"We gather knowledge faster than we gather wisdom." - William Bell

Find Your Swag

Posted: April 10th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Inspiration, Life | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

You’ve done the hard work. You put in the hours. You hit the gym. You did the drills. You have game time experience. You’re preforming well, but you can’t get to the next level. There’s a missing ingredient. That ingredient is a pinch of swag.

Swag. It’s the confidence to execute. It’s the willingness to take the game on your shoulders. It’s ability to deliver a win in in a clutch situation.

To be clear, it’s not cockiness. Derrick Rose has swag, but he’s not an asshole. He’s a grounded guy. But he has confidence. Confidence that the hundreds of hours he spent working on his delivery is going to pay off. And that swagger is what gives you the confidence to take the shot. Preparation and experience is what gives you the skill set to nail it.

Without swag, you’re not taking enough shots. You’re not putting yourself out there and chasing the opportunities that you want. Without swag, you’re giving up before even trying.

Find your swag. Find it and start taking your shots. Because your swagger is your ticket to the next level. It will transform you from a bench player in to an all star.

- Christian

5 Things To Stop Doing For A Happy And Creative 2012

Posted: January 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Inspiration | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

I’ve already posted 5 things that you can do more of to help you stay happy and creative in 2012. A layover in the airport thanks to a certain service challenged airline allowed me to recognize that there are also things that we can STOP doing in order to better equip ourselves for an awesome new year filled with great work and creativity.

1. Stop aiming for perfection. 
There is such a thing as good enough. It’s better to get your work in market than to waste precious resources trying to make it perfect. There’s a standard lifecycle of adoption for new products, services and ideas. The early adopters don’t need a product to be perfect. They just want it to be new, cool and to address a need. Stop using perfection as an excuse to get your work to market. 

2. Stop waiting for opportunities. 
Chase them. If you see something that you want, be bold and go after it. Don’t stands there in a coffee shop waiting for the girl that you like to do something that creates the perfect opportunity for conversation. Just go up and talk to her. Same thing with projects at work. If you hear about a pitch that you want to work on, go talk to someone to get yourself on that project. Does it take balls? Yes. Will it be worth it? Absolutely.

3. Stop driving everywhere.
Walk. Bike. Take transit.  Leave the car at home. Get some fresh air. Interact with people. We spend so much of our lives in cars, cut off from the rest of society. Stop confining yourself to a little metal box on your commute. Stop having to worry about traffic. Stop getting stressed about parrallel parking on a busy street with everyone watching (my own personal fear). Stop driving everywhere and allow the journey to be time for yourself.

4. Stop hoarding ideas.
You see this sometimes in creative industries. Some people are afraid of competition and so they hoard their ideas. They hide them from the rest of the group and show them only to their boss. These people are under the impression that you have a limited number of good ideas, so they guard them for their exclusive use. But the truth is that creativity is like a muscle. The more that you use it, the better it becomes. Give your ideas away for free. Let people build on them. Listen to a different perspective that you wouldn’t have considered. Your brain can only hold so much. You need to make room for all of this year’s new ideas.

5. Stop making excuses. 
Accept reality. Understand the challenges. The limits. What you can and cannot change. And then deal with it. Stop making excuses. Stop putting it off. If you want to do great work, do great work. Don’t complain about the budget, the brief or the client. Work your magic with the cards that you’re dealt. 

To be creative, you need to get your work out there in the real world. That’s what makes you a creative person. That’s what separates the artists from the people who simply own a Mac with Photoshop. As Steve Jobs said, real artists ship. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It just needs to get out there. Let’s make 2012 the year that you ship your best work yet.

- Christian

Using Jujitsu To Sell Your Ideas

Posted: November 24th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Pitching Ideas | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Jujitsu and Karate are two different fighting styles. Although both methods originated from the same area in Japan, they represent two distinct ways of approaching a problem. One is a direct attack and one is flexible.

Karate is about landing one big blow to end the fight. You combine the correct timing, technique and strength to disable your opponent from continuing in combat through one hit. At the higher level, you demonstrate this through breaking boards. Cracking bricks. Feats of strength.

Jujitsu looks to use your enemy’s momentum against them. To go with the flow. It’s more about grappling and throws than overtly offensive maneuvers. You let your opponent in close and then use their strength to accomplish your goals.

In pitching ideas, some people try to use karate. Teams will work hard and try to bully their ideas into being bought. They assume that their expertise in the field or the brilliance of their ideas are enough to get them sold. They view stubbornness as a weapon. They think that if they just push, push, push, the idea will be bought. That’s not the case.

You have to approach the sell like jujitsu. You need to work with the your client’s momentum to get the right ideas sold. Get in close. Use their motivations, their energy, their opinions to get your ideas made. You need to adapt. Stay flexible, listen and deliver. Don’t waste your energy trying to change things that you are not able to affect.

The might of a river flows around a rock. It doesn’t try to punch through it.

- Christian

Wait … Isn't That Just String?

Posted: November 18th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: On Ideation | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

One man’s string is another man’s fang floss. Or perhaps put a more correctly, another monster’s fang floss. It’s simple but intelligent. All it took was a different perspective and a quick repackaging to breath new life into a boring product.

Your desk, your office, your home, and your computer … they are all filled with products that can inspire creativity and reinvention. All you need to exploit them is a different perspective. And then all of a sudden:

- You can fry an egg with a piece of paper and a binder clip
- Your note taking program can start organizing your whole life
- Your scripts from your beer client get sold in as a concept for a new bodywash.

Lifehacker has made it’s bread and butter on thinking of innovative solutions to problems using ordinary tools.

The next time that you’re stumped with a problem, look at what you have in front of you. Cultivate your inner Maguyver. What tools do you have at your disposal that can solve your problems? A different perspective can open a whole new realm of creative solutions.

- Christian

Creativity Is …

Posted: October 26th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: On Ideation | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Creativity is …
Wearing a snapback hat with a bowtie.
A hand dryer without hot air that uses 80% less energy.
Beer aged in scotch barrels.
Blending two genres of music together to create musical poetry.
Lighting a home with a plastic soda bottle and bleach.

Creativity is …
Breaking the conventions.
Questioning the norm.
Trying something different.
Putting your thoughts into action.

Creativity is a fairy tale where the princess tells the prince to fuck off.

- Christian

What's Your Creative Diet?

Posted: October 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: On Ideation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

You consume something. Your body digests it. Then your body uses the energy from what you put in it to produce. This is true for food. And it’s true for ideas.

What you put into your body impacts what you get out of it.

If you put in food that your body is able to easily process and digest, you’ll get a lot out of it. If you put in junk, your system gets overloaded and you feel like shit.

I’m fortunate to be a genetic freak. My body seems to have a metabolism that runs high and is able to process most things. Wendy’s Baconator? No problem. Raw fish? Hell’s yeah! Salad? Sure. It all seems to go through the same.

But recently, I began to learn how to hack my body. There are certain things that I can put in my body that jump starts the system if I’m feeling tired. There’s meals that I can eat to give me sustained energy before a big tournament. There are shakes I can consume to speed up recovery after workouts.

The same applies to creativity and ideas. What you put into your mind impacts what you get out of it. If you consume inspirational stories, interesting knowledge and actual learning, you produce great ideas and insights. If you’re reading gossip sites and watching Jersey Shore, you liable to end up producing the standard entitled teenager bullshit.

And when you’re in a crunch, you can hack your brain. You can consciously control the inputs to maximize creativity. Consume information that inspires. Learn things that provoke. Observe insights that spark ideas.

Consider your creative diet. What is it that you’re putting into your brain? Is it fine tuned to generate the creative output that you’re looking for?

Sometimes, simple awareness makes a big difference. By being conscious of what the type and quality of content that you’re consuming, you’ll become much more in tune to what your habits are. That awareness allows you to tweak them to your specific needs.

The simplest solution is to consume better content. Read a book. Avoid the standard internet distractions of Facebook, daily news and gossip websites. Look for intelligent content that will provide you with different perspectives. Look to uncover new information. Look for inspiration in the real world and online.

Content is brain food. The videos, books and articles that you consume impacts what your brain produces. You can hack your inputs to generates the results that you want. Be conscious of your creative diet. What are you consuming? How you could be putting in more of the right stuff to get the ideas you want?

- Christian

The Cue Card Brainstorming Strategy

Posted: May 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Brainstorming Techniques | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

You start with a problem. A problem that you want to solve. So then you try to brainstorm solutions. Think of creative ideas. Come up with cool things to do. But too often people get brought right down to the execution.

How would we do this? What could it look like? Do you think it would work in Brazil? Does it translate to Portuguese? It’s like picking the colour of your drapes before you even have the blueprints for your house. It’s stupid. It’s distracting. It’s a waste of time.

The goal of brainstorming is to come up with as many solutions to the problem as possible. Details are distracting. So is feasibility. Ignore the small details to create big ideas.

One of my favourite methods for tackling is problem is to use cue cards and big felt marker. The small size of the cards and the inability to write small with a big marker force you to think in concepts, not details. Here’s how you do it:

Start with a well defined problem.
Take a stack of cue cards and a felt tip marker.
Set a time limit.
Write one idea per card.
If you can’t fit one idea per card, it’s too complicated.
Fire out as many ideas as possible.
Then stop.

Take a break.
Get a coffee.
Take a nap.
Whatever floats your boat.

The cards will be able to be grouped into idea buckets.
So group them.
Spread them across a table or the floor.
Throw out the ones that are horrible.
The ones that are stupid.
The ones that could never work.
Put them all into a pile.
Put that pile in the trash.

Now go back to the groupings of ideas.
Build on the ones that have potential.
Add in more details.
Throw in stuff that would be cool.
Dream up expansions to the ideas.

Now you have piles of different concepts.
Each of them has the potential to solve your problem.
Figure out which one you like the best.

Once you’ve decided on the solution, you can start to fill in the details. You can get distracted by the many ways of bringing it to life. You can tackle the hardest part – actually making it happen. But not before you’ve decided on the idea.

- Christian

Subway Guitar Guy

Posted: January 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

A couple of weeks ago, I was taking my normal subway trek home from workl. There is usually a busker or street performer playing in the subway trying to gain the attention (and money) of the weary masses rushing home. On a normal day, they would be playing some crap that I don’t really understand or Green Day. Either way, it blends into the background – it’s the same stuff day after day. If it’s a different performer, nobody notices.

Until this guy showed up. He looked normal. He didn’t have an amazing voice and wasn’t particularly good on the guitar. But he was playing the Super Mario Brothers theme song! People stopped and took notice. They pulled out their phones and recorded videos. A couple of people dropped fivers in his guitar case. He wasn’t just a busker. He was a star in the subway and he was raking it in.

What made this guy successful at busking? Easy. He was different. He was nostalgic. He stood out.

He wasn’t a good singer. He wasn’t an amazing guitarist. He wasn’t dressed up in a cool costume. But it didn’t matter. People are willing to overlook a lack of skill for something different. The iPad didn’t have a front facing camera. It wasn’t the easiest to type on. It didn’t run flash. So? People don’t care because it’s cool and it’s different.

The admissions officers a top college will overlook an average GPA if you started your own environmentally friendly product line.

The recruiter at your dream job will overlook limited work experience if you are a world reknown blogger and have written a book in your field.

Customers will overlook limitations in functionality (like no air conditioning or trunk) if you are going to deliver one of the lightest and fastest performance cars on the planet.

So that’s what I learned from a dude on the subway – it’s better to deliver on one thing that differentiates you from your competition than to focus on being “just as good” on what they’re already doing.

- Christian

What Would __________ Do?

Posted: December 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Brainstorming Techniques | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

A Brainstorming Technique.

The easiest way to solve a problem is to have someone else solve it for you. Everyone has mentors, heroes and such. What would they do if they faces your problem? This brainstorming technique is designed to leverage your imagination to find just that.

Think of three people that you admire from different parts of your life. Pick at least one:
- Famous politician
- Childhood friend
- Celebrity
- Successful billionaire
- Person from one of those “top 100 ____ people of 2010″ lists

Now put yourselves in their shoes. How would they tackle your problem? What would their experience tell them? How would they use the resources that they have? (Whether it be fame, experience, money or connections.) What would they do? Why? Then figure out if you can apply it to your situation.

Sure, you may not have the same access to resources as the mentors you picked. But some lateral thinking may unlock ideas of how you can achieve the same on a smaller scale. And then you may find yourself looking at a solution rather than a problem.

- Christian

I know that these posts have become somewhat rare on Idea Drunk as the blog evolves, but I found a whole bunch of them in an old notebook and was thinking of bringing some of them back. Let me know what you think. Good? Or boring?

Einstein Was A Smart Man

Posted: March 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Pitching Ideas | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Great ideas are just that. They’re just great ideas. They’re not real. They don’t exist in the real world. And great ideas are scary. They’re tough to sell. Because they’re different. They’re stuff people haven’t seen before.

Sometimes, they’re actually unsellable. And that’s where the difference is made. When people do it themselves. They take them from being ideas to being tangible things in the real world.

It’s easy to give up. It’s easy to outsource a task to someone else and then just give up when they can’t figure out how to do it. But chances are that when you get a proxy to do something, they won’t have the same level of passion that you do. They’re just looking answer the question “Can it be done?” with a “Yes” or “No”. They’re not trying to answer “How can this be done?”

In advertising, there are two types of creatives. There are those that come up with a concept and then farm it off to the production department to figure out how it gets done. This happens most of the time. And it does produce great work. But most of the time, it’s prone to hitting roadblocks. And dying a slow death of a thousand paper cuts until someone eventually gives up and produces something mediocre.

Then there are those that have an irrational passion for producing their ideas. And they’ll do anything to get it done. They’ll cast their friends and family to bring their concept to life. They’ll buy an HD camcorder from BestBuy and return it after they shoot stuff with it. They’ll cut the videos themselves in iMovie. Who do you think gets the best work done?

If you want something to get done, do it yourself. Because the only person you can count on to have the level of passion required to get it done is you.

- Christian

Image found on I Can Read.