This video, right here, is an example of what I would say constitutes the worst business advice on the internet.
Please, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE FOLLOW THIS ADVICE!
“But Nick, that seemed like pretty good advice, what’s wrong with it???”
Let me explain why…
How the internet helps share knowledge
There is no shortage of excellent business advice out there.
We have hundreds, in some cases thousands of years worth of recorded history. And especially over the past century, a proliferation in books, lessons and case studies about successful innovations which all business people can learn from.
The internet has only continued this trend, giving people access to more game-changing insights in a second than they could consume in a lifetime.
And best of all, it has allowed people to get access to most of it for free.
What previously would have taken years of study at a university or MBA programme can now be instantly available for every entrepreneur, upstart, established business or mompreneur.
And there is a huge amount of evidence that continuing to learn new insights and strategies, whether they are directly correlated with your business activity or seemingly more random, can have a direct impact on your ability to develop creative, innovative and profitable new offerings.
But there is also a problem.
With the ease of accessing this wealth of information also comes the challenge of identifying what information is based on a valid source, and which is just made up and unlikely to work.
In “ye olden days”, you could compare it to the fabled snake oil salesmen, selling you a concoction which promised to fix everything wrong with you, without having to actually prove that it works.
You see, nowadays everyone on the internet can claim to be an expert in any subject and provide their advice to an audience of millions. This will often lead to many of them making outrageous claims about how you can become successful almost overnight by just following their advice.
And with cheap web hosting, high definition video cameras and Youtube, it is now even easier for anyone to produce professional looking videos which previously only a large, successful company could afford.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to be critical and discerning about whether someone evidence that what they are saying is backed up by a credible source.
What is the worst business advice on the internet?
Going back to the video I linked to above, by a guy called Daniel Ally, and there are two major, MAJOR problems which only becomes clear when you think about the advice critically:
- What he is saying doesn’t seem to have any evidence behind it at all, it is all just spouted as gospel
- He is not actually giving you any actionable advice at all
I was infuriated when I saw this video, as I spend my life trying to find evidence, case studies and scientific insights about what makes people have good ideas and turn those into innovations which create long term business value.
What you might call “perfect business ideas”.
And here is a guy saying you just need to find an idea that is profitable, will keep you happy for your lifetime and easy to execute.
Wow, why didn’t I think of that???
That advice is exactly as useful as telling a lonely man that he just needs to get a girlfriend who is attractive physically, emotionally available, successful in her own right and fun to be around. Problem solved!
I don’t want to pick on Daniel, but his example is symptomatic of the overall trend in self-proclaimed experts: a lack of credibility or solid sources for their ideas.
Let me show you another video of his which also displays in more detail the detachment from respectable sources. It’s all about your subconscious mind and the power it holds. I was hoping to get insights into some of the breakthrough research into understanding how your subconscious mind affects your actions which have been discovered over the past few decades.
Instead, I got this…
In my work to understand creativity from a more scientific perspective, I have studied the subconscious and interviewed a number of the most prominent experts in the field around how it relates to creativity, and all of them would be able to talk about specific studies that shed new light on our understanding of what is going on inside our own brains. There have been some amazing insights, like this one, another one here and also this one.
Now, based on the fact that you’re on this website, which is all about insights into creativity and innovation based on evidence, I hope you agree with me that those insights seem a little…vague…
And they are. Because they’re based on bullshit.
What Mr Ally is spouting as ways to improve your business performance is based on a Philosophy called “The Law of Attraction“, a pseudoscience which essentially boils down to “think positive thoughts and they will manifest themselves to you”.
Researchers have severely criticised it about it having no basis in reality or evidence to back it up.
And yet thanks to the internet, if you didn’t know any better, terrible advice like this might look just as valid as that coming from a scientist, a management consultant, lawyer or independent financial adviser.
Is it just the internet that created this problem?
Let us look at another example, from the pre-internet era, to see how terrible advice has existed forever.
Here is an infomercial from the 1980s, from a real-estate investment guru called Tom Vu.
It’s almost so hilariously bad that it becomes ironically good.
Once again, the advice doesn’t seem to hold up to scrutiny. It displays all of the hallmarks of a get-rich-quick scheme. In fact, in one of his infomercials he actually proudly exclaims that it is indeed a Get-rich-quick scheme, “because what is the point in getting rich slowly?”
But this didn’t stop a large number of his students suing him for misleading and false advertising when his system couldn’t deliver the results he so lavishly promised.
This is just one example, but there are hundreds of other examples of flashy con artists who couldn’t back up their claims, because they were not based on supportive evidence.
How to make sure you don’t fall for bad advice
While there are no hard and fast rules for being able to spot an obvious liar, here are some tips to help you determine if someone’s advice is worth listening to:
- What are their root sources for their advice? Sources you can trust would usually include:
- Peer reviewed Scientific Journals (like Nature or the Creativity Research Journal)
- Well respected business journals (like Harvard Business Review)
- Public interviews with successful business leaders (although sometimes be cautious as they may also bend the truth)
- Detailed, openly laid out case study from their own process which lays out all of the information, including both what did work and what didn’t work (if you can only see successful outcomes and no failures, ask whether it is likely that there were no failures along the way)
- Do they refer to them or list them openly? If not, then the sources might as well not exist.
- Are there any experts in the field who have researched the validity of their advice and disproven it? (although take this with a pinch of salt, a lack of negative studies does not mean that it will work either, perhaps it just hasn’t undergone the necessary research yet).
- For the industry in which they operate, do they have any necessary qualifications (I say ‘necessary’ because in some cases qualifications are required, like medicine and law, whereas others are based more on experience, like consulting and business)
- Does the person say they have a “proven success system” that they can sell to you, without illustrating what it will take to get the system to work? Then ask why the system needs to be kept secret.
- Do they rely on showcasing a small number of success stories, like one or two students or case studies which worked out well, while ignoring or covering up a much larger number of cases which didn’t work?
- Does it seem too good to be true? Then it probably is
- When in doubt, ask yourself: What evidence am I being given here?
[I know that this has been a bit of a rant and not like many of my other blog posts on creativity and innovation, but I strongly feel that this concept of listening to experts who show evidence is something which is sorely lacking for many people in the innovation advice industry, and I want to help rectify that.]
So over to you now.
What has been the craziest, stupidest or just plain worst business advice you have either received in person or seen on the internet?
Let me know in the comments below.
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Hello, thanks for your spot on article. Could you do an article on Patrick Bet David? He seems great to me, Just want a second opinion
I was a Daniel Ally disciple at one point. I bought into his program called “School of Wealth.” It was $100.00 a month to get vague motivational advice you can get for free on YouTube. Also, he doesn’t really give any sound steps or strategies. It’s more like he’s talking but not saying anything. The biggest thing was that I wrote a negative review of his book on Amazon and he e-nailed me asking to take my review down. He also claimed to be a profit from God and I was jealous of his success. If you praise him he loves you. If not he doesn’t like you. Best opinion, study an entrepreneur who created a product and built a company. Not some guy who creates videos telling you how to start a business
Daniel Ally is a fraud because he has been illegally plagiarizing contents from many original authors such as Marie Forleo, Zig Ziglar. He is a fake christian trying to deceive people into buying his books/ his courses/ his business coaching sessions.
Don’t waste your money buying a fake product from a fraud like Daniel Ally.
Save your money to buy a quality true real product instead.
Daniel Ally lies about everything including his faith in Jesus Christ, his childhood life sad story, his fake failure life stories just to delude the audience to trust him to be a successful entrepreneur. Daniel Ally has no business experience. Daniel just illegally plagiarizes and steals contents from many original authors and claims those contents as his own. Daniel Ally also pays lots of money to hire people to write fake positive good comments to praise Daniel on his YouTube videos to make him look like a professional.
As long as you don’t buy Daniel Ally’s fake books/ fake courses/ fake business coaching sessions. Then you are safe from losing your precious money. Use your money onto something that’s real and valuable to you instead of buying a fake product from an evil fraud like Daniel Ally.
I am writing this comment to inform the crowd especially Christians here not to buy any of his fake informational products.
He actually said to me that he has never failed and has no competition. As a Christian, he gets dangerously close to making God out to be a gumball machine. How did you come across all of this information about him lying?
I notice that Daniel Ally really does pay money to hire many people to pretend to be his fans to love him and to support him and to appreciate him on his Youtube videos in his Youtube channel. Whenever someone makes a realistic comment to doubt his advice saying that it’s wrong, Daniel will hire groups of people to write comments to attack and disturb that individual.
Other than that, Daniel Ally loves to steal and rob contents and famous quotes from other successful original author without citations and put his name on those contents and quotes, tricking the audience thinking that those ideas come from him but in reality he’s just illegally plagiarizing word for word exactly.
I previously bought his book and the contents are all plagiarisms (word for word) from some successful life coach, business coach, entrepreneur, pastor. The reason why I know this is because I read everyday and I read a lot memorizing all the important points, so I can identify and recognize that Daniel Ally is a fake guru, a dishonest thief who is full of duplicity, deception, and lies with a strong intention to earn money from you through his expensive business coaching sessions or his courses.
I used to spend thousands of dollars purchasing Daniel Ally’s books, courses, and his private business coaching sessions but what I learned is that the contents are not being realistic and very vague without action steps to follow, just a bunch of fake theories that you can’t ever use in reality. Whenever I asked Daniel for instructions, the specific action steps to take to achieve my financial-freedom goal, he will always reprimand me for being judgmental , for criticizing his speech which is very suspicious there….
When I search on the internet to look for evidence to verify Daniel’s millionaire net worth,
, there is no property asset record and no history business record showing up. Just his current business coaching company but no any other multimillionaire business company like he previously mentioned. Daniel never gives people direct specific action steps to achieve the goal of building wealth. Daniel simply likes to teach vague unrealistic business theories.
Same here. I can’t find anything on this guy. No business, employment record, reviews on his course, nothing. It’s almost like he’s not real.
On a side note, I met him and his wife in person once. His wife was incredibly nice, and a fantastic human being.