In today’s age of the internet, the significant role of social media marketing in all kinds of industries cannot be set aside. But despite their usefulness and tangible results, managing tons of online accounts is not that practical. Xenia Muntean understands this challenge well, so she builds the content review and marketing collaboration program Planable. Together with Dr. Diane Hamilton, she shares how she used her own hardships in marketing (managing endless spreadsheets and creating unnecessary Facebook page drafts) to start her own business to lighten the burden for social media marketers. She also shares her points of consideration when adding people to the teams, as well as her plans moving forward as a growing entrepreneur.
Every single one of us has a certain level of creativity, and it is up to us how to utilize it. For Doug Patton, the first step to unlocking its full potential is by having a clear creative vision. Sitting down with Dr. Diane Hamilton, the CEO of Patton Design talks about awakening inner creativity by overcoming personal traumas, embracing negativity, and exceeding the expectations of society. He also explains the importance of letting yourself go beyond the boundaries of your imagination while still knowing the right time to shut it down, allowing you to manage your limitations and avoid falling into creative disarray.
I’m glad you joined us because we have Xenia Muntean and Doug Patton here. Xenia is the CEO and Cofounder of Planable. She’s also a Forbes 30 Under 30. Doug is an Inventor, CEO and Author of Conquering the Chaos of Creativity. We’re going to talk to both of them. It’s going to be a fascinating show.
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Social Media Marketing Made Easier With Xenia Muntean
I am here with Xenia Muntean, who is the CEO and Cofounder of Planable, which is a content review and marketing collaboration platform used by more than 5,000 teams behind brands such as Hyundai, Christian Louboutin, Viber and United Nations. Prior to launching Planable at 20-YO, she built a digital marketing agency and led social clients such as Coca-Cola. She’s a Forbes 30 Under 30. This is going to be fun. Welcome.
Thank you so much for having me on the show.
I was looking forward to it. You’re welcome. I have had some amazing Forbes 30 Under 30s on the show. I’ve attended some of the Forbes CMO events and things like that where I got to meet some of them live and I’m impressed by the company ideas that you guys come up with. To give you a little background, I created a Brand Publishing Course for Forbes School of Business and for Forbes right before I left being an MBA program chair there. One of the things we did was look at their CMO, Bruce Rogers, put together this Publish Or Perish report, where he looked at all the vendors and the complexities of creating content calendars and all this stuff. I am looking forward to your solution.
I can’t wait to tell you everything about Planable.
There’s going to be a lot of people who want to know, but I want to get your backstory. You don’t have a long one if you’re under 30. Whatever your story, I would love to hear it, of how you reached this point of success in your career.
I started my first formal business, my first venture off the benches of the university. I started a social media marketing agency. I was always dreaming. I was obsessed with the advertising world since I was a teenager. I was reading everything I could get my hands on. Following what brands are doing, watching commercials more than I was watching TV. I’m very passionate about this world. I was dreaming about working one day at a very hip and cool ad agency. It happened that I got the opportunity to start my first one before working for other agencies. I was running my own small digital marketing, social media and boutique agency. I was doing a lot of work for local brands, like international brands with local presence.
One of my first customers was Cola-Cola locally back home. I was doing a lot of content for their social media pages. I realized how difficult it was to manage it and how that formatting spreadsheets and building DAX was not the reason why I went into the industry. I started at the agency because I loved the creativity and the strategy part of it. I feel like we could have done much better as an agency in terms of the processes and the operations. That’s how I got to start Planable. I have been building Planable for the past few years. I have taken the company through a couple of accelerators. Some of them were prestigious ones like Techstars in London. It’s a very typical startup and I raised some funds. Now I’m running the company and helping customers, as you mentioned some of them, Hyundai, United Nations, and Viber, to run their content marketing operations and speed up the way they work as a team on content. That’s my short story, my journey in a nutshell.
I looked at some of your past interviews because I thought it was fascinating that you didn’t come from an area that was super entrepreneurial and you fell into it. I’ve had a few people on my show who’ve had that happen. They just say, “I guess I have a company now.”
I was the type of person that I could have never known that would have been something I would have enjoyed until I tried it. I’m happy that the opportunity came up and I enjoyed it.
As you’re talking about what you do and I’m thinking of all the people I’ve had on my show, I had Laura, the CEO of MeetEdgar, on. I’ve had a lot of people from Zoom and different things that ended up being big. With Laura, it sounds a little bit like what you were trying to do something and you created your own work around and you go, “Everybody else can use this.” Is that how it happened?
It’s quite similar. My cofounders, they also worked in ad agencies back then. My CTO is the one that came up with the idea of Planable. He is a software developer. He was working for an agency. He saw his colleagues on the creative marketing department how they were building content calendars for their clients. He couldn’t believe it that they were using spreadsheets. There was nothing out there dedicated for that. As a software developer, using tools for productivity like GitHub for collaboration, he couldn’t believe that there’s nothing similar for the marketing industry.
I was experiencing the same issues in my own agency. I was looking for tools for myself and I tried the usual suspects, Buffer and Hootsuite. I tried Sprout Social as well. I realized that none of them were helping me with the process itself. They were helping me a lot with analytics, publishing and scheduling, but not with planning, collaboration and teamwork. We got together. We talked about our issues. We’re like, “There must be something here.” We built the product and realized that the particular issues we had with the process wasn’t something specific for our home country or for the agency world. Teams all across the world from agencies to brands to universities to nonprofits, they all struggle with the same thing. That was good to find out that it’s not an isolated problem. We continued developing the product and we’re here now.Social media marketing is a huge catch-up game with the biggest social media networks. Click To Tweet
I was stunned by how many vendors and how many different things there are to manage. When I used a Bruce Rogers’ Publish or Perish report from Forbes, he went and talked to all the top companies and asked them what vendors use for this and that. He laid out which ones are the best, but it was like a lot of them don’t communicate with the other ones. Who’s going to run it and who’s doing it? Are you hiring an agency? It was very complicated. These CMOs were doing their best they could. They have content calendars, like you said, but maybe not in any collaborative format. I could see that this would be huge. Running an MBA program or things that I did, I would put Google Docs up and we’d all look at things and anything that could make you more collaborative and it makes us so much more sense, so I can see why your company is going to be huge. One of your talks that you were talking to somebody, you said something about changing your logo. Did you ever change your logo? It was a little similar to Slack or something like that?
Yes, that is true. Where did you take that up?
I don’t know. I’m stalking the people who was on my show. I like to know everything.
That actually happened. Our logo was quite similar with Slack’s new logo though ours was older. Slack doesn’t know about us. We’re a much smaller company, but it was eerily similar to them and no one would have believed us that “We created it first.”
I’m like you. I find something in my mind and I create it and then I look out there and somebody already did that. It is frustrating. There’s a clean-cut look to what you guys are trying to do. You’re both trying to talk about collaboration in certain ways so that makes sense that you guys have something similar. I found your story about how you created a Facebook page. Do you mind sharing that story?
That is a story that a lot of other people out there might resonate with. In the past few years since I’ve built Planable, I shared this story with so many social media marketers. There are still marketers out there that I would say at least 85% of them have the same thing. Back in my agency days, I needed to show my clients how the content is going to look like. I needed to help them see the content that we were planning for them. In the beginning, I was using Photoshop and walking things up manually. It’s very time-consuming but then I got a little bit smarter. I created an unpublished Facebook page. I was going in there, mocking the post, creating the post, publishing it on that unpublished, fake, test type of a page on Facebook and taking screenshots. Adding them in those presentations for customers. That was faster, but still a waste of time. It’s so funny that I tell this story to prospects and to people at conferences. It resonates everywhere. I’m thinking how many of Facebook’s reported pages are fake pages.
You talk very casually about one of your first customers being Coca-Cola. That’s a huge customer. How did you get Coca-Cola?
I talk casually about it because it’s not Coca Cola in the US. It’s Coca-Cola back in my home country so smaller contracts but it’s still a huge logo. For me back then, it was a big thing. Now it doesn’t sound like a big thing anymore. Back then, it was a huge milestone. I was nineteen years old. The way it happened is thanks to social media marketing being new in my home country, you still had to pioneer it a bit to educate clients about it. Coca-Cola was looking for someone young that understands social media. I was part of a student association that they were sponsoring. They said, “We’re looking for someone to manage our social,” and I raised my hand, “Let’s do it.” They said, “We need an invoice. We need a company to invoice to.” I said, “I’m going to do it.” Fast forward, I found myself running an agency.
Your backstory and you’ve mentioned your country. I know you started with Republic of Moldova and then you went to Romania and then you’re in Delaware. Where are you now?
Delaware is where the company is incorporated. Every typical startup incorporates in Delaware. I am based in Bucharest, Romania. I spent some time in London building my company, going through Techstars, raising funds. I moved back home and now we have two offices. One is in Romania and another one is in Moldova. I consider both of these countries my home, but I was born, raised and studied in Moldova.
I was trying to figure out because you have quite an interesting backstory. I was curious if you ever solved the API issue that you were having, get to use things like Hootsuite or get on Facebook and different things. For people who are reading this and don’t know what API is, which is a big potential, because we’re not as high tech as you guys are. If you could give a little backstory of how that works and how your products don’t work because of that.
What an API is, it comes from Application Programming Interface. It sounds very fancy. To put it simply, an API is basically what we use, the platforms that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and all those social media networks give us these platforms to use so we can program our app. We can send stuff to it or so we can take stuff, big data from them. When you connect a page to our app, you’re doing that through the API, through Facebook’s API or through some other social media networks’ API. When we schedule content to go live to those platforms, we use the same API. That’s how we communicate with the networks and tell them what to do or ask them for stuff.
What’s difficult is that building businesses on top of APIs is very hard because you rely on the networks. You rely on Facebook, on all the other giants to continue to maintain and to develop those APIs. Every time they release a new feature, like when Instagram released the IGTV, all our users were, “When can I publish IGTV?” That’s not available through the API. We always play this catch-up game with the networks, which is not a very comfortable position. One of our biggest issues at Planable is the fact that the Instagram API, the API for one of the most popular social media networks out there is very under developed. You can’t do a lot of stuff with it. You can’t publish directly to it. We use a workaround, but it’s not fully automated. Many other companies in our space, our competitors, struggle with the same issue. It’s a tough business, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
It’s interesting to see all these new social media sites. I was on that new one that’s called Clubhouse. Have you gotten on that yet?
We’ll have to look for you there. I invited somebody and they said it was only on Apple and not on Samsung’s platform. There’s always going to be some a thing that you have to do to make it work. That was what I thought was the most frustrating for the CMOs when I was talking to Forbes people. You finally figured out this thing, but then this doesn’t talk to that one and who’s going to run this whole thing. It’s very confusing. My daughter works for Tealium. She does a lot of the tag management software is the best way I can describe what she does of handling the HTML codes and all the things going on ad programs behind the scenes. Hearing what they do at Tealium is complex. I can’t imagine that it’s hard to get into this field without having that serious background. How did you learn all of this?
Luckily, I have an extremely smart cofounder and CTO. Nic is extremely passionate about this industry. I am not technical at all. I studied PR and Mass Communications. I’m not from this world. I learned everything from him because he’s also a good teacher so he can explain things for us, non-technical people. That’s why I did a good job of explaining what an API is. I spent time with him and I know what that stuff is. It’s a difficult industry. Going back to what you mentioned about CMOs struggling to integrate things between each other, we have this very high expectations from technology as consumers, as users, as business professionals. We have to remember that this type of technology is extremely new, like 20, 30 maximum years. It’s in its early stages. It’s like normal that things might not integrate between each other. We need a bit more time to get there, but we will, at some point.The status quo of society resists change for better or worse. Click To Tweet
You’re doing so well. I’m curious how Forbes found you.
I found them.
It’s the good move to get on those lists because you get to network with some of the great individuals like Roya Mahboob and some of the people I’ve had that worked with at Forbes. I was hoping that they would discover her for other things, but she hit over 30 before they saw what she did. She created a company for women out of Afghanistan to learn internet, to work online and to some amazing things, but I’ve had many great guests, Brian Wong and some of the others that have been on my show. They’ve all come up with these amazing companies that a lot of them fell into it the way you’re describing, but they’ve turned their lives around and have done some big things. Do you see yourself as a serial entrepreneur or is this your life passion or what’s next for you?
I think so. Life’s passion is a big commitment. I am having a blast so far. I have to admit, I am enjoying this a lot. I can’t imagine myself in a different type of job. Maybe I wouldn’t build businesses in tech necessarily my entire life, but I can’t imagine myself not building something from scratch. Looking backwards, it makes sense. I’m telling this story of me falling into entrepreneurship, but if I pay attention to what happened when I was a teenager, the dots are there and you can easily connect them. It makes sense that I got where I am as an entrepreneur. I had any kinds of jobs when I was younger.
One of my first businesses that I don’t talk that much because I don’t consider it like a formal business. It was my first experience with entrepreneurship was crafting handmade jewelry and selling it online. It’s very different from what I’m doing now, but it was one of my first experience with serving customers, producing something, marketing it, selling, pricing it and building something from scratch. That’s something that is part of my DNA. I’m not sure if this particular industry, or if tech in general is something that I’m going to do for the rest of my life, but entrepreneurship seems like that is it.
Etsy better watch out then. I liked that you talked about how you hire people. You’d get them 100% fit based on certain things, but they have to have a passion for what you do. Do you still feel like personality and all of that can trump being 100% checking off the boxes on a piece of paper?
Personality for us, I was saying that when we were seven people on the team or something like that and now, we’re twenty people on the team and I still feel the same. I still feel that personality is extremely important. Even though I don’t spend that much time with every new hire that we have, I’m not working so close with them as I was with our early stage hires in the beginning, it’s still extremely important for me the personality that thy have. The culture fit, the chemistry that is between us, the executive team and the people that we’re hiring and the passion that they have for our industry, the enthusiasm and the drive that they’re going to bring.
The attitude that they bring is very important and that’s something that sets them apart a lot. One of the things that we asked when people apply and we’re in a recruitment process as well. One of the first thing that we ask them is for them to ask us a few questions. That’s the first thing that they do. They upload their resume. They give us their name and their profile. One of the questions is to ask us three questions. That’s an advice that one of my good founder friends gave me to ask them those questions.
You’ve learned a lot about how curious people are, which will show you what kinds of things they care about, you learn about how innovative people are. What questions do they ask you?
There are people that ask about perks and the schedule. We don’t necessarily exclude them. What we reject is people that do not ask us any questions. Only if their profile is wow and standout a lot from everyone else. Even then, it’s a huge red flag if they only ask one question or no questions whatsoever. The typical, “I don’t have any questions at this stage,” that raises the flag. The questions that I love the most are about the company, why we started it, about our customers, smart questions that are tied with their job. Questions that surprise me are the best. There’s something there. If someone came up with a question that I haven’t heard before and it is smart, it relates with their job, there’s something there.
I love to see when they’ve done research about the company. It’s shows that they care, that they’re interested. The ones that are asking, “What’s my salary going to be.” You go, “Okay.” That’s a huge quality to have in any job position because there’s so many Kodaks and Blockbusters of the world where people kept doing things the way they used to do them and they’ll never grow. In a startup situation, I imagined to become the next unicorn, which I’m sure you wouldn’t mind, it would be a good start to hire curious workplace full of people. Thank you though. This has been so much fun, Xenia. I was so interested in what you’re doing there. A lot of people are going to want to know more about how to find your company or follow you. Is there any a link or anything you’d like to share?
If you want to learn about Planable, you can find us at Planable.io. If you want to connect with me, I hang out on LinkedIn the most, send me a connection request. Tell me you read about me on this show and I would love to chat with you.
I’m sure you’re going to have a lot of people looking forward to finding out more about what you do. Thank you so much for being on the show.
Thank you as well, Diane. You told me before we started, this is going to be fun and you did not lie. That was a blast.
Unlocking Your Creative Vision With Doug Patton
I am here with Doug Patton, who is the CEO of Patton Design. He is a consummate inventor whose work has spanned a few decades. He’s had efforts generating products in over twenty markets ranging from biomedical equipment to fragrance. He’s garnered more than 200 patents and design awards and having innovated for companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Mercedes-Benz and Bausch & Lomb. It’s exciting to have you here, Doug. Welcome.What's more meaningful than the product itself is the process of creating it. Click To Tweet
I’m very enthusiastic to talk with you. Anytime I can spread the word about how we are all innately creative and how we can break out of that box that culture has put us in and imagine more, I’m all behind. That’s the tone and the overview that I wanted to give you and the readers.
You and I have a lot of in common. I’m a curiosity expert and you’re trying to conquer creativity. It all ties together. It’s interesting to get a backstory on everybody. What got you interested in conquering the chaos of creativity and working as an inventor?
For me, we’re all innately creative. For me, it was always a part of me from a very young age of combining art and science. I’m destined to always fight the status quo. My goal has always been to help humanity think of new ideas, even starting in high school and college. As I progressed through that, there’s a lot of failure and some success as well when you’re battling the status quo. The status quo of our society resist change for better or worse. When you’re trying to evolve a new idea, you have to be chastened to the fact that you’ve got to be ready to understand not only the external processes that are required to put an idea into effect, but also the internal processes that I cover in my book. I have coined psychological creativity, inspirational creativity, spiritual and philosophical creativity.
Those are the inward things that anybody who is being creative, whether it is a scientist, a musician, or even someone at home trying to manage screaming kids and work. It all comes down to the same thing. A problem is an opportunity. That’s how I look at things. It’s a little different than everyone else. Getting back to answering your question about chaos creativity, where there’s chaos, there is opportunity. When you understand the intersection of all the things that are creating the chaos, it’s like a knot. If you can understand how to unwind it, you can create a beautiful tapestry of creativity from what was an ugly knot. That’s my metaphor for the day.
I studied a little on the creativity realm when I wrote my book on curiosity because I wanted to see how much they mirrored each other. Sir Ken Robinson and George Land have two great TED Talks about what happens to creativity. Ken Robinson said, “We’re educating people out of it.” George Land had statistics showing about at age five, it peaks and then tanks as we get older. A lot of the reasons that creativity tanks is very similar to the reasons that curiosity does. In my research, I found that fear, assumptions of things we tell ourselves, technology over-and-under utilization of it in our environment, everybody with whom we come into contact. All of those things inhibit curiosity. What do you think inhibits creativity? Do you think it’s pretty similar or did you have a chance to look into the inhibitors at all?
It is a multi-causal and worthy of many conversations. As a preface to your answer, I would like to say that this is a conversation I would love to have half an hour every day, somewhere that people can talk about creativity. That is getting back to the syntax of our society. You learn to get information. You’re tested on information. You learn to get a degree. Everything in our society, you get put into boxes to become productive, which is a wonderful thing. At the same time, imagination is our greatest asset in life. There is nothing that teaches that from grade school through college. One important thing is you have to wish to be free. You have the ability of freedom of expression, which is the outflow of your intrinsic mental, emotional, intellectual liberation and that’s living in imagination. This freedom of creativity must be cherished, protected and empowered. I’ll end with this. Freedom of thought with the willingness to express it is possibly the most treasured aspect of creativity.
You bring up so many great points. It makes me wonder what you’ve created. I know I said that you’ve generated all these products in all these markets. I worked as a pharmaceutical rep so I’ve been in the medical field. I haven’t been in the fragrance field, but what kinds of products have you’ve got all these patents and design awards? Do you have any that stand out that you can talk about?
As a preface to that, the people always ask me, “What is your most heartfelt product,” the thing of after all the decades. I say, “It’s not the product, it’s the process.” From early in my career, I had lab notebooks and I would write down ideas on how I solved the problem and to study it more. In a way, the process of creating all these products, software and processes in companies has been almost like the basis for me to get to what I want is understanding the processes of external and internal creativity that now I am trying to give to the world. It’s like my gift to the world is this book on all these avenues to lift yourself up and for your mind.
Getting to products, I have some real favorite ones and they’re worthy of many stories. I’ve done endoscopic robotic microsurgery where a doctor can operate on your brain 5,000 miles away. I’ve created simple little candles that are all over the world. It’s a company that I started years ago. That’s a simple little thing. I’ve done many studies, futuristic studies that were fun for Apple, for example, looking at how we can separate the ball and chain of a keyboard and mouse and allow us to communicate and interact classically as our physiology and psychology demands. There are so many things I can talk about.Never let even a single spark of creativity go unnoticed. Click To Tweet
I’m looking at my Oculus device that I got for Christmas here, whatever this thing is called, the virtual reality glass thing that I’ve been playing with. I am impressed by how things have changed, reinventing how we input data. I’m going to be sad the day they get rid of the keyboard though because I love to type. It’s the weirdest thing. I always wonder when that’s going away. Are you going to create the thing that gets rid of typing?
An important thing that I always say there’s something called a comforting continuum with change. You have to evolve people. It has to be a slow process. You can’t expect radical change. Keyboards and mice have almost become like our arms and legs. There are times when one needs other ways to express and communicate information. I don’t want to take anything away. I want to add alternatives.
We were talking on a show with a CEO of a company who created software to solve a problem, and she’s very creative as well. It’s fascinating to think about how these ideas come up. I was thinking of when I had Jay Samit, who used to work at Sony. He wrote, Disrupt Yourself and Disrupt You! He had some great books and has a new one out. He was on my show years ago. He was saying, “If you would write down all the things that bug you, there’s going to be 1 or 2 things here and there that maybe could create a company to fix something.” Do you think that a lot of people even think about that they could come up with things that could change the world or you think they think it’s somebody else’s job?
Going back to the fact that we are all the innately creative, there is a path to awareness. Let me get to something that might seem negative, but it’s a positive thing. A reason that a lot of us aren’t trying to create ideas is that we’re all traumatized in various ways, minor to major, which creates a state of intellectual slumber of intellect, spirit and emotion. There are many forms of trauma that put you to sleep. Boredom is a great one. I’m trying to get to the audience that’s reading and inspire them. It is time to wake up, act courageously, energize your sense of purpose. Within you is a force capable of much more than solving problems. When channeled, it can transform the essence of who you are. It’s like the Matrix. Are you going to take the red pill or the blue pill? Are you going to choose to wake up or remain asleep? What I’m trying to say right now to answer your question, everyone is capable of transformative new ideas, but it’s the act of waking up and acting courageously on things you believe in.
There are certain things you tell yourself and that ties into the curiosity research I did of the voices in our head. I talk about assumptions we make. People might say, “I’m not very creative. I’m not good at something.” I’ve been guilty of doing that. A friend of mine, I was designing her book cover for her book and I go, “I’m not super creative.” She goes, “This is so creative.” To her, I came across as very creative, but I set the bar very high for what I consider being creative. Do you think we do that to ourselves that we think of creativity as something different than what it is and are we too hard on ourselves?
We aren’t given the opportunity from being very young for us to exercise our creativity muscle or creativity talent. It is not only ignored in society, it’s stomped out. Any flicker or spark of creativity is enormously important. Part of the reason that I wrote the book is I want to start this conversation. I want to inspire people to wake up their mind. There’s a lot of ways to do it. Everyone thinks we have to be analytical and invent something, but you can be spiritual. It could be philosophical. It could be psychological, how it helps me personally to do something that is imaginative.
In my book, there are things I talk about metaphorically are these creative caffeine techniques. It’s an alarm clock of creativity. There are all these specific techniques that you can try to start the process of. I’m going to give another metaphor of sipping the creative caffeine, psychology or meditation or willpower, and using it as an alarm clock. It is a wonderful feeling when you are so courageous and confident, you can dive off a cliff of creativity, knowing that the water you go into is going to be this warm, beautiful blue, Hawaiian Tropic water. It is that beautiful if you are courageous. You don’t have to do that. You can put your feet in the water and try it, but it’s important to start and a little bit every day.
When I was developing my curiosity assessment, I remember hiring people to do certain things. They didn’t have the same creative vision that I had in my mind for what I was trying to solve. For me, I was hiring people to do things that I was better at doing than they were, but I didn’t recognize it until I started to do it myself. A lot of this stuff is problem-solving. We don’t recognize that’s all it is in a way. I often talk about getting out of status quo thinking when I talk about these things in front of groups. I’m sure you’ve seen the research of people when they ring the bell, they’ll stand up and sit down for no reason and not know why.
That’s what we’re doing, we’re doing the same things over and over. We don’t even know why because we’re afraid that if we do something different that some horrible thing, we’re going to fail or whatever it is. We’ve got all these hurdles and you’ve overcome. It’s not easy to get so many patents and everything that you’ve done or to be featured inventor on the ABC American Inventor series, where you won $1 million prize and all these amazing things you’ve done. Did you have that voice in your head that said, “This is too much. I’m going too far. I can’t handle it. I’m not at this level.” How do you overcome that?Turn all of your negative aspects into an imaginative force. Click To Tweet
That’s an important question that you asked. It’s a spontaneous. This question wasn’t planned, but there’s a thing I call the incredible sensitivity of creative power, a delicate awareness. What happens is a lot of people have this gift of empathy, vision and creativity. There are dangers to this gift. As you can see by many great musicians who create incredible things or mathematicians. Later on, this awareness overwhelms them. They deal with it with drugs or other bad things. When I was young, I was feeling that same area and I had to understand a nature of what I call weapons of creative survival that I had to create because I would always push myself to my limit to think of new ideas.
What I’m trying to say is that what you need to have to learn an off switch. You have to learn how to open your mind to be impressionable, intuitive and see vast amounts of information. You have to understand how to turn it off, how to shut it down. A lot of people don’t do that and it frightens them. It overwhelms them. In my book, I talked about how you can open your mind, protect your mind, and then once you guys did it and understand it, you become an empowered mind. You take that with amazing new solutions. That is, in a nutshell, how a lot of successful, amazing, creativity solutions happen. It’s like The Beatles and the John Lennon and McCartney era. They would work together hours every day to create songs. They did a great job of transforming the pressure of creativity into beautiful things. Albert Einstein is another good example, but I can go on and on.
You brought up empathy, which is great to discuss because we talk about that on the show a lot. I wrote my dissertation on emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman had an interesting article in HBR. He talks about the different types of empathy, cognitive, emotional, empathetic concern is how he differentiated it. We sometimes are hesitant to ask questions, to learn about other people, to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. That is a big part of our perception of the world. I get a lot of perception experts on this show. We talk about that because a lot of what you’re talking about goes beyond creativity. In my work on perception, I looked at perception as IQ, EQ, CQ for Curiosity Quotient, CQ for Cultural Quotient, but creativity gets thrown in there as well. The way we see the world to create things is different from how everybody else does. We have to recognize that everybody’s perception is different. You talk about reframing our attitudes about problems and some of that in your book. How can people do that?
That is a large portion of my book. To put int a synopsis or a point is that one has to realize that what society might look at as a negative is your greatest power. That’s a step forward for anybody. Sometimes people think that you’re too sensitive or you’re too empathetic. By turning this vulnerability into creativity, that’s immense sensitivity where you’re aware of your subtle sensory intuition. It empowers a perceptive quality of your imagination. My book, of the 40 chapters, 20 chapters are about that. This could be so strong, it can overcome any problem, invent any idea and imagine any reality. Instead of allowing things to crush you or manage you, it becomes an immense and magnificent creative force beyond what you can conceive of.
I wish I could talk for a couple hours and talk about all the areas that it relates to, but the book in a way is not a destiny. It’s a journey. I have separated it into six sections, which I call the totality of creativity. They are not just the intellectual analytical processes. The inward processes of your inspiration, psychology, learning how cognitively and physiologically, how you can make your mind more creative, there are processes for that. When you are in the depths of failure, realizing failure isn’t permanent and how to be inspired. It is a place where you can go and explore based on what you need and that’s what I tried to create fun.
You don’t have to read it. You have to think of what I need, what I’m feeling. In the book, there’s places that guide you to that. You can explore because everyone has to create their own creative construct. The chaos of creativity, it is a free space. It is unruled. It has no boundaries. My point is in the book is for everyone to understand that the greatest invention that they will ever create is themselves and understand that by unleashing their creativity, imagination and creating this creative construct in the chaos of creativity, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s free and there’s no boundaries. That is what the book is about is expanding that awareness. I hope that isn’t too overwhelming. I’m hoping this reaches a few of the sensitive souls that feel the same way I always have.
As you were saying all of that, I was thinking of who inspired some of the research that I did into creativity, curiosity and perception. For me, I used a lot of Carol Dweck, Simon Sinek, Daniel Pink for curiosity. Joe Lurie has been on the show. Beau Lotto has been on the show. Even Albert Bandura has been on the show for the psychology aspect, but is there any particular research that inspired you when you were writing this book?
A lot of this was developed not in the written form but more intuitively. Part of the process of the book was to explore and prove what I had been doing for so long with scientific proof. In the book, I’d probably quote over 40 scientific studies that go back and support this. Here’s one entertaining one that is fun. Whenever I would have a psychological epiphany, I would feel better. You’re inventing and everyone says that a-ha moment and you feel good. There’s been research and I documented in my book where the process of creativity spurs on a release of dopamine. That makes you feel better. It’s almost like God created us to be creative.
He wants to reward us to be like, “That feels good. I’m going to be creative some more.” I talk about the areas in your brain where this happens. Even to the point where the thing that I call creativity sleep or subconscious cloud on how your conscious can direct your subconscious, physiologically and psychologically to allow your thought process to be so much more effective. Your subconscious, no one can exactly measure it, but it’s somewhere between 6 and 100 times faster than your conscious mind. That is one process I call the subconscious cloud and use that. We have vast resources, Diane, that we don’t use. This is one of them. There’s a lot of science in the book.
I know this is tied into everything I researched. I was looking forward to this. A lot of people will want to get your book, follow you, is there a site or link or social media or anything you want to share?
Two ways, you can go to Amazon.com and type in Doug Patton, and you will see Conquering the Chaos of Creativity. You could buy it. It’s available. You can go to a website. It’s a rather long one like the name. I apologize for that, ConqueringTheChaosOfCreativity.com. You can go there as well. Even PattonDesign.com has references. I’m sure with all the search engines, someone can find it quite easily. As a parting word, I wanted to say that the most important thing is it’s time to take off and fly with your empowered imagination. Let your creativity soar and find a way to realize that you’re capable of transforming your dreams into reality, using the guiding light of self-discovery to imagine more. That’s a parting thought.
Doug, many people are going to want to check out your work. Thank you so much for being on the show.
It has been a pleasure and a delight. Thank you so much.
I’d like to thank Xenia and Doug for being my guests. We get so many great guests on show. If you’ve missed any past episodes, you can catch them at DrDianeHamilton.com. You could find out so much more there about curiosity perception and so much more. I hope you enjoy this episode. I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
- Conquering the Chaos of Creativity
- LinkedIn – Xenia Muntean
- Laura Roeder – Past episode
- Publish or Perish – Article
- Daniel Goleman – Past episode
- Roya Mahboob – Past episode
- Brian Wong – Past episode
- Jay Samit – Past episode
- Disrupt Yourself
- Disrupt You!
- Joe Lurie – Past episode
- Beau Lotto – Past episode
- Albert Bandura – Past episode
About Xenia Muntean
Xenia Muntean is the CEO and Co-Founder of Planable, a content review and marketing collaboration platform used by over 5,000 teams behind brands such as Hyundai, Christian Louboutin, Viber, and United Nations. Prior to launching Planable, at 20 y.o. she built a digital marketing agency and led social for clients such as Coca-Cola.
Xenia has been recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and she spoke on the Innovation Stage at Cannes Lions in 2018.
Xenia graduated Tim Draper’s startup academy in Silicon Valley and took Planable through the Techstars London accelerator in 2017. She has also published a book – The Manifesto on Content Marketing Teams, and has launched her own podcast – People of Marketing.
About Doug Patton
Doug Patton is the CEO of Patton Design, and an esteemed industrial designer who was featured on Simon Cowell’s American Inventor. He has created over 300 products in 20 international market categories and has received over 150 patents and international design awards.
He frequently works with companies like Apple, Microsoft, Disney, IBM, and Mercedes-Benz. It is his personal mission to inspire others to live more authentic lives by sharing his unique creative problem-solving process.
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