TEI Curriculum

The Expertise Incubator Curriculum

This is a free curriculum that helps you succeed at the 3 Expertise Incubator challenges.

1: How to Cultivate Expertise

The people I know who have the most interesting and lucrative careers have adopted “orphan problems”.

These are problems that exist at sufficient scale and severity in the marketplace, but there’s no corresponding academic or credentialing path that supplies us with licensed experts to solve them.

So, these folks become self-made experts in solving these orphan problems, and they enjoy significant freedom in how they monetize that expertise, at the cost of working damn hard for a while and embracing significant risk along the way.

The Expertise Incubator is a framework I invented to help folks like you find and adopt orphan problems, and cultivate valuable expertise in service of solving those problems.

Slides | Transcript

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBlQeIjnNVk[/embedyt]

2: What is Daily Publication?

There’s a simple definition for daily publication: frequently enough that you’re thinking about it every day. When you’ve created the productive obsession we’re seeking with the first challenge of The Expertise Incubator, you’ve succeeded in part of what that first challenge is meant to accomplish.

There’s an even simpler definition: publish something to an email list every day you work.

But both of these definitions don’t really explain some important stuff:

  • How can you publish that frequently and keep subscribers interested?
  • How can you, the publisher, maintain that kind of cadence while exploring the edges of what you know?

In this TEI Talk, I share some ways to accomplish both of those goals within the practice of daily publication.

Slides | Transcript

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ob2lHXsipKU[/embedyt]

3: Examples of the Form

This TEI Talk is half of a circle that you need to complete on your own. In it, I walk through 10 examples of daily emailers, and talk about what we can learn from them. You complete the circle by signing up to their email lists — even for just a few weeks — to see what they’re doing and learn from them.

Slides | Transcript

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqznrxtzfXg[/embedyt]

4: A Recommended Platform

When you are publishing daily, any kind of excess friction will harm you. In this talk, I suggest a particular tech setup that’s mean to reduce friction so you can get more of the expertise-cultivating benefits of daily publication.

Slides | Transcript

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bD996KEhtlo[/embedyt]

5: Surviving Daily Publication

The simple mechanics of exercise leading to endorphin production has a host of positive side effects, including reductions in depression, stress, anxiety, pain, and bodyweight and increases in self-esteem and wellbeing. The simple mechanics of the practice of publishing 3x/week or more to an email list creates its own host of positive second-order effects, including accelerated cultivation of expertise, point of view, and authority in the market. To get these benefits, you need to publish consistently, and to do that, you need some survival skills. This TEI Talk will equip you with those skills.

Slides | Transcript

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqHHqtgz1mo[/embedyt]

6: Selling to an Email List


The Expertise Incubator framework focuses on maximizing the combination of reader/subscriber value and your future expertise value.

At some point, however, you may become interested in converting this significant amount of effort you’re pouring into the publishing into at least some current economic value for your business! This lecture offers a way to think about how to do that, and offers some specific methods you can implement.


[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJ22Gy2tPyw[/embedyt]

7: Innovation


  • Talk Notes: https://www.mindmeister.com/1665636662/tei-talks-7-of-18-innovation-philip-morgan?fullscreen=1

If you really, really… REALLY commit to the “cowpaths-to-roads” idea, then at some point the cowpath you are pursuing will feel like it’s headed straight for a cliff. You’ll wonder if you’re on the cusp of a significant innovation, or on the cusp of complete irrelevance to your market (and a complete loss of reader/subscriber value in what you’re publishing).

During this TEI Talk, I explore this fear and the very real tension that underlies it.


[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9fyiMwL8aU[/embedyt]

8: Publishing During Times of Social or Economic Distress

The year 2020 has been quite a year. I believe that in another 5 or 10 years, we won’t consider it unprecedented in its level of challenge and disruption. Instead, I think we’ll think of it as a preview — a training grounds — for future “interesting times”. Times like 2020 challenge our assumptions about what creates reader value. Should we use whatever platform our email list has become to support social justice causes? How should we think about what’s happening in the broader culture outside our narrow area of business focus, and how should we handle that in our emails to our list? This challenging and charged question is the topic of this TEI Talk.

I mention Chris Ferdinandi several times during this talk. He contributed this addendum to add some detail to what I shared during the talk:

I wanted to add to the discussion in the "Publishing during times of social or economic distress" video, because I found it incredibly fascinating.

  • Back in 2018, I introduced location-based pricing (similar to Amy and Alex, inspired by Wes Bos). It's automatic, and allows customers to also use sale discounts and such on top of their location based pricing. https://gomakethings.com/location-based-pricing/
  • I also offer an evergreen, honor-system discount to anyone in an under-represented group in tech. https://vanillajsguides.com/underrepresented-group-discount/
  • Both of these moves were driven by a desire to give back to a community that's given me so much, and expand access to folks for who my stuff would otherwise be too expensive.

Slides | Transcript

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_7MYQmcMz8[/embedyt]

9: List Growth

At some point, you will want all this effort you’re putting into publishing to have more impact; to reach more people. It’s at this point that you’ll start thinking about intentional list growth.

This talk will suggest some approaches you can use.

Links mentioned in this lecture:

Slides | Transcript

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=720WNMCaUJw[/embedyt]

10: What Is Business Research?

The second and third TEI challenges focus on small-scale research. Most of our instincts and preconceptions about research lead us astray. This talk will overview the landscape of business research so that you can understand the TEI approach to small-scale research.


[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAFY6jfM6Yc[/embedyt]