Unlocking The Turd On The Table And Rethinking Work With Rishad Tobaccowala (Explicit)


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Episode Overview:

The conversation with Rishad Tobaccowala explores the concept of the 'turd on the table' and its significance in the context of business. It highlights how companies and leaders defeat themselves by ignoring the realities and not addressing the problems they face. The conversation also delves into the importance of paying attention to the world outside, embracing change, and upgrading mental and emotional operating systems. It emphasizes the role of emotion in decision-making and the need for data-driven storytelling in building successful brands. In this conversation, Rishad Tobaccowala discusses the power of AI and the importance of storytelling in business. He emphasizes that in the future, AI will not be a differentiating factor for companies, as everyone will have access to it. Instead, the key differentiator will be storytelling. Rishad also talks about his upcoming book, 'Rethinking Work,' which explores the changing nature of work due to demographic shifts, technology advancements, new marketplaces, and the long-term impact of COVID-19. He emphasizes the need for leaders to adapt and retrain themselves in this rapidly changing landscape.

Additional Resources:

* Website

Skot Waldron (00:00.11)
If it kind of pauses out or whatever, it's still recording high res on your side. It's still recording high res on my side. Um, and then once, once it ends, uh, don't, don't jump off, make sure you, it finishes uploading on your side. Um, and I'm just going to go off the questions that I have on here, but I actually watched some other things with you and did some more of my research and there's some things that I want to, uh,

Rishad (00:17.392)
Perfect. Makes sense.

Skot Waldron (00:29.966)
maybe mentioned during.

Rishad (00:31.216)
Yeah, whatever you want, but because your assistant said I had to fill this up, I filled it up.

Skot Waldron (00:36.526)
Okay. Well, thank you, sir. I appreciate you doing that. Um, do you want, how can I serve you best today? Do you, do you want, are you promoting, um, rethinking work or are you still focused on your restoring soul of business book or what are you talking about?

Rishad (00:52.592)
So it's still restoring solo business and my substack, which is free. So the substack, which is rishad .substack .com. My new book doesn't come out till January of 2025. It's in editing right now, but it's kind of interesting. I'm just looking. So restoring the soul of business, even though it's been out for four years, is selling at about 500 copies a month still? Okay.

Skot Waldron (00:58.158)
Yeah. Yep.

Skot Waldron (01:04.27)

Skot Waldron (01:17.838)
That's awesome. Yeah.

Rishad (01:18.896)
Yeah. And it continues because if you read it, it was like I wrote it yesterday. It has chapters on AI, it has chapters on distributed work. All right. And so a lot of people said, wait, how did you get to know that? And I said, I just want to show you that everything I try to write, I try to make it evergreen. So that's what I'm still doing with my second book, making sure that nothing dates.

Skot Waldron (01:25.006)
Mm -hmm.

Skot Waldron (01:42.318)

Rishad (01:44.72)
So even when I'm talking about GPT in my second book, I don't number it. I just call it GPTX.

Skot Waldron (01:49.966)
Yeah, good. Good. Cause you know, it'll be outdated in two months. Yeah. So.

Rishad (01:54.288)
Yeah, absolutely. So it's like, so my whole stuff is why even bother sort of doing that? Let's do something more interesting.

Skot Waldron (02:04.814)
Oh, so cool. Okay. Well, I'm just going to, um, flow off some of the things that I heard that I read, um, on your website and on your, uh, through your videos and other things. And, and then just kind of talk more about the idea of rethinking work. We'll transition into that too. I'll just try to pivot off of both of them. Um, okay.

Rishad (02:23.664)
Sure, and whatever you want, absolutely. I'm far more interested in you having a good show. More importantly, your listeners think it's useful. I'm not particularly interested in pushing anything. My whole stuff is they can decide. And almost everything I'm doing, including the book, is close to zero price. So it's not like...

Skot Waldron (02:32.942)
Yes, well thank you.

Skot Waldron (02:44.622)
Yeah. Right. Right. Well, sir, you are, um, it's great having you. Um, let me make sure I say this right. Rashad tobacco walla tobacco walla. Okay. Okay. I was practicing. I was like, okay, tobacco walla. That's it. Okay. All right. Good, sir. I love it. I love it. All right. You ready to do this? I'll do an intro and outro after this. So you don't need to worry about that. Um, I'm just going to kind of come in cold Turkey, right?

Rishad (02:55.088)
Yes, perfect. Yes.

Rishad (03:07.536)
I'm ready.

Rishad (03:13.36)

Skot Waldron (03:16.91)
Rashad, I'm so grateful that you're here. Thank you, sir, for being here.

Rishad (03:22.32)
Thank you for inviting me. It's a great opportunity.

Skot Waldron (03:25.998)
There is a, uh, particular quote slash chapter slash whatever you want to call it that I was intrigued by and you call it the turd on the table. And I'm starting with that because, you know, let's get a little shock value out there and perk up some interest. I want you to, uh, tell me a little bit about what that means.

Rishad (03:46.704)
Sure. So what I've, over many, many years of working, so I've been working for 43 years, but been in senior roles for over two decades. And what I began to realize, both working across amazing companies around the world, both suppliers, partners, clients, that they were really tremendously talented people.

But once in a while, tremendously talented people and tremendously well situated companies ended up being defeated. And I wanted to know why really good companies and really good people get defeated. And I came to the understanding that very good companies and very good people don't get defeated, they defeat themselves.

And the biggest reason they defeat themselves is because they stop paying attention and they stop paying attention to the world outside. They stop paying attention to their critics and they begin to drink their own goo goo juice and they stop seeing reality. And so companies like that and leaders like that gather around the table.

They see something brown and moist in the center. They all pretend it's a brownie when they know it's a piece of shit and nobody addresses it. And as a result, Wells Fargo in the past opened fake accounts, but everybody knew they were doing that. Boeing was shipping bad software and then eventually well -engineered planes. Everybody knew they were doing that. But everybody, I'm not saying everybody, but lots of people.

but nobody spoke up. People knew what was going on at Enron, people knew what was going on at Arthur Anderson. And so my whole stuff is, if you cannot call out the turd on the table, or as a leader you do not have a environment where people can call out the turd on the table, you are going to be flushed away.

Skot Waldron (05:59.566)
What in the world is holding people back? Is it different than it used to be? Do you think that's gotten worse?

Rishad (06:07.28)
It has gotten worse and there are three reasons. It's always been difficult, but it's got even worse today. And there are three reasons for it. One reason is today everyone is somewhat concerned about their jobs and careers. So their whole stuff is if I say something, I might get into trouble. I may not get promoted. I might not get a bonus. So why do I want to say something?

Especially now where people sometimes don't even know somebody, but they just see them over Zoom. They haven't even built a relationship and you kind of need a relationship to tell people stuff they don't want to hear. Right. So in effect, that's one thing. The second is senior leaders over the years have understood that a part of what they have to do is project themselves as part of the company.

because increasingly people are asking companies to take stances. And so you now have what I call as the leaders, whether they are queens or kings, surrounded by a retinue of vassals, public relations people, media messages, media massagers, executive assistants. And then they also sit around going to the same baseball games, but sitting in skyboxes, flying in concierge key.

or private planes or global services, they don't see anybody. And as a result, they become desensitized. So that's one reason that's basically happening. So the leaders are becoming desensitized. The talent basically doesn't know how to actually engage with people and do this virtually. And then at the very same stage, both sides already have too much shit on their table. And if somebody says there's even more shit, then they have to go clean it up.

so they don't say it. So some combination of, I don't know how to say it, don't you dare say it, or my God, if you say it, then you're gonna have to clean it up, is what's happening. And in a world of distributed work where people feel overworked and senior leaders have vassals surrounding them, you have more likelihood that your brownie, that you and your team and everybody's pretending as a brownie is actually a piece of shit and you don't know it.

Skot Waldron (08:38.83)
I, I hear, I talk about this in the idea of self preservation, the idea of nothing to fear, nothing to hide, nothing to prove. Um, and how do we remain secure, confident, humble ends our space and what we're trying to do. It sounds to me when you talk about people concerned about their own jobs, about losing that job, self preservation, I'm afraid of losing something. When you come into this world of.

leaders being desensitized because they're trying to prove that they are a certain level, certain importance. Okay. Maybe it's those who don't know how to communicate or how to talk about that. They are, they're afraid that they're going to get more stuff put on their table. And all of a sudden now I have to do more work and I'm already feeling burnt out and I don't want to put up with all that. So.

Rishad (09:29.679)
Yes. Yes, yes, exactly. Right, so it's basically like, I don't know how to say shit. Maybe it's not shit. And if I say shit, I'm gonna have to clean it up.

Skot Waldron (09:43.47)
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. That, so then they just go, no, that's good.

Rishad (09:49.52)
Yeah, and that's when the company started. Then you basically say, oh my God, we now know it's shit, but we didn't say it was shit, so let's cover it up. Let's put a bowl over it or a package over it, but it still smolders and then it leaks all over. Then before you know it, you have an organizational problem.

Skot Waldron (10:00.014)

Skot Waldron (10:11.822)
This is so, this is so graphic. I love it. Rasha here. This is, I'm going to give you another one. I'm going to give you another little thing for your, we're going to put some corporate pooperie over this thing. Right? That's what we're going to do. It's corporate pooperie is what we're doing. So.

Rishad (10:18.256)

Rishad (10:23.152)
That's right, exactly right. Poo -poo -ree. Absolutely, that's the way to do it.

Skot Waldron (10:29.966)
Oh my gosh. That's brilliant. Um, I love it. I love it. So this is why I want to start with that question. Cause I knew that there was, there was some, some gold in there, man. I knew it. I knew it. So how does this fit into what you're talking about with your previous book? You have a new book that's going to be coming out January, 2025. Um, stoked for that about how to, why we're rethinking work. We're going to talk about that a little bit. I want to talk also about, um,

Restoring the soul of business. That's where this idea comes from. At the turd on the table. Why, why is that so significant? And why is that so significant in talking about the soul of business and how we need to restore the soul of business?

Rishad (11:12.016)
Yeah, so what would tend to happen is the first book, which, as I mentioned, continues to sell very well, and it feels like it was written yesterday. So people have actually said, did you know what was going to happen over the next four years? Because the book has chapters on AI, on distributed work, working across screens. This was, and this book came out before COVID, before all of this current AI hype, right? And I think the reason was the first book basically said,

Everyone is fixated on data and spreadsheets and mathematics. And I have a advanced degree in mathematics, an MBA in finance. I've helped acquire a lot of data companies. And so which basically says that MBA in finance means I should be good at spreadsheets. With a advanced degree in mathematics, I should be good at data. And.

I found that everyone was fixated on it, but they were forgetting that human beings make decisions by choosing with their hearts and then use numbers to justify what they just do and not the other way around. So people choose with their hearts and they use numbers to justify what they just did.

Skot Waldron (12:25.966)
Okay, say that again. Say that again. I think it's really important.

Rishad (12:35.44)
So let's say you just, and I'll give you why this is true. Many of us wear watches and sometimes we wear watches that are more expensive than a swatch.

Your phone tells better time than any watch. And if you needed a watch, you could buy a $5, $10 watch. But what's the exploding area is expensive watches. What's the most valuable companies in the world until recently? In the world until Microsoft overtook it, it was Apple. And in Europe, before Nova and Nordisco overtook it, was Louis Vuitton, Moyt, Hennessy. Those are brands that basically sell.

on desire, design, value, identity. Nothing to do with numerics. You wanted to get a really, really good phone, you can get exactly what the Apple has, much cheaper. And people are doing that in China where they're losing market share. Okay, but those Chinese phones, by the way, have caught up on design, software, and everything else, and now they're cheaper. But...

Nobody basically says, I would like to go around and I'm really, really into basically buying the cheapest bag I can buy, handbag. I'm gonna buy the cheapest car I can buy. Nobody does that. And so the reality of it is you just pay more money than a Toyota Camry. That's not a decision based on any math or data or a spreadsheet. The fact that you have children is not a decision based on math and data and spreadsheet.

So the reality of is all of us make seven out of 10 decisions that have got nothing to data, then we say the whole world is data driven. Total and complete bullshit. And so that was my whole thing, which is why don't you actually look at the truth. And so that my whole stuff is leadership is accepting reality and so many companies are just talking bunk. And because most people don't understand data, they keep talking about data.

Rishad (14:36.304)
And so the idea basically, the subtitle of my book was Staying Human in an Age of Data. It now has suddenly become really popular. It's always been very popular, the book, but suddenly it took off again because people are reading that subtitle as Staying Human in an Age of AI.

And the reality of it is anybody who has worked with anybody will realize that if it was so easy and you all needed to do was pull out a PDF, a PowerPoint or a spreadsheet, and that's how you get business done, that's fantastic. Go in and do real business and you'll see all of that's easy. What's really difficult is this messy thing called people. I've always basically said everything's easy, but these people get in the way. Can we get rid of all of them?

Skot Waldron (15:23.47)
If we just didn't have people, it'd be so much easier.

Rishad (15:24.976)
if we just didn't have people. But then as my boss reminded me, then they wouldn't be you either. So I said, okay, that's a problem too. Okay. And so the idea of the book is basically the third of the table basically says, look, let's get real. And then the other one that we don't seem to understand is, which is another very popular chapter in the book, there are two of them which are very, very popular, which is the reason we don't want to face the people part of it and we only want to face the data part of it.

Skot Waldron (15:31.886)
That's true. That is true.

Rishad (15:53.616)
is because we can manipulate the data easily and show it up in all kinds of stuff, but it's very hard to change the people. And so I've always basically said, so one of my second most popular, The Tour on the Table is the most popular chapter. And the book is sort of unusual in that unlike most non -fiction books, which are one chapter repeated 12 times, this is 12 different books in one. So you can read any chapter, it's freestanding. So you wanna talk about Tour on the Table, you can read that.

One chapter is called managing change so it sucks less. And when people tell me change is good, I said, no, I'm happy you change. And for most successful people, change is difficult because you have to learn new things, you make mistakes, you have to unlearn stuff. So the choice is not change is good. The choice is either you change or you become irrelevant. And so the choice is not between good and not good. The choice is between difficult and irrelevance. Right, and how do you manage change?

And the third, which none of us, and that's by the way, this whole idea of self defeat, it ties into change and it ties into the turd on the table, is if you have to change, companies don't change, people do.

And as you know only too well, as someone who helps companies and people do that, is changing people is hard because you have to learn new stuff, unlearn stuff and new skills. And I remind people that today, if they have an Apple phone, it's on its 17th operating system in 17 years. How many times have they upgraded their mental operating system in the last 17 years? So there's a chapter called how to upgrade your mental operating system. And so I often go to companies and I basically say, number one,

Do you actually have people in an environment that's not fear -filled, which is the turd on the table? Number two is do you understand that the idea is not saying change is good, but if we don't change, we'll become irrelevant? And third is to change, you're gonna have to upgrade people's mental and emotional operating systems. Are you investing in that? And so those are three of the most popular chapters in the book, but there are also a whole bunch of others. And the last one is called,

Rishad (18:02.96)
Remaining relevant in the third connected age where I basically talk about AI and blockchain and XR, which is extended reality long before people were talking about AI and Bitcoin and Apple vision Pro. And my old stuff is most of us can see exactly what the future looks like. We just decide to look away.

Skot Waldron (18:16.91)

Skot Waldron (18:24.334)
Not you. Not you, Rashad.

Rishad (18:27.312)
Not me, but my whole stuff is just looking there isn't thing, but I've now figured out how to get people to look there and not run away and not get scared. That's the important thing. Because if you tell people like the future is coming and it's going to hurt you, people are going to say like, I'm not interested. You say future is coming and if you adapt, you're going to thrive. Then people are interested.

Skot Waldron (18:36.526)
Well, that's.

Skot Waldron (18:47.598)
Possibly, possibly. I think there's still a huge junk of the population. It's like, yeah, you say that, but I've heard that before, right? And I'm not going there. Let me go back to this idea of emotion and data. Cause you said something and I believe it coming from background of doing a lot of brand work and working in that space. It's like, we try to capture the emotion.

Rishad (18:50.064)
Yeah, yeah, there's a huge, yeah.

Yeah. Yeah, yeah, that's true.

Skot Waldron (19:16.046)
Of the, of the brand of who that is, of what that is, of what the company embodies. It's cause you want to believe what they believe as you know, Simon Senate kind of pushes out a lot of the purpose and the why work and what they do. Um, the, let me, let me ask you your opinion on this. You talked about the idea that we buy, you know, seven out of 10 decisions, basically on emotion. Then we back it up with the data. Do you think that companies tend to do that where they.

They go in on a gut thing or they feel something and then they manipulate the data to back up what they're doing emotionally. Cause that's easier than doing it the other way around.

Rishad (19:57.008)
Yeah, so what I think is they do a combination of the two. The right companies basically do the following. They interrogate the data with different people looking at it and drawing different conclusions, and then they have a different conversation. So I've seen too many companies where they don't have enough different people looking at the data. So I'll give you an idea.

data doesn't have an answer, what we bring to the data has an answer. If the data itself had the answer, there'd be no need for us. I remind people, if data has the answer, you're going to be AI'd away before you know it. Most companies, what they do is they do one of two things. They look at the data, have different people look at the data, bring in their own emotional stuff, and then say, here's what we're going to do, which is some combination of data and emotion. Other people,

like a Jeff Bezos at Amazon, what he does is he listens for stories and anecdotes. And when he hears a story or anecdote that seems to him to be true, so he has an emotional response to it, he asks his team to analyze things to see if that emotion is actually scalable and is happening to a lot of people, or it's just one or two people. So he starts with an emotion and then he tries to build a data case.

He doesn't try to fake a data case. He says, is there data that supports this emotion? While other people basically say, let's look at the data with different people and what's the emotion that we're taking away.

Skot Waldron (21:30.062)
You call this, uh, data driven storytelling. You even have a quote about this. Do you know what I'm talking about?

Rishad (21:36.496)
Yes. Yeah. So I basically believe that a story is a data -driven... So my basic belief is a brand is data -driven storytelling. I actually think human beings are data -driven storytellers. Right? We combine those. And the thing that I remind people is the world has to do this duality. One idea of the world is the world is increasingly silicon data and digital. True. But...

The people who live in it, till our AI agents decide that we are not irrelevant, are analog carbon -based feeling people.

And it goes back to that earlier conversation about the messiness of things. We tend to pretend that there isn't the messiness. And that's the reason I wrote the first book and why it's so popular. And then I basically said, OK, depending on what your issues and problems are, you can select any one of these. And that might be where you can solve your issue. And the reason that's going to become even more important,

is because in the world that we're going in, like I did not see the power. I knew AI was going to be big, but I didn't see the exponential enhancements in the way it's expanding and what it can do and in how many areas it can do stuff. And it's basically applied statistics on steroids where some combination of eating all the internet and video chips and new algorithms have taken it to a different level. But...

In that world, as we move forward, what's going to differentiate company A from company B is not going to be whether they got AI, right? Or whether they got data. I can probably prove, and I have gone to a few companies and proved to them, that I, as a one person, self -employed, pathetic loser, has better AI than they do. And it's true. I'll prove it to you right now. It's true. Okay?

Rishad (23:43.6)
Here's why. I'm talking I've got better AI. So everybody thinks you have to be this large like Microsoft or Google or Anthropic to basically have that. No, no, no. They are basically creators of these utilities.

I, for $20 a month, and I spend a total of $160 a month. You don't have to spend $160. I spend $160. So I basically get the advanced versions of Google, Microsoft, Claude, and OpenAI, even though OpenAI and Microsoft are similar, but I get them all. I pay for Mid Journey. I pay for RunwayML. I pay for 11 Labs. I pay for Perplexity. And.

The advanced versions, the advanced versions which are six months ahead of everybody else, which are the free versions, are between two and three times as good.

What do most companies do? They optimize on one platform and because they need to optimize across the company, they have to test it. So they're testing something and allowing people to use things six months ago. So I have more resources, more tools, more advanced for $160.

So don't tell me you got AI. AI is our solution. Everybody's got AI. It's like saying you got electricity. Bullshit. Okay, there was no electricity and there's electricity. Yes, it's a massive new age with electricity. But everybody's got electricity. So you say, my strategy is AI. It's like saying my strategy is electricity. That is how ridiculous this has become.

Skot Waldron (25:30.926)
This is you, you say the future of, of branding, the few, I just think the future in general is data -driven storytelling, but don't forget the storytelling and you feel that people are forgetting the storytelling.

Rishad (25:41.872)

Rishad (25:47.153)
I believe that people are significantly forgetting the storytelling. And the reason is because it doesn't feel, right? It doesn't feel like business.

Skot Waldron (26:00.622)
What doesn't?

Rishad (26:01.744)
Storytelling. Okay. It feels like you're making shit up. It feels like, you know, it's driven on like emotion and feelings and stuff like that. And I believe that everybody is a storyteller because we are all salespeople. And when somebody tells me I'm not a salesperson, I ask them a very simple question. Do you have a partner in life? You do? You did a con job on them.

Skot Waldron (26:03.214)
Okay, what does it feel like?

Rishad (26:31.632)
You did a sales job, not a con job, but a sale job. Okay, so you had to persuade them to be your partner, which is very simple. Do you have anybody talented working for you? Okay, you had to persuade them to align their talents with you or your company when they could go somewhere else. You did a sales job. When you go to a party and you have an argument and you want to have a, you're trying to decide what's the future of something, you're doing a sales job.

And when you get sold to, has anybody ever actually sold you just by showing you data?

No, they did something else. It's both. And that's why I call it data -driven storytelling. Because if you do non -data -driven storytelling, you have a company like WeWork. All bullshit. But if you only do data -driven, but no storytelling and no focus on what reality is, you end up basically either being optimized away by a machine or,

you aren't looking well enough because the other problem is if you there are two things remember I said the turn of the table is when people don't look outside enough or don't look at themselves enough so I'll make the case that every the biggest threats and opportunities to any given category comes from outside it.

Rishad (28:00.944)
And when you're data -driven, you tend to only look inside your category because you use metrics and benchmarks in your category. But who created the greatest amount of wealth over the last decade when it came down to the automobile sector? Not all the seven or 10 original OEMs that were benchmarking against each other. It was Uber and Tesla that asked completely different questions.

Rishad (28:23.536)
And they basically, in part, built a story. They created a vision. Maybe you don't need a car. Maybe the future of car is software. Maybe the future of car is electric.

You build a story. Can a rocket land or does it only take off? SpaceX. To me, what basically begins to happen is these very, very simple things that if you look at innovation, if you look at strategy, everything's a story. I define strategy as future.

competitive advantage. Okay, so then you have to basically tell a story about the future because it hasn't arrived yet. And so for all of those reasons, I find it incredible. And I'm going all around the world and people say, yeah, it seems to be quite obvious. And I said, like, it is so obvious, but what tends to happen is it's both easy and it's difficult. It's easy because, okay, now I have to tell a story that's a little bit easier than running Excel spreadsheets, but it's difficult.

Because writing Excel spreadsheets is easy compared to telling a story that moves people.

But imagine if you took that Excel spreadsheet and you took the story and you combine them, what would you would get?

Rishad (29:54.384)
And people say, oh, I never thought about it that way. It's exactly the same. I mean, if you look at a wonderful company that did well, but now really is doing well, which is Microsoft, it changed its story. Right? Its story was everything, everybody else sucks. Everything has to be connected to Windows. And we're going to be shipping this software every year and changing its number. And.

Everybody else sucks. And the CEO comes in from inside the next CEO and he says, we're going to destroy the windows operating division. It's stupid thinking about the world through windows. Everybody else outside doesn't suck. Most software is written online. Next let's partner with people like open AI and buy GitHub.

screw all this 95, you know, Windows 95, 97, everything's gonna be on the cloud, constantly updated. We call Office 365 versus Office 2019. They changed their story and they are 10 times as more valuable. Obviously, you know, they had technology and a bunch of other stuff. And so when I tell people that, I said, it's just the way you can get value. Domino's Pizza, you could invest in basically Netflix, not Netflix.

Apple or Google or Meta 10 years ago or AdapT Domino's, you do better with Domino's. What did Domino's do? They basically said, we told you a bad story. We told you our pizza was good, but it actually was not. So we take back our story, we apologize. We burn our 50 -year -old recipe and we come up with a better pizza. But as importantly, our story no longer is just about pizza making, it's about pizza delivery and logistics.

It's all story all the time. Story up, story down. When you were born, guess what? Your parents read you stories. When you die, you're gonna look back in stories. So don't tell me it ain't stories.

Skot Waldron (31:52.078)
It is stories all the time. Back to, and back to your, uh, your partner analogy there. I tell my wife all the time that we fell in love with each other's brand. Like I, I fell in love and she says that is so unsexy. And I say, you know what it is, but coming from a brand guy, that's, that's kind of what we did. You know? So, um, it's the same, same story, right? Whether I am becoming loyal to a company or loyal to a person, we tend to follow the same.

Rishad (32:03.024)

Skot Waldron (32:20.91)
trajectory, we follow the same idea of consistency, authenticity, building trust, um, that first interaction, all types of things. We're building that, that is building our story until one day we commit and we become loyal. And then we can even mess up a little bit and there's some forgiveness. That's when a sign of loyalty comes across the table. That's, that's what we're looking for.

Rishad (32:42.896)

Rishad (32:49.744)

Skot Waldron (32:51.534)
And I say this in the, in the light of a leadership brand as well. Um, And leaders need the same thing. People need the same thing. You know, when you're inside of a company, I'm trying to build that. We all need that same thing. Tell me how rethinking work the new book that's going to come out January, 2025. What's the idea behind that book? What give us an idea of what that is.

Rishad (33:17.68)
So, one of the key things is coming out of COVID, a lot of people were

struggling about a couple of things. Bosses, so people who were running companies, were basically struggling with how do I manage my people and I better get them back to the office. Okay. And a lot of other people who were the people who had to come back to the office, including a lot of the bosses, said, I wonder whether I really need to come back to the office as much as I did before.

And so they said, you know, work is changing because of where we work, possibly. And I had been thinking about it and I said, everyone's fixed on the wrong thing, which is return to the office. And I don't believe return to the office is what they want. What they want is they want to celebrate the benefits of in -person interaction, which is sometimes you need in -person interaction to learn, build relationships and networks.

And at least in the advertising business, what I recall is when we wanted to have... So what do people say? What are the benefits of going back to the office? They say, if you come back to the office, you're able to build relationships, you're able to learn, and you will basically, it helps the culture.

That's what it is, right? Relationships, culture, and learning. Those are the three things I hear all the time. Oh, and ideation is the other one I hear. So those are the four. Well, in most companies, when people want to basically have off -site, when they want to basically do ideation, they go off -site. When they want to learn, they go to events like South by Southwest, Cannes, CES. When they want to build relationships, they basically go to bars and restaurants.

Rishad (35:24.912)
So every single thing that you claim was being done in the office was never done in the office. We left the office. But what was happening was we were gathering together in person interaction. So I first started thinking about that. And then I began to think more about it. And I said, this office thing is also, the whole thing is a ruse because what's actually happening is there are five significant changes to work. And...

And then I started thinking about it and I said, oh my God, what people don't realize is work is gonna be so dramatically different by 2029 that it will be as different from 2029 as work was 2019 from 1925.

So work will be more different than before there was.

the internet, phones, all of that. It'll be at a level that is absolutely mind blowing. And so what this book basically says is here are the five things that are changing work. And the five things that are changing work are number one is demographic shifts. So demographic shifts and mindset shifts. So in the United States, I'll just focus on the US. US, the population is stalled and is likely to start declining.

because we are below replacement rate. And if immigration is stopped, the US population is going into decline. So that's number one. Number two, the only group that's growing is older people. And so the population is aging really fast, 10 ,000 turning 65 every day. Most of the money is with older people. 70 % of America's wealth is held by people over 55 years old.

Rishad (37:10.32)
Right? There are generational differences. Baby boomers believe in capitalism, young people don't. What you're now seeing, forget about the politics on college campuses, is as much about a generational divide as it is about a Israel -Palestine divide. Okay? 72 % of Gen Z want to work for themselves. 66 % of Gen Z who have a full -time job have a side hustle or sidekick.

All of that's got nothing to do with going back to the God I am office. Okay, so that's just a general initial shift. Then there's technology shift, including AI. Then there's basically marketplaces, new marketplaces for everything. I can go and sell stuff on Shopify, get all my employees anywhere in the world insured by deal.

The whole rise of the side hustle side gig. Next year, the United States will have more freelancers than full -time employees. And then finally, the long -term impact of COVID, which is not the office, but a big question that people are asking. Why have I been going into the office and why I've been trying to have this work -life balance? Why is it that I've been trying to figure out how to fit life into work? Maybe I should figure out how to fit work into life.

Rishad (38:39.536)
Take those, put them all together and make them international and that's what the real challenges are. Not this nonsense about coming back to the God I am office. We have also entered an age of debossification. Nobody wants someone to manage them, monitor them, allocate, delegate, check in. That's all gone. Are you going to create, build, architect, guide, mentor? Okay.

So we have to completely change leadership training.

And the rest of my book after the five, the next nine chapters are what to do about it. It's got nine big ideas on how and what to do. And that's what rethinking work is, which is it's and HarperCollins is very excited. The people that have been finally at it. They say our first book was good, but this one is big. So I said first book was good and big, but this one hopefully will be bigger. But we'll see. It might end up selling one copy to myself, but we'll see. Maybe.

Skot Waldron (39:36.526)

Skot Waldron (39:40.43)
Maybe I'll buy a copy. I got you, Rashad. I got you. Um, that sounds awesome. That sounds really intriguing because I, I'm talking to leaders every day and I'm speaking to leaders constantly about what they're struggling with and how I can help coach them through those certain ideas and what, what they're dealing with. And I'm hearing it.

Rishad (39:42.48)
Right. Right.


Rishad (39:51.312)

Rishad (39:57.744)
Yeah. And this is a lot of that. It's also the whole idea of how we have to retrain ourselves. Yeah. So, in effect, it's something, so I'm excited about it. And the thing that's, which is true, if you're a listener, is to sort of get a sense of how I write. As I mentioned, I have this free Substack at rishad .substack .com. And what people will find is everything I do is built around two words.

It's called actionable inspiration. So my whole stuff is after you read my stuff, you should feel better about yourself versus worse about yourself. Even if I'm telling you that there's a turd on the table, I'm not saying you're the turd on the table, right? I'm saying there is a turd on the table. Nobody said you were the turd on the table, right? And then I give you different ways, whether you're a senior person or a junior person, to find a way to address the turd while keeping your job.

not overwhelming yourself or not looking foolish, all of which are very human things. So as I call it actionable inspiration. And I'm very optimistic about the future. I call it pragmatically enthusiastic. So I'm not Pollyannaish. I recognize there are challenges, but I'm not one of these things as doom and gloom. And I remind people that the only thing to be afraid of, obviously there's lots of stuff to be afraid of.

But there are some stuff that you have to be afraid of. There's nothing you can do about, you know, people you love, you lose them and you're going to one day grow old and die. Okay. That's, you can't do much about it. Now there's some people in Silicon Valley who stopped eating and putting medicines in them. And my whole stuff is you're just extending your life, but there's no poetry in it. It's all plumbing and no poetry. What sort of life is that? Right. It's a miserable life. You're basically extending your life because how you're making your life miserable, miserable. So you can extend your miserable life. Thank you very much.

I mean, many of these people have an imagination that doesn't stretch beyond their elbow and they have a humanity that's colder than a toilet seat. Okay, that's what most of these people are. And everybody's like, oh, so what the hell, they're going to be dead now. Forget about it. Move on. Next. But outside of those, I think the only thing you have to be scared about are the headlines because I remind people, okay.

Rishad (42:17.36)
for most people, not for everybody, but for most people. And again, in all these cases, there's a lot more headway to be done. Would you rather today be a person of color today versus 25 years ago? Would you rather be someone who loves culture today versus 25 years ago? Today you can have much more exposure to culture because of streaming and a whole bunch of other stuff. If you or someone in your family has cancer or heart disease, would you be rather alive today versus 25 years ago?

And the answer in every case is today was just 25 years ago, almost every case. And so my whole stuff is like, and you're telling me you want to go back to 1950? What's wrong with you? And then all of a sudden it's like repositioned. And all I've done is I've changed the story. I basically said, hey, you've been looking out of this window. Now let's look at it from this perspective. And we're looking from this perspective. It ain't that bad.

But if you decide that it's bad, just get onto social media and you will be like angered and you will have not only rage and a cage, but you'll be encased in rage. And I said, if that's what you want to do yourself, make yourself happy. But that's not the way the whole world works. And that are things that I think a lot of people don't seem to be understanding.

Skot Waldron (43:38.382)
Rashad, I am going to book a flight and come up to Chicago and sit down with you at a coffee shop and I'm just going to listen to you. No, man, this is like, I think the thing I like about you is you say the thing that everybody can kind of go, oh yeah.

Rishad (43:51.856)
No, no, I'm going to listen to you. I'm your guest. That's why I'm talking away. But you know, I'm going to listen to you.

Skot Waldron (44:07.598)
Yeah, Rashad's right. You know, it's a little bit of that. Yeah, there's some truth. There's some truth in there.

Rishad (44:15.824)
And I tried to say it in a funny way too, because what I've basically learned is it's like from Mary Poppins, a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. Yeah. And what I basically found is actually humor and making fun of yourself makes the medicine go down good for the other people.

Skot Waldron (44:22.83)
Is that what it does?

Skot Waldron (44:31.182)
There you go. There you go. You can rip into society and culture as long as you put a little sweetness to it. It's all good, man. It's all good. This is so cool, Rashad. Thanks for being on the show, man. Is, um, is sub -stack. I mean, how many, how many, how many readers you have on that thing?

Rishad (44:38.32)
Exactly, exactly. You bet.


Yes, it's 30 ,000 and it's 100 % free. Yeah, so you'll have it in the show notes. It's rishad .substack .com. So, rishad .substack .com and it's 30 ,000 people and it's everything from students to CEOs, about a thousand CEOs. Obviously, you have small companies to large companies or presidents and CEOs. And what's particularly interesting is every...

Skot Waldron (44:49.966)
Holy moly, okay.

Rishad (45:14.256)
Weekend is a totally different topic. So I write about different topics. I write about poetry, AI, strategy, different things. And the other thing that's really weird about it is not only is it free, so there's no subscription cost, but there's no advertising, there's no email marketing, there's no affiliate marketing, nothing. And it takes me three hours to write each one of these, which takes you six minutes to read.

And so people say like, what the hell are you doing? Like, right. And I said, I'm reminding people, A, that I'm in a position where I can give back, which is important. Okay. That gives me some credibility. B, it reminds people I'm alive every Sunday, which is kind of good. And the third is the whole God I am thing is a brand building exercise for myself. Okay. And if I, if you already gave me six minutes to listen to me, I'm not monetizing this any further.

on that platform. But obviously if you build your brand, people say, okay, maybe this guy, we could call him or buy his book or do things like that.

Skot Waldron (46:18.638)
Well, they're good. They're good. I mean, like you say, I'm going to buy at least one. So you made a little bit of money. You made a little bit.

Rishad (46:23.856)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And obviously you get speaking stuff and you get a whole bunch of other stuff. But it's a very interesting thing. And so a lot of places I always say, if you do the exact opposite of what you want to do, you might actually get what you want to do. So if you want to get, maybe you start by giving.

Skot Waldron (46:48.462)
You think maybe just a little bit that that works. I think it does.

Rishad (46:53.456)
It kind of works. I've always basically said, generosity is an amazing strategy. Try it.

Skot Waldron (46:57.87)
Yeah, you should. You should. I think that's enlightening for a lot of people. I hope a lot of people heard that man. Rashad, thank you again for being on the show. It's been a, it's been awesome talking to you, your energy, your, you're just about, just about life, about the market, about technology, about us as humans, about storytelling. It's, uh, it's all music to my ears. I love it and I appreciate it.

Rishad (47:04.176)
Absolutely. Perfect. Welcome. Perfect.

Rishad (47:23.888)
You bet. Thank you.

Skot Waldron (47:27.726)
All right, man. Well done. Super, super superb. I love that.

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