david cross

  • Jason Fried

    · 01:17:34 · Love Your Work – Creativity | Productivity | Solopreneur | Startup | Entrepreneurship

    Jason Fried (@jasonfried) of Basecamp (formerly 37 Signals) shares his wisdom on cutting through the noise to find your own voice. There are some great nuggets in here about design, and how to be a contrarian thinker. This will be a great episode for entrepreneurs, whether they're experienced, or relatively new. Also, this is the FIRST EPISODE of Love Your Work! Please subscribe, and leave us a review to help us get featured in the iTunes "New and Noteworthy" section. Show notes: http://kadavy.net/podcast   Show notes: http://kadavy.net/blog/posts/jason-fried-basecamp/   Transcript: [music] David Kadavy 00:11 This is Love Your Work. On this show we meet people who have carved out success by their own definition. I'm David Kadavy, best-selling author and entrepreneur. This is the first episode of the show, so if you're not familiar with me, I wrote a book called Design for Hackers, which is a bestseller. It debuted in the Top 20 on all of Amazon. Before that, I was the lead designer for a couple of startups in Silicon Valley, and I freelanced as well. I blog at kadavy.net. That's K-A-D as in David, A-V as in Victor, Y, and you can tell how many times I've repeated that in my life. You can follow me on Twitter at @kadavy, or you can join 60,000 others and take my free design course at designforhackers.com. One thing that's really important to me is helping people build a business and a lifestyle that suits them. It's something that I've managed to do, and I want more people to experience it, and that's kind of the  idea behind the show. With this show, I want to introduce you to people who have created businesses and lifestyles that are all their own. They've achieved success by their own definition and built a life according to their own values. They're not necessarily going to be millionaires, but they will be happy people. As the name of the show would imply, they love their work, and also, I love their work. Now, to help us get the show off to a great start, can I ask you a favor? David Kadavy 01:26 In this first few weeks of the show we have the opportunity to be featured in the iTunes store in their new and noteworthy section, and this show is a bit of an experiment. I'm launching with a few episodes and I'm going to see how it goes, but this first few weeks is absolutely critical. This is the one chance in the lifetime of this show to really bring in more listeners, and more listeners means I can put more of my energy into bringing you great guests with wisdom to share. But in order for that to happen we need reviews on iTunes. Lots of them. They also have to be positive reviews, but that's, of course, up to you and the actual quality  the show. So can you please review this show on the iTunes store? If you loved it and want to hear more, please give it five stars. [music] David Kadavy 02:14 I'm very grateful to bring you this first guest. He is one of my biggest heroes, and he's the perfect example of someone who has built a business and a life according to his own values. Jason Fried - yes, the Jason Fried - hardly needs an introduction. He is the CEO of Basecamp and a New York Times best selling author. Jason co-founded Basecamp way back in 1999. It was originally a web design shop, but they built a little project management app called Basecamp, and now that's the focus of the company. In the process of building Basecamp the company also created Ruby on Rails, which is an open-source web framework that powers thousands of sites. And the thing I admire most about Jason is his contrarion thinking. Whatever the prevailing wisdom is, Jason seems to speak up and explain why that wisdom is wrong. He intentionally has setup his company small. His employees can live and work wherever they want, and they get a three day week during the summer months. The company is almost totally bootstrap. I say "almost" because they did take a little bit of investment from the one and only Jeff Bezos of Amazon, primarily just to be able to give him a call once in a while. David Kadavy 03:23 Jason has co-authored three books, one of which is the New York Times best selling Rework, in which he and his co-founder, David Heinemeier Hansson, share their rules for running a simple business. This interview is about one hour long, and there is so much more that I wanted to ask Jason. It could've been several hours easily. We talk about Basecamp in the beginning, which you may already be intimately familiar with, but stick it out and we soon start digging into the source of Jason's famously contrarion thinking. I'm really fascinated by where it comes from, because I'm someone who tends to be a bit contrarion myself, but  these thoughts, they usually come after I have this deep internal conflict, and it seems like it just comes so naturally to Jason. So that's something that I try to unpack in the interview, and you're going to find some good tips for listening to that mischievous voice in your head. If you aren't already familiar with Jason, prepare yourself. He really spews brilliance. Everything that comes out of his mouth could be quoted, or could be a Tweet or could be the subject of a blog post. He's really easy to interview, which is great because he's one of the first people that I've interviewed. So I'm very excited to bring you this interview. Let's get started. [music] David Kadavy 04:44 Okay. So I'm here with Jason Fried in the Basecamp offices, and I look around here, and there's this beautiful wood paneling and it's just a quiet office. I can't help but notice there's nobody here. Jason Fried 04:58 No one's here. One person's here, but  he's at lunch. David Kadavy 05:00 Oh, okay. That person's at lunch. Jason Fried 05:02 That person's at lunch. David Kadavy 05:03 Well, we are talking here on the day before Thanksgiving, so I wonder if that has something to do with it. Jason Fried 05:09 A little bit, but also most of the people even who work in Chicago work remotely, so we're a remote company. People across 30 some-odd different cities around the world, and, including the people who are here, we have 14 people in Chicago. Usually any given day there's five of them here, and it might be a different five each day but that's how we work here. Yeah. David Kadavy 05:28 Wow, five people. Okay. And this is a huge office. Jason Fried 05:31 It's a big office, yeah. So we have 50 people in the company and we all get together twice a year. We have an office that's built to handle the whole company, but a very small portion of the company is in the office on any given day. Half the office, too, is dedicated to public space. We have a theater. We've got a big kitchen area, a reception area. It is still a large office, though. David Kadavy 05:54 Yeah. We're in Chicago so there's a little more space available.  So you guys have had this office for how long now? Jason Fried 06:04 Since August of 2010. David Kadavy 06:07 Okay. It's quiet, there's lots of space, there's lots of private spaces as well. To what extent do you feel like this office kind of is an expression of your own personality? Jason Fried 06:19 Well, I think it's an expression of the company's personality, which is probably derived at some point from mine since I was one of the founders. But mostly we're kind of an introverted group for the most part. Definitely there's some extroverted people here though as well, but we try to be respectful of one another's space, and privacy and time. So we kind of treat the office like a library, in that the rules here are kind of like library rules, which is that you walk into a library, everyone knows how to behave. You're respectful of one another. You're quiet. You don't interrupt people. People are studying, and thinking and working, and that's the same way the office here works. So for the most part, even if it's full of people, it's pretty quiet and pretty hush, and  then people can go into these private rooms like you and I are sitting in right now and have a full volume conversation without interrupting people on the outside. Just like a library, they have little side rooms where you can sort of talk loudly and not interrupt people who are reading outside. David Kadavy 07:14 Yeah, that was always something that bothered me whenever I worked at a company. I might have a bunch of different roles, but I might be ears deep in some code, and somebody would come up, and tap me on the shoulder, and interrupt me and just lose all of it. Jason Fried 07:28 You lose it all. You lose the focus, the zone, and so we want to protect that because that's a really hard thing to get into in the first place. So if you're in that, we want to make sure that you stay in that as long as possible, versus inviting interruptions all day long, which is what a lot of modern offices are all about these days. David Kadavy 07:45 Yeah, I can definitely relate to that. I've noticed that before. So you guys started out as a software sort of consultancy, right? Or a web design company. Jason Fried 07:57 Web design. Yeah, we started as a web design  company. David Kadavy 08:01 And that was called 37signals. Jason Fried 08:02 Yeah. In 1999 we launched the company in August, and we were doing website design for hire, but just redesign work for the most parts. So we weren't doing programming. We were just doing visual redesigns. So people already had the sites and we were like, "We can make that site a little bit better," and so they would hire us to do that. David Kadavy 08:19 Yeah. And now you are concentrated entirely pretty much on this one product, Basecamp. Jason Fried 08:25 Yeah, Basecamp. And Basecamp 3, the third version of that, just launched a couple weeks ago. David Kadavy 08:30 Oh, cool. Jason Fried 08:30 Every four years or so we completely reinvent the product from the ground up. Not a single line of code, not a single piece of design is shared. We make it all over again every four years, roughly. So we just did that for our third major time. Basecamp's been around for 12 years. It came out in February 2004. So about 12 years total now. So we're on the third major version. David Kadavy 08:50 That's funny. I guess I hadn't noticed that you reinvent the whole product every four years. Jason Fried 08:55 There's similar themes. So it's a lot like-- think about  cars. We'll take the Porsche 911. Porsche 911 was released in 1963. It's about 52 years old now, but there's been seven generations of the Porsche 911. So every seven years, roughly, they do a new chassis, they do new engines, they do new technology around it. But it's still a Porsche 911. It looks roughly the same. The engines in the back. The driving dynamics are similar. You can identify a 911 that was made today and a 911 that was made 50 years ago. You can tell there's continuity, but roughly every seven years it's an entirely new car. And the same thing is true for like a Honda Accord or a Civic. These lines have been around for decades, but every four, five, six, seven, eight - in cars it's more like five to eight years because it's very expensive to make a new car - they make a new car. It's still an Accord, which means it's a four-door primarily. They have a coupe version too, but it's like a family car. And the Civic's a little bit smaller. They have these themes and these spirits around the things, but they're all new. And so  that's what we do with Basecamp, is that Basecamp today, in 2015, can trace back to base camp classic, which is the first version of Basecamp in February 2004. The themes were similar but the product is reconsidered in a big way every four years, and in between that we just sort of improve the existing version. But then there's a point where you can't pack new ideas onto an old chassis, so we kind of redo the thing from scratch. David Kadavy 10:26 Yeah, that car analogy is interesting. I'm not totally up on the designs of cars, but I imagine that, say a Honda Accord, there's certain values that are portrayed - values about what a car is and what is important in a car being portrayed in that. And then there's all this changing technology, and then there's certain trends maybe that are influenced by other-- Jason Fried 10:47 Exactly. David Kadavy 10:48 --what the drivers are used to. Jason Fried 10:52 Yes. David Kadavy 10:53 That those sort of things change, and so that sort of calls for a total redo. Jason Fried 10:59 Totally. And you think about,  like-- I think just cars are really good metaphors for this because you think about the Corvette, which has been around, I think, since the 50s, and there's like a spirit to that car. It's a two-door sports car, it's kind of a long-nose. There's a spirit to it. And even though they don't all look the same over the years, there's a language and an idea behind the Corvette which stays in the DNA of the car, but the car is redesigned and reengineered completely from the ground up every seven years or something. That's just how that industry-- most industries work that same way. David Kadavy 11:33 Yeah. I mean, they're still positioned, in a way, against other types of cars. The Corvette, it's a different thing from a Camaro, right? It's a different type of person that will drive it and it's different sort of values that person has. Right? Jason Fried 11:48 Yes. So each car has it's spirit-- it's much like-- look, you are not the same person - I'm not even talking, like, personality - you don't share a single cell in common with yourself from  ten years ago. David Kadavy 12:00 Yeah. Jason Fried 12:01 So you're actually-- but you're still David. You're still the same guy. You've changed. Your tastes have changed and your points of view have changed, but you're still you, even though you've been completely reengineered from the ground up in many ways all the time. So there's iterative tweaks, and then at a certain point you're all new. You're actually all new compared to what you were ten years ago. David Kadavy 12:23 Yeah. So let's talk about that. Jason Fried 12:24 That's a little bit of a weird analogy, let's stick to the car one. But that's kind of what we're trying to do here, instead of the alternative, which is typically how software works, which is that it's constantly iterated on. Which is good, but that's when the code base gets really difficult to work on at a certain point, because it gets old and the technologies that you build on are kind of old. It becomes hard to work on, you begin to slow down, and you can't handle brand new ideas because you try and fit them into the current patterns and it's like, "But this won't quite fit anymore." So you kind of shoehorn it in, then you make compromises, and that's how things start to get bad over a certain point  of time. David Kadavy 13:01 Yeah. So let's talk about that DNA, then. Basecamp, for those who aren't familiar, is a project management web app, basically. Jason Fried 13:14 Yes. David Kadavy 13:14 I mean, there's probably-- Jason Fried 13:16 There's iOS and android apps, yeah. All that stuff [inaudible]. David Kadavy 13:19 When you started, it's like your main competitor was maybe Microsoft Project. Jason Fried 13:26 Main competitor has always been the same: email. David Kadavy 13:28 Email, okay. Jason Fried 13:28 Email and habits. David Kadavy 13:31 But when people would think of project management, would they think of email back when you guys were first starting? Jason Fried 13:39 If you ask people even today what their primary method of working on projects with people is, it's still email. So email is still the biggest. Our industry thinks there's certain products of the time that are the big product, but the biggest of them all is email. And that's not a product, it's like a thing. David Kadavy 13:58 It's a protocol. Jason Fried 13:58 Yeah, right. But  that is the thing you're always battling against, is email, phone, in-person habits. That's the thing you're battling mostly against. The biggest thing that you're trying to do is sort of-- there's this idea of non-consumption, which is this concept that there are people out there who work with others, and they need a better way to do that, but they don't know how to do it. They don't use any products to do it yet. I mean, they use products, but they use products that are not built for this purpose, but they just use other things. And they don't even realize that there's something out there that would help them. They're non-consumers. They want to consume. They want something better, but they don't even know something exists. So our industry sometimes thinks that whatever the hot product of the moment is, that everybody uses that. But actually, all things told, a very small slice of people use that, and most people don't use anything. So that's always the biggest  competition in our opinion, is the people who don't use anything. David Kadavy 15:03 I feel like there's a parallel we draw in there between email and what we were talking about with office interruptions. The email is this sort of portal where anybody can interrupt you, and you're providing a space through which everything is about this project that you're working on right now - all the communication that's happening and all that within Basecamp. What is that DNA of Basecamp? Jason Fried 15:32 Here's the thing. So the DNA of Basecamp, there's a couple things going on here. No matter what it is that you're working on, if you have a team there's a few things you need to do. I don't care if you are building a building, or you're working on a small school project, or you are putting together a publication or you're building a website, when you work with people you've got people problems. So you need a way to divvy up and organize the work that needs to get done amongst the group.  Our take on that is to-dos, but let's forget our implementation for the moment and just get back to the fundamentals. So you've got a group of people. You want to do some work together or whatever it is. You've got chunks of work, pieces of work that need to be outlined and divvied up in some way and assigned out. You need a way to hash things out quickly. So sometimes you just need to hash stuff out and go informally back and forth really fast. Sometimes you need to slow down and present something, and think about something, and pitch something, and write a thoughtful post or something and give people a chance to write back in time. So there's moments when you need to make announcements, there's moments you need to hash stuff out quickly. You need to keep track of when things are due and what the major milestones are - what's coming up next, when is thing launching or when are we doing this thing together? So there's some dates around it. There's artifacts. There's files, and there's documents, and there's sketches, and there's PDFs and there's stuff that-- typically you need to keep track of that stuff. Jason Fried 17:00 You want to organize that stuff. You need a place where everyone knows where it is, and where to go to get it and that sort of thing, right? And then finally, you need a way to check in on people. Like, "How's it going?" And, "How are we doing?" And, "Are we doing the right thing?" And, "How do you feel about how we're doing it?" And, "Are you stuck on anything?" Those kind of things. So to me, it doesn't matter the kind of work. When you work with people, those are things, right? Hashing stuff out, divvying up work, dates, artifacts, making announcements, being able to get a hold of people when you need to no matter what their speeds are, that sort of thing, right? So that, to me, is the DNA of what Basecamp's about. It's about understanding how groups actually work together to make progress on something. There's difference too, because there's moments when you're just social and you're just kind of, like, social. You're not trying to make progress there. But when you want to make progress on something, Basecamp comes in and helps you make progress on things with other people. David Kadavy 17:51 Yeah, and I like that you're-- Jason Fried 17:52 It's a collection. Let me-- it's really a collection. That's the the thing that's always set Basecamp apart, is that it's a collection of unique  tools that work together to help a group make progress on something together. There's many ways to approach things. There's a way to piece together a bunch of separate tools, and duct tape them together and try to point at each thing, or there's a way to buy something that kind of tries to do all those things really well in a simple way, and that's kind of our side. We want to give you one thing that you can use to do all these things together with a group, versus you having to go out and shop for a bunch of different solutions, and try to tie them all together and get people on board on five or six different products. David Kadavy 18:35 It sounds like you've been able to really think about the abstract needs that are there and separate that experience from the technology itself. It's not Ajax, to use a very 2002 term [chuckles]. Jason Fried 18:50 Very early, yeah. David Kadavy 18:51 It's not Ajax. It's not about all these individual technologies or something. It is managing these sort of abstract things that are floating in  the ether and making them into something that you can get a handle on. Jason Fried 19:04 And getting your head around it and getting organized around it is a really important part of working together with people. The thing is that everyone can have their own individual messes, but if you bring someone else into your mess they're going to be like, "Woah, I don't know where things are." So you need to have an organized place, a space, a shared place where you can do this kind of work. But yeah, it's not about technologies. It's not even necessarily about individual feature sets, because when I say, "Hash things out quickly," what I actually mean is-- in our implementation is more of like chat. Campfires are now in Basecamp 3. But in five years chat might not be they way to hash things out quickly. There may be another way to hash things out quickly. So, it's not about staying true to a tool set. It's about staying true to the problems you're trying to solve. This is what gives us the opportunity to resolve those in new ways [crosstalk] Use it to [crosstalk] technology at hand. Exactly. Just like the cars that change over time with technology. Jason Fried 20:00 Totally. Yeah. Bluetooth wasn't a thing in cars eight years ago. Now it is. Navigation wasn't a common thing, and now it's in almost every car. So technology moves, ideas move and things you can do change. And that's why I think forcing yourself to reinvent yourself and be willing to look at those technologies and those new options on a regular basis is very viable. David Kadavy 20:23 Now, when I think about you reinventing the product every four years, I can't help but think about how most people would react to doing something like that or the idea of doing something like that. They would be so scared that everybody would be so pissed when you change everything that they'd be afraid to make a change like that. How do you get over that? Jason Fried 20:49 Yeah, it's a great question, and the way to get around that is to, again, get back to people. People do not like to be forced into change.  People don't mind change. People hate forced change. So we never force anyone to switch versions of Basecamp. People who've been using Base-- we have customers who've been using Basecamp for 12 years. Same version. They signed up for Basecamp when it was just called Basecamp. Now it's called Basecamp Classic, which is the original version. We've never forced anyone on Basecamp Classic to move to Basecamp Two and no one on Basecamp Two has to move to Basecamp 3. We've made a commitment to our customers to always maintain every major version of Basecamp forever. So if you're happy with Classic, our definition of new may not matter to you. New doesn't matter to you. Consistency might matter to you-- Jason Fried 21:39 But the new customers, it would be to your detriment to have the original interface with the technology of 2002 or whenever it was-- David Kadavy 21:48 2004, yeah exactly. Jason Fried 21:49 --2004, and somebody shows up and that's what you've got, that would be a problem. David Kadavy 21:53 Totally. So new customers today who go to Basecamp.com will be signed up for Basecamp 3. That's the only thing they can sign up for. The newest, latest,  greatest version of Basecamp we've ever made before. Customers who've been with us from 2004, some of them might still be on Classic if they've chosen to. Some of them might be on Basecamp 2 if they've chosen to be. Up to them completely, entirely. That's how we solve that problem. We don't force change on anybody ever. Jason Fried 22:17 You don't run into situations where that backwards compatibility is just impossible to support? David Kadavy 22:21 We don't support backwards compatibility. Jason Fried 22:23 Maybe I'm using the wrong terminology there, but-- David Kadavy 22:26 If you start on 3 you can't move to Classic, because there's not a future parity. For example in Basecamp 3, you can assign - this is a small example - but you can assign to-dos to many people. In Classic you can only assign to-dos to one person. So if you're in Basecamp 3 and you assign a to-do to six people, and you try to go back to Classic somehow, you'd lose data because we wouldn't know where to-- you can't move backwards in time. Jason Fried 22:50 So you've been doing this for a long time. Basecamp has been around for 12 years in itself. The company has been around-- David Kadavy 22:57 16 years. Jason Fried 22:57 --for 16 years. This  reinventing every four years, is that something that helps you keep it fresh and keep it being something that you want to be doing everyday? David Kadavy 23:08 Yeah, it's for everybody. It's partially for us. It's fun to make something new and it's fun to improve that thing for a while, but at a certain point you want to make something new again. The way we did it in the past was we kept making new products. So we made Basecamp, then we made Backpack, then we made Campfire, then we made Highrise and then we made the job boards. We've made a variety of things over the years. What ends up happening, though, is that making something is actually the easy part. The hard part is that once it's out in the wild you've got to maintain it. You've got customers using it. They have demands, and you've got to provide customer service, and support and all these things. So we love the act of making new things, but we've decided that we want to focus on making one new thing over and over. That's how we keep it fresh for us, also keep it fresh for the market and keep it fresh for customers, but also not ever  upset existing customers by forcing them on to something new that they're not ready for or they don't want to be in. Something I learned early on - and it's sort of a ridiculous revelation because you just expect that you would know this, but it's one of the things you just don't think about. Software companies especially almost never think about this. People are always in the middle of something, right? David Kadavy 24:19 So if I release a brand new version, and they're in the middle of a project and they're trying to work on a client project with somebody, and we release a new version, we push some them on to the new one, they're in the middle of something else. They're not ready to move to this. They don't want their software to change in the middle of their project. So once we realized that, we realized, like, "Okay, that's a deep insight and very important. Our product is not their lives. Their lives is their livelihood. The work that they do for their client is what's important to them, and they don't want their software tool that's aiding them all of the sudden changing on them in the middle, because that's really disruptive and anxiety producing and stuff." So that's why we don't  force anyone to change. You've got to get to those human insights. The thing I've noticed most is that the things that drive people away are fear and anxiety. It's not about, "You don't have this feature. You don't have that feature." It's the fear and anxiety attached to forcing me to shift, or forcing me to change, or forcing me to switch or forcing me to do something I'm not ready for - that's where people really recoil. Jason Fried 25:24 Not having control. David Kadavy 25:23 Yeah. People don't want to be in a situation where someone's changing up underneath them that they rely on. That's a really uncomfortable feeling. It's like an earthquake. You live somewhere. You rely on the ground to be solid. You trust that the ground will be solid. Then one day the ground starts to shake, and that is terrifying because you can't go hide from that. Jason Fried 25:45 Have you experienced a couple earthquakes before? David Kadavy 25:48 I have, and it's terrifying. Jason Fried 25:48 Yeah, I have too. It's terrible. David Kadavy 25:49 Terrifying. Jason Fried 25:50 And they weren't even big ones. David Kadavy 25:52 No. Right. Jason Fried 25:52 It's the worst. David Kadavy 25:53 I'm a Midwesterner, so a small one is a big one for me. But the thing is, if it's really crappy weather-wise outside you can kind of go inside and hide,  but you cannot hide when the earth beneath you moves, and that's a terrible feeling, and that's what software's like to people. When there's this thing they've been relying on that's been consistently working a certain way and all of a sudden it changes on them, that's an earthquake. We don't want to create earthquakes for customers. David Kadavy 26:14 Yeah, especially this things that they're relying upon to help them-- Jason Fried 26:19 Do their job. David Kadavy 26:20 Do their job, do their work, to manage their projects. If I'm using a bad word there, I don't know. Jason Fried 26:25 Totally fine. Actually, what's interesting is we've gone away from the word "project," which maybe we can talk about in a little bit. But yeah, fundamentally, absolutely. People use Basecamp to run projects, and they use it for other things too. Imagine if you're doing work for a client. You're a designer. You do work for a client. You've trained the client on this thing. You've told them this is how it's going to work. This is a client relationship, which is often delicate. They're paying you a lot of money. You might be friends with them, but it's still a delicate relationship at some level. And all of a sudden, this thing you told them was going to work one way, all of a sudden works a different way on Tuesday then it did on Monday. That is a  bad situations, so we don't ever want to put our customers in those situations. David Kadavy 27:04 Right. You've definitely gotten really comfortable over all these years with your particular way of doing things, but I want to step back a little bit further and get an idea of where it all comes from. I'd say that you're probably known for being a contrarian thinker. Would you agree with that? Jason Fried 27:26 Yeah, probably. It's funny because I don't think my ideas are contrarian at all, of course, but against our-- let's call it against our industry, yes. David Kadavy 27:35 Yeah. I think that a lot of people have thoughts from time to time where there's a prevailing wisdom and they think, "Well, that doesn't seem right." But then they think a lot of people-- they bottle it up inside or they don't act upon it. They don't give themselves the permission and the confidence to go ahead and say, "I don't think it should be that way. It should be this other way," and to go ahead with it. I think that that's somethin,  even if you go back and look at the 37signals - which is the former name of the company - 37signals.com/manifesto, there's all these things about, "We're small on purpose," and all these things that are against the prevailing wisdom. "We purposely are not full service," things like that. Jason Fried 28:23 By the way, even that site itself-- actually, that site is the most contrarian thing we've ever done. We're a web design company. There wasn't a piece of work on that site. It was black and white. It was all text. 37 ideas is what that was. If you think about back then - that was in '99 - web design firms, even today-- David Kadavy 28:45 1999 for those who can't remember-- Jason Fried 28:47 Right, 1999, the previous century. David Kadavy 28:50 It was a different century [chuckles]. Jason Fried 28:53 But even today, it's all the same. Basically, agency sites are portfolio sites for the most part, which is like, "Here's our  shining work and here's the work we've been doing. Here's pictures of it," and I get that. We didn't have a single picture of any work that we'd done on that site, and the whole idea was that everyone's work pretty much looks the same. If it's good, it's roughly the same, right? But what sets companies apart and people apart, I think, are the ideas that they have, and most companies don't think they way we thought we thought. And so we want to put our ideas out there to make us appear different and to attract the kind of customers that we want to work with, who were people who'd appreciate this kind of thinking, versus just someone who'd appreciate a pretty picture of a website that we made. That doesn't help us self-select our clients. So that was the idea behind that. David Kadavy 29:38 I think this is something that's so important for people to master, to be able to have a thought that's different from the prevailing wisdom and to give themselves permission to go forth with it. Take us back to 1999 when you decided to make this all text. Was that something-- did you know that it was something different from the prevailing way to do it?  How did you arrive at that and give yourself permission to do that? Jason Fried 30:04 Great question. We knew it was different. We knew no one had never done anything like that before. It's funny, they were almost like tweets or short blog posts. They were just these really short thoughts. We weren't trying to be different. We just realized that we were, and then we're like-- Originally, one of my partners in the business was a guy named Carlos Segura, who's a graphic designer in Chicago. He has a line that says, "Communication that doesn't take a chance doesn't stand a chance." That's his motto, and that drove us early on, which is like, "Let's take a shot. What do we have to lose here? What we actually had to lose is not being ourselves, and that is a bigger loss than being yourself and not getting traction." If we were trying to act like everyone else  then we weren't really being ourselves, and that's the loss. "So let's take a shoot at putting ourselves out there, doing this differently, and let's see who we attract this way. Everyone's fishing with this lure. Let's put a different lure out and see what we attract, and maybe we attract some big fish that no one else knows how to attract, because everyone things the only way to attract this kind of fish is this way." Jason Fried 31:20 And it turned out that we landed a couple big projects, and we've been profitable as a company ever since then because of that. I mean, looking back, it's a bold move, but at the time we just didn't think it was bold. We're like, "We have nothing. We have nothing yet. We have no company yet, so we have nothing to lose. So let's take a shot." It's a lot easier now, in my opinion, to be hesitant and being afraid to take a risk when you have something to lose. Like, "We have something to lose. We've got a great business. We've got a lot of customers. We've got a reputation. We could lose that now," and then you get a little bit tight.  So we've tightened up as a company over the years. I think most companies do. But when you're fresh and brand new, that's the time to take a real shot. Why not, you know? David Kadavy 32:10 It's funny to think about that thought process that you had, because I think-- how old were you then? Jason Fried 32:17 25. David Kadavy 32:19 Maybe around 25 was when I started to wise up to, "Okay, these thoughts that I have in my head that are different from the way other people are doing things, I should do something to pursue those," but I think before that I allowed other people's ideas of what success was, or what it meant to what I should be doing, I think I allowed those ideas to-- I know I did. I know I allowed those ideas to dictate my own actions and put me in situations that didn't make me happy. So did you ever experience that sort of thing where you were maybe making decisions based  what somebody else had decided? Jason Fried 33:02 Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Before 37signals, I was just a freelancer doing website design on my own, and I always referred to "me" as "we." When I was doing proposals I'm like, "We will provide a--" because I always felt like I had to act bigger. I had to act like I was a company. I wasn't a company. I was me. I was just me, and I just thought I had to be something else. I remember at the time-- you've been around for a while, too. You might remember there was something called USWeb, which was like wrapping up all these small web design firms trying to make this big web agency made of-- I don't know if you maybe remember this. I barely remember it. David Kadavy 33:46 I don't remember that. What year would that have been? Jason Fried 33:48 That was like mid-90s, late 90s sort of thing. It was like-- David Kadavy 33:54 Mid-90s I was making web pages on my AOL space and not really-- Jason Fried 33:58 Yeah, but so was I. Anyway,  it's just a thing that didn't go anywhere, but I'm like, "Man, my firm might be acquired by a conglomerate." Like, this weird, stupid shit I was thinking about at the time. David Kadavy 34:14 I remember wanting to work for Razorfish and seeing, "Oh, wow. MTV is a client, and they're doing all these good things." Actually, my thing was Communication Arts magazine. Jason Fried 34:25 Sure, CA. Absolutely. David Kadavy 34:25 As a designer, I would pour through the pages, and I'd write down every firm that was there, and I would go to the city and I would call and try to get an interview. Jason Fried 34:34 I'd do the same thing. Same thing. David Kadavy 34:37 Really? That's interesting. Jason Fried 34:37 Yeah. I'd go through these designing [annuals?] and go, "Man, I wish I could do that kind of work." That's actually how I met Carlos for the first time. David Kadavy 34:41 That's exactly the way I was. Jason Fried 34:44 Yeah. I think most people are that way. I think it's good. I think it's a good start, and then you come into your own at a certain point. I think your mid-20s are actually a really healthy moment for that. Before that I was wide-eyed, and excited, and wanted to act bigger than I was and wanted  to be more professional. This is the thing. I want to be more professional. That's the thing you have when you're fresh out of school - you want to be a professional. "I need to write really long proposals and I need to talk in a certain way. I need to act a certain way. I need to appear bigger." And that's just insecurity, and it's natural. Like, you don't know. What do you know? You're 21, you're 20. You don't know anything yet, right? So you're trying to act. You're an actor, and at a certain point you become yourself. And I think that's when it's formative, is when you begin to realize-- and I realized this at some point. I realized it by accident. I was doing these long proposals because I thought that's what you had to do. Like, 20-page proposals. I remember writing 20-page proposals about-- David Kadavy 35:47 Oh, yeah. I've done a couple of those. Jason Fried 35:47 Right? David Kadavy 35:48 Yeah. Jason Fried 35:49 And you spend-- I don't know. Weeks and all-nighters, and you write these proposals-- David Kadavy 35:53 You don't get the job. Jason Fried 35:53 You don't get the job, right? And then I realized-- first of all, I hate writing 20-page proposals. I think they're a waste of time. Because here's what  happened to me. My parents were doing a kitchen renovation at home, and they were getting these proposals from contractors. I saw them look at them, and all they did was they turned to the last page. Like, "How much is it going to cost and how long is it going to take?" That's all you care about when you get a proposal, because to get a proposal from somebody, you've already vetted them at a certain level. Like, "I'm curious about what they would do for me. I know who they are, so what would they do?" You just want to know, how much is it going to cost and how long is it going to take? So I realized this. I'm like, "I'm doing these 20-page proposals. I'm busting my ass on them. I don't like doing them. It's what you're supposed to do, right? Or is it?" So I started doing shorter, and shorter and short proposals and started winning jobs. At the end of my freelance career I was doing single-page proposals, and I wasn't losing any business over them. I realized, "Holy shit, I don't need to do what everyone else is doing. I thought this is how you had to do it, but you don't have to do it that way." That's where I gave myself permission to go, "Well, what else don't I have to do that everybody else is doing?" David Kadavy 37:01 Okay. This is exactly what I'm looking for. This is the time when you slowly started making the proposals shorter and shorter, and you realized that this thing that other people had told you was so, or somehow you had come to the conclusion was true, was in fact not true. Jason Fried 37:18 It was in fact not true. I don't even know if people told me, or I just thought you-- I don't even know. David Kadavy 37:23 It was more than not true. It was false. Jason Fried 37:24 It was false at a variety of levels. It was false that I had to do that to get jobs. It was false that I had to stay up late and  bust my ass to get work. It was also false that it would make me happy. I was miserable making these long proposals, so I realized if I can eliminate the misery, and I don't have to stay up late, and I can be concise, and get to the point and present my work clearly in a page or two, man, that's a bunch of wins, plus it's a win for the customer on the other side. And I told them that. I'm like, "Look, I know how proposals are. You're just going to look at the--" I said this in my proposal. I'm like, "I know how proposals are. You thumb through a bunch of stuff, and at the end of the day you just look at the price and how long it's going to take, because you've already seen my work because that why you've asked me to submit a proposal. So I don't need to go through all my work again. Here's how much it's going to cost. Here's how long it's going to take." That was my pitch, basically. Like, "Look, let's cut through the bullshit, because that's going to represent how I'm going to work with you. I'm not going to bullshit you. I'm going to be direct and clear, and we're going to work concisely together." It was like an embodiment of  how we're going to work also. That resonated with people. Then I started to realize, "Man, I don't have to be like everybody else. This opens up opportunities." Now, I didn't see all the other opportunities. It was just like a moment where I could poke the way you're supposed to do it and get away with it, and then like, "Oh, maybe I can do this more." So I started doing more things like that. David Kadavy 38:57 There's sort of a sense of mischief to it. It kind of makes things more fun that way. Jason Fried 38:59 Absolutely. David Kadavy 39:00 I know I'm that way where if I get stuck in a rut, I just kind of say, "I'm going to just write this silly, mischievous blog post or email," and suddenly it feels fresh and people respond more. Jason Fried 39:12 Absolutely. This is something I'm actually thinking about here right now. Next year there's some stuff I want to do that doesn't seem like it would be a reasonable thing to do. Like, it would be difficult to justify in the same way  that I think a single page proposal would be difficult to justify until you realize it works, and then you don't have to justify anymore because it becomes true. And so there's a couple things - I'm being very vague here because I don't want to talk about it quite yet because I haven't formed any ideas thoroughly - but there's a couple things I want to do that seem counterintuitive to our own company or our own way of working that I want to ruffle a bit. David Kadavy 39:58 Yeah. So it sounds like you're trying to shake things up a little bit in the office. You don't want to get too complacent in doing things a certain way. Is that going to bring some freshness, or what's driving that? Jason Fried 40:10 Yeah. Well, that's part of the whole-- reinventing Basecamp is part of that. Like, being on this schedule where we have to reinvent Basecamp on a frequent basis. It's not that frequent, but like four years. David Kadavy 40:19 Four years is [inaudible]. Jason Fried 40:20 But yeah, in this industry-- actually, it seems like a long time in some ways, but-- David Kadavy 40:25 Yeah. Jason Fried 40:26 My opinions change over the years, and I have new ideas, and a thought comes to mind, and I've been doing some--  one of the things that's been interesting is I've been doing a lot of in-person demos of Basecamp 3. I've never really done a lot of in-person demos of Basecamp before, and it's been really interesting because I'm seeing some really cool insights that come from followup questions. We've always thought about demoing Basecamp with videos, or tutorials or whatever, right? But what I've realized is that that kind of demo doesn't lead to followup questions, and followup questions are really valuable, because that is where someone requests or looks for clarity. Like, "Wait. What do you mean by that?" Or like, "Wait, how do you do that?" Or, "Wait, how do you think about that?" David Kadavy 41:21 It's kind of like where they ask the question that they were initially too afraid to ask or something like-- Jason Fried 41:26 That's a good way to put it. David Kadavy 41:27 --but they thought was a dumb question before, but somehow-- Jason Fried 41:30 Totally. [crosstalk] That's a great way of putting it.  Yeah, a great way of putting it. Those moments, I'm realizing, are extremely valuable, very valuable. In fact, it's almost all the value. Yet, when you do a lot of self-service stuff you don't get to that value because you don't talk to the person, right? David Kadavy 41:49 See their facial expressions or-- Jason Fried 41:51 Yeah, or just the things that-- it's like a comedian. A comedian writes material, and if they want to do a one-hour show on HBO, they spend a year in the clubs perfecting that material They don't know how audience are-- they think all the stuff they're writing down is funny, but they've got to try that stuff out. You've got to try it out in front of an audience and see what reactions-- and sometimes the audience give a reaction on something that you didn't think was going to be that funny, or they react to the timing or something. You've got to try that stuff out. So what's been interesting is I gave a couple of demos of Basecamp 3. One of the interesting features of Basecamp 3 is-- it's such a basic thing. You can create folders, and you drag things into folders to  organize them your own way, and I got a standing ovation from this one group [chuckles]. I was really surprised by that. It was not something that I thought was going to be like this eureka moment for people, right? But I had to be there to see that, to feel it, to know that there's something there now. Then I can follow up on that and get-- wow. I'm like, "Whoa. Why was that such a big deal for you." "Oh, because--" and then you get the because. Jason Fried 43:06 Every word after because is gold, you know? You don't get that when you just kind of like put material out there that people can do on their own. So I want to do a lot more in-person stuff next year. This is stuff that does not scale. We have well over 100,000 paying customers. We have a very big business. Tons and tons of customers, millions of people use Basecamp. I can't possibly demo it for all of them, right? But  I don't have to. What if I can demo Basecamp to 200 companies a year? What if I could do that? How much better would the product be? How much better off would they be and how much better off would we be? I think it's undeniable that there'd be a deep value there, and I want to think about doing that kind of stuff. Anyway, that's very different from how we've ever done things before. So that's just one of the things I'm thinking about, but I just feel it's really important to shake up your own thoughts from time to time. David Kadavy 44:02 Yeah, and I love this idea of these insights of these things that you are taking for granted in a way for whatever reason - maybe it was an obvious solution to make the folders draggable like that - and then it just blows away these other people. I think that that's something that-- I find that myself just in trying, or I have found that in trying to find my own entrepreneurial voice or deciding what to do in my own career, is that every once in a while somebody  will make an observation. They say, "Oh, you're really good at explaining things," or something like that. And you're like, "Well, wait. I didn't know that." Was there anything like that for you personally that helped you find your own path in the early days of 37signals or something? Things that you didn't necessarily know that you were good at but you later discovered through observations like that. Jason Fried 44:58 Yeah. I'm not sure if it's a specific thing other than like a way of looking at things. So we would do work for clients all the time, oftentimes bigger clients. Like, back in the early days we'd do work for Hewlett-Packard or something. We did a website for them. And I'd be sitting in a meeting with them, and there'd be a lot of people on the table, and they'd be talking stuff through, and they'd be like-- they'd be talking stuff through, putting the ideas through their own process, which often involved a lot of people, followup meetings and a whole timetable to get something  to try something. I'd be like, "Why don't we just try it right now? Why don't we just make the change right now and just look at it together?" That, to me, was like, "Of course. If we want to see how it looks, let's just do it, and then let's look at it." For them, that was just like a revelation. Like, "What? But doesn't it have to be this, and that and approved?" I'm like, "It could be, but it doesn't have to be. Right now, let me pull out my laptop, and I'll make the change, and I'll hit reload and let's look at the page." That came from me being a freelancer. I was working on my own. I had no one else to talk to. No one else to rely on. I had to do it all myself. I did all the HTML and design. There was no process. Jason Fried 46:18 So for me, just growing up that way in the industry, helped me realize that you don't need a lot people to get things done. You don't need a lot of process to try stuff. But a lot of the clients I worked with early on, they couldn't believe-- they're like, "You're a genius." I'm like,  "I'm not a genius at all. That is like the worst label to give me. I'm actually being a simpleton." I'm just being like, "Let's just change it and hit reload." So it wasn't like a thing. It was just a way of cutting through. So what I saw there was that process creates layers, and layers and layers, upon which you then begin to rely. And you don't realize that there was a time, when you didn't have to have all those layers, but you've become used to them and you think then that's the only way. So I think what I was good at early on was coming in and cutting through that stuff, and being like, "We don't need to do all that. Let's just do it this way." And they'd be like, "What? What? You're not allowed to do it that way." David Kadavy 47:15 Again, it goes to this contrarian thinking thing. I'm trying to figure out like how much of it is your DNA and then how much of it was-- was there ever a time--? Huh. I guess what I'm trying to figure out is-- I think that, yeah, I can show a lot of  people, "Here we're talking with Jason Fried. He sees things differently from the way other people do," but somebody can't just flip a switch and start thinking in their own way or gain that confidence. Was there ever a time when you didn't have the confidence to do that, and how'd that happen? Jason Fried 47:53 Oh yeah. I mean, I've always had a world view, I think, which is things are simpler than they appear actually. Which is funny, because they're also way more complicated than they appear. What I mean by that is that things can be simpler. Like, whatever the thing you're trying to solve, there's a simpler version of that. I've just always had that in me, that I'm like, "There's no way this is the only way we can do this. We can do this simpler. We can be clearer about this--" David Kadavy 48:18 What do you think was the earliest example you can think of-- Jason Fried 48:22 Of that? David Kadavy 48:22 --where you did that? Jason Fried 48:29 I remember back before  the web was around-- the way I got started in any of this stuff was I made this program called AudioFile, which was a music organizing tool. It was like iTunes kind of way, way back, but there was no digital music. So it was just like a way to organize your CDs and your tapes. Because I had bunch, and I was loaning them out to friends and never getting them back. David Kadavy 48:51 Tapes, for people who don't know, was this thing that had two reels on it and there was this tape-like thing that had music on it. Jason Fried 48:57 It was actually tape. It was tape that moved [chuckles]. David Kadavy 49:00 It wasn't sticky. Jason Fried 49:01 Right. It was magnetic and weird. Anyway, so I would loan stuff out to friends and never get it back. I didn't know who borrowed it and I didn't know-- so I'm like, "I need to organize this stuff. I need to get my stuff together." So I started looking on AOL, actually, because the internet wasn't around. This was like the early 90s. But AOL was around. There was software boards and stuff where you could download shareware and stuff. I downloaded a bunch of these music apps, because there was lot of other people who had this problem, and I just found them incredibly complicated, and just really  weird, and strange, and ugly and all the things that-- it's still subjective, but my aesthetic was not being satisfied by their aesthetic. I'm like, "I don't know how to do this, but I need something, and I'm going to make one myself." So I just got FileMaker and learned how to do it, and made a much, much, much, much simpler version, because I just made something that I knew I needed. And it wasn't about imagining what everyone else needed, it was just like, "What do I need?" And I was able to cut right to that, and it became very successful product. I made $20,000 off this little shareware thing. David Kadavy 50:08 Just getting checks in the mail and--? Jason Fried 50:10 Yeah, and this was the revelation that I could do this for a living. So I put in the [product?]-- just like it was shareware, which is like, "You could use it for free, but if you like it, send me 20 bucks, and here's my home address." So people started sending me $20 bills, and I'm like, "Holy shit, I can do this." David Kadavy 50:29 Were there moments of doubt along the way? Jason Fried 50:31 Never, because I  didn't care. David Kadavy 50:33 You didn't care. It just happened. Jason Fried 50:33 It was for me. The product was for me. If no one used it, didn't care. And that's how I've always tried to make it, which is like-- we still make Basecamp for ourselves. We need Basecamps to run our own business. I care a lot more now because we have tons of customers and we've got a payroll - 50 people - and the whole thing. But fundamentally it's still we want to make something for ourselves, because we know there's a lot of people out there just like us who need what we need. That's how we look at it. But with AudioFile, the first thing ever, I was in high school or whenever it was, and there was never a moment of doubt because it didn't matter if anyone used it. It was a miracle that anyone did. But I needed it for my own thing, and so it wasn't even about confidence. It was like, "I need it anyway." That's how I kind of learned graphic design, and learned a little bit of software development, and learned usability, and learned about customer feedback and all that stuff I learned through those channels because I'd made my own little software thing. David Kadavy 51:32 So there are no existential crises over like, "Should I do this or that?" Jason Fried 51:40 I think the biggest one we had recently in the company was deciding to go all in on Basecamp, and then what to do with the other products and stuff. That was like an existential thing, but it was like a moment, and there was risk involved and all that stuff. Those moments still come up. I mean, deciding what to do with a product. Do we release it this way or release it that way, and how do we price it? We have those discussions and decisions all the time, but I try not to worry about it too much. I worry about it probably more than I should still, but it's like, "Let's make a call, and move forward and see how it does." David Kadavy 52:17 All right. I've got a few questions that are a little more canned questions as we wrap up. What's the biggest compromise that you've had to make in your career to have the success that you have? Jason Fried 52:30 Well,  the biggest compromise. That's a really great question. I've never been asked that question. I love when I've never been asked a question before. Those are great questions. So I made a compromise-- I'll talk about inside the business, and this is interesting because it turned out to be a great thing. So David, who's my business partner-- I'd had two partners originally in 37signals and then they both left, and so it was just me. And taking on another partner was a compromise in some ways, because it's, to me, like, "I'm running the show now, and now I'm going to bring someone else in and someone else's opinions are going to matter at that level." So it was like-- David Kadavy 53:19 And David, by the way, could be called a contrarian thinker as well, right? Jason Fried 53:24 Absolutely. David Kadavy 53:25 So lots of opportunities for you to disagree. Jason Fried 53:27 Yeah, and we do disagree. We still disagree deeply on certain things. We agree on most things, and then there are some things that are on the edges that we disagree on deeply, which is really healthy, and that's my point. Sometimes it feels like I have to give-- it would be easier if I could just do whatever I wanted, right? But the company wouldn't be better, and that's what I've come to realize, and I realized it pretty early. I'm just talking about the moment of thinking on taking on another partner, again, was this moment where I have to make compromises, and it turns out that compromises are actually really damn good things to make sometimes. But at the time I just remember thinking, "I've got it all now." And this actually includes ownership in the company. I owned a 100% of the company, and David came on as a partner and now he owns a piece. He owned more and more over time. Looking back on it, it's one of the best decisions I've ever made, but I just remember, going back, thinking about-- David Kadavy 54:28 It was a point of tension, right? Jason Fried 54:29 Yeah, absolutely. Internally. David Kadavy 54:30 It could have gone either  way. Jason Fried 54:32 It could have gone either way. Also, I talked to my dad about it, and my dad's always been someone who's like, "Never have a partner in business. Never take on a partner because a lot of them dissolve and it gets really messy and horrible," and I've been really fortunate to always be able to work with great people. But this is not a compromise I've considered recently. I'm thrilled with how things have turned out. But I just remember at the moment really feeling like I'm taking-- David Kadavy 54:57 And the two of you had worked together before that point. It wasn't just blindly going into this partnership. Jason Fried 55:02 No. Yeah, we'd worked together, and I actually encourage people to do that. I hired David-- David Kadavy 55:06 Like dating before getting married. Jason Fried 55:07 Yeah, absolutely. And I hired David as a-- David was still in school when I first met him, and I hired him. He only had ten hours a week to give me as on a contract basis to build Basecamp. Actually, before that we were working on some client work together as a contractor, because we didn't have any programmers on staff and he was the first programmer I had ever worked with. This client hired us to build an intranet for them and we're like, "We can do the design,"  and they're like, "Well, we want you to do the back end too," and I didn't know how to do that. I found David, and he did it with us. Anyway, we had experience working together on multiple levels, but it's still-- like, the moment you decide to bring someone into your business, as the remaining founder, it's a difficult moment. Even though [crosstalk]. David Kadavy 55:58 I [?] it myself. I own 100% of my business, and it would be kind of agony to make a decision like that. Jason Fried 56:07 Totally. And I think there's still times-- I'll speak for David. I'm guessing David feels the same way, that there's times David would just like to do things his own way and there's times I'd like to do things my own way. But the fact that we can't do that and we discuss these things with each other, we end up with something better. But there's also, of course, frustrating moments for everybody in every relationship. I mean, it's a relationship, right? And that's cool, but it is important, I think, when you--  I think a lot of entrepreneurs these days look for founders. They're like, "I need a co-founder. I need a co-founder. I need a co-founder." So they just go out and try and find one. You've got to date someone first, basically, for a while. I really think that's important. Because people are complicated, money is complicated, and people and money together is extremely complicated. There are few things in the world that are more complicated than that, and that's the kind of complication you're getting yourself into when you take on a partner in a business. David Kadavy 56:59 Yeah, it's almost like this commodity approach to something that's so personal, or a person. Co-founders. Like, "Oh, I'm just going to grab some milk at the store." Jason Fried 57:11 Yeah, it's not that way. David Kadavy 57:13 "I'm going to go grab a co-founder." Jason Fried 57:14 It's not that way. Especially if you're in a business 50/50 or something, like a lot of people do. They start out co-founder for 50/50. Actually, 50/50 is the worst number in business. There needs to be tiebreakers. But anyway, that's another topic. But anyway,  as far as compromises - to get back to that - I think at the moment it was a major compromise that I had to get over, but I'm so glad that I did. But it was a big moment. David Kadavy 57:41 Yeah. Well, that's a great one. I'm so flattered to have asked you a question that you hadn't been asked before [chuckles]. Jason Fried 57:45 I love that. David Kadavy 57:47 I'm sure you've been asked a lot of questions. What was the last book that you read that changed the way that you saw  something? Jason Fried 57:52 A great questions too. I typically do not like business books. I find them boring and too long, but I read something recently which I don't even consider to be a business book. A book called-- David Kadavy 58:03 It doesn't have to be a business book, by the way. It could be about-- Adrian, who I talked to, said he read a book about ants. Jason Fried 58:11 Totally. And I know that book, and he told me about it and it's on my list. But just being honest about it, the last thing I read that really changed my mind on something happened to be a business book. David Kadavy 58:23 Got you. Jason Fried 58:23 Although, actually there's-- can I give you two answers? David Kadavy 58:26 Yeah, absolutely. Jason Fried 58:27 Okay. So one of them was a business book called Turn the Ship Around, which is a wonderful book by this guy named David Marquet, who  was a captain on a nuclear sub, and he was brought in to turn the worst sub in the Navy around. Like, turn it from the worst sub in the Navy to the best, and the way they measured this was sailor satisfaction, people who wanted to sail on that ship again. There's a variety of things. I don't remember all of the details, but it was like-- let's say there was 100 of them. It was number 100. The worst. David Kadavy 58:56 Yeah, wow. Jason Fried 58:57 And they brought him in to make it great, and he did it by doing something extremely contrarian. In the military it's all about orders. You give orders. Business is often structured a lot like military. The orders come from the CEO and we all follow the orders, right? And he realized, "Look, there's 800 people on this ship. I'm one of those 800. If I'm the one getting orders, then there's only one brain on the ship. It's mine. What a terrible waste to have 800 brains  but only one of them has to work, and everyone else just does what I say. That is a waste." So he decided not to give any orders, which is something the military-- you don't do. It's the opposite of what you do. The only order-- David Kadavy 59:47 This sounds like a great book. Jason Fried 59:47 It's a wonderful book and it's a great story, and he tells it. It's not a business book at all, by the way. It's not at all. But it's sort of like-- David Kadavy 59:54 Lots of parallels. Jason Fried 59:54 Tons of parallels. But it's not a business book. He talks about how the only order he reserved for himself was the order to fire a weapon that could kill somebody. So if they had to fire a torpedo, that was still on him. Everything else-- what he did was, he said-- and it took him a while to make this work, which is what's really cool about the book is he is very honest about the failings of it initially. After he enacted the system, everything in his bones told him to step in and fix these problems, but he's like, "No, I got to let this settle out the way I want it to." Anyway, was that people were not-- so the way that it typically worked  is people would come to him, and they'd say, "Captain, what should I do?" Or whatever it is, and he'd be like, "Turn this ship 30 degrees starboard," or whatever. I don't know. They'd be like, "Aye, aye captain," and they'd go do it. He'd give the order. But what he wanted people to do instead was to come to him and say, "I intended to turn the ship 30 degrees," and then he could okay that. But the point is that his okay would just-- they're already saying what they're going to do. They have to, in their mind, already know what they're going to do. They can't come to him to ask him what to do. They have to come to him and tell him what they intend to do. David Kadavy 61:12 They have to go through that whole mental process of taking it through which is-- Jason Fried 61:15 "Because if he says yes, I've got to do this now." David Kadavy 61:17 Yeah. Jason Fried 61:16 "And I came to him with the idea." So he got people to come with intent-- David Kadavy 61:20 Accountability there. Jason Fried 61:21 Totally, and think it through and come with intent. David Kadavy 61:25 And ownership [crosstalk]-- Jason Fried 61:25 And that changed everything. Totally. And they started thinking. It took a while because it was weird at first, and this is part of  the thing, is whenever you enact something new at a company, it's very easy to fall back on, "This isn't going to work. This is too weird." But he talked about the process of getting over that and giving it space and distance to see if it would work, and it turned out that it worked and became the best ship in the navy. David Kadavy 61:47 That's a great recommendation. Jason Fried 61:49 It's a wonderful book. David Kadavy 61:50 I will read that book. Jason Fried 61:50 He's a wonderful writer and a very honest storyteller. So there's that book, and the other book is a book which has the cheesiest cover ever and also a very cheesy title. It's called the Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living, and it's like the cheesiest-- the book cover is someone doing a cartwheel in a field. David Kadavy 62:09 Stress-Free Living. Jason Fried 62:11 It's horrible. But it's this guy-- David Kadavy 62:13 Made by the Church of Scientology? Jason Fried 62:14 It looks like it would be, but it's actually the Mayo Clinic, which is like the world's best hospital. This guy who wrote it is a doctor there who sort of unlocked a couple of really interesting truths about the brain and how to reduce stress in your life,  and it's fascinating. It changed my life in terms of-- I haven't mastered the techniques, but they've influenced me greatly. The number one thing I'll tell you about it is that basically there's a sense-- what he's realized - and different religions and theologies have come to similar conclusions, but he's trying to make this very practical - is that there's two modes of the mind. There's the default mode and the focused mode. The focused mode is when you're working. He talks about when you're really into something, it's all you're thinking about, and you're cruising and you're nailing it, right? But when you're not focused and you're wandering, your mind tends to wander towards worry. It tends to wander towards-- you start having these thoughts in your head about the things you should be doing, the things you're not doing, and, "What's going to happen if I do this?" And, "Oh my God, global warming. We're all going to die." You just start-- because evolutionarily, you're programmed to do that, because if you just-- David Kadavy 63:31 It's amygdala taking over. Jason Fried 63:32 Yeah. It's like, "There's a tiger who's going to kill me, and I've got to be wary." But he's like, "In the modern world, most people don't have those things anymore." We're pretty safe. Not everywhere, but most places. So you've got to get your mind off the default mode, which is the wandering mode, and back into focus. So he helps you figure out ways. Some people do meditation. He's like, "Meditation's a wonderful thing if you have all this time to commit to it, and learn and really master it--" David Kadavy 63:59 Is that something you've tried? Jason Fried 64:00 I have, and I've never been able to do it very well. So this really spoke to me, because he's like, "I think meditation is a wonderful technique, but it's not a practical technique for most people." In fact, a lot of meditation's about just letting your thoughts come and go, and that's when you have a lot of the bad thoughts. It's very hard to really, really master that technique. So anyway, I'm not going to get into deeply, but the book's wonderful. It's really, really approachable, and there's just some really good fundamental things that have sort of changed my way of dealing with those moments when I race  towards bad thoughts, how to deal with those in a practical way. Anyway, those two books I highly recommend. David Kadavy 64:39 This is my first time asking this one. Do you make your bed? Jason Fried 64:44 No. I sometimes throw my bed. Like, I kind of just flop the sheets so it looks made up. But no, never been into that. David Kadavy 64:57 Just, one of these things I'd heard over and over again is, like, "You should make your bed," and I started doing it. Jason Fried 65:06 It's like a thing you just-- David Kadavy 65:08 It's one of these things I never did when I was a kid because it was like, "It's such a waste of time, mom. I'm not going to make my bed." Jason Fried 65:12 The reason why I don't do it is because I don't like made beds. When I go to a hotel the first thing I do is I tear the bed up. I don't like them-- David Kadavy 65:20 I kick sheets from under. I hate having my feet trapped. Jason Fried 65:22 Me too. I don't like things tucked in and tight that way. I like it to be semi-presentable on a certain level, but I don't  go through the details. I certainly don't tuck things in. David Kadavy 65:34 Yeah. You maybe flatten it out a little bit or something. Jason Fried 65:36 A little bit. Sometimes, but not all the time. David Kadavy 65:38 So it's not all just a bunch of-- Jason Fried 65:39 A flop. Yeah, floppy. David Kadavy 65:41 Yeah, just flop it. When have you left money on the table? Jason Fried 65:49 All the time. David Kadavy 65:50 And what did you get in return? I guess the question I'm really asking is, what sort of values have you guided-- because money is a certain value, and then there are other values. What are the values that have guided your decision making? Jason Fried 66:06 I've never ever been someone who's been interested in squeezing the last dime or penny out of anything. I don't find that to be interesting at all. I don't find extreme optimization to be interesting, like, "How can we move the numbers by .5%? Because there's money out there that we're not--" That doesn't do it for me, and also I feel like there's a moment where - this is very non-scientific - you're doing well enough.  It's about enough. And we continue to make efforts to grow the business revenues, and we always have every year. Our revenues are higher than the previous year. Our profits are greater than the previous year. I'm a fan of that level of growth, but I'm not a fan of trying to bust our ass to make 10% growth if naturally we can just do 8. If we can just do 8, I just don't need 10, you know what I'm saying? I just don't need that, so-- David Kadavy 66:57 That last 2% is what ruins your life [chuckles]. Jason Fried 67:02 Exactly, and so I've just realized that, "Hey--" I'm just making numbers here. "If we can do 5% growth, I'm actually pretty happy with that." We do more than that, but what if we did just do 5% every year forever? That's pretty damn good still. That's wonderful. Fine. What if we could do 20% with a simple change? I'd love that, but I'm not gonna bust my ass to try and go from 5 to 6. That just doesn't interest me. So those kind of things don't interest me. What interests me is having--  I do believe in creating cushion. So I do like to have room. I don't like to feel like we're so tight that payroll would be a problem. That is something I've never had to deal with, and I don't want to deal with that. So I always want to create very healthy margins and lots of room to try to experiment and not struggle through those things. I've always worked that way, but I've never looked at the numbers and felt like I need to move the numbers in a meaningful way by squeezing. So I'm not a numbers-driven CEO in terms of like, "There's got to be a way to pick up more," but I'd also think that there is plenty more to pick up, and I'm interested in picking it up as an exercise, but not because I feel like we must. That's kind of how that happens. David Kadavy 68:32 What do you feel  like you get in exchange? Jason Fried 68:33 By the way, I'm also big fan of just profit. So getting back to that, numbers for me have never been about top line growth or revenue. It's about profit, because profit to me is food, air and water for a company and it allows the company to continue indefinitely, and that's sort of what I want. Revenues do not do that, profits do. So I'm very big in the profit generation and not just trying to grow. Companies are like, "I want to get to $700,000,000 in revenues so we're worth $44,000,000,000." If they're only making $3,000,000 off all of the effort that goes into making [?], that doesn't interest me. Anyway, that was just an aside there, but I forget what else you were saying. David Kadavy 69:15 What do you feel like you get in exchange for leaving that money on the table? Jason Fried 69:19 A lot less stress. A lot less worry. Those things. And also just, I think, time back, and also a focus on more important things, like taking care of people.  We do a lot of really interesting things for employees here that, if I was financially driven, I couldn't justify these expenses. We do some very expensive things for employees. Above and beyond salary, above and beyond benefits, but just other things. I don't need to go into them specifically, but they don't make sense from a financial standpoint, but they make sense to me as someone who wants to create great experiences for employees who spend their days working for me and I get to work with them. So those are the things you get when you don't worry about those other things. David Kadavy 70:16 Do you have a final message for our listeners? Any parting words that you'd like to give them? Jason Fried 70:22 Well, tell me about the listeners. Who are the listeners? Tell me about the audience. David Kadavy 70:26 The audience. Well gosh, I don't know. You've really stumped me with that question, Jason [chuckles].  You know, I'm bringing in people like you, and the reason why you're going to be the first guest on this podcast is because you're somebody who has played by your rules and you have very clearly worked to achieve your own definition of success, which the evidence abound in this interview, I think. I'd like for people to see, through you, parallels in their own life. Not for them to do the same thing that you're doing, but for them to give themselves permission to listen to whatever contrarian voice might be in their head or whatever new way they might have of seeing something, and to give themselves permission to go forth with it. Jason Fried 71:22 If that's the sort of the goal of the show, I think the most important thing - and it took me a while to realize this in my own life - is just to be completely true to your self and recognize  that you've got to get to know who you are and then you've got to just live that life. I don't mean give up. That's not what I mean by, "Just live that life," but what I do mean is that if you believe in doing things your way and it doesn't compute with the rest of the world, do things your way, because you know yourself and that's how you want to live. If you want to take a certain chance and everyone else thinks you're crazy but you believe in it, then do it. You really have to get to know yourself and answer to yourself, versus letting other people define your own limits and your borders. It's a little self-helpy, which I don't like about it, but it's really true. You've got to get to know yourself. Something I hear from people when I speak, they're like, "Oh, I want to be like you guys." I'm like, "No, you don't. You want to be like you." You want to be like you, because  acting is hard. Acting makes you have to hold a bunch of things in your head about a different state of the world that is not natural to you. Once you stop acting, then everything becomes a lot easier. You may succeed and you may not, but at least you're being honest and true to yourself. That is the most important thing. David Kadavy 72:49 I can totally relate to that because I know, sitting across from you, you're somebody who I followed online for so long, and I was always watching what you were doing, and reading what you wrote and things. Eventually I had to find my own way of doing things. I know I'm not Jason Fried. I'm not going do things the same way that Jason Fried does things. Jason Fried 73:08 Yeah, and you shouldn't. You shouldn't. You should do things the way you do things. I think there's a lot of copying in our industry. I think there's a lot of people who try to be someone else. This is probably not even just in our-- I think this just in the world, right? I think the earlier you realize that acting and playing a part is really  hard but being yourself is really easy, then you should take the easier road. There's nothing wrong with that, and it's actually the more honest road, and I think that you'll ultimately be happier at the end of the day. So that's my advice to people. David Kadavy 73:43 That's great parting wisdom for everybody. Thanks so much for meeting with me. It's been a huge honor, and I think it's going to be a huge help to a lot of the listeners out there. Thanks so much. Jason Fried 73:54 Thank you. Let me say this, too. I think your show has a lot of legs, because you're a really good interviewer, and you have really good, deep questions and original questions. So I'm really excited to hear all your future interviews. David Kadavy 74:05 Hearing that from you is fantastic. Thanks so much, Jason. Jason Fried 74:08 You bet. Thanks. [music] David Kadavy 74:17 So there we have it. Before I go I've got to ask, do you like books? If you do, I'd love to send you my book recommendations. About 90% of them will be nonfiction on subjects spanning from biographies to neuroscience. Just go to kadavy.net/reading/, and make sure you put one more trailing slash on the end of that URL. Sign up, and you'll get my first set of recommendations right away. You'll be supporting this show if you buy any of those books through the links in the email. This has been Love Your Work, and I'm David Kadavy. The theme music for this show is See In You, performed by the Album Leaf, courtesy of Sub Pop Records. Love Your Work is a production of Kadavy Inc.    

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  • Episode 10: Virgin America

    · 00:48:13 · Acquired - A Podcast About Technology Acquisitions & IPOs

    Ben and David deviate entirely from the stated purpose of the show, tackling this non-technology acquisition that is so recent, we have no idea if it went well yet. But, the April 2016 acquisition of Virgin America by Alaska Airlines was so fascinating, we had to do it! Items mentioned in the show: Louis C.K. - Everything is Amazing and Nobody is HappyAlaska Acquires Virgin America Investor Deck“Measuring The Moat” Paper - Michael J. MauboussinBusiness Adventures - Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street"The Carve Out":Michael Mauboussin: "The Success Equation:Untangling Skill and Luck" | Talks at Google Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or just-plain-hilarious transcription errors)Ben:                 I should see what episode this is going to be.David:              Ten.Ben:                 Ten. Easy.                        Welcome to Episode 10 of Acquired, the podcast where we talk about technology acquisitions that actually went well. I am Ben Gilbert.David:              I’m David Rosenthal.Ben:                 And we are your hosts. Today, we come to you with an acquisition that is actually not a technology acquisition, but something that David and I were inclined to talk about anyway because we both sort of have a little romantic fascination with anything involving airplanes, and this is particularly interesting.                        Today we’re going to be talking about Alaska Airlines acquiring Virgin America right here in our own backyard in Seattle. Before we get into the acquisition history and facts, I wanted to remind you that you can sign up now at Acquired.fm to get our episodes delivered via email. We also would really, really, really appreciate it if you could rate us on iTunes. It will help us grow the show and expand what we can do with it from productions to new topics and guests.                        Now, with that out of the way, David, you want to dive into acquisition history and facts?David:              Indeed, yeah. This will be a fun one. Listeners, let us know what you think. Don’t worry, we’re not changing the topic of the show, but we thought we’d have some fun and analyze a very different industry than technology.Ben:                 Yeah, and not to mention the fact that it’s not a tech acquisition. There is technology involved, but the way we’re kind of breaking the mold into this one too is this just happened last month.David:              Yeah.Ben:                 Or this month actually.David:              A couple of weeks ago.Ben:                 Yeah. So this is something where it’s going to be highly speculative, but I think it’s going to be a fun ride.David:              All right, with that. So, Virgin America was actually founded in 2004 by Richard Branson and then had to go through a whole series of machinations to end up finally launching their airline service in the US not until 2007. Over those three years, a whole bunch of things happened. So one, it turns out that due to some crazy laws, US domestic airlines cannot have foreign ownership greater than 25 percent of the company.Ben:                 Crazy.David:              Crazy. So, Branson and Virgin had to basically sell off 75 percent of the company before they could even have a hope of operating.Ben:                 It’s wild. I think at that point, when they were first starting, it was Virgin USA even and they rebranded.David:              It was later that they rebranded to Virgin America. So, Branson sells 75 percent of the company to a couple of hedge funds.Ben:                 And licenses the Virgin Brand to Virgin America, so that Virgin America doesn’t even own Virgin that’s painted on their own airplanes.David:              Yup. There was talk at various points in time about ditching Virgin, the name, would that help get regulatory approval earlier, faster. Craziness. Anyway, they finally clear all the regulatory hurdles, they buy some aircraft, and they start operations in San Francisco with SFO as their hub. They launched in 2007. Things go fairly well. They don’t die at least like a lot of startup airlines, and they actually have some major technology-related innovations. So, in 2009, Virgin actually becomes the first airline to offer Gogo in-flight wireless, in-flight Wi-Fi, which is that’s hard to imagine now.Ben:                 As Louis C.K. says, “It’s magic and it’s the newest thing I know that exists.”David:              I still hate it now – the random, you know, rare times when you end up on a plane without Wi-Fi.Ben:                 Sorry.David:              They also are the first airline, I believe, to install in-flight seat back interactive touch screens for everybody all throughout the whole plane.Ben:                 Not to mention purple afterglow light.David:              Not to mention nightclub-inspired lighting. For our listeners who haven’t flown Virgin America, they probably have no idea what we’re talking about.Ben:                 Yeah, I guess it’s pretty West Coast, and anybody listening in the Bay Area has definitely flown it since they’re hubbed out at SFO.David:              So, Virgin actually ends up going public having an IPO in November 2014 and then not that long later where about 18 months since then, a bidding war erupts for the company between Alaska which ended up buying them and had rumored to be interested in the company, in Virgin, for a long time and JetBlue. Then Monday morning, April 4, Alaska announces that they have agreed to acquire Virgin for $2.6 billion, which was a 47 percent premium to the Virgin stocks closing price, the previous price at about an 80 percent premium to where the stock was before rumors came out that a bidding war was happening.Ben:                 Yeah, this is the first red flag for me. I mean, I think that…David:              Basically, a massive premium.Ben:                 Yeah, yeah. Anytime you see a spike like that, you start to dig in to why, and I think we’ll talk a little bit more about kind of the way that industry has shifted. But with all the consolidation, the only way that an airline can really compete with the big guys is to be big themselves, and the big guys being United, Delta, American, and Southwest.David:              Which itself started as a little guy.Ben:                 Very true. I think that’s like the typical low end disruption case study. That’s a great business and a really interesting story on its own. But, I mean, clearly, Alaska in trying to compete, there’s a limited number of airlines that it could buy. JetBlue clearly identified the same opportunity and the result is this very, very inflated purchase.David:              Yeah. So when the dust clears and all is said and done, basically the total enterprise value of the deal ends up being about $4 billion, if you include the debt and the aircraft leases that Virgin had.Ben:                 Which is fascinating because normally when we talk about these acquisitions, we would say a $2.6 billion purchase in cash and stock or maybe an all stock deal, this was an all-cash $2.6 billion purchase plus taking on that $1.4 billion of leases on your planes and debt. What a ridiculous capital-intensive, high fixed cost industry air travel is.David:              That’s four Instagrams, Ben.Ben:                 Wild.David:              Then perhaps the craziest part about this deal is, again, relative to the technology sector, so it was announced a couple of weeks ago on April 4, 2016, not expected to close until early 2017 at the latest. Huge amount of regulatory review that still has to happen here.Ben:                 We’ve actually precedent I think in the American Airlines – US Air merger where there was regulatory troubles and it almost didn’t go through.David:              Yeah. The government extracted huge concessions from those two airlines when they merged.Ben:                 So, we may be doing a follow-up at some point in the future if by 2017 we don’t see a joint airline here.David:              And our listeners don’t revolt against us, we’re talking about airlines.Ben:                 It’s true.David:              Okay.Ben:                 Well, the other really interesting thing here is in just talking about the deal price, Alaska Airlines does not have $2.6 billion in cash to make this purchase. If I have my numbers right, as of November 2015 according to their earnings, they had $88 million in cash and $1.1 billion in marketable securities. So, I believe what happened here is in the bidding war with JetBlue, Alaska has incredibly clean books. They’re one of the few airlines that actually is investment grade debt.David:              Very low debt load. Actually, investment grade debt, which for listeners who aren’t in the… come from the investment banking world basically means that the amount of debt that Alaska has is small enough relative to its earnings power that people think it’s very, very unlikely they’ll go bankrupt especially for an airline. No other airline is rated as highly, basically which means that people who don’t think there’s a good chance they’ll go bankrupt.Ben:                 Yeah. So, is there a chance then, that the way I sort of understand it is JetBlue sort of had to cry uncle because they didn’t have the amount of debt available to them.David:              Didn’t have the borrowing power to be able to…Ben:                 Make the purchase.David:              Yeah, reach this price. But now, this is going to totally transform Alaska, like they’re going to take out another $1.5 billion, perhaps plus with debt.Ben:                 To make the, well, yeah, I mean to make the purchase and then to take on the debt and leases that…David:              Virgin was also a fairly low debt load airline as far as airlines go. But still, it’s changing the capital structure of the combined company, pretty significant.Ben:                 Yeah.David:              Great. So, we move on to acquisition category.Ben:                 Yeah, it sounds good to me. Why don’t I start with that?                        Moving on to the acquisition category, this, to me, doesn’t fit our mold necessarily of people, technology, product, business line or other, and I guess if everything fits in other. In some ways, it’s a business line. They picked up a brand that people have tremendous affinity for and access different customers with…David:              That’s assuming they keep the brand.Ben:                 Well, yeah, and that’s something we should talk about. Ultimately, though, what I think they’re acquiring here is capacity. They identified the opportunity that they wanted to be the West Coast airline and right now, they don’t have a meaningful presence in California. They’re hubbed out of Seattle, they have very little in San Francisco, and even less LAX presence. This gives them major, major capacity to be the West Coast airline.David:              Yeah, basically, if you look at it, if you think about airline route maps that you see on the back of the cards and the back of your seats.Ben:                 It makes your head spin, but it’s super cool.David:              It makes your head spin but it’s usually, you know, it’s like the spider web that emanates from a few major cities. The Alaska hub at Seattle and there’s a huge spider web coming out of Seattle to every city in America and in several international destinations and then very few route pairs from other cities. Virgin is the same thing but just from SFO.Ben:                 So, in your opinion then, well, before we get into that, how would you categorize?David:              So, yeah, actually we hadn’t discussed this beforehand, but I was going down the same path you are and say in our framework, this would fit closest to a business line, like buying the local San Francisco airline and the local Seattle airline.                        But I actually think the best categorization is this is industry consolidation, which is in a super mature old school industry like the airline industry, very different from technology, you get these periods of consolidation where players merge with each other because they feel like they need greater scale to compete. And I think that’s what we’re seeing happen here.Ben:                 Yeah, and this is an interesting time to go into how Alaska makes the case to their investors for this. There’s this great investor deck that they have on their website where they talk about why their investors should feel comfortable with this purchase. And they say that “we’re bullish on the industry.” From 1977 to 2009, the industry lost $52 billion.David:              The airline industry is notorious for…Ben:                 Oh, yeah.David:              I mean, we should talk about there’s a great, great… I almost included this as my carve-out for the week, but I’m going to do something else because I knew we’d talk about it on the episode.                        There’s a great paper that was written by Michael Mauboussin and his team who’s a great investor. He was head of Legg Mason which is a large mutual fund and at Credit Suisse for a long time. I believe he’s now back at Credit Suisse. He’s written a number of great books. He’s also a professor at Columbia Business School, I believe. He wrote this great paper called Measuring the Moat. It’s all about the concept of the moat, you know, as an investor is sort of the most important thing. Warren Buffet emphasized it in Berkshire Hathaway and Charlie Munger emphasized the moat as sort of the most important thing they look for. And it uses the airline industry as an example of a terrible industry that has destroyed so much economic value and has no moat.Ben:                 Yeah, and this is… I’m not sure if this… I think this is still true. It was at least true a couple of years ago. If you look at the airline industry since its inception and you look at basically a profit loss statement for an aggregate of every single airline, it’s lost value, like it’s actually not been profitable if you look at every single.David:              The entire industry, yeah, yeah. And not just lost value but lost a huge amount – a huge amount of capital has been destroyed in this industry.Ben:                 So, they said that 1977 to 2009, they’ve lost $52 billion as an industry. It is interesting that people continue to invest in it, yet from 2010 to 2015 over the last six years, it generated…David:              It’s been good times in the airline.Ben:                 Yes, $45 billion of value.David:              We’ll get into that.Ben:                 So some of the things they cite are… or Alaska cites to their investors are “a fundamentally changed industry structure.” That, I think, is largely… I mean, when you look at the consolidation that’s going on they’re basically saying, “Okay, the fragmentation is gone and right now the industry structure is that there’s four relatively perfect substitutes and these big ones that are all, you know, you’re going to get treated sort of like cattle when you’re in coach.”David:              And you’ve seen in the past few years, I believe the first was United and Continental merged. You’ve seen all the major legacy domestic airlines consolidate and merge, and then US Air and American merged. So you’ve got this consolidating power structure of the industry that actually represents, between the top four airlines, 80 percent of all US domestic airline traffic.Ben:                 Yes, so it’s interesting. I went and grabbed all their market caps today. Highest right now is Southwest, is a $30 billion company. Delta is higher at $36 billion, Southwest at 30, American at 25, United at 21. Then if you look at… Alaska is $10 billion without Virgin. Virgin is 2.5 and JetBlue at 7. So if you just look at those players, $132 billion effectively market cap for the industry, and when you think about Apple as a $590 billion market cap company, you start to understand like, “Wow!” The whole industry here is, you know, if we’re looking at this any given airline and comparing it against one of these mega technology companies that we usually talk about on the show, the airline companies just don’t create that much value.David:              Yeah.Ben:                 Or maybe more accurately, they don’t capture that much value.David:              Yeah, and it’s super interesting. I’m sure we’ll get into throughout the show the supply chain of the airline industry is fascinating. You’ve got basically a duopoly that are direct suppliers to the airlines in Boeing and Airbus that make the big passenger jets. They have a huge amount of power over the airlines because while there is two of them, you could go from one to the other, it’s not like you can say it’s not like the airlines can be like a Google and be like, “Oh, we’re going to become a full stack company and we’re just going to obsolete you and we’re going to make our own cloud,” or whatever, like, the airlines can’t make their own airplanes.Ben:                 Yeah. Getting good at servers is different than getting good at airplanes.David:              Yeah.Ben:                 Yeah. So getting back to the Alaska, reasons they’re bullish on the industry, the industry structure is consolidated. This is sort of a BS bullet point, I think, but returns focused leadership teams, that’s like tuning your own horn and claiming competency.                        Constrained airport real estate – this one’s sort of interesting. I guess they’re saying like we reached a saturation point right now where we’re not building more airports, the airports aren’t getting bigger, and over the last since 1960, that’s been the case. Now, it’s all about vying for space at the existing airports that we have, and then the capacity acquisitions starts to make a lot of sense.David:              Yeah. There are only so many gates.Ben:                 Right, right. Growth in leisure travel, which is interesting to pick apart and think about why that might be, and then new revenue sources. I think we can all grape about how we are well aware of all the revenue sources that airlines can…David:              Charging for bags.Ben:                 Food and entertainment.David:              I mean, some of these are new services they’ve added. Virgin and Alaska have both been kind of the leading edge here. The in-flight Wi-Fi and entertainment and movies and snacks that are actually edible.Ben:                 And co-branded with Tom Douglas. It’s always so funny to get on those planes and see how far – for those of you not from Seattle, he’s like the big restaurateur in town – to see how far he’s leveraged that brand. Now that I open the little snack pamphlet in American Airlines, there’s Tom smiling at me on the front of it.David:              I love it.Ben:                 So artisanal. So, yeah, from a category perspective, I think absolutely I would chalk it up to capacity.David:              Yup. The other point I want to explore here a little bit is there’s a really interesting context for this deal that people in Seattle might be aware of, but I doubt anyone not here is, and that’s that Delta actually has been putting a huge amount of pressure on Alaska here in Seattle in their hub. Delta has been growing over the last few years their presence in Seattle a lot. For a long time I think Alaska was probably either concerned or expecting that Delta was going to make an offer to buy them, and they haven’t. Instead, they have just organically grown and taken more and more gates here in Seattle. It’s really interesting.                        I was talking to somebody who was far more of an airline industry expert than we are and he was making the point that the frame of reference is really different for these two companies, Delta and Alaska. Alaska is a domestic carrier and it’s a West Coast focused carrier. Delta is an international carrier. Delta coming in to Seattle was part about competing with Alaska domestically because Alaska has built a really nice business here. But also, an even bigger part probably for Delta is using Seattle as a gateway for international flights to Asia because gate real estate, as you were saying Ben, is so scarce and the other big cities on the West Coast at SFO and in LAX is so competitive and impossible to get more real estate there. I think Delta really viewed Seattle as their gateway so that they could send people from all over the US on flights to Seattle and then hop over to Japan, to Korea, to China, to what-have-you.Ben:                 Makes sense.David:              Whereas for Alaska, that’s not even an accessible market to them right now.Ben:                 Right, right. In looking at this acquisition category in kind of the way we’ve both defined it, in a $2.6 billion sale that it seems inflated for two reasons. One, kind of the bidding war because it was scarcity of good airlines to buy that would compliment JetBlue or Alaska well. But two, a lot of the value, the intrinsic value that was given to Virgin even before rumors of a sale was brand value. They have tremendous customer affinity, they do things a little bit differently.David:              People who love Virgin love Virgin.Ben:                 I always have a better experience.David:              And people who love Alaska love Alaska, too.Ben:                 It’s true. Actually, those are two of my favorite airlines to fly. But Virgin is notoriously different and better and feels premium, and that had to be factored in to their market cap. When you think about what they are going to be used for, I mean, Alaska announced that by 2018 they hope to be fully rebranded as Alaska. Hopefully, they can learn some things from Virgin, and they’ve been watching them very carefully. But if they obliterate that brand, what was the point of paying a markup on a markup for capacity?David:              Yup. It’s a great point. The Alaska brand, again, it was very good especially in the airline industry on its own. I think really was kind of like very professional. They had either the best in the industry or the best on the West Coast on time percentage, lots of great… very, very business commuter-friendly. Virgin was, like we joked earlier, like a nightclub on a plane. It was the favorite airline of all of my classmates when we were in business school. We can leave it at that.Ben:                 So then one other thing that I want to bring up in that realm is payback period. So Alaska cites that they’ll have $225 million of total net synergies at full integration. So what we can pull from that is that there will be $225 million of cost savings after they’re fully integrated, so let’s call that 2018-ish, and that means that there’s probably other value that they can create on top of that like ability to create more revenue because they have these economies of scale, new things just on top of that. But that means that they have on this, if we look at the $4 billion as the figure, that’s a 17-year payback period on this acquisition just on the synergies.David:              Now, Virgin had earnings as well that would contribute to that, but two points I want to make, but go ahead.Ben:                 No, no, go for it. I’ve pretty much made the point there. It seems like it’s going to take a while to…David:              Yeah. Any way you slice it, it’s going to take a while and I think there are two really head-scratching things about this merger that are really important, that certainly industry experts are questioning, but Alaska hasn’t talked a lot about, one, the primary reason for the sort f economic renaissance of airlines in the last couple of years has been falling fuel prices.Ben:                 Yeah, which are not only passed on to consumers and everyone’s getting a little…David:              Right, right. So airlines as a whole, across the whole industry, have gone from call it spending X on fuel which was a huge amount of their operating budget and kept their budgets low to negative to spending X divided by two on fuel. Thus, they are enjoying as an industry much greater profits than they used to.                        Now the question is, like, is that the new normal or is our oil prices going to go back up at some point. We could do another show on the oil and gas industry. This is a major existential question for that whole industry, but, if you were to take the viewpoint that this is a temporary thing and prices will go back up, which historically they have fluctuated throughout history. Gosh, it seems like you’re buying at the top of the market here where profits are artificially inflated. So, that’s one.                        Two, synergies as you rightly mentioned, Ben, are often about the combined revenue potential and being able to extract more money from consumers and routes and whatnot, but they’re also really about cost savings.Ben:                 Yeah. And consolidating the back office.David:              Consolidating and economies of scale and all that front. But there’s kind of a problem here with this acquisition and that’s that Alaska flies Boeing planes and Virgin flies Airbus planes.Ben:                 Exclusively Airbus, their entire fleet.David:              Yeah. Alaska only flies Boeing and Virgin only flies Airbus. You might say as a naïve consumer, as I did before I started looking into this, like no big deal. I mean, they look like… it’s a plane. A plane is a plane, right? I get on it and it looks the same. Well, it turns out that actually they have completely different control systems and pilots who fly Boeing planes can’t fly Airbus planes, and pilots who fly Airbus planes can’t fly Boeing planes.Ben:                 So it’s not like they’re going to be able to share pilots at all between these fleets.David:              Not going to be able to share pilots and, of course, all the maintenance and all the parts are completely different.                        Now, the other major airlines do use a mixed fleet of both.Ben:                 Except for Southwest.David:              Except for Southwest, yes.Ben:                 So Southwest is entirely Boeing 737’s because they realized that a part of their business model was going to be staying as lean as possible and keeping everything totally interchangeable and swappable.David:              That’s actually been a big part of their story to Wall Street and investors about why they’re a great company. That’s been kind of a pillar of it. Alaska had the same playbook. Now all of a sudden, they’re like a 50-50 shop of Airbus and Boeing.Ben:                 Yeah. From a heartstrings perspective too, how dare a Seattle company buy a company that’s entirely Airbus planes? That’s just not patriotic.David:              That’s much sorted in history on Seattle and Boeing and perhaps for another show.Ben:                 Yeah, yeah.David:              So yeah, and I think that actually segues into what usually is a short segment for us and I think we’ll probably be short here of what would have happened otherwise. Here, clearly, the otherwise… I mean, Virgin was going to be acquired and the otherwise was JetBlue had acquired them. Now, JetBlue is also an Airbus company, so it would have been a lot easier for them to realize cost synergies.Ben:                 Yeah. There’s two points I want to make here. One, Virgin is sort of only recently profitable, I think. So they launched in 2007, took them three years to have their first profitable quarter. They’re struggling as pitching themselves as both a low-cost airline and an airline that has a really premium service.David:              Yup.Ben:                 I think that they were better at adhering to the premium service than they were to the low cost, but that’s a tough story to sell to consumers. I think they were struggling with how to be both because you can’t both be a Volvo and a Cadillac, and have that story be sustainable and enduring. So I think that Virgin didn’t necessarily need to sell. They were definitely in the right place, right time where they had exactly what…David:              They got an 80 percent premium to the pre-acquisition share price. That’s pretty good.Ben:                 Yeah, yeah. Good on them for their M&A positioning, but that seems like a little bit of a precarious position. At prior scrap labs, a lot were thinking about starting these companies, I think I would get a lot of crazy looks if I was like, “Well, we’re going to be a low cost premium company.”David:              It reminds me of, I’ve been reading… another could have potentially been my carve-out, but won’t be, I’ve been listening on audiobook to a great book called Business Adventures. It’s a classic. I believe it was written in either the ‘70s perhaps. It was recommended to me by a good friend and I’ve been listening to it, and it’s just 10 vignettes of more and more aptly titled Business Misadventures. The first one is about a stock market crash in the ‘60s. But the second one that I’m listening to now is about the Edsel, the car that Ford launched that’s widely considered the worst product launch in history.                        One of the key lessons from it is that Ford wanted the Edsel to be everything to everyone. They say like “daringly adventurous with a dash of conservative.” It’s like, “What? Are you kidding me?” “It’s an elegant luxury for the aspiring young executive and affordable for the middle market,” and it’s like, “What?” And it failed spectacularly.Ben:                 Yeah, yeah. I’m not over here preaching that that was going to be Virgin’s path, but that was always sort of a head scratcher maybe about that company.                        Now, the question that I want to pose to you is: What would have happened to Alaska with all the consolidation in the market going on and kind of moving four major players?David:              And the pressure from Delta.Ben:                 The pressure from Delta on the home front. What if they don’t expand?David:              Yup. I think to give some credit to Alaska, I feel like we’ve been taking potshots of this deal, we’re in a tough position I think. Doing well in the moment but facing this pressure from Delta, this consolidation across the whole industry and they had developed a really, really nice niche here in Seattle as by far the best routes and customer service for people who live in Seattle and flying in and out of Sea-Tac with great business routes. But they had nowhere to go. They were getting pressure from Delta here. It was super hard for them. What are they going to do, expand internationally? Are they going to go to other cities?                        And that’s what they did with this. They said, “We need to grow. It’s going to be super hard to do organically. We have a great balance sheet and for an airline, a lot of cash. We know we’re relative to the industry pretty well run. Here’s an opportunity to buy Virgin and basically double our size and run the same playbook again.” Or they could have just stayed in a steady state where they are.Ben:                 Well, it’s funny. You would hope that they double their market size because the acquisition is so expensive, but when you look at the numbers of what Alaska is doing and what Virgin is doing, Alaska has 32 million total passengers a year, Virgin has 7. Alaska has a thousand departures a day, Virgin has 200. There’s 112 destinations served by Alaska, Virgin has 24. Pre-tax profit from Alaska is at $1.3 billion, Virgin $200 million. So, that is an expensive purchase for a much, much smaller operation.David:              Yeah. And a much smaller operation with no room to grow in San Francisco.Ben:                 Yeah.David:              Not just SFO but the other airports in the Bay Area, too – Oakland and San Jose, which they’re really commuter airports, although pro tip for Seattle to Bay area commuters: never fly to SFO. You always got to do Oakland or San Jose because if you do SFO, there’s so much fog and fog delays, and they always delay the Seattle flights because they want the cross-country flights to land on time. Got to do Oakland or San Jose.Ben:                 Pro tip.David:              Pro tip. Anyway, but there’s no room to expand with any of these airports.Ben:                 Yeah. All right, let’s move on to our next section. What tech themes does this illustrate for you?David:              Yeah, this is a really interesting one. I debated a lot of ideas here and it’s ironic because this is not a technology acquisition. But actually, I’m going to go with niche marketing and again, even though we’ve been taking potshots against this deal, both Virgin and Alaska before the merger really succeeded at this. In a crowded marketplace with lots of big platform players and the big national carriers, they found a niche – Alaska here in Seattle and with business travelers, and Virgin in San Francisco with quality of service and style-minded customers. They served it really, really well. The group, very big businesses out of that. I mean, combined obviously the price for Virgin at $2.6 billion and… I can’t remember, what was Alaska’s market cap before?Ben:                 Oh, their stock actually went down on announcing acquisition, it’s about $10 billion now.David:              About $10 billion. These are great businesses and I think that same principle totally applies in technology and people, especially startups, often overlook it. They try and go after the Delta or the United or the Southwest on day one. They try and go after Google on day one. You’re not going to be Google on day one. The way you’re going to be Google down the road is you start with a small audience, a small niche of people who love you passionately and then you grow from there. Then you knock down, in crossing the chasm speak, the next bowling pin and the next bowling pin and the next bowling pin. That’s much easier to do in technology than it is in airlines.                        But the great thing about it is that you probably not going to become the next Facebook or Google. But if you knock down a couple of bowling pins along the way, you’re still going to become a really great value company and then maybe you got a chance to knock them all down and you will be Snapchat and become the next Facebook, calling it here.Ben:                 There you go. That’s a good point.David:              Does that analogy also apply to the brand loyalty aspect of airlines? Which they have huge innovation…Ben:                 Yeah, invented loyalty.David:              In the inventing the loyalty and the airline miles and status.Ben:                 So you’re postulating that in order to capitalize…David:              Are there other technology companies that have – probably not enough, there should be more – but that have taken that loyalty aspect where the more I use a platform, the deeper I get locked in because the more airline miles I have on it, for lack of a better word.Ben:                 Yes, totally. I think that everybody that has done well at loyalty in the last 50 years has taken it from airlines. The question is do you need to…David:              OpenTable definitely did.Ben:                 Yeah.David:              Quite successfully.Ben:                 I guess I’m wondering do you need to…David:              That will be a great acquisition to cover at some point.Ben:                 OpenTable?David:              Yeah.Ben:                 Yeah. I’ll add it to the list. Yeah, I’m trying to think about is it necessary? Has something changed in the world where it’s necessary to consolidate to keep loyalty? Does something exist now that didn’t exist before where people only ever want to use one airline?David:              That’s definitely the case in technology. I think about the power of network effects like HipChat, right? Two years ago, a bunch of our portfolio companies used HipChat and some of them used Slack and some of them used HipChat. I talked to people using HipChat and I’ll be like, “You should really check out Slack.” They’d be like, “We use HipChat, it’s good enough.” But then as their friends and other companies got on Slack and then Slack channel started popping up for industry groups and whatnot, then it was like, “Well, we should really think about moving to Slack.” Then this parallel takes over and being on…even if I think Slack has done a lot of great product innovations, but even if it hadn’t, you would be pushed to move towards it even if you’re on HipChat because the rest of the world is on it.Ben:                 Yeah. It was Slack I think that the network effect was because people were starting inter-company Slacks so you would end up with like, “Oh, I’m in this Slack,” that’s like a social thing or an industry thing. Then it was like, “I’m not going to keep using two separate applications.” So, does that apply here where, “Oh, I’m not going to maintain points in two separate loyalty programs,” because that was always super annoying. There were a few startups that I was trying out that we’re trying to aggregate my loyalty programs for me or at least help me keep track. That was total pain.                        To segue off of aggregator onto another technology trend, let me think through this and see if this logic follows. So, sites like Kayak and Hipmunk and all these Travelocity and Priceline, travel aggregators pop up.David:              Yup.Ben:                 That’s 15-20 years ago. That effectively commoditizes airlines and compresses their margins because people’s loyalty to those airlines is shaken because they have an easy way to find cheaper prices. So therefore, margins are driven down because airlines get more commoditized and when they’remore commoditized and there’s less profits that you’ve had even though they weren’t making a lot of profit before, they need to consolidate to create a cheaper back office, taking economies of scale. Now, if you’re a smaller airline, the inefficiencies from you having a smaller operation could kill you.                        So if you follow it all the way back to the online travel aggregators, does that create the environment in which you need to have a bidding war for this acquisition so that you could be a more major player in a consolidate market?David:              Yeah. That’s interesting. It’s different because it hasn’t fully become a digitized industry, but it’s reminiscent of Ben Thompson’s aggregation theory where aggregating a consumer endpoint and experience, he argues, in the digital 21st Century post-internet world, is where all the value is. Then you can aggregate all the difficult content creation behind that… content creation but in this case, airlines like point to point travel, and own that relationship with the customer at the front end. Then you commoditize everything on the backend. That’s completely happened.                        Interesting, Southwest has refused to participate in the aggregators to let themselves be aggregated and probably has some of the most loyal customers. I mean, their ticker symbol is LUV and they always talk about how much everybody loves each other at Southwest. Yeah, they’ve fought that actively and it probably and they’ve probably had the most success on the branding front.Ben:                 Yeah, yeah. Why don’t we move on to rendering our conclusions?David:              I think it’s that time.Ben:                 Yeah. I think we’ve expressed our opinions laced in a bunch of comments throughout this. For me, I think the value has inflated both by the bidding war and by the fact that they bought something that had brand built into the market cap when they’re not necessarily a leverage and in fact have announced they’re not going to leverage that brand.                        But, I think they needed to. I don’t think they had a lot of options and I think they both picked the time right when this was an available purchase. They put themselves in a really good position to make that purchase – I’m probably the wrong person to talk about this – but by putting their books in a great position over the last 5 years and being really intentional about being an investment grade or having investment grade credit. I think that JetBlue didn’t prioritize that as much and neither did any of the smaller airlines and in a world where they need to consolidate, they had put themselves in the position where they’re able to do so.                        So, I’ll give it a B minus.David:              Yup. It’s hard to separate out just, at least for me, coming from the tech industry this sort of shock looking at the terrible economics of the airline industry as a whole in dynamics versus the actual quality of decision-making in this acquisition. So I think a lot of what you said, I agree with. But I’m going to go lower. I’m going to go C minus because what you said is right, but they paid so much money. They paid so much money! I don’t think it’s public and I don’t know that anybody except the executives involved know what Alaska’s initial bid for Virgin was, but it got bid up so many times and that’s a large price for something that your pilots can’t fly.Ben:                 Can an airline make a good purchase?David:              Yeah. Good point, good point.Ben:                 Yeah.David:              All right. Should we move on to the carve-out?Ben:                 Yeah. So this is wild. I was stopping myself from laughing and my jaw dropped and I think it almost ruined David’s train of thought earlier when he started talking about how it wasn’t going to be his carve-out but it was a paper that Michael Mauboussin wrote about this. I picked my carve-out as a Michael Mauboussin talk that he gave at Google.David:              Oh, this is so good. Everybody should watch this talk, it’s really good.Ben:                 David, this is so weird. I haven’t watched this in probably two years and it was something that I’ve recommended to friends very often and so I was sitting here before the episode thinking I didn’t see anything particularly interesting this week that I wanted to recommend, but I have an oldie but goodie. It is absolutely wild.David:              This talk is great and it’s based on a book. I’ve read the book too which is worth reading, too, called Untangling Luck and Skill.Ben:                 Yup. Untangling Skill and Luck: The Success Equation, and it is so, so fascinating. He gives so many great examples that will make you both follow it logically and nod your head and sort of scared about how much of your own success has been out of your control or how much the world is out of our control. So how much of your own success cannot be attributed to you and how much of your own failure cannot be attributed to you, and trying to figure out what are things that you have perfected.David:              Attributed to your own skill.Ben:                 Yes, yes. And what are things that you actually should be focusing on and what are things that you should know that there’s going to be redness in the world.David:              If you only have an hour, listen to the talk. If you really want to go deep on this, get the book. It’s so good. I will restrain myself, I could go in so many directions. But one real quick vignette I want to throw out is one of my favorite themes from this talk and book is the paradox of skill, which is such a cool thing that in a given activity… the whole premise of the talk and the book is that any activity, the results of which are going to be based somewhat on the skill of the participants in the activity and somewhat online. There’s a spectrum and some things go more towards the luck and some towards the skill. The paradox of skill is that even in things that are highly skill-based, as the level of play gets higher, so imagine the example, Mauboussin uses basketball, as basketball which is very skill-based. As the level of play gets higher and higher and the parody of skill amongst the players gets more and more uniformed, then luck plays an increasing role in the outcome, even though it’s a skill-based game.Ben:                 Particularly due to globalization because the only people who are even considered for this are the best in the world. So then it’s like, well, among the people that are all the best that look very similar to each other in skill level…David:              Yeah, the variation in skill gets so minute.Ben:                 Then luck is magnified.David:              Then luck is magnified, yeah. And the exact same dynamic holds true in investing in startups and lots of things.Ben:                 When the world is the pool, you always are the cream of the crop and then it’s all about all the crazy dynamics that play off of there. So, can’t recommend it enough. It’s on YouTube. We’ll link it in the show notes. Definitely check out The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck.David:              I’ve taken enough time. I’m going to save mine for another time. It wasn’t super interesting anyway. I’m going to doubly recommend this. It’s so good.Ben:                 All right. Well, there you have it. Thanks for listening today. Again, if you have the time, please, please, please leave us a review on iTunes. Can’t say enough how much it’s important to the success of the show and we love your feedback.David:              And if you want to receive episodes by email going forward, just sign up on Acquired.fm and we’re also now going to start publishing the show by email updates as well, if you prefer that channel.Ben:                 It’s true. You can give us feedback on the website or Acquiredfm@gmail.com. See you later, everyone. 

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  • #6 - Piotr Bogdanowicz (University of Warsaw)

    · 00:19:31 · Public Procurement Podcast -

    How do we deal with cross-border interest in public procurement? (II) Interview with Piotr Bogdanowicz, assistant professor in European law at the University of Warsaw. Piotr is also a legal adviser and has authored more than 40 articles on European Union law and public law. As with the previous podcast, the main topic for my conversation with Piotr is once more cross-border interest in public procurement, particularly the complex cross-border interest test created by the Court of Justice in the early 2000s. Transcript Piotr, welcome to the PPP.Good morning, Pedro.It’s great to have you here, I’m really, really thankful that you were able to make yourself available for the podcast, especially at such an early hour in the day.My pleasure.I would like to start this podcast as I did the last one, to talk about cross-border interests in public procurement. So in your view, why do you think that cross-border interests is important in EU public procurement law?Starting from the beginning in fact, cross-border interest is important in EU law because if we don’t deal with the cross-border interest then we have a so called purely internal situation. So we cannot use, for instance, freedoms of internal market, and as far as EU public procurement law is concerned, the situation is the same - it limits the scope of EU public procurement law and in principle if we deal with a cross-border interest then EU public procurement directives have to be followed. Moreover, all the general principles of EU public procurement law have to be followed as well. And that’s the main problem, because if we apply EU public procurement directive then the situation in principle, in theory is very simple. We follow public procurement directives if some certain thresholds are exceeded. But if we don’t exceed these thresholds then the situation is more interesting because according to the European Court of Justice we should follow EU public procurement rules like non-discrimination, equality or transparency even if in such cases. And that’s the problem of the definition of cross-border interests.In the last podcast I was talking with Andrea Sundstrand about the same topic, and one of the things that we discussed was that for contracts about the financial threshold of the directives that justified application of the directive, there’s no assessment whatsoever of the cross-border interests of those contracts. You just apply EU law because they have a value over that threshold. The cross-border interest only applies for contracts below the threshold or that have been excluded from the scope of application of the directives. So in theory what you’re saying makes sense and it’s logic, in practice there’s been some concessions to that principle.Yeah, but the fact that we use, that we follow EU public procurement directives because thresholds are met is based on assumptions that such contracts, might interest the contractors from other Member States. And as you said, is only principles because I can clearly imagine a situation when we deal with the contract, which is above the threshold but still it doesn’t mean that it has to have a certain cross-border interest. And quite the contrary, I clearly can imagine the situation when we deal with the contract, which is below the financial threshold and it has a certain cross-border interest.This is the question whether thresholds are good factors to decide whether we deal or not with cross-border interests. Of course the Court of Justice in its case law said something about cross-border interest, I mean whether there are some factors to rise the cross-border interests. And they related not only to significant value of the contract but also to the, for instance, place where the work or services are to be carried out or technical characteristics of the market. But still this depends on the case law of the Court of Justice. In  one case the Court can say that, “Due to the fact that the place are to be done somewhere, there is a cross-border interest,” and in the second case the Court can say that, “There is no cross-border interest,” and that’s the problemI find that fascinating, that defining the application of the legal regime would, for many contracts, the contracts would depend on these almost hypothetical analogies or theoretical scenario that a contractor or authority needs to go through before they launch a procedure. So before they decide if they’re going to actually comply with EU principles, because a contractor has the cross-border interests, they need to reach the conclusion that the contract has cross-border interests, which is almost a catch-22 situation because it’s impossible for you to do without doing it. So how can you be certain that there is cross-border interest if you haven’t advertised the contract and if you have not allowed companies outside your own member state to participate in the procedure?I do agree with you, that’s the main problem, that in theory everything looks good, so we need to follow some equal treatment, some competition, the more open contracts are the better. In theory the notion of cross-border interests and the case of cross-border interests is ok. But when we deal with it, when we look at practical things that’s the problem, the problems might arise. And for me even more fascinating is that we base our analysis on the case law of the Court of Justice because what you said, it’s absolutely true but from my point of view the problem is not only the fact that the notion of cross-border interests is hypothetical but also that these rules are being created by the Court of Justice. So the main problem is that these rules, why we should deal with cross-border interests, etc., in principle are not written in the secondary law, in directives, but are created by the Court of Justice acting as a political actor. And we deal sometimes with the situation where the judgments that are being delivered on the same day are different, like in the case of Comune di Ancona and Belgacom as far as cross-border interest is concerned. And from my perspective this is even the bigger problem apart from the fact that this is hypothetical notion, hypothetical situation.Yeah, I agree with you because effectively it’s almost like every time that the Court of Justice produces a decision about cross-border interest it comes up with a slightly different answer to the problem. And I remember when I was doing some investigation on this topic a couple of years ago that instead of seeing any consistency in the approach, what I saw was a very characteristic way to try to solve things. So the Court of Justice will say, “Oh, on this case we think that cross-border interest means this, in another case cross-border interest means something else,” and so on and so forth. So it makes life really difficult for petitioners that want to apply public procurement rules or at least the principles to be sure that they are doing the right thing. Now, moving on to the second question, that is the situation that we have now. If you could improve the tests, what do you think that should be done?It’s a very good question because, frankly speaking, I think that I don’t know the exact answer, but there are some potential solutions. The one that could be was proposed some time ago by AG Sharpston in her opinion, leaving the decision, how to deal with cross-border interest, to national authorities. So, national authorities should decide whether they for instance cut thresholds to the very minimum, or whether they apply some quantitative test. This of course would be in line with the principle of subsidiarity, but the problem is that it wouldn’t resolve the question of certainty. I can clearly imagine the situation where we deal with a different law in each Member State. So there is other solution, which is, in my opinion, a very radical one, but it’s very interesting and it was proposed as far as I’m concerned by you, to cut thresholds and to cut them to the very minimum. Then, we will open a public procurement market for almost all the procurement cases. In general I do agree with such approach but I have one doubt. This is a solution, which is good for experienced procurement markets and if I look at Polish market I would be very afraid whether some Polish contracting authorities would deal in a good manner with all the public procurement cases. For instance, if we have some thresholds then we can deal below the thresholds with, let’s say, some easier procedures, that is for contractors a good way. And then if we cut thresholds and we have to apply the whole procedure, even if new directives are more flexible (so also domestic law should be more flexible), then I am afraid that a lot of contracts will be finished or that a lot of contractors decide not to start in such procedures cause they don’t want to follow all these rules, which are set in the Directives. This is my only fear as regards this second solution.It can be said that those contracts now, they need to be tendered anyway, so the contracting authorities also have the capacity issue of having to do it in the best way possible, even if the contracts are not subject to EU law.Yes, but the rules are in such cases easier, yes. Of course you have to advertise or publicise the contract, you have to deal with some competitive rules and there should be judicial protection. Nonetheless, the rules are not so very specific, and it depends on the contracting authorities, how they deal with the tender, and if they decide to give some flexible solutions they can do it. If we are under directives and under law implementing directives we have to deal precisely in line with them.It’s very interesting what you say because my experience in other member states is actually that below the thresholds, to a certain extent, what tends to happen is that the practice that the contracting authorities develop above the thresholds just comes down without adaptions, have you seen that happening in Poland?The below threshold Polish market is rather flexible, so the problem is rather whether we should deal with some more general principles or not because I would say that I can even divide three categories of procurements in Poland. One of them, which is in line with public procurement law and in line with directives. The second, which is in line with principles because it has a cross-border interest and it is clear that it has cross-border interests. And the third one, which is the most interesting, when we are not sure whether we deal with cross-border interests or not. We are sure that we are out of the scope of public procurement directives but we are not sure whether we are out of the scope of general principles. And in such case in general in Poland the approach is rather more flexible than conservative.Moving on the next topic, you work both in academia and outside academia as a legal adviser, or as a lawyer. What is your experience doing that kind of work, because it’s not very common in the UK, and what are the advantages and the disadvantages that you see on that?That’s always a challenge, because you have to deal both with expectations of academia and expectation of the clients. As regards advantages, I am dealing with public procurement cases as a lawyer, and I can use it in my academia. For instance, when I am teaching classes I can give the students practical cases, practical information, I can say them that, “In theory the provision says that, but in practice it looks like that.” On the other hand my clients sometimes say that for them also there is a good point that I’m an academic and I know the case law of Court of Justice. For instance, once more, looking at the provisions they can say that, “We have nothing to do with EU law if we are below threshold,” and then I can say them, “No, no, no, no, no, we have to follow some rules because Court of Justice says that such contracts also can have a cross-border interest.” Disadvantage is, as I already mentioned, that in principle I’m a part time academic and a part time lawyer, and always in such cases something can lose in a specific time. And this also, the question I have to answer shortly, which way I should go.So you think that in the near future you’re going to go one way or the other?Yes.Yeah, I can relate to your problems. When I was a lawyer I was trying to do my Masters at the same time, it just didn’t work out, so I couldn’t make it work. I had to make a decision and in the end I made a decision to move to academia. But even to this day I still maintain the very analytical and very practical mind-set that comes with the fact that I was a lawyer for four or five years, which pretty much sets me apart from most of my colleagues. And in your case it’s going to be even more than that because you’ve been a lawyer for longer. So what do you think that you can bring, if you move to academia full time in the future, let’s say that’s the scenario on the table, what are you going to bring from your experience as a lawyer into your academic work?I think that the most important thing would be focussing on some practical issues. Of course all the theoretical debates are interesting but in my opinion public procurement law is a very interesting academic discipline, and what we are seeing now as regards the case law of the Court of Justice is pretty interesting as we also deal with the issue of, for instance, codification of case law. So these are real important legal theoretical issues. But for me, public procurement law first and foremost is a practical discipline and when we are dealing with some solutions we should focus on practical implications of our research, not only the general discussion on theoretical grounds.We still have a few minutes and I have a final question for you. What do you think is the next frontier for public procurement? For example, what are we not talking about that we should?For me something, which can or should be discussed in the future is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP, ie the agreement to be concluded between the United States and the European Union. And it is for us, I mean public procurement lawyers interesting because it relates to public procurement. Public procurement is the area, which is discussed now between the United States and the European Union. And the aims of these agreements are interesting for us because in general the European Union wants to enable EU firms to bid for a larger market, larger share of the products and services, which US public authorities buy. In my opinion behind that is that the European Union would expect that public tendering mearkets in the United States will be as open as the European Union is seeing an EU market, or that the US market will be based on the same transparency, or maybe not the same but similar transparency and non-discrimination rules. And to be perfectly frank I am not so sure whether the US public authorities are prepared for that because of course they, I’m pretty sure that they follow non-discrimination transparency rules and so on. But as we were discussing, transparency and non-discrimination rules are interpreted by the EU institutions and the Court of Justice and the commission in particular in a very expansive way. And in my opinion it’s going to be an interesting catch between the United States and the European Union in this area.I think that’s a very good way to finish the podcast, thank you very much for your time, Piotr. Thank you very much, Pedro.You can find me at my blog telles.eu or on Twitter where I use two handles, @Detig for general discussion and @publicprocure for public procurement related topics. As ever I am very grateful to the British Academy for sponsoring this programme, and I’ll see you next time. 

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  • #5 - Andrea Sundstrand (Stockholm University)

    · 00:23:06 · Public Procurement Podcast -

    How do we deal with cross-border interest in public procurement? (I) Interview with Dr. Andrea Sundstrand from Stockholm University. In addition to her academic career, Andrea is an expert lawyer in public procurement and has published extensively over the years. One of her most recent projects is the Procurement Law Journal, the first academic journal on the area published in the Nordic countries. Some of the articles are published in English and are available in open access. Her experience with the journal was one of the topics of our discussion in addition to the issue of cross-border interest in public procurement. iTunesTranscriptThe topic of today is very close to my heart. We will be talking about cross-border interests in public procurement. I think that you have a lot of important and interesting points to raise and I believe that our next half an hour is going to very useful for people trying to understand exactly where the boundaries lie in terms of public procurement today?Yes, I think so too.So let’s start with the cross-border interest tests, why do you think it’s important and why should we bring attention to this almost arcane area of EU public procurement law?Well it’s interesting because the primary law which was actually there from the beginning only regulates dealings between member states, since the EU doesn’t really think that things that only concern one member state is any concern of the EU. So for having EU laws you have to have some kind of cross-border effect and that really doesn’t matter if it’s public procurement or competition law or other kind of regulations, it has to be some kind of interaction between member states for the EU to be interested in regulating those areas. So when they looked at public procurement they said “well maybe we need some more detailed regulations than the ones in the primary law so we’ll adopt directives of public procurement”. And then of course in the directives we have these thresholds and for the longest time everybody thought that “well as long as a procurement is above the thresholds it’s covered by EU law, but when it’s below the thresholds well it’s up to the member states to decide”. And I think what nobody realised until the European Court of Justice said so is that actually some of the procurements below the thresholds could be covered by primary law since they could have an interest, suppliers from other member states. So I think this was a surprise to a lot of, both contracting authorities and suppliers that even smaller contracts actually could be covered by EU law.By "thresholds" you mean "financial thresholds", am I correct?Yes. The financial thresholds set, are set out in the directives so it’s like 200,000 Euros for suppliers and services for example.But that’s a very interesting trade-off, above a certain value those financial thresholds, contracts are deemed to have cross-border interests and as such are regulated by the directives, but if those contracts have a value that is lower than the threshold then you need to apply the cross-border interest test?Yes. And I think as I said for the longest time people didn’t realise that, they thought so to speak that the thresholds was the cross-border test, that as long as it was below the thresholds they wouldn’t actually have to bother with EU law at all, you could just use national regulations. But now since we have a couple of cases, several now from the EU Court saying that isn’t really the case because even a smaller contract could be of interest to suppliers in other member states. For example if the contracting authority is situated very close to a border or if it’s a contract where it’s normally you would get offers from other countries even though it is a small value, maybe for specific goods that are easily shipped between the member states and so on. So we have a couple of cases saying what we should look at to consider if the contract has the cross-border interests or not.And what’s your view on that?Well it doesn’t make it easier of course for contracting authorities to decide what rules to apply. If I take the example from Sweden we have an easier situation than you have in England because in Sweden we have regulated also contracts below the threshold rather rigorously and for example the general principles of EU primary law also apply down to the very first Swedish Crown where you buy something. So for us it’s not that big a difference really but in other countries like in Denmark where they don’t actually have any regulations on public procurement below the thresholds this would be kind of a problem because then you wouldn’t really know what rules apply to these cross-border interest procurements that are below the thresholds.Speaking of member states as far as I know, well England, Wales and Northern Ireland they’re starting to regulate contracts below the thresholds without explicit referral to the EU primary law. I have also heard recently that Greece in one of its many reforms that it has done recently has also effectively decided to apply the regime of the directives almost from the start in terms of value instead of above the financial thresholds. What do you think is the best option for the member state?I don’t know. I know that in Sweden we have decided to regulate more or less down to 50,000 Euros and the reason is that we think that it’s important also for below threshold procurement which is in Sweden about 80% of all procurement to be put out to competition because if contracting authorities in the north of Sweden only buy from suppliers in the north of Sweden and vice versa in the south of Sweden, our best and most cost efficient companies wouldn’t be able to grow and win contracts if we limited the market. So even below thresholds as I said it’s about 80% of all procurement, in Sweden we consider that, that’s such a big market and so much money that it’s important to put it out to competition but as long as there’s no cross-border interest this would of course be up to the individual member state to decide. I was actually working with the OECD a couple of years ago and we made a survey to look at all member states and how they have regulated their procurement below the threshold for B services and most of them have actually had put in place some kind of regulations and rules for procurement also below the thresholds and that survey is actually published on their website.But those countries that actually regulate contracts below the thresholds do not necessarily apply EU primary law, that is to say for example they may advertise a contract in the national website but they are under no obligation of treating potential suppliers equally irrespective of where they’re based as they are above the thresholds, unless of course they actually turn out to the contract?Well that’s the problem because if there is a contract below the threshold with no cross-border interest the member states are free to choose. They don’t really have to regulate it at all. They can buy from their friends or from their relatives or whatever the member states decide. But if you have a contract below the thresholds with the cross-border interest, primary law actually regulates those contracts and as the European Court of Justice has said for example that means that a contract has to be put out to competition, you have to have a certain contracting document, you have to treat everybody equal and so on because the general principles are applicable to those contracts.Is it not true that one of the biggest difficulties of using the cross-border interest below the threshold is actually to define in advance and with to degree of certainty and security that a contract will generate cross-border interest?Absolutely. And that is the whole problem and that was something that the member states thought they had solved I think by putting these thresholds into place, that okay below member states decide, above follow EU law. But now we suddenly have another threshold that we don’t really know when it is, so each contracting authority has to make a decision in advance would this contract be of interest to suppliers from other member states and that is of course a very difficult decision to make. But I guess you have to look at how did the contract attract foreign suppliers the last time we put it out to competition and such things to decide on an individual basis, but of course this is difficult.Yeah but by default the contracting authorities will do what costs them less or fewer transaction costs so they’re going to say “well if I can get away without advertising this and without trying to ensure that we’re going to have international competition, I’m just going to think that we’re not going to have international competition and for example go directly for a direct award of a contract”. If that happened it’s pretty much impossible in most circumstances for anyone to know that a) a contract was available, was potentially available, and b) that perhaps it could have had cross-border interest?Yes. And the interesting thing is that if you have a contact with, below the thresholds but with a cross-border interest the member states have to put efficient remedies into place for aggrieved suppliers since this is considered, to be able to participate in such contracts or such competitions are considered to be a right according to the EU law for each member or each individual in the EU. So I can take an example from Sweden, we have not put into place any remedies for service concessions and this is the same thing as contracts below the thresholds because they are both regulated only by primary law so far, and where actually had letters now from the commission saying “why didn’t you do this because this is a right for each individual to participate and be treated fairly in a service concession with a cross-border interest?” And Sweden has answered something like “well we know we haven’t done that, we should have done it but by April of 2016 we’re going to have this new law so with concessions in place”. But the commissions answer to that has been for like six months ago that “well that isn’t enough because you haven’t done it now” and I don’t think Sweden has answered that yet but there’s obviously big risk that we will actually end up in the European Court of Justice for the first time actually, we have managed to stay away from there so far. And that is the same thing with procurements below the thresholds with a cross-border interest, that actually the member states have to, they have to put into place efficient remedies for aggrieved suppliers. So even if it would be difficult to prove in a Court, you still have to have the possibility to go to Court even for those contracts and I think most member states do not have any remedies in place for those contracts.That’s very interesting because in fact I remember seeing an opinion somewhere that the remedy system for example in England, Wales and Northern Ireland effectively only was applicable for contracts above the thresholds?Yes. So that would actually be against EU law since you have to have for all…I agree with you. So it appears that we have a very strange system in place, above certain financial thresholds contracts are subject to the full might of EU regulation, below financial thresholds they may or may not be subject to EU law but only to primary law, a little bit like Schrödinger's cat it appears that the contracts may be or not subject to such regulation. What could be done to improve the situation and make it easier both for contracting authorities and suppliers to understand the system?Well that’s a good question. I wish I could answer. I really don’t know. I think your answer would be to lower the thresholds and maybe that is mine also because if there is contracts with cross-border interest then of course they should be covered by the directives because that’s the whole idea with the directives to cover those contracts that are of cross-border interest between the member states, to cover those. And if there are contracts falling outside well that is not good because that would be very confusing for contracting authorities to know what rules to apply. But I really don’t know otherwise because I think there will always be contracts not covered, very low value and so on, or at the north of Sweden where the cost to deliver something from abroad would be too high and so on. So you have to have some separation between these two contracts where the member states must be able to choose themselves if they want to regulate or not but exactly how to do that, that’s difficult and I really don’t have any good ideas for now.Okay. Moving on. You’ve done a lot of research in cross-border interest over the last few years, where are your interests now lying in these days?Well I am working at the Stockholm University a lot trying to teach public procurement students and actually getting the topic of public procurement up on the agenda for several universities in Sweden. We have been so far behind both Denmark and England who have several universities that specialise in these questions, in Sweden we’re just at the beginning so that’s what I’m doing. And also looking at different things constantly on public procurement and doing articles, writing out articles and different books on public procurement in general. So this is a full-time task since there is so much happening in this area right now.Okay. So let me rephrase the question, where do you think our focus should be in terms of public procurement in the near future?Do you mean ours as researchers?Yes, or where should the rules change or where should be improved in general?That’s a big question! I think there are a lot of rules that could be improved and I think it’s always difficult when you have twenty-eight member states deciding new rules. So I think in the coming two or three years our focus both as practitioners and as researchers will be just to try to understand the new rules coming and to try to figure out what they actually mean in practice. Because there’s one thing to be in Brussels with twenty-eight member states to decide rules, totally different thing is for the contracting authorities in the north of Sweden actually trying to apply these rules. So I think that will be the focus for the coming years.So you think that the focus is going to be into training and in improving the skills of public procurers and also people that work with the rules in practice?Very much practice because now the big legislation package are soon coming into place, the lawyer’s task now will be to try to explain these rules to the practitioners I think.Okay, very well. I’ve got one final topic that I would like us to cover which is your new Procurement Law Journal?Yes.You started it in 2014, it’s in the second year, how is it going?It’s going very well and I’m so pleased because nobody believed in it, not even the publishers believed in it. But two weeks ago they actually took me out to buy me champagne lunch just to celebrate because now it’s actually we have so many subscribers I don’t have to pay for it myself anymore which is nice. And we have both the Swedish government, Swedish parliament and the Swedish High Administrative Court are subscribers and it has had already by the third issue ever a great impact on public procurement legislation in Sweden and I’m very happy about this. And we have a lot of researchers who wants to write articles so it’s very interesting to see or I’m very happy to see that my feeling that this would be, this would cover something that was missing earlier, I’m very happy to see that that was actually true.Could you tell us a little bit more about the experience of setting up a journal and running it?Well actually it’s much more easy than you think. The difficult thing is to get people to write articles and we’ve succeeded pretty well so far. It’s not very difficult, it’s just that it takes a lot of time of course. Each issue we have four articles and I’m also very proud that one of the articles always is written by a student, so a student who has written a very good Master thesis rewrites the thesis into an article and I think that’s good because then you make sure that also young lawyers are interested in public procurement law. Some articles are written in English, I hope to get one from you soon.I know, I know!And those articles we publish open access on our webpage which is with the address urt.cc, so you can actually already today go in and read the articles in English. The Swedish articles you would have to subscribe to be able to find on the internet.Is there any plans to making those Swedish articles available further down the line maybe in English in open access as well or do you think they’re always going to remain behind your subscription service?I think that’s a matter of cost actually. I wouldn’t mind translating them into English because they are on general EU law also so that will be interesting also for lawyers in other countries but it’s so far a question of funding. So we will have to make sure first that the printing cost because all the people working with this journal we all do it pro-bono so we don’t get paid so our costs are the printing costs and the cost of sending the journal to the subscribers and of course the cost for paying for the website, and those costs we have now covered. If we are going to get more money or have some kind of profit I would firstly thinking about giving maybe scholarships to talented students but maybe now you say it that could be a good idea also if we do have some profit in the future that we could actually translate some of the Swedish articles into English.That is certainly an area where I could see some value because there’s a lot that each jurisdiction produces in its native language, I mean I’ve seen it all over the place in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and certainly Sweden is not going to be different. But there’s not a lot that is being published and disseminated about a specific jurisdiction in English?Yeah, I know and I agree with you, it’s a shame. I really would like to read articles from Spain, how did they do it there, different issues they are fighting with, maybe we have the same problems in Sweden and we can help each other solve these problems and of course for me it’s a problem then if the articles are in Spanish or Italian which I don’t know. Maybe we could set up a translation service together?There are a few online already that are quite cheap.Okay. You have to tip me off?I will after the show. Very well, last question. What sets your journal apart from the existing ones? I mean there’s already quite a few journals in public procurement?The first idea was that this journal would focus on the situation for the Nordic and Baltic countries and we’re also in the Board, in the Legal Board we have researchers both from Estonia and Finland and Denmark and hopefully eventually from Norway and Iceland also. So our goal was to focus on the specific problems of the northern countries. Of course it turns out now I read a couple of these articles that these are often problems we have with the legislation in all member states, so that was our main thing. So what makes this journal so special? I think that we are very focused on practical issues so we like to look at how the law actually works in practice, maybe that is something that I hope that we can help so that the researchers can help practitioners how to interpret the rules and thereby how to use the legislation for doing great public procurements.Could you give us an example of the cross-pollination in the different Nordic states is happening via the journal? I think it’s a great idea that you’re bringing together researchers and practitioners from other jurisdictions and countries but how is that working?Well it’s working fine. The first thing of course is that we have articles not just from Swedish researchers but also from researchers from Denmark and Estonia, we’re going to have an article from someone from Finland in the next issue and so on, so I’m really happy about that. But also we are, in 2014 we had a first conference with the journal where we invited researchers from all of these countries and hopefully we can have this conference, like a Nordic public procurement conference once every year or once every two years so we can come together and help each other with public procurement issues. So if we have someone doing research in Estonia maybe we can use that research also in Sweden and contribute to Swedish legislation also.Thank you very much Andrea. It was a pleasure to have you.Thank you. Pleasure to talk to you.You can find me at my blog telles.eu or on Twitter where I use two handles, @Detig for general discussion and also @publicprocure for procurement related topics. As ever I’m very grateful to the British Academy and to the British Academy Rising Star Engagement Awards to make possible these podcasts. 

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  • David Brandstätter | Medienhäuser & Verlage transformieren sich digital

    · 01:02:52 · PERSONAL BRANDING | Entfalte das Potenzial deiner Persönlichkeit als Marke in Zeiten der Digitalisierung

    Kurzportrait von David Brandstätter Gelernter Nachrichtenredakteur; Laufbahn begann 1981 bei der Main-Post in Würzburg mit einem Voluntariat. Nach verschiedenen Positionen in der Redaktion, im Mai 1993 zum Chefredakteur der Zeitungstitel der Mediengruppe Main-Post berufen. Seit Juli 2001 als Geschäftsführer an der Spitze der Mediengruppe. Darüber hinaus seit 2003 Aufsichtsratsvorsitzender der dpa (Deutschlands größter Nachrichtenagentur). Kontaktinformationen Website E-Mail  Mobile Apps Vivino-Wein-Scanner Main-Post ePaper Kickers App Musikempfehlung Guns N'Roses Buchempfehlung Das Ende ist mein Anfang (Tiziano Terzani) - Ebook - Hörbuch - Buch Anselm Grün - Bücher   [et_pb_toggle admin_label="Toggle" title="Podcast in Textform" open="off" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] Norman: Hallo und herzlich willkommen. Schön, dass ihr wieder reinhört. Hier ist Norman von Markerebell FM. Ich freue mich ganz besonders, denn mein Interviewgast heute ist der Würzburger Verlagsmanager David Brandstätter. David, vielen, vielen Dank für Deine Zeit und schön, dass Du heute da bist. Wollen wir loslegen. David: Gerne, wir können loslegen. Norman: David, Du bist gelernter Nachrichtenredakteur und Deine Laufbahn begann 1981 bei der Main Post mit einem Voluntariat. Nach verschiedenen Positionen in der Redaktion wurdest Du im Mai ‚93 zum Chefredakteur der Zeitungstitel der Mediengruppe Mind Post berufen und seit Juli 2001 stehst Du als Geschäftsführer an der Spitze der Mediengruppe und bist darüber hinaus seit 2003 Aufsichtsratsvorsitzender der DPA, Deutschlands größter Nachrichtenagentur. David, das war jetzt nur ein kleiner und kurzer Überblick über Dich. Damit Dich unsere Zuhörer noch ein wenig besser kennenlernen, stell’ Dich doch vielleicht kurz selber noch mal vor und erzähl’ uns ein bisschen mehr über Dich als Privatperson. Wer ist denn David Brandstätter privat? Und was genau Dein Business ist. #0:01:24.8 David: Ja, das mache ich gerne. Ich muss eine kleine Korrektur machen: Ich bin seit 2003 im Aufsichtsrat der Deutschen Presseagentur und seit zwei Jahren dort der Vorsitzende, aber ansonsten hast Du hervorragend recherchiert. Norman: (lacht) Okay. David: Du kannst jederzeit auch bei uns anfangen als Nachrichtenjournalist. Norman: Ja, sehr schön. David: Gerne ein paar Sätze zu mir als Privatperson: Wie würde ich mich beschreiben? Ein 55-jähriger, der den Genüssen des Lebens zugetan ist, gutes Essen und guten Rotwein liebt. Da muss man natürlich schauen, dass man da ein bisschen davon wieder los wird. Insofern treibe ich auch ganz gerne Sport. Im Sommer, vorzugsweise bei dem Wetter, mit dem Rennrad. In der Übergangszeit dann Mountain Bike; wenn es mal Schnee gibt, gerne auch als gebürtiger Österreicher und als Kind der Berge, natürlich muss Skifahren jedes Jahr dabei sein. #0:02:15.2# Und ansonsten habe ich noch ein großes Grundstück - Brachland, am Hang gelegen – zu pflegen. Da ist die Mäharbeit echtes... Norman: ...Herausforderung. David: ...hartes Working, ja absolut. Und das Holz für den Kachelofen mache ich auch weitgehend selber. Insofern, die Mischung als Alternative zum Job ist eigentlich ganz gut, weil der Job ist in erster Linie Schreibtischarbeit. Du hast meinen Werdegang und meine Laufbahn beschrieben. #0:02:43.6# Heute bin ich zuständig für ein Unternehmen, das 125 Mio. Euro Umsatz macht, die Wurzel als regionale Tageszeitung hat. Heute sind wir Gott sei Dank sehr breit aufgestellt, haben eine sehr große Logistiksparte, wo wir 125 Mio. Euro Umsatz machen mit dem wichtigsten Produkt, das wir zustellen. #0:03:02.7# Nach der Zeitung ist der Brief – wir sind dort einer der großen Anbieter, aber wir sind als Medienhaus auf allen digitalen Kanälen unterwegs. Und was sich für uns auszeichnet und uns auch relativ stabil darstehen lässt in schwierigen Zeiten, ist die Tatsache, dass wir sehr viele Dienstleistungen für andere Verlage erbringen. Das heißt, wir drucken sehr viele andere Produkte, andere Zeitungen, andere Anzeigenblätter, andere Magazine. Wir arbeiten im Prepressbereich – also, wenn es darum geht, Anzeigen zu setzen, Anzeigen zu gestalten für viele andere Unternehmen. Da sind so Edelmarken dabei, wie die Zeit oder Handelsblatt oder Wirtschaftswoche. #0:03:42.7# Wir haben ein Kunden Service Zentrum, in dem wir nicht nur unsere eigenen Kunden betreuen, sondern auch beispielsweise die vom Handelsblatt und von etlichen weiteren Unternehmen, auch die Redaktion liefert anderen zu, sodass wir auch ein Dienstleister für andere Unternehmen sind. #0:03:59.7# Norman: Ja, super. Vielen Dank für den kleinen Einblick. Bevor wir einsteigen in das Thema Digitalisierung oder digitale Markenführung, würde ich mit Dir sehr gerne – gerade aus Sicht eines Verlagsmanagers – noch mal das Thema Marke beleuchten. Wie Du vielleicht weißt, beginnen wir unser Interview immer mit einem Glaubenssatz oder Erfolgszitat. Hast Du sowas wie ein Zitat oder so ein Mantra, nach dem Du lebst? #0:04:27.0# David: Ich bin da immer ein kleines Bisschen vorsichtig, aber klar, man hat schon so ein paar Lebenserfahrungen von denen man sagt, dass das eigentlich ganz gut funktioniert. Sehr unspektakulär, aber ich habe eines festgestellt: Was immer Du Dir intensiv vornimmst, kannst Du auch erreichen. Das Merkwürdige ist eigentlich, aber auch das Positive, was uns allen Mut machen sollte in Zeiten von Umbruch, erst recht daran zu arbeiten und sich Dinge vorzunehmen. #0:04:58.9# Gerade im schwierigen Umfeld ist das oft sogar besser erreichbar, weil einfach mehr in Bewegung ist. Da gibt es nur eine alte Weisheit der Chinesen, die mir sehr gut gefällt – ich will das jetzt gar nicht als Erfolgszitat verkaufen, aber für mich ist es so etwas wie eine persönliche Motivation. Die Chinesen sagen: Wenn der Wind der Veränderung weht, bauen die einen Mauern, die anderen Windmühlen. #0:05:20.4# Norman: Ja, sehr schön. David: Ich finde das sehr motivierend wirklich darüber nachzudenken. Was negativ ist an einer Veränderung, da müssen wir eigentlich nie nachdenken. Das erreicht uns sofort. Wo wir danach suchen müssen und wir danach trachten müssen ist: Wie können wir diesen Wind der Veränderung nutzen? Und da stellt sich eigentlich – und das ist eine positive Erfahrung, die ich in all den Jahren gemacht habe – heraus, da lässt sich ganz viel gestalten und ganz viel bewegen. Wie gesagt, es kommt nur darauf an, wie ich mit dem Thema umgehe. #0:05:52.1# Norman: Ja und das kann ich an dieser Stelle auch absolut bestätigen. Wir kennen uns jetzt nicht so intensiv, haben uns aber schon ein paar Mal getroffen. Ich denke da an unser letztes Treffen, auch mit Deinem Kollegen zusammen: Das was ich da gespürt habe, das sind tatsächlich Windmühlen. Was mich total begeistert hat, war dieses Brückenbauen im Kopf – die Flexibilität, diese Agilität über Ideen nachzudenken und vor allen Dingen aktiv nach Lösungen zu suchen, also Dinge nicht zu bewerten, sondern zu verwerten. Was kann man daraus machen? – Das fand ich sehr cool. #0:06:33.1# David: Hm. Norman: An dieser Stelle kann ich diesem Zitat auch nur folgen. Gab es in Deinem Leben ein Moment, an dem Du es etwas schwer hattest, woraus Du dann für Dich Deine Learnings ziehen konntest? Gab es so einen Moment, so ein prägendes Erlebnis für Dich? #0:06:53.5# David: Es gibt natürlich ganz viele Momente in einem Leben, wenn man da selbst kritisch und ehrlich drauf schaut. Immer wenn man Fehler gemacht hat, ist das zunächst ärgerlich, bedauerlich, aber es ist immer so eine Aufforderung Dinge zu verändern. Es gibt vielleicht ein prägendes Ereignis: Ich wurde im Jahr 1995, ich war da jung an Jahren, ich war gerade 34 Jahre alt, war erst zwei Jahre Chefredakteur, aber immerhin schon in einer extrem verantwortlichen Position für 130 Journalisten und dort wurde ich plötzlich noch zusätzlich – so wollte es unser Gesellschafter – Geschäftsführer bei unserem Wettbewerber, der zwar in Wirklichkeit zu 80% unsere Tochter war, nämlich dem Volksblatt hier in Würzburg. Also, der zweiten Zeitung, die gemessen an uns sehr, sehr klein ist, eine deutlich geringere Auflage hat und wirtschaftlich in massivster Schieflage war. #0:07:48.5# Als ich dort antrat, wurden die letzten 20% Anteile an die Main Post übergeben und damit aber auch ein ganz schöner Scherbenhaufen. Es war ganz schnell klar, es gibt überhaupt gar keine Chance der Fortsetzung, wenn wir nicht bei 34 Mitarbeiterin insgesamt, 50% entlassen. Ich hatte damals das Angebot, ich müsste das nicht machen, ich sollte dann lieber hinterher schauen, wie man die Marke halten könnte, wie man die Zeitung noch am Markt halten könnte, wie man wenigstens die 17 Arbeitsplätze retten könnte – man würde einen Interimsmanager holen. #0:08:25.7# Darauf habe ich natürlich gerne verzichtet, weil ich wollte mir schon das Team selbst zusammenstellen, mit dem wir in Zukunft weiter arbeiten und das war mir wichtig, auch den anderen 17, die gehen mussten versuchen zu helfen, weil das waren Kollegen, die ich persönlich sehr gut kannte. Es gab zwei Kollegen, mit denen habe ich regelmäßig damals Fußball gespielt und denen musste ich dann sagen, dass es nicht weiter geht. Das sitzt tief in den Knochen und die Analyse war für mich: Man hat einfach viel zu lange zugesehen, ist untätig geblieben und hat jede schwierigere Maßnahme, beispielsweise: Muss ich an der Tarifbindung bleiben? Kann ich mit den Leuten reden, ob man auf Teilzeit geht? Und, und, und. Also, das hat man eigentlich versäumt und hat es nicht getan. Ich sage es ein bisschen böse: Man hat vielleicht den bequemeren Weg gemacht. Solange, bis man wirklich vor der Wand gehangen ist. #0:09:19.1# Insofern ist für mich etwas sehr, sehr Prägendes immer in den guten Zeiten Vorsorge zu treffen für die schlechten Zeiten. In unserer Branche heißt das immer, weit voraus auf Sicht fahren und auch das Unangenehme angehen. Selbst, wenn man genau weiß, man wird keinen Applaus kriegen, wo viele Mitarbeiter vielleicht sagen „Das kann doch gar nicht sein, uns geht es doch jetzt sehr gut“. Da muss man immer wieder den Leuten sagen „Jetzt ja.“ Aber das kann sich sehr schnell ändern und das ist für mich etwas sehr Prägendes und ich bin sehr, sehr glücklich und auch ein bisschen stolz – ich bin jetzt 15 Jahre Geschäftsführer in einer schwierigen Branche, aber wir haben hier bei der Main Post in Würzburg niemanden betriebsbedingt in dieser Zeit kündigen müssen, was glaube ich ganz wenige Zeitungen sagen können. #0:10:04.5# Norman: Ja, absolut. Glückwunsch dazu! Was mich interessieren würde: Du hast gesagt, weit vorausschauend zu denken ist extrem wichtig. Ich glaube, das ist auch eine Fähigkeit, die man für sich haben muss. Wie schaffst Du es, dass Du genügend Abstand hast, diesen Adlerblick überhaupt herzustellen? Ist es Deine Hangkoppel oder Deine Hangwiese pflegen und das Holzhacken oder wie schaffst Du das, dass Du diesen nötigen Abstand hast? #0:10:32.2# David: Das klingt albern, aber es ist tatsächlich wichtig, dass man sich auch einen Freiraum jenseits der Arbeit schafft und zwar einer, der dann durchaus ein bisschen dazu geeignet ist, fast meditativ den Gedanken nachzuhängen. Da ist Radfahren gut, weil man stundenlang mit sich alleine ist. Ich mache gar keinen Hehl daraus, ich fahre auch gar nicht ungerne alleine. Meine Frau findet das aus Sicherheitsgründen immer nicht so spannend, aber ich mache das wirklich gerne, um völlig mit mir alleine zu sein und auf niemanden Rücksicht nehmen zu müssen. #0:11:07.2# Die Arbeit am Hang und Holzhacken und ähnliches ist alles dazu gut geeignet. Aber selbstverständlich und das muss man auch immer deutlich sagen: Es ist auch ganz wichtig, eine Atmosphäre im Unternehmen zu schaffen, die eigentlich gerade dazu einlädt immer alles auszusprechen, was die Menschen bewegt. Und da ist die Mischung auch im Unternehmen genügend Leute zu haben, die einen ansprechen und auf etwas aufmerksam machen und eher kommen und sagen, was sie nicht so gut finden – Lob ist nett, aber meistens ... Lob von unten nach oben ist eher Zwecklob, auf den kann man verzichten. Also diese Mischung, dass man inspiriert wird, dass hier auch Fragen aufgeworfen werden, dass es kritische Menschen gibt, die sich genauso auseinandersetzen und dann die Zeit, das in Ruhe zu reflektieren – was man im Büro ehrlicherweise nie machen kann, weil man da immer in einer Mühle ist -, diese Kombination ist glaube ich ganz gut. #0:12:06.1# Und man muss ehrlich sein: Die Veränderung, die unsere Branche erfasst hat, da stimmt alles, was es an Prognosen gegeben hat. Nur ein Fehler wurde immer gemacht und der wird nach wie vor immer noch gemacht. Das ist der Faktor Zeit. Es wird immer ein viel zu kurzes Zeitfenster genannt - berühmt: Bill Gates mit keiner Druckmaschine mehr, oder keine gedruckte Zeitung im Jahr 2000. Die Kernaussage, die er getroffen hat, ist richtig, nur die Zeiträume sind durchaus geeignet, dass wir uns darauf einstellen können, ohne dass wir revolutionär alles einreißen müssen. Aber klar, man muss Dinge erkennen, anerkennen auch und sagen “Jawoll, das wird so kommen” und auch wenn es im Moment fast ein bisschen Eigenkanibalisierung ist, aber wir starten jetzt damit und versuchen diesen Weg konsequent zu gehen. #0:12:57.3# Norman: Ja. Was Du gerade gesagt hast, dieses “Bei sich selbst sein”, dieses “für Dich Fahrradfahren, für Dich alleine dieses Spirituelle”, da bin ich auch völlig bei Dir. Ich bin hier im Odenwald, ich kenne mich aus mit Hangwiesen (lacht). Und das ist tatsächlich ein guter Tipp, wenn man in der Stadt wohnt, da einfach in die Natur zu gehen und da genügend Abstand herzustellen, um von außen auf die Dinge zu schauen. Kannst Du uns vielleicht noch einen Tipp mitgeben - als Du damals in der Situation als 34-Jähriger warst und vor diesen Gesprächen standest, die Leute entlassen zu müssen oder gemeinsam nach Lösungen suchen zu müssen - gibt es da einen Tipp, falls einer der Zuhörer in so einer Situation ist, der Dir geholfen hat damals den Weg zu gehen oder diese Aufgabe zu meistern? #0:13:52.9# David: Wichtig war für mich anzuerkennen, dass ich hier etwas tun muss, was zwar eine große wirtschaftliche Notwendigkeit hat, aber was einen massivsten Eingriff für die betroffenen Menschen bedeuten wird. Selbst für die, die bleiben. Selbst die, das ist glaube ich ein sehr menschliches Phänomen, da gibt es ein schlechtes gewissen: “Warum kann ich bleiben? Warum ist mein Arbeitsplatz erhalten geblieben - und das waren solche Situationen - und warum muss der junge Familienvater gehen? #0:14:25.4# Was mir sehr geholfen hat war die Tatsache, dass ich versucht habe bei allem was ich hier tue, immer das Thema Menschlichkeit und eine Werteorientierung in den Vordergrund zu stellen. Für mich war die wichtigste Erkenntnis hinterher die Tatsache, dass es keinen Einzigen der 17 betroffenen, die dann nicht mehr bei uns arbeiten konnten, nicht die Straßenseite gewechselt haben, wenn sie mich in der Stadt getroffen haben. #0:14:52.7# Und die schönste Botschaft und das was mich am meisten freut ist, es sind alle Kollegen untergekommen. Wir konnten sogar den ein oder anderen später wieder mit etwas Verzögerung an Board nehmen, weil das natürlich genau die Leute waren, die ich mir in meinen Notizblock geschrieben hatte, wenn wir wieder freie Stellen haben, dass selbstverständlich die bekommen. Und das glaube ich haben die Menschen sehr anerkannt, dass sie gemerkt haben, dass das kein geheucheltes Mitgefühl ist, dass das kein ganz gut einstudiertes Szenario ist, sondern dass das werteorientiert war, was ganz schwer ist in der Situation. Und das hat mir sehr geholfen. #0:15:36.4# Eigentlich die Motivation immer diese Werteorientierung, so etwas wie Unternehmenskultur, so etwas wie Menschlichkeit als ganz wesentliches Element in der Führung einzubauen und heute mache ich regelmäßig Wertetage für neue Mitarbeiter, wo wir genau über dieses Thema sprechen. Also nicht irgendwelche Unternehmensleitlinien an die Wand zu hängen, sondern herzugehen und zu sagen “Ich möchte mit möglichst jedem neuen Mitarbeiter persönlich einen Tag lang darüber sprechen” - in einer Gruppe mit 15 Leuten, mehr mache ich aber nicht, sodass sich jeder mit einbringen kann. So, dass man sich wirklich persönlich begegnen kann, um darüber zu sprechen, wie wir miteinander umgehen wollen; wie wollen wir dieses Unternehmen gemeinsam nach vorne bringen? Und das funktioniert erfreulicherweise ganz gut. #0:16:21.0# Norman: Ja, das ist beispielhaft. Das finde ich super. Gerade diese Vertrauensbasis ist natürlich enorm. Wenn Du so einen Mitarbeiter zurückholst in Dein Unternehmen, ist das natürlich eine unglaubliche Basis für die gemeinsame Arbeit. Gab es in Deinem Leben - um jetzt mal die andere Werkstätte zu bedienen - den Aha-Moment mit einer Erkenntnis für Dich, wo Du sagst, das war für Dich prägend oder das war ein Game-Changer? #0:16:49.0# David: Es war tatsächlich die Erkenntnis, nachdem ich hier durchaus autoritäre Führung in dem Haus erlebt habe - das hat natürlich auch damit zu tun. Ich bin hier in den 80er Jahren gestartet. Das war auch eine deutlich andere Welt. Dann waren natürlich ganz andere Generationen als Chefs dran. Das waren alles Leute, die noch im Krieg geboren wurden, also noch einen ganz anderen Erfahrungshorizont haben und ein ganz anderes Deutschland auch erlebt haben. Und ich wusste immer genau, das liegt mir nicht. Das kann es nicht sein. #0:17:23.5# Ich habe meine Wurzeln nie vergessen. Jeder Mitarbeiter in unserem Haus weiß, dass der Brandstätter aus einem kleinen österreichischen Bergdorf kommt - eine kleine Beamtenfamilie. Mich hier zu generieren als der große Zampano ... “Leute, ich habe die Weisheit mit den Löffeln gefressen und…” - Das hätte ich als lächerlich empfunden. Das hätten die Leute mir nicht abgenommen und insofern musste ich einen eigenen Weg finden: Wie erreiche ich die Menschen? Anselm Grün hat das mal schön definiert: Führen ist zielorientierte Beeinflussung von Menschen. Also, wie schaffe ich es zielorientiert Menschen zu beeinflussen, dass wir gemeinsam die gesteckten Ziele erreichen? Und da habe ich meinen Weg relativ bald gefunden und das war tatsächlich so etwas, wie diese Erfolgsblattgeschichte prägend, dass ich gesehen habe: Eine Werteorientierung, die Menschen Respekt gegenüber zu erweisen; den Menschen Wertschätzung entgegenzubringen; ihnen zu vertrauen; ihnen auch etwas zutrauen - das sind alles Dinge, die die Menschen gerne annehmen und sie zahlen umgekehrt dafür mit tollem Engagement, mit Leistung, mit Ideen, sich engagiert einbringen und das hat mich bestärkt, das immer mehr zu tun und immer stärker zu leben und möglichst als Kultur in unser Haus einzuplanen - was NICHT, das sage ich auch ausdrücklich, nicht unbedingt von den 80er Jahren herausgewachsen ist. Das musste wirklich neu hier implementiert werden. #0:18:57.7# Norman: Das musste entstehen und ihr habt dafür den Boden bereitet im Grunde. David: Ja.  Norman: Was natürlich ein super spannendes Thema ist und das war so unser Vorgespräch: Wenn wir über die Medienbranche, auch über Zeitungsverlage und dergleichen, reden, dann ist da auch immer eine gewisse Kluft zwischen der digitalen Welt. Aber irgendwie empfinde ich das bei euch zum Beispiel überhaupt nicht. Wir haben ja in den Zeitungen der letzten Jahre lesen können, dass Tageszeitungen schließen mussten, weil die Umsätze nicht mehr da waren, weil die Anzeigenumsätze zurückgegangen sind. Wie begegnet ihr dem Thema Digitalisierung? #0:19:37.8# David: Auch da gilt, was ich vorhin gesagt habe, es ist immer die Frage: Ist das ein Feind, der auf mich zukommt?  Norman: (lacht) Sehr gut, ja.  David: Oder ist das ein Chance? Klar, in der ersten Wahrnehmung, das ist ein Prozess den wir bei Veränderungen immer wieder haben. Erst gab es diese Phase der leichten Negation. So nach dem Motto: Das geht vorbei. Also gar nicht ernst nehmen, da hat die ganze Branche meiner Meinung nach extremst viel verschlafen. Denn es gab natürlich merkwürdige Bildschirmtextmodelle und, und, und in Urzeit tatsächlich wieder gescheitert sind, weil sie einfach keinen echten Mehrwert den Menschen gebracht haben. Da gab es schon viele, die nach dem Motto “Das ist etwas Vorübergehendes, das geht vorbei” gehandelt haben. #0:20:19.6# Dann kommt diese Phase wo man merkt “Nee, das geht nicht vorbei - Hilfe! Die nehmen uns etwas weg”, dann empfindet man sowas wie Drohung. Wir haben - Gott sei Dank muss ich sagen - eigentlich früh angefangen darüber nachzudenken und zu sagen: Wenn das Ding nicht weg geht und uns bedroht, dann müssen wir umgekehrt schauen, wo könnte es uns helfen? Natürlich haben wir zuallererst und am schnellsten verstanden, dass alleine in der Produktion unserer traditionellen Medien, die Digitalisierung natürlich der große Schritt nach vorne gewesen ist. Die ganze Produktion einer Zeitung, die vorher in ganz vielen Prozessschritten abgebildet durch viele Berufsbilder zerlegt wurde und ganz, ganz kompliziert wurde, wurde immer einfacher, immer schneller, immer bequemer - einfach durch Digitalisierung. Alleine ein Foto in die Zeitung zu bringen in den 80er Jahren und heute - das hat gar nichts mehr miteinander zu tun. Vom Zeitgewinn - was für uns natürlich auch ein wichtiger Punkt ist - gar nicht zu reden, aber auch vom Aufwand her. Das war der erste Beginn. #0:21:21.2# Und der zweite war, dass wir nach und nach festgestellt haben: Dieses Medium hat einen ganz, ganz großen Vorteil, weil die Menschen, die damit aufwachsen, die nutzen alles was ihnen hilft. Wenn wir diese Kanäle, die für diese Menschen sehr in ihrem Habitus drin sind, nutzen, um sie zu erreichen, dann werden sie uns auch annehmen. Da haben wir relativ bald eine Chance erkannt, dass wir gerade junge Menschen vielleicht sogar früher abholen als früher im Print. Man muss auch ehrlicherweise sagen: Wenn mich einer fragt, als ich Journalist wurde, wieviel Zeitung ich als 17- oder 18-Jähriger gelesen habe, dann kann ich entweder eine ehrliche Antwort geben oder ich muss schwindeln. Das war verdammt wenig. 0:22:06.4 Wohingegen wir, wenn wir die Digitalisierung gut nutzen, ganz neue Möglichkeiten haben. Das ist ein langer Prozess gewesen, das kam nicht über Nacht, aber das haben wir nach und nach erkannt und deshalb haben wir - das wichtigste ist die Grundeinstellung - gesagt: Wo können wir unsere Flügel und unsere Windmühlen hinbauen, um davon zu profitieren? Das ist meine Lebenserfahrung, es gibt nichts Gutes im Leben, was nicht etwas Schlechtes hat, aber umgekehrt kann das nicht sein. Es gibt auch nichts vermeintlich Schlechtes, was nicht auch etwas Gutes hat. Ich glaube, mit so einer inneren Haltung, kann man natürlich sehr viel bewegen und sehr viel mehr erreichen.  Norman: Ja. Vielleicht noch mal die Frage: Wie habt ihr es tatsächlich gemacht? Habt ihr Labs gegründet oder habt ihr Arbeitsgruppen einen Zeitraum gegeben, in dem Dinge entwickelt wurden? Weil man hört ja doch beispielsweise von der Pro7 - Sat1 Media AG, dass da ein Inkubator entsteht, was da entsprechend pusht. Oder die Süddeutsche Zeitung, da weiß ich zum Beispiel, dass da versucht wurde an Community Plattformen zu schrauben. Also, man hatte ein bisschen das Gefühl, es ist alles ein wenig ohne Strategie, also Insellösungen zu schaffen, um Testballons fliegen zu lassen und zu schauen: Funktioniert das? Wie habt ihr das intern gelöst - was hat sich vielleicht auch in euren Prozessen, neben dem Mindset natürlich, geändert? #0:23:30.0# David: Wir haben natürlich hier auch wie jeder andere - alles andere wäre eine nette Story - unser Lehrgeld bezahlt und unsere Fehler gemacht und fünf Mal den Weg verändert. Unsere erste Plattform mainpost.de wird in diesem Jahr 20 Jahre alt. Also, wir haben sehr früh begonnen und haben das damals als absolute Insel betrieben, nach dem Motto “Das ist etwas ganz Anderes, das muss man jetzt völlig anders und völlig losgelöst machen” und wir haben gar nicht die Hauptchance darin gesehen auch Nachrichten darüber zu nehmen, sondern eher ein bisschen Infotainment oder so.#0:24:14.3# Dann hat man es mehr an die Zeitung herangeführt und hat gesagt “Das kann nicht sein, dass wir eigentlich sehr wertvolle Inhalte haben”, damit meine ich vor allem die aus der Region, weil die sind nicht substituierbar, die gibt es nur exklusiv bei uns. Dann ist man da herangegangen und hat sehr stark versucht, diesen Digitalbereich in das Unternehmen reinzuziehen, was sich auch als nicht richtig erwiesen hat, weil binnen kürzester Zeit natürlich selbst die besten Digitalleute eher zu Printlern wurden, weil sie hier schnell entsprechend sozialisiert wurden. #0:24:43.7# Heute versuchen wir einen Weg zu gehen, der eine Mischung darstellt. Wir haben eine eigene Einheit für den Digitalbereich. Wir haben vor einigen Jahren, da bin ich auch sehr glücklich darüber, uns an einem Startup mehrheitlich beteiligt, sodass ich sagen kann das ist unsere Tochtergesellschaft - das Würzburger Leben. Da werden sehr stark die sozialen Netzwerke genutzt. Dort werden wir einen extrem großen Spielraum haben nach dem Motto, dass wir gerade dafür sorgen, dass wir juristisch und steuerrechtlich und sozialversicherungsrechtlich, die für einen Geschäftsführer wichtig sind, dass wir das alles einhalten. Ansonsten haben die die größte Freiheit. Die können sich ihre PCs holen, wenn sie da auf eine Marke stehen, die bei uns üblicherweise nicht eingesetzt wird, sie haben ihre eigenen Räume und sie haben keine Vernetzung, sondern sie arbeiten nur über WLAN, damit sie fünf Mal am Tag den Platz wechseln können - also sie haben alle Möglichkeiten, um kreativ zu sein. Das parallel als Fokus zu haben, aber immer wieder versuchen dort Links zu schaffen, was schwer ist am Anfang. Denn eines kann ich guten Gewissens sagen: Die Ablehnung dieser neuen Truppe gegenüber war zunächst riesengroß. #0:26:00.5# Norman: Das wäre meine nächste Frage gewesen, genau.  David: Ich hatte schon Spitznamen… “Der heilige Patron von Würzburger Leben” und und und. Mir war nur eines klar: Wir treffen dort auf Menschen, die Fähigkeiten und Kenntnisse mitbringen, die wir in dem Maße nicht haben. Wir machen anderes sehr gut, aber die machen eben Dinge gut, wo wir nicht diesen Erfahrungsschatz haben. Heute können wir alle darüber lachen. Es gibt eine intensive Zusammenarbeit; eine gegenseitige Beratung, weil auch die Kollegen von Würzburger Leben haben natürlich erkannt: So manches aus dieser tradierten Welt ist auch nicht ganz falsch. #0:26:37.7# Manches Geschäftsmodell das wir machen, das kann man eigentlich wunderbar aus einer analogen in eine digitale Welt transferieren und erweist sich dort auch als erfolgreich. Heute ist es ein gegenteiliges Befruchten, wobei wir schon klar darauf achten, dass jeder seine Identität und seine eigene DNA behält. Und in dieser Mischung glaube ich, dass das ganz erfolgreich ist. #0:27:01.9# Norman: Ja, das hatte ich in einem Interview mit Anne Schüller auch besprochen, wo sie gesagt hat: Der Job ist es nicht, alles zu digitalisieren, sondern es ist im Grunde die Aufgabe beide Welten miteinander zu verbinden, sodass diese von einander partizipieren können. Und das fand ich eigentlich ein sehr schönes Bild, aber ich verstehe natürlich auch die Herausforderung, die Du gerade genannt hast, in eine etablierte Prozessstruktur bei euch ein Startup einzubauen. Das sind dann die, die mit Chucks ins Büro kommen und ihren Mac mitbringen. Wie habt ihr es geschafft intern da Akzeptanz zu schaffen? Weil das bedingt ja, dass diese beiden Welten in irgendeiner Form zusammen kommunizieren müssen; dass dort eine Verbindung hergestellt wird. Wie schafft man das? #0:27:55.1# David: Was man nie unterschätzen darf - da machen es sich Manager manchmal ein bisschen leicht - das erste ist, das klare Bekenntnis. Es muss von ganz oben kommen. Es kann nicht sein, dass ich mich auf die Akquisition beschränke und dann lasse ich den Dingen freien Lauf, so nach dem Motto “Das wird sich jetzt schon in irgendeiner Form regeln”. Ich habe schon klar ausgesendet, indem ich ganz provokant mit den beiden Kollegen, den Gründern, die auch als Geschäftsführer tätig sind, immer wieder mal essen gegangen bin und zwar so, dass ich viele Mainpostler gesehen habe und die gedacht haben “Oh, der war mit denen schon wieder essen”. Um einfach deutlich zu machen, man will das; das ist von oben gewünscht; er versucht schnell Mitstreiter von oben her zu finden. Mit Michael Reinhardt, unserem Chefredakteur, hatte ich einen, der von der ersten Minute an dabei war, weil der erkannt hat, da können auch wir in höchstem Maße davon profitieren. Das ist auch ein Stück weites Vorleben. #0:28:51.4# Dann haben wir die Kollegen einquartiert in unseren Räumen in der Lokalredaktion. Die sind in der Innenstadt, wir sind als eigentliches Unternehmen am Stadtrand. Aber in dieser relativ kleinen Einheit. Und allein, wenn sich Menschen ob sie wollen oder nicht, jeden Tag im Flur begegnen und im Workcafé einen Espresso trinken oder so, dann entsteht auch so etwas, was wir feststellen: Es sind eigentlich auch Menschen und gar nicht fiese und gar nicht so verkehrte. Und so wächst nach und nach etwas. Und dann, was ganz wichtig ist und unser kleines Erfolgsgeheimnis: Man muss Erfolge immer zelebrieren und verkünden. #0:29:26.9# Norman: Sehr gut.  David: Ich habe immer wieder dafür gesorgt: Wenn irgendetwas gemeinsam gelungen ist, dass das möglichst jeder im Unternehmen mitkriegt, weil das steckt an. Und so ist eigentlich etwas in der Zwischenzeit gewachsen, sodass ich guten Gewissens sagen kann: Da braucht man niemanden mehr beschützen oder auf jemanden Achtgeben, sondern man achtet sich gegenseitig. #0:29:52.3# Norman: Ja, sehr gut. Das sind noch mal zwei wichtige Dinge. Einmal was Du gesagt hast, dass die Unternehmenslenker, die Unternehmensführung im Grunde dahinter steht und ganz klar signalisiert, dass ist gewünscht/gewollt, arbeitet zusammen - das finde ich super wichtig. Und auch dieses Erfolge zelebrieren/Erfolge feiern finde ich extrem wichtig, um es sichtbar zu machen, dass es nicht im Startup bleibt oder in der “alten Welt” bleibt, sondern dass man das zusammen feiert. Das finde ich super. Gibt es Strategien, mit denen ihr euch beschäftigt in eurer Markenführung, wo es darum geht, wie man Qualitätscontent in Geschäftsmodelle wandelt? Das ist ja die große Diskussion, die immer wieder stattfindet, dass im Internet erst mal alles verfügbar ist oder man Abomodelle entwickelt. Aber wie kann man sicherstellen, dass wirklich die Qualität, die ihr produziert, die die Nachrichtenagenturen produzieren, dass die am Ende auch monetarisiert werden? Gibt es da Überlegungen bei euch, die ihr anstrebt, über die Du sprechen kannst? #0:30:58.3# David: Wir versuchen natürlich, wie viele andere Regionalzeitungen, zunächst einmal eines: Ganz klar für uns zu definieren, wo haben wir wirklich im Markt eine echte Chance? Und da ist die erste Vokabel, die in dem Zusammenhang immer fällt “Substituierbarkeit”. Ist eine Information woanders frei verfügbar, möglicherweise in gleicher oder vielleicht sogar noch besserer Qualität? - Dann muss man von vorne herein sagen: Da sollten wir gar nicht sehr viel Liebesmühe darauf verwenden. Ich brauche niemandem erklären, wie die Champions League Auslosung für Bayern München ausgegangen ist. Wenn aktuell ein dramatisches Erdbeben in Mittel-Italien ist, dann ist das nicht die Meldung, die der Leser bei der Mainpost sucht bzw. er würde nie und nimmer dafür bezahlen. #0:31:45.4# Die strategische Ausrichtung unseres Hauses ist ganz klar: Wir müssen noch viel mehr als wir es in der Vergangenheit getan haben, unsere Kapazitäten - immerhin 140 Redakteure - auf nicht substituierbare Inhalte aus der Region konzentrieren. Dafür müssen wir das Unternehmen dramatisch umbauen. Da sind wir gerade in einem ganz großen Prozess drin, weil natürlich auch vieles was regional stattfindet, sehr wohl substituierbar ist. Jeder Polizeibericht wird veröffentlich und den kriegt jeder Wettbewerber, den kriegt auch eine junge Truppe, wie Würzburger Leben. Die haben jetzt so ein Angebot “Blaulicht”, der sehr viele Zugriffe generiert. Das ist auch kein USB. Und ich habe die Meldung der AOK, wenn hier etwas angeboten wird oder von Vereinen, das ist alles substituierbar. #0:32:36.4# Das ist für uns bitter, weil vor 20 Jahren war das Regionale und selbst die Dinge, die ich jetzt genannt habe, das war schon explosiver Stoff im Print der Mainpost. Den hat kein anderer in dem Maße bieten können und das müssen wir einfach lernen. Wie im Spitzensport: Wenn ein neuer Spieler bei den Basketballern oder den Zweitligisten Würzburger Kicker verpflichtet wird, das ist auch nichts mehr Exklusives, was in der Mainpost steht. Im Regelfall ist das ganz, ganz schnell über’s Netz verbreitet. #0:33:07.5# Das ist eine riesen Herausforderung für uns, weil wir noch viel mehr auf Spurensuche gehen müssen; noch viel mehr spannende Geschichten entwickeln müssen; noch viel mehr hinterfragen, was ist hinter dem Ereignis? Warum passiert an der Stelle zum fünften Mal ein Unfall? Warum gibt es da diese Auseinandersetzungen? Warum gibt es da ein Problem? und und und, also noch viel stärker dort einzusteigen. Dann bin ich mir aber sicher, wenn wir das Ausspiel noch besser lernen, also das Auswerten von Daten, noch besser wissen, was die Menschen interessiert, dass wir noch schneller und noch gezielter ihnen ein Angebot machen könnte - das machen all die eCommerce Betreiber wunderbar. Wenn ich meine Bestellung aufgegeben habe, habe ich gleich drei weitere Vorschläge. Und das müssen wir von denen natürlich abschauen und lernen. Dann bin ich überzeugt, dass Menschen auch dafür bezahlen werden. #0:34:00.4# Da versuche ich auch unseren Leuten Mut zu machen. Ich brauche eigentlich nur von der Zahl der Leser, die wir heute im Print haben. Wenn die morgen alle nur noch digital zu uns kommen, da brauche ich eigentlich nur zwei Artikel, wenn sie uns 99ct. dafür bezahlen. Also eine halbe Tasse Capuccino. Wenn die zwei Mal sagen “Das interessiert mich und dafür zahle ich 99 ct.”, dann fällt die Katze auf die alten Füße und wir betreiben das Business genauso erfolgreich weiter, wie bisher. #0:34:32.9# Wir müssen unsere Denke verändern. Wir kommen aus einer Flatrate. Wir kommen aus einem generalistischen Angebot, eine Zeitung, die aus vielen, vielen Beiträgen entsteht, wo wir natürlich nicht so naiv sind zu glauben, dass es allzu viele Menschen gibt, die das alles lesen, sondern es wird sehr selektiv wahrgenommen. Das ist beim digitalen neu für uns, das müssen wir lernen, diese Selektion von vorne herein zu betreiben und den Leser gar nicht erst alles anzubieten, sondern möglichst gezielt das anzubieten, von dem wir glauben, dass es ihn interessieren könnte. Das klingt leichter als es natürlich im Alltag ist, weil unsere Redakteure haben tausende von Jahren anderer Erfahrungen, wenn ich das zusammen zähle über alle Mitarbeiter und das ist ein Lernprozess. Da tun sich die Jungen sehr viel leichter, aber es hat eigentlich jeder erkannt, dass da eine riesen Chance drin liegt. Und deshalb habe ich den Eindruck, dass in diesem anstrengenden Prozess die Leute durchaus sehr, sehr engagiert mitziehen. #0:35:33.3# Norman: Gibt es einen Beirat oder so eine Gruppe bestehend aus den alten Hasen, den Redakteuren, die das Business natürlich von der Pike auf gelernt haben, bis hin zu den Neuen? Ich glaube, so ein paar Verbindungen mit Würzburger Leben hast Du schon genannt. Einfach auch, um von denen zu lernen? Habt ihr so einen extra Beirat oder irgendwie so einen Expertenkreis gegründet, um da diese Learnings zu machen? #0:36:00.8# David: Ja, wir haben im Prinzip im Bereich der digitalen Medien eine eigene Firma MBDM - Mainpost Digitale Medien - die ein Stück weit diese Aufgabe natürlich übernehmen, die Koordination zu machen und im Rahmen eines Prozesses - das heißt im Moment Aladdin, das war die Idee unseres Chefredakteurs; ich nehme an, er hat auf den guten Geist aus der Flasche Bezug nimmt und deshalb den Projektnamen vorgeschlagen oder gewählt hat. Dort werden wir sehr gezielt in vielen Einzelprojekten - für mich ist so ein Lebensmotto immer “Big dreams in small steps”, dass wir hier die große Vorstellung, die wir in etwa haben, diese Visionen, in viele, viele einzelne Schritte zerschlagen und daraus einzelne Projekte machen. Da sind wir gerade dabei, die einzeln aufzusetzen. #0:36:50.4# Ich habe das immer wieder, nur wir machen das jetzt im Rahmen von Aladdin noch mal sehr viel konzertierter und sehr viel konzentrierter, dass wir uns hier die einzelnen Dinge vornehmen, um zu sagen “In kleinen Schritten dem Ziel immer mehr entgegenkommen”. #0:37:03.8# Norman: Das ist ja fast eine amerikanische Strategie, wenn man sich das Buch durchliest “Silicon Valley”, da wird genau das beschrieben. Dass im Grunde unsere deutsche Ingenieurdenke uns dazu verleitet, erst mal in jahrelangen aufwendigen konzeptionellen Prozessen große Projekte zu entwickeln, um dann schnell festzustellen, dass es nicht funktionieren, anstatt in kleinen Schritten wirklich diese Lernprozesse selbst zu machen; die Fehler selbst zu machen, um dann auch zu verstehen, was die Community sich wünscht und die zu involvieren. #0:37:32.9# David: Ganz genau. Da habe ich einen kleinen Vorteil durch einen Geburtsfehler. Als Österreicher habe ich nie so diese Ausdauer gehabt, das Schwimmen immer nur theoretisch am Tisch zu lernen, sondern mir war da immer lieber, ins Wasser zu springen. Beim Skifahren ist tatsächlich so in Österreich. Ich kann mich gut erinnern: Wenn Du in die Schule gehst, ich bin mit fünfeinhalb Jahren in die Volksschule gekommen, da fragt mich mein Lehrer nicht “Kannst Du Skifahren?”, sondern da heißt es “Und übrigens, jeden Mittwoch im Winter, wenn Schnee liegt, gehen wir statt Sport machen, fahren wir Ski” und dann bist Du in den Sessel geschmissen worden oder musstest schauen, wie Du hoch kommst und … nur so kann man aber etwas lernen. Insofern kommt mir das persönlich sehr entgegen, weil ich immer der Meinung bin, die Pioniere haben die Landkarte auch gemalt, während sie gen Westen gezogen sind. #0:38:21.2# Norman: Ja, absolut. Was ich auch eine sehr spannende Frage finde ist: Wie triffst Du Entscheidungen und was hilft Dir dabei? Ob das jetzt eine Projektentscheidung ist, das finde ich eigentlich völlig egal, aber nennen wir mal eine mittelkomplexe Entscheidung, die jetzt vielleicht nicht sofort aus dem Bauch heraus entstehen kann. Gibt es da einen Prozess, den Du durchläufst oder hast Du eine Entscheidungsroutine vielleicht, so einen Ablauf, den Du immer wieder zelebrierst, um dann schnell auf den Punkt zu kommen? #0:38:53.5# David: Vor jeder Entscheidung stehen bei mir immer viele Fragen. Das können Fragen an Mitarbeiter sein; das können Fragen an Geschäftspartner oder Kunden sein. Einfach möglichst viel sich selbst schlau zu machen. Ich habe mir eines abgewöhnt: Ich bin ein sehr impulsiver und emotionaler Mensch. Ich neige innerlich immer schnell dazu, wenn irgendetwas ansteht, selbst eine Entscheidung zu haben und die möglichst auch schnell zu treffen. Da nehme ich mich ganz bewusst zurück und versuche mich selber neutral zu stellen und zu sagen “Mach Dich noch schlauer”. Das tatsächlich in Gesprächen und da ist immer ganz, ganz wichtig ein sehr intensives Zuhören. Zuhören heißt bei mir auch, immer die innere Bereitschaft zu haben, seine Meinung auch zu ändern. Und am Ende eines Prozesses vielleicht genau das Gegenteil zu sagen von dem, wie man in ein Thema gestartet ist. #0:39:46.4# Und im Laufe der Jahre hat das bei mir dazu geführt, dass sich daraus ein Bild entwickelt, das immer klarer wird, wo die Konturen deutlicher werden und was ein inneres Wohlgefallen auslöst. Und dann fällt mir die Entscheidung im Regelfall leicht und das ist dann 50% Kopf und 50% Bauch, wobei Bauch eher meint, die Erfahrung die man hat. Das ist eines der wenigen Privilegien, wenn man alt wird, dass man zumindest Erfahrungen sammeln durfte und immer wieder weiß, das hat gut funktioniert und da weniger, und da ist ein Learning und da bist Du auf die Nase gefallen. Das ist eher etwas, was in mir reift, wo ich mich eher zurücknehme, aber feststelle: Es gibt da einen Moment, wo man ein richtiges Bild vor sich hat. Das gilt für Geschäftsmodelle, das gilt für Entscheidungen generell. Ein Chef von mir hat mir mal gesagt, ein Österreicher, der schön auf österreichisch gesagt hat “A guates Geschäftsmodell, passt auf a Bierdeckel”. #0:40:54.8# Gerade in der digitalen Welt ist sehr, sehr viel sehr, sehr komplex. In Richtung Kunden, in Richtung Kommunikation muss ich es schaffen, sehr einfach darzustellen, sonst ist es weder dem Kunden vermittelbar, noch nach innen kann ich den Menschen begeistern, warum sollte man das tun. Das erfordert im Regelfall tatsächlich ein bisschen Zurücknehmen, viel zuzuhören und aus diesem Filtrat dann das Beste herauszuziehen. Dann geht es schnell. Meistens ist es oft so, dass die Leute dann sagen “Jetzt ist es schon entschieden?” Dann sage ich “Ja, aber eigentlich haben wir relativ lange darauf hingearbeitet”. Jetzt brauchen wir nicht noch 24 Berechnungen. Dadurch wird es nicht besser. Irgendwann muss man es einfach polieren und … #0:41:35.9# Norman: … Ja, machen... David: ...machen. Das ist für mich schon so ein Management-Kreislauf. Man muss entscheiden, man muss tun, man muss feiern, man muss korrigieren, man muss entscheiden, man muss tun, man muss feiern. Ganz wichtig natürlich das Feiern, das gehört auch dazu. #0:41:52.1# Norman: Ja absolut. Eine ganz interessante Frage, die ich noch habe ist: Das begegnet mir eigentlich immer in allen Strategieprozessessen, nämlich die Herausforderung. Du hast als Unternehmen eine gewisse Unternehmensleistung. Das sind Produkte, das sind Dienstleistungen, all das was Du im Markt anbieten möchtest und hast natürlich das Thema, dass je komplexer das Unternehmen ist, desto schwieriger ist es natürlich. Du hast eine Marketingabteilung, Du hast eine Vertriebsabteilung, Du hast vielleicht eine Company für digitale Medien usw.  Wie schafft ihr es, dass alle ein einheitliches Verständnis über die Unternehmensleistung haben, damit diese auch nahezu - 100% ist nicht möglich-, aber nahezu 100% in den Markt kommuniziert werden kann? Also, dass das Marketingkonzept von euch am Ende auch am Markt landet; dass der Vertrieb genau das denkt und ausspricht, was eure Unternehmensleistung ist. Wie stellt ihr das in der Unternehmensführung sicher, dass das am Markt ankommt? #0:42:59.5# David: Da hat ein reiner Zufall oder eine Entscheidung unserer ehemaligen Gesellschafter, bevor wir zu Augsburg kamen, waren wir bei Holzbrink in Stuttgart - als man die Entscheidung getroffen hat von einer Doppelgeschäftsführung auf einen Geschäftsführer umzustellen, war für mich die Situation so, dass ich mich natürlich völlig neu aufstellen musste. Ich habe dann eines eingeführt, wovon ich jetzt nach acht Jahren sagen kann, dass sich das perfekt bewährt hat. Ich habe alle wesentlichen Bereiche vom Personal über Finanzen über Marketing über Redaktion, Vertrieb, über Technik, alle an einen Tisch geholt. Wir sind im Gremium insgesamt acht Kollegen, die an mich berichten. Wir sitzen zu neunt zusammen und wir sitzen jeden Freitag zusammen. Es ist die wichtigste Sitzung der Woche und gehen dort alle Themen durch. Das führt dazu, dass wir einen sehr, sehr guten Informationsstand haben, was in den einzelnen Bereichen passiert. Wir haben den ganz großen Vorteil, dass ganz viele Ideen in dieser Runde reifen, weil es durchaus dann noch einen gibt, an den man gar nicht gedacht hat, der sagt: “Oh, das passt aber perfekt bei mir noch mit rein”. #0:44:12.5# Norman: Perfekt, super.  David: Das ist extremst wertvoll, auch wenn mancher Kollege auch mal eine Stunde hier sitzt und guten Gewissens für sich wahrscheinlich sagen könnte “Naja, da ist jetzt gar nichts für mich dabei”, aber er erkennt das Thema, wenn er im Hause angesprochen wird. Dann kann er dazu eine Aussage treffen und dadurch spreche nicht mehr nur ich alleine mit einer Stimme, sondern wir sind im Regelfall idealerweise - natürlich gibt es immer leichte Abweichungen -, aber idealerweise und es funktioniert wirklich sehr gut, haben wir schon mal neun Stimmen. Und wenn neun Führungskräfte nur mal jeweils ihre zwei Stellvertreter dann darüber noch mal in Kenntnis setzen, dann sehen wir schon, dass wir ein gutes Schneeballsystem auf den Weg bringen. #0:44:57.1# Dazu gibt es weitere Runden. Jedes Quartal kommt beispielsweise das komplette Management zusammen, um dort noch mal ein Update über die wichtigsten Bereiche zu liefern, aber da sehe ich schon, dass die Leute eigentlich gut informiert sind und das es nur hier nur noch um ein paar letzte Informationen geht. Weil, da hast Du völlig recht: Das ist mit das Entscheidenste, dass wir unsere Stärke komplett ausspielen. Wir haben auf die Art und Weise beispielsweise vor gar nicht allzu langer Zeit beschlossen, was ein neues Geschäftsfeld sein könnte aus all den Fähigkeiten, die am Tisch sitzen. #0:45:30.5# Und dann sind wir so auf Corporate Publishing gekommen. Dass wir einfach sagen, wir haben alles und wir wollen es anders angehen, als manche andere, die dann natürlich im ganz, ganz großen Stil sich das Bahnheft machen oder Lufthansa-Magazin. Wir sagen nein. Wir wollen das regional anbieten und wir wollen jede Einzelfähigkeit. Wir bieten heute bei Corporate Publishing an, dass wir ein Lektorat machen für etwas; dass wir nur Fotos machen; dass wir nur Gestaltung machen; dass wir irgendwelche Teile der Dienstleistung übernehmen und aus diesem Zusammenspiel der einzelnen Kompetenzen heraus - und ich muss sagen, das ist ein absoluter Hit - wir haben da in kürzester Zeit einen siebenstelligen Umsatz aufgebaut, tolle Produkte, hoch attraktive, junge Menschen. Wir merken, dass wir uns hier wirklich leicht tun Hochkaräter zu holen, weil die einfach kapieren “Wow, das ist absolut multimedial”. Da wird ein Webmagazin nachgefragt für die Universität Würzburg, also Uniklink Würzburg. Die machen den kompletten Web-Auftritt. Dann mache ich hochwertigste Magazine; dort mache ich Lektorat für Kliniken und, und, und. Wir haben alle Fähigkeiten im Haus. Wir waren uns aber gar nicht so bewusst, dass man die einzeln natürlich auch noch einmal ganz anders unseren Kunden zur Verfügung stellen können. Sowas entsteht in einer Gruppe, wenn man Woche für Woche zusammensitzt und jedes mal sieht “Wow, wir können das und wir können das und wir können das”. #0:46:55.1# Norman: Ja, perfekt. Also die Synerigen einfach zu nutzen über die Fachabteilungen hinweg - genial.  David: Und natürlich, wie immer: Zelebrieren. Jeder im Haus weiß, das funktioniert, das ist super, die bauen auf. Das begann mit einem einzigen. Das war ein “Assistent”, einer der in der Unternehmensentwicklung direkt mir zugearbeitet hat. Den habe ich das Thema mal vorbereiten lassen und habe ihm gesagt “So, jetzt spring ins Wasser und schwimm’ mal”. Heute haben wir eine ganz ordentliche Truppe schon längst aufgebaut, die das managed und die jetzt weiter wachsen wird. Da bin ich felsenfest davon überzeugt. #0:47:31.1# Norman: Ja, sehr gut. Wie wird sich aus Deiner Sicht die Medienbranche, gerade im Hinblick auf das digitale Zeitalter entwickeln? Kannst Du da mal Deine Glaskugel anschmeißen und mal reinschauen für uns?  David: Ich bin da optimistisch, weil wir werden nach wie vor Zeit haben, den Umbau weiter hinzukriegen. Ich glaube, dieser erste Wind, der dort herübergegangen ist und die, die schwache Mauern gebaut haben und an Windflügel gar nicht gedacht haben, ich sage es mal bösartig: Die sind weg. #0:48:06.8# Es ist ja tatsächlich so, dass es Einstellungen von Zeitungen gibt und es Insolvenzen von Zeitungen gibt. Es wird noch zu Konzentrationen kommen. Das wird nicht jedem richtig gut gefallen, aber das wird unausweichlich bleiben. Wir werden diese Vielfalt, wie wir sie heute haben an Eigentümern und eigenständigen Häusern, die in Deutschland fast weltweit einzigartig ist, die wird es nicht geben. Man wird sich zu größeren Verbünden zusammenschließen müssen, also kritische Massen zu haben. Da bin ich mir auch ganz sicher. Und wir werden auch große Investitionssummen brauchen. Springer zeigt ja - die machen das schon sehr, sehr klug - die nehmen richtig Geld in die Hand, aber das kann ich eben, wenn ich einen Laden in dieser Dimension bin. Das kann der Kleinstverlag oder kleine mittelständische Verlag irgendwo in der Provinz mit einer Auflage von 30.000 oder 40.000 ganz sicher nicht. Insofern, da muss es Zusammenschlüsse geben. #0:49:01.3# Ich bin aber eigentlich sehr optimistisch, dass die Branche auch in einer digitalen Welt sich gut behaupten wird. Sie wird Best Practice nachmachen; wir rücken enger zusammen; es gibt viel mehr Zusammengehörigkeitsgefühl, mehr Solidarität, weniger Eitelkeit. Es gibt durchaus ein paar Merkmale, die ich sehr, sehr positiv empfinde. Ich will meinen, die Branche ganz gut beurteilen zu können über die Jahre. Da tut sich gerade Vieles wo ich sage, man hat es verstanden und es geht jetzt los. Es wird seine Zeit in Anspruch nehmen. Das ist keine Frage und es wird unterwegs mit Sicherheit noch den ein oder anderen Kollateralschaden geben und einiges wird sich nicht realisieren lassen und es werden Dinge noch verschwinden, aber im Wesentlichen glaube ich, wird die Branche gut aufgestellt und gestärkt, sehr stark weiterhin multimedial - ich glaube auch an die gedruckte Zeitung in 20 Jahren. Sie wird völlig anders ausschauen als heute, eine völlig andere Rolle haben, aber es wird sie geben. Da bin ich mir sicher und gleichzeitig wird es die digitalen Angebote aus den Häusern geben mit guter Qualität und hoher Akzeptanz. #0:50:15.4# Norman: Ja, das glaube ich auch. David, gibt es so ein Passion Project bei Dir, was Du mit Leidenschaft und dem Herz in der Hand gerne vorantreibst aktuell oder treiben würdest? David: Ein Thema das uns am Herzen liegt, fast muss ich sagen liegen muss, das ist: Wie können wir den lokalen Einzelhandel auf dem Wege in die digitale Zeit begleiten? Denn wir haben in den letzten Jahren im Anzeigenmarkt eines festgestellt: Der nationale Anzeigenmarkt ist extremst geschrumpft. Ich will nicht die harte Vokabel “zusammenbrechen” sagen, aber sie wäre auch nicht falsch. #0:50:52.0# Die Rubrik Märkte sind extrem zusammengeschmolzen, da haben uns Brachenfremde eigentlich die Butter vom Brot genommen und wir müssen schwer kämpfen als Zeitungsverlage, dass wir unseren Stellenmarkt, Automarkt und Immobilienmarkt in der digitalen Welt wenigstens noch ein bisschen was für uns behalten. Aber das sind eher die Brotsamen und das Große ist woanders gelandet und musste wenn, dann wieder von Verlagen zugekauft werden von Branchenfremden. #0:51:17.7# Was stabil ist über all die Jahre, zumindest für uns und das werden die meisten Kollegen bestätigen, ist der Umsatz mit dem lokalen Einzelhandel. Die sind natürlich nicht in dem Maße sofort in die digitale Welt gesprungen. Für die ist das manchmal auch eher eigene Bedrohung und ich glaube mit denen zusammen müssen wir etwas entwickeln. Wir haben vor zwei Jahren ein Projekt aufgesetzt, weil auch hier muss ich den Faktor Zeit mit berücksichtigen, um die Menschen zu sensibilisieren - das hieß “Lass den Klick in Deiner Stadt” - haben wir Menschen signalisiert, auch den Kunden, den Lesern: Wie wollt ihr haben, dass eure Innenstädte in zehn Jahren ausschauen? Capuccino-Bars und vielleicht noch ein paar Bäckerfilialen und sonst gar nix mehr, oder wollt ihr weiterhin einen bunten Branchenmix haben und ein Einkaufserlebnis haben? Da muss man sich darüber klar sein, welche Entscheidung ich treffe. #0:52:13.6# Der nächste Schritt war, dass wir seit diesem Jahr den Lieblingsladen haben. Dort können alle mitmachen und quasi in einem digitalen Schaufenster, das wir bewerben, Produkte anbieten. Das ist noch nur mit einer Reservierungsfunktion, und das wollen wir weiter machen. Wir verhandeln gerade - das darf ich verraten - mit einem Partner, der uns helfen könnte hier den nächsten Schritt zu machen, dass man auch digital deutlich mehr und sehr viel einfacher Produkte einstellen könnte. Wir haben die letzte Meile. Wir haben einen Kurierdienst. Also, wir könnten die Bequemlichkeit des eCommerce mit der Vertrauenswürdigkeit, mit der Nähe, mit der guten Beratungsleistung des Einzelhandels verbinden. Und das ist eine Vision für mich, dass ich sage: “Ja”. Gerade ein Minimum für all jene, die hier bei uns in Würzburg oder im fränkischen Raum produktiv tätig sind. Wir haben die Winzer, wir haben die Schnapsbrenner, wir haben Menschen, die hervorragende Produkte herstellen. Meistens haben die ein kleines Problem in der Vermarktung und im Verkauf. Sie sind leidenschaftlich in der Herstellung ihrer Produkte, aber nicht unbedingt die großen Marketingexperten. #0:53:28.1# Das wäre ein Minimum, die Leute, denen wir helfen können müssten, beginnend mit einem Kassensystem und endend bei entsprechender Bewerbung, aber auch natürlich viele Einzelhändler hier, dass wir versuchen müssten, mit denen gemeinsam was zu kriegen, weil - warum muss ich bei Amazon bestellen, wenn ich das gleiche Produkt bei einem Unternehmen… wenn ich den gleichen Komfort habe? Ich will die 24 Stunden zur Auswahl haben. Ich will vielleicht am Samstagabend, weil ich da mehr Zeit habe, mir das Produkt aussuchen und auch bestellen und ich möchte es auch möglichst am Montag in der Früh schon geliefert bekommen haben. Aber das ist kein Schoßtopper, das können wir den Menschen garantieren und dann obendrein immer noch zu sagen: Und dennoch weißt Du genau, wo Du es gekauft hast und wenn es Ärger gibt, wenn es eine Reklamation gibt, da kannst Du im Zweifel selbst noch einmal ins Geschäft gehen und sagen “Moment mal, da ist was passiert, das will ich so nicht haben”, was bei Amazon auch funktioniert, das will ich gar nicht in Abrede stellen, aber wo ich doch meine, dass es aufwendiger und langwieriger ist und werden kann und dann doch nicht mehr ganz so bequem ist, wie wenn ich genau weiß, wo ich mein Produkt gekauft habe. Das wäre so ein Aspekt. Das sind unsere langjährigen Partner, denen verdanken wir viel, die verdanken uns viel und ich fände es gut, wenn wir diese Partnerschaft noch viele, viele Jahre aufrechterhalten können. #0:54:48.6# Norman: Ja, das ist auch so ein Herzensprojekt, was ich so mit mir herumtrage, schon seit Jahren. Ich habe dazu auch mit Michael Hoppe einen Podcast gemacht zum Thema Kommune digital. Es gibt unter anderem in Oberbayern ein paar Kommunen, die da wirklich schon aktiv sind; die erste Konzepte launchen usw. Und ich denke auch, wir sagen ja, wenn wir über Marken sprechen, dass wir immer über Vertrauen sprechen, die so eine Marke geschaffen hat. Eine ganz spannende Marke ist natürlich auch die Stadt - nehmen wir Würzburg als Marke - der ich vertraue und was so mein Love Brand ist. Ich glaube, mit der Kompetenz, wie bei euch, eines Medienhauses ist es wirklich eine gute Sache den Einzelhändlern vor Ort, die aus eigener Kraft das nicht leisten können. Die können nicht sagen: “Ich baue mir jetzt eine Web-Plattform oder eine eCommerce Lösung” oder dergleichen, dass wir Digitalexperten da einfach mithelfen, etwas für die Region zu tun. Wenn ich mir hier im Odenwald den Ort Amorbach anschaue, dann ist in der Innenstadt einfach nichts mehr los. Da gibt es zwei Läden, das war’s. #0:56:01.3# David, wir - wenn ich auf die Uhr schaue - sind eigentlich schon am Ende, aber ich möchte mit Dir noch ganz schnell die Quick Q&A Session machen. Da stelle ich Dir ein paar Fragen und Du antwortest ganz spontan und wir springen gleich zur nächsten. Also in kurzer Zeit den höchsten Wert. Bist Du bereit? #0:56:18.8# David: Alles klar.  Norman: Was hat dich anfangs davon abgehalten, Online Unternehmer zu werden?  David: Eigentlich gar nix. Ich sage ausdrücklich, ich habe relativ schnell kapiert, dass das für mich ganz persönlich - das habe ich erst spät erkannt - durchaus Vorteil hat, deshalb nee, das sage ich ganz ehrlich, da hat mich eigentlich wirklich nichts abgehalten. #0:56:41.5# Norman: Welcher Moment oder Rat hatte einen besonders nachhaltigen Einfluss in Deinem heutigen Leben oder in Deinem Business? Gibt es da einen? David: Das ist vielleicht ein nicht sehr schöner, aber ich gebe ganz ehrlich zu, er ist der prägendste gewesen. Mein Bruder hat im Jahr 2006 - eine Woche nachdem er unsere Mutter beerdigt hatte - einen Herzinfarkt gehabt. Er war drei Jahre im Wachkoma, bevor er sterben durfte und erlöst werden durfte. Das hatte für mich aber ein gutes: Es ist ein Benchmark, das mir in jeder Situation in meinem Beruf sagt: Das ist alles eigentlich nicht wirklich ein Problem, was wir hier haben. Das sind Dinge, die man einfach lösen muss und es gibt einem Gelassenheit und es zeigt einem auch, dass wir ein Talent haben, uns über Dinge aufzuregen und nervös zu werden, wo ich eigentlich sage: Das ist jetzt wirklich nicht das Große. #0:57:32.4# Norman: Wow. Danke für den persönlichen Einblick! Das bewegt. Kannst du uns eine Internetressource oder ein Tool nennen, was du selbst einsetzt und nutzt? David: Ja, ich mache keinen Hehl daraus, dass ich natürlich zum Beispiel ein Programm oder eine App habe zur Weinerkennung. Ich trinke zwischendrin auch mal einen guten Tropfen und da mache ich heimlich mein Foto und das Schöne ist, die App verrät mir Näheres über den Wein und sogar noch, wo ich die Möglichkeit habe, den zu kaufen. #0:58:04.0# Norman: Wie heißt die App? David: Vivino. Norman: Vivino? David: Vivino.  Norman: Okay, die verlinken wir in den Shownotes dieses Podcasts. Das wäre nämlich meine nächste Frage gewesen: Deine drei wichtigsten Mobile Apps auf Deinem Homescreen, wenn Du Dir Dein Handy anschaust? David: Naja, also jetzt logischerweise Mainpost News… Norman: Ja klar (lacht). David: Was hast Du als Antwort erwartet? Dann kommen noch die, die definitiv stimmen. Das ist die Kickers App und die Basketball App, weil ich einfach die beiden Sportarten sehr gerne verfolge. Und dann gibt es noch eine, das darf ich gar nicht laut sagen: FitBit. Da mache ich auch noch Werbung für jemanden. Dort wird alles gesammelt, was meine von den Kollegen geschenkte Fitness Uhr, die ich am Armgelenk trage, hier zusammenfasst, was ich an Sport treibe oder leider nicht getrieben habe. #0:58:57.9# Norman: Was für Musik hörst Du gerne in Deiner Freizeit, um zu entspannen oder um einfach wieder herunterzufahren? Gibt es da irgendwas?  David: Ja, ich bin natürlich mit der Musik der 60er und 70er Jahre groß geworden und ich sage mal, bis in den 80er Jahren war Musik für mich Lebenselixir. Da konnte ich auch jede Besetzung, jede Formation in jeder Band sagen mit den Jahreszahlen und die Discographie kannte ich fast auswendig. Ich mache aber gar keinen Hehl daraus. Es gibt viel Zeitgenössisches, wo ich keine Ahnung habe - also man kennt Adele oder so - aber vieles was ich im Radio höre, was ich gar nicht kenne, nicht zuordnen kann, wo ich aber sage “Ja, doch, gefällt mir ganz gut.” Musik muss für mich immer eines haben: Es darf kein stampfender Rhythmus sein, der einfach stundenlang monoton an ein Hämmern erinnert und es muss in irgendeiner Form melodiös sein. Aber es kann ruhig krachen, also es darf schon auch gerne ein bisschen laut sein. Sowas wie Guns’n’Roses oder so finde ich schon auch ganz witzig. #0:59:56.7# Norman: Guns’n’Roses verlinken wir in den Shownotes, das passt gut (lacht). Kannst Du uns ein Buch empfehlen, was für Dich einen großen Mehrwert hatte? Wie heißt das Buch und worum ging es da?  David: Naja, Bücher… Also welche Bücher mir sehr, sehr viel, gerade für mein berufliches Leben gebracht haben, da kann ich gar kein einzelnes nennen, weil er so unendlich viele geschrieben hat. Das sind Bücher von Anselm Grün. Die haben mir wirklich definitiv geholfen und mich ein Stück weit geprägt. Es gibt ein Buch - wobei auch da werde ich noch mal ein bisschen nachdenklich - aber es hat mich sehr tief berührt. Wahrscheinlich weil ich es gelesen habe, als mein Vater gestorben ist. Das ist von Tiziano Terzani, so heißt er glaube ich. Ich bin mir nicht 1000%-ig sicher. Das heißt “Das Ende ist mein Anfang. Da geht es um einen Spiegel-Redakteur, der seinem Sohn von seinem Leben berichtet, nachdem er an Krebs erkrankt ist. Das hat mich sehr, sehr bewegt, diese Kommunikation zwischen dem sterbenden Vater und seinem Sohn. #1:00:58.8# Norman: Sehr gut, das verlinken wir auch in den Shownotes. David, wir sind am Ende. Zum Schluss vielleicht noch ganz kurz Dein letzter Tipp für unsere Zuhörer im Hinblick auf das Thema Digitalisierung und Marke und wie wir Dich am besten erreichen können.  David: Bei der Digitalisierung habe ich ein einziges Anliegen in dem Zusammenhang: Sie bringt so viel Positives; sie bringt so viel Bequemlichkeit und Vorzüge und ist vielleicht sogar für mehr Demokratie auf der Welt zuständig. Da hätte ich nur einen einzigen Wunsch: Dass wir alte Werte wie Respekt, Toleranz, Höflichkeit, Wertschätzung auch noch ein wenig mehr im Auge behalten, gerade wenn wir in Sozialen Netzwerken kommunizieren. Da finde ich einfach eine Verrohung, die mir ein Stück weit weh tut und von der ich glaube, dass sie den Menschen auch nicht gut tut. Da passiert etwas, was ich nicht gut finde und eigentlich ist es schade, weil Digitalisierung eigentlich verdammt viel Positives stiften könnte. Wenn wir damit ein bisschen sensibler umgehen, dann wäre es optimal. #1:02:09.9# Erreichen kann man mich ganz einfach bei der Main Post und E-Mail, da muss man einfach meinen Namen mit einem Punkt eingeben David.Brandstaetter@mainpost.de. #1:02:22.0# Norman: Okay. David, es hat mir großen Spaß gemacht. Ich könnte jetzt glaube ich noch eine Stunde mit Dir sprechen, aber dann müssen wir hier eine Pause machen. Es hat mich sehr gefreut. Vielen Dank noch mal für Deine Zeit und ich freue mich, wenn wir uns bald mal wiedersehen.  David: Alles klar, gilt genauso für mich. Das hat mir ebenfalls Spaß gemacht. Dir alles Gute und eurem ganzen Team! Norman: Danke, danke. Bis dann, ciao! David: Mach’s gut, ciao![/et_pb_toggle]   Noch ein wichtiger Aufruf: Es geht nicht ohne dich. Und deshalb ist es sehr wichtig, dass du diesen Podcast mit deiner Bewertung bei iTunes unterstützt. Denn durch deine Bewertung rankt dieser Podcast bei iTunes entsprechend höher und schafft höhere Aufmerksamkeit, wodurch mehr Fragen an mich gestellt werden, mehr Interaktion stattfindet und dieser Podcast einen Dialog erfährt und damit lebendig gestaltet werden kann - nicht nur von mir, sondern von uns allen. Vielen Dank also jetzt schon für deine Bewertung bei iTunes.   Wir versorgen dich einmal im Monat mit den wichtigsten Informationen kostenlos. Melde dich für unseren Newsletter an.   Wenn dir der Artikel gefallen hat, teile ihn bitte in deinen Netzwerken, dadurch unterstützt du uns enorm! Danke!!!  

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  • The night sky for October 2015

    · 00:37:15 · The night sky this month

    Northern HemisphereIan Morison tells us what we can see in the northern hemisphere night sky during October 2015.The StarsTo the south in early evening - moving over to the west as the night progresses is the beautiful region of the Milky Way containing both Cygnus and Lyra. Below is Aquilla. The three bright stars Deneb (in Cygnus), Vega (in Lyra) and Altair (in Aquila) make up the "Summer Triangle". East of Cygnus is the great square of Pegasus - adjacent to Andromeda in which lies M31, the Andromeda Nebula. To the north lies "w" shaped Cassiopeia with Perseus below.The Square of Pegasus is in the south during the evening and forms the body of the winged horse. The square is marked by 4 stars of 2nd and 3rd magnitude, with the top left hand one actually forming part of the constellation Andromeda. The sides of the square are almost 15 degrees across, about the width of a clentched fist, but it contains few stars visibe to the naked eye. If you can see 5 then you know that the sky is both dark and transparent! Three stars drop down to the right of the bottom right hand corner of the square marked by Alpha Pegasi, Markab. A brighter star Epsilon Pegasi is then a little up to the right, at 2nd magnitude the brightest star in this part of the sky. A little further up and to the right is the Globular Cluster M15. It is just too faint to be seen with the naked eye, but binoculars show it clearly as a fuzzy patch of light just to the right of a 6th magnitude star.The PlanetsJupiter is one of the pre-dawn planets that we can observe this month. Shining at magnitude -1.7 (increasing to -1.8 during the month) it starts the month as the lowest of the pre-dawn planets and will be just 12 degrees above the eastern horizon as dawn breaks. It rises earlier as the month progresses moving upwards towards Regulus under the body of Leo, the lion, and will meet with Mars on the 17th of the month. As the Earth moves towards Jupiter, the size of Jupiter's disk increases slightly from 31.4 to 33 arc seconds so early risers should be able to easily observe the equatorial bands in the atmosphere and the four Gallilean moons as they weave their way around it.Saturn may be seen at the start of October, shining at magnitude +0.6 at an elevation of ~7 degrees low in the southwest about 45 minutes after sunset. As the month progresses it will become increasingly hard to spot in the evening twilight. It starts the month in eastern Libra setting around 2 hours after the Sun but passes into Scorpius on the 16th and is less than one degree above Beta Scorpii on the 26th of the month. By month's end it sets one hour after the Sun. Sadly, the atmosphere will seriously limit our view of its ~15 arc second disk and rings - now open ~24 degrees to the line of sight. We will have to wait for a few months until it can be seen in the pre-dawn sky.Mercury is also a pre-dawn object this month becoming visible (at magnitude +0.3) about the 11th close to a thin crescent Moon - but just 8 degrees above the horizon some 40 minutes before sunrise. Binoculars may well be needed to spot it. At this time Mercury will lie 20 degrees below Jupiter. Mercury reaches greatest elongation west on the 16th but falls back towards the Sun brightening to magnitude -1 as it does so but becoming increasingly difficult to spot.Mars is also a pre-dawn object starting the month almost halfway between Venus (above) and Jupiter (below) shining at magnitude +1.8 some 23 degrees above the eastern horizon an hour before sunrise. On the mornings of the 17th and 18th, Mars, then at magnitude +1.7 is less than half a degree away from magnitude -1.8 Jupiter whose disk will appear almost exactly 8 time wider than Mars. With Mar's disk still just 4 arc seconds across no details will be seen on its salmon-pink surface (unless, of course, you have access to the Hubble Telescope).Venus, shining initially at magnitude -4.7, will dominate the pre-dawn sky this month and will be some 30 degrees above the horizon as dawn breaks at the start of the month. On the 26th of the month it reaches greatest elongation west some 46 degrees away in angular distance from the Sun. It rises some four hours before the Sun though its disk may not appear half-lit until several days later. Venus's apparent diameter shrinks from 33 to 23 arc second during the month but at the same time the percentage of its disk which is illuminated (its phase) increases from 35 to 53 percent. As a result, the effective area reflecting the Sun's ligh remains almost constant which is why the magnitude only drops to -4.5 by month's end. The MoonBest seen just before Third Quarter, Mons Piton is an isolated lunar mountain located in the eastern part of Mare Imbrium, south-east of the crater Plato and west of the crater Cassini. It has a diameter of 25 km and a height of 2.3 km. Its height was determined by the length of the shadow it casts. Cassini is a 57km crater that has been flooded with lava. The crater floor has then been impacted many times and holds within its borders two significant craters, Cassini A, the larger and Cassini B.HighlightsUranus comes into opposition on the night of the 11th/12th of October, so will be seen well this month - particularly from around opposition when no moonlight will intrude. Its magnitude is +5.9 so Uranus should be easily spotted in binoculars lying in the southern part of Pisces to the east of the Circlet asterism and east-southeast of 4th magnitude stars Epsilon Piscium and Delta Piscium as shown on the chart. It rises to an elevation of ~45 degrees when due south. Given a telescope of 4 inches it should be possible to see that it has a disk (3.6 arc seconds across) which has a pale green-blue tint. With an 8 inch telescope and good seeing, perhaps using a green filter it may even be possible to see some detail in the planet's cloud features which appear to be more prominent than usual. Four of its satellites, Arial(+14.4), Umbrial(+15), Titania (+13.9) and Oberon (+14.1) can also be seen given a night of good seeing and a telescope of 8 inches diameter or more. On October 8th and 9th The planets Venus, Mars and Jupiter will be joined by a thin crescent Moon in the eastern sky one hour before sunrise. Jupiter is closing in on Mars and it might just be possible to spot Mercury lying just above the horizon if you have a very clear view in this direction.Mercury may be easier to spot on October 11th 30 minutes before sunrise when, given clear skies and a low eastern horizon, you should be able to spot it just two and a half degrees to the lower left of a very thin crescent Moon.On October 17th, one hour before sunrise and if clear, you should be able to spot Mars (shining at magnitude +1.7) just 24 arc minutes to the left of Jupiter (magnitude -1.8). Venus, at magnitude -4.4, will then be lying 6 degrees to their upper right.Southern HemisphereHaritina Mogosanu from the Carter Observatory in New Zealand tells us about the southern hemisphere night sky during October 2015. Click here for the full, fantastic transcript of her starrytelling.Cats and crossesWe will start our journey of the October Night sky pointing at the Southern Cross, or Crux, and first turn South. At night south is opposite from the part of the sky known as the ecliptic, where we can see the Sun and the planets and the Moon. In the Southern Hemisphere the ecliptic goes through the northern part of the sky. Always pointing to the Southern Cross in the southwest are 'The Pointers ', Beta and Alpha Centauri, making a vertical pair at about 60 degrees declination south. Alpha Centauri, the top Pointer, is the closest naked eye star at 4.3 light years away, and it's the third brightest star in the entire sky. Beta Centauri is a blue-giant star, very hot and very luminous, hundreds of light years away. This, our most famous constellation, is also the smallest of the 88 constellations of the sky, covering a patch of only 68 square degrees. The Southern Cross is a constellation within the sky-river of the Milky Way. Being so small it fits almost perfectly in the white flow of the stars. The Southern Cross is the home of the beautiful open cluster Jewel Box or NGC 4755, which to the naked eye appears like a fuzzy patch. A telescope would reveal stars that shine in many colours and they are very beautiful. Opposite the Southern Cross, also within the milky way, and circumpolar to the Northern Hemisphere, is Cassiopeia, the W queen.Lower in the sky than the Southern Cross in October is the Diamond Cross, an asterism in the southern constellation of Carina. Pointing towards the Milky Way at one side, adjacent to Theta Carinae, is a small open cluster visible with binoculars. Theta Carinae marks the northeastern end of the Diamond Cross asterism and it's also the brightest star in the open star cluster IC 2602. The cluster is also known as the Running Man or the Southern Pleiades, but to me it has always looked like the letter M. Also in the constellation of Carina, one of the most spectacular stars of the Southern Sky, Eta Carinae is a stellar system containing at least two stars with a combined luminosity over five million times that of the Sun. I have seen eta Carinae looking though a 40 cm Boller and Chivens telescope here at the Space Place at Carter Observatory in Wellington. Or to be more precise, I have seen the Homunculus nebula. It looked like a tiny hourglass. This is probably the most spectacular deep sky memory I have from the Southern Hemisphere.From a star invisible to the naked eye let's jump onto the other side of the magnitude scale. Let's look at the brightest star from Carina - Canopus, the famous navigator of the golden fleece ship, Argo Navis. In Maori this star is called Atutahi and he is the Chief of all the stars in the sky. Low in the southeast, Canopus can be seen at dusk, often twinkling colourfully. It swings up into the eastern sky during the night. Canopus is a circumpolar star as seen from Wellington. Not only is Canopus the brightest star from Carina but it is also the second brightest star in the entire sky to our naked eye. As many astronomers from New Zealand call their cats Canopus, the star is also known here as The Cat Star.Now onto our last cross, the False cross is yet another asterism in the flow of the milky way. It belongs to the constellation of vela. A bit bigger than the Southern Cross, it looks almost identical but you can tell that is the false cross because it doesn't have pointer stars pointing at it. Both the Diamond Cross and the False Cross are sometimes mistaken for the true Crux, although the False Cross has always been a worse deceiver than the Diamond Cross, because most of its stars have approximately the same declinations as the stars of Crux. The story goes here in New Zealand that whoever followed the False Cross ended up in Australia... An astronomical menagerieScorpius- the official name of the constellation, which is only a patch in the sky, has an eye catching asterism in it, that looks like everything it was named after: scorpion, fish hook, dragon, and many other things. Visible from New Zealand at this time of the year you can find it if you follow the two pointers of the Southern Cross in the opposite direction. Above them, lays Triangulum Australe, below is Lupus the wolf. In front of them, the fish hook of the ancient navigator Maui, almost dragged the Milky Way down from the sky. According to the Maori legend it will continue to do so all throughout October. Rehua the Maori name for Antares, marks the bait of the hook. Above Scorpius-the fish hook is Corona Australis, the Southern Crown, a round group of stars that look like fireworks spreading apart. Or the teaspoon of the teapot, according to some who like tea. As observed from the Northern Hemisphere, the asterism is a scorpion which only goes up above the horizon for thirty degrees, which makes it seem to rather crawl around the horizon like a gigantic scorpion would do. Here in Aotearoa New Zealand because of our position on Earth, Scorpius climbs all the way up to Zenith, which is why the fishing hook was considered the zenith asterism of New Zealand by the ancient Maori navigators. Below the fish hook Saturn is currently the only planet in the evening sky. It is midway down the western sky at dusk and sets in the southwest around 10 pm mid-month. The moon is just below Saturn on the 16th and well to its right on the 17th.Going back on the path of The Milky Way, right at the center of it, a spectacular bird guards the center of our galaxy. This is the Milky Way Kiwi, a shape made from dark dust within the milky way. Sliding down the Milky Way, towards north, the skyline meets the horizon near Vega. Vega is setting in the late evening. Vega is 50 times brighter than the Sun shining from 25 light years away. Vega is the 5th brightest star. Looking in the same direction as for Vega but in the morning, you will notice the Dog Star, Sirius. Sirius is a blue giant and the brightest star in the sky, twice as bright as Canopus, the cat star. Neighbouring it, in the constellation of Orion, Betelgeuse, in Maori Putara is a familiar star located in the shoulder of Orion. This red supergiant star has a radius of 950-1200 times the size of the Sun, and would engulf the orbit of Jupiter if placed in our Solar System.With the Milky Way descending from the heavens, the sky looks almost empty on the other side apart of a few smidges of light and some bright stars. Nearing Zenith is Grus the famous double double asterism. Towards north, The Great Square of Pegasus the flying horse, adorns the northern horizon. Underneath it we can just barely observe the fourth galaxy visible with the naked eye: Andromeda is a dash on the blackness of the sky. Towards south, the Large and Small Clouds of Magellan, LMC and SMC, look like two misty patches of light in the southeast sky. They are easily seen by eye on a dark moonless night.And finally, the planetsBright planets appear in the eastern dawn sky. Brilliant silver Venus rises two hours before the Sun through October. That's around 5 a.m. at the beginning of the month. Golden Jupiter is on the dawn horizon at 6 a.m. below and right of Venus. Between the two bright planets, at the beginning of the month, are the white star Regulus and the reddish planet Mars. Beyond Mars, Jupiter moves up the dawn sky. By mid-month it is passing Mars. The pair are less than a full-moon's width apart on the morning of the 18th. Around the 26th Jupiter passes by Venus, making an eye-catching pairing of bright planets in the dawn. Jupiter and Mars are on the far side of the Sun. Jupiter is 920 million km away; Mars 345 million km. Venus is on our side of the Sun, 92 million km away on the 15th.This concludes our jodcast for October 2015 at space place at carter observatory. As the Maori say, E whiti ana nga whetu o te Rangi (the stars are shining in the sky) Ko takoto ake nei ko Papatuanuku (whilst Mother Earth lays beneath). Kia Kaha and clear skies from the Space Place at Carter Observatory in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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  • David Bowie

    · 00:19:22 · Entrepreneur Success Stories By Join Up Dots - Inspiration, Confidence, & Small Business Coaching To Start Your Online Career

    David Bowie, Musician And Trendsetter There is no doubt that among the history books holding the names of rock legends, the name of David Bowie is up there with the best of them. A man who doesn’t just play the game by his own rules, but created the game itself and then ripped up the rules too. He took on the prescribed format of musical output in the early seventies and almost single handedly changed it forever. In this Bowie inspired Join Up Dots biography we take a look at how this unassuming man, born David Robert Jones in Brixton, South London on January 8th 1947, could at first struggle so badly to ignite the flame of success. Mimicking the stars of the day, and stars of yesterday, unable to find his real voice, until stumbling on the very thing that would make him who he is today And that thing was changes, the ability to reinvent himself, and freshen his sound, image and outlook at will, keeping all of us guessing as to his next move for the next forty years. David’s start in life was about as normal as a child growing up in the United Kingdom in the 50’s could have expected to live. His mother, Margaret Mary worked as a waitress, while his father, Haywood Stenton Jones, from Yorkshire, was a promotions officer for Barnardo’s a children charity. Bowie attended Stockwell Infants School until he was six years old, where teachers considered him as a gifted and single-minded child, although not with obvious musical genius, and a singing voice only classed as adequate. When David Bowie was a small child he was fascinated by music, and loved nothing more than tuning into the radio stations of the day to hear the scratchy sounds from some distant DJ in a basement far far away like so many other children. But it was when he was thirteen, and encouraged by his older brother Terry, he picked up a saxophone and started making his own sounds that things started becoming more than a hobby. Terry was nine years older, and inspired and influenced the young David greatly, as most older brothers do, exposing him to literature, rock music and the kind of influences that a thirteen year old child growing up in South London would have been unlikely to discover on their own. David at first tried to teach himself the saxophone, but struggled with it, so made the bold decision to phone the top British saxophonist Ronnie Ross, who he had seen play in the West End of London, and asked for lessons. Ronnie charged David £2.00 per lesson, which was more than this soon to be wealthy practicing rock star could hope to afford. But this wouldn’t deter, young Davy Jones, and he got himself a job as a butcher’s delivery boy to ensure that he had the cash to allow the fortnightly lessons to occur. Unfortunately, although a major part of setting the fledgling rock star on his way to super stardom, with his encouragement and support, David’s brother Terry was not to be in his day to day life for long. Suffering with his own personal demons, the family had Terry committed to an institution fearing for his safety. This no doubt had a huge impact on the young David Bowie, and although good in its intention haunted David for a good deal of his life, even becoming the topic of his song “Jump They Say” after Terry’s suicide many years later. At the age of sixteen, David Bowie graduated from the technical high school he had attended in Bromley, only memorable for a fight he had with a school friend that left him with eyes different in colour to one another, and got his first job a commercial artist. He joined as a Junior Visualiser /Paste up Artist for the Yorkshire based company Neven D Hirst. This is a fascinating move for David to make, as although he was still playing for bands, and striving to break into music business in the evening, he still followed the path that most of us follow. He left school and set about getting a job. Is there anyway that we can break from the path that has been trod for generations before us? Even if we have greatness desperate to burst out from inside us?. Probably not, but as we see time and time again on Join Up Dots, the ability to keep on pushing against the rules of conformity is what allows the great to become great. Stopping ourselves from following the crowd, that leave school and enter the offices of the world just because they haven’t stopped to question why? Well David, did just that and after only five months, knew in his heart of hearts that he had to take control of his life, if his dreams of working as a musician were to come true. The bands he had performed with every night had cemented the belief that he had what it took, not necessarily to achieve the dizzying heights that he later achieved, but at least earning money doing what he loved. Interestingly, crossing his path in these early days was another musician who would also go on to place his name indelibly in the record books, one Jimmy Page the guitarist of David Bowie’s band the Manish Boys. Jimmy Paige of course become a global success with one of the most famous rock bands of all time Led Zeppelin. Several singles were recorded and released during this period, but none could have been classed as anything but a learning curve. Allowing the young Bowie to experience a recording studio for the first time and hear his own voice played back to him. Other than working with Jimmy Paige, the only dot on the Join Up Dots timelines that helps us to see the man that he later became, was when when he made the decision to change his name from Davy Jones, and replace his surname with the now recognizable Bowie, after the knife. Davy Jones from the Monkees was riding the crest of the wave, with hits such as “Last Train To Clarksville”, and “Daydream Believer”, and David felt that this could be confusing to the record buying public, and ultimately could hold him back. Did this make a huge difference, who can tell, but it was better than one of his other choices he made: Tom Jones. It was certainly the first indication of the chameleon like character that has since gone on to characterize so much of his later work. After recording, and performing with the bands, Bowie made the decision to go solo, and pursue a career on his own terms. He recorded his first solo album, which sunk without trace. This was a crushing blow for David Bowie, and instead of working harder on the content he was intent to keep delivering to the world, the musician did something quite unexpected…but quite David Bowie like. He decided to take a break from the music world, and headed to Scotland where for a period in 1967 he lived in a Buddhist monastery along with American musician Leonard Cohen. As he says “”I was a terribly earnest Buddhist at the time I had stayed in their monastery and was going through all their exams, and yet I had this feeling that it wasn’t right for me. I suddenly realised how close it all was: another month and my head would have been shaved.” So David left, and then even more bizarrely joined a group of mime artists, even starting his own group called Feathers. Although this from the outside seems unusual, as we see on Join Up Dots everyday, a person has to try things that may not seem part of the master plan, to ultimately lead them to where they should be in life. It is during these times, when it may seem haphazard and wasteful that most people absorb different ways of operating. Discovering skills within themselves, that they can utilise later in positions not remotely visible at that time. And that is the case with David Bowie, as the added spirituality and theatricality become more evident in his work, as was displayed in his own classic song “Space Oddity” about a spaceman floating around about the earth. Thanks to the BBC’s use of the song for their coverage of the US Moon landing in 1969, David Bowie had his first hit record. With the song hitting the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. What is extremely interesting is the state of mind of David Bowie at the time of writing. The words clearly show an individual lost, and forlorn about the future. No surprise after the failures of his previous musical efforts. “Planet earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do” – shows the realization that there’s nothing he can do about all of the problems he sees in the world. “Can you hear me Major Tom? Can you hear me Major Tom? – He’s lost communication with those on the ground (i.e. in reality). David Bowie showed a window to his soul. He was not part of his previous life of domesticity in Bromley, and was neither part of the rock star lifestyle that he so craved. Bowie was floating out in Space, on his own. Slowly getting ready for the true moment that David Bowie blasted into our consciousness, and the televisions and radios across the world. In 1973, the career that had stuttered and faltered for the last four years, exploded dramatically into life, as from that position floating above the world David returned to earth. This time not as himself, but the androgynous alien Ziggy Stardust. It signaled the start of the David Bowie fascination. Where was the man, and where was the music? Could one exist without the other? Was the high camp fashion that he displayed on stage the true mark of David Bowie, or a curtain to hide behind, whilst the crowds surged, screamed and fainted in front him. This was glam-rock at its peak, and quite literally anyone around at that time would be compared to the strutting, preening and bi-sexual pre-madonna that was 1973’s incarnation of David Bowie. Even megastars such as T-Rex’s Marc Bolan, the flamboyant pianist from Middlesex Elton John, and the upwardly climbing Freddie Mercury were nothing, compared to what the world was witnessing with his classic “Starman” and “Ziggy Stardust” David Bowie was no longer floating high above the world on his own. To the teenagers and music buying public, he was the world, and with his backing band The Spiders Of Mars, the world waited with baited breath to see what they would deliver next. And David Bowie delivered…but once again not in the way most expected, or wished for. Instead of setting off on a world-tour, and crushing the charts with new albums and singles, he announced that he was retiring from touring and that Ziggy Stardust and of course the Spiders were no more. As he announced whilst on stage “Of all the shows on the tour, this one will stay with us the longest because not only is this the last show of the tour, but it is the last show we will ever do.” This surprised everyone in the house – not least the members of his band. The hysteria was over almost as soon as it had started. Which looking back, was an amazingly brave decision to make, but one that showed that David Bowie was in control, and knew what was right for his career. Instead of saying “this is what you want, so this is what you’ll get”, he quite firmly, and with huge confidence stated “You will get what I want, and when I want to give it to you!” This in no short measure ensured that the mystic that has grown up around David Bowie was started off in the perfect manner. He was not going to give an inch. And we are no doubt glad that he took that stance, as his music was becoming more creative and experimental because of it. He had created the freedom to explore what he was capable off. And so began his personal odyssey from country to country, city to city, playing and recording with such eclectic names as John Lennon, Brian Eno from Roxy Music and even Luther Vandross, It was whilst in New York jamming with John Lennon that the riff which became the iconic Fame was first heard, and led to David Bowie’s first American number one. And his later move to Berlin in Germany, harnessed even greater creative imagery and unexpected musical releases with the classic stripped back “Low” and the Eno produced “Heroes”, made whilst he lived in semi seclusion, painting, studying art and recording with Brian Eno. “Heroes” was marketed by RCA with the catchphrase, “There’s Old Wave. There’s New Wave. And there’s David Bowie…” which is very apt, and something that Bowie would have done well to remember in later years. It is true that Bowie likes nothing more than going in quite different directions than what the world expects. Throughout his career he has explored the world of acting from his early roles in “The Man Who Fell To Earth”, through to “Absolute Beginners And “Labyrinth” where he acted beside a series of Jim “The Muppet” Henson’s creations, and even a three month run in the Elephant Man on Broadway. None of the roles or performances would be classed as landmarks in his career. In fact many would argue they were just a distraction to where he should have been placing his attention. On his music. The creativity being focused on areas of interest to David, more to his loyal followers. What becomes a truth with David Bowie, is when he appears to move towards the obvious routes to success, he becomes a pale inferior version of himself. Following the global success of the Nile Rodgers produced album “Lets Dance” in 1983, he appeared influenced by the Music of the time. And one thing for sure being in Duran Duran is never going to inspire the same level of performance as working the bars, and studying the architecture in Berlin or other such locations. David Bowie needs to be off the radar, to be truly authentic. He needs to be tapping into the yet to be seen musical movements, instead of being the leader of the popular and current ones. And so for the next few years David Bowie produced work that was neither memorable nor commercially successful in the same way as his earlier successes. He was falling further behind the crowd, and lost between the teenagers now grown up who adored him in the seventies, and the 80’s versions focused on Wham, Duran, and Rick Astley. Throughout the next ten years, Bowie’s musical career was in decline, with the albums Tin machine and Tin Machine II being commercial and public failures. David Bowie was finished. He had achieved everything that the 13 year old saxophone learning kid could have ever dreamed off and more. He had inspired the world to believe. He had created a new generation of musicians who studied his back catalogue with a religious fervor. He disappeared. Retreating from the limelight, he closed the door on his New York apartment and became David Jones again. Father, husband, music legend, and enjoying retirement. For over ten years, other than a few sightings David Bowie was invisible to the world. We had the memories of past glories and nothing else. But as we have seen throughout the years, Bowie returns stronger when on his own terms. When he is in control to what the world will receive. That is when he delivers, and in 2013 after ten years in the wilderness “The Next Day” David Bowie’s 24th album shook the world. The Spaceman, the Clown, The Alien, The Smooth Groover, the enigma that is David Bowie was back where he belongs. In the ears, and stereos of the world. Saying things the way that only David Bowie can. A musician, a mystery, a creative, a leader, a decision maker, a controller, David Bowie has learnt through all the trials and tribulations, the ups and downs what leads to success. And that quite simply is being himself. A lesson that for so many of us is the hardest one to learn.

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  • David Bowie: The Man Who Fell To Earth And Stayed A True Oddity (Bonus Episode)

    · 00:19:22 · Entrepreneur Success Stories By Join Up Dots - Inspiration, Confidence, & Small Business Coaching To Start Your Online Career

    There is no doubt that among the history books holding the names of rock legends, the name of David Bowie is up there with the best of them.A man who doesn't just play the game by his own rules, but created the game itself and then ripped up the rules too.He took on the prescribed format of musical output in the early seventies and almost single handedly changed it forever.In this Bowie inspired Join Up Dots biography we take a look at how this unassuming man, born David Robert Jones in Brixton, South London on January 8th 1947, could at first struggle so badly to ignite the flame of success.Mimicking the stars of the day, and stars of yesterday, unable to find his real voice, until stumbling on the very thing that would make him who he is todayAnd that thing was changes, the ability to reinvent himself, and freshen his sound, image and outlook at will, keeping all of us guessing as to his next move for the next forty years.David's start in life was about as normal as a child growing up in the United Kingdom in the 50's could have expected to live.His mother, Margaret Mary worked as a waitress, while his father, Haywood Stenton Jones, from Yorkshire, was a promotions officer for Barnardo's a children charity.Bowie attended Stockwell Infants School until he was six years old, where teachers considered him as a gifted and single-minded child, although not with obvious musical genius, and a singing voice only classed as adequate.When David Bowie was a small child he was fascinated by music, and loved nothing more than tuning into the radio stations of the day to hear the scratchy sounds from some distant DJ in a basement far far away like so many other children.But it was when he was thirteen, and encouraged by his older brother Terry, he picked up a saxophone and started making his own sounds that things started becoming more than a hobby.Terry was nine years older, and inspired and influenced the young David greatly, as most older brothers do, exposing him to literature, rock music and the kind of influences that a thirteen year old child growing up in South London would have been unlikely to discover on their own.David at first tried to teach himself the saxophone, but struggled with it, so made the bold decision to phone the top British saxophonist Ronnie Ross, who he had seen play in the West End of London, and asked for lessons.Ronnie charged David £2.00 per lesson, which was more than this soon to be wealthy practicing rock star could hope to afford.But this wouldn't deter, young Davy Jones, and he got himself a job as a butcher's delivery boy to ensure that he had the cash to allow the fortnightly lessons to occur.Unfortunately, although a major part of setting the fledgling rock star on his way to super stardom, with his encouragement and support, David's brother Terry was not to be in his day to day life for long.Suffering with his own personal demons, the family had Terry committed to an institution fearing for his safety.David Bowie Young ManThis no doubt had a huge impact on the young David Bowie, and although good in its intention haunted David for a good deal of his life, even becoming the topic of his song “Jump They Say” after Terry's suicide many years later.At the age of sixteen, David Bowie graduated from the technical high school he had attended in Bromley, only memorable for a fight he had with a school friend that left him with eyes different in colour to one another, and got his first job a commercial artist.He joined as a Junior Visualiser /Paste up Artist for the Yorkshire based company Neven D Hirst.This is a fascinating move for David to make, as although he was still playing for bands, and striving to break into music business in the evening, he still followed the path that most of us follow.He left school and set about getting a job.Is there anyway that we can break from the path that has been trod for generations before us? Even if we have greatness desperate to burst out from inside us?.Probably not, but as we see time and time again on Join Up Dots, the ability to keep on pushing against the rules of conformity is what allows the great to become great.Stopping ourselves from following the crowd, that leave school and enter the offices of the world just because they haven't stopped to question why?Well David, did just that and after only five months, knew in his heart of hearts that he had to take control of his life, if his dreams of working as a musician were to come true.The bands he had performed with every night had cemented the belief that he had what it took, not necessarily to achieve the dizzying heights that he later achieved, but at least earning money doing what he loved.Interestingly, crossing his path in these early days was another musician who would also go on to place his name indelibly in the record books, one Jimmy Page the guitarist of David Bowie's band the Manish Boys.Jimmy Paige of course become a global success with one of the most famous rock bands of all time Led Zeppelin.Several singles were recorded and released during this period, but none could have been classed as anything but a learning curve. Allowing the young Bowie to experience a recording studio for the first time and hear his own voice played back to him.Other than working with Jimmy Paige, the only dot on the Join Up Dots timelines that helps us to see the man that he later became, was when when he made the decision to change his name from Davy Jones, and replace his surname with the now recognizable Bowie, after the knife.Davy Jones from the Monkees was riding the crest of the wave, with hits such as “Last Train To Clarksville”, and “Daydream Believer”, and David felt that this could be confusing to the record buying public, and ultimately could hold him back.Did this make a huge difference, who can tell, but it was better than one of his other choices he made: Tom Jones.It was certainly the first indication of the chameleon like character that has since gone on to characterize so much of his later work.After recording, and performing with the bands, Bowie made the decision to go solo, and pursue a career on his own terms. He recorded his first solo album, which sunk without trace.This was a crushing blow for David Bowie, and instead of working harder on the content he was intent to keep delivering to the world, the musician did something quite unexpected...but quite David Bowie like.He decided to take a break from the music world, and headed to Scotland where for a period in 1967 he lived in a Buddhist monastery along with American musician Leonard Cohen.As he says “"I was a terribly earnest Buddhist at the time I had stayed in their monastery and was going through all their exams, and yet I had this feeling that it wasn't right for me. I suddenly realised how close it all was: another month and my head would have been shaved."So David left, and then even more bizarrely joined a group of mime artists, even starting his own group called Feathers.Although this from the outside seems unusual, as we see on Join Up Dots everyday, a person has to try things that may not seem part of the master plan, to ultimately lead them to where they should be in life.It is during these times, when it may seem haphazard and wasteful that most people absorb different ways of operating. Discovering skills within themselves, that they can utilise later in positions not remotely visible at that time.And that is the case with David Bowie, as the added spirituality and theatricality become more evident in his work, as was displayed in his own classic song “Space Oddity” about a spaceman floating around about the earth.Thanks to the BBC’s use of the song for their coverage of the US Moon landing in 1969, David Bowie had his first hit record. With the song hitting the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.What is extremely interesting is the state of mind of David Bowie at the time of writing. The words clearly show an individual lost, and forlorn about the future. No surprise after the failures of his previous musical efforts."Planet earth is blue and there's nothing I can do" - shows the realization that there's nothing he can do about all of the problems he sees in the world."Can you hear me Major Tom? Can you hear me Major Tom? - He's lost communication with those on the ground (i.e. in reality).David Bowie showed a window to his soul. He was not part of his previous life of domesticity in Bromley, and was neither part of the rock star lifestyle that he so craved.Bowie was floating out in Space, on his own.Slowly getting ready for the true moment that David Bowie blasted into our consciousness, and the televisions and radios across the world.In 1973, the career that had stuttered and faltered for the last four years, exploded dramatically into life, as from that position floating above the world David returned to earth.This time not as himself, but the androgynous alien Ziggy Stardust.It signaled the start of the David Bowie fascination.Where was the man, and where was the music?Could one exist without the other?Was the high camp fashion that he displayed on stage the true mark of David Bowie, or a curtain to hide behind, whilst the crowds surged, screamed and fainted in front him.This was glam-rock at its peak, and quite literally anyone around at that time would be compared to the strutting, preening and bi-sexual pre-madonna that was 1973’s incarnation of David Bowie.Even megastars such as T-Rex’s Marc Bolan, the flamboyant pianist from Middlesex Elton John, and the upwardly climbing Freddie Mercury were nothing, compared to what the world was witnessing with his classic “Starman” and “Ziggy Stardust”David Bowie was no longer floating high above the world on his own.To the teenagers and music buying public, he was the world, and with his backing band The Spiders Of Mars, the world waited with baited breath to see what they would deliver next.And David Bowie delivered...but once again not in the way most expected, or wished for.ziggy-and-the-spidersInstead of setting off on a world-tour, and crushing the charts with new albums and singles, he announced that he was retiring from touring and that Ziggy Stardust and of course the Spiders were no more.As he announced whilst on stage “Of all the shows on the tour, this one will stay with us the longest because not only is this the last show of the tour, but it is the last show we will ever do.” This surprised everyone in the house – not least the members of his band. The hysteria was over almost as soon as it had started.Which looking back, was an amazingly brave decision to make, but one that showed that David Bowie was in control, and knew what was right for his career.Instead of saying “this is what you want, so this is what you'll get”, he quite firmly, and with huge confidence stated “You will get what I want, and when I want to give it to you!”This in no short measure ensured that the mystic that has grown up around David Bowie was started off in the perfect manner.He was not going to give an inch. And we are no doubt glad that he took that stance, as his music was becoming more creative and experimental because of it. He had created the freedom to explore what he was capable off.And so began his personal odyssey from country to country, city to city, playing and recording with such eclectic names as John Lennon, Brian Eno from Roxy Music and even Luther Vandross,It was whilst in New York jamming with John Lennon that the riff which became the iconic Fame was first heard, and led to David Bowie's first American number one.And his later move to Berlin in Germany, harnessed even greater creative imagery and unexpected musical releases with the classic stripped back “Low” and the Eno produced “Heroes”, made whilst he lived in semi seclusion, painting, studying art and recording with Brian Eno."Heroes" was marketed by RCA with the catchphrase, "There's Old Wave. There's New Wave. And there's David Bowie..." which is very apt, and something that Bowie would have done well to remember in later years.It is true that Bowie likes nothing more than going in quite different directions than what the world expects.Throughout his career he has explored the world of acting from his early roles in “The Man Who Fell To Earth”, through to “Absolute Beginners And “Labyrinth” where he acted beside a series of Jim “The Muppet” Henson’s creations, and even a three month run in the Elephant Man on Broadway.None of the roles or performances would be classed as landmarks in his career. In fact many would argue they were just a distraction to where he should have been placing his attention. On his music. The creativity being focused on areas of interest to David, more to his loyal followers.What becomes a truth with David Bowie, is when he appears to move towards the obvious routes to success, he becomes a pale inferior version of himself.Following the global success of the Nile Rodgers produced album “Lets Dance” in 1983, he appeared influenced by the Music of the time. And one thing for sure being in Duran Duran is never going to inspire the same level of performance as working the bars, and studying the architecture in Berlin or other such locations.David Bowie needs to be off the radar, to be truly authentic.He needs to be tapping into the yet to be seen musical movements, instead of being the leader of the popular and current ones.And so for the next few years David Bowie produced work that was neither memorable nor commercially successful in the same way as his earlier successes.He was falling further behind the crowd, and lost between the teenagers now grown up who adored him in the seventies, and the 80’s versions focused on Wham, Duran, and Rick Astley.Throughout the next ten years, Bowie's musical career was in decline, with the albums Tin machine and Tin Machine II being commercial and public failures.David Bowie was finished.He had achieved everything that the 13 year old saxophone learning kid could have ever dreamed off and more. He had inspired the world to believe. He had created a new generation of musicians who studied his back catalogue with a religious fervor.He disappeared. Retreating from the limelight, he closed the door on his New York apartment and became David Jones again. Father, husband, music legend, and enjoying retirement.For over ten years, other than a few sightings David Bowie was invisible to the world.We had the memories of past glories and nothing else.But as we have seen throughout the years, Bowie returns stronger when on his own terms. When he is in control to what the world will receive. That is when he delivers, and in 2013 after ten years in the wilderness “The Next Day” David Bowie's 24th album shook the world.The Spaceman, the Clown, The Alien, The Smooth Groover, the enigma that is David Bowie was back where he belongs. In the ears, and stereos of the world. Saying things the way that only David Bowie can.A musician, a mystery, a creative, a leader, a decision maker, a controller, David Bowie has learnt through all the trials and tribulations, the ups and downs what leads to success. And that quite simply is being himself.A lesson that for so many of us is the hardest one to learn.

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  • November 18: 1 Chronicles 11–12; Hebrews 13; Amos 7; Luke 2

    · ESV: M'Cheyne Reading Plan

    With family: 1 Chronicles 11–12; Hebrews 13 In private: Amos 7; Luke 2 With family: 1 Chronicles 11–12; Hebrews 13 1 Chronicles 11–12; Hebrews 13 Back to top 1 Chronicles 11–12 David Anointed King 11 Then all Israel gathered together to David at Hebron and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh. In times past, even when Saul was king, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the LORD your God said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over my people Israel.’” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD. And they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the LORD by Samuel. David Takes Jerusalem And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, that is, Jebus, where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land. The inhabitants of Jebus said to David, “You will not come in here.” Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David. David said, “Whoever strikes the Jebusites first shall be chief and commander.” And Joab the son of Zeruiah went up first, so he became chief. And David lived in the stronghold; therefore it was called the city of David. And he built the city all around from the Millo in complete circuit, and Joab repaired the rest of the city. And David became greater and greater, for the LORD of hosts was with him. David's Mighty Men Now these are the chiefs of David's mighty men, who gave him strong support in his kingdom, together with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel. This is an account of David's mighty men: Jashobeam, a Hachmonite, was chief of the three.1 He wielded his spear against 300 whom he killed at one time. And next to him among the three mighty men was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite. He was with David at Pas-dammim when the Philistines were gathered there for battle. There was a plot of ground full of barley, and the men fled from the Philistines. But he took his2 stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and killed the Philistines. And the LORD saved them by a great victory. Three of the thirty chief men went down to the rock to David at the cave of Adullam, when the army of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. And David said longingly, “Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and took it and brought it to David. But David would not drink it. He poured it out to the LORD and said, “Far be it from me before my God that I should do this. Shall I drink the lifeblood of these men? For at the risk of their lives they brought it.” Therefore he would not drink it. These things did the three mighty men. Now Abishai, the brother of Joab, was chief of the thirty.3 And he wielded his spear against 300 men and killed them and won a name beside the three. He was the most renowned4 of the thirty5 and became their commander, but he did not attain to the three. And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a valiant man6 of Kabzeel, a doer of great deeds. He struck down two heroes of Moab. He also went down and struck down a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen. And he struck down an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits7 tall. The Egyptian had in his hand a spear like a weaver's beam, but Benaiah went down to him with a staff and snatched the spear out of the Egyptian's hand and killed him with his own spear. These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada and won a name beside the three mighty men. He was renowned among the thirty, but he did not attain to the three. And David set him over his bodyguard. The mighty men were Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem, Shammoth of Harod,8 Helez the Pelonite, Ira the son of Ikkesh of Tekoa, Abiezer of Anathoth, Sibbecai the Hushathite, Ilai the Ahohite, Maharai of Netophah, Heled the son of Baanah of Netophah, Ithai the son of Ribai of Gibeah of the people of Benjamin, Benaiah of Pirathon, Hurai of the brooks of Gaash, Abiel the Arbathite, Azmaveth of Baharum, Eliahba the Shaalbonite, Hashem9 the Gizonite, Jonathan the son of Shagee the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sachar the Hararite, Eliphal the son of Ur, Hepher the Mecherathite, Ahijah the Pelonite, Hezro of Carmel, Naarai the son of Ezbai, Joel the brother of Nathan, Mibhar the son of Hagri, Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai of Beeroth, the armor-bearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah, Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite, Uriah the Hittite, Zabad the son of Ahlai, Adina the son of Shiza the Reubenite, a leader of the Reubenites, and thirty with him, Hanan the son of Maacah, and Joshaphat the Mithnite, Uzzia the Ashterathite, Shama and Jeiel the sons of Hotham the Aroerite, Jediael the son of Shimri, and Joha his brother, the Tizite, Eliel the Mahavite, and Jeribai, and Joshaviah, the sons of Elnaam, and Ithmah the Moabite, Eliel, and Obed, and Jaasiel the Mezobaite. The Mighty Men Join David 12 Now these are the men who came to David at Ziklag, while he could not move about freely because of Saul the son of Kish. And they were among the mighty men who helped him in war. They were bowmen and could shoot arrows and sling stones with either the right or the left hand; they were Benjaminites, Saul's kinsmen. The chief was Ahiezer, then Joash, both sons of Shemaah of Gibeah; also Jeziel and Pelet, the sons of Azmaveth; Beracah, Jehu of Anathoth, Ishmaiah of Gibeon, a mighty man among the thirty and a leader over the thirty; Jeremiah,10 Jahaziel, Johanan, Jozabad of Gederah, Eluzai,11 Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shemariah, Shephatiah the Haruphite; Elkanah, Isshiah, Azarel, Joezer, and Jashobeam, the Korahites; And Joelah and Zebadiah, the sons of Jeroham of Gedor. From the Gadites there went over to David at the stronghold in the wilderness mighty and experienced warriors, expert with shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions and who were swift as gazelles upon the mountains: Ezer the chief, Obadiah second, Eliab third, Mishmannah fourth, Jeremiah fifth, Attai sixth, Eliel seventh, Johanan eighth, Elzabad ninth, Jeremiah tenth, Machbannai eleventh. These Gadites were officers of the army; the least was a match for a hundred men and the greatest for a thousand. These are the men who crossed the Jordan in the first month, when it was overflowing all its banks, and put to flight all those in the valleys, to the east and to the west. And some of the men of Benjamin and Judah came to the stronghold to David. David went out to meet them and said to them, “If you have come to me in friendship to help me, my heart will be joined to you; but if to betray me to my adversaries, although there is no wrong in my hands, then may the God of our fathers see and rebuke you.” Then the Spirit clothed Amasai, chief of the thirty, and he said,   “We are yours, O David,    and with you, O son of Jesse!  Peace, peace to you,    and peace to your helpers!    For your God helps you.” Then David received them and made them officers of his troops. Some of the men of Manasseh deserted to David when he came with the Philistines for the battle against Saul. (Yet he did not help them, for the rulers of the Philistines took counsel and sent him away, saying, “At peril to our heads he will desert to his master Saul.”) As he went to Ziklag, these men of Manasseh deserted to him: Adnah, Jozabad, Jediael, Michael, Jozabad, Elihu, and Zillethai, chiefs of thousands in Manasseh. They helped David against the band of raiders, for they were all mighty men of valor and were commanders in the army. For from day to day men came to David to help him, until there was a great army, like an army of God. These are the numbers of the divisions of the armed troops who came to David in Hebron to turn the kingdom of Saul over to him, according to the word of the LORD. The men of Judah bearing shield and spear were 6,800 armed troops. Of the Simeonites, mighty men of valor for war, 7,100. Of the Levites 4,600. The prince Jehoiada, of the house of Aaron, and with him 3,700. Zadok, a young man mighty in valor, and twenty-two commanders from his own fathers' house. Of the Benjaminites, the kinsmen of Saul, 3,000, of whom the majority had to that point kept their allegiance to the house of Saul. Of the Ephraimites 20,800, mighty men of valor, famous men in their fathers' houses. Of the half-tribe of Manasseh 18,000, who were expressly named to come and make David king. Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, 200 chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command. Of Zebulun 50,000 seasoned troops, equipped for battle with all the weapons of war, to help David12 with singleness of purpose. Of Naphtali 1,000 commanders with whom were 37,000 men armed with shield and spear. Of the Danites 28,600 men equipped for battle. Of Asher 40,000 seasoned troops ready for battle. Of the Reubenites and Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh from beyond the Jordan, 120,000 men armed with all the weapons of war. All these, men of war, arrayed in battle order, came to Hebron with a whole heart to make David king over all Israel. Likewise, all the rest of Israel were of a single mind to make David king. And they were there with David for three days, eating and drinking, for their brothers had made preparation for them. And also their relatives, from as far as Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, came bringing food on donkeys and on camels and on mules and on oxen, abundant provisions of flour, cakes of figs, clusters of raisins, and wine and oil, oxen and sheep, for there was joy in Israel. Footnotes [1] 11:11 Compare 2 Samuel 23:8; Hebrew thirty, or captains [2] 11:14 Compare 2 Samuel 23:12; Hebrew they . . . their [3] 11:20 Syriac; Hebrew three [4] 11:21 Compare 2 Samuel 23:19; Hebrew more renowned among the two [5] 11:21 Syriac; Hebrew three [6] 11:22 Syriac; Hebrew the son of a valiant man [7] 11:23 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters [8] 11:27 Compare 2 Samuel 23:25; Hebrew the Harorite [9] 11:34 Compare Septuagint and 2 Samuel 23:32; Hebrew the sons of Hashem [10] 12:4 Hebrew verse 5 [11] 12:5 Hebrew verse 6 [12] 12:33 Septuagint; Hebrew lacks David (ESV) Hebrews 13 Sacrifices Pleasing to God 13 Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,   “The Lord is my helper;    I will not fear;  what can man do to me?” Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. We have an altar from which those who serve the tent1 have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner. Benediction Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us2 that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Final Greetings I appeal to you, brothers,3 bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. You should know that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom I shall see you if he comes soon. Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who come from Italy send you greetings. Grace be with all of you. Footnotes [1] 13:10 Or tabernacle [2] 13:21 Some manuscripts you [3] 13:22 Or brothers and sisters (ESV) In private: Amos 7; Luke 2 Amos 7; Luke 2 Back to top Amos 7 Warning Visions 7 This is what the Lord GOD showed me: behold, he was forming locusts when the latter growth was just beginning to sprout, and behold, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings. When they had finished eating the grass of the land, I said,   “O Lord GOD, please forgive!    How can Jacob stand?    He is so small!”  The LORD relented concerning this:    “It shall not be,” said the LORD. This is what the Lord GOD showed me: behold, the Lord GOD was calling for a judgment by fire, and it devoured the great deep and was eating up the land. Then I said,   “O Lord GOD, please cease!    How can Jacob stand?    He is so small!”  The LORD relented concerning this:    “This also shall not be,” said the Lord GOD. This is what he showed me: behold, the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. And the LORD said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said,   “Behold, I am setting a plumb line    in the midst of my people Israel;    I will never again pass by them;  the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate,    and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste,    and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.” Amos Accused Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words. For thus Amos has said,   “‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword,    and Israel must go into exile    away from his land.’” And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there, but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king's sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.” Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was1 no prophet, nor a prophet's son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. But the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ Now therefore hear the word of the LORD.   “You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel,    and do not preach against the house of Isaac.’ Therefore thus says the LORD:   “‘Your wife shall be a prostitute in the city,    and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword,    and your land shall be divided up with a measuring line;  you yourself shall die in an unclean land,    and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.’” Footnotes [1] 7:14 Or am; twice in this verse (ESV) Luke 2 The Birth of Jesus Christ 2 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when1 Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,2 who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.3 The Shepherds and the Angels And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,   “Glory to God in the highest,    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”4 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Jesus Presented at the Temple And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,   “Lord, now you are letting your servant5 depart in peace,    according to your word;  for my eyes have seen your salvation    that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,  a light for revelation to the Gentiles,    and for glory to your people Israel.” And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.6 She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. The Return to Nazareth And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. The Boy Jesus in the Temple Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day's journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents7 saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?”8 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature9 and in favor with God and man. Footnotes [1] 2:2 Or This was the registration before [2] 2:5 That is, one legally pledged to be married [3] 2:7 Or guest room [4] 2:14 Some manuscripts peace, good will among men [5] 2:29 Or bondservant [6] 2:37 Or as a widow for eighty-four years [7] 2:48 Greek they [8] 2:49 Or about my Father's business [9] 2:52 Or years (ESV)

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  • How Nonprofit Leaders Commit Brand Slaughter

    · 01:00:27 · The Nonprofit Exchange: Leadership Tools & Strategies

    David Corbin: Keynote Speaker, Business Adviser, President of Private and Public Corporations, Inventor, Mentor and pretty good guy…..David M. Corbin has been referred to as “Robin Williams with an MBA” because of his very practical, high relevant content speeches coupled with entertaining and sometimes side splitting stories. A former psychotherapist with a background in healthcare, he has served as management and leadership consultant to businesses and organizations of all sizes – from Fortune 20 companies to businesses with less than 1 million – and enjoys the challenges of all. He has worked directly with the Presidents of companies such as AT&T, Hallmark, Sprint as well as the Hon.Secretary of Veterans Administration and others. http://davidcorbin.com Notes from the interview: Why is it important for nonprofits to be clear about their brand? You have a brand. If you don’t work at defining it, your audience will. You create an impression by your actions, intent does not stop that. Everything you do adds to the impression you create. Make believe you are always being observed and act accordingly. Audit your service by experiencing your deliverable. Would you do business with your organization? When working with people to build organization framework, when to we focus on brand promise? From the beginning. Why do we exist? Who do we serve? How do we want to be known? What do we really want? Who are we really? Everything we take on needs to fit who we are at the core! Do the Brand Audit right at the beginning(Before you deliver any services or approach anyone)! Team must be fully engaged all the way through. Quality and Clarity Determine Financial Results. Growth must start at an individual level for the organization to grow. People – The only completely renewable resource of any organization! (And the most valuable) Culture is a reflection of leadership! How Do Leaders Keep Our Internal and External Brands Fresh? Integrity – Living the values of the organization. Boss Watching – Biggest Sport! Model the behaviors the brand represents. Transformation consists of a series of small steps, often many of them! It starts with one in a row! Everything counts when it comes to integrity. Leader must lead by example. The Transcript NPC Interview with David Corbin Hugh Ballou: Greetings, this is Hugh Ballou. We are live with the Nonprofit Chat. Today, we have a guest who will bring energy to a lot of different topics tonight. David Corbin is a friend of ours. We have known each other for a number of years. This is the first time we have had a live interview, so welcome and thank you for being here. David Corbin: My pleasure. I’m happy to be a live interview. I hope the other ones weren’t dead. What are you trying to say, Hugh? Hugh: You’re a live one, man. I like guests to start out by telling people something interesting about yourself. Why do you do what you’re doing, and what is your background that gave you… The few times you and I have had some deep conversations, I have really been impressed by the depth and breadth of wisdom that you have on these topics that you talk about. Give us a little paragraph or two about David Corbin. Who are you, and what brought you to where you are today? David: Well, I’m a human being. I’m not a speaker. I’m not an author. I’m not a doctor. I’m a human being, and I play the role of a keynote speaker, inventor, and mentor. I am a guy who loves life. What can I say? If there is a way- As I did yesterday, I had a client fly out from Mexico. The objective overall was for him to be happy, healthy, prosperous, and the like. I am the guy who likes to do that and likes to be that as the extent I can continue to learn and grow. I do all of those things. As you know, you have been in my audience, and I have been in yours. I love to share ideas from a platform. I like to consult with corporations at the highest levels and then solopreneurs. I love to run my 5K every Saturday, and I love to play tennis. I love to hang out in my backyard. I look out there, and I have chickens running around and a turtle in the pool. Life is great. Hugh: You’re in San Diego, California. David: I am. Home of Tony Gwynn, the famous Padre. Today I was honored to be invited to the unveiling of his statue in our little town here. I was also with his family at Cooperstown at Baseball Hall of Fame as he was inducted with Cal Ripken. I am in southern California, San Diego. The town is called Poway. Hugh: Love it. The first time we met, we were in Lake Las Vegas, and you had just published Illuminate. You’re not an author, but you write some really profound stuff. You actually were in a suit and tie that day. What inspired you to write that book, and what is it about? David: I’ll tell you what it’s about. It’s about facing the reality of situations in our life and our business. You see, I have read the positive mental attitude literature, and I have had the honor of meeting Dr. Norman Vincent Peele and some of the luminaries in positive mental attitude. I am honored to be in the latest Think and Grow Rich book, Three Feet from Gold. Nowhere in that literature does it say ignore negative issues, that we should push them under the carpet as it were. I came to realize that my most successful clients were individuals who had the courage to face those issues, not just accentuate the positive as the song goes. But rather than eliminate the negative, I learned the key is to illuminate the negative in a model that I call “face it, follow it, and fix it.” That is what Illuminate is about. It came from the realization from practical experience, that whether it is a nonprofit, a for-profit, or a for-profit that doesn’t intend to be a nonprofit but ends up that way, no matter who it is, the individuals who have the courage and the character to face the problems head-on, that is what I found to be the greatest model, and hence the title of Illuminate: Harnessing the Positive Power of Negative Thinking. Hugh: What I can count on if we are having conversations is the words coming out of your mouth are not what I can expect from anyone else, because David Corbin is one of the most creative people I have ever met. I remember when we were introducing ourselves at CEO Space one time, one person said they were a consultant, and then you came along and said, “I am an insultant,” and I said, “I’m a resultant,” and your head went, Whoosh. At least one time I one-upped you. David: It’s on my website now. There is an asterisk at the bottom and says, “Maestro Hugh Ballou, genius extraordinaire.” Hugh: I am honored, David Corbin. I have not seen that. A resultant in a pipe organ is a pipe that is not as long. A sixteen-foot pipe has a certain pitch. They don’t have space, so they miter it, and the result is a lower tone from a shorter pipe. We actually create a bigger result without having to be bigger ourselves. We can amplify the sound by what we do. You and I, I love this Illuminate. Two weeks ago, I talked to David Dunworth, who is also an author. He has quoted you. We talked about that. You illuminate a lot of people you maybe don’t even know. It’s really how we amplify what other people do. I’m just energized by the fact that you’re here. You have another book that is new. You’ve written about brand slaughter. Is that the title? David: It is. I was just on the TV news this week talking about that. It was fun. The guy couldn’t get over the title. The concept is- People create their brand based upon their values and the brand promise out to the world. They put a check off and think they’re done. Don’t stop there. You’re either building your brand—you, your employees and everyone else in your organization—or killing it. Nothing is neutral. You are either engaged in brand integrity or engaged in what I call brand slaughter, just like manslaughter in the first, second, or third degree. We can read in the news that people are convicted of manslaughter, but you don’t often see people convicted of brand slaughter, except maybe in the case of United Airlines or Pricewaterhousecooper in front of 30 million people after 87 years of great service to the Oscars. I don’t know if it’s brand slaughter. I think they can recoup from that. However, United Airlines is going to have a hard time coming back from that brand slaughter, wouldn’t you agree? Hugh: I would. It’s one that got highlighted in a series of really dumb things the airline has done. We’re talking to passionate people who are providing amazing value but are limited by how people perceive us. I was talking to someone on a radio interview, and he said, “There is a charity in my area, but I quit giving because I really wasn’t sure what was happening.” That is part of our brand promise, who we are and what we stand for. David: That’s right. When we look at the organizations that part of our charter is to serve others in an amazing way, and there is no shortage of people in the giving field, those organizations are carrying a lot of weight for the society. They are making a promise out there. By and large, they are delivering. However, there are some actions and behaviors they either are taking or their management/leadership is taking or their front line people are taking—they are taking certain behaviors that are undermining the brand and the promise of the entire organization. It doesn’t have to be that way. Look, I have had great experiences on United Airlines. I truly have. I love Gershwin, so when I hear that music, it pus me in a wonderful state. I have met some wonderful people. They are not just a group of dirtbags. However, the one person who carries the credibility and reputation of the organization pulled down the asset value of the corporation, the reputation of the corporation, and created for great humor, “United Airlines put the hospital back in hospitality,” such that Southwest Airlines came out and said, “We beat our competition, not our customers.” That kind of stuff is just going to keep going because of one guy making one bad move. I want to tell the leaders, managers, supervisors, and individuals who are carrying the torch of these organizations to do what I teach in this book called an ABI, an Audit of Brand Integrity. Have every one of your employees take a sheet of paper and write down the values, write down the brand, and then write down the touchpoints they have on a daily basis with the individuals they are touching: a customer, a fellow employee, a vendor. Everyone who is carrying that brand, and that individual looks at their touchpoints and asks themselves, “How does the brand live that touchpoint?” What could I do, what might I do, what should I do, what ought I do to really boost that brand? If the organization, let’s say United Airlines because we are picking on them, but I can tell you two of them I experienced today alone. But I focus in on that one. If the CEO said, “Folks, this is our brand. We are doing a brand audit. After you do that audit, come back and tell us examples of how that brand is to live in your head. Maybe even tell us some examples of what you have observed in our organization when we have committed brand slaughter.” There is a statute of limitations. Nobody is going to get busted. But it helps us to see how the brand is alive and well and being fed and nurtured and supported, and on the other side, by the law of contrast, we can see where we have fallen down so we don’t fall down that hole again. That would be an amazing solution. I implore everyone who is listening, whether you are running a nonprofit or not—maybe you are going to at some point but now you are a parent or a neighbor or a member of a church or synagogue—and ask yourself: What is your brand? How are you living that brand? I think when we get serious about this, we can’t solve everything we face, but we can solve anything unless we face it. This is a way of facing the opportunity of building your brand asset value. I sound like a politician. I am David Corbin, and I endorse that message. Hugh: That’s right. Your passion is contagious. Our friend from Hawaii, Eve Hogan, is watching on Facebook. We have a lot of people that we know. David, there are four million 501(c) somethings. There are 10’s, 6’s, 3’s, and government organizations. There are all kinds of tax-exempt organizations. They are charities; they are social benefit organizations. Russell and I are on the campaign to eliminate the word nonprofit. Rather than defining ourselves by what we’re not, which is not correct either—we do need to make a profit to make things happen—we are social benefit organizations. We leverage intellectual property. We leverage passion. We leverage the good works and products we have for the benefit of humankind. These nongovernmental organizations that we represent have a bigger job and more important job today than ever before. There is real confusion on the whole branding thing. I want to back up a minute to a question posted a few minutes ago. How can nonprofits eliminate their brand? But I think it’s important for them to know why they even need a brand and why it is important to be clear about the brand. It’s true for any organization, but we are talking to nonprofits. The reason we have top-level business leaders like you on this series is we need to understand good, sound business principles to install into these organizations that we lead. Why is branding important? How do we illuminate that into the communities that want to support us but need that information? David: Let’s just say this. Whether you like it or not, you have a brand. Whether you know it or not, you have a brand. These scanners- I have a scanner over there. It’s a Hewlett Packard. It doesn’t compare to these scanners. *points to eyes* I have a computer that we’re working through. It doesn’t compare to this computer .*points to brain* Everyone is walking around with these scanners and this computer, and everything counts. Whether you acknowledge it or not, you are creating an impression from the eye to the brain to the heart to the soul of who you are and what you’re doing, whether you believe in it or not. I don’t know if you believe in gravity or not, but if you walk off of any building in any town of any city, you are going down. It’s an immutable fact. Now, thank you for the concept of the not-for-profit. Why talk about what we’re not? That was brilliant. You open up my thinking. I thank you for that. I want to let all of my service providers know that everything that you do is creating an impression, whether you believe in it or not. Could you imagine if I came out and said, “I want to talk about hygiene and important it is?” *while sniffling and rubbing his nose and eyes* That would be absurd. I happen to have a 501(c)3 for anti-bullying called Anti Bullying Leadership Experience. Everything that we do is going to be carrying our mojo of the anti-bullying. Could you imagine if I started yelling at one of my vendors and pouncing on them and playing a power trip with them? That would be the antithesis of everything. The point I want to make is make believe that you are on the stage of a microscope and you are being observed in everything that you are doing because you are. And as soon as the leaders know that, they will start looking at things differently. You drive up to the parking lot, see what the front door looks like, see how you are greeted, and you are watching everything that is going on. God is my judge, I must tell you. Hugh, you know I am putting together a little wedding party for my daughter. I was at two places today, one of which the woman didn’t show up to the appointment, and she needed to call me back, and she didn’t later. One was a very famous place called L’Auberge Del Mar. It’s five-star. When I called to make a room reservation there, I was there for seven and a half minutes before I even found someone. I eventually called the manager who called me back. I said, “I’m going to give you a gift. I would like you to call and try to make a room reservation and get the experience of what that’s like.” She did. She called me back and goes, “My goodness, Mr. Corbin. I had no idea.” We need to audit all of these activities. Our service organizations, which do not have an unlimited budget that a lot of corporations might have today, must be efficient, must be effective. The best consultation you can get is from yourself experiencing your deliverables and that which it is you are bringing to the market. I just think that we don’t have a lot of wiggle room for error. There is a wonderful book by Andy Grove who started a little company called Intel. You probably haven’t heard of it. Andy wrote a book called Only the Paranoid Survive. I don’t think he is suggesting that we walk around paranoid. I think he is suggesting a strong and deep introspection into what we are doing and how we are doing it. I want to punch that home. Please, please for the benefit of all whom you are serving and whom you could serve in the future, take this message seriously. Know that you have a brand. Live that brand. Make sure that everyone in your auspices know how they live that brand. Hugh: Those are wise words. Mr. Russell Dennis is capturing sound bites. He is very good at picking out things, and you have given him a lot of fresh meat today. David, you work with a variety of different kinds of clients, some of whom you and I both know. When you are working with them on building out the whole framework of the organization they are launching and growing, at what point do you hone in on this brand image, brand promise, brand identity? At what point in this process do you focus on that aspect? David: I believe strongly with begin in the end in mind. It’s more than rhetoric. If you are a service organization, really ask the penetrating questions. 1) Why do we exist, and do we need to exist? 2) Who do we serve, and how do we serve them? 3) How do we want to be known? 4) What do we want somebody to yell over to the fence to their neighbor about our organization? When you have that, you work backwards from that. Business planning takes the existing business and carries it out into the future, but strategic planning envisions the future and works backwards from there. I take a deep dive of visualization. Actually, as you know, I am a graduate of Woodstock. I was there in 1969. So I can say not just visualization, but hallucination. I can really hallucinate on those questions. I just was in front of an audience in Atlanta and said, “What do you want? What do you really want?” I say that to businesses as I do strategic planning. Who are you? Who are you really? Then you know all of that. That is when you contemplate for your brand promise and the reputation that you want to earn because you can’t demand it. Then when you do that, you get the confidence to move forward. You now have the gristmill, and everything must go through that. How does it go against our brand? Should we do that? Great, tell us how it fits into our brand. When someone does something that is off-target, how did that dent our brand, and what can we do to prevent that from happening again? In direct answer to your question, do this brand audit right form the get-go. I promise you not only does it give individuals a sense of ownership, but it gives them a sense of confidence because nobody wants to mess it up. In Europe, they take it down to the bottom line. When you ding the brand, you are actually pilfering money from the organization. Isn’t that something? Imagine if we really own the brand. No one changes the oil when we rent a car because they don’t have ownership. When people know what the brand is in their hands, they take ownership. What happens is when you collaborate with your people, you breed creativity and commitment. Now they are engaged, they are enrolled. Nothing can stop a service organization with passionate, engaged people. That is why I plug what you’re doing, Hugh. Hugh: Thank you for that, David. That is such a vivid description of how we can upgrade our performance and upgrade the performance of the organization that we have a huge responsibility for as the leader. Perceiving ourselves as the leader doesn’t mean we have to do everything. It does mean we need to be involved in the grassroots of what is going on so we can know what is actually happening. And what you talked about brings to mind that we build relationship with others in the organization. To me, that is the foundation of leadership, and it is also the foundation of communications. You gave the gift to the hotel manager that she didn’t have because she was too busy doing the top-level things to get into the minutiae and figure out, Whoa, how do we look to the public? You could go to any big company in America and help them do an audit, and it would bring them immense value, probably within the first 30 seconds of your conversation. Part of what you described is part of this word that you have used, which is such a brilliant framing of how we- Everybody in Synervision is a leader. We lead from different perspectives, and we impact everybody else in the organization. We also represent the brand. We don’t know who is going to go wild, like United Airlines. That was such a terrible thing for everybody, but it highlighted an underlying problem. Brand slaughter was what brought it to the fore. I bet that cost United a whole lot of money so far, not to mention future business. Let’s take it back to the charities. We are doing work that impacts people’s lives, sometimes saving people from drug addition or suicide or insanity. There are a lot of worthy things we are doing. We have elements going on that kill the brand. I love it when you talk about this brand slaughter thing. I’d like to put it back into context in what we’re doing with this world of charities and how we need to contain this brand and empower our tribes to represent the brand and not be guilty of brand slaughter. Give us a little more food for thought, especially for charities. I work with churches, synagogues, community foundations, semi-government agencies. I find there is a similarity with everybody, that we are not aware of how the culture is represented by the people, and that brand slaughter is committed in minor ways, but also in bigger ways. I am going to shut up now and let you talk about brand slaughter and why that is so crucial for our charities. David: I look at it this way. I believe that the financial results of any organization is largely dependent on the quality of its people and the clarity of its people. Be it a service organization or otherwise, I believe everyone in the organization should create a circle. I don’t mean hands holding. I mean draw a circle, a wheel with a hub and spokes. Every one of those spokes is an essential core job function for that person. If it’s a leader, we know some of the spokes are delegation, communication, strategic thinking, and financial management. Those are all spokes. Whatever the position is, if you’re an operating room nurse or a development manager for a service organization, you create that wheel and look at the spokes. When you do, you start rating yourself on those spokes. The hub means you’re terrible. Outside at the end is a number ten. That is mastery. You get real serious with whoever you are, whatever your job is, and rate yourself on a scale of zero to ten. Where you are an eight or nine, great, pat yourself on the back. That is really cool. But don’t stop there. Unfortunately, Americans tend to stop at the immediate gratification. Look at what I’m doing great. We say no. Focus in on the threes, fours, and fives. Set a goal to a six, eight, and nine, and close those gaps. I say that to my brothers and sisters who work in the serious world of service delivery. I mean what we would call service providers and not-for-profits or whatever you want to call them. When you get serious, and you rate yourself on a scale of one to ten in those areas, and you start closing those gaps, magic happens. You know what the magic is? You start building a momentum of growing yourself. You can’t grow an organization unless the individuals are growing themselves. You show me an organization that does what I’m talking about: closing the gaps, setting personal goals, and getting more efficient and effective in what they do. I don’t care if their building burns down; they could accomplish their mission in a tent. They could do it with dirt floors. They could do it anywhere. The saying is, “Wherever two or more people are gathered in His name, there is love.” Let me tell you. Whenever you have a leadership team and a management team that talks about building their people, the only renewable asset in an organization, no matter what happens, they will win. Every one of the employees increases their asset value. You invoke the law of control. People feel good about themselves in the extent they are moving in the direction of destiny. Their confidence goes up. Their competence goes up. People talk about going down the rabbit hole. Now you are going up this amazing spire into success, achievement, productivity, confidence, peace of mind, and self-esteem. I am passionate about that because I have seen it work. I help it work. I live it myself. I couldn’t talk about it if I didn’t live it, or else that would be a form of brand slaughter. Hugh: I can validate that. You live out the David Corbin brand. You illuminate the brand. Or you don’t do it. You are very serious about being spot-on. You show up fully present. I have been doing the German ice cream thing. I am being Häagen-Dazs Mike. Russell, do you have a comment or a question for our guest tonight? Russell Dennis: It’s a lot easier to tear a brand apart than it is to put it together. Look at United. Those guys have been around forever and a day. And in the space of a day, they have torn the whole thing down and trashed a lot of good wealth. It’s very easy. Brand is about- it goes beyond a logo. People think of a logo when they think of a brand. It’s not the logo; it’s what is behind the logo that symbolizes something. I am going to pull a definition out of a book that a very wise man wrote, “The brand as is a tangible expression of top-performing culture comes to life when the elements including the mission are taken off the wall and put into daily action at all levels and through all individuals in the organization.” That is a big mouthful. Hugh: Who is the wise person that wrote that? Russ: Just some guy who is sitting around while we chat. Hugh: David Corbin wrote that. Russ: Brand slaughter, to me, is the ultimate thing. To say this is what we stand for and do something completely different. I think there are some people out there who are scrutinizing and are waiting for somebody to make a mistake. I have seen people do that. You run into those folks in a supermarket. People don’t intentionally set out to fail, but it happens. These are things that are talked about in the Core Steps to Building a Nonprofit course. When it’s building that foundation, they could lay all those things out. The time to figure out your brand is right at the outset. Who do we serve? What is in our wheelhouse? What do we have? What are we weak at? Where are our gaps? I think you have to hammer those strengths and work with them, but when you have a gap, that is where your recruiting starts. You recruit your advisors, you recruit your board. Or you look for collaborative partners. But you find a way to do it that will stay because everything rides on it. You have to have it all in place. You have to have a solid foundation to start making those plans and do the things that you want to do first. What are we going to do first? There is a big vision. I have been working with Sue Lee. We had a great conversation yesterday. I have also been working with Dennis Cole on his foundation. We are looking at some potential sponsors. We have got some things that we are going to be doing really soon that are interesting, but we are ready to break out and go out there and be a service to people by telling them they don’t have to succumb to any bad circumstances they have because of an injury or major illness. You can work around that. The whole brand is about living that and walking that walk. These are pretty courageous young men I am proud to be helping. Hugh: Part of that course where you talked about- David, Russell is helping people bring in revenue to their so-called nonprofits/charities. There is a relevance. Russ, I’d like to get David weigh in on the relevance of this branding and attracting revenue, the income that we really need that is the profit that runs our charity. Russell, I’ll bring it back to you in a minute, but you had illuminated some things that I wanted to get David to weigh in on. There is a monetary equivalent to the integrity in our brand that you talked about earlier. David: Yeah. Just as in the strategic planning you are asking yourself who are we serving and why are we serving and how are we serving, when you look at the individuals you are appealing to in business development, you say, “Hey, contribute to us. Support us.” When we are looking at that, we then need to reverse-engineer that. That is what I do in my visualization/hallucination. Why are they contributing? What have they contributed to before? What are they contributing to? What is going to make them feel good? How do they know they are contributing to the right organization after they contribute so they might want to contribute again? When you contemplate the psychology of that, much like you look into why people invest into businesses, you think about those donors. Then you know that the emotional connection- You guys have heard me talk about the mojo factor or the God only knows factor. Why are you contributing to them year after year? God only knows. Would you consider not contributing to them or contributing to someone else? Absolutely not. Why? God only knows. They are not sure what that emotional connection is, but you know the emotional connection. In my case, with the anti-bullying, we are looking at the ramifications of some of these young souls who have been bullied and how it impacts their lives. Individuals who are donating to that might have experienced some bullying before and know the pain they went through, as well as the imaginations throughout their life. We know that now, so we know what the mojo factor is to get that individual to know who we are, what we do, and how and why they might want to invest. When that becomes our brand, when they can see it and feel it and taste it and touch it, which it to say there is energy between what we are doing and what we are saying, from the logo and the color and the actions and our behaviors and our sounds, then when we have that going on, we have this awesome connection. Years ago, some of us are old enough to know about Ma Bell. Remember Ma Bell? And then a company came in called Sprint and they wanted to break that God only knows connection, that amazing connection between Ma Bell. Sprint came in and said. It was MCI. They said, “We are going to beat the price,” and Ma Bell came out and said, “Oh yeah? Make them put it in writing.” Ma Bell, you don’t talk like that. Ma? They broke that bond, you see. That is just an example of breaking a bond. When it comes to our organizations who are listening today, the bond is that promise. The two great things that my friend Russell just discussed are 1) it’s a lot easier to kill a brand than to build a brand. That is so true. And secondly, among other things Russell shared, there are some people out there who are looking for you to mess up. There is an individual looking for the rabbi to have a ham sandwich. There is an individual who is looking for the such-and-such the wrong way. They are looking for that. Why? Because it is easier to find the fault in others than to take the personal responsibility to build themselves. So when you know that, don’t be paranoid. But be a little paranoid and know they are watching you. Not only are people scanning you from a neutral point of view, and those scanning you from a positive point of view, but there are also those naysayers who are looking for you to be hypocritical. They are looking for you to mess up. That is when I say have everybody lockstep in knowing what is our promise and behaving that way. You can’t go after fund development and not be the brand, or you are wasting your time. Hugh: Whoa. So Russell, I have interrupted you. Were you formulating a question? We are two thirds of the way through our interview, and we are getting into the nitty-gritty. Did you have a really hard question to stump our guest with tonight? Russ: There is no stumping David. It just follows in with what I was saying. The fourth step of building a high-performance nonprofit is to be able to communicate that value that you bring to everybody you come into contact with. You have people that work in the organization. You have donors. You have people who get your services. You need to know how to do it with everyone. With people who are working with you internally, you have to set an expectation so people know exactly what they are signing up for. Understand that you are not everybody’s flavor, but you are some people’s flavor. When you talk to organizations or donors or people who are going to support you, here is the reality of anything you undertake: There is going to be some risk associated. If you walk in and tell them, “Everything is going to be peachy,” when you are in the service mind-frame or an entrepreneur, we can be hopeless optimists a lot of times. It has been my experience that a lot of things take twice the money, time, and effort they are going to take because we go in with those good intentions. We have to be fully transparent, especially if we discover we have some problems or snags implementing the project. The time to talk about that is as soon as you discover it and look at it and say, “Well, we may not be where we quite want to be.” Up front, transparent. Illuminate as David has talked about. That is a book that is on my shelf. I love that book. I read the thing in one sitting. A lot of people want to cover up. Or human egos want to make us look good. When we are in the business of trying to help people with some serious societal problems, you have to get the ego out of the way. That is hard to do. It makes it difficult to get organizations to collaborate or talk to one another. I have seen a lot of that, too. My philosophy is that you can get a hell of a lot done if you are not hung up on who gets the credit. It is an uphill climb often, but I think the landscape is changing a little bit. People are going into business with a socially benefited mind. They create business structures like the LLC and the B-corp and the benefit corporations. We are seeing a lot of these social enterprises crop up. People can not only make a profit but can also do some good. It’s all about doing some good, but there are certain things we have to look at. It has to be run efficiently and effectively, but it doesn’t matter what your tax stamp says. Hugh: There is a comment on Twitter: “Doing what you love, loving whom you serve, believing that your nonprofit is vital. I knew too many whose hearts aren’t in…” That’s interesting. David, do you want to respond to Russ before we go to the final set of questions here? David: Well, a couple things that come to mind. Something that you had said earlier, Hugh, and something that Russell just said. I’ll start with Russell. Yes, you need to face the issue. Face a lot of issues. Look at what happened. Happily, there will be lemonade coming out of this lemon on the United Airlines. Not for that doctor, but he will get a huge settlement. That is not what he wanted. I think the industry is shifting now. I read somewhere that Southwest Airlines has changed their model around overselling seats. Sometimes it takes this type of situation for people to learn, and then they shift. A lot of people don’t really appreciate their life or family until God forbid maybe a near-death experience, and that is what wakes them up. I say practice safety in driving before then, don’t wait for a near-death experience. Start contemplating for the potential issues or challenges that might happen in your organization before it happens. That is the part of roleplaying what could/might happen. What could possibly happen in this situation? Those are the types of things. Don’t be a negative nelly. Don’t get me wrong. The government has something called Sarbanes-Oxley that says the corporation has the fiduciary responsibility to anticipate, predict, and prepare for a natural disaster. It makes good sense. You don’t have to mandate that to me as a business owner. Of course, if I am manufacturing a car, I want to make sure that if the person who creates my rearview mirrors goes down, I am still going to be able to meet the needs of my organization, my shareholders, my staff, my employees. Of course I am going to do that. I don’t need regulation. For crying out loud, I don’t even need the Americans with Disabilities Act, which is to provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. For crying out loud, that is just good sense. It is just good sense. Plus it is the right thing to do. But be that as it may, we need to face the issue before it happens. Oh by the way, be prepared for facing the issue after it happens. So Mr. President of United Airlines, anticipate if a problem goes down how you are going to handle it. Don’t say he was only following procedure. There was a guy in Nazi Germany who used to say that, too. I was just following procedure. I hate to make an extreme example, but I make a point following procedure. Following procedure, pulling a guy off, breaking his teeth. Come on. To say that is just ridiculous. What Pricewaterhouse did after they had a big brouhaha in front of 33 million people, they had 87 years of doing the job really well. What happened after that is they came back and apologized. They said Mea culpa. Just like the Japanese corporate executives did if a plane goes down, they resign. They take personal responsibility. But what Pricewaterhouse did is they said: It was our responsibility, and we apologize. We are looking into it. We want to congratulate those people on camera, including Jimmy Kimmel, for handling it elegantly. Even bringing a little humor into it. We apologize from the bottom of our hearts—I am paraphrasing here—and we will get to the bottom of this. We will let you know what happens so it never happens again. You see, that ding wasn’t brand slaughter. It was kind of like getting a ticket for tinted windows or a light being out. I believe we are going to forgive them after a while, but it will be hard to forgive United Airlines after they issued responsibility and took that cheap ticket out. I’m piggybacking off some of the comments you made earlier. I think it’s an important point. Anticipate what can go wrong. It doesn’t require legislation for that; it requires common sense. Then practice. Practice so it comes out naturally. Sir Lawrence Olivier said the key to acting is spontaneity, which is the result of long, hard, tedious practice. I say practice. Hugh: I could hear you talk all night, David. I think people would be with us this long. There are people listening to you with lots of focus. We could all reframe our own leadership. The question we threw out for people to think about is from the leadership position. My forty years of conducting, I know that what the orchestra and the choir sees is what I get. The culture is a reflection of our leadership. Representing the brand internally helps them represent the brand externally. My question to you is, in this whole spirit of illuminating- I don’t know about you, but I find some leaders who have more blind spots than awareness on the impact they are having on the brand externally and internally. You can do your own inventory, but I don’t think we can. We need to illuminate with some outside, impartial person asking us the right questions. David, how can a leader, especially one that has been in a position for a while, keep it fresh and illuminate our own representation of our brand internally and externally? David: I think it’s about integrity. Integrity is a powerful word. It’s thrown around. But integrity, the leader living the values of the business. I can’t ask you to do what I’m not willing to do. They say one of the biggest sports in life is soccer, but I don’t think that’s true. I think the biggest sport in life is boss-watching. Seriously. I really think that. They set the culture. They set the pace. To the extent they are leading with honor and integrity, with the values and behaviors and all. I talk about illuminate, face it, follow, and fix it. One time, instead of getting out of the shower and running past the mirror, I stopped. I didn’t quite like what I saw, and I saw a guy who was 40-50 pounds overweight. I thought, My goodness. How dare I talk about illuminate if I don’t face it. I faced it. I am asking everyone, every leader, to face: Are you living in integrity? I followed it. I found out why I was gaining weight. I was having a glass of wine or two every night, and it brought my blood sugar down. I would eat anything that was there. There are sardines and chocolate syrup. Looks great! And then I’d go to sleep. I didn’t realize I was training to be an athlete. There is an athlete who drinks alcohol and eats a lot of food at night, and that athlete is called a sumo wrestler. I was training to be a sumo wrestler. I couldn’t be a leader of Illuminate and be that hypocritical. The fix it was to take small steps and make some transformation. I ask my leaders, my brothers and sisters who are leaders, to get serious. I walked into an association that has to do with diabetes, and I saw a big Coke machine there. I look at some of our organizations who are in the health industry, and they are not healthy. I did a lot of work with a company. I won’t tell you the name of it, but it rhymes with Schmaiser Permanente. They are talking about their model called Thrive. And I look at some of their employees, and they are out of integrity. I say, “Don’t talk about thrive. You are better off saying nothing. When I see the word ‘thrive’ and see people who are grossly unhealthy, I know you are hypocritical. I wonder where else you are cutting corners. I don’t like that.” Everything counts. Everything counts. I scan, I think, I feel. Maybe below the line of consciousness. But if it is not in integrity, I am not donating my time and my money to you. I am going to move on to someone who is. Any business, any organization, the leader must lead by example. When she falls down, she says, “Mea culpa. You know what. I fell down. I apologize for that. Here is my plan.” The feminization of business today is so important. Authenticity comes with that, and a lot of drive. When we have the character to say, “Whoops, I messed up, wow, that is a big difference,” that is leadership. Leadership is real. Vulnerability, authenticity, those are just words. They are being overused, but they are real. Get serious about that. Hugh: You are preaching our song. We preach that leadership is influence. We get to choose if we influence positively or negatively. Those are good parting words, but I am going to give you the chance to do a wish or thought or tip for people as we leave. I want to recognize that they can go to davidcorbin.com. David Corbin leaps over tall buildings. Do you really run a 5K every Sunday? David: Every Saturday when I am in town. Hugh: Wow. And you went to Woodstock? You know who else was there? David: My brother David Gruder. Hugh: Yes, he was at Woodstock. You and I are contemporaries. I am a little older than you are. I have never had anybody on this interview series take a sound bite from Rhapsody in Blue. He is a modern-day Renaissance man with many skills. David Corbin, you are indeed a blessing to a lot of people, but tonight, to Russ and me for sharing this great stuff with so many charities. As we are winding up this really powerful interview, David, what is a parting thought or tip you’d like to leave with these amazing leaders that are making such a difference in people’s lives? David: I would express my gratitude for their passion, for their hard work. It is difficult today. Service organizations, it seems as though they are being told to jump through hoops and then they make the hoops smaller and then they set the hoops on fire. It’s not easy. We need to attract people to volunteer and donate and work for our noble mission. Every morning, I wake up. My hands and knees are on the ground like our Muslim brothers, and I give thanks and gratitude every single morning. I want to give gratitude to those of you who are taking the rein and doing this amazing work, this social work. I thank you for that. I deeply hope that some of these ideas might help you be more effective, more efficient, and more joyous and confident in what you do. Thank you for what you do. Hugh: David Corbin, special words indeed. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with so many people. Your words will live on. Thanks so much for being with us. David: Thanks, brother.

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  • #11 - Abby Semple (procurement consultant, postgraduate student)

    · 00:26:09 · Public Procurement Podcast -

    What will public procurement look like in 2025? Interview with Abby Semple, a Procurement Consultant and postgraduate student at the University of London Birkbeck College, who runs the blog Public Procurement Analysis. She’s also an expert in sustainability in procurement. Earlier this year Abby was one of the first authors out of the gate with A Practical Guide to Public Procurement, a book about the new public procurement directives. There were many topics we could have chosen for our talk today but we settled on one slightly different from usual. Today’s talk is focused on the future of public procurement, more specifically how procurement may look in 2025. iTunesTranscriptHello Abby, thank you for coming to the show.Thank you. Nice to be here.We were discussing when we were setting up the interview what topics we could cover and what questions we should go for. One of the first ones you suggested I think is very, very good, if you look ahead for the next ten years or so what would we perceive is going to be the changes to the market in public procurement in Europe? Will there be more or fewer contracts advertised and more or less competition?Well it’s maybe a bit of a risky topic for me to have proposed because I think most people throughout history who have tried to predict the future have been proven wrong! It’s often interesting to see in which ways they were proven wrong so it’s maybe a little bit dangerous to talk about this but never mind, you know, it’s a Monday morning so may as well get stuck in. In terms of that question of more or fewer contracts, for me the big question is at what level are contracts being advertised? Are we just talking about OJEU advertisements or are we talking about national databases, national websites? And my guess would be that you’re going to have about the same number of contracts advertised in the OJEU but a lot more contracts being advertised on national websites at national level and a lot more potential at least for cross-border competition via those national portals as they sort of gear up. And I don’t know whether they’ll all be following similar standards but at least they’ll become more intelligible, more accessible to bidders outside of the Member States where they’re being advertised.So you reckon that it’s not going to be a big change above the thresholds and if there’s to be any change at all it’s going to be below thresholds?Yes, that would be my best guess. Because if you look at what’s advertised in the OJEU at present you see some really interesting trends in terms of which countries are advertising the most contracts and it tends to be the newer accession states who are advertising a lot of contracts and many of those are below threshold contracts. So I think in some cases there’s a little bit of over-anxiety about advertising. In some cases those advertisements might be required because they’re receiving EU funding for a specific project or contract but if you look at some of the older Member States, like Germany for example, Germany advertises a very low number of contracts, and that’s partly because they have a very decentralised procurement system, but I do think you find that as time goes on countries get used to the idea of they don’t actually need to advertise every contract in the OJEU and as procurement potentially becomes a bit more competitive below threshold within a Member State, you see “okay, we’re actually getting adequate competition by advertising at national level”.In terms of the national advertising of contracts, do you reckon that just by the fact that those contracts are going to be advertised, albeit in a national portal, those contracts will more likely be subject to cross-border interest and more likely may attract actual interest from cross-border economic operators?Yes I think the potential is there. And again if we’re going to get our crystal balls out we need to think about what are governments going to be buying in 2025? And we’ve certainly seen a move over time, governments to some extent are still buying hard supplies but there’s been a general move towards buying services over the past fifteen, twenty years. And that partly reflects the fact that certain functions of government have been privatised or they’ve been partially privatised or that things are being outsourced through service contacts, whereas previously it might have been a supply contract with the service element being provided in-house by a public authority. So that’s been a trend in quite a few European countries and I think you need look at the nature of the services being advertised.We sometimes talk about cross-border procurement as if it’s just a question of access, that companies can know about contracting opportunities and then they’ll bid for them but of course they also have to actually be able to deliver those contracts. So if it’s a type of contract like a social care contract where you very much need to have a strong presence on the ground, you need to be able to work with employees in the location where the contract is going to be delivered then I kind of doubt we’re going to see huge amounts of direct cross-border procurement for those type of contracts. On the other hand we see a move towards things like printing, digital services, data services, all of those obviously have huge potential to be outsourced on a cross-border basis so I think we will see more in that sector. So the question of the overall amount of cross-border procurement that we’re going to see depends first of all on what type of contracts are being advertised and then, secondarily I think, on how accessible are those contracts to bidders in other Member States.I think you’ve touched on a point that is very important which is the one about the kinds of services that are being procured right now or are going to be procured in the future. I mean if you look at the development of digital services in general we see that their importance has been increasing in terms of GDP, in terms of percentage of GDP as time goes on and it’s not going to stop there, so it’s just a question of time to that kind of influence to start to be seen as well in public procurement. So one of the things I think will happen in the near future is that we’re going to have a lot more digital services being acquired and being procured, and by definition those digital services by and large come in at values well below the current threshold levels, so that’s one of the discussions that I’ve been pushing forward over the last couple of years now which is what should we do to the thresholds going forward?I’ve read some of your work on that and I think it is quite a big point to raise: what is going to happen with digital services and should we be looking at lower thresholds, should we be getting rid of the idea of thresholds? I think again being realistic about what’s going to happen over the next ten years it’s probably unlikely that the thresholds are going to go way down, partly because they’re linked to international agreements that are in place, whether it’s the WTO Government Procurement Agreement or these bilateral trade agreements which are potentially going to come into effect over the next few years, and I think there would probably be a reluctance to lower the thresholds if that’s going to be then passed on to third countries as well. So whether we start to look at a sort of two-tier threshold system where one threshold applies in the European Union and another in respect of third countries, I don’t know whether that’s realistic. But I think beyond the issue of “okay, are these contracts subject to the EU rules? Are they advertised at EU level?” I think there is a more fundamental issue in terms of digital services and in general ICT contracts, are they appropriate for the way public procurement runs, this idea that you can sort of have a competition and define outputs and award a contract and then sort of stick to those outputs. And I think for some of the more straightforward contracts that’s fine but increasingly we find there’s a long list of failed digital services or failed ICT procurements, not only in the UK and Ireland but elsewhere, so I think that is a real challenge for the rules and how we apply the rules to those type of contracts.I remember having a conversation a few months ago or last year with Frank Brunetta  the Canadian Procurement Ombudsman and he was making a suggestion that actually makes a lot of sense, which is if you think about it the way that procurement is run today it’s based on premises and ideas which were designed to allow for the procurement of goods and works. And that is a very different kind of exercise that perhaps the procurement of services would require?I think that’s absolutely right and you still see that. Maybe a little bit less so in the 2014 directives compared to their 2004 predecessors but it’s quite clear that they’re written from that point of view, of being able to define an output, of having a pretty good idea of what it is. That said, we have seen the introduction of the Competitive Dialogue and more recently the Competitive Procedure with Negotiation. Competitive Dialogue in particular, as you well know, is designed in particular to be appropriate for those type of contracts but unfortunately we’ve seen a bit of a backlash against it in the UK. There are a lot of countries where it’s never been used at all or used only very rarely which I think is a real shame because it does have the potential, for ICT contracts or complex services, to be the right procedure.I agree with you. Moving onto the second topic, what kinds of award criteria and procedures do you think will be the most common?One of the things that I have as a big question mark in my mind, because it’s an area where I’ve done a bit of work recently, is this idea of life-cycle costing. It has always been possible, if you’re using most economically advantageous tender as your award criteria, to apply a life-cycle costing approach. What we see in the most recent European directives is that there’s been an attempt to set more detailed rules around how you do life-cycle costing, what information you can ask for and there’s this concept of data that can be provided “with reasonable effort by a normally diligent operator”, which I think will be an interesting one if it gets litigated, which it probably will at some point in the next ten years. So that’s one question in my mind, are people actually going to use life-cycle costing or are they going to be scared of it by the fact that there are more detailed rules around it and that there is a potential for an operator to challenge the use of life-cycle costing if they don’t like the outcome. I think what we’re seeing across industries is that supply chains are getting more complex, that the level of data that people are looking for is really unprecedented, so it is a challenge and it’s a challenge which some companies are very well aware of and are working hard to address but obviously not all of them.Do you think that lifecycle costing is going to be used a lot over the next decade?I think there will be a desire to use it. I think it’s something that people are aware of. I think it makes economic sense as well as environmental sense. So as procurement becomes more professionalised, as it becomes a bit more sophisticated definitely the idea of awarding a contract based on purchase price alone is going to become a bit of anachronism except for maybe some very basic types of supplies or commodities. So I think in general we’ll see more of it but there’s this question of are people going to call it life-cycle costing? Are they just going to say “look, here’s our form of tender and we want you to cost the following eight things” and not refer to it under this idea of life-cycle costing?In terms of procedures, which ones do you think are going to be the most common?The open procedure I think will continue to be used. There are people who say the open procedure is too basic, it doesn’t make sense but I think, the open procedure is always going to work well for certain types of requirement. And we know that at the moment it accounts for about three quarters or at least two thirds of procedures advertised in the OJEU.Except in the UK?Except in the UK. So the UK and Ireland have always been a bit of an exception to that, there’s been a preference for the restricted procedure. It’s interesting because some of the figures I’ve seen suggest that one of the reasons for that is that, particularly in Ireland,  is that procurement tends to be more competitive, if you’re running an open procedure even for a relatively low value contract you could be getting thirty or forty tenders and some of those will be cross-border tenders because of the fact that we’re running procedures in English and quite a few Europeans now have English as a very strong second language. So there is an experience of receiving more tenders. I think for that reason local authorities, local authority procurement tends to be a bit more competitive than central government procurement, they have said “right well we’re going to use the restricted procedure because we just don’t have the resources to deal with assessing thirty or forty tenders every time we procure a relatively small value requirement”.I think that that tendency will continue to exist but the thing that’s changed under the new directives is that for the restricted procedure, you have these more extensive publication requirements at the beginning of a restricted procedure. So if you look at Article 53 of the Public Sector Directive it says that you have to have the procurement documents “fully and freely available online from the date of a contract notice”, and it’s a little bit ambiguous as to whether that includes your invitation to tender which formerly would have been a second stage publication, but now it looks like you have to publish it at the outset unless you have a reason for not doing that. So I think perversely that might actually encourage people to go for the open procedure because they’re going to say “well we’re going to have to publish everything at the outset anyway so we may as well just go open procedure”.I’ve got a comment about Ireland, I understand what you say in terms of the language and it makes a little bit of sense, however I mean tenders here in UK are also in English and the UK is probably one of the member states with the lowest levels of cross-border procurement, are foreign economic operators actually winning tenders in UK?I think we do have to take the figures on that with a grain of salt.I know.I cite them and you and everyone else cites them but I think in general we’re talking about that one study that was published in 2011 on cross-border procurement and while I think it’s very valuable to have that study, even within that we saw there are issues with methodology in terms of sampling, there are issues in terms of the quality of information we’re able to get from OJEU award notices. So I think it’s probably accurate to say there are not huge amounts of direct cross-border procurement happening. When you get into the more complex questions like “What about indirect cross-border procurement? What about use of subcontracting?” I think we definitely do have to take those findings with a grain of salt. That said, it probably is true that in the larger Member States like the United Kingdom you’re always going to have lower levels of cross-border procurement because you simply have a bigger domestic economy and you have a greater chance that economic operators will see it as being worth their while, if they’re serious about tendering for government business, to set up an office in that Member State.And also it’s more likely that you’re going to have a supplier inside a country that’s going to be competitive enough to win the contract?Exactly. So it is interesting again, while accepting that we can’t take them as gospel, to look at the findings from that study that you do see patterns. Ireland has pretty high rates of cross-border procurement, partly because there are two countries on the one island, so obviously there are Northern Irish companies bidding for contracts in the Republic and vice versa, that automatically puts the numbers up. But then you see countries that share a language, in Germany and Austria you see slightly higher levels of cross-border procurement between them. So there are all kinds of interesting patterns that give you an insight into where this is happening and perhaps why it’s happening.Okay. Let’s go on to the third topic, will procurement challenges be more or less frequent?I think this is one that obviously is of interest to the lawyers but also of interest to contracting authorities because there is at the moment a big discrepancy in the frequency of challenges between Member States. It’s an issue I looked at a little bit in my book, I focused particularly on the UK and Ireland and I think the major thing we have to take into account is the cost of bringing those challenges. And for as long as you have a system which requires bidders to bring a challenge in one of the higher courts that’s going to be extremely expensive, and even though the threat of procurement challenges might always be there, the actual number of challenges which make it through to Court is going to be reasonably low in those jurisdictions. In a way that’s kind of beside the point because the thing about procurement challenges is that a lot of it is hidden, we don’t see the letters that contracting authorities receive, we don’t see how they react to those letters for anything that falls short of court proceedings usually in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Then in other Member States such as for example Sweden where they have a relatively accessible means of challenging contracts, you obviously see much higher numbers, but at the same time I don’t know whether the threat of challenge is really taken as seriously by contacting authorities. That’s maybe something you could talk to Andrea Sundstrand or someone else about, although I think you’ve already interviewed her haven’t you?Yes.Because my feeling is when I’m working with a client in the UK or Ireland and they are potentially on the receiving end of a procurement challenge, that’s something they take extremely seriously and often they’ll decide to cancel a procedure and start again simply to avoid having to go through that lengthy process of challenge. And I don’t know whether that really applies to contracting authorities in countries where the remedy system is not as expensive, perhaps not as big of a deal essentially to undergo a procurement challenge.And to my mind that’s actually a bit of a healthier system to have, to have a system whereby it’s relatively easy for economic operators to bring a challenge but it doesn’t have the huge cost and time implications that a procurement challenge does in the UK or Ireland because, let’s face it people do get things wrong, the remedy system is there to ensure that there is an avenue of redress when things do go wrong so you just want to make sure it’s not abused and that it’s not used as this sort of nuclear threat which I think it is in the UK and Ireland.Yeah, I think that’s a very good point because I’ve got experience in other jurisdictions namely in Portugal and Spain and the normal thing is for every single tender procedure to actually be challenged.Right, okay.So you just take it for granted and if you don’t get a challenge, well that was a good day for you. Whereas here in UK the perception, it’s more a cultural issue as well, which is if you get a challenge that is perceived as being a black mark, you made a mistake as a procurement officer that’s why you got the challenge, whereas in other countries it’s just the normal way of doing things. As for Sweden and Denmark to a certain extent they have remedy systems which allow other avenues for bidders to actually try to interfere with the process in a sense that if they think that something is going wrong or went wrong, so I think it is actually the Swedish Competition Authority who has the power to actually intervene during the procurement procedure. So that changes the dynamic a lot and the fact that you can have different kinds of systems remedy procedures which are different from just going to the course actually probably allows those systems and those procurement frameworks to work better. Another good example is Spain, Spain a few years ago they introduced a new review system or review mechanism whereby you could have access to administrative tribunals, literally independent tribunals are not dependent as they were in the past many, many years ago, the fact that you can have a quick decision taken in a few months with a price that is reasonable actually has improved the way that the procurement market works overall.That’s interesting. A quick decision and also potentially one by someone who understands procurement…Exactly.…because they’re dealing with it every day and, with all due respect to judges in the UK and Ireland most of them are not dealing with procurement challenges with any type of regularity. I mean we see now with the Technology and Construction Court in the UK that there are a couple of judges who have developed that expertise but it is a difficult area I think. And judges are quite upfront about that sometimes, they say “I’ve had to go away and read hundreds of pages about public procurement and I’m still not sure I’m applying the right approach here” and that I think is not an outcome that’s in anyone’s interest. It’s a huge use of resources in order to resolve what sometimes look like pretty stupid claims to be honest, or very minor points about “did this person score this correctly?”. And there’s no implication sometimes that anyone has acted corruptly or that they’ve even really committed a serious breach of the rules, just that there was some kind of basic error that happened but it takes so long and it takes so many resources to resolve that error, and then what is the outcome of that challenge? It doesn’t necessarily mean that the challenger gets the contract, they might get damages if they’re lucky and the authority might have to re-run the procedure. So I think the ratio of costs and resources going into procurement challenges versus what they’re doing to improve outcomes or to remedy problems that have occurred in procedures is the balance, we’ve got it wrong at the moment in the UK and Ireland and I think we would be well advised to look at systems that are in place in other countries. Even potentially the Procurement Ombudsman system that they have in Canada and other countries.I’m a huge fan of the Procurement Ombudsman system and I think that is one of the best. Unfortunately I don’t see the UK adopting it anytime soon but that’s my take. One final question, Procurement of Innovation, is it the idea of the future and will it always be an idea of the future?It’s got a bit of both attached to it. I think for good reasons because particularly coming out of the financial crisis in the European Union, there was a need to do more with less, government went through a bit of an existential crisis in a lot of countries, what is our role? Innovation that really works is something that everybody wants and everyone can agree on. What it actually means in practice I think is a bit more difficult and I have been through a couple of innovation procurements recently where it’s extremely different, it’s 180 degrees away from normal procurement where you know what the outcome is. People talk about using functional or performance-based specifications, I mean that’s fine but you still need to be able to evaluate what bidders are proposing to you, you need to be able to structure your contract in a way that creates the right incentives on both sides. So yes, I think there is a capacity being built up to do it but I don’t think you could say anyone is really in the business in Europe of innovation procurement on a regular basis or at least I’m not aware of it. And people often cite examples from the US about the work that NASA or the Department of Defence has done that led to the development of the internet or that the health research networks have done, and it’s interesting on an anecdotal basis but I’m not sure it really translates as a model that can be adopted on a mass scale. So it will be interesting to see what comes out of all the sort of Horizon 2020 funding because there’s a lot of that going round at the moment but I guess I’m a little bit of a sceptic about the ability of the EU funding programmes to create a culture, cultural change. I think they can certainly be influential at the level where people are able to do things they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do. But if you’re trying to push people into what is quite a profound cultural change, which I think innovation procurement is compared to normal everyday procurement, that takes a lot of time and ongoing incentives rather than just having a one-time access to a European funding stream. There needs to be support at local level, at national level, and there needs to be an understanding of, “What is this? Is it valuable? Is it something that’s going to get us towards our long-term objectives?”I think we still have time for one quick final question. What would you like to see changing between today and 2025?Well a lot! But since we only have…Just one idea?One idea? I’d like people to be less afraid of the procurement rules. I think there has been an over-legalisation of procurement rules. I think it’s become way too complex. I’d like people to be comfortable that they can procure something, they can get the right results without breaking any laws and if that puts a few of us who are procurement lawyers out of work then so be it. I think it’s more important that when public money is being spent people have the confidence that they can do the right thing and that they’re not going to wind up in court or hurt.Brilliant. I think that’s a great way to finish the programme, thank you.Thank you Pedro.You can find me at my blog Telles.eu or on Twitter where I use two handles, @Detig for general discussion and @publicprocure for public procurement related topics. As ever I am grateful for the support of the British Academy Rising Star Engagement Awards. 

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  • Solopreneur Hour

    · 01:15:57 · Entrepreneur Success Stories By Join Up Dots - Inspiration, Confidence, & Small Business Coaching To Start Your Online Career

    Todays guests is Mr Michael O'Neal, the podcasting master behind the hit Itunes show "The Solopreneur Hour Podcast". The top ranked business show, or The Solohour as it is known to its friends, teaching online marketing and entrepreneurship skills.  Michael is a man who quite simply without him, then I wouldn't be on the mic today. So you know where to send all your complaints too. He is a born entrepreneur with a fascinating story, of successes, setbacks, leaps of faith, and finding his unique path with the guidance of John Lee Dumas and Pat Flynn. Growing up in Philadelphia, the thought of being the host of his own podcast show was the last thing on his mind. He was a normal type of kid, obsessed with sport, finding trouble at school, and generally being a kid. But unfortunately that freedom of thought and energy changed when he was moved from his beloved Philly, and taken down to Florida, and it seems to me this was the start of him looking for his path in life. He didn’t fit in down in the Sunshine State, so as soon as he could, he got himself back up North, and discovered one of the first dots in his life that links him to where he is today…the internet. He was fascinated by the worldwide web, so developed skills to be a web designer. And that was his life for fifteen years, until unfortunately his parents both passed away in a very short time, and he found himself sitting with just $14 dollars in his pocket. He was over 30, with a decision forced upon him. Would he accept the punches that life had dealt him, or would he start fighting back? And that descision was made and he took the steps that made him “Know too much” and not want to work for anyone else again? He was going to become a solopreneur and own his own future. But how did he know he had the skills to be a success in the online arena? How did he know where his true passions lie? And does he regret inspiring guys like me to jump into the pool too? Well lets find out as we bring onto the 100th show to start joining up dots, the man on the mike, the host of the “Solopreneur Hour podcast”, the one and only Mr Michael O’Neal!   For more on the Solohour Podcast go to: The Solopreneur Hour Podcast with Michael O'Neal - Job Security...for the Unemployable By Michael O'Neal Chats with Proudly Unemployable Solopreneurs Like Himself Description They say successful people put their pants on the same way we all do. This show is about watching them put their pants on. Nominated As "Best New Show of 2013" by Stitcher Radio, Our range of guests takes us from comedy, to acting, to the NFL, to UFC and MMA, to Top Music Stars, to Millionaires, to Business Experts, to Real Estate moguls, and everything in between. Guests like Nicole Arbour, Adam Carolla, Hines Ward, Sam Jones, Tucker Max, Jonathan Fields, Derek Halpern, Pat Flynn, Amy Porterfield, John Lee Dumas, Chris Ducker, Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki, Mike Johnston, Rich Franklin, and many more, these casual conversations contain tons of action-inducing content wrapped up in an entertaining candy shell. Transcript Yes hello. How are we all? Can you believe it. Episode 100. We have been building up to this for well, it seems like a hundred episodes and we are finally here. We have got a man who who quite simply rose to the top and was going to be the only person who would fit the mantle of being my 100th guest. And I’ve had people banging down the doors. I had Paul McCartney phone up the other day and say I want to be on the show, I’ve heard it’s a big thing and I said to him, “Paul, unless you can get the other four Beatles to join you, it’s not going to happen” We’ve had  David Bowie crying. It’s been pathetic really. So today’s man has been nailed on to do this today, and I’m absolutely delighted that he’s on the show because quite simply without him I wouldn’t be on the microphone. So you know where to send all your complaints to! He’s a man with a fascinating story of successes, setbacks leaps and finding his unique voice. Growing up in Philadelphia he was a normal type of kid obsessed with football at school, and generally being a kid. But unfortunately that freedom of thought and energy changed when he was moved from his beloved Philly and taken down to Florida and it seemed to me this to stop him looking for his path in life. He didn’t fit in down in the sunshine state so soon as he could he got himself back up north and discovered one of the first dots in his life that links him to where he is today the Internet. He was fascinated by a World Wide Web so develop skills to be a web designer and as he’s known for 15 years until unfortunately his parents both passed away in a very short time and he found himself sitting with just fourteen dollars in his pocket. It was over thirty with a decision forced upon him. Would you accept the punches that life had dealt him or would he stop fighting back and that decision was made and he took steps that made him know too much and not want to work for anyone else again. He was going to become a solopreneur and own his own future. But how did he know he had the skills to be a success in the online arena and how did he know where his true passions lie? And does he regret inspiring guys want me to jump into the pool too. Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up thoughts the man on the microphone. The host of the Solohour podcast, the only Mr. Michael O’Neal. Well how are you Michael?   Michael O’Neal Oh here is what I can’t even what is happening. I am so flabbergasted by that intro. OK. Two things. Number one that was the best intro I’ve ever had. And formerly Chris Cerrone had that that title of the best in show to a show I’ve ever had. But it was one of the best I’ve ever heard for anybody which is why you are so the right person for this job. Well we’re all thankful you have a microphone in front of you David. Trust me on that. Second thing is I would pay to hear Zombie John Lennon if you could figure out a way to get all four Beatles on the show. That would be cool. David Ralph Well I can do Steve Jobs every day. So I might be able to do them as well. Michael O’Neal Ah so dude that was incredible. I am . I am flummoxed. David Ralph I’m so excited to be on David Ralph’s show. David Ralph – Yeah. Go go and do that because I know you have been doing an action of me on a few shows and we’ll show you a few times night. Yeah you got a little bumper for me on my show. I have these little things that when people ask you me I have a guest on the show that I have them do a little like Hi this is David Ralph and then I get interested in this opener with Mike O’Neill and your voice is so. What’s the first thing I ever said to you. I said you have the ultimate voice for radio. Didn’t I say that you did. Absolutely. David Ralph I haven’t got the face for television but I’ve got a voice for Radio Michael O’Neal Well as long as you’ve got the radio part worked out and you have taken this thing and you’ve run with it my friend. So I’m honored. I’m honored to be at the 100 episode Mark. Thank you. Thank you. David Ralph Absolutely. It is an honor to have you here because it is amazing when you start this thing,because you started your show what was it August 2013. Michael O’Neal Eleven month ago. David Ralph Yeah,11 months ago and now you are rocking and rolling with the best of them you surround yourself with, with the Internet movers and shakers the ziggers and zagers and you know you’re going to be humbled by this. So maybe you won’t. You are an online celebrity of note. When I was saying to people is my show a lot of people sort of touch on the shows of said to me I know who you’re going to have. And I said no you don’t. And I go Yes I know who you’re going to have and ego going and going to no one. And I when Martin O’Neill and I went oh term term how did I know. Really I know. Yes yeah I did it because I had pain you know I don’t want to suck up to you Michael but the early days I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. So I just kept on saying your name over and over again or some kind of benchmark of what I was trying to achieve because you like that you’d come out the gates really and say look like a rocket ship. It’s unbelievable. But you’ve only been around so long because it seems like you’ve been here ever in a day. Does it seems like that to you? Michael O’Neal It is weird. It does feel like it was yesterday that I launched the show. It feels really really recent to me that it happened. So but then at the same time I look at the memories that I’ve had over the last 11 months and all the cool benchmarks and you know different things that have happened and, but it’s packed full of stuff right. So I think if there’s any celebrity it’s sort of a z list celebrity and only at certain conferences. But yeah it’s been it’s been an incredible journey. I couldn’t be happier with how it’s gone. And I can’t wait to see what happens in the next 365. You know I’m really excited about that. David Ralph Is there a plan to the next 365 because you seem to me somebody who is very much stimulated by the now and then. Are you somebody who knows what you’re aiming to achieve? Michael O’Neal No I’m a notorious non planner. Much to the chagrin of my girlfriend who is a total planner and if I didn’t have the you know a calendar app on my phone I would be I would be completely floating out there now because I I wake up and I look at I go OK what do I have to do today. And then I see what’s going on for the day. And sometimes that doesn’t work out for me like in a social situation because people actually make plans to go out and do things. But and I’m not one of them. And all of a sudden it’s Friday I’m like I probably should have planned to do something. Yes I watch movies tonight. But yeah I I’m in an interesting spot right now because I have had this kind of five year run of as you mentioned in the intro bringing myself in this very circuitous path from $14 and not having a clear direction to now. When someone says What do you do. I say I’m a podcast host. And that’s a thing like I. That’s what I do. So I sort of a couple of weeks ago had an occasion to kind of put the cap on that five year journey and now I’m going to be looking ahead but I haven’t quite formulated what that ahead looks like yet. David Ralph And how did you do that? How did you put a cap on that. How did you say that is five years, finished boxed up? Michael O’Neal Well it was as i say I’m I’m a notorious non-celibrator. I’m a guy that usually gets to an achievement and then continues to go without acknowledging it. And I have what is probably a weird story that you’re asking for but hey here comes. So I’ve been a Porsche fan for my whole life. And you may already know where you’re heading with this but I was a Porsche fan my whole life and I don’t know why particularly. I was I had a Volkswagen in high school and I think that maybe planted to see a little bit and I was a car guy and so you know those Porsche ads from the 80s with like the big fender flares and the big wing. I think I was attracted to that and I eventually in 2003 I bought my first vintage Porsche so I bought a 1972 11 and it was a piece of crap. I bought it in New York. I didn’t know better. I drove across country midway across the USA and midway across the country the engine blew up. So that’s how badly. Where were you when this happened. I was in the dead heart middle of Nebraska when it happened in Nebraska I suppose. You it’s nothing. It is hundreds and millions of acres of wide open like cornfields and nothing else. I mean we are I was I have a picture of my car sitting looking like it’s a panther wading in the grass. Waiting to you know to prowl and it’s just sitting there with with like a hundred miles in each direction of grass. There was no middle of nowhere when it happened and I ended up finding a Volkswagen place 60 miles away that towed me in. And the guy dropped the oil pan in the car and just giant chunks of metal came out and I’m like I’m pretty sure that’s not how it’s supposed to be. So I ended up getting a tow truck driving it from Denver where I was living at the time and picking it up. Neither here nor there. So I eventually traded that piece of crap on and got a nicer one. Not when I bought it but in 2005 and I restored this car it took me four years and 2000 hours to restore this car back to better than factory condition when I still have it now. And as part of the dynamic this one in 1969 9/11 and the 69 through 73 nine elevens are very very sought after. They are the iconic 9/11. So when you would see Steve McQueen and a picture of him in the 60s you know you know in LA MA or something driving a 9/11 he was driving one of these sort of 69 to 73 virgins. And one of the sponsors of Porsche in the 60s was a company called Hoyer which was tag Hoyer before Tagg was involved in the mid-80s. So just Hoyer and it’s a guy named Jack Hoyer and he made these beautiful tiny pieces chronographs based on race timers. So you’d have a co-driver with you as a race car and there was a race in Mexico called the career of PanAmericana and the first Porsche Carrera was named after this particular race. So Hoyer as a sponsor of Porsche created a watch based on the chronographs that they used for the race cars and they called it the Hoyer Kura. So this was a very utilitarian type watch you could use it as a race time or you could just click one of the buttons and it had this chronograph on it. It was beautiful automatic beautiful timepiece. And as I’ve been going through this journey for five years this has been on my vision board because these are about three grand and above to get one of these watches. But that was so superfluous for me because I had no i like zero money. And for me to spend three grand on something as excessive as a watch wasn’t even on my radar. So about a month and a half ago now I was in this position where I was like this could be the time. And I scoured the world. I ended up buying a 1972 Hoyer Carrera from a guy in France and it came to my house and it was more beautiful in person than I. I’d never seen one in person is more beautiful than I even thought it could be. And I remember at the mid midday I’d gone to this little swimming pool by my house I belong to this little pool club which is where I work out and I was swimming in the middle of the day two o’clock in the afternoon like Tony Soprano in the middle of a work day and thinking I just did this like this just happened. This 5 year journey comes stops right now like this is where my new journey begins. I’ve gone through this trial by fire. I’ve come out hopefully like a phoenix. I’m in a position where I can buy this watch now which is insane to think about and I’m peaceful and grateful for the life that I’ve built. And so that for me was the cap of a five year struggle. I mean a real struggle to get to where I am today. David Ralph Mr. O’Neill is a perfect story. It started and it made me think if I’m ever in a pub quiz and a question about Portia comes up you’re my man that does it to Luli you are obsessed by that and you. The amount that you were quoting then. Michael O’Neal Ah. I mean I think. I think it’s kind of a lifetime obsession for people that become afflicted by it. In fact there’s a great ad I will send it to you on YouTube and there’s an ad for the new Porsche about the time the new Porsche Carrera ad and it was there it’s a little boy. And he’s a little kid in his classroom and he’s daydreaming and on 9/11 drives by him and you just see him like looking out the window and his pencil drops and you know then he he gets in trouble. And then he runs to the you know was on his BMX bike to the Porsche dealer after school and and he you know he ends up sitting in this car and the steering wheel is bigger than he is and you see Mike raised his head he’s 12 or something and that he goes to the dealer or the guy goes you have a card and the guy goes yeah here you go and he goes I’ll see in 20 years. And then there’s this great voice over that says something like there’s a there’s a there’s a particular moment that happens with you know a Porsche fan. There’s that time you want one. Then there’s the time you get one and for the truly affected afflicted there’s the 20 years in between. And it just like it gives you the chills and my buddies sent it. I sense my body goes man. Pass the Kleenex. So I guess there is a real passion there for this. It’s a very visceral feeling that is so different because of the way they build their cars and because the engines in the rear and it’s a totally different experience than you have with with any other vehicle that yeah there becomes a real passion a real obsession with him. Did you read that because this shows about joining up dots, but do you remember as a young kid having the same kind of obsessive compulsive in both words and things when when you was a little kid running around the streets of Philly pretending you Rocky did most will keep you alive without paying him for the Michael O’Neal No no no. I was a BMX kid. Now I was I was in a suburb. I was the only gentile I was in a super Jewish town north of Philadelphia. And I was a BMX or I rode my BMX bike. I mean I was from 1984 until I mean I was racing bikes from 84 until 2000. David Ralph So Rocky wasn’t on your radar at all? Michael O’Neal No not at all. Tony Hawk and Dave you know Dave Voelker and Matt Hoffman and you know BMX guys Bob horo. They were all on my radar. I’ll tell you here’s here’s a little here’s a join up dot that is current. I rode an entire daywith real wow I just blanked on his name. That’s embarrassing really. I’m killing myself right now this is bad radio. David Ralph What  does he look like? Michael O’Neal He’s a big famous director now and he will watch films John Malkovich. Being John Malkovich won a friggin Oscar. We’re ready. Come on. With it and it might seem seamless Spike Jones for crying out loud. David Ralph Spike Jones Michael O’Neal Yeah Spike Jones the director was a dude I rode with at a place called Rockville BMX and we were just BMX or dudes riding around. And then he he became a photographer for one of the BMX magazines and then started doing filming because he did Beastie Boys first video I forget which one and then started doing independent films then did Being John Malkovich and now he is like an international you know massive director like one of the best most well-reputed directors in the world. And it was kind of cool. I mean so he did adaptation he did Being John Malkovich Where the Wild Things Are You know just just done amazing stuff. So the Academy Awards. And so a pretty pretty bad ass. He did her you know the movie Her most recent Yeah that’s Spike Jones. David Ralph So is there any similarity between the young kid in Philly and now, because from what I see across the pond and I listen into the conversations that you have with your internet guys and it does seem from this side of the pond that you’ve got a gang of friends and followers and whatever that basically control the Internet. I had Rick Mulready on the show. And I said “Do you ever feel like slipping something into Pat Flynns drink, so that the next morning you turn on your screen and see if there’s a black hole on the Internet because he’s not functioning at this time because it kind of seems not” But he wouldn’t be pushed in to slipping a Mickey into his drink in any shape or form. But you seem a little bit edgy to most of them. Michael O’Neal Yeah. David Ralph Is that because you’re from Philly. Is it because he’s a very sort of industrial Con. Its a real city you know. Its like a working class city when you’re there. Michael O’Neal Yeah I think the the edginess is something that I’m kind of a known for. I don’t know if you curse on your show but I’m kind of a no B.S. kind of guy and I’ve never been one to straddle the fence very very much. And I think what happened with Irwin what happens with a lot of these sort of Internet type celebrities is that they’re so concerned about getting the broadest audience that they sometimes come off as being a little bit milktoast or a little bit vanilla. And I come from a totally different perspective where when you think about media you think about New York Philadelphia Boston. These are like the media centers of the world. It’s where you know you go to Boston College that’s one of the broadcasting school that’s where Howard Stern went. That’s where many very famous broadcasters come from those places I went to Temple University which has an incredible media department. And when you look at the people that are iconic in history they’re not people that are vanilla. There are people that have strong opinions one way or the other and people either love them or they hate them but they’re definitely them. So they definitely have a presence. They definitely have a voice that’s unique to them. And I think I always think it took me a little while to settle into that on my show but it is ultimately as you as I developed the show and I developed my own voice I realized hey I’m not in the interest of pleasing everybody. Like that’s not my job. My job is to talk from my perspective on certain issues and try to extract really good business advice from people without them or my audience really seeing what I’m doing. And one of my favorite quotes to that is and you probably heard me say before but which just never let him see your work. You know that’s from Bill Cosby also from my alma mater Temple University in Philly and that basically means that go through your process ask your questions you know have questions written down but you don’t have to be so blatant about it. You can you can ease through you know great standup comedians do this like Louis C.K. talks you know he’ll be sputtering and angry and going through all this process on stage and you think that that’s just how he is. You laugh at his angry energy but he knows all the beats within that he knows exactly what he’s doing within that realm and that is that is him not letting you see him work on him. David Ralph When your on the mike then how much is you now being absolutely authentic and how much is it creating a mood creating an atmosphere on the show. Michael O’Neal Well it can’t. Can’t you have both? David Ralph Oh I don’t know CAN you? Michael O’Neal What are you asking? Are you asking how much is sort of pre-written and how much is off the cuff? David Ralph Well on this show for example some of the things I say I only say to get a reaction from the guest. You know do I really mean it kind of. Do I think that they will go against it. Yes. So I will say it. How much do you actually say that you believe 100 percent. Michael O’Neal Well first of all you do that because you understand this and you’re a pro. I mean this is a very natural place for you to end up. So I think that that I do very similar things to you, as you do just because yeah sometimes you want to extract some stuff from a guest that is being difficult. But yeah I mean I’m pretty authentic dude. I there’s not a lot there’s people that have met me in real life and go Oh you’re exactly like you are on the show. Yeah Im exactly like I’m in the show. I turn it on and I talk so I don’t have this, I’m not affected in any way. I just go. David Ralph So you’re not like you haven’t got a human graphic equalizer when you press record you just kind of increase certain parts of your personality. Michael O’Neal Not really. No. This is pretty much how I am. Yeah I’ll speak like I speak. I’m probably slightly dirtier in real life. David Ralph Well you don’t know where the words will land do you! Michael O’Neal I probably curse a little more which is fine. I’ve done a few podcasts now where I was allowed to do that and it did make it really nice. David Ralph Are you in the same situation as me because I used to listen to your show all the time and it was a staple diet during my transition at that time and now I’m doing this. One of the failures of me is that I don’t get time to listen to other people’s shows. I listen to your one  the other day because I just suddenly realized I had a gap but you almost become an island of your own success where before I used to listen to shows and I used to think oh I’ll take a bit of it and I’ll take a bit of it and become like a magpie. And now I don’t know what vibe is out there and I don’t know whether I’m being edgy or whatever. It just seems to be you. Speaking to the mic and I throw it out to the world and hopefully it goes well. It seems to be a fault of mine, and so do you have the same thing? Michael O’Neal No I’m exactly the same way. I’d say partially by choice and partially by by time. So when I when I do have time to consume podcasts I don’t tend to go business. I tend to go comedy. And lately I tend to go NFL football. I listen to podcasts related to that because I want to be able to clock out a little bit when I do want real inspiration. I’ve been listening to here’s the thing with Alec Baldwin it’s WNYC. I’ve not heard a better intro or production or interview style than that show. It’s his in his intros are nothing short of brilliant. I mean they’re amazing how he brings a guest on an and then how he interviews and his questions are very in-depth and he’s such a pro that it makes it really easy for me to like look at that bar and go OK that’s where the soul open for hours going. That’s what I do. I actually honestly David I find now the more that I get into this show the more I almost can’t stand other people’s shows like there so few that can capture my attention and that I feel like are being done well even with really good friends of mine that do shows I just go and that is almost unlistenable. You know it’s so. So I just don’t I definitely look far above the kind of Internet Marketing slash business world for inspiration on how I want to run mine. David Ralph because the only two that I listen to now is yours. And I went on started. I wanted to listen to every single one. And but the nerdiest and there the only two reasons. Yeah great and Nerdist is good for a number of reasons. David Ralph Yeah I just like the way it kind of flows and you don’t even know it started and it just kind of teases right. Michael O’Neal That’s right. Yeah they just start it. We kind of did that today didn’t we. David Ralph Yeah absolutely and that was the good stuff. Michael O’Neal And we talked for a while before we started recording. You know me I mean it just felt like yeah hit it. Go for it. We’ll start like Nerdist. But yeah no I think that there’s a sense there’s such a glutton of new shows out there and I don’t. but if I’m being opinionated I don’t. There’s a lot of places where people are learning quote on quote how to podcast. And I think they’re feeding them crap information.So often a big problem. David Ralph And I know he’s a mate of yours and I wish him all the success in the world, but the problem is so many people are trying to duplicate John Lee Dumas and that’s not right. He came first and he created the structure of his show, and whether you like that format or whatever that is he’s and he’s made in his own by being him. And I hear these shows and after about three minutes I think oh my god it’s the same thing again. Now I will listen to your shows and I will go all the way through. But people miss a trick don’t lay up coming back to my all the time is finding your authentic self playing to your streams. And and if you do that you create a bigger loyalty. You know if you are totally yourself people either hate you or like you but the ones that like you will love you. And that’s where these people are missing out because they’re not even being authentic to themselves they’re just kind of a middle ground. Michael O’Neal Yeah. And John would tell you and I’ve said this a million times in front of him and said do you the success of your show or his show has nothing to do with his format. And it has nothing do with him as a podcast for that all. It has everything to do with the fact that he has a financial background writes great marketing copy and has a schedule and a rigidity too. He has a military rigidity because he was in the military to his to his business. And unless you come with that exact kind of background you will not have success in that way. People think that because of the way he does his show because it’s structured and because he has these set questions and does it seven days a week that that’s why he’s successful and is completely irrelevant to that. So the problem is is like you said so many people listen to that or they go to podcasters paradise and they learn a certain way to do things. And I’m almost diametrically opposed to every single thing that they’re learning. So it’s like it’s like man I it’s it’s frustrating for me in that way. And I shouldn’t say that like I want to rephrase that I’m not time actually oppose everything they’re learning what I’m what I’m worried about is that the things that I think make podcasting successful aren’t emphasized in a lot of training courses. And like you just said finding your own voice is a number one you have to be successful. You have to find your own voice and you have to have a great brand and it’s not something that people speak about a lot. Like I took a lot of cliff Ravenscroft stuff. I’ve taken all the stuff. I’ve seen a number of course is out there a lot of them don’t pay a lot of attention to that piece and I worry that with this next phase of podcasting and what’s you know since everyone’s starting a show they’re going to find it a lot harder to sustain it unless they’ve found their own voice on their voice. And and it’s within this brand that they’ve really created. So we’ll see. But that’s the jury’s out on that. David Ralph Did you really have to love doing this because I’m going to play a speech in my Jim Carrey and I’m actually I’m going to play now and we’re going to talk afterwards. This is Jim Carrey. Jim Carrey Sound Clip My father could have been a great comedian but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old. He was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father. Not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love. David Ralph Is that the true message that we should be getting across? Michael O’Neal Yes it is unfortunately the connecting of the dots joining of those two dots which is I found this thing that I love and now I have to figure out how to get paid for it is difficult. That’s a difficult journey. And that’s my that was my five year journey. Right. First not even knowing what it was that I loved. I had no idea I was going to podcast five years ago but I had an initial foray into public speaking. I started teaching social media on stage and I ended up traveling and going to 17 cities teaching people how to use social media to grow their business and I found it very like oh this is something I could be good at. And then that morphed into doing back end production on a podcast for a year and a half and just starting to understand the podcasting industry that finally morphed into me starting my own show and here we are. But it was a five year journey to find that you know like I had indicators of it and if someone in 2009 it said hey do you want to get. You want to make six figures and be a public speaker. I be like totally that be great. But at the time I had nothing to speak about. And now I do. So it’s kind of a I I do feel like you have to find something that will and you’ve probably seen this in your life with your show something that will make you walk into that studio and record an episode even if you’re exhausted or not in the mood or whatever because you truly love it and you’re excited about it. Oh yesterday. That’s how I am. Yeah I’ve had times when I’ve recorded 12 shows back to back and now I’ve. Why just because I knew I was going to do it seven days a week show and that was the hardest time I had. I had no internet for two weeks he just crashed on me and I suddenly panic but I didn’t have enough to cover. And I was going away as well. So yes seven days a week he goes out and I needed the boke. And so I did it and I started off at six o’clock in the morning and I just went through through move through and I edited and I did everything in the gap between when I recorded the next one and he just went seamlessly. And when I pressed record yes I was on I was on. Once I was off it was just like I was you know on drugs or something I was just slump too much. But it wasn’t until the very last ones that I realized actually about that passion that you’re talking about the ability to actually do it when you’re tired. I’ve gone past by and I was actually feeling ill. And I remember doing this show and the sweat was pouring off me and I listened back to and it doesn’t sound like it but I realized brain actually no you’ve got to look up to yourself as much as you do actually doing something. Yeah I’m very committed to that. DAVID It’s I have I have three sort of pillars if you will that I do I think make a good soul a partner or a successful soul a partner. And there’s there’s time freedom there’s financial freedom and there’s location freedom. And so the first one is really easy time freedom simple you walk into your boss’s office tell him to go screw himself and then you have time freedom. There you go. Location freedom. You can pretty much just get in a car and go somewhere that we have that kind of freedom in the U.K. and in the United States. Yeah there’s some complications in between. But technically you can just go do that. It’s the financial freedom part. That’s the tricky part of the three. That is a little harder. But I find that I’m so unwilling to compromise my time freedom. I’ve turned down so many more so much more money because it would compromise my time freedom like I could have a lot more coaching clients and a lot more people in my my group coaching. It’s called Solo lab. But with that I would have to commit another couple of days to taking care of them and I’d I’m willing to do that at all. Like i will i love my life the way it is right now and I can be comfortable financially I can go do fun things. And I don’t have to compromise that. And you know hopefully I can continue to grow and continue to you know make more money maybe have more speaking gigs things like that but I don’t intend on working any harder. I just want to you know work smarter maybe try to over deliver a little more to my audience and that’s what I’m looking for. Well was sensible and that’s exactly what I want to do as well because I hate these people and it’s almost like a badge of honor. But I’ve quit in nine to five job. And then you go yes I’m an online marketing do I do this I’m a diva and I cook my time and I’m doing 80 hours a week and I think right. Right. What the hell do you do that. Why don’t you just do two days hard work and have the rest of the time of it. It seems stupid that I say that. That’s right. And it’s. It does. It is counter intuitive. The thing is when my parents passed away you mentioned this in the intro when they did that. My perspective on time completely shifted and I just I. Life’s too short. So I am very much a person that says both. When someone says would you like this or this. I say both. When I get an opportunity to do something I say yes. Win you know and I just do it like it’s a thing that I have committed to and not mentally like I don’t just go yeah this is what I’m going to do from now on. I just do it now I just say yeah let’s do that. That sounds fun. Let’s just go for that. I’m going to go on a hike. Yeah. Great book a ticket. You know and we just do it. And I found that that has served me really well because when I do that and I put that as a priority in my life then the the stuff that I’m not so thrilled about I still end up having to do it. It still fills in the blanks but my priority is to really extract the most that I can out of my life and I’ll tell you not a person that does that well I think as John John Lee Dumas he works probably a little more like the person you were just mentioning. He works a lot but he’s also great at saying yes when when something comes across his desk he goes yeah lets do that. And it’s like on the schedule. And I think that’s that’s part of I think what that’s part of success. To me that’s part of what success feels like is being able to do that. I remember hearing an interview with Billy Joel and the interviewer said to him Billy you’ve sold X squillion albums and singles and you’ve done these tours and you play Madison Square Garden five straight nights. What has success given you. And he just said time and that was it. He can wake up each morning and if he doesn’t want to do something he doesn’t. And that single word resonated with me hugely especially when I was in my 9 to 5 job and I realized then that things were not right. And why should I be doing a nine to five job when there are options I suppose. I began to know too much. And then once you know too much brain you realize you can’t ever go back. Michael O’Neal Yeah. It’s really really is a one way street. It also but that carries over as well into my personal life as well. And I think when the there’s ever such a different confidence now just in my life in general and I think Billy Joel would sort sort of anybody that reached a level of success has this this this underlying confidence about them that is very attractive not only to you know the opposite sex but it’s what attracts other successful people to you. There’s just there’s a subtlety in actions and just how really how you go through life when you’re confident that is very attractive to you know both both people both sexes and that is something that people pick up on pretty easily. You become a success back humor don’t you. You know the old Jim rhône thing about you know the average of you know five people to surrender a lot of people I talked to. Yeah. I mean a crappy job and all these miserable people all the time. How can I surround myself. And one of the things I say to them is you know focus on success because the more success you get and the more competence as you say they end up a successful people get sucked into your world and suddenly you created what he was saying. It’s not easy to do. But it certainly is a mindset that starts moving in that direction. That’s right. And you it’s funny you just asked that question of me is how do you now you’re on it you’re on an island so you’re you’re in the UK you’re not. I’m in San Diego so I get to have a bunch of people around me at all times. I will say though we don’t get together. I mean you know we get together as friends but I’m not in a mastermind with any of these people around me. We don’t sit there and me out. So you know to answer your question I’m mean answer answered on my show tomorrow. But you’ve got to join a group you’ve got to join a group mastermind of some sort. And there’s really no other way. If you if you’re not surrounded by those five people that that you feel are motivating you in a way that that is bettering your life and hopefully their lives. You’ve got to separate from those people and find the people that are doing that and pretty much everyone I know that’s in this you know business Internet Marketing podcasting world has some sort of coaching program. And my best advice is to get people that you really enjoy like how they speak and like how they deliver and join their group and that’s it. And you know once you’re a part of that community you’ll be a lot more apt to be motivated you know learn the things you want to learn. It’s part of the reason why I don’t need to listen to podcasts anymore because I have so many people in my group that are doing cool things. I get to learn about all the cool new stuff without having to go listen. They sort of comes to me. So so do you now feel that you’re ahead of the curve. Because when when you started the show I remember you saying it’s the Wild West and now it seems like every man Dogan whatever has made me a podcast. So do you think now about you it’s not the Wild West but you actually ahead of the curve. It’s good. Get a question. Yes and no I think it’s still the wild west. I think that people in this environment aren’t necessarily looking in the right direction to advance their business where they should be. Let me clarify that. I think inspiration for how someone’s podcast get better gets better doesn’t happen within the new podcasting community. It happens with old media. Then you go look at how you all learn how to interview you go study Howard Stern if you want to learn how to produce an an excellent show. You go you know you look at and some an NPR show or something like that like a where a BBC show something that you know pay close attention to how people are introducing guests and what they’re how they do their ads and how they integrate you know clips from this person’s body of work into their intro or into the show itself. So I think there is really a professional side to this that will ultimately come out. For me personally what I’ve realized over the last couple of months and this is something that I think you can you can sort of strap on as a badge of honor as well is that I’m a better interviewer than most. Just in general I’m more intuitive and I have more range of knowledge so I can connect those dots. You know I can join those dots. And that’s what makes for a compelling and entertaining interview no matter who you are it’s the people that have the pre-scripted questions that I think are really going to struggle because that’s that’s very exhausting to an audience. So on one side I think I’m still really ahead of the curve in that. I come from this and as do you come from this background this history of paying attention to interviewers and then sort of bringing this natural ability to the microphone that 99 percent of people don’t have. And that’s the building not only to interview someone in a business sense and extract what they do for a living but actually make an entertaining hour of programming for someone. And in my opinion they can get the business data from 80000 podcasts that are on iTunes but it’s really hard to get entertainment out of it. And that’s what I’m trying to bring to the table and I think that’s what you do a really great job bringing to the table as well because because what I’ve realized you know was a complete nobody is basically the very first interview I did was no you weren’t Yes. Stop it. Tom Mocha’s was episode your line on the line. Me right now David. And he was a huge inspiration to me so I wanted him as guest number one. And he was talking to a gentleman called John Lee Dumas and so awful who’s is CHEP never heard of him. And I went over to his show and the very first show I listened to was episode 3 2 2 which was yourself and kidding. That was I didn’t know that. Yeah that was the very first episode. And the fascinating thing about it was which got me on the show and this is my sort of join up thought was the fact that everything you see in life is normally about benchmarking against success. You see people already Veja and you go I’d like to do that but it worked for him he’s had this skill he’s got that you know he’s a natural that’s for sure. On that show on 0 5 3 2 2 you hadn’t even lunged and he was saying to you you know when are you going to go and you and I’m going to go on Wednesday or whatever it was. And I tuned in and I listened or whatever you do you click on it you don’t tune into you. But I heard you speak for the very first time and I found it fascinating because I was seeing but not some bouts of somebody finding their way. And you was saying Yeah and I had 17 downloads and it wasn’t that you were looking at success you were looking at somebody finding their flow finding them. Moving on. And that’s right. But that’s what really flavored my show was the fact that you were doing something that seemed natural and you were holding your hands up and you going really. I don’t know if this is going to work but hey if it doesn’t change we’ll move on later on. And remember you did this show and it was it was some chap I don’t remember who was with them on the on the beach somewhere and calls were whizzing past and your battery ran out half way through. Yes and yes you still put out and I thought that’s interesting because what he’s saying back is not that this show has got to be polished and perfect what he’s saying is is a journey and I’m going to improve from that and that be the last time that my battery runs out halfway through. That’s right and it was definitely the last time that happened. Yeah. Yeah it’s a good way to good insight. I see. If I were doing it again yeah I would probably do the same thing again. I was I’ve been always sort of a fan of the let’s just put it out at that at that time. I was leaning more on my hopeful interview skills than I was like ultimate show quality and since I’d already put out a couple of episodes it wasn’t that bad but I really loved the guys story. So I was like yeah there was Harry. Harry Smith was the guy’s name and. And. And I thought yeah let me let me throw that on. And why not. What happened. You know and somewhere. This is what’s so cool about this right. You heard one single episode I did from Johnny Dumas which was like a random occurrence. And look how much it’s affected both of us. Yeah. Just that one thing. So if one little episode you put out catches the right person it can literally be life changing. I will say something. I want your listeners to go to solo our solo our dotcom and I want you to go back to like three. I don’t know let’s say pre 70s so anything from episode like I don’t know one until episode 70 and I want you to click on those posts and read how great David’s comments are for the episodes. They are so insightful and brilliant. And you do such a great job summarizing. I think I even wrote you once and said Do you want to write my show summaries. Remember that you did and it was just that the crux of me doing this and I knew I was just going to stall so cool. So I am and you still you just did it the other day when you were that episode you listened to. You do such a great job summarizing. You’re going to be such a smash successful podcast. David Yeah I have no doubt whatsoever you are going to I hope you will let us be on your show someday when you do these live broadcasts in front of you know a hundred thousand people at the Wembley Stadium. Did you know when you start this and I’m really going to open up here so I don’t really have a Chevez. But when you start based you want it to be so good and you want it to be brought in and you kind of. There were job. You look back on them and you go OK yeah that wasn’t quite where I wanted to be but it was all right. And then you hit sort milestones and you listened back to some of these shows I don’t know if you listen to yours and I thought oh that was a bit closer to what I had in my head my original vision. And I got to show it E.T. and that’s when I suddenly realize Michael that was the host of a show and it was my responsibility to be the host to even I think he was too grateful for people giving up their time to be on my show. I it was a complete mind set. Now I want this to be the biggest show out there. I absolutely do. And it’s all I can focus in on and it’s in many ways it’s killing me or my life is totally out of whack. But all I want is about is the number one thing upset that on any show because it sounds a bit arrogant really I’m upset. Once we’ve stopped recording them when somebody asked me about it that is where I want to be and I want to be join up not as a brand. Exactly as you say. Right. Because it’s one of those things that you kind of go join up towards. What does it mean. And I’m very aware of if you provide quality and content as quality brand in many ways take care of itself. It’s like we always talk in the early episode the name that was always mentioned was Pat Flynn. And you know he’s got that classic smart passive income and you forget that’s a premium brand but actually he’s only three words put together and he’s because he’s provided that great content and quality and value. But it becomes the kind of the trust word where what he’s trying to achieve. That’s right in he that he can live that now. But I actually want I want to focus on something you said just before that you will be bigger than him and so will I. And I know I don’t mean that like he doesn’t have the same aspirations as you do. Right. And I’m saying in terms of podcasts in terms of like Pat wants to speak I’m not speaking for him here but just knowing what I know about him. He he is sort of the crash test dummy of internet marketers. So he does all these really cool things on the web. I want my show to become about like I want to. I want to be interviewing complete legitimate A-listers you know and finding out about their kind of business and so normal journey. That’s where I will see the show going. And because of that if when and if I get to that point. The show the podcast itself will be bigger than all of the internet marketing type podcasts. Does that make sense. Yeah it’ll be way bigger than that. It’ll be more like Nerdist. You know Chris Hardwick gets killer guests on his show and that’s why his podcast is you know number one number two number three on iTunes overall. And so it’s it’s one of those things that that I it’s what I aspire to do as well is to get working within this world like real A-list category of people because I think that they’ll appreciate talking about their journey. And so that’s where I want to head with that. Also I was very strategic and I changed direction. I realized that when I started I was just throwing out the net to anyone and anyone would jump on the show. I would have them round about sort of thing once again I thought to myself no I can’t do this because when I was looking at other people’s shows I was thinking Oh I’ve been on my show I’ve been on my show and it was just the sort of hybrid of people doing the rounds. So I went off in a different direction. So if you listen to episode 88 I had Cathy O’Dowd who was the first woman to hit the summit of Everest from both sides. I’ve got the first civilian astronaut coming on the show. I’ve got a chap over a few years ago was worldwide news because he sold his life on e-bay and he’s just sold his life to Disney and all that kind of stuff. So I realized I had to change direction to become more unique to be more interested by the stories more. Yes. Extract out of them what I wanted to show to the world and that was my original vision but I couldn’t say Eva until later on in the journey. Yeah and that’s really what you’ve done. That’s the whole point. That’s why you will be successful because you’ve you’ve done this in a sort of a different way in your life when you look back to sort of the Philadelphia kid and you riding around on your BMX and all that kind of stuff. Well you just sort of wanting to be the classic sports kid was. If you look back and now we all going to send you back in time soon on the Sermon on the mike. No I was a show off though. I think I think I was you know a performer of some sort and the PA is I keep is that makes my colonial who he is to play better racquetball with an audience. Yes. Every single time. Yeah I think so. I think there’s that’s there that’s in there. It’s in the DNA for sure. I don’t use that a lot but it’s in the DNA. I work better in a performance environment which is presumably why I kind of screw myself on the show intentionally. I don’t I I prepare in a way where I I’ve researched my guest as you have. You know you know and you certainly listen to the show but at times you know a little bit about me and you’re able to then naturally structure questions that that dovetail into my history and that’s what a good interviewer does. I don’t write a lot of questions out sometimes intentionally and that’s because I there’s something about the performance side. I realize now that I’m I’m doing this the shows this this month I’ve got over 300000 downloads for the first time and this is a and I realize so there’s people listening and I have to perform. You know what I like it. It makes me it UPS my game. I’m live on the show. And I think I do that to myself on purpose because because I work better in that environment a lot maybe underpressure a little. Well we’re very similar. It’s fascinating. I feel like I’m finding out the real Marcantonio here. Where is the person behind the that the presenter. Because I am somebody who has spent my life doing training courses and presentations and that’s my job. I’ve never done this kind of thing. It was totally BA and I’m somebody very much likes to be on their own likes no one near them. And then when I suddenly go ping. That’s it. It’s performance time. And I don’t know if it’s showing off or trying to create a different persona for myself because that’s kind of not naturally me. But I do have the ability to raise my game and present a different side to myself if you know me deep down you would say to me different people that the people who know me from seeing where I allow them to see me they would say yeah you it’s like I’m on the mike as you are when you normally doing those things because I’m letting them see what they want to see. Yeah. Yeah I mean I think there’s there’s an element of that and again I want people to understand this is why we and we talked earlier about sort of what John brought to the table. And I’m you know people look at my show and say it’s it’s been it’s it’s been pretty successful in the first 11 months just overall debt is not that’s not a fluke because I didn’t just start in August of 2013 with kind of media. You know I’ve been a professional drummer my whole life. I’ve performed I’ve been on I’ve been a racer I’ve been you know a competitive racquetball player for for many many tournaments for many many years now and before that it was tennis. So I’ve always been performing in some way or the other. I I coached for five years on teaching people social media in front of huge audiences. I’ve played Red Rocks in front of 10000 people like me being on a microphone and being natural at it is not something that happened overnight. It’s a it’s this is something that you walked in with. You’ve been training for years before you turned a mike on yourself. So it’s kind of like Yeah right yeah. You were new to podcasting but not nuda trying to translate a concept from one person to an audience like that’s something you’ve been doing for a long time. So so that’s I think that it’s a bit of a misnomer within our industry that yeah anybody can you know podcast or anybody can start blah blah blah. That’s kind of cool I get it. Yes technically you can turn on an app you can go to boss jock on your iPhone and upload it to clips and you’ve got a podcast but can you do it. Well can you do it so that when someone switches from morning radio or Howard Stern or the BBC to your podcast that they don’t notice a huge drop off in quality or you know sound quality interview quality production quality that’s that’s what I try to bring the table and I think you do the same thing. So is that what you’re saying really and I’m going to play the words of Steve Jobs because he says it very well as well but no experience is wasted. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in your life you will pull elements and you extract what you need to create your new path. Out 100 percent. Absolutely yes. Everything you’ve done up until this point is does training for you for this next phase. When I have people on their show and we have these episodes called Find your swing I want to find out everything that person has done because it find your swing is like well what do I do. Like what am I naturally gifted at how can I make money off of something that I really enjoy that I’m passionate about that’s what finding your swing is. And it’s I want to find out like what you did when you were a kid. Were you an athlete did you or you or you a professional knitter you like to knit hats. You know like what is it what do you do. And when people can start accessing those things that they’ve done their whole lives they’re really gifted and I like to find ways that we can use those talents in whatever their next business endeavor is. We call about connecting our past to build our future and here. And one of the names as come out is if you really want to know your passion really want to know what you’re naturally good at. Don’t think about what you were doing in adult life because very much you would have been taking a responsibility for a wage or whatever. Look at what you was doing as a kid when you weren’t being paid for it. And if you was a drama when you was a kid and you loved doing it then try and look at something that would do that. And he says that exactly the same way as you do it and you’ll find your swing episodes. That’s right. And I and I love those. Again that’s another instance where we totally put ourselves on the spot. I have a co-host. Her name is Dawn Mars. For those episodes and we never read the questions first. Like I only you know sometimes I glance at them to see just a copy and paste them into my Evernote when we’re doing the show. But we were reading them and answering them live and which again has another element of pressure that we’ve got to come up with an answer and these people are literally like I’ve had people that have taken what we’ve said on the show. They’ve made a business from it like the next day they’ve gone and done it. So it’s it can be a little daunting. And I was going to ask you earlier you know your show’s growing now and this this will be big your show will have a huge audience at some point and I’ve asked this with other people that are in the space. Have you yet felt this sense of responsibility that comes with that the fact that you’re speaking into a microphone and someone’s actually listening to what you’re saying. Yeah. With power comes great responsibility. And it’s funny the very first show I released I got two e-mails and they were from people I’d never met and they were saying thank you so much for putting the show out there and I thought oh my God. And from that moment of being very aware of what I’m saying or being very aware of I don’t know where my words are landing. And of also having a conversation with my wife this afternoon saying if this really takes on. Just as I want it to really take on I’m a little bit scared but I haven’t got the value to provide the audience but I won’t and I don’t know why that is because you know success is everything you want. But I suddenly felt a pressure because I can see the downloads increasing increasing increasing. I can see the work coming towards me and I’m doing this seven days old on my own. There’s not one person that helps me and I’m also balancing other responsibilities as well. So this isn’t my only so restrained I suddenly freaked this afternoon for the exact reason that you said oh my god this is power this is responsibility. I’ve got to be careful with it. Yeah. Have you also found it. I agree. I felt that in some I haven’t had yet. Hey buddy come back to me I’m like you ruin my life but I’ll show it. That’s going to have to happen right. Someone will listen to something you’ve said or I’ve said and they’re going to do it and it’s not going to work for them and we won’t have the details but they’re going to say I listened to you when you were in my life. That’s going to happen. There’s no way it that doesn’t happen. When you’re when you grow this thing to where it can go there’s no way that doesn’t happen. Well think shows a slightly different note because you teach nuts and bolts. I think with my show I talk about hope and I told you why leap of both. Yeah I really think I teach nuts and bolts because that’s that’s I feel like there’s a lot of shows that do that specifically. And I I feel like I teach more of the journey and then the nuts and bolts sort of fall from there. Well I think that’s the same thing. I think what you do you you talk about the journey you get the cogs working in your own brain and brain when you throw out the nuts and bolts which you probably don’t think have got value as such. You’re already using those cokes and you’re thinking yeah I can use that yeah I can tell you that that’s exactly what happened with me. You know I couldn’t see how to do this because I’ve never done this. But just by you having conversations with people you take the element and you take the element and you take that element and what do you do. He’s been up to you as an individual to put it together. Yeah I actually find myself pretty. I can be very socially awkward at the beginning and I sometimes I’ve actually accessed my I’ve switched into interview mode when I’m meeting someone in real life. I just watch on Mike I like my mentally switch on a podcast microphone in front of me and I found it so much easier to have conversations with people that way. So that’s kind of interesting to me is bizarre. I’m getting ready to play Steve Jobs now because I’m fascinated to see your spin on this. And this is the fulcrum of the whole show so this is a job. Don’t be free to do that of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward. When I was in college but it was very very clear looking backwards. Ten years later again you can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something your gut destiny life karma whatever because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path. And that will make all the difference. When I’m going to ask a different question because I think you’ve answered it already but you will say yes you believe in it. But why do you think so many people don’t believe in that. I think that’s a lot. Most people get hung up on the how of something for example I think that we we pick a point be right we pick a point B that’s there’s the dot so I’ve got this I want to I want to do I want to have this show. And to get this show together I need this this this this this this this and we get stuck in the details of the this this this this this instead of. All right I’m going to sort of flow through this. All I want to do is get to that thing. I’m not sure how I’m going to get there yet but I’m going to I don’t really know. And by the time you get there and you look back and go wow that is not the path that all that I was going to take. My favorite metaphor. Or maybe it’s an analogy I forget but for this is if you and I were sitting at a cafe and I there was you know a three story building across the street and I said David there’s a hundred thousand pounds sitting in a bag on the roof of that building across the street. You have 15 minutes to get it. How fast would you be out the door to go get that money. I’d be on the right run the window right but you wouldn’t know how you were going to get it. You had no idea how to get to the roof of that building. You just knew you were getting to the roof. You don’t know if you’re going to you know helicopter down you know if you’re going to call the fire department to take you up there or you know scale like Spiderman but you’re getting to the roof of that building somehow. And I think what successful entrepreneurs do is they just keep their eye on that that you know that bag the bag that’s on the roof. They’re not quite as concerned about the how part. And we very much get concerned about the how part. And the second piece of that is when someone gives you an opportunity I just said this a little earlier when someone gives you an opportunity. Our instinctive reaction is to say no because of this this and this versus just instinctive to say yes and I’m going to figure out how to work out this this and this and that is a huge mental shift even though it’s very subtle. It’s just yes and no. But if you’ll find that people in your world that are really successful or really look like they’re just having a great time. They’re the ones that say yes first and then figure out how it’s going to work after and most of the people that are stuck and they don’t get from that one dot to the next dot. Those are the ones that say no because you know I I can’t live in San Diego because I have kids in school or because I can’t afford the move or because whatever we can come up with 15 different ways. But in reality all that stuff can be worked out. So I think that’s how I would respond to that and I hope that helps someone. So what scares you this is probably my final question before I send you on the mike and you can have a one on one with your younger self. As you all know and you’ve got these rocking and rolling show everything’s going well you’ve just bought these the watch you’ve finished off the last five years and everything’s good and you’ve got a lovely new girlfriend. What scares you. Well when you look at what you need to achieve. What scares me. I have to say I look at the bank being intimidated or being excited. I sort of treat the same way. So I don’t get super excited about everything and I don’t get scared about everything. I gosh I mean I don’t I I can honestly say I don’t have that for the same reason when someone said you know when I was so literally I was scraping up change so I could take in an airport shuttle for a ticket that was paid for by somebody else to go speak in front of 3000 people and that in which I was going to make $5000 or whatever that weekend. A few years ago I I literally had to scrape $8 up so I could take the shuttle like in change so I could take the shuttle to get to the airport that I had. I had $18 in my bank account at the time. And so it wasn’t enough to get the cash out of the machine. So I wasn’t worried about it. I’ve never been worried about stuff like that and I didn’t even know what success was going to look like for me. But I had a feeling that I was destined for it. And that’s the only way I can say is that it was it was very innate and I didn’t know where it was going to come from but I was very patient about it. Now I was also very patient about about you know I knew I was going to meet a great woman at some point and I was able to reach you know like you said read about a year ago but but recently. So I think that I have that that vibe that that it’s the same reason I don’t plan a lot. I just don’t. I’m living very much in the moment as I go day by day. And for better or for worse I don’t plan as much as I probably could or should. But right now I’m not really you know scared about anything. I mean I could say you know the show doesn’t grow at all. But even if it doesn’t I’m live in a great life right now. So I guess I’m not even that scared of that. OK last question before we send you back this time. Is it easier to move forward when you’ve hit rock bottom and you really did hit rock bottom. Yes it is. It’s easier for me to keep perspective on it. I just last weekend went to I went to Napa Valley with my girlfriend’s family and it was a very first class trip like from private private jet from San Diego to Napa Valley which I’ve never done before my life and everything was super exclusive super like Michelin star first class and I was like man I don’t want to be here like this. No I don’t mean like I didn’t want to be at the weekend. I just I don’t want to live in that universe of that sort of high end world. And that’s it. I I remember looking longingly at a train that goes through Napa Valley and it stops at all these different wineries and I’m kind of like Man I wish I would’ve just taken the train and gotten kind of drunk at the third winery and kept going and that would’ve been a really fun day. Instead it was like this you know 12 people serving our table kind of thing and it just wasn’t me. But my my Philly boy sort of like Kragen pragmatist personality carried me through that whole weekend thinking yeah I would be fine with stopping at a fast food place now and going to another winery. We don’t have to go to a hundred dollar plate dinner you know. And so I think if anything it’s given me perspective and there’s one more piece of perspective that in my very very lowest time and it was very low. And I thank you for not like making me go through that again like 40000 other shows have but I had a I remember the current hurricane Katrina had hit the southern United States and it just decimated New Orleans. And this was literally at my lowest time. And I remember looking on the news and seeing like a little 9 year old little black kid who everybody in his family died. Right. And he lost everything like lost every piece of memory he ever had including all of his family members. And he’s this kid who doesn’t have much of an education. He’s a minority. He doesn’t have a lot of opportunity that are coming coming to him and I remember thinking all right no matter what happens I’m a white male with a skill set in United States and that’s not and that’s not to be racially insensitive I’m looking. That was a practical. OK. So no matter what my situation is I can’t complain like I’m starting with these four advantages that a lot of people all over the world don’t have. I will be given opportunities that a lot of people don’t have and that really kept me grounded like that there was this you know that some people had to struggle to get to what I had innately by birth that I had nothing to do with. So that really kept me grounded and it still keeps me grounded to this day is that I always realize that there’s people out there that do not have the same opportunities that I knew the answer. Mike are we going to put you on the Sermon on the mike now. This is when we send you back in time lost a young Marty McFly to have a one on one with yourself and if you could go back in time. What age would you choose and what advice would you say. So I’m going to play the music and when he gets out you’re up. This is the Sermon on the mike. Here. We go with the speed of this. This man. Who. I think that first of all very handsome very very talented man couldn’t congratulate now. If you could work on harnessing that Philly attitude a little bit just over the next few years if you could take the edge off of that. Not everybody is out to get you and focus on building some relationships that you will sustain forever without having that kind of you know screw you Gene. Not Eugene. I don’t know anybody named Eugene. I’m not trying to signal that that will serve you in the future. Yeah. So to some or to to to bring that and I know that was very short but to bring that in I feel like over the last few years I’ve been able to take this. There was a bit of filea attitude like where if someone slighted me in any way that was it they were erased like done. And there was no real going back. It was partially like it was a Scorpio in me that that that’s sort of like had that stinger. And I you know it’s it’s the it’s the patience I have now which is maybe a little bit of it’s I wouldn’t say less judgment because I think judgment makes for good comedy. But but it’s just maybe being a little more empathetic to people’s situations and realizing that that people aren’t always in control of their actions and sometimes they’re going through a learning process as well. And to just instantly give them the guillotine and out of one’s life is not the most productive way to go through things. I don’t do that anymore but I did it for a number of years and I think it was just a reaction to losing my parents and it being so so much. OK Wolf I’m going to lose this anyway I might as well just cut it right off. And I think that didn’t that didn’t serve me for a long time. So I’d fix that. Michael how can our listeners connect with you sir. Well you know this. Oh I know you say you say in an American Xon is better I would say the same thing if you were speaking in a British accent. By the way you going to come on my show some time. I would love to come on your show it oh no great. And Howard Jones I want him to go. Has he been on your show yet. No he isn’t knocking me back. He said he would and not me but I’ve called a few of them that sign up for it. And then you just come down and that’s a drag. Anyway the show is called the Solar Perner hour. The Web site because no one can spell pre-New or is solo our dotcom. And if you’d like some coaching give a coaching program yet. I’ve only been focused on building you audience. That’s good. Well so if anybody needs coaching including you my friend I can’t believe you’re not in solo lab. I want solo lab dotcom and we’d love to have you in our really cool community. Mancow thank you so much for spending time with us tonight joining up those dots on the 100th episode and it’s quite the world’s longest episode of ever done as well. Please come listen. Is. Yeah we were about seven minutes past what we normally do. So come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting up pasts is the best way to build a future. Mr. Michael O’Neill thank you so much. And thank you.

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  • Michael ONeal The Host Of The Solopreneur Hour Podcast Joins The Dots On The 100th Show

    · 01:14:39 · Entrepreneur Success Stories By Join Up Dots - Inspiration, Confidence, & Small Business Coaching To Start Your Online Career

    Todays guests is Mr Michael ONeal, the podcasting master behind the hit Itunes show "The Solopreneur Podcast". The top ranked business show, or The Solohour as it is known to its friends, teaching online marketing and entrepreneurship skills.  Michael is a man who quite simply without him, then I wouldn't be on the mic today. So you know where to send all your complaints too. He is a born entrepreneur with a fascinating story, of successes, setbacks, leaps of faith, and finding his unique path with the guidance of John Lee Dumas and Pat Flynn. Growing up in Philadelphia, the thought of being the host of his own podcast show was the last thing on his mind. He was a normal type of kid, obsessed with sport, finding trouble at school, and generally being a kid. But unfortunately that freedom of thought and energy changed when he was moved from his beloved Philly, and taken down to Florida, and it seems to me this was the start of him looking for his path in life. He didn’t fit in down in the Sunshine State, so as soon as he could, he got himself back up North, and discovered one of the first dots in his life that links him to where he is today…the internet. He was fascinated by the worldwide web, so developed skills to be a web designer. And that was his life for fifteen years, until unfortunately his parents both passed away in a very short time, and he found himself sitting with just $14 dollars in his pocket. He was over 30, with a decision forced upon him. Would he accept the punches that life had dealt him, or would he start fighting back? And that descision was made and he took the steps that made him “Know too much” and not want to work for anyone else again? He was going to become a solopreneur and own his own future. But how did he know he had the skills to be a success in the online arena? How did he know where his true passions lie? And does he regret inspiring guys like me to jump into the pool too? Well lets find out as we bring onto the 100th show to start joining up dots, the man on the mike, the host of the “Solopreneur Hour podcast”, the one and only Mr Michael O’Neal!   For more on the Solohour Podcast go to: The Solopreneur Hour Podcast with Michael O'Neal - Job Security...for the Unemployable By Michael O'Neal Chats with Proudly Unemployable Solopreneurs Like Himself Description They say successful people put their pants on the same way we all do. This show is about watching them put their pants on. Nominated As "Best New Show of 2013" by Stitcher Radio, Our range of guests takes us from comedy, to acting, to the NFL, to UFC and MMA, to Top Music Stars, to Millionaires, to Business Experts, to Real Estate moguls, and everything in between. Guests like Nicole Arbour, Adam Carolla, Hines Ward, Sam Jones, Tucker Max, Jonathan Fields, Derek Halpern, Pat Flynn, Amy Porterfield, John Lee Dumas, Chris Ducker, Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki, Mike Johnston, Rich Franklin, and many more, these casual conversations contain tons of action-inducing content wrapped up in an entertaining candy shell.   Yes hello. How are we all? Can you believe it. Episode 100. We have been building up to this for well, it seems like a hundred episodes and we are finally here. We have got a man who who quite simply rose to the top and was going to be the only person who would fit the mantle of being my 100th guest. And I’ve had people banging down the doors. I had Paul McCartney phone up the other day and say I want to be on the show, I’ve heard it’s a big thing and I said to him, “Paul, unless you can get the other four Beatles to join you, it’s not going to happen” We’ve had  David Bowie crying. It’s been pathetic really. So today’s man has been nailed on to do this today, and I’m absolutely delighted that he’s on the show because quite simply without him I wouldn’t be on the microphone. So you know where to send all your complaints to! He’s a man with a fascinating story of successes, setbacks leaps and finding his unique voice. Growing up in Philadelphia he was a normal type of kid obsessed with football at school, and generally being a kid. But unfortunately that freedom of thought and energy changed when he was moved from his beloved Philly and taken down to Florida and it seemed to me this to stop him looking for his path in life. He didn’t fit in down in the sunshine state so soon as he could he got himself back up north and discovered one of the first dots in his life that links him to where he is today the Internet. He was fascinated by a World Wide Web so develop skills to be a web designer and as he’s known for 15 years until unfortunately his parents both passed away in a very short time and he found himself sitting with just fourteen dollars in his pocket. It was over thirty with a decision forced upon him. Would you accept the punches that life had dealt him or would he stop fighting back and that decision was made and he took steps that made him know too much and not want to work for anyone else again. He was going to become a solopreneur and own his own future. But how did he know he had the skills to be a success in the online arena and how did he know where his true passions lie? And does he regret inspiring guys want me to jump into the pool too. Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up thoughts the man on the microphone. The host of the Solohour podcast, the only Mr. Michael O’Neal. Well how are you Michael?   Michael O’Neal Oh here is what I can’t even what is happening. I am so flabbergasted by that intro. OK. Two things. Number one that was the best intro I’ve ever had. And formerly Chris Cerrone had that that title of the best in show to a show I’ve ever had. But it was one of the best I’ve ever heard for anybody which is why you are so the right person for this job. Well we’re all thankful you have a microphone in front of you David. Trust me on that. Second thing is I would pay to hear Zombie John Lennon if you could figure out a way to get all four Beatles on the show. That would be cool. David Ralph Well I can do Steve Jobs every day. So I might be able to do them as well. Michael O’Neal Ah so dude that was incredible. I am . I am flummoxed. David Ralph I’m so excited to be on David Ralph’s show. David Ralph – Yeah. Go go and do that because I know you have been doing an action of me on a few shows and we’ll show you a few times night. Yeah you got a little bumper for me on my show. I have these little things that when people ask you me I have a guest on the show that I have them do a little like Hi this is David Ralph and then I get interested in this opener with Mike O’Neill and your voice is so. What’s the first thing I ever said to you. I said you have the ultimate voice for radio. Didn’t I say that you did. Absolutely. David Ralph I haven’t got the face for television but I’ve got a voice for Radio Michael O’Neal Well as long as you’ve got the radio part worked out and you have taken this thing and you’ve run with it my friend. So I’m honored. I’m honored to be at the 100 episode Mark. Thank you. Thank you. David Ralph Absolutely. It is an honor to have you here because it is amazing when you start this thing,because you started your show what was it August 2013. Michael O’Neal Eleven month ago. David Ralph Yeah,11 months ago and now you are rocking and rolling with the best of them you surround yourself with, with the Internet movers and shakers the ziggers and zagers and you know you’re going to be humbled by this. So maybe you won’t. You are an online celebrity of note. When I was saying to people is my show a lot of people sort of touch on the shows of said to me I know who you’re going to have. And I said no you don’t. And I go Yes I know who you’re going to have and ego going and going to no one. And I when Martin O’Neill and I went oh term term how did I know. Really I know. Yes yeah I did it because I had pain you know I don’t want to suck up to you Michael but the early days I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. So I just kept on saying your name over and over again or some kind of benchmark of what I was trying to achieve because you like that you’d come out the gates really and say look like a rocket ship. It’s unbelievable. But you’ve only been around so long because it seems like you’ve been here ever in a day. Does it seems like that to you? Michael O’Neal It is weird. It does feel like it was yesterday that I launched the show. It feels really really recent to me that it happened. So but then at the same time I look at the memories that I’ve had over the last 11 months and all the cool benchmarks and you know different things that have happened and, but it’s packed full of stuff right. So I think if there’s any celebrity it’s sort of a z list celebrity and only at certain conferences. But yeah it’s been it’s been an incredible journey. I couldn’t be happier with how it’s gone. And I can’t wait to see what happens in the next 365. You know I’m really excited about that. David Ralph Is there a plan to the next 365 because you seem to me somebody who is very much stimulated by the now and then. Are you somebody who knows what you’re aiming to achieve? Michael O’Neal No I’m a notorious non planner. Much to the chagrin of my girlfriend who is a total planner and if I didn’t have the you know a calendar app on my phone I would be I would be completely floating out there now because I I wake up and I look at I go OK what do I have to do today. And then I see what’s going on for the day. And sometimes that doesn’t work out for me like in a social situation because people actually make plans to go out and do things. But and I’m not one of them. And all of a sudden it’s Friday I’m like I probably should have planned to do something. Yes I watch movies tonight. But yeah I I’m in an interesting spot right now because I have had this kind of five year run of as you mentioned in the intro bringing myself in this very circuitous path from $14 and not having a clear direction to now. When someone says What do you do. I say I’m a podcast host. And that’s a thing like I. That’s what I do. So I sort of a couple of weeks ago had an occasion to kind of put the cap on that five year journey and now I’m going to be looking ahead but I haven’t quite formulated what that ahead looks like yet. David Ralph And how did you do that? How did you put a cap on that. How did you say that is five years, finished boxed up? Michael O’Neal Well it was as i say I’m I’m a notorious non-celibrator. I’m a guy that usually gets to an achievement and then continues to go without acknowledging it. And I have what is probably a weird story that you’re asking for but hey here comes. So I’ve been a Porsche fan for my whole life. And you may already know where you’re heading with this but I was a Porsche fan my whole life and I don’t know why particularly. I was I had a Volkswagen in high school and I think that maybe planted to see a little bit and I was a car guy and so you know those Porsche ads from the 80s with like the big fender flares and the big wing. I think I was attracted to that and I eventually in 2003 I bought my first vintage Porsche so I bought a 1972 11 and it was a piece of crap. I bought it in New York. I didn’t know better. I drove across country midway across the USA and midway across the country the engine blew up. So that’s how badly. Where were you when this happened. I was in the dead heart middle of Nebraska when it happened in Nebraska I suppose. You it’s nothing. It is hundreds and millions of acres of wide open like cornfields and nothing else. I mean we are I was I have a picture of my car sitting looking like it’s a panther wading in the grass. Waiting to you know to prowl and it’s just sitting there with with like a hundred miles in each direction of grass. There was no middle of nowhere when it happened and I ended up finding a Volkswagen place 60 miles away that towed me in. And the guy dropped the oil pan in the car and just giant chunks of metal came out and I’m like I’m pretty sure that’s not how it’s supposed to be. So I ended up getting a tow truck driving it from Denver where I was living at the time and picking it up. Neither here nor there. So I eventually traded that piece of crap on and got a nicer one. Not when I bought it but in 2005 and I restored this car it took me four years and 2000 hours to restore this car back to better than factory condition when I still have it now. And as part of the dynamic this one in 1969 9/11 and the 69 through 73 nine elevens are very very sought after. They are the iconic 9/11. So when you would see Steve McQueen and a picture of him in the 60s you know you know in LA MA or something driving a 9/11 he was driving one of these sort of 69 to 73 virgins. And one of the sponsors of Porsche in the 60s was a company called Hoyer which was tag Hoyer before Tagg was involved in the mid-80s. So just Hoyer and it’s a guy named Jack Hoyer and he made these beautiful tiny pieces chronographs based on race timers. So you’d have a co-driver with you as a race car and there was a race in Mexico called the career of PanAmericana and the first Porsche Carrera was named after this particular race. So Hoyer as a sponsor of Porsche created a watch based on the chronographs that they used for the race cars and they called it the Hoyer Kura. So this was a very utilitarian type watch you could use it as a race time or you could just click one of the buttons and it had this chronograph on it. It was beautiful automatic beautiful timepiece. And as I’ve been going through this journey for five years this has been on my vision board because these are about three grand and above to get one of these watches. But that was so superfluous for me because I had no i like zero money. And for me to spend three grand on something as excessive as a watch wasn’t even on my radar. So about a month and a half ago now I was in this position where I was like this could be the time. And I scoured the world. I ended up buying a 1972 Hoyer Carrera from a guy in France and it came to my house and it was more beautiful in person than I. I’d never seen one in person is more beautiful than I even thought it could be. And I remember at the mid midday I’d gone to this little swimming pool by my house I belong to this little pool club which is where I work out and I was swimming in the middle of the day two o’clock in the afternoon like Tony Soprano in the middle of a work day and thinking I just did this like this just happened. This 5 year journey comes stops right now like this is where my new journey begins. I’ve gone through this trial by fire. I’ve come out hopefully like a phoenix. I’m in a position where I can buy this watch now which is insane to think about and I’m peaceful and grateful for the life that I’ve built. And so that for me was the cap of a five year struggle. I mean a real struggle to get to where I am today. David Ralph Mr. O’Neill is a perfect story. It started and it made me think if I’m ever in a pub quiz and a question about Portia comes up you’re my man that does it to Luli you are obsessed by that and you. The amount that you were quoting then. Michael O’Neal Ah. I mean I think. I think it’s kind of a lifetime obsession for people that become afflicted by it. In fact there’s a great ad I will send it to you on YouTube and there’s an ad for the new Porsche about the time the new Porsche Carrera ad and it was there it’s a little boy. And he’s a little kid in his classroom and he’s daydreaming and on 9/11 drives by him and you just see him like looking out the window and his pencil drops and you know then he he gets in trouble. And then he runs to the you know was on his BMX bike to the Porsche dealer after school and and he you know he ends up sitting in this car and the steering wheel is bigger than he is and you see Mike raised his head he’s 12 or something and that he goes to the dealer or the guy goes you have a card and the guy goes yeah here you go and he goes I’ll see in 20 years. And then there’s this great voice over that says something like there’s a there’s a there’s a particular moment that happens with you know a Porsche fan. There’s that time you want one. Then there’s the time you get one and for the truly affected afflicted there’s the 20 years in between. And it just like it gives you the chills and my buddies sent it. I sense my body goes man. Pass the Kleenex. So I guess there is a real passion there for this. It’s a very visceral feeling that is so different because of the way they build their cars and because the engines in the rear and it’s a totally different experience than you have with with any other vehicle that yeah there becomes a real passion a real obsession with him. Did you read that because this shows about joining up dots, but do you remember as a young kid having the same kind of obsessive compulsive in both words and things when when you was a little kid running around the streets of Philly pretending you Rocky did most will keep you alive without paying him for the Michael O’Neal No no no. I was a BMX kid. Now I was I was in a suburb. I was the only gentile I was in a super Jewish town north of Philadelphia. And I was a BMX or I rode my BMX bike. I mean I was from 1984 until I mean I was racing bikes from 84 until 2000. David Ralph So Rocky wasn’t on your radar at all? Michael O’Neal No not at all. Tony Hawk and Dave you know Dave Voelker and Matt Hoffman and you know BMX guys Bob horo. They were all on my radar. I’ll tell you here’s here’s a little here’s a join up dot that is current. I rode an entire daywith real wow I just blanked on his name. That’s embarrassing really. I’m killing myself right now this is bad radio. David Ralph What  does he look like? Michael O’Neal He’s a big famous director now and he will watch films John Malkovich. Being John Malkovich won a friggin Oscar. We’re ready. Come on. With it and it might seem seamless Spike Jones for crying out loud. David Ralph Spike Jones Michael O’Neal Yeah Spike Jones the director was a dude I rode with at a place called Rockville BMX and we were just BMX or dudes riding around. And then he he became a photographer for one of the BMX magazines and then started doing filming because he did Beastie Boys first video I forget which one and then started doing independent films then did Being John Malkovich and now he is like an international you know massive director like one of the best most well-reputed directors in the world. And it was kind of cool. I mean so he did adaptation he did Being John Malkovich Where the Wild Things Are You know just just done amazing stuff. So the Academy Awards. And so a pretty pretty bad ass. He did her you know the movie Her most recent Yeah that’s Spike Jones. David Ralph So is there any similarity between the young kid in Philly and now, because from what I see across the pond and I listen into the conversations that you have with your internet guys and it does seem from this side of the pond that you’ve got a gang of friends and followers and whatever that basically control the Internet. I had Rick Mulready on the show. And I said “Do you ever feel like slipping something into Pat Flynns drink, so that the next morning you turn on your screen and see if there’s a black hole on the Internet because he’s not functioning at this time because it kind of seems not” But he wouldn’t be pushed in to slipping a Mickey into his drink in any shape or form. But you seem a little bit edgy to most of them. Michael O’Neal Yeah. David Ralph Is that because you’re from Philly. Is it because he’s a very sort of industrial Con. Its a real city you know. Its like a working class city when you’re there. Michael O’Neal Yeah I think the the edginess is something that I’m kind of a known for. I don’t know if you curse on your show but I’m kind of a no B.S. kind of guy and I’ve never been one to straddle the fence very very much. And I think what happened with Irwin what happens with a lot of these sort of Internet type celebrities is that they’re so concerned about getting the broadest audience that they sometimes come off as being a little bit milktoast or a little bit vanilla. And I come from a totally different perspective where when you think about media you think about New York Philadelphia Boston. These are like the media centers of the world. It’s where you know you go to Boston College that’s one of the broadcasting school that’s where Howard Stern went. That’s where many very famous broadcasters come from those places I went to Temple University which has an incredible media department. And when you look at the people that are iconic in history they’re not people that are vanilla. There are people that have strong opinions one way or the other and people either love them or they hate them but they’re definitely them. So they definitely have a presence. They definitely have a voice that’s unique to them. And I think I always think it took me a little while to settle into that on my show but it is ultimately as you as I developed the show and I developed my own voice I realized hey I’m not in the interest of pleasing everybody. Like that’s not my job. My job is to talk from my perspective on certain issues and try to extract really good business advice from people without them or my audience really seeing what I’m doing. And one of my favorite quotes to that is and you probably heard me say before but which just never let him see your work. You know that’s from Bill Cosby also from my alma mater Temple University in Philly and that basically means that go through your process ask your questions you know have questions written down but you don’t have to be so blatant about it. You can you can ease through you know great standup comedians do this like Louis C.K. talks you know he’ll be sputtering and angry and going through all this process on stage and you think that that’s just how he is. You laugh at his angry energy but he knows all the beats within that he knows exactly what he’s doing within that realm and that is that is him not letting you see him work on him. David Ralph When your on the mike then how much is you now being absolutely authentic and how much is it creating a mood creating an atmosphere on the show. Michael O’Neal Well it can’t. Can’t you have both? David Ralph Oh I don’t know CAN you? Michael O’Neal What are you asking? Are you asking how much is sort of pre-written and how much is off the cuff? David Ralph Well on this show for example some of the things I say I only say to get a reaction from the guest. You know do I really mean it kind of. Do I think that they will go against it. Yes. So I will say it. How much do you actually say that you believe 100 percent. Michael O’Neal Well first of all you do that because you understand this and you’re a pro. I mean this is a very natural place for you to end up. So I think that that I do very similar things to you, as you do just because yeah sometimes you want to extract some stuff from a guest that is being difficult. But yeah I mean I’m pretty authentic dude. I there’s not a lot there’s people that have met me in real life and go Oh you’re exactly like you are on the show. Yeah Im exactly like I’m in the show. I turn it on and I talk so I don’t have this, I’m not affected in any way. I just go. David Ralph So you’re not like you haven’t got a human graphic equalizer when you press record you just kind of increase certain parts of your personality. Michael O’Neal Not really. No. This is pretty much how I am. Yeah I’ll speak like I speak. I’m probably slightly dirtier in real life. David Ralph Well you don’t know where the words will land do you! Michael O’Neal I probably curse a little more which is fine. I’ve done a few podcasts now where I was allowed to do that and it did make it really nice. David Ralph Are you in the same situation as me because I used to listen to your show all the time and it was a staple diet during my transition at that time and now I’m doing this. One of the failures of me is that I don’t get time to listen to other people’s shows. I listen to your one  the other day because I just suddenly realized I had a gap but you almost become an island of your own success where before I used to listen to shows and I used to think oh I’ll take a bit of it and I’ll take a bit of it and become like a magpie. And now I don’t know what vibe is out there and I don’t know whether I’m being edgy or whatever. It just seems to be you. Speaking to the mic and I throw it out to the world and hopefully it goes well. It seems to be a fault of mine, and so do you have the same thing? Michael O’Neal No I’m exactly the same way. I’d say partially by choice and partially by by time. So when I when I do have time to consume podcasts I don’t tend to go business. I tend to go comedy. And lately I tend to go NFL football. I listen to podcasts related to that because I want to be able to clock out a little bit when I do want real inspiration. I’ve been listening to here’s the thing with Alec Baldwin it’s WNYC. I’ve not heard a better intro or production or interview style than that show. It’s his in his intros are nothing short of brilliant. I mean they’re amazing how he brings a guest on an and then how he interviews and his questions are very in-depth and he’s such a pro that it makes it really easy for me to like look at that bar and go OK that’s where the soul open for hours going. That’s what I do. I actually honestly David I find now the more that I get into this show the more I almost can’t stand other people’s shows like there so few that can capture my attention and that I feel like are being done well even with really good friends of mine that do shows I just go and that is almost unlistenable. You know it’s so. So I just don’t I definitely look far above the kind of Internet Marketing slash business world for inspiration on how I want to run mine. David Ralph because the only two that I listen to now is yours. And I went on started. I wanted to listen to every single one. And but the nerdiest and there the only two reasons. Yeah great and Nerdist is good for a number of reasons. David Ralph Yeah I just like the way it kind of flows and you don’t even know it started and it just kind of teases right. Michael O’Neal That’s right. Yeah they just start it. We kind of did that today didn’t we. David Ralph Yeah absolutely and that was the good stuff. Michael O’Neal And we talked for a while before we started recording. You know me I mean it just felt like yeah hit it. Go for it. We’ll start like Nerdist. But yeah no I think that there’s a sense there’s such a glutton of new shows out there and I don’t. but if I’m being opinionated I don’t. There’s a lot of places where people are learning quote on quote how to podcast. And I think they’re feeding them crap information.So often a big problem. David Ralph And I know he’s a mate of yours and I wish him all the success in the world, but the problem is so many people are trying to duplicate John Lee Dumas and that’s not right. He came first and he created the structure of his show, and whether you like that format or whatever that is he’s and he’s made in his own by being him. And I hear these shows and after about three minutes I think oh my god it’s the same thing again. Now I will listen to your shows and I will go all the way through. But people miss a trick don’t lay up coming back to my all the time is finding your authentic self playing to your streams. And and if you do that you create a bigger loyalty. You know if you are totally yourself people either hate you or like you but the ones that like you will love you. And that’s where these people are missing out because they’re not even being authentic to themselves they’re just kind of a middle ground. Michael O’Neal Yeah. And John would tell you and I’ve said this a million times in front of him and said do you the success of your show or his show has nothing to do with his format. And it has nothing do with him as a podcast for that all. It has everything to do with the fact that he has a financial background writes great marketing copy and has a schedule and a rigidity too. He has a military rigidity because he was in the military to his to his business. And unless you come with that exact kind of background you will not have success in that way. People think that because of the way he does his show because it’s structured and because he has these set questions and does it seven days a week that that’s why he’s successful and is completely irrelevant to that. So the problem is is like you said so many people listen to that or they go to podcasters paradise and they learn a certain way to do things. And I’m almost diametrically opposed to every single thing that they’re learning. So it’s like it’s like man I it’s it’s frustrating for me in that way. And I shouldn’t say that like I want to rephrase that I’m not time actually oppose everything they’re learning what I’m what I’m worried about is that the things that I think make podcasting successful aren’t emphasized in a lot of training courses. And like you just said finding your own voice is a number one you have to be successful. You have to find your own voice and you have to have a great brand and it’s not something that people speak about a lot. Like I took a lot of cliff Ravenscroft stuff. I’ve taken all the stuff. I’ve seen a number of course is out there a lot of them don’t pay a lot of attention to that piece and I worry that with this next phase of podcasting and what’s you know since everyone’s starting a show they’re going to find it a lot harder to sustain it unless they’ve found their own voice on their voice. And and it’s within this brand that they’ve really created. So we’ll see. But that’s the jury’s out on that. David Ralph Did you really have to love doing this because I’m going to play a speech in my Jim Carrey and I’m actually I’m going to play now and we’re going to talk afterwards. This is Jim Carrey. Jim Carrey Sound Clip My father could have been a great comedian but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old. He was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father. Not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love. David Ralph Is that the true message that we should be getting across? Michael O’Neal Yes it is unfortunately the connecting of the dots joining of those two dots which is I found this thing that I love and now I have to figure out how to get paid for it is difficult. That’s a difficult journey. And that’s my that was my five year journey. Right. First not even knowing what it was that I loved. I had no idea I was going to podcast five years ago but I had an initial foray into public speaking. I started teaching social media on stage and I ended up traveling and going to 17 cities teaching people how to use social media to grow their business and I found it very like oh this is something I could be good at. And then that morphed into doing back end production on a podcast for a year and a half and just starting to understand the podcasting industry that finally morphed into me starting my own show and here we are. But it was a five year journey to find that you know like I had indicators of it and if someone in 2009 it said hey do you want to get. You want to make six figures and be a public speaker. I be like totally that be great. But at the time I had nothing to speak about. And now I do. So it’s kind of a I I do feel like you have to find something that will and you’ve probably seen this in your life with your show something that will make you walk into that studio and record an episode even if you’re exhausted or not in the mood or whatever because you truly love it and you’re excited about it. Oh yesterday. That’s how I am. Yeah I’ve had times when I’ve recorded 12 shows back to back and now I’ve. Why just because I knew I was going to do it seven days a week show and that was the hardest time I had. I had no internet for two weeks he just crashed on me and I suddenly panic but I didn’t have enough to cover. And I was going away as well. So yes seven days a week he goes out and I needed the boke. And so I did it and I started off at six o’clock in the morning and I just went through through move through and I edited and I did everything in the gap between when I recorded the next one and he just went seamlessly. And when I pressed record yes I was on I was on. Once I was off it was just like I was you know on drugs or something I was just slump too much. But it wasn’t until the very last ones that I realized actually about that passion that you’re talking about the ability to actually do it when you’re tired. I’ve gone past by and I was actually feeling ill. And I remember doing this show and the sweat was pouring off me and I listened back to and it doesn’t sound like it but I realized brain actually no you’ve got to look up to yourself as much as you do actually doing something. Yeah I’m very committed to that. DAVID It’s I have I have three sort of pillars if you will that I do I think make a good soul a partner or a successful soul a partner. And there’s there’s time freedom there’s financial freedom and there’s location freedom. And so the first one is really easy time freedom simple you walk into your boss’s office tell him to go screw himself and then you have time freedom. There you go. Location freedom. You can pretty much just get in a car and go somewhere that we have that kind of freedom in the U.K. and in the United States. Yeah there’s some complications in between. But technically you can just go do that. It’s the financial freedom part. That’s the tricky part of the three. That is a little harder. But I find that I’m so unwilling to compromise my time freedom. I’ve turned down so many more so much more money because it would compromise my time freedom like I could have a lot more coaching clients and a lot more people in my my group coaching. It’s called Solo lab. But with that I would have to commit another couple of days to taking care of them and I’d I’m willing to do that at all. Like i will i love my life the way it is right now and I can be comfortable financially I can go do fun things. And I don’t have to compromise that. And you know hopefully I can continue to grow and continue to you know make more money maybe have more speaking gigs things like that but I don’t intend on working any harder. I just want to you know work smarter maybe try to over deliver a little more to my audience and that’s what I’m looking for. Well was sensible and that’s exactly what I want to do as well because I hate these people and it’s almost like a badge of honor. But I’ve quit in nine to five job. And then you go yes I’m an online marketing do I do this I’m a diva and I cook my time and I’m doing 80 hours a week and I think right. Right. What the hell do you do that. Why don’t you just do two days hard work and have the rest of the time of it. It seems stupid that I say that. That’s right. And it’s. It does. It is counter intuitive. The thing is when my parents passed away you mentioned this in the intro when they did that. My perspective on time completely shifted and I just I. Life’s too short. So I am very much a person that says both. When someone says would you like this or this. I say both. When I get an opportunity to do something I say yes. Win you know and I just do it like it’s a thing that I have committed to and not mentally like I don’t just go yeah this is what I’m going to do from now on. I just do it now I just say yeah let’s do that. That sounds fun. Let’s just go for that. I’m going to go on a hike. Yeah. Great book a ticket. You know and we just do it. And I found that that has served me really well because when I do that and I put that as a priority in my life then the the stuff that I’m not so thrilled about I still end up having to do it. It still fills in the blanks but my priority is to really extract the most that I can out of my life and I’ll tell you not a person that does that well I think as John John Lee Dumas he works probably a little more like the person you were just mentioning. He works a lot but he’s also great at saying yes when when something comes across his desk he goes yeah lets do that. And it’s like on the schedule. And I think that’s that’s part of I think what that’s part of success. To me that’s part of what success feels like is being able to do that. I remember hearing an interview with Billy Joel and the interviewer said to him Billy you’ve sold X squillion albums and singles and you’ve done these tours and you play Madison Square Garden five straight nights. What has success given you. And he just said time and that was it. He can wake up each morning and if he doesn’t want to do something he doesn’t. And that single word resonated with me hugely especially when I was in my 9 to 5 job and I realized then that things were not right. And why should I be doing a nine to five job when there are options I suppose. I began to know too much. And then once you know too much brain you realize you can’t ever go back. Michael O’Neal Yeah. It’s really really is a one way street. It also but that carries over as well into my personal life as well. And I think when the there’s ever such a different confidence now just in my life in general and I think Billy Joel would sort sort of anybody that reached a level of success has this this this underlying confidence about them that is very attractive not only to you know the opposite sex but it’s what attracts other successful people to you. There’s just there’s a subtlety in actions and just how really how you go through life when you’re confident that is very attractive to you know both both people both sexes and that is something that people pick up on pretty easily. You become a success back humor don’t you. You know the old Jim rhône thing about you know the average of you know five people to surrender a lot of people I talked to. Yeah. I mean a crappy job and all these miserable people all the time. How can I surround myself. And one of the things I say to them is you know focus on success because the more success you get and the more competence as you say they end up a successful people get sucked into your world and suddenly you created what he was saying. It’s not easy to do. But it certainly is a mindset that starts moving in that direction. That’s right. And you it’s funny you just asked that question of me is how do you now you’re on it you’re on an island so you’re you’re in the UK you’re not. I’m in San Diego so I get to have a bunch of people around me at all times. I will say though we don’t get together. I mean you know we get together as friends but I’m not in a mastermind with any of these people around me. We don’t sit there and me out. So you know to answer your question I’m mean answer answered on my show tomorrow. But you’ve got to join a group you’ve got to join a group mastermind of some sort. And there’s really no other way. If you if you’re not surrounded by those five people that that you feel are motivating you in a way that that is bettering your life and hopefully their lives. You’ve got to separate from those people and find the people that are doing that and pretty much everyone I know that’s in this you know business Internet Marketing podcasting world has some sort of coaching program. And my best advice is to get people that you really enjoy like how they speak and like how they deliver and join their group and that’s it. And you know once you’re a part of that community you’ll be a lot more apt to be motivated you know learn the things you want to learn. It’s part of the reason why I don’t need to listen to podcasts anymore because I have so many people in my group that are doing cool things. I get to learn about all the cool new stuff without having to go listen. They sort of comes to me. So so do you now feel that you’re ahead of the curve. Because when when you started the show I remember you saying it’s the Wild West and now it seems like every man Dogan whatever has made me a podcast. So do you think now about you it’s not the Wild West but you actually ahead of the curve. It’s good. Get a question. Yes and no I think it’s still the wild west. I think that people in this environment aren’t necessarily looking in the right direction to advance their business where they should be. Let me clarify that. I think inspiration for how someone’s podcast get better gets better doesn’t happen within the new podcasting community. It happens with old media. Then you go look at how you all learn how to interview you go study Howard Stern if you want to learn how to produce an an excellent show. You go you know you look at and some an NPR show or something like that like a where a BBC show something that you know pay close attention to how people are introducing guests and what they’re how they do their ads and how they integrate you know clips from this person’s body of work into their intro or into the show itself. So I think there is really a professional side to this that will ultimately come out. For me personally what I’ve realized over the last couple of months and this is something that I think you can you can sort of strap on as a badge of honor as well is that I’m a better interviewer than most. Just in general I’m more intuitive and I have more range of knowledge so I can connect those dots. You know I can join those dots. And that’s what makes for a compelling and entertaining interview no matter who you are it’s the people that have the pre-scripted questions that I think are really going to struggle because that’s that’s very exhausting to an audience. So on one side I think I’m still really ahead of the curve in that. I come from this and as do you come from this background this history of paying attention to interviewers and then sort of bringing this natural ability to the microphone that 99 percent of people don’t have. And that’s the building not only to interview someone in a business sense and extract what they do for a living but actually make an entertaining hour of programming for someone. And in my opinion they can get the business data from 80000 podcasts that are on iTunes but it’s really hard to get entertainment out of it. And that’s what I’m trying to bring to the table and I think that’s what you do a really great job bringing to the table as well because because what I’ve realized you know was a complete nobody is basically the very first interview I did was no you weren’t Yes. Stop it. Tom Mocha’s was episode your line on the line. Me right now David. And he was a huge inspiration to me so I wanted him as guest number one. And he was talking to a gentleman called John Lee Dumas and so awful who’s is CHEP never heard of him. And I went over to his show and the very first show I listened to was episode 3 2 2 which was yourself and kidding. That was I didn’t know that. Yeah that was the very first episode. And the fascinating thing about it was which got me on the show and this is my sort of join up thought was the fact that everything you see in life is normally about benchmarking against success. You see people already Veja and you go I’d like to do that but it worked for him he’s had this skill he’s got that you know he’s a natural that’s for sure. On that show on 0 5 3 2 2 you hadn’t even lunged and he was saying to you you know when are you going to go and you and I’m going to go on Wednesday or whatever it was. And I tuned in and I listened or whatever you do you click on it you don’t tune into you. But I heard you speak for the very first time and I found it fascinating because I was seeing but not some bouts of somebody finding their way. And you was saying Yeah and I had 17 downloads and it wasn’t that you were looking at success you were looking at somebody finding their flow finding them. Moving on. And that’s right. But that’s what really flavored my show was the fact that you were doing something that seemed natural and you were holding your hands up and you going really. I don’t know if this is going to work but hey if it doesn’t change we’ll move on later on. And remember you did this show and it was it was some chap I don’t remember who was with them on the on the beach somewhere and calls were whizzing past and your battery ran out half way through. Yes and yes you still put out and I thought that’s interesting because what he’s saying back is not that this show has got to be polished and perfect what he’s saying is is a journey and I’m going to improve from that and that be the last time that my battery runs out halfway through. That’s right and it was definitely the last time that happened. Yeah. Yeah it’s a good way to good insight. I see. If I were doing it again yeah I would probably do the same thing again. I was I’ve been always sort of a fan of the let’s just put it out at that at that time. I was leaning more on my hopeful interview skills than I was like ultimate show quality and since I’d already put out a couple of episodes it wasn’t that bad but I really loved the guys story. So I was like yeah there was Harry. Harry Smith was the guy’s name and. And. And I thought yeah let me let me throw that on. And why not. What happened. You know and somewhere. This is what’s so cool about this right. You heard one single episode I did from Johnny Dumas which was like a random occurrence. And look how much it’s affected both of us. Yeah. Just that one thing. So if one little episode you put out catches the right person it can literally be life changing. I will say something. I want your listeners to go to solo our solo our dotcom and I want you to go back to like three. I don’t know let’s say pre 70s so anything from episode like I don’t know one until episode 70 and I want you to click on those posts and read how great David’s comments are for the episodes. They are so insightful and brilliant. And you do such a great job summarizing. I think I even wrote you once and said Do you want to write my show summaries. Remember that you did and it was just that the crux of me doing this and I knew I was just going to stall so cool. So I am and you still you just did it the other day when you were that episode you listened to. You do such a great job summarizing. You’re going to be such a smash successful podcast. David Yeah I have no doubt whatsoever you are going to I hope you will let us be on your show someday when you do these live broadcasts in front of you know a hundred thousand people at the Wembley Stadium. Did you know when you start this and I’m really going to open up here so I don’t really have a Chevez. But when you start based you want it to be so good and you want it to be brought in and you kind of. There were job. You look back on them and you go OK yeah that wasn’t quite where I wanted to be but it was all right. And then you hit sort milestones and you listened back to some of these shows I don’t know if you listen to yours and I thought oh that was a bit closer to what I had in my head my original vision. And I got to show it E.T. and that’s when I suddenly realize Michael that was the host of a show and it was my responsibility to be the host to even I think he was too grateful for people giving up their time to be on my show. I it was a complete mind set. Now I want this to be the biggest show out there. I absolutely do. And it’s all I can focus in on and it’s in many ways it’s killing me or my life is totally out of whack. But all I want is about is the number one thing upset that on any show because it sounds a bit arrogant really I’m upset. Once we’ve stopped recording them when somebody asked me about it that is where I want to be and I want to be join up not as a brand. Exactly as you say. Right. Because it’s one of those things that you kind of go join up towards. What does it mean. And I’m very aware of if you provide quality and content as quality brand in many ways take care of itself. It’s like we always talk in the early episode the name that was always mentioned was Pat Flynn. And you know he’s got that classic smart passive income and you forget that’s a premium brand but actually he’s only three words put together and he’s because he’s provided that great content and quality and value. But it becomes the kind of the trust word where what he’s trying to achieve. That’s right in he that he can live that now. But I actually want I want to focus on something you said just before that you will be bigger than him and so will I. And I know I don’t mean that like he doesn’t have the same aspirations as you do. Right. And I’m saying in terms of podcasts in terms of like Pat wants to speak I’m not speaking for him here but just knowing what I know about him. He he is sort of the crash test dummy of internet marketers. So he does all these really cool things on the web. I want my show to become about like I want to. I want to be interviewing complete legitimate A-listers you know and finding out about their kind of business and so normal journey. That’s where I will see the show going. And because of that if when and if I get to that point. The show the podcast itself will be bigger than all of the internet marketing type podcasts. Does that make sense. Yeah it’ll be way bigger than that. It’ll be more like Nerdist. You know Chris Hardwick gets killer guests on his show and that’s why his podcast is you know number one number two number three on iTunes overall. And so it’s it’s one of those things that that I it’s what I aspire to do as well is to get working within this world like real A-list category of people because I think that they’ll appreciate talking about their journey. And so that’s where I want to head with that. Also I was very strategic and I changed direction. I realized that when I started I was just throwing out the net to anyone and anyone would jump on the show. I would have them round about sort of thing once again I thought to myself no I can’t do this because when I was looking at other people’s shows I was thinking Oh I’ve been on my show I’ve been on my show and it was just the sort of hybrid of people doing the rounds. So I went off in a different direction. So if you listen to episode 88 I had Cathy O’Dowd who was the first woman to hit the summit of Everest from both sides. I’ve got the first civilian astronaut coming on the show. I’ve got a chap over a few years ago was worldwide news because he sold his life on e-bay and he’s just sold his life to Disney and all that kind of stuff. So I realized I had to change direction to become more unique to be more interested by the stories more. Yes. Extract out of them what I wanted to show to the world and that was my original vision but I couldn’t say Eva until later on in the journey. Yeah and that’s really what you’ve done. That’s the whole point. That’s why you will be successful because you’ve you’ve done this in a sort of a different way in your life when you look back to sort of the Philadelphia kid and you riding around on your BMX and all that kind of stuff. Well you just sort of wanting to be the classic sports kid was. If you look back and now we all going to send you back in time soon on the Sermon on the mike. No I was a show off though. I think I think I was you know a performer of some sort and the PA is I keep is that makes my colonial who he is to play better racquetball with an audience. Yes. Every single time. Yeah I think so. I think there’s that’s there that’s in there. It’s in the DNA for sure. I don’t use that a lot but it’s in the DNA. I work better in a performance environment which is presumably why I kind of screw myself on the show intentionally. I don’t I I prepare in a way where I I’ve researched my guest as you have. You know you know and you certainly listen to the show but at times you know a little bit about me and you’re able to then naturally structure questions that that dovetail into my history and that’s what a good interviewer does. I don’t write a lot of questions out sometimes intentionally and that’s because I there’s something about the performance side. I realize now that I’m I’m doing this the shows this this month I’ve got over 300000 downloads for the first time and this is a and I realize so there’s people listening and I have to perform. You know what I like it. It makes me it UPS my game. I’m live on the show. And I think I do that to myself on purpose because because I work better in that environment a lot maybe underpressure a little. Well we’re very similar. It’s fascinating. I feel like I’m finding out the real Marcantonio here. Where is the person behind the that the presenter. Because I am somebody who has spent my life doing training courses and presentations and that’s my job. I’ve never done this kind of thing. It was totally BA and I’m somebody very much likes to be on their own likes no one near them. And then when I suddenly go ping. That’s it. It’s performance time. And I don’t know if it’s showing off or trying to create a different persona for myself because that’s kind of not naturally me. But I do have the ability to raise my game and present a different side to myself if you know me deep down you would say to me different people that the people who know me from seeing where I allow them to see me they would say yeah you it’s like I’m on the mike as you are when you normally doing those things because I’m letting them see what they want to see. Yeah. Yeah I mean I think there’s there’s an element of that and again I want people to understand this is why we and we talked earlier about sort of what John brought to the table. And I’m you know people look at my show and say it’s it’s been it’s it’s been pretty successful in the first 11 months just overall debt is not that’s not a fluke because I didn’t just start in August of 2013 with kind of media. You know I’ve been a professional drummer my whole life. I’ve performed I’ve been on I’ve been a racer I’ve been you know a competitive racquetball player for for many many tournaments for many many years now and before that it was tennis. So I’ve always been performing in some way or the other. I I coached for five years on teaching people social media in front of huge audiences. I’ve played Red Rocks in front of 10000 people like me being on a microphone and being natural at it is not something that happened overnight. It’s a it’s this is something that you walked in with. You’ve been training for years before you turned a mike on yourself. So it’s kind of like Yeah right yeah. You were new to podcasting but not nuda trying to translate a concept from one person to an audience like that’s something you’ve been doing for a long time. So so that’s I think that it’s a bit of a misnomer within our industry that yeah anybody can you know podcast or anybody can start blah blah blah. That’s kind of cool I get it. Yes technically you can turn on an app you can go to boss jock on your iPhone and upload it to clips and you’ve got a podcast but can you do it. Well can you do it so that when someone switches from morning radio or Howard Stern or the BBC to your podcast that they don’t notice a huge drop off in quality or you know sound quality interview quality production quality that’s that’s what I try to bring the table and I think you do the same thing. So is that what you’re saying really and I’m going to play the words of Steve Jobs because he says it very well as well but no experience is wasted. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in your life you will pull elements and you extract what you need to create your new path. Out 100 percent. Absolutely yes. Everything you’ve done up until this point is does training for you for this next phase. When I have people on their show and we have these episodes called Find your swing I want to find out everything that person has done because it find your swing is like well what do I do. Like what am I naturally gifted at how can I make money off of something that I really enjoy that I’m passionate about that’s what finding your swing is. And it’s I want to find out like what you did when you were a kid. Were you an athlete did you or you or you a professional knitter you like to knit hats. You know like what is it what do you do. And when people can start accessing those things that they’ve done their whole lives they’re really gifted and I like to find ways that we can use those talents in whatever their next business endeavor is. We call about connecting our past to build our future and here. And one of the names as come out is if you really want to know your passion really want to know what you’re naturally good at. Don’t think about what you were doing in adult life because very much you would have been taking a responsibility for a wage or whatever. Look at what you was doing as a kid when you weren’t being paid for it. And if you was a drama when you was a kid and you loved doing it then try and look at something that would do that. And he says that exactly the same way as you do it and you’ll find your swing episodes. That’s right. And I and I love those. Again that’s another instance where we totally put ourselves on the spot. I have a co-host. Her name is Dawn Mars. For those episodes and we never read the questions first. Like I only you know sometimes I glance at them to see just a copy and paste them into my Evernote when we’re doing the show. But we were reading them and answering them live and which again has another element of pressure that we’ve got to come up with an answer and these people are literally like I’ve had people that have taken what we’ve said on the show. They’ve made a business from it like the next day they’ve gone and done it. So it’s it can be a little daunting. And I was going to ask you earlier you know your show’s growing now and this this will be big your show will have a huge audience at some point and I’ve asked this with other people that are in the space. Have you yet felt this sense of responsibility that comes with that the fact that you’re speaking into a microphone and someone’s actually listening to what you’re saying. Yeah. With power comes great responsibility. And it’s funny the very first show I released I got two e-mails and they were from people I’d never met and they were saying thank you so much for putting the show out there and I thought oh my God. And from that moment of being very aware of what I’m saying or being very aware of I don’t know where my words are landing. And of also having a conversation with my wife this afternoon saying if this really takes on. Just as I want it to really take on I’m a little bit scared but I haven’t got the value to provide the audience but I won’t and I don’t know why that is because you know success is everything you want. But I suddenly felt a pressure because I can see the downloads increasing increasing increasing. I can see the work coming towards me and I’m doing this seven days old on my own. There’s not one person that helps me and I’m also balancing other responsibilities as well. So this isn’t my only so restrained I suddenly freaked this afternoon for the exact reason that you said oh my god this is power this is responsibility. I’ve got to be careful with it. Yeah. Have you also found it. I agree. I felt that in some I haven’t had yet. Hey buddy come back to me I’m like you ruin my life but I’ll show it. That’s going to have to happen right. Someone will listen to something you’ve said or I’ve said and they’re going to do it and it’s not going to work for them and we won’t have the details but they’re going to say I listened to you when you were in my life. That’s going to happen. There’s no way it that doesn’t happen. When you’re when you grow this thing to where it can go there’s no way that doesn’t happen. Well think shows a slightly different note because you teach nuts and bolts. I think with my show I talk about hope and I told you why leap of both. Yeah I really think I teach nuts and bolts because that’s that’s I feel like there’s a lot of shows that do that specifically. And I I feel like I teach more of the journey and then the nuts and bolts sort of fall from there. Well I think that’s the same thing. I think what you do you you talk about the journey you get the cogs working in your own brain and brain when you throw out the nuts and bolts which you probably don’t think have got value as such. You’re already using those cokes and you’re thinking yeah I can use that yeah I can tell you that that’s exactly what happened with me. You know I couldn’t see how to do this because I’ve never done this. But just by you having conversations with people you take the element and you take the element and you take that element and what do you do. He’s been up to you as an individual to put it together. Yeah I actually find myself pretty. I can be very socially awkward at the beginning and I sometimes I’ve actually accessed my I’ve switched into interview mode when I’m meeting someone in real life. I just watch on Mike I like my mentally switch on a podcast microphone in front of me and I found it so much easier to have conversations with people that way. So that’s kind of interesting to me is bizarre. I’m getting ready to play Steve Jobs now because I’m fascinated to see your spin on this. And this is the fulcrum of the whole show so this is a job. Don’t be free to do that of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward. When I was in college but it was very very clear looking backwards. Ten years later again you can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something your gut destiny life karma whatever because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path. And that will make all the difference. When I’m going to ask a different question because I think you’ve answered it already but you will say yes you believe in it. But why do you think so many people don’t believe in that. I think that’s a lot. Most people get hung up on the how of something for example I think that we we pick a point be right we pick a point B that’s there’s the dot so I’ve got this I want to I want to do I want to have this show. And to get this show together I need this this this this this this this and we get stuck in the details of the this this this this this instead of. All right I’m going to sort of flow through this. All I want to do is get to that thing. I’m not sure how I’m going to get there yet but I’m going to I don’t really know. And by the time you get there and you look back and go wow that is not the path that all that I was going to take. My favorite metaphor. Or maybe it’s an analogy I forget but for this is if you and I were sitting at a cafe and I there was you know a three story building across the street and I said David there’s a hundred thousand pounds sitting in a bag on the roof of that building across the street. You have 15 minutes to get it. How fast would you be out the door to go get that money. I’d be on the right run the window right but you wouldn’t know how you were going to get it. You had no idea how to get to the roof of that building. You just knew you were getting to the roof. You don’t know if you’re going to you know helicopter down you know if you’re going to call the fire department to take you up there or you know scale like Spiderman but you’re getting to the roof of that building somehow. And I think what successful entrepreneurs do is they just keep their eye on that that you know that bag the bag that’s on the roof. They’re not quite as concerned about the how part. And we very much get concerned about the how part. And the second piece of that is when someone gives you an opportunity I just said this a little earlier when someone gives you an opportunity. Our instinctive reaction is to say no because of this this and this versus just instinctive to say yes and I’m going to figure out how to work out this this and this and that is a huge mental shift even though it’s very subtle. It’s just yes and no. But if you’ll find that people in your world that are really successful or really look like they’re just having a great time. They’re the ones that say yes first and then figure out how it’s going to work after and most of the people that are stuck and they don’t get from that one dot to the next dot. Those are the ones that say no because you know I I can’t live in San Diego because I have kids in school or because I can’t afford the move or because whatever we can come up with 15 different ways. But in reality all that stuff can be worked out. So I think that’s how I would respond to that and I hope that helps someone. So what scares you this is probably my final question before I send you on the mike and you can have a one on one with your younger self. As you all know and you’ve got these rocking and rolling show everything’s going well you’ve just bought these the watch you’ve finished off the last five years and everything’s good and you’ve got a lovely new girlfriend. What scares you. Well when you look at what you need to achieve. What scares me. I have to say I look at the bank being intimidated or being excited. I sort of treat the same way. So I don’t get super excited about everything and I don’t get scared about everything. I gosh I mean I don’t I I can honestly say I don’t have that for the same reason when someone said you know when I was so literally I was scraping up change so I could take in an airport shuttle for a ticket that was paid for by somebody else to go speak in front of 3000 people and that in which I was going to make $5000 or whatever that weekend. A few years ago I I literally had to scrape $8 up so I could take the shuttle like in change so I could take the shuttle to get to the airport that I had. I had $18 in my bank account at the time. And so it wasn’t enough to get the cash out of the machine. So I wasn’t worried about it. I’ve never been worried about stuff like that and I didn’t even know what success was going to look like for me. But I had a feeling that I was destined for it. And that’s the only way I can say is that it was it was very innate and I didn’t know where it was going to come from but I was very patient about it. Now I was also very patient about about you know I knew I was going to meet a great woman at some point and I was able to reach you know like you said read about a year ago but but recently. So I think that I have that that vibe that that it’s the same reason I don’t plan a lot. I just don’t. I’m living very much in the moment as I go day by day. And for better or for worse I don’t plan as much as I probably could or should. But right now I’m not really you know scared about anything. I mean I could say you know the show doesn’t grow at all. But even if it doesn’t I’m live in a great life right now. So I guess I’m not even that scared of that. OK last question before we send you back this time. Is it easier to move forward when you’ve hit rock bottom and you really did hit rock bottom. Yes it is. It’s easier for me to keep perspective on it. I just last weekend went to I went to Napa Valley with my girlfriend’s family and it was a very first class trip like from private private jet from San Diego to Napa Valley which I’ve never done before my life and everything was super exclusive super like Michelin star first class and I was like man I don’t want to be here like this. No I don’t mean like I didn’t want to be at the weekend. I just I don’t want to live in that universe of that sort of high end world. And that’s it. I I remember looking longingly at a train that goes through Napa Valley and it stops at all these different wineries and I’m kind of like Man I wish I would’ve just taken the train and gotten kind of drunk at the third winery and kept going and that would’ve been a really fun day. Instead it was like this you know 12 people serving our table kind of thing and it just wasn’t me. But my my Philly boy sort of like Kragen pragmatist personality carried me through that whole weekend thinking yeah I would be fine with stopping at a fast food place now and going to another winery. We don’t have to go to a hundred dollar plate dinner you know. And so I think if anything it’s given me perspective and there’s one more piece of perspective that in my very very lowest time and it was very low. And I thank you for not like making me go through that again like 40000 other shows have but I had a I remember the current hurricane Katrina had hit the southern United States and it just decimated New Orleans. And this was literally at my lowest time. And I remember looking on the news and seeing like a little 9 year old little black kid who everybody in his family died. Right. And he lost everything like lost every piece of memory he ever had including all of his family members. And he’s this kid who doesn’t have much of an education. He’s a minority. He doesn’t have a lot of opportunity that are coming coming to him and I remember thinking all right no matter what happens I’m a white male with a skill set in United States and that’s not and that’s not to be racially insensitive I’m looking. That was a practical. OK. So no matter what my situation is I can’t complain like I’m starting with these four advantages that a lot of people all over the world don’t have. I will be given opportunities that a lot of people don’t have and that really kept me grounded like that there was this you know that some people had to struggle to get to what I had innately by birth that I had nothing to do with. So that really kept me grounded and it still keeps me grounded to this day is that I always realize that there’s people out there that do not have the same opportunities that I knew the answer. Mike are we going to put you on the Sermon on the mike now. This is when we send you back in time lost a young Marty McFly to have a one on one with yourself and if you could go back in time. What age would you choose and what advice would you say. So I’m going to play the music and when he gets out you’re up. This is the Sermon on the mike. Here. We go with the speed of this. This man. Who. I think that first of all very handsome very very talented man couldn’t congratulate now. If you could work on harnessing that Philly attitude a little bit just over the next few years if you could take the edge off of that. Not everybody is out to get you and focus on building some relationships that you will sustain forever without having that kind of you know screw you Gene. Not Eugene. I don’t know anybody named Eugene. I’m not trying to signal that that will serve you in the future. Yeah. So to some or to to to bring that and I know that was very short but to bring that in I feel like over the last few years I’ve been able to take this. There was a bit of filea attitude like where if someone slighted me in any way that was it they were erased like done. And there was no real going back. It was partially like it was a Scorpio in me that that that’s sort of like had that stinger. And I you know it’s it’s the it’s the patience I have now which is maybe a little bit of it’s I wouldn’t say less judgment because I think judgment makes for good comedy. But but it’s just maybe being a little more empathetic to people’s situations and realizing that that people aren’t always in control of their actions and sometimes they’re going through a learning process as well. And to just instantly give them the guillotine and out of one’s life is not the most productive way to go through things. I don’t do that anymore but I did it for a number of years and I think it was just a reaction to losing my parents and it being so so much. OK Wolf I’m going to lose this anyway I might as well just cut it right off. And I think that didn’t that didn’t serve me for a long time. So I’d fix that. Michael how can our listeners connect with you sir. Well you know this. Oh I know you say you say in an American Xon is better I would say the same thing if you were speaking in a British accent. By the way you going to come on my show some time. I would love to come on your show it oh no great. And Howard Jones I want him to go. Has he been on your show yet. No he isn’t knocking me back. He said he would and not me but I’ve called a few of them that sign up for it. And then you just come down and that’s a drag. Anyway the show is called the Solar Perner hour. The Web site because no one can spell pre-New or is solo our dotcom. And if you’d like some coaching give a coaching program yet. I’ve only been focused on building you audience. That’s good. Well so if anybody needs coaching including you my friend I can’t believe you’re not in solo lab. I want solo lab dotcom and we’d love to have you in our really cool community. Mancow thank you so much for spending time with us tonight joining up those dots on the 100th episode and it’s quite the world’s longest episode of ever done as well. Please come listen. Is. Yeah we were about seven minutes past what we normally do. So come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting up pasts is the best way to build a future. Mr. Michael O’Neill thank you so much. And thank you.

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  • T4B042: Thermomix Hot Cross Buns

    · The 4 Blades Podcast

    In Episode 42, we bring you four varieties of Thermomix Hot Cross Buns! Click on the play button at the top or download this in iTunes or on Stitcher Radio (and do not forget to leave a review - it really makes our day!) Here are the recipes we chose this week: Recipe 1 - Chookie’s Hot Cross Buns (from Forum Thermomix) This is an adaptation of the recipe available in the EDC with 'minor but significant' changes. It uses sultanas, cranberries and citrus peel. It smelt (and tasted!) divine. This recipe also includes a good mixture for the 'cross' part of the Hot Cross Buns. Oh, and here's what numbers you are missing out on by making from home...   Recipe 2 - Maddy’s Chocolate Hot Cross Buns (from Forum Thermomix) If you are looking for a variation of the traditional buns, why not try choc-chip Thermomix hot cross buns? Note: where the recipe says '6 seconds, speed 1' it is meant to read 'speed 7'. Joe isn't much of a chocolate fan, but actually really liked these when he got a bit without choc chips in it. Next time, he might try with just the choc dough, because he loved that! Lots of positive feedback about these ones. Recipe 3 - Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns (from Quirky Cooking) Please excuse this 'not so great' photo! This recipe is one of Bec's all time favourite Quirky Cooking recipes. Wait. Stop. Rethink. This recipe is one of Bec's all time favourite recipes. Last Easter it got made 3 times. It got even BETTER for this year because Bec added some citrus peel as well (20g citrus peel, reduced currants to 80g)... When Quirky Jo announced that she had created a NEW recipe (see below), we couldn't understand WHY... but we suppose that the downside of this recipe is the need for the fine rice flour which tends to be better from the supermarket, and using the gums. Note: we didn't have guar gum last year and it was fine. We just replaced with a bit of extra xanthan gum. Anyway, these are sensational and will make any gluten-free palate sing this Easter. Recipe 4 - Gluten Free & Dairy Free Hot Cross Buns (from Quirky Cooking) YUM. That is all. Seriously though, just when we thought Jo wouldn't be able to make a better GF Hot Cross Bun... she does. We accidentally put the glaze on BEFORE it went into the oven... but it worked out well because the papers didn't come off particularly easily. These have a beautiful flavour, and the recipe worked perfectly. From this... To this... Feedback on the Podcast If you have any suggestions for upcoming shows or a question for an upcoming episode, we’d love you to leave a Comment below. If you enjoyed this podcast, we’d be extremely grateful if you would take a second and leave us a review and rating over on iTunes.  Once on that page, simply click on the “View in iTunes” button to leave your review — thanks very much! The post T4B042: Thermomix Hot Cross Buns appeared first on The 4 Blades.

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  • BTP14: How to Nail the Celtic Cross Every Time

    · 00:25:55 · The Biddy Tarot Podcast: Tarot | Intuition | Empowerment

    It might be the most popular Tarot spread, but the Celtic Cross is also one of the most difficult spreads to master. Many Tarot beginners find themselves reading the Celtic Cross card-by-card, rather than discovering the meaningful connections between the Tarot cards. And many Tarot readers get overwhelmed by the sheer number of, losing sight of the bigger picture and the deeper message contained within a Celtic Cross Tarot reading. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Once you know how and when to use this powerful Tarot spread, the Celtic Cross begins to come ‘alive’. You reveal the rich tapestry of insight that is woven into this popular spread. And you uncover the deeper truths about the challenges and issues you may be facing. In this Biddy Tarot Podcast episode, I’ll show you how to nail the Celtic Cross every time. Here's what I cover: When NOT to use the Celtic Cross The essentials of each position of the Celtic Cross The deeper connections and pairings within this 10-card spread How to use the Celtic Cross for personal exploration and insight How to simplify this often complicated Tarot spread Plus, make sure you download the free PDF cheatsheet to guide you through the Celtic Cross Tarot Spread - www.biddytarot.com/14 Let's do it…

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  • The Old Rugged Cross

    · 00:03:05 · Free Bluegrass Gospel Hymns and Songs

    Our Bluegrass Gospel Version of the classic hymn-The Old Rugged Cross - Dobro, Guitars, Fiddle, Bass, Banjo, and Piano, written in 1913. Come and check out our YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/ShilohWorshipGroup. On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,The emblem of suffering and shame;And I love that old cross where the dearest and bestFor a world of lost sinners was slain.RefrainSo I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,Till my trophies at last I lay down;I will cling to the old rugged cross,And exchange it some day for a crown.O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,Has a wondrous attraction for me;For the dear Lamb of God left His glory aboveTo bear it to dark Calvary.RefrainIn that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,A wondrous beauty I see,For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,To pardon and sanctify me.RefrainTo the old rugged cross I will ever be true;Its shame and reproach gladly bear;Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,Where His glory forever I’ll share.© 2013 Shiloh Worship Music COPY FREELY;This Music is copyrighted to prevent misuse, however,permission is granted for non-commercial copying-Radio play permitted- www.shilohworshipmusic.com

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  • Why We Need to Change the Way We Train Leaders

    · On Leading Change

    David Smith had to study for his civil engineering midterm exam, but it was the night of the U.S. presidential election and the vote was too close to call. David stayed up into the wee hours of the morning following the news. Needless to say, he didn’t do well on his midterm the following day. When his engineering professor was asked why the midterm was scheduled the day after such an important political event, the professor blithely told David that “we train the best engineers here” and if David wanted to be involved in politics, he should go to the other side of campus. This exchange got David thinking about how he wanted to make an impact in the world. Did he want to build amazing bridges and physical structures, or build bridges that connected people? David ended up majoring in political science and co-founding a youth civic engagement network while still an undergraduate student, which he then ran for another four years. His journey as a civic mobilizer, strategist and leader has informed a lot of his thinking about leadership and what it takes to build a diverse and engaged community. The need for “cross-sector leadership” Today, David is the managing director at the Presidio Institute, where he is passionate about “cross-sector leadership” – the idea that to solve today’s complex problems we really need to be able to bring leaders in different sectors together – business, nonprofit, government, academia, faith-based institutions, and more. However, getting such diverse groups of people working together productively is difficult. David observes that “people are better at pointing fingers at each other, than pointing fingers at the challenge”. For example, government might complain about businesses being overly profit-driven at the expense of community or other ethical considerations, while businesses might complain about over-regulation by the government. [...] A second shift, is more fundamental, the willingness of a leader to be challenged and perhaps change themselves. This takes great self-awareness, an openness to listening to people unlike yourself and a willingness to find ways to come together. As David notes: “One person’s truth is not necessarily right over anyone else’s, but collectively you can actually find what it means to be a member of that community. There is a lot of grey and only understanding how you enter into that type of a conversation in a posture of learning, and in a posture of contributing, and in a posture of joint ownership and collaboration…that’s ultimately where you’re going to be able to achieve change. That happens in a fellowship, that happens in a community, that is what civic health is about.” You can listen to my full conversation with David Smith where we discuss: David’s journey as a mobilizer, his explanation of the factors that contribute to civic health and his observations around why civic health in the United States has declined in the last three decades David’s views on “cross-sector leadership” and how the Presidio Institute trains such leaders Tips on how to begin to think and practice “cross-sector leadership” in your own community The Presidio Institute offers a full range of cross-sector leadership training opportunities – both in person and online. Their online platform Leaderosity offers paid courses that include instructor facilitation and coaching (different from +Acumen’s free online courses). +Acumen also offers a suite of leadership courses that touch on aspects described above – Adaptive Leadership, Persuadable Leadership and Seth Godin’s Leadership Workshop.

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  • Stephan Jung | Experte für Zukunft, Handel, Innenstadt und Innovation

    · 00:49:44 · PERSONAL BRANDING | Entfalte das Potenzial deiner Persönlichkeit als Marke in Zeiten der Digitalisierung

    Kurzportrait von Stephan Jung Stephan Jung gilt als exzellenter Kenner des Handels in Deutschland, Europa und der Welt. Er ist DER Vordenker, wenn es um die Zukunftstrends rund um Innovation, Stadt, Konsument und Handel geht. Stephan hat die Entwicklungen von Red Bull, Facebook, Google und den Untergang bekannter Handelsformate vorausgesagt. Seine Analysen sind unbequem, aufregend und anregend zugleich. Er zeigt Unternehmenslenkern schonungslos auf, was sie dringend tun müssen und verstehst sich dabei als Speaker, der wie ein Sparringspartner Wahrheiten aufzeigt und seine Zuhörer aus der Comfortzone herausholt. Sein Lebens- und Karriereweg ist geprägt von unstillbarer Neugier und enormer Begeisterungsfähigkeit. Die Vita von Stephan Jung kurz zusammenzufassen: Klassensprecher, humanistisches Gymnasium, Schulsprecher, Ehrenmedaille der Bundeswehr, Studium der Rechtswissenschaft, private Ausbildung zum Sprecher und Sänger, Moderator beim Rundfunk, zahlreiche TV Auftritte als Sänger, Vorstandsvorsitzender des German Council of Shopping Center, Beirat Deutsche Messe AG, Fachbeirat der International Real Estate Business School, Mentoring Programm Hermann Scherer, Mitglied des Brain Reserve Pool von Faith Popcorn New York und Herausgeber von ACROSS The european real estate magazine. Die 7 Innovationsstrategien Inszenierung Die neue Interpretation des Marktplatzes Omnichannel Cross Innovation Storytelling Kunden zu Freunden machen Überraschen - Spielen - Verführen Kontaktdaten Website www.stephan-jung.com Website www.eisberg-positioning.de Profil bei LinkedIn Profil bei Xing Buchempfehlung Silicon Valley (Christoph Keese) - E-Book - Hörbuch - Buch bei Amazon Shoe Dog (Phil Knight) - E-Book - Hörbuch - Buch bei Amazon Tools & Mobile Apps Any.do - Aufgabenliste, Tägliche Erinnerungen WhatsApp - Messenger Google — die offizielle Suche-App   Podcast in Textform Norman Glaser: Hallo und herzlich willkommen! Schön, dass du wieder dabei bist. Hier ist Norman von MARKENKONSTRUKT.FM. Mein Interviewgast heute ist Stephan Jung. Stephan, vielen, vielen Dank, dass du dir heute Zeit für dieses Inerview genommen hast. Bist du ready und hast du Bock auf diesen Talk? #00:00:36-4# Stephan Jung: Ich bin startklar. Ich freue mich wahnsinnig. Vielen Dank für die Einladung und ich bin startklar. #00:00:43-1# Norman Glaser: Lass mich ganz kurz ein paar Worte über dich verlieren, bevor du vielleicht auch noch ein bisschen was zu deiner Person sagst. Ich habe natürlich im Internet recherchiert. Habe mich total gefreut auf den Termin. Denn Stephan, du giltst als exzellenter Kenner des Handels in Deutschland, Europa und der Welt und bist der Vordenker, wenn es um Zukunftstrends rund um Innovation, Stadt, Konsument und Handel geht. Du hast zielsicher die Entwicklung von Red Bull, Facebook, Google und den Untergang bekannter Handelsformate vorausgesagt. Deine Analysen sind unbequem, aufregend und anregend zugleich. Du zeigst Unternehmenslenkern schonungslos auf, was sie dringend tun müssen und verstehst dich dabei als Speaker, der wie ein Sparringspartner Wahrheiten aufzeigt und seine Zuhörer aus der Komfortzone herausholt. Dein Lebens- und Karriereweg ist geprägt von unstillbarer Neugier und enormer Begeisterungsfähigkeit. Was mich persönlich besonders freut, um deine Vita kurz zusammenzufassen, Klassensprecher humanistisches Gymnasium, Schulsprecher, Ehrenmedaille der Bundeswehr, Studium der Rechtswissenschaft, private Ausbildung zum Sprecher und Sänger, Moderator beim Rundfunk, zahlreiche TV-Auftritte als Sänger, Vorstandsvorsitzender des German Council of Shopping Center, Beirat Deutsche Messe AG, Fachbeirat der Internation Real Estate Business School, Mentoring Programm Hermann Scheerer, Mitglied des BrainReserve Pool von Faith Popcorn New York und Herausgeber von Across the European Real Estate Magazine. Stephan, Wahnsinn, was ich im Internet alles über dich gefunden habe, unglaublich. Und wie gesagt, schön, dass du heute Zeit genommen hast für dieses Interview. Ich freue mich wirklich sehr. #00:02:29-4# Stephan Jung: Ja klasse, vielen Dank für die Zusammenfassung. Da kann man fast nichts mehr ergänzen. #00:02:34-1# Norman Glaser: (lacht) Ja vielleicht kannst du trotzdem noch ein bisschen was über dich als Privatperson sagen. Ich verfolge dich ja ganz aufgeregt immer bei Facebook, wo du gerade überall unterwegs bist und wie du oder was du so über dich berichtest. Und vielleicht neben dir als Privatperson auch so ein bisschen, was machst du geschäftlich, womit verdienst du dein Geld? #00:02:53-9# Stephan Jung: Gerne. Also als Privatperson würde ich mich mal so skizzieren. Ich bin neugierig, ich bin optimistisch, ich bin ungeduldig, (unv.) #00:03:05-8# spontan, zuverlässig und ja Eintönigkeit wäre jetzt nicht mein Ding. Deswegen, wenn du in Facebook siehst, ich bin für drei Tage in New York und für zwei Tage dann wieder ganz woanders und wieder zurück in Europa, dann ist das etwas, was viele Freunde immer sagen, mein Gott wie hältst du das aus und ich sage, wow! das ist toll, das macht wahnsinnig Spaß. Und ich sehe dabei natürlich ganz, ganz viele Dinge. Ich bin auch ein ganz visueller Mensch, also ich muss Dinge einfach auch sehen #00:03:42-3# Norman Glaser: Mhm (bejahend). #00:03:42-4# Stephan Jung: Und das führt dann im Prinzip auch zu meinem Job, zu meinem Beruf, zu meiner Berufung, denn mich interessiert, was kommt als Nächstes, was sucht der Mensch, was sind die neuesten Trends und deswegen beschäftige ich mich ja auch hingehend, eingehend mit dem Thema Innovation.  #00:04:02-0# Norman Glaser: Ja. Ja. Stelle dir mal vor, du bist auf einer Speed Network Party und müsstest wirklich in wenigen Sätzen erzählen, was du beruflich machst. Wie würdest du das in ein, zwei Sätzen zusammenfassen? #00:04:16-0# Stephan Jung: Das ist jetzt der berühmte 30 Sekunden Elevator Pitch #00:04:20-6# Norman Glaser: Ja genau (lacht) ja. #00:04:22-2# Stephan Jung: Um den jeder weiß, aber auf den man doch nie vorbereitet ist. Okay, ich versuche es mal. Ich bin Gründer und CEO von Eisberg Positioning, das ist eine Strategieberatungs-Boutique für Einzelhandel, Shoppingcenter, Gastro, Hotel und uns treibt an, was sind die Consumer Trends, wie können Unternehmen sich zukunftssicher aufstellen, wie können sie ihr Business weiterentwickeln und wo geht der Trend hin. Das Ganze machen wir mit einem kleinen schlagkräftigen Team, was sich sehr international zusammensetzt. #00:04:57-4# Norman Glaser: Mhm (bejahend). Da gleich eine Zwischenfrage. Wie scoutest du diese Trends, wie entdeckst du das? Also wie bist du so weit vorne dran, dass du da wirklich diese Trends identifizierst und das überhaupt wahrnehmen kannst in diesem ganzen Medienwahnsinn, in diesen ganzen Informationsfluten? #00:05:17-5# Stephan Jung: Ja stimmt. Also es geht ja eher darum, Dinge zu filtern als sie zu finden. Also ich lese natürlich ganz viel, aber ich reise auch ganz viel. Also ich war jetzt gerade in den USA unterwegs, war bei einer Konferenz in Las Vegas, wo ich auch ein kurzes TV Interview hatte. ABER ich habe mir dann zum Beispiel auch vorgenommen, vor kurzem hat der größte und teuerste und angeblich beste Club der Welt eröffnet. Für 107 Millionen Dollar umgebaut und auch wenn das überhaupt nicht mein Geschäftsfeld ist, habe ich gesagt, ich muss mir das angucken, ich muss das verstehen, weil ich bin ein Riesenfan von Cross Innovation. #00:06:00-0# Norman Glaser: Mhm (bejahend). #00:06:00-5# Stephan Jung: In meiner Branche kenne ich schon ziemlich viel und so geht es den meisten Menschen auch. Spannend wird es, wenn man mal seinen eigenen bequemen Bereich, die sogenannte Komfortzone verlässt und sich in benachbarten Branchen umguckt und ich finde da kann man so viel lernen und Cross Innovation ist auch immer wieder ein Thema meiner Keynote Vorträge und ich fordere Unternehmen immer auf mal rauszugehen und mit ganz anderen Branchen zu sprechen, mal eine Messe zu besuchen, wo es nicht um ihr Kerngebiet geht. Da passieren dann die spannenden Dinge. #00:06:37-3# Norman Glaser: Ja. kannst du vielleicht noch in kurzen Sätzen erklären, was du unter Cross Innovation verstehst? #00:06:41-7# Stephan Jung: Unter Cross Innovation verstehe ich, dass sich Branchen miteinander vernetzen, die auf den ersten Blick nicht ganz so viel miteinander zu tun haben. Aber auf dem zweiten Blick entstehen da spannende Dinge. Für mich ist so ein Cross Innovation Produkt zum Beispiel der Fiat 500 Gucci. Also Autofirma und ein na sagen wir mal Taschendesigner und Modedesigner tun sich zusammen und was kommt dabei heraus? Ein Sondermodell, was sich verkauft wie wahnsinnig, weil es ist gar kein Auto, sondern es ist Lifestyle, #00:07:16-5# Norman Glaser: Lifestyle. #00:07:17-0# Stephan Jung: Es ist eine fahrende Handtasche mit exzellenten Ledersitzen aus italienischem Leder, was einfach Spaß macht. Und da gibt es viele Beispiele. Nike und Apple‎ haben vor einiger Zeit mal einen Chip entwickelt für Jogger. 18 Millionen Menschen auf der Welt nutzen diesen Chip. Der Spülmaschinentabs, den die meisten von uns jeden Tag verwenden, ist durch die Cross Innovation entstanden, weil die Forscher von Henkel geschaut haben, wie wird Toffifee gemacht. Die haben in der Tag sich die Schokoladenmaschine von Storck aus Berlin ausgeliehen, damit Toffifees hergestellt werden und haben gesagt, verdammt nochmal, wir müssen es doch auch schaffen, drei oder vier Komponenten in einen Tabs zu bekommen, wir lernen das von Toffifee. Das ist für mich so ein Musterbeispiel, #00:08:13-0# Norman Glaser: Sehr schönes Beispiel. #00:08:13-9# Stephan Jung: es (unv.) #00:08:13-8# aus dem eigenen Labor ganz woanders hingehen und inspiriert zurückkommen. #00:08:19-6# Norman Glaser: Ja. Was braucht man dafür, weil das ist ja, also über diesen Tellerrand hinausschauen ist ja oft die Problematik im Alltagstrott, im Daily Business. Wie schafft man es so einen Lab zu initiieren, aufzubauen, dass sowas ermöglicht wird? #00:08:38-2# Stephan Jung: Das ist eine gute Frage. Ich habe keine Standardantwort dafür. Ich glaube, grundsätzlich müssen wir Deutschen lernen experimentierfreudiger zu werden. Wenn du einen Lab machst, dann muss man auch von vornherein den Fehler oder das Scheitern mit einplanen. Das gehört zum Prozess dazu. Edison hat auch 10.000 Versuche gemacht bis die Glühbirne fertig war und wenn ich 20 Dinge ausprobiere und 17 scheitern, dann ist das kein Versagen, sondern dann habe ich 3 tolle Dinge entwickelt. Also dieses Labor, dieses Ausprobieren, dieses Neugierigsein, ich glaube, da müssen wir noch eine andere Kultur entwickeln. Die ist sicherlich im Silicon Valley anders als bei dir im Odenwald oder bei mir in Hamburg. #00:09:34-7# Norman Glaser: Ja. Welchen Einfluss hat das Zeitalter der Digitalisierung auf die Entwicklung von Innovationen und Trends für dich? #00:09:49-6# Stephan Jung: Ja das ist wahnsinnig groß. Also ich beschäftige mich ja sehr, sehr stark mit dem Einzelhandel und dann bin ich natürlich sofort beim Konsumenten, beim Menschen. Und der durchschnittliche Bürger in Europa nimmt in der Woche sein Smartphone 1.500 Mal in die Hand. Das heißt die Frage, ist der Mensch digital, die muss man sich nicht mehr stellen. Er ist es schon längst. Aber viele Dienstleister, viele Einzelhändler, viele Unternehmen sind es noch gar nicht. Also wir haben da noch einen ganz weiten Weg vor uns und wenn ich so Unternehmens- und CEO-Befragungen lese, wie jetzt gerade, wo das Ergebnis ist, dass 6 Prozent der Führungskräfte das Thema Digitalisierung als große Priorität für sich erkannt haben, dann muss ich sagen, Glückwunsch, weitermachen, an die 6 Prozent. Aber was bitte machen die anderen 94 Prozent? Das #00:10:52-2# Norman Glaser: Untergehen. #00:10:52-5# Stephan Jung: Macht mich unruhig, das macht (unv.) #00:10:54-5# nervös und sehe dann, ich sehe dann immer schon, wo der nächste aus seinem Stillstand in den schleichenden Tod geht und das Unternehmen untergeht. Stillstand ist heute nicht mehr möglich. Bewegung, Bewegung, Bewegung. #00:11:12-2# Norman Glaser: Ja. Und vor allem in einer hohen Geschwindigkeit, wie wir es ja jetzt im Grunde in den letzten Jahren ja erleben. #00:11:17-0# Stephan Jung: Das Tempo nimmt zu und es wird nicht weniger und der berühmte Satz "Change is the new normal", das ist eben so. Das heißt auch lebenslanges Lernen, das heißt wir sind nie fertig. #00:11:35-0# Norman Glaser: Ja. Wenn wir jetzt über diese 6 Prozent sprechen, wie sieht denn für dich so ein Szenario aus, wo werden wir denn in 5 oder 10 Jahren sein? Gerade im Handel. #00:11:44-4# Stephan Jung: Na da werden wir dort sein, dass die Anbieter gut funktionieren, die das Thema Omnichannel verstanden haben, die das Thema Barrierefreiheit verstanden haben und ich war gerade in den USA und habe gerade neueste Zahlen auch mitgebracht von Walmart. Walmart sagt, unser Durchschnittskunde, der in den Laden kommt, der gibt im Jahr 1.400 Dollar aus. Unser Durchschnittskunde, der nur online kauft, der gibt 200 aus. Aber was gibt der Kunde aus, der in beiden Welten zuhause ist? Der gibt eben nicht 1.400 plus 200 aus. Das wären 1.600, sondern der, der alle Kanäle nutzt, der gibt 2.500 aus. So. Und das ist eben 1 plus 1 ist 3. Und das hat der Handel an vielen Stellen noch nicht verstanden, was es für ihn bedeutet. Wenn ich also nicht in dieser digitalen Welt stattfinde, dann wird mir jedes Jahr ein bisschen was weggenommen und ich muss dort sein. Das heißt nicht automatisch, dass ich einen Mega-Onlineshop haben muss, aber ich muss den Kunden überall antreffen, weil der Kunde ist omnipräsent, das heißt ich muss auch omnichannel-fähig sein und ich darf dann aber auch nicht, wenn ich das bin, sagen, ja das Angebot, das gibt es nur online oder im Laden oder man kann es aber so nicht umtauschen oder ach das wusste ich gar nicht, dass es das bei uns gibt. Jedes Mal, wenn das passiert ist der Kunde rein theoretisch und praktisch WEG. #00:13:32-0# Norman Glaser: Ja. Welchen Einfluss haben Plattformen wie Amazon und Co. auf den Handel? Ich meine, wir reden ja wirklich über riesige Online-Plattformen, über die unglaublich viel Umsatz gehen. Wie siehst du das? Gerade vielleicht auch, wenn man mal ein bisschen fokussiert auf die Städte. Thema Einzelhandel in den Städten? #00:13:55-4# Stephan Jung: Ja also Amazon und alle anderen Anbieter, da muss man auch in einem Atemzug gleich Alibaba mitnennen. Das ist kein asiatisches Thema mehr, das ist ein globales Thema und Alibaba hat mittlerweile auch sein Büro in Deutschland eröffnet. Das ist für viele noch nicht so ganz sichtbar, aber diese Anbieter sind hier. Und die haben natürlich 24 Stunden geöffnet, 7 Tage in der Woche und immer dann, wenn das Ladenschlussgesetz zuschlägt, dann schnellen die Umsätze dort nach oben und am Sonntag wird eben am meisten online gekauft. Das heißt der Kunde will es und Deutschland ist da im europäischen Vergleich wirklich noch in der Steinzeit. Die Diskussionen über Ladenöffnungszeiten, die ist wirklich angestaubt und die muss intensiver geführt werden. Hier geht es um Chancengleichheit. Hier geht es nicht darum den Menschen einen freien Sonntag wegzunehmen, sondern es geht einfach um Chancengleichheit und überall dort, wo geöffnet ist, wird das Angebot auch angenommen. Also mit diesen Playern müssen wir immer mehr rechnen. Wenn man sich mal anschaut, was bei Alibaba am sogenannten Black Friday passiert ist, als sie besondere Angebote avisiert haben. Sie haben in den ersten 8 Minuten 1 Milliarde Dollar Umsatz gemacht, in 8 Minuten. #00:15:28-6# Norman Glaser: Wahnsinn. #00:15:30-4# Stephan Jung: Das ist 600 Mal so viel wie Amazon (...) Das muss man sich auf der Zunge zergehen lassen. 600 Mal so viel wie Amazon in 8 Minuten macht. So und am Ende des Tages hatten sie 15 Milliarden Umsatz gemacht an EINEM Tag.  #00:15:46-6# Norman Glaser: Wahnsinn. #00:15:47-7# Stephan Jung: Dafür braucht der komplette Kaufhof Konzern in Deutschland 6 Jahre. Also das sind Dimensionen, die müssen wir uns einfach bewusstmachen. #00:15:59-1# Norman Glaser: Wahnsinn. Also das ist, das sind mal vor allem Zahlen. Hat also ich habe dann sofort das Gefühl, haben wir eine Chance den stationären Handel hier mit Strategien eine sichere Zukunft zu verschaffen und wie würde das aussehen? Wie könnte aussehen? Wie bereite ich mich mit eigenen digitalen Geschäftsmodellen in Ergänzung vielleicht zu meinem Kerngeschäft vor auf die Zukunft? #00:16:30-6# Stephan Jung: Also das Schöne ist, der stationäre Handel hat sehr, sehr gute Chancen auch in Zukunft die wichtigste Rolle zu spielen, denn der Mensch will sehen, riechen, fühlen, schmecken, hören, all mit seinen Sinnen Dinge erleben PLUS das Herz der Innenstadt hat ja auch eine ganz wichtige Funktion für die Community als Treffpunkt. Menschen wollen sich treffen. Warum gehen Menschen denn auf große Messen. Das kann man alles online auch abbilden, das haben auch Messen schon versucht, trotzdem, jedes Mal, wenn ich in Frankfurt bin, dir wird es genauso gehen, wenn Messe ist, ist die Stadt voll und die Menschen kommen aus der ganzen Welt dorthin. Das Geschäftsmodell funktioniert seit 800 Jahren und so ist es auch im Einzelhandel. Der Einzelhandel muss nur einen Wandel vollziehen, nämlich er darf nicht mehr Produkte verkaufen, sondern er muss Lösungen anbieten, er muss vielmehr zum Community Manager werden. #00:17:43-2# Norman Glaser: Mhm (bejahend). #00:17:43-5# Stephan Jung: Man sagt heute so schön, Ware wird nicht mehr verkauft, Ware wird gekauft und in diesem winzigen Unterschied steckt die gesamte Wahrheit, wo der Handel sich hin entwickeln muss. Weg vom Produkt hin zum Kunden, Erlebnis schaffen, Vorteile schaffen, eine Community aufbauen und viele Einzelhändler arbeiten in der Richtung. Ja in USA gilt wieder der schöne Spruch "People want to belong", also gib ihnen doch ein Zuhause, gib ihnen eine Community, gib ihnen einen Freundeskreis und es gibt ja Beispiele dafür. Man spricht ja nicht umsonst von der Apple Familie. Das ist, hier wird kein Produkt verkauft, sondern hier wird inszeniert, hier werden Lösungen angeboten, hier wird gehirngerecht für den Konsumenten einfach gearbeitet und so macht es Spaß. Und wenn das passiert, dann muss ich auch nicht mehr über den Preis diskutieren, weil ich habe noch niemanden erlebt, der im Apple Store versucht hat über einen Preis zu diskutieren. #00:18:56-3# Norman Glaser: Ja (lacht) das stimmt. Das ist gut. #00:18:58-1# Stephan Jung: Im Gegenteil, ich glaube, wenn die Schlangen bei Produkteinführungen lang sind, würde mancher eher noch einen Zehner drauflegen, #00:19:05-9# Norman Glaser: Klar. #00:19:06-1# Stephan Jung: Wenn er das neueste Smartphone noch einen Tag früher bekäme. #00:19:12-0# Norman Glaser: Ja es ist am Ende des Tages immer die alte und immer die gleiche Frage. Warum soll ich kaufen? Also oftmals und das stellen wir ja eben auch fest in unseren Projekten, wird immer nur die Frage des Wie und des Was beantwortet und visualisiert, aber dieses Warum wird eigentlich überhaupt nicht beantwortet. Also dieses Erlebnis im Geschäft reinzukommen oder so ein Einkaufserlebnis zu kreieren also auch diese Kreativität, die dahintersteckt. Also das sehe ich als Riesenthema an. #00:19:46-4# Stephan Jung: Unbedingt. Also ich habe mir letztes Jahr einen ganz, ganz schönen Satz in London gemerkt. Da sagte jemand als Zusammenfassung, ein Produkt, was du im Laden kaufst, ist eigentlich nur noch ein Souvenir von einer guten Erfahrung, die du gemacht hast. #00:20:08-4# Norman Glaser: Sehr schön. #00:20:09-4# Stephan Jung: Ja und ja genau das ist es. Da müssen wir uns hin entwickeln. Dazu gehört natürlich auch ganz viel Inszenierung und dazu gehört auch, ja in meinen 7 Innovationsstrategien fasse ich das immer zusammen, dazu gehört auch den guten alten Marktplatz wieder neu zu interpretieren und zu verstehen, dass Marktplatz eben auch viel mehr war als nur Produkt zeigen, sondern das war Treffpunkt, da wurde gehandelt, da wurden Informationen ausgetauscht, da fand Entertainment statt. Das hieß früher noch Gaukler. Aber all das kann man neu interpretieren. Das müssen Städte für sich neu überlegen, denn viele Städte haben ihr Herz, ihre Seele und ihren Bauch der Stadt, den guten alten Marktplatz, verloren und fragen sich heute, was können wir tun, damit wir wieder ein echtes Zentrum bekommen. Das kann aber auch jeder einzelne Laden für sich genau einmal durcharbeiten, was heißt es denn Markt zu halten und was muss ich denn tun, um guter Marktbeschicker zu sein. Dabei helfen wir dann mit unserer Strategieberatung sehr oft, denn ich schaue dann häufig in ratlose Gesichter und merke, das ist doch gar nicht so einfach, wenn man sich mit der Thematik nicht jeden Tag beschäftigt. #00:21:41-2# Norman Glaser: Ja. Ja genau. Also wir suchen ja auch immer so in diesen Podcast-Shows so die Mehrwerte. Du hast gerade die 7 Innovationsstrategien angesprochen. Kannst du die mal kurz anteasern? #00:21:56-0# Stephan Jung: Ja. Also das ist zum einen das Thema Inszenierung, das heißt den Laden einfach zu einem Erlebnis zu machen. Das zweite Thema ist wie eben angesprochen, die neue Interpretation des Marktplatzes. Strategie Nummer Drei, das ist Omnichannel, also dem Kunden überall dort eine Antwort geben, wo er eben unterwegs ist in der Online und Offline Welt. Nummer Vier, hatten wir auch schon angesprochen, Cross Innovation, also ganz gezielt mal rausgehen aus der eigenen Komfortzone, andere Branchen anschauen und ein Best Of kreieren. Nummer Fünf, Story, Story, Story. Erzählen, das liebt das Kleinkind bis hin zum Hundertjährigen. Gute Geschichten sind immer wieder wichtig. Dann ein Thema, wo ich oft höre, ja klar haben wir verstanden, machen wir. Finde ich wird aber trotzdem nicht konsequent genug gemacht. Kunden zu Freunden machen und ich habe vor kurzem die Diskussion geführt, Kunde ist König. Ich habe gesagt, nein die Zeiten sind vorbei. Der Kunde will Partner und Freund sein, er will uns auf Augenhöhe treffen und er will eigentlich ganz entspannt und vertrauensvoll mit uns umgehen und deswegen ist das Thema Freunde, Freunde machen, für mich ein ganz wichtiges. Gutes Beispiel aus einer Cross Innovation Branche wäre für mich Motel One, hier funktioniert das. Tolle Lobby, Rezeption, Bar, Frühstück, Aufenthaltsraum, alles weggelassen, was nicht nötig ist und eine gute Stimmung und das zu einem fairen Preis, also „Value for Money“. Und das ist genau für mich die Strategie, die heute viele Konsumenten durchaus honorieren, wenn sie sowas finden. #00:24:13-0# Norman Glaser: Ja. Ja. #00:24:13-9# Stephan Jung: Ich glaube jetzt habe ich noch eine vergessen. #00:24:16-2# Norman Glaser: Eine fehlt noch. (lacht) Ja. #00:24:18-3# Stephan Jung: Okay, das ist auch eine ganz, ganz wichtige finde ich. Wie heißt es bei mir? Überraschen, Spielen, Verführen. #00:24:26-8# Norman Glaser: Mhm (bejahend). Schön. #00:24:28-7# Stephan Jung: Der Kunde lässt sich gerne verführen, wenn es gut gemacht ist. Das geht uns ja privat auch so. Wir wissen zwar, wo das irgendwie mal enden kann und soll und wird, aber, wenn Verführung gut gemacht ist, macht sie doch irrsinnig Spaß. Und der Kunde hat auch durchaus Lust ein bisschen spielerisch einfach zu sein, ja, Dinge zu entdecken, sich überraschen zu lassen und da finde ich, sind wir manchmal zu ernst und da kann man auch echt tolle Sachen machen. Es gibt tolle Ladenbeispiele dafür wie man mit dem Ladenbau genau in dem Bereich punkten kann. #00:25:09-6# Norman Glaser: Ja. Ja zu einem deiner Strategien fiel mir auch ganz spontan so ein Zitat ein. Thema Storytelling, wir erzählen unseren Kindern Geschichten, damit sie einschlafen und den Erwachsenen Geschichten, damit sie aufwachen. #00:25:24-2# Stephan Jung: Ja. (lacht) Sehr gut. So ist es. Ja. #00:25:27-6# Norman Glaser: Das stimmt. #00:25:28-3# Stephan Jung: Für mich einer der besten Geschichtenerzähler ist Jamie Oliver. Er schafft es immer wieder in seinen Restaurants, aber auch in seinen Fernsehshows einen zu fesseln und mitzunehmen und also immer, wenn man im Fernsehen ihn irgendwo mal sieht, dann ist er am Kochen und es kommen gleich Freunde und er hat ganz tolle frische Ware da und es macht immer irgendwie Spaß und man hat das Gefühl, ach cool da würde ich jetzt auch gerne mitessen. Und eines meiner Lieblingsrestaurants von ihm, das ist in London. Das heißt Barbecoa und die Story ist einfach. Hier geht es nur um Fire and Food. Also nur um Zubereitung auf dem Feuer, im Feuer, mit Feuer und das Restaurant ist immer ausverkauft und er macht irrsinnige Umsätze und die Idee ist einfach, wirklich alle Zubereitungsarten für Fleisch, auf dem Grill, in der Erde, im Tontopf, auf dem Spieß und und und. Also einfach eine tolle Geschichte und natürlich perfekt umgesetzt. Und er verdient richtig viel Geld damit.  #00:26:38-7# Norman Glaser: Ja und was man bei ihm ja wirklich sieht, wenn man ihn im Fernsehen wahrnimmt, er ist in seiner ganzen Körpersprache ist das durch das Fernsehen spürbar wie begeistert er von dem Kochen ist und ich glaube, wenn diese Begeisterung in einem flammt, können einfach neue Dinge entstehen und dann ist ja völlig klar, dass er auf solche Ideen kommt wie in London so ein Restaurant zu eröffnen. #00:27:08-0# Stephan Jung: Ja natürlich. Also Begeisterung, Passion, Leidenschaft. Dem kann man sich gar nicht entziehen. Das steckt einfach an und Menschen wollen mit erfolgreichen glücklichen Menschen am liebsten zusammen sein, Zeit verbringen, Geschäfte machen. Keiner hat Lust mit jemandem eine Transaktion durchzuführen, der pessimistisch ist, der keine Lust hat und der auf die Uhr guckt und der hofft, dass es bald Wochenende ist. #00:27:40-0# Norman Glaser: (lacht) Ja. #00:27:40-9# Stephan Jung: Und das spürt man einfach und das merkt man einfach auch, wenn man dann wieder einen Laden betritt, um zum Einzelhandel zurückzukommen. Ich finde es großartig, wie in USA die Mitarbeiter geschult sind. Ja, ich bin kürzlich in einen Laden gegangen, um ein bisschen Konkurrenzbeobachtung zu machen für einen meiner Kunden #00:28:02-2# Norman Glaser: Mhm (bejahend). #00:28:02-9# Stephan Jung: Und ich bin in den Laden gegangen Loxitan, das ist französische Kosmetik und solche Sachen und die haben so eine schlaue Frage gestellt. Ich wusste egal, was ich antworte, sie lässt mich jetzt gleich nicht mehr weg und das haben sie aber so gut gemacht. Die Frage war nämlich, have you shopped with us before? So. Habe ich ja gesagt, war die Antwort, hey welcome back, nice to have you here again. Hätte ich nein gesagt, wo schön, dass du zum ersten Mal hier bist, dürfen wir dir mal zeigen, was wir für tolle Sachen haben? Also sie sind einfach ganz, ganz gut und fokussiert, um mit dem Kunden ins Gespräch zu kommen und ich weiß nicht wie es dir geht, aber betrete ich irgendwo ein Kaufhaus, habe ich eher das Gefühl, die Verkäufer sausen davon in irgendeine Ecke, sind beschäftig, haben keine Lust und das spürt man einfach diese #00:29:04-8# Norman Glaser: Ist unvorstellbar in Deutschland. #00:29:06-7# Stephan Jung: Professionalität und diese Leidenschaft auch für das eigene Produkt. #00:29:13-9# Norman Glaser: Ja. Das ist eigentlich auch so die Unternehmenskultur, die da mitreinspielt. Apple macht das ja auch mit Bravur, die Leute wirklich abzuholen und zu integrieren, also die eigenen Mitarbeiter. #00:29:25-0# Stephan Jung: Ja unbedingt. Also die fühlen sich einfach als Family und die sind auch stolz auf das, was sie tun und ich finde, jeder Beruf eröffnet einem die Möglichkeit zu sagen, hey ich mache das aller- allerbeste daraus und ich bin stolz auf das, was ich mache und jeder Job ist wichtig und das spürt man einfach, wenn man einen Laden betritt. #00:29:52-9# Norman Glaser: Mhm (bejahend). Ja. Absolut. Ist Teil der Marke und Marke, Vertrauen, Qualität, das spielt da alles mit rein ja. (unv.) #00:30:04-6# Stephan Jung: Unbedingt. Ja. #00:30:07-0# Norman Glaser: Stephan, wenn du deine Glaskugel auf deinem Schreibtisch mal kurz anschmeißen könntest für uns. Was sind die kommenden Trends? Was denkst du, wo entwickelt sich der Handel hin? Wie kaufe ich vielleicht in Zukunft ein? Wie erfolgt die Kommunikation? Kannst du da was, kannst du da aus dem Nähkästchen plaudern, was du so siehst? (lacht) #00:30:32-0# Stephan Jung: Ja. Ich sehe da in meiner Glaskugel ganz spannende Dinge. Na ja, also Spaß beiseite. Ich beobachte natürlich nicht in der Glaskugel, sondern in der realen Welt die wichtigsten Consumer Trends und für mich sind das insgesamt 11 Stück, die ich da besonders mir anschaue und das Interessante, an diesen Trends ist, diese Megatrends, die kommen überhaupt nicht über Nacht, sondern die sind ganz, ganz langsam. Die entwickeln sich sehr stetig. Das heißt aber nicht Entwarnung, denn da, wo diese Trends aufeinandertreffen, sich vermischen, also so eine Ebene unten drunter, da geht auf einmal alles auch ganz schnell. Und dann passiert es eben so, dass wenn wir jetzt, zum Beispiel, sprechen wir mal über Mobilität. #00:31:29-8# Norman Glaser: Mhm (bejahend). #00:31:29-8# Stephan Jung: Ja. Wir wissen, dass Mobilität sich verändert. Es ist heute nicht mehr so, wenn ich mit der Next Generation spreche, dass deren größter Traum ist, ein Auto zu besitzen. Nein, die wollen einfach mobil sein. Da kann das Auto eine Rolle bei spielen, muss aber nicht. Also als ich 18 wurde, da gab es für mich nur ein Ziel, ich will ein Auto haben. So. Und viele, die schon auch ein bisschen älter sind, die werden das bestätigen. Das ist bei der Next Generation überhaupt nicht mehr der Fall. Wenn wir das jetzt mal verbinden mit dem Thema Urbanität, immer mehr Menschen wollen in der Großstadt leben, das sehen wir auch, mittlerweile über 50 Prozent der Weltbevölkerung lebt in Großstädten, die Zahl wird auf 70 Prozent ansteigen bis 2050. Also nichts, was über Nacht passiert. Aber jetzt mischen wir mal genau diese beiden Megatrends Mobilität, Urbanisierung #00:32:35-7# Norman Glaser: Mhm (bejahend). #00:32:36-2# Stephan Jung: Und was kommt heraus? Zum Beispiel Car Sharing und das ist relativ schnell passiert und hier gilt es zu reagieren. In Berlin kannst du heute aus 5.000 Fahrzeugen auswählen, die überall an jeder Ecke stehen und dir ein Auto oder einen Motorroller ausleihen. Für eine Stunde, für eine kurze Tour oder für einen Tag, für was auch immer. #00:33:01-7# Norman Glaser: Mhm (bejahend). #00:33:02-5# Stephan Jung: Darauf muss ich reagieren. Und zum Beispiel meine Kunden aus dem Shoppingcenter-Bereich, mit denen diskutiere ich, okay, habt ihr Kooperationen mit diesen Car Sharing Anbietern? Wo stehen diese Autos? Gibt es einen zentralen Platz dafür? Wird das beworben? Mache ich damit eine Promotion Aktion et cetera, et cetera. Also ich muss dann anfangen, diese einzelnen Trends für mich einmal durch zu deklinieren. Was kann das bedeuten? Kommen meine Kunden in 5 Jahren alle mit dem Elektroauto? Dann muss ich eben Ladestationen haben, kommen die mit Car Sharing, dann soll es schnell und unkompliziert für sie gehen. Also ich muss diese Trends dann auf mein Business einfach übersetzen. #00:33:49-9# Norman Glaser: Mhm (bejahend). Ja, ich meine, man sieht es ja auch an den enormen Investitionen in so Startups wie Uber, was da gerade los ist, Thema Mobilität. #00:34:03-1# Stephan Jung: Unglaublich, also Uber ist eines der klassischen Beispiele airbnb ist ein anderes Beispiel, also Hotels haben doch niemals gedacht, dass ein Unternehmen, was kein einziges Zimmer besitzt, ihnen zu einer riesigen Konkurrenz werden kann. Und gibt eine spannende Zahl. Am Silvester 2015, 2016 wurden erstmalig mehr als 1 Millionen Übernachtungen in dieser Nacht über airbnb abgewickelt, nämlich 1,3 Millionen. Das ist unglaublich viel. #00:34:43-7# Norman Glaser: Unfassbar. #00:34:44-4# Stephan Jung: Hier entsteht also auf einmal Wettbewerb. Für mich auch ein total faszinierendes Beispiel, wenn ich in USA unterwegs bin und für einen Tag einen Arbeitsplatz brauche, dann gehe ich zu WeWork, das Unternehmen ist vor 5 Jahren gegründet worden, ist heute 16 Milliarden Dollar bewertet. Denen gehört gar nichts. Die haben einfach Büroflächen gemietet und machen die zu richtig coolen Location für Startups, für junge Unternehmen. Die sind so eingerichtet als würdest du im Facebook oder Google Büro irgendwo sitzen, mit tollen Sitzgelegenheiten, mit Launches, mit Cafeteria, mit kostenlosen Getränken und das Unternehmen ist 5 Jahr jung und die revolutionieren gerade die Arbeitswelt von morgen. Also für mich auch ein ganz spannendes Thema. Wie arbeitest du morgen? Hier verändert sich gerade ganz viel. Diese Vorhersage, die vor 20 Jahren getroffen wurde. Wir werden alle von zuhause aus arbeiten, sehen wir, das ist weitestgehend nicht eingetreten, aber dass wir immer flexibler, immer projektbezogener, immer kurzfristiger unseren Arbeitsplatz, den Ort wechseln, das wird stark zunehmen und das sehen wir auch in Deutschland. Ein tolles Beispiel für mich ist Design Offices, nutze ich auch, wenn ich in Deutschland unterwegs bin. Mittlerweile in jeder Großstadt zu finden. Für einen Tag einen Arbeitsplatz, der kostet dann irgendwie 20 Euro oder 29 Euro und ich sitze mitten in Berlin in bester Lage, habe meinen Kaffee, habe eine Rezeption, habe WLAN, habe einen Schreibtisch, kann arbeiten in aller Ruhe und am nächsten Tag bin ich in Hamburg und mache genau das Gleiche. Und das tun immer mehr Menschen. Und das sind einfach Megatrends, die passieren und die ich versuchen muss zu interpretieren und zu übersetzen. Ja und hier macht es mir ganz viel Spaß den Übersetzer zu spielen. #00:37:00-3# Norman Glaser: (lacht) Dir ist ist schon klar, dass ich jetzt natürlich frage, du hast von 11 Trends gesprochen. Was die 11 Trends sind neben Mobilität? #00:37:10-6# Stephan Jung: Oh Gott! Die hätte ich mir jetzt gleich mal neben mich. Jetzt muss ich versuchen die #00:37:16-1# Norman Glaser: Aus dem Kopf. #00:37:17-1# Stephan Jung: Aus dem Kopf hinzubekommen. Okay. Gut. Also. Dann. Ich mache mir es ja immer leicht, ich habe ja jetzt schon mit dem Thema Mobilität angefangen, mit der Urbanisierung. Es kommt natürlich hinzu der Trend Silver Society, also die alternde Gesellschaft, aber wie wir alle wissen Seniorenteller ist out. Die jungen Alten, die sind heute mobil, gesund, haben relativ viel Geld und wollen insofern auch ganz anders angesprochen werden. Wir haben das Thema Female Shift. Total spannend, gerade für den Handel. Mindestens 70 Prozent aller Handelsumsätze weltweit werden von Frauen entschieden. Aber schauen wir uns mal die Shopping Malls, die Läden, die Restaurants an. Das ist alles, hat eine relativ männliche Handschrift.  #00:38:22-3# Norman Glaser: Mhm (bejahend). #00:38:22-5# Stephan Jung: Also hier gibt es zum Beispiel auch die Aufgabenstellung, wie können wir Dinge attraktiver designen, dass es der Person, nämlich der Frau, viel besser gefällt. Wir haben Themen, dass sich die Arbeitswelt verändert, auch das hatten wir eben schon kurz angesprochen. Wir haben natürlich das Thema Globalisierung. Wir haben das Thema Gesundheit, komplett neue Ernährungsmuster. Der Mensch definiert sich heute sehr stark darüber, was er isst und auch das hat ganz viel Auswirkung. Das hat Auswirkungen auf Hotels, das hat Auswirkungen auf Tankstellen, das hat Auswirkungen auf was finde ich in Bahnhöfen. Ich habe einen Beratungskunden aus dem Restaurantbereich, der macht das ganz schlau, der hat in seinen Restaurants schon ganz klar alles gekennzeichnet, vegan, vegetarisch, laktosefrei bis hin zu Kalorien, bis hin zu low carb und all diese Sachen. Also das erwartet der Kunde der Zukunft. Und hier stellt man einfach fest, am Bahnhof kriege ich da wirklich gutes Essen? Ziemlich schwierig an vielen Bahnhöfen. #00:39:50-8# Norman Glaser: Ja auch Tankstellen. #00:39:51-6# Stephan Jung: An der Autobahn, na ja, im Shoppingcenter, hmm, auch relativ viel in Fett und Öl gebraten. Also da ist noch viel zu tun. Also auch einer der Megatrends. Ja jetzt habe ich nicht mitgezählt. Ich glaube zwei, drei werden wir noch. #00:40:10-8# Norman Glaser: 6 haben wir. #00:40:11-1# Stephan Jung: 6 haben wir? Okay. (lachen beide) Ich glaube ich schaue gleich nochmal rein. Ich habe sie nicht alle im Kopf, aber das sind eben die großen Themen, die uns bewegen. Natürlich auch Sustainability und eine gewisse Vorsicht des Konsumenten. Wo kommt mein Produkt her? Kann es denn sein, dass die Flasche Wein aus Neuseeland hier bei mir im Supermarkt 2,99 Euro kostet, wo die doch 20.000 Kilometer Reise hinter sich hat. Das hat auch Auswirkungen. Zum Beispiel Urban Farming ist auch so ein schönes Stichwort. Also Menschen wollen wieder die Eier von Hühnern essen, die in der Nähe irgendwo gackern und über die Wiese laufen. Es gibt immer mehr Imker in Großstädten, die auf den Dächern ihren eigenen Honig herstellen. Also ganz, ganz schöne Geschichten, die daraus entstehen. #00:41:23-8# Norman Glaser: Ja. Fehlen immer noch 3, aber die können wir auch nachliefern. Brauchst dir jetzt keinen Stress machen. #00:41:28-0# Stephan Jung: Genau.Wir brauchen ja noch irgendeinen Grund, weshalb wir zum Schluss meine Adresse durchgeben müssen oder? #00:41:36-0# Norman Glaser: Absolut korrekt. (lachen beide) Das ist auch schön (lacht). Genau, wenn ich nämlich auf die Zeit gucken, dann es ist unglaublich, aber wir haben schon 43 Minuten hier verbracht. Ich würde nämlich gerne noch ein paar Fragen loswerden. So eine kleine Quick Q&A Session. Hast du Lust? #00:41:53-7# Stephan Jung: Ja komm, auf geht's! #00:41:55-1# Norman Glaser: (lacht) Okay. Wie triffst du Entscheidungen und was hilft dir dabei? #00:42:01-4# Stephan Jung: Entscheidungen treffe ich aus Überzeugung. Schnell, nach Teambesprechung und ja. Ich bin nicht der Zögerer. Ich mag gerne entscheiden. #00:42:16-7# Norman Glaser: Mhm (bejahend). Was hat dich anfangs davon abgehalten, dich mit dem digitalen Thema auseinanderzusetzen? Wenn dich überhaupt was abgehalten hat. #00:42:25-6# Stephan Jung: Oh. Das ist eine tolle Frage. Ich war der letzte Abiturjahrgang an unserer Schule, der noch völlig ohne Computer die Schulzeit erlebt hat. Und insofern war das natürlich dann für mich ein bisschen später schon so der Einstieg, mein Gott jetzt kaufst du dir einen Commodore C64 mit Floppy Laufwerk und außer, dass der Krach gemacht hat und grün geblinkt hat, konnte der ja nicht viel. Also so die Anfänge, die fand ich irgendwie nicht prickelnd. Aber ich muss sagen heute, wir alle können nicht mehr ohne und ich liebe die Vorteile und die Möglichkeiten, die das heute bietet. #00:43:08-8# Norman Glaser: Schön. Welcher Moment oder welcher Rat hatte einen besonders nachhaltigen Einfluss auf dein heutiges Leben oder auf dein Business? #00:43:19-1# Stephan Jung: Ach da gab es bestimmt ganz viele. Aber ich liebe ja so ein paar Zitate und ein Zitat, was hier in meinem Büro direkt vor mir hängt, das ist von Nelson Mandela, der mal gesagt hat, "may your choices reflect your hopes not your fears". #00:43:40-8# Norman Glaser: Schön. #00:43:41-5# Stephan Jung: Und ich finde einfach, viele Menschen sind Bedenkenträger, warten ab und ich finde da müssen wir uns einfach von unseren Hoffnungen, Träumen, unserer Leidenschaft antreiben lassen. Dazu gehört dann auch ganz viel Fleiß und Arbeit, aber das finde ich einfach wichtig und so als würde Zuckerberg darauf antworten, hat er ja mal gesagt, "what would you do if you weren't afraid". Also das frage ich mich immer wieder mal und das gibt mir so ein bisschen zusätzlichen Antrieb dann. #00:44:20-2# Norman Glaser: Ja. Absolut. Da fiel mir auch ein Satz ein, Innovation nicht zu bewerten, sondern verwerten.  #00:44:26-9# Stephan Jung: Ja unbedingt. #00:44:28-9# Norman Glaser: Okay. Kannst du uns eine Internet Ressource oder ein Tool nennen, welches du selbst einsetzt? So ein Produktivitätstool oder so? #00:44:38-4# Stephan Jung: Ja ich benutze zum Beispiel, wenn ich unterwegs bin, ganz oft auf meinem Smartphone ANY.DO und schreibe mir da einfach meine To Dos auf, wenn ich im Flieger sitze oder irgendwo (unv.) #00:44:52-3# habe. #00:44:53-1# Norman Glaser: ANY.DO? #00:44:54-5# Stephan Jung: ANY. #00:44:55-1# Norman Glaser: Ach so ANY.DO okay. ANY.DO. Mhm (bejahend). #00:44:57-3# Stephan Jung: Ja genau. Ansonsten natürlich Whatsapp, Google, sämtliche Reise Apps und Flug Apps und Hotel Apps und Dinge, finde ich natürlich genial. #00:45:11-1# Norman Glaser: Ja. Cool. Was für Musik hörst du? Vor allem dann, wenn du so in einem Moment bist, an dem du vielleicht über Innovation nachdenkst oder in dem du sehr kreativ bist? #00:45:24-9# Stephan Jung: Also ich habe mir angewöhnt, wenn ich arbeite, dann lade ich mir immer ein bisschen Musik von YouTube runter. Da gibt es so ganz coole 3 Stunden Sessions. Music for Concentration.  #00:45:40-9# Norman Glaser: Ja cool. Ja. #00:45:41-8# Stephan Jung: Also ich bin ja doch so ein bisschen unruhig und multitasking-fähig und ich mache auch dann ganz viele Dinge auf einmal und das hilft mir so ein bisschen mich auf eine Sache zu fokussieren. So ein bisschen auch zu entschleunigen und zu konzentrieren und das tut mir gut. #00:46:01-1# Norman Glaser: Super. Vorletzte Frage. Kannst du uns ein Buch empfehlen, welches für dich einen großen Mehrwert hatte? Wie heißt dieses Buch? Und worum geht es da? #00:46:10-3# Stephan Jung: Eines der schönsten Bücher, die ich in letzter Zeit gelesen habe, ist Silicon Valley von Christoph Keese, da geht es in der Tat darum wie funktioniert Silicon Valley, wie arbeiten die Menschen dort, wie vernetzen sie sich, wie kommunizieren sie und wie unkompliziert gehen sie Projekte und Dinge an und wie wenig Hierarchiegrenzen gibt es dort. Und das Buch hat mich unglaublich inspiriert und fasziniert und das kann ich sehr gut empfehlen. Jetzt habe ich gerade angefangen die Biographie vom Gründer von Nike zu lesen. Das scheint auch sehr spannend zu werden. #00:47:00-1# Norman Glaser: (lacht) Okay. Super. Wir werden natürlich alles, was du gesagt hast, in den Shownotes dieser Podcast-Folge verlinken. Die letzte Frage bevor wir diesen Podcast leider beenden müssen. (lacht) Ich könnte glaube ich noch eine Stunde länger mit dir reden. Kannst du uns zum Schluss vielleicht noch einen kleinen Tipp mit auf den Weg geben und unseren Zuhörern in Bezug auf das digitale Zeitalter? Und wie können wir dich am besten erreichen? #00:47:29-0# Stephan Jung: Mein Tipp für das digitale Zeitalter ist, es hat mit dem Tempo zu tun. Wir streben nach absoluter Perfektion und ich stelle immer wieder fest, Entwicklungszyklen dauern wahnsinnig lange. Und da ist meine Empfehlung, auch einer der Sprüche von Mark Zuckerberg, der sagt, "Done is better than perfect" und ich stelle fest, wenn die Onlinepräsenz, die Internetseite noch nicht ganz perfekt ist, machen, freischalten, lernen, verbessern, aber nicht ewig warten. Und #00:48:11-0# Norman Glaser: Sehr gut. #00:48:11-5# Stephan Jung: Das habe ich mit meiner Homepage auch so gemacht, womit ich ganz unauffällig dann überleite zu, wie bin ich erreichbar.  #00:48:19-4# Norman Glaser: Ja. (lachen beide) Sehr schön. #00:48:21-0# Stephan Jung: Auf meine Homepage gehen stephan-jung.com Stephan mit PH schreiben und dort ist ein bisschen was zum Nachlesen und auch alle meine Kontaktdaten zu finden. Und ich freue mich wahnsinnig über Austausch. Ich bin ein großartiger Fan von Vernetzung und ich habe ein irrsinnig großes Netzwerk und pflege das weiter, baue das weiter aus. Habe vor einem Jahr mir das Konzept des Innovative Kitchen Talk ausgedacht, zu dem ich dich und deine Zuhörer sehr, sehr gerne einmal einladen werden. Das ist ein interessantes, innovatives Format, um spannende Menschen kennenzulernen.  #00:49:05-6# Norman Glaser: (unv.) schön. Das reichen wir auf jeden Fall auch nach. Stephan, hat mir total viel Spaß gemacht. Ich bedanke mich nochmals für deine Zeit, die sicher sehr kostbar ist und die vielen wirklichen Mehrwerte und Inhalte, die du heute in diesem Podcast mit mir nochmal herausgestellt hast. Ja und freue mich mit dir vernetzt zu bleiben in dieser digitalen Zeit und ja bis ganz bald. #00:49:30-5# Stephan Jung: Lieber Norman, vielen Dank für die wahnsinnig spannenden Fragen und alles, alles Gute! #00:49:38-7# Norman Glaser: Danke. Bis bald! Ciao Stephan! #00:49:40-9#   Noch ein wichtiger Aufruf: Es geht nicht ohne dich. Und deshalb ist es sehr wichtig, dass du diesen Podcast mit deiner Bewertung bei iTunes unterstützt. Denn durch deine Bewertung rankt dieser Podcast bei iTunes entsprechend höher und schafft höhere Aufmerksamkeit, wodurch mehr Fragen an mich gestellt werden, mehr Interaktion stattfindet und dieser Podcast einen Dialog erfährt und damit lebendig gestaltet werden kann - nicht nur von mir, sondern von uns allen. Vielen Dank also jetzt schon für deine Bewertung bei iTunes.   Wir versorgen dich einmal im Monat mit den wichtigsten Informationen kostenlos. Melde dich für unseren Newsletter an.   Wenn dir der Artikel gefallen hat, teile ihn bitte in deinen Netzwerken, dadurch unterstützt du uns enorm! Danke!!!  

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  • The night sky for April 2016

    · 00:36:58 · The night sky this month

    Northern HemisphereIan Morison tells us what we can see in the northern hemisphere night sky during April 2016.Highlights of the monthApril - still a great month to view Jupiter.This is still a great month to observe Jupiter. It lies in the southern part of Leo, but still reaches an elevations of ~48 degrees when crossing the meridian during the evening. An interesting observation is that the Great Red Spot appears to be diminishing in size. At the beginning of the last century it spanned 40,000 km across but now appears to be only ~16,500 km across - less than half the size. It used to be said that 3 Earths could fit within it, but now it is only one. The shrinking rate appears to be accelerating and observations indicate that it is now reducing in size by ~580 miles per year. Will it eventually disappear?The features seen in the Jovian atmosphere have been changing quite significantly over the last few years - for a while the South Equatorial Belt vanished completely but has now returned to its normal wide state.April: Look for the Great Red Spot on JupiterThe list below gives some of the best evening times during April to observe the Great Red Spot which should then lie on the central meridian of the planet.1st - 23:474th - 21:166th - 22:549th - 20:2411th - 22:0213th - 23:4116th - 21:1018th - 22:4920th - 21:0321st - 20:1823rd - 21:5725th - 23:2530th - 22:44April 3rd - 22:00 BST: Ganymede emerges from Jupiter's shadowDuring the early evening, Jupiter will apear to have just 3 Gallilean satellites: Io and Callisto to its right and Europa to its left. Ganymede is hiding in Jupiter's shadow but will emerge just after 22:00 BST later in the evening.April 6th: just before dawn - the Moon occults VenusOn the 6th of the month, the Moon and Venus will lie close together low in the eastern sky before dawn. At 08:28 BST, as observed from the centre of the UK, Venus will disappear behind the disk of the very thin crescent Moon whose phase will be just 2%. This will be quite an observing challenge and will need binoculars or a small telesocpe to observe along with a good low eastern horizon. BUT BEWARE NOT TO OBSERVE CLOSE TO THE SUN! If possible stand in the shadow of a wall to the left of your position. Ideally, using an equatorial mount, locate the Moon when it rises at 06:20 BST and continue tracking as it approaches and then occults Venus. As seen from the centre of the UK, it will emerge around 20 minutes later as it briefly passes behind the Moon's northern dark limb. The occultation will not be visible from Scotland and, in the northern part of the UK, Venus will be seen to graze along the Moon's rough northern edge. Venus will take ~60 seconds to disappear and ~70 seconds to emerge. NOTE: to show the occultation graphically, I have had to remove the Sun's glare - this will be a very difficult observation. April 8th: 45 minutes after sunset - Mercury and a thin crescent MoonLooking west after sunset and as darkness falls, Mercury will be seen just 6 degrees to the right and slightly up from the a very thin waxing crescent Moon.April 16th - mid evening: A waxing Moon nears JupiterDuring the evening the Moon will be seen gradually nearing Jupiter, closing in to a separation of just over 4 degrees at 22:00 UT. April 21st all night: The Moon at apogeeOn the 21st the Moon, one day from full, reaches apogee, that is at its furthest distance from the Earth. So, on the following day, it will not appear as big - or as bright - as when the full Moon is at perigee, its closest approach to the Earth. Perhaps surprisingly, its angular diameter at apogee is 12% smaller that at perigee and, should a solar eclipse occur near apogee, the Moon's full shadow may not reach the Earth giving rise to what is called an annular eclipse. April 16th and 29th: Two Great Lunar CratersThese are two good nights to observe two of the greatest craters on the Moon, Tycho and Copernicus, as the terminator is nearby. Tycho is towards the bottom of Moon in a densely cratered area called the Southern Lunar Highlands. It is a relatively young crater which is about 108 million years old. It is interesting in that it is thought to have been formed by the impact of one of the remnents of an asteroid that gave rise to the asteroid Baptistina. Another asteroid originating from the same breakup may well have caused the Chicxulub crater 65 million years ago. It has a diameter of 85 km and is nearly 5 km deep. At full Moon - seen in the image below - the rays of material that were ejected when it was formed can be see arcing across the surface. Copernicus is about 800 million years old and lies in the eastern Oceanus Procellarum beyond the end of the Apennine Mountains. It is 93 km wide and nearly 4 km deep and is a clasic "terraced" crater. Both can be seen with binoculars.Observe the International Space StationUse the link below to find when the space station will be visible in the next few days. In general, the space station can be seen either in the hour or so before dawn or the hour or so after sunset - this is because it is dark and yet the Sun is not too far below the horizon so that it can light up the space station. As the orbit only just gets up the the latitude of the UK it will usually be seen to the south, and is only visible for a minute or so at each sighting. Note that as it is in low-earth orbit the sighting details vary quite considerably across the UK. The NASA website linked to below gives details for several cities in the UK. (Across the world too for foreign visitors to this web page.)Note: I observed the ISS three times recently and was amazed as to how bright it has become. Find details of sighting possibilities from your location from: Location Index See where the space station is now: Current PositionThe PlanetsJupiterJupiter reached opposition on March 8th but this is still an excellent month to observe it - high in the southern sky during the evening. It crosses the meridian at around 23:00 (UT) at the beginning of the month and around 21:00 by month's end. Its brightness falls slightly from magnitude -2.4 to -2.3 whilst its angular size drops from 44 to 41 arc seconds. Jupiter spends the month in south-eastern Leo, moving slowly westwards in retrograde motion. With a small telescope one should be easily able to see the equatorial bands in the atmosphere, sometimes the Great Red Spot (see the highlight above) and up to four of the Gallilean moons as they weave their way around it.SaturnSaturn rises at ~02:00 (UT) as April begins and a little earlier each night so that by month's end it rises at about 23:00 (UT). Shining at magnitude +0.3 and brightening to +0.2 during the month it lies in the southern part of Ophiuchus some 5.5 degrees up and to the left of Antares in Scorpius. Its diameter increases from 17.4 to 18.1 arc seconds as April progresses. It will be due south in the early hours of the morning at an elevation of ~19 degrees. The beautiful ring system has now opened out to ~26 degrees - virtually as open as they ever become - and measures 40 arc seconds across. It will be best observed near the meridian during the hour before dawn. If only it were higher in the ecliptic; its elevation never gets above ~19 degrees and so the atmosphere will hinder our view of this most beautiful planet. Sadly, as seen from our northern climes, on each successive apparition it will get lower in the sky, so now is the time to emigrate to the southern hemisphere!MercuryMercury. This month, Mercury has its best apparition of the year for those of us in the northern hemisphere, shining in the west-northwest during the evening twilight. As April begins, it is low above the horizon, but shining brightly at magnitude -1.5. It reaches greatest elongation (east) on the 18th of April, so is higher in the sky, but its brightness will have dropped to a still bright magnitude 0. Then, its highest altitude at sunset will be ~19 degrees, but Mercury will still be at an elevation of ~10 degrees 45 minutes after sunset. At greatest elongation, its disk will be 7.5 arc seconds across with 38% of the disk illuminated. During the latter part of the month, it fades rapidly down to magnitude +1.5 and disappears into the Sun's glare around the 28th of the month as it moves towards inferior conjunction on the 9th of May - when we will observe a transit of Mercury - one of two major highlights for next month!MarsMars. At the beginning of April, Mars rises around midnight (UT). As the month progresses it rises earlier each night so at about 10pm (UT) by month's end. It starts the month in Scorpius, moves into Ophiuchus on the 4th and, as it begins its retrograde motion westwards on April 18th, moves back towards Scorpius which it re-enters on the first of May. Its brightness increases dramatically this month, increasing from magnitude -0.6 to -1.4. At the same time its angular size increases from 12 to 16 arc seconds - the largest it has appeared for some ten years! But as it reaches opposition on the 22nd of May it will subtend over 18 arc seconds. So now is the time to start seriously observing Mars when details such as the polar caps and dark regions such as Syrtis Major should be easily visible in a small telescope on nights of good seeing.VenusVenus,rises less than half an hour before sunrise at the start of April and could be seen given a low eastern horizon, but it will be unobservable after the 9th or so. However, it will be worth attempring to observe it on the morning of the 6th when it is occulted by a thin crescent Moon as detailed in the highlight above.Southern HemisphereHaritina Mogosanu from the Carter Observatory in New Zealand speaks about the southern hemisphere night sky during April 2016.This campfire story is dedicated to Stuart @astronomyblogWelcome to the month of April. My name is Haritina Mogosanu and tonight I'm your starryteller from Space Place at Carter Observatory in Aotearoa New Zealand. I love the Milky Way. The Milky Way is the most spectacular feature of the Southern Hemisphere but to say that is such an understatement. The Milky Way is so striking here and I believe that in the absence of a polar star (which I found hard to find in the Northern Hemisphere anyway), people could even orient themselves by the Milky Way. And why not? We can easily see the Milky Way from Wellington, which according to Lonely Planet is the the coolest little capital in the world. But is still a city, which means that it does come with light pollution and from most of the cities of the world we are lucky to see just the brightest stars. Yet I have noticed when walking home at night from the Observatory, from my street I can still see the Galaxy. I call it My City of Stars. There are times when I look up and gaze straight at the center of it. This time of the year just after sunset I can see from the centre to the edge from Scorpius to Taurus, in one glorious panorama.So in April, my beautiful City of Stars is stretching through the night sky from northwest to southeast. Allow your gaze to wander along this celestial tapestry and you will see the brightest stars. Let's start from West. Lining up onto the celestial river are:Very low on the horizon, Aldebaran - in Taurus, with a magnitude of 0.86. Magnitude is the logarithmic measurement of the brightness of the stars. Logarithmic means that each step of one magnitude changes the brightness by a factor of about 2.512. A magnitude 1 star is exactly a hundred times brighter than a magnitude 6 star, as the difference of five magnitude steps corresponds to 2.512 multiplied by 5, which is 100.Castor and Pollux - in Gemini with magnitudes of 1.93 and 1.14Betelgeuse - in Orion with a magnitude of 0.42Procyon - in the Small Dog, with a magnitude of 0.34And Sirius - in the Big Dog. With a mgnitude of -1.46, Sirius is among the brightest stars in the sky. By convention, the brighter the star, the smaller the number and so some stars and objects have negative magnitudes, like Sirius, or like the International Space Station which can reach up to -6 magnitude, or the full Moon, which has a magnitude of -13. The big dog constellation finally looks the right way up heading also to the western horizon too. From it, turn your gaze left. Nearby comes Canopus -0.72, the second brightest star in the sky. Canopus is not in the white band of the Milky Way. Standing tall, Canopus is high in the sky. Canopus is a circumpolar star from Wellington, which means that it goes around in circles in 23 hours and 56 minutes, riding the celestial Ferris wheel of the Southern Skies, a giant wheel that never stops, day after day, in a sidereal time cycle, as long as the Earth is turning. Besides Canopus, there are other stars lighting the gondolas of the big wheel but not each and every gondola has a bright star inside. If Canopus is on the top of the big wheel then just imagine that the diameter of the wheel is from Canopus to the horizon. Looking clockwise from Canopus in the 4 o'clock position on the wheel is the Lone Star, Achernar. Achernar marks the end of the grand river Eridanus, the river-asterism that flows all the way from Orion to the southern world. At 0.4 magnitude it shines bright in a region that seems devoid of other stars. Lower down, a peacock (Pavo) takes a ride on the wheel. It's main star, which carries the mundane name of Alpha Pavonis (which literally means the brightest star in Pavo), is in the 7 o'clock position on the giant turning wheel, almost as if is just hanging on the side.Following the imaginary curve of the wheel, two very bright stars show up closer to the 10 o'clock position. Firstly, the third brightest star in the sky and our closest neighbour, Alpha Centauri, and then Beta Centauri. They point up at the Southern Cross which is even higher than them in the sky at this time of the year. And one of my favourites, the hypergiant Eta Carinae is somewhere in between Canopus and the Southern Cross. All these stars make the imaginary big wheel.The sky looks almost devoid of stars anywhere inside my celestial Ferris wheel, with two exceptions. Let's split it in two with a diametral line that links the Alpha and Gamma Crucis, stars of the Southern Cross to lonely Achernar. On the same side as the pointers of the Southern Cross, you will find the Small Magellanic Cloud, a beautiful bright galaxy, that looks to the untrained eye (like mine) like a cirrus cloud hanging in space, 200,000 light years away. On the other side of the semicircle, another galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud compensates its loneliness by its size, from 150,000 light years away. These so called clouds that neighbour our galactic presence are visually two thirds away from the Southern cross and one third from Achernar. There is nothing else too bright within the big wheel, maybe because the wheel is inhabited by this giant spider, the Tarantula Nebula that has its nest inside the Large Magellanic Cloud. You can see its beautiful wisps through a telescope, although it is very faint. The tarantula nebula is a star-forming region, also known as 30 Doradus, and according to NASA is one of the largest star forming regions, located close to the Milky Way. About 2,400 massive stars in the center of 30 Doradus produce intense radiation and powerful winds as they blow off material into space.While the Large Magellanic Cloud is enormous on a human scale, it is in fact less than one tenth the mass of our home galaxy. It spans just 14,000 light-years compared to about 100,000 light-years for the Milky Way and it is classified as an irregular dwarf galaxy. The ESO astronomers believe that its irregularity, combined with its prominent central bar of stars suggests to astronomers that tidal interactions with the Milky Way and fellow Local Group galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud, could have distorted its shape from a classic barred spiral into its modern, more chaotic form.Crux, the Southern Cross, is no stranger to the northern hemisphere and it was entirely visible as far north as Britain in the fourth millennium BC. The Greeks could see it too but since then, the precession of the equinoxes, the wobble of Earth, its gyroscopic dance on the orbit has changed the skies a lot so that now Crux is only visible in the Northern Hemisphere from as far south as 25 degrees latitude north. Florida Keys, Puerto Rico, the islands of the Caribbean, as well as Hawaii are its northern limit of visibility. Near the Southern Cross, there is a dark patch of dust that masks the light that comes from the stars behind it and that is known as the coalsack. Inside the coalsack, the Jewel Box is one of my favourite sights that I visit over and over with the telescope. Lower down on the path of the Milky Way the two pointers look now as if they are hanging from the Southern Cross. First comes Beta Centauri then the famous Alpha Centauri. For Maori they are also known in a different time of the year as the rope of an anchor. Here in Aotearoa, the Maori have three names for the same asterisms (groupings of stars) at different times of the year. What we know as Scorpius is now called Manaia Ki Te Rangi, the guardian of the skies. The messenger between the earthly world of mortals and the domain of the spirits, Mania also resembles to a seahorse and its symbol is used as a guardian against evil. Often you will see Maori people wearing a greenstone in Maori named pounamu Manaia as a taonga, a necklace.Lower on the Horizon, at a magnitude of +0.95, red giant Antares shines as the brightest star in Scorpius. Right next to it, its rival, Ares by its Greek name, or Mars as we all know it better, is challenging the giant's red hue with its own red glimmer. This is how Antares got its name, as being the rival of Ares, Ant-Ares, the rival of Mars. As the Milky Way splits the sky into two sectors, through the northeastern horizon runs the ecliptic, a lower arch, the plane of our solar system bearing the zodiacal constellations. They intersect the Milky Way right on the horizon. First to set on the western horizon, is Taurus and of it, just Aldebaran is left gleaming faintly as it passes beyond the edge of the world. The arch of the ecliptic climbs through Gemini, holder of the two bright stars Castor and Pollux, then higher up, Cancer is almost invisible to the untrained eye, a good peripheral vision training object. Leo, with the Royal Star Regulus is now host to the bright planet Jupiter, then comes Virgo with its bright star Spica, then Libra with Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali the severed claws of Scorpius repurposed into a balance for Justice by the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar. Finally the arch curves down onto the western horizon where Scorpius with red Antares is carrying Red Mars. They appear around 10 PM followed by Saturn about forty minutes later. Mars will brighten steadily through the month as we catch up on it. Its distance shrinks from 118 million km away at the beginning of April to 88 million km away at the end of the month. It remains a small object in a telescope. According to our very own Alan Gilmore who received a lot fan mail about the subject, as probably did all of us, in the mid-month a telescope needs to magnify 130 times to make Mars look as big as the Moon does to the naked eye. Saturn rises after 10:20 pm NZDT at the beginning of April; around 7:20 NZST by month's end. This also means that daylight saving starts soon and with it we will get an extra hour of sleep. Saturn is straight below Antares. If you have never seen Saturn through a telescope, the hunting season is about to open. A small telescope shows Saturn as an oval, the rings and planet blended. Larger telescopes separate the planet and rings and may show Saturn's moons looking like faint stars close to the planet. The best comment that I hear over and over from people looking through the telescope at Saturn for the first time after the ubiquitous wow is how much Saturn looks like... Saturn. Titan, one of the biggest moons in the solar system, orbits about four ring diameters from the planet. Saturn is 1400 million km away mid-month. Mercury might be seen setting in the bright twilight mid-month. It looks like a lone bright star on the northwest skyline. This almost concludes our Night Sky South report for April 2016 but before I leave you with the peace of the night sky, I just want to quickly show you only two deep sky objects visually close to Jupiter, currently the luminary of the night sky. Jupiter is in Leo. Neighbouring Leo are Sextans and Hydra. Sextans is a "minor" equatorial constellation, a designation that made me smile. This constellation was actually invented by the famous stellar cartographer Johannes Hevelius to celebrate his sextant, a beloved instrument he used to map the sky. A copy of his famous maps adorns the ceiling of our beautiful library inside Space Place at Carter Observatory. Unknown to Hevelius, inside the celestial Sextant there is a bright galaxy NGC 3115, also known as the Spindle Galaxy. According to NASA, this field lenticular galaxy, several times bigger than the Milky Way, holds the nearest billion-solar-mass black hole to Earth whereas our supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, called Sagittarius A, has a mass only equal to about 4 million suns.The other object that I want to show you is inside the largest of the 88 constellations in the sky, Hydra, and close to the current position of Jupiter. The remains of a dying star form a planetary nebula called NGC 3242 and nicknamed "The Ghost Of Jupiter". A planetary nebula is a slowly dying star, a star that is not too big not too small, anything say in the range of 0.8 - 8 solar masses. Planetary nebulae are beautifully coloured and it is believed that they may play a crucial role in the chemical evolution of the Milky Way, blowing out their chemical elements to the interstellar medium. Now these are the same chemical elements that make our bones, construct our skin, and basically are both the building bricks of who we are and what keeps us alive. And all these chemical elements we have on Earth have all been through the hearts of stars. I get many comments a lot of times from people telling me how small and daunted, dwarfed and insignificant they feel when they look at the stars. And that they deliberately avoid looking up. It took me many years to get my head around this but when I look up to the sky, I know for sure that I am made of stardust, and that makes me glow every day.From Space Place at Carter Observatory here in the southern hemisphere I wish a you clear and dark skies so that we can always see the stars and remember that we are made of the same stars dust as they are.Special Thanks go to the amazing Rhian Sheehan, Peter Detterline, Chief Astronomer of the Mars Society, Alan Gilmore from University of Canterbury and to Toa Nutone Wii Te Arei Waaka from the Society for Maori Astronomy and Traditions.

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  • The night sky for March 2016

    · 00:26:31 · The night sky this month

    Northern HemisphereIan Morison tells us what we can see in the northern hemisphere night sky during March 2016.Highlights March - A superb month to view JupiterThis is a superb month to observe Jupiter. It now lies in Leo and so is still reasonably high in the ecliptic and hence, when due south at an elevation of ~48 degrees. Sadly, this peak elevations is reducing at each apparition. The features seen in the Jovian atmosphere have been changing quite significantly over the last few years - for a while the South Equatorial Belt vanished completely (as seen in Damian's image) but has now returned to its normal wide state. March: Look for the Great Red Spot on Jupiter This list gives some of the best evening times during March to observe the Great Red Spot which should then lie on the central meridian of the planet. 1st23:104th20:396th22:1711th21:2413th23:0216th20:3118th22:0920th23:4723rd21:1725th22:5528th20:2430th22:02March 5th, before dawn: Saturn, Mars and Antares. Before dawn this morning, Saturn and Mars will be seen above the star Antares, in Scorpius. March 16th before dawn: Mars very close to Beta Scorpii. Before dawn on the 16th, Mars will be seen in very close proximity to the star Beta Scorpii - the topmost star in the scorpion's tail fan. March 16th - evening: the Moon occults the star 26 Geminorum. Shortly after 7 pm - the exact time depending on your location in the UK - the fifth magnitude star, 26 Geminorum, will be occulted by the dark side of the Moon appearing again around an hour or so later. It is quite interesting to see the star suddenly disappear from view! March 16th ~10 pm: Ganymede and Io transit Jupiter. Around 9 - 11 pm on the 16th, first Ganymede and then Io will be seen to transit Jupiter - with their shadows (which are more obvious) - trailing behind. March 20th: Jupiter and the Moon. On the night of the 20th March, the Moon will be nearing Jupiter - as seen in the image around 10 pm in the evening. March 16th and 29th: The Alpine ValleyThese are two good nights to observe an interesting feature on the Moon if you have a small telescope. Close to the limb is the Appenine mountain chain that marks the edge of Mare Imbrium. Towards the upper end you should see the cleft across them called the Alpine valley. It is about 7 miles wide and 79 miles long. As shown in the image is a thin rill runs along its length which is quite a challenge to observe. The dark crater Plato will also be visible nearby. You may also see the shadow cast by the mountain Mons Piton lying not far away in Mare Imbrium. This is a very interesting region of the Moon! M16, the Eagle nebula, imaged with the Faulkes Telescope This image was taken using the Faulkes Telescope North by Daniel Duggan - for some time a member of the Faulkes telescope team. It is a region of dust and gas where stars are now forming. The ultraviolet light from young blue stars is stripping the electrons from hydrogen atoms so this region contains ionized hydrogen and is called an HII region. As the electrons drop back down through the hydrogen energy levels as the atoms re-form, red light at the H alpha wavelength is emitted. This "true colour" image is composed of red, green and blue images along with a narrow band H alpha image. A Hubble image of the central region, called the "Pillars of Creation", has become quite famous but looks green/blue in colour. This is a false colour image where the H alpha image has been encoded as green! Observe the International Space StationUse the link below to find when the space station will be visible in the next few days. In general, the space station can be seen either in the hour or so before dawn or the hour or so after sunset - this is because it is dark and yet the Sun is not too far below the horizon so that it can light up the space station. As the orbit only just gets up the the latitude of the UK it will usually be seen to the south, and is only visible for a minute or so at each sighting. Note that as it is in low-earth orbit the sighting details vary quite considerably across the UK. The NASA website linked to below gives details for several cities in the UK. (Across the world too for foreign visitors to this web page.)Find details of sighting possibilities from your location from: Location IndexSee where the space station is now: Current Position The StarsThe Early Evening March SkyThis map shows the constellations seen in the south during the early evening. The brilliant constellation of Orion is seen in the south. Moving up and to the right - following the line of the three stars of Orion's belt - brings one to Taurus; the head of the bull being outlined by the V-shaped cluster called the Hyades with its eye delineated by the orange red star Aldebaran. Further up to the right lies the Pleaides Cluster. Towards the zenith from Taurus lies the constellation Auriga, whose brightest star Capella will be nearly overhead. To the upper left of Orion lie the heavenly twins, or Gemini, their heads indicated by the two bright stars Castor and Pollux. Down to the lower left of Orion lies the brightest star in the northern sky, Sirius, in the consteallation Canis Major. Up and to the left of Sirius is Procyon in Canis Minor. Rising in the East is the constellation of Leo, the Lion, with the planet Saturn up and to the right of Regulus its brightest star. Continuing in this direction towards Gemini is the faint constellation of Cancer with its open cluster Praesepe (also called the Beehive Cluster),the 44th object in Messier's catalogue. On a dark night it is a nice object to observe with binoculars. The Late Evening March SkyThis map shows the constellations seen in the south around midnight.The Planets JupiterJupiter reaches opposition on the 8th of March, so this is a superb month to observe it - visible through the whole of the night. It starts March shining at at magnitude -2.5, dropping slightly to -2.4 as the month progresses. Jupiter is still moving slowly westwards across the lower part of Leo towards Regulus. The size of Jupiter's disk falls slightly from 44.4 to 43.7 arc seconds as March progresses. With a small telescope one should be easily able to see the equatorial bands in the atmosphere, sometimes the Great Red Spot and up to four of the Gallilean moons as they weave their way around it.See highlights above. SaturnSaturn is lying in the southern part of Ophiuchus 7 degrees up and to the left of Antares in Scorpius and will begin its retrograde motion westwards across the heavens on March 25th. It rises around midnight and will be high enough in the south-south-east before dawn to make out the beautiful ring system which has now opened out to ~26 degrees - virtually as open as they ever become. Its diameter increases from 16.5 to 17.4 arc seconds during the month as its magnitude increases from +0.5 to +0.3. During the month Mars gradually moves closer to Saturn; initially some 17 degrees down to its lower right, but ending the month just 9 degrees distant. If only it were higher in the ecliptic; its elevation never gets above ~19 degrees and so the atmosphere will hinder our view of this most beautiful planet.See highlight above. MercuryMercury passes behind the Sun (superior conjunction) on the 23rd so this is not a good month to observe it. MarsMars, moving eastwards relative to the stars, starts the month in Libra and moves into Scorpius on the 14th of the month when it will lie very close to the star Acrab which forms the uppermost star of the fan of stars up to the right of Antares. It is best seen due south before dawn but, sadly, like Saturn will then be only ~19 degrees above the horizon. It increases in magnitude from +0.3 to -0.1 during the month as the angular size of its disk increases from 8.7 up to 11.7 arc seconds. Given good 'seeing' some features on the disk should now be visible such as the North Polar Cap and Syrtis Major. At opposition at the end of May the disk will be over 15 arc seconds across. Venus Venus rises in the east-southeast about an hour before sunrise as March begins but only about 25 minutes by month's end. It magnitude stays steady at -3.8 as it slips into the sun' glare. A low horizon will be needed to spot it before it becomes hidden behind the Sun in April. The MoonNew moonFirst quarterFull moonLast quarter9 March14 March23 March1 and 31 MarchSouthern HemisphereWelcome to the month of March. My name is Haritina Mogosanu and tonight I'm your starryteller from Space Place at Carter Observatory in Aotearoa, New Zealand.As autumn starts in the southern hemisphere, at nightfall, half of our galaxy, the Milky Way, arches across the night sky from NNE to SSW like a river flowing through the heights of the heavens. Its edge is towards the western horizon and its centre rises in the east. At the fringe of our milky city of stars, on the north-western horizon, the Pleiades, the Shining Ones (Te Tawhiti) are preparing for the journey to the underworld. They are to disappear shortly behind the Sun and will stay there for a while. And the explanation goes that since people of old did not really have an explanation about space, in trying to figure out where exactly the Pleiades went, they invented an underworld. This is probably one of the reasons why this group of stars is so linked to stories of death, rebirth and ancestors, and used to mark the beginning of the year in some cultures. The Pleiades are a very special group of stars. They are located in the zodiacal constellation of Taurus, one degree from the ecliptic, which is the width of your pinky if you hold it at arm’s length. That is if you can find the ecliptic, of course! The ecliptic is an imaginary line. It marks the path of the Sun in the sky. Therefore you can see the Pleiades practically from any place on Earth, any place where you can see the Sun. They are very famous. People of old measured the quality of their eyesight by counting how many stars they could see there. Probably still six, even if they are called the seven stars, as the seventh married a mortal about two thousand years ago and was demoted from the heavens (according to an ancient Greek legend). Being so bright, packed, and visible most of the time, makes them unique among the objects that we can see in the night sky. But what do we see when we look at the sky? I always have been fascinated observing children looking at the sky. First they see the Moon, then as they get used to that, they start to see the planets as the brighter dots of light. The Pleiades are among the first stars in children's stories and they are indeed cyphered in many cultures of the world, almost all of them referencing the cluster. However, one culture above all has given it different names at different times of the year. This is the Maori culture. The following saying can be found in Taumata O Te Ra Marae: "Ko Ranginui te atua matua, ka tuku taku ihi he atua, ka tuku taku ihi he tangata." - The many stars adorn me. Puanga, Rehua, Takurua. They are here. - But Matariki only comes once a year and at the same time each year. It is the sign of the Maori New Year. We shall await the return of Matariki - Pleiades and watch them rising before the Sun, after the longest night of the year, here in Aotearoa. Until then, we should bid farewell to Te Tawhiti - Pleiades as they slowly drop from the western horizon into the world of light. Above the Pleiades, orange Aldebaran is also descending from the heavens. Climbing up on the Milky Way, Betelgeuse and the big Egyptian dog Sirius lie on one side of the celestial river whilst Procyon, the small Egyptian dog, lies on the other side. The three make a beautiful triangle. Its tip, marked by Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, points at Canopus - Atutahi, the cat star, as I call it, the second brightest in the sky, which, like a good cat, is watching over the Earth from above. High in the sky, Canopus marks the midpoint between the centre of our galaxy and its edge. The Milky Way then flows down from the sky through the False Cross, the Diamond Cross and the Southern Cross. The pointer stars hang from it: Beta Centauri, and the third brightest star in the sky and our closest neighbour, Alpha Centauri. Low on the eastern horizon the Milky Way ends in Sargas the first brightest star to rise from Scorpius. Theta Scorpii has the traditional name Sargas, which it is believed to be of Sumerian origin. Sargas appears on the flag of Brazil, symbolising the state of Alagoas.The Milky Way splits the sky in two: through the northeastern horizon runs the ecliptic, a lower arch, the plane of our solar system bearing the zodiacal constellations. They intersect the Milky Way right on the horizon. Taurus (just setting), Gemini, Cancer, Leo, carrying the bright planet Jupiter, then Virgo, Libra and the first stars of Scorpius rising. The ecliptic is, as I said before, the apparent path of the Sun on the celestial sphere. It also refers to the plane of this path, which is coplanar with the orbit of Earth around the Sun (and hence the apparent orbit of the Sun around Earth). The orbits of the planets are also coplanar because during the Solar System's formation, the planets formed out of a disk of dust which surrounded the Sun. Because that disk of dust was a disk, all in a plane, all of the planets formed in a plane as well. Rings and disks are common in astronomy. And since our eight planets orbit roughly in the same plane, if you ever wonder where to see them in our sky, turn your gaze towards the ecliptic. Chances are that bright stars that shine on roughly the same path where you would normally see the Sun in the daytime, are in fact planets. Planets are wanderers through the ecliptic, which is exactly what the name planithos meant in Greek: wanderer. They are following their own avenues in the celestial silence, and their positions are given by coordinates called ephemerides. And since we put astro into biology, or the other way around, you might wish to know that there are insects in the Amazon jungle also called ephemerides, which only live one day. Mars and Saturn appear in the late night sky. Mars rises after 11pm, a little south of due east. It looks like an orange-red star. Well to its right is the star Antares, also orange but a bit fainter than Mars. 'Antares' is Greek for 'rival to Mars'. Now Mars is brighter than its rival and will continue to brighten as we catch up on it. Over the month Mars will move down and right as it passes Antares. Saturn is directly below Antares, looking like an off-white star a little brighter than Antares. Saturn stays put through March, rising a little earlier each night. A telescope with a 20x magnification can show Saturn's rings. By the end of the month, Mars, Antares and Saturn make a large triangle in the east at 11pm.Venus, the brightest planet, rises due east around dawn. At the beginning of the month Mercury is below and right of Venus. Mercury slips lower as it moves to the other side of the Sun. It disappears mid-month.A total solar eclipse occurs on 9 March but is not visible from New Zealand. The moon's shadow crosses Indonesia and the western Pacific. On 23-24 March the full moon grazes the edge of the Earth's shadow. Around midnight the top edge of the Moon will look a little darker than the lower edge.Back to the evening sky, lower on the eastern horizon and close to the ecliptic, the third brightest star in the constellation of Scorpius is just barely visible. It was the Euphratean Sargas, lying in the Milky Way just south of lambda (Shaula) and upsilon (Lesath), with which it formed one of the seven pairs of Twin Stars; as such it was Ma-a-su. And it may have been, with iota, kappa, lambda (Shaula) and upsilon (Lesath), the Girtab of the lunar zodiac of that valley, the Vanant of Persia and Vanand of Sogdiana (an Iranian people), all meaning the "Seizer," "Smiter," or "Stinger"; but the Persian and Sogdian words generally are used for our Regulus. In Khorasmia these stars were Khachman, the Curved.Sargas is the most southerly bright star in the Scorpion, closely anchoring the southern curve of the scorpion's tail, and is invisible north of latitude of 50° N. The star's southerly position has allowed northern observers to use its visibility as a test of the night-sky brightness near the horizon. I said earlier that at this time of the year, the Milky Way is splitting the sky into two almost equal sides. We just looked at the part that holds the ecliptic, which in the Southern hemisphere, here in Wellington New Zealand, is located on the North part of the sky. Let’s do some star hopping to get to the other side, in the South. One of my favourite sports, star hopping is jumping from bright star to bright star, to reach fainter stars. Ready, set, go! We’ll start just above Virgo’s brightest star, Spica, and try to locate Corvus, the raven, one of my favourite constellations. Corvus is now flying on the eastern horizon at 20 degrees of south declination but 2000 years ago it lay equally on each side of the celestial equator. Spica and the two stars of Corvus, Algorab and Gienah are in a line. The other side of the quadrilateral that is Corvus, Algorab and Kratz (Beta corvii) make another line that extends all the way to the grand Omega Centauri globular cluster, which is still on the Northern side of the Milky Way. Further down, following the same line, you find Alpha Centauri, the third brightest star in the sky and our closest neighbour. Alpha Centauri and its pointer companion, Beta Centauri, point at the Southern Cross. Don’t be fooled… there are many crosses in the Milky Way, only one is the Southern Cross. Higher up than the Southern Cross, the Diamond Cross carries a mirror image of the Pleiades. As they prepare for their journey to the underworld at the fringe of our milky city of stars, on the north-western horizon, the Pleiades, the Shining Ones (Te Tawhiti) leave behind, here in the southern hemisphere a doppelgänger, the look alike, fake twin that never leaves the sky. Circumpolar to Wellington, the Diamond Cross can also be found by climbing up the milky river, two thirds from the side and one third from the center this is where you will find the optical asterism (pattern of stars) of the diamond cross. At the eastern end of it, a pair of binoculars will reveal ‘the Southern Pleiades’, which is a group of stars that at first sight look like the letter M to me. Theta Carinae cluster, also called the “Southern Pleiades” has an astronomical resemblance to the famed northern star cluster M45 in Taurus. Even though the cluster is not dipper-shaped like the Pleiades, it is also easily visible with the naked eye (but best with binoculars), quite young (about 30 million years old) and at almost the same distance from Earth (500 light years away). And just like M45, the Southern Pleiades is 15 light years across. And finally, on the other side of the Milky Way, in the south western sky, the Magellanic clouds are our neighbouring galaxies, circumpolar here in Wellington and always a little elusive to direct sight. The Magellanic clouds are the best training objects for averted vision, always look for them a little off to the side, while continuing to concentrate on them. On the first of March, Autumn officially started in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s a time of plenty, of harvest and the beginning of the spectacular season of stars.Clear and dark skies from Space Place at Carter Observatory here in the southern hemisphere.Special Thanks go to the amazing Rhian Sheehan, Peter Detterline, Chief Astronomer of the Mars Society, Alan Gilmore from University of Canterbury and to Toa Nutone Wii Te Arei Waaka from the Society for Maori Astronomy and Traditions.

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