Interviewed By:  Jarette Petzer on ImStayingMedia

Richard Mulholland is not your typical motivational speaker.  The founder of South Africa’s largest presentation firm, Missing Link, began his career as a rock ‘n roll roadie.  This saw him operating the lights for bands such as Iron Maiden and Def Leppard.  He also co-founded SA’s first perspective lab, 21 Tanks.  An admired columnist, he writes for popular publications such as Longevity, Khuluma, and Destiny Man.

Richard recently sat down in an interview with #ImStaying founder Jarette Petzer.  There, he shared his thoughts on the obstacles businesses and individuals are facing amidst the COVID-19 chaos.

“The whole world is accelerated.  Everyone lives in a different space now…knows how to do a Zoom call…knows how to have conferences online…knows that we can actually engage digitally.  That means geography has just been thrown out of the window.  Every product we are creating now is an international product.  You do not have a local market anymore.  If you have a local market, you are doing it wrong.”

“…anxiety is a waste of an emotion.”

Richard lectures on courses for the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) and the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS).  He firmly believes that anxiety is a waste of an emotion, seeing it as a background actor – the gunshot that was fired back in Act 1.

“If people want to get ahead of this, stop wasting even another second on anything to do with the coronavirus.  Ban ‘corona’ from your vocabulary.  It is unhelpful.  That is not the virus you’re fighting.  The virus you are fighting is the idea virus caused by the coronavirus.  My business is not a mess because of the fire in the corner of the cinema.  It is a mess because someone shouted ‘fire’ and everyone is scrambling for the doors.”

A popular quote by Duke Ellington reads: “I don’t need time, I need a deadline.”

“The good news is this is the great accelerator.  History will remember this as the time we accelerated… There is a thing called Parkinson’s Law and Parkinson’s Law says: the amount of time something takes is the amount of time it has been allocated… You need to build agility into your business.”

“Carve your values out of the situation we are in now.”

As a successful business owner who is experiencing the repercussions of the pandemic first-hand, Richard urges every business to ask itself two questions:
1. What problem do we solve? (Not, “What solution do we offer?)
2. Does this problem still exist?

“People have to amplify the problem they are solving in the world.  This is the time your values are written from.  Hold yourself accountable to them and if they don’t work, change them after this.  Carve your values out of the situation we are in now.  This will define who you are as a business… Don’t sell the ambulance, sell the accident.  If you sell the accident, the ambulance sells itself.”

Richard leaves us with a few very thought-provoking words:

“Go out swinging.  Don’t watch your ship go down.  Don’t stand there on the deck with the band, singing songs, watching your ship go down.  Run down to the boiler room and put wood on the hatches.  I am not going to go down without a fight!”



Edited By:  Justine Bishop