Building Community Inside Corporates & Private Marketplaces
Listen to Elements of Community as Lucas Root and Thomas Power talk about building community inside corporates and private marketplaces. If you were to pick one of the five elements of community, which one would you pick to focus on to really drive the community forward?
Welcome to Elements of Community!
I am your host, Lucas Root, and in this episode, we are going to talk about building community inside corporates, and private marketplaces. Joining me in this episode is Thomas Power.
Thomas Power believes in Community Led Growth (CLG) supporting people to grow themselves, their health, their mind, their business, and increase their organization. All three of their children support them in their endeavor of Community Building.
Thomas and his wife Penny have been building communities online for more than 30 years.
Here’s just a taste of our talking points this week:
Why Does Thomas Love Community Building?
Thomas mentioned that community building is his favorite thing to do, it is what he is passionate about, and ultimately what he will do on his final day.
The reason behind his love for community building is because he enjoys making connections that other people can’t see.
Supporting People Through Love & Money
Thomas said, “You can effectively build intimacy as a service that results in better outcomes, which includes making more money for deals, because I know people have got to make money.”
What Thomas and Penny are trying to do is to support people through love and money, so they will get all the love and support for the issues they face.
Other subjects we covered on the show:
- Who are the people unsuitable for community building?
- What is the main challenge with organizations these days?
- Why do businesses need to be personal?
- The reason why common language should be reincorporated into us living our daily lives.
- Which one of the elements of community would Thomas pick to drive his community forward?
- Lastly, the curveball question—why does it take so long to get from CSC to ORS?
If you want to know more about Thomas Power, you may reach out to him at:
[00:00:00] Lucas Root: Welcome to Elements of Community Podcast about discovering and exploring the elements of community. I am Lucas Root and each week we talk with a community leader about what makes their community thrive and bring value to both the leaders and the members. Join me as we unpack the magic of the elements of community.
[00:00:36] Thank you for joining me, Thomas. I love that you’re here and I’m really looking forward to what we talk about. Would you like to introduce yourself?
[00:00:47] Thomas Power: Yeah, Lucas, thanks for inviting me first of all. Nice to make the connection between London and San Francisco. Well, I’m 58. I’ve been working for 42 years, since I was 16.
[00:01:01] Wow. And I’ve probably met about 30,000 people face to face in 60 countries worldwide. And I’ve been building communities with my wife online and face to face for the last 25 years. I’ve sat on 15 boards as a board member both public and private. I’ve done listings and IPOs and MNA and lots of different things, but my favorite thing is community building.
[00:01:32] That’s my thing. That’s my love, that’s my passion. That’s what I’ll do to my final day.
[00:01:38] Lucas Root: Amazing. Why?
[00:01:42] Thomas Power: Why?
[00:01:43] Lucas Root: Yeah, why?
[00:01:45] Thomas Power: I think it’s really because I get a sense when I meet somebody and I get to know them, like, I’ve been getting to know you over the last 12 months and many of the people like you.
[00:01:59] You can’t discover a person quickly. You can go dating and you can have dinner, and you can have breakfast and lunch, but I find that people gradually reveal themselves to you over time. Assuming that they like you and they like your mood and your friendship and your manner. If they don’t like you, obviously they don’t reveal.
[00:02:20] But as they gradually reveal themselves to you, their story, their specialism, their expertise, their dog, their cat, their spouse, their life, their sports, whatever it might be. As they reveal themselves, you hear key words that match with other people you know, and you think, oh, I should put Lucas in touch with Susan.
[00:02:43] I didn’t know that cuz he never mentioned that before. Or I should put Lucas in touch with David because David’s working on that thing the same as Lucas. Lucas wouldn’t know. David wouldn’t know. They probably haven’t discussed it. I’ve heard it. Let’s make the match. So for me the answer to the why is I enjoy making the connections that other people can’t see.
[00:03:03] And it’s not through a lack of ability or a lack of answering question or asking the right questions, it’s that the subject only comes up when people are ready to share it. And I’ve had people say to me, who I’ve known for 40 years, and I said, I didn’t know that about you. And they said, well, you never asked.
[00:03:22] And its, but how would I know to ask that question cuz that’s so oblique. And so for me, the thrill is making the connections that other people can’t see, don’t notice, haven’t heard, haven’t seen yet. And equally, I like to receive that myself. Thomas, you should speak to Daniel about this cause you haven’t considered that yet for BIP, and I think there’s great joy in making matches for other humans because it’s kind of like giving them a present.
[00:03:54] It’s kind of like giving them a gift. And when you say, oh, Lucas matches with Nicole because, and Nicole matches with Lucas, because it’s kind of like a present, it’s kind of like a gift. And it’s the gift of love. It’s a gift of connection. It’s a gift of hope.
[00:04:12] It might be a business transaction, it might be able to do a deal, or they might be able to make money out of it. It might be a piece of information, an insight. It might be an introduction, a referral, a recommendation, a suggestion, but it makes everybody feel good, makes me feel good, makes the recipients feel good.
[00:04:33] And so the why is the joy of making those connections that haven’t yet happened yet because those conversations haven’t occurred yet. And I feel like I’ve got a sort of a keyword lookup, table matchmaking skill. I don’t know how to label that, that few people have that makes it easy for me and a joy for them.
[00:04:55] Lucas Root: It’s not a lookup, it’s a contextual matching, right? Cause you don’t go looking, you’re not like, who can I match Lucas with? There’s gotta be somebody. It’s more like a context arises and all those connections in your head just come together and you’re like, oh yeah, this one and this one, and this one. Yeah, I love that.
[00:05:17] Thomas Power: You’re right, it’s an intuition. You intuit it. And because as you get to know someone intimately, getting to know someone intimately, I think is very special. You get to know their mood, their manner, their feeling, their energy, their sort of, which is outside of or above the products or the service or the skill or the expertise or the specialism they’ve chosen, you get the whole person and the whole person includes the energy that you emit as a human being.
[00:05:55] It can be mood, it can be manner, it can be questions, it can be smiles, it can be eyes. And you have to get the whole person, like, I really do like you as a person. And I discovered you through your podcasts. And I thought, well, he’s saying similar things to Penny and I, so I should listen to that.
[00:06:16] And then I’d get in touch with him, which I did. And now we’re having this conversation a year later, and you are connected up with lots of different things in BIP and various different things are going on. But it felt right. And I think you have to work with the energy that feels right to you. And I think if you can get that inside a community play or community environment, you can effectively build intimacy as a service that results in better outcomes, which includes making more money for deals.
[00:06:53] Cause I know people have got to make money. But what Penny and I are trying to do is we’re trying to do love and money. So that people get all the love and support for the issues they face. They might have parents who are dying. They might have family members who have cancer. They may have challenges with their health.
[00:07:12] They may have other people with challenges that could be financial challenges, physical ones, all sorts, everybody faces challenges extraordinary it seems to me. And of course they have to deal with all of that sort of challenge, love, support issue. And they have to deal with their business opportunities finding the right suppliers, the right investors, looking for the right clients, getting the right referrals.
[00:07:34] And they have to do all of this at the same time. They have to do family life and business life at the same time. And it’s hard to do both at the same time.
[00:07:42] Lucas Root: It is hard.
[00:07:43] Thomas Power: What Penny and I do, it is hard, and we’re trying to deliver a community standard or a community level or a community service that copes with both what I call the love and the money.
[00:07:57] Everybody needs money and everyone needs love, but everyone faces challenges. Which are vast and it’s not until you hear people’s challenges. And we heard an amazing amount of challenges last night that people faced amazing over a dinner, over a public dinner that we host each month to find new applicants.
[00:08:20] And we were just listening to these stories thinking, oh my God, the people do really get a hard time in different ways in their lives. They really do. You know, one guy lost his brother at 22 to Cancer, fit guy, you know, fit guy working out, physically fit competitive football and rugby and suddenly they discovered he had cancer, cancer of the heart.
[00:08:48] I don’t even know what that is. Gone at 22. And so he’s dedicated his life to building a charity to educate young men who are fit, that they might have symptoms of this. It’s just, you don’t know the story inside somebody. And unless people feel safe, they won’t share their story. They won’t be at peace enough.
[00:09:12] That mood that I talk about, the mood matters a lot to me. It’s gotta be a safe place and Penny and I try to create a very safe environment so people can share all of their issues. Whether they’re business ones, commercial ones, or personal family health challenges, they can share them all. And actually the more of your personal life you share, the easier it is to do business with you.
[00:09:39] Lucas Root: It’s true.
[00:09:40] Thomas Power: But people tend to ask these questions, you know, what do you do and where are you from? And they sort of qualify you out instantly based on your sort of commercial practicality or availability or resource to them. Or what’s the ROI or what’s the agenda or what’s in it for me if I do it?
[00:10:01] And all of these people are sort of unsuitable for community building because we want people who get the love thing and the money thing. And we’re trying to deliver that. And it’s hard. It’s really hard to get it. And we have to use all this software. You know, we have 50 pieces of software that we have to use to run this thing, and we’re only talking about a hundred families. Talking supporting a hundred families.
[00:10:30] We’re subscribed to 50 of these B2B SaaS systems and they are pain in the ass having to use them all and integrate them all. So actually it’s hard, it’s hard, physically, mentally, emotionally, financially. And technically with all this software, so what seems like a very simple problem to bring a hundred families together and support them worldwide?
[00:10:49] It seems trivial, but it’s incredibly complex. And I think it’s why intimacy doesn’t exist when you consume products and services because board members don’t know how to do it. The technology companies haven’t built products to do it, and there isn’t anyone in an organization who has the skills of having done it.
[00:11:11] So that whole community mindset doesn’t yet exist inside organizations. And effectively what we are doing with you inside BIP, you supporting us, us supporting you and the people in the group. We’re developing the community mindset together and we’re trying to find a model that we are all comfortable with that can scale throughout the world, and then organizations are gonna come along and say, oh, could you put that community mindset into my organization with my suppliers or my clients, or my shareholders or, my employees?
[00:11:45] And then they’re gonna have to realize, you’ve gotta do the whole person, not just the transactional side of a human being because I know the financial side is important, but it’s a small part of someone’s life. Am I whittering on too much here, Lucas?
[00:12:01] Lucas Root: No, this is great. It’s good. To pull some of these pieces together. Using my language. Here are some of the things that I’ve heard you say. One, a feature of community is connections that you wouldn’t have seen elsewhere. And that’s a thing that you personally, Thomas, have become very good at.
[00:12:26] But what I’m hearing is that that’s actually a feature of community, which is awesome cuz it’s actually not something that I had thought about from that perspective. A feature of community is connections that you wouldn’t have seen elsewhere.
[00:12:39] Thomas Power: Yeah, I do believe that’s true. That’s well articulated Lucas so well done for regurgitating that back to me.
[00:12:48] Lucas Root: So cool. And then another piece, and this is something I completely and wholeheartedly agree with and have said myself and other pieces people are not good at building community right now, which is horrible. I’m adding my own words here like, it’s horrible. It’s depressing to, to see that something that is core to humanity.
[00:13:11] I mean, you can’t be a full self-expressed human without community. That’s not the way we’re built. And yet, your experience from the other side of the world, your experience matches mine. That people are not good at building community. Maybe because they don’t understand it.
[00:13:30] Thomas Power: Yeah, I mean, it’s because they don’t understand it. They’ve never been trained how to do it. It’s certainly not innate. It’s not innately hidden away in your ancestral DNA that you can sort of download that tape from the past lives and use that.
[00:13:44] Lucas Root: I actually don’t agree with that.
[00:13:47] Thomas Power: Well, that’s good that you don’t, but it’s actually quite hard to do it. And all these different software systems we’ve had over the last 25 years, this so called social networking systems or social media systems, whatever label you want to give them, they’re not actually very good.
[00:14:11] Lucas Root: Well, actually, they’re amazing for what they’re good for. Right?
[00:14:16] Thomas Power: They’re very good at shipping information around. But they’re not very good at building community.
[00:14:21] Lucas Root: Exactly. Well, because connection and community are not the same thing. Connection is a feature of community. So what they’ve done, these big social media companies and they’ve done it very well. They’ve built a tool that facilitates connection.
[00:14:38] But if that’s just a feature of community, then they’re only addressing a very small part of what really needs to be a whole pie.
[00:14:46] Thomas Power: Yeah. And they’ve all done a different piece of connection as well. I think you could break down that connection into different aspects, because if you look at Twitter, they’ve mainly connected people with words.
[00:15:03] If you look at YouTube, they’ve mainly connected people with videos. Instagram with images. And so, all of these social platforms have done little bits, little bits of task around little topics. Because I grew up with books and newspapers.
[00:15:21] Lucas Root: I love where we’re going here. Keep going.
[00:15:24] Thomas Power: Because it’s about words. So, I like it cuz it’s about words. I can read a lot of words fast because I’m a good reader. I’ve been reading books since I was seven years old. I have no interest in pictures or videos. So Instagram and YouTube I only use if I have to use them.
[00:15:45] And so what’s happened is we’ve now got a generation who’ve been online for 30 years, like you and me. So, we’re effectively digital fossils. They’ll be making oil out of us next , right? We’ve been online for so long, and then you’ve got this, where I still like reading words from a tweet or a newspaper.
[00:16:09] And the generation behind me wants to watch a sub one second video on TikTok and decide whether they like or dislike it. You know, swipe, swipe. So they’re consuming content a different, they’re still learning their own particular way, but the environment is just driving a very individual mindset.
[00:16:30] It’s very much about me. How can I survive? How can I get my profile right? How can I survive? There’s very little in the tech area in Silicon Valley that’s about building a community mindset. And because no one’s done it, you don’t really have the tools to do it. What you do have is you do have this like Church of Steve Jobs, which is Apple.
[00:16:54] You’ve got the Church of Bill Gates, which is Microsoft. You’ve got the Church of Twitter or the Church of Tesla, which is Elon Musk. But these are like idol worshiping to idols, you know, false gods.
[00:17:11] Lucas Root: And as we mentioned, it’s a piece of the pie, but it’s only a piece of the pie.
[00:17:17] Thomas Power: It’s only a tiny piece. What matters to people is the energy that they feel around another human being. What I call the mood or the manner of that person, whether you like that person, whether you dislike that person, where you consider that person as friendly or threatening, they’re warm or they’re predatory.
[00:17:38] And we all have these feelings and emotions when we meet another human being. Whether we need to be alert, we’re under threat, or whether this person like Lucas is charming and we can fall in love with him and have a coffee with him straight away. And the management of our own personal energy is very significant for how we do business with our suppliers that we choose, our clients that we try to work with, the people we hire to support our teams.
[00:18:08] The energy really matters, and if there’s an energy mismatch, you get isolation, disconnection, fear, bullying. And what’s happening in most organizations is you’ve got an uncomfortable environment because the people don’t match.
[00:18:29] So they’re only there to do transactions, to complete transactions for that organization.
[00:18:36] Lucas Root: But we’re not computers, we’re not robots.
[00:18:39] Thomas Power: We’re not. Humans want a proper human energy emotional exchange with one another before they decide whether they do or don’t want to work with you. Consume your products and services and organizations are not sophisticated in this area yet.
[00:18:59] Lucas Root: Yet, so you’re trying to change the world.
[00:19:05] Thomas Power: I don’t know whether we’re trying to change it. I think we’re just evolving a little nudge. We know that people like small, intimate groups. We know that people like breakfast and lunches and dinners.
[00:19:18] We know that people like face to face and it’s hard to achieve all those things with all of these digital technology. People want a hybrid life. They want some through the screen, some through the mobile, some through breakfast, some through lunch, some through dinner, some through workshops.
[00:19:45] You’ve got to really hold someone’s attention for life. And we are trying to support these hundred families for life. So that when we’re 88, they’re still there. And maybe even there, the children and their grandchildren are part of the community at that point. We are building this community of a hundred families for life, for them to support us and for us to support them, it’s two way.
[00:20:10] And it’s whatever is required. It’s not a case of this isn’t the right product or it’s not in our catalog. It’s a case of, oh, this is the need that they have. Let’s figure out how we solve that need with another member or another supplier, or somebody else, or a different way. And the challenge with organizations is they’re so focused on a single product or a single peer in their item to hit a target.
[00:20:37] But they don’t really engage in any intimacy outside the products or service they’re delivering. So there’s never real loyalty. Relationships are shallow in organizations and as you write, you say humans are not robots. They need intimacy. They need the energy exchange.
[00:20:59] They need it to be personal. Business is personal, they have to be involved in it. They have to feel like they’re involved in it.
[00:21:09] Lucas Root: Well, humans are personal. And when humans are involved in business, which is always, then business needs to be personal.
[00:21:18] Thomas Power: But it rarely is.
[00:21:20] Lucas Root: Yeah. So, we’re missing out on a huge amount of what’s required. What’s necessary in order for us to engage in business wholly. Right.
[00:21:30] Thomas Power: Well, that’s why you have that quiet quitting environment where people are just doing the minimum.
[00:21:35] Lucas Root: Yep. It’s horrible.
[00:21:36] Thomas Power: Because there’s no exchange that really encourages people to play in the game.
[00:21:51] Lucas Root: Yeah. A lot of what you’ve said sounds to me like, it’s pieces of you know, a different way of describing, and I love it a different way of describing common language. So engaging emotionally is common language. Paying attention to the mood and the manner of the person with whom you’re engaging is building that common language.
[00:22:12] The language between you and them. Which as you know, is one of the five elements of community is common language. And I love the idea of using that emotional exchange, the energy exchange, which is a real piece of human interaction. And talking about that from the perspective of common language and the way that needs to be reincorporated into us living our daily lives.
[00:22:36] Over coffee with our families, over Zoom with our friends. Right. What we’re doing right now, you and I and in business.
[00:22:48] Thomas Power: Yeah. I think it’s a challenge for organizations cuz they’ve all got their own language, and they all build the language of their industry, or they say, there’s nothing like the language in my industry or, you know, it’s all very colloquial and, cliquey in different vertical markets.
[00:23:15] But I think people want to know that people speak the same language as them when they join a community
[00:23:23] Lucas Root: Or they will.
[00:23:26] Thomas Power: And unless they do, they won’t get on. And even these terms, like Penny came up with business is personal and that became BIP and then the members renamed BIPBIPERS and then they became BIPERS and then they talk about BIPA Land and the BIPA verse and all these, we haven’t coined any of these phrases.
[00:23:49] They’ve come from them. So, they’ve turned the language to use your word, common language. They’ve taken the language of businesses personal into BIP, into BIPA, into BIPA verse and BIPA land. And various is different versions of BIP that we’ve adopted because they’ve adopted. And so the adoption has become our common language where we all use that rap phrase.
[00:24:18] We refer to the BIPS and the BIPAS. And it, it’s a very comforting common language. As you might say, someone is a New Yorker or someone is a Londoner. They’re from a place, well, people in this particular community are from that place and refer to themselves as BIPAS or BIPS. But it makes you feel comfortable straight away with the common language.
[00:24:40] Cause think. Oh, well, I like that label. I like that identity. I like the identity associated with this group of people. Not really associated with a product or a service, but more that the identity is associated with a group of people. I feel comfortable with that group. I like the identity. I’ll too, I’ll also use that common language.
[00:25:01] And that’s, as you rightly say, that’s the first step of settling into the as you might say, when you join an organization of any sort, we often say in the U you’ve got to learn the lingo. Which is like the language, but you’ve got to learn the jargon, the buzzwords, the acronyms, the phrases of that organization, and every organization is full of its buzzwords and phrases.
[00:25:25] Communities are no different, but it’s nice when the language is created by the members because then you feel it’s a co-creation. It’s not dependent on Penny and I, we don’t have all the answers. We wouldn’t claim to. It’s better if the community comes from nudges from us. And nudges from the side.
[00:25:47] So it emerges, it’s like an emergence project. It’s a live R&D. We’re building it together as a collective and, we’re all contributing to the community.
[00:26:01] Lucas Root: That’s normal.
[00:26:02] Thomas Power: Yeah. And effectively it’s kind of like a fractional ownership cuz we’re all contributing a little bit to the pot.
[00:26:10] You are, we are. The other 99 or 98 are, and that’s how it’s finance. So, in many ways it’s kind of like a digital kibbutz. Yeah. We’re all putting in to create this emerging private marketplace and community. And it’s a joy to be in the experiment because you’ve got a lot of bright people in this community who surprise you with what they know and who they’re connected to, but they don’t tell you overnight, as I said earlier.
[00:26:46] The relationship with each person emerges over months, even years, and they then they tell you something, and you think, why didn’t you tell me that 18 months ago? And you, we didn’t ask, well, I wouldn’t have known to ask. And that’s where the connections piece comes in. You think, oh, well if you told me that I’d have put you in touch with Lucas 18 months ago.
[00:27:05] But what I didn’t know Lucas. Yes. But, you know, this is what happens, but that’s how community is formed. It’s also a great fun experiment becaus you can’t know the answer. You can’t know where it’s going, and you can’t know what it’s gonna become. But if I look at just the conversations happening between the BIPERS, the community, I know, well, there’s about 101 to ones a week.
[00:27:34] So there’s about 5,001 to ones a year now. And I get to hear, cuz I phone them, well, I get to hear what they’re all doing and one in five of those result in some kind of transaction. It’s either a new insight, piece of information, an introduction, a referral, or a financial transaction, be it buy, sell, invest, whatever it might be.
[00:27:57] So, you know, even in a little community of a hundred. There’ll be about a thousand transactions a year or once an organization, once a cfo, once a sales director, once a marketing director realizes that, they’ll think, oh God, why aren’t we all doing it?
[00:28:16] Lucas Root: Cause it’s hard.
[00:28:16] Thomas Power: It’s only because they don’t know,
[00:28:19] Lucas Root: They don’t know they should be. They don’t know how, and it’s hard.
[00:28:24] Thomas Power: Yeah. But when you tell people there’ll be a thousand transactions a year in a group of a hundred people, they’ll soon start to learn.
[00:28:35] Lucas Root: Only if they care about each other.
[00:28:37] Thomas Power: Only if they care about each other. Correct! Absolutely correct.
[00:28:43] Lucas Root: If they don’t care, they get up at the end of the day and they go home and they compartmentalize 100%. And what happens at work is forgettable, always.
[00:28:56] Thomas Power: That’s tragic, isn’t it?
[00:28:59] Lucas Root: I once asked somebody a question that they had a hard time answering, and the question was, what’s the opposite of love? It’s a thing we don’t spend time thinking about in culture because the opposite of love we think is hate, but it’s actually not. The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is actually complete, disinterest.
[00:29:25] Thomas Power: So it’s just apathy.
[00:29:27] Lucas Root: Apathy. That’s right. And what we have done in separating our humanity from our business and becoming pure transaction is that we’ve created an environment where the opposite of love lives and thrives and grows the opposite of love.
[00:29:45] Thomas Power: I think you are right because there’s an awful lot of things going on in the world where people just don’t care anymore. They just don’t care.
[00:29:59] Lucas Root: Every CFO, whether they like it or not, Every CFO is looking at their organization that is entrenched in the opposite of love and missing out on exactly what you just said. A thousand transactions a year for every hundred people.
[00:30:16] Thomas Power: Totally missing out on it.
[00:30:19] Lucas Root: And they’re missing out on more than just that.
[00:30:21] Thomas Power: Here’s the thing Lucas, we’re not even trying to make it happen. It’s happening anyway. Because the people like each other. It’s not as if we’re saying, ask music question and say these words and the magic will happen for you. It’s just happening anyway.
[00:30:37] Lucas Root: Yep. It’s a feature.
[00:30:41] Thomas Power: It’s a feature. But I think, it’s provided because we’ve done, I’ve done what I’ve done 3000 Zooms.
[00:30:50] I’ve done a hundred Zooms a month now for 30 months. Right. So I’ve interviewed 3000 people and 95% of people ask me, what’s the ROI? And what’s the ROI? Is the reject you question? As soon as people ask that question, I reject them. And say it’s not the right group for them. So you’ve only got 5% of the 3000 are even suitable to join.
[00:31:28] So most, I would say 95% of people in organizations wouldn’t know how to behave in a community, even if they’re invited to join one.
[00:31:37] Lucas Root: Yeah. Well, we haven’t been trained, as you said, we haven’t been trained. We haven’t been trained to be a member of community. In fact, that’s almost the opposite of training.
[00:31:49] Thomas Power: But you think the knowledge is innate in our DNA?
[00:31:53] Lucas Root: I do. I think that we are being culturally detrained. I don’t want to ascribe negative intent, but I do believe that it is intentional. Not negatively, but I do believe that it’s intentional.
[00:32:12] I think that when people see transactions happening, they think what I want is more transactions. Me, I’m the CFO, I want more transactions, give me more transactions, anything that’s not transactions, get rid of it. And that focus and focus is a good when it’s applied well, focus is a powerful tool that focus on transactions only has become cultural, not not by accident, by intent.
[00:32:40] These people are focusing on transactions. It wasn’t designed that way. If we go back and look at Henry Ford, what was the first thing that Henry Ford did? As soon as he got successful at building a car, he found a way to make it so cheap that everybody in his company could buy them, everybody in his company could buy his car.
[00:33:01] He wasn’t looking for just transactions, but the next generation of business leaders that followed after Henry Ford didn’t understand the whole picture of what he was doing. I need to serve my community and I cannot do that if my cars are unaffordable to my community. Right. They didn’t see that. All they saw was a whole bunch of people are buying cars.
[00:33:23] How do I do more of that? I want more of that. Give me more transactions. I’m focusing on transactions. And so that post Henry Ford generation rebuilt culture focused on transaction and detrained, they culturally detrained community.
[00:33:42] Thomas Power: It’s interesting. Though, because you are right. But of course, that focus on transactions created a massive global economy focused on transactions.
[00:33:56] And has created huge wealth. That people find somewhat lonely or disturbing. or depressing. And currently the most successful man in the world who returns Twitter to being a coffee shop. He sits in the town square and is all his focus on is asking questions and making statements, seeing how people are getting on.
[00:34:24] He’s effectively running his own coffee shop with 200 million people. Sitting in the coffee shop with him. He doesn’t talk about transactions or selling things at all, ever. Other than to say to people, you need to pay $8 a month for your coffee, which is his only transaction.
[00:34:45] And that’s a choice thing. He’s priced at the same as an expensive latte. But he’s basically sitting in the town square at Twitter building community. Because he knows he’s gonna suck everyone in.
[00:35:03] Lucas Root: He sees them the same thing. Same thing you guys do.
[00:35:06] Thomas Power: He come follows audience. And he’s gonna get a billion people in his town square over the next 10 years. And the capital all flow behind the audience because income always follows audience. But he’s actually giving a demonstration to chief executives all over the world how to build community.
[00:35:25] Lucas Root: And they’re not listening.
[00:35:29] Thomas Power: Well, I’m sure they’re observing, but I don’t think they’re necessarily knowing what they should do as a result of, but I think in time.
[00:35:38] Lucas Root: I’m not even sure he knows. I see like you see what he’s trying to do, but I see it through the lens of the focus on community that I have like you do.
[00:35:49] I’m not sure that he knows. I’m not sure that he realizes that he’s building community. I think he sees a hole, a gaping hole, and he’s trying to fill that hole. He’s trying to help people find a way to fill that hole, but he doesn’t have the language. Or maybe he does, but I don’t see it, I don’t see evidence that he has the language to talk about this from the perspective of community like you and I do.
[00:36:13] Thomas Power: Yeah, that’s probably true. But if you look at his track record with the previous things he’s built. He has been able to build, whether you go back to PayPal or Tester or SpaceX or Neurolink or any one of these things, he has been able to build that sort of cult following. And a cult following, is that idle following as in Church of Steve Jobs or, or Church of Bill Gates with Microsoft.
[00:36:41] These, these are churches. This is the Jesus Christ business model. And Elon is using the same business model of the idol worshiping. He must be the king. He’s the king. He must be Jesus Christ. He is. He isn’t. He is. He isn’t. They’re all using the same model with monthly subscriptions, just like religion.
[00:37:06] But he does know. That there has to be some town square for the world, which has to be independent and neutral outside of politics and outside of business. So if effectively he’s positioned himself inadvertently, accidentally, or even deliberately as like president of the Earth. Because every politician has to go through his turns style to tweet.
[00:37:36] And a month from now, they’re gonna have to pay $8 to go through that turn start to type that tweet. So every politician in the world, including the president of China, the president of America, the Prime minister of the UK, the President of France, are all gonna have to pay their $8 to the President of the Earth to tweet. And you know what? They’re all gonna pay it.
[00:37:58] Lucas Root: Yeah, they are.
[00:37:59] Thomas Power: So as the accidental president of the earth, Elon Musk from South Africa. He might be an expert in community building, but he might not know that label.
[00:38:11] Lucas Root: Well maybe we should help him. Let’s send him this episode. Yeah. Amazing. Thomas, this has been awesome. I have a couple of questions that I’d like to ask as we wrap up.
[00:38:28] Thomas Power: Okay.
[00:38:29] Lucas Root: The first one, but not the last one, is where can people find you?
[00:38:33] Thomas Power: They can find me on any one of the systems. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp. They can message me directly on my WhatsApp.
[00:38:42] It’s public, the number is public. I get about a thousand messages each day on WhatsApp. I answer them all, and the numbers there, just say my name into Google and you’ll see my email there and my Twitter there, and my WhatsApp number there. So, I always respond. I respond to every message.
[00:39:01] I get thousands, I respond to them all. I see answering messages as trivia. It’s easy. I can never cope with people who say they’re busy. Busy people to me are disorganized.
[00:39:16] Lucas Root: There’s a statement. Wow. Next question, and this one’s fun, is if you were to pick one of the five elements of community, which one would you pick to focus on to really drive the community forward?
[00:39:31] Thomas Power: So then I’ll be picking from language, purpose, projects, value and heart?
[00:39:36] Lucas Root: That’s right. And of course these are all elemental. You can’t have community without any of the five. Right. So, I’m not suggesting that only one of them is gonna be more valuable at any given time, but, we do well with focus. So the question is, what would you be focusing on for the next week, month to really drive more value?
[00:39:58] Thomas Power: So for me, because I think very much about the mood or the feeling or the energy between us, and in this case, between you and I now.
[00:40:10] How we behave towards one another. Our energy exchange, our feeling, our, like, our dislike, our question, our challenge. The sort of whole mood and manner that we’re running this this podcast, video interview, whatever it’s called. I would probably pick the the fellow team up, the heart, the love.
[00:40:31] Because I think that’s the greatest need, not to discredit the other four, but to me the greatest need is for love. And if I look at my, my mum wrote her book before she died. And she buried my dad and then she got married again with the second father stepfather and she buried him.
[00:40:57] And then she lived another 18 years after that. And her book was, Love Never Gives Up. And I kind of feel that community building. I’m continuing to do her work. And so she’s given me this through my DNA. I’m trying to give it through to my three children through my DNA and Penny’s DNA.
[00:41:24] And what’s happening inside BIP to me is the love comes first and the money comes second. And I know people want both, and I know money is important to everybody, but money follows love, love does not follow money.
[00:41:41] Lucas Root: Yeah. That’s a hundred percent true.
[00:41:43] Thomas Power: So I would put heart or the greek word, Philotimo, or love as my number one part of community building.
[00:41:52] Cause I think people deeply want to be seen. They want to be heard, they want to be listened to, they want to be loved, they want to be cared for. And then once they’ve done that, then you can introduce them. Once they’ve released themselves and they’ve got that part of themselves out in their profile, whatever form that takes.
[00:42:11] Then you can connect them with the right people, then they’ll tell you who they really want to be connected with. Once they’ve released themselves. And I think we’ve kind of strangled people’s voice with this obsession, if you like, as you say, with this apathetic world, this transaction driven world.
[00:42:33] And I have this on my shelf. Love never gives up. So I think this is a message from my mother now that she’s left us. I need to keep that up. So I’m gonna keep that up through community building and connecting people.
[00:42:50] Lucas Root: That’s amazing. I love it. Thank you.
[00:42:55] Thomas Power: Thank you.
[00:42:57] Lucas Root: Final question, the curve ball. Is there a question that you would like me to have asked that I haven’t?
[00:43:04] Thomas Power: Oh, that’s a great question. Yes, I do think there’s two different types of behavior and I don’t know, whether it’s a behavior or a thinking going on between the institutional world and the network world, whatever you describe as the internet connected world, if I call that the network world. An institutional world, if I describe that as government parliament, the senate capital hill.
[00:43:34] Lucas Root: And powerful, well established corporations.
[00:43:37] Thomas Power: Yeah. The New York Stock Exchange, nasdaq, the sort of institutional world and the network world are different. And in the institutional world, you have to be closed, selective, and controlling. You’ve gotta be careful what information you release. You’ve gotta be very selective what you introduce or release in terms of information, who you work with.
[00:44:03] And you’ve got to appear to be in control of everything. That’s a fake illusion of being in control of everything. But institutions like to think they’re in control of everything. And we know they’re not because they mess up all the time.
[00:44:19] When you’re in this networked world, whatever label you want to give to this digital world we now reside in, and there’s many labels for it, you have to be rather than closed, you’ve gotta be open.
[00:44:32] Rather than selective, you’ve gotta accept the random nature of all this flow of data and rather than seek control. You’ve gotta seek to be supportive. So you have to get from close, selective and controlling to open random and supportive. And it’s a journey. So you’re going from CSC to ORS and it’s a journey and I think it takes about 10 years.
[00:44:53] And I stumbled across this in 2009, and it normally takes about 15 or 18 years for breakthroughs to break into society. So between about sort of 2024 and 2027, this IRS mindset, this IRS behavior, I think will become the norm. Because of the world that we’re now operating in. And so, the question I would like you to have asked is, why does it take so long to get from CSC to ORS?
[00:45:32] Lucas Root: Yeah, no kidding, why does it takes so long?
[00:45:37] Thomas Power: Well, I think, it all leads back to understanding how this technology revolution is hitting us. If you think of me as a digital fossil, cause I’ve been online for 33 years. So I’ve been online since I was 25 and I’m now 58. So I’ve effectively been online longer than I’ve been offline.
[00:45:58] Yeah. If you see what I’m comparing. But I think the technology itself is a species and I think we are merging with it. And I think it wants to merge with us and I think we want to merge with it. Right now we’re using the technology to augment our performance. Everything. Everything. Whether it’s a bicycle, a tennis racket, or a browser, we use everything to improve our performance, augment our performance.
[00:46:32] But once we succeed with a AI in this next generation, over these next 30 years, we are gonna become one with the machines. And accepting, ORS is accepting that we are gonna become one with machines by 2050. And I’ve reached that comfort level that at some point over the next 30 years, before I pass, say, in 2050.
[00:46:59] I will be one with the machines and the machines will be one with me and will be augmenting one another. As we upgrade society to get to the next level, wherever that level will be, multi-planetary or whatever it might be, going through black holes to other galaxies, who knows what it will be. But we have to upgrade the whole planet, and the machines themselves.
[00:47:21] We always talk about upgrading our machines for our benefit. The machines want to be upgraded by us for their benefit. And we have to accept that we are gonna become one with the machines. And I’ve been able to do that since 2009 because I’ve accepted this world of ORS and when people get comfortable with ORS, and it does take a long time, I think it does take a decade.
[00:47:46] Then you can accept what’s gonna happen in your life between now and 2050, which is why I’m very happy to work supporting these hundred families in this BIP 100 until I pass. Because sometime in these next 30 years, I’m gonna get that upgrade. I’m gonna be moving up to machine level, whether it’s a chip in my head or in my hand, or in my heart, whatever.
[00:48:11] But we are gonna become one with the machine. And they call it the singularity. At least Ray Kewell calls it the singularity. And Ray wrote the Ford for my second book in 1999, and now he’s director of AI engineering at Google. Coming to terms with being one with the machines from mankind, I think is terrifying because everybody sees the Terminator to Arnold Schwarzenegger sense of terror, I can’t remember what it’s called, but the I think it’s gonna be a good merger.
[00:48:47] And I think we are gonna benefit from the machines, and the machines are gonna benefit from us. And it’s not a threatening situation. It’s not a predatory situation. It’s a merger of two species. The human living organism. And the machine or as Arnold Schwarzenegger said in Terminator two, living tissue over and or metal skeleton.
[00:49:11] That was back in 1992. Pretty bad accent. I know. But when you say goodbye to CSC and you say hello to ORS, you can reach the point of acceptance that mankind is gonna be one with the machines by 2050. And I want people to at least consider that. As a point of view.
[00:49:36] Lucas Root: Amazing. Thank you, Thomas. That was absolutely excellent. Appreciate it.
[00:49:45] Thomas Power: Thanks for asking me Great questions, Lucas. It can’t be done without the questions.
[00:49:49] Lucas Root: I mean, you know, I’m with you. The words, I’m great at building a story and telling it, but I’m infinitely better at it when somebody asks.
[00:50:01] Thomas Power: Yeah, exactly.
[00:50:06] Lucas Root: Thank you for joining us this week on Elements of Community. Make sure to visit our website, ElementsOfCommunity.us, where you can subscribe to the show on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, or via RSS, so you’ll never miss a show. If you found value in this show, we’d appreciate a rating on iTunes or if you’d simply tell a friend about the show, that would help us out too.
[00:50:31] If you like the show, you might wanna check out our EOC Inner Circle, or we deep dive with each guest on the inner workings of their community. We cover things like community model, profitability and engagement strategies. You can join the inner circle at ElementsOfCommunity.us/innerCircle, be sure to tune in next week for our next episode.
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Lucas is the host of Elements of Community. He is a community growth strategist and works with mega companies like The Pokemon Company to help build and foster community. This podcast is Lucas' way of giving back what he has learned about the magic of building and growing community.
Join Our Inner Circle
Like what you hear on the podcast? We have more secret recordings from every guest. We keep the microphone rolling after the podcast is done and get our guest to spill the beans on the best tactics for growing their communities profitably. You don't wanna miss this.