In his viral tweetstorm Naval Ravikant recommends that if you want to get rich you should "arm yourself with specific knowledge, accountability, and leverage."
While far from trivial, accountability and leverage are relatively easy to grasp compared to that elusive concept he calls specific knowledge.
He further elaborates that "specific knowledge is often highly technical or creative. It cannot be outsourced or automated", "you can’t be trained for it", and that "when specific knowledge is taught, it’s through apprenticeships, not schools."
Uhm sounds good... I guess. But what does that really mean?
In his podcast Naval came up with the following examples:
- judgment in running a fleet of trucks,
- weather forecasting.
That helps a bit. But there must be countless other examples, right?
Or even better, a database with different categories of specific knowledge - ideally with some additional information like how in-demand they are - would not only help to clarify the concept but would also be invaluable for career planning and product development.
Even if specific knowledge can't be taught, there are always opportunities to help people along the way. For example, to use one of Naval's examples, if we discover that people with "good judgment in running a fleet of trucks" are in high-demand and that there are no good books or courses on the topic, you can make a lot of money by creating one. And you don't even need the specific knowledge yourself to capitalize on such an opportunity. Just partner with an expert and share the profit.
But how could we get our hands on such a database? Here's an idea.
Clarity.fm is a website where you can book phone calls with experts who are paid by the minute. This seems like a perfect window into the world of specific knowledge.
No one will pay $5+ per minute to get answers you can find in a book. Hence it seems safe to assume that the majority of calls on the platform are made because of the specific knowledge of the person at the other end of the line.
Since the rates and the number of calls of each expert are publicly available, we can use data collected on Clarity to quantify what kind of specific knowledge exist and are in-demand.
Below we will talk about a few interesting insights we uncovered this way. But if you want to dig through the data yourself, you can view and download the dataset here:
While certainly not everything in this database is a picture-perfect example of specific knowledge categories, it's a great place to start.
With that said, let's dig in.
First of all, let's take a look at which topics are most popular on the platform.
A look at this table confirms the assumption that we can find lots of different types of specific knowledge on Clarity.fm. For example, no one will doubt that link building and app marketing are art forms that requires deep specific knowledge.
But interestingly, there are also a few incredibly specific topics like "PPC bid management" and "patent prosecution" in this top list. (PPC stands for pay-per-click.) And a bit further down the list we find further niche topics like "google tag manager" or "offshore project management".
Armed with this topic list, let's head over to Gumroad which is one of the most popular marketplaces for info products. A quick search reveals that there are currently:
- zero info products being sold on the platform that deal with PPC bid management,
- zero info products on "patent prosecution",
- zero info products on "offshore project management",
- and just one okay-looking "Google Tag Manager" course.
So for each of these topics, there is a huge opportunity to create an info product that answers the most common questions at a reasonable price.
Six Figures with Info Products
To validate that the general framework is sound, let's pick "retargeting" from our list of top Clarity.fm topics.
If we head over to Udemy and search for "retargeting" we find a course by Isaac Rudansky called "How Retargeting Works–The Complete Guide To Retargeting Ads!" at the top.
Let's try to estimate his revenue.
- The course has more than 3,685 ratings and 26,933 students.
- The official price for the course is $109.99 but of course no one pays the full price on Udemy since there's always a deal special going on. The standard discounted price for the course is $14.99.
If we're conservative and assume that all students paid the discounted price, we end up with a total revenue of $403,726. Udemy takes a 30% cut, so Isaac is left with $282,608.That's a lot of money for an 8.5 hour course that hasn't been updated since 2016.
We can find many similarly impressive results for most of the most popular Clarity.fm topics.
- For "link building" there's Alex Genadinik's course with 4,472 enrolled students and an estimated total revenue of $67,035 (before Udemy's cut). Coincidentally, Alex is also the creator of the top-ranking "app marketing" course (estimated revenue $264,183).
- For "hubspot", a 1.5 hour course by a creator who doesn't even reveal his last name generated more than $20,000 in revenue.
So it seems likely that if you create, say, a "Social Commerce" (2900 searches/month, virtually no competition on Udemy), you'll do well. You can find dozens of opportunities like this in the table above.
Most importantly, you don't have to be an expert yourself to pull this off. Just partner with one and split the profit. To find a partner, Clarity.fm again seems like a perfect place to start.
Also keep in mind that a cheap Udemy course is hardly the most effective way to monetize.
For example, cohort-based courses like Tiago Forte's Building a Second Brain are all the rage and people are willing to spend thousands of dollars on high-quality ones.
While the total number of calls is an interesting metric, from a career point of view what's even more interesting is the average number of calls per expert on a given topic. This number paints a much clearer picture of topics that are in high-demand with only a small number of experts.
Here's an overview.
Yet another interesting chart we can look at is the average hourly rate across different topics (excluding all experts with less than 5 calls). In plain words, this chart shows us for which types of specific knowledge people are willing to spend the most money on.
Last but not least, while most reviews on the platform are quite positive, there are a few topics where people are, on average, not entirely satisfied.
Hence if you're a link building, organic search, or digital influence expert you can probably earn good money by signing up on Clarity.fm.
It should be clear that we've barely scratched the surface here. As Naval points out, "specific knowledge is found by pursuing your curiosity" and this is of course a very personal and subjective matter.
So again, feel encouraged take a look at the Clarity dataset as there are dozens of additional opportunities waiting to be found. And if you find anything interesting, we'd love to hear from you!