Interview With William Tincup: Looking Back At DisruptHR Cayman
William Tincup was one of a series of talented speakers at the DisruptHR Cayman event, and we were lucky enough to sit down with him and ask him a few questions! He’s an avid writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller, and teacher in the HR tech space.
Editor: Can you tell the audience a little bit about why you decided to become a speaker for DisruptHR Cayman and the conference that happened the following day?
There are a few reasons. One is, I’ve spoken around the world, including London, Amsterdam, and Sydney to name a few. I’ve done many things in the US. The pursuit of understanding the HR professional or the HR Tech persona is something I’ve been curious about. How are these things (as I travel) the same and what are the differences and nuances to explore? When I’m given the opportunity to speak, one of the primary things I look at is the location? Is it somewhere I’ve been before? Is it somewhere that I can get to know an audience that I would not previously have gotten to know? Will it further help the mission of understanding HR, the similarities, and dissimilarities around the world? Cayman scratched that itch.
Secondly, I fell in love with the organizer, Chris Bailey. He’s just an amazing guy. He and I probably Skyped 30 – 40 times, just casually talking, which is usually where it starts. If you like talking with a person, you’re probably going to get along with them, and if you get along with them, you’re probably going to have a good time, etc. So, I would say that Chris was a huge draw.
Thirdly, Chris talked about the people that were going to attend, the audience of HR and recruiting pros in the Caymans. He just had a wonderful way of describing their desire to learn. Everyone is out on an island, and there is innovation and things going on elsewhere in the world, yet, there is a real desire to learn. It’s a different international audience, a different world.
Editor: Chris is a great guy isn’t he? I love him to bits. Anyways, can you tell us a little bit about what you talked about at DisruptHR Cayman?
For DisruptHR Cayman, it’s only a 5-minute session, so you don’t have much time to explore. You almost have to challenge something or follow the education, inspiration, or entertainment. So I’m a status quo kicker. I tend to poke around and go, “Why do we do this? I don’t understand. How did we get to a point where we do this, this, and this?”
So my session was on how we treat talent the same. If you follow any sports, it doesn’t matter what it is, we don’t treat the superstars like the average pro players, so there’s a real strata between the treatment of a superstar and someone who isn’t. So I wondered why we don’t do that in business? If it seems to work for sports, why don’t we practice this in business? We have superstars, so why do we force them into a false regiment of treating them like everybody else? I really wanted the audience just to think about it. That’s what I really wanted to do. So when people got home they thought, “Why do we treat Billy like we treat Sally?” Why do we fundamentally do that? With the idea of creating a standard, it assumes that they are like items. When you say you want to treat everything with a standard, it’s like a manufacturing environment. It assumes the widget is the same widget. The talent that we get thrown at us is not the same.
Editor: The DisruptHR format means you only get 5 minutes to speak to the audience. So what are the unique challenges and opportunities that such a condensed speaking slot offers?
Normally, you create a subject that has several sub-topics, and within those sub-topics, you have many areas to explore. With 5 minutes, you’ve got one topic and 20 slides to cover for that topic. I like that you don’t have time to bore people.
Out of the 20 speakers that spoke that night, some made you gravitate towards them, others made you think, while some even bored you. But because these were 5-minute sessions, you almost gave them a pass, whereas, if they were an hour and 15-minute sessions, you wouldn’t give that person a pass. You’d be upset that they wasted so much time. So I like the 5 minutes, particularly when you’re thrown into a larger segment like that, because you get to fall in love with different ideas, people, and do things differently. Plus, you don’t hold speakers to such obscure standards.
From a speaker’s perspective, it’s fast, and that’s the beauty of it. You get to come out of the gate swinging. There’s no build up or comic relief. You just come out fast, because 5 minutes is not a long time. You may think, “How am I going to talk about that for 5 minutes?” You soon learn after one of these sessions that you could have easily done a 30 or 45-minute session. So it’s about quickly getting to the point and an emphasis on the clarity of voice and message. You could tell a long-winded story or metaphor, but you only have 5 minutes to get your point across. It forces the speaker to think like that, and it forces the audience to consume content like that.
Editor: You may or may not know, but the HR Gazette is a huge lover of the DisruptHR series. Our community director, Tim Baker, has co-lead the DisruptHR Toronto event last year. Since the big component is non-profit, it’s very close to our hearts. My next question is, how does DisruptHR as a series provide you with a platform to talk about talent, tech, and HR in new and different ways?
DisruptHR enables you to explore different types of content. A typical SHRM session runs an hour and a half, and you’re dealing with 40 slides. There are a number of different ways to get to your point, your levers, and even interacting with your audience. You can even choose to do a Q&A or add video and music, etc. So there’s a number of different tips and tricks to get your message across to the audience, whereas in a 5-minute session you must nail your topic fast. I love that because you get to try out new material. You and I can talk for 30 minutes and come up with 30 different ideas that we should explore, and it wouldn’t be that hard to produce, as it’s 5 minutes. You develop a new idea and throw it together. It’s like how comics view new material. When a standup comic has new material they go to a smaller venue and try it out. If it works, it works. If not, they modify it and go on to the next city. You can try out new material, fail, and go, “oh well, at least it wasn’t an hour and a half session.” You don’t have your whole life thrown into one session, and you can explore ideas in a much different way.
I love the format; I think it’s perfect for HR.
Editor: Thanks, William.