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    • jim

      Is it just me or is empathy becoming a rare commodity in the United States?

      • When we had President Obama - and boy, do we miss him - he said “we are suffering from an empathy deficit in America.” I think he was accurate. Unfortunately, also, foreshadowing a lot of what has happened since he’s left office, where we’ve become more divided, less willing to see the other side, and we have become labeled, and compartmentalized, and opaquely walled-off to the voices that don’t sound like our own. And that is not a world I want to live in. And a lot of the work that we’re doing is desirous of trying to wipe clean, or at the very least, be a bellwether for a different way of showing up in the world that can hopefully bring us back into a more united United States. 

    • apm

      What was it like to work with Tiger Woods?

      • Fun. Hands down, the most fun. It was a challenging project in many ways, because we were starting at the ground level with a man who’s seen the highest highs and the lowest lows in a career. It was important that we didn’t avoid the things that were uncomfortable to talk about. And considered all of the different scenarios for how his career might play out. At the time we were working together, it was unclear if he’d ever return to the game of golf due to his injuries and all of the pressures that had been put around him as a result of his back injuries and the scandal in 2009. And to watch a man who knows how to work a plan work this plan we put together, and to come back, fumble in coming back (it wasn’t a meteoric return - he came back, hurt his back, had a surgery, came back - it wasn’t easy), he persevered. He had a playbook. He knew what he needed to do. And to see him with the Masters a few weeks ago was so amazing, to see two years of thinking, and practice, and dedication on behalf of him and our teams come to life. 

    • apm

      What has most surprised you from your speaker series on empathy?

      • I would say - that’s a good question. The unexpected insights that we glean from someone you’d imagine is going to have a certain perspective on the work they do, and then they surprise you with something completely insightful and unexpected that has helped them do their job more effectively. A quick example: Rob Gore is an emergency room doctor in Brooklyn. And we had him come on the panel to talk about what it’s like having empathy being an ER doctor, dealing with trauma of that degree every day. And the conversation took an amazing turn where he started talking about an insight he picked up, which is that so many young men of color were coming into the ER with brutal either gunshot or knife wounds, because of the early experiences they were having entering gang life. And what he realized is that particularly in low income communities, these kids need to be treated like at-risk youth with more mental health services, because they don’t have role models at home or around them that are necessarily showing them another way to be a man. So he actually created a nonprofit that is designed to provide a mentorship role to these kids, so he doesn’t see as many of them on his operating. And that was all born out of empathy.

    • Vilen

      What were some of the unexpected challenges you’ve encountered while writing your first book?

      • Nobody likes to hear me say this, but I actually really enjoyed it! It was due in part of the fact that I had a pretty rigorous process that we put in place, which is that I would write every Friday. No meetings, no other things I let encroach on my schedule. And if Friday went well, then I’d carry on into the weekend, and spend 3 days writing. If Friday was terrible, I didn’t put any pressure on myself to make Saturday a makeup day, I just said “See you next Friday.” So there were weeks I didn’t write because Friday wasn’t a good day. I could have sat down some Saturdays, but I thought if I’m on a roll, I’m on a roll, and I won’t force it. And that process got the book done in 4.5-5 months. 

    • Vilen

      When working with big brands like Nike, Adobe etc. that already have established identities and design language, how do you practice empathy while providing direction for brand’s evolution?

      • The only reason those brands are still in business is because they are good at listening to the marketplace, and evolving with its needs. So with an organization like Nike, our role as a strategy partner is really to help ensure that as many fingers on pulse that can be out in the world are there, providing insight and research and direction, to continue to let an organization that’s really good at moving with trend to continue to move with the trends as they change. So just because they are good at it doesn’t mean they can slack off. I think it means if you’re good at it, you have to keep working on it, in order to be better, because the market is always changing, and if you’re not changing with it, you’re losing ground. 

    • VilTri

      I've listened to an excerpt of the book on Simon & Schuster's website and loved it! Being an avid listener of audiobooks do you have plans to release it on audio and would you be willing to narrate it?

      • Hmm. The first thing that came to mind was in my bed, because it’s almost too obvious, and also it’s super-comfy. But then I also thought how nice it would be to be in the canopy of a tall tree.