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Follow Your Weird39:56 with Brian Manley
Take all your Weird, and do something you love
[MUSIC] 0:00 Well, like I said my name is Brian Manley. 0:04 I don't do bad record art. 0:06 I don't know if he told you I do bad art. 0:08 I appreciate that it if he did. 0:09 I do a lot of work with record labels and bands and stuff that somehow 0:11 we all probably loved when we were in high school and middle school. 0:14 So you can go look it up, but, I think that's what he was trying to say. 0:17 But It's really great to be here because there's a certain part of me 0:20 that feels a little like a fraud, like I shouldn't be here. 0:24 And you guys are people I wildly respect and 0:27 I wildly admire because you are amazing creatives and amazing artists. 0:29 But deep down I kind of feel like I'm a fraud because see, 0:32 I stand before a guy with a bachelors degree in youth ministry and bible stuff. 0:35 Which is how do you get from being a youth ministry guy, pastor guy to design? 0:40 And, it's the weirdest little route. 0:47 And so it makes me feel like you guys are legit. 0:49 You guys have art degrees. 0:51 You guys are the cool people. 0:52 You guys are the ones in high school who were the guys always noodling and 0:53 doodling on in class and taking art classes. 0:55 When I was in high school, I never took an art class because I was such a dork, 0:58 I was always in band and choir, and show choir doing the jazz hands and stuff. 1:02 >> [LAUGH] >> And, 1:06 you guys know what I'm talking about, and [LAUGH] that's right. 1:06 And so when I I was in high school I, I never had time to do the art stuff, but 1:10 I always dug it. 1:13 And my dad was a traveling businessman, and 1:15 he would come home from China with stacks of, like bootleg Adobe Photoshop. 1:17 Like, not, Windows 9, and tons of bootleg software, don't tell cops, please. 1:21 >> [LAUGH] >> And 1:25 my dad would just say just try this. 1:26 Well, I'd start to learn Photoshop and play around, 1:27 and all I ever did was like take a picture of my dog, cut its head off, 1:29 put it on my mom's body, and then I'd make my mom super angry. 1:33 And that's the kind of stuff I did. 1:36 And I always wanted to be in punk rock bands and play in bands, and so 1:37 somehow because I owned a computer and 1:40 I knew Photoshop, people would let me do t-shirts. 1:42 But all I ever wanted to do is like, I'm just gonna go get a job and 1:45 be a youth pastor. 1:47 I dig high school kids, I'm down with the spiritual stuff, let's go this way, and 1:48 I kind of ignored the creative side. 1:51 Get to college, I'm still playing in bands every weekend. 1:53 And I'm working on my degree in Youth Ministry. 1:56 And I remember working on my Old Testament final. 1:58 I was in a library trying to study. 2:01 And just like a magnet pulling you in, I just went to the magazine section and 2:02 just would sit and read Communication Arts Magazine, and read How Magazine, 2:06 and read Print. 2:10 Like I just, I didn't realize it until recently that A, 2:10 I was ignoring my work and B, I was really into this creative stuff whatever it is. 2:14 So I get a job in Southern California as a high school youth pastor and 2:19 as I'm doing that, I don't know if you know about Southern California culture and 2:22 just youth in general. 2:26 You need to grab their attention, and so you spend a lot of energy and a lot of 2:27 money, and a lot of print materials on just grabbing them for events. 2:30 Hey, we're doing a wacky Nerf ball night, and so you have to design a flyer for it. 2:33 And after the 400th flyer for different people around the church and 2:37 stuff, I was like, you know what, I kinda like designing flyers far more than 2:40 hanging out with these annoying high school kids and their weird parents. 2:44 >> [LAUGH] >> And, maybe you were that student. 2:46 And before you know it, believe it or 2:50 not, the day, I had something, my boss offered me a promotion. 2:52 She says, we want to give you your own service. 2:56 We're gonna blow this thing out. 2:58 You're gonna be Pastor of this whole thing. 2:59 And, I was like, you have no idea what's coming tomorrow. 3:00 And I walked into her office afterwards and she said well, 3:04 did you think about the offer? 3:06 I said, yes. 3:07 Here's my letter of resignation, I'm quitting, and I declared to the heavens, 3:08 I'm going to be a graphic designer. 3:12 By the way >> [SOUND] 3:14 >> Yes, yes, we took the cry. 3:15 >> [APPLAUSE] >> By the way, 3:17 that was the easiest thing I've ever done because, I don't know if you know this, 3:18 finding work after that declaration is darn impossible. 3:21 >> [LAUGH] >> Cuz by the way, 3:23 work doesn't come to you when you say, hey, I'm here! 3:25 And so what happened was, by the grace of God and some people around me, they gave 3:28 me some work, and before you know it, I stand before you as a graphic designer. 3:32 And I'm so proud to be called a designer and an artist and a creative. 3:35 But I realize I took this weird route to get here. 3:38 I took this super weird route, and when I look back, 3:41 I realize all I was doing the whole time was following my weird. 3:44 Following my weird. 3:48 And I want to talk today about what it takes to follow your weird, the thing that 3:50 is your passion, the little thing that is like, oh it was there the whole time and 3:53 I just wanted to make stickers and hang out with bands. 3:57 And like, buy records and do crazy stuff. 4:00 What is a thing that helps you follow your weird? 4:02 So we're gonna talk about that today. 4:04 First step, find something you like to do. 4:06 This is gonna sound insane. 4:09 Hopefully you all have something you like to do, but the older I get, I get more and 4:11 more shocked how many people don't do what they enjoy. 4:14 They don't do what they like. 4:18 There's someone in my family who I, I, I won't name them by name, but 4:19 I swear to you. 4:22 I don't know what they like. 4:23 They wake up in the morning, they eat, they go to bed, 4:25 and that's about all I know. 4:28 And I'm like, what is going on? 4:30 And this gets really hard come Christmas time, cuz what do you buy, gift wise, for 4:31 the person who seems to be into nothing? 4:36 Like here's a box of air, I don't know. 4:38 >> [LAUGH] >> And for me I, this is, I feel bad, 4:40 cuz as a creative, right, we wanna give the raddest gifts, 4:45 cuz we're like I'm gonna hunt this thing down on the internet. 4:47 I'm gonna find this thing, I'm gonna fly it in from China. 4:49 Merry Christmas. 4:52 They're like yay. 4:52 What do you give this person that doesn't like anything and they end up gift cards. 4:53 It's like well, they like to eat, so have fun at Applebee's, like there you go. 4:56 >> [LAUGH] >> But I don't want to focus on the people 4:59 that don't like things because I don't think that's a lot of us, but 5:02 it's amazing still those in our lives that, that really have nothing, 5:05 no passion, no drive, no energy. 5:08 But I want to celebrate those who do. 5:09 You gotta find you, something you like to do and that person in my life is my dad. 5:11 My dad, amazing business man over all these years. 5:15 By the way, I had the raddest dad when it came to his job. 5:19 Because when I was a kid, he worked in manufacturing. 5:21 He worked at a toy company. 5:24 That ruled! 5:26 So he, I as a kid, I got all the etch-a-sketches and 5:27 toys one could handle growing up. 5:30 He left that job. 5:32 I become a broke dude living in California in a tiny Anaheim, Anaheim apartment. 5:33 And he's now working at a furniture store. 5:37 Yes! 5:40 Free furniture! 5:40 By the way, the furniture cost, and probably was more money, than I had 5:42 in anything else, like it probably cost more than the apartment itself. 5:46 And then, now that I'm adult, by dad works, and maybe you guys that have homes 5:49 and yards can appreciate this, my dad works at a power tools company. 5:53 >> [APPLAUSE] >> And, he's the dude who goes, 5:56 hey I got an extra leafblower, we decided we were gonna put a jet engine on 5:58 a battery-powered leafblower, you guys cool? 6:02 You want one of those? 6:04 I'm like, yes I want one of those! 6:05 >> [LAUGH] >> Just pblpblpblbplbbttt all day long, 6:06 it's so great. 6:09 >> [LAUGH] >> So that's, by the way, that's my dad, 6:10 so, but that's, he's, he's a businessman, but that's not his passion. 6:12 His real passion in life, 6:15 his real excitement is being in the garage, wrenching on cars. 6:16 And now he's got two passions. 6:21 He's, likes to be in his wood shop, and he likes to be wrenching on cars. 6:22 And that's where he wants to be. 6:26 When he retires, when it's all said and done, 6:28 he goes you know what, a job is a job, is a job, is a job. 6:30 But I just wanna wrench on cars. 6:32 And as a kid, it was cool, because he would always disappear to the garage all 6:34 the time and I was like where's dad, he said oh he's in the garage, 6:38 he's wrenching on cars and they're smoking and explosions. 6:40 My dad is a guy now who no joke, he just built this amazing wood shop recently. 6:42 And it's really cool and high-tech and wood band saws and 6:47 stuff, he's hurt himself a couple times. 6:52 My mom will text me I'm taking your dad to the ER. 6:55 So that's my mom, she'll say, ER, and 6:58 then my dad will literally text me the picture of his busted cut in half finger. 6:59 No story, no nothing. 7:04 It's like! 7:05 >> [LAUGH] >> And my dad's like, 7:06 yeah I had a little accident superglue will fix it no big deal. 7:09 >> [LAUGH] >> And so 7:12 my dad is so passionate about wood shop and working, its awesome. 7:13 And one day we were hanging out and 7:17 my dad's obsessed with this TV channel called Velocity. 7:18 It's an all car channel. 7:21 It is like pornography for car nuts. 7:23 Like, it is insane because it is just like nonstop car stuff. 7:24 And my dad loves watching, like he obsessed. 7:29 You go to their house, like it could be Christmas morning. 7:32 Actually, it was Christmas morning, we finished our meal, 7:34 he beelines it toward the barcalounger, and turns on Velocity. 7:37 And we're just like, yes, I've seen this show 48 times. 7:40 This is the one where this happens. 7:42 And my dad just loves it. 7:44 Sits there and there's a show called Chasing Classic Cars, 7:44 where this guy goes around finding old, million dollar cars in old barns. 7:48 He helps rich guys get their dream car they must have in their collection. 7:53 And all this stuff, and it's really cool. 7:56 And he gets, he gets to spend other people's money. 7:58 So I'm like, dad is that the guy you want to be when you retire? 8:00 He's like no, I don't want to be that guy, I wanna be his mechanic. 8:03 I was like, oh you've got this thing figured out. 8:06 You just want to wrench all day. 8:09 You want to, as soon as you retire you want on put on that blue 8:11 jumpsuit with your name Paul emblazoned on a patch on your chest. 8:14 And be like, see these grease stains, they've been here for 14 years. 8:17 Like, that's what he wants to do, and that passion and 8:21 excitement is what it's all about when it comes to following your weird. 8:23 Have something you like to do, and do it. 8:27 My dad is that guy. 8:30 Second step in following your weird, you guys might like this one, be a nerd. 8:33 Wooh! How many nerds we got here today? 8:38 >> [APPLAUSE] >> All right, good, that's sweet. 8:40 By the way, you're all nerds, this is a design conference, 8:42 what are you talking about? 8:44 >> [LAUGH] >> This is the nerdiest thing of all. 8:45 But I don't mean, be a nerd, in a pejorative way. 8:47 I mean it in the most positive way possible. 8:49 Guys, I don't know if you know this, we are in the golden age of being a nerd. 8:51 It is acceptable, now. 8:54 Like, I remember being, I told you earlier, I was a band geek and 8:57 a choir nerd, and I remember setting up for just, like a musical at school. 9:02 And we were doing something in front of an assembly, which by the way, doing musicals 9:07 in front of a high school body that wants nothing to do with being there is awesome, 9:11 I'll tell you that much. 9:14 >> [LAUGH] >> Jazz hands. 9:15 And so, so I'm setting up for this thing and this guy Curt, 9:16 this scumbag Curt, I remember, I wanna punch him. 9:20 He shoved me. 9:24 I don't know if you guys have experienced this I'm just walking down the hall 9:25 setting up and he just shoves me into the locker bank. 9:28 Not into the locker but you know that visceral, I cannot get this off my brain 9:30 that feeling of my shoulder slamming into a cold hollow steel bank of lockers and 9:34 it reverberates down the hall and everyone looks and goes haha. 9:40 And, that, that is indelible on my soul. 9:43 Like, that is what it meant to, for me to be a dork and be a nerd growing up. 9:45 And, I'll have to explain to my daughter one day, like, 9:48 I know at your school geeks are cool, but, back in my day you were not cool. 9:51 You got shoved in the lockers. 9:54 You got beat up. 9:55 That phone you hold in your hand, nerds did it! 9:56 That beautiful design thing your looking at, nerds did it! 9:59 I love celebrating being a nerd. 10:01 And as creatives in Atlanta, we have a group of guys that we get together, 10:04 just an illustration to show you how beautiful nerdiness can be. 10:08 A bunch of designer guys, creative guys, 10:12 hand sign painters people that work at web companies, 10:14 we get together at a barbecue place every Monday for a thing called Manly Monday. 10:17 Manly Monday, right, sounds brutal. 10:21 It's not named after me, it's just named after dudes hanging out. 10:24 Ladies are invited but like I said, it's called Manly Monday. 10:26 And so we hang out and we're a motley looking crew, 10:30 like we're tough dudes with like, my buddy Jeremiah's got sweet neck tattoos. 10:33 And we got dudes with all sorts of weird deformities, 10:37 dude's got a gold tooth and we're just like awesome. 10:40 And we sit there, and I'm sure the servers come by at the beginning of the night and 10:44 go, these guys are awesome, 10:47 one girl tries to flirt with another dude and i'm like yeah. 10:48 And we're just hanging out talking about the Falcons, 10:49 talking about the Braves, hanging out. 10:52 And every time we hang out the conversation devolves into 10:54 a nerd conversation about what sans-serif font to use in the right application. 10:59 Should we approach this from HTML? 11:04 [SOUND] Nerd, nerd, nerd talk and it becomes this 11:06 nerd awesomeness that's happening and it's such a great experience. 11:09 And then we, then I go all right, see you later and 11:13 that's how we refill our coffers and our energy, and our excitement. 11:15 We celebrate our nerdiness and it happens by accident but it's beautiful. 11:19 Another great example of this, and it's my favorite way to celebrate 11:23 is this event that happens in Atlanta every Labor Day weekend. 11:27 If you took Comic Con, boiled it down to it's nerdiest simple 11:32 syrupy potent goodness you would have this event in Atlanta that is so amazing. 11:38 It's called Dragon Con and maybe you guys have been to Dragon Con and 11:43 it is a celebration of all things geek and all things nerdy. 11:47 It is so beautiful because there's no shame in the game and I always tell people 11:50 my favorite thing about Dragon Con, come for this it's the best. 11:54 Because there's a morbidly obese Spiderman walking in full spandex towards you and 11:57 the best part is he has the confidence of Mike Tyson in the ring, he is a champ. 12:02 And none of this are judging, we're just like that dude rules. 12:08 >> [LAUGH] >> And I love when my wife and I go and 12:12 some friends, we all go and 12:15 I just wanna show you a couple pictures of what it's like. 12:16 This is where we celebrate there's sit in the bar and 12:17 this is thousands of dudes in cosplay and stuff. 12:19 Multiple dudes with multiple different types of sabers and 12:23 swords, high-fiving while walking to get a bucket of punch, it's so great. 12:26 >> [LAUGH] >> They also had this parade, 12:30 where like thousands or hundreds, 12:33 I should say hundreds of storm troopers walking step down [UNKNOWN] street. 12:35 And I'm thinking that little girl right there is gonna try and 12:39 tell someone what she saw one day and like, no you did not, 12:42 that did not happen but hopefully she'll grow up like yes these are my people. 12:44 And this is one of my favorite because I'm gonna figure now this or 12:50 not, the family that cosplays together stays together. 12:52 And we had this, I saw this and was like, Aah! 12:55 Get my phone and take a picture. 12:58 And there's no judgement it is like yes those people rock it with the utmost 13:00 confidence. 13:03 It's about celebrate being a nerd and 13:05 as we follow our weird it's about embracing being a nerd. 13:07 As we're trying to follow our weird, be a nerd, that's step two. 13:10 Step three, work within your weakness. 13:13 You guys are taking notes, 13:18 you were like, does he really mean to write that work within your weakness? 13:18 Yes, my wife works in HR and she has to hire and 13:22 fire people all day long and when she interviews people. 13:27 This is my favorite thing, she comes home and tells me stories cuz the interview 13:31 process it's always, what are you strengths and what are you good at? 13:34 And it's like well I'm really good at this, that and the other thing, 13:36 I can task manage well and it's all baloney it's all big high faluting words. 13:39 But my favorite part is when she says well what are some of your weaknesses? 13:43 And the clients and people that come into her hotel to work for her to try to work 13:46 at her place we'll say things like, well I guess I just work too hard. 13:49 >> [LAUGH] >> To be, I, I guess you say, I care 13:53 too much and my favorite she literally had this person say this recently. 13:58 He said, I'm on, I'm too, I'm too on time. 14:02 >> [INAUDIBLE] >> Like you show up five minutes early 14:04 that, that's a weak, all right there you go. 14:07 But we need to work within our weakness and 14:09 where this idea comes from in following your weird, is my buddy Roy and 14:10 I decided to start a screen printing company a few years ago. 14:14 Doing show posters and art prints and things like that and 14:16 as we did this, my buddy built this rad light box, like, 14:19 we're gonna just have so much fun screen printing. 14:22 And if you've never screen printed or know anyone that has, 14:24 It's sort of involves chemistry patience, good design, good timing. 14:27 It's a lot a little science stuff involved and so 14:32 every time we'd go to a burn a screen. 14:35 Every time we'd go to make a screen to make a print we'd burn it on my buddy's 14:37 light box which is back in a woodshed in the back of his yard. 14:41 This is the wood shed where like, all the creepy crawlies live and 14:44 you walk in the wood shed, it creaks open, you're just like, stop touching me. 14:46 And every time we'd go in this thing to burn a screen, we'd burn the screen have 14:51 it dialed in ready to go, the design is super clean, super tight. 14:54 We'd burn it, we'd wash it out, there right in the middle of the print for 14:58 some reason is a dead cockroach carcass. 15:01 >> [LAUGH] >> It's like 15:04 then there in the bottom corner there's a whole family of dead spiders and 15:05 were like oh my goodness what do we do? 15:07 And so we washed the screen and start all over again, 15:10 next thing you know we just spent half a day trying to get the screen right. 15:12 And we just get in fights and get angry at each other cuz all we ever did was get 15:15 dirt and stuff on the screen, somehow we could not figure out how to get it clean. 15:18 I said Roy, we gotta stop the madness this is insane, 15:22 we need to start designing within our weakness. 15:25 We're clearly, we know we're not good at making clean screens. 15:27 So what we did is we started designing with lots of grit and texture and 15:31 intentionally going no that bug carcass is supposed to be there. 15:34 >> [LAUGH] >> And the next thing you know, 15:37 next thing you know the people loved the prints and are like, you don't see that? 15:39 That's disgusting, and it was so great and it freed us up to enjoy ourself. 15:42 And it freed us up to appreciate the fact that we knew what we weren't good at. 15:46 And we decided to go with it, we decided to work within our weakness. 15:51 And now to this day we still make creepy gross screen prints, 15:55 so while I was working on this, I, kinda workshop of this in my brain. 16:00 I said this phrase out loud, that kind of made me sick to my stomach. 16:05 I said, let your weakness determine your uniqueness [SOUND], sorry. 16:10 I know it's cool if your cheeseball meter just went off the charts I apologize but 16:16 I think there's some truth in it. 16:20 Let your weakness determine your uniqueness. 16:22 I think the places we're weak at force us to go in a different direction and 16:25 rethink new ways. 16:28 Like I told you earlier, I didn't ever, I never took an art class in high school. 16:30 I can, I really can't draw very well and I think that's a prerequisite for 16:33 being a designer yet somehow I managed to fake it. 16:36 But let your weakness determine your uniqueness. 16:40 I know its corny but I wanna drill it into your heads and 16:41 I wanna take this thing away from it. 16:44 Cuz I, the church I used to work at in California the lead pastor was known for 16:45 coming up with cornball phrases. 16:49 And it was turn your scars into stars. 16:51 >> [LAUGH] >> If you dream it, you can do it and 16:54 when I say let your weakness determine your uniqueness it's that same cheeseball. 16:59 So, we're in the south and I live in Atlanta, and 17:03 I live about a football's throw away from this AME gospel church. 17:06 So on Sunday morning, it gets loud. 17:08 So let's try something here, I need some help. 17:11 So we're gonna do this Southern Gospel style. 17:12 Let your weakness determine your uniqueness. 17:14 Can I get an amen? 17:19 >> [INAUDIBLE] >> All right, alright, 17:19 let's do a little call and response. 17:21 Let your weakness, >> [INAUDIBLE] 17:22 >> Determine. 17:25 >> Determine. 17:26 >> Your uniqueness. 17:27 >> Your uniqueness. 17:27 >> Amen, hallelujah, we did it all right. 17:29 And so by the way that is now indelible in your brain you'll never scrub it off and 17:32 I apologize. 17:36 But I think there's an amazing truth here about letting your weakness 17:37 determine your uniqueness especially as creatives. 17:40 There's a story in the book, David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. 17:43 And that all these CEO types were getting together, doing what CEOs do, 17:46 talking about how rich they are, how CEOy they are. 17:50 And maybe about, hey did you get a new boat? 17:53 Yeah, it's about this big. 17:55 And, and these CEO's would get together and as they're talking somehow it came out 17:56 that all these guys had one thing kind of in common. 18:00 And as they're talking they're just like, this is weird so sociologists again, 18:03 I was like, this is interesting let's check it out. 18:07 And these guys were talking when they were younger they all suffered or 18:08 a majority of these guys suffered from dyslexia. 18:11 And they're like, what in the world is going on here? 18:13 How does this happen? 18:17 Why is this like this? 18:18 As the sociologist looked into it being, have, be, having 18:19 that learning disability when they were younger caused them to think about new 18:24 ways to fake their teachers out, to fake their parents out, to fake themselves out. 18:28 How can I get past this obstacle kinda without really not letting anybody know? 18:33 How do I overcome this disability? 18:37 How do I figure out new ways would make it, I read the report I promise but 18:39 maybe I'll just listen to audiobook, I don't know? 18:42 And somehow in the process, it taught these guys a skill set and a set 18:44 of skills that made them exceptionally great at being leaders and CEOs. 18:49 They let their weakness determine their uniqueness and 18:54 they worked within their weakness. 18:56 My favorite example of this outside of that story, any metal head fans here? 18:59 Yeah, metal. 19:04 All right, so we got metal heads here and I'm a huge metal head fan, a metal fan. 19:06 By the way, a metal head would never say he's a metal head fan, so 19:11 I just realized I ruined my own thing. 19:13 And as a metal head, I love the band Black Sabbath. 19:15 And the guitar player from Black Sabbath is Tony Iommi. 19:19 And a lot of people don't know this but Tony Iommi when he was younger 19:22 he was a guitar player that was his passion, that was his excitement. 19:25 He is an 18 year old kid and you don't guys know this, 19:28 all you wanna do is noodle on a guitar. 19:30 You wanna practice your craft, you wanna do whatever this and 19:32 he wanted to play guitar and he was in some bands. 19:35 This is pre-sabbath and what he did was to make money cuz that's what you do 19:37 in Birmingham England, he worked at a steel mill at a steel factory. 19:41 And Tony Iommi's working this steel press for the first time, ever. 19:45 I don't know if you guys know, like in the late 70s or late 60s, early 70s, 19:48 steel presses were probably not that safe and not that glorious. 19:52 Nowadays, you go to a factory and you have put like, five fingerprints on a thing and 19:55 a foot, and ankle, and before the press can come down, just for safety reasons. 19:58 Well Tony Iommi, on this press for the first time ever, steps up, puts his hands 20:02 in the press, press comes down, and takes off his, tops of his two middle fingers. 20:06 Ouch. I don't know if you guys know this, 20:12 as a guitar player, that's a bad thing to happen to you. 20:13 >> [LAUGH] >> So 20:15 Tony Iommi in the hospital was just like, how am I ever gonna play guitar again? 20:17 This is, I'm done. 20:20 This, I'm toast. 20:21 And someone told him, about, Django Reinhardt, 20:23 a blues musician, way back in the day, 20:25 who had damaged his hands and kinda re-figured out a new way to play guitar. 20:27 So, inspired by this Django Reinhardt story, he went home, 20:31 manufactured some little plastic caps that he put on the tips on his fingers. 20:34 And was playing guitar, and 20:38 it sort of worked, cuz of the pain of the raw nerves and stuff was killing him. 20:39 And he played a little bit, and he's like, this doesn't sound right and so, and 20:43 I can't feel it yet so he went and got some he went and got some banjo strings. 20:47 Started putting those on his guitar. 20:51 And he's, I can feel a little bit but it still sounds corny, it still sounds bad. 20:53 So then he decided to plug his guitar into the bass side of the amp, 20:56 turn up all the gain, turn up all the fuzz to mask the fact 20:59 that he just didn't feel it, it didn't sound right. 21:03 In his mind it was wrong. 21:05 And when he did all these things, he invented heavy metal. 21:06 How amazing is that? 21:11 Dude lops of his fingers and goes, I'm just gonna, by the way, 21:13 create the most amazing genre of music, ever. 21:15 >> [LAUGH] >> At least in my opinion. 21:18 Tony Iommi let his weakness determine his uniqueness and 21:22 he worked within his weakness. 21:24 What is that for us as creatives where we're not that strong but 21:25 it's what makes us unique and makes us wildly awesome, and wildly creative? 21:28 By they way, I'm gonna pass this but I saw this at a screen, 21:35 my buddy's screen print shop, it says, it's a Zig Ziglar quote. 21:38 Says try to find your weakness and convert it into your strengths. 21:43 That's success. 21:46 And I would challenge that and simply say, yes, 21:47 if your weakness is that thing that's gonna bring you down. 21:49 But if, I'm not sure I fully disagree with that, 21:51 what I'd rather spend time focusing on is a quote down there and 21:53 it's hard to see but it says, there is no try, do or do not, Master Yoda. 21:56 Let's geek out! 22:00 Whoo! And then there's something about setting 22:01 the temperature to the screen press at 340, which is weird. 22:03 So work within your weakness. 22:06 Step four, I want to talk to you about dance with the one that brung ya. 22:08 Dance with the one that brung ya. 22:11 As you follow your weird is the thing you gotta do is dance with 22:13 the one that brung ya. 22:14 My dad somehow used to tell me this phrase all the time. 22:15 And I don't, we never talked about going to dances. 22:17 But he always kept saying that, I'm not sure why, and it stuck in my head. 22:20 But it's about celebrating and remembering how you got to where you are. 22:23 And not forgetting those who got you here. 22:26 Who were the people that got you here? 22:29 Who are those people who gave you a break and gave you chance? 22:30 You don't forget those people. 22:33 There's a church I work with up in Atlanta, 22:35 and there's a group of these ladies at the, 22:37 in the children's ministry, that early on gave me a shot to design some shirts and 22:38 design some stuff and actually help me pay the bills and keep the lights on. 22:42 And forever and ever and ever I will do whatever they ask whenever they call. 22:45 If they're like hey we need a shirt for this event, like whatever you want, 22:49 I'll do it because you guys gave me a chance. 22:51 I wanna make sure I remember to dance with the one that brought me. 22:53 But those are the people, we all have people, some people here, your bosses, 22:56 your friends. 23:00 But, I wanna also talk about experiences. 23:01 The records, the movies, the books, the moments. 23:04 What are those things that brought you to where you are now? 23:07 But we forget. 23:11 We're so, as creatives, we're so focused on the future all the time. 23:12 We're so focused down the line. 23:15 The project that's coming down the line, what we're working on right now. 23:17 We're so focused on the future we have yet to look back. 23:19 We forget all the time. 23:21 For me recently a great example of that like I said, 23:23 I was, I'm big in to punk rock and all that stuff. 23:26 And one of the first bands I rever really like, this is my band. 23:28 They're like the safest nicest way to kinda sorta be mad at your parents and 23:30 sorta be mad at the government and still be punk rock, 23:34 is this punk band called hot water music. 23:36 Which, by the way, if you're not hip to them, check them out. 23:38 And they have a rad logo, don't they? 23:40 Don't you want to tattoo that on the side of your neck or something? 23:41 Like, that seems awesome. 23:44 But we went, so, I was obsessed with this band, 23:46 we went see these guys a few months ago. 23:48 The Manly Monday guys, we all decided to, let's go to a show, let's hang out, 23:49 let's go be, you know, do what dudes do, now. 23:53 Go to shows. 23:54 And but as old guys do now, we go to these punk shows. 23:56 We sit in the back corner like, just kinda holed up like, hey. 23:59 B-Boy stance. 24:02 Like, yeah, we're watching the band, but we're super far back. 24:03 And my buddy Jeremiah, the dude with the neck tattoos, says, guys, 24:06 quit being sissies. 24:09 Let's go up front. 24:10 Let's get close. 24:10 So all of us old dudes, 24:12 we kinda walk closer till we're on the side of the stage. 24:13 It's a great set, it's going well, 24:16 it's awesome; these guys haven't played in town in a while; we're having fun. 24:18 And then they played the first song off the first album I ever bought from them, 24:23 and I had this freak out moment. 24:29 When they played this, I had not heard this song in forever; I had not thought 24:32 about this song in forever, and 24:35 when they played it I had that experience like the movie The Blues Brothers. 24:36 When Jake and Elwood are in that church, and 24:39 the blue shaft of light is coming down and they're kinda shaking, seeing the light. 24:41 I had that moment, and like, with, from, 24:45 this punk rock supernatural spiritual thing. 24:47 I just was like, we gotta go in the pit! 24:49 And so I grab my buddy and I'm just like, aah! 24:52 We went in the pit, I'm shouting, I'm singing all the songs, 24:54 I'm doing the thing. 24:56 Then the song is over and I'm just like, okay, now we're done. 24:57 And I was like, and I just go back to my place and 24:59 my buddy Bart was like, what was that? 25:02 >> [LAUGH] >> I just felt so compelled. 25:05 So, the next day, I went back home to work in my home office, and 25:09 I put on Hot Water Music nonstop. 25:12 All I listened to all day was old records, and it was like a time machine 25:13 back to where I used to think differently, I used to feel differently. 25:17 You probably used to steal art differently, and 25:22 rip off free fonts differently, where you thought it was okay to do these things. 25:24 And you, your ethics were not quite up to snuff, and 25:28 you just start to think differently and feel, and 25:30 it was like I had a time machine back to how I used to feel. 25:33 And it was amazing. 25:36 And to dance with the one that brung ya. 25:38 What is that time machine for you? 25:40 Is it a movie? 25:42 Is it an experience? 25:43 Perhaps it's coming here year after year after year after year, 25:45 that takes you back and reminds you, oh yeah this is how I got here. 25:48 You've gotta celebrate your success by remembering where you came from. 25:52 That's what it means to follow your weird. 25:56 This last, or second to last point here for you. 25:58 A-B-C. 26:01 Yes, we can spell. 26:03 And in the business world, my brother's a business guy, he would read that and 26:05 say Always Be Closin'. 26:07 You gotta be closin' them deals. 26:08 >> [LAUGH] >> But, I'm not, I'm not that guy. 26:11 Cuz I wanna be this guy. 26:14 Always be curious. 26:16 As you're trying to follow your weird, I'm convinced more than ever a key component 26:18 to following your weird and being an amazing creative is to always be curious. 26:22 I love curious people. 26:27 I live in a town called Decatur but it's sorta like surrounded by Atlanta and 26:28 there are a lot of just, I say hipsters and hippies. 26:31 It's like the whole gamut. 26:34 It's like people who were hipsters are now in their seventies or sixties, and 26:36 hanging out. 26:39 They'll, I'll go to the hippest, 26:40 newest, raddest restaurant in town where all the young cool kids are at. 26:42 And then in the corner will be like this rad sixty year old couple, 26:45 that kinda look like they should probably be in a Cialis commercial or 26:49 something like that, and they're sitting there. 26:52 I'm like, why are these people here and I'm like, oh, they're just curious. 26:54 They want to see what's going on. 26:57 I'll go to shows with buddies, we'll go to like a punk rock show and 26:59 I'll see the same type couple and be like who did you drive here? 27:02 What, what children do you have? 27:05 And I'm like oh no, they're here to enjoy the music too. 27:06 They're curious, they just want to know what's up. 27:10 I don't know about you guys but 27:12 the older I'm, I get I could not be more shocked how uncurious people get. 27:13 When they get to a certain place in their life. 27:18 Maybe you have a kid, maybe you get married. 27:20 Maybe you just hop on Facebook and be like, well, that's it, I'm done, 27:21 I just give up, I don't care about. 27:24 I'll see buddies, I'm like dudes we used to love buying records together, 27:26 and I'll be like, hey, what's the last record you bought? 27:29 And he's like, well, I had my daughter in 2008, so 27:31 probably a Nickelback album from 2008, I have no idea! 27:34 And it's like, why are you not curious anymore? 27:37 What passion died within you? 27:40 And as leaders and creatives, I remember when I was in ministry, 27:43 my boss used to yell this quote at me all the time. 27:46 Probably cuz I wasn't reading enough books, in his mind. 27:48 Maybe you guys know those people. 27:51 You gotta be reading more books. 27:52 But I like this Harry Truman quote. 27:53 It says not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers. 27:55 I like that quote. 27:58 I agree with that. 27:59 If you're going to be a leader, if you're going to be challenging people, 28:00 you have got to like keep filling yourself up. 28:03 But, I'm going to challenge and change this quote a little bit today for 28:05 the sake of Creative South. 28:09 And because I thought it would be fun one day to say as quoted by me, but 28:10 then ruined, I mean I took Harry Truman's thing and ruined it. 28:15 Not all curious are creative, but all creatives are curious, me. 28:19 I like the idea, like the Harry Truman quote that kinda flips itself. 28:25 Yes, creatives, 28:30 we need to be wildly curious all the time, wildly curious about the world around us. 28:31 Cuz our job is to synthesize and take in culture and take in the world and 28:34 challenge ideas and help people who are probably a little less curious figure out 28:38 their problem and solve their issue. 28:42 Guys, we have to always be curious. 28:45 That's why we're creatives. 28:48 That's just part of who we are. 28:49 I feel like it's innate in just how we are as designers, 28:51 cuz you're trying to draw from a well that is weird and awesome. 28:53 My wife and I, amongst our friends, we don't go out to the movies that often, but 28:58 we every Friday night, we have a battle in the house over what documentary to watch. 29:02 Cuz documentaries, well, again, we're the golden age of nerd, right now. 29:09 We are in the golden age of documentaries, where you can bust open Netflix and 29:12 be like what weird thing do I want to learn about, tonight? 29:16 >> [LAUGH] >> And we love, 29:19 like on Friday nights, order a pizza, put the baby to sleep. 29:20 We're gonna get weird tonight, we're gonna watch a documentary. 29:23 >> [LAUGH] >> And, and so, you gotta do it, right? 29:25 >> [APPLAUSE] >> And by the way, and by the way, 29:29 this is usually what happens. 29:33 I have a couple whiskeys, and about halfway through the movie I'm like can we 29:33 pause it and pick it up in the morning? 29:36 Cuz I don't usually get through it. 29:38 But some of the [UNKNOWN] say if you're not Netflix nerds or 29:40 watching documentaries, I challenge you, as a way to stay fresh and creative. 29:43 My wife and I watched recently a movie called Somm. 29:46 S-O-M-M. 29:50 It's a documentary about what it takes to become a wine sommelier. 29:50 Talk about nerd stuff. 29:54 >> [LAUGH] >> This is the nerdiest, 29:56 nerdiest essence of what it takes to drink, or to get into wine. 29:58 My buddy, Bart, who's here, his wi, he and 30:02 his wife are trying to become wine sommeliers. 30:03 The idea is you can put a glass of wine in front of somebody, and go, here ya go. 30:05 And I look at it and go, two buck chuck, is it from a box? 30:10 I don't know. 30:14 And they, but they would look at it and go, this came from the southern, 30:16 the southern thing of France. 30:18 And it has notes of grass, it has notes of lemon peel and cat pee and [SOUND]. 30:19 And you're like, did you just say cat pee?! 30:22 And they're like, that's a thing. 30:25 That is an official wine sommelier food term, which by the way, ugh! 30:26 >> [LAUGH] >> And this movie was so 30:30 great because it reminds you like you think you're into a culture? 30:33 No, no, no, no, no, there is something way deeper and way crazier. 30:36 We're staying curious. 30:40 We watched a documentary called, I think it's called Best Worst Movie. 30:41 It's a documentary about a bad movie called Troll 2 that was made. 30:44 So it's a documentary about a bad movie about a movie that's 30:48 a sequel to a non-connected other movie, and your brain starts to smoke, but 30:51 what it teaches us in this one for me was like, wow, bad art can be beautiful. 30:54 And you're like, I never realized that. 31:00 Cool, I learned something today from being curious. 31:02 We watched one past winter about what it takes to become a mall Santa. 31:06 A mall Santa my voice cracked there. 31:09 By the way, if you ever want to know what it's like to be a mall Santa, 31:12 fantastic documentary. 31:15 There are dudes that make like $50,000 for like a month and a half's worth of work. 31:16 And then there are the guys that have the nicotine stains in their nose. 31:20 They probably smell like old beef and cheese, and they are, and 31:23 they they make like 2,000 bucks for a month. 31:27 It's insane. 31:29 But, one of our favorite ones recently, going back to the nerd thing and 31:30 the DragonCon thing, is this documentary called Bronies. 31:34 >> [LAUGH] >> Does anyone here know what a Brony is? 31:36 >> [LAUGH] >> All right. 31:39 It is a, maybe we have some here, and I celebrate you. 31:40 For those who don't know, it's, it's a group of people usually men, 31:43 who are obsessed with the TV show My Little Pony. 31:47 >> [LAUGH] >> And we watched this. 31:49 I initially was like, this is not gonna be good. 31:52 This is not gonna be. 31:55 But hey, always be curious, always be open for weird things. 31:56 And this movie blew my mind about how these kids were so into this culture. 31:59 It was helping kids with autism kind of come out of their shell and, like, 32:03 identify with something. 32:06 It was amazing. 32:08 Watch documentaries, pour into yourself, and always be curious. 32:10 That's how you follow your weird. 32:14 But lastly, the way I want to talk about following our weird is love. 32:16 I know this is gonna sound corny cuz, you guys, oh, here's the preacher guy, 32:21 here he goes. 32:26 The guy whoused to be a pastor is gonna do an altar call and 32:27 everyone's gonna come down and raise their hands. 32:29 We're not gonna do that. 32:31 I mentioned this to a friend, they're like, dude, 32:31 are you really gonna talk about love? 32:34 And I'm like, yeah, we are, because here's the thing. 32:37 I'm convinced, and I've, I've, I've done this over the years and 32:39 thought about this. 32:41 The byproduct of everything you do as a creative, and everything you do as 32:42 your job or whatever you're into, the by-product should be love. 32:45 The by-product should be love. 32:48 We as creatives and artists and designers and photographers, we make a product. 32:50 The product is there, it's temporal, it kinda goes in, it comes out, it's cool. 32:54 But it's about the by-product, which should be love. 32:58 Cuz it's about relationships. 33:01 It's about friendships. 33:02 It's about people. 33:04 My grandpa was a, what did he do? 33:06 He was, he worked in a factory in Ohio. 33:07 And at his funeral, people wouldn't, weren't talking about the boxes and 33:10 stuff he made in his factory. 33:14 They were talking about how rad of a dude he was, because he loved people. 33:15 And now you're saying love, but in the design game, most of you 33:22 probably have almost fired off an email that says go f yourself to some client. 33:26 I have those almost every other day, and I realize this is a problem, but 33:32 you kind of go, let's cool down, let it go. 33:37 And I also realized that there's gonna be clients that are jerks and 33:38 people in your life that are not good and 33:41 relationships that will fall apart no matter how hard you want to work on them. 33:43 Your best friend from a few years ago, things just went weird, you never know. 33:46 But the by-product of everything you do should be love. 33:49 Because really, at the end of the day, yes, we're designers, but 33:52 we're people who are just here to a have a good time and connect with each other. 33:54 I work I, I designed, I designed these coffee mugs a while back 34:00 that kind of look like this sticker, which is so silly. 34:04 I did it as a joke, says, I like my coffee like I like my metal, black. 34:07 And it's a big black metal joke, ha ha ha. 34:10 I put it on a coffee mug, and I sell them all over the world for some weird reason. 34:12 And I have to bring cases of cases of mugs to the post office in Atlanta. 34:16 Post offices stink. 34:20 They are not fun. 34:23 But when I take my mugs in, I love it, because there's two yokels that 34:24 work in this post office who give me such a hard time but they love on me deeply. 34:27 Postmen who are not known for their wit and nice attitude in most cases. 34:33 This is what happens. 34:36 I'll walk in and I guess there's eight or 34:37 nine people waiting to send some packages to grandma. 34:41 I will walk in with my stuff, 34:43 drop it off and they will go, everyone hide your purses and stuff! 34:44 We have a robber in the room. 34:47 By the way, people will freak out and look at me, 34:49 and I probably look like a robber maybe? 34:50 I, there’s a good chance that I might. 34:53 I also walked in one day and my buddy Jose is there. 34:56 It was this little old, and this little old lady were writing a check for 34:58 something, and José goes, ma'am, please call 911. 35:01 She literally was like, okay! 35:04 Grabbed her funky flip phone with the giant numbers and was like, 9-1. 35:06 And I was like, ma'am, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. 35:09 Jose is an insane person, you have to let it go. 35:11 But as soon as these people leave, they're like, how's your baby girl? 35:13 How's your wife? 35:16 How you doing? You want to come over for 35:16 a barbecue later? 35:18 I'm, I'm coming to your daughter's birthday party. 35:18 We have an insane relationship of love. 35:20 Now, what we do as a designer doesn't matter to me. 35:22 Doesn't matter to them. 35:25 What they do as postmen doesn't matter. 35:26 We love on each other and take care of each other. 35:27 As you heard, I like whiskey. 35:31 And I gave my postman whiskey for Christmas this year. 35:33 And, I gave it to the dude, he's like a 350-pound big brother, and 35:37 he was like, I'm gonna drink this this weekend. 35:41 I'm like, cool, take it home this weekend, kill it. 35:43 I gave it to him, well, I gave it to him. 35:45 Had Christmas, came back a couple days later, and he's like, dude, 35:47 I gotta tell you a story. 35:50 That whiskey you gave me, oh, that's some good stuff. 35:52 I said I know, I wouldn't give you, I wouldn't steer you astray. 35:55 And he says well, I just saw it and I thought it must be pretty good so 35:58 I drank about a quarter of the bottle before I left work. 36:02 >> [LAUGH] >> Wait wait wait, 36:04 hold on, you drank the whiskey and then drove home? 36:06 He's like, yeah, so, I was cool I thought I could handle it. 36:10 I'm a big dude, I thought I could hang. 36:13 And he gets he said he gets home, 36:14 parks his car, did not know the effect this alcohol had on him. 36:17 Stood up, cuz he's a big dude, he, I gue, he tells me he stumbled out of his car, 36:20 Fred Flintstone-style, [SOUND] for 30 feet. 36:25 Slammed into his next-door neighbor's parked car, and dented the door. 36:28 >> [LAUGH] >> And I was like, yes, I have won! 36:32 I love you, dude! 36:37 This is the best story, and I will tell everyone I know, 36:38 whether they need to hear it or not. 36:40 And it's not, but here's the, why I tell you that, 36:42 because it's not about what I do. 36:44 It's about loving on random people that come into my life. 36:46 The last thing I'll tell you about that is, 36:50 my uncle was a janitor in our middle school. 36:52 And again, as a middle school student, you want everything to be cool. 36:54 You want, I just, don't, I don't want anyone to know I'm a weirdo. 36:57 Just get my hair dialed in, get the bang thing. 37:00 I used to have hair, used to, I'd get the little dude bang thing. 37:02 Get that plastic-ed up. 37:04 And, and, my uncle was a janitor, and you would think I would hate to see him there. 37:06 But it was so rad to see my uncle, because he just walked down the hall with 37:10 the mop bucket and the Slippery When Wet sign and 37:14 a bag a bag of sawdust to clean up some puke, and he's [SOUND]. 37:17 And it was just fun to see him. 37:20 He knew all my buddies. 37:22 But he was a janitor, not known for 37:24 a job that people are just like, yay, you're a janitor. 37:26 But it wasn't being a janitor that made him rad. 37:29 It was what he did while being a janitor. 37:32 He passed away a couple years ago. 37:36 And at his funeral, after we buried him in the ground, and we're sitting in this 37:38 basement in this midwest church, and those of you guys who are from the midwest. 37:42 We're sitting in this church basement eating creamed chicken sandwiches. 37:45 Something tastes like, I know it sounds awful, but it tastes like Ohio. 37:49 It just has a taste. 37:51 And we're in this basement, we're in this basement, and we're just kinda starting to 37:53 warm up to the fact that, hey Larry's in a better place, this is cool. 37:57 And people start telling stories about Larry that we had never really heard. 38:00 One story is from a teacher who was like hey, I was recently divorced. 38:03 I had kids and no time. 38:06 He would come in every month and go hey, what can I help you with in your class? 38:08 What can I build for you? 38:10 What can I create for 38:12 you to help you have a better science experiment explanation thing going on? 38:12 And he would do that in the free time. 38:16 And then someone else told a great story that he noticed these two boys 38:18 were walking from this trailer park up the street in their busted Chuck Taylors, 38:22 but like in eight inches of snow. 38:26 And without anyone asking, without really doing anything, he ran to Kmart and 38:28 bought them a couple pairs of boots and goes, here you go, guys [SOUND]. 38:31 Boots. 38:34 Then my uncle also was the guy who, when the principal would find out 38:36 there's a troubled kid, he's not worth kicking out of school yet. 38:40 You know, some weird stuff going on at home. 38:42 He would send the principal would send these kids to my uncle not to be like, 38:46 sit down, son, let's have a talk about why you're a terrible student and all this. 38:50 He'd just be like, hey, 38:53 let's go clean some puke on the floor because little Ricky threw up again. 38:54 Let's go, let's go sweep the bathrooms. 38:57 Let's go do this. 38:59 And while they would do that, they would just talk and hang. 39:00 And I realized at that moment he's the greatest example in my life of like, 39:02 your job means nothing. 39:06 Your title means nothing. 39:07 It's about what you do with the people around you, and 39:08 you do as a by-product, and that should be love. 39:11 The by-product of everything you do as a creative and 39:14 as a human, in whatever world you're in, would be love. 39:16 So my challenge to you guys, as we're trying to follow our weird. 39:20 Be passionate. 39:26 Be a nerd. 39:27 Discover your weaknesses and work within them. 39:29 Remember what you got you here. 39:31 Always be curious. 39:33 Always be curious, and don't forget. 39:35 And lastly, love. 39:36 Love, love, love. 39:39 And I would challenge and imagine that that's what this weekend's all about for 39:40 us, to connect with people and celebrate each other and love on each other. 39:43 So I'm gonna leave you with a quote from the great philosopher known as Kid Rock. 39:47 >> [LAUGH] >> Get in the pit and try to love someone. 39:50 Thank you very much. 39:54 [APPLAUSE] 39:55
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