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A show about what it takes to create work that resonates. Travel the business and creative worlds as we explore meaningful topics, themes, and problems we face, as well as learn about innovative projects and companies. I'm your host, Jay Acunzo. I'm an author, speaker, and showrunner formerly of Google, HubSpot, VC, and ESPN. Today, I'm on a mission to help people stop trying to be visible and start learning to be memorable. Thanks for listening to the show!
 
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show series
 
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…
 
Gibi can't use her real name publicly, at least not anymore. Yet her work on YouTube is her calling, it's her everything. Despite the harassment and public criticism for what might ultimately be something rather mundane and sometimes rather wonderful, Gibi persists. Why? And what is the project that most embodies this double-edged sword of her work…
 
This is the story of a company which, by today's typical business standards and best practices, shouldn't exist. They're the perfect example of why there is no ONE right way in this work we do. We visit them live and in-person and discover some rather surprising things. --- If you enjoy these stories, there are a few ways to go deeper: - Inquire ab…
 
We all wish we had the wide open creative field -- total creative freedom. It turns out, however, that creative freedom doesn't work. It may not even exist. Today, two stories about constraints, creativity, and the surprising outcomes of embracing limitations. If you enjoy these stories, there are a few ways to go deeper: - Inquire about my keynote…
 
Joanna Wiebe never meant to quit her job and start her business, Copyhackers. In fact, she quit Intuit by accident. Blame the boss, or the wine, or the way Outlook was configured. But don't blame fate. In fact, THANK fate, if you believe in such things, because without Joanna leaving her job all those years ago, thousands of aspiring writers would …
 
Today, a classic episode from the Unthinkable archives about Erik Devaney, a writer and content marketer, who goes deep inside the emotions and the amusing tale of carving the white whale. Find Erik's Medium article, referenced in the story, right here. If you enjoy these stories, there are 3 ways to go deeper: - Inquire about my keynote speaking f…
 
A bonus, behind-the-scenes episode originally aired on the popular podcast, The Learning Leader Show. --- Ryan's book, Welcome to Management, is now available on Amazon. You can find his podcast, The Learning Leader Show, on Apple and everywhere you podcast. --- If you enjoyed this episode, there are a few ways to go deeper with my work: - Inquire …
 
Today, a classic episode from the Unthinkable archives about InVision, a software company that made a feature film seem less risky than writing more How-To blog posts. If you enjoy these stories, there are 3 ways to go deeper: - Inquire about my keynote speaking for your next event or company meeting at jayacunzo.com - Subscribe to my blog to get a…
 
"I Made It" is the podcast I'm creating together with Podia, which sells tools for creators who run their own businesses, helping them sell things like courses, digital downloads, and membership/paid subscription. In this episode, world-class photographer and the CEO of CreativeLive Chase Jarvis deconstructs a favorite project: his book, Creative C…
 
Announcing the launch of a brand new podcast I'm hosting and writing, "I Made It," the official show of Podia. You can subscribe wherever you listen, but also join our exclusive community at podia.com/podcast -- you'll get exclusive content + invites to join me and Podia CMO Len Markidan on live video calls, discussing creativity, the various creat…
 
Today, a reinvented type of episode sharing 5 quick concepts that can help transform your work (or, yanno ... do a little good here and there at least?) -- -- -- HELPFUL LINKS: Book Jay to speak: jayacunzo.com Read Marketing Showrunners, the media company Jay founded to help cover and advance the practice of brands making original series: READ or S…
 
When you share an idea and others simply don't get it, what's happening? And how can we be more persuasive in presenting our creative ideas so we can do our best work? Link to subscribe: marketingshowrunners.com/subscribe Inquiries about Jay's public speaking appearances: jayacunzo.com or email speaking@unthinkablemedia.com Jay's book is available …
 
Today, we revisit an episode from earlier this year while we're between seasons: One of the smallest, but highest-impact, creative projects on the internet. -- -- -- Book Jay to speak at your next event or company meeting: jayacunzo.com Learn more about making an irresistible show for your brand. Visit MarketingShowrunners.com and join free subscri…
 
Today, we replay a classic episode from the Unthinkable archives, involving the fastest-growing B2B app of all-time, a TV producer-turned-speaker, and a healthy dose of examining the backwards way we approach content as brands. -- -- -- Book Jay for your next event or company meeting. Visit jayacunzo.com Interested in learning more about making a g…
 
When we dub something a creative smash hit, we often point to the final product, as if their work was neatly contained in this one project. But it's often what happens AFTER something launches that makes it successful. Today, a revisited story about how to build momentum. -- -- -- For insights on how to make a great show for your brand, visit Marke…
 
A story from Unthinkable producer and Marketing Showrunners staff writer, Tallie Gabriel, about a startup that's gone global with its attempts at reinventing live music, and how they manage to use small changes to create consistent innovation across dozens of cities and hundreds of venues. (Oh, and their venues? Yeah, they aren't technically venues…
 
When a past story Unthinkable listeners absolutely loved resurfaces in a rather facepalmy way, it's time to listen back to this ridiculous story. For speaking inquiries to have Jay at your next event or company meeting, visit jayacunzo.com or explore his book, Break the Wheel, at jayacunzo.com/book. You can join marketing leaders from brands like R…
 
Scott looks every part a blacksmith. And while he might not work with any actual metal, he still forges his work with red hot fire. Today, we rerun a classic Unthinkable episode. Join marketing leaders at companies like Red Bull, Roku, Mailchimp, Adobe, Shopify, Salesforce, and the BBC who get my Marketing Showrunners newsletter: One email per mont…
 
Mike Lombardi runs one of the best new restaurants on the planet. Hearing him speak, it kinda seems like that's ALL our jobs. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, all about brands making shows. Subscribers include leaders from Red Bull, Roku, Mailchimp, Salesforce, Shopify, Wistia, and more: marketingshowrunners.com/subscribe Book Jay to speak at y…
 
Where does innovation fit in boring industries? How do we get creative when things seem to work against us entirely? What happens when the Powers That Be don't seem to want YOU to be? Today, a story from producer Tallie Gabriel about Museum Hack, the organization that's trying to make a centuries old industry with few resources and little sex appea…
 
When we want to innovate, we need to know what to change, when, and how. So, um ... what exactly should we change? Also when? And while we're at it (yep, you guessed it), HOW? In this episode, a deconstruction of one of the most popular shows on the internet, plus two new concepts and frameworks we can use to answer all those questions. For markete…
 
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