Disruptive Technology with Brian Solis and Using Technology To Influence People with Brian Schulman

Technology has evolved massively, changing business and society in such great heights. While it is factual that it made the world easier to live in, it also made a lot of people become sluggish. One who can shed light on the impacts of technology in this digital age is Brian Solis, digital analyst, business strategist, futurist, and a principal analyst at Altimeter. In his best-selling book, Lifescale, he delves into the whole concept of disruptive technology – how it turned us into digital addicts and how we can get off of such alarming obsession.

 

If technology can cost our own sanity and self-confidence, positive impacts show when the coin is flipped. Social media is one of the best ways we can overcome our adversities and influence people through our own voice. This worked for Brian Schulman, the founder and CEO of Voice Your Vibe. Being diagnosed with Tourette syndrome ignited his passion to inspire and influence other people. Brian shares how he is living life with purpose through LinkedIn Video.

TTL 323 | Disruptive Technology

 

We have Brian Solis and Brian Schulman here on the show. Brian Solis is a Principal Analyst and Futurist at Altimeter. He is a keynote speaker and best-selling author. Brian Schulman is the Founder and CEO of Voice Your Vibe. He is also a Forbes featured entrepreneur and LinkedIn Top Voice of 2018.

Listen to the podcast here:

Disruptive Technology with Brian Solis

I am here with Brian Solis who is the Principal Analyst and Futurist at Altimeter, a profit company. He’s a keynote speaker and bestselling author. His latest book is Lifescale: How to Live a More Creative, Productive and Happy Life. I’m so happy to have you here, Brian. You’ve got a lot on your plate. You’ve got your latest book and you’ve written so many books. I don’t know how you have time to write so many books with all that you do, but they’re all amazing. This is going to be fun because I am very interested in all the social media and where we’re headed. A lot of the stuff you’re talking about ties into my work with curiosity and perception and some of that. I love that you did your Gangnam Style dance, but my favorite thing on your TEDx video was your double rainbow comment. I want to put that on the books somewhere that went down. I laughed out loud. Anybody who hasn’t seen your TEDx Talk needs to watch that because you have a great introduction. Do you get embarrassed by the way? Is it hard to do the dance or does it comes naturally?

The behind the scenes story is that entire sequence I made up as I was walking out on stage. I tried to think of something crazy.

It was exactly the way it is though. I laughed out loud with a double rainbow because it’s exactly what happened. You’re known to talk about technology. You warn about technology. It looked like you had an Apple watch on your wrist as you’re changing. You have seven t-shirts on your SXSW Talk. Do you have a love-hate thing? Where do you stand on technology? Do you think that we have too much? I know you’re worried about it, can we go back? Where do we go from here?

I would give your audience a little bit of background. My job for a couple of decades has been to study disruptive technology and its impact on business and markets. Over the years, studying disruptive technology was no longer enough. I also started to expand my research into what I was calling at that time Digital Anthropology, which was also studying the impact of technology on societies and cultures, norms, behaviors and all of those things. I studied that in a number of regards. You have everything from customer experience or employee experience to the impact of Instagram and Snapchat on an individual’s relationship with their own beauty or self-confidence or self-esteem and everything in between. Over the years of studying this, I’ve been able to write a tremendous amount of research and a whole bunch of books around how everything is changing.

On one side, how businesses, organizations, governments, education facilities and institutions need to evolve. On the other side, explaining how people were evolving as well. There was this sense-making in between how people were changing and how companies needed to evolve and why. The reason I share that is to give a lot of context around what I’m about to say, which is the incredible irony of finding myself disrupted by the technology that I tracked for many years. By disrupted, long story short, I was writing a book about innovation. It was going to be my follow-up to my last book, which was called X. I couldn’t dive deep the way that I used to. It was at the time going to be my eighth book and you’d think I’d have it down by now, but I just couldn’t get it. I was going through all these incredible rewrites. My creativity was not what it used to be, and I gave up on it and tried to figure out what was going on. Is this writer’s block? Is this not being interested in the topic that I was honestly passionate about.

A lot of technology has been designed to hook you because it releases certain chemicals and those chemicals in your body feel good. Click To Tweet

I started to dissect a lot of what was going on and doing a lot of research on some behind the scenes. Things that we didn’t hear about in terms of the addictive nature of technology and what’s called persuasive design. The techniques that they use to make you want to check your email or make you want to post more on social media or make you get completely fascinated with how many people follow you or even engage with your content. That’s where I started to learn about the dark side of all of the technology because I was affected by it. Had I not been affected by it in terms of consequence, I probably would have kept going on my merry way. That’s the explanation behind the whole thing. To answer your question specifically, there’s a lot of awareness that needs to go on here and there’s a lot of waking up that needs to happen. Unfortunately, it’s not a pleasant conversation to have when you tell people that the way they’re living their life might not necessarily be in their best interests as is.

That’s what the South by South West presentation was from 2018 was me sharing all of the awakenings that I had. The “Did you know that this is what they’re doing to you?” kind of things. From a technological side, this is why you can’t stop looking at your phone. Also, from an information and community side of things, this is why you believe in fake news. This is why all of your relationships are being polarized because it’s the same technique. That’s what I wanted to expose first and that they will finally come back around here. That’s what inspired me to write Lifescale, the book. It was a book that I needed and didn’t exist and it was my way of getting back into the driver’s seat.

That’s interesting because you brought up creativity and it wasn’t what it used to be, but then you got interested in this topic and that ties into my work with curiosity. Do you think that curiosity is the spark to creativity? You found this more interesting to write about than the innovation book you had in mind or are you still going to write the book that you originally were intending to write?

I am going to write that book because it needs to happen. I’ve also learned something along the way and it was something I didn’t see as I was creating it in the first place. It’s going to be an extension of Lifescale. I think Lifescale for me is going to be not a Brian Solis brand, but a community-owned brand where people are going to life scale together. It’s going to be a movement. The idea about innovation is it’s going to be an extension of the Lifescale series now.

TTL 323 | Disruptive Technology
Lifescale: How to Live a More Creative, Productive, and Happy Life

You talked about some of the impacts of how technology and how it’s affecting us. I thought it was interesting when you said that the like button was created with the same principle as a slot machine. Can you elaborate on that? That was a very interesting thing that I hadn’t considered.

Let’s go back to creativity a bit. The idea of understanding what creativity was and what it could be, is even I was missing the bigger idea, the bigger opportunity. There’s the big C, Creativity, which is what we see in artists and movie making and all the elaborate and extravagant things that we don’t necessarily feel like we’re capable of achieving. There’s everyday creativity with that little C where even just the acts of doodling or trying to write poetry or any creative expression build this rigor or these skills and that is pretty powerful in and of itself. It’s something that I don’t even know that most of us realize that we all have the potential to be creative. At one point in our life, we were all artists. When we were young, we would draw and we would sing. That over time got molded out of us so that we can be ready for the business world or whatever the world was going to give us so we could make money and buy a house and have 2.2 cars and 2.2 kids.

All of those things that we got caught up in the machine of the whole thing, the whole rigmarole of it, when in fact, creativity is what we all need now more than ever because we live in such disruptive times. Not only are we being disrupted by technology, but we are being driven by things like AI and machine learning that are looking at automating a lot of white-collar jobs. The education itself is being disrupted in the types of expertise that companies need or are looking for in order to thrive and adapt in disruptive times. Lifescale isn’t just about breaking distractions and putting the phone down or maybe taking a timeout from social media. It’s more about realizing that if we spend time productively and we build new behaviors and new mindsets that are focused on surviving and thriving in a different genre, what could we do with that? That’s what the book explores. It’s not so much of technology is evil and let’s fight against it. It’s a manual for life in a digital economy. If you think about all of the things that govern us, what happens is this.

When you make a decision about what job to take or what school to go to or what relationship to have, a lot of those premises are based on standards, norms and values that were defined in the analog era. Not that that’s a bad thing, it’s just that the analog era was a different way of life. We didn’t necessarily have insight or information or access to all of that stuff that we do. What if you had to rethink what it means to be happy? What if you had to rethink what success looks like? What if you had to rethink everything that matters to you because life itself was evolving in an entirely new way for better or for worse? What if you can control-alt-delete and take greater control of what you do, where you’re going, what success looks like, what happiness looks like for a modern era? That’s ultimately where Lifescale went like the subtitle says, “How to Live a More Creative, Productive and Happy Life.

Do you think that it’s different by generations? I’ve heard people say Gen Z is becoming less enthralled in the technology as they were expecting. What have you found in terms of generational differences of how we’re becoming addicted to this or having an impact on our lives?

If you think about the addictive nature of a lot of this stuff, this is something that most people don’t necessarily realize. There’s a reason why you look at your phone anywhere between 1,500 to 2,500 times, which adds up to anywhere between three to four hours a day of your time on that device. You think that you’re being productive, that you’re being creative and that you’re being connected because you are. It’s a whole new way of life. The reason you’re doing all of those things is that a lot of it has been designed to hook you. It releases certain chemicals and those chemicals in your body feel good. The more you do it, the more your body starts to crave it on its own so that you feel that way. What’s critical here is that until Tristan Harris who started an organization called the Center for Humane Technology. He started to reveal the secrets behind all of this stuff for tech designers to live and work more ethically.

10% in life is what happens to you and 90% is how you react to it. Click To Tweet

That is where I started to get a lot of insight as to what was going on behind the scenes. He did a lot of research with folks like BJ Fogg and his industry-leading work at Stanford. A lot of it has been misused to manipulate behaviors and make these technologies scale and get adopted in ways that haven’t necessarily existed in the past. A lot of this is awareness. Parents don’t necessarily realize what’s happening behind the scenes when they give their kid an iPad or an iPhone at the dinner table or in a shopping cart if they’re walking around the grocery store. There are real activities happening behind the scenes that are now starting to be revealed in terms of what they do to us. It can be used for greatness or complete distraction. That’s what I set out to do at the beginning of the book was to share what I was learning so that we can then make decisions about what to do together moving forward. That affects everybody; parents, teachers, managers, students, you name it. This is why I hope the book will catapult to a bigger conversation.

We’re fighting the dopamine and you mentioned it’s tough to do. You’ve got these digital detox camps now, we’ve got all these things. Do we have to go that deep to go to an actual digital detox camp? Are you giving strategies of ways that we can to gradually get off of this habit that we have?

I googled a ton of solutions when I was trying to figure out what was going on and digital detox was one of them. Putting your phone down, deleting Facebook and Instagram or other suggestions, getting the common Headspace app, where others try meditation, yoga and mindfulness. A lot of the things that would help were coming up in the results. They were popular among folks who were also struggling with these symptoms. They only address the symptoms. They didn’t necessarily get to the core of the problem. Do I think those things help? Sure. They make you rethink your relationship with those devices. Ironically, the last thing everybody does before they go into detox is say they’re going into detox. The first thing everybody does when they get out is say that they came back from detox. If there’s a little bit of what I call accidental narcissism that happens and it’s by design. You’re the center of your own universe and you don’t exist unless you’re sharing all of this stuff and getting feedback and validation online. It’s emotional and then there’s also a chemical relationship with these devices.

You’re releasing these types of things like oxytocin or other chemicals within your body that are making you feel good. When you go away, you crave that again like in any addiction and you come back. It’s more about taking a step back from technology and asking what is it about it that you find so necessary in your life? Once you start to know the answers, what would you do differently? That’s what the book walks you through. It’s the step by step ways of personally rebuilding your life, your values, your purpose and your aspirations. Once you have the information, what would you do differently? The worst-case scenario is you get to know yourself better at the end of it.

You had mentioned slot machines and different things. I’m curious what you could consider some of the manipulative techniques that turn us into digital addicts. Are there things that we should be looking out for?

TTL 323 | Disruptive Technology
Disruptive Technology: Technology is essentially rewiring your brain and how you work and how you think.

 

Everything. Think about how you might work every single day. Technology is essentially rewiring your brain and how you work and how you think. You’re speeding up without you necessarily knowing it. You’re multitasking in ways that you think you’re getting more done on multiple fronts faster, but you’re not going as deep and as thorough as you could. The problem, and this is the challenge I face, is how you sell a book to people who don’t necessarily know that they’re distracted or that there’s a problem with any of that. It’s why I took a step back and revise the positioning around it, which was again the subject line: How to Live a More Creative, Productive and Happy Life. That’s all we’re talking about. It’s not necessarily saying, “You’re addicted, burn your phone, run.”

Daniel Goleman did it with Emotional Intelligence who thinks, “I have a problem with emotional intelligence. I need to read a book.” I was thinking the same thing when I was writing about curiosity. I’m thinking of a curious person. If you’re not curious, you’re not going to want to read a book about curiosity. I started thinking, the people around you who want to help you if you hear enough about it. Even these topics that don’t seem they’re going to appeal to people end up being the things that changed their lives. We’ve seen so much success with those examples like Daniel. This is something that needs a discussion. You talked about nurturing imagination. You talked about a lot of things that are important and you talked about a strong sense of purpose. Do you find that most people have a sense of purpose or are they wandering aimlessly? Is this something we need to work on?

The challenge that most of us have and this is something that I had to realize as well, is that we have a natural defense mechanism called cognitive bias. There are so many different types of biases. That mechanism is designed to protect us. It makes us see what we want to see and feel how we want to feel which can also not be a good thing. For example, it would prevent us from seeing things that might change us for the better. It would allow us to see threats in order to react much more quickly instead of just shrugging them off, “That’s not going to affect me or that doesn’t matter, or I’m totally in control of all of these things.” Things like purpose, we might think we have a purpose and we might think we have values and we do, but they’re being challenged and undermined by a lot of the things that we’re doing every single day.

That is where if you know this, once I tell you for example, in the first few chapters of the book where I have a quote where I said, “If ignorance is bliss, awareness is awakening.” Once you know what’s happening behind the scenes and what that is doing to you, it’s a choice of what you want to do at that point because these are facts. If I tell you that your output is not at the quality or at the level that it could be and you think it is, but then I compare it to something that is and you see that, that’s a choice you have to make. This is where rethinking purpose and values knowing all of these answers gives you an opportunity to get to know yourself again. Almost like if you were renewing your vows in marriage. You’re at a different stage in life earlier when you might have come up with all of these things. Why wouldn’t you want to do that?

You bring up awareness in it. All these things are tied into what we’re trying to do with all the cultural assessments and the perception of others. It starts with a lot of self-awareness issues which is all emotional intelligence, which I wrote my dissertation on. Emotional intelligence is such a big aspect that falls into many different ways. When you talk about living a more creative and productive life, that’s what everybody wants to do right now. Everybody is concerned though that their jobs are going to be taken over by innovation and technology. We do all this technology and we keep up with everything and we don’t want to fall behind because we’re worried.

There is so much more good than there is negative in the world. Click To Tweet

A lot of reasons, you’re worried and you’re anxious. For example, if you open Instagram or Twitter, there’s a millisecond or two that you have to wait until you see whether or not you have new notifications or updates. That by design creates a sense of anxiety and then relief. Whether you know it or not, all of these things add up to all different things like anxiety, relevance, of course with the famous FOMO, the Fear Of Missing Out. It puts you on this treadmill of trying to keep up with everything that you don’t necessarily realize the true cost on your own sanity, self-esteem, confidence and awareness. There are hard costs associated with all of that. Some of which are productivity, focus and creativity. It spans all over the board.

There’s so much involved behind this. It is interesting that you called the book Lifescale because we hear so much about scaling up. What made you pick Lifescale?

Essentially it was what we’re talking about is life and realizing that we are scaling our life in ways that might not necessarily be in our best interest. Think about all of the social platforms you are on and all of the different apps and services you use, and all of the different places and things that you have to be and what you have to do. I wanted to say that here’s a positive way to scale your life. I wanted to give it a name that could also hopefully become a verb like life scaling, “Have you life scaled? How’s your life scaling going? Let’s go life scale.” It came up in the whole process. I can’t even remember the moment it happened.

It’s a great title and I hope everybody checks out your book. Would you want to share how people can reach you or find your book?

I’m pretty much Brian Solis on everything. BrianSolis.com, Twitter @BrianSolis, Instagram @BrianSolis, Facebook, The Brian Solis. You could go to the URL, which is LifeScaling.me or you could go to Amazon or any of your favorite bookstores. It’s all there. I would appreciate it if you took a moment to reacquaint yourself with yourself.

I hope they do and I hope they check out your dance on your TEDx Talk and everything else because it was a great talk. It was so much fun to have you on the show. Thank you, Brian.

Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Using Technology To Influence People with Brian Schulman

TTL 323 | Disruptive Technology
Against Medical Advice: One Family’s Struggle with an Agonizing Medical Mystery

I am here with Brian Schulman who is the Founder and CEO of Voice Your Vibe and the founding member of a number of organizations including Genuine Hero. He serves on a number of boards as advisor and mentor to startup founders and companies across the world. He’s a speaker and he does a lot of very interesting things with LinkedIn. I’m looking forward to this. Welcome, Brian.

Thank you so much for having me.

I know that you have quite a following on LinkedIn. You do a lot of different things. Can you tell people how you got to this position of being the CEO of Voice Your Vibe and doing all the things that you’re doing now?

It all starts at the beginning for me. I was a miracle baby in the ‘70s. I weighed a pound and a half. I wasn’t supposed to live. I fought for every breath to make it into this world. I got diagnosed with a neurological disorder preteen called Tourette syndrome. They’re uncontrollable ticks and twitches and not only are they uncontrollable, but you’re usually not aware that you’re doing them. In the height of my childhood, probably twelve or thirteen, I would be somersaulting from room to room, jumping up and down, making lots of different noises, lots of different facial expressions. Some of these things would commingle. Growing up, I definitely dealt with a lot of adversity. I dealt with a lot of bullying.

I had a lot of positivity around me but it was tough. It was tough to find my tribes so to speak. Trying to make friends and not knowing who was truly genuine. I started to break out of my shell getting into high school. There was something in my head that flipped in terms of a switch. I did have a lot of dark moments, but I came out of that and I wanted to bring people together. I didn’t want anyone around me to feel the way that I was treated. I wanted them to feel good. That carried it with me in college and I broke out of my shell and got involved with lots of different organizations and communities. You mentioned LinkedIn where I’ve fallen into along the way a few years ago. I’ve been on it ever since.

I came to the platform with a purpose and my purpose was to achieve my why, which is to inspire one person a day. I didn’t know how I was going to do it because a few years ago, LinkedIn was a digital resume and a place to look for jobs and people. There was no way to communicate. Some way somehow I knew that there would be a way for me to bring more good into the world. Even though we see all the negative that takes place every time you turn on the news, I believe there is much more good than there is negative in the world. I wanted to find a way to be able to shine as much light as possible on the good in people and the good that’s happening in the world.

We are human beings. We are emotional by nature. We are looking to connect with people and that's what social media is. Click To Tweet

I began to do that and I began to bring people together. I have such a love for people in general. I don’t believe there is anyone bad in this world. I think we go through bad things and some people can’t crawl out of those. I certainly changed my mindset through my journey because people ask me all the time, “How are you so positive all the time?” It’s from what I had shared coming from where I have, fighting for breath to make it in the world and dealing with this neurological disorder. I wanted to give up the opposite of the negative that I had received and be a giver of good, positivity, light, encouragement and strength. I know that 10% in life is what happens to me and 90% is how I react to it.

Every breath I ever have is a gift and that no matter how many times I’ve failed in life and business, which is a lot, certainly more than I’ve succeeded, that I’ve learned from everything. I’ve gotten up and I’ve dusted myself off and kept going. No matter what the outcome is, that’s why I have succeeded. Regardless of all the things I’m involved in, the most important thing in my heart is to achieve my why, which is to inspire one person a day. If I can inspire one person to chase after their dreams and know, feel and believe that they can accomplish anything. To get up after they fall fifty times and believe in themselves that they can get back up. They can go at it again and know that that is succeeding regardless of whether you reach your goal. It even inspires someone who inspires someone else and put a smile on somebody’s face or makes them laugh when they don’t feel good about themselves because we all go through that. If I can inspire any one of those things, one person a day, then I have done my part as a human being to make the world a better place.

My mother was born in 1933 at two pounds and at that time it was unheard of for babies to live. They put her in a shoebox and said, “We’ll just wait.” They figured she was going to die and she made it. When my father was born, he had lost his vision at birth. He had 2% of almost losing his life as well. I have the background from them of how that’s impacted their strength. It’s interesting to me when I hear your story because I think of that. When I hear about Tourette’s, it brings to mind a book. James Patterson writes all these books that are novels, but he wrote Against Medical Advice. Did you read that book by chance?

I haven’t but I remember hearing about it.

It’s about a young man who had Tourette’s and all the torture they put him through with trying different things. He ended up having a lot better results from going out into nature and trying different things that you would have never thought of. It was a very interesting book and you might appreciate it. Do you still have issues with Tourette’s? You grew up with it, but is it still something that you have to face on a daily basis or did they help you or how did that help?

TTL 323 | Disruptive Technology
Disruptive Technology: LinkedIn changed over a year and a half ago in a way that had never done.

 

In the ‘80s, nobody knew what Tourette’s was. It was so new. My mom and I went from doctor to doctor, tests upon tests and they would ask me to sit still. How do you tell someone who has Tourette to sit still? Every doctor said the same thing. “He’s fine. He’ll grow out of it.” My mom, who was my genuine hero said, “I’m going to find someone who has an answer for me because I’m not okay with you telling me, ‘He’s fine. He’ll grow out of it.’ There’s something wrong with my kid and I’m going to find out what it is.” We wind up at UCLA Medical Center with a specialist that says, “Here’s what this is. This is new. There’s no way to fix it. It is neurological. It is more prevalent in boys versus girls. It is something that either sticks with you or you’ll grow out of somewhere between seventeen and eighteen.” All of those things I described to you that I had gone through in the height of my Tourette’s as a teenager, most all of those all went away.

I wouldn’t say prescribed, because it wasn’t FDA approved, it was a test type of thing, this medicine called Clonidine. The side effects were horrible. I would fall asleep 30 minutes at a time. I’d fall asleep in class. It was a dulling effect. The key of it was to calm you. It was such a calming mechanism that I felt drawn out all the time. I would come home bawling from school to my mom and go, “Why does nobody like me and why does everybody keep making fun of me?” I truly didn’t understand. She took me to the bathroom. She had a big mirror and we sat down and she said, “I want you to see something.” She did every tick and twitch I was doing at the time. She said, “I want you to let her rip, whatever you’ve got in you just let it out,” because I would try to compress it. I felt so out of control, even though I knew but I didn’t know. Apparently, I did that and then my mom, an amazing woman that she is, would turn on music and then start dancing.

I grew up Jewish by faith. Right before I got Bar Mitzvah, I had gone to her and said, “I don’t want to take these drugs anymore.” I had been taking them for a bit. I said, “I can’t deal with the side effects.” She said, “What about all these people that are going to be here for your ceremony?” Apparently what I said was, “They’re here for me. They know who I am. I’m okay with it.” She said like any amazing mom, “I will hold on to them and if you ever need, I have them.” I never took them again. The thing that’s interesting is it’s brought on by stress for me and there was no other natural calming mechanism. It’s interesting, you talk about nature. I know many that have Tourette’s. I find commonalities in those things that we have come across in our life that has helped; music, comedy, dancing and nature is a great one as well. I remember sitting in front of the piano as a kid, in the dark playing for hours and it was like I was in another body. I can’t explain it. I wasn’t twitching. I wasn’t ticking. I was in another world. I do still have Tourette’s. Most people don’t know that because even when I do have and you don’t know what to look for, you wouldn’t catch it.

It’s sometimes misunderstood from movies, Deuce Bigalow, whatever you see them yelling and there are different people who get perceptions of what Tourette is. It doesn’t have to be vocal. You don’t have the vocal aspect of it?

It’s different for everybody. I remember watching a video that had been made on a VHS back then. This was extreme. A guy that was spitting, swearing and he was violent. It was the extreme of what can happen. On a scale of one to ten, I was probably a five or a six. I have good friends that I have met on LinkedIn that have Tourette’s. I never would have met them if I hadn’t gotten involved in LinkedIn video. Up until October or November of 2017, when I got on video, I didn’t look at my disability as a superpower, as a gift, as anything other than I’m weird. I was terrified to get on video.

If ignorance is bliss, awareness is awakening. Click To Tweet

I grew up as an only child. I grew up in Los Angeles. I grew up in the entertainment business. The industry was all around me and my mom got me involved in all sorts of things because she wanted me to find something that I would connect with. I did some modeling, I did some acting, I did a number of different things and I didn’t have control over those things. This was something I had to control. This was something that was all in my hands and I was so scared. I was inspired by stories that those were sharing on the platform that it never happened before.

LinkedIn changed in a way that had never done in many years that I had been on the platform at that time. It was human, it was real talk, it was a generation that wasn’t coming and using their voice. The shirt and tie broke off, the box surrounding us went away and truly inspirational stories are being shared. They were very personal and were heart-centered. In a moment I was inspired to share my story. I can count on one hand the number of times that I have ever talked about Tourette’s with anyone when it comes to me.

When I got diagnosed in sixth grade, I stood up in front of my class and my teachers and parents were there and said, “This is this thing. It’s not a disease. You’re not going to catch it.” I was scared to death, but I was relieved at the same time to finally be able to say, “This is what this is.” I wrote a paper about it in eighth grade. I wrote a paper about it in college. I do have a degree in psychology and I got that because I want to learn myself better. I wanted to understand people better. In high school, I passed by a classmate and I knew right away that he had Tourette’s. He did three different twitches at one time and I said, “He’s got Tourette’s and he has no idea.”

It was a very interesting scenario. We went through to help. I immediately had gone home to my mom and said, “I have a classmate who has Tourette’s. I know it.” We went through some steps and talking to him and talking to his parents, getting them to UCLA. I think to myself, “If I had never gone home and told my mom, if I had never talked to my classmate, he would have been like me.” Never knowing and thinking there’s something wrong and no idea how to “fix it.” The only other time was when I went for an interview in the early days of my tech career. I didn’t have any experience. It was early days in sales for me. I didn’t have any real stories to tell. I figured I’ll tell my story. It’s a story of resilience, tenacity, grit. I can learn anything, just give me a shot. This was during the dot-boom era.

I met with eight different hiring managers, a bunch of other different people and different teams in between. At the end of every interview, I always got the same question, “That’s great, but why should we hire you?” I’m talking about being a miracle baby and Tourette’s and all these things. I’d walk out of there with my head down, defeated. I didn’t get the job. I said, “I’m never going to talk about that again,” because the thing for me is I didn’t want to be different. I wanted to be like everybody else. I wanted to be “normal.” I also wanted to earn everything on my own. I didn’t want my disability to be something that got me anything. I never talked about it again until LinkedIn video and I was scared out of my wits. All I kept thinking was what if my Tourette’s come out? What kind of video would that be? Of all places, I’m going to get in front of 500 million people and share my life story for the first time and I did it.

TTL 323 | Disruptive Technology
Disruptive Technology: The most incredible relationships are built family that you never knew you had.

 

That takes a lot of strength to do that. I see Michael J. Fox doing similar things with his neurological issues and it’s inspiring. You’ve said a couple of times about achieving your why. I assume you’re a Simon Sinek fan because I wrote a book about curiosity. I want to inspire people to be curious. You’re trying to inspire a person a day resonates with me. Your psych degree is a very big focus. Even though my degrees are in business, I wrote my dissertation on emotional intelligence. I’m very interested in psychology. I had Albert Bandura on my show, which was quite an honor. The psych background that you have and that I embraced as well, is a good mix in the business community to try and understand people and try to help them. What you’re doing is great. I’m curious about your LinkedIn choice because there are so many videos on other platforms. What drew you to LinkedIn?

When I joined LinkedIn, the platform was a year old. There were about a million people at that time that had hopped on. I’ve been on the internet since it was green screen and chat rooms sitting in my mom’s lap. That’s how I learned how to type. There was something inside of me that said, “This isn’t going to be a Myspace that disappears because of a Facebook that comes along. It’s not going to be another blow-up and disappear.” I had a feeling because it was different. It was a business-centric platform, a social business networking platform. I didn’t know where it was going to go. I didn’t know what it was going to be. I certainly didn’t think they’d get bought by Microsoft and evolve the way they have and go from a million to 595 million in fifteen years. I knew it was going to be a place that I needed to be. I felt it was going to be the place to achieve my why. I didn’t know how and it took a while. I’ve been a part of most of the betas that LinkedIn had done in terms of the features they had released.

They were far behind compared to Facebook and others. It was all fresh and new there. Even though they were behind technologically, it didn’t hurt them. Eventually, you have the ability to post. I’d start posting visual motivational quotes because they spoke to me. Just as I have through my life, I wanted to bring people together because that’s what I love to do. I didn’t know how, but I figured maybe this is how I start. I didn’t hear from anybody. I was posting things. Eventually, that changed and people would start reaching out and telling me, “Thank you for that. I needed that.” It changed how they thought about things. You talk about emotional intelligence. I’m a huge fan. We are human beings. We are emotional by nature. We are looking to connect with people. That’s what social media is. We’re trying to connect with people in many different ways. I started and then I started again. Every single day for several years, I kept starting.

The video is still new with LinkedIn even though it was launched in beta in June of 2017. I remember seeing it pop up on my phone and I was like, “There’s no way I’m getting on camera.” This is important for people to understand because we all go through things in life that scare the crap out of us, especially every first. The first time you want to do your first podcast. The first time you say, “I’m going to go get my PhD or I’m going to go for this job that twenty other people are going for.” They are so much more intelligent that you may feel than you are to get that job. You want to start a company or you want to ask someone out on a date or whatever it is. We all have those fears. When we take the leap and when we jump, we look back and go, “Why was I getting in my head so much about that? I did this but I didn’t think I could do it.” With encouragement, support and love around you, anything is possible.

80% of content consumed online is through video. That’s a huge percentage and a platform like LinkedIn, where 595 million business professionals are. Everyone from the founder to the chairman to the janitor and everyone in between, you are one click away from having a conversation with anyone if you know how to have a conversation. The digital world is so confusing for folks when you talk about especially emotional intelligence. If I walked up to you in a room and we made eye contact, we smile, we shake hands and we start talking, a lot of people don’t understand how you do that online. It’s not that different. On technologically, you have to understand the how-to because those steps that I described are like reaching out and sending someone a personalized invite to connect. That’s me seeing you from across the room. You accept that and we walk towards each other. We shake hands and we’re trading messages and then we hop on a video chat. We’re having a conversation or it’s in the threads, the comments or you’re making a video.

80% of content consumed online is through video. Click To Tweet

A video is amazing. The only thing missing from that in an aspect of a LinkedIn video is that it’s one way where I’m not able to smell you and touch you, but everything else is there. All the emotions are there and that’s incredible. Out of 595 million people, there are about 250 million active users on LinkedIn. Of that, less than 1% either have access to LinkedIn video or are creating. Those are huge numbers, but it’s an amazing opportunity to be able to find your voice and use your voice to tell a story that people will fall in love with. I never thought I had a story to tell. To me, this is life. I’ve fallen so many times in my life and I keep getting back up because I didn’t know any better and it’s what I did. When I shared my story, everything changed. LinkedIn and LinkedIn video changed my life because I found a voice I never knew I had.

If people want to follow you and your videos, how do they do that? A lot of people would probably be interested to hear more about your story and to see what you’re doing to inspire others at least once a day. How can they reach you and what information would you like to share?

You can find me on LinkedIn. It’s LinkedIn.com/in/BrianSchulman. You can easily find me if you look for the #VoiceYourVibe on LinkedIn, you’ll find all my videos and all the content that I share. If there’s anybody out there that is trying to find their voice that wants to get involved, it’s not just LinkedIn. I employ everyone to jump on the platform because the most incredible relationships are built with family truly that you never knew you had. Opportunities too present themselves organically by showing up and it’s amazing. I love helping people find that braveness and courage inside of them. LinkedIn, Voice Your Vibe, that’s the best place because that’s where I live.

Thank you so much for being on the show, Brian. It was nice to make a connection.

It was so wonderful chatting with you. Thank you so much for having me on your show. I’m truly honored and humbled that you asked.

I would like to thank Brian Solis and Brian Schulman for being on the show. We get too many great guests on the show. If you’ve missed any past episodes, you can go to DrDianeHamiltonRadio.com. If you are interested in finding out more about the Cracking the Curiosity Code book or the Curiosity Code Index, they are all available at CuriosityCode.com. I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.

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About Brian Solis

TTL 323 | Disruptive TechnologyBrian Solis is Principal Analyst and futurist at Altimeter, a Prophet Company, a keynote speaker and best-selling author. Brian studies disruptive technology and its impact on business and society. In his reports, articles, and books, he humanizes technology and its impact on business and society to help executives gain new perspectives and insights. Brian’s research explores digital transformation, customer experience and culture 2.0 and “the future of” industries, trends, and behavior. He is the author of Life Scale: How to live a more creative, productive, and happy life.

About Brian Schulman

TTL 323 | Disruptive TechnologyBrian Schulman is a Forbes Featured Entrepreneur, Advisor, a miracle baby that wasn’t supposed to live, and warrior who grew up with Tourettes Syndrome and had to face adversity head-on as he grew up. He’s also the Founder & CEO of Voice Your Vibe, where he empowers entrepreneurs and organizations to harness the power of their vibes in terms of employee advocacy, diversity, and inclusion. Brian has a heart of gold and is a truly authentic powerhouse of inspiration.

 

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