Episode 44:

Peter Shankman is a spectacular example of what happens when you merge the power of pure creativity with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and a dose of adventure, all to make it work to your advantage. The New York Times has called him “a public relations all-star who knows everything about new media and then some,” while Investor’s Business Daily has labeled him “crazy, but effective.”

He founded Help A Reporter Out (HARO) in 2010 from his apartment before selling it to Vocus. Peter is the also founder of ShankMinds: Business Masterminds, a series of small business entrepreneurial-style masterminds in over 25 cities worldwide. Additionally, Peter is also the founder and CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc., a boutique Social Media, Marketing and PR Strategy firm located in New York City, with clients worldwide.

 

 

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Innovation through exploration
  • Why you need to hold your ground with clients and force them to trust your expertise
  • How to get your customers to tell your story for you
  • Peter’s book “Zombie Loyalists”
  • Peter’s company The Geek Factory
  • How agencies can make customer service attractive for their clients
  • Why rewarding someone for being your 10,000th follower is an insult to the rest of your followers
  • Why everything you create has to have value for someone
  • How to create invested customers with the way you respond through email
  • How Peter carves out time in his schedule for everything
  • Peter’s preferred methods for professional development
  • What Peter’s agency of the future would look like
  • How Peter helped his employees with professional development
  • The things that get in the way of corporations hearing their customers
  • Things agencies can do right now to implement the ideas from this episode

 

The Golden Nugget:

“Airplane mode is not just for airplanes.” – @petershankman Click To Tweet

 

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Speaker 1:

If you’re going to take the risk of running an agency, shouldn’t you get the benefits too? Welcome, to Build A Better Agency where we show you how to build an agency that can scale and grow with better clients, invested employees and best of all, more money to the bottom line. Bringing his 25 plus years of expertise as both an agency owner and agency consultant to you. Please welcome your host, Drew McLellan.

Drew McLellan:

Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here and I am stoked to be with you today. Welcome to another episode of Build A Better Agency. One of the things I’m trying to do with this podcast is bring you guests who have taken a different path than many of you probably have. And that’s why I’m really excited about today’s guest Peter Shankman. Many of you are familiar with Peter. The New York Times calls him a public relations all star who knows everything about new media and then some, while Investor’s Business Daily called him crazy but effective.

Peter says that he’s a spectacular example of what happens when you merge the power of peer creativity with ADHD and a dose of adventure and make it well, all work to your advantage. And I think we’ve all seen that happen. Most of you are going to be very familiar with Peter’s work. He founded Help a Reporter Out in 2010, actually did that in his apartment and then later sold it to Vocus. And for many agencies that continues to be a place where they are sourcing opportunities to put their clients into the media and helping reporters connect with sources. So it’s a great thing.

Peter is also the founder of ShankMinds, which is a business masterminds group and serves small business entrepreneurial side masterminds in over 25 cities worldwide. And he is the founder and CEO of the Geek Factory, which is a boutique social media marketing and PR strategy firm in New York City with clients worldwide. So Peter, welcome to the podcast.

Peter Shankman:

It’s good to be here. Thanks for having me, Drew.

Drew McLellan:

So let’s talk a little bit about one of the things that as I sort of follow your career and the work you do, you’re always innovating. How are you always staying ahead of the curve?

Peter Shankman:

That’s a great question. For me, and I think that I’m a big believer in trying to have fun and a lot of having fun means not doing the same thing over and over again. So for me, I spend a lot of time trying new things and trying to figure out what I could do and what’s interesting and what’s out there. And when you research and search that kind of stuff, what you find out is that you wind up discovering new things and then you just wind up discovering that… I think at one point I was the 49th most popular person on Twitter, which that and 250 you’ll get me on the subway in New York. So it doesn’t really mean that much, but it just because, “Oh, what’s this? Let’s try it. Let’s sign up. So for me, that’s really how I do everything.

Drew McLellan:

So you’re an Explorer in all meanings of the word?

Peter Shankman:

You have to be. Isn’t that the whole purpose of life?

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, and it’s certainly, I think it’s part of what our clients expect us to do is to be ahead of them looking at what’s coming, right?

Peter Shankman:

Yeah. No question about it. I think more importantly telling them, “Hey, we like this. We don’t like this. Let’s risk it.”

Drew McLellan:

So that’s an interesting thing. A lot of agencies, especially coming out of the recession still have that skittishness, that they didn’t have prior to the recession and are a little afraid sometimes, I think, to take a stand. So talk to me a little bit about your position of having a strong position.

Peter Shankman:

I’ve always been of the belief that if you’re paying someone to do something 99% of the time you just listen to what they say, because chances are they know what they’re talking about. When I used to run my agency, I never understood people who would hire me and then question everything I did. “Oh, well, we don’t know if we want to do that.” Then what the fuck did you hire me for? I remember I had a client, a law firm and every single decision I made, they questioned it and put through meetings.

And finally, I went to the partners and said, “Guys, look,” I said, “I don’t pretend to know law. If I get myself arrested, I’m not going to defend myself.” And they go, “Well, of course not, you shouldn’t, that’s terrible.” Then why the hell are you turning through PR? And I just stuck up all my courage and I said, “Either they’ll fire me or they’ll let me do my own thing.” And they let me do my own thing. And I still consult with them time to time. So it’s just that you got to be smarter than that.

Drew McLellan:

Well, and I think you have to be confident enough in your own abilities to say, “Look, this is what we need to do and if you don’t want to do it, then we probably shouldn’t work together anymore.”

Peter Shankman:

Yeah, no question about it. And I’ve fired clients. Some of the greatest things in the world is to fire clients. Some of the greatest feeling in the world is to fire clients.

Drew McLellan:

Absolutely. It’s very liberating. Yeah. So in your work today with clients, talk to us a little bit about sort of process in terms of how you wrap yourself of around a client and figure out in terms of telling their story and the PR, how do you craft that in terms of a plan or a roadmap, if you will?

Peter Shankman:

One of the reasons that I love what I do now is that to teach companies what to do in a customer service and customer experience environment, which is sort of the world that I live in now. You have to start by teaching customers that the only and best way that they can get what they want is simply by understanding that if you say how awesome you are, no one’s ever going to believe you. But if your customers say how awesome you are, everyone will believe.

And so the way to do that simply put is to allow your customers to tell your story for you and the way to get customers to tell your story for you is to give them a reason to and that all starts with listening. So listening to your customers and treating them just a little bit better than the crap they expect to be treated.

Look, let’s face it. I don’t go and give… I keynote conferences all around the world and I don’t go in and tell people, “Okay, I want you to be awesome. I just want you to be one level above crap.” And the same thing applies in a PR firm, the same thing applies in any kind of agency, especially in agencies. My God, we expect to be ridiculously… We expect to hire the agency and that’ll be the last time we ever see the head of the agency, right? We’re only going to see the lower people, whatever.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. The junior woodchucks.

Peter Shankman:

Right. So the simple act of just the CEO calling once in a while saying, “Hey, how’s it going?” Is a huge, huge thing.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. I coach agency owners that they should be having those kind of conversations on a regular basis with their clients. If they’re not seeing them on a day to day or monthly basis, just touching back and saying, “How’s my team doing for you?”

Peter Shankman:

Yep. No question about it. And that’s really all, you want. They should to be able to create that little bit it where you expect just a little tiny bit more, because if all we expect is crap, that little bit more is going to change the world.

Drew McLellan:

And we’re so excited about it we can’t help but talk about it.

Peter Shankman:

Exactly.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. So in your latest book… First of all, tell the listeners a little bit about your book because it was awesome. And give them the title where they can get it and the sort of the main message.

Peter Shankman:

Well, the most recent one is called Zombie Loyalists and it’s about using great service to create rabid fans. And I talk about everything in that book from agencies to restaurants, to business, to businesses, essentially the concept that again, we expect to be treated like garbage. And so the little tiny things… It’s basically a book of stories, about little tiny things, right? Little tiny things that people have done to make their customers happier and it’s the easiest things in the world, but they really do pay off. It’s available everywhere in the world, Amazon, all major bookstores. You can also grab it if you want it at the zombieloyalists.com.

Drew McLellan:

I think that’s one of the fallacies is we think and our clients think that they have to do something big and spectacular to get A, their customer’s attention and B, to get them to talk about them. And the reality is we’re sort of surprised when we drive through McDonald’s and what’s in the bag is what we ordered. So our expectations are so low that you’re right, you just have to do a notch above that to be noteworthy.

Peter Shankman:

That’s exactly what I tell people. I tell people, “Look, I don’t need you to be awesome.” Morton’s delivered me a steak to the airport. That was great, but that’s not Morton’s job. Morton’s job is to create phenomenal experiences when you go to Morton’s. If they didn’t do that, all the steaks to the airport in the world wouldn’t matter because they’d say their service would suck when you went to the restaurant. So fortunately, their service is great and they tell the world about that.

Drew McLellan:

Right. And their customers tell the world about it.

Peter Shankman:

Well, that’s what I meant the customers tell the world.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. Yeah. So the evolution of the Geek Factory. Tell us a little bit about how that’s structured. Is that structured as a traditional agency? Is it more of a consultancy and how do you work with clients day in and day out?

Peter Shankman:

Well, the Geek Factory today is really more of a holding company than anything else. So the Geek Factory was a PR firm that I started back in 1998 with the premise that we could do better for agencies than at the time than a lot of the big… Or we could do better for dot coms at the time than a lot of the big PR firms couldn’t. And I started the agency, I had no money. I had one previous job. I had no money. God, it was the summer of ’98 and the movie Titanic was coming in on video. I took my rent money and had 500 t-shirts printed up that read, sank, get over it.

I went into Times Square, figured if I could sell 180, I’d make my rent money back. I sold 500 in six hours. I leaked the story to USA Today. They ran on the front page. I sold 10,000 shirts on the web. I cleared about a hundred grand and that’s how started my first business. I was 25 at the time, 26. I from there started this agency figuring that we could do things better and we became known as this sort of different agency. We took our clients skydiving. We showed up randomly with pizza at their offices just to talk to them and all these different type of things. And in two years we had clients ranging from Napster to Juno. We did some work for AOL, a lot of startups that failed, a lot of startups that succeeded.

In summer of 2001, the agency was acquired by a larger agency who came and said, “We’d like your clients because you have great clients,” and we decimated the dot com failures. And so I sold the clients and staff. I kept the name and the goal was to consult, do whatever. I just kept the name because the name Geek Factory is just awesome. Right? So I kept the name and to this day Geek Factory is still an agency that we do some PR, it’s very rare.

A lot of what I do is I focus on customer interactions so we’ll go and I’ll do a lot of keynotes about customer interaction and then work with specific companies, Saudi Aramco, American Express, Disney thing like that on specific projects to improve their customer service. And customer service in a world that’s evolved from social and the concept of old school PR and marketing.

Drew McLellan:

Okay. So how do you help a world leader like Disney up the NTM customer service?

Peter Shankman:

The concept Disney, I mean, they’re the best in the world that I’ve done.

Drew McLellan:

Absolutely. Yep.

Peter Shankman:

Some of the stuff I’ve done with Disney back in the day was all about reaching millennials. If you think about who loves to go to Disney? Well, young kids and then older kids and then parents, but not necessarily to 12, 14, 15 year olds. So we did some work with them several years ago to figure out different ways to get 15 year olds to embrace the concept of Disney.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, you’re right. There’s a hole there that people come back, but there probably is a period of eight, 10 years where it’s not as cool anymore more. Yeah. Yeah. So from an agency perspective for our listeners, how can agencies help their clients focus on customer service? So one of the things I hear from a lot of agencies is clients don’t want to pony up money to do research or to do that sort of listening. How do you make that compelling?

Peter Shankman:

I think for me, what I wind up doing that tends to work is I explain to agencies that the best thing they could possibly do is keep their customer hat on when they go back into the office. So you leave the office, go to lunch and all of a sudden you’re a customer, right? And you expect to be treated well and you want people to treat you the right way. But then you go back in the office and you take it off. And you don’t necessarily care how you treat people.

So if you can keep that customer hat on and say, “Hey, how would I like to be treated in this situation? What can I do?” Because look at the end of the day, the majority of customers they don’t necessarily need to be cuddled or given amazing things. What they really want is just to feel like they’re not a number. They just want to feel like they matter a little bit.

Drew McLellan:

And that you care.

Peter Shankman:

And yeah. That you care a little more than normal. And so I love that. I love that because all you have to do is, like I said, just be that one level above crap.

Drew McLellan:

It doesn’t sound so daunting when you put it that way.

Peter Shankman:

It’s not. One of my favorite quotes, how do you eat an elephant? Bite by bite.

Drew McLellan:

Right. Right. So when you were talking about back when you had the PR firm and you were talking about how you did things differently and as you work with agencies and clients that all over the globe, what are agencies doing wrong today? What are they getting wrong? Or where do they need to sort of step up? Because the agency model is evolving so fast that a lot of agency owners are struggling to keep up. So where are they tripping over themselves from your perspective?

Peter Shankman:

I think one of the things that agencies are doing is they’re looking at the concept of sort of the old school. I mean, God, I talk to agency owners all the time who still don’t embrace social. And look, you don’t have to embrace social, but for Christ sake, get a Facebook page. But understand that likes followers, fans it’s all bullshit. I don’t need that from you, what I need… I have 150,000 something followers on Facebook, 160,000 Twitter followers. I guarantee you, none of them have ever paid my mortgage.

What I want is someone to understand that creating great content, teaching your clients to create great content, teaching clients to act human, things like that is to be sort of the… That’s a little bit above crap right there. But people expect look at me, we’re nine… I hate… “We’re nine followers away from 10,000. Our 10,000 followers receives a prize.” Well, that’s a screw you to the 9,999 followers who you’ve been working so hard to get. So why would you do that? That’s like going to a dance with a girl and immediately trying to better deal her.

The best thing you can do, why don’t you look for, what can you do to the followers and the fans you currently have? How can you make their life better? They’re the ones that took the time out to be with you.

Drew McLellan:

Well, and they’re waiting for something, right?

Peter Shankman:

Exactly. They’re waiting for something and it doesn’t have to be anything major. They’re just waiting for something. So I never understood why people do that?

Drew McLellan:

When you think about the content that you create, because you’ve built a brand around yourself that creates credibility and opportunity for you. And I think that a lot of agency owners have that same opportunity, was that on purpose or did it happen by accident?

Peter Shankman:

A little bit of both. I mean, I went to high school performing arts, so I was always sort of a showman, for lack of better words. I like to talk to people. And so for me, it’s always been about sharing. And what I realized is that, and this took a while to realize as a kid, no one gives a damn about anything you have to say, unless it somehow works with them as well. And so for me, if I could focus on people and give them something beneficial, everyone wins. That was cool for me to be able to create something that would benefit my audience. I always say this, having an audience is a privilege it’s not a right. It’s exactly like wearing spandex, how’s that sound, right? You want to be able to create something that people enjoy and appreciate and then they will continue to come to you.

Drew McLellan:

So you were audience-focused from the beginning. Was it with the intention of recognizing you could build a brand that had value? Or was it just the kid who liked this spotlight on the stage and happen to realize, “Wow, there’s value in this?”

Peter Shankman:

I think a little bit of both. I enjoy helping people. I really do. I get value out of it. I enjoy helping people. And I like to know that I’ve made a difference and that’s really all we have in life. And so I was able to turn that into a brand.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. A strong brand. I mean, certainly, your worldwide brand that serves you well.

Peter Shankman:

Yeah. It works. I’m having fun.

Drew McLellan:

So what would surprise us about how you work with clients day in and day out? What about your methodology or your way of contacting them would surprise agency owners?

Peter Shankman:

I am definitely not your typical… I go into the office for the first meeting and then I’m the one who answers the phone, right? I’m the one who you call. You don’t get an assistant. You get me. My favorite story is when I ran HARO. For three years, we ran Help a Reporter and when you replied to any Help a Reporter email, I was telling you about 750,000 emails a day. When you replied to any email, it came from me. It didn’t come from do not reply at whatever you responded to me directly. And that was huge because people say, “Oh, I have a problem. I’ll just call Peter.” And they did. And I replied and that freaked out everyone was like, “Oh, my God. The CEO replied.” And people became invested in the company and-

Drew McLellan:

Because you were invested.

Peter Shankman:

Exactly. And invested customers are worth so much more than invested money.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. So true. So how did you manage that and how do you manage that today? How do you stay that accessible? Because I think that’s a challenge.

Peter Shankman:

95% of my day is answering email and that’s fine. I answer emails every chance I get. I answer every single one of my own emails, no one else has ever had access to my email for as long as I’ve had email. I answer every single one of them and if I have to do it on the subway, if I have to do it on the airplane, if I… Wherever that’s what I do. And that’s how I handle it. And it’s always been that way. And I believe that’s the best way to do it. I don’t believe that you can outsource that. I respect Tim Ferriss. We’re friends. I’ve met him several times, but that whole concert of getting other people to do your email, to do your personal… No, I disagree.

Drew McLellan:

Well, I think when you are selling your own smarts and your own brand it’s difficult to say, “Oh, but there’s going to be an intermediary.”

Peter Shankman:

Yep. And I also believe that you could do it and say, “Oh, well, I work in XYZ. I don’t have time to…” Yes, you do. There’s this concept that I came up with called short burst downtime and short burst downtime essentially is the… Long burst downtime is I’m on a plane for eight hours. That’s long burst downtime. The short burst downtime is five minutes waiting on line at the bank, it is 10 minutes waiting here. Two minutes, waiting here, whatever the case may be. Get that done and then you’re able to, while you’re waiting on line at the bank, finish what you need to do. It is not difficult.

Drew McLellan:

It’s about intention, I think. Right?

Peter Shankman:

It’s about intention, but it’s also about… It’s the same reason people who work out, work out and people who don’t, don’t. People who work out blame, they always blame, “Oh, I don’t have the time.” Bullshit. People look at me and say, “How do you get so much done?” They ask me this question like we both don’t have the exact same amount of hours in the day. Like somehow I’ve managed to find 34 hours per day and they’re only stuck with 24, come on.

Drew McLellan:

But I also know that you have hobbies and a family and all of that. So as you know, many small business owners wrestle with the balance of time. So how do you also chunk out and carve out time for the personal side of your life?

Peter Shankman:

When I get home, I shut off my phone four hours at a time when I’m with my kid, I have a two year old. She’s awesome. I shut off my phone when I play with her at night. We hang out together. Last night we drank tea and played dolls and my phone was nowhere to be found. She went to sleep. I worked for a little bit.

Drew McLellan:

So literally you’re shutting the work world out so you have an uninterrupted personal time.

Peter Shankman:

Airplane mode is not just for airplanes.

Drew McLellan:

That may be the quote of the day.

Peter Shankman:

It’s true though.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, no, it’s a good point. I think when you are a high performer, you’ve got to find ways to sort of refill your bucket and give yourself time to do that. And a lot of agency owners really struggle especially with smartphones and everything else, they feel like they’re constantly on a short leash. And I think we have to all remember that we actually control the leash.

Peter Shankman:

No question about it. No question about it. We’ve done this for years, why don’t we bother to live our lives?

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. Yeah. So part of what I would assume your clients are looking to you for is sort of forward thinking, cutting edge thinking, how do you stay current and abreast of not only what’s going on today, but what’s coming down the pike?

Peter Shankman:

Well, again, I mean, I look at things. I read things, first thing every morning, I’m online at 4:35 in the morning. I’m reading the latest websites. I’m reading what I missed in the night before from Asia, I belong to a handful of message boards that are not your typical message boards, but I read a lot of things. I read the most random stuff in the way. I might read about phishing, things that I don’t do. I read about it because you never know the next idea is going to come from. So for me that’s really enjoyable.

Drew McLellan:

So for you, the lion share of your continuing professional development, if you will, is staying current on a day to day basis with trends, are there certain conferences or authors or anybody that are sort of your go-tos?

Peter Shankman:

I follow countless blogs, podcasts, things like that. Everything from… What the hell do I read? I read everything from Scott [Iming 00:23:28] podcasts, I listen to Spotify all the way to NPR. I enjoy reading things that intrigue me. They might not necessarily be about business. That’s sort of the best part. They might not necessarily be about business. They’re just… But they are things that allow me to learn a bit and think a little differently.

And once you do that, you’re able to retrain your brain as it were. And if you can retrain your brain then you can really… What did Einstein say? Or someone said something famous. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If you’re stuck in your comfort zone, comfort zones are nice, but they’re a horrible place to be, because nothing ever grows there. So if you can come out of your comfort zone by doing something new, well, everyone wins.

Drew McLellan:

Yep. Clients especially.

Peter Shankman:

Yeah, no question about it.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. So if you were charged with creating an agency today that you thought was going to be kind of bulletproof for the future, what might that look like?

Peter Shankman:

I think it would have a social component. It would have definitely a customer experience component. Would have a traditional PR component and the three of those would work together and there would be no silos. That’s probably the most important thing. There would be no silos, that I think is the biggest problem that everyone does is that they silo what they’re doing so that no one can really talk to each other and it’s such a mistake. It’s just such a mistake because you wind up doing nothing of any benefit. You wind up killing your agency because you don’t listen. You don’t listen in the slightest.

Drew McLellan:

Well, in your example, you’re not even listening to each other, right? Internally.

Peter Shankman:

Exactly. And that’s the biggest problem. It’s the biggest problem there is because if you’re not listening to your audience, you’re not listening to your customers, you’re not listening to your employees who work for you, well, shit then you’re just going to kill yourself. How can you possibly do anything of any better?

Drew McLellan:

Well, and I think that part of it is recognizing that to own an agency today or to be a consultant today means that you will not be the same tomorrow as you were today if you want to survive.

Peter Shankman:

Exactly. Exactly. No question about it. You just have to… It’s simply a question of becoming smarter, becoming smarter and learning how to be just a little bit better.

Drew McLellan:

So when you had a team around you and you had the agency, how did you infuse that idea of that constant learning inside your organization?

Peter Shankman:

I always gave people at least an hour in the day to learn or do whatever they wanted to do. Whether it was to learn, whether it was to go out and experience something, whether it was to try something new, whatever they wanted, they could do whatever they felt was necessary to make their day better and to make their brains a little bigger. And anyone who works for me has that ability, my assistants, anyone. I still believe we should do that.

Drew McLellan:

And then did you have a structure for them sharing that learning back in or did that just happen organically?

Peter Shankman:

They could share if they wanted to, sometimes I didn’t even ask them. But normally they’d come back so excited about something they read or learned that we’d have a file in the middle of the office and we’d just share amazing stories in there. The joke was that we’d all grab a handful of ripped out articles as we went to the bathroom. But it was great. It was just such a great way to learn new things.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, absolutely. So as you look at your business in the future and you think about what’s coming next for you, how do you see your business evolving or do you think that you’ve found the sweet spot with this whole idea of customer service because at the end of the day, it always has been about that it’s just now everybody has their own magnifying glass and megaphone to talk about their experience?

Peter Shankman:

Yeah, there’s no difference. I mean, 50 years ago it was about the customer experience as well, except that no one could ever share it. Now it’s a lot easier to share.

Drew McLellan:

When you think about your corporate clients, what gets in the way of them really hearing their customers?

Peter Shankman:

I think that one of the biggest things is that people are afraid, they’re afraid of several things. They’re afraid of change. They’re afraid of promising and not being able to deliver. It’s one thing to say, “Hey, talk to us and tell us what we can do.” And then if you don’t respond to that email, well, then you’re a fraud. So you have to focus on a way to make that work in both directions. You have to… But again, people don’t bother to do this and it’s really important. You have to make sure that if you want to differentiate yourself from the crowd, then you better be willing to show new things and show new ideas and all that.

Drew McLellan:

Well, and I think too, I think often the fallacy is I don’t want to know because then I have to react to it as a… It’s sort of like someone saying they don’t want to go to the doctor to get a diagnosis. Well, you still have the disease. So as we kind of wrap this up, let’s think about, you see agencies all the day, you see them all over the world, any action items that you can offer? Because I think the theme of conversation is really about A, say focus on your customers, but B, that how you are today is not going to be how you are tomorrow and you better keep evolving.

I think as I look at the span of your career and how you have created and then reinvented and created and reinvented, that’s sort of a theme that certainly lives in your world. For agency owners if they want to embrace that bigger and better, what are some action items they can take to begin that process?

Peter Shankman:

I think one of the best things I can say is you want to be able to look at things a little differently. So if you do the same thing where every morning you wake up and you do this, or you do that, what can you do a little differently? Can you create a different cycle for yourself every morning? And you start off by just, can you exercise? Can you do different things like that?

I look at a lot of people who spend a lot of time like, “Oh, I go to the office, I work, I come home.” And there’s nothing in the middle that changes them. The simple act of going to the gym fundamentally changes your brain chemistry for the day and allows you to be more creative. Where is the downside there? That’s phenomenal.

Drew McLellan:

Right. Right. Okay. So do things differently. So shake things up, don’t get into a rut. Anything else you would offer?

Peter Shankman:

Yeah. I’d say honestly, go out and listen to people. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. So go out and find some people who are smarter than you would start listening to them.

Drew McLellan:

And part of what I heard you say was and they should come from all walks of life. They shouldn’t just be from your own narrow focus.

Peter Shankman:

Well, no question about it. Find people who are doing interesting things that are totally outside of your comfort zone and learn from them. Best thing you could do.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. I was just having a conversation with Scott Monty, and we were talking about how even reading the classics and filling your brain. So it doesn’t even have to be with news, but it’s just new stuff.

Peter Shankman:

Okay. He’s a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. He’s actually gotten me into Sherlock Holmes, I love it.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. It’s great stuff. All right. Any last words or final thoughts that you want to offer up to agency owners to fire them up and have them go out and fight the good fight?

Peter Shankman:

I think at the end of the day all you have to do to be different and be remembered is just be a little bit better than what we expect and we expect crap. So no one’s going to ask you to go change the world and change your entire world. We’re just asking you to be a little bit better than what we expect and that’s not hard to do.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. Amen. Hey, I know how very busy you are and how in demand you are. So I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you carving out some time to do this today. Thank you very much for being with us and for sharing your experiences.

Peter Shankman:

My pleasure, it was fun.

Drew McLellan:

It was fun. Thanks very much. Hey listeners, make sure that you go and check out Peter’s work, follow him if you’re not following him. He always shares great content. Also, does a lot of crazy wild things for the community and for other people, he is always giving away plane tickets and other stuff that’s actually fun to jump on board and be a part of, so back to that giving back model. Make sure if you’re not familiar with Peter’s work, you get there and check back with us for the next episode soon. Thanks much for listening.

Speaker 1:

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