In this week’s episode, we’re chatting with former Chief Market Intelligence Officer for the U.S. government, Andrew Busch.
Andy has an incredible background in analyzing and researching the global economy and specializes in answering the question: “Where do we go from here?”.
As a professional speaker, Andy helps organizations turn Chaos into Confidence through his research of the economy and by teaching them to overcome, adapt, and thrive.
With such an inside scoop on the economy, we knew we had to have Andy on the show.
Listen to today’s episode to get that inside scoop while we answer the question: “Where do we go from here?”.
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Show Notes 📓
✅ Check Out Andy’s “Where Do We Go From Here?” videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIOd8SWhPts&list=PL-xj_e1kmK0Y43OEAGBTay-XXlSDiLYL_
✅ Check out Andy’s research on the economy and subscribe for updates: https://www.andrewbusch.com/economic-research/
🎤 Thank you to our sponsor, Libsyn Studio (formerly Auxbus)! Want the best podcasting solution out there? Learn more here: https://www.libsynstudio.com/
🚀 And as always, don’t forget about all the mind-blowing free resources at https://speakerflow.com/resources/
Read the Transcription 🤓
Taylorr: Welcome to another episode of technically speaking. Wow, I am very excited for today’s guest, Andrew Busch. Andrew, welcome to the show.
Andrew: It’s great to be here, Taylorr.
Taylorr: Yeah, definitely. So, guy everyone listening here who hasn’t met Andy or heard of Andy before, he is the former First Chief Market Intelligence Officer for the US government and economist at andrewbusch.com. So, for the CFTC, he was charged with improving and enhancing the government’s understanding of the markets and the economy. His job was to take all of the news and the information and the data on the economy and markets and filter it into condensed easily understood research. His job was to answer the question, where do we go from here? He’s also the author of the book World Event Trading covering large crises, like the infectious disease outbreaks, very timely, and their impact on the economy and the markets. He’s also a professional speaker and a market researcher. Andy, it’s really great to have you on the show today.
Andrew: Yeah, it’s great to be here. Love working with you guys and look forward to having a longer conversation today.
Taylorr: Yeah, definitely. So, look, you have a tremendous background in predicting and assessing and analyzing the markets. You’ve been doing this for a very long time obviously, you’re a professional speaker and I think all of our listeners are kind of just dying to know how did you get into speaking, why did you feel like the world needed to hear more from you and I’m really curious how the economy, especially as of late, has tied into all of our businesses.
Andrew: Sure. Those are three long questions Taylorr.
Taylorr: Long questions, I know. We’re going to have a busy episode today, guys.
Andrew: Pull up a chair folks. [Inaudible 01:56] Well, getting into speaking that really spilled out from a lot of the work that I did in media for the investment bank that I was working for. So, I started doing television interviews in the 1990s, a lot of stuff was CNN, CNBC and then as that progressed, as you go through different crises in the economy, you have a lot more people interested in you. So, then I was a host of a show called Politics and Money for First Business, that got started in 2000. Then I did that for like three years through the disputed Al Gore George Bush election, which was a blast do that. We were on…
Taylorr: That must have been wild.
Andrew: It was, in so many different ways, but we got to be pretty big for that show, got to be about 70 stations across the country, ABC, CBS, Fox affiliates so that was really great. And the way side note, that’s how I got to know so many people in politics because they would come on the show and I’d get a chance to talk to them. And we had some great guests, former Navy commander, air pilot commander who was in the first Gulf War, the stories he was telling were just fascinating when we got him on. But anyway, all that media kind of led to building momentum into the speaking. So, I started writing research, doing a lot more talks internally for the investment bank and then eventually we just had a lot of clients who needed this information and by the time I left the investment bank back in 2013, I was doing about 55 to 60 speeches a year for the company. And so, I went out on my own and I didn’t quite get to that many of the first couple years I was doing it but that’s when I transitioned in and I kept a lot of the clients that I had from the investment banking days, and so still some of those continued to hire me back, including my old investment bank so it’s really great.
Austin: That is intense. That’s a lot of stuff you’ve done for one thing, but 50 to 60 gigs a year, is that what you said? Speeches a year while you’re working? That’s a lot. Were you traveling to each one of those too? Like a different city every week kind of situation?
Andrew: Yeah, a lot through the Midwest, but also across the country because associations would hire me. I’m trying to think of the Egg Association hired me, which is one of my favorite ones to have gone to because George Will and I spoke at it and there were protesters out in front, which I never would have thought of In Washington, DC you’d have protesters protesting the Egg Association, Chicken and Egg association, but there they were, so that was a whole other experience. So yeah, it was a lot. So, traveling quite a bit, writing a lot of research at that time, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly research, and had a small team so it was just a great learning experience and the thing that’s so great about what I do Austin, is that when I go to meet or agree to do a speech, I really ask for 30 minutes of the CEO’s time. And so, by doing that, I get to learn from him and ask him a lot of questions about his business, about his industry and through that, it helps me understand not only where they are, but where it fits into the broader economy. And you just don’t get to get those opportunities right from the horse’s mouth.
Like they’ll tell you what their challenges are, where they see the world going. It just helps you put together this wonderful jigsaw puzzle, that’s our economy and politics and the election and how they look at it. So, from my standpoint, as someone just corny, but always learning, it’s really fun. That’s probably one of the best parts of what I do
Austin: That is so cool. Yeah, I’m sure you’ve met some super interesting people over the years. I liked your story too, about the Egg and Chicken association, not to completely pass that over without talking about it. First of all, no idea that that was a thing so I just learned something myself, which is cool. I’m curious too, since you speak in, I don’t want to say like a touchy lane, but people are very opinionated on a lot of the topics that you discuss. And I know, especially as you’ve evolved into more and more political type conversations, it seems in a lot of ways. Have you found yourself in the heart of controversy many times over the years? If you’re getting protested by the for the Chicken and Egg association or whatever I wonder was that the tip of the iceberg? Have there been more like that? I’m curious what’s that like?
Andrew: We’ll they weren’t protesting me, they were protesting [inaudible 06:55] but yeah, this is a tricky space because what I learned from being in the financial markets is that the economy is closely tied to government policy. And especially tax policy and fiscal spending policies, regulatory policies, those are all really fair game to kind of learn about and understand to help people know how it’s going to impact them. And so, you end up getting into like this space and you have to go there so I made a decision a few years back, especially before the 2016 election, to really focus on being extraordinarily objective and really just telling people, look here’s Hillary Clinton’s policies, here’s what they’ll do. Here’s Donald Trump’s policies, here’s what those will do. You decide, you audience, you decide what you think you know is best for you in this space. I will tell you what they can do for you and what they can’t.
And I think it’s been so important for me to learn that and going back obviously longer than that, but especially now, if I hadn’t made that decision to be objective, to be fair and balanced, to use as Fox, but really to be clear eyed in what I present to clients, I just would not be getting hired right now. most audiences are so fired up about this topic, that it would just be really difficult for anybody to hire me if I wasn’t that way. And what I’m finding is more and more is just when you tell these stories, when you talk to people about what the policies are in a clear way, they really liked that, they really liked the objectivity and then it gives them an opportunity to think about what’s coming next. And that’s really what my goal is to help them, where do we go from here? To give that heads up, to give them that edge in their business so they can anticipate the changes that are coming.
Max: I’m imagining since you have that objective position in the space that probably puts you in the minority in terms of just because it is so polarizing right now. Have you found open receptivity across the board? I know you mentioned associations, I’m just curious what kind of other organizations bring you in and particularly right now, who’s most likely to hire you at this point to hear what you have to say.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s a great question. So, I’ve been doing a lot of work with financial services companies. I just did a talk for as an example for Pacific Life, which is one of the largest insurance companies in the United States, if not the world. Other groups I’ve spoken to we were talking earlier, I talked to the GCCA, which is the Global Cold Chain Alliance. In case you don’t know what that is, that’s for all the refrigerated warehouses across the world. And again, what was so much fun about getting to know those guys and hear what their industry is up to is that you understand the connection to the virus. And if you don’t think there’s connection, folks, just go and see what temperatures vaccines have to be kept at before they are injected and you’ll begin to realize the potential for that industry.
And so, for me, like everything, it’s just so cool. You get to learn about what challenges they have. They had a lot of challenges on the labor front, and so what I was helping them with and the same thing with construction is that in some of the work that I was doing for the YouTube videos, I created on say leisure and hospitality where people have lost a lot of their jobs, I was telling construction and these refrigerated warehouse guys, I’m like look, there’s a big labor pool that just lost all their jobs. And they are not coming back, go tap into that, go to the hotels, go to the bars, go to the restaurants, go to transportation, there’s willing workers there who want to have a nice job and a lot of these jobs in those two industries, it can pay a lot of money. So, it kind of varies. That’s a pretty broad swath of the economy from financial services to refrigerated warehouses but it’s really almost anybody can hire me to come in and talk to them about what’s going on and how the world is changing and how they have opportunities in the future.
Taylorr: So, I have a question for you. You’ve mentioned research a lot in our conversation here, I know it’s been a part of your entire history, especially from going in what was media and now in the professional speaking and so on, but you’ve always maintained that research threads to your business. What has made you so active in research and why do you continue to produce it? And that might sound like a funny question, asking a thought leader, why they produce research around their own thoughts and so on. But it’s funny [inaudible 11:52] how we talk to speakers and coaches and consultants who don’t prioritize research so much. So, why do you think you prioritize research so much and what benefit has it had for you and your speaking business?
Andrew: Well, first of all, it forces me to do the work right, to understand how the world’s evolving and anticipate what’s coming down the road. And if I don’t do that, then A, I lose my strength of view, I lose my ability to communicate clearly to people where I see and I lose my vision of the future and so, that’s really important. Just a quick example, so just like these YouTube videos, so I’m dropping about eight YouTube videos on where do we go from here? One of them I did on entertainment. Now, I don’t have any entertainment clients at this moment so I don’t have a big studio behind me or something like that. So, you may ask why would you do it on that? Well, it spills out of leisure and hospitality, but I’ll tell you going into it, open up my eyes to what the future for a lot of businesses are through the adaptations that the entertainment industry is going through.
And that’s whether it’s VR or augmented reality or just intense digitalization of the green screen, it really like sports just as an example down the road, you’re going to have the opportunity to have a VR headset while you’re at the game or even at home. And eventually you could see maybe through Patrick Mohomes’s helmet as the play is unfolding as he throws the ball, or maybe you can see the coach calling the play and then you can click to the receiver’s helmet that’s supposed to receive the ball and you can watch it throughout. And if you’re wondering why entertainment would do that is because they want you to stay engaged the entire time, they don’t want you to get up and go to the bathroom, they don’t want you to eat, they want you like so intense, and then they can pop ads all over where you’re looking and what you’re checking out. So, that helps me understand where some things could go for, I don’t know, say concert venues and for performers and even for conferences. So, it’s all of those kinds of things that are just great from a research standpoint, that help you keep learning and keep forcing you to think beyond the here and now into the future where you really add value for your clients.
Austin: So, I’m curious as you were doing all of this research as COVID started rolling around, at what point where you like whoa, this is going to change a lot in the upcoming months and or years or so on? Was this something November of last year, you caught wind of it and you’re like oh, this is going to be a thing or did it catch you by surprise as much as it did a lot of other people?
Andrew: No. Having written five chapters on infectious diseases I will tell you, I ordered Lysol, face masks wipes, all that stuff in January. As a matter of fact, I was at a speech for commercial real estate and somebody asked me a question. They said well, what’s a black swan that’s coming? And I said oh, you want an unknown, unknown, the Rumsfeldian statement, but I told them this thing that’s happening in China, this COVID, that’s a problem and I think you really better rethink what’s going on in your business in case that hits. Now, I wish I was a little bit more forthright and told a lot more people about it, but I was warning people. And that’s the thing about research, you start writing it, you start warning people, you can go back to see when you wrote it so, through March, I’m sorry, through February into March, I was telling people, this is really a problem.
And what’s kind of cool about what I do too, is I have stayed in touch with people in the Trump Administration and through the March and April period, I was advising them on what they were doing was shutting down the economy. And I was telling them they needed to open up the economy faster, believe it or not because I think the irreparable harm that they would do to people in hotel, leisure all those people that lost their jobs, and we got 25 million people at one point at the beginning of May, were drawing on unemployment insurance. And I was like, please get things open up again we’ll figure this out, we’ll get the capacity, we’ll get the PPE gear, we’ll get the therapies. And to be honest we have, now you’re seeing a surge now, but here’s the thing, his is what I tell audiences, just to finish this thought. It’s like, look, if we had learned nothing from March and April, if you were taken the death chart and the infection chart, they would look exactly the same. They’d be right on top of each other, but they’re not.
Infections have gone way up, but deaths have not. So, that’s the optimism and hope that I tell people like look, we’ve learned a lot, we’ve done a lot, we’ve created all of these really good things it doesn’t seem that way right now, we’re going to have some problems, but there are good things coming in. Should we get a vaccine shortly that’ll greatly help, but we don’t need a vaccine in the sense that we can return to economic growth through better therapies. Look, if Max got sick and he should feel like he can get back to work within a reasonable amount of time because of the therapies that we have and I think that’s where we’re at with this thing. So, that was a long-winded answer, I didn’t care what the question was anymore.
But that’s why I try to help people to really see the future and all of this research helps me with that. And clearly the research I did back in 2007 to write that book, Austin, is why I felt a lot more comfortable about what was going on with the virus. I say humbly, I did not see the extent of how this was going to unfold, very few people did, but it really has been sad. Not only in the way that some of it could have been prevented, and certainly the country could have been better organized, but deaths that have occurred are tragic, obviously, so.
Austin: Yeah, it’s fascinating to hear from you too. I’m sure you’ve been so busy with that being part of your background on top of it being such a hotly debated election year, too, it must be crazy there’s probably plenty of research for you to be able to tap into and create right now. We try to stay away from politics as much as possible on the show, but you’ve clearly explained already that you think objectively, so no problem asking you about that. But I’m curious, and I’ll stop, bogarting the time here, but was that in a factor here? Do you feel like that made things even more hectic as an economy and as a country than it would have been had we just been dealing with the virus without this hotly debated election year on top of it?
Andrew: Yeah, oh my gosh. And so, that has added, every day that goes by, it seems like there’s something new that comes out that makes you forget about what happened three weeks ago and you’re thinking about three weeks ago where it was like, can it get any crazier than this? It’s just no way. And yet bam then there’s something else that the president gets the virus, it’s like, what, how does that happen? And so, what it forces you to do is to work harder in the sense of always trying to stay on top of things. But there’s times where I’ve been working like seven days a week for a while and it’s so easy to do because you do all your work from your house, I have to tell my wife, I’m like Michelle, I got to get out of the house and I have to do something physical. I’m going to go work outside and do some chores and just do anything, but think about what’s going on because I need a break.
And I hope everybody else does the same, but it has been just so crazy. And prior to me coming on, we were talking about what the speaking business has been like and I was expecting to have a very, very big year as were other people as well. But I’m at about a fifth to two fifths of what I would have normally have gotten this year. And I think what’s compelling about what I do is, is that as far as like hiring me, I think the thing that people have discovered once they get over the whole virtual thing is like, they need this information, they need to know this. This isn’t something that they could put off maybe on, I don’t know, like sales or leadership those kind of things are harder for speakers I think to say, hey, you know, when the world’s falling apart, you still need leadership, which of course you do and you need still need to figure out sales, which of course you do, but you also need the basic information on what the heck is going on and that’s where I come in. So, it’s unfortunate obviously what happened this year, but I also feel really good about the content that I’ve created and the research I’ve produced that I’m still getting hired.
Taylorr: Definitely. So, do you think that information, the way you easily digest complex information, do you think that’s the thing that helps people go from chaos to confidence? Or is there some other mechanism? How do you guide people from the chaos of our world questioning sales and their marketing efforts and whether or not they’re going to make it out alive and giving them the confidence they need to keep on trooping forward? And then to add to that, what do we need to know as speakers to do the exact same thing?
Andrew: Yeah, I think it’s really easy to get distraught about what’s going on and there’s a lot of reasons for that. Social media is such a powerful tool, but it’s such a tool that can be leveraged in a way that makes everybody crazy bottom line. If you haven’t watched the movie Social Dilemma, or if you haven’t read the book Surveillance Capitalism, I highly recommend those books or that book in that show. I’m getting through Surveillance Capitalism right now and it is it’s breathtaking. But that’s the environment we’re in right now, as far as how crazy things are. So, I approach it by going, okay, what are people fearful about? Let’s start there, let’s understand the audience, let’s understand the challenges that they have and that’s really the core piece of information for any speaker that if you’re not doing your basic homework on who is in that audience? What are they’re fearful about? What are the challenges they’re experiencing? then you really can’t help them overcome what’s going on right now. and you can’t help them adapt and you can’t help them thrive, which is what I try to do.
So, I take them through those steps of explaining, what we’re overcoming in the economy, what’s happened already, how companies have adapted and I go through a lot of fun examples, those are always very just really good for people to see concretely what different companies have done. And I go through Dropkick Murphys and Kraft foods and some other things, great examples of companies and people that have adapted to survive and thrive. And then you try to project out where are things going from here? So, it’s a process, overcome, adapt and thrive, to move people from chaos to confidence in the future. And it is really, I’ve acted as a filter for my clients ever since started writing research back in the nineties because I just take this massive funnel called the world and distill it down into pieces that I can understand and then I can in turn help each audience that I speak to.
Taylorr: If that’s not a more clear definition of thought leadership, I don’t know what it is.
Austin: And I like how you sun that up too, you said, overcome, adapt, and thrive. And it really does boil down even if we take a look at our industry as speakers, I don’t know about you, Andy, but we noticed the big downturn March is really when everyone’s calendar started getting wiped out and so on. And there was this kind of overcome piece for that quarter, from like March through June-ish, basically where people were trying to overcome and then they started to adapt. Okay, we can go virtual, we can do more consulting, we can do more coaching, we can do more digital content creation and then we started seeing some revenue pick up mainly because all every business was out of their first tier of Maslow’s hierarchy, they were able to figure out, yeah, we can still survive, but we still need to bring experts in. And so, in turn, we saw speakers more taking what they had adapted after they had originally overcome and then now it’s just the recipe of thriving. So, I don’t know that I’ve had your chaos to confidence broken down so simply into that, that three step process, but it definitely seems indicative of what the industry is going through. And I think not only our industry, but as you’ve mentioned, almost every single industry around us.
Andrew: Yeah. And I think for me, one of the edges that I’ve always had is because I’ve done so much television. Having had three different television shows and being extraordinarily comfortable in front of a camera and understanding those dynamics, it’s just such an edge when you go to do a zoom call, and understanding the energy level that you need to have to pull off something that’s engaging that you’re keeping people’s focus on you the whole time, it’s a really strong effort that you have to put in. You can’t mail it in, you can’t fake it, you got to jack yourself up and get excited about the information. And the way I look at it, I always say hey, if I can help these people, then I’ve done my job, I’ve done something good for this world and that just like fires me up. And I think that’s one of the things that in the industry that I’ve noticed quite a bit is that so many people don’t understand the dynamics of a camera. As I’m talking to you now, we have four boxes up and what you see a lot of times when you get on zoom calls, is people looking down at each box and talking to each one of the box, that’s not what you’re supposed to do.
You’re supposed to look at the little green dot on your camera and talk to that mean you can kind of see people maybe turn and look to them, but you’ve got to maintain that eye contact so those people feel like you’re talking right to them. And so, that was something that really helped me, and I’ll tell you, having made a lot of mistakes over the years in television, just done really dumb things and when you do that for let’s say CNBC and that camera is like right on you, the producers are all over you as soon as there’s a camera light goes up. They’re like, what were you doing? Why were you doing that? You were supposed to do this and this and this. So, those are great learning experience, but they really helped me for when I do talks. And that’s the thing I think, you guys probably know that noted as well I think for my content, it’s a lot easier for me to do what I do than it is for a leadership talk. I’m just going to keep using that as an example, because as a speaker, you can’t feel that room, you can’t tell a joke.
Comedians got to be just going crazy, pulling their hair out because that’s so hard right now, it’s an empty space. So, that’s one of the things that’s really challenging, you have to find a way to do that. I use a lot of different techniques to help the audience understand what’s going on. I like to use music, but I’ll use music in a way that makes a point that ties into my overall story. It’s not just walking music; it’s walking music that I’m using because I’m going to tell a story and it’s tied to that music. Dropkick Murphys is a great example. So, I use their music to tell a story about how they overcome and adapt and thrive but also you use things like polling or the chat room, you ask people to put in information that way. So, there’s a lot of different things you can do, and a lot of different techniques you can use but that’s the challenge of the environment that we’re in is you got to understand the medium that you’re conveying the information to and then utilize that as much as you can.
Taylorr: Got it. No, that’s perfect. And final question for our listeners who are still experiencing chaos, Andy, what do they need to do to take the next steps to have confidence in their business?
Andrew: Really spend time on crafting your message, really spend time on crafting the stories, you’re going to tell, make them succinct, make them all 30 minutes max. You can always expand if people want but then practice like crazy, that’s the thing. So, I have a background in theater and nobody likes doing tech rehearsals because they’re forever, like in a play, you get off work, you go, you get your makeup on, you get your costume on, you get on stage at like seven o’clock at night and you get finished at one o’clock in the morning. Everybody hates tech rehearsals, but are the most important component of what you do. And I would say this, every speech that I do, I mandate that there is a tech rehearsal at least a week ahead of time to iron out all the software issues and just get comfortable with how that’s [inaudible 30:00]. Are they going to introduce you? Okay, they’re going to introduce you. Are they going to have control of your program of your PowerPoint? If not, if it’s going to revert back to you, then you have to know how to get it up on the screen where you’re not exposing your computer, you’re only exposing your PowerPoint.
And then do you have music with that PowerPoint? Does it work? All of those things, you iron out a week beforehand that you’re not doing it the day of, and then all of a sudden, it’s a train wreck when you get to the actual time that you’re supposed to go on. So, that’s my big one on that one. Even just last week, I was about to do a presentation the next day and we started to go through it and I looked at the presentation I’d sent over and it was the wrong one. I was like…
Taylorr: Oh man
Austin: Hey, let’s just stop right here.
Taylorr: Let’s get the right one.
Andrew: So, even a veteran like me needs the rehearsal. And then backing it up, so that’s the tech rehearsal, but all the hard work goes into practicing, leading up to that talk that you’re going to give, knowing that audience, doing your research, having talked to the CEO or somebody who’s in charge there about what is going to resonate and land on them and then practice like crazy. By the time I give my speech I have run through it over the past week, probably 20 times. So, I don’t need notes, I have the PowerPoint, but I know every story. I know every segue, I know everything that’s going to connect into the polling that I’m doing, I know all of the little fun things I’m going to do and I’m highly confident that if something blows up it’s not going to bother me. So, be a professional. Don’t approach half doing the work. No, you need to be fantastic, awesome, you need to be super confident. You need to be so confident that nothing is going to throw you off your game. That’s how confident you should be when you approach an audience. So, those are my big ones.
Austin: Practical and simple. I love it.
Taylorr: That’s right. There we have it folks. Well, Andy has been so fun to have you on the show and as you know, we’re all about creating value for our audience. What are some of the things you’re working on right now that are listening can benefit from?
Andrew: Well, clearly the YouTube videos have been really great on where do we go from here? They cover a wide range of industries. So, if you’re going to go talk to, I don’t know let’s say someone in the entertainment business, pull up my entertainment video, and then you’ll get a pretty good glimpses to what’s going on, what they’ve tried to deal with, where are right now, where they’re going in the future. So, that’s one. On the election, we’ve been writing research for now a year on the election, going through all the policies and plans. You can go to my website, andrewbusch.com, all the research there is free, and you can take a look at what we’ve been writing and what we’ve been doing and how we’re looking at this election. And then finally you can sign up for the newsletter and that I put out once a week to the readers and media as well. And I write some very specific thoughts in there about what’s happening that week, whether it’s the debate or whether it’s something else that’s going on in the world. So, all of those things will help you understand what’s happening in the economy and hopefully from a speaking standpoint, you’ll have a clear picture of wherever you’re going to go to speak next.
Taylorr: Perfect. That is awesome. Thanks so much, Andy. Everyone listening, I will have those links in the show notes. So be sure to check those out and don’t forget to subscribe to our show. And if you want more awesome resources like this, go to speakerflow.com/resources.
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