S2E8 The Speed of Change Edition with Michael Jackson

S2E8 The Speed of Change Edition with Michael Jackson

James chats with Michael Jackson, a strategic business marketing and communications expert with over 30 years experience.


Born in Britain, and London educated and trained in business strategy development and communications. He’s worked personally for business leaders such as Richard Branson and Bill Gates, as well as many other leading global businesses, including Qatar Airways, HP, Goodyear and Barclays.


Today, he’s internationally sought after as a professional speaker, and also become globally renowned as a specialist on the subject of change in the business context, he’s carved out an enviable reputation as one of the best business to business speakers and facilitators on the global professional speaking circuit, having addressed over 2700 conferences. Wow, across Africa, Asia, Europe, the US and Middle East, his audiences ranging from factory workers to heads of state.


He has the ability to consistently and successfully predicted detail, changing market performances, trends, and custom consumer behaviours with unerring accuracy for companies, industries and markets around the world. And all while motivating his business audiences to perform to a better personal standard.


They discuss hotels, airlines and travel tips, living in South Africa, hotel carpets, being easy to work with, motivational speaking, change, learning from China, Facebook dating and roundabouts.


Contact Michael:


Mobile: 0027 (0)83 641 5809
Skype:  theothermichaeljackson

Click for the full transcript

James Nathan  1:00  Hello, and welcome to The Only One Business Show with me your host James Nathan, and today I’ve got a fabulous guest for you. He’s somewhere in the middle of what sounds like the most beautiful part of Africa. He’s over 30 years of strategic business marketing and communications experience. Born in Britain, and London educated and trained in business strategy development and communications. He’s worked personally for business leaders such as Richard Branson and Bill Gates, as well as many other leading global businesses, including Qatar Airways, HP, Goodyear and Barclays. Today, he’s internationally sought after as a professional speaker, and also become globally renowned as a specialist on the subject of change in the business context, he’s carved out an enviable reputation as one of the best business to business speakers and facilitators on the global professional speaking circuit, having addressed over 2700 conferences. Wow, across Africa, Asia, Europe, the US and Middle East, his audiences ranging from factory workers to heads of state. He has the ability to consistently and successfully predicted detail, changing market performances, trends, and custom consumer behaviours with unerring accuracy for companies, industries and markets around the world. And all while motivating his business audiences to perform to a better personal standard. Please welcome the other Michael Jackson. Michael, lovely to have you on.


Michael Jackson  2:36  Well, James listening to that kind of makes me blush wildly. So I’m glad this is just a radio podcast rather than a visual thing as well. I can’t believe that’s me, I mean, it’s extraordinary. I mean, when I think back to what I’ve done, you’ve made me feel very old Mr. Nathan, but thank you, and it’s a pleasure to be with you.


James Nathan  2:54  Well, you know what, I’m sorry about that. But it comes with the territory, I guess. 2700 conferences, goodness, that’s a lot.


Michael Jackson  3:01  It’s weird. I was chatting with my wife, who I don’t see terribly often. And she was talking to me about the accounting state of my business, funnily enough, just this week, and she said to me, you know, last year, we haven’t done the numbers yet for this year. But last year, I did over 180 nights in hotels. And she said, I’ve realized now that’s why we don’t argue as much as we used to, before you kind of got more successful. And I think she’s probably right. I mean, the last thing you want to do is argue long distance with your spouse, partner or significant other. I tried that once with her, by the way on WhatsApp, and I lost the argument. So….


James Nathan  3:42  Where are you today? You mentioned somewhere in the middle of Africa somewhere beautiful?


Michael Jackson  3:45  Yeah, in fact, I’m it I’m sitting in glorious sunshine in the middle of South Africa. And like a number of my friends who more recently than I, we saw the light from the British perspective. And I’m based between Johannesburg and London, mainly. But a number of my friends have more recently seen the light than I did. And they’ve moved out of Britain because of the Brexit debacle. And I’ve got a bunch of British business people that I meet regularly when I can, in this part of the world who’ve lock, stock and barrel move their businesses out to South Africa. And they call themselves a group called Brexidus, this, which I think is actually quite cool. We have sunshine, we’ve got great weather, we’ve got oh, man, just a really cool quality of life. And we depress ourselves by reading the newspapers digitally from the UK every morning, when we’re in this part of the world.


James Nathan  4:36  Well, you know, South Africa is an absolutely magnificent place. I grew up in Perth. So just across the water from you there. And it’s interesting to talk to you, to here you saying about people going back to South Africa or going to South Africa. Yeah. When I was young, you know, in the 70s, and 80s in Western Australia, there was a plethora of South Africans coming to live in Perth, and escaping on whatever was going on at the time. And we should call him the boat people, Michael, because I always had a boat.


Michael Jackson  5:07  Oh, God, yeah. And, and they always used to whinge a lot about the country, they’d left behind, going to the dogs. Many of them have returned to South Africa. And it’s been a long distance trip, taking their furniture on holiday, because they’re now back here, because they’ve realized that life and the quality of it, even though Oz is a pretty damn good place to be. The quality of life in this part of the world is absolutely sensational. But it’s a weird thing for me. You know, I tried to put my dress on LinkedIn is 37,000 feet. And LinkedIn wouldn’t allow it because they said, it’s not a real address. And I said, it is. Somebody the other day at a conference when I was moaning about it said to me, why don’t you put your address as 7A. Which is a pretty good seat to have on an aircraft, I guess. And I said, Well, I’ll go for 23C, and I tried, because I didn’t want to look like I was bragging. And I tried that. And they told me that that wasn’t an address either. So I despair, and they won’t let you live in two cities. So LinkedIn is way behind the global times.


James Nathan  6:05  30,000….. put my teeth back in.  37,000 feet sounds like an interesting place to live for a while. The amount of hotels you stay in, I hope you’re getting good service when you get there.


Michael Jackson  6:19  Yeah, it’s weird. I did a conference recently with Coca Cola and met a man called Tom Verabunker, who’s the global export director for Coca Cola. And when I met him and worked with him, very privileged to do so, we were checked into a luxury hotel by the client and both flew from one city to another and it was a really good hotel, I’d stayed in it before the name was pretty good. Now Tom told me that he spends 240 nights a year in hotels, traveling the world on behalf of that company. And he knows that what a hotel is, like, he tells me from the quality of the reception carpet, and true to form as we will walked into this particular hotel having arrived at it, he looked down at the carpet. He said to me, Michael, we’re not staying here. I said, none of you don’t understand. The conference is here tomorrow. And he said, I don’t care. And he booked he and I into another another hotel in the same city that he knew. And he said, Don’t worry, Coca Cola will pay for it. Because I’m not staying at a place with a crappy carpet in reception. So there you are. I’ve never been that fussy personally, James, but maybe those people who travel really extensively are.


James Nathan  7:28  Well, I guess you pick up on things but also the devil’s in the detail, isn’t it? You know, if the carpets no good, maybe something but maybe he’s guessed their not looking after that.


Michael Jackson  7:38  Although I see Premier Inn, they’ve come out with a thing, saying they’re now going to roll up business suites in the hotels. I’ve quite liked the cheap and cheery Premier Inns in the UK to be honest, as I’ve traveled around, you see, I’m not I’m not a hotel snob, I’ll stay wherever the sheets are clean, wherever the breakfast is good. And wherever I’ve got a safety deposit box to lock up my spare glasses because I carry, nothing valuable on me ever. But that’s it really


James Nathan  8:02  Well, that’s…. as someone lives in South Africa a lot looking for safe deposit box. It’s unusual. But no, I’ve been a very similar standard when I’m staying away. It must be clean, it must be non smoking. Other than that I am not too bothered.


Michael Jackson  8:18  It’s interesting thing, though, as well. And I must tell you that, you know, a lot of clients who booked me around the world, the reason they wanted LinkedIn to give my addresses as being on an aircraft is that a lot of people look at you and go, he lives where I mean, I’ve heard of him, he’s a good speaker, I’d like to have him. But I’m not paying him to fly from wherever he lives. And of course, where I choose to live is never my clients problems. So on my rate for my conferences, I include my travel to the nearest major city. So if you want me in Italy, you pick me up out of Rome or Milan, if you want me in the States, you pick me up out of New York, or Chicago for that matter. And I make the travel internationally my problem, because I choose to live where I do. And it’s not the clients issue. And I think that’s helped me quite substantially in terms of being able to market myself better as a speaker around the world. The secret to it is of course, thanks to people like Qatar Airways and British Airways, I have hundreds of thousands of air miles. So it doesn’t cost me an awful lot to fly around.


James Nathan  9:19  And also those, those tier points are pretty handy as well aren’t they?


Michael Jackson  9:23  Yeah, absolutely. Although the standard of lounges is going down dramatically. And now you see now a sound like a snob. I don’t want to do that. I’m not a snob at all. But you know, when I travel, I want to sleep, I want to get on the plane, I’m not interested in terrible airline food, I’m not interested in movies, I want to I want to lie down and sleep and get off at the other end refreshed and raring to go from my gig.


James Nathan  9:45  I was talking to someone very recently about airlines. And he said, you know, people talk a lot in America about Southwest and how much fun it is, and all that sort of stuff. But he doesn’t want that he wants to be left alone and get to sleep. And some airlines get it and look after their customers that way and some don’t. And I think that is a very common issue with with that sort of business. When you’re flying so much, is there a big difference between the airlines these days?


Michael Jackson  10:11  Massively. And I think that in particular, the Middle Eastern Airlines, above them all this Qatar Airways. I’m not saying that, because I’ve worked with them. And I’ve worked with them on strategic development. And I’ve spoken at one or two of their conferences, so they’re not really a full time client. But Qatar Airways delivers one of the finest airline products I’ve ever been on. British Airways by comparison struggles, you know, they’re just, they’re just not up there on the levels of service. But then again, recently, I traveled from Dublin to Chicago. And I was going to travel from the UK, across to Chicago. But a very, very good friend of mine, one of the girls who’s brought her business from London, a global business here to South Africa, called Nina Inpinta. She runs a travel consultancy for top people in the corporate world. She told me to fly to America via Dublin. So instead of an extra night in Manchester, I decided that at great personal cost, I’d have to have a night in Dublin, before I flew to America. And I’m so glad I did because that beer is just sensational. And I mean it was the same price as Manchester except that when you fly from Dublin as you can from Shannon and I now believe one or two other airports around the world, you can pre clear American Immigration before you fly and customs so that when you land as we subsequently did in Chicago, your arrive as a domestic arrival. So there’s no security to go through nothing, you pick up your bag, and you go. And the the key thing behind that story is the saving of time and hours, which I much more appreciated than anything else. I think the ability to avoid long queues at both ends of the you know of the airport when you travel is sensational.


James Nathan  11:48  You know, if people don’t get anything else from this conversation, of course they will they now know that that’s the way to enter the US.


Michael Jackson  11:56  Oh god, yes, I think there’s the number of countries that now offer that. And the other big thing for me is I try and avoid Heathrow like a plague. Which is why I quite often detour around and base myself from Manchester. And I’ll go into a European destination, and then take a short haul from Amsterdam or wherever it may be to get into Manchester, because Heathrow is just, it’s too old, too slow, too many people. You know, even with a British passport, which of course I have been born there. It’s just too slow and horrible for me. So your travel advice from Michael Jackson, you can rename your podcast James, if you like.


James Nathan  12:32  Well, if you ever want to know the best way to go anywhere, or the best, the biggest tips for travel, someone who flies a lot is the person to talk to so you know. I use Heathrow as my sort of main airport because it’s the closest. I live near Oxford and everything else is a bloody nightmare, to be honest. But I don’t fly nearly as much as you


Michael Jackson  12:56  Well look they’re going to put in new technology there soon as well. So it’ll be seamless, a more seamless travel experience and long overdue, but sorry, you were gonna say


James Nathan  13:04  Yeah, all in good time. Now these things, unfortunately, cost of the airports a lot of money. And they don’t make enough so they have to have to skin us for every little bit we have. When you look at the hotels, you stay because I’m quite interested in…..  hotels are usually a good indicator of service in different countries. Where do you see…. where the greatest hotels? Where’s the best service in the hospitality industry?


Michael Jackson  13:29  Well, again, you know, when you look at what’s going on with the development of property in the Middle East, you look at the new standard. I was lucky enough to do some work in Dubai for the Jumeirah group. And of course, they own some iconic properties, you know, you don’t get better than the invented seven star service that they deliver. But you pay through the nose for that. And at the other end of the scale, as I’ve mentioned, you know, a Premier Inn for me, is clean, functional and simple. And if that’s what you’re looking for in the business world, then so be it. You know, their Wi Fi works, their beds are comfy, the breakfast is more than edible. So I think there’s a world of difference in between how much luxury you want and what you don’t want. But mostly, you know, I think that, you know, when I’m traveling around the world, I just want as I mentioned earlier, clean a clean bed, a clean bathroom, fresh towels, and a good safe. And that’s it and then I’m ready to roll. I don’t really want the rest of the service stuff that hotels offer. I’m not interested in massages, and I don’t often eat into hotels, which is why again, the Premier Inns for me a great being owned by Whitbread, you know they’ve got all these great pubs next to them where you can have a good meal and a good pint once you’ve parked the car, because obviously you don’t want to drink and drive in this day and age.


James Nathan  14:40  I think there’s an interesting thing with that kind of hotel, and I particularly like Premier Inn myself, actually, because I find and a lot of people talk about as well as that, because the rooms are identical. It doesn’t feel like a new hotel every time you sleep. And so you actually end up sleeping better, which is quite a nice thing. But when when we look at…. within the airline industry, obviously there’s huge competition, but there’s also massive level differences between the level of comfort that you can buy yourself if you choose to. And same in the hotel industry, what I think very clever about that kind of Premier Inn experience is that they’ve taken some of the better parts of a stay and actually listened to what the business travelers looking for. What do they want from this day? And what do they want everywhere they go. And, managed to provide that at a price which is which is very, very reasonable. I’m a I’m a big advocate of learning from the best if I can, whenever I can. When you go and stay in some of these very flashy hotels, obviously there is a lot added to the service that you get the you mentioned massages and all that kind of thing. But just the basic standard, coming through the door, going to bed having some breakfast and leaving again. What can we learn from those big hotels that we can take into our businesses?


Michael Jackson  16:05  I think the elements of service, you know, the human touch. It’s a largely impersonal business, which is why I think hotels have lost so much to things like Airbnb. But then you come back to the one thing that Airbnb can’t deliver just a really good service. I mean, I have one particular hotel that I stay up regularly when I travel in the UK. And the guys know me by name at reception, even though the reception has changed all the time. They try and give me a familiar room, the one that I’ve stayed in before. And it’s just that pleasantry, that meet and greet, the one that just says, wow, yeah, you know, we welcome you back, we welcome the fact that you’re spending your pounds, your euros, your dollars, or whatever it may be. And I think service in this day and age is absolutely a value differentiator. So the luxury hotels have it because they drill it into them, the more budget end can deliver a little bit more service, and that’s why people are moaning about things like British Airways. You know, they’ve almost done down British Airways to a level where they just don’t deliver a basic service anymore. And in fact, you know, it’s an extraordinary thing. The Boeing corporation that builds these jets, talks about passengers as payload. And I think that’s been reflected in what people feel about Boeing in recent times, because of the things that have taken place. You know, with the 737 Max in particular, and all the recent horrible airline incidents they’ve had. You can’t talk about your customers as payload. And when you realize that everyone that spends money with you as a human being, and all we want is basic human decency, you know, if you can deliver basic human decency with a smile on your face, and it’s not a chore, people have got passionate, the other ones that do very, very well. I mean, you know, I’ve always believed I’m privileged to do what I do around the world, I’ve earned my way up through it to do it. And I every single day for me is a privilege. So that’s, you know, when I meet a client, for example, at a conference day, I don’t care if I’m speaking at four in the afternoon, I go for a day, I sign a nondisclosure document with my clients. And often they don’t have one, so I send them my own basic one. Because I want to sit there and learn from them. I don’t want to learn about their business before they’ve given me the privilege of helping influence their people that you know, at my time slot on the agenda. But I like to meet my clients at the door very first thing in the morning with a cappuccino because they worry about the speaker not turning up. And they also worry once they know the speakers there about whether they get good coffee. So if I meet them at the door when they arrive with a cappuccino. That to me is just a little bit of service level that thinks more about the client. And you know, there’s a weird thing, James, you know, this from, you know, being the great speaker across the world of conferencing and eventing that you are as well, we’ve all met the odd speaker and more than an old speaker sadly, these days, who thinks they could sell you their bottled bathwater, because they become something special. You don’t my wife reminds me, there’s always a message in my glove box in the car, or between the seats when I get back in at the airport that I fly to that’s home. And there’s always a message that says, hey, superstar, we need bread and milk, or would you please stop and get dog food


James Nathan  19:21  What a great grounding that is.


Michael Jackson  19:23  Oh, yeah, we’re privileged you and I to do what we do along with the rest of our colleagues and it’s all about great service. And if we can be of service to people, wow, they enjoy it. They respect it. And they respect you and enjoy you by return. So I think it’s a win win.


James Nathan  19:39  But I think you’ve hit something really interesting there when you said enjoy. You know, we love to work with people we like to work with because they’re fun. Why would you want to work for somebody who’s hard to work?


Michael Jackson  19:49  Yeah, absolutely. I’m that, you know, people who are listening to this will always have that one person in their office. They can imagine them now in their minds eye. You know what they look like how bloody grumpy they are, how much they moan, how they…. when life is just a chore? I like to avoid people that like the plague. Because I’ve tried to convince them that life is otherwise. And they’re so bloody miserable. They’ll never be convinced. So I don’t believe in the power of motivational speaking either, by the way, because you can’t tell ostriches that they’re going to fly to work on a Friday afternoon because on the Friday afternoon, they’ll go oh, yes, we love that we’ll fly to work on Monday morning, they walk because they’re ostriches. So this is good motivational stuff. My goodness, I think true motivation comes from service, getting your heart out there, putting your heart on the line and everything that you do and enjoying yourself enormously.


James Nathan  20:40  Fantastic. Motivational speaking’s an interesting thing. I’m glad you’ve opened that can of worms because whenever I’ve been called a motivational speaker, I say I’m not a motivational speaker. And they say what do you mean? Well I can motivate you to do anything, unless you change your behaviour unless you do something differently. What a waste of time.


Michael Jackson  20:57  Yes. And the weirdest thing for me is what I’ve learned, you know, I study change. And that’s all I’ve ever done. since the days of working in the advertising industry. Before I became a full time speaker around the world. I’ve always been fascinated by change. And the human brain resists change, naturally. We evolved to be apex predators as humans, but my goodness, you know, it took a long time for us to get here. And the fact of the matter is that we don’t like change at all. So we go through whenever we’re confronted by change, this kind of negative approach to it, it’s this kind of like surprise, that a bit of frustration, then disappointment and a bit of fear, a bit of denial even, before the negative stuff eventually runs out takes a long while to get there. And then we start a bit of an upswing from the change curve, as I call it, into a little bit of trial and acceptance, and a bit of progress and belief, and finally delivery. But what’s intriguing about that is that, you know, as creatures of habit, we go to work every morning, turning left or right out of our driveway, and whatever mode of transport we’re in we get stuck in traffic. And then we moan about traffic in general terms, what we’ve got to realize is we shouldn’t be moaning about traffic, because we are the bloody traffic. That’s what it is, it’s us. Try something different. But you see your brain…. if you left home tomorrow, and turned right instead of left out of your driveway. If you try to drive on a different route to work or took a different mode of transport. there’d be some stuff going on in your head that you’d be hearing and stuff like that guy Jackson was an idiot, man, why did you listen to that? How long have you lived where you’ve lived, and you think by now, you figured out the best way to get to the office on the right time. And if you put down the window of whatever mode of transport you’re in, you’ll realize those voices don’t come from the outside, and they come from the inside. And we resist change, always. And we look back in the rearview mirror of life. And yet the future is coming at us so bloody quickly, and so different and so unknown. And we’re looking backwards into the rearview mirror, hoping that we can solve problems, because we’ve seen something like it before. And we haven’t James, you know that I know that. Change will never happen as slowly as it is today ever again. And life is going to be incredibly different. And if we don’t change constantly as humans, we run the risk of being left behind. I sound like a motivational speaker now. And that’s not what I intended to do. But I do think that if you can, if you shape the future, it’s yours to grasp. If the future changes you. It can be very dangerous and very detrimental to your health and well being. Boy, that sounds….. Let’s go back and re record all of that because that….


James Nathan  23:45  Well I really enjoy. But also you’ve got me thinking. So in season one of this podcast, the last episode, I spoke with Pam Warren, who’s a very good friend of mine. And she said said really interesting because she works….. her life with changed radically because she was in a terrible accident. And she said now she’s embrace change to the point where if life is too simple, she throws a grenade in and changes things. He needs that level of change all the time. Which is fabulous


Michael Jackson  24:19  Love it.


James Nathan  24:20  When we talk about the speed of change. And you said, you know, the world’s never going to change as slowly as it is now. I think that’s a really interesting way to put it because it is changing phenomenally quickly. Work’s changing phenomenally quickly as well. How is work going to change in the future?


Michael Jackson  24:40  Well, let me put it in conference terms, first of all, because you can see what’s happening in our world, right? The old 45 minute keynote is dead. Now people want a short, sharp stab of something, a 20 minute keynote. People want to be involved in a conference, not lectured that from a stage, but they want to get dialogue going. Because fatigue has that in. And I think that all good speakers are changing their industry around that. But in the workflow, you know, of modern life, when you think about it now go back two generations, and the people that are looking at life today, from two generations ago, are bewildered, they’re baffled, and they’re not embracing. What we have to do in a world of uncharted waters. You know, it’s absolutely bizarre that what we’ve got to do is take a fresh look at what’s happening around us and learn to embrace it. What are the kind of things that are changing? Well, you know, I guess that the way we consume information, the total transparency that exists in the world, means that people tap on glass and expect an instant answer in this day and age. If you’re in a service industry, and you’re not delivering at the speed of tapping on glass, you’re in grave danger of being left behind. We want simplicity. If the art of the sound bite is important in terms of the media, well, the art of simplicity is equally important in the art of business management, you know, the old fashioned way of building a business and companies, wow, man, they haven’t changed very much since the Industrial Revolution. You know, when we started forming businesses, the only reference point we had, because nothing like that ever existed before the the mid 1700s. The only reference point we had was the army when groups of people had gotten together with a general at the bloody top and management levels going down to the grunt troops at the bottom. So we stole from the army, the business model back in the late mid 1700s. That we still use today. Well, infrastructures are being flattened today. Nobody wants that old hierarchical type old fashioned business. And if you’re delivering in that you’re drowning and bureaucracy. So you know you’re drowning in bureaucracy. You’re slowing yourself down, you’re slowing yourself down, you making yourself less relevant. And even though you go well I’m you know, I’m pretty up to date. I’ve got email, I mean, please come on, do me a favor. If you’ve got less than three emails in your box, right now, you’re up to date. If you haven’t, life is already passing you by you’re going to drown in it, or ignore it or lose some stuff, or whatever else it may be. Business is getting faster, changing, morphing, it’s very, very different. The way that we dress, the way that we speak, the way that we act, the way that we interact, doesn’t fit the old hierarchical model from the 1700s.


James Nathan  27:31  I’ve just quickly checked my inbox Michael


Michael Jackson  27:35  How many of you got? Admit it.


James Nathan  27:38  Six


Michael Jackson  27:38  Six is good. Six is good. Because three of those are from me in the last 15 minutes, right?


James Nathan  27:43  Well, I’m just…. actually, I always chuck them into a snooze thing. And they pop back when I need them. Which, actually two of them are from you yes. But keeping on top speed of information is very difficult isn’t it?


Michael Jackson  27:57  Yes and no, I think that you know that the information era has brought such radical change to us and the amount of information that’s there, I think you’ve got to learn to sift it quickly. And you’ve got to be aware of what’s relevant, you know, the old Confucian style of Chinese business, identify what’s important. number two, is eliminate everything else. And number three is what’s left on your important list. If you can’t do that on your own automated delegate it or ask for help. Now, Confucius came up with that 3000 years ago for the Chinese. And they only started applying it really when we did when the technological revolution kicked into the world, late 1970s with the birth of PCs, and then mobile phones and the Internet, and so on and so on, since then. China as a result of simplifying its world has gone from absolute zero economically to to absolute hero much the Donald Trump’s distain. Chinese population has gone from 88 sent below the poverty line in 1980, to under 3% today, and they just did three things, James. They identified what was important, they eliminated everything else. And then with the stuff that they had on their list from point one, they literally if they couldn’t do it themselves, automated it, got delegation involved in it, or asked and got help from somewhere else. Biggest economy in the world. And that’s happened in our lifetime. People are talking about China slowing down this year to 6.3% growth. 6.3% growth. Now, there’s a good number in there because Asia by the way, right now, 2019 is responsible for 63% of global growth. America, even with Donald Trump telling you how big it is. It’s really big. It’s the biggest it’s ever been, according to Donald, America is 11% of global growth. And Britain with Brexit or not with Europe is 4% of global growth. You know, what we should be doing is taking a second language and learning bloody Mandarin.


James Nathan  29:58  Well, schools are aren’t they. I know when I went to school the language choices in Perth was French and Indonesian, neither of which are much pretty use.


Michael Jackson  30:08  I did Latin for goodness sake, you know, because I thought it would help me with my English. I’m nowhere near the level of Jacob Rees-Mogg. So it did help me a bit. But my goodness, I should have taken Mandarin.


James Nathan  30:18  You’ve come in here… you said you wouldn’t swear. But you’ve said Donald Trump and Joseph Rees-Mogg in one sentence!


Michael Jackson  30:26  Bloody hell, sorry.


James Nathan  30:31  Can I just tap on automation for a minute? Because I’m fascinated by the way that automation is being used in the service world? Particularly in terms of the help desks and that kind of thing? Is it good? Is it bad? Is AI going to be…. you know, I believe we’re at the very beginning of the AI curve. And by the time you know, you and I are very much dead and buried, it’s going to be probably pretty good. How is it being used well in the world? And how, where is it being overused?


Michael Jackson  31:04  Well, you can bust the jargon because the jargon comes in with what some people call it marketing 2.0, something called web 3.0, some people call it tech 4.0, or the fourth industrial revolution. And what it really means is, we’re going to do what the Chinese did, you know, the drudge work is going to be handled by drones. It’s never going to steal your job. Unless you’re a drone. A computer today can beat your chess with all the multiplicity of moves that that board game allows. But it doesn’t know why it’s playing chess, it can beat you because it can compute the mathematical formula. So yes, we’re at the very, very beginning of the automation industry at that level with  AI I guess, in terms of where we are, but you know, good human beings contacting and working with each other, even in the call centre industry, although there are some call centres, I’d rather be phoned a bloody robot and get my PPI sorted. So the I know that, you know, there are a number of things that are happening in that space. But, you know, cute little Japanese robots on stage at the odd conference aren’t going to crack the nut. The industry is already automated will society automate it, not for a while, because again, you see, we’re still stuck in, you know, perceptual behaviour that this radical behaviour that we repeat over and over again. We put traffic lights in to control traffic. And we’ve still got them even though we’ve got more traffic than the traffic light system was ever designed for. Hereford, by the way one town in the UK is about to rip out all of its traffic lights. Now is that anti AI? I think it’s very smart moves. Because what they’ve figured out through being able to compute what goes down is that traffic lights slow you down. drivers know what to do with a four way intersection or a roundabout. And you will make traffic flow in this day and age because there’s so much of it, flow better with a traffic circle than you will with a red, amber and green traffic light. So there’s, there’s arguments on both sides, I guess, James.


James Nathan  33:05  Isn’t that interesting that everything old is new again. And I truly believe that to be the case, if it’s taking out traffic lights, or it’s actually having human beings looking after each other. We’re social creatures, we enjoyed the interaction of others on the whole. You know I saw great t shirt the other day that said, ‘people not such a fan’. i thought that was quite funny, but the fact is that we are social human beings, we need human interaction to maintain a level of happiness mostly. And actually, you know, there’s a point where you don’t want to tap on a keyboard and watch a video, you want someone to say hey, how can I help you?


Michael Jackson  33:44  Sure. And we might want Tinder to to meet our partner, because you can go through a lot more than you can, then by rather going to the village fete on a Sunday afternoon. Facebook, by the way, thinking of automation, because it knows so much about us. Facebook is going to launch a dating site on Facebook next year. They are trialing it in Britain and what they call Europe. And when the press release came out recently about it, they said we’re trying to get in Britain and Europe, assuming of course the Brexit had happened already. But I guess depending on whatever does happen that we won’t know until until everything sorts itself out. But when you think about when data makes things easier for you, maybe Facebook will even be more successful than Tinder or Grindr, or whichever bloody app, you’re on to go and find your partner of choice these days. But apparently, it’s something like now within the millennial and Gen Z generation, that eight out of 10 of them apparently, and I’m not a fan of generalizing…. Nine out of 10 times, I’m not a fan of generalized statistics. But apparently eight out of 10 of the younger generation, are meeting their significant other on a social media app. So there’s a number of technological advances for you at some level, although the divorce rate is still going to be as high as it has been for a while. So maybe it’s not that great yet. I don’t know.  Things are changing. But we’ve got to figure all this out. Right?


James Nathan  35:11  Well, absolutely. And I’ve said before on this podcast, and I’ll say it again, I am extremely happily married. I touch a lot of wood when I say that. And I am delighted that I’ve never been on one of those sites, plenty of social media sites, but the dating sites and but I also think that if the ability for people to access others who are similar to them, where they couldn’t have done so previously is wonderful. And although people do you know, they rant on about the, you know, Facebook know so much about me, if Facebook could make a couple of people happy by introducing them to each other. How can that be a bad thing?


Michael Jackson  35:51  Yeah, it’s intriguing for me as well, because that goes back right, you know, right back into this AI story. And to me, I think it was the economist about a year ago, maybe a bit longer ago. Now that said, data is the new oil. And people were shocked and horrified by that statement. But if you control the data, you own the future. And that’s what the the industry is going to be, all industries are going to be doing. The manipulation surreptitiously of data that brings people together better be at a dating app, be it in business, being in a hotel, being in whatever, you know, even even in a conference at that level. And having the data for example will even help you improve your service offering and that’s going to impact your business bottom line.


James Nathan  36:33  Well, that’s a fantastic point to to leave off at. And I’m so pleased that you’ve taken the time out and thank you again, Michael for doing that. But before we do, before we do wind up. I’d love it if you’d leave our listeners with your one big thing, a great big golden nugget, something that they could do in their businesses today to make the businesses better for today and better for the years to come. What would that be?


Michael Jackson  36:59  Cool. Wow. Okay, top of my head, the thing that I always do, I hope this is enough of a nugget. I actually call it I’ve got a sign on my desk for it. Hashtag relentless marketing. Life and attention spans are both very short. You need to be in people’s heads and faces as often as you possibly can be in the nicest possible way. So relentless marketing, because the world is not going to beat a path to your door, you’re going to have to go and find through your data, the ways to the world itself. Make sure that if you’re not doing anything right now, other than relentless…. I’m sorry, let me rephrase that. Make sure that right now, the only thing you’re doing is continuous, relentless marketing of you, your brand and what it offers the world in a unique way.


James Nathan  37:41  Wonderful, Michael. Thank you so, so much.


Michael Jackson  37:44  God, I sounded so motivational James.



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