“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
– Socrates (via Plato’s Apology).
There’s a lot of bullshit in the world – especially in the ‘expertise’ business.
We can graze Wikipedia, do a couple of courses or read a couple of books … and we’re good to go. Ready to sell our shiny new skills.
But is that expertise?
This was on my mind when I started Stories Mean Business. I had two decades of experience running a story-driven agency, and three five-star novels on Amazon … but did that qualify me to call myself any kind of expert?
My head said yes. My heart said no (for two reasons).
Firstly, I kept remembering this weird moment I’d had a few years into growing my agency. I was in a tricky client meeting and I realised, almost as an aside, that somewhere along the line I’d stopped faking it. That I actually knew what I was doing.
But yeah … it had taken a few years.
Secondly, I had this thing stuck in my head from university. I’d been in a tutorial with one of my professors, bragging about how many books I had in my bag. He’d smiled at me like a small child and casually devastated me with the following line … “Of course, research without execution is really just reading.”
(I’d always been proud of my reading.)
For him, execution meant getting the ideas out of books. It meant testing them out, turning them over, bashing them together and … most of all … it coming up with my own stuff.
It meant Thinking.
Books matter. Courses matter. But expertise comes from execution, feedback and thinking. Real experts have scars. They’ve earned it. They’ve shed blood for it.
So there I was at the start of Stories Mean Business, looking for ways to bleed.
I needed a forcing function.
So in August 2019, I came up with a simple challenge to help move my heart to where my head was.
Push something out into the world, every day. Some idea. Some thought. Something.
The length didn’t matter, the important thing was the discipline.
Every. Single. Day.
The birth of the podcast
It started with video and soon switched to the world’s slackest podcast. 5-10 minutes of me talking about business, story, or strategy.
The Stories Mean Business podcast (previously StoryHacker) has had almost 30,000 downloads. It’s my studio, my library and my laboratory.
But most of all … it keeps me
bleeding thinking. Here’s a cross-section:
- Walt Disney’s Business Strategy
- Bloody Bad Language
- The 3 Things That Matter
- Eating more dog food
- A million bricks versus one mansion
- Surfing the network effect
- The Velvet Magnet
- Memory & Emotion
- The Virtuous Circle
- To know and not to do
- Strategic use of the F-Word
- The Fish hook and the Question Mark
- Simplicity sells and Simplicity in general.
- Survivorship Bias
- The Manifesto