A few weeks ago the team at one of my favorite companies (because a friend founded it and I knew it before it was cool), Museum Hack: This Isn’t Your Grandma’s Museum Tour, recorded a podcast with me, “Leadership & Pirates“.
They love all things historical and asked me to analyze the leadership of one of the most successful pirates of all time, Ching Shih. According to Wikipedia, she
was a prominent pirate in middle Qing China, who terrorized the China Sea in the early 19th century. She personally commanded over 300 junks manned by 20,000 to 40,000 pirates—men, women, and even children. The rest of her fleet, commanded by her subordinates, had more than 1,500 vessels with a crew upwards of 180,000. She entered into conflict with the existing empires of the time, such as the British, the Portuguese and the Qing dynasty. She was one of the few pirate captains to retire from piracy. She is considered to be the most successful female pirate and one of the world’s most powerful pirates in history.
A prime candidate for an effective leader!
Here’s the analysis:
According to the show notes:
Tune in as we hear from leadership expert, NYU professor, and all-around smart guy Joshua Spodek as he, Kate, and Mark discuss the power dynamics, social intricacies and nuances of Ching Shih and her trusty band of 20,000 (or maybe 80,000, or even 120,000) pirates.
The conversation includes discussions on:
- Leadership Vs. Authority
- Trust & Friendship
- Civil Disobedience & Breaking Social Conventions
- And how self-graded university classes are the modern “honor among thieves.”
About Museum Hack
I wrote about the company before, in my Inc. column, “This Start-Up Is Revolutionizing Museums,” which I recommend reading.
Its founder, Nick Gray, found my blog and contacted me before Museum Hack was Museum Hack. Not knowing where I lived, he invited me to take his tour if I was ever in New York. It turns out he lives on the same street as me, just on the other side of Sixth Avenue, maybe a few hundred yards away.
Naturally, we became friends and run into each other occasionally in a neighborhood health food store and he and Mark have spoken to my leadership class at NYU. In the meantime, Museum Hack has grown like crazy, as documented in the Inc. article.
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