020 – How to Sell Software with Cory McCain oF WeStrive

Isaiah McPeak took the helm for this instant-classic episode of live coaching with Cory McCain. After hearing about Cory’s new podcast about fitness and health, Isaiah helped Cory with software sales challenges. Cory runs WeStrive, a software platform for fitness trainers (westriveapp.com).

Software sales challenges they covered:

  • How to scale by adding salespeople without losing performance.
  • Deciding the in-source vs. out-source as you scale a software company.
  • Why demoing software is a bad approach, and how to use the tabs-menu approach to make “demos” live and dynamic.
  • How to land the choose-your-own-adventure software demo with a value-finding question.



019 – How Tech Startups Raise Money: Communication Tips for Fundraising Meetings

Isaiah McPeak opens the show talking about his successful fundraising round for Pinwheel. We delve into raising money, communicating well, and relating to investors like people:

  • The difference between raising money pre- or post-revenue (why Isaiah’s company said no to Jason Calacanis)
  • How new company founders find investors to pitch: building a network and getting introductions
  • Why a network matters and how repeat founders can be in a better spot
  • How to practice your pitch for investors
  • Pitch meetings structure: one cool trick to making a slide deck help the conversation move
  • How to make your presentations more interesting: don’t start with slide one
  • Why showing that you’re intimidated by potential funders sets you up to fail

Read more: Navigating Fundraising Advice for Startups (from Isaiah)

Concision: Put Yourself on the Clock (from Nathanael)


Co-host: Isaiah McPeak

Co-host and show notes: Nathanael Yellis

Producer: Elijah Schow

018 – Mailbag Bonanza

“My co-workers are too nice. How can I get useful feedback?,” “What’s the best place to practice professional communication?” In this episode, the hosts answer listeners’ questions. Tune in for solid advice and practical insights.


Co-host: Isaiah McPeak

Co-host: Nathanael Yellis

Producer: Elijah Schow

017 – Special Guest Steven Tomlinson

The show opens with a great clap track. Our guest Steven Tomlinson is an Acton MBA master teacher, a playwright, and a communications coach. He joins us to talk shop as a fellow coach of people with messages. Steven consults business people (among others) with coaching techniques both Isaiah and Nathanael have heavily borrowed from. Reconnecting with an old friend and mentor makes this episode a delight.
  • Isaiah opens with a quick time machine to remind us why the pod is called “own your platform.”
  • Steven jumps into the drivers’ seat of the pod, asking your hosts questions.
  • Nathanael quotes Steven’s definition of communication, referencing stick figures drawn on one of Acton MBA’s massive whiteboards, “land on their island.”
  • What to do about weaponized communication: when people think of communicating as just wanting to win an argument.
  • How Steven starts his coaching in a human, honest place, with a generous intention.
  • Learn about the one secret tool that makes communications coaching work: a camera, allowing the client to see themselves.


Co-host: Isaiah McPeak

Co-host: Nathanael Yellis

Producer: Elijah Schow

016 – Live Coaching: How to Pitch New Clients

Isaiah and Nathanael welcome a guest to the podcast. He’s a business owner with a specific challenge: how to pitch his service to new clients. Isaiah and Nathanael help him identify the kinds of potential clients, and figure out what to bring to pitch conversations. Of all the things a salesperson can say, what should they bring up? How can sales pitches be playful, generative, and helpful to all participants?Isaiah gives you a few playbooks to take to your next pitch, all under the heading of making the pitch more of a dialog.

Other notable moments:

  • We learn just how many debate partners Isaiah had–and where some of them are now.
  • Why “pitches” aren’t really pitches, 8 out of 10 times.
  • Get a peek behind the curtain of how Isaiah McPeak coaches entrepreneurial communication.


Co-host: Isaiah McPeak

Co-host: Nathanael Yellis

Producer: Elijah Schow

015 – The Reunion

Isaiah and Nathanael join forces for the first time in 6 years: where are they now? Are they still communications coaches? The hosts catch up on career, communications, and how their approaches have evolved. Isaiah’s career has taken him into startup land, advising founders on how to pitch their companies: we hear the one thing he still does that adds the most value. Part of his evolution is doing the work directly in addition to coaching those who do the work. Nathanael moved from politics to software consulting: Isaiah teases out some themes from his approach and declares: still a communicator!
Come for the catch up. Stay for the…
  • Question-asking trick to be the “dumbest” person in the room.
  • Isaiah’s menu of bananas-but-true stories from his recent work.
  • The secrets of startups raising money.
  • The balance of doing the thing vs. coaching the doers.
  • A story about leaving politics and going to HubSpot.
  • Explainer on HubSpot consulting.
  • Aristotle quote that actually helped Nathanael.
  • Hat tip to Steven Tomlinson.


Catch up with Isaiah 1:00
— Break —
Catch up with Nathanael 13:38


Co-host: Isaiah McPeak

Co-host: Nathanael Yellis

Producer: Elijah Schow


Questions or comments? Email us at podcast@isaiahmcpeak.com. We’d love to hear from you.

014 – Coaching workshop part 3: “I bombed”

Nathanael picks up shattered pieces of his ego after returning from the Marketo marketing conference. He and Isaiah analyze what went wrong during his presentation, why it went wrong, and how to improve.

Part 1Part 2, Part 3


“I bombed” 0:50
— Break —
Listener Questions 15:05
What’s making us think 28:50

012 – Coaching workshop part 1

Isaiah coaches Nathanael for an upcoming presentation. Listen to part one to hear how Isaiah coaches; listen to part two to discover how the coaching worked for Nathanael and why Isaiah made the coaching decisions he did.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Show notes

PART ONE: Coaching workshop

Isaiah opened with a seemingly random story: Isaiah’s Dad attended his trumpet playing lessons. He then actually connected the story to this episode’s theme: real live coaching.

Nathanael has a nice gig coming up: a breakout speaking slot during the Marketo Marketing Nation conference in San Francisco. His slides are locked, but he has some concerns about what to actually say and how to own the platform.

Bonus lesson learned: why did Marketo pick Nathanael’s talk? Clickbait in the wild—or ‘conference bait,’ according to Isaiah.

The process Nathanael used to develop his presentation may be interesting—if you ever wonder how people come up with what to say—it involved conversations, audio recordings thereof, and hand-drawn visuals.

While Nathanael is retrospecting on the exciting development of his presentation, work he’s already done and is happy with, Isaiah jumps in with a stunningly clarifying yet simple coaching question.

Isaiah helps clarify Nathanael’s goal—being memorable—and offers two recommendations to accomplish the goal.

First: the crux of the message should be a single memorable, quotable phrase (employing a figure of speech). Isaiah’s analysis on why this should be the case will apply to the next thing you say, no matter what the platform. He also, helpfully, explains how to develop these phrases.

(Quote of the episode “I’m excited, I now have homework!” —Nathanael)

Second: as a workshop presented, deploy a menu of real tactics that engage the audience in the topic, breaking the “I’m the presenter; you’re the audience” mold. This will create energy in the room and make the workshop memorable. Isaiah then offers a guardrail on how not to do this: don’t ask questions first, as a warmup, that’s an immediate ask of the audience, with nothing offered first. Nathanael has a few ideas to deploy in the talk.

PART TWO: Debriefing the Coaching Session

After the 18.5-minute coaching session, Isaiah asks for a net promoter score. Nathanael answers yes!

The presentation has created some trepidation and fear for Nathanael, most of it irrational. Talking with Isaiah about the workshop itself, using objective facts, helped Nathanael realize what will be gained by giving it his best shot.

Isaiah wonders if the talking aloud about the presentation was as helpful as talking through the presentation, and Nathanael thinks it was the most helpful. He developed a “swing thought.”

The hosts decide that OYP has no official position on the moon landing. However Isaiah does recommend a reading a related speech for inspiration.

Nathanael offers a Powerpoint study from the non-profit world that helped him make his presentation; Isaiah tells him why he remembered the title of the study.

Email your questions for the coaches to podcast@ownyourplatform.com


011 – Book Commentary: “Confessions of a Public Speaker”

Summary:  Isaiah constantly references “Confessions of a Public Speaker” by Scott Berkun, so the hosts dedicated an entire episode to get the book out of his system. Hear the hosts supplement Berkun’s pithy prose with personal anecdotes.

Show Notes:

Isaiah steals the show and takes on the role of host. Despite having no idea what’s coming to him, Nathanael managed in interject a few salient points, starting with a dissection of the myth of razor blades in halloween candy. (Lesson learned: Never advise people to picture others in their underwear.)

First except. Isaiah introduces the first topic with a pithy quote from Confessions, mistakes that come from nerves, fear, and butterflies. Nathanael talks about seeing his hands shake when speaking and how his coaches told him to respond.

Note: this episode has some odd, weird, and yet effective transitions between topics. All in all an abnormal energy episode, as Isaiah is in the drivers seat and Nathanael can only interject via free association.

Second excerpt. Isaiah’s second major quote, from Confessions, puts you in the seats of an auditorium and the brains of an audience. That leads Nathanael to a less-than-clever joke, some additional jokes about workplace meetings, and then finally some thoughtful discussion about meetings. Just what makes meetings or debate rounds memorable is something out of the ordinary. Discussion: how to harness this energy without making mistakes.

Right before the break the hosts forget which episode was the one where Nathanael mistakenly showed porn to the entire audience. It was Episode 6.


The hosts ponder the eternal question: presentation zen or presentation sin?

Among top sins, focusing on the Powerpoints tops Nathanael’s list. He describes the very personal act of deleting someone else’s words & slides and the very coaching act of telling people to practice.

Nathanael’s advice: shift attention from slides to the person talking. He tells the story of a time this tip caused Powerpoint chaos before a big presentation.

Isaiah presses the question: how many slides do I need? Nathanael gives a two-part answer: how two different types of people use compelling visuals in two different ways.

In a somewhat complete change of subject, Isaiah told the story of how he manically rearranged the room right before one of his colleagues gave an important workshop. Learn why the room was messed up and how he brought order to chaos. (Hint: it’s all about connecting with people, the ancients, and the fact that they didn’t have Powerpoints.)

Mic drop moment: do you want to connect to people or a screen? (Asked Isaiah, to you the listener.)

Listen for: the iPhone timer interrupting a very salient point from Isaiah TWICE!

Edit: the author’s name was previously misspelled “Burken” instead of “Berkun”.