On this episode of the podcast, we spoke with Mark Schaefer, someone I’ve known for nearly a decade. We first met in 2012 after he published the best selling book “Return on Influence” while I was the CEO of influencer platform Kred.
He’s also the author of the world’s best-selling book on Twitter, The Tao of Twitter, as well as a raft of other books such as The Content Code about content marketing and “KNOWN” a book on personal branding. I was also fortunate to be featured in his “book “Marketing Rebellion” – an Amazon best-seller.
His new book, “Cumulative Advantage: How to Build Momentum for Your Ideas, Business, and Life Against All Odds” guides readers on a path that helps them stand out in a world of overwhelming information density — when sometimes even being “great” is not enough.
Filled with motivating ideas and fascinating case studies, Cumulative Advantage is an indispensable and practical source of inspiration for every person with a dream that’s ready to take flight.
We had a fascinating discussion that I know you will enjoy.
Topics covered included:
- The genesis of influencer marketing
- How we can all gain a cumulative advantage
- Why it’s time for marketers to be humble
- The opportunity for TikTok
- How serendipity can play a huge role in your life and career
- Mark’s view on the demographics for each social network
- How social media will fracture
- How we now live in a world of infinite media
- Harnessing the era of unintended consequences for marketers
More on Mark
Welcome to the pragmatic Futurist podcast a show all about the near term future with practical advice from a range of global experts to help you stay ahead of the curve. Every episode answers the question what’s the future of with voices and opinions that need to be heard. Your host is international keynote speaker and pragmatic Futurist Andrew Grill.
Andrew Grill 0:27
Welcome to the podcast. My guest today is Mark Schaefer, someone I’ve known for nearly a decade. We first met in 2012, after he published the best selling book return on influence. While I was the CEO of influencer platform, Craig, he’s also the author of the world’s best selling book on Twitter, the Tao of Twitter, as well as a raft of other books such as the content code, that content marketing, and known a book on personal branding. I was also fortunate to be featured in his book marking rebellion. And Amazon bestseller. his new book that we’re going to talk about today is called cumulative advantage, how to build momentum for your ideas, business and life against all odds. And it guides readers on a path that helps them stand out in a world of overwhelming information density, when sometimes even being great is not enough. He’s also a dear friend of mine that I don’t see or speak to often enough. Welcome mark.
Mark Schaefer 1:16
I am so happy you know, I’ve just kind of had a big circle around this date. on my calendar. This is Andrew Grill day. So this is a bit of a holiday for me getting to talk to my my old friend.
Andrew Grill 1:29
Now we should set it up. Obviously we know each other really well. We actually first met in February 2012. And this is a really interesting ceremony dippet us influencer related story, we had dinner at Wolfgang Steakhouse in New York, I had literally just come from your book publisher McGraw Hill. And they gave me the first copy of the book, which I presented to you at dinner, we have a photo of them to put up in the in the show notes. It was a thrill to meet you. It was a thrill to actually give you the book to me, we know that whole return influence. We’ll talk about that for a minute, what was the response to it?
Mark Schaefer 1:57
When I think back, it was really extraordinary. And actually tell the story of how I wrote that book in the new book. Because it’s it’s relevant, because so many successes in our world and in our lives are really random. And back in the early days of influence marketing, and you were right in the middle of it, and we knew each other even before 2012, you were a pioneer. And you and I were going back and forth. And you remember, I was sort of one of the early sceptics and I just didn’t really understand what was going on. And there was so much turmoil going on in those days. And people hated these influencer algorithms. And then I got a chance to meet Joe Fernandez, who was a guest, one of your competitors. Officially, he was the founder of a company called Cloud. I had some ideas about how this would work. And then I had this conversation with him after one of his talks at South by Southwest. And all of a sudden, the lightbulb went off that wait a minute influence on the internet is the power to move content. That’s influence. It’s not necessarily like the real world. Like it’s who you know, and, and where you show up on the internet. The power is the ability to move stories. And you can measure that. So wait a minute, you can measure influence, everything is going to change. And so it just lit up like a runway for me. And so I pitched the idea to McGraw Hill. And the reason this was extraordinary is because I didn’t have a fully fleshed out idea of what this book was going to be about. I just said, here’s the idea, I’m going to pursue it. I’m going to let the research tell the story. And I don’t know the end of the story right now. Because I haven’t written the book. And to their credit, they took a risk on me. I don’t know if they would do that anymore in the, in the way the days of publishing have changed. I wrote the book because I was just endlessly curious about this topic. And I saw that we were on the cusp of a revolution in marketing and power on the web. And nobody was really talking about it. You knew it. A few of the pioneers knew it took me a while to understand it. And then that was what really fueled the book.
Andrew Grill 4:24
So I’m going to POC the whole influence question from because there’s so much to talk about with your current book. But I’m gonna ask you how things have changed. A little anecdote that you’ll find interesting. So Joe Fernandez was CEO of cloud, we had azima Zia, who was the CEO of peerindex, both in the book, The reason you and I connected was I found the book, and Craig wasn’t in there. Now for the right reason we were late to market we were number three. And I was like, how come we’re not in your book, and we became friends and talked about it. Now. you’ve visited the cret offices in San Francisco. We were literally in the same building as cloud, our direct competitor in an old shoe warehouse. Right. And that drove him crazy by the way that drove them crazy. They had half of the building. We had the other half. We had separate entrances. And you know what we did, we were sneaky. We changed our Wi Fi to creds the best. So when they would come to work, they would see the available Wi Fi networks cloud cloud creds the best. It drove them crazy. We even had, there’s a whole story for another time, we had an influencer thing where they sent some spies next door. jiofi listening, All’s fair in love and war. It was a great time. But there was so much discussion around it. It’s It was a whole other discussion. But we were not here to talk about cloud and Craig, we’re here to talk about cumulative advantage, which I love, by the way, just finished the book. What was the genesis behind it?
Mark Schaefer 5:35
Have you look at the trajectory of my career is all the pieces sort of fit together? So if we’re talking about the early days, when I had this epiphany, that power was shifting 2011, right. And nobody was really realising what the implications were. And look, the power was shifting from Madison Avenue, and big media companies, to us, from Madison Avenue to Main Street. If you had a keyboard and a Wi Fi connection, you could create influence. Now, what happened? My prediction, at the end of the book, I said, in two years, this is going to be a mainstream marketing channel I was right now, sometime around, let’s see, it was 2014, the lines crossed, where there was more information being created by individuals than media companies. We entered the era of infinite media, it’s still going up today. And explosion, right. Since March, the amount of data, the amount of content being produced, just on LinkedIn doubled since the pandemic started. So if you thought it was hard to stand out before, it’s even harder now. So I wrote next book, content code, what are the strategies to get our content to move? That’s power, not the content? It’s the transmission of the content. Right? All right, then how do we harness that power as individuals? How do we create our own influence? Is there a pattern? Is there a system? I found out? Yes, there is. So I wrote known marketing rebellion. My next book shows what are the implications of this power switch, consumers have an entirely new expectation of our companies and our marketing, you got to wake up, this is what’s going on. Marketing is no longer about manipulating customers, it’s about coming alongside them at their point of need, and helping them because today, that customer is in control. The customer is the marketer requires a new mindset. Here we are 2021. So much overwhelming information. And here is the truth. Even if you’re doing your best work. Even if you’re great. You’re probably being buried. I’m not the kind of guy Andrew to say, Oh, well, life’s hard. Let’s go, you know, let’s go take an app. I’ve got to I get obsessed with figuring this out. And this led me to this idea of momentum, if you’re doing your best work, and you’re just stuck, what are your options. And so this led me to research, reading going down all these rabbit holes. And that came the book, cumulative advantage,
Andrew Grill 8:30
what I love about your writing style, and how you develop your book, so you do a heap of research, and it comes through in what you’ve done the examples, Tim Ferriss gets lots of mentions, I hope he buys the book and reads it, he gets probably 25 mentions in there, if they are thinking about reading the book, What tips do you have to embrace cumulate advantage? What are some easy wins they can do?
Mark Schaefer 8:49
I think the overall theme of the book is this, that anyone can have hope. Because there’s nothing in this book that’s not doable and accessible by anyone. You don’t need a million dollars. You don’t need an elite education. You don’t need a network of super influencers, that it shows that behind successful people, successful businesses, there’s probably something random that happened. I can trace my conversation with you today to a conversation I had in the early 1990s. With my boss, what was happening is I was stuck. I had a great marketing job, but I was stuck. And I thought well, what’s next? What am I going to do? The Internet was beginning and I had some ideas about how there could be business applications on the internet. And I went to my boss I said I would like an AOL account, and like to put it on my expense account. And after much debate, he thought it was a big waste of money. He agreed. And my ideas worked. A few years later, this fortune 100 company woke up and said, We need to have a globally business department who’s going to run this thing? Well, Mark Schaefer, he’s been on the internet longer than anybody, I became really one of the b2b internet. pioneers of my day, eventually started my own consulting practice, started writing lead to books led to speaking, and here I am with you today, it would not have wouldn’t have occurred, Andrew, if I didn’t pursue that curiosity with my boss. That’s a key idea is not that I had an idea, I pursued the idea. And it fit at a time where there was a fracture in the status quo. In the book, I call this the scene, there was a shift. The time was right. And I burst through this scene, I implemented these ideas that my company, and I can literally point, this random conversation, which could have gone either way. And that explains why I’m sitting here with you today, in most of our lives, is one of these opportunities, we have to be aware of these opportunities and pursue them.
Andrew Grill 11:05
Just talking to other guests. See, Walter, we’re talking about the notion of serendipity. In a way, this is serendipity, I can count me talking to you with the decisions I’ve made years ago. But to your point, I don’t think you can plan for serendipity, you have to be in the right place at the right time. But I would argue you can and your book argues, you can put yourself in the right place at the right time. Gen Y, Gen Z. And now Gen alpha, some of these people in fact, I did a webinar for a client a few months ago, where I was part of the induction programme for these graduates. And they will actually never meet each other and didn’t meet the CEO. They’re all on a teams call. The exam question for me was how do we indoctrinate these people into an organisation where they’re not going to meet each other for six or 12 months? What can the leaders of tomorrow learn from the book in terms of how they create serendipity in a remote distributed world?
Mark Schaefer 11:54
I think the first step like any change has to be awareness and has to you have to be aware of the importance of serendipity. It’s something that I think is maybe it’s been taken for granted. Maybe it’s been overlooked. But, you know, I really I predict that it’s, it’s really going to be an issue. There have been quite a few articles recently. In the Wall Street Journal, I believe there was one in Harvard Business Review about the importance of what do they call it, like secondary relationships, secondary conversations. So like to know, you and I are having a primary conversation, we have a mission to explore new ideas and talk about the the relevance of some of the ideas in my book. But there’s secondary conversations, it could be just your commute to work and you see certain people that it could be someone that’s working in the mailroom, it could be someone that you see in the cafeteria. And they say that there is a a primal importance to the secondary conversations, that is really inhibiting productivity in the workplace. It’s quite an interesting topic. I think that is one of the biggest challenges. And it certainly it’s I think, if we talk about seams, right fractures in the status quo, that’s a huge one. We can create a zoom meeting to see each other’s faces. We can even do maybe breakout groups. But there are certain it’s the serendipity. It’s the secondary conversations. There’s a seam, how do we you know, is there a way to use technology to to solve those problems? I haven’t seen it yet not even close. Some people are trying different things. I’ve used a lot of different platforms, you know, and look, this world of work is not going away. People have invested a tremendous amount of money in technology and processes and training to get this right. Huge numbers of our workforce are not going to go back to work. So this idea of secondary conversations, serendipity randomness, rot water, cooler conversations, we’ve got to find a way to to address that. Or it’s really going to inhibit innovation.
Andrew Grill 14:25
Let me throw an idea at you. And I’ve talked about this a lot over the last year in my webinars, the notion of the third place. Now, the third place is not new, you know that Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks wanted Starbucks to become the third place where people would go and and have a coffee. So my view is that some people want to stay at home. Some people will be desperate to go back into the office. And there’ll be a hybrid where people will want to do a bit of both, but they don’t want to go all the way into into the city. So for example, here in London, a lot of my friends work out in a place called Canary Wharf which is the financial hub. It is at least an hour away each way. So that is two hours. A day times five is 10 hours a week of commuting time. And people are saying, Why would I do that? If you have an option to go to a third place? Think about it. Also, I’ve been watching, if you have a sandwich shop or a shoe repair shop in the centre of London, it’s been very, very dormant for the last 12 months. But if you have a sandwich or a shoe repair shop in the suburbs, Happy Days, what about if we have the third place? Is it a we work or Regis or something it’s in that area. We allow not just people from our organisation that live nearby to go there. But I invite you, I invite other people. So in a safe, controlled environment, we don’t have to go all the way into the city. But we can actually use a third place to work, play and innovate. Do you think that would work?
Mark Schaefer 15:39
After thinking a lot about this actually, and here’s a provocative idea. I’m beginning to think Tick Tock is becoming a third place. Here’s why. I have a friend who has a 14 year old son, his 14 year old son is becoming a savvy investor. He’s studying, he’s studying. He’s studying his 14, and he’s gone to his father and he said, Dad, based on this initial success, I’ve been able to show you, I’m not sure I want to go to college. Would you be willing to give me the money you’d spend on me for college that I can build this investment portfolio. Here’s the twist. He’s learning investment strategy on tik tok. This has become his community. And so there are layers to tik tok that most of us don’t see what’s happening on Tick Tock is extraordinary. Here’s the magic of Tick Tock. It’s their matching algorithm. It’s unlike anything else. So here’s what’s extraordinary about Tick Tock. A couple things. Number one, what trends on Twitter or what trends on Facebook or LinkedIn? It’s the thing that’s becoming most popular, right? But what trends on on Tick Tock is the absurd, absurd is hot. It’s unpredictable. It’s improbable. Think about how this redefines content marketing, there’s no formula. It’s absurd. The best example of this, and I’ll get back to the investment kid in a minute. The best example of this is the cranberry juice guy, right? famous famous Tick Tock kid, right. Now, here’s this guy. He’s an hourly employee at a potato factory. His car broke down. He has to take a skateboard to work. He’s got a skateboard. He’s drinking cranberry juice out of a bottle singing a Fleetwood Mac song, viral hit greatest impact on the sales of cranberry juice in the 100 year history of the company. It was absurd. It was bizarre. It didn’t go viral. Because of votes. It went viral. Because the because tik tok elevated it because of its absurdity. tik tok is doing an extraordinary job and a unique job with its recommendation engines. It’s also so tuned in to these, I’ll say kids, because it’s mostly kids who were using it in this way. It’s developing layers and layers and layers of communities and sub communities and sub sub sub communities where this 14 year old boy can get just the advice he needs and connected to the people he needs, where he is unleashed and elevated in an extraordinary way. Now, again, think about what was the alternative? He would have to like what join a LinkedIn group, which is basically dead. There are none of my LinkedIn groups that are active, right? What’s the alternative going to a Facebook group where there’s, you know, 10,000 people, investors in a group, and they’re all trying to sell you something. Think about what’s happening on Tick Tock is becoming this extraordinary, extraordinary personal space. It’s a place of belonging, and communion and innovation that I think people are overlooking.
Andrew Grill 19:17
So a market is getting it wrong way. They’re going to a little more places they’re using above the line TVC Superbowl ads, social media, and we’ve been around there since the early days, but they’re missing a trick 2008 here in London, we had a group of I would lovingly call them social media geeks. We used to meet every Thursday afternoon or morning at a coffee shop and talk about how we wanted social media to become mainstream. And maybe one day brands would take it up and we’d have a job. It went so far. The other way that brands I think have polluted social media is now full of ads essentially, could tik tok go the same way where it becomes mainstream and then the cool kids go somewhere else. And so what it’s got right now and being unique is lost.
Mark Schaefer 19:56
I don’t think so. And it’s the same for Snapchat. So Social media is going to fracture. By demographics. The only group really growing on Facebook is 55. And over, everybody sort of loves YouTube and Instagram. 30 to 18 is sort of Snapchat 18 to maybe 11 is tik tok, the new group, Gen alpha, let’s say, the new group is coming up and they’re going to look at their big brothers and sisters and say, Now, I need someplace else. So the next innovation will come with Gen alpha. Snapchat is not growing, but it will persist. Because it is there. It is sort of their third place for that generation. I love Batman, I have an emotional connection to Batman. Why? Because when I was a child, I loved the Batman series on television. That’s why people love Star Wars, or why they love the movie Greece. It was a special iconic thing for them in that age. That is the role that Snapchat and tick tock will play with these generations. They have an emotional connection to Snapchat, they use it every day like text messaging. It’s the same way I love Batman, they will always love Snapchat, they will always love tik tok. So Snapchat may never grow. But it’ll persist. Because I do believe there will be a long lasting emotional connection to that community for that generation.
Andrew Grill 21:30
So how do you stay current and relevant What’s going on? Obviously, we’ve talked about Snapchat and tick tock where the wrong demographic to be all over that. But how do you stay up to date? Well, I’m
Mark Schaefer 21:41
a voracious reader. And there are certain newsletters that I love and that I trust one of them you mentioned to XIM. You know, XIM is doing a brilliant job with his exponential view newsletter, which I warmly recommend than addict Evans. He again has a very forward looking newsletter. I look at industry publications, like you know, ad week Ad Age to see not just the mega trends, but the micro fractures, you know, the little things that are happening now, that can indicate bigger changes coming down the line. So I just really it’s just I start my day, really reading with few standard publications that are forward thinking,
Andrew Grill 22:25
you do so much research, he goes so deep into this, it is you learn yourself, but it comes through that you’ve really done your homework.
Unknown Speaker 22:32
Every time you write a book. It’s like getting a master’s degree. I told my wife as I was writing this book, there’s a story in the beginning of the book about the Winklevoss twins. And these were the fellas in the in the social network movie, they were the twins, who were the rowers that sued Mark Zuckerberg. Alright, so there’s a story in the beginning of the book, it’s probably two pages long. It took me three days to write those two pages. Because I read so much about the Winklevoss twins to weave this story together, I probably read 15 articles, you know, in depth profiles, from the beginning, all the way to where they are now to weave this story together. And I told my wife, I said, this is just ridiculous how much time I spend to write these stories in this book. And so it means a lot to me that it comes through and you appreciate it.
Andrew Grill 23:31
So then what’s the most surprising thing you came across in all the research for this book,
Mark Schaefer 23:36
I had a very profound impact by doing the research of the book. When I wrote marketing rebellion, it sort of lit me up around the power of bringing people together. I mean, the subtitle of marketing rebellion is the most human company wins, I became devoted to this idea of bringing a small group of people together, and I started a marketing retreat called the uprising, which ended up being the best thing I’ve done in my career. Because this amazing bond occurred between this small group of people in this book, it became inescapable to realise that this idea of cumulative advantage that advantage builds on advantage. There are sociological impacts to this as well as personal and business impacts to this, and I had this realisation that was quite depressing. That every business book, every self help book is by definition, the latest. The book is written with the assumption, someone has the money to buy that book, that they have the time to read the book, that they have the resources around them to activate the ideas in this book. And I had two audiences in mind as I was writing this book. This is the sniff test the people All who love my work and read my books? Can they activate? Can they change their world? With the advice I give in the book? Yes. The other group I had in mind is for the last 13 years, I’ve been working with families that are that live in a very economically depressed part of our city. And I’ve been mentoring these children, I’ve kind of adopted these families. And I had this audience in mind. And the answer was no. And it just made me angry. It made me angry, that I couldn’t write a book that is accessible to everyone in our society. So I did something quite different for me. And really, it was one of the most courageous things I’ve ever done in public. And that is, the last chapter of the book was a deep introspection about this idea, and how really ashamed I am, that this could not be a book that’s applicable to everyone, and how we need to take these ideas of momentum. And each of us make a commitment to try to create momentum in others, it’s something any of us can do. It’s not a solution to the problem, I don’t pretend to have a solution to the problem, which is cosmically complex. But we do have the power within all of us to encourage someone else who needs help to lead the hand, to give them an idea to make an introduction to open a door. And it’s something I do every day of my life. And it drives my wife crazy, because I don’t say no to anybody. There could be a high school kid who wants to interview me for a paper. And you never know, some idea you give a child could send a ripple through history, I’m never going to turn that down. Because I’m in a position in my life, where I can send the elevator back down. And if I can give a word of encouragement to it, the future is our children. If I can do something to help a child get momentum in a new way, I’m going to do that.
Andrew Grill 27:03
I’ve seen that because we’re on Facebook, and you talk about larger all the time. And I’ve always wondered what the backstory was. And I got to tell you, that last chapter was really arresting because there was, oh, I’ve learned all this great stuff. And now the epilogue, and I was thinking you’re going to tie this all together with a nice little bow. And it was like, Whoa, let me tell you how I’m feeling about this. I’m sure if you’ve videoed me reading last chapters like, wow, this is pretty personal. And I’m glad you did it. You actually employed a sensitivity editor for the book, which I hadn’t heard of before. Why did you do that was linked to what you wrote about in the last chapter.
Mark Schaefer 27:35
Even in the beginning of the book, I talked about the role of privilege in success, I made a decision to not use the word white privilege. And there was a reason for that. I think that using that word is a very ineffective way to create change in the world. The first time I ever heard that word, years and years ago, I was like, What do you mean, white privilege, you would not believe what I went through to get to where I am today, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Then I researched the word and looked at the real academic beginnings of the word and what is it? I thought, Okay, all right, I understand it. Now. Most people in the world don’t go down that rabbit hole to really explore. And instead, when you use that word, it builds a wall. And when you build a wall, you’re not going to make change. So what I decided to do is really just tell my own story, and kind of get through to people in another way to show through data through research. Here’s an amazing statistic. children who grow up in poverty, on average, have an IQ of 77. If they’re adopted into a home, where they’re safe, and get enough food and get enough sleep, their IQ goes to 92. Just growing up in a safe home is an initial advantage. It’s a life advantage. You know, you have an increase in IQ just by getting enough to eat. So I mean, that that shows that I mean, there are systemic walls. There’s cumulative advantage. And there’s cumulative disadvantage. When I say in the last chapter is that all of us when you when you read this book, you’ll never see the world the same way again, because you see how these advantages build and build and build. And all of us are surfing the crest of a wave that started long ago. And some of us are surfing a Bill Gates wave. It’s gigantic. And some of us are surfing a blue collar wave. We have to fight a little harder, right? I grew up I came from a flat family of blue collar workers of plumbers. And then some of us are surfing, no wave at all. We’re being pulled under by the undertow. We have a hard time. You know, some people in our society if their car breaks down, it can change their life forever. They will Life is imperilled every single day. How does a person like that build momentum. And we’ve got to break some of those dynamics, we just have to. So that’s really some of the things I get into. So back to your question, the book goes down some very touchy places. And I wanted another set of eyes. Because, look, I’m a middle aged white guy. I’m not in tune with all the nuanced changes that are going on in the world. And I’m fine attacking problems. I’m not fine attacking people. I want to be respectful of people. And I think if I offend someone, just because I’m lazy, because I don’t I haven’t lived in their world, or I haven’t made the effort to understand that that’s not okay. So I hired this little reader that lives in a different world, to just say, Hey, you know, Mark, there’s two meanings for that word maybe you never heard of before. Let’s be aware of that. And so it just, she didn’t find anything really terrible about my book, but it gave me the confidence that that I was as tuned into society as I can be.
Andrew Grill 31:16
What lessons do marketers need to learn from the pandemic?
Mark Schaefer 31:19
Here’s the biggest lesson is we are entering the era of unintended consequences. We have no idea what’s going to be happening next. If you think you do, you don’t. This is a time for marketers to be humble. And listen, and pay attention. Because our consumers The world is whacked out. A marketer who I admire very much Martin Lindstrom predicts we have a generation who has been conditioned to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We have a generation of children who are being socialised or not being socialised in radically new ways. They’re going into places where they can’t see people’s faces, they’re covered by masks, they can’t be held, you know, we don’t know how this world is going to change. Just like we were completely wrong. By most things of that going into the pandemic, we were wrong about almost everything of how the pandemic was going to change the world. And we’re going to be wrong coming out of it. So we this is a time to be patient. And to be humble. Humility is the number one skill set for marketers right now.
Andrew Grill 32:32
I saw a sign on a London shop a year ago that said will be closed for two weeks. I think they were very optimistic. Final question, before we go to a quick fire round. What would you do differently? If you knew what you knew? Now, what you knew when you met me in 2012?
Mark Schaefer 32:47
Well, I don’t beat myself up too much, you know, because look, I’ve taken wrong turns and made mistakes. But that’s life. I mean, so it’s nothing that really wasn’t normal. I mean, I think I’ve had this sort of humble approach to business and consulting and marketing all you know, all along. I think I was humble back then. I was an open learner. And that’s the reason really, why connected to you because I was sceptical about this stuff at first, but I was open. I was open, I was an urgent learner, you and I had, you know, tumultuous conversations back then. And both of us were better for it. And so I mean, there’s, I mean, I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I mean, I think I’ve had a humble approach, an open minded approach since I was a young man. And you know, I think that’s, that’s, that’s served me well.
Andrew Grill 33:42
So let’s do a quick fire round short answers. good answers. iPhone or Android, iPhone, PC or Mac, Mac, what’s your biggest hope for 2021? No masks. I love that. Yes. I do love that. What are you reading at the moment?
Mark Schaefer 33:55
I’m reading Tom Peters new book. It’s his last book. And I’m actually interviewing him on my marketing companion podcast on Monday. So I’m getting through that book. He’s 83. And he basically said, this is it. So listen to me. Now,
Andrew Grill 34:11
final question. How do you want to be remembered?
Mark Schaefer 34:14
I want to be remembered as someone who did their best just to be honest, someone who didn’t really have an agenda who just fought for truth and and wanted to genuinely help people on their way, a mentor, a mentor to many, and you’ve been that to me, and I really appreciate it. You know, I
Andrew Grill 34:36
always ask my guests to provide some practical and pragmatic advice to our listeners. I do it in threes. What three pieces of advice would you like to leave us with?
Mark Schaefer 34:46
The best piece of advice I ever got was from a mentor of mine, a teacher, when I was in graduate school is the very acclaimed marketing author and consultant Peter Drucker and he said, being a great leader Not mean having all the right answers, it means having the right questions. That was his way of saying, you know, be humble. Respect the people that you’re with. And don’t think we have all the right answers. When I consult, the people that I work with, they have the answers, they just haven’t been asked the right questions. Another thing I would ask everybody right now is, you know, the subtitle of marketing rebellion is the most human company wins, be more human look at that’s what we want us what all of us want. We don’t want to be spammed, we don’t want to be automated. We want to be acknowledged, we want to belong, we want to be loved. How can we show our hearts, our faces, our smiles, our compassion, in every text message, in every meeting in every zoom call, the most human company wins. And then I think the last thing I would say, for right now is fight to the other side. You know, I think when the pandemic started, a lot of people thought, oh, we’re gonna have all this time, I’m finally gonna get that beach body, I’m finally gonna learn that other language or write a book, the most heroic thing we can do right now is arrive, is to arrive in one piece, not just with our businesses, but with our relationships intact. It’s been a hard time. Everyone we know is suffering in some way. And we just need to, we need to lead with our hearts right now. We need to lead with love right now. And try to to be compassionate, even when we don’t understand because that other person is, is suffering right now. And we need to be aware of the suffering that we can’t see in our businesses, with our customers in our marketing and everything that we do.
Andrew Grill 36:50
Great advice. Thank you so much. How can people find out more about you and your work? Well, it’s
Mark Schaefer 36:55
quite easy. No one can remember how to spell Schaefer. But most people can remember businesses grow. businesses grow calm. You can find the books we’ve talked about today, my my blog, my podcast and all my social media connections. I’d love to hear from your audience Andrew, mock
Andrew Grill 37:14
another fantastic book, go out and buy accumulate advantage, learn from it grow from it. Thank you so much. We’re going to have to have you back on the show very soon to finish our discussion. And hopefully we do that. Thank you for being my friend for nearly 10 years. I hope we have another 30 years or however long we were only served for. And thank you so much for today. I’ve really enjoyed our discussion. Thank you.
Mark Schaefer 37:33
Book me again right now. Take care of you. Thank you so much.
Thank you for listening to the pragmatic Futurist podcast. You can find all of our previous shows at Futurist dot London. And if you like what you’ve heard on the show, please consider subscribing via your favourite podcast app so you never miss an episode. You can find out more about Andrew and how he helps corporates navigate to disruptive digital world with keynote speeches, and CC workshops delivered in person or virtually at Futurist dot London. Until next time, this has been the Actionable Futurist® podcast.