The School of Moxie Podcast

The Last of Us is a Business Story: Communities & Leadership Lessons with Tonya Kubo

September 13, 2023 Mary Williams @sensiblewoo Season 1 Episode 7
The School of Moxie Podcast
The Last of Us is a Business Story: Communities & Leadership Lessons with Tonya Kubo
Show Notes Transcript

Host Mary Williams engages in a thought-provoking conversation with special guest Tonya Kubo as they unravel the layers of post-apocalyptic drama and its profound impact on human behavior.

"The Last of Us," known for its gripping storytelling, vividly illustrates the breakdown of structured society. As a community designer, Tonya shares her insights on the importance of creating safe structures within both communities and businesses, drawing parallels between the challenges faced in the series and those encountered in the entrepreneurial world.

This episode dives into the complex moral negotiations portrayed in "The Last of Us," highlighting the value of various characters and questioning the basis of their worth in dire circumstances. It's a reflection of how humans can oscillate between heroes and villains when facing adversity, a phenomenon that echoes in both post-apocalyptic settings and business communities.


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Guest information

Tonya Kubo's agency offers community strategy and management services to impact-driven business owners and organizations. They also provide consulting and training services for professional community managers and admin teams. Connect with Tonya at her website, Facebook group, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook.  


Show Credits

Support the show

I’m Mary Williams, your host and the founder of Sensible Woo.

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Until next week, be sensible, be woo, and most of all, be you. 🤗

[00:00:00] Welcome to the School of Moxie podcast brought to you by Sensible Woo. This is the podcast where we break the mold around business podcast conversations. We make it fun around here by using television, movies, and entertainment as a jumping off point for conversations about how we navigate the world as individuals.

I'm your host, Mary Williams, and I've been an online creator since 2010. I've seen a lot of trends come and go over the years, but one thing that has persisted is a struggle among entrepreneurs to connect more authentically with their audiences. As a business systems process and operations coach, I've seen how much my clients and subscribers have benefited from learning how to incorporate their fun sides.

So we're going to demonstrate this for you here on this podcast through analogous thinking. Not only that, but we're using media and entertainment as the lens through which we reflect on our own desires and strengths. Fiction is the vehicle that gives us words to articulate our value systems and tells people who we are.

I find that a lot of my 

[00:01:00] audience, and probably yours as well, struggle to find words for their problems until they start thinking about how to use analogies. Analogies help us build bridges between something we can describe into a new area that we are in the process of developing. As humans, we are a languished species, which means we find context and meaning in our lives through the ability to put our feelings into words.

This podcast is going to help you normalize this process and see how it's done in real time as my guests talk through their own experiences in relation to the episodes they've been assigned for this show. Our first season of this podcast is centered on the first season of the HBO original series, The Last of Us, based on the video game of the same name.

Consider this your official spoiler alert. On this podcast, my guests are going to jump right into the conversation, and we are going to spill all the tea on the story and the plot. So if you enjoy being surprised, I encourage you to watch the episode first before listening to our discussion. This episode is generously sponsored by 

[00:02:00] Vanguard Collective, which helps minority business owners build foundations and capture market share Vanguard Collective clients average a 40 percent increase in profit margin year over year.

If you want to experience business growth in a sustainable purpose driven way, you can schedule a free consultation by completing the contact page at VanguardCollective.Net. Links to our sponsor are in the show notes for this episode and I encourage you to give them some love by checking out their website.

Now let's get watching and talking. Episode four is titled Please Hold to My Hand, which comes from a lyric in the Hank Williams song that Joel and Ellie listened to while driving on their road trip. We've left Bill and Frank’s in episode three, and we're finally seeing Joel and Ellie start to bond a little bit.

By the end of the episode, these two realize they have to be a united team. I love the dichotomy in this episode of love, human connection, and community bonds. We are prompted at every turn 

[00:03:00] and twist to ask ourselves, what bonds unite us together? The best person to talk about communities with me this season is one of my biz buddies who builds and repairs all kinds of communities for a living.

Meet Tonya Kubo, who believes social media has the power to unite individuals and spark movements. She specializes in online community design, development, and growth. Her agency takes a people first approach in the proper care and feeding of free and paid groups, and they teach others to do the same.

Tonya. We're finally meeting in person for the first time on this podcast. Welcome to the show. And thank you for being one of my very first guests who is holding space for better business conversations. 

[Tonya] Well, thank you for having me. 

[Mary] We're not on Zoom. 

[Tonya] I know. Like I could touch you.

[Mary] Alright, so you are such a trooper for doing this and I just have to kind of preface this whole episode. I'm not gonna go too long on this 'cause this is not what other people are listening for, but you turned me down multiple times, [00:04:00] at the beginning, even though you and I are like doing a YouTube series right now and everything.

And you were like, no, I don't really watch a lot of tv and I actually think this is really great for our business community because I hear this all the time. They're like, mm, I don't really watch a lot of tv. Mm. I don't really wanna talk about fun things. Like I don't really do that. And your husband, Brian, who is my brother from another mother, my Asian brother, he was like watching the show when I was watching the show and we were kind of talking through you, which was hilarious through our voice notes.

And he was, and then you guys were in a car one day because your kids were like at some like weekend camp or something. And he was listening to my, I was pitching you over and over and over again on these WhatsApp messages. And he was like, you better do this, you better do that podcast. 

[Tonya] Well, when you skip over those, I was like, well, actually, why don't you just have Brian instead?

Like, I'm like throwing him in front of the whole thing. He's like, she doesn't want me, honey. She wants you. 

[Mary] Yes. 

[Tonya] Do it. He's like, I'll sit there with you. I'll coach you through it. I'm like, I don't know that 

[00:05:00] that works that way. 

[Mary] I love that he immediately started watching the show again so that he could explain things to you.

It was just one of the most heartwarming things. And he like got the concept right away. And I knew I was like. Yes, this podcast is going to fly, like we have to do it. Because Brian's not a businessman. No. He's not in the entrepreneurial space. Mm hmm. He's a fan of the show, but he immediately got the concept of analogous thinking, and I thought that was really powerful.

So 

[Tonya] He also wrote me CliffsNotes. 

[Mary] He wrote you CliffsNotes? You can refer to them if you feel like it. 

[Tonya] I should, I should send them to you. He wrote me the CliffsNotes of the first three episodes. episodes in case you referenced back, right? Because, you know, I watched episode four a few times, but I did not watch the other episodes more than once.

[Mary] Right, and there's, you know, that's okay. We'll be, we'll be okay. 

[Tonya] But just in case, I'm prepped and primed. 

[Mary] All right. 

[Tonya] You've been quizzing me. 

[Mary] All right, well, well, let's get into the first thing because your episode shows community in a way. That I think our business community really, really needs to watch.

It's dramatized. Of course, it's like way over the top. 

[00:06:00] It's not what we experience in real life, but it is analogous to a lot of things that do happen in communities when things go wrong. So I always feel like, you know, we can wish for change. But sometimes the system that comes in to replace the old one is just as bad, if not worse, which is what we see in Kansas City.

And I was reminded by Joel, our sound engineer here. So there's a guest star in this couple of episodes, Melanie Lynskey, in the chair I'm sitting in, in this podcast studio she sat in last week. So feeling like we have a little 

[Tonya] You touched the chair. 

[Mary] Melanie Linskey. 

[Tonya] You touched. You touched. 

[Mary] Juju on this episode.

It's a little magic. Okay. So, so what I want to talk about you with on this theme of new regimes coming in, and they're not necessarily better. How much do you think that happens in our business communities? Because I have opinions. 

[Tonya] All the time. So before we get there, though, I want to make sure that we come back to another point, and it's that in this episode, we actually see two communities.

So we see a community in existence, and then 

[00:07:00] we see a community form by the end of the episode. And I want to make sure anybody who's watching doesn't miss that as we dig into the regime that Joel and Ellie enter into when they get to Kansas City. 

[Mary] See, and you thought you wouldn't... What were you thinking?

No, it's at this podcast, just drop that like a mic drop moment, like right now. 

[Tonya] But I mean, because, because part of it is you have, I mean, that's the polarization, right? That's the opposites of going into what we see in Kansas City happening, what's led by Kathleen. And then by the end we see, oh, okay, this is a different kind of community that has been solidified.

By Kathleen's regime, right? And everything that Kathleen is and everything that she has created in her community was triggered by the community that they replaced. 

[00:08:00] 

[Mary] Yes. 

[Tonya] And so I think that is where we transfer over into business. Because how often in business do we see people do the exact same thing, right?

It's like you're either. Oh, what's the, I did not come up with this. I read it in a book somewhere, right? But you're either responding or you're reacting? 

[Mary] Yes. 

[Tonya] Okay, so the community we see at the end. is a response to what Melanie has created, where she, her community, is a reaction to FEDRA. 

[Mary] Oh, that's so good.

[Tonya] Right? So, so you, and you see how reactive she is throughout the episode. 

[Mary] All she does is react. 

[Tonya] Right, and, and there's no, and because she's in reaction mode, right, there is no, like, Logic is completely overridden by emotion. So how, so let's take this to business. And how often have you encountered somebody in business?

Uh, whether it's you're reading their sales page, you're looking at their email 

[00:09:00] marketing, you're checking out their social media, and you're like, and they say, you know, nobody's responding, or whatever, right? And you're just like, well, you know, I've had a conversation or two with you. Like, it just doesn't feel like that's you.

And then they... Insert guru name here says that this is how you have to do it to get followers, right? And so they're parroting right there. They're reacting like oh if I want a hundred followers in a week I have to do this. I have to act like this I have to be like Stu McLaren and ADHD or Rachel Miller and talk about all the different things I can't be me and then what ends up happening is they're so high in emotion they can't actually respond in the moment to whoever might be attracted to the message.

[Mary] I mean, I feel like we see that also reflected. The Fireflies is another community that we come across. The most functioning community is the one in Jackson. But they too is, you know, there's sort of this core energy, core ethos 

[00:10:00] that everyone subscribes to. But with the community in Kansas. Because it's so reactionary.

It's such a great example of reactionary thinking and therefore actions. Like, there's, it falls apart very easily. Like, it's, it's very fragile. 

[Tonya] It is fragile. Partially because it is based in might being right. Right? So, I mean, you're either for Kathleen or you're against her. There is no in between.

And everything that happens is Henry's fault, right? So, I mean, there doesn't need to be evidence. She doesn't need proof, but everything is Henry's fault, right? And getting to Henry, revenge against Henry has clouded her peripheral vision. It's like she's blind, right? She has no peripheral vision. She is just laser focused.

And then you see Perry. I think that's his name, right? the big beard? 

[Mary] Yes. I love Perry. 

[Tonya] I do too. But he 

[00:11:00] knows she's wrong. 

[Mary] But he follows her. 

[Tonya] He follows her. And why does he follow her? Do you remember that piece? 

[Mary] Enlighten us. 

[Tonya] Okay. So Because this is I felt like this was the most profound part of the whole episode.

And don't get me wrong. There's a lot of really interesting stuff that's said. Oh, I want to hear this from you. But it's the part where he tells her that he loved her brother. Her brother was a good guy. He was a great man, right? But your brother didn't Do anything. He never changed anything. You are a leader.

You have led us. And we will follow you anywhere. 

[Mary] Oh, yeah. I, I feel like, so, okay, here's an interesting question. How much do you think communities in our online business space are lacking leadership? For better or for worse? 

[Tonya] Yeah. 

[Mary] But they have nothing to follow. I feel like most people are followers in any point in their lives.

It's somewhere in your life you, you 

[00:12:00] willingly and gladly follow because you don't want to have to lead that situation. And in our business world. There are a lot of communities where people are struggling to hold them together or keep them going. Do you think it's for lack of leadership? 

[Tonya] It's definitely for lack of leadership, uh, and there's a couple of reasons, right?

So part of it is, and I'll soapbox here only a little bit. Part of it is the constant mantra of communities being easy. So, this is something, you know, I talk I have an audience that goes to a lot of conferences, right? And so, they are told, well, just start a Facebook group. Just start a Facebook group.

Put your superfans group. Just grow your Facebook group. You know, if you build it, they will come. And I always say that only works in movies. Yeah. The truth is, if you built it, You have built it. You still have to have a mechanism in place to bring people there. You have to have a mechanism in place to keep people there.

And so what people will do is they will 

[00:13:00] create a community, and then they want to just be like, Alright, y'all, do your thing. And meanwhile, everybody's like, Well, what do we do here? Like, I don't know the rules. I don't know what's okay to say, what's not okay to say. So then somebody says, Well, I think I should say this.

And then somebody else comes in and is like, We don't do that here. Oh, okay. And there's no person instituting values, right? There's no person who says, Oh, no, no, no, here's the ground rules. This is, this is how we behave. This is how we don't behave. This is what we expect of you. What you can expect of us.

And leadership isn't just bossing people around. It's not just censorship, right? We hear that a lot, especially now as different social media platforms are launching, right? It's like, oh, that's censorship. Well, there's a fine line between censorship and careful moderation. But what a good community leader has to do more than anything is prioritize the safety of their community.

Because you don't get connection. Everybody wants engagement, right? But you don't. When they say they 

[00:14:00] want engagement, they really don't, okay? Because then they'd be happy with a bunch of, like, likes on posts, right? They want connection, they want meaningful comments, meaningful conversations, and that only comes after you've established safety.

Safety comes from having rules and carefully implementing those rules and protecting them. 

[Mary] Do you think the reason why... Kathleen is so effective in having taken over the community is because she gives them a sense of safety, that somebody actually cares about their safety, because it sounds like you kind of have to put, you kind of have to piece it together.

They don't just feed it to you, which I actually really love, and, and they make you think about it. And it sounds a lot like when her brother was in charge before Henry gave him up to the authorities and he got killed, that as nice as her brother was, people were being taken by FEDRA and unfairly, you know, imprisoned or whatever it is they do.

And probably, like, treated very poorly, if not tortured or whatever. 

[00:15:00] And she is like, I've had enough. She's got Mama Bear on and she puts a stop to it. For better or for worse. 

[Tonya] So often, we look back in history, right, and we see horrific dictatorships, regimes, right? We see genocide. We see all these things.

And we go, like, you know they didn't wake up one day and just take over the entire, like, country or continent, right? 

[Mary] Yeah. 

[Tonya] You know it was a series of small steps, just incremental steps that led to it. And you know what? They were so incremental, nobody noticed. Right, until suddenly there was this mass support behind it, and then they were strong enough to overthrow.

Right? And part of that is because people in a position of power get really complacent. They get comfortable. They're not watching out, right? Because they don't think anybody can, can attack them. And so you end up with a sneak attack, but what ends up happening is the way that these dictators 

[00:16:00] or people like Kathleen engineer the consent of these individuals who would not agree to a lot of this stuff under normal circumstances.

It's because she prioritizes them over everybody else, right? Because throughout this episode, and I really feel like throughout this season in particular, the question we're being asked is, whose life matters? 

[Mary] Yes. 

[Tonya] You know, right? So Kathleen, it's like, okay, so, oh, so, so this has to stop now. This has gone too far now that you're in the box, but it didn't go too far when my brother was in the box.

[Mary] Mm hmm. 

[Tonya] So now that you're threatened, that your life is in danger, this is a problem and we need to dial it back. But, um, where were you when my brother's life was in danger? You know, and the doctor says, oh, you were wrong, you were this, you were that, but he never... He never answers. 

[Mary] He never answers, and yet at the same time, 

[00:17:00] because they tell the story out of, out of time order.

So you really have to think about it. While he's sitting in the box, Henry and Sam are in that attic waiting for him to come back. So he has given them safe harbor. He has prioritized their lives. I love this question of whose life matters because it comes around again by the end of the series with Ellie.

[Tonya] And with Ellie, but also at the end of the episode. With Sam. 

[Mary] Yes. 

[Mary] Right? So, you know, there's that point where Henry says, but Sam's just a kid. And she was like, kids die all the time. Right? Because by now, 20 years after this apocalyptic event. You know, it's not quite Mad Max land. Not quite. But, everybody has seen death.

Everybody has seen destruction. They have seen abuse. They have seen violence. You know, we see that in Ellie, right? Uh, you know, you've got this, like, potty mouthed teenager. But, like, what 

[00:18:00] has she did not have the same upbringing as kids did 20 years ago when this all happened. 

[Mary] No. And the degradation of the world around them really influences everybody.

[Tonya] Right. And it comes down to humanity, right? But what is the definition of humanity? So throughout this episode, We, as viewers, are being asked the question of whose life here is more important. Is Ellie's life more important than Joel's? Right? Is Sam's life more important than Henry's? Is Henry's life more important than Sam's?

And you know, for those of us watching, because we've not met Kathleen's brother. And we're just like, couldn't have been all that, like, I mean, like, really? Like, you're gonna, you're gonna ignore the whatever's going on underneath the ground thing over this guy who's, like, been dead for how long? Right?

And yet, she 

[00:19:00] is. And Perry's right there co-signing it all. 

[Mary] Well, there's a lot about chosen family in this episode, too. I mean, it runs throughout the whole series, but there's a lot of that. And you see how Perry has chosen his family because he comes and finds her in her old childhood bedroom at one point, and she's like, how'd you find me?

He's like, I called your mom. Talked to her mom. Obviously, they're close if he knows where her mother lives and he talks to her. And she says, you know, have, when's the last time you were back in yours? And he's like, well, it's really far away. Like at this point, hello. This world. Can't, can't go visit.

He's, he has chosen family. And this is also the episode where we see Joel and Ellie start to become chosen family. And it's like when we're not going through an apocalyptic world and our backs aren't to the wall and we're not in this traumatic fight or flight situation. So like, take down the 

[00:20:00] drama.

many notches. Let's, let's bring it into real life today. How, how much do you think our business community needs help determining better how to choose family, because you will end up choosing family. And I think some people choose it by default. I think most of the residents of Kansas City by default are like, well, I guess this is the safest place to go, so I guess I'll just be with the masses.

And we see that in our entrepreneurial communities where people are like, well, that person, they enroll everybody. I guess I'm going to go do that program. And they don't always question for themselves, what do I need, what matters for me. 

[Tonya] And what if I'm part of this thing that everybody else is a part of?

What if I'm in that program, right, from this girl who enrolls everybody and it doesn't work for me? Is it possible that that's because this program isn't the right program for me, isn't the right program for my business model, 

[00:21:00] maybe isn't the right program to truly serve my audience? That's the question I would like to see more business owners answer.

I would love to see more business owners because I, you know what, we all need to like buy our education through some mistakes, right? 

[Mary] Oh yeah. Oh yeah. 

[Tonya] You know, I will never forget. It took me a while to recognize, but the very first. What I called in my business life, my big girl program that I invested in was 1,000 dollars because at that time, I could invest in anything that had a 100 dollar a month payment or lower.

So I, you know, it was one thing I was like interested in. I was like, I just can't do a thousand. I can't do a thousand. Oh, okay. I can do pin 10 payments of 100. I got this went into this program. A lot of, you know, I was a social media manager for a university at the time. So a lot of the social media stuff that was taught in the program made sense.

That's how they got my trust. It's like, okay, so this, this all makes sense, and, and this stuff works, I know this to be true. But then, you know, over the course of the 

[00:22:00] program, and of course, you know, what they sell you is often not what they give you, right? 

[Mary] Yeah. 

[Tonya] I mean, the whole idea is sell them what they want and give them what they need.

[Mary] Yeah. 

[Tonya] The program was really designed to lead you to either an online course. Or doing a high ticket program and you were going to do this through paid ads, right? That's how you were going to grow your audience. So they said they were going to teach you how to do content marketing, but that is not actually what it was.

It was like you're, you're going to get, you know, a thousand email subscribers, you're going to do all these things, but paid ads was the way to do it. And the idea is you're going to pay all this back by having this really expensive program at the end of the three months. And, you know, so it was one of those programs, I, I had the time, I had the ability, right, got in, did all the things.

And nothing worked. In fact, we did like three launches and they all fell flat. And of course, I didn't know that because I didn't know how to do my homework back then, 

[00:23:00] but this was her first non pilot, right? So this was the first time she had launched her program out into the world from people she didn't know. And she was following James Wedmore because she was in his, at the time, I think, 10K a year program.

Now it's probably much more than that. And she was just like, well, you need to do this and you need to do this. And then at one point she finally says, well, You either need to pick a different offer or pick a different audience, which is good advice, right? 

[Mary] Mm hmm. 

[Tonya] And, of course, looking back now, I recognize two things.

Thing number one, I didn't have offer market fit, and her program was not designed to teach me that. So, I could do everything she said by the book, and I was never going to succeed without a mechanism for me figuring out alignment between my offer and the people I was attracting, right? Because her thought was, well, just invest enough in ads.

Oh, 500 in ads isn't doing it? Well, let's try 1,000. Okay, let's try 2,000. 

[Mary] Right. 

[Tonya] Eventually, the right people will come. 

[00:24:00] That was a wonderfully expensive lesson for me to learn. 

[Mary] So your episode is part of what I kind of look at as sort of like a two parter because you got episode four, which is yours, and episode five, we'll talk with Beth about Endure and Survive.

But by the time we get into the next episode, we see the magnitude of the clear problem living under the streets of Kansas City, and I feel like that's kind of what happens with our business owners. They don't have the answer to solve. That big honking huge problem, but you're in a leadership role, you've enrolled all these people.

Now what? 

[Tonya] How do you unring a bell, right? How do you unring a bell? How do you, you've invested in a program, you're doing what they told you to do. Even when you see warning signs, it's really hard to backtrack. I mean, it goes to the principle of inertia, right? Object at rest stays in rest, object at motion stays in motion.

[00:25:00] 

Once you're on the train, it's really hard to get off the train until you crash. And so you, this is also why I think you see a lot of people in business follow a particular expert and stay with that expert until the bridge has been burned to a point of bitterness. 

[Mary] Yeah. Happens all the time. 

[Tonya] I would love for people to recognize.

Number one, you can opt out at any time. You may not get your money back, right? You may not get the triple your investment return guarantee, but you get to choose when you step off the train, right? And you can leave at any point. There doesn't have to be a big blow up. It doesn't have to be big drama. You don't have to throw a big temper tantrum over it.

[Mary] I feel like that's the moment when people really put on their CEO pants for the first time is when you recognize this is a sunk cost. What am I really going to get out of this? It's 

[00:26:00] probably street cred and some scars and some learned lessons. But that reality is far preferable to being served up like clicker bait, like these people are about to become in the next episode when the inevitable happens, the crumbling of this very fragile system is brought down by the problem they cannot solve.

And these, these monsters, these beasts come out of the ground and they like eat them. And I, I see this happen far less dramatically, of course, in our business world where people are a part of a community and they hang on and hang on like, but they promised me the promised land and I'm just, I'm going to follow the leader.

And the best thing to do is to recognize the micro community. Maybe there's some people who you can trust around 

[00:27:00] you, but y'all need to really like take care of you. 

[Tonya] Right. And I also think a good lesson here and is that you can learn a lot about an individual, how an individual does business from how they are when they're not in the middle of the sales cycle.

[Mary] Oh yeah. 

[Tonya] So You know, and, and what makes me think of that is, if you look at when Henry decides to trust Joel. Okay, so Henry knows he can't keep Sam safe, right? He can run with Sam, he can hide Sam, but... Push comes to shove, he's not the guy to pull a trigger. And then he sees what Joel does to keep Ellie safe.

And he's just like, okay, we follow this guy. Because this guy did it for her. Even if we just get a little bit of a side effect of it, like, we're safest with him, then we are against him. 

[Mary] But they set up such a great 

[00:28:00] collaboration. Speaking of collabs, he's like, I know this city. I know these tunnels.

I have knowledge, but you have a skill I don't have. And I feel like that's actually where stronger community comes from. Your odds of survival are greater. When you, when you think like that, when you. 

[Tonya] And let's follow that thread, right? So what we're talking about is finding people who are strong where you are weak, so long as you have a strength where they are weak.

[Mary] Yes. 

[Tonya] So if we can just, I mean, we can leave my little community analogy I was just having and go to that conversation about collaboration, because too often people go around looking for somebody who is strong where they are weak, and either not recognizing that they have anything to bring to the table, or genuinely not being interested in bringing anything to the table.

You and me have talked about the one way collaborations that are sold like a two way collaboration. But I think, you know, Henry and Joel, I mean, it's a prime example 

[00:29:00] of, oh, these are puzzle pieces that fit. 

[Mary] And kind of reluctantly at first. And I would say, justifiably so. They live in a world that has burned a lot of people.

And literally and figuratively. And Joel knows better than to just blindly trust. His trust meter is a little broken too though. 

[Tonya] Yeah. 

[Mary] Which I think we see a lot in entrepreneurs who have good strong skills. And Henry, he knows that his juju he brings to the table is not quite the same weight class as Joel's, but it's real hella valuable in that moment.

[Tonya] Right. 

[Mary] And he, and in that nuanced examination of collaboration, I think is kind of where we're going when it comes to collabs in our entrepreneurial communities. There's, there's so much, I mean, you and I were just chatting on, on, on our YouTube series about 

[00:30:00] weight class. And now I'm wondering, is it a both and where it's weight class and also it's the immediacy of things that are needed in the moment?

[Tonya] So weight class, well I think it's weight class. It's values. 

[Mary] Yeah. 

[Tonya] And it's relevance. 

[Mary] Yes. 

[Tonya] Because I think that's what you're speaking to, right? 

[Mary] It's a three parter. 

[Tonya] It's relevance and the time. Yeah. So there are people who make sense to collaborate with today that will not make sense to collaborate with a couple years from now.

[Mary] Like, during COVID, you and I did real well because we had legit, for real, we are online. How many people did you meet who said, I'm an online entrepreneur. And then when you had to go to Zoom, they're like, I can't get on Zoom and you're like, are you? 

[Tonya] Oh my gosh. 

[Mary] And, and so there's a timeliness. to some of those skills, but now the world finally figured out how to use Zoom, so that skill is a little less valuable, so the world has changed again.

[00:31:00] 

[Tonya] Yeah. Well, and so think about, like, in 2020, it made sense to partner with people who were comfortable on live video, who understood the ins and outs of Zoom production. I remember the very first Zoom webinar that I had been called to support. So they brought me in after they set up the meeting, after all the registrations, all of that stuff, right?

Yeah. The very first one that I got called to support was Zoom bombed.

Because they didn't understand security measures, right? And, um, I had asked a lot of questions. It was like, Oh, no, we do this all the time. It's fine. We just want you to come in and help us with this because we've got more registration than we're used to. 

[Mary] Right. 

[Tonya] Because they thought their issue was volume.

They did not realize their issue was security. But let me tell you, Um, I only moderated one Zoom call that got bombed , right when my lessons really fast on that one. 

[Mary] Yep. 

[Tonya] And they did too, right? They, they learned like, oh, when somebody asks you a 

[00:32:00] question, even if you think it's a really dumb question, you should probably answer their question, not blow them off.

Yeah. So, you know, back in those early days, there were some skill sets that we had that made sense for collaborations. And then now we need people with stamina, right? We need people who. aren't just able to be an emcee or be a personality online for, you know, 17 broadcasts in a row and then go to introvert land for four months.

[Mary] Yeah. 

[Tonya] I don't know if people are becoming aware yet of the visibility rollercoaster that most online people are on. business owners do, right? So, super visible leading up to the launch. 

[Mary] Yeah. 

[Tonya] Hypervisible during the launch. 

[Mary] And then they kind of crash. 

[Tonya] And then they ghost. 

[Mary] Yeah. 

[Tonya] Right? Once they're in fulfillment, those with teams, they hand it off to their team.

[Mary] They go on vacation.

[Tonya] We've seen that. We, I mean we've worked for those people. We have worked for it, yes. You know, they go on a 30 day vacation and leave the rest of the 

[00:33:00] team to cash the checks that their mouth wrote. And we forget because we're, we're either in the program or we're doing something else, right? So we're distracted.

So we don't see that they go up and down, up and down, and then they tell us how we have to be up 365 days a year. 

[Mary] Yes, you do develop a certain muscle being up all the time. I actually think in the course of watching this story, it's not, it's not a great way of learning to develop being you know, vigilant or on, on, on, on your game.

But because they live in this world where it is literally survival, people have to learn to, like, have their wits up about them. And the people who let their guard down or don't protect themselves, I mean, they become toast pretty quick. 

[Tonya] Yeah. 

[Mary] And I think that's where. People search for leaders is because they're 

[00:34:00] tired.

They are tired. You and I have discovered, which is probably why we get along really well, that we do have like really high capacity and high tolerance. 

[Tonya] Yeah. 

[Mary] High stamina levels. We have both burned out really wickedly awfully, too. 

[Tonya] Yes. 

[Mary] And there is a limit. And when we burn out We take longer than the average person to recover from burnout.

[Tonya] Yeah. Because, because we can shoulder so much before we burn out. 

[Mary] The bucket is bigger. 

[Tonya] Yeah. 

[Mary] It takes longer to empty a bigger bucket. So, so, I think, I think this is really interesting for us to, these concepts into words for our audience listening about business because I don't feel like I hear enough people talking about leadership.

[Tonya] You're right. 

[Mary] In this capacity.

[Tonya] Also. I would say that the people who do talk about leadership talk about it in a way that is patronizing or condescending to their communities. 

[Mary] Oh, please take the mic. 

[00:35:00] 

[Tonya] So 

[Mary] Thank You 

[Tonya] you know, I hear people talk about leadership a lot. In fact, recently I've been, you know, I go through the follow and follow phase like everybody else does.

Like, okay, everybody's talking about things that are happening in the industry that I am oblivious to. Okay, follow, follow, follow. All right, I got it. Okay, I'm done. And follow and follow. But, you know, it's like, okay, we'll just go do it. Right? They want to boss people around. They're like, you know, how many times have you and I.

So, um, we're going to peer to peer space, where somebody is, will just say, will just tell them this, they won't dig any deeper. Uh huh. Right? Yeah. Like, just, just tell them what to do, you know, they, they won't investigate further, they'll just believe you. And if they don't believe you, oh well. And then they stand up there and they say, you know, oh, I get it.

I get that, you know, you don't know how you're going to make rent this month, but if you just invest in my thing, you know, we'll have, we'll have double your rent by the end of the month. And. I've heard people say, you know, everybody's looking for somebody to follow, right? So, you 

[00:36:00] know, why don't you just be the person that they follow?

You and me talk about leadership in a brass tacks way, I feel like. I feel like we pull no punches. Um, we're very blunt. But we talk about it from a place of compassion and empathy for our communities. For example, you know, I am somebody who for years fought people telling me just boss me around because, you know, my report cards from the ages of first grade until fifth grade all say too bossy.

One of them even says I'm never going to get a husband. No. Because welcome to being in the 80s, right? Being raised in the 80s. I'm never going to get a husband if I don't learn to let the boys take the lead every now and then. Yeah. Yeah. Shout out to Miss Scott. Thanks for that. I appreciated that a lot when I saw that.

So... Right? So I would fight because people would say, just boss me around. And you know, and then of course, being trained as a coach, you're told they have the answers. You don't tell them [00:37:00] what to do. You draw it out. If you ask good enough questions, they'll eventually realize they know the answer. 

[Mary] But it is the most frustrating part of coaching that people honestly want to be bossed around.

[Tonya] Well, first of all, they want to be bossed around. And guess what? You and me attract people who don't actually know the answers. That's why they come to us. They come to you for the Dewey Decimal System level of information gathering and organization. They come to me to be their personal Google. Right?

This is the, the value we provide. This is, this is the service we are here in the industry. The thing is, is we don't approach this as we are better than them. They are too stupid. They are too lazy. Well, I mean, you could look it up yourself. Now, don't get me wrong. There are a couple people after asking me the same question about seven times.

I have turned to say, you know you can Google this, right? Because you seem to not like my answers, yet you continue to ask me my opinions, so maybe just Google it and see what Google says. And if Google agrees with me, go do that thing, and if Google doesn't agree with me... Maybe go follow the person that you find on 

[00:38:00] Google, right?

But for the most part, we have deep compassion for our audience. I used to say all the time that I will not work with clients who don't love their people because early on when I started doing community, because everybody was doing like, if I, if they build it, they will come, right? Is people were creating communities and they were resentful.

of their people. They didn't actually want to be close to their people. They didn't actually want that direct two way communication. They wanted a fan club. They wanted adoring admirers who bought their things and told the world how awesome they were without actually taking up any of their time.

And it took a while. Like, there was this part of me, the little baby entrepreneur part of me, who thought I could save those people. Like, I'll build this great community for them and they'll see how awesome their people are. They'll fall in love with their people. All I did was reinforce the fact that they can have a great community without working at it.

And 

[00:39:00] that's again what we see in the show, right? So, Kathleen worked at developing her community through fear and violence. And Joel and Ellie, I mean, it's like attraction marketing 101 over there, right? 

[Mary] I know! 

[Tonya] They're just going around kind of going like, please don't follow me. Please don't join us.

Just leave us alone, and we'll leave you alone, and all these people are like, 

[Mary] This is, so this is, this is the thing I feel about that attraction marketing part is once we see Tess leave, leave the picture, Joel and Ellie are forced to bond and there's this one scene before they get to Kansas City where Ellie finally admits her, it's, you know, she'll admit these little moments of vulnerability with him because she's still a kid.

[Tonya] Yeah. 

[Mary] And when they first get into the woods to spend the night, she's like, why are we all out here? Like to avoid clickers? And he's like, no, it's like it's too far away from population. He's like, no, we're avoiding people. She's like, oh, are they going to rob us? And he's like, 

[Tonya] He just looks at 

[00:40:00] her.

[Mary] He's like, worst things. And it finally like dawns on her like, Oh, there are things I don't know about. And then they cut to, you know, a little scene where you see him stay up all night keeping watch with the rifle. And I feel like the best attract marketing strategy is through your actions. But the question I have is, like, we don't always see the actions of our leaders.

They do things in these unseen moments, kind of like Ellie's dead asleep at this point Joel is up. And the coffee scene the next morning, by the way, it's two coffee addicts. It's one of my favorite things. I'm like, I would be drinking all that coffee too, bud. Like, you stayed up all night to protect that kid.

You need all the coffee. I don't care how stale it is. So, so, you know, there's this question of like, at what point do we, do we realize that we need to protect our chosen communities? Do you think that there are things we don't hear from our communities that maybe we should like? How do we activate more of that Joel 

[00:41:00] action element?

[Tonya] So this might be unpopular. But I think if we're doing our job really well, our community never knows how hard we work to keep them safe. And that's important to me like that's one that like makes me a little emotional and you know me yes, I only have emotions when I buy them at the store, but nothing infuriates me more, and usually this happens when people get called out on bad behavior, right?

But nothing ticks me off more than when somebody, a leader, will do the whole like, you don't know how hard I work, you know, you think this is all handed to me. But you're right, like, I don't get how you are because, you know, I'm up working while you're doing this and you're watching TV and da da da da, right?

They get into this whole, like, you're lazy, and I'm a hard worker, and I wonder, and it's like, you know, you were a great leader when nobody knew how long you worked or what you 

[00:42:00] did or did, you know, the fact that you feel the need to create this tally list, first of all, indicates that you keep the tally list in your head.

[Mary] Yep. 

[Tonya] Right? So you're constantly keeping score, how much you do for us versus how much we do for you, which just irritates me to know, and it's like, go find another line of work where you don't have to feel like that, right? 

[Mary] Please. 

[Tonya] Yeah, please just save the rest of us. And how do you feel? When you know the lengths that somebody goes to for your experience, I mean, does that really feel good?

Or do you start to feel like you owe them something? You start to feel insecure about... Like, why do you deserve that? 

[Mary] Well, it removes the action from being in service of the person and being about, I need something from this. It becomes transactional. 

[Tonya] Right. So, if Joel had told Ellie, you go to sleep, I'm going to stay up and keep watch, what would Ellie have done?

Not gone to sleep. 

[00:43:00] Well, if you're in this, you know, because Ellie wants to be a grown up really really bad and Ellie wants to be like Joel already really really bad. Yeah, so if Joel's gonna see if I'm gonna stay up, right? So he knows that she needs to think he's sleeping in order for her to rest and feel like she can actually take the breather that she needs, right?

Sleep, rest her body, all that stuff. 

[Mary] But you see it reciprocate later in the series when they are walking on foot to Wyoming to find Joel's brother. And there's this point where like he oversleeps his watch and she takes watch, or he falls asleep during watch. That's what happened. And she takes watch for him and he's mad when he wakes up because he's like.

You didn't, like, you should wake me up, like, I'm the one who's supposed to do this for you. And she's learned leadership skills from him through his actions. She's like, no, I did everything you taught me. I checked my points. I did this. I took the high ground. Like, we're all good, you know? And then she's like, okay, I promise next time I'll, I'll, I'll let you know.

But she's like, she also recognizes, but you 

[00:44:00] too need rest. And I was done resting. I was just up, you know? 

[Tonya] Right. And of course, in the series, we see that a lot with Joel, a lot of guilt over what she shouldn't have to do because he thinks of her still as his daughter. 

[Mary] Well, that happens in this episode where, you know, they've lost their vehicle.

There's this rebellion running around, hunting for them, thinking they're Henry. And they hide out in some, like, business shop. I think it's a bar or something. And he has this conversation and he's like, man, I really suck at this. And she's like, you really do. But he apologizes because he's like, you're a kid.

You shouldn't have to do this. You shouldn't have to deal with this. And I feel like those of us who have communities feel this sense of responsibility, like, My people shouldn't have to suffer some of the things that I did on the way. It's the whole reason I created this is so that you don't have to.

But things are still going to happen. 

[Tonya] And I think good 

[00:45:00] leaders think through that. Right? Good leaders go, Okay, you shouldn't have to do this, but you did. Right? And we see that when conflict breaks out in a community. Um, I feel like good leaders handle a lot behind the scenes that the community never recognizes.

But... It's unavoidable. Some people are just some people. 

[Mary] Oh, some people are really

some people. 

[Tonya] It comes out, right? And I've been the leader in a few, but I've been in several communities where the leader just comes out and says, look, I'm sorry. You guys shouldn't have had to deal with that. Um, but you did. And as the leader here, it is my job to own the impact of that. And let you know this is what we're doing moving forward.

And that right there engineers further loyalty, right? Because it's like, okay, so they admitted a mistake. A lot of times other people, a lot of people don't even blame them 

[00:46:00] for it, right? They see what they see. Um, but there are the people who are like, You should never allow this to happen. And everybody kind of goes, Oh, all right.

Well, today's a new day. And then good leaders will use it as an opportunity to. remind of the expectation, right? Remember, we don't do that here. This is how we behave. And when this happens, this is how we all should respond so that it doesn't get like this again. 

[Mary] I feel like you see that, that demonstrated in the push and pull between these dialogues.

You see it with Kathleen and the doctor. It happens again, kind of between Kathleen and Perry, like, just, but they kind of skirt around it. They're talking about it through her brother. Um, Joel and Ellie address it. By him, like, apologizing to her, and... recognizing that he can't do everything anymore.

Of course, we don't understand what the dialogue going on 

[00:47:00] in his head until they do get to Wyoming and he has that beautiful monologue that he delivers when he talks to his brother. I just feel like, you know, this whole podcast discussion started out of the desire to carry on the analogous thinking lessons, but I think the analogies, they show us nuances.

In building community in your business. It requires so much nuance and yeah, I just, I just I think it's so beautiful the way it's like it's been laid out. I love the way that you have picked up on more nuance. It's like you put words to things I was like, sounds so good coming out of your mouth right now.

Um, I want to take kind of a left turn here though because one thing that does happen in this episode involves Ellie and her puns. And, and the thing that I pulled out was a, well, you know me, I mean, hello. We are recording in Los Angeles and I used to do stand up comedy and I always say 

[00:48:00] stand up is one of the best things that an entrepreneur can do.

[Tonya] Yeah. 

[Mary] Um, it teaches you so many things, but you know, human humor really is required in everything you do. And so we meet Ellie's really cringy sense of humor through her pun book. My favorite meme is the one where Joel is like, no, no, that's just a shake in the head, no, no, I don't want to hear this right now.

It's like when your kids are telling you one joke and you're like, Oh God, I don't want to do this again. So so you know, for all of Joel's grumbling though, he secretly loves it. Because they're camping in the woods and she tries to tell him a joke and he knows the punchline to the scarecrow joke and she's like you son of a bitch, you know it already, you know.

So, in it, there's this exterior and then we see him protect her during the night. So, I feel like our entrepreneurs really need to take a lesson from like, They look for this perfect branding. I 

[00:49:00] want us to start looking for actions, for actions more than that, because I've also had students and clients where they look kind of like real tough on the outside, but their actions always routinely bring them back to a place of like high integrity.

You know, there's just one, one person in a place that we both coached together and this guy could have been a total asshole.  He was really going through life and he was never mean about it.  On the outside, I mean, he was get to the point, he was not smiley, he was not happy, but he never disrespected the coach in front of him.  He always asked for help. And the actions spoke volumes and I think that is an important things to notice.  Someone can tell you the words you want to hear.

Kathleen tells everybody the words they want to hear. They are not more protected just because she told them that she's doing whatever. So, like, I'm wondering, because that bit 

[00:50:00] about the humor that we see from Joel and Ellie.

Like, how much more of that do we need to add into our businesses no matter what? And, and, and this goes into like multiple ways of bonding, you know, there's this dichotomy of tragedy and comedy. We read the book Bittersweet as well as part of our homework for this podcast. Susan Cain talks about how culture and communities bond through the quality of bittersweet.

I think that's where the nuance shows up. Comedy is really obvious. When people bond over comedy. You and I both have a mutual friend. I'm going to give Jim a huge shout out right now. 

[Tonya] Aww, Jim! 

[Mary] Jim and I will throw back and forth, you know, different reels on Instagram of different stand up comedians. It was the way we bonded.

But there's something deeper that happens in the bittersweet moments. So you know, do you think bittersweet adds awareness to the nuance in comedy? Do you think we need more humor, too? I'm just throwing all the questions at you right now. 

[Tonya] Yeah, I was like, so which question do I answer first? 

[Mary] All the questions.

[Tonya] Well, so the 

[00:51:00] thing about Bittersweet, right, is that part of what, let's just take, um, the show, for example. Part of why those like, horribly, juvenile puns are so funny is in the context of all the trauma going on around them. 

[Mary] It makes it seem so absurd. 

[Tonya] Right? And so on one hand, you know, like at the beginning, right, Joel's like, like he's in the middle of a serious business of like siphoning really bad gas and, you know, and she's throwing out these puns and he's just like, you know, I'm serious business here.

Like there was no time for that. There's the point later where I think he's able to see like, wow, in all of this, she's still just a kid, right? And kids think puns are funny, right? It's just like, it's such little kid humor and, you know, when we read Bittersweet, I mean, that's one of the points is that, that Susan Cain makes in the book, is that part of why 

[00:52:00] elderly adults will weep when they see simple joy in toddlers.

Is because they know that sense of wonder doesn't last. That it's only a little while before they'll go into school. You know, somebody else will be like, well, I already knew that, and won't be as impressed by their discovery. You know, they get hardened by life's experiences. 

[Mary] Oh, that makes Ellie's pun seem so sad.

Now I didn't think about it like that before. Thanks, Tonya. 

[Tonya] There's gonna come a time.

Ellie is, you know, Joel thinks at least that there's gonna come a time for Ellie where there's no time for humor. Right. Things aren't funny anymore. Right. He, when was the last time he laugh? When did he laugh in the show? Like when has he smiled before that?

[Mary] He finally does in this episode, though.

[Tonya] That's what I'm saying though. But before this time, right? When does he smile? It's been a long time. 

[Mary] Not since Sarah. Not since his daughter. 

[Tonya] Yeah. It's been a really long time for 

[00:53:00] him, and so I think that is, Where I would say about seeing kind of the humor and, and the bittersweet in this example, in our businesses, we just need to stop taking things so stinking seriously.

[Mary] Thank you. Oh, I want to quote that. 

[Tonya] I'm serious. I mean, and you can't, like, as much as you want. Let's get a billboard. Maybe on the side of one of these freeways here. 

[Mary] That would be so great. Stop taking everything so damn seriously. 

[Tonya] And then, so, I don't want to beat up on entrepreneurs because so many entrepreneurs that we know came by the behaviors that they display.

That we're talking about need to stop right now because they learned them from somebody else. They paid somebody good, hard earned money to learn that this is a thing you should do. They got conditioned. Right. So how, in our coaching experience, how many times have you encountered the entrepreneur? 

[00:54:00] Who, you know, I always call it building pretty castles nobody wants to live in but yourself.

[Mary] I love it when you always talk about that. 

[Tonya] Right? So, you know, that's my analogy for you. Like, build everything perfect as you think it should be, but you never actually invite anybody into the castle and see if they can find the bathroom themselves, right? So you don't actually know if it works until it's, you've put so much time and energy into creating it.

You can't afford. So when, you know, we see these entrepreneurs and we're like, well, why don't you just like tell five people what your class idea is and see what they think? Well, no, what if they steal my idea? Um, well, then at least you haven't built anything yet. Right? But it's like, oh, no, no, I'm not ready to talk to anybody yet because, uh, I'm on a wait list to get a new website.

So, and I'm working with this brand expert and they're going to give me like fonts and a logo and a this and a that. And I tell people all the time, Nobody buys based on fonts in the logo. They just don't. Nobody cares about your 

[00:55:00] blush and bashful full brand colors. Like, they really don't. It's just pink and pink to them.

They don't care about the big long narrative story about how that shade of yellow is the golden hills of California's Central Valley. Yeah, I wrote that in a visual brand guide. Not gonna lie.

[Mary] I was gonna say that came from somewhere. 

[Tonya] Higher ed, baby. Higher ed. You write some of the most cringetastic stuff you will ever write in your life.

But the thing is nobody buys that, right? Nobody enrolled in the university because of that. Why did we write that stuff? Because it was a great visual cue as we shipped several assignments out across the nation to various contractors. We needed them to think about, like, to visualize what our colors were. But with your business, It's like, just get into, to your point, action.

Make an offer, see if they say yes, see if they say no. If they say no, ask them, what is it about this that is not interesting to you? I guarantee they're not going to say, well, you know, your, your logo is kind of dated, 

[00:56:00] actually. Like 1970 called. 

[Mary] I've never heard anyone call out someone's logo. 

[Tonya] And they want their paisley back.

Right? Like, like that never happens. Nobody says, oh, I don't like your font. Yet entrepreneurs spend more time. Obsessing over their branding. Right? And protecting their brand than they do about the quality of the content that they produce or the transformation that they're engineering for a customer. 

[Mary] You know what I would love to see?

If we can start a movement. I'd love to see, as like an Easter egg, if entrepreneurs who are like, yes, totally in this conversation. And we all just like start dropping really awful shitty puns into our copy just to see. I used to do this in grad school. I had a little pod, a study group, and we would come up with like a phrase.

We would drop them in our, in our term papers just to see, and there was one professor who figured it out, and he left comments on our papers around like the concept 

[00:57:00] where we incorporated every single paper had like a circle and like a comment, and we were like, he got it. He got the… it was so great.

It'd be so great to have some joy back. 

[Tonya] Well, that's the thing, right, is like honestly, it is easier not to run a business. I don't care what anybody tells you. It is so much easier to be an employee. 

[Mary] Yeah. 

[Tonya] Than it is to be a business owner. This is hard work, right? We've talked about this on our YouTube series, you know, entrepreneurs and people who work 125 hours a week to make money while they sleep, blah, blah, blah.

Yes. It is hard work. There are easier paths out there. We should at least have fun while we're doing it. 

[Mary] Yeah. 

[Tonya] Right? And sometimes I think we come into our entrepreneurship still with an employee mindset, right? And we treat these experts. that we hire, these people that we allow to mentor us, we treat them almost as employers.

[00:58:00] 

Oh, if I don't do what they say, they're going to be mad at me, right? Like, I'm going to get a write up. Um, you know, something that you've heard me say several times, it's like, I promise, like, nobody's going to cancel Christmas over this. Like, I'm going to tell you what I think you should do, but if you decide to do something else first or something else instead, Christmas still comes on December 25th this year, and the year after that, and the year after that.

[Mary] Well, your good advice is going to come back always on December 25th. Yeah. And the year after that. And the year after that. Okay, I asked this question of everybody, and I'm going to ask you now. What does The Last of Us reflect back to you about yourself? 

[Tonya] Oh, I do not think you provided that in the notes for me.

[Mary] I swear I did, but it's been catching a lot of people off guard today. 

[Tonya] Okay, I'm going to make you repeat the question. 

[Mary] What does The Last of Us reflect back to you about yourself? 

[Tonya] Okay, so you know I didn't want to watch this show. The whole 

[00:59:00] reason I turned you down, right, is because I did not want to watch this show.

You know. Not because I didn't want to watch TV. Not because I think I'm too smart, too accomplished, too busy to watch a TV show. Trust me, I will set aside my entire life to watch Reacher on repeat. But because I, you know, I'm like, I don't like horror. 

[Mary] Yeah. 

[Tonya] Right? I, and this is something that Brian pointed out, so this will be Brian's little reference here in the show since, you know, he can't be here actually doing the interview in my place where he'd really rather be.

Um, so Brian pointed it out when I was telling him because, you know, like I was having to leave the room during episodes and just like hollering like, tell me what I miss, I can't watch this part. 

[Mary] Like it's intense. 

[Brian] Yeah. And so he pointed out his sister hated zombies. So Brian's whole life, like as an English major, I mean, he wrote paper after paper Um, post, post apocalyptic stories.

Like, that has been his thing. Yeah. Post apocalyptic. stories and movies and what they say about humanity and how they bring out 

[Mary] Oh, I love him even more now! 

[Tonya] Yeah, how they bring out the best of 

[01:00:00] humanity. Like, they give you this opportunity to really show what sets the good guys apart from the bad guys.

Yeah. His sister, very much like me, hated any kind of post apocalyptic show. But she specifically hated zombies. Okay. To the point that her email address was I Hate Zombies 1954, I think, 1957, something like I Hate Zombies, the year her dad was born. And after like talking about it a lot of times, because he was like, how do you not see this and how do you not see that?

He thought it was the horror aspect. It's not the horror aspect. It's the breakdown of structured society. 

[Mary] Oh, that is so not what I expected you to say. It's hard for you to watch that, isn't it? 

[Tonya] It's... So, you know, I believe that people, because, you know, I, I think back to like, I thought, you know, I was a pretty good student until I had to read things like Lord of the Rings.

Not Lord of the Rings. I'm sorry. That's not the one. 

[01:01:00] 

[Mary] Lord of the Flies. 

[Tonya] Thank you. Lord of the Flies. 

[Mary] Oh, Lord of the Flies. 

[Tonya] Man's inhumanity toward man, like, that is why I do community, because what I have recognized over time is if you leave people to their own devices. Big jackasses of the world ruin it for everybody else.

[Mary] Well, I think there are many of us right now with all of the things that have happened in the last, what, six years, uh, eight years, um, how long ago was 2016? And I think that a lot of people feel that and it's concerning. It's concerning. So. Stories like this seem to appell or retract, but one of the things that I have found really interesting, because I knew that not all of you who I invited to do season one with me were into this show or shows like this.

There's one thing that I know and that that I think is helpful 

[01:02:00] for other entrepreneurs who are avoiding digging into thinking exercises like this is that when you go consume content that you normally wouldn't consume, breaks open new neural pathways, it does something for you. You don't have to love it.

You don't have to agree with it, and you don't have to like watch it forever. But I think that there's something really particularly special in this one, and it's interesting how many people avoid it because they're like, oh, there's gonna be zombies. No, I know, I know all the Last of Us, like, super fans are like, they're infected.

They're not zombies. Um, but they're, but there's monsters, and the thing that I loved about this was the de-emphasis on the monsters. It was very much a character drama at its heart, and the creator said it was punctuated by moments of intensity, and I thought there was something interesting in that, and again with the nuance.

To be able to sit with something long enough to

[01:03:00] see that dynamic shows you so many things about the ways that you might want to set yourself apart in your business, too, because everyone else is doing The Walking Dead. 

[Tonya] Yeah. 

[Mary] And here you are, and you can't avoid it. You've got zombies, too. Your business does.

And it's like, so how are you going to do it differently? 

[Tonya] Well, in this episode in particular, right, this episode is all human drama. Yeah. Which, honestly 

[Mary] The humans are the monsters in this episode. 

[Tonya] But it's much more difficult, right, to sit through some of those pieces. Because, you know, again, it's like humans being inhuman to others.

I mean, throughout this, we're constantly asked, like, is the doctor's life like, is his life more important because he's a doctor? Because of the skill set? We see that part where she's like, well, if I had a doctor, would that change anything? Nope. All right. Doctor just lost value. Yeah. Is he more valuable because or less valuable because he's elderly?

[01:04:00] Is he more valuable because he was the one who delivered Kathleen? He held her as a baby? Like, like, what gives him value in this place? What gives a child value? And so we see these humans just negotiate their morals left and right. And so for me, you know, going back to sort of what this shows to me is part of why I'm so passionate about designing community.

I want a structure where people can thrive. I want to be the person who sets up the structure that's safe. You know, I'm somewhat as narcissistic as Joel, actually. I'd like to think I'm a little better at keeping people safe than he can be. But, just as narcissistic, right? Just as much wanting to be the savior of the world.

[Mary] Oh, Tonya. That's the moment. I'm gonna leave it right there. I don't think you can say anything bigger at this point. 

[01:05:00] Oh my gosh, thank you so much for watching something that I know you didn't want to watch. And doing the thought exercise, and doing it. And, I, I think that you're modeling something for other people that gives them evidence of what happens when you are willing to consider that, that thought trail.

[Tonya] Well, and thank you for the opportunity, because I recognize things that I think about community through this episode, through this show, that I hadn't connected, right? Because, you know, I'm very much an academic. I'll go into research and articles and, you know, history, but through this pop culture lens.

[Mary] It's different, right? 

[Tonya] Oh, I have lots of words now. I could be writing all day long. 

[Mary] You want to finish this thought? 

[Tonya] Well, no, I'm just saying though, it's like I have so many words now about how to think through the inevitable consequences of certain choices. Right? 

[01:06:00] So again, the overthrow of communities, right?

Like, we see that happen a lot. Um, we've seen that happen in some pretty big business communities, right? Somebody gets mad, they say, this is wrong, this is bad, okay, that's it, I'm gonna take my toys and go home. I'm gonna go create this thing elsewhere. And then 

[Mary] Threads. 

[Tonya] Right. And, right? And then, that other new place has an opportunity to be just as bad, worse, or better.

And who makes the difference? 

[Mary] This has been the official School of Moxie podcast with your host Mary Williams and special guest Tonya Kubo. The show is written and produced by Mary Williams. This episode was recorded in Los Angeles, California at Melrose Podcasts with Joel Liss as our sound engineer.

Chris Martin from Chris Martin Studios is our editor and sound designer in Vancouver, Washington. Additional production and marketing support is provided by the AK Collective, founded by Amber Kinney. I'm 

[01:07:00] Mary Williams, your host and the founder of Sensible Woo. You can watch the HBO original series The Last of Us on Max.com

As a librarian, I will always encourage you to check out the companion book Bittersweet by Susan Cain at your local library. You can find this show wherever you listen to podcasts and all of the links to resources, guest information, and anything else we might reference in an episode are in the show notes.

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