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"Tips From Spies" Interview On NPR's Planet Money

September 23, 2017

 

When you do an edited radio interview, you give up a lot of power.

 

You sit and talk for a while. They ask questions. You answer them. 

 

Then the real work begins.  

 

The interviewer and editor cut and splice what you say. They pull together what they think will be interesting to their audience. They try to get good quotes. They try to make the interview something their audience will listen to and share.

 

They try to create "good radio."

 

In the course of that, they have a lot of power over how you sound. They don't even need to change your words. The context they put around your words is very powerful.

 

Plus, they publicize tiny snippets of the interview like this: 

 

 

 

But you know that going in. 

 

I did an interview with NPR's Planet Money in July. I sat in a studio and talked to Kenny and Sally for two hours.

 

Most of their questions were about the incident on the subway in A Spy's Guide To Thinking. Detailed questions. Questions about every moment of that incident.

 

Which was great. 

 

But I would have done it differently.

 

I would have focused on the implications of the DADA sequence for people in business. 

What I see in my consulting work is people having trouble tying together Data, Analysis, Decisions and Actions.

 

The "Data" people aren't collecting the right data. The "Analysis" people aren't using all the data. And the "Decision" people are using their intuition or personal experience (which is an alternate source of data and analysis) rather than the analysis produced by the organization. Finally, the "Action" people aren't always executing on the decisions that were made.

 

I see billions of dollars wasted on collecting the wrong data, bad analysis, faulty decision-making and failed action.

 

I thought the Planet Money audience would be more interested in that. 

 

The subway incident would be used as an example of the DADA sequence rather than be the focus.

 

But maybe I was wrong. 

 

After all, what I thought about the Planet Money audience was just a hypothesis.

 

In the end, my hypothesis didn't matter.

 

Because the decision about what the audience would hear wasn't mine.

 

The decision was theirs.

 

Which I knew going in.

 

The two hours of discussion ended up as seven minutes of this clip: 

 

 

And maybe my hypothesis was wrong, anyway. 


After the interview went up on the Planet Money podcast, there was a spike in book sales on Amazon:

 

Plus, the interview created interest in the new book: A Spy's Guide To Strategy

 

So far, A Spy's Guide To Strategy is getting better reviews than A Spy's Guide To Thinking.

 

Here's what one reviewer said about A Spy's Guide To Strategy

 

"Well reasoned and entertaining. This is a quick read, full of interesting examples and no-nonsense explanations that walk through the process of formulating a successful strategy. If you have things you want to achieve, but struggle with how to think about getting there, give this book a read. From strategizing for a promotion to your own secret desires for world domination, the process is the same, and this book will walk you through it, and entertain you at the same time."

 

Check it out at Amazon.

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