Polymathic Audio No. 2: David Perell


The shift from mass media to individual media. When I first met then-23 year old David Perell, he was on the hunt for a new career. He’d just left the famed Cycle Media after eight months. With around 1,000 followers on Twitter and just 31 subscribers on Youtube, his audience lacked scale and engagement. But the entrepreneur knew that he wanted to pursue an online retail opportunity.

Over the next two years, he’d become one of the most prolific producers of quality content on the internet. It’s 2019 and he’s on a tear. His content has achieved a compounding level of success. He’s interviewed dozens of the most notable names across business, medicine, and academia. And Write of Passage, the company began by Perell, now boasts over 220 students in 28 countries.  The community builder has nearly 33,000 Twitter followers and his blogs are commonly read by over 50,000 people per post. His theories are simple and the foundation of them all begins with an observation that he’s noted:

You’ll transform from a passive consumer to an active creator, and escape the “Mediocre Majority” of people who endlessly consume without ever producing. The content you produce will become an asset that you own. It will work for you 24/7, and become a magnet for like-minded people, interesting ideas, and career opportunities.

Perell has identified an arbitrage opportunity for brands, retailers, and individuals in content production. According to the writer, speaker, and teacher: “the internet is overwhelmed by content consumers and short on producers.” To change the calculus for you or your company, Perell suggests shifting the strategy: produce content. And produce it prolifically.

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Kylie Jenner recap. 1/ Used her own capital2/ Hired six people3/ Paid close to zero in ads4/ Leveraged media trends5/ Leveraged supply partners6/ Built a $1.2b brand 7/ Now $600 million richer8/ And she did it in five yearsThe above isn’t the result of fame alone.

One of the capstone moments of the episode is our Kylie Jenner acquisition discussion. This tweet generated quite a bit of disdain, I must admit. But the spirit of the message was: build an audience and you have a distinct advantage. Perell and I share the belief that while none of us are Kardashian’s (yet), anyone can build a powerfully engaged audience. In addition to Jenner, we discuss Joe Rogan’s operation and revenues. But then we do something very important – we take a step back. We talk about practitioners without mega-famous families. We hone in on those who’ve built sizable audiences and communities without the force multiplier of fame. One thing that we’ve found in common, generalists to tend to thrive in that respect. From Gary Vaynerchuk to Casey Neistat – both future guests – they champion their broad experiences and insights.

The Trend Toward Specialization

The trend toward specialization has opened the door to generalists. Perell falls into that category. His broad education influences his understanding of life’s many verticals. As such, the conversation between us was natural and free-flowing. When I first met Perell, I didn’t know much about him. I did recognize his ambition and desire for mastery. Today, the 25 year old is beginning to realize the fruits of that ambition.

He’s a bonafide world-shaker. He’s not an influencer in the traditional sense. Rather, he influences those who influence the influencers. From Naval Ravikant to Tren Griffin to Keith Rabois to James Clear to Scott Belsky to Erika Nardini to Seth Godin – he’s a trusted source of thought and practicality. I believe that Episode No. 2 can change things for those who take the time to listen.


Ep. 002: David Perell

Ep. 002: David Perell

Polymathic: Episode No. 2 (1 hr and 9 mins): Listen, learn, but most importantly enjoy.

Read David’s Work:

(1) The Amazon Arbitrage

(2) The Pivot to Owned Commerce

(3) The Customer Acquisition Pricing Parade


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