September 25, 2020

The B.Y.O.B. session

If we held Titans Mastermind while I was in college (I don’t know how that would have ever happened!), I guess I would make it a “B.Y.O.B.” event (“Bring Your Own Beer”)…but we are far more civilized now that we have graduated, for the most part, into adulthood.

First of all, when we hold the events live today it is an open bar (civilized and generous)…I just didn’t have any cash in college for other people’s alcohol—I barely had enough for mine.

And drinking beer before 10:00 a.m. seems a bit decadent today as well…call me old fashioned.

So at our recent virtual Titans Mastermind meeting it was still B.Y.O.B.; but it was “Bring Your Own Breakfast.”

On the one hand, having a group breakfast over Zoom was a bit challenging…it’s hard to send an edible PDF of bacon and eggs or make pancakes with a 3-D printer (because I assume the maple syrup clogs up the machinery).

On the other hand, it was absolutely one of the best parts of the 2-day event.

The $100 UberEats cards we sent to everyone in advance helped a bit and lessened some of the hunger pains among the Titans (hey, Titans have to eat too).

And the Turkey Jerky we sent might have done the job if they couldn’t get a timely delivery from Uber.

Whatever the reason, they came fully fueled up out of the gate, on to their screens, raging…full of ideas and ready to share.

We covered many topics in this free-for-all session among the Titans…and here are two topics that stuck with me (and everyone who was there):

1. B.Y.O.M. (“Bring Your Own Media”)

The premise: While marketing to new lists and audiences is good, owning all the names you need for marketing is better.  

That may sound like a “who can do that?”

But think about it as a goal and it takes on new meaning.

When you are Titans member Agora, the $1 billion newsletter company that is not in a bubble but rather they ARE the bubble in the financial niche, owning all the names you need is closer to fact than fiction.

If you are unfamiliar with this juggernaut of a company, read “Don’t just make money…deserve it” for some additional color about them.

One division of Agora sends out over 365 million emails a month…and I share that number with you not to brag about them.

I share it with you so we can look at this strategically.

They slice and dice the names on their email database based on the many different offers they have…no “one-size-fits-all email” for them.

And while their strategy is to pummel their list daily, when you have all the names you may ever need, and you regularly weed out those who are not your customers (or ever will be) while you are romancing those who are (and will be in the future), it’s a good gig.

Agora is somewhat of an anomaly here…but there are lessons for all of us.

It reminded me of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers where he maintains that it takes 10,000 hours to master anything.  

Whether it’s 10,000 or 5,000 (or even a little less), we know it’s not 100 or 1,000.

Mastery takes time. Ask Agora. Like more than 40 years. And they are still learning every day.

Sending 365 million emails a week is mastery as long as you build on the successes and stop doing things that are failures, which they do.

And eventually, you become the media rather than buying the media (in this case, email names).

There are examples of this at different levels all over the industry.

My favorite is Robin Robins’ company Technology Marketing Toolkit, who due to their well-defined niche (independent IT professionals) they know “the list” to go after…and it’s a finite universe.

And once they have that list (i.e. the compiled list of this market is easy to own), it becomes a matter of transitioning this compiled list into a response list (rather than keep mailing to different compiled lists).  

Robin has become the media in her category…she just needs to massage everyone in this well-defined list universe to come to her for advice and counsel.

She works them and works them hard…with love, integrity and the best offers…better than anyone I know.

Lots more discussion followed…specifically “marketing to cold traffic” (which is sexy but hard) vs. marketing to warm or even “hot” traffic (another way of saying “your best customers”) which is boring and easy.

No one in the discussion even hinted that we shouldn’t go after new customers despite wanting to be the media.

Practicing ascension marketing or descension marketing (low price to high price or vice versa), with the people you already own (“your online and offline families”) will have the best margins and ultimately create the most impact for the people you love most.

2. B.Y.O.P. (“Bring Your Own Pivot”)

As I’ve said before, “pivot” is the new buzzword for 2020.

On the surface, COVID-19 seems like the obvious ignitor to so many pivots over the past year—you’ll get no argument from me on that—but there is another element at work here too.

Just the act of thinking deeper and harder–and we had lots more time to do that over the past 6 months being shut out from society on various levels—creates pivots never previously imagined.

The added focus the entrepreneurial leader puts on his or her business during a time of crises is actually just another version of what entrepreneurs do every day.

In the case of COVID-19 there was a “pandemic twist,” adding a little more gas to the fire.

But it is still based on the same principle, pandemic or no pandemic.

From Marty Edelston who stole this but I don’t know from where and it fits here: Good, better, best…never let it rest…until the good is better…and the better best.

Many of the companies and entrepreneurs in Titans Mastermind didn’t lead meetings very differently when faced with a worldwide crisis.

Rather than saying, “What are we going to do NOW,” most found their “pivot” inside what they were already doing all the time (“What are we going to do NEXT”)…because they are on a lifelong pivot.  

It’s a subtle distinction—now vs. next—but in this context, say COVID-19, “now” implies there is a problem in the present; “next” is all about a bigger future.

It’s “Bring Your Own Pivot…regularly.”

It’s why Dan Sullivan, the top coach for entrepreneurs in the world says (and I am paraphrasing), “Entrepreneurs are always the first to adapt to changes and they are therefore the first to emerge fully intact (and often better) after a crisis.”

Imagining being the media and actually being in a lifelong pivot are two ways we stay ahead of the curve.

I encourage you to love your students, clients, customers, prospects, suspects…and strive to “be the media” (do I really need to tell you to do that?).

And “pivot away” all the time (which I probably don’t need to tell you to do either). 🙂



P.S.  I am still compiling highlights from the speakers who spoke at Titans Mastermind in September…I’ll get to those soon…but the insights from the Titans themselves (see above if you read the P.S. first) were just as engaging. I hope you agree.

I want to repeat my offer from last week…I make absolutely nothing on it…and I’m willing to spend something on you for helping a wonderful cause (see my “Ethical Bribe” below).

With this offer, both of us will receive the satisfaction of supplying clean water to someone in the world who has no access to clean water right now.

And your monthly donation—approximately $1.33 a day—supplies clean water for a year to someone who desperately needs it.

Seems worthwhile to me…and I hope it is to you.

One of the 6 speakers at Titans Mastermind was Scott Harrison, the founder of charity:water.

He began his presentation with his mission…which says it all:

“Bring clean water to everyone on the planet”

Whether it’s building wells or creating water sources in other ways, bringing clean water to everyone in the world doesn’t require a miracle cure or a vaccine.

It’s a solvable problem.

I believe charity:water is an “uber charity”—that is, without clean water we can’t do anything.

It is a starting point for all civilization to move forward.

Without clean water, in the countries charity:water serves, something as common as dysentery becomes a fatal disease. And there is no way for people to make progress with their lives without this essential element which most of us take for granted.

For more about Scott and the story behind this amazing company, check out the P.S. in my post from last week and the donation page I have set up to make it easy for you to contribute.

Here is last week’s post.

Here is the donation page.

One other thing I want you to know about charity:water and why it’s my favorite charity (in addition to their mission):

100% of all donations go to getting water to people who need it.

Scott handles the overhead for the organization through a different channel where wealthy friends to the organization give that money separately.

I love that.

Here’s my ethical bribe if you will join me in contributing to charity:water:

If you donate to “The Spring,” Scott’s “subscription based donation program,” and give a minimum of $40/month (which means that every month you will be personally responsible for bringing clean water to someone in the world for the first time for a full year), I will send you:

“Titans Digital,” a product I’ve sold in the past for $1,000–which encompasses all of the video (over 12 hours) from The Titans of Direct Response event (and much more).

Who spoke at “The Titans Event,” billed as the “event of the decade” by Dan Kennedy?

In order of appearance:

Dan Kennedy (of course!), Gary Bencivenga (the final presentation of his career before he retired), Eric Betuel, David Deutsch, Arthur Johnson, Parris Lampropoulos, Ken McCarthy, Perry Marshall, Jay Abraham, Joe Sugarman, Greg Renker, Fred Catona (the last public presentation before his untimely passing), Michael Fishman, Jim Kwik, Ryan Lee…plus an extended Q & A panel with many of those mentioned above…and yours truly.

Also included in this digital package is a collector’s item: “The Bencivenga Interviews.”

And “Titans and Tweets,” a compilation of the greatest hits during the conference as reported by Titan Ken McCarthy.

All you need to do is go to my donation page here:


You can watch the video from Scott on that page as well.

And after you donate, send an email to my wonderful assistant Carla, letting her know the email you would like your “Titans Digital” package sent to:


We will then send you a link to the entire digital product.

I expect you will stay on subscription to charity:water for a full year minimum (if not forever), and you will be on the honor system.

And the best part is that you can be part of our charity:water family in addition to our Titans family.

Don’t you want a bigger family? 🙂

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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