“My vision is light, so come to me when yours is black out. Follow the footprints as I lay the tracks out.” – Ghostface Killah
I Write To Show Engineers They Have The Potential To Accomplish More In Life
I don’t know about you, but I feel I was sold a lie about engineering. I was told that all I needed to worry about was to get that engineering degree, and then life would just kind of…take care of itself. But all I got was a wound.
I was told that I’d graduate with a distinguished degree, that was meaningful and had value, and that would be respected by friends, employers and society.
I was told that I’d be financially well off, as engineers are up there in the “top 3” right? Engineers, Doctors, and Lawyers, that’s what I was told, right?
Well after the high of getting sucked up in the whirlwind of ERTW and believing that engineers truly rule the world, reality started to set in when I started working my first jobs.
Here I was believing that I had this distinguished, valuable degree, but what I experienced was anything but.
You see, a lot has changed since the 1960s and 70s, when my parents were growing up and developed their own preconceptions about what it meant to be a professional and an engineer. Back then, the number of people who graduated from university, was still a relatively low number, and the number of engineers, even lower. Now I’m a big believer in free markets, of competition, and supply and demand – but what happens when you have a society with a high demand for talented engineers (we had to build roads, dams, skyscrapers and manufacture goods afterall) and a low supply? You end up with the few people lucky to hold an engineering degree being highly valued.
Pay is high, benefits are high, pensions – all the perks, because society says “we need this” and the engineers say “there’s not many of us, so pay up”, and society says back “of course!”. Then what happened? Through the 90’s and 2000’s, university enrollment rates shot through the roof. Suddenly, everyone was entitled to a university degree (and I’m not knocking higher education, but the system is fundamentally flawed), and suddenly you had this massive surge of engineers.
Like printing money, suddenly universities were just pumping out engineering graduates. And what happened? Predictably the demand dropped, and the supply skyrocketed – suddenly those coveted engineers were a dime a dozen – they were everywhere, and all looking for work?
So how did industry and government respond? In an effort to cut costs, governments started turning to an RFP model or “request for proposal” – this is where, say a municipality wants to build a new transit system, they will lay out all of the major requirements they need in a document, and then send it out to every engineering firm and their dog, and now everyone is bidding on this project.
Firms spend, days, weeks, or even months depending on the size of the project, developing a proposal. This time is of course, not paid – only the winning firm has a chance to recoup their money. Now keep in mind, governments are trying to cut costs, so to be blunt, often the lowest cost bidder wins the project. Not necessarily the most experienced, or the most capable (or let’s be honest, the most realistic), but the cheapest. Which means it’s a bloodbath between engineering firms to undercut their costs, and undercut other firms in an attempt to win the project.
Many firms even take it as a “loss leader”, knowing they’ll lose money short term on the project, with an aim to make money long term based on the relationship with the client. Not a bad strategy, I do it myself all the time, as I focus on long term success, rather than short term cash.
But here’s the problem, because there is SO much competition, it becomes just a game of putting in the cheapest price. Then when you’ve been “congratulated” for winning the project, then you also have the problem of trying to deliver an overly ambitious project, with a frightfully small budget. And I can tell you from experience, it rarely ends well.
Now I have to make something abundantly clear: I’m not anti-capitalist, I’m not anti-competition, I’m not anti-bidding wars. All of these things are fine and great, and as I mentioned earlier, I’m actually a huge supporter of free market capitalist systems. But here’s the problem: the engineering firms failed to specialize.
See, when everyone is a generalist, they become a commodity, and there’s nothing really to distinguish one from the other, other than price. Who ever is the cheapest wins, and I don’t know about you, but that’s not a game I’m interested in playing.
The answer is specialization. By becoming an industry leader in a very unique sub-specialization, suddenly you eliminate much of the competition. Like I said at the start, engineers were initially in low supply and high demand, then the supply rose and the demand dropped creating a problem. The answer is to rebalance those scales through specialization, where the supply of competition in your niche is low, while the demand is high.
Stop fighting over scraps, and find your unique specialization. Stop trying to serve everyone, and serve a very specific market. Dare to think big.
Now I want to take this even a step further, because engineers are very smart, but they often get trapped in situations with poor power dynamics. See, engineers are creative, intelligent people, who love problem solving and finding solutions, but they get trapped in these 9-5 cubicle jobs, and are forced to keep working just to pay their electric bill.
What I’m advocating here is to use your engineering prowess to find success in other areas of life. I’m not saying you need to leave engineering, hell if you love it then you should definitely stay in it. What I’m talking about is using your intelligence to generate new income streams, to build up a stash of “fuck you” money, so that you always know in your gut, that if you need to leave your job, you can. You aren’t stuck, they don’t own you, you are a free man to leave and live life on your terms. That’s why I write this blog – to show you the way to leverage your insane intelligence to build up reliable side-hustle incomes, to give you full control over your life, so you no longer need to put up with other people’s shit.
I Write To Show You The Power Of A Singular Focus
I know this sounds cliche, but we live in a busy world. Modern technology has given an endless stream of news feeds and distractions to keep our minds buzzing. I’ve laid out for you here the need to disconnect and turn off your phone. I’m not a luddite, I believe technology is essential for our growth and survival. However I also see the damage it can do by shattering our focus into a million little pieces.
I accept that I’m a simple man with a simple brain. It was really only designed to accomplish one thing at a time. And I’m okay with that. Part of my journey has been about understanding and accepting how my brain operates, but instead of feeling like a victim, learning to leverage that to its fullest potential. For example, I’m not one of those creative genius, multi-tasking types, however, I am exceptionally good at extended periods of focus. I’m exceptionally good at being the workhorse, of putting in the hours on a single project with a single focus, and sticking with it until it’s done. And I say, learn to work with your strengths.
So I’m writing this blog to show you the power of what you can accomplish with a single focus. And without sounding like I’m contradicting myself, my focus breaks down into 3 sub-focuses, to create one unified whole. They are to:
- To Review For You Every Great Business And Success Book
- To Engineer For You The Perfect Blog For Search Engines
- To Design For You A Replicable Framework For Success
Let’s get into them:
To Review For You Every Great Business And Success Book
Ah this one gives me great pleasure, as I outlined here, my love of reading great books. Here’s what I see as a problem: there are so many great books out there containing vast tomes of information but are inaccessible for one of two reasons:
- Financial. Let’s be honest, books can feel expensive. In my view, they’re not expensive, they’re an investment in expanding your mind, but that’s besides the point. Sometimes when your only focus is putting food on the table, that extra $15-$20 to buy a good book, feels like a stretch.
- Time. Another harsh reality, time is limited. Everyone talks about how they want to read more, but nobody really seems to do it. Why? Are they lazy? Maybe, but also most people don’t have time (or more accurately, don’t make the time to read books).
So my goal here is quite simple to solve both these problems: to read and review all the greatest business, success, biographical, historical books I can get my hands on, digest the material, and summarize for you the key insights and stories. I’ll be the first to admit that most 300 page books contain a lot of padding and unnecessary words to help justify the $20 cost. I write to save you time and money.
My goal is to provide precise, thoughtful, actionable summaries, so you can focus on digesting and implementing the most effective information, while ignoring the rest.
In the not too distant future I will be preparing PDF summaries available for download (and possibly audio versions), so you can take them wherever you go. Stay tuned.
To Engineer For You The Perfect Blog For Search Engines (SEO)
This is where things get fun. For those who don’t know, SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of writing content to be understood by Google. Remember, everytime you write a blog or put up a video on YouTube, there are at least 2 people (read: entities) that are reading it, the end user, and the search engines. And unfortunately, they both behave differently (although Google is constantly getting smarter).
What do I mean by 2 entities? Think about it, if a blog was written just for a human, it would be purely informational. It would likely short, to the point, and just cover the information the person was searching for. But this brings up the question – how does the user find that information? And this is where search engines come in.
Search engines read your page and read your content to understand what it’s about. And how do they know what it’s about? Keywords. Have you ever read a blog post before that just felt like it was repeating the same keywords over and over again? Yeah, that’s called keyword stuffing. I wouldn’t recommend it because Google is cracking down on that kind of stuff all the time.
But, the point remains, if you want Google to understand your content, you need to supply the keywords so Google can find it. What is a keyword? Notice how I use the term “Alpha Engineer” a lot? Yeah, that’s a keyword. By repeating that term over and over in my content, Google gradually comes to learn that my website is about “Alpha Engineers” and when someone Googles “Alpha Engineer”, now there’s a good chance they’re going to find me.
So how do you Engineer For You The Perfect Blog For Search Engines (SEO)? Let’s break it down:
SEO Strategy 1: Keywords Research
It all starts with the keywords. It’s surprising how deep of a rabbit hole Google can be. There are literally millions of different search terms used daily. It’s insane. But if you write piece of content well enough, you just might start ranking. So start with keyword research. I recommend a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner Tool. Note: it is a free tool but you must have an active Google ad account – I recommend setting it up and starting an ad running for a penny a day (which likely won’t spend any money at all), and you’ll be good to go.
The start putting in keyword ideas, or, find a domain you think has done a good job with SEO and reverse engineer their domain. Simply grab the domain URL and use a domain search.
Now when you look at keywords, find the keywords with high search volume, and ideally high CPC (cost per click) – these are the search terms that are worth money, which is why advertisers are willing to bid money on them. Now keep in mind, keyword difficulty is also important here, however the free Google Keyword Planner Tool doesn’t really tell you keyword difficulty (it gives a rough estimate of “competition” but it’s a little vague). For something more serious I recommend the KW Finder or ahrefs – both are paid tools, but give you more insights into the KD, or keyword difficulty.
The sweet spot: finding keywords with high search volume and low keyword difficulty (and ideally relevant to your topic!). If you can find that magical unicorn, with say 100+ searches per month, and a KD of less than 15, now you’re in business.
SEO Strategy 2: Layout Your Topics And Heading Structure
Once you’ve done your keyword research and you’ve developed a list of ideally 100-200 keywords (more is better), now is the time to start laying them out and structuring your delivery. The goal here is to setup a basic structure (similar to those terrible essays we all wrote back in highschool). The structure should include a title, 3 headings, and 3 sub-headings.
A cool trick here is to plug your keyword or search term into Google, and see what Google auto suggests. What are other people searching for in related searches? What questions are people asking. Take these questions and searches and start using them for the structure of your post. Once you’re done, you should have a nice shell to fill in.
SEO Strategy 3: Write.
And then the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Writing. This is where the rubber hits the road and where things start getting serious. This is what separates the SEO boys from the SEO men. This is where we muster up all that courage and determination, and sit out and just write it out.
It’s time to let go of fear of mistakes, fear of criticism, fear of looking like a fool, and just writing. I recommend 1500 words for a good blog post. Ideally more if you can. But 1500 words is enough for Google to really get a good grasp on your content, to understand the primary keywords, and start ranking you for those keywords.
Here’s a secret tip: use a tool like Web Page Word Counter, and see how many words the top 3 listings on Google have under your keyword. If they have 500 words, write 1000. If they have 1000, write 1500. Always offer to write more and better content than what already exists. Google appreciates your effort and hard work.
So that’s it – 1500 words is easy. I’ve started timing myself and I can typically crank out 1500 words in about an hour. My goal is to steadily decrease that. Getting down to 45 minutes, or even 30 minutes, as I truly hone my message and my craft.
But for you getting started, crank out those 1500 words. Then publish, sit back and watch with bated breath as Google starts ranking your content. I do recommend setting up the Google Search Console as a way of measuring your growth and progress. Lastly, don’t get discouraged if your content doesn’t rank right away. Keep at it, try new keywords, try new posts, try new content. Just keep writing, just keep writing.
To Design For You A Replicable Framework For Success
Alrighty, so we’ve read and digested all the important business and success books, we’ve taken that content and turned it into SEO friendly blog content so we can start ranking on Google and getting all that free traffic. Then what?
My last goal here is to design for you a replicable framework for success. That means laying out a proven roadmap you can follow to get started. As I talked about in the Hierarchy of Alpha, there’s a systematic process we gradually need to ascend. The first rung however, is to have your financial life in order. I’m sure you have big plans of all the things you want to do in your life, but unless you have your finances together, you won’t get very far.
So my goal here is to lay out a framework you can follow to start seeing success, to start seeing income rolling into your bank account, to help you to raise your head up and to allow you to see further than you had before.
Now a word of warning (and I’m sure you see this coming), there is a lot of hard work ahead. I can’t just give you the money, and I also can’t do the work for you, you have to do it. I’m here to lay out the path I’ve already walked down, so that you know it’s possible too.
Trust me, there will be a lot of hard work ahead. As you may have guess from above, the framework I’m developing is around getting free Google organic traffic to your site, to sell them advertising and convert that into revenue. That requires you write bucket loads of content. Essentially, you need to write all day every day, this is a full time job.
Now I know, I can already here the crying and the whinging “but that’s so much work!”. And my question back to you is, yeah, but compared to what? What really is the alternative? If you want to be stuck in a cubicle being bossed around by your delusional and mood-swingy micromanaging manager, go right ahead and by my guest. But not me. I choose writing.
So get to work. Get writing, build your blog, build your audience, sell that advertising (or develop your own products/course), and get out there hustling. Go!
<H2> I Write To Get Uncomfortable
<H2> I Write To Learn About Business
<H2> I Write To Learn About Human Psychology
<H2> I Write To Develop Passive, Perpetual Income
<H2> I Write To Answer The Question: Is Blogging Dead In 2021?