Sometimes I love the serendipity that’s involved in discovering new artists. The rise of streaming audio has helped this immensely. At one point, one of my friends recommended that I listen to Hamilton: The Broadway Musical. They thought that I might like the combination of Lin Manuel Miranda, hip-hop music and American history…and they were right. From there I discovered the Hamilton Mixtape, where a series of artists basically got to remix existing Hamilton tracks. And it was during this process that I first heard Watsky.

Watsky is a fast mouthed, objectionable rapper who I happen to really love. The combination of extraordinary linguistic skills and an abnormally complex vocabulary for rap songs has made me fall in love. And there’s a particular line that I really gravitate to.

“I do things on a shoestring that you couldn’t do for a cool mil.”

Everybody take note.

We think that by throwing money at problems, we’ll come up with a solution. But some companies can throw dollar after dollar at a problem and never come up with the right solution. And it speaks to a more insidious problem that seeps into marketing, business development and the growth of companies as a whole; money can’t buy you love.

The brands and the individuals that do well are able to do well because they know how to use resources, not because they have lots of resources to use. Sure, it might help to have that extra money in your budget to spend on marketing and PR. But it can also hurt.

Some companies get lazy when they’ve got money to spare and time to kill. They create safe, boring marketing materials that convert one out of every hundred thousand customers that see it. They’re bloated. Compare this to a single person or small team startup that’s trying to go out of their way to be original and unique and memorable. They take a tenth of the budget and push it to convert 10 times the number of customers.

This is not to suggest that having money to spend on marketing is a bad thing. It’s not. It’s not that companies spend marketing dollars, it’s how they spend marketing dollars. And it’s not just marketing departments for big companies. It’s all of us.

We want quick “solutions” and we’re willing to pay for it. We spend a lot of money on these “solutions” only to find that they’re mediocre options compared to what we could do on our own. We spend money to recover time. And that’s fine. Assuming that the solution is a good one. But too often we trade a lot of money for a little bit of time and a mediocre product.

So when you’re focusing on creating solutions, be it marketing or something else, you need to think about the best way, no matter what that is. Sometimes that means spending some money, sometime that means spending some time, but that always means putting in some effort and some thought.

“I do things on a shoestring that you couldn’t do for a cool mil”

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