We have another incredibly interesting person in the big seat this week.
She is an international speaker, podcaster, author and a leading voice when it comes to the psychology of online persuasion (infact she wrote a bestseller on the subject).
Nathalie Nahai is a must know name for anyone in this game of ours. She studies the science behind evolving customer behaviours and translates it into real-world principles - helping brands enhance their content, websites, product design and overall customer experience.
I've met Nathalie a few times, she never disappoints - and you'll see from her answers, she possess some deep wisdom.
When you are gone, what would you like people to write for your obituary?
That’s a powerful question. I would hope that people would write about my passion for life, that I was a lover of music, art, dance, poetry. That I lived fiercely and delighted in nature and food and conversation. That through my working and living, I played a part in restoring and regenerating the living world, and brought hope and support to people in difficult times. I would wish to be remembered as a mischievous, playful soul who rarely followed the script, and sought to encourage others to find their own way too.
In reality, I don’t really think I mind whether I am remembered or not. My deepest wish is that my living brings more kindness and hope and joy than it brings pain, and that I am able to use my abilities to contribute in some way, however small, to reduce the suffering in this world. And to have fun doing it.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
Working for a design client who kept changing the brief and scope without augmenting the already tiny budget – I’m sure many of us can relate to that one ; )
Have you ever had a mentor?
Yes, I met her at a tiny gathering in Wales about 5 years ago, and she’s been puncturing my illusions and raising my sights ever since!
What is your most used, ‘couldn’t live without’ phone app?
I think I’d have to say either the podcast app, or Spotify
What is something that I could learn right now, that will be useful for the rest of my life?
How to spend time alone!
What do you spend way too much money on?
I absolutely LOVE great food, and my favourite way to spend money is either on beautiful produce I can use at home, or on a fabulous dinner out with loved ones.
If you were guaranteed the correct answer to one question, what would you ask?
What is the purpose of life?
What one tip would you give someone looking to create their best work?
I think it would be to pause – to take a physical break, even for a few days, away from your friends, families, partner. Away from your work, your phone and laptop, from the place you live. We rarely give ourselves enough time and space to stop and listen, and I think that for some of us, this year has created the conditions in which we have been either gifted or forced to more deeply reflect on what we want from our lives.
Stripping out the distractions and immersing ourselves in nature, whether that’s renting a small cottage somewhere, pitching a tent in a field, or going for a hike, can create the mental, emotional and physical space to allow the internal enquiry to deepen, and creativity to emerge.
Worst marketing buzzword?
Optics. Gah! I can’t stand that word!
How do you unwind?
Since the lockdown, I’ve found that I really take pleasure in cooking, but only when I have the time to slow down and enjoy it. It usually involves putting on some soulful music and having a cheeky glass of wine. Either that, or going out into the countryside with my partner and hiking through trees, or along coves.
Last thing you searched for on your phone?
The Oscars, to find out more about the new inclusion and representation standards announced by The Academy.
Most played song on iTunes/Spotify? (no cheating)
Frustratingly, Spotify makes this incredibly hard to find - but my most played song of 2019 was “Old Friend”, by Elderbrook.
Who would you like to see answer these questions in the spotlight?
My dear friend and inspiration, Dr Aaron Balick : )
There are 5 empty seats at your table, who are your dream dinner party guests - from any time or place?
How do you define success?
At this moment in time, my idea of success spans several key aspects of life. Work-wise, it means being able to spend maybe one day a week doing fulfilling, valuable work that is intellectually and emotionally stimulating, and that pays really well. Having this rhythm of work would free me up to pursue painting and music-making for the pure pleasure of it, and start developing ideas for gatherings that enable people to deepen their relationship with themselves and with the natural world. Relationship-wise, success for me is about having people in my life with whom I can share adventures, deep conversation and rich moments together – it’s about mutually enriching experiences and partnerships, and a lot of my friendships revolve around a shared love of art- and music-making. In terms of lifestyle and place, my dream is to live out in the countryside in a farmhouse with land, regenerating and rewilding the area and going for long walks with my partner and a couple of dogs!
Early bird or night owl? Night owl
Book or boxset? Book
Call or text? Text
Introvert or Extrovert? Ambivert!
Netflix or YouTube? Netflix
Library or museum? Museum
Classic or modern? Modern
Talk us through your workspace.
What helps you get through the day and do what you need to do?
A cup of coffee (or tea)
I actually start each morning with a full cafetière of coffee, and I love the ritual of pouring it into my bone-china cup. I have a thing about aesthetically and haptically pleasing objects, and the shape, translucence and feel of this particular set makes me smile every time I use it.
I first met Christophe Chayriguet, the designer behind Offlines, at an event I was speaking at in 2016. He makes the most beautiful leather notepads, and as I love to take notes by hand, I asked him to make me a monogrammed pocket-size notebook I could carry with me. The leather is soft and has worn beautifully, and the pad is refillable, which means it’s easy to organize and use. I’ve since bought several of these for friends and loved ones, and it’s one of my most treasured possessions.
My book-writing worksheet
Rather ironically for an author, book-writing is not something I particularly enjoy – so I’ve had to design a worksheet that helps me to stay disciplined and motivated. The columns help me track my progress by wordcount, theme and the time blocks I’ve spent writing. It’s the same system I used when writing the first edition of Webs Of Influence back in 2012, and I’m relying on it again now as I write my new book.
As I was travelling a lot, speaking at conferences, my lightweight MacBook sits at the heart of my work life. I do everything on this, from recording interviews for The Hive Podcast, to designing presentations and writing my new book. The Griffin stand is a life-saver for keeping my head up (and my neck pain-free) while I write!
This was one of the first functional pieces of art I bought after the success of my book, and it’s something that delights me every time I switch it on. The lamp is made of porcelain, and I love how the form of the sculpture seems to turn and change as the light conditions move throughout the day. It reminds me of my time spent in the realist painting school where I just completed 3 years of training, and on gloomy days it creates a beautiful warm glow whenever I’m hunkering down to write.
My beloved plants
These little ones keep me smiling – not only because of the three-legged pot that houses my Rana Verde (I have a thing about pots with legs), but also because these leafy folks bring me a sense of connection with the outside world. It’s well documented that having plants in the work environment reduces stress and boosts focus and productivity, and just seeing them peripherally as I write gives me a sense of aliveness and calm which I really miss when they’re not there.
I’m currently working on a new book about the deep shifts we’re seeing in consumer behaviours and the need for brand resilience, but until that’s out (September 2021) - you can check out The Hive Podcast and follow updates through my newsletter (sign up at the bottom of this page).