Idea Value Chain
Idea Value Chain

Idea Value Chain

Quick Summary

One of the biggest problems with learning, in general, is information overwhelm, which makes it really hard to even understand what knowledge is worth our time and effort.

But a more specific challenge for thought leaders is how to process all the knowledge we collected and present it to others in a way that’s systematic and beneficial to both us and the people we share it with.

That’s what the Idea Value Chain model aims to solve.

This isn’t just one model. In the Mental Model Club, we talked about a lot of mental models you can use to supercharge your learning, your business, and your life. The Idea Value Chain is a framework for incorporating all these models, a supermodel, as Eben and I like to call it.

The idea came from the traditional business world.

In the 1980s Michael Porter came up with the value chain that breaks down all the steps where value is added, from raw material production to a product in a customer's hands.


This is a pretty established model for the physical world, but I felt like there wasn't something that explains all the steps one goes through in the world of ideas, from raw knowledge intake to the knowledge applicable to others.

The end result is the idea of a value chain applied to knowledge, which is what you see here.


In short, the process encompasses:

  1. Learning something or absorbing information,
  2. Thinking about it and processing it, coming up with new insights on top of it,
  3. Applying it to your life and getting feedback,
  4. If you're a thought leader, sharing and monetizing the knowledge that you've created.

Knowing about all these steps is helpful on a few levels:

  • It gives you a huge coat hanger for many of the models in the Mental Model Club.
  • It helps you learn faster, make better decisions, and become a thought leader.
  • It enables you to avoid steps you might have been missing.
  • It helps you think about specializing on a finer level of detail.

In this manual, we will take a more detailed look at each step of the learning stage to help you start applying the model in your life.

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