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Say something no-one else can say
Episode 12119th December 2023 • The Happy Entrepreneur • The Happy Startup School
00:00:00 00:53:22

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"When you’re writing something about your business. Anything. If it could be used – intact and just as coherently – by any of your competitors. It’s not good enough. Say something that only you can say, instead."

Mychael Owen is an enigma. He started his first business at university, won a few awards and by 25 was advising other people how to start and grow businesses By 30 he'd started his first agency, employed 30 people with a turnover of £1.5m.

On the surface everything looked great. But soon he started meddling. He was bored, restless and distracted.

At 45 he realised that he craved being truly creative again, doing something he felt he was born to do. in short he was rudderless.

So he did something drastic – over the next 6 months he closed all of his businesses. The change included

  • 'Wasting' (by the old rules) £100k on a business he didn't understand
  • A couple of minor breakdowns
  • Choosing to seek out a new tribe because his old tribe didn't understand him any more and
  • The unearthing of a four step journey back via 1. generosity, 2. value, 3. confidence, 4. preeminence.

Mychael now has something that makes him money and makes him happy because he stops businesses becoming boring, and through his various other projects he meets his needs for writingdesigning and hosting.

Despite years of entrepreneurial experience, by his own admission he's still winging it and regularly has doubts and fears like we all do.

But one thing he knows for sure is this: that the stories we tell matter. And that we should all tell more stories that other people can't tell.

Join Carlos and Laurence to hear what Mychael has to say about telling authentic stories that connect with others.

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Transcripts

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The topic of today, Let's say the title, 'cause sometimes the title

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doesn't match the topic at all.

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We just like, ah, that's an interesting title, but we're gonna talk about

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something completely different.

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But it is, say something no one else can say.

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And I was a attract, I was attracted to that title because of a blog post

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that I saw on Mychael's 50 odd blog, uh, around stories that make you feel,

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evoke emotion, that actually make you care about something, uh, whether it's

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a business or a project or a person.

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So I'm gonna park that for a little bit because Mychael just shared this

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idea of like, should he buy the shop?

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You know, this is, uh, this shop has appeared, uh, as an opportunity.

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And this morning at our Ideas Cafe, the title of the session was

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called How to Define Your Purpose.

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And one of the questions actually, a number of the people were asking

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similar questions like, how do I avoid following the shiny new thing?

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It's like, how do I stop getting distracted by the shiny new thing?

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Which was a really interesting question because it seems to be a question that

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people will ask whether they're at the start of a journey in the middle of

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the journey, at the end of a journey, there are opportunities or distractions

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depending how you wanna frame it, uh, and how do you determine which is which?

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So that's maybe a question that we are gonna tackle, um, throughout this.

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But before we dive deep, uh, I thought for those of you who are joining us today

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who have not met Mychael before, or not aware of his work, um, I thought we'd

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get you, Mychael, to just give us, uh, an overview, however you wanna describe

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that, of where you are now in terms of your, your work, your life, uh, and any

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significant relevant milestones given our conversation that got you to here.

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Well, the most important, bus, there are four businesses, basically, I'll tell

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you basically very briefly what they are.

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One of them is, um, it's, it's a holiday studio set up in Northumberland, an

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accidental business because we moved in the pandemic 'cause we were a

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bit bored, so we thought let's move.

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And we bought a house which had bits stuck on, which were a bit grubby and

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kind of a furniture designer, interior designer by trade 30 odd years ago.

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So we've done them more on people now come and stay and it's doing all right.

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I quite like that, but it's an accidental business.

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'cause we never imagined thought, let's just do it and see if

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people come and people came.

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Um, so that's one thing that's called old post office and it's in Northumberland.

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The second thing is I've gone back to my roots because I used to run, uh, four, um,

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creative agencies, design consultancies, brand consultancies and marketing

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agencies in conjunction for 15 ish years.

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And then I stopped all that can talk about that later.

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About when I was 45, I just stopped and did something else.

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But to come back to your question, what am I up to?

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All post office is one.

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Number two, I'm, I'm, I'm advising, uh, four businesses and how to become less

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boring actually, in short, that's my job.

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Um, 'cause most businesses, most businesses are very, very boring, I find,

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and I do that under the brand Mychael.

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So for the first time I've been ballsy enough to call something after me.

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'cause I can't hide anymore.

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You know, I go, wow.

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May as well.

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Fall after me.

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So those are the two things, or the four.

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The next one is this thing called Always Wear Red, which is a ridiculous,

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ridiculous idea because it can't make money and I don't know what I'm doing.

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But I've worked with the very best makers in the whole of the United

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Kingdom to produce what I think are the very best products of their kind,

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using the world's best materials.

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It's just so hard though, and I don't like it, so I'm gonna stop doing that.

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Um, and I've, and I've encased it in a new way of being, so it still stands alone,

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but I've shifted the purpose a little bit.

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So the first thing is the old post office.

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The second thing is brand consultancy, but with only four

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businesses that I want to work with.

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The third thing is a, a clothing brand which sells all over the world,

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actually called Always Wear Red.

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And the final thing is, I wondered when I reached 50, if I could write.

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'Cause I like writing, but I thought, I don't know if I can write compellingly.

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Well, I thought the best way I can work out, if I can write in a way

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that people want to read, and this is a great idea, I thought I'll write

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things and see if people wanna read it.

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And I know that sounds like I'm being patronizing, but the world's full of

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people I think, who go, I wonder if people would like it if I did this?

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And I go, well do it then.

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So I started writing 50 Odds co UK on my 50th birthday.

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And I thought, I'll write a story 'cause I'm 50 and I'm odd

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every day until I die, you know?

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And I did not die.

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I, I wrote, or uh, I wrote for two years.

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No, did I?

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Yeah, about a year and a half and then I stopped 'cause I was

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writing for the wrong reasons.

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And we can go into that if you like.

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But now I'm back again and I've started to write again on 50 odd,

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That is a rich set of pickings there for, for us to cover.

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What I'd like to start off with is the whole writing thing.

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Let's start with that.

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Yeah.

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Because I think that's something that a lot of, uh, people in our community

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will resonate with, particularly those on our Vision 2020 program is

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group coaching program that we run.

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And one of the, the final challenge we give them is to essentially,

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uh, think out loud by, uh, writing about their story on social media.

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And there's fear of whether I can, they can, you know, they have a story to tell.

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So maybe share with you your journey of.

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Just starting to write, and what is it about you that allowed you to just

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go with for it, and then how that evolved as you, as you kept on writing.

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So it's like Tourette's really.

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So I have ideas, uh, we, we all have ideas and then we make a decision about whether

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to push them down or say them out loud.

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The great thing about writing a blog is that when you launch

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the blog, no one's listening.

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only you are.

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It, it turned out after about a year that about 10,000 people a

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day would read what I'd written.

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And the only reason I know that is because a few hundred or low figure

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thousands would look on the blog itself.

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But with LinkedIn there are 20,000 people who, for whatever reason are

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linked to, to me, it would get pushed, certain things would get pushed and repu.

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You can count the numbers.

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Most of the time, well, all of the time.

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I think the biggest mistake that people make with any public conversation,

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including conversations like this, is they account for three audiences.

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They account for the, the perception they're creating of themself, the person

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they're talking to and thinking about the opinion of that person, but when you do

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it on a public forum, of course there's the third angle, which is everybody else.

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And I think that's a big mistake.

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And I think the thing that happens, mo, the reason why I think that the

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huge majority of LinkedIn and you know, many podcasts is that people

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say things based on what they think is the right thing to say based on

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the audience that might be listening.

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And that's why I think everyone sounds the bloody same.

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It's just really, really boring.

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So my daughter who's six doesn't do that because she doesn't know how to

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tailor her approach to other people.

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Sadly, by the time she's eight or 10, she probably will have learned

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that and the things she say will be infinitely less interesting.

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But I think we say the most interesting things before we're five and after we're

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either 50, 60, or 70, depends on when we reach that point where we start giving

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less of a shit about what people think.

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So the reason I write how I write is because I think, but most businesses

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I work with don't think right.

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What they do as a result of how is, as a result of how they think.

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But I was thinking recently, this word thinks happening a lot, isn't it?

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What do I actually do?

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Because brand consultancy sounds really boring as well.

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Most of the time I'm just saying to people, you're thinking about this wrong.

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And they'll go, what do you mean?

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I say, well, this is a much better way to think about it.

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So for example, I'll just give you an example.

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So most businesses I work with have no idea what their

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competitors are doing, really.

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No idea.

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So they don't know if they're better, worse, distinctly communicated,

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they just haven't got a bloody clue.

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But interestingly, you can go from not knowing what's going on to knowing

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what's going on, and then work out the best of your competitors and

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become an average of what they are.

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And businesses think that that's a better way to be, but it isn't because you

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are, to repeat the word I've just said, average, you're not better than anybody.

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You're just a diluted version of everybody, which means you have to

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go to the third position of being pioneering, which is really scary

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because there's no map for that.

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It's the snow that nobody's walked on.

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But what I'm doing, this is the kind of thing I'll say to a business,

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but that reaches one business, if I say on the, the, the forum, the

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50 odd thing, more people hear it and more people respond to it.

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And there was a weird spike with one story that I wrote that over

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a million people had a look at.

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And it's only happened once by the way, when it happened once, I thought, right.

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Millions of people that listen to me every day, but then they didn't.

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But one story kind of had ever such a lot of people listening to it.

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And I remember what it was.

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But to come back to your question about how and why and when I write,

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it was just a way of letting it out.

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I used the word Tourette's, so it's a Tourette's like behavior.

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This is what, this is the way I'm thinking today about this issue in my world.

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Maybe that's useful to you.

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And that's why I wrote.

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'cause I wanted to help people to be brave enough if you like to

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think a little bit differently.

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That's brilliant.

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That's gold.

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Thank you.

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And this whole fear of what people are gonna think about what you write,

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um, as John is saying, unfiltered.

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That's your way.

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Mychael Uhthe, this is the challenge that I'm hearing.

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I'm understanding even from my own perspective about writing and doing

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things, is the filters that we, we start to create for ourselves as we grow up,

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like you were saying, from the age, from the age of five or whatever, that

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young age where we start being told what's wrong and what's right and, uh,

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what's good and what's bad, and what's gonna make us be liked or not liked.

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Well, you can set your own brief.

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You can set your own brief.

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If you set the brief that with your writing, you want to be agreed with

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and understood, that's not my brief.

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I'm not interested in, um, whether people agree with what I say.

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'Cause if I was, I'd have to take into account the third audience, wouldn't I?

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I, there's just too odd.

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I don't account for them, and that's not being disrespectful,

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but I'm just being me.

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It's too much hard work to try and work out what they want me to say.

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I'm just, it, it's easier to work out what I think.

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And it's because in our, in the precursor to this, Carlos, you reminded me

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that some of the people that might be listening might be thinking of starting

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a new business or changing the business that they currently have or leaving

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where they are to do something else.

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And I always remember a specific moment in time where somebody who worked

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with me, for me, actually in one of my, one of my teams, went forward and

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said to me after I'd been doing, doing marketing and design for over 10 years

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and won 70 awards around the world.

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And they asked me about how I felt about brand, a very precise sub area

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I suppose of, well, one could argue whether one's a sub area of the other,

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but anyway, the very area brand.

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And I gave 'em a very odine, catchall response to what I thought about brand.

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And they lent forward to me.

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And this was the former head of planning and strategy at Sarchi's who said this

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to me and said, get a fucking opinion.

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And I said, what do you mean?

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He said, more specifically, you've already got an opinion.

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Give me your opinion, not what you think people want you to say

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to sell more brand consultancy.

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And I told him what I thought about how I really felt about brand.

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And he said, that's it.

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And I always remember that because the best advice, honestly, I've

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given to many businesses without the F word, is get an opinion.

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Just get your opinion out.

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It reminds me a bit of what Ted Hargrave was saying on a previous episode about

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having a philosophy, not, um, not wanting to say the right thing or be

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right, but just have a, have an opinion, have a philosophy, have a stance on, on

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something as an individual or a brand.

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Because, yeah, like you said, everything's just so vanilla, isn't it?

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Everyone's trying to say the cool new thing, rather than just say

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what's true for them and, and accepting that some people will,

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will like it and some people won't.

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And, and, uh, I think that's a struggle for a lot of people is when

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you have an opinion, you're basically putting a stake in the ground, which

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I think is really great and brave.

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But for some people can be, can feel risky 'cause they just wanna be liked.

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No one wants to get any people trolling them or any negative feedback.

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Um, but I'm a believer in that's, that goes with the territory really.

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The more you put your heart on the line, the more you're gonna find

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people who love you and people who maybe feel the opposite.

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When you're talking about opinions, it's virtually impossible to be wrong.

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There are certain isms that by definition are wrong from a societal point of view,

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but from a, from a business point of view, I believe, for example, that most

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marketing that I see is awful, awful.

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And I believe it's awful because of the following.

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This is my belief.

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The reason why I believe that most marketing is awful is because a lot

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of professional marketers aren't very good, and they do ordinary marketing,

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which makes marketing look easy.

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So people who are not very good marketers copy the crap marketing, and the crap

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marketing gets crapper because the non marketer is crapper than the ordinary

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marketer, and it's a downward spiral.

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So basically.

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you know, there are many, many marketers out there who do not

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understand the difference between differentiation and distinctiveness,

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IE, why something's different and better versus it kind of looking and

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feeling better than the other people.

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But instead, this is important.

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Instead of me just sitting here moaning about crappy marketers, encouraging non

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marketers to do even crappier marketing than they're doing, I wrote something.

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I wrote a tiny little digital book called A Brand, and I basically said,

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look, look, look, look, look, whether you're a marketer or a business owner,

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or a thisser or a thatter, there are 20 things that I can think of right

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now that if you knew whether to choose A or B, you would always be a better

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marketed business or a better marketer.

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So I wrote them down, I put them in this digital book, and I've pinned

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it to the top of my LinkedIn page.

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So basically the world's full of talkers.

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I didn't wanna be a talker.

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I wanted to be a doer because I think you're not what you

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say, you're what you do.

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So if someone said, oi, Mr.

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Big Head, then stop talking about crappy marketers and crappy marketing,

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help us to be better marketers.

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And I have.

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And by the way, you'll look at the book if you want to, 'cause it's

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there at the top of my LinkedIn page.

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And you'll either agree with it or you won't.

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But in my opinion, if you choose A and not B, for all of these 20 things

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in the way that you communicate your business, you'll be a better marketer

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within an hour, because it can be read within one hour or you'll be much better

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at a pointing a marketing company.

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Because the marketing company you see if they know the difference between

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A and B, because most of them don't.

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And the cycle goes around.

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If you wanna make a difference, make a difference.

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Because that's what I'm trying to do in my tiny little way.

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'Cause not many people listen to me rabbit on.

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but there you go.

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You know, that's an example of how I tried to go, look, if you wanna

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be a better marketer, in my opinion, choose A, not B on these 20 things,

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and you're immediately better.

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of the things, so you're not, uh, let's say you're not backward in coming

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forward, Mychael, which is great.

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Uh, you are very clear and, uh, about your opinion, and you're very, uh, how I,

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I'm hearing you, you're very aware that it is an opinion and it is a perspective.

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And so what I'm relating to in terms of, uh, John Paul's question is we

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can express an opinion or we can express a perspective, and there's

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potential that someone will have a different opinion or perspective.

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And so on one hand, there's this idea of being wrong, and there

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are times when you can be wrong.

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I know in maths I can tell my daughter, well, one plus one does not equal three.

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And that's because of the rules of maths, not because of some godly principle,

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it's just that the rules of the game.

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However, in a world of like complex ideas, shifting societies, different

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ways of doing things, what I would propose is perspectives our own

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all we have, I don't think there is an objective truth necessarily.

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There is harm, there is pain.

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There's being willfully disrespectful and not uncompassionate,

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if that is such a word.

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But if you are expressing a tr an opinion that you believe is maybe something you're

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developing as an idea or you strongly believe in because it's something that

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you think is, is from your own lived experience and isn't causing someone harm,

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but just something you wanna express, then there is no wrong or right there is

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there, it's just always a perspective.

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I'm just trying to give John Paul and anyone like them who is scared

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of saying something or expressing opinion or just sharing something

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like you were saying, this is what I think, uh, good marketing is, or a

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is wrong, B is right type approach.

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What would help them move forward with just being a bit

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more open with their ideas?

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Uh, calm down a bit really, because if you, it, it's kind of, don't, don't, don't

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take yourself too se seriously and you're not as important as you think you are.

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All of us, none of us are, are as important as we think we are.

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Uh, there are enough people who, it depends what change you wanna

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make, you know what I mean?

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If you wanna change the world, it's not gonna happen.

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Go into politics and kick out some of the people who are, who you don't like,

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who are not doing what you would do.

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But if this is a conversation about little old me or little old and young you, just

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fish where the fish are, be aware of the change that you think you can make,

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aNd don't take, I'll repeat myself.

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Don't take yourself too seriously.

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Don't think that you have to appease everyone because, not

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everyone's listening to you.

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It's, it's only you, you know?

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So a great way of thinking about it, someone mentioned to me once

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is if you was trying to flog Marmite, you've got a choice.

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Are you gonna sell more my Marmite by talking to people who like Marmite?

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Or are you gonna, is it gonna take longer and cost more money to

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convert people who don't Marmite, like Marmite to buy, to buy Marmite?

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You know, I would rather spend my money or n nearly all of it, on reminding people

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who like Marmite to buy more Marmite.

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So if you want to go right, we've got a new marketing strategy and the

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main strand is now converting them.

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What don't like Marmite to like Marmite.

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It's like they, but they don't like Marmite, you know, as well.

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Well, but they might like Marmite if they had it on brown

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toast instead of white toast.

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Maybe that.

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Yeah.

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But what about if we just try and remind and build a community

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around them what do like Marmite?

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Just talk?

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If you like Marmite, talk to the people who are like Marmite and if you don't.

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Talk to the people who don't.

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That's the answer in my mind, you know?

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Just don't think you're going to, if you wanna go off, go, I

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wanna change the world, fine.

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But you're not going to.

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That said, I need to put a bolt on.

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All four clients that I'm working with as a brand consultant or whatever I am.

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I am trying to get them to change their world.

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One example I'll give you, I'll just pick one of the companies.

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They, one of the, one, a client of mine, um, maps the ocean floor and understands

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the relationship between ship vessels and very, very important subsea cables.

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And they're doing everything they can to reduce cable strikes to zero.

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So they're all about reducing the world's cable strikes to zero.

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That's the headline.

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It's not Hello, we'll stop ships dropping anchor on your cable.

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They're basically saying if everybody used us, the world would change.

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And it bloody would because the world's cable strikes would

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reduce to zero or nearly zero.

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How do we know that?

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'cause they've been going for 16 years on almost every client has had the cable

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strikes drop to zero or nearly zero.

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So the point is, this gets coming back to marketing now.

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Their marketing message massively focuses on the global change that

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they can make within their niche.

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Based on a massive understanding and a track record of success.

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But coming back to what some people are asking, I think, it's understanding

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the rules of the game and when, when Kim, for example, is talking about what

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she's talking about, you know, perhaps people like, uh, JK Rowling are coming

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to mind and you can say the wrong thing and get canceled and things happen,

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but I wouldn't worry about that because I'm assuming that nobody in the room

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has got her money or profile or reach.

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So not that many people are listening.

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And I have to say, there are some areas which I wouldn't tiptoe into anyway 'cause

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they're just too messy, the world's messy.

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Um, just leave it, you know.

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Um, there's enough to do where you are.

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I think there's enough to do where I am.

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Um, everything I'm doing, I'm, I'm totally clear on the change I'm trying to make.

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Crystal clear.

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And I'm totally clear on how bad other people are at making the

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change I wanna make, and I'm totally clear on how I think I can make that

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change better, more quickly, more cost effectively, uh, than they can.

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And that's what I try and do.

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Well, I, which is always curious when someone says people out there

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can be so nasty and, um, there's a fear, like Mychael's got this kind of

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inner confidence, I think from your work and maybe the stage of life,

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uh, maybe caring a bit less about what people in inverted commas think.

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But I'm always curious about who are these people?

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Do you really care about what they think, or is it just the

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fact of being shot down in public?

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I'm pretending really to a degree, because we were lucky enough that 30

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consecutive people who stopped in our flipping one of our holiday studios

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were like five stars, et cetera.

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But you know that one person who gives you four and a half stars?

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That's, that's the one way you go, my God, what did we do?

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You know, we, we've gotta stop.

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Well, so I totally get cut, cut, cut to the core by people

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what don't like what we do.

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Mm-Hmm.

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But it's part, it, it's playing the game, isn't it?

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It's, it's, it, it, it's hurtful on a, especially when you're

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trying to be the best, you know?

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Mm-Hmm.

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Um, and, and best by the way, requires very clear definition.

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I, I have to say that in my opinion and experience best as a descriptor or as

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a business goal is of no value unless you actually define what that means.

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But the more precise you get in terms of what these terms mean, the smaller

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your world becomes and the more likely you are to , . I have to say.

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Because the best brands in the world, the best brands in the

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world, in my opinion, are the best.

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And by the way, this can be measured in terms of profitability

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and reach and longevity as well.

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Are the more narrowly focused brands, the ones that know who they are for.

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Most clients that I pick up don't really understand who their customer is or how

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clients and customers behave based on what a, the, what a brand actually says.

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I I, I'll just make sure one, one thing, which makes my head spin, so

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it'll make your head spin as well.

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Pro, pro, probably, I think the brand is.

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I can't remember if it's North Face or Berg House, I can't remember.

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But that the sentence that they talk about is we make clothing

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for mountaineers because our core customer is our consumers.

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This is massively important for every, anybody who's thinking of how to

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build a brand or run any business.

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We make clothing for mountaineers because our core customer is a commuter.

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But if you, Ima, and I kind of get that because of the, if it can, if it's great,

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if it's good enough to go up a Mountain Inn, then it's good enough for me to, to

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jump on a metro or a train or a bus with.

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But imagine if Berg House or North Face, I can't remember who it is,

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and I had this conversation with a guy called Nigel Caborn, who some of

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you will have heard about a hero of mine based up here in the northeast.

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Imagine if Berg House or North Face said we create clothing for commuters.

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I don't think many commuters would want to buy it 'cause it doesn't sound very sexy.

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So understanding how the messaging is built and how the brand is built and

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consumer behavior is so important.

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And I'm sorry to go off on one, but it's coming back to the fact I think

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that some people here might be thinking about starting or growing a business.

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There's something there around clarity and really knowing who you're speaking to

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and also, uh, knowing to the aspirations they may have and, and the, uh, the

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identity that they want to connect with from a, from creating that feeling of

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like, oh, I, I want to be a part of that.

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Then I think just dialing it back a little bit in terms of, Laurence was

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saying, okay, who are these people that might be wanting to attack or say

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something about What I'm gonna say?

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I wanna acknowledge what Mychael was saying is like, a lot of the time we, we

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don't necessarily reach as many people as we think we're gonna reach when we, when

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we post things online or write a blog.

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But we do want to reach people, so that's one thing.

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And so there is a need to reach people, particularly if you believe the work

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that you do is quite purposeful.

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There is a meaning to it as other than the money, and it's close to

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your heart and it's something that you believe in, you're passionate about.

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And it may be work that is quite, um, could be quite polarizing

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because of its opinion, because of its perspective, because it's

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dealing with, um, human emotions and behaviors and, and, and needs.

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And so on one hand I think there is a, there's an awareness that maybe

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the number of attacks that you might get might not be as big as you want.

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So there's the fear of the fear as opposed to the actual thing.

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But also.

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There is something here around how we deal with, with objective people

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who, who object to what we say.

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And I think, and I'm going to connect this because it isn't necessarily

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part of our business, but I remember a couple of years ago during the,

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when Black Lives Matters came to the fore in people's consciousness.

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And it was around the time when, uh, the incident with George Floyd, uh,

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and we were talking myself and Laurence about what can we say about this?

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Because a lot of people were saying, trying to present an opinion,

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trying to present a perspective, trying to present a stance.

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And like, and connecting this to what Mark's saying is we don't have to

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have an opinion on everything, but sometimes we want to share an opinion.

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And it's an exposing.

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Do you mean do you mean we the individual or the business?

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We individuals and the business To it, to an extent.

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The business is individuals, myself and Laurence.

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And we had, uh, well, I had definitely, uh, a reaction to

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it and, uh, an opinion about it.

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Um, but also not a very clear one, if that makes sense.

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Not something that I could say, all right, this is it.

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It is, but it is something that also I felt the need to share, that I

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didn't necessarily have a hundred percent clear opinion, but also

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I empathize with the situation.

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And so to be able to express that is scary because you think, all right,

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what, what are people gonna come back?

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And to express that really truthfully can be scary.

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'cause you feel that someone might come back at you with something, but you

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don't know what, and we dunno how much.

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And so there is a hesitancy to say, alright, this is what I believe.

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Because actually, you know, there is the ki the, even if it's just two comments,

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it's like the, the depth or the, the pain that that comment might cause could create

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some feeling of like, oh, oh dear, I'm, I'm now scared to say the wrong thing/

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I agree.

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By the way, nothing we can say is universally true, I think on any subject.

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Because context, timing, who is saying it, who is listening, how

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I feel when I'm saying it, how I feel when I'm listening to it.

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So in any conversation like this in a public forum, it's very important

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I think, to take into account that nothing that anybody can say is a

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hundred percent right or, or wrong, it's always somewhere in between.

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However, of course, if we're saying things like, you know, what happened with George

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Floyd was just something what happened and it didn't really matter, did it?

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Well, it was, hang on.

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I don't, I think universally that's not correct.

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But what happens at the other end, I'm gonna mention something about, the reason

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I'm precursory it with this mini ramble is I actually don't think any business,

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but this isn't a hundred percent true, it's 90 something percent true should

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say anything much on these subjects.

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And the reason is because, and I wrote about this and it did, I did get into a

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battle because brands don't really exist apart from in the mind of the consumer.

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So I actually, it was when the Queen died.

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LinkedIn, as you know, was flooded with people saying something about the Queen.

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And I didn't say anything.

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Not because I didn't think she was, well, I have, my personal view is, is over here.

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But the point is this, as an, this is why I, when I asked you, when you, who's we?

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I feel something, Myke, Mychael feels something, but I don't feel it's my

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place to be a brand and say something.

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And of course I'm scraping the surface here and, and it's bigger

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than my little comment, but I get confused sometimes because the,

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the, the, the perception around a brand and what it says is, is fluid.

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And this perhaps is the whole point actually.

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It's like a ball of string.

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It's fluid.

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It changes all the time.

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And it does frighten me a little bit.

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That might be what's really going on.

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I'm frightened to say something as a brand unless it's misconstrued.

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No, I think it's a really useful, important point because there's, there's

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this idea of the business and then there's the idea of the per people within the

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business and what they want to achieve.

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Yeah, yeah, yeah.

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And to be honest, our business is.

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Two people.

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And may, some people may perceive us to be bigger than, than, than what we are.

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But we are essentially two people with values, perspectives, needs, uh.

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Yeah

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uh, ideas.

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But I, I agree with you in terms of like what is the, what is the

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place of the Happy Startup School?

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What, what, what is happy start Startup School's need to say something and

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you know, it could be around race, it could be about climate change.

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It could about so many things.

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What is the businesses, you know?

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And that, and that's an interesting thing 'cause we start to detach or

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unattached things because like as people, we'll have our own opinions

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and our own beliefs and our own needs and our own feelings about something.

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But as a business, it's, it's, it's a collective maybe of, of things,

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but which also how, how does that, how do you come to a common stance?

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Okay, I'm gonna depersonalize my next comment, 'cause this is nothing

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to do with you, Carlos or me.

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Yeah.

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The reason, the reason why I think businesses should say less is because

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if we had a graph and basically it measured two things, what businesses

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actually say about a thing that they say they believe in or what, what

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businesses actually do about the thing that they say they believe in.

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They do bugger all.

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So I would much rather a business said bugger all and did something than actually

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said something and did bugger all.

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And an example of that is going back to something I said earlier, and by

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the way, I'll repeat this is nothing to do with anybody in the room.

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But just, just before the podcast came on, somebody who I think is, is, is,

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is part of this conversation, said, I'm thinking of doing a podcast.

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And I thought to myself, and in a blink of an eye, he's kind of going,

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I don't really know what to do.

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By the way, I'm not comparing someone wanting to do a, a podcast with,

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um, the gravity around what happened with George, but this is my point.

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This guy said, I'm thinking of doing a podcast.

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And I thought, well, I I, I, I do podcast with a number of

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people and I'm about to do one.

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So I sent him a direct message and said, if you wanna gimme a call next week,

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we'll have a chat about see if I can help.

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I didn't feel the need, depersonalize it to go on to LinkedIn and say in

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an open forum, if you want me to help you with your podcast, I'm Mr.

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Podcast, I'll help you.

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I'm just saying, this is going back to my point about this three

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people in conversation, I'll just said to you, if you want some, I'll

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help you, you know what I mean?

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If I can, if you want me to.

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So I just think there's a lot of people posturing.

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I really do.

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'cause there's things I believe in and I just do something.

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And I know it gets very confusing, uh, because sometimes I.

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There's this whole thing, you know, someone over here, but what is this?

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The virtue signaling, et cetera.

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I, I stay away from it.

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And it might because I'm scared to be honest, because I will get it wrong.

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'cause I'm clumsy and I'm Tourette's like in my work.

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But if I believe in a thing, I just do a thing.

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I don't need someone to, and I'm not, no one is saying this about anyone.

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I just do it.

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Uh, and if someone asks me a direct question as they are now,

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I'll flip flack around it as I am conscious of what I am I'm doing.

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I'll just say one more thing in the grand scheme of if this is meant to be a, a

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chat about building businesses and being happy by doing so and making change, I

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think we can navigate around these issues.

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And it's my fault that we've been on for about 10 minutes of a one hour-ish chat.

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I actually think that the short answer is, and this is me talking to me.

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Just don't go near it, just leave it alone.

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And if you wanna make a change, make it on a personal level.

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Business, you have a, a clear purpose or you bloody well

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should, just focus on that.

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And I know that's over simplistic.

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But I, I, I just hear so many people come up with excuses not to do a

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thing or say a thing or be a thing in this 1000 month long life of ours.

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'cause we're all gonna die in about a thousand months from being born

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because it's 84 years and, sorry, 83 years and four, three months.

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Just get on with it, you know?

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And if some berk is nasty, don't try and change them to stop being nasty.

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'Cause I've tried to do that.

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They're probably not even really nasty.

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They're just bored or stupid or, or drunk, you know what I mean?

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There's a difference of course between a nasty person and a, and an okay

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person who happens to say a nasty thing.

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But I, getting into all that, I haven't got time.

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You know, I've got businesses to run and so have you.

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So let's just do it.

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Like you're saying, there's, there's words and there's actions and there's influence.

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And I, I think our words can have influence, but I think ultimately it's

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what we do is what I'm hearing from you and how, how we actually move forward.

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'Cause there is a lot of talking out there and there is a lot of posturing

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and trying to show, and, and if anything, the whole world of influencer

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marketing is, is a prime example of a business built on, um, empty words.

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And, the kinds of people who are in our community are wanting to act.

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They are wanting to take steps forward and, and, and see these changes that they

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believe are important in the world, but are held back because of fear, because

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of maybe lack of clarity, because of some of the practical aspects of the passion

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that they have for something versus actually being able to create something

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that's sustainable and, and, and can, can speed them as well as feed the world

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On this subject.

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Always Wear Red is a company that I've invested six figures in, and it won't

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make money, it'll break even at best.

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And it's, it's real one, one of the reasons it exists.

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And I wrote about this on LinkedIn today, and I'm happy that if anybody

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wants to talk to me about it, it's very simple and it's to encourage

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people to stop making crap things.

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Just stop making crap because you can make crap.

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Just don't see it as a market gap for more crap so I can make the crap, you

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know, have a bloody good reason for now.

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The reason I'm saying this is because I do my business consultancy,

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some of which I adore, some of which I find a little bit chuggy.

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That makes me the money to allow me to do this thing over here.

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Because a subject we were supposed to be talking about, but I've

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knackered things by just going off on one, is I, I accidentally used

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the term to call us happy hedging.

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'Cause I kind of hedge across these businesses.

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Two of them make me money, two of them don't.

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Um, and I don't know what a laminate, if I get involved in this flipping, shop

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just around the corner, but if I buy it and it doesn't work out, it's your fault.

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Particularly the new lot vote that I, I should, I'll blame you.

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But what's my point there?

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My point there is be aware of the change you can make, but not take it too far.

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If it doesn't go far enough, that's just as bad.

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You know, I'll just make a thing to sell a thing and make some money and

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then when someone buys it and buns it in a cupboard, that's okay by me.

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It's not okay by me.

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'Cause the world's full of too much stuff, you know?

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Um, but to just, but to go too far and want to do something and, you know, the

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black life, all the, you know, these terrible, awful, hugely important things,

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I think they need a lot of consideration.

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You know, join a board, join a movement.

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Join a something separate from yourself, separate from your business over here.

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That's the way I would do it.

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They're not all the same thing.

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You know, your business can do something significant, but let's not pretend that

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we can change the, some of the most horrible things in the world with our

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businesses, 'cause we probably can't.

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But be part of the movement over here as an individual.

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Maybe if you really do believe in it, give them time.

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Give them support.

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Join a board.

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Become a non-executive director of something, and don't get paid.

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Just help out, you know?

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think what I'm getting from this is try not to bring or put the weights

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of change all on your own shoulders.

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Not to feel like, uh, it's only up to you to make these things happen.

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I think it's important, I feel, to be passionate about these things,

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to be passionate about change, but not necessarily to feel like you

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are, the buck stops with you first.

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Mm-Hmm.

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And when you're talking about join something, be part of something, I think

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it's, there's something about, with a lot of these complex challenges that we have,

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it's a collective action that's important.

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Absolutely, yeah.

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And for, for me, the interesting thing about collective action is you've gotta

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see other people wanting to take action or else you are the only person standing up.

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But if, like you are amongst a hundred people standing up

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and saying, do you know what?

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I wanna do this, I wanna do this, I want to, then it doesn't feel so hard.

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Because you're not a, you're not exposed and being alone.

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So for instance, like even with Kim and the fear of being attacked, it's like if

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you are standing up and you have another 99 people behind you at your back.

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Yeah.

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A lot easier to cope with the, the slings and arrows.

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But if you don't stand up and no one else stands up, then there's, there's

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a fear that basically I'm the only one.

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All I know with my time machine and my clear ability to see the future, tongue

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firmly in cheek is, all I know is that the boldness that might be missing

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from some of the people's very being today, when you're about to die, it

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will be more powerful than ever, because you'll realize that you're not gonna

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be here anymore and we're gonna die.

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So if you're gonna do a thing, do it now.

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But all, I guess all I'm saying is get the balance right.

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But I don't know what the balance is.

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I know what my balance is most of the time, not all the time.

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'cause I get loads of things wrong.

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You work out what your balance is, whether you're an Anya or a Chris or a

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Stephen, and then do what only you can do.

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And that brings us back to one of the things that I think,

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Carlos, you led this with.

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You know, say what only you can say.

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A neighbor of that is do what only you can do, based on where you are, how

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you're feeling, your age, your feeling.

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Because to repeat you, you'll wish you had when you are 95.

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Let's hope we all get to 95.

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You'll go, fuck what I wish I'd said it.

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You'll wish you'd said it and done it.

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You really will.

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I think

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And that it is that I think based on your own journey and this and me

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kind of interpreting it, you have to get to a certain point in life when

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you have those resources to draw on.

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It's like, oh, this is what I actually think.

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This is what I want to be uncompromising about.

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And I feel at some people from a young age have that perspective straight

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away, uh, however naive that may be.

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Some of others, like I count myself as like, I only have learned what I

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really believe in after 598 months.

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But then now it's my responsibility to talk about it.

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And this is when it's about dealing with the fear of saying something

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that only I can say, but being scared that people are gonna shoot me down.

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Yeah, yeah.

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Yeah.

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I think if we said anything that everybody agreed with, it's a

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pretty anodyne boring thing.

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I have to say, if you say it's a basic rule, which I would stand by is if

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the thing you are saying everybody agrees in, it's probably rubbish.

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It.

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It is, it's probably absolutely rubbish because some people, the

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power of what you're saying is because people don't agree with it.

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Because by the way, we've already said in this conversation, there are nasty people,

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there are assholes, there are idiots, there are people who are just nasty.

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Why would you want this?

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Everybody?

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I don't want to be, I'm not interested in them.

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I'm only interested in people who, you know, it was a Simon Sinek thing.

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Don't look for people who want to buy what you're selling.

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Look for people who believe what you believe.

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That's very important.

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You know, Simon Sinek, he's a little bit mainstream.

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Now, one might say other people think he's super duper.

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But yeah, look for people who, who believe what you believe.

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And that's the way communities are built, of course.

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And the way that the power of collective thinking in a, in a single ish

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direction can create change, I think.

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Look for people who believe what you believe.

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Don't try and convert everyone to believe what you believe.

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You've only got a thousand months.

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Hurry up.

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You know, ain't got long.

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But yeah, do something you believe in.

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You know, it's amazing.

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We sit here and I'll say, we, it's me.

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Do something you believe in.

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Uh, okay, well that sounds.

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Okay, don't then do something you don't believe in.

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No, but that was stupid.

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Well, do something you believe in then.

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It's not complex, you know what I mean?

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You have a choice.

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Do something you believe in or do something you don't give a toss about

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or do something you don't believe in.

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There's only one way I want to go.

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And I know I'm oversimplifying, but remember this hedging thing?

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I thought, I thought I was gonna become a multimillionaire with the

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clothing thing, doing a fashion brand.

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But everybody in fashion, almost everybody, you know, people like

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Simon Cotton, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful people in fashion, but

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most of them are driven by things.

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I don't get a toss about.

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Speed, you know, 900% markup, um, making everything the same.

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These are all the things that I really detest about, uh, you know,

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and pushing out payment times and not paying as much as one should.

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You know, I don't like any of that.

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And I'm not saying it's, it's all over, uh, that particular sector, but

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it's there to such an extent that I don't wanna be there, I'm leaving.

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Yeah, I think there, this is, this for us, for me, touches on some of the things

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that we, we try, we try to communicate to people in our community about

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sometimes if you're not sure what the, the mission is or, or what you believe

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in, there's, you can find the things you don't believe in and the, the, the

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enemies that you're trying to fight.

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And then that starts to bring some clarity as to where you wanna, where

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what you wanna show up to say, and the direction you want to go into.

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Before we leave, I thought, is there, um, anything, um, and also before we

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close, anywhere that you would like to push people or direct people to?

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50 odd, I have to say.

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50 odd is something that doesn't make me any money.

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It's just how I think.

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It may turn into a book one of these days 'cause people say it probably

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should, but the lasting thought is very kind of you, you know, Always Wear

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Red has things to sell between now and Christmas and probably for 2023 as well.

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And there's only one of almost everything we've done.

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So if you see something you want, you know, buy it 'cause

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there's only one of them.

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But to answer your question, I wanted to mention something that I think

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might be most useful to, to to, to whoever's listening, if you don't

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mind, on the subject of getting through confidence to preeminence.

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So when I, when I shut all the agencies down, you know, I'm pointing

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30 people, turnover a million and a half quid, I was lost completely.

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I'd lost my value, my sense of self, and that really frightened me.

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If I was less stupid than I am, I would've thought, I wonder what happens if I shut

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everything, you know, and earn nothing.

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Um, but I didn't.

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I just did it 'cause I'd had enough.

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It was making me ill so I stopped.

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I'm saying this because some of your gang might think, should I go, should I not go?

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Anyway, I wanted to mention quiet by accident.

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Carlos, you know this 'cause I mentioned it to you briefly.

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There was a four stage cycle I had to go through and I didn't even know

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I was going through it until I went, every time I do this, I feel better.

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And it was a following four steps.

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It was basically generosity value, confidence, preeminence.

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And quite by accident.

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I don't think I've nicked it from somewhere.

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But if I have it don't matter.

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'cause it works for me.

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You see, I think I'm quite good at something.

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I'm not quite sure what it is though.

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The things I'm doing now.

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I think I do them really well.

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I think I do.

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But of course, if people think I do, they buy them.

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If they don't, I don't.

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If they think I write well, they read it.

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If they don't, they don't.

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But I'll explain.

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I joined the board of a few things, the generosity bit to

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see if I could add value and, and something of significance to people.

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I did it for free.

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I gave away as much time as possible and it gave, it made me feel valued.

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And the more valued I felt, the more confident I became.

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And the more confident I became, the better I became at

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whatever it is I decided to do.

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So I have to say, as weird as it sounds, and I've not suddenly turned

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into Mother Teresa, I don't think.

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Every time I've, if, if, if I've ever been good at anything.

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It always started with generosity.

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Always generosity, value, confidence, preeminence.

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And I don't, I'm just wanting to say that because if anybody was

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ever feeling, I don't know if I can do this, give stuff away.

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Get off your backside, get up two hours earlier, stay up two hours later.

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Don't have your first beer at six o'clock.

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Have it when you get home after 10 o'clock.

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And just do something for nothing.

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Makes you feel amazing.

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You'll, as long as you're good at what you're doing, you'll get the confidence to

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take you to excellence, if indeed that's where I am in anything that I'm doing.

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But I just wanted to mention that as the lasting notion, if that's okay.

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No,

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that's, that's excellent.

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I like that.

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And I know Laurence, it reminds me of you starting off in web design.

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Oh god, that's a segue.

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Um, yeah, I dunno if I gave anything away.

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I think, well I probably did loads of stuff 'cause no one would

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pay me rather than gave it away.

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Yeah, you did it because you enjoyed it and then you got better.

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That was more like not wanting to get paid for something

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that I literally couldn't do.

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But no, I, I love the process.

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Like you said, it's, I, I guess in some ways it's part of the advice we

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give people at the start is just, just get out there and start doing stuff.

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Don't hide away pretending you know it all.

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It leads to serendipity as well, doesn't it?

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You know, by

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Absolutely.

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Just being in front of people and yeah, building confidence and

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connecting with random people that you might otherwise never meet.

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I was just curious about Martin's final part in question about with

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the shop, um, Mychael, is there something that you could do with

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the shop that no one else could do?

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Link back to the, uh, theme of the session.

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I think I, it, it joins the dots for me.

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Um, I won't go into it now, but it, it kind of makes sense.

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I'm just thinking, oh.

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I'm 50.

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It's kind of, I'm thinking I'm 600 and something months old.

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I'm, I'm, I meant to calm down now and go and grow some veg?

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I don't think you can do that.

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Mm-Hmm.

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So, yeah, I can, I can, I can do something with it.

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I think

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Catch the space.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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So, uh, uh, happy Startup up summer camp, we, uh, had, uh, a woman

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called Ayse Birsel talk about, uh, design the long life you love.

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Uh, uh, so on one hand it's about how, um, businesses are making and

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designing products and services and forgetting that there's gonna be a

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lot more older people, and how are you including them in the design process?

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Uh, and secondly, since we are potentially gonna, you know, we might go beyond

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the 80 years, the thousand months, what is it that we wanna do with those

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remaining 300 months that are there?

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And being able to take, I think, approach it with some level of intention and

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consciousness and design and energy.

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And this is something I'm taking away from this conversation, Mychael, is that

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the energy and the passion that you bring to, to the, to your work and also to

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your ideas, how can we infuse the rest of these months with that energy to not

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just have this slow trudge to retirement and, and whatever that means for us.

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A better question than what do you do?

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What are you for?

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And I know that sounds weird, but we, we meet people at a party or

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something, ah, what do you do?

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I'm sure we're not gonna go, oh, hello.

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What are you for?

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'cause we're not gonna make many friends, but it's a much better question.

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What are you actually for?

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Nice.

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Awesome.

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Well, thank you very much Mychael.

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Really, really grateful for your time.

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Yeah, likewise.

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And, and, and knowledge.

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Thank you everyone else for your interactions on the chat

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and sharing your questions.

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And yeah, pushing us down this direction I think is really helpful to have that.

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Until next time, thank you very Mychael.

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Thank you very much, Laurence.

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Thank you.

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Thanks Mychael.

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Take care.

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Take care everyone.