Escape from Cubicle Nation Podcast
Advice, support and encouragement to stop being a corporate prisoner and start your own business

Who has not fantasized about being a professional public speaker? Can you imagine how great it would be to fly to exotic locations and get paid large sums of money for a one-hour motivational talk?

Before you quit your day job, Nick Morgan, Harvard-trained communication expert, founder of Public Words and author of Trust Me and Give Your Speech Change the World has some hard-won advice on both creating quality speeches and making it in the hyper-competitive world of professional speaking.

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • The two conversations you have to manage in every presentation
  • The real source of natural and powerful body language (otherwise known as "no, you don't have to flail your arms on cue.")
  • The inside scoop on what it takes to succeed as a public speaker. Easy money in exotic locations is unfortunately not part of the reality. :)

Find Nick at or

Direct download: NickMorganPresentations.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:59pm MST

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Todd Henry, author of the new book The Accidental Creative: How to be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice.

After years of putting together teams of highly creative people, Todd learned that there were some secrets and patterns that helped them be happy, healthy and productive. He formed a consultancy to help organizations be more effective and started The Accidental Creative Podcast in 2006 which quickly shot to the top of the business category.

He synthesizes lessons from this intensive work in his book which combines special insight into the creative mind, as well as specific tips for harnessing creative energy.

As someone who creates for a living, knowing how to structure my life for maximum output and flow is a hugely attractive.

You can find The Accidental Creative: How to be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice here, and more about it here. Connect with Todd on Twitter @toddhenry


Book links in this post are affiliate links. Thankfully, I don't live in California anymore. :)

Direct download: Todd_Henry_on_2011-07-01_at_10.38.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:28pm MST

Anything You Want - Interview with CD Baby Founder Derek Sivers

Before I interviewed CD Baby founder Derek Sivers, I asked my Twitter followers "What questions do you have for @sivers?"

Someone asked "How extensive was his business plan?"

When I asked him that question, he started laughing, because the founding of what would become a multi-million dollar powerhouse in the world of music distribution involved no planning at all.

In fact, as a professional musician Derek only started the company so he could sell his own CDs.

The lessons he learned from "anti-planning" and growing a business that eventually sold for $22 million dollars are summed up in a wonderful new book from The Domino Project called Anything You Want.

I loved Derek's fierce focus on freedom and happiness, two values that resonate with deeply my own business journey.

Enjoy our 30-minute conversation, and pick up Derek's brand new book Anything You Want (which comes with 200 of his favorite songs) on Amazon here. (my affiliate link)

Find out more about Derek at

Direct download: Derek_Sivers_on_2011-06-27_at_16.06.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:37pm MST

In search of business model excellence: Interview with Alexander Osterwalder

Two years ago, when I was on my book tour, I had the great fortune of speaking at a management conference in Estonia. There were a number of other speakers there from Europe, including Morten Lund and Alexander Osterwalder.

Alex's presentation was about business models, and I was immediately drawn in by the clear and simple way he explained them. He was a fantastic speaker, and I was very intrigued by his book, Business Model Generation.

We rode together in the car from the conference site back to Tallinn, and he told me the story of how he had created this book with the help of over 450 co-authors including business model designers, academics and enthusiastic students of business. They chose to self-publish, and took the risk of creating a very visually rich design, not the norm for most business books.

Fast forward to 2011, and I was sitting at a table in the blogger's lounge at South by Southwest, preparing for a panel about blogs to books. One of the people on my panel was from Wiley, and he talked about a great success they had recently with a book that had originally been self-published. "It has sold over 100,000 copies already," he said. "It is called Business Model Generation."  I just about fell off my chair when I heard that, since I never would have imagined the world would be so small. I was thrilled for Alex's success.

I recently spoke with Alex while he was at the Miami airport, fresh from a 3-day consulting gig in Medellin, Colombia. He is very busy working with companies to implement the ideas in the book, as well as spearhead a larger mission to demystify business model planning, and make it accessible to the masse so we can create true innovation.

One of these ways is a very cool iPad app which lets you quickly sketch out and prototype different business models, just as if you were writing on the back of a napkin. I think it will be the hit of every entrepreneur conference!

I hope you enjoy our conversation, and begin some serious experimentation with business models.

Find Alex on Twitter @Business_Design .


Direct download: Alexander_Osterwalder_on_2011-05-06_at_11.18_002.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:59am MST

I have been in business for myself for sixteen years.

I can't count the number of fun projects, amazing clients and life-changing opportunities this path has provided for me.

But it wasn't until yesterday, when I was reading John Warrillow's Built to Sell, that I got the profound feeling that I was a total beginner in the world of preparing businesses for sale. I had never really asked myself the question "Do I want to stay in this business for the long term, or sell it and move on to something totally different?"

If I were to try to sell it today, I learned from the book, there would not be much tangible value in my business. It is much too dependent on me personally.

John Warrillow has started and sold four companies, and now lives a semi-retired life in France with his wife and kids, writing books, drinking wine and writing columns for Inc. Magazine. Yes, it is fair if you are all jealous of him. But he really knows what he is talking about when it comes to preparing businesses to sell.

If you are hot to buy the book, John has a special promotion until April 30 -- buy one copy, send in the receipt and you will get $65 worth of goodies, including a one year subscription to Inc. Magazine, a BuyBizSell valuation report (where you can get a clear picture of the market value of your own business), as well as access to a 2-hour group conference call with John. He wil also donate $25 to in your name. He is really a fantastic resource - I encourage you to jump before the end of the week! See promotion details here.

Buy Built to Sell at any fine retailer, including Amazon (my affiliate link).

Enjoy the conversation!


Direct download: John_Warrillow_on_2011-04-26_at_09.08.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30pm MST

Few people know the subtle horrors of creative blocks like professional writers. Steven Pressfield is a master at naming, and slaying, the beast called Resistance. The author of many bestselling novels like The Legend of Bagger Vance and Gates of Fire as well as the masterpiece The War of Art, Steven's new book Do the Work breaks down in detail how to get past creative blocks and get great work done.

Enjoy our 30 minute interview! I was totally inspired after the conversation, and got tons of work done.

Find Do the Work exclusively on Amazon here. It is a great book, which should be kept right on top of your desk for quick reference.

Direct download: stevenpressfield.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:13pm MST

Those of you who have read my blog for a long time or have heard me speak know that I often reference a key moment in Escape from Cubicle Nation's history, when one incoming link from venture capitalist and blogger Guy Kawasaki turned my tiny audience into a massive wave of new subscribers.

It certainly was a moment of enchantment for me, as I watched the power of connecting with a ripe market of my ideal clients.

Today, Guy's brand new book, Enchantment, hits the stores.

It is based on his decades-long experience as a venture capitalist, and deep understanding of business evangelism and customer relationships.

A couple of weeks ago, I talked with Guy about the key concepts and stories in the book. In this 30-minute interview, we talk about both the light and dark side of enchantment. When someone is skilled in the art of customer seduction, you can fall prey to unscrupulous tactics. We also talked about how being enchanting does not mean that everyone will like you. To the contrary, when you take a strong stand on doing something a particular way, you will polarize your market.

Great conversation aside, the most enchanting part of the interview for me was hearing Guy describe the scene in front of him as he was trying to talk with me. Two of his kids decided to come in his office and bring the dog. Having experienced the same scene numerous times myself, his humor and ease with parenting made me appreciate him as a father.

I really, really enjoyed the book, and think you will too. Although you can glean the highlights from the infographic below, it is worth reading in depth. Whether you sell shoes or high-end software services, learning how to create deep, real connections with your market is the skill that will set you apart in the  21st century.

Buy the book here.


Direct download: guykawasakienchantment.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:34am MST

Did you ever just want to walk away?

"Didn't you ever want to get up from your desk one day and just walk away, not to go get a latte, but I mean walk away and not come back?"

So asks Margaret Roach in her powerful book trailer, and powerful new book, And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading the Fast Lane for My Own Dirt Road.

Margaret left her mega-powerful job as editorial director of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, and had been a New York Times editor.

She set out on a long journey to get to know herself -- in her farmhouse in rural New York.

Her book trailer tells the story better than I ever could with words. (YouTube link here)

Margaret's purpose in writing the book was to tell her own story, but to also encourage others to stop and make time for things they love.

"Just remember, we are finite creatures," she says.

If you never make time for things you love, time may run out. 

Her book is out this week, and is a delightful read. Buy it here


Direct download: margaretroach.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:53am MST

If you had been a fellow passenger on the Green Line train in Washington DC, looking at handsome young lawyer Warren Brown staring out the window, you may have thought he was composing his next great novel, or thinking about scaling Mt. Everest. Instead, he was formulating a new recipe for chocolate cake:

"Dry chocolate cake is a no-no not to be tolerated. So I thought of coming at it from a unconventional angle. I decided to not use butter and boiled water in the batter, but use cream instead to deliver hydration and fat to the cake simultaneously. I scribbled the hypothesis on a notepad, raced off the train, mixed and panned the batter within twenty minutes, and use the same recipe to this day. It’s the New German Chocolate cake, where cream and cocoa combine to make a dense chocolaty cake that is paired with a coconut & vanilla infused buttercream."

Warren's cake dreams turned into a baking "side hustle," which occupied all of his precious time outside of his busy law career. He slowly built his baking business to the point where he was able to quit his day job and open a bakery, Cake Love, in Washington D.C. Fast forward nine years and Cake Love has seven locations, and Warren has written two books, Cake Love: How to bake cakes from scratch, and United Cakes of America, with a third in the works.

Listen in on our 40-minute podcast where Warren discusses the hard work required to turn a passion into a business, and a start-up into a solid brand, and why entrepreneurs have to be a bit crazy if they want to succeed.

You can see more of Warren in action in the short ad that my friend Erik Proulx (of Lemonade fame) recently did for Dell Computer: (YouTube link here:


Direct download: cakelove.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:58am MST

I had the good fortune to meet Patrick Thompson at my Portland Escape from Cubicle Nation workshop in 2009. At the time, he had left his corporate job as a software development manager and was working on a speed-reading app called QuickReader.

Patrick said that at 46 years old, he realized that it was the right time to try and see if he could replace his corporate income with his own business developing mobile device applications.

Fast forward 18 months and he has leveraged the code from the original application to create a string of new products, including MegaReader, which has had lots of press coverage, and great sales.

In this interview, Patrick talks about how he built his software app business from idea to fully thriving endeavor.

Find Patrick on Twitter @pthompson.

Direct download: patrickthompson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:53am MST