At the end of every episode of How I Built It, host Guy Raz asks extremely successful founders whether hard work and smarts played as much of a role as luck. Andy Nairn is the founder of Lucky Generals. He’s been paying attention to the role that luck plays in life and brand success, since before stumbling on that name almost ten years ago. Now he’s written a book, Go Luck Yourself, to put the stories in context and explaining how to recognize and take advantage when luck smiles on your business and brand.

Proceeds from the book are going to support Commercial Break, which creates job opportunities in the creative industries for young, working class talent:
Find Andy Nairn on Twitter:
Andy’s shop, Lucky Generals:

Transcript below:

Adam Pierno 0:02
This is The Strategy Inside Everything. I’m Adam Pierno. The Strategy Inside Everything is the podcast for people who think for a living. If you have an idea, a question or you want to push back on something you hear in this episode, go to and leave a message or a voicemail for me. The best and most interesting messages will be added to future episodes. And I can’t wait to hear from you. All right, welcome back to another episode of the strategy inside everything. We had a preview of the upcoming episode and conversation last week with today’s guest. I’m very lucky to have the founder at Lucky Generals and the author of killer book. Go Luck Yourself, Andy Nairn. Andy, how are ya?

Andy Nairn 0:56
I’m very good. Thanks. Thanks for having me on.

Adam Pierno 0:58
Oh, it’s a pleasure. And I we were already booked. But I was lucky. Like I said, to get that preview at John Roberts of truth collective has a regular planner get together and I was able to hear you speak and talk about the concepts behind go lock yourself and, and luck itself and how its manifested in in your work and in business. So it was good to get a preview of this?

Andy Nairn 1:24
Yeah, great. No, it was it was really nice. Actually, it seems to be a universal theme. I guess everybody in the world could do a little bit of luck right now. So it was interesting to get perspectives from all those guys. Yeah,

Adam Pierno 1:35
I would not, I would not turn away any any good fortune at this moment. Exactly. Exactly. So I want to hear your thoughts on luck. And but before we do that, would you mind giving the audience a sense of who you are, and kind of where you’ve been what you’ve done before you co founded lucky generals or founded lucky generals and what you’re doing at Lucky generals?

Andy Nairn 1:55
Yeah, sure. So I’m – First of all, I’ll explain my where I’m from, I’m from a tiny little place in the middle of nowhere in Scotland. So that explains this the funny accent. And I sort of stumbled into advertising that I did law at university, that’s where I graduated as a lawyer. And then I kind of figured out I didn’t want to be a lawyer. But I did quite like that kind of, there are some similarities, because really, what you’re doing is putting clients case forward, I guess. And I kind of figured I wanted to do that in a more creative environment. So I sort of somebody recommended advertising to sort of stumbled into that. And then I worked at agencies on it was mostly mostly in London, I had a lot of student a good base, obviously, in San Francisco, which I absolutely loved. And then came back to the UK and helped establish an agency that had been going for a couple of years. That was called MCBD. And I only mentioned that because it was, it was the place that I’m really sort of met my two partners in Chrome that people will be later set up lucky general. So I had a good old 10 years there, this federal agency. And then we made a mistake, we did a merger with another agency whose look great on paper, and we absolutely hated it. So

Adam Pierno 3:17
They always look good on paper.

Andy Nairn 3:20
Yeah, that’s right. And everybody tells you, you know, you read all the stuff about marriages, and you know, people saying they never work, but you somehow convince yourself that you’re gonna be the ones that do make it work. And we, for a lot of reasons, were here, the way it turned out to be really helpful, like a lot of things are in life, when you have something that you you know, that is unpleasant, or you don’t like, we sort of used that to figure out well, okay, if we don’t like this, what do we want to do? And what we did want to do was start another agency, that would be just ourselves. No, no clients in the beginning know, when taking people with a certain level, when was a complete blank sheet of paper? And we did that nine years ago with like, the generals and Frederick Taylor.

Adam Pierno 4:04
Yeah. Did you do that? As did you intentionally want to bootstrap it? You know, you said like, we’re just going to go, we’re not going to try to pull any clients. We’re not going to build it around one anchor client that’s going to make us locked into something that we maybe won’t like in two years. Was that weird? Yeah, we

Andy Nairn 4:19
did. And it was, it was mildly terrifying, I guess, because it’s not the way that most people do I guess. But I just think we wanted such a clean break from the past. And we didn’t want to wait we want to circle back to the any of the things that we’ve been doing or the people we’d work with. We just felt pure and simpler that way. And so we had to do the usual thing we have to dig your way out almost of you know, there’s all sorts of legal restrictions of things it was a bit late escaping from cold it’s you know, The Great Escape, you know, where you you see people paddling out with a spoon from yourself, and then reassembling on the outside, you know, miraculously, like you hadn’t planned that. And, but there was there was a real freshness and I’m actually again, you know, looking back, it turned out to be a good thing because there was that clean break. And it forced us to, you know, we had to go out and get a new plants because we’d, you know, we were already from day one, you know, eating our way through money and waiting for the phone to ring. So we had

Adam Pierno 5:33
to figure it out. Yeah. Did you practice law? Or did you graduate with a degree and decide, you know, this, I don’t know what to do with this degree. I don’t really want to be a lawyer, or did you do it?

Andy Nairn 5:43
I never practiced it. I finished. Got the degree, funnily enough, either either conversation with one of many lucky things to return to that theme. I had a conversation with a guy called Alexander McCall Smith, he is now one of the best selling authors in the world. So he’s, like, sort of 7 million books or something like that. There’s a detective series there, the the Ladies Detective Agency. And so he is right up in the top league of authors, quite a few elites and ranks above my own humble and miserably. Sadly, yeah, exactly. So we can all look up to him. But he was my wallet. And he was a annoyingly multi talented person. But he missed my last lecture. And I started telling him I didn’t really fun to do you didn’t want to practice afterwards. And he said, Well, why don’t we, you know, he put it together. And his mind said, if you like putting a case together, but you want more creative environment, why don’t you do suddenly advertising and he, I’d never thought of that before. But he sort of gave me the name of a couple of agencies that where he knew people. And then what I like is that he then so you give me that very good advice. And then he obviously sort of took his own advice, he decided they didn’t want to do law, and and then went on to this mega selling. Also, as I kind of feel like I helped him in his career, as probably a little bit more than he helped me.

Adam Pierno 7:15
I’m gonna go look at the books and see if he credits you in any of the Yeah, I feel

Andy Nairn 7:19
I feel like I’ve been left behind slightly. But, but he was, he was a lovely man

Adam Pierno 7:24
To Andy, thank you for inspiring my journey.

Andy Nairn 7:26
Yeah, that’s right. Yeah.

Adam Pierno 7:29
That’s an that’s an interesting start to the career and the idea that applying these skills in this other way, or the what you’ve learned in law school in this other way, talk to me about naming Lucky Generals at that time, because I’m familiar with the agency from across the pond and hearing about your success. And so not maybe the founding of it, but always thinking like that’s such an interesting name. Like even then now your book is comes out eight years, seven years after you founded the agency. Why? Why that name?

Andy Nairn 8:01
Well, you know, it’s sort of we had, that was somewhat accidental as well, we just liked the name. And until two days, before we launched, we had a different name. And I’m not gonna tell you what it was actually, it was, we were going to be called originally house on fire. Because we liked the idea. You know, the three of us, we’ve worked together for many years, we all like a house on fire. And we want to work with clients and people that you know, after that, so as I say, that bruising encounter that we had, we wanted to get back to working with friends, and people would like to share the same values. And we also thought it was nice about brands, the best brands you get on Windows and fire with an off grid thinking all the rest of the rest all the documents, and you know, and then guess what, there was a terrible, terrible host fire in the news at the time, and I guess it probably all was one of them every few months, isn’t there somewhere in the world? And we just realized, oh, no, this is a horrible thing to, you know, just the search implications of that in this modern world that we live in. And the first thing people do when they find out about you is Google your name. And all of a sudden, you’re being shored up with all these terrible sort of tragic visuals and all the rest of it probably wasn’t a great thing. And so you know, we’re now you’re about to launch an agency and didn’t have a name. So that was, that was a bit of a panic. And then Danny, my creative partner remembered this three is lucky generals when she had always wanted to. It was an abandoned High School, as lots of us were and he, he always wanted to call his band like a generals and he wasn’t allowed to study. This is his chance. So really, it was not much more thought than that. It was like in an act of desperation, but it has turned out to be one of the best things maybe the single best thing that we ever did.

Adam Pierno 9:54
Yeah, speaking of distinctive assets, you started the box with something that nobody else was. There’s no SEO battle for that phrase.

Andy Nairn 10:03
Yeah, we kind of reclaimed it. And on the pool import, it turns out, somebody asked him, What does it take to win a war? And he said, “Just bring your lucky generals.” In other words, people with a track record, you know, achieving success, not so bullshitter people who talk a good game, and so we quite like that. It’s been a great, let me say great asset ever since.

Adam Pierno 10:25
Yeah, that’s amazing. Tell me a little bit about writing the book. Where what? Where did you start? You know, what kicked it off. When did you say I have a book here?

Andy Nairn 10:35
Well, do you know what it was an interesting leader for that last week, because after eight years of having this no successful agency, with the word lock in the title, I saw, I realized, it was a bit embarrassing, I thought, we, we’ve never really interrogated that idea of luck, I don’t really know what it means. You know, as I just explained, that was really pretty serendipitous the way that we came about it in the first place. So and then I started find yourself thinking a lot. But look over the last couple years, like maybe lots of us have, because of the pandemic. Think about unlucky, this whole situation was, and then a lot of other big stories of the last couple of years have been, you know, involving a different sort of luck, because it’s about you know, a lot of them have such a privileged and I’m a classic, old, white, straight, able bodied man. And so a lot of those other students been taken out. I’ve been really lucky in lots of ways. And so I started thinking Khurshid, find out more about Locke. And the more I researched it, the more interested it was, because I realized that none of us, you know, it’s a taboo subject, isn’t that in, at least in Western culture?

Adam Pierno 11:41
Taboo how?

Unknown Speaker 11:44
Well, we don’t like to talk about it especially. Yeah, especially in the West, because it kind of, you know, if I said to you that you were lucky, you might find it quite insulting, actually, because it sort of implies that you’re very, you know, hard working in. Skilled. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that’s right. And, and so people bristle a little bit about what you know, when you say that something was lucky. But I think in our private moments, we can, we’re maybe a bit more genuine. And we, we probably have a bet everyone on this unit is listening this to know can probably, hopefully admit that at some point in their life. They have been lucky, at least ourselves. Yeah, at least of themselves, you know, because otherwise, what we’re seeing, we’re sort of seeing that we’ve been uniquely brilliant and unique, we hard working, sort of that sort of doesn’t sort of ring true to me. So it’s actually yeah, that’s a bit weird, I think. So it’s more confident and thing to sort of admit that luck is involved. And what I found was the really interesting thing is that there’s a lot of science behind this and a lot of empirical evidence. And, and really, it all points to the fact that you can change your luck. If you are more conscious of it, if you’re more mindful of it, that made me really interested to

Adam Pierno 13:03
Where did what’s the source of some of that research?

Andy Nairn 13:07
There’s all sorts, there’s, like, there’s some, there’s some research, for instance, from a guy called Richard wise man, to be a good example of nominative determinism that I think has been it’s a wise man, who is he sort of got the right name for the job. But he he, he’s done a huge study on that, that the subject of Locke, and, and he finds that, if I’ve got a second, I can tell you one of his experiments, he’s, he’s sort of, so he divides people into whether you’re unlucky, or you’re unlucky, like do you self described yourself as being more slick and a lucky person. And then it gets him to read the newspaper. And then he asked him to count how many photographs are in the newspaper. And the people who say that the lucky did a couple of seconds. And the people who said are unlucky take quite a few minutes. And the reason is that on page two, he puts a little advert, he says, you can stop counting photographs as 45 photographs in the newspaper, just tell the guy in the door, take your money, and you can go home. And what we find is that by seeing we’re lucky, sometimes that means that we’re just good at spotting these kind of shortcuts, and we spot things in our eyes. And, and when we say we’re unlucky, where it just means that we’re the sort of person that that doesn’t realize that luck is waving to us, let’s see where a headstone for

Adam Pierno 14:33
looking for the signs that said,

Andy Nairn 14:35
we’re not looking at sensitives. And it might be because we were very diligently concentrating on a task that would be going on like an excuse for getting photographs. And so he teaches individuals to get better at that, you know, to sort of improve their peripheral vision, if you like. And I think the same applies to organizations. Sometimes organizations are very narrowly focused on the task that they think they’ve been set. So I think yeah,

Adam Pierno 14:59
yeah, can To really see that or they get into, like, if you think about athletes, you know a player, yes, get into a slump. And because they’re in a slump, they stay in the slump. And it’s exactly the best of them figure out how to mentally detangle themselves from that and say, No, yeah, I’m gonna go out and I’m gonna score a goal. I’m gonna, I’m yeah, I’m gonna turn this around.

Andy Nairn 15:17
Yeah, yeah, there’s a real, exactly these things become self perpetuating. There’s another great experiment I should have done, I think by University of lumber in the states who do this test where they found that there’s a guy in Japan, whose name I forget who was present at both of the summit bombings during the Second World War. So he was in, I think it was Hiroshima was first wasn’t that sort of mix these up. But he was at the first bombing, basically, on a business trip, survived it, and got his train back home to the city that was the location of the second for me to go back to mega circuit, and was there at the epicenter of that bombing and survived that too. And what’s interesting is that from your reaction that you can either do a test with the tail half the respondents that this is the story of the luckiest guy in history, because he bought his skateboard. Yeah, and they tell the other half this is the story of the unluckiest guy in history. And depending on how you frame that story, you can tell when the big point you make that is quite a lot of stuff in life can either be framed as good luck or bad luck, and sort of helping people to see things that first sight seem unfortunate. and turning them into things that are fortunate is kind of what we do some of the things that our jobs.

Adam Pierno 16:39
Yeah. And it’s all about the framing because I was thinking well, what how lucky he was to survive. But how unfortunate to have to witness everything around him that Yeah, that’s true. immediately see both sides, but I did to the to the listeners, I did cover my face in horror. Yeah.

Andy Nairn 16:55
So I have an incredible story. And I feel like that’s true scientific studies that that touch on luck and kind of show how you can you can you can change your lock and unlock isn’t just some sort of superstitious. One of the things that’s happened to me because I keep getting people keep giving me things like Rabbit’s feet and Porsches and stuff like this, for leaf blowers. And it’s not really about that at all. Do

Adam Pierno 17:20
you? Are you superstitious at all? Like does that stuff travel for you? Or do you do just put them in a drawer and say, Thank you? Can I

Andy Nairn 17:26
prove that I think all of us are to some degree. And again, even that the science shows that superstitions do work, although not in the way that we might imagine. So if you’re if you’re playing soccer, and you’re taking penalties, there’s a study that showed that if you were allowed to indulge in whatever superstition, you did, you maybe had one sock pulled up and one sock down or whatever, if you’re allowed to do that you scored more goals. But if you were stopped from doing whatever your suspicion was, you did actually score less goals because of what you’re talking about earlier, this kind of self fulfilling prophecy case, it’s

Adam Pierno 18:06
like a placebo effect. Almost.

Andy Nairn 18:08
It’s, it’s free. Yeah, yeah. And lots of us have got these, but probably, you know, in business, if we’re doing pictures, there might be little rituals or things that we strike upon. And then when they are more successful, they become self reinforcing. We do them the next time. And then we get a bit worried about, you know, oh, we want to we always win pitches when we’re in this room, or when we do this trick. And then we worry if we can’t be in that room, you know, we’re gonna be less successful than we know we are less successful then. You know, so I can I’m really interested in psychology, all that kind of stuff and

Adam Pierno 18:44
small agency where we had a special car, the pitch wagon. That was exactly that thing. It was the Yeah, founders. I think it was a suburban that we would all pile into to go to the pitch. And it was like, yeah, if we were in the pitch wagon, alright, that’s good. Yeah. Yeah.

Andy Nairn 18:59
I love it. Yeah. So

Adam Pierno 19:00
it was like, a rolling rabbit’s foot. So yeah, you got the idea to write the book? And who’s the book? Who are you thinking is reading the book? Like, who’s your Who’s your ideal reader? And were you trying to? Was it just because you were full of all this research? And you realize like, this is this is an amazing collection of stories and research that, that I can frame in this interesting way. Or did you have you know, did you have another goal in mind for the book?

Andy Nairn 19:31
I think gold was. So again, go back to to just the beginning of the pandemic, really, in thinking about luck. I thought it’s quite interesting to write a book about luck, because it could bring some luck to other people as well. So I’m giving all the royalties to an organization that helps working class kids get a lucky break into our industry. So that became a big thing for me. I sort of, you know, so being too profound about it, I guess it was, you know, the pandemic is when it’s probably made us all think about what we’re doing in Life. As I say, it made me think that much. So I was feeling a bit miserable. Like some of us have done a various points, I sort of SNAP myself over by thinking, hold on, mate, you’ve had a pretty good and lucky life. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. And maybe, maybe you could write some stuff that is helpful to people, you know, by reading the book, but also generates money for people who are really having a much worse time than you in this recession. So shut up about you put your lot of violent awareness and stop feeling bad about yourself.

Adam Pierno 20:34
And so you’re creating more and more people. Yeah,

Andy Nairn 20:37
yeah. So which I found, so that’s a thing again, which is also backed up by lots of science, this idea of karma. And I thought, that’s a good positive way to channel. All this. And then in terms of who it’s aimed at, to read, because that was important that didn’t want to just get pity reads like that. You think, Oh, this guy’s written the book for charity, I shouldn’t buy it. And it’ll be crap. But, you know, I sort of wanted obviously, also, to be a good booster, I thought it’s about is for people, anyone who’s sort of looking after a brand, so keeping people in agencies, or marketing people, but I guess at least there’s lots of people, you know, entrepreneurs who didn’t have the marketing and the job title, but they’re trying to build a brand, and they’re trying to grow something. And so it should hopefully, appeal to them too.

Adam Pierno 21:25
Yeah. And understanding the role that luck has played and can play in that work to do because it is not all you can follow him and you can read Ritson and then Byron and do everything they say, yeah, you can still fail. That’s

Andy Nairn 21:41
it. And I think it’s, you know, you can do all that good stuff. And you should do that there’s a quote, I should have written and, you know, bone shock, and all the rest of it. And in the book, so those things are important. But luck is also an important part. And what happens in most textbooks, so I found a great stat that someone else has calculated, but only only 2% of textbooks mentioned, luck, I think is very telling you because when you get to the case that if not we’ve done ourselves, like I’ve read case studies, and you’ve read case studies where we sort of tell the perfect version of what happened because it’s just easier that way. And then we we write them in retrospect them and but actually along the way, all sorts of dumb things happen, or we have lucky mistakes or bad luck happens, whatever, I thought was a bit honest to acknowledge some of those things. And then maybe people can relate a little bit more. Yeah,

Adam Pierno 22:33
I know, every case study is like this brand had this problem. We want it to blink. So yeah, we made sure the most famous influencer in the world saw it and retweeted it. Totally coincidentally. Yeah,

Andy Nairn 22:44
yeah. Suddenly, suddenly, everyone’s talking about it. Yeah. Because of, yeah, I know exactly uniquely because of us. And so a lot of the things in the book car, blind alleys, and mistakes and things that we did wrong, but that somehow would be made us figure out how we were going to do so there are much more squiggly lines, if you like, you know, rather than these very neat linear processes that we read about in awards entries,

Adam Pierno 23:15
much more true than squiggly? Yeah, I

Andy Nairn 23:16
think so. I hope so.

Adam Pierno 23:18
Do you? How do you think you mentioned earlier that people might be offended? If you said, Oh, your luck, you know, luck played a role in your success? How do you reconcile the concept of luck with expertise and experts standing? You know, how do you? How do you overcome that fear factor? Or how do you how do you coach your own teams to accept that, you know, and own the own the parts that we got lucky with, without it being a blow to your ego?

Andy Nairn 23:47
Yeah, I think it’s, it’s to, is to watch out for the word just, that’s the important word. If you say that someone is just lucky, then that is an insult, because then you are saying that are hardworking and talented. But if you take that word away, you can talk about luck in more positive terms. And when you appreciate how lucky you are, again, there’s lots of research that shows this in life and in work that if you appreciate the luck, that is that you’ve either stumbled upon or that you’ve maybe been born with if it’s demographics, then then you’re more likely to succeed if you’re oblivious to it so it’s it’s to me it’s all about being conscious of your lock and which is not to denigrate someone and say yeah, there was only learn to lock your statistics on the bed to lock so that’s what I think I’m trying to encourage my teams to if they have experienced a lot let’s let’s acknowledge that because that will make us less likely to be complacent as well. If we realize poof we actually got away with one there are we we did benefit from some quite lucky. That means that you you’re less likely to get accredited and follow over the next Right.

Adam Pierno 25:00
Yeah. And I think a little, a little pushback on that. I’m successful without any help from luck is not healthy. Yeah. It’s nice to have that as a as an ingredient to success and keep you humble. Yeah, I

Andy Nairn 25:13
think so I think, you know, there’s there’s been, again, various other research papers that show that coworkers are more likely to want to work with you with people who express, you know, an acceptance of luck, versus those people who who deny sort of thing. So I’m hoping this would make you really popular with all my co workers. It’s probably too, it’s probably too late for that. I imagined banging on about it all the time sort of thing. But yeah, I feel like there’s a humility that hopefully comes with the idea. How do you

Adam Pierno 25:51
in that same vein, how do you make space for luck? How do you how do you make sure that you are recognizing it? Yes, it’s as if, as you’re experiencing it, or, or in the recent past versus I think you’re you’re spot on and looking at some of the stories that you might have as case studies and looking back and going, Oh, we got lucky here. But that might be two years or a year later, when you’re writing the award show entry. But how do you have a method for experiencing it as, as it’s happening? Yeah, I

Andy Nairn 26:17
think a lot of it is quite, it’s crazy, this is a really good. A really good sort of way to think about it, because we can, we can wait for lucky things to happen to us, you know, so that does happen there, I suppose. Do you use what Fluke some British word are? Okay, so um, you know, that can just be a pure fluke, something like you happen to see a welder. But, or you can make the lucky things happen to that. And actually, what the book is about is proactively trying to make these things happen. And so things like, as I say, appreciating what you’ve got, taking a conscious moment to be mindful of, you know, how lucky you might be in a particular brief. That can be helpful, or it can be about deliberately thinking about lessons you could learn from elsewhere. Because sometimes, you know, you can, you can stumble on an idea by going for, I don’t know, walk around the park, or go to art gallery, or listen to music or whatever. And that may be accidental, or you can deliberately make that happen by reinventing a little bit more in your day and telling yourself right, I am now going to go swimming, or I’m going to do something completely different and deliberately making those chants things happen is is how you can maximize those possibilities. Yeah,

Adam Pierno 27:37
we refer to that as collisions. You’re trying to make space for those weird, unexpected events to happen where you get the inspiration, or you get a new perspective on whatever you’re thinking about.

Andy Nairn 27:48
Yeah, I love the way that people and you know, like musicians, like if, you know, Tom Waits the way that he raised songs and stuff to different radios on and different radio stations. And so watch out for those collisions. Now he could he could do that accidentally, he might just, by chance, stumble on two different pieces of music at the same time, but he that’s him deliberately trying to make the connection, which I like,

Adam Pierno 28:15
yeah. And that it’s part of his process tells you Yeah, that he really has internalized that. You have to get pretty lucky to make two songs on two different devices sound like anything? Yeah.

Andy Nairn 28:28
Yeah. The other great reason about music I love is Quincy Jones is also the greatest of record producer. He he’s got this phrase on his wall that says, Let the LORD walk through the room to really like so he’s he’s very sort of scientific in his sort of approach to trade music. But then he lets 20% of the time at the end to just crazy stuff happen or look to have a Beatles ring fence it that’s the important thing. He sort of he he, he will create the time and the expense to experiment with a bunch of stuff. And so that idea letting the Lord was a lot of the time unfortunately, in our day jobs, we we saw both doors to the Lord, we were kind of like trying to keep him out of his way. We’re trying to just do the thing that we promised that we would do and what was on the plan that we need to try and let that load walk through the room.

Adam Pierno 29:18
Yeah, that’s funny that you say that. It’s a weird thing. Like I think of widening Kennedy, being this year over year, you’ve worked at it good. And this consistency of excellence in creative in thinking. And the people that I know that have worked there have said the processes there are airtight. Yeah, and it’s such a funny thing that’s like by locking down the processes, you actually create the 20% if not the opposite, most, I shouldn’t say most many other agencies saying Oh, no, no, we don’t want to limit so let’s leave it a little bit more loosey goosey. And in that way, it’s like people are freaked out about just like where do I get printer paper and the other half a day and they’re not cuz they’re not thinking about, they’re not free. So that stuff

Andy Nairn 30:03
is so true. It’s only because that’s why I did Quincy Jones. He is so driven that when they were making thriller, which is also the best selling album of all time, you know, I think one of the amplifiers caught fire, you know. So it’s very it’s not, it’s not one of these people that just sort of says, let’s sit back and feel loosey goosey and hope that lucky. He’s, he’s like on it. And he can tell you, is that chorus 20% too long, or does that drop come in 10% to any face scientific about all this. But and he does everything that was he was asked to do. And they stick to the plan, and they record it. And then as you say, by doing all the things that were on the plan, did that liberate firms at the time to do other stuff that is the more experimental stuff and, and I think again, that that’s always a good lesson you get, if you’re doing a shoot, then you you do shoot what your what your what you’ve promised to deliver. You make sure you’ve got them in the bag. But then that means that you can do other stuff that wasn’t in the conversation that might be better. But make sure you’ve got the stuff, you know that you originally said that you’re going to do first, so that at least you can have that conversation. Yep.

Adam Pierno 31:13
And then say, let’s get some wild. So let’s see what let’s see what they think now that they’ve gone through this a few times. Let’s see what other ideas come.

Andy Nairn 31:21
Yeah, certainly. Because as you see, a lot of people are scared by luck. You know, people are scared by this idea of the only time we do mention it in our working lives. It’s useless stuff. Like, let’s leave nothing to chance. You know, and let’s make sure that luck that we don’t leave your parents.

Adam Pierno 31:36
Let’s squash out of existence. Yeah, yeah. Well, because a 5050 chance it could be bad and yeah. Good luck, right?

Andy Nairn 31:43
Yeah. And we never think about is that is the upside of, you know, let’s, let’s make sure that lots of stuff is left to chance. And so you have to sort of work with people’s fears and emotions think.

Adam Pierno 31:55
How do you think we like what are the conditions that that lead us to overlook? Good luck, you know, or, or overlook lucky breaks that are staring at us in the face?

Andy Nairn 32:08
That’s a very good point. We we are, it’s the it’s the sort of this interest in the familiar, and the fact that we’re all excited by new things from far away, really. Again, there was an experiment, I think, by the University of San Diego, that was they presented this new sneaker, until half the people that had been invented around the corner. And they took half the people that had been vetted on the other side of the world. And it had some new set of technology. And everyone prepared the one from the other side of the world, because it sounded like it’s cool and exotic. And, you know, who cares about the thing that was embedded in our backyard. And so many organizations have got that sort of blindness to the riches that are sitting in front of their noses, you know, and as we probably all know, every strategy just listening. So if we created less and less, will know that some of the answers staring you in the face, and people got so lazy about it, that they’ve forgotten about it.

Adam Pierno 33:09
Yeah, you know, especially for creative people, when you’re, you’re running through concepts. And you write down, you know, the first day, it’s always like, well, let’s just get the bad ideas out. Yeah, like 50 ideas down, and then you look back at that page, because you’re like, that was right there. And then the ends, yeah, on page one, right?

Andy Nairn 33:24
That’s right, you circle all the way back to and again, human nature, you know, none of us think about our names do it because it’s just the thing that we’ve been given. But you know, sometimes dancers in our brand name, you know, steer straight in the face and where it might be, you know, the place that we’re from, you know, none of us really grew up thinking up the place. I’m from school, and someone from outside of town has to come in and say, Why would this person music? Why do I know about this? And, and I think a lot of companies doesn’t let

Adam Pierno 33:53
you take someone new. I mean, I think that’s yeah, companies hire agencies, because they want to come in and be like, did you know how cool your company is? And you’re like, Oh, my God, is it?

Andy Nairn 34:03
Yeah, that’s exactly. And that’s why I think you do need to know, there’s, you know, a good place for in house agencies, and they can do lots of great stuff, too. And they’ve got other advantages. But I think that perspective, that’s the ability for us to say, as an outsider, while completing never done anything with this, you know, with your brand’s history, for instance, which they might think is like, very is gonna make me feel old fashioned. Yeah, to be able to say no, that could really liberate you and make you do something cool and modern is. So I like that. I like that rule that we have as agencies of norms going up into the attic and sort of discovering what is sitting there in front of everybody

Adam Pierno 34:43
rummaging around and to see and what we turn up. There’s a lot of conversation this week about Heinz ketchup brand and that and the signature bottle which it’s funny, the conversation is about the distinctive asset of that glass bottle, but I can’t I don’t remember the last time I saw Oh, that actual bottle. But I can feel the metal cap in my hand, you know? And it’s Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And it’s

Andy Nairn 35:08
good. This proves that you’ve got Yeah, I can imagine that. Exactly the

Adam Pierno 35:12
shape of the shape of the bottle. Yeah. And it’s interesting that they people remember it on their behalf, but they don’t really they use it as a like an icon, but they don’t you can’t buy glass bottle Heinz anymore. I’m pretty sure they Yeah, that’s pretty like a decade

Andy Nairn 35:27
ago. That’s right, isn’t it sort of reminds me of that gray strip. But the brief the original Coke bottle was that somebody’s got to be able to recognize it. If somebody’s broken it. And you were it was in the dark. And you could still tell it was a cool bottle, which is like a brilliant. Brief, I guess. Yeah, nailed it. And we still can feel that again. When was last time you better glass Coke bottle. I can’t remember the last time I open but it’s sort of you can you can feel it in the contours and

Adam Pierno 35:58
totally. And if I see one, I do buy it. Because I’m like, Yeah, I don’t even drink that often. But when I see that glass Coke bottle, there’s something so much more satisfying about Yeah, feels like a relic, you know? Yeah. And

Andy Nairn 36:09
of course, if you look at corpse history, that the classic parent who, in the greatest moments have really realized how lucky they are to have those assets. And in the moments were all the way they famously messed up. It’s really because they’ve forgotten how lucky they are to have that particular product. And they got seduced by research and you know, launched.

Adam Pierno 36:31
So and so every seven years, they bring back a campaign that reuses the bottle shape, and they’re like, oh, yeah, that’s a really cool and an important part of our heritage.

Andy Nairn 36:38
Yeah, we’re using it. Yeah, that’s right.

Adam Pierno 36:40
Funny. Yeah. And you can of course, you could probably chart the course to the CMO turnover, you know, new cmo comes in and goes, let’s go back in history and look at what oh, right, we have this bottle. Let’s use that. And then they go, Well, they want to do the bottle anymore. We did that last year.

Andy Nairn 36:55
Yeah, that’s right. There’s there’s sort of this risks with both things, isn’t it? When you’ve got a lot of churn, there’s your famous rescue, but people want to invent things fresh. And then if someone’s been there for a long, long time, they, they may become over familiar, because they’ve maybe seen the logo, or the, you know, the brand character for all those years. And they kind of figure we can’t do anything interesting with this and boring or fashion. Yeah. And again, you need someone new to business, getting the right balance between appreciating the old and then realizing how you can bring new expression to

Adam Pierno 37:33
how can you build in that kind of flexibility, you know, into, you know, or what kind of role does that flexibility play in leveraging luck, where you where you’re able to be a little more fluid?

Andy Nairn 37:46
I think it’s about Yeah, as a consumer perspective, is helpful. And, you know, sometimes companies are, you know, lose interest and things that, you know, and get tired of things more quickly, sometimes didn’t consumers do? So. So one of the things that we can do is bring that fresh perspective. You know, what the client culture obviously has brilliantly as a great understanding of their products, and, you know, all those great internal metrics, but but sometimes they just forget how utterly bored the rest of us, you know, we don’t we’re not thinking about their brand, or the team or their products. And so we

Adam Pierno 38:26
were almost Yeah, thinking about it. That’s

Andy Nairn 38:29
right. So bringing that up and perspective of disinterest, which then makes you, as I say, appreciate how lucky you are to have things up if people are remotely interested in that. So the only thing that people can think of is the logo, or the name, then rather than sort of yourself as being unlucky and, and wanting to do something to create some higher order thought that makes people think, on some hugely profound level by merely just realizing you’re lucky to have a great name and a great logo. Let’s just go with that and sort of embrace that and put it into something.

Adam Pierno 39:07
Yeah. Well, anyway, this was this was awesome. I’m really glad we did this. And I’m actually glad I got to see you last week. And got to have a kind of a pre talk with you about this and hear some of some of your thinking about this. But yeah, thank you so much for making time.

Andy Nairn 39:24
Thank you so much. It’s been really good, fun and interesting, and I hope everybody stay lucky.

Adam Pierno 39:30
Any where can people find number one? Where’s the best place for them to buy the book to maximize what you’re doing?

Andy Nairn 39:36
Well, I’m probably obliged to see Amazon. They’re one of our clients. So I will certainly see get them on Amazon, and pretty much anywhere else as well. Any shops I hope today?

Adam Pierno 39:47
Excellent. The book is go lucky yourself. And I’ll obviously put a link in the show notes. And then where can people find you online?

Andy Nairn 39:53
I’m mostly on Twitter. Just just Andy there. And also on LinkedIn. into.

Adam Pierno 40:01
Okay, well, it was great speaking to you. Thank you. I have a feeling my day is gonna be very lucky today. Now that you’re familiar, I hope this suggestion in my head

Andy Nairn 40:09
man, exactly. I’ve hopefully planted those good vibes with you and with everyone who’s listening to this. Yeah.

Adam Pierno 40:15
Well, I’ll take it. Thank you. Cheers. The Strategy Inside Everything is produced by me, Adam Pierno If you like what you’ve heard, leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Actually, I have no idea if that helps, or if it’s ever done anybody any good. If you really want to help the show, and you liked what you heard, share it with someone else who you think will dig it. That’s the best way to help the show and keep the conversation growing. New Music for the strategy inside everything is by Sawsquarenoise. If you have an idea, a question or want to push back on something you hear here, go to and leave a message or a voicemail for me. If you want more information on your host Adam Pierno you can find it on and learn about my books, speaking and consulting practice. Thanks so much for listening.

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