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Dr. Andrew White is an experienced programme director, teacher and researcher at the Said Business School at Oxford. Andrew’s areas of expertise include innovation management and leadership development. Andrew is a Senior Fellow in Management Practice, and was previously the Associate Dean of External Relations (2020-2021) and Associate Dean for Executive Education and Corporate Relations (2010-2020) at Saïd Business School.

This was very enjoyable discussion that covers a lot more than just leadership and modernizing business education. Andrew was an absolute pleasure to chat with and shares lots of insights into the leaders of today and research he and his team are coming out with soon.

Thank you for a great discussion, Andrew!

Transcript powered by Happy Scribe

Welcome everybody to the podcast. My name is Eric Wright and gonna be your host. This is the DiscoPosse Podcast with the one and only Andrew White. Dr. Andrew White is a senior fellow in management practice at the Saïd Business School at Oxford. This was a really enjoyable discussion where we talk about traits of leadership, really the transition from what we often talked about as traditional leadership, the Silicon Valley culture, start up culture in general, and what we can do. We also talk a lot about sustainability, the impact that we can have both personally and organizationally on each other, on the world, literally on the Earth. We cover a lot of very exciting stuff. Super excited because Dr. Andrew and his team are doing a lot of work and research, so we’re going to have him back to talk about what’s going on there. But anyways, I don’t want to pre-podast the podcast because it’s literally just so much fun to listen to. And speaking of making this stuff happen and our impact, I am super happy because I’ve got great supporters who are impacting you and I’m hearing the good news. So I want to give a shout out to the folks over at Veeam who make this podcast happen.

If you want to head and find out what you need for your data protection needs and how Veeam can help you, go to vee.am/discoposse. They got you covered from cloud to on-premises, physical servers, application, SaaS, the whole gamut. So go out there, get it done, protect your assets, go to vee.am/discoposse and find out more. Speaking of also amazing supporters, holy heck, you’re building a start up. You want to build a sales culture that actually can be impactful, then do it with the Shift Group. So we are proud to be sponsored by the Shift Group. They’re turning elite athletes into sales professionals with training and also helping you with your go-to market strategy. So JR and the team at Shift Group are doing amazing stuff, really connecting fantastic people with fantastic opportunities. So if you’ve got an opportunity, you want to fill your boots and get your sales machine rolling, do it with great people. So go to shiftgroup.io, find out more about that and also go back and check out, I had a great podcast with JR talking about what he and the team are doing. All right, this is Dr. Andrew White from Oxford and he’s a fantastic human. Enjoy the show.

Hello, my name is Dr. Andrew White. I’m a senior fellow in management practice at Saïd Business School at the university of Oxford. I’m delighted to be here today with Eric Wright, host of the DiscoPosse Podcast. Great to be with you.

Fantastic. Thank you, Dr. White. One of those beautiful occasions where when I see a guest opportunity come up and your practices, your studies and your research are in real alignment with a lot of the work that I’ve been exploring. So I am selfishly going to take a ton of lessons out of our discussion today as well. Luckily, a lot of folks who do listen. So thank you for joining. If folks are brand new to you, Andrew, if you don’t mind, give a quick sort of bio on your background, and we’ll talk about some of the research that you’re working on and really what folks can take away as we think of the future of transformative leadership, which is becoming something we really had to be keenly aware of.

Yes, thank you. And thank you for the opportunity to be here as well. So a little bit about me. I started life as an academic. I did a doctorate in innovation management, really looking at where ideas came from for successful businesses. That was about 20 years ago. I then started my academic career, and very quickly I moved into leadership roles. The biggest of those was I was associate Dean for executive education in the business school I’m currently in at Saïd Business School at the university of Oxford for ten years. And in my capacity there, we worked with thousands of leaders around the world. Every year we launched a big digital platform, but now it’s about 25,000 people training with us or going through leadership programs. And I got to know what was really going on. I didn’t have time to teach. I didn’t have time to research. I sponsored a research project where we interviewed 150 CEOs back in 2015-2016. But then after doing that job for ten years, with all the complexities of running a PNL and the HR stuff and the global business development, I really wanted to get back to teaching and research because I felt there was an agenda I wanted to pursue.

And that agenda, if I put it in simple terms, is what the leaders need to be doing today. What do they need to be addressing? How do they need to be leading? With a particular focus on that, I think the time we’re living in is critical. Between now and 2050, much of the science suggests that we’re either going to be in an existential crisis due to the climate challenge or we’re going to have solved it. And I think when you look back at humanity, we’ve got the creative ability, the entrepreneurial ability to have sold it. So I really wanted to know who are the leaders that are transforming businesses, starting businesses that are really having an impact on what the future looks like for humanity? And what does it mean to be a successful leader today in terms of shareholder returns, in terms of profitable growth? But also, as we both know, more is being asked of leaders. And businesses don’t exist in isolation just with their own competitors. They’re actually part of a group of stakeholders that have or they have a stakeholder base that requires them to think about the impact they have on the world.

So that’s what I’ve done. I’m a host of the Leadership 2050 podcast. I have a Leadership 2050 newsletter on LinkedIn which really focuses on these things. And I’ve begun the research that I wanted to focus on by looking at transformation. And I’m in the midst of a major global study on that at the moment.

Fantastic. Now this is going the interesting thing. I think it was the dichotomy of leadership in that you have both a fiduciary responsibility as well as a very human responsibility in leading people through change. But with the shareholder responsibility to bring growth and returns to the investors and ultimately the responsibility of the business, it is really an interesting challenge where we often see folks that are fantastic on one and struggle on the other, and often why there’s a leadership team. So you have more sort of the COO who will be the driving the functional business growth, and then the CEO is more the vision and leadership. But we’ve always here, or at least because social media brings the noisiest voices forward. We hear about the moment someone is a very strong leader. We immediately try to sort of find something wrong with them in that they’re so disconnected from the average worker within the organization. For me, I look at it with a sadness because we need leaders to be doing something almost like sports years. You never want to meet your sports here because they’re probably not good people to get along with. They have this drive and this different thing that lets them be great at what they do. So when you look at transformational leaders as well, really, what do you see as sort of traits and how we’re viewing those personalities?

I think you’ve got two things going on currently in business. I think on the one hand, you’re right. The world has a challenge in terms of what I would say is the disconnection fixing large companies between the salaries of those people at the top and the salaries at the bottom. And I think that adds to what you were talking about, that sense that they’re not us and they’re different and they live in a different world. And there’s no doubt that that phenomenon is out there. But like many things in the world, I don’t think it’s one or the other, and I don’t think it’s black or white in that sense. What I see is a cadre of leaders who are really, and this is the ones I focus and I study, who are really understanding what it means to put humanity back at the heart of leadership. And I mean that in a number of different ways. Firstly, they understand their role is about fiduciary duty to shareholders and profitable growth and all of these things. But they also know that what they do and the footprint they have and the impact they have is far greater than that.

And I’ll give you a couple of examples. One is a company which I recently profiled called Pave Gen, which is a fantastic company. Full disclosure, I’m an investor in it as well, but they created paving slabs, indoor and outdoor flooring that when you step on it, generates electricity. So in the same way you have solar on the top of a building, and that plugs into the building’s electricity infrastructure. If you’ve got buildings like hospitals or shopping malls where there’s high footfall, they’re even doing it in concerts. I think every time a person takes a step, electricity is generated. Now that has huge potential for shareholder growth, huge potential for profitable growth and all of those things. But actually, if that company does well, it’s harnessing a source of electricity, which is our footsteps, which at the moment is just going to waste. So to me, that’s a great example. And the leaders there have got a real sense of how do you bring people on a journey? There’s something about society and how do you bring people with you on a journey. There’s something about the way they’re leading. The research we’ve done on transformation, that the phrase we’re using is about putting the humans at the center.

And what we’re seeing is these leaders. If I could give you a bit of a picture in your mind, imagine a CEO with one arm, and that arm represents line management, their hierarchy, their It systems, their finance, and all of that stuff. But it’s tied behind their back, and they have to use their other arm and their other arm. The only skills they’ve got is their speech, their ability to listen, their empathy, their concern for people, their ability to draw out of people what their values are. And I think that’s the secret weapon. Most of them know how to do the other stuff, but the ones that can really not just inspire but listen to what people’s concerns are, what their values are in their employee base, but also in their customer base, and weave that into a vision, weave that into a purpose. That’s not some overly simplistic statement, but really, why does this company exist? Who does it exist for? I think these two things of, let’s call it social impact or human impact, and profitable growth and shelter grid, they no longer become two separate things. They’re embodied in a vision. They’re embodied in individuals who are able to do both.

That is interesting. And I’ll say when we hear transformational leadership, there’s an implication that they’re beginning at a place and carrying to a different destination, especially now when we see a startup come up, I almost have to look at it with a grain of salt. This idea that they’ve come from zero to one. So the transformation is in what the platform or the company is achieving. But when you see leaders that especially are in an existing organization, the sort of steering of a cruise ship, there’s a very different challenge I find. And look when we look back on great books that we use today still to study like Built to Last. And then if you look at the story, it’s about most of them actually didn’t last. If you took it outside of the context of the five year research term in which they research the book, most of those businesses actually struggled greatly in the decade that followed have continued, but not with high growth. So when you get to leaders of especially large organizations, Andrew, how does one stay empathetic when there’s such a broad audience to have to listen to?

I think it’s a great question, and I think it’s a question which has been rumbling for decades, if we think of Polaroid and Kodak, of the video rental stores that didn’t make the change, BlackBerry and some of these other companies. So I think what’s changing is that the rate and the impact of disruption is pretty much affecting everybody. So it’s no longer something that comes out of the blue. It’s no longer something that you’re unlucky if you’re experiencing a career, it’s everywhere. But I think you put your finger on the challenge for the incumbents. And I would describe it as this. There is a status quo which is all consuming. If you think about the schedules that most leaders of those businesses have, they’re probably starting at 6-7 AM in the morning. Some of them are going through till very late in the evening, particularly if they’re responsible for global activity and they’re working across multiple time zones. They’re probably back getting on planes with the relentless travel schedule as well. And it’s all consuming. They don’t have the mental space in a sense, they’re addicted to the machine and the machine that demands continual returns, the machine that demands continual effort.

The companies that I have seen that have broken this, they’ve done something that I’m going to describe as a conscious disconnection from the status quo. They’ve had a CEO or another senior leader that has effectively said, we have to take ten days out to think about the future, not two days, not one day, but ten days. And we have to go somewhere. And that is either to look at a set of emerging industries, spending time in nature away from everything to give the human mind and heart and soul chance to refresh and to think differently, building a different group of suppliers around us. But that notion of a conscious disconnection from a status quo I think is such a powerful one for me because it’s like an addiction. There’s an addiction to the returns, there’s an addiction to activity, there’s an addiction to processes where it’s very hard to get space from that. And those that are successful consciously disconnect. And I think in some ways it’s becoming easier because the problem is becoming clearer that if you don’t do that, you’re not fulfilling your responsibilities as a leader and you’re not thinking about the next certainly the next three years, five years, ten years.

So there’s a need to go through some form of conscious process of disconnection and then think about what is the best place for us. And as I say, my recommendation, if I was working with a firm, this is at least five days. And you need to put in place the infrastructure around you that allows you to take that time out and to really spend the time sinking into why we exist separate from our current operation, separate from how we currently work. To think about what the future might look like, to think about what a reinvention might look like and from that place, then go back in and lead in a different way.

This is one of the things that I’ve often promoted, even in my own work and my own teams. This idea of the off site where we have to visually disconnect from your day to day processes because it’s habit forming. Right? We go to the office, we say we’re going to go into the big meeting room. And so what does everyone do? They bring their laptop. They pop their laptop open, you see them looking at their screen and tapping away. So I would say, like, no, here’s what it is. You sit at the table, you’re either in a hotel or somewhere else where it’s quiet or even if it’s in an existing room, you have one person with a laptop. They’re the scribe. They’re on screen so you can’t see them. You make sure they’re not on instant messaging and email. The rest of us, we have pad and paper and really go through that disconnected discussion. And it can’t be a half day. It’s got to be something where you’re taken away because there’s nothing worse than somebody comes up and it’s like, oh, I’m just going to go down and check on something or I’m going to check my email real quickly.

But it’s really a human behavior problem where we feel like we’re missing something. And yet the irony is it’s completely the opposite. You’re right. You are missing something because you’re involved in it every day. You’re missing what you could be doing. And it’s so hard to hammer that into people’s minds that this is how they need to behave.

A couple of points. I think you’re absolutely onto something. I coached an executive once, and they spoke about their iPhone, and they said they had more anxiety putting their iPhone down than they did when they had a baby. And the coaching was about how long can you not go without holding the iPhone? So we started off with a minute. We got to two minutes. We got to ten minutes. We got to walking around the garden without the iPhone and what it felt like because it was an addiction. And I think there’s a whole conversation around social media, which I don’t think is today’s topic. But what I would also say is I’ve run events where we gave people the option of handing over their mobile phone and the mobile phone being locked in a safe for a day. Now you have to put some with executives, you have to put some infrastructure around that. So everyone lets their PA no, there’s somebody outside who has got a phone. They give them the number, and if there’s an emergency, either in the family or in the business, they call that person and we commit, we’ll bring that person out and then they can get access to their device.

What was really interesting, Eric, at the end of the day, we got to like 05:00 A.m.. He said, right, phones back. And a few of them said, no, can you keep them for a few more hours? We just love this time of being able to think and be with ourselves and be with the bigger questions that this company is facing. So could we extend this to 08:00 P.m.? And then we’ll have our phones back. So to me, it was a really interesting it was like taking a toy off a toddler at the beginning. And at the end of it, there was a few people that didn’t want it back because of what it gave back in terms of space and that space to reflect, which I think is so important today.

Yeah. I mean, I often recommend people read Cal Newport has fantastic writing on the idea of the digital minimalism and Deep work is another fantastic book. And it’s funny, when I read Cal Newport, I sort of had this vision of some scholarly 65 year old gentleman. He’s a young guy, he’s probably going to be my cousin. He’s well studied on the idea of this disconnection. But it’s funny that going through that first part of putting it down and you hear people go through like you can see them change when they realize their phone is at their desk and they’re in a meeting room. And I agree with you that when we’re doing it with purpose, we have to know like, hey, I’m going to be offline if you need me. But another thing I do as well with work. I often talk to people at this idea. So if you ask for a week off, the first thing that happens is people say, what’s your project schedule look like? Who else can we get to back you up? We begin to wrap the machine around. Is it possible for you to get away now? It’s a very North American thing, especially as well.

But if you say, I’ve got to go to hospital, I’ve got a family issue immediately. The response from everyone on your team is no problem. Go for it. Let us know anything we can do to help. We’ve got you covered. And I often think about this, why we should be able to have everybody should just have a big red button that they could just say, this is my day, I’m taking the next three days and just, like, hit the button, no one questions it. We had this belief that we need to overly plan escape. And Ironically enough, when you just do it, the machine rolls on. In fact, it gives you freedom of thought. Like when I go for a run, the moment that I can’t look at my phone, especially on a bike, because I have no headphones, I don’t listen to any music. So I’m just out for 5 hours. It’s the most incredibly creative time because you just have nothing to do but be introspective. And when I get back, I’m like typing and scribing and all these fantastic ideas have come because there’s no access to distraction.

Yeah, exactly. And I think you’re making such a good point. So over the lockdown period, the first lockdown period, I got bored. I was literally like an express train that came to a halt at that point. I was probably on a plane two or three times a month, and so I had a lot of pent up energy. I still have the work schedule, but the social life and all the other things that we weren’t able to do at that time. So I trained as a meditation teacher, so I’d meditated on and off for about ten years. And I’d always had a hunch that this has got a real purpose with leaders. And it’s for this exact reason that meditation forces you to just stop, focus on your breathing or any other of the techniques you’re using. And it’s that discipline. And you suddenly realize after a while, when the mind quietens, that you go into a place of stillness. And it’s that stillness that real innovation, I think, can come from real creativity. And it’s another form of that separating from the machine, separating from the busyness, separating from the thinking mind, which I just think there’s so many things in today’s world has just put that on steroids.

Social media being a big one with the like and dislike, which is the same as the Buddhist concept of attraction and being repelled from things. But just bringing awareness to that takes us into a place where we realize that is not me. My thoughts are not me, my work is not me. And that subject object separateness is essentially what I’m talking about when I’m saying a conscious disconnection from the status quo. Our company is not our current way of operating. It’s the current expression, but with something bigger than that. And what are we in service of? To me, these two things started to come into alignment. I’ve not fully finished that journey of exploration of bringing these two worlds together. And there’s others working on this as well. But to me, that’s why I went there during that lockdown period.

When you think of that sort of forced introspection where we had obviously the last two years, even like, people still have trouble at this point remembering when it began. It’s been so long. And I remembered going through an airport in February of ’20. It was the beginning of being concerned that something could be happening, but things weren’t locked down yet. And I remember sitting in this airport looking around, going like, there’s nobody here. I was in Calgary, Alberta, so there’s generally not that many people anyways, but still so vastly different than I’m used to. And like you, I travel a lot as part of my function for work. And I would get I got those creative breaks. I would be – my favorite thing was to be on a plane. I’ve got so many colleagues, and they would say, oh, I really dread airplane WiFi. I said, do you know what’s better than having to worry about your airplane WiFi? Never getting it. You don’t need it. You’re in a bloody plane. Just disconnect. And the moment that I’ve got this white noise around me, I put in noise canceling headphones, and I usually write a blog. I create presentations. I get very creative because, again, there’s zero access to things. It’s that sort of meditative creative state that I get into.

I’ve heard a lot of people say that about planes, by the way, before WiFi on planes, the planes where the planes, the busy executives went to rejuvenate, they had some of their best thinking. They could write. There was just not that interference. Yeah. So I think there was something about that which hopefully we don’t lose with the plane’s WiFi.

But it definitely did change my work patterns and my creative patterns when I had none of that all of a sudden. It took a while. I’d been a remote worker for a long time, and I was used to managing team experience in how I would engage with them. They were all in an office or fairly central, and I was the remote worker. And then all of a sudden, everybody was suddenly remote. And people say like, oh, this must be sort of normal for you because you’re used to being a remote worker. It was normal for me, but it’s not normal for most people because they are now treating remote work and remote leadership like it’s the office. And all of a sudden, I went from 5 hours a week of meetings to 19 hours a week of meetings because there was this culture of presence that was incredible. It’s a very challenging thing. And then the leadership, if they’re used to that culture of presence as part of the leadership, it was very difficult for them to adapt. And this is, again, when I think of the good leaders can be away from the direct experience, but not actually away from it.

Maybe that’s when I think of the large organization leaders that are empathetic, they don’t have to sit beside the worker to understand the challenge of the worker and the needs of the worker and the capabilities of the worker and the pandemic I think highlighted a lot of people who were leaders by time in the company, not by actual capability.

Yeah, there was something about that I’ve seen recently, companies starting to put on LinkedIn. This is a no meeting week. In this week no meetings. Just get on with you. I would love to go in and see a how do they define a meeting? Because in the virtual world, is that anything beyond a one to one or does a one to one include that? But then what work actually fills the gap when you take the meetings out? What happens to the productivity, what happens to the output from people? What happens to the creativity, what happens to the motivation and the energy within people? So the way of tracking that would be super interesting. But I also think I think your point is really interesting that have we just transferred in, going into the lockdown and remote working as it’s now sticking in many places, a culture of meetings into this online world. So people are in just back to back Zoom meetings all day rather than as you’re saying, if you’re working from home, working remotely, you probably need about 5 hours to check in, but the rest of the time you’re working remotely and that’s the job you’ve got to do.

I don’t think we’re at the end of this process of this transformation to come back to our theme in terms of the future of work, we’ve disconnected from the status quo that Toby did that, but we’ve not landed, I think, on what the norms are of when do you go in? When do you not go in? How many meetings a day is optimal, really?

And what people didn’t realize, it’s odd because maybe I just think a little too hard about these things, but they don’t understand that being in a Zoom meeting is cognitively tiring like much more so than being in a room full of people in a meeting. Because I actually studied for a long time the dynamics of physical placement at the table in a meeting room, when you sit up across from somebody, there’s a natural adversarial relationship. When you sit beside somebody, directly beside somebody, there’s a different relationship and how you collaborate versus somebody who’s at the end of the table, but you’re looking down towards them and they need to look. There’s a reason boardroom tables are designed a certain way and that people sit at the head and at the side and at the middle, there’s a very ergonomic pattern to behavior. Well, in Zoom we suddenly are – am I in the middle of the frame? Am I looking at the camera? There are things we never had to think about. I guess I’m technically I’m a broadcaster now, so I’m staring into the lens of a camera because I know I’m supposed to, but often you see me looking down because I want to see nonverbal cues and I enjoy that part of the experience. We don’t get that. Like twisting a pen on the table like little things that you would enjoy. You’d see somebody doing something and you’d say like, oh, that’s neat. Where did you learn to do that? Which would never come in a Zoom meeting. We were missing so much of that non-verbal cue.

I had a couple of funny experiences. One was at the beginning of moving on to Zoom and moving on the lockdown, and I was in conversation with somebody I’d met a few years earlier, and he came on and he said, Are you okay? And I thought he was asking about covid, I said, oh, fine. None of the family is affected. It’s all great. Thank you.

No, no, no. He said, you’ve lost a lot of hair. And I suddenly realized I’m six foot ten tall. Now, I don’t come across a six foot ten. I said, no. I said, I’ve not lost a lot of hair. You just don’t normally see me from this angle. And then I run a leadership program at Oxford, and we’ve had to do the whole front end virtually. So I got to know a group of 43 leaders from around the world all through this medium. And then they turned up in Oxford. And the shock at my height, even though I told them, I said, guys, I told you I was six foot ten coming in. I think because in their mind’s eye, they had this assumption of me as, you know, we’re all normal on this. There’s an equalizing effect. And it took some of them a couple of hours to really just recognize. And it was more than I mean, I often shock people when I stand up, but this was notably more so when they’d got to know me in the Zoom world, and then they’d see me in this other world and then the world of real human interaction.

Yeah. I remember when I first saw one of your Ted talks. And like, even there, there’s no frame of reference because no one knows how tall the stool is. But I could immediately tell them, good golly, this man is a tall gentleman. And it’s funny. That another interesting thing. I’ll say it’s good in a way that we’ve sort of democratized people’s existence in a way that it does take away other things that may detract from it or distract more than detract, I should say. There’s one felt I worked with for months, and it was fantastic gentlemen, we got along great. We did a lot of collaboration together. And then I saw a LinkedIn profile about him, and I talked about him being a military veteran, and I’d known he was a military vet. And then I saw the picture of him standing and he has no legs at mid thigh below. He’d lost both his legs in an explosion and thought like, it’s amazing that I’ve worked with this man for eight months. I had no idea, because even if you stand up on camera, you wouldn’t even get as low to be able to see that.

And it was fascinating to me that there’s no focus on it, and that can be good or bad because there are things that you do want to bring attention to. But it was very interesting that it just sort of we could only focus on what we were working on, and it takes away stuff that may impact your belief in someone’s capabilities.

Yeah, I think there is something in all of this, and I’ve noticed as well that on certainly teaching on Zoom because of the chat function, we get a more diverse set of people asking questions and making points. There’s a bit of a fight with getting hands up, and you need a good person to work through that. But the chat function just broadens out the voices that can come into the conversation. I think particularly for the introverts, in my experience, it’s the extroverts who often dominate when the professor asks, does anyone have any questions? But then you’ve got that space for people who perhaps are not as confident or want to put a more thoughtful question into chat rather than make a more rambling point, if that makes sense.

Yeah. Especially having given a lot of talks myself and doing lecture work at events, it’s always funny when the person that stands out, like the first person that gets up, I’ve got a question for you. What you actually have is a statement, and you’re framing it with a question mark at the end because there’s sort of the overly learned person that wants to make their point. They effectively want to sort of begin this Dodge thrust Parry of like, I could be on stage and I applaud it. I love that people are willing to do that. But then there’s so many people in the room who, as you say, like, they’ve got fantastic insights and questions, but they just don’t want to stand up, they don’t want to look bad, they don’t want to sound bad. But in chat, it’s a beautiful way to democratize access to that intellectual back and forth, which I think is something we’ve really gained and I hope we hold onto.

Yeah. One of the best tools that I found is Mentimeter. And this is within boardrooms. It’s within executive teams. So I’ve got four quite challenging questions that I often use in discussions. One is tell me what you are not talking about, but that you need to talk about. Tell me what you always talk about but never resolve. Tell me what spaces you need to create in this organization to have those conversations and what would be different in, let’s say, one or three years time if those conversations led to the right decisions and the right actions. And what’s interesting is when I ask the first question, tell me what you don’t talk about, that you need to talk about if I’m in an executive team, half of them will look at the floor. They can’t hold my eye contact. The second question, tell me what you always talk about but never resolve. Half of them will laugh because there’s always things that they’re really good questions. So I call them my diagnostic questions. But what I found is they’re even better if you put them on mentee because people can just put stuff up and it’s cathartic, it gets stuff onto the table.

It gets out of the political angst. What are people going to think about me? How this could be Christine as critical of the CEO and all those little questions or points come up on the mentee screen, you can also get people to score stuff. So if I work with an executive team and they come up with a 100 day plan, we meet after 100 days and there were four elements in the plan. I get them to score themselves out of ten on how well they did. And the little bar arrow moves up and the bar moves up and down as the scores come in. And it brings a ruthless and really important honesty which I think is at the heart of some of the transformation we’re talking about. So some of these digital tools which you can now use embedded within a Zoom or alongside a Zoom or Teams meeting can be really powerful. So I think there is something as I say, we’re learning to work in this new digital world.

There’s an interesting that concept is something I’ve embraced and one of the sort of leaders in that very open radical. We talk about radical transparency and such. Ray Dalio, of course, author of the book Principles and Bridgewater Capital and I’ve been lucky to be exposed to their in room experience where they record every meeting. Everything is very open. The downside to radical candor is often people believe it’s a reason to be able to say anything, that maybe some stuff should be not rewarded. I’ll say not unsaid. But I’ve talked to many former Bridgewater employees and they say you find people go from the idea of radical candidate to becoming a radical arsehole because they just freely say things that are negative, not thinking of contextualizing it, which is.

And so therefore it needs the right values around it. It has to be done in a constructive way with the right questions, with the right behaviors for it to work. I think you’re right. All these things can be abused, can’t they?

I love your questions because it is something even when I so one of the environmental impact, right.  Sustainability, it drips off the tongues of everybody these days. Right. I sort of joke and say if you want something to be more successful, rub some sustainability on it. Right. Like if it suddenly gets us increased focus as it should because we have an opportunity to continuously change the future with what we do immediately and in the near future. And then we hear people, they say all these organizations have come up with these strategies and promises and 2030 impact statements and all these things they’re doing. And then whenever I talk to an organization or talk to a team, the question that I ask is, what have you done in the past twelve months towards these goals? And it’s amazing to hear, like, everybody’s like, yeah, we’ve got a promise we’re going to be carbon neutral by 2030. We’re changing the way we do business, we’re changing the way we operate infrastructure. Tell me precisely tactical things that you’re doing that are working towards that goal. And as you mentioned before, people are like, there’s a lot of navel gazing and, well, we’re coming up with a plan, but it’s done in a constructive way that they say, okay, what have we done? And they do find good things, and they then start to think more strongly about what can we actually do to affect this vision, this goal, and tactically begin to take action towards it.

Now, I’m struck by how much innovation has actually taken place over the last two decades around things like alternatives to plastic. Now, all of that, if I get magazines delivered, they come in biodegradable plastic bags. So when I see a company not using that, I’m thinking, you’ve got no excuse. The company is making it work cost wise. The technology is there. My house opposite. Where the building I’m in here. We rebuilt it. We put solar on the roof. On a day like today, as it is in the UK, we’ve got bright Sunshine. That house is a net contributor to the grid, to the electricity grid. Such is the case across large parts of the world with wind farms. Now we have the technology. The question is, are we going to sit on old business models with old products, or are we going to accelerate and really lean into the transformation? And I think, to be honest, we’re at a point now where if you don’t, it’s bad business practice. It’s not just bad for the environment, but it’s bad for your shareholders and it’s bad for the future of your organization because you’re just not going to be part of the future and what the future looks like. And I think it’s taken pioneers like Elon Musk to kind of move the needle in the automotive space. But you can see when someone like that does that, then the rest of the industry starts to really get its act together and go on that transition. So I think we are at a pivotal point in history where, in a sense, the commercial world and the environmental world and the human world are coalescing and the leaders are the ones that get all those three things and are able to drive forward with the right products, technology, commercial solutions, which will generate the shareholder returns of tomorrow.

I’m going to put two personalities up. And this is from my own experience, and I’d love to get your thoughts on the sort of the transformational leader. And I’ve met a lot of CEOs and in everything from solar printers to small organizations to startups to massive organizations. I’ve worked in major financial institutions for a long time. And you would meet people who are good CEOs. And it’s as if they were cut from a cloth and sort of printed. And they have perfect answers, which are no answers. Quite often they’re media ready. There is that sort of vision of that type of leader. And they lead a financial institution or a healthcare company, and they’re very good and they have to do there’s a certain amount of that that’s necessary. They can’t just sort of go off the cuff and be natural. But the tough part is I would struggle with believing in them, in their people impact and their human centric impact, because they’re giving beautiful canned answers, almost political in the way of like, how are we going to handle this problem? And then they know how to do it so well. First, let’s look at the four macro trends that are facing… And like, they’ve got the answer, sounds fantastic. And then you see them twelve minutes later on CNBC giving exactly the same answer, right? I saw Elon Musk, sometimes a polarizing figure. But when he was on actually a great podcast with Lex Friedman and Lex Friedman asked Elon, how do you prepare for engineering something that’s so massive that it’s got a high chance for failure? And first of all, among the most fantastic interviewing techniques ever, he stared at him for 25 seconds, I think, no words. And you could see Elon. He’d actually see his eyes darting around. We don’t architect. We don’t engineer for failure. We engineer for mitigation of failure.

Right.

We know that failure is not an option. Ultimately, we can’t fail. We have to believe in the outcome. We have to like the ability for him to not be media ready, not be perfect diction. And to let that air out, first of all, as an interviewer is like the most fantastic thing I’ve ever seen, the best 20 seconds of an interview I’ve ever seen where we didn’t just fight to fill dead air. So there’s very dichotomous leadership styles. In the business, I’m curious, how do those two personalities play out?

I would put it this way. If you put both of those people in front of a panel of 1000 members of the general public, which one would they trust more? Which one do they believe more? Which one would they like to hear more from? I suspect it’s Elon Musk. And I think we went through the whole world of the sound bite and the slick press operation saying everything and saying nothing. And I think there’s a craving for leaders to turn around and use phrases like, I don’t know, we’re not there yet. This is our aspiration, but we haven’t yet thought through what the plan looks like to get there. We don’t plan for that. And I’m more honesty about things, and I think COVID was a really good case, certainly at the level of political leaders and perhaps down in corporates as well. We didn’t know so much at the beginning. Has it ever been a thing that hit the entire world where we just didn’t know what the next four weeks were going to look like? The next two weeks? We’d never lock down entire societies like this, and it happened in parts of the world, but never at such a global scale and never with such the industries that got stopped as they did.

And we saw some people thrive in that and some people didn’t. But I think if you tried to almost take the approach you described in the first instance, you just come across as stupid. And it was far better to be honest about the situation and honest about the potential risks and consequences of what was being spoken about.

Do we find this or do we teach it, Andrew.

I suspect we can teach it. I suspect we can create the cultural conditions for it. I think the press has a responsibility here, but ultimately it’s down to individuals who’ve got the courage of their convictions and the courage of their values. I think he’s probably at the heart of this.

Obviously, you’re entrenched in the research side as well as in higher Ed institutions. Do you find that those institutions are catching up to industry and changes in the world? One of the things that I’ve often struggled with, especially in higher Ed, you’d see, like startup leadership courses, and they were so disconnected from a real, true startup leader experience or even in telecom and technology because of the tradition of education, was deep research that led to curricula and syllabus that could be tested and trusted meant that it had to move at a slower pace, but the world moved at a slower pace. So in this day and age, I think it’s getting better, but you’re obviously much closer to it. Do you think that the education is catching up to the pace of the world?

I can only speak for what we do in the business school at Oxford, and I think, yes, we’ve got a whole structure we’ve set up around entrepreneurship. A good proportion of our MBA students go into setting up entrepreneurial businesses. And I think we’ve got a very good curriculum there in terms of the leadership program I run, which is at the opposite end of the spectrum, which is people who are 2030 years into their careers. I think we’re very much on the cutting edge of what’s going on in the world. We have the benefit of having the Oxford Martin School in the University looking at the challenges of the 21st century. We bring that onto our program. We have some brilliant research around scenario planning. We bring that onto our program. We’re doing cutting edge research around transformation, where we’re interviewing leaders who are at the forefront of that. We’ve got an 1800 person survey globally around that as well. So I’m not suggesting we’re perfect, but I certainly don’t think we’re sitting on our laurels with a curriculum that was from about three or four decades ago. That’s definitely not the case.

One thing in the time we got left, I want to explore an area of leadership success and leadership proof is not defined by successful times. But I think adversity. And also one of the challenges we have. Right, is that we don’t introduce adversity into someone’s experiences. We sort of have helicopter parenting, and that translates into easing them through public schooling and then getting them onto higher Ed. And, well, we’re paying for this University. So I want my child to have a good experience. So they yell at the professors, make sure you do a good job, and stop making negative comments. We’re seeing this sort of unfortunate pervasive trend of the normalizing of existence, taking the edges off a bit. But when you take those sharp edges off, then you get out of the school and the world has sharp edges. But for leaders as well, right. Leaders are often defined by getting through difficulty. Just like a marriage, right. Every marriage goes great for five years, and then you have children. You’re like, oh, boy, this is difficult. Now you really see the test of collaboration and partnership.

Yeah. I think you’re on to something. It’s a big topic, and I don’t claim to have all the answers. What I’m minded of is my late grandmother, who was a pharmacist during the Second World War, and this was old school pharmacy where the pharmacy was full of jars of powders and potions, and a bomb went off near to where the pharmacist was. And she described how she was up to her knees suddenly in glass and powder. And I said, well, what did you do, Grandma Darling? We just brushed it all away. And we opened up the next day. And to me that’s my high watermark of resilience. A bomb goes off, you’re up to your knees in glass and whatever chemicals were in the pharmacy, you brush it all up. And then your duty is to have that shop open the next day, not just for the shop sake, but for the community and for the whole war effort and for the country. And I do wonder if we need adversity in life. And I suppose it’s only a question. That generation that came out of the war, there was a resilience about them. And it’s almost every generation it halves.

And maybe what we’re going through at the moment with a much more uncertain world is actually good for us. It’s painful. We don’t like it, but it’s a bit like a muscle. It needs to be stretched in order to grow and resilience, I think, is like a muscle. It needs to be stretched. And I wouldn’t wish Adversity on anybody, but there is something about it which is perhaps necessary. And if you think about the survival of the fittest and the evolutionary processes which we’ve come through, there’s something about that as well. So I think you’re right. And one bit from our research, we’re finding companies that do transformation well then are able to do transformation well, it has a virtuous cycle about it, and the opposite is true. You muck up a transformation, it has a vicious cycle about it.

Yeah, that is the interesting thing. It begets a better response in future. I mean, I think of telev’s research and concepts around anti-fragility. Often difficult to quote him because it’s a bit of polarizing figure as well, but still, that concept of natural exposure in the same way that our immune systems react by creating antigens to these situations. If you experience difficulty and you see the reaction to it and the response to it, then you have preparedness for the next time. And I often find personally, my favorite thing in a weird way is when it all goes sideways. I worked in data center operations, and It operations for years. And the moment that it would get out of control, I would just feel this calm of like, okay, let’s immediately go into sort of triage. What can we do right now? What’s necessary? And you were forced to immediately prioritize things. I don’t like being in a well, let’s develop a steering committee, and then we’ll set up some cadence calls, and then we’ll set up a nine month plan. If the power went off, what do we do right now? I thrive in that experience, and I struggle with the very plan for long term views of things.

There’s definitely going to be personalities that can do both sides, but I often find the people that require the planning when something does go wrong, they really struggle, and ultimately they aren’t able to contribute as well, because I’ve never seen it and they don’t get that exposure to it. It’s an interesting thing. Maybe because I threw myself at adversity a little early. I got used to it.

I think it’s a really interesting concept, and it reminds me of just the human body. If you sit in front of the TV all day and don’t move, you’re atrophy. If you get out on a bike, go for a walk, go for a run, lift weights – that stress that you put the body under, stimulates growth. And you’re also more prepared. If you ever need to really pedal fast to get out of trouble, run fast, walk fast. You’ve done the preparation in that sense.

Yeah, I used to do track cycling. I’m a longtime cyclist, and I started doing track cycling just for fun ’cause I lived in an area where there was a velodrome, and it was exciting. One of my favorite races was this like timing was flying 200 where you basically do like five laps and then you say, okay that’s it, I’m going to go on the next lap and you start at the top and then you immediately go to the bottom eldrum. So you’re going to fall out for a 200 meter lap. And the reason I was particularly good at because when I was a kid, I lived in the middle of nowhere on a farm and the person up the road for me had two German shepherds. So if I wanted to go for a bike ride, I’d have to literally be like preparing for this ride. And then I would hear the barking and I would immediately have to just sprint because I had to outrun them before they could come to the road and catch up.

They’re quite some dogs to outrun as well.

They are fast little fiends, those ones. But like that sort of natural exposure to difficulty and seeing my dad go through difficulty with work through the 80’s when the tech sector fell apart and seeing it go around. That’s why I look to leaders. It’s very easy for someone to be in a leadership role, but not a leadership function. And they’re very different. Like just being the team lead because you’ve been there longer than the rest of the developers does not actually make you a leader. It’s often by title, not by function. And that’s why I try and tell people to differentiate between the two. You deserve this role, you deserve this title. But when it comes down to it, there are different skills required for leadership. And I think that especially in transformation, you can’t just look back and say, well, this is how it’s been done for X number of years. What is to use the playbook? I have to be able to have something suddenly shift and then be able to understand and get through it, not just for me, but for my entire team and my organization.

Yeah, I think we’re seeing that with President Zanelleski in the Ukraine at the moment. This guy was an actor and is now taking on arguably the most difficult leadership role that’s been seen for decades in the most difficult of circumstances. But the way in which he’s working both locally and internationally in getting consensus, getting coalition, is remarkable to see.

Yeah, I think that is, in adversity we have surprising leaders that rise to the top or surprising personalities that you discover through it. And being able to see them as well in an organization, I think it’s part of that empathetic need of to be able to say like as a leader, I can recognize other people that I can bring up, I can rely on and I can empower them to do more. One last thing, decentralized leadership and giving up sort of control of it to a decentralized group. How are you finding that as a transformation in leadership styles.

I will rehearse a conversation I had with one of the executives I coach. This guy is brilliant. He’s top quality performer with his brilliance comes a bit of a shadow in that he demands excellence from his team, and he does that through controlling. And I was coaching him on this, and it come through on a 360 process he’d been through. And we went through the session, and I thought the session was good, but I didn’t feel we fully landed. And we were packing up our stuff about to go. And he said to me, so I guess, Andrew, what you’re saying to me is and what I’m learning is it’s about their energy and not mine. And I just said, you got it. How do you find a way to release their energy and you will get so much more out of it? Yes, you have to put a guiding framework around it because it’s your vision, but it’s how do you engage and get their energy involved in this rather than a passive response? And he went away and did some stuff and came back and said, I just cannot believe the difference in the output I’m getting from people by kind of taking this mentality, I wouldn’t necessarily call it centralized or decentralized. It’s about energy. And as a leader, do you energize people? Do you bring their energy to the table, or do you crush their energy with your energy? So that’s how I would frame it.

It’s fantastic. Yeah. So what are you looking forward to in the coming year as we sort of re-opened the world a bit now? Of course, given the conflicts that are going on, there’s bigger challenges that we probably had to weigh into what we believe the next twelve months will look like. But as you head into the next batch of your work with research, what is your goal to come out at the end of this year?

Yeah, that’s a great question. Thank you. I think a number of things I’m looking forward to getting out and visiting the world again. So I’ve done one international trip already. I’ve got another one in April. I love people, and I love being part of a business that takes me all over the world doing the work I do. So to be able to be back on a plane visiting people is really great. I’m working with 160 leaders this year on the advanced management and leadership program that I’m working on, all of them face to face, all of them in Oxford. That’s going to be great. And we see huge transformation taking place in them and with the plans that they take back to their organizations. And I have a couple of other projects. So I’m going to get to 21 podcasts this year of leaders who I think are making a transformative impact. I’m planning to write a book, 21 Leaders for the 21st Century, so I’m not sure that will be out this year, but it will certainly be written this year. And more of the research around transformation, just taking that into the public domain as well.

That’s a fantastic set of goals. And as you said, getting back out and really engaging and collaborating back the earlier point, we said people went to many meetings and I often get asked said, you love people, so you must like meetings. I said, no, I like collaboration, which is why I hate meetings. Meetings are not collaboration. When done right, they are, but they are seldom done right. And I think we’ve learned to value collaboration over meetings. And I’ve seen now more of people getting like, I’m going to focus on what matters. So that 60 minutes meeting, when we feel like we’re done at 25 minutes, we just cut the call because we’re done and it’s so good instead of before. It’d be like, okay, well, we’ve got some more time here. What else can we talk about? Like, no, perfect. Let’s just get onto something else. And what we needed to get done is done. And then there are those moments where we’re getting back to just chatting and meeting in person and breaking bread and enjoying time together. I look forward to it, for sure.

I hope I bump into you at some point in those travels around the world.

It would be fantastic. I would really take pleasure in it. So, Dr. Andrew White, if people do wish to reach you and get connected, what’s the best way they can do that?

Best way is on LinkedIn. I’m very active. You can find me there. If you just search for my name and Oxford, or you search for the Leadership 2050 newsletter. And it would be great to hear from folks.

Yes, definitely. I’ll have links, of course, to both the newsletter and make sure that people can get access and to your podcast, which is amazing. That’s just such a beautiful opportunity now to bring the world, those stories in that format and explore this. And then, as you said, now, do you think like 20-30 years ago or even a decade ago, the idea of being able to do a podcast and then take that content like, oh, this is a book. Now, people often say, like, well, you’ve been at all in the podcast, but there are many people who will not hear it, nor would they want to do it in that format they like to read. So I love that you can take research, practice, beautiful work with the podcast and the newsletter and then now bring it together in book format. I will be anxiously awaiting the release of the book for sure and look forward to it.

But the book also gives an opportunity to do synthesis. So it’s not just going to be like a transcript to the podcast. It’s going to be learning what are the cross-cutting themes. So maybe you’ll have me back at some point, Eric, and I can talk about what those findings were when you put the whole set of those podcasts together, are there ten themes, the ten lessons that come out of that?

Absolutely like any great special, the end gets you right back to the beginning. It’s that whole thing. The executive summary is written last. People forget that sometimes, you now look over this body of work and said this is what we’ve actually done and then to see that thematically played out so good, like I love the free form. Like the podcast style is great because you can go in many directions and then you’d be like, okay, what did we actually discover? But definitely, it would be an honor to have you on again. Look forward to catching up. Hopefully, in real life and in travel it would be fantastic. Andrew, thank you very much.

Thank you, Eric.

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Welcome back, everybody. My name is Eric Wright. I’m the host of your Disco Posse podcast. Thank you for listening. Thank you for watching. If you want to watch, you can actually legitimately watch it’s over at youtube.com/discopossepodcast. Thanks to all the amazing people who are making this podcast possible and growing, growing like crazy. So super proud, having a lot of fun. Hope you’re enjoying the show as much as I am and all of our amazing guests. Speaking amazing guests, you’re about to meet Troy Hipolito. He’s the not so boring LinkedIn guy, but it’s actually a lot more than that. Troy is the founder of the Troy Agency. He’s got a really storied history in helping people with social promotion. But it’s not just about social promotion. He thinks big, and he takes that and applies it to social promotion. His agency style work and understanding of how to help people is really coming together beautifully. So it was a lot of fun. Troy actually was in the midst of a move, and he was kind enough to schedule something. This was one of those fun outreaches that he did a cold outreach to me on LinkedIn, and I actually liked it, and we got connected.

He was super fun. So I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. And talk about not so boring. Let’s head on over and remember the not so boring and fantastic people that make this podcast happen. So shout out to my sponsors, who all right, we got some announcements coming up very soon, so hang on to your hats. But in the meantime, go to vee.am/discoposse to get everything you need for your data protection needs, whether it’s on premises, whether it’s in the cloud, whether it’s bare metal. Metal, yeah. You got mail servers. You got to back those things up. You’ve got to back everything up. How about stuff like SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Office 365? There’s much more. So again, just head on over to vee.am/discoposse, find out and let them know old Disco sent you over there. Speaking of going over there and doing it safely, protect your data in traffic, in transit, in every form. Head on over to tryexpressvpn.com/discoposse. I’m a user. I’m a fan because hey, I travel around, I move around, I’m on other people’s sketchy WiFi. It’s not sketchy because I use a VPN. So go check it out. Hey, even better than avoiding coffee shop WiFi, get your own coffee. Go to Diabolicalcoffee.com. All right, let’s get to the fun part. This is Troy Hipolito, the not so boring LinkedIn guy on the Disco Posse podcast.

Hey, this is Troy Hipolito. I’m with the Troy Agency. I’m known as the Not So Boring LinkedIn Guy. And you’re watching the Disco Posse podcast.

I loved your tagline, the Not So Boring LinkedIn Guy. And thank you, Troy, for jumping on today and for reaching out, getting connected. I’m a real fan of your content, your approach, your style, and it’s something that I even myself, I think. Good golly. There’s so many things I’m under utilizing around LinkedIn, around a lot of social network. You’ve really, really got some great stuff that you’re coaching people through and bringing them towards really strong outcomes. So for folks that are brand new to you, do not yet know about Troy Hipolito, you want to give a quick introduction and a bio and we’ll talk about what you and the team are doing.

Oh, yeah, I’ll even do one better and tell you the story behind it. So I am a designer and developer by trade, right. So I’m a programmer as well as a UI/UX person. And I was actually an award winning designer here in Atlanta, Georgia, several years in a row, like the top designer. And so back in the day, I had a company called ISO Interactive, and we were building video games. It was like the Rockstar programming. We’re doing virtual worlds, we’re doing app development, back end, front end. And it was really cool. We had a small team, about a dozen people. We paired up a designer with a programmer, and we created stuff that didn’t exist. We loved it. Right. So it was going really well until it wasn’t.

Oh, no.

In Atlanta, Georgia, they no longer depend on the agencies because the companies that you get work are the Fortune 500. They’re very corporate. And so they use agencies up to a certain point, and they pretty much cut a lot of that work off. And the agency started fighting each other. So I was thinking, I got all this great work. I did CocaCola stuff. I did Xbox Mobile, did Harry Potter movie releases. We even had our own Harry Potter fan site that we developed a full 3D, pseudo 3D virtual world using multi-user technologies. And it was just like, why can’t we get any work? Well, the agencies grab a lot of these people and brought them in house and really cannibalize the whole agency model. And so they were really fighting over pennies. We had to find another source of getting work. And so I asked a buddy of mine, he was actually doing well, and he had a competing agency, and he was putting all his work through LinkedIn. I was like, LinkedIn, you’re getting all your work through LinkedIn? He says, yeah. And then I had a sales buddy of mine in New Jersey, and he said, yeah, it’s LinkedIn, man.

It’s LinkedIn. I thought LinkedIn was a bunch of stuff for resumes. And they said, no, you have to build a relationship and all this other stuff. And I realized something. Those relationships were like, analogous to old-fashioned dating. And again, I realized I was a terrible dater, like in real life. So I have type A personality traits because I’m very technical, right? And what I and other people were doing and what a lot of people do nowadays still is they date wrong. They go in there. It’s like me saying this beautiful woman and walking up to her saying, I find you very beautiful. I’m going to have two babies with you right now. It doesn’t work you end up getting slapped in the face. And that’s the technical equivalent of what people are doing on LinkedIn. And so we had to revamp it. It worked really well, and we had a bunch of clients, and then we fired those clients and we rebranded our agency. And people asked, Troy, why did you fire all these clients? I said, Because they weren’t the right type of client. They just wanted to sell. And so my type of clients that I hire on the higher end, the high end type of clients, we look for people that offer value like they’re human.

So if you reach out to them, they’re there to help that person, they’re there to engage, and their audience exists in an active forum on LinkedIn. And so that’s a very narrow band of people that are authentic. They’re willing to kind of contribute some time to help those individuals. I said, yeah, I need to find like-minded people. And that’s when we changed from return client to the Troy Agency. So we only pick up maybe one or two primary clients a month, and it’s residual, works out fine. On the other end, we have course materials, and we have our own show, a monthly show that covers that type of revenue stream as well. So it works great as long as you have something that someone wants and you’re there to help them, don’t sell. If you help them solve their problem, there’s really only one of three things can happen. So I’ll take a 15 minutes meeting. They said, Troy, I’m doing this, and this. I’m having this issue. I help them solve the problem on LinkedIn. I said, this is the thing that you need to do to solve that immediate issue. And there’s one of three things that come out of that.

You put out good energy in the universe. They’ll never talk bad about you. Number two, it works so well that they’re into their business and they realize there’s 23 other things that only Troy can fix, and they hire me. And the third is they’re so happy they can’t afford what I have going on. But they like me. They like me enough to send a recommendation. And being recommended by someone else is ten times easier than you tooting your own horn. So it’s all about being human and doing what you say and helping those people get where they need to go, that’s my story. Little long version anyway.

No, it’s perfect. And a lot of folks that are listening to us obviously have a LinkedIn profile. I say obviously. Many folks would have a LinkedIn profile and they use it for a variety of purposes. And look, my dms are littered with these people that just don’t get it. I sort of say this is the common interaction is, hey, I see we have some common interests and like, all right, I’ll bite – accept, right. Because I also use it as a broadcast channel. Right. So I’m ultimately, all my content is going pushing to LinkedIn. I’m not really using it interactively as much as some people would think. And then the next one is, hey, thanks for connecting. Really great. Like what you’re doing with X or interested to connect and chat more. And then 4 hours later is hey, so what do you do about blah, blah, blah. And they immediately are pitching a product to me. And then the next day it’s like bumping the top of inbox just in case you didn’t see this then it’s not sure if you’re getting my messages. And then eventually like seven messages later you get the hey, I know you’re probably busy or you’ve been eaten by a bear or like there’s some kind of witty thing that they read worked once and so they just reused the same meme. And I’m like, no, this is not the way to use this platform.

You know what that’s called? It’s spam. They’re spamming, that’s what it is. I had to release a client because he wanted to spam people. She says, I always want to help people that need help right now and send this one message to everyone and keep on sending it to them. I said spam. Why is spam? I said, that’s the definition of spam. I was telling me that is what spam is. You want to communicate. And so that communication element is important. So what you’re talking about is seven or eight touch points that people think. They’re thinking, well, I have to get between 12 and 14 touch points before they connect with me. But they’re not connecting the dots. So that doesn’t mean people on sending them messages on your LinkedIn dm, it means how can you connect with them in a more authentic way? It’s okay to send one or two messages, I think. But I don’t like the selling portion. I do like the idea of getting to know that person for a particular reason. And so you want to do things with strategy. So a lot of people will use these systems and they’ll just bombard it and automate it and that sort of thing.

And LinkedIn, they’ll crack down on it, you get enough complaints, shut your account down. And so you have to have good habits. One of the things is like how can I come across authentic? The other thing is that how can I have them come to me? How do I separate myself from every other LinkedIn guy out there or in your business as well. Whatever you do, how do you separate yourself where if there is interest, they acknowledge that and they come to you. So you want two way traffic. And one thing that I do, what I don’t do is I don’t do sequencing on LinkedIn. I will have a witty connection message, and I’ll have maybe one follow up. But the follow up is usually a welcome message, and it’s unique to that individual. Right. I have a daily process, so when I pick on a client, I help them with the profile top to bottom, help them with targeting, help them with their initial messaging, and I help them with the day to day process. And that day to day process is really what’s going to keep you sane. Like, oh, I can be on LinkedIn 12 hours a day. You don’t want to do that. That’s insane. You want to spend between 15 minutes and 1 hour a day to do whatever the things that you need and get out because you have a business to run. And someone says, well, how can I get people to actually book a meeting with me? I said, that’s easy. I can easily get between 30 and 50 meetings a week if I wanted to. I don’t know. I think my camera is getting a little blurry. I don’t know what’s going on here. I think it’s the lighting.

Yeah. It’s the joy for folks that don’t understand. Poor Troy just moved, and we’ve made them do podcasts in the middle of a move.

I just moved in. It was like 80% of my stuff got wires and stuff in there. So it’s like the living room of the stuff.

There you go. That was funny. As soon as you move back in, it refocused.

Yeah. So if you get a process down. I said, well, give me a tip, right? I said, okay, how are you authentic? You’re authentic by understanding who you’re speaking to and creating some bit of information about them specifically. It’s not selling. So when you connect with someone instead of spamming them, why don’t you just use your LinkedIn app and open it up to the video option and you can send a native video to them. That’s what, 20 seconds long, maybe 30 at the most, and just thank them for connecting. Thanks, Eric. I really appreciate the connection. And I noticed that you have an interesting podcast called DiscoPosse Podcast, kind of tongue tied there, and I’d love to learn more about it. I said, if you have a moment, just take a look at my profile. I said, if you see any dots to connect, feel free to send me your booking link. I said, I’ll schedule some time with you. Thank you very much. Have a great day. That does a few things. That’s a unique message. You took the time to address them and what they do. You were not selling. And it’s appropriate time for them to look at your profile.

And if they see anything they want to talk about, the onus is on them. Send you the booking link and you’ll schedule with them. So it’s not me, me, it’s you. And so that concept and smiling and of course I didn’t smile. I did it quite quickly. But that idea is very powerful. You are communicating with them as a human would. And that’s just one of many of the tips and tricks. And I think the other thing we were mentioning was all the touch points. Well, there’s all these different things you can do depending on your strategy. Why are you connecting with people, you know? Are you connecting with them to engage with their network? Are you connecting them to sell them something, which is probably not a good thing. What do you have to offer them? How can you help that individual? You have to get down to the human level. So people think, well, I think I’m going to do this thing for their company. I’m going to do it for the team. That person doesn’t care. I mean, they may care, but they don’t really care. They care about themselves. We’re human.

So deep down inside, you have to figure out how can I help that individual? What does he want? Does he want to be the hero? Does he have a problem he needs to fix? Does he get something off his chest? Can I pass the litmus test? And the litmus test is – you know the old fashioned litmus test, when you dip it in there and you figure out if it’s a certain chemical or whatever, if you passes the test, the acidic thing. The litmus test for LinkedIn is – if this guy would go out and have a beer with me or a drink at a high end bar, because you have to think during covid time, your time is valuable. I’m not going to go off some stranger and have a drink with him because he could be creep. And I’m telling him all my secrets and stuff. So if they feel they could have a drink at a high end bar with you, you pass the litmus test, you pass the friend test. And that’s really where you want to be at. Maybe instead of just sending connection requests, you could take a look at five people a week and see, I want to engage with these five people because of their profile, the type of person they are, their network, whatever the case may be.

And I want to see what they’re posting. So engage with their post before ever sending a connection invite. If you engage with one or two or three of their posts and they respond, the chances of them of accepting the invite goes from there 30% to 90% and it goes all the way to 90%. You’ve not just done that one thing. The second thing that you accomplished is you move the relationship down the line. Your ask has to be appropriate to the relationship. Anyway. I blab a lot, but I think you get what I’m saying. Eric.

That’s a pretty one. We’re here because of your method, right. You took the right approach. I get dozens of inmails a day and people who are like, give me that. I’m like, I get it. You read Jeb Blunt, you want to get to 15 touches fast, right? So you think this spamming out my inbox is getting you to the 15 touches. But that’s not the case. And I get often and get outreach for people. They’re like, hey, we’d love to be on your podcast and like, thanks, booked up. But when you reached out, I did do exactly that, right. I looked at your profile, looked at what you’re doing. I’m like, yeah, here’s my booking link. Right. And here we are. So the proof is in the number of times I’ve said no to people. The one thing I always joke about too, is like, I want to make an explainer video of how not to sell people explainer videos on LinkedIn. Because I swear to goodness, about eight a day, people are like, hey, explainer videos are a great way to do whatever the first thing they do is. They’re like, here’s my calendar link to book your meeting, to set up your explainer video pitch session. Like, Nope, this isn’t going to go well for you at all. But welcome to my broadcast network, right. So for me, I’m like, hey, it’s another audience member. Good luck receiving my feed. But the real genuine connections where I could do, like you said, actually reach out and ask for time and meaningfully give back to them where they will care enough to take that time and give me that time. It’s a beautiful, like, it’s a bi-directional relationship of giving time and effort and attention because this is the real big thing. Right. We’re in the attention economy. And how do you get access to that attention?

Yeah, LinkedIn is so different than anything else. Here you have to come from a place of service. You got people that have, like, these Instagram models and what they call the thirst traps and all that. So that’s a different thing. Linkedin is really geared towards career change or building relationship building, working from home, B2B businesses or high value services. So these cheap off one methods that don’t work well, maybe they work well for a widget, right? We’re not selling widget here. We’re selling conversions to business. I have a client right now. One job that he gets is worth $200,000 per job. He’s trying to get one a month. Right. And not every method will work on his audience. And we may have a method that works perfect for me and awful for him. And it’s our job to figure out, well, where does this thing break apart? And then how can we bring it back where it will convert for them. Or we have to cover those dots to figure out how much is this client willing to do. A lot of these higher end people, high up individuals can’t do a lot of things.

They do certain things well. And if it’s outside the scope and not able to do, how do we cover those things? How do we simplify that process where we can cover those areas? And he can still be that person that can communicate. So it really depends on the strategy and what you’re trying to do on LinkedIn. But LinkedIn is known for a lot of that high-end B2B conversions. For example, I don’t really make a lot of money per client, but I’ll gain between one and two new clients a month, right. They’ll pay something like $3,000 or $4,000 upfront and then $1,100 per month. Right. You think over the course of a year that’s pretty good money because you’re compounding all the previous clients and they’re adding services. So that $1,100 a month could be $3,300 a month and so on. And if you got 20 clients at two grand, you’re making 40 grand a month on it and then adding to it. The trick is to slow down in order to speed up. So it’s not about rushing, it’s about just doing those things right. Another thing, too, is we have our courseware, and I couldn’t have done it without partners.

So partnerships, networking to build really solid partnerships is a really strength of LinkedIn. If it wasn’t for my partners, I wouldn’t have my courses. I wouldn’t have kept the Troy Show. I have a LinkedIn event called the Troy Show once a month, and I don’t want to do it all myself. It’s too much work. So we want to figure out these partners that have ancillary skill sets that will really possibly impact your business. And I even tricked my partner. His name is John Michelle. He’s another LinkedIn guy, a really good guy. And I said, you know what? I said, John Michelle loves to do these profile things, right? I said, Let me get him on a meeting. And so this is an example of a way that I tricked him, but it was beneficial for him. He got three clients out of it, right? So I know he’s going to be I’m a give. I’m a giver, right. I’m going to give him clients. But I said, hey, John Michelle. Hey, Troy. How are you doing? I said, pretty good. I’m redoing my profile. I was wondering if you can jump on a meeting with me, help me out.

He said, well, you’re a LinkedIn expert. Why would you want another expert? I said, well, because there’s crossover and there’s a percentage of stuff you do differently than I do. We have different flavors. I’m more branding, and he’s more SEO. And he’s in a certain type of details versus what I am. So we had a video. It’s 45 minutes. And I was challenging him on certain areas, and it made a good banter back and forth about why certain things. And I even disagreed on just a few blow points just to make it interesting. And he says, well, that was a pretty good video. And I chopped it up into seven pieces that may have a whole series of videos to show on LinkedIn for posting. And then I took those seven videos and I put them together on a LinkedIn article. Then I have an Evergreen article that reaches out to it. And he got three clients out of it. He said, thank you. Why did you give me these clients? I said, well, I mean, you helped out with the profile. He said, not really. I said, Well, yeah, you did. It was entertaining. It was good for my audience.

I said, but your audience is now hiring me to do these profile things. And he charges several thousand dollars, whatever it is, just to do the profile part. And I said, oh, that’s fine. Just keep the clients, you know. I guess. Well what do you want? I said, you know what? You think this would be a good series, maybe a course or something? He says, yeah, this make a great course. That was my goal the whole time, right? So he did the whole course, and then I did the series of courses. Now we have hundreds of videos and courseware now. And then we got people that have a large audience. Now, when I reach out to LinkedIn, other LinkedIn influencers and things like that, they have a large audience. And I said, let’s give them 25%. Let’s have them sell the course, and then they can get 25% and we can split it between the other partners and stuff like that. He says, well, are you okay for only getting a portion of it? I said, sure. Well, my method is if there’s not enough pies, you know the slices, they slice the pie up and you’re slicing it so thin you’re not making money.

I said, well, my idea is just make more pies.

It’s such a good way. The one thing that people are often too short-sighted about this stuff is they just immediately think like I can just hammer up this course and then I can sell it, and then I get 100% of the revenue and there’s literally dozens of ads that people will get a day. Once you click on one, you’re now in a loop of people selling this card and that card.

Oh, yeah, you’re going in a rabbit hole.

But if they don’t do what you did, which is open up the door and give the opportunity to collaborate. And collaboration is bi-directional. Sure, you saw that it would have been great to be able to create courseware with these folks. But in the end, you did it in giving back. You gave before you got.

Yeah, he was already in it before he knew it. And so I don’t think that’s mischievous, but because regardless he was going to get clients and he wanted to do the courses. And he has a certain experience, and I may have a certain audience, it just makes sense. And then we have an email person that comes in to run some of these shows. And so we convert on that, and we bring clients through it. And now we’ve attracted people that have large audiences, and we’ll give them a portion of it. As long as their network is right, everyone makes money. So it’s not a me, me thing. It’s how can we help each other in a way that everyone benefits. And that’s one thing that a lot of these solopreneurs are missing. They’re just like, I can do everything. Well, I’m a programmer, I’m a software engineer, and I’m a UI/UX person. I’m an award winning designer. I can do a lot of stuff well, but I’m a little older now, and I only have like 45-50 hours a week. I’m not doing anything more than that. And so the designer that designs 50 hours a week, and that’s all he does. Maybe he should do those things. We should distribute it out where we want. Because if we do everything ourselves, there’s no growth opportunity.

Right.

Because you’re wearing so many hats and you’re not able to go beyond a certain area. And so that’s where someone’s business processes and actually relationships come in handy.

There’s a great quote that I got from a book, and so I’m going to look it up right now just because I don’t want to miss quote, I want to call the title out because it was one that I really enjoyed, and it was called Twelve Months to 1 million. Ryan Daniel Moran, really fantastic book. But one thing that today says, it’s not a business if you walk away from it and it falls apart. You have to really build a machine around it because it’s easy for especially, we are as creative people as a designer, like, you know, maybe you could make $50,000 off a single client for a six week batch of work. But if three weeks into that batch of work, you have to leave, then you aren’t going to get half the $50,000. You’re going to get zero of the $50,000 and you lose your reputation. So what you do, you wrap a team around it so that you can contribute to it and share in that wealth and also get the benefit that you’re creating future opportunities, because now you can scale versus if you just be Troy Hipalito solopreneur for the rest of your life, something happens where you got to take care of your family, you got to move, you got to do stuff, and all of a sudden what do you do?

You just tell your client story. Work is stopping for the next four weeks because I got stuff to take care of.

Yeah. You definitely want to minimize upsetting your ongoing cash flow. I mean, that’s what’s going to make or break you. All these other things. You can make more money. Like I may make more money in the courseware, but not right now. It was an investment. It’s an investment. It’s building relationships. And on the tail end, you’ll end up making a good chunk of change. So I actually have an article that talks about documenting and creating your SOPs – your Service Offering Procedures. It’s not really a LinkedIn thing, but it’s more of a business thing. And so by having these service offering procedures, you’re actually teaching certain areas of your business so you can hire out. And the truth is, everyone says if they’re perfectionist, you are in the worst boat because you can’t screw yourself up. The person who’s doing his task. You say, it’s true, I can do the job with seven people, but I have to hire one person for one job. And I’ll give you a perfect example. Back in the day, I was the creative director of a company, and it was tied to another company. And they wanted me to engage the engineers and other web people on how to do a project. They’re doing government stuff, and I was doing civilian other stuff. Right?

Yeah.

And they had to create a website for this, this and this. They wanted me to engage with them. And they said, oh, yeah, this is a six month project, seven people. It’s a six month no. How long would it take you to do it? I said, it took me three weeks to do the whole thing. I was just being on. I was naive because I was a designer programmer and I knew all the bits of it. And they said, okay, you do it then. And that was done in two weeks. They never spoke to me again. I screwed up the relationship because they have different processes and stuff. And you have to be kind of careful about because you might be able to get that one thing done. But these longer relationships you can ruin if you don’t have a way to create this service operating procedure, to hire out in order to do certain tasks. And even if they do a task and they’re not 100% as good as you are, do they need to be, you think? Do they need to be exactly like me? I mean, what is really good? Like really good is better than most people.

Look at a program module, someone says, oh, we have to create this one component where it’s reusable. And I said, well, would you reuse it on another project? We probably could. I said, but you’re not. And you have to understand that the client is paying X amount of dollars and you might want to create this reusable component that eats up the entire budget and it makes no difference. So they have to think intelligently. How can I create these service operating procedures so people are taking certain tasks on that they’re good or good enough. And when I mean good enough, I mean very good, but maybe not exactly to what you’re used to doing, because we all are a little perfectionist in our own way.

Yeah. One of my funniest examples of this was like, I was like, 19, and I was building houses. I was working as a landscaper, and we would build houses during the fall when it would be lower in the landscape side. And I worked with this roofing crew, and it was like, such a funny thing that this is their full time gig. And they were run and gun contractors. They knew what they were doing. They come in, they got three days to do a thing. They’re going to stand it up, and they’re working on this house. And it was a friend of mine’s house. So I’m kind of, like, acting a little different because I know the guy that owns the house. And this guy’s hammering in a nail, and it goes in crooked. And then you see him, he’s, like, trying to back out the nail. And it was so funny that the guy’s name was Lumpy. It was his nickname. He said, Jesus Christ, Lumpy, we’re not building an F in piano. Just hammer it in. And it was so funny. I’m like, my instinct would be like, yes, do it right, spend the extra time email.

The other guy is just like, whack. He just hammers it in. It bends it in good enough so that it’s flush. And he’s like, then put another nail right beside it. And the difference of like, look, we just got to get this done. And like you said, it’s weird that we use phrases like good enough or whatever. Like, good enough is good enough. It’s good. It’s not barely good enough. It’s good enough. Most people don’t even do good enough. So it’s like this unfortunate scale that we, and you hear the phrase too, like, if you aren’t embarrassed about your minimum viable product, you waited way too long to put it out.

Yeah, my IT company, I had a lot of people saying, oh, I need to scale it to this. And I just had to tell them the truth. I said, look, you guys spend about $150,000 on this MVP, and once you get funding, you’re just going to rebuild it. Why would you rebuild it? I said, trust me, because investors going to come in because I went through investment many times. So I already know, like the process. They’re going to come in and say, oh, this is great, but our market that I want to hit is this or this is a cool feature and you can’t fit it in afterwards. A lot of times, especially, you have to get stuff done in a very small amount of time. So some people create MVP to take care of the functionality of a certain group of people or a maximum X amount of people. If you get beyond that, sometimes it’s okay to just take that idea and rebuild it, because sometimes the concepts and ideas are half to work. So you really have to think along what is realistic, what is good. When I say good enough, everything that we put out is very good.

But I have certain people that like my writing style. I look at the person and I figure out their personality and I write according to their voice. And another writer may not get that. So I have to figure out everything about the person. So I understand the vibe. And sometimes they don’t like telling me certain things and I drag it out of them. It’s like, okay, how did you grow up? What do you like I said, okay, are you gay or straight? Like, I’m blunt about I need to understand where you’re coming, what’s your audience, what’s your typical kind of client? And I blend that in. I said, okay, I think I got your voice. And I write it down like, wow, this is pretty good. And they make their tweaks to it because when someone looks at your LinkedIn profile, they’re looking at a person, they’re looking at the story. And the reason why we call these reality TV shows are so popular, it’s because it drives the story. I was living in my car and now I make a million dollars. So they want to know that story. How did you start from here and get over there and be successful. Especially in the states, they love a success story. They love the underdog, and they want to relate to you. That’s one reason I work with a lot of clients that have families. They’re family oriented. I understand that they have a bigger care. I work with people that maybe have a similar background because I understand what they’re going through. I have people that try to be sincere. At the end of the day, this is kind of where you’re going. And I’m bluntly honest with my clients. I tell them, okay, I’m going to do this. When you get your first client, I’m charging you more money. I’ll tell them, and we’ll make this thing work. And I think that personal relationship and engagement not just makes him feel good, it makes me feel comfortable and happy about helping other individuals.

The sincerity piece is always an interesting thing because I’ve had people say this. I can help somebody by writing content with them in a sincere first person voice. I can represent their personality. And like, you’re so fantastic at this, right? And then someone would say, like, well, is it really sincere if you’re getting someone else to write it for you? No, but that’s not the point. The point is they don’t have time to create this content. They created, they read it and they’re like, hey, this sounds like I wrote it like, bingo. Yeah.

They may not be good writers. They’re like coaches for this. Coaches by coach. Coaches hire coaches. That’s kind of what I am, and I’m not doing everything for them. Doing the first draft, I feel this is what you’re talking about. So if you’re a good person that does websites, you may be a terrible copywriter. If you’re a good 3D guy, you may be a terrible UI guy. If you’re a good coach that helps women, maybe you’re not that good at helping guys. I don’t know, making stuff up. So everyone has their strengths, but they have this passion inside to do something. And it’s our job to present that passion in a way that makes sense. Like a LinkedIn profile is really about 70% visual. But once you get past the visual, they start digging into the story. That story is the bit that will convert them. So the visuals will bring you in and the story will help convert. Of course, you have your LinkedIn SEO optimization and all those tricks too, but you have to have that balance where they said, you know what, this is someone I want to talk to, and that’s where you want to be on LinkedIn.

And it’s a mixture of all of those things, right? Like you can have great SEO, but then they get there and they go, okay, it was easy to find, which ultimately SEO is about searchability discoverability. But if I have great SEO for a restaurant, but the food’s trash, that’s no good. You can get people there. And then your role is to teach them how to keep people there and engage them and give that sincerity. Tell that story.

People can’t do it. That’s kind of funny. People say, I just want to sell stuff. Well, if you don’t want to put your human out there, maybe it’s not for you to convert in that way. Maybe you’re a high end CEO that uses it for PR purposes, that’s fine. But if you are converting, if you’re trying to get a career going on stuff, you need to have all your ducks in a row. If you’re trying to convert B2B or high value services, you have to have all these things in a row. Because when someone makes a decision, it’s usually an emotional decision first. And second, it’s based on stats. That’s how most humans work, right? And they look at you and you look like a douchebag on your photo. They’re not going to know it. But in the back of their mind, something is off with this guy here. I don’t think I want to work with them. You don’t know why, it’s your douchebag photo.

 t

Exactly.

Something simple as that. So making a decision to work with you, they may have 2, 3, 4, 5, 10 criteria, right? Whatever it is. And they don’t know it’s ten or five criteria. Say five is easy number. But all they have to figure out is one that you’re not qualified to not work with, you know. Like, how do I separate myself from all these other LinkedIn guys? Right. Well, I’m not as serious. I’m more human. That’s why I put the not so boring LinkedIn guy. It’s just funny enough to separate. It’s not really super funny and super off. My other line was actually better, but it didn’t apply to LinkedIn. When I had my gaming company, I was known as the number one Swissipino game designer in the world. Right. Because my mother from Switzerland, my dad is Filipino, I’m half Asian. And so my mother has blonde hair, green eyes, and my dad’s like, really Filipino and so I’m Swissipino. And that would be such a great pickup line of the bars. They would say, really? I think so. I probably number one Swissipino.

The irony is this, Troy, that you’re the second Swissipino person I know. I have a friend, somebody who’s Sonia Missio. She’s actually based in Toronto, and she also in that interesting split. But it is so funny that you say that. And like you said, that the genuineness comes out. And look, the truth is, design is important. User experiences, that engagement is important. If design didn’t matter, then there would be sushi milkshakes.

Yeah.

We like the fact that someone spent way too much time making it look good so you could eat it. Otherwise we would just be having nothing but Soylent milkshakes. And, like, there’s a reason we do stuff. You walk down the street, there’s flowers on the thing. Like, you see somebody’s profile, and it’s like half of their girlfriend or boyfriend’s face is in the shots. It looks like they’re on a fishing boat. That’s great photos.

That’s another thing I tell my clients. Oh, my goodness. Well, I don’t know. Do you have time to make money? I tell them I’m blunt with them. What’s going to cost me so much? I said, how much is the client worth? That’s my closer right there. I said, how much is a client worth to you? Okay. Then you’re going to have to do A, B and C or pay to do whatever. Because it’s like you want to be honest and you want to be authentic. But there’s also a fine line from kissing someone’s feet. The client doesn’t want that. Client wants to know that, hey, Eric knows what he’s doing. Troy knows what he’s doing. If he tells me something, it’s for a reason. It’s not because he’s blabbing. It’s because he’s trying to get me money. And those are the right people. Well, for my market anyway. Those are the right people to actually engage with because they’ll actually take the steps to do a process that works for them.

Yeah. There’s a really interesting thing you talked before about the kind of like firing your client. And it’s an important piece because as you look at where you can deliver real value. Right. And you’re selling value, you’re selling a specific outcome. And I’ve had this for an advisory with startups. And you start talking with them, and as you give them advice and you give them direction and you give them guidance, and they’re just, like going the opposite way on each thing. And then they say, I don’t understand why this stuff is not working. Well, I don’t know, maybe because the last three things I’ve told you that you should do, you’ve kind of gone in the opposite direction. And then at that point. I’m like..

Well, you’re nicer than I am. Yeah.

It feels like I don’t think I’m adding value to this. So I’m going to just step back.

Yeah. I had two clients I remember firing, and there’s a very specific story. One was, I have CPA. Anyone that has a high value of service I could potentially work with. Right. If they’re trying to convert on LinkedIn. One was a CPA, and he was from, I don’t know, the UK somewhere. We moved to Midwest. Older guy in Balding, and he was there. He was very dry. Right. And he used to take Zoom meetings like this. It pissed me off. Right. Like what? He wouldn’t even looked at the camera. He’s talking and he has his accent and all this other stuff. He says, Troy, this is not working very well. And I looked at him with a straight face. I said, didn’t you just get 14 clients in 45 days? How did you know that? I was like, I bet everything I do, I’m a lot smarter than, I don’t tell them that, but I’m a lot smarter than I look. Okay. Because I said, I talked to your VP two days ago before this meeting. He was trying to not pay and get these clients. Right. I don’t like that. That’s being very dishonest. He just wanted to do what he wanted to do.

Right. And I said, you know what? I’ll let you out of contract. Forget about 30 days. Maybe it’s not working for you. And he said, yeah, maybe it’s not working. Oh, it was working for him, but I don’t want to work with people that are trying to lowball me or lie to me. I had another guy, he was in cyber security. It’s another big area. And he was doing training, certification stuff right there’s. All these.

Yeah.

And he wanted to sell the certification to individual LinkedIn. I didn’t think it was a good idea. Right. I don’t know about cyber security. But I was like, yeah, I don’t think this is, is your audience receptive to this? Yes, it is. Yeah, I don’t think so. It’s kind of hard to sell these $4-5,000 courses and stuff. And I said, you got funding for it. And then I said, you know what? You might want to just partner with other security people and use this because you’re an ancillary, you’re an extra. And they already have the in on it. In on this company that’s doing this stuff. And they’d probably need his certifications anyway. And he said, well, I don’t have any partners give me two days. So I went to a security event here in Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia. And I paid my bills to get in, $500 to get in and was talking to these people and I talked to twelve people. I would love to talk to this person. I said, hey, I said forget this whole what we’re doing, just forget it. I’ll give you meetings. I said these clients are worth a lot. I said, this one client here don’t miss the meeting. And he’s traveling and all this stuff. He agreed to the meeting, he missed the meeting twice, right? Twice.

Frustrating.

Yeah. And the other people who were not, I don’t know what he was doing. Some people do their business, shoot by the hip. He was going and he was from Texas and he was going to another country and I was having meetings with them and I told him directly, I said, hey man, I like you, but I don’t want to see what’s happening in their background because he was at his mistress house or something and that’s not cool. I don’t want to know that personally. I don’t care if you have two women or you’re married, you’re single, you’re gay, you’re straight. I think as long as you treat people well, that’s important. But what I have a personal issue with is deception because that means you’re not going to run an honest business, right? So I had to let them go. I like the guy. But if you can’t make the meetings and you’re in these compromising things and stuff and you’re trying to cover the campaign, don’t do that. So you have to work with people that have the same, I wouldn’t say moral structure, but integrity, right. Integrity, that’s a good word to have the same kind of ideals that you do.

Because you know that at the end of the day, if he’s going to do stuff right, I know that I won’t get paid. I’m not going to fight over payment. I would just can you and stop all your services and you won’t make any money. It’s really simple for me. You can’t manipulate me. I’m here to help you to convert. And so you need those individuals that say, you know what, I will make it to this meetin., I will go in here and help this individual do what they need to do and I’m going to make business. You have to have a very clear head on. Like how am I going to get to point A to point B and then know that next month you may have to jump from A to C. You have to figure out the connecting the dots, you have to do some AB testing on what works and then you have to figure out like this works better. And it’s okay because you didn’t know that before. It’s a process. So people think that, oh, I get this automation thing on LinkedIn, I’ll make a million dollars. No, it doesn’t work that way.

It works against you. Linkedin will shut you down. And if that’s the main channel, it’s not going to help you out. So a lot of the lower end and not lower end is money so much, but lower end and thought process and being human and helping, they don’t do very well on LinkedIn, where a lot of coaches that have a little bit of a brand, a little bit of flair, something that separates them from other people, you got people that like them, actually like them, they can engage with them. And every personality works well. Had this one guy really dry personality. I told him, you are dry as toast. I told him, you’re dry as toast. I said, that’s your brand.

Be proud.

I said, yes, you are. I’m telling you are. I said, you know why you could say dry jokes. And it’s funny because you’re such a straight face. It works for you. And I said, and you’re a CPA. Do they want a funny guy to be messing with their money? No, they want a serious dude. And you have to kind of think about it like that. You have to think about what is my personality. And so I actually am somewhat dry. I’m kind of funny. I got dry humor. That’s what it is, right? Not so boring. Linkedin. I’m kind of boring. So I twisted it upside down to do that. And I would love to be the number one Swissipino LinkedIn guy in the world, but it wouldn’t make sense. LinkedIn, they wouldn’t know. It doesn’t. Because when you’re doing gaming, it’s a little more fun. And they’re going to ask, what is Swissipino? But on LinkedIn, they’ll be like, this makes no sense at all. So you have to apply a brand that kind of makes sense to that audience.

And it goes to your approach to it. Right. Which is about adaptability, because even where a method may work for one company, one brand, one person, that same thing. If you just automate it and try and sell it to ten other clients without gating, is this appropriate without evaluating? Is this going to fit their persona, their audience? It’s both sides of that experience, too. It’s not just about you. Two funny people are not two funny people. There are two funny people that each have individual audiences. The one dry CPA guy, like you said, your clients are going to dig this. They want to kind of know that you’re the dry CPA guy. Somebody who’s hiring a real funny person if they want them for a keynote speaker for a CPA conference. Perfect. But if you want, it’s like matching and mapping skills to value, to perception, it is a real like, you achieve a really interesting mix by being dynamic, having the integrity, being genuine through the process. And then making sure that those people then parlay that genuineness, that integrity because of how you work with them.

Yeah. And part of it is clarity. When you’re creating a brand, you don’t want to say, oh, I can do this. I don’t really talk about all my development other than in the story. But in general, when you look at my profile, it’s very clear that he’s a LinkedIn guy. He’d get me clients. It’s very simple concept. But if you say, oh, by the way, I can do website design. I did Coca Cola stuff. What are you, a LinkedIn guy or a programmer? You end up looking like a flea market, and that’s one thing you have to avoid. You want simple clarity. You can add a little humor in it. For branding purposes, you want a separation, but what are you known for? I picked up a client last week, and he says, you know, I want to help professional women, right? They’re owners of businesses or they’re higher up in the thing and they feel like something’s missing. I said, I totally get it, okay? I can help men, too. I said, no, men will come in as ancillary. What do you mean? I said, you can’t say, oh, I helped a lot of women, but men can come in too. Well, no. You want to concentrate on that. Your main nuts or your main fruit, low hanging fruit. And by doing that and doing it well, your interaction with them, they’ll give you another client. You have your clients to come based on referral. I don’t care what kind of system you have going on. We got systems where we have direct message campaigns and stuff, but they’re not sequenced. They’re teaching the client how to reach to certain audiences. We have posting campaigns and stuff like that that we have a whole series of things that are done that promotes authentic conversations. And so a lot of things that we do, we have to slow down, have less but better conversations. By doing that, you convert. How many clients you really freaking need.

Right. Yeah. And the thing that you hit on there is like that clarity and crispness. Like, even when we talk about going to public speaking, I coach people in this all the time. When you go to give a keynote, your opening slide should not be, Hi, my name is Eric Wright. I’m a product marketer. I work for a company, and prior to this, I did 20 years working in financial services. I was a systems administrator. Started off as desktop support. Made my way to me. Prior to that, I was actually a landscaper.

Or you could start with that and say, Just kidding and move on. Right?

But it’s like that’s the first thing they do is they do that, and then they end the presentation with a thank you slide. You’re like, no, what you should do is how many times have you gone into the office and realized that there’s no door by the bathroom? That’s two way door.

Storytelling, yes.

 And you immediately get into this thing. And that’s what your profile has to tell a story. But you’ve got 160 characters to do it in. So you just can’t dilly dally around. You got to get to it and it’s got to be meaningful, engaging. And like you said, it’s got to match the other stuff. But it’s hard as the person, the self, to have the humility to step outside and create that. That’s why having you come in and do this with them, it’s like such a boost, because it is balanced voice.

Because you have character limitations. You have SEO on Google as well as SEO on LinkedIn. So Google has searched everything on LinkedIn, and LinkedIn has their own search as well. And LinkedIn tends to do things a certain way, so you have to do things a certain way. For example, you’re on individual jobs, right. Linkedin tends to pair you with people that are similar to you. Right? Well, that’s not what you want to do if you’re doing B2B sales or your coach.

That’s right. It’s trying to find you a job, not a client.

Oh, I need another programmer. Like, I know a Zillion program. You know what I mean? You’re trying to get business, right? So one trick is to actually put your target market in your title. It’ll start pairing you up with your target market. And people don’t think about that. You know, one thing to do is when I say I’m a Not So Boring LinkedIn guy, right. That’s the first thing I have underneath my name. And it’s not SEO optimized, but I don’t care. It’s more important to have that brand. And then I have the other things that are very searchable. And then when you’re telling a story, this is an easy way to explain it. I want to show the scars, but I don’t want to show the wounds. Right? You can over inundate like you can say, yeah, I was homeless. My mom died. My brother died. He had an overdose. My girlfriend was cheating on me and left me. I was living in the shit. No one can hear that. That’s just horrible. That’s just too much. I mean, you don’t want to say my life is awful, but I’m trying to make it.

That doesn’t work. So showing the scars and then not the wound, that would be showing the wound.

Right.

Showing the scars could be like the dating story. I told you I was an awful dater. It’s funny and it’s true. I am so direct. I used to go straight for it and it works sometimes, but most of the time it didn’t. So taking the approach of old fashioned dating into business just to get to know someone, just to see, I think dots connect. Are you in the same area? You have some commonalities? Is there something that you think he needs that you can help that has maybe nothing to do with your business? Maybe it’s someone I can connect them with or, oh, he doesn’t need a LinkedIn guy. He needs to fix his freaking email. I got an email guy. And people say, oh, I got great deliverability. No, you don’t. People don’t realize that a good portion of emails never make it. And I could tell them, look, LinkedIn is great, but LinkedIn is not everything. Like, we pull stuff off of LinkedIn and create a video funnel series through like dub or some kind of component that makes it more interactive because some people don’t reply on LinkedIn. So what are you going to do? You have to figure out what works best to help convert the goals of that client and a lot of it is technology based. And can you imagine sending a proposal to someone and they don’t get it? And the client says, well, I never got it. Well, the clients not thinking, oh, it’s a mysterious email. No, it’s a you problem.

Yes, right.

You screwed up and you lost the deal. So people sometimes don’t know how important these little components are to fix because it’s a cassette of dominoes. You remove one or two dominoes, it doesn’t complete. And I think a lot of people are so geared about volume. I mean, if you do a high value services, I’m good with one client a month. One, there’s a lot of work for me, maybe two maximum. A high value clients worth at least $1,000 a month compound monthly. You can compound that. My other client, like I mentioned, one job is $200,000. When you take the work in, can you deliver the work? And then maybe you can grow your business and your service offering procedures and training, and you can slowly grow out in that way. But I think that everyone, not everyone, but many people are about that volume and that volume will work against you. Can you imagine reaching out someone’s interested and they reply back and you don’t have time?

If they all come back and say, yes, if you’re not ready for that and it doesn’t have to be many, it can just be, like you said, one or two of them. They say, yeah, go for it. And you’re like, oh but I can’t go for it now.

Yeah, stabbing yourself in the foot. So you have to realize what is appropriate. And it’s okay to have a small business. It’s even okay to have a job if you’re doing career changes. I got a buddy that’s a sales guy for servers. I don’t even know what he does. Right. I’ll be honest with you drinking buddy. We go out, we talk. I said that dude makes a quarter of a million dollars a year having a job. So it’s not all about entrepreneurship. It’s about his ability to build relationships with clients. And whether you’re entrepreneur or having a job, you have to charge what you’re worth and you have to deliver what you say.

Put that on the card. There you go. Well, Troy, this has been fantastic and I tell you that’s a great way to wrap because it is important, right? Whether you’re selling yourself into a job where they’re selling yourself into a service, whether you’re selling a team, whatever it is, there’s the way you do it to bring that personality, that integrity through, I’m glad genuineness that you bring to this is enlightening and it was really great to share this. So for folks, if they do want to reach out to you, they can find you on LinkedIn, I presume.

My first and last name Troy last name is Hipolito. H-I-P-O-L-I-T-O. There is another Troy Hipolito out there, that’s actually my brother but he’s in the army so that’s a whole different guy. I used to be an army. Anyway, long story but I’m the most popular Troy Hippolito out there, right?

Not only is the top Swissipino but he is the top Troy Hipolito.

In the world, yeah.

Well, there you go. Troy, thank you very much. This has been really great and encouraged folks do reach out and taken your content through the great I love the way you approach things and yeah, we all need a little bit more Troy in our lives so thanks for taking the time today.

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Donna Loughlin is the Founder of LMGPR known for her work with futurists and innovators. She has launched more than 500 companies taking them from stealth to market leaders since forming her agency in 2002.

She is also the host of BeforeItHappened, a leading narrative podcast featuring visionaries and the moments, events, and realizations that inspired them to change our lives for the better.

Donna and I talk about the origins of her story, how PR has fundamentally changed, and how roots in Silicon Valley are still strong and rich with lessons we can carry to the future of science and technology.

Check out Donna’s podcast Before it Happened here: https://www.beforeithappened.com/

Visit LMGPR here: https://www.lmgpr.com/ 

Transcript powered by HappyScribe

Welcome everybody to the show. This is Eric Wright. I’m the host for your DiscoPosse podcast. Thank you for listening, watching. Oh, that’s right. If you are listening now and you want to see this in video action, you can head on over to YouTube.Com/discopossepodcast and you can see it all as it happened, which was really cool. Nice new element for the listening podcast if you want to see the viewer side of it all. This is a great episode featuring Donna Laughlin, who is the founder of LMGPR, and she’s also the voice behind the “Before It Happened” podcast.

Donna is a fantastic storyteller. Fantastic, as she describes it, the PR SheDevil. Super cool. We get into the background to that, her own history in Silicon Valley. What drew her to the industry? Really, really enjoyable. And I think of the people in the industry that I know, do such a great job that I would trust my company to them. Donna is one of those folks, so she’s really really got a good sense of how to draw fantastic stories out of the human experience, especially with really wild like, way out of the curve technology companies. So, go check her out.

But in the meantime, speaking of checking out companies that are super cool, that I really adore, I want to give a shout out to the folks that do support this podcast, including a friend over at Veeam Software. They’ve got some really neat stuff going on, so you’ve got to check out new landing page. All you got to do is go to Vee.Am/discoposse. You will love what you see there. Very cool. Everything you need for your data protection needs, regardless of whether it’s on Prem in the cloud, cloud native wow and SAS stuff, even stuff like Microsoft Teams and your Office 365 and more coming. So you got to get over there and check it out. Definitely worthwhile. Vee.Am/discoposse. And when you talk about other things around, protecting yourself, protecting your identity, protecting your data in transit, I recommend that you should use a VPN, as do I. So if you want to try one out, I do recommend using ExpressVPN. I’m a customer. If you want to go, it’s very easy to do, go to tryexpressvpn.com/discoposse. And that’s an easy way to get hooked up there and make sure you protect yourself because there’s a lot of bad stuff going on out in the world.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to enjoy a fantastic, tasty, delicious diabolical coffee. Go to Diabolicalcoffee.com and caffeinate your way to goodness. All right. This is Donna Laughlin. Enjoy the show.

Hi, everyone. This is Donna Laughlin from Silicon Valley, and this is the DiscoPosse Podcast. I’m the host of “Before It Happened”, and I’m a known for in the Silicon Valley as sometimes the PR SheDevil.

I love it. The PR SheDevil is officially the best title ever. So people always say they want to have founder beside the name, I’d say PR SheDevil is way cooler than founder. So, Donna, thank you very much for joining. I’m excited by the chance to chat today.

Yeah, absolutely. I’m so excited to be here. Thank you.

This is a beautiful thing where I love when you read a book and you’re interested in that book, and then that book references another book that you’ve already read, and then, you know, you’re like, this is it. I’m in my perfect space. When your name came to me as a potential guest, Donna, it was that moment where I said, wait a second. Storyteller, podcaster, Silicon Valley. This could be my last podcast. I have officially hit the perfect guest. So you’ve got a fantastic background in what you bring to the world. You have an amazing, I love your podcast style. So Donna, if you want to introduce yourself to the viewers and listeners, and then we’re going to jump into what the PR SheDevil does. And of course, we’ll talk about your podcast and much more.

The SheDevil is a little bit naughty, but a whole lot nice. For the last 20 years, I’ve had my PR agency called LMGPR, which stands for Leadership, Momentum and Growth, which is ultimately what I do working with emerging tech companies. Oftentimes there are two guys and a cat or two gals and a dog, and they have a great idea and looking to bring a company to market. Other times, the product is much further along and they’re gearing up for funding or for even an IPO. My role in collaborating with them is very hands on in developing the core messaging, the narrative to bring a product to market and not just the product, but also the company. And that means the texture and the fabric of who are the visionaries behind the company. And that’s what really ignites me. And that’s what my podcast is about, too, is the visionaries in the future that they imagine.

Well, in your intro, which I love, just beautifully well-produced, and I love that style. I’m sort of the free forum. It does not have time or capability to edit in such a beautiful way. But your idea of “Before It Happened” to the moment you really know how to go through this discussion and then pin down the thing that sometimes people don’t even realize. That’s actually the thing. It’s what makes a great author. If you read Steven Pressfield and you read about this whole style of PR and playwriting and screenwriting and everything and storytelling, it’s like that pinpoint moment that then you wrap in this fantastic, the run up, the conflict, like it’s all fundamentals. It seems effortless in the way you do it, which I know that means it’s absolutely not.

Do you remember when you were a child and you would be a story out, whether it be at school or with your parents or your grandparents, and you would sit in a circle and so ultimately was what I really wanted to achieve with “Before It Happened” was that, opportunity where you have this up close and personal kind of story time with somebody who’s actually changing how we live and work. And to do that, I couldn’t do a straight interview. I wanted to do kind of a narrative style. I’m a former news reporter, and so I would go out and interview, and I would come back and report. And so it is a slightly longer process, but the goal is to create something that is a little bit of a gift back to these individuals that have worked super hard in undaunting hours. And whether it is raising funding or finding, getting the patents approved and all the things that they do. I’m just in awe that this unstoppable spirit that we know that the entrepreneur has. But in my scenario, it’s these big idea creators. And I’m not a tinkerer. I’m more of a thinker. And I sit back and I look at in all respect and saying, wow, we can actually do this. We can drive an electric car. We can have a smart device in our home, and we can charge our vehicle to home with an electric motorcycle. All these things just are enchanting to me.

I think the key to any of the success of these technologies and these platforms and these websites, whatever they are, any business, is really about making it matter to the prospective customer. And when you’re the creator, when you’re the innovator, it’s very difficult to be that focused on it. They probably shouldn’t be. In fact, they should be like, I know amazing engineers who are creating fantastic systems, and they probably wouldn’t pass a touring test. I would never want to put them in charge of the website or the marketing or understanding the customer story and being able to emote that. And that’s really what it is. It’s not just writing down what we do. It is making someone care about what we’re going to achieve together and empowering them. It’s the hero’s journey. It’s all this stuff. And when paired with a great technology and being able to give them that capability to find their story, it needs to come from outside, I think, because when you’re close to it, when you’re inside, they can’t possibly be thinking that way. Like, it’s too hard, you’re way too introspective, and you have to be, to be this fanatical founder’s mindset of like, the world is wrong I’m gonna solve it this way.

Yeah. Well, too often I’ve experienced what I call ego engineering, which is my own term. There’s ego engineering, and then there’s innovation. There are true innovators that imagine the most amazing products and concepts that sometimes don’t even go to market. And then I’ve met over the years others who have a me-too product that’s not even a challenger product that have egos that are bigger than the sum of its parts. And those products usually don’t go very far. And those are typically not the ones that I work with. But in the land of unicorns, we see a lot of them. And I’m not going to name any, but we just know what’s the kind of the fashion anistas of the time. I really look for the acorns that ultimately can grow to be these majestic oaks, right. You’ve got to start some someplaceplace. And so to me, the unicorns. Unicorns are great. We all need them for financial purposes, and oftentimes we chase the unicorn, but planting seeds and developing something from scratch. Before a unicorn existed, they had to come from someplace. And you get people like, I love Guy Bras and how I built this. It’s one of my favorite podcasts, and it’s many people’s favorite podcasts, but he really profiles the unicorns. And I felt my sweet spot is working and collaborating and on my podcast showcasing the Acorns. In fact, I have an Acorn this week that’s actually going to IPO. That’s really exciting to see a company go from in the last seven years going from zero to hero.

It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it, to see it come to fruition. Because it’s not a winning game. A lot of the statistics are not in favor of the business succeeding. There’s a lot of headwinds. There’s a lot of stuff. In looking back, what draws you to be able to coach them through that journey and bring them through that journey?

It really starts with listening. And so often we don’t listen and we respond, which is just human nature. It has nothing to do with being a reporter or in marketing. But, really listening and being able to extract the content. So when I first started out in my career, I would go out with another reporter. And his number one thing with me was, “watch me”. Don’t say anything. Just watch me. Watch me in action. And so that was his way of teaching me kind of the ropes of listening and being able to collect. Because the more you listen, I think the more people talk. And so it’s very important when I’m abstracting information from a scientist, an engineer, founders of a new product or company, and it’s really listening, but helping them also rediscover what they might have forgotten because they’ve been so busy on developing the product and meeting patent deadlines or getting funding. And so going back to that discovery phase, the same way I described sitting down and having a story hour is I literally take them to a process. What is a self discovery process, of going back to the roots of why do they even set out to create the product? What is their vision? And so oftentimes the company mission statement when the company is forging ahead. But if we go back to what was the vision that you had? Was there a dream? Was there a problem that you were solving? Was there a moment that you realized that you wanted to create a carbon footprint, energy saving, operational building device, which is a mouthful or an electric motorcycle or an electric tractor. Like, what really happened? And so really going through that discovery process and reigniting them as well to like, wow, you know what? I actually imagine you’re using a Disney word, but something that nobody else had. But, what is the problem? And then what is the solution to that problem? And really taking them back to that root? Because oftentimes they get so tangled up and all the other intricacies of things, they forget what their original origin was.

Yeah. And I think that the vision and the mission, the only people that can carry that so strongly are often the founding team, as much as you can create those early disciples, the first ten employees, the first 20 employees, even later on down the road, the folks that really built the idea, then they built the product to deliver the idea. The idea is still in them. But most people beyond that are product builders, not idea. Like, they’re not necessarily attached to the idea strongly. And this is where you have this funny thing. There’s like, a great book called The Founders Mentality. I think it’s by Bane and Company. They’re Boston based.

Great book. Read it.

Yeah. So, at my company’s engineering kickoff, I noticed we were in this weird sort of struggle of like where product was diverging from vision and we were struggling with where we were. Well, capital. Everything was going well, but you could tell there was tension in – should we build a feature or should we go back to the core? And I really saw this pull. So I showed it to our founder. And then when I got to the engineering kickoff, it was the most warm feeling I’ve ever had in my body and my mind as I walked in and I saw 200 seats, each with a copy of The Founders Mentality sitting on it.

Wow.

Because what we wanted to get to was this. Remember why we’re here. What we’re doing now is important, but what’s more important is why we are doing it. And it really allowed everybody to go back to the core of what was the reason we did this. And ten years, twelve years at any company’s age, it’s like having a teenager. They’re suddenly, like, forgetting that they were the kid that wore a Pokemon costume at age six and they want to be their own thing. And you realize you can’t forget your upbringing, you can’t forget what got you here.

I’ve been to some meetings where grown people wearing Pokemon costumes and hanging onto the dream.

That’s it. I love this idea of making sure that people stay true to that, because also that comes with culture, too, right? Like, culture is the way they behave when you’re not looking. It’s not the thing written behind the desk at the front, by the elevator.

Yeah. I was just going to say that. And also they know that founders’ passion does dictate culture, and as companies grow, sometimes they lose sight of that. So years ago, I was fortunate to work with Sun Microsystems and might not be a company a lot of people know, but it was a really innovative company back in the networking boom. And Sun had a building that was full of security experts that I was kind of told not to go to. It was literally because there was one company, but there was like these different think tanks under the Corporation. And so I was working with the corporate group, but I would wander around because I was like, oh, there’s distinguished engineers in each one of these groups. I wonder what they’re working on. Excuse me, they’re a little bit naughty. The curiosity seeker ended up finding out about the security group, which was amazing. And in that group, there are all these. And this is in the 90s. So this is before cybersecurity really took off. And I’m, like, poking around and I find out how the hardware group is actually creating something insecurity. The software group is creating something insecurity, but they don’t talk to each other. So I ended up kind of propelling and shaping, but ultimately became a security symposium, which brought them both the hardware and the software and a bunch of industry experts together. And being able to Daisy change the network, that’s just kind of indicative to the types of things I do on an ongoing basis is looking at who’s in your network and how do you actually get to reach your goal faster. So we had an analyst, and there was an investor’s day and all the who’s who and security over the years that as cybersecurity continued to grow and become part of the mainstream and the standard. I was fortunate to work with a company that ultimately came out of the basement of that building, and I didn’t know it until I went and sat down with the founders, and I found out we had a common connection. He was one of the top security innovators that was in the basement that I wasn’t allowed to go to. And that company recently was acquired, went through IPO and then acquired by McAfee. So looking back at that, where the company was, the vision of what they wanted to be and the roots that they had is exactly kind of that exploration process that I was describing.

If you put six people in the room, you have six different backgrounds, six different journeys, six different educational levels. Some could have completed College, some could have a PhD, others might have been high school graduates. Regional cultural differences on all those components are basically the makings of a great narrative recipe and is looking at all those components, and that’s indicative of the Silicon Valley. That’s very tried and true to other regions in the United States. But I think when you look at the entrepreneurial spirit. The entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t have any boundaries, really. It doesn’t have a gender. It doesn’t have an IQ. Well, maybe it has an IQ, but it doesn’t have a lot of things. It’s like really for the fearless person that really wants to break out of the mold. And one of the things that we keep reading about in the pandemic is people leaving their jobs and starting their own businesses. And I think that’s pretty exciting for the marketplace.

Well, this is the interesting thing, especially now because we hear about the great resignation, and we see things like the jobs numbers, and it’s tough to measure today what’s really going on. In fact, one of my guests I had not too long ago is Michelle Seiler Tucker, and she wrote a book called Exit Rich. She’s written a couple of books, actually, really fantastic person. She specializes in helping businesses to reach a point of growth towards a sale and make sure they can organize the business to be most effective through that process. So one of the things that she talked about is this sort of like false statistic that we all carry around, that 90% of startups fail. Well, in fact, according to the Small Business Administration, it’s actually the inverse, that companies that are larger than ten years old are more likely to fail than one that is in the first five years. So what we’ve been quoting this old statistic, and it carried through a generational change. And now that we’re finally going to catch up and we’re seeing now, of course, people are leaving, they’re realizing the technologies there to start from your desk, you can put together a website.

And so easy to do relative to what it was 30 years ago.

I hire and fire myself pretty frequently. There are days that I just can’t like, I just can’t deal with it. But that also reignites me to think, okay, what can I do better? What can I do smarter? What can I do faster? Do I need to hire people? Do I need to hire a consultant to help out with different gaps? But I’m excited about even in my own small town, and I live in San Jose, California, which is not small. It’s over a million people. But I live in a community, a subset of the community that does have its own little downtown, and it’s a little bit of a village. And I call it the Cotswell, although it’s not quite the Cotswold. But I see some new businesses coming in, and it’s really exciting. We lost some businesses and they’re in the pandemic. But one of the things that I thought was so amazing was the community came together for a children’s bookstore that was owned by two retired school teachers. And it’s a fabulous bookstore called Hugobee’s. And the community came together and helped raise over $200,000 for a bookstore. And Meanwhile, we have restaurants and other businesses that were struggling.

But the bookstore is such a pillar of education and Stem in the future. They have a bookwall for those who can’t afford to buy a book. It’s like give a book, take a book. People donate books. And so it’s just a part of the community. But that was pretty exciting to see in the bookstore is thriving, but they used to do all kinds of book sightings and book and Billings and all those things stopped. But on the same Street, I’m seeing other family based businesses, people that I’ve known in my community that had corporate jobs and a lot of jobs in tech that are opening up restaurants, and they’re opening up champagne bars and opening up kids’ clothing stores. And to me, that’s exciting to see that creativity come back into the community.

It’s a beautiful thing, and it’s like a forest that has suffered in an unexpected fire. But in fact, in a way, by nature’s course, is the best thing that can happen to it because it allows for regrowth. Strong regrowth. Right. And that’s really what I’m hoping is ahead, is that we can see these people that are the next generation where they’re like, yeah, we’ve got a good savings and we’ve always wanted to do this. And it’s just possible now, of course, I was just on with somebody very recently. They’re saying we’re putting together a central, like a meeting place for his company. We aren’t doing a traditional office, but it is literally so cheap to get real estate space now because those folks need money. The REITs are struggling. Everything around real estate is a real challenge right now, so they’re willing to let people come in. So now if you want to get retail space, it’s more accessible than it had been. And then you’re supporting a landlord. It’s a beautiful ecosystem. Watch, rebuild.

Yeah. Well, unfortunately, where I live, we live in some of the most fertile land, which was originally called the land of Hearts Delight and which ultimately became the Silicon Valley at the beginning. And so defense companies were here, then Hewlett Packard, and then later on, Apple and even IBM had a West Coast facility here and stone strewn away from the Facebook and the Google and all these companies, they say the land is fertile and so there’s always growth opportunities. But I laugh about that sometimes. I think, why do we put concrete on some of the most fertile land? And then it’s expensive because a three bedroom, two bath tracked home from the 70s, maybe built 70s, 80s. It’s going for 1.5 million. So I’m obsessed with home and garden. That’s my hobby. And then there’s a great Instagram site called Circa Home Circa. And I look at these beautiful farmhouses and these mid century houses and every place from Colorado to Ohio to Southern States, Alabama, Arkansas, all the way to Florida, and I go, what am I doing here?

I know.

Then I have to stand back and realize, okay, I have a purpose. I have a reason to still be here and not to be hybrid. But I applaud those who can’t be because I still feel that not quite like an Urban Rockwell stuck in a painting. But I still feel that the work that I’m doing is international because my clients are all over the world. But there’s still something kind of majestic and sometimes medicinal about the Valley. There’s a lot of things about it that I would edit out, but I try to select the things that are most compelling. And interestingly enough, I’m within miles from really fertile farmland and I work with an electric tractor company. And so to me, it’s kind of like back to my roots of growing up as a four H kid when the Valley was apricots and cherries and Walnut orchards. In fact, I live on a Walnut Orchard, which used to be a Walnut Orchard. So I think the fruits of the labor of what we choose to advocate as entrepreneurs, whether you’re a hair salon owner or bookstore, children’s bookstore, or you’re starting a tech company, or there’s a couple of kids that live in my town that have created the two brothers. They’re actually two twins and they have a cookie business. And they started during the pandemic because they were home with their extra time what to do. And so now they’re serving their gourmet cookies into restaurants. I think that’s brilliant.

That’s amazing. Yeah. No matter how much you will see the shifting in the makeup of the community and the population, it will still be at its core, what Silicon Valley? A lot of the history of Silicon Valley will continue even as you see more folks sort of decentralize real estate wise. We’ll see other up and coming areas. Austin, of course, is the next one, which is hilarious because then all the people in Austin are like, yeah, keep Austin weird. And they’re like, keep out of Austin like, we’re done. We want to stay weird and you’re not weird enough for a while.

There used to be shuttles daily from Silicon Valley to Austin back in the.com bubble. And so what I heard and speaking to someone, it was in Austin last week reporter is that people are living already 25, 30 miles outside the Tesla area because the housing is shooting up. So they once thought they could go there and get a home in the five to 800 range. And those houses are all been pushed up. So they’re moving out further, which is no different. It’s the ripple effect. But one of the things about change and the pandemic and economies, I mean, I started my business in 2001, which was not the best time to start. It was a great time to start for recruiting because there were a lot of people that were a lot of people on the market.

Yeah.

There were a lot of people that were at home not working but in terms of the economy. But to me it was a great time because either it was going to work or it wasn’t going to work. Being able to kind of stand back and look at the opportunity. We have to be agile and we have to make sure that we’re continuously going through that discovery process. And it’s not a one size fits all entrepreneurial T shirt that we go around wearing. We have a bad economy or we have some form of crisis or maybe there’s a personal crisis, whatever sea of change is happening. We need to be able to paddle out of that really quickly. I think 2020 was like, okay, we got through it. 2021 is like, okay, we got through a little better. We were paddling at 2022. I’d be like, okay, we’re canoeing. We’re going upstream. And I think that’s the part of the continuous kind of entrepreneurial spirit. If one has never owned and operated their own business, and whether it’s part time or full time, it could be at the farmer’s market or it could become an LLC Corporation doesn’t make any difference. You don’t really have a day off. That’s the one thing that people is the Mythbuster, I think, is that people think, oh, you have your own business. I have a friend who calls me constantly. She’s retired now. She’s been retired for quite a while at a nice pot of gold company. And she’s constantly said, let’s do this. And I’m like, it’s Wednesday at three. I’m working. It might be Saturday at three, and I might be working. I think that’s one of the other components. There’s a great book called The Entrepreneurs Faces by John Litman. And John Litman used to be a Wired reporter. He wrote for Mac Week and PC Week and then Mac Week. So he went from the one side to the other side. And then he wrote a bunch of books for IDEO, which is a design firm that was known very well in consumer electronic space, working with Apple and Dill and everybody else. But his book, The Entrepreneurs Faces, is really interesting because he looks at the different types of prototypes of entrepreneurs, and they’re not the obvious. So you’ll find a collaborator or you’ll find the visionary and the leader and all the different parallels. But what I like about it is I found that I’m a little bit of each one of the potential profiles and oftentimes as entrepreneurs. And this is why we need to keep a tribe. And the podcast that you created is really creating a community and a tribe for us to come together and share and collaborate and learn. By the way, listen, his listing is really good for us.

One of the names that comes up very often was the Entrepreneurs Organization. And it is exactly that. There’s like a very specific range. Generally, I think they need to be like 1 million in revenue or there’s a certain floor and a ceiling. So basically, it’s a great place for people that are in sort of this stage of business with that entire purpose. There are community of practice surrounded by people who are in exactly where you’re at, who are living the pain you’re living, and can teach you lessons that you need to learn, and they can share stories and share understanding and learn from each other. And when I talk to people that are members of EO, quite often, it’s their second run because they’ll have a successful exit at their company. And then they’ll start a new start up. In the moment that they hit this range, they go right back because they want to give back to this community. And that’s such a beautiful thing that people rarely see that side of entrepreneurship is that it is not. They think of it as like a lone Wolf, this sort of idea monger strategy creator, somebody that’s going out on their own and they’re a little bit odd.

And they’re going to put together a team like the Bad News Bears, and they’re going to create something that’s going to change the world. But in fact, the moment that you give them an opportunity to sit with another founder builder, anybody, there the excitement level for them to give something to that other person. It’s amazing to watch.

Yeah, that’s one of the things so exciting about accelerator programs that are designed to be a platform to help visionaries and entrepreneurs really think out of the box and push them to discover, is this the product to come to market? And recently I had Johnny Crowder of Cope Notes on my podcast. And one of the things I really liked about him is, yeah, he’s so impressive. He’s under 30, 29 still. And when I was 29, I wasn’t creating a company. I was working in editorial, and I had a great newsroom job. But he created a company out of going back what I was describing, a problem and a need. So he dealt and he continues to deal with his whole life, schizophrenia, ADHD, all types of personal challenges. But he turned that challenge into profit because by creating a platform that would allow him to send a hey, how are you doing today, Eric? I’m feeling really good, but I want some disco music would make me feel so much better. Anyway, he created this whole platform that would allow him to connect with his small group of his own personal community. But he realized going through an accelerated process that potentially could be his business, which he’s now created. And it’s called Cope Notes, and I love it. I subscribe to it. I’ve actually gave it to my daughter as part of her holiday gift. I’ve given it to some of my employees and a couple of my friends because throughout the day you get these little nice life coach kind of Cope Notes. And I was just checking to see if I had one now because I get them throughout the day and they’re inspirational. It’s kind of like that high five in the hallway or the water cooler conversation that we don’t have anymore.

Right. Especially now.

Right. But I just love the fact that you go from a place in his place of like, I don’t know how to deal with this, to like, oh, I bet there’s other people in the market that don’t know how to deal with this. So therefore, going through mentoring and accelerating, and I think that’s what’s great about. And I’ve gone to accelerator discussions throughout the US in different regions. And it’s the same spirit. Doesn’t make any difference in Chicago or if it’s in Austin or it’s in Atlanta, North Carolina, that same hunger and thirst. And I think if we all help each other in that coaching process, because I always tell people, you’re going to have some good days and you’re going to have some bad days, and you’re going to have some in between days and owning your own business.

Yes.

After 20 years. In fact, when I hit the 20 year anniversary mark, I just thought we were the right smack in the middle of the pandemic. And I don’t think anybody cares. Nobody knew. I do. I remember getting excited and telling some of my friends, they go, that’s nice. You got to have a party. I’m like, well, of course I’m not going to have a party. I said, I’m going to create a video and I’m going to create a podcast. That’s exactly what was really kind of a hallmark for me was, okay, I have 20 years of working and building and bringing companies and products to market. I had some stories that were not part of necessarily my business, but I’ve been carrying around in my back pocket great people that I met that weren’t my clients, that were in my network that had amazing stories, and then other people outside my network, as over time, it blossoms to that way. And to me, that’s really exciting, because that just means that there’s so much creativity and talent that’s out there that you and I bringing these types of discussions to market will hopefully excite somebody to go out and do something different.

Yeah, I applaud your format as well, because I really adore. I like well-produced podcasts. Like, I like tattoos. They’re amazing to look at, and I just don’t have the stomach to do it myself. So the moment I turned the first one on, I was like, it’s just like an NBC, ABC. It’s just beautifully done. It immediately draws you in. You did such a great job of putting a perfect hook, letting you in, and then the story plays out. And when you hear that, it’s so easy to listen to and just immerse yourself in. And it’s admirable because very few people have the ability to ask questions and lead a conversation that will fit back into that format. So you know that you have to think about how it’s going to work so that it’s the most compelling way to consume it. And it’s such a weird thing. And I’m nerding out a little bit harder than most people would just because I listen to so many different styles. I’ve listened to short form and I’m long form conversational because I hate editing.

Yeah, editing is an art of itself. When I first sat down and made a list, I said, well, if I do a podcast, which ultimately is going to write a book. And then I realized if I write a book, I’m going to be spending a lot of time by myself with a deadline, I’ll get to that. I’ve edited like 80 books in my career, but my book, yeah, it could wait. I’m going to do a podcast. But then I started looking at all the platforms, the turnkey platforms in the market, and then do it yourself, this and that. And I tried a few. I already record something to hear my voice. That’s great. But now how do I edit it? And what if I actually don’t want to do more of a narrative? Because being a former journalist, I like the narrative documentary style. And so even as a child, I could watch uncountless of film strips or video reels. And my father would get things from universities within Stanford and Berkeley and Santa Clara University. The libraries would get rid of things and he would bring them home because I would just kind of geek out on all these science and nature type of content.

So I love science and technology, and I love the deconstructing of things. I would say I’m kind of a weird girl. I like the sound of a piston engine. I love the smell of printer’s ink. I also like lavender and cinnamon. But I tell behind my father going to the local Metro airport to going to car shows and going to rock exhibits and all these things that science fairs and competing in science fairs. And those are the things that as a kid, four H working, doing four H projects as well. And I wanted the episodes to be a little bit like a science fair. Not everybody is a scientist or an innovator. I have book authors that cover those markets. And I also have a few episodes out. I have a formerly homeless teenager turned Baker extraordinaire and inspiration for generations of teens that we want off the street. That’s just an extraordinary story. So sometimes we just want to profile these amazing people. But that innovation of change in society, the ability to actually change, not just the light switch, but breathing light into other people’s life by facilitating change. And to me, that is that before it happened.

Like, what happened? Why did you become homeless? How did that happen? And how is that now changing the way your career, how your career is now able to change the lives of others. So ultimate before it happened Moment has multiple places that can reside, not just in the technologies. And that’s what I said. I could do a really geeky nerdy show and just have all the chic, geek hair. But I had other people that I had met, and I kind of look at it as being the hybrid world we work in. But it’s like a universal community is that when you start appealing the layers and you find these people and you find out really why they exist, and not only that they exist, but they’re eliminating their lives and changing people’s lives. And so I have said no a lot to people that solicit me for the show. And I’m sure you have to. And I’m like, well, I’m not really here to sell product as much as it is to ignite people, to maybe get out and do something different, like volunteer at the local senior center or this is a funny one.

New fire station coming into my town. I know I shouldn’t be so excited, but literally, it’s a beautiful fire station. It’s less than a quarter mile from me. And they painted this wonderful mural on the outside. And I told my daughter, I think I’m going to make cookies for the firemen. And she just says, mom, that’s kind of weird. I said, they’re in our community. I take pride in that. And I think that’s one of the things that we’ve all, in retrospect of the last couple of years of reconnecting with the simple things. Firemen have a really exhausting and important job in our community. It’s not a job I could do, but the fact that they’re doing that job allows me to be home safe and hopefully safer in my home, doing what I like to do. I think they deserve the cookies. And the funny thing is, I’m not even a Baker, so I might have to have somebody else make this cookie.

There’s a film called January Man as a film, a movie, whatever. I also date myself by the fact that I call them film still. And one of the lines from it, it was just this class thing is trying to explain to his fellow trying to explain to his girlfriend, like, you don’t understand. You will never understand me. He says, I run into effing burning buildings when other people are running out. That is what I do. I’m a fireman. And just like that, trying to explain and realizing the weight and the severity that they carry as a job. And it’s like, this is not just a volunteer gig to get some hours and some pay, like you’re signing up for something. I’m with you. I applaud all the folks that do that job because it’s not an easy one. It’s a high risk.

It is. And I fly. I used to go flying with my father when I was a kid and sit on crate boxes or books or whatever he can put on the plane. And then during the pandemic, I actually start spending more time at the airport. And one of the things I loved about it is there was some very small professional career and a very small hobbyist of women pilots so surrounded by men. And I see a woman at the airport, oh, it must be a good day. There’s a woman at the airport. Seldom do you see women at the airport. Usually they’re passengers. But I learned so much from their stories. Former commercial pilots, former military, former rescue Rangers, every type of you can imagine and listening to them and learning their stories and just amazing. And now the little travel that I do, I was just up in British Columbia and I went to CES in Las Vegas. I always had to peek into the cockpit because the little planes that I fly, the little Cessna 152, 172 Beechcraft, there’s still a lot going on. You cannot have ADHD and fly a plane.

Exactly. There’s a lot of gears and pulleys.

I have some amazing friends. And most of them, I would say the entrepreneur, I might get in trouble, but some of the deepest, sharpest kind of futurists that I work with, they all bet they have ADHD. The celebrity ones, Steve Jobs and Richard Branson, first thing they would admit. But they’re also so wicked brilliant. Like, you can jump out of the plane, but you can’t fly the plane. Right. And so I learned a lot of discovery and the flying, because when you look at the cockpit and you see all the steam dials and all the buttons and you’re not quite sure where to start, it’s very indicative to the entrepreneurial spirit. It’s like, where do I get started? And there is a process. When you fly a plane, you do need to know where to start. But when you’re an entrepreneur, I don’t think there really is a right or wrong answer of where you start. You can start just with the plan. I know people that start with a really detailed business plan. I know the people that my plan was on a napkin. I literally was on a napkin. And I just thought, but I have a friend who had told me three years before, you need to do this.

And I laughed and I said, no, maybe someday. And then when I actually saw the crack open in the window to bolt and leave the corporate world and create my own business, I never looked back. Do you think there’s a right where to start when you want to bolt out?

No. In fact, the small plane is probably the greatest analogy to it. Even more, it’s more like getting into the small plane, whereas somebody goes, have a good flight, Dr. Jones, you know, there’s a rough start ahead, but there’s no option. Actually, one of the most amazing podcast and interview moments I recently saw, it was Elon Musk was on the Lex Friedman podcast. And this is an interview skill that I show this moment to people and people think I’m an idiot because I keep saying you have to check this moment out. And it’s 30 seconds of silence. I said, do you understand? This is the moment he asks him. He says, Elon, what do you think about when you think about what can go wrong and why you shouldn’t, why you won’t be able to make it to Mars, and why we won’t be able to do something? And just the beauty of the silence. And he says, I can’t, I don’t there is no it’s just effort. We’ll get it done. But to give him the moment to just like air that out and sit in silence, it was beautiful. And that’s when you think about, should I do this?

You run it through your head and then you go, there’s no reason why I wouldn’t.

The thing I think is most interesting about Elon, and I’ve never met him. I’ve heard him speak. I’ve been in with maybe 50ft of him. He’s a lot taller than I thought he would be. That was one observation.

Yeah, it is funny. You normally see them just in pictures and realize he’s a gigantic fellow.

Yeah. Well, I don’t think Elon actually, he’s genuine to who he is and he doesn’t care. And so he’s going to go to Mars if he chooses to go to Mars and thinks that he’s done with Solver X and he’s done for Tesla. And I just kind of stand back. I worked years ago on one of his first projects, which was a digital media kind of platform, and it failed, but a lot of entrepreneurial things fail. And so you just keep on going. But I think he generally works on things that he’s passionate and believes in because you can’t have that much success and not believe in it. You just can’t go back to that core. And it’s like, well, what is that Core we all hear the stories about as a kid, he stood out and he was different. And I bet he was. He was probably that kid you didn’t want to sit behind because he’d probably pull your pigtails or something. But I think it’s interesting that I had a conversation a few weeks ago with the President of SETI, which is the center for Extraterrestrial. And it’s really interesting the stuff that they do and they have very high caliber scientists that are working to better our future by looking at the unobvious.

And I think that’s one of the things that scientists do. They don’t look at the obvious. They look at the unobvious. So where do we actually have things like in the ocean or in space or on Mars? These are the people that found the two new moons. They found the new species of crab a few years ago. And I think it’s really interesting that we have so much untapped in the universe is that there’s a race to go to other places, but there’s so much that we still have to discover here.

Right.

And I love to go to space because I would just like to experience that. But when I recently watched the movie “Don’t Look Up”, I thought I was curious about that type of stuff when I was a kid. When looking back at all the different moon launches and now we go to the moon, it’s like, oh, yeah, we went to the moon. I went and got a gallon of milk. But there was a time. And so I love the movie “Hidden Figures”, because that movie brought out a story of the going to the moon that we had heard before the back end story. And that’s the type of stuff that personally, again, excites me because everybody has a story. And when I was in College, we were told not to write our obituary as a journalism project, which is quite common. We were told to write our manifesto. And I thought that was great because that meant that we had to have a conviction to something, not what nice things people are going to say about us. And I would like people to say nice things about me someday. But I think ultimately it’s like, what do you stand for?

And what’s that conviction and that driving force that made you make a decision at some point that you’re chosen to do this? And that’s what I feel about my podcast is like, it started out as an idea and it’s kind of grown. And I have this amazing team that I work with. I have a writer that collaborates and crafts the narrative. And I have a producer. My daughter would say, mom, you’re a little high maintenance. And I’m like, yeah, you know, this was going to be done in the home office, and now I actually have a team. And then my social team, it’s evolved. But I feel that I have a personal, personal consciousness. And like, I’m going to say I want to give back to each one of my guests something that they’re going to feel good, that is going to be a historical document, almost like the old Encyclopedia Britannicas. Have anybody remember those? And my father would never invest in those. He says, that’s a waste of money. They’re going to be outdated in a few years. You’re going to be able to get everything online. My father would say that. And I’m like, but what’s online?

I had a typewriter. And so I forget my neighbor’s old editions, which is funny.

Yeah. You get the previous editions. You’re reading old things that don’t exist or that have been undiscovered.

Do you remember when things like Lexus Nexus was like new technology?

Right.

And I went to College, undergraduate and graduate school without Google. Most of the millennials went without Google. Gen X’s, no google. Baby boomers, definitely no. So how did we survive? I think we survived and our creativity and our unstoppable curiosity and whether people are conscious that we have it, it’s there. You just have to untap it.

Yeah. And I’ll say to bring together the value of what you do, we can talk all day about what Elon does and SpaceX does. And there’s fantastic things that get done. But in fact, what brings it to the most ears and eyes and makes them care about it to the point where they would make it successful. There was a Netflix documentary about the group of four who were like normies. Right. Just traditional citizens who were citizen space Flyers now. And so citizen astronaut suddenly has this story behind it. And it brought excitement to what was being done in the same way that hidden figures. If it had been done when it happened, imagine how much further the space race would be if we had that.

Yeah. Well, and I think that’s the importance of Stem education. I’m a huge advocate of Stem education. And I don’t know, I think growing up, we always had it, and then we took a bunch of stuff out of it, and particularly public schools started reducing programs, and maybe private schools had more programs than others, but we took so much out. It’s kind of like the food industry. Right. We’re going to take all the organic good stuff out and we’re going to put in all this homogenized substitute things, and then the taste goes away. And then we found out they’re bad or worse for our health, and then the original purity of a product. And I think that’s been the same thing with education and Stem education is that when I grew up, literally, I was told that there was boys math and there was girls. They had gender. Math. Math has a gender? And so I was thirsty and hungry to go in the harder math. But I was always told, I don’t need that. And I’ve talked to so many people that experience that as well. But because I was an honors student, I always bullied my way over to the boys math forgiven.

And then that’s changed, obviously. And I was really happy to see my daughter in school. Never had to deal with that. But we have a shortage of Stem professionals and particularly women. And so we can get kids excited about science and technology and engineering and the arts, because I think when you have a deep technical background, but you also have appreciation for arts and understanding of how the two intersect. Industrial designers working together with engineers have to work very similar to storytelling. They have to look and listen and then go apply. And I think it’s interesting how mechanical engineers and industrial engineers work together to create these ideas and bring them to market and particularly consumer electronics. We have to inspire kids to have that curiosity.

It’s a creative process. It’s an amazing thing. It’s funny. Looking back to my own. So when I was in high school, I took business English, which was like and typing. It was basically the idea that you would learn how to write a memorandum, and it was like learning traditional office lingo. And it was funny. I was born in 72, so this was at a point when I was in typing class, we were on IBM Selectric Typewriters, and it was me and 29 female students. And I was the weird one because at the time, it was seen as, like, working towards administrative work, and it was generally seen as focused on traditionally female roles. I was the odd one out, but then five years later, it was 50 50.

We placed a week girls.

I know it was like heaven, one of the 29 at a target rich environment, but five years later, it evened out. And in other areas we still struggle and we have to. But I love this idea of, like, teach creativity as part of technology and empower them through that story, and they realize it’s a beautiful pairing of things. And so I have to applaud that you do it so well. Definitely a book in you, and I would love to read it. I’m cheating by listening to your podcast and getting the little snippets along the way.

Yeah, well, I’m kind of stuck in the middle of my book. Like, I was describing the bookings. I think I know what it’s going to be. I just need to find a discipline to sit down and do it and think once I do it, then I won’t look back. But I want to comment on your typing. So my mother said, Typing will be one of the best skills you ever have. And I’m like, Mom, I don’t want to type. I don’t want to learn to type. I’m not going to have a typing job. She said, you want to work in the newsroom, you better know how to type. She was right. And so I took typing in summer school because I didn’t want it to interfere with my regular academics. So I learned to type 125 up to 150 words a minute without error, because that ultimately got me the job interview that I could go in for because it used to be a typing test. There’s no keyboarding test anymore. And I know in editorial they don’t ask you to take a test, but it gave me that entry point to working in the newsroom.

And to be able the faster you type, the more stories you had given to you to set up in the word processor to then go to production. And then eventually I go, this is where I get a little naughty. I said, the she devil can be a little bit naughty. I would actually edit things where I would type and make them sound better, only without approval. So when you finally get that call to go into the managing Editor’s office because you’ve been known to be changing copy. But the much appreciated, thinking out of the box desire to do that was appreciated and got me promoted out of what I call the editorial pool, which is ultimately the secretarial pool, which was male and female, but predominantly female people just typing away. And yes, I feel very proud about that. That was a little bit of my naughtiness that got me to the next level. But I think one of the things that is fascinating about technology is now on my phone. I could literally write up a Press release, a pitch, do a presentation, pretty much my mobile office. And in the hybrid world, we have access to content 24 by seven, constantly.

I wake up and I try not to look straight at the world news because it’s a little bit disturbing, particularly today things I’ve seen, and I go, this is not how I want to wake up. I wake up to my lemon tree, literally. And I look at that, and sometimes there’s no lemons. But right now it’s prolifically, full of lemons. And I say, oh, life gives you lemons, right? You go to make lemonade. So it’s very symbolic. There’s no happy accident. I have a lemon tree there. But no two days are alike. And I think that’s the great thing about what I’ve chosen. My career is as a news reporter. No two days were like in public relations. No two days are alike. No two clients are alike. And that’s the kind of a common thread that I’ve seen is having that constant curiosity means I’m going to have a lot of diversity.

What’s given you success so far. And as a consumer of your stories, I gotta say, Donna, you do it well. That’s a magical thing, isn’t it? One quote I get, and although he’s somewhat obviously a controversial figure these days, but I enjoy some of the quotes as Dr. Jordan Peterson. And he says that creative people often create an incredible amount of value, rarely for themselves. And when you think of that pool, of how much creativity was in that pool and how few of them will exit that pool, it is amazing. So you deservedly made it outside of the pool. And I could say anybody that gets to work with you is doing well and will no doubt be pleased with the outcome. It’s been a real pleasure to share time with you, and I will definitely make sure that we’re going to have links to your podcast and to everything about you. What’s the best way if people do want to get a hold of you, Donna, how do they do that?

There’s a couple of ways. Probably my easiest business way is LinkedIn. It’s just Donna Loughlin and that’s L-O-U-G-H-L-I-N. “beforeithappenedshow” on Instagram and beforeithappened.com for the podcast. And my email is Donna@lmgpr.com, and you can use any of those avenues to get a hold of me and I’d be delighted to chat, mentor or share stories or if you think that you are a candidate for the show absolutely email me as well.

Well, I definitely think we got some folks that we can send your way and like I said maybe one day I’ll be lucky and I’ll be a founder myself and I’ll have a story to share and I’ll be there and it would be a pleasure to be on your show. So beautifully done. So congratulations on continued work that’s going on there.

Oh, thank you. Now do we get your disco music?

I know sadly there’s very little disco in my life. The hilarious thing is my name came from so I’m old enough that email is new, right? You and I remember those days. Potentially you remember when email started and I would move from place to place when I lived in Toronto. And every time I would move you would get to a location that didn’t have the same service provider. So we have to go from Bell to Rogers same as AT&T Verizon and every time I would move they would give you a new email address and it was like @rogers.com I was like, oh@bell.com and I moved back to a place that had Rogers I was like, perfect I’ll be Ericwright@rogers.com again. They’d be like, oh no, that one’s taken. No, I know it was my email address. They’re like, oh well you can’t reuse the email. No, it’s mine. And that was like AOL was beginning and so what I finally did was I bit the bullet and I was in a bunch of different bands and one of the bands I was in called the discoposse. We did extremely heavy versions of disco songs and it was kind of fun and so I thought I’m going to use that as my email domain because no one will take that.

It’s an awesome name. Well, my favorite disco song was the BeeGees’ “Staying Alive” the last couple of years. So I think that was a good one for all of us to dance to. Dancing into it. Well, thank you so much for having me, Eric, as a guest. Hopefully I’ve ignited some curiosities and people to do something great.

Most definitely. Most definitely. Thank you very much.

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Matthew Hunt knows that no one likes to be marketed to, or sold to, especially prospects. After scaling and exiting 2 search marketing agencies, he’s committed himself to teaching busy B2B CEOs how to more easily scale leads and sales with less effort, less time, and less money.

His company, Automation Wolf, is known for helping clients generate a full month of LinkedIn content in just one hour per week. This was super fun and inspiring.

You definitely want to listen to every minute and enjoy Matthew’s take on things.

Check out Matthew at https://automationwolf.com

Connect with Matthew on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewhuntme/

Transcript powered by Happy Scribe

Welcome back. This is Eric Wright, the host of the DiscoPosse podcast. Thank you for listening. You are in for a fun one. This is Matthew Hunt. He is the Automation Wolf, and he is somebody who I really really thoroughly enjoyed a conversation with. We talk about the concept of creating snackable content for LinkedIn. Look, you got to go check it out. Absolutely. This is a great way to get your voice out there, get awareness, and take your message to the world without you having to overthink how to get it there. So Matthew and his team do a great job. We cover the gamut on a ton of different stuff in this conversation. So if you’re at all interested in using social media and getting your message out there and you’re a founder or if you’re just a human, you want to check this out. All right. Anyways, in the meantime, I also have to give a huge thanks and a shout out to the fine folks at Veeam Software who are making so much of this podcast possible. We are in like, this is episode 209, and that’s crazy. And this is because I know that I’ve got the support of a great community and also great platforms that I thoroughly believe in.

If you want to check out everything that you need for your data protection needs, regardless whether it’s in the cloud on premises, it’s cloud native, containerized, Office 365, Microsoft Teams. There’s stuff that you are going to lose that you don’t even realize is at risk. Ransomware – rip, ransomware. Hello, Veeam. It’s just that easy. Go to vee.am/discoposse. You can check it out. And I definitely recommend you also go on the old wayback machine. And I had Danny Allen, who’s the CTO of him on the show. It was just fun to chat with Danny. So highly recommended. So go check it out. Go to vee.am/discoposse. We got a big year ahead. Let’s make sure that we’re protected all the way through. Speaking of protected, don’t forget to protect your life, your identity, and your data in transit. I’m a user of VPNs because there’s a lot of weird stuff out there. There’s a lot of bad people out there. There’s a lot of bad technology out there. So if you can protect yourself in every possible way. I use ExpressVPN, I recommend it. So if you want to go to try ExpressVPN.com/discoposse, you can see why I use it and hopefully you dig it as much as I do.

Oh, and one more thing. I also have a coffee company. And I think it’s really good coffee. It’s also amazing swag. So devilishly good. I recommend that you head to Diabolicalcoffee.com. There you go. Full disclosure. It’s my company, but it’s great coffee. I love it. I drink a bunch of it. And also amazing shirts, amazing hats. But talk about amazing, here’s Matthew Hunt.

This is Matthew Hunt. I’m the founder of Automation Wolf and I help busy CEOs and founders create all of their social media content in 1 hour. You’re listening to Matthew and Eric Wright at the DiscoPosse podcast.

Now, the funny thing when I saw your name come up, Matthew, and now finding out that we are fellow Canadians, always a bonus when you get to share some connect airspace, even though we’re on different sides of the 49th at the moment. I love what you’re doing and I love the name. The first thing I saw was an Automation Wolf. And your tagline about being able to get people there in 1 hour, I just thought of like the Winston Wolf. You’re 2 hours away. I’ll be there in an hour. That’s kind of where it’s at. And looking at the folks that talk about what they do with you, Matthew, it’s working. And so I got a ton that I want to dig in with you about what you’re doing, how you came to do this, and really what the huge opportunity is for businesses to turn content into opportunity and how to do it in the most effective way.

Sure. Sounds good, man. Looking forward to it.

So for folks that are new to you, because they haven’t had a chance to be able to study your bio and look over your content like I have in advance, if you want to give a quick intro and then we’ll jump into what it is that you are getting people doing.

Yeah, sure. I’m a three time business owner now. They’ve all been agencies. And so I exited two of them, one in 2014 and in 2018. I started the first one in 2010 and I’m a glutton for punishment. I just can’t get enough of it. So I decided to do it all over again and start a new one in 2020. And so 2020 was sort of figuring out what the product market fit was. And then 2021 is the startup stage, 2022 is stay up and then 2023 will be scale up. So that’s where we are with the company right now. But this business at the end of day came about from a real problem that I was experiencing in my previous two businesses. And I noticed that a lot of my peers, first time founders and CEOs or really any CEO or founder at the end of the day, anyone who’s just extremely busy had this problem and there’s just not enough minutes in every single day to get it all done. And the one non-renewable resource that everybody has is time. And so I was looking to solve that problem because most of my clients right now, they all know how to do it.

They even know what they need to do. It’s just a matter of they just don’t have enough time to do it. So I was on a mission to solve that problem. And so they all know they need to build a personal brand. And most of them know that it needs to be done on LinkedIn if you’re a CEO or founder. And they know it’s all about being consistent. But their problem was being very inconsistent or being able to find someone, even if they wanted to find someone who goes right for them to do it for them, it’s hard to find their voice. So I said, I think I know the solution to this. We’ll lead with video as the lead domino. And I thought at first maybe the solution was just to slice and dice long form content that they were already doing. But I discovered a couple of things. Some of them were not doing it. And then even if they were doing it, it was a pretty difficult task to do. Because long form content has the intent of being long form. And long form content doesn’t have a place in social media news feeds.

In social media news feeds. We are there to either be to procrastinate or to be in discovery mode. And we’re looking for snackable content, things that are short. And so if you’re going to create short form content, you have to actually lead with the intent of it being short form. It’s almost more about being like, you have to actually create content that’s more like when you become media trained for the 06:00 news. Yeah, we have your sound bites down and you’re able to communicate very clearly and articulately in 60 seconds or less. Some sort of message that piques people’s curiosity. That’s why I always call look, step one, if there’s three pillars to demand Gen, is short form. Step two is Longform. Step three is controlled form. And so, short form is a way for you to stay top of mind and consistent. And you can get transformation from people if they already know you. However, if they don’t already know you, the short form stuff is the hook where they’ll hopefully ladder into more of a long form. So the 1 minute video leads to a two minute video. The two minute video leads to five, then a ten.

Then all of a sudden they’re listening to you for an hour. Next thing you know, they’re binge-watching you like a Netflix series. Well, if someone’s binge-watching you as a Netflix series or engages with you for an hour, they are a pretty big fan and you’re going to get some sort of transformation. And then the trick is to how do we ladder them up into a controlled form, which is a form of community. And so if you’re a SaaS company, this would be a channel partner program. If you were maybe a consultant, this would be maybe a private Slack community or Facebook community with maybe a course that you can get some transformation around. But the point is you’re putting them into a controlled format where you can build goodwill, reciprocity, and continue to keep banking that trust equity. Because you can’t control when someone’s ready to buy, but you can’t control the trust you built to them. And the reality is, over time this compounds and the more energy you put into this over time, the better it is. Most people think they want more leads and more sales, but if you’re a high ticket price B2B business with a long buying cycle, that’s not really probably the best approach to go about it.

It’s probably more important to focus on how do I build more trust and more community with my ideal buyers at the end of the day? Because if you really pay attention to the people who are buying from you, they don’t spend 50,000, 500,0000, $3 million, whatever your ticket price is without knowing who the hell they’re buying from. And rarely is it based on your marketing funnel or your website or all your content that is there. So what you’re trying to engineer is how do we go from zero to building trust right away? That’s the whole system. At the end of the day, what I realize is there’s a lead dominos to this. And the reason why there’s a lead domino to this is, we got to start somewhere with these busy founders and CEOs and usually that first place is creating their stack of content in a consistent way on LinkedIn. Once they lock that down, they can then do the next thing because what we’ve done is we’ve been able to help them create their content in an hour and a half per month, 1 hour to create it, 30 minutes to approve it, or provide feedback so it can get syndicated.

If you can’t commit to an hour and a half to doing the most basic thing around demand Gen, how are you supposed to get into the other things that require a lot more time? And so whenever I’m talking to someone, I’m always asking them most important questions. How much money do you have or what do you want to do or what’s all the cool things. I always ask them, how much time do you have? How much time can you commit to this particular project? How much attention can I get of you? And that will determine what is the right tactic and strategy to pursue.

This is the challenge that I’ll say like content marketing and awareness and brand marketing. It’s like exercising. It requires consistency, commitment, and not necessarily feedback in the early phases, but you don’t get the benefits of the hundredth day without the 99 leading up to it. And we really struggle, especially with small businesses and solopreneurs. People that are focusing on product building or other things that are core to the business. And they don’t have the mindset of like, hey, if I just like talking to a camera for 20 minutes and with a function and a goal of like three pieces of value that I can emote into this camera and someone else can slice it and dice it and do that trust, building that brand awareness. It’s personal brands, too. I often tell people, number one, we’re all in sales. That really twists people up, right? I’m not a salesperson, but I also know I’m in sales. We call it selling yourself. Right. Like, you’re selling yourself short when you’re doubting yourself. Like, it’s in the nomenclature for things. But that’s just it, right? So if I’m a founder, I’m thinking I should be talking to a client in this hour instead of somebody, well, how do you get that client?

Right? Take that time with a good partner, somebody who knows how to do this, and then what will happen is 100 days, 120 days, 150 days in those little snippets suddenly are all over the place. But it’s really, really hard. Like, if you were a founder and that’s what you’re really good at, you’d be the founder of a content agency. Most people, if you’re a product founder, even, like I said, a solopreneur, it’s great to have a coach. Like, somebody like you can just say, look, I know I’m your audience, right? I’m the one that I hunt down people on LinkedIn, and this is how I find them. And you get the chance to be overly aware of how to be effective in that minute versus when you give someone like, I need you to talk and tell me what you do for a minute. And it’s like, well, it’s complicated. And, you know, like, I send all these people to Donald Miller. I’m like, go to watch the Story Brand one-liner workshop. And like, what is it that makes that foundation up? And they really really start to understand it. And then the funny thing is you get to consult with them.

And then there’s that weird barrier where they’re like, you’re going to create me 20 snippets of content and you’re going to charge me how much? You’re like, well, because I know exactly what those 20 snippets of value are. And if they wait four months, they’re four months older, no content. And then all of a sudden they’re like, Matthew, I want to talk to you again about that thing we talked about before. Because if you don’t do content, it doesn’t grow, it doesn’t get discovered. And was the Chinese proverb that says the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. And the second best time is now. And if you’re waiting for the perfect landing page, the perfect script, the better camera, whatever it is, and all these YouTubers that are millionaires now, they started on iPhones, bad iPhones, because they just got in and did it. And when you can imagine, you can shave off that coaching to tell you, like, I can save you the first year that those folks did. I can teach you how to make their content. And then time becomes the discovery model that helps you to amplify it.

I know we’re sort of like preaching to the choir a bit on this, but I want people to understand, I see it every day. And you shouldn’t have to be good at it. If you’re a founder of a company, you shouldn’t be this good at this part. Getting a coach, getting somebody to push you through it is such a fantastic thing. So bravo to you, Matthew, for what you and the team are doing.

Thanks. Yes, it’s kind of funny. A lot of people sign up because they think they want more leads or sales or more content or brand awareness or whatever it is or thought leadership. But the reality is, the first piece of transformation that happens for them is because they’re forced into a routine of sitting down and creating content with us. And because we’re doing it privately, not in a long form, where we can have interruptions and talks or retakes, they start to lock down how they communicate with their sound bites. And by them becoming a better communicator, they actually become a better team leader. They actually become better communicator with their existing clients. So they get more up sales and more referrals. And then once we put it publicly, the same thing happens. The first thing they always talk about is like, oh, my God, I’m getting way more referrals in my warm network. Well, yeah, because they’re top of mind continuously. That’s the first growth. And then after once they get through that, then they start creating a little bit more, and they start realizing I need more leverage in my life because I realized how much this transformed their lives, that they’re able to be consistent and people with their marketing on a regular basis, at least organically.

And the cool thing is this organic stuff can easily be sponsored with paid advertising and controlled if you want to amplify it. And the best ads actually don’t feel like ads. Right. So this is actually even better type of content to amplify. So the reality is they have this also transformation where when they start working with us, I start challenging them on a lot of beliefs that they think they have. So they think they need more sales people. I say you don’t need more sales people. Usually they’re the number one salesperson until they exceed at least two or $3 million in revenue. You really don’t need to be hiring salespeople. They just need more leverage. They’re just used to doing sales appointments as a one to one experience. And then once we teach them how to do it as a one to many experience through a workshop or through ten minute amplifier videos where they can find more leverage for themselves so they don’t need to do a demo. The idea of having more people to be able to do this melts away, which means they have more money and they also have a lot less problems because the reality is more people, more processes, more problems.

I know Vicky said more money, more problems. It’s more people, more processes, more problems. Right. So the next stage is always to develop that long form content format that allows you to create one to many selling. They also start to realize that when they’re consistent, like you said, we’re always selling. We’re all salespeople in a way. I don’t think that that’s necessarily the intent that you want to have. I think you want to have the intent to always be helping but not always be selling. But the idea at the end of the day is that is a form of selling in a way, content marketing and adding value and building goodwill and building reciprocity by putting helpful information or processes or systems or swipe files into the universe. That you get to attract the right people and hopefully repel the wrong ones as well too, is when we do that process, they start realizing, I see what I really need is more leverage. There is a time later on for multiplication, but it’s usually much later on in their journey. And these are why so many of these busy, particularly first time CEOs and founders, have so many false starts.

And it takes them so much longer to get there is because they haven’t developed the decision tree of asking how much effort do I need to put in for how much impact? Or can I do less effort for bigger impact? Or what would be the actual lead domino that knocks down all the other dominoes? Right? Right. Can I just focus on that one little piece? I know people talk about it like the 80-20 rule, but really you have to think of it a little bit different than that. Because that’s a later thing of analyzing, which I find is reactive versus proactive. This is another thing I always tell them is, they also measure their indicators of success a little bit ass backwards. And what I mean by that is – almost all of these people, when I start working with them, they’re always looking at lagging indicators of success. And that’s way too late, right? It’s just too late. So for every lagging indicator of success, you need to have at least two leading indicators of success and know really clearly what those KPIs look like. And if you do, then you will be able to pretty certainly know that the lagging should work out at the end of the day. Particularly if you’re following someone’s footprint who’s done it before several times, because success leaves footprints.

And so you don’t have to guess. You don’t have to make your business the training wheels on something, and it could have been someone else’s business that did that. But if you have that and you have the leading indicator of success, you really pay attention to those dials. You don’t need to worry about the lagging ones. That’s just the confirmation that it did work. But if you’re only looking at the lagging, well, you’re screwed, right? That’s a whole year gone before you figured it out. So always figure those things out. Like I always tell people, if you’re going to outreach the people, you don’t need to have an inbound. You need to have an outbound strategist, not sales or marketing, because you know who your ideal clients and customers are, generally speaking. So why not build the Dream 120 list, right?

No. And it’s funny you say that, like leading versus lagging on indicators. Lagging indicators are only most valuable when they’re tied to the leading indicators and measured as a function of success across the sales cycle. If you’re using hindsight to define what was successful, you’re backing into the answer. And we will always like, so easy to put confirmation bias into this stuff. Or if it took you nine months in a sales cycle to then look back and say, oh, well, this must have been the thing. Then you try that thing. Well, you’ve got nine months to complete that measurement cycle. What you should have had was upfront like, this is the thing that I’m doing and I’m going to measure it. And even when I read the most successful sales authors and speakers and full guy Jeb Blount, who’s got great stuff around the idea of how much it takes to generate leads, turning them into prospects, turn them into opportunities. Like that whole flow. Jeb is a fanatical prospecting, literally. But his whole thing is, what does it take to get to a warm perspective Leads that becomes an opportunity. And in the end, to your point, Matthew, it’s like, don’t just keep selling all the time because that’s not going to get you.

You create awareness. Awareness is built with trust. So don’t tell me that you’re selling to somebody, telling them that you want to be their trusted advisor and all you do is shove your product into their throat all day long just trying to like, you need this. Everybody’s failing because they don’t have us. Just share their problem with them.

Well, the problem is this is that inbound and outbound marketing is extremely limited thinking.

Right.

It really is. And it was cool at the time. Both work. So outbound was a very 2010 thing because of predictable revenue. With Aaron Ross and Salesforce scaling that business, it was the model. And so then every other business thought they could do the same thing. And then fast forward 2014, the hot buzzword was inbound marketing because of HubSpot and what they developed around there and the content. And it was really cool. And then people got crazy ass crazy with all these sort of like what I call Rugo machines were like this funnel to this funnel. There’s lead magnet to this trigger to this, all this fancy stuff, which is super cool. But most of it is just a lot of busy work. And now that its fast forward 2022, it’s not fancy anymore. No one’s wowed by it anymore. And both marketing concepts are very limited. Thinking because you’re only focused on the 1-3% of the people who are looking to buy from you right now. And so the example that I always tell the people is the biggest businesses in the world are founders and CEOs who understand the concept. They understand two concepts, short term pain for long term gain.

And they also understand in a very deep level the laws of compound interest. And this is why Einstein said compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world. Those that understand and earn it, those that don’t pay it. And most people are such short term thinkers and they think in such short term that they only focus on the bottom 1-3% who can buy from right now. So I always ask people this, I go, look, it doesn’t matter what it is that you do, but let’s just take it a really simple example. Let’s just say you are a web design and front end development agency that specifically markets for, I don’t know, let’s say B2B coaches or fractional CMOS. Like something really specific. Hopefully you’ve picked a very specific niche in your marketing. And if we took a thousand of those fractional CMOS or B2B coaches consultants and put them into a room and you were to ask them this question, you said, hey, who here is looking for a new website or a website redesign or possibly a marketing funnel? Okay, in the next 90 days, well, 1% to 3% of the people are going to raise their hand, which is a very small part of that 1000 people.

But what if we change the question? We said, who here out of all this group of people here, these fractional CMOS and B2B business coaches, who here between now and the end of their career will require a website or a website redesign or a marketing funnel. Well then probably 98% of them are going to raise their hand so they can all buy from you. Right? At the end of the day, the challenge is you just don’t know when they’re going to recognize the problem and decide to have money to throw at solving that problem. But what you can control is take that 1000 people. If you had them at an event, you already did it. Put them into a controlled environment like a community. We can continue to keep building that relationship with them so that when they are ready to buy, you will most likely be the first choice for the only choice, or at least you’ll get invited like be able to throw your hat in the ring to participate. And then I find in general what’s great about it is if you truly do have trust, then you can suck at sales or have less sales people, which saves you money.

Less people, less processes, less problems. And you can usually charge more because we don’t buy based on price. We buy based on trust. At the end of the day, it’s the devil you know versus the devil you don’t know. Rarely is the price ever, I would say almost ever really an issue. Most of the time, if anything, the price is higher, usually makes you much more attractive and instantly gives you some advantage and positioning from all of your other competitors who play in the sea of sameness. Right? At the end of the day, this is why I say inbound and outbound marketing is very limited. But what we want to do is we want to take some of the best practices from that, use the inbound and outbound to shake out those that are in market right now, but really lead with demand gen. And that’s what demand Gen is today. The challenge why people throw up these things like, well, how do I know that that works? Is it always comes down to they can’t track it in their silly Attribution software because they can’t have like a neat PNL sheet where they can show where things are working or not working or they haven’t actually just figured it out yet is why it always gets shut down.

It defaults back to the inbound or outbound stuff because it’s very simple metrics for them to be able to see a sales pipeline. How many people do we spam to get into a demo to then get into a close call or et cetera? Or how many ads, how much money do we spend in ads? Do you have people that download our white paper lead magnet, which then are SDR spam to get them into our demo or whatever it is? It doesn’t matter what kind of consulting, doesn’t matter whether they can see it. It’s easy to kind of like piece together, but what they’re realizing is they’re attracting usually the worst clients. They’re treated like a commodity. And when they really do add up all the costs for all those people and all the energy and stress that comes along with it, it’s not a very effective system at the end of the day and all they need to do is ask. They just need to do two things, which is create a process on their forms, on their intake forms as a blank form that just says, how did you hear about us? That’s not like a drop down option.

And they’re going to start to get feedback loop on very clearly on what is working and what’s not working because they can’t track all these relationships. But if people really know at the end of the day, we know like going to the golf club, the ski club, the supper clubs in the private slack communities, YPOs, all these really, those are things are actually driving the very best clients and business for us. At the end of the day, things that are tied to a real relationship, you’ll start to see that appear when you do that or it’ll come from the content marketing or long form content, short form long form control for one of those three buckets is going to come from usually all three, you’ll be told about that. And then when they get into the sales process, you have to teach your sales team or yourself to ask three questions. The question again is to reconfirm, how did you hear about us? Let your customer prospects and clients tell you what they remember, even if it’s not accurate, it’s what they remember. Two, how long have you known about us? So you can understand how long they’ve been the buying cycle again, it’s probably even short.

Like whatever they tell you, you can probably multiply it being longer times two, because they just didn’t realize they were in your marketing funnels. And then three, you ask them what was the thing that you really appreciate that we put out there? And they can tell you what content pieces or podcasts or white papers or lead magnets or blog posts or whatever snackable piece of video that you created that just blew their mind. Help them. And then you can do more of that. And there will be a pattern that starts to show up very clearly. If I look at my sales pipeline right now, literally half of it is from referrals, which is what it should be like, unique referrals. And the rest is from literally, they say LinkedIn. The other one says my community. And then I know there’s a bunch that I get through doing like mastermind dinners and things like that too. This is just crazy. People are working way too hard, spending way too much money, creating way too many processes to accomplish something really simple at the end of the day.

Well, this is the very interesting thing, right? The example I’ll give as an anecdote is people think like, imagine that the kids that play video games today, they’re so good at it. Their hand-eye coordination is fantastic. They’ll become amazing game developers, they’ll be amazing game creators. And then you have to remind them, like, you know, that amazing game that your kids play that gives them this hand-eye coordination that you believe will be the foundation for their future and game development was written by somebody who had Pong. There was no game. So the skill of today, this idea, when the cookie, that was it, the cookiepocalypse came along and they said Facebook, Google, they’re having to shut it all down. Gdpr, all of these things that were the end of marketing. I had to remind people, I’m like, you know that all these companies that are multi billion now trillion dollar companies were built without cookies except the ones in the break room. Like that. If you had to go back to fundamentals. And that’s what I always tell people, products go away, data goes away, what do you do? And that’s it. Even if you just talk to somebody, say, how did you hear about us?

Every sales call, it always kills me, I tell people, ask them, how did you find us? Oh, that’s awesome. How long have you known about us? And it’s so funny that these fundamentals, because immediately they may be a bit guarded, which is natural. Like, human instinct is like, you never want to be like, oh, okay. Why? I specifically downloaded five white papers. You want to say, like, yeah, I saw you on the web. Okay, cool.

Right?

So somewhere on the web, we’re getting closer, right? Or I saw you at an event and you should go into every conversation with that question leading, because the worst thing that happens is you get a fantastic SDR with a fantastic machine behind them. But because they’re so confident, they see a lead that came through a website or an event and they just immediately go to like, you did this. So therefore you’re ready for this. Like, they start to lead with, we know about you. And I’ve seen it time and time again where you don’t know, how do you know about us? Should have been the opener. Instead of you were at X, they say, well, no, I wasn’t there. I’ve been talking to you guys for a year and a half, or like, there’s get them to share with you, and if you get no answer back. Okay, cool, right. You know, they’re probably much more guarded, but it’s a bloody conversation. Take the cookies, take the marketing machine out of it. You suddenly have somebody in front of you who’s keen to know more.

Yeah, totally. I mean, there’s even a problem. At the end of the day, it’s always funny. As we’re talking, what you’re going to start to realize is exactly this. It boils back to the fundamentals. Also, it boils back to a mindset. Like, most people don’t have business problems, they have mindset problems. And I’ve been guilty of it. And I constantly still suffer from this problem. It’s an evolving thing. As you get to the next level, you’re like, oh, my God, I didn’t realize that I was being so limiting in my thinking or so forth. So the reality is, even with SDR, again, it’s a mindset thing. It stands for sales development reps, right? We got to rename it. It should stand for starting deeper relationships. And then the way we reward them is based on commissions and appointments booked or closed deals or whatever it is. The comp plan is even structured more to incentivize the wrong things. What they really need to be treated is really starting deeper relationships to build a relationship or community and reward them more. Like, I would actually pay them the same way you’d pay a client success person and give them the same kind of bonuses based on that.

Because it’s about really being helpful to people and getting them pointing in the right direction, not hitting some weird arbitrary number that the sales manager or sales director or VP of sales farted out to make the CEO and board members and partners, et cetera, happy. It’s really crazy. So again, it comes back to this mindset thing and this limited kind of thinking. And I understand it the other day. I’m not trying to get old woo woo and that we can’t have things accountable and that we can’t grow. But I’ve generally found in general, working with so many businesses now like Holy B2B business, specifically thousands of them at this point in the last 15 years, including my own. And you have no problem growing when you focus more on trust and community. It’s a happy byproduct. You never miss your targets. But we tend to miss them when we’re focused on I need more leads, more appointments. I need the calendar full. We need more SDRs, we need more BDRs, we need more demos. Because again, it’s all about, like you said before, it’s about me, me, right? Instead of you, you, you, right.

One is inwardly versus the other one is outwardly. Outwardly thinking businesses always tend to just do better.

The weird thing of the consultative approach, the first thing any consultant has to do is get somebody to share their problems. Which means you have to get them to trust that they are willing to share their problems. Because they know, like, I’ve been on the other side of that phone a bunch. I’m going to lie to every cold call I get, of course, because I’ve been researching this company for seven months. So when they called me, cold call me, because I finally accidentally fill out a bloody form with a real email, I always will be defensive. And then their reaction to it is what makes me care about opening up to them. And it’s something that we feel like everybody is human. And if we help each other, then in the end, like, look great account executives, great account reps, folks that are in that level of selling. There’s a reason why they’re relationship sellers, because they will work for Company X. They will reach penetration and good market, and they’ll do good quotas, they’ll do good numbers. And then the following year, well, that number just adds 30% to it because we have to keep going up and to the right.

And they know they’ve sort of exhausted their main relationship pool. So they go to work for Company Y and they talk to the same seven strong relationship they’ve got, and they sell them the product of Company Y. But by listening, because they know they don’t want to burn it down because they want to go to Company Z or Z for those folks, they want to be able to do this. So they’ve got longevity in mind. But we need to move that up. And SDRs is a classic. So I’m a nerd, right? I came up in tech building technology, and I remembered the SDR is like help desk. And both are fantastic, valuable, necessary, amazing groups of people. But what I was told, because I wanted to be in server development or in larger scale stuff was, well, we’ll get you a job at this company on the help desk and then we’ll get you a real job from there. And it horrified me because to the recruiter, to a lot of people, that’s what it was. But I’m like, no, you understand, this is your front line. This is the most valuable entry to the vision of your company – is how they will handle the relationship in five minutes of a phone conversation.

And it’s like it’s such a forgotten thing because we just think like, oh, let’s get better call center systems. Let’s get better ways to track, attach it to their account, tie it to Salesforce, do all this stuff great and necessary things in other ways for understanding the intelligence of the customer lifecycle. But in the end, having all that amazing software that ties it all together doesn’t do you crap all good. If people just want to race to get off the phone because they’re displeased with that frontline experience and that’s the trust, that’s the build. Like when you’re going LinkedIn, I’m not going to watch the second minute of your video. If the first minute doesn’t make me actually pause and go, yeah, I get that. Make them care. Then you can talk about stuff later. It’s like Glenn Gary, Glen Ross, Ricky Roma sitting at the bar going just talking about wives and friends and family and cars. And then 4 hours later someone’s like, So what do you sell? I don’t want to talk to you about that. Obviously there’s deeper psychology underneath it like they are in the end going to move towards the sale.

But it’s like when it’s ready.

When it’s ready. Yeah. And it’s very true. You have to be very patient and people don’t really care what you do until they know why you care. This is the whole Simon Cynic thing, right? Start with why at the end of the day. And so it is true when we’re creating stack of content. This is why we follow the Aces method for clients, which sometimes throws them for a loop because they just want to do authority content all the time or expert content that makes them like thought leaders. And so Aces method stands for this authority, connect, Engage and Show or Sell. I prefer show than sell. And so authority is anything you want to be an expert on. You can be a thought leadership or helpful tips on your expertise, but connect is something they always avoid, which is anything that hits the heart, the gut or the funny bone. And when you do those pieces, that’s what makes you likable. People always forget we only buy from people we know like and trust. And they can’t trust you if they don’t like you. And they can’t like you if they don’t know you. So knowing you is about being consistent and increasing the frequency both through paid advertising as well as organic advertising.

Like is making sure you hit all the different notes on the piano. So I tell people like, look, if you’re going to play one key, if you play one key on the piano, it’s really boring song, you want to play all the keys. And so authority, connect and then engage is another one that people forget all the time, which is you don’t need to be the expert on everything. You need to start changing your mindset from being the talent to the talent Scout and being able to go to your community and tag people and promote other people, interview other people or ask questions. Be a really good host of the party to start conversations, right? Be a provider of goodwill, a person who thinks in collaboration in general. And when you do that, you get far more engagement at the end of the day on your content and it’s actually easier to do. Sometimes you just need to ask a question, run a poll and let other people feed in and tag other people who are really smart. The last one is sell or show. I prefer show. I think that’s just where you demonstrate your existing clients transformation.

Where you show before and afters, where you show how to do something really cool that gives you credibility, that you know what you’re doing or you show you give something where it fast tracks someone, where you can make someone instantly awesome, right? Like they can get it and immediately apply it. Not end up in your marketing funnel where you’re going to try to convince them to end up on your demo or sales call for consulting or services or whatever it may be. But at the end of the day, that is a form of selling. And so many people forget those different notes. Like you said, they’re not going to get convinced by just hammering over the head all the time. Sometimes you need to do other types of content and it doesn’t necessarily have to be hard, but if we don’t like you, we can’t trust you. We got to focus on the like part too.

I’ll give a funny truth in how it works. Story of measurability not defining strength of the product. So imagine that I started this podcast selfishly to figure out how to do it. I’ve always been keen on doing it. So let me do it through work and do it completely with no attachment to work. And it was hilarious because they’re like, So you’re going to talk to customers, you’re going to talk to whatever partners I’m like, no, I’m just going to talk to people that are basically going to tell stories that are meaningful, that people who are customers would like to listen to, regardless of what we do. I’ve been lucky, right? I was given a lot of rope, a lot of time, and so I did it. I ran this continuous experiment and I even had some people from the company. It was always meant to be an adjacency to work, as a way to build trust, to just give away content and also sort of like figure it out on my own. Because in the long run, I thought it would be neat to start my own. It kept going. And then at one point someone says like, hey, wait a minute, we have to pay for the hosting for this thing.

So what’s the ROI on this? Where are the metrics? How do we attach? And it became a thing of like, how do you attach when people listen to when they go in the funnel? And I was like, you can’t, there literally is no mechanism to do this. And I was just told like, well then maybe we just need to pull the plug on it. I was like, oh, okay, no problem. Makes sense. Totally get it. So then I just rebranded it called it My Own Podcast. And then the funny thing was from there, I never changed what I did. I lengthened it, I did other things, but what I did was always core. And the funny thing is now, in hindsight, more people come on sales calls and like in product calls and open event discussions and they’ll say, oh yeah, I listen to your podcast and it’s hilarious because the sales people are lit up. They’re like, oh, wow, that’s awesome. Like, how did they know you? And I’m like, Because I just keep giving away stuff and it builds familiarity and trust. And if then they come to me and I show them something that I’m passionate about that my team is passionate about and I trust because my trust is on the line too.

If I sit in on a sales call because I’m not in sales myself, I’m giving my reputation to the experience that customer is about to have. So I have to trust my sales rep is not going to pound them in the head telling them that they need this product or they’re going to go away. It becomes a bi directional. But the first thing I have to do is just give it away. If they come and find it, it’s fantastic. It’s a beautiful experience. Because then same thing for like, LinkedIn content. And I see the way that people are getting so much mileage out of this stuff because like you said, it becomes a muscle that they flex because you do it in this format so that they just know, like, Ah, it’s accessible. They’re training their amplification muscle, their sharing muscle to this format. And then you get somebody that’s really good at getting them to that main point. You are like a personal trainer for that process. Hey, in two years they probably may not be a customer anymore, but that’s fine because they’re kind of self sufficient and that’s the best thing they can be, right?

Totally yeah, it’s interesting. Just in general, like even when you talk about the mindset wise, at the end of the day, the people who want to build a boat around their careers and businesses focus on a community and build a media channel around that community. And they build at the end. I think it’s Geoff Kelly first wrote about it. Your 1000 True Fans was the essay that was first written back in 2010 or something like that. I know Tim Ferriss is a big promoter of it and there’s been different iterations of it since then. But the point is if you do that and you build True Fans or subscribers, right, versus sponsors. Okay. So like when you have sponsors, you’re a victim to the sponsors. If the sponsors don’t like what you’re doing or your boss, like in your situation, well they can just take it away at any time. But when you have subscribers or a community around your immediate channel, well you can decide what you want to do. There’s a lot of power in it, there’s a moat in that business. So even like this time with this third business, one of the things I learned from the first and second business is I quietly made the money and did well with those businesses.

But I never and I had a bit of a community privately, but not a public one. And I realized, oh, I want to do it again. I was like, Holy crap, starting over is hard. And I realized this time when I do it, I’m going to build it publicly as well and much bigger. And I picked a niche that I could live in. So my niche is B2B C. As the founders. There’s a lot of things I can create and sell anytime that I want out of that. And if you have a real relationship with them, you do what Gary Vee and other people are doing today, which is they just ask the community, what are your pain points? What do you need to have fixed? And then go solve that problem and boom, instant business right away because you already own the trust in the community. You just need to make a really simple offer and you can have an overnight business that’s a smashing success right away because you chose to be a media company and have subscribers versus sponsors. You don’t see Joe Rogan with sponsors. I mean he got one through Spotify recently that’s his sponsor, but it was $100 million sponsor.

And you go back and look at his first podcast like there is a joke. But what he did instead was he built subscribers, stay curious, focused on community, focused on relationships with these individuals, and understood the short term pay for long term gain. And a decade later it’s different. And I can’t remember Tony Robbins or if it was Bill Gates, one of these individuals that said we greatly overestimate what we can get done in a year, but greatly underestimate what we can do in a decade. And the reality is so true. We really just don’t think of it that way. And these are all things like what you just said are hilarious because you keep building DiscoPosse podcasts. It’s just going to lead to infinite opportunity for you after opportunity after tuning. And it builds a moat around your fucking career. Nobody can touch Eric Wright. You’re untouchable.

Yeah. And it is an amazing thing. And the hardest part of things to tell people and connect and to make them understand is that it’s a grind. And it’s like Gary Vee, like you mentioned, I kind of laugh now as we look at five years ago, Gary Vee was the guy who looked like he had Coke sweats on stage screaming at people that if you’re not grinding, you’re dying. And 20 hours a day is typical. And if you’re doing less, you’re a failure. He was all about this kind of they called it struggle porn. Right. But that was how he got to that point. And then fast forward five years later and he’s doing like, cartoon art on the back of napkins and then selling it as an NFT, probably making more money than his first business did. Now, per month off of adjacent things. But because he has built this community around him and he’s built this authority, built this trust, built this world, now people are going to in another couple of years, forget about struggle-porn Gary, and they’re going to be like, he’s got it. It’s like fortune cookie Twitter, as they call it, for like the fortune cookie BCs.

They’re the people that are five major exits deep. And people are like, oh, you’ve got all this money. You’ve just got nothing but time to go and be pious on Twitter. Like, no, but this is the next iteration of their career that will get them the next five successful exits because they’re then dispensing this advice that got them to this point. And yes, there’s hindsight bias. Yes, there’s all sorts of things in it, but they’re then giving into a community that will grow with them and evolve with them to the next thing. And that’s kind of always been my thing. And like, what I should have thrown away when the boss said there’s no value in it. Well, this is going to be like episode 208 and go back to pick Rogan as an example. Right. His 208th episode was him talking with his goofy comedian buddies over a really bad video connection and just pushing it out to YouTube or wherever it was going at the time. Right. Now, on the other side of things, we have to be careful when we reference certain large scale things like Gary Vee and Joe Rogan. There’s a lot of opponents as much as there are proponents.

But take the methodology, take the specific human out of it, make it whoever you need to be. It’s like it’s the methodology that we’re mapping to that successful. But most importantly is, credibility is given to you not coming from you. And authority – so that’s what I want to talk to you about. How do you create authority but do it with credibility? The first day I published this podcast, it said the leading technology startup podcast, zero listeners. I have to do it right. So it’s working out. I’m catching up to the moniker. When I was careful, I mean, I wasn’t making a huge bold statement. The number one downloaded or whatever. So when somebody’s getting started, Matthew, what’s the way that they can with credibility, create that authority as we continue to seek?

Yeah. So I think at the end of the day, if you genuinely are actually trying to deliver real results and then actually do it, the results always speak louder than themselves. So my cheat always is do it like execute on it and then use that execution so that you can create testimonials. If you look at my silly little website, there’s literally a ten minute VSL on there video sales letter or what I call an amplifier video, which is like a demo of my services.

Best thumbnail of a video ever, by the way. So people need to go there. I’ll have a link to them. You’re magnificent. I love this.

Well, we’re speaking the truth. The truth is people don’t like to be marketed to or sold to. In the minute they feel it, their guard goes up. And so all your marketing should feel invisible. That’s what I call invisible marketing funnels. Some people are smart enough to know that it’s actually happening. But if you can make the right people and when people are sick and use that kind of thing, do the opposite to make it invisible. But the point is, if you actually deliver results, then all you have to do is people are very happy to share the results that they had and that instantly becomes your copy and your stories afterwards. And before you know it is snowballs, you do become the number one person for that at the end of the day. And the reason why what I would recommend is that the only reason people don’t get that transformation is they’re usually trying to bite off too much to chew to begin with. So even in my whole demand Gen system where I talked about short form, long form controlled form, I have twelve other steps that you can do. But our first year, the only thing we focused on as a service was step number one.

How do we create the best content, snackable content for super busy CEOs and founders in B2B. Right. And just do that smashingly well. And then what ends up happening is they end up rolling into the next service as the beta for the next one and the next one depending on the product that we’re launching. Our source of time, it’s going to be 90 days to twelve months to fine tune it just perfectly. The problem is most people try to do the whole fucking thing, right? And that’s probably just pick one thing, one problem you can solve better than anybody else and just smash that one thing repeatedly and you’ll watch yourself become number one for that thing before you know it. You can always expand into other things later on. Other verticals, other services. But just do one thing.

Don’t start with sitting on the couch and then starting CrossFit. And that’s what it is when people do, they don’t realize they’re like, why don’t you just maybe go for a walk and then maybe go for a longer walk and then go for a gentle run. And that’s how you get to that thing. You don’t just immediately think like, I got to go buy a weightset. I got to head to GNC and get some protein powder. I got to do all this stuff. That’s what we do. I got to get Marketo. I got to get HubSpot, I got to tie in this. I got to get Salesforce. Then you’re $12,000 a month in products, having somebody from you’re hiring somebody to set up your landing pages, and you’re doing all the stuff. And it’s like, all right, well, what do they get when they go in that funnel?

You don’t need it. Totally. Yeah. The person who comes to mind, who’s really good about backing this off and doing that, as James Clear, a really smart dude. Tomic Habits. He wrote as a book, but I prefer his blog at the End of the Day, which I think his book is just snippets of his blog, which I think you can sign up for free and get from. But he’s a big proponent of that. Like, back it down. Like you said, instead of trying to even go for a walk, just stand on the treadmill. Just stand there for five minutes a day, and next thing you’re going to go, Fuck, I’m standing here. I might as well walk. And the next thing you know is ten minutes or instead of doing 20 push ups a day, three times, just do one or just add one per week or something like that to make it so easy that you can succeed. And what ends up happening at the End of the Day, Eric, is this – the reason why people grow, become number one is it’s really about success, beginning success and confidence. Because you can’t win if you don’t feel confident.

And so if you engineer, guaranteed wins for yourself. It plays well with my understanding of how the human brain works. And it’s been like this for hundreds of thousands of years for humans. As we move away from pain and we move towards pleasure, the problem is people set these goals or have set these expectations, even for their companies. Internally, this is the same thing for your team. You want to demoralize a team, set BHAGs that are impossible to hit and then beat everybody up that we didn’t hit it or keep telling them how you’re missing it. It’d be better for you to set very realistic goals that are very achievable and engineered because then people’s confidence goes up. And like I said, success begets success. Just back it down, back down the goal you want to do and build off of that. And if you realize you have a runway of a decade versus a year, you’re going to get there.

Well, you hit on the beautiful point. Especially James Clear is a great example. There’s many others like this, right? Tim Ferriss’s four hour Work Week was his blog organized as a book. Atomic Habits is taking working blog content and reorganizing it in a book. Obviously, he may have had, James Clear may have had the idea of the greater vision he was trying to aim towards, and he may have structured his blog in order to do it. But in the end, snackable content is when compiled correctly, is large, long form, valuable content. But you don’t say, like, I’ve never written anything before. You know what I’d like to do? Write a Tolstoyesque level of book, because I think I’ve got it in me. And I tell even like technical white papers, like sales white papers, people always get this thing of like, I need to write an eight page white paper. I said, well, it’s really hard. It’s actually much harder than you think it would be to write eight pages and have form and have beginning, middle end. So don’t write eight page white papers, write one page blogs and then write a three that kind of relate to each other.

And then, well, guess what? You’ve got an eight page, six page white paper right there. Right?
You take that, you put some more visuals in there. You put a what’s the customer story at the front of it, at the end of it your call to action of how to get there. When you go into it with the purpose of just sharing content that’s valuable for someone to consume without having a strong CTA and everything, create stuff that people will care about. And then in the end, you can package it together and all of a sudden you’re an author. That’s just how it begins this time and time again. We see it. And SModcast was like one of the early podcast, too, is Kevin Smith. And he did a book just like literally just took them and put it into a book format. And it became a best selling book. You know, we can go countless examples. Ricky Gervais did the same thing, took his BBC podcast, produced a book on it, became a New York Times bestseller. Now, granted, other things got him to that point. I certainly couldn’t take this and turn it into a book just yet. To make best seller list. But I always had it in my mind of doing this. In fact, I did a little series specifically with Founders, and I got it down to like five key questions. I asked every founder. And I was like, oh, this is cool. That effectively could become a book. It’s always there.

That’s what Tempers did. That’s what Oprah did, even that’s what you’re aware. They’re actually experts of nothing. They’re just really good at fighting experts and asking them the same questions or questions of what to look for and look out for on behalf of their audience because they care about their audience. Even all the Tim’s books, except for the four hour work week, as far as I know, are just snippets of the same question over and over again to 100 different really smart people this big and a number one best seller. And then what he ended up doing by interviewing that many people, it became a co marketing book because everybody’s featured it and everybody’s going to promote it. So it’s going to immediately make it a best seller right away. It’s the smartest thing to do in the world instead of making it myself, because now they have a stake in making sure that it’s successful because they like to say, yes, I am listed with these other hundred really smart people in the world.

I’m alongside Bill Gates, I’m alongside whatever tribe of mentors. It’s a really great book. And it’s like each chapter has its own standalone thing. Founders at Work is another great one. And goodness gracious, I’m terrible with names, but the author, she also happens to be marries to Paul Graham of Y Combinator Fame. And she just interviewed these founders and like I said, just asked the same fundamental questions. The stories built around them were compelling and just packed them together in a book. And it was great because it’s anecdotal stories that if you just read it, maybe at the end you find out. Oh, she also has a business consulting firm. Right. Like, oh, well, she asked really great questions. I’d actually like to connect with her.

Yeah. Well, what ends up happening is this is actually called the law of transference again. So this comes back to physics, like actual science and stuff like that. But the law of transference is here you are, Eric. Right? You are the host of the podcast. And then you interview expert here. And then next expert comes in. Next expert comes in. Next expert comes in. Well, all the experts come and go, but the constant is you while they’re there, they pass all of their expertise and authority to you. Right. It doesn’t matter. Joe Rogan is interviewing or Schwarzenegger or David Goggins or the vice President. He ends up getting all that transferred to him and he could actually play it dumb and be like, I’m just a dumb comedian, but yet everybody just remembers that. So you get to tap into what I call other people’s authority OPA and other people’s audiences OPA. And it’s much easier to do that just to be a really good talent, skill and a really good curious individual who cares about your own community to pull it out of there. And it becomes all this coworking stuff. People are working way too hard. This is a much easier way about doing things. And anybody can do it right. Like anybody could do this. If you just genuinely care and are interested, then you can do this. It requires almost no skills whatsoever.

Example, Harry Anderson, who if you’re an older fellow like me, he was Harry the Hat from Night Court, but he was a magician and he purposefully did weird bad deals. Like he was a guy that would take people in poker. He goes through his career as a bit of a sham in how he got some of his money. But it’s really cool because one of the examples he gave, I forgot the name of the book was too. But it’s basically how to fool people. And he said, I can take the ten greatest chess players in the world that you can throw at me and I will win more than 50% of the games, even though I don’t know how to play chess. And so he got somebody to take them up on this deal. He says, But I get to set the scenario. So you find me, your ten players and I win more than 50% of the games. And so the way that the set up was, I’ll paraphrase it was they all play at the same time. Ten chess boards lined up. Black, white, black, white. He’s black on the first one. First player makes their move, he goes to the second board, he makes the same move.

And what ends up doing is he’s not playing chess, he’s just moving the pieces, they’re playing each other. And he may pick up a move that he can inject in, right. And this is what doing this podcast has been for me, it’s like I can refer to ten other guests that have similar things every time now because I’ve just been listening and learning enough that now I’ve got an anecdotal history pool to call from. It’s kind of cool. And that’s again, the other thing I always tell people up front is they say, like, how do I talk about my product or my service? I’m like, you don’t need to, because I care way more about your message coming out than you do. You just be you. And this is why I only take guess who I respect in what they’re doing and why you’re here. And so you don’t have to sell your services. I’m going to sell them. Right. Because if I was looking to connect somebody to somebody that I believe in, they’re going to go to the links below and they’re going to go find Matthew Hunt.

Right.

They’re going to see what Automation Wolf is. This is your integrity didn’t need to be given to me. I found it. And that’s also the network effect too. It’s like you said, your community that all of a sudden you find yourself re-meeting people and maybe their company names change, maybe their life situation changed. In the end, we all find each other. And community is such a perfect description of that at its core. That’s why I like the tech community. That’s kind of how I started was just finding other people that had the same problems that I had and kind of just like sharing trench stories of like, oh man, remember that time we had like a server that went down? Or it was like just goofy, nerd technology stuff. But next thing you know you’re hearing like, oh, they’re like blogging about it. I was like, oh, I should do that, right? And we all grow and learn together. And then eventually, whatever new venture you’ve got, you’ve got this baked in community, not audience. They may be an audience, but they’re always if you treat them like a peer community, that’s such a much more respectful way to grow whatever’s coming for you and for them, because they will one day sell you something.

Right? And it’s okay, it’s cool. I say sell it. Sell is almost like a pejorative. It’s a sad thing that we attach negative things to it because there are so many vacuum salespeople. Kind of like methodologies. But also I’m old enough that I used to have vacuum salesmen. Maybe I’m dating myself on that one.

Yeah, it’s true at the end of the day, birds and feather want to flock together, so they want community. We want to understand each other. I mean, people drive around the world to meet other people with the same cars or in the golf or to the same artists. Like people make websites, but a particular person. And then even then those people want exclusivity to that. That’s why you’re going to see all these NFT membership tokens where you can get access to individuals. This is why only fans worked, right? People wanted access to certain individuals. That is a little misrated, but you get the idea. So this is the way to go. And I like the same thing you said. Building a community is better because you’re thinking outwardly versus inwardly. I always think of it as building followers or an audience is one to many broadcasting. But really you’re trying to create a situation where it’s one to one where it feels personal. At the end of the day, you can make it feel like a belly to belly experience. Like you both broke bread together at dinner. That’s how you want it to feel and appear. And when you get that, then you know it’s a true relationship.

And that’s how you know someone will drive 500 km to go have coffee with you or whatever it is. And that’s when you really produce true wealth. At the end financially, but true wealth at the end of the day of meaning and purpose. And that’s what ends up what we’re all really after at the end of the day.

Yeah. But for folks that definitely want to dig in more and will say that they absolutely should and this will not be the last time we chat for sure. Both.

Thanks for having me on, man.

This is really cool. So how do they find you, Matthew, if they want to get connected?

Well, there’s only two places I’m active so you can go to LinkedIn and search my name. That’s the only social network that I’m active on currently. It’s important sometimes to know what to say. No to delete and delegate is what I would say. And the other place is Automation Wolf right now which is spelled exactly the way it sounds. Automation and then wolf.com

And it’s worth the trip. Like I said, being able to spend time with you has been fun. I probably spent way more time talking on this podcast than I should have but it was just fun to you know, you inspired me understanding why stuff has been meaningful. And sometimes that’s what it takes and that’s why even when you’re coaching people and helping them to understand what’s meaningful it’s like the outsider is much better at pulling meaning out of what we do than us digging into 100 hours of content and finding the one thing that’s like let somebody pull you through that are a guide and that’s why I love this. The method you use is cool. So there you go. So if you all go to automationwolf.com, you will be richer for having done it, I can tell you that. And just it’s been a real pleasure. So there you go, folks. Follow the links below and yeah, hang tight. We got hundreds more of these podcasts coming. I can say that confidently now. I’m like there’s a day where I was like I don’t know if this is going to work now. I’m like this is it.

It’s so much fun and I learned every day and you taught me a lot today, Matthew. Awesome.

Thanks, Eric. I really appreciate being on the podcast.

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Justin grew up reading computer magazines and built PCs for a living in college.

His obsessive curiosity for leveraging technology to advance businesses led him to create the first digital PDF signature tool ‘SignMyPad’ before Adobe and DocuSign came to market. He launched a tech consulting company Virtua Consulting Group which has grown double-digit percentages every year since 2008.

We cover everything from the app economy to building up your side-hustle, the challenges and advantages of bootstrapping, and how you can outsource a lot to get you growing. 

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