Mister Beacon Episode #160
How Companies Are Becoming More SustainableSeptember 12, 2022
It's inspiring that SAP has bestowed the title of "VP - Futurism" on someone. And there is no better someone than Tom Raftery, who is a Global IoT Evangelist and thinker of deep thoughts across many domains.
We start off exploring why there is such a tsunami of funding going into making supply chains resilient and sustainable. And then we drill down (no fracking!) into Tom's role at SAP, including how to inspire audiences with both content marketing and keynote presentations.
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Steve Statler 00:00
Welcome to the Mr. Beacon podcast. This week we are speaking to Tom Raftery from SAP. Tom is a futurist and Evangelist podcast, keynote speaker. And we're talking to him about supply chains and sustainability. So any of you who are thinking about business opportunities in this area, this will be a good podcast for you, because we talk about legislation that's driving forward, this area of innovation and new systems. And I believe that auto ID technology RTLs supply chain Tech is a key to fighting climate change. And it seems like Tom, who works at SAP agrees, he spends all day thinking and talking about this and tremendously interesting chap. I also asked him a bit about his role as an evangelist, why SAP has such people, but also how he's accumulated followers in his social media network. And some of the keys to doing what he does in terms of public speaking, public speaking, is probably the elemental skill that can make a huge difference to our success, whether we're selling or leading with inside organizations. And so I think you'll find all of that interesting, and enjoyable. Have a listen. The Mr. Beacon podcast is sponsored by Wiliot, Intelligence for Everyday Things powered by IoT pixels. So Tom, welcome to the Mr. Beacon podcast.
Tom Raftery 01:51
Thank you, Steve, thanks so much for having me.
Steve Statler 01:53
Well, it's a real pleasure. We've spoken on your podcast. And I ended that thinking that I wanted to ask you loads of questions. So you are a futurist and an evangelist at SAP, which is like, super cool job. And we'll get a chance to talk about that later in the show. But your you have a focus on a couple of things that are really important to me personally. But I think also just relevant to the dynamics of the economy, where the world is at business opportunities, as well as the survival of the race, which is supply chains and sustainability. And I guess supply chains were a bit of an abstract term, a lot of us thought that it was something that other people had to deal with. And now COVID hits and suddenly supply chains don't work so well. And we see the consequences. So it's great to be able to talk to someone that is focused on their what, you know, what are your thoughts on how these two huge subjects come together sustainability and supply chains? What are the what are the things that because they're not necessarily one of them? They're not one of the same thing, but how are they related?
Tom Raftery 03:13
Yeah, so it's a good question. A huge part of any organization's emissions are related to their supply chain. Depends on the industry depends on the organization, but it's typically anywhere from 50 to 90 to 95% of an organization's emissions can come from their supply chain. I had an episode of my climate 21 podcast a few months back, I was talking to a guy called Ken pucker. Ken was the CEO of timberland. Back when they were starting out on their sustainability journey. And he said, amongst other things, was an excellent episode. But he said on that particular episode, he said that when they started out reporting their emissions, they could only report their scope one and scope two emissions, they couldn't report their scope three emissions, which is essentially their supply chain, because they couldn't get access to that data. So in effect, they were only and these were his words, they were only reporting 5% of their actual emissions, their own emissions, because they couldn't get their scope three. So their scope three emissions, their supply chain emissions, made up 95% of their emissions. So this is why supply chain and sustainability are so closely related. And that's when I take a very narrow view of sustainability because sustainability is an extremely broad term. It's now the acronym that they use now to refer to sustainability in a business context is usually ESG, which is environment, social and governance. And that encompasses all kinds of things. Everything from is there child labor, are slavery in your supply chain is do you have have gender equality, have you got diversity, inclusion, all these kinds of other aspects apart from climate. And I tend to what I, what I think all of those are incredibly important. I focus on climate, when I talk about sustainability. And the reason I focus on climate is because if we do not figure out or sort out gender equality, in the next 100 years, we will still continue to exist, mankind will continue, the planet will be fine. But if we don't sort out climate in the next 100 years, it's game over. This is an existential threat. So this is why I focus on climate, I don't ignore the others, I talk about them as well. And I, if you see my Twitter handle, I say I'm an ally there, you know. So I do think that all these things are important, that tweet about these things as well. But when I'm talking at events, or when I'm talking about sustainability, I tend to focus on the climate aspect, because for me, it is by far and away the highest priority. And so this is why I focus on emissions. And this is why when I'm talking about sustainability, I focus on that.
Steve Statler 06:13
So I want to just double click and really paint the picture of this the difference between these scope one and two and scope three emissions and you know, my understanding is your scope. One it's your how much electricity you're using and the the primary stuff that you're impacting that you own. But the reality is, are no one makes anything anymore. We're a fabulous semiconductor company at Willie arts as his Apple as his Qualcomm. So, you know, the thing that's really creating the carbon footprint is the factories that are making the chips and then the moving it around. That's, that's so I kind of understand it for for the chip world, because I work for a company that designs and makes chips, but what does that look like for you know, the rest of the world? What, what are some of the challenges in quantum? You know, what is? What are those scope three emissions just go a little bit deeper on what they are? And how do you go about quantifying them?
Tom Raftery 07:25
Yeah, it's a good question. scope three is generally either the the emissions associated with your supply chain, or the emissions associated with your product as they're used in the field. And they are notoriously difficult to quantify. They're extremely difficult to quantify. And even the methodologies and the metrics that are used to quantify them are still very nascent. That's going to change that's going to change enormously in the next to three years. And the reasons why our standards are being worked out right now on how to do this. And it's after getting a kickstart because the SEC, the American Securities and Exchange Commission, issued proposals in June of this year, saying that all large publicly listed companies in the US from 2023 onwards will have to report their scope one and scope two emissions, and from 2024 onwards would have to report out to scope three emissions. And then, so that's 2023, for scope one and two, for all large companies. But then, on top of that, they said that for all companies, so not just the large ones, all companies from 2024 will have to report their scope one and two, and all companies from 2025 will have to report out to scope three. So there will be a regulatory requirement. And even more interestingly, the SEC said These reports will have to be auditable. So suddenly, if you think of, you know, ESG or as it used to be known, CSR, the CSR function in many companies in the last 10 years or 15 years for the more progressive companies, very often the CSR function reported into the CMO, the chief marketing officer, and that tells its own story that tells you why the company was involved or why they were interested in CSR. Now, though, because this requirements for sustainability ESG reporting is going to have to be audited. The functionality is going to shift away from the Chief Marketing Officer into the Office of the Chief finance officer. And suddenly the reporting will be far, far more rigorous. And it will, because it has to be audited, there will be a lot more standardization within the reporting. So cross comparability will be a thing, which has been really difficult to date. It will also, one of the issues with ESG today is because it is so immature. And because there aren't that many standards, there's a lot of potential for greenwashing. But that starts to go away, as there are more rules and regulations brought into the system. So will it be perfect? No. I mean, we had the whole thing with Sarbanes Oxley in the finance industry, you know, there will be things like that that will come up as well, in ESG reporting, but it will only get better over time, the same way financial reporting over the last, let's see financial reporting started in the 1920s 1920s 1930s. So you know, that's been going 100 years now. And it has gotten tighter and tighter and tighter over those decades, the same what happened with ESG, hopefully over a shorter timeframe.
Steve Statler 11:08
What what does this mean for SAP?
Tom Raftery 11:12
A, we, because we run a lot of the back end systems and a lot of the business processes for a lot of organizations, it means we are in a unique place to actually calculate a lot of these emissions reports for organizations. So we're building into the into our back end systems, we're building in that functionality to capture to measure and report the footprint of of anything, really that for people using our software. So we're building this footprint software into, like I say, into S four into our back end database. So people can very, very quickly and very, very easily roll out the footprint of any of their products down to an individual product level, or by SKU, or by region, or whatever it is, whatever way they want to do it, or whatever way the regulations require them to do it. So we're working closely with the standards organizations as well, to make sure that what we were working with them, it's a cooperative thing. So we're advising them in one respect. And on the others, we're taking on board the outputs and building that into our software, so that when those regulations come in place, we have the software ready to support our customers in meeting those regulations.
Steve Statler 12:33
I mean, it's a huge opportunity, isn't it, because the scope three is where most of the emissions are, and essentially your ERP system, your supply chain management system, is the thing that's counting the stuff that you're buying, and the stuff that you're selling. And so that's kind of, and as you say, the responsibility is moving from marketing to the CFO, which means there'll be a lot more money spent this, you know, the marketing guy has to plead with the CFO and make the case. And the CFO is like we need to do this is actually the one that writes the checks.
Tom Raftery 13:12
It's a cost of doing business. I mean, yes, you don't report these, you're out of business. That's it. Game over. So this is actually you know, just the price you have to pay in order to conduct your business.
Steve Statler 13:23
So who is doing a good job? At this? You interview a lot of people and where can we get the inspiration from to to
Tom Raftery 13:34
be very self serving? First of all, and I'll say you can, you can find a lot of this at Mike climate 21 podcast, go to any podcast app and search for climate 21. And you will see all the people I've interviewed, you'll find out who's doing a good job. Having having gotten the shameless plug out of the way. There are some amazing stories out there. One of the things I do on that podcast is I focus on who's doing a good job, and I have them tell their story. So for example, I've had the director of energy for Google on the podcast, I have had the chief environmental officer from Microsoft on the podcast and they're doing some spectacular stuff. I'm hoping to talk to the people from stripe because they're doing an amazing job as well. I've I've I'm talking to people who are in the storage space that the energy storage space, for example, because that's a that's a real growing industry. I've talked to people who are in the automotive space for the likes of the electrification of automotive because that's a big thing as well reducing the emissions of automotive. I've talked to the chief environmental officers and Chief Sustainability officers of the likes of BCG, Deloitte, Accenture, Capgemini, and so on because they work with our mutual customers to help them get their emissions down and get to the likes of you know, rule out their net zero strategies and projects as well. So, it the list of who's doing What is is almost too long. If I were to call one out, apart from SAP, more shameless plugs, if I were to call out one organization, it would have to be Microsoft. Because they have gone above and beyond in every respect. They instituted, for example, an internal carbon tax in 2014. So they put an internal price on every single project in the company, and internal carbon price on every single project in the company, starting in 2014. So if you wanted to do anything, if you wanted to run a conference, if you wanted to go on a plane to go somewhere, if you wanted to get furniture for a new office, included in the costing of that was the carbon implication of it. And the price for that carbon. And the money that was that that carbon cost, went to the sustainability office in Microsoft, and allowed them to do things like put car chargers in the car parks, or invest in renewable energy, or any of another trillion different projects that they know had a budget for, for example. So it was a ring fence, it was ring fence money to be used solely for sustainability projects. Not alone that but they last year, said they announced that they were going not just to go to net zero, but they were going to go carbon negative, they're gonna go carbon negative by 2030. And by 2050, if I remember correctly, they're going to have taken back out of the atmosphere, every tonne of co2 that their business has emitted, since they started a business in 1975. And that's an amazing goal to aim for. But not only that, they then said, we are going to put a billion euro or dollars, probably a billion dollars into a fund to fund companies to come up with ways to get carbon out of the atmosphere. Because their aim is to get all the carbon that they got out of the atmosphere or put into the atmosphere back out of the atmosphere. But there's no, there's very few ways to do that. So they they're, they're kind of kick starting the industry, the carbon sequestration industry, they're kick starting it by putting a billion dollars in this fund to fund projects that will do that. And not only that, they put out an RFQ, or an RFP of a million tonnes of co2. So you know, they say, here, here you go guys Have at it, we will pay you if you can get a million tonnes of co2 out of the atmosphere.
Steve Statler 17:56
So this is really inspiring. And it touches on an idea that has been interesting. me recently, which is this idea of operationalizing, the measurement and reduction of the carbon footprint, I think, you know, this SEC regulation, I fear is going to drive static compliance. So you know, the CFOs in charge, he's used to closing the books at the end of the year and going in front of the auditors and bang, here's where we're at. And that that's a huge step forward. So it's a massive step forward. But you know, my personal belief is that if we're going to make progress, it can't be the job of the ESG function. To do this, it has to be, you have to run the company with that the kind of mission that you described, and the fact that Microsoft are costing individual projects, that seems like it's the way to go, because then you basically make every manager accountable for it. And they're looking for slight, man, I'm running this conference, and there's a huge carbon footprint because we're doing it in I don't know, Chile, maybe maybe we need to do three conferences. And so there's less travel, you know, so rather than out at the end of the year, we give you the bad news, it's it's like harnessing the creativity. So real time delegated measurement that how holds every function in the company accountable. And I actually think these companies will be more successful commercially a because you know, they'll have amazing PR and they'll have a workforce that is is motivated and feels like they're actually working somewhere that makes a difference. But also, you know, carbon is a proxy for cost. It's like, if I can have a smaller truck driving shorter distances with less in it with only the just just the right amount of inventory to do the replenishment. I've massively cut my carbon footprint. But also as the CFO, I'm really happy because the capital employed in, in inventory has gone way, way down, and then my expenses have gone down and all of that sort of thing. So I think you got
Tom Raftery 20:23
to think as well that EVs cost a half to a third to fuel versus their internal combustion engine equivalents, plus they cost less than 50% in maintenance. So the cost of operating an Eevee is, I wouldn't say orders of magnitude less. But it's significantly less than an internal combustion engine vehicle in, like I said, fueling and maintenance, which are the two big costs for any fleet manager. So we're going to see fleets flip to EVs very, very quickly.
Steve Statler 20:57
I believe that yeah, the I was driving along the 15th. I 15, from San Diego to San Francisco. And this is like a straight road, and it's filled with these massive, I would say, a lorry. So I grew up in England, but the trucks and there's, it's clear that these things are going to be automated really, really soon. Because you know, the the use case is relatively simple. What are you? Where do you think the big opportunities are for? So we're a podcast for entrepreneurs and solution designers, innovators? Where should they? We've got a big regulatory driver, every every businessman loves the compelling events. And this is like y2k, isn't it? We've got a deadline. What Where do you think the opportunities are for for entrepreneurs, whether they're an entrepreneur in a fortune 500 company, or someone that's got fed up with working in a fortune 500 company, and was to start their own company,
Tom Raftery 22:09
there are a number of places. So first, we need to decarbonize everything. And second, we need to get all the carbon that's in the atmosphere back out again. So if we think a in pre industrial times, the amount of co2 in the atmosphere was roughly 280 parts per million co2, and that was stable for millennia, we come along, start pumping co2, the atmosphere, we got it from 280 parts per million up to where it is now, which is over 420. And it's continuing to rise. So we need to get it back down to 280. And that is an enormous problem. Because just to try and make it concrete to give you an idea, when need to get out of the atmosphere 10s of billions of tonnes of co2 every year, every year now, we don't know how to get a million tonnes of co2 out of the atmosphere, it's never been done. And that's, that's why Microsoft put that RFQ out there for a million tonnes of co2. It's never been done. We have to get 10s of billions out of the atmosphere every year. So that right there is a huge opportunity. The other one, as I said is decarbonisation, we need to decarbonize everything. And we need systems for measuring reporting, creating the science based targets, that's going to be hugely important that the term you'll hear more and more science based targets. So every organization is going to be required in the coming years to create science based targets to measure and report against them at least annually. And I think it would come down to more often than that, in a very short amount of time. Now, one of the big deadlines we hear a lot about is 2030. And that's only seven and a half. It's not even seven and a half years away, it's seven years and three months. So in seven years, little over seven years time in the EU, or I'm based we have set a target of reducing our emissions 55% by 2030. Now, that is enormously ambitious, the the scale of the changes that will be required to meet that are beyond most people's comprehension. To give you an example, during COVID We reduced our emissions in 2020 7% They went back up 5% in 2021. So between 2020 and 2021, we've had a net reduction of 2%. Now, this 55%, I mentioned, it's against our 1990 baseline. And in the last couple of decades, we've actually managed to get down 24%. But that still leaves 31%, we've got to get out of the system in the next seven years. We got to 2% out in 2020, and 2021 31%. In the next seven years, it's going to require massive, massive systemic change. And this isn't a target. This is legally binding. Because the commission passed a regulation in June of 2021, saying that was legally binding on all 27 nations of the EU, it doesn't just affect the EU. Because the EU is putting a carbon border tax. The name, they call it as an adjustment mechanism. It's a carbon border tax, which means anything coming into the EU from outside the EU, if it comes from a high carbon source, it will be taxed on the way in to achieve parity so that you know it will be more expensive or equivalent price as the same good produced within the EU. So it will affect people outside the EU as well. It's not just the EU China have slightly different but similar aspirations for 2030. The US is heading that direction as well. So those are the three largest economic bloc's. Now, I mentioned 55% by 2030, that 55% is going to be the low hanging fruit. And we've got to get to zero by 2050. That means that other 45%, or we're going to have to get out in the 2030s on the 2040s. And it's got to be much, much harder to get that out than the initial 55%. So this is not an issue that's going away anytime soon. This is something we're going to be working really, really hard on for the next at least 27 years and probably well beyond.
Steve Statler 27:04
Absolutely. And I think, you know, what I see is a huge opportunity for in digital physical convergence, which is very abstract. But the basic level, I think we need to get a much better handle on inventory, supply chain and assets. And so I think, you know, going down to serialization, so rather than looking monolithically at, you know, chunks of, of product, every single item that's manufactured needs to have a digital identity so that we can optimize it. And that will be important because this all needs to not only are the regulator's going to want to see it but you know, all our stores are starting to move to electronic shelf labels. So I think we can expect to see the carbon footprint appear there. How do you know that what that carbon footprint is, and so that means instrumenting, the supply chain, and understanding, you know, we need to get, there's still huge inefficiencies, which can be reduced. So at the moment, you know, I happen to know there are massive there's a backlog of containers that are all refrigerated that are sitting behind many of the big box retailers that are just running along because that supply chain kind of basically had a hiccup. Those are all that they have to be chilled. Otherwise what's in them goes bad. But you know that the carbon footprint for those products versus the products that are flowing through efficiently is different. And if I'm a CFO, and I'm worrying about compliance, I want I want I want an update every month on how we're doing every week, I want to a dashboard. So that how do I get that dashboard, that's an IT system that needs to be joined up. So systems integrators, there'll be joining warehouse management, manufacturing systems, inventory systems, supply chain systems, it's huge. It's like a It's a moonshot. And I really think again,
Tom Raftery 29:24
shameless plug as SAP makes all of those types of systems. So if you were to have those all of those systems coming from SAP, the job of the systems integrator might be that little bit easier.
Steve Statler 29:37
Indeed, indeed, and but it needs to be customized. So I think those Si Si is, but I think, you know, there's a lot of learning to figuring out how do I do those things. So I really feel like we're going to see two sets of companies. There's the ones that kick it down the can down the road and suddenly realize that they can't do it and others that are actually lean into it, see it as an opportunity, build the systems and look and measure it quarterly monthly, weekly, and have the it to help them deliver it. And then they will find that they're reducing their costs and engaging employees and engaging customers. And so it's interesting times. So, Tom, you have a really interesting job that I think is probably the envy of many people. Can you talk a bit about what you do and the group that you do it in SAP? Sure. Yeah.
Tom Raftery 30:43
Absolutely. Thanks, Steve. So, yeah, my name Tom Raftery. My job title is global VP, futurist and innovation evangelist. And it's a it's a cool sounding title, I gotta say, although, that may be patting myself on the back a bit, because I've made it up. I've got my manager to agree to it. And there we go. But what do I actually do? What does that mean? Well, I do lots of things as we all do in our in our jobs day to day. I do a lot of keynotes. So prior to COVID, for example, 2019, I did 40, something keynotes in 38 countries, crazy amount of travel, there was one week in November 2019, where I was in four countries, three continents in one week, and just mad, absolutely mad stuff. And obviously COVID came and a lot of those keynotes went virtual online, doing them to the keyboard rather than to an audience. And so that's one aspect of what I do. I do a lot of talks, a lot of keynotes on kind of the two main topics that interest me, and those are sustainability and technology. And what I like to talk a lot about is where they intersect. So that's one of the things I do I also do a lot of communications. I run two podcasts, I run a podcast called The climate 21 podcast, which I publish a new episode of every Wednesday, goes out at 6am CST every Wednesday and this week's episode, so we are now on the first of September. So the episode that went out on the 31st of August Wednesday, the 31st of August was episode number 85. So it's been going a while we've published 85 episodes. And the other podcast I published is called the digital supply chain podcast. And that's one that you were good enough to guest on recently, Steve. And that podcast goes out twice a week, it goes out every Monday and Friday. So it kind of bookends the week. And it's a typically roughly 30 minute podcast, unscripted, where we talk about the best practices and thought leadership in the supply chain space. And so that's been going on longer. tomorrow's episode, episode. So tomorrow, second of September, that episode will be episode number 250. So been going a little longer, a lot more episodes out there.
Steve Statler 33:24
So congratulations on earning your way into what seems like, you know, a dream job. A few things occur to me to talk about. One is, you know, the reason why SAP is investing in this and I think there's some really good reasons. But you know, this is not something that is, I mean, it costs money to do what you're doing. And I'd like to talk a bit about that. And I'd also like to talk a bit about your tips for doing a good keynote, because you know, this podcast is all about equipping entrepreneurs who are working in this weird area of digital physical convergence to success. We talk a lot about technologies and use cases. But we also try and equip people with, you know, things that are useful just to be successful. I think giving a good presentation is like this is a lifelong thing, but you look at how important it is. I'm just listening to the biography of Julius Caesar about to go on my holiday to Italy. So I'm like, revisiting this. And you know, Julius Caesar got to be Julius Caesar, partly because of his oratorical skills. So, so let's, let's, what, and it's you know, we all know how terrifying the prospect of public speaking can be. For some people, it's completely debilitating they'd lot rather go into the I'm gladiatorial Coliseum, then give a speech but you choose to do it. And that tells me that you've figured out a few things. How do you give a good keynote? What? What what are the things that allows you to leave the stage feeling job well done?
Tom Raftery 35:18
Yeah, that's a, there's no shorter, easy answer to that, to be honest. The first thing I would say is practice. And what I mean by that is not practice in front of the mirror for an hour or two hours or three hours before you give the talk. That's not the kind of practice I mean, I actually mean the practice of getting up and giving keynotes or getting up and giving talks, because it's only by doing it, two, or three or four or five times that you start to realize that it isn't actually as bad as you might have feared. So that's, that's number one is, of course, it's not just that. In SAP, I work for SAP, as you mentioned, and in SAP, we have slide decks that are prepared for us that we can take their templates and we can take and we can use them. And that's great. They have lovely graphics, they have lots of information, loads of notes. In them, there's a whole organization that prepares them, I never used them. I never ever used them, because I didn't create the content myself. I find it, I couldn't deliver someone else's content. And I think that's crucial. I think if you're giving a talk, it has to be a talk that you have developed yourself that you've gone out and you found the content yourself. And you've put the slides together yourself. And it's when you're giving a talk that you have created, you've put the slides together, you've put in the research, then you know that content backwards. And that is a big step towards giving you the confidence it takes to step up in front of an audience, I think,
Steve Statler 37:05
and I think you've put your put your finger on something which people want authenticity. I mean, they want lots of things. But one of the that's certainly for me, you can put up with a lot if you feel like there's a real human being and one of the biggest turn offs and whether you're phoning up speaking someone at the phone company or whatever, if you get someone who's basically a robot, it makes me angry. But if I have a conversation, even if I'm not getting what I want, but someone is listening, and is authentic, then you'll put up with a lot of bad stuff you whether it's waiting for your bagel in the morning, or if you get a personal greeting and there's a human being there, then that's what we need, isn't it? That's what is scarce?
Tom Raftery 37:52
Yeah, I think as long as you feel that the person who's doing it isn't just dialing it in, as long as you feel that they've actually put in the effort and, and that the content is interesting, because obviously, if I'm giving this presentation, and it's all my own stuff, that I've researched myself, and I put the slides together myself. But if I'm at an IT conference, and I'm talking about the advantages of different types of cross stitch and crocheting, I will lose the audience in 10 seconds, you know, so it has to be relevant. And it has to be interesting as well. Now part of it being interesting is also in the delivery. And I mean, you mentioned some people get paralyzed. And, you know, some of that is just innate. Some people are born speakers, other people have to work really hard at it. And some people just won't ever do it because they can't or don't want to. So it's not, it's not for everyone. I mean, I do a lot of social media, for example, I don't know, I haven't looked at the numbers recently, but I've been on Twitter since early 2008. I've got like 27,000 followers, I've tweeted 90 something 1000 times, you know, so I'm on LinkedIn, I have, I don't know, 14,000 followers or something like that. Just ridiculous numbers. And, you know, I know lots of people who would say that, tweeting once a month means they're active on social media, you know, so it, a lot of it is personality as well. The other thing I would say about giving a talk is your slides are really important. And it's really important to have as little text on them as possible. And there's two main reasons why you shouldn't have a lot of text in your slides. The first is, your audience is going to if there's text on your slides, the first thing the audience is going to do is they're going to start reading that and suddenly they're not listening to you because very few people can do that kind of multitasking. where you can read and listen at the same time. So you lose your audience if you have a lot of text on the slide. And the second is, a lot of people put text on their slides as a crutch, because they don't know the content they're talking about. So they put the text up there, and they read it out. You should have as little text on your slides as possible. And if you do have text, don't be talking about that use it there as use it as a a theme, but not what you're actually talking about. So as little text as possible, pictures are great. I summed up well, a lot of my slides are screenshots of newspaper articles, for example, with as little text as possible, maybe the headline and the picture from the newspaper article. And so what I'm, what I'm talking about is I'm talking about this news, this story happened, and this story happened and this story happened. So this tells us as a trend going in this direction. A lot of people will tell you as a presenter, as well, that you should have one slide for every three minutes. Rubbish. You should have as many slides per minute as you want, however, you're comfortable with my personal speed is typically around three slides per minute. Although I gave a talk in portal in June of this year, where I went through 94 slides in, I don't know Is it 15 or 20 minutes, I think was 20 minutes. So you know, that's a little over four slides per minute. So it's, it's whatever you're comfortable with. And you know, I told people who were in the audience afterwards that it had been 94 slides, and they didn't believe me until I showed them the deck. Because you just could just click click, click click and the audience. It's, you know, they're getting a movie. And well, it's one that isn't distracting, either, because it's just talking to the narrative you're speaking to. And then sorry to
Steve Statler 41:56
interrupt your flow. But so I think the key thing, though, is go back to the previous rule, which is if you've got like 30 bullet points on the slide, then and you're storming through, then people are going to be like, well, well, what about that? And that, what about that? But if you've got if you're if it's basically a backdrop or provoking images, simple ideas, then you can get through them a lot faster. It's kind of word count.
Tom Raftery 42:21
Exactly. And the other thing I would say no, I'm saying a lot of and the other thing I would say but let this be the last. And the other thing I would say about giving a talk is don't learn it off. I never know what I'm going to say I don't, I haven't, I haven't written it out. I know the message I want to get across, I have the slides in the right order. So I have an idea of what I'm going to say what the actual words I'm going to use. I have no idea what those are going to be until I'm standing up actually spouting them. So it's don't don't write it out. Don't script it, don't learn it off. Because that's that becomes to state, you're more likely to be monotonous. And also, if you forget a line or a word, you know, you're far more likely to be nervous because you have to learn it off and you have to give it word for word. No, you don't. Don't do that because you will be more nervous. And you're more likely to make a mistake and trip yourself up and make yourself even more nervous because you realize you've just tripped yourself up and gotten the script wrong. Don't just keep in the heart.
Steve Statler 43:29
Well, I think one of the other rules is you need to be born in Ireland and grow up there. That's one of the other important things you need to make sure of and I obviously I'm joking but it does help and but I think it's a means to voice inflection. And you know I listened to you and it's it's you know, you have that I don't want to smother you with flattery but it's a you've got an amazing voice and it's it rises it falls. It's me I have like the British monotone so I have to really work at
Tom Raftery 44:03
it. Maybe as well. I have this cool sound board on the desk here beside me. My voice sound really?
Steve Statler 44:09
I'm not sure. I'm not sure it's the technology. It was lastly, how do you make it interesting? What's what's what's sounds obvious, but
Tom Raftery 44:21
yeah, that's, that's more intangible. And I think you make it interesting by obviously, it being something topical or relevant to your audience back to that crochet example a second ago. But also you make it interesting by it being something that you are interested in yourself. Because if it's a topic you're interested in, and you're excited about, and you're passionate about that interest and that excitement and that passion will transmit to your audience as you're delivering it, and that will make them interested and excited. and hopefully passionate about it as well. But if you're not interested in it, there's no way you can make it interesting for your audience.
Steve Statler 45:08
And the other thing, I mean, even as you were explaining what you were explaining, you were telling stories I was at this presentation importer, it's like, oh, okay, that's suddenly it goes from the abstract to being very specific. Starting to think about the meal that you might have had after the really good presentation and
Tom Raftery 45:26
meals were amazing at that event. Excellent, tastic, seafood, the whole thing?
Steve Statler 45:32
Well, that was helpful. Let's go back to the other part of it, which is Sai SAP, one of the most successful software companies in the world just kind of helped to is the cornerstone of this amazing industry. They're not throwing their money around willy nilly, why are they investing in what you do? And it's not just you that's doing is that there's other people that are
Tom Raftery 45:58
doing similar things? Yeah, yeah. I'm part of a team called the thought leadership and awareness organization. So we are, we are tasked with creating thought leadership content, be it in the form of blogs, our videos, our podcasts, Forbes articles, all that kind of stuff. So there's a group of us there, creating all this content. And it's all thought leadership, best practices, that kind of stuff. And then there's the awareness side. So thought leadership and awareness is our team, the awareness is then we make people aware of this content, because obviously, just creating the content and leaving it sit, there is a waste of time. So we develop the content, and then we make people aware of it. And I mentioned that I have, you know, a lot of followers on Twitter, a lot of followers on LinkedIn, a reasonable number of followers on Instagram, I don't use it as often. So part of my role as well is to use social media to raise awareness for this content. And so it's the two sides, we do both, we develop the content, and then we make people aware of it. And, you know, most of the content that we create, it's not directly related to SAP. But you know, if there are themes, or if there are links back to an SAP product page, or something like that, that's relevant, then it is added into the article, if it's an article, that kind of thing. It's not always the case, a lot of the podcasts that I've done, they they talk about specific themes, different subjects, IoT on your case, for example, if someone then is writing an SAP related article, they might take a quote from the podcast and link to the podcast, and have that in their article. So the we use the the articles and podcasts, they linked to each other. And so you know, we're kind of cross pollinating that way as well.
Steve Statler 48:11
But so I see what how you can be producing things that are relevant to sap that that other parts of the organization can use. You've got a lot of followers, so potentially, you're bringing eyeballs to SAP. I'm just sort of thinking what you do, probably didn't exist 10, certainly not 20 years ago, what is it that happened? That means that content is worth investing in because normally what you would do would be you know, in the old days, you'd be working at Forbes was not a sap.
Tom Raftery 48:51
So I happened, I would contest that. Maybe it didn't exist as much as it is now. But for example, when I was in university, I worked a couple of summers in the UK. And at the end of those two summers, I applied to the revenue commissioners in the UK for my tax back. And I got the tax back and it was nice big check. It was lovely. And at the same time, the head of department and the course I was doing told us that we had to hand in our third and fourth year project on a disk. I was studying biology at the time, there was two computers in the department. They were Amstrad 15 twelves, which had two floppy drives and no hard drive. So you need three, five and a quarter inch floppy drives to operate these things. And because there's only two of them, there's a queue for them. So I had this big check and I had this requirement. And I said why don't I buy my own computer. So I bought a computer I knew nothing about computers because I was a biologist. So I read around and I read an article in Time Magazine saying that the Macintosh is supposed to be a really user friendly, it was a nice term, they used user friendly computer. So I thought, cool, let's get me a Macintosh. So I bought a Macintosh. And I bought a Mac Bible, I think was the name of the book. And I read it cover to cover. So I taught myself how to use the Mac. And that was great. And then I started subscribing to a Mac user magazine. And on the last page of the Mac user magazine was a weekly or monthly I can't remember if the article was published weekly or monthly. But there was an article by a chap called Guy Kawasaki. And his title was Mac evangelist. So his job working for Apple at the time, his job was to be an evangelist for Apple create content to your point for Apple around Mac's generate interest around the the Macintosh computer. And you know, his articles were always great. They were they were they were on the back page. But they were almost always the first thing I would flip to. And he's still going strong. He's not with Apple anymore. But he's still going strong. And you'll find them on TED Talks. You'll find them on YouTube, you'll find it on events, giving talks, that kind of thing. Really, really cool presenter, really, really interesting guy. But, you know, so the role of the evangelist going out, evangelizing, generating content generating interest for companies has been around a long time. I mean, we're talking the early 90s, at this point.
Steve Statler 51:25
Great. I love your rebuttal. I love it. When people disagree on these podcasts and interviews, it's so often we spend our time agreeing, and it just is a conflict is much better. Not that that was particularly heated. But because I I take your point, I've readjusted my frame of reference, I but my rebuttal to you is, you know, Google search engine analytics means that we get rewarded for providing information and content and you can no longer just put ads up and drive. I mean, you can put ads up. But you know, the best quality traffic is organic traffic in my mind. And so you got to be educating people and I, it builds trust, and I have so anyway, so I believe in, I believe in what you're doing,
Tom Raftery 52:18
right until end, for reasons of search engine optimization, but also for reasons of accessibility. I have a full transcription that I publish with every publisher with sorry, with every podcast that I publish. So yes, like I say, it works great for search engine optimization, but it also makes the podcasts far more accessible.
Steve Statler 52:40
We do that as well. And you're breaking our algorithm, because we haven't mentioned the word Bluetooth tag once in this section. But it's interesting. So who cares? Last thing, before we get onto your music choices? How do you get so many social media followers? I mean, you publish regularly, I heard that, but it's, you know, it's more than that.
Tom Raftery 53:04
It is? Yeah. That's a big part of it. There's a couple of ways to do it. First of all, like I said, I've been on Twitter since 2008, I think was February 2008. I can't remember exactly, but it was around that timeframe. And he was so very early to Twitter, and very early to LinkedIn as well. And I engage a Publish. And that's a huge part of it. There are other things as well, it's not just publishing, but you have to be publishing interesting content. So you know, for example, a lot of my tweets happen early in the morning, before I start, proper work, shall we say? And that is me, scrolling through the news, and reading something about, I don't know, some drought that's just broken out or something going, Oh, that's terrible. And then I just hit the share button, and send it to Twitter or send it to LinkedIn, with a quick comment, boom, published bang. So you know, if, if it's an interesting news topic or news item, for example. So people who follow me are getting, you know, they don't have to go and read the news, or, you know, if it was if it was something that might be maybe buried on, you know, if it's if it's climate related, for example, those things are not always in the front page, so they might have missed it. Or if it's tech related, same story. So, you know, I publish a lot of news articles. I publish, you know, memes, viral stuff from time to time as well. And I publish, you know, stuff around supply chains of around climate stuff around SAP. So the healthy mix in there. If I was just posting SAP SAP, SAP SAP, I would have zero followers. Everyone would unfollow me in a heartbeat. So, my ratio of non SAP po Post to SAP posts is probably, you know, 90 to 95%, non sap to five to 10% SAP related. And that way, I'm not drowning people with the SAP message. And I'm giving them what I hope is interesting content and the occasional link to an SAP related things so that you know, and that way they know, oh yeah, Tom works for SAP, and I'm building up trust, you know, anything Tom posts, it's usually it's verifiable it's links to maybe a BBC article or something like that, you know, some trustworthy organization that has published it. So you build up trust your seem to be honest or seem to be genuine. And, you know, you work for SAP. So you know that, and that's kind of almost a tagline. You know, this is Tom. Oh, and by the way, he works for SAP. And so SAP must be, you know, decent, do they employ someone like, Tom?
Steve Statler 55:58
And is there like a persona or that your set of personas that you're targeting? That sounds very antiseptic? But do you have a set of people that you have in your mind that you're talking to? I don't imagine you're posting for the interests of teenage girls. I mean, my neighbor is a teenage girl, and she's got like, 100,000 followers, I don't know how she does it. But completely different world,
Tom Raftery 56:32
I strongly suspect the teenage girl demographic or not. They want to learn about it, or any of the stuff that I publish, which is rarely related to anything that I think I think the Venn diagram of teenage girl interests, and what I publish would have a very small, crossing over maybe something about climate, I do political climate, reasonably. And about the war in Ukraine from time to time as well, you know, topical stuff like that. But also tech stuff, a lot of tech stuff there as well. Some programming related stuff, and supply chain related stuff, because that's the organization in SAP that I am part of. So, you know, it's a weird eclectic mix, I think, at times, animal pictures from time to time, you know, as well.
Steve Statler 57:21
I wonder how much of your following is aspirational? You've kind of so let me draw the comparison. Again, although it may feel uncomfortable between my teenage girl neighbor and you. I think she's like a beautiful young lady. And she does a lot of fun things. And I think people follow her because they want to be like, maybe your followers are working at SAP. That sounds like a pretty good job and the flying round to portos. Giving presentations and enjoying nice, is it? Do you think that's part of it?
Tom Raftery 57:56
I don't. And the reason I don't is I think the kind of lifestyle blogger teenage neighbor, you have, they're all about themselves. Whereas I don't know that I posted much about the fact that I was in Porto, while I was there, I might have posted one or two pictures of the stage or something like that. But most of what I was posting was content from either people who are talking or totally unrelated stuff about SAP or about some something that's happening in the news or something like that. So it would have been quite easy to miss the fact that I was in Porto, while I was there.
Steve Statler 58:36
I would love to agree to disagree, because I think people will kind of hear you and yeah, maybe it's not as transparent as that. But it's like, would I want to have a beer with Tom Tom Rafferty, could I spend, you know, when I like him as a friend, it's sort of like he's my virtual friend. I don't have time to have a real friend because I've got a wife and four kids or I'm got my you know, my boss is really riding me hard, but I can have this relationship with Tom Tom Rafferty, I would, I think that's part of it. We might we can we can agree to disagree. Okay, so three songs did you have a chance to think about three songs that are meaningful to you?
Tom Raftery 59:21
So three songs that are meaningful, I guess. The first one would be Freebird. And that one is very meaningful to me for quite a sad reason to be honest. It's a cool song. It's a beautiful song. But every time I hear it, I think of my friend Dave White. Dave and I were in university together. And in our fourth year of university a few weeks before our final exams, we happen to be out at a friend's party on the Saturday night, Mary O'Connor 21st party, had a wonderful night, I had a great time chatting with him and everyone else there. The following night, you went out and committed suicide. And it was, you know, it's one of those things where you think back, we were at the party, we had a great time, we were chatting about the fun times we had together, growing up near each other times we'd be playing together that kind of thing. No hint at all. And why do I think of Freebird? What do we think of him one of that when I hear that song? At his funeral, he requested that when his coffin was brought out of the church, that that song played through the speakers of the church, and it did and everyone, everyone just broke down. So that's one song that, you know, is is tough for me. It's every time I hear it, it brings back that memory.
Steve Statler 1:01:10
So that was this where we where did you go to college,
Tom Raftery 1:01:13
UCC University College Cork in Ireland. This was in 91.
Steve Statler 1:01:18
A beautiful song and very sad, really sad memory. And is I miss seeming that you had no hint of what was about to happen when you not
Tom Raftery 1:01:30
at all. Like I said, on the Saturday night, we had a great time. We were chatting away like said reminiscing about times when we were kids growing up together, playing in a local building site getting chased by the guard who was supposed to be guarding the building site, that kind of thing, the usual kind of thing that we got up to his kids, you know, messing around and had a fun night, no hint, whatsoever.
Steve Statler 1:01:56
So your second song,
Tom Raftery 1:02:01
very different. Reason. Thankfully, it's more upbeat. It's taking my breath away. And I remember that again. I'm going back to university, this time to first year in university and that song, played at a disco I was at when I got my first kiss from my first girlfriend in university. I won't mention her name. I'll spare her blushes. Well, Rosemarie I won't mention her surname. It was it was I had been in an all boys boarding school before going to university. So not a lot of chance to get girls. So this was my my first case with a real life girl. It was.
Steve Statler 1:02:59
Tom Raftery 1:03:02
we were in. We were in a rugby club. It was they had a big hole and it was one of these fundraising events. And it was cork con rugby grounds was where the the disco was. So it was it was a fun night.
Steve Statler 1:03:18
The Disco brings back lots of memories for for many of us that were that was Do they still have discussed at school? These these things? I probably call them something else. And some number three
Tom Raftery 1:03:34
Bohemian Rhapsody just because it's just such an awesome song. I mean, I don't have any great story behind it. I remember it in Wayne's World, obviously. But I Queen were one of my favorite bands as a kid growing up. And that song is just, I mean, there's so many great queen songs. But I mean, that one is emblematic. It really is. And Freddie Mercury is just such an amazing singer. And it's incredible. Yeah. And just watching the biopic with oh,
Steve Statler 1:04:09
what's it Rami? Rami Malik. Yeah,
Tom Raftery 1:04:12
that was so amazing. brought it all back all over again. But I mean, I've been playing Queen songs at home. For decades, my kids are inculcated they love queen as well. You know, they haven't even rebelled How could you rebel against Queen you know, it's such a great band.
Steve Statler 1:04:29
Just awesome. Yeah, live a that performance was just amazing, wasn't it? I still still still remember everyone clustered around the televisions and,
Tom Raftery 1:04:40
and playing in both venues playing in London and then in Philly. That was spectacular. getting on a plane and flying across and playing the second one. That was amazing too. Yeah.
Steve Statler 1:04:50
Awesome. Well, Tom, I really enjoyed this part of the conversation. I feel like we could we should settle down in the nick of have really good pub and continue it But alas, we're not there so we'll have to end but Tom Tom Rafferty thanks so much for spending time with us.
Tom Raftery 1:05:12
And thanks for inviting me, Steve. I really enjoyed it.
Steve Statler 1:05:17
So that was my conversation with Tom. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. And I really appreciate your sticking with us through these shows that requires some concentration and attention not. Not every everyone has that. So appreciate your commitment and dedication. Hopefully you'll tune in next time and listen to us again.