The very first episode, enjoy!

Music Producer Immex - about finding new beats, honoring tradition, Unbox Therapy and Mark Knopfler

This time I am going to talk to musician and music producer Hristijan Ivanovski from Macedonia also known as Immex about his music and the process to create his work.
We are talking about his love for Mark Knopflers music, the influcence of Jedi Mind Tricks and music producer Gramatik on his development as a musician. Immex is a self taught guitar player, that started with passion for music and with the help of his community as he has a lot of friends in bands, a network he draws upon often.
He likes hip-hop and rock’n’roll and is situated in between genres. He actually prefers this sometimes uncomfortable place between two chairs and accepts it as a source of inspiration.

As an Innovator Immex is switching between classical Guitar and a Laptop as his favorite instruments to create music. Today he is multi instrumental, playing also drums, base guitar, keyboards and even sings. His beats are used on major Youtube channels such as Unbox Therapy with more than 15 mill. fans. He is a master of the computer as a complex instrument but he loves playing the guitar and keeps one around all the time.  

He again supports his friends bands regularly in their shows. He has build his own style as a musician and a producer and believes he is still on a journey with more to come. Immex is using the digital platforms to his advantage to address a global audience from his hometown in Macedonia.

In our conversation Immex also talks about the right place and time to be creative and about the Vision that starts his projects.

His dream is to play with Mark Knopfler from the Dire Straights.
Immex is also the creator of this show’s theme song.

the start

Starting the podcast with a conversation with a musician seemed appropriate. The bandwidth of the creative as well as the commercial process a musician has to cover is enormous and serves as a good example for innovators I think.

find Immex on

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/immexbeats

Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/dj_immex

Youtube https://www.youtube.com/immexbeatz

Twitter https://twitter.com/immexbeatz

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/immexbeatz/

Unbox Therapy https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsTcErHg8oDvUnTzoqsYeNw

influences

Mark Knopfler https://www.markknopfler.com

Jedi Mind Tricks https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jedi_Mind_Tricks

Gramatik https://www.gramatik.net

Mark Knopfler Song mentioned in the conversation: “Boom, Like that”

Listen on Apple Music & Spotify

Transcript

This is an automatic transcription which was slightly edited. The text is raw and might contain errors.

Klaus
This is the 2 point 5 conversations connecting innovators. Welcome to the podcast. To the very first episode actually my name is Klaus. This time I’m going to talk to musician and music producer Hristijan Ivanovski from Macedonia also known as Immex about his music and the process to create his work. We are talking about his love for Mark Knopfler for his music. The influence of Jedi mind tricks and music producer Gramatik on his development as a musician a is a self-taught guitar player that started with passion from music and with the help of his community as he has a lot of friends in bands and network. He draws upon often. He likes hip hop and rock and roll and is situated in between genres. He actually prefers this sometimes uncomfortable place between two chairs and accepts it as a source of inspiration. As an innovator Emacs is switching between classical guitar and a laptop as his favorite instruments to create his music. Today he is multInstrumental playing also drums bass guitar keyboards and he even sings his beats are used on major YouTube channels such as unboxing therapy with more than 15 millions fans. He’s a master of the computer s a complex instrument that he loves playing the guitar and keeps one around all the time. He again supports his friends bands regularly in their shows. He has built his own style as a musician and a producer and believes he is still on a journey with more to come. He makes is using the digital platforms to his advantage to address a global audience from his hometown in Macedon younger Europe. In our conversation he makes also talks about the right place and time to be creative and about the vision that starts his projects. His dream is to play with Mark Knopfler from dire straits it makes is also the creator of this shows a theme song. This is the first episode starting the podcast with a conversation with the musician seemed appropriate. The band with the creative as well as the commercial process and musician has to cover is enormous and serves as a good example for innovators. You can find all the links in the show notes below for more information visit the 2 point 5 dot net.

Klaus
Here’s my conversation with Immex

Immex
Well I was quite unprepared for a pro that I think will be okay for the next time. This is my first podcast and recording actually. So okay.

Klaus
You said that you’re not good with words so you normally don’t sing but you make music.

Immex
Yeah I know I actually sing but the album is called I’m not really good with words because of I’m better with music than with words.

Klaus
So actually music is some sort of like your words.

Immex
Yeah yeah yeah I’m actually trying to say things through my beats and through my music.

Klaus
I think that’s an interesting start since I myself I don’t play any instrument at all. I’m not I’m listening to music I’m a consumer of music so it’s you’re quite on the opposite end. You’re producing music. What is your background. What made you start producing and making music.

Immex
Well I started playing guitar like almost 10 years ago. My my cousin was a drummer. He’s older than me. So he bought me a guitar an acoustic guitar and I really loved the guitar and I wanted to learn to play. And I’m a self-taught yet there is so that’s actually the first instrument I’ve learned. Then I started producing beats. I really liked hip hop and rock and roll. So I’m still in between. I can pick one. So I started producing beats. I was but inspired by Jedi mind tricks. If you have heard of the it’s a hip hop group from United States that’s that was the inspiration mainly and a few years ago I started playing drums and bass guitar and a little bit of keyboards.

Klaus
So as you play the guitar bass guitar drums keyboards. Yeah yeah. And you’re playing. Let’s put it that way. The computer you’re able to mix all that on which is sort of a different instrument by itself. Yes. And I think as well. OK. So. So basically your own band yeah.

Immex
Yeah I was. I’m being told that very often.

Klaus
So do you actually do all the different instruments on your own on your music yourself or do you work together with others.

Immex
Well most of my hip hop beats are sampled but when I do other kind of music like classic music or I don’t know rock I play the instruments mostly on the keyboard or if I have a guitar. So I play the guitars and that’s my workflow basically.

Klaus
OK. Because you could you could basically go into any direction you wanted to. You could do the like the electronic stuff. You could go into like instrumental stuff. You could do some classical music also. I mean that’s quite a range of music that you’re able to produce to do.

Immex
Yeah. I also fit in many bands so they they’ve been calling me to play in electronic bands in rock and roll bands and I don’t know punk bands because of the variety of instruments I can play and also because of the electronic mullets.

Klaus
So. So you’re actually well connected with your colleagues. People come to you and ask you to participate in their bands produce their music. Yeah. Wow. How come. Well how did that start for you. I mean 10 years ago that’s about 2000 and 9. It started somehow. What made you.

Immex
I was I was in eighth grade. Actually I was very young. So I don’t know I kind of liked producing and I was back back in the day I was producing like 10 beats per day. Yeah. Well they were not as good as today’s music but. OK. It was something and then I started looking into recording and microphones and software engineering like mixing and mastering. So I was recording some demos for me and my friends I have a lot of friends who are in bands. So that’s how I started and I don’t know I guess that’s it. Yeah.

Klaus
It’s normally if you start something that you’re not and you’re not at your very very best. But actually somehow inside yourself you normally know how it could sound or how it should sound or how the results should be at some point of time. Did you did you have like an idea of of what you sound like when you started.

Immex
Even you have didn’t have the abilities to bring it out into the world yet well in the beginning I was actually trying to copy the producer of Jedi mind tricks. He’s called stupid or stupid. I don’t know how they’re saying his name and I was actually trying to sound like him but I guess after three or four years my style has changed and actually many people have told me that they recognize my beats even if they don’t read the name or the tag you know. Okay yeah. So I’ve built kind of my own style with the textured bass that I use with the drum kits that I use with the style of sampling that I do I guess.

Klaus
But so basically you had something in mind that was sort of always playing with you in the background and and that sort of gave you a kick to start your own stuff.

Immex
Also yeah I guess you could say that because even now when I’m listening to music if I hear something that could beat up a sample I’m already hearing the drums and the bass that would fit with that sample. So I’m basically I’m listening to hip hop beats in everything I hear.

Klaus
That’s incredible because listening to say your hip hop beats and I’m I’m not really familiar with all that music and all that of the variety that is out there. I’m a consultant right. So I mean in a different scene normally but when I listen to your stuff I can hear so much complexity there’s so much stuff going on at the same time. Sometimes it’s very quiet also but most of the time there’s just stuff going on all the time.

Immex
I’ll mostly do beats as I feel in the moment. So if I’m sad the beat is kinda down tempo. It’s sad. If I’m happy the wind will be uptempo it will be like groovy I don’t know if I’m hyped up the bit will be hyped up. So that’s kind of what I do. I can’t just if I’m not feeling like making a beat then I can cannot make a beat. I have to be in the mood to make music.

Klaus
Okay well that’s kind of a good thing isn’t it. Since you’re here you have to have some sort of starting or initial point to start something new and and if you’re feeling nothing at all what. There’s nothing that you can transport in whatever you’re doing.

Immex
Yes yes I need to have a drive to make a beat if I don’t have any kind of drive I cannot I cannot force it it will not sound good. It will not sound like me.

Klaus
So that’s something that you have discovered about yourself that you have to have something that starts you’re sort of the creative process. Yes. Is there anything you. I mean you can’t force a creative process but is there anything that helps you to start this process.

Immex
Well listening to music helps me a lot. I listen to jazz and blues music so it can get me in the mood ok.

Klaus
So so so you might listen to some upbeat jazz and still do something say something sad or something completely different since hip hop beats are far away from blues music.

Immex
Well yes but I’ve been jazz I don’t mean that it can always set you in a good mood maybe there’s some melody that can actually sound sad even though the whole song is like groovy and happy. So basically I don’t know. It’s just how I feel it you know.

Klaus
And sometimes the beats that that you’re working on. I don’t I don’t understand words. If there was any word since it’s a it’s a different language right. I speak German I speak English I speak some other languages so. But sometimes there is something also is maybe very very strong in this music. Is this what kind of initial reactions or starters do you need to do something like that.

Immex
I’m sorry I didn’t. Yes it was. It was a difficult question I think because I just remembered.

Klaus
Now maybe. Let’s let’s put it another way for for this podcast. I have to you as a mix you are the creator of of the music that I am using in the podcast. And it took me a long time a really really long time to find music that I really liked that I really cared for that sort of had the right impression for an innovators podcast something that was relaxed at the same time as it was. It had a certain energy and and there was also a sense of suspense. Also in the music so we’ll play a bit of this music later on. And then I think it’s quite obvious what I liked it was like there was a pause in the music and read that really made me think of this piece as very very special. But at the same time I thought it was very complex and and I was. My question is how do you make out you. What is what. How can you create such a suspense type of thing. I’m copying the link to the music. I’ve selected them in our chat window so you can you can play it and you can hear it because I don’t think there’s any other way to do that. And I read I’m really impressed by such a suspense thing. It’s sort of you’re leaving in the.

Immex
Leaving the music in the air. I know this bit. I saw the name and I remember what this is so. Well to be honest it’s mostly to be honest it mostly depends on the sample but I’m always trying to make it not to you know I don’t want to just throw things on my beats just to sound rich. I wanted to kind of keep it simple but the melody I want the melody to to tell something. You know it will be a sharp melody but it will be something like you know intense. It will be maybe dramatic may be happy may be playful.

Immex
I wanted the melody to how to say this to lead the beat the instrumental if you would it would be a head of of the middle of the beat Yes I always do melody first.

Immex
Then I do the drums and less. I do bass and percussion and effects but first I do the melody.

Klaus
That sounds like a lot like a really special thing to do because it’s so easy to start with the beats. It’s basically a machine that you sort of fine tune but if you start with a melody you have to do something extra. You have to do the like keyboards or or two. I don’t know how you create the sounds but that’s more difficult right to start with.

Immex
Yeah so. Well yeah you know what’s even harder that I don’t know if you know what sampling is is like using an old piece of jazz music and like basically it’s just slicing the piece into your own melody. No. Like it has no horns pianos guitar. I don’t know what. But you kind of chop the the the melody and the sounds and you know like scramble all those notes and instruments and create your own melody out of that piece okay.

Klaus
Sounds difficult.

Immex
Well I mean after 10 years of working it really isn’t. So I guess for a beginner it it really is. You have to hit the right notes you have to maintain the right pitch. You have to make all the instruments clear and curable so if it really is so.

Klaus
So what are you actually doing is you have some sort of melody in mind and you’re creating that melody also by picking up bits and pieces and changing and working with these pieces from other pieces of music.

Immex
Yes. And also adding my own instruments on top of.

Klaus
We are talking it right now we are talking about music but this is also the way that we produce for example a new product or a new service as a as an innovator so I like the parallel here.

Immex
OK. Well I don’t know maybe that’s just how things work maybe right but still so.

Immex
But for you it’s it’s something that you get used to of over time you’re working on on these on your beats for four 10 years you’re doing live music I suppose also. So so you work with lots of different musicians. You pick up melodies and beats. That’s something that if you listen to them it says something to you I suppose.

Immex
Well yes you could say that. Let’s say I’m at a restaurant or at a nightclub and I hear songs and I hear the songs different than the other people I guess because I hear melodies that sound like something else. I hear drums that could some something else and some else music you know like I could use or I could change to be better or you know. I constantly hear music in my mind like I’m remixing it.

Klaus
Do you also do some when you hear something interesting do you like pick up your phone and do some recording of it right away or how do you keep note of that.

Immex
Well I tried to find it through Shazam or the Google app. Who is you know like detecting the song and then I listen it at home.

Immex
But I’m trying to remember the moment and the feeling I felt at the moment when I was when I thought of the melody and the you know what it could be what you’re actually doing is also you transport the feeling of that same evening of that dinner with friends in a special atmosphere listening picking up some of these elements that you’re listening to and transform that into a new song and a new piece of music. Well you could say so yeah but you wouldn’t tell anybody or maybe you would pick for example the title of the song but else nobody would know what’s behind where these things came from.

Immex
Well my closest friends you know they they know I produce music a lot so I actually I’m sometimes annoying annoying by telling people hey look this is a sample. Hey here this is a sample. This could go like this. You know they’re just having their beers and I’m like listening to them you dig very carefully. So yeah they they might know what’s what’s coming up with that piece of music that we’re listening to right there. And then OK.

Klaus
So it’s like positively annoying since they’re always expecting something new right now from you.

Immex
Yes yes yes.

Klaus
Well that’s I think that’s really really nice is the wrong word but for other words for the lack of words I kind of like that right now because it shows that you have that that passion for what you’re doing for what you’re creating and you do it in a way that your friends are sort of participating in that passion also right away so they would understand right away in what position or in what place you are when you listen to a good beat and then tell them.

Immex
Well yes. My friends are actually very supportive and they sometimes even they send me songs that I could sample you know or I could find inspiration from. Sometimes they are with me while I make beats. I guess they’re being pretty supportive. Yeah okay.

Klaus
Do you also participate sometimes with play some instruments or add a loop of say something that you sort of change and put it in.

Immex
Well. Well yes I guess so because some of them are music and musicians also. So they maybe find the drum set not be fitting with something I do so they would recommend me something else. And yes I actually I’ve been doing music with a bunch of people lots of times when you do this music.

Klaus
Is it’s that you could would you do that with your save with your guitar or would you be able to do something like that with using your computer since it’s it might be not as spontaneous to use the computer.

Immex
Well well I guess it depends on the situation. I have guitar laying all over where. All right go great. I have dozens of guitars. So that’s it. I guess I could pull off a guitar right or anywhere anytime Yeah.

Klaus
Yeah but but OK I understand the guitar like an acoustic guitar. You can pick up right away. It’s kind of like a pencil that you use and a piece of paper too to dry a beat or some sort of tune. And the more advanced instruments that would be like your or your laptop you couldn’t pick up right away and do something.

Immex
Yes. Well I mostly keep my laptop at home or at my studio. I don’t have a real studio but I have something going on. So basically. But anytime any way. Me and my friends very often gather at my house or they’re in the studio so however I’m I’m always available for music.

Klaus
So you’re doing like these spontaneous jam sessions basically.

Immex
Yes yes yes yes. Would you always record these or is it just sometimes just for fun.

Immex
No I actually very rarely record my jam sessions and sometimes I’m sad that I didn’t because sometimes a jam session turns out to be epic and you cannot recreate that kind of stuff. You know it just goes. It flows for some time for a period of like maybe half an hour. We are jamming superhot and then when we find to record we lose the sense and the feeling of the grooves that we have so so you basically should have like a set of microphones and and assume recorder with you all the time. Basically yes because I pick up my guitar literally everywhere I go and every year I see a guitar. I also play guitar on other people’s live shows like I go to the stage and I’m like OK can I play one song you know. Well most most most musicians from my town know me. And sometimes even they invite me to play some songs on their show.

Immex
So basically it is I think it hasn’t been a day that I haven’t played at least one note on the guitar and the acoustic guitar is for me who who is not into music that much is so far away from the electronic hip hop beats. How do you how do you make sure. I mean it works well for you obviously but it’s incredible to see that large distance between these two instruments.

Immex
Well I like to consider myself as a musician not just as a beat maker or as a get there is but a musician in you know that can do a wide way. The styles of music you know like I do classical music I can make punk music metal music rock music hip hop I don’t know if electronic music. I’ve literally tried every genre that I could.

Klaus
So OK. And which one do you prefer the most always said like depends on on your mood on a certain day.

Immex
Well I could say that hip hop is like my main genre then Rock is the second genre and everything else comes third. I can do dubstep. I can do. I don’t know house music side trance music all kinds of stuff depending on the mood.

Klaus
Yeah that sounds really great so. So you’re actually you’re into music. You started that a long time ago. Basically it’s cool. You have a lot of friends that support you and you also support them when doing music and with them together you also get into that flow type of thing when you’re when you’re jamming and trying something new also.

Immex
One of my friends is managing my Instagram and my Facebook page and they like to be involved in the you know in in the mix. Think so.

Klaus
So how did you come up with Immex. You have your normal name your Christian name or your birth name and and then you came up with Emacs. How did that start for. It’s like a personal branding thing.

Immex
Well this is funny because I don’t remember how I got my my artistic name. I’m always thinking that it came from some sort of cartoon that I cannot remember it. And from what I remember it was a core of some crystal that was named Emacs. So maybe if someone can tell me if they’ve what’s the cartoon they can message me. I don’t know. I actually don’t know what it means.

Klaus
OK. But it has a certain vibe to you. It’s if you like the sound of it it looks good. It was available I suppose. Yes yes yes.

Klaus
So how much how much extra time and effort did you put into into establishing a sort of a brand around your music.

Immex
Well to be honest I started to put extra time into branding into making myself a brand not longer than one year ago. I was just you know I was one year ago I was just doing music and that’s all it was a mix but I was like There’s there must be something more. People started reaching out to me. Book Therapy has used many of my instrumentals in their videos so shut out Tom book therapy for you know being here for me anyway people started reaching out and I was like maybe I’m not just a small hometown producer maybe I could be something more you know so I am actually still trying to make a brand out of the emacs name and music as every innovator knows.

Klaus
This is kind of hard to to start a new brand. It takes a lot of time and effort and it takes good friends and but at the basis of say talent or a very well something that people like and that people care for. You just mentioned on box therapy which is huge. Let’s put it that way. Video channel with originating from Canada but watched all over the world with several millions of subscribers. You are not in Canada. You are in Europe. So how did that come along. I mean that’s sort of a global corporation that you’re having going on.

Immex
Yes. Well. About two and a half years ago I think Lewis Hilsenteger dagger the CEO of Umm book therapy contacted me on my soundcloud. He wanted to buy Beats from me to use as a background music and I back in the days. I didn’t even know who he was and what book therapy was but he was buying a batch of beats from me and I was like one day I was like hey man like you really bought at least 20 or 30 beats from me like What do you do with them. I want to hear the product you know. And I guess he sent me a link or something to the channel I don’t remember. So that’s when I found out where my music was going and why the people were commenting on therapy and maybe.

Klaus
So you weren’t aware of the success of Unbox Therapy at the time.

Immex
No no I didn’t even know them.

Klaus
Basically everybody knows you did did that sort of change how you produce your music or how you produce the stuff and how you put it out.

Immex
Well I wouldn’t say so. I think I can. I listened to my beats from let’s say four to five years ago when I was when I wasn’t producing for I’m book therapy and I still do the same workflow. I was doing them the beat sounds similar. I don’t know maybe just quality wise I’m I’m getting better like better at mixing and mastering both producing my music but the workflow and the feeling are the same.

Klaus
OK. So even starting a song or a new beat. Forgive me if I used the wrong words like maybe it’s not a song that you’re doing. So you basically still relying on your mood on these impressions that you get from from the outside to start something new. And if you think that’s good enough you start producing something something.

Immex
Yes yes.

Immex
So in it it doesn’t matter if I’m doing a beat for a rapper if I do a b for youtube video or for a podcast I just make this.

Immex
And people who like to buy them buy them. So that’s how it goes for me. I don’t make specific beats for you know people because I guess It’s what it wouldn’t sound like me. People will ask something that would fit them and not that would fit my style of working. So I rarely do those kinds of stuff I mostly just make a beat put it out on Soundcloud or YouTube and if there is someone that likes it they contact me and I can sell it.

Klaus
Yeah OK. Actually I think it’s kind of a scary thing to put out your work into the world and because you’re then you start to be confronted with feedback with sort of criticism with positive and negative things. How you know how to address it. I mean the world is full of haters. Also there’s people that appreciate good work and others they just don’t see good work. How do you how do you get these feedback good and bad real original feedback is good and it can be critical also but it also always helps to to improve getting to know from your customer. Let’s put it that way are you from your fans is important but how do you treat the stuff that is sort of less supportive.

Immex
Well I am mostly trying to you know make fun out of it of the people who were being hateful.

Immex
I mean not making fun of the people but of the comments they they make on my pages. So I don’t hold a grudge for anyone that doesn’t like my music it’s OK I don’t like somebody else’s music and that’s okay. But I guess most people are being supportive because let’s say that most of my recent fans are from um books therapy and basically they love the music that is being featured on book therapy so much that a you know tried to find me. They look in the comments section et cetera so I guess most people that come to my page really liked my music because if they wouldn’t they wouldn’t be bothering to you know find out who I am and find the music that I that I make since people are coming via unboxing therapy.

Klaus
There’s sort of have a have an expectation of what you get from your from your music what your music is all about.

Immex
Yeah yeah. But it’s mainly people that like my music in the first place because if as I said if they didn’t they wouldn’t even come to my mates base. I will say I don’t have many haters that come to my profile. I may have haters that don’t bother to come or comment on my music. So basically I don’t know if I have haters but yeah they don’t.

Klaus
They don’t reach out to me so. So you actually you’re picking up good vibes from your fans. Yes. Yes. Basically people are listening to your music they’re connecting with you via Soundcloud for example. But is there any other ways people connect to you or what is your preferred way to connect to your fans to your audience.

Immex
Well SoundCloud is my main platform. I have most so most of my fans on soundcloud. And there is a god put most of my music out on soundcloud. I don’t have all my beats on YouTube or other platforms as I do on soundcloud.

Immex
So I’m actually I’m dependent on Soundcloud.

Klaus
I’m told it’s a German I think a Berlin based platform that allows musicians artists podcasters also like me to bring their music that sounds to the world. It’s easily embedded bull the beats or the songs are easily embedded in other Web sites. You can comment ask questions while listening to to the music and also you can comment at it. A very special section of a music you prefer something a lot. I think that’s a very nice feature also.

Immex
Yes well as I’m using Soundcloud for nearly 10 years now I didn’t have any kind of major problem. I see people hating on soundcloud for I don’t know copyrights or whatnot. I’ve never had a problem with some call about copyright infringement or anything. Oh wait. But I don’t know. Sometimes just fits for me. OK. Some people doesn’t like it and they post music on click track or bandcamp soundcloud works really fine for me.

Klaus
Do you look at the analytics of SoundCloud. Is that something that you do that is important for you to make decisions which track your sort of pushing or further developing.

Immex
Well not really because I bought the premier account not too long ago.

Immex
It’s like being a month or so. So I’m just what I’m doing now with some cloud analytics.

Immex
I can see which countries listen to me the most and which be they listen to the most but I put the beats in my spotlight that I feel that they should be brought to attention.

Klaus
So you’re using these these things to connect with your audience and you’re sort of looking at analytics also. But basically what you do as an innovator and I’m calling an innovator here is you rely on on on moods on your ideas of a special day or based on a special moment to produce your product let’s put it that way.

Immex
Yeah I’m not sure why I’m there still. Good question.

Klaus
Yes. It wasn’t I was just trying to to sort of create put to your situation and transform your situation to the situation say of a product manager of a person that starts a new product that way it’s always important too to look at your audience look at your fans and your customers and get their reactions. But actually it’s so much more important in many cases to not simply look at what your customers ask you to do but what you think the customers would like if they knew what that what they would like to have yeah.

Immex
So yeah ok. I think I can. I understood. Now basically I don’t I don’t do music specifically for what customers want.

Immex
I still do music that I feel like doing. No. And since people loved my work so far I guess I’m basing my music on that because I was always doing what I do and I continue to do what I do because people love what I do. I guess even the next songs that I’m realizing they are going to lay them since they’re based on what I was doing before.

Immex
To put it that way.

Klaus
Yeah but I understand that since Sperry is this Since there’s similarities or it’s it’s sort of grounded into what you’ve done before but it looks to me that you are always evolving that you do new things that you don’t do the same thing twice.

Immex
Well yes I am I guess so many of my beats are different but there they have does this immense vibe that you can feel like I don’t know. People have been telling me that if they played a bit that they couldn’t see my name on it they could guess that it was my beat based on the you know the production and the feeling I am kind of evolving. I didn’t like trap at the beginning right away. I started doing trap like not more than half a year ago I like the innovative process process of doing trap music because I always play the the tramp beats on keyboards and that’s what that’s when I actually if I’m feeling like playing keyboards then I will do a trumpet.

Immex
If I’m feeling like sampling that I’m doing old school hip hop beat and I guess trap beats are kind of evolving for me and also the electronic music is evolving. If you could put it that way. I don’t know. But yeah.

Klaus
OK so. So what you’re also saying is it’s not that you’re just evolving but there’s some you’re in very close contact and you’re paying attention to what other people are producing and making.


Immex
Yeah I’m trying to keep pace with the time the more their music I guess but I’m also doing the old school the 90s vibe. Beats on the side.

Immex
Actually I do the 90s vibe as a main genre but I do the modern music on the site which adds lots of more complexity and I’m quite fascinated by a by that. If I look at that. I mean you’re an artist you’re a producer you create music in different ways. You play the computer you play the guitar you play keyboards and so on. In the beginning you said that you do all these different instruments in a way I thought I considered the computer also as an instrument since it creates a different style of music or different type of music or brings at least everything together in one piece. Do you consider it like the producing time also as playing an instrument or is that something completely different for you.

Immex
Well it is different unless I’m using a keyboard because when I sample beats I don’t use a keyboard. I use just the mouse and the computer. And if I’m using a keyboard then then you could say that I’m playing music because I’m thinking of my card’s progressions of melodies of scales etc. And when I’m sampling I’m just listening to the music that’s already there and trying to rearrange it to make to make it sound like more like me. And it’s a different process.

Klaus
It’s interesting that for you there is so much difference between one instrument and the computer because from my point of view I saw I thought it was just another let’s put it that way another instrument with different sounds different possibilities.

Immex
It’s good to hear your point is it’s just the it’s two different things. I think it’s two different things. Actually when I make beats I’m composing and when I play music I mostly play music that’s already there old rock songs or something I don’t know whatever I feel like playing. So it’s it’s the differences.

Immex
One is composing and the other is just you know playing and practicing witch and composing would be the instrumental part or the computer part the computer part actually.

Immex
OK then the instrumental part is practicing for the composing.

Klaus
So so what you what you’re also seeing is it is really important to know your tools really well like you inside your computer you need to know how it works how the software works so you can sort of stretch the things out go to the limits also.

Immex
Well yes because basically I sometimes make a beat in 15 minutes all from scratch to you know to the finish what where it’s done it can be posted on the Internet like 15 minutes and that’s all based on the door I’m using I’m using a full studio and I’ve literally learned the door as the palm of my hand you know OK if I have a vision of a bit of a melody that you know I’ve heard then all I need to do is just open up the door and I already know what’s where and what should I do. And I just assemble the things in the door and that’s it. The the beat is made in in my head before I open the door.

Klaus
OK. How do you perceive see that vision of a piece of music. How is it do you see like colors or do you see do you hear tones. Is it likes. How do you what is the first thing that you perceive of your vision.

Immex
Well I hear a loop and I kind of big box to it in my mind. OK well like I’m I’m I remember lots of sounds of the drums you know like they’re in my mind and I just I’m changing the drums and the melodies right then and there. And when I when I hear the final product I just open up the the door and put it as I as I hear it.

Klaus
OK. And since you know you’re like I think I need to explain that the door is like the DAW Which is your software that you’re using to jam. Yes. OK. And since you know you’re your tool so well you simply know what to pick in terms of beats and other things and where you loop stuff or where you sort of change things around easily.

Immex
Yes exactly. When I opened the door I already know what kick to use. Where do my bass come from where do my melody come from. No I don’t search through things to find what kind of bass to use. I already have in mind what kind of base to use and what kind of dances you know so. So that’s I’m saving a lot of time on that.

Klaus
So. So you have a really straightforward process here. Straightforward creative process. You have something in your mind. You hear all these different bits and pieces it becomes life inside your head. Let’s put it that way. And once things are very clear to you start working on it and then it’s basically a very straightforward thing without lots of experimenting.

Immex
Well yes I. I already do the beat in my head as I said this and then I just need the door to you know make an audio file out of it. I already have the audio file. He might you know in my head. Yes. And I just the door is kind of an instrument to let you know how the audio file sounds in my head.

Klaus
Yes. So wouldn’t it be great to have some sort of special helmet with electrodes and stuff that would simply pick up the sound from your head.

Immex
Yeah I guess then I would be able to make beats in like two minutes.

Klaus
Well but you still have to do the experimenting in your head before. So once you have recorded everything. Is that something that you sort of put out in the world right away or do you wait like for another day or two until you publish it.

Immex
No I’m publishing it right. Right away. I export I have a I have an artwork that I use on my sample on all the songs and that’s it.

Klaus
So no looking back. Yeah. You have everything made up right. Ready made in your hand you have recorded it you bring it out into the world and that’s it. There’s no experimenting and working on that recorded file. He has basically I’m pretty sure that.

Immex
It is what it is. It is the best it can get.

Klaus
Where do you get that feeling that tells you that it is the best you can get here.

Immex
If I’m working on a B for too long I’m starting to lose you know my my my feel for the beat.

Immex
You know if I’m listening to because when I’m making a bit I have to listen to it every time I put something new in it. Like if I change the snare I have to listen to many part of the bit. And if I do that like two hundred times in a day then the beat will become boring to me and I won’t like it even if it’s if it’s good you know. So basically I like to do things faster and I don’t. Really. Rarely listening to my beats I hear it as as the final product when I export it. If there is any mistake or I don’t know some problems during the export and once I publish it I listen to it very rarely.

Klaus
OK. It’s like many actors say that about themselves that they say they never really watch the movies they’re in because they can sort of can’t stand listening to looking at themselves on the screen. Do you like to listen to yourself or you just don’t you just want to go on and proceed to the next piece.

Immex
There are beats that I like to listen to. And there have been beats that I had in my phone like when we beat 24/7 the that happens very rarely.

Immex
No OK so.

Klaus
So what you basically do is you produce something. It’s in your head. You bring it into the world via software and and then you go onto the next beat you go onto the next idea you guess his death which is based on the last product on the last song and the last piece but it’s still something different something new since it’s created for example in a different mood that you’re in on it.

Immex
Well it’s it’s it’s not really. I’m sorry for interrupting you about it. It’s not really based on my left b it’s more like based on my last two or three years the years of working so if you take a listen on my Soundcloud you will you will see the beats that are put in in a narrow time.

Immex
They say this it might be you might have recorded something two weeks ago and it might be completely different yeah.

Immex
But also these that are published a fast one after the other let’s say in a period period of like six months they will sound very similar. All all of them not just the last two but I would say so all of that because my new music is based on the last let’s say 20 beats. Not just the last one.

Klaus
Sometimes you probably have the ideas or have for more than one piece and so you sort of stretch it this idea or that theme or that vision across several pieces. Yeah maybe to even tell a story.

Immex
Yes. Well mostly of my. I do my albums like that. My instrumental albums I’m releasing an instrumental album very soon. I have nine out of 10 tracks finished. So I’m working on the 10th song and the album will be on all platforms like SoundCloud YouTube. I think Spotify Bandcamp these are etc.. So when you can hear my first album you will see that the the theme is very similar. Well for most of the tracks and in the new album it will be like the same feeling in all 10 tracks is just a different melody and vibe. But it will be like a chill hop beat album OK.

Klaus
I’ve seen that you’re working on the new album and if you have nine songs out of 10 already in the can that that should shouldn’t take too long and until you publish it is it something that will be more acoustically or or will you rather use the computer.

Immex
I would say it’s more organically not acoustically OK. Because it’s all done on the computer. I haven’t played much on the last album but I was trying to find organic sample from the sounds to use and most of the Beats feel like nature if I can put it that way. No OK I’m using the nature sounds and no chill sounds like I guess you could say if you listen to it you would feel like you’re in a forest or by a river you know that kind of stuff.

Klaus
OK. So it will be your next album. It’s like your next big project will be a new album that will be available on all the major outlets have you ever thought of bringing all your music your stuff to places like I Tunes. People can actually buy the music and listen to it say on their smartphones.

Immex
Well yes then the next album is is going to be on all of them. OK. Even you I even on iTunes I forgot to mention it. I tunes. How was it Amazon music. Like literally almost every major platform. It’s incredible how these platforms allow us to as say as creators to be globally available without.

Immex
Investing in the business. Well yes but it’s really hard to get through on all of them. Like if I’m famous on some thought it doesn’t mean that I will be famous on Spotify or other platforms maybe my soundcloud fans don’t use spotify or don’t use Amazon music or ITunes so they will just continue to listen to me on soundcloud. Basically I don’t know if the market will accept my new album. I. I could say my fans will because I’ve released few singles and they accepted them. Really nice they like the songs and I don’t know. We’ll see.

Klaus
Yeah. So. So yeah actually I mean the album is a it’s a way to package also your product the product of your creativity your music and and tell a story or or allow you to communicate something that is important to you at this certain time. You can sell it via the major outlets which is quite simple to do right now but you still have to do it of marketing around the project about your new product about your new album. You have still that tension will it fly Oh. What will people say and I think I think sometimes that’s that’s most one of the most important things that key holds you back to do something new. Do you feel. Do you think that. Does it hold you back. Also to to do something new right now or are you well there’s insecurity about is it sick. Will it be some sort of success.

Immex
Does that hold you well I wouldn’t say so because I still can post my music on my main platforms which are Soundcloud and Youtube. So I hope I’m not like too too worried about will the Spotify audience accept my music or not. I’m just. Let’s say I’m interested in seeing how the the people that listen to music only on Spotify will react to my music. Many of my fans have commented that my music will blow up on Spotify. I don’t know I. The thing is it puts me back actually is my country. Because I’m still Spotify isn’t available in my country. OK so the album will be released by an record label from Serbia and I guess I’ll see from there for you know for the future. If if they accept my music like if Spotify accepts my music. Nice I guess I will continue to to put my other stuff on Spotify.

Klaus
So does that mean that Spotify is not available in your country. So it’s like geo blocked or something.

Immex
Yes I am. If I want to listen music to Spotify I have to use a VPN. Because I can. When I log in it says that I’m not you know I can’t even listen to previews of songs. So that’s like. The down bar. But actually if I don’t use VPN I wouldn’t be able to listen to my own beat. That will be both posted on Spotify. That’s the. Irony.

Klaus
Yeah and even your friends wouldn’t be able to listen to your music. Yeah. If your feedback and and yeah that’s that’s kind of odd but still the rest of the world is able to listen to it. Most of the rest of the world. So I think this is also this is an incredible thing an incredible possibility for a creator to do to reach fans so there’s something great happening to you right now with a new album that you’re working on. You’re also working on different beats and you’re bringing out once in a while. Also you can’t live without music.

Immex
Basically yeah. Yes. Yes that’s very true. Well I’m already thinking about my next album which I would like to involve the guitar a lot. OK. Like it it would still be kind of like jazzy type of instrumentals but with lots of guitar maybe I’m quite inspired by the old dramatic songs. If you listen to romantic note anyway here’s a producer from Slovenia I think and he is doing. Many genres as well. And I’m producing my next album will be kind of inspired by him.

Klaus
I’ve seen that you’re that you’re also like Mark Knopfler.

Immex
Oh I absolutely love Mark Knopfler is my favorite guitarist and Dire Straits is one of my favorite bands so maybe Mark Knopfler is more like favorite get there is done in dire straits is my favorite band.

Klaus
But anyway I really like Mark Knopfler also and you’re probably aware of the movie the local hero. Yeah and and he made the soundtrack for this movie and in the summer I traveled to Scotland and to visit the place where local hero was shot and OK. I always had the soundtrack in the back of my mind when when I visited the place and the best thing was in Arbroath there is a a fish and chip shop. And when we entered the shop people were so nice and and they were humming things music and so on and one of these people working in the shop preparing fish hummed music from the local hero soundtrack from Mark Knopfler. So that was really cool and I could tell right away and we got into a discussion and it was an very simple way to get into contact by other music with this person. And he loved the plays. He had never been to to the place where local hero was shot but he loved the music and he he’s a big fan of Mark Knopfler.

Immex
Also the power of music is absolutely beautiful. It’s you know if it’s a language that everyone can understand.

Klaus
You know I think you’re onto something but when you when you try to speak to somebody else from another country you need to speak basically English because that’s like a common language. But it’s still limited in a way but music isn’t music works basically globally as a leg.

Immex
Yes well I guess some of my songs can inspire the feeling that I had when I made them in other people like I could tell other people what I feel without saying anything you know just you just listen to the music and you I guess feel pretty much the same as me so music is like really really beautiful thing. And I can understand music. I can understand people then that don’t listen to music. I’ve seen people that say that they don’t listen to music. That’s I don’t know. That’s impossible for me.

Klaus
So if you if you’re looking into into what would you dream about professionally what would how would you what would be a professional dream that you wanted to achieve.

Immex
Well I guess playing in a large venue is what every musician is working for. What would you know is just what where and what would you play. Oh what would I play. I guess I would probably play a solo guitar. I just love the sound of the acoustic guitar you know. And I don’t know. I would probably compose something myself for for some acoustic pieces and with whom would you play together with.

Klaus
Do you have like an ideal person.

Immex
See if I could choose that would be Mark Knopfler.

Immex
He has. Well they’re not really acoustic tunes but it’s rather acoustic sounding like clean guitars.

Immex
Maybe if you know the song my brain froze moving. You.

Immex
Sing it like that boom boom like that. It’s called boom like that. I want to do that kind of stuff. That kind of music and I don’t know Mark is just the best out there doing it. I can tell you the story behind this behind the song. The song is actually about the fast food man. Crock If you rate dropped you heard. Yes. Yeah. The song is about crock. So this man made such a song about a person who makes fast food you know just the music in the song is telling you much more than fast food. You know if you don’t search for the lyrics or for the meaning of the song you wouldn’t have the idea that it’s written about a fast food restaurant. No it’s just too beautiful to be a fast food piece of commercial. To say which is not. But you get what I’m trying to say.

Klaus
Mm hmm. So so you use one of your videos or one of your pieces is called I’m not good with words but actually what you do is you communicate via melody melodies important for your melodies speaks melody transports emotions and what you actually want to say.

Immex
Yes yes. Yes. Yeah you could probably hear that the most in my composition which is called Homeland. Mm hmm. It’s a classic. I mean it’s or gestural computer composition and I don’t know that that song is something that I was feeling very strongly you know when I was making it. I was feeling like sad and enthusiastic in the same time because my country was going through some problems back then I’m not too much of a patriot. To be honest. But I was I was feeling that way back then. And I don’t know. Maybe that’s the song that you can feel the most I guess.

Klaus
OK so it’s something that deeply moved you that deeply sort of changed. There was something outside of your soul outside forces that sort of changed the way your country was existing or your country was.

Immex
I mean it. And I see you very much May I’m.

Klaus
I don’t understand what you’re talking about right now but I understand that a lot of things have happened in your country in the past. And I guess it’s very very difficult not to realize what has happened to people that lived there before you. So you’re a young person maybe you haven’t realized all what happened but through your father’s or your other people you understand what what went What’s going on.

Immex
Yeah well I was driven by the patriotism that that’s in me for that piece. That’s why it was called common. Actually the music I didn’t feel too much sad or you know like too much how to say down. But I was just thinking about my country when I was making the music like I was thinking about my country in a artistic way as to how to put melodies in this song that would represent how my country it is at the moment how I feel about my country at the moment.

Immex
Like that’s what it was for me I guess few people that a few of my friends that have heard the piece said that it really is sort of like that maybe stuff they’ve felt it quite differently. All of them but it it brings out the the field that I that I felt when I was making the song.

Klaus
Well I’m as I told you before I’m not that much into music but I’m fascinated of how you are able to transport your mood ideas via music instead of words. And I’m quite quite interested how this works. And. I’m really happy that that we have this conversation right now.

Immex
Well I like to think in melodies you know and liking instruments like a violin can be a very sad instrument and it can be a very happy instrument. So basically for me it’s more sad than happy.

Immex
I don’t use violence and happy music but so if I’m feeling sad I’m trying to make a melody that represents what what I would say with words you know as much as a painter would do something like that and present what whatever he or she wanted to say in a painting in an image in I suspect that even in the very beginning where you didn’t know how to use your door that easily you still had all the things in your hand and wanted to get it out the same way as it is today.

Immex
Yes yes yes yes yes. OK. So that’s it. And you sort of you will evolve also

Immex
And the big dream would be played more acoustically you know in a big venue with something that you would compose of. Especially for such a venue ideally as well.

Immex
I would like to hear my pieces played by or just dress or by events you know like even my hip hop thinks because I tried to make them as much organic as I can. I’m not using too much electronic sounds. Mostly it’s pianos it’s guitars it’s violins you know. So I would love to hear some of my pieces played by an artist.

Klaus
You dream big you probably envision also how these pieces sound like in your head played by an orchestra.

Immex
Well yes I try to imagine the way that that would sound but I still want to hear and feel you know the the the sound you know big venue or a whole especially on my on my homeland beef I would like to hear it played by an actual or just because yes I composed it and played it on a keyboard on my door but I think it will be a totally different feeling when you know the piano player puts his emotion into the composition the violin player puts his emotion into the you know violence and the whole orchestra putting their emotions into playing you know I guess it would sound a bit more authentic.

Klaus
It’s like a multiplication of emotions and energy. Since you have not just one person during the music that you have say 20 or even more people doing music.

Immex
Yes yes yes yes exactly like I would love to hear a violinist to try to play the piece that I composed exactly as I’ve imagined it because maybe my door doesn’t allow me to put that much feeling into an instrument you know like If I get my guitar to play I probably can play dynamics and you know the feeling of my left and right hand like the peaking strength you know like if I’m thinking soft or if I’m picking strumming hard. So I would like to see how an orchestra would perform that that piece to you write the notes. No I actually I don’t know theory musical theory. OK. I’m as I literal know zero musical theory I have most of the theory I know is based on the guitar because I know the strings as they are the root notes and the positions of the notes are basically like a piano. Let’s take for an example the sixth string on the guitar it’s an E. So all the frets down to the 21st fret are semi tones. If the open string easy the first fret is f the second fret is F sharp the third fret is g et cetera. So that helps me into producing but I don’t read notes as in a sheet.

Klaus
It’s impressive that you still are able to do such great stuff without knowing all these things of without having formally studied all these things. Do you think that’s that’s an advantage would or would you want to study that form part. Would you want to pick up studying the form.

Immex
You know why I don’t like studying musical theory is because I think that it might it might redefine me as a musician OK. But in a bad way like I would compose as a robot. Because this way I don’t know what is right or what is wrong you know with my scales and with my nose and I’m doing it by ear. So it’s just it’s like an open thing I can think of on all sides. And if I knew music theory then I would be like oh maybe this doesn’t fit here. You know it’s not like in that scale or in this scale.

Klaus
And I would maybe worsen the composition does it allow you to break rules even better if you don’t know about the rule.

Immex
Yes I guess so because I if I knew I guess if I knew music theory I would stick to one scale and this way I could change scales and you know melodies so I actually didn’t want to learn musical theory because of this and some of my fellow friends guitarists have told me that maybe it’s better to stay that way because when you learn music theory you’re composing like this you know you’re just thinking once what’s wrong and what’s right in theory.

Klaus
It’s a bit like jazz music I think. I’m not really into jazz music theory but from what I remember is that it was people that started playing music for let’s say the joy of music and some doubting to to mix new things new instruments new together in a completely new way without paying attention to the rules.

Immex
Well yes. Jazz music is really hard to learn and to play because every every participant in the music like in a band they’re playing they’re their own thing you don’t have rules. The Beat the drums doesn’t have to go like you know that. There isn’t that just. I mean it’s probably there is a jazz groove that you could say it’s. I don’t know. It’s universal. But you don’t hear a same groove into just songs. It’s always different even if it’s a ghost note on the snare note on the cymbals or you know.

Klaus
It’s a bit like what you said in the beginning when you ever you start jamming with your friend. It’s hard to reproduce whatever place you where just now again. And it also shows that when never never disconnected from our surrounding what happens around us moves us deeply or is actually affecting what whatever we doing whatever we are producing whatever we are creating a lot even even on a on a scale that that do you do you’re sort of you’re rooted in your country but you’re reaching out into the world to. Fans to supporters to people that to an audience that that appreciates what you’re doing.

Immex
Yes. Well I guess this piece is something you didn’t expect from a producer like me who’s making hip hop.

Klaus
No because I guess that’s what you’ve heard of me so far but yeah I did hear homeland before when I was researching you and I was impressed by by that range off of your off off your of your language is let’s put it that way. Right. It’s a musical. Yeah. Three musical languages of your musical KIPP complete cap capabilities and of your musical interests also. And I kind of like that because in terms of somebody who is actually seriously creating something these people you people you usually have a very broad base very broad interest in and are good in different type of things and not just in one thing in one area.

Immex
Yes I guess that’s true.

Klaus
I mean I think musicians feel things differently than you know people who don’t make music or don’t listen to music.

Immex
I think we can feel things a bit more deeply as to say because most of what we do is based on a feeling if you’re a construction worker you don’t you know you don’t have to feel things to make a wall or foresight or I don’t know a bench. I don’t know if that makes sense but you. I’m trying to tell you what I mean by feeling things deeper you know it’s the product that you’re creating as such.

Klaus
Such a personal thing. The process to get to this product and let’s put it that bluntly as a product is also a very personal thing. So every musician probably has their own way to get to to their music or do you see that there are similarities between you and other musicians that you work.

Immex
I guess I guess so I’ve never thought of it that way but it makes sense. Now that you’ve mentioned it. No. I mean everyone has their own approach to making music but to be honest most of the musicians base their music on except for the commercial music is based on money.

Klaus
But ideally everybody has live right. So everyone you find somebody that resonates with the feelings that you create in music and gives you money.

Immex
Yeah. I mean money is good and all but I think it has to have a point. It has to have a feeling. No. OK.

Klaus
That’s what music is all about for me at least since you have driven so much by music. I suppose there’s nothing other that sort of moves you in such a deep way. But is there anything else that you’re also passionate about.

Immex
I guess not. Not as much as music.

Klaus
Well I guess that’s OK. Some people don’t have a single one thing that they’re passionate about. And if you’re on a such a level of passion for your music as you are. That’s a good thing. Thank you.

Immex
Well if it’s in your mix I’m very thankful for you to have taken your time to talk with me about what ever drives you whatever moves you with what brings you to create your music. And. I think for me that was very that was an insight into a different world.

Klaus
Thank you very much.

Immex
Thank you for inviting me.

Klaus
After our conversation we listened to beats of a mix and he gave me more insight into his thinking. What I think is fascinating that in his mind is creating beats in everything he hears. He’s a musician that tries to do his thing in a very challenging environment. He mix is using the digital possibilities the Internet offers to create distribute and market his work. I’m thankful it took the time for the conversation as a side note. This is the first episode of my podcast after years of learning and preparing the show got off the ground at last. My name is Clowes. I said I’m an innovation coach and located in the south west of Germany in the state of Barton Guttenberg the 2.5 innovator podcast.

Klaus
It’s an idea more than three years in the making. This first conversation is the beginning and I have a long list of innovators I’d like to have a conversation with.

Klaus
This is the 2 point 5 a podcast that connects innovators through conversations the development of the 2.5 was supported by many people to thank you.

Klaus
Here’s to it makes for the great music and the time it took further conversation. Alex De Palma from the podcasting fellowship the other aspiring podcasters of the fellowship. David Nebinski. Colin Grey from thepodcasthost.com and Andreas Urra from the University of Constance and my wife Barbara. And thank you for listening. My name is Klaus. This is the 2.5 conversations connecting innovators.

thank you to

Immex for his music and time

David Nebinski https://twitter.com/nebinskids

Alex DiPalma and Seth Godin from The Podcasting Fellowship https://podcastclub.link

Andreas Urra from the University of Konstanz https://streaming.uni-konstanz.de

Colin Gray from the Podcast Host com https://www.thepodcasthost.com

Niklas Leck von Start Summit St. Gallen

Peter Frischknecht und Timur Sagirosman von Startfeld St. Gallen

connect with The 2pt5

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Designer/ideas man/brand expert/teacher Marty Neumeier – about his no BS approach to ideas, the purpose and limits of business books for innovation, achieving minimalism in creating and learning from The Grateful Dead

In this episode my guest is Marty Neumeier a Designer/ideas man/brand expert and teacher. We are talking about

  • that you don’t have to be a genius to be an innovator
  • about the importance of dreaming as an innovator as well as making and continous learning
  • about the importance of a vision for making to get to results
  • about focusing and leaving out the bs in business books
  • and about learning from The Grateful Dead.
Marty Neumeier in conversation with The 2pt5

Marty Neumeier is an ideas man and a teacher in the best sense of the word.

He has written several books about branding, creativity and innovation which became classics in their field. Marty is full of energy and ideas, and the conviction and hope that his ideas truely add value for the readers or his course participants (he just added Masterclasses to his line of focused business books).

Marty Neumeier’s Books

Marty is no fan of business BS. He cuts straight to the point without oversimplifying things. “I have just tried to make it simple” is one of the hardest thing to do, dodging the irrelevant to focus on the important.

THE BRAND GAP (2003) and ZAG (2006) come to mind instantly. The phrase “A brand isn’t what you say it is—it’s what they say it is.” is common knowledge now. In his third book, THE DESIGNFUL COMPANY, he addressed how business leaders can build a culture of nonstop innovation. One of his secrets: “If you wanna innovate, you gotta design.”

Masterclasses

In his live Masterclasses, he is bringing his teaching to a next level: the classes are for professionals that put in an effort and want to evolve their knowledge, networks and careers. Find more information and enroll for classes here.


find Marty Neumeier on

read Marty Neumeier’s books

at Amazon

watch and listen to Marty Neumeier

  • on the “How Brands Are Built” podcast
  • Innovation Workshop Video


music by Immex – thank you!


The 2pt5 mailing list


Transcript

(This transcript was created automatically and still includes some typos and errors.)

Klaus
This is the 2.5 conversations connecting innovators Episode 2. My name is Klaus. In this episode my guest is Marty Neumeier a designer, ideas man, brand expert and teacher. We will be talking about that you don’t have to be a genius to be an innovator about the importance of dreaming as an innovator as well as making and continuous learning about the importance of a vision for making to gets two results about focusing and leaving out the B.S. in business books and about learning from the Grateful Dead. Marty Neumeier is an ideas man and a teacher in the best sense of the word. He has written several books about branding creativity and innovation. The Brand Gap, ZAG and the Designful Company among his books that became classics. He is full of energy and ideas and the conviction and hope that his ideas truly add value for the readers or his course participants. He just added master classes to his line of focused business books. Let’s start the conversation.

Klaus
Marty. Thank you very much for taking your time talking with me on The 2pt5 podcast. I’m very honored and I’m a big fan for a long time now. Welcome!

Marty Neumeier
My pleasure Klaus.

Klaus
Marty are you aware of the Neumaier station in the Antarctic near the South Pole.

Marty Neumeier
I am not. Maybe I should be looked at up. Is it spelled the same.

Klaus
No actually it’s not spelled the same. But Neumeier is is a German name actually. And and it’s the name of this the Antarctic station situated on some iceberg in the south. And experts have some sort of iceberg.

Marty Neumeier
Might my ancestors came over to turn to the US in probably 1880 something like that. My great great great grandfather and grandmother. I think they got married and then came here came to the US. And that’s kind of all we know because it’s like we don’t know about are past. It’s all been sort of erased by immigration.

Klaus
I like that you have kept your name new Maya which is kind of the German spelling. But kept the English pronunciation.

Marty Neumeier
Yeah we just give up trying to correct people right. If they want to call you knew my or you just nod and go. Yes.

Klaus
Yeah. It’s the same with with my name. Oh I was so happy when Star Trek introduced Commander Riker. His name is sort of spelt differently a bit but now I can say it’s like in Star Trek, since Reichert is just impossible to pronounce.
When everyone’s zigs. What do you do?

Marty Neumeier
You zag! Obviously.

Klaus
You zag. Why obviously? Is it about breaking rules all the time?

Marty Neumeier
I know not all the time but where it counts. You have you know you have to be different. So you know we are. We all have a tendency to follow the leader. That’s how we learn. But you can’t be a leader by following the leader. Eventually you have to break away and ask people to follow you. So the most successful companies are the ones that have followers that have imitators so imitators don’t do well in the marketplace though they always make their profit margins are less and so forth. So you want to be number one in your in your niche or your your marketplace your space and you can’t do that by copying number one OK.

Klaus
Basically what you could do is copying number one and reduce the price which is actually not a nice position to be in I think.

Marty Neumeier
Yeah branding isn’t about lower prices unless unless that’s your whole idea. That could be a strong brand but usually it’s about getting more people to buy more stuff. Higher prices for more years.

Klaus
Yes. Have some consistency in the the way you deliver a product that you build trust with with your customers and that people can know what to expect when when when they buy something from you. But that’s sort of sometimes in the wave for for innovators because if you do something really new people don’t know about this. They don’t know what to expect because it’s something that was not around before.

Marty Neumeier
Yeah it’s difficult if you have something completely new you have to teach people what it is and why it’s of some value to them and that’s difficult. So it’s usually better to to relate it to something they already understand.

Klaus
I understand that teaching is really an important thing for you. You’re not a university teacher you’re not a teacher at school and stuff like that. But you write business books you picked up the business book as a medium for teaching and you have a very different approach to business books. I think your books are very different. There’s always not a lot of pages. There’s always a worksheet there might be a video and they are always shopped to a point or to the point that they want to make. There is no B.S. involved at least from my point of view. How come you don’t like B.S.?

Marty Neumeier
Well you know it’s it just took time consuming for people. Why not just get to the point. That’s the whole idea of of being a communicator. Right. Is to get to the point quickly and make it stick. And that’s a skill that I’ve honed by being a graphic designer for many years early in my career and then a copywriter and the whole idea of being a copywriter is you grab somebody with a headline with some sort of promise and you buy it.

Marty Neumeier
After about 100 word you you’ve got them to buy something or at least be open to buying something. And I don’t see why a business book should be any different. I don’t I don’t think more is better business but whether it’s why just throw you know hundred thousand words at people with you know you know ten thousand ideas when they can’t remember more than four or five in any way. So I just think stick to a couple of good ideas make sure people remember them and can unpack them over time.

Marty Neumeier
In other words every time they think back about a principle they find a way to apply it. So so simplicity doesn’t mean simple mindedness it means compression. That’s why I look at it you take a big idea and you compress it down to something small enough for people to get their heads around. And but all the information is still in there. And so that that thing that they remember reminds them of all the other things they need to know rather than treat all information as equal. You know because in a business book some things are more important than others other things so you need to make sure people understand the hierarchy of importance.

Klaus
But everybody else or many other authors are taking a different drought. And so what do you do basically is you’re not taking the safe route that everybody else is doing.

Marty Neumeier
Yeah that’s right I’m differentiating OK. Takes guts. Yeah. Well yes it does but it’s almost the other way is almost guaranteed to be to be a failure. So by just doing what other people are doing you have no reason to be in the world. We need you. So that me that’s that’s dangerous. It’s much safer to strike out at least Bill you know be a little bit different and try to try to find an audience a constituency for what you’re doing than it is to just be a pale imitation of somebody else or copy someone else and make a few superficial changes to what they’re saying to me that’s that’s a waste of time. And and you know it’s dangerous to your career because you spent all that time doing something that nobody is going to care about.

Klaus
Well there’s still a lot of books that aren’t. Let’s put it that way famous but probably also end up on the couch table have a being read for just a few pages or the first chapter. And and you know you could you could argue you’re just plain lazy because you don’t write a lot. Sorry. But I’m also quoting or paraphrasing you I’ve just tried to make it simple. And but from my experience it is much harder to make something simple and to come up with something minimal than to sort of elaborate yeah yeah.

Marty Neumeier
That’s where the work is is continually polishing it to you get it to the simplest possible expression. That’s true and useful right. I mean something could be true and not useful. So you want it to be both. And you know I arrive at these I call them conceptual toys they’re just little ideas that you can play with that are fun and don’t demand too much. You know cognitive work to understand and you know I spend every morning in the shower just trying to figure out how can I explain this to somebody you know whatever point I’m thinking of what’s the best way to explain this. And so I put a lot of work into it. Hours just for one sentence sometimes but those sentences are all pieced together into one integrated whole. And so that that make it even a little bit harder so everything I hope that everything I say in all my books makes sense with everything else I’ve said in books that I don’t count myself.

Klaus
So have you encountered that situation that you contradicted yourself in a later book.

Marty Neumeier
Yeah early on. Yeah not so much anymore because I’m aware of it now but the thing is once you read a book it’s there forever. Yeah. Yeah.

Klaus
Has in my from my PhD research I spent a lot of time in the libraries looking at really really really old books like a three 400 year old books and that’s quite scary. If you think about that that things can be around for such a long time.

Klaus
But even then let’s wonder if there will be like an e-book reader far into a hundred years that will be capable of reading today’s books but still I have the problem with this book that I’ve got from you it was the first book that I got and it’s the innovators innovation toolkit sorry and it’s a combination of video and and a book and I am running into the problem that I don’t have a DVD player anymore. That’s why me so I can still read but the stuff on the electronic stuff on the on the silver silver disk is just not accessible anymore.

Klaus
But I’ve seen that you have you’re also offering this video as a download on the web which is why I don’t even think it’s available as a product other than a download. Yes you know that that whole technology is gone so.

Klaus
You can see that you contradict yourself sometimes in later books which sort of is a thing that is connected to learning also so well for you.

Klaus
As a person as a designer as a human being is it very important to have be such a lifelong learner.

Marty Neumeier
Well of course it is. That’s been that’s the advantage of living long. You have more time to learn things and get better at things and be more yourself. All those kinds of things. It’s a gift if you can. You know the longer you live the more chance you have. Although I don’t think I’d want to live forever. Big fan of a nano life’s lifespan but some people do you know there are people that really want to live forever and would if they could they could take a pill and live forever they do it.

Marty Neumeier
They’re all in Silicon Valley.

Klaus
So I understand that that might be a nice possibility. There’s also vampires that live forever and I understand. It doesn’t really appeal to me to lead such a life away from everybody else.

Marty Neumeier
I’m not really that person either.

Klaus
Me too. I like the mornings. But actually to be able to see these things and to to you have to be sort of knowledgeable of a lot of things you have to have made a lot of experiments. You have to have. I have talked to a lot of people. And then there’s this big phrase and I don’t remember from whom this is. That’s the more you know the more you wonder about what you know. It’s that sort of a problem for you always.

Marty Neumeier
Yeah it’s true the more you know the more you question everything including yourself. I’m threatening to write a book someday called Confessions of a brand man. As a sort of tribute to David David Ogilvy who wrote Confessions of an advertising man back in the 60s when you read his book The Confessions aren’t really confessions. They’re basically stories of how great idea. But I haven’t those stories like that. I have no stories of greatness about me. But I think it might be interesting to see what a struggle it is to to learn this kind of thing and be successful in a an area like branding which is fairly abstract branding or communication or strategy. These are all fairly abstract disciplines with a lot of failure and the only reason I can write about this at all is because I’ve failed so many times. I don’t think there was any other way. I used up all the ways of failing. So I’ve tried them all and I’m the kind of person that always does the wrong thing first.

Klaus
OK so you hit you. You hit your knees a lot and it hurts a lot and left your marks on the legs. That sounds like you. You don’t think you’re a genius yourself.

Marty Neumeier
I do not. Well let me take that back. I think everybody’s a genius at something almost everybody or at least they have the opportunity to be a genius at something but probably not everything. I really believe that people should in the course of their lives specialize in something fairly early to master it and get a feeling for what you know what that’s like to master something and then spread out from there as opposed to learning everything a little bit and then find the thing that you don’t know anything really very deeply. I think that experience of going deep into a subject is really important. It’s also important to know enough about the world that you can bring other ideas into your specialty. And from there you can leap over to another specialty and add that on. You can go laterally but that’s what I’d like to see people learn. I think it works better but that’s maybe that’s just me.

Klaus
Does that mean that you focus on the strengths you have or focus on the weaknesses and build on that?

Marty Neumeier
I think you want to neutralize your weakness does while you build on your strengths. And eventually maybe some of those weaknesses turn around or they become strengths but I think you know the problem we all have is we have to compete in the world. We have to find a place to stand that where we can do something better or in a new way to liberate ourselves from everybody else. Otherwise we’re not very valuable. We’re just you know interchangeable parts in a in a business world. So we want to have something we can say like this is the thing I do better than anybody else and I want to be paid for that right. I will be paid more than someone else. So if you don’t have that it’s just more of a struggle. And so that’s what I wrote a book called meta skills that talks about that many skills are skills that lets you learn other skills like if you’re a good learner that helps you learn about other things you know that’s that’s gotten similar to meta cognition. It’s knowing what you need to know or feeling what you need to feel. These sorts of things five of them I think are important in a world where innovation is crucial. And the book was really a watershed for me because I learned a lot from the research I did. It’s unlike my other books it’s you know it’s big it’s three hundred and fifty pages 30 pages of notes you know tiny type where all this stuff came from. So I really started to think about how how much we need to change education to be in tune with the world that requires more problem solving more creativity more human interaction and because because the old way of learning and the old schooling system just doesn’t work doesn’t work as well. Much like it’s built on a factory model where everybody learns the same thing and they come out at the end with the same time they stop in time. The end at the same time they learn the same things. Everything they learn is already known you know. So how do you teach people to learn things that aren’t.

Klaus
No I I think it’s really interesting that you coming from the US say something that everybody in for example Germany which I have a better grasp on on what is going on is also saying and and from what I understand you say is something that it starts with feeling. It goes on with scene and there’s dreaming making which sort of is the opposite of dreaming. And then again learning and I was quite fascinated by these seemingly different things are contradictory things in this list.

Marty Neumeier
Yes they are there. I think they’re complementary. So so feeling and seeing our complementary feeling is about intuition and emotion and that sort of thing and then seeing is more about systems understanding systems. So it’s more logical those two things need to be together they’re sort of opposites but they need each other. And then making and what’s the other one. Dreaming dreaming dreaming is kind of wishing or thinking to yourself wouldn’t it be cool if what if what if and you can work yourself to death and never achieving anything. You know I mean you have to make stuff. So yes dreaming is no good without making it. And if you don’t know how to make money so you need you need those skills design skills making skills but making without having a vision is not going to get you anywhere either. And then learning is really a possible farm of the five things learning is just kind of accelerates all the other for that kind of learning and talking about there is really more formal learning either by reading or going to school or taking classes going to workshops or formal things. And some people are good at that and somebody bored so it’s but it’s good to be good at those things feed off of each other. They all relate to each other and make each other better.

Klaus
For teaching or for learning this several mediums to do that. And you talk a lot about all you have written a lot of books and you talk about books and books are a great way an accepted way for several hundred years to learn something new and also get into some bring the reader in some sort of transformation to do his or her job better for example to learn something about something that this person has never been exposed to before some new point of view or a new skill. But a book also has boundaries. Now we have video we have courses courses that were around for thousands of years but we have online courses for example and stuff like that. So what is not teachable via a book or what is best teachable by a book.

Marty Neumeier
Well that’s a good point. I think what’s teachable by a book is we’re writing so you can learn to be a writer from reading books. You don’t even need to take a class. Although I still think having a class and having a mentor would help anybody. Yes. And having peers who could review each other’s works all that’s really important. They all have their advantages. I think people overvalue what video can teach as opposed to books. I think books just pack a lot more inside but you need to be able to unpack it. You need to be a good reader a critical reader. You need to be willing to take those ideas and try them out. So people who don’t have that sort of they’re not self-propelled into doing that might do better if they’re in a group where there’s some peer pressure to do the work right. So that would be school. Yes classes. But I think they’re all you know everybody has their own way of learning and I think I think they should gravitate towards those things that work for them. But I certainly wouldn’t rule out reading. I’m not counting books on the on the endangered species list. Oddly enough I mean I think they’re just they’re under appreciated in the US because we have so much technology we’re doing so many cool new things that people are distracted from from books. And that’s one of the reasons I prefer Europe. People read that bookstores here. It’s great it makes me feel great. So I’m actually thinking of maybe moving my publishing activities to Europe where there’s there’s more effort going into the production of books and there’s more readers making the centre by centre of gravity. So I’m looking into that on this trip. Among other things and I probably will do video courses someday if I should live long enough. But right now I’m focusing on live masterclasses. Yes. For people who are really serious.

Klaus
So what do you started to do is offering these live master classes and what I understand is is that one of the first ones or second year now is is happening in Europe in this October.

Marty Neumeier
Yes. Well we. We did the first one in London and that was in March and that was a big success. So we decided to do more cities with the same class. It’s the level one class. There’s gonna be five levels. Level one is the basic you know branding one or one. It’s a great class in a lot of people that’s all they need is that first level and they’ll be transformed their whole idea of branding will be transformed. So we’re bringing it back to London and also Hamburg and Glasgow Bordeaux is now closed. But those five. And then we’ll be coming back again in probably April. I think something like that with the second course and so you can take two if you want. If you’re very ambitious you could take one then two things might be too much for people to do that.

Klaus
But it would be for the genius amongst us.

Marty Neumeier
It’s one of the on geniuses only for that. Yeah. So yeah the second the second masterclass will be focused on strategy. It’s a brand strategy goes deeply into that. There’ll be a very fascinating classic and I’m loving these classes because the people who come are very very motivated. They’re pros already they’re already in the field working in the field or at least the graduates of a of a program in marketing or strategy business something like that. And and they just bring a lot of energy to it and it’s for some of them. Some of them it’s the first time they’ve worked collaboratively with other people in other disciplines. So you know we break into teams and we take a fictitious. We can we create a project for each team and then they take it in two days they take it from beginning to end and a prototype that brand. And what’s really kind of surprised me is how much people bonded over the first one. I mean it’s a little business to start it up after people met in this class. They started working together and collaborating either sort of unofficially or even creating new business to business relationships with each others and other people got better jobs after this really better jobs. Thumbs up thumbs up. The idea though is that if you take all five at one end you graduate from all five levels in the program you are able to take on the role of CBI chief brand officer in a large company which is a new role that’s just emerging. And it’s a very it’s a role of high responsibility and high compensation higher than anyone ever thought. I mean it’s it’s almost up there with CEO status so that’s not for everybody. We’re not going to have a lot of graduates but we’ve already got people from the very first class taking those kinds of roles just from the first class. Amazing. So I can’t explain why I think they were already very talented before they took the class but I think it just gave them probably a better understanding of where they fit and what their value is. Other people reported that they just landed huge clients that they never thought they could handle and now they have a really better understanding of how to structure the work. So I’m really encouraged just to keep doing this and I hope that some of some pros from Germany come to the Hamburg class it’s October 29 and 30.

Klaus
I will provide a link in the podcast show notes and the episode’s description.

Marty Neumeier
You can go to https://levelC.org to see what it’s about.

Klaus
Yes. So that way you you introduced another way to interact with the brand education let’s put it that way it’s not a good word. I’m just lacking some words. Another way also to interact with you because in the book it’s just it’s there’s the personal voice on the pages but you will be attending these classes you will be hosting the classes. Yes. No it’s the it’s the most fun thing I do is interact with everybody and.

Marty Neumeier
Just get in the playpen with them you know and you know we can learn to gather and I have my partner Andy Starr who helps you help set them up and runs the business part of it. And he also is a great teacher and helps the teams. He goes around it helps the teams compete with each other. Okay. It’s really fun and very learning the full learning that we’re learning from.

Klaus
It’s a good word. You referred to that brand office on that new role that is sort of upcoming. Does that have anything to do with the popularity of design thinking.

Marty Neumeier
It would definitely include design thinking because branding is depends on the design design thinking which means design thinking is essentially thinking with your hands you know. So you you imagine something that wasn’t there before you you prototype it you see if it works you make changes to it you prototype it again you test it in the marketplace. That’s the process for creating anything new so. So I would say the Chief Brand Officer is the most important person in an in teaching the company how to do this at every level. I mean I think design thinking isn’t just for designers it’s just a way of approaching a problem where you don’t know the answer in advance know there’s no formula for finding out the answer you have to the test. You have to try other things you have to imagine a solution. And if you haven’t been taught how to do that. That’s pretty scary. So I would think that chief brand officer would be running classes or making sure that people understood the process of design thinking because it applies to anything in the business really it’s how honest a salesperson persuades a nice client and a good client to come along with with the program you know with to buy something from the company. It could be how strategists think how all that all the the elements of branding are put together. New processes in the company how do we work together. That’s all design thinking can explicate that too.

Klaus
And it introduces the idea of creativity that people can be creative even if they themselves don’t really think of themselves as being creative.

Marty Neumeier
Now we’re all creative here. We don’t think so often and often we’re not consciously creative but we don’t we don’t understand the process of creativity and so I think that’s something everyone could could learn from. I think they’d be really surprised at how key they are if they’re doing it deliberately and they’re actually you know there ways to to get at that. And you know I’ve taught workshops on that too. And I can say that almost everybody surprises themselves when they know how to do it.

Klaus
So you don’t need to be a genius to be an innovator?

Marty Neumeier
No you don’t. I do believe in genius but I believe that everyone’s. Everyone has the ability to be a genius in something if they can find it and develop it. And what happens is a lot of people don’t realize they have that potential or are afraid to to explore it because maybe it doesn’t exist already. Maybe there is no category for that kind of genius that they would fit into. They have to create it. And so now we’re all learning how to express ourselves in the best possible way and make the most of our lives. And I think there’s a lot to learn from design thinking processes about that and the fact in fact there’s at Stanford that they’re running classes on using design thinking to to to envision your career and to to to to guide you along your career.

Klaus
I think it would be a great help for young people. Sounds strange but I’m 50 to have such a course done by you because you come to the point. Straight to the point you would you could help a lot of young people with doing such a course.

Marty Neumeier
Yeah I hope I am going to do and cause I’m writing books about it and giving workshops where I’m where I have a sponsor but I don’t have a way right now of running design thinking workshops on their own but it’s it’s folded into my brand workshop. So it’s part of those. OK. We’ll hit the wall. We’ll hit that pretty hard in the level three. I think it hasn’t been designed yet. So we’ll see.

Klaus
OK great. Maybe there’s a small spin off far especially aimed at the young people trying to find that certain thing in their lives.

Marty Neumeier
Well I hope it’ll just be taught in that university should be it should be.

Klaus
It should be taught at school.

Marty Neumeier
Yeah. School period or trade school. Know it’s not it’s not just a white collar skill. I mean everyone should learn how to do this.

Klaus
So you’re a believer in some sort of method tool kit that helps us to to sort of develop creativity develop some sort of idea methodology to to see a vision to sort of create create things to create things and it doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor or a lawyer you know you don’t think of lawyers creating anything but I think that can be very creative and often are creativity and problem solving therefore they are almost siblings.

Marty Neumeier
You know they use the same skill set you know Sherlock Holmes you think of him as really logical but he was inventing solutions to problems that he could imagine a solution and then he wasn’t just reading the tea leaves and then tracking back to the to the original of the of the problem to the murderer and stuff.

Klaus
Yeah. And I see what you mean. Is there an exercise we could name in the Sherlock home exercise. No but it’s an exercise that you. Like a simple thing that you recommend to people to do something like that to be individuals to be innovative but one that I like and it’s it’s not mine.

Marty Neumeier
I mean it has existed for years is where you you you try to fight. You look at a subject area. Let’s say you’re trying to invent something new with a brand or a company or product. You you you you make a list of everything that’s known about that. Like what are the assumptions about that subject area. And then you reverse those and you see what happens when you reverse it. Usually you come up with the world’s worst idea because there’s a reason why that successful thing is the way it is. But that’s successful industry but in reversing it. You’ve you look at it from a different perspective and you can say OK so that’s horrible. But what would we have to change about that reversed idea to make that a winner. So you’re starting from a different place a very wrong place. I said I do everything wrong at first. I think it’s helped me quite a bit in some ways. So you know let’s say that you want to reinvent banking retail banking. That’s a subject everybody knows a lot about because we all use a bank right. So you make a list of all the things that banks are like. What’s it like to go to the bank. What does the bank look like. What is it what the bankers do. Well see when you go to the bank it’s usually in a retail space and it might have some columns in the front and maybe some teller windows where you go to the and you know you wait in line you go up and you do your transaction. It’s got a safe in the back. It’s usually very solemn because it’s serious business it’s money. Yes. And you don’t you don’t you don’t you know take your lunch in there and eat it you know you wear shoes. It’s not relaxed not relaxed and that’s fine. But what if you just said well what’s the opposite of that. Well it’s it’s it’s not in a retail space it’s you could eat. You can go with barefoot. You can bring food you can bring your dog. There’s no teller windows maybe there’s no motels. So you go. Well that’s that would be the weirdest bank ever. But then you think well OK maybe maybe it’s it’s not in a normal know it’s not in the high rent district in town it’s in like where all the art galleries are and it’s got a concrete floor and it’s all painted white and there’s no people come up to you. They have a laptop or a tablet and they ask you how they can help and you sit down you have some coffee and conversation look the whole conversation. Then you can come there and sit there with you or your cat. Oh yes. Are you snake right. Well chair for the snake. And so that sounds pretty crazy. On the other hand one of my readers a group of people who read my book Zach did exactly that in Prague. And it spread to the rest of Czechoslovakia Czech Republic. It’s called Air bank and you go in and everything’s green and white plastic and fun. And you know it’s. And you can here’s a sign in the window that says you know take off your shoes bring your food. Know that’s OK. If you sign up for an account. You don’t get 30 pages of contract to sign you get one simple page that you can understand. You know they just did everything. They just fixed all the problems and reversed everything and it’s hugely successful OK.

Klaus
And they’re probably still learning and improving stuff and reacting on things that are good or bad and he’s building on that. Yes they are. Continuous learning is very difficult for him to do in companies and be innovative all the time. You might start us out innovative but then you get you get sort of frozen in time. Is there like a go to exercise that you recommend. And I think No I’m asking for a lot for companies to sort of keep on learning.

Marty Neumeier
I really think that there should be every company should have its own training program. That’s that’s aligned with their own brand. They should develop their own it shouldn’t be something you can learn at a university because anyone can get that from you they should have their own special branded training. Yes. So whatever it whatever it is that’s important to success of that company if it’s continuous learning then they should teach to continuous learning. They should know the matter skill of learning would be great. And then you can put in some processes that make that we feel for people. Let me. One of the things that I did that I thought was really is pretty successful was for Hewlett Packard HP back 15 years ago. Their company was a mess because they had acquired another company and the two cultures didn’t really fit together very well. And they had a culture of everyone for himself. Like every division every region could make up its own rules and use its own brand elements and so it was just a mess. It didn’t look like a single company at all. And they they find something that works and they just keep repeating that for endlessly until it didn’t work. And then they find out that gee that product is no longer needed in the world. We’ve got to start over. So there’s no need for that really. You just have to have continuous innovation. So we work together with HP and they had adopted the slogan of invent invent but it’s for customers it was for them. Okay. Right. We need to invent let’s be invented let’s design stuff and let’s keep doing so because the company was so democratic in a way and diffused all over the world. It was really impossible to force anyone to do anything in a certain way. They just resisted it. That’s just wasn’t in the culture of the company. So we tried something else we created a competition an annual competition around the HP brand which included products and brand communications and processes and partnerships and just about everything the company did was part of the brand effort and we would send out a call for entries and people would fill out a form and send in examples of something they had done that they think pushed the company forward and made a big deal out of judging it at three different levels including outside famous people from the outside coming in and judging the final the final winners. And then we made a big event out of it three days someplace in the world where people would be flown in or the finalists would be flown in and they’d be treated to great talks by important people at a big banquet. And just like you know the Academy Awards you get a beautiful trophy if they were were among the winners and it just inspired everybody to do the right thing without and without forcing it to do it they wanted to do it. They wanted to be seen in the company. They wanted visibility. And that just kept building on itself. And then we had kind of internal magazine online learning where we would take the winners and write an article about the team and how they did it. But the fetishes of their solution where were the takeaways were so if you want to try it here’s what you should learn from this. And then we took those and made those case studies in a training program and we flew around the world to different regions and taught people how to be more creative and innovative. And that that worked. And I think we ran it for five years until they finally knew enough about it that they could take it over internally. So you know I don’t know if that’s a good solution for everybody but for them it was it was it was perfect was just what they needed.

Klaus
Given their size and their culture to establish such a like an internal university established curriculum established questions answers establish media people that are running such a show and that could be from outside people at least for a while until things start to run smoothly and then it has to be done by people from the company themselves. I think because I think the better acceptance.

Marty Neumeier
And that’s that would be in my view the one of the roles of the CBO chief brand officer to make sure that that is operating perfectly.

Klaus
Okay great. Marty I’m I’m really fascinated by our conversation. I have a last question. And I think it shows a lot about you. You named a navigation point a section of your Web site. Steal my idea. Yes steal this idea steal this idea right. And what on earth did you think to name this section. That way it’s just very different from everything else on the web.

Marty Neumeier
You know it was just a feeling I had now that you know I think about it. I do know where that came from. I heard a story maybe 20 years ago about a rock and roll group that you may know called the Grateful Dead and The Grateful Dead had a very fanatic group of fans. So you know their audience was they just loved the Grateful Dead and they show up for every concert. The same people would show up every time and whenever the Grateful Dead had new songs there’d be people in the audience with high end tape recorders you know taping these songs and then selling them to each other or making them available online. And the Grateful Dead were going oh wait a minute they’re they’re ruining our business right there. They’re taking these recordings which are not very good live from somebody sitting in an audience and they’re getting them out before we can even put them on vinyl. And stealing our sales and so they’re trying to figure out what to do about that. And one of the people not anybody in the group but somebody like a man the manager or something similar. So we’re just thinking about this wrong. These are our fans without without our fans we have nothing if if they want to you know steal some music and give it to each other is that does that theft or is that advertising that I see that. I’m just. I know people are going to steal stuff out of my books. Why don’t I just ask them to do it and make it easy and given it the actual slide you know given the actual work and they could put it in their slideshows or use it any way they want. I don’t even care if they use my name with it they just want those ideas out there. There’s that. There’s more where those came from so I just keep coming up with new problems to solve and why not give them away. I mean it’s not like there is a limited number of these ideas.

Klaus
There’s just many many ideas and the good thing about ideas is once they are good for something at least for a certain point in time they become something like a general thing of life that it’s accepted to the and the society accepts these ideas. SS Now own and integrates that into the development of the society in that way. And the simple idea of a person a single person can become very very powerful if it sort of resonates with lots of other people at this point of time organic and people don’t even know where it came from so much the better.

Marty Neumeier
It just seems true. And I get it sometimes I get people online and social media saying oh the brand gap. Well that old thing. Yeah. You know or that and others say oh yeah I read that book. You know everybody knows all that stuff. Yes.

Klaus
Yeah. You have read the books we have talked about it for a long time. We have discussed these things and yeah it’s common knowledge.

Marty Neumeier
They were new at the times. It reminds me of a time my wife and I when we were in London and we went to see Romeo and Juliet and on the way out there were an American couple in front of us. We heard them talking and the man says “Well what did you think of the play?” She says “Oh I loved it. It’s just that you know there were so many cliches I’m not very myself with Shakespeare but I think the principle holds.” It’s like after a while you know when things become common knowledge they sound like cliches.

Klaus
So Shakespeare wasn’t such a big author? He just stuck together lots of cliches 🙂

Klaus
Great. Thank you Marty. I think we should leave it at that and thank you very much for taking the time of talking to me and and adding something to the library of the 2pt5. I think that was very very helpful and it was a great pleasure to talk to you.

Marty Neumeier
Likewise. Thank you so much.

Klaus
Thank you very much. Thank you for listening to my conversation with Marty Nemeier.

C.

Cole Raven, Podchaser Co-founder about discovering and sharing new podcasts, tools for remote teams, the value of Reddit for business and about serendipity in innovation

Cole Raven is the Co-founder of Podchaser. The platform helps to discover and share new podcasts. It is also a great tool for podcast creators to connect. The company is run remotely by a group of people that partly meet on Reddit.

Cole Raven Podchaser

I have reached Cole Raven, the co-founder of Podchaser, while he was traveling to Hawaii. Incidently a place I have very fond memories of, since I learned flying and received my private pilot’s licence on Oahu.

We talked about the value of platforms for discovery and community building. About remote teams, long time friendships and new friends found on Reddit. About serendipity in innovation and startup.

We also talked about remote companies, worldwide hiring, tools like Slack and Basecamp, building communities. About building a podcast platform, sharing data & credits, a growing central database for podcasts. And about fundraising in the podcasting world and new features coming along.

Enjoy the conversation!

Find out more about Podchaser on their website, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow Cole on Podchaser

Links to mentions in the episode

Gimlet Media produce great narrative podcasts in New York City

Audio dramas on Podchaser

Zoom helps to do remote work

Basecamp Project Tool and company

Rework – Basecamp’s podcast

Slack the chat tool mentioned

Join the Podchaser Slack channel and help to develop the platform

Podcast Movement

iHeart Media Podcasts

Westwood One with Cumulus Media

PlayerFM podcast app

Radiopublic

NPR National Public Radio

The Business Insider article featuring Podchaser

The Reddit conversation about podcasting

The personal Podchaser feed

IMDb 

Join The 2pt5 mailing list

Give a review

If you have liked the show, give it a review on PodchaserApple Podcast or Spotify.

Transcript

In preparation

Music by

Immex – Soundcloud & conversation