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Productive Paranoia.

Intel founder, tech genius and billionaire Andy Grove titled his book, Only the Paranoid Survive.

Since we can’t see everything, the truth is that we make decisions based on our biases. Most of us don’t question our biases, they are just “the way we are.”

Grove developed a set of biases that propelled him to the top of the digital world. Where did he get them? Nazi Germany

To my mind, the reason Grove’s paranoia worked so well is that most people have the opposite bias. Blessed with good enough childhoods and with normally limited imaginations that protect them from the anxiety of seeing all the possibilities, most people deal with what they think they know.

Pearl Harbor. Nine-eleven. Sputnik. AIDS. Black Friday. Our tendency is to deal with things when we have to, rather than at the optimal time. Our tendency is to be surprised.

It’s good to know what you can about what competitors are doing. Like Starbucks looked at high-end coffee shops… and then McDonald’s came along…

The competition is always coming, but you just don’t know where it’s coming from. That’s the kind of paranoia that drives you to innovate, to stay ahead.

The Fountainhead: Why to do thought leadership and content marketing.

The Fountainhead: Why to do thought leadership and content marketing.

If you understand the value of the content you create to your audience, then you’ll have a much better idea of what’s worth doing and how to do it.

Let’s start with the current norm. Those of us who are doing this because we think thought leadership or content management is a good thing to be doing. We think we’re helping people make a product decision. Or we think we’re simply building the reputation of our company. And perhaps we also think we’re creating inexpensive ways to expand the potential for prospective customers to engage with us, and then perhaps be converted to customers down the line. Maybe we also think we’re arming our brand advocates with information and data they can use to advocate for us with others

Of course, these are all good reasons to build a content or thought leadership strategy. But they miss the essential element that makes all of this content so valuable: self-esteem.

Yes, many people seek out product information and knowledge about categories in order to build their own self-esteem. These segment into a few psychographic types. Some love the process in and of itself, many others are interested in the social status they derive for category knowledge, and even more are interested in the dopamine-mediated pain reduction that comes from encountering social-validation of a good decision they have already made.

If you know that the purpose of your ‘thought leadership’ is to make the decision process and lifecycle more gratifying and better, then you know a lot!