As you know I am a sucker for a great book talking about the patterns and deep structure to behavior. Over the last few months I have been diving deep into both my notes and some fresh new books on my favorite two topics, Genius and billionaires!
I think it’s safe to assume that most would consider these two topics the pinnacle of life achievement. Interesting enough these two topics are often merged and blended together. People who have achieved big levels of success also are often labeled as genius.
Mark Cuban, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, all billionaires who are also considered to be genius.
Its fascinating to see just how uncomfortable people get when the topic of genius comes up. You instantly see a state change in the individuals as disappointment or envy washes over their face.
We all hold interesting and predominantly untrue beliefs about what it means to be a genius, and how we class our own abilities as a human. I will save a deep dive into that topic for another post.
There is this really popular story line that perpetually is pushed out in the news and media these days that all these self made billionaires work alone and are a solo success story when in fact it’s quite the opposite.
A majority of big business success that led to individual billionaires involved a duo of two people, both a producer and a performer aka thinker and doer.
Before I explain what each means, I put together a short list of companies that produced billionaires that were in fact a team..
Apple: Steve Jobs- Producer, Steve Woz- Performer
Nike: Bill Bowerman- Producer, Phil knight- Performer
Zara: Amancio Ortega- Producer, First wife Rosaria – Performer
Role International: Fiji, Palm Wonderful: Linda Resnik -Producer, Stewart Resnik- Performer
Little Caesars: Mike illedge – Producer, Mariana illedge- Performer
Spanx: Sara Blakely- Producer, Lori Ann Goldman- Performer
Bloomberg: Michael Bloomberg- Producer, Tom Sekunda- Performer (early years)
Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg- Producer, Sheryl Sandberg- Performer
Ebay: Peire Ulmana- Producer, Meg Whitman- Performer
Microsoft: Bill Gates- Producer, Paul Allen- Performer / Steve Ballmer- Performer
Micro Solutions: Mark Cuban- Producer, Martin Whittall- Performer
Producer Vs. Performer
A producer has the empathetic imagination to see the gap for a new product in a market and they have the inventive execution for the product to reach the greatest market potential.
While on the other hand Performers usually have a really great skill in one area but usually cannot see outside that. These are the ‘doers’ that can follow through and take massive action.
The producer finds the vital need in the marketplace and creates the product design needed to capture all the details of execution necessary to meet that need. The performer applies the marketing or another area that is necessary to fulfill the products promise.
Producers recognize that they are going to need someone with complementary skills if they are to reach their goals.
Here is what Mavericks owner and billionaire Mark Cuban said about his partner Martin Whittall while they grew Micro Solutions…
“While I covered my mistakes by throwing time and effort at the problem my co-founder Martin Whittall was so detail oriented, he had to make sure that things were perfect so there would never be any problems. We could drive each other crazy…”
“He would give me incredible amounts of shit about how sloppy I was, I would give him the same amount back because he was so anal he was missing huge opportunities. “
“We complemented each other perfectly, it was only a matter of time before we knew we had to be partners and work together instead of separately. “- Mark Cuban
How Do you Know If You’re A Performer Or Producer?
Most people in the world are in fact performers! It’s worth noting this isn’t naturally but the school system and jobs shape this and pull it out of people as most of the world is based on performance in its structure and hierarchy.
Those that perform well get the promotion and those that don’t get passed up. This over the years has in fact created a performer based work force. This however is starting to change as more and more research surfaces showing the power of the producer.
The producer is often the person that cannot hold a job because they make their superiors look bad with their abilities to deliver amazing new insight and direction for the company.
Fun fact: I had many jobs when I was in the 16-23 age range and eventually left to do my own thing as I was burnt out on the structure and apparent broken hierarchy most companies use.
There isn’t really standardized testing to find out if you’re in fact a producer vs performer, I would say however there are some questions that you can ask that will help you find out for yourself.
Looking back over times when you had extreme struggle (not pseudo struggle) but looking back over any situations that really made you question everything and how you managed to dust off and keep going.
Examples of how you had an idea within your company and creatively brought it to life within the confines of the company and its rules.
Questions like this, really looking for times when you didn’t just do the work but had an idea that will better help fulfill a need and took action to map it out and execute.
I personally don’t feel either one is better than the other, I see a need for both in the current climate of business.
If you have yet to do it, you could take a personality test like Briggs and Myers which I believe works as a great marker to help guide one through life. I will note here that because we are creatures of categorizing many people tend to associate way to deeply and create bondage and habit around who they “think” they are based on the test results.
I am a producer and test ENFP on testing which explains a lot in terms of how I act, who I look to for inspiration etc.
It’s worth noting that only recently I figured out I was a producer, in the past I have forced myself to be a performer many times and in some situations I had outside funding and was asked to wear both hats when I probably shouldn’t have. Understanding these human dynamics at this deep level has helped me see why and where all my past business partnerships and even solo projects broke down.
This is a huge breakthrough for me personally as it helps me better recognize where my value lies. This would also explain why sometimes I get random ideas about someone else’s business and just shoot them off an email telling them the idea etc.
You know till this day, I can count the responses I have gotten on one hand.
The Dirty Truth About Ideas…
I can only assume that the reason people often blank the “idea” emails are because free information is ‘cheap’ as they say, people in the world have completely devalued ideas thinking they are worthless. A surface level idea is pretty worthless I would have to agree, but something that can be fleshed out and clearly articulated isn’t an idea, it’s an opportunity and direction.
Sometimes I get a vision of something that I have never done before as a growth strategy but for some reason just know it will crush or add positive ROI. For the longest time I would just ignore this until I started to test it out in my own businesses over the years, now I know how powerful these things can be if executed properly.
The funny thing about performers is they predominately don’t value ideas, and often think they can just go “go do it all on their own” as this sort of lone ranger, this is all just ego thinking they don’t need a partner or help so they often pass up opportunity.
Performers can go out and do really well all on their own, but eventually they stall out and hard too, because all they know is this solo track mindset.
On the flip side producers often times devalue the performers and think that any old person can be taught the action frameworks to execute on these plans.
It’s like what billionaire Mark Cuban said when explaining himself….
“There are people that if you tell them to do A,B,C, they are going to do A,B,C and they have no idea D,E, F even exist, then there are people that if you tell them to do A,B,C, they will tell you there is D,E,F and will take the initiative and then there are people like me who are bored with the first 6 letters and go right to G,H,I. I am that person!”
The world of business is quickly changing and with more of this research on the Performer and Producer combo coming out it will continue to shift big companies strategy to successfully improve bottom line profits.
Me personally, we are on a search now for a Performer that I can take through the levels quickly and get up to speed to step into my two companies and help take the load off my shoulders. I have publically stated several times that in the next 10 years I will become a billionaire, this is part of the aggressive strategy to make that a reality.
The Self-made Billionaire Effect- John Sviokla
Made To Stick- Chip Health
Become An Idea Machine- Claudia Altucher
Personality profiling (briggs & Myers etc)
Wikipedia (work of Freud, Jung)
Research into all billionaires mentioned
Jameson’s personal experience