If you had asked me eight years ago (when I sold my agency to WPP) if I would be starting another business, I would have been a hard “no.”
This is a very difficult statement for someone like me to acknowledge. I skew more towards the “never retire… keep busy… keep learning…” than the, “It was a nice run… time to take it easy… I should take up golf” personality type. There is a truth that lies somewhere in between. My main work at the agency revolved around creating content and getting enough attention on that content so that clients would want to hire us. It was a model that worked so well, that once I was able to leave the agency (about four years ago), I just did what I was doing at the agency, without the need to convert those interactions into an agency/client relationship.
What does that mean?
I took a small office space near my home along with Aubrey Rosenhek (who was our CFO/COO at the agency), and we decided to build a business around my professional speaking and content creation (Six Pixels of Separation podcast and blog, media appearances, writing articles, etc…). We also added in investing in other businesses, advising startups and taking on board seats. It was (and still is) a lot of fun.
You learn as you go.
During the process of growing both the speaking and content side of the business, we found ourselves with requests that we couldn’t take on. What we quickly realized is that there wasn’t any mid-tier products for those who couldn’t afford the services or wanted something just a little bit different. The worst part about it was that these were companies, organizations and individuals that were the right “fit” for the work that we were creating. Aubrey and I developed three products that we felt could meet their needs, but as we were about to launch them, we realized that the work (amount of time to produce, contracts, invoices, receivables, admin, management, etc.) was the same amount of work as our main offerings. It just didn’t make sense to roll it out.
Then Covid hit.
Everything went remote and virtual. Personally, this was fine for me. It’s not like I had not created or been engaged in the digital/virtual space. It was seamless for me to present virtually or shift towards more video-based content. We had been doing this for almost two decades before the entire world was forced to do it in March 2020. As someone with experience in the music business, I understood the difference between performing live and broadcasting, so the idea of webcams and ringlights instead of lav mics and wandering a stage didn’t phase me. We realized that our new ideas to grow our business was an even bigger idea that would work for anyone who creates and sells content. More importantly, it would be a huge value-add for businesses of all shapes and sizes that were left to figure out a new world of work where meetings, events, client engagements and more would be physical, virtual or hybrid. We have collected a vast network of content creators (now known as “Thinkers”) and have decades of experience building online platforms for some of the world’s biggest brands.
Welcome to ThinkersOne.
ThinkersOne is a new way for businesses to buy bite-sized and personalized thought leadership from the best Thinkers in the world. An organization can choose between three unique video experiences (a short, personalized thought-leadership video based on their needs, a one-to-one virtual pep-talk, and a “go live” opportunity). I’m really proud of the line-up of thought leaders that we have, and we are continually updating the platform to ensure quality, diversity and emerging topics.
So, if your business is looking to add insight, excitement, and big smarts to your regularly scheduled meetings, corporate events, company off-sites, “lunch & learns” and beyond, I think that you will love this. We have democratized access to the smartest people by providing a platform for these incredible and personalized “moments in time” that will add value to the work that you’re doing. Aubrey and I built ThinkersOne with the goal of empowering organizations to ignite their next meeting or inspire the person sitting next to them to build their businesses and expand their personal capabilities.
I hope that you will check it out, and share it with your network (if you think it makes sense).
So… yeah… I started a new business… ThinkersOne.