Can I create an information empire?

Apr 27, 2015 | Writing A Book

Some people, including those at the Economist, think that the great run of management guru creativity is coming to an end. Here’s how they put it in an article titled, “The Twilight of the Gurus.”

“Two of the most prominent business books of the past few months have been retreads rather than new publications with new ideas: the tenth-anniversary edition of Mr. Kim’s and Ms Mauborgne’s “Blue Ocean Strategy” and the 20th-anniversary edition of Don Tapscott’s “The Digital Economy”. It is a far cry from the glory years of the 1980s and 1990s, when “In Search of Excellence”, by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, sold 3m copies in its first four years and “Re-engineering the Corporation”, by James Champy and Michael Hammer, touched off a global re-engineering craze.”

The times, they are a-changing

The publishing world and the work of management and the world of business learning are all changing. By the time I finish this piece something big will have changed. By the time you read this post, everyone will know about it.

There are still business books that look like the business books of old. The titles from traditional publishing houses that I’ve read so far this year have averaged about 250 pages. Nothing new there.

But there are more offerings that aren’t “books” at all in the traditional sense. They’re offered in PDF format. They’re narrowly focused. They run maybe fifty to a hundred pages. They’re popular because people are balancing “big idea” materials with tightly focused, quickly absorbed pieces that concentrate on a single subject or situation.

They can be the foundation for your information empire. Don’t start out to be an all-purpose “guru.” Instead, start small and demonstrate your value.

Find a niche

If you want to use publication as part of your business or career strategy, identify your niche. A niche is that wonderful space where a topic and a type of person come together. Start by publishing short, targeted pieces that meet a need.

Expand outward

Once you’ve published a piece that meets a need of a particular kind of person or needs in a particular area, expand your offerings. Identify more pain points for the person. Identify more people who can use help on your topic. Publish things for whatever niche fits you best.


Without paying much attention you’ll become an expert. You may be expert in the needs of a specific group of people. Or, you may be an expert in a particular topic or subject area. You can create quite a lovely empire based on either of those.

Once you’re an expert

Once you’re an expert you become the go-to person for a group of people or about a particular topic. You can develop multiple product offerings and revenue streams. You can charge more for your basic products and services.