Interview with William Matthies, author of 'The 7 Keys to Change'


In 1986, I founded what was to become the largest independent market research/database marketing company in the consumer electronics and high tech fields. By the time I sold it in 1997, The Verity Group employed 400+ people at its California and Costa Rica offices.

Prior to that, I cofounded Barcus Berry Electronics, Inc. a venture capital-backed start-up with a proprietary audio technology called BBE, which was licensed for use in audio, video, computing, and telecommunication products.

From 1977 to 1983, I wore several hats at Pioneer Electronics (USA), Inc. including Director of Market Research, Director Sales Planning, National Sales Manager, Special Markets, Vice President Marketing and, ultimately, Senior Vice President Marketing and Product Development.

Today, I serve on corporate advisory boards, am a contributor for TWICE(the consumer electronics industry’s major trade publication) and lecture frequently at industry events around the world on managing change, strategic planning, and customer relations.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

Being a father to two boys who have grown into two outstanding young men.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing?

I have a heightened work ethic, which I’ve found to be very useful writing a book. Without it I either wouldn’t have finished or, at the very least, would not have done as good a job.

When and why did you begin writing?

About 5 years ago I discovered “writing” was what I needed to do to communicate what I had learned in my search to understand why companies and individuals fail to achieve their change goals.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I’ve always enjoyed writing but never considered myself to be a writer. I still don’t.

When did you first know you could be a writer? 

That depends on the definition of a “writer”. If everyone who records their thoughts on paper are “writers”, than I am as well. If there is something more to it than that, which I believe there is, I am not.

What inspires you to write and why?

The need/desire to communicate something to others.

What genre are you most comfortable writing?

For the moment, non fiction.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I found what I believe is the solution to failure to achieve both personal and professional goals, and as a result, I was compelled to share what I learned with others.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began?

Countless nameless individuals who had countless things to say that I found of value in my writing.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?

The need to self-discipline on so many levels including writing consistently, the need for finding help with editing, and the absolute need to accept advice that often, initially does not seem correct.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?

That good writing does not happen on the first attempt. The best most of us have to offer will only happen after multiple rewrites.

What is your greatest strength as a writer? 

The only strength that matters; discovering something that others will find value reading. And that does not always happen.

What is your favorite quality about yourself?

My optimism.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself?

My temper.

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?

“Change is the only constant in life.” Heraclitus 5th century BC Greek philosopher. My book is about change and when it comes to recognizing how we all must live our lives, I can think of no more important quote than this.