Catchy (and a bit clickbaity) title but a lot of great content and lessons. Or at least food for thought.

Below you’ll find a few highlights from Rand Fishkin’s presentation at INBOUND conference.

There’s a video of the whole presentation, as well as a SlideShare deck with the slides.

If you don’t have time for the video, you can go through the slides. If you don’t have enough time even for that, at least read this article.

#1 One Things > Many Things

  • Becoming well-known is a cheat code (for both individuals and brands)
  • And it’s far easier to be known for One Thing

Known People & Brands:

#1: Have an easier time attracting attention & press
#2: Earn links, rankings, & traffic organically with far less effort
#3: Have lower ad costs & higher clickthrough rates
#4: Every visit is more valuable b/c of higher conversion rates
#5: Benefit from a powerful network & low friction, high response outreach efforts

simple products marketing

#2 Story > Tactics

  • Stories build memories far better than features or benefits
  • Great stories make great startups
  • Emotions > Benefits > Features

companies stories

To Craft Your Story:

Start with the most emotionally resonant problem you solve
Center the story on individuals, not groups
Tell the story in a way that triggers your own emotions
Practice the story over and over, with different variations, learning which styles and bits resonate most

#3 Audience That Cares > Big Market

Relative Difficulty Level: Insane

  • Build for an audience that you don’t have any connection to (other than a belief that they have $$ and a problem)
  • Chase a market that’s big enough to have billion $+ outcomes by pursuing broad, mainstream appeal
  • Serve a hot, growing market that dozens or hundreds of other well- funded companies are also pursuing

Relative Difficulty Level: Low

  • Build for people who already know, like, and trust you Earn amplification from a group of passionate, raving fans
  • Serve a market that’s underserved because others don’t believe it’s “big enough”
  • Avoid competing against firms with millions in funding

audience easy hard reach

#4 MVPs ≠ Launchable Products

beta test mvps

While you should be testing MVPs like in a bottom row, do not make them public or present to the world at a stage when they’re only a fraction of what you want your final product to be.

#5 Long Hours < Fewer, Higher Quality Hours

  • Glorifying hours worked is just dumb
  • <8 hours of sleep seriously harms the quality of your decisions
  • Founders’ Most Important Job
    • #1: Make good decisions
    • #2: Everything else

#6 Hiring Right People < Not Hiring Wrong People

  • People often rapidly improve knowledge, output, & work quality
  • People rarely improve affinity for a new set of values, beliefs, & culture
  • Hire for culture. train for competence.

#7 Tiny Odds of Becoming a Unicorn < Decent Odds of Being a Zebra

  • The odds of being a “success” drop massively the day you raise VC
  • Bootstrap vs. VC is a false dichotomy
  • Entrepreneurs can build zebras, unicorns, or anything in between!

unicorns zebras

Conclusion

It’s hard to pinpoint which of the points is the most important. All of them are.

If you’re interested in Rand’s point of view, he goes into great length and analysis in his recently released book “Lost and Founder”. I’ve read it and it’s great. I highly recommend it. Not just for the lessons, but also for interesting stories.

Rand Fishkin’s presentation from INBOUND 2018 Might Make You a Better Entrepreneur


PS.
 You can build an 8-figure business and still be sent packing from your own company. Silicon Valley is brutal.