Lessons Learned from Christopher Lochhead
Christopher Lochhead’s Story
Prior to our call, he helped his wife put the chickens to bed prior to our call after technical difficulties.. LOL.
At age 18, he was thrown out of school. At 21, he found out he’s dyslexic, has ADHD and and executive dysfunction disorder (affectionately described as “dysfucklia”).
Entrepreneurship wasn’t a way UP in the world – it was a way OUT of a life of struggle. He avoided manual labor.
He was raised by a working class single mom, ran a newspaper route at age 12.. Life was a struggle, with a lot of love.
So he started a business with buddy Jack, wrapped a mustang around a lamppost, got married, his business failed, he got a sales job in a startup, and kept moving forward. By age 27, he started his second company, and sold it in 1996 to silicon valley software company. Then he became the head of marketing at publicly traded software company. He started “Scient” during .com bubble, hired 2,600 people in 24 months, became a $9BN company – the fastest growing and shrinking professional services company of all time.
Consulting after, then became CMO of company which sold for $4.5BN to HPE.
Consulting again. Now he’s primarily a podcaster and writer.
#1 selling author. #1 apple business podcast.
Chris’s Mission: Help people follow their different. Help people make their place in the world.
Question – Successful People vs. Failures
Hannah: Tell us more about the stark contrast between your failed business and selling a business for $4.5BN? So many of us at Praxis are brand new to our careers. You’ve learned from so many other people.
Most people think the bets product server person wins.
That’s not the case.
Here’s the more important insight:
“Take a big stack back. Look at all the people you really admire. Musicians who made the soundtrack of your life, artists and inventors and entrepreneurs. Look at any domain. With few exceptions, the reason we respect and enjoy the work of these people is that they were unique. They broke and took new ground. They achieved that which others have not, overcame that which others have not, did things which people said was impossible. Elon Musk is doing shit only governments could do 50 years ago. Before there were no private companies shooting rockets and shit to Mars. Now Bezos and others are doing it. These people are pushing the outer edges. The people who we respect and admire the most were original, different.”
But we live in a world that teaches us “fitting in” is how to succeed..
When you ask people what they do, they respond:
“Shhhh, I’m not getting fired.. I’m just trying to be worth my paycheck. I go to work, and I don’t get fired.”
There’s nothing INTERESTING or LEGENDARY about those people. What makes people legendary, is when they become known for a niche that they own. Have the courage to be different, break new ground, be stupid, try what’s “not possible”.
— Mark Randalf, CEO of NetFlix
Mark Randalf – original founder of netflix wrote a book called “That won’t work”. He broke down the story of NetFlix won’t work, tried to sell to Blockbuster for $50M and they laughed! Now they’re the most envied company in all of media worth $125BN… “That’ll never work!”… Those are the people!
What they had in common, was they not only “did the thing” that broike new ground. They build a company to deliver it. There was a lot to figure out. Along the way they failed a lot. It’s a very real story. IN hindsight, it looked obvious. Thy were on the verge of failure at all times. But they had the courage to follow their different.
Either start or join a company worthy of their talent. (FUCK YEAH TOGGL)
When you take a person focused on pioneering new ground, and proactively told the world how to think about it. Most people think Mohammed Ali is the greatest boxer of all time because he told us a lot he was. Most experts say he wasn’t, but most people say he was. Position yourself or you’ll be positioned. What made him Mohammed Ali – he was the first social activist athlete. He took a stand against the Vietnam war. He went to jail; he lost a belt; he paid the price. He took new ground. No athlete at that level had ever taken a stand like that. We can all do that in our own career.. Proactively position yourself as different.
Product, Company, Category – get those right and you’ve got the magic triangle.
Chris Lochhead asks Hannah Frankman a question…
Chris: Do you have any food that you really love or really hate?
Chris: What’s an example?
I hate egg salad, and love Italian.
Chris:I’m with you on Italian. Depending on the egg salad
Chris: you discovered those things. You tried them both and decided which one you like to experience. Where we start is whatever we’re naturally drawn towards. You may not know where they connect in the business world. I love the idea of apprenticeship (re: Praxis/Crash).
Think about what kinds of goals you have. Different careers lead different places.
If you have a goal of making a lot of money, go into sales!
If you have constant idea overload on new gizmos, be an engineer!
At this juncture, go play. You don’t have to figure it out. Play! How old are you, 20?
Play, experiment, do fun shit!
He reinvented himself multiple times in his life. So many times, he’s seen that prior experience was a training ground for the next level. He learned surfing and martial arts later in life. We add/get rid of interests and people.
But at some point, we do want to be known for something -solving a special problem.
Chris Lochhead’s magic formula for career success:
Match a Problem+Opportunity+Skills —> NICHE DOWN —> Become Subject Matter Expert
If you do that, you’ll have a successful career.
The most important thing in business is a reputation.
Reputation comes from creating things of value.
Be unique in a way that creates value. That’s what niching down is about. You get there by experimenting.
The one thing you don’t experiment with: GO TO WORK AND BE LEGENDARY.
Doesn’t matter where.
I’m going to be legendary. I will blow their fucking minds. I will be an avalanche of mofo’ing results. I will get there before and stay later than everyone!
GO FOR IT. GET RESULTS. BE THE MOST LEGENDARY 18 YEAR OLD.
“At 18 that’s who I was”
“At 28 I was running marketing at a publicly traded software company”
Most people over estimate how far they can get in the short term and underestimate how far they can get in the long term.
If you’re legendary today, tomorrow takes care of itself.
Go eat the shit sandwiches and do what you need to do.
The most important thing in your career: choose a good fucking boss. Work for a master. He will teach you amazing things. You want a legendary boss – ass-kicking, result producing, legendary boss.
Hannah Frankman asks Chris Lochhead a question…
Hannah: How do you come up with ideas worth chasing, that nobody has thought of, that people don’t think is possible?
Chris: Here’s the first way to look at it:
Most people don’t know what a result looks like. Get clear: what’s the result?
Most people don’t know basic stuff like “your income after taxes is more than your expenses” is “making money”. The next question: how do I get to that result? No credit card debt. 20% interest? You’re fucked. Want to buy something? Save up.
Ask “What’s the result?”
“What are the basic things I need to know and deliver along the way to deliver the result?”
“What would constitute the basic results that prove I (my team) matter?”
“What do I need to know and do to produce those results?”
ASK THOSE QUESTIONS.
IF your boss is any good, they’ll break it down for you.
My question for Chris Lochhead…
Nick: How do I navigate building a sales organization when I have nobody to help me at the company?
Chris: FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT. LOOK, TALK, ACT LINE THE MAN.
IF YOU DON’T KNOW SHUT THE FUCK UP, WRITE IT DOWN, AND FIGURE IT OUT LATER.
Look for mastermind groups, online forums, etc, YPO YSPVP of sales org
“Tell me about your business.” is a magical question. The most valuable insights come from that.
Work with other departments. Chris was in marketing, but spent 25% of his time with the top sales reps. He swapped 1 week a quarter doing the head of engineering’s job! He broke down the barriers by making it known that the leaders of these two teams respected the fuck out of each other.