When you have the ability to raise billions of dollars you are a very clever person – Talk Marketing 20 – Thomas Power

When you have the ability to raise billions of dollars you are a very clever person – Talk Marketing 20 – Thomas Power

Martin Henley 0:00

Good morning Mr. Power.

Thomas Power

Good morning Martin, thank you for inviting me on your show. 

Martin Henley

Thank you for coming, man I’m really excited about this conversation I’m really, really excited about this conversation, because you are certainly the most, I think you might be the most famous person that’s agreed to come and talk to me for an hour and a bit, and I think you might, do you have an OBE? So does that make you the most?

Thomas Power
I don’t think I’m a famous person at all but my wife has the OBE from the queen. 

Martin Henley

Okay.

Thomas Power

That was 2014.

Martin Henley

Okay, lovely.

Thomas Power

At Windsor Castle. Yeah

Martin Henley
Fantastic. So you also met the Queen, or not? 


Thomas Power
Oh no, I didn’t get an award, she got the Queen’s award for a building E-cademy which was a community of small businesses that we assembled. 

Martin Henley 

Okay, but I thought you were a team. 

Thomas Power 

We are a team but OBE in this household stands for other buggers’ efforts.

Martin Henley
Perfect. So, you are certainly the person who has come the closest to meeting the queen who has agreed to spend an hour with me talking about marketing. Is that fair? that’s, yeah I think that’s reasonable nobody else is coming anywhere near.

Thomas Power
If you want to interview Penny then you can actually interview someone who has met the Queen and received an award, so you get the closest thing to the royal family that we can offer you.

Martin Henley
Okay, perfect. Okay, good. So, the reason I think you’re famous, it’s because I don’t know what the definition of famous is, but then you have 10s if not hundreds of 1000s of members of Ecademy.

Thomas Power
Yeah, over 14 years we had 650,000 members. I flew to 60 countries, and I did 14,000 one-to-ones over 14 years and spent time with 14,000 of that 650,000 face to face in 60 countries around the world between 1998 and 2012 so I really knew them well, and it’s not often on LinkedIn, I’ve got 43,000 connections on LinkedIn. It’s not often you meet anyone who’s actually met them all.

Martin Henley

You’ve met 33,000 people. 

Thomas Power

But you see what people say is, how have you done that? Well, you can’t meet more than a 1000 people a year, so it’s actually taken me 30 years. So, I’m now 57 and I started actively meeting people, literally, in the like, well sort of, it was kind of like 1983-84 I started. So, it’s about 30, yeah, it’s about 35/36 years I’ve been trying to meet a 1000 people every year.

Martin Henley

Wow.

Thomas Power

So yeah, I’ve met a lot of people and I’ve got a deep love of humans around the world, and an amazing connection, community and friendship and I still try and do, even now a 100 Zoom calls every month, so it gets through my 1000 a year, albeit, I missed the physical, I missed the flights, I miss the airports, the hotels, the formal shaking hands, the drinks, the beers, the conferences, the events. But I still, get through 1000 zooms every year so I can keep in touch with at least 1000 of that 33,000.

Martin Henley
Wow. And that’s impressive. Okay so to bring a little bit of order to this. There are only four questions in this to typically keep us busy for like an hour and 15 minutes. The four questions are firstly, how are you qualified to talk to us about marketing. What is it that you do, how do you add value in the world. How do you feel about marketing, and then what is your recommendation for people in the current climate, you know, how should people be conducting themselves in a sales marketing kind of fashion right now, so I feel like all of this, how are you qualified is, you know, you build a network of 600 odd 1000 people this Ecademy thing so I feel like it’s all gonna happen in the context of that and you are redoing it, but the thing I really liked about you is your commitment to actually engage, you built this huge online community where you clearly have like a really personal commitment to engaging with people face to face, or at least on video now. So, in that context, of course, the question is how are you qualified to talk to us about marketing?

Thomas Power

So that’s question one, is it?

Martin Henley

That’s question one, yes.

Thomas Power
Okay, well first of all I am professionally trained in the subject and in 1986 I got a diploma in marketing from the Institute of marketing in Cookham near Maidenhead so I am actually officially qualified professionally.

Martin Henley

Fantastic, well done. 

Thomas Power

And I’m a big fan of Philip Kotler product, price, place, promotion, the four P’s. And I’ve actually met Philip Kotler, who wrote Marketing Management in the 1960s and wrote the four P’s on a Sunday afternoon with his wife in the 1960s. I spent time with, with Philip Kotler at Chicago University which is Kellogg’s as in Kellogg’s cornflakes and we hired him for a software company I worked for in Detroit in the 90s called Urban Science, and we hired him for a conference, and so I’ve got a very fond connection with the subject of marketing because I’ve met the man who was the guru, which I studied and got my qualification in 1986. So, it is a deep, deep subject to me, I studied business and I studied finance. But the thing I love was the marketing, but I love sales more than I love marketing, so sort of sales, then marketing, then finance, then business. 

So, I am professionally qualified. And in terms of other things, in the Alan Sugar story the first book, the Amstrad story, you find me in here as his marketing manager, launching the PC in September 1986, The PC 1512 no less, and you’ll find the story of that in his book. So, I have had a proper real job for a proper real billionaire doing real proper marketing and advertising. So, I’m qualified in that sense, because I’ve done a real job doing it. And then most recently, I’ve been, in terms of real jobs, I’m trying to think real jobs, I’ve been a vice president of marketing no less for a software company, which is quite interesting. And obviously, I’ve sat on a plane for 14 years, connecting with 650,000 people, but actually physically meeting 14,000 people. And I think the Ecademy was a real classic case of building a brand and a community and a support network so I consider that our greatest achievement, and my wife obviously she got the award from the queen. I didn’t get it. And I think that’s quite a good statement of recognition of skill, although I would say she’s better at marketing than I am, as in a general sense. I still prefer sales to marketing.

Martin Henley
Okay cool, right, so that’s interesting, so I want to talk about that, but I’m interested to know then how did you go from having a proper job, working for Alan Sugar’s, marketing the PC so that must have been an exciting time, that was all brand new to Ecademy which is essentially not a proper job, as in, you know you founded this thing you started this thing from scratch, there wasn’t something there before you did that, how did that come about?

Thomas Power
Well, these two events are 12 years apart so I joined Alan Sugar at 22 in 1986. I’d worked for an advertising agency, and I managed to get a job with him in ‘86 to be this marketing role. As a result of working for Alan Sugar I met a lot of very famous people Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Steve Barmah, Rupert Murdoch, Ross Perot, Stanley Karns, Mark Suhany, who Standard Mark ran their Dixons retail store which was our biggest customer back then. And as a result of meeting Alan’s network, if you like, or contacts, whatever you want to call the word back then. I kind of fell in love with networking by observing him. And then I became a very active networker, and Alan was a very good teacher, he used to say things like don’t come back in this room until you’ve got more information than I have and Alan is a very, very smart guy in terms of gathering information market research, market analysis, understanding products and exceptionally so his, his memory is, it’s like a video memory is unbelievable memory Alan Sugar. 

And so, I developed really from observing him the habit of networking, very actively. I’d always been actively meeting people, but I never really saw networking as a profession, until I realized that Alan uses networking for information for market research for contacts for deal flow. He used networking all the time every day, on the phone, at conferences, events, we used to fly on his plane and go to different conferences and events around the world, and he was just phenomenal at gathering information through his networks. And so, I fell in love with observing him do it. I had the same experience when I went and met Michael Dell and the guys around Microsoft, all very, very active networkers, or very, very good at collecting information, gathering research from people and all very proactive with their work effort. And so, when the internet came along, sort of late, 80s, and we got our AOL and CompuServe accounts and you may or may not remember those in the mid to late 80s, that was kind of our first introduction to email or community building or networking. 

I sort of set about my effort in the 90s to go and meet everybody who was building things on the internet in America, across America and I met all the sort of internet people if you like, who went on to become billionaires, or failures, a mixture of ups and downs as you’d always expect. And so, I built this sort of international network of contacts in America, for the internet because I was so in love with networking are so in love with the internet. And time marched on from 1986 to 1998. I’ve now got three kids, I’m sitting with Penny, we’re in a Pizza Express we’re down the road in Farnham. And she says, I really think we should build a community on the internet, a community of small businesses so we can teach them all this e-commerce, e-business, just help them, because you seem to know so much about it, you know where all the people are, you know what we’re all talking about let’s build some kind of community and information site to teach them and train them and so on. 

So that was her idea, I came up with a name, I was doing a project for Commerce-1 from Mark Kauffman who had built Sybase and went off to do Commerce-1, it was called E-procurement. I was out in Walnut Creek in California and I was just sort of building my knowledge and building my knowledge, she had this idea of this community of small businesses, I kept thinking about it some kind of an academy, it needs to be an academy, some kind of learning place, it needs to be e-commerce, academy, e-commerce, e-commerce, academy, it became Ecademy. E-C-A-D-E-M-Y.com. And ecademy.com was born in 1998, and we then had our first event at the IOD, 27 people came along to that event. We gave me a glass of Chardonnay I had a pink shirt on. So, I totally got labelled as pink shirts and Chardonnay, man. And, and we asked people if they wanted to learn about this subject and develop their knowledge, and they did. So we asked them if they could bring a friend next month and 27 became 54, 54 became 108, 108 became 260. Within six months we have 500 members coming networking with us in London every month. And so we knew we were onto something. But what we weren’t clear on, a business model. We didn’t have a lot of plans we just thought we need to keep building comm unity, we need to keep connecting people with developing, keep developing it. 

And by 2001, we had about 10,000 members scattered in this sort of email list, it was little more than an email list really all over the world people join this email list wanted to know about developments on the internet, e-commerce what was happening, what were small businesses doing. In 2001, this guy walked into one of our events called Julian Bond, and he said, do you to do to know what a blog is. And we said no. And he said well I think I can turn your list into an online community inside a blog with profiles using some software called Drupal. D-R-U-P-A-L. I’m sure you’re familiar with it, Martin. And it was March, the seventh, 2002, we put up this community website, which was a profile, which was a blog, which was messaging, which was clubs or groups, and a marketplace and we just put it all up, and up it went. And people just poured onto it. They just poured onto it. We mailed the list. Another 10,000 people, and said, lets come and join, try it out. And it just took off. And then we had to figure out a way to charge for it so we started charging 10 pounds a month. Come 2006, we had 650,000 members, we had 30,000 paying subscribers. And it was completely accidental. We just went with the flow and my job was to fly around the world and meet everyone.

Martin Henley
Nice talk. Okay so this is interesting in like the context of what else was going on. Like we touched on this when we spoke before about community building. Like I remember maybe 2007/2008, everyone started to get excited about online communities like Seth Godin was talking about tribes, as far as I’m aware, you know, it wasn’t at that point in my life I didn’t go into business for myself till 2005. But I’m not aware of there being any real sense of community building, as early as 98.

Thomas Power
Oh yeah there was. Yeah, there was, you had the onion remember? You had, can’t think of all the names, of these things, you had Oakland BC in Germany, that became Xing. It was called Open Business Community. He had Ryze, built by Adrian Scott, out of the Caribbean. And Reed Hoffman who built LinkedIn in 2002 he was on Ecademy for two years before he launched LinkedIn. So, the subject of community building, I would say there was probably maybe half a dozen worldwide, that you will consider an emerging or embryonic community. But, in terms of the big players obviously LinkedIn came in 2003, Facebook came in 2004 and Twitter came in 2006. Those being the big three if you like. Now, obviously Instagram 2009. But for about five or six years we were on our own in the desert, trying to cross the desert with half a dozen other small communities, 10-20,000 people trying to figure out a business model, trying to figure out how it all works, trying to connect people, trying to support people try and train. We were flying blind.

It was a great relief when LinkedIn arrived in 2003 because we thought, oh look that kind of looks a bit like what we’ve been doing. And so, when the right competitors turned up, it was really comforting, because we had Ryze, an Ecademy and Oakland BC and those, those were the three forerunners, I think, to LinkedIn and Facebook and Twitter. Interesting enough, all of the features in Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook were inside Ecademy, Ryze and Oakland BC, that became Xing. So, there weren’t any new feature sets that arrived, the big difference of the big three. And this first three is obviously capital. They raised hundreds of millions of dollars of capital and exploded very, very quickly, whereas we were all using loans and credit cards and we were scrapping around for capital from any source we could get to keep financing.

Martin Henley
Okay, so you really were like a forerunner to LinkedIn, at least if not Facebook and Twitter.

Thomas Power
Yeah I mean I think Ecademy was more like Facebook, than it is like LinkedIn, more like Facebook, more like Twitter, but for business people, it wasn’t a social network. It was a business network for small businesses. The profile of the people that used Ecademy or belong to Ecademy were mainly white-collar professionals working from home, we wanted to belong to something. I wanted to be part of something that was on the cutting edge. So, LinkedIn is much more corporate more like a corporate Rolodex. And obviously, Facebook is much more sort of family and friends nearby, before Twitter became the news, whereas the Ecademy was white collar professionals working from home, what we now call home workers or telly workers or hybrid workers. You and me now, are the profile of what Ecademy members were. There isn’t really a home for us anymore. The home workers don’t have a home, really,

Martin Henley
Because they are kind of caught between LinkedIn and Facebook probably because these things might be doing what they need them to do.

Thomas Power
Correct, correct. I’ve never found a home since we sold Ecademy in 2012. I’ve put time into Twitter, had a spell with Google Plus, don’t really get the Facebook thing, I mean I’m obviously a user of it, and LinkedIn to me is just a Rolodex of business contacts, not saying it’s bad or weak or anything I think it’s a great system. But to find small business community, I love small business, I’m not really a big fan of big business and I’m not anti-big business, but I prefer small business. I like to find a small business community is really, really difficult, and sadly there isn’t one. Even now, in 2021, which is one of the reasons we’ve decided to create a little one again.

Martin Henley
Okay. Right, so this is really interesting, so you don’t seem to have any regret or any concern that you could have been LinkedIn or Facebook or any of these things is like?

Thomas Power
We didn’t have the skills, we didn’t have the access to capital. You know organisations that can raise hundreds of millions of dollars, billions of dollars, in the case of Facebook. I like to think of us as we were top of the middle, but we were, in football terms, we’d probably be in the championship, but we weren’t Premier League. And, the executives behind Facebook and Twitter, and LinkedIn are miles, miles ahead of the guys from Xing, and Ryze, and Ecademy. No, not to say that we weren’t bright, we were bright, but when you’re raising, when you have the ability to raise hundreds of millions of capitals, billions of dollars of capital to fund an idea that doesn’t make money. You are a very clever person. Okay, and people forget that Martin Zuckerberg raised 2.7 billion US dollars pre-IPO. People put $2.7 billion into a loss making idea for eight years. And I know that similar thing happened with Amazon but at least they were shipping products, it was obvious at some point it would become profitable but with Facebook. No, he deserves the return that he’s achieved as to his shareholders, but we didn’t have those skills.
 
Martin Henley
Okay. And but then also is it not a question of timing because if you had emerged after LinkedIn, then you might have looked like something they would want to spend billions of dollars on. Do you know I mean if you had 600 or 1000 members and stuff.

Thomas Power
Well we had an offer from Xing in Germany, on August, the seventh 2008, they offered us 7 million euros for the platform. And LinkedIn, have made many $1 billion offers for Xing in Germany ever since, but never Xing have never sold out to LinkedIn. So yes, it’s possible but I think that what we needed, the period from 1998 to 2003 was very important to us because we got established with about 10,000 very engaged members. And that made our foundation, kind of rock solid, because we’d met most of those people at events, and they were very supportive of a small business, husband and wife team, working from home. We had a fantastic chief executive Glenn Watkins, who organise us all and corralled us all, we had this fantastic CTO Julian Bond, who built this Drupal platform, and we were the epitome of littleness, of smallness, of intimacy, and trust and empathy. We weren’t the giant corporation thing, the big mega thing, we were the mom and pop store at home. And those first 10,000 members provided such a foundation for the for the community, that if LinkedIn or Facebook and Twitter had already been there. I don’t think would have necessarily found those 10,000 people after that time,

Martin Henley
Okay 10,000 is a lot to talk about intimate. I’m kind of interested in this idea of where it went wrong for social media or if it went wrong for social media.

Thomas Power
It went wrong with the incentives. Okay, the incentive’s what’s wrong with when you get a token for a like or a token for a share. We didn’t have anything like this on our platform we didn’t reward people for their engagement. We just had a community conversation. But if you motivate people with a like, a share or any kind of reward you encourage forms of abuse, you are rewarding people for anger. You are rewarding people for clickbait farms, you’re rewarding people for misappropriating the way the platform’s working, and the value of the like or the share or the retweets, if we switch it over to Twitter, really incentivize people to be mischievous and to misbehave. And so, I think when, that didn’t come in much later for LinkedIn because LinkedIn was similarly dry like Xing and Ecademy and Ryze were, dry in the sense there’s not so sensationalist, but I think the tokenization of the rewards with Twitter and with Facebook and Reddit, and Instagram created effectively giant anger management systems. 

And so, to me that’s where they went wrong and that’s to me that still is an issue of what is wrong with them now. Because you don’t want to reward people for any form of abuse, or misbehaviour. Because, if you incentivize that kind of behaviour online, you create this divisiveness, and we saw the previous President take advantage of divisiveness, and we’ve seen it in different regimes around the world, this sort of left, right, woke not woke. Right, wrong, you’re right, I’m wrong. This divisiveness creates a lot of hostility. Whereas, there’s a lot of people in the world, myself included, who don’t want to choose. I don’t want to be this label or that label. I don’t want to be right or wrong. I’m just happy in the middle. I’m happy going down the middle, groove, I don’t want to be forced to choose. And the if you incentivize that behaviour online, you create divisiveness, and to me that’s the big failing of Facebook and Twitter less so LinkedIn, you don’t see it there, but certainly Reddit. Reddit to me is a terrifying platform, Twitter, you’ve got to be very sharp to use, Facebook can be scary. Instagram to me has become compare and despair platform. I’m not anti any of them, but I just think that they’re incentivized to reward the shareholders more than take care of their users, and I wish that they focus more on their users than their shareholders. And I think the incentive is misaligned between the user and the shareholder and the advertiser, and I’d like to see more responsible directors, running the governance side of these platforms.

Martin Henley
Yes. I 100% agree with that. And I think there was something about when they decided that they were going, they knew better than we did what it was that we wanted to see before they had these algorithms, when it was just literally everyone you know, posting. I remember being on Facebook and just scrolling and scrolling and scrolling until I started reading things that I’ve read before, and that could take, I don’t know half an hour or 40 minutes sometimes. Whereas, I’m not sure when 2015/2016, they decided which of your friends you wanted to hear from, and so I don’t know anyone who really uses Facebook very much anymore, but now if I were to go on Facebook, it would be within three or four posts I would see something that I’d seen previously, you know, so I think that it’s the combination of these things.

Thomas Power
I think the thing with Facebook, any platform that’s free, is as the user, I don’t think you have any rights. This is my belief. If you’re not paying for something you have no rights. Now I’ve been challenged on this subject, many, many times by different people around the world. But I like to pay for products that I consume, if I’m consuming a product, I expect to pay for it in some form. So I receive the value and I give an exchange of value for that. But I think the fact that, that a lot of these social media networks are free, has shifted the bias towards the shareholder and the advertiser. And as a result of that, the algorithms are driven with them in mind to get a return on the capital, quite understandably, as well. But I think what’s been sacrificed is the user experience, and the user who has effectively been farmed, to use the right metaphor, I think. But what’s actually happening with these social media networks is they’re farming minds for advertisers, and for shareholders, and I don’t think it works. 

Obviously, it works for shareholders and advertisers spend a fortune. But I think it’s done a lot of harm to society I think they have done a lot of harm to society. And as I say, I’d like to see more responsible directors in the boardrooms who care more about the user. The user experience, and the user and the users’ mental health. We’re now dealing with what 700,000 suicides a year in the world. I think a lot of those suicides are connected with mental health, connected with these devices, connected with these social networks. And I worry about that because I never saw any of that intention in Xing or in Ryze or in Ecademy, but I think it’s accidentally come about because the incentives are aligned to the advertiser and the shareholder, and if something is only about money, and return on capital, things can go wrong. And things have gone wrong, and now we’ve witnessed a lot of things go wrong, and then when we see executives in Congress being questioned by Senators and inadequately question by unskilled politicians, you realize the level of how things have gone wrong because there weren’t any politicians, able to question these founder operators, and really dig under what’s going on so if effectively that the technology industry has got control of the United States now and, and they run it. 

And they don’t really need to worry about the politicians anymore, and that’s a shame where the technology has actually superseded the democracy and we’re now paying the price for that with instability and divisiveness. I don’t worry about anything about it but I do worry about it, which seems weak, but I do worry about it because our intention when we’re building community was always about community, love, support, empathy, growth, developing your personal well-being developing your company’s well-being, peers around you. Our intentions were always aligned like that. And I like to think the same was true at Ryze, and Oakland BC, and there was another one a, French one Viadeo that just come into my mind now I’m thinking about the history, but I get very nervous if you align incentives, only towards return on capital employed, because I think, things can go wrong if you do that.

Martin Henley
Okay, Yeah, I think, 100% things have gone wrong. And I think you’re right. Previously there was better balance between, there’s like the triumvirate so there’s the platform, there’s the audience, and then there’s the advertiser. And I think up to a point there was balance in that where it kind of made sense for everyone. Users were getting enough value, advertisers were getting enough value and the platforms obviously probably weren’t getting the value they needed which is why they’ve had to shut them down so hard, but I don’t know if you know, there was a really nice time probably between 2008 and 2012. When you could do really nice social media marketing, you know, where it was this play-to-play kind of ethos, like, a friend of mine who teaches digital marketing describes it as the 21st century, publishing swindle because they had all these contributors who weren’t actually being paid anything. What’s the point of this, the point is that that balance went at some point, and now it’s all about money. And I honestly don’t know. I mean my situation is that I stopped running my marketing company in 2014, I’ve been almost exclusively lecturing since then. I really don’t know if I could get value out social media, or I don’t know if my view of social media is tainted, when it was fun and good. And now you just have to pay you know it’s just advertising I think these days.

Thomas Power
Yes, the private monopolies, they have total control. And if you don’t pay in advertising for you can’t access the market. And, unfortunately, that’s what happens when you have unlimited market share, it’s paid to play. And, that really has changed things but this happens if you don’t have enough competition in markets. And when you look at the way Silicon Valley focuses its capital effort. It’s focused on building monopolies. That’s how the investors invest, they want to dominate the niche that they’ve chosen, they want to own all the assets in that niche, not have any rivals, take out as much of as close to 100% share of that niche as possible, lock it down, build it all free, and then switch it over to paid, because it’s very very profitable for shareholders. It’s long term big capital investment, not many people can play. Not many executives are capable of playing at that level and running those kinds of operations, so it becomes a very very small market, and then capital is concentrated in a very few hands. And then when you add together the employee base of these organisations. there’s probably probably less than half a million people working for these organisations worldwide which isn’t very many, in a world of getting on towards 8 billion people. And to me it’s too much concentration of capital in too few hands. 

And as a result, to use any of these platforms Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or Instagram or any one of them that you can name, Pinterest, or Reddit, to get any real value out of them you have to pay to advertise. Now, I don’t see anything wrong with that in principle because they’re being free from the beginning, and eventually capital has to be returned to shareholders. But to me they’re not platforms I’m comfortable with anymore. Like you, I sense that you’re uncomfortable with them. And we’re due for a round of change, and now when we’re seeing this shift over to these crypto platforms these token-based platforms. That’s the beginning, if you like, of new kinds of social networks based on a token, where you’re rewarded with a token, what I call tokenomics in my book, and I’m sort of encouraged that some of these, there’s now 10,000 of these crypto companies, 5000 listed on public markets, public trading markets as opposed to PLC markets. I’m hoping that the decentralisation of capital, of tokens, of money, will give birth to lots and lots of little networks, as opposed to half a dozen big giant ones. And I would prefer there to be 10,000 Little networks than six big ones, because I think we would all prefer that. But the clever benefit that the big ones have of got is this synchronisation across your desktop, your iPad, your mobile device, the synchronisation of the content and the cloud, across all of these different platforms is very clever because it locks you in.

And it makes everything easy and efficient, and people like easy and efficient and organised, whereas being part of lots and lots of little things, but I personally I prefer lots of little to a few big. And so, I refer to that as a big small strategy we need lots and lots of small, not, not a few bigs. And, okay, I think we’re embarking on a next shift we’ve had our 30 years, our first generation if you like, well, arguably the second generation of the internet is sort of 1990-2020 Depending on how you describe the beginning and there’s lots of views on the beginning of the history but we’ve had a 30 year cycle of the internet, we’re going into a second cycle, from 2020 to 2050, and I’m hoping it’s lots and lots of small, rather than a few big, but that the bigger established, it’s hard to take out a big whale or a big shark in the water, and so I’m kind of hoping they’re going to become much more responsible organisations. As the executives who run them mature into, dare I say older women and older men.

Martin Henley
Yes, well I can see the end of days for the social media platforms I don’t see them being as useful or interesting as they were previously, I mean I quite often reach out to people to be involved in this kind of process, and maybe the only way I’m connected to them is on Facebook, and it could be weeks or months before I hear from them, and the message is always the same. I’m not here anymore. You know, here’s my WhatsApp here’s my, whatever it is, you know, so I’m seeing that more and more and I think it’s really hard to take out a whale but I think they’re taking themselves out that’s kind of how I feel about it.

Thomas Power
I mean you can say that, but the reality of it, it’s not true. There’s a difference between use and capital. So fewer people might be using them. But when you look at the data, that’s not true. Are they generating less capital, no. Is there market cap folding, no, because you may have passed through. I may have passed through. But there’s 8 billion people behind us. Still to come, and probably only two or 3 billion people are connected. So, you still got 5 billion people to come. And so, we may have passed through it, we are looking for a new place, a new home something that’s smaller, perhaps more intimate, more professional, not big in scale. And it is emerging, but it’s emerging only in little parts around the world. We are beginning to see it, we’re doing it ourselves. But the shift from big to small intimate groups is a long journey. 

And I’m intrigued by the blockchain assets, the token assets, where they’re going. I’m intrigued by these big central monsters that are going to become AI machines arguably already are, but the journey to AI is probably another 30 years. And then we’ve got all these niggling issues coming at everyone about climate and climate is going to become more and more hostile activism as the next generation have disappointed with the way the current generation are running things. And so, there’s a lot of issues for these big companies to deal with that. To me they don’t have a strategy for yet and they’re paying lip service to that strategy at the moment, but there’s definitely a shift towards decentralisation and small intimate groups, so I don’t know whether they’ll be taken out, but I’m hoping, praying for, and obviously trying to do lots and lots of small things, as opposed to a few big things.

Martin Henley
Okay, good. Now I don’t see the world the way other people see the world. So, when I saw the social dilemma, did you see the social dilemma?

Thomas Power

Yes. 

Martin Henley 

Yes, and I kind of saw it as the last desperate throw of the dice, like for example the tobacco industry, like when everybody knew this was no good for you anymore, then their whole pitch changed to not this is good for you, this is healthy, this makes you look cool, but this is addictive. So, you know you can’t stop using this product, and I kind of got the same message from the social dilemma, which was, you can’t even help but use our product, you know. There were professors there describing this as saying this is like a drug. Because it’s nothing like a drug, a drug is something you ingest and have a physical attachment to, and this is something that might be in your pocket. So that’s how I kind of felt about that and clearly that must have been happening with the approval of those platforms because you don’t get to be on Netflix all those kinds of things you don’t get to make that kind of statement unless they do approve. So I really, I’m with you, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Marx, but this was kind of Marx’s antidote to capitalism is that we’re all going to break down into much smaller communities, and everyone’s going to be much happier. So, I’m with you I hope it goes that way, because I really think that those big platforms have served their usefulness. And I don’t know if they’re going to get the same pull from the next 5 billion that they had from, from the first 2 billion, those next 5 billion don’t have the wealth that first 2 billion had. That’s my hope. Wishful thinking maybe.

Thomas Power
True but hope makes me nervous. These organisations that are capable of acquiring any assets that appear. Any new thing that appears so they’re not really threatened, I’m not a Marxist, or a Socialist or a Communist, I guess I’m more of a social capitalist, but change is afoot, I’m excited about the change that’s coming from the next generation behind in their teens and 20s, and I’m excited to see what they build beyond things like tic-toc, I think, tic-toc is very entertaining it’s like Instant TV, is it instant dopamine. But I think the Social Democrats dilemma was very helpful to kind of trash, these big organisations, but very, very few people have watched it, and it was complex to understand unless you were embedded in the market. I’m just worried about time it’s 11:18 I know I haven’t answered all your four questions, and I’ve got to.

Martin Henley
Okay. And we are still on question number one. So, how much time do we have?

Thomas Power 

I’ve got till 11:30. 

Martin Henley

Okay, and it’s 11:18 right now.

Thomas Power
Yeah and yeah, I know you’ve got three questions and we’ve been talking a lot about things which aren’t your questions.

Martin Henley
No it’s cool, this is the way it goes. So, the question is then how are you adding value to the world. So, I think this brings us quite neatly to here and if we can spend the next 12 minutes talking about that I’ll be deliriously happy.
 
Thomas Power
Okay so beautiful question. Penny and I focus on community building. So rather than having 650,000 Members we’re building a community of just 100 experts worldwide. And we launched that at the beginning of the lockdown. And we expect to find those 100 By March, 2022, so it will take us 24 months to choose those, those 100 experts, and that’s our bit 100 Club. Once we’ve completed that 100 That’s kind of our Blue Peter, here’s one we made earlier. We’re then going to go to market with a community 100 programme to teach organisations how to build small communities of 100 people. Just 100. So, in terms of how we’re adding value to the people inside was obviously a lot of trust, a lot of intimacy, a lot of empathy, amongst there in terms of their personal situation, which we help them with and they help one another with peer to peer. We help them with their connections we help them with their mental health. We help them with their businesses. We help them with their families. We help them with their foods, their gut health, their diet. Pretty much every aspect of their life and we support these 100 very very intimately very deeply, to get them on the right path not just the right financial path in terms of business or capital but in terms of celebrating their lives, their wins, their health, their families that whole thing, their whole package. And we want to teach that recipe to companies and individuals. Once we’ve assembled that 100. 

So that’s all part of our big small strategy. And I like to think, because we spend so much time with each of them getting to know them in a lot of detail that we give them a place of safety of connection of love, of hope, of joy, of belief, not just in one another but in themselves, and we know we know a lot of people, young and old are suffering from issues around self-talk, how they’re talking to themselves. We know a lot of people are suffering from issues around self-validation, how they validate themselves, how a lot of their validation comes from the social platforms, which we think is sad. And so, we’ve worked hard to get inside what affects self-talk and personal validation, which actually has a lot to do with gut health and what you put in your mouth, as I’m sure you know, and your general well-being your sleep, how you move, how you do your exercise, take care of yourself, there’s a lot of elements in running a human, a human body a human software machine. And so, we work very hard on the body and the mind and the gut. Before we get round to helping them with their business, because getting their bodies and minds framed. And we work very hard in terms of building trust and empathy with them all, so that the 100 of them all love and support one another as much as they have time to do. And I like to think we always have added value to the world through building community. We’ve done it for 25 years, we continue to do it, and we’ll continue to on this path until our own lights clock off, which we suspect will be around 2050.

Martin Henley
Okay, good. So, it’s like a well-being thing, that’s interesting, and I think you’re right, I think that

Thomas Power
It’s well-being in business, it’s a business network, we don’t call it a well-being network or a well-being community. We call it a business community, but we cover a lot of well-being, because that’s the demand that people are requesting. Getting your head in gear and getting your body in gear is a big challenge for everyone now. And it’s weekly. It’s a big conversation every week in the community about how you sort out your body, your mind and your business. Yes, I think it’s the pressure of society going at hyper speed mixed with supply chain, pandemic, Afghanistan, climate change, we’re going to burn down or freeze.
It’s terrifying for people, the information coming out of the climate, the Afghanistan, suicide levels, the social media. People need a lot of help to get through this with, so we’re kind of like Shepherds helping them walk those mountains.
 
Martin Henley
Okay cool, and I think you have to be well if your business is going to be well

Thomas Power

You do? You’re dead wrong. 

Martin Henley 

Yeah, I mean, some of the people that I know in your network, one person I know in your network. 

Thomas Power 

Who’s that?

Martin Henley

That’s Jeremy castle. 

Thomas Power 

Yes.

Martin Henley 

It’s like three or four people ago. Yeah, but he is a one-man machine. This machine isn’t functioning well, his business isn’t functioning well, nothing is functioning well, so I’m 100% with you. And I’m 100% with you also, like this divisiveness that that is going on currently, where you can’t be, you have to be outraged, either you’re outraged because you’re on the right team or you’re outraged because you’re on the wrong team or this team or that team. And I think that’s really difficult and I think that’s going to have a real impact on the way people do business and the way people network.

Thomas Power

Absolutely right. 

Martin Henley 

Now, what are the rules gonna be? You know, it’s like we’ve never been at a point in history where I understand it’s going on there, where people are demanding to know if they’ve had these vaccines or not, like there was a point not so very long ago where your health was your business and not anybody else’s business. So, how is that going to, I mean that’s clearly going to impact on business. We’re seeing that businesses are insisting that their staff have to be vaccinated, like, businesses are they’re going to start saying you can’t come into the business unless you’ve been vaccinated. You know, it’s, it’s.

Thomas Power
The roots of the behaviour there, Martin is the divisiveness sells advertising, and the advertising drives the share price. So, divisiveness drive share prices. That’s why we’re receiving media that’s forcing us to choose this or that, left or right, woke not woke, and these this divisiveness is hostile to humans. Until we link behaviour to share price. We have to change that incentive, because it’s not the right it’s not the right incentive for planet Earth. It’s the right incentive for planet business, but for planet Earth and planet people those incentives have got to be realigned.

Martin Henley
Okay, yeah. 100% agree with you. And I actually think it’s the media, this is largely media driven. I think you’re absolutely right about that as well, but you can’t get away from the media, you know, even if you stop engaging with it, the people around you will continue to engage with it. Okay then so by my watch, we’ve got three and a half minutes. What is your recommendation for people now who are functioning, investing in their business? What are you saying to people about how they should be conducting themselves right now?

Thomas Power 

Well, obviously work very, very hard on your mental health and your physical health, and your gut health and your sleep, because those are the foundations of your performance and try and find a small intimate group to belong to around the world that suits your nature, or suits your values, or suits your beliefs or social morals and keep it small. Join a group or a club, that provides the trust and empathy and support that you need in your life, for your business, and obviously for your physical and mental health.

Martin Henley
Yes, I 100% agree with that, 100%. There were other things I wish we could have spoken about maybe we’ll do this again in the future I have thoroughly enjoyed this, Thomas. Thank you so much.

Thomas Power
We will do another one anytime you like. I must say Martin. Your questions are fantastic, so keep being the brilliant questioneer journalist, you are. And you’re very much, you definitely do look like Sam Worthington in Avatar.

Martin Henley
You’re too kind, too, too kind. Okay, great. All right, so let’s wrap it up here I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this. Thank you so much for your time. What I’m going to ask you, is you just need to keep this browser window open, because what’s going to happen is it’s going to send your video and your audio to me so I’ll just tell you that now before we say goodbye. So, you can go to other browser windows that’s fine as long as you don’t close this one, and it’s 91% uploaded, so it will all happen in the next five or six minutes anyway. 

Thomas Power 

Brilliant.

Martin Henley 

Thomas, thank you so, so much. I would love to do this again, I’m going to be badgering you again in three-or four-months’ time and we’ll go for number two and I’ll ask you these other questions, why sales over marketing that’s what I’m interested in. Why are you so committed in talking to people I’m really interested in that as well. So, there’s lots more for us to talk about Thomas thank you so much for your time today, man. 

Thomas Power 

Thank you very much Martin. Thank you.

Martin Henley 

Okay, and I’ll see you again really soon. 

Thomas Power 

Do I hang up Martin or not?

 

Martin Henley 

You can hang up. Yeah, just as long as you keep this window open, then it will continue uploading. 

Thomas Power 

Okay, so if I hang up, it won’t close the window. 

Martin Henley 

It won’t close the window no if you hang up.

Thomas Power 

Okay. 

Martin Henley 

All right. You’re a legend. Thank you, Thomas.

Martin Henley

Martin Henley

Martin has built a reputation for having a no nonsense approach to sales and marketing and for motivating audiences with his wit, energy, enthusiasm and his own brand of audience participation. Martin’s original content is based on his very current experience of running effective marketing initiatives for his customers and the feedback from Effective Marketing’s successful and popular marketing workshops.

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