“Eventually, the nerds and geeks will have their day.” — Judd Apatow
I don’t know what to say.
It’s time to write the intro to this week’s newsletter and I don’t know what I want to tell you.
So I figured I’d tell you that.
Because it’s easy to assume others don’t struggle to create. That it’s somehow easy for them. It’s not.
Just because you don’t see the struggle, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
But the struggle can be conquered if we free ourselves from the constraints of trying to be perfect.
Since I didn’t know what to write in this intro, I had two choices: Sit and wait for the perfect idea to hit me or write what’s on my mind and share my struggle with you.
Guess which I chose?
Now, on to this week’s ideas…
“Stores that sell art are about more than just the commercialization of that art. They’re about the culture. There will always be places to buy books and music, but those places won’t always come with a culture.”
Read this before your next trip to a book store or any store whose future is in jeopardy thanks to the disruptive power of companies like Amazon.
While I’m a huge fan of disruptive businesses (and Amazon), I also believe we need to support physical stores because they have more to offer than just the products they sell.
If we value the experience these stores offer, the only way to ensure that experience continues to be there for us is to actually purchase something from them.
“It’s worth remembering that Star Wars was beaten at the box office by Smokey and the Bandit. A launch is important, but we must bear in mind what Kafka’s publisher wrote to his author after poor sales: ‘You and we know that it is generally just the best and most valuable things that do not find their echo immediately.’ In other words, it is far better to measure your campaign over a period of years, not just months.”
I’ve been obsessed this week with Ryan Holiday’s new book Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts and I haven’t even read it yet.
But that’s not stopping me from sharing two great ideas related to the book in this week’s newsletter. The first is this GrowthLab article in which he shares seven strategies to create work that lasts forever.
He explains why the focus on instant hits is a mistake and explains how to create timeless work, find your champions, and build your platform.
“Part of the mystique of the artistic brand is to make it look easy, effortless. The result is that creativity seems like a black box. In fact, we should show how we make what we make. To help others, to understand our own process, to practice humility. To show people that it’s not impossible to turn their ideas into work.”
Here’s the second Ryan Holiday post I loved this week. In this one, he shares exactly how he wrote his new book, complete with two years worth of photographic evidence of everything from his initial brainstorming, to his writing process, to the book’s marketing plan.
It’s a 35-minute read, but it’s an amazing and generous look at an author’s exact creative process.
“Aim for at least two open-ended questions within the first few minutes of striking up a chat with somebody you’ve just met. That should be enough to get a good, in-depth conversation going. On a subconscious level, you’ll quickly become somebody they remember liking and will want to be around.”
It’s easier to make a good first impression on somebody than you may realize.
Fast Company suggests five things to do within five minutes of meeting someone to develop an instant rapport and leave a memorable impression on them.
The tips include to show genuine enthusiasm for the meeting, find something you share, and say their name before you leave.
For more conversation tips, check out my eight ways to improve your next conversation.
“Don’t be a dick — overdeliver and then people will want you around.”
In this four-minute video, filmmaker Judd Apatow breaks down the core of what he believes led to his career success.
He explains why it’s important for young professionals to overdeliver on any assignment they’re given and addresses how he’s learned to fit his work into his busy schedule.
“By the end of three days, it’s hard to tell if any of these kids will climb the stairs to internet stardom, or how much they want to. They seem genuinely interested in making videos and promoting themselves, but some treat it as a means to an acting career, or more general fame.”
You’re liable to have a strong opinion about this one.
The Verge profiles the inaugural session of the SocialStar Creator Camp, a summer camp for teenagers who aspire to become social media influencers and learn about everything from branding, to video production, to monetization.
Whether the camp is a good idea (kids learn life skills and about online safety) or a bad idea (the kids are largely focused on fame and followers) is up for debate, but it’s an interesting read.
“Side projects work best when they live at the interaction of ‘Things you enjoy’ and ‘Things that help you practice a marketable skill.’”
These days it seems like everybody’s got a side project — especially if you’re one of The Interested.
She explains why your side project doesn’t have to be something original, why it should lead to development of a marketable skill, and why your side project doesn’t need to relate to your career.
“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. Every great idea came out of work.”
Where do ideas come from?
Andrew Norton asked a group of kids and successful creators such as author Susan Orlean, filmmaker David Lynch, and artist Chuck Close to answer that question and compiled their answers into this compelling five-minute video.
For a deeper dive into how Lynch finds ideas, check out this post.
“There’s too much downside in sharing any opinion that could easily be misinterpreted online. Even facts are dangerous to share if they don’t align with what people want to believe. There’s a lot of concern about ‘fake news’ lately. That is a real problem, but there’s also the opposite problem: true things that aren’t being said.”
What happens if people refuse to share their wisdom out of fear it will be misinterpreted?
Jessica Livingston explores this idea in a post that explains why she can’t tell you one of the more interesting insights she heard about Silicon Valley.
It’s a good reminder that when people stay silent out of fear, we all pay a price.
“Knock, knock. Get the door. It’s religion!”
I have no idea how to explain this video.
It’s a 9-minute animated video that covers the entire history of Japan and manages to be interesting, educational, snarky, and fun.
No wonder 31 million people have watched it since it was posted just over a year ago.