Be More Pirate – Change starts with you.

What we learned from reading Be More Pirate – or how to take on the world and win by Sam Conniff Allende

A guest blog by Gwenaelle Joubert .

‘There’s only one thing more stupid than stupid rules, and that’s the people who follow them.’ Sam Conniff Allende

Be More Pirate – or how to take on the world and win by Sam Conniff Allende has been on the Lucidity Network business book club list for a while. I’ve been looking forward to the day arriving when we got to review it. The title was a little too enticing for me, so I read as soon as I saw it in the list. I love pirates, pirate stories, movies, sailing, rum, you name it, I am there. I even wore a 50’s style dress with skulls and crossbones as a bridesmaid!

The book takes you on a journey through the history of the Golden Age Pirates looking at their more equitable and fair practices and also some of today’s pirates. One of today’s modern pirates Taylor Swift’s really struck a chord with me.

‘Rejecting the obvious record-industry route, Taylor is signed to a small-town label where she retains complete control of her career. With no industry machine to back her, she’s nevertheless amassed the clout to stand up to Apple and Spotify, and bring them both to heel. Her storytelling through song, content, social media and well-orchestrated gossip, vendettas and ‘feuds’ with everyone from Kanye West to Katy Perry means she’s routinely named on social media amongst the world’s most powerful figures.’

There are so many hurdles to the Arts and music. I have real respect for her taking on the big recording companies and being in charge of her own career. It made me see her differently and also showed me how sometimes you need to look at things differently.

Christine de Leon, Editor-in-Chief for The Beautiful Truth, beautifully summarises what author Sam Conniff Allende says in the book that being more pirate comes down to five key elements of the Pirate Code:

  1. Breaking the rules and rewriting better ones;
  2. Having the right crew;
  3. Sticking to your principles;
  4. Redistributing power to protect those principles;
  5. Using spectacular storytelling techniques so the world pays attention.

I work for a small mental health charity that punches above its weight, and in many ways, it felt like we were already in part pirates! However, I felt there was more we could do to adopt the principles of the book. Convincing the team to adopt a pirate ethos was a small challenge; everyone laughed but it made sense. We’d recently had a consultation across social media which had showed us that people didn’t want public sector organisations or even charities to give them mental health support, because they didn’t trust us. They wanted to hear from their peers.

As a peer-led organisation, it made sense to open up our social media channels to the people following up and accessing our charity for support. We let them take charge. We only had two rules:

  1. That you couldn’t say anything you would not say to your gran or your boss
  2. You couldn’t mention medication.

We launched a peer-led podcast, a newsletter and our own hashtag. We even rebranded. All this of this peer-led. And all motivated by the Pirate Code. The result – we doubled our following and engagement. Our income also grew.

‘Be more pirate or be more Kodak’  Alex Barker

Being more Pirate offers an eye-opening into how to challenge your thinking, how things can be done differently and being more authentic. However, the question I am left with is do you eventually have to go back and keep breaking your rules? Do you then become part of the problem? I’m off to contemplate this but leave you with if you could break one rule, what would it be?

Gwenaelle Joubert is the Fundraising & Communications Officer at Bipolar Scotland and a Freelance Consultant & Creative.

The Book

Be More Pirate – or how to take on the world and win by Sam Conniff Allende

Whatever your ambitions, ideas and challenges, this book will revolutionise the way you live, think and work today, and tomorrow.

How to be: More Pirate

If you want to go deeper – How to be: More Pirate is the 2020 follow up – the story of how the book became the movement. It does what it says on the tin, and is more of a practical guide, offering tips, and ideas based on how organisations, from Mercedes to the NHS, have put the pirate principles into practice.

The lovely people at Be More Pirate are offering Lucidity readers a 20% off purchase price. Just go to the website and enter the discount code LUCIDITY20 at the checkout.

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