Listener Nick Holloway has again transcribed an entire episode. Our minds are reeling at such industry and generosity. A gift from Nick to us and to those of you who prefer to read rather than listen.
You can read the transcription for the episode of 30th November 2012 after the jump.
Business Jazz 30.11.12
Welcome to Business Jazz with Paul O'Mahony and Roger Overall.
The podcast about "How to be genuinely attractive in business today."
Roger : And we are running! Sounds like liftoff at NASA, doesn't it? All engines are running. Welcome to the Blackrock Castle Observatory here in Cork in Ireland, my name is Roger Overall .
Paul : And my name is Paul O'Mahony
Roger : And this is BusinessJazz. It is a crisp almost Arctic morning hear in Cork.
Paul : To put it mildly it's bitter, freezing bloody cold, it was not nice out there.
Roger : You've still got your coat on and we're sitting by the fire.
Paul : We have lots of logs, we have a whole big basket of logs here. So, in the middle of this podcast Roger I might even get up and put an extra log on the fire.
Roger : It's nice to be doing this by a fire on a day like this, and it's one of those really crisp blue sky days as well, the kind of winter day I like.
Paul : You know how we usually talk about Chris Brogan here, well, Chris Brogan is off in Dubai as we speak, in warm sun, so I bet you he's not cold.
Paul : Who's the guy whose email you have open in front of you? What's he called?
Roger : AJ Leon
Paul : Who's he? Who's AJ Leon?
Roger : Well, he's the world's biggest misfit, I don't know if he is the biggest misfit, he is married to a misfit as well.
Paul : He is also pretty unusual since, somewhere in this particular email we're looking at, he says you can go into a cafe where he has been and he has left behind a free copy for the customers of the cafe to enjoy, that you can go into that cafe and steal it.
Roger : Yes, he is encouraging theft, he is encouraging theft of his own magazine, AJ Leon is part designer and part "world engineer change person".
Paul : He's revolutionary.
Roger : AJ Leon has stolen a march on his competitors. He has a design company, design agency and he's published a magazine, or his company Misfits-Inc have published a magazine. Their own Misfit quarterly creative publishing project and it exists in several formats. It exists in a format that you can download, as PDF, and it will exist as a hard copy that he will leave behind in cafes that you can steal, or if you're more honest you can actually get hold of that, you can buy a copy.
Paul : How did you find out about this Misfits Inc quarterly publication?
Roger : He emailed me telling me it was out, but he's been talking about the project for a long time.
Paul : Why did he email you? How did he know you'd be interested in getting this?
Roger : I signed up to his email list for his blog.
Paul : So you went on to AJ Leon's blog and there you signed up to get his email?
Roger : Yes.
Paul : So, that's how come you got it. I know he actually put out information about this quarterly publication months ago and I missed it because it actually called for contributions and one of the things the Misfits Inc quarterly does is, it's going to showcase the work of poets and I'm very, very cheesed off with myself.
I missed an opportunity to throw my hat in the ring getting a poem in the Misfits Inc publication.
Roger : It is a quarterly Paul.
Paul : How did I miss that Roger?
Roger : I don't know, I don't know, maybe you just weren't following it as attentively as you are now. See, this is interesting isn't it? You become aware of somebody, you go through a process don't you? I mean my process of Chris Brogan and AJ, getting to know them, to the point now where I can exchange an email, or send an email and there is a very high probability I will get an answer back that is meaningful, in that I have a relatively meaningful relationship online, not very deep, but is meaningful. You go through this process of, I suppose you're introduced, somehow, to somebody online, but the introduction doesn't mean you'll necessarily do anything and then you become, I suppose, a bit more aware of what they're about, you get drawn in and then you get drawn in more and more. But along the way there is, I think, a tipping point where you suddenly really start to pay attention. Now, you're asking, well, why didn't I know AJ was doing this project? Maybe you hadn't reached the tipping point yet.
Paul : For me, it's another thing which is - both AJ Leon & Chris Brogan produce a large amount of content. I cannot spend my entire life paying attention to other people's content, I actually have to create some myself. So I rely on other people, some of whom I don't even know, sending me a Tweet saying, "by the way, have you seen this latest thing from, you know, Brogan or AJ Leon, or even from Roger Overall". I can't even follow your stuff, you produce loads and loads of content.
Roger : Isn't that just the way people get introduced to new people? "Have you seen this thing?" It's a very powerful thing, I think it's probably the most powerful introduction is when somebody you trust comes along and say "Have you...?"
- oh, the air-conditioning has been switched off, it's gone very quiet.
Paul : They're drawing moisture out of the air here, they do that every single morning here, they do, the man is taking away the... what do you call it? Not a condenser-
Roger : A de-humidifier.
Paul : A dehumidifier.
Roger : The dehumidifier. So, if you can suddenly hear us, that's what's happened!
Paul : Your words were dehumidified Roger.
Roger : My words were dehumidified, all the wet soppiness was taken out, they were dry and crisp.
Paul : No, they will be dry and crisp.
Roger : Anyway, isn't that just the most powerful way of being introduced to somebody, because if somebody who you trust says "have you seen the latest thing by this person?" That's just wonderful, that's how I got introduced to AJ.
I've just seen a note there, you've written down "deep and meaningful".
Paul : They were words you made.
Roger : Yes, but let me make the distinction for you. A deep relationship, as I see it, is a really very strong link, a very personal connection. A meaningful correspondence, it means something, it doesn't have to be a very deep thing, it doesn't have to be that I know Chris Brogan's intimate secrets or that AJ is confiding in me, his innermost thoughts. But it is meaningful to me when they reply and I get useful content from them or useful information in return, that's what I mean, that's why I made that distinction.
Paul : Well I think there's a book on the distinction between deep & meaningful Roger which we will not deal with.
Can we actually move back on to AJ Leon for a minute because he's produced this quarterly magazine. Now, what I really want to connect this with is an email, not the publication itself, but you got it by email. Does the email do anything more than simply tell me AJ Leon has produced this very, very sexy publication? Is there any call to action in the latest AJ Leon email?
Roger : Well, there is a call to action, in so far as a you can download it, please go and download it. But, if you want to, you can also help in the production of the hard copy. You can signup and become an honorary Misfit - and you put money towards the project. You become an investor if you like, in the publication of the hard copy of the magazine.
Paul : See - that's the bit that interests me because I've funded a couple of things through Kickstarter - and on each of them I actually spent some of my time, not only giving them a miniscule amount of money but, spreading the message that, hey, this App which is called JoyceWays, all about Ulysses, a wonderful, wonderful, App by the way, it's out there and you can buy it and all that sort of thing: but basically as soon as I funded them, even the smallest amount, I felt myself to part of the team.
So similarly I want to give a bit of money to AJ Leon - so he could definitely produce something I can tactilely hold in my hand, that I can see in front of me and that, to be blunt, I can write all over it and make marks on its and convert it from being an object of admiration, convert it into a useful tool.
I can't actually very easily do that with a PDF.
Roger : There is that thing with electronic content: you can't scribble in the margins. Well, you can if you use certain programs. You can make notes, but is not as easy I find. I find it almost detached, because if you take a book, imagine a pristine book and it's lovely and it's there in the print is gorgeous and you take a pen...
Paul is now reaching for a book.
Paul : I'm reaching for a book to just kind of relate this.
Roger : Well, you've done this in pencil which is a copout… but I know you've done this in pen...
Paul : ...that's a bloody accident! Here we are, highlighting pencils, pens...
Roger : You've got highlighters, pens. Now, the fact that you take a pen because it's almost, we have this sense of sacrilege, this is a poem which is being read out for AJ Leon that I'm being shown now.
Paul : Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
and sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
and looked down one as far as I could
to where it bent in the undergrowth;
Paul : Some people might know what poem that is, that's one of the most powerful American poems ever written. [Robert Frost 'The Road Not Taken']
Roger : One of the most ambiguous poems.
Paul : Back to AJ Leon.
Roger : Back to AJ Leon. Because I just want to make the point that, when you take a pen and you physically start scribbling in a book you've bought in a bookshop, it enhances your engagement with that book no end - because it's indelible, particularly the way you do it. If you do it on an electronic document, you can scrub out your comments. You can get rid of it, you're not touching the pristiness of the document because actually the document doesn't exist, it's very ethereal. Whereas the real physical thing, where you've written something in there, there's no backing out, it's there. Now, I think that it enhances the engagement.
Paul : I want all the AJ Leon emails and I want all the Chris Brogan emails in a book - so I can write all over them.
Roger : If you were Chris and AJ wouldn't you do that? Wouldn't you publish your 100 or 200 most powerful emails in a book?
Paul : I am guilty of not having done that. I've been writing a blog since 2005 Roger. I have yet to produce a book of my blog posts. The closest thing I got to it was a book about mental health at one stage, where I got very, very far down the track, including had a publisher.
Ah! I have a book which was produced from blog posts, "Irish Epic Poem in 33 Cantos" was first published in blog posts. It went from the Moleskine Notebook to 72 blog posts to a self-published (gone now, limited edition copy, all gone) and it's now in the Kindle Store. Right? So that kind of journey. But, on the way, there was a book which I could write all over.
Roger : Wonderful. Back to AJ's email. I think there's something else very special about his project. Now, he's a designer and his company Misfits-Inc have produced a magazine, but what does the magazine contain? It contains art, poetry, photography, but not from AJ Leon, not from Melissa his wife.
Paul : Oh, yes it does. Oh, yes it does.
Roger : Now, but, have they filled the magazine with their stuff?
Paul : Yes. I tell you why. Because they presented all the work - but they've actually designed the experience, the collection of choices that they have made about how they will present the painting, the imagery, the poetry, whatever, is with them.
The whole thing is a crafted, artistic presentation of other people's work. Now, of course the other people's work is a delight to behold, let's say, but it has been put in context, it has been put into a PDF, and what are we talking about? A book on vellum parchment? Is it going to be produced on the same sort of stuff as The Book of Kells is produced on? Is this an illuminated manuscript AJ Leon is trying to produce?
Roger : It doesn't say so, as far as I… I signed up and maybe I'll get advance warning.
Paul : But it did say something about if you want to get yourself a beautiful, physical copy. He didn't use such abstract words. The key thing is that the call to action in that email is "Put up some money to enable me to produce that book."
Roger : Or, put up some money so you can have a hard copy of the magazine. There is a trade off, there is a trade off, you get something in return. But anyway I want to come back to your point there. Have all these people who willingly fell over themselves to provide AJ and Melissa with content, have they been suckered in then? Have they been suckered into the biggest con in the history of design because they've provided AJ and Melissa with a platform for themselves? Surely not.
Paul : Look, that's a bit like asking the person who first commissioned the Christian Bible whether they'd been suckered by the people who presented the Bible through The Book of Kells. Ever since human beings have existed, they have existed within collaborations, their work has been helped by another person to reach a wider audience, the individual painter paints away, but how do they reach a wider audience? They have to hang it on a wall, who does the wall belong to? The wall belongs to somebody else, right? Somebody hangs the exhibition, that's all AJ Leon is doing, he is hanging an exhibition of other people's work.
Roger : But I think, that for me is the key point, because what he's done is given other people a platform. He's actually given, in many respects, his competitors a platform, if you want to use the phrase "competing designers", a platform for their work. But I don't think he operates that way.
Paul : You know, if you're a one-off, you have no competition, right?
Roger : That's kind of where I'm heading, but also this is a reflection of their personality- join us, together we will build this platform, we will curate it, you will provide the building bricks, and together we will build something that didn't exist before, which will reach an audience together and will benefit all of us. But in doing so - and actually therein lies I think a connection with Chris Brogan's email this week - he's stolen a march on his competitors.
You know, which other design agency has gone out of their way to go and ask competitors to join them in an endeavour like this? I think it's a very, very clever thing to do and I don't even probably think he would have done it from a competing point of view. They've done it because this is what they're like - they like putting out new content.
But Chris Brogan has a great email I think about stealing a march on your competitors, about doing things differently.
Paul : It's the one that's entitled "The last month of the year". Chris Brogan begins the email with reference to Diwali, so Thanksgiving has been had, Diwali is being celebrated at the same time and Chris Brogan is talking from tea in Dubai, so it's very much global.
I want to know which bit of Chris Brogan's latest email captured your fancy most?
Roger : Well, what captured my fancy most was the fact that he… Well, he describes what happens after Thanksgiving, what happens in the run-up to Christmas? Well, we all switch off don't we? We all start winding down, a mini hibernation.
Paul : Well, I don't. I get winding up.
Roger : Well, but you're special.
Paul : Because I have got bloody Chri- I didn't really mean that, "bloody Christmas", but I've got Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer - that might be where the blood image comes from - but basically it's wind-up time as far as I'm concerned. It's trying to get all of the things I have hanging over me to happen.
Roger : Have we had the Rudolph the red nose reindeer and mushrooms conversation? …and urine drinking...?
Paul : That will take too long to tell, can you stick with the point of winding down. Do they wind down in the United States? Do you wind down between Thanksgiving and Christmas?
Roger : Mentally, for my business, I have in the past wound down. I think most people do, you're an exception, but I think most people see it as having reached the end of the year, having reached another deadline, the race is run for 2012, so we're going to start winding down for the year.
Paul : Do you know about two years ago, at least two years ago, perhaps three, I would swear that Chris Brogan produced a blog post about this very topic which basically said to people you will get a competitive advantage if you work during the run-up to Christmas - and even over the Christmas period - when everybody else has gone to sleep and have gone out carousing and drinking and all that sort of thing.
Roger : Daley Thompson, who was a great British Olympic athlete, he always said "On Christmas Day I train twice because I know my competitors don't train at all".
Paul : Really? That's a good one.
Roger : To tie this in with something you once said, this is why my thinking has changed this year - and Chris has just strengthened it with this email by saying, hang on a minute, don't start switching off in December, actually really start to engage more in December.
You said - and I think you're actually said it this year - you said in July "It is July therefore this year is gone, I need to start thinking about next year".
Paul : Yeah, I suppose it comes from, I usually think the year begins in September, that you have the summer holiday and you then start off, and the year starts in September and runs the whole way through, that's just why, because the school year - psychologically that's where I'm at.
Roger : But I still think it's a good thing, even if you're used January to December, or January to January, in July realising you've actually passed the halfway mark - and any plans you have for things to accomplish this year, well you'd either better get your skates on, or you should really start thinking, okay 2013 is coming up pretty quickly, because after seven months, that leaves you five months of the year, if you're going to start doing new things, to plan and implement and do.
I don't think it's a bad thing at all, it's quite an interesting way of looking at it.
Paul : I used to do corporate budgeting in September, September/October was the period in which we prepared budgets for the financial year beginning in April. So, the period in the autumn and at this stage, you were really fighting your corner to preserve or expand your budget in November - it was all signed off by Christmas basically, so that would be another thing about it.
Roger : You were asking in AJ Leon's email is there a call to action? There is, in a way. But Chris makes his call-to-action in one of his subheadings, which is "Make the last month of the year your best one".
Paul : Give us a couple of quotes from Chris Brogan that you like.
Roger : "This is an opportunity to get ahead to plan some more, to refocus your efforts with an eye towards the larger marketplaces you serve. It's a great opportunity to send out heartfelt thanks to some of the people who have enriched your world".
Now, he gives a suggestion for doing that, which I really love particularly in the modern world that we live in. He suggests you write a handwritten note, he has something in there I am sure about handwriting somebody a letter. When was the last time… Well, I'm not going to ask you, you'll say, last week you handwrote a letter.
Paul : I handwrite letters to myself, I fill my Moleskine Notebook with handwriting Roger.
Roger : But isn't it lovely when you get a handwritten letter? I think that's a very, very, very powerful thing and it does reconnect you with… It's not just only about reconnecting with people, you can sit down and start thinking about the next year.
Paul : Okay, let me just remind you of something that Chris said in another place. He said that it's very useful thing to have three words which will be your orientation towards the year ahead.
So, there's one job to be done at this time of the year, which is to determine what are the key words, the three key words, and only three, that you will use to guide yourself through the coming year.
I connect that with the three book diet, the idea that Chris Brogan has already put forward, but in a different context, is that we each have three books - and only three books - that we return to time and time again during the coming year.
But he's also then put together a collection of very specific action points which I would actually like us to summarise during this conversation for what to be doing now.
Roger : Let's do so, add value.
Paul : Okay, here's one of the points, that
- you have to decide where your market is, is your market global or is your market local? This particular email gives some very specific suggestions, it doesn't tell you that you should be local or that you should be global, but it actually says that if you are looking at an international market you can do one of three things. You can ignore the fact that you actually have international people interested in you and you can write totally out of your own local community, that can actually make you very attractive to people in other parts of the world. So, that's why for example we could write a lot about Glanmire and for example, Becky McCray in Oklahoma who has written a book about this, "Small Town Rules", could actually empathise with it. We could connect up with her in a tiny small community out there in Oklahoma, I'm talking about, what is it 2000 people, or 200 people, having something to say which would be of global interest, so that's the first thing, you can actually ignore your international context.
- secondly, you can actually try to whitewash what you're writing, to recall Chris's phrase, so you really don't acknowledge - or in any way show - that you're aware of anything to do with locality. Now, I find that very unattractive myself as an option, that you entirely delete from your writing anything that would give reference to locality. For example, when I find somebody's Twitter profile and I can't actually find out where they live, I get a bit peed off.
Roger : I hate it when people don't have a profile, I intensely dislike it when they have a profile photograph that doesn't show their face because they've got something in front of it, and I'm also not very keen on it when people have an online name like, I don't know like, Slartibartfast27.
Paul : Do you care about locality, where the person is from?
Roger : I find it interesting, but locality won't make me not follow somebody, it won't make me follow somebody, but I do find it interesting, I do find it humanises the person. There may be an occasion where I go "Holy cow! That's a fantastic location! You're just up the road from..."
Paul : Well, I don't mind saying it straight, and I'll say it here, I'm looking for more and more contacts in Japan, I want to get BusinessJazz, this podcast, into Japan, I want to get it shared by people in Japan, not just this podcast but I want more contacts in Japan, right? Someday I want to go there, ever since I read Shogun by James Clavell, that extraordinary novel. 1976, the year of the hot summer, I was a bus conductor in London hanging off, openneck shirt, off the back of the 31 bus from Camden Town to Kings Road, and I shouldn't have been doing it according to the company, reading Shogun. Ever since then I want to go to Japan. I'm a sucker for locality Roger.
Roger : I think you want to know who you're following, you have to have an identity online.
Paul : Now Chris says that
- point number three is you can mix it up and you can acknowledge various international happenings and occasionally write from a nonlocal perspective, use nonlocal names for example and generally work from an "I see you" point of view. Those three things, ignoring the international, write from Boston alone, keep all locality out of your stuff or mixing it up, Chris Brogan says, "Guess which one I like the most?" That's about him, right? So it gives you, within the email, an opportunity to say which is his style. But then he says, but that's me, that's a choice.
Roger : Just on the idea of location, I mean we're very location specific about this podcast. We have an iconic, we hope, location.
Paul : Well, we have deliberately told people time and time again that we're in the Blackrock Castle Observatory in the cafe of it, called Castle Café
Roger : By the fire.
Paul : By a fire, were not just in it, were in a specific location.
Roger : Absolutely, if you walk through the door, don't turn left turn right, that's where you'll find us.
Paul : I'm also terribly conscious of the number of people who can't see, who have visual impairments, or are blind, who are listening to this podcast, and there are quite number of them, like Robert Johnson, rjnet for example in the UK, @BrailleSnail, various other people, there's a whole community of people out there for whom the more vivid you can be in your podcasting the more successful you will be. That's what @Documentally does so well.
Roger : I'm glad you raise this point because I had a thought. You know you have a thought and you think that's the best thing I've ever thought, then you forget it, that's how good it was.
I had a thought about audio the other day while I was listening to Christian, @Documentally, and it's this.
Audio is a fabulous bottleneck, by which I mean the entry point is very narrow and then it goes very broad, because we're all going mobile, okay? So, we're looking at things on our mobile devices. And if we're looking at a blog post and it's all scrunched up, if you've got an iPhone then you in hell almost compared to an android device, it's teeny, it's tiny, it's minute and it's hard to engage with, it's getting hard to engage with blogs on your mobile phone.
So, the actual entry point is confusing and it's big and you can't really get to grip with it.
But audio - that's why I kind of use the bottleneck thing - is one single entry point and when you go through that it all expands, but it expands in your mind, it expands in your head.
So, when you're listening to someone, you make a small step because it's very easy to hit that play button, it's a teeny play button on a screen. That's all you need to hit to hear the audio - and then the world opens up.
Whereas if you're a visual person, like I am and you're looking at a teeny horrible screen, the world becomes narrow and horrid.
And that's what I like about audio, it has a very narrow entry point, it's very easy to get into its, but my goodness because it's in your head, wow! I think it's excellent medium.
Paul : Have I got time to slip in reference to the experiment that Chris Brogan has done this week in his email?
Roger : No, no, but do it anyway.
Paul : Okay, a really quick one
He says he's going to do an experiment over the next few weeks. He's going to put a load of, and he's done it, a load of social sharing buttons. This is "you can send this out via Facebook, via Twitter and a few other things", and he wants to see what will happen.
So he very specifically has said to us, receivers of his email, will you please help me with this? When you press share would you just simply add a bit of a covering note to it and send it out.
He wants to then see what's happening. He presents it as an experiment, and I love that. This is not simply urging us to do something. He's saying: let's engage in a joint experiment because we'll discover something together which might be of benefit to a lot more people than Chris Brogan.
Roger : Well, we'll only discover it if he actually tells us the results, but I'm sure he will.
Paul : Well, of course he'll tell us the results. Good God, you shock me by saying that he isn't going to tell the results. You know, he's going to bring Dan Zarrella into the picture, and he's going to present the data in the way that Dan presents scientific research about the use of social media.
Roger : I realise I've just blackmailed Chris Brogan into revealing the results. Now I'm actually trying to Tweet straight away from an iPad but it seems to have crashed or stopped or whatever. I'll reveal the results of this particular experiment in the show notes.
Paul we need to wrap it up.
Paul : Lead us into the ending Roger.
Roger : I'm being scalded, I feel I should go into a corner, with a naughty hat on.
Paul : As a child my mother used to say things like, "Paul we need to make sure you come in on time" and I said to myself "No, you need to make sure I come in on time, I don't need to be in on time".
Lead us into the ending.
Roger : You've been listening to me Roger Overall, you can find me on thedigitalstoryteller.net or rogeroverall.net - Paul O'Mahony where can people engage with you?
Paul : You can find me under changeagents.ie, that's my company, you can find me on Twitter as @omaniblog, and if you put in "Paul O'Mahony Cork" on Google you'll definitely find me.
Roger : You can find Chris Brogan at chrisbrogan.com where you can also subscribe to the emails that we've been talking about. If you would like to engage with AJ Leon he is with a company called Misfits-Inc
Paul : Put in "pursuit of everything" and it will get you, just put in "nomad revolutionary" and you'll probably get him these days.
Roger : I would have thought so, or you could just Google "AJ Leon".
Paul : Special thanks to Mark Cotton and special huge, huge thanks to the man who got Business Jazz on Belgrade Internet radio this week.
Anywhere in the world that wants to put BusinessJazz Podcast on Internet radio for your local community, ask and you shall be supplied with all the permissions.
Roger : David Bailey, MBE, thank you very, very much for doing that. We will link to Belgrade live on the show notes. You can find the show notes at businessjazz.net you can also subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and we've added the RSS feed so you can put that into your favourite podcatcher as well, so if you want find out more, businessjazz.net.
Paul : To all our listeners in the Netherlands and India we wish you a very, very happy time until we're back with you again this time next week.
Roger : If you're in Holland enjoy Sinterklaas. Thank you to you the listener for listening to us, please join us again next week.
Paul : End of story.