The Booming Industry of Overcomplicating Everything

I read an article last week in The Athletic about Washington State football coach Mike Leach. He has been really successful as a coach and has consistently produced high flying offensive teams with quarterbacks posting impressive statistics. He is also known as a very eccentric character. The article interviewed many of his former quarterbacks and players to get insights into his tactics and his generally uncommon behavior.

I found it to be super insightful. His advice and strategy for quarterbacks? “Throw the ball to the fucking open guy”. It’s not such a simple thing to actually do, but the goal is pretty obvious. Refreshingly straightforward. What does this have to do with technology and startups? So much of the time in my business experience people choose to overcomplicate concepts for self serving reasons; to make themselves seem important, to discourage others from realizing they are capable of doing the same tasks without spending money on an “expert”, etc.

When someone is throwing around a dense word salad of jargon, it’s usually not you who doesn’t know what they are talking about. This article was a nice reminder that when I hear people throwing around big words or abstract “thought leadership”, they are the ones who are completely full of “water”.

Every day I get 10+ requests on LinkedIn from “experts” in “growth marketing”, “startup coaching”, “executive coaching”, “b2b lead generation”, etc. The problem is that most of these people don’t seem to know what they are talking about nor have they applied their “skills” to a business of their own where they face real risk of financial loss or failure.

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