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How To Build Relationships and Be Successful at Podcasting With John Corcoran

John Corcoran

John Corcoran is a recovering attorney, author, and former White House writer and speechwriter to the Governor of California. Throughout his career, John has worked in Hollywood, the heart of Silicon Valley, and ran his own boutique law firm in the San Francisco Bay Area catering to small business owners and entrepreneurs. As the host of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast since 2012, he has interviewed hundreds of CEOs, founders, authors, and entrepreneurs, from Peter Diamandis and Adam Grant to Gary Vaynerchuk and Marie Forleo.

John is also the Co-founder of Rise25, a company that connects B2B businesses with their ideal clients, referral partners, and strategic partners. They help their clients generate ROI through their done-for-you podcast service.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • What’s a recovering attorney?

  • The value of building relationships

  • John’s experience working at the White House

  • What John learned from meeting three presidential candidates

  • John’s process for writing his three books

  • How to be successful at podcasting

  • Leveraging podcasts to make connections and build relationships

  • Did Rob Lowe play John Corcoran on TV?

In this episode…

The podcasting industry, valued at more than $23 billion has experienced nonstop growth over the past few years. And it is expected to experience an annual growth of nearly 30% by 2030. But still, many hosts in the industry struggle to keep their podcasts afloat. So, as a podcaster, how can you make your podcast a success?

Having a successful podcast takes more than getting the right equipment and setup. John Corcoran, three-time author and former White House writer, believes it entails building the right relationships and taking the time to nurture them over time. It also boils down to proper time management and etiquette when dealing with busy people. At the start, doing things alone can seem like a great idea to save money. But as your podcast grows, you’ll find that it’s more valuable and efficient to get professionals to handle the different moving parts that make up a full episode production.

In this episode of The Tao of Pizza Podcast, Mark Hiddleson speaks with John Corcoran, the Co-founder of Rise25, about what it’s like behind the scenes of podcasting. John discusses the value of building relationships, what he learned from meeting three presidential candidates, and how to be successful at podcasting.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode:

This episode is brought to you by Specialized Storage Solutions Inc.


I have been in the logistics and storage industry for several decades. I know I don’t look that old, but it's true.

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I will even give you my personal email address for podcast listeners, so email me at if you’re ready to take your warehouse storage and retrieval systems to the next level.

Episode Transcript:

Intro 0:00

Welcome to The Tao of Pizza where we feature top logistics leaders, entrepreneurs, and supply chain innovators and share their inspiring stories with a holistic twist.

Mark Hiddleson 0:16

Mark Hiddleson here host of The Tao of Pizza podcast where I talk with top industry innovators in warehousing logistics, and supply chain business with a holistic twist. Before introducing today's guest, this episode is brought to you by specialized storage solutions. Now, I've been in the logistics and storage industry for several decades is always hard for me to believe, but it's true. We provide industry-leading warehouse storage solutions nationwide. So basically, if you have a warehouse that needs racks, shelving cards, conveyors, or mezzanines, we help with design engineering installations, inspections, and repairs to help clients optimize their logistics operations. And John is funny sometimes don't even realize we can help with permit acquisition services. So we take a holistic look at your entire business supply chain ecosystem to develop the resources for continually improving your operation. To learn more, visit our website at or give us a call at 707-732-3892. And I even give my personal email out to podcast listeners. So you can always email me at And if you're ready to take your warehouse storage and retrieval systems to the next level.

Mark Hiddleson 1:37

As one more thing I want to do before introducing John is to give a big thank you to Srinivas Rao. He was an awesome guest for us on the podcast. He's done over 1000 podcast interviews himself on his own podcast, Unmistakable Creative, and go check out Srinivas' episode on The Tao of Pizza. And Srinivas deserves credit for introducing me to today's guests through his podcast. I connected with John after listening to his interview for the Unmistakable Creative podcast. You can check it out at So today, we're joined by John Corcoran. John is a recovering attorney, writer, author, father of four, and a former Clinton White House writer and speechwriter to the Governor of California. Throughout his career, John has worked in Hollywood, the heart of Silicon Valley, and ran his own boutique law firm in the San Francisco Bay Area catering to small business owners and entrepreneurs. He's the author of three books about relationship building and client acquisition and has written for Forbes, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Life Hacker, the San Francisco Chronicle, and basically anywhere else, so let him he's been the host of the Smart Business Revolution podcast since 2012. Through this, he's interviewed hundreds of CEOs, founders, authors, and entrepreneurs, from Peter Diamandis and Adam Grant to Gary Vaynerchuk and Marie Forleo. John, welcome to The Tao of Pizza.

John Corcoran 2:59

Such an honour to be here and shout out to Srinivas who before Unmistakable Creative had Blogcast FM, which he then rebranded. But that was one of the first podcast I ever listened to probably about 2007 2008 time period, stuff like that. And then being a guest on his podcast was such an honor, because he created this beautiful custom artwork for each of the guests that he had on and he just, he'd interviewed everyone that I wanted to interview. So it was really such an honor to be a guest on the show. And it brought us together because we connected through that. So it's great. Yeah,

Mark Hiddleson 3:31

We really did. And I when I listened to that I was a podcast doubter. I was working with a coach at a time and he had recommended podcast, and I'm going to ask you a question about this later. So don't jump on him. Like I don't have time to podcast. And I have a thing if my coach sends me something, you know, he's trying to get me out of my comfort zone anyway. So I'll try anything. I'll tell you I was it made a believer because I saw and I was thinking podcasts are just entertainment, or it's just, you know, everything I thought it was I didn't know. Right. And it was just a great way I connected with you because the the title of yours was networking. And it was really cool. artwork. And like, oh, networking. I'm passionate about networking. So I'll listen to this. And then yeah, it was great. We connect I think that was about six or seven years ago.

John Corcoran 4:25

That yeah, yeah. At least at least Yeah. But it's such an honour to be just was so full circle for me because the his original podcast was a podcast about blogging, it was blog cast. And so he interviewed all these like bloggers, basically. And, yeah, but it was it was definitely one of the very early podcasts that I listened to.

Mark Hiddleson 4:46

Yeah, and I was impressed when I had listened to when I first got involved. He said that he had done like, 700 he's done over 1000 interviews now. And when I started my podcast, I was like, Well, okay, 1000 I'm doing two a week. So One a week, that's 50 a year. And then I'm like, oh, it's gonna take me 20 years. I'm like, That is a lot of interviews. Yeah,

John Corcoran 5:07

yeah, it can take a little while. Yeah. So

Mark Hiddleson 5:11

yeah, that's awesome. So I love part of your, your bio. And I've heard this before we share a little bit about what you mean by recovering, recovering attorney,

John Corcoran 5:23

I just use that because it's kind of memorable. And also, once an attorney, you're kind of always an attorney. You're always like nitpicking little things and stuff like that. And actually, I feel like I need to be aware of that. Because that, especially in like, the podcast realm, which is obviously what we do now has been more of a liability than an asset, you know, because I mean, just to kind of transition to the conversation about podcasting. Like what I found when I started podcasting is that I applied the same, incredibly high standard that I applied to the work that I did for a client to doing the podcast. And that cognition always gets in the way of actually shipping something getting it done. And so I my first couple years doing a podcast talking about you to take 20 years to do 1000 episodes, it wouldn't take me 100 years do 1000 episodes, because I was doing like a handful of them. I like I realised I liked doing the interviews, but I was like doing the show notes myself and just, you know meticulous about it and taking too much time. And once I shed that, once I got away from that I liberated myself and I realised that I don't have to hold the podcast to as quite as high a standard as the end deliverable that I provide for the clients, which obviously, I still hold to a high standard, then it liberated me and it made me realise that the podcast is about having a conversation. And that's what Srini does. That's what you do with your podcast. Now. It's my business partner Jerry does with his podcast, it's about building a relationship. And you know, relationships don't need don't need absolute perfection, because about just having a conversation with someone. Yeah, the

Mark Hiddleson 7:02

I read this thing of doing my end of year beginning of the year exercise, and there were some Japanese principles. And one of them was, things are more beautiful if they're a little broken, and you put some gold in there and polish it. And so the things that are perfect, especially in relationships, when they're, you know, when things don't go exactly as planned, and that's what a relationship is, is kind of figuring out

John Corcoran 7:24

how well yeah, I mean, how many times do you have like a surface level, you know, relationship with someone, it's guy, how you doing? I was going, Oh, everything's great, you know, that kind of thing. And then sometimes someone lets their guard down, you know, or they lower those barriers, and they're raw, and they're open, and they're honest, and they're like, I'm hurting right now. Or, you know, I lost a parent or, you know, something, whatever my business is struggling, you know, and then that really opens an opportunity for you to get to know them on a deeper level, not to mention, like, be helpful in some way, make an introduction, or roll your sleeves up and help them. And so yeah, I totally agree. Like, you know, and I think one of the reasons that I like this medium is because it gives us the opportunity to break new ground in a relationship in a way that a normal conversation wouldn't happen, because we it gives us licence to ask some questions that might get the other person to open up a little bit more than they would in a normal one on one conversation.

Mark Hiddleson 8:23

Yeah. And I've even asked some questions that later I thought, oh, man, I was making some assumptions when I asked that question, and then follow that up later. And I've asked, you know, I had a client who was ex-military. And when he was on the podcast, I asked him, you know, what did you do to get healthy? When you when you got back? Because he's been a friend of mine for a long time. And I know he worked on it. And then I thought, wow, I made a lot of assumptions that so I call them. And he said, No, he said, it was a great question. He goes, he shocked me, he said, but I'm glad you asked that question. So it actually deepen the relationship. I thought maybe something would be like, This guy's never gonna talk to me again. Because, yeah, but it actually made the relationship quite a bit stronger. Yeah.

John Corcoran 9:08

And, you know, I mean, that's, that comes with the territory with the medium, right? Like your obligation is not just for yourself, but it's also for the listeners to ask questions that people are curious about, you know, and and I don't ever want someone to think that this is like gotcha journalism on my podcast that I'm going to like, make them feel really uncomfortable or that I'm going to try and catch them in a lie or something like that. But I definitely think that it can be really eye opening in a conversation to make observations to draw connections, maybe can even connections about the guests that they haven't made before or haven't had the opportunity to talk about openly. I think those things are definitely fair game, and it's going to help to open up some really interesting discussions for the purposes of the listener and it's also going to bond yields together in a better way.

Mark Hiddleson 10:03

So I in that being something I really wanted to ask you about, and I've heard a little, you know, bits and pieces, but I wanted to hear more about your years working in, in the Clinton administration, because that's something that fascinate me. It was one of the reasons I wanted to reach out to you. And the other was you are local. And this is funny. I have to before I ask you about Bill Clinton, we got to give Jeremy a huge shout out because through you, and we've really connected one of the reasons I wanted to connect with you off Sring he says you're a local guy here, Bay Area. I'm in the Bay Area. And I'm thought we can meet for a cup of coffee. It's been six or seven years we've met plays when we met in San Diego we met in Santa Barbara. We've never met and Moran but I have met Jeremy who's in Chicago. I just so happens I was in Chicago, and we had a steak dinner. So I want to give a shout out to Jeremy he's been on my podcast. He's great. You're great business partner. But share share a little bit about the Clinton like what was it like to work with White House?

John Corcoran 11:10

Yeah, first of all, we're gonna have to get a drink some time or lunch or something somewhere in between? So like Shelbyville? I guess? I don't know, like so. So are those in between the two of us? But um, yeah, I mean, it was an amazing opportunity. So I, while I was in college, I started I did the White House internship programme, and I just applied through regular channels. I ended up being in the White House, speech writing office. It was the fall of 1997. Long time ago. Now it was it was actually right before the Monica Lewinsky scandal. And it was really interesting. We were basically like a full time employee, the White House, at least at that time, really heavily leaned upon, basically free labour interns that were getting academic credit, as kind of additional staff, you know, the, you know, in spite of what you might read in some news outlets, the federal government operates and does have limited resources for certain things and, and the White House is always kind of usually pretty careful about making the resources go as far as they can. So they have a large it when I was there, maybe 400 interns or something just for like a three months semester period. And in every office around the White House. So my roommate at the time, while I was interning there he was in the National Economic Council, I believe it was he was his actual office was in the west wing on the upper level, like above the Oval Office, I go and visit him all the time, we were in what's called the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is right across. It's part of the complex, but it's a big building that's next to the West Wing. And I'd go over there to the West Wing to deliver things to Betty curry, which who was President Clinton's assistant for various different things. And I was around the president during that time when I was interning and I even actually wrote a speech that he delivered in the East Wing of the White House, sorry, the East Room of the White House, which was amazing, like standing in the back of the room with a couple of my other intern friends who'd read the speech and who was like, elbowing me when they heard lines that he said, and just so it's just an incredible experience, and just kind of being around there. And what it really did for me is it inspired me because I was around all these just a level players like these incredible achievers, you know, flash forward 25 years, many of them are in Congress. Now many of them had been heads of various different companies, CEOs, I saw one of them who worked for for the President, who's who was one of the keynote speakers at a conference that I attended in Seattle earlier this year. So it's just an incredible achievers, and it just kind of really inspired me to, to want to achieve more being around that kind of environment. And then it ended up getting so I ended up going back to college, graduating from college, and I kept in touch with some of the speech writers and ended up hearing about a job as a writer. And I'd been an English major I was interested in doing writing. And so I got a job, as I kind of jokingly say, was like a second tier speech writer. I was a writer and presidential letters and messages. We wrote all the stuff the speeches basically didn't want to write. So video scripts, proclamations, things like that. And, and I did that for a couple of years at the tail end of the Clinton administration before coming back to California, which I wanted to I wanted to come back to California because I missed my family and his friends and stuff like that. And becoming a speechwriter for the governor of California. So yeah, it was it was an amazing ride. I also was paid dirt like literally hardly anything. I couldn't even afford to buy myself a winter coat. My dad flew out and visited that first fall when I was there and bought me a winter coat because it was freezing my butt off in California kid doesn't know that there's a distinction between different kinds of coats. You know, to me like a coat is a coat. Yeah, there are different kinds of coats. And so yeah, it was just an amazing experience.

Mark Hiddleson 14:59

Yeah, yeah, I can never complain about the weather. We have clients in the Midwest, Iowa, Ohio, Indianapolis. And then I'm like, yeah, it's it's cold here. It's it's 14. already. Yeah. So that's a great, that's a great story. And what an experience to work with the President. And isn't he famous for being? Like a world class networker?

John Corcoran 15:30

Yeah. So um, so I've been fortunate to meet three presidents. Now, I met a lot of other presidential candidates, they got pictures for those who are watching this video behind me, be with Obama, me with Biden and me with Clinton, this picture in the corner over here is me with my dad and my brother. Right as I was leaving the White House. And that was a really cool story. Because when you depart the White House, at least at that time, some of them please, you could put in a request to come down and watch the president record the historic radio address, which at that time, he would record in the Oval Office. And then they would play it on on the radio across the United States, something that I think FDR had started. And so like friends and staffers in like Hollywood celebrities, and like members of Congress that would come and gather around there, and then afterwards, they would shake hands and take a picture. And it could all happen really quickly. But I'd been given a heads up, a friend of mine had said, you know, if you bring a gift, he's more likely to stop and talk to you. And so that's what we did. And it was this was this 99 That this was no 2000 was when this was, and things had just transitioned from VHS to DVD. And we knew that President Clinton was a big western movie guy. And so we bought him a couple of Western movies on DVD, and then we put a bow on them, and you can still see what it was. And then we brought them with us. And then you know, we go down he does, he comes in, reads it really quickly, and then starts doing the pictures. And it's just a picture, picture, picture picture and all these people just running through them really quickly. And then he gets to us. And we just like hand him the DVDs. And like Mr. President, we heard you got a DVD player, we got you these. And he stops and has, like, I don't you know, I can't remember now. But it's like, it seemed like it was like forever, like a five minute conversation with us about old western movies. My dad was a movie critic for a bunch of years and just could you know, talk about this stuff. My brother and I had nothing to contribute to the conversation because like, no but old westerns. But it was an amazing moment. And I say that to people because we all have someone who's the equivalent in our industry, like the unachievable untouchable, like the, the person that we want to connect with. And we don't even realise that there's probably something within our power that we can do that will make them stop and give us the time of day and to have a conversation and be grateful in some small way to something that we did. And if I can do that, standing in the halls of power, standing right in front of the resolute desk in the Oval Office, then you can do that as well. You can find whatever that that thing is, and just that little gesture, that little nice thing can really go a long way. Of course now, I mean, I think that doing a podcast is a gift, your gift, you're giving people the gift of exposure tension, you know, your own curiosity about them. So I obviously believe that doing podcasts is one way of doing that. But there are many other ways as well. And so that's why I tell that story to people. And

Mark Hiddleson 18:29

I love the other thing I love about that story. You got a little bit of insider Intel. So to me, you have to be you have to be reading you have to be listening for that. But then you took action on it. It looks right, right, like I'm gonna get a gift but the President's really gonna make a difference. I mean, you you got the inside until then he did the next step. And I was kind of laughing because what would somebody do if you gave him some DVDs? Right?

John Corcoran 18:57

Exactly. Exactly. If you look on eBay, some of those things still sell like it's amazing. Like I don't know people do with them. But yeah, people sell old DVDs. Yeah,

Mark Hiddleson 19:07

I've been collecting old vinyl for the past few years actually got a really cool Crosley record player for Christmas. And so it's kind of going back to

John Corcoran 19:15

that's actually a great one. My dad for a while had had some album frames that he took old albums, their beautiful cover art and put them in a frame but hung them on was beautiful. That's the

Mark Hiddleson 19:28

thing about albums as you sit there it is are you can stare at it for hours. I mean, yeah. If you're not preparing for your next buffet. The album covers they're amazing, but I love that story in and also the book cleanse that type of personally, even though he's super famous. He was gracious about receiving the gift too.

John Corcoran 19:53

Yeah, and he so the other thing I was gonna say is that I observed the different charisma that these people have Have you know and, you know, anyone who ends up in the Oval Office, we've only had about 40, what 45 of them 46 Or something like that total in the history of our country has incredible powers of persuasion and charisma. And the each, the three presidents that I've met each had different types of charisma. But Bill Clinton, I mean, I saw people who didn't care for him, who weren't a fan of his didn't like his policies, who came, you know, to an event, or a speech, saw him speak in person. And then afterwards, afterwards, walked away, just in a raptured. He had an incredible charisma to him that had the power to win over people. And if he had a conversation with you, even if it was a large crowd of people, like hundreds of people on a rope line, he'd go down, and he would shake hands, you'd make eye contact with people, he grabbed people's shoulder, he'd grabbed their elbow, he would say something to them, he would take what they had to say he, he would receive things he gives them to his body guy who is doing all this stuff so fluidly. And people will just walk away just in Iraq, captured by him. So you can see how this guy who is the child of a widowed mother in one of the poorest states in the nation, rose up, you know, to occupy the most powerful office in the land. You know, and then Barack Obama, completely different kinds of charisma, you know, he had a quiet confidence to him. The first time I met him, actually, when I took this photo over here with him, was it he was actually doing really poorly. It was before he was President. So he's senator, it was 2007, I want to say, and it was when he was doing really poorly in the polls, everyone thought, you know, Hillary Clinton would be the nominee, obviously, at that point in time. This is 2007. And it you know, I, as a favour to a friend, I came in and helped with organising a fundraiser in the Bay Area, because all those guys came through to raise money in the Bay Area. And I ended up, you know, getting a picture with him. But it was interesting seeing him go through just this quiet confidence to him. And, you know, just kind of like, you know, no drama, Obama was kind of the nickname that he had. And he ended up just kind of like getting through it, and obviously getting the nomination. And then, but Biden, at least when I met him, and the picture that I have with him here is that's probably that was actually after what he was vice president. So that was probably around 2009 time period. But we also met him before he was President. And he had much more of a Clinton style of charisma, just like would come into a room and talk to all kinds of different people and laughing and smiling and looking at you in the eye and stuff like that. He that was much more of his style of charisma, at least at that point. 15 years ago is a lot older now.

Mark Hiddleson 22:57

Nice. Yeah. That's a lot a lot you can learn from three presidential candidates and I saw a watch the podcast recently with Obama. And he said he was laughing because he was in the beginning of social media. And he was talking about they built their they build everything off MySpace, people were meaning he said MySpace isn't even a Yeah. That's how they built their audience. Yeah, yeah, those are great. So I wanted to get into I've written three books, which I'm a little embarrassed that I didn't know that until until I read your pile

John Corcoran 23:35

right there, like buried on somewhere deep in Amazon.

Mark Hiddleson 23:40

I'd love to hear you talk about because they're, they're about the things I'm passionate about. Right? If it's if I'm reading about connecting. But what are some of the topics as we shared a little bit about not just what the books are, but then your process of writing? Because I've been working on a book for five or six years, it's just recently been published. And I know what that journey is like, so share. Yeah. How that started with what that what those projects were like. Yeah,

John Corcoran 24:07

I mean, for each of those books, the common thread is really relationship building, and they're there. They're different versions of that. And when I think about what I do now, what I did back then, the different versions of my business over the years, it's always been about relationship building, even frankly, when I was helping practice law when I was when I was practising law with with clients, a lot of times what you're doing is trying to mend fences, relationships that have gone sour. And you're really advising people on how to resolve a relationship that went poorly or a business partnership that went poorly or client relationship that you know, had a big falling out. And now I like to think that I hope people a little bit earlier in the process to build great relationships that hopefully it never gets to the point of litigation or never gets to the point of people hiring lawyers and Fighting. But that's what I've written about through various different books and using different tools for that sort of thing. And obviously, like you said, people aren't using MySpace anymore. They use different pool tools. Today, many people like yourself and I are using tools like a podcast in order to build better relationships connect with prospects, and referral partners. And at some point in the future, it might be a different tool, you know, it's not really so much about the tool. It's about, you know, the discipline, the consistency, the strategy, the diligence, that's really what it's more about. And then as far as writing a book, I'm not sure that I'm the best example. For that, because it was a lot easier to write books. Before we had a team of 50 that we were responsible for, and 100 plus clients that we were helping to publish a podcast episodes for each month. Now we have an amazing team. But it has, we have actually have a book that's all written that we had one of our team members write in conjunction with us, based on a lot of material that we've done before. And it's been kind of sitting on my desk for about a year now waiting for me to actually finish it. With the books that I'd written before, I had a much smaller business, I had much fewer demands on my time. And I was pursuing a lot more writing and blogging and writing for Forbes and things like that. And so that was more of a priority then. And, you know, I naturally identified as a writer, I've always been a writer, it's always been something that I've liked. And as I've moved ahead, you know, moved up with every build the company built the company. And as we've, you know, had new challenges, I've really had to move away from that I've had to move away from that identity as a writer. Because I find that a lot of times, your biggest strength eventually becomes your bottleneck. What I mean by that is that you have something that you really are good at, it's kind of your superpower. And you're you're you're least likely to give that up. Like you don't want to give that up. But eventually, in order for your business to move forward, you have to let that go. You know, the orals, you will always be your business will be throttled by that thing. You know, like you mark right, you're great at relationship building. Right? Yeah. Right. But eventually, you realise that, oh, the business is built around just my relationship building. Right? Then, my

Mark Hiddleson 27:24

personal like, I asked people, I'm like, oh, call Joe and ask him to do XYZ. When people call me back? Like he said, No. Like, nobody ever says no, to me. You're right, that is that there's a training or and I love that. So here, right? It is. And that's what I'm developing in this network of relationships where you can just call somebody on the East Coast or Indiana or wherever, and work together on stuff. Versus training a team where they can do that. And then

John Corcoran 27:52

yeah, it's hard to train someone in something that's your superpower. A lot of times it becomes net, it comes naturally to us. We're good at it. You know, you don't even really think about it. You just do it, you know? So you think like, I can't even I can't teach someone how to do this. I can't distil it down to a series of steps. You know, so that can be a real challenge. Yeah, for sure.

Mark Hiddleson 28:14

Yeah. So So that's great. So you're right. And that's the other thing I really wanted to write a book I've never identified as a writer have written to get a master's degree you have to read write things, but you're writing for a certain thing and research and APA. It's not really storytelling and storytelling, it conversationally, and then writing, it's a, it's been a, like, I wrote that book for everyone else. But the number one person to get this getting the most out of it is me. Also, for me writing, it's kind of an accountability thing, as if I'm gonna put this down on paper, with your attorney in your legal business, you want to hold yourself to a really high level of accountability, to what I'm writing. So

John Corcoran 28:55

yeah, I mean, the other thing with with writing is that I get inspired by reading others who I want to write, like, so whether it you know, whoever you're, you're meeting, whoever's writing you admire, you know, just taking some time to read that, that can oftentimes give you ideas, whether it's like structuring it or how you introduce a new topic and a chapter or something like that, that can really help. And then the other thing is, I come from a line of writers. So my dad was a lifelong writer. His dad was a writer, I actually was just helping clean up my parents house, and we found some old writing that my great grandfather had done. And I tend to run I got an Irish side to me, so it tends to run in that side of the family. And, you know, a heat my dad has often said that, you know, things feel a little thin, you know, like he'll read something of mine and be like, it feels a little thin like, and what that usually means is that I haven't done enough research. I don't have enough facts. I don't have enough data. Yeah, or maybe I need to talk to someone who need to interview someone, you know, and I have a real hard time reading writing where it's just opinion, opinion, opinion, opinion, opinion. You know, and that's part of the, again, that gets back to a problem with me writing my own writing says, I know that a lot of people write books like that. And I also know what a really good books book looks like, like a Malcolm Gladwell or something like that, where he, you know, takes stories and is very deliberate process of how you introduce those stories and come back to those stories and relate stories to one another. Or like a Dorie Clark is also another amazing writer who does a great job of researching and doing a bunch of interviews and incorporating different people into the, into the book. So honestly, it's it's one of those things that holds me back from doing additional books, because I know what a really good book looks like. And I know that I don't really now have the time or the bandwidth to devote to create something that would be to the standard that I want it to be.

Mark Hiddleson 30:59

So that's a great, you know, yeah, how you choose to use your time and I'm going to ask you about I want to ask you a question about about the time. The time, you know, one of the one of the questions that isn't it really take a lot of time to do podcasts, and one of them sometimes, whenever you want a few meetings, and I brought up well, I haven't had time to do this. And I know for me, just my self awareness. If you say you don't have time, it's BS, because what it means is you're not prioritising so you prioritise wherever. And I have found that, you know, as far as the use of my time and business owner in lead generation, and just even my personal growth, my interview skills, like I'm a better businessman because of my experience here. But it's still it does take a little bit of time. So I wanted to ask you some other questions about about regeneration first, but but share a little bit about, you know, the the trade off of time, and podcasting, how you found that, it really is a great thing to prioritise. Well,

John Corcoran 32:04

it's an interesting medium, because doing a podcast requires a variety of different skills, depending on how you structure it. And no one's really good at all the different things you have to do in order to do a podcast. And what I discovered with my podcast is that I liked certain pieces, and I didn't like a lot of the other pieces. So a lot of times would would lead people to say that I don't have time for a podcast is they're not prioritising it, because there are some pieces that they have to do themselves that they don't like. And so they resent it, and they stopped doing it. So a lot of times, what's most important is just looking at, okay, what are the pieces that you're you're doing yourself that you shouldn't be doing yourself so that you can focus your time on the things that are the highest and best use of your time. You know, so for for me with my podcast, really, all I do is I send some emails or LinkedIn messages or text messages or ask someone orally, if they'd be a guest on my podcast, they share the details of that, including a booking link, they book a time and then I show up for the interview. And I try and strip away everything else after I'm done takes me less than 60 seconds and I upload it. And here's the thing is that we're all doing business development already, or we should be for our business. We're all networking already, or we should be for a business. We're already having conversations. So if you take that networking, that professional development, that business development, all of that, and you channel that through the podcast, then your time is actually going further. You're actually doing business development, networking and content creation, and it becomes SEO value. And it's personal developments, all of those things. And once it's referral market, it's all things at once. So actually your time goes further. So you save yourself time. And the other thing is that you can get access to higher calibre people than you would otherwise get access to. I mean, I've had the CEOs are co founders of Netflix and Grubhub and Redfin. And these are multibillion dollar companies. I've had CEOs of publicly traded companies, incredibly busy people that give me time, you know, and I will, any day of the week, I will hold that up against, you know, someone trying to just get a like, get to know you meeting call, right with someone else, like good luck with that, right? But whereas when you use the podcast, you get access to these people that you wouldn't otherwise get access to. It also makes you more referral, because it's easier for people to make an introduction to people when you have a podcast, you know, like, I've given up introducing busy people, because so frequently this happens that I'm like, oh, you know, this person should know this person. And maybe they don't have the opportunity to business together right now. Maybe they will at some point in the future. I'd love for them to know each other. And I email them both. And I say hey, I want to introduce you to this other person. Hey, I want to introduce you to this other person. And inevitably one of those two very busy people says no Why do they say no, because they're busy, they got stuff going on, maybe they suspect, oh, you know, this person might sell me, whatever. Nevertheless, I still think those two people should meet. And it's unfortunate, but it's a reality of today's world that everyone's busy, and they don't want to do a get to know you call. I don't know why we're doing this call, I'm busy, lots of other things that I need to do. But when it's for the purpose of a podcast, guess what? It's much more likely to happen. You know, when one person has a podcast and I say to this other person, I want you to meet to this person, because I think you guys should get along. Oh, and by the way, this person is going to interview you for a podcast 100 times more likely to say yes. 100 times more likely to be like, Oh, okay, well, sure. Yeah, I'm open to that conversation. Please introduce me, you know, so because it's so much easier for someone like me, who likes to make introductions, I'm far more likely to make far less likely to make an introduction if there's no, there's no podcast involved.

Mark Hiddleson 35:56

In podcasts, you automatically have that booking. I resisted this in the beginning, I have a lot of stories that were resisted something in the beginning with the calendar. And when you can send somebody a link, and you know, I just have a one hour for the podcast, but I'm thinking about doing a 15 minute like you guys have affinity, you can do a strategy call, you can do a 30 you can do a 15 Minute. And you're maximising people's time because there's a list of bots, you know, here's the thing I'm an expert on, here's whatever. So you're really maximising that person's time when they make an introduction, because they kind of laid it out. And it's easy to just booked, I can grab 15 minutes on Monday, you know, and so you don't have

John Corcoran 36:35

to Yeah, so you're talking about when you interview people for your podcast? Should I do a 15 minute call with them beforehand? Well, no,

Mark Hiddleson 36:41

I mean, I don't even have that as an option. But people will podcast like you. You do, like I can book a while I could probably book a half hour call, or? Yeah, you can use that. So people aren't trading emails, like, you know, you trade five emails? Well, what about Monday at three? Well, what about Tuesday and four? Oh,

John Corcoran 36:56

that's a nightmare. I mean, I've had very busy people I had, there's someone I can think of bestselling author whose book is on my shelf behind me here. I won't tell which say which one it was. But who I you know who it was someone who was going to interview them for the purpose of the podcast, but they didn't have a Calendly of any sort. And I introduced the two of them. And then they went back and forth on email, a couple of rounds, maybe one or two rounds, you know, and it was just a pain and a hassle for this best selling author. And best selling author emailed me back and said, Hey, honestly, candidly, I'm just gonna give up on this because they don't have a calendar link that makes it easy on me to pick a time. And then we're done with it. I don't want to go back and forth and too busy, you can't deal with that stuff. So lots of people think that, oh, it's more high touch or it's more polite to email back and forth. Yeah. But for many busy people, they're like, look, just give me a Calendly, I will pick a time at my own convenience at 11pm. At night, when I'm doing my email, I'm trying to get this stuff done. I don't want it to go back and forth with you. So yeah, Calendly is absolutely can help. But as far as doing a separate 15 minute call goes versus the hour call, I'd say the vast majority of the time I just go straight to an hour long call, I've already determined whether they're a good fit or not to be on the podcast. And if you do two calls for every interview that you do like a 15 minute call, and then a later hour long call, it just really adds up over time, I will do it for people that want to maybe if they're a little apprehensive and nervous, maybe they haven't been a guest on a podcast before. And I'll use that time very wisely, because I will basically do everything that I would do in a normal free podcast call, so that when we do the podcast later, we can hit the ground running. So that's what I do. So that's how I feel about those 15 Minute Calls. But you know, we also have a lot of clients that use it as a really disciplined business development process. And they might even have like a business development person or account executive or someone like that, who does those 15 minute screening calls. Now the purpose of it is to screen the potential guests to determine whether they be a good fit on the podcast. But they're also building relationship with that guest to figure out if they're a good potential client, figure out if they can help in some way. And then they'll maybe even schedule a call on the back end after the interview is over. For the purpose of talking about how the interview went, get any feedback, talk about promoting the episode, things like that. And of course, also talk about any other ways of potentially collaborating, so you can make it into a whole real busy business development process. Now, what's important to all this is that you're not manipulating the guests in any way. You're not taking advantage of the you're not there's no bait and switch or anything like that. You're still delivering a tremendous amount of value to that guest. And look, nothing works 100% of the time. So it's not like 99% of these guests that you interviewed on your podcast are suddenly going to become a client. And I don't think that you should Be sleazy and high pressure sales tactics, tactics or anything like that. But what this does is it builds builds a real discipline, really like business development process, where you can build a nurture relationship, and maybe they become a client a week later, maybe they become a client. A year later, or five years later, we've had all of those options happen for us, you know, and I've seen it happen for clients as well.

Mark Hiddleson 40:24

And for us, you know, I looked at it, and it's 30 years in this business, and I look back and there were probably 30 relationships that were key that you know, those 30 relationships equal $50 million in business, or whatever it is, during that period of time. And for me, it was to be able to go back and connect, because Oh, absolutely, even though, you know, it's the mark ittelson experience, people forget. It's, How do you stay in touch? So even the invitations, or, Hey, I started a podcast there people that I've known for years, they're busy. And they know, I've done that when they go to do a project. I'm just top of mind. Yeah, in their head, and it's called and said, Hey, what are you gonna buy off me this week? Or what projects? Yeah, coming up, it's, I was like, this is something we created for our best clients to stay in touch. And oh, and

John Corcoran 41:18

it's so it's people are honoured, you know, many people will be honoured to be just to be asked to be included in that, you know, it's such a great opportunity for you to go back and reconnect with someone who maybe even talk to them and two years, five years, 10 years, you haven't talked to them in quite a long time, you know, and it just, it gives you this vehicle, and in this excuse to reach back out to them and have a conversation and promote them, give them some exposure, you know, and honour them. You know, and I love that element to it. I love that you know, that you can, you can go back, it's like Facebook, on steroids, right? You know, it's not just about like, reconnecting with your high school junior girlfriend, it's about, you know, reconnecting with people on a deeper way that you know, that you haven't talked to in a long time. Yeah,

Mark Hiddleson 42:04

if I ever was a member of Facebook, I wouldn't connect. And that's one of the reasons I'm not on Facebook. You know, back to the thing, like we were talking to the in-person thing, or the I've been amazed to blown away, how much of a connection you can make on a podcast? I'm my expectations were really blown away, because it is digital. But we do you're creating the space, you're creating the shared space. That's a great connections and conversations.

John Corcoran 42:38

Yeah, I mean, it's a trade off, right, like being face to face is never going to be the same as being face to face being over Zoom has never been the same as being face to face. However, you know, what you lose in terms of that personal touch you make up for in terms of convenience, you know, and, and, you know, you and I are not that far apart, we're about an hour, hour and a half apart. But I mean, I interview people in Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, London, France, New York, Chicago, Miami, it could be in the course of one day, the same day, you know, and what's great is then, then when you do see that person, in person, at an industry conference, at a meet up of some sort, or you're travelling through their city, you know, their city, or you're, they're travelling to your city, and you can connect in person, you're already that much further along, you've already built that relationship. And you know, now, after the pandemic, you know, people are so much more comfortable with transaction doing business, you know, virtually with people that they've not met in the flesh and blood. So like, we're well beyond that point now. So people are like, they're fine with it, like you can meet. He used to be like, yeah, like 10 years ago, maybe it was like you see someone digitally over zoom, or before that video, Skype or something like that. And like, people were still really apprehensive about, Oh, am I gonna get scammed. And you know, they were, like, really apprehensive about doing business together. But now it's like, we're well beyond that point. And

Mark Hiddleson 44:04

it was even that's another external benefit of doing the podcast as people started to shift to Zoom. And everything I kind of had a little bit because I was a Zoom rookie to them. And I didn't really know how to turn it on or turn my camera off or anything. And now that I can do these things, or share my screen or post links in the chat, I mean, I've learned all these little shortcuts about being a business owner, I put my screen up, put our website on there, I pull their Instagram up and showing people I wouldn't have been able to do that. If I wasn't hosting the podcast, because I've got all these skills for with zoom that I didn't have before. Yeah, as a business person, man, it's helpful to have. So speaking of having guests, one of your guests that I hadn't heard of, I'm like, embarrassed I haven't that was Peter Diamandis.

John Corcoran 44:50

Yes. Anything authors thought I looked it up because I didn't

Mark Hiddleson 44:54

know how to pronounce it. Yeah, I'm gonna read this intro. I gotta know how to say it. And then yes, I'm Long name or your episode that you did with him, what an amazing guy. So what an amazing guy, people should check out that podcast. How do you connect with guests like that?

John Corcoran 45:12

Now it took a few years. That's an interesting one to point out, okay. You know, he's he's the founder of the XPRIZE Foundation, which is original incentive prize, really fascinating guy. He's written a couple of books, bold abundance, some incredible books, many co authored with Steven Kotler. That was a case of actually, it's probably a good story, because we had the, it was the son of someone who attended one of our events. So that this person attended our event, and his son was there. And this son was, I don't know, 19 at the time or something like that, and was like looking for an internship and was really interested in a lot of different things, but interested in space and things like that. And the son, you know, the the dad, like, we got along with him well, and we ended up like, kind of making fun of we had this food tour that we're doing with 50 people, and we ended up like having fun with it. And people were like pitching the son for a job, or other people to hire him. We just had a lot of fun with it. But anyways, through a connection, I can't remember exactly how he got but he ended up working for Peter Diamandis and him getting a job working for Peter Diamandis, I don't think that we introduced him, but somehow he got him getting connected. But we've done this nice thing for him. And so I kept in touch with them. And I kept in touch with them. And then I was like, you know, I'd love to interview Peter loved interviewed Peter so much. And it took a couple of years, until actually he'd been working for Peter for a while. And then finally he like, got me in to do an interview. And you know, Peter has done a tonne of different interviews. So I really enjoyed the interview. But he'd answered a lot of my questions before, and he, you know, been on bigger platforms before. And so, you know, it's, it can be challenging someone sometimes to interview someone like that, who, you know, it's no sweat to them, you know, it's like they they're like, Oh, I'm doing you a favour, kid. You know, it's like you.

Mark Hiddleson 47:07

It's like having you on

John Corcoran 47:11

right now. But it was still an honour to talk to him. I hope I hope I asked a couple questions that took him a little bit by surprise, because that's actually one of the things that I think, is a real opportunity. You know, one thing one of my biggest regrets in starting the podcast, and Mark, I hope you won't make my mistake. I don't have it here. But on my website is a picture of me with Elon Musk. I met Elon Musk about 13 years ago, around the time I started my podcast maybe shortly after I started my podcast, and at the time that I met him he was not really famous is like quasi famous, not nowhere, nowhere near with the level of fame that he has right now. And I regret that I did not invite the man who eventually became the world's richest man on my podcast at that time, I'm sure I could have interviewed him at the time. So who knows who you're talking to now who you could get on your show who might one day be attained the level of wealth and fame and notoriety as Elon Musk. But I did ask him two questions. This was at the Northern California unveiling of the Tesla Model S, I was a big fan of electric cars, a big fan of Tesla, I bought shares on their day of their IPO at $19 A share is my best investment yet. And it's just an amazing car with a big fan of the company. But when I met him, I asked him two questions. And this is what I try and do in podcasts that I try and ask people questions that maybe make connections, or interesting or it gets them to think like the person who asked me this question thinks in an interesting different way. And it kind of stands out for them. So ask them two questions, one of which was phenomenally stupid. And one of which was I think, okay, and kind of interesting. And I'll explain why the question number one was, and mind you, this was 2010. The iPad had not been released yet. And they had just unveiled a car that had a massive touchscreen in the middle of the dash, okay. And I asked him What did have a backup camera? And he looked at me like you frickin idiot. Like, yes, it will have a backup camera. But cars did not all have backup cameras back then. So that was question number one. Question number two was, will it have an app store? Now this was also before we had an app store on the iPhone. And what I fought for saw which ended up happening years later, now that the Tesla really has kind of an app store built in. They're not exactly what I had envisioned, but they do have that in there is that they they eventually built an app store into into the car now it took like 10 years longer than they thought. And for years they would have postings on their website. And I think they hired people to develop it but maybe security concerns or whatever, but they kept on putting it off and putting it off and they didn't add it to their user interface to their operating system until years later. But when I asked that when I asked him at a time, you know, I think I can't I can't say for sure. But I think that that was an interesting question for him. And so, you know, I try and do the same thing. When I'm talking to people, as I try and make connections. I try and make observations, I try to reflect back on things that have happened in their life, connections between different things. And just to bring some insight to them so that they maybe they think like, I was an interesting conversation with that person who asked me those questions.

Mark Hiddleson 50:31

Okay. Well, I know we're getting close. I know you have something planned out for this. And I hope you have time to answer this question, because I kind of heard it as a rumour. I kind of know it's true, but I want to hear and what it's like. And I heard that Rob Lowe, laid you on the show, like he was the character. Do I have my facts? Right, or would you be so I know you have a backside on this? But yeah,

John Corcoran 50:58

I mean, I wrote, I wrote a blog post about this. A little bit tongue in cheek, but you know, saying how I got Rob Lowe to play me on TV. And I'll tell the story. So when I was working in the White House, it was the fall of '99. It started there in '99. And the West Wing, which was a shows on a long time ago for you young people listening to this was not on the air yet. But there was a man by the name of Aaron Sorkin, who created West Wing who done the movie, the American President, which is very popular. And so I knew who he was. And I had worked in Hollywood in for DreamWorks before coming to work at the White House. And I came to work at the White House. And I actually connected with someone who was working for imagine entertainment, which developed what became the West Wing. I connected with someone who, who introduced me to Aaron Sorkin, who was working on this show at the time was just about politics in DC. And I am connecting with him and telling him about what my life was like and kind of just sharing like different elements of my life. And you know, here he's a writer, I'm a writer, I think he was really interested in that show wasn't on the area. So he didn't have this same level of access at that time. And you know, there's definitely a risk involved to me doing that, because the White House as an institution just didn't want everyone talking to the press or to people who are creating media or anything like that. But I thought you know, I'm not sharing state secrets. I didn't have like a high security clearance or anything like that. It just kind of sharing what my life was like. And so I tell them the you know, tell them because share some different things. And at the time fall of '99 I was writing the, the Thanksgiving proclamation. Now, this is a formal document. It's like this big that is produced by the White House. Every year, it goes back to Washington, like literally the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving is because George Washington wrote it himself. Abraham Lincoln wrote it himself. In fact, the one that Lincoln did was credited with really like trying to unifying the nation during the Civil War. And so I sat down and wrote this thing myself in the White House. And you can imagine I'm like, 22 years old, like what that was like, right, but I was very proud of it. And so when I connected with Aaron Sorkin, I mailed a copy of it you could that was one of the things we could do as a as a member of the White Houses these like on parchment paper like big thing mailed off to him never heard back that didn't think about think anything of it. After the the the Western was on the arrows, a huge fit, right, I'll hit off right off the bat. And all of a sudden, he's got like George Stephanopoulos, and he's got your DD Myers and some like big, like heavy hitters that are advising him on what it was like inside the White House, and he didn't need me as much anymore, you know, and I kind of lost touch with them. But then a year later on the on an Thanksgiving, I turn on the West Wing episode right before Thanksgiving. And there's this episode on there, which is just an amazing piece of television. And I urge you to go back and watch it. It's the second season. It's like the third or fourth episode around Thanksgiving. And the the the the one of the pieces of the plotline throughout it is that the speech writers are writing the Thanksgiving proclamation. And of course, you know, they're running around the White House like they did in that show, talking about it. And at the very end of the show, the culmination of the show. There, the President Martin Sheen is about to walk out into the Rose Garden to read the Thanksgiving proclamation. They looks down at this document, you know, which I'm thinking like, is the fake version of the real version that I had mailed to Aaron Sorkin. It looks down and he reads the first line of the Thanksgiving proclamation. And it was the exact same line of what I'd written that went into the Thanksgiving proclamation. And of course, the person who was playing the speech writer who wrote the proclamation that I wrote was Rob Lowe. So that's how I say that I was partially the inspiration, not total. I do not claim it all. But some people say you know that I was part So the inspiration, or

Mark Hiddleson 52:13

that's the thing, by the time it got to me, and I told them that you were basically the whole thing was based when Thank you, great story and that your work and full circle. And that's a great, thank you for sharing that. And I'm bummed out that we got to end this right now. I've been looking forward to this. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I appreciate your insights about podcasting, and writing, and business.

John Corcoran 55:32

As done, Thanks, Mark. Yeah,

Mark Hiddleson 55:34

we'll make sure that people check out the Smart Business Revolution. Thank you. Yeah, it's

John Corcoran 55:39

smart business revolution is the podcast, Rise25. Is the company helping b2b businesses to get clients and referrals and strategic partnerships with done free podcasts? Yeah, great clients like you, Mark, you know, you make it easy for us. Yeah. Thank

Mark Hiddleson 55:53

you so much for your support. He hasn't been a tremendous and I couldn't it's a partnership where everyone else was a partner. But it's a real partnership. We appreciate the support you make all the all the hard stuff, you make it look easy for us. So yeah,

John Corcoran 56:07

you know, I mean, it's it's funny, because like the company that we built was not the company we intended to go out and create. But it was a classic case of just you know, Jeremy and I started a different business together, we're doing different things. But people were coming to us and asking about starting a podcast. And we finally realised, alright, we really got to do something about this, there's a real need in the marketplace. And you know, looking back on it now, it makes total sense. Like, I realised, like, I almost quit many, many, many times, you know, because I was doing all the wrong things. I had the wrong strategy. I didn't have someone else holding me accountable. I didn't have some, you know, a team that was handling all the details that I didn't want to deal with so that I could focus on my superpower or your superpower, which is having great conversations. And, you know, once I realised I had created a process for my own podcast, where I offloaded all that stuff to a team that was competent, capable of doing a great job, and I could focus on my superpower, then that's when things really took off for me. So now that's really ultimately what we, you know, the business that we build is like doing the same thing for folks like you and others. Yeah.

Mark Hiddleson 57:18

I love it. Yeah, we love the connection. We'll have link we'll have links to this in the in the show notes. I hope we can get a link to that episode with the Thanksgiving.

John Corcoran 57:29

The President's I don't know where it is available online. Yeah, I mean, it's probably on it's probably on Amazon. You can probably buy the episode I guess. Yeah. Probably the best place streaming place near you. All right. Awesome. Thanks, Mark.

Mark Hiddleson 57:39

Yeah. Okay. Thank you for sharing. 

Outro 57:55

Thanks for listening to The Tao of Pizza podcast. We'll see you again next time and be sure to click Subscribe to get future episodes.


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