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Jono Bacon | People Powered

251: Jono Bacon: Communities supercharge business

Jono Bacon Show Notes Page

Jono Bacon started his journey of building communities as a fledgling young rock star in the UK. As a result of living up to his parent’s expectations he now he provides expertise and advice in this latest era of business. As an expert in community strategy, management, and collaboration Jono works with Fortune 500 companies, startups, and governments across the globe.

Jono was born in Northallerton, North Yorkshire in England. He lived in Bedfordshire and the West Midlands before relocating to California in 2008 to live with his wife, Erica.

While he has always had an interest in technology, the seed change happened in 1998 when Jono’s older brother, Simon, introduced him to Open Source. Jono was captivated by the notion of people around the world working together to produce technology that they all shared and benefited from. This created a lifelong passion to understand every nuance of how to build productive, engaging communities where a network of minds, experience, and time can produce value together. Just imagine what is possible if we can crack the code for doing this well?

He started dipping his toes into various technology communities, writing extensively for magazines and online outlets, and then joining a new government initiative called OpenAdvantage that provided Open Source training and consulting. As this initiative neared completion, Jono moved on to lead community strategy for Ubuntu, one of the most popular technology platforms in the world, ultimately becoming a community of millions of users.

His career then took him to XPRIZE where he helped launch incentive competitions that solve major challenges (such as the $15million dollar Global Learning XPRIZE to build technology that teaches kids literacy without a teach) and then he went to lead community strategy at GitHub where most of the world’s technology is created.

At this point in his career, Jono wanted to apply the power of building communities to broader range of industries and challenges and he started consulting for a variety range of organizations about community and collaboration strategy. This includes industries such as financial services, entertainment, professional services, non-profits, consumer products, security, and beyond. His clients have included Deutsche Bank, The Executive Centre, Google, Mattermost, Glorious Games, Santander, and more.

As his career has developed, so has his passion for his craft. Jono is determined to leave a legacy in which building powerful, productive, empowering communities is clearer and more predictable than ever before. His book, ‘People Powered: How communities can supercharge your business, brand, and teams’ is the latest milestone on that journey.

Jono is based in California where he lives with his wife Erica and son.

Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @jonobacon to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow – Click to Tweet

“We’re stronger together, when you bring people together and they have a shared passion and ethos.” – Click to Tweet

“We’ve seen a number of eras of the relationship between companies and their customers.” – Click to Tweet

“Millennials have identified a sense of community and connectivity is a critical element in how they’re choosing their workplaces.” – Click to Tweet

“Communities are the future of how businesses need to operate.” – Click to Tweet

“We all as human beings want a sense of belonging.” – Click to Tweet

“Building a great community is about building an experience and journey for your members.” – Click to Tweet

“The very best things we experience in the world are well-curated experiences and journeys.” – Click to Tweet

“We overvalue our own creations.” – Click to Tweet

“We as human beings consistently mimic our leaders.” – Click to Tweet

“We all want to do work that’s meaningful.” – Click to Tweet

“If you have an audience that’s interested in what you do you can build a community.” – Click to Tweet

“In the worst possible moments, it will pass, you will find a way forward.” – Click to Tweet

“We can train ourselves with how to deal with adversity effectively.” – Click to Tweet

“Stories are a vessel for learning.” – Click to Tweet

“The hardest lessons in your life are the most valuable ones.” – Click to Tweet

“Challenge yourself and be vulnerable and you’ll get there.” – Click to Tweet

“In general, the human condition is a kind one.” – Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Jono Bacon started his journey of building communities as a fledgling young rock star in the UK. As a result of living up to his parent’s expectations he now he provides expertise and advice in this latest era of business. As an expert in community strategy, management, and collaboration Jono works with Fortune 500 companies, startups, and governments across the globe.

Advice for others

Measure and react to what you measure. Be a detective to see what’s around you.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Crafting my message better.

Best Leadership Advice

Don’t take yourself to seriously and try hard.

Secret to Success

I am an eternal student.

Best tools in business or life

Friends and colleagues.

Recommended Reading

People Powered: How Communities Can Supercharge Your Business, Brand, and Teams

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

Contacting Jono Bacon




Resources and Show Mentions

Call Center Coach

An Even Better Place to Work


Show Transcript:

[expand title=”Click to access edited transcript”]

Jim Rembach: : (00:00)
Okay. Fast Lear Legion. I’m so excited because today I have somebody on the show who’s going to help give us insights into the future of business.

Jim Rembach: : (00:10)
Jono bacon was born in North Ollerton, North Yorkshire in England. He lived in Bedfordshire and the West Midlands before relocating to California in 2008 to live with his wife Erica. While he has always had an interest in technology, the seed changed happen in 1998 when John was older, brother Simon introduced him to open source. Gianna was captivated by the notion of people around the world working together to produce technology that they all shared and benefited from. This created a lifelong passion to understand every nuance of how to build productive, engaging communities where a network of minds, experience and time can produce value together. Just imagine what is possible if we can crack the code of doing this well. He started dipping his toes into various technology communities, writing extensively for magazines and online outlets and then joining a new government initiative called open advantage that provided open source training and consulting as this initiative near completion.

Jim Rembach: : (01:13)
Jonelle moved on to lead community strategy for Ubuntu, one of the most popular technology platforms in the world, ultimately becoming a community of millions of users. His career then took him to X prize where he helped launch incentive competitions that solve major challenges such as the $15 million global learning X prize to build technology that teaches kids literacy without a teacher. And then he went to leave community strategy and gift hub and get hub where most of the world’s technology is created. At this point in his career, Jonelle wanted to apply the power of building communities to broader range of industries and challenges and he started consulting for a variety and range of organizations about community and collaboration strategy. This includes industries such as financial services, entertainment, professional services, nonprofits, consumer products, security and beyond. His clients have included Deutsche bank, the executive center, Google matter, most glorious games, Santander and more as his career’s developed, so has his passion for his craft.

Jim Rembach: : (02:20)
John was determined to leave a legacy in which building powerful, productive, empowering communities is clear and more predictable than ever before his book. People powered how communities can supercharge your business brand and teams is a milestone on that journey. And Gianna was based in California where he lives with his wife Erica and his son Johnell bacon. Are you ready to help us get over the hump? Let’s do this. I’m excited. Well, I’m glad you’re here and I’ve given my Legion a little bit about you, but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we get to know even better? Yeah. My passion is as, um, I guess you could say it’s not particularly current, but it’s becoming even more ferocious than ever, which is, I first discovered,

Jono Bacon: (03:00)
you mentioned it just now back communities back in 1998. The thing that really struck me, I didn’t really know it at the time, was we’re stronger together. When you bring people together and they have a shared passion and a shared ethos, it’s amazing what people can produce, right? We’ve seen Salesforce, Oracle, SAP build communities of, of, uh, over a million members. We’ve seen Holly Davidson, uh, set up over 700 local chapters around the world. We saw, you know, the revolution in, in, uh, in the web happening with Missoula, um, you know, Wikipedia value to tens of billions of dollars by the Smithsonian. It’s incredible when you pull people together. The tricky thing is knowing how you do that as being, as being difficult. You know, it’s a combination of psychology and workflow and technology. And my goal is to really try and figure out what the code behind that is.

Jono Bacon: (03:48)
And, uh, and my theory here is what, I don’t even think it’s a theory. I, I know it’s true, is when we get that combination right, it doesn’t just make the world a better place. It makes businesses more effective. It makes activism more effective. It’s how we are, uh, the best that we can be as a species. You know, as you’re talking, I started thinking about so many different elements associated with, you know, purpose, clarity, communication, connection. I mean, to me it’s almost like, okay, think about it from a, a, an English alphabet perspective. We have all of these letters and that for each community to be successful, it’s a different way that they’re configured. So yes, you have to figure out, you know, what elements have to go into the community for it to be successful. Yeah, yeah, exactly. I mean it’s exactly that.

Jono Bacon: (04:35)
The way I tend to think of it is that there’s kind of three buckets of communities, three templates I guess you could say. And I, I F one of them is what I referred to as can see them as these are the people who get together cause they have a shared interest. So for example, Trek BBS brings together millions of star Trek fans and they can’t really influence the show, but they, they care about it and there’s something pleasurable about spending time with other people. It builds a sense of inclusivity with, with people who share your common interest. The second type is what I refer to as consume as a, as, as champions. These are people who come together and they want to go the extra mile. They, they produce documentation, they make videos, they organize local events. Um, and we’ve seen many examples of this around the world.

Jono Bacon: (05:14)
I mean, I mentioned Missoula as an example of Iran. They had people in that community making crop circles to praise it, wellness of this back in the late nineties. And then the third type is what I refer to as collaborators. And these are people who get together to build things together. So for example, the open source community is a as generated technology that’s, you know, that’s powering the phones in your pockets. The cloud infrastructure, electrical grids. You know, one such example is a, is a project called Cuban Netties, which brings together over 2000 developers from over 50 competing companies to, to build technology that really powers the cloud. Each of these different models requires very subtly different ways in which you, you build them. But they all have psychology and cause you know, the, the, the machine, all of this is running on as human brains. So, you know, when I wrote people powered, a big chunk of it is what are the threads that go through all of these? And then how do you differentiate based upon the template that you’re using?

Jim Rembach: : (06:09)
Well, I also too, I’d like to add that what we’re talking about here or an organization, um, first of all, communities can be anywhere. We know they’re everywhere they’ve been through here, throw out of our lives. Um, even, uh, Dr. Charles Vogel who’s been on the show talk about its community, it actually has helped our species to survive. Yeah. However, when you start thinking about today’s world from an economy perspective is an organization can leverage communities, um, in a lot of different ways and they can also be extensions of their customer service. They can be part of their client success program and client success has to do with customer retention, uh, and helping customers to, to be, uh, better, uh, with the, the services and solutions that you provide. And there’s a lot of different, I mean, you can use it for marketing audit different ways that community can be leveraged. And so for my listeners, I often I’m talking to people who are in customer experience and customer care. Is that community, is is really one of the going to be one of the core tenants in how we actually both attract as well as retain customers really from here going forward?

Jono Bacon: (07:18)
I, I completely agree. I think what we, what we’re actually seeing is we’ve seen a number of kind of, um, eras of the relationship between companies and their customers. You know, back in the earlier days, um, it was very much a case that you make a product and you sell it to your, to your customer, and then the primary way in which they reach out to you have a relationship with you if through your history, your support line, right. You know, something broke, you need to return, they can’t figure out how to do something with your products. And that’s it. The secondary era was more the, the company would try and broadcast information and keep people aware of what they’re doing. So this would be through, you know, through newsletters, through social media, through blogging, through TV advertising. And then I think the third area that we’ve, we’ve seen, particularly in the last five years has been the bundling of online services with products.

Jono Bacon: (08:08)
So for example, if you go and buy a Lego set, if you buy a Disney toy, they all come with these apps. You know, any parent knows how annoying this is in some ways because sometimes these, these bundled services offer enormous value. So for example, as we record this today, Fitbit as being bought by Google for over $2 billion. And it’s not just that the fact that they make electronic fitness equipment is that they have a whole service that analyzes your data, provides recommendations and such forth. The next, the next era in my mind is that with all of those previous areas, it’s been primarily broadcasting information, providing content and services to the, to the consumer. Because modern consumers don’t want that anymore. What they want is a relationship with the bronze. 85% of millennials have a smartphone. You know, the younger generation is up in a connected society. Um, I, I forget the exact statistic, but, uh, you know, millennials have identified a sense of community and connectivity is a critical element in how that’s used in the workplaces. So to me, communities are the future of how businesses are going to need to operate. And, um, and we’ve already seen many examples of this succeeding and I think we’re going to see the, the, the, the general application of this to be much broader. And, uh, and that’s where I want to move is,

Jim Rembach: : (09:22)
well, and I would dare to say that, you know, you started talking about the, um, the younger generation. I mean, when you start looking at the, uh, you know, statistics from a demographics perspective, some of your more rapid usage is actually in the older generations. I mean, when you start talking about the aging, uh, in an advanced, uh, marketplaces, um, you know, of the, of the different countries, I mean, in the U S and the baby boomers and all of that is, uh, they are the most quick to adopt. And they are the one who are seeking out community more so than the younger generation or self-absorbed. Right. Um, right. We’re gaining and things like that where it’s the older generation want to use community as a way to connect personally.

Jono Bacon: (10:02)
Right. And I think some of that is like the older generation in my mind. And it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s interesting kind of the swing of this because when I was growing up, for example, in England, one of the things that the older generation always grumbled about was the fact that there wasn’t that sense of community anymore, that everybody was, was heads down in the video games and distinct all the internet and whatever else. Um, and I think that the older generation is as, Oh, I’ve always had a hankering for that to go back to those days of, of, of genuine community. And the young generation has grown up in a world of connectivity. But I think what defines a lot of their social, um, definition is, is that sense of belonging. Like belonging is the thing that threads through all of this is that we all as human beings, when you take away the screens, the computers, the microphones, all the books in the background, you know, we want a sense of belonging. We need that sense of, of, of social capital. So I think the younger generation of, uh, defining that and that consuming that more actively, but the older generation I think have a really good concept of what that is because because of that kind of original piece that happened before it.

Jim Rembach: : (11:03)
Um, most definitely I, and even too, when I start thinking about going back and thinking about this whole, you know, the value and benefit to the company and extension of customer service and all of those things is that, you know, all organizations realize that we need to have knowledge workers who understand the products and services internally to do a better job of starting to extend that, you know, to some people. As part of our community. I am actually a certified community manager. Uh, and one of the things through my certifications, we talked about an indoctrination process, which is, you know, a very different approach and mindset than just onboarding. Right? Right. Yup. That’s what we want to do is we actually want people to engage, connect, participate, champion, advocate. I mean there’s an elevation cycle. You use a little bit different

Jono Bacon: (11:54)
terminology, but tell, tell us about that Metro aeration cycle that you try to help organization to be able to create. Yeah. So my philosophy throughout all of this, and this is why throughout the entirety of people power is that the community building a great community is about building an experience and a journey for your members. Um, and I think that the very best things that we experience in the world are, uh, well curated experiences and journeys. For example, anyone who’s been to Disney world has seen this from the minute you, you pull onto the property to how you get parked to how you buy your tickets. I mean, they’re expensive, but how you get through and how you are kind of move through the park every, every single decision is being carefully curated. Um, one of the challenges I think we face with a lot of people who do community management is that the natural urgency is to go out and build awareness and growth.

Jono Bacon: (12:42)
So people spend a lot of money on advertising, social media content and things such as that. The first step in my mind is you have to bring people in and you have to, with if someone’s going to, if you go and do all the advertising and bring people in and they come to your front door, you want to make sure that the, the indoctrination, the on ramp of that is as smooth and as simple as possible. So what I’ve developed over the years is something that I call my community participation model. And basically the first step is that you, you define your target audiences that you want to reach out to. So you say, okay, I want to bring in people to write software or I want people to produce documentation. I want people to, to, to provide support. Um, so you’re providing kind of the, the, um, the supply part of the supply and demand pace, right?

Jono Bacon: (13:24)
So when people come in and ask questions, you want people to be able to provide answers for example. So we carve out those personas and then what you do is you want them to get to the first piece of value that they can generate for themselves on the community as quickly as possible. So let’s say you want to set up a community, people are going to provide help around your product, which is very common. Um, you want people to be able to provide an answer as quickly and as effectively as possible and carving out the OnRamp where they, the step one of the on ramp and then the final step is always the same. The first step is what is the point of someone joining your community? What is the, what’s in it for them? What do they get out of it? What’s going to take them away from their friends, families, PlayStations and whatever else.

Jono Bacon: (14:01)
And then the final step is when they’ve made that first contribution, validating it is making it clear we value what you did, we appreciate what you’ve accomplished him. And that is one piece of it. And I think when you, when you craft that well it means that it’s the easiest possible way for people to join your community in the same way that the very first level of pretty much every video game is a tutorial level for people to pick up the dynamics of how the game operates. The gaming industry, which is a multibillion dollar industry, is figured out the importance of that. The key thing then is you then step into a journey where you start out as a casual member where you don’t really know anyone, you feel a bit weird, you’ve got a bit of impostor syndrome, you don’t want to put a foot wrong and look stupid and then you eventually evolve into irregular where you’re there most days participating and then a very small number of these people will become core members.

Jono Bacon: (14:50)
And the way in which we move people forward through those three phases is through a series of incentives. And the reason why I break it into those three phases is because each phase requires different bits of strategy. So, for example, when someone joins a company in the brand new accompany, what do most companies provide them with? They provide them with mentors that provide them with education, that provide them with a lot of validation that provide them with very concrete things for them to get started with. You want to do the same thing for the casual phase of your community. And the goal in my mind is throughout, throughout this journey is 66 days. Scientifically, it takes 66 days to build a habit. Whether you want to get fit, whether you want to stop drinking, whether you want to join a community, and when you can get someone to join for 66 days fairly consistently, then they enter into the Regulus phase.

Jono Bacon: (15:35)
And at that point, um, you know, you, you, you apply a strategy to that pace as well. The key thing in my mind is you’re always, you’re weaving in pieces that move people forward from the minute they discover your community to how they go to that on ramp, into the casual, into the regular, into the core. And that’s one of the reasons why I think being intentional about communities is so it’s so critical. It’s not about frankly just signing people up to newsletters and throwing social media out there. Those are tactics that need to sit in terms of a wider strategy. Well, and I think that’s, that’s the kind of the thing that talking about jobs of the future, right? Um, it does require some deep understanding and expertise. Um, and you talked a lot about the whole human psychology element, right? Neuroscience, um, talking about, you know, motivations, the science of motivation.

Jono Bacon: (16:29)
There’s several different pieces that are involved with being able to have a successful community, some of those sciences a little bit. This is what I find so exciting about this. Like I’ve been, it’s funny, uh, on a side note, I, we, my family just got a puppy recently and we hired a dog trainer to help us, you know, train the dog and he’s been doing it for full ears. And the first session I had with him, he said, I love doing this. This is what I love about this is excited about it as he was in day one. And I feel the same way about my career. One of the things I love about this is it’s this fascinating intersection of, like I said earlier on psychology and technology and workflow. The psychology piece I think is particularly interesting. So some of you’ll, you’ll, um, your audience members may be familiar with behavioral economics, which is the, the, the science of we as human beings acting very irrational ways.

Jono Bacon: (17:21)
Like, we should eat healthy all the time. We should save for retirement. We should, you know, shouldn’t drink much alcohol. We shouldn’t take any drugs. But what do people do? You know, they drink, they drink too much, they eat fast food after they’ve drunk too much. They don’t say for retirement. We do these things, but we do them in consistent ways. Uh, where we’re predictably irrational is done. Our reality Robocom a lot of this offers like a psychological blueprint for how communities operate. So I’ll give you a couple of examples. One something called the Ikea effect, which is, you know, if you went and bought an Ikea table and I went and bought exactly the same table and we both produced, built them ourselves, you’d think your table is better than mine. And I would think my table was better than yours. And the reason for that is because we over value our own creations.

Jono Bacon: (18:05)
Now we know that scientifically. And that therefore has massive implications for how you build collaborative environments where you’ve got peer review, like a very common thing in communities is someone produces something and then the community provides input and review on that and to maintain a maintain quality. But it also provides fantastic feedback for the original personal, the person who produced the original piece of work. So if we know that we overvalue each of those creations, therefore we know we should have an objective way of putting in place peer review. You know, another example is, is that we as human beings consistently mimic our leaders. Um, and so consequently, one of the questions I get from a lot of journalists is, okay, we, we’ve got a lot of kind of outrage culture right now and, and in many cases, bad leadership in businesses. How do you deal with that?

Jono Bacon: (18:54)
And one element of this is not just setting the right kind of expectations around conduct, but it’s also instilling good leadership because people will mimic that leaders. But you need to teach people how to be good leaders. And so that can trickle downhill. So to me it’s, it’s an understanding of the behavioral sciences piece. Um, I think is one element, but the other element as well as just understanding the drivers behind why people join communities and why people operate in the way that they do. So one of the things I talk about early in the book is, I mentioned this earlier in this interview, is we want to get to that. Yeah. Sense of belonging. The way in which we get to belonging is we need to have access to the ability to participate in one way. And then we need to be able to make contributions and build a sense of self confidence.

Jono Bacon: (19:39)
And when you build a sense of self confidence, because that contribution to the loop is, is successful, it builds a real sense of dignity, which is kind of in a piece in our grouping. And when you keep doing that, you move to that sense of, of, of belonging. And what pushes all of that forward is social capital, which is this kind of free flowing, unspoken currency, which is not just doing great work, but it’s also the tonality and how you do that work. Like everybody who is listening to this or watching this will be familiar with those amazing colleagues that you’ve worked with who don’t just do great work, but they’re kind, they have empathy. You want to be around them. That generates as much social capital as the work itself. So,

Jim Rembach: : (20:20)
so as you’re talking, I mean, I’m starting to think much like we build a career paths, you know, within an organization and a half to build member paths for our community as well. Yeah. Just that, that, that adding value back to that person, enriching them, having them come out with something better if they were never to leave community is what’s going to help to continue to feed and grow the community.

Jono Bacon: (20:44)
You know, Jim, that’s, that’s a really, I never really thought about that. That’s a good point. As the, in, in, in really strong businesses, you have a, there is a career progression path, right? And it gives people a reason, Oh, a sense of momentum. Um, and one of the things, another psychological piece that’s so critical here is the, the value of, of, of meaning, um, is that we all want to do work that’s meaningful. Like I mentioned Don Aurelio, you honor, I can’t remember which book he wrote this in. I think it was predictably irrational, but he talked about, um, you know, a guy who was working on a merger and acquisition strategy and he spent weeks working on this presentation deck. You’re sleeping at work under his desk and the whole, the whole nine yards. And then the deal was called off and he was completely devastated. And even though he’d enjoyed the work and he felt like he was doing great work throughout all of that, it just didn’t erase that memory because it wasn’t going to have the meaning that it intended. And that’s why you know that the core ethos and the goals of the community is as critical as the pieces that you put in place. Um, so you know, that journey that I mentioned, the other one really is kind of the equivalent of carving out that kind of courageous in the company.

Jim Rembach: : (21:52)
And so when I start thinking about, you know, all of the different elements and components and the potential value, uh, that getting this right can add to an organization, I mean, it’s quite significant. So good with the communities that you’ve been involved with. Kind of give us a little bit of perspective of magnitude of growth and timeline because I think that’s important cause you and I also had the opportunity to talk about it. It’s like this doesn’t happen overnight. This is not a built, this is not a build it and then hold them back because they’re going to come flooding in thing. Yeah,

Jono Bacon: (22:23)
exactly. I mean, one thing I, you know, that I, I say a few times in people thought is I, I try to be like, I’m an optimist. I’m definitely a glass half full. I think there’s enormous amounts of opportunity in the world for most people. Um, but I’m a realist. Like this is it, it takes time. There is no silver bullet. There’s no guarantee, right? That the recommendations, the approach that I’ve used over the years is the most reliable approach that I’ve found, but there’s no guarantee that it will work for everybody. Um, and I think therefore what we see is we see growth figures that vary somewhat depending on the focus and the, the, the, the, the goal of the community and, and the appetite of the potential members of that community and also kind of the sector that it’s in. So for example, in technology and in the, the open source world with, with the collaborative model, we’ve seen remarkable success.

Jono Bacon: (23:20)
We’ve seen like huge projects such as Linux, Cuban, Netties, TensorFlow, uh, OpenStack, Ubuntu. These projects have had massive growth and have really impacted how technology is built and delivered. Um, and the open source is basically the way in which technology is built today. It is the way in which we do business now. And that is fundamentally driven by communities. The companies that succeed. There are the ones that that well, um, but we’ve seen communities in other areas be a little bit more variable. Like I’ve worked for example with some contracting organizations that are focused on construction. And that’s more difficult because a lot of people who work in construction, the people who are the owners, um, and the, the kind of the general contractors, um, they don’t spend, you know, they, in many cases they operate only by phone, sometimes by fax and occasionally by email.

Jono Bacon: (24:13)
So it’s, it’s possible to build strong regional inpost and communities like mixes and events and things like that. But if you want to build a more typical, uh, set of events that’s with, with the electronic pieces that are weaved in, it’s much more complicated to do that because that audience is by definition, they sure they’ve got a phone in their pocket, but they’re onsite most of the time they’re not SAP in front of a computer, then the dynamics are just different. And uh, and there’s, there’s a whole flurry of those pieces in between that sit there. What’s exciting to me is that we’re finding more and more use cases where we see these kind of hockey stick growth curves in new and interesting areas. So I’ll give you one example. Uh, one of the contributors to people power that was really proud of is this guy called Joseph Gordon Levitt, who’s an Emmy award winning actor.

Jono Bacon: (25:02)
He was in Snowden, you know, who was in Looper and all these different movies. And I met him backstage at a conference that we were both keynoting and he built a community called hit record. And this is, it brings together artists, musicians, filmmakers, storytellers. And what they do is they come together to work. On a shared production and many of these productions of being showcased at Sundance and they’ve got hundreds of thousands of artists around the world who are working together on that. There weren’t many communities I’d seen that I’d done that well before, but they, they again, they kind of figured out another piece of the puzzle. So my F my belief is if you have an audience that’s interested in what you do, um, and do you feel like there are ways in which you can provide value to them through technology, support, documentation, events, whatever else you can build a community? Well, and as you were saying that too, I think it’s also important to note that, you know, once you think you have it figured out, think again.

Jono Bacon: (25:57)
You know, it’s interesting you say that. I remember I used to work for a company called canonical and I was there for about eight years and I left in 2014. Uh, and I’d written my previous book, the art of community and now I run a conference called the community leadership summit. I remember leaving the company thinking, Oh, I’ve got this community business all figured out. The amount that I’ve learned last five years is astronomical compared to what I knew back then. And that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to consult because I really, I just came to the conclusion that there’s so much more, I don’t know. Uh, and that makes it fun cause I would hate to be in a position where you feel like, all right, well we’ll figure all this out. I’ve completed the video game. There’s nothing more to learn. So, well, I think that’s the, you know, that’s the beauty and frustration of dealing with humanity, whether it’s customer, right? Customer experience, community management, development. I mean

Jim Rembach: : (26:43)
it just goes, you know, health care, it just goes on and on. Government does. All right. Crazy net. Okay. So when I start thinking about all this, I mean, we have to stay motivated ourselves. Yes. One of the ways that we do that at a call center, uh, the, the, uh, fast leader show is we look at quotes. Um, is there a quote or two that you like that helps to motivate you?

Jono Bacon: (27:07)
You know, um, I’ll be honest with you, I’m terrible at, uh, at remembering quotes and lyrics. Um, but there’s a couple of things that I think relate to this. The one quote that really has always kind of stuck by me is [inaudible]. Uh, I don’t think we really know where it comes from. Yeah. Is this too shall pass? And the idea of being that, Mmm.

Jim Rembach: : (27:29)

Jono Bacon: (27:30)
I think the story is, is that there was some leader of an army years ago who basically, um, you know, lost a huge battle and lost a bunch of his, his army. Mmm. And one of his friends basically went away and, and created this motto. This too shall pass the, he then basically tattooed on his arm and the point was in the worst possible moments, it will pass you, like you will find a way forward. Um, and I’m a huge believer in stoicism, um, this, this notion that we can train ourselves for how to deal with adversity effectively. And it’s a very stoic term. I think this came later than the original Stoics back in thousands of years ago. Um, but also when things are really good and everything’s going great, it’s going to pass too. So, um, you know, again, like I say, I’m pretty terrible with quotes, but stoicism for me is being one of the most critical elements that’s impacted micro.

Jono Bacon: (28:31)
Like if I’m being completely honest with you, when I was younger, I used to worry about everything I was, I wouldn’t say I was fearful, but I was nervous. Um, and I think some of it was I came from a fairly rural background and you know, entered into this ridiculous technology world. And, uh, you know, I didn’t do very well at school. You know, I got two DS in the nnn, uh, well my grades, you know, and uh, but when I discovered communities and the value of, of this, it really kind of transformed a lot of, of, of, uh, of, of what I’ve done. But you always have those doubts and stoicism is an incredibly powerful way. There’s a book called the obstacle is the way by Ryan holiday that I’d encourage everybody to read where it basically says just when things are really difficult, you can find an opportunity that’s inside of that obstacle. Um, and it, that speaks to me, cause I’m frankly a bit suspicious of all of these kinds of self-help people who walk on hot coals and all that kind of business. I just think it’s a bit ridiculous, but I like how practical stoicism is. So

Jim Rembach: : (29:32)
I think that, I think you bring up some really interesting, interesting points in regards to that. Um, I mean, I always refer to my wife as being very stoic. Right. Um, you know, because it doesn’t seem like things rattle her. Yeah. However, inside she be

Jono Bacon: (29:46)
going nuts. Well, the thing is as well is you can’t, you can’t take the humanity. There’s been times in my, in my life where, um, you know, really serious things have happened and I’ve, I’ve remained relatively calm and stoic, but I’ll tell you one thing, if I see you change lanes on a freeway without using your turn signal, it drives me bonkers. Like, it’s just, it’s something about that that winds me up. So, you know, it’s about the human condition.

Jim Rembach: : (30:15)
It is. This is the beauty of it. Okay. So you also mentioned something about the learning that has accelerated for you with doing consulting and having all these tons of different perspectives and work and all that. Um, and so one of the things I think, um, I’d like to talk about is one of the things that’s very common for others. It’s about getting over the hump now, whether or not it’s in relation into the learning or something else, but we can learn a lot by hearing other people’s stories. The one they’ve had to, you know, overcome and triumph and where you’ve gotten over the hump that you can share.

Jono Bacon: (30:47)
Oh, there’s been, there’s been a whole bunch. Um, um, I think stories are a really value. They’re a vessel for learning. You know, it’s how human beings share experience, I think. And because part of it in my mind is there is, there is a lesson in every story. Um, and, and it’s, and part of the fun is picking out what that lesson is in some ways. Um, you know, there’s, there’s been various ones across the course of my career. I mean, you know, I mentioned earlier on the fact that uh, I wasn’t a very, um, interested student at school. This is an early example where, um, in England you basically do your GCCS which your basic learning. And I got primarily season that and, but when I started my a levels, which are the two years between finishing school, uh, mandatory education and then going to university, like the level of what goes up significantly.

Jono Bacon: (31:36)
And around that time I joined my first band and I was completely distracted by music and that hence the two days in a nnn and then an N is, I think spelling your name wrong in the paper. It’s that bad. And so I, you know, when that happened, you know, my little 18 year old ego took a pretty serious dent and [inaudible] I was going to be the first person in my family to go to university. And I knew it, it meant a lot to my parents. And uh, so I just, you know, we went to the ultimate, you know, the, the, the, the university ended up going to, and I effectively taught my way in and I said to myself like, I am going to, I’m never going to have that happen to me again. Like I’m going to, it was like a wake up call in many ways.

Jono Bacon: (32:17)
And one of the things that I learned over the years was knowing your own psychology and how your psychology tends to react to things. So one of the things I discovered about myself is that may or may not apply to your, to your audience members is, is having a series of simple goals and also, you know, being a little, and do you think we can actually do this? Like, you know, do you think we could? Because my view is if you don’t ask, you don’t get right. So, um, so I think, um, I think that was one element. Another element of me I think was, was when I started my business, because to be honest with you, I, you know, I’d, I’d left canonical, I’d be an X prize, I’ve been at get hub and I was, I’d always had this urge to see if I could build my own business and run my own consulting practice, um, and learn more about what I’m doing from other companies.

Jono Bacon: (33:10)
But you have that nervousness of is it going to be any business out there? Alright. You know, and my wife was running a startup at the time, so she was taking a very limited salary because all of her value was tied up in equity. And you know, we have a kid. So is this something that’s going to work? And I just had this sense of, you know, wall Sada, I’m just going to get out there and give it a go and see what happens. And uh, and I’ve learned more and more a screw it philosophy. Um, but in many cases it generally works out fine and actually the hardest lessons in your life. Ah, the most valuable ones. Um, I’ll give you one more example that I, I’ve, I’ve mentioned before to some people was, um, I did, uh, I was asked to do a keynote for a very large tech conference called [inaudible].

Jono Bacon: (33:55)
This was five or six years ago. This was in front of five, four or 5,000 people. I had 15 minutes, like a lot of these keynotes and I had my separate 40 minute presentation during the day and I thought to myself and I, you know, 40 minute presentation, no problem. I’d done a load of those. And I was really struggling to put together a 50 minute presentation. And, um, uh, because I like to tell a story in my talks and I as like, how can I do this in 10, 15 minutes? So I got up and I did it and it sucked. It was terrible. It was an objectively bad keynote and they got off the stage and I said to my friend, you know, it wasn’t good, was it? And he said, some people are good at writing short stories and some people are going to write in it.

Jono Bacon: (34:33)
Uh, uh, novels, my friend Steve Wally said that, um, and I got off the stage. I was mortified. I felt like I’d embarrass myself in front of my whole industry and I’d ruin this opportunity. And I thought, what’s the best way to deal with this? So I wrote a blog post that day that said, I just keynote it, OS gone and it was terrible. And these are the things that I’ve learned. Uh, and a lot of people came up to me afterwards and said it was really refreshing to see someone be that open about things. And I think sometimes that’s the approach that I’ve taken to getting over the hump is just challenge yourself, be vulnerable and, and you’ll get them. Well, I think, thanks for sharing that because for me, as I was listening to you, I started also saying that, you know what? You just need to put things behind you.

Jono Bacon: (35:14)
Yeah. Which is hard, easier said than done. Right. But I think some of it, and I don’t know whether this is just me, I just turned 40. I think an element of this is just getting older, of just thinking, you know, wha whatever. Um, sometimes it’s, I think you just got to say whatever. Like I, I always say to myself, my philosophy is I refer to it as my rocking chair moment, which is when I get to be a very old man, uh, hopefully and you know, my friends, uh, have all died off. Um, you know, my gin drinking, uh, lifestyle as, as, as made me healthy. But, um, no one looks back and says, I wish I’d worked more. Everybody looks back and says, I wish had spent more time with my family, with my friends. I wish I’d focused on my passions more.

Jono Bacon: (35:59)
And that is, that is with me every single day. It’s one of the, one of the main reasons why I’m a consultant is because I want to be at home so I can see my son. Like it’s not just work. Then I think some of that is saying, you know, when something goes wrong thinking, is anyone going to remember this? No, probably not. Okay. So we’re not, you know, you talked about this maturation process of yourself and you know, really embarking on what, for me, what I see as the very, very early adopter stage of, of benefiting from, you know, the, and getting the power of of community, even though you’ve been at it for a while, this is still a really new stuff. Um, so, but when I think about goals, um, what is one goal that you have for all of this?

Jono Bacon: (36:43)
Um, the, the one goal, and this is, I like goals to be concrete and this sadly is not very concrete. My goal is when I leave this planet, Mmm. I want us as a species to be better at that, collaborating together in communities. And I want to play a role in shaping that. You know, it’s a fairly broad ambition. Like I know we’re better together as, as a species. I’m sure there are downsides of people getting, like people do get together and they do bad things. But I think as a general rule, the human condition is a kind one. And um, and I want to do everything that I can to understand the blueprint for that and to communicate it outwards. And I don’t think it necessarily means having all of the answers. I think it just means in many cases, packaging up the right answers in a way that’s easily consumable. But that’s my number one goal. Um, I don’t particularly care about, you know, being incredibly wealthy. Uh, you know, perfectly fine financially. That’s my number one goal. So, and the fast leader Legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on, let’s get a quick word from our sponsor.

Speaker 4: (37:53)
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Jim Rembach: : (38:12)
board slash better. All right, here we go. Fast leader Legion. It’s time for the home. Oh, okay. Jonah, I hope they hold on is a part of our show where you give us good insights, facts. So I’m gonna ask you questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid response. Is that gonna help us onward and upward faster. Jono bacon. Are you ready to hold down? I do my best.

Jono Bacon: (38:37)
So what is holding you back from being an even better leader? I think what’s holding me back honestly is I need to craft my message better. I think I’m still discovering how to get what I want to do and get the value of this out to a broader audience. So I’m learning every day.

Jim Rembach: : (38:54)
What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?

Jono Bacon: (38:59)
Um, don’t take yourself too seriously and try hard.

Jim Rembach: : (39:03)
And what is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

Jono Bacon: (39:09)
Mmm, I think one of the secrets is, is I, I’m an eternal student. I’m, I’m always wanting to learn and grow and I look at myself critically, but not too much.

Jim Rembach: : (39:18)
Critically. And what is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?

Jono Bacon: (39:25)
Um, friends, uh, friends, uh, colleagues. I’ve spent a lot of time not intentionally just getting to know good people and uh, I’m, I’m boosted and Boyd by the great people that I’ve got to know over the years.

Jim Rembach: : (39:39)
And what would be one book that you recommend to our Legion and it could be from Jen, any genre. Of course we’re going to put a link to people powered on your show notes page as well,

Jono Bacon: (39:47)
right? The book that I would read, two books actually if I can have two. Um, the seven habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey is an unbelievable book for the way in which you approach your life and your career. And I mentioned this earlier on, but the obstacle is the way by Ryan holiday is a fantastic book for really seeing the value that is surrounding us even in our hardest moments.

Jim Rembach: : (40:09)
Okay. Fast leader Legion, you can find links to that. And another bonus information from today’s show by going to fast bacon. Okay. Jono this is my last hump day. Hold on question. But imagine you’ve given, been given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you can take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you, but you can only take one. You can’t take it all. So what knowledge or piece of skill would you take back with you and why?

Jono Bacon: (40:35)
What I would take back is the importance of, of measuring and reacting to what you measure. I wasn’t doing enough of that when I was 25. Um, I was feeling my way forward, uh, in terms of my career and what I was trying to do and, and I wish I had, I wish I’d read more and I wish I had, uh, measured what I was doing and evaluated. I was, as I was doing each day, essentially being a detective, being Colombo, uh, being Quincy to, to, to see what is surrounding me. Uh, I didn’t have that visibility when I was 25 and I would do that in a heartbeat.

Jim Rembach: : (41:16)
John, I’ve had fun with you today. Can you a fast leader Legion, how they can connect with you.

Jono Bacon: (41:21)
Yeah, it’s been a blast and I really appreciate, have me on. You can, people can go to Jonah that’s J O N O B bacon, like the delicious Uh, and you can find out more about my work, about the, about other things right there. And then also on Twitter is probably another way I’m just, John of bacon is my hashtag and also frankly, I just love to have a really direct relationship with. So if you, I’m happy to for people to email me, Jonah, Jonah if there’s anything that you want to talk about, drop me a note.

Jim Rembach: : (41:50)
Jono bacon, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. The fast leader Legion honors you and thank you for helping us get over the hump.