a training called, How To Use The Life Sheet, on this topic.
Dean: And have you uploaded that into any AI or machine learning?
James: I’ve tested it in some, but I’m waiting till Watson or whatever gets more powerful, but my premise is that my last decade’s worth of coaching notes will have massive value when the AI can take it to the next level when it can be me or better.
Dean: That’s what we’re doing, and categorizing everything under each of the eight profit activators.
James: Yes. So you’re probably doing that in a formatted way, but I also believe that it will be valuable. So I have notes on every single individual coaching call I’ve ever done, and it’s now electronic format, so it’s going to be more powerful.
Dean: I like that.
James: So it’s a byproduct.
James: Just like Vegemite comes from beer brewing; it’s the yeast extract. Or, you know, the cabinets in your kitchen are probably from compressed chipboard that came from offcuts, you know, when they’re making furniture and stuff, timber. Like, it’s compressed into particle board. So there’s lots and lots of byproducts stories that are interesting.
Dean: That’s so, yeah, that’s awesome.
James: Even in Formula 1, when they’re braking, they store the electronic.
Dean: Tesla does that.
James: Yeah, back into the engine.
Dean: I can show you that. So, Tesla has regenerative braking. So as I take my foot off the gas as it’s slowing down, it’s regenerating back power.
James: It can’t currently make you a cappuccino but it can drive you to the coffee shop by itself.
Dean: That’s the truth. That’s another big development, and it’s something that there’s a lesson in this. Since last, and you’ve been experiencing it for the last couple of days, because I got a Tesla X, and far away, it’s the most unique car that I’ve ever had. I’ve had a long string of BMWs, and this is…
James: If you ever got a Fiat Jolly, that would be quite unique.
Dean: Exactly. But this car, there’s something profound, James, about waking up every morning with 330 miles of potential to go. With a full battery, with a full charge, right?
James: It keeps topping itself.
Dean: I’m never going to drive a charger at my house. I’m never going to drive 300 miles in a day. But the thing, to know that I have that potential, there’s so much, like, I keep thinking about the days, like really the more, there’s no way around it, but I as I reflect on time and life and look back, the reality, as I’ve said, is that you can only spend today’s time, right?
Now, there are some unique ways of going around it. Like, I’ve been experimenting with the idea of, because I like to think about an abundance of time. We’re looking for managing the three dials of abundant time, and daily joy, and financial peace. Those are the three kind of lifestyle elements that you look to manage. And so I’ve always been attracted to freedom as the highest one, time freedom. And that brings me joy to have that.
Working in time blocks
But in abundance of time, what I think about, a 16-hour day is essentially 100 10-minute blocks. Have you heard that before?
Dean: So it’s an interesting thing when you start to think about, as a currency, a 10-minute unit is very useful. I mean, it’s not an insignificant amount of time.
James: I actually once registered a domain called snap worker.
James: Because I became aware that I was doing very quick, small tasks, and I was much more proficient and prolific with them, than any big, meaty, burdensome, annoying, frustrating big tasks. I get in and get out.
James: Hit and run.
James: I would do my social media in under 10 minutes.
James: I would write a quick email in under 10.
Dean: That’s what I’m saying. It’s that kind of thing.
James: Most of the things I do are very short.
Dean: Yeah. If you start thinking about now, your day, as this moving, like, Guitar Hero runway that you’re constantly moving, everything’s coming at you, or like a Tetris game, that these 10-minute blocks are coming at you, and your goal is to, like…
“As you free up time, time slows down.”
James: Interesting with that Tetris thing. Have you found, as you freed up time, time slows down?
Dean: Yes, absolutely.
James: It’s just coming so slow.
“Other people are walking around like a full Tetris screen.”
James: And other people are walking around like a full Tetris screen.
James: They’ve got nothing. I’m so busy. I’m overloaded. I’m overwhelmed. And we just got a little block cruising down the screen. Very slowly.
James: We’re in the same space and the same time, but the perception of it’s completely different.
Setting things up for future you
Dean: I have found the useful thing of my, you know, I know I’m being successful when list has always led off with, I know I’m being successful when I can wake up every day and say, What would I like to do today? That’s, to me, the ultimate freedom. And what I realized in that, like trying to harmonize that, or live like, I found that I was protecting my time for that, avoiding putting anything on my calendar. Like, you know, Warren Buffett likes to have nothing on his calendar, right? And so I’ve been experimenting with this idea of additionally asking, I know I’m being successful when I can spend a portion of time each day, saying, what would I like to do tomorrow? And that’s a really, that is a relaxing thing, where it’s like this thing where you’re running along with, you’ve got a passenger of, you know, there’s present Dean, and then there’s future Dean, and aspirational Dean. Like, you’ve got these multiple parts of you. And what I realized is that now Dean wants to do only what is needed right now. He’s interested in conserving energy and doing, which is, again, one of the most under-talked-about drives, that we’re genetically wired to conserve energy. We’re wired to eat and avoid pain and to seek pleasure and conserve energy.
James: I think to seek pleasure as the absence of pain.
Dean: Right, exactly. And so present Dean only wants to do, that’s why present Dean wants to wait till the last minute for everything, and I’m talking everybody’s got a present Dean. You’ve got a present James in there. That’s the person that wants to wait till the last minute for everything, right?
And then I finally figured out why books work so well as a lead generation thing compared to a webinar, in that a webinar is a commitment that present Dean has to make. Somebody’s saying, you sign up for… oh, I don’t have really time for that. But it’s like, a book, you can take action now. And it’s almost like present Dean is like, buying this book for future Dean, when future Dean’s going to have some time to read. Oh, future Dean will like this. And you got hoping that future Dean’s going to have time to figure that out.
James: It’s true. I won’t fill in a webinar registration, especially if it’s on demand.
James: I’m not going to sit there and watch a webinar.
Dean: That’s exactly right.
James: Most people don’t ever open the book or read it. I’m sure 50 percent of Kindles.
Dean: But that doesn’t stop them from asking for it. And that’s why I’ve done the the 90-minute book.
James: Because you get to get an email.
Dean: Yes, that, and it’s done its job!
James: Yes, that’s the whole point.
Dean: The title. Yes.
James: We’ve talked about this before, where…
Dean: You should do a book, a supplement to yours, is, Write Less Make More.
James: Well, I truly agree.
James: It’s a smaller book. You’re making this point recently that very small books can have a huge impact. You had a couple of great examples.
Dean: I did. I shot a video. And I used the examples of Common Sense by Thomas Paine, which is the book that was the foundation in the 1700s for the founding fathers of the United States to base the constitution on. And on the opposite end of that spectrum, the Communist Manifesto. Now, Common Sense by Thomas Paine is 82 pages. The Communist Manifesto is just under 30 pages.
Dean: But you couldn’t find two bigger ideas that have been ignited.
James: So if someone wants 500 pages, like what could they possibly have that’s a bigger idea than that.
Dean: That’s what I say to that. That’s the thing. It’s like, Yeah, really? Like, you’re going to have a bigger idea than that?
James: It’s so not about the number of pages.
Dean: No. It is about the title.
James: We talked before about setting yourself, your future self, up for a better time. Like if you’ve ever got to the day that you have to travel somewhere and you’re like, groaning, Oh my god, why did I agree to this? It’s like, you’ve stitched yourself up.
James: So that’s why I created decision-making filters for myself.
Dean: Yes. Tell me about that.
James: Well, it’s just a little checklist to ensure that you’re not going to make your future self have a difficult time. I actually future pace, and I think, Okay, so it’s now the day I have to fly to Florida, and I’ve printed out my ticket and I’ve got my passport. Am I feeling good about getting into the Uber? Or am I feeling remorse for making this choice? And then I weigh up – what are the positives for going? What are the negatives? What else could I be doing with the same time? What could lead from the relationships or the contacts made, etc? And then, what commitments do I owe? All of these things. And if the decision’s Yeah, I’m still happy for it, then I’ll roll with it.
And I’ve gotten to this trip and rolled through it. This is my one trip to the USA this year; it’s the first time away from the baby. All the contacts here that I’ve been able to reconnect with and reestablish with have been phenomenal. The opportunities I can put forward for my business partners have been tremendous. And I’m very excited to be speaking tomorrow. I think this room is perfect for me, all the people in it and the messaging that’s been put forward so far. And also, I’ve had a good sleep plan and food plan. So I’m actually managing this trip particularly well.
Dean: You set some kind of land speed record at my house, 14 hours.
James: So I had to stay up a little off to earn that.
James: And you can make a big difference, like you could ruin your trip if you’re counter cyclical with your sleep, not optimize it. But I managed to make it work, through a bit of planning and experience and knowing what works for me.
Dean: I love it.
So this whole idea of thinking ahead and knowing that even that little thing, like it to spend one 10-minute unit, one 10-minute block out of 100 that you have today, one 10-minute block on just asking that question, What what can I do to set future Dean up? What can I do in the next 10 minutes for future Dean that he’s really going to appreciate?
Dean: You know, like it’s really interesting.
James: You know, like I’ll be sitting in my house, and I’ll be thinking, I’m so happy past James got this place.
James: It was an effort. You go to buy and go through a transaction and deal with people and contracts and pay money. And thank you very much. I appreciate you. And I look across to my surfboard rack, and I’m so glad past James started this sport six years ago. What a legend.
But then I think, I’m going to go out now, I’m going to practice so that future James can have the best time in the Maldives. He’ll be able to take off on the better waves, he’ll know exactly what equipment to ride. I’m going to put into today’s discipline retraining session. Even if it’s a bit rainy, if the swell’s not perfect, I’m just going to set myself up in the future.
Dean: That’s perfect.
The things you can’t outsource
James: I think that’s why we do a lot of health things. You know, what we put in our mouth today might dictate if we’re in a hospital bed in 20 years from now, you know? When I look back, I wish I’d done a little bit better.
Dean: That’s absolutely one of the things that actually has, you know, permanent ramifications.
James: Big time.
Dean: Money, if you wasted time and didn’t optimize your money-making, that’s not going to kill you.
“There’s no leverage in the health stuff, in terms of you can’t get rapid results.”
Dean: If you didn’t optimize your time learning or reading, it’s like, that’s not going to kill you. But over time, the daily decision of not surfing or anything, makes it now difficult… that’s what I realized too, that there’s no leverage in the health stuff, in terms of you can’t get rapid results. Like, you can’t where there are multipliers kind of thing. You know? There are, but not in the same way. It’s still the physical law.
James: It’s currently hard to outsource yourself.
Dean: Well yeah, you can’t outsource the push ups.
James: Yeah. You can’t just buy, you can’t cheat ahead with that.
James: You can get surgery to remove chub or whatever, but if your eating patterns and fitness aren’t there, you’re still going to have underlying issues.
James: It’s kind of what I like about surfing in a way. You got to be present for that. It’s like, it develops your stoicness.
James: It’s like, you know, you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to paddle out. You get yourself out there and it’s big, you’ve got to get yourself back in. And there’s no palming this one off. There’s no deferring it or making someone else a scapegoat. Like, you’ve got to own it.
Lessons from history
Dean: It’s really interesting of stoic, is that I’ve been reading Seneca and it’s crazy to me, when you read these, to think that these are the conversations they’re having in 35 BC, that they’re still having the same. Like, I remember I was reading Letters from a Stoic, and this is Seneca sending letters to his protege. And he’s talking about this idea of picking one, the thing of picking one text, one book, one master and going deep in this as opposed to like, just constantly getting new things when you haven’t digested… In 35 BC, they’re talking about this as a problem.
Dean: And here we are. It’s even more of a bigger problem now. I mean, that’s crazy. But that’s, you know, so much.
James: That’s why my mentor at the time was making me watch old movies and learn from the past.
James: In fact, that’s one of the Patton things. He studied every battlefield where he was at war. What happened 800 years ago? What happened 300 years ago? What happened last year? And he could actually communicate with the previous battlers and he thought he could talk to them.
Dean: Is that right?
James: Yeah. Well, he was almost mystical.
Dean: I’m going to have to look into him.
James: The thing that was the classic was, you know, when he was having a tank battle with Rommel, and he beat him. And he said, Rommel, you fabulous bastard. And he’s holding Rommel’s tank warfare strategy guide.
Dean: What movie is this? Where do I watch this?
James: It’s called Patton.
Dean: Patton. Okay. With Gregory Peck.
James: Exactly. It was an Academy Award winner.
Dean: Okay. Yeah.
James: It was 1970.
Dean: Yeah, right right right.
James: And I’ve watched it many, many times. He also made me watch Mister Smith Goes to Washington, about filibuster.
James: And he made me read Atlas Shrugged.
James: All these very interesting things. Also about automotive history. I realized most of it came from French. And the great tulip craze. You know, that prevented me from getting caught up in all the Dutch crypto currency bullshit.
Dean: Crypto currency, right.
James: They’re all, like, crazy in our industry. And I said, this is the tulip craze. They thought I’m an idiot. And they all lost their money. It’s kind of funny. It’s like, because I already knew history.
“If you don’t read history, you’re destined to repeat it over and over again, but not benefit.”
James: And if you don’t read history, you’re destined to repeat it over and over again, but not benefit.
Dean: It’s funny you say this. Like, I was not into Western civ in college, but now it’s like the thing that I’m most fascinated by, wish I paid more attention.
James: I didn’t do history at school, but I’m fascinated by it now. And I have a new appreciation.
Dean: Well, you realize the value of it.
James: Yeah. Like I was telling John Carlton about reading my great grandfather’s diaries, and he said, How wonderful, to be able to do that. But he essentially did what I do 100 years ago. In 1916, he was journaling, which is like blogging, and traveling around the world buying and selling, doing geo arbitrage. That’s exactly what I do.
Dean: Isn’t that’ amazing?
James: Yeah. But he did it on boats, and it took him a long time to get places.
Anticipating a new decade
Dean: And you look at now, like, I think going into the 20s, we were talking about that. I’m very excited about that. The first proper decade of the millennium. We’re going into the 20s as with a fully stacked capability kit, that you know, execution now has been fully commoditized. And I mean, I’m saying commoditized in the good sense of the word, in the beneficial sense that you can buy commodity, you can buy stuff.
And I look at that point to Kylie Jenner. That’s since we last talked, is Kylie Jenner is a billionaire now. And she has a team of seven people. That’s it. Her core team is seven people. And she, it’s who not how, because she partners with a white label to make the product, partners with a distribution company to package and fulfill, she partners with her mom’s company to do the administration. She partners with Shopify, for all of the ecommerce. And she and her core team just focus on the what. What are we going to make? What colors do we want to use? What are we going to call it? What do we want it to look like? What’s our approach going to be? What’s our strategy?
What is the entrepreneurial opportunity question. And then the who is, who can do all of this stuff? And the good news is that there’s not a single who, that anything that you can think of that’s already been done is possible. There are people who you can tap into, through your pipeline to Cloudlandia to get those executions fulfilled, without you having to think about it. I think that, that is going to be a really growth career opportunity. There’ll be jobs in integrating ideas with Cloudlandia to be the new project manager of being able to take something and integrate it with a distributed on-demand workforce.
Have you read Exponential Organizations by Salim Ismail?
James: I own it, but I haven’t read it.
Dean: It’s so good. I mean, that’s what he talks about, is all the new capabilities, the new exponential organizations out there. Because Kylie’s done that over three years, gone from zero to 350 billion or $50 million in sales.
We got to wrap up soon to get off to our official evening commitments.
Dean: I always loved these catching ups. It almost feels like no time has passed
James: No. We synchronize, like, just back to usual. Bridged over many years.
Dean: Yeah, exactly.
James: And it’s truly a great symbiotic relationship. But in my world, your stuff’s just omnipresent. Everyone in my entire community’s doing nine-word emails.
Dean: I love to hear that.
James: Super signatures.
James: I’m perpetuating who not how as well in my own slide presentations.
James: Yeah. So your ideas are strong. And we were talking before, it’s like, if you take a long term view in this market, it’s probably wise. Because I was supposed to seek you out and track you down 10 years ago. And I was given your name by Brad Fallon, as the guy. The guy behind the people that I should talk to. I’d never heard of you before. And he said, If I could arrange a catch-up with him, would you fly to Florida to meet him? And I said, I will. Here we are, 10 years later.
Dean: We’re in Florida.
James: In Florida, catching up. And finally tick that box of an in-Florida meetup. We filled a lot of ground in the meantime.
Dean: This is great. It’s nice because we’re going to get another meetup in just a couple of weeks.
James: I think we should do another episode.
Dean: Yes, While we’re in Manly.
James: Take advantage of the opportunity. That’s now James committing future James and future Dean for another episode.
James: I think they’ll get there and think, that was a good idea.
Dean: They’re going to be thankful that we did that.
James: Yeah, they will be, because we’re taking advantage of the ability to increase the frequency.
Dean: I love it. I love it. Always a pleasure, Dean. Oh, by the way, where can people go and find all these things that you’re talking about?
Dean: So, you know, the best place is to go to DeanJackson.com and then just get in my world. You can get a copy of the Breakthrough DNA book pamphlet. Yeah, DeanJackson.com, and you’re getting in the world.
James: Love it.
James: Thanks, Dean.
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