People First


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People First


People First

The Journey

People First has been a winding journey for the last four years. Most recently, I find it has been coming together in my mind very clearly and with that clarity I have been encouraged to talk about what is going on in a more open manner. The interesting thing is that as I have become more open about what I am doing, more questions are being asked.

Photo by Clemens van Lay on Unsplash

A year ago, asking someone to sign up for the newsletter resulted in them either signing up for the newsletter – or not. No questions. No debate.

Today, I still have the newsletter , added a podcast, the book is coming out shortly and now we are beginning to create community – the questions are beginning to flow.

I still don’t understand. What is the mission/goal of the group(s)?

a newsletter reader


What would you say, in three or so sentences, is the hard objective of People First? Not the vague, all singing all dancing “unleashing human potential” nor the activity based “bringing like minds together” etc. What are you (and other participants) trying to tangibly accomplish? This isn’t rhetorical. I am just trying to understand what will change/improve at the coal face as a result of your combined efforts.

a newsletter reader

This post is not to answer the questions … yet. I touched on it in this weeks newsletter – and was specific about that, but here’s the good news. One takeaway for the recurring question is that people are sitting up, listening, they are interested … which from where I sit is all good news.

As one reader wrote …

I believe you are on the verge of an overnight success!!!

I hope he’s right!

People First

By my calculation, my newsletters are a 5 minute read.

To join the new People First network takes 10 seconds.

See you over there.

People First

People First Is Not Political

Though it might well be political.

Scene From Us+Them, A Film By Roger Waters

I am writing this post, which is extracted from an email I had cause to write this week when someone questioned a stance I had taken in a newsletter that Pink Floyd was a punk band.

I know – right?

To quote the writer …

“And Pink Floyd a punk band, WTF!!???)”

an email correspondent

I often take a contrary stance on things to elicit a response. But when I take that stance, it isn’t uninformed, just different. So ‘Pink Floyd is a punk band’ had the desired effect, it elicited response – but no logical argument back, just a preconceived notion that they are a rock/progressive band – which cant possibly be punk. Me – I still say YES. I mean if Malcolm McLaren can produce an album that fuses opera and R&B has he lost his punk? Rigid classification just doesn’t work – I think that also goes some way to explaining how databases have transitioned over time from hierarchical to relational to graph. But back to Punk Floyd.

A Collection of Links you might enjoy – if not – read on

The point of it all being that if Punk is only about the music / style / genre … then no, Pink Floyd is not a Punk Band


If Punk is all about anti-establishment commentary and political action – then absolutely yes, they are … and Roger Waters specifically is the original punk.

Have you seen his Mexico concert?

The desire of the article and a lot of what I write is to take a non obvious stance to make people sit up and either respond “right, I never thought about it that way” or “the guys talking crap” … and I look forward to that debate … always seeking to learn.

People First


A nice post from ‘friend of People First’ – Tim Walters

CX in the age of privacy and trust, part 3: Can we rebuild trust?

Tim Walters

Fits nicely into something I read recently from Union Square Ventures …. Trust is offense (trust gaps create opportunities for startups) as well as defense (trust is a moat).

People First


Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Soft skills … wooly, fluffy, comfortable … not like ‘ real, hard, proper skills are they?

Soft skills, bendy, malleable, unmeasurable … nothing like ‘ real, hard, proper skills …

.. and yet

I often talk about vocabulary and language …. here’s another one … because if you list all the skills that people are highlighting as important in the future – it’s close identical to the soft skill list.

My advice … get into that cuddly warm blanket and embrace those soft skills — you can always learn the other skills as and when you need them … despite the name … they’re not that hard.

People First Commerce Newsletter Work

People First!

People First!
Why would it be any different?

Why People First? It’s a question that I am often asked.

Why not? If not people, then what should be first?

The questions being asked by mainstream media are primarily about how markets and business will recover – few ask how people will recover.

John Philpin
People First Language Value Work

There’s A Gap

Over here I share a lot of Gaping Void’s work. Hugh Macleod more often than not nails it. But this one needed a comment.

if it’s not a job, you are not an artist.

Boom! That’s the way it works, for anyone in the innovation or creative business. History decides what is ‘art’, history decides what is ‘important’ …

Meanwhile, you’re just doing your job, you’re just showing up, trying to be a pro, you’re just trying to be a grownup, you’re just trying to get paid.

Hugh Mcleod – Gaping Void

Whilst I don’t disagree that ‘history’ decides what is important – Hugh of all people knows that ‘history’ is not neutral. An example would be that ‘History’ for the longest time did not recognize art that came from (say) Africa, because we ‘superior’ Westerners were writing off thousands and thousands of years of ‘art’ – because it didn’t fit into our Western sensibilities and so classified the art into Natural History Museums.

People First

Take Three Words

I discovered the three words process only last year from Chris Brogan. It worked nicely for 2019, so I repeated the exercise for 2020. Since publishing the three words in my annual new year newsletter, a number of people have asked questions;

  • where did the idea come from?
  • what are the rules?
  • can you tell me more about the process?
  • is it ok to have four words?

etc etc

So first – not my idea. I got it from Chris Brogan – but I don’t think he started it. To fill in some gaps – this is what Chris has to say.