What I learned at DO // PROPAGANDA 13
This is an email sent out to the internal team at Death to Stock, but it’s been made public for those who are curious to follow our ideas and culture.
I just got back from a conference in Northern California called “The Do Lectures.”
I was lucky to be with an incredible group of entrepreneurs, creatives and doers. Many conversations were had, and the talks themselves sparked a variety of ideas and emotions. Since we couldn’t all attend, I’ve jotted down some of my biggest takeaways from my time there.
To build and incredible culture and brand, you need to have an incredible soul and personality.
A brand is simply an extension of the people working on it. The culture, the vibe, the personality, all of that stem from the founders and its team. Who I am, what I do, what my opinions are, these will all bleed directly into the brand.
Are you interesting? Then your brand will be. Are you bored, lifeless or lacking passion? It’s going to show. It’s imperative that we have soul, for our brands to have soul. Improving myself, keeping passion for life, exploring, all of these things are more important than they seem.
They can feel it.
Find a taboo, and rebrand it.
Is there something people whisper in the shadows and don’t discuss publicly? Is it outdated? There is your opportunity.
Miki Agrawal, gave an amazing talk on this subject. She’s the founder of Thinx, which is underwear for women on their period. She took this hush-hush topic head on, and flipped the conversation. She did this in 3 ways:
- Innovating on product. Tampons have had basically zero innovation over the last century, she changed that. She’s envisioning a new future for women’s health.
- An aesthetic makeover. It’s 2016, if it’s not sexy, it won’t sell. Nailing the quality of design and making sure every touch point felt relevant to today’s world is imperative. And as she said “We consider the F out of every design choice.” Not to mention half her staff were creatives.
- Relatable. Instead of approaching the topic being too P.C., or being scientific, she speaks about the taboo in plain english. She describes what it’s like to be a woman on her period. This making you cringe? Well, other’s are screaming, “THANK YOU. Finally!” She’s human. So are her customers.
If you have a soap box, you can speak for those who have been silenced. Getting pushback? That’s the entire point. When you speak for those who are silenced, unheard, under-appreciated, you’ll get raving fans who have your back. Leaning into the resistance will build you trust. We can repeat this formula, if we are brave enough...
Your “Say-To-Do” ratio.
How much do you say vs. how much do you do? It’s easy to talk. It’s hard to stay quiet and work in the background.
Instead I can say A LOT with one large thing you’ve made. I can stay quiet for a year but then release a book. Don’t talk about your project, until you have that one talk that blows people’s minds at everything you accomplished.
I’m trying to cut back on social media. It’s too much time pondering, retweeting other’s words instead of writing my own, and consuming instead of making. Are we aware of our Say-to-Do ratio?
Order → Disorder → Reorder
Jedidiah Jenkins was your average lawyer, going to work, paying his bills, making his way. Until he decided he wanted more and quit it all to ride a bicycle across South America. He documented his trip, wrote about it, photographed, and is now a prominent writer on social media, set to release his first book.
In life we’re always evolving. When things feel safe we’re in “order.” We shed the safety and fall into disorder, which is scary because you have no idea what will come after.
And when you make it out on the other side, when you reorder, your life will look different than it did before.
Be a speaker, not an attendee.
I think this is my new rule for conferences. It just seems like you get SO MUCH more value attending a conference as a speaker. First, everyone gets to hear your story, in a curated and quality way. You can move the crowd and get people to know who you are.
Second, you get to meet and spend time with the other speakers, who are really the people you want to spend time with most.
Third, you attend for free, and get other such perks (Plus you’re now an alumni of this ever growing network, which is sure to open doors).
This isn’t easy, but the reward is 10x.
Be an onion.
What was so impressive about the speakers and attendees at this conference was that they weren’t just specialists in one area. Miki, for example owned Thinx, but also a few Gluten Free Pizza restaurants. Andrew, who was an NHL Stanley Cup Champion, had a deep interest in environmentalism and science. While he was in the NHL, he helped organize the league to be more sustainable, got a degree from Harvard, and educated the public on causes such as gay rights advocacy.
Ultimately, I want to be multi-layered. Yeah, I’ve got this DTS thing going, but I also have hobbies, friends, active interests outside of this work. The trick is to commit to many things, but one at a time. Meaning, you can have multiple active interests, you just can’t multi-task them all at the same time. Be present with each. Carve out your calendar to support a variety of passions in your life.
Start with “How can I help you?”
If you’re trying to get to know someone, emailing cold, hoping to join an organization, don’t ever try the “pick your brain over coffee” thing. Always start with how you can help them. Suggest that you intro them. Ask if they need volunteers. Put in work up front and send it to them to see if it’s something they could use. Start with giving the value.
I’m working to send an email or two a day with this premise. You can steal this from my email:
“I’m trying to get a bit more plugged in here, and since I really love your work, I thought I’d reach out to see if there was anything I could do to help or get involved in?*
If you ever need an assistant, spare hand, or help event planning etc., happy to try and serve where I can.”
- *Caveat; It sometimes GIVES the person work when you ask “what can I get involved in.” Then they have to do the work come up with what that might be. Instead, If you know someone well enough up front, I suggest that you offer something you know they need.
Holy Shit, We’re Alive.
How amazing is this???
We’ve only got 21,000 days in our adult lives, so use them wisely. I want to be aware of every moment I can. I want to stop and recognize how amazing things are. Find something that’s worth pursuing and pour your time in it.
Patterns kill our awareness. We stop paying attention, and the time starts to speed up. Every time I’m traveling it feels like time is slowing down. It’s because of all these new experiences, new awareness, and growth.
Moving is Living.
So hopefully that was taste of some of the knowledge that was passed on.
Oh yeah, and,
The story is alive as it ever has been. Is there anything else in our human history that has had such staying power as the story? That’s all this conference was, speakers telling their story, attendees sharing their story. The winery sharing the story of the farm and how they farm their grapes. It’s why we buy in. And people PAID serious cash to get their dose, me included.
Have nothing to say? As Ben Franklin said, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
If you can tell your story you can move people. If you can move people, you can make unbelievable things happen.
Crush it this week, fam,
// David @deathtostock
You can sign up by email here (the email is way cooler fyi) →http://eepurl.com/b07TwT