How do I describe the dynamic duo behind The Soul of Enterprise Podcast, Ron Baker and Ed Kless?
If only I could borrow their vocabulary as I find the appropriate words to describe their intellectual brilliance. Since I can’t, I’ll just say these guys make me think. I can show you my Evernote and Moleskine notes to prove it.
The Soul of Enterprise (TSOE) Audience
Both Ron and Ed have a following. Ron speaks globally to audiences about value-based pricing among other topics. Ed works for Sage (Software Company) where he helps, coaches, and consults their strategic partners and VARs.
The initial TSOE audience presumably came from professional services firms (accountants, IT consultants and integrators, ad agencies, and law firms). However, anyone can value from this podcast.
If you are a bottom-line type person wanting tactics and best practices to implement right now, you’re in the wrong place.
TSOE is heavy in ideas, theories, and deep thought. That’s not to say their content is not practical. It is. Most of the time, you just have to let their shows simmer awhile before taking action. Or in my case, I may wind up reading a book or two based on something they said where I want more evidence or research.
Picking Favorite Episodes is Crazy Hard
I only started listening to this podcast in 2016, and I’ve just about caught up to every show they have produced.
How can I even list my favorites? That would be like asking the late Joe Dimaggio, the Yankee Clipper, which hit of his 56-game hitting streak was his favorite. It would be all of them.
I will still try to list a few that stand out should you want to get started. These are in no particular order:
- The Moral Hazards of Measurement – measurements can give us the illusion of accuracy.
- The Rory Sutherland interview – wow!! I predict you’ll look him up afterwards, and you’ll come across his TED Talk which is a winner too.
- The Second Law of Marketing – you’ll learn the 5 C’s of value and the magic of three on pricing.
- The Best Learning Method Ever Devised – After Action Reviews (maybe my very favorite).
- The interview with Joseph Pine on the experience economy – appreciated the references about the Case Tomahawk Customer Center and The World of Whirlpool.
- You’ll love hearing about the Ford Framework in We’re All Consultants Now.
- Ed knows and understands project management like the back of his hand. You need to listen to Proper Project Management.
- Lessons from the Trading Game – great primer on economics.
- How to Use Key Predictive Indicators – this was rich and probably my second-favorite episode.
- Ed and Ron may think I’m being egotistical if I include the episode, Strategic Planning: Efficient, Effective, Neither. Ed’s Modified Seven S Model is brilliant.
- Every HR director regardless of industry should listen to Reappraising the Performance Appraisal.
- I did not want Earning Our Mouse Ears to end. Make sure you read Ron’s blog posts on this topic too (Part I, Part II, Part III).
- I took a page of notes on a recent episode about Accounting Innovation. If you listen to it, pay careful attention to Ron’s comments on pricing and consulting. I had to stop it and replay 2-3 times to capture all of his thoughts.
Again, how can I leave out episodes? These guys tell so many great stories. One of my favorites is the one that Harvey Mackay tells of a taxi cab ride from Manhattan to LaGuardia Airport. Love it (from the episode, There’s No Such Thing as a Commodity).
If you start listening to the older shows, here’s another tip–do a search on the archive page for books and then pricing. They’ve done several shows on their favorite books which never disappoint. Every interview on pricing is, well, priceless.
Should you start getting addicted to this podcast, don’t make the mistake I did early on while listening to the older episodes. I skipped the Free-Rider Fridays.
Free-Rider Fridays are where Ron and Ed bring their current events clippings from the prior month and swap comments back and forth. Once I listened to three or four in a row, I wanted more of these discussions.
Imagine a jam session between Dylan and Hendrix or McCartney and Lennon. Similarly, these Free-Rider Fridays are jam sessions between two intellectuals you could listen to all day. Guys, never stop doing these.
My closest friends know my dream job is to be the GM for just one day for the St. Louis Cardinals. I’ll even pay my own salary.
I have other dream jobs too. One would be to make a few suggestions regarding guests for The Soul of Enterprise podcast. Again, I’ve shuffled these because ranking is impossible
Charlie Munger or Ray Dalio (see How the Economic Machine Works)
Ron and Ed could probably talk economics all day. While they will probably disagree, I think their economics content is as good or even better than the Freakonomics podcast. I don’t say that to be critical of Freakonomics. It’s just a tribute to Ron and Ed’s work on making economics both practical and accessible to those of us in the professional services industry.
Having said that, let’s try getting Charlie on the show. How about Ray Dalio? Both are no Thomas Sowell, but they’d be entertaining. I’d even pay to listen.
Ed loves baseball and there have been at least two references that I can recall to Moneyball. How about doing a mashup of pricing, AI, and Moneyball with Michael Lewis?
Hmmmm. This one may require some arm wrestling on my part. Ron and Ed recently talked about personality profiles. It was good, but the only assessment that measures the conative part of the mind is not hokum in my professional opinion. Listen to this outstanding interview between Kathy and Joe Polish, then decide if she’d make a great interview as a follow-up to that personality profile episode.
If we had the transcripts to every episode, I’d be curious to count how many times the word innovation has been mentioned. Many.
Accordingly, I can’t think of a better person to interview where the topic is innovation and how innovation occurs with entrepreneurs.
I wouldn’t even mind if you share your opinions on where OKRs fall within the great effing debate.
Speaking of the effing debate, I’m a fan of Eli Schragenheim, one of the teachers and consultants of The Theory of Constraints. I’ve never heard this guy speak, so I’m not sure if he’d be a great interview. But read his tribute to the late Eli Goldratt to determine if he meets the qualifications of the short list (if such a list exists).
Near the beginning, there was an episode on ethics. I just finished reading Cynthia Cooper’s book on the whole WorldCom debacle. I could not put her book down entitled Extraordinary Circumstances: The Journey of a Corporate Whistleblower. If you want to do another episode on ethics, Cynthia is your person.
Ron and Ed have a large following from accountants and presumably financial advisors. I bet more than half those know the name Dan Sullivan or have attended his Strategic Coach workshops. He’d be an outstanding and engaging guest. As an added bonus, he’s a big-time reader and could probably spar a little with you two in the world of economics. I’ve quit counting the times he has quoted Jean-Baptiste Say.
Shane Parrish of Farnam Street
Why not? The TSOE hosts are putting a dent in Amazon’s book warehouses. However, this guy might have Ron and Ed beat on the number of books he reads each year.
It’s time to get controversial. I’m not 100% certain that Net Promoter Score (NPS®) is 100% predictive of future customer behavior. See this great Advertising Age article for one such case where NPS provided the wrong insights.
I don’t possess a Jim Collins research team, but there are other methods to measure predictive behavior. Why not discuss this with the mastermind behind NPS®?
Well, just because. Verne is a great interview. Also, I would not shy away from the effing debate.
As accounting firms are looking for other ways to add value outside of transactional and compliance work, Verne would be a breath of fresh air to talk about consulting in general. I’d pay to listen to this one.
Four Ideas for The Soul of Enterprise
Since I’ve been so bold on suggesting guests, why not throw out a few ideas for The Soul of Enterprise brand?
- I recently wrote an article about Pat Flynn’s business model. Why not add a new podcast similar to Ask Pat? Instead, it would be called Ask TSOE. The 5-6 minute show would be based on one listener question each week. Ron and Ed could either take turns answering the question each week or do so collectively.
- Start a paid community with premium content. I’m not talking about private groups in Facebook or LinkedIn. I’m talking about a private area on The Soul of Enterprise website which includes a forum (I’d recommend IP.Board). Such a membership could be priced at $200 a year or thereabouts. Such a community would allow listeners to talk shop on TSOE topics.
- Include a blog area on The Soul of Enterprise Website. Ron and Ed are busy, but if the editorial schedule called for just each to write one post every other week on alternating weeks, that’s possibly doable. I realize this is debatable since Ron writes on LinkedIn and Versage, and Ed writes on his on personal blog. Still, I’d welcome seeing more content on AI, Blockchain, pricing, project management, great books, and so much more.
- For this idea, Ed and Ron might need to shell out some coin, but not much. For new listeners, why not add a filter on the Archive page for key categories (e.g. Pricing, Economics, Books, and so on). I’d even suggest a Getting Started filter which recommends the first 10 episodes to listen to.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Ron’s books. Thanks to Gary Boomer (circa 2004), I read The Firm of The Future during a brief vacation on the Outer Banks, and I could not put it down. With no disrespect to David Maister’s books on professional services firms, The Firm of the Future is one of the best books on consulting ever written.
For those of you familiar with Ron’s books, you might be questioning my exclusion of his book on Value Pricing. I never liked the bill-by-hour pricing model. I need no convincing. However, if you are still billing your CFO and consulting services by the hour, then read this book.
I also have the Kindle version of The Soul of Enterprise: Dialogues on Business in the Knowledge Economy (Ed is the co-author). I really liked it, but I think once you’ve gone through several dozen episodes, the book becomes more meaningful.
That’s a Wrap
My editor says I have to quit writing. I don’t want to, but I suppose I will.
The above does not do justice for my new, favorite podcast. If anything, this is my personal standing ovation to a pair of classy guys that I never tire of listening to. Peter Drucker would be proud of you two. So am I.