It was just over a year ago when Mitch and I decided to set out on a podcasting adventure – and People Tell Richard Stuff was born.

I often get asked why we started this. For me it’s all about thought leadership, creating engaging content, making new connections and, perhaps most importantly, I really enjoy it – one of the key drivers for most things I do.

There have been many highlights and a few embarrassing moments.

The old friend

Very early on we recorded a podcast with Jeremy Fennell, MD of Dixons Carphone Warehouse UK.

I know Jeremy well, so I wasn’t worried about forcing the conversation, but we still took a risk by recording it in a crowded restaurant before dinner. The environment created a relaxed conversation where Jeremy shared openly that the key to success to retail was to focus wholeheartedly on getting the customer experience right.

The clanger…

Podcast three was with Philip Thomas, CEO of Cannes Lions. It was still early in the development of the show and I had never met Philip before.

The conversation flowed amazingly, with lots of insight into Cannes, key adverting trends and big data. It was when we got onto talking about judging that the clanger happened. I picked up an award and then it slipped out of my hands and dropped corner first onto their shiny boardroom table. These things are quality and heavy – it left a nasty looking dent. Philip was a true gentleman and we carried on – but my ears still burnt for some time afterwards. Thank you again, Philip, for being such a professional!

The entrepreneurs

My two favourite startup and scale-up shows were with Tom Blomfield, Founder and CEO of Monzo and Lopo Champalimaud, co-founder and CEO of Treatwell.

What makes these shows so special, for me is that both of them shared their mistakes, what they have learnt as well as what had gone well – it’s what our audience wants to hear.

I loved hearing about how Monzo is recreating the banking experience from the ground up – they have no legacy baggage. I loved hearing how Lopo had built a successful revenue stream and business based on the “Groupon” model and then had the foresight and courage to realise that it wasn’t sustainable in the long run. He persuaded his board to completely re-engineer the business, ditching his early revenue. True start-up bravery.

The gurus

Simon Hathaway and I share a common love of water sports. I suspect Simon is a step up from me looking at his SUP videos. What’s more, he is one of the world’s gurus when it comes to shopper marketing – truly understanding the consumer.

Understated as ever, he coined a new play on the 3 Ss – no, it’s not “sun, surf and sex” but “search, shop and share”.

Doug Kessler, one of the world’s foremost experts on content marketing, was another favourite. Doug is one of the most engaging guys in marketing. If you get a chance to hear him speak, take it (or just listen to his episode). He described how trying to book a restaurant for a team dinner led him to believe that marketers need to have the courage to turn business away when it’s not right.

I had no idea how the conversation would go with Craig O’Donnell, CIO of Land Securities. They’re one of the largest companies in the UK that no one’s heard of – they own numerous shopping malls and business properties including the Piccadilly lights.

Craig provided a fascinating insight into what future retail looks like, and how due to the lengthy planning and construction cycles, they have to be constantly looking a long away ahead to second-guess what shopper behaviour will be like in the future. No easy challenge.

American brand strategist Adam Hanft provided a fascinating insight into how the consumer makes or breaks the brand. He used the example of how large beer brands have invested heavily in brand only to find consumers moving away to craft beers. How can large businesses replicate them – if they acquire them, will they destroy them?

The corporate innovators

In one of our more recent episodes, John Lewis innovation manager John Vary explained how his team has free reign to innovate outside the corporate structure of his company.

It’s all about making innovation “business as usual”.

Finally, one of my continuing fascinations is the intersection between startups and the corporate worlds when it comes to innovation. When startups are like a can of Red Bull and corporates more like red wine, how do the two work together?

James Haycock, managing director at Adaptive Lab gave some insight into how this is happening – the key challenges and what makes it work.

To mark our 30th episode, we’ve put together a compilation of our favourite bits. We’ll see you in 2017 with a brand new episode of People Tell Richard Stuff on January 10.

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