Here are a few thoughts on stories that will allow you to strike up a conversation with an otherwise very busy CEO or Senior person and get them to open up and trust you more. Business leaders are super busy. They miss what’s going on. Most people are also saying yes to them, so they rarely get to hear a real opinion. When you bring them something that’s new, important, interesting, and actionable, they’ll value the relationship with you more. Try these:
1. Ask, “What do you think about this idea that space can deliver cheap energy, resources, and internet connectivity?” “What!” “Yes, you should check out the deal the Saudis are doing with The UK to test space-based solar power in the North Sea. It’s a game changer for the world and years, not decades, away.”
2. Ask, “How are you planning for the metaverse?” “Umm, getting there, but it’s not a high priority.” “You should look at the Balenciaga fashion show of Fall 2021 because it set off an arms race in the metaverse. They shifted from a show of 150 people to a global tour of 120 countries in one moment. The ultimate analog business, fashion, went digital overnight, and now every other industry is studying the explosive metrics they achieved.”
3. “Everybody wants to know when the war in Ukraine will end but nobody wants to prepare for it.” “What?” “Well, at some point, there will be an end. Usually, the leaders of the warring nations have a hug and even a kiss, witness the photos of Nixon and Brezhnev and Reagan and Gorbachev. That’s how these things end, in a bear hug. I’m not saying Putin and Biden hug, but probably their successors do. Then we’ll get a peace dividend. So, we should be thinking now about how to re-enter China and reintegrate China and Russia into the world economy. If we don’t bring all those people into the world economy and give them a better future, the fighting will start again at a later date. It could be a historic opportunity?”
4. “Don’t you think it’s interesting that the US and Russia spend trillions of dollars on defense only to find the biggest threat events happened with tools that cost a few dollars?” “What?” “Yes, on 9/11, the terrorists used box cutters you can buy from any hardware store for $5 to take control of those planes. In Ukraine, they are using yoga mats.” “Yoga mats?” “Yes, it seems that a yoga mat over your head hides your body’s heat signature. Satellites can’t see you sneaking up on a tank. A yoga mat is a powerful tool in a world with satellite-based intelligence. I wonder what the box cutter/yoga mat of your business is?”
5. What’s your Cosmopoeisis? “What?” “Companies and organizations succeed best when they create a world others can join. Nike doesn’t make shoes. They created a world where you could be a weekend warrior even if you didn’t win races. It created generations of weekend athletes. Steve Jobs said he didn’t make computers. He created a world where bright people could create without having to think about their computers. Tolkien created a world full of heroic Hobbits. Brands are worlds, and cosmopoeisis is the act of world-building. So, what’s the world you are trying to build that others can join?”
Remember that people want to connect. There are better ways to connect than to talk about the same old, same old, especially in a world that is changing fast.
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I really enjoyed reading this article. The questions you raise, and answers given are very thought provoking.
Would have been great to be the metaphorical fly on the wall at D.U. with you speaking. Wish you could have swung by a university I'm fond of while in Texas. The students would have been mesmerized. Not enough "stretching" of minds happens, in my opinion... though some of us try to make it happen.