Slingshot Recovery By Perry Marshall
  • Slingshot Recovery By Perry Marshall

Slingshot Recovery By Perry Marshall


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Slingshot Recovery By Perry Marshall

Slingshot Recovery By Perry Marshall

The 80/20 Laws of Chaos, Crisis and Convergence

Dear Marketing Professional:

“Normal” died three years ago. The earth shifted into a new energy, a new era, a new Kairos, in mid to late 2016. Most people are only now getting the memo.

Normal has been bereft of life ever since.

But most people in the world are still trying to get Normal back.

Normal is dead. Normal shall not return.

Slingshot Recovery By Perry Marshall

Normal was a kind man… a faithful man… Normal worked hard and provided for his family. Normal purchased a life insurance policy. Normal was loved and respected by everyone who had the privilege of knowing him.

Normal is survived by his wife Norma and his children Constance and Chastity. We will always hold Normal in our thoughts, cherishing the good times we spent with him. Normal will be dearly missed. Normal will live in our hearts and memories forever.

But Normal is deceased. Normal is buried at the Pleasant Acres cemetery on Main Street, two blocks up from the library.

Most people are immobilized, awaiting Normal’s return. They lie awake on the couch chewing their fingernails like a frazzled parent waiting for a teenager still absent three hours after curfew… suppressing dark fantasies about disasters that may befall their son or daughter.

Others are groping around in the Five Stages of Grief. Most are at the “Bargaining” stage right now, holding placards and waving protest signs.

Some hold out hope that a new president… a new fiscal policy… a new health care plan or political party will bring Normal back. Some think Normal may return if we ban firearms or pass stricter abortion laws or get better Supreme Court justices or overturn Brexit.

Sorry for the sad news, but…

Slingshot Recovery By Perry Marshall


…And most folks are now in Cold-Turkey Withdrawal from the Heroin of “NORMAL.”

In summer 2016, when “Normal” was breathing its last, I was sitting in a spacious glass conference room on the 37th floor of a skyscraper in the financial district of downtown Chicago.

Greg, the gentleman in front of me, was managing 60 billion dollars of institutional assets. His job: Secure steady returns for large corporations and university endowments.

Greg handed me a big clue about some major changes that are just around the corner.

Greg, a very wealthy big-league money manager, was a friend of a friend of a friend – a “weak link” in 6 degrees of separation theory. A distant connection. A man far outside my cozy world of marketing renegades. Just the kind of remote resource that’s likely to yield a new opportunity, a new connection, a new insight.

I had arrived to elicit his insights on what’s going on in the world. Because I’d been seeing, shall we say, irregularities. Like that scene in The Matrix where Neo glimpses a jitter as a black cat walks by twice in a row. Cipher cries, “That’s a glitch in the matrix!” then thirty seconds later Agent Smith smashes through a door in a hail of bullets.

I was hunting for clues.

Greg says, “The last crash was 8 years ago. We’re due for another any time now.”

He continues:

“When crashes come, they never come from where you think they will. So let’s say everyone’s all uptight about the national debt, it’s never that thing that triggers it. It’s always something else, something you could never predict, like the Zimbabwe currency melting down. Or an earthquake in Indonesia. Or a forest fire in Alberta.”

He says, “For several years the VPs at a company I worked for, including myself, were asked to give a five-minute prediction speech at the annual company party. They asked us to estimate what the markets would do the following year.

“Every year my strategy was: Survey what the market thinks is going to happen, then predict the opposite.

“I was right nine years out of nine. The market was wrong every time.”

CNBC Guest: We recommend buying at these levels.
CNBC Host: Are you buying?
CNBC Guest: We are selling.

At least he’s honest.

By the time the mainstream media tells you about it, it’s too late. Because your job as a Wall Street shareholder is to absorb the risk. Not to receive a profit.


The most powerful attribute of chaos is: It IS Predictable. Even the “Black Swan” – the event out of left field you can by definition never predict – is, in its own way, inevitable and thus still predictable.

But like a heroin addict convincing himself that it’s better to detox at home than with professional help, most people persuade themselves that life itself is predictable, and that the Black Swan will never arrive.

But it always does. I’ve been issuing Black Swan warnings for three years.

The Black Swan is upon us now.

One of great controversies in evolutionary biology is the “Cambrian Explosion.” The Cambrian was an era 540 million years ago when the fossil record shows a sudden quantum leap of unprecedented proportions, in which we witness a massive introduction of new life forms. By the end of the Cambrian— 500 million years ago—some 40 new major animal groups appear. Branches of the tree of life pop up all over the place in quick succession.

Old-school Darwinists and textbooks have always struggled to explain how “gradual accumulations of accidental mutations” could possibly explain how or why 50% of evolution happened in the 1% of time scale that is the Cambrian. And… why the conspicuous absence of intermediate forms?

Those of you who follow my Evolution 2.0 work do know why and how such rapid changes are executed by living things: Cells are tiny entrepreneurs: They adapt predictively and proactively to threats, with astounding speed and agility. Them mutations ain’t accidental.

I was at the Galapagos islands two weeks ago. Researchers there documented a brand new species of Finch, the iconic source of Darwin’s ideas… a new species in only TWO generations. Not hundreds or thousands. I call that…

Which is precisely what the world demands of you and me right now.

Once at a science conference a guy said to me, “I met a scientist who wrote one of the famous papers on the Cambrian explosion. He told me something very interesting that he never mentions in any of his papers.”

“What’s that?”

“I asked the scientist what else was going on in the world at the time. He said there was a massive drought. He said when you examine the animals before and after, the ones before don’t have body plans (i.e. spinal cords) and the ones after do.

“And if you look closely, you’ll notice all the post-Cambrian body plans have much more ability to conserve and use water.”

We are about to undergo a period of MASSIVE hyper-evolution, on every level of scale.

The world.

Hyper-Evolution WILL happen. Life is built to hyper-evolve in times of rapid change and stress.

These are the moments where we’re faced with the choice to survive or die.

Survive only happens through evolution.

Rapid, hyper-evolution.

You can choose that.

You can be dragged along kicking and screaming.

Or you can die. (Metaphorically, hopefully not literally.)

Your business model, the one that let you thrive when Normal was alive, will NOT guarantee survival, much less thriving, in the post-Normal world.

And THIS is the moment of shock after which nothing remains the same.

You have a choice.

Will you strategically and intentionally hyper-evolve?

Will you do it only when forced?

Or will you wait for the cruel hands of fate to pass its judgment on your inaction?

Fact: Doors you have been accustomed to traveling through effortlessly are SHUT. Some, forever. But other doors that were sealed tighter than a bank fault are suddenly standing WIDE OPEN.

John Fancher told me about his first trip to Florence Italy. “You could walk into an art gallery and behind some wall or doorway they’d have some incredible piece of art that they haven’t even bothered to display or shine a light on. An embarrassment of riches.”

Chaos is like that… if you know where to direct your gaze.

So yes, you need courage, mojo, moxie, willingness to adapt, and an ethic of adventure and persistence. But that alone is not enough.

You also need a game plan. You need 95/5 X-Ray vision.

If you paid attention to my “10 Predictions for 2020-2029” in the new year, you also saw that my previous predictions for 2010-2019 were 75% correct. I don’t know anybody who’s batting 0.75 for decade-long predictions.

Those predictions weren’t accurate because I “got lucky.” Those predictions were accurate because I sensed the 80/20 levers, the gears deep beneath civilization that secretly, silently direct the affairs of men.

You need the “software” that made those predictions possible.

In 2003 when I read Richard Koch’s book The 80/20 Principle, Richard made a throwaway comment on page 14. “80/20 has a great deal to do with chaos and fractals” – and then he never said anything further about it.

A fractal is a pattern within a pattern within a pattern. Like a tree in your front yard – zoom in to the branches, the twigs, the leaves, the veins in the leaves, zoom in further, further – you see the branching pattern all the way down to single cells.

I’m not even sure how he knew that, but when I read those words, I bolted upright in my chair.

Hey wait a minute… if 80/20 is fractal, what does that tell me about the world? A thousand connections suddenly fired into place.

The reason that happened was because of a book I read twelve years before.

Shortly after we were married, Laura came home from the library with a book The Beauty of Fractals and said, “This book looks like something you’d be interested in.”

It would bore most people. Pretty mathematical. I did play with the numbers, but what was most important, though, was not the colorful pictures and fascinating patterns. It was the chapter at the very end that explored the meaning of chaos.

How does this change the way you live your life?

Turns out, A LOT.

That chapter explained to me that patterns inside of patterns inside of patterns are everywhere. The universe is saturated with chaos patterns that are completely UN-predictable in specific detail but EXACTLY predictable in general. Like clouds and earthquakes and lightning strikes.

I saw a very deep meaning in all of this. In an hour or two, I began to realize this was going to alter my perception of the world. Fractals were right under my nose all along, tucked away in Mozart and Congressional hearings and birch trees… and the coast of California and the 1987 stock market crash and Monet’s watercolor paintings.

Then the next day on a cold November morning I walked out to my car. I noticed ice crystals on the roof of my green 1985 Toyota Tercel hatchback. Suddenly I saw the fractal pattern in the ice crystals.

“Chaos is EVERYWHERE!!!”
Viruses and 9/11 incidents and disasters… and prosperity…and Slingshot Recoveries… all obey the laws of chaos.

From that moment on, I’ve never been able to not see fractal patterns-within-patterns everywhere in the cosmos. I literally cannot look out my window without seeing fractals. We are awash in chaos… yet most people live their entire life without ever noticing them.

I began buying books and obsessing about it. Once I met a professor on an airplane who was teaching a class on chaos. I drenched him with questions until he politely suggested that if I wanted to learn more, perhaps I should enroll in his class at Benedictine University. When I worked in the Dilbert Cube job, my screensaver was fractals I’d downloaded from the internet.

That’s why my 80/20 epiphany was so massive. Because 80/20 is THE accounting ledger of chaos and fractals.

Fractal 80/20 saturates everything I teach. The 80/20 Curve is an incredibly simple yet powerful tool for those who learn how to use it. My re-invention of the Pareto Principle was published in Harvard Business Review Italy in June 2018.

But one thing I’ve never taught to Planet Perry is the SCIENCE of disruption.
Everyone is wringing their hands about COVID-19 and the problems are obvious enough. Airlines, hotels, restaurants and resorts are in free-fall.

Yet what’s not nearly so obvious is that THIS may be your BIG BREAK. But it’s camouflaged. It can only be your big break if you recognize it for what it is. Your chance to Hyper-Evolve.

You’ve hunted in vain for a crack in the sidewalk where you can plant your tiny seed… suddenly a Richter 7.3 earthquake splits pavement wide open. Plenty of fresh virgin soil for planting suddenly appears.

In the Post-Normal World, things are breaking – there are cracks in the ground – more surface area – making room for new growth.

I am opening the vault to the 80/20 levers, the secret sauce, the pattern recognition toolbox fueling my own predictions that will empower you to recognize the meta-patterns that drive the world and the future.
You will discover and ACQUIRE:

  • Some businesses are eminently “save-able.” You can and should to everything to bring them back to health. For others, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will NOT be able to put Humpty together again. The only thing you’ll receive by “saving” those is an early grave. I learned this in the ’08 crash, back when I believed that there was no problem good marketing couldn’t solve. A whole class of clients went bankrupt despite my best efforts. Slingshot Recovery will give you the tools to “rack the shotgun” on which businesses WON’T make it. If you need to walk away… better find out NOW. If you should stay… better commit NOW.
  • If your bank account gets frozen… if your assets are seized by the IRS… if your building is blockaded with yellow tape by the police… if your business is shut down… the ONE non-financial asset that determines whether you ride again the very next morning… or tumble precipitously and go “splat” and become a statistic
  • The #1 factor that sets your capacity to recover from a financial contagion — what that means you need to do TODAY – and how it will influence week-to-week decisions in your life going forward… for the rest of your life
  • How to consistently be in the right place at the right time, primarily because you know where not to go (and if you’re licking your wounds today, wishing you avoided this — what you need to be paying attention to for the next few months to avoid the next crisis)
  • How to forecast accidents before they happen and declare winners before the race is won (or even run). Discover the fledgling signal that suggested to me in April 2002 that Google would soon become THE 800 pound gorilla (it was FAR from obvious then, Google was just a strange little search engine with white background and a name that was hard to remember, plus their rivals were 10X bigger and better funded)… how I knew to host my Evolution 2.0 prize on HeroX instead of a host of other crowdsourcing sites… how I knew Barack Obama was going to win the 2008 election six months before it happened; and why I’ve been warning my clients about Black Swans for 3½ years (including a stern warning and group exercise at Roundtable San Diego in January) and why you need to recognize this mother pattern.
  • Why the 21st century is fundamentally different from the 20th – yes, even down to the most basic behaviors of human beings – companies large and small – and how you must begin distributing resources and risk in a fundamentally different way
  • How to instantly recognize the fractal patterns of Star Businesses; Simplification; Network Effect; and the “20/120 Rule” – so that you incorporate these principles even into microscopic, 2-hour projects and get the patterns into your muscle memory, into your very bones, so you succeed more naturally “by accident” than most people do on purpose. (This makes business strategy an hour-by-hour judgment call, especially when you have crisis on your hands!)
  • The psychology, daily regimen, education and social habits that cultivate a wealthy peer group, a rich bank account and lucrative day-to-day activities
  • How to recognize the “smoke signals” when a system is at capacity and ready to catastrophically fail – both for global scale systems such as college funding, and also for tiny, solo-entrepreneur systems (i.e. a custom piece of software you use or even developed yourself). This will keep you from throwing good money after bad – which is imperative in the current weeks of turmoil. (After all, what’s next? How is the current crisis only the first domino to fall in a world without Normal?)
  • One type of “catastrophic system failure” people will forgive you for… and another that will cause people to burn with hatred against you literally beyond your grave. (I’m heart-attack serious about this one. This one “rack the shotgun” will literally make or break your entire legacy… it will determine whether you are remembered with fondness or if “good riddance” gets spray-painted on your tombstone in red.)
  • Why the wellbeing of nations is no longer in the hands of their leaders… and the invisible elite that is really in charge (plus the parlor trick they use to distract you every time)
  • How to excavate fractal culture patterns from very old books and use them to literally predict the future… both before it happens and while it is happening (people will think you’re psychic – even if you’re not)
  • An online tool that lets you sample the behavior of a small situation, then project its eccentricities on vast scales with great accuracy. This is important because right now more than ever you are making day to day decisions about what fire to put out and what projects to pursue, and what to let go of
  • The one thing you urgently need to know about the measurable impact of Black Swan events like Coronavirus
  • A detailed list of large-scale future disasters and system failures, of which you can be certain a fraction will occur in your lifetime, many of which welcome both offensive and defensive strategies
  • A life-altering conversation I had with a billionaire in September 2016, which is not only the reason 85% of my retirement money has been in cash ever since, but also instructed me how to deploy it (this still applies to you even if your money is IN the stock market because the madness is NOT over yet)
  • A vital business lesson you can learn from the AIDS virus, and how the greatest tech giants copy this strategy much more often than small players do (but entrepreneurs can use it nevertheless)
  • The “deep psychological trench” of big data and its paralyzing effect on our leadership and decision making (this doesn’t just affect big corporations, it equally affects 1099 contractors, freelancers and solo entrepreneurs)
  • If billion-dollar disasters are commonplace… what does a BIG disaster look like? A case study in little-known Mega-Catastrophes and a method for predicting the next wave
  • The story of how I “swung for the fences” from 2012 to 2016 with an abysmal batting average – yet managed to create a 21st century “not quite billionaires club” one year later (this clarifies the kinds of risks you should be taking)
  • Everybody’s wringing their hands about global warming. Discover a different problem that’s even more provable, yet nobody is talking about it besides me – and what this portends for the decades between 2020 and 2040
  • The “solitary ritual” I escape to when uncertainty swirls around my own head like bats in a cemetery (there is nothing like being able to remain calm and composed while everyone else is having heart palpitations)
  • Sorry, Google advertisers and PPC geniuses… why you cannot “optimize your way to success” and the habit you must start cultivating instead
  • A lifetime compound-interest personal asset you can (and must) deliberately cultivate which not only is a killer Definitive Selling Proposition… but accrues its own Network Effect over the span of your career – yet not a single “Silicon Valley” book or investment manual mentions it

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” — Alexander Graham Bell

Many opportunities created in the chaotic tremors of a Post-Normal World will be short-lived. Others will extend forward for decades. Consider the TSA. Didn’t exist before 9/11! A billion-dollar business sprang up overnight with no end in sight.

The immediate problems caused by Post-Normal chaotic events, are often not the REAL, LASTING problems.

The real problem is that it is the destabilizing event for a world system that was already optimized to the hilt and stretched to the limits of its capacity.

As the earthquake sends cracks through the crust of the earth, unprecedented opportunities will manifest. This is where Convergence comes into play.

Sir Isaac Newton did some of his best thinking and produced his most influential work while sequestered at his home northwest of Cambridge during the Great Plague of London in 1665.

Understand this: I’m not selling crack cocaine here. I’m not just selling another bag o’ tricks that will be largely obsolete by next quarter. I’m offering wisdom.

Panic after a Post-Normal chaotic event will push your business even further behind in 12 months than if you simply waited it out.

Worst choice: Panicked 180-degree pivot (fight)

Bad choice: Flight or freeze, do nothing and hope

Good choice: Strategic perspective shift, intentional hyper-evolution

If you read my book 80/20 Sales and Marketing and thought it was profound (like the 500+ reviewers on Amazon who gave it 4.7 stars and said it changed their life)… there’s more where it came from.

I’ve been studying chaos theory and fractals… and wisdom literature and pre-Gutenberg writers… and evolutionary biology and contrary business strategies for 10, 20, 30, 40 years. I turn 51 in April. I thought most of this material was too obscure, too obtuse, too “heady” and too “maybe useful someday but not right now” – not “crack cocaine” enough – but suddenly the world was riven with this contagion. And the falling dominoes of industries gasping for breath and emergency countermeasures.

There’s no way to know the exact path of the future. But you can know the patterns nonetheless, because history is already full of them. G.K. Chesterton said, “News is old things happening to new people.”

Whatever happens… at some level it will not be new… and that pattern will have already been described in Slingshot Recovery. ACTION to take now. To protect yourself. To identify NEW opportunities in a world RADICALLY CHANGED by chaos.

The most valuable piece is the Convergence element. Convergence of what? Convergence of 80/20 and 95/5; low-friction and high-friction risk strategies; ancient wisdom 1,000 to 5,000 years old; a daily regimen to discipline your mind and improve your “signal to noise ratio”; online tools and calculators and opportunity detectors; and a thread weaving it all together that empowers you to see the fractal patterns of chaos in the 21st century.

Howard Jacobson, author of Google AdWords For Dummies, says, “I’ve never met a person who regretted giving Perry Marshall money.”

The late Rob Berkley said to me, “Perry, you’re the most trusted brand in marketing.”

You can trust me on this one. Please don’t say no this time.

Slingshot Recovery By Perry Marshall

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