Month: May 2019

Episode 202: Chads Begging For Change || Christian, Rosie, Rick

What if coworkers never tried to sell you crap at the office anymore? What if cat nostrils were the secret path to public sanitation? What if bros were placed in businesses that truly need them? What sorts of coughs occur below the waist? What if you sterilized all the stupid people who lived in Montana?

In this episode of Steal Scott’s Ideas, Christian, Rick and Rosie gather in Brooklyn for some execution in public.

**Sponsored by Blipido

Execution Lesson 202: Alright, well, that one was for me.

Drucker writes that workmanship counts, not just because it makes such a difference in the quality of the job done, but because it makes such a difference in the person doing the job.

My mentor used to say something similar. First you write the book, then the book writes you.

This universal law can bring us peace along our creative journey. Because although end user of whatever it is we’re working probably won’t appreciate or reward or even notice our diligence, we certainly will. That soothing sense of fulfillment we gain from the experience is something that nobody can take away from us.

It’s like when a comedian, who is secure enough in their talent and material, takes the risk to make a joke that doesn’t get a laugh. They look out at the audience and say, alright, well, that one was for me.

This is the level of okayness with self that all of us can aspire to. We trust that if our tree in the forest falls and nobody is around to hear it, then it still makes a sound, even if only in our own hearts. Besides, we’re not going to kill ourselves over the possibility of unperceived existence. We perceive it, and if that’s the best we can do, then so be it.

Can you imagine if that was enough for us? What if we all could validate ourselves instead of seeking it in arbitrary things? What if we were no longer making things, but making ourselves?

Leaving the entrepreneur life and becoming a corporate employee gave me no choice but to embrace this concept. Because working the agency and startup worlds, more than half of the projects assigned to me never even made it across the finish line. They were sunsetted, as the buzzword says. We’d spend months slaving away over this once great idea, only to have the unsophisticated client or the impatient company executive have a sudden change of heart and kill the idea on a moment’s notice.

When that happens, you better believe in the power of workmanship. Otherwise you will beat yourself up for wasting your time trying to peddle somebody else’s dream machine.

Nobody is going to notice our workmanship anyway, so we may as well say, alright, well, that one was for me.

Are you obsessing over the aftermath of your work because of your primal need for validation?

Episode 201: Life Without Good || Jacob, Eli, Dirk

What if communal ownership could help people grow? What if you give children speed in utero? What if accountants had their own dating app? What if children could be professional abducted to learn their lesson?

In this episode of Steal Scott’s Ideas, Jacob, Eli and Dirk gather in Brooklyn for some execution in public.

**Sponsored by Casual Evil Music Festival

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Execution Lesson 201: Achieve failure by efficiently building the wrong thing.

To be an artist is to take our precious time and create something that nobody needs, wants or even likes. In many cases, to spend real stretches of time on projects that are fundamentally irrational and might not work. And yet, we do this because we love the process. We love showing up and metabolizing our feelings into tangible works that bring our humanity to the surface that, if we’re fortunate enough, make a connection with, or make a change to, another person.

This process is romantic and rebellious and deeply rewarding. Every project another frisbee thrown out the window, and that’s totally fine with us. We trust the process. The tricky part is, what happens when it’s no longer just the lone artist? What if we start working with a team who has time constraints, tight budgets, group dynamics, office politics and hierarchical structures? Can the idealistic, process oriented artist still take initiative and execute meaningful work on an organizational scale?

Absolutely. That person simply needs stronger filters. Empathetic spot checks to bring their artistic heart out of the cold and into the world of other people. Because while everything real in business comes from initiating something new, we also don’t want to start something amazing that nobody wants or needs or even uses.

Reis, the great pioneer of the lean startup movement, puts it perfectly. It’s easy to achieve failure by efficiently building the wrong thing. Doing something efficiently that nobody wants done is another form of waste. And an even worse outcome than shipping a bad product is building something that nobody wants.

Reminds me of almost every job I’ve held. All that frustration of spending my precious time on yet another initiative with minimal or no impact. Kind of makes me never want to start something new ever again. Which brings us to the stronger filter.

Here are some questions I’ve started asking myself during the initiation process.

Have you stopped to ask yourself if this thing is useful? Is anyone else actually excited about this besides you? Does your new project solve real, expensive, urgent and pervasive problems for people?

If so, onward. If not, pivot. And if we can’t pivot, scrap it. The last thing we need to is a failure by efficiently building the wrong thing.

After you take the risk that you might make someone upset with your initiative, how will you keep your artistic spirit accountable to the group?