TPM Redefinitions

Take a close look at the “inner dictionary” of The Positioning Manual for Indie Consultants

You don’t realize how boring your life is until someone asks you what your hobbies are, right?

On that note, I read the dictionary for “fun” (like some of you!?)

More fun to read is the new book, The Positioning Manual for Indie Consultants. For me at least.

And I made a mini-dictionary out of it (below).

I think the book will fascinate the following types:

  • solo indie consultants, which is the intended primary audience
  • not-indie consultants or subject matter experts (working for a company)
  • owners of small consulting firms
  • creative or technical agency owners
  • independent freelancers of many kinds

Beyond that list, any student of business who enjoys business strategy and business ideas will enjoy this book. Say, for example, you’re interested in the concept of leadership and you tend to be on the lookout for new and interesting takes on the subject.

Listen to these observations from the book (obviously, this isn’t everything the book has to say on leadership but it’s interesting):

Leaders use the tools of story, narrative, maps, frameworks, ubiquity, status, speaking, and manifestos. They may operate using expensive data, gut feel, or anything in between.

Even though the context for these observations is solo indie consulting, you can definitely apply it elsewhere.

Next, consider this interesting digression:

in the most open of open systems, things are so chaotic and fast-moving that the social relationships underpinning the social styles of tryst earning simply don’t have time to form. In a fast-moving open system, everybody is a newcomer and everybody is, in a relative sense, a stranger to each other.

Exactly right! If you have any experience with the enormous and fairly lawless open-source micro-economy, WordPress, this will resonate. Or with blockchain and secure tokens.

I will let those two excerpts, though, make my case that the book is worthy – and not divulge the rest of it.

The Inner Dictionary of TPM

Instead, I have culled the book for its “inner dictionary”.

Which is basically a de facto glossary of terms. Except rather than consisting of obscure jargon, this glossary mostly consists of redefinitions of common business terms, like marketing or audience. Actually – most good business books do. And so do most good businesses, but I’ll save that for another time.

For now, let’s dive right into the definitions, or “redefinitions”, of TPM. These are the author’s verbatim words.

Marketing is earning visibility and trust for your service offerings, business, or thinking

An Audience is a group of people or businesses that share something important in common

A Beachhead [is a specialization decision that] provides an indie consultant with access and momentum to achieve a larger strategic goal

An Innovation is an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new and provides perceived relative advantage

A Market Position is when enough of the market thinks of you as focused on a certain market vertical, a certain horizontal (problem or platform), or a certain kind of service 

A Platform specialization is when an indie consultant provides services mostly or exclusively specialized in a certain platform

A Pure Horizontal Specialization is when you specialize in solving a specific problem or applying a specific form of expertise and you do not care much which business vertical or audience your clients come from

Service Specialization is where you specialize your service delivery. This is often synonymous with productization (where you standardize the scope and pricing of your services) or, more specifically, innovative service productization, where you standardize your scope in a unique way that is attractive to a narrow spectrum of clients

A Multidimensional Specialization is when you combine both vertical horizontal specializations

Leadership is helping a group of people respond to exogenous change or generate endogenous change

Management is helping a group optimize the status quo

What do think about these definitions? I think they are (a) very interesting and (b) give you a pretty good idea of what the book is about.

To see these redefinitions in use – to see how they support the book’s ideas, grab a copy of it. And let me know if the “inner dictionary” is missing anything.