Christopher Lochhead Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Christopher Lochhead
Christopher Lochhead is my guest today, on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots business coaching podcast.
He is a man who has many bold titles given to him from companies across the world.
The Marketing Journal calls him one of “The Best Minds in Marketing.”
Fast Company Magazine calls him a “Human Exclamation Point,”
The Economist calls him “off -putting to some,” and Newsweek calls him, “The Howard Stern of Entrepreneurialism.”
Which is not easy to say all in one breath.
But there is no doubt that he is a one of those entrepreneurs who are rocking and rolling everyday.
He has found the thing that lights him up inside even if that wasn’t the case at the beginning.
He’s a dyslexic paperboy from Montreal with Scottish roots, and at 18 got thrown out of school, and with no other options he started a company.
The Joining Up Of The Dots
He served as chief marketing officer of software juggernaut Mercury Interactive which was acquired by acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2006 for $4.5 billion, co-founded marketing consulting firm LOCHHEAD, was the founding CMO of Internet consulting firm Scient, and served as head of marketing at Vantive, an CRM software firm.
And then after 30 years in business he retired and it seems to me started having the real type of fun that entrepreneurs love and make a life what it is.
And now he is the host of “The Podcast Silicon Valley Needs” — Legends & Losers, and the co-author of Harper Collins’ “instant classic,” Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets.
Through his podcast he has 100% unscripted long form interviews with some fascinating folk, who haven’t appeared on every podcast under the sun and are fascinating with a capital F.
So what made him retire at such a young age, and did he find it hard to fill the hole in his life?
And where does he see his life going now….more and more into the media world, or simply exploring where the fun is in life for entrepreneurs?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr Christopher Lochhead.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Christopher Lochhead such as:
How he started low middle class, and has hustled his way to where he is today.
He knows 100% that he couldn’t have done it without the business partner that he found.
Christopher shares how the legendary people in life don’t get lucky.
Put yourself in the position to be in the place to receive the luck if it arrives.
Doing, reading and finding a mentor are the three ways that we should operate in life.
Do your homework, learn the process and focus on the solution to a problem. That is how a business is made, which is why so many people screw up on this. They don’t do the basics.
How To Connect With Christopher Lochhead
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Audio Transcription Of Christopher Lochhead Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling join up dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK David Ralph
David Ralph [0:25]
Good morning, everybody. Good morning to join up dots join up dots welcome across the world. Wherever you are listening from Tahiti to to Tana, Tallahassee. There we go. I was trying to think of tea words. Welcome to join up dots and you know, we’ve got going on the show today. And I get a lot of requests for people to come on the show. And when you look at them, you get kind of get an idea of who you’re going to be dealing with. Well, this was totally wrong. When I started watching the guy on video and podcast, I got this guy wrong. So he’s going to be a fascinating person. And he is a man with many bold was given to him from companies across the world from the marketing journal, which calls him one of the best minds in marketing Fast Company magazine calls him a human exclamation point. And the economist calls him off putting to some and Newsweek calls him the howard stern of entrepreneurial ism, which isn’t to say, easy all in one breath. But there is no doubt that he’s a man who’s rocking and rolling every day and he’s found the thing that lights him up inside. Even if that wasn’t the case. At the beginning. He’s a dyslexic paper boy from Montreal, with Scottish roots and 18 got thrown out of school, and with no other options, he started a company now. He served as Chief Marketing Officer at software juggernaut mercury interactive, which was acquired by Hewlett Packard in 2006. For 4.5 billion. He co founded marketing consulting firm Lochhead was the founding CMO of internet consulting firm science and served as head of marketing at Vantage, a CRM software firm and been after 30 years in business. He retired and it seems somebody started having the real type of fun that makes a life what it is. He’s now the host of the podcast, Silicon Valley needs legends and losers and the co author of Harper Collins instant classic Yes, it was an instant classic, play bigger how pirates, dreamers and innovators create and dominate markets. Now through his podcast, he has 100% unscripted, long form interviews with really fascinating folk and the kind of food that I like because they haven’t really appeared on every podcast under the sun. And certainly fascinating with a capital F. So what made him retire at such a young age? And did you find it hard to fill the hole in his life? And where does he sees life going now more and more into the media world or simply exploring where the funnies in life? But let’s find out as we bring on to the show to start joining up with the one and only Mr. Christopher Lochhead. Good morning. How are you sir?
Christopher Lochhead [2:47]
I’m great. David. How are you?
David Ralph [2:49]
I am probably better than you because it’s six o’clock in the morning where you are. You’ve had low rent. You You sounded like the kind of miserable old guy that I would have kept away from but but you’ll you’ll you’ll get you to go now. Now you’ve got that little kind of drag down the page and Who the hell are you to do this to me kind of vibe you okay? No, are you?
Christopher Lochhead [3:08]
I’m great. And I was taken aback. I thought our call was at 7am and my my computer gave me that bing bing bing letting me know we were 10 minutes out and I thought, holy crap, I better get my act together.
David Ralph [3:21]
So are you a man of limited grooming? Can you just jump out of bed and be ready to go?
Christopher Lochhead [3:27]
Yes, I’m a man of very limited grooming and I I have the hairdo to go with it. I shaved my head. And so I’m pretty ready to go right out of bed.
David Ralph [3:39]
Cuz I get paid hair bad. Did you did you used to have bad hair because my family jumped out of bed and it looks like they haven’t been to sleep. And I look like I’ve been wrestling with Katy Perry all night. My. My hair is all over the place.
Christopher Lochhead [3:52]
Well, how wonderful to be wrestling with Katy Perry all night. Yeah, my hair is not a problem. I started shaving. I started losing my hair in my early 20s. And I just started cutting get shorter and shorter over time. And yeah, I’ve been shaving it since I guess my late 20s
David Ralph [4:09]
but you’ve got a white shaped head for it, haven’t you? I wasn’t expecting to go into border territory. But you’ve kind of rounded head mounted hates a good but boldness I’ve got a long hair. People say there’s two types of heads. There’s plate and hopes. And a horse is like a very long thin head. And a plate is a kind of more rounded one. And the plate head works for baldness.
Christopher Lochhead [4:31]
So you call me a plate head David is that would you just
David Ralph [4:35]
at this moment in time? Yes. I wouldn’t say you as a host. Parts of you might look like a host there’s a compliment for you. But actually, yeah, plated.
Christopher Lochhead [4:43]
I think that’s kind of like saying, Hey, you know for a fat guy, you don’t sweat much.
Should we start the I was blessed. I think I do have a pretty good head. At least that’s what the ladies Tell me. And so, you know. Here’s the reality David good hand bedhead. That’s the option that I have.
David Ralph [5:04]
Yeah, absolutely. And and you know, that’s a perfect segue into your life because your life now is full of options. So every day, do you wake up thinking What should I do today? Or do you wake up thinking, oh, I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to do that. How’s your life structured since you been retired, but you don’t seem retired at all, because I’ve been doing a lot of virtual stalking this week. And it sounds like and it looks like you’re quite busy.
Christopher Lochhead [5:30]
Yeah, I am busy. I’m not as busy as I used to be. And I don’t travel anywhere near the way I used to, which, for me is a respite. But I’m yeah, I’m busy. I spend I spend my days David You know, I’m very, very committed to our podcast legends and losers. very committed to stoking and spreading entrepreneurship around the world. And you know, spend a bunch of time doing that, and I treat it like a job but you know, certainly a fun playful one. And then I live in beautiful Santa Cruz, California, which is right on the coast, I’m right near the ocean, and I love to surf and so I surf a lot. And and I love to ski and the mountains are only about four hours away. And so do that and spend time with my family and friends. And, and so yeah, I’m either I’m either doing legends and losers, I do a teeny weeny little bit of what you might think of is Sherpa work with a few companies, right? Yeah, um, but yeah, for the most part, I’m focused on legends and losers, and, you know, surfing and skiing and having a great time with my friends and family. Now, both
David Ralph [6:38]
the people that listen to this, and they want the bassinet go into work, and they’re doing the commute. And I think he surfing, skiing, playing a man on podcast and back sounds the life do you actually have to go through the hassle to get to that point? Do you think that people with the opportunities nowadays can bypass the kind of hardship and the experience building and just get to that point?
Christopher Lochhead [7:01]
Well, you know, I’m a, you know, I’m a trusted fairy. And so I was given $3 billion by my parents, and I never really had to do anything. Kidding.
David Ralph [7:13]
I know, you were kidding. But I had a half a mile from the coffee there, and I suddenly fell on his easy kidding. Is he kidding? But um, if you weren’t given that kind of money, would we would you be different now?
Christopher Lochhead [7:25]
I think so. And, you know, it’s interesting, I talked to folks today who are, you know, reasonably well offered some cases wealthy. And if you grew up poor, and now you have children, and you’ve been successful, there’s always that challenge, you know, how do you on one hand, share, share your success with your children, but at the same time, try to imbue the kind of values that I think some of us get from struggle, you know, that was the paradigm for me growing up. You know, I come from what you might consider a lower middle class family, my, my grandfather was Scottish, my grandmother was Scottish. And they came over after world war two to Canada, and got a manual labor job in a factory. And, you know, my mom worked as a, what’s called a unit coordinator, and in a hospital kind of them somewhere a mix between a administrative assistant and a general manager. And, you know, my parents were divorced at five. And so we had a very loving family. And we had a lot of struggle. And I got thrown out of school at 18 for being stupid, I found out at 21 David that I’m dyslexic. And so that kind of helped me understand what was going on in my education. But at 18 years old, I had a, I had a decision to make. And my mom had got me a job in the hospital working as an orderly. And so my decision look like this, I could shave men’s testicles for a living, or I could start a company. And so I’m 18 years old, I started a company. And so one of the big reasons I’m so committed to it leadership today, you know, the actor Kevin Spacey, David said, famously said, if you’re lucky enough to get to the top of the building, you should send the elevator back down. And so we live in a world today where you know, somebody like me with no education, no relationships, no experience, and no money can start with nothing. And go from being you know, in the, in the bottom of the, or the, certainly the low end of the economic bracket in our world to the top end of it in, you know, a relatively short period of time. And so there’s some people for whom, you know, entrepreneurship is a wake up in life, they’re trying to improve their standing in the world, if if you want to think about it that way, that was not what it was for me. So I’m what you could think of as a small entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, for me was a way out.
David Ralph [9:49]
I didn’t have a word of what you said, after the men’s testicles. I’ve got men’s stuck in my head. I should be more. Sorry for
Christopher Lochhead [9:58]
that. So tell you, just as a side note, we grow a lot of things here in Santa Cruz, Northern California, you know, so I’m just about an hour and a half, two hours south of San Francisco, this part of the world is is well known for agriculture. And so my wife Carrey and I grow a bunch of stuff and one of the things we have is a fig tree. And I didn’t know anything about picking fruit. I grew up in a in an apartment the size of a lot of people’s bathrooms. And we sure as we sure is, I don’t know if we’re I don’t know which h h word I’m allowed to say was all say, heck, we sure as heck didn’t grow up picking figs. And so I have no idea about how to pick figs and my 86 year old father in law, Phil, is a fig expert taught me how to pick figs and the way he taught me how to pick figs is the only pick them when they feel like old man balls. Right?
David Ralph [11:00]
Okay, right. And I’ve got that image, I was actually happy with the young man’s testicles image now is going too far. But whatever it is, it did take balls for you to actually create your own company at the age of 18. If I take you back to that stage, did you know how much hustle it was going to take? Did you have a team around you? How did you actually start? And how did you come up with the idea of your first company?
Christopher Lochhead [11:27]
Yeah, great, great question. Thank you. So right around that time, just before I started the company, and I started a company with my friend, jack Hughes. And frankly, I never would have got started in business. If it wasn’t for him. So I have I have him to thank for many, many things in my life. But that said, right around 17 I was, you know, not a, when you say troubled young man, you could think of it in many ways. I wasn’t in trouble with the law. So it’s not that kind of trouble. But I was angry. I was confused. You know, like a lot of teenagers, I think are certainly so percentage of teenagers. And I had if you will David an angel on one shoulder and the devil on on another and the voice of the angel was my my Scottish grandfather, and I’m going to butcher his accent, but, you know, saying to me, oh, you have our best this boy in the world. And then and then my mother’s voice on the other side saying, oh, you’re going to grow up to be a bum, you know, don’t grow up to be a bum. And I was fighting with those things around 17. You know, am I gonna be a bomb and fulfill my mother’s worst fears? Or am I gonna do something with my life. And at that time, I made a decision. And the decision was that I was going to go for it. And I was going to be the man that my grandfather said I was that my mother and father said I was and I know this may sound corny, but I made a decision to be that kind of man and I went for it.
David Ralph [12:53]
And then is it a simplest path? Or is it the hustle because there’s an element of the world who will sit in bars saying if I was given the opportunity, if only I could and then there is the other percentage that you are, where you actually make it happen? What is the difference between one group and another? Is it mental? Is it possible? Is it luck?
Christopher Lochhead [13:17]
I think we all get the same amount of luck in our life over time, right? If you talk to a professional poker player, you can have a pretty powerful conversation about the role of luck. But overall life and certainly over even shorter life over a five year period, three year period decade, we all sort of get the same amount of luck. The legendary people position themselves to get lucky they, they put themselves in the place to get lucky and even more so than that. And here’s a big aha, for me. Life is not something that happens to us, although most people relate to it that way, life and it turns out business is something we can proactively design. And when I learned that David It was incredibly freeing to be as a young man. And so I made a decision around 1718 years old, that I was going to proactively design my life and I went to work on it. So there’s absolutely a component of hustle. I mean, I work my you know, my things off from 18 to 38. And, and then I work pretty hard from 38 to 48, although nowhere near as hard as I’d worked before that. And so you know, to use the word that’s involved today. Yes, I absolutely hustled. But I think just thinking about it is hustle is a big mistake. And we could talk about why if you like, but to be clear, you know, I used to travel three to 400,000 miles a year. And and man did I ever hustle. And when I started my first business, we had nothing. And so jack and I was me jack a computer and this thing back in the old days called the Yellow Pages, which had a list of companies in it. And my whole business life started cold calling companies, Yellow Pages.
David Ralph [15:02]
And does that teach you how to build a business without the opportunities we’ve got nowadays? Because I think so many of us think that we’ve got to do Facebook ads, we’ve got to tweet, we got to do everything without getting out there. But with the yellow pages, you were actually connecting on a personal basis where you couldn’t hide in the old days. You had to make that personal connection, didn’t you?
Christopher Lochhead [15:23]
Yeah, absolutely. And, and look, I think it’s a big mistake to think that you can sit there and send out tweets and build a business. And, you know, with all due respect to Gary Vee and Hustle, Hustle, Hustle and Snapchat, I think that’s Bs, you gotta be in the world. And I think a mistake that you could make from today’s sort of entrepreneurial Montrose, if you if you will, is that there’s some digital fantasy way you could get there. And the number one skill for entrepreneurs is learning to sell. And I had to learn to sell, you know, by myself in the streets one on one, that I had to make the mistakes. And with all due to modesty, David I have a black belt in selling today. And so when you go and you learn that it makes a difference. And so I think to be legendary entrepreneur, I’m not saying there isn’t a lot to be done digitally. Of course there is and and as a three time Chief Marketing Officer, I learned a lot about digital marketing. But I think the greatest skill in business today is learning how to sell one on one or you know, in a small group of people and entrepreneurs who don’t learn that skill are at a very strategic disadvantage.
David Ralph [16:36]
So how do people learn how to sell and what what is the number one tip that you could give the listeners out there of selling, but not sounding icky. That’s the problem. People think that they they feel like they’re pushing. And we all know that the best selling is a natural conversation, which takes in the recipients needs and requirements. And so you’re not actually pushing anything that I don’t want. That’s the net way of doing it. So what’s what’s a good tip for them.
Christopher Lochhead [17:04]
So the first thing I’d say is go get yourself trained, I I realized early on that I could slam and bang around and make mistakes, which I was absolutely a lot of. I remember David one of the very first sales calls, I went on, I had gone and bought myself the most expensive suit I could buy, which was about 8080 us Canadian dollars at the time. And I went into this meeting with my business partner and all, you know, very important prospect. And I kept wondering why the woman sitting next to me kept looking at the sleeve of my jacket. And after we got out of the meeting, I looked at the sleeve of my jacket, and it still had that tag on it. And so you know, I made all those kinds of mistakes, I didn’t know how to tie a tie my partner jack had to teach me etc, etc. So I certainly thrashed around, and there’s some real value in thrashing around. And early in my career, I was lucky enough to discover an amazing sales guru named Zig Ziegler and Zig had produced a lot of these tapes to put you in what he called the the automobile University. And so I went to the automobile University. And more more than just Zig. I realized early on David that there was only a couple of ways to learn by doing by reading, and by seeking out mentors. And so as somebody with no education, I went to work on if you will self education. And so Zig was an important part but but from certainly 18 to 30 I consume almost everything I could get my hands on business strategy books, because I was growing up in the technology industry with no technical background, I failed grade 10 math, I didn’t graduate high school. And so, you know, I had to learn the technology, which I applied myself to after after making a complete fool of myself. And so I went to work on that. And so I really studied hard. And then the third thing I did David took, getting myself train and getting myself coached from mentors very, very seriously. So I sought those people out, in order to train myself how to be an entrepreneur, how to be an executive and how to design a life and a business that that I could be proud of. And that would work.
David Ralph [19:18]
So easy to kind of fake it till you make it scenario. Do you think that’s that’s old hat? That’s one of those trite phrases that people use?
Christopher Lochhead [19:26]
No, I absolutely have a fake it till you make it person. But there’s a very big Asterix on it, at least in my personal experience David and that, do the work. Do your homework. So you want me to tell you when I learned this 10 way, tell me tell
David Ralph [19:44]
me everything you’ve got in your head with this.
Christopher Lochhead [19:47]
Well, that’ll only take about five minutes. So early on in my first company was called Roget peers. We tell you why we name it that if you like, but I was on a sales call. And there was a Chief Information Officer, you know, the head sort of super dingdong executive in the room that we were trying to sell to. And obviously, as the Chief Information Officer, he was technically a very proficient. And we began to have a somewhat technical discussion. And I was basing my way through it. And I probably knew a 10th of what I probably should have known. And I thought I could just to use a hockey term stick handle my way around it. And I got caught. And he called me out in the meeting, he embarrassed me, he made me look like a fool. And I was and we lost the business. And, you know, walking out of that meeting, feeling one inch tall and kind of hating myself. I said to myself, self, that’s never going to happen again. And so I went to work on in this case, my more my technical skills, so that that would never happen. Again. I said to myself, at least at the strategic level, I’m never going to be a software developer. But at the strategic level, I need to understand how these guys the technologies work and and how they’re applied to making a difference in business. And I went to work on that. And so to get back to your question, David there is a fake it to make it particularly when we’ve never done something before. But after that experience, I said I am never going into a situation unless I prepared myself for it. And I did them and I do now a tremendous amount of homework.
David Ralph [21:24]
I think that is absolutely wise. We’re going to play some words now. And then we’re going to come straight back to you. fundamental part of the conversation. He’s Jim Carrey,
Jim Carrey [21:32]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [21:59]
Now powerful words, powerful words that we can also live by to a certain degree. But taking it back to where you were, I’m fascinated about do your homework because I have a big bug bear. I have a bug bear for for podcasters. I have a bug bear for people on LinkedIn. And I talked about this a lot. But there seems to be let’s click that button and make things happen. And people aren’t doing their homework. And I did an episode recently, Chris, where I was talking about getting loads of requests through LinkedIn, where people say, Hi, David, how are you? I thought you’d be interested in this. This is my new product. And then they sort of say, and what do you do for a living, and I think you’re in LinkedIn, you only have to click on my profile, and you can see what I do for a living, I wouldn’t dream of doing that I wouldn’t dream of having you on the show without doing my research into you. Is it as simple as a case of knowing the idea and then doing the homework to gain the understanding of the process? Is that where the homework comes in really importantly, not knowing just one part of the process, but knowing all of it?
Christopher Lochhead [23:03]
I think that’s a big part of it. So understanding the whole game that you’re trying to play. I also think David that understanding how whatever you’re up to makes a difference. And in specific, what problem are you trying to help your prospect or customer solve, and, and getting very, very grounded in that, because I think the biggest problem in business today is too many solutions without a problem. Entrepreneurs fall in love with their solution, all they want to do is talk about their product or service, they are in love with their carpet, didn’t you later. And you know, just just just like somebody who’s in love with an ugly baby, then so all they want to do is talk about the solution, they want to demo their product, I hear a lot, you know, all we need is a we just just putcon our homepage. And that’s not what makes a difference. And the reason that’s not what makes a difference is people only buy a solution if they relate to a problem.
David Ralph [24:14]
Say that again, just for the listeners, because I think that is such a gold statement to say,
Christopher Lochhead [24:21]
yeah, people only buy a solution if they relate to understand and value the problem. So for example, I hear this a lot from from founders and chief executives. Our problem is we’re too much of a vitamin and not an aspirin. And when they say things like that, what they’re really saying is the world doesn’t relate to the problem that we solve in a powerful way. Because the more people connect to a problem, the more time money and energy they will put into solving that problem. And so the truth is, when you unpack when you study what the legendary innovators and entrepreneurs have done over time, and and I have, what you understand is Henry Ford marketed the problem, not the solution they are, if you will category designers. And here’s the really big difference. And this is the big aha, you know, going back in my life, the paradigm in school that I was taught implicitly was, what there is to do in life, is find your place. And so if you think about education, we try math, we try science, we try sports, we try all these things, and we quote unquote, see what we’re good at. And based on what we’re good at, we get feedback from the world, and we sort of took one direction or another until we find our place. And here’s the problem for me at 18 David there was no place.
David Ralph [25:54]
If you built your place, didn’t you? That’s that’s the beauty of it.
Christopher Lochhead [25:57]
That’s, that’s the difference. And so what I’ve learned since then, is that really there are two kinds of people in the world there are people for whom they find their place. You know, my wife Carrey is somebody who found her place in the world, and she’s an incredible person and has an incredible life. And, and and, you know, for the people for whom you’re able to find your place. Really, all I could say is God bless you. And for those of us who grew up on the Island of Misfit Toys, for whom there was no place, you get to that sort of young adult phase and you go, you know, what the f is going on? I can’t find my place. And in my in my case, No, nobody was going to hire me to do anything other than a manual labor job, and why should they have and so I had to go make a place in the world. And, and when you when you really get to study what legendary innovators and entrepreneurs have done over time, they make a place in the world for themselves. And for their companies, products, services, brands and technologies. They don’t fit into an existing place very much on purpose. And so it turns out that being able to make a place for yourself, and your company, product service brand, I believe is actually the single most important skill in business, you know, it sits right there with selling. But that skill, what you could call category design, that is to say I design that category that I occupy in the world, which is another way of saying design your place make your place. In business, I think that’s that’s like having a superpower.
David Ralph [27:34]
You know, I was reading a book to my grandson the other day. And it’s bizarre because we all have read the three little pigs if no one’s read the three little pigs going get it because it’s the greatest business book I’ve discovered that I’ve ever read now. And it starts off with the three pigs and they have to go off and find their way in the world. And as it going off, the big bad wolf comes along. And so they have to sort of build their own houses. And the first one is a sort of get rich, quick economy. He just wants to sort of get the bare minimum and Ben Ben beyond with his life. And so he builds up sticks and the wolf comes along as you know the story and he blows it down. Or the first one was straw, so and then the next one was sticks, and he puts a little bit more effort into it. And then the last one because it breaks and he survives and he flourishes. And as I was reading this the other day to my grandson, Christopher, I was thinking to myself, isn’t it’s a way of online world isn’t it’s the way of life isn’t is a great metaphor, but so many people just want to do the bare minimum and gain the results of and a few people would do a little bit extra. But the lucky ones, the ones that are perceived lucky the ones that are overnight success, have been building their businesses for such a long time. But they’ve got foundations, they’ve got got structure, and it’s there to survive the ups and downs. Christopher Lochhead is that the greatest business book you’ve ever heard the three little pigs?
Christopher Lochhead [28:55]
I’m not quite sure, David, I ever thought about it in that context. But I love it in that context. And it is a great fable. That does foreshadow a lot of things that come later in life, doesn’t it?
David Ralph [29:06]
When it does, and I’ll tell you what else I got struck with this week, I was watching one of your podcasts and you do a kind of video based podcast that you strip the audio off, goes on to iTunes, but you can watch the video as well. And it’s really good. It’s a kind of radio show. There’s there’s a bit of interaction. And as I say, I like the fact that you have very long discussions with people. It’s a show that is where for the truck drivers of the world, I always think that everybody says, Oh, you got to do a podcast 22 minutes, because that’s the average commute. Well, maybe the average commute, but what about all the other people in the world? So you’re doing a great thing. And you said one phrase, I don’t know if you said this, always remember this. But when you said it, I actually stopped and played it back. And you said, Sometimes I’m swimming. And I feel like I’m swimming in a world of business coaches, coaches and leadership, Guru vs. YouTube. I totally feel that because when you said that, that hit home to me, because enjoying thoughts at everyone who comes on the show or wants to come on the show is a business coach, everybody is a leadership guru. Everybody’s got to, you know, that they’re talking about stuff, but they’re not really building anything that they’re not the three little pigs.
Christopher Lochhead [30:15]
Yeah, so there’s a lot there. So first of all, thank you for those kind words. And I started legends and losers for two reasons. One was the response from after my book play bigger came out, I retired when play bigger came out, which was June of 2016. And in the first six months kind of got overwhelmed with kind of inbound from people who read the book and sort of said, had questions and wanted more, and so forth and so on. And so legends and losers is at least an attempted response to to Where’s more about category design and building legendary businesses and how that impacts my life and so forth and so on. And then the second one was the point you’re on. And here’s the where I was. That let me summarize it this way. We had Eric wine Meyer on legends and losers. Eric is the first blind man to summit Everest, he summited all Seven Summits. And he was the first blind man to solo kayak the Grand Canyon, his book, no barriers is a mind blowing book. And Eric is one of the most inspirational people to me on the earth. And when we were talking sort of about this theme, and about you know, how many want to be celebrities there are in our world today and how many sort of celebrities there there are, you know, so sick about the Kardashians? I hate that we live in a world where I have to know who those morons are. Right? And it because there’s there’s no value there whatsoever. And so So, the other reason I wanted to start legends and losers is I couldn’t find very many shows yours is one of them, by the way. Where there was no BS, were there was authentic conversation and dialogue about stuff that matters. And the stuff that matters, in particular that I’m most interested in, is how do I design a legendary life and legendary business. And as you will know David most business media is full of crap. It’s completely inauthentic. Now to get back to your question, since starting legends and losers, we’re about nine or 10 months in, I have been inundated with these leadership guru people that like you all want to get on legends and losers. And I look at their backgrounds. And I, OK, so what makes you a leadership, you know, entrepreneurial, whatever guru that you say you are, is the big success you’ve had making yourself a leadership, entrepreneur, sales, marketing, whatever guru?
Well, with no due respect to those people go after yourself.
Because the only leadership entrepreneurial people I’m interested in our people who’ve actually done something in their lives. So for example, we just dropped an episode with Jeff Hoffman. Well, Jeff Hoffman’s a billionaire entrepreneur, who was the CEO priceline.com, who created the company that built all of the the airline or excuse me, the airport kiosks. So when you and I go to an airport, and we stand in front of that kiosk, and it spits out a ticket, Jeff created that company. And now after a legendary career in business, he wrote an incredible book called scale, which I highly recommend to everybody. And David he’s running around the world dedicating himself to having a great time, and to sparking entrepreneurship around the world because he believes what I believe, which is entrepreneurs build our world. And the more we can support Stoke, and empower entrepreneurs, the better our world will be. Now, why do I share that with you? I got all the time in the world for Jeff Hoffman. I got no time for the wannabe leadership guru who did nothing other than, you know, read a bunch of Tony Robbins and Zig Ziegler and re swizzle that crap and say, I’m a leadership guru. You’re a fraud. And so why don’t you go in the world and do something real as opposed to just spew the words of Tony Robbins
but other than that, I don’t have a pinion David
David Ralph [34:21]
You know, you’re somebody but I think God, if you like this at six o’clock in the morning, what would you be like it? So at two o’clock in the morning with a few beers down? Yeah, I use somebody even. Yep, because I am a pianist, I’m speaking as somebody that knows this affliction, of you don’t want to get me on full flow, because I can bore the pants out of anyone. And you know, I like the captive audience. Are you like that when you get going?
Christopher Lochhead [34:46]
Well, I’m not sure that my you know, intention is to is to crush a captain. But you know, I am somebody who tries to think deeply about things that are important to me. And I like you David very passionate about the things that call to me. And so and actually, there’s a point that we could talk about, which is the difference between thinking and having thoughts. But when push put that to the side for a second. You know, I had no idea you know, when I was when I was back in my early phase that I was consuming a lot of content about how to design a legendary life and legendary business. You know, there weren’t that many gurus out there at the time. There were a handful of them. But but there weren’t that many and, and somehow, there’s a billion of them today. And so these these fraudulent gurus aren’t embarrassment, because I think they are what you said, Look, everybody wants to act like they’re Yoda. But you only get to be Yoda. If you do the work. I practice martial arts David and there’s no shortcut in martial arts. And here’s how I know if this morning I go out and I spar with a master sensei. She’s gonna crush me. She just is. And I can have, I can, I can do all the self help mumbo jumbo, I can read all my affirmations and I could go in there with a positive hustle, mental attitude. And the master sensei is gonna make me look like the moron that I am trying to compete with her. And so that’s what I’m talking about. If you want to be legendary, you have to do the work.
David Ralph [36:26]
So when you know you’ve done enough work, because this is a big question, isn’t it but you you’ve done the research, you’ve done the the hustle, you’ve really put yourself out there? When do you know that you’re actually onto something because we see with entrepreneurs, the first shiny object that comes their way they will pivot and go after it. But I think that it’s just focus, as somebody said, follow one course until success. And I think that’s absolutely the way to do it. And certainly with join up dots as I say all the time. It’s the first time ever, I have focused on one thing and have not deviated no matter what’s coming my vision, I had just followed it. And the success has been easier. So when do you kind of know that you’ve actually you’ve done the work and you’re on the right path?
Christopher Lochhead [37:10]
Great, great question David. So I would respond with with two things. Number one, my friend Eddie, you the author of a legendary book called Super consumers, you’d love them on your show. He he said this thing to me a while ago, that just lit me up on this topic. And he said, there’s a distinction, there’s a difference between missionaries, and mercenaries. And so if you’re a mercenary, you’re not gonna crawl through hot coals. If you’re a missionary you probably are. So that’s the first one. The second one I’d love to with you get to the bottom of this bs around hustle. So I hear this everywhere today. And it’s perpetuated by you know, a lot of internet business gurus. And they just say, hustle, hustle, hustle.
Right, and tweet.
Well, if you’re hustling into a brick wall, you’re left.
And so there’s this whole other discussion to be had called hustling. In what category hustling in what market category? What problem Am I hustling to solve? And most importantly, am I able to do what the legends have done, which is to shift the world from the way it is now to the way I want it to be? And when when I can do that, then I can successfully design my own category for my business and make my own place in the world. And so all this bs around hustle is pure stupidity, because hustling in the context of what and if you study with the legends do what you what you realize is they design and ultimately dominate a new market category, which they are the principal, author, creator of. And, and so if you’re so for example, Pablo Picasso is a category designer, he created a new category of art, help Cubism that did not exist before him. And that’s what made him one of the five most famous painters ever. And the question for entrepreneurs is, who would you rather be Picasso or the 430, seventh, Cubist artist. And so when I hear all this bs about Hustle, Hustle, Hustle, it’s hustle in the context of what? And so if you’re hustling and Cubism, you’re an idiot. Because I can walk you through the data science, if you live David for our book play bigger. We studied every venture backed technology company founded in the United States, and from 2002 2015. And one of the questions that we asked the data set, we were able to capture how those companies grew in value over time. One of the questions we asked that data set was, what percentage of total value created that is to say market cap or valuation in a given category goes to the leader. And that number in the tech industry is 76%. And so what I’m saying to you a big a hard business today is we live in a category King world. That is to say one company takes the vast majority of economics, Facebook has no competitor. And so a bird’s eye, you know, is still, after designing and creating the frozen food market, then the category King in the United States and frozen food and they created the category. And you know, Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx is the category king in shapewear, because she created category. And so my point is, those of us who make the mistake of competing for market share in an existing category are lighting our money on fire. And so when I hear this hustle Bs, it pisses me off. Because yes, working hard and hustle matters. And listen david i frickin hustled in my life, make no mistake, but we got to be hustling in the right direction, we got to be hustling in a market category where we can win and become the category King. And the degree to which we’re not is the degree to which we’re wasting our time, money and life.
David Ralph [41:38]
Right. So let’s summarize this before we play the words of Steve Jobs which we love to play on the show. So for anybody out there who’s thinking of being an entrepreneur, and fancies the entrepreneurial lifetime, first of all, you’ve got to find your gap in the market, you’ve got to find something to become a category of Ben, you need to really do the work and really do the research and understand the process. This is not just part of it, understand big time. If you’re failing in some strengths, you find somebody that can complement those strengths to sort of ease you forward. But then you work hard, but you have to learn to sell, you can’t get away from the sort of be output to connect on a one to one on a group scenario to personal, personal approach to people. Would that be about right, Chris? In this whole episode? We’ve gone up in many different directions. But to summarize it, would that be about right?
Christopher Lochhead [42:29]
Yeah, and the only thing I underscore David what you said, and I think you captured it all nicely, is what we were just on, which is legends make their place in the world by designing a category that they can own. And whether that’s you as an entrepreneur for your business. It also turns out, it’s true for you as an individual in your career.
David Ralph [42:54]
Right? Okay, so it would be a mess up as not to play these words, this guy was the entrepreneur but Simon people look up to. And I look up to him, not in a professional sense. But in a spiritual sense. I love the spirit of these words. So let’s listen to them. Again Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs [43:09]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards. 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [43:44]
So all those words more on point to how you feel and how you live your life, Chris?
Christopher Lochhead [43:51]
Yeah, very much. And of course, you know, having spent the last 21 years in Silicon Valley, of course, the jobs is a hero of mine. And there’s a very important thing. What dots are we trying to connect? And here’s the aha, I’ve had in my life David legendary innovators, legendary entrepreneurs get three things, right. So if you will connect three giant dots at the highest level, they get product slash service, they get company slash business model. And they get categories market, right. And they, you know, we call that the magic triangle, product, company and category. And when a legendary entrepreneur gets those things, right. That’s how you get Facebook. And by the way, that’s how you get the legendary corner market in my neighborhood. Right? So category design, as a discipline applies to people who are trying to build the next Google and the legend. I live in a neighborhood in Santa Cruz called pleasure point. We have a small what you would probably call grocery store, corner store. and assign the guy that runs the place is the category King within an eight square block radius, because he has gotten those three things right for this neighborhood in the exact same way that Mark Zuckerberg got those things right at Facebook, it’s just a different scale. And so the dots I think, that we’re trying to connect is what problem Am I solving. And if I solve that problem perfectly, what do people call that category of thing. And then I build the legendary company and the legendary product to fulfill the problem that I see that I’m designing the category with. So in other words, the three big dogs are product, company and category. And here’s what I know David most people treat the category, like something never think about, we get taught in school. And this is the benefit of not going to school, that what there is to do in business looks like this, I am going to attack an existing market category with a product or service that I believe in my soul is and I’m going to use this word very much on purpose David better. And I am going to compete for market share. And I’m going to win because I have a better product service company brand.
And what I’m here to tell you is that is suicide.
It’s not what the legends did. And competing for market share with a better product or service in an existing market is the dumbest thing we can do. Although it is the decision is better. But it’s not even a decision. It’s so unquestioned nobody even thinks about it. That’s what they do. And my proof for that it doesn’t work is in the United States for the better part of 30 years, PepsiCo tried to compete with coke by saying we’re better than coke. And they ran this campaign called the Pepsi challenge. And coke still number one, a more modern example. Microsoft has more than 90% share with Microsoft Office. Google, who’s got a brand that is approaching that of coax according to the brand gurus launched a me to quote unquote, better product to compete for market share against Microsoft Office that products called Google Docs. And most people would tell you if they’ve used both products that Google Docs is the better product. And here’s the thing David Google Docs is free. And since Google lunch, Google Docs, do you know what’s happened to Microsoft Office market share, nothing always going up? Correct. And we could talk about the psychology as to why category kings dominate for as long as they dominate. But I’m here to tell you, Pepsi. And Google in these examples have given us the education that we need to know that competing in an existing category for market share with a better product is a suicide mission. And so what we want to do is to create to make our own place in the world by designing our own category, whether that’s for our company, or ourselves. And we talked about how to do that whatever length you want David but but that’s the fundamental mistake. And what I my dream for people, is they realize this, and they begin to be proactive about designing their position in the world about Muhammad Ali famously said, If I don’t tell them, I’m the greatest, how are they going to know? And yet most of us don’t tell people what category we’re in. We we spew benefits and features about our product? And people say, Well, what kind of product is that? I don’t know. And they make up some phrase on their own, as opposed to being very intentional about telling the world how to think about this new space that you’re trying to pioneer.
David Ralph [49:04]
And so Chris, before we send you back in time, we are coming to the end of the show now on the Sermon on the mic, what category Do you own if I if I was in a bar with you? And I said, Look, I can get the drinks, I get the buffalo wings. When I come back, I want to know your category. What would you say?
Christopher Lochhead [49:21]
Well, I am one of the principal designers of a new business discipline called category design. And so I think people who know me, particularly in the technology world of Silicon Valley, would say that I’m a guru in the domain of if you want to design and dominate your own category, and position yourself to do that. You know, that’s who I am. And I know that has really served me well. And there’s a big difference between personal category design and personal branding, personal branding is a complete waste of time in the absence of personal category design. And so, me know you asked me that question. You say, Well, the venture capitalists and the entrepreneurs and the investment bankers in Silicon Valley who know me would say, Well, you know, email Lochhead. When you want to figure out your category strategy.
David Ralph [50:15]
Oh, God, I’ll tell you what we have to have you on about 15 shows this is going to be Chris Lochhead. co hosting, I think we’re going to get here too many questions in my head. But I’m aware that we’re running out of time, we got to keep the show to around about an hour. So this is the part that we’ve been building up to. And this is the part where we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to young Christopher, what age would you choose? And what advice would you give? Well, we’re gonna find out because I’m going to play the theme. When it beats you up, this is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [50:56]
With the best in a
Christopher Lochhead [51:12]
position yourself or be position, if I could talk to myself again at 18. When I started my first company with jack, that’s what I would tell myself, the legends, explain to the world how to think about them, it’s more important to position yourself than almost anything else in business. And the key doing that is to find out, what problem do I solve? And why does that problem matter. And then when I go to explain to the world, all of that, I don’t make the mistake that everyone else makes, which is they market and sell their product. legends are evangelists. And they evangelize the problem. Because when the world understands the problem, then they go, Well, you must be the person company brand who solves that problem. And the bigger and the more urgent the problem, the more time money and energy people will solve. It will spend to solve that problem. The other thing that I think so incredibly important, I think it always was, but even more important today, in this idea of category designed to position yourself in the most powerful way. I believe David we are entering a new era of authenticity. I think for every idiotic tweet. For every moronic Kardashian, there is an equal and opposite reaction. And I think people are sick, whether it’s in pop culture, or in business of BS in authenticity. When when chief executives use stupid phrases like Well, I think we have a slight decline in earnings growth this quarter. What you mean to say we lost more money this quarter than we did last quarter? Well, why don’t you frickin say that. And so I think people are sick of inauthenticity. And I think the way you position yourself to design a legendary category, which you can dominate over time is you have a provocative and engaging point of view. You evangelize that point of view that is centered on a problem, and you do it in a deeply, deeply authentic way. And when you do that, you get to be Patagonia.
David Ralph [53:22]
I forgot there was two of us here for a moment. I was just listening to that. Right. Okay. So what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you, Christopher?
Christopher Lochhead [53:30]
legends and losers calm and everything you need to know about connecting with me is there and I love it. If you gave us a visit,
David Ralph [53:37]
do you know that’s the first time ever? I’ve asked that question, what’s the number one best way and the person is told me just one way? Normally, I get Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and stuff, centralize it, bring it all together. And believe me, listeners go over there because there’s a load of videos. There’s loads of podcasts on there. And it’s great stuff, just happy running in the background when you’re doing work. And I listened to about three or four of them. And as I said, it’s not a trite show. It’s deep stuff. And it goes in many different directions. But there’s gold in them. I found them fascinating. So ups to you. So Chris, thank you so much for spending time with us today, joining up those dots. And please come back again when you got more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Christopher Lochhead. Thank you so much,
Christopher Lochhead [54:21]
David. It’s been an absolute pleasure. I love your show. I love your mission. Thank you so much for including me.
David Ralph [54:28]
Well, you’re definitely going to hear from him again. He was somebody that literally, I had questions popping out of my head left, right and center, which doesn’t normally happen. Normally, my shows are quite structured for an hour. And I don’t really have to go into so many different areas that I left unsaid. But Christopher was absolutely delivering gold bear. Some of you might have been totally on his content. Some of you might not be where his content SAT. But certainly if we brought him on three or four shows together and joined by mom is going to be a master class or becoming an entrepreneur. Thank you so much for listening to join up dots thank you so much for everybody who shares with their friends. That’s the biggest way that you can help us to grow. Just tell people Oh, there’s this guy. He’s not bad. He’s worth listening to. And who knows they might like us, but if you can do that, that’d be a marvelous. Until next time, we will see you again. Cheers. See ya. Bye bye
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to join up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on join up dots.