Episode 78: Maintaining Networks of Knowledge - Featured Interview with Brian Reich - My Quest for the Best

Episode 78: Maintaining Networks of Knowledge – Featured Interview with Brian Reich

Founder and Managing Director at little m media

Brian Reich talks to Bill Ringle on My Quest for the Best about information strategy, solving big problems, and the mistakes marketers and politicians are making on a regular basis.

Listen to this interview to learn:

  • Qualities of a successful info strategist and how that can help your business
  • The importance of avoiding the shiny object syndrome
  • The big challenges on which we can be focusing our talents and technology to improve quality of life now and in the future
  • The key to tackling challenging problems
  • Tips you can use to avoid information overwhelm

Interview Insights

Click to Read the Show Notes

0:55 Reich recounts his formative years in politics, working in President Clinton’s speechwriting office and as Vice President Gore’s briefing director.

1:44 “I started to look at information and how people get information and how they move and share information.”

2:34 [On how to be an information strategist] – “You have to love information, you have to love consuming and looking at the world as a constant stream of knowledge and potential insight.”

3:01 How information consumption habits change over time.

3:09 “Everything you consume and make sense of informs your work.”

3:36 “For information strategy to really work well you have to live that idea of being the expert generalist. You have to be good enough at everything in order to put all the pieces together.”

4:41 [On how his learning style and way of interpreting information affected his education] – “I was less capable of delivering the exact answer for the assignment.”

5:49 “One of the things that’s unique to politics is that when you start a campaign, or even before you officially start a campaign, you’re always on. Every minute of every day is an opportunity to engage with some prospective voter.”

7:19 [How Reich’s political work has informed his career] – “I’m always on, which is incredibly important and more important today in a digitally connected world.”

8:42 “Campaigns have been reduced to these small sound bytes, these tweets back and forth…what they’re missing is that unique and wonderful ability in today’s age to educate people. And when you have a knowledge-based connection rather than just an emotional connection, rather than just a response to whatever is happening, you actually have a greater likelihood of staying engaged.”

10:22 “The common complaint in today’s world is that there’s too much information and people are overwhelmed by it. But the reality is, there’s not too much information, there’s a lack of good information.”

10:47 “We live in this world where people have much more control over their information experience, they have far greater expectations for the level of detail and specificity that they’re gonna get for any engagement experience that they create.”

11:45 [Reich’s prescription for modern campaign success] – “Take the content that is being created  – the comments and the questions by the voting populace as a whole – and harness that and turn that around and channel that and focus that.”

12:49 How marketers and politicians are missing the obvious opportunities.

13:38 “I think in a lot of places we have let technology and social media get in the way of the core understanding of the things we’ve learned over time about how to market.”

14:30 “We have to look at technology as the tool, and use our brains to figure out what people want and when they want it and how to serve those interests,”

14:51 What inspired Reich to write his book.

15:29 “We talk about how we understand what these problems are, but we are using an old playbook.”

16:14 “Until we solve these complex problems, until we start to move and make real progress, things are only gonna get worse and that’s a very scary proposition.”

17:08 “We have three times the number of solutions and resources to address these issues and we lack the political will.”

17:16 “We lack the individual selflessness, the understanding that serving our own interests doesn’t have to come at the expense of the larger good.”

17:43 “We’re better as a team than we are as individuals.”

18:58 “None of these complex problems…is going to be solved with one strategy or overnight because people become aware.”

19:24 “You gotta think smaller. You’ve got to break these larger problems into component pieces, and you need to start solving those pieces one at a time.”

20:10 Why the only way to solve big problems is by being flexible and adaptable.

21:41 How Reich sorts through information to find the most relevant and important.

22:17 “The truth is that the definition of good information is entirely about the context.”

22:50 “It’s not about keeping it in my head or sort of finding value in the moment, it’s about processing as much information as possible, so when I need to go deeper I have a sort of repository or curated list, a refined focus.”

23:15 “You have to maintain your own networks of knowledge.”

24:01 How Reich maintains his information repository.

24:50 “I can’t be dependent upon only what I’m able to consume, I have to be smart enough to know when to ask and who to ask for help.”

Expert Bio

Brian Reich is founder and managing director of little m media, an information strategy firm that helps individuals and organizations solve complex problems. He is well known for his expertise in new media, Web 2.0, social networks, mobile, community, ecommerce, brand marketing, cause branding, and more.

Brian is the author of Shift & Reset: Strategies for Addressing Serious Issues in a Connected Society and co-author of Media Rules!: Mastering Today’s Technology to Connect with and Keep Your Audience. He also contributes as a Fast Company Expert, hosts a regular podcast discussion about the impact of media and technology on society, and teaches consumer behavior and marketing strategy in the graduate school of communications at Columbia University.

Brian began his career in politics, working on several campaigns around the country. He spent two years as briefing director to Vice President Gore in the White House and during the 2000 presidential campaign. He has spent the past decade providing strategy, analysis, and support to corporations, nonprofit organizations and charities, media companies and other groups that are looking to solve complex problems. He has held senior roles at leading digital, PR, and public affairs agencies, including Mindshare Interactive Campaigns, Cone Inc., and EchoDitto. He has led projects for many of the largest and most influential brands and nonprofit organizations, as well as media companies, start-ups, and political/advocacy groups.

For more information, visit Brian’s website.

Contact Info for Brian Reich

Web address: ShiftandReset.com

Travels From: New York City, NY

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Books by Brian Reich

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