The question that keeps me up at night

The question that keeps me up at night

January 17, 2021

What question keeps you up at night?


I was ready for this question but only because I had been thinking about it for nearly 10 years.


Back in 2010, a movie called The Social Network came out about the rise of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. The opening scene was absolutely mesmerizing from the writing to the music to the cinematography and I was hooked.


The only reason I was watching the movie was because of Aaron Sorkin. He wrote the movie and he’s also the writer of The West Wing, my favorite television show. At the time in 2010 Facebook was big but certainly not in the position it is today. 


The first time I had access to Facebook was in the summer of 2006 because that’s when I got my college email address. Back then the social network required a .edu email address. When I first got on I had one immediate thought, “This is lame.”


It would prove otherwise as it quickly took over college life during my next four years at Haverford College. Parties, relationships, and the passive-aggressive statuses like the AIM away messages of old all took place on Facebook.


So in 2010 I realized it was a player but I tuned in for Sorkin.


I sat there thinking about why I couldn’t do something like that. Of course, I realized it was because I know zero about coding. But what I meant, is having a world-changing idea.

Photo by Reuben on Unsplash


There are two major scenes that still stick with me to this day. The music and the dialogue make them stand out to me. The first is the restaurant scene with Sean Parker when he drops the billion line (even though it’s said by Eduardo in the deposition). It’s a masterpiece of building tension and then hitting absolute silence before Eduardo drops the world “billion”. Talk about tension building and release. An absolutely perfect example for a speaker. 


The second scene that always stands out is the club scene. In large part because Sean Parker delivers his lesson to Zuckerberg through the story of Victoria’s Secret. The way he delivers the story leaves Zuckerberg putty in his hand. That’s because stories when delivered well, allow the audience to put themselves in it as a character. Beautiful persuasion technique. 


But I sat there watching thinking to myself, what’s my idea. 


And I’ve kept that thought in my mind ever since. I watch the movie around once a year just as a reminder. A reminder of all the inspiration in the way it’s written, filmed, scored, and so much more but also a reminder to keep pushing myself to come up with that idea.


I believe that I did. I believe Performative Speaking is that idea. Not because of me, but because of what it can do for others. 


The impact.


That’s always what it’s about. So for 10 years, I’ve thought about my big idea. I’ve thought about what can I do to create something with a huge impact. 


I’ve been kept up at night figuring it out. So I knew when I was asked the question in December 2020.


The short version: How can I help founders and leaders get their world-changing ideas communicated to the world to create that impact?


The longer version: The world is filled with noise. One day, not that long ago, it was difficult to have an idea found because of a scarcity of distribution channels. Now, the exact opposite problem exists. There is an abundance of ideas and distribution channels so ideas are easily lost in all of the noise.


What makes one idea different from another? That’s what investors, future employees, and customers are all asking. 


So my role is to help the visionaries and the world changers create their lighthouse or send up the bat signal.

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash


If you look at my Twitter banner now you will see artwork that I had my friend Andrew Yu, who has done artwork for Jack Butcher, Eric Jorgensen, and Lenny Rachitsky, design to help me explain my vision through his art. It says exactly what my mission is as a person.


It’s why I believe in my role with On Deck.

It’s why I believe in my work as a consultant. 


I help founders craft their story to attract the right funding, talent, and customers.


That’s what keeps me up at night. 


My world-changing idea is to help the world-changers communicate their idea.


I have a lot of sleepless nights.

Want to work with me? Robbie@beondeck.com

I'm the Founder of Performative Speaking. In December, Performative Speaking was acquired by On Deck and I now serve as the Program Director for On Deck Performative Speaking.

Follow me on Twitter: @robbiecrab

Cover Photo by Melanie Magdalena on Unsplash


You Might Also Like

Robbie Crabtree logo 2Robbie Crabtree logo 2

Performative Speaking uses storytelling ideas that incorporate other forms of art, culture, media, and pop culture to create the mood, feeling, or vibe in the audience to convince them of a position.

If this idea is interesting to you stay in touch by subscribing to my newsletter. It’s called Three Things Thursday.

Join 3TT
Robbie Crabtree logo 2