Possibility and Probability

Coding Python and making businesses…

11 March 2010

Is Giles Bowkett full of shit or an utter genius?

by admin

So Giles Bowkett put up a pretty interesting post the other day. He put up the a post on what to do if you get fired, offering a story about how he has increased his charge rate over the years to despite getting fired. Its a little bit rambling at times, but it does bring up a lot of good points. His main jist is that in order to advance in your career (getting more money, working with better technology, etc.) you need to increase your reputation. And peppered throughout the posting, he has an obscenely long blurb describing how he is going to help you do this. At the end, the punchline is that he’s offering a movie and a few other options for only a few dollars… he can show you how to do this. At first glance this sounds pretty crazy. Or like a scam. But… Giles is a pretty sharp guy. I’ve been following his blog for a few weeks, and its been interesting. I also watched his preview video, and decided I’d take the bait. In the video he discusses a lot ways to improve one’s standing in the community. Its kinda funny, a lot of the things he suggests are things I have been trying to incorporate into my usual routine. Some are really obvious, others are new (at least to me). A lot of “self help” products tend to follow this pattern: Make an outrageous claim to get people’s attention, then offer “common sense” steps to achieving the original claim. A lot of times the price one pays to learn these “secrets” seems to be far out of proportion to the actual value. At $39, would Giles’ video be the same thing? Giles is  bit of a troll with some of his postings. Would buying this video be the ultimate act of “feeding the troll”? If you read his post, there’s a definete pattern to his writing. He’s clearly got a message that he’s trying to deliver (or whet one’s appetite to get them to purchase the video), but he also likes to ruffle some feathers along the way. For a blog post that hints at the importance of boosting one’s position in a community (this is geared towards programmers), its important to make sure that the message doesn’t get lost in the drama of the presentation. Does the signal rise above the noise? 37signals are masters of this type of message delivery. They talk the talk, and they walk the walk. They are masters of telling you what they are going to do, and then doing it. Giles’ presentation covers a lot of ground, and like I said earlier, some of it was familiar. Other topics were new (or shown in a new light) at least for me. But I have to admit, how he stitched these ideas together was pretty interesting. The combining of these common sense ideas and focusing them in one direction can really pay off. The main ideas are being a better blogger (marketing), contributing to open source code (relationships/skills/karma), and making presentations (communicating). Improving any of these skills would probably benefit most people. Giles’ assertion is that improving all three leads to powerful results, as they did in his case. Can this be replicated by other people? There’s only one way to find out. So what is Giles? I’m leaning more towards genius. His approach is a little odd because of the troll-vibe, but I think his fundamentals are pretty sound. Good ideas + solid implementation = success. It is a formula that’s been proven correct over and over. If nothing else, he’s a genius for making the video. There’s enough people out there that are curious enough to pony up the cash. So while we are trying to figure out how to get a leg up, he’s already 5 steps ahead. :)