Today on the More Cheese Less Whiskers podcast we're talking with Jody McNamer from Seattle, Washington, and Jody has a really great mission that they're focused on.
He shared the story of his son Tyler, who's autistic and has gone from being an autistic child to now, someone who's 24 years old, has written a book, and speaks to thousands of people about autism, and who's acting in support and helping parents of autistic children.
It's a really great mission they have, and we had a great conversation about the context of thinking about what they're able to do for people from a During Unit perspective to identify the outcomes they could help create for people. Then they can build their business around being able to facilitate those things.
You're really going to enjoy this conversation. It's a little different than the usual type of business we have, but you'll see immediately how the 8 Profit Activators apply to every situation.
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Transcript - More Cheese Less Whiskers 138
Dean: Jody McNamer.
Jody: Dean Jackson, how are you?
Dean: I'm so good. How are you?
Jody: I'm doing quite well.
Dean: So where in the world is Jody McNamer today?
Jody: The lovely Seattle, Washington.
Dean: Okay. Probably a little chillier than my winter haven, Florida right now.
Jody: Without a doubt. I'm a bit jealous. The weather down there, sure, well, it's a balmy 34. So, yeah, we got a little ways to go before Florida, no doubt.
Dean: Well, I am excited to spend some time with you today. I always love having these conversations, and I'm anxious to hear what we can focus on with you, what you're up to.
Jody: Yeah. You're definitely the master of that. So, Dean, thank you for taking some time. I really do have a huge amount of respect of what you've done over the years and you continue to do, so just thank you.
Dean: Awesome, I appreciate that. So, tell me the whole story here. Let's see what you're up to.
Jody: Yeah. Well, I will give you the Reader's Digest condensed version. I'll expand on anything you want me to. So, I think, first of all, I'm a husband and I'm a father of two amazing sons, one of which has autism. So, he was non-verbal up until about six years old. He started to form sentences at about age 12. Now, he is 24. He happens to be an international bestselling author and speaker on the topic of autism.
Dean: Oh, that's awesome.
Jody: Yeah. So, it's funny, because, as a dad, if you would have said, "Hey, your 12 year old is going to grow up and have, literally, a top-selling book on Amazon and a company now called AutismWorks." Not that you wouldn't think that your children could do whatever they want, but I mean, there's just some significant issues there.
But, yeah, he came to me in his sophomore year of high school, and said, "Yeah, dad, I wrote this book." And I think, "Oh, man, that's great." But I knew nothing about the publishing business at all. Finally, then, in his senior year of high school, he was ready to release it. So, I went and found a publishing coach, somebody that knew stuff about it, and learned the hard way about making a book and all that. Ultimately, we put it out there. I'm thinking, "Oh, this is going to be a huge success. It's going to be amazing." Yeah, it completely failed. Books publishers wouldn't take it. I have rejection letter after rejection letter. So, we decided to start marketing it ourselves.
Dean: Oh, good. Okay.
Jody: So, we started putting it out on Facebook. People seemed to resonate with folks. So, I think it's just up over about 40,000 books sold.
Dean: Wow, that's awesome.
Jody: Yeah, which is pretty cool.
So, then AutismWorks is formed. We started producing products. This is a challenge that I need your help with is man, we're really great at generating leads and we're really great at putting stuff out there that people really love, but we're really, really bad at getting them either converted from buying a book, a physical product, into an electronic product or giving them this really cool free bribe, it's not really a bribe, but it's this cool piece of content, but having them be able to say, "Hey, I probably spend $20 on a digital product and then ultimately a couple hundred bucks on a digital product and hopefully more from there." Man, we're just really bad. So, I don't know if that gives you what you need, Dean, but yeah, I'm happy on expanding anything you need.
Dean: Yeah. Okay. So, I mean, first of all, congratulations, because that's an amazing accomplishment on its own.
Jody: It's pretty cool. Yeah, he is an amazing, yeah, amazing young man.
Dean: Yeah. Well, and 40,000 copies of anything is-
Dean: I mean, I put things in perspective for people with … They talk about their subscribers or they say, "Well, I've only got a couple of thousand subscribers." You look at that. Then, when I put that in perspective of that is essentially the size of a megachurch. If you look at something like that, that you have the ability each week to deliver a message to a megachurch-size audience. You think 40,000 people is an NFL stadium full of people.
Jody: Yeah, interesting. Yeah.
Dean: When you visually put it in perspective of what that is. Now, the question of course is, of the 40,000 people, how many were they sold on Amazon or how many of those people do you have contact information for?
Jody: Yeah. So, currently, so we use Infusionsoft as our background. Currently his database is just over 27,000 people.
Dean: Okay. That's great. What's the title of the book that they are opted in for or …
Jody: Yeah. So, it's called Population One: Autism, Adversity, and the Will to Succeed. And so I'd have to pull it up here real quick but typically, it's always in the one to five, depending on the day. It's been that way for the last several years on Amazon. Yeah. Kind of cool.
Dean: So, when I look at the whole situation, what I'm always looking for is, hey, I'm overlaying the eight profit activators on the business side of it. Everything there starts with the … Your people often think, "Well, we're going to start with the before units, start with the ad," but the reality is that it starts with the during unit. It starts with what is it that we're actually exchanging with the person? Before we do the marketing, we have to do the market about it, is what is the market exchange that we're doing in terms of the value that somebody is being delivered for money. So, that can come in the form of their buying a book or a digital product or whatever it is that you're doing but we want to look at is what is that actually solving for people or what is the real exchange that they're getting? They're trading the money for the physical mechanism of a book or a download but the information, the transformation is what they're actually paying for, what they're thinking that this is going to do for them, so how would you define what that is is what's the result that people are getting?
Jody: Yeah. I believe it's two things, Dean. I think number one, it's hope. So, if you put yourself in a position … So, we have two main categories, which, by the way, I believe that, of that 27,000 people, almost 70, if not close to 80% are grandparents. I think there's a reason for that because maybe this younger generation doesn't really read a physical book and we have quite a few that come down on Kindle but we don't have access to those folks, of course, in our database but what they're buying with that book is hope that they're going to read something that they can relate to their situation that will be some type of key that will unlock either a better relationship with their child or allow their child to start speaking or make their child a little bit more socially less awkward, so I think that's the number one thing.
Then, I think the number two thing would be and this is also been as a challenge is that our parent … Parents are so exhausted. I mean, they're just exhausted of taking care of a child that has unique abilities. So, I think they're also looking for what would be the easy, simple thing to do like there's some kind of magic pill, right?
Jody: Because they're exhausted. No one's going to come and say, "Hey, I want to pay $200 so I can do more work." They're interested in what's that secret sauce? What's that special pill? What caused Tyler to be able to now speak in front of tens of thousands of people and coming from non-verbal six. I don't know if that explains it well but that's the best I can put my arms around it, I think.
Dean: I got it. This is part of the benefit here that you're able to identify, maybe in a way that they would immediately see that this is something that I want. A couple of the things that you mentioned verbalizing or if you were to go down a list of the things that you could help people with, like this is kind of an ongoing theme that I have of if I'm starting with the during unit of what is it that you can do, what I often say to people is what's the best result, the best outcome that you could get for somebody regardless of what it costs or how long it takes or what you do to do it to get the result, what are you physically and knowledgeably capable of creating for somebody? What are the outcomes that, if they would just let you do it, you could help them get that outcome?
Jody: Yeah. So, I get it. yeah. That makes sense. So, for us, we can provide them the framework that we provided for Tyler but Tyler then chose to work through, right?
Jody: So, what we call it, so in school, it's called an IEP, so an individualized education plan. So, one of our products is we show Tyler's entire plan from when he was in pre-school through his third year of the adult living programs. It was probably two years. So, while that's not a formula for success, it is the ability to pull some of the best practice or components into their child's IEP that may or may not create that success. I think you really careful about because every child with autism, if you met one child with autism, you've met one child with autism. So, it's not like we can guarantee that transformation but what we can do is we can definitely guarantee they're going to have a better shot at transformation, right?
Jody: So, but I think that would be one big thing.
Then, we have another program. It's called Girls on the Spectrum, which is extraordinary, because girls on the spectrum are often misdiagnosed with other issues. It really is about having them understand their unique challenges but also their unique opportunities. I think that would be another thing that we could deliver, would really be a self-confidence, which many of our children lack and many of our parents lack is confidence because it's such an isolating thing. Other people are looking at you in the restaurants. It breaks your confidence down. Doctors are telling you. Teachers are telling you. At the end of the day, you're just kind of confused. Those would be the main things.
I think the last one is just because Tyler is now able to verbalize what it's like to have autism. There is extraordinary insight and he has about 80 hours of programming now that just simply shares a life of someone that has autism in a lot of different subject areas. So, those would be the main things we could provide.
Dean: Okay. Excuse me. How do you currently provide those things? Is there any level of coaching or hand-holding or kind of a group facilitation of a curriculum or program or working through something or is it just the downloads of the information or access to a thing?
Jody: Yeah, so currently it's just access to information. We've thought about but just logistically, how to handle it or maybe create a group coaching program or event, which I love that idea. It's just we're not there yet. Maybe, yeah, I'm really interested in your opinions on that.
Dean: Well, what does Tyler want to do, because a lot of this has to go. I mean, really, that's the thing is this is kind of… I know you're being as supportive as you can and what your role and what Tyler's role in this is, what's his vision for this?
Jody: Yeah. Yeah, no. So, Tyler's vision for AutismWorks is to be the largest autism-related content provider in the world. I mean, that's his whole thing but if Tyler could have the one thing that he could do for the rest of his life and he would be the happiest, it would be if he could be on stage every day, that's what he would do. So, he's speaking to a group of about 1,000 people on Monday. Then, he flies to Montana. So, yeah, he loves that. That's for him.
Dean: I just want to get a sense of his capabilities or his unique abilities in being able to be in a zone that's like the win for him. Is his thing, his preference to be on stage delivering a kind of prepared presentation that he likes to do or could he do smaller events where he's more engaged in tailoring something where he's answering people's questions or working …
Jody: Yeah. Man, another great question, Dean. So, Tyler the way that he speaks is he create the outline. He's got a really good idea of what he's going to do but then he delivers it extemporaneously. So, it's really kind of cool because he does kind of get a feel for the audience but in presenting in smaller groups, like even question and answer sessions, typically having a facilitator there, myself or he does have a staff member now that we call them kind of handlers, right?
Jody: That will go and they'll restate the question in a way that they know Tyler's going to really be able to answer it, because oftentimes, people will frame a question. He will hear it differently, become his context, provide the answer but the answer's completely off topic.
Dean: Right. I got it. Yeah, no. He answered the question he heard. Yeah, I got it.
Jody: Right. Yeah.
Dean: Okay. So, that, I think I get a sense of that, that it's not like is in a controlled environment is really the kind of thing that would be the best for him. Okay.
What's your role in all of this? What's your interest level in the involvement in it or what your …
Jody: Yeah. Very great question, again, too. So, my background has … I spent a decade in the media and entertainment business, specifically large-scale. Back then, it was CDs and DVDs. Now, that's why I'm no longer in the media and entertainment business. Then, I moved from that into real estate. I was investor, still am to this day. I own a brokerage and all those things.
So, when I got involved in building AutismWorks, I was kind of at this place where I had a real estate coaching practice. I still have a real estate advertising agency. Now, I'm like, "Okay. Well, what I'm going to do when I grow up?" I've never really done anything that I'm like, "Man. You know what? I love, I love working with, like, I love working with parents. I love helping them. I love going out with Tyler and meeting those families." So much so, that I also think it's a problem that, I want to also make money doing that.
So, there's been this separation and I'm going to actually answer your question now, Dean, which is, listen, I would love for AutismWorks to completely provide for me, my family, the causes I'm passionate about, replace all the income I have with everything else. Then, I would be doing everything that I love.
Dean: Okay. Perfect.
Jody: That's what it would be.
Dean: Awesome. What I guess that I look at is, right now, it seems like from what I've heard you sharing about the way that it works is that Tyler's acting really as an inspiration, as the people get to see and hear and get help from listening to his message that maybe this could be the same thing for my child. So, they get that sense of hope.
Then, the next level, so let's say, of that that people can do is they have the change to buy some tools. Let me give you some of the tools that we have but not from what I'm hearing any sort of guidance or coaching or counseling or implementation resources that are available for them.
Jody: Correct. Yeah. Correct. Right.
Dean: And so, part of the thing is to figure out, I guess, at what level do you think that you could have an impact on people, like rather than thinking about all the people, all the parents of autistic children that trying to, rather than as a market, what could you do if there were one family that was important to you and they are in this situation, what would be the best outcome that you kind of know how to personally facilitate for them?
Jody: Yeah. I mean, the first thing I would do is I would sit down, I'd talk to the family. I'd understand the background. Secondly, I would determine what testing has been done, what currently is in place for their IEP. I'd collect all of that data. Then, we have a discussion about what resources are available either in that community or in their school. Then, we would start making a decision, put together a road map. Then, ultimately, we'd implement that with the school. Then, it would be a series of check-ins. "Hey. How's it going this month?" "Okay." "What needs to modify?" Ultimately, that would be, we'd call it an autism for life program, right?
Jody: I mean, that would potentially run 18 years or however that may be. That, I think, would have the greatest benefit. Then, an alternate one, quite frankly would be a bit of a cheerleader, right?
Jody: Hey, when the chips are down, hey, just realize that is one foot in front of the other. That would be probably the secondary part that I could play. "While I may not understand your situation or I don't know exactly how you feel, I do know what it's like to have a child with disability that eats nails and staples and screams and runs out of the room in front of traffic. I get that. Been there." So, yup.
Dean: So, you start to think about that, because what can become overwhelming is the thought of doing those things at scale where you start to think, you start to sort of temper your vision through the logistics goggles of what you think you can actually do, rather than thinking about the one-off outcome that you could create for somebody because right now, you don't have a mechanism in place or a way if it's in place to actually offer that level of support to somebody, which is what they really need and would love to have. I'm not sure what other resources are available in the autism world there but it sounds like you've got a unique perspective on it that may be different than what's offered.
Jody: Yeah. There's really nothing out there that is available and … Yeah. I agree. You're totally right. You are totally on point, Dean. This is the conundrum, right?
Jody: This is exactly what they need but in order for me to make that transition, I also need that to scale immediately, right?
Dean: Yes. Yeah.
Jody: So, it's the chicken and the egg thing. So, yeah, how do you deal with that?
Dean: Well, part of the thing is that you take a number of approaches to it. One that's really clear is getting clear on what you could do, if you were to take one family kind of under your wing there and create … Because it's really, even though you said that if you meet one child with autism, you've met one child with autism. That's not everybody but there's also contextually some similarity. The needs are the same. So, you've got that, the framework is going to apply but the subtleties might be different, right?
Jody: Yeah. Yeah.
Dean: Of what actually comes but the framework, if you take kind of on a macro level, it would be around communication and around … I don't know what other macro sort of contexts it would be, but that would certainly be one. If you were to take vignettes of a day in the life or a week or a month in a year in the life of the parents of an autistic child, that is going to have a lot of similarities among all of those parents.
Jody: Yeah. Absolutely. Yup.
Dean: Right. And so, but the micro ways that those things manifest themselves is going to be very different.
Jody: Yeah. It's probably 97%, right?
Jody: I mean 97% is going to be the same, 3% different.
Dean: Yeah. I get it.
Jody: But the 3% really matters. Yeah.
Dean: Absolutely. Yeah. Not unlike, I saw a … I actually met Craig Venter, the guy who did the genome but …
Jody: Yeah. Yeah. I know.
Dean: … the reality of that is that, of the five billion characters in our genetic code is only five million of them make us us, you know?
Jody: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Dean: The rest are standard issue human. Everybody shares the same things, so you look at that. It's like the same thing. Many of the same things are there.
So, part of what your, when you start to look at it, is what would it look like to take one ideal candidate and do that for them and document everything that you're doing that that becomes kind of content as well, that that could become the way that you are communicating with, sharing your vision or the way that you do things in a way of gathering the audience of people to do that.
Now, you may be able to facilitate a weekend workshop or something that would be valuable in itself, as an interim step of something. If you did a three-day weekend or a two-day weekend where people could come and learn and have that kind of a discussion in a small group or whatever the right size would be.
Jody: Yeah. Would love that. Yeah.
Dean: That you can share that kind of thing. Is that something that would fit for you?
Jody: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I would love to do that because at the end of the day, that just provides so much value and so much satisfaction to do that and without a doubt, I would love doing that.
Dean: Yes. Okay. So, that maybe is the kind of thing that would be a good first step. Now, you may have with all of the people who are on there, most of the people are parents or grandparents that you … How often do you communicate with that, with the people that you have in your Infusionsoft list?
Jody: I mean, we do really well when they first buy the book, right?
Jody: So, we have them on a drip for a couple weeks. "Hey, here's our Facebook. Hey, here's our YouTube. Hey, here's our … Hey! We're …" Just value, value, value. We don't really ask them to do anything else. Then, after that, we may put them on a campaign that we kind of cobbled together and that's about it. I mean, it's spotty, man. It's really spotty.
Dean: So, I think part of what would be really valuable for you is to have a rhythm of a weekly email that goes out every single week that is valuable content or inspiration or all of the kinds of things that would be helpful. That rhythm, doing that at least kind of once a week, gives you then the baseline for a relationship that they know who you are and they like you because you are giving them valuable information. Over time, they start to trust and you're demonstrating that you're here for the long run kind of thing, right?
Jody: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Dean: Like you're the thing. Let's face it. The people that are in this world, it's not an acute onset thing, right?
Jody: Right. Yeah.
Dean: That they're going to go through and then, they're going to lose interest in the topic or, you know?
Jody: Yeah, yeah.
Dean: These people are in this for the long term. So, every piece of valuable insight and help that you can provide is going to be valuable.
Is there anybody who is building what would be the leading kind of support community in the autism community?
Jody: No. You know what's interesting? So, there are politically-based organizations, right?
Jody: That are lobbying for change, lobbying for … There's two kinds of groups. One that is, "Hey, let's find a cure." The other one is, "Hey, we're just different. Accept us for who we are." So, there's a little bit of a polarization. Then, there's the large autism associations that are trying to, "Hey, you know, let's put together some kind of, you know, support," but there's no one that really is out there saying, "Hey, here's kind of a lifelong management system," or, "Here's some tools." I don't know if that exactly answered your question, Dean.
Dean: No, no. That's kind of what I was asking is who is the … One of the other side questions that we ask about your during unit is, in selecting your target audience is, who do you want to be a hero to, right?
Dean: So, is anybody out there with the intention of being a hero to the parents of autistic children? That alone, that kind of mindset, if you're thinking about that, regardless of the individual commercial viability of it is the intention of, that this is the purpose is to support and encourage the parents, right?
Jody: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Dean: And give them the support and tools that they needed to take kind of a proactive approach to things, right?
Jody: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Dean: Rather than just kind of resign themselves to, that they're different. But and so a lot of that is when you start to look at what are the things if you just take the view of one family with an autistic child, what are all of the things that go into that? If you look at what are the things that, if you said something about verbalizing or about talking and there specialists and protocols and methods or ways of making that a possibility for someone or guiding towards that or improving their chances of that or things that parents can do to increase the chances that that's going to happen?
Jody: Absolutely. So, I mean, so the three main areas, really are speech, social skills, and sensitivity to stimulus. So, all of these are things that can be done in all those three main areas to help a child with autism.
Dean: That's perfect. That's what I was looking for is the context of what that is and just like you said, that that, the macro of speech, is going to be a line or a gradient from completely non … That that's not a possibility all the way up to the level that Tyler's reached, right?
Jody: Yeah. Right.
Dean: Where he can get up and speak to a thousand people, that would be a dream come true for parents. Right?
So, if there's a way that you can clearly articulate what the outcome could be or what the outcome that they're seeking, that's the way to start that dialogue. I always point to … There's examples on Amazon right now, there's an author who writes books about photography. They're very descriptive about what the outcome that you're trying to accomplish. The author has a book called Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs.
Jody: That's awesome, dude. Yeah.
Dean: Then, he's got another book called Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs of People.
Jody: That's brilliant.
Dean: Right. Then, another book called Read This if You Want to Take Great Photographs of Places. For a photography book, there's not a picture on the cover. All it is is the big words with a plain-colored cover. So, all you see on the book is Read This if You Want to Take Great Photographs of Places. That really is specifically attractive to people that that's what they really want to do.
So, if you're thinking about that idea of how can you get a title or some indication that this is what the outcome that you're proposing for them. And so, when you look at for speech, what there might be some specific words that would be most appealing to that.
So, the model, which one of those would you be able to have the most impact with in terms of the, you would have the highest confidence level in producing a transformation for someone, if you were to say speech or social or the sensitivities? Which one would you be able to have an immediately kind of transformative impact?
Jody: Yeah. I think definitely in the social skills and sensitivity area. Speech is such a complex area, right?
Jody: And social skills, which also then related to confidence so yeah, those-
Dean: And they build.
Jody: … would be the areas.
Dean: They build on each other, right?
Jody: Exactly. Exactly.
Dean: That one would start with the other? Okay.
Jody: Yes. You don't need to talk if you don't have anybody to talk to, right?
Jody: You need social skills.
Jody: Sorry. Go ahead.
Dean: It's one of the things that you could look for. Is there a, and I use this word, I talk about them as a magic trick. Like, I look at that so people, they see something, and it's just amazing what happens.
In my world, one of the things that I often lead with to teach people is the nine-word email. That, in anybody's business, we can deploy a nine-word email. It seems like a magic trick that, out of nowhere, we're building new business and new engagement from people who have been dormant or a dead leads kind of thing, right?
Dean: So, they're always amazed with that. Encouraged to now, now that they've got people engaged in a dialog, now they're interested in hearing about, "Well, what do I say now that they're responding? Where do I go from there," because it's just the beginning. It opens up the whole possibility there.
So, again, I don't know about autism, but is there anything that would be like a fast-acting social engagement process that you could do or something about sensitivities or something that could, with a high probability of success in a quick period of time produce a result that would be encouraging to the parents that that would just be like a relief and give them a sense of hope, you know?
Jody: Yeah. The answer is yes. Tyler actually teaches a breathing technique and then there also is a specific fidget. They do something with their hands that helps them with their stimulus. So, those would be two areas.
Dean: Okay. Maybe that is an interesting place to start to teach that in a way that gets the attention of the person, the parent to at least kind of listen to what's going on, to see that, "Wow! That kind of worked," or, "That seemed like … That was really helpful. What else have they … Who is this person? What else do they have to say?" Because when you were talking about the book, the title of the book, it didn't seem to me that I knew what that was about. It wasn't the same as Read This if You Want to Take Great Pictures of Places, right?
Jody: Right. Yeah.
Dean: They're clearly overt thing. That's going to be an important part of it, you know?
Jody: Yeah. I think you're spot on on that. Yeah.
Dean: Is being able to clearly articulate. So, if you were to say, "You know, starting out with these things, if you even did just a series of workshops, even just telephone workshops like webinars." If you were to say one of these sensitivity things, can you share in 90 seconds or two minutes, just so I get a sense of what you're talking about, what something that somebody could do?
Jody: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So, you want me to do that now or do you want me to-
Dean: Yeah, yeah. No, I want to, so we can use it as an example to build on.
Jody: Yeah. Absolutely. So, from a sensitivity perspective, one of the exercises that you can do, depending on how your child reacts to touch, there's really two different ways to do it. One, the ability to hug your child but not hug them in a way … You kind of have to hug them so that it becomes an entire upper body experience, like if you hug from the side or if you hug with uneven pressure, that actually will trigger a meltdown but if you hug in a specific way, you're going to find that, over time, that will start to desensitize. So, that would be one of the techniques that I could demonstrate.
Another one would be a breathing technique that Tyler uses by using his fingers. He will just move his pinkie, then the second one, then the third one as he's breathing. It really helped him. It's a combination of the breathing and that moving of the fingers. It takes the concentration off whatever's causing the potential meltdown, which is a big deal in autism, and focuses it on breathing and on sensory, and then that basically prevents the meltdown.
So, those are two techniques that not only desensitize, they're kind of immediate go-tos when you know, this is not going to be a good situation in about 10 seconds.
Dean: Yes. That's great. That's crystal clear. So, what I would do in this kind of situation like this, is I would take that idea, this something that's going to diffuse an imminent meltdown. I would create what I call a word pallet where I would spend some amount of time. I may spend 50 minutes on just thinking about the words that somebody would use to describe the events, the emotions, the feelings, the scenarios that these meltdowns happen in just to get me in that mode of what is everybody afraid of, what are they really feeling, what are the emotions that come of this? Are they frustrated? Are they embarrassed? Are they mortified? Are they anxious? All of the words that would make up the emotional pallet of what's going on here, just as a painter would mix the paints in to represent the tone of the painting that they're about to paint, right?
Jody: Mm, mm-hmm. Yeah, yeah.
Dean: If they're going to make a bright, happy meadow, they're going to mix colors that are bright and happy. If they're going to paint a stormy sea, they're going to get dark, ominous colors, right?
Jody: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Dean: So, all of the combination of those emotional words will be able to draw from the idea of creating a sentence of, just a statement of 8 or 10 words that are going to really get the attention in a positive way of the parent, you know?
Dean: The person who can implement this, so they know what's happening here. So, that's why I say an amazing nine-word email that revives dead leads. You know exactly what that's about, right.
Jody: Mm-hmm. Yeah, yeah. Yup. Mm-hmm.
Dean: If you have a 10-second meltdown method that stops meltdowns or whatever. That kind of thing that somebody could say, "I'm listening. Tell me more about that." Then, painting the scenario and showing people what to do in a situation like that, which may be then a lead into a conversation about a workshop or a program or a book or whatever level you have of this for those specific things that the sensitivity playbook or whatever the things are that it's around that. So, if you can …
Yeah. It seems like the progression order would probably be the sensitivities are like the baseline things. If you can get those under control, then they can move to the social things and-
Jody: Exactly right.
Dean: … then to the conversation things. So, you see the kind of progress that we're making already-
Dean: … in setting up the context of this, that if you give people a map of the territory that they can relate to in maybe a way that they haven't thought about how all the pieces fit together, because they're so caught up in the territory. They're so caught up in the meltdowns that they don't see the bigger context of all of it.
Jody: Yeah. No, you're spot on. You're absolutely right. Yup. And, that's the trap I'm in, right?
Jody: I'm going through, "Okay. Well, I'm dealing with context or dealing with, okay, here's the trees but I'm not looking at that forest."
Dean: Yes. That's exactly right.
So, that is, I think, a wonderful opportunity there to take the big picture of all of this that to know that the vastness of the community is … How many people does this affect in the United States or globally or how do you see it?
Jody: Yeah. Currently, in the US, there's 2.4 million children. So, and then globally, I don't have that figure of what it is because we primarily just been concentrating on the US market but yeah, that's the scope.
Dean: Yeah. So, you start to think about that two million. The reality is that taking this scope of even though it's something that can help 2.4 million people potentially, you've only scratched the surface with even the 40,000 is just a dent in that, right?
Jody: Yeah. Yeah, not even a rounding error. Yeah.
Dean: Right, right. Then, you start to think, "Well, what if we just kind of narrowed our focus to Seattle initially," to say that this is where you can have the biggest impact sort of thing.
Jody: Which then allows to do a weekend workshop or whatever that may be, right?
Dean: Yes. That's what I mean. Yes.
Jody: Then, that provides a platform to say, "Oh! Hey, okay. We've learned some stuff here. Here's how we can duplicate that." Yeah. That's interesting. Yup.
Dean: Mm-hmm. Yeah, because then you can really start to see overall how much could you help the families and you really get to see them and you get to have that kind of thing. It's almost like you make Seattle the shining light of what's going on in the autism world, because that's the thing. I'd heard there's really an interesting thing, the choice of, in the past, before the internet and before the ability to reach everybody from wherever you are, you had to be a torch bearer, right?
Dean: Where you had to light the fire here in Seattle. Then, you had to take the torch and go to Portland. Then, you had to go down to make your way all over and light the fire all individually but now, you get the change to kind of stay in Seattle and be a lighthouse that you can light that and everybody can turn to Seattle and see the light from there because you can broadcast. You can live stream. You can podcast. You can do all of that stuff all right there in your back yard and reach all of the audience, you know?
Jody: Mm-hmm, uh-huh.
Dean: Yeah, but it starts with being … It's where you can have the biggest impact there as well because that will allow you to experiment and start to see well, what if you created things that you created and facilitated training programs for teaching assistance for-
Jody: Yeah. Like train the trainer programs. Yeah. Yeah.
Dean: Yes, exactly. Where somebody could be a certified this, that you're kind of leading the way on this.
Jody: Yeah. That's a great idea, too. Yeah.
Dean: Yeah. That's the difference between if you're looking at something as a potential market to enter to have something or you're looking at something as your potentially life's work, you know?
Jody: Uh-huh, uh-huh.
Dean: Is that market, is that the group of people and the cause that you want to put yourself behind?
Dean: You know, taking a 25 year time frame on this or framework. Just think about the impact that you could have like that, you know?
Jody: Yeah. Well, it could ultimately fulfill that vision that Tyler has, so yeah.
Dean: Mm-hmm. Which is amazing.
Jody: Yeah. There's no doubt. Yeah. He's an amazing young man, that's for sure.
Dean: Yeah. There's a book that I would recommend in terms of thinking about building this community, too, called The Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren. He's the guy that we talked about megachurches actually earlier. He's the guy that started the Saddleback-
Jody: Oh, right. Yeah. The-
Dean: … megachurch in California. So, it tells the whole story of the entire thing, like his vision of when he was in seminary, thinking that he didn't want to be a pastor that would move around every three of four years and get a different church of two to 400 people. He wanted to go somewhere once and grow something. He wanted to start a church and grow it for 25 years or more, you know?
Jody: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Dean: And so, choosing the right area of Orange County being the area, so all the intentional stuff where he talks about how he was led to Southern California. I just think there's so many lessons in the way that he went about this. If you even take out the fact that it's a church that he was building but just think about that as building a community. That's really what is transferrable. Starting with what you've got. I mean, they started the church in his living room. That was really the thing with 15 people and just kept growing and growing and growing. That's how he created a movement like that. That's I think what you could really do is start that way but all the while looking for how can we identify a specific problem or challenge or opportunity and package the solution for that or the protocol for it and document how so other people could get that result.
If you think about that meltdown diffusing situation, that if you … Right now, it's sort of folklore, the way it's passed on right now. I don't know whether you've documented or created a step-by-step like, this is how you do that.
Jody: Yeah. No. Yeah.
Dean: Right now, it's all told by anecdotally-
Jody: That's true. Yeah.
Dean: … you're telling the story. It's about identifying those and documenting and then documenting the outcomes that people are having, right?
Jody: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Dean: As case studies in a way, so that people can identify crystal clearly, instead of how to read this if you want to take great photographs of people, to say, "Read this if your child has meltdowns from loud noises," or whatever triggers them. If you think about if you take the sensitivities, it's going to be to noise or touch or light or dark, right?
Jody: Yup. Mm-hmm.
Dean: So, you look at those things as the contexts of it. Then, there are many... You know?
Dean: I think that's-
Jody: No. Yeah. Absolutely. Well, I mean, for me, that really, those are the key takeaways, right?
Jody: Which is one family. I think oftentimes, I just get caught up in the globalness of it versus-Just pretty much talking to a person, I'm trying to figure out how to help them so provide a solution, and then be able to say, "Okay, well, hay. I kind of told you this and I don't always but hey, here's a checklist," right?
Jody: "Here's a list of things to do. Oh, and by the way, you know, other people really found it and here's their story and maybe that will help you, too."
Dean: That's exactly right.
Jody: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense that I can see how I haven't been doing that so that's … Yeah, that can definitely create a breakthrough, no doubt.
Dean: Mm-hmm. It's almost like you have the chance to even the way you document those things to almost create, if you did a podcast or videos. You could almost create a reality show kind of element-
Jody: Oh, that's interesting. Yeah.
Dean: … about this where you follow a group of Seattle parents of autistic children that would be representative of the different, the levels on the spectrum that somebody might be able to relate to the shy, quiet one or the one that's loud and rambunctious or that somebody would be able to find their child in those characteristics and you are really helping a lot of people that way.
Jody: Yeah. I mean, what a great idea, too, because that is so relatable. You get to one-off folks that are sharing their story, which is excellent but it is just one person where you could feel the broad spectrum but more importantly, not just the documentation of the day in the life but it's, "Hey. Here's how the day in the life is affected by things that really are meaningful," or, "Here's the strategies and here's what that looks like or what the effects were of that." Yeah. That's cool.
Dean: Yes. Those are the kind of things that … Man, there's probably … I don't know whether your intention or the way that you have the business structured is as a for-profit business or whether it's a non-profit or whatever it is. I kind of think you probably have the biggest impact with the for-profit business. Yeah.
Jody: Yeah. It's definitely a for-profit enterprise. There's no doubt about it. We could use more of the for-profit part.
Dean: We're all for it, if we could just find it, yeah.
Jody: Exactly. We're for that profit and we talk about it. We're not opposed.
Dean: Oh, that's funny.
Jody: Yeah. So, but no. You're absolutely right. That's good stuff.
Dean: So, tell me how has everything that we kind of talked about landed here? It went so quickly but enough to hear kind of the context of what you heard here.
Jody: Yeah. So, for me, I really think that your whole concept of, we really have to look at this during unit, which is okay. What are we actually giving them? Let's just get into reality and I think, when I take a look at our products, we actually dance around that. We eventually answer it but we don't do it in a way that really is systematic and clear, like what the title for the photography book, right?
Jody: Which is just brilliant. Read This If You Want to blank, right?
Jody: One of the products called Questions about Autism, Answers that Work, but we don't ever say, "Well, hey. This is the exact question we're answering." So, that's kind of an important distinction that, for whatever reason I missed to tell you you have calls like this and go, "Oh, wow! Yeah. That's exactly right."
So, by being specific, I think that's a big deal. The other thing is being very, very clear about the outcome and that outcome really is about, okay, what is the greatest, what's the number one thing, that if I could solve this today for this family, that would have the greatest impact on them?
Then once I have that, then it's just a matter of, "Okay. How can we just document that solution?" Then, once I've documented the solution, then it's a matter of saying, "Okay. Here's how you implement step by step and then here's how other people have implemented it and then you just keep multiplying it, right?
Jody: You just keep sharing that with others.
Dean: That's it, because once it's out of your head and into digital form or documented, now somebody else can learn how to do it and they can teach other people how to do it.
Jody: That's it exactly.
Dean: But you've identified the protocol, or together with experts or together with … This is where you could act really as the lead investigator or the lead, where you go and seek out the people that are helping solve the practical issues of parenting a child with autism or the challenges of being a family affected by this, and bring those to everybody. If you look at it from the 25 year framework, there's so much impact that you could make like this.
Jody: That's really the way that you need to look at it because if you look at all of the generation that we have coming and that is quite frankly already here, like in the case of Tyler, I mean, you can make a generational change in that.
I think the other real takeaway for me, too, is just really getting back to the simplicity of it. Your concept of the word pallet is excellent because that's also the ability to visualize that and just say, "Hey, okay. We'll spend 50 minutes. Just come up with all the words. Then, you can kind of figure out how to put them together." At least the words give you the pallet, the hey, let's be happy or this is a sad. It's not so much happy/sad. It's the tone, right?
Jody: It's how are they feeling? So, that way you can speak to that.
Then, the other thing that I just really loved out of it is I think we really do spend so much time thinking globally, thinking US that, you know what, in the old days, that's exactly right. You basically had to set up your stage locally and invited some people and then you're like, "Wow. This worked pretty good. I'm going to go to Portland." That is the way it was done and I think that I'd lost that focus thinking that, "Well, why would people travel to the West Coast?"
But when you look at it numbers-wise. I even just went back to my LinkedIn and just looked at … See, there's over 2,000 people that are just in kind of my network in Washington. All of a sudden, kind of like, "Well, like why am I do this a year ago? That probably would have been a good idea." But that's what occurred to me in that that I'm spending so much time and you gave the analogy of the stadium, right?
Jody: You spend so much time thinking about the stadium that all I ever think about the person sitting in seat 9D and what they care about. That's what I need to be focusing on. Those are my major takeaways. I mean, there's so much more but those would be the highlights, I guess.
Dean: Awesome. Well, I really enjoyed our conversation, Jody. It's such a great, refreshing … I think it's awesome what you're doing. I'm glad to been able to have the conversation with you.
Jody: Well, Dean, again, I genuinely appreciate your time. I mean, you've been an icon really in this industry and, again, just the work that you do with Joe and Dan in the past. I just appreciate you taking the time and lending your process to what really is pretty unique, the way that you approached, I think really speaks to just your process and how it can literally apply to every business. So, because I think if there was ever a challenging call for you to apply your method to, this would be it. So, well done.
Dean: This is great. Yeah.
Jody: Super cool. Yeah. Super cool.
Dean: Awesome. I appreciate that.
Jody: Thank you, again. All right. Take care.
Dean: Thanks, Jody. Bye.
Jody: Talk to you later. Yeah. Bye.
Dean: There we have it. Another great episode. I really enjoyed that conversation. You can see how so much of anything that you're doing is going to be helped by taking a 25-year vision or framework of what you're trying to accomplish. If that's something that the business that you're in is not something that you want to be in for the next 25 years or the market is not someone that you want to serve for the next 25 years, that helps guide your thinking as well. It kind of helps you think what is the time frame that we're looking at here. You want to get as clear a picture of what the end result that you're looking to create is and that gives you the really framework to think through the context of how do we set up this business to be successful? Whatever that means to you. So, I really enjoyed having that conversation.
If you want to continue the conversation here, you can go to MoreCheeseLessWhiskers.com. You can download a copy of the More Cheese Less Whiskers book. If you'd like to be a guess on the show, just click on the Be a Guest link. Tell me a little bit about your business and maybe we can get together and build a plan for your business. Good place to start thinking about the eight profit activators is with our profit activator scorecard. You can go online and take the profit activator scorecard at ProfitActivatorScore.com and see where the eight profit activators are either growing or slowing your business right now. You get a lot of insight into where the opportunities are and what might be holding you back right now. So, check that out at ProfitActivatorScore.com. That's it for this week. Have a great week, and I will talk to you soon.