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Stories to inspire creative work. Unlike other shows about creativity, we're on a journey to understand one concept: resonance. What does it take to create work so resonant, people take action? Travel the business world as we explore. I'm your host, Jay Acunzo. I'm an author, speaker, and showrunner formerly of Google, HubSpot, and ESPN. Today, I'm on a mission to help people make what matters most to their careers, companies, and communities. Thanks for listening!
 
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show series
 
Resonating deeply doesn't require us to do anything big or expensive. The MINI-Series explores four types of created work that don't take up much space -- but still carry tons of meaning to those who encounter it. Last episode was about copywriting. This episode: illustration, featuring Haley Weaver of the wildly popular instagram account, Haley Dr…
 
In a new 4-part Mini Series, we're unpacking how we create little pockets of resonance. Through conversations with sound designers, copywriters, comedians, and creatives, we are mapping out how we can create work that can make audiences feel connected, validated, and seen. First up is a conversation with brilliant copywriter Margo Aaron who walks u…
 
Maker monsters often creep in at the least opportune times, drag us backwards, convince us of defeat, fill us with self-doubt, so where do we go from here? And what does that mean for our creative, professional work? We hear from Smithsonian’s Sidedoor podcast host and producer Lizzie Peabody and poet and keynote speaker, Tucker Bryant, about how t…
 
Learn more about Elevate and apply here: https://jayacunzo.com/accountability-group-for-b2b-marketers-creators The first group begins work April 11. MORE DETAILS: Achieve your creative goals with small working groups of B2B creators and marketers, led personally by me, Jay Acunzo. 8 weeks of guided work on your existing, most important projects, wi…
 
In this one-shot, Jay reflects on a childhood writing lesson that continues to impact how he approaches his work today. SHARE THE SHOW: Help others find Unthinkable in their favorite podcast player by sharing this link: https://pod.link/jay SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWSLETTER: https://jayacunzo.com/newsletter Every Friday, I send a new idea, story, or fram…
 
A story about a writer and entrepreneur with an audacious mission driving the organization he helps lead. Together, cofounder Stew Fortier and his community-led business Foster is helping writers who care about turning their ideas into timeless writing, not viral hits that quickly fade. They're here to fight back against the hollow noise, to develo…
 
In this episode, we hear from the founder of the media company New Rockstars, Filup Molina, and their first head of operations, Holiday Kinard, about how a small team of creative people operating out of one tiny room established themselves as just part of the viewing experience alongside the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You can find New Rockstars on …
 
In the second installment of The Concept, we learn about the idea of learned helplessness, which causes us to hit our ceilings as creators or even refrain from pursuing an opportunity, never attempt to overcome a challenge, or simply avoid asking for help. We learn how learned helplessness forms in the brain -- and what it DOES to our brain -- thro…
 
Patrick Campbell is cofounder and CEO of the software company ProfitWell, which sells tools to help subscription businesses (SaaS and DTC) reduce cancellations and optimize pricing and ultimately earn more revenue. Their media team -- a small group of about 6 full-time employees and a few freelancers -- has been setting the B2B marketing world on f…
 
Suzy Batiz calls herself CEO to more conservative crowds, but PEO to everyone else. To define PEO, however, would be to make more than a few people blush. The Poo Executive Officer. Suzy is the founder of Poo-Pourri, a toilet spray that solves the problem of bathroom smells in a way that runs counter to conventional thinking. But more than the hila…
 
In this one-shot, Jay unpacks one of Rocky’s most iconic scenes to better understand how we can approach our own constraints and begin to use them to our advantage. SHARE THE SHOW: Help others find Unthinkable in their favorite podcast player by sharing this link: https://pod.link/jay SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWSLETTER: https://jayacunzo.com/newsletter Ev…
 
In the first installment of The Concept, we learn about telic and its opposite, paratelic. These ideas inform our own internal motivations -- or that of our teams -- and they can radically change the results we see from our work. SHARE THE SHOW: Help others find Unthinkable in their favorite podcast player by sharing this link: https://pod.link/jay…
 
Today, we hear the story of Patreon, as told by cofounder and CEO Jack Conte. More pressing for our purposes as makers, however, is the driving belief Jack shares which is the beating heart of the creator economy -- or should be. There's a coming fork in the road we'll face if we want to create for a living and thrive. The decision is embedded into…
 
In this one-shot, we unpack how we can become more discerning about the real intent behind lists. Jay walks us through a very special ingredient list for his mom’s famous green bean casserole to give us a real-life example of how sneaky lists can be. SHARE THE SHOW: Help others find Unthinkable in their favorite podcast player by sharing this link:…
 
It’s a team that borders on a circus, bucks baseball traditionalists, and is unapologetically authentic. It’s a team that deeply resonates with fans both near and far, whose players go through “Fan First U” to join the team, and then try all kinds of atypical things to entertain fans -- sometimes off the field, and often, on it. What’s the differen…
 
What does it take to create work that resonates? This week, Jay unpacks his framing of resonance - why it matters, why we should prioritize it, and how to build it - with one of his creative sparring partners, Jay Clouse. From dissecting how competition comes into play to analyzing how it differs from reach, they look at resonance from all angles. …
 
Every week Jay waits until the last minute to write his weekly newsletter, why? In this short episode, Jay unpacks why he puts a weekly constraint on himself and how that has served as a tactic to wrestle with, dance with, and address his persistent maker monster. SHARE THE SHOW: Help others find Unthinkable in their favorite podcast player by shar…
 
We often hear one word used to describe a person or team that's built something big: empire. They've built a business empire. For Chris Sharpe and Adriene Mishler, the idea might have applied ... but only at first. Chris (as CEO of YWA's company, Find What Feels Good) and Adriene (as the performer and personality) co-founded something that did expa…
 
No matter how new or experienced we are at the craft, inevitably, we face maker monsters -- these internal barriers that hold us down and prevent us from doing our best work. These aren't external factors like budget, time, team, or tools. Instead, they sound like imposter syndrome or fear of rejection or procrastination. Today, we explore the fear…
 
What does it look like when an organization, project, or individual’s work resonates so deeply that they have passionate fans and loyal followers who declare them a favorite? This week we start in the sometimes bland, boring space of team training software and follow the story of a surprisingly dynamic, brilliant and captivating idea from 360Learni…
 
What does resonance really mean? In this short episode, we explore the science of resonance and how understanding the definition of the word can help us to focus on making content that matters. SHARE THE SHOW: Help others find Unthinkable in their favorite podcast player by sharing this link: https://pod.link/jay SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWSLETTER: https:…
 
In this episode, we follow multimedia journalist Natalia Aldana, organizer and artist Aisha White, podcaster and indie creator Jay Clouse, and we hear from marketing legend Joe Pulizzi as they (and me, Jay Acunzo) learn to navigate how these maker monsters attempt to take hostage their (and our) sense of self worth. So many of us conflate our profe…
 
The word "art" is often misunderstood, especially by those who don't consider themselves artists. But make no mistake, if you're in the change business, you're in the art business. In this episode, a short but inspiring look at how. SHARE THE SHOW: Help others find Unthinkable in their favorite podcast player by sharing this link: https://pod.link/…
 
So many of us focus on becoming an expert in our professional field. But what if instead, we wanted to become visionaries? Not THAT kind of visionary, mind you -- the over-hyped media machines that become the business world equivalents of the Kardashians. But instead, a type of useful, practical, attainable, and much-needed visionary. On this episo…
 
It's time for another one-shot -- a short-form, monologue episode sharing short stories, metaphors, and frameworks from my perspective to complement the longer-form stories about others that we share every other week. In this one, I answer a crucial question -- some might say mission critical to all our careers. Then, I detail why my answer to the …
 
Why do we constantly underestimate how long something will take in the short-term? In other words, we tend to over-estimate just how much we can achieve right now. Then, when we think long term, the reverse tends to happen: we actually UNDER-estimate what we're capable of achieving over time. Today, we want to know more about the promise of a popul…
 
In 2019, I helped develop, write, and direct a business docuseries called Against the Grain, which I also hosted. You can find that series at helpscout.com/atg. We told three stories of teams rethinking what success in business looks like. It was epic. But the budget ... was not. It was a lean production, with a small budget and small team. In talk…
 
Maker monsters often creep in at the least opportune times, drag us backwards, convince us of defeat, fill us with self-doubt, so where do we go from here? And what does that mean for our creative, professional work? We hear from Smithsonian’s Sidedoor podcast host and producer Lizzie Peabody and poet and keynote speaker, Tucker Bryant, about how t…
 
What's the worst advice you've ever received? Can you recall? Mine happened in my mid-20s. I'd just been hired to lead a team for the first time. I found myself in my first purely managerial role ... and I was miserable. Trying to salvage my schedule and my career, I marched into my boss's office and declared, "I'm not doing my best work here." Wha…
 
We hear from education entrepreneur and former urban designer Saba Ghole, whose own education journey has led her to rethink and rebuild how we can teach young people. She cofounded NuVu Studio, creating an educational space for imagination and innovation to help build creative, critical thinkers and problem solvers. Writer and researcher Molly Don…
 
I used to think I somehow escaped the clutches of imposter syndrome. Oh, the ego in that statement. Surprise, surprise, I was wrong. My imposter syndrome grips me as a writer, a podcaster, a speaker, and a creator-of-things-that-people-are-supposed-to-enjoyer. It's the worst when I face gatekeepers -- people like editors or publishers who decide wh…
 
The company Museum Hack, founded by Nick Gray, was at one point a promising new startup. It helped reinvent and reinvigorate a stale museum experience. It lured people out of their homes, away from their screens, and into groups of people. There, connection happened. Learning. Inspiration. And another concept, pulled from Dutch culture, known as "g…
 
As creative people, how we see the world changes how we think about it which changes how we communicate which changes how we resonate which changes the results we see. Want to change you results? Start at the beginning. Consider changing, or at least thinking critically about, how you see the world. It's not often a tiny tactic or hidden marketing …
 
On the show, we keep talking about the importance of reaching that next rep of your creative process consistently, faster, and better, but often, those ideas are in conflict. Often, we shouldn't move to the next iteration or project quickly. Then there are other times where taking a break is actually a form of hiding. We want the perfect conditions…
 
This week, another "One-Shot." These are my short-form, experimental episodes, where I read a short written piece for you, covering an observation I've made or story I've experienced firsthand. Whereas my main episodes share stories from the perspectives of others, these shorts are from my perspective alone. It's all part of the journey we're on to…
 
While I'm on vacation, I wanted to ensure I shared something special. Jay Clouse's show, Creative Elements, is among my favorite interview podcasts about creativity and building a career as a content entrepreneur and artist online today. Jay asks me about... My experiences as a sports journalist and sports PR intern at ESPN and elsewhere, before ge…
 
Alex Cook's obsessions are ever-changing, from growing and farming mushrooms to men's haircare products to riding Fat bikes on the beach ... to investigating family mysteries involving his grandfather, a dog, and an old wooden chest full of clues. All of this led Alex to create his company, NanaGram. It's the most rewarding app you'll ever use (ful…
 
The stories that inspire us and move others to action don't often feel within our grasp. Maybe we think it's about budget, or more time, or even more team. But so often, creativity is about resourcefulness, not resources. This applies squarely to storytelling. In fact, if we just learned (or re-learned) what a "story" really is, we might better equ…
 
Alex Cook's obsessions are ever-changing, from growing and farming mushrooms to men's haircare products to riding Fat bikes on the beach ... to investigating family mysteries involving his grandfather, a dog, and an old wooden chest full of clues. All of this led Alex to create his company, NanaGram. It's the most rewarding app you'll ever use (ful…
 
In a new monologue story, we try to understand how to bring greater focus and our own unique form to our creative work more consistently. After all, being a professional creator means showing up even when we don't feel amazing in order to tinker, draft, and ship. We need to bring our focus and our form to our work upon command. How do we do that? W…
 
In a new story, we try to understand what the heck a "rep" is in creative work, so we can reach our next rep faster, better, and more consistently. We hear the story of visual artist Matthew Zaremba and learn more about reps from Grammy-nominated music educator and CrossFit coach Kevin Mazzarella. FREE WEEKLY NEWSLETTER: Playing Favorites shares on…
 
In this episode, I experiment with something I'm calling "One-Shots." In this particular One-Shot, "making bad" -- what creative people we admire seem to have in common. FREE WEEKLY NEWSLETTER: Playing Favorites shares one new story every Friday morning that you can't find anywhere else, focused on creating work that matters. Subscribe at jayacunzo…
 
Every creative person is trying to make what matters. The projects and jobs they pursue, the bosses or clients they like or dislike, and the works they admire -- it all comes back to that one idea. Not "rank #1" or "drive massive growth." Make. What Matters. I believe everyone has what it takes to make what matters, but we often stop or stagnate in…
 
Your knowledge is finite. Your curiosity is infinite. So why, oh why, do we usually rely more on our existing knowledge than our boundless curiosity? We live in a society that seems to value the ability to have the answers, but the path to making work that matters just might mean admitting, "I don't have the answers, but I'm going to figure this ou…
 
In this episode, the story of Lisa Schneider, (former) Chief Digital Officer at Merriam-Webster, and their award-winning, President-trolling, brilliant and witty Twitter account, social media presence, and dictionary brand -- yes, a beloved dictionary brand. Their success started with a simple aspiration that threw into question the most accepted a…
 
Standup comedian and comedy writer Sarah Cooper's rise to mainstream fame feels inevitable. Looking at her 2020, she was one of the biggest stories in entertainment and the creator economy more broadly. It started when her nephew turned her onto TikTok, and it's there where she went viral. She filmed herself in her apartment doing lip-sync videos o…
 
Tim Urban writes a blog about ... well ... lots of stuff. Understanding ourselves and our relationship to each other and the world, maybe? From making friends to exploring space, cultural and societal forces to neuroscience breakthroughs ... all packaged as brilliant, entertaining, and sarcastic essays. Tim Urban has written about it all. But like …
 
Fundamentally, Unthinkable is a podcast about creativity -- creativity at work, creativity used to enact change, and creativity as a form of practice, improvement, and exploration. For several years, the show focused on one problem, one source of frustration: our obsession with best practices, and all the problems that causes. So we set out to chan…
 
How does your intent for your work change your results? If your goal is to build something big, does that increase the odds of succeeding? Why, then, do so many stories about huge successes start out the same way: with a shrug, and a quick, "I just wanted to brew some beer." ? Today, we explore the story of The Alchemist, makers of the industry sen…
 
Jack Conte, CEO of Patreon, has some firm beliefs about making stuff on the internet -- namely, that the economics simply don't reward great, quality, resonant, service-minded creators. Thus, the sensationalism and clickbait and algorithm-gamers win out. But that trend is changing, with Jack's company helping lead the charge. This episode goes deep…
 
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