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Ideas Are The New Oil (How More People Get Rich In The Digital Era)

In this letter, I want to discuss:

  • Why investing is a stupid decision for most people.
  • Why real estate won’t make you rich.
  • How ideas are the new oil that anyone can tap.
  • How digital real estate will be referenced 20 years from now as the method this generation used to generate wealth.
  • Why the creator economy is the new economy and will probably be the path you go down if you want to generate new riches.
  • Exactly what kind of digital real estate to build, how to build it, and in what order.

I have been dedicated to entrepreneurship since a very young age.

It wasn’t hard to see that business was an infinite game. A game that couldn’t be lost if I kept playing. A game that didn’t trap me in a boring rank in a corporate ladder that doomed me to a set amount of money and therefore a set quality of life.

It wasn’t hard to see that business was the only way to control my future, my income, and what I did at any given moment during my day.

Like anyone else, I had no idea what I was doing at the start.

I thought there were only two paths to getting rich.

The first was investing.

My mom was always adamant that I start early. She encouraged me to invest a few dollars here and there because it could turn into a few million after 40 years.

I’m glad that never made sense to me because it still doesn’t.

Why would I live in a scarcity mindset, investing the last of my hard-earned money just to make a few million by the time my life is nearly over when I can start my own business for close-to-zero dollars thanks to the internet and make a few million in profit as one person over the course of 2-4 years? Then, once I had more than enough money to invest, I could turn that into $10+ million in the stock market or crypto.

The second option was real estate.

I’ve been seeing viral videos of a kid asking boomers how they got rich.

People have been posting compilations of these videos stating that “they are all saying the same thing,” as if they are hinting that it’s a great way for anyone to get rich.

Most boomers in the videos say they got rich in real estate.

I don’t deny that real estate is a decent option for people who have money, but for beginners who are still trapped in their parents’ ideology of investing every last penny while being forced to stay at a boring job to fund their delusional chances of getting rich… not gonna happen. At least not on any meaningful timescale where you still have a life to live.

My point is this:

Most people don’t know what to do to generate new wealth.

I would argue that you do know. You’re looking at it right now. But you still have the “consume and save” mindset that limits how you perceive the gold rush happening right in front of you.

All new fortunes are being built in the digital space.

Before we begin:

Mental Monetization launches in 2 days (Monday).

The price increases from $150 to $225 at that time.

If you want to monetize your creative work with a digital product that sells while you sleep (not freelancing or client work) – even if you have few followers – enroll here, and you’ll get access when it is live.

Ideas Are The New Oil – Playing The Infinite Digital Game

We’re at a critical moment in history.

The impact of artificial intelligence is threatening the livelihood of specialists. In the animal kingdom, the main cause of extinction is overspecialization, like a long-beaked bird that mates itself into being unable to fly and its children not being able to hunt for food.

The same holds true for overspecialized people in a world where computers are hyperspecialists.

People are afraid they’re going to be replaced.

People aren’t fulfilled in the jobs anyway, which seaps into other areas of their lives resulting in a lack of motivation to do anything about it.

Young people don’t know what path to take that will generate wealth when the physical routes of oil and real estate are being exhausted (and require vast resources to get into in the first place).

In short, the one thing on people’s minds is resources for survival.

In today’s world, that means money and wealth generation.

Understand this next statement as it is nothing new:

What made the last generation rich won’t make you rich.

All new wealth is being generated in the digital space.

The idea space.

The new rich aren’t extracting finite physical resources. They’re synthesizing the infinite resource called ideas.

The physical world has it’s limits. It’s costly, it takes a lot of time for houses to be built, products to be shipped, and communication to spread.

Why are good ideas so important?

Because execution is more accessible than ever.

We no longer live in a world where execution matters more than ideas. We live in a world where quality of ideas, distribution of ideas, and iteration of ideas lead to a rich life.

The digital world has no limits, especially as we continue to outsource specialized tasks to AI.

You can become top 10% in any skill or interest with focused study on the internet.

You can build a one-person business as a creator (we often forget that this wasn’t a possibility just a few years ago, now almost anyone can do it. If they can’t, skill issue).

“But Dan, not everyone can be a creator!”

If you zoom out and think, yes, they can. I’ll save my logic for another letter.

Idea workers thrive in the digital age.

Digital real estate can be built at zero cost.

Digital products can be built and distributed at low marginal cost.

Digital communication can reach anyone with an internet connection.

The digital society, also called the creator economy at times, is where new fortunes are being created.

How To Navigate The Digital Gold Rush

There’s a common piece of advice that goes around that I think is quite narrow and dumb:

“Build something offline, then start online.”

In other words, people don’t realize that social media (or the internet) is a perfectly viable way to start a business in today’s world. I’d argue it’s one of the best ways all things considered.

I don’t think it’s wise to unnecessarily go through the pain and suffering of building a brick and mortar business, or a physical service (like pest control, car detailing, etc), or even freelancing or agency work with endless hours of manual outreach.

Even then, those businesses can get on social media whenever they f*cking want to acquire customers. They don’t need to wait until they meet your standards of success before they start posting in the new town square.

It just doesn’t make sense to ignore social media as a way to attract anyone, connect with anyone, and build distribution for whatever your work is.

Of course, I recommend thinking for yourself, pursuing your interests, and turning that into a business with the right skill set.

I don’t recommend accepting someone else’s outdated business ideology that narrows your mind from seeing your potential.

In other words, I recommend choosing the problem you want to solve and the solution you want to provide. I recommend not even starting a business. I recommend treating any skill you learn, any problem you solve, and any solution you create as value that can be given to other people as your life’s work.

There’s no need to do anything other than solve the problems in your life, acquire the skill to do so, and pass down those lessons as content and products to earn a living doing what you enjoy.

Digital Society

It’s difficult to argue against creating content no matter your beliefs about the future.

Creators are the forefront of large company reputations (founders and executives have personal brands, like Elon).

Creators get first pick at good jobs (because they prove their value in content).

Creators work for other creators to gain experience and leverage.

Creators are the first people companies come to as sponsors to spread their product to niche markets.

Creators are the only accounts consumers actively follow for human connection (not memes or company updates).

Being a creator is not some fancy internet job. It’s a new way of life, and I only see it becoming more and more relevant.

In actuality, I highly recommend against becoming a “creator.”

I just recommend attracting a community, improving yourself, acquiring new skills, and distributing value.

You know… the things that are already keys to the good life in the physical world but are amplified to infinity with the digital world.

A one-person creator business is just an ideological way to bring clarity to your efforts.

Become A Niche Of One – Your Personal Monopoly

Traditional education and hyperspecilization is a way to make people subserviant to the dominant paradigm / system. Study the generalized principles of nature and become a deep generalist. – Daniel Schmachtenberger

We’ve discussed this in The Age Of The Generalist, but niching down is a great way to increase competition, be a slave to your client (or person who hires you), and not be able to adapt as technology advances further than it has.

Just because it was helpful a decade ago doesn’t mean the teaching of “niche down” should persist. Business is similar, but vastly different. I can literally type in someones URL from the comfort of my home rather than drive to their brick and mortar location.

Let’s try to make this simple.

  1. Think about what you are trying to achieve in your life.
  2. Write down the interests and skills you’ve learned to help you get there.
  3. Attract others who are trying to achieve the same thing in their life.
  4. Use your combination of interests and skills as a way to make yourself unique.

Most people want the same thing out of life.

They want more money, less insecurity, more sex, less loneliness, more purpose, less chaos, and so on.

We are all heading toward the same end goal.


If you are a value creator (not an influencer), that is your niche.

What you talk about and build in order to get there based on your experience is what makes you unique.

Elon Musk is building rockets to expand humanity to Mars so we can actualize as a species. When you really dig into it, every single business or brand that is actually providing some form of value (because true value = transformation and problem-solving) their niche is self-actualization.

You and I can both pursue more money and purpose, but I’ll talk about writing and productivity while you talk about budgeting and spirituality.

If we both write 50,000 tweets in our lifetime, it doesn’t really matter what we talk about if all of those posts align with the bigger picture of self-actualization.

You are an experience vessel.

You become a niche of one when you pass down that experience for others to utilize.

Your Digital Real Estate Portfolio

How many people occupy the digital real estate you build determines your success in the new gold rush.

There are 2 types of digital real estate here:

  1. Free – a way to attract and build an audience with content, a newsletter, and free products.
  2. Paid – how you monetize the free real estate you’ve built with digital products.

Let’s walk through what you should be building, why it matters, and the progression you should follow:

1) Daily Content On One Social Media Platform

The biggest problem I see in business in general is people focusing on the wrong things.

When they’re supposed to find customers, they build a website.

When they’re supposed to attract an audience, they build a product.

When they’re supposed to be doing literally anything else, they’re filing for an LLC and creating a logo.

This lack of prioritization screams that you have no idea what you’re doing.

In business, you need a person who wants to pay you and a way to collect payment.

As a beginner, you should not be focused on anything else unless it involves practicing getting results for a free client (notice how I didn’t say “building portfolio pieces” that are almost useless. Help people for free.)

The first piece of that puzzle is “people who want to pay you.”

AKA, an audience.

Why an audience?

Because I’m assuming you’re like me and want leverage.

You don’t want to create a second 9-5 with client work.

You want to create whatever you want.

You want to control the time in your day.

You want to make sales while you sleep.

The most accessible way to do this in today’s world is by building an audience on social media.

To do that, writing daily content on one platform until you’ve got the hang of growth is what you focus on.

Here are your first content ideas:

  • Tell your story and the transformation you’ve made.
  • Breakdown any of your skills and interests (teach people how to do them).
  • Talk about problems people face when pursuing their goals and how to solve them.
  • Document lessons you’ve learned while pursuing your goals.
  • Share ideas you’ve come across and want to make your own (from books, conversations, or podcasts).

Start there.

Or, just study what the 10 accounts you want to be like are doing, take their best ideas, and make them your own. Remember how you used to “summarize in your own words” in school? Same thing here.

Social media is a skill, not random luck.

People always think it’s about luck or magic when they haven’t spent even one hour studying the skill.

My exact system for writing content and growing is inside 2 Hour Writer.

2) Deplatform Your Audience With A Newsletter

Social media platforms are still centralized.

The company owns the algorithm, your data, and anything you post.

So, funnel your followers to an email list because you can download that list at any time, you own it.

Send a weekly newsletter expanding on your best social media posts.

Most social media content is broad, beginner-level, and meant for quick entertainment. Few people will buy from you straight from social media.

Your newsletter is where you give away deeper insights and monetize your brand by promoting your product.

3) Build A Free Product To Establish Authority

You’re probably wondering, how do I make sales if I don’t niche down?

Think of your social media as the first layer of your business.

Like a funnel.

You attract a broad audience around a desirable goal, then build authority with a free product that gives away valuable advice for a specific skill or interest. From there, you can lead them into a product around that same topic.


Broad content > more specific free product to establish authority > paid digital product > create more free products to keep things fresh and keep sales flowing.

The free product is a lead magnet; people who download it are added to your email list. Your lead magnet serves a few more purposes:

  1. Customer creation – your job is to educate your audience to the point of becoming customers for your other products.
  2. Writing what you want – when you have a lead magnet, all of your authoritative information on one subject is in one place. You don’t have to worry about writing so much about it on the timeline. You must plug the lead magnet often.
  3. Selling your product – your lead magnet should give people enough information to trust in buying your product. You should plug it toward the end of your lead magnet to make sales when the “leads” are hot.

When you create multiple free downloads / lead magnets, you substantially increase your authority.

You teach people on a deeper level.

They like you more. They engage with you more. They start conversations in your DMs. They feel like you are contributing more value than others. In other words, your engagement probably sucks because you’ve never taken your audience deeper than social media.

Mark Manson and James Clear don’t need to worry about optimizing their content because so many people have bought and read their books. People have spent hours with their ideas.

Then, all you have to do is focus on writing content, fueling your free product, and creating valuable newsletters while promoting your product.

You can create templates, checklists, swipe files, or the rest, but I personally like creating free products that help your audience achieve one small desirable goal with a mini course or eBook. That’s what I do with my One Person Business Foundations free product.

4) Monetize With A Portfolio Of Digital Products

You’ve already built ample digital real estate.

You could technically monetize your social media, get newsletter sponsorships, or start a paid newsletter, but those aren’t the most optimal or profitable ways to monetize.

When people do that, that’s when you hear the stories of “this account has millions of followers but only generates $10,000 per month.”

Instead, build a digital product so you have full control over your income.

I’m not a fan of building 1-2 digital products and calling it a day.

I am a fan of making success and income almost guaranteed by continuously launching, improving, and iterating until you have the perfect combination of digital products that create a high base income.

Then, you can monetize with micro products like workshops or events – where you charge a low price for 1-2 calls and launch every 1-2 months – to see predictable spikes in revenue on top of your base income.

I teach all of this in Mental Monetization (reminder that early bird price ends in 2 days).

5) Diversify Platforms & Focus On Audience

So far, you have a growing audience, free products to build authority, a weekly newsletter that keeps you relevant to your audience, and a growing stack of digital products that increase in profitability as your audience grows (because you have more people who see and buy them).

That last point is crucial.

When you’ve established your business in the digital space and are profitable, now you can take all of your best content ideas and spread them to other platforms.

You can kickstart those audiences on a podcast, YouTube, or Instagram by telling your current audience to follow you there and share your content.

As all of your platforms grow, download your free products, read your newsletters, and purchase your paid products; this is when exponential growth kicks in. You can double, triple, or even quadruple your income in the span of a year.

That’s how I went from $800,000 a year with a large X following to ~$4 million last year with a diversified audience.

That’s it.

That’s the big picture.

You have direction now, it’s up to you to learn the technical details through experience and failure.

Thank you for reading.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

– Dan

Who Is Dan Koe?

I am a writer & brand advisor for 7-8 figure creators, influencers, and social media brands. I am obsessed with dissecting human potential, lifestyle design, and one-person businesses.

When You’re Ready, Here’s How I Can Help You:

The FOCI Planner

Goals are important. If you want help reverse engineering your vision into bite-size goals and tasks — order The FOCI Planner.

The Art Of Focus Book

Find meaning, reinvent yourself, and create your ideal future. Now available on Amazon.

The 2 Hour Writer

Implement Our 2 Hour Content Ecosystem To Learn High Impact Digital Writing, Boost Your Online Authority, & Systemize Content Creation For Rapid Growth

Mental Monetization

Monetize your creative work with a digital product that sells while you sleep. Turn your knowledge, skills, and interests into a meaningful income.