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The Clueless at The Work Podcast

Anthony Garone talks with several experts in his network about how to navigate the complexities of professional work.

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Episode 6: Marketing and Failure with Clare Kirlin

Clare Kirlin headshot photo

Clare Kirlin is an expert communicator who is very self-aware and passionate about doing what is right. She shares several great stories about necessary slaps in the face. She is the Director of Marketing at meltmedia in Tempe, AZ.


Automated Episode Transcript

Published on: Sun, Dec 29, 2019

[00:00:03] Anthony: Welcome to the Clueless at the work podcast where we talk through a framework for being successful in your job. My name is Anthony Garone, and I’ll be hosting this show with some friends who are experts in helping people grow content is based on my book Clueless at the work advice from a corporate tyrant which is published by Stairway Prince. You can find out more at clueless at the work dot com Welcome back to the clueless at the work podcast. I have a special guest with me in the studio today. It is Clare Kirlin. Clare, thank you for joining us today.

[00:00:39] Clare: Thank you for inviting me to join him. So excited to be here.

[00:00:42] Anthony: Excellent. I love that you’re excited.

[00:00:44] Clare: Yes. I know how much we love to chat. So we’ll try to keep it under 24 hours. Exactly. Yeah, we’ll talk fast.

[00:00:52] Anthony: Right. So, um, I got to I have the pleasure of meeting Clare at work. She, um she also works at melt media, just like Andy Fry, who was in our 1st 3 episodes of the podcast. And ah, Clare came to melt media through a lot of very ah, great recommendations and she came to revolutionize Melt Media’s ah, marketing and sales strategies. So ah, I got the opportunity to talk to her at at length and in depth about these fields, and she taught me so much. So I’m really excited that she could be here. So thank you, Clare. Why don’t you give a little bit like 30 62nd intro about yourself and your background

[00:01:38] Clare: certainly will. Thank you for the generous introduction. And I’d love to cover a bit about how you and I initially connected because that’s so relevant to so much of what you share in the book. But by way of accident, I am a marketer. So I’ve been in the field for almost 15 years now and stumbled upon it by a mistake. Almost. I wanted to be a writer. I wasn’t exactly sure how to pursue that type of a career, but found myself falling into positions where I was coming up against marketing needs and marketing responsibilities and found that I had a knack for it, so that once I realized that was my passion and such a good fit for what I want to do. Professionally, I got on a very intentional career path in the marketing field and discovered a focused area that I really enjoy is technology marketing. So translating something that at one time to me, Nate made no sense technical concepts to something that, ah, the market can actually understand and appreciate.

[00:02:50] Anthony: Cool. So, um, obviously, this podcast is largely about my book Clueless at the work. And it is there a couple of themes first, being just kind of getting good at what you do. And, um, realizing that you’re often not as good as you think that you are s So I like to call this, like going from known cluelessness or I’m sorry from clueless cluelessness to known cluelessness. Ah, and I know that every great professional I’ve met has a story. So can you share anything about, um, anything in your history where you went from cluelessly clueless to known clueless?

[00:03:36] Clare: I can share a lot of stories where I went from knowingly clueless Oh, are completely clueless to knowingly clueless. Um, we discussed a bit prior to this podcast recording about my reaction to this story that you share early in the book where you describe what might be considered a first moment of known cluelessness where you were tapping your leg. And maybe you can tell this story since you were there.

[00:04:09] Anthony: Sure, yeah. So I was with one of my musical heroes, Robert Fripp, in Ah, Mexico, for a week long guitar course. And the course was largely about mindfulness and meditation and preparing your body to prop to play an instrument and to perform music. And Robert was talking about listening to and listening to your body and training your animal, meaning your body, like you are separate from your body, being with your body, being an animal, that you train. And I’m nodding my head while he’s saying this and and I’m nodding my leg quickly, you know, nervously

[00:04:51] Clare: nodding your leg. That’s a good

[00:04:52] Anthony: one before. And he says, Ah, like in the middle of this, he’s talking about how we need to train our animal. And then he goes, for example, Anthony, everyone look at Anthony. He’s you know, his leg is bouncing, and he has no idea why. He’s not even paying attention to it. And everyone turns around. And ah, I mean, it’s one thing to be with one of your top heroes in the world for your creative work. And it’s another thing Thio, um be ribbed about, you know, by that hero s. Oh, yeah. Um, that’s when I realized that I was That was one of the realizations of cluelessness in my life where I was at a course listening to a hero of mine Talk about controlling your body, and I was not. I was nodding and not in control of my body.

[00:05:42] Clare: Yeah, and I am. I’m so interested in that story because I think we’ve all had an experience like that. Hopefully we’ve all had an experience like that to one degree or another. And I was thinking through my past and asking myself, Was there a moment at which I felt I went from not knowing I was clueless to knowing I was clueless? And my conclusion is that I think I’ve always been painfully aware of my own cluelessness. Yes, something that I dialed into by nurture by nature by both, but from as long as I can remember, even as a child was very keenly aware of how I was being observed or how I might be provoking reactions in others. So while I can’t describe a specific, watershed moment like that. There are so many others that come to mind where I walked into a situation, knowing I was clueless again having that lifelong sort of, um, I don’t know if you call it a burden or a gift. I guess it spend both at different times. But then, discovering I was clueless in a way that I hadn’t previously considered, one recent example that comes to mind that was a really quiet but powerful moment in my life was where I had been in a position, and I’m an ambitious person. So I am constantly looking at um, where I am lacking where there might be gaps in where I am today and where I want to go next. I had been so fixated on my own progression and my own development, and in a casual conversation with a co worker, this’ll co worker said to me, What is it that you’re doing to help other people in our organization come up with you, particularly other women in our organization? And it was, um, in the best possible way, A slap in the face, a welcome

[00:07:50] Anthony: slap in the

[00:07:51] Clare: face for me to just take that perspective. And I think that as much as I might look at other individuals and feel like I want to emulate their success, there might be individuals who look to me as a potential resource or mentor or somebody who can help support their growth. And I think that I’d really lost sight of that. Um, and and in terms of how we react to those moments, I think you, Anthony, have been a big influence in my life. We talked a bit about how we initially connected at work, and just one of the things that I think you have such a unique gift for is this genuine curiosity about other people. You initiated a conversation with me. I think you said something like, Tell me what you’re all about or what? What are your hopes and dreams? Very, um, very potentially loaded question that maybe not everyone is interested in. But I’ve just been struck by your constant fascination with other people and really tried toe Channel that as I reacted to this piece of feedback that I had received

[00:09:11] Anthony: Yeah, you know, um, I was out with some friends, maybe a year year and 1/2 ago. And there’s one guy. He’s from California. Another guy. He’s from Scottsdale and his wife was there, Um, and me and the the two guy friends that were there just hadn’t seen each other in a while. And they were like, Hey, how’s it going? You give each other a hug and then, um, my friend Andy, his wife, goes to give Michael a hug and and he goes, How are you doing? And she goes, Oh, I’m not gonna answer that question And he goes, Why not? And she says, There’s too much to talk about and I’m I’m here to connect with you and talk about really important things in your life and mine. And it was so uncomfortable. But oh, my goodness, it cut out 10 15 minutes of wasted time chit chat, you know? Yeah, and I was so struck that she did that, that she said that was so genuinely And I have occasionally run into people like that where I realized, like they are after something and how much I mean you’re in, you’re in marketing. How much meaningless conversation do you run into at marketing conferences or whatever? It’s like people just trying to figure out their angle on you and how they can use your network or your connections. But Rachel, she was like, cut to the chase. I’m here to connect with you, and I’m here to create a meaningful moment in our lives. And I feel like, um, just seeing her, it might have been longer than that. Probably makes three years ago, something like that. But just that moment alone made me feel like I want to connect deeper with people on. Um, I think most of my life I I’ve just been really interested in connecting with people. So I appreciate you. That’s a long, you know, response to just saying Thank you. Um, but it is intentional. And I think that’s part of why I have this book because I care about other people doing well because I really truly believe that we are all interdependent. So it’s great to meet people like you, especially at the beginning of a relationship, and that I can ask you So tell me what you’re all about, and then you take it seriously, like I think I see that in you. And I think that’s really cool. Well,

[00:11:44] Clare: thank you and again that that curiosity, genuine curiosity, um, I think is really difficult to fake that something that our friend in your previous podcast, guest Fry, has been discussing a lot lately within our organization. And it’s so true. And it’s telling that that moment you described with your friend’s wife sticks out in your mind. Because when there’s enough inauthenticity that an authentic moment stands out that clearly three years later, right? What does it tell us?

[00:12:25] Anthony: Right? I think about it all the time. And when I have these trivial, you know, how’s it going? Whatever I think of her, I think of when she said that, and I I admire it. You know, the discomfort is really so wonderful, Like when you look back on it like the welcome slap in the face that you just described. Why was it welcome to you?

[00:12:48] Clare: I think that I, in in UN principle, do have very strong convictions and feel strongly compelled to act on on what this co worker had brought to my attention to bring other people up with me, and that has been core to who I am. But I had lost my way. Um, quite a bit. And I

[00:13:14] Anthony: feel like you were caught or something. Like like you. You thought you represented that and then, like, he or she asked you that. And then you were like, Oh, maybe I’m not actually doing what I believe.

[00:13:24] Clare: Yes, yes, absolutely. And not that I had gone out of my way to, um create a persona or a perception that I was that sort of person. It was a genuine and is a genuine desire of mine. And I had just been fixated on something else and lost track of that piece of my career and what I want to contribute as a professional in an organization. So I think that’s why it was welcome sometimes. And you, um, put the perfect word on it. It’s discomfort when somebody makes us uncomfortable like that. It’s painful, sometimes excruciatingly so sometimes embarrassing, like what you described with your, um your music works up in Mexico, but that is a signal to me that my body and my my heart and soul are telling me there’s something to it. There’s a reason you’re having this reaction to it, cause it really struck something and you that you didn’t know was there had for gotten was there.

[00:14:31] Anthony: So you said you’ve been kind of aware of this as a kid, you know, everything like all your life. So Ah, what does that feel like? Is it a Spidey sense? Is it? Ah, you know, like, do you get just kind of like, Do you feel a tension in your body, or do you feel like you think about what you’re saying as you’re saying it like what is happening and how do you realize that you’re being clueless?

[00:14:52] Clare: I think to me, it feels like breathing or having your heart pump. It’s just such a natural and automatic part of who I am and how I move through this world that I wouldn’t say that even until I read your book. It was something I had put words, too. But that was one of the big takeaways from your book. Was just having a framework and, ah, language to put around that cluelessness. And I jokingly called it a blessing and a curse. But it is both, and I think that you can treat it as a source of I guess shame or some sort of an oppressive force in your life where you are aware of of maybe your own shortcomings or others perceptions of you in a way that can be paralyzing in truth. But then you can also transform that awareness into action. And another angle I’ve been reflecting on since reading the book has been somebody else is, um, reaction to you. Or maybe if it’s, say, a piece of knowledge that you lack, or just anything that your boat unquote clueless about, um, filtering that information. So as you realize that your clueless it doesn’t mean that this perspective or this input that you’re missing is the right one, it just means that there’s more information for you to integrate. But I think part of, um, having characters figuring out how do I integrate that particular piece of input or information or awareness that’s been, um, inflicted on me in some cases, Um, and it’s something that I’ve just never again never put words to, but been a really useful, not exercise

[00:16:52] Anthony: for me. Um, I think I’ve learned to detect it because I I take so many notes and that’s just a habit of mine that I’ve developed over several years that I know when I’m not. When I’m in a car on a meeting, you know, you’re you just don’t have time. Sometimes be at a desk, you need to get somewhere. And today I was on a call and this guy was saying, Well, I think we should approach it like this and this and this and he named like, five things that I just had not even thought of. And I was like, Oh, my goodness, I should be writing this down. There’s no way I’m going to remember everything that’s in this guy’s head and it’s turned into a sort of not a spiky sense, but more like, uh oh, I need to write this down. And if I’m not able to write it down, then I’m like, Oh, my goodness, I really just don’t know what I’m talking about, you know? And I’m listening to someone who’s casting wisdom before my very eyes and years, but here I am unable to capture it, you know? And I feel like that’s that’s become my tell. When, when I’m writing down a lot, um, or typing notes on when I’m not typing or writing, I think is it because I think that I know everything or do I actually know everything that we’re talking about? Or maybe it’s just not important, you know? It’s like, hard to tell if I’m judging it. But I think when I’m not taking notes at this point after so many years of training myself, when I’m not taking notes, I think I’m comfortable with the knowledge. But the fact that I take so many notes to me is just a testimony to how clueless I feel a lot of the time.

[00:18:34] Clare: Yeah, he’s taking furious notes right now, by the way, you guys can’t see him. He’s not, but he’s got audio notes.

[00:18:41] Anthony: That’s right, exactly that. I’m grateful for that. So tell me, um, you said that these moments of discomfort kind of allow you to dive into transformation. Something like that. Eso we could go back to the story you shared where somebody pointed that out to you that you’re not advocating the way that you would have hoped. Or maybe something else. But what does that look like for you? Are you like feverishly like you drop everything to go and respond? Thio?

[00:19:13] Clare: Yeah, that’s part of that filter that I was talking about, right? So if I could, um, oversimplify it a bit, I think that the self conscious version of cluelessness that I referred to earlier might provoke somebody, too. You’re that sort of feedback. Acknowledge that it’s causing a reaction in them and then, as you described, just rush to immediately perhaps appease that person or read the book that person suggested, or any one of a 1,000,000 scenarios in which this might occur. I think that the more I guess constructive version of cluelessness is thio intake that information. Recognize your reaction, take a little time to think through it and decide how you want to integrate that information. Um, I think that I have an almost physical reaction to it if someone, um, I don’t know, drops a fork immediately, you know, leaning down to pick it up just very much of people, please or my my whole life. So for me, the challenge and the struggle and the growth has been again and really making sure I adequately process that sort of of clue as it comes in. What what do I do with these clues? That’s been a big question

[00:20:37] Anthony: So one of the reasons, um, you’re here is because you’re an expert in marketing, and I’d like for you to share what makes you ah, what makes you feel confident when you’re marketing to people? And how do you like I feel like one big aspect of marketing is pointing out to someone that they’re missing something which is largely what my book is trying to do. Like, how do you use marketing to reveal someone’s cluelessness? Like, why am I not paying for this service? You know, like, isn’t that really what you’re after the conversion? You know you want to you want to bring someone in, string them along somehow emotionally and get them to convert. So can you tell me a little about you? Like, how did you develop expertise as a marketer? And how do you use you know what you know? And possibly in light of what we’ve been discussing here Ah, in your in your marketing.

[00:21:41] Clare: It’s a great question, and I’m gonna deconstruct some aspects of it. So in so far as anyone defines marketing, I think that, uh, common perception of marketing is that it is really in the service of a specific conversion or a purchase or something of that nature, some sort of revenue based action. And ultimately, for many organizations, that is certainly an indicator of success, right? But I think, um, that marketing is about a lot more than that. It’s about making a connection. It’s about truth. I’ve heard Brands described branding, described as truth telling, so how my creating consistency in customers experience through every channel in which they might interact with my company. How am I helping to craft messaging that actually meaningful e connects with them? I don’t ever want to be in a position and, thankfully, have not been in a position where my job has been to sell something to someone who doesn’t need it. It’s more about making a connection with somebody who would find whatever it is you have to offer useful and helping them realize the ways in Mitch in which it might be useful to them. So when I think of it that way, it’s a very different process than trying to get somebody to click a button or in a sense, to try toe manipulate um, their their feelings or their truth. So I think that’s Ah, common. Um, there are a lot of Commons perceptions when it comes to marketing, and I certainly know there are plenty of marketers out there who might not agree with my definition of it. But that’s really how I am. Hi. Practicing how I think about it to your question about what gives me the confidence, Um, in marketing Or how do I know if I’m a good marketer? I think that ultimately, um, there’s my own assessment of myself. And then there’s an organizational assessment of if I am a quote unquote good marketer, right? So indicators of of me being a quote, good marketer and an organization might be numbers, uh, about how many people have converted or purchased a product or inquired about you’re company. Um, and those are important metrics there. What is going to drive investment and budget increases and everything like that? Um, that comes along with it. But again, I I think there’s a broader context to being a good marketer. And that’s how do I connect with someone in a way that they feel genuine. So going back to those moments we’ve been talking about, Um, not that I want it to always be a slap in the face for my audience consuming our marketing message. But, um, the equivalent of that reaction that we’ve had when somebody has pointed something out to us that maybe was an inner truth that we weren’t recognizing at the time. Um, I realized that can sound really lofty of someone selling like soda bottles, right? Hey, it’s, uh,

[00:25:09] Anthony: connects with everyone, you know. That’s

[00:25:11] Clare: right.

[00:25:11] Anthony: Somebody out there, like is really passionate about soda bottles.

[00:25:16] Clare: They are,

[00:25:17] Anthony: and they’re people collect. Collect them, you know, they’re giving out the plastic recyclable ones, but glass bottles and

[00:25:23] Clare: order. So, yeah, if you, um, I was just reading about Coca Cola’s previous campaign around open happiness. That’s not really about soda. It’s about an experience in the stall gin. All sorts of things that are are those emotional connections and that product fulfilling a need that that consumer might have for, ah, joyful moment. If you know, so does your flavor of joy,

[00:25:51] Anthony: right? I don’t know if you recall the story called the Gap in the book by, um I never remember his name. The guy from NPR. Ah, this, um, something life?

[00:26:07] Clare: Yeah, that’s the mayor’s American class,

[00:26:10] Anthony: is it not? Yes, Ira Glass. And he’s got a story. Well, not really a story, but it’s something that he shares called The Gap, and it identifies. It’s like you might think that you’re really good, but there were. There’s a gap between what you’re able to deliver and what your tastes are, and in the beginning, that’s a really big gap. And you really just have to keep working harder and harder and harder to get there. Let me see if I can find it.

[00:26:38] Clare: We’ve got the book here with us folks. He’s paging through,

[00:26:41] Anthony: Uh, thankfully, there’s only 90 chapters, but the table of contents is pretty laid out. Yeah, there it is. Um, but yes. So I’d like to hear kind of your perspective, because to me, marketing, it’s so psychological and like you’re saying you’re trying to connect with someone on an experiential level like it might be a feeling that you want to invoke. It might be a direct like, No, you need to buy this message. It could be anything in between. It could be a color, you know, like certain companies own certain colors, you know, Um So what is the gap look like in marketing? Like, how do you How do you go from like when you look back at yourself 10 years ago. What are the leaps forward that you’ve made? And what are the gaps that you see in? You know, Clare minus 10 15 years. First is clear now.

[00:27:44] Clare: All right. So I think that’s a good question. And it brings to mind mind the gap, which now that I think about it would make a great great mantra. I think that looking back 10 years ago, one of the mistakes I made one of my, um my clueless Aah! Moments, if you will, was thinking that as a marketer, I had to be an expert in everything. I I am admittedly a bit of a know it all. So getting over my arrogance and thinking, I had to know everything about everything. And, um, I had had a mentor tell me once a story about when he was directing a commercial. And, um, he was somehow getting up out of the director’s chair and and walking around and really doing, um, work. That wasn’t the work of a director. And somebody said to this guy. Your job is to sit down in that chair and be the director. You’re not this You’re not. This that is your job. So what are the boundaries around your role? My version of that story is having a boss in a job. Several jobs ago where I was working at a tech company and as, ah, a mid level marketer with less experience. I felt like I needed to know everything about the technology. If I didn’t know at least a cz Muchas all of our engineers and I was a failure and a fraud. And, um, in my feedback in my performance review, she said, That’s not your job. Your job. You are not an engineer. Your job is to talk to the engineers. And that was such a wake up call. And honestly, such a relief. And that’s really helped me identify one of my strengths, which is to translate nerd talk into something that people want to hear. No offense, nerds. I’m one of you. I looked at Anthony, I said that, but really, to translate something that might be a little bit technically dry into something people actually care about. That was huge to go. Oh, I don’t have to be the expert on everything Could be the expert in some things and then also noticing Maybe if there’s stuff I should be an expert in that I’m not How do I go about learning that? Um, you talked about the story where you had a colleague on the phone and he mentioned five things that you hadn’t thought about. So just cultivating that awareness of okay, there are some things that I don’t know that I should know. There are some things I don’t know that I don’t need to know. And there are some things I do know that I can share with other people. So let’s start really trying to discern between those categories of clues, if you will. Um, that’s been a really big, transformational power for me in my in my career. Another thing that I’ve done to close those gaps. Um, it’s something I’ve done for a long time, but I will constantly devour job descriptions for the type of role that I wanna have in the future. Um, Viet, usually two years from now, three years from now, wherever my next move might take me and really, at one point I was actually writing down all of the skills that I felt like I would need in the role I wanted next and making a point of pursuing projects or, um, getting mentor ship or education or reading up about these topics to be sure that I was cultivating that knowledge in those skills. It’s that constant, just intellectual curiosity and desire to always be better than you are, no matter where you’re starting from,

[00:31:37] Anthony: you mentioned feeling like a failure or a fraud. Um, how how do you get over that?

[00:31:45] Clare: You don’t? I don’t know that I have. And we could do a whole spin off series on imposter syndrome and,

[00:31:56] Anthony: of course, the

[00:31:57] Clare: whole gender dynamics. We all suffer from it. I think they’re unique experience. That experience is that women have around that specifically. So, um, how do what I think it over? I don’t know. But I’ll tell you one thing that’s helped is having role models who admit that they have that issue as well. Um, I read a book called The Confidence Code that came out several years ago about this very topic by two very prominent female authors who just admitted that they also suffered from that. So having somebody in a powerful position really speak to that, I think can go a very long way. I hope that me admitting that I have that issue on this podcast today might help even just one person go. No, it’s okay. Way all feel that way. How about you? Do you ever feel like a fraudster?

[00:32:51] Anthony: I used to feel that way a lot, a lot, and I talk about that a little bit in the book. Um, but a couple things happened. One mike molten from Melt media spoke to me, and he said, If you’re gonna lead this company, you need toe. You need to change these things. And it took me a while, but I changed them and it included sarcasm, self deprecating humor. Um, just personal belief, like about my abilities. And it takes a while for it took me a while, but eventually I thought, Oh, you know what? They’re There’s actual fruit here, like things air I am doing well, I am doing a good job because so much of what I do is I just had a guy teasing you today. like, What is it you’d say you do here sent me that gift, you know, from office space. And then he’s like, Well, you know, this guy does this, but you dot dot You know, So it’s even happening today. But if I was not, if I had not gone through the transformation to stop believing that I was a failure, those comments today would have wrecked me. And, um, I’ve just learned I mean, through writing the book and all the experiences that led up to it, everyone’s faking their way through it. Everyone, there is no manual, there’s no training program. And the only difference between me and some like super successful sea level whatever is probably confidence, luck, right, place at the right time. And they just they have a different circumstance, you know, And but like, that doesn’t mean that they’re better than I am at at the job or smarter or anything like that. And there are a lot of people who are a lot less talented and smart than I am that are very successful on a lot of people who are Maur that are very successful. And I guess I start there. There’s There’s a few things that really helped me. One was this notion of the graveyard of, um, unsuccessful people. There’s, I mean, billions of people 10 10 billion people have ever lived. How many of them were geniuses, you know, just on that skill, right? And how many of them can we name? Right. And they may have completely transformed their communities and all this stuff, And we only know, like, ah 100 people like off the top of her head from Plato and Aristotle Toe like Martin Luther King, you know? So I just think it may not be in my in the in the hand that I’m dealt that I’m some sort of Bill Gates type or even just like the senior director of AWS. You know, Amazon Web service is, and that’s okay because that guy is probably really smart. But on the other hand, like, is that person a lot better than I am?

[00:36:09] Clare: Well, that’s it. That’s a great question. Poof brings up so much, I I think that a couple of things is number one. What does it mean to be successful? What does it mean to be great at something and right? Those people who survived. History survived because someone decided that was the definition of greatness. But for every great philosopher, many of the great religious profits somebody was at home taking care of the kids like, I’ll tell you, who could not go wander into the desert for a couple of months and found a religion. Me, I have a child care, right? I’m not going to go down in history for getting my child to school alive. But I consider that to be, ah, form of success,

[00:36:56] Anthony: a form of

[00:36:57] Clare: greatness, maybe one that’s not fully recognized or celebrated. But I do think that expanding our notions of greatness or even challenging our definitions of success is so incredibly important. Um, and I think that that, too, there’s this concept of the merit myth that we assume that our success was due to our hard work or some other sort of merit based factor. When you look at the data, it shows there are so many factors, um, to success, that we don’t think about from our ability levels physically to two appearance toe upbringing, just a myriad of things that, um might in fact be the difference. It doesn’t make someone quote unquote successful, less greater or us any better, but they are very real factors.

[00:37:53] Anthony: The thing I do know is I’m happy. Yeah, And I don’t know if the senior director of who knows what it is at Amazon, whichever What is happy, right? They may have millions of dollars more than I do, but I’m happy, and I like waking up and live in life. So to me, the measure changed as well. You know, how do you stop thinking that you’re a fraud or a failure? Well, I look in my life. I’m like, actually, I have a pretty good I like what I d’oh. I like who I am, and that’s

[00:38:24] Clare: I mean,

[00:38:25] Anthony: failure. And if you believe that,

[00:38:27] Clare: Yeah, I I fully agree. Um, when I I’m sure none of your kids have ever asked Dad wired to a sea level executive yet right? Like they value you. They love you. People love you Most in the world are are not asking that question. So it’s at least for me. Um and I think in our profession in particular white color, you know, tech profession and corporate America decouple ing financial indicators of success from personal indicators of success is important. It doesn’t mean that they’re always inversely correlated, but just that they’re different and not always associated positively or negatively, or or at all. The other thing that I’m I’ve discovered around success and and the definition of achievement is that as far as I know, there’s not a secret club of people who have made it, who have some formula or set of keys that I don’t if there is guys know where to find me, send me a key I want in the club. But it’s like, Oh, wait a minute. Maybe the difference between me and then someone I see is superior or more successful, Isn’t some innate um, you know, failure on my part. Like you said, it’s so many different things and back to this story that I mentioned earlier in the podcast. It’s like maybe you are more successful in other people’s eyes than you think. Maybe maybe they look at you and think you have that secret key in your pocket.

[00:40:08] Anthony: Yeah, I know elective. I know that’s true for me. I know people think that I do make weird music for a living that I you know, they cause that’s the image on social media. And it’s not like I’m trying to craft some identity for myself. I’m just like, Hey, this was fun. I’ll post that he that I liked that I posted, but for other people. And when you have ah, brand that has several 1000 followers like they don’t know any different, you’re That’s what you do. That’s who you are. That’s your you know you’re representing yourself. There’s a reason. I mean, I didn’t come up with the concept Art Dave would drifted for the book. But there’s a reason my son’s on the cover and I’m like, on the back. And we’re wearing the same outfit because we’re all just the same kids we were. You know, we’re just in these big bodies, and I feel like the people who have figured it out, you know, in quotes are the people who just assumed their identities as adults, and they’re not like they’re not complaining about being big and on adults. And, you know, they’re not complaining about having adult things. It’s like you can embrace it or you can fight it. And inside we are just and a lot of the people I meet in all sorts of jobs from sea levels of multimillion dollar companies to individual contributors and hiring out of high school or college. We’re all just kids, you know? Yeah, It’s like you just think like, Oh, I have a job now I’m no longer a kid. Actually, you’re still that you still carry around all this baggage of being a kid? Oh,

[00:41:47] Clare: yeah, absolutely. So, so much. And that’s, um, good thing I think

[00:41:54] Anthony: it’s a curse. Like everything else. Yeah, it’s great to maintain that childhood creativity, that passion, you know, like I’m gonna conquer the world. But on the other hand, I temperate with reality like, Okay, statistically, 90% of startups fail, and you know this and that here, the odds are against me, and the market is this way. And, you know, make weird music is not gonna be a 1,000,000 subscriber type thing, and that’s okay. But if I was running a tec channel and I didn’t have a 1,000,000 subscribers, I’d be like, maybe I’m not trying hard enough, you know?

[00:42:28] Clare: Yes. Oh, yeah. And it’s like, what is the measure of legitimacy? Right. Um is not fixed? No, it’s just as, ah case in point when we talk about metrics in particular. Ah, I’ve been in situations where Okay, so you go to marking conference A and a marketer from a competitive brand or another brand stands up and talks about how they got this huge influx of, say, traffic on there website. One

[00:43:00] Anthony: of the most

[00:43:00] Clare: referenced examples would be, um, Oreo sent out a tweet when the Super Bowl power went out, saying, You can still dunk in the dark, right? So everyone wants these Oreo moments where you have massive influxes of traffic onto your company website and, um, I’ve been in situations. I said where I’ve looked at those and we’re like, Wow, we had a huge spike in traffic. That’s amazing. We should all be really proud. And then we dig a little deeper, More like, Oh, it was an Estonian bought army that Look at that. We’re getting de dos. Uh, don’t always assume that that that high number that that thing you have in your mind as that metric is fixed one or even a legitimate one, because it’s different for everyone

[00:43:43] Anthony: for that innovation. It even occurred because of your teeth. You know, like it’s maybe someone prominent retweeted it and made a joke about it, like, Oh, yeah, I got to check that, you know,

[00:43:53] Clare: Right? Right. It’s

[00:43:55] Anthony: pretty interesting. Um, so any sort of ah parting notes as we wrap up this episode like any thoughts that you’d like to express to people who might benefit from the book or something like that.

[00:44:12] Clare: Yes. So many, I would say. Probably the most powerful thing that anyone could do tomorrow. Um, to help on the journey to doing the work, whether you’re clueless or uber clue ful. What is the opposite of clueless?

[00:44:31] Anthony: Um, why

[00:44:32] Clare: clued in? Why’s there you go, um, would be just two. Ask ask somebody hate. I’ve been I listened to this podcast or I read this book and I’ve been thinking about my own cluelessness, my own blind spots. Is there anything that you’d be willing to share with me that maybe I’m not thinking about, um, start there. And then, of course, filter that information right? Cause you ask your your best friend in your worst enemy might get very different answers. But just use your your own convictions to filter through that feedback and decide what you’re going to do to address it.

[00:45:13] Anthony: Awesome. Thank you very much. We should do another episode about imposter syndrome and failure and those kinds of things, the gender dynamics and all that. So

[00:45:23] Clare: I would love that. I’m an expert on failure. Personal experience?

[00:45:30] Anthony: Yeah, me too. So I think that’s why we get along. I think

[00:45:33] Clare: so. Do as a couple of failures. So, yeah. Thank you. And just recap two of the people you mentioned in this episode where listeners might not have known. Mike Molten is the chief technology officer of the agency where I work Melt Media, and Dave Woodruff, one of our co founders, who Anthony mentioned two, did the artwork for the book. Both great leaders and thinkers and people worth looking up and and following.

[00:46:02] Anthony: Excellent. Thank you, Clare.

[00:46:03] Clare: Thank you so much.

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About the Author

Anthony Garone headshot

Anthony Garone is a creative technology leader with a heart for helping people understand who they are, where they excel, and what they can offer the world. He has co-founded and advised several startups, runs Make Weird Music, and leads software and technology teams at an identity theft protection firm, InfoArmor, which was acquired by Allstate in October 2018.

Anthony lives in Mesa, Arizona with his wife and three children.