Stephen Greene shows us how to Change the World, 4 hours at a time.

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> It’s just knowing that you’re in the job that you should be doing. Keep moving in a direction that feels right for you. And then when you’re there, like I am in this position, I know this is what I’m meant to do, the experiences I’ve had in my life, and the people I’m working with, and that’s a very peaceful feeling. When you wake up in the morning, or working at night one night, and you know this is exactly the project, this is really the work that I was cut out, or should be doing. And that is really what gives you the energy, you know, you don’t have any existential anxiety. When you find it, you know it because it, it’s very peaceful.
> It’s a real intention to be able to maximise your life. It’s not something you change overnight. It’s a direction in which you move. Look at the people you surround yourself with, not just in your work, but also in your social life. Are they stimulating you, are you having conversations that inspire you. What are you reading? Are they things that make you think? Are you writing? Take that constant inventory and say no, this isn’t really feeding me in a way. You don’t have to change your group of friends overnight, quit your job and move to a different country. But take that inventory and just move in that direction. Find people who do inspire you, and spend more time there. Follow that positive energy.
> A few years ago when I made a very conscious decision to stop reading newspapers. I felt that everybody was reading the same thing and it wasn’t creating any unique insights. It wasn’t really driving forward any of my career activity or inspiration. And so by putting the newspaper down after the thirty, forty or fifty minutes you spend with it every day, and reading books instead, and really carefully selecting the books that you read, that was a big change for me, and it’s really helped my ability to think, analyse my perspectives, be it more interesting conversations I can have with other people, surrounding myself with different people because I have interesting things to contribute. Changing the things that I put into my head, was very intentional.
> My very standard catch phrase, which is absolutely stupid is, “Have Fun. That’s my filter through almost every decision-making process, is it still fun? If not, do that thing which we talked about, which is, move along and get yourself to a better spot.
> Talk to people that you don’t know, no question about it. Step outside your comfort zone and meet these network of people who are sitting right there and go outside your world and change. If we’re all connected wouldn’t that kind of be the end of a lot of the social issues we deal with?


> Music is very powerful in bringing people together.
> Our idea is to have this global celebration of volunteering through music. We’ve done it in eight countries so far, we’ve just been in Mexico, Columbia and Venezuela, but we feel like we’re only getting going.
> We focus on a youth audience, 14 to 25 year olds, because that’s where the action is. That’s where the future is. We want to make civic engagement, volunteering as normal to a nineteen year old as going out to a club or sporting match, or being online.
> With the Rockcorps show, it’s different because we’re all connected before we even get there. So, yes, you did a community project, probably with a hundred other people. Then you step into the venue and you see five thousand, ten thousand others who’ve done the same thing. And you’re together. That very first note the DJ rocks out - the place just goes nuts. Every concert really fills you up with this great feeling. You think, wow, this is a really powerful way to use music.
> The trick here is the repeat offenders, in this case I mean by the volunteers, and getting them going back and doing it again and again, and thereby identifying themselves as a member of the community. A lot of the youth around the world are not feeling a part of their city, their country or being a part of their future. If we can get them self-identifying, saying I am a member of this community, then the benefits of that are long term, which is exactly what we’re chasing after.
> I got Lady Gaga on tape saying that her experience with Rockcorps really inspired her music, so maybe theres a bit of Rockcoprs in ‘Born this Way’.
> Mohammad Yunus from Grameen Bank in Bangladesh (with his founding of the micro-finance movement) and Nobel Peace Prize winner, was one person that really helped us understand that we can use some of the tools of the private sector to accomplish what we want to do in the non-profit world.
> If we didn’t love what we do, the hours and the travel, would kill us. It’s the passion that carries us along.
> Don’t stop playing music, go to more events, spend more time studying meet new people.
> We wanted to use Rockcorps to introduce people who live next door to each other.

Know How

> A lot of people say Rockcorps is a great idea, but we quickly add in that it is a good idea well executed. We’ve had a real focus on our operation. Understanding what the critical points are in our platform. What is vital? We have a real focus on results. I think that’s what helps a great idea manifest. It’s not enough to have a great idea, there are plenty of those, but, a relentless focus on operations and results.
> We wanted Rockcorps to be sustainable, so ten years ago we had this insight that giving back, being involved in your community is as much a place for a brand to communicate around as music, sport, film, fashion. It’s another communication pillar. If the brands can hit their commercial objectives with us, then we get a social benefit that also benefits, not just the brand, but also everybody involved. I try to say to the brands, instead of producing thirty more Justin Timberlake commercials, do a Rockcorps execution and your advocacy will be much better.
> We have a lot of brands who will tell us that when they do employee surveys that Rockcorps is one of the top three things that employees like about working at brand X. These are things that a normal sponsorship probably wouldn’t bring to a brand.
> There’s not a week that goes by when some CE, or chairman somewhere says, “you know, involving ourselves in our consumer lives, giving back, having a pro-social platform is very important to our future as a company”. But yet, how do they go and activate this with the traditional setup of corporate communication. There is a new wave of entrepreneurs coming in that will continue to serve up something that has this cross-functional offer to these brands. I think we’re really in the beginning stages of seeing a pro-social impacts-type marketing take-off.
> Pepsi, Starbucks and Nike are three companies that are doing a lot to give back.
> Rockcorp, as a global organisation wouldn’t have been possible fifteen years ago without the digital tools that we now have from video chat and conferencing to, online sharing tools to the applications we use on our smart phones. The amount of overhead which is required for entrepreneurs to operate globally is strengthened so much because of the technological tools.
> A lot of us migrating from Dropbox to
> We’ve gotten a lot better at qualifyings leads with our limited capital and resources. We are a big company, but we aim to do big things. We’re obsessed by scale. And being able to more smartly apply our limited resources and not waste ourselves to have dead-ends. We’ve formalised that system, we spent a lot of our time in workshopping, how to qualify where our resources apply. And we would’ve done that much earlier knowing what we know now, and probably would’ve sped things up by a couple of years. Being able to understand how it happens at this decision-matrix inside our partners has been incredibly valuable. We can quite clearly say, “this one needs to be downgraded or upgraded now in terms of priority.”
> It’s a very acceptable conversation to have with a potential partner, very early in the conversation to understand their decision process, and have the person you’re meeting with, even though they may not be the final decision-maker, explain to you the various steps. While having a shared expectation of the timeline. And if you don’t feel like it is going the way it was laid out early in the relationship, you can then have a very open conversation with that person, and say, “when we first scoped this out it seemed like we would be presenting to the board at this time, but we’re still back, refining our relationship here. What do you think we need to change to get to our shared objectives?” We’re not in the business of burning bridges or shutting doors, but we are certainly in the business of applying our resources smartly.
> We have a fairly sophisticated algorithm that we have designed to fill up these concert halls with volunteers. And every morning we get an operations report that shows how many people came to our website, how many people liked this on Facebook etc... You just learn how to read these patterns. Every day all of us, no matter where we are in the world, look at the same reports in the morning and we can detect very early on where a success of weakness is occurring.
> A typical days begin with some trip to or from an airport somewhere. My role is to seek out new and established relationships and to curate the existing partnerships. As much as there are great existing technology tools, when you’re asking a brand to partner with you on the level that we do, with this size of execution, you have to be there in person. They’re not just buying in to an idea they’re buying into the people behind it. So if you want to be a global company now, it means being in a room of people, visiting them out there, meeting the NGOs you’re gonna partner with, understanding how it’s going to work culturally in that local spot.
> I have a saying that says; organise the organisable. With our large scale productions, crazy shit will happen all the time. So I want everything that can be organised to be organised to the point where it drives people around me nuts. I can’t stand clutter, I can’t stand paper.
> Our pitch to our youth audience is, “You wanna help change the world? Well it takes less commitment than a one night stand”, that’s a very powerful piece of communication. If I can tell you that we have a way of getting a hundred people together and make a real impact in the community, and all it takes is four hours, ergo less commitment than a one night stand. That’s a pretty powerful concept and we can unlock a lot of human potential that way.

Interesting to Know

> We did our first show at Radio City Music Hall, Times Square, New York. Five thousand people, and two months of volunteer work. Boom! Now we’re just trying to push it around the world.
> We have worked with around twelve hundred community projects in eight countries. Working with local NGOs to non-profits and charities. And we’ve done some great work, from working from building some libraries to restoring drop-in centres, to landscaping, to reclaiming some lost space in urban areas, gardens… all great work.
> Once the artist comes and experience the energy of the crowd, they’re hooked into it, they’re addicted, they want there to be more Rockcorps show. They can see that their music can inspire.
> The Black Swan by Nicholas Taleb is the only required book in my reading list. Everything else is recommended or nice to have, but The Black Swan is required reading and really has changed the way I thought and analyse.
> Every time I meet likeminded people from different countries in the world, the reaction is the same. I wish I had met you earlier, I’m glad we are connected now.
> Come into our website if you really want to meet some cool NGOs. We’ve got links to some amazing people in different parts of the world so, please come, including South Africa, so, please come and join in our conversation, on our website or on Facebook and find some cool shit.
> If I want to just chill it’s all Mozart and Beethoven for me.


The above video is a Highlight Version of the 1 Hour interview and worth every second.
Check out Rockcorps site:
Follow Stephen on Twitter: (@StephenbGreene)

Please leave a comment below and tell us what you thought of the interview and topics discussed, or maybe you have questions you want answered – let us know and we will get back to you.

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