Splash, Splash: Create a Title Wave

October 23, 2018

Schoolteacher turned national poetry slam champion Sekou Andrews opened ALTA ONE with a riveting and dynamic presentation inspiring attendees to be innovative and to not be afraid to defy convention.

After running onto the stage and landing with a thunderous jump, Sekou in his perfect harmonic cadence, rattled off several phrases people typically hear urging them to accept the status quo:

  • Know your place.
  • Stay in your lane.
  • Keep swimming.
  • Don’t rock the boat.
  • Don’t make waves.
  • Grind out 80-hour weeks with thirsty skin.

“There are people who only go waste deep into the waters of change. Why?” Sekou asked. “Because they are afraid to make waves. Why? Waves have got a bad rap. Today we are going to change that. We are going to redefine what waves mean us. We’re here to defy convention.”

Sekou’s work has been featured on ABC World News, MSNBC, HBO, Good Morning America, Showtime, MTV and BET. He has given private performances for such prominent individuals as Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Quincy Jones, Larry King, Hillary Clinton, Coretta Scott King & family and President Obama. He has also shared the stage with such heavyweights as Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, Carlos Santana, Kendrick Lamar and Maroon 5. As a recording artist, his last album, “Poetic License,” made him the most awarded artist in the nation’s largest independent music organization.

Several times during his presentation, Sekou emphasized the words “splash, splash,” to highlight the point of jumping into the water unabashed to defy convention. He urged attendees to leave ALTA ONE “as the annoying title kid of title reps.”

“I want you to push your industry out of its conform zone, to go be the seismic wave that shakes things up. This world isn’t waiting for you to catch up. You know this and live this. Our world doesn’t know how to downshift.”

Sekou said we’ve entered a new wave of consumer climate control and that resistance is futile.

“Navigated by a generation born in cyberspace, there’s a new sheriff in town enforcing a digital disruption changing laws of supply and demand to supply on demand,” Sekou said.

He described disruption as rude and a jerk. “It doesn’t raise its hand, doesn’t give a heads-up. You may not even know it’s come for you until its done with you.”

To survive, companies should work to beat disruption to its destination and welcome the future no matter what it brings. Sekou said the “yes and” rule of improvisation is a great way to develop a mindset that welcomes innovation.

A rule of improv is to agree. When improvising, this means you are must agree with whatever your partner has created. So, if someone says, “Freeze, I have a gun,” and you say, “That’s not a gun. It’s your finger. You’re pointing your finger at me,” the scene grounds to a halt. But if the person says, “Freeze, I have a gun!” and you say, “The gun I gave you for Christmas! You bastard!” then we you’ve started a scene because there’s agreement that the finger is a Christmas gun.

“Take what info is given to you and convert it to where you need to get to,” Sekou said. “You might need to take another path to get to the same destination.”

Sekou reminded attendees that while they are out there protecting property rights, they also need to develop ways to protect themselves too.

“Stay ahead of customers’ future needs, so you don’t get ‘Blackburried,’” he joked.

Another key ingredient to success, according to Sekou, is building trust. Telling powerful, strategic stories gives people the opportunity to define themselves in you. Sekou said people look for similar reassurances and needs. “People listen differently when they feel understood,” he said.

The first step is to be a human being. Don’t talk to people like they’re business cards. The front is just a front, “it’s the forward to the story of us. The back is where the lines become blurred and our walls dissolve, revealing the truth of who we are.”

“The more we share our stories and give people the opportunity to find their story in ours, we create an intersection of our lives,” he said. “It’s not about the policy you’re selling. Don’t come talking to me about the science. Your version is so dope.”

Wrapping up, Sekou pointed out that the people in the audience may be their biggest competitor and yet their biggest asset. He said that everyone in the title industry is part of the same story and are the ripple in the same sea.

“Be proud to be a ‘title’ wave,” Sekou encouraged attendees. “You can’t hide behind complacency. You must face waters unafraid if you want to defy convention. Make waves. Splash, splash!”


Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.