A Few Recommendations

I consume an insane amount of media each week. Here’s a few things I came across this week that I’d recommend…

Read this article about the hottest new social media curation algorithm – actual humans.

Download the Nuzzel app if you’re interested in a well-presented feed of just links to content that the people you follow on social media share.

Listen to the ConversionCast, Rainmaker, TwitterSmarter, or Coffee Break Blogging podcasts if you’re nerdy enough to care about such things.

Listen to Austin Kleon’s appearance on the EntreLeadership podcast to get inspired about doing awesome creative work.

Read this John Lasseter essay to better understand the relationship between technology and storytelling.

See this picture of the best use I’ve seen of the Apple Watch yet.

See this picture of the now-famous couple that had sex on the Cannes Lion red carpet.

See this drawing of Walt Disney’s original brilliant business plan that launched the Disney empire.

I’m Rooting For Donald Trump

29AC6C1000000578-3126728-image-a-26_1434471152119

I don’t blog about politics much, but Donald Trump’s presidential campaign isn’t really politics, is it?

It seems like entertainment to me, so Long Live The Trump Campaign!

I’m rooting for him the same way I would root for a 22-episode season of Game of Thrones. I don’t care who wins, I just want it to go on for a long time.

Also, you’re welcome to kill off as many of the characters as you want in the process.

Now, before you have my blog taken away from me on account of insanity, I should clarify that I don’t actually want Trump to get elected. I just want him to be successful enough to stay in the race for a while.

I don’t need him to get all the way to Threat Level Palin, but I’d like to at least ride the Trump Escalator through most of the primary season.

His presence is going to make our already ridiculous electoral process a lot more ridiculous.

There’s a lot wrong with American politics at the moment and Trump represents it all.

Money has too much influence in politics. Trump’s campaign platform is pretty much just that he’s rich.

Campaigning is based on “gotcha” moments. Trump’s catchphrase “You’re fired” is the ultimate gotcha statement.

We’re a superficial country that cares too much about media appearance. Trump’s got a great head of hair.

See? You can’t always get the candidate you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get the candidate you need.

No wonder he’s currently in second place in New Hampshire polls.

I’m also backing the Trump ticket because  the longer he’s in the race, the more uncomfortable it’s going to get for the other candidates.

Trump is clearly insane, but don”t you want to see him in the Republican debates?

He’s a Hall of Fame-caliber loose cannon and the kind of wildcard that could force other candidates to have to say something of substance.

At a minimum, we’d get to see how they dealt with a lunatic in a pressure situation which is a skill set our Presidents increasingly need to possess.

Donald Trump in a Presidential debate will be must-see TV.  Remember how fun it was to watch Ross Perot and Sarah Palin in debates?

Trump in a nationally televised debate is liable to be the biggest Twitter moment since that time I broke Twitter.

A successful (but not too successful) Trump campaign will also point out to both parties how far out of control our electoral system has gotten and just might push both sides a little closer to making some changes.

Probably not, but you never know. Maybe a deep tourney run for a nutbag is what we need to wake everybody up these days?

Finally, I’m rooting for Donald Trump if for no other reason than what it will do for the comedy world.

After all, look at what his announcement alone has already given us:

Me and Marc Maron

Screen-Shot-2015-06-20-at-9.11.07-AM

Twenty-five years ago, I became a Marc Maron fan.

My brother and I obsessively watched Comedy Central as teenagers and one fateful afternoon we were introduced to Maron, performing on a Denis Leary-hosted special to support the Cam Neely Foundation (I have no idea why I remember that).

We became instant fans.

He was probably one of my favorite comics not named Sam Kinison at the time, and his bit about crazy people talking to God became an instant classic in my house.

I can’t find that clip online, but I did find this animated version of it:

To this day, my brother and I still quote the line “I can’t!” to each other, mimicking Maron’s delivery in our own conversations. It’s become part of our lexicon.

Eight years ago, I hired Marc Maron.

I was producing a marijuana-themed standup comedy show in San Francisco and invited him to come perform at several shows over the course of a weekend.

I was excited to have him on the show, but it’s only in retrospect I realize the problems he had in his own life at the time.

This was about a year before he launched the podcast that would change his life. He was recently split from his second wife, and bottoming out in his career.

No wonder he was willing to take the meager fee we could afford to pay him to come up to San Francisco and perform for a bunch of stoners – even though he had been sober for years.

Despite my excitement to get to know him, I don’t think I had more than one or two brief conversations with him during the whole weekend.

He would come to the shows, take the stage, and take off.

He wasn’t particularly difficult or friendly, but he was hilarious.

Even with his life at a low point, his comedy was still brilliant.

Five years ago, I called Marc Maron.

I was working for a rapidly-declining online comedy startup, but saw the podcast boom on the horizon.

As a Maron fan, I paid attention to what he was building with the then-year-old WTF podcast and convinced my boss it was worth reaching out to him.

I figured Maron couldn’t make much money from his podcast at that point and that maybe we could do a deal with him. We’d guarantee him a monthly fee in exchange for him joining our (hypothetical) soon-to-be-launched podcast network.

I used what little history I had with him to get him on the phone and float the idea.

He didn’t jump at the idea, but also wasn’t sure how (or if) he was ultimately going to monetize his podcast. Plus, he enjoyed the freedom and control he had in creating his own thing.

Still, he said if we could guarantee him $10,000 a month that he would consider it.

I was thrilled and thought it would be a great investment for us. Sure, it was a gamble and I had no idea how we would recoup that $10k per month, but it seemed like Maron was on to the start of something that could be big.

It felt like a gamble worth taking.

My boss disagreed. We never made an offer. Maron’s podcast took off.

The startup I was working for? Well, not so much.

Today, I listened to Marc Maron interview the President of the United States.

It was a great episode and a landmark moment in our rapidly shifting media and comedy landscape.

I’m happy for him, happy I was right about his show’s potential, and happy I was never able to tempt him with an offer that might have led to him selling his podcast to a company that didn’t deserve it.

Because if he had, I don’t think he would have wound up with a President in his garage.

And that would be a real shame.

WTF, indeed.


Click here to get my posts emailed to you every Friday.