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Feb. 20, 2023

Ep66 Stu Heinecke - Create an Unfair Advantage in Your Business with Radical Weed-like Collaborations

Today on the show, Strategy + Action = The Unfair Advantage of Weed-like Collaboration

In this episode, we sit down with Stu Heinecke and have an absolute blast discussing his latest book, "How to Grow Your Business Like a Weed." 

Stu is a Wall Street Journal cartoonist, the amazing author of "Get the Meeting" and "How to Get a Meeting with Anyone," and an incredible guy that I had the good fortune to meet on LinkedIn.

We dig into the concept of radical collaboration and the importance of having something meaningful and unique to collaborate around.  Stu shares his insights on how to grow your business like a weed and the anchor point that people can grab onto, making collaboration easy.  

We talk about having a unique selling proposition and taking it several steps beyond to become a "category of one" in your business.  By doing so, potential collaborators will reach out to you because it's just so obvious once it's out there, and they have something to grab onto. 

This is a powerful tool for you to use in your own business. 

So, join us for this fascinating conversation, and let's jump in!


Today on the show strategy plus action equals the we'd like power of collaboration. Great Coaches and Consultants like you have the ability to change people's lives and transform entire organizations. And your impact can often go far beyond the clients you work with. One of the reasons I love working with Coaches and Consultants is because of that ripple effect. This show is here to highlight your expertise and empower you with resources and new ideas to grow your business. Welcome to strategy and action. Stu Hynek is on the show today. And we have an absolute blast in our conversation. I had the good fortune to meet Stu on LinkedIn. He is just an incredible guy. He's a Wall Street Journal cartoonist, amazing author of get the meeting, how to get a meeting with anyone and his latest book just so fantastic is how to grow your business like a weed. And he is absolutely doing that with his business in his core IP around this idea in his latest book, and that's what I really wanted to dig in to with him on this episode is this idea of collaboration. stew's refers to it as radical collaboration. I love that so much. And, you know, we dig into it around this concept of, of having something to collaborate around. And I think that's the big giant takeaway from all of this, where he's seeing the success in this is because of this idea, and this concept that he's put forward in the book of, of how to grow your business, the way weeds grow, and take over and putting those correlations there. But that also becomes this anchor point that people can, can grab onto and go, Oh, I love that concept. I'd love that idea. You know, we could we could we could do this thing with what we do. And this idea of growing your business like a weed and and now, it's just that basis of collaboration, right? It's that it's making that easy. And that's what I encourage everyone to find in their own business is certainly that unique selling proposition that we hear about all the time, right? You know, why should people buy from you, right? What's unique about that, but going, you know, several steps beyond that, and really working towards being that that category of one and, and having that anchor concept of your own that people can just grab onto if they are the perfect candidate for collaborating and sharing audiences, sharing clients, whatever that may be, then it should just resonate with them instantly. And when you put that out, at a big level, you'll have those potential collaborators reaching out to you, because it's just so obvious once it's out there, and they have something to grab onto. We really dig in around this this subject. I love it so much. And I think it's, it's a really powerful tool for you to be able to use in your own business. Alright, let's jump in. Nick, welcome to the show.

Jason, thank you so much. Great to join you. Oh, this

is a blast. I'm so excited to talk to you from books you've written in the past on getting those meetings, finding those unfair advantages that alone. Wow, that's just I love that stuff gets my brain rolling. And now with your latest book, how to grow your business, like a weed. Oh, my gosh, so many questions around there, as I was, as I was listening, because I listened I audiobook guy. But then also, you know, just came out of that in weeks after and as I started to apply that to my business and what I'm building, just fascinating stuff. And I want to give folks some geography there a little bit of, of that thesis of the book and some of that, but then really dig in today on one aspect in what you've got going on because of this book right now in the collaborations that you've you've shared with me. I'm just, I'm so excited for you. And I really wanted to dig into this topic because I think it's something that so many people can take advantage of and, and utilize and do in their in their own lives. So first off, give us a little little context around this latest book.

Well, the well so the old book is good books. They were about getting meetings, and really that's about about cultivating an unfair advantage. If you can get if you can get meetings with virtually anyone then that's a big advantage in your marketplace. So but, but then extending further the my latest book is called How To Grow Your Business. was like a weed, which sounds like a joke. Excellent theory, but I wasn't gonna go, you know, it just doesn't have the same ring as let's say blue ocean strategy or you know, but but in fact, it's a very serious book. And it's about well, y'all know what it means to grow like a weed. And that's known all over the world. We're very familiar with it, we see it, we've lived it with watched it. Throughout our lives, we know exactly what they do already. But, but we don't actually because we will know. We see them, we see the results of what they're doing, but because they just grow and they spread, like, but they aggravate the hell out of us. But, but what are they actually up to? And and, and so that's, that's what the books about where there's an origination story, I was driving down the Santa Monica freeway one day and, and I noticed a dandy line growing out of a crack in the concrete median. And and it's you know, it's it's something that we see that kind of thing everywhere all the time. Well, you know, it's with her but otherwise, during during their growth season, we see it all the time. And we'd see they spread, they find every possible opportunity to take root. And certainly a deadline is a great example of that they got these seats that you could drive by and say, How did it do that? How did how did it pull that off, but we know exactly how it pulls it off, because it has those seeds that fly around. And they probe every possible opportunity to take root. And so that's an unfair advantage. If you think about, let's say that versus apple trees, or Petunias, or daisies, or pine trees, I have I have these giant Douglas fir trees right outside my house and we were in a forest of them, they grow like 120 feet tall, they're huge. But they don't spread much. They just drop these cones. And that's it. That's that's the extent of their, of their spreads strategy, which is basically nothing. And meanwhile, you've got dandelions and they will spread everywhere. They'll just, they'll just be they'll probe everything, every possible opportunity. And that's pretty impressive. And so as I was drying my thigh Well, what is it about weeds? What exactly is it? I mean, I know what the seeds do, but what is it about weeds? That makes them so special? Do they have a unified model for growth? And if they do, is it something that we can apply to our business? As it turns out, they do have one they do have a model. And I think that model and I call it just just sort of encapsulated I call it weed strategy probably doesn't sound great either. I get an amen, we try to ensure, you know, but But we'd strategy is, I think, actually the Theory of Everything about growing anything.

Yeah, and it's interesting, too, because this is a topic in and of itself. But like, I found myself throughout the whole book of this push and pull right of these horrible stories, I will say of the power that these weeds have in by the like, involving to fight, you know, round up and you know, taking over if it gets one little root, it's it's done and destroy. So there's this this negative because we do have that connotation to right of just like we don't want weeds in a yard. We don't want this. But oh my gosh, that's powerful. Oh, wow. Yes, if I, if I treated my message, the way that dandelion treats its seeds. Holy smokes. That's a game changer, right. And I think that big giant lesson in that is, there's always something to learn in the even the person you hate the ideology, you can find if you can be that kind of person who who steps back and is worried less about being right in that moment and more worried about what can I take from this? What isn't it?

Yeah, I don't have to be right, because what works?

Did you did you? Did you fight that at all? Was that any part of you that came up of like, there's such a negative connotation of weeds. It was there, there was a good cert of just like that association, even though it was so powerful.

Yeah, you know what, though? I think that's actually the opportunity. I think that's where the opportunity lies that if you think about it, if you have you have this thing, right, and you just change it just slightly to sort of change your perception of it just slightly. So it can be a very negative thing when you change that perception just slightly. And all of a sudden bonus completely different impression just explodes from it. And, and so I think that's true of weeds because right now we're all thinking of weeds. Well, I'm not but we're all thinking of weeds as pests, because that's really it. We could just you could you could change that the word weed to pest because you know anything that pastures us, we'll we'll call it a pest and that's basically what what we do but what if you look at why we're calling them that that derogatory term I suppose Was it because they're so aggressive, they're so they're so brilliantly adapted to, to, you know, to capturing territory and keeping it and defending their turf, I should say. And it's one that, that we just have a hard time dealing with them in our yards and in our farmland and in our, you know, in our gardens, so we get frustrated with them. And so it's, it's almost like a an epithet of, it's just a frustration. That's, that's all it is. But, but I have to tell you, though, that after, you know, I hear this a lot after people hear about weeds, and hear me talking about about their strategy, and really how miraculous they are. Suddenly, they're, I just hear from them a lot afterwards, they're saying, I heard your interview, or, you know, after our interview, I've been looking at weeds completely differently. And if you go outside after this, if you're if you're anywhere where weeds actually still are, I mean, they're dormant here in the northern hemisphere at the moment, but, but if you step outside and watch them, you'll, it's just amazing to know, that they're just so well adapted, so well evolved to, to, to grow faster than the other. So they're more aggressive than the other plants around them. And they're, they're more aggressive in their, their approach to spread them. And we talked about dandelion seeds, but there are others. There's some seeds that spread as far as I think it's something like 300 miles. Canada fleabane does that depending on which one which direction the winds blowing, and I mean, dandelions are kind of, they're kind of like, a lite version of weed. And they're, they're, they're trouble enough, but, but there are I mean, like they they pop out. I have something like 15,000 seeds per plant, over five to 10 year lifespan, and, and that's a lot of seeds. But then when you think about, let's say, waterhemp, this plant that's been invading farmland across North America, that thing puts out up to 4.8 million seeds per plant, not 15,000. It's 4.8 million. It's an it's an annual. So it all happens every year. And I mean, like, some of these plants, they're just they're so alien, because they're so well adapted to growth. It's incredible. So we should obviously we should be learning or we should be emulating something he thinks that they're doing.

Yeah, that relentlessness. Right. And I think I think people fall into the trap to have being too conservative with their product, their offer their message, their world changing opportunity, that if they would just get it out there more, but they're, well, I don't want to bother people. And that's such a detriment to their mission. And it goes right along with your other books in finding those unfair advantages, right, finding that unique thing, and I don't understand it, but I've seen it so much of just like, Well, I wouldn't do that I wouldn't put a sales message in my show or what, you know, whatever that is, and she's like, why not? Do you not believe him? I mean, I could do it.

Some of it. I just came from a from a, from a conference. And some of the speakers just wanted to share insights. And others wanted to make sure we knew exactly what they did, you know, an intercompany. And, and which one do you think is more effective? I'll tell you, it's the ones that are sharing insights. It's more effective. But so some of that should be I don't know whether I would call that conservative, I think it may be maybe timid or they're trying to do the right but it's really what it is they're trying to do the right thing. But, but I just sorted that, if we describe weeds, a couple of couple of lines of copy that that I ended up using a lot from for example, they always deal with weeds always deal with what is so that's a really hard thing to do. If you think about it, that really goes straight to their mindset. They do have a mindset, even though they don't have brains, they definitely have a fierce, fierce mindset. But but they just eat they deal with what it is they do it very efficiently. They do it with just like so deadly efficiency. They don't care what's going on. They don't care about what they think because they don't think they don't have emotions that they're not clouded by that. They just deal with what is and and so set part of it, they deal with what is they never do anything without an unfair advantage. Man, if we don't have unfair advantages, let's say in our businesses, but that's a pretty obvious one. But even in our careers, just personally, if we don't have unfair advantages, it wouldn't really go very far. Nothing happens because it's really easy to push us aside, but with unfair advantages, and by that I don't mean that they're actually unfair, like not sandbank been freed kind of unfair. You know, it's just they're the I would say it's the way that your competitors might just describe it. They see what you're doing. And they say, Man, that's unfair. How on earth are we going to compete with it? So it's that kind of unfair.

It's like the rice but everyone has access everyone Google and do it. Yeah, yeah, sort of that there.

But but the fact There's that they're unfair because you get it, you get to do it uniquely. It's just you. Right? So it's that's what makes it that's why we pay your competitors think it's unfair so, so they never do it. Again, they always deal with what is they never do anything without an unfair advantage. They always never whether I should say they never do anything alone, it's always at scale. You know, when you see a dandy line in your lawn, look up, you'll find lots of you'll find does dozens or hundreds of them. And that's what gives them their power. It's not just one dandy line, for example, showing up in your love because all you have to do is yank it and you're done. That's not That's not what this is so, so that and then they also, they always focus on what makes them win, which is in other words, is there a process, they have a process set been honed over millions of years, 10s of millions of years. I mean, the first, the flower should say the the fossil record says the first flowering plants showed up on earth about 145 million years ago. And I've got to think that some of those, at least, are today's weeds, because they are surprised survivors. So but they've had all this time that to hone this, this process, which is just baked into their DNA, it's their DNA instructions. And, and so they're not, they don't have to be trained, they all do it, they run it like a program, like a computer runs a program. And so again, was just deadly efficiency, but they're always focused on what makes them win. And, and that, that that process is also a living process. So we can learn a lot from this. We, if we've, if we have defined processes, they're often stodgy. I know, they're just bureaucratic, that rule books and all that regulations, which doesn't excite anyone, but but if it's if we're focused, somehow else on what makes us win, and how, how we can also act as experts, that expertise and and gained experience is mapped across the organization. That's different. And then And then if it's also a living process that that responds to, to I don't know, the challenges and just new conditions

in front. Yeah, that constant feedback, adjust feedback adjust. Yeah, yeah.

Yeah. So it's all of those things, cause cause weeds to, to behave in a way that we certainly would be really well served to emulate in our businesses in our in our careers.

They turn down and it's a great lead in to have this this topic to around collaboration, because it's, it's a little like, you know, like your book coming to life, right, you know, in some of the collaborations that, that you're now having, because of this book, and, you know, sharing as much as you like, but I really love this fact. And, and part of that, not just the exponential power of teaming up with another person in the organization. But what you have, and it seems like, the what spurred a lot of these collaborations is not just like, oh, Stu wrote a book. That's interesting. But this really powerful core concept of doing exactly what you did, which is looking at it just this way, you know, and that makes everyone go, oh, oh, wow. And having that two point, you're having that as a beacon. It allows it makes that collaboration, easy for other people, it makes it easy for them to go, Oh, I could use that here. That could be perfect for us here is share with us a little you know, a little bit of what you've been experiencing lately along those lines. Oh, you

mean with with? Well, I mean, so. So again, I mentioned that we'd never do anything without an unfair advantage. They never do anything alone, the natural collaborators. I think the other thing is that they thrive best in in disrupted ground. That's interesting, because we're always going through disruption. So is it the theory that that'll allow us? Or is it the body of strategy that will allow us to thrive no matter what's happening? Because that's what weeds do. They just deep enough they find disrupt the ground, in other words, yards, and, and farmland and so on, and we disrupted or far, maybe forest fires, but when they find it, they they immediately fill the vacuum. So it's not that they're built to build just for disruption, but they put wood but they're built. So I should say there's so well evolved to take advantage of anything, any opportunity. So they thrive no matter what. And I think probably is the theory that or a strategy model that can help us or cause us to thrive during recessions, for example. Wouldn't that be amazing? That's really tough to do. So you would ask them what what how is it showing up? And I think I think that the thing that's that's really struck me is that I've been seeking out collaborations and a lot of new ways. ways that I had never thought of doing before, or never would have considered before or might not have had the opportunity to do before. So, so for example, I'm setting up collaborations with top sales or not sales, but all kinds of top thought leaders, so authors and actually, I've teamed up now one of my collaborators is a book publisher, and other one is a magazine publisher, and then some gurus in ideation and sales and branding. And we're in management, and we're putting together these weekend strategy. Or I should say, weekend growth summits. And these are really cool, because we'll every I'm gonna team up with each, so each one will be just a collaboration between myself and that other person, just that one other person. So whether they're, if they're if their expertise is in sales, then we're going to have a sales related growth Summit, we're going to talk a lot about sales as a way to because sales is fuel for growth. So it's critical for for growth, so it's quite germane, or branding, branding would be as critical because that's, that's really, that's your seed strategy, probably seed pod strategy. But that's how people become aware of you inform the intent to do something with you to transact with you in some way. And so without that, without supercharging, that you're not going to grow either, why Daniel is don't grow without seeds. So, so what are those? Shouldn't we build those out, we ideate those. And so anyway, so we're putting together these, these, these growth summits. And if they just last weekend, they're going to be very small groups was a small workshop of maybe 10 or 20 people and high dollar per seat and, you know, because these these groups are, they're so small we can, there's this they're portable, I guess the best way to put it. So. So I'm saying to my, to these collaborators, look, let's make each one of these very special, let's say, or I should say, well, let's let's put these together, in, in places that are sort of bucket list locations, or destinations, you know, kind of like watching. We were talking about this earlier before we started but last week, I was at sales 3.0. And we got to watch a a launch of the Falcon, one of the Falcon rocket ships. So Elon Musk's rocket ship, from Cocoa Beach, we're all standing out there in our in our dress shoes, turned out the beach, and we're watching this thing go up and then come back down. Wow, what an incredible thing. And for me that was that that was a bucket list experience. So Heck, yeah. So we're gonna put these in, in these places where, like, let's say, I've just, I've just asked you, Jason, if we were doing one, you and I. And I said, Let's put this into a bucket load list location. Where would you want to do it?

Oh, wow. I would think I would think sky's the limit. Yeah, I would think top of a mountain somewhere, right. You like got it? Yeah. So,

you know, we could go skiing. We could do it at Sun Valley, for example. That'd be cool and right, and go skiing as well. And, or really many. There are many other great resorts in Colorado and so on. That'd be a cool one.

was howling with somebody you know, or or experience to comes to mind? Like, yeah, yeah, something that maybe not skydiving, because that's not for everybody, but almost that experience. Thank you. Yeah.

It would be pretty cool. The I don't know if everyone would go and I think that might be like, Oh, graphic skydiver from doing this. But, but we could certainly do it. Yeah, that would be that'd be a blast to do that. For so far. We have them. We have them set for the Louvre. And I think Vail I'm not sure about that one, maybe Vail, maybe, maybe a Beaver Creek, but somewhere a ski area. And then Barcelona and Dubai and Sedona so far. So these are really exciting. I can't wait to do them. And we're gonna we'll meet for the weekend. And each time we do these, they'll they'll turn out totally differently because it's a collaboration in terms of of contents to collaboration between wheat strategy and just sort of that that framework had growth framework that that really any b2b specialty fits into and I put the mentioned sales is is fuel for growth. So that fits in perfectly branding fits in perfectly. Ideation bit fits in perfectly management fits in perfectly. All of these things fit right into they tuck right into the weeds strategy model perfectly, because usually what they are, are about setting up or creating new unfair advantages is that fits the weed strategy perfectly. So yeah, that so they're gonna be a blast. So if we're going to do this, I get to think about, let's say, from a business perspective, I now get to work with these these gurus, these really very prominent people who've got great, great client bases that I don't have, I mean, they're, let's say, people that I don't have in mind. And so that's great. That's a spread, big spread and and then what Just even beyond that, though, if we'll be doing some things afterward, we'll put we may have some upsells. And that'll be interesting. But, but even if it's let's say, someone says, I want to have you come in and consult with me, on my business as a result of our session here, I'm splitting the revenue 5050 with my partner, whoever the collaborator is, I'm just saying, it's you and me anyway, if they just have me work on it, I don't see you and I, you and I are partnering on it anyway. So it just sort of I'm seeing collaborations in completely new ways I wouldn't have I don't think I ever would have considered doing that before. But now I'm thinking what not to it. I mean, if if that collaboration resulted in new business, new incremental business, it's, it's it is, by definition, business, I wouldn't have had so. So I'm, I'm not calling it a partnership. I think that's too formal to legal. But it put it in that collaboration. It's almost like seeing new colors. I never, I've never never known existed. It's really, it's really amazing. And it's just the start of it. That's sort of the tip of it, that there are collaborations happening in a lot of different areas that are just blowing my mind. So does that. Does that make any sense? Yeah.

Yeah, absolutely. It it also brings up the point besides having, you know, the concept that you've presented in the book as this beacon that other people can grab on to, it's also happens to be the perfect thing that just makes everything else better. So it's, it's this natural fit, because whatever you're doing, like you mentioned, in a b2b space, especially, it's just going to, if you apply this strategy to that, it's exponential. It's crazy. It's wild. So I think those are the two things to really grab on to, for people out there who are looking to expand through collaboration is, is have that thing that someone can point to like, okay, I get that. Oh, I see, you know, but then also, have it be something that supports all these other areas?

Well, yeah, I think it turns whatever transforms whatever it is, you're doing into something much, much bigger, and I just totally different far beyond what you might have done on your own. And so, so the summit's as an example, if I mean, I could do growth summits myself, I probably wouldn't make as much. For one thing, I would only be accessing the people I know. And that's all just one to one leverage, which is not what we want to do in our businesses, or in our lives, I suppose. But, but we just, we don't want to just do everything at one to one leverage, but some, some one to one, leverage is good, that's useful, but but if you do everything in one to one leverage, you're limiting yourself, you won't scale because of that it prevents you from scaling. And and there's one other example that I might, I might share with you, which is that, that I have in the book I mentioned, launching a new award to recognize we'd like spread and growth among entrepreneurs and startups and, and it's called the total weed award, I'm going to be so I'm going to be calling people total weeds, and they're going to be going oh my god, so I'm so honored. That it's gonna be it's already been a lot of fun. I've been calling people total weeds anyway. But but, you know, I, I teamed up with where I am teaming up with the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center to do this, I called up the director who had who wrote the foreword for the book. So it's already a collaboration, but But you wrote the foreword for the book. And I said, Nicola, you know, what, I have this award that I've mentioned in the book, and I need to start it up. And I'm just wondering, could we collaborate? Could this become, could the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center become the home of the award? And she said, Yeah, well, you know what, that sounds really good. And I said, you know, we could sell sponsorship, and I don't need the sponsorship money. So why don't we? Why don't we just why don't we stipulate that 100% of whatever comes in from, from whatever revenue comes from, but I think it's mostly from sponsorship would go directly to the center. So that becomes a fundraiser for you as well. She's saying, Yeah, that's great. And that's a good thing for them. Right. I mean, that's a good thing for a nonprofit to bring a new. I think it's perfect, bring a new award that that is that draws in more sponsorship, revenue, and if it gives the sponsors great. I mean, the thing is, everyone wins. That's what a collaboration is, by definition. So everyone wins the, the the sponsors get a new, a new window of visibility among entrepreneurs and startups and VCs and investors, etc. And, and then the center gets a new stream of revenue. That's great, not just revenue, but also notice when it's a seed pods or a seed strategy for them, as well because it's standard though I'm not taking it somewhere else. It's, it's standard, and I get something out of it. too, because we're drawing it immediate partner and, and so we'll have plenty of visibility for the event. But what where did the where does this concept come from? Well, it comes from my book. So the book is gonna get a big boost from that as well. We all get something from it. And we all get something that makes what we're doing bigger and better and more fascinating. Because we're doing this so. So these collaborations they're, they're just they're blowing my mind. I, you know, I, I can't wait to see where they take me next. We're going to take all of us next but but they're, it's a great way to do business. Oh, yeah.

And I love that I love the system mental frame, right? When and you get this reading the book, right? You get the you start to expand. And that's, and that's everything because you're even though she wrote the foreword to your book, she's familiar with you, she's familiar with your work, she never would have sat there in her office by herself one day and go, you know, what we should do? We should come up with this. You know, like, you go in and you do the work for her, right? You present this fully developed concept, right? That could benefit everybody. And just enough open endedness to Hey, you bring you bring your awesomeness to this as well. And let's see what we can do. Right?

Yeah, it's all about creating, again, it's all about creating new unfair advantages for each other for yourself. And for each other. And, and more of them come about because of it, as opposed to, let's say, doing it all on your own. You just we can't do it all on our own. And maybe that's probably the that was probably the message of how to get a meeting with anyone for us. You know, if you can't get meetings, you will do everything alone. So but but we're always bringing those where it is also always about bringing new, unfair advantages to people. And so if we were to copy we were really talking about though collaborations that the sort of seeing new colors that never existed before, sort of the experience of it. And I'm just thinking, Okay, who else? Like who was who's the ultimate? Who can I collaborate with? And I won't say who he is because I have someone definitely mine's not Elon. But I have someone definitely in mind. And and I think it would, it could make sense, and I want to just do it, I want to just find out how far can this go? How high can this extend? For one? But Who who is it possible to collaborate? Well, it's probably possible to collaborate with just about anyone. Yeah, you got to bring your unfair advantages. Gotta have those or else they won't consider it. But when you bring them and you bring just the right ones. God, it's amazing. Who you can we get to collaborate with.

Oh, yeah. And that's the thing too, and that's, you know, when when you spoke earlier about you sort of defining that unfair advantage, and people have their connotations and all that kind of stuff, that the one person goes like, well, I can't do that. We're like, okay, then what can you do? Where's yours? What are you going to worst? Yeah, you can Yeah, you can cultivate that. Right? You can go create it.

You know, when when I wrote I'm going to mention the other book, when I'm when I'm when I wrote how to get a meeting with anyone. I was writing it from the stand up partly from the standpoint that I guess just based on my origination story, I'm a cartoonist as well. So and I've been using cartoons in marketing my whole career and, but really, what I've been doing is using them to create unfair advantages. That's it. That's really what I've been doing. And they do create unfair advantages because people readership surveys show that there are almost always the best read and remembered parts of magazines and newspapers, cartoons. So well, okay, then this is a device that gets people people's attention. But then if you think about the nature of humor, it's about truth being revealed and a twist. It's why we when we laugh at something, we're always we're always saying, Oh, my God, that's so true, along with Ben just sort of melds together becomes a platform to create unfair advantages. It might unfair advantages, but it was able to bring unfair advantages to to my clients, but but the unfair unfair advantages that are brought to them where we use this, this phenomena, this cartoons, this device, with personalization, so the cartoons about you about each recipient, and and we used it to create higher response rates, that's really what it is just when with when they put a piece of mail out, I helped them get more response from that from that set of mailings that they were going to do anyway. So, so those are all unfair advantages that that make everything possible. And if we're not, I don't know, you're just mentioned I think you just mentioned or you just commented that, that if you don't have unfair advantages then then well, what am I going to do and I you know, I use cartoons, but you don't have to use Cartoons For crying out loud. She says anything, almost anything can create unfair advantages and you need to be kind of big. You need to be cultivating those

big time and that's, that's it you have an extra I mean, Wall Street Journal cartoon is not just a cartoon isn't that's your, you know, that's your goes into your VIP statement like he talked about in the book and creating that. And, and I just I love that aspect. Because, again, it's here's mine, this is what I did and the results, but here's how you now go craft your own how you create your unfair advantage and just really embracing the fact that it's so important. And and again, I think those two different mentalities exist out there of just like, well, I could never do that or like, okay, I guess I'm gonna figure out how to do that. It's so powerful.

Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I just do, we just have to think about it. And, and there are so many, so many ways to cultivate those unfair advantages, or we probably have them, location might be an unfair advantage for you, or just anything that you do anything that you do that unique, might create unfair advantages. And I've been, I've heard a story of a woman who knitted select a niche, so she needed some gifts to get through to these people that they she wasn't gonna get through to otherwise. Those that's these are all examples of unfair advantages, but they just kind of exist everywhere. And we need to we need to recognize them, whatever unfair advantages we have. They could be contacts with the founder, great. If you have this great network, that's an unfair advantage. That's one of the one of these things you need to use to put to begin to take advantage of it. And and so anyway, but all these unfair advantages end up creating this, this juggernaut this to serve this position in the marketplace that is very hard to compete with. And that's, that's what we all need those if we don't have them. Like if you don't have an unfair advantage in your business, you're not going to stick around. I would say if you don't have an unfair advantage in your career, you're not going to stick around.

Oh, yeah, there's just too much. Yeah, noise competition. Everything out there. I love I love. Meet Scott Adams, his his definition of white talent stacking, you know, and he is great. Yeah. And I love that like that was such a light bulb of just like, Sure, I can write some cartoons, a sort of known business. I'm pretty good at this. And this. Nobody's as good as me at all these things together, right? Like,

I've never heard him say that. He's, I've come to the same for the say, I've talked to talk about layering. Or I think about it as layering. But if you layer are these things, no one has that unique set of layers. He's exactly right.

Yeah. And that's, and I bring that up too. Because like, that gets into the how of exactly what you're talking about, like how to cultivate your own unfair advantage. And, and that's how you start looking at things. Instead of just like, what's the one thing I do? Well, okay, maybe there's four or five things? Oh, yeah, I haven't ever seen people put together in that same that same way. And then like, bring that to the world. And then to bring it full circle, talk about what we're what we've talked about this whole time as creating that thing in that process, that beacon now that is all of this, and maybe that's you that provides it or it's a concept, but you name it, you own it. And now you have something to point to, as you go and find these collaborations and clients and all of that.

Yeah, you know, it's, um, still, you blew my mind with Scott,

actually. Because all him Oh, no, he's

better. So Right. It's I don't know him, but maybe I should get to know him. But you know, when I first started, I, my education was in marketing. So that's great. That's, you know, I wouldn't say that's an unfair advantage. But it starts to be one myth why we pursue pursue degrees. So So it's that but then I was also cartooning. And then then I decided to mix the two. And when I did that, pick, those two layers became a complete unfair advantage for me, no one else was like that. There are people that have come up afterwards and mixed cartooning and in business but in GIMP before I was doing it, like no one even no one thought of cartoonists as being, let's say, business savvy at all. They were, they were it was oil and water business and, and our art, artistry. They just didn't mix. But in fact, they did. And when someone comes up when they show up and mix the two, suddenly it's an unfair advantage. They're these unfair advantages. There. It's just sort of everywhere. And you've got it, but I think Scott Cobb, we got to get Scotland some time to talk to learn because he's absolutely right. It's about that that's a great way to create unfair advantages.

Oh, yeah. And I imagined to like, I know kind of, I think you you reference it. It In that book, but like this idea that, you know, people on the on the outskirts is like, oh, okay, well, I'll start using cartoons too, because that's the other part of it too. That is that melding of business acumen and cartoon like we're not talking about just send a cartoon with somebody's name in it. You go through like, well, it needs to have it needs to be funny, but have this tone. It needs to be positive here it needs to Yeah, that's it's a it's an art in and of itself, not just the drawing but the humaneness there.

Well, I could tell you that because that's a really good, good illustration, no pun intended. But that's a really good illustration of an unfair advantage because when I was doing it, I recruited a lot of, of my heroes of cartooning into my group. So I recruited gay and Wilson and Elvin Dini from Playboy, and then Artie Levin and Leo column and Bob man coffin and Lila wrens and so on, from Donald Riley, all these really famous cartoonist top cartoonists in the world. And I was working with him. And And unbeknownst to any of us, it actually became, I think of it as a mentorship program with the top cartoonists in the world. That's what ended up happening. So as I'm doing this, and as I'm accumulating test experiences, I was the other part of it. And when we were creating these for the big magazine publishers, who were the biggest users have direct response marketing at the time. So every time a test went up by we learned something. And

so just to clarify, you got these folks like you were hiring them to do this for company like to

they were part of my stable of cartoonists. So when I go and we had an assignment, I'd say, okay, these are my cartoonists. Who do you want whose work do you want and they in your campaign, so they could choose any of us. And I was amazed I ever got chose sleep, but I got chosen a lot. Probably because they were talking to me, but But you know, gay Han was part of it. And Dini was part of it, and Leo Kalam and so on all the mop top names in cartooning. And then came the people who said, Oh, you know, I'm gonna, I'm gonna try that for myself. So they they started just, I don't know who they hired to, to do their cartoons, but they just came up with these just inane things like this, this these, you can see by my face, disgusted by what they did, but it was just, it was just crap. And, and they put it out, but it still was look like a cartoon on a mailing. And it was just junk. It wasn't funny. It didn't, you know, it wasn't steered by, you know, believe they would make it about. And a lot of clients wanted me to do this as well. But they'd like they make the cartoon about the about their brand, which is the is a great way to kill that campaign. Because no one cares. You don't want to get a cartoon about Geico. It's no, who cares. I couldn't wait to throw something like that away. But if it's if the cartoons about you, being a great fisherman, let's say, and it's an offer coming from Outdoor Life magazine, that's on the money, that's something that they're gonna want to, they're gonna want to frame that, in fact, we offered prints of those. So that if with your order, with your paid order, you get an eight by 10 print of it, and they gladly stick it up in their, in their, in their homes, right where they put into the frame and put them up. And that's that's what I was doing. I guarantee you none of the none of the copycats ever had cartoons that anyone would ever want to put up anywhere. It was that they were stupid, you know. So that's, that's, I guess what I'm trying to say is, that's what an unfair advantage looks like in practice. I'm going out there with with the best cartoonists in the world, and I'm being I'm being mentored by them as well, by the way, and then and then all the only I'm the only repository of all this test history of using personalized cartoons and mailings. So how are they going to compete with that? You know, those were unfair advantages. And, and they, you know, that was what it looked like when someone's decided they were still going to try to horn in on my, on that territory that I'd carved out. And they did a crappy job. And I'm sure that the, you know, I'm sure that the test results were terrible. And they didn't I know that didn't last because I saw it watch them to fall drop away. But they didn't have the right, the right tools. They didn't have the right. They couldn't compete with those unfair advantages that I carried into that market. Oh, yeah. And that's the other so that's what it looks like.

Yeah, and that's such a great point too, mentally to go to know what you've got, right and know why it's so important and you know, let them do what they're gonna do. You're gonna have to kind of deal with it some but just keep focusing on what you're doing because you're so far ahead. You have that repository that distance that position in the marketplace with not only like during this first but, Mayor, all of you that's imminent, you know, cartoon just out there. It's like, okay, yeah, if they're copying awesome, that means we're doing something right. And just keep going.

Just keep going. Yeah, exactly. Just keep doing it. Because there's nothing to compete with there. It's just just keep going. Yeah. And so it kind of I think that also, I think that also relates to what Christopher Lochhead writes in when he talks about a category of one. That's exactly what that is, it's creating a category of one that's an unfair advantage. That's what you're doing when you're cultivating unfair advantages. We're talking about the same things. But however, it however it shows up, those are the things that cause the that prevent, let's say prevent people from moving in a sort of like a thorn strategy in a way, where protect pinging is back to the, to the weeds, they protect their, their turf turf in a number of ways. But some of them use thorns and they're very effective. And with whatever, however, it is that we defined it or whatever term we use, whether it's category one, or or unfair advantages, these are things that you need to cultivate in your business or you won't, you won't be around. They're also things you need to cultivate in your career, or you won't be around. You won't, or you'll you won't, let's say you won't go where you want to go.

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And that's something that, you know, as I've been defining my own brand, and what sort of that one word that you fight against, I realized that it wasn't just that negative aspect of obscurity, and no one can see you. To me, it's even worse is sameness, right, like just being the Lipin Bay's Toyota Corolla of your industry that nobody's ever gonna notice. Like, that's the thing to battle against. Right? Yeah.

Yeah. It'll say I live on on an island I could live might be another great illustration of this. I live on an island. And it's an it's in the Pacific Northwest and Puget Sound a little bit north of Seattle. And, and my town is is kind of a little touristy town, or let's say the village of the, of my town is a it's a touristy spot. It's cool. It's beautiful. It's a little village on a cliff, over the, over the water. So it's, it's really cool. And, but then you see the shops, there. They're the catering to to a tourist crowd and tourists, sometimes they're, well, there's certainly a season to it. And sometimes they're there and sometimes they're not. And and you see these shops that show up on first and second street in the in the in the village. And if they're selling things like let's say curios, or, I don't know, soap and candles or incense, like nobody needs these things. And, and those are those are great examples of businesses that have no unfair advantages looks at maybe, let's say their location on first or second street. But otherwise they have zero. When when times get tough if the economy is disrupted in some way or sessions, you know, we're talking about recession a lot. The last several months, or like half a year, or maybe the past year, when a recession hits those those businesses are gonna go under, there's no reason there's nothing to them. There's just absolutely no substance to them whatsoever. No one needs them. And they're just going to drop away.

Yeah, imagine if you could take advantage of okay, the one little thing I have right now is is this location, right? What can I do differently that every other touristy little town and then plan at halftime? Yeah, though, there's something

got to be something else besides

four. Or the other way to have like, leverage your location and your prominence in this physical location, online leveraging globally, like get whatever we're doing. It could be that could run this, but they still need to do it a little differently. If

you're just selling something like incense and candles, things that people absolutely don't need. I don't know why they ever buy them. Really. I mean, I guess, okay, you can buy a candle. And but you're not going to need it very often. It's just things that people don't need. And and it's a business that just has no unfair advantages. And those kinds of businesses die off. Those are the ones that you hear about, you know, the startups that 99% or 90% of the startups are gone by, by by year five, and small businesses, but I'm going to, I know I'm going to misquote it, but if it's something like 90% of all new small businesses die in the first year or two, two or three or four years. Those are the kinds of businesses that die off you need businesses that aren't that have unfair advantages, or you are you're not going to be around. No Yeah, you're that's also the key to thriving. You don't want to just survive. It's the key to thriving.

And maybe that's the difference to have. Like this stuff. Lights us are like thinking that way like it's hard not to expend energy on and figuring out the solution for that. So like, because that's so fun and a great way to do that, and some people are just sort of, well, you know, what's working? Well, okay, I'll do that. They're the Uber of soap delivery or whatever they're gonna do. Right. Yeah, it back to Christopher Lockett. Right? Like he talks about the numbers man that, like, there's one market leader, there's one king in there. And then it's like, it's a sharp drop off to everybody else. And he can fight for scraps. But I think you and I, and the people we surround ourselves with, we wouldn't be those those category keys because that's, it's just more fun. It's more exciting, it's figuring that out. Yeah.

And just realizing also, just another book that pops to mind is Blue Ocean Strategy, which is also the same thing. So stay out of the red water and go to the blue flutter, where the red water is, is paint is filled with blood from competitions find, find areas where you have no competitors, or lets go or maybe, I don't know, I don't want to use their metaphor too much, but, but you just you want to go to you want to do things that that I think probably eliminates competition in two ways. One is that you just have this unfair advantage that just can't compete with, but also competitors can be really, really great collaborators, too. And if you're collaborating, you're not you're not really clobbering each other over the head, you're helping each other. And so in both ways, you can there's just other ways of other ways of operating and, and organizing your business. And I think the weeds give us that, that insight into how you can do that.

Yeah. And to your point to you know, there's there's there's similar themes are around all this. What I love with your work, is I feel like it's, it's, it's even more attainable, right? Like, I think there's, there's a, you can use it at a at a big level, but I also go through like, Okay, I'm not sure how I would create this category of one necessarily at some big global level, maybe, you know, maybe I'll think that direction, but I love but I can figure out my unfair advantage to today. Right? I can I can put my VIP statement together today. Now it started digging in it and I think it's it's so actionable, right immediately to start seeing those results and do exactly what we're talking about today is find those collaborations and come up with those.

Yep, yeah, just find out figure out what it is. You have unfair advantages. And so a lot of times it's I think it's just a matter of at least at first of understanding which what are my unfair advantages? How what kind of layers Am I in Scott's Scott's I guess Scott's in my parlance what kind of layers do I have? What if I put together that is makes what I'm doing and who I am utterly unique in the marketplace? Because those are the those are the starts of those unfair advantages. But at NAMM could also hear that that from the collaborations that I've been putting together those are those become huge unfair advantages as well. So they're third of component compounding unfair advantages.

That's a great point Yeah, because it is exponential not just in you know, maybe growing your business let's say but in just in reach, in that we'd like a reach right? Really fast you're leveraging this person's 1000s of people audience this person's this person's versus like this, I mean, but then

I'm also bringing and I'm also bringing weed strategy which is for one an unfair advantage is the book out and I think this book is going to be it's not now but I think it'll be the top business growth title in it on the market. And it's not because I wrote it actually is in spite of the fact that my name is tied to it. Or that I wrote it but it's because the weeds are themselves are so awesome. And if we just if we just do that, if that happens for people they're gonna be saying, Oh my God, that's right my god I you know, grow like a weed have been we know that my whole life and and now there's a way to do this. I want it you know, I think that's why it'll become the biggest growth strategy book on the market. And so I bring that to the to these collaborators. I've got this great unfair advantage we'd strategy man it's it's a protected category actually. And minutes, it's mine. It's my category and so I and when I bring it to someone, I'm teaming up with someone who is a sales guru will great because it's growth and sales and sales is is fuel for growth. You can't grow without sales. So our messages are going to mix together perfectly. And it gives it gives the gives their their message in there. their expertise, a growth framework. So this is how you're going to grow your business. This is tied directly to growing your business. This is what you need, isn't it, you know, you need sales, you know, you want more sales, but you want more sales because you're, you're striving for growth. So we're tying these together, it gives it a great framework for all that.

I love it. Stu, thank you so much. This is I get to talk to you about all of this for days and days. I'm just, I'm a fan of the work and the insight and and just love mentally where it takes me. And then to see it manifest in your life and the collaborative collaborations that you're putting together. I'm just, I'm really impressed. So

I gotta say, right back. atcha? Because I watched this and going Yeah, right. It's it. I turned it, I'm helping Shut up. I turned it. For one click Yeah. And that's really, really satisfying to me, as well as because there's, there's this whole thing that we can discover together and probably collaborate on together. And it's amazing. It's just so transformational.

Yeah, it's fantastic. So what should people do given give us an action, I've got to know what it would send to

buy the book, first, copy the book, you can get it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble books, a million, etc. wherever books are sold, you could get how to grow your business, like a weed. And, and I think and get in touch with me. If you connect with me on LinkedIn, tell me that you bought the book, I'll be your best friend. Until you know, till you're anyway, certainly, I'll be your best friend for a little while. I'll be really I'm thrilled because it's always it's such a it's such a compliment when people buy your books. And so that's that's really what I mean. And so it's actually sincere. And so connect with me on LinkedIn tell me that you let me know that you bought the book. And and there's lots more coming but there are these there are these these summits that we want people to attend. So check those out on on Stu hynek.com. When went up probably after the first year.

Nice. Yeah. So I was going to ask what, we have a projected kind of date for the first one.

First one is in so far is in April, but we're still booking the soldier April and that one will be at the Louvre in Paris. Crazy. It's amazing. But I'm telling you, I never would have come up with this never would have been imagined doing it. But there it is.

Fantastic. Stu, thank you so much.

Thank you. I really appreciate you having me on Jason. really an honor and really enjoyed it.

Fantastic. And we'll see you all next time. Thanks so much for tuning in and being a part of this show. If you want to help creating Authority building video content or even a client generating show of your own, got immediately it's koat.com. And let's connect. I'll talk to you soon on the next strategy and action.


Stu HeineckeProfile Photo

Stu Heinecke

Chief Weed Officer™

Named the “Father of Contact Marketing” by the American Marketing Association, my mission is to provide unfair advantages to help enterprise/SMB/startup sales teams get more C-level meetings with top accounts faster and more effectively.

This is what it looks like when someone goes from “Who is this person?” to “Wow, who is this?!” Is your team getting the meetings they need? Let’s connect.