Want to know the ace up my sleeve in business?
I surround myself with people that are smarter than me. In fact, to get a job with our company, candidates are administered a series of aptitude tests from The Criteria Corp (awesome online testing). I only hire people that categorically score higher than I scored. Hence everyone that’s working for Direct Response is smarter I am.
Interesting concept, eh? Follow me:
It’s VERY important to know yourself and understand your limitations. Growing up, getting C’s came naturally to me. In order to get an A or B in school, I had to work my ass off. It was a scary prospect to know that most of my classmates could spend little time studying and get straight A’s. I would think to myself “I am doomed. There’s no way I’ll get into a good college and make it to the next level like they will. I need to figure out an angle…”
Indeed, I found lots of angles growing up. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was learning to utilize others strengths to compliment my weaknesses.
It all really came together when I met Joe during my freshman year of college. Joe was a bona fide geek. Paler than the white paint on my walls, and standing at 5′ 6″, this 140 lb. cracker was in for a pretty sad college career.
During the second semester of college I started hearing about this guy named “Joe.” Apparently Joe had the hookup and was selling brand new Sega Dreamcast games for $10 and movies that were still in the theatre for $5!! Sweet!!!
At the time I was about as tech savvy as a caveman. I naturally assumed that this guy got the games / movies off the back of a truck, and as a BROKE college kid, I didn’t think twice about wanting to buy as many as I could and then turnaround and flip them. Damn I was small minded.
So I asked around and eventually met the source. Joe invited me up to his dorm room to take a look at the merchandise. Little did I know that what I was about to see would change my life forever.
Joe had transformed his dorm room into a mini-server warehouse. He had rack after rack of computers against his walls. My first thought was that he was a CIA Agent or some type of terrorist that’s angry at the world. I’d never seen anything like this before.
Apparently Joe had setup a server dump for hackers on the MIRC channel. He was running a 3 terabyte storage operation from his college dorm. That type of storage back in 2000 was super expensive. People from all over the world were storing ripped copies of movies, games, music, and software on his server. Joe literally had every major piece of digital property there was on the market…
Joe opened my eyes to the power of the online world. I quickly befriended Joe and started absorbing his knowledge of the internet. He would spend hours teaching me every facet of the the online world he lived in.
It wasn’t long before I had Joe and 5 of his tech friends working “with” me on a project. I put together a venture and assigned each of Joe’s technically gifted friends a task. We had 3 developers working on a database and 2 html designers handling front end design. As a “C” student I simply didn’t have the capacity to do the “technical” tasks Joe’s team was working on. Instead I had to leverage my leadership and interpersonal skills to get them to do all of the work for me, without MAKING them feel like they were doing all the work for me.
And that’s just the thing. In academia, kids learn to work super hard and become awesome employees for someone else’s company. How many memories do you have of teachers preaching the importance of good grades and college…so you could land a decent job the day after you received a degree. For “A” and “B”, it all made perfect sense. They had the grades to make it, so why not go down the path of least resistance.
For the rest of us we really only had 2 choices: learn how to utilize the resources around us to make up for our academic deficiencies or go into a life of blue collar work. The thought of one day working for the “A” and “B” students was not only nauseating, it was humiliating. It just wan’t an option for me.
Almost all of the “A” and “B” students eventually went on to get trained by academics on how to become good workers. While they “received their eductation” guys like me waited for them to graduate so we could hire them as employees at our companies. Instead of getting lost in academia, I learned how to leverage the smart minds around me.
It’s simple Rich Dad/Poor Dad philosophy, which is sadly read by many but followed by few.
Don’t work for money, let your money work for you. In other terms, hire people to do all the work for you and take all of the credit!