If you are running a business – or working on your startup – take half an hour today, grab a coffee and spend some time with Ed Soo Hoo of Lenevo as he takes you on a ‘wizard’ of a journey.
Ed describes himself as a connector, catalyst and storyteller. He currently works with Lenevo and is also an Industry Fellow at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at UC Berkeley. He is known for ‘stretching-the-box strategic thinking’ allowing companies to expand from ‘now, new to next’ opportunities.
In this interview with Jason Cooper, Ed discusses his early years working in his father’s LA grocery store and serving clients from both the Black Panthers and the Hell’s Angels. During this time, he was surrounded by potentially dangerous people, and he explains how storytelling became not just a sales tool but a survival technique.
Following a fascinating spell as an international pocket pool and billiards player, Ed moved around from job to job until he got into selling computers.
Sales and marketing for Ed are not disciplines based on price, they are conversations based around value.
He explains how he uses metaphors to get people to connect with ideas, particularly around transformation.
The power of being a storyteller isn’t just about telling stories, it’s how they are retold by someone else. If they are shared, it means people have connected with them.
Value beats price
When he talks about transformation, he says the process begins with being curious. ‘I take the core traits of curiosity, I explore – I gather insights, then I share them with people,’ he explains.
He doesn’t have a rate card, he has an impact card.
For his clients, he promises “high impact, high speed, and high quality”.
He will often ask a client” ‘Isn’t it better to buy something of value rather than be sold something for a price?’
The part where he talks about how he charms and eventually wins over a sceptical CTO of Pepsico by explaining the ‘Three House Rule’ is fascinating.