How to Create a Referable Brand with Michael Roderick – Ep. 39

Welcome to Daily Confidence for Entrepreneurs Show Episode 38.

Join my friend Michael Roderick and me talk about How to Create a Referral Brand.

Listen to the podcast here:


  • What is Branding?

  • Why should a business owner care about Brands and Branding?

  • What are some of the myths in Branding?

  • How to create a Referable Brand?



3:31 – The main referability principles are Accessibility, Influence and Memory.

5:15 – You have to have something that people can take on their own, and share with other people, that’s when you have a Brand.

11:06 – If their message is easier to transfer, people will share their message before they share yours.

13:52 – One of the biggest myths is that you have to be a Figurehead, like you have to be the wizard. 

41:57 – This is the mistake that most people make when it comes to their brand ideas. They’re not spending enough time creating curiosity. 


Mostafa Hosseini  0:02  

Welcome to Daily Confidence for Entrepreneurs. My name is Mostafa Hosseini, and I’m your host for the show. At Daily Confidence for Entrepreneurs, our purpose and our goal are to share strategies and actionable advice that you could use on running your business and boost your confidence in different areas of your business. Just so you know during the talk, and after the talk, we’ll be giving away gifts. 

We’ll be doing a draw and you’ll enter the draw, if you like, comment, and subscribe to our channels on whichever channel you’re looking at, and if you ask a question live or tag a friend as we’re having a conversation with our amazing guest expert, Michael Roderick, which I’m going to introduce here in a minute, then you enter the draw and we will announce the winners within the next few episodes. My guest is the amazing Michael Roderick. Welcome, Michael.

Michael Roderick  1:05  

Thanks so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Mostafa Hosseini  1:07  

It is great to have you. Let me do the proper introduction then we’re going to dive into the useful and actionable conversation here. Michael Roderick is the CEO of Small Pond Enterprises, which helps thoughtful givers become thoughtful leaders by making their brand’s referable, their messaging memorable, and their ideas unforgettable. I love that and I can’t wait for this conversation. 

He’s also the host of the podcast Access to Anyone which shows how you can get to know anyone you want in business and in life using time-tested Relationship Building Principles. That’s enough. Well, Michael’s unique methodology comes from his own experience of going from being a high school English teacher to a Broadway producer in under two years. Welcome, Michael.

Michael Roderick  2:01  

Thanks so much for having me.

Mostafa Hosseini  2:02  

Great to have you. Michael, what is your story?

Michael Roderick  2:06  

As you heard, I went from being a high school English teacher to a Broadway producer in under two years. So a lot of people were very curious as to how I did it. I started out by studying networking. So I spent a bunch of time basically hosting workshops where I would simulate one on one meetings, job interviews, and cocktail parties. I started to develop all of these frameworks to teach people about relationship building.

Then I became a really well-known sort of within that space, within the connector space. One of the things that just kept coming up over and over again from people was how they would remember something that I had talked about. In some cases for years, I would see somebody after a really long time, and they say “That thing you taught, I still remember it. I’m still using it.” 

If you took networking out the door, what still would get you in all of these rooms? I realized it was, if people would talk about you when you weren’t in the room in a good way. Then I started to study referability and look at how thought leaders, people are interested in thought leadership, create referable brands. Now that’s the work that I do.

Mostafa Hosseini  3:24  

Fantastic. Tell me a little bit more about who you serve, and what do you do for them again?

Michael Roderick  3:31  

Very often, what tends to happen is that people who have a lot of really great ideas, people who are innovators, entrepreneurs, they’re usually very good at doing the work for their clients. They’re great at serving and helping their clients. One of the things that they tend to do is they deprioritize the packaging of their intellectual property. They have a process but they often don’t come up with a name for it. A way to explain it to people that they’ll actually be able to understand. 

What I do is, I come in and take a look at that and help them package it. I help them come up with the language. To help them figure out how they’re going to present this to people. So that they are going to talk to their friends about it and to share it. 

I use the main Referability Principles of Accessibility, Influence and Memory.

  1. First, can people outside of your industry actually understand what you’re talking about?

  2. Second, will they share it because it makes them look better by sharing your ideas?

  3. Most importantly, will they remember it well enough to tell it to someone else and talk to somebody else about your ideas?

Mostafa Hosseini  4:49  

I love it because the way I see it, most business owners describe themselves as broad and unspecified. That’s something no one can remember. It’s like I help everybody and anybody. I guess we’ll get into that. Now, we’re talking about a referable brand. 

What is your definition of brand or branding?

Michael Roderick  5:15  

When you have a brand, it’s what people say when you’re not there so you only have a brand. If people can talk about you, without you needing to butt in and say like, “Hey, this is what I do, or this is what I’m about, or these are my skills, or my process.” You have to have something that people can take on their own, and share with other people, that’s when you have a brand. It’s all about what they are saying when you are not in the room.

Mostafa Hosseini  5:52  

How do you go about developing your brand?

What are some of the steps that the people listening or watching out need to implement and do to start developing their brand?

Michael Roderick  6:16  

You have to answer some very important questions about who it is that you’re serving, and how it is that you’re serving them. Most of the time, the problem that I see is what I call giving ourselves an F. We spend our time talking about what it is that we do and what we need to do. We need to focus on what it is that we do for our clients, and really break down what is the actual work that we’re doing for them. It’s easy to remember.

The three ways to think about what you do for a client. If you don’t do at least one of these three things, you’ll be sad. 

  1. These are to solve a problem, 

  2. Alleviate pain, or 

  3. Decrease friction. 

If you are not solving a problem for your client, getting rid of some kind of pain that they’re dealing with, or making the process easier, and less filled with friction, what you have is a business that is nice to have as opposed to a need to have. 

Very often the main thing that you need to start with, if you’re thinking about this aspect of building a referable brand and getting other people to discuss what it is that you do, is really thinking about this aspect of what are you actually doing for your clients because that’s what they’re going to talk about. 

They’re not going to talk about the years of experience you’ve had. Or the way that you’re doing things and all of those elements. They are going to talk about what you’re actually doing for the clients that you work for.

How to create a referable brand
It's all about what they are saying when you are not in the room.

Mostafa Hosseini  7:48  

I love it. Michael, what is a typical day like for you these days?

Michael Roderick  7:56  

I am a dad to a four year old and a one year old, both girls. So most mornings are pretty much dedicated to family, right? Dealing with early morning activities and that side of things. Once that portion of things is done and I get a chance to go into my room, which is also my office, because we’re all in the middle of this crazy pandemic stuff, then it’s about working with clients. 

Basically, there are entrepreneurs that are struggling with their message trying to come up with their concepts. Trying to get their stuff out there so I will be doing sessions with them. I’ll be teaching workshops for different people’s groups. A lot of my day is spent in interviews like this, where I’m sharing the concept of a referral brand or how that works.

Usually, the end of the day is more spent on content. I write a daily email. So I write every single day. I am spending time crafting that content and coming up with ideas for how that content is going to be presented and where that’s going to go and then that particular side of things.

Maybe a little bit more client work and then the days usually finish around dinner time where I again will spend most of the time with family from dinner to bath time, bedtime and all those types of things. Then either it’s a little bit of a wind down time, a cup on, do another interview,  presentation, or something of that nature.

Mostafa Hosseini  9:38  

Amazing. Looks like family is on top of your value list. Then you got business. What’s the third top value for you?

Michael Roderick  9:47  

Relationships I would say are probably the biggest thing. It’s staying in touch with people. Developing those relationships and cultivating those relationships. I spent a lot of time hosting gatherings and getting groups together. 

The fact that we can’t gather in person, I’m still putting together Zoom gatherings of friends and colleagues. Just making sure that I’m keeping in touch with them. Getting to know what they’re up to, and what they’re working on. I am just supporting the folks within my circle.

Mostafa Hosseini  10:25  

That’s amazing. Relationships are extremely important especially when it comes to running your business.

For those of you who are watching or listening and are joining us later, Michael and I are talking about how to create a referable brand. 

If you have any questions about how to create a referable brand, put it in a chat box. Also if you’re listening to this on our podcast later, you can submit your questions to our social media pages or put a review on our Google podcast or Apple podcast. We’ll get back to you later. I know we touched on this briefly.

Why should business owners care about brands and branding?

Michael Roderick  11:06  

Very simply put, if somebody has a less powerful process than you, does not have all the experiences that you do, is not nearly as good at their work, they will win if people remember them. If their message is easier to transfer, people will share their message before they share yours. The fact of the matter is, we could be fantastic at what we do but if people aren’t sharing our message, if they’re not talking about us, then they’re going to talk about somebody else’s ideas. 

If you’re not taking the time to say, what are my ideas and what are the concepts that I want out in the world? What do I want people to be saying about me? Then you’re basically just leaving it open for other people, usually who are less experienced than you who aren’t doing as great work.  You’re leaving the door open for them to take up that market share and for them to get all of the opportunities.

Mostafa Hosseini  12:18  


What are some of the top myths around branding and referrals?

Michael Roderick  12:27  

I think that one of the things that pops up a lot is this idea of you to be the figurehead. Often I refer to this as like the idea of the wizard versus the person behind the curtain. A lot of people think that in order to be a brand, or to have people talk about you, you have to be out there all the time doing your social media, getting your message out, and being the figurehead. I like to refer to this as the Gaussian version of the personal brand. 

If your personality is what is selling the business and keeping things going, well, now everything that you are is up for grabs. The larger your brand becomes, your personal life comes on that billboard as well. It’s all about you. Whereas, if you become known for your ideas instead of being known for just your personality, then you don’t have to be there for people to share your ideas. 

Nobody is paying attention to what you had for dinner, or which event you were at. You don’t have to live stream all the time, and share everything with your audience. So I think one of the biggest myths is that you have to be this figurehead, like you have to be the wizard. The fact of the matter is, there are plenty of people with very powerful brands, who aren’t wizards who share their ideas and their concepts. 

Their concepts are what really move the needle, the ideas that they have, or what people are sharing and talking about. They’re actually not spending a ton of time doing any kind of self promotion, pushing, and saying, “Hey! Look at me. Pay attention to what I’m doing.”

If you become known for your ideas instead of being known for just your personality, then you don't have to be there for people to share your ideas.

Mostafa Hosseini  14:26  

I really like the idea of having people talk about you when you’re not there and what they say about you. If they say not too many people are talking about me, my brand, my company, and what I do in my expertise. 

What are some of the action steps that I need to take to get people to talk about me?

Michael Roderick  14:49  

  1. First, you have to take the time to figure out how they’re going to be able to share your content. If I say to you, there are 25 points to creating a referral brand and I just kind of laid out then I kept going over. By the time I was on point seven, everybody would tune out. This is because it’s too overwhelming for the brain to take up that much information. But if I say to you that in order to create a referral brand, you need to focus on three things. It’s easy to remember because it spells the word AIM:
  • Accessibility

  • Influence 

  • Memory

You take AIM when creating a referral brand. Well, I’ve given you a very simple way to carry the information.

  1. The first thing that you need to do is to think about what your idea is. 

  • How are you going to make that idea easy for people to carry? 

  • Are you going to make it a story? 

  • Or are you going to turn it into something that is a mnemonic device? Does it spell something? 

  • Are you going to give them an image that helps them understand things? 

One of the top TED Talks that comes out all the time, and we see lots of people reference it, is Simon Sinek’s Start with Why talk.

You see this one all the time but when you think about why is that talk shared so often, it’s because everybody can draw a circle and look smart in front of their friends.

It is the simplest concept to share as it starts with why and draws that golden circle, it is not a complex thing for you to explain to somebody else. 

The mistake that I see most people who are innovators make is that they make sharing the idea too complex. We spend so much time thinking about how I am going to tell this story but we don’t spend enough time at all thinking about how easy it is going to be for somebody to retell this story.

Referable Brand Ep.39
Accessibility. Influence. Memory.

Mostafa Hosseini  16:59  

Would you be able to share some tips on how to make a story simple to share? 

Michael Roderick  17:08  

Sure. First, we need to think about this idea of accessibility. Very often, we have anchors for concepts. This is why when people raise money for a startup, they don’t say, “Here’s the information about the startup” because everybody is going to get lost.

They say, we are the Uber for teacup poodles. So they will use something that you can already be anchored in, and that you already recognize and understand. 

The very first thing that you really have to do when you’re thinking about getting other folks to tell the story is, what is familiar to them, what are they going to understand? What is the anchor going to be? How are they going to take this concept and be able to say, “Oh! I get it. It’s got a beginning, middle and an end.” 

This is why you see so many Venn diagrams, because we’ve all seen Venn diagrams before. It is an anchor for us so we are willing to accept whatever somebody decides to put into a Venn diagram and then consider that person, a thought leader, right? Then, consider that person is giving us really good information because we all recognize a Venn diagram. 

The same is true for a meme. A meme is nothing more than a structure and all we do is overlay our message over whatever that meme is. Ultimately, it’s easy to share because there is a structure behind it. There is a way that this whole thing is broken down. You always want to look at, how am I making this so that people can easily access it? 

So they’re like, “Oh! I understand and recognize it. I get it. Then you give them your twist, like add your thing to it. Let’s say somebody adds 10 marketing principles which is kind of boring and not a lot of stuff that we can associate with it. 

The second you say that these are the 10 commandments of marketing, your next startup, instantly, everybody gets it because that is a very common idea. If somebody tells you to add a Disney effect to your tagline, we instantly know what you’re talking about.

I remember another entrepreneur who said that Netflix is his prospects. We instantly know that we’re going to be binging this person’s content before we meet them because he uses the term Netflix, but if he hadn’t, it wouldn’t be accessible, it wouldn’t be easy to share, it wouldn’t be something that we immediately get. This is the mistake that I think most entrepreneurs make.

I call it finding your Celine. A very quick story, there was the song called Hey Ya! by OutKast, it became a hit but when it was first released, people didn’t listen to it at all. It was because the sound was too different so what the radio stations did was they actually would play Celine Dion first, then Hey Ya!, then Maroon Five or another artist that had a very similar sound. 

After a while, the unfamiliar became familiar so most entrepreneurs are trying to introduce people to their Hey Ya! They’re trying to introduce people to their innovation where what they need to do is to find their Celine. They need to find that thing that is so simple and a great anchor to understand a concept. 

Then they can take it wherever they want but they’ve got to get that trust first from an audience because if it feels too complicated, too challenging, and if the idea makes us feel stupid, we won’t share it. The second that we feel like I’m out of my depth, we don’t want to share it. We don’t want to talk about it because we’ll look awkward if we do.

That’s why there are dozens of leadership TED Talks that never get any sharing because they’re just too complex for the person listening to try and explain to their friend. But if it is in  three steps only like a Venn diagram, or a circle, we share it because we look better. 

That’s the thing that most people do not understand about influence. Most people think that influence is about persuasion. It’s about getting somebody to do something but I am only influential if you do something, but I don’t ask you to do it yet you do it on your own. So, what’s gonna make you do it on your own?

It’s how you look when you share it. So if somebody decides to share this interview, it’s all about how they look to their audience. If they’re sharing this interview and saying, this was really useful, or this was really helpful, and they share it with their audience. Their audience sees them as somebody who understands what is helpful, and what is available to carry.

It builds their reputation the second that they share it. That’s where influence comes from, you being able to create something that will make somebody else look so good, that they cannot help but share it. You don’t have to ask them.

Influence comes from, you being able to create something that will make somebody else look so good, that they cannot help but share it. You don't have to ask them.

Mostafa Hosseini  22:42  

Let me reiterate and tell me if I’m on the right track here. To help people talk about you, your idea should be simple, something that they understand. If it’s complex and broad, they won’t remember. If you say I help people become successful. Not very many people are probably going to talk about you. 

If you say I will help 40-year old accountants add 20% of their bottom line, then if I see someone that could look like an accountant, or if an accounting topic comes up. I can say, I know someone that can help you bring an extra 20% in because it’s not complex. There’s a specific group of people and here’s a specific result that you could deliver for them. Then they’ll talk about you. 

Michael Roderick  23:46  

Exactly. If you can reference that to something that everybody knows. Like a piece of pop culture, you will get even more attention. If you take that accountant example, and let’s just say your audience would grow up in the 80’s and the 90’s. You said,  I’m basically like, what they did, and she’s all that, but for accountants. 

I take you if you’re the Laney Boggs of the accounting world, I make you ready for the prom king, right?  All of a sudden, it’s like anybody who watched that movie knows exactly what you’re talking about and even better if there is something in pop culture. 

This particular moment, you can use that as a way to hook people on to your idea. If we even took this accounting example, you could say that I can take you from the bird. I can take you from the Bernie Sanders of accounting to the Bernie Sanders meme of accounting.

Think about how that meme is everywhere. All of these Bernie Sanders memes of him like in all of these different positions. We’re gonna get it almost immediately because it’s being referenced. 

Ultimately, if you think about that meme culture, why is it being shared, it’s because everybody wants to be funny. They want to be recognized for the fact that they came up with something or that they’re sharing something funny so that’s why we see it all the time. 

This is why the clubhouse has grown as big as it has. It is a status symbol to be able to say to somebody, “I’ve got a clubhouse invite. So I would like to invite you.” It’s a status symbol so that’s why it’s being shared. People say, “I’ve got the inside, and I’m going to help you get on the inside.”

Mostafa Hosseini  25:51  

I love it. Few important points that I picked here. One, you’ve got to do some cultural research into your target market and understand what they actually connect with.

Like if they’re from the 80’s. Which movie and what cultural event can you connect with? When you talk about it, they’re like, I’m like, the few examples you brought up. I’m Laney Boggs of accounting. They’ll be like, okay. Tell me more. 

What is your innovation about and what are you doing differently? You don’t have to explain much. That’s a powerful concept that you brought up. I don’t think Bernie would have gotten this much publicity with any amount of money.

How is this even happening? I’m sure there are a lot of other politicians that have sat around looking stupid. Not getting as much. What’s going on in there? 

How to create a referable brand Ep.39
Meme Culture

Michael Roderick  27:01  

It comes down to the bait. Basically, it comes down to his people. If you think about it, Bernie really attracted a younger generation with all of his ideas, and all of his concepts like Bernie’s market. Even though he’s an old guy, Bernie’s market is young. How does that younger market communicate with each other? They’re all online. 

One of them saw this picture, decided to create that first meme and the second that somebody thinks something is funny, they’re going to share it. The only other thing that can happen once a template is created. Once somebody says this is a funny template, it is for other people to iterate on that particular template. 

Who knows? I mean, it could have been an older person who shared it first, or who created that meme. We have no idea who created the first one but his audience, which is always online, was probably spinning out all sorts of versions of their own memes, right? It made them look funny, it made them look cool and that’s the thing. 

It’s all about thinking how am I going to craft this message so that other people will look cool. This is why all of these tools that are out there by different entrepreneurs end up taking off when there is some sort of a way to qualify yourself. 

If I do a test, and you can tell me if I’m a red or a blue or a green entrepreneur, and you have some kind of category of it, let’s say we get even more in depth of it, and you’re like which Power Ranger entrepreneur are you? You’re going to attract a very specific market. People are going to say, “Well, that’s who I am. That’s what you know, that’s what I’m about.”  

We always crave for identity and we crave that aspect of being able to say things like, this is where I fit, and this is what I’m about. For example, I talk all the time about referability and referrals. 

Most of the time, when people think about referrals, they think only about referral partners so somebody who’s going to send you business. Somebody who is going to think about you and give you opportunities. But you also have Referability Partners.

Referability Partners are people who actually make it so that you are way more likely to be referred. 

  1. The first type of Referability Partner is a Translator, this is somebody you meet who can easily tell you exactly what it is that you do, who has that kind of outside perspective and is able to say, “Oh! You do this.” They just naturally come up with these ideas and these associations. This person could be 10 times more valuable to you, because he helps you understand your value and somebody who introduces you to one client. 
  2. Then you have your Angels. These are the people who love to connect people. They may never refer you to a business. But they may introduce you to somebody who can get you on to a show where you are able to present your material to a bunch of other individuals who could buy from you. That angel can completely change your life, your press situation, and the way that you’re perceived. 
  3. Finally, you have the Producers. It’s easy to remember this because when you think about it, tap into your Referability Partners. Producers are the people who think about how this idea or this concept gets exploited, get built into something bigger than it is, make actual money. They are the people who are always thinking about how this applies in a business sense. If somebody can sit down with you, and say, “Man, this thing that you’re doing can be turned into a course, and sell it for $200 to this massive marketing list.” That information could completely change your business. 

The thing is, if you’re a translator, and you’re really good at translating, you want to ask yourself, who are the other translators in my network who can give me perspective? This is because you’re usually not good at self diagnosing and figuring out your own thing, right?  

Who are the angels in my network? Those who would be happy to connect me to larger opportunities and bigger things? 

Who are the producers who can actually understand where the business is in my particular idea?

Mostafa Hosseini  32:17  

I love it. We got the translators, the angels, and the producers. I’d love the idea of connecting what you’re doing to something cultural and or some sort of Disney effect, right? 

Referability Partners are people who actually make it so that you are way more likely to be referred.

Do you have a process on how people can actually find the connection between what they’re doing to some cultural point?

Here’s an example. I’m all about simplicity. But I’m talking about what’s a cultural thing about simplicity? I have no clue where to start.

Michael Roderick  32:59  

Simplicity is what I like to refer to as a container word. We all have container words. These are words that everybody understands. But everybody has a different definition of. If you use container words, what tends to happen is, it’s very hard to come up with where the specificity is, where the opportunities are. 

What you want to do is to take that container. Open it up and look for the contents. What you want to do is to say, if I wasn’t allowed to use the word simplicity, what other words would I use? If I had to tell a story about simplicity, what would those stories be? 

You start to unpack that container word, you start to come up with ideas and concepts. Once you’ve told a story, you say, this is something I’ve done, or this is something I’ve helped somebody with.

When it comes to simplicity, you can look at that exact story. Then say, “Where in pop culture has that story happened? Where in pop culture do these people exist?” That’s where you can start to latch on to something.

The other piece of it that’s powerful which most people don’t take advantage of, is that when something is High Contrast, we pay much closer attention to it. McDonald’s colors are red and yellow. They have this high level of contrast to them.

The interesting thing about McDonald’s colors is that they’re attractive when you first see them but you will get tired of them very quickly and that is by design. Fast food places want you to be in for a short period of time and then get out so they’re not going to give you blues and greens.

In all these types of things, they’re going to give you the high contrast thing that gets your attention then annoys you after sometime, so you leave. High contrast gets people’s attention.

So if you can think of high contrast in what it is that you’re doing, and actually compare two different two different pop culture things to yourself, you can get far more attention. People are asking you about it a lot of the time. What I’ll do is I’ll tell people about the work that I do.

I come in as a cross between Malcolm Gladwell and Don Draper from Mad Men. They can’t be any more contrasting in terms of look, in terms of being in the world, and all of those different types of things. Instantly, what happens is people are like how? 

Mostafa Hosseini  35:56  

What is that intriguing statement? How the hell do you do that?

Michael Roderick  36:00  

Exactly, it’s the same way. I ended up on tons of podcasts when I first got started because I said, I went from being a high school English teacher to a Broadway producer in under two years, but I didn’t tell you how. 

That’s the thing, you create a high contrast situation, and you minus the payoff. You take the payoff out of the equation. People want to know what the payoff is. They want to know what that particular situation is. 

If you come up with a High Contrast Statement about what it is that you do, but you don’t say, how it happened, or what happened, everybody is curious as to what happened to you.

Mostafa Hosseini  36:42  

They are dying to know?

Michael Roderick  36:43  


Mostafa Hosseini  36:44  

Can you give us a couple examples of that?

Michael Roderick  36:47  

There’s tons of things out there but you know, if you see a headline that says something along the lines of a Trump campaign accidentally funded by anti-Trump supporters. Instantly, you’re like, what is that like? 

How does that work? Or in the classic marketing examples that are out there, how do you make twice as much money by spending half as much time? 

It’s a high contrast situation, you’re curious as to what that actually means, right? How do you get people talking about you without talking about yourself? 

How to create referable brands
Create Curiosity

Michael Roderick  37:40  

You can find things in pop culture, and you can actually place them against each other. What if Bernie Sanders met David Bowie? Instantly, people say, what does that look like?

What’s that about? I’ve created this interesting sort of element of curiosity for you. Once I’ve done that, you want to know, and ideally, that’s what you want to do?

If we take it back to like what you’re doing with your clients, if you describe what you do. You want to get them to the point where they’re like, I need that or my friend needs that.

You’re only going to do that if you create a very interesting high contrast statement, or concept that causes them to be like, “Oh! Man, that is totally me. That’s totally what I’m dealing with.” I would love to be that thing that you’re talking about.

Mostafa Hosseini  38:52  

Absolutely. One of the things that might be along the same lines that I teach in my course, Simple Marketing Formula, is the way you introduce yourself which is by your tagline saying I help X get Y. I help this target market get this result, which leaves that how out of it? 

What do they dive in at five minutes speech, and they never shut up. You keep going on and on. It’s like, Dude, I don’t know. I don’t want your life story. Just tell me what you do. If it’s designed, and if it’s interesting enough, they’re all dying for how. Then they’re like, how do you do that? What does that look like?

Michael Roderick 39:00

One of my favorite stories is about the show Breaking Bad. It is a very popular show. What a lot of people don’t realize about TV is that you have to watch it for a certain period of time in order for ratings to count.

If somebody turns off whatever the show is within that first 5 or 10 minutes, those ratings are not going to count.

So what the writers of Breaking Bad would do is, they would write this opening scene. What does that mean? Why is that happening?

They put these characters in these ridiculous situations. But they wouldn’t tell you how they got in that situation, or what was actually happening.

Often, they wouldn’t pay it off until halfway through the show, or sometimes they wouldn’t pay it off until two shows later.

Mostafa Hosseini  40:29  

Yes, like in an open loop. 

Michael Roderick  40:32  

What does that do that gets you watching the show over and over again? This is the thing we don’t think enough about. We don’t ask ourselves, how am I making it so that somebody wants to binge my ideas?  I need to know what else that person knows.

The second that the person is like, “Oh my God! I need to know what else that person knows.” Then you’ve got them and they will read more of your content. They’ll listen to your stuff and will search for you. Then they will find you out because now you have created that gap for them. How do I find out how this works? 

Mostafa Hosseini  41:19  

The show 24 did this beautifully. They open it with a big action, like what happened? Then right towards the end, something big happens. You’re like, “Oh, my God, I could really? No” I have watched 24 for the entire thing. Probably three times because of that effect.

Same thing with Prison Break. There’s a big thing in the beginning and right at there, towards the end, something big and stupid happens. You’re like, “I really have to watch that. Then even if I have work to do, tell him I’ll come later.” Just to watch this episode.

This is the mistake that most people make when it comes to their brand. They're not spending enough time creating curiosity. They're spending way too much time on exposition.

Michael Roderick  41:57  

Exactly, this is the mistake that most people make when it comes to their brand, their ideas. They’re not spending enough time creating curiosity. They are spending way too much time on exposition, good writing. Spends very little time on exposition.

So if I’m watching a TV show, the dialogue, if it’s like, “I just went to the store, and I bought this thing.”  The characters are just talking about what they did. We’re not going to watch it. If the show opens and somebody has been shot, people will ask what happened? What’s the story?

Mostafa Hosseini  42:36  

Oh, what happened?

Michael Roderick  42:39  

We need to take the time when we’re thinking about the messages that we’re creating. To ask ourselves, are we giving too much exposition? Are we boring our audience because there’s just too much exposition?

Or are we creating so much curiosity that they want to know what else we know. They want to learn more from us, they want to know what our next line is going to be. 

Ultimately, if we even look at copy, that’s what makes a really good copy. If I give you a headline, they get you to read the next line, I win. Right? You keep reading, you read down to the end of that sales page, I have won.

You’re either going to buy or you’re going to send it to somebody who’s going to buy, because you’re curious, you want to know what the outcome is. You want to know what the possibility is. This is the thing you want to create the kind of ideas and contents that gets people to binge you. 

The most successful TED talk people who have entire careers created basically something that caused other people to binge them. Their idea was a simple concept that made them say, ”Man, I need to know what else this person knows.” Then they go and search him out. They look for their website and for their information.  

I think most of the time what happens is we actually give way too much then people are overwhelmed. They’re not actually interested anymore. We don’t hold back enough.

Mostafa Hosseini  44:17  

Very interesting. You have given me so much to think about working. For those of you watching or listening either now or later. Michael, I can’t thank you enough. You just got my brain going like 1000 miles an hour right now. 

Michael Roderick

Awesome. So glad to hear that. 

You talked about how some fast food restaurants put some high contrast colors. If you want people on the other hand to stay around, you would put low contrast colors. 

Michael Roderick  45:00  

Yes, it would be blues and greens and like Starbucks. Starbucks is focused on the idea of a culture. So Starbucks is focused on the concept of, you’re in this place and this is a community for you. This is your place to go.

Everything about Starbucks is about creating that sense of culture, that sense of like, “Hey, stay awhile.” You do this, whether you realize it or not. 

Your message is either telling people like, “Hey, stay a while, I’ve got lots of stuff and I’d love to kind of keep you here.” Or it’s saying, “pay attention to me right now and I don’t really care if you stay or you go.” 

The thing is, when we think about permission-based marketing, you can’t have permission without interruption. That’s the first thing we have to understand. I have to interrupt you, in order for you to decide to give me permission to have more conversations with you. My interruption can be very high contrast. It can be very interesting but then when I deliver, you’re part of my community. 

Do I have to shock you every single day? Or do I need high contrast every single day? No, it’s actually going to freak you out and bother you. I can now write some think pieces and can create something that’s a little more experimental to test things now because you’re part of that community. 

You’re reading these emails, you’re you’re listening so I can write lots of different things once you’re here. So you’ll be interested to learn more and to discover more. At first, I got to get you to say something like, “I’m really curious, I want to pay attention, and I want to follow what it is that you have to offer.

Referability Rater
Referability Rater

Mostafa Hosseini  47:04  

Wow, very interesting stuff. If people want to get a hold of you, how do they do that?

Michael Roderick  47:14  

I’m pretty much all over the socials. If you will, I’m here on the book of faces as Mike Roderich, because my Michael account got hacked at one point. So definitely check out Mike Roderich if you’re reaching out to me on the book of faces. I’m also on LinkedIn and on Twitter. My website is You can always reach out there. I’m pretty accessible. Always happy to help and to support anybody who reaches out.

Mostafa Hosseini  47:53  

So the website is Now, I understand that you’re graciously sharing a gift with our audience. Can you tell us about that?

Michael Roderick  48:05  

Sure. This is a Referability Rater. What you can do is you can basically answer a series of questions. It will help you understand how referable you are. Also it’ll help you understand where you are falling down on the accessibility side of things, influence side, the memory side, and give you a bit of a score. You can see where you’re at and what your story is.

If you’re curious as to the kind of where you are on that Referability journey, this will help you and you will get the opportunity. Then if you fill out the rater, you can also be able to join daily email. You can check that out. I also have a weekly digest that you can check out.

Mostafa Hosseini  48:50  

That’s amazing. For those of you who are watching or listening later, we talked about some interesting and powerful ideas that you can apply to your business starting today. 

First of all, go grab the gift. I posted the link here and in the comments of the show on our social channels. It’s going to be posted in the show notes in Apple and on different places.

Get a hold of Mike. What he does is absolutely amazing and powerful and every business needs it like designing curiosity in how you introduce yourself, designing curiosity into how you deliver your products and services so people keep wanting more.

That’s a problem with people. They have a hard time convincing someone about what they do. It doesn’t spark curiosity, questions, or anything like that.

Then once they bring the customer in, they’re like, Alright, I’ve done a transaction. Now, the customer leaves. They’re like, “Oh, how do I get them back? Now I need to go find another customer.”

If you build those curiosity pieces in there, it will be a lot easier along with the wealth of knowledge and the branding, and the Referability pieces that Michael works on. So grab it and take advantage of it while it’s there.

The Referability Rater will help you understand how referable you are. It'll help you understand where you are falling down on the Accessibility side of things, Influence side, the Memory side, and give you a bit of a score.

Michael, what are some of the favorite books that you always recommend people to read? Or some books that have made a massive impact on the way you think or your life?

What are your three books that you talk about all the time?

Michael Roderick  50:42  

The book that caused me to quit teaching was Seth Godin’s The Linchpin. He breaks down the fact that school is built as an industrial complex to teach us how to be good factory workers. Talks about how so many of only thought about ourselves as factory workers. Kind of learned how to put our head down. How you need to think about how are you not going to be a factory worker, because factory workers are expendable.

When I read that, I realized that the education system I was in, I was basically a factory worker. It was one of the main things that kind of moved me out of the teaching side of things. I thought that book was just fascinating, and was very formative.

Another book that hit me was Essentialism by Greg McKeown. That one is all about this aspect of what is essential in your life and how you say no to a lot of the opportunities and things that are coming your way. Making sure that you’re sort of handling all of that. I find that this book helps you cut through a lot of the things that you might like. If you’re chasing a lot of things, I just think it’s a useful, and a helpful book.

Then the final one, where that hay your story came from, that I just think is filled with fascinating stories is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I think all these stories show you how so much of what we do is is habit driven. How you can identify your habits, and change your habits. There’s a lot of really fascinating material in there. Lots of fascinating stories. I just think it’s a phenomenal book.

Mostafa Hosseini  52:47  

The first one from Seth Godin was Linchpin. Then there was Essentialism with Greg McKeown and Power of Habit. I’ve read Essentialism and Power of Habit. They’re both amazing books but I’ll put Linchpin on my list.

Essentialism was a game changer for me as well, along with the book 80/20 Principle by Richard Kosh. They changed the course of my business in life. Basically, they made a massive impact on me so thank you for that.

Is it okay, if I call you Mike? If you had a Facebook or Google ad that everyone on the web could see, what would your message be?

Michael Roderick  53:40  

That’s an interesting one. I think I would go with that aspect of, you want to get people talking about you, when you’re not in the room in a good way. Also I found that one worked well to get people basically curious, sort of get them to say like, “That’s interesting.”

I would also play around with, because I would always test and I would try different ideas in different markets, I would also try the idea of how to get everybody talking about you without ever talking about yourself because I also think the high contrast of that, and also the the value of that I think hits a very specific audience as well.

How to create referable brand
Stay in touch with your clients and get their feedback.

Mostafa Hosseini  54:29  

Love it. Michael, is there anything that you would like to add that we haven’t talked about or touched on?

Michael Roderick  54:38  

I think that the thing that we often forget about, is the aspect of the keys to all the doors we need to open are in other people’s pockets. If you’re struggling with your message or your copy or any of those types of things, a lot of the time that language is in your clients mouths.

So taking the time to talk to people you’ve already helped and hearing what their words are, can help you understand more about the value that you’re providing. 

It can help you figure out how you’re going to present yourself, how you’re going to present your business, and what that business offers. Taking the time to talk to people about what they’re seeing, as opposed to just what you see. I think it’s just such an essential thing and something that not enough people do.

Mostafa Hosseini  55:35  

I actually did that. This week, I called some of our existing students in our program, and went through a few questions. Why did you start? What’s happening and what’s not happening? How can we support you and a bunch of questions. Did you guys just get more feedback about where they’re at? What do they expect?  

Michael Roderick 56:00

These are like the best conversations. What you just mentioned is an essential process, like you have to constantly stay in touch with your customers to make sure that you know what’s going on in their mind. 

Otherwise, we’re just making assumptions and we may not make the wrong assumptions. We lose them and we’re like, I wonder what happened. I was doing my best. Well, your best was not on track with what they were thinking.  

Mostafa Hosseini 56:26

I love it. Thank you, Michael. This has been an amazing conversation. You shared a lot of good and useful and actionable advice that business owners can use to apply to their business and boost their confidence.

When it comes to Marketing and Branding, Gang, if you’re watching or listening, make sure you get a hold of Michael. What was your website again?

Michael Roderick  56:51

Mostafa Hosseini  56:55  

Yes. He’s all over God’s green earth on social media, his name will pop up, connect with him and have a chat.

Michael Roderick  57:03  

Thank you again, Mostafa. Thanks again for having me. I really appreciate it. 

Mostafa Hosseini  57:07  

Again, if you’re watching or listening, if you have any questions, make sure you pop it in the chat or send me or Michael a question and we’ll get back to you.

If you like and subscribe to our show on various social media channels, or on Apple, Google, and Spotify, you enter your name into a draw for the prizes that we give away. 

Also if you have any questions, post them in there, we’ll get back to you. If you know a friend that could benefit from this conversation, tag them in the conversation on social media. Again, you will enter your name into the draw for the gifts. If you rate and review the show and just tell us what you learned and your experience with the show, you enter the draw as well. 

Now, one way that we help our audience to boost their confidence when it comes to running their business is by helping them create and implement their One Page Marketing Plan in three days or less through our course Simple Marketing Formula

The next round of Simple Marketing Formula is coming up on the weekend of February 19th to 21st. If you want to join us, build your plan, and work on foundational pieces, like the essential pieces of your marketing, join us.

Going back to our earlier conversation is like the 80/20 of Marketing. This is the 20% of Marketing that produces 80% of results. Once you have these pieces figured out, a lot of other pieces will become easier. Growing and scaling your business becomes a lot easier. 

The links are in the show notes and in the chat. We’ll go from there. Thank you for joining us. Again, thank you Michael, great to have you. 

If you have any questions, put it out there and we’ll get back to you. My name is Mostafa Hosseini. Thank you for joining us. Have a great day. We’ll see you in our next episode. Bye now.



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