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How to make technology personal - With Penny Power OBE
Penny Power: [00:00:00] The future is about small intimate networks because loneliness in business is huge. And the loneliness of businesses is a very different thing to learn this at home or in love, loneliness in business has an economic impact as well because if you're not connected to people that think you matter, it affects your self worth. It affects your decisions around your business. It affects your referrals you're going to get. It affects how you design your business. It affects your knowledge of how you should innovate your business models. You don't hand down to any critical friend to help you with things. Loneliness in businesses terrifying, and too many people are so connected. So, so connected. Yet are really lonely. So I do think the future is about small intimate groups.
[00:00:50] Chris O'Hare: [00:00:50] I'm Chris O'Hare your Quick Win CEO, and as a CEO, I've run businesses, founded startups, consulted for others even won awards. But in this show, we'll be talking to entrepreneurs and experts to help you understand key concepts for your business. Along with three quick wins that you can take away and apply to your business today.
[00:00:20] And every week we'll be finding out about the entrepreneur themselves and diving into a different but important topic. But first imagine going through this pandemic without the internet, it's like a story from a dystopia movie, but we do have the internet and it's enabled you to talk to your family and see their faces, order food straight to your door, or work collaboratively with your colleagues.
[00:00:49] And we're in a world where the internet has brought people together, free tribes, but also created echo chambers. These are the thoughts of Penny Power, OBE co-founder of Ecademy. The first social media platform for business established in 1998, and Penny gives us a glimpse into the rise and fall of a tech business and how she desperately tried to cling on to her belief that business should be personal. And Penny never let go of this belief and has now authored a book 'Business is Personal', and we also talk about how technology has been used in a cold unfriendly way. And that it doesn't have to be that way. So here we go. Penny Power.
Thanks for coming on the show. Penny, firstly, tell me the last thing that you read or watched, or did that left an impression on you?
[00:02:30] It could be anything, it could be a Netflix series, a funny video, or a book that you read or a quote that you've heard. I do love the quotes.
[00:02:37] Penny Power: [00:02:37] I do like them. I grabbed them on Instagram. I do think they're quite inspiring. Often I saw this one freedom in any case is only possible by constantly struggling for it. And that was Albert Einstein. And I did quite like that.
[00:02:51]Chris O'Hare: [00:02:51] I love a good Einstein quote. Yeah, definitely.
[00:02:56] Penny Power: [00:02:56] It's it's quite interesting because that's the thing, isn't it's you always feel like you've got to work hard towards something for you to be able to receive the reward. And I suppose freedom is almost like a reward, right?
[00:03:07] Chris O'Hare: [00:03:07] That's a bit, we should have it as a birth. But maybe not.
[00:03:11] Penny Power: [00:03:11] Yeah. I just think it's really interesting because as
[00:03:14] I the audience might not know, but I'm focused on business owners. And if you ask a business owner, w what, the three reasons you've jogged, you decided to have your own business.
[00:03:25] Freedom comes in majorly at the top, and then you find out when you talk to them, and they're not really free because they're, they've got clients, they don't particularly like their working hours. They don't really choose. They are become a prisoner of a business that is not really making them very happy.
[00:03:46] So then they're not actually achieving the freedom. And they've created all the disciplines that the corporate world gave them because they can't give themselves permission to step away from that
[00:03:57] Chris O'Hare: [00:03:57] yeah. Yeah. That's so true. I always say to people if you have to ask me whether you go into business, whether you should go into business, don't do it because it's one of those things that you have to feel it in your being and that you just need to have that freedom because most of them don't realize how much hard work it is.
[00:04:17]And you create all these rules and structure around your life. That actually you think it's more free, but you've got so many more things to do. You've got the, your accounts to do, you've got your legal sides to do. And to be honest, I went into it thinking that it was going to be far easier to create my own destiny.
[00:04:36] And in the end, actually it was far more difficult, right?
[00:04:40] Penny Power: [00:04:40] But also, I think there are, of course we have to take responsibility for all the things that, the understanding of finances and putting all the different hats on, but the freedom around time and the choice of your clients and the business model you choose and all these things, you have more freedom than you realize.
[00:04:59]I've chosen now, thankfully because of COVID I don't tend to start work before 10 in the morning. That's insane for me. I used to be, I just used to treat myself so badly. I would never have treated an employee in the way that I treated myself as a business owner. And now I don't mind working a bit later or just being incredibly productive and intense during those hours, but I've designed a business that allows me.
[00:05:25] I wake up at five now. I love my mornings, but I five hours before I start work. And that's wonderful.
[00:05:33] Chris O'Hare: [00:05:33] That's amazing. But that's something I'm terrible at, so I'm awake fairly early. And I, all I can think about is work and because perhaps that's the reason is because I love what I do and I love moving forward.
[00:05:45] So I'm not that kind of overachiever type. And I don't get any purpose out of it and that, and this is why I don't think I could ever have a job actually, because I'm always moving forwards. I always feel like I need to be achieving something for the bigger, big picture rather than for someone else's bigger picture.
[00:06:04] Penny Power: [00:06:04] Yeah. So I don't think I, I do think ambition might change through your decades and your drivers. I do think they might change. So I'm talking as a 57 year old woman who's worked and burnt myself out and worked a book myself out and done all of that. But I just think that, we can design a life and a business model that gives us more of a life.
[00:06:28] And I'm very passionate about my work. I absolutely adore it, but those five hours in the morning for me sets me on fire so that during the next eight hours or 10 hours of work that I do, I'm absolutely on fire. I'm really ambitious. I'm really love it. I'm delivering I'm grating, but I do a bit of that lovely time for me before it, I suppose I give myself more time in the morning I do at night.
[00:06:56]Chris O'Hare: [00:06:56] Maybe you need your thinking about where your energy lies as well. So if you're noticing that your energy is better in the mornings and. Or the fact that you're gearing yourself up ready for the day that a hundred percent it's for me, I'm always looking about where my energy is best place it various points in the day.
[00:07:15] So if I need to do something more outgoing, the morning is always best for me. So I jumped on clubhouse in the mornings because I know that I can be quite vocal and I can talk a lot. Likewise if as the day goes on my energy levels drop, and if I have to do a podcast recording in an evening, you can notice that you see the difference between my energy levels from the morning to the evening.
[00:07:37]And therefore I try and focus what I want to do that day depending on my energy where I know my energy levels are. So that's really interesting. Yeah.
[00:07:47] Penny Power: [00:07:47] It's important to understand your own energy and understand how it shifts around, but I've always been a morning person. I revised for my levels, first thing, and at five in the morning, If I go on holiday, I'm the Germans.
[00:07:58] I don't have to keep the Germans off the seats. First. You heard that it's I don't know why, where that came from. Then we sell holidays, we've got holiday abroad. We fight for the seats around the pool with Germans, but I'm down there really early sunrise and everything. So yeah. So freedom for me, that quote means a lot to me because I just think in what way am I allowing myself to be free as a business owner and not have the medicals of a boss
[00:08:30]Chris O'Hare: [00:08:30] a hundred percent. So for me was struggle.
[00:08:32]Penny Power: [00:08:32] That's why I liked that because he says it's a struggle. Freedom is a struggle because you can't take it for granted and you have to constantly be working on how to achieve it.
[00:08:41]Chris O'Hare: [00:08:41] It's quite easy to fall into that, that routine and rules and regulations that you put on yourself.
[00:08:46]And that's essentially my business journey at the moment. It's about building passive income. So this is why I do the things I do on a daily basis, because I'm looking, how is this going to achieve my goal of building passive income to give me the life that I want, or the freedom that I want. And that's what I do every day now.
[00:09:03] I'm not. And I keep trying to remind myself, it's this working towards that goal of what I want to do, but thank you. Thank you for that. I will take that quote and I'll put it down in our library of great quotes. Cause I haven't had that one before, although Einstein does do quite a few, but in your own words, petty, give me an understanding of what it is that you do and what your business does.
[00:09:25] Penny Power: [00:09:25] So essentially me I'm business mentor, I would say now, I've been a business owner for 28 years and I've learned a lot about business. And I think I didn't decide to wake up one morning and say, I'm going to be a business owner, a business mentor, but I think that's what's happened and I love to mentor.
[00:09:44] I like coaching, the differentiation is like it too. We're not with when you've had a lot of experience and you can see the course, somebody is on, it's hard, coaching, you're supposed to get them to come up with all of the answers. But sometimes when you're a mentor, you've got your life experiences.
[00:10:01] So I like the combination of the two and I deliver that either through people. One-to-one very few people like that. And through small intimate groups, so a bit, 100 and I'm asked my groups and I love group mentoring and getting them the group to rise together. So that's what I do. That's what my job is.
[00:10:21]Chris O'Hare: [00:10:21] And obviously you're an author as well. I can see the books. Yeah. So you've got this book business is personal. Would you like to give us a run through of what that book's about and how on, how you define what a w what businesses personally, what about,
[00:10:39] Penny Power: [00:10:39] yeah, I'd love to, so I do, you're right.
[00:10:42] I'm an author. And I also do a lot of public speaking, which I really love. And I love the fact that it's now virtual as well, because you can do a lot of speeches in one day when you're not traveling between them all, which is great. So the book businesses, personally, a philosophy and I like to attract people towards me that believes it's personal.
[00:10:59] And it came from the fact that I am very emotionally driven in business. Relationships are very important to me and I like open people. And. And I just feel for me, business has always been personal. I don't think there's many things that are more personal than, what gets you up in the morning, what the sacrifices you make for your business.
[00:11:21]The purpose, a sense of purpose you put into it. I think it's very personal and it was interesting about I've always have felt that way, but in 2012, when I went into our second business started digital youth Academy, brought digital marketing, apprenticeship to market the board, the investor that I had brought somebody on to the board and somebody who I didn't really gel with on the first meeting, I thought this is going to be a tricky relationship.
[00:11:49] And as we left it, she said to me, penny out, by the way, I don't have to like you, it's not personal it's business. Wow. And we were walking to the tube when she said it. And it literally all the way home, which is about two hours from me. This was just, this mantra was going around in my head. I don't have to like you, it's not personal.
[00:12:09] It's just business. I was thinking blimey, I'm going to go into business and have somebody in the board. Who's basically just said that it's not important to her, to like me and possibly doesn't like me. And it really wasn't an issue for me. And so it's a philosophy that I choose to believe in, okay, not everybody.
[00:12:27] Will you still have these very dogmatic business people that say no businesses, this and this to me at home. And this is me on business. This is me on LinkedIn and this is me on Facebook and never the Twain will meet, but I think that life is very integrated now. And if we aren't, our business gives us our identity and then we have our truth.
[00:12:45] And if we're not, if we don't actually combine the two and have our truth and make it personal, I think we're always battling inside our head and not really having the self-awareness of what makes us happy. So I went on a journey myself after, and a little bit of a shock that I had that forced me into taking some time back out, which I'm very happy to talk about the reasons.
[00:13:08] And I learned a lot about my character and how I wasn't emotionally tuned into myself well enough. And also, I had been what's the word being the person, other people want me to be too much. And and I learned that, there's a very big difference between your character and your personality.
[00:13:26]My personality does not need to change, but there were aspects of my character that I needed to learn about so that I could find business easier and put more boundaries around myself and learn how to be more assertive as a person, a whole series of things around my character that I needed to work on.
[00:13:44]And I talk about that in my book and it's really is the journey of realizing that we can be. I can sit here talking to you and I feel physically healthy, but I could be physically fitter. I'm talking to you and I melt mentally healthy, but we can all be mentally fitter. And so mental fitness is a really important part of my journey of realizing that I matter and that I can have an opinion about myself and I can make choices for myself
[00:14:11] Chris O'Hare: [00:14:11] really interesting.
[00:14:12] And I think something that you picked, you said the, which I'm going to pick up on is your drive and your motivation, right? So what's something that gets you out of bed in the morning, because it sounds like it's about giving back. It's about giving love and teaching people, this message about your book.
[00:14:27] Would you say that's the case?
[00:14:29]Penny Power: [00:14:29] Yeah, I think so. I think way back when, if I look at me as a child, we can always see ourselves, you can see the adult in the child County, it always, I always wanted people to feel like they matter. I think it's really lovely. If somebody else makes you feel like you matter to them, that their presence has an impact.
[00:14:50] And I've always been someone in life in school that did that wants people to feel that and in business, it was always important to me. I remember somebody, one of my supervisors when I was a sales director said to me, when I watched you, everybody you've talked to, they know that you are, that they really matter to you.
[00:15:08] And it's true. It's not a game. It's not a manipulation. It's true. People do matter to me which is why the I've worked in technology all my life. Since I was 19. It's the empowerment of the technology. What technology can do for us that matters to me. The humanity around technology matters to me.
[00:15:27]And so in business that is defined, that can be defined in your leadership style when you're in business and you're maybe employed or running a business with lots of people, or it can be defined in the way that you run a community online or offline. And so I'm very driven. If you ask me what gets me up in the morning, I'm driven to listen to people and the way that you're doing today in the way you do on clubhouse.
[00:15:53] Because I feel that when you listen to someone and you give them your time, okay, and you understand someone that's important, then then you're giving them something. And that's what I love to do.
[00:16:06] Chris O'Hare: [00:16:06] Fantastic. I think that's really important. People don't listen enough in my eyes. And I think it's that thing is you should listen and respond and be active in a conversation and not trying to force your agenda Royal, the Hawaii, doing things can be quite emotionally draining and your energy, in terms of actually being engaged all the time. And I understand why people disengage, but how'd you get around that? How did you keep those energy levels up? Is it that you choose the right people? Do you speak to the right people?
[00:16:41] Penny Power: [00:16:41] I think I have experienced people fatigue, when we had a huge community Academy, which we started in 1998, I definitely experienced fatigue.
[00:16:53] And in fact, I remember Ivan Meisner. Who's we know very well, the founder of BNI. So we went and stayed with him in California for awhile. Cause B and I used to use the Academy as its platform for its members and years ago. And he said that networking had turned him into an introvert. And I think that, you can be in danger of getting people fatigue.
[00:17:16] Yeah, you're right. But it also is where your energy comes from my energy doesn't come from books or technology per se or processes. It comes from people and, but in a gentle way, not from a people, running a community of 650,000 people that we ran with, the Academy was exhausting. My energy comes from one-to-one time with people or small groups because you've seen the energy in the group, then you don't, so yeah.
[00:17:50]I just love people. I learn everything from people I hardly ever read a book. I just learned everything for people. It's my thing. I just love people.
[00:18:00]Chris O'Hare: [00:18:00] I think that's really important that you've identified that and that you work towards that. So it's definitely something that I'm learning about now, considering I've run an agency before and I learned that wasn't my career path that I wanted to take.
[00:18:17]And actually there's other things that I get energy from and there's other things that I want to do with my life. I think it's really important for people to identify that and to follow that feeling of where they belong or whether energy comes from. Yeah. I think so many people find themselves on a path in business where they've designed something that's just not there when you've gone through that yourself.
[00:18:40] Penny Power: [00:18:40] And you're lucky you did it relatively young age and you had that self-awareness and I think. No, perhaps in my generation, and it's maybe one of the benefits of the more than millennial generation in our generation that self-awareness was seen as self-indulgence. And now you serve the world better when you're in your own flow, it's not selfish, it's just the better way to serve it.
[00:19:05] And I serve the world better by designing a business model. That's right. For me, I prefer to have impact on 100 people than run a machine of 650,000 people, and I'm serving those 100 people in those 100 people by them being strengthened can go on and serve more people. And it's just for me a better way of doing it for me, and I think this is why businesses personal because the business model that's right. For me, it doesn't necessarily have to be right for someone else, but there's a real psychology around. What is right for us in business. And for me, technology, when I touch a keyboard, I'm not touching the energy that's flowing through.
[00:19:48] My fingertips is from my heart, not my brain, whereas somebody else, their energy will be coming from their brain. And it's just, where does your energy flow? And absolutely. Yeah. So the humanity of these networks and the systems and the internet really matters to me deeply.
[00:20:11] Chris O'Hare: [00:20:11] So why did you choose 100 people for your bit, 100 club?
[00:20:15] W what was it that obviously there's a personal element to it, but why?
[00:20:20]Penny Power: [00:20:20] So that is a really good question. So when we decided, so BIP stands for business is personal for anybody. That's wondering why that's the title of the book? My philosophy, when we were designing it, how do we create an insect community game?
[00:20:34]I started to go into a little bit, it triggered something panicking me when we were talking back in the spring last year, because it was taking me back to some of the real traumas that he Kennedy gave us with trolls with trying to keep people happy. The responsibility of people who don't have share the same values.
[00:20:54]Th it just, I feel the sense of panic in me again, to go back to that. So I think, what was that saying? The definition of stupidity is to do the same thing and expect different samples. And then I just said to Thomas, if we look at the business model and what we're trying to achieve from this, I would prefer to serve 100 people and charge what we charge and give them more exclusive experience there, 10,000 people and charge them properly a lot less.
[00:21:21] And now, ultimately the income that we generate would be the same. So 100 people paying 249 pounds a month. It's 25,000 pounds a month as a business model. Obviously there's a lot of costs in it. A lot of hidden costs that our members wouldn't realize there's a lot of costs. But that would be that, that generates a better lifestyle for us than two and a half thousand people or 25,000 people.
[00:21:48] And so it suited us that so 100, I feel, I, when we're the most started Academy in 1998, which for anybody who's listening, they can Google it, but it was the world's first social network for business in the world. So it was my space and friends United around. And I said to Thomas on the 7th of February Sydney and a pizza express, Thomas is going to be so many people who are lonely in this internet world and disconnected.
[00:22:13] And Thomas is a business owner at the time I was. Not really working very much. I have five, three children under five, and I was doing a bit of project work for some companies, but essentially not working. And I said, I'd really love to create a friendship network for business people to just to be friends, not sell to each other, just be friends.
[00:22:32] And he said, that's a great idea. Anyway, we then started it and I got some investment accidentally and then it grew and grew by a power of mice, the word of mouse and and and it then became, I call it my because then it became this huge machine and it, wasn't what I set out to achieve.
[00:22:52] And it's phenomenal. And I'm very proud of it. I'm proud of what the Goodwill that we still have across the world from it. And I'm proud when people write and say, I learnt how to behave online because I started any Academy. I started as a friend and I now maintain that attitude of friendship. Online says loads.
[00:23:14] I'm very proud of, but running a machine that put us into 2 million pounds of personal debt and all of the rollercoaster, it took us on and the expectations of us and the 17 trolls that we had to, we banned and then became these terrifying creatures outside of our network towards us. That's not what I set out to design and that's not me.
[00:23:37] And I didn't know, intimately 650,000 people, but they knew me and I used to find it so insincere, when somebody would say, Oh, hi penny, looking through a tube station, or, I go to an event and I think, I know I'm supposed to know who you are and I don't, and I'd feel so insincere about that. So hundred people, Chris, we've only just met, but I feel like I can really get to know you.
[00:24:02] Chris O'Hare: [00:24:02] And I do think the future of,
[00:24:05]Penny Power: [00:24:05] I think the future is about small intimate networks because loneliness in business is. Huge. And the loneliness of businesses is a very different thing to learn this at home or in love lonely. Some business has an economic impact as well because it's, if you're not connected to people that think you matter, it affects your self-worth, it affects your decisions around your business.
[00:24:26] It affects you, the referrals you're going to get. It affects how you design your business. It affects your knowledge of how you should innovate your business models. You don't hand that critical friend to help you with things, lowness of businesses terrifying, and too many people are so connected.
[00:24:42]So connected. Yeah. I'm really lonely. So I do think the future is about small intimate groups.
[00:24:49] Chris O'Hare: [00:24:49] Yeah, a hundred percent. There was a quote from your book. Where you're talking about the promise of the internet was one of deep connection, the reduction of loneliness and the joy of global kindness and friendship between business owners and the new social wave was not social at all.
[00:25:03] It was about who could shout manipulate when the most followers and no wonder is really the birth of fake news, dopamine driven systems that cause addiction, suicide, stress, and depression in the young and the old, that, that says everything. And then you go on to talk about there's another quote in your book.
[00:25:23]I believe the connected world is a force for good. Yet. We are part of this transition from an unconnected world to a connected one, and we cannot expect a revolutionary shift in the global economy to be easy or painless. And that's another one that really resonated with me we've made because it was something about the fact that you have these trolls in your story and they were trying to keep you back in the old world.
[00:25:44] They were trying to give you back elsewhere. And yet you had to, for that pain, I know I'm sure there was other, pains in the other world. And I think you mean a part of this statement is that there's other things that are happening as we're going through this journey together as humanity and where we're really struggling with.
[00:26:05] She likes to comment on some of the other pains. Yeah. You had free Academy that kind of really resonates with that particular quote.
[00:26:14] Penny Power: [00:26:14] Yeah, I think there was so many and I'm trying to think it relevant to other people. What was beautiful about Academy? If I start with that is that I wanted to do psychology at university.
[00:26:25] I had a place to do psychology at university. And then in the gap year, I went into the it industry and it was in 1983, it was on a wave. It would have be madness to leave it. And I built an incredibly successful career in it, but people is always interested me and the psychology of people. And here we did, we had an experiment on what's going on, where we could watch people come in and build their brand and leave or stay.
[00:26:52] Okay. And it was always the really noisy ones that would come in. Very testosterone-driven very broadcast driven. They would make a lot of noise. So they would say, I've got to know so many people. But they would burn out really quickly and they'd become ashes because people, they just make too much noise.
[00:27:12] It was all about. And then there were the people who somebody would refer to this type of person, the confident introvert that would come in gently be more interested in listening and getting to know people calmly that would just stand the test of time. And their businesses would just keep growing because people knew who they were trusted.
[00:27:32] Them got a sense of their skills and their value. And they just became a silent force. That was the foundation of it. So in terms of, so that was beautiful to watch what was so tough was the responsibility of that, Mark Zuckerberg less. So Reid Hoffman who obviously passed LinkedIn on to Microsoft, but anybody that runs a big network has.
[00:28:01] You do have a responsibility for the culture of the network and not just the culture of this is how we behave in it, but also the climate, which is, this is how it feels when you're in it. Does it feel warm or cold? So if I'm in LinkedIn, it feels cold. To me, it's a network when I'm in Pittsburgh, a hundred, for example, or somewhere where I know, I matter, it feels more, right?
[00:28:24] So that's the climate of it. And then there's the culture of how do we behave towards one another. That's where I believe that the real promise of the internet lies is within this beautiful culture of kindness and friendship and everything people started to say the Academy is very cultish. It's a culture of creating, right?
[00:28:42] And other people would wear the badge of price. And just by calling themselves they adopted this word. I'm an economist. It's like within a bit, people adopted this word. I'm a beeper. It's if when you start to people start to adopt a word, that's a noun for who they are in it. People have got a sense of belonging, as opposed to I use this network.
[00:29:03] I use LinkedIn. I belong to this network. So it's belonging is when you get that true sense of community. So the painful part was keeping hold of that because we were more interested keeping hold of that than we were about making squillions and becoming this massive social network. Like anyone you get into this terrible, we fell down this chasm because on one hand we wanted to keep hold of that culture.
[00:29:29] On the other hand, that's not what people will, most of the majority of the world understood or wanted. And so the other side of the chasm was the LinkedIns where people say I'm just going to stay in the, what I am. This is what I am. And Oh, you got then got to the stage where. Some business owners would say, you've got to meet them and they'll say I'm on linked in.
[00:29:50] I joined Facebook, it's I'm so cool because I've become a friend on Facebook. They would never let the two come together because he Academy sat in between it, which was, this is about friendship in business.
[00:30:03] And that was so the biggest, and toughest and most painful part of it was maintaining the culture and without looking dictorial and without looking like you're an autocratic leader, that's saying you have to behave like this.
[00:30:20] We had to try and manage it. And we enabled people to complain about people, to highlight stuff, to tell us when things aren't right. Then when you do that becomes very subjective. And so we then managing all of these complaints. But then there were some that were so recurring of the same person.
[00:30:40] And then you, then we would facilitate a meeting with that person and say, look, Jen, we'll look, make sure, look, Sarah will list all the names I'm going to give you their surnames and say, and we really Robin just Chuck them out. We really try to make friends with them, but ultimately, and our soul is an asshole.
[00:30:58] Okay. And this is what I got really caught up in because I, they wanted to be in this community. It was, they were feeding off it themselves. It was, and they had their blogs and they had their stuff. I didn't want to Chuck them out of the only pub in town and say, I know you're an alcoholic. You're not allowed to come in here for a drink, what we ultimately had to.
[00:31:17] And as soon as that happened some press went against us. We had some horrible journalists and then it became really depersonalized that we became these people rather than penny and Thomas, that just building something of love.
[00:31:31] Chris O'Hare: [00:31:31] That's really interesting. As does a few points, the, I can imagine, feel the pain of what you were going through because you had your vision and you wanted to keep that vision yet you have the lease capacities coming up, doing what they did in very specific ways.
[00:31:46] Probably where they were as well, really helped. I'm assuming, where they, you're a very much a British company and they're in America and that really took off. So they wrote that white wave of growth.
[00:32:01] Penny Power: [00:32:01] Now, linchpin Reid Hoffman was on our platform. I'm not showing that everything he did was down to us, but he had a case study as he's pitching for his investment.
[00:32:12]It's not always easy to be the first, but ultimately we believed. If people pay a small amount, 10 pounds, $10 or 10 euros to to this, which means they have to give their credit card, which means they have to verify that they are who they are. Yeah. Then there's going to be an honesty inside this network.
[00:32:33] And also if they do that, then we don't have to get sponsors and people to pay for advertising and interrupt people. And so our members didn't have to become the product and we didn't want to turn, we had to let go of our values to keep our business going where, Oh, we've let all these free people in.
[00:32:54] And now are they who they say they are? And is that a fake person? And that person's abusing them and that we had to go free and then you go free. You get more people. And even the free people have expectations of you. So you're then. Serving people for free people asking me for a one-to-one and a coffee.
[00:33:13] And I'm thinking I don't want to look like this as a class-based society that you know, where you pay 10 pounds, you don't. So I'm not going to talk to you. And it just became a real headphone.
[00:33:23]Chris O'Hare: [00:33:23] I can imagine. Yeah. That's always the case with pre software in general. In business you have this, especially in software which is what I do most days is that you have this options, you go down the freemium rate, we offer something for free, but you're also offering a load of service and help a part of that.
[00:33:44] When as a business, when you're first starting up, that's really tricky, right? You can't give all your time away. So you need to go straight into something. That's a bit more a bit more paid in terms of what it is that you're offering. So completely understand where you're coming from with that.
[00:33:59] But you also talk about how you wanted to keep that personal touch to it. And which as a platform, the best way of doing that was the fact that you took payments who made sure that people were real and honest, and everyone was there for a reason. But what do you think technology as a whole makes it quite cold or impersonal?
[00:34:21] Is it the fact that it's a broadcasting platform? Where would you say people are not connecting because they want to connect it. They just see it as a big signposts platform. Or do what you say, it's just the way that humans are using it. Would you say it's the technology itself or would you say it's the way humans are using
[00:34:40] Penny Power: [00:34:40] the way we humans are using it?
[00:34:42] And I don't blame them for that. If you look at majority of business owners, you get a certain percentage that have just to stop drone driven business people. They're just waving. If that business failed that start another one and they'd be brilliant or that business succeed and they start another one and you get those people and they will just use these systems.
[00:35:05]And they come out with also, I've seen loads of them come out with all, people like, I'll turn you into a six-figure millionaire, overnight rubbish that you hear. And they've just worked out a system and they go through all the lost souls, just don't know what else to do. And those people get sucked in.
[00:35:21] And then you get people that are building brilliant businesses, but those people aren't, they're not seeking to engage. The business they're not seeking to engage with their platform. They're very clever. They're values are not my values. They're very driven by just getting that nine 99 or whatever it is out of everybody.
[00:35:41] And they're not where I'm coming from. And I don't want to look like, I'm certainly very judgmental here, but that is their choice of business model. And we as fodder for those people have to understand and be realistic about what we expect from that world. My hope is that most people start to realize that this is an ability to connect and learn and share with the most phenomenal amounts of diverse people around the world.
[00:36:09]So like that 100, we say the diversity of expertise, the commonality of kindness is something I say. Around. I love diversity in every single way. It's the only way you innovate and learn. So how do we use it? A lot of people are very confused about, and they think they need to build these big brands, right?
[00:36:30] I've got to build a big brand and then four that would equate into likes and follows, and that will equate into more customers and they build a big brand based on look how brilliant I am. Let me tell you how much I'm achieving. Look at this award. I've achieved. Look at this. I've achieved. We've got that actually doesn't land at all.
[00:36:47]With any of us, everybody can go, Oh, I'm so happy. Congratulations. But where is the impact that person is having by saying I've won this award? Isn't the zero impact apart from actually probably making quite a lot of people feel pretty rubbish. It's when people realize that their written word.
[00:37:03] Has so much impact and it can be negative or it can be positive. And I would hope that most people want to have positive impact on people and positive income comes from how can I write something and resonate with the people that I want to serve that shows them that I understand them and I'm helping getting them on their life journey in whatever way.
[00:37:22] And when you read need that, and when you follow people like that, then they deserve great success. And then this is a wonderful place. It's a very, it's a wonderful library of humanity, but unfortunately this is still relatively new. It's still, 22, two years since Thomas and I started Academy and we were the first, this is a very new world to some people.
[00:37:49] It feels like a lifetime to millennials. They can't imagine a world maybe without it, but it is still new. It's still really learning and it is creating massive mental health issues. Then it's not being really understood. And it is changing humanity and there is a responsibility of where the wealth sits to create these machines.
[00:38:11] And if it sits in people that don't share my purist view of connect, not do positive, Tim Berners Lee. So Tim Berners-Lee, this is not what he wanted, what's being created. And so we can only be the change that we want to be. And so each of us, anybody listening to this, some people will say and they're wondering Academy didn't survive.
[00:38:35] What, what a fluffy fluffier bag she is. Who's talking about the hard nose people, other people will say, gosh, it's a shame. It didn't survive. And actually, I do believe if I had the balls to start each Academy. Now we're in a time when people want that.
[00:38:53]Chris O'Hare: [00:38:53] Yeah. Yeah. And sometimes you not always around though when, you need to set the path, learn your lessons.
[00:38:58] And then when actually you could've been successful though, the world wasn't ready then, but they probably are now. And that's why clubhouse is probably taking off because it's creating this, these tribes of people, right? That, that people are enlisting instead of absorbing what these, all these perceived influences are spouting, these fake realistic expectations and making people feel I would say I'm worthy and their own lives and their own selves.
[00:39:26]And what you're saying about, you should only. Portrayed to the world, what you value and what you love and what you are, want to help other people with. That's quite an important part and that's how you should move on with the ins and outs, how you should treat the platform, but that's tricky, isn't it?
[00:39:44] Penny Power: [00:39:44] I don't, and it's tricky because it's a game. When I offered my book, I was told right. To be in, to be able to cruise. So for top bestselling author, right? Contact all your friends and ask them to buy it for nine to 9:00 PM a certain day at a certain time. And then the algorithm shoots you up and you can then say, you're a best-selling author.
[00:40:07] I just, it's just rubbish. Just absolute rubbish people that win awards. Now I'm, I'm entrepreneur of the year awards. They've done it based on how big the network is that they can say, could you vote for me? It's just these things I don't think. And you can either opt into it or not. Yeah. I choose not to because, because I live and it sounds very spiritual.
[00:40:33] I live in my own truths. I couldn't say to you, I'm a best selling author, Chris. I couldn't, I'm not a few thousand people that read or listen to my book and hopefully few of them have had something special from it, but I'm not a bestselling author. And so I could never say that.
[00:40:53] Chris O'Hare: [00:40:53] I think we need more of that in this world, because unfortunately, like I said, it creates unrealistic expectations, but especially when the younger generations start to look at these influences and they see that they are.
[00:41:10] The formulating their world view around these people. But not only that they felt like I said before on worthy, but also the stopping them from doing certain things. So if you look up like a lot of the generations ads people coming from school that they're having less relationships because they don't feel like they're worth dating or they're so insecure about themselves.
[00:41:33]I don't know if you've seen that Netflix documentary, social dilemmas, but that was this big smack in the face. When I watched
[00:41:39]Penny Power: [00:41:39] that terrifies me, I know it's terrifying and I know we can't fight the direction we're going in. I watched years and years was another program that actually terrified.
[00:41:51] Some people say we can't and some certain realities that are happening now that you think. Oh, my God, we had, we locked down for a year. There's certain realities that we're all pretty shocked by when you actually think, because it's become normal to us, but actually it's insane. And it's the same with social media.
[00:42:08] We think it's the norm, but it's not, this is not the norm. Social media does not have to be our norm. And I think it is a it's a huge problem in in the mental health of people is, I dunno, last night running, what's it called? Ronan camp was, did a brilliant show about mental health in men and a friend of his Christmas.
[00:42:30] I run camps or BBC radio presenter is brilliant. And he said this, I think there might be a hashtag about it. Cause he said, always ask twice. So something hashtag us twice. I don't know it's got going, but I think it should, because he said, we don't ever really allow ourselves to get into the detail with our friends anymore.
[00:42:50] We say, how are you? I'm very well. And he said, then say, how are you asked twice? Actually, and I think social media has made everything superstitious. And so it's just, we've got to learn to deepen our relationships with people. And I learned the other day from somebody told me that relationship is it comes from the Latin to reveal.
[00:43:19]Chris O'Hare: [00:43:19] Isn't that interesting? Didn't know that.
[00:43:23] So basically you're opening up your feelings yourself to have a relationship
[00:43:28] Penny Power: [00:43:28] you're probably revealing yourself. And not many people have got relationships online.
[00:43:37] Chris O'Hare: [00:43:37] So how can we change that other than demonstrating to the world, what we want to portray and showing them the real cells, how else can we use technology tools to get out there and make a difference?
[00:43:49]How do we make it more personal and other than the likes of clubhouse, which we know is taking off because people feel like they're really getting to know someone. Is there any other ways you think?
[00:44:00]Penny Power: [00:44:00] I think we have to remember that we're not just money-making machines. That's not what we've been put on this earth for.
[00:44:08] And of course, when you're in scarcity financially, you're often in scarcity of time as well. And therefore the concept of having conversations with people that aren't going to necessarily be your client is puts people in distress because they haven't got time for that. And I know that feeling, I know that feeling and you know that if I'm, if somebody, I want to make sure that anybody that wants to talk to me could potentially be a client.
[00:44:31]That's makes business sense with my time. Let's be productive with our time, but, LinkedIn, there are huge human beings, for example, on LinkedIn who wants to have conversations. And I think one of the things that's lockdowns locked down has given us all more time, whether we realize it or not, because it's been a complete change in not traveling, all sorts of things.
[00:44:55] I have chosen this time to learn, to have deeper conversations with strangers again. And, that book, permission marketing, Seth Goden wrote, I read 23 years ago, turn strangers into friends and friends into customers. And it's very true that he wrote that not around the internet. And then I wrote my book, know me, like me follow me, which was turning strangers into friends into followers. Now, I use linked in to have conversations with people and I don't come on to that conversation thinking I've got to close the sale, but I'm creating a very rich experience of learning and meeting a lot of really diverse, wonderful people.
[00:45:36] So I think that we have to learn, these are conversation machines, every single social network has got an ability to have a direct message. Now doesn't it. Every Twitter has LinkedIn has Facebook. Yeah. Everyone, you can direct message someone. And I think the more you do that, the richer your life will be and not do it in a spammy way, but just in a genuine, just having a conversation, a lot of people will avoid it.
[00:46:03] But I think if just one or two of us reach out and have conversations with more people then we'll get, there'll be a kind of place. If you do it from your heart. But that again sounds ridiculous. And what we're proving in bit, 100, and we proved in, in the Academy was actually, when you take care of a few people and people trust you transactions happen anyway.
[00:46:28] Chris O'Hare: [00:46:28] Yeah. Because of the buying from that feeling of being real to your, they know that they can trust you. And that's the biggest selling skill I think you can ever have is getting recommendations, but building a proper relationship with someone. So they actually can help you and say, actually, this can't help you or this can't help you.
[00:46:52] And that's essentially how I built my business is that if I'm. Good do I do, I will get recommendation and I get out there. And also, I think it's really important as well that you get your story across to people as well. Hence why I'm doing a podcast. That's why I'm here because it's really important for people to hear the way I think and the way I do things.
[00:47:14] And if people want to asynchronously, listen to me and build a relationship with me. So I don't have to talk to everyone that, because I don't have time to do that with everyone, but they could then engage with me and then we can talk and discuss offline whenever they feel they've got that message.
[00:47:34]And that's how I'm using technology and how I'm making it more personal.
[00:47:38] Penny Power: [00:47:38] Yeah. I like that. I like that a lot. And the people you interview and the way you've been spear and the conversations you have with them, and you're cresting the normality around people, which is really nice because if we all feel we can be open, we understand.
[00:47:52] We're quite normal and it's easier to become exceptional if you know your normal, if you feel your emotions, your thoughts, and what's going on in your head is suck. Not what you've got to come through the line of normal to get to exceptional, if, see what I mean. And I think it is interesting, the pup house, obviously like any of these networks, some people are using them wrongly, it's seeing real time conversation and people are listening to one another and sharing, and there's the fact that it's just been so successful indicates that's what people want to be listened to and to be heard.
[00:48:25] Chris O'Hare: [00:48:25] And the fact you don't have to look all pretty and put a shirt on.
[00:48:31]Penny Power: [00:48:31] What's interesting, and I know your world is about technologies then. Interesting to know where is this heading? So I know you did an interview with Thomas on, future in technology, how, where is it heading to and how do we.
[00:48:45] Play in that very different world when AI and technology. And I think Thomas was telling me that they said by 20, Oh God, what was he said, he heard on the radio this morning by 2030 or 20. That quite soon, anyway, 95% of video creation is going to be all AI.
[00:49:04]Chris O'Hare: [00:49:04] Oh yeah. Deep fake technology where the person is basically made by a robot.
[00:49:09] Yeah. But there's no need practice then there's no need for that whole creative industry. And I think the only thing that they probably won't take away is the voice. Like the voice is still quite personal. It's quite difficult for a robot to have the up flicks and down flex and that personality when you come from a voice and then, and it's why listening platforms like clubhouse are really gonna take off.
[00:49:35] But yeah really interesting where. Where is he going to go in my eyes? I think it's going to become quite tribal. And in terms of Facebook and that's what the downfall, it's almost like a utopia and dystopia all at the same time where you've got tribes of people who are so polar from another tribe of people, and there's no love between them.
[00:49:56] And that's what's happened in America. And that's what happened when Donald Trump took power. So it's really important that we see the dangers of being polar civil Wars happen because people are got polarizing views and they are in this eternal feedback loop when it comes to social media.
[00:50:15] Penny Power: [00:50:15] Yeah. They're in an echo chamber, just everything's been confirmed back to them. Aren't they? And it's a hundred percent. It's very dangerous that it is, already know. I already know this three subjects that I don't ask anyone for a moment. One is Brexit, which did you vote?
[00:50:30] That's too divisive. The other is, are you having a vaccine? And the other one is, did you watch the Meghan and Harry interview because they're all things that people are very hot under the collar about. And it's very terrifying and lots of us don't do our own research enough to form an opinion. We're just taking on other people's opinions all the time.
[00:50:55] Chris O'Hare: [00:50:55] Yeah. A hundred percent. They're not the power debate is definitely lost because there's too much information out though. You get bombarded by too many points of information that we are losing the ability to dive into something and form our own opinions. That's something I think really deeply about and something that could go on beyond this podcast.
[00:51:18]So cause I think it's so important the way we just are. A reflection of the stuff we consume as humans anyway. And so if we don't think about that, then if we don't think about the things that we are consuming, then you know, that could be quite scary in terms of what we're portraying to the world.
[00:51:38] Our thoughts are not necessarily our own thoughts and we are being brainwashed, which is very a conspiracy theory. But that's how it feels at the moment. But anyway, let's move on to our your quick wins when it comes to making business personal, because obviously you got this great book which I have here.
[00:51:59]So if a business owner was listening to this podcast so top three things that you would recommend to make business personal.
[00:52:10]Penny Power: [00:52:10] It starts with really investing in some self-awareness about yourself and really thinking about, and I, and people think, I used to think that was terribly indulgent.
[00:52:19]What are your values and how are you taking care of yourself and really understanding your character and your personality? It's the journey I took myself on and, I was 53 when I went on that journey and I'd love to have done it earlier in my life. I think my choices and some of the outcomes of things that I've done would have been very different.
[00:52:40]So I would say, that's a very quick win is, and it'll take you quite a while to do it, but it's really understand yourself and what's, and you can start off literally with a piece of paper on your desk. Writing down the moments that you're happy in the moment that you're not the triggers that trigger anxiety or stress, the people that warm you up you and make you feel happy.
[00:53:01] And the people that are drains in your life, there are some very, you could literally do that just on your desk. And it's very interesting when you do that, because you start to define things. So there was a lovely interview, Jack ma yeah. Do with Elon Musk. I just did this real throwaway comment and I wrote it down.
[00:53:20] I've used it as a quote, a lot, which is a clever man, knows what he wants a wise man knows where he is, doesn't want. And I think that's sometimes the benefit of age is that I've become very aware of what I don't want and the people I don't want and the things that aren't right for me in my life. I think you try and fit in a lot when you're here younger, I would need to fit in.
[00:53:42] I need to fit in. I need to expand. I need to. But you, if you do those things on your desk, you start to realize, I do want that. I don't want that and start to have that courage to change things. And then, that word courage is very important, because so lots of us resist change. We fear uncertainty, but there is something in us, all the, where we have to, and I had to do that embrace change and be excited by uncertainty.
[00:54:12] And if you feel or hear this and you fear change, and you are somebody who requires certainty, I would say those are two areas of your character that you need to start to work on. And I had to do it, and I did a test three years ago online and I was driven by certainty. And I did it again three years later, fairly recently.
[00:54:35] And I've now have moved from that into loving uncertainty. And I think we can change our character. I don't think any of us should ever change our personality, but we can change and learn from our character about where we've resisted things and go into that growth mindset. Which is a great book to read by the way by Carol Dweck.
[00:54:55] Chris O'Hare: [00:54:55] Yeah. And so in terms of your other quick wins that was very quick, was it? No, that was a big one. In terms of the other team, maybe.
[00:55:06]Penny Power: [00:55:06] I spoke and I just gave them all in one go, but I would love a quick win would be to start. This is a fun one. They start noticing your happy moments in your day.
[00:55:17] Literally start saying, this is a happy moment. I have seven, my cup of tea. I walk in the morning, my first coffee. I, I have a number of things. I call it a happy moment and I register it in my brain as a happy moment. So that at the end of the day whatever's happened, I know I've had seven happy moments.
[00:55:33] All right. Yeah. A hundred percent. And you lost him. And the last one I would say, go into find a small community around you, build one or both go and find one, start realizing that smallest, beautiful and allow yourself to open up, find somewhere where you have permission to just be really in your truth.
[00:55:55] And that doesn't mean being highly vulnerable, sharing all your rubbish with other people. It just means go somewhere where you are not ever having to pretend and build something around you like that, or join something like that. Great. Thank you. And how can let people learn more about making business personal, what resources are available for them to go and do that?
[00:56:18]There's my book, which is very kind you've mentioned, which is actually an older book as well. I went into a studio for 27 hours to record that, so seven and a half hours. So it was a lot of, could you redo that? I wanted to slap the sound engineer, but he was absolutely right. Got it. So there's my book then on my website, www.Pennypower.co.uk.
[00:56:35] I've got a health check, which is free and it's 42. Yes no questions to take five minutes, but it turns out a report might get you thinking a little bit more holistically about yourself. And then you can follow me Penny Power on all the networks and get in touch. No.
[00:56:50] Chris O'Hare: [00:56:50] So my last one was how could people connect with you?
[00:56:52] And that's obviously how they can,
[00:56:54] Penny Power: [00:56:54] yeah, absolutely. I'd be lovely to hear from anyone that's listened to this. And it's really nice. Thank you, Chris. I've really enjoyed this lunchtime with you.
[00:57:03] Chris O'Hare: [00:57:03] Good. Thank you. Thank you, Penny. Thanks for coming on.
[00:57:13] You can tell penny has prevailed with some of those bumps in the road that she's had. It's a great story. But what did you think of Penny's quick wins, quick win. Number one, invest your time into finding out about your values, how you take care of yourself and understanding your character. And you can do that by writing down a list of the things, all people that make you feel happy or unhappy, motivated, or stress.
[00:57:38] And also have the courage to embrace change quickly. And number two, start noticing your happy moments throughout your day and quick win. Number three, surround yourself with a small community where you never have to pretend either find one or build on, but what was your favorite bit of this show? You can tell me on clubhouse, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik, TOK, or YouTube.
[00:58:06] You can find me with at digital. Remember there were several other podcasts available to listen to which you can find on Apple podcasts, Spotify and YouTube. I'm want to show that I'll be so grateful if you could subscribe and write a review, but until next time, I'm your quick win CEO signing out.