4 Lessons We Can Learn From The Rise of Joe Rogan
I’ll be the first to admit that I love Joe Rogan’s podcast.
And no, I am not some elk-hunting, pot-smoking, DMT advocate either.
The advent of Joe Rogan is the modern example of a truly leveraged person operating at scale. I would say he is fast becoming a household brand and leverages it through podcast media, television hosting, stand-up, and UFC commentating.
People buy into the eponymous brand that is Joe Rogan.
You could copy his podcast in terms of equipment, guests and set-up but it won’t help.
People have tried (me included).
But you can never really copy a leveraged person where the product they are selling is themselves. Where the brand is them. They have created a natural monopoly and operate with almost zero competition.
But the core message from the success of Joe Rogan is something that we can all learn from:
“You can escape competition through authenticity.”
— Naval Ravikant
No one can beat Joe Rogan at being Joe Rogan.
And no one can beat you at being you.
In this new niche economy, authenticity pays off. Handsomely.
Through authenticity, you do not have any competition.
If you are competing, you are not being authentic.
Joe Rogan’s style, personality and method of interviewing people is why Spotify was willing to make $100 million deal with Rogan to have his podcast hosted exclusively on their platform.
Joe Rogan is a prime example of the new era of infinite leverage we are living in. All the smartest people have already figured this out.
The old economy rewarded conformity with the norm. The new economy leveraged through the internet rewards passion, authenticity and brand.
He certainly wasn’t the first nor will he be the last. I personally feel like we are at the beginning of a new way of working and living. We can learn a lot from the business model that Joe Rogan has pioneered for almost a decade.
What Can We Learn From Joe Rogan?
Lesson 1: Be Authentic:
Be yourself. Authenticity is the new superpower.
Everyone has something they are obsessed about or have a deep understanding of a specific domain of knowledge that the world wants but it can not yet get.
If you can give the world what it wants through your own brand, personality or media it will reward you.
Nowhere else can you get a UFC commentator, former martial arts competitor, a stand-up comedian who can interview scientists, entrepreneurs and politicians in the world and make it interesting and funny.
It is a unique combination of skills rather than one particular trait that makes Joe Rogan authentic. Find your own unique skill stack that other people can’t copy because it is considered play for you but work for them.
You want to be playing for 8–10 hours a day, not working.
Lesson 2: Don’t Ask Permission
Through the internet, you don’t need permission to create your own brand or leverage.
Joe Rogan started the first iteration of his podcast on UStream, where he often had less than 200 people listening at any given time. The show was quite frankly terrible. The quality of audio and video was questionable and the guests were just his regular friends.
It took him almost a decade to get to the level he is now.
While slow, at no point did Joe Rogan ever have to ask or rely on someone else to create his podcast. He just did it.
He didn’t have to hire anybody, find investors or persuade someone to give him a spot on an established radio network or television. I doubt he would have gotten one to begin with.
In short, you don’t need anyone else’s permission.
It may take longer than the traditional route as you try to build and grow your audience from zero but it will be worth it in the end.
Why? Because you will have two types of freedom.
- Freedom to do whatever you want
- Freedom from being bound to a desk or corporate hierarchy.
Just start creating, confidence and an audience will come later.
Lesson 3: Take Accountability
Joe Rogan also has huge accountability with the podcast.
The podcast literally has his name on it. Yes, when things don’t always go right he takes the full brunt of the criticism but with accountability comes the ability to reap the rewards.
Ownership and equity in any business or start-up are how you build true, long-term wealth.
Accountability does become a vector for an attack but it also becomes a vector for success. You take greater liability but with increased risks comes increased reward.
Lesson 4: Use The Leverage of The Internet
The internet has provided one of the greatest levers in the world for anyone to use.
New and innovative business models that are built off zero cost of digital reproduction, scale economies and network effects. Just look at the impact of Facebook or Twitter.
Joe Rogan’s podcast works for him when he sleeps. It doesn’t matter if there are 100 people or 100 million people listening to his podcast.
This is because Joe Rogan’s cost and risks are fixed at the point of creation. The digital cost of the reproduction of his podcast through Spotify or YouTube is marginal or close to zero. This allows Joe Rogan to achieve economies of scale that were not possible even one or two decades ago.
Similarly, network effects mean that the more listeners that Joe Rogan gets, the better the guests he can attract onto the podcast, which will in turn attract more listeners.
Each new listener is essentially adding more value to the existing listener base, making the podcast even more valuable for Joe Rogan. Can you imagine a better business model where your customers are doing the work to make your product even more valuable?
The great thing about it is that you can leverage the internet too. I am not saying you will be as big as Joe Rogan but the principles and business model can be applied to whatever you want to do.