Why Cheating Is Over, Dude
The actor Will Smith gave me some brilliant advice this week. It’s the secret to business success today. Get it wrong, and you’re stuffed. Here it is.
I’ve never seen a Will Smith movie, nor paid him any attention. So when he spoke to a packed room at the Cannes Creativity Festival this week, I was ready to be underwhelmed. Well, he was brilliant. Impressive. Focussed, with a genuine purpose to make a difference. It was this advice given to him by his son, who he’d flippantly advised to cheat on his girlfriend rather than end a 10 year relationship, that was the deepest insight. Will’s son told him this:
“Dude- cheating is over!”
Technology has killed cheating in relationships. You stray, someone snaps a pix, and everyone knows. But that wasn’t his real message. The bigger story is this. And it was the most consistent theme of the Cannes Festival.
In everything we do, we have to be authentic.
Yes- I know. Sounds like New Age wank- but there is something going on here.
The days of smoke and mirrors in marketing are over. So too insincerity and lack of candour in our business and personal relationships. If you’re not real, genuine, authentic – then you get shot down, and quickly. Same applies if the work you do is not great. When something is excellent, you spend time with it. As David Droga told us: “It takes the same amount of energy to try to do something great as it does to justify doing something average.”
Here’s Will: “It gets you focussed on making great work. Hollywood used to be able to launch a movie, market like crazy and it took the public till Wednesday to find out it was shit. Now the first guy who sees it is tweeting after 10 minutes – ‘Will’s movie is shit. Don’t bother seeing it.’ You need to do great work. You need to be genuine in your intent, and your conduct.”
So in the interest of authenticity and candour, and letting those in London know I was speaking absolute rubbish, here’s a story. I launched my book, Savage Oxygen, last week. I sent out a Possums post to my 11,000 readers. We tweeted like mad, and leveraged LinkedIn.
Possums CEO Martine was thrilled with the response, reporting to me there had been an immediate and big ‘click through’ rate. Now- I took that, mistakenly, as ‘purchase’ rate. So I liberally gloated to my audiences at a packed series of seminars and speeches in London last week how brilliantly my social media efforts over the years had been, and how this had created the foundation for “1,400 books sold while I was having coffee at Dome this morning.”
Problem is, it just wasn’t true. I did not know it then, but do now. Yes- click through was BIG. Purchase? Well, apart from 45 copies kindly purchased by Richard and the CEO Forum folk in Melbourne for their 45 CEOs who attended my speech there the week prior, I have sold…wait for it…wait for it…..drum roll……. 43 copies!
43. Forty three. Four tens and three. Seven shy of 50.
CRM guru Phil Smith from brilliant Sydney business Apparent told me the insight as I sobbed into my beer and escargot in Cannes last night. There is a big difference, says Phil, between an audience who subscribe to a service because they are wanting free content, in comparison to those subscribing to receive great offers on topics / products they want to buy. It is a massive hurdle to genuine engagement.
Makes me smile. You live and you learn!
And I’ve lived and learned in Cannes this week. The big message. Be authentic. Try to do the very best you can, every time. Face reality. Tell the truth. Show vulnerability. That’s when true connections are made.
I am so grateful for everything I have. I am a lucky guy. Surrounded by love. Learning. Opportunity.
Would not swap it for quids.