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David has been writing and publishing since 2006.  

Real Gurus in a World of TikTok Ones

Jun 6, 2023 | Reflections

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Photo by Vraj Shah on Pexels.com

In a world drowning in “expertise,” we, in fact, suffer from an acute shortage of true gurus.   Easy publishing platforms, YouTube, Tiktok, etc. etc. have increased the access and opportunity for content creators to produce and distribution their content.  And not surprisingly, in a field with zero barriers to entry, we have seen an explosion in those producing content.  

In the past, I have written about the advantages of anonymity and choosing when to grow a public profile.   And others, have thought far more eloquently about the risks of audience building.  

Today, I’d like to focus on the temptation to talk about doing the work vs. actually doing the work.  As the saying goes, it is in fact called work for a reason.  Producing anything of value will require hard work and sacrifice before seeing the fruits of the labor.   But make no mistake, the labor comes first, then the reward.

Far too often, self-anointed gurus of various disciplines seem to jump the shark.  They sell their secrets to success, their path to prosperity, the ten keys to unlocking whatever….without having first built something successful, reached prosperity or unlocked their own secrets.  

I recently heard the story of someone who sat in a pitch meeting with Elizabeth Holmes years ago for Theranos.  And what they found was that Holmes could pitch the vision, but when she was asked the next question – how does it work?  What is the financial model like? – she could only talk about the vision.  

The point being – vision without execution is hallucination as Edison said.  Aka real expertise vs. ‘staying in a Holiday Inn Express”

Now of course, there is risk to the other side.  It is possible to overprove a point.  Too much research, too much analysis, and too long to produce content of value makes the inverse error.  Rather than vapor-wear, this is the equivalent of custom-fit trousers + belt + suspenders – aka overkill.  The real world is not a university.  While academic papers may glorify the 9th level of detail, we live in an 80/20 world.  

The challenge then is to do enough of the work to get real experience, insight and wisdom, but not waiting for the last drop. This seems then to be the potent combination.  In a field with zero barriers to entry, those with real quality are the one’s who rise to the top.  Said differently and a challenge to all of us then, if you aren’t rising to the top, perhaps the question is not one of marketing, but one of quality.  And the best path to quality – doing the work.  


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Nashville, TN