How to tell you've made it

Congratulations, you’ve officially “made it” in your career.

So what’s different? What does that look like? I’m not sure I can say anyone’s version of “making it” is the same, but I can say with certainty two things:

1) Everyone is disappointed when they reach the point they thought was “making it.”

2) “Making it” is about a behavior trait we exhibit, not a destination we reach.

So why is everyone disappointed? We look at people we admire, or we plot a course towards the future, and we think, “If I can just have X, or do Y, or reach Z, I’ll be happy. I’ll be satisfied. I’ll know I’ll have made it.”

But then what happens? We reach that point, or we talk to those who have, and the reaction is always the same: “I’m here now. Cool. I did that thing. Great. Okay then. What’s next?”

It turns out that “enough” is a decision we make. Not a destination we reach.

That’s the disappointment we all feel. It’s not “just do X and you’re good.” It’s only one continual journey until you decide to stop working or it’s decided for you.

So what’s this behavior trait we can exhibit to know we’ve made it? It’s the very same trait that defines a thriving career, the lifelong journey we’re on until we decided to stop: the ability to be proactive about our work.

In some jobs and careers, people merely react. They’re told to do something, whether overtly by a boss or client, or implicitly by a culture or a trend in the market. They just react. They’re not proactive.

So how do we know when we’ve “made it”? I think it’s when we’re being proactive more often than not — when most or all of what we do is our decision. We chose it. We GET to do it. We don’t HAVE to do it.

So I’d ask you: Have you made it? You can make it a lot sooner than you think, because it doesn’t take nearly as much time or money or fame or traditional sense of accomplishment as you’d think. In fact, you could “make it” today.

When you’re proactive about what you do, that’s how you’ll know: You’ve made it.

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Posted on October 15, 2019 .

Untangling headphones

Yanno how, whenever you put a pair of headphones into your pocket, they always come out all tangled up? It’s like, “Oh, great, I wanted to listen to music or a podcast, but now I get a puzzle instead.” I’m sure you’ve experienced that. We all have.

The only way to untangle that mess is to just … start. You pull one thing, nope, that didn’t work. You pull another, and yep, that’s a bit better. You pull and slide and push and prod, until finally, you have some semblance of plan, and then it all happens a lot faster until it’s what you wanted in the first place.

This is the creative process, perfectly summed up.

Posted on October 12, 2019 .

What to show a boss who wants short-term results

Every month, I hold 1:1 video calls with subscribers to Marketing Showrunners. (MSR is the media company I lead which covers the growing movement of marketers who make original series to build their brands and serve their audiences.)

Combine that with about 2 speaking engagements per month, and I feel grateful to learn from and interact with the people I most want to serve with my work all the time.


Except for this one issue I always hear about which I always struggle to address: “My boss wants results right now.”

Nothing I suggest doing in my content or on a stage happens overnight, because nothing exceptional can be done quickly. But do (bad) leaders want to hear that? Of course not. In fact, I’d hesitate to call such an executive a “leader” at all.

Sometimes, the obvious answer is the right one: leave that boss. Find a new manager internally, find a mentor externally, or get the heck outta dodge — find a new job. We get to live on this earth exactly once. Why spend it banging your head up against a (stubborn, short-sighted) brick wall?

Still, there are times when staying is the right choice for any number of reasons. For those times, we need a way to communicate why our longer-term ideas actually should get approved. The issue is, as I wrote about in my most-read article of all-time, we often pitch our ideas backwards. We start by talking about what WE want to do, what OUR idea is, instead of making it clear that we understand what THEY want and believe — and that everything we’re about to tell them will help with that.

That’s the key: our ideas have to make it abundantly clear that we’re proposing a solution to the problem they’re already trying to solve. For a boss who wants short-term numbers, that often means today’s goals. Overlook that fact, and you face the long and often fruitless slog of trying to change what they want or what they see or believe about something … then convincing them to buy into your idea for executing on their now-”correct” belief system.

Maybe leave that philosophical persuasion to people who don’t have real jobs and can pontificate for a living. (Hi, I’m Jay, I believe we’ve met?) You have stuff to worry about that they (and I) don’t: near-term numbers to hit, promotions to care about, politics to navigate … I get it. Because I hear it. Every month.

So what can you do?

As a starting point, I suggest reading through “The Green Smoothie Problem,” that widely read piece I mentioned before, in order to improve how you persuade and pitch. That’s here. But the real reason I write to you today is to show you something which you can show your boss.



Often, visualizing what you mean to say to others helps both you and them instantly understand. This is what I wish I had for the dozens of 1:1 video calls and post-speech conversations I’ve had over the last few years: one simple chart to instantly get on the same page. Because THAT is what we mean when we talk about long-term results. We want to take a little bit of time today to ensure that tomorrow, and everyday after that, yields better “near-term results” for those future versions of ourselves. We’re aligned. We want the same thing: to hit our numbers. In fact, we want to far EXCEED those numbers. This is how.

The usual approach to hit our usual numbers is sporadic. It’s about throwing calories at a problem, trying to squeeze drops of results from the tried-and-true as it quickly grows tired-and-terrible. We all know this. But change is hard. We can’t forget to include the status quo in our thinking when we explain to others WHY we should change. We aren’t saying, “Stop caring about our goals.” We’re saying, “Because I care so much about our goals, I found a way to far exceed them.”

Ask: What are we doing today to make tomorrow’s numbers far easier to reach? What are we doing now so that later, we see greater results than we could ever expect to see today? What if we could do something right now that would help us far exceed our goals next week, month, quarter, and year?

It would look like the chart above.

The problem with longer-term approaches, like most content marketing, is that the thing itself takes awhile to see direct results. But we forget that it can make other things far easier. Sitting on top of that thing is the usual stuff, none of which compounds in value quite like content: the campaigns, the ads, the events, the one-off attempts at hitting our numbers now.

We’re not asking to stop doing those things, not at first anyway. We’re asking to take 5%, 10%, 25% of our time to help shift the trajectory of the entire damn line up-and-to-the-right.

Some bosses get caught up in the near-term spikes. But we get caught up in our own thing: that faraway, higher-looking slope. The key is to marry the two: Show how doing YOUR thing helps others achieve THEIRS far better.

Or just show them this chart :)

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Posted on October 10, 2019 .

Do you mean ROI or ROP?

“What’s the ROI?”

“My boss wants us to show ROI.”

“This doesn’t have to show direct ROI, so I dunno, let’s call it brand marketing or culture-building stuff or whatever?”

It seems to plague everybody under the sun, and yet we all think we’re alone in the fight: ROI. We either want to prove what we’re doing is working by pointing to direct sales or leads, or we have to.

It’s easy to think the problem is proving ROI. This leads to certain behaviors as a result: We look for the right technologies to help us measure stuff, approve the ideas that feels easy to measure, and reject the stuff that doesn’t feel quite so easy to track. It feels like the stressful part of “ROI” is the ability to prove something. And while that’s certainly a challenge, I don’t think it’s the fundamental issue behind all the internal battles (or at least, the headaches we feel) when we talk about ROI.

No, I think the real issue is that we’ve stopped understanding what we mean when we say the phrase itself.

When we say “ROI,” how often do we really mean the “I” part? Return on Investment. Most actual investments are longer term plays, designed to yield steadily compounding gains over time. When we talk about investments, we’re talking about it from the standpoint of our delivering capital into something else. But the reason we yield a profit down the road is that the thing we’ve invested the money into benefits from receiving that money. We are contributing to the overall success of something in some small or large way with our dollars. It grows in value. Then we extract that value. Later.

When we say ROI in the workplace, I don’t think we can ignore the fact that we’ve largely stopped caring about the “I” part — and everything that implies.

So what do most people mean when they say ROI?


They mean purchase.

Go out to the giant store that is the internet, or one channel, or one idea, and purchase the result we seek. Do X, because that gives us Y. That level of direct, transactional value isn’t an investment at all. It’s a purchase.

At best, when we say ROI, what we really mean is a day trade: a quick injection of capital in order to then quickly extract a tiny bit more value within the next few hours. This is unsustainable and shortsighted and, again, the best case scenario. Because we mostly mean Return on Purchase. Not Return on Investment.

So which is it? ROI? Or ROP?

It can’t be both.

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Posted on October 7, 2019 .

The endless immensity of the sea

One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from the French poet, writer, and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery (yeah, I know). He’s probably best known for writing The Little Prince in 1943, and he said very many memorable things:

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

Love is not just looking at each other, it's looking in the same direction.

He who would travel happily must travel light.

One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes

Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.

The guy could play with words. Great quotes are dense. They contain far more than their measurable size would suggest. Once you let one hit you, you start to unpack a whole lot of stuff. Many of the quotes above fit that category for me, but none are quite as hauntingly beautiful or powerfully relevant to our careers as when he said this:

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

When we do meaningful work, we’re not doing it because we’re told or because we tell others about some measurable goal or number to hit. We’re not doing it because of a carrot or stick. We’re doing it because of that deep internal yearning for change. There’s something better awaiting us, and we want to see it through.

Great work happens not because of great goal-setting, but because of articulating and refining your version of the endless immensity of the sea. What is it? Throw something out there. Use that to guide you for a time, revisiting it and revising it often. Whether you’re leading people, thinking about shaping your career, or both, truly meaningful and world-class work requires an aspirational anchor.

Don’t assign yourself or assign them tasks and work. Long for the endless immensity of whatever it is you seek. Long for the sea, and let that drive you. The results will come if you do.

Posted on October 3, 2019 .

Pander to pandas

Depending on which report you dig up, the average panda (yes, the bear — please bear with me a moment) eats an average of 20 to 40 pounds of bamboo per day.

Want to feed that panda? Hoo boy, do I have some good advice for you: Feed them between 20 and 40 pounds of bamboo per day.

Of course, in all likelihood, you don’t feed pandas for a living.

Maybe you make a podcast.

Depending on which report you dig up, the average commute of the average American worker is somewhere between 25 and 35 minutes long.

Want a successful podcast? Hoo girl, do I have some good advice for you: Make it between 25 and 35 minutes long.

Maybe you’re in marketing.

Depending on which report you dig up, the average consumer prefers video to text content by between 50% and 70%.

Want a successful brand? Hoo wee, do I have some good advice for you: Make more video content — a LOT more video content — than written content.

No matter the job, we follow a logic that seems inescapable, until you logically examine it: We start by figuring out (more quickly and more easily than ever) what the average person we’re trying to reach does or says, and we do more of that. In other word?

We pander.

And that’s all well and good … if you feed pandas.

Just one problem. How do I put this? Let’s see… (come closer) … (a little closer) … (a little closer) … (okay, there’s good. Ready?)


You can’t convince a panda to eat anything but what a panda already eats. But people are not pandas.

So when we start by asking what people already want and already do, we’re asking how to fit into the current status quo, not innovate or get creative or provide a refreshing wrinkle on that status quo.

When we pander, we’re giving people what they expect, exactly meeting their expectations, rather than trying to exceed them. We’re settling. We’re acting like commodities — easily found, easily forgotten.

But we don’t aspire to be commodities. So what can we do then? We can choose to lead. We can choose to introduce a small but welcome change on the status quo, rather than pander to it. We can show people what’s possible and, in doing so, exceed their expectations, instead of just giving them more of what they expected.

We can choose not to pander.

So, yes, the average individual has a commute of between 25 and 35 minutes. Why should that dictate exactly how long our podcasts are? What if ours is good enough to command attention for longer? What if the best version of our show is 45 minutes or an hour? Or what if it’s 5 minutes?

Turns out people will eagerly consume anything if they adore it. Shouldn’t that be our goal? Not 25 or 35 minutes, not “the typical thing the typical person already knows about.” Our aim should be to create something they adore, something refreshing compared to the status quo.

This is why some podcasts — ranging from Hardcore History (average runtime two hours) to The Way I Heard It (average runtime 11 minutes) — can thrive and generate passionate fans despite not pandering. It has nothing to do with runtime. It has everything to do with doing something resonant. They push for something more, something better, something exceptional against the average.

Producers and hosts and NPR aim for what they call “driveway moments” — episodes that are so enjoyable, people keep listening after they’ve already arrived at their destination.

I want you to create more driveway moments. Not more average stuff.

But video! The data says video.

Sure, the average consumer says they prefer video content to text content … on average. Are we targeting average consumers? Are we selling average stuff? Are we trying to create the “average” version of that type of content which those consumers must have been picturing when they responded to that research study? What if you’re a masterful writer? You don’t exist in the “average” situation. Only yours. What if you can spin a tale so intriguing and entertaining and insightful using the written word that people who thought they’d never read something longer than a tweet will gleefully invest hours of their time with your work? That’s how blogs like Wait But Why (average article length 1 bajillion words) and newsletters like Ben Thompson (aka Stratechery) can thrive and generate passionate fans. It has nothing to do with looking at what they average person does or says. It has everything to do with understanding what makes them exceptional and leaning into that. In doing so, they refuse to pander. They push for something more, something better, something unique. And, by the way, congratulations on reading a paragraph whose length is so far beyond anything a “content marketing expert” would ever recommend you write. (Wasn’t so bad, was it?)

When we pander to what people do “on average,” we end up simply handing out more of the same. This is a race to the bottom. It’s a way to proactively do perfectly middle-of-the-road work.

You’re no longer for this and not for that. You’re just sorta … there.


But if we want to do something truly resonant, something that sticks in their minds and feels refreshingly different than the stale status quo, we can’t start with what’s happening on average. We can’t merely look at what people already say they want and hand them more of that. We have to be students of their problems and their beliefs, understand their lives, and then give them what we know they need but could never have asked for. We have to be the ones who can imagine a two-hour podcast worth listening to, or a lengthy essay without video that people eagerly consume.

We can be the ones who give them something they didn’t expect but that they end up loving — not because we wonder what works on average but precisely because we refuse to settle for that very same thing. That’s what leaders do. That’s what artists do. They have vision and imagination. They push beyond the status quo. They lead people away from expected norms to something that is finally, mercifully better.

This is a simple choice. It’s also an urgent one. So I’m begging you to make it right now. In this world of ubiquitous information and advice, it has never been easier to be average. So what’ll it be? Push people forward? Or pander?

My advice (and hoo, Lord, do I have some advice for you): Only pander to pandas.

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If you haven’t yet, subscribe to get a few short ideas like this via email each week. You’ll also get exclusive announcements, access, and experimental projects once every few months. Or you can support what I do by purchasing a book.

Posted on October 1, 2019 .

Deconstructing the art of the interview

Every so often, an interviewer comes along who refuses to settle for the expected answer. Sometimes based on curiosity, sometimes frustration with the guest, sometimes based on great research, but always from a place of genuine desire to deliver a great experience — that interviewer won’t accept anything but your best.

One such interviewer is Ryan Hawk, host of the long running podcast, The Learning Leader Show (330+ episodes; more than twice the number of my show, Unthinkable). He’s talked with the likes of Seth Godin, JJ Redick (an NBA player, for the unfamiliar), Brian Koppelman (writer/creator of Billions and Rounders), Julie Zhuo (head of design at Facebook), Beth Comstock (former CMO of GE), and more. I was thrilled to get the chance to appear myself on episode #321. Ryan and I, both longtime interviewers, immediately hit it off both on and off the mic.

So then a thing happened.

Ryan asked about me coming on as a recurring guest to deconstruct topics near and dear to our hearts, going deep and nerding out, without the higher stakes of trying to promote anything like my book. “Learning happening in realtime,” he said. (I love that.)

Our first discussion went live this week. We deconstruct, appropriately enough, the art of conducting a great interview. You can listen on Apple, Spotify, Overcast, etc.


Below, I also wanted to answer a question from one listener of the show that Ryan received right before I published this. This comes from Casey Collins, who said:

I work for one of the largest auto insurance companies as a casualty adjuster and was recently selected to take part in an accelerated leadership development program and have an opportunity to start a mentorship with some senior level leaders. I want to make sure I come prepared to these meetings and get the most out of these conversations. I'm struggling with finding questions to ask them because I don't know what I don't know. How have you worked past this mental block when talking to someone you know is further along their career and they can help you but you simply don't even know where to start and how any of it applies to you?

To Casey, I’d of course first send my congratulations for being a part of that program. Second, I’d break my answer into three parts:

1) Research

Yes, sometimes, you just have to put in the grunt work and throw time at a problem. In this case, when interviewing someone whose world you don’t fully understand, research their careers, find appearances in the media or past internal memos or content they’ve personally published. Find trend pieces on the general topical area, written in reputable sites. That could mean trade publications or national or local media, or blogs, podcasts, and video series from industry luminaries. What’s happening “out there,” and what are people saying about it?

With all that in mind, find out where you're intrigued or even disagree with someone else’s assessment. Figure out what your knowledge gaps are that your mentor could help with. In other words, establish a baseline of content and context, then let your natural curiosity and other emotions (frustration, confusion, etc.) guide you towards questions and conversation with the other person.

A quick example: You might recognize that the classic upward mobility inside a corporation requires that you move from individual contributor to manager. Okay, that's the convention or best practice, but (to the mentor), how much did you find that people management is required of you to ascend to your position in this industry, compared to being really great at the job as a practitioner? And how did you make that transition between the two successfully, seeing as they're not the same skills?

Another example: Everyone in the industry seems to be buzzing about XYZ trend. Is that something you’ve thought about and do you think it will affect my career as I progress? How did you work through other cycles of hype for a given industry trend before? How do you parse what’s worth studying and what’s overblown?

2) Reflection Questions

Once you get beyond the first category, there are some basic questions you can try that I’ve pulled from my time as a show host interviewing guests. The point of these and others like them is to get the other person to pause and reflect. You want to push them beyond easy, knee-jerk answers, because when they’re being mindful and fully engaged in the response, they’re likely giving their best, not-often-heard answers. (Great for creating content like a show. Great for chatting with someone you hope to learn from, period.)

Some examples:

What's something you wish you knew sooner?

What's something you always assumed when you were younger that didn’t turn out to be true — or what did others always tell you that wasn’t true? What about the inverse? What’s some advice you got early on that changed you for the better?

What did you read or watch that helped you grow? Anything you're reading now you'd suggest?

What were the roles you moved through to get to where you are? Can you walk me through what caused you to make the change or get the promotion? What were the top 1-3 things you learned in each?

Any big mistakes you made that you’re willing to share?

What's something they never tell you that you learned through experience?

3) Brutal Honesty

Lastly, lay your cards on the table. You’re hungry and want “it” (maybe define “it” for the other person), but you don’t know what you don’t know. However, that mentor DOES know what you don't know. So just be honest: "What questions should I be asking? What questions didn't I ask that you think are important for me to explore? What do you look for in a longer-term mentee?"

It’s fine and maybe even expected that you know you want better — or can maybe articulate what “better” means — but have no idea how to get there. Nobody does. We’re all just hacking away at the jungle and talking to others who have been hacking away, trying to reach that mountain peak in the distance.

Good luck, Casey, and to anyone reading this, here’s to having productive, transformative conversations by mastering the art of the interview. It’s a skill that serves you in content, in career, and in life.

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If you haven’t yet, subscribe to get a few short ideas like this via email each week. You’ll also get exclusive announcements, access, and experimental projects once every few months. Or you can support what I do by purchasing a book.

Posted on September 27, 2019 .

Which is it? Yes.

Between you and me and this little internet thing, I gotta say, I really can’t stand the advice to “create for your audience.”

That’s a fine and rather dangerous line to dance down. I get the premise: We want to make stuff others love, because if we do, the good stuff happens for us, our careers, and our businesses. But here’s the thing: We can’t create purely for others. Try as we might, we’re incapable of removing ourselves from the work. Everything we do flows through everything we are.

When people do succeed in removing (most of) themselves from the work, we wind up with generic work. Clickbait headlines. Spam. Crap.

So what can we do? Do we create for ourselves, or do we create for them?


Why not the Venn diagram overlap? That feels right, doesn’t it? If we found the overlap between what we love to make and what others love to receive, well, then maybe we’ll have a thriving creative career.


But I’m not sold.

I dunno about you, but whenever I feel like I’m truly thriving, I’m putting stuff out purely for myself — and yet, somehow, at the very same time, it’s also for the audience.

As creators, I think we have to balance a lot of dualities in one mind. We have to possess an irrational confidence that we’re capable of doing something unique that can astound, bewitch, and delight people, yet at the very same time, we have to be humble enough to constantly improve, to never assume we know best, and never feel like we’ve finished our personal journeys.

We have to remain highly sensitive to the world around us, taking in everything as potential inspiration, maintaining a healthy wonder at things, yet at the very same time, we have to be skeptical, critical, and question everything we receive at face value.

We know there’s merit to those who came before us, yet we also know there’s merit in doing things our way, in not getting stuck relying on the convention.

We make things that belong to us. They make up our body of work and no one else’s. Yet at the very same time, we put them out into the world, where they become the property of others — others who can now judge them with equal merit to how we judged them when they were merely ideas.

Creators are these living embodiments of conflicting ideas, these dualities that have somehow been bundled together and wrapped into people.

So why, then, should I embrace that pithy notion to “create for the audience”? Because I don’t. Also? I do.

It’s not one or the other. It’s also not the occasional overlap of the two.

Strange though it may seem, there’s another hidden truth. Do we create for ourselves? Do we create for others? Which is it?


The answer is … yes.


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If you haven’t yet, subscribe to get a few short ideas like this via email each week. You’ll also get exclusive announcements, access, and experimental projects once every few months. Or you can support what I do by purchasing a book.

Posted on September 27, 2019 .

How to make a movement

Movements, as the very name implies, are all about the feeling of motion. But not just any kind of motion. Motion that feels like its compounding over time. Momentum.

Movements we support, join, and love cause us to feel momentum.

In other words, the very idea that things are gaining steam creates the movement, not the fact that something is growing or something is big.

Increasingly, creating a brand people love is about creating a movement for a small number of people. It’s about resonance, not reach. So how does that change the work for us? How do we ensure others feel the momentum? We have to become students of the change at hand, providing the language, the platform, and the central node for the movement.

A few ways to start doing that:

1. Create your “one simple story” as a decision-making filter or lens on the world. Tell it overtly fairly often, and use it as a filter to mold everything all the time. Your one simple story is made of three parts: A status quo (“This was happening” or “this is how we’ve done it”); then some conflict (“but then this happened, which changes everything”); and finally, the resolution (“so this is the better way”). Your brand doesn’t appear in your story. Everyone you serve — prospects, customers, employees, potential new hires, partners, etc. — should see themselves in that one simple story.

2. Use plenty of examples all the time. Find your darlings, those stories you can tell and cite and bring closer and closer to your organization as partners and friends. Grow this list constantly.

3. Repeat the terms and beliefs of your movement until you get sick of them. Like the one simple story, you should become so familiar with key terms that “we” use that “they” don’t. Your belief system should be overtly written out. Why does this movement need to happen? It’s not just the success others experience. It’s something grander, something more transformative, something that isn’t described with the word “better” but rather something concrete. Describe the better way, and the belief driving your organization to achieve that better way. Don’t merely say, “It’s a better way.” How? Why? What is that better way?

4. Find and elevate your true believers. Don’t worry about creating a large audience right away. Don’t try to ‘reach” people. Again, this is about resonance. Focus on a small number of people reacting in a big way. When you see that visceral response, harness it: share what they’re saying, give them a platform, and get to know them as people. They’ll bring others to the movement too.

It all starts with one true believer.

I had to look this up — because #EnglishMajor — but the formula for momentum is mass-times-velocity.

In business, we’re great at talking about velocity. We forget about mass. I don’t mean more resources, by the way. I mean more examples, more proof, more stories. I mean a grander vision for the world for a narrower group we serve more deeply. I mean putting in lots of reps to get great at something over time, focusing on building our body of work rather than any one-off spike in success.

Everyone seems to be seeking their movements, but too many merely tell you there is a movement. “This is big. This is better. This is a movement.”


True movement-makers actually show others what they mean. Want to make a movement? Help others feel the momentum.

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We’re building a movement of marketers who make shows to more deeply resonate with our audiences. If you’re a marketer and want to join a small but passionate group who share the same belief about our work (see below), then head over to Marketing Showrunners.

Our core belief: Marketing isn’t about who arrives. It’s about who stays.

Join some of the world’s most creative marketers from companies ranging from Red Bull, Adobe, and Salesforce to Mailchimp, Zendesk, and Wistia. Start reading MSR >>

Posted on September 25, 2019 .

Are you usefully delusional?

The late, great Anthony Bourdain once said that to create something and expect that others spend time with it and like it, you have to be somewhat monstrous. There’s something not rational about that belief in yourself — and it’s the exact kind of irrational self-talk that we need.

When we’re “usefully delusional,” we have the confidence to act as if. It’s not just, “We can.” It’s, “We will.”

I’m not saying to let your ego out of the cage entirely, but, yanno … let it paw at the world a little bit.

When we create something in our image, something reflecting our beliefs or perspectives, something intended to be received by others, we’re doing something against the odds. No rational person would think they’d be capable of putting something out into the world that they just wanted to exist … to the delight of others.

Good thing we’re not rational.

We’re usefully delusional.

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For more on the power of self-delusion for the creative minded, read this wonderful piece from bestselling author AJ Jacobs.

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If you haven’t yet, subscribe to get a few short ideas like this via email each week. You’ll also get exclusive announcements, access, and experimental projects once every few months. Or you can support what I do by purchasing a book.

Posted on September 23, 2019 .