Seek and Steal

Stop trying to be original and try to make something good.

January 24, 2020

"I want to be original," says the young startup founder. Well, I've got news for ya pal, you never will be and you will kill yourself trying to go down that road.

Everything is a derivative of something else. There is no new idea under the sun. Now, you can see this as negative or you can realize the opportunity you have to explore and put your spin on something already successful. The best creative work I come across is stolen. Meaning, the people that made it did not come up with the idea on their own, but they put it into a new context.

I'll give you an example, my friend Luis rebranded an agency a while ago. This agency's office overlooks a harbor in San Diego. So, he took the brand down a nautical path and turned them into a rebellious rouse of scallywags. They changed their name from Digital Style to VSSL, shifted all of their lingo to mirror a gang of pirates, and even named the rooms in their space after the places on a ship (the brig, the gulley, even the poop deck).

Here's the thing, Luis found every single element that went into that brand, he didn't conjure it out of thin air. The logo, the name, the language, the visuals, even the culture of the company is rooted in life at sea.

Find something inspirational and different, then steal it.

More you say?

Behind the Curtain

What a local SEO expert has shown me about trust and rebellion

12.13.2019

A week ago, I had spoken with a digital marketer who expressed concerns in working with a designer on websites. Main reason being that he had seen projects go awry because most designers don't care about the canonical structure of link building or using a website as a sales/marketing engine, they just want it to look pretty. When I probed for specific examples of problems designers had caused for him, he put up a wall and said, "you just need an SEO partner."

That didn't help me at all. It would be like me telling someone their branding sucked, not telling them why, and saying they need to work with me.

Still, it sounded like I needed a second opinion on my site structures and how using SEO could make these designs better. I reached out to my network and was referred to a guy named Tyler from Socratik, by a larger branding agency.

Oh man, it was like night and day. In an hour Tyler gave me a rundown of best SEO practices, showed me tools to use, and clued me in to some of his personal tips for building out content on websites. He lifted the curtain and showed me what went on behind the scenes. Needless to say, he earned a substantial amount of my trust and I will send anybody I meet that needs SEO services his way.

Now, what about rebellion? Tyler is a rebel. Here's why: I have not met an SEO strategist who was willing to sit down and talk shop like this, ever. Since rebellion is contextual, Tyler sticks out because he did something genuinely different than the rest of his peers. That is what makes him rebellious.

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Habits Beat Features

Showing up everyday to serve does more good than being good.

12.2.2019

You could have the coolest product in the world, but if you don't show up to help out the community of people you want to serve, you're going to lose them.

I'll give you an example using Webflow, my favorite web design tool.

They continuously post new videos on how to use their software, they host local meetups to help others improve their designs, and they even went as far as hosting a "No Code Conference," to empower designers on the web.

That is showing up everyday to serve. How can you do the same thing to help your group of rebels?

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