DEV Community

Justin L Beall
Justin L Beall

Posted on

DEV3L on The Personal MBA 1

Table of Contents

  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2 : (Sales) (Delivery) (Finance)
  3. Part 3 : (Human Mind) (Yourself) (Others)
  4. Part 4 : (Understanding) (Analyzing) (Improving Systems)


TL;DR - The Personal MBA: A World-Class Business Education in a Single Volume Book by Josh Kaufman is a very broad audio book about what it takes to run a business for the entrepreneurially curious. Topics range from business finance to behavioral science. It is 13 hours and 25 minutes long on Audible.

personal mba image

I hope this book helps you make more money get more done and have fun in the process. It is not supposed to be a replacement for a traditional education, but instead the most important ideas distilled for audiences of all levels.

Knowing what's critically important in every business. It is the first step in making good decisions. If you put the same amount of time and work into doing good work and improving your skills, as you would receiving a certificate, you will be okay.

Three important business observations

  1. Large companies move slowly. Good ideas often die in the vine because they need to be approved by too many people
  2. Climbing the corporate ladder is an obstacle to doing great work
  3. Frustration leads to burnout

Business Schools do not create successful people, through their selection process they choose the successful ones and get credit for it. Making things happen is your responsibility. Business School traditionally teaches how to make people work faster and do what they're told. These Concepts do not stand up in the modern business world. Short-term profit focus forgoes long-term process improvements even though the net benefit is obvious. CPA CFA level finance and accounting, learn the basics and leave the details to the specialist.

Management and Leadership skills do not equal business skills, granted they are important but they are not the same thing.

Five Parts of a Business

  • Create and deliver something of value
  • Other people want and or need
  • At a price they're willing to pay
  • In a way that satisfies the customers needs and expectations
  • The business brings in enough profit to make it worthwhile for the owners to continue


Marketing is the Art and Science of finding prospects, people who are actively interested in what you had to offer... We only purchase but we already desire on some level.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

  • Physiology
  • safety
  • belongingness or love
  • Esteem
  • Self-actualization

Human drives

  • The drive to acquire
  • The drive to bond
  • The drive to learn
  • The drive to defend
  • The drive to feel

Humans are social creatures, this is fundamental to understanding marketing. Status seeking is a global human phenomenon. For Market competition, observe a competitor by becoming a customer. Learn everything you can about your competition, think Jane Goodall, then create something better.

Evaluate a Market

Rate each one of the items below from 1 to 10.
If the total is below 50, think of a new idea.
If the total is above 75 you may be onto something.

  • How urgent is the need for this
  • How big is the market
  • Pricing potential
  • Cost of acquisition for new customers
  • Cost of value delivery
  • Uniqueness of offering
  • Speed to Market
  • Upfront investment
  • Upsell potential
  • Evergreen potential

Twelve Types of Value

  • Product
  • service
  • shared resource
  • subscription
  • resale
  • lease
  • agency
  • audience aggregation
  • loan
  • option
  • insurance
  • capital

Hassle is a source of revenue. People are almost always willing to pay for something that is too much of a pain for them to take care of themselves. Where there is a hassle, there's a business opportunity.

Don't be shy about sharing your work in progress with customers. The age of skunk work prototypes is over. Ideas are cheap, the execution and plan of an idea is valuable. All good ideas need to be iterated upon until it's successful solution arises. When receiving genuine feedback, remain thick skinned. No one likes to hear their baby is ugly. This kind of genuine information is absolutely necessary to creating a great offering. Give customers the opportunity to pre-order as a mechanism of marketing feedback. If people are willing to put money down without a finished or completed product in their hands, you're onto something.

Economic Values

9 common values customers use to evaluate a offering:

  • Efficacy, how well does it work
  • Speed, how quickly does it work
  • Reliability, can I depend on it
  • Ease-of-use, how much effort does it require
  • Flexibility, how many different things does it do
  • Status, how does this affect the way others perceive me
  • Aesthetic appeal, how attractive is it
  • Emotion, how does it make me feel
  • Cost, how much do I have to give up

Author talks about critical assumptions, which seem to model Lean Startup leap of faith assumptions. As a rule, people don't make trade-offs unless they're forced to. Shadow testing allows a company to presale an offering without any of the product available yet. Minimum viable offering is the sale of an MVP product. Then iterate on the product offering, incremental augmenting

Field test your product. Dogfood your product. Using what you make every day is the best way to improve an offering. Being an avid consumer of your own products, your most demanding customer.

You need to find ways around your customers filters. Everyone has more information then can be consumed. The trick is to create a message in such a way that it gets the attention of your target audience. Being remarkable is the best way to attract attention. Think about the five finger toed running shoes, different.

Focus your marketing efforts on the probable purchaser. Assume the purchaser is in a preoccupied state when crafting marketing. Not every customer is a good customer, attempt to find the most qualified customers for you. Evaluate Prospect before they buy. Markets have entry and exit points for example individuals only look for diapers when they have a small child as a dependent. If you can get a customer's attention the moment they enter a market, you become the standard by which they compare all other products. That's putting you at a significant advantage.

Once you stop comparing and start wanting, that is when I purchase may occur. The most effective way to encourage people to want something is to ask them to visualize what their life would be with your offering. Framing is the act of emphasizing the details that are critically important while deemphasizing things that aren't. Be mindful of what you are emphasizing and minimizing, you can effectively communicate the benefits of your offering.

Offers discount/free products to set customer's value bar. An easy way to introduce your offering to potential customers. Think food samples at a mall court. The cost of the free sample is absorbed through the additional sales you get from that sample. Free value leads to attention, but attention is not the only thing that is important. Focus on giving away real free value that will attract real customers.

Ask for permission to follow up after providing free value. It is more effective than interruption. How often does an individual respond to anything in the spam filter, navigate away from commercials and advertising, or just throw away direct mail marketing materials.

A hook is a single phrase or sentence that describes and offerings benefits. Focus on what is unique about you and your product. A call to action directs prospects to take a single simple obvious action. If you think you're being too obvious, you're doing it right.

Don't be a mercenary or a crusader

The hero's journey for storytelling

Begin with a normal person living the trials and tribulations of everyday life. The hero then received a call to adventure, challenge quest, or responsibility. This requires the hero to rise above the normal existence and hone skills and abilities. Once the hero accept the call he or she departs normal existence. Through a series of remarkable circumstances, after persevering in the face of adversity, the hero vanquishes the foe and receives a mighty gift or power. Then he returns to the normal world to share this knowledge, wisdom, and power with normal people. In return the hero received the respect and admiration of all.

Your customers want to be heroes. They want to be respected and admired by all. They want to be powerful, successful, and determined in the face of adversity. They want to be inspired by the trials and tribulations of other people who have come before them and vanquish the foe! Tell the story of the path that your customer is considering. Customers in case studies grad prospective customers attention.

Part 2

Top comments (0)