How Momentum Affects Society And The Economy With Mike Berland

Our typical understanding of momentum stems back from a scientific standpoint. In this episode, Dr. Diane Hamilton’s guest, Mike Berland, explains how there is more to this quantifiable motion than meets the eye. Mike is the Founder and CEO of Decode_M, a research and analytics firm that decodes data into momentum for its clients. In this discussion, he ties his knowledge and ideas with the COVID-19 crisis and links momentum to business and politics, noting how organizations and leaders are driving their brands and communities with their own versions of transformation. Dive deeper into momentum and how it ties to curiosity and so much more in this insightful conversation.

TTL 706 | Momentum


We have Mike Berland here. He is the Founder and CEO of Decode_M. He is the author of Maximum Momentum. He and I are going to talk about momentum, which I’m excited to talk about because that’s such an unusual topic. We’re going to tie it into what’s happening with COVID-19 and so much more.

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How Momentum Affects Society And The Economy With Mike Berland

I am here with Mike Berland who is the Founder and CEO of Decode_M, which is an insight and analytics firm that decodes data into momentum for its clients. In addition to this, he is the author of Maximum Momentum. I’m excited to talk to you, Mike, because momentum is something I like to talk about. Welcome to the show.

Thank you for having me. I’m looking forward to talking about momentum.

It’s something I don’t get to talk about a lot, but I talked to other people outside of my show about it because I’m one of those people that I need momentum to be successful. It’s interesting that you’d write about it and that you deal with momentum. It’s not something that people bring up that often. I’m curious about what led to your interest in it.

I’m a political pollster. I’ve been around politics my whole life. The pundits were starting to throw around this word momentum all the time. “He has momentum. He’s lost momentum. He’s gaining momentum.” I was used to it in sports. I understood the momentum of a game. When I started hearing about it in politics, election, I’m like, “Momentum is not an emotion. Momentum comes from physics. It’s the measurement of motion and we can quantify it. Let’s stop talking about it as if unquantifiable or if it’s something amorphous. Let’s get very specific on what momentum is.” I use a definition to define it. I took the physics definition from high school, Sir Isaac Newton’s Newtonian physics, that momentum equals mass times velocity. We had the tools and the metrics to measure mass and to measure what velocity is.

I had a professor who told me I wrote too fast. After my first paper, I turned it in quickly and he didn’t like that. He gave me an A but he said, “You could do better if you would take more time.” Knowing how I think, if I go slow, I can’t do it well. I wrote it at the same quick speed, but then I put it aside and didn’t give it to him for two weeks. He wrote me back and he said, “See how much better that was?” For me, I lose what I call momentum of what makes me interested in writing and doing what I need to do. Would you call that momentum?

Let’s break it down. Let’s go through some semantics. You have velocity. Velocity is this speed in which something travels. The way that your mind works is concept, themes, and ideas come to you and from your velocity of ideas. You created your mass, which becomes your paper. The best momentum is exactly the type of momentum that you have because it moves fast. As the thought and ideas converge, it turns into something larger. You’re in ideal momentum.

He was killing me because if I had to work at his speed, nothing would come out. I would be not interested.

That’s old school. Here’s what the old school momentum is. Old school momentum is you build mass. You have all these ideas and then you will apply velocity to move them forward in an incremental way. You write, refine, and keep moving forward. That’s a very old traditional way to think. In this world, that version of momentum is the kiss of death.

It’s funny because I dropped him. I thought, “I can’t work with this guy.” He was trying to change what worked for me. If I lost that ability to go quickly, what my end product would have been much less interesting, in my opinion. It’s interesting that you talk about this. Is there a risk of losing what I had by people like that trying to squelch my speed?

That’s why I wrote Maximum Momentum because I wanted to give people more of that gift that you had to take chances and to understand polarized conversation. You can be disruptive, you can use innovation and all of those things come together. The best people who have momentum use those drivers to express their ideas and to share their point of view.

It’s a time where people are trying to find answers in a much faster way than they’ve ever had to do it. We’re talking more about speed. Maybe some people aren’t happy about going at the speed that I like. How are we adjusting? We’re in the middle of this COVID-19 crisis, for example. How does momentum play a role in that?

TTL 706 | Momentum
Momentum: Momentum requires continuous transformation.


It’s a very big misconception. The conventional wisdom would be during this period of COVID-19, we’ve lost all of our momentum. We’ve gone into a time of stagnation and we’ll see what happens. People who are in that mindset will not be prepared for how the future looks. The truth of the matter is what we’ve seen with Coronavirus, it truly had momentum. For the past few months, it broke my momentum meter because it’s transformed many times. To have momentum, you have to have continuous transformation. The Coronavirus has had continuous transformation. It has gone from an epidemic in China to something that spread to Europe that then came to the US, so three transformations there.

It led to tremendous financial and health uncertainty. Millions of people were affected while thousands were infected and it continues to change. The big debate is when are we going to open back up, which is an interesting question for government officials and health officials. How we’re going to open up and what we will be like in the future state is a discussion that we all should be engaging in. It’s one of the most important times of momentum in our history, yet people are feeling that they’re stuck in place and they hardly are. Work, school, and relationships have changed. This is a transformative moment in our society.

It’s unprecedented in my lifetime. Things that we’ve seen are staggering but there’s a lot of blaming out there. Did the US or the UK respond too slow? Is this because of a lack of momentum? What is your insight as far as how did momentum play a part in our response time?

Momentum was a driver. Once Corona started and the velocity picked up, the mass was elsewhere. Once it picked up mass in the US, the velocity took it off the chart. It went from 46 to 100 in two weeks on my scale, which is 0 to 100. It was tremendously velocity-driven. Now the mass, how many people are infected? It’s a horrific loss of life. Those numbers, the mass is only starting to come to us, but their velocity was tremendous. The response time is interesting. I know there’s a lot of criticism and this is my analytics and not my ideology. It’s hard to have gone faster and yet it feels like it was so slow and inadequate. That’s how momentum works. Once an idea has momentum, it can move so quickly. You can lose perspective and understand the magnitude of what you’re dealing with, whether it’s a brand that’s taken off or you’re a politician who’s taken off or you’re a pandemic that has the whole world focused on you.

As you’re talking about that, it reminds me of some of the problems I see in teams in general. You talked about having your hands tied and the impact of an idea taking off. For me, it seems like momentum gets killed because you’re at the mercy of other people. You can’t do it all yourself. You can’t solve the COVID crisis or any other crisis by yourself. How much is the momentum impacted because you have to rely on other people?

Nothing can kill momentum like group-think or paralysis by analysis. The whole idea of the momentum mindset is living out into the future, understanding what the transformations are going to look like, and having the courage to make decisions. What I see in business is as I told you, there are five drivers of momentum, disruption, innovation, polarization, stickiness and social impact. Polarization is hard for business teams and some of our leaders to be comfortable with. You have to engage in a strong conversation that puts out a point of view that not everyone will agree with. We are past the days of everybody buying into every idea. If we can get 60% or 70% of people to agree with our point of view or our idea, we have to go for it. That is hard for business leaders to accept because they were used to making safe decisions that had only positive outcomes. There is no such thing as an only positive outcome in this world.

Everybody’s debating, do you save the economy? Do you save the people? How do you make these decisions with only 60% of people agreeing and have everybody buy into the outcome?

Every decision that you make has a risk factor. Every trade-off that we make as we talk about going forward will have an accepted risk factor. I’m not talking about health risk. I’m talking about business risks, health risks and what have you. What is going on is that too many people are talking about the when. When are we going to open versus how we’re going to open? When will be a decision made? Time will tell if it’s the right decision. The how is going to live with us for generations to come. We’re not going back to the way it was. Travel, retail, business and office environments are forever changed in the same way that they were changed after 9/11. It’s not the first time that we’ve had a disruption in social norms. It happens from time to time. We should accept that and allow the momentum of Coronavirus, which is going to go on for years to come, maybe generations to come, to let it flow.

I was thinking 9/11 and how travel has been different for a lot of people. Are there other examples of massive disruptions that have changed us because of maximum momentum issues?

We’re typically used to natural disasters. Sometimes there can be hate crimes. There are other incidences that have spurred a change in norms and behavior like the #MeToo Movement. I was thinking about Ronan Farrow’s book that he wrote. That was an example that changed the way that people operate and interact within business and expectations. There’s been women’s rights movement. There have been civil rights movements. There have been all sorts of movements over time that changed behaviors. Coronavirus is an external force that drives us to change behaviors. We’re continuously changing. It’s very rarely do you have everybody in the world affected by the same issue at the same time. That’s the difference.

[bctt tweet=”The best people who have momentum use different drivers to express their ideas and to share their point of view. ” via=”no”]

When you were talking about scale, you mentioned 0 to 100 scale that you measure this. What is that scale? Is that something you’re talking figuratively?

Our M factor is we’ve quantified mass, which can be the volume of conversation and then velocity, which can be at the engagement level. We have a very sophisticated algorithm that uses natural language processing and topic modeling. We create a quantified number and then we put it on a scale of 0 to 100 so that I can compare any issue at any time and understand this is a 60, this is a 40, this is a 100 and knows how strong the momentum is.

This is 100, you said?

Coronavirus is down to 88. It was 100. It’s now down to 88.

That tells me what? If it’s at 88, what does that help me know?

It tells you that it would be short of the President taking out a member of the Iranian military or impeachment. It tells you that it’s talked about as anything in the world. There’s a significant amount or volume of conversation. It’s a very active and engaged conversation that’s happening. The mass is maxed out and the velocity is maxed out. I’ve only seen it three times in the year that I’ve had the scale.

What other times?

We talked about when the President did the military action against Iran, Coronavirus number two, and the third one is going to blow your mind, TikTok and social media.

What part of TikTok? That it became available or that people are on it? What do you mean? What part about it?

You’re going to have to laugh and follow me. There was a JLo video from one of her songs. In TikTok, they do dances. One of her songs went so extremely viral that it broke the scale.

More than in any other viral thing?

Yes. TikTok is probably one of the most transformative social media platforms out there. It’s been the soul of sheltering at home. It’s opened up to multiple generations. Even though TikTok hasn’t been around that long, we’ve thought of it as a younger demographic, a Gen Z demographic. It’s dancing to songs in a playful way. Through the sheltering at home, it’s broadened to a much larger demographic. I’ve gone to many different routes of self-help, empowerment, dealing with LGBTQ issues. For many people, they have found comfort and entertainment in TikTok.

They’re shorter videos. You can’t even put anything too long on there. Can you?

It’s a minute and a half.

Everything is getting shorter and shorter. I wonder if it will be like Twitter where they double it because the people like it so much. They’ll want more time.

What’s interesting about TikTok is it’s a microcosm of where society is going. If you think about it, Facebook was you sharing your pictures and events with your friends to keep them informed. Instagram was more of the perfect view of how you wanted to present yourself to the world and you had followers. TikTok is the authentic you where you can be silly, you can be not perfect, you can try new things, you can seek information. We see this evolution. It’s easier and you can get access to thousands of people without having them follow you. Your goal is not to collect followers. They have an algorithm that spreads your TikTok video. You could have a million people see one video, but they never find you again. It’s flipped the whole model of how social media is going to interact and the role of social media in our life to provide information, and for us to be a lot more authentic.

Is it an indication of our attention span at all? Is it a generational thing? The old people now are on Facebook, the Millennials are on Instagram, and now the younger are on this. You said it wasn’t necessarily younger, but does that have anything to do with it?

I don’t think so. There’s always an early adopter scale. TikTok is the early adopter or younger. If you went on TikTok, there are many people who are my age making videos on a wide array of subjects. They’re not all dancing to videos and crop tops, which is the image that TikTok has.

Why go on there instead of YouTube?

What’s more interesting about TikTok is you swipe and it learns you algorithmically. It serves you up more videos. I always think of YouTube as you’re looking for things that interest you. You can find them. It’s educational videos. TikTok is more the algorithm that understands what you’re watching, what you’re sharing and serves you up. You’re much more likely to go into a TikTok hole for an hour or two and get lost than YouTube. I find YouTube to be more transactional. You know what you want, you get it and you can do more of it, but it doesn’t take you to unexpected places. TikTok can take you to unexpected places.

TTL 706 | Momentum
Momentum: TikTok is the authentic view where you can be silly and imperfect.


Being a curiosity expert, I’m trying to think of the role TikTok could play in getting goal related curiosity and not necessarily falling down the Candy Crush hole that doesn’t help you much.

What’s interesting to me about TikTok and I’m not promoting them, it’s just my experience. I’ve been curious about my golf swing. As I started to watch more golf videos, all of a sudden, I started to get a wider array of golf swings. I found things that I would have never looked for or even known existed. It’s provided a lot of instruction. I’ve also been interested in some self-help and coaching techniques. As I watched more and shared more, more came at me. I was able to get a wider array and perspectives than I would’ve been able to do on my own because it’s algorithmically based, which is fascinating and scary. It knows what I’m interested in as good or better than I do.

I don’t know if you ran into Charles Barkley’s golf swing, but that’s something I would take a look at.

It was a sheltering-in-home moment where I’ve been trying to do a certain swing. I found a video on TikTok and then all of a sudden, I started getting more.

It’s interesting how much they can find out about us. My daughter used to work for FetchBack years ago. All the retargeting and all the things that we can try now is challenging. As we look at this and you talked about polarization, you had a book titled that as well, Polarization, or did you have a chapter in your book?

I put a chapter in my book. It was a driver and that’s Momentum Polarization because everybody thinks Donald Trump invented polarization. I’m like, “It’s been around before him.”

A lot of people are talking about him and we don’t go into politics on the show. In some of the notes you sent me, you talked about Donald Trump and how he achieved a momentum that led to the White House and may have kept him there. I’m curious about what you mean by that.

One of the things that were very effective for Donald Trump, particularly in the 2016 election, and have worked for him certainly while he’s been in office is by having a polarized discussion, he’s been able to monopolize the conversation. He can obliterate any other issue going on to get everybody to talk about him. His strategy was the domination of the conversation through provocative thought that got everybody responding in favor or arguing against, but they were always on his topic. It’s been one of the most effective media strategies of all time. It’s completely intentional. What’s interesting is whether he has a master data scientist or he has an incredible brain. He has followed the principles of momentum in a way that is staggering and mind-blowing.

The momentum in how you’re describing it and all that is very interesting to me in the political realm. Can you buy it? Can you get in and be president if you buy this thought process to tell me how to make this conflict like what Trump is doing? Is it something that he paid for or is it something other people can buy?

In the book, I have a chapter called Momentum. You can’t buy it. Going back to politics, we saw Mike Bloomberg spent $1.2 billion on a four-month campaign to be president using many of the same techniques of Donald Trump. It didn’t work because it wasn’t authentic. That’s what makes TikTok strong. What makes the world different is that inauthentic behavior, when you’re not being true, gets sniffed out faster than ever especially without the media filter and people reject it.

Do we sense that people are not being authentic or can you quantify that? That’s very interesting.

People can sense it. There are too many other proof points that go into it. Too much exposure that it becomes self-regulating. I see it all the time in the velocity. Your velocity will come to a halt if people think what you’re doing is inauthentic. It’s not resonating. That’s because the polarized discussion, one of the momentum drivers, simply goes away and the discussion goes against you and you lose your relevancy. The M factor measures cultural relevancy. I can watch someone fall off the table and get dismissed.

What would it take for Trump to fall off the table? Can he lose his velocity or has he had a shoe in for the next time because of how he’s handling the discussion?

It might have been different before Coronavirus but for Trump, it’s going to be performance-based. This election is going to be Trump versus Trump. How well we come out of the Coronavirus and how our country is doing around election day is going to be indicative of how we vote. I suspect if the country is not functioning well, if the economy has not rebounded, if there’s still so much uncertainty, it would be hard for me to imagine that he gets re-elected. On the other hand, if we have the “V” that he’s been promising us, if we do feel confident in the rebound, he was moving towards re-election before Coronavirus, he might get that back. What we see however is that no opponent makes a difference right now. This is Trump versus Trump.

[bctt tweet=”Momentum allows you to understand how cultural relevancy works in today’s world.” via=”no”]

It would be very challenging for anybody to be in the office. I’m sure Hillary wouldn’t have liked to dealt with this situation or anybody else who was thinking of coming into it. It’s unimaginable that we’ll be able to turn everything around in a few months. I’m very curious to see how that all turns out. As we talk about this Maximum Momentum of what you write about other than for politics. If somebody’s dealing with this in their business life, why read this? What does this help you understand?

That momentum allows you to understand how cultural relevance works in this world. It teaches you how to deal with the crisis in this world. With maximum momentum, it shows that you can’t control issues. You can only direct them and you can build momentum for them. In terms of growing your business, if it has slowed growth, accelerating even further, if it needs to grow, this gives you the tools and the understanding of what drives cultural relevancy in this world. For the momentum of a crisis, we can’t stop it, but we can lean into it and redirect the momentum in a different way.

One thing that’s interesting about momentum is that momentum has no moral compass. All momentum is not necessarily good. You can have momentum going a bad way. How do you turn that around? In the old days, a few years ago, you could issue an apology, work with a media partner, write an op-ed and stop a crisis. In this world, that won’t work. There’s no op-ed to write, it doesn’t get to anybody, and social media gives access to everybody to have an opinion. I wrote it in the book. I talked about when Pepsi made an ad on social justice with Kendall Jenner. Everybody seems to remember this ad. Pepsi was trying to initiate a conversation about social justice, racial inequality and get a conversation.

They had tested the ad. It had tested well. They didn’t even run it. They issued a press release on it. A representative of the Black Lives Matters said, “This is a racist ad. Kendall Jenner giving Pepsi to a policeman was misappropriating culture and it caused a huge discussion. Pepsi issued an apology and never ran the ad. They thought that would be the end. Everybody remembers the ad and the conversation went on for weeks, if not months more. What was interesting is that if Pepsi would have leaned into the discussion and said, “This is exactly the discussion that we wanted to start. Let’s understand what we got wrong with this ad, but let’s continue to talk about the issues that are important to us.” They could have started the conversation that they wanted to versus having one of the largest advertising mishaps of a generation.

Is that different to you than the Gillette ad that tried to make men look “we can be better” and that caused such a huge blow up on Twitter? Are we too sensitive or if you lean into it, do you look like you’re taking advantage of a negative stereotype? Aren’t you damned if you do and damned if you don’t sometimes?

Remember when I said, “Be comfortable with polarization, be comfortable with 60% or 70%.” It goes into that. That potentially could have been an important moment for Gillette. Instead, they were uncomfortable with the discussion they started. They apologized and they went away. How does that achieve their objective? How does that inspire the attitudinal change that they wanted? In this world, if you have momentum, you’re allowed to make mistakes. Making mistakes in this world does not mean you will get punished forever unless you break the law or behave badly like Harvey Weinstein and the whole #MeToo Movement. That’s not what we’re talking about with Gillette. Perhaps it was an ad that didn’t work for everyone. Perhaps the message did not come out as intended. I don’t think anybody disagrees with the idea. You lean into it and find a better way to express it.

I saw a lot of things on Twitter. They were posting how they had ads that were showing women in sexy clothes and all that. They were hypocritical is what I was trying to say. When you make a mistake, it’s out there forever with social media, but is any press good press? Is it good that people are talking about it even if you get negative reactions? Are any of these intentionally trying to cause loose negative things?

I don’t believe so. Some of the actions of the President people will argue more vociferously with me, but I don’t think so. That’s the world we live in now. I don’t buy into all press is good press. A discussion that you want to start might not always start the way you want or it might go off into directions you couldn’t have anticipated, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t lean into them. Gillette had nothing to hide. Even if they were tone-deaf or hypocritical or all those things that they were being accused of, why didn’t they explain why they weren’t and continue the discussion that they wanted to have? That’s my point, which is you’re not going to achieve anything once. The ideas have to keep coming and you have to lean into the issues.

There’s a lot being made on different news platforms if you want to call them news platform, some call them different things. If you go to CNN, it may be all negative Trump. You go to Fox, it might be all negative China, whatever it is. How are watching these different perspectives increase or change the momentum of how we would buy into things. Some of the Democrat that was on the rise ultimately fail. What happened?

I watched the President’s address from the Oval Office on the Coronavirus outbreak. I watched it on CNN, then I flipped to MSNBC, then I flipped to Fox. I thought to myself, am I watching three different addresses? Did he say three different things? How can that be? You’re exactly right. The information that people are getting does create a momentum of ideas. The fact that they can be so locked-in to one point of view can drive that velocity. It’s something that I find to be fascinating that the number one momentum in the world is fake news and the way that it spreads. I’m interested in how polarized different networks are.

You know what you get when you’re tuned in to TV. The idea that news is no longer objective, that news is no longer reported, that news all has a point of view, doesn’t bother me, but that is our reality. Everything has an entertainment value, which is interesting because we always used to think with Walter Cronkite or some of the more famous journalists over the years that they were being completely objective. The question is, where they? Dan Rather, when he used to do his broadcast from the Vietnam war. I don’t know. Maybe he wasn’t.

TTL 706 | Momentum
Momentum: Understanding how to use momentum can drive your brand, your product, or your company forward quickly.


I don’t know how you can be completely objective. I’m sure that there’s going to be some bias no matter how you look at it, but now it seems intentionally directed much more.

That’s because we have metrics. Journalism was one of the only fields that had no metrics. The only metric was circulation or on television, it was ratings. Now every reporter knows how many likes, how many comments, how many shares, how many times people read it. There were never metrics in journalism and now there are.

We were going more for a shock, awe and different ways to keep numbers than we ever did in the past. It reminds me of the movie that did the whole focus on Facebook and how it tried to get us to vote a certain way. Are we constantly having these subliminal messages out there? Are we losing our sense of being able to have our own thoughts?

We should all be cognizant of what’s going on. Did you read in the paper that the Chinese hackers were at the height of the indecision on exactly how the federal government would handle the Coronavirus? The Chinese government-sponsored hackers were sending out messages that Trump was going to close the whole country down. It’s reported in the New York Times. There’s a big article on it. It’s to have a little panic and fear. They were disrupting the confidence that we have and creating some confusion, maybe deflecting some criticism. Who knows?

The words you’re using like panic, to lack confidence, to cause confusion. All this stuff that’s going on, it seems like that’s building momentum. You have Zoom being hacked. All these people spent 1/10th of the time that they spend doing these horrible things. Think of the great things they can be doing with it. These things are hard to do.

I can think of happy stories. There’s no better happy story than a Kylie Jenner who created this incredible makeup brand that she sold to Coty and became a billionaire. That’s a great example of a young entrepreneur using momentum skills to be successful. We’re seeing brands come back from being irrelevant like Popeye’s and their chicken and great artists like Lizzo. We see a lot of positive momentum stories that have used the tools of the trade to create successful companies, brands, and issues. We talked about #MeToo, but there are many different social impacts that we can see through momentum that could have never happened because there were many barriers. It was difficult to engage. It’s easy to go down the rat hole of how disinformation and polarizing politics. On the flip side, understanding how to use momentum can drive your brand or your product or your company forward pretty quickly.

When people come to work with you at Decode_M, what exactly do you do for them?

First of all, we understand and decode what their momentum issue is. What is preventing them? How can we accelerate their momentum if they have it? How can we create it? It can be on a new product that they’re going to launch into the market. It can be an existing product that needs to have its momentum enhanced. It can be a crisis or the issue that they’re dealing with that they want to move it in a slightly different direction. We have a number of clients in the gig economies. Lyft is one of our clients and Airbnb. WeWork was a client so we were big into the sharing economy.

Those are three different brands. They all face their issues, but they’ve disrupted their sector. They’re successful beyond their beliefs. They’ve had their challenges as we see that. How do we maintain their momentum in a very tough environment? We could go through all three of them. WeWork was the darling of unicorns until it wasn’t. Airbnb was moving towards IPO until all travel has now stopped and Lyft is in a fierce battle. You can imagine the momentum issues that those companies would be facing.

The gig economy is getting killed with all this. I imagine when you’re having people come in and you’re trying to talk to them about this importance of momentum, is it challenging to convince them that 60% is enough acceptance?

It depends on their confidence in modern methodologies and the modern world. To the extent that they understand momentum and they understand the culture, sometimes it takes more your proof or more assurance, but they all get it. They all understand that there’s no certainty, but through our analytics, we have good predictive powers.

As you’re talking about culture, I write about curiosity and perception. I’m curious about how you feel either of those plays into momentum.

The number one factor that I look for in hiring people is their curiosity. We’re aligned. I don’t think you can have momentum without curiosity because you can’t have momentum without transformation. How can you transform if you’re not curious? That’s the number one factor. If you don’t have curiosity, you’re not going to have momentum. I don’t know how that could be possible, but I bet somebody could come up with it.

It’s interesting to me is when I studied curiosity, I found it was the spark. Every single expert who’s been on my show, whether they’re motivation, drive, engagement, innovation, whatever you’re trying to fix in the company, they always say curiosity comes first. It was fascinating to me that they hadn’t found the things that kept people from being curious up in any of their assessments. That’s what I created. I’m interested in what you do because curiosity leads to many important ingredients that we’re trying to incorporate into the workplace to get the end product of productivity and money for the organization. What you’re working on is fascinating. If people are interested in working with you or learning more about your books and things that you do, is there a website that somehow they can reach you?

[bctt tweet=”You can’t have momentum without curiosity because you can’t have momentum without transformation.” via=”no”]

You can go to our website, which is You can go to my website,, which has some different things that I’ve done it. You can also go to Amazon, which is the only place you can buy our book now because all the independent bookstores are shut down and get Maximum Momentum.

Is this your only or final book or do you have others that you have in the back of your mind?

What I love about what you do, Diane, is curiosity. I write books on subjects I’m curious about. This is my third book. My first book was about success and how people can get it. Because I was curious myself about all these great business leaders who were my clients, I wanted to share their stories. I wrote a book called Become a Fat-Burning Machine because I had gotten to a point in my life where I needed to lose weight. I wasn’t a doctor or a nutritionist or a trainer, but I was a researcher who collected information. I lost 77 pounds and wrote a bestselling book about it. Momentum was another thing that I was curious about. I wanted to write it out so I could share it. Curiosity has driven all of my books. I will not say that this is my last one. This is what I’m curious about now.

I can imagine momentum had a big part in your losing weight too. I enjoyed this conversation because it’s different to talk about momentum. It’s like curiosity. It’s a word you use so much and yet there are not enough people getting down to the root of explaining it and quantifying it. That’s what I like to do. Who better than somebody that’s an analytics firm to do a great job at that? Thank you, Mike, for being on my show. I hope everybody takes the time to check out your work.

Thank you. This was so enjoyable.

I’d like to thank Mike for being my guest. What an interesting discussion. Momentum is such a hot topic and yet I don’t think we’ve ever talked about it on the show before. I love how he said, “Curiosity ties into momentum.” I hear that from many people that curiosity is the spark to many different things from engagement to innovation to drive, you name it, all the things we’re trying to fix in the workplace. I often liken it to baking a cake. If you’re going to bake a cake, you’re mixing ingredients. You’re putting it in a pan. You put it in the oven, but if you don’t turn on the oven, you don’t get cake.

Curiosity is the oven and nobody is turning on the oven. We’re mixing in ingredients of innovation, engagement, momentum, whatever we’re trying to accomplish with the end goal of instead of cake, it’s productivity. If we don’t turn on the oven and spark curiosity, it’s a huge problem. I do a lot of talking to organizations, HR professionals, and consultants to help them build curiosity in organizations. It’s such a critical topic. In my research for the Cracking the Curiosity Code book and the Curiosity Code Index, I found that there are four things that inhibit curiosity, which are fear, assumptions, technology and environment.

If you can focus on those four things, then you can help people to begin to improve their level of curiosity. After the show, I was talking to Mike and he gave me a curiosity challenge to look at TikTok, put a few hashtags in and go down a rabbit hole on different things that I’m interested in. I am going to do that. It’s a fascinating look at some of the ways that we learn through different micro-videos, different shorter pieces of information. There are many ways we can learn different things. I hope you guys all come up with different ways that you can explore and look into different areas that maybe you hadn’t considered before. During the COVID crisis, a lot of people have a lot more time on their hands. I’m hoping a lot more people will spend time developing their curiosity.

If you want to find what holds you back from being curious, you can take the Curiosity Code Index and you can find that at You can also find it on my website, There’s a lot more information about becoming an affiliate. If you’re interested in doing that or becoming certified to give the Curiosity Code instrument if you’re a consultant or HR professional, all kinds of information are on the site. I enjoyed talking to Mike. For any of you, please check out It makes it easier to find tweetable moments. We’d love to have you tweet something from some of the episodes that you found fascinating. We create little quick tweetable moments but feel free to pick something that you found that resonated or stood out to you. I enjoyed this episode. We’re looking forward to the next episode.

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About Mike Berland

TTL 706 | MomentumMike Berland is the Founder and CEO of Decode_M, an analytics firm that decodes data into momentum for its clients. In a world that runs on data, Mike strongly believes that everything is knowable, you just have to know where to look. Throughout his career, he has represented prominent political figures, major companies and social movements. Prior to founding Decode_M, he was the CEO of the insights and analytics arm of Edelman Public Relations, Edelman Berland, and President of the research and political polling firm Penn, Schoen & Berland. He is the author of Maximum Momentum.


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