35 Hot Takes For My 35th Birthday

1. Building a brand and building a direct response business are two different things. The way you’re accessing consumer demand is fundamentally different. A lot of tactics that work for brand building don’t work for direct response and v.v. Avoid frustration by deciding which type of business you intend to run.

2. Ralph Lauren started out selling ties directly to wholesale accounts–knocking on doors; a type of direct response. It became a capital-B Brand later. If you’re bootstrapping a business you need to start scrappy.

3. If you want to start a successful brand, you need to bring something to the table–skills or capital. “An idea” doesn’t count. You can’t outsource product development, marketing, finance and ops to third parties. What value are you adding? You don’t have to be “the best” at any of these things, but you need to know enough to run it yourself or lead an agency partner.

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