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Fighting Inane Business Idioms

In conversation with Shubhi Tandon, Steve Blakeman, MD - Global Accounts, OMD Europe and Mike Adams, Investor-Advisor-Speaker, explain what inspired them to write the book

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In workplaces today, people use a lot of phrases that make no sense such as ‘throw under the bus’, ‘ducks in a row’. As talking in buzzwords has become more common, Steve Blakeman, MD - Global Accounts, OMD Europe and Mike Adams, Investor-Advisor-Speaker, wanted to address this issue and launched a comedy book titled Billy Bullsh!t Talks Business. In conversation with Shubhi Tandon, the authors explain what inspired them to write the book

What is the concept and inspiration behind the book? 
Blakeman: Working for so many years in advertising / marketing proved to be all the inspiration I needed. I’ve met so many people who spout inane bullshit phrases and business idioms that it has become parody in itself. Mike has seen much of the same as a consultant and so we developed the character of Billy as example of the worst kind of bullshitter who only ever speaks using corporate claptrap. Pop that in your mental microwave and see how it defrosts. Boom.

How did you go about getting the book published? 
Adams: That has been quite a process. When we released a crowd sourcing article across various social channels, it gained so much traction that the article was featured on Inc. and BusinessWeek. This seemed to get the attention of some of the major global publishers. We also signed a literary agent who was as excited about Billy as we were. However, the various publishers wanted to change the concept of Billy Bullsh!t into something that we were not aligned with. So we stuck to our guns. What we are doing now is commercially validating the book via a crowd funding platform and using a pre-order campaign.
Why did you look at comedy as the genre for the book? 
Blakeman: As a concept, the book is unique because there has never been a character who only ever speaks total bullshit and Mike and I thought that offered plenty of comedic potential. We then put Billy into 52 work-related scenarios such as a conference call, a brainstorming session, a sales meeting etc. so that readers could easily identify with these situations and imagine someone like Billy participating in them. There is also a very funny backstory running through the book. In Billy’s role of ‘Chief Guru of Imagineering’ (as you can see, even his job title is bullshit), he is responsible for the launch of two new toys, one of which is fundamentally flawed and the other is hilariously inappropriate. That’s the thing with Billy. Frankly, he is totally un-PC and thoroughly unlikeable but the things he says are inadvertently funny. He’s definitely the type of person you laugh at, not with.
Who is the target audience for the book?
Adams: Given it is a comedy business book, it is suitable primarily for professionals working in the corporate world. They will relate the most to the inane, nonsensical business idioms that Billy insists on using. We are finding that people are buying books for their staff, bosses and colleagues as well as for family members. It’s a great gift book and we have some fun and creative ways for people to purchase a copy of the book.

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Steve Blakeman Mike Adams magazine 1 september 2018

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