Peter Shankman at TEDxTimesSquare :The No Mercy Fallacy – Why Nice Actually Finishes First

By on 07/06/2020

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This video was originally published by TEDx on May 3, 2016

Automatic Transcription

Nice to be last. I hope this is, this has been an amazing day for everyone. I am. I am just in awe of the speakers who have spoken and to go behind Eiza, is horrible. Um, so my name is Peter Shankman. I’m going to talk to you about why nice is important. Um, In the past 20 years, we have taken the assumption that nice being nice is a sign of weakness and nothing could be further from the truth.

There is a huge difference between being nice and being taken advantage of. And I would like to explain to you why the former is actually beneficial for every part of your life, revenue wise, corporate wise, personal wise, it can get you better dates. It can get you upgrades on flights. It can make you a lot of money.

And why being taken advantage of if, you are nice, actually never enters into it at all. So I’m gonna use a few real life examples. That’s a koala, it’s a fat koala. And the fact while it was actually holding a very small animal from Australia.

There are two types of sharers in the world. There are two types of people that share in the world. There is the bad sharer and there is the good share, the bad share. Tells you things that you never want to know and shares with you, things that do not benefit your life in any capacity, No one’s life has ever been benefited by knowing that someone in their circle is currently having a latte on 56th street and 7th Avenue at a Starbucks.

No one’s life has benefited from this from knowing this information. So there were two types of shares we tend to avoid. The bad shares, a bad share has actually become negative icons to us. And we go out of our way to avoid them. We go out of our way to avoid them the same way we go out of our way to avoid people at parties, whether it’s the close talker or the toucher or whatever it is, we go out of our way to avoid those people.

We go out of our way online to avoid negative shares. And if you’ve ever seen the unsubscribe feature, anyone use the unsubscribe feature on Facebook. That is the greatest single greatest feature on Facebook. It’s the silent unfriend. If you have been unsubscribed to it is because you a bad share, a good share, share fun things.

They share things that do one of a few things. They share things that benefit you. They share things that help you live your life better, or they share things that make you smile. In the world in which we live, we spend the majority of our time being fed bad news, whether it’s in the news, whether it’s through friends, whether it’s bad customer service, which I’m going to talk about in a second, we are fed bad news on a regular basis.

The easiest thing in the world to do, to become a good sharer and someone who people want to listen to share things that make people smile. United Airlines. If you, if you know, and you look at my photos, every photo that I post online is me in some capacity doing this, United Airlines of which I am. Very big proponent and a very frequent flyer.

I fly about 250,000 miles a year. And no matter what level of service, what level of elite status you are on any airline, 250,000 miles a year leaves you with a very sore butt it doesn’t matter how well they treat you. Your butt’s gonna hurt after 14 hours on a plane followed by 22 hours on a plane followed by an hour.

Speech followed by 22 hours and 14 hours back. You don’t even know what your name is, let alone what time zone you’re in and your butt hurts. United to take advantage of that and find some of their top fliers to fly on the inaugural 787 flight from Houston to Chicago. And here’s why it’s interesting your first.

That is, Oh, well of course they took you you’re, you’re a frequent flyer, but you know what, they sucked for everyone else. Here’s the thing, the flight that we were on was a regular United Airlines flight, which meant that approximately 75 out of the 150, 160 people on that plane. Were just people trying to get from Houston to Chicago and had no idea that the CEO of United was going to be on the plane.

No idea that everyone was going to get champagne, no idea that we’re going to be shown a water cannon salute. When we landed in Chicago, it was an amazing experience. And the guy next to me, the all he could repeat all over and over. And he was on his cell phone as he was writing, as he was taking pictures, instead of going to frigging meeting in Chicago, I don’t believe this is incredible.
He flew on the inaugural flight. You never going to get that back. You can’t have another inaugural flight. That’s why it’s called an inaugural flight. They made an amazing experience for people like me and for regular people. And those regular people are now customers for life. And m ark my words, those regular people are going to work their way up to being super elites because of that experience.

So does airline travel still suck and stays dead? Yes, it does. But you know what? It’s little experiences like this for the regular consumer. Not for some people like me, but for the regular consumer, that’s going to change how we think of things.

NASA, by the way, NASA still exists. Everyone thinks they went away. When the spit, no, only the space shuttle went away. NASA still exists. I know this because I am on the NASA civilian advisory council. We are a council of people that work for NASA to help advise them on better ways to do things that their astronauts might not know how to do, like marketing.

For instance, like customer service. My first meeting with them, the person to my left of me introduced herself as the director of physics at Stanford. The person to my right of me introduced himself as a commander of four NASA shuttle missions. I introduced myself as a guy who owns a cat named NASA. One of these things is not like the other, but they asked me to be on this committee to help NASA become relevant again. And one of the ways we’ve did we’ve done that is to have social media meetups for every single NASA launch, whether it’s a rocket, whether it’s a fuel cell, whatever it is because let’s face it. I got to share this video that I shot of myself, lying on the roof of mission control. As the last night flight hit STS 121 who else gets to share and the excitement in my voice you’ll hear is real.

That’s amazing. Something like this. People love it. They want to reshare it. And you know what? This proved NASA was not dead. And the one thing they don’t show you actually is the trust catches on fire. They never show you that cause they always follow the rocket. Do amazing things for people. These people will tell other people, get the audience you want by being nice to the audience you have.

Okay. That’s Tweetable. This is not something that’s going to happen for every customer, but essentially I was flying home from New York airport. I jokingly tweeted. Hey, Mortons why don’t you meet me with a porterhouse at Newark airport. When I land with a porterhouse in two hours, and I’m hungry the same way, your tweet.
Hey winter. Seriously. It’s enough. I landed two hours later. Morton’s was waiting for me with a porterhouse that waiter showed up at the Newark airport exit next to my driver, holding a bag with the 24 ounce porterhouse. And if you’ve ever seen Morton’s famous rolls of bread and they had shrimp and it was unbelievable.

And I went home and I wrote a blog post called the greatest customer service story ever told. And I posted it. And within two days it was on the today show. And within six months, Morton’s revenue was up into double digits. You can’t do this for everyone, but you don’t need to. All you need to do is be one level nicer than crap.
Laugh if you want, tell me the, tell me the last time you went to a fast food restaurant, knowing they were going to get your order, right? Or the last time you went to a dry, cleaner, knowing your stuff was gonna be ready when they said it was that’s the level of customer service. We expect one level nicer than that is just one level above crap.

Go out of your way. You’ll create double digit revenue. You’ll create customers for life who will do your PR for you. Get the audience you want by treating the audience. You have just one step better. That’s a flamingo and a lot of animal theme. If you haven’t picked this up, when flamingos, like you I’ll leave that you have a good heart and they want to be your friend, they groom you.
That is a flamingo. Currently grooming me. He was, he was, I don’t know what exactly he was grooming, but he was trying to why? Because the national aviary. One in, in Pittsburgh wanted to promote their new swim with the penguins exhibit, where they, where you could actually register to swim with a penguin.

And they invited me to swim with penguins. They also invited me to be preened by a flamingo. And if you think I’m going to show you a photo of me with a flamingo or a photo of me in a wetsuit, you know which one I choose. That’s why you don’t see me swimming with penguins here. The perfect level of irony.

My wetsuit is actually called it’s made by a company called Orca. It just, it just gets worse and worse. The national aviary had me out. I spent the entire day with three cameras. Every one of us has a cell phone with a camera. And in every one of us as a broadcast or every one of us has a connector, good things get shared.

Don’t focus on creating something that will go viral. You’ll fail, focus on creating something good, focus on creating something that your customers will love. Focus on creating something that create that increases your standing in the world as a good. Person, good people are very hard to find, create things that influence people to believe that you are the good person that you are.
They will tell the world about you. I told the world about my getting, preened getting groomed here by a flamingo. It’s actually a pretty cool experience. PS, they’re sold out on their penguins like next year. I think, um, one level above crap, one level above crap is considered nice in today’s society. That doesn’t take much.

That’s a note from a hotel maid telling me that they found out that they noticed that as they were cleaning my room, I would seem to be out of toothpaste. So they went out and bought me a replacement tube of toothpaste because they knew how busy my schedule was too. I posted this of course on Facebook.

Cause you know, what’s the purpose of living if you’re not doing that. And two days later, As, and if you follow my stream at or even Twitter @petershankman, I don’t post everything. I will never post a Foursquare check-in, you know, unless the building is on fire or there’s a celebrity or they’re giving out money.

That’s the only reason you tie Foursquared it to Twitter. But I posted this cause this was an amazing experience. And when I posted it within 24 hours, I had likes comments and things like that. As I’m leaving the hotel, two days later, the PR person comes up to me and says, you know, I just want to let you know, we can trace back reservations.

From that photo that I’ve already come in from that photo 39 cents, the toothpaste thousands of dollars in new revenue- treat the customers. You have well, treat your friends. Well, they will go out of their way to tell great people how great you are. Humor is the best thing in the world. This is my most retweeted tweet ever.

For those who might not be able to see them live stream, it says warning do not click tweets, offering free clip of new Nickelback album as they link to free clip of new Nickelback album, 7,572 retweets, including including a comment from, from the lead singer of Nickleback, which I can’t repeat here. But.

All I did was find something funny and it got shared. People want to laugh. They want to be treated well. They want to know there’s still decency in the world. Decency. My friends is openness. Share good things. Not bad. That’s Scott, Monty. Just so you know this isn’t all me. Scott Monte is a perfect example of what I’m talking about.

He handled social media for all of Ford worldwide. Okay. If you remember, Ford had a pretty bad month, about a month ago, when someone in India did an ad without Ford’s permission about Ford, that really went negative. Scott lives, his life openly. He lives his life openly for Ford and personally, and Ford has not ever tried to restrict him because he talks and he’s real and everything he talks about good or bad.

He owns, he opens up to it and he admits it for good or for bad. He is. He’s one of the few people at Ford who have single handedly revived Ford and made them the best car company in America. Live your life openly. Good things will come of it. That’s my friend, Susan Katz, Susan Katz, the ParaOlympian. She invited me to speak at the U S Paralympics annual conference.

He said, can you, can you volunteer? Can you help us out? I went, of course, because you have to understand on a, uh, disabled athletes or ParaOlympian athletes, worst day, their worst athlete. It’s still 300 times better of an athlete than I am on my best day at my thinnest. So of course, I’m going to do this. I figure I fly out.

I go to Denver, I meet them. That’s that’s her wonderful service dog. And she’s holding a penguin that I always travel with. You never know when there’s going to be a crying child who gets a laugh, who creates laughs. When you hold up a little baby penguin and he came out and got this photo, PS what she didn’t tell me is that all of their sponsors were there.

All of their multi-million dollar. Beverage sponsors, sports sponsors, equipment sponsors, where they’re listening to this speech as well. I now have three new clients do nice things because they’re nice things to do live your life openly because it’s the right thing to do. Don’t do it because you’re trying to get this stuff because if you are living openly, this stuff will come to you.

Live your life openly and last but not least, we’re on this planet for the shortest amount of time in the world. We really are. If you think about long-term, we’re really here and gone in the blink of an eye, whatever you do with your life. Nothing good ever comes from living in your comfort zone and nothing Tweetable or postal or open should be shared when you’re just in your comfort zone, spend your entire life outside of your comfort zone and great, great things will come from it.

My name is Peter Shankman @petershankman online. Thank you so much.


About Peter Shankman

Peter Shankman is a worldwide influencer and spokesperson for brands across the globe. He is a 5x best selling author, entrepreneur and corporate in-person and digital keynote speaker, focusing on customer service and the new and emerging customer and neuroatypical economy. He is available now for virtual keynote speaking opportunities. Peter’s virtual keynote talks are engaging, inspiring, and full of real-world ideas and practices that companies can immediately implement to build their business and increase their revenue. Take a look at his speaking reel, and then reach out to find out how he can skyrocket your next event.