John and I discuss Tim Ferris’ weighty tome, Tools of Titans and pick out our favorite “gems” for aviation sales and marketing professionals.


Aviation Sales and Marketing Book Club- Tim Ferris' Tools of Titans

We made a serious error in judgement in letting our group pick this book for October, the month of NBAA and road trip!

But, we love our Marketing Lab clients and we love Tim Ferris (also  the author of the ridiculously-named Four Hour Workweek, among other irreverent, entertaining and enlightening books) so we soldiered on.

It is the first time I’ve not been able to finish a Book Club selection, but we decided, since the show must go on, John and I each picked three key insights that we thought would be particularly helpful for aviation sales and marketing professionals, and went with that.

The book is divided into “healthy, wealthy and wise” sections- on health, business and philosophy; so I stuck mainly to the “wealthy” section.

So, here goes!

Paula’s Insight #1 – Arnold Schwartzenegger – “Never Audition”

It’s hard to imagine 80s and 90s movies without Arnold Schwartzenegger.

But when he was getting his start in Hollywood, the “great actors” were Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino.  Imagining Schwartzenegger auditioning for The Graduate or The Godfather is actually pretty laughable.

And yet he  was successful in action/comedy movies like the Running Man, Kindergarten Cop and True Lies – a movie type that were just getting its start.  James Cameron later remarked that they couldn’t have accomplished the wildly successful Terminator series   without Schwartzenegger.


Takeaway – don’t try to be someone else!

Although I greatly admire Dan Kennedy and Gary Vaynerchuk, and as much as I study their work and use many of their tactics and methods, I could not POSSIBLY copy their style. So, I’ll worry less about being “like” any particular successful marketing professional and just focus on being the best Paula Williams, Aviation Marketer that ever lived.

John’s Insight #2 – Scott Adams – “Losers have goals.  Winners have systems.”

The creator of the Dilbert series of cartoons attributes a lot of his success to systems.   If you fail at a goal, you’ve lost.  But if you have a system and you fail, just put in different parameters and try again.

Takeaway – A failure is just part of the process. Tweak the system or use different inputs, and keep on cranking!

Paula’s Insight #3 – Derek Sivers –  “Busy = Out of Control.”

Unlike most of the “titans” profiled in the book, Derek Sivers does NOT have a daily routine. He focuses on one thing at a time, sometimes for weeks or months at a time, and masters it before moving on.

Many of the sales and marketing professionals we talk to or work with are “too busy to succeed.”

Most of the time, this is a defense mechanism to keep them from working on the important but possibly intimidating tasks that would make them more successful.

Derek Sivers from Tools of Titans - Busy="Out of Control" Derek Sivers from Tools of Titans - Busy="Out of Control"

Takeaway – Whenever you catch yourself saying (or thinking)  “I’m too busy,”  stop and ask yourself why you’re focusing on the wrong things.


John’s Insight #4 – Kevin Costner – “Being an entrepreneur is being willing to do a job no one else wants to do, in order to be able to live the rest of your life doing whatever you want want to do.”

Many people start a business with the idea that they’ll get to do whatever they enjoy the most, and make money doing it.

While that is partly true, no job or no business is all unicorns and rainbows.  There is always a fair amount of “substance shoveling” before you find the unicorn, or pony.

Takeaway – You won’t love every minute of it, and that doesn’t mean you’re in the wrong job or the wrong business.

Paula’s Insight #5 – Seth Godin – “Be a meaningful specific instead of a wandering generality.”

The world is awash in good ideas.

Most of them fail because of poor execution. Most of the poor execution comes from insufficient focus, effort, attention and time.   Our friend Ramona Cox recently referred Robert DeLaurentis, the Zen Pilot, who is working on his latest venture- a pole-to-pole circumnavigation of the globe in a modified Turbo Commander.

Could we help get the word out about his venture?

My immediate inclination was, “this is SUCH a cool project, we HAVE to be part of it.”  But our mission is to help aviation professionals sell more of their products and services.   Not to publicize events.

Not a perfect fit.

But after some conversation, we figured out a way we could be involved that DOES fit our mission – the DeLaurentis Group sells products like books, CDs, challenge coins, flight bags and sunglasses to raise awareness and funds.

Perfect fit!  We can help Robert’s team sell products! And we’re happily doing just that.

Takeaway –  Make it fit your mission, or say no!

John’s Insight #6 – Yoda – “Named must your fear be before banish it you can.”

Aside from the interesting sentence structure, this is pure Buddhism.  Many other philosophies support this idea as well.

Instead of ridiculing ourselves for our fear, or trying to just “wish it away,”  it’s much more effective to sit with it for awhile, examine it, take it apart, and get comfortable with it.

I may never be totally comfortable with public speaking or making sales calls.  The fear is not a bad thing, I just need to manage it properly.

Takeway – Get comfortable with your fear, rather than avoiding it!

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