Research, politics and conferences, with Guy Shone

In episode 14 of Media Will Eat Itself, I talk to business analyst Guy Shone. He’s the man behind Explain the Market, regularly providing analysis and thought leadership to a worldwide audience of over 50 million. You may have seen him on BBC Breakfast as a frequent business guest, as well as Euronews and other professional broadcasts.

Our discussion begins with some background into the life of a research professional. It turns to the divisive topics of tribalism, inauthenticity and the oversaturation of political discourse. And what does he have against conferences?

Find out more about Guy Shone on his LinkedIn page.

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00:46 Skip the intro. What’s it like being put on the spot by Steph McGovern and Ben Thompson on BBC Breakfast? Guy says it has strange effects on the body! I wonder how traditional media training can help, or does it all go out the window?

03:49 Guy talks about his background in research and financial companies. He went on to become a research director, specialising in business as a whole. And how did Explain the Market come into being?

06:33 What are the pain points of being a researcher? For a start, you have to be available whenever you’re needed. You also have to keep tabs on every market. “You have to do a lot of reading,” says Guy. “What you can do is start to recognise big trends and the general trajectory of where things are going, and get a sense of the characteristics of what’s going on.”

If you want to find out what people think, the best thing to do is spend time with them and ask them.

16:22 Guy shares his robust views about conferences. Are conferences worthwhile? The purpose of your business is to serve customers and make a profit, right? Maybe it’s not! Guy and I discuss the usefulness of conferences and whether we could be spending our time more fruitfully elsewhere.

18:14 How does Guy market his own business? It’s a mixture of luck and hard work, of course, but is social media a help or a hindrance?

23:55 What’s the difference between social media and commercial media? The discussion turns to engaging with people and not relying so much on technology. And what are the problems with social media?

27:25 What about contrived content? There’s a fine line between being encouraged and being preached to. Our social media ‘gurus’ provide “generic encouragement”, but where does it tip over into “concrete certainty”, which could be problematic.

30:28 Politics is at the forefront of everything these days. Are we using politics to become tribal and judgemental?

33:24 Finally, Guy proffers advice to potential research and journalism students.


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