Hello and welcome to the career success podcast. I’m Jason Connolly and in this series we speak to leaders in the world of business and people have had tremendous career success.
We speak to people across a wide range of industries across the globe. We will lead the way in conversation to understand what makes someone successful, the challenges they have overcome, adversity, space and what success means to them. We will discuss the lessons learned along the way and myself and my guest will give practical advice on how to grow your business. Climb the career ladder and in the coming episodes we will speak to many authors of the best selling business titles. If you are someone who has a passion for business, then this is the podcast for you. In this episode I’m delighted to be joined by Christopher Bishop from Connecticut in the United States. Christopher is a workplace futurist who has had eight careers so far, including touring rock musician who played with Robert Palmer, a Jingle producer who sang on the 1st Kit Kat TV commercial, Gimme a break, and. Website project manager. He developed Johnson and Johnson’s first corporate website. Chris also spent 15 years at IBM in a variety of roles, including business strategy consultants at a communications executive at corporate headquarters where he drove social media adoption and the use of virtual worlds for training and events. Based on this, a typical career path, Chris develops a program on how to succeed at jobs but don’t yet exist. Designed to give today’s learners insight in how to navigate the New World. Of work he shared this perspective at various universities, including Columbia due Queens College, Stern School of Business at NYU, Texas A&M and Union College at Chris is being done a number of seminars and also given a Ted X Times Square talk about this. Chris, thanks very much for joining me on this episodes. Thank you, Jesus, and I’m delighted to be here with you. Look forward to our conversation. Thank you Sir. Good Chris. First of all, I’ve been reading through your profile today and. I’ve had many careers myself. I’ve worked for an airline. I’ve been a police officer, but you’ve had eight careers so far. Yeah, it’s been interesting for sure, and I would like to qualify as sort of the career versus jobs perspective. ’cause I think again, I’m somewhat without lack of modesty. The poster child for the way today’s learners jensi learners, even early career millennials are going to work. I mean, this new model that they’ll stay somewhere maybe for 18 months or three years. No Urus Bureau of Labor Statistics says today’s learners are going to have 8 to 10 jobs by the time they are 38. So that’s a you know. A public sector, not in theory non biased organization just laying out the data so and I think it’s exciting. I think. Again, when I speak to University students, I say you’re going to do stuff that’s going to look like magic to me and Jason. So let’s get to it. ’cause I was raising, I was discussing this with some of my colleagues and today. Nano pharmacist Luna 2 guide robotics ethic consultants. I haven’t heard of any of these jobs. Well there are to some degree there are going on again eyesight. William Gibson the famous science fiction author. You know his famous quote was the future is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed right? So there are people for example, I do some freelance tech PR writing and I wrote a piece not long ago about something called neural dust. Which is this implantable grain of rice sized device that these two doctors at UC Berkeley in California have designed that generates ultrasound? So you can put it into a patient and it will stimulate, say cells to encourage wound healing or whatever. It will also capture data and transmit it back to the doctor so they can get a sense of what’s going on with the patient. Interesting, ’cause I guess one thing that kind of Springs to my mind is you obviously do these talks at University. Do you think there’s going to be more opportunities for the young people of today or less? You know, I guess I really. Basic example is you go into your supermarket shop checkout, people are disappearing. Do you think it’s going to? Which way do you think it’s going to go? Well, I think there’s always. I mean the again in a matter level. I’m quoting famous people that I read and follow. Tim O’Reilly, who’s kind of a media mogul, runs big conferences, runs a big tech book publishing firm, his sort of mantra is as long as their problems to solve. They’ll be John, so I think keeping that in mind, you know there’s going to be lots of different kinds of things for today’s learners to do. I was on a webinar last week Bloomberg sponsored it with a woman who runs. She’s like the VP of logistics at DHL, right? Big delivery service, yeah, so, and she said. No, they’re deploying a lot of robots in their warehouses or whatever you know at the 3D’s dirty dangerous. And nobody wants to do it. I forgot. The third day is, but anyway, she says so. She has employees and even midcareer employees who have gone from more hands-on kind of work in a warehouse to becoming robot managers. You know, robot automation managers, so they’ve had to take. They take the skills they have, how you manage a manufacturing production line. And then learn the skills required to manage your robot and help teach a robot you know what to do and and what mistakes not to make and he or she is in a new role. How surely? I guess the fact that there’s more automation means that there is going to be less jobs because someone is, you know, servicing this robot which is doing the job of however many people. Well, I think again so when I do this University talks. I love to cite Queen Elizabeth the first, yes, who famously said at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in 1589. just way before this was like 200 years before. She refused to issue a patent for an automated knitting machine for fear of poor subjects out of work. Well, I right so so eventually. Obviously, in the early 18th century you know, automated textile manufacturing became predominant in first in England and then all over the world. So instead of running the looms or doing the actual physical labor, you had people learning how to build the looms, how to repair the looms. How to improve the productivity of the looms? How to come up with new methodologies using existing skills that were transferable and then applying them to this new setting. So what you’re saying is this is been happening? Why? Why back 100 years? This is process has been happening but jobs have still become available? Yeah, absolutely. It’s an ongoing evolution. I just finished reading this great book by an economist magazine writer called the classical school and it’s. If anyone’s into economics listening to this, I highly recommend it. It’s like the history of classical economics in 20 enlightened lives and it’s just a fantastic story about how perspectives on economics have changed and it used to be that people thought like in the 17th century they thought how much larible land a country had determined what their sort of value was in the scheme of things of global economics, right? And then it was the labor theory. A value which was like well if it took a lot of people to make it, it must be worth a lot of money. And so anyway, I always say to your point, these kinds of theories about what delivers value and how economics functions, and ultimately what jobs and careers are available, has been morphing and evolving and changing literally for hundreds of years. Talkshit University in what kind of context are you delivering? This is it? Is it to talk about the technology, technological advancement of what’s going on in the world around us, or in what kind of angle are you coming out from? These talks? Well, I usually I always start with some kind of social historical perspective like what I’m describing to you in Elizabeth conversation, again to my admonition to the kids is OK. Take a deep breath, relax. This has been going on. This is not new. I mean, again, other fun examples, you know, Plato chasing Socrates around the igora in Classical Greece, writing down what Socrates said, and he railed against it’s like don’t write this down you’re going to kill it. I mean Plato’s like what people might want to read this later. ’cause it’s pretty cool stuff. You know what you’re talking about. And some people might say that today about Twitter or Instagram. Ace Incredible. So you just talk about your career. Chris, ’cause you’ve done a lot. You’ve had these eight careers. What? How did it kind of all start for you? Because? But for me, I never went to University. I never followed what is a conventional education route. I went to one of the bottom 5 secondary schools in the UK at the time, so I wasn’t particularly myself inspired by education and didn’t go down that route. I think I went to the University of life, so to speak, but how did it all start with you? ’cause obviously you spent 15 years at IBM and it sounds like you’re going to multitude of things. What? What’s been your journey? Well, against sort of context, and I hope this calms down so you licious. But I have a degree. From a small liberal arts College in Vermont, in German literature, boy OK did you about that back then to take that degree. It’s a niche. Yeah, it was a narrow niche for sure. I just was I started to study German like in 7th grade and just really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the music, obviously I’m a musician. I’m enjoy the culture, the poetry, the literature and I found it interesting and comparatively easy to kind of figure it out. It’s somewhat mathematical, the German language, right? It’s also beautiful and then you can combine words to make a very specific descriptor right? You can. It gives you the ability to combine sort of nouns and adjectives to be very specific, but I also studied music and after graduating college I got a chance to audition for this touring country rock band an I got the gig and six months later I was in Berlin opening for Jeff Beck at the vault beauty and this is like 1973 so it was, you know, very. In nervous that it was dealing with the East Germans was pretty. They were not fooling around, you know, wasn’t a party over there OK? So you spent this time touring around and how long did you do that? Yeah, so I did that for like 3 years. I did 3 albums with that band One at the Manor in Oxford, England. Richard Branson Studio Volume Virgin Records. Yeah, this is and we went to London to mix it at Bezing St and I rented to Mick Jagger on the way to the Mens room and he was like mixing goats head soup downstairs. I was doing my record upstairs like Hello Hello I’m Nick I said Yeah I know who you are man. Testing so we we did three packages wanted electric Ladyland in New York Hendrix Studio on 8th St and we did the third one in Bearsville where the band and Bob Dylan recorded up in Woodstock, New York and the typical to the Bell curve or the band was unknown. That was popular then was kind of couldn’t draw enough people to really warrant going on the road. So the band broke up an I moved to New York to see if I could run with the big dogs. If I could actually make a living as a bass player in New York City, and it was, you know, I got my butt kicked several times. I mean, it’s New York. It’s where you know. Probably the best players on the planet. Go to make a living off, might get a break, isn’t it? Yeah, it was. It was tough. But over the years I’ve broke in versus as a player and then again, I swear I connect with Robert Palmer. I did two tours in a live album at the Dominion Theatre in London, with him playing bass and guitar and keyboards and singing. And then came off the road one time. And so how do I sleep in my own bed at night? I’m ready to get off the Holiday Inn, Waffle House dressing room circuit. I have my friends in the city and they said Jingles man, you gotta break into session scene so I put together a real which is like a tape of me playing a bunch of different styles and this is way before LinkedIn or Facebook and I used 3 by 5 index cards and got names and numbers of anyone and everyone in the Jingle Biz in New York. I mean starting musicians and producers and arrangers and copied you go about doing that. Let’s say again is it’s an issue with you went from touring with Robert Palmer, who sadly passed away in 2003. Redwood doesn’t know him. He did a lot of soulful music. I think it was known for his powerful, distinctive, and gritty kind of voice. Is that right? Yeah, that’s right. OK, sort of. A blue eyed soul guy. Although he did. We did lots of different styles in that band. I mean, the set was like 23 tunes and was everything from techno pop to R and B2. Kind of Blues sounds looking intense and intense. Set 23 songs, yeah, and one after another. He wasn’t into witty banter or filling in the spaces he was like. Next, let’s just crank through these tunes. Wow, so you done that and then to tell us more about this this Jingle business. So you say you have these cards, you were going out in NYC. Yeah, so eventually. I say this again to job seekers, right? In the context of recruitment, I mean I spoke to probably 100 people and eventually found one music producer at an advertising agency backed Spielvogel and they were in the Chrysler building, which is a cool place to go and he thought I was cool or whatever and had an opening an started hiring me to play bass on some of his Miller Genuine Draft beer commercials. So then I had an end. So and then I had like real jingles I could put on my real and pitch to other producers. And eventually you know I became like an A list guy for some producers and a B or C list guy for other producers. I mean, Needless to say, they are incredible musicians in New York, so it’s all about relationships. Better sort of the networking concept, right? Yeah, thank goodness for LinkedIn today. I mean you can do it all with a couple of keystrokes, whereas I have these three by five. I still have the box of cards actually. As my wife found him in the basement like a year ago or something but so and then the Jingle Biz, I actually got my first job at age 40 because even the Jingle Bells became a bit of like Trepidatious. Because if I couldn’t do the date they would just hire the next bass player on the list. So it’s like I’ve got to move up the value chain again. I would say this to your listeners, you know you don’t want to be the guy in the rhythm section. You want to be the guy behind the glass producing the date or writing the tune. In this case, I think we’ll talk about that in the in the latter half of this episode about your advice, and you know, there’s a lot to be said about people who bounce from one career to another career and have career changes. And how do they do that? And we’re gonna talk about that. ’cause I think that’s really relevant, especially for this career success podcast. So it sounds like a journey. Where did you go then from did you? Did you get up the food chain of the Jingle business? Well, I did so I I pushed this guy that I’ve done some dates for some recording sessions for write. His name is Lee Shapiro had been the musical director for The Four Seasons. Number that band together 80s band. I’ve got married Music Tice Chris Yeah, so he set up his own what they call a Jingle House, which means you rent space in a office building in New York and you set up a recording studio and you higher Rep and you solicit work from ad agencies. So I said to him, Lee, I want to get off the. Studio scene an get into a production role, plus he had a sync levere which probably listeners don’t know about, but that was the state of the art digital musical instrument at the time. It cost like a quarter $1,000,000 Sony. This is I couldn’t buy one but he had made some money and he bought one and what it did is it captured timbres, musical instruments, sounds digitally at and stereo. So they sounded really great and you could summon these timbres to the keyboard and record them all digitally. And then manipulate them is data and this is like 1980. So I went to work for this guy and was still sort of the state of the art before Midian sampling and sequencing really took over the music scene already say in about 1985 in New York music became data. Well I OK meaning you could capture sound and store it as information bits and bytes on at the time like a Winchester hard drive. Was this giant device at 512 And he slid it into this rack. I mean, it was really primitive that you’ve always been on the cops against the full fronts of technology. Whether it’s in the music business or your time spent in IBM or even the talks you do now. Yeah, I’m definitely, and that’s that’s a good sort of sidebar just to again oriented to your point listeners. One of my main mantras in these workshops that I do is, and I wrote a piece on LinkedIn. I would encourage sister to check it out. First of all, connected man, LinkedIn, and then. I got the post and I call it chase the maelstrom, find the chaos, go for the mayhem, tell us more about that. So by that I mean go where they don’t know what it is yet in terms of looking for a job like and again is at the intersection of unlikely disciplines like Nano Pharmacy, which is the intersection of Mechano mechanical engineering at the Nanoscale and deliver developing pharmacology at the atomic or molecular level. So that’s new stuff. Nobody’s really done that before. I was just an example of the kinds of things that are happening, so the way I sort of did it a clear example for me was I saw this the World Wide Web appearing in the early 90s. It was like this wacky new Internet thing and my thought was, well, maybe they’ll have music actually, but also at a meta level. It’s probably going to have sort of global social, cultural and even business impact, so let me investigate this and see how I can contribute to participate. And I taught myself to be aware producer left a Jingle business. Read a lot of books. Went to a lot of classes in New York. Stayed up late surfing the web looking at source code and eventually left the Jingle Bells and hung out a shingle as a web producer and got some freelance work. And then I head out there. Found me and I got hired at an agency in New York as a web producer in like 1995. very early days of the World Wide Web. Yeah, and to be fair, it’s not ’cause I was brilliant or good looking. Although that probably helped. The idea is that I I had a skill that was in demand and again I say this to listeners, get skills that are in demand based on where businesses are changing and evolving and trends. She went back by age was that was that kind of a conscious thing that you were doing in order to? I need to get this skill ’cause I see this is becoming, you know popular. It’s taking off was it was that conscious or was that just more of an interest? No, it was a very conscious decision. Again like. My move into the internal Jingle Bells, working at a Jingle House ’cause I saw that the role for electric bass players in New York was going away the you know and again back to historical precedence often cite the example of Henry Ford rolling out model Tees off his assembly line in 1908. In Detroit, right? Yeah, any color you want, as long as it’s black. And there were a lot of panicked ferriers and blacksmiths going holy cow. What am I going to do now? You know the reaction from the culture for the business world would be, well, you know. Those are really great skills, but we just don’t need many people who know how to do that anymore, so. Yeah, it’s still expired exactly, and that’s how I felt as an electric bass player in New York in about 1985. Like that’s a really great skill, but we’re just going to sample your timbre and put it on a hard drive in some image of the keyboard whenever we need it, and you don’t have to show up. So yeah, really interesting ’cause your career in the way. It’s kind of evolved, and what you’ve done, it’s actually being driven by the skill sets in demands at the time, yes, absolutely, recognizing trending. Right and again, I encourage listeners to, you know, to put on those kind of glasses you look ahead again, go where they don’t know what it is like. Where. Where is the new stuff so. And I would say again, some categories might include and this is just some examples of of say technologies or business models that I’m interested in certainly would include artificial intelligence obviously, which is the new electricity
right? It’s everywhere impacting everything one way or another, certainly. Robotics. The application of things like Ratala Health to medicine and again back to the nano devices that have been created. Looking at Blockchain looking at Crypto assets, not just crypto currency, but other ways to capture and distributed in store value right and I’ve recently gotten very into quantum quantum information science. I can’t say I know what that is. Witcher 3 is 3 sort of meta categories quantum computing, which is the most attention right? Which is using vertical cubits to capture manipulate information. Yeah, IBM, IBM has several cloud based quantum computers that you can use. You can rent and use to solve problems. Quantum networks is another area in quantum sensors as well. Really interesting. I think that sounds to me like you are very future thinking. You’re always someone that’s. Trying to spot trends to understand, you know what the future is going to be. Obviously you’ve had an extensive career, but we do have a lot of people who listen to this show who are maybe just starting out in the world. They might be at University, they might be a graduate and to bring it back to accommodate some scary world out there at the moment, there’s with Kovid. We’ve even with the way universities are not able to have seminars. But what we, you know you’ve kind of touched on it there in regards to some of the advice you would give to people. I personally believe skill set is really important and I talk about this often at universities and different seminars and conferences. Myself transferable skills are so important. What you’ve mentioned though, is is kind of really particular skill sets in terms of the future and stuff like that. But what would you say to maybe someone that’s kind of just starting out in life that just at school that just the college that may be thinking about University? What would you say to them ’cause you had? You know career has been extensive? Yeah, well, so at the risk of sounding salesy I got you, this is your platform, Christian. I recorded a live action course for LinkedIn learning and it’s called future proofing your data science career, right? So they asked me to sort of focusing on the data science discipline. He will, but again, I would hate you listeners. This future career toolkit is the core of it, and when I do these workshops at universities, I take students through these what I call my three tools. Future career tools right and just quickly they are voice, antenna and mesh and void. The voice exercise uses. And Ideations technique where I asked you to conjure your favorite movie TV show, book, even game. Yeah yeah. And what about what aspect of that trigger resonates with you to help you determine? Sort of what your brand is. My server, for example, for me right? My favorite recent movie is Blade Runner 2049, right? Three times in three different settings, you know 3D and IMAX and regular screen free. Fine, Yeah, but the I’m intrigued by sort of future culture and future technology so, so that’s sort of my focus in my brand. If you’re on some level, yeah II exercises tools called antenna and in this tool you build a grid looking for where conversations around those triggers are going on, right right? So for me I watched BBC click, which is a weekly TV show about. Sort of leading edge technology and how it’s been with great. Yeah, I’m a fan of that too. Yeah, I love that. Show it, there’s a show Bloomberg technology that’s an everyday that’s sort of like love fashion with Silicon Valley is sort of like Entertainment Tonight, but with like executives
at startups. But they talk about who’s doing what, where, what kind of innovative technologies are driving business models so that it knows that those are a couple of the antenna. And I one of the things I asked people to do seems to do is put down some temporal guidance and longitudinal parameters, like how often are you going to. Check this and a lot of times as dictated by you know how often the surface publisher click is on once a week and Bloomberg Technologies everyday and but to make sort of a discipline, make a regimented schema around it right? So and then the third tool is mesh and I think that is like a 3D visualization exercise and the idea is look at your network of networks and try to build it out. Find people actual real people at companies and organizations based on the antenna findings. That are doing snapped. It’s interesting and then connect with them. So sounds to me like quite a complicated formula, but if I was going on the LinkedIn channel is it? Is it quite simple for someone to understand? Is that to me it sounds complicated. Nothing like finding your brand, finding people talking about you know what topics relate to your brand and then connecting, connecting with those people so they know who you are. Get on their proverbial radar. So I think building your brand is so important in the matter what industry you do. I don’t think it’s enough now just to be, you know, a good employee or someone that’s killed. I think it’s it’s about selling yourself and you know throughout my career in recruitment, it’s always been about building a brand building something that’s visible and the power of LinkedIn. Now reason I’m learning new stuff about LinkedIn all the time. The algorithm, the way it works, the way it pushes things out, the way things trend and I talk a lot to lawyers about how to build your personal brand law. Is an area which is still fairly draconian. Yes, they’ve caught up, but it’s still behind his way behind finance it. It still is quite backwards. What advice would you give? Sort of fast moving to the end of this episode? Chris, I could talk to you all day long. So interesting, but what? What advice would you give to someone who’s maybe interviewing you? Know going out there into the big boy? Well, you’ve interviewed for a lot of roles you’ve really sold yourself. Well, what advice would you give to someone who’s going for interview? Preparing for? Perhaps the next new modern job? Well, so again, quoting you know people have influenced me or who I learned from. Yeah, I was at an event at LinkedIn headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA. An their vice president of global talent acquisition. Brandon Brown. Wonderful guy. Got up in his opening remarks to this group of about, well, several 100 like senior HR people was just for context. He said the war for talent is over. Talent has one. And his take is, I mean, certainly not every situation at every company. But the idea is you listeners to this podcast and or learners entering the field or figure out the study. Keep in mind that you want to interview the company as well, right? So you have skills that they need and the right company will recognize that. I always used to query sort of hiring managers about the appetite for innovation. Like what do you prepared? Where are you prepared? To push the envelope like yeah and ideally come in with ideas you know. Say you know I looked at your website or I read your annual report or I saw your recent blogon I thought was interesting, but here’s what I think you might do to change or improve or modifier. Have you thought about this topic or this collaboration or this kind of interaction? Or just kind of technology implementation and see what they paid? It’s interesting and I think I think interviewing now it’s it’s changing. It is a two way St and I think it’s about having that open conversation about. And I think you know it’s a great. It’s advice I give to people you know go and show a real interest in that business. It’s really relevant, yeah, and how you would transform it or enhance it, or modify it? Or you know, add additional relationships or expand the supply chain or the ecosystem that they’re working in. ’cause again, I think of you know, Laszlo Bock, he was the chief people officer at Google. Really great book called work rules. But he there’s an interview with him. Interviewed Laszlo back end in your times a couple of years ago and again I’m encouraged but one of the things that Laszlo Bock said. You know how they? How they hire Googlers and he said, well for one thing, we don’t look at like standardized test scores or GPA or whatever. They don’t, he said they don’t tell us anything. We need to know, yeah, we wanna know if people can connect dots and unusual and interesting ways if they can conjure a strategy and articulated in front of the group and or acquiesce when someone else has a better idea if they can be an emergent leader. And sort of take ownership of their own failures or successes. Not say you know, will it? The reason the project succeed is ’cause it was my great idea or reason to fail. This quiz about blew it and nothing to do with me. So I mean ideas. Well, it’s you know it’s a collaborative effort or everyone working tord end of job to other common goal. So it sounds to me like you’re a believer in kind of psychometric testing. Personality profiling in that kind of interviewing technique as well. In order to find the right person for the job. Well, yeah, I think you want to make sure that you represent your brand back to the brand discussion, right? Who you are? What’s important to you and values, right? So the common knowledge is that many Millennials won’t work at a company, say with a poor corporate social responsibility record, or one that isn’t focused on sustainability, or that will work for last money at another company where their companies perspective aligns with their values and worldview so. And Lastly, Chris, if you had to say what your hott job of the future is to be to be in the forefront of peoples minds, what would you say that is over the next 5 to 10 years? Why should there be lots of transformations going on? Many driven by the COVID-19 situation, right? So incredible advances in drug discovery and drug development, for example. Vaccines and cures, right? So? So if you’re interested in that space, I’d certainly go for it. I would say if I had to pick one thing, I would say you on the spot. I know Chris, you know I’d say quantum information science. Well, I think most people’s perspective is that you need to be like a particle physicist to play in that space or get a job here again with. As with any innovative technology, there’s a whole portfolio of adjacent and ancillary businesses that go on that support this technology so. By that I mean someone’s going to have to deal with microfabrication who’s building the dilution refrigerators at Mini Calvin, that these qubits are operating in and at another level, like who’s writing the comms and marketing doggerel for these things, like he’s not explaining common language, how this stuff works and what the business value is certainly not going to be made. Chris, that’s listen. It’s been absolutely lovely to talk to you. Really interesting could talk to you all evening. Creative people want to find out more information about you. Want to connect with you? Where can they go to? I certainly encourage him to reach for man LinkedIn. I’m a huge fan of LinkedIn. I accept pretty much all invitations to connect, so you can certainly find me there. I have a website called improvising careers com where I sort of my ideas around workshops are posted. There’s a cool travel log I used to keep track and take pictures of all the different events where I taught or spoke. That’s kind of fun. Probably LinkedIn is also treat. I have a Twitter account right? OK, so if you want to connect with Chris and you want to find out more about how to succeed at jobs that don’t yet exist, visit him on improvisingcareers.com or look him up Christopher Bishop on LinkedIn. Chris, thanks so much for joining me on this episode today. It’s been a delight to talk to you. Thanks very much. Thank you Jason. I enjoyed it. That’s it for another episode of the career success podcast. Join me on another episode where we’ll be talking to leaders and well known authors in the world of business.