By Greg Roth

Newsletter Stories from January 2018

Each Wednesday, I send out a newsletter with links to “idea enthusiasm” stories from around the web. Here is a compilation of stories from January 2018. You can sign up for the newsletter here.


My cousin Tim is an association CEO and a pretty serious reader: here is his list of books read in 2017. Looking ahead, there are a handful of interesting books due out in 2018 and here is my list of those. [1-10-18] 

The Philadelphia 76ers have a pretty cool/campy theme song which was written in the 70s, forgotten, and now is back again. The creative inspiration behind it has some fun points to remember when making anything. [1-10-18]

Back in November, I attended SURGE 2017, a virtual conference on learning strategy put on by There’s an ebook recap of the event and I’m quoted in there somewhere. [1-10-18]

There are three types of articles I try to avoid: “Do this one thing”, “The Future of…”, and “The New Rules of…” As an exception, these 10 New(ish) Rules about what makes good design is worth a read and reminds us how to talk and work in the world of the subjective. [1-10-18]

Does your brain need a break? Close your eyes, take 4 mins and 2 seconds, and listen to “It Never Entered My Mind” by Miles Davis. Works every time. [1-17-18]

Don’t try so hard. Here are 12 things that were invented by accident. [1-17-18]

A Denver graphic artist committed to seeing a movie a week and making a GIF about each one, perfectly demonstrating what NPR’s Ira Glass once said about making stuff. [1-17-18]

This month is the 10-year anniversary of the debut of Breaking Bad. Here are my 10 lessons from the show’s creation and pilot episode. [1-24-18]

An old, but good story on the original ideas behind every Pixar movie. Worth remembering that getting it right from the start is not the goal. [1-24-18]

The Monster Project invites kids to create monsters then professional graphic artists do their versions. Really fun. [1-24-18]

Ford and the rise of the executive “design professional”. [1-31-18]

Online “content generators” come up with your ideas for you. That’s a bad sign. [1-31-18]

Animal Planet finds new ways to keep Puppy Bowl fresh. A behind the scenes look. [1-31-18]



A story on the band The National highlights their strategies for working together, including “honesty hour”. [1-10-18]

One of my favorite topics in the collaboration area is conflict. How can we disagree more, but productively? The latest from HBR acknowledges this is hard and says you have 4 tactics to make it work. [1-10-18]

John Stewart on the creative culture at the Daily Show, as told to Judd Apatow in his very excellent book which I am currently reading. [1-10-18]

“We’re the only people on Earth that build ice castles the way we do it”

The Radical Candor movement has turned one-year old. A look back at this Buzzfeed piece about supposedly being a “kick-ass boss”. [1-17-18]

Looking for honesty inside the writers rooms at 3 sitcoms. [1-17-18]

Design thinking comes to a high school in Boise. Actually, students bring it to a local manufacturer. [1-17-18]

How can Marketing and Sales get along? I’m quoted in this post on the Wrike blog. [1-24-18]

Northwestern Law School has an “Innovation Lab” course. No figures available on how many heads have exploded. [1-24-18]

The “thought leader” vs the “do leader” mindset, in infographic form. [1-24-18]

How to have a good debate at your next meeting, from HBR. My favorite topic. Structured conflict is an approach you’ll find inside all great creative rooms. I spoke about this last summer at FSAE. [1-31-18]

Design thinking hits the financial world. A good overview of the DT process. [1-31-18]

Lessons from 100 mentor-mentee relationships. [1-31-18]



How can you prepare better and more uniquely than your competition? Here’s a story on how Andy Reid was hired to be the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, despite being 5th or 6th on the team’s initial list. [1-10-18]

What do chief marketing officers tweet about? I looked at a few of the “Top CMOs on Twitter” articles and made this Twitter list of 70+ folks, so you can see for yourself. 

Finally, one of my speaking clients, Meals on Wheels America, is hiring a Director of Strategy and Impact. If I were looking for a job, I would probably (definitely) apply. 

My friend Steve Losey, a reporter with Air Force Times, was asked to give a commencement address to the English majors at his alma mater, East Carolina U. Here’s a look at how I lent some very modest help to what is a fantastic speech. [1-17-18]

Facebook vs brands: The ongoing, never-ending war. [1-17-18]

Slate is going heavily into podcasts, including doubling staff. [1-17-18]

“Facts don’t change people’s minds.” This was the top post on the website Heleo last year and it was written by my friend Ozan Varol. [1-24-18]

Marketing insights from 8 female founders in tech. [1-24-18]

9 funny signs from the Womens Marches over the weekend. Remember, this is not a political post, I just like signs. [1-24-18]

How to introduce any speaker, based on the worst introduction I’ve ever gotten. [1-31-18]

31 ways to lose an argument. [1-31-18]

A really well-written job posting for a design lead in Berlin. Excellent use of “second person” (you). Now, here’s one that’s not so good. [1-31-18]