In the second of our interviews with a Webstock ’12 speaker, we’re both honored and delighted to present Adam Lisagor in conversation with Merlin Mann. They cover such topics as Webstock, the New Zealand accent, what it is Adam does, how he works and much, much more.
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In this special episode, Dan Benjamin talks with two of his heroes, Merlin Mann and Jeff Veen about independence, free thinking, productivity, and changing your game.
Jeffrey Veen Jeffrey Veen is the founder of Typekit, one of the founding partners of Adaptive Path, and the co-creator of Measure Map, the web analytics tool acquired by Google in 2006. After five years with Adaptive Path, Jeff moved on to Google, where he lead the redesign of their Analytics product and managed their web apps UX team.
Merlin created 43 Folders, co-hosts You Look Nice Today, appears on MacBreak Weekly, and speaks and consults about things like email, time & attention, and creative work. Merlin also created Inbox Zero, the Hipster PDA, the Procrastination Dash, and more.
"This is a talk I did at Rutgers earlier this month. I kinda like it, but for a weird reason. Something something, perfect storm of technology Ragnarok, and yadda yadda, I had to start the talk 20 minutes late with no slides. Nothing.
So, I riffed.
And, I ended up talking about a lot of the new stuff you can expect to see in the Inbox Zero book—work culture, managing expectations, the 3 deadly qualities of email, and one surprising reason email’s not as much fun as Project Runway.
Some people liked it. I think. I liked it. I hope you do, too."
Merlin Mann is a writer, speaker, blogger, podcaster and student of the creative mind. He’s the creator of 43Folders, a popular web site devoted to time, attention and creative work, as well as the man behind such varied projects as The Merlin Show, Kung Fu Grippe, 5ives, the 43Folders podcast, one-third of the crazy-successful comedy podcast You Look Nice Today, and lord knows what else. He’s also currently working on his first book, Inbox Zero. Colin Marshall originally conducted this conversation on the public radio program and podcast The Marketplace of Ideas.
American author and humorist John Hodgman has appeared as the resident expert on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," as PC on Apple’s "Get a Mac" TV ads, and was the headline speaker at the 2009 Radio and Television Correspondents dinner in Washington D.C. After graduating from Yale in 1994, he toiled in the trenches of the publishing industry. The experience led Hodgman to write an ironic advice column for McSweeney’s entitled, Ask a Former Literary Agent. In his first book, The Areas of My Expertise, Hodgman explores topics from the idiosyncrasies of famous detectives to colonial jobs involving eels. In his role on "The Daily Show," Hodgman has offered insight and commentary on art authentication, presidential candidate style, hurricane season and mixed martial arts. Hodgman’s latest book, More Information Than You Require, deals with more of the esoteric, charming and just plain eccentric topics that catch the author’s fancy. John Hodgman appeared in conversation with Merlin Mann on November 7, 2009.
Merlin Mann talks with Seth Godin, whose new book, Linchpin, comes out today. Topics include, “The Lizard Brain,” Bob Dylan, protecting the well, and beating back the fear and resistance that drive mediocrity.
Here’s a confession. I want to be able to think like Merlin Mann.
He’s really smart on the topic of productivity, and in fact some part of his success comes from 43Folders.com which is a reference to David Allen’s Getting Things Done system. But his work is not just about productivity. It’s about creativity and purpose and striving to stay human and sane in a busy and distracting world and doing work that matters, doing Great Work. And he does all of this in funny, provocative, iconoclastic way.
In fact, writing this introduction and listening to the interview again has already provoked me to shift some of my own commitments in an effort to, as he puts it, “identify and destroy small return bullshit. Shut off anything that’s noisier than it is useful.” Great stuff indeed, and this is a wise and funny interview.
In our conversation we talk about:
- How the present is a “remedial course for the future” – and the pros and cons of those ‘creation myth’ stories of where people find clues for their Great Work
- The importance of an open heart and just where that might lead you
- The connection between productivity and creativity
- The two levels of prioritization (and how freeing it is to know that)
- And quite a bit more
You can follow Merlin on Twitter at http://twitter.com/hotdogsladies
The interviews are all between 25 and 30 minutes long. You can either download them here as mp3s, or go to iTunes, type in “Great Work Interviews” and you’ll see them all there.
talking about creativity and stuff and you know
John Gruber (DaringFireball.net) and Merlin Mann (43Folders.com) discuss the current state of blogging as a medium for creative expression, weighing the opportunities and challenges of building a thoughtful online presence in a world where everybody owns a printing press. They’ll consider the ascendance of Digg-friendly "problogs" and debate the subtler pleasures of careful writing that reaches smaller, but potentially less "profitable" audiences.
- John Gruber, Daring Fireball
- Merlin Mann, You Look Nice Today