David Kidder is an entrepreneur and an angel investor in more than 30 companies. He’s the co-founder and CEO of Bionic, unlocking growth and competitiveness in the world’s largest enterprises. He’s also a bestselling author, which includes: The Startup Playbook and his latest book, New To Big. Find out how you can get #TheBionicLife and learn lots from David in this inspirational show including:
- The philosophy of growth and transformation
- The entrepreneurs mindset
- Control is a myth
- The concept of a Growth Mindset for a big company
- Plus loads more hacks
Transcript:Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services
The Leadership Hacker News
Steve Rush: What comes to mind when you hear the word “Startup”, if it’s a trendy loft conversion in London’s Shoreditch, or a grungy basement in the heart of Silicon Valley, you’re probably not alone. A large proportion of people think that startups is just a term for a team of one or two people that have a common thread. In fact, many startups include large scale growth companies, and of course a startup, does not stay a startup. It can often graduate to larger organizations readily, requiring more office space, generating higher revenues and having many employees. The global pandemic has spurned a rise in new companies, startups. In the UK in 2020, 278,300 new companies were started. And then the US 804,000 businesses were also started. That’s about 10% up year on year. So, if your entrepreneurial spirit has been ignited, I just wanted to share some simple facts with you about startups. Some of the things we can get excited about, and some of the things we maybe need to be wary about.
Patience is a virtue. The average time between seed funding to Series A is typically 22 months. And between A and B is 24 months and B to C is 27 months. So, there’s a long lead in to successful organizations of which 47% of Series A start up spend more than $400,000 dollars per month. Not all startups are big, but the average round for Series C investments is $50 million dollars between the UK and the US. The average time to incorporate a business globally is typically six days, not much time really. And when we look to the ratio of who’s leading startups, the ratio of men, entrepreneurs to women entrepreneurs in 2020 was 10 versus 7. Statistic show whoever’s leading them, but 90% of all startups fail with 10% failing within the first year across all industries.
And the number one reason for failure was that startups fail to misread the market demand. And the second largest reason why startups fail is due to running out of cash. The good news is that 33% of startup capital for employer led firms is less than £10,000 (pounds) or $14,000 (dollars). With one in three businesses, starting with a less than £5,000 (pounds) or $7,000 (dollars). So, what did the experts say? Well, according to respondents of small business trends survey, the best way to learn about entrepreneurial ship is to do it. Start a company, test and learn. And if you have an idea, research businesses similar to that, that you have in your head, and you’re thinking that have been active for longer than five years, assess all the potential bottlenecks apart from the competition and make sure that the team that you gather to help you on your journey is experienced enough that you’re aware of those threats and have some experience in helping you fill your gaps in knowledge and expertise.
In a recent interview with Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce, he suggests the secret to successful hiring is this. Look for people who want to change the world, don’t just look at the resume. And having done it and got some t-shirts along the way. The most valuable thing you can do as a founder of a business is to recognize your downfalls beforehand, learning from other businesses, how they’ve won and how they failed and apply that knowledge as part of your startup thinking, that’s been The Leadership Hacker News. Please get in touch, if you have any stories or news that you want our listeners to hear.
Start of Podcast
Steve Rush: David Kidder is our special guest on today’s show. He’s a serial entrepreneur, having invested in over 40 startups, including SpaceX. He’s also a New York times bestselling author and the CEO and co-founder of Bionic. David welcome to The Leadership Hacker Podcast.
David Kidder: Very grateful to be here.
Steve Rush: Me too. It’s been a while since you and I last met, the world is a very different place now. Before we get into some of the things that are presenting themselves with the work that we do now, perhaps for our listeners, you can give us just a little bit of a backstory as to how you’ve arrived at doing what you do?
David Kidder: Well, I’ve been an entrepreneur now and founder four times. I’ve had three venture backed services and SAAS companies that I’ve sold over the last 25 years. This company I’ve been involved in building for the last eight years as a co-founder in Berkowitch and it started really with a book, The Startup Playbook about in 2007, 2008 and onstage at a fortune 10 company after doing a keynote with a single question, actually from the vice chairman about how to disrupt. And from there I started doing keynotes and workshops with Eric Reese all over the world. Bionic was really born out of that. And it’s been an incredible journey building, you know, a $20 million dollar company. We saw the biggest CEOs in the world P&G, General Mills, Microsoft and others. Really just a privilege to be doing this work of growth transformation.
Steve Rush: And its that whole philosophy of growth transformation that sits at the heart of disruption. And when people hear the word disruption, they don’t often think of it as a positive thing, but in fact, you call it out as being essential, don’t you?
David Kidder: Well, I think as something that’s really about you, then it could be problematic because you think, you know, it’s your fault or it creates discomfort. Disruption usually is something that happens from the outside in, is changed, right? The needs and the world change, which we have experienced last year.
Steve Rush: Right.
David Kidder: And, you know, it forces you to reset and to move outside of what has been working in rediscovering things. And that’s not something you can plan for. So, it draws out a completely different mindset and skillset to do that work, which, you know, is largely uncomfortable because it’s managing the unknowable and that comes from a completely different skill set. So, it’s an exciting chapter and we should be grateful for the test because we’ll be better on the other side of it. But you can’t try to get out of the discomfort and you have to be able to grow comfortable with that.
Steve Rush: And it’s the uncertainty that causes most discomfort in people. How do you grab hold of that uncertainty and create more certainty?
David Kidder: Well, I think it’s important to reframe it like if you have, it draws some of the psychology of loss of version, which is you always overvalue what you have and you undervalue what you could become, what is available to you. And so, in that context, knowing how the mind works, knowing how you know, humans, the species love to have planning and safety as comfort. When you have this these transformation opportunities, it’s really about reframing and overvaluing, what is possible, what’s available to you. And so, by holding on to that and saying, ah, I have this value in my hand, but I’m required to either replace it or add a new opportunity or new hand, so to speak that I have to become. You reframe it because it’s something to pursue, maybe it’s required, but that pursuit really energizes the change. And it’s not to something to be feared. It’s something to be embraced because it’s just the natural way to evolve into growth.
Steve Rush: It’s kind of ironic, isn’t it? Because if you think back over the last hundred years, nothing’s really been certain, we’ve always been in a world of uncertainty, but we’ve had perhaps a different mindset.
David Kidder: Yeah, I mean, control is a myth. I mean, I’ve made it all, lost it all. It made it all, lost it all twice now in my career just by investing in building companies and, you know, I’ve gone through incredible highs and I’ve gone through a brokenness. And I think one of the things that has accelerated my failure in the past when I’ve had it is just the idea that it’s about you and to control. And so, the more you hang on to your plan, your vision, and you don’t accept all of the possibilities from extraordinary success to extraordinary failure and be comfortable with that, right?
David Kidder: And say, success, you know, comes in two front-page coverage, you’re a hero, and you’re an idiot, right?
Steve Rush: Yeah, exactly.
David Kidder: You have to be able to be a position to give it over and ask for the outcome, because then, you know, the universe and your people can conspire to help you solve the need as opposed to directly and exclusively coming from you. That’s where mistakes are made is that we don’t get to the truth because we don’t ask from our team and we’re not willing to accept it.
Steve Rush: There’s this lack of control that comes with also giving away some of the stuff that you have; and ironically, the more you give away, the more you receive in return, that’s kind of how the world kind of plays out, right?
David Kidder: Yeah, you can you can always suffocate possibility by hanging on to things in a zero-sum view of the world. It’s really a non-zero, right? I think this is essential to what you’re saying is, that people, their very nature is there’s a limited supply of an outcome. There’s a limited supply of, you know, consulting. There’s a limited supply of services. There’s a limited supply of customers, and that’s a total addressable market view of the world. That’s a limited zero-sum view of the world. It’s actually the non-zero. The unlimited version is to think about the total addressable need in the world and how it’s evolving. And that takes you from the inside out to the outside in. From zero sum to non-zero, from fear to abundance, from market to need. And you start to really radically evolve your discovery of what your role is in solving it. The marketplace is an opportunity is unlimited. It’s only limited to the fact of your ability to create the permission for you to go pursue it, that’s it. And that’s inside your mind,
Steve Rush: Big organizations, I guess, think the same way or the people that work in big organizations also feel the same way as that’s the focus of the work that you have with Bionic. Maybe you can just give us a little sense of how you’re helping organizations go through that same transformation?
David Kidder: Thank you for that Steve. We have a philosophy. That’s in a book I wrote called, We, as a company wrote called New To Big. I wrote it with Christina Wallace, who was our VP of marketing and a brilliant writer and thinker. She helped curate this from the company, which is this concept that the big to bigger organizations, that scale are literally at war with growth. They’re paid to create efficiency and certainty. And so, when there’s change and you’re paid incentivized to make what you have work, you actually can’t evolve. It’s actually, you’re at war with growth, stakeholders and the addiction of being right and, you know, rack and stack ROI and all things really limits the organization ability to evolve because you’re literally making what you have work.
New To Big, really describes a way of thinking and working. We’ve pioneered the idea of growth mindset in a big company and the systems to support that, we call a Growth OS. It really solves the discovery missing skills versus the planning skills inside an organization in a model. So, we set up growth boards. We set portfolios of total addressable problems and needs. We launched large volumes of entrepreneurs inside and outside the organization to experiment and test, to figure out what to build partner or buy that creates their future as we go launch it. But more importantly is that we fix the growth operations of an organization, the functions that are designed to stop new things from happening, become entrepreneurial. Marketing and sales and compliance and fines come around because they learned to act small because the question that companies need to ask is, should we do this? So, if you’re only asking that with planning in five big bets a year, you’re in big trouble, you’re not learning anything, you’re making what you have work. Our model creates that pipeline of always on growth, in the same way, you know, Six Sigma lean manufacturing created efficiency. Bionic has pioneered a model, which is sort of the anti of that. And every company in the world needs this. We’ve done this at the top of organizations at the CEO level P&G, General Mills, Nike, Citi Corporate, others, with extraordinary impact.
Steve Rush: And when I read this from you, I had a little bit of an “A-HA” moment because from a consulting perspective when I work with my clients, it’s often around how can we do things faster, more efficient, more effectively, which comes with either streamlining a process, saving some money, looking at resources. And you literally have just flipped that on its head around, it’s not about the efficiencies. It’s about the effectiveness. Tell us a little bit about how you came to that?
David Kidder: It’s because we don’t come from the industry. You know, I, my entire background, and my co-founders are all entrepreneurs. And so, we didn’t come competing with McKinsey or BCG who we do almost exclusively today. Who kind of copy us at this point which is sort of a compliment and also annoying. We could never be them and they can never be us. The way we think, they will be a radical outsider. Be able to walk away at the cost of the truth, creates a friction in the leadership that allows them to go on offense, because, you know, the leaders thought leaders like Adam Grant and Linda Hill and Justin Berg and General Stanley McChrystal who all serve on Bionic advisory board so often have driven a way to think differently as a way of running the company. And here’s why this is so important.
About 70% of all growth comes from 7% capital deployed. So, if we make a hundred bags or I spent a hundred million or whatever it is, 7% of that is going to be all the returns. So, if I go back to the beginning and say, why did I invest in those ideas or innovations? They have two qualities. One is high conviction. Why us and why now? And two is, is non-consensus. We make all of our decisions from the ideas, with the highest disagreement.
Steve Rush: Wow, yeah.
David Kidder: So conversely, when you have consensus, you’re basically screwed. You have to be able to hold. Non-consensus, high conviction solutions to new problems from the outside in portfolios, a lot of failure to figure out why us and why now. Disruption is important, but how you react to it is more important.
Steve Rush: I love that. And it makes loads of sense when you say it. It’s almost one of those, why didn’t I do this before? Because ultimately what you’re suggesting is consensus is another word for group think almost, isn’t it? You’re looking for convergence, rather than divergence and strategic thinking.
David Kidder: Yeah, the reason why it’s so uncomfortable, because it’s new to you and new to the world, your entire bias is to make what you have work, and it’s super dangerous.
Steve Rush: Yeah, it is. For sure. Now, there’s not many chances you get to say to people. Yeah, well, you wrote the book on it and you did, you wrote The Startup Playbook and you had the network and opportunity to interview over 40 of the world’s greatest Gamechangers, including Elon Musk and Sarah Blakely, just to name, but a few. What did you notice having had the opportunity to interview all of these great leaders and entrepreneurs and thinkers that was consistent?
David Kidder: Yeah, I mean, it’s a great question. The summary of the book I wrote on a single flight in six hours from, you know, let’s say San Francisco back to New York where I live. And I didn’t realize how significant that introduction would change my life, but it was really the synthesis of those that time. I remember 10 years ago, Elan was broke, sleeping on my friend’s couch in Palo Alto. And you know, last week is the world’s richest guy, because he always was in his mind. What I think is interesting is that when you listen to that summation of the time with them and in the book, The Start Playbook, there’s like summaries of the lenses, those entrepreneurs use to select their ideas. So, it’s the way they view it. It’s their mindset that allows them to lead and bet their life on an idea that has turned into in most cases, a huge outcome.
I summarize this called the five lenses. So, if you listen to all the time, basically they say an idea would pass through these five lenses in the same order, over a period of typically three years before you know how big it could be. And the first lens is proprietary gift. Why you and why now? Like, what’s your unfair advantage? The second one is extreme focus. You don’t want 10 ideas. You want one solution to one problem. So, getting the validation, the first principles logic in place, so you can get extreme focus. So, you have night and day obsession, conscious and subconscious working at problem is could vital to making this work. The third lens is you have to go painkillers, not vitamins. Vitamins are wishful thinking and wishful thinking is the enemy, according to Elon. So, getting the painkiller, which solves who is the customer, right?
Solves the chronic lifelong malignant problem that is you can solve forever, which leads the last two lenses, which are something that you become, which is the 10X factor was the fifth, fourth ones, which is what element of the business given enough time could be 10 times better than anyone else in the world. And then the fifth lens is permanence. Like, how do you build a monopoly? How do you put hooks and barbs in customers so they can never leave? So, you could evolve with them for years and so, they’ll quit. So those five lenses are very high bar. They’re not something to be thought about that some of you discovered and you need to learn them over a period of time that allows them to become true because you’re deploying energy, money, capital, people into becoming that. So, I’ll pause there, but they’re quite profound when you think about your own business. And I hope that listeners do as well.
Steve Rush: Yeah, I love the whole principle. It’s almost a systematic approach to thinking about this is the direction I need to take the business in. Need to take the leadership of the organization in as well.
David Kidder: Yep
Steve Rush: If you were to peel back all of the layers across all of the lenses across those 40. Is there may be the one thing that stands out beyond everything else that is the most important, the most significant?
David Kidder: You got to care the most, it’s obsession. I’ll tell you; I mean, I can speak my very modest career. But I think that whatever you do, when you care the most, it almost always works in whatever view of works defines you. So, I think that’s the most important thing is that you deeply, deeply care. You just won’t be able to get through the hard times if you don’t. Because you know, no matter how successful the company is, you’re going to go through blink at death moments. I mean, you know, we had one, you know, this last year of the pandemic and, you know, not only survived, but thrived through it as a result of that, you know, you don’t sleep on the factory floor on the brink of death unless you care more. And I think that’s the central limit. It’s not just passion, and yeah, I love something, it’s obsession is born to do it. And I think you should listen to that voice inside of you and not play to lose. You have to play to win, to be able to produce something of any meaning.
Steve Rush: I love it. Awesome. So, if I’m a leader in an established team or business, I’m not involved in the VC startup environment, is there anything that you think that would be useful for me to consider? So that would fully propel me in my existing business.
David Kidder: Yes. I mean, the idea that, you know, growth is exclusively a venture capital entrepreneurship idea is false. We proven that over the world-class bunch of years, you know, this is a form of management. In the same way have actually master’s degree of administration that solve the big to bigger, because it’s no noble. We have management skills in discovering investing and solving new problems that are called growth investing in entrepreneurship as a form of a career. And it’s not exclusive to outside of companies. It’s that outside of companies have not created the incentive to be paid to do it, but they can do it, we’ve proven that, at billions of values. So, I just think that you know, the biggest mindset shift when you’re thinking about how to manage and why you manage this and how to solve disruption is one of the concepts that Bionic has pioneered called TAM to TAP.
It’s sort of Total Addressable Marketplace view of the world to a Total Addressable Problem. From linear five big bets a year to portfolio with a 90% failure rate, recollect five, let’s 50 where 90% fail within two or three years, but they’re going to discover the proprietary gifted in us and the need of the world that we had to solve become. So that Tamba Tap really changes from an inside out to an outside of a new world. So, it ends the technology in search of a problem or science in search of a customer problem challenge, that is almost always fatal because how do you know what to make? If you don’t know a problem you’re solving. These ideas are so profoundly simple, but they have massive impact organizations that are literally crossing their fingers and hoping their ideas work. So, if you read New To Big, the book, you’ll start to get kind of the beta or the 1.0 of how to think about this. And then we have a whole bunch of new learning you can go to onbionic.com and learn more about it, or just reach out to me. But I think these are concepts that help shift the organization’s mindset and begin journey of like discovery because it draws a distinction from efficiency and planning.
Steve Rush: I think mindset is massive here, right? So, when I hear you talk about a portfolio with a 90% fail rate, my stomach does starts to churn, right? So how do you get into the mindset to help people in an organization recognize that’s okay.
David Kidder: Well, you need to play into their, you know, genetics, which is, you know, if we launched 90 things and it’s more efficient than launching five big expensive failures, because they now, these people are really smart. They know that they’re launched five things, one will work, they’re all going to cost 50 million. But if I could launch a hundred, the all costs a hundred grand, I actually saved money. I get more shots on goal. I see more. I discover myself and I’m right on time because market timing drives these needs. They realize that we can’t just show up my balance sheet and my brand and make it work because it’s not about us. It’s about solving the need. It’s the outside force. It’s the rip that makes the business work, not ours. And so, it’s being there when it happens. When you’re positioning capital or new need or the need that just changed of your customer, which is why disruption happens. Disruption happens, when the change comes to you versus you arriving with it, but it shows up at your doorstep, like what happens in the pandemic. It’s all because the need changed. The customer’s behavior changed, that’s it. Behaviors don’t lie, how it got delivered, how it got paid for, how it gets solved, AI, technology outside forces. But none of that matters. It’s simply what the customer does that we’re trying to solve. And in many cases, the customer doesn’t even know. So how do you discover the change? The customer doesn’t even understand that’s happening. You only can discover that through experiments and learning with them. Not for them, not inside, for them, with them. And so, this is profound. Like, I mean, it sounds simple, but when you start working, thinking this way, this changes everything.
Steve Rush: Is academically sounds very simple, but behaviorally. There is so much going on with mindsets, behaviors, systems, political warfare internally, I guess, plays out here too. Has it been a time maybe that you found that when you’ve met with an organization, they’ve gone no way, David, we’re not playing this game? This is far too risky.
David Kidder: Of course, of course.
Steve Rush: So how do you deal with that?
David Kidder: Well, I mean, listen, Bionic has worked with 26 companies in the last eight years, but we work at the CEO level. These companies work with the largest of the world. I mentioned a couple of names, Citi Corp you know, General Mills, Nike, Santander, P&G is a very incredible case study for us. There’s actually an HBS case study on this work written by Linda Hill about the Growth OS, but largely about Kathy Fish, the head of global R&D at P&G, She’s amazing. But the point is, is that not every company is ready because the CEO it creates or denies the permission to grow. I wrote the purpose of Bionic was to ignite growth revolutions. And what I’ve come to realize is it’s actually not about money. It’s about the interior life of the leader. They are the ceiling of what’s possible for our organization.
Steve Rush: Right.
David Kidder: What freaks them out is, in the past. When they launched a hundred things, nothing ever died. They started lighting money on fire. They had to manage it. They need a way to manage it and not light their money on fire. And our model is that answer. And when they get comfortable with that, they go to scale. I mean, our partners are launching hundreds of startups, a quarter zonally vertically. They’re adding hundreds of millions in some cases, billions of new revenues each year repeatedly. So, I rarely use the word innovation because of the brain damage around it, it’s a toy. You have to create urgency, grow or die. When that happens, the question is, how? And the work Bionic does, New To Big is the how.
Steve Rush: From your portfolio experience. So, you’re an investor and you’ve got a significant portfolio of your own investments that you’ve made in other startups and businesses. Is there one that you’ve got there? It’s the favorite child?
David Kidder: I do. It’s just one that you wouldn’t think. Of course, there’s the unicorns and those are exciting. And it takes about 50 bets to produce one in your life, even if you’re connected, your shot is 1 in a 50. Unless you’re very fortunate and network effect. And I was very fortunate because of that, but there’s a company that I love and it’s a founder, Lindsay Rosner, it’s called Wellthy. The obsession comment I made earlier, born to do it. She is the, like the perfect case study for this, for profound reasons. So, Wellthy does a care coordination and they help families manage care at a distance. Family lives in lots of parts of the world or the country or town, even. A family member is sick, maybe they have mental illness. Maybe they have a degenerate disease or dementia, lots of stakeholders, lots of regulation and complexity.
And they built a platform to solve that. It’s like a quarterback managing all the aspects of caring for a single loved one. So that everyone’s on the same page always. And you know, that was because, you know, Lindsay, when she grew up, you know, her mom had MS. And she was an only child and she had to lead and love and care for her mother through her very young age, through college, where she put herself through to Ivy league schools, started her own company. She is incredible, and she did this because she was born into it, obsession and gifted. And along the way, you know, she lost her mother and that continued to drive the purpose of her life. But Wellthy is a born to do a proprietary gift story that I love to tell because I love Lindsay, but I also just love the purpose of that company is on. And it’s a great example of what will be a huge success because of her.
Steve Rush: Awesome. Now, from your perspective, looking outside in at new opportunity like that, what drives your fire in your belly more? Is it that obsession with the people you work with or is it the product or return on investment?
David Kidder: I mean, I probably should be more investment driven, you know, I’ve had raised a lot of venture, deployed a lot of venture. I love the becoming, I had a mentor and a relative of mine who passed away in 2014. Amazing guy, clinical psychologist, on the board of a bunch of big famous companies, great consultants. When he sold this company age 70, he passed away. Roger Fronske about nine months later. I was the last week person to see him. And he started me on my career as my uncle when I was 16. As he passed away, I saw him a couple of days before, and we were together and were forehead to ford, as he was saying goodbye. He had brain cancer, and he said, don’t focus on who you are to the world, focus on who you’re becoming. The idea becoming now, which is central to my philosophy but also that of my companies is that, you know, when you get to the top, you realize there’s nothing there. The journey is where the growth is. That’s where the love is. That’s where the people are, relationships the vulnerability, the change. So, when you try to escape that, get out of that, to get to the exit, get to the top, finally get blank, you realize like what a perishable identity you have with that success. The success is falling in love with the becoming. And I really counsel my teams and the company, my culture, to create the doctrine, to make choices that choose the becoming versus, you know, performance and, you know, kind of like the silly comparison. That’s a solving to probably an old shame in your life that you have to be successful but, in this case, find what you love. I love that part of the work. And so, wherever I apply, the energy will be important to me.
Steve Rush: Really profound story, thank you for sharing it by the way, David, I appreciate it.
David Kidder: Yeah, of course.
Steve Rush: So, this part of the show is where we start to hack into your leadership brain. And I’m going to ask you to distill all of the years of learning experiences in organizations and tap into the very top three leadership hacks that you have.
David Kidder: One that is new to me is to lead with the truth. This is one of the profound lessons I’ve learned in building Bionic is that people want the truth so they can help. Not because they’re scared, but because they want to help and what they resent when you don’t tell them the truth and ask them to help is that you didn’t ask them because that’s why they’re there. So that is a gap between you, the CEO and the team, and that gap is can really only be filled by the team because most of the answers always come from the edge of the team. So that was one of the big one is lead with the truth. And it will shock you where you end up. Number two is I start in my day with a five-minute journal and it helps me understand where I am in the journey each day.
I think there’s a famous saying, which says, you’re always optimistic about what you can accomplish in a day and you undress it and you can accomplish it in a year. So, getting the day right is most important. So, my five minute opens and closes the day with what I’m grateful for, what I need for that day. What I asks of the truths I need that day and also ask the universe, like, what do I need? And so, I close and begin the day, figuring out those things, but also reflect on like, hey, how could I have grown? You know, what can I handle better? That’s the second one.
And the third one is really the becoming part, which I just shared why that was important, but the becoming is philosophical, but it’s also really important because you need a lot of patients when you’re trying to create change and grow something. You know, the greatest force of the universe is compound interest. Will you do the right thing for a long period of time, it’s inevitable. If you get that system right, that you’ll be successful in whatever you define success, because it’s what you think about. So, getting those things right, you know, those hacks right of the truth, that’s reflective in the five-minute journal. And then you focus on becoming, I think no matter where you focus, your energy will lead to extraordinary outcomes.
Steve Rush: Very great lessons. Thank you so much. The next part of our show is we call affectionately Hack to Attack. So, this is where something in your life or work has not worked out as planned. Could have been quite catastrophic or even screwed up. But as a result of the experience, we’ve now used that experience as a positive force in our life and work, what will be your Hack to Attack David?
David Kidder: Hit the reset button, start over. I think people underestimate how powerful it is, is to set down an old truth, set down a day, set down an hour and start over. The ability to restart, reset, restart, however you want define it, is a miracle. You could restart your life. You could restart your career. You could restart your day. You could restart your relationship with person, your kids, your spouse, your co-founder, yourself. In a minute, in an hour, in a day, in a week, whenever you want. It’s just a choice. And so being able to say, okay, that was a super bad morning. I’m going to restart my morning. I’m going to restart this meeting in the meeting. I’m going to restart this conversation. I’m going to restart my financial life, my savings, my spending, whatever it is. That power is available to you. I remember I had a moment when I went through total abject failure and had to build back. I was imagining myself running through these thorns, right? This my metaphor, but this how I felt. The harder ran the deeper the thorns got. I had nothing left. I was bleeding out, but I kept going because I would not fail. And I had this moment. It was probably one of most courageous resets in my life. As I imagined myself, lifting myself out of that road and putting myself on a clean new road. But what I did is as I moved myself back to when I was 20 years old. And when I realized is that all the same things that I knew and believed and was hopeful for about the future when I was 20 was still true today.
I just need to re up, re believe, reset. And what were the challenge for me was I felt foolish and naive because who does that? Maybe I should just quit and find safety, that was all fear. And so that courageousness of starting over, but starting back in time, when you knew what was possible, all that optimism back, it just an amazing force. So, my hack is to reset or restart, however you define it. I think it’s probably the greatest privilege and power we have in our lives. And you have the choice to do it at any moment in your day, week or life, to begin again.
Steve Rush: Comes back down to mindset as well, doesn’t it?
David Kidder: Hundred percent.
Steve Rush: Having the conviction to say, right. Need to change, need to do it. Now, ironically, our third and final thing that we wanted to take you through was a bit of time travel and you get to almost revisit the 20-year-old. And in this case, the 21-year-old David and give him some advice, what would be your advice then?
David Kidder: To love yourself. And I think it’s hard to not think about that through a lens of like selflessness, because I think that it’s like, what I’ve discovered is that. I have three sons and I love them like the power of the sun, right? And as you think about how you love them; you would never want them to do something or be something that was harmful to themselves, that wasn’t for loving themselves, right? Because they become, you know, a performance addict or, you know, all the dope, right?
Steve Rush: Sure.
David Kidder: Make the field better. So, I think if you can take that same power and shine it from your soul to yourself, you can realize, am I doing this through love or fear? And so, when you start to look at the choices that you’re making in your life, in your business, yourself, especially largely they’re made through performance and fear, but if you can get that orientation, right. That observer self to yourself saying, you know, I love you Steve, then I could ask the question is, why are you doing this? What are you needing? And that changes everything. And I taught my kids about this, but I would talk to myself about this, if I went back to when I was 21, because it would have saved me probably 10 years of my life, at least I’m 47 now, because I just made choices out of fear.
Steve Rush: Yeah, and we often do, because that sense of fear is that self-preservation thing working out, which is what most entrepreneurs flip to use, their opportunity.
David Kidder: Yup, a hundred percent. They’re not even solving the problem. They’re solving something inside themselves. Usually, it’s an old shame.
Steve Rush: I did some research for this many, many years ago, actually. And most entrepreneurs happen to be the least academical individuals as well, because they’ve used their creativity. They’ve focused on intuition. They’ve used all of those raw kind of right-hand emotions versus the left-hand emotions that we need to be effective in business too.
David Kidder: Yeah. It’s funny, you mentioned the word academic. I am almost anti academic and my dad was a psychologist, PhD. It’s hilarious because, while we have a couple of PhDs at Bionic, who I love, where, you know, we create the outcome and you know, it’s grounded in good academics, but it’s not all that.
Steve Rush: Right. So, what’s new and what’s next for you David? And for the folk at Bionic?
David Kidder: You know, for now. I mean, it’s the same, the purpose of our lives, the purpose of Bionic. My writing, thinking, and the company has never been more needed in the world today than any time in my lifetime. And certainly not since we started the company, I mean, transformation and growth are the most important things in the world today. And it’s what we do. And so, I am in the right place, right time, you know, classic overnight journey, eight years in the work. And I couldn’t be more honored to be doing it.
Steve Rush: And if ever there was a right time to get you onto our show, it’s also the now. So thank you for being with us.
David Kidder: Grateful.
Steve Rush: Where’s the best place for us to send folk who would like to learn a bit more about you, but more about the work that you do, you’re writing and Bionic.
David Kidder: Sure. So, there’s two places for big companies. If see a big company you can go to onbionic.com O-N-B-I-O-N-I-C.com, learn more about transformation for big organizations there. For speaking or keynotes or books. You can go to davidskidder.com, D-A-V-I-D S in Steve K-I-D-D-E-R.com and there is a bunch of stuff up there. And hopefully it’s enjoyable, feel free to reach out. I’m pretty available. So, we’re accessible. So, no worries there but love to stay in connected with the world.
Steve Rush: You’re also pretty accessible through social media. We’ll make sure that we have all of those links in our show notes as well.
David Kidder: Thank you, wonderful.
Steve Rush: It’s only left for me to say thank you, David. I just love chatting with you. You’re a really inspirational guy and that’s no surprise why you have been so successful in winning and losing, and the 10% that are successful growing into great organizations and great companies. But thank you very much for being on The Leadership Hacker Podcast.
David Kidder: It’s my pleasure. Thanks, Steve.
Steve Rush: I genuinely want to say heartfelt thanks for taking time out of your day to listen in too. We do this in the service of helping others, and spreading the word of leadership. Without you listening in, there would be no show. So please subscribe now if you have not done so already. Share this podcast with your communities, network, and help us develop a community and a tribe of leadership hackers.
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