Speed shaving

This morning I caught myself trying to shave as fast as possible. My rationale: this bodily regulation is unnecessary and detrimental to my goals of being successful; shaving is a waste of time, and so I need to shave as fast as I can.

What’s a bigger waste of time? Boring stuff you have to do because you’re an animal with hair? Or a project with too many oversights because you were in a frenzy?

A Brief Primer on Detrimental Affects of Engaging in Two Physical or Mental Activities Simultaneously

If you’re reading a book while eating oatmeal, if you’re chatting with your best friend while scrolling through social media, if you’re walking your dog while chatting on the phone with Uncle Craig, what exactly are you doing?

Hard to say without getting too philosophical.

My view is that if you’re doing two things at once, you’re doing neither. That leaves us with plenty of room for interpretation.

It’s easier to catch up on all the world’s information than it is to sit still and eat a bowl of oatmeal.*

*It is for me, at least. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to wrangle myself down to a chair to do nothing else but eat my morning oatmeal. Eating my oatmeal without checking my email or reading a newsletter is like snatching a babies favorite toy out of their hand.

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!

Everyone gets a Sunday

In some cultures, Sunday is the beginning of the week. The foundation of the day, grounded in rest and recovery.

No matter what culture you’re a part of, you’re guaranteed one Sunday a week. Of course, not everyone gets to dedicate a whole day to resting. You might be the busy mom who uses Sunday to prep for your kid’s meal plan for the week. Or you might be the busy teacher grading all your student’s midterms.

If you can’t find your rest on Sunday, I hope you can find some pockets of rest throughout the week. You deserve it.

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.

Sunday work

I woke up earlier than normal, thinking, “I could get a lot of work done.”

But it’s not that kind of work that I want to do today. Not the typing kind. Not the tweeting kind. And definitely not the faux-work of getting a kick of dopamine from social media.

This passage from The Bhagavad Gita explains it best.

The man who in his work finds silence, and who sees that silence is work, this man in truth sees the Light and in all his works finds peace.

P.S: Thanks for reading and listening. Big week ahead with 3 episodes of the podcast releasing Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Cheers, and here’s to your good health.

Little blue postcards: 1 million random acts of kindness

It’s good to feel good. It’s even better when other people feel good with you. All the happiest moments of my life share one thing in common: somebody else was smiling with me.

Goodnote is a newsletter, a movement, really, started by my buddy Jamie Russo. When I listened to Jamie talk to me about his goal to bring smiles to 1 million faces, I knew he was up to something remarkable.

For every $1 raised, Jamie sends a postcard to someone in need. Smiles shipped at scale.

The world will be a better place with a million hands holding these little blue postcards.

Jamie sends you two cards: one with a personalized message, and one left blank. Fill that one out and send it to someone special.

Get your Goodnote by clicking here.

Waking up on purpose

You open your eyes as the alarm shrieks you out of your dream. Or maybe you’re one of those freaks who “rises with the sun,” as if your body is in a perfect cosmic alignment with the universe. Either way, you’re awake.

On a typical day, say, on a regular ol’ Tuesday, what does the first 15 minutes of your morning look like? Do you flood your psyche with information? Do you allow buzzers, bells, and airhorns to occupy your mind? Or do you employ silence as the canvas on which you will draw the roadmap of your day?

Whatever you choose, airhorns or canvases, you’re choosing intentionally. There’s no use blaming anyone but yourself for your muddy thinking and directionless days.

The smartest people I’ve ever met are those who intend to wake up on purpose.

The work of a creative professional starts with a signature

What does a creative professional do, exactly?

Do they show up to a marketing firm with a bunch of coloring books and crayons?

Do they throw paint everywhere and make a bunch of abstract art and then try to sell it to advertising agencies?

Do they run B2B slam poetry gatherings over Zoom?

That stuff is cool, but the creative professional likes to get paid.

So what do they do to get paid?

They look at your organization’s copywriting, marketing assets, leftover zoom videos, blog posts and articles, and they make something useful. The creative professional takes a bunch of disparate stuff, stuff that sort of has a coherent message, and they find the signal in the noise.

The creative professional connects the dots using their signature.

Mark Woollen & Associates, the team behind my favorite movie trailer, has a signature. I get goosebumps every time I watch their brilliant piece for The Social Network.

The late Toonami had a signature. Their nighttime commercials on Cartoon Network created a generation of lifelong fans. For the Toonami faithful, exciting commercials are synonymous with the (sadly, now defunct) Toonami brand.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find your signature right away. But if you’re like all the others, it’ll take you a very long time to find it.

So what’s the payoff of spending months, maybe years, looking for your signature?

Liberation. You’ll no longer be oppressed by the temptation of the cliched and popular. You’ll start writing about your weekly hiking trips. You’ll start recording podcasts about black coffee and flannel hoodies. You’ll no longer bore yourself with what you make. And the people who work with you won’t be bored, either.

It’s the creative professional’s job to rid the world of boring stuff. And the only way to do that is to start developing a signature. If you don’t, you’ll end up making stuff that’s like all the other stuff out there.

Your signature is a currency that increases in value the more you spend it. The more you use your signature, the better you’ll be at using it. A stronger signature will lead you to bigger and better projects. Bigger and better projects means bigger and better pay, which leads to more opportunities…you can see where this is going.

And sure, people can counterfeit your signature. But like a fake dollar bill, the forgery will be obvious once you hold it under the light.

The point of creativity is to solve problems in interesting ways. The creative professional gets to show up, armed with a pen in hand, prepared to do something that might blow up in their face. But the risk isn’t as big as it seems. There’s always a silver lining in every failed project.

For the creative professional, the world is like a giant contract. They go out and sign their name here, here, and here.

The Penguin Latte Podcast #11: Deepu Asok on Meditation, Yoga, Drawing, and Happiness

Meditation is that state where you are no more. Your sense of Self is gone.

If you ask an artist where his work comes from, if he’s a generous artist, he’ll say, ‘I don’t know where it comes.’

Listen on Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Watch on YouTube

Deepu Asok is the author and illustrator of the wonderful and enlightening Visual Wisdom newsletter. He’s also the host of a podcast called The Happiness Hypothesis. He’s got a serious eye for designs that pop.

Deepu and I were dming over meditation and spirituality. But he had to get going, and asked to continue our talk over zoom some time. I said sure. And of course, I asked if he wanted to record our talk for the podcast. He said yes. And so, here we are.

Please enjoy my conversation with the wonderful and wise Deepu Asok!

Talking Points

  • On different schools of meditation and yoga (3:00)
  • The benefits of doing yoga before meditation (11:00)
  • Why meditate? (14:00)
  • “Philosophy doesn’t transform you. Practice transform you” (21:00)
  • “The lion is trying to help you, but it doesn’t know how.” (28:00)
  • On Happiness and work (37:00)
  • Three types of work (43:00)
  • Selling on Gumroad (50:00)
  • The differences between drawing and writing (55:00)
  • “You’re paying for the organization of the ideas” / Constraints (1:00:00)
  • Art vs Content (1:07:00)
  • On books and reading (1:16:00)
  • Wishful thinking (1:23:00)
  • Flow in drawing (1:35:00)
  • Constraints (1:40:00)
  • Final questions (1:46:00)


Books and articles

Civilized to Death

The Art of Learning

Living Buddha Living Christ



This Is Marketing

Atomic Habits

Show Your Work!

Getting Things Done

Thinking Fast and Slow

Mind in Motion

Autobiography of a Yogi

Ladders of Wealth Creation


Inner Engineering

Thich Nhat Hanh

Carl Jung

Alan Watts

Naval Ravikant

Seth Godin

Nathan Barry

Austin Kleon

Derek Sivers

David Perell

Tiago Forte


Indie Hackers