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Chris Do & Mo Ismail

To celebrate our 150th episode of The Futur podcast we are releasing a new episode every day this week for a total of 5 episodes. We call them 5 Rounds with Mo.

Round 1: Remove emotion from the equation
Round 1: Remove emotion from the equation

Round 1: Remove emotion from the equation

Ep
150
Sep
13
With
Chris Do & Mo Ismail
Or Listen On:

5 days, 5 episodes.

To celebrate our 150th episode of The Futur podcast we are releasing a new episode every day this week for a total of 5 episodes. We call them 5 Rounds with Mo.

In each episode The Futur Pro Group member and friend of the show, Mo Ismail, will ask Chris a tough question and he won’t let him off the hook until he’s happy with the answer.

In round one, Mo asks Chris about how he’s able to break big, complex problems down into something that anyone can understand. And how he does it without letting his emotions interfere.

Hosted By
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Episode Transcript

Greg Gunn:

Welcome to The Futur Podcast, the show that explores the interesting overlap between design, marketing, and business. I'm Greg Gunn. This is our 150th episode of the show. It's kind of hard to believe that we're already here. And I know that without your support for this show, we wouldn't have come anywhere close to releasing this many episodes. So thank you. And also... tell your friends about us.
Now you might be thinking to yourself, wait, it's Monday. Why am I getting a new episode from The Futur? Well, to celebrate the big one-fifty, we are going to release a new episode every day this week for a total of five episodes. And we're calling it Five Rounds with Mo.
Now in each episode, The Futur ,pro member and friend of the show, Mo Ismael will ask Chris a tough question and he won't let them off nearly as easily as I do.
Today is round one. Tomorrow will be around two and so on. So make sure to tune in each day this week for a new topic and a new round with Mo. Enjoy.

Chris:

Hey, what's up Futurists? Today we're going to be doing something a little bit different. We're going to be recording daily episodes on a new segment we're calling Five Rounds. I ask a friend, sometimes a foe, to enter into the proverbial octagon with me. It's not meant to be adversarial, but what we're going to do five episodes, 10 minutes long, on subjects and topics I know nothing about. Sometimes my guests will debate with me. Sometimes it'll just be to ask me for my insight, but it's going to be limited to 10 minutes, five rounds, 10 minutes. This is how it works. If you love this kind of content, let me know and we'll make more.
Okay. So I'm going to be in the blue corner. You know me, I hope you love me, but in the red corner is my guest. Introduce yourself guest.

Mo:

Hey. Hi. Hello. I go by the name Mo Isma and I am here to go five rounds with Chris Do.

Chris:

Okay, so that's who's in the red corner, weighing in at a... [crosstalk 00:02:35] with a Corona body, with a full beard, and you know, whatever else. Okay, here we go. Let's get into it. So, round one, I'm going to start the timer. Mo what's the topic?

Mo:

All right. So you... every time I watch you, whether it's in a sales call, a presentation, a workshop, you are able to take something down from it being so complex to it being so simple. And sometimes I feel dumb when you do that. Cause I'm like, "Why didn't I see that?" So how are you able to be so logical while teaching, selling, and communicating? Is there a secret to that?

Chris:

Okay. That is a whopper of a topic. So let's get into it. Now, we know this, that success leaves clues. And what I mean by that is with enough attention, focus, and ability to break down problems, you can take something and you can reverse engineer it.
You and I were talking about this before. I'm pretty confident in my ability that once I focus in on something, I'm able to solve the problem. Wherever my attention drifts and wherever I apply myself, I'm going to figure it out sooner than later. And I think it's not because I have some secret ability and magic or anything like that. It's just, it's a process.
I think that it comes down to a couple of things. One is looking at things objectively, trying to remove the bias and emotional attachment that you might have. The preconceived ideas and just looking at what is in existence and then trying my best to break it down.
We've done full videos on this called the five ingredients. I kind of look at it as like, "Can I understand this in five actionable, meaningful, clear, and concrete steps?" And if I can, if I can imagine that, then I've taken a complex problem I've broken into smaller bite-sized pieces that I can get my head wrapped around.
The next thing is speed, AKA velocity. And this is everything because it builds momentum... I want to make sure if I have a hypothesis of what the five things are, I want to get up whatever version of that is as soon as possible so I can test and find out if the hypothesis is correct. Too many people, falsely weigh the result and not the process. So what they want to do is they want to make one effort and make sure it hits every metric that is important to them.
And so they wind up spending too much time. So whereas they might be able to launch one initiative, one guess at why it works, I will go in and I'll do it 4, 5, 6, 8 times. And in that iterative nature, it starts off really crappy and not good. But I learn so much in the process and the journey that by the time I get to the seventh or eighth piece of content or whatever it is I'm doing, it's going to be way more refined and way more informed because of the data that I'm getting. Last, it's about the ability to stay in the dip. The dip is where things get hard, when it's difficult, where you want to quit, and this really tests your resolve and your commitment to getting through it. And this is where most people quit. I embrace the dip. I live in the dip. I start in my mindset inside the dip. Back to you.

Mo:

I think that sounds great, and all. For the sake of the debate, though, you say you remove bias and emotion. We're emotional beings. And personally, when I'm in a state of working on something, I can't just remove emotion from the equation.
Emotion is two fold for me. Emotion helps me continue and push forward. When I get positive feedback from something, and emotion sometimes does make me want to quit. And I balance both sides. So you say it, so matter of fact, "I remove emotion. I'm objective as possible." How do you even go about doing that?

Chris:

Well, if you think about it, if you have attachment and expectations on yourself about the outcome, how this is supposed to go, it's going to blind you to as much of the objective data that you're going to see.
If you go into it, asking yourself, "Are red M&M's the best tasting M&M's in the world?" And you only look at that, you're going to blind yourself to the objective data that you're going to see. I think you have to approach this... kind of like the way a scientist would do this.
And I want to be clear. I'm no scientist. We have friends in common that are truly scientists, who have studied it, who make a career out of this. I'm talking about using maybe part of your gut, your instinct, and marrying that with data. So I almost begin just like everybody else on an emotional level.
I have a hypothesis. I have a theory. I'm going to test this. Where I may differ from some people is... once I test something, the data that you get back... And let's just talk about the content game in terms of Instagram. The data I'm going to get back is engagement, comments, follows, shares, saves. Those kinds of things are ways to measure the performance. They don't tell the entire story, but they tell a story. And as long as we have data to support it, we can say, "Like, in my heart, I thought this was going to work, but the data is coming back negatively."
The detachment allows me to look at that and say, "As much as I love this, as hard as I worked on this, as much as I want people to love this piece of content, the data suggests otherwise." So I'm going to adjust, and this is very much true.
This is not anecdotal. This is for real. When we were in our two-week content challenge and I was putting out posts on Instagram, I put too much into the carousels. I over taught and made things more complicated than they needed to be. So the data told me that. And so the hypothesis is then, "I wonder if it has to be lighter. This is too meaty. And people aren't on Instagram for this kind of content."
So I started to thin it out, and I got it to a point in which I found that sweet spot, and each iterative cycle allows me to have more data, more measurements, more metrics so that I can then decide, I'm moving in the right direction. Or I'm moving in the wrong direction.
Imagine yourself, blindfolded. You remember the Marco Polo game in the pool? And you yell out "Marco" and everybody else yells out "Polo?"
That's like you bouncing a signal out into the world and then reflecting back to you so you have a better sense of position. Imagine if you play that game in a pool and you're only allowed to yell "Marco" once. That's the difference there. And imagine if you thought they were all in front of you, but when you yelled out "Marco," their "Polo" was behind you and you insisted they were in front of you and somebody was cheating, you would also be moving in the wrong direction.
I think personally, we're emotional creatures. I'm just as emotional as the next person. But when it comes to making certain kinds of decisions and being analytical, I'm going to temporarily put my emotional brain to the side so I can look at the data and then I can put my emotional brain back on. That's how I look at it.

Greg Gunn:

Time for a quick break, but we'll be right back. Welcome back to our conversation.

Mo:

So before this round ends, you got somebody who's coming in to this, let's say, content game and they're not as trained as you are to be able to take that emotional cap off and then put it back on when necessarily... Because I see you and you iterate very quickly. Though we're talking about this and you're walking me through a process, I feel like in real time, you're doing this in a matter of minutes after you look at the content you've already made. What would you tell that person going into it to do?

Chris:

Okay. I think what they should do is to articulate what emotions they have around this, what attachments, what outcomes they expect. And the act of writing that down and looking at it and articulating it, makes you just aware of it. So you can go into it and say, "I have a prediction. It's going to be red M&M's." So when you're collecting the data and you look at that and you're like, "Wait a minute. I'm going into this looking for a very specific thing." And so what I'm able to do, I think, is just to be able to be aware of that layer in between, which is that emotional layer, that perception, the attachment, and be aware of it so that when it pops up, I know that I'm reacting versus responding.

Mo:

Nice.

Chris:

Does that help you?

Mo:

Yeah, it does. It does. You took it a different direction than where I wanted to go with the logical, but...

Chris:

Well, take me where you want to go.

Mo:

Well, where I want to go is, I see you, for example, I'm going to talk about sales calls. Or even when you're coaching in our pro group live, someone will say a problem, then you'll be able to pick out one word and then completely debunk the logic for it.
Remember, I think I told you one syllogism and you're like, "If Robert... humans like apples. If Robert likes apples, therefore Robert is a human. You're like, well, if you attach this to this, then there's the problem. Boom." And you just solve it right there. How do you do that? So effortlessly. It honestly bugs me when I watch it. Cause it makes the whole thing seem so simple. Even though in my mind, it's so complicated.

Chris:

I'm going to teach you something here. Okay? It says we're doing the whole battle in the rounds kind of thing. Floyd Mayweather may be considered one of the greatest boxers who ever lived, he's a goat. Greatest of all time. And he has an art in which he can win fights without getting hit. He's a massive counter-puncher. Now it may not be the most exciting style to watch, but winning is what you want. And if you want to be one of the richest, wealthiest, boxers of all time, prize fighter, you're going to look at Floyd Mayweather. And so what Floyd is looking for is an opportunity to hit you.
So most people go into the fights trying to swing for the fences and take the guy out. And so they expose themselves to counter punch. Okay? Now what are we talking about here? So when somebody says, "Chris, this can't be true." Or, "I only believe this," I'm not looking to prove myself to be right. I'm not looking to punch.
I'm looking for the counter punch. So when they say something like, "The only stories that are transformative happen when other people are there to witness it," my first duty is to understand what they're saying and to tear their argument apart. In the world of sciences, we're talking about science, it kind of works like that. That there's a theory and if the theory is able to withstand the test of being disproven, it moves into what, what is that called? Then a theory becomes a law? [crosstalk 00:13:00] No, it's not an experiment. It becomes a law, right?

Mo:

No it becomes a theory. A hypothesis then becomes a theory if you can prove it to be...valid.

Chris:

So for all your science people, we will probably have to fix this part. So it starts off as a hypothesis. It becomes a theory. And if it lives long enough, I think it becomes a law like Newton's Law of Physics, right? Because nobody can disprove it.
And so the way this works is, all you have to do is find one instance in which it can be easily disproved, then the whole thing crumbles. And that's how you win the debate. So when a client says, "I can't afford this," I say, "Well, what can you afford?"
I just really get into their own words and I use their attack or their strike... kind of against them. And I'm reasonably secure and confident that most people don't really actually think about the things they think about, and much less about the things they say.
So I'm on solid ground there when I go in for the counter punch and oftentimes you'll see people unravel instantly. And that's what's happening.
Okay. That wraps up around number one. That's in the books. Boom. Okay.

Mo:

Definitely won... definitely I one round one. [crosstalk 00:14:06].

Chris:

We're not keeping score yet. We'll do the scorecard at the end. Keep everybody guessing...

Greg Gunn:

Thanks for joining us this time. If you haven't already, subscribe to our show on your favorite podcasting app and get a new, insightful episode from us every week.
The Futur podcast is hosted by Chris Do and produced by me. Greg Gunn. Thank you to Anthony Barrow for editing and mixing this episode, and thank you to Adam Sanborne for our intro music.


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Have a question for Chris or me? Head over to thefutur.com/HeyChris, and ask away. We read every submission and we just might answer yours in a later episode.
If you'd like to support the show and invest in yourself while you're at it, visit thefutur.com. You'll find video courses, digital products, and a bunch of helpful resources about design and creative business.


Thanks again for listening, and we'll see you next time.

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