Why the Wright Brothers are Famous

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Watch the video on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqJorkX4Lyc

Perry Marshall: Got this little story I like to tell. It’s really one of my favorite marketing stories and it’s not even a marketing story. It’s by the Wright brothers. In 1903, their plane flew for the first time. On the left side, you see that picture of them flying their plane. For me, it’s a really inspiring picture. On the right, is another guy that most people have never heard of, and his name is Samuel Pierpont Langley and he was much better funded than them and he was working on an airplane at the exact same time as they were. The world knew that somebody was about to figure out how to make an airplane and it was just a question of who is going to be first and the race was on.

Langley was connected with the Smithsonian and he was better funded and everything like that and if you look there on the right, that’s a pretty sophisticated little airplane there. It’s got a nice big engine on it. He built this thing and his focus was the engine. He believed that if he built a big enough, nasty enough engine, that it could propel this thing. He put the steel together. He presented it. He had a press conference and everything. He said, now, watch me fly my plane, and the thing went nose diving into the Potomac River and it was a big, huge embarrassment.

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The Wright brothers, of course, nobody was around but they got the prize. What happened there? Interestingly, the Wright brothers didn’t really put a lot of attention on the engine. They focused all their attention on building a glider and the engine was almost an afterthought. Then they built this little 12-horsepower engine in their bicycle shop and they put it on there and it was able to fly. For months and months, they would push their glider off the top of the hill and try to get it to glide in the air with no other propulsion. When it did, they knew they had a winner.

This is really analogous to how you build websites and sales funnels. If you think that it’s all about traffic then that’s like being Langley and focusing all your attention on the engine. You notice how much lighter the Wright brothers’ plane is than Langley’s. You could tell just by looking at it. This is really important. It’s why really conversion is the big thing that you focus on. You get that right and then you can scale up with traffic and then your plane will fly. It’s a real pleasure watching people get their conversion right and then all of the sudden everything they do starts to get traction.

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

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