A gorgeous morning. The sun was rising over Dingle Bay. We parked and headed for the castle. As you see here, it’s three stories tall. It still has a functioning stairway heading up to the second floor.
We clambered around inside the castle and walked the grounds. I snapped some pictures of Zander.
Being “castle-clueless modern Americans” we were initially puzzled as to what the deep depression in the landscape was, immediately around the structure.
Suddenly Zander said, “Dad, can’t you see? It’s a MOAT!”
DUH. I guess the only moats I’d ever seen were the ones in children’s story books. You know, the ones where the turrets have cute little triangle flags waving above. Literally walking right through an actual moat caught me off guard!
Here is a photo taken from inside the moat:
The photo above was taken standing inside the moat looking towards the castle. The picture below was taken within the moat looking forward as you walk around it:
This moat is 30 feet deep! Filled with water or not, when you’re looking across the land from the castle, it’s more than clear that it would D-E-L-A-Y any invader attempting to come across. Your foe would be an easy mark for spears, bows and arrows, and boiling water.
The photo below was shot from the nearby road. Please notice: The moat is NOT AT ALL obvious from the road, yet affords significant protection from anyone who wants to rob you, murder your family and steal your stuff:
Wikipedia reports: “Local tradition once claimed this piece of land was the last in Ireland held by the Vikings, as it was so easily defended.” The only reason this castle is still standing 1300 years later is: The builders dug a moat.
Your moat is more important than your castle.
Businesses with moats – stiff barriers to competition – are modern-day fortified castles. Since I taught Google Ads to more people than anyone, I’ve witnessed the joyous birth – followed by bitter sickness and death – of tens of thousands of TEMPORARILY profitable businesses.
This is why I am utterly disinterested in businesses that can’t or won’t last for a long time. If you want to build wealth, I recommend you adopt this same stance.
There are two kinds: “20th century moats” and “21st century moats.”
Companies with “20th century moats” (land, buildings, capital) grow more complex, more onerous, more unwieldy – and harder to defend – the bigger they get.
Companies with 21st century moats (Network Effect) get simpler, more focused, easier to explain and more competition proof – the bigger they get.
Network Effect is when Uber gets more riders which attracts more drivers which lowers the wait time – which then attracts more riders. 10 years in, they’re invincible.
Network Effect is when eBay has buyers, which attracts more sellers, who attract more buyers. eBay might seem stodgy now, but it’s more immune to attack than the presidential palace in North Korea. The world’s greatest moat is Network Effect. You could spend $100 billion, and you’d still never get eBay’s buyers and sellers to switch to a new auction site.
That’s the kind of moat you need. The problem is, nobody had worked out a formula for regular businesses to attain Network Effect before now.
It’s been 3 years since I coined the term “Network Effect for Mere Mortals” for the Rosetta Stone seminar. This one phrase transformed everything.
Network Effect for Mere Mortals is the invisible moat that grows more bulletproof the bigger your business grows – but unlike Uber and eBay, does NOT require millions or tens of millions of dollars of investment capital.
Network Effect for Mere Mortals only requires elbow grease. And it’s nearly invisible until it’s invincible.
Moats are mandatory. Invisible moats are even better!
We have hundreds of Network Effect businesses in our midst. Mere mortals who have made themselves immune from encroaching competitors.
3 years ago this month, I issued this warning:
Either YOU own the network
Or the network owns you
Unfortunately, as the ascent and strangleholds of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook shows all of us, “Network Effect” normally costs tens and hundreds of millions – even billions. Almost nobody gets a shot at being a Silicon Valley “Unicorn.” 99% of those who do, get stabbed to death. Dead on arrival.
In 2018, I conceived an alternative. I called it “Network Effect for Mere Mortals” – the Planet Perry version of what makes eBay, Uber and Airbnb competition-proof.
Back then, to be honest, it was more theory than reality.
However, Ed Harycki had sold LoanBuilder to PayPal for megabucks 3 months before. We had been scheming together for a couple of years. So I definitely was NOT making any of this up.
I called it Rosetta Stone. My master formula for competition-proofing small companies. It was more a patchwork of essential patterns and fragments than a polished, “proven” formula that others had repeated 100 times.
Yet I was confident. We held the now-legendary Rosetta Stone seminar on three gorgeous days in May in Chicago. People are still buzzing about that event. Astute Planet Perry members began executing the strategies I unveiled there.
Today: patterns and fragments no more. It’s the veritable engine room of Planet Perry. It’s how we grow businesses from $1 million to $10 million while making them simpler, more irresistible and bulletproof. Even $100K businesses (like David Nadler’s Facebook agency below) use it to make their companies more elegant, easier to run, and more appealing to clients.
It has already put 20-40 “in the know” Planet Perry members 5-10 years ahead of the pack. Real years. Not internet dog years.
Is it “coincidence” that those who embraced Rosetta Stone expanded AGGRESSIVELY during COVID-19 – even as most people were casting about helplessly like a tugboat in a typhoon?
Tom Donald is a Roundtable member from London. Musician. He founded London Contemporary School of Music.
You would think music lessons, traditionally face-to-face, would tank during COVID. For the vast majority of music teachers that was true.
But Tom pulled record sales in 2020, despite the fact that he had to completely pivot away from in-person instruction and onto Zoom.
Exactly a month before COVID slammed Europe with hurricane force, Tom arrived at Rosetta Stone London. As a result, Tom flipped deep disadvantages into advantages and re-oriented his entire team to virtual, far beyond what anyone would normally expect an online piano lesson company to do.
He and his team shattered previous assumptions about their business. Unlike all his competitors, cowering in their spare bedrooms and praying for government relief checks, Tom recognized that nearly every disadvantage could, by modestly applying technology, switch into a Network Effect for Mere Mortals Moat.
Now everything that used to work against Tom (like the fact that students could no longer go for in-person lessons) works TO TOM’S ADVANTAGE. Not only acquiring customers but building a big fat moat around his castle.
When COVID flipped Tom’s universe from 80/20 to 95/5, Tom seized command of the “Top 5% tier.” Post-pivot, he’s adding international clients far beyond London, further strengthening his moat.
This transformation is accelerating in industry after industry. The other day I had a consult with Chris in the construction business. He runs a narrow niche firm, sourcing custom product from various suppliers and drop shipping to customers. All his business is driven by his website.
Chris already applied Network Effect for Mere Mortals to make 35% profit margins in an industry where 8-12% is the norm; to become the undisputed #1 player.
Chris had already made THE SHIFT. His biz is now a well-oiled machine and he spends several hours a day networking and indulging his curiosity. His business is up during COVID (record sales, 8% over last year), but this is just the beginning.
He says, “During the 2008 crash, we had been forced to try a bunch of crazy stuff. Back then I discovered a specific way of shipping product that would make entire parts of the supply chain unnecessary. I’ve been keeping it in my back pocket.
“The other day I realized, if we could solve [he went on to describe his very specific chicken-and-egg problem, common to ALL Network Effect businesses] we could turn this entire industry upside down.”
I goaded him: “Chris, what would it take to prototype this thing, operate in ONE city or state, six weeks from now – even if you have to carve the product out of a bar of soap?” The answer was already inside him; all it took was someone to ask.
Chris’s next adventure is: Turning his tiny corner of the construction industry upside down and shaking it until all the spare change falls out of its pockets.
An entire calcified good-old-boys-club that is NOT serving customers, NOT innovating, NOT earning its bread is going to tumble like icicles crashing to the ground from a roof on a late winter day.
THE SHIFT, baby. Long live the revolution.
Why NOW is Prime Time for You to Make Your Move:
- Most businesses are waiting for the wrecking ball to come smashing in – yet pretending it can never ever happen (like Americans in February 2020 assuming “coronavirus” could never jump from Italy to the whole friggin’ United States… remember?)
- Most industries are ripe for disruption. When my son Caden graduated from high school, we rented a party awning for the backyard. The awning guy arrived at 7:30am with the wrong model. “So sorry, I’ll go back and get the right one. Be back in an hour.” My day was full of appointments I had to shuffle around. 2 ½ hours later he returns. This sort of incompetence is rampant, and every time someone solves it, they can also, if they choose, consolidate dozens of local businesses into well-run regional or national concerns. Will it be you? Or the other guy?
- COVID has merely accelerated what was already underway – world is more web centric, more network effect based. Have you kept up?
- In many industries, he who owns the leads and owns the web traffic owns the business. We call this Tactical Triangle Takeover. This means agencies who are real strategists (and not merely carpetbaggers) can grab their industry by the balls and own it. But it takes balls to do it, and not everyone has ‘em.
What Is Tactical Triangle Takeover?
Tactical Triangle Takeover is the way you control 80% of a business while only owning 20% of it. It’s the Planet Perry version of Uber’s “control everything, own nothing.” I explain Tactical Triangle in Chapter 6 of 80/20 Sales & Marketing. Everything in marketing is in the Tactical Triangle which makes it the Rosetta Stone of business.
Tactical Triangle Takeover says: once you control the majority Traffic OR Conversion Or Economics OR 80/20 levers of the business (most of which are tiny and often invisible), then even though you don’t own most of the chessboard, you still own the game.
This is how tiny ad agencies and lead generation firms, such as Solar Quotes in Australia, command entire industries and grow even more robust with scale.
An online ad agency in and of itself is frankly not a great business, but when properly positioned and harnessing Network Effect for Mere Mortals, becomes an incredible lever for retaining customers for years and greatly increasing the quality of service delivery.
John Fancher and I explain Tactical Triangle Takeover in this video:
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A couple years ago, Laura and I needed windows with better insultation. We called several guys for quotes, and they all came over to the house.
We picked an installer. Then when we turned another guy down, he literally begged us to give him the business. “Mr. and Mrs. Marshall, I really need this sale right now. I could cut the price another $250, maybe $275… I can call our installation manager and see if he can schedule it a day sooner… PLEASE will you reconsider???”
Though his desperation was extremely disconcerting to me, I still didn’t give him the order. The reason was: the other company had better online reviews while his company had some bad ones that scared us off.
The company that got the order had a better moat. The other guy could only watch helplessly as his castle got raided.
In one of the Rosetta Stone: Activate modules, Mark McShurley will show you how to accelerate Review Velocity which will ensure that when you deliver a great customer experience, you also have the greatest possible odds of that person sharing their satisfaction with the world.
What is it that YOU want?
Entrepreneurs talk about “freedom” all the time. Occasionally they’ll even use the word “retirement” but they never mean collecting a pension and reading the newspaper and going to luncheons or lounging around at the golf club.
What they really mean is what Megan Macedo calls “containment” which is:
- Your “engine” is connected to a drive shaft and wheels and you are doing meaningful, engaging, exciting
- You possess the latitude and resources to perform all of your work with excellence, because you are not constantly tangled up in the BS that resource-thin people inevitably deal with. (“It takes just as much brain power to live in poverty as it takes to get rich. Which way do you want it?”)
Whether you A) desire to earn $400,000 a year strictly on your own terms, or if you B) prefer to join the ranks of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in the world…
You can do it with this, the world’s first
Zero-to-Billion equity business strategy.
This is what comes next after the golden age of marketing is over. By the time most people see it… it will be too late.
When you seize and activate the Rosetta Stone opportunities that you can see right now, very often a new opportunity opens up to expand MUCH further, should you elect to seize it. Chris, who I just told you about above, can glimpse a $100 million business from his present position of $3 million.
Long shot? Absolutely. No guarantees. But today Chris is in a position to CHOOSE whether to pursue this or not, and it’s already a rip-roaring adventure.
Tragically, most people enjoy no such liberties. To them, turning an industry on its head is a luxury of unfathomable proportions.
Are you so preoccupied with the latest…
- Psychotic client
- Drama queen
- Refund request
- Problem employee
- TikTok sensation
- Support ticket
- Political skirmish
- Competitive bid