Creativity is work. Two examples that show it isn’t mysticism.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee was a small web show, later licensed by Netflix. It’s great because all the guests are comedians. They discuss their creative process and what it was like on the way to becoming known. The interesting part is that Jerry Seinfeld, as famous as he is, built the show himself, and only after it was popular, 5 or 6 seasons in, was it licensed by Netflix. Even a guy like Jerry, who wrote the most successful sitcom in history, needed to get started before someone would take him seriously.

Seth Godin is the most successful marketer of all-time. He’s written 18 best-selling books and blogs every day. The fact that he ships daily to his audience is amazing. I understand that engineering work isn’t as easy to ship as writing. There are often multiple wordings of writing that can go out and are acceptable. In engineering, there are things we know are wrong, but it takes time to figure out where it happened. That doesn’t change the concept of shipping work. We should ship what we’re working on out into the world, get other engineers discussing it, or customers waiting for it, or investors interested in it. It doesn’t always have to be public, but sharing with a group can be a beautiful way to get feedback and encouragement.

Both Jerry and Seth show creativity is work, not mysticism nor talent. If you haven’t checked either one of them out, you should. Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is entertaining, occasionally inspiring, and some of the best background noise to work to. The pacing of it is soothing, and for engineers, every episode has a different car! And Seth is inspirational in that marketing doesn’t have to be intrusive. We can market in a way that people enjoy, and that it doesn’t have to be for a product. It can be for a group, an idea, a company.

These are two sources of my inspiration.

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