CMO Sunday: Lessons from Stephen Hawking

stephen hawking
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I had every intention of writing about social listening this week, but in the wake of Twitter erupting over the loss of Dr. Stephen Hawking, I couldn’t really write about anything else.

Hawking, despite his physical disability, inspired millions around the world. Social media is normally dominated by celebrities, rock stars, and those we generally consider “influencers”. There is much to learn about, and from, this physicist.

Full admission, I sucked at science. But there was more to Hawking than science. Even as a non-scientist he was someone I admired. I see these as some of his lessons, that can really be applied to social media, marketing, entrepreneurship, and life in general.



He was the expert on space and physics. He wrote books about it, that normal humans like me will never be able to wrap their head around.


What is it that you do better than anyone else? What are you an expert in? Do that.



Hawking wrote and published A Brief History of Time in 1988. It was on the London best seller list for 4 years. Four YEARS! You may think your work isn’t the same caliber, but it’s still one of the most powerful business tools. If you don’t think you have a book in you, write an article, a blog post, a white paper. Just write.


Public Speaking

Share your knowledge. Create videos, do podcasts, speak at conferences. Though you may never have the chance to appear on an episode of Star Trek as yourself, you do have opportunities to get out there. Though terrifying to some people, speaking in public reinforces your expertise.


Overcome Hurdles

No matter what anyone tells you, never give up. Hawking was paralyzed and needed a voice synthesizer to speak. At 23 he was given 2-3 years to live. This didn’t hold him back from public speaking, making appearances on television, writing books, or continuing his research. What’s your excuse?

One person really can make a difference. Maybe someday we’ll be saying we breathed the same air as you too.


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