You must look beyond your core discipline if you want to be a great marketer…
The least interesting, least compelling copywriters are those who only read copywriting books. The same goes for any field.
While you should absolutely develop deep knowledge in your area of expertise, this is severely limiting. It’s like the bodybuilder who only focuses on their biceps. Put them head-to-head with a martial artist with smaller biceps but well-rounded fitness, and the meat head will be mince meat.
One of my greatest strengths as a writer is my ADHD. I have an endless fascination with a number of different disciplines, and will dig deep on any topic that snags my interest.
(Incidentally, I know folks like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are also this way. Buffett knows how to read company balance sheets better than almost anyone in the world, but he also spends hours per day reading on a wide, wide variety of topics.)
One topic of interest that has served me well to follow — for a variety of reasons — is the bleeding edge of technology, where it’s going, and the field of study/prognostication called “futurism.”
You can’t go very far into those topics without continuously running into Peter Diamandis.
The article below is not about marketing. Except, it really is. It’s not about business. But it is. It has applications in these areas, and anywhere else you want to create change in the world.
It’s also perennially one of the most-trafficked posts on my site (perhaps because it’s a top-3 Google result for the phrase “massively transformative purpose”).
And because it reflects the kind of deep thinking that I believe differentiates true greats in their fields, I think it most certainly qualifies as a “Best of.”
I’ll be back with new issues on Monday, and next week I will also have a big announcement for you regarding the future of Breakthrough Marketing Secrets…
What is your MTP?
I’ve been really into the work of Peter Diamandis recently…
You may have heard of him in connection with his last book, Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think (it was a New York Times bestseller).
Or perhaps you’ve heard of him more recently, as part of the launch of his brand new book, Bold: How To Go Big, Create Wealth, And Impact The World (which will likely be on the New York Times list this weekend — it’s currently #1 in a bunch of categories on Amazon, plus #139 overall in books).
In a moment, I want to talk about his concept of MTP (actually borrowed from his work with Google)…
But first, a little more about this guy’s background — because he’s absolutely fascinating.
For those who aren’t familiar, he’s the guy that spurred the current rebirth of space travel in America — by founding the X-Prize foundation and challenging companies to compete to develop commercial space solutions.
Thanks in no small part to his efforts, space travel is becoming far less expensive and more accessible, and many of us may have the opportunity to affordably travel to space within our lifetimes.
Even then, he wasn’t content.
After 10 years spent accomplishing his huge goal, watching the first commercial flight into suborbital space in 2004, he knew he wanted to do more.
And so, since then, the X-Prize Foundation has successfully also run contests on ultra low-emission, high-efficiency automobiles (100+ MPG)… A more efficient way to clean up oil spills from the ocean… And creating the next generation of lunar landers…
All of which have been accomplished in the last 10 years.
Diamandis and the X-Prize foundation have also set their sites on new targets, and have active contests for an actual commercial mission to the moon, with a successful lander and rover… A tricorder (a la Star Trek) that can diagnose patients as well as or better than a panel of board certified physicians… Creating a new generation of more effective personal health sensors, to empower us all to monitor our health… Finding out what’s making the ocean more acidic (with the hope that we can reverse this dangerous trend)… And to create apps that are able to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic without a teacher present, on an open source basis, with the hope of eradicating illiteracy on a global scale…
And there are more in the pipeline…
What the X-Prize Foundation does is find private benefactors who are interested in sponsoring a cash prize to reach a specific goal towards helping humanity… And make that prize available to anyone that can create a solution within pre-set parameters.
What this leads to often tens or hundreds of millions of dollars… Perhaps even billions… Being funneled toward winning a prize for a few million. But what happens after that is we’ve achieved a technological breakthrough that has the potential to change the world for the better…
Peter’s entire focus is on solving these big human problems.
And doing it not in a way where it’s government swooping in and creating an inefficient solution on the backs of taxpayers… But instead by challenging private companies to accomplish these tasks using commercially viable methods, bringing us breakthroughs in a way that’s scalable and economically sustainable.
Which brings me up to the topic for today… MTP… Or, Massively Transformative Purpose.
Perhaps the best way to start is with a couple examples…
Through the X-Prize Foundation, Peter’s MTP is “making the impossible possible.”
He also helped found Singularity University, a private teaching organization created to share knowledge at the bleeding edge of technological breakthroughs… Singularity University’s MTP is to “positively impact the lives of a billion people in ten years.”
Since he got the concept from Google, it’s also worth noting that Google’s MTP is to “organize the world’s information.”
The idea of creating an MTP for yourself or your organization is to set yourself on a mission that won’t just benefit your life, and those within your organization… But to do something that will change your entire community, your country, the planet…
Along with this, Peter (and Google) emphasize the idea of taking “moon shots.”
Now, one of Peter’s “moon shots” is to literally put people on the moon again. But yours doesn’t have to be.
The idea of a moon shot is that, in addition to all you do on a day-to-day basis, that you set big goals to do really big things. This is a way to give yourself a purpose, a drive, a mission well beyond yourself. To do big things. And to bring the rest of humanity up with you.
Peter’s work has, no doubt, made me reflect on my personal direction.
What’s MY MTP? What am I doing that’s bigger than myself — that will bring up my community, my country, the world?
I’m not writing because I have an answer today.
I’m writing this because sometimes the question is more important.
I have a lot of ideas, and some may be linked to Breakthrough Marketing Secrets, and some completely outside this realm. Either way, this thinking is important.
Thoreau wrote, in Walden, that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation…” But I can tell you, that if you develop an MTP for yourself and your life, that you’re unlikely to lead a life of quiet desperation. Rather, your desperation will be loud while you fight to change the world… And when you succeed, that desperation will be quelled and contentedness will take its place, until a new MTP comes, and a new roar of desperation as you take humanity ever higher.
If you dive further into Diamandis’s work, you’ll discover some very interesting and unsettling predictions for the future of humanity.
Within many of our lifetimes, technology is likely to be capable of replacing most knowledge work, including copywriting, for example. (I was just having an argument on Facebook with John Carlton and others about the latest “artificial intelligence” copywriting software — they were insisting that a computer would never beat an A-list copywriter, I was saying that it won’t happen today but that says nothing about the computers of tomorrow, which will eventually have greater brainpower than the entire human race.)
The self-driving cars of today are likely to replace many professional drivers within the next decade or two. Many manufacturing jobs can now be done by robots. Horses (along with stable hands, carriage drivers and more) were replaced by cars. The postal service is being replaced by electronic communication. The list goes on.
The old never goes quietly into the night. And proponents of the old often fight hard and deny the new (because they fear the mortality of their purpose and skills). But the march of technology, the sophistication of societies, and the ascent of mankind continues upward.
The worst standards of living today, in most of the world, is still better than 99% of people lived just a couple hundred years ago.
Are there still things bad in the world? Absolutely!
But do we keep getting better, because people set a massively transformative purpose for their lives and then do it one better? Sure thing!
So I’m going to conclude by asking YOU…
What’s your MTP?
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets
PS — If you want to dive further into Peter’s work, I recommend picking up copies of Abundance and Bold. Also, he’s been featured a lot on I Love Marketing (links to search result of different places he’s been featured) — he’s a member of Joe Polish’s $25k Group. There are also a ton of different places you can find him online, but perhaps the best first stop is his website.
PPS — What if Peter’s right? What if computers end up being capable of curiosity, and thinking (even feeling!) like a human? What if computers and robots are able to do everything we can do today, only better (more consistently, accurately, faster, etc.)? And what if that leads to all of humanity’s biggest present challenges being solved, and all our core needs met? What happens then?
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