Charlie Mechem sits down with Pete Blackshaw, newly appointed CEO of Cintrifuse, a Fund of Funds and startup incubator created by Procter & Gamble, Kroger, Western Southern, and other major entities in the Greater Cincinnati region. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, the fund primarily invests in venture capital funds outside of the region in order to strengthen local deal flow and access to start up innovation. Prior to joining Cintrifuse he was a global head of digital marketing and social media for Nestle the international giant based in Switzerland. Pete provides his input on anecdotes from Charlie’s book, “Total Anecdotal: A Fun Guide to Help You Become a Better Speaker and Writer.”
Courage, Tenacity, and Intestinal Fortitude for Failure
Having been a digital advertising pioneer, Pete has a lot of experience in the department of pushing the frontier in the digital age. Courage, tenacity, and a fortitude for failure are necessary if you want to push forward. Pete remarks that it can get very lonely when you are just one of few making that push forward. The world is volatile and complex, which keeps an innovator like Pete on his toes. It’s important to be able to handle change, because it is one thing that can be guaranteed in a world with few guarantees.
Forget Hubris, Embrace Humility
Know where you’re going, but be flexible about how you’ll get there. Anyone who is overly confident is asking for something to go wrong—even the most seemingly perfect idea or plan can fall on its face at any given moment. The world is unpredictable and ambiguous, ever changing, so you must be careful to lead any endeavor with humility.
Beware of a Sense of Entitlement
Pete warns, beware of a sense of entitlement! You have to put some “skin in the game” or co-invest if you’re looking to get anything in return. If you don’t put anything in, you’re not going to get anything out—you must take the initial step, in order to get from one point to another. Pete finds that this lesson applies quite well to his children—really any child or teen, even some adults. He always tries to teach his children that they must work hard to get what they want, and that things certainly won’t simply fall from the sky into their laps.
The Customer is Always Right
Many companies and leaders have a deep hubris that leads to them working off of the wrong assumptions. Pete relates as a marketer, as well as a consumer, to this idea. Pete has found that many managers like to put their own data, spin, or preferences above consumer common sense. The consumers opinion should always be placed at the center of the business, as they’re the ones that are being catered to, the ones that keep the product and business relevant. With the help of the internet products are constantly popping up left and right, and they always seem to look like they might be the next big thing. But what once seemed perfect for consumers may ultimately flop if the marketers miss a certain consumer truth, or refuse to adapt or make changes when needed. After all, the customer is always right.
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
In an age where data is worshipped, and can be accessed and distributed anywhere on the web, it can be hard to tell what is true and what is false. Pete says that there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics. Many people give precise numbers with confidence, they feel as if they can trust a solidified number—even if those numbers make little to no sense. Statistics can be manipulated just as easily as they can manipulate.
The Scariest Path is the Most Satisfying One
Since getting into his new role, he has developed a management philosophy focused on bringing out people’s capabilities and skills that they may not know of or talk about. He recalls having managers in the past who saw things in him that he’d never seen before, who helped him develop and grow. The best managers create an exponential value in people, Pete says, they encourage and give others the confidence to “walk through the fire” and go through uncertainty in order to be stronger and more confident in the end. During his time in school, Pete had a boss who insisted he always reach for the top. Pete believes that great encouragement can help you down even the scariest path, the path less traveled—as it is a scary path, but a satisfying one.
If you’d like to listen to more episodes of “15 Minutes With Charlie,” please visit the podcast page or search for “15 Minutes With Charlie” in your podcasting app. If you are enjoying the show you should check out “Total Anecdotal: A Fun Guide to Help You Become a Better Speaker and Writer.” Learn more on our book page, or find it available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and perhaps your local bookstore.