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November 8, 2023 37 mins

As CEO of the world’s largest home for fan communities, serving 350M people every month—with leadership experience at the NBC Olympics, NFL, and WWE to boot—Perkins knows how to succeed in digital media. Plus:


🎙️ How AI is reshaping media and your job


🎙️ Growth hacking Google


🎙️ The path to a cool career


🎙️ How to pitch the boss: Be brief, be brilliant, be gone.


A fun and illuminating episode for anyone passionate about media, marketing, and community.  Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.




📚 AI resources:


💪  The Career Manifesto, Mike's full reading list, and other resources here:

🚨 Next week’s guest will be Mindy Grossman, former CEO of WeightWatchers and former CEO of HSN. Text or call in your questions @ (213) 419-0596. 

See for privacy information.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:04):
Welcome Office Hours, where we sit down with the chief
executives shaping the world. We answer your most pressing questions
about leadership, career and life. I'm Mike Steib and today
well with my friend Perkins Miller, who has had one
of the coolest careers you will find. He's held executive
leadership roles with NBC Sports and the Olympics, World Wrestling Entertainment,

and the National Football League. Today he leads Fandom, the
global entertainment platform that serves over three hundred and fifty
million fans and four hundred thousand communities across movies, TV
and gaming. Perkins, you and Fandom are very popular in
our house. We go very deep on Pokemon and Harry
Potter and Grand Theft Auto. I think a lot of

our listeners are going to be excited to hear. Would
you have to say today, welcome to the show.

Speaker 2 (00:53):
Thanks Michael. It's great to be in the presence of
a super nerd and it's fan. Hey here you go,
really dig in here, all right?

Speaker 1 (01:00):
So the audience sent in their questions a lot of
stuff about the ins and outs of the media business,
career path and the arts and entertainment, the future of
content and more. And first up is Jennifer from Culver City.

Speaker 3 (01:14):
Shandom has evolved a lot from when it was Wiki Cities.
They've been big changes with notform and the brand and
the team. I'm sure it's been diffical for a comedy
to go through an evolution like this and what did
it takes to make changes like this successfully?

Speaker 1 (01:26):
So to tell people a little bit about the background
of the company and how it's become what it is today.

Speaker 2 (01:30):
Phantom is very much one of those stories of you know,
standing on the shoulders of greatness. So you know, Jimmy Wales,
who found a Wikipedia, founded this twenty plus years ago
and at the time when he was creating you know,
the Seminal World Excyclopedia, he said, well what else can
I do? And so created wiki Cities, which was this
idea that you know, communities of interest would come together

that weren't tied to you know, the literal sort of
facts of the world that everybody needed to get around.
And so wiki cities became this idea of his to
sort of bring communities together around common interest. You know,
it could be sports, could be you know, knitting, whatever,
and it effectively evolved into this platform for nerds frankly,

you know, to come together and celebrate these imagined worlds. So,
you know, the course of twenty years, you know, we've
got hundreds of thousands of these blogs around everything from
Pokemon to Minecraft to the Wincher to Game of Thrones
to Star Trek, and you know, basically we have the
kind of cannon of the intellectual property of the world

kind of captured and maintained by these users who just
love them. So the you know, the care and feeding
of it is, you know, making sure the platform works.
So you've got you know, three hundred and fifty million
folks banging through it every month, so it's got to
be stable, and it's got to be a tool that
is functional so people can upload content and have some

fun with it, people can navigate it. So you kind
of strike this balance between, you know, does the platform
you know, serve the community of people who are creating
the content, and at the same time, is it accessible
to all the people who want to read and consume
the content. So that's been the kind of balance trying
to sort of have you know, that foot in both
of those camps.

Speaker 1 (03:16):
Fandom changed the brand. I believe you've replatformed it in
the past. You've also and you've also done M and
A over you and your predecessors over the course of
the company's history. Tell us a little bit about how
that changed Fandom and brought it to where it is today.

Speaker 2 (03:33):
Fandom changed its name about I think about eight years ago,
seven years ago, and I think it went from being
Wiki Cities to uh Wakia to Fandom now. And you know,
the idea was, there's a broad community of people out
there who love to celebrate these imagined worlds, and so,

you know what we sort of set for ourselves as
a goal. And I've been here just under five years,
and you know, TPG, the private equity firm, bought this
company right before I do want to ask me to
come help put it all together. And you know, we've
been really focused on this idea of like, well, where
are people's identity anchored in these imagined worlds? Like what
do they do when they're celebrating being a gamer, or

what do they do when they're thinking about a movie
series to go watch and binge on? So and in
that kind of vein, we've been acquiring businesses that support it.
So we acquired a gaming company called Fanatical so we
sell games on the internet.

Speaker 4 (04:31):
We acquired a group of.

Speaker 2 (04:32):
Businesses that are kind of around discovery, so TV Guide, Metacritic,
game Spot, Giant Bombs. The ideas are so like, you're
out there exploring the world, and how do you kind
of orient yourself around these fandoms, these movies, TVs games
that you love? And so that's been the mission is saying, Okay,
how do we do that really well through acquisition while

we're maintaining kind of the organic growth of the platform.

Speaker 4 (04:56):
And we've done stuff.

Speaker 2 (04:57):
We've built up a Dungeon and Dragons business and we
sold that off to Hasbro about a year ago. So
there's been a you know, as usual of these sort
of growth stories, you've got to sometimes take up you know,
two steps forward, one step sideways as you kind of
make your way through it.

Speaker 1 (05:12):
And if you found back to Jennifer's question, then is
there anything in particular as a company's transforming like this
one do you find it to be? Is this unusual
or do you think this is just how it goes
with companies? And two is as a leader, how do
you think about how you build your team, your culture,
et cetera to be able to handle these kinds of changes, I.

Speaker 2 (05:30):
Think, you know, I think it was Gates or someone
equally significant has said this, which is, you know, people
you know vastly overestimate what they can get done in
one year and dramatically underestimate with them get done ten
And so I think that's been the probably the biggest
you lesson for me as a leader is you've got
to basically, you know, ensure that you've got a roadmap

that is you know, ambitious, but you also have to
be pragmatic and so you know, balancing that sort of
ambition and that pragmatism is the sort of how you
I think, bring teams along, you know, set goals that
are you know, stretches, but achievable in a year. Make
sure you've got your eye on the horizon so you're
not necessarily just you know, naval gazing every year. So

you know, which is the trick. I think of running
public companies, as you know, and we're so focused on
quarterly activity that you kind of sometimes miss the bigger opportunities.
So I think what we've done with the leadership here
is you know, making sure we get a group of
folks who are good at balancing that that sort of
you know, hitting your targets, being pragmatic, but also keep

your eye on the horizon because you know, it just
it's never a linear process. It's never like, look, we're
going to fill out these squares of the tic tac
toe and we're always going to win if we have
the center square. So I just choose center all the time.
I mean, it's just not it's not simple like that.
So we've we've been very focused on kind of getting
people who can deal with that ambiguity very nice.

Speaker 1 (06:56):
I mentioned to Jennifer I started at my company Artsy
four years ago and we were to the team or
at a five year plan, and then we set quarterly
goals every ninety days that over over the five years,
should letterer up to the five year plan, I I'd
echo what Perkins said. It's you know, with the quarters,

usually you don't get there, and then when you add
up all the quarters, you're really surprised by how much
impact you're able to have. And you know, nothing's terribly
hard if you can divide it into small jobs. I
think this business model and brand and audience transformation is
really common for companies and the ones who do well
and survive and thrive over time. Are the ones who
can set that big strategy and chop it up piece

by piece so we all know what to do tomorrow. Cool.
Next question, Giji in Manhattan asks.

Speaker 5 (07:43):
The content business model has been under pressure from big
tech like in Meta and Google and others, with many
digital publishers struggling for going out of business completely. What,
in your opinion is the future of content and media
as a business.

Speaker 1 (07:58):
So content's a hard business, Perkins, But you're making myne
it tell everybody what's the secret?

Speaker 2 (08:02):
Yeah, I mean, I think in content you have to
have something that's unique and number one and number two,
you've got to have a.

Speaker 4 (08:10):
Community or an audience that really values it.

Speaker 2 (08:13):
I mean, it's it's so obvious to say, but like
you know, the days, I think of the kind of
social harvesting of content where you sort of come up
with a titillating headline and you get a bunch of
people to click on it, and that's that's a model
I think is something that I think has gone, you know,
gone over the back of the back of the transom.

Speaker 4 (08:31):
I think, you know what worth.

Speaker 1 (08:33):
Seven great tips for reducing belly fat is nice, exactly
winning content strategy anymore.

Speaker 2 (08:38):
Three great tips to win your content strategy Click here
to know you know, right, I think those look I
think those headlines. You know, headline writing has been a
thing forever, right, I mean look back at newspapers in
the nineteenth century. I mean they were exceptionally good at it.
So I think there's always going to be the need to,
you know, have somebody a compelling way to get somebody
to you know, engage with your content. But we're focused

on and what I've been. You know, you've done a
lot of work in this space. You know, whether it's
around you know, communities of interest from the wedding Bride
sit World or Arts Today or you know, things you
did at NBC to see if probably found the same
thing which I did, which is you've got to have
the compelling core content. I mean, you've got to be
able to reach those communities who love it. And I
think at fandom basically you've got these incredibly you know,

focused groups of people who are you know, I'm a
star trek nerd for example, so I can talk to you,
you know, until you really are ready to sort of
just disconnect this connection about the original series or you
know what the difference between but Card and Kirk really
is and the leadership. I mean, you know, so I
love sci fi and fantasy, and you know, I've got
a lot of time for that kind of content, and

I think that's what we really try to focus on.
Is is it really authentic? Is it relevant? Is a
community really grasp it? And if you can do that
well and focus on the right uni economics, so we do.
I mean, look, I'm a I'm a nerd about the data,
and so you've got to make sure that you're producing
content efficiently in the face of an advertising business, which

is incredibly volatile. So you know, you kind of balance
these two again, these two polarities. You know, one is
the sense of community and relevancy with content. On the
other hand, you've got to make sure you do it efficiently,
especially if you have an advertising model.

Speaker 1 (10:19):
Well, yeah, and Perkins, you and I work together at
NBC in the days before googlehad iPod, and the model
was you make premium content and you charge advertisers or
subscribers a premium to view it. And what's happened now
is so many companies have figured out how to create
the content for free on Facebook or Instagram, you and

I are the content creation team. They don't have to
pay anything for it, and as a result, you know,
they also have incredible amounts of data and the ability
to target AEDs, so as a result, they can sell
advertisers much more for much less because their content creation
costs are so low. What you've done at fandom is
you have a community who's helping you to create the content,
so you're able to do it in a way. It

would seem to me that that's sustainable. What we did
at the NOD and what we've done at Artsy is
we don't create content so that we can sell brand
advertising in it. We create content so that we can
get people to download our app and then use our
app to solve their real world problems. So at Artsy,
you can read content about the art world all day long.

We're there then there for you at the moment when
you want to buy art, and that's when we make
our money is when you actually buy the art. So
people who, it seems to me, people who are succeeding
in the content space are either innovating in creating content
in a way that doesn't cost what it cost us.
When we're at NBC or you're innovating in the business
model that you attached to the back end of it,
because it's just not as easy to call the fortune

five hundred advertisers and cover your costs with them.

Speaker 5 (11:44):

Speaker 2 (11:45):
Yeah, And I think, you know, because the barrier to
entry is effectively zero on social platforms, you know, you
don't have those distribution kind of monopolies that you once had,
you know, as a rights holder. And so I think
that's what's also really interesting is just sort of watching
what's happened with you know, streaming services exploding, all that

content being built, and the disruption of those you know,
two revenue streamed cable television network times back of broadcast.
I mean, those sort of economics because the distribution has
essentially been disrupted, you know, no longer can underwrite some
of those big, high profile rights deals or bigger, bigger costs.

And so I think we're still kind of in a
kind of third or fourth inning of this transition. You know,
what is the role of content creation? How much have
you spent I mean, I clearly you're seeing it right now.
I mean tens of billions of dollars spent on content
creation for streaming services on the back of you know,
economics that are not anywhere near what they were ten

years ago. It's it's a it's a fairly tricky world
out there, so we're very conservative about how we think
we're now near playing in the world of ten tens
of billion dollars of content creation. But we're equally focused
on the sort of the idea of unit economics and
relevancy because you have to be, because you don't have
the leverage of distribution that existed ten years ago.

Speaker 1 (13:17):
The next question from Dora in San Francisco. She says,
I'm a marketer with an.

Speaker 6 (13:21):
Early stage company and my top focus is improving our SEO.
What have you found are the best practices for getting
traffic from Google? And is being becoming a bigger deal
and a traffic driver now that they have the chat
GPP integration.

Speaker 1 (13:35):
So for anybody in our audience who's not working in SEO,
for a lot of our companies, a lot of the
traffic will come via Google. Somebody is looking for something
related to you, and then they come to your your website,
and if you're not good at it, the audience doesn't
show up. Perkins, what you are you? What have you
learned in your time in digital media about SEO that
might be useful to our audience.

Speaker 2 (13:57):
Well, I think just the you know that just as
a quick primer, which is that, you know, the way
Google has become so powerful is they do a really
really good job of indexing the world's content. And they
do that using a set of algorithms that essentially measures relevancy, accuracy, authority,
and they tune it all the time. And there's been

all these releases over time that enable companies that have
really good, relevant content to sort of maintain search authority.
And there's lots of these things called SERPs that essentially
measure that authority in real time. So Google has been
an incredibly powerful tool for famine because we have so
much content. We have forty five million pages of content
that's been curated over twenty years, and it's incredibly authoritative

and it's that you know, our community is amazing for
doing that work. You know, as we monitored what happened
with chat, GPT and Jenai kind of emerging, you know,
one of the questions was was just gonna will this
disrupt Google? And I and I think what you know,
we've observed, at least in the short term is that
you know, there's a lot of talk about being getting
a lot more traction and their ability to use JENNI

to build that relevancy hasn't really disrupted the market, you know,
Being as was at a you know, one percent of
search traffic and now they're at one point five percent
or maybe one point seven, So it hasn't really you know,
made a huge impact. And we experiment with those large
language models between what being does or Bard does, which
is Google's searge algorithm, or what's happening over at Meta

and how they've opened up their l ms, you know,
because I think the question right now, if you're a
media company is will people continue to find your content
through some portal you know something? Right now, Google's by
far the most dominant portal, but will it be chat
GBT in the future will those answers simply be provided?
And what we found is I think Google still seems

to be a pretty good utility for folks because people
don't know how to ask the question I think with
the right fidelity to get exactly the answer. And so
it's Google's done a really good job over time dealing
with those imperfections. You know, you can throw in four
or five words at a time into the Google search bar,
and they'll give you pretty good index of stuff that's
probably pretty close to the pin what you're looking for,

and then you can click in and get your answer.
And I think that there's not yet the level of
tuning with the language models and in order for you
to kind of figure out what your query was really about.
And so you know, we haven't seen that disruption really
at scale yet. I'm not saying it won't happen, but
right now those language models are not yet tuned. I

think to the degree that users kind of can use
them as easily as they can use Google.

Speaker 1 (16:35):
I think that's right. I guess CEO continues to be
a very important driver, and it continues to mean traffic
from Google not anywhere else for quite a while. And
I've noted over time people have found sort of tricks
for winning SEO. It's a little bit like a fad diet.
There'll be something in the algorithm that someone figures out, Oh,
if you write a headline like this, or if you

add a slide show and you get people to click
the slide show twice a Google is so much smarter
than the rest of us. You can't trick Google for
very long. So I would say to our friend who
has the question here, if you're looking for what's the
best way to make content so that you win SEO,
The answer is content that people people engage within like
And what has always been the death now for your

search results is if someone goes to Google and finds you,
and they go back to Google and try something else
because they weren't satisfied with the content, you're gonna have
bad SEO. And if people come to your page and
they engage with the page and they read the article
and they come back like, that's Google knows now that
you make good content and you'll be rewarded for it.
The next question is about you started touching on AI Perkins.
The next one is specifically from Pascal and New York

fandom is.

Speaker 7 (17:41):
Powered by content from the community. They I now able
to create so much more content than humans. How only
change your business? And might for arts? Do you think
AI will start to replace artists?

Speaker 1 (17:52):
So this is this is the big AI question. We
could do probably do a whole second season of Office
Hours on this. What is your what's your thesis today?
Based on what you're seeing Perkins.

Speaker 2 (18:04):
I think what you know, there's obviously there's so many
ways to get into this subject, Mike be as you say,
so I'll just cover maybe two of them, and I
covered a bit of what does it mean for search
in terms of what people are looking at, so I
won't repeat that. I think from a content creator standpoint,
I think that's you know, we're very much at the
early innings on this one as well, and we've been
talking to all our community. There's actually a fair amount

of curiosity because it enables you to get to what
you want to create a little faster. So if you're
looking to get in and sort of do some reference
work and create a new blog, you know, trying to
tie out like all of the you know, light enabled
weapons and science fiction over the last you know, fifty
years of movie and television production, you can use AI

as a great tool to help you kind of collect
a lot of an information that may be may been
much more difficult for you to do, you know, two
years ago, and so as a creator, that's an awesome
show or cut and you know the same thing would
apply to utility, like I'm going to create a quiz
or I want to create a poll that is, you know, enabling,
you know, tied to the content I create. So I

think from a creator standpoint, think there's some fear, but
there's also we're actually seeing some fairly encouraging enthusiasm provided
that people can can find a way to use it.

Speaker 1 (19:19):
And in those examples, the tool is helping to make
the creator more productive. It's not replacing the creative parts
of what they do exactly. I think we're finding the
exact same thing in art. There are more and more
artists who are finding ways to incorporate AI into their practice,
and there are some artists for who you know, are
using the computer and generative AIS as the medium itself.

But we're not seeing a single example of where the
world doesn't need artists anymore because we have because we
have chet, GPT or Dolly or any of the any
of the others. Well, we are finding. What we're finding
at work is what you're finding, Perkins. You can be
more productive and you can use these tools to take
some of the road tasks off your plate. For audience,

if you're not using chat GPT for you, you can
train it to write like you by giving it your
writing samples, by helping to teach the by teaching the
model your your tone and your voice and your style,
and then you give it some bullet points and say,
I need to send this email to my team. I
need to send this email to my boss or my board.
I want to write these you know, I want to

write two hundred words summarizing the following and what it
spits back to you. It's not perfect yourself to do
work with it, but it if you had forty five
minutes of email writing ahead of you, it's probably now
ten or fifteen minutes. And if you do that over
and over and over again, you become much more productive.
And the meme, you know, the meme on this that
everybody professionally is you're not going to be replaced in

your job by jen Ai, but you might get replaced
by somebody who's figured out how to use Genai. So
you know, we're working really hard to make sure our
team is at the front of the pack and knowing
how to use these tools.

Speaker 4 (20:57):
Yeah. I think it's a great note, Michael.

Speaker 2 (20:59):
I'm only the other thing I would add is that
you know, I think you're getting out of which this
idea of being a curator of AI tools that you
can curate the content because I think that there's ultimately,
I don't believe there's going to be a point in
time where the creator is still not at the center
of sort of new art because you know, AI is
a fundamentally recursive platform. You know, it ultimately can only

be built on what existed previously. And you know, this
idea of what is derivative is I think still going
to be. You know, it has always been a question
whenever new technology comes out. It's like, oh my god,
this is going to when radio comes out or TV,
or you know, whenever we sort of talked about photoshop,
remember twenty years ago, you know, the photoshop is going
to strup photography. No one's going to trust photography. No,

photography is still amazing right now. It's actually been the
volume of photography that's being accelerated by the iPhone, a
totally orthogonal example. And so I think that I think
that most artists, I think will get actually better, faster,
stronger as they embrace the tools, because they'll be able
to be more. But they'll do it on the back
of their own authentic point of view and their own

authentic creative insight. And I think that for me is
think what you know, if artists can embrace that, it's
a huge opportunity.

Speaker 1 (22:11):
Amen to that River in Portland asks us.

Speaker 8 (22:15):
Online gaming communities have a reputation for being toxic for
women and the LGBTQ community. The art world has a
reputation for being exclusive and unwelcoming to disadvantage groups. What
are you each doing to make your platforms and your
industries more inclusive?

Speaker 6 (22:31):

Speaker 1 (22:32):
The question here Perkins touches on gaming, which is only
it's a part of fandom. But I know you all
have been out front on these topics. You want to
talk a little bit.

Speaker 2 (22:39):
About that, sure, and I think this is one of
those cases where sometimes the headlines are not representative reality,
you know, because my experience, and we've actually done from
ant of work in this area, is that they're for
sure toxic communities and gaming and some of them have
been very public and they can writ some very big headlines.
But my experience, you know, dealing with the publishers and

creators in the gaming space is actually there's a really remarkable,
uh sort of tolerance and inclusive mindset around it. And
you know, if you've been to comic cons, you've been
to gaming conventions. I think there's a lot of respect
and understanding around gender fluidity and real tolerance for everybody's

individual identities. And you know, we we see that, and
I think it's actually incredibly healthy, you know, and in fact,
we have very you know, strong policies in the platform,
you know, around you know, essentially respecting identity.

Speaker 1 (23:38):
Right, you all were out front done banning dead naming,
if I remember.

Speaker 4 (23:41):
Correctly you did.

Speaker 2 (23:42):
Yeah, So we're and I've got personal connections to this
because I've got one of my children's transgender and so
I'm you know, I try to be as an ally
this community's best I can. But I do so because
you know, being inclusive just creates better teams and better
functioning organizations. It just does. You know, It's not if
you have a monochromatic business in any facet, you're just

not going to get the innovation, you're not going to
get the growth. And the same thing applies in these communities.
So I just my view on the gaming world is that, yeah,
there's some toxic examples, but they're kind of getting a
disapportionately large amount of attention relative to what I see
in the broader set of communities.

Speaker 1 (24:21):
I've been really inspired at Artsy and the way that
technology can make a space more inclusive. If if you
and I were from outside the art world and we
walked into an art fair, we might not feel like
we're supposed to be there. But I have millions of
people on the Artsy website and app every month who
are engaging in the art world with openness and transparency,
and it's inclusive of everyone. One of the things we've

done in particular to make everyone feel at home in
the art world is to make sure the art itself
reflects the community. And if you go back in enough years,
not that many years, every artist people talked about was
a dead white male artist. And so what we really
focus on is through our curation, our editorial and even
through our algorithms, that the art that we put in

front of our our audience is not just old, dead
white male artists, but it's artists who reflect the diversity
and wonder of the of the world and all the
people who come to see us. Raj in thunder Bay

or Thunder based thunder Bay, Ontario, Raj I Think Nova Scotia,
Rajen thunder Bay. Wherever you are, We're excited for your question,
and it is the following.

Speaker 4 (25:41):
You've each changed jobs and even industries a number of times.

Speaker 7 (25:44):
Do you find that to be an advantage or a disadvantage?

Speaker 1 (25:48):
So brings, I've never been in the same job for
I don't think I've been in the same job for
five years in my career. Have you?

Speaker 2 (25:53):
You've been coming up five years in this one, so
this this will be a long run.

Speaker 1 (25:58):
Oh good, So it's time to sell the company exactly.

Speaker 4 (26:02):
Let the market note.

Speaker 2 (26:03):
I think you and I both share one really strong
common trait, which is an incredible curiosity. You know, just
this eagerness to learn and grow because like I just
I'm I'm a learner by nature, and so I'm just
relentlessly curious. I just I have a need to understand
and you know, so that I can frankly make better decisions.

It's a for me, that's a core grounding. And so
I've always been very curious about opportunity and I consider
myself a knowledge worker. That was one of the if
there's one big thing I made a decision around three
hundred years ago, was that, Okay, knowledge is going to
be the leverage point for me as a leader.

Speaker 4 (26:42):
It's that if I understand and grow.

Speaker 2 (26:44):
If I commit to that, then I'll have value because
I have experiences, and I'll be able to have pattern recognition.
And you know, whether you believe in blink or not,
the idea that my intuition may just give me an
edge because I have these diverse experiences that I can
kind of call from, they make decisions, better decisions faster.
So anyway, that's been a bit of my point of

view over the last twenty years.

Speaker 1 (27:07):
That having different experiences, having that variety, and being essentially
being a generalist has made you a better leader. I
have to agree with it because I've done it, and
it's really hard to look at your own career and
say you did the way I did is anything short
of optimal. But I would note that there's some I mean,
there's certainly some jobs. If you're going to be a
hand surgeon, I don't suggest, you know, I don't suggest

variety in your career that you should really focus on
hand surgery. But also there are there are some big companies,
big and important companies in the world where and a
really important skill set there is your internal network and
your ability to sort of navigate the culture of that
organization because it's different. And I found that some people
who don't spend a lot of time at a big

company like that have a hard time acclimating to it.
And I've also found that some people who spend a
lot of time at a big company have a hard
time outside of captivity. So I think for Raj, the
answer to this, to me depends a little bit on
what kind of a person you are. Like, I love
a small company, medium sized company. I love things at
the growth phase. I love a turnaround, and so I

find that being a generalist makes me much better at
being in situations where the problems are harder to anticipate.
If you're the kind of person who loves a big company,
sometimes you can develop real advantage at that big company
with with tenure and with the pattern recognition that you
get from being there. So a little bit depends on
what you love. But look, if you love the if

you like the medium sized company game, Perkins, that are
both hiring. So give us a give us a shout.
Once we figure out where thunder Bay is, maybe maybe
maybe we need maybe we need people in thunder Bay too.

Speaker 4 (28:41):
Geography lessons probably at this point.

Speaker 1 (28:43):
Yeah, all right, Harrison in Minneapolis, says to.

Speaker 7 (28:45):
The company I work for makes medical devices, and it
is so boring I can't even talk about it.

Speaker 4 (28:51):
You guys have these seemingly awesome jobs, and like sports
and media and the arts.

Speaker 7 (28:56):
I'm just wondering, is it harder to break into these sectors?

Speaker 8 (28:59):
I mean, I'm I'm assuming it more popular, you have
a lot more applicants, but just yeah, thank you so
for you.

Speaker 1 (29:07):
I mean you've done NFL, world wrestling, entertainment, fandom, like
the Olympics. These are all super cool things. Is it
is it harder to break in there? It's the what's
the what's the trade off? Why wouldn't everybody want to
have one of these cool jobs?

Speaker 2 (29:21):
Well, I, you know, you and I we can go
through sort of the history of work, and I can
tell you I've done everything from selling knives.

Speaker 1 (29:31):
Vector Vector Cutco.

Speaker 4 (29:33):
I did some knives of Vector Corporation to my core family.

Speaker 1 (29:36):
I sold knives for Cutco too. For all right, is
if you don't know, when you're like seventeen years old,
you get these huge commissions to go door to door
selling knives. I don't know if this company still exists,
but we are taking sponsors for the show if they're
out there listening exactly.

Speaker 2 (29:52):
But so you know, that was an area where it's like, okay,
probably you know, the idea of like network enabled knife
selling is probably not my core focus. And I then I,
you know, it's a long doctor. I actually typed in,
you know, for American Express insurance forms, you know, because
I could type eighty words a minute for you know,
ten hours a day. That wasn't really for me.

Speaker 1 (30:09):
This was before you made the decision about being a
knowledge worker. These were the jobs before the knowledge the
big knowledge works knowledge workers. I just typed you know,
seventeen hundred forms this month. This is not my future.
You and I probably get to ask this question a bunch,
like how do you get in? What's the angle of attack?
And you want to tell people what I sort of
have embraced over these years is having a passion and

a point of view, so you actually have a perspective,
and you know, for a lot of these things, especially
if you start to you know, move your way through
your career. In your interviewing, you have to have a
point of view and you have to be able to,
you know, articulate why you want the job. I remember
I got asked one point in my career a long
time ago, like why I wanted the job? And I
had tho like this incredibly you know, adultish answer. I said,

because I need a job. It's like, well, that's there's
plenty of those. Why do you want this one?

Speaker 2 (30:56):
And and so that was an incredibly important learning moment
for me. I was like, ah, I have to have
a point of view, and if I have a passion
and a point of view, my odds are getting the
job are much much greater. You got to the experience,
you've got to be capable, you've got to be able
to have drive, et cetera, et cetera. But if you
have a point of view and some passion, that's that's
the real true I think gangle attack.

Speaker 1 (31:16):
Yeah, I'd tell Harris. There is a trade off I
think with these more attractive categories because they generally pay
at the entry level less than less exciting jobs just
because of basic supply and demand. And there's a lot
I think there's a there's a good amount of like
people who've been introduced to these companies through their network
or through relationships as well. Like the art world's not

a very big world. The sports world that's not a
very big world. So if you're coming from the outside
of it. One Perkins makes a great point, which is
you've got to you've got to come in hot. You've
got to come in knowing the impact you want to
have and why and why this job is really important.
You have to convey that that that excitement and energy
to kind of break through. Secondly, you've got to be
prepared that in the early stages of that career it

probably doesn't pay as well because there's a trade off
between sort of fun you know, fun jobs and less
fun jobs and how much you make in it. But
then once you're in the people are really smart and interesting.
I also find these these industries are more competitive, So
the folks who get in and thrive in these industries
are they are they're creative, and they are smart, and

they are really amazing to work with. So I certainly
recommend it. Arison, if you're not having a good time
doing medical devices, find the thing that by the way,
it's like, it's not address rehearsal, this is our lives.
So go work on something you're really excited about. And
it may be harder to break in at first, but
once you do it's it's a really good time. Here's
the last one. Wendy and Seattle says, I've been asked.

Speaker 7 (32:44):
To present to my company's board for the first time,
which is terrifying.

Speaker 5 (32:48):
Do you have any tips for big presentations like this,
for dealing with boards or anything else?

Speaker 1 (32:54):
Perkins, You've been presenting to the board boards for a
long time, which view were to go back and do
it again for the first time, how would you do
it right?

Speaker 2 (33:01):
Yeah, so I have some maybe sound pretty rope, but
I found it to be pretty effective. Which is Number
one is make sure if you have slides, but the
slides should be illustrative of the points you're making.

Speaker 4 (33:15):
You know, so you know to make.

Speaker 1 (33:17):
Sure, don't read joke, don't read the slide.

Speaker 2 (33:20):
Don't read the slides. If you got to use a
chart to tell your story, for every slide you have,
make no more than three points. Like people have a
limited capacity to understand, especially if they're being presented with
new information. And I guarantee you a board of directors
has maybe they're paying, maybe they're on five other boards.

They know a fraction of what you know when you're
sitting in that room with them, and so it's incredibly
important that you give them the context, like, here's why
you should care, Here's what really matters. Here are the
three things that you should take away from what I'm
telling you. But no more than that, because we start
getting into like here are the fifteen points of interest
around this data set, You're not doing them the service

that you're there to provide, which is to give them
clarity of context and a way to think through strategically
where the company's had it.

Speaker 1 (34:11):
I have a friend who's asked to present to a
board and then the meeting was running late and running late,
and he got the like the last eight minutes of
the meeting, come in, give us your update now. And
he had all the slides and everything, and he read
the room and he didn't open the slides. He said,
revenue is up thirty percent ribadat positive for the first time.
I feel really good about the next six months. Does

anyone have any questions? It was thirty seconds afterward. I
think he was in the succession plan for the CEO
after this, Like a board really really really Wendy just
wants they want the point. They don't want to know
how hard it was for you to get there. They
don't want to know all the details. If they have questions,
will follow up. But is Perkins noted like keep it
high level, hit the important points, be brief, be brilliant,

and be gone. And that's what we've got. Perkins. I
had a really good time. I'm having you, having you
on the show. This is a great excuse to hang
out with my friends. I love doing this.

Speaker 4 (35:04):
It's awesome.

Speaker 2 (35:04):
This is basically more or less the conversations we have
in coffee shops. So next time, this time.

Speaker 1 (35:11):
We recorded it exactly all right, Perkins, Thanks buddy a man.

Speaker 4 (35:15):
Great to see you.

Speaker 1 (35:16):
Thanks Mike, everybody. I hope you enjoyed that one. We
get some really interesting insights from our conversation with Perkins.
I thought, especially around this moment of generative AI, what
it means for you as a professional, and what it
might mean for creators. I'd echo the advice that you
heard here. These tools are really going to shape how

content is created and how jobs are done, if not
already today, in the pretty near future. So I do
urge our audience make sure you're a practitioner here, make
sure you're using GPT for it, make sure you're adding
the generative AI plugins to your browser and finding new
and innovative ways to put the tools to work so
that you become a more productive professional. The thing we
heard here and I wanted to bring it back, is

this idea of being a generalist and having different jobs
and different adventures in the course of your career. Well,
we didn't touch on, and I didn't want to miss
the opportunity to say to all of you, is if
you make a move, and if you were to look
through my resume or Perkins resume, you'd see these every
three or four or five years, these moves from one

job to another. But they're very intentional. These are moves
that are moving up the food chain, finding new and
harder challenges, finding bigger scope or new opportunities that you
haven't had before as a professional. I don't think in
the end you're rewarded for variety. I think in the
end you're going to be rewarded for growth. And many

of us find that you get that personal growth from
new and harder challenges and a platform of different shape
and size. And so I want to encourage our audience
as you think about your career, think about how you
deploy your career to learn new things you haven't learned before,
and when that means it's time to make a change
to a new thing, it's time to make a change.

Speaker 4 (36:59):

Speaker 1 (36:59):
If you want us a question for me and our
future guests, leave us a voicemail at two one three
four one nine five nine six or hit me up directly.
I'm on LinkedIn and Twitter and Instagram at Mike steib
As always, I want to thank Perkins, who is terrific today,
but also Kara and Jen, Meg, Jada, Matt and the
whole team at Blue Duck Media for pulling all this together,

Dylan and Christopher and the gang at iHeart and Ben
and the team at William Morris Endeavor for all their support.
Office Hours is a production of Blue Duck Media and
distributed by iHeartRadio. I will see you all next week.
Until then, stay on your grind
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