Aug 28 • 53M

Persuasive communication and managing up | Wes Kao (Maven, Seth Godin, Section4)

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Lenny Rachitsky interviews world-class product leaders and growth experts to uncover concrete, actionable, and tactical advice to help you build, launch, and grow your own product.
Episode details

Wes Kao has worked with Seth Godin (where she co-founded the altMBA and served as executive director), David Perell on his Write of Passage course, Professor Scott Galloway on Section4, and Morning Brew. Currently, she’s the co-founder of Maven, a cohort-based learning platform where I taught my own course. Wes is passionate about telling stories that stay true to the creator’s intentions while keeping your audience listening. In today’s episode, you will learn how to use state changes to keep your audience engaged, how to communicate more clearly by focusing on the how more than the why, how to manage up for success, and how to communicate your priorities to set a boundary.

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Google, Overcast, Pocket Casts, and YouTube.

Have questions for Wes about online courses, crafting powerful messages, communicating clearly, or launching a startup? Post it in the comments and Wes will do her best to help 👇

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Find the full transcript here:

Where to find Wes Kao:

• Website:

• Twitter:

• LinkedIn:

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter:

• Twitter:

• LinkedIn:

Thank you to our wonderful sponsors for making this episode possible:

• Modern Treasury:

• Berbix:

• Makelog:


• The Super Specific How: How to make your cohort-based course more rigorous:

It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer’s Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences:

Guide to Better Business Writing (HBR Guide Series):

• Seth Godin’s blog:

The Minto Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing, Thinking, and Problem Solving:

Doctor Foster:

• Suzy Batiz:

• Amanda Natividad’s Marketing 201 course:

• Dr. Marily Nika’s course:

In this episode, we cover:

[03:39] Wes’s early career

[07:08] How to land a job with Seth Godin

[09:56] What makes Seth Godin stand apart

[14:50] Wes’s framework for better writing: the super-specific how

[18:08] Writing and teaching without the BS

[21:45] State changes: how to keep your audience engaged when teaching

[25:51] The data of “eyes light up” moments

[29:27] What managing up can do for you

[32:51] How to manage up effectively

[34:17] Lenny’s template for proactive communication

[36:19] The skills you need to communicate clearly through writing

[43:50] How to protect your bandwidth (without having to say no to your boss)

[47:32] How Lenny sets priorities and communicates them

[48:24] Lightning round!

Production and marketing: