Fireside Chat with Steven Bartlett and Bob Cahill

 Fireside Chat with Steven Bartlett and Bob Cahill

At G-P’s second annual PANGEO summit, Steven Bartlett, entrepreneur, bestselling author, investor, “Dragon’s Den” star, and host of one of Europe’s most popular podcasts “The Diary of a CEO”, shared what he believes to be the most critical innovative trait with G-P’s CEO Bob Cahill.  

When speaking at an event in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in the same lineup as former U.S. President, Barack Obama, Bartlett recalled that his key takeaway from listening to Obama’s speech was that the speed of decision-making is most important skill for a CEO or a company to possess.  

You only need 51 percent certainty.

Obama’s anecdote revolved around the assassination of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2011. The former President noted he decided to launch Seal Team Six with only 51 percent certainty that bin Laden would be located at their intended target.

“You only need 51 percent of certainty to make decisions as quickly as possible and have the peace of mind that you did the best you could. The problem with companies is that they want 90 percent certainty, which can take up to 18 months to get, by which stage, time is the biggest cost.”

In attempting to build a culture where the fear of making quick decisions is erased, Bartlett stated that his company’s unofficial central objective “is to out-fail our competitors” by not being afraid to execute efficient decision making validated by intuition and data. 

Those who think they can, can.

Bartlett’s depth of business knowledge runs deep, and this has primarily been backboned by his self-confessed obsession with philosophy and culture. The best advice he ever received was the age-old Confucius adage, “those who think they can and those who think they can’t are both usually right.” Despite being a school and college dropout, Bartlett said his unwavering belief that he would succeed in life gave him a distinct advantage over his peers. “Shame and insanity are undisputable motivators,” Bartlett emphasized. 

Bartlett’s breakthrough came when he saw that traditional marketing was trying to target his generation’s attention the wrong way. “Brands wanted our attention, but I could see they were not going to reach it through flyers and newspaper ads. At the time, setting up a Facebook or Instagram page for a business was considered risky. But social media felt inevitable to me regardless of the skepticism.” 

Having struck gold with his social media marketing company Social Chain, Bartlett left the outlet in 2020 and has now set his well-trained sights on Blockchain.

“Social media has unwanted mediators – algorithms, transparency issues, verification issues. Blockchain is the next big thing. It’s easier, better, faster, and cheaper, so it’s inevitable. And the pessimism, skepticism, and fear around it are proof of that and an indication of how early we are as adopters of it,” he said. 

Great people in a bad culture become a bad team.

So how does Bartlett take his well-crafted wisdom and build innovative, winning teams? The core aspect he looks for in potential hires is character.

“How will people behave on their bad days? How will people behave when they make the wrong decision? Traits in winning ventures are being humble and having high conviction. This means they will respond well and will listen,” Bartlett stated. 

Lastly, Bartlett addresses the importance of culture to an organization and how infectious a good or bad culture is. In his view, culture is a social contagion.

“Great people in a bad culture become a bad team. But you can take a pretty average team and with a great culture, and they can become a great team.” 

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