Episode 90 – Make Them Laugh

On this week’s show we speak to consultant Simon Minty about using comedy to help get serious messages and change to happen.

On the bookclub, we look back on Grant Leboff’s Sticky Marketing.

And we also get up to date with the latest on Bitcoin energy consumption in the form of national anthems…

Don’t forget you can continue the conversation on the WB40 WhatsApp Channel. Drop us a line on Twitter for details.

This transcript is generated by http://otter.ai – it’s included as an aid for searching the website and is not edited or corrected, so if it calls anyone a rude name please check the audio before you complain to us 🙂

Matt Ballantine 0:21
Hello, and welcome to Episode 90 of WB 40, the weekly podcast with me, Matt Ballantine and Chris Weston.

Chris Weston 0:27
Well, hello, Matt. Here we are, again, WB-40. And we have got a cracker of an episode with, again, interviews and a book club.

Matt Ballantine 0:39
a very exciting

I tell you what, though, I am getting to that point this year. It’s like, Oh, is it over yet? And the general madness of politics and current affairs and, and traveling and all sorts it’s just like, please, Christmas break neck?

Chris Weston 0:59
Yes, I understand that actually. Because I’ve got a holiday booked. We start in just about 10 days time and I am really, really ready for that. It’s been a it’s been a funny year. And if I think about the start of the year it was it was really mentally busy and

lots going on. And then the middle of the year was a little bit quieter through the summer, sometimes things are

and then it’s got busier and busier as we’ve got towards the end of the year. And but not necessarily in a in a in a way where I always know what I’m going to be doing the week coming up so it’s been busy but bitty and and not not non the worst for that actually. But

it just requires a different mindset you know, I mean,

Matt Ballantine 1:47
yeah, absolutely. I was some lunch today there’s a group of people who most they’re kind of freelance three agent types, but with some people who weren’t first unlike normal companies and things as well. There was organized by john wheelchair, who’s the guy who is the marvelous inventor of artifact cards, which anybody knows me know I constantly eulogize about and and burn through it a remarkable rate and the sort of blank playing card things. And there was a bunch of people that and I think there’s a similar sort of feeling is a few things in the air at the moment, there’s a

kind of busy but not necessarily all immediately paying work. There’s also a definitely an air of Oh crap, what’s going to happen past notch which is worrying

and I think that actually people are starting to get really quite anxious about that bit of it as well. So there’s a kind of get as much working now she possibly can,

Chris Weston 2:49
money won’t have any value past but you know, we’re going to be trading route arts and then then fun guy we find that I gardens we know this

actually that today’s because of course, we record this on

disaster Monday, which we, which is a every Monday is for the government of the moment. And this has been no exception.

It was genuinely that I mean, I remember I remember in the 1990s I guess like mid 90s watching the major government collapse over Europe, of course, as it turned out, and,

and that was amazing. That was really good fun. I enjoyed it thoroughly because I was too young for it to really make a significant difference to in terms of what would know, whatever, whatever came of it. And, and I just, I loved all of the bickering and and the fact that you could you knew that people were going to slot silently stab each other in the back. And I was also fairly sure that there was a great alternative

around the corner.

This is like 100 times worse in terms of the the actual collapse of the government doesn’t really I’ve never seen anything like it.

But unfortunately, the alternatives are awful horrible. And it’s, it’s, it’s a bit grim. So my maybe I’m just getting old but it’s not it’s not as fun as it was back then.

Matt Ballantine 4:15
No, it wasn’t I just out of curiosity led to several William hills odds of the next prime minister and it’s just the most depressing list you can imagine. It really is a Corbin verse. I think, for two, one

Chris Weston 4:26
is how how Chipman and

Matt Ballantine 4:32
there’s either there’s nobody, there you go, are there there’ll be added in a not even save us. I think it will be on that now. I think it’s just there’s nobody here who’s got the first clue about how to get dressed in the morning.

So yeah, who knows. But I think we know it’s important. We just model on this the stoicism that is important at this point, obviously

and the other than the impending collapse of the British political system much at keeping you busy this week.

Chris Weston 5:02
Well, this week, yes, I kind of I spoke to people about opening piece of work starting in the new year, which is really good. And I’ve got another piece of work which is which I was working on the day and working with my,

my great colleague, Mr. Jones, who on doing a bit of work for company down in Gloucester. So that’s all good. So yes, we’ve got quite a lot going on. Actually, it’s it’s been very busy enough, I’ve got a couple of things to write up that I haven’t done yet for, for other folks. So I’m actually behind, which is nice.

This is your site with

Matt Ballantine 5:43
the usual I started doing the experiment as of last week, which came out of a workshop that I ran for the it leadership team for a big pharmaceutical company. And the idea that came out of geographically distributed and they one of the things they were talking about was how they don’t get the opportunity for kind of informal conversation. So we suggest this idea of doing virtual coffee breaks, which is if you’re going for coffee, why not invite other people and then just start up a video call to hear that just have a chat people.

So Oh, try this myself, really. So I did one on Thursday on Twitter. And nobody joined. But that is par for the course of the coffee often nobody else wants a coffee at the same time, but did one on Friday. And there’s fantastic at

a guy runs startup who does amazing things allowing machine to machine interaction through something that sounds like bird so i think i think it’s called chirp.

Chris Weston 6:38
Yeah, yeah, they were. They’ve been around for a while. That’s quite an interesting project.

Matt Ballantine 6:44
Yeah. So

his name is terrible. But Patrick is his name I met him years back at Silicon beach so there’s him there was showrunner day he does lots of stuff intuition around internal comms are never actually met before and really good matter with her and Roy Brooks who have met in the in the physical world and stay in touch with him a bit. And we chatted about how remember See, I think it is mostly about how dreadful online banking is, and how the challenger brands surely got to do something about it. Just half an hour of, you know, let’s take a break. Let’s talk about something interesting. And it was brilliant some of these and regularly when I’m working at home, because it’s good way to stay sane as well. So keep an eye out for hashtag global canteen. And I’ll be doing a few more of those vast, I’m looking at home. So that’s good. Anyway, enough prattling time to get on with the show, I think we will start

with a bit of book club.

So the book we’re looking at this week in Book Club is a thing called sticky marketing, by check who grant wishes published I think about seven or eight years ago.

And it’s actually probably of all of the stuff that I’ve read in me actually getting up and running a bot Lucy court of business,

it’s probably been the thing that has had the biggest influence in my thinking about how to go about marketing in the I don’t do any traditional marketing, I don’t pay for advertising, I don’t sponsor stands, event event sponsor events, what I do is I create our stuff and give it away for free. And from that work plops out hopefully at the end. And the core idea that I took from this book, when I first read in turn refreshing myself, again, of it recently

Unknown 8:42
was

Matt Ballantine 8:44
that that very concept, that that that whole idea that if you if you make the things that you give to people, as part of your marketing, inherently intrinsically valuable, you’ve got a chance that you will stick in their mind. So that when it comes to something that might be relevance for them, buying it from you, you might be in their heads when it comes to thinking about who they go to. And that as a as a concept, it’s very simple, but my goodness, so many patients funding and miss it, because they think marketing is about a knowledge transfer exercise to bear to get you to understand the product.

Chris Weston 9:23
Yes, that is an old fashioned kind of construct is now about marketing, essentially being a broadcasting size. So you know, we so meat pies or whatever, by our meat pies, you’ll feel better once really one of our meat pies. And it’s kind of

that word once upon a time, because in the book, we talk about the fact that

you were essentially the content that you’re talking to lots of disconnected people on it, you know, or people in small communities. Now, of course, everybody’s connected. And everybody uses different tools to to maintain lots of community so they can talk about your product, and they can talk about what’s good and what’s bad about your product. And they need to have that conversation. And if you’re not in that conversation, if you’re if you’re not part of that conversation, then you’re just you’re just a victim and

from marketing to work. Now, you’ve got to be as you say, delivering some some value and being part of that whole being a part part of that back and forth my my friend My came he runs a consultancy called flair and they he helps people sell and one of the things the first thing to say whenever he does one of these courses, able to give you ideas away give all your best ideas, right, you’re going to have to give this stuff away because it is part of what makes you you it’s what part is part of explaining why you’re valuable. And lots of people say no, we can’t give that away that’s our crown jewels we must we must hide it to wait secret Well, I even secret kind of on every knows about it. Which is which is not what you’re not yet what you want and be if it if you give away an idea or you know

some kind of concept or whatever, or

even even the accident on kind of point that are you from your point of view your your draw some sort of fight for full access matrix. And

it It must is not the give that way. Because if anybody can do it, if anybody can take that and make it and make it work in their organization as well as you could well, you know, much value it

at the end of the day, your value comes from how you came up with those tools, how you use those tools now using to infer valuable insight or this or might make decisions and that they those people need you or they need the people have created that around in order to do it or to do it. Well, you know, domain or bit of investment in that time is worth a lot more than 20 figure out for yourself.

Matt Ballantine 12:01
Yeah, absolutely. And I think the other bit of it is, I remember having this

this conversation with my friend Nicole is based out in the Caribbean. And she got really freaked out point about three or four years ago when she found that somebody had copied some of her content from her website. And my view of it was

you should make all your content on your website, Creative Commons make it share alike, because that means that if somebody is copying it, you’ve given them the framework in which to do it, which is as long as you have attributed that’s fine. But far more importantly, you haven’t got the money to be able to employ copyright lawyers. So you’ve got no way of enforcing your copyright anyway. So you might as well give the stuff out and give it away for free because

it has value if you are unleashing it to the world. And it doesn’t if you’re not, and it’s you know, you’ve got to be massive scale now to be able to be in the game of protecting into actual property rights. And I’d question whether anybody really gets much value from protecting intellectual property rights. And this year, incredibly nice, incredibly real time in if you’re, if you’re a Reuters, then you know, the IP that you have over the market data that you’re giving out in microsecond intervals. But you’ve protected that by just having the infrastructure to stop anybody asked me to do it, if you can distribute on the internet, and you can distribute on the internet for free. And the other thing and this is that there’s another book we should as been very influential from equal to curve. And the argument for that is, if you can distribute it for free, people will expect ultimately that the cost of receiving something that can be distributed for free should be free. And if that’s the mindset, then what you also need to think about then, is how did you disproportionately monetize what you do through a few people who spend an awful lot what the guy who’s written the curve is called super fans in the way that somebody who is reading really into a band will buy every Special Edition every t shirt, or visit every gig and whatever. But most people will just stream on Spotify and basically give you nothing for it at all those two ideas, give stuff away to be part of your marketing, which is inherently valuable, and you have credibility, spare to talk about Plus, you know, keep in mind that if the cost of distribution is free, there’s nothing that is stopping if we had to get it to as many people as possible that for me, I think is it is quite a different outlet to what has been traditionally talked about in terms of sales and marketing techniques, and doing the sort of what we do.

Chris Weston 14:35
That’s true. I think, also the there were a lot of echoes of the book that we reviewed in the summer, I think the one about the power of moments, yes, because, again, you are, you are aligning, or you’re sort of making some connection in your new potential customers mind, on your networks mind with between what you have created and that little bit of value that they get from that, it’s it that’s a bit of a moment. And I think there’s a, there’s a correlation there.

Matt Ballantine 15:05
Now, there is indeed. So there we go. Grab a bath. Sticky marketing thoroughly recommend

now we’re going to change this around to the new year. So we’re not going to give you a book now, we’re not gonna refer to the massive great machine has book recommendations, or though if you look on the website, web 40 podcast. com, you’ll find the list of things that has been collated together we’re going to give it a different spin in the new year. And we need to just work out the finer details of that. So tune in again in 2019 for a newly renovated and refreshed web 40

Unknown 15:40
book club.

Matt Ballantine 15:43
Okay, we’ve got another one of our irregular features, which is the National Anthem of the country of which the global annual electricity consumption of Bitcoin generation is closest to and it’s there’s a change

Chris Weston 16:02
change but I’m going to play it and see how many people recognize it.

Matt Ballantine 16:26
Yeah, that’s awesome. Singing and singing and everything so the national anthem there if he didn’t spot it is have

Unknown 16:35
you taught me rock?

Matt Ballantine 16:37
It’s actually quite interesting because there has been for the first time since the economist who is collating the energy consumption or estimated energy consumption of Bitcoin has been doing it over the last month or so there’s been quite dramatic drops which seems to correlate with some quite dramatic drops in the value of Bitcoin

Chris Weston 16:57
yeah so now it’s um it’s actually 53 in the world countries are coming word got to actually but it but it wasn’t it that’s right it’s now isn’t currently before Singapore and if you look at the graph it takes a big drop around the 19th of November

which is a bad just a couple of days after the big the first big drop in Bitcoins. Ronnie

Bitcoin has been trading It was 20 for quite a long time very steadily around the six now thousand dollar mark and by between the kind of not know this 12th November and 26 November so like those two weeks it dropped to below $4,000 so it’s a massive job the hot the whole cryptocurrency was at a bit big pig kicking ever since I got involved in it and

here

in the Bitcoin world Bitcoin is that is one of those crypto now that you can’t mind yourself

even if you got and some of these GPU rigs and things you are you’re still messing about on the fringes make Bitcoin in terms of mining is only really been done by in the what they call whales in this in this terminology about that they are there

they have massive massive rigs you know big rooms full of equipment grinded out these bitcoins now, I would suggest that that big drop is something is somebody one of these guys are just turned a whole bunch of stuff off because, you know, close down the data center or something that because it’s just not worth running that particular days and because it’s the energy consumption means that it’s no longer profitable to mind a continent which is a bit I mean because kind of goes against the the whole distributed

hippie idea of this being you know, not run by the big corporations The fact is it’s it’s it’s not run by massive energy gas guzzler. So

yeah, it’s quite interesting and maybe points to the fact that Bitcoin and it’s only we’ve talked about this openly before that the blockchain technology behind Bitcoin the way Bitcoin itself works may not be scalable enough to be something that’s

that’s about it in future as you got a theory and which is a very different kind of

a different model in terms of its in terms of what it does. And

it’s there’s a lot of work going on to move it from a proof of work reward to proof of stake reward, which which would take away that the that the incentive to burn more and more of that energy, there are some problems around that. But still, I think the fact that they’ve decided that that’s what it’s going to happen to and that will be a change in the next

well, we say six months. But of course it doesn’t, we don’t really know because it depends on how fast the billion developers actually get this done and they’re all kind of open source free lunch it’s all very much a community thing so nobody really knows how long this is going to take but I think if we can come up come up with a better way of rewarding people’s efforts different way of a different economy for energy against you then maybe we got a chance but yeah hope Bitcoin it’s all a bit weird.

Matt Ballantine 20:24
Oh, yes. Anyway, there we go. There’s the the update for you and will be keeping an eye on that in 2019 to see whether we can get down to really tiny countries. Again,

on the show

Chris Weston 20:39
another interview, we have an excellent interview today with chuckle time and minty who you talk to. He’s a disability consultant, and he is also into comedy as account manager of a comedy troupe.

Matt Ballantine 20:52
He is he is another one of these people who certainly like me, and probably like you as well find it somewhat difficult to be able to explain exactly what it is that he does. So when I started off really unfairly asked him to try to do so

Unknown 21:07
my name is Simon minty. I take a long time to explain what I do. And I always seem to start with what pays me and then it jumps into what I do, because I just like it. I’m self employed and have been for 25 years. I am a consultant and trainer in disability for larger companies and helping around employment or goods and services, that kind of stuff. So I’m a team code abnormally funny people, which are all comedians with a disability except for one who’s on token not disabled one because you’ve got to give them a chance you’ve had that job before. Yes, one thanks. And

Unknown 21:47
host a show for BBC called BBC Ouch. It is the only show that is just podcast form. Part of me loves that because it means we can miss about but the other part of me is a bit sad Bombay on five or radio for maybe one day, we will that is all about disability. So that might be why it is a very popular podcast, particularly in international countries, they can’t believe we do what we do. And then finally, I am trustee of a couple of organizations

Unknown 22:16
stop gap, which is a dance group and improbable theatre, which is a fair to group

Unknown 22:21
and I love them to bits. And I’ve recently become a non executive director, which is quite amazing.

Matt Ballantine 22:26
So the thing that I’m interested in talking to you about today is about the theme of comedy, because you’ve done a lot of work now around using humor and about creating a a comedy troupe a group of people whose job it is to make people laugh, but that there’s been a kind of

another motive, I think, behind that as well, which is about also getting people to think differently about some challenging issues and some issues that need to be addressed. And to get people to change how they think, is that fair assumption?

Unknown 23:02
Yes. Although I would qualify that say that wasn’t the original intention when we started it was because I thought disability in comedy was a,

Unknown 23:13
an area that hadn’t been explored. And I thought, there’s a lot of humor here, the different so it needs to be led by people who have the conditions because otherwise it goes a bit weird. So the intention was, we did Edinburgh 2005, we have six different comedians, including the token and if I wanted to make people off, I wasn’t about educating the world and the comedians were there because they wanted to be famous and successful and gathering TV show,

Matt Ballantine 23:44
do you think there is a way of getting people to think differently through using humor that can be more effective than other methods.

Unknown 23:55
So I can think of Lawrence Clark, who’s one of our comedians myself, probably Liz car, originally a couple of others who actually their day job was training so they would run training courses and around disability. But the bit Lawrence has always said, I could spend the day in a room doing training. Or I could do three well crafted gags, or hidden camera video. That’s funny. And in two minutes, I’ve done the same I’ve had the same impact. So you cut through a lot of stuff. You don’t have to explain it. You just show it. There’s a withdrawal and him take a breath. And then there’s a burst of laughter. And our director at the time. Hugh Thomas, who’s Randstad ran downstairs of the kings Ed, which was original comedy venue. He said, You guys, if you it’s not difficult for you to them to shock them, they will take the intercut left because

Unknown 24:49
you got to make sure you get the big laugh at the end of it. Because if you only get the intake of breath as easy, we can shock it shock and laugh that’s the joy of slightly the growth. So yes, I do think it like the double whammy because then all the little bits drop into their head they shocked they had a realization about something and then they laugh about the absurdity. The comedy is very rare this self deprecation in there. Of course there is and that’s a thing that we do and lots of people do. There’s also a lot about us ripping in to society to people to managers. Human beings are part of it. And that’s the bit that people get so will we taking the Mickey out of them they love ago we are done that

Matt Ballantine 25:30
is a crossover between what you do in your serious Simon minty business consulting around disability and then the comedy stuff.

Unknown 25:40
Yeah, so pre 2005, I’d never done stand up comedy. But I wanted to do it. So it was a bucket list thing since and the idea was I have gone to Edinburgh out have done a show every night. Admittedly with five other people who are very good at it, they can sort of cocoon me and make me appear better than I was. And

Unknown 26:02
so the idea was, I would just do stand up for that month, get it out my system when I came away from it. But when I started doing training and public speaking, the way I did, it completely changed. The the confidence, the humor, the pushing, it just started flying out, weirdly enough. Just last week, I did a talk for a conference called desirable it’s all about better design, inclusive design. But don’t use inclusive anymore. It’s just good design or the other. And I put a couple of pitches up. And it wasn’t really a big side thing. And I’ll just talk about that. The top just to get people going. I got told off later. Because apparently the 20 minutes

Unknown 26:42
and it was laughter huge amounts of laughter. And I hadn’t written it. I had two or three things in my head. And I thought that might work. But the idea if you said to me 1015 years ago, go and stand up in front of 250 people and talk and make them laugh. And you’re talking about disability and you got to run for 20 minutes. And there’s no script, I would go I’d rather die. Thank you give me another disability. I didn’t want to do it. But it was great. So yeah, it made it freed me up a bit

Matt Ballantine 27:14
as interesting because they I mean, in my own work. And the work I’ve done around management training. In particular, I use humor, I’m not the world’s funniest person. But I through practice have got to a point where I can judge things and I can do off the cuff remarks. And I’m I know as well that if you’ve got a group of people laughing early on, you’ve got more chance of being able to get into other things than if you’ve got the most tedious and serious and,

Unknown 27:46
and there is a time and place for both. I mean, I sometimes risk being to juggling to funny there is a there’s a kind of argument you and I both names, not numbers. And I sat with a chap called Mr. g. And he said true comedian is got to always find the comedic angle that is intrinsic. They can’t stop but have to find the gag in it. And I know about 90% there. There’s times where I go, actually, no, you gotta let it go. The truth is just one or two comedian, a true comedian. Everything Everything is got a gag at the end of it. But you’re quite not. And I think my mum in her bathroom has got one of those

Unknown 28:24
pitches. And it said, the shortest space between two people or something that is laughter

Unknown 28:30
and of course, we’re talking about this terribly awkward subject of disability. And if you don’t do what we do, I find it becomes very earnest, I think it can be very patronizing. It becomes out wrong, we’ve suddenly I mean, if I see the word inspirational anymore, I’m gonna have to I’m going to know it. It’s It is so patronizing this this nonsense. It’s so I think the the comedy can prick the pomposity or the fear or the nervousness and just take it out and go look, let’s just have a straight for conversation about whatever we’re supposed to be talking about.

Matt Ballantine 29:10
And I think that that’s that’s the bit i’m i’m curious about. Because if I then take that sort of thinking and put it in the context of wanting people in an organization to change how they behave more broadly. And then I think about how organizations go about doing that. And there is humor used within organizations around communications and stuff there’s a few examples have been pointed out to me as I was doing a bit of research before this concert I say research couple of tweets on Twitter but you know that’s it’s much more than I usually do

but that I think particularly with you know, a lot of the the technology, chump change programs that I’m involved with this so desperately

Chris Weston 29:59
desk, pretty serious.

Unknown 30:01
Why do you think that is so desperately serious? Is that lack of here on the with? Or is it that they feel that it has to be, is it a kind of respectability, or a lack of credibility?

Matt Ballantine 30:14
So that there’s a few things I think that their technologies often quite a serious engineering kind of mindset industry. That’s one side of it.

I think the other bit and this is a theme actually will be coming back to again and again, and in the podcast over this year,

Unknown 30:31
is

Matt Ballantine 30:33
the Protestant work ethic. Okay, the deeply Calvinists thing that has got a huge influence I think in UK culture at work, which is if in any way he was seen to be enjoying yourself,

then you’re obviously not working and you will go to hell.

Unknown 30:53
But just to separate working very hard people who are creative people are funny people who are working question Be it is it using, but you must not enjoy it at the same during,

Matt Ballantine 31:03
well, maybe there is a bit yet not enjoy and not not look like you’re enjoying it. And people laughing at work. Yeah, would look terribly like people are enjoying themselves. So the stuff I’ve been investigating for the last couple of years now about concepts of play at work, the idea about how in a might my underlying theory is that we we are very poor, enabling people to do curious, tinkering play. And again, one of the reasons for that is, it might look a little bit too much

Chris Weston 31:33
like fun

Unknown 31:35
to you, we have the perception of Google and I’ve done bits of work with Google and you rock up and there’s the basketball courts, and is the bean bags and the amazing restaurants and cafeterias and, and the bright colors, all that and this is good fun, then I’m actually spending time with them. Very serious bunch of people there is it’s play, but there’s some really serious stuff going on as well. So it’s a kind of a, I don’t know, maybe it’s a perception that it’s quite fun. But actually, there’s Yeah, the knee

Matt Ballantine 32:02
and I think I’m actually from experience of those kind of organizations that actually, a lot of the time those those artifacts of fun are actually sitting in the corner gathering dust, because nobody actually has time to go and play basketball or table tennis.

Unknown 32:18
Not that long ago, a training company came to me and said, Simon, we need to make a training video around disability and it’s your disability, 101 what to say what to do around employment, about customer service, that kind of stuff and said, you know, your stuff, will you make it with this, and I said, that account I’ve been around too long to do another sensible, well, try and avoid saying this. And if you can try and say that I

Unknown 32:44
it’s important. And some of these to say if I don’t want to do it. I said, however, if you do a comedy, one using App, know many funny people, I will make it with you. It’s got to be fun and be messing around. And to their credit. They said, All right, let’s do it. Let’s try it. And I’m really proud of what we’ve done. It’s straightforward. But all the comedians are coming up with these. And that’s what we showing showing the absurdity or when it goes wrong, or the absurdity of fumbling and out there some worry about that or overcompensating about what am I be, and that makes you giggle. And then afterwards, I admittedly, I do go well, instead of doing that, do this, and then we’re off again. So it’s just a little, but they were nervous, and they’re still saying, you know, some clients are a bit hesitant, because I thinking, can we laugh about this, and I’m saying, we know, we’re not laughing. It blind men walking into a lamppost. This is way more sophisticated, this is why do we keep getting it wrong, life could be so much better for all of us people could be employed better more customers and come in let’s just have a bit of fun with it. But you still learn it

Matt Ballantine 33:53
but actually when you were talking about that reminded me a bit of

the you know, on the for flight, you have the air safety thing and on local European flights is still some poor person at the front with a

bag and whatever. But on the longer haul flight is all video these days. And the BA one is a sort of Windsor currently, I think from the last time I saw it’s got a kid dragging along a rabbit that eventually will be a cabin crew is back to them because they were left in the virgin one. Yeah, they’ve obviously put quite a lot of productions thought into it, and its comedic yet, but it makes you watch as a result of that. Yeah, because there’s something there, there’s going to draw you and there’s something about is that sort of level one, isn’t it being asked the ordinary maybe.

Unknown 34:40
Yeah, and because it surprises you immediately, if you’re a frequent flyer on virgin, then you’ve seen it 27 times in the last month. Yeah, seriously. But in theory, you kind of know, bit more anyway, as in, you know, what emerges I be, I like those. And I’m a big fan of them, because they do it with fun. And there is this I remember flying the big monster, press the button and said, someone, can you coming help me and they went

Unknown 35:02
well, he said, I’m just messing with you. And I like that little bit of pushback. Ba did make one with famous people. And they had Warwick Davis, who is short like me, and he was sitting next to Sir Ian McKellen and they are in the seats and the oxygen bags came down. And I was sitting waiting for the guy about not being able to reach it, or make sure you give it to sell before you and they didn’t. They did some other guide which I uploaded them because they didn’t go for the cheap shoppers. And they went for another guy. But you’re right, it gets a little bit of attention. It’s

Unknown 35:33
I mean, the site is if we write about this, then gradually, everything will be an we will be hankering after some seriousness.

Unknown 35:41
But I think you’re going to get it because of my subject. I think it is a nicer way to go. There are moments where disability is really difficult, and there’s people with some disabilities and their lives incredibly difficult. And there’s a whole reason raft of reasons for that. But even then, I still think there’s moments of levity or irony that

Unknown 36:10
and I think actually that can have more depth if someone saying something about cancer or something like that. And that has more depth and even being serious about it. There’s something that just resonates around a room and people will get it and there’s a an emotional connection to it beyond just a laughter

Matt Ballantine 36:30
let’s talk about that about your special subject. And how that the world of technology and the world of disability

What do you mean disability, activism, disability, education, disability,

Unknown 36:45
I kind of took over there are I was gonna say consultancy, I there are what I call activist as village activists. They’re hardcore their proper they rattle cages really loudly

Unknown 36:58
and they they make people feel very awkward. And I may need to exist I can’t quite do that. Some of my friends I always have them in the back of my mind thinking would they be happy media in this or will they be annoyed with me because that are kind of barometer for me. That’s a long way of me saying I then go and speak to businesses because I can speak business tool. And I do want to do so I don’t think I’m real to activist I think in activists so much tougher than me

Matt Ballantine 37:24
now, my son. So the consulting worthy you do, how much of what you are doing these days is tied to technology.

Unknown 37:35
And truth is not a great deal. That is perhaps just because of my

Unknown 37:42
I am a techie. And I adore tech. And I have two friends who have disabilities and we have a group we message a lot and we meet every two months and just spend the whole day talking about tech and what’s working some of that is disability related and some of the isn’t but in terms of my work mine have a softer skills my mind more well softer and legal. So it saying what are your responsibilities watching this organization we doing? What are you not getting right, where you vulnerable, if you get the right accommodations or adjustments are you going to make your team is more effective, you’re going to retain people. So I think mine is that wasn’t very fun. It was it was very serious. Yeah, I can, I can do it.

Unknown 38:22
So the where the tech comes in, is in terms of adjustments, and accommodation. So you have an employee you have a customer, the level that the joy that comes with technology is how enabling it can be for disabled people. And as it just gets better and better and better, our lives are opening up more and more and more. And I kind of, even in my short lifetime, I kind of think this has changed so much for freedom that we’ve got and the things that are improving, whether that is the you know, the smart speakers that we can yell Pat. And if you haven’t got movement, or you got limited movement, this can do most of the things you want to do. This used to be sipping power for, you know, you’ve got to move your eyes and that would take forever narrow is just it can be immediate. So yeah, I know what you intend to pure tech of wheelchairs or scooters that is getting better and better as well as computer tech as well.

Matt Ballantine 39:17
And there’s an extent to achieve. And I guess there’s two boundaries on the first is the boundary of which the technology all sorts of different technologies enable all of us to be able to become

better and that there’s a level in there around people who traditionally would have felt rightly, that they had disadvantage actually now being actually increasingly upon but there’s equality. And then even if you take the example of some

power athletes, you could say that they now actually have advantage over able bodied athletes,

Unknown 39:56
which the joy of the man who should not be named anymore who’s in let the disabled side down, whether he didn’t, because he just showed the Where is likely to be a criminal and dodge presents anybody else. And but yeah, that starts becoming a different argument as in is the equipment that he’s getting, or she’s getting is that given the disproportionate advantage there’s two things you know, there was a big debate about Paralympics, merging with the Olympics, I’m in the gang of it’d be nice to play with the same time. But I still think it needs to be a like, with, like, we have the dwarf Sports Association. And the point of that is not the we’re going to get to a certain level that you and I are going to start running against each other, because it’s not going to happen. It’s that we can compete with people who are relatively equal physic means. But yeah, there’ll be a point where that advantage,

Unknown 40:47
I didn’t know that it gets quite technical and quite bizarre, I don’t know.

Unknown 40:52
But you even got levels is why the categorization of power Olympians power athletes is so complex as well, you know, is having one right arm as much as a discipline to your advantage to having one left leg it is and it is a joy, because you’ll watch people line up in the swimming pool. And you go, Whoa, there’s so many shapes and sizes there. How do you equate that for goodness sake, I’m the bit is good means for you my conditions, relatively rare. So that means if I enter, stop, it most likely going to win. Because there’s no one else in my group. The only side this is a bit too old. Some of this has come late to me, it is so enabling. And if it’s right, and we are making a huge assumption, which is either that the state or society provides it which they don’t always or the employer or service provider is going to employ provide it and they don’t always and some of this is still quite expensive. So it may be available. It doesn’t mean to say it’s actually in use, and everyone’s got access to it. But hopefully in time, get cheaper and easier. And that does mean it will happen. The bit, which is where I still will probably be in the job for the rest of my life is there is something deeper and something I don’t want to say night and I haven’t worked it out yet. But I think there’s something more with disability, particularly visible difference that makes people go a bit funny. And so you could I could be the equivalent to you in everything that I do. I mean, like Dr. Tom, I can, I’m getting basic, don’t wear clothes, eat food, but to lots of other things, I could probably do them to an equal or equivalent standard to you.

Unknown 42:36
However, when we go down the street, when we go for an interview, when I walk into the restaurant, the treatment will be different. And that’s a bit we need to get over. Because always think the attitude is the tech will be enabling and leveling. But until we get people’s heads comfortable with it, it’s still going to be problematic,

Matt Ballantine 42:54
because I mean, some of the tech is not tech for disabilities, just general tech now. So things like voice recognition, I mean, you and I have spoken in the past about services like Alexa and Syrian the impact they’re having interesting though, because you as somebody for 25 years self employed have never had the employer to be able to rely upon to be able to give you reasonable adjustments is that the parlance goes

one of the other things I should say I have ceiling myself twice Phelan fair treatment, it’s a nightmare when you’re at your own boss, and have a massive falling out with a management isn’t it?

Yeah, it’s me free from the as well. But one of the other things that we’ve been exploring and that that the new project around the flexible move them which is looking at flexible working as a broad concept. And as we look at changing employment structures, and we look at more and more people becoming

independently employed, working with multiple clients, and how far that will go, we wait to see but that that that feels like there might be still quite a big barrier there for people with disability to be able to go and actually wholeheartedly launch themselves into the into the free agent way of working because of having to have things provided by employer. If it’s you,

Unknown 44:15
I think it’s worse. Ironically, the reason I say that there’s two types of adjustments to me, there’s bits of stuff that you buy, and you need funding for, and if you work for an employer, they might pay for it, you can also get access to work, a government funded scheme that will make a contribution or abortion and as a self employed person, I’ve got access to that so I could get funding for chairs, or desks, or software, or whatever it might be.

Unknown 44:41
The other part again, is back to this soft men. So it’s an attitudinal thing. How so I’m my own boss, I can be as flexible with my working as I want. I chose when I came to see you here today. Oh, it definitely. And you agree to it. If you’re your own boss, we found that people who have disabilities when you a lower middle, quite difficult, once you get to talk to your management, it’s very easy, because you run your own diary, you can dictate people don’t even mind if you’re not in, you might not have support as I can tell, support or admin support. Being at the top and having a disability is pretty good. And that’s the same as being self employed for me, I if I’m getting tired, I make sure they don’t put things in three days in a row, I’m planning to travel and the clients will be when you hear me them on the here and I said, I need a day in the middle, I’m not expecting to get paid for that day, I do need a day in the middle. And otherwise, I’m not going to cook. So I have I have more control as distinct from if I’m with an employer that said there are brilliant employees that get there. So that’s where the reasonable accommodation element comes in. Your bit about funding. Yes, that is an issue. And I think there’s an element of organizations,

Unknown 45:56
I think there’s an interesting bit, making a change for someone with a disability I feel should be easier. And I don’t like say what I’m going to say. But I think there’s some truth in it, which is people go well, it’s tough for them, therefore, I can see it. It’s when you say I want to come in a bit later, because it allowed out so you live in what do you want this extra bit. Whereas as a disability, there’s a really given reason. And it’s also not optional. It is, this is me, and this is my deal. So that’s what it doesn’t always work like that. And I can see there’s pushback, sometimes in organizations, they get resentful and I always get well, that’s fine, then use a wheelchair all the time and you’re hearing aids and get a guide open, you can have it to stop it, there’s a reason for that it’s about it’s not about advantage. It’s about balancing, I have a theory and it is a theory rather than pure evidence. But when you push back into the original sources of technology and to a certain degree flexibility at work, some of this is driven by disability and illness so lots of the things we having cars that are taken for granted I think I talked about this on the coach there’s lots of mod cons you get on cars and that was set up for a disabled person in the first place I adore engineers whether their technical or mechanical

Unknown 47:12
if they listen to me about what I want they can come up with solutions so is the longest answer ever admit I’ve had longer

Unknown 47:22
the I’ve lost my channel make a joke which I do quite a lot

Unknown 47:28
that bit of these the innovative the changes at work and whether its technology scratch right down to the bottom and effect disability somewhere in there.

Chris Weston 47:49
Well, that was an interesting conversation matter. So

it’s nice to talk to somebody who is as a sense of humor for living especially as we live in a

well but well it can be a bit poke face Canada in the world of it sometimes

Matt Ballantine 48:06
it’s your cuz he said desperately serious and much the time and I think the other but when I met Simon at NATO numbers in September is one of the things we talked we talked about loads of things I’ve been working with the guy he was at school with, to have lots in common various bits and bobs, but the the thing that was really interested in finding out a bit more about taking a creating and then running with a company tree and other other work around humor, to be able to kind of get people thinking differently about significant issues around change and change your behavior and attitude within organizations. I think it started like that. But that’s kind of how some of those words become. And I just, I was just, I was fascinated to explore that a bit. Because

Unknown 48:52
the IT projects are so

Matt Ballantine 48:54
fucking serious and not, you know, not that they are serious, we just wrap it up, you know, if you look, I think probably IT security is the is the worst example of it all wrapped up in this language of, you know, military things with dm Z’s and and castles and citadels and, and it’s not that bloody serious, you know, there’s some of the consequences can be, but some of the consequences of anything can be serious. But I just think this thing about being able to get people to engage and get people to do things differently without any sort of trace of any sort of element of humor within it at all. It’s just, it’s so miserable. But I just think instead, I don’t think it’s very effective, either. being serious all the time is just a really bad way to run things,

Chris Weston 49:43
I am completely in line with you on that being somebody who find it hard to maintain serious mask for very long, but I guess it’s not about taking the subject. And like, it’s not about saying that this subject is serious, or the the outcomes and serious because everybody’s got now we’ve got a job to do, and we gotta get, we gotta get on with it. But it’s, it’s maybe just not about taking yourself seriously. Because we are all human, we all have faults, and we all are flaws. And we all make mistakes. That is that is a fact of life. And we we all get taught at cross purposes, sometimes we will get there on the wrong end of the stick. And if we take ourselves too seriously, if we, if we try to put portray some sort of Florida speaking, who knows everything is never going to fail. And a lot of people do that a lot of people some of the most egregious people I’ve ever worked with have had this kind of self image that suggests that there are some sort of business Superman and they generally have been men

and they have been ourselves frankly, and impossible to work with,

because they don’t see this just can’t the word humility doesn’t feature in there in the backpack vocabulary, so or your doors. But I think it means the moisture in the air because they’ve also been thick, generally as well. So the, the,

the ability to have liberty and allow for yourself and I have seen that you if you get into I think if you go into security, and you get behind the sort of Wizard of Oz curtain

there is this, this humor that and people there’s, there’s, there’s there’s humor, and dark humor, and all that kind of thing. But in testing, we’re in this world out my, where we where we have to portray this kind of ultra serious

facade sometimes, which is a bit sad

Matt Ballantine 51:42
it is it is the other interesting thing of many interesting things in the conversation St. But it’s kind of irrelevant to the the other project that you and I are working on at the moment was a little bit at the end of the chat about flexible working and I might try to see if we can get a little bit more time assignments bit explore a bit more of that with the work that we’re doing with Pauline

but as a little side plug is we were recording Episode Two of the phrase ball movement a little later this week. And with luck, we should get that out before the Christmas break. So

I was just interesting as well just to be able to see actually that in in some ways flexible working is a leveler when it comes to issues around accessibility and disability. And I think that that’s that’s interesting because I think it’s it’s a different spin on

a number of spins, I think Paul is already starting to explore with the work on flexible movement but how the technology that gives us the ability to be able to work from our home or work from coffee bars is also giving much greater access to a broader number of people to be able to work where maybe they’ve had challenges to better work in the traditional office environment 1520 years ago

Chris Weston 52:59
I think that’s true I think that there’s a there’s an element of

the same issue that

affects women with regard to the kind of horrible macho 80s work ethic or not work ethic but kind of work culture where you’re not allowed to have a day off sick and you know and I’ve never had a diabetic in my life and all that nonsense it all all that crap where women have been

they’ve been discriminated against in the past because they might one day have a baby or something and the same way as a disciple people would be discriminated against because they might be off sick more or they might they might not be able to get in or they might they might that people can foresee problems that wouldn’t be foreseen with a with a fine healthy to login you know,

area in specimen of masculinity. It’s It’s nonsense. And the whole flexible issue effects will work issue does it does a little bit, doesn’t it?

Matt Ballantine 54:03
Absolutely. So anyway, we’re going to be doing more work on that this week. And you can will probably put the, the second show out on this feed. And then we’ve got the new website right up and running. So one that will shift over to its own podcast feed soon as well. So keep an eye out for that. Anyway, thank you very much to Simon for making some time and coming over for a good netter. And we will put a link to his website and maybe even his podcast. Oh, can we do that? I think we can

about only few mentions us somewhere,

you know, medicine and yeah, good stuff. Be links on the usual places. Web 40 podcast.com.

So there we go. We come to the end of and 19th episode, which means we are 10 episodes away from having committed to getting a book published. So anybody who’s listening who did promise to write a chapter please help us because otherwise,

Chris Weston 55:08
it’s going to be a most Kim we’re publishing

to blow my I mean, I’ve got a chapter about two thirds of the way done, but it’s not I’m not happy with it yet. Matt. I’m not I’m not happy with the direction it’s going to tear it up and start again. Yeah,

Matt Ballantine 55:22
I’m going to get mine done this week. And next, and it’s, I’ve I’ve got three courses or thing written. But I’ve decided that I’ve can write that for another book. And so I need to refocus and I know what I’m going to write about need to get the time to write it anyway.

So that’s part of what I’m gonna be doing in the week ahead. I also are going to be doing the thing with Paul infant second episode of the flexible movement. I’m also going to be meeting up with

Talia to record series two of draw pod so I’m literally turning into a popular half production powerhouse

Chris Weston 56:02
new certainly. Yeah,

Matt Ballantine 56:03
yeah. If any of this

Unknown 56:06
rewarding, but

Chris Weston 56:07
hold on a minute, we talked about this. This is all this is all part of your long term plan for Richard is by giving away all of this extreme. Exactly. Exactly.

Matt Ballantine 56:17
And apart from that, I think that’s that’s pretty much my week ahead. How about you? What have you got before the inevitable decline into Christmas?

Chris Weston 56:26
I have gotten a number of

I’ve got a number of things to do this week for various people. I really I’ve got trying to sit down Look at that, that chapter again. Because the

the day when I sat down and tried to do it, I intended to spend half a day on it. That’s when the first half of the day bit like those that kind of stereotypical writer at the typewriter you know, keep doing about half paragraph and then ripping the page and discussed and throwing it away,

that was pretty much me and select all and smashing the delete key. But

yeah, I’ve got a number of thing as a new projects starting and last week, I had some nice Christmas celebrations of various friends and colleagues. So I think it’s a bit quieter this week, I think I should be able to run down because then next week when we got a couple of days, and then that’s me, finished. Fabulous.

Matt Ballantine 57:23
It has come quickly this year. So next week is the last show of the year Episode 91. And we’re going to do a little bit of a review which might involve that thing. We use hop music to indicate passages of time as we look back on what’s been an incredible year. We listed it out as a couple of days ago on on LinkedIn, all the people that we’ve interviewed over the course of the last 12 months, and it’s been a fabulous roster of really quite an eclectic group of folks. So we’re going to pull out maybe some of the things that are stuck with us over the course of 12 months and gaze at crystal balls for the arrowhead. So look forward to catching up then and between now and then. Have a good week indeed.

Chris Weston 58:09
Well, thank you for listening and thank you to Simon for being our interview. He we are on iTunes and on Stitcher and all those other podcast channels on our website web 40 podcast.com

were also you can find the transcript of this show which will be done by otter.ai. Thanks for listening. See you soon.

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