04 Jan 2015

How to scale up your agency: a fresh approach

12 Comments affiliate marketing, finance and economics, local advertising, outdoor activities, people management, promoting yourself, Stand Up for the Little Guy

A colleague and I were discussing “leadership” and what that truly meant.  We came up with this analogy, which I hope you’ll enjoy.

Moving rocks for a living? Imagine you move rocks for a living.  The more rocks you move, the more you’re paid.  You don’t move rocks, you don’t get paid.  Thus, you understand the direct linkage between putting in time and compensation.  This is the hourly wage model– some rock movers get paid more than others, whether flipping burgers, working in a big corporation, or drilling teeth. The more teeth you can drill, the more you’re paid.  Are you a corporate wage slave or someone who is paid piecemeal?  This was me for twenty years of my life– a prostitute selling my time for money. Whether I billed $5 per hour or $250– it was the same thing. One day in the proverbial quarry, you decide that moving more rocks to get paid more was not the right answer.  At best, you might move 20% more rocks than the other guy in a particular day, but it wasn’t sustainable.  So you leave the quarry for 7 days, much to the surprise of your fellow laborers. In that time you move no rocks and make no income.


But when you come back, you are driving a bulldozer.  Now, in one day you are able to move 100 times what a single laborer can do. But to get that bulldozer, you had to temporarily earn nothing– plus spend money to buy the vehicle and spend time learning how to drive the thing.  Your fellow laborers, noses down, continue to keep moving rocks— they don’t look up to see you in the bulldozer. They have heard about bulldozers in the magazines, but never thought it was something possible for them.

You hang out with the other guys driving bulldozers.  You have newfound wealth, which is fleeting, since the crowd you run with also enjoys the same standard of living.  You’re right back in the middle of your peers.  It feels great to be 100 times more productive than you were before, but you’re not quite fulfilled.


So you leave the quarry again and disappear for 7 days.  In that time you move no rocks and make no income.  And when you return, you are back with 100 bulldozers and 100 other eager new bulldozer operators. You’ve opened a bulldozer training school!  Flocks of manual laborers who used to move rocks now come to be trained by you.  And you make a commission on the rocks they move, since these laborers didn’t have enough money to buy their own bulldozers.  These laborers are now moving 100 times what they did before, but given the costs of training, equipment, and your profit, they only make 10 times what they did before.  Still, they are happy.

And you are temporarily happy.  With 100 bulldozer operators moving 100 times as many rocks as a single man can do, you’re at 10,000 times your earlier productivity.  Your lifestyle has changed, too.  You have have a Granite Card by American Express and have a new mansion in Boulder. People admire you–you’re a ROCK star. They think that the secret to your success is getting stoned.

But it’s not enough– something inside you is not quite satisfied.  You can only train so many new bulldozer operators per day.  You’re still moving rocks in a sense, just mass quantities. Growth in your bulldozer school is directly related to the amount of time you’ve put in.  So one day you close the bulldozer school.  The press thinks you’ve gone mad– that you’ve lost your marble.


You disappear for 7 days.  And when you return, you’re holding a brochure in your hand– “How to Open Your Own Bulldozer Training School”.  You’re created a franchise model, where you are training up other school owners. You have first hand experience in training new bulldozer operators, so new school owners can rely on your experience.  You now have sold 100 franchises, each one with a happy owner training 100 bulldozer operators, who in turn do the work of 100 laborers.  That’s 1 million times leverage.


You would not have been able to pull this off unless you had personal experience moving rocks, driving bulldozers, training bulldozer operators, and running a franchised business.  You were able to take your knowledge and multiply it.   If you didn’t intimately understand each aspect of the business, scaling up would have just multiplied losses.

Now examine your life and what you do.  Are you moving rocks or are you multiplying? Writing software is a multiplication process.  You can write one copy and sell it an infinite number of times.  You could hand-build a single PPC campaign for a client or perhaps write a campaign management tool that can do it over and over in an automated fashion.  But just like the rock moving analogy, if you aren’t a practitioner with hands-on experience in managing campaigns, your automation won’t be effective.  There are lots of guys selling software that builds websites, manages PPC campaigns, creates SEO reports, sends out emails, and any variety of tasks.

If you want to create massive value, consider the rocks that you are moving. Can you write software or processes that can make life easier for others– or perhaps do some task faster, more effectively, or at lower cost?  Everyone has something they know exceedingly well.  What is that skill for you?  You don’t have to be able to write code.  Software is nothing more than rules for machines, just like processes are rules for humans.

living the McLife? McDonalds is a software company that just happens to make burgers.  People go to McDonalds not because it has the most delicious burgers, but for the consistency of the food and the experience. You can take pimply-faced teens all over the world, minds distracted with their latest relationship dramas, speaking different languages, skilled or not– and still turn out that same value meal each time. That’s process for you.


BlitzMetrics is about empowering individuals to become entrepreneurs– we provide the tools and process to allow folks who know little about internet marketing, but are eager and willing to learn, to perform like experts. Our analysts are trained to help small business owners grow their practices.  We’re about the little guy helping the little guy.  Do you want to be a part of our team?  Contact me to find out more.

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written by
Dennis Yu is the CTO of BlitzMetrics. He is an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook marketing, having been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Fox News, and CBS Evening News. He is also a regular contributor for Adweek's SocialTimes column. Dennis has held leadership positions at Yahoo! and American Airlines. He studied Finance and Economics from Southern Methodist University and London School of Economics. Besides being a Facebook data and ad geek, you can find him eating chicken wings or playing Ultimate Frisbee in a city near you. You can contact him at dennis@blitzmetrics.com, his blog, or on Facebook.
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12 Responses to “How to scale up your agency: a fresh approach”

  1. Reply Joan says:

    Loved this analogy. Paints a very vivid word picture. Very clever too! Thanks for sharing. Kind of along the lines of how you can give a man a fish or teach him how to fish but it takes it one more step because you are teaching the man how to teach others to fish. 🙂

  2. Reply Gk Pai says:

    Great post, its incredibly true in so many ways.

  3. Reply Rahul sutar says:

    The rock moving analogy & message it sends is very interesting and inspiring. Also the scaling up factor resembles to the entrepreneurial passion & technical innovation. Learnt some time back, that technical innovations are very necessary to economic growth. They have proved of great help to nations world over to raise productivity, efficiency and income-levels.
    Thanks for great insights into the economic models and its applications in real life.

  4. Reply Galahad the Chaste says:

    Interesting analogy. Question is: How do large companies with traditionally structured remuneration systems move to the pay for performance model? And, how do they recognize and reward innovation even at the smallest level?

    • Reply admin says:

      Young Galahad,

      Aye– and therein lies the rub. Paying for performance requires that a company have measurement systems in place that accurately measure profits. And most systems can be gamed.

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  8. Reply ????? ???????? ????? | altblog says:

    […] ?? ??????? ???? ?????? ? ????? ?? ?????? ?????. ??? ????? ????????, ? ?????? ???? ???????, ??????? ? ????, ????? ?? […]

  9. Reply Good people and good profits- my secret revealed says:

    […] yourself if your labors are creating wholesome value for people or if you’re tricking people […]

  10. Reply Dina says:

    Thank you, Gerry,I upload some more when I could get picuerts.GTOMR,Yes, Kuzuu had finished writing them in 1901, I compared both of them. It is clear that Korean could have known the existance of ??/Liancourt Rocks in 1901 already, but the point is, they didn’t call it as Usando, Matsushima, Sokdo nor Dokdo, but as Yanko just like Japanese in 1901 or before. That is a strong proof that ?? in 1900 edit is not Dokdo/??/Liancourt Rocks. This is a huge blow against Korean’s “Sokdo is Dokdo” theory. And it supports strongly that Gerry’s ?? was just an catchall name for the rocks around Ulleundo.The translations and writing from published book provided by pacifist. / In 1901 version, some sentences of the part of Ullendo was witten as ” ??130?45???53?50? ??37?34?40???31?50??????? ?????????????? 40????????????? ??? ?????????????? ?????????? ?????? ????????? ???? ?? ??? ??? ??? ? ??6???? ?????????? ????? ???2? ??????? ???????? ?????????????????????? ??????????????? ?????????????????????? ????????????????? ” (Note; Bold letters are original in 1901 and words between ( ) are added to 1903 publised version. Sentences in Liancourt section looks almost same except few words. But the last sentence “(?????????????????? The points were published in the first edition of the bulletin. Please refer it.))Translation by pacifist; (1903)And it is an isolated island at around 40 ri south of ?????? on the sea. Koreans call it alias ?? or ??, that is Usankoku (Usan-guk) in the old times. Chinese people call it as ?? (Matsushima, Songdo). Incidentally, people say that this island consists of 6 islands of big and small, or some say that it is a generic term of two islands Takeshima and Matsushima. The most extreme examples are maps which depicted the two islands side by side, which is really one of the biggest errors. (1901)And it is an isolated island at around 40 ri south and slighly North of ?????? on the sea. Koreans call it alias ?? or ??, that is Usankoku (Usan-guk) in the old times. Japanese people call it as ?? (Matsushima, Songdo). Incidentally, people say that this island consists of 6 islands of big and small, or some say that it is a generic term of two islands Takeshima and Matsushima. Or it often observed that those (errors) are drawn in old maps, but all of which must be errors. (The points were published in the first edition of the bulletin. Please refer it.)

  11. Reply http://weblinks.online/hue2go.com says:

    That’s not even 10 minutes well spent!

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