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Derek Sivers
sivers.org
derek@sivers.org
@sivers
Background:
Background:
Professional musician
Background:
Professional musician
Website to sell my CD
CD Baby (1997)
Me in my bedroom
20 musicians
CD Baby (1999)
Me and John
2000 musicians
CD Baby (2002)
8 employees
20,000 musicians
CD Baby (2007)
85 employees
200,000 musicians
2 million customers
CD Baby (2008)
Sold for $22 million cash
CD Baby (2008)
Sold for $22 million cash
… and gave it all away.
Why are you listening?
Forrest Gump
Why are you listening?
Forrest Gump…
but learned some things.
Why are you doing?
Why are you doing?
Most people don't know.
Why are you doing?
Most people don't know.
They imitate others &
go with the flow.
Deathbed regret:
You pursued something that
someone said you should
want, instead of what you
really want.
What do you want?
Money?
Prestige?
Fame?
Leave a legacy?
Freedom?
Know!
Focus.
Don't diffuse.
Money?
Others take spotlight.
You just maximize $$.
Legacy?
Trump: spend to put your
name on things.
Freedom?
Refuse responsibility.
Delegate everything.
(DIY = delegate IY)
This is your compass
Optimize.
Side-effects (fame/$)
but know your real goal.
Nobody knows the future
Your business plan is moot
No plan survives first contact
with the customer
CD Baby: (month 1)
Payment processor
CD Baby: (month 2)
Payment processor
Store
CD Baby: (year 6)
Payment processor
Store
Distributor
ADMIT: “Nobody knows.”
ADMIT: “Nobody knows.”
Ask instead of answer.
Learn instead of preach.
Revolution?
CD Baby business model?
Ask the local record store.
CD Baby business model?
$35 to add
$4 per sale
Paid every week
5 years later…
“Revolution!”
Love ≠
Romeo & Juliet
Revolution ≠
war & blood
Revolution =
simply serving people
better
Revolution =
uncommon sense
If it's not a hit, switch
12 years trying everything
If it's not a hit, switch
CD Baby = hit song
If it's not a hit, switch
Felt the difference.
My advice?
If it's not a hit, switch
If people aren't loving what
you're doing, STOP!
Don't persist.
Don't push it.
When you've got something
great, you'll know.
They'll be freaking out.
Anything less than “OMFG!
Take all my money now!!”?
Nope. Stop. Change.
Write a different song.
Success comes from
peristently improving
and inventing.
Success comes from
peristently improving
and inventing, not
persistently pushing
what's not working.
Version 0.1
Music recommendation
idea.
Needs $2M to make it?
CD Baby 0.1
show CDs
add to cart
email me the info
CD Baby 0.1
show CDs
add to cart
email me the info
Profitable in 6 weeks.
If you're not launching
too soon, you're
launching too late.
Ideas vs Execution
“I've got a billion dollar idea!”
“I've got a billion dollar idea!”
(Sign this NDA to hear it.)
“Online dating… with music!”
“Online dating… with music!”
“So, you go make it, and we'll
split the profits 50/50.”
IDEA
-1 = bad idea
1 = weak idea
5 = average idea
10 = good idea
15 = great idea
20 = amazing idea
IDEA EXECUTION
-1 = bad idea $1 = no execution
1 = weak idea $1000 = weak execution
5 = average idea $10,000 = average exe...
IDEA EXECUTION
-1 = bad idea $1 = no execution
1 = weak idea $1000 = weak execution
5 = average idea $10,000 = average exe...
IDEA EXECUTION
-1 = bad idea $1 = NO execution
1 = weak idea $1000 = weak execution
5 = average idea $10,000 = average exe...
IDEA EXECUTION
-1 = bad idea $1 = no execution
1 = weak idea $1000 = weak execution
5 = average idea $10,000 = average exe...
IDEA EXECUTION
-1 = bad idea $1 = no execution
1 = weak idea $1000 = weak execution
5 = average idea $10,000 = average exe...
IDEA EXECUTION
-1 = bad idea $1 = no execution
1 = weak idea $1000 = weak execution
5 = average idea $10,000 = average exe...
The most successful things
we did at CD Baby
Answer phone on 2
nd
ring
From: CD Baby loves Sara <cdbaby@cdbaby.com>
To: sara@gmail.com
Subject: CD Baby loves you!
Personalized email headers.
Changes need pizza.
Customer comments
sent to musicians.
Any request with your order.
(Even gum or squid.)
People remember you
more for the little ways
you make them smile,
than all the other
tech/biz/marketing
stuff you do.
Be unusual (remarkable)
So everyone
tells their friends.
Be shockingly unique
Use uncommon sense.
Derek Sivers
sivers.org
derek@sivers.org
@sivers
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DNX GLOBAL Talk ★ Derek Sivers - How I built a rockstar online business and why I gave it to charity for $22M

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DNX GLOBAL Talk ★ Derek Sivers - How I built a rockstar online business and why I gave it to charity for $22M

  1. 1. Derek Sivers sivers.org derek@sivers.org @sivers
  2. 2. Background:
  3. 3. Background: Professional musician
  4. 4. Background: Professional musician Website to sell my CD
  5. 5. CD Baby (1997) Me in my bedroom 20 musicians
  6. 6. CD Baby (1999) Me and John 2000 musicians
  7. 7. CD Baby (2002) 8 employees 20,000 musicians
  8. 8. CD Baby (2007) 85 employees 200,000 musicians 2 million customers
  9. 9. CD Baby (2008) Sold for $22 million cash
  10. 10. CD Baby (2008) Sold for $22 million cash … and gave it all away.
  11. 11. Why are you listening? Forrest Gump
  12. 12. Why are you listening? Forrest Gump… but learned some things.
  13. 13. Why are you doing?
  14. 14. Why are you doing? Most people don't know.
  15. 15. Why are you doing? Most people don't know. They imitate others & go with the flow.
  16. 16. Deathbed regret: You pursued something that someone said you should want, instead of what you really want.
  17. 17. What do you want? Money? Prestige? Fame? Leave a legacy? Freedom?
  18. 18. Know! Focus. Don't diffuse.
  19. 19. Money? Others take spotlight. You just maximize $$.
  20. 20. Legacy? Trump: spend to put your name on things.
  21. 21. Freedom? Refuse responsibility. Delegate everything. (DIY = delegate IY)
  22. 22. This is your compass Optimize. Side-effects (fame/$) but know your real goal.
  23. 23. Nobody knows the future
  24. 24. Your business plan is moot
  25. 25. No plan survives first contact with the customer
  26. 26. CD Baby: (month 1) Payment processor
  27. 27. CD Baby: (month 2) Payment processor Store
  28. 28. CD Baby: (year 6) Payment processor Store Distributor
  29. 29. ADMIT: “Nobody knows.”
  30. 30. ADMIT: “Nobody knows.” Ask instead of answer. Learn instead of preach.
  31. 31. Revolution?
  32. 32. CD Baby business model? Ask the local record store.
  33. 33. CD Baby business model? $35 to add $4 per sale Paid every week
  34. 34. 5 years later… “Revolution!”
  35. 35. Love ≠ Romeo & Juliet
  36. 36. Revolution ≠ war & blood
  37. 37. Revolution = simply serving people better
  38. 38. Revolution = uncommon sense
  39. 39. If it's not a hit, switch
  40. 40. 12 years trying everything If it's not a hit, switch
  41. 41. CD Baby = hit song If it's not a hit, switch
  42. 42. Felt the difference. My advice? If it's not a hit, switch
  43. 43. If people aren't loving what you're doing, STOP! Don't persist. Don't push it.
  44. 44. When you've got something great, you'll know. They'll be freaking out.
  45. 45. Anything less than “OMFG! Take all my money now!!”? Nope. Stop. Change. Write a different song.
  46. 46. Success comes from peristently improving and inventing.
  47. 47. Success comes from peristently improving and inventing, not persistently pushing what's not working.
  48. 48. Version 0.1
  49. 49. Music recommendation idea. Needs $2M to make it?
  50. 50. CD Baby 0.1 show CDs add to cart email me the info
  51. 51. CD Baby 0.1 show CDs add to cart email me the info Profitable in 6 weeks.
  52. 52. If you're not launching too soon, you're launching too late.
  53. 53. Ideas vs Execution
  54. 54. “I've got a billion dollar idea!”
  55. 55. “I've got a billion dollar idea!” (Sign this NDA to hear it.)
  56. 56. “Online dating… with music!”
  57. 57. “Online dating… with music!” “So, you go make it, and we'll split the profits 50/50.”
  58. 58. IDEA -1 = bad idea 1 = weak idea 5 = average idea 10 = good idea 15 = great idea 20 = amazing idea
  59. 59. IDEA EXECUTION -1 = bad idea $1 = no execution 1 = weak idea $1000 = weak execution 5 = average idea $10,000 = average execution 10 = good idea $100,000 = good execution 15 = great idea $1,000,000 = great execution 20 = amazing idea $10,000,000 = amazing execution
  60. 60. IDEA EXECUTION -1 = bad idea $1 = no execution 1 = weak idea $1000 = weak execution 5 = average idea $10,000 = average execution 10 = good idea $100,000 = good execution 15 = great idea $1,000,000 = great execution 20 = amazing idea $10,000,000 = amazing execution to make a business, you need to multiply the two.
  61. 61. IDEA EXECUTION -1 = bad idea $1 = NO execution 1 = weak idea $1000 = weak execution 5 = average idea $10,000 = average execution 10 = good idea $100,000 = good execution 15 = great idea $1,000,000 = great execution 20 = AMAZING idea $10,000,000 = amazing execution amazing idea × no execution? $20
  62. 62. IDEA EXECUTION -1 = bad idea $1 = no execution 1 = weak idea $1000 = weak execution 5 = average idea $10,000 = average execution 10 = GOOD idea $100,000 = GOOD execution 15 = great idea $1,000,000 = great execution 20 = amazing idea $10,000,000 = amazing execution good idea × good execution? $1 million
  63. 63. IDEA EXECUTION -1 = bad idea $1 = no execution 1 = weak idea $1000 = weak execution 5 = average idea $10,000 = average execution 10 = good idea $100,000 = good execution 15 = great idea $1,000,000 = GREAT execution 20 = AMAZING idea $10,000,000 = amazing execution amazing idea × great execution? $20 million
  64. 64. IDEA EXECUTION -1 = bad idea $1 = no execution 1 = weak idea $1000 = weak execution 5 = average idea $10,000 = average execution 10 = good idea $100,000 = good execution 15 = great idea $1,000,000 = great execution 20 = amazing idea $10,000,000 = amazing execution I don't want to hear ideas, just see the execution.
  65. 65. The most successful things we did at CD Baby
  66. 66. Answer phone on 2 nd ring
  67. 67. From: CD Baby loves Sara <cdbaby@cdbaby.com> To: sara@gmail.com Subject: CD Baby loves you! Personalized email headers.
  68. 68. Changes need pizza.
  69. 69. Customer comments sent to musicians.
  70. 70. Any request with your order. (Even gum or squid.)
  71. 71. People remember you more for the little ways you make them smile, than all the other tech/biz/marketing stuff you do.
  72. 72. Be unusual (remarkable) So everyone tells their friends.
  73. 73. Be shockingly unique Use uncommon sense.
  74. 74. Derek Sivers sivers.org derek@sivers.org @sivers

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