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This idea is unashamedly inspired by Jack Butcher.

According to google, an apprentice is a person who is learning a trade from a skilled employer, having agreed to work for a fixed period at low wages. The permission-less apprentice learns a trade by creating value i.e. doing work for a skilled person for free. The idea is that the person will be so chuffed, grateful, and pleased that this apprentice took the initiative to create value for them that they will compensate them in some way. Often this takes the form of gifts, connecting them with people in their network, or as simple as a retweet if they happen to have a large following. The more consistently one creates value for people without any prompts, the more value they themselves can collect for themselves.

When I first came across this idea, I was flabbergasted. It’s such a simple thing and yet it can prove to be incredibly effective. Had I known about this 10 years ago, I think my life would have turned out very differently. Twitter is the home ground for seeing this permission-less apprenticeships in action. You only need to follow active accounts with a decent following and just see what they retweet and reply to. A handful of them will be in response to cool things their followers created on a whim, as a permission-less apprentice. The more you dig into these sorts of interactions, the more you realise how powerful a tool it is for the apprentice. They are essentially landing a job (or multiple) without applying for anything. People see their work thanks to Twitter and generally are more open to starting business relationships through this such are the 2020s.

Taken in its simplest form, the permission-less apprentice is just taking courteous to the extreme. The logic goes:

  1. This person has an issue.
  2. I have an idea that could add value for them.
  3. I have the skills, time, and energy to execute on the idea.
  4. I share what I make with them as a gesture of goodwill.
  5. Reap rewards.

This stuff needs to be taught in schools.

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