Christopher Lochhead – 3 Time CMO, Podcast Host, and Author of Play Bigger & Niche Down
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Kara Goldin 00:00
Hi everyone, it’s Kara Goldin with the Kara Goldin Show. And I’m so excited to have my next guest here, Chris Lochhead. Thank you, Chris, for coming on today. Very, very excited.
Chris Lochhead 00:12
Thank you, Kara. It’s great to be with you super excited.
Kara Goldin 00:14
So Chris is the godfather of category design. And if you guys don’t know who he is, he is a major major Silicon Valley advisor and has, has backed over 50 venture-backed startups over the course of a few years, and is a limited partner and former three times Silicon Valley public company CMO, as well. He hosts and actually hosted me on his podcast a few weeks ago, the award-winning podcast follows, you’re different. And he also has another award-winning Lockhead on marketing. He is in addition to being a podcaster. He’s a co-author of two international bestsellers, niche down, and plays bigger. And we’re gonna talk about a lot of stuff today. Because Chris is my happy thoughts of 2020. We just hit it off. And he’s been super helpful and introduced me to Jason who is helping me now on my podcast as well as doing some production. So shout out to Jason there. So welcome, Chris. Very excited Kara. So great to see you again. And you are one of the bright spots of 2020 for me to meeting you and getting to hang out with you. Oh, that’s super, super, super nice. So now I did I was doing me, my letter, my end of the year letter yesterday, and I was thinking about you that there’s a few, there’s probably about 10 people like that, that I cross paths with and 2020 that I hadn’t met prior to 2020. And I just really appreciate that and also you So anyway, welcome and excited to have you on to give us your wisdom and just overall just have a great conversation. So, so what I didn’t know about you, you’re thrown out of school, let’s just go right to the heart of it at age 18. Like, so talk to us about this.
Chris Lochhead 02:21
Well, I found out at 21 that I have dyslexia and dyscalculia and a whole bunch of these things. Is it inappropriate or appropriate for me to swear?
Kara Goldin 02:32
Well, whatever you want to do.
Chris Lochhead 02:35
Anyway, I put all my learning disabilities together, and I call them difficult.
Kara Goldin 02:40
Okay, there you go. I love it.
Chris Lochhead 02:43
But at 18 I didn’t know that right? And so all I knew was I was failing out of school. And it turns out if you get enough D’s and F’s, they tell you not to come back. So that’s where did you grow up? Montreal, Canada.
Kara Goldin 02:59
Oh, okay. So you’re and were you in French schools as well, where you’re like bilingual. And
Chris Lochhead 03:08
I was in English schools. But of course, we took French and broke a lot of French. But I grew up in a weird time in Montreal in the 1970s, where there was this real war going on between the French and the English. And so it was kind of a strange time, it’s many kinds of calm down now. And Montreal is a wonderful place to be particularly now. But there was a lot of tension between the French and the English back then.
Kara Goldin 03:34
Super interesting time. So So how did you get to the US? And how did you get into design overall?
Chris Lochhead 03:41
So I, at 18, with really no options other than manual labor, I was working as an orderly in a hospital, my mom got me that job. And I thought, well, I could shave male genitalia for a living, or
Kara Goldin 03:56
Chris Lochhead 03:57
Very good times. You know, when you show up in a guy’s room, you say, Hello, Mr. Johnson, I’m here to shave, you know, not there. You have his full attention. So I thought, well, I could do that for the rest of my life. Or, you know, I felt like there was more for me. And it was in the early days of the boom of the personal computer. And one of my best friends was working in a small software company. And he said I think we should start a technology company. And I sort of said, Yeah, I think I should farm my way to the moon and back. Well, I’ll handle the technology. You handle the sales and marketing in a way we away we went and that’s that’s how I got started.
Kara Goldin 04:37
What was the name of this company?
Chris Lochhead 04:39
I think you’ll like this part of the story. So I was 18. My buddy jack was 19. And without going well, we got to look older and more professional. So we grew beards, to try to look old her and at the time there was this television show on called Remington Steele. Do you remember the show?
Kara Goldin 05:00
I remember Remington Steele.
Chris Lochhead 05:01
Do you remember the premise for the show? Not really. Oh, you’ll love this as a successful female entrepreneur. The show was about a woman who started a private investigation agency, but she didn’t think anybody would hire her because she was female. So she named after a fictitious guy, Remington Steele. And then she hired a guy to pretend to be her boss. And of course, that was played. He was played by Pierce Brosnan. That was the premise for the show. We thought that’s a great idea. Let’s make up a guy. So we did so we took Pierce rosins name. I thought that was a good masculine kind of sounding name because we were in French and English in Quebec. We wanted it to have a French sound as well French in English, so the name of the company was Roget Pierce. Soca. Oh, my God. Roger Pearson associates. Yeah. Roger
Kara Goldin 05:53
Pearson, it’s actually
Chris Lochhead 05:54
called the row j,
Kara Goldin 05:56
row J. So So Roget, you’re, you’re, you’re on the sales side? And did you make it over to design on in row j,
Chris Lochhead 06:07
I started to, we were very successful. And then we were very not successful. And so at 21 years old, I was on the verge of bankruptcy. And I had just gotten married, and so forth, and so on. And I end up going to another startup, and then another startup, then I started another company. And ultimately, what got me to this notion of category design is, as a student of marketing and sales, I sort of had this aha in my early 20s. And, you know, I tried to read all the greats. Certainly, David Ogilvy is one of my biggest heroes, recent trout, all of that stuff. And the big aha I had was when people say marketing, what they really mean is, we are going to, and I’m going to use these words very much on purpose, compete for share, or demand in an existing market category, by differentiating our brand. So when most people say marketing, that’s what they mean. Mm-hmm. And I started to study the greats. And what I learned is, none of them did that. They did what you did. Mm-hmm. Which is they were radically different. And as a result, they actually ended up designing a new market category. In your case, you change the way people think about water and bubbly water. And in so doing, you didn’t compete with Evian, or you know, pick whoever you created a new category of healthy, natural, low calorie now no-calorie, tasty, fizzy drinks, right? That’s where it’s, that’s where the insight is. And you don’t make the mistake that so many others make, which is comparing yourself to by way of example, everyone, you should No, no, it’s a new thing. It’s a different thing. And as a result, you designed a new market category. And so the big aha, is that there are people who compete inside existing markets. And then there are the others who realize every market category looks the way it looks. Because either on purpose or by accident, it got designed. And so the question is, do you want to play someone else’s game? Or do you want to invent the game, and that’s sort of the seminal aha behind this idea that just like you could design a product, just like you can design a company, you can actually design a category.
Kara Goldin 08:43
Interesting. Really, really interesting. Well, it’s it, it’s a, you know, in the beverage category, that the reason why I actually determined I wasn’t as bright as you I why I determined that we were actually a new category is that I tried to get our product on the shelf at places like Safeway, and, you know, Whole Foods, actually Whole Foods was a different story. But like traditional grocery stores, like a Safeway, they inform me that I didn’t fit in, there wasn’t a category called unsweetened flavored water. And so I said, What creative create it, you know, now there is, and they, they said, well, there, there really isn’t. That’s above my paygrade. And so that’s why I always, you know, share with entrepreneurs that it’s, we not only we’re creating a new company, but we were sort of dumped with this information that we were creating a new category, and no one knew what to do with it. And I think unlike tech, when you’re living in a world like beverage, which is controlled up until now, by stores at like, no, no one was doing direct to consumer and beverage at the time. And so that was like the way for us to compete and survive and, and be a little bit different, but so interesting. So
Chris Lochhead 10:04
what was the I hate to interrupt you, but you were more than a little different, you are different on the business model side to direct to consumer?
Kara Goldin 10:12
Yeah, but that was years. I mean, we were, you know, eight years into this before we, you know, really thought, Okay, this is something that we have to do to compete, ultimately and so that was a, it, you know, is it was really a time that was that no one was doing that in our space. And I mean, I really hand it, to Amazon for kind of, they had been hanging out there for a while. And I knew him back in my AOL days before starting him, but they really I think paved the way for this category around grocery and around, you know, in building it. So that’s a whole other story. But I think it’s it’s one where sometimes you look at the competition in some ways. And Amazon, I think, really helped pave the way and had the money and had the list of consumers and everything to be able to do that. But getting back to you. So your first category that you decided to really differentiate in was what,
Chris Lochhead 11:23
what it is, was what today we call customer relationship management or CRM. So what had happened for me in my career as I was on the very early so fast forward a little bit from where we left the story. I was with a software company that was on the very early edge of what at the time was called client-server, it was a big breakthrough, as people were moving from the mainframe, certain embrace computers and networks, and all that good stuff in the pre-internet days. And it became very clear to me that there was going to be this intersection around client-server, and mobile computing, and move into sales, marketing, and customer service ultimately, or said in a simpler way, at the time, the hottest applications in the enterprise b2b market. We’re what today we call ERP, enterprise resource planning, counting, manufacturing, distribution like, and sort of the AHA that I had Kara was, huh, if you call that for sake of argument, the back office, all this new technology is going to come to the front office, it just has to. And this was in these were in the days where there was very little technology used in selling or in marketing or in customer service, as hard as that is to believe today. And so I hung my shingle out and started a boutique consultancy and was one of the first to really lead the parade in this whole new approach that ultimately got called CRM, customer relationship management. And as a result of doing that, my boutique consultancy got acquired by a Silicon Valley software company in that space called Vantage. And at 2728 years old, I was the head of marketing of a publicly-traded company and I moved from Toronto to Silicon Valley.
Kara Goldin 13:04
Wild. So, so wild. So you talk about the importance of following your different and obviously this was, this was a great example. But I’d love to hear a little bit more about what advice you’d give to entrepreneurs, you also have said that becoming an entrepreneur was was not a way up. Do you remember saying this?
Chris Lochhead 13:27
Absolutely. It’s, it’s not a way up? I mean, there’s a way out.
Kara Goldin 13:31
So I’d love to hear a little bit more about that. And what advice would you give to entrepreneurs who are, who are on their way up, or thinking they’re on their way up?
Chris Lochhead 13:43
And look, there are some entrepreneurs who you know, they graduate from Stanford, or Harvard, MIT, or they’re, and they write an algorithm and they get funded, you know, and they go, they do all that stuff. And no matter what happens to their venture, they’re never gonna miss a meal. And God bless him. I was not one of those entrepreneurs, I was one of those, hey, we don’t close this fucking sale, we might not make the rent kind of guys. That’s how I got started. And so there’s that sort of angle on it. But the other angle on it that is, I think, pretty broad. Are there certain people who find their place in the world? And God bless him for doing that. And there are others of us who we can’t find a place because there is no place. I didn’t fit in school. Mm-hmm. Right. It didn’t work. And then there’s no way I could have fit in the business world. Nobody was going to hire me, right. And so I had to as opposed to finding my place in the world. I had to make my own place in the world. And so I think if you’re an entrepreneur, particularly if you’re one that’s trying to do things that are exponential, as opposed to incremental, by definition, you’re likely going to do More making of a place than finding of a place. And so I think understanding what you’re really up to. And there are big pros, and there are big cons about that. I mean, you said it in the beginning about a hint. You know, the major retailer said, well, there’s no place for you. Because you’re a new different thing. You had to teach them what to do with you.
Kara Goldin 15:23
Yeah, you don’t fit.
Chris Lochhead 15:25
You don’t fit. And I think for many of us, who are naturally in that don’t fit on mold. I could call it that because there isn’t a mold for us. Certainly, myself, I’ve talked to a lot of others, there’s can be some real pain and suffering from that, like, how come I don’t, there isn’t, couldn’t I just wanted to be a nurse or a photographer or fucking something that, you know, you could have just a lawyer or something that you could just go and do these things into. But for many of us, that’s not the case for and so I think a lot of entrepreneurs, particularly those who are trying to do things that are exponential people who are trying to bring something forward. You know, my buddy, Mike maples, the venture capitalist at floodgate says, there are two kinds of businesses, they’re businesses that are predicated on believing things will stay the same, Coca-Cola. And then there are businesses that are predicated on thinking things will be a different hint, right, and you make the future, a different future than it otherwise would have been. And so I think for those of us who are oriented that way, and many of us entrepreneurs are realizing the joy, and the pain and suffering along the way, it is important to understand because we’re not somebody who could just go maybe get a job in accounting, or as a lawyer, we’re making up something that is new ground. And that can be frustrating, and painful, but also incredibly creative, and addictive, and exciting, and rewarding.
Kara Goldin 16:56
Definitely. Do you feel like, I mean, obviously, I get the pain points along the way? And I talk to so many entrepreneurs that are, you know, visionary, and they wouldn’t necessarily call themselves that, but, you know, I see them walk in the door and talking to me, and, you know, I try and be their support system. And but it’s hard, right? Like, I mean, I talked to lots of entrepreneurs, I, you know, would love to do it more. I mean, frankly, but because I think that there are a lot of people who do have the vision, but can’t really find the people to kind of belief in them for the first time. I think, as I always share with people, you’re absolutely right, that if you come from Stanford, or Harvard or whatever, like that, I think that the beauty of those schools clearly is the network, right, you find a few people who, you know, will throw down some money and support you just purely based on you know, the school that you went to and I following in your camp, although I I did go to college, some people would not call it college, I hate to say Arizona State University, and, you know, people were not like lining up to, to support me when I was actually going out. And actually, I didn’t I did a few business stents before I went out and raise money, but I don’t think they would have been lined up and in other words, but how do you ultimately differentiate and, and share that you’ve got this new category new design when you don’t have that network of people? I mean, it’s tough, right? Like, it’s like, do you put it into a deck too? I mean, like, how do you get the word out about it? I’m curious to hear where you think I have my opinions. But I’d be curious to hear
Chris Lochhead 18:55
well, I think you have to get into the mix. I mean, when I first came to Silicon Valley, I couldn’t get arrested, right? Nobody gave a shit. Even though I was this whiz kid and all the stuff, it still didn’t matter, right? You gotta in whatever field, you have to earn your stripes. And so I think there’s an element of that, that we get sort of stuck into today, we everybody went to nearly what the hack is, what’s a five-minute hack? Well, there’s no five-minute hack to becoming Kara golden. It just doesn’t work. Right. It’s yours. Right? It’s Yeah, there’s no hack. And yes, there are things we can learn from Kara about how to forge our own path. But I think today, as a result of a lot of the I call them to hustle porn stars on the internet, you know, telling entrepreneurs that you do this viral video and pump out 200 pieces of bullshit content today and you’ll go viral and like, that’s all garbage. Right? And so, ultimately, in the beginning, we have to position ourselves or we will be positioned. One of my favorite stories about this is Sara Blakely. have, you know the legendary entrepreneur who backs? Yeah. And one of the things she said was when she finally got the attention of a buyer at was Nordstrom if I’m not mistaken. Do you know the story by chance?
Kara Goldin 20:16
Yeah, I do. I do.
Chris Lochhead 20:18
The buyer said, well just mail it to me. So I can look at it. And she said, No, no, I can’t, I can’t just send it to you. It’s an invention, I have to show it to you. That’s a great example of positioning yourself, right, position yourself, or be positioned. And so I think from the very beginning, we have to decide that we’re going to be a person of consequence, we’re going to be a person that produces results. And we’re going to act in alignment with that. And so when we go to meet people, even, you know, in my case, when I was 1820 2120, you know, I was an officer of a publicly-traded company at 28 years old, giving presentations to Wall Street. You, you, you have to become the person that you say you’re going to be, and it starts with the conversation that you have with yourself. Mm-hmm. And then you have that conversation with the world. And then I don’t like all these sorts of, what’s that’s the book The secret, you know, you can’t just sit in your bedroom drinking beer and farting and thinking good things will happen, right? So yes, you have to sort of making yourself into the person that you want to be, you have to act like that person, and then you have to deliver, like that person. And so and if you do those things, and you’re thinking about the overtime, you’ll develop this thing that I think is the thing that people really want. Today, there’s a lot of discussion about a personal brand. I think personal branding is garbage. What you really want is a reputation. Yeah,
Kara Goldin 21:44
I absolutely agree. And I think I shared the story with you. It was an interesting one that I talked about in my book. But when we were kicked out of Starbucks, and I had all this product in the warehouse, and I wasn’t sure exactly what we were going to do. And, you know, I didn’t want to destroy the product, because I was going to lose a lot of money. And anyway, we ended up getting a couple of weeks later got an email and then a phone call with this guy that worked at Amazon. And he said, I actually know you. And I said You’re kidding like I have we met. And he said You and I used to work at Time magazine together. And I said, Get out of here. And I said, you know, we actually only had one guy in our group, it was all women that worked in our group at that time. And when there’s a bit of a switch for you, uh-huh. Yeah, right. And I I recognized his name, but I did. But he worked like down the hall, he was almost 10 years older than me was higher level. But he said, you know, the interesting thing that I remember about you is that you were really hard working. And so when somebody told me that you had started hint, I said, You’re kidding. Like, she’s like, she went from publishing to starting a beverage company. And they said, No, no, no, she actually moved to Silicon Valley work for this little startup that was a spin-out of Apple, and then went to AOL and ran e-commerce. And he said, Whoa, like, crazy. And then and he said, but you know, what I really remember about you. And I said, What’s that? And he said I remember that you whenever there were extra sandwiches in the, in the conference room, after a, you know, executive meeting, you would come by and you’d say, anybody like eating those extra sandwiches, and you were so nice about it. And you said to save all the sandwiches, because I have friends that make $23,000 just like me, and we’re going to take him to Central Park, and we’re going to have a picnic. And so you got to a point where Michael Loeb, who, whose dad was featured in the book, somebody where Michael Loeb would always when we were ordering, he would say, be sure to ask Kara, where the like whether or not there’s like ordering extra sandwiches for her. And so anyway, I’m telling the story because 25 years later, this guy is working at Amazon, and running this grocery business, and ultimately set up amazon prime. And I never worked with him. He was never my boss. But what but his memory of me was was based on reputation and about things that he like, I was hard working. I was authentic. I was he said funny. Like he was just like you. I write but it’s a needing how, ultimately that’s what people remember, years later where and something that I try and instill in, in my team and hint to is that, you know, that’s what you it’s based on a reputation for like one thing to, you know, satisfy your boss and do great for the company but the rest of the 199 people that are working at the hint, they will hear about you if you work hard and you have that right reputation. So I totally, totally agree.
Chris Lochhead 25:34
And reputation is very different than this garbage that we now get fed about personal branding. I think in the beginning, if I’m not mistaken, the first person who ever used the phrase was Tom Peters. I don’t think he meant what it’s become. what it is today is it gets gotten morphed into this influencer world, and it’s deeply inauthentic. And Ilana put forward and it’s bullshit you want to put on social media and all that. It’s all very, very contrived. And it’s all very, very short term, a reputation is a very, very different thing. And when you have a reputation, it’s the most valuable thing you can possibly have. And when without one, it’s almost impossible to get anything done. Here’s a question for you. What percent of the successes that you have in the lab that you’ve had in the last two months have been a function of at least in part, your reputation?
Kara Goldin 26:30
I think it’s super high. I don’t know. But I would say it’s very, very high. Yes, yeah.
Chris Lochhead 26:37
And that’s a very powerful thing. I remember a quick story about this. So as you know, I do some, not very much anymore. But I’ve done a bunch of advising and investing and consulting since I hung up my gloves as a CMO. And I remember negotiating a contract. And as part of the contract, there was cash and stock. And there was a s o w. With it, as you might expect. Anyway, we’d gotten down to the one-yard line, we’d agreed on all the economics all the main thing, there were a few little clauses that I didn’t like in the contract. And we’re kind of on the one-yard line. We’ve been going, I’ve been going back and forth legal. So I finally went to the CEOs, a buddy of mine, I said, Hey, you know, few things I don’t like and can we did it? And he says, Look, if it really matters to you, I can go try and solve those things. But he said, let me just tell you what the chairman of my Comp Committee said to me yesterday, when he approved this deal, he said to me, Hey, have you? Have you looked at the S o w? He says, Yeah, he says the Chairman. I can’t committee says, you know, it doesn’t say anything in it. It doesn’t say he has to deliver anything. And we have like no recourse. And you want me to sign this? But he says, yeah. And he said, I looked at the chairman of my Comp Committee, and I said, it’s Christopher Lochhead. Anyway. Oh, yeah, of course. And they signed it. And then I backed off on my little T’s and C’s.
Fixed. I got it.
Chris Lochhead 28:06
But my point is, we get to a place and it’s true. And we’re younger in our career. And I think the value of it grows exponentially over time when the power of who you are can get a deal done.
Kara Goldin 28:19
Yeah, definitely. Well, but I also think that your reputation, I don’t know, like with age, right, like it also it helps. Because if you’re 21, and you’re, you don’t have something filled in on that. So W and you’ve got a giant personal brand, or whatever. You’ve got a million followers on Instagram. I don’t know. I’m not sure I could get my legal team. Even even though I’m married to my chief operating officer and General Counsel, I don’t I’m not sure that that would. Yeah, I think he’d walk out of the room and just say, forget it. I’m not sure this is happening. But I, I agree with you. I think it’s it’s, it’s definitely a reputation will, will carry you much further along the way. So, so pandemic time. So 2020. You know, can you start new categories and in the pandemic, or what happens in 2021? You and I talked a little bit about this on your podcast as well. But I’d love to have you share that some of your crystal balling for 2021. A little bit?
Chris Lochhead 29:31
Well, I think there’s already all you have to do is look around, there’s already been a nice, neat, nice NATO of new categories and new niches pop up in 2020. And I think there’s gonna be gas on that fire in 2021 because new categories, create new categories. I’ll give you a simple example. My personal favorite new category right now is the E-bike category. I love these things. I keep buying new ones and different ones. And I’m really addicted to these moped ones now. And here’s the interesting thing about these e-bikes, particularly these ones that look, you know, different than a typical 10 speed or beach cruiser or mountain bike, you get on it, you put on your mountain bike helmet. And for some reason, you look like a dork in that helmet. So you kind of go, I need a helmet, and I’m no big fashion guy. But even me, like, I need a helmet that kind of goes more with this bike. Well, you do some googling around and discover there’s a company called 1000 helmets. And have they created a truly new category, we could argue, but here’s what they have done. They’ve created very fashionably, very comfortable, this is a helmet I forget I’m wearing, I walk, I walk into go do something and pick up something from a grocery store. And I’m still got my helmet, I don’t know. It’s also an incredible product, beautiful design and all that. And they tied themselves to this new broad emerging category of new mobile devices, bikes scooters, electronic skateboards, and the like, there’s a whole explosion going on, and sort of personal electronic transportation. So they’ve tied themselves to that. And as a result, they are an emerging category Queen company, in a new type of helmet designed for these new modes of transportation. And so that’s just one example of how the bike category and all these other mobile categories, get spun up, and then boom, it creates an opening for a new differentiated kind of helmet company. And so these are the things that I think we’re seeing all over the place. And the amount of creativity that entrepreneurs are bringing, and creating new products, and therefore new categories is incredibly exciting. And I think we’re gonna see an acceleration of it in 2021. Yeah, I
Kara Goldin 31:55
totally agree. And I think it’s, I’m just waiting for the video market. I mean, I remember, like, I knew what zoom was, I had used it a couple of times, but obviously, you know, that whole world and zoom obviously aren’t the only one. But like, we’re gonna be out of boxes and out of living in boxes, I think sometime in 2021, I think someone is going to just totally disrupt that that whole world where I don’t know what it’s gonna look like, but it’s no longer going to be from waist up. I think it’s, there’s going to be something that goes on in that world. That is, you know, you look at fortnight and some of the gaming platforms that are already existing, and way ahead. I mean, this just looks archaic, and comparison. And I don’t think anybody’s that thrilled with it either. And you look at just the event space as well. And I’ve spoken at a few conferences that, you know, it’s just 10 accessing what other conferences do in terms of just the technology, I think that we’re they can bring that into the home? And I think that they will, I’m excited about it. Definitely. But yeah, I totally agree. I think there’s 2021 will be a time when there will be lots of offshoots of just like the just scratching at the surface of different categories. So I still don’t have that bike that you’re talking about. But I was I remember from our podcasts we were, I’m, I’m looking into it. So So here’s the problem. I have 15 and 18-year-old boys that the minute that I get one of those things that I will never see it again. So that’s the problem. They already my son already took my 1995 BMW convertible that was mine, which he says is not because he’s now converted it from automatic to a manual transmission. And now he’s taken like ownership of like, I said, Dude, I bought that when I was that was like my first stock sale from AOL. I bought that car. And he’s like, No, you didn’t, actually and you like that you didn’t keep it up. And I’m like commandeering it. I know.
Chris Lochhead 34:21
converted it from an automatic to a manual.
Kara Goldin 34:27
Yeah. And he’s, he’s obsessed with. Yeah, actually talking about finding your different. It’ll be interesting to see what he ultimately does. He’s 18. The first time he started fixing things was when I needed our dryer fixed when he was probably, I don’t know, eight or nine years old. And I said, I’m just going to get a new dryer and he said, No, it ends up in the landfill. It’s like really, you know, he said, just call somebody and find out What’s needed? I call somebody they said it’ll be $1,000. And I said, so what’s the part? And they said, well, the part is, you know, few bucks, 60 bucks, but then, you know, it’s going to cost a lot because of the time and whatever. So he went on the internet and ordered the part. And I figured, what do I have to lose? And so, nine, Mm-hmm. And he repaired it. And he has learned how to do all of this, on just going on and googling it. And I mean, it’s amazing. And so when he finally he’s now ridden three cars, he is he has an obsession with BMW, so we have too many cars in our driveway, he went off to college and actually came home with, with, unfortunately, Moto, which he probably had before he left and COVID Yeah, and so Exactly. And so he came home and did school from here. But he’s constantly like redoing, and you know, the other piece of this too, that I think you’ll appreciate that he just by actually redoing cars, you know, in our nice little bubble that we live in, in Marin County, he has met lots of people that he might not have ever met and has huge respect for people who really know how to fix cars. So he has, you know, this whole other world of people that, that he’s just, you know, gained so much knowledge from and a lot of people are not the people that, you know, we might know, in Silicon Valley. And like, you know, and, and it’s amazing what he would, and he’s constantly like looking at, you know, how to design the next car he does, he doesn’t particularly, he’s really into the component parts and the different things like, you know, in my car, as an example, he had said, like, it’s crazy that it doesn’t have an electric pad to actually charge the phone. And I was like, Who needs that? And he was like, Well, I don’t know, like, you could put it right here. So he’s constantly like, looking at that kind of stuff. And, and thinking about it, and that’s where it all starts. But that but that’s entrepreneurship. And obviously, you know, that’s kind of the key thing that I think we’re privy to in Silicon Valley, where people are constantly thinking like that, like, how can things be better? So I think it’s, you ended up in the right place, for sure. And clearly, you’ve added so much value, what’s your favorite? Beyond the E-bikes? What is your favorite thing going on right now? And just categories? Like what do you see out there that is super exciting.
Chris Lochhead 37:52
So I think in the technology world, there’s a lot to be super excited about. And I think the big thing that we’re seeing the continuation of is the componentization, functionality, and software. And so I think when I talk to my engineering friends, we’re getting to a place more and more, where reusable components are a more real and more real thing. And so if you think about the evolution of the design of websites, by way of example, it used to be you needed to be you know, a genius and you needed to know HTML and all this sort of stuff. And today, you can go to Wix or one of these things, and you can drag and drop and pick a template and change the colors, and Bob’s your uncle, you have a really simple website. It’s not gonna replace a corporate website. But you understand my point. And so I think, as that continues to happen with software, and we get closer and closer to a place where you don’t have to be a software engineer, by today’s definition, to create software products. I think that is an incredibly, incredibly exciting thing.
Kara Goldin 38:59
super exciting. So you talked about David Ogilvy, any others? What favorite books out there?
Chris Lochhead 39:06
Well, I read this book called undaunted that I thought was fantastic recently. Did I get that one? Right?
Kara Goldin 39:14
I loved that. That Uh, yeah, you know, it’s interesting. I’ve had a few colleges have actually called to have it as a business book, in their business classes and entrepreneur classes, which I thought was a lot of fun. So but other ones so Ogilvy
Chris Lochhead 39:35
of late. One of the most important books I’ve read this year, I highly recommend it to everybody is by an author named Bruce Feiler. We had him on my podcast not too long ago. He’s a legendary guy, multiple-time New York Times bestseller. his new book is called life is in the transitions. And he had this incredible aha and the AHA was that sort of the mental model a lot of us have is sort of life is somewhat linear, and it goes from one place to another. And when we go when we’re here, and we want to get there, we get to there, and then we’re going to be there for a while. And there’s going to be a lot of there like, and they lived happily ever after kind of there. And he had this insight. And then he started to do some primary research on it. And you’ll excuse me for being maybe a little bit off, but I’ll be directionally right, that roughly half our adult lives are spent in some kind of a meaningful transition. And that there are essentially two kinds of transitions are those that we choose, you choose to start hint, we choose to get married, we choose we’re going to go to school or not going, etc, etc. Those are generally positive things we’re we’re creating, designing our own lives moving forward. But it’s still a transition when you say I’m leaving the tech world. I’m going to take this 50 grand after the Koch guy told me not so much sweetie or whatever. Massage stick that what
Kara Goldin 40:58
did he say to you? Sweetie, Americans love sweet,
Chris Lochhead 41:01
sweet Americans love sweet. Yeah, sweetie. Yeah. And he also you’ll sweetie him now. Yeah. But anyway, back to the filer. So those are the ones that we choose. And then, of course, they’re the horrible ones we don’t choose. There’s you get injured or you get sick. There’s, we’re all going to lose our parents, you get a horrible phone call at 5am, that Something terrible has happened to somebody you love, etc, etc. And it creates this massive, he calls them life quakes. And so what he does in the book, is he digs into research about this stuff. And essentially, what you might think of is best practices for how you deal with these transitions. And care. I’ll tell you, my wife, Carrie loved this book so much. She bought a whole bunch of them, I think, I don’t know, 25 or something like that. And we’re just we’re giving them out. So that’s a recent book that I think has been incredibly powerful.
Kara Goldin 41:59
I got to check it out. It sounds it sounds amazing.
Chris Lochhead 42:02
Yeah, Bruce Feiler. Life is in the transitions.
Kara Goldin 42:05
I love it. So podcasts you have two of them. Why to?
Chris Lochhead 42:10
Well, I realized over time, I started with one, of course. And then I realized over time that there was sort of two things happening here. And they separate in the middle a lot of sense. So on one hand, I like you. And I’m a talker. And I’m a verbal learner. So I learned by doing what you and I are doing right now, it’s one of those my primary way of learning and I’m an extrovert. And so this is natural and powerful for me. And so I wanted to have real conversations about how to design legendary business and legendary life, and particularly with people who chose to make their own place in the world, people who were different. And that’s fall, you’re different. At the same time. I’m an entrepreneur, I’m a former public CMO. And I’ve spent 34 years doing this thing called category design. I wrote a book about it, and then the second book about it, and so forth. And so there was a very specific conversation around marketing, category design, entrepreneurship, and so forth that I wanted to have. And those two things started to tug at each other and sort of didn’t make sense in the same feed. And so today, we have followed different today, which is exactly what I described long-form dialogue podcasts like this completely unedited. So it’s not a spoon-fed, chopped-up interview, it’s a real conversation with two people. And then for the marketing strategy, category design stuff. That is more, if you will, instructional more master class if you will. We spun that stuff out into a separate podcast called Lockheed on marketing. And I called it that as a tip of the hat to David Ogilvy, his legendary book, Ogilvy on advertising.
Kara Goldin 43:49
That’s that was a great book or is a great book, but just a classic, right? Such a long I’m working here was that would that was like
Chris Lochhead 43:58
the maybe late 70s, early 80s.
Kara Goldin 43:59
I mean, it was it. And it’s still selling. I mean, it’s incredible.
Chris Lochhead 44:05
Everything he teaches is great. And the other thing that he gave me that was wonderful was, so there’s the substance of the book, which is fantastic. But equally valuable to me is the swagger of David Ogilvy, and I sort of thought, man, he, he gets away with a lot. It’s like, well, if he can be himself in business, maybe I can, too.
Kara Goldin 44:26
Yeah, definitely. Did you ever think of trying to go and work with him?
Chris Lochhead 44:30
You know, I was very early in my career. And it didn’t strike me to go do that. What I really wish I had done care at a minimum was go to hear him speak at a conference or something and at least shake his hand. But, you know, for the better part of 20 years, I had my head down. And in the beginning, when I first sort of fell in love with him, I started my own company and we did well and then we didn’t do well and you know, so I just never got to it and it’s a bummer. Yeah, the other thing I’ll say is back then getting to a guy like David Ogilvy was hard. Mm-hmm. Today in the world that we live in? And I’d be curious, actually, to ask you this question. We live in a world where you can just reach out to Kara golden. And you might actually be able to get to her. And if not her, somebody who’s one degree moved from her. And if it makes any sense to that person to get you to her, you probably can get to her. And as this leads me to a question for you, which is, you know, the interaction you’re having with your readers the interaction you’re having with your listeners, what’s that like for you?
Kara Goldin 45:36
Well, first of all, I totally agree. I think that you know, it’s the course has totally changed. I mean, back when you and I were, you know, starting out, I mean, you had to send in letters, like, I mean, there were, there were definitely computers, but it just was people are not really doing email. And if there was even, I mean, what they were like message boards and, and right, like
Chris Lochhead 46:04
David Ogilvy was on and you
Kara Goldin 46:05
know, and he wasn’t on. Right. And so, I mean, I think it’s interesting, I think that most senior executives today, even outside of Silicon Valley, you know, are on email. I mean, that may sound crazy, but like 10 years ago, it wasn’t, I mean, they would just leave that for their executive assistants. I think today, they’re curious about what’s going on, and they want to, you know, they don’t want to seem stupid, right, which I think is, is kind of another thing that I talk about constantly just about leadership, which is another thing I want to talk to you about, which is that, you know, the best CEOs today that I know, constantly want to be learning, and they’re gonna, you know, maybe they hire somebody who is doing a certain function, but they also like, like, the fact that that person might teach them Twitter, or show them how to get better on LinkedIn, and, and, or whatever it is. And so I think that they’re, they’re on there, you have to, you know, find a way very similar to maybe what you do in category design, find, find that hole, find a way that you can actually stand out in and I’ll give you one hint, it’s not, Hey, can I have five minutes of your time? Right? Like, I think you’re not like the chances of you getting an email back. If you say, Hey, you know, will you go on to my calendar early and find a spot? I’m constantly like, thinking, like, Who does that? Like, when does that actually be like you’re talking to here? Like, if you really want to get to a senior executive, or? I don’t know, I just can’t imagine that, that that would work. But yeah, I mean, I think that it’s, it’s definitely I think it’s easier, in many ways to be able to do that. But I think the other point, you know, that, definitely, I, I try and emphasize with students when I’m talking on college campuses, and also my for kids is find people that you think are inspirational, and follow them. Right, like try and whether that’s on social media, or read, or I always felt like mentorship for me. And this is even true today that there are people on sort of a bucket list that may, maybe I think I want to go see and speak or I want to go shake their hand. But I like I read about them constantly. And so by the time you know, I actually do meet them. I know a lot about them. And I think that you can be like, you know a lot about David Ogilvy, and that, you know, that’s a conversation that like, I would imagine, he would have been intrigued by, right? Like, you’d be you know, you knew a lot about his theory, you knew you were you had done your homework. And I think today, like, it’s amazing to me, how many people just you have access to way more stuff how many people would not even think to sort of doing that instead, they want like, they want the opportunity to be mentored by Christopher but versus actually reading up on everything that you’ve done and things that you’ve talked about or, or listen to your podcasts or whatever.
Chris Lochhead 49:40
So incredibly giant people are very, very accessible. I mean, we’re at a point now or probably between my own network and sort of inbound from kind of quality publishers and publicists and stuff, probably 80% ish or more of our guests. Are through our own network. But there, there are still times when I’ll hear about somebody or whatever it is somebody’s written a great book and or see somebody on TV or read some cool entrepreneurs on the internet just did something or whatever. And I’ll go and be proactive and reach out to them. You can, it’s so stunning who you can get to?
Kara Goldin 50:21
Yeah, no, I
Chris Lochhead 50:22
do your point. Very, very big people read their own email.
Kara Goldin 50:27
Chris Lochhead 50:29
Right. I mean, I, you know, you have help, I have helped, but I try to do as much of my own social media as possible. Not all of it, but I’m, I’m banging around in there, at least a cup every other day. Right. And so if you send me a LinkedIn, or you send an email to our website, wanting to get to me, it’s probably going to get to me, or it’s at least going to get to somebody who will get it to me if they think it makes any sense. And so even when there’s a buffer, it’s nowhere. It used to be a moat, right? If you want to get out David Ogilvy in New York in 1982 like you are going to have to scale the building and become Spider-Man or something right today. You know, you can tweet Tom Peters, and he’s gonna tweet you back.
Kara Goldin 51:14
Yeah, no, I think that that’s that that’s really true. And then also, but again, like do your homework and don’t send a calendar early invite to have them, like, set up 15 minutes with you.
Chris Lochhead 51:28
I’m sure you get this as a podcast host. We get this all the time, the stupidest pitches ever. And, and you know, some of them were like, dear podcaster.
Kara Goldin 51:36
Yeah, don’t do that.
Chris Lochhead 51:39
You. We’re not going to respond to you. If you send us we’re not even going to send you a nice. No, we’re just going to you’re going in the garbage with the dear podcaster. Right. The other one I always love is somebody else’s name.
Kara Goldin 51:54
Yeah, that’s not a good situation. So yeah, the mail merge wasn’t working properly or something. Right. Exactly. It’s just not. Not good. So what’s next for you? You’ve got? Are you working on any books or any other and obviously your podcast is amazing. And how often are you publishing?
Chris Lochhead 52:17
So we do at least one fall, you’re different and at least one locket on marketing a week,
Kara Goldin 52:22
a week. That’s awesome. Very, very cool.
Chris Lochhead 52:25
And the big new thing for me next year is I’m currently writing a marketing guide. And I’m writing my next book, which will be my third book on category design. And this means an ending written by a young Rockstar writer, named Nicholas Cole. And Eddie Yoon, in Edie is the category guru to the fortune 100. And primarily on the consumer side, he’s written more for HBr on category than any person alive or dead. And I met him when we were doing some research for my first book. And we became buddies electronically, digitally. And he started sharing all his work, we referenced some of his research in play bigger, he sort of said, Hey, you can have anything you want. He was just, he’s one of those people who’s like this incredible combination of a giant, giant brain, and incredibly generous. And we connected immediately. And so it’s, and we’ve written a bunch of things for HBr together now. And so working with Eddie and then bringing this young rock star. That’s, that’s really fun. And then the marketing guide is I’m also working with a young writer whose name is Cole Schaefer, not to be confused with Nicholas Cole. And I think Cole Schaefer is the greatest copywriter I’ve seen in 20 years.
Kara Goldin 53:51
Yeah, I know. He’s, he’s amazing. He’s super, super amazing. So yeah, I agree. I agree. He’s, we’ve he was another one that you connected me with that we’re we’re having some conversations as well. He’s amazing. Really, really cool.
Chris Lochhead 54:08
I love everything about him. And we are doing this. It’s such a cool collaboration because I for a long time now sort of wanted to write like, okay, here’s everything. What I’m at that place in life, I believe, if you’re lucky enough to get to the top of the mountain, you should throw down a fucking rope. Mm-hmm. And so I’m just trying to throw the ropes down and try to throw as many damns while I’m still here. And so this marketing guide, we’re also going to call it to lock it on marketing is sort of like everything I can think of to share that might make a difference. And the fun part about it with Cole Shaffer is it really is a collaboration. And so he’s just, he’s just writing. He’s just taking the ideas and then he’ll take them in different so we have this incredible back and forth. He is absolutely cocreation he’s not just writing this shit, I say in a good way, that’s not what he’s doing. We are going back and forth. And it’s sort of, it’s really fun. When the master sensei is moving around the dojo with the up-and-coming champion, you know what I mean?
Kara Goldin 55:18
That’s so awesome. When do you think you’ll have it out?
Chris Lochhead 55:21
I think we’ll get the guide out in q1 of 2021. That’s a current course and speed. The book. I’m not 100% sure, we’re still having some discussions with major publishers at a major publisher to publish my first book. Edie had a major publisher published his first book super consumers unbelievable book. Then I self-published my second book, I think we’re probably going to self-publish this one. And we talked about the pros and cons of that if it matters, but we’re still there’s still a publisher or and a half or so sniffing around so who knows We’ll see. So I’m not exactly sure about the timing of the new category book.
Kara Goldin 56:01
I love it. So Christopher How do people find you and obviously your podcasts as well and but what’s the best place to find Christopher Lochhead?
Chris Lochhead 56:14
Everything’s at lochhead.com?
Kara Goldin 56:15
lochhead.com awesome. Very, very cool. And like you said on LinkedIn and other places.
Chris Lochhead 56:24
Everywhere you get annoying podcasts.
Kara Goldin 56:27
Yep. I love it. Very, very cool. Thank you so much for all your wisdom and what a great conversation and what a great person so I’d love everything about you and every you’re very inspirational and, and giving and just super, super terrific. So, everybody, thanks so much. If you love this podcast, definitely give lots of high marks and subscribe if you’re not a subscriber and all that, and definitely check out Christopher’s podcasts as well. So thanks, everyone. Have a great week.
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