Human Communication Experience

Podcast Episodes

People are the Product


The Only Thing Worth Competing For

The more platforms like Uber, Grab and GoJek evolve, the more they end up doing the same things with the same customers.

That’s why In the Platform Era, the only thing worth competing for are PEOPLE – The people who build the platforms and their relationships with partners and customers.

Nothing else is sustainable.

“The Customer is Always Right” is Wrong

The leading brand experiences of:
– Zappos
– Hai Di Lao Hot Pot
– Taj Hotels and
– Starbucks aren’t built on service “mantras”…

but on authentic cultures of respect.

Give your people power to make decisions and take risks, then get out of their way.

Offline Analog Human Interactions

In a world becoming increasingly digital…

…where it becomes easier to find and connect with people online;

the biggest rewards await those who double down on their offline analog human interactions.


No More Experience “Moonshots”

Really enjoyed moderating the Sitecore Experience panel session today with 3 industry experts – Tom Voirol Belinda Widgery and Harish Agarwal.

5 Key takeaways from our session:

– people buy on emotion and justify with logic
– the best experiences are often invisible & seamless
– do common things done uncommonly well: there is more potential uplift in fixing poor experience than trying to create amazing ones
– don’t aim for “experience moonshots”, instead focus on small and constant iterations
– if you’re selling experience within your company, start by telling personalised stories of your customer

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People are the Brand

Brands are only as good as the people that make them.

You can spend millions on “branding” but the experiences we talk about are the interactions we have with their people on a daily basis. In the era of digital transformation, brand experience starts at the top and goes all the way down to the front line.

Tony Fernandes sets the tone with AirAsia and the travel industry by being an authentic and human face of the brand; sometimes vulnerable but always real.

Lead by example and the frontline follows.

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Everything can be Copied, Except This…

Brands can be copied…
– Ideas copied,
– technology copied,
– factories rented,
– capital raised and
– skills outsourced…

All of the traditional barriers to entry are getting wiped out.

In the Digital Era, the only thing left worth competing for is the human relationship.

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Communications is Everyone’s Business

Communications is everyone’s business.

In a noisy media market place, brands are struggling to stay relevant.

The root of the issue isn’t choice of medium, but choice of mindset.

OLD mindset
– Communications is Executive Privilege
– Communications Gatekeeper
– Communications Control
– Communications Pipeline

NEW mindset ->
– Communications is Everyone’s Business
– Communications Enabler
– Communications Curation
– Communications Platform

You cannot compete with an army of Youtube teens and Instagram influencers. But what you can do is unlock the authentic storytelling capability of your own organization.

This is the Digital Transformation of Communications.

Give your people a voice.

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Authentic Offline Connection

In 200,000 years of human history, we have only experienced the last 0.0075% online.

That means 99.9925% of our human brain has evolved socially to read and experience offline analog interaction.

Offline conferences, retail experiences, live music and coffee meetings ain’t going anywhere soon. In fact, as tools to connect they are becoming stronger than ever.

As we push into the world of Artificial Intelligence and digital automation, we will also value and seek out AUTHENTIC HUMAN EXPERIENCES more than ever.

Real offline meetings and deep podcast conversations aren’t echoes of an inefficient past, but visions of our effective future.

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We Are Social By Design

We are social by design.

Connection and sharing aren’t new features of conversation made possible by social media, but the very essence of what it means to be human.

As much as the digital world augments our social lives offline, it can never replace it. We would happily trade 1000 online “friends” for 1 meaningful relationship offline.

LinkedIn is great, but let’s not forget there is no greater communication bandwidth than face to face. That’s where deals, businesses and brands are made.

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What it Means to be Human

The more we talk tech, the more we forget that it’s about people. It’s people who screw up billion dollar systems, write the algorithms and fund the startups.

But, as much as human failure is an anomaly in the era of Artificial Intelligence, it’s also the position from which we are able to touch people’s hearts and tell stories.

Our future leaders won’t be the people who excel at things machines will eventually do better or faster. Our leaders will be the people who double down on what it means to be human – understanding our pain, sharing our mistakes and ultimately being vulnerable.

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Authentic Human Engagement

“The medium is the message”… is over

– Everyone is a media network
– Every influencer on Instagram is an ad agency
– Every 13 year old kid on YouTube is a TV channel

The most progressive Brands get it.

They don’t compete in this noisy media landscape for awareness. They give their own people to the tools to create authentic, human engagement.

In this decentralised future, COMMUNICATIONS – like innovation – becomes EVERYONE’S BUSINESS.

People are the message.

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Authentic Human Experiences

We are authentic, human beings living in an increasingly fake, automated world.

The more we push into this brave new world of AI, Big Data and Automation, the more our human spirit will yearn for real connection.

That’s why I believe Podcasting and AI are two seemingly unrelated, but interconnected trends.

Podcasting is growing because of AI.

It’s no coincidence.

Podcasting is the only scalable communications that you cannot fake. It’s a coffee conversation at scale. Podcasting is deep, authentic and vulnerable – everything a machine cannot be.

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Stay Human

Enjoy the moment. It’s not easy…

In a digital world, staying analog is hard work.

Always rushing. No time to sit. No time to talk. No time for deep conversation.

For me, podcasts are a way to bring back those conversations. The campfire for our analog soul.

The more we push into the machine age, the more our human spirit yearns for meaningful connection.

This is the challenge. Being present. Telling stories. Staying human.


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Leadership in the Exponential Era Book

As we enter the new decade we are faced with new challenges. The 4th Industrial Revolution will create winners and losers.

In this book, author Graham D Brown shares the strategies of Leaders navigating the paradigm shift in business competition brought on by the 3 Exponential Macros of the 4th Industrial Revolution:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Connectivity
  • Asia

264 page digital PDF copy of Leadership in the Exponential Era available for free direct download from Dropbox.

Podcasting for Brands™ Book

The go-to guide for brand Leaders and podcast managers who want to know what’s working in the world of business podcasts today. Drawing from our team experience of producing over 600 podcasts and 30 brand case studies including Facebook, Slack, Andreesen Horowitz, Amazon Web Services, Netflix and Google.

136 Page Guide with recommendations on how brands should approach podcasts and what is required to make podcasts sustainable and successful long term.

  • 30 Case Studies of Brand Original Podcasts
  • The Pikkal Podcast Quadrant – a map to help understand the different types of Brand Original Podcasts
  • Analysis of business objectives, podcast call to action and meta themes
  • 10 Headline Statistics on the global podcast market.


How will Artificial Intelligence impact Leadership, Connection and Communication?

The XL:AI book is the updated synposis of the Artificial Intelligence sections of the main XL Book.

Companies featured include: Amazon, Biomind, Ford, General Motors, Google, Haidilao Hot Pot, Huawei, IBM, Microsoft, PWC, Southwest Airlines, Tesla, Xiaomi, Zappos

XL:AI details how Artificial Intelligence will impact:
– lawyers, accountants, doctors
– healthcare
– storytelling
– automotive
– gender inequality
– branding
– retail