You can learn more about marketing from a relationship podcast than a year's worth of Business Insider articles.

One of my favorite podcasts has nothing to do with marketing. In fact, it's a podcast about a topic I thought I'd never be interested in. It's about relationships.

The podcast is This Feels Terrible. It's hosted by Erin McGathy, a very funny improv person and all around person. And it's not a standard relationship podcast. Rather, she interviews comedians about their dating lives. Sometimes the episodes go off the rails but her choice of subject means there's rarely an episode not worth listening to.

One of the best episodes, in my opinion, is a break from form. She had artists Wayne White and Mimi Pond on episode 21 of the podcast. They're artists. And they're married.

You'd know Mimi from a little show called The Simpsons. She wrote the first episode ever aired. She's also a cartoonist and illustrator. 

You'd know Wayne from a little show called Pee Wee's Playhouse. He designed most of the sets and puppet characters. You may have also seen them in the excellent documentary about Wayne called Beauty Is Embarrassing. Needless to say, they're an excellent, interesting couple. And their episode of This Feels Terrible is outstanding. I've kept it on my phone since the day it came out.

The stuff about their relationship and courtship is good. But you should listen to the podcast to hear about that stuff. I'm here to talk about the end of it. 

Erin, who claims to be a bad interviewer but is completely the opposite, asked Wayne and Mimi what advice they'd give to artists. Wayne prefaces this advice by saying that he's doesn't want to serve as an example. But he's a pretty inspiring example if I've ever seen one.

Here's what he said:

Wane: "Perseverance. That's what I say every time someone asks me that. That's the number one trait you gotta have. Perseverance. Never give up. All that other stuff: vision, wit, talent, that'll take care of itself as long as you never give up. That's the #1 leading edge thing you gotta have. Because most people give up. Because most of art making is not very fun. It isn't. It's 75% hard work and boring work. Drudgery. But, the joy you get at the end of it makes up for all of that. They don't tell you the joy comes at the end. It's the digging that tunnel that's the hardest part. And that's where most people give up 'cause they think it just moment after moment of pure epiphany and magic. And the magic is not there most of the time. It's ditch digging. It's painful. And it's boring. And it's very, very hard to do. Perseverance. That's my simple, hard headed, plain, boring advice to any artist. Perseverance #1. [Mimi: Get up and draw every day.] And most people don't want to hear that. they want some kind of like 'Oh! Nurture the blahblahblah.' No."

Mimi: "Just get up and do it!"

Wayne (ctd): "Just put your nose to the grindstone and work through the pain."

It's not the newest advice. But it's advice that gets forgotten. People are always looking for a silver bullet. Or one "awesome quick tip to [fill in the blank]." 

But those things don't exist. At least not in a way that makes people happy. 

The silver bullet is hard work. And persistence. The only way to do something is to, as Mimi said, get up and do it. Or do it sitting down. But you have to try much harder than you expected to make anything good. To make anything. Because shortcuts and art do not go hand in hand.

Wayne said one other thing in the podcast that I enjoyed:

"I'm enamored with the idea of the heroic effort. You know? Biting off more than you chew then doing it. Painting yourself into a corner and escaping. Slaying the dragon. You know? Going out into the light and being the hero. That's part of my overly-romanticized view of the world."

It's heartening because things have worked out for him. He has a unique view on the world and through effort (and luck) he made things happen. I like that a lot.

That Ira Glass Video

It seems like this video gets passed around in waves. This is a testament to how much Ira Glass' words resonate with people. I first caught it over on Makin Ads back in 2010 and it hasn't really left my mind since.

And I have watched A LOT of videos since then.

Most recently people have been passing around this kinetic typography version. It's good, but lacks some of the lo-fi charm of the original. What's really good is that people keep getting introduced to his words. This is an example of goodness rising to the top.

That's a reassuring message about humanity. Sure, Glass has celebrity that helps people find and latch onto his message. But it's still excellent advice from someone who's made it. That's all that really matters.

(I'm mostly posting this to make sure I have it for myself. It's a pretty great source of inspiration.)

Don't Just Think. #Thinkpredatory

Dave Trott's agency CST The Gate has released a new site dedicated to Predatory Thinking. It's a collection of stories/quips where people redefined the world on their terms. The kind of stuff that we hear about and say, "That's brilliant!"

I love when new sources of inspiration like this pop up. Go visit.

Predatory thinking. Street smarts. Whatever you want to call it, it's about writing the rules on your terms, rather than following someone else's; it's about changing behaviour through reframing a story or changing the context; it's about seeking unfair advantage to outmanoeuvre the competition.

The Best Posts I Encountered in 2011 (pt.2 AKA the exciting conclusion!)

Welcome back. I hope you've had time enough to digest the monstrous number of posts I presented in the first part of this. Though 2012 is already upon us I have the best posts from the second half of 2011 to share. That's not a bad thing. Learning from the best that the past had to offer isn't a terrible affliction. Besides, good ideas tend to get repeated year after year (like this excellent Ira Glass video) enjoy part 2.

First, make rice - Seth Godin
This is included because it is the one post that has been stuck in my mind since I read it. Seriously. It's short but imparts a great lesson about really learning a craft. Building a strong foundation before we are entranced by shiny technology. (Fun fact "sushi" does not mean raw fish, it means "with rice." So the next time somebody says "I don't like sushi, I hate fish," you have full permission to smack them upside the head. Or verbally, whichever you prefer.)

What's your short cut? - Vinny Warren
This is great to read if you feel like you're just spinning your wheels. Instead of digging yourself out of a rut it's important to think about what you really want to do, and how to do that. It worked for Vinny.

Unfortunately... - David Oakley
Losing sucks. Especially losing a pitch you feel you deserved to win. This post is about adding some perspective (a theme of 2011) to the loss. If you don't get hired by an agency, and someone you know who does completely different work does, it's not always you. But this shouldn't be mistaken as a cop-out.

Whatever you're making, make it way better than it has to be. - Luke Sullivan
I liked this piece so much that I blogged about it the day it came out. I think we are nearing the release date for the next edition of Hey Whipple (which includes this piece) so if you've worn out the binding on yours you should wait on a copy to come out. Simply put this is a really good post.

The Twitter - mtlb
AKA talk how people talk. If you're not being authentic in your own stream how can anybody trust you? Cool video of Penn Gillette talking about how to communicate with people.

Speaking Of Shyness - Russell Davies
Honestly this doesn't have much to do with advertising. However, it did have a whole lot to do with understanding myself. If you think you may be every the tiniest bit introverted you should read it.

Infidelity, Inertia and Unsegmented Markets: The Impossibility of 'Alienating' Consumers And Why Marketingland Needs To Man Up - Martin Weigel
Settle in for a very, very, very long read. Every bit of it is important because it champions the idea that good, interesting work is worth alienating a few people. It's about combating the bad. You don't want to be bad, do you?

Fail Upwards and On Losing Your Marbles - Dave Trott
Two of the most memorable posts Dave put out last year. I am almost certain I posted about them here before and I know that I tweeted them. Needless to say, Dave's blogs are worth reading. But if you're stubborn at least read these two. (The first taste is always free)

Thank you all for reading again. Best of luck in 2012 and do keep reading. There's only better stuff to come. Promise. And, as always, leave something in the comments if you have something to say.

"People Don't Buy What You Do. They Buy Why You Do It."

This is a great old TED Talk. I may have posted this before but it's definitely worth watching again. The title and the two quotes below are few of my favorites (thought there's loads of good avice in the entire thing). Take a break today and watch this.

The goal is not just to sell to people who need what you have. The goal is to sell to people who believe what you believe.The goal is not just to hire people who need a job, it's to hire people who believe what you believe.

The goal is not to just hire people who need a job.If you hire people just because they can do a job they'll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they work for you with blood, sweat, and tears.

Getting Bit By The Book Bug.

I have often professed my love for books here. Literature, business books, short stories, and the like. But advertising books (including annuals) hold a special place in my heart.

So it came as a great surprise when I read this post by George Tannenbaum. The place I worked this summer (post forthcoming) everyone read books. When we weren't pouring our brains out onto paper we would grab any book sitting around and read it. That's one of the reasons I loved working there so much.

But apparently this is not the norm. Most people are not reading books about advertising on a regular basis. Sad. Because there are little nuggets of truth locked into those pages just waiting to inspire people.

The book I go back to time and time again is D&AD's "The Copy Book." I think it is tremendous and, as a writer, the best resource when I'm in need of a mentor. The people who provided their insights to that book are legends. Their campaigns make me drool in a mixture of awe, excitement, and. Maybe one day I'll be able to come up with something as brilliant as that*.

So for the past few weeks it has been my mission to introduce people in my advertising classes (and friends within shouting distance) to books and annuals. And when I open those pages and let people see the awe-inspiring work I see something beautiful.

Genuine excitment.

That twinkle in someone's eyes when you have opened up their world to something wonderful. I hear people ask the same questions I asked when I first starting reading these things. I see people get that feverish look on their faces like they need more.

The awesome thing about books is that insatiable thirst for knowledge they unlock. People think, "if this is out there, what else could be out there." And all it takes is something giving enough of a fuck to introduce people to these texts. So if you haven't been reading books like The Copy Book, Bill Bernbach's Book, Ally &Gagarno, Communication Arts Annuals, One Sow Annuals, pick one up and start exploring.

And if you own one share it with someone. The Book Bug is about the only virus you can feel good about sharing.

*then again, maybe not.
(image via the fantastic Sell! Sell! Blog, which you should also be reading)

Creativity Thrives During Chaos

There’s never been a better time to do creative work than right now. You can get stuff started. You can get it out to people. And you can turn it into a business if it’s decent. And there are more ways to get work to material. And it’s easier to get work. We are at a peak. Everything about our country is going to hell. Our politics, industry — like this is the one part of America which is actually going great.

—Ira Glass

I couldn't help but be inspired by this interview with Ira Glass. Not only is he down about the future of his profession, he doesn't care. Because when things are coming to the end, when things are changing dramatically, that's when creativity is not only accepted, it's required.

Sure, there will be people that always stay the course. People who try to hold onto the last shreds of What Once Was. But while they do that, people like Glass (and, hopefully, you and me) laugh and ride off on some new creative (ad)venture.

When things are going wrong people look for something to latch on to, maybe that something will be yours.