Ep769: Dan McClure – Understand Who You Are and What You’re About

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Quick take

BIO: Dan McClure is an innovation choreographer. That’s someone whose job is to run into burning buildings, looking for opportunities to reinvent how the world works.

STORY: Dan took up a senior management job because his friends and family insisted he should have a ‘real’ job. However, Dan hated the job and was terrible at it.

LEARNING: Understand who you are and what you’re about. Be committed to following your passion and talents. Otherwise, you’ll be dragged into things that make you miserable.


“Have the courage to say; I’m not good at that, and therefore, I’m not going to build my life around it. Instead, I’m going to embrace these other things that I am good at.”

Dan McClure


Guest profile

Dan McClure is an innovation choreographer. That’s someone whose job is to run into burning buildings, looking for opportunities to reinvent the way the world works. He’s a thought leader in the emerging practice of ecosystem innovation and the co-author of the Fast Company Press book “Do Bigger Things – A Practical Guide to Powerful Innovation in a Changing World.” Across his 40-year career, he’s worked with firms facing the threat of obsolescence, helped business pioneers thrive in fast-changing markets, and supported activists tackling tough challenges like climate change. He’s a passionate optimist who’s excited about the future.

Worst investment ever

When Dan was in college, he was looking for something to do. He was thinking of the Peace Corps. Dan applied and was three weeks away from traveling. While doing the medical exam, the doctor told him he had an umbilical hernia, and they didn’t let any hernias into the Peace Corps. And with that, Dan was out of the Peace Corps.

Dan found a job at a local utility company as an engineer. It was a good job, but he wasn’t very good at it. Dan was chugging along. Then he realized if he wrote a computer program, it could do his job, and Dan wouldn’t have to do everything he was doing. So Dan started writing the computer program. Then, the federal government deregulated the entire energy industry and threw everything into turmoil. Luckily, Dan had a computer program that could save the day. He got an innovation team and started fixing and changing things.

Everybody around Dan kept telling him to get a real job. His innovation stuff wasn’t so cool back then. After about six or seven years, things began to calm down. There was a senior manager position in the newly created marketing department in Dan’s company. He decided to take the job. Finally, he had a real job and could settle down. With that job, Dan could move up in the company and be an executive-level person. This was a great opportunity, but Dan hated the job. And even worse than that, he was terrible at it. Dan had invested his future in this success that he had earned, and it was what everybody else said he should want and do, but it was a catastrophe.

Lessons learned

  • Understand who you are and what you’re about.
  • Be committed to following your passion and talents. Otherwise, you’ll be dragged into things that make you miserable.

Andrew’s takeaways

  • Find your place in the world.

Actionable advice

Invest time and effort in figuring out what you really are and are not.

Dan’s recommendations

Dan recommends reading Do Bigger Things. It’s fun to read and has a lot of stories that illustrate complex concepts.

No.1 goal for the next 12 months

Dan’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to create a tribe of choreographers.

Parting words


“Go do bigger things, muck around in the world, and change stuff. It’s a lot of fun.”

Dan McClure


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:00
Well, hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community. We know that to win an investing, you must take risks, but to win big, you've got to reduce it. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm on a mission to help 1 million people reduce risk in their lives. And I want to thank my listeners in Michigan, for listening in and joining us on that mission. Today. Fellow risk takers this is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz, from a Stotz Academy, and I'm here with featured guest, Dan mccluer. Dan, are you ready to join the mission?

Dan McClure 00:46
Absolutely. I'm Andrew.

Andrew Stotz 00:49
Let me introduce you to the audience. Dan is listen up. Ladies and gentlemen, this is an interesting bio. Dan is an innovation choreographer. That's someone whose job is to run into burning buildings, looking for opportunities to reinvent the way the world works. He's a thought leader in the emerging practice of ecosystem innovation. And the co author of the Fast Company Press book, do bigger things, a practical guide to powerful innovation in a changing world. Across his 40 year career, he's worked with firms facing the threat of obsolescence, helped business pioneers thrive in fast changing markets and supported activists tackling tough challenges like climate change. He's a passionate optimist who's excited about the future. Dan, take a minute and tell us about the unique value that you are bringing to this wonderful world?

Dan McClure 01:47
Well, you know, it's interesting, I'm I don't know that you always know your unique value when you're a kid. And eventually, you just find out that you can't escape it. So the thing that I haven't been able to escape is the fact that I'm a generalist. You know, so many people say, oh, you know, jack of all trades, master of none. Well, that's absolutely me. All over the place, as far as skills, interests, experiences, but you combine that with big picture, thinking, I'm not really good at details. You know, taxes are kind of a nightmare to me and things. And then you throw in a little bit of rebel, somebody who's willing to break some rules break the status quo. And that mix of things, big picture, thinking, generalist rebel, that's the choreographer mix. And that's kind of what I'm good at. Maybe the only thing I'm good at,

Andrew Stotz 02:47
well, maybe it's what you're great at, maybe you're good at a lot of other things. Now, actually,

Dan McClure 02:52
some things are not really good. Another thing, I think that's one of the things you got to embrace is, you're not great at something, and then pretty good at a bunch of other stuff, you're great at something, and then you're likely to suck at a lot of other stuff, and just embrace that and let it be, you know, and in my case, that combination of stuff, lets me see big problems, understand them and change him create new solutions.

Andrew Stotz 03:20
Yeah, and I think the word that, you know, that you use is innovation. And it's a word that gets thrown around a lot, you know, in boardrooms, and you know, in a lot of different places. And I suspect a lot, there are people that think that they're in an innovative and they're not. And there's people that don't necessarily see the innovation that they're developing, and they are innovative. But I'm just curious, like, can you help us understand? What is innovation and why? Why is it an important thing?

Dan McClure 03:54
So let me tackle the first bit of that with a little bit of an analogy. If you ask me, what is music? I mean, the answer, there's some real easy answers, like it's notes and rhythm and things like that played. But if you try to get any more specific than that, you know, is Mozart music in the same way that a rap song as music in the same way that a drum rhythm is music? Innovation is the creation of something new that changes the world in a meaningful way. So that's like the easy answer. But what you have to understand is there's different types of innovators. So there's innovators that grew up in the 1950s, who are really good at analyzing everything in detail, and they're the ones that can create the master plans for building a submarine or building a bridge. Then there are innovators who are really good at making something just a little bit better, like incrementally improving the operation of effect rate. And then there's innovators who are good at, you know, inventing a new product, say a new mobile app or something like that. Every one of those people is an innovator. And they're all completely different from one another. So they're all doing something new. And they're all doing it in different ways. The thing that I think you got to realize today is, none of those innovators have the key to the kinds of problems that we've got now. So what excites me is that my particular, you know, witch's brew of talents are the ones that you need for doing the fourth generation of innovation, which is building complex solutions that involve lots of different pieces all being put together. And that's the form of innovation that gets me excited.

Andrew Stotz 05:57
And, you know, the title of your book is do bigger things, why you choose the word bigger? You know, I don't necessarily innovation doesn't necessarily mean bigger. But you see bigger, why did you use that word? While you're

Dan McClure 06:11
thinking about those other types of innovation that I mentioned, the guys that can spend years looking at a problem before they could do anything on it, or that are doing small incremental improvements or small mobile apps, those are all kind of limited things, there's bounds around them. The type of innovation that's really going to be important in the future is about assembling lots of different pieces together. And that allows you to do bigger things like solve climate change, reinvent a company. And so it really is about doing bigger things. It's using all the pieces of the world to try to do something new.

Andrew Stotz 06:54
I want to tell you a story of what I think is innovation. And then you tell me what you think about what we're doing. Many I've been teaching company valuation for 30 years, right? What is this company worth? And I worked all my career as an analyst, calculating the value of companies. So I started a course called valuation masterclass. And what I found was that the problem is with an online course, people will sign up, but they won't complete it. So you only have about a 10% completion rate. And that's like a traditional thing for online courses. And I thought, I don't, I don't want that. That means 90% of people didn't get what I'm trying to convey. And so I started a new thing. Okay, let's say some innovation came up with the idea. Why don't we create the valuation masterclass bootcamp, same material, but with little additions of, you know, they're going to be talking with me twice a week. They're going to have specific assignments where they're going to apply what they had in the videos and all that. And so when we launched the first valuation, masterclass bootcamp, we did it online. No, no, the first one, we did have one practice one that was actually on site. But the first one live number one, we did, and we did all of that. And we found that the pass rate was about 70%. Well, that's a huge uplift.

Dan McClure 08:23
Yeah. So first off, congratulations, solving a hard problem, right? And my guess is you tried to solve the problem by making smaller changes before this, right. It's not like you went directly to this big, bigger, more disruptive change.

Andrew Stotz 08:40
And even the idea of just saying I had nine people come to my house, during COVID time, we could have gatherings in Thailand of you know, up to 20, or whatever it was. And basically, nine people came to my house five days a week for six weeks. And I have them on I was developing the material, although I had a lot in my head and stuff. So I was developing as I was going. And that was the first kind of testing of it. And then we decided, can we do this online and say, how do we get to a bigger audience?

Dan McClure 09:19
So I think it's interesting. When I'm watching you talk about this. You've got a choreographers hand motions here. It's like I can almost see you moving the blocks around as you talk about it. And really what you were doing, and it's typical of the kind of success we see with ecosystem innovation is you were putting together new blocks in new ways. So you had new elements, like a direct interaction with you, you had different relationships between the blocks. So if you thought of your chorus like Legos, you're assembling the leg goes in a new and different way. And I also appreciated the fact that he said the content was the same. So it was the reassembly of the Legos, not the changing of the content that mattered. And that's what's so powerful about this kind of innovation is oftentimes you don't change the pieces at all. But the way you put them together the way that you can add things, that allows you to get entirely different results. And

Andrew Stotz 10:28
then I want to tell a story about a hospital in Thailand. They had big ambitions. And so in about 1992, they got funding from international organizations, domestic funding, but they borrowed in US dollars, they bought a lot of money. And they built a state of the art 560 bed facility. And they finished that in about maybe 9095 9096. And they had plans that it was, you know, is that it was that maybe 40% capacity, but they would slowly grow up. And, and then what happened was, in 1987, the Thai baht collapsed, the Thai economy collapsed. And all of a sudden, the debt doubled. And they ended up having kind of a bankruptcy, and then they had a D list from the stock market. And then what happened was it Thai people weren't going to go to a premium hospital. And they were in deep trouble. And they had us dollar debts that were massive. But somehow they came up with the idea. Wait a minute, the Thai baht has devalued massively, meaning a foreign person that came to Thailand would be able to buy a lot with $1 They'd get instead of getting 25 baht, they're gonna get 50 baht. And then they thought, what if we start marketing this hospital to foreign patients? And they started that process. And now you know, 20, some years later, they're the number one hospital in Thailand, in receiving foreign patients, and they are super profitable and super successful. But the let's I don't know whether you call it innovation, but this switch that was a forced switch, like, I mean, they could have just died. But because they didn't they wanted to survive. They had to it forced them to pivot is that innovation? Or what are your thoughts about that type is

Dan McClure 12:19
is a great example of an ecosystem innovation. So what are the new Lego blocks there, the new Lego blocks are international patients, new currency exchanges, you probably also had new services offered, you know, you're not going to be treating, you know, infectious disease from an international patient, you're going to be doing surgeries and other types of work. And so they had this big Lego, you know, you know, 20 storey hospital, and they say, How can I use? What new system can I build around that, and the ecosystem they built, had airplanes, foreign, foreign currency, foreign patients. And you know, what you're seeing is exactly what other companies that are experiencing disruption have to go through. Because oftentimes, you're not going to get the big change until they're facing the truck rushing down the highway, Adam. But when they do, all of a sudden, you get serious about reducing those Legos and imagining your organization in new ways. And you can get some really exciting stuff happening.

Andrew Stotz 13:33
And I want to ask, you know, something for the listeners out there. What's the promise of the book, right? I know you're coming out, the book comes out on the 13th. So just before Valentine's Day, you could ruin some Valentine's Day, if people buy it, and they say, Honey, I'm really happy to stick with this book.

Dan McClure 13:52
Oh, no, no, no. See, we see we're going to be the enabler Valentine's Day. Just can you imagine how you would feel when your lover comes through that door? There's a yellow covered innovation book in their hands. I mean, seriously, let's

Andrew Stotz 14:08
recreate our relationship. Yeah.

Dan McClure 14:11
So here's the thing about ecosystem innovation. There's been a lot of discussion of systems innovation over the last 15 years. But it's kind of been the domain of, you know, PhDs and research engineers, and people writing very sort of esoteric texts about it. If you actually wanted to go out and do it, there wasn't a book for you. And what we've really tried to do is step back, take all our experience doing this kind of disruptive, big thinking innovation, and say, what's the idea behind the practice? Who are the people that do it? And what are the steps you need to go through and put that you know, kind of in a playbook and make it readable. So that you know, you aren't put into a coma the first time you get through the first couple of chapters. Yeah.

Andrew Stotz 15:08
And when I say, I'd say readable looks, I mean, it looks great, though the design of it the layout, I mean, impressive. So well done on that. And I think, you know, when I do work with, with kind of midsize family businesses to help them, what I tell them is, I help midsize family businesses double their profits in 12 months. And to do that, you really do have to go through a transformation. But so many times that I'm talking with them, we get to the word innovation, without innovation and coming up with new ways of doing things, you're not going to get there. And I think also, there's a great, you know, the work that Michael Porter, did, you know, many years ago, originally on competitive advantage is, ultimately to have a lasting competitive advantage. It's got to be built into the supply chain, you know, that it's very difficult for someone to just come in and copy. And the point is, is that, you know, without that, if you just try to do it the way everybody else does, there's no innovation.

Dan McClure 16:22
Yeah, but can I challenge you on these, please. So I think, there's a strong argument to be made, that there is no such thing as a lasting competitive advantage. You know, these days, you know, you build up that supply chain, you get all the optimization, the unique partnerships, and that's going to get you value in the market. Absolutely. But it's not going to keep other people from copying you. There's too many people who are smart, too many resources that people can put together, and they're going to be able to bolt together a supply chain, take all those Lego blocks and create a supply chain, that's going to be able to match you. But even worse, they're gonna be able to come up with something that doesn't even require that supply chain, that's going to completely reimagine the value proposition. And that's where you're really gonna see that. Yeah, think back to your hospital example. And imagine your a US hospital, that US hospital can optimize its performance, et cetera, et cetera. But boy, it's not going to be able to compete with that Thai hospital, that's actually working under a completely different set of rules. Same thing with taxis and Uber, same thing with Airbnb, and hotels, all of these different scenarios where somebody created a new system, the old system is just at a disadvantage that they can't survive. And,

Andrew Stotz 17:54
you know, it's, it's, it's true, I think what you're saying is true, but it's also can be a little bit frightening. Because what it means is that if I doubled down, and you know, I noticed on your bookshelf, some words like lean, if I doubled down to build a lean process, and just constantly improve my process, that takes me to another place, you know, I mean, like, we are definitely way ahead of our competitors in another place. Don't take comfort in that, because all of a sudden, you know, I think Borders Books was a great example. I think they really took books to another place, I really enjoyed going to Borders Books, many years ago, I felt comfortable there. They had like a little coffee shop. And some of them, I, you know, you could just sit down like you were in a library, and they perfected it. And they were destroyed by you know, what, Amazon, the innovation that Amazon brought.

Dan McClure 18:52
Yeah, and I think this is, this is the thing that we've got to get used to, there's no industry, no business, that's going to be stable. Now, there's a book out called Big Bang disruption a few years ago, and they talked about shark fin innovations, where you got just this spike in value, but then income to competitors. And now all of a sudden, you're out again, and you've got to do another innovation. So if I was gonna say what creates a valuable company, it's a company that can repeatedly innovate. And, you know, part of what we talk about when we go talk with executives is, don't tell me about your existing value proposition. No matter how good it is, it can't survive in this world. Tell me about how good you are at creating new value propositions.

Andrew Stotz 19:51
You know, as you're talking I'm going on Amazon and ordering pre ordering your book because I'm excited about it. So I want to encourage Everybody out there, I'll have the links in the show notes. And, you know, I've read between 3005 1000 books in my life. And I just love reading. I know you've got a great, you know, books behind you too. So it's exciting. I wanted to ask you a question about one thing, and that is, when I was 23 years old, 24 years old, I went to some seminars offered by Dr. W. Edwards Deming. And, and I, it was, you know, it just blew my mind, blew my mind, and made me think about a lot of things. And he talked about his later I wrote a book about his 14 points in called transform your business with Dr. Demings, 14 points. And now I'm also the host of Deming, Deming Institute podcasts, and I really enjoy talking to people about his teachings. But one of the things he talks about is create constancy of purpose for the improvement in product and service. For the benefit of the customer, let's say to simplify. And very, I didn't really understand it at the time, and even over years, it took me time to realize it. Toyota is one of the companies that really has implemented what he's taught from the beginning. And what they are trying to do is be a learning organization. Like that is the highest thing if you're constantly if you have tools for learning. And if you're constantly focused on learning, then you have a chance of responding to disruptions in the market in a way that you can survive it. But if you don't have a method for learning, when the disruptions come, boom, you're knocked out. Yeah.

Dan McClure 21:50
And you know, it's interesting because Deming really is the godfather of that second type of innovation. And where the difference comes between an organization that does ecosystem innovation, and the incremental innovation that Deming has really focused on, is what's your response to the learning. So with Deming, you have to continuously learn not only from the outside, but also from your own people and what's going on. And you make incremental improvements, everything is systematically stepped forward. In ecosystem innovation, we basically say, you're improving the Titanic as it's sinking. Nice to do. But it would be much better for you to discover a different boat. And so the response is, yes, I've learned but now I'm gonna go assemble a new boat.

Andrew Stotz 22:55
Yep. And that's the concept of ecosystem.

Dan McClure 22:58
Yeah, it's think of ecosystems like Lego blocks, and you can build a business out of Lego blocks. You know, when Airbnb built their Lego blocks, they said, we've got people who own apartments, we've got people who want to travel to different places, we've got cleaning services, we can bolt all those Lego blocks together with an added piece of technology, and create an entirely new way of doing homes. You know, places that you visit, every business can be thinking about, how do I combine and create new Lego blocks?

Andrew Stotz 23:34
Yeah, and I was just thinking, but, Dan, it's so difficult. How do I, you know, I'm so bought into the system we've built?

Dan McClure 23:47
Yeah, well, that's, that's the challenge, right. And when you start talking about, you know, what makes a company high value, it's, they figured out a way to both do what they do well, now you have to like what you're doing now. But also have enough disruption in your makeup, that you're willing to look and belting out new things. And somehow you got to hold both of those things in your mind. And one of the ways you can help do that is instead of imagine you wanted to build a new house, and you're looking at your existing house. How do you do that? Well, you probably have to raise your house, right? You have to tear it all down, take all the pieces get down to the foundation. Now imagine you had a house that was built out of modular components and you want to build a new house, you can take the modular components apart, you can put them together in new ways. That's going to be a lot more less traumatic. And that's what organizations need to start doing. They need start thinking about how do I make my company more like modular blocks so that I can use them in new and different ways. And we see organizations doing this. It's really exciting when you see them because a new opportunity comes up. And they put those Lego blocks together and amazingly quick time, and not everybody's traumatized because you've torn down the house.

Andrew Stotz 25:16
Well, this has been a great, you know, Intro discussion. And we've gone on for a while, because I think innovation is something that we need to be thinking about for our companies, but also, you know, individually, how are we reinventing ourselves? How are we, you know, how, I mean, part of informing innovation is incrementally improving. But another part is to accept the fact that, that may not get you to the destination, when things are shifting. And I think that's, you know, what, what I'm learning from you, I'm looking forward to, to February 13. And luckily, since I'm still single, I'm not going to disappoint anybody when I sit down on the 14th. And, you know, just

Dan McClure 26:01
go into a bar, carrying that yellow book. Who knows what'll happen by the end of the evening? Oh,

Andrew Stotz 26:07
now there's an idea. Okay. That's could be. That's an innovative way of meeting new people. I like that. So let's, let's go with that. So now, it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one goes into their worst investment, thinking it will be. Take a minute and tell us about the circumstances leading up to then tell us your story.

Dan McClure 26:29
Well, let me give you like about an eight year history, which will go very quickly. So I'm in college, I'm looking for what I want to do in life. And you know, I've had kind of a little bit of an eclectic as you might imagine, for a generalist college background. And I'm thinking Peace Corps. That's what I want to do. I want to go to the Peace Corps. Gonna go to the Paul, I'm gonna build water systems. This sounds very cool. And I've already got three weeks away from traveling, do the perfunctory, you know, medical exam, and the doctor looks at me and says, You're not going into the Peace Corps. You've got an outie belly button. And I'm like, what? And he says, yeah, that's an umbilical hernia, we don't let any hernias into the Peace Corps, you're out. And so my outie belly button kicked me out of the Peace Corps three months, three weeks before I was about to go head to go find a job. And I found a job at a local utility company as an engineer. And it was pretty good job. I mean, most people would have thought that was a good job. I wasn't very good at it, you know, it's that detail stuff and everything. But I was chugging along. And I realized, you know, if I just wrote a computer program, they could, it could do my job. And I wouldn't have to do all this stuff, you know, that I was doing. So I started running it writing a computer program still wasn't very good at my job. And then fortunately, the federal government deregulated the entire energy industry threw everything into turmoil. We had a burning building. And guess who had a computer program that could save the day, it was me. So I got myself an innovation team. And you know, there was all this turmoil and disruption in the industry. And we just went and fix things and change things. It was very much ecosystem innovation, not that we knew at all what we were doing at that point in time. And almost everybody around me was like, Dude, you need to get a real job. You are just, you're in the middle of like, a collapsing building. You know, this is not, you know, my parents were aghast. You know, friends had serious real jobs. And I was doing all this innovation, nice stuff. And it wasn't so cool back then. And so after about six or seven years, things began to calm down, and I got my reward. So I had done all this stuff. And there was a senior management manager position in marketing, the newly created marketing department, and I could finally settle down and have a real job. And this was going to be like one that you went in, in the morning, you did your stuff, then you came home at night. You had respect. You didn't have to explain to everybody what the heck you were doing. And you could really commit to sort of a degree of comfort and security. And it looked a little bit sideways. But it's like, this is what everybody told me that I should be aiming for. You've got the job finally, that you're going to be able to settle into and it's you know, you've grown up you're an adult you're not doing mean that sort of young 20 Something kind of thing. And so I took the job, and I was going to invest, and to the rest of my life and this right, you know, with that job, I could move up in the company, I would have a chance for being, you know, an executive level kind of person. And I did I hate it. Like all of this security that I invested in all of this comfort, and, you know, ability to be seen as an adult. I went in, in the morning, and my soul felt that and I got home at night. And I was, it was just awful. And even worse than that, I was terrible at. And so I had basically invested my future in this success that I had earned. And it was what everybody else said that I should want, and I should do and I should pursue. And it was a catastrophe. I was bad at it. I didn't enjoy it. And now looking back on it, I realized the biggest sin of all was that I was entirely wasting the talents and the gifts that I was given. And, you know, had I stayed in that job my entire life, I would have regretted what I've done with my life. And so as an investment, it really didn't pan out. And

Andrew Stotz 31:39
it all started with an Audi belly button. Yeah,

Dan McClure 31:44
well, it started out in an outie belly button. But you know, that's what I kind of find, if you're looking to run into built burning buildings. And it's the unexpected things that throw you in the way.

Andrew Stotz 31:56
So let's, let's summarize what would you say the lessons that you learned from this work?

Dan McClure 32:02
So I think the lessons are, first, you need to understand who you are and what you're about. And then do that. And pretty much against anybody else's, you know, observations of what the right thing is, what the grown up thing is, what the good thing to do is. And you know, we've got a name for this type of role that is an ecosystem innovator, these generalists, big picture rebels. And we call them choreographers. And you know, this, I think this lesson is particularly important for them. Because almost every job in the world is designed to make choreographers miserable. And so you really, really have to be committed to following your passion and talents for that big picture thinking that disruptive work, otherwise, you're going to be dragged into these things that make you miserable, and that you're not very good at.

Andrew Stotz 33:07
Yeah. Maybe I'll share a couple takeaways. You know, the first one that I was thinking about, I wrote, I wrote a note while you were speaking, because you as you said, I wasn't very good at my job. I was thought and you didn't like your job. I hate my job. And my job hates me. So that was kind of a that was one thing that I was thinking about. Yeah. The other thing is the idea of figuring out where you fit in this world, like, what is it that you're good at? And how do you figure out where you do that? And I thought, something that I've been recently saying is, I, you have in my past for 31 years, I've been a teacher. And like a professor at university, I get up in front of people and I go through slides and I teach information. But I'm not a teacher anymore. Now, during a portion of my life, I've also been a trainer, where I go and teach a little bit and say, Okay, how do we apply that into a company and that type of thing. But I'm not a trainer anymore. What I am is a transformer. And when I learned about the transformation that I could deliver with my valuation masterclass boot camp, by bringing it online, now we're in our 13th iteration. I've realized that what people want what we all want is a transformation in our life. If I can attend something that will bring me a true transformation in the way I think or the way I understand something or anything, that's the value that I can bring to this world. And so, I just want to highlight what you made me think about a lot as we Been in this discussion, but my takeaways is fine your place and in my case, I am a transformer.

Dan McClure 35:09
And, you know, it's interesting that you've given it a name. Because one of the challenges, I think, choreographers face is in the arts. There's lots of names for this type of role. There's a showrunner, you know, a showrunner brings together all the parts you need to produce a television show. There's a director who, you know, creates a movie from all the different parts. There's a choreographer who creates dance, we have all the different dancers, in the music, and everything. All of these different roles are about combining things and new and original ways to deliver exceptional value. Look, in business, there is no name for this role in the business world. There's roles for people who manage what already exists, and who, you know, do incremental improvements to things. But there's really no name for the position of somebody who reimagines how all the pieces can fit together. And so part of what has been, you know, key to this journey, for me and for others, is just giving this role a name, you know, you called yourself a transformer. Our tribe is calling ourselves choreographers and just having a name is just hugely powerful. You know, I mean, one of the reasons I was so at sea and was so willing to take that job is that I didn't realize actually already had a job, I had a job as a choreographer, and it was a real job, but I didn't have a name for it. And so I was too willing to walk away from it.

Andrew Stotz 36:49
So let's, let's kind of go back in time and say, you know, think about someone today who's, you know, swimming in this same sea that you are swimming in at that time, based upon what you learned from this particular story? And what you've continued learn what would be one action that you would recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering the same fate?

Dan McClure 37:11
Well, I think there's the general action of taking the time and investing the effort and figuring out what you really are. And to our earlier point in the conversation, what you really are not, you know, there's this StrengthsFinder 2.0 tests that you can take great book, and you know, you get your four or five top skills. And most people I know are not terribly surprised by their four or five top skills. Yeah, I've got it on the eye. We can compare copies. Yeah. Oh, there you go. That's interesting. I'm number one is strategic. Yep.

Andrew Stotz 37:54
So for the listeners out there, I'm showing this is one of it. This is a very innovative book in the sense that, you know, you take an online survey, and then you come back to the book, and you get access to the survey in the back of the book. And then in the back of the book, they give you stickers, where you pick your five, you know, they help you to identify what you are from my top five strengths. It's activators, strategic maximizes significance focus. But each person is going to have a different way of interacting with this book, they're going to have a different five. And all that really we look at as I read the five chapters about the things that I am, and then you put it on and put those stickers on the front. I just thought that was such an innovative idea for the book.

Dan McClure 38:39
Yeah. But here's what I we discovered when we were working with choreographers. So like every choreographers, strategic, you know, every quarter I you know, there's things like you can kind of, if it isn't one exact thing, it's something that means something very similar ideation to that about it. But what I found is that if you pay a little extra to test, they'll tell you the bottom five. Bottom Five is the real eye opener, because what this tells you is, these are the five things that you need to let go, you will never be good at these five things. And therefore, you should abandon them. And you should give up things that require you to be those five things that you're just not going to be and what I found with choreographers, we spend so much time with people telling us what we should do. We should be more organized, we should have greater attention to detail, the ability to say, but I'm not good at that. And therefore I'm not going to build my life around it. And instead I'm going to embrace these other things that I am good at. And it is a real job. And I'm part of a bigger tribe of people who are like me. That's an enormously like, powerful and reinforcing message for doing what you should be doing. That's

Andrew Stotz 40:15
fascinating. I've loved this book for a long time, but I am going to check that out about finding out because, you know, what's, what's my bottom five, because part of what I try to teach, and what I'm trying to do in my life is say, true strategic choice means giving up. Yeah, and if you're not giving up and giving up in a painful way, where people are complaining that we can't do this, because we don't have the resources and customers are complaining that, hey, we used to have this and we don't, because that's when you know, you've made a true reallocation of resources. Go ahead, and you're gonna say something No,

Dan McClure 40:54
no, no, I, I was going to do one more. Contrary thing, one of the things that though, I am going to do it, what the heck. So the cool thing about ecosystem innovation, when you're building systems, is oftentimes you get to have your cake and eat it too. You can put things together in new ways that don't have the same sort of zero sum trade offs. And so you can get a and you can have a fair amount of B, if you just assemble things, right. And so, you know, one of the things that's often exciting about when you're doing an ecosystem innovation is that you'd look at it and you say, Ooh, I can actually make both of these groups happy. And before I would have had to pick one of them off.

Andrew Stotz 41:45
Okay, now I'm gonna read the book. All right, what is a resource that you'd so

Dan McClure 41:51
I, at this stage, with a book coming out in three weeks, I'd be pretty much a fool not to say the resource would be, you know, do bigger things by Jenny Wilde and Dan McLaury. We really have invested a lot of time in trying to put together something that's fun to read, it's got a lot of stories that illustrate complex concepts. So hopefully, you know, it's the kind of thing that if you've got this inclination that you're kind of a generalist that you're trying to do interesting and important things. You know, hopefully, this is a book that a lot. Yep.

Andrew Stotz 42:31
And I'm gonna have links in the show notes, ladies and gentlemen. And you can also just go to innovation ecosystems.com to learn more. So last question, what is your number one goal for the next 12 months?

Dan McClure 42:45
Yeah, now, for the longest time, I feel like I've been wandering the countryside, looking for choreographers, and finding them one by one. And you know, having a beer with them. My hope is with the Bookout, and with the things that are happening in the world now, which make choreographers so much more valuable and so much more important that this is the year that we're all going to get together that our tribe is really going to form. And I'd like to be part of that creation of the tribe.

Andrew Stotz 43:20
Well, listeners, there you have it another story of laws to keep you winning. Remember, I'm on a mission to help 1 million people reduce risk in their lives. And as we conclude, Dan, I want to thank you again for joining that missions.

Dan McClure 43:33
Ya know, it's been great fun.

Andrew Stotz 43:36
Yes, I've enjoyed it immensely. And on behalf of a Stotz Academy, I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?

Dan McClure 43:48
Oh, go do bigger things muck around in the world change stuff. It's a lot of fun. Have

Andrew Stotz 43:54
fun, and that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our well fellow risk takers. Let's celebrate that today. We added one more person to our mission to help 1 million people reduce risk in their lives. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz saying. I'll see you on the upside.


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About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

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