Platform Conference Recap: 2/10 – Ken Davis: More Wow Less Whoa

Session #2 of Platform Conference was presented by Michael Hyatt’s business partner, Ken Davis. It was titled, ‘Creating WOW.’ In a field of younger presenters Ken is the proverbial elder statesman, but his topic really resonated with what all the subsequent speakers would talk on.

As an aside, while in Franklin, TN, my wife and I stayed with our longtime friends, the McKeehan’s. Toby is now better known by his stage name TobyMac, but over 20 years ago he was a struggling artist working to get his first band, DC Talk, booked onto shows. Chatting with Toby one night I listed the speakers at Platform Conference. Ken Davis was the name that suddenly jumped out for him, almost his ‘wow’ moment. Toby recounted that one of DC Talk’s early gigs was performing at an event organized by Ken Davis, a booking that Toby remembered he gained through sheer persistence and hard dogged tenacity. Well, DC Talk, and later TobyMac, have gone on to wow many since those early days. Through it all the principles of wow still hold. Talent will get you so far. Contacts may get you a little further. However, it is tenacity, authenticity, openness and a passion for what you do that will see you to the goal. Please read on for my recap of Session #2 by Ken Davis.

Ken Davis

Ken started by noting examples of where leaders who really ought to have had more of an imagination ended up making fairly poor predictions. These included:

  • Popular Mechanics 1949 prediction that computers in the future would weigh no more than 1.5 tons,
  • IBM’s chairman in 1953 predicting that the world market for supercomputers was probably around five,
  • IBM’s head of advanced systems who is 1968 noted the existence of the microchip but questioned “what is it good for?”, and,
  • Western Union in 1876 noting that the telephone was of no significant value.

What did these people or companies have in common?


In turn their products came to lack ‘wow’ and their companies suffered terribly for it. The world was changing fast for the leaders that Ken highlighted in his opening, and it changes fast for us. A ‘wow’ product of today can very quickly become ‘whoa’, a tired, old product of tomorrow.

But where does wow come from? Well, simply put, it is everywhere. “Take off your blinders,” said Ken. “You have to look around. You have to keep your eyes open.” This point was later amplified in Session #8, Creating Opportunity from the Ordinary, by John Saddington.

What happens when your product looses its wow? Ken noted that the most immediate impact is that the size of the tribe reduces. All of a sudden your loyal band of boosters starts to disappear. Recall that Michael Hyatt told us in Session #1 that a growing tribe is key to a successful platform. The tribe is the key to you future success, and as your site or product ‘wow’ turns to ‘whoa’ they are heading for the doors.  In droves!

But what if you are not selling a physical product? How can you make sure that you keep your tribe fuelled with wow? Your site, Ken explained, must have the wow factor. The interesting things you do, the reports on who you meet and are inspired by, the products you can’t wait to tell your tribe about because you passionately love using them, these things will powerfully influence the tribe and its perception of, and loyalty to, your brand.  And that brand may be simply YOU.

So, where do we find this wow? Look for it at the intersection of three places:

  1. PRETTY. We are naturally attracted to good-looking things. You want as tribe members to see you.  Visibility on your site is key, uniqueness is a must, and having a friendly rapport with your tribe is crucial. You can’t just throw content up and never respond to comments. You also cannot expect to be successful if you do nothing more that repost the content developed by others. (Recaps of conferences must be an exception but that was not covered, right?). Finally, you cannot be a grumpy person to your tribes needs and questions. You have to be friendly and patient and nurturing. They will reward you richly for the effort you make.
  2. PRACTICAL. Your work should not be overcomplicated. Simple is best.  Its approachable. Don’t labour over things, be agile, nimble, be fast. Ensure that all you do intentionally targets your niche.  The NICHE is WOW.  You simply cannot be everything to everyone.  More than anything else your content must be beneficial to your audience.  If you produce just for you it will go nowhere.
  3. PERSONAL. Have integrity. Be you.  Be authentic in who you are when on your platform. Be accessible. Be generous. Be positive. Be passionate.  Every single thing you do should point back to every thing else you do that is relevant to your followers.  Most importantly it should all point back to your main home base, your primary platform.

Essentially what Ken is saying is that a platform cannot be built on information alone.  It must be personal.

Does your platform have an intersection point of these three places?  Are you strong in one or two but the third does not overlap?  This presents a problem for achieving your WOW.  The great thing is that, once identified, you have a great opportunity to close the gap, to create overlap.  In doing so to bring WOW to your platform.

Let me know your thoughts.  Where am I missing WOW on my site?  Am I serving you openly and honestly?  This is a work in progress and my intention is to adjust the site shortly to include a proper home landing page and the posts ordered under category tabs.  Through it all I want you to know that I am learning.  That I am responding to what I am discovering, and that I want to share what I have with you as I go on this journey.

I welcome your opinion in a comment, and the third post in this Platform Recap series will be Prepare To Launch delivered by Michael Hyatt.  So much information in that one.  I hope you will come back to read it.

I live in the Cayman Islands and I'm married to Christina. We have two incredible children, Ryan, attending Northeastern University in Boston, MA, and Taylor, attending Trinity College School, in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada. I own several businesses in Cayman. My list of 'pasts' include past chairman of the Cayman Islands Special Economic Zone Authority, past president of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, and past president of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce.

Please note: I moderate comments and reserve the right to delete or edit those that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Platform Conference Recap: 2/10 – Ken Davis: More Wow Less Whoa

  1. Once again, great recap, David. So true about having vision. I can think of so many companies in my lifetime that because they lacked vision, they went under.
    In terms of a blog, like Ken said, interacting with the tribe goes hand in hand with keeping vision. I’ve seen lots of top bloggers ask their tribe members what their challenges are and then have webinars or write posts to help them with those challenges.
    From my experience, I am wowed when bloggers add value by helping others solve their problems and get results. Thanks for adding value by recapping these presentations, David!!