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The Price of Admission to Prize-rich Environments

Discover how to create irresistible and irrepressible content with AI, and the price of admission to prize-rich environments. Learn from my experiences of producing content at my A-game and the lessons I've learned on how to win over abstract enemies.

Ready to Take on the Prize-Rich Environment: Embracing the Price of Admission.

By Michael Levin

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Create content at such a rate and of such a nature that it’s irresistible and irrepressible. There’s an infinite spam cannon coming online, but that’s really just passive aggressive putting down of a process that lots of people are going to be doing very well and that I’m already a bit jealous of already, as my HitTail system from 2006 was so many of the things then that people are building today. Take the output of a system and feed it back in as input, and voila, content!

Back in those days, HitTail had to be a bit more manual, hiring writers to take your primed and nearly guaranteed to work writing topic subject matter (keywords) and work them into the headlines of well-optimized blog posts, and you could pretty reliably and systematically bring in traffic. It was based on the premise that something was always nearly working for you, and I produced one of those off-the-wall early YouTube thingies so quaint and nostalgic today:

Well, that was a long, long, long time ago. And producing that was really me on the decline from being at my prime and working my A-game, which I feel mostly occurred in the halls of the most promising but ungrateful and misleading places I ever worked, Scala. It’s value ultimately was the friendships that have lasted a lifetime, and the experiences for which there could be few better terms than “war stories” to describe.

Looking back I believe it was that very angst and having something to prove and having my income tied to a variable revenue component that made me drive myself so hard and bring out my A-game. I don’t think it was all that mentally healthy, and ultimately that’s what drive me to New York City. If I was being so moderately successful with brilliant A-game work whose very nature was to overcome the opposition with which it was met, imagine what I could do in friendly territory!

But nothing ever got that hostile again. It’s just that my A-game was never needed again. I was in positions where I perhaps needed to bring it out, but I met someone, got married, had a kid, and the battles became on a different front, the New York Co-op Board. Ugh! After awhile you realize it is you. You are the problem. So, much soul-searching and self-improvement later, I’m finally ready to get back to my A-game. I’m at MOZ. I have something to prove again. To be in such a situation with a more abstract enemy and business goals that everyone’s actually rallying around, and me having the time to do it with my kid much older, is a very exciting prospect.

I feel the energy crackling from my fingertips again, and with a much better foundation of technology to base it on, and with the rise of AI as the swelling wave beneath my surfboard, I’m ready to ride it.

AI amplifies your already existing abilities, and all the more so for folks who feel they were right at the cusp of something big, but never got to see it through because of 1000 tiny cuts. AI is like the armor the tiny hatches swinging at your ankles dull their blades on. I’m slapping on my shiny red armor all equipped with Jarvis, and I’m ready to go to battle again.

Real enemies are bad. I once learned they were good from a book called Selling The Dream by Guy Kawasaki. But I’ve learned that real enemies are bad. They take your focus off of your real mission and your life. They don’t deserve to siphon off your energy, and their ability to do so is actually a win for them and a loss for you. The person who originally brought me to New York City taught me that. I was pretty fixed on the point of view that enemies were good when I last discussed it with him, and I remember him shaking his head sadly and me shrugging it off. I hear you, Adam. I haven’t necessarily changed all that much for consistency over time is a virtue, but I have changed my mind on that one. Win them over, ignore them, or walk away from the situation.

Abstract enemies, now they’re good. It’s a survival thing. If you choose to swim in the ocean, you’re going to have to deal with sharks. The ability of sharks to eat you is just something those with ambition must accept. It’s nothing personal between you and the shark, but it’s the price of admission to a prize-rich environment.