Jeff Hoffman’s presentation at Grow2021 was so mind-blowing that we couldn’t keep it all to ourselves, so we’re sharing one of our favorite points from his teaching in blog-form!
More of a video person? Check out the video clip here!
Stop trying to do more than one thing at a time.
We were very blessed to have multiple internet companies go up. Priceline, UBid, we won the Grammy, did a TV Company that won our first Emmy, and everyone says “Wow, you’re doing so many things!”
Here’s the key: I didn’t do it all at once.
Never do it all at the same time. Every one of those things that I did, I only ever focused on one thing at a time. And I see so many people try to hedge their bets by being a one-stop-shop for all people for all things. They’re building four different products, because it sounds like it would give them four different shots at success.
Here’s the truth:
Building 4 different products for 4 different revenue streams isn’t 4 times harder. It’s 4 Million times harder!
Launching any one thing (branding, marketing, actually being good at it) is hard enough on its own. Trying to do that four times? That’s just bad advice.
Instead, get your gold medal in one thing!
Why a gold medal? Think of Michael Phelps.
Michael Phelps is one of my friends, he swims… Pretty well (Ok, he’s an Olympic medalist in swimming!). But he didn’t get to where he is today by pursuing four different kinds of medals. He doesn’t come home, swim for 20 minutes, play some volleyball, watch TV, shoot some hoop, maybe do some video games.
No, Michael Phelps swims for 6 hours a day every day of his life.
There’s a reason you’ve never heard of an Olympic Athlete winning gold medals in four different sports; it’s hard enough to win a gold medal at anything, it’s impossible to do it in four different categories.
Here’s how you apply this methodology to your business.
Ask yourself this question: “of all the things I am doing, which is the one I am most likely to win a gold medal at?”
It’s not going to be a real question that you have to puzzle out, truly. You’ll know in your heart the thing you can do better than anything else. If you’re working on 4 different things, you’ll know which one you’re drawn to that you can do an amazing job at.
Here’s a couple of examples of how this works out in the business world.
In the early internet days, there were only a small number of people building internet companies, so we all chatted a lot. I used to talk to these two guys: Jeff and Pierre, they were building this thing called eBay. But there was another Jeff who was building this thing called Amazon.
The thing that people forget about Amazon is that it only sold books for 7 years. And the thing I will never forget is what Jeff said to me about it. He said, “Someday I want my company to grow into the internet marketplace of everything. But first, I want to be the best damn bookseller on the planet.”
You, as a business owner, need to be the best damn something on the planet.
It’s hard to do, but it’s imperative. Because as soon as you win a gold medal at one thing people will ask you to do more. You’ll have people come to you like they came to Jeff, saying “I know it’s just a book, but I love Amazon! Sell me something else!”
This is a pull strategy, and it works. Because instead of the typical push strategy where you’re asking people to buy from you, they’re calling you instead to say “Will you please let me buy something else from you?”
That’s what happened to Amazon.
It happened to another friend of mine, whom we unfortunately lost in 2020: Tony Shea from Zappos.
I remember that early on he said “We’re going to be the best damn shoe seller on the planet.” It wasn’t until later, when people said “I love your shoes! Do you have a handbag or earrings I can accessorize the shoes with?” that they started selling other products.
It wasn’t until they won their gold medal that they pursued more than one thing.
Even Priceline was a company that pursued one thing initially. Now we do business in 190 countries and roughly 20 Billion in revenue a year, but 95% of it is one product: Hotel rooms. It sells billions of dollars worth of hotel rooms, because that’s the gold medal product.
If you want to be successful, find your gold medal.
Find that one thing that you know you can crush, and set everything down until you are the recognized leader in that in the world.