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I want to begin this week’s topic by explaining how I come up with it. Earlier this week I was working on optimizing our blog with Google. It turns out that getting your blog to show up in search results is not an easy task, but over time it gets easier if the content is good and people talk about it. While doing research on search engine optimization, I started to think about being in that number 1 spot on Google and what that must mean for those businesses, sites, and organizations that have that spot at the top of the page. I had to know how certain sites get it so I looked into it.

First I assumed they bought the spot. The truth is you can buy some spots with Google Ad Words, but sponsoring often does not get you to the top of the list. It turns out that Google has a system where websites are ranked in order through back linking. So when you key in a search, Google’s servers search the web for the sites that have the most links posted for them on other sites. The site that has the most links posted all over the web will usually be the one that shows up on top. Google’s system is pretty simple, it assumes that the more a site is talked about and linked to on the Internet, the more important it must be. This system is very clever indeed. It’s clever enough to build a multi-billion dollar business anyway. So in short, in order to be the top-ranking site on Google, you need to be the best in the world. You need to be the one that is referred to the most.

This whole Google thing intrigued me. I started to think about my favorite things, and then I would search them to see if Google would agree with me. What I discovered opened a whole new line of thinking. My perception of the best in the world changed. For the record, it turns out that Tap Bar and Grill is not the best sports bar in the world, but was ranked the best in Jackson, TN. They were not the best in the entire world, but they were the best in their world. Lets pretend that Tap Bar and Grill was the best in the entire world for a second. We all know that there is only one Tap Bar and Grill, so if it were the best in the entire world would it matter? I don’t think so. It wouldn’t make much difference to someone in London who wanted to go have a beer and watch the game after work. It wouldn’t matter to someone in London because they don’t have access to the Tap Bar and Grill in Jackson, TN. It would simply be useless and irrelevant. If you are a musician reading this right now, I want you to ask yourself something. Are you trying to be the best in the entire world or the best in your world? If you were the best in the world, would anyone outside of your world care? Could they come see you on the weekends? I don’t think they would. Perhaps you could book a world tour, but that could get expensive.

The best in the world topic brings questions. What if the best band in your world has a huge following and has been establishes for 15 years? They play once every couple of months and sell out every single time. Is it better to try and take on this monster to own your market? The great thing about music is that it’s diverse, so maybe you can create a new world because your music is completely different from theirs. I think that’s the answer. Find your niche. Create your world. Dominate it.

Now that you have created you world, and are now the king of it. What does it really mean to be the best in the world and why is it important to you? It really has nothing to do with bragging rights or looking cool in front of your friends. After all, this is not a blog that teaches you to look cool. It’s a blog that teaches you to be successful in the music business… hopefully. When I was thinking about what it means for someone to be the best in the world at something, I went back to the books to hopefully find some promising philosophy, statistics, or stories that would show how being the best transfers to success. Once I started my research, it didn’t take long for me to find the answer from one of my favorite authors- Seth Godin. Godin blogs, speaks, and writes books about starting businesses and managing them. I have always been a fan of his work, and this topic seemed right up his alley. I referred to one of Seth’s books called The Dip. The Dip is a book about quitting for the most part, but it touches on a few other subjects as well, one was about being the best in the world. In this book Godin gives an example with ice cream. It is a well known fact that vanilla ice cream is by far the most popular flavor in the world followed by chocolate, then strawberry, then many others. With a simple list like this, you would assume that vanilla is considered to be the most popular because it showed just a little more popularity than the others, but it didn’t. It turns out that vanilla ice cream sells more than four times the amount that chocolate does, and chocolate sold more than all of the others on the list combined. It’s always this way. When you look at the best new movies for the week, you will notice that the movie on top sells more tickets than the others by a landslide almost every time. Check the New York Times bestseller list, and you will likely notice the same thing. All winners usually win big, and our marketplace loves winners. If you can find a way to be the best in the world, your world, you will too be a winner and your project will take off. New fans will come naturally because people always seek out the best in the world. Go travel to a new city. After you check in your hotel and it’s time for dinner, will you ask the front desk where to find the most mediocre place or will you ask for the best? Maybe the best is too expensive, so what’s the next best? If you are diagnosed with cancer and searching for a specialist, will you ask for decent or will you ask for the best around? The fact remains. When you’re the best you no longer go find fans, fans will gladly come find you.

Jeremy Jones
Fire Artist Development

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