We’ve been writing too much. The blog grew far too quickly and we’re receiving low quality questions that are being deleted at lightning speeds. Not a good sign. While many of the questions appear to be good from the perspective of the reader, they fall under the same umbrella: Analysis Paralysis. This is a function of asking questions when: 1) they have no other options, 2) are not even in the situation they are describing and 3) are looking for a short cut to making money. All of these questions go straight into spam.
1) Examples of Low Quality Analysis Questions
2) How to Avoid Paralysis with the 90/10 Rule
3) Most People Shouldn’t Read This Blog
4) Why You Should Think in Terms of a 2-4 Year Plan
5) You Will Only Succeed When You Have Specific Differentiation
“Analysis Paralysis. Over-analyzing or over thinking a situation so that a decision or action is never taken.”
Examples of Low Quality Analysis Questions
This is going to be an extremely easy section to write. We are simply going to pull terrible questions from the spam section and show why the person either 1) didn’t bother to do low level research or 2) is trapped in his own mind thinking of scenarios that do not exist.
Will Investment Banking be Automated? Anyone who thinks this is an imbecile. Plain and simple. Investment banking has nothing to do with trading stocks or investing. It has to do with transactions. You are a salesman. Unless you believe that interpersonal relationships will be automated (they won’t) then investment banking is going to stay for a long time.
When you buy a home, you hire a real estate agent. When you sell a company you hire an investment banker to negotiate the sale/purchase. Reiteration. It is a sales position and unrelated to “picking stocks”… a common term used by regular people.
This is an example of a terrible question. The reader doesn’t even know what investment banking is. The information is free and if they cannot find out how the business works with a Google search… they certainly won’t survive in the hyper competitive industry.
Should I Take XYZ Job? If it is a job and not a career the answer is always no. The only time you take a job is is if you are forced to *or* it can be leveraged into an actual career in the future. Secondly, if you don’t have anything else on the table… You cannot ask this question. Without multiple job/career offers there is no point in having a discussion anyway. Nothing has happened! This is a waste of brain cells since the decision was made for you already. If you need income and have no other offers… You have to say yes. If you are concurrently interviewing with other firms, the answer is to delay acceptance.
In short, this question is wasting valuable brain cells. If you only have one option, you’re forced into saying yes.
What Are My Chances of Making $X? We don’t know. No one knows. If you cared about maximizing your chances you would simply try your best out of the gate and see what happens. This does not mean you spam everyone you know for career/business opportunities. It means you do the requisite research (about 1 month) then present the “best you” at the time to hundreds of firms.
This question is typically asked by people who have taken no action. If you did the research on what you’re trying to accomplish you would already know how to best represent yourself. If you know how to best approach the situation… All you have to do is try at that point.
What is More Important Game/Looks/Money/Status? Another terrible question that we constantly delete. There is no saving these types of people. The best you can do is hold one item *constant* and try to make observations based on your personal experience.
It is simply silly. An extremely good looking person or a person with a position of extremely high status (DJ, promoter, professional sports player etc.) does not need as much “game” or as much “money” to compete. This is not even worth talking about. The goal is to maximize your potential. Not argue with broke people on the internet who can’t even make $100K+/year.
The more important question is this: how do you maximize all four? That’s what this blog is about when it comes to life advice.
1) Looks improve until at least 35 as long as you stay in shape (learn basic fashion, hit the gym)
2) You have more energy in your 20s. If your looks are going to improve the obvious answer is to focus on money and status.
3) Now that you’re focusing on money and status which skills are the most valuable? Easy. Sales and networking. Sales and networking = same thing as “game” which is just sales. (You selling yourself)
4) Put it all together. You work on sales and networking. This improves your career and business. This also improves your general social skills with women. This leads to a bigger social circle (status) and leads to more money (leveraging your time). Now you’re in your 30s and you’re worth over $1M and don’t have to worry about anything.
Alternatively. You can do what everyone else does. Try to maintain their college circle of friends (temporary status) and get drunk 3 days a week. Work a dead end job that pays a salary until 30. Look around as their college girlfriends all go for guys 4-10 years older than they are (usually around the age of 25-26). Spend their mid-thirties chasing money while the smart guys relax and have fun.
Takeaways: This is probably the most negative section we have written in over 3 months. It needed to be done. These questions are simply terrible. Expecting to get ahead of the pack by doing what everyone else is doing… simply won’t work. Build the framework of how life works and weight your time appropriately. If you do this correctly you’re going to be flying down the runway like a drag car racer. If you do it incorrectly, you’ll be watching in the stadium.
How to Avoid Paralysis with the 90/10 Rule
Now we’re onto the more positive and fun items. As we stated at the beginning, we have been writing too much. Why? We’re getting overtaken by questions from people looking for “hand holding”. The best way to avoid the hand holding trap is to simply find a way to improve yourself.
Most people focus on the gym as their bread and butter way to start improving. This is not the right move (not surprising since it’s what everyone says to do first!). Being in shape is like brushing your teeth. It is not something to brag about or even consider as an accomplishment. Use this as a strong filter for being surrounded by guys who won’t go anywhere in their lives.
Your first course of action? Find a high income by leveraging your intelligence.
How do you find your skills? Try at least 10 different types of career paths until you hit the jackpot. You’ll know you’re generally good at it when 1) other people tell you you’re good and 2) you find the work to be 80% enjoyable (~20% of every single industry is dealing with nonsense)
Wall Street Example: Lets say you are reading this for Wall Street information. Based on your peer group, you want to go into investment banking. Is this really the right move? We don’t know you, so we can’t answer yes or no. What is the point of investment banking? It is to develop long standing relationships, learn how to sell and think strategically. It is not about creating excel sheets all day. That is the mundane portion of the job that you will eventually outsource when you begin generating revenue for the firm.
Situation 1: Lets say you’re working an investment banking internship but find that your short term interpersonal skills *significantly* outweigh your ability to look at a landscape slide and find M&A targets. The answer is obvious. Go into institutional sales instead. Why? If you’re not able to correctly understand a landscape and the subsequent strategic plays, over the long-term you’re not going to make a great investment banker. You will likely make a great institutional salesman and you will still clear well over $500K a year in short order (early 30s).
Situation 2: During your same internship you realize that you’re quite good at predicting which M&A deals will fall apart or get bid up. Congrats. You should probably go into investment banking for 2 years and immediately jump into a Merger Arb Hedge Fund. Why? Even though your skills are good in terms of analyzing deals, if you’re able to synthesize the transaction quickly there is *much* more money in the merger arb field than there is as an investment banker. Practice what you preach and jump in year two.
We could go on and on about this (if you’re better at understanding how to run a book you’re better off at a L/S hedge fund or in Equity Research etc.). The point is the same. If you’re reading this blog for information on Wall Street you should do the much more important task of finding what section you should work in first. This is going to pay back millions of dollars versus the $250K a typical associate will make. Spend 90% of your time finding your skills, spend 10% of your time looking at what niche you should jump into .
Business Example: Many of our readers have triangulated how much money we’re making online (yes we deleted your comments!). The bigger issue is this. Seeing numbers from someone else has nothing to do with what you are currently building.
We get other terrible questions such as “when should I buy traffic” where the answer is always the same “now and see if it works”. We have no idea where a person is in terms of their company so it creates more wasted time. You should spend 1 month doing basic research then… try before you ask.
Paid Traffic: Using the above question as a piggy back, you should always try to buy traffic first. This means you do all of the necessary research, target your niche and start out with a few thousand dollars in spending. You’re never going to “know” if it will work from day one. This is simply not possible (hence the word risk). Once you have tried at least 2-3 times you can start asking questions about the next steps.
Good questions include: 1) did you target the right group at the right time of day?, 2) did you go through the correct traffic avenue?, 3) were your copy writing skills up to par?, 4) did you choose the right distribution avenue to maximize margins?, 5) were you being outbid due to a traffic arbitrage by a competitor?
Until you have at least tried to buy traffic, there is no point in asking any questions in the first place.
Takeaways: Keeping the section short and sweet. The point is simple. Try everything after you have done the necessary research (research takes ~1 month). Simply find trusted sources (never mainstream) and then go with your gut and logic. Once you’re rolling it should be a simple game of making tweaks and focusing 90% of your time on doing versus learning
Most People Shouldn’t Read This Blog
This blog is not meant for most people. The harsh reality is that 50%+ of our current readership probably shouldn’t even read this blog. Why? This blog is niche. Focused on life advice for people involved in business sales and Wall Street. That is it. If you’re not operating a profitable business (draw the line at $200K+) and you’re not working on Wall Street (draw the line at $200K+) the information here is not going to be helpful unless that’s the career and business path you want.
If someone is reading this blog along with 3-4 other blogs on a weekly basis, they should probably shut this one down forever. We don’t need the traffic since the blog is set up to have product recommendations offset hosting costs. If we wanted to increase traffic we would have “joined forces” (power rangers comment from one of the readers who shouldn’t read our blog) with other bloggers. Of course we didn’t.
Why are we recommending that over half our readership leave and never come back?
See “Analysis Paralysis” again. While it’s great to see readership grow, it is not fair to recommend reading a site that is not going to give information tailored to their interests.
If you’re obtaining information from more than 2-3 sources on a weekly basis you’re already losing steam. You should only have one *maybe* two blogs that you read on a once per month rotation. Otherwise you’re going to read a muddled mess of ideas and beliefs that won’t help you at all.
Finally, an online resource is probably worth 5% compared to an in person resource. You’re going to make a lot more money and a lot more friends by having a real social network instead of a fake social network on the internet. How do we know? Look at the lives of the online social network. The lives of people who live primarily on social media, forums etc. *never improve*. If you’re the same person this year as you were last year. That’s a dead giveaway to shut down resources.
Takeaways: Avoid Analysis Paralysis by reading at maximum twice per month. Do this online with a few select resources (we’re drawing the line at two). No more than 35 minutes of your time should be spent reading online resources on a month to month basis.
Why You Should Think in Terms of a 2-4 Year Plan
All of the advice here really ties in together. If you’re spending 90% of your time taking action then you’re not going to have much time to loiter around on the internet. This will cause you to think on your feet and problem solve without going to internet websites or forums to find the “perfect” solution. You only visit online resources when solving a legitimate specific problem that you are running into.
The crux of 2-4 year plans is simple. Think backward.
Lets say your goal is to increase your net worth by $240K. That is a sizable chunk of money and is going to require a lot of work if you’re new. Do your best to think backward to the savings rate and your income growth.
In a linear fashion you need to put away $80K per year. Knowing that income is non-linear, you’re probably looking at something closer to $30K, $70K, $140K. Why is this important? It is important because $30K on a glance looks like an extremely easy hurdle. Instead of worrying about how you’re going to get to $140K in year three… you know that you need to throw *at least* $30K into the bank in year one to have a fighting chance in a performance based role.
Performance based income generating $30K is going to give you an idea of what works and what doesn’t. You’re going to learn basic tricks without even reading a book. You’ll learn through experience that phone calls 4+ with the same client have next to no chance of converting relative to phone calls two and three. You adjust your game plan. The next year you’re spending more time chasing down *quicker* sales than “long-term sales” since you learned in year one that phone calls 3 and 4 are a waste of time.
Now you can do the basic math to see why going from $30K to $70K is no longer a huge hurdle. You spent 2x as much time (calling over 4 times) to generate $30K in extra savings/net worth. Knowing that calls 3 and 4 are worthless you have cut your working hours in half.
Since you intend on increasing your income, you’re going to chase more leads up until phone call number two. A doubling of income is certainly on the horizon.
Alternatively, from a career perspective… you should think in the same fashion.
Is a 10-20% uptick in compensation worth the risk of destroying long-term relationships? The answer is generally no. The only time you jump ship is for a 40-50% change, not a 10-20% change. If you’re in good standing with a firm and you’re leaving for 10-20% you’ve blown yourself up.
Takeaways: To boil the examples down: 1) businesses should be managed mentally from a year to year basis upfront instead of a 10 year plan because there is minimal history to suggest trends and 2) careers should be managed from a medium-term perspective since everyone else is jumping ship for 10-20% moves on a 1 year time horizon. In short, 1 year plans and 5-10 years plans simply don’t work.
You Will Only Succeed When You Have Specific Differentiation
Ah, yes. The final reason why “Analysis Paralysis” is ruining your net worth and future. The only way to increase your income materially is to have a competitive advantage.
We get a lot of emails asking what “exactly” we’re doing (all deleted) and for specific “resource tips” (all deleted). The answer is always the same. We recommend very few products and all of them are good. Beyond that, the only resource tip we can give is to make mistakes.
No one in their right mind is going to give away trade secrets or any form of creative competitive advantage. You don’t build up a company or a career over 10+ years just to hand it to someone else who has contributed $0 to your bottom line. It simply doesn’t work that way.
How does it actually work? It works like this.
You pick up a few resources on the topic you are interested in (Sales, Wall Street etc.). You learn the basics on what to avoid. Avoidance is the only thing a resource has to offer you for free. It will prevent you from making bone headed mistakes that will cost you materially down the line. It is equivalent to learning how to swing a golf club correctly. After that… It is up to you (90/10 again!).
You can ask for a review of your golf swing once every month or so when you’re seeing minimal improvements. But. No one is actually going to swing the club for you. Once you’re good at swinging the club, you find nuanced strokes that work better for you in specific situations. That is where you go from decent to good.
A business and a career are both the same.
You avoid the blow up mistakes (incorrect company formation, incorrect politics, incorrect beliefs on what drives revenue) then you search for differentiation. So long as someone can copy you verbatim, you’re already behind the game!
Takeaways: You will gain traction once you find legitimate differentiation. This usually takes several years and you’re not going to learn differentiation from any book, seminar or website. You learn it the hard way (by doing). This website is set up in a similar fashion. We now provide detailed explanations of why you do XYZ instead of ZYX. It is up to the reader to decide if it makes sense or not.
Keeping it short as this post was written during a long international flight and likely has many typos. Below are the bullets
– Do not ask questions based on fake scenarios. This is a waste of time and your brain cells can be put to better use by improving your current scenarios instead of imaginary analysis
– If you do not have options you do not have questions. This is similar to negotiations. If you don’t have a competing bid there is no reason for them to move up to your ask.
– Hate to say it. But. Based on analytics, most people shouldn’t be reading this blog. It is a niche website and if you’re reading this blog along with blogs that are unrelated to it, you’re probably best reading the unrelated websites. There is too much conflicting information to draw up a good mosaic for yourself.
(on a more positive side note, reading comments from Stealthy1Percenter, REGuy and Recent Graduate, should help decide if this place is good for you. If you disagree with these three, you’re better off leaving since we agree with these three contributors the most)
– Instead of thinking deep into the future (what most people do) think backward. Create the game plan and think backward to today and let the flow of improvement carry you forward.
– You will gain traction once you are differentiated. When people begin copying you or trying to copy you… You’ve won. In addition, if people cannot figure you out… You’ve also won. You’ve transcended their sphere of logic or “their world view”. On that note back to 90/10 and we’ll decrease our post count from once a week to once every 10-14 days or so (barring special events).
Importantly, for those that are serious about developing multiple streams of income and a high net worth, we can recommend Personal Capital. The Company offers *free* software tools with the following four key features: 1) ability to avoid losing money by tracking all fees associated with an investment product allowing you to choose the best possible fund for your future, 2) portfolio analysis where your risk profile is stacked up against your current age and retirement goals, 3) in addition to these free tools, you can also track your net worth and path to becoming a millionaire and 4) when you hit $100K in networth you’ll receive a free one time consultation with an investment professional at Personal Capital. After linking up all of your accounts you’ll be able to sit back and watch as your net worth goes up and your fees remain minimal over the next several years. We strongly believe that Personal Capital is the premier personal finance software tool when compared to its competitors such as Mint. If you’re looking to avoid personal financial collapse, it makes sense to track everything in one place for *free*.