Perry Marshall founded the Evolution 2.0 Prize, staffed by judges from Harvard, Oxford and MIT. He aims to solve the #1 mystery in Artificial Intelligence and the origin of life itself. He is a published scientist.
He is endorsed in FORBES and INC Magazine and is one of the most expensive business consultants in the world. Clients in 300 industries value his capacity to integrate sales, technology, art and psychology.
His reinvention of the Pareto Principle is published in Harvard Business Review, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs at the California Institute of Technology uses his 80/20 Curve as a productivity tool.
His Google AdWords book laid the foundations for the $100 billion Pay Per Click industry. He’s served as an expert witness for search advertising litigation.
He has a degree in Electrical Engineering and lives with his family in Chicago.
Listen to this informative Publish. Promote. Profit. episode with Perry Marshall about paying attention to the memo from the head office.
Here are some of the beneficial topics covered on this week’s show:
- How the Pareto Principle can be used to increase productivity in business.
- Why faith can be an important foundation for building success.
- How listening to your intuition and inner voice can build your confidence and help you achieve your goals.
- How writing a book expands your influence and spread your message to others.
- How taking your foot off of the brake and putting your life in neutral can lead you to wonderful places.
Connect with Perry:
Guest Contact Info:
Hey. Welcome, everybody, Rob here, to our Publish. Promote. Profit podcast. I have a very, very unique book to discuss today and a great friend to discuss it with, Mr. Perry Marshall. For those of you that don’t know Perry, number one, you should be ashamed of yourself. He’s definitely someone that you should know. He’s one of the most expensive business strategists in the world, endorsed by Forbes, Inc. Magazine. Perry, you’ve done some very, very unique things. You have the largest science research prize ever, the $10 million Evolution 2.0 Prize, which is so cool. You reinvented the Pareto principle and it was published in the Harvard Business Review. And of course, if people do know you, then more than likely, they might know you from your definitive book for Google AdWords that laid the foundation to the hundred billion dollar pay-per-click industry, and maybe even Evolution 2.0, and you’ve written eight books. Mr. Perry, thank you for being with us. We’re going to talk about, Memos from the Head Office. I think most people are used to me interviewing authors that are like you but have written about their expertise and written something that could maybe very directly help with their business. I want to be careful how I even say some of these things, because I mean, this is about tapping into divine inspiration, tapping into your muse, tapping into the source, as some might say, the universe, as others might say, the holy spirit, as others might say. And wow, there’s not an area of your life that goes untouched when you do tap into that. So, if you’re listening for business purposes, keep listening. So anyway, gosh, was that a long introduction or what?
You’re exactly right. Just to kind of trace a pattern here, I wrote the Google Ads book in 2003 when Google was just coming along, and it helped a lot of people. I mean, it was super obvious, like, I’m a plumber, I bake cakes, and I need people to come to my website, and I need customers. It was like selling crack cocaine. Like, you want some, right, or not? And so, that worked, and it was great. Well, 10 years go by, and now the question was, the real secret to Google Ads was 80/20. Do you think people would buy that? Because that’s the universal tool. Google could change their algorithm tomorrow. Good grief, Google could go out of business or they could be bought out or whatever. All the stuff I wrote in that book could be obsolete. 80/20 is not going to go obsolete. Would people have an appetite for that? Well, I don’t know. Let’s try it. And Rob, you’re in the book business. There’s no guaranteeing anything, right? We put it out there, and the world was like, “Wow, this is cool. I never saw the world this way.” Well, it was like 80/20 was the secret sauce behind Google. Well, you know what the secret sauce behind 80/20 was? It was a memo from that office. I think a lot of us sort of know this, that the world gets our stories as layers of an onion. It’s like, “Hey, this is useful. I can’t give you everything I got, and most stuff I got isn’t going to be useful to you, but here, you can use this,” right? “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, I’ll take it,” and then you go another step further, like, “Well, I think this is even more important,” and I’m like, “Actually, I think this is more important and we’ll see if the world accepts it, but at least we got some Amazon reviews and we got some people that really like it.” I’ve already been doing this for 10 years with people in my little enclave over here, and it was just time. Well, let’s put it up the flagpole and see if anybody salutes.
I love it. Obviously, you sent me a PDF of it before the book was even out. Thank you for doing that. I devoured it. I’ve had my own very specific, one in particular, powerful memo that was life-changing for me, which, at another time, I can probably share about it. I don’t want to take this time away from you. But you’re an interesting person because you are a spiritual person and have a spiritual foundation, but you’re an engineer. Oftentimes, there can be a pull there, a challenge, and I see it in you, I see it in the Evolution 2.0, I see it in the memos. Talk to me a little bit about that for somebody that’s listening and says, “Oh, that’s hocus pocus,” or whatever. You’ve had to deal with this stuff yourself.
Totally. So, the best starting point of this is when it actually started, and it starts with Perry the engineer. In 2003, I read Richard Koch’s 80/20 book. I had heard of 80/20, and most people have heard of 80/20, and most people are probably, “Oh, yeah, okay. 20% of the people own 80% of the land. Yeah, whatever.” Well, that’s what I knew. Then, I read his book and my mind set on fire because on page 14, he made this comment, and the comment was, “80/20 has a lot to do with chaos theory.” I was like, “Oh, wait. Hey, wait a minute. I got a bunch of books about that. I know about that. That means there’s a pattern, and a pattern, and a pattern, and a pattern. It’s like those Russian dolls.” 80/20 is like Russian dolls? I never had that thought before, like, there’s an 80/20 inside an 80/20. In 10 seconds, my head started on fire, and after I had had some time to think about it, I was like, “Well, that means there’s a formula. What’s the formula?” So, this one day, it was Friday, March 2003, and all day long, I was just ruminating on this, “Hey, there’s a formula. What is it?” I was also obsessing about something else. I have a very obsessive personality, like most entrepreneurs. Just a few days before I had one of these “caveman discovers fire” moments in my business. I did something. It made quite a bit of money, more money than I was used to making in one day. I was like, “Whoa, what can I use? Can I use its magical money power to help the project in Mozambique?” My brother-in-law was running a school, a church, a feeding program, an AIDS hospice, all these poor people. My wife had been there. I was literally thinking about calculus and Mozambique, all day long. Like I said, I’m an engineer. But I was stuck. I was like, “I’m looking on the internet. I can’t figure this out, but this would probably be really useful if I could.” All right, so I go to this church thing. They’re playing music on a Friday night, and it’s just this Pink Floyd kind of flowing music thing. I’m standing there, and I’m swaying, and I’m a million miles away, and I’m thinking about math equations, and I’m thinking about Mozambique, and I look up and this black woman, I’d never seen her in my life, she walks straight towards me, she sticks out her hand, she says, “Hi, my name is Vivian and the Lord gave me a word for you.” Now, I have heard of stuff like this. It has never happened to me. I didn’t come from a place where people do stuff like that, okay, and I’m like, “Well, this should be interesting.” Without hesitating, she goes, “The Lord told me that you’re very good at math and you’re working some kind of equation, some kind of formula, some kind of invention, and you’re going to figure it out. Just keep working and you’re going to figure it out.” I instantly flip into engineer mode, and I look around, and I think, “It is eight o’clock on a Friday night at a church. There’s 30 people in here. What are the chances that any of us are working on a math problem right now?” I’d never seen this woman before. I have no idea who she is. I’m doing statistics in my head, like one in a thousand, one in a hundred. Then she turns to walk away, and then she spins around, and she goes, “Oh, and He told me something else too. You want to support missions and God is going to bless your business so you can support missions.” Okay, if I could shrug off the first one as a coincidence, two in a row from a complete stranger, and she nailed what I’d been thinking about all day long, and I had not talked to anybody about this. This got my attention. As an engineer, I start thinking through, “Okay, is there any way to explain this through any normal means? I don’t have strangers walking up to me ever, telling me what I’m thinking about. This does not happen. I don’t think this has ever happened. That was a memo from the head office. Dude, you need to stop, you need to absorb that, you need to load it into your program. Obviously, you better keep working on that math problem because, apparently, this is pretty important,” which I don’t know that I would have kept going. I might have been happy to just draw it on a napkin, have the general idea, and that would be it. “No, go figure out this formula, okay.” And the other part of that, “God is going to bless your business so you can support missions.” To me, that felt like her mission, okay.
Now, Rob, you come from a faith orientation, or at least you have one now. And there are lots and lots of people with a faith orientation who have their foot on the money brake, okay? Okay, my right foot is on the brake and my left foot just mashed down the emergency brake, just in case this car ever starts moving. I came from a very puckered, clenched up sort of background, as far as money. My parents did not have very much money. My faith community was very suspicious of money. When they had the building funded, they were always happy to take it, but again, the inner conflict around this was very strong. What I got from that was, take your foot off of both brakes and put your foot on the accelerator because you’re trying to do good things in the world and it’s time to stop second-guessing yourself. That’s what I took away from it. Okay, so what happened? Well, two things happened. The first thing that happened was, later that summer, my business took off. Why did it take off? It took off because three days before I met Vivian, a guy had said, “Perry, I think you should speak on Google AdWords at my seminar,” and I accepted. I immediately knew at that minute, if you’re going to go in the seminar circuit, you better have a product you can sell, you better have a book, you better have a course. So, I wrote this book called definitive guide to Google AdWords, and it came out about three or four months later, and it came out right at the moment that Google started hitting the hockey stick. Their ad program really started catching on. Well, within two years, I had been on an entire magic carpet ride, which again, as a book guy, when somebody has a hit book, even in a niche, it was like, nobody in the Wall Street Journal world had any idea what was going on, but the people in the marketing world, they all knew this, okay. Perry’s the guy. So, it was actually a little shocking, but it happened, and my business grew like crazy. I’m getting invited to speak in Australia and all kinds of stuff. The other thing that happened was, three years later, I finally figured out the math formula. I work on it, I get stuck, put it on the shelf, come back to it. I was like, “Well, the lady said I’m supposed to work on this. I don’t know why. Is this supposed to be easy? I don’t know. I don’t think this is easy.” Finally, three years later, I figured it out, and then I went on to use it. There’s a website. It’s connected to the 80/20 book that I sell. It got published in Harvard Business Review. This is my signature story of the engineer comes to an inevitable conclusion.
There is this other aspect. It’s mystical. You can’t explain it with calculus equations. An accountant or a bookkeeper is not going to connect all the dots, but this definitely happens. This woman, Vivian, stepped into my life, told me this. I listened to her. It completely changed my career. It really built a foundation for an entire subculture that we’ve created around it. That wasn’t the only time. It was just the first one. I wrote this book because now, it’s 18 years later, and all of the stuff has happened, and more stuff has happened, and more stuff has happened, and there is an entire story. So, what this book really is, it’s probably 25% me kind of weaving bits and pieces of my story, but then it’s kind of like chicken soup for the soul where there’s all these other people. I have all these friends and colleagues and these things have happened to them, like Shannon Stewart. It was February 2020. She has vivid, crazy dreams, three nights in a row. She’s like, “Oh, this happened to me in ’08. I know what this means. The markets are about to tank.” She is a financial advisor, registered, whatever, all the letters behind her name stuff. She tells all of her clients, “Pull your money back into cash,” and three days later, the COVID thing starts to hit Asia. She’s got emails back and forth with the regulatory people, going, “Hey, why did you tell your clients to do this? You are a registered financial advisor.” She’s like, “God told me to,” and they’re like, “That’s not an answer.” She’s like, “You don’t think that’s an answer?” She’s willing to deal with the flak that they give her.
Wow, she’s a brave lady.
It’s incontestable. I can’t crawl inside her brain and verify that she had a dream, but you can look at the email she sent to her clients, you can look at the trail of emails with her regulatory people. These things happen. One of the things I wanted to do, there’s a part of this book that is written for the engineers. Everybody loves a great story. The engineers hope it’s true, but they’re secretly afraid it’s not. I wanted to make sure I had enough details and documentation, names, dates, places, locations. There’s an appendix. You can go on the web and you can look up the names and the websites of all the people in this book. One of them used to manage $60 billion of assets for Mesirow Financial. This is a publicly accessible guy with a huge professional reputation, and he’s talking about going to the coffee shop and getting a download about how to do a currency trade while he’s talking to his friend over coffee. He makes very high-level, professional decisions based on praying and asking for an answer. I believe that people of faith should have the courage to write it down, document it, shoot the videotape, take the picture, have the chain of emails, be able to prove, “No, this actually happened,” because there’s a switch that happens. Okay, you’re the skeptical engineer, and you’re like, “Hey, wait a minute. This is real. Hey, wait a minute. I might not get this right all the time.” That channel, there’s noise, there’s static. We all get that, but if you know, that you know, that you know that at least some of the time, those intuitions, those messages, are accurate and you can rely on them, you have a whole different level of confidence and you will do things you would never do. The thing is, Rob, how many thousands and thousands of books are about the business strategy and the spreadsheet and the case study? That’s all great. I’m in that business. Let me ask you a question. How many great business ideas, or great works of art, or great inspirations, they came as a download, you can’t prove them, there’s not a calculus formula, there’s not a spreadsheet, there’s not a documentary? JK Rowling got Harry Potter in a two or three-hour download on a stalled train, and she scribbled this stuff as fast as she could. She kind of got the idea of the story fixed in her mind, and then she spent, I don’t know, seven years smoothing it out, working out all the details, making it comprehensible, but it all sort of came at once. How do you explain this? Are you going to tell me that it was just some random syntax firing in her brain? Come on. Somebody needed to write a book about that.
Well, I’m glad you did. You share some things in the book and thank you for telling that story. It’s a great story. It’s powerful. There are two things that I love. I am not an engineer, but I think I have some DNA. I find this myself, I have my notebook out, and I’m reading memos, and I started writing down, “Okay, how do I do this?” I pray every day and I’m like, “Okay, well, how do I do this?” You gave some very simple great advice. Asking for a picture was one of the things that you talked about, and you’ve gone deep in this. You now have memos calls. I’m part of the Renaissance group. I don’t know who gets access to the memo calls. I know we do as part of the Renaissance group. I’m not sure who else is. That might be something we want to give a link to, at some point at the end. Talk to me about some of the structure that you’ve created around this idea for people, like how to do it, what the memos calls are, et cetera.
So, you can go to perrymarshall.com/memos. You can get three free chapters in the book. We include a one-page listening guide because most people have absolutely no idea how to do this. It’s like, “You want me to do what? What are you even talking about? Listen to what? You think I’m crazy?”
Even as a spiritual person, I’m like, “How do I do it?” It’s the first thing I thought, was, “I need to get my notebook out and figure out what the heck we’re talking about.”
Here’s the simplest way to do it. You wake up in the morning, you don’t get out your iPad, you don’t turn on the TV, you don’t do your phone, you don’t interact with anybody. You’ll get your cup of coffee and sit down with a notebook and a pen. Here’s what you do. You sit down and you just get the pen moving. It’s anything that’s going on in your head, like an interesting dream, or an idea in the shower, or pushing the kid on the swing in the park yesterday was so wonderful. It could be anything like that. First of all, you’re listening to your own inner voice. Here’s the thing, you are not composing, and your editor is switched off. So it’s kind of like if you have a stick shift car, and you park it at the top of a hill, and you let out the emergency brake and you put the gear shift in neutral, you maybe didn’t even turn it on and you let it roll wherever it wants to roll. If it’s forward, it’s forward, and if it’s backwards down the hill, but you’re just going to let it go wherever it wants to go. It’s almost like hands off the steering wheel. Now, the funny thing is, at this point, I do not care whether it’s you, or God, or the universe, or the muse, I don’t care who or what you’re listening to, your job is to just listen. Now, this is a bigger deal than it sounds like, because by the time I was about 30, I had taken some pretty bad spills in my career. I had taken some very bad wrong turns and I could notice, in hindsight, that I had a tap on my shoulder about several of those things I had ignored. All of us have that. I knew better. If I’m really honest with myself, I knew better. I had shut off my own inner voice. Between the head and the heart, I had inserted a blockage in there. Well, I had a boss from Hell, and I didn’t pay attention to an inkling I had about that guy, and then he came onboard, a whole business thing I shouldn’t have gotten into. Well, my contention is, if you can’t even listen to yourself, forget ever hearing anything else. You’re not going to hear anything, and then pile CNN and Facebook on top. You’re lost. You are screwed. You don’t know how screwed you are. So, start out, get your pen, get your notebook and just get it going. Maybe you’re upset about something. Maybe you’re angry at your spouse. Maybe you’re really happy about pushing the kid on the swing. You just let that start going. Remember, if you’re editing, or composing, you’re doing it wrong. It’s like, whatever you hear, whatever you see, whatever you feel, you’re just going to go with it. At some point, it’s pretty easy to go, “Hey, whoever you are, hey, I got a couple questions here.” Here, you have the courage to ask the question and then write whatever comes. You do not edit; you do not question. Is that God, or the muse, or a bad burrito? You do not have to figure this out anytime soon. All you have to do is capture it. Just get it on the piece of paper. You can decide tomorrow afternoon, you can decide next week, you can decide next month. The thing is to get it out, to get the blockage unblocked and get yourself flowing. You can figure out the God stuff. You can figure out all that stuff later.
Well, it took you three years to actually come up with the 80/20 formula after that night in 2003. So, it’s not like the answer is necessarily immediate, but you logged it away and never forgot.
Right, and it took JK Rowling years too. You know what I think of it? You ever eat a candy bar with a foil wrapper, and then you sit there, and you take your finger, or your pen and you smooth it flat, you push the wrinkles out? I do that sometimes. That’s what JK Rowling had to do with Harry Potter. It came as a download, but she had to sort it out. I had an epiphany about 80/20. I had to sort it out. This is how all these things have been. What I found is, you sort this out a lot faster with the car in neutral gear, with the emergency brake off than when you’re trying to always drive it somewhere. Sometimes, you got to drive. That’s fine. But most of us, we are so used to driving all the time; drive, drive, drive, drive, drive, drive, drive, drive. We have completely forgotten, “I really hate doing this. Why am I doing this? I don’t like this business, I don’t like this job, I don’t like this situation. This is a complete waste of time. This other thing really inspires me way more, but I’m going to jam square pegs into round holes.” It is so much easier to exist in the world when you actually listen to yourself, listen to God, listen to the muse, let it flow. I’ve had so much feedback from so many people who were like, “Perry, this totally changed my life.” It’s like, there comes a time when you have to just put it out there and let people hear the whole story.
Yeah, I love it. One of my favorite scriptures is in James, and James tells us that we should ask God for wisdom. The favorite part of that, to me, is not that. It’s that God gives to all who ask without finding fault. I think we can get wrapped up in some things, like, you don’t know, hey, guy up there, or muse, or bad burrito, right, right? Someone may hear that, that’s maybe very dogmatic, and go, “That’s wrong,” or whatever, but there is this sense, I think, at least my convictions, from what I’ve read, that there’s this nonjudgmental answer that we can get to our questions. If you believe in the New Testament, it says it clearly right in there, that He’s not looking for fault. We all got fault, right? He’ll answer without looking for your fault or judging. It’s very cool.
If you’re in the Christian or Jewish tradition, I would just ask you a question. How many people, clearly outside of the club, heard from God? More than you realize, unless you really stop and think about it. Even Pilot’s wife was like, “Hey, dude, I had a really bad dream last night. Do not do this,” What club was she a part of? She probably wasn’t in any of the clubs, but she got a memo from the head office, like, “You tell your husband,” and then he didn’t listen to her. Well, he’s the most corrupt government official on record. I grew up in a super rigorous, scholarly Christian tradition where you dot all the I’s, and you cross all the T’s, and you read all the scriptures, and the people I grew up around would have a hissy fit over this book. That’s a whole conversation, but here’s the thing, most people, especially religious people, think it all starts with a theological construct, and a statement, and all this kind of stuff. I have a different proposition for you. It starts with hearing the voice. okay. I challenge you to name any major person in the biblical story who plays a major part, who didn’t hear the voice. In fact, the ability to hear the voice is taken as a given, and generally, not even questioned; the prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, David, or Samuel. The voice is like, “Hey, dude, I got a job for you,” and that’s where it starts. What I found was, I didn’t have to be dogmatic. You could be Jewish, Catholic, new age, agnostic, Buddhist, whatever. Listen to the nonjudgmental voice and let the voice love on you.
Perry, I love it. That’s a great place to end. We’ve given a lot of content. I mean, here’s the bottom line. I want people to get this book, and I think it could change a lot of lives, and certainly open up people’s eyes to maybe what has been causing stoppage in various areas of their life because they’ve cut off their own voice and can’t hear the memo. So obviously, they can get it on Amazon. You mentioned that they can get the first three chapters. Why don’t you give that link again, and any other links that we want to direct people to?
So, if you go to perrymarshall.com/memos, you can get three free chapters on the book. We have memo sessions for our paying members. We also make regular announcements. We’re having a session, anybody can come. We ask for a donation of any size. You could give a dollar; you could give $500. We don’t care, whatever you feel like doing. We do make these available. We have people whose listening ear is very well developed. They’ll get on a Zoom or a GoToWebinar, and they’ll just go. They don’t know who you are, but they’ll just ask for a memo and they’ll give it. There’s a bunch of stories about some of that in the book, and I want people to be able to dip their toe in the water, try this out, not feel threatened, not be afraid, and ask for wisdom and get it.
I love it Perry, thanks. Thanks for putting yourself out there. I see the thread now. It is a long way from, The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords, but you threaded it together. I had never noticed that. I’m like, “There it is,” but it is a long way from there and you’re putting yourself out there. I respect that and I appreciate that. Go get the book, is what I’ll say.
Well, thank you for having me on. And you’re probably even taking a little risk. This is a crazy conversation. This is not what you typically talk to the next person about at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Well, I have a podcast interview coming up in just a little bit, and we’re not going to talk about any of this, I’m sure, so, I love it. I love that it’s real, it’s raw, it’s honest. You know what I do think? I was thinking about this. I think this is going to give people permission. It gave you permission to be successful in your business. If anybody has a spiritual background, they know what you’re talking about. There’s that guilt, there’s that gnawing. You’re making a lot of money and you’re really not supposed to because you can’t serve both God and money, which I just read this morning, coincidentally, Matthew 6. I think this is going to give people permission to leave the judgment aside and look for some memos. I love it, brother. I’m so glad that you were on, and I hope lots of people get the book.
Thank you. Appreciate you, Rob.