How Minter Dial Is Disrupting the Social Landscape

Minter Dial, Speaker, Author, and Founder of the Myndset Company, joins the Social Pros Podcast to discuss disruption, social media, and finding success in the sharing economy.

In This Episode:

Minter Dial

The Myndset Company

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Full Episode Details

Shakin’ It Up

When you hear the word “disruption”, what do you envision?

An interrupted conversation?

A new technology?

Many social pros consider disruption to be a new platform that requires a change in budget and perhaps an intern to man the helm until you can work it into the rotation.

Minter posits that disruption goes much deeper than that. True disruption shakes the system to its very core. It’s not just incorporating a new line item in the budget, it’s re-envisioning how you communicate with customers and why this change is needed.

A change in the force of marketing requires social pros to step back and rebuild their strategy from the ground up. While some find this disheartening, Minter knows that the reality is it’s an opportunity to infuse fresh energy and creativity into your career and brand.

Disruption is the maker and breaker of brands. Minter’s approach to embracing and encouraging healthy disruption keeps him flexible, creative, and innovative.

In This Episode

  • How disruption leads to a new infusion of energy into your business
  • Why having a successful Chief Digital Officer means defining the role apart from the Chief Innovation Officer
  • How following the CLICK organizational principals leads to a flexible, innovative, and customer-centric business model
  • Why the rise of the sharing economy means less of a focus on acquiring permanent items and more of a focus on borrowed but meaningful things

Quotes From This Episode

“Our idea was to find ways to bulletproof ourselves for our future, but also, make sure that we are taking care of the people, society, and the environment around us.” —@mdial

For the majority of us, disruption is not an option. Click To Tweet

“One of the greatest ways of gaining energy is feeding our curiosity and learning.” —@mdial

“I have seen many pure players in dire need of disrupting themselves.” —@mdial

“You need to cocktail these technologies, according to your strategic intent, to power forward and leverage them to drive your business.” —@mdial

If you don't have the right mindset in the first place, then you will go fast, but not very far. Click To Tweet

“You need to have great partnerships with people without the organization.” —@mdial

“The challenge is innovating fast, and doing it in such a way that’s aligned with your organization’s North Star.” —@mdial

“Having people who are working, and working with you, is an example of why we need to collaborate more to get today.” —@mdial

“Consumers no longer necessarily want to own the object.” —@mdial

Underneath the sharing concept, the currency is trust. Click To Tweet

“The radar for mistrust and misleading communications has gone significantly higher, such that our tolerance threshold is much lower for crap.” —@mdial

“If you’re in big business and you’re not keenly looking at new technologies, what new opportunities could be coming out of this today in a very global manner, then the risk is you’re going to become obsolete in no time.” —@mdial


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Episode Transcript

Adam:Welcome to Social Pros, the real podcast for people doing real things in social media. This is Adam Brown, Executive Strategist of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and for our astute listeners, you may realize something is different today. I am doing introductions today. Why am I, Adam Brown, your co-host, doing the introductions? Sadly, it's because Jay Bear is not in the studio today. He is probably somewhere 30 or 35,000 feet in the air, traveling across this world. And I feel his pain; last week, I was in Australia, spend a week in Sydney with some of our customers and prospects and other interesting folks. And then I am hopping on a plane to Europe here in a week. Jay is very much doing the same thing, so we were unable, for this week, to get in the same studio, but it doesn't matter, we're going to have a fantastic show for you today. I am so lucky to have Minter Dial on the show. Minter is author of "Futureproof: How Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs Should Leverage the 15 Major Disruptive Forces." Fantastic book, I've had the opportunity, as I said, with a couple of hours on some planes here and there, to read the book, and it is phenomenal. And I think it's an appropriate book for all of us as social pros, all of us as marketers, but also just as citizens in this world as we see a dynamic transformation and change, and how we approach technology. And that intersection of technology, of marketing, of communications, and of, quite frankly, humanity. Minter, it's so great to have you on the show.
Minter:It's my pleasure, Adam, to be on the show. Thank you for having me on, and a big hat tip to Jay Bear, of course.
Adam:Absolutely, we're so sorry that Jay cannot be here. But he will be, and I know he already has a copy of this book too. By the way, "Futureproof" is going to be available in your fine bookstores very, very soon. It is already available on any online,, .uk, and place that you buy electronic and traditional books. Minter, talk a little bit about the establishment of this book, coming up with the idea about future proof.
Minter:Well, there's a wonderfully circuitous route, because originally, I wrote this by myself. And then, over a few whiskeys, I was chatting with my great friend Caleb, who said, "This really is beautiful, I really subscribe to it. I got some stories I'd love to add." Anyway, those whiskeys led to a, "Hey, why don't we actually redo it together?" And so Caleb and I came up with the idea. So Caleb is much more of a dear entrepreneur, he's a rooted man from the north of England, Manchester. And with his experience and entrepreneurship and what he does, it was a perfect mix for both of us. And our idea was to find ways to bulletproof ourselves for our future, but also, make sure that we are taking care of the people, society, and the environment around us. That was the inspiration that got this book started.
Adam:One of the things you talk about in the book is this concept of disruption, and the idea that it's no longer a change in the normal. As it meant when you articulated in the book, the term was coined by ad agency TBWA back in 1992; today, it's a whole lot deeper than that. Disruption has to do with the fundamental ways that we think, the way we communicate, the way we do business. Talk a little bit more about disruption and how you think this concept of what we talk about on Social Pros, social media is really integral to this evolution.
Minter:Well, if you start with social media, people tend to focus, as they have in the past, as "How can we use social media to drive the business?" And that, to begin with, was a little bit on an awkward statement. "Well, what percentage of our budget should be going to it? Is it part of our marketing?" And then little by little, we're beginning to understand that actually, social media, if you really want to do it, completely disrupts the way that you operate, the way you feel, the way you organize yourselves, and so on and so forth. So a lot of these technologies have that disruptive nature on the way you operate in your business, not just about how to use it to drive the business, but what it does internally facing. So for me, disruption, or the way we try to frame it, is really less necessarily about the disruptive product, but how disruptive we should be in the way we think, talk, operate, organize ourselves around servicing the customer. And that's how much more global we feel this disruption is, which is why it's such a vast and hairy topic for most of us.
Adam:So to that point, Minter, do we have a choice here? And is sometimes the choice not to be disruptive, or is the hypothesis here that we have to continue to disrupt, we continually need to look and approach how we do things and how technology and culture are transforming, that we do need to shake apple tree, so to speak?
Minter:So the other day, of course, there's a little bit of, "It depends." For example, if you are a sixty-year old and you're running a hardware store, and you're planning to retire in five years time, yeah, maybe you don't need to worry so much and you're just going to close it down and let it go, right? So there are circumstances that I'm going to allow, may not need to be quite as attentive. And then you have other industries, where they install bases, stronger, and there's enough legislation to make it harder, slow as molasses, to have change. And maybe that will allow some slower understanding of the disruption, but for the majority of us, it is not an option. And here's why; first of all, it is about survival. As our friend Bryan Sully says, "This is the age of survive or die." Or adapt or die, rather. And the second thing is, I think it's fun, and what I mean by that is that we're so behind the 8-ball all the time, rushing around, always late. We need things that return energy to us, and I believe that one of the greatest ways of gaining energy is feeding our curiosity and learning. And so just as you're looking for extra energy, get open and start devouring and learning about the stuff. Because A, that's how we stay young, because that is the nature of the youth, is to want to learn. And as we get older, as our hairs get grayer, we might get fatigued by this change, but look at it the other way, and look at it as an opportunity to just get excited again.
Adam:Yeah, and continue to use that muscle that we have between our two ears.
Minter:That's the one.
Adam:And as we get older, to not just be complacent with things or approaches, or even outlooks. One of the things you talk a little bit about in Futureproof is this idea of disruption, and is it easier or harder for some people, just like we're speaking. And my question for you is, "Is disruption easier to do in a start-up?" Heck, we even sometimes call start-ups "disruptors." Or is it easier to do in a larger type of organization? I think you make the case that a chief digital officer, which is a role we often times speak about here on Social Pros, a new C-suite executive that is beginning to do a lot of this disruption. But should CDO, chief digital officer, stand for chief disrupting officer, since so often, they're using digital to harness and leverage and enable the disruption itself? So, that's three questions woven in there. Is it easier for an entrepreneur to do this, or is something that even in a large, multi-national corporation, someone can do? And secondly, what is the role that chief digital or disruption officer to work up and down stream in enabling these types of changes?
Minter:Right, so I just want to tackle the first one first ... I'm sorry, the second one first, because it's a little bit quicker. And it's the CDO, so first comment is that I see more CDOs in density, actually, in Europe than I do in the states. That said, the interesting observation is that often times, it's at the expense of the chief innovation officer, or whoever is really involved with innovation. And I find that an interesting positioning, because at the end of the day, the issue is, "Well, if we don't innovate, then we will die, because we do need to have great products." Underneath that, digital can be a great way to help innovate, but really, digital is used in human resources, and maybe you can innovate in the way you research and develop new products. You can also innovate in the way you communicate, you can innovate in the way you need, or not, to have an office space. So a chief digital officer is a huge remit, and I think that the challenge for them is to have the right definition of their role so they don't hit their head against the wall within six months, if not quicker, butting up against cultural legacy and politics and difficulties within the organization. As to the first question, the way I'm going to answer it is that it seems obviously more likely that an entrepreneur should be better able to disrupt. However, some industries take larger infrastructure or investments, whether it's an airline company or maybe train company. And then some are much, much lighter, but the point I wanted to make, to be a little bit disruptive, is to say, "I have seen many pure players in dire need of disrupting themselves." So by definition, a pure player would be someone rather new, probably still run by the entrepreneur that founded them. And yet, they have fallen asleep at the wheel, and I feel need to completely change the way they're operating, because even the rules that they used at the beginning of their start-up have now changed, and they're at-risk themselves of falling onto the track, onto the train that's about to run them over.
Adam:And I think even those two examples that you just gave, Minter, are things I'm going to come back around to, because I think one of the skills that you talk about in "Futureproof" is this need to be a collaborator, and certainly, to be chief digital officer, you're not just at the arm's length of the CMO, or chief marketing or chief communications officer. As you said, you've got to be able to work with HR, you got to work with product, you got to work and collaborate with all these different parts of the organization. And in the second piece of what you talked about, I think you really speak to, in your meaningfulness section, as we've seen entrepreneurs and so many examples of genius companies -- I think Uber comes to mind -- that just didn't quite have the trajectory that they have, though I think even with the announcements in just the past few weeks, I think they're doing a lot to head towards that. It really is an all-packaged type of deal here, right?
Minter:Well, that's my hope. Let's say, first of all, the intention of the book was to identify the 12 technological forces that will disrupt your business, or that you can use to disrupt the industry. And we really wanted to curate and make strategic choices, because at the end of the day, our time is only so limited. The second thing is that you can't use one of these technologies in a vacuum, or you very much, generally, need to use them as a group. And you need to cocktail these technologies, according to your strategic intent, to power forward and leverage them to drive your business. The final thing is that actually, regardless of whatever technology you have, placed against your strategic intent, if you don't have the right mindset in the first place, then I think you will go maybe fast, but not very far.
Adam:One of the things you use in the book that I love is acronyms. I like to use acronyms to help remember things, and usually when I'm giving presentations or speeches, there is some sort of alliteration or acronyms that are involved. You use the acronym PIE to stand for personal internal-external, in terms of how you approach adjusting your mindset. But one I think that's very appropriate that you just spoke to a little bit is your click acronym, in terms of the five key organizational principles -- cooperation, learning continuously, innovate fast, customer centricity, kick bad habits, etc -- talk a little bit more about this. A, how you came up, and why you think those are the principles that we need to use and leverage, again, whether we're a marketing person or another senior executive, or we're creating our own type of company or brand.
Minter:Well, let's say that the first one, cooperation, really speaks to this notion of collaboration. So it's very much in line with that idea, and one of the key elements within that one is that you need to collaborate with all the members within your organization, but beyond that, you need to have great partnerships with people without the organization. Because at the end of the day, you probably can't have everything within, unless maybe an apple or two, but you're generally speaking going to have some lax in your team and your expertise. So it's really important to be able to identify, figure out how to collaborate with, empathize with, and find win-win solutions with other people that could even be competitors or cooperators, in order for you to be able to leverage all these technologies that are around us. The second one, learning continuously, is really important within the idea of responsibility, and that is that we need to in a mode of contentiously learning as an organization, but also as individuals. So as much as you, Adam, and I maybe know about stuff, well, we need to be on the ball, reading the newest things, staying up with the latest things all the time, which hopefully is an energizing component, but also sometimes rather fatiguing. Innovate fast is maybe more of an attitude, in some regards, because we obviously need to innovate; the challenge is innovating fast, and doing it in such a way that's aligned with your organization's North Star. And if you don't have your North Star or your strategy in place, then it's hard to know around what you need to be innovating. Customer centricity is an extraordinarily, basically important one -- I would throw in there this notion of listening as a correlating element of knowing how to be customer centric. And finally, kicking bad habits, it's sort of like being able to say "no." One of the terms I like to use a lot about is "sunset-ing," so you can sunset bad habits, but one of the skills we don't have enough of in our industry is learning how to sunset digital programs. We know a lot about starting them up, but we're not so good at putting them to bed, so closing down things that are out of date, closing urls that we have no right, or shouldn't be selling business through, anymore. Or an influencer marketing program, where you set up a program maybe for two years, and then you just close it down, and then the influencers feel like the ball's been dropped on them. Anyway, lots of ideas there, how about that?
Adam:Well, you really speak about kicking bad habits to the curb, or even sometimes kicking bad people to the curb in your meaningfulness section. I think the analogy you used is from another great author, Jim Collins, he wrote "Good to Great," another great book. I think everybody on this podcast should listen to, but he has the philosophy of, "Get the good people on the bus first, when you're hiring new talent. And get those bad ones off first as well." So I like and I appreciate that this book talks about the emotional side of business. We've talked about collaboration, we've talked about meaningfulness. These are typically attributes and things that you don't see in your hardcore business book. But in today's marketplace, is this more and more important? Is it more important to be able to respect and adhere to these types of values, especially as we're trying to attract millennials and Gen Z's? Or has this always been the case, we've just put a facade up to keep us from it?
Minter:Right, so that's a great question, Adam. The way I'm going to answer is first of all, I've been speaking about these types of topics and this notion of meaningfulness for a long time. And what I feel is that amongst the people in the audience who are mostly going to be employees and/or managers, let's say, it resonates with them. As if, "Gosh, I wish I had more of that in my organization. I'm working with my butt off, like everybody is, but wouldn't it be great if I was also doing something for the better purpose of this world, whether it be my community, my city, or the Earth? And if I were to be just feeling like what we're doing is doing a little bit better for the world, it would make so much more difference to the amount of hour that we're all twirling on." This notion of meaningfulness and responsibility really leads one to understand, "Why are we doing all this?" And of course, Simon Sinek has been great at putting the "why" on the map. The "why" is something I've always very much enjoyed as well -- my company is called The Myndset. And I purposefully misspelled it, not because I'm bad at spelling, but I put a Y instead of an I, because I always thought it was about putting the Y back into business. And for me, my sublime is "branding gets personal." And I think whereas before, we were able to hide a lot of things we did, and a lot of things we thought. And we just threw out one-way communications to express our brands. Now, there's a glass door, transparency concept that is allowing to see within. And within, we also see moods, we see emails. We see lack of ethics, and shinning a light on that, I think, is now a business imperative for us to have greater meaningfulness, greater sense of responsibility, and a greater sense of ethics.
Adam:Do you think that we're leading more meaningfulness lives today? To that point, with transparency, we see the good and the bad of companies, of organizations, of people. I think that's one of the things that social media can percolate out of people, is sometimes you can show your face, even if you think you're crafting your brand, and again, living under a guise. Is the entire term meaningfulness changing? I've always seen meaningfulness as associated with the value of what you are contributing to society, and the idea that contributing in that way gives you comfort, it gives you satisfaction, it gives you peace. Is that still true, or is meaningfulness evolving along with the times?
Minter:Well, I would say that meaningfulness means different things for different people. So the way I would look at that is I would say that we don't have to have 100% meaningfulness; I'm not dogmatic about it. It's about having more meaningfulness, and just like having great days, you know you're still going to get red lights. You're still going to get the red, the bill, or the parking ticket. There's shit that's going to happen, and it's about inserting more meaningfulness into your daily lives to compensate, in some regard, for the crap that disillusions us at times. And the fun thing is, rather than necessarily saying, "I'm Patagonia, and I'm going to save the planet," which is wonderful, you can also insert meaningfulness in much smaller ways. And then for example, give people specific projects, allow them to understand that this project has a specific purpose that is going to help solve part of the strategic challenge of the organization. If they feel that something they're doing is participating in that, in some regard, well that is a sense of meaningfulness. You know what I mean? So it's not necessary that everything is higher missionary stuff. We can do things at a more micro-level, and so it's about inserting more explicitly meaningfulness into the daily life.
Adam:So it may be as simple as an executive or a leader or a manager just doing a better job of articulating to his or her team the "why," as you said. "Why is this important?" This may not help the rainforest, in one particular example, but this may help the business, which allows us to do more things, which allows us to be philanthropical. But it's not all rainbows and bunny rabbits; meaningfulness can be just more success in the workspace, or in the workplace. Or more success as a business.
Minter:They can also mean feeling like, "I belong. Being part of a community and feeling like I legitimately belong, and I'm participating in the adventure of the company." These are things that provide meaning, like being part of a brand.
Adam:Sure. And I think being part of that, and being part of the culture, also dove tails very nicely into responsibility, which is another one of the tenants that you speak about in the book, and you spoke about a few minutes ago. I'm curious how responsibility is changing as we see organizations evolve. Is everyone more accountable today than they used to be? I see company like Uber, and I don't mean to beat up on Uber on this particular podcast, but we know the founder was responsible for so much of the good and the bad that was happening and that organization. At some point, certainly, the buck stops at him, and that's been addressed and it's being addressed really in past-present tense too. But is everyone who's privy to the good or the bad things that may be happening in an organization responsible, and then accountable? Is there a difference between responsibility and accountability?
Minter:Well, accountability, the word doesn't even exist in French. Anyway, it's a concept in my mind, because I worked a lot in Europe; I'll just lay the groundwork. So responsibility, what do we mean by it? Well, on the simple, easy level, we talk about responsibility as in being responsible about this planet. Great. That's the easy level one thought, but the deeper thought is having responsibility at a personal level within the organization. So that means if I'm the CEO or I'm a lower manager, I need to check my own sense of responsibility, and understand that I am responsible. So if an order comes down that I feel ethically questionable, read some of these war crimes, but in the company, if I see stuff that I don't think is ethically appropriate, finding a method within the organization to call that stuff out is a key component. If that stuff gets pushed under the carpet, like in BCC and your communications or whatever, so we don't want to call the elephant in the closet, then we are, in my opinion, just waiting for disaster to happen -- a la Sony Pictures or whatever, where things get exposed. Anyway, moving into the four areas of self-responsibility that we think you need to really hone in on ... in other words, it's not like some abstract, defused element of, "Let's be more responsible." Actually, we really want to apply it to four areas. So the areas are interpersonal branding; we should be encouraging our individuals in the organization to take on interpersonal branding. So how do you do that? Well the first thing is, as a CEO, you demonstrate what you're looking for, and you help lead the way. The second way, without any surprise, is learning, because the challenge we've always had is we've had these departments for LFT. What does it mean? Learning For Development, and these are done by the HR and done with great intention. But the reality is only you know what you don't know, and you need to go out and find what you need, in terms of resources, to compensate for your failings or whatever is missing. The third one is with regard to your security, cyber security, and in cyber security, the issue is that people tend to say, "Well, I'll just wait for the system we hire in to protect me." Whereas what we really need to be doing is being more aware, personally, of what email with the bad link it, or the USB that your child gave to you. "Hey, Pa, would you take this and take it home, take it the office and print out the second file there?" And, "Sure, son, I'll take that." And next thing you know, you just introduced a wild bug into your system. And the fourth one, I'm just trying to remember what that one is. We wrote this a while ago. It's being responsible for your ethics, which is the one I started off in the first place, which is really understanding where your line is, which comes back to a point where we're talking about with Jim Collins about hiring not just for skills, but for attitude.
Adam:Absolutely, and I think so often today, and this is true, I think, in our industry of social media, so much of what we do, in terms of the skills set to be successful in marketing, to be successful in digital marketing, and to be successful in social marketing and communications, are acquired skills. You don't go to college to learn how to do these things; you learn it on the job, and anybody, I believe, with the right attitude, and certainly the right ability to construct a clause, to create sentences, to create paragraphs that can tell stories, can probably do this job quite well. So I completely agree with the idea of, "You hire attitude and you teach those tactical skills on the job."
Adam:I'd much rather that be the case than the other way around.
Minter:What you do today, or what you teach me today, "Well, you should look at this Oreo cookie thing!" Or, "You should find this new thing." Great, that works for them, but it probably won't work tomorrow, because old trick. So you need to be in a constant mode of innovating and wanting to learn and test, and fail along the way. And that is a mindset story. Not at all a technical skill.
Adam:Minter, it is so great to have you on the Social Pros podcast today. Minter and his colleague Caleb Storkey are authors of "Futureproof: How Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs Should Leverage the 15 Major Disruptive Forces." Great book, and when we get back, I'm going to switch gears a little bit and talk a little bit about one of the other key tenant's collaboration, but then start talking about the science. Start talking about the technology and really how technology is almost wagging the tail on the dog here. But first, it is for our advertising messages, something, again, Jay, my great colleague typically does. I'm going to do my best; it is awkward reading our first advertisement, because it's one of mine. Here at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, we've had some unbelievably announcements in recent weeks and months. You may have heard about all the things we're doing around Einstein and Einstein vision. Again, we're going to talk about artificial intelligence here with Minter in just a second, but we have a really interesting ebook that I hope you will take a look at. It's called "More Than Marketing: Exploring the Five Roles of the New Marketer." It's basically a breakdown of five new central marketing skills that myself and some of my colleagues believe are so integral to what we're trying to do today, and what we see in high-performing marketing and communications companies. We've done a variety of interviews, stories, and interactive features to help you get started with these five different roles, these five different hats, and hopefully given you some actionable steps on mastering your own personal talents and how you can leverage those talents to continue to be successful. I hope you will try a copy of this; you can get a copy of the ebook by going to Great ebook from me and my friends at Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Our second ebook we hope you will download is from Jay and his colleagues at Convince and Convert, it's an ebook that really speaks to the three types of social media metrics, and why they'll get you promoted. Hey, and that's one of the big things we try to promote here on Social Pros is how you as individuals can continue to watch the trajectory of your careers. And one of the key ways of doing that is social that ROI, return on investment, demonstrating the value that social media has for your companies and organizations. Jay and his team at Convince and Convert have put a great book together; I sure hope you will download it as well. You can download it at Another great book, two great insights, and two books that we hope you will read, as well as the new book, as you hear this, that is available on Amazon and other digital marketplaces. "Futureproof: How Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs Should Leverage the 15 Major Disruptive Forces." Minter, again, great to have you on the show. I want to talk a little bit about an attribute, a skill, that is a big part of the book, and it's collaboration. And I think collaboration is interesting so for many of us in the marketing and social media space because we've seen the way that we collaborate change. I can remember just a couple years ago, when I was at Dell and at the Coca-Cola Company. "You're here!" You're in an office building with hundreds, or even thousands, of your colleagues, and you're able to bounce ideas off of literally standing in the threshold of someone's office or workspace. Collaboration has changed, and I'm curious. Are we collaborating as much as we did before? And with great tools, like certainly tools like Quip or Chatter from Salesforce, we got base camp. All these fantastic tools. Is that fostering the same sense of idea finalization then the actual, tangible collaboration over the water cooler at work?
Minter:Well, I would say there's some amazing new tools that, in the right hands, so amazing things and facilitate stuff and make it so much faster. Google, for example, all the tools that they have in the Cloud, with their teleconferencing skills, and then the ability to share documents and work on documents together. Unbelievable what we can do, and even that as a cost-saving, so that's a difference of Google's whole suite versus Microsoft that I'm thinking of, which I talk about in the book. But I think that the notion of collaboration, for example, in open spaces is what you need, but it's not because you've made an open space that it's going to work. I have innumerable examples of companies that said, "Ah, great, let's do some open space." And the main reason why they're doing that, actually, is to cut costs. And rather than think about their culture and the way that they operate, they force it in, and this is no way to instill collaboration, even though everyone's now sitting together, huddled together, if you will, like the team is in the hot spot. But it's not going to happen because they haven't done the hard work, or really been true to themselves about the way they operate. And that, of course, starts with the bloody CEO or manager who keeps the corner office.
Adam:Is this the collaborative economy? I know that's one thing you talk about. And what are those flags or indicators of that?
Minter:Well, so the collaborative economy is a beautiful portion of it, the sharing economy. The thing that we like to hide underneath that is that the way we are operating is changing, and our mindset is shifting. And it's not about ownership so much as it is about having what you need when you need it, and you don't necessarily need to own a car, or a flat, or even a hotel to be a hotel business. So that's a mindset element; the idea of collaboration that we like to develop is obviously about collaborating within. But the bigger portion, and the harder one, is knowing how to collaborate without, and that's finding ways to find your partners and create using empathy. Greater win-win ideas, constructs, with people without that can "1 + 1 =3" mindset. And it's not as easy. Are people doing it more? I think that there's a greater need for it today. Pace of change, the number of options we have to be familiar with, the number of new technologies that we're faced with. And so that the ability to have a great network of people who are experts and/or friends, look out for your back, is supremely necessary. The number of times, I don't know about you, but you have your site up and something bugs, but you don't have it automatically showing up. Some friend who looks out for you says, "Hey, Minter, I just want to let you know that you got a 404 on this page." Bang! They send the link, and you can fix it. Having people who are working, and working with you, is an example of why we need to collaborate more to get today.
Adam:What does the sharing economy mean for brands? I think the sharing economy as a concept is so absolutely fascinating, and one of the things you speak about in the introduction of your book is how the world's largest taxi company doesn't own cabs. Uber. The world's largest hotel or lodging organization, Airbnb, doesn't own one hotel room, and all these other interesting facts and figures. The world's largest software companies or software sellers don't write code, and that is with Apple, the app store or the Google play store. How does that affect how consumers approach and look at brands? Have we seen this idea, this sharing economy, really permeate brand marketing?
Minter:So there's two elements that I think are important in this one. And the first is without looking in the specific industry; if I'm in the hotel industry, yeah, you need to be aware of Airbnb. But beyond that, the accord is on their situation, and they bought One Fine Stay, and they're doing different ways of skinning that cat within the industry. But what I think is the more interesting avenue is to look at how you can change the way you operate as an organization via sharing accessories. So instead of buying a fleet of cars, or leasing a fleet of cars, maybe you can open up an account with a Zip car, open an account with an Uber, and/or find alternatives to the way we've always operated. So this could also mean office space, or hotel organizations. So within the coding of the way you write the company, the sharing economy has an opportunity to participate; to your point, or your question more specifically, Adam, how it affects the consumer, I think that the salient point is that consumers no longer necessarily want to own the object, as in possess it and have it in my bank of assets. "I need this dress for this party tonight, and I can go to Chanel and buy." But there's now also a growing number of people that says, "Well hell, I'm only going to wear it tonight. I don't need it for tomorrow." And so I think that in terms of position of services and goods to consumers, yes, it's part of that. And I think there's an element of economy. But there's also an element of, "Hell, I don't want to waste more space in my limited-size flat." And/or you make something that's going to sit in a cupboard and waste resources, aka this planet, just for this one night party.
Adam:Do you think that the sharing ... I'm curious, I don't know how to question this. So hang out with me for just a second. But I'm curious your thoughts on where this sharing economy network will take place. And what I mean by that, this whole evolution of the sharing economy, in some ways, started with peer-to-peer music back in the 90's. And now we have networks for car sharing, Uber, we have networks for home sharing, Airbnb, we have P2P lending, where the bank is really gotten out of the middle man and now, money is going from individual to individual. In some cases, I can make a case that the social platforms themselves, be it the Instagram, the Facebook, the WhatsApp, are those extension cords that can bring all these people together, and allow them and enable them to do these things. But then of course, you also see the proprietary platforms themselves almost becoming social networks; I think you can even see that in the latest evolutions of the Uber up, and certainly some of those other sharing economy-type platforms. My question for you is, as you put on your crystal ball or your Swami hat here, what is, and where is, this all going to take place?
Minter:Well, the way I feel like answering that question, Adam, is the need for establishing more trust, because underneath the sharing concept, the currency is trust.
Minter:And so I like to cite ... if you look at social as a sharing platform, it's a great analogy, because at the end of the day, A, you don't own your own Facebook page. That can be wiped out the day after tomorrow, if not tomorrow, because you didn't play the game or the platform decided to do things differently. So it's not owned, and therefore you are only borrowing it, really, or sharing it with the wider community, as well as Facebook. I just lost my train of thought. Oh, godfathers!
Adam:I'll tell you, I love that concept, Minter, because trust is so important. For example, if I'm going to let someone borrow my, to your example, Chanel dress, because you know I've got a whole closet full of them here, or if I'm going to let someone borrow my car, or I'm going to lend somebody money, trust is so inherent. I'm handing over something of value that I'm certainly going to get some money or some good, some reciprocity. But without trust, this whole economy falls flat on its face, doesn't it?
Minter:It does; let's say you're going to get in a car with a stranger who's going to drive you, as blah blah car does, from one location to another. Well, you're trusting that they have good driving skills, and then hopefully you're going to have good conversation, and that's the idea. So you're going to have people coming into your home, you're driving a person, picking somebody up as an Uber driver, who's going to get into your car. There is this implicit and two-way level of trust, which is so much not the past, as in the past, you signed up for a company, you worked for them. You had blind trust that they would do things and look after you, but as it turns out, they spit you out after they've gotten rid of you, after you've done your job for them. So there's a distinct lack of trust, and I think that the radar for mistrust and misleading communications has gone significantly higher, such that our threshold is much lower, in terms of our tolerance, for crap. And so I think that the trust is an element; and going back to my brain fart I had just now, was this notion that on social, your Facebook or whatever, you're trying to instill people to share what you have. And I think that the mindset obviously had to move away from viral and natural to paid marketing. But if we can still think about, "What are we giving in the value exchange, in terms of we put on a post as a company on Social something, what are we actually going to do that's beneficial for the recipient?" And still today, I don't think we have enough of a mindset in the way we're programming marketing ... are challenges, because I think those are shortcuts. And if you're not doing enough groundwork to figure out how you're going to make this a pleasant experience, and my stream on my Facebook mobile app, then you're bound to have people unsubscribe.
Adam:Minter, I want to ask you one more question before we get to the two big questions that Jay asks every single guest on Social Pros. In the second half of "Futureproof," you really discuss the forces, web, social media, the smartphone itself, Internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data, 3D printing. All these amazing technologies that we are all experiencing or about to experience, because I think you really do put your futurist hat on for a lot of this. I'm curious. How are all these technologies driving this scene change? Is the tail wagging the dog here, or is this dog wagging the tail? In terms of is technology creating this whole new evolution? Or is the way that we're approaching life forcing these technology changes?
Minter:Well, I think that the customer is the wagger, is really what's promoting the most amount of change. And I think secondly, a lot of amazing entrepreneurs are really making people think twice; there are a hundred million start-ups happening around the world as we speak today. So if you're in big business and you're not keenly looking at new technologies, what new opportunities could be coming out of this today in a very global manner, then the risk is you're going to become obsolete in no time. When I look at these technologies, a couple of things were interesting. First of all, I said the words technologies, I didn't say "new tech," because a number of them have been around for quite a while, and the exciting thing, on the one hand, is that some of these new technologies are about to come into a new phase because of a confluence of things that are happening, including processing power, the Cloud and such. At the same time, let's take social media, which is such the topic on your wonderful podcast. What I believe is important today is that yes, social media's been around for ten years, yes, we all have a social strategy. However, I think that we're now needing to get into a "next phase" of social, so not only is social you got to pay to play, but I think there's also what I call "the nots." As in the people who are not on social, so that's over a billion people on the Internet who are not on social. How are we playing to them? Because just relying on social, that ain't going to cut it; then there's the gazillion amount of people, don't have a number, but who are on dark social. So they're not obvious on social. And then there are the people who are just not on Internet, and so we can't just be about social. What is our overall market? And how are we going to approach them in an integrated fashion? I think there's an opportunity to rethink the way we do social. The viral video is a hoax, or generally a pipe dream. And if your agency is still hoping to sell you that, then ask again. Right? And so then I think we need to wake up and rethink how we're doing social a little bit. And for example, although I have wonderful respect for Salesforce, the notion of automated marketing is highly dangerous. In the wrong hands, it's going to piss off a lot of people, and sure, you might get two and a half percent clicks and whatever, and get some business. But I think that the long-term play within that is more likely to get you unsubscribes and less attraction to your brand than more.
Adam:Yeah, I can't agree more. Technology is a dance between art and science.
Minter:It is.
Adam:And making sure that you don't lose the storytelling, the creativity, the passion, the genuineness, the meaningfulness that you speak about, Minter, and "Futureproof" is so true there. All right, that was a perfect segway, I think for the last two questions. Minter Dial, author of "Futureproof: How Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs Should Leverage the 15 Major Disruptive Force." Question number one. Minter, what tip would you give people who want to be a social pro?
Minter:Well, I think that there's a couple of ideas. If I'm at the beginning of being a social pro, then I think you need to do it yourself. So as opposed to advising other people, do it for yourself. Be not within your company, not just within your company, but be a brilliant social evident person yourself, and walk the talk.
Adam:Practice what you preach.
Minter:Practice what you preach on yourself. I think a lot of people in business ... I hang out with a lot of people who are in social, or doing digital, and their Linkedin profile's crap. What is this? They have 100 followers on Twitter, which is not a problem, but they haven't tweeted in six months. What? Not possible. So at the very basic level, if you're in social, walk the talk, do it for yourself. Feel what it's like to manage it. And I think that's the strongest tip I have.
Adam:I think it's a great tip, I agree completely. Last question for you. Minter, if you could do a Skype call with any living person, who would it be and why?
Minter:Well I would go with Tim Cook, and I'm writing new a book, for my own punishment. And it talks about this need or the challenge of the transition from the founder to the new CEO. So for example, who's going to replace Mark Benioff when he goes? Because he, like so many of these other great founders, really instill themselves. They are themselves, and their energy, and their vision, and their balls, or their courage for the women, who have that gasomps to do things which are maybe counterintuitive, not pleasing to stock market, and so on. So I think that Apple ... my wife worked for Apple, and I, of course, am an Apple geek, but I think I would love to know what's on his mind. And I think they are a company that is obviously thinking about the future, and I also think that he is a man, obviously having expressed that he's gay. He's taken responsibility for that, he obviously has ethics, and I would love to be able to discuss with him the return on ethics.
Adam:Oh, I like that. Tim has been a fairly popular Skype call candidate on the show, so you are in good company with that, and I would probably add Tim to my list as well. A fascinating individual who has done, certainly, amazing things with pretty large shoes to fill with Steve Job's departure. Minter, so glad to have you on the social pros. Thank you for coming on. I hope everybody will grab a copy of future proof from Minter Dial and Caleb Storkey. Again, thanks so much for being on the show, and thank you for all of you being listeners to Social Pros. Jay and I so appreciate your continued listening, your continued notes and reviews and suggestions that you give us. We read each and every one of them, and I hope you will stay with us. This has been a great show, and continues with a great evolution. Again, I am Adam Brown with Salesforce Marketing Cloud, with Minter Dial. Thank you so much.
Minter:Many thanks.
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