The Business of Selling Digital “Unlock Codes” and Why The 10,000 Hour Rule is B.S.
Here's a popular belief. It's b.s. I want to expose it AND the business of selling unlock codes.
You don't have the right to create an info product unless you've put in 10,000 hours
I've discussed this in other blog posts. But it's an idea I totally disagree with. Just to give you a basic example.
I created a product on how to use an online A.I. program to write things. The program was pretty new. I did NOT have 10,000 hours experience.
But what I could do and DID do was turn beginners onto this program. And show all the different ways it could be used. I created a pretty darned attractive VALUE PROPOSITION around it.
The TRUTH is you do NOT sell EXPERIENCE.
You can be the most experienced person in the entire world and find yourself unable to sell an info product on the topic.
Because you have to understand WHAT PEOPLE BUY.
This is fundamental to sales and marketing.
You buy what's called a Value Proposition.
The Value Proposition is the experience people have using your product or service vs. the alternatives.
What gives you the RIGHT to sell something is this: You have a Value Proposition people WANT to pay money for. And they feel they got their money's worth after buying.
I see this all the time with online coaches.
The old people who've been around forever like me often say, “What right do these new coaches have to to teach people XYZ?”
And the answer is, their ability to SELL XYZ (unlike YOU) and make clients HAPPY is what gives them the right.
Notice I included the part about making clients happy with their expenditure of money.
If you sell HOT AIR, deliver HOT AIR and have a bunch of upset clients, that's a PROBLEM.
Here's a WEIRD FACT: The best coaches in different sports often didn't PLAY the sport at the pro level!
It's mind boggling I know.
But I live in San Antonio. Gregg Popovich is the coach. And he won 5 NBA championships with his teams. HE NEVER PLAYED BASKETBALL on an NBA team! College, yes. But NBA no.
Yet he won coach of the year three times.
Conversely, some of the best players make lousy coaches and teachers. Coaching and teaching is an entirely different skill than the DOING of the thing.
This is a difficult fact for people to accept.
Yet, it's true.
The best teachers aren't always that great at DOING the thing. They're just good at teaching it.
I'm NOT advocating being irresponsible. Or bogus teaching and credentials.
What I'm saying is you don't need 10,000 hours, especially if you're teaching beginners.
Let's pretend that I have a SAFE by xyz company. And I know the combination to unlock the safe.
And you have the exact same SAFE.
Do I have the right to give you the UNLOCK CODE if I haven't spent 10,000 hours unlocking the safe?
I mean, my unlock code either works or it doesn't.
That's how it is online. People learn an unlock code from a mentor. They use the unlock code and get a result. They turn around and teach the unlock code to others for money.
Whethery ou like it or not, that's how the deal goes down.
Kevin Nations, for example, figured out how to sell really big ticket coaching programs. He taught his method to others. Who then taught it to others. Who then taught it to others.
I'm sure Kevin isn't too thrilled about that. And you can argue that the original is the best.
But basically, he figured out an unlock code for unlocking big ticket sales.
He taught it to Frank Kern and others.
Frank taught it to others who tried it. And sure enough, the big ticket sales unlocked.
So they then taught it to others. And so on.
Originally, whether you know it or not, Bob Serling was the first person I know of to figure out the UNLOCK CODE for a step-by-step formula to write a sales letter.
I took his 16-step formula, boiled it down to 12 steps with my own spin and ideas and taught it in 120 seminars around the world. But I NEVER could have done that if Bob didn't figure out the original unlock code.
Now, others came along after me and taught their own derivation of my 12-step formula. Some got recognized for inventing it. Whatever. They stand on the shoulders of Bob Serling. Because he figured out the original unlock code.
But does that mean the other unlock codes didn't work unless they had 10,000 hours?
The unlock code is an unlock code. It simply unlocked sales if you followed the code.
By the way, you can buy my current version of my original unlock code here.
To the best of my knowledge, I was the first person to sell a 100% digitally delivered ebook on a wide scale via an affiliate program. Cory Rudl was doing it but he followed up with a print book. As did my friend Declan Dunn.
Anyway, others copied that formula and started SELLING THE UNLOCK CODE to digital product sales via an affiliate program.
Did they have 10,000 hours experience?
They saw my unlock code.
They copied it.
They started selling it.
I didn't have a process patent. So it's not like I had legs to stand on. This is how things work. Now, if Cory or I got a process patent, then perhaps we could have controlled the distribution of the method. Maybe. Maybe not.
To my knowledge, Cory had an affiliate program BEFORE Amazon. He had custom-written software created. If he got a process patent, maybe he could have protected the method. I don't know.
Somewhere along the way, Chris Carpenter figured out how to sell affiliate products directly via Google ads. He wrote an ebook on it and called it Google Cash. Oh my goodness, the thing exploded.
Now, before you could shake a stick, a crapload of people were teaching his Google Cash “Unlock Code.”
Because it WORKED. You didn't need 10,000 hours to make it work.
You ran the ads for affiliate products.
They made money hand over fist. End of story.
Travis Sago figured out a way to sell big ticket products WITHOUT PHONE CALLS by using a Google Doc. He UNLOCKED THE CODE.
Now, there are tons of people sell that basic unlock code. Ironically enough, they never give him credit. You'll see this all the time. You'd think they'd at least credit the person who figured out the unlock code.
Frank Kern created an UNLOCK CODE for creating info products that he calls the Escape Arrival framework. Tons of other people re-teach his unlock code without giving him credit, of course.
But they don't have 10,000 hours experience in it.
Why? Because once you know the unlock code, it just works. Period.
It's fast. It's easy. It makes total sense. It's brilliant.
My point is, this isn't 1990.
Today, people unlock a code.
Overnight that innovation diffuses or gets distributed across information networks online. Groups, forums, pages, products, live streams, etc.
In the old days, you could figure out an unlock code and have five years before anyone else would sell your unlock code. Well, maybe that was the real old days.
In any event, today you have 30 days, if that.
Let it be clear I'm NOT talking about copying the EXPRESSION of an idea which can be copyrighted. What I'm talking about is the idea or method.
And I'm not a lawyer. But I can tell you this. In practice, without a process patent which seem to be rare, there is no protection against the idea being replicated.
That's how business works.
Now, the big businesses do legal things to protect their “trade secrets.” And if you have a great legal team and deep pockets, you might be able to protect your recipe for 11 spices in your chicken.
Or your formula for a soft drink.
But such protection in the normal course of business is uncommon.
My point here isn't legal aspects. I'm horribly unqualified at that.
But what I AM saying is that maybe a long time ago, the 10,000 hour rule applied. And maybe it applies to today in certain strict, limited circumstancers.
But, in general, once you have an UNLOCK CODE for something people want to do, they'll be GLAD to pay you for it.
You have an unlock code for producing a book in an evening? Others will pay you for it. And in fact, they have. And many others now sell the same unlock code with different riffs and variations.
You have an unlock code for selling big tickets over FB messenger? People will pay you for it.
You have an unlock code for creating and selling bucketloads of low content books on Amazon produced with A.I.? People will pay you for the unlock code.
And if it sells well, you can bet LOTS of people will be replicating and selling that unlock code.
Typically, the best marketer wins.
NOT the first.
In the old days, Trout and Ries taught it was the first.
I don't see that in today's world.
What I see is that the best MARKETER with the best MARKETING wins the race.
I mean, Jasper came before ChatGPT.
But ChatGPT overnight became a multi-billion dollar sensation due to an incredibly savvy marketing and execution plan done with perfection.
BOTTOM LINE: Info products are basically unlock codes we sell to help people get a result. If your unlock code works, people will be happy to pay you for it. Now, if you're selling defective unlock codes that don't work, you have a problem on your hands.
But if your unlock code works, you may have only learned it last week. People could give a crap. They care that the unlock code works.
That's ALL they care about.
I'm NOT saying these things are right.
I'm NOT saying it's how things SHOULD work.
I'm saying this is how the whole business works.
Period. End of story.