Podcasts: Storytelling in Asia

Podcast Episodes

Podcasts and the Power of Storytelling

Podcasts and Asia’s Middle Class

Graham Brown and Rob Nail CEO Singularity University

NPR Case Study


The Story of the Bamboo

It’s a long hard road to “overnight success”.

Don’t get demotivated by the apparent ease of other people’s successes, especially here on linkedin. Whatever you’re doing – starting a podcast, building your personal brand or developing your story – it requires consistency and persistence.

Keep watering the bamboo!

Everybody has a Story to Tell

After recording 500 podcasts episodes, I’ve found the most inspiring stories are ones told by people who think their story not worthy… because they’re not “famous” enough.

Yet, in all of these stories are tales of great risk and overcoming: left a country, left a comfortable career, faced doubt and rejection. Anybody who undertakes this journey has a story worth telling.

That’s why I feel my goal as a podcaster is to help ordinary people tell these extraordinary stories in their own voice.

Stories are human APIs

You don’t need to be an amazing storyteller to influence people, you just have to tell a story that they understand.

Avengers Endgame proves the point – it wasn’t a particularly original or outstanding storyline but it was a story we’ve been telling for 100s even 1000s of years.

Stories vs Micromanagement

On this day in history NASA taught us that even clever people make bad decisions from time to time.

Every day we face a Choice in how we manage and lead teams: Micro or Macro.

If we are not actively communicating Macro stories, we naturally gravitate back to the Micro management of people and tasks, no matter how smart you are.

From Spreadsheets to Storytellers

A key takeaway from my panel session at the AI Summit.

Many high skilled professions risk decimation by the machine if we aren’t able to elevate our skill set beyond spreadsheets.

Tell human stories, empathise, connect.

The Starbucks Brand Story

How can you tell a brand story like Starbucks and create a message people engage with?

If you’re selling a product and its features, it’s hard to connect beyond price. You become a commodity and it’s the cheapest and fastest who wins.

If you’re selling a story, you give people an emotional reason to belong, and that’s a benefit we all value.

Of course, it’s just coffee… but it isn’t.

People don’t buy “stuff”, they buy what “stuff” does for them.

It’s not about a lack of resources, but a lack of story

The story of the Moonshot: what seems crazy and humanly impossible is only limited by the stories we can tell.

With less CPU power than an iPhone today, we landed on the Moon in 1969. Stories transcend any lack of resources by unlocking human creativity and connection.

Stories are the “Social” in Social Media

Stories are a powerful tool to help us connect with others.

We are constantly telling stories and finding ways to tell stories about who we are, what we make and where we fit into the world.

And the more our lives become disconnected by AI, automation and digital technology…the more we will value the people, brands and platforms that can help us tell these human stories.


You don’t need to tell an amazing story, just a story people understand

Thank you British Chamber of Commerce Singapore inviting me this morning to run the Storytelling Workshop for your people.

3 Key takeaways:

1) Storytelling isn’t just once upon a time but a great way to engage and influence in business

2) The more we push into the world of Artificial Intelligence the more we will yearn for authentic human connection

3) You don’t need to tell an amazing story, you just need to tell a story people understand.

I met a lot of interesting people at BCC today and heard some engaging stories.

If you took part, I hope you had a great session!

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Coffee Conversations at Scale

If you’re a podcast owner you must FIRST understand how it impacts business objectives.

1) Only Podcasts that move the needle will last

2) Podcasts are NOT social media. If you want LIKES or EYEBALLS, go to Facebook or Instagram. Treat Podcasts as social media and you’ll get poor ROI.

3) Podcasts are coffee conversations at SCALE. And it’s over coffee conversations most people do business. Rather than measure Podcast audiences by the number of listeners, measure them as if they were coffee conversations with potential clients, investors, employees and partners.

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90% of the Value we Create is Story

90% of the value we create is in the STORY we tell about the product, not the product itself…

👉The challenge is most will only invest 10% of their time in improving the story.

Stories aren’t just “once upon a time”, but powerful tools to:

1) raise money
2) recruit the right people
3) sell to the right customers

Improvements in your product after idea stage will be marginal, yet investing more time into the story can return a massive uplift in value.

💡I find in my Storytelling Workshops that breakthroughs don’t come from the fabrication of new stories, but the unlocking of existing ones you didn’t know you had in you.

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The Power of Analogy

Storytelling isn’t just “Once Upon a Time”. Storytelling in business is about creation of VALUE.

Stories help listeners understand how your work is relevant to them.

One of the most effective tools to create Value is the ANALOGY.

ANALOGY FORMULA -> “It’s like X but Y”

1) “We’re like the Uber of Pets”
2) “We’re like Facebook for Logistics”
3) “It’s like Coachella for Accountants”

Analogies work because they help people understand new information in the context of something they already know.

From the days of our campfire conversations all the way up to selling SAAS platforms, leaders have used analogies to connect, engage and create change.

Have fun with your analogies…

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The Stories We Believe In

On this day in history, 30 years ago…The Berlin Wall fell.

📸 Standing in front of the iconic “Brezhnev Hohnecker” kiss, found on one of the few remaining sections of The Wall. The kiss is a satirical depiction of the relationship between the (then) East Germany and The Soviet Union

Nov 1989 I was just 17 years old.

In one night I witnessed:
– the end of The Cold War
– the end of a divided Europe
– the transformative power of human story.

You see, Walls are temporary.

Walls can be climbed, broken down or tunnelled under.

But a story once believed, will either imprison us or set us free forever.

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Podcasting and AI

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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Storytelling for Startup Founders

One of the most important skills for a startup founder or business leader is the ability to turn a pitch deck, presentation or a product into a STORY.

Stories are how we relate to each other.

And getting your story right will significantly impact your ability to
a) raise money
b) hire good people and
c) win clients.

A simple HACK to improve your STORY is to give it structure:

1) BEGINNING – what is the problem and why are you the hero solving it?
2) MIDDLE – what are you building and what is the journey you are on?
3) END – what will the future look like if we work together on this?

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Podcasting in Asia

📊 With a potential audience of 4.5 billion, the Podcasting market in Asia Pacific is BLUE SKY 🔥

– By 2030, 2/3 of the world’s middle class will be living Asia, and not buying the soap powders and cars their parents bought.
– The world’s most advanced podcast market is in Korea (52% of population)
– One of the fastest growing markets in Asia is young female listeners

In the last 18 months I’ve podcasted in Japan, China, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and of course Singapore.

And every day more podcasters and brands are asking how to get in on the action.

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I Started our Baking Waffles…

Here are 3 lessons from the story of Junxian “Jonah” Lee, serial entrepreneur, captured in our Podcast:

1) Passion is for amateurs. Every startup founder thinks they can succeed at food retail because they are passionate about eating. But 12 month survival rate is LOW. Belief in passion and ‘never give up’ is why entrepreneurs FAIL. Good systems are what grows businesses.

2) Your life is a STORY. What story are you telling? If you want a better life, tell a better story.

3) If you want to learn business, SELL waffles for a dollar. An MBA is easier, but waffles will teach you more.

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The Story of Success

Measure your success by the memories, not the money, you make…

People, not privilege, the reward.
Small things, not big ideas, the memories.

Don’t edit your life to meet the expectations of other people.
Success is a story you can write yourself.

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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