“Music is essentially 12 notes between any octave – 12 notes and the octave repeats. It’s the same story told over and over, forever. All any artist can offer this world is how they see those 12 notes. That’s it.”
-Bobby Maine (played by Sam Elliott) in “A Star is Born” (2018)
Not everyone can be Thomas Edison.
But I don’t believe you have to constantly invent new products to make a huge impact.
Maybe that’s my way of justifying my existence despite never inventing anything new.
However, when I think that I must be a loser because I haven’t invented anything new, I also know there are many other ways to be innovative.
I realize that it’s entirely possible that the story and experience I can put on a concept, a rule of thumb or an eternal truth just might be the key for someone else to understand something important that they didn’t understand previously.
How you see it so others can see it clearly…that is a form of innovation too.
While inventing different ways for more people to understand important things might not be as directly utilitarian as inventing the light bulb, it’s a contribution we all can make to the world–and it’s our responsibility to do it as often as we can.
Sharing our 12 notes over and over again with new stories and experiences is never repetitive to those hearing those notes for the first time.
I was fortunate to be a guest speaker at a mastermind last week hosted by marketing icon Perry Marshall.
Perry has actually invented a lot of new things over the years and he encouraged all of us to, “Invent something the world can’t live without.”
My corollary would be: “Invent a framework so others can understand something that they previously did not understand…and once they understand it, they can’t live without it.”
When I look at the manuscript of my new book and see a chapter on “RFM” (“Recency/Frequency/Monetary”) and another on “LTV” (“Lifetime Value”), I am well aware that I didn’t invent those concepts; but I am also well aware that there are thousands of marketers and entrepreneurs who need to know those concepts, and excuse the hyperbole, it is information they can’t live without in relation to their businesses.
I can’t tell you how many events I have attended over the years—with marketers and/or copywriters and/or all sorts of entrepreneurs who were there to expand their knowledge and yet they were missing some basics of human behavior that are required for the kind of growth they all desire.
So many marketing “rules of thumb” are actually truths about how many people respond and buy and they haven’t changed for centuries–yet many are not taught in a book and they are certainly not taught in school.
I know about some of this stuff…intimately. Didn’t invent it–just lived it.
Either I can be the messenger for more people to understand those concepts or someone else can be…and we never know if it is our story or someone else’s which will create the epiphany (and usability).
And be OK not being the messenger for everyone–but never be complacent about sharing early and often–since I guarantee you will be the messenger for someone.
A copywriter friend of mine who heard me speak about “12 notes” and the quote that opened this post told me he wished he had heard the quote earlier in his career so he didn’t have to go through the pain of figuring this out for himself.
He was recently asked to be a featured speaker on the topic of “writing faster and writing better.” As he prepared for the talk, he said he kept thinking, “I don’t have any new inventions or revolutionary ideas to share. I’ve learned it all from Gary Halbert, Gary Bencivenga, and so many others.
He told me that thinking about sharing under the “12 notes concept” will give him so much more confidence in the future that what he talks about is relevant despite not being “authored” by him—and his stamp will still be all over it.
He will be the musician playing 12 notes on any given day.
He added, “From now on, I’ll keep your insights close to my heart to stop me from doubting myself.”
Funny…he said “your insights” like I invented them. Clearly, I did not. I was an effective messenger of those insights though.
I hadn’t thought about all of this in the context of self-confidence—but once again, we can’t all be Edison but we can all be heroes with our stories.
It’s how we tell our story inside those 12 notes that makes all the difference.
I know this is a lot shorter than usual—I am preparing this week for my Tians Master Class—and the plan is to play some new variations of my 12 notes next week.
My new song will be based on what I learn from the likes of Jay Abraham, Perry Marshall, Ben Settle, Ryan Lee, Barbara Hemphill, Chad Collins, Justin Wykowski, Ben Simkin…and all of the Titans Master Class members.
There are certainly some inventors in that group…and all can play 12 notes on multiple instruments…and I promise to be a good messenger based on everything I hear.
P.S. While I know you can’t be at the meeting this week, you can join us in Cleveland next April with Dan Kennedy and other marketing superstars at the next Titans Master Class meeting.
However, admission to Titans Master Class requires an application and a one-on-one interview.
If you are interested, the short application form is at: