PBTO S2E2: Jill Konrath – More Sales in Less Time

Who is on the show:

In this episode, we host Jill Konrath. As a business-to-business sales expert, Jill’s ideas and insights are ubiquitous in multiple forums, both on and offline.

Jill’s newsletters are read by 125,000+ sellers worldwide. Her popular blog has been syndicated on numerous business and sales websites.

Why is she on the show:

She was recently named one of the most influential people on sales by LinkedIn, among many other recognitions.

What did i learn in this episode:

As sales professionals, we are constantly busy and we are to find time on ever more busier executives so we can position ourselves as someone who can add value to them and their business.

We do a lot of our work online (from checking our emails to researching our clients and their social profiles to reading more about the financial results of our customers. And some of the most brilliant minds in our era are working tirelessly to keep us hooked on their products by using findings from neuroscience research.

When we add both of the above, it is extremely difficult to not get lost in the rabbit hole that is the internet.

Some things that Jill recommends:

No notification policy: Notifications are one of the most important way that we get distracted and sucked into rabitholes. So, the first thing to do to gain our time & focus back is to remove all notifications. I only have notification for when either my wife or my boss reaches out to me.

Batch our work: She recommends that it is easier to focus and we become a lot more productive when we batch our work. Fixed time for emails. Fixed time for online research and so forth.

Shut down the distractions: As sales professionals, we need to be able to think deeper and find insights. The ability to shutdown our gadgets and thinking deeply is  important to refresh our brains. We need to give our brains some rest.

Focus: Think about and decide what is the one thing that we can do today/this week that will have the biggest impact and focus on accomplish that.

Learn how to work in a digital world: As a species, we have not evolved to deal with the digital world. And this is not going to go down but only going to get worse. So, we need to consciously learn how to live and work in a digital world.

Take a break: The higher level thinking which is required in order to connect with different thoughts, identify patterns and gain insights require that we take breaks so that we can replenish & rejuvenate our brains. Work on 50 – 10 mins bursts – 50 mins work followed by 10 mins of active break (walk, drink water, stretch, etc).

Work on what matters: With the time saved by becoming more productive, we as sales professional can continue to do more high value activities and self development.

Unclogging our pipeline: So much of deals or opportunities are in our pipeline because we hope that they will happen. Just like it is important to be more intentional and focused on our time, we need to be as focused and intentional about keeping our pipeline unclogged. By unclogging our pipeline, we can find common themes among the opportunities, thereby helping us address these concerns. Another high value activity.

Best Prospects are the one’s undergoing change: The best prospects who will be open to change are the one’s that are already going through some kind of flux. This change makes them more open to challenging the status quo.

Overcoming Overwhelm: By becoming more focused and productive, we can use the time we save to not only do high value activities but also help our customers by giving them information that can help them overcome their overwhelm.

Best part of her job: Solving challenging, complex,  sales problems.

Biggest challenge of her job: Difficulty to decide which ideas to go after.

Whats on her bucket list: Iceland.

Recommendation: Hidden Figures, the movie

What superhero would she be:  Jill, the time master

What is so obvious to her which people miss all the time: Overwhelm is the biggest problem at the root of almost every challenge.

2 action recommendation: Minimise distractions. Find out your own ways to avoid and minimise distractions. There no hacks, only lasting change.

Where can you connect with her:

You can find all her great work on her website – www.jillkonrath.com and on LinkedIn. You can buy her latest book here.

PBTO Season 2: EP01: Future of Work with Andy Tryba

Opening music credits goes to Riju Mukhopadhyay & Pavan Cherukumilli

Who is he on the show: 
In the first episode of the new season, we host Andy Tryba. He is the CEO of Ride Austin, EngineYard and Crossover.com
Why is he on the show:
Andy has spent the last 15 years as CEO of multiple successful startups and is currently running three startups. One of them is a very interesting social experiment and has a very interesting approach to running his other two startups as well. He has built a product that already provides glimpses of how the future of work might unfold.   
What do we talk about:
In this wide ranging conversation, we talk about: 
– How he transitioned from the corporate world to getting a job at the Whitehouse and then to become an entrepreneur
– Having some corporate experience vs becoming an entrepreneur right off of our college
– His learning from being part of a large corporate and the White House. 
– Creating a local ride sharing app and competing with the cash rich Uber/Lyft and what he is learning from that experience
– Running a business as a non-profit (so they can pay their drivers much more), open data (sharing all kinds of data to allow people to find insights around mobility services) & engage with the community (by enabling their customers to contribute to charities)
– How economic theory & reality are not really congruent with each other
– Dynamics of competition (Uber and Ola) and throwing money at customer acquisition & what to do when you can’t compete against the money
– Changing the competitive landscape (hyper-local, community driven)
– Books from Dan and Chip Heath (Made to Stick & The Power of Moments) and some of the learnings from these books and how he has integrated them in his business. 
– Why it is difficult to gain customer attention 
Crossover.com and the thinking behind the business (All high skill jobs will go to the cloud) 
– Why he thinks that “There is no such thing as a talent shortage!”
– Going International doesn’t mean going cheap
– How it is possible to hire the Best 1% of people in the world (doing rigorous testing to finding the best of the best) 
– Why Format of the resume is almost 500 years old and why resume + interview is not the best way to recruit people. 
– Future of work is about Awesome teams on the cloud, great playbooks, create a platform to provide regular feedback so the teams can get better 
Crossover.com is like a Fitbit for work
– The importance of doing Deep Work (as advocated by Cal Newport) 
– The importance of coaching to get to our peak performance & the data that provides the insight for this level of coaching
– The thinking that went behind building Crossover.com.
– What can we learn from professional athletes and bring them into our work environment
– The effect of cognitive residue on our performance
– How does he balance his time and focus among the three startups that he runs? 
– Where do you bleed time? 
– What would he do differently, if he were to start off again
– What is so obvious to him now, that people miss all the time. 
Resources mentioned in the conversation: 
The Art of The Start by Guy Kawasaki, 
Deep Work by Cal Newport, 
Peak by Anders Ericsson, 
Made to Stick by Dan and Chip Heath
The Power of Moments by Dan and Chip Heath
– Crossover platform (www.crossover.com
How to connect with him: 
You can connect with via twitter (@AndyTryba or email andy@crossover.com)

PBTO58: Hunch – Where Insights and Foresights Meet! With Bernadette Jiwa

Credits: Opening music credit goes to Riju Mukhopadhyay & Pavan Cherukumilli

Who is on the show:

In this episode, we host Bernadette Jiwa. She is a best selling author of multiple books and writes one of the most popular marketing and branding blogs – The Story of Telling. Smart Company named as the top business blog in Australia of 2016Seth Godin listed it as one of the marketing blogs he reads.

Why is she on the show:

She just released her most recent book – Hunch. The book talks about how we can turn our everyday insights into the next big thing.

What do we talk about:

In this episode, we talk about how this particular book came about. She shares her insight about how entrepreneurs – small and large are getting deluded in the barrage of data and using it as a crutch to not decide and work on their hunches. She shares some very interesting stories about how Richard Turere (all of 12 years old) helped save his cows from Lions and in the process invented the “Lion Lights“. She also shares the story of how one doctor (Dr. Ravenell) leveraged the popularity and the sense of community in a barber shop – Denny Moe’s to change the lives of thousands of black men by converging healthcare and haircare.

She defines Hunch as below:

Hunch = Insights + Foresights

Simple yet elegant way to define something extremely complicated, I must say. She also talks about the fact that in order to get these hunches, we need to look at the intersection of three things.

Hunches are formed at the intersection of Curiosity, Imagination and Empathy.

There are opportunities all around us if only we stop and notice them. She shares her way of getting these inspiring stories from the everyday walk of life. She says that these stories are all around us, if only we can stop and look for them, if we find them, slow down and think about them.

We also discuss how important boredom is and how crucial having distraction free time for us to think about stuff that we have learnt and allow it to sink in and come up with our own perspective and a lot more. She shares how Sara Blakely founded Spanx with 5000 USD and she takes the long route to work, so that she can get some quite reflection time for herself almost everyday.

This is a short episode but one filled with a lot of insights and learnings.

How can you connect with her:

I strongly recommend that you buy her book – Hunch. The book is packed with a lot of such stories and also has a lot of prompts that can nudge us to practice all the three things that she talks about (curiosity, imagination and empathy) that are important for coming up with our own hunches. Also,  subscribe to her blog. She blogs every single day. Her blogs are an oasis in the middle of a barrage of blogs that dont speak to you. They are short but insightful. They speak to us in a way not many blogs do. You can also follow her on twitter @bernadetteJiwa.

PS: You can watch the TED Talks by Richard & Dr. Rayenell.

Credits: Opening music credit goes to Riju Mukhopadhyay & Pavan Cherukumilli

PBTO57: Liminal Thinking – Creating change by understanding, shaping, and reframing beliefs with Dave Gray

Credits: Opening music credit goes to Riju Mukhopadhyay & Pavan Cherukumilli

Who is on the show:

In this episode, we host Dave Gray. He is the founder of XPLANE and author of multiple books including Liminal Thinking.

Why is he on the show:

He is a visual artist and uses agile, iterative techniques like Visual Thinking, Culture Mapping, and Gamestorming to get people engaged and involved in co-creating clear, unique and executable business strategies. His latest book – Liminal Thinking, talks about a core practice for connected leaders in a complex world.

What do we talk about:

In a free-wheeling conversation, we speak about

  • How did he come about writing his book “Game-storming” with Sunni Brown and James Macanufo and his experience of writing the book
  • Empathy Map and he shares a story about a session where he used the map and how it impacts people
  • Why is it so difficult for people to empathise with others?
  • How did his book “Connected Company” come about and what it was all about (Digital Transformation), which led to the question about how to make the transformation?
  • How this led him to his latest book – “Liminal Thinking”
  • The entire conversation around belief and how critical it is for internal transformation
  • What are some of the most simple of things that if done can have significant impact on our lives?
  • The ability to sit back and observe oneself as a third person is a meta ability that can help us bring about significant changes in our own lives. How could one go about developing this ability?
  • Is there a connection between being in the moment and visual thinking?
  • Something that was surprising and interesting while researching for the book – “Liminal thinking”.
  • Who does he considers the most inspiring person and why?
  • What is it that you see in the world that blows his mind?
  • What is the biggest limitation of humanity? Why?
  • What does his creative process looks like? What are his routines that support his creativity?
  • What gives him joy or how does he rejuvenate himself?
  • Where does he get creative ideas from ?
  • What is his learning habits? How does he continue to evolve and grow as a person?
  • Book Recommendation:
  • What he thinks is obvious but people miss all the time (The answer will definitely surprise you).
  • What is one thing he wants you to do as soon as you finish listening to this conversation?

Liminal thinking talks about learning six principles and nine practicesThese nine practices of liminal thinking can be summarised as three simple precepts:

  1. Get in touch with your ignorance.
  2. Seek understanding.
  3. Do something different.

Here is a video where Dave explains the Pyramid of Beliefs from his book and you can find a summary of his book here.

How can you connect with him:

You can follow him on twitter @DaveGray and his website is http://www.xplaner.com.



PBTO56: The Inevitable – Technological Forces that will Shape Our Future with Kevin Kelly

Credits: Opening music credit goes to Riju Mukhopadhyay & Pavan Cherukumilli

Who is on the show today:

Kevin Kelly is Senior Maverick at Wired magazine. He co-founded Wired in 1993, and served as its Executive Editor for its first seven years. His new book for Viking/Penguin is called The Inevitable, which is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. He is also founding editor and co-publisher of the popular Cool Tools website, which has been reviewing tools daily since 2003. From 1984-1990 Kelly was publisher and editor of the Whole Earth Review, a journal of unorthodox technical news. He co-founded the ongoing Hackers’ Conference, and was involved with the launch of the WELL, a pioneering online service started in 1985. His books include the best-selling New Rules for the New Economythe classic book on decentralized emergent systems, Out of Control, a graphic novel about robots and angels, The Silver Cord, an oversize catalog of the best of Cool Tools, and his summary theory of technology in What Technology Wants (2010).

Why is he on the show:

In his latest book “The Inevitable“, he talks about 12 trends that will shape the way our society will evolve. This is already a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller.

What do we talk about:

In this free-wheeling conversation, we talk about:

  • His interest and curating non-fiction films. He has a curated list of some of the wonderful documentaries on his site here.
  • The 12 trends that are directions that technology is going to move towards, that seem to be inevitable. He lists them as verbs (Becoming, Cognifying, Flowing, Screening, Accessing, Sharing, Filtering, Remixing, Interacting, Tracking, Questioning , Beginning)
  • Trends are inevitable, the form and function is not.
  • Technology vs Societal view points of view to look at the future..
  • How Technology has its own agenda..
  • Have these trends have been behaving since the time the book was written..
  • How Moore’s law would have served you really well if you believed in it..
  • Artificial intelligence and how this is going to play out..
  • How can entrepreneurs make use of these trends and place themselves at the fore-runners when these trends play out and become mainstream
  • How can we stay relevant in the future where these trends are becoming mainstream?
  • What do these technologies and trends mean for us as a society and culture? How do we prepare for the future that is coming?
    • Access vs ownership
    • Products vs services
    • Tangible vs intangible
  • A 1000 true fans and how this coupled with the trends that we are talking about provides a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to profit from.
  • What are some of the most important skills that we need to learn in order to stay relevant:
    • To learn how to learn (Meta skill or the super skill). Figure out how we learn best or our own kind of learning.
    • Learn how to ask questions.
    • Techno-literacy and critical thinking
  • How he learns and stays up-to-date with what he sees happening around him?
  • What he thinks is obvious but no one sees it yet (A very surprising answer)..
  • Documentary he recommends – Becoming Warren Buffet. You can watch the documentary below:

How can you connect with him:

You can find his blog here. You can subscribe to his weekly newsletter here and buy his latest book here.