The Entrepreneurial Minimalist

Lessons from the TV Show Survivor

Published 8 months ago • 4 min read

Jason Stapleton
Scottsdale, AZ
Friday, 9:14 a.m.

Hello again my friend,

My wife loves survivor.

You remember. It’s that show you watched 20 years ago but quit after 4 seasons because you lost interest.

Before I met my wife I didn’t know it was still on the air. So I was shocked to find out that not only is Survivor still around but it has a legion of diehard fans who show up every Wednesday to watch the game unfold.

To refresh you memory; Survivor is a reality show where contestants compete for a million dollars.

Players are dropped on a deserted island where they’re starved and forced to compete in challenges to stay in the game.

The challenges are either endurance based, (how long can you stand on a plank while holding a ball over your head) or obstacle based.

The obstacle challenges always end in a puzzle and it only took me 5 episodes to realize the obstacles are pointless. It always comes down to the puzzle.

Thanks to my wife, I’ve watched more than 10 seasons of the show and I’ve always found one thing perplexing.

As the contestants work on the puzzle, one person will pull ahead. Jeff Probst, the host of the show, constantly shouts updates to the contestants about who’s ahead and who’s falling behind.

The second he lets them know one person is pulling ahead the other contestants look over to see if they can get figure out what they’re doing wrong.

Those contestants never win the challenge.

You Can’t become a Leader by Following the Leader

So much of our marketing in 2023 is wrapped up in creating ‘brand’. We spend hours a day on social media, developing a following that we hope will one day buy from us.

Yet most entrepreneurs are using the “follow the leader” approach.

They look at what other thought leaders are doing and try to become another version of them.

They say, “That person has a huge following. Let me see if I can do what they’re doing and get a similar result.”

If you’ve been that person you know how things turn out. The leader stays the leader and you live in obscurity.

You can’t become the leader by being a knocking-off of someone else.

  • The Monkeys were never going to be the Beatles.
  • Dr. Pepper will never lose ground to Dr. Thunder.
  • Threads was never going to overtake X.

If you want to be seen as a true expert and thought leader in your industry you’re going to need to do something 98% of people can’t (or won’t) do.

Have a original thought.

You Need a TPOV

TPOV stand for ‘Transformational Point of View’ and it’s essential if you want to claim the top spot in your category.

Being a thought leader requires you to employ original thinking. You can’t retread the same tired ideas we’ve all heard a million times.

You can’t take an unoriginal idea, plug it into a template and expect to become the next Lex Friedman or Simon Sinek.

You must see the world with a different set of eyes. Your perspective (point of view) must elevate your audiences thinking.

It must force them to challenged widely accepted truths that the current thought leaders promote.

Your point of view must transform your audiences thinking and reshape the context through which they see the world.

How to Create a TPOV

Start by finding a quiet place where you can focus for at least an hour.

Then, answer these questions:

  • Who are the current thought leaders in your space?
  • What’s wrong with the prevailing wisdom in your industry?
  • What concepts/principles were true yesterday but lack relevance today?
  • What do you do that you are uniquely known for?
  • What problems currently exist in your industry that your unique perspective could solve?
  • How can you differentiate yourself from any and all competition through word choice, tone, and nuance?

This is NOT easy. If it was, there’d be a lot more groundbreaking and thought provoking content out there.

You’re also going to encounter a battalion of expert level haters who are going to tear you apart for challenging the prevailing wisdom.

Welcome to the world of a thought leader.

You will likely spend years in obscurity being denounced and ridiculed for your ideas.

But if your methods have merit, they will grow to become mainstream. And you’ll earn the top spot in a category by yourself.

That is far better than spending a lifetime in obscurity trying to be a poor mans version of somebody else.

Here’s What to Do Next

The devil is always in the details. I could write an entire book on branding.

In the last 15 years I’ve build two, 7-figure businesses and a #1 ranked podcast on iTunes on the back of my personal brand.

And I did it in 3 different industries.

I’m not aware of anyone who knows more about personal branding for entrepreneurs than me. Or anyone who’s had more success growing profitable brands in as many industries as I have.

Creating an epic brand is the product of 3 things:

  1. Category
  2. TPOV
  3. Product

And helping people develop each part of that triangle is a huge part of what I do.

If you’d like some help growing your influence and brand then I’d love to work with you.

I'll be exploring the branding topic in more detail over the next few letters. My hop is that you'll gain a new perspective on what it takes to build a brand in this hyperconnected world full of distraction.

It should make for some good reading.

Talk soon,


P.S. For those currently going through the Solo Cohort, take a look at today's letter again. Did you catch the "letter within the letter" we talked about last week? 😁

The Entrepreneurial Minimalist

Jason Stapleton

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