Graham Brown: Five Million Podcasts, Finding Your Rockstar Voice & One Way Tickets In Life - E222

· Purpose,Creators,Singapore,Podcast,Podcast Episodes English

Talk about something as if nobody's listening, this is doubling down, it's not being everything to everybody is it. It's being something to somebody. It's like, I don't care if you don't care about my thing. But I do. And there will be people out there that do. And they've got choice. If you look at the numbers, Jeremy, there's 5 million podcasts in the world, and the average person has seven in their feed. So do the numbers on that. They're not going to put another one in there. But to get in that seven, you have to be something that you're passionate about. - Graham Brown

World Traveling Storyteller, Author & Entrepreneur. Graham Brown is the founder of Pikkal & Co – Award Winning Podcast Agency – an AI Powered, Data Driven B2B Podcast Agency in Singapore. He is a published author on the subject of The Digital Transformation of Communication, works including “The Human Communication Playbook”, “The Mobile Youth: Voices of the Connected Generation” – documenting the rise of mobile culture in the early 2000s in Japan, China, Africa and India and “Brand Love – How to Build a Brand Worth Talking About”.

Jeremy Au: (00:00:29)
You’re a podcast pioneer in Southeast Asia. So I remember consulting you in the early days for some advice and launching the podcast. And now I finally get to have you as a guest. So I'm so excited, could you introduce yourself pretty quickly?
Graham Brown: (00:00:51)
Jeremy, wonderful to be here. I remember that very well back in the old days. So I'm a podcaster myself, I have podcast but, my claim to fame, is that I have a podcast agency here in Singapore, with a few Singaporean, and Southeast Asian clients. So I help people tell stories on podcasts.
Jeremy Au: (00:01:14)
Amazing. So how did you first get hooked into Southeast Asia and the region?
Graham Brown: (00:01:19)
So I came from Southeast Asia, from Japan, in a roundabout way. I was living in Japan at the time. And the backstory is. So if you go way back, Jeremy, in the 90s, I had a telecoms business, mobile phones in those days, you remember the big things, they're huge back then. And I'd lived in Japan in the early 90s. And I'd seen mid 90s. And seen Japanese high school girls, essentially using phones in ways which nobody else wants, like sharing, content, texting. And so when I moved back to the UK in late 90s, I was convinced that could become a business by telling people about what the mobile phone industry could be. So I'd knocked on all the doors of mobile phone companies, the Nokia's, and these people back then that were big things, Ericsson, people don't know these names anymore, but they were global names. And they basically said, we don't do kids. They wanted a future, which was about, old guys and big, chunky mobile phones. Eventually, the market turned, they got ahold of the texting thing. And mobile operators realized they can make a lot of money out of this. So we rode that wave. And then 2012 sold the business because it had run its course. And at that time, sat with my wife and my son who's six at the time in the kitchen. I remember the conversation and it was like, what do I do next, interesting? I know, I've listened to many of the founders that came on your podcast, the natural response to when you sell a business is to start another one. Because that's what all they know. And that's what they're really good at. But I've wanted to do it differently. So we decided to travel. And then we got everything into three suitcases, and traveled the world for four and a half years, just living on my tropical islands and stuff. So that brought us to Japan at one point. And then actually, the bit about living on tropical islands was lonely. So I started a podcast to talk to people in the Asian tech ecosystem. And then people started asking me, how do I do that Graham? The conversation that we had, how do I start my podcast, and then I realized that was a business. So we moved from Japan to Singapore, in 2018, to set up a studio. So that was the beginning of it, Jeremy, here now.
Jeremy Au: (00:03:06)
And that's interesting, because you start the podcast like many other folks, because they're lonely. Clearly, the only way to solve it is not by going to dinner party, or going for drinks and having conversation there, but setting up a whole podcast. But of course, you not only started it, but you also kept doing it. And I think starting something is very different from choosing to continue doing it. So why did you choose to continue doing it? Because you moved to Singapore, you double down. But what was it about that kept you into storytelling and podcasts feel?
Graham Brown: (00:03:37)
Yes, it's a great question the consistency part like, you know, you've done well in excess of 200 episodes. And I don't think people realize what sort of effort goes into that. You've got to have all the systems and the workflows. That's important, isn't it, you've got to have all that heavy lifting done. But beyond that, you've got to have a really good motivation for doing it. A lot of people go into podcasts and think, I want to monetize this thing. But actually, the real value in doing it isn't in actually monetizing the podcast, it's the benefit of having a podcast, you get to meet people, you can certainly build a personal brand. And then there's sort of the intrinsic motivations of becoming a better storyteller, which, you get good at, you've listened to stories, you hear stories, you hear the patterns, and then you also are much better at expressing it yourself through practice. So I've seen with yourself and myself, is that, if you go into it with those motivations, not like, how do I create a media entity, or advertising real estate. Then this thing is not like, I'll do 100 episodes, it's like, I'll do this forever. Because as long as this is relevant to me, I'll keep doing it. It's a great way of meeting people. And for me vindication of that was, I got some meetings with some very senior business CEOs in the region. And, for me as a business development tool, it was phenomenal. I got in front of them, to deals with them which I never would have done. If I was just a guy pitching my services. So I realized actually that the way to monetize that is for me personally was a great bizdev tool. I could have an hour with somebody. And then the follow up from that is let's do business together.
Jeremy Au: (00:05:19)
Amazing. And, you started talking a little bit about the reflections of doing a podcast, because you have been doing podcasts for pretty much over six years. And that's really, from the start of the era, In terms of microphones, and even AirPods.
Graham Brown: (00:05:42)
Jeremy hosting, we didn't have it. Now its so easy, hosting, editing.
Jeremy Au: (00:05:48)
So could you share a little bit about what are the big differences that you see in a snapshot like before six years ago? And perhaps now today, what would you say is the before and after?
Graham Brown: (00:05:57)
Well, actually my first podcast I was recording audio interviews back in the early 2000s. But it wasn't really a podcast, because you didn't host it like now, it wasn't even called a podcast then. But my first podcast is out there. It's on 2014. So this is in 2023, will be nine years ago. And it's still out there, but it's only on YouTube now. Because it just goes to show back then what's really changed Jeremy's hosting, like the hosting now is really good, it's robust, you've got tools, it's so easy to do things now. Like back then, you had to do this, and then figure this out, and then hack this. And then you got to try and rewrite the RSS generation script. And you had to have all these skills, bit web development, a bit content creative, and all those things, you didn't just turn up and speak, which is what you can do now, with the wonder of things like Riverside, for example. But if you look at it at a very macro trend, and this has a big impact on yourself, and myself as podcasters is that the big macro trend, what's different is now it's much easier to produce, it's much harder to promote. That's the macro economics, supply and demand. It's like, now everybody can and does have a podcast, the competition for attention is severe. So gone are the days where you could produce a podcast and bang, you've got 10,000 listeners, that doesn't happen anymore. You've really got to hustle for it. So that's the main sort of top level understanding, is that everybody can get in the game now. So there's a flip side and cost to that.
Jeremy Au: (00:07:38)
And what advice do you have for folks? Because, that's really on people's minds. Like the lot’s of folks are like, I want to set up podcasts because I would like lots of people to listen to me. How do you address that motivation? And how would you advise them on that motivation?
Graham Brown: (00:07:58)
This is a wonderful question. Glad you brought this up. I work very closely with people in radio. And this is what I learned from them to answer that question, is that I work with this old radio, this grizzled old radio DJ who has waited far too long as old as radio himself. But what he really knew was, how to connect with his audience. And what he did, and this is what I saw him do Jeremy cut out a photo, some one of his readers sent him a photo, he cut out, and he stuck it on the microphone. And that was this woman reader, a fan, a listener and he had that on the microphones. Every time he went on air. He looked at her, he talked to her, he never said you guys. And he never said the listeners out there, he said you. And that really stuck with me because radio is 100 years old, it should have been a sunset industry, as a VC you would never would have invested in radio. It was always on the way out. But it stuck around. And the reason is, because what radio does really well is they can speak to you. They know who you is, they know your name. They know exactly how old you are, what your job title is, and why you listen, they know everything that pisses you off. You know what you get frustrated about, your pain points, and they speak to that. They're very good at that. And so that brings us to the question about you asked very rightly, what advice would you give? Before you even start a podcast? You have to know who is you? Who are you speaking to? Because imagine you are running a radio show. You would want to know exactly who that person is. You have that photo of Jenny, whoever is sticking on your, microphone, who's that person? What are their pain points? What are the big macro trends right now? What’s keeping them up at night? And then just double down on that, when you speak to them. You know exactly who that person is and what they're worried about and speak only to their problems and their pain. Don't try and be the expert, but instead show empathy. I really understand your problem and this is what's happening in the industry. And this is the solution to that. And problem is most people go into podcasting because it's very exciting. And they think, I want to talk about this. And then they realize, actually, the market for this is pretty small. Because there's 5 million people with podcasts out there speaking about this. So the challenge is start with your audience avatar. And that's what we do, whenever we take on a project and podcast, is that we always start there, like who is your audience?
Jeremy Au: (00:10:29)
That's really good advice. For myself, I remember I got advice from the co founder of Radiolab, and he pushed like, Jeremy, you just got to talk about something that sets your soul on fire. There has to be a topic that you love talking about, even though no one's listening. Because if you're excited about it, then someone else is going to be excited about it. And I was like, I love this
Graham Brown: (00:10:57)
Talk about something, as if nobody's listening, this is doubling down, it's not being everything into what everybody is in. It's being something to somebody, it's like, I don't care if you don't care about my thing. But I do. And there will be people out there that do. And they've got choice. If you look at the numbers, Jeremy, there's 5 million podcasts in the world, and the average person has seven in their feed. So do the numbers on that. They're not going to put another one in there. But to get in that seven, you have to be something that you're passionate about. That sets you on fire, because they're not going to go to another one, which is like, maybe they're not going to stick around and listen to that guy.
Jeremy Au: (00:11:40)
I love the phrase 5 million podcast. The awkward reality is that, anybody can host. Anybody can speak. And it's interesting, I remember asking you in early days to be like, how did a podcast go? Some advice? And then I can reflect on that after two years after, like you said, over 250 episodes, I'm like, such a noob back then. And there were some of the advice you gave me back then. Which is pod fade, the concept that people give up after a certain amount of time. So could you share a little bit more about, how folks should really feel about a 5 million podcasts and finding their voice or their audience through the process?
Graham Brown: (00:12:36)
It's interesting. 5 million is a lot. Well, compared to what,the key here now, is it a crowded market or is it just getting started? To put it into context, I went before the mobile phone business, I had a very short time in a web design business, which I set up, which was a complete failure, Jeremy. But it got me a start, obviously led to mobile as well. I had a year in that designing web sites for money, and actually could make money out of that. And back then, in 97, 98, if you look at the numbers, what was really interesting was that there were 5 million websites in the world. And back then everybody said, this is really crowded. Like, there's enough, no more websites, and we haven't even got to social media. And Google was only just getting on people's radars. And Amazon was only just a very few people in the US were using it. So 5 million in 97, 98. Netscape, Navigator was the big thing. AOL, CDs was how people got online, it was a very different world, and people saw the web back then just really as brochures but in electronic format. They actually even had something called brochure, where you could sell brochure, where you could go to a business and sell them brochure, which is like, we would scan your company brochure, and put it online for you for a few 1000 bucks. That was a business that worked back then. But the interesting thing is like, if you look now, there's like just under 2 billion websites in the world. So when people say to me about 5 million podcasts, it's like, okay, will that follow a similar trajectory? What's the trend here? Now, if you think about it, that why did people go to websites back then, well, if you go back to 97, 98, if you wanted to go to a store, the most annoying thing was going to a store and it being closed, because there's no way of finding out. So actually 97, 98 the number one search term for Ecommerce was store opening hours. People would Google or search engine they use the store opening hours. That's why people do it. And the reason is, is because it was so much easier to get information from a website than phoning up somebody in the switchboard, engaged or couldn't get through. And therefore, if you look at what websites, websites were better communication interfaces than what was before then. There weren't brochures, there were better communication interfaces. Now, if you think about podcasts, if you want to find out about a business, if you want to find out that startup founder, you don't go to the website, and try find out about the page, that's where you probably start, but I bet you that they'll end up on Brave with Jeremy, and listen to that founder, because they want to know more about that person, they want to really go deep, because they can't get that information. So the point is, is that if you look at the comparison, 5 million, we're only just getting started. Because, websites are to businesses, but podcasts are to business leaders, if you think about it, better interfaces. So I see a future, where it's not one brand, one podcast, it's going to be one brand might have hundreds of podcasts. And even in all the startups that come on your show, they could have 3, 4, 5, a dozen podcasts, each different team, the CX team, the hiring team, could have an internal podcast. So if you look at it like that, rather than it's a brand thing, and look at it as a communication thing. And understand, it's a way people can find out about what you're about, what you're passionate about, what you care about, then that really unlocks the potential of what this could be. And 5 million we're only just getting started Jeremy.
Jeremy Au: (00:16:35)
And you shared about how you found out another business that is really helping many of these leaders get on their own podcast. And I think the thing I often feel when I listened to these corporate podcasts and was chatting a little bit about it, is that they're so boring, so vanilla, like anything human has been chipped away. It's all corporate speaking points. And is boring. And they are very interesting people when I meet them for dinner, or in person, especially somewhere private, but it feels like on a podcast, he's just become generic. So what's up with that? What do you think that happens? And how are people trying to address it?
Graham Brown: (00:17:25)
Its early days, we're taking baby steps, we have to realize that what you and I can speak about, it's not what a CEO can speak about, because what he speaks about might affect the share price. With ask, we've got a lot of bandwidth, we can talk about what we want, maybe we might get an angry email. But that's about as far as it goes. So we have to understand that it's still to get to where we are, even having a corporate podcast is an advance from where we were, we shouldn't compare podcasts to marketing, we should compare it to communications. So we're really looking at podcasts as opposed to press releases or white papers or, analyst lunches. So in that sense, it's a lot more human, it's an advanced, yes, you're right, we have a long, long way to go. We're sort of looking at websites in 97, Jeremy and judging them by today's standards. So to get it forward, the first thing is to start the podcast, build confidence in it as well, then, have ownership in it, rather than it being a brand thing. You want business leaders to say this is my podcast. Because then they can inject that character into it rather than sort of being a carousel of all or dumpster for everybody, or they are corporate content. That's not interesting. But if you have, for example, a CEO or any leader internally have a podcast, and people get to know them, and they can humanize a bit. That's a step forward again, we're not going to get true crime type podcasts in the world of corporates in the short term, but it's baby steps. I absolutely agree, that we have to build the confidence and they have to buy into this idea of podcasts. You're talking about head of comms. Or a corporate leader who's from the world of PR, where it's all about control. It's all about efficient messaging. It's a pipeline as opposed to a platform. So, to even get to that stage, It's a step, hopefully we're starting to see good ones, we are emerging, we're starting to see interesting takes on it, and the platform evolving. But it's going to take time. But if there's any encouragement, look at where we came from, it's this versus Corporate Communications, which is very dehumanized.
Jeremy Au: (00:19:53)
I love what you said which is adding, pushing one layer lower, which is away from the company brand, like Craft, Heinz, etc. And then speaking about the individual voice of the leader.
Graham Brown: (00:20:14)
Absolutely. Because people follow people, not brands, that's the reality today, is that you may be aware of a brand, but your experience of a brand is defined by your interaction with the people of that brand. So the people are the brands. That's the experience, that what you see and interact with, becomes the brand more important than the logo, more important than the marketing campaign. So it's how do you empower your people, unlock that human potential inside these organizations that they can tell stories. That's the storytelling organization. That's the promised land we need to get podcasting to where you can empower people at all levels, that diversity of voice in the organization, because, even at the podcast level, I listened to Brave, it's not because necessarily, of the subject, is because of you. I'm interested, I find out about it because of the subject, but it's like, this Jeremy, chaps is interesting, he's on a journey, he used to be a VC, like all those comes from the world of VC, and he's a bit of an entrepreneur himself. He's got some opinions. That's what we need to do in the world of podcasts with corporates, like, who is the CEO? Who is the Head of Customer Success? Whatever it may be. And we need to humanize them. And that's what we believe in. And you look at the data as well, let's take a look at LinkedIn. If you look at your listeners, so you out there, go and have a look at Microsoft's page on LinkedIn and not single out Microsoft, every brand does this, they've got 13 million followers on LinkedIn. And when they post on LinkedIn, their posts get like four or five likes, I'm not joking, four or five, even my worst posts get more than that. Like the ones I really didn't try hard with, they get more than that. And it's there, that's telling us straight, that what people engage with, it's the people. So we need to give tools to all of our people, and allow them to tell the story within the guardrails of on brand, within the sort of safe space. And that really is engaging, that's where we've got to get to with the storytelling organization, we're well away from it, it's like, 97, trying to dream up what social media could be, we're sort of 10 years away from it.
Jeremy Au: (00:22:45)
Love, how you differentiated the voice between the corporate level versus, the voice at an individual level. And you touch on the point about political correctness, which is a big part about why people come across vanilla, they feel like they're talking to a billion people. And the stuff that's universally agreed upon by a billion people is very low. I think people even disagree about basic stuff. Billion people begin argue about whether the earth is flat or round, probably quantum. And there's something I was starting to realize recently is like, when I'm talking to myself, as a crazy person, like every other human being, I hold a lot of individual beliefs. That, you said, can be disagreeable, can be a point of view, can be a hypothesis, can be a belief. And then you add me and my wife, and even I start filtering with my wife, because she doesn't believe in me. And there's some stuff about her that I don't believe in. But we keep the peace. And then you add five people, and then in some days, a stranger there, and then you add even more guarded, and then you add 10, 100, 1000 million, billion. And then that is driving the vanilla side, because you rub off anything that's disagreeable. So what's the right approach? How should people think about it? Should it be like to say a piece be authentic, go for it versus what's the right approach?
Graham Brown: (00:24:34)
You've definitely identified what the challenge is, Jeremy. And that's the fear. And obviously, the bigger the audience you're speaking to, the bigger the stage you're on, the more likely you're going to have somebody who disagrees with you. And today, the challenges is that the people who disagree have power, they have a voice. They can express it. You only need one person to call you out politically incorrectly. And you're in trouble, you have to say something a couple of years ago and then you get canceled. So it's a climate of fear. And that's the challenge. How do you express yourself and not be subjected to that, especially if you're in the public eye. And if you look at the data, there's some interesting data. Edelman did some research about what defines a thought leader. And people want strong opinions, but it goes back to what Ray Dalio says, strong opinions loosely held. That's really important, that people don't want controversial opinions, they want strong differences, that they want you to take a stand, they want you to have an opinion, and not just be an interviewer or not just be a platform for everybody else to have an opinion. That's what they want, that you have a voice. It's something, but you're not deliberately trolling people for attention. Which is a different game entirely, like picking fights with people and so on, on social media. So I think that's the key, there's a difference between those people who caught controversy. And those people who plant a flag and let people rally around it. It's quite different. There is an overlap in the middle. But like they said, to pigeons crap on the heads of statues of critics. No, because they don't build statues to critics. So if you're going to have a statue to somebody, you're going to get crapped on the head. And so it's the point, if you have an opinion, you are going to attract detractors. But the point is, you don't have to deliberately catch it, to get attention. So it's not to be afraid somehow. And people are forgiving generally enough, if you come from a position of authenticity. If you say things out of curiosity, you can talk about controversial issues without being controversial. You can address it, you can have guests, and you can say your opinion. But if you do it out of a position of curiosity, and an open heart, if you like, I think people are okay with that.
Jeremy Au: (00:27:12)
That’s still scary. Like, go out there and speak with open heart. And people will still shit on you on your statue.
Graham Brown: (00:27:24)
Well, I think it's not that, you have to ask if you're actually making any difference. Suppose it is a moniker of making a change. Everybody talks about leadership now, Jeremy, and if you have a podcast, it's a platform to be a leader, you can take it or not. And if you look at great leaders throughout history, is they always took the path of most resistance, meaning they did what was necessary, as opposed to what was popular. And that's it, like, if you have an opinion, just to get popular. It's different from having an opinion, because you believe in change, positive change. So if you think about the world as rockstars, and politicians, that politician’s game is to win 51% of the audience. That's, how they win, first pass majority. That's their DNA or MO, that's how they roll. So effectively, like you say, is that they'll just water everything down and mollify all their critics by just saying nothing. And even if you ask politicians, what do you think about this, they'll do everything they can to not tell you, but just deflect it. Nobody cries when a politician dies. It's very rare. But rockstars, they didn't care about 100% the market, they'd speak to 10% of the market. That's what they care about. They know that they'd rather be loved than liked because you liked you might as well be invisible these days. But if you are loved, look at how these guys interact with crowds, like, rock stars, crowd surfing, politician hiding behind like a glass of bulletproof shield. That's the difference here, is like making a difference. Rockstars are slightly a little bit on the edge. But those are the people we care about. Those are the people that make a difference, whether it's a rock star, or comedian, some cultural commentator, those are the people we listen to, who can actually make a change. If you want to know about politics, you don't listen to a politician, you listen to a comedian. They're the ones that actually have the finger on the pulse. And if you want to change things socially, it's through music, or through culture. So, that's the choice we have to make. If we want to make a difference. We have to accept some form of criticism. But if you can surround yourself with good people, who you know your band of merry men on this journey, then it doesn't matter.
Jeremy Au: (00:29:57)
Love what you just said about the Merry band and finding your rockstar voice, reminds me of this thing, which is like, CEOs get to find employees they don't like and who don't like them. But politicians, they have to win 50.1% of the vote, and they have to represent 100% of the country. And that's goes back to what we just talked about the political correctness, boundary, versus the rock star, who is like a, if 1% of the population really loves you, and 99% thinks that you're Satan, that still works.
Graham Brown: (00:30:37)
If you look at rock stars, and the things that they do, normal people wouldn't get away with but people are fine. He's a rock star. They were the first ones to cross dress, and man dresses up as a woman, woman dresses up as a man. So it was fine. He's a rock star. It's fine. But now it's like they were doing this, back in the 70s. You think about people at Bowie, for example, they are challenging norms, which the world accept it now. So you can have a little bit of that. Any of that sort inner voice if you like. And there's nothing to be scared of, I don't feel people aren't actively seeking out podcasts on LinkedIn, or on Apple, or on Spotify, or looking for something controversial. It's the difference between doing it in Twitter, because in Twitter, you're doing it to 100% the audience. That's the difference. If you do on Twitter, you're speaking to 100%. And I guarantee a group of them are going to hate it and call you out and cancel you. But if you are on a podcast, it's different, it's not speaking to a mass audience, and people are searching you out. So if somebody's searching you out, Southeast Asia startups, they're going to find your podcast, Jeremy, they're not going to listen to it go, this is not how we do it in the Valley. It's tough, it's not for you guys in the valley, is for us. It's our story. So that's really important. You're selling to the sold. You're not trying to sell to people who aren't sold on the message. And that's why I think it's a lot safer to do it on your own media and do it on your stage.
Jeremy Au: (00:32:20)
I love that. About your stage and your journey and voice. So, personally, what would you share in terms of a story of bravery in your personal life?
Graham Brown: (00:32:37)
As this is the “Brave” podcast, I should have had something in my personal life. I have a story, which probably a lot of people identify with in that is that departure. And that is 2012, after we sold that business, we packed everything into three suitcases. So we didn't just sell a business. We sold house and car and everything, and had nothing. We owned nothing, apart from three suitcases of stuff. And all the photos and the family photos we gave to the grandmother, as you parked those and looked after them. But everything else, like a practical stuff was in three suitcases. And then we bought a one way ticket and flew to New Zealand, which is the other side of the world to London,. So we bought a one way ticket over there, three of us and my son wasn't in school. And I wasn't working. And then we just started our venture. We didn't have a plan. We just went for it. And we actually ended up at one point, apart from, we went through Hawaii, Fiji. Few of the Pacific islands, went through America and landed on a group of islands off the west coast of Africa, the Canary Islands, and part of Spain, but geographically part of Africa, and it's like volcanic archipelago. So we landed there and everybody speaks Spanish. I didn't speak Spanish and my wife didn't speak Spanish. My son didn't speak Spanish so but we wanted to get my son into a local school. So we went there. I remember because at that time, I think I just thought some paperwork up and my wife took our son, he was six at the time to the school. It was a little village school on top of the hill, as you imagine a real Spanish school. all sorts of singing and dancing going on. And I remember she told me, when she got to this tiny little school, she walked up to the office, just on the window, knocked on the office window, and the window opened and somebody poke their head out and in Spanish, it's like what are you doing? What do you want and she's Japanese. So this is like Japanese woman standing there holding hands of the six year old boy. And like they didn't speak Japanese or English. She didn't speak Spanish but somehow this was like on a Thursday. They managed to get my boy into school on Monday. Because we thought it would take months. But when it got down to it, they called out the English teacher, Spanish English teacher and they managed to figure it out. So they said when you want to start? Start Monday. When I think back of it, it's kind of a bit crazy. Like you would never plan life like that. But that's what bravery is. If you look at the word brave, Courage, actually comes from the Latin word heart, even Spanish, the word is Corathon. Which means heart, courage. And, Courage is the opposite. And the heart, we talked about it today, it's the opposite of fear. That every day, we have a choice, we have a pathway in front of us. And, we can choose the pathway of fear, or we can choose the pathway of heart. And that's bravery. It's being vulnerable. It's even small things like, doing a podcast. Should I do it? That's the path. Should I edit it down? Or do I get on stage that's being brave. And it's the same, we've mentioned with the corporate podcast, do I follow the path of heart, which is to open up and be vulnerable. Say, I made a mistake. Or do I follow the path of fear, which is edited down and be very vanilla, as you mentioned. And that's it, that's what bravery is, that's my story. And that's what it taught me is that, you can take these decisions and take these pathways, and it's okay. It's not fatal. You don't die doing it, you maybe make a lot of mistakes and get burned. But, here's the great thing, Jeremy, you have a story worth telling you at the end of it. Because imagine if we didn't do that, all those things, all those experiences we had, we will never had a story. And that's what it is, that is all life is. It's just a collection of stories put together. It's not like big monolithic thing. It's just lots of little incidences and events. And it's packaged with the bookends of a story. And bravery is to actually live it and to take risks. Try and make sense of it as you go along.
Jeremy Au: (00:37:15)
I love what you shared about, your one way ticket. And that really resonated with me in the context of bravery.
Graham Brown: (00:37:26)
I like that. I never thought of it that way, Jeremy. And that's the beauty of doing a podcast. If somebody says something back to you. He's like, yes, I'm going to steal that. I'll use that in my own podcast. One way tickets. Its departure, if you think about it, every great movie you've ever watched Jeremy, every book you've ever read, that was really enthralled in, has a departure that the hero leaves. And often, they never chose to leave. But, events chose them, that sort of accidental hero narrative. So we depart. And often in these stories, there's a physical departure, Lord of the Rings, he leaves Hobbiton and goes on the journey. He crosses the river physically. And then in Star Wars, Luke leaves the planet does mean flies off in search of truth. And Harry Potter, he gets on a train, there's like a physical departure. So there'll be many one way tickets, it's really defined by leaving something behind. And for me, most recently was leaving Japan and moving here when I was semi retired. And I could have lived out my days. But it's not what it's about, this is what it's about, getting to talk to you. That's what for me, it's about, having these conversations, stories, getting inspired by other people's stories, but I had to depart to do that. I had to say, Okay, I'm going to take a risk, I have to leave behind Hobbiton. I had to leave behind Tatooine, my home, and then go in search of truth. And that's a big departure, moving your family to a new home. And it's risky. It's not easy, and it's going to have a lot of shit happen along the way, that it's not going to be all sunshine and rainbows. But then there are lots of mini departures, day to day, that sort of mini versions of that playing out. It could be starting your podcast, or it could be saying something that you feel a little bit exposed and saying. Departure is for example, if you're going to say something, when you do a podcast and you're nervous, that's a good sign. Because if you stop having that feeling, then you're not leaving anything behind. That's probably a good test. If you're doing it every day, in your own way little things, like little departures, then you're growing as a person.
Jeremy Au: (00:40:01)
You made me suddenly feel life is the ultimate one way ticket. Your destination is death. It’s all one way baby.
Graham Brown: (00:40:16)
It is. There's a certain generation and a lot of people, maybe your parents as well my parents, they live it as if they got to get to the end. And that end could be retirement. And especially once you have a family and you start to get a bit older, you're not so invincible anymore, you realize how important time is. And that it really is a one way ticket. And, we're on this journey, which we can't reverse yet. I see what Elon Musk could do about that, but we don't have a cure for it. So that's the point, isn't it, so many people wait to get to retirement to arrive. They work their whole life. And they do sacrifice their voice, they stuff it down deep inside of them, when they get to retirement they can actually enjoy, which to me is like, wait a minute, you're taking a big bet here. Like firstly, how many years have you got to go before you don't get run over or get sick, or the chances of making retirement without having any disease or her mental faculties in place of, it's probably less than 50%. If you have a partner as well certainly is less than 50% for both of you. So I look at it and say, let's not wait to go travel the world. Let's do it now. And then when I'm 65 Maybe I've lost it, then I'm not regretting anything. So that's the one way ticket. Not trying to get to the end of it. And unscathed, but to get there with a few scars.
Jeremy Au: (00:42:02)
Getting there with few scars, and being nervous is a good sign. That's an interesting philosophy. If I'm reading between the lines here is, do you want to live life in an air conditioned room the entire time, in terms of emotion. Being nervous is a sign that you're out of your comfort zone.
Graham Brown: (00:42:28)
Do you get nervous before every episode just a little bit?
Jeremy Au: (00:42:30)
When it comes to folks I've talked to, which I tried to do most of the time these days, then less nervous and more excited. I'm looking forward to it. It's probably like the best conversation of the day, though. Tell everybody else who I had a conversation with earlier today. Because I love those conversations. I love those conversations It's about business, networking, it's about pictures. It's about business models, is about helping one another. And all those things out, obviously, partner relationship. Some meals are appetizers, some meals are desserts and some meals or steak. I want a steak meal with all conversations.
Graham Brown: (00:43:17)
I like that. I like your analogies as well. It's a good use of it. I always think about, when people ask, why do you podcast? I'm a bit older than you, Jeremy. So when I was a kid at school, obviously was very fascinated by the shuttle, sort of NASA, they are still going on, they're still launching these things back then. So I remember at school, gather all the kids around and sit in front of a big, old fashioned wooden television set in the hallway. And all the kids would watch like, gripped as this thing sort of launched. And I loved all of that. For me, I was like, this is the best thing in the world, this is amazing. They're going to the moon and all those kinds of things. And I loved all of that. And, they wrote all these books about space. And I was so into that. And I remember like this one book about why do we choose to go to the moon? And they basically said that one of the big benefits of the Space Shuttle because it costs billions dollars, very expensive, was that they discovered Teflon. Now, for those of you don't know, Teflon is what they make nonstick pans out of like frying pans. This is why we're doing it guys, Teflon. At the time even as a kid I was like, is that really why we're doing it to make frying pans. But that was like the whole case, the business case for building the shuttle was frying pans. But as I get older, I realized actually, that's not what it was about. It's like the podcasts, you don't do this because it's I can make money out of this podcast. I see it as the reward. For me. It's like we choose to go to the moon like JFK style. Because it's the heart there, because we enjoy it, because it's the core of mankind's DNA adventure. Challenge. And what bigger challenge can you have than to launch a rocket or to tell your story on your terms. And that to me, like you say, it's the steak, you don't do it for any other reason, apart from the enjoyment of eating that thing. You love eating the steak. Sure, there's some nutritional value in it. But the actual eating of the steak is like, I'm really getting into this. And that's what the podcast is about. And that's why people should think about, in those words, the reward, as opposed to some vehicle to get to a reward and everything. If you do it with that in mind, then you're easily make this a long term thing.
Jeremy Au: (00:45:51)
I love what you just shared about Teflon being a terrible reason to go to the moon.
Graham Brown: (00:46:02)
You've probably heard some really weird pitches in the time. But can you imagine somebody came to you, Hey, Jeremy, I want you to fund this thing. It's going to cost you a few billions, but it's going to help us make cheap frying pans like, let me think about this one.
Jeremy Au: (00:46:19)
It's all about justification versus like you said the true steak, was the real core of it. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I love to summarize the three big themes. I think the first thank you so much for sharing about the 5 million podcasts that there are today. And also contrasting that to the fact that there once were 5 million websites. And the website/ Internet has only grown since then. And your faith and conviction that Podcasts can only grow as in terms of, notice ease, but also numbers, but differentiation and niches, really interesting from a trends perspective, but also from a macro personal perspective. The second thing, of course, is thank you for sharing about how to find your rockstar voice, versus politicians, who are triangulating for the lowest common denominator of a billion people, versus, finding your 1% of people who truly love you. And I love how you talked about how breaking norms and being able to fundamentally lead because leadership fundamentally is about, having the fact that people dislike you to some extent, for what you stand for, and then thinking true about what you stand for, and letting people rally to your flag versus trying to be something to everyone. Lastly, thanks for sharing about one way tickets. I love how we talked about your one way ticket to Asia to Spanish and school for your kid and adding all of that and adding going on to brought into our one way tickets in life, in terms of the adventures that we're trying to have. And I actually really appreciate it you saying that, if you're nervous, there's a good sign. That's a sign that you're out of your comfort zone, and you're doing something new. And there's some level of call to adventure for Hobbiton. And to win. So I love all that storytelling. So thank you so much, Graham, for coming on the show.
Graham Brown: (00:48:52)
It's wonderful. I really enjoyed this. And I can see why you've done over 200 episodes, you're so good at this. And that summary at the end was so well done. I'm sitting here making mental notes and thinking, you really got that. It's so nice to hear that somebody gets it and then interprets it in their own way. And hands it back to you. And I really, really appreciate that. And what you're doing with this podcast as well, this is really the beacon podcast here in Southeast Asia. So I hope this goes on for a long time. A one way ticket to the end of the journey with Jeremy, keep this podcast going, “Brave”. So I do really appreciate that and really giving a voice, a local voice as well importantly. So and thanks for having me on the show today. I've had a lot of fun.
Jeremy Au: (00:49:46)
So did I. Thank you so much.