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Branding and communications strategist. “Your Own Thing” podcast available on all platforms. https://alexcespedes.com

Instead, focus on finding those who already see your value

In 2019 I had just gotten out of a toxic relationship. It took me another six months to get past the love hangover.

At the same time, my finances were also shaky. The freelance gigs dried up, and I had to get a nine-to-five.

Needless to say, it felt like the end of an era. For years I had been working so hard for certain things, and they hadn’t materialized. My life was headed in the wrong direction.

As a self-proclaimed “Mr. Self-Improvement” my first thought was that something about me needed fixing. So I was about to go ham…


By nature, consumers are primed to hate your first product — but they will love the second one

A rock band on stage performing to a crowd
A rock band on stage performing to a crowd

Semisonic’s lead singer Dan Wilson — yes, the same guy who co-wrote Adele’s signature song “Someone Like You”— almost didn’t write his first hit to begin with.

It’s been widely documented that “Closing Time” by Semisonic is a metaphor for a child being born. Of being bounced from the womb and knowing “who I want to take me home.” Mr. Wilson was expecting his first child. But there is so much more to the story aside from the symbolism.

The song almost didn’t get made.

He was fed up. After a decade of playing in small bars, he felt his…


Your profits never come from the same place as your recognition.

All warfare is based on deception. — Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Comparing business to warfare is very cliché. But there is a reason that things become cliché: they have a truth to them that endures.

The boardroom does in fact resemble the battlefield. But in business, the most important war you’ll fight won’t be with competitors or with suppliers, it’s with obscurity.

As Al Ries, one of the most brilliant business minds of the 20th century once said:

“Everyone talks about why their brand is better. But prospects have an open mind… Everyone is interested in what’s new…

Alex Cespedes

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