Welcome to today’s episode, another captivating conversation in our special series that delves into the vibrant media world through the eyes of seasoned journalists and editors. Join us as we unlock unique perspectives, unravel storytelling secrets, and navigate the intricate tapestry of the ever-evolving media landscape.

Jake Meth is the founder of Opinioned, a platform dedicated to bringing original ideas to the forefront of media. With a passion for diverse perspectives and fresh insights, Jake embarked on this journey after spending five years building and editing the commentary section of Fortune magazine.

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SDL Media Team


  1. What are the challenges of building a thought leader platform?
  2. How to navigate the nexus of ideas, writing, and publication?
  3. What is the key aspect of crafting compelling op-eds?
  4. How do you lead with executive presence?

    If you don’t have a strong angle, you’re not getting in.”

    Jake Meth

    Founder, Opinioned


    [05:05] Jake’s Journey in Journalism

    [09:17] Challenges of Building a Thought Leader Platform 

    [10:53] Beyond PR: Crafting Compelling Narratives for Thought Leadership

    [13:16] Navigating the Nexus of Ideas, Writing, and Publication

    [15:27] Crafting Compelling Op-Eds

    [20:16] Signature Segment: Jake’s entry into the LATTOYG Playbook: A Spotlight on Top-Performing Individuals

    [34:24] Signature Segment: Jake’s Tactics of Choice:  Leading with Executive Presence

    [40:06] Signature Segment: Karan’s Take


    Jake Meth’s journalistic journey began post-college when he immersed himself in covering the Arab Spring uprising in Egypt for a local newspaper. His dedication to storytelling continued as he moved to New York, working in media relations for prestigious publications like Foreign Affairs magazine and the Council on Foreign Relations.

    In 2020, Jake’s commitment to journalistic excellence earned him the New York Press Club award for excellence in journalism in the magazine consumer reporting category. This recognition came from his investigative work at Fortune, where he delved into the alarming epidemic of laundry pod poisonings among young children.

    Residing in Jersey City, NJ, Jake’s interests extend beyond journalism. An avid enthusiast of improv, a connoisseur of good food, and a proud plant dad, he believes in the simple joys of life, like a slow, aimless walk. Through Opinioned, Jake strives to empower leaders to unearth their most valuable insights and share them through trusted media platforms, fostering a culture of originality and thought-provoking ideas in the media landscape.




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    Episode 63 | When Opinion Pitches Get Stitches with Jake Meth

    Jake Meth  00:00

    Huge amount of interest from people who want to write, and be seen as thought leaders and to show their knowledge and to help people. But there’s a very difficult bottleneck at the top, especially in the top tier publications to get published. And so I started to think, you know, I have this unique skill set, maybe I can actually help them not just with pitching the articles, but with coming up with real original ideas, ideas that are going to catch an editor’s attention and make them think, Oh, I haven’t seen that before. That surprises me.


    Voiceover  00:34

    Welcome to the “Lead at the Top of Your Game” podcast, where we equip you to more effectively lead your seat at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. Each week, we help you sharpen your leadership acumen by cracking open the playbooks of dynamic leaders who are doing big things in their professional endeavors. And now, your host, leadership tactics, and organizational development expert, Karan Ferrell-Rhodes.


    Karan Rhodes  01:09

    Hey there superstars This is Karan and welcome to today’s podcast. And thanks for joining another episode designed to help you better lead at the top of your game. As you know for season three, each month we’re featuring leaders who have interesting roles in a particular industry. And today’s episode is part of our Journalism series for the month. Those who know me know that I’m a voracious reader and news junkie. And for a select few publications, I do try to read their opinion columns to better understand a variety of perspectives on the hot topics of the week. Now, I must admit that I didn’t know how much goes into writing an op ed, let alone securing an editor’s approval for publication of the piece. But if you’re able to get an op ed published in a major publication, it can truly catapult your reputation as a thought leader in your domain of expertise. So on today’s show, I had a fascinating conversation with Jake Meth who’s a former op ed editor at Fortune Magazine and founder of the company Opinioned, whose sole mission is to help leaders publish compelling op eds in top media. He also recently renamed his platform on Substack to “Pitches Get Stitches” and I love Ben Mae, where he evaluates arbit pitches of everyday folks like you and me. From the perspective of an op ed editor. Jake has a unique gift and his ability to help aspiring op ed writers in the PR and communication professionals who support them to pitch better. And I forewarn you take doesn’t hold back. But constructive feedback makes you better. Right. Well, I really hope you enjoyed this episode. And also remember to stay tuned for just two minutes after the episode to listen to my closing segment called Karan’s take, where I share a tip on how to use insights from today’s episode to further sharpen your leadership acumen. And now enjoy the show. Hey there, superstars This is Karan and welcome to another episode of the leader the top of your game podcast. Now, today’s episode is another episode that’s part of our special series featuring the perspectives of journalists, editors in the world of media. And so we’re extremely excited to have on today’s show Jake Meth who’s the founder of Opinioned and he’s gonna tell us about that added a bit but Opinioned has whose sole mission is to help leaders publish compelling op eds in media. Now Jake has had a career that is very rich and experienced thus far. He’s going to share more about that in a minute. But it’s also interesting that he spent five years as the Op Ed editor at Fortune. And how cool is that? Because I bet he has some stories to tell about that as well. But welcome to the podcast Jake. We’re so happy to have you.


    Jake Meth  04:08

    Thanks, Karan. Yeah, I’m excited to talk to you today.


    Karan Rhodes  04:12

    Awesome, awesome. Well, as you know, we have this special series because we thought, you know who best has had or been exposed to a bunch of stories on great people or entities that are doing great things, then, you know, editors and journalists who are following certain beats are meeting people from different walks of life. And so we’re excited to feature a couple of those stories that you’d like to share with us the people who are doing big things in their profession or industry. But before we do that, we also like to put a little personal spin and help our listeners understand a bit more about you. So for as much as you do feel comfortable. Would you mind sharing a dis a sneak peek into your personal life? Maybe like where you grew up and your educational background or any hobbies you have?


    Jake Meth  05:05

    Sure, yeah. Happy to. So I grew up in New Jersey, yeah.


    Karan Rhodes  05:10

    Oh, so you’re a Jersey boy!


    Jake Meth  05:12

    Yes, I am a Jersey boy born and raised. And I went to college in Baltimore. And then after college, I spent two years in Cairo, working at a at a newspaper that was at the forefront of covering the Egyptian revolution at the time were what a lot of people were referring to as the Arab Spring.  And that was a result of a mix of my interest in the Middle East since a young age, probably initiated by 9-11. And sort of the way that the world changed after that, and then also an interest in in journalism, and wanting to interview people and tell other people’s stories. So I did that for two years, and then moved back to the US and quickly could not get a job. So that was a very fun experience, yeah, of thinking that that experience in Egypt would qualify me to work in journalism in the US. But I think I learned that I had a nice lesson there in the importance of connections and relationships in the job search, which is something that I I’m sure a lot of people are dealing with today. And so I ended up working for two years at the Council on Foreign Relations which is a foreign policy research Think Tank and member organization, based in New York, and then eventually started, I was actually working on op eds there and sending them to Fortune among other publications, but formed a relationship with the editor in Fortune at the time. And then when a job posting showed up, I decided I’d apply for it. So I ended up working at Fortune for five years. And during that time, I built up the opinion section into what it is today, which is a really deep and well thought out and provocative place for people to submit their ideas on the web. And in 2021, I decided that I was going to start taking the skills that I had acquired there and applying them on the client side. And we could talk about that in a bit. I did want to answer your question about hobbies.


    Karan Rhodes  05:36

    Yeah.  Yeah.


    Jake Meth  07:34

    Which is that because I love talking about this, I really love doing improv. I’ve been doing that for


    Karan Rhodes  07:40



    Jake Meth  07:41

    Yeah, I’ve been doing that for maybe six or seven years, just for fun, and to get me out of the writing mode and thinking mode, because no matter how much you know about it, but it’s very much you know, on the spot, just you have to kind of come up with something to do. And it’s really a huge source of happiness for me in my life. Oh, I do understand that I have quite a couple of friends and the media space and one very close friend. That’s a journalist for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. And she talks about that all the time. You know, she’s having to crank out story after story. So she needs something else to activate in another area of her brain, if you will. So I get it. Yeah. Felt like Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. I had some people in my class who were doing sketch writing, and they were like, you know, do you want to do this? And I said, No, I don’t. I just want to do stuff on the spot. I do enough writing in my day job.


    Karan Rhodes  08:39



    Jake Meth  08:40

    And so yeah, I started that in New York, where I live for about 10 years. And then I should also mention, I now live in Los Angeles. I just moved here about half a year ago. And so I’ve been starting to get involved in the improv scene here a little bit, which is also pretty robust.


    Karan Rhodes  08:55

    Wow, very cool. Well, those are two great spots to do improv. Yeah. That’s awesome. Can I go back to your time at Fortune real quick? I’d love to hear how, cuz you have innovators. It’s dynamic right now. I mean, I subscribe online. But how did you have the vision to grow it into what it is now for op eds?


    Jake Meth  09:17

    Yeah, well, I had a lot of encouragement from the editor in chief at the time, we were kind of fortune was going through the digital transition. And it was difficult for them at the start, especially because they didn’t really even have a web presence. Until I think the middle of last decade. They had been part of larger organization timing, and it kind of relied on CNN web presence. And then suddenly, they had to develop their own. I mean, they had the print magazine, which everyone knows, of course, but they didn’t really have a web presence. And so it was pretty encoded. And the editor in chief at the time decided he wanted to expand it and really start to get what we call thought leaders on these pages, people who were the mavens in their fields, and wanted to opine on the issues of the day, so similar to opinion sections at bigger outlets, like the New York Times, or The Wall Street Journal, and so I had not really existed up until that point. So it was a really fun challenge to go out there and to make a name for our section. And we had the advantage of having a big name like fortune. So people immediately were like, Okay, great. I want to write for Fortune.


    Karan Rhodes  10:30



    Jake Meth  10:31

    But forming relationships and finding reliable writers was a challenge. And it took a couple of years to get to a point where we were consistently getting pitch quality pieces that we could reliably be publishing multiple times a day.


    Karan Rhodes  10:45

    Sure, that makes a lot of sense. And so how did that transition into your desire to found opinion?


    Jake Meth  10:53

    Yeah, that’s a great question. And it’s something I talk about a lot with clients, because people may wonder, you know, what am I doing now, I’m not, I don’t do PR background and I don’t, what I do now, I don’t consider to be PR. What I do is I have taken my journalistic skills, and I’m now helping clients, but I help them as a journalist. And I think that it’s a novel approach. Because usually, clients are used to working with an agency that’s going to do what they asked them to do, which makes sense paying them. But what I tell people is, I have actually two clients, you and the editors, because if I don’t make the editors happy, I don’t make you happy. And this is based on my experience in Fortune, I mean, by the time I left, we would routinely get probably 20 to 30, fairly good quality pitches a day. And so, and that’s not even that large compared to some of the larger outlets, they, you’re probably getting hundreds. And so in order to function, you can’t publish them all. So I started thinking while I was at the tail end of my time, there, there seems to be some a situation here where there’s a lot of interest in this, I mean, huge amount of interest from people who want to write and be seen as thought leaders and to show their their knowledge, and to help people. But there’s a very difficult bottleneck at the top, especially in the top tier publications to get published. And so I started to think, you know, I have this unique skill set, maybe I can actually help them not just with pitching the articles, but with coming up with real original ideas, ideas that are going to catch an editor’s attention and make them think, Oh, I haven’t seen that before. That surprises me. And that’s by far the hardest part of the whole thing is to come up with those those strong topics on the front end. So I started to think, you know, this may be something where I can really help people and eventually decided to start my own shop doing it. And that’s what Opinioned does.


    Karan Rhodes  13:00

    Wow. So I won’t say and that, you know, you don’t consider yourself PR, but do you consider yourself look kind of like a pitch master or triage person to help your thought leaders and the editors have a win win?


    Jake Meth  13:16

     Yeah, I mean, I like to describe myself as a rent-an-editor. It’s like, you know, 1-800-get-an-editor, it’s basically there’s kind of three major components. The first and the most important is a company or individual wants to write can bring me in, and they can get my perspective on their ideas. So I’m going to treat their ideas like I’m an editor, reading an email. And just getting that perspective is really valuable, because and maybe you’ve experienced this inside of organizations, it’s often an echo chamber, and they don’t really know either, that their idea is interesting, or that it’s been done before, there’s just so many, there’s so many biases in place that prevent them from producing original stuff. And so taking that perspective, and then asking them questions, and really interviewing them almost like a journalist to get to the heart of what they know. And often what I find is that what they think they want to talk about it, I mean, they have the direction, but the the deep knowledge that they have, they don’t even know sometimes how interesting it is. And so it’s kind of my job to work with them to unearth that knowledge. And you know, and then find a way to translate it so that we can reach an audience of people who’s going to care about it. So that’s one function, and the other two are Yeah, you know, writing the draft in their voice and working with them on the draft. And then the last is then sending it out to publications and trying to convince them to publish it by writing a strong pitch. So yeah, I think your description is right that I’m kind of the nexus of the editors and the thought leaders giving the editors what they want and helping the thought leaders go where they want to be.


    Karan Rhodes  15:04

    Wow. And have you ever had to have the tough conversation that their idea really wasn’t that nuanced enough? Or needed an additional sharper angle with anyone? How do youburst their bubble easily?


    Jake Meth  15:21

    Yeah, I mean, I just did it yesterday.


    Karan Rhodes  15:25

    Oh no! Jake! Are you killing someone’s dream?


    Jake Meth  15:28

    Oh, no. I mean, you know, I always the goal is to find something. So it’s not just to say no, right? Right. And this is actually something I’m learning being on the business side. Because you know, as a journalist, you can just say, it’s an editor opinion section, you just say no, and they know that it’s not my job to come up with an idea for you, right? I mean, occasionally, an editor will say, hey, maybe let’s go in this direction. But if they really don’t like it, they’re just going to say no.


    Karan Rhodes  15:54



    Jake Meth  15:55

    And so usually, I’m trying to build on something. But of course, there can be a point where it’s not going to work. And I think that this is one of the most valuable things I can offer people is, is a real, no, that honestly is helpful to them in some situations, because people come to me and I want to get in the Wall Street Journal. And they and I want to write about why DEI is important. Well, you know, get in line, you know, you know, it’s, there’s so many people who want to write about the buzz topics, ESG, or, you know, whatever it is, at the moment, if you don’t have a strong angle you’re not getting in. And so to have someone be able to tell you that, and maybe point you in a better direction, it will save you time in the long run, because I’ve seen so many, one of the things I say is, most op eds are dead before the first word is typed. Because they, you know, the executive comes up with an idea, they tell their team, they want to do it, and they just start doing it, you know, type, typ, type, type, type, and then we’re five or six hours in and suddenly we look at this thing, and we’re like, Ooh, this is like mashed potatoes with no salt or anything. I mean, not I mean, you know, God forbid, there’s some sriracha, but they don’t even have like a pinch of salt on it. And, you know, what are we going to do? Because now, we’ve told is tough for the people who work for them. Because we’ve told them, we’re going to try, we told them, it was a good idea. We told them, let’s go. And then now we’re sitting with this thing, and we don’t know what to do with it. And if we send it to the publications, the editors are gonna say no.


    Karan Rhodes  17:28



    Jake Meth  17:29

    And so they end up in a cat in a in a very difficult situation. And so I’m trying to help prevent that. But again, usually, we’re able to work through it and come up with some kind of synthesis, where we build on what they’re thinking, but try to find a way that’s going to make it more engaging for a wider group of people.


    Karan Rhodes  17:50

    Very cool. All right. Cool. And just had a question. I lost it that quickly.


    Jake Meth  17:55

    Sorry, I was talking too much.


    Karan Rhodes  17:57

    No! Not at all. And I was fascinated that they escaped me. Oh, your ideal client? Do you primarily work with companies and teams that need that thought leader within the company, or the executive needs that help? Or do you work with individuals more or both?


    Jake Meth  18:15

    Yeah, I’ll be frank with you. This business is a year old. And I’m still figuring that out. You know, I’ve already taken on a very specific niche, I don’t do other types of content development. It’s just op eds, occasionally a little thought leadership stuff. But really, that’s, you know, maybe like LinkedIn, but, but generally, I’m focusing on op eds for me for top media. And so I’ve I, I can tell you this, I have worked with large companies, the problem that often presents itself with large companies is that there’s large stakes, and they often don’t want to say things that risk, any kind of shareholder value decrease, anchor, right? So it’s a lot of milquetoast ideas. And those can be hard to work with. At the same time, though, sometimes their ambitions are a little less intense. And so we can just come up with solid pieces, and because of their names, they can sometimes get in place. But I have found that generally, people who are at startups that are really trying to make a name for themselves are a little bit more open to taking big risks. And so I do enjoy working with them. Yeah, but at the same time, yeah, it is something I’m figuring out in terms of who is the best to work with because there are some advantages to working with larger enterprises, they have a little more consistency. There’s a little more help in terms of you know, communications teams that they have on on staff and so and a little bit more maturity in the space so it’s a bit of both but you know, when you have me on the podcast in a year from now, I can give you a more updated


    Karan Rhodes  19:51

    That’s right! You’re reading my mind, Jake! I want to hear the rest of the story or the latest chapter of the stories Sounds good? Well, I want to make sure that we have enough time to talk about the individuals or companies that are really leading at the top of their game so that you had selected. And so why don’t you start out with the first one?


    Jake Meth  20:16

    Yeah, sure. And these two people that I chose, or based on my experience working with them, and I thought that that would be the best thing that I could offer.


    Karan Rhodes  20:27

    Oh, absolutely!


    Jake Meth  20:28

    Sure, yeah. I mean, you know, I could talk about Tim Cook, right, but everyone kind of knows his deal. And I wouldn’t have much to offer. So with these two people, they, I saw them blossom as thought leadership slash opinion writers, while I was working unfortunate, and I don’t say that that’s because of me, I just, I know that over that time period, they were publishing a lot with me, but also in other places, too, and really building themselves into well, let me say, they did an excellent job of positioning themselves as experts in a space, that in which there was a lot of desire for strong expertise.


    Karan Rhodes  21:10



    Jake Meth  21:11

    And it was, I think, they were really shrewd in figuring out how to look at what people cared about. And combine that with what they knew in a way that most writers can’t do. And for these people, these are not people who would be clients of mine, because they know how to do it. But it’s a little bit rare to have that, and also have the time to do the writing and all that right. So it’s difficult. But that’s the overarching theme for these two. So I’ll start with Carolyn Barbour. Carolyn is just an amazing person. She, her background is as an ER doctor. And when Carolyn, I’m not sure exactly when but she was diagnosed with cancer and had a had a had a serious fight with cancer. And as a result of that, decided that she wanted to start writing about the healthcare system in the US and how it doesn’t always work for people and in a way that I think a lot of us know, but from the perspective of a doctor, with data to support the contentions that she was making. And so she wrote a book called runaway medicine, and, and also began writing content for major publications to get up to get the word out there. And what’s so great about Carolyn is that she really didn’t have a writing background or any kind of journalistic background, she just decided that she wanted to take her knowledge and help people with it. And there was a confluence though of events, which is, most notably COVID. Open. Yeah, yeah. So she started sending pitches to me, when COVID started and writing about what was happening, but not in a freaking out way. But in more of a like, let’s look at, here’s a new piece of research. Let’s look at it and see what it means and how it applies to your life right now. Which is basically an editor’s dream, right?


    Karan Rhodes  23:18



    Jake Meth  23:18

    Because the big problem editors have often is it like someone wants to say something, but they don’t really have the chops to say it. And when you can bring research in and you can really speak authoritatively, and you can talk about something people want to care about. It’s like chef’s kiss, right? So so that’s what Carolyn started to do. She would look at the research, she would write it up, and then she would send it to us and not just write it up. But she would take our strong opinion and give advice to people. And sometimes the advice was, we don’t know. But it was still helpful, especially at that time, because there’s so much information flying around, and we didn’t know what was, which end was up. And, you know, Carolyn told me that the way she looked at it was that if you want to read it, others probably do too. That was kind of her barometer. And I think it was a very honest question that she asked that most people don’t ask, they just think this is what I want to talk about, right? But if really be more of like, would I want to read this, and by extension, do others want to read this too, it should very much be focused on who you’re trying to write it for. And she did an amazing job of that. And the other thing I think that stands out with her is her persistence. She told me that she, in some cases pitched you know, 20 Publications when she was starting. And no one responded to her. But she just kept trying because she really felt like she wanted to get the word out there. And that’s amazing. And I really admire her for that. And I think that there is a lesson there, which is like if you really want to do it, especially when it comes to like op ed writing. You have to just put yourself out there and you have to try really hard and you can’t, you’re gonna get rejected. It’s just going to happen. It’s too difficult and there are too many people out there in the space. So


    Karan Rhodes  25:03

    You know, Jake, I could take that three minute blurb that you talked about Carolyn, and just use it as a case study for my class, because you talked about every single thing that we talk about. And leading at the top of your game, everything from it’s, it’s not about you, it’s about the interest of those that you’re trying to influence. It’s about being in the right seat at the right time. It’s bringing intellectual horsepower, knowledge, facts, data to the table that others can’t easily curate themselves. It’s having that drive for results and persistence to keep trying even if you don’t get a good result the first time. You just made my case study for me, right there. So, kudos to Miss Carolyn Barbour, I think that’s what I wrote in my notes.


    Jake Meth  25:50

    Yes! She’s got it. And it’s cool, because she doesn’t have a traditional business background. But it’s she’s doing all the things that business leaders need to do.


    Karan Rhodes  26:00

    I think that adds to her authenticity, too. Because see, may not have a traditional background, but she has a body of knowledge that she’s passionate about that not everybody was up to speed on and they’re in the ether to your point. That is awesome.


    Jake Meth  26:16



    Karan Rhodes  26:17

    All right. Well, that was the good one, it’s gonna be hard to top this one. What’s your second person?


    Jake Meth  26:23

    Well, no, he is equally impressive. So the next person I wanted to talk about was Gleb Zipursky. And Gleb has been actually very helpful for me in starting my own business, because he does understand the business side of things and leadership from his own background. And Gleb. I know that he has like an extensive education in leadership. And I believe it’s in like leadership psychology, though, don’t quote me on that. But he took that knowledge, and used it to start a company called disaster avoidance experts. And what that company does is helps leaders understand cognitive biases, and how those affect their decisions. And then helps them look at the future of work from a perspective that avoids disaster, as the name says, actually sets them up for a successful company. And so


    Karan Rhodes  27:27

    Okay, he sounds like somebody I need to have on the podcast, because, you know, I come from similar backgrounds.


    Jake Meth  27:33

    Yeah, yeah. He might be great to talk to you. I mean, he has Yeah, the behavioral science that he did, that he’s rooted in. Yeah, it’s really interesting. And if I recall correctly, I think that’s what he’s first started pitching me on was cognitive biases, and how that so he had and continues to have a really smart strategy with op ed writing, which is he takes some big story of some CEO doing something stupid or putting their foot in their mouth, and then writes about the biases that led to that decision. And how leaders can take anyone can look at that, even beyond leaders, really, anyone can look at that situation and say, okay, like, this is what they did wrong. And here’s the research explains what they did wrong. And here’s how they could do it better in the future. So it wasn’t just to pay it on executives, that’s easy, but you know, to have like, a more nuanced perspective on Yeah. Right. And, and he, what he’s done recently, which is, I think, genius, is it this is another confluence with with COVID, as returned to Office became this huge question that no one really knew how to answer and honestly seems like they still don’t really know how to answer now,


    Karan Rhodes  28:53

    Yea, they’re still struggling.


    Jake Meth  28:55

    He began really focusing on that in his writing, which is, you know, how do you do return to office, right. And also, again, with like, all of the assumptions that leaders were making about what they thought their employees wanted, and what made for a good work culture, and all of these, these things, he was like, you know, instead of just telling me what you think, because you think, you know, you’re, it’s your gut, no, you should actually look at this data that shows you what works and there actually is a lot of data I’m sure, you know, and so, you know, again, like Carolyn taking the the the the research side, but then finding a way to translate into something that a lot of people cared about, and obviously, from leadership down to the employees people cared about our to, and it’s been amazing what he’s done. I mean, he has been so prolific writing for all over the place. He had a great piece in Harvard Business Review. And I think in my firm, to my knowledge, most impressive there was a New York Times magazine story on what they called the RTO whispers that came out, I think a few months ago. And he is like the lead character in that story. I mean, it’s not just about him, but essentially, he’s the first RTO whisperer that they talk about. And then they sort of detail what he did with a certain client and his insights. And, you know, in terms of positioning for your company, I mean, what better than a New York Times magazine piece that’s focused on you, that’s earned, you know, at the pay for it, it’s shows your authority, it shows you’ve been vetted, very similar to the way op eds do, but I mean, this is probably even more powerful than one op ed. And so he has just been so prolific in writing that he put himself in that position. I mean, it’s not luck. Right, it’s not like the reporter. I don’t know how they found him. But I doubt it was just, you know, they randomly typed in return to office into Google. And he came up, I think,


    Karan Rhodes  31:00

    Right. And they jump into him at the lowest local subways, you know,


    Jake Meth  31:05

    I don’t know if he goes to Subway, but, you know, but yeah, they just, you know, I’m sure it was heard of through through the grapevine that this person really gets this. And he’s doing this extremely well. So yeah, I mean, I’ve just been so impressed by what he’s done. And I think that, what what’s really cool about it is that he was dealing with, he told me this concepts that a lot of people didn’t understand. And so at the start, when he was talking about these cognitive biases, he at some, in some instances, talked to people who didn’t really get it and weren’t very open to that idea. But what’s so great about what he did is he just kept at it. And he kept pointing back to data and not just opinion, and really establish it, this is an important concept that people need to pay attention to that we can’t just trust our guts, that we have to we have to really use tactics and strategies that have been studied. And, yeah, I mean, I, you know, I think the only other thing I would say about that him that I think is really important, is that in addition to just that writing, helping to establish his reputation as someone really serious, it also built a lot of relationships with people that helped him. And this is something that he pointed out to me is that, because he was writing these pieces, and putting these ideas out there invites dialogue. Yeah. And I think there’s something I’m learning getting into the business world is that these discussions and dialogues you have with people, they’re just, they’re priceless. Because you don’t know what’s going to come out of it. What you do know is that


    Karan Rhodes  32:51

    But they’re gonna remember you if you have a profound perspective, that data.


    Jake Meth  32:57

    Exactly. And also you don’t know what’s going to come out of the conversation at some time, something totally unexpected comes out and figure that’s been really helpful for him is getting in touch with people and talking through these things that made him really like a name in this space.


    Karan Rhodes  33:13

    Wow, those are two powerful examples that, Jake, so just a kudos and no, they don’t know me, but a kudos to Carolyn and Gleb. They’re really doing big things. And based on your stories, it’s amazing. And I hope the listeners actually kind of read between the lines as you were telling the stories of their accomplishments, because there were certain aspects that each did that really set them apart and differentiated them from the peers to raise them to the top. And that’s what we’re always trying to do, you know, be the most impactful. But before I let you go, um, you know, there’s always a favorite question, we love to ask our guests, and it’s based on the research I did, and the book I wrote around leadership and action. It’s all about some of the top tactics that most successful leaders do. And you were kind enough to share that the one of the ones that jumped out for you was leading with executive presence. And I was just wondering, why did that one in particular resonate with you? I think I understand now that it we know a little bit more about you, but I’d love to hear from your words.


    Jake Meth  34:24

    Yeah, sure. I mean, from my perspective, not being part of the business world. A lot of these concepts are unfamiliar to me in terms of, you know, what are the ways to build leadership but with the executive presence, that made sense to me and it’s something I’ve seen firsthand. And that came from the those two examples of just talked about where people are putting themselves out there and putting forward challenging ideas to into the broader discussion. That’s very, I think, what it does, I mean, I think what is so valuable about it, just even if I take myself out of my own shoes and just look at it from like anyone’s shoes is that when you enter the thought leadership realm, you’re taking a risk. And it’s something that a lot of people were trying to do today. But they’re not always taking those risks. They’re just kind of like, saying things that everyone else is saying. But if you go out there, and you put forward an idea, based on your experience, I don’t think something is going, you know, like, if you say something like, I don’t think that something in this industry is happening, right. Or this is how I would do things differently. If you’re sort of like dreaming on the page, it shows a couple of things to people that I think makes you stand out. I mean, one of those is that you’re a creative thinker, that you’re just willing to go outside the box. And if you’re an executive or consultant, or someone who people are relying on your brain, it’s really helpful, even if you’re not talking about their specific issue, just to show that you know, how to think things through and that you’re, you’re willing to take a chance to offering different types of solutions. So I think that’s one. You know, I think another thing is, it shows a courage, right, that you’re willing to be out there in this way, and potentially subject yourself to criticism,


    Karan Rhodes  36:23

    which 99% of people don’t do. So that sets you apart, right there. Right, right. Yeah.


    Jake Meth  36:29

    Right. And, you know, it’s like, that’s someone I would want to work with. I want to work with someone who takes some chances, right. And I think a lot of people like that. And so yeah, and then I think the other thing that really stands out about it is that it shows that you have dedication and consistency to what you do. People like Carolyn and Gleb, are consistent in putting these things out. They don’t just say one thing, and then they’re done. And I think that those qualities of dedication, consistency, is something that you want to be able to demonstrate in all of your work. So when people see you out there a lot, it demonstrates to them that you’re going to be someone they can rely on. And it also shows that you care enough to do that, that you’re you know, like, hey, I want to be someone who is known in my space, that, you know, people don’t I don’t think want to work with leaders who don’t really care that much. And so just simply showing that and being ever present in the minds of the audience’s you’re hoping to reach, I think those are all qualities of executive presence that I’ve seen that I think are really valuable.


    Karan Rhodes  37:33

    I totally agree, Jake, because you would that’s the type of leader that I want to follow it. I’m very discerning being in this space myself. So, you know, you just described I think the type of leader most of us want to follow as well. Well, I would could talk to you for about five hours on this, but unfortunately, we’re at time, but I’ll have links to all your information in the show notes for everybody. But if people wanted to find you, I’d just love to give you an opportunity to put a voice behind it as well. How can they get in touch with you or your business? If interested?


    Jake Meth  38:08

    Yeah. Oh, well, thank you. So yeah, if people want to get in touch, I have a website, it’s Just the word get and then opinion, which is So it’s like opinionated without the aid. And yeah, if they want to reach out on my website, I actually do respond to the form on my website, which I know most people don’t trust. But we’d love to hear from anyone who wants to reach out even if it’s not about the services, but just to talk, that would be great.


    Karan Rhodes  38:43

    And listeners, I’m not even gonna charge Jake, my standard 15% finder’s fee. So he’s…I’m just teasing. I never do that. But definitely check him him out. You can get the link on the show notes, as I mentioned. And you know, there I’m sure there are people that are listening out there that could definitely use his type of services because it is very niche within his area. And he’s been on the battlegrounds from both on the meat on the media side, or significant publications, and now in the service side for helping people and companies promote their thought leadership. So thank you so much, Jake, For your gift of your time. We really appreciate it.


    Jake Meth  39:29

    Yeah, thank you Karan. This was great.


    Karan Rhodes  39:31

    Awesome. And thank you to listeners for listening and be sure to like and subscribe to the podcast and share with just one friend so that we can also expand our reach and help others to lead at the top of their game. See you next week. Well, I hope you enjoyed our conversation today with Jake Matt, founder of Opinioned links to his bio his entry into our leadership playbook, and additional resources can be found in the show notes both on your favorite podcast platform of choice, and on the web at lead your game And now for Karan’s take on today’s topic of pitching your thoughts. Every leader is faced with a time when they have to pitch their ideas, thoughts or perspectives in the hopes of influencing key stakeholders. Today, I just want to reiterate some of Jake’s advice for you to consider in the hopes of increasing your chances for when you too have to influence your own set of stakeholders. The first tip is that when you’re pitching, don’t tell others what they already know. Reiterating common data and facts are a waste of everyone’s time. Instead, start with a punch your statement that would intrigue them and compel them to lean in and ask more questions. For example, you can say, you know, x would make a huge difference in our problem, but almost nobody is focusing on it. And we’re losing 1000s of dollars each day. Now, on that statement alone, that will intrigue me, you can still include data on the extent of the problem later on in the pitch. But don’t waste those precious first few minutes of their intention on that, make sure that you capture their attention immediately. The second tip is to lay out the breadcrumbs and guide your audience from point A to point B, when decision makers are evaluating things, they want to know the precise connection between cause and effect. Remember that they’re inundated with dozens of pitches and requests a day. So if you don’t make your ass explicit for them, they may decide to just pass it takes too much brainpower for them. Demonstrating cause and effect allows you to provide details that few others can, you can refer to research that you or others have done. Or you can think of specific scenarios you can recall from your own experience. to backup your perspective, this type of analysis, only an expert like you can provide is pure goal. So take the opportunity to do so. The last tip I want to share with you is to try to solve the problem before your pitch, not having a perspective on how to solve the problem drives executives. Absolutely. That’s a brief breakdown on how you actually solve the problem is not just fine, it’s encouraged. Decision makers assume that since solving the problem has to happen yet that there are barriers and and you analyzing what those barriers are. And if potential solutions are realistic, is another example of pure goal. Most successful executives are skeptical by nature. So don’t give them any more reason to be if you truly want their support, they’ve got to feel that they can trust both you and the path forward. Well, that’s all for the day. Ladies and gentlemen, please remember to subscribe to the podcasts and share the podcast with just one friend. Because by doing so, this will help them to to also lead at the top of their game. Thanks again for listening and see you next week. And that’s our show for today. Thank you for listening to the lead at the top of your game podcast, where we help you lead your seat at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. You can check out the show notes, additional episodes, and bonus resources, and also submit guest recommendations on our website at You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn by searching for the name Karan Rhodes with Karan being spelled K a r a n. And if you like the show, the greatest gift you can give would be to subscribe and leave a rating on your podcast platform of choice. This podcast has been a production of Shockingly Different Leadership, a global consultancy which helps organizations execute their people, talent development, and organizational effectiveness initiatives on an on-demand, project, or contract basis. Huge thanks to our production and editing team for a job well done. Goodbye for now.

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