The Penguin Latte Podcast #23 – Coach Steven Diaz: Why are We Terrified of Our Potential?

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple | Watch on YouTube

Warning: this is the most inspirational podcast you’ll listen to all week (besides the one with Kanye).

Steven Diaz (@mrstevendiaz) is a coach, leader, and what I would call a “digital motivational speaker.” On that point, Steven is the motivational speaker’s motivational speaker. Those who know me well know that I’m skeptical of most motivational rah-rah. But I’ve relied on Steven for much inner-strength and confidence during times when I would otherwise break down and sob in a fetal position. I’m incredibly blessed to have Steven in my life. He has a deep heart for people, especially for people who can’t see their their own potential — a category I’ve fallen into often, hence, my constant pestering Steven for spiritual support.

This conversation orbits around Steven’s philosophy for leadership, while diverging into topics like:

  • What’s the other half of running away?
  • How to overcome the fear of your potential.
  • Why is it so difficult to believe in our skills, talents, and perspectives?
  • How to help people who don’t want help.
  • This is Water by David Foster Wallace
  • Where to find energy to do what you love, everyday, no matter how busy you are.
  • Where does Steven get his constant stream of energy from?
  • Why does coaching matter?
  • “I really think we orbit a lot.”
  • Creating things that don’t plug into an outlet.
  • Why is it so hard to start new routines?
  • Steven’s wild obsession with Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew
  • …and so much more.

Like Steven? Love Steven? Do you want to talk to Steven? (I highly recommend you do.) Reach out to him on Twitter, and do yourself a favor: check out his YouTube live channel.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple | Watch on YouTube

The Penguin Latte Podcast #22 – Daniel Bustamante: How to Think About Art

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple | Watch on YouTube

Please read first before you tear my ass to shreds about the crappy audio quality on my end: Daniel wasn’t coming in clear when we started recording. He switched his audio output. That fixed the problem, but caused a new problem I wasn’t aware of: I sound like I’m talking through a used Gatorade bottle from 15 miles away. I’m really sorry about the poor audio quality on my end. I’ve broken a cardinal rule of podcasting: audio quality is what makes or breaks a podcast. Daniel says all the interesting stuff in this episode, and it’s much easier to hear him than me. Feel free to turn off your brain when I start to talk. Daniel led the entire show by himself.

Warning: Daniel Bustamente is way smarter than I am.

Today I’m talking with Daniel Bustamante (@dbustac on Twitter), a writer who knows a hell of a lot more about art than I do.

If you’ve been reading this blog and following me on Twitter, then you know how much of a fan I am of the work of Carl Jung. I love talking about and studying the psychology of art and symbols, why we like art, why we make art, and why we fly thousands of miles to look at paintings when we could just look them up on Google.

And that’s exactly why I wanted to get Daniel on the show. Because Daniel has a superpower: he can talk about art while avoiding any pompousness. I’ve learned much about art, the history of art, and symbolism in art by reading Daniel’s weekly newsletter Rational Creatives, where he combines fundamental ideas of rationality and logic with the “irrational” ideas of the visual arts modern and old.

Again, I’m really sorry about the poor audio quality on my end. That was entirely my fault. I promise it’ll be better in the coming episodes.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple | Watch on YouTube

The Penguin Latte Podcast #21 – Jamie Russo: Entrepreneurship for Positive Change and How to Spread A Million Acts of Kindness

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple | Watch on YouTube

Warning: my guest today is a very, very kind person.

Today on the podcast I’m talking with Jamie Russo (@jamierusso), creator and writer of the Goodnote newsletter. I love Goodnote! And to think of it only as a newsletter would be a mistake. Goodnote is a proxy for Jamie’s quest to spread 1 million random acts of kindness. He’s using his writing platform as a means to an extraordinarily compassionate end. Check out these little blue postcards he mailed me. If you’d like one, reach out to Jamie on Twitter by clicking here.

We talk writing (as I usually do with my guests), volunteering, why Jamie cares so much about people, working with compassionate companies, helping people at scale, the benefits of walking, how to use entrepreneurship as a force for positive change, how to find your guiding force in life, and much, much more.

I had so much fun talking with Jamie, and at the end of our talk my cheeks were sore from smiling so much. You won’t want to miss this one. Please enjoy!

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple | Watch on YouTube


This episode is brought to you by my weekly newsletter, Hey Penguin. Hey Penguin includes tips for improving yourself through creativity, plus a bunch of extra goodies like drafts of blog posts, art I’m digging, letters from my audience, and previews of podcast episodes. Sounds good? Click here to subscribe and get the next issue delivered straight to your inbox on Sunday.

The Penguin Latte Podcast #20 – Uri Bram on Publishing a Newsletter with 50,000 Subscribers, How to Enjoy Writing, and Statistical Errors We Make Everyday

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple | Listen on YouTube

Warning: what follows is a communion of two souls in a chance encounter.

Uri Bram is the publisher of The Browser — a weekly newsletter curated by Uri and his team, read by over 50,000 subscribers. He’s written two books: Thinking Statistically and The Business of Big Data. Uri is also the designer of three games: Lettercat, Person Do Thing, and Days Old.

Uri and I had never spoken before we recorded this episode. And neither had I heard of The Browser prior to two weeks before this post. The morning I discovered their work was the morning I became brighter, smarter, more entertaining, or at the very least, half as much as the folks working hard to produce the world’s favorite curation newsletter.

I kept scrolling through their site.

I was floored.

Their website is topnotch. The giraffe mascot is cute as all hell.

Most important, they collect only the finest, most entertaining and thought provoking articles on the Internet. I’m incredibly impressed at their high bar for quality. I promise that any article chosen by their hard working team is worth the read. This isn’t your typical buzzfeed bullshit. And nor is it as high brow as The New Yorker. The content they collect is fun, interesting, hilarious, and full of humanity. Reading articles from The Browser is now a part of my evening reading routine. It’s making me less stupid, and it’ll make you less stupid, too.

In this conversation, we discuss Uri’s writing process at length. Uri’s a much more experienced writer than I am. And I learned so much about how difficult it is to organize hundreds, if not thousands of ideas in a book. We also discuss content curation (not creation), and why The Browser is world-class at it, game design, meditation, getting unstuck, going for walks and getting out in nature, how regular people can benefit from learning statistics, and much more.

So grab your favorite coffee and please enjoy our talk!

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple | Listen on YouTube


This episode is brought to you by my weekly newsletter, Hey Penguin. Hey Penguin includes tips for improving yourself through creativity, plus a bunch of extra goodies like drafts of blog posts, art I’m digging, letters from my audience, and previews of podcast episodes. Sounds good? Click here to subscribe and get the next issue delivered straight to your inbox on Sunday.

Dumb mistakes I’ve made as a podcaster: polished is better than perfect

Done isn’t better than perfect. Done isn’t good enough.

Polished is better than perfect. Polished means you’re paying attention. Polished means you’re not rushing it. Polished means no multitasking* because if you do, you’ll let too many oversights through the gate of the publish button.

By all means, ship your work. Publish something. Start talking to us and show us what you know. But don’t keep us waiting while you wait for perfection to arrive from Amazon.

Here’s a few mistakes I’ve made as a podcaster. I’ve made these mistakes because I worked too fast on too many tasks at the same time.

  • I uploaded today’s episode of the podcast to YouTube with a clip of my screen recording a song I wanted to use for the intro.
  • A guest told me not to publish the video version of our conversation. A week later, I made a trailer for Twitter, Instagram, and my newsletter, using clips from the video version of our conversation. (So sorry, U.)
  • Episodes 19, 20, and 21 have/will have sloppy audio quality on my end. I’ve forgotten to run test recordings of me and my guest before starting the show. (Some have told me that audacity could help with this, but I’ve yet to look into it.)
  • I want to use this Blockhead beat as my podcast intro, but copyright exists. Thinking I could get away with it, I uploaded today’s episode with the song at the beginning. The episode isn’t on Apple yet, and I’m thinking it’s because I’ve used the beat without permission. I’m stubborn and I don’t like using stock music for anything I make, so I’ve sent Blockhead a cold email asking if I can use the track.
  • I’ve dwelt on mistakes longer than it took for me to see and fix the mistake. This is the worst mistake a creator can make. There’s few mishaps that take more than 5 minutes to fix. But you’re not careful, you could spend hours sulking over something you forgot to do. Don’t sulk. Fix it and move on.

Make stuff. Break stuff.

Fix the stuff you broke.

But don’t dwell on it. You wouldn’t cry over spilt milk, nor should you cry over a misplaced apostrophe, a broken hyperlink, or equipment left unplugged.

Because here you are, making stuff instead of not making stuff.

So please, go make stuff.


*I’m writing this while waiting for today’s episode to re-render. I don’t listen to my own advice that often.

On the bright side, I’ve yet to forget to press RECORD an hour into an episode. I shudder to imagine what I would do if that happened. I wouldn’t get out of bed for weeks if that happened. So, let’s make sure that never happens.

The Penguin Latte Podcast #19 – The Mad Scientist of Reading: Poor Bjorn on Self-Experimenting with Non-Fiction

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple | Watch on YouTube

Warning: what follows is a conversation for book nerds

Books transform us. When we really dig into a book, nestle beneath the words, peek under the author’s skin, we transcend our current self. We become someone greater. The best books maintain that transformation long after we’ve finished reading the last word.

A book isn’t something to collect. A book is to be experienced. Which is why I wanted to have this conversation with Poor Bjorn (@poorbjorn on Twitter and Instagram). Poor Bjorn loves books. He loves books so much that he doesn’t just read books. He lives books. He’s the creator of an Instagram page where he not only reviews books, he conducts self-experiments based on the lessons from the book.

Bjorn will cover any subject. Stoicism. Wealth. Esoteric Philosophy. Psychology. History. Self-help. Persuasion. Negotiation. It doesn’t matter what the book is about. If it’s physically possible, he’ll run the experiment. He once ordered a square pizza because he read a book about seeking rejection. In an utterly hilarious stroke of fate, he failed the experiment. The pizza place delivered him a square pizza.

So, get comfortable, grab a cup of your favorite hot cocoa, and cozy in for our wide-ranging conversation about all things books! If you’re a fan of my episodes with Andrew Barry, Pranav Mutatkar, Deepu Asok, or Cullin McGrath, I’m sure you’ll have much to appreciate in our conversation. Enjoy!

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple | Watch on YouTube


This episode is brought to you by my weekly newsletter, Hey Penguin. Hey Penguin includes tips for improving yourself through creativity, plus a bunch of extra goodies like drafts of blog posts, art I’m digging, letters from my audience, and previews of podcast episodes. Sounds good? Click here to subscribe and get the next issue delivered straight to your inbox.

The Penguin Latte Podcast #18 – Greg Frontiero on Nootropics, Coffee for Creative People, Professional Wrestling, and How to Make Something You’re Proud to Sell

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple | Watch on YouTube

Warning: what follows is a highly caffeinated conversation.

Today I’m speaking with the mighty and magnificent Greg Frontiero (@Sfwgreg on Twitter). As his twitter handle foreshadows, this is not a safe for work episode. So put your kids to bed, grab your best headphones, and buckle in. This is a wild one.

Greg who?

Greg Frontiero is the founder of Noowave, a company that creates products for optimal mental health and function. His companies first product, Flow State Coffee, is designed to help you write your next 15,000 word Essay while interviewing Barrack Obama at the same time. In layman’s terms, it’s a coffee made with L-Theanine and Raw Cacao. In layman’s layman’s terms, it’s a coffee that’ll give you enough energy to present your dissertation without the anxiety of being on your first date.

How can I be sure this episode isn’t just a 2 and a half hour commercial?

Listeners of my podcast know that I’d never plug a product this hard unless I’ve tried it and loved it. This episode is an exception. While I haven’t had a sip of Greg’s coffee, him and I are planning a future episode. The next time we record together, I’ll take my first sip of his coffee. I’ll either love it or hate it. And because I’m such a powerful influencer, it’ll be a moment that’ll either make or break his companies launch. Keep an eye out around the end of October for that episode!

Anyways, this is a two and a half hour conversation. And you can be rest assured knowing we spent only around half an hour talking about his coffee. The rest of our talk reached into the depths and heights of life, creativity, soulless sales jobs, fear and loathing in New York City, meaningful work, Greg’s career as a professional wrestler, favorite books, writing, creating a product you’re proud to sell, and everything else you’d expect from the podcast.

So, please enjoy!

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple | Watch on YouTube

Show notes and mentions

Noowave and Flow State Coffee | The Impostor’s Advantage | Write of Passage | The Third Door | The Art of Learning | Think and Grow Rich | The 4-Hour Workweek | Saga | I Kill Giants


This episode is brought to you by my weekly newsletter, Hey Penguin. Hey Penguin includes tips for improving yourself through creativity, plus a bunch of extra goodies like drafts of blog posts, art I’m digging, letters from my audience, and previews of podcast episodes. Sounds good? Click here to subscribe and get the next issue delivered straight to your inbox.

The Penguin Latte Podcast #17 – Marketing as Self-Expression with Arielle Kimbarovsky

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple | Watch on YouTube

Are advertisers evil? Are marketers the scourge of the earth, hell-bent on stealing our attention and selling it off to some nameless corporation? Yes, and no. It’s every good marketer’s job to capture our attention. And advertisers get paid to understand what makes people want to buy things. But to call either evil would be like accusing your grandma of being a Satanist (unless she really is one). The best marketers get us as excited about products and services as grandma makes us excited about fresh chocolate chip cookies.

In this episode, I speak with one of the most delightful and creative marketers I’ve ever met: Arielle Kimbarovsky (@ariellekimbar on Twitter). Arielle Kimbarovsky is the head of social media and marketing for M1 Finance. Her spec work portfolio (got it right that time) is full of an exuberance that reveals her eye for color choice, words that evoke powerful emotions, and stories impossible to forget.

If you’ve listened to my episode with Robbie Crabtree, then you know how much I value communication. Design is a form of communication. Some of the most difficult problems I’ve had with the blog and podcast were to pick the right words, color choice, shape, and names for titles. What you say matters less than how you say it. This episode serves as an opportunity to learn how to express yourself through multiple mediums: painting, writing, talking, music, video— nearly all the topics we discuss relate to communication. We also discuss reading, being introverted, taking breaks, being yourself, and thinking big. It’s a wide-ranging conversation full of possibility and delight.

So, please enjoy my conversation with Arielle Kimbarovsky!

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple | Watch on YouTube


This episode is brought to you by my weekly newsletter, Hey Penguin. Hey Penguin includes tips for improving yourself through creativity, plus a bunch of extra goodies like drafts of blog posts, art I’m digging, letters from my audience, and previews of podcast episodes. Sounds good? Click here to subscribe and get the next issue delivered straight to your inbox.

PS: Does The Penguin Latte Podcast remind you of the excitement of fresh presents on Christmas morning? If so, please consider leaving a review on Apple Podcasts/Itunes. It takes all of 60 seconds (or 120 seconds if you’re feeling extra spicy). By leaving a review, you’re making the podcast 1% better. So, if 500 of you leave reviews, the podcast gets 500% better (if I have my math right). Plus, I love reading all of your juicy comments.

Thanks so much!

The Penguin Latte Podcast #16 – The Wizard of Speech: Robbie Crabtree on Mastering The Spoken Word

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple | Watch on YouTube

“Virtually everything you do, on a day to day basis, is public speaking.”

Communication is everything. The way you speak to yourself and the way you speak to other people is as important as breathing. Your words can either help you get to where you want to go, or they can lead you to a place full of misery and regret. I’ll remind you again because it’s so important. And I’ll even bold and italicize the word for your convenience.

Communication. Is. Everything.

Today I’m excited as all hell to be joined by a master of communication: Robbie Crabtree (@RobbieCrab on Twitter, personal website here). Robbie Crabtree is a trial lawyer with over 9 years of experience handling some absolutely devastating trials. Domestic violence, murder, child abuse, whatever horrible aspect of the human condition you can imagine, Robbie has dealt with it.

At the heart of Robbie’s work is the art of storytelling. Robbie knows how to craft an interesting story out of anything. And I seriously mean anything. He can make a story about your bar mitzvah as exciting as a day at Six Flags.

Robbie Crabtree is also condensing his 9 years of speaking experience into a premium online course called Performative Speaking. Performative Speaking teaches people how to speak in a way that’ll keep any audience on the edge of their seat no matter what you’re talking about (even bar mitzvahs). I can’t imagine a better person than Robbie to put on a course about public speaking.

The Keys to The Universe

This is very *meta* episode. Listening to Robbie speak made me a better podcaster. But even if you’re not a podcaster, YouTuber, or don’t believe that your job has anything to do with public speaking, make no mistake: the world is paying attention to the way you communicate with it. There’s no such thing as a job that doesn’t require effective communication.

There’s gems buried in this episode that might not be apparent the first time around. For example, why did Robbie talk about Yu-Gi-Oh, of all things, in one of the most emotionally difficult trials of his career? Why did Robbie ask me what time it is (even though he knew the answer) halfway through the episode? What is it about Jack Butcher that makes him such an effective communicator, while using so few words? And what’s the key distinction between public speaking and giving a speech?

You’ll have to listen to find out.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple | Watch on YouTube


This episode is brought to you by my weekly newsletter, Hey Penguin. Hey Penguin includes tips for improving yourself through creativity, plus a bunch of extra goodies like drafts of blog posts, art I’m digging, letters from my audience, and previews of podcast episodes. Sounds good? Click here to subscribe and get the next issue delivered straight to your inbox.

The Penguin Latte Podcast #15 – John Daub on Hard Work, Happiness, and The Spirit of Fun

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple | Watch on YouTube

I’ve never watched Fight Club.

But I have seen so many episodes of Only In Japan with John Daub that it’s worrying my family.

John Daub (@OnlyinJAPANtv) is the producer, writer, designer, marketer, director, set designer, orchestrator and mastermind behind my all-time favorite YouTube series — Only in Japan with John Daub. He’s one of the hardest working creative people that I’ve ever met. Seriously, he fills all the roles I listed above. Watch eight seconds of one of his videos and you’ll soon see how much work this guy pours into his craft.

But what’s more important than John’s work ethic is his mission to bring smiles to the faces of his audience. As dramatic as this sounds, this episode changed me. The more I listen to it, the more I understand that what matters more than your own happiness is the happiness of the people you serve with your work. The way that John intonates his words when he’s telling his stories, or while speaking in normal conversation, is so magical and brilliant. John is raising the spiritual bar high for all creative people. If your work isn’t bringing you a sense of meaning, then you need to find something else to do. Make something that excites you as much as John gets excited about Japan.

If you can tell a good story, you will always have a job.

John Daub

Show us something strange or weird or something beyond all comprehension! And don’t be shy! Use as many exclamation marks as you want. Learn the tricks of the trade, the rules, the restrictions. And then break them. Break them down because you’ve mastered the art of self-expression.

But know that it’s going to be work. A lot of work. John works full-time on OnlyinJapan. Choosing what to work on matters more than hard work for hard work’s sake. Doing what you love might seem like fun and games, but more often than not, it’s a lot of flailing around in the dark. The cure? Have fun with it! Be silly, express yourself, and don’t be afraid to come up with material on the spot. You don’t need to have everything planned out beforehand. John Daub’s massive collection of videos is a living playbook on how to create content that delights an audience. The secret ingredient? It’s all in the story.

Please enjoy!


This episode is brought to you by The Hey Penguin Newsletter. Hey Penguin includes tips for improving yourself through creativity, plus a bunch of extra goodies like drafts of blog posts, art I’m digging, letters from my audience, and previews of podcast episodes. Sounds good? Click here to subscribe and get the next issue delivered straight to your inbox.