Ian Sohn of Wunderman joins us to talk about his approach to running a marathon despite never running before. It gave him a chance to consider his approach for other endeavors. This is a great one. Get some Gatorade and enjoy.


Listen here: https://specific.substack.com/p/ian-sohn-is-not-a-runner-0e5?r=n6j6&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=copy

[00:00:29] Adam Pierno: All right. Welcome back to another exciting episode of The Strategy Inside Everything. This is going to be a big show. We have very, very special guests here today. Joining us from Chicago– Are you in Chicago right now, Ian?

[00:00:42] Ian Sohn: I am in Chicago, where winter is settling into the air and into my bones.

[00:00:49] Adam: I’m jealous, because it’s 85 here in Phoenix, so I’m sorry that I’m not experiencing some foliage. But I do have Ian Sohn, who is the managing director at SapientRazorfish in Chicago. How are you doing today, my man?

[00:01:04] Ian: I’m great. How are you doing?

[00:01:06]Adam: Doing really well. Ian and I go back a couple of years throughout the Twitters. We’ve not met in person, although I was just in Chicago doing a strategy session in September and I totally failed to ping you and let you know I was coming.

[00:01:19] Ian: I take that personally, actually.

[00:01:21] Adam: Yes. [laughs] I did it as a personal-

[00:01:23] Ian: You have hurt my feelings

[00:01:25] Adam: It was meant as a personal affront so thank you for taking it as such.

[00:01:29] Ian: [laughs]

[00:01:30] Adam: Sorry, we had a lot going on that day. But, we have a cool show and we have a really interesting topic. For those of you listening, you know that we always kind of talk about things. The whole point of the show is to talk about things outside of marketing strategy, because marketing strategy can get kind of dull. Ian brought up a really, really interesting topic that, to me personally, is exciting, because I’m kind of engaging in it right now and we’re going to dive into that. But first, Ian, tell them a little bit about who you are, where you’ve been and what you’ve done and then we’ll dive into the topic for the day.

[00:02:01] Ian: Thank you for having me. Like you said, I’m the managing director of SapientRazorfish here in Chicago. I run the Chicago office. I’ve been in the agency business for about 11 years. I was at Ogilvy and Mather for about eight years. Before that I lived in New York and I was on the client side. I worked for Nokia and for Sony. I’m a Chicago native, but I lived in New York for, gosh, almost 11 years and I’ve been back here for almost the exact same amount of time.

[00:02:31] Adam: Awesome, awesome, awesome. Do you– What do you think of the New York versus Chicago rivalry? How do you rank the cities?

[00:02:39] Ian: What I’ve always said– and I really, genuinely, once in a while, try to figure out if I stole this from somebody or if I made it up myself, but I’ve decided to appropriate it for myself. I think New York is the greatest city in the world and I think Chicago is the greatest American city, so I don’t think they really play in the same sand lot and I think they are both wonderful. I consider them both to be home.

[00:03:04] Adam: Oh, yes. That’s a good way to look at it. They’re– I think most cities are really hard to compare. Especially, New York is really it’s own thing and has it’s own gravity and then Chicago is a different thing.

[00:03:13] Ian: A hundred percent. Completely. The vibes are completely different. To compare them is nearly impossible. Even just geographically they’re just laid out so differently. It’s a totally different feeling.

[00:03:28] Adam: Yes, absolutely. Let’s get into the topic today. We’re going to– When I pinged you to join me on the show you brought up this really cool topic. Why don’t you give them an overview of it and then I’ll dive in and start bugging you with questions.

[00:03:44] Ian: You reached out to me about being on the pod and I’d listened to a few episodes and I thought to myself, “What could we talk about that might be a little different from just having a conversation about marketing strategy?” Which, like you said, has kind of been beaten to death. I recently completed my second marathon and we’ll get into the differences between my first and second. I thought that could be a really interesting lens through which we could talk about and think about strategy because there is a lot of strategy involved in running or competing in any kind of competitive sport. I brought it up to you and at first you were kind of like, “Okay, that’s interesting. I’m not exactly sure how it’s going to work.” Then I thought about it and we exchanged some notes and I think it– Hopefully, we’ll have a great conversation about it.

[00:04:37]Adam: We’re definitely– It’s on. You can’t stop it now.

[00:04:40] Ian: All right.

[00:04:41] Adam: The reason I did engage is I know you’ve run a couple of marathons. You’ve run two, is that right?

[00:04:47] Ian: That’s correct, yes.

[00:04:48] Adam: Are you still running?

[00:04:50] Ian: I haven’t run– The Chicago marathon was October, 8th or 9th . I have not run in the last three weeks.

[00:04:58] Adam: You are lazy.

[00:04:59] Ian: Yes. Truthfully, I have been meaning to for the last week or so and I literally just could not motivate myself to do it. It’s not that I’m dreading it, it’s just that I have no clear motivation, which is actually something that is very typical me. If I’m not shooting for something, then I have a hard time motivating for it. It’s almost like I have to sign up for another race in order to get off the couch and go for a run.

[00:05:22] Adam: This was not in the notes that you gave me, but that’s really a critical part and a strategic part is– I did a– I don’t do marathons, because I’m too lazy and I don’t have the time for the full-on training. I don’t know how you do it. You’re a real man. But, I did a half marathon in August and then I didn’t run for two or three weeks. I was in the same place you were and I said, “You know what I have to do? I have to schedule another race.” So I found a race in January and I scheduled it and the next Monday I was up and running. I had a goal. Something to work towards. I think that is part of it.

[00:05:58] Ian: I think that it’s definitely part of it. It’s having a goal. It’s having motivation. I also think, and we can talk about this as much as you want throughout the conversation, it’s establishing that goal, but then also within that, for me, it helps to then be really specific about what my objective is. In the case of a race, it’s how fast I’m going to run or how far I’m going to run or whatever Because then it not only gets me off the couch, but it helps me calibrate the level of effort I’m going to put into doing it. You know?

[00:06:33] Adam: Yes, and level of effort– Again, this does tie back to strategy. Level of effort. Knowing how much work it is. When you’re doing a half, you run– The most you run in a week is, I don’t know, 25, 30 miles. You can do more if you’re a wild person, but if you’re just doing a basic training regiment. If you’re doing the marathon, where do you peak at mileage?

[00:06:55] Ian: This is going to tell you a lot about me in that I truthfully have no idea.

[00:07:02] Adam: [laughs]

[00:07:03] Ian: That is not– I’m not saying that for a fact. I’m not saying that to be flip. I don’t know. If I sat here and did the math in my head I’d say it’s somewhere, I don’t know, in the 30ish mile range depending on where you are in the training schedule. That’s part of who I am and how I operate is that I don’t know that to be exact. What I can tell you is during marathon training I know from week to week how I’m supposed to feel, but I can’t ever really tell you exactly where I’m at from a mileage perspective or from anything, any sort of really hard metric.

[00:07:41] Adam: Get into how you trained for the first marathon and tell that story. It’s a really interesting story.

[00:07:46] Ian: My first marathon was in Chicago in 2015. I will date myself. I was 43 years old when I ran that marathon. I was not a runner prior to that. I was fit and relatively healthy, but there was something about running that seemed interesting to me. I like to do things alone and it seemed easy and I didn’t need to book any time or a tennis court or anything. I just started running. I actually on a whim ran a half marathon in the spring before the marathon in 2015 and I did shockingly well for me. And again, for my age I think I ran 8:02s or 8:03s. Those were my splits. I don’t know what that time translates into. I thought, “All right, I’m going to see if I can give this marathon thing a go.” I signed up and then fast-forward to 18 weeks or however long the training schedule is and I ran the marathon in October 2015. I did really well. I just– I can’t really explain it, but I put some thought into it going into it and everything just turned out great. I avoided injuries and I’m happy to tell you what my thinking was.

[00:09:12] Adam: Did you set goals for it as you went? Or did it– Did you just set a goal of finishing? Or did you set a goal for a time [unintelligible 00:09:19]?

[00:09:20] Ian: No. I did set a goal. I did set a goal. Finishing, to me, wasn’t enough. I knew I could finish a marathon if nothing more than kind of speed-walking through it. I knew that if I was going to be motivated to do it I had to shoot for more than just finishing. Again, I didn’t know anything about marathons. Nothing. Zero. Four hours was a number that I felt like I had heard several times throughout my life. Like, “Oh, so and so came in in under four hours.” I thought, “I’m going to try to come in in under four hours.” I didn’t even know what that meant or how would that feel. As I started training it became clear to me that it was real that I could come in under four hours and I thought, “Okay, that’s cool.” Then about a month to– I can’t really remember now, that’s a couple years ago, I secretly said to myself and would never admit this out loud, I can do way better than four hours but I still kept my expectations, lower expectations.

If I can come in at 3:45, they’d be fifteen minutes better than my goal and again four hours was an arbitrary goal.

[00:10:41] Adam: That’s known if you’re not a runner and it just sounds like well fifteen minutes is no big deal, that’s more than half a minute off each mile and that’s a big jump.

[00:10:52] Ian: It is a big jump. I didn’t know it at the time but now that I’ve been through it a couple times, it is a big jump. I got to race day and I had this little chart that I taped around my wrist which gave me my splits for every mile.

If I was shooting for a 3:45 so I could look, when I got to mile 10 I could look at how long it had been, I would know if I was above or below pace and I realized about halfway through the race that I was blowing through my pace and I ended up finishing that race at 3:31.

Either way you look at it, whether you look at the four hour mark as my original goal or a 3:45 on race day I performed really well against that goal but the key was that I had a goal that I was- there was something I was shooting for and therefore there was a purpose to what I was doing for me.

[00:11:50] Adam: Right. It’s really interesting. It sounds like the way you train though you weren’t working towards a pace or you weren’t working towards really tracking.

[00:12:01] Ian: The one thing that I was determined to do when I committed myself to running was– Not that I was ever going to enjoy it in the way that you hear runners talk about enjoying running, I still don’t. I don’t get that same kind of high that I’m so jealous of, that I hear about but what I was determined to do was to not let it rule my life for three months and by that I mean I work, I have a full-time job, I’m a single dad, I have two kids, I can be lazy sometimes.

I didn’t want it to be the singular focus of my life for two or three months, I wanted to try and to put effort into it and I wanted to do well but I wanted to also be a little mellow about it and not get obsessed with the seconds and the splits and how many calories and recovery and the stretching and the massages, into this, into that.

I saw a lot of people throughout my life who trained for marathons and to me it felt like some of them were more obsessed with the tracking of it all and the minutiae of it all than actually just going out and running hard and doing as well as they could. I was determined not to try to knock it in the weeds on a day-to-day basis.

[00:13:38] Adam: Don’t you think that’s– Just translating that directly to the workplace, don’t you think there’s people who get caught up in the ritual of the work we do and let that get in the way of the end goal of like, “No, we want to make this killer product for our client but I’m going to mess it up because I’m so focused on the ritual or getting my time entered the right way or filling out this form or having this proper meeting?”

[00:14:06] Ian: Yes, a hundred percent. I remember when I first joined the agency world and I had a client who would say all the time, “I don’t want the team confusing motion with progress.” and I knew exactly what he meant.

There’s not much value in everybody running around, focusing on the wrong stuff if you’re not moving the ball down the field and I think about that at work all the time. When somebody tells me or when I think to myself or I tell a client, “Well we’ve been really busy on this.”

I stop myself and I go, “Well, that doesn’t matter if I’ve been busy on it, what have we done, what kind of demonstrable progress have we made?” and I totally called on that during training.

It was well, I ran X number of miles a week and my Nike app tells me this and this and I ran uphill and downhill and all these things and I thought, “Okay” but I kept coming back to, “Okay but how did it feel this week, did I feel better, did I feel stronger, did I feel faster, did I feel better equipped to run the race.” I just kept thinking, “Okay, all those metrics are great but does it add up to me feeling like I’m going to have a better race?”

[00:05:31] Adam: Totally.

[00:05:31] Ian: If I was doing things that didn’t seem they were going to contribute to a better race I stopped doing them, whether it was what I was eating or the time of day that I was running or focusing on pace or even sometimes just deciding that the training program says I need to go out and run eight miles today but I don’t feel like that’s going to get me anywhere because I feel like rest would be more important today. Just really only doing things that I feel were going to get me further down the path of having a good race.

[00:16:05] Adam: Yes, totally but don’t confuse the ritual with the result.

[00:16:07] Ian: A hundred percent.

[00:06:09] Adam: You’re looking towards the end. It all starts with the goal, set a goal, there’s a race day, you didn’t schedule it but you signed it up so you’re doing it.

[00:06:18] Ian: That’s right.

[00:06:19] Adam: Then everything else is like, how am I going to make sure that me personally and if you’re not a runner, go Google marathon training schedule, you’ll find first result will be the Hal Higdon-

[00:06:29] Ian: That’s right.

[00:06:31] Adam: -training. Everybody knows the Higdon method and it’s like a spreadsheet of today you’re going to run two and a half miles, tomorrow you’re going to run three miles, the next day– You don’t have to do that.

[00:06:42] Ian: No.

[00:06:43] Adam: It’s nice to have a target but honestly it’s just a framework more than anything else.

[00:06:50] Ian: Yes, it also speaks to another thing when we look at our professional lives, it’s ability to look at yourself or look at your team and say, “Okay, let’s be really honest about what we’re good at and what we’re not good at.” Then course correcting or changing the way you go about doing something to capitalize on your strengths or to kind of mitigate your weaknesses and again I look at my teams at work all the time and I think “Okay, I’m not going to force this person, I’m not going to continue to force this person to try to do something that they’re just not comfortable doing or that they may just not have an aptitude for doing instead I’m going to capitalize on other strengths that they have and that’s how we’re going to get the most out of this team.” That’s the way I looked at myself when I was training.

It was okay, there’s just some things I’m not good at and so I’m not going to try to force myself to do them because A, I’m not going to have fun and B, I’m going to just start resenting this whole thing and I think that’s going to impact my performance at the end of the day.

[00:07:58] Adam: Yes. That ties directly into strategy and the work that we do where we’re guiding clients and you ever have that client and this is almost 50% of the time where their product is substandard or it’s not the best but they’re just convinced that cheerleading it is going to make it the best or make you produce messaging that’s going to say it’s the best or a strategy it’s like no we’re going to say it’s the best when if we could all just be honest with ourselves and say, “Look, we’re twice as much money as the competitor and we have to figure out a way to justify that.We have to own that and make that a strategic strong point to get over that barrier versus just powering through with the PlayBook that we’ve been given because that’s the way we do it.”

[00:08:42] Ian: Yes, the other time I hear that is– Have you ever been involved in a brief where it’s the brands 10th anniversary or 50th anniversary and it’s like [unintelligible 00:18:51] nobody really cares that it’s an anniversary.

Let’s figure out something else to talk about but that reminds me what you’re saying about going head-on at what your strengths and weaknesses are or what you have to offer, reminds me when I first joined the Agency World was when I moved back from New York to Chicago and I’d always been on the clients side.

The first few interviews I had at agencies, the question I got from everyone, it really threw me off, I wasn’t expecting it was well and I had great client-side marketing experience and the question was, “Well, you’ve never worked at an agency, what makes you think that you would you would be able to hack it at an agency?”

I remember during my first few interviews I really fumbled through it and tried to talk around it and then finally what I learned the best answer was and ultimately worked for me was when somebody said, “Well, you’ve never worked in an agency don’t you think that’s a detriment?” I would just say you are a 100% right, I have never worked at an agency. and here are the five reasons why I think that’s actually really important to your race. I just went right at it, not only were my points valid I think but also it was very disarming. It completely– and it changed the tone of the conversation in my favor I think so.

[00:20:17] Adam: That’s a really clear example of people putting the ritual before result whether you are thinking like, “Well, this person has a different way they want to do it, why are they trying to do it.” We have someone here who came from Digital Product World that’s now an account’s person and they want to do things differently and so I hear the accounts team coming in here and saying, “Well, he doesn’t want to do it this way.” and it’s like, “Why don’t you see how his way works because maybe it’s more efficient or maybe it’s better or maybe he’ll get you better answers.” like, “Let’s try it.”

[00:20:45] Ian: Yes, I agree a hundred percent. I can go on– we can have a whole another podcast about my views on dogma. I’m not a big fan of dogma, I like to see new perspectives and new ways of thinking bout things, much more of a pragmatist.

[00:21:03] Adam: Well, let’s prove it because you– so you did your first race and you beat the results you set and then you said you going to do another one which sounds like you just did in October.

[00:21:13] Ian: Yes, I did my first one-

[00:21:14] Adam: Did you change dogma or did you stick with your plan you had the first time?

[00:21:19] Ian: First of all, what I did was, I took a year off because I didn’t think I was ever going to run another one and I remember sitting on the sidelines of the marathon the year I didn’t do it and feeling really pissed off that I wasn’t running that day. So I thought, “Okay, I’m going to do another one.” I’m going to kind of try to approach it the same way but, if anybody is listening to this who has run any kind of race, you can’t help but– Now that I’ve got time that I hit, you start to become a little obsessed about, “Hey, how do I shave off a few seconds here, minute there or” I thought, “I’m still going to go into this not being a slave to the process. I still want to enjoy myself, I still want to have fun but I am not afraid to admit this time, that I care more.” Now I have an expectation of myself that I’m actually really interested in hitting or exceeding and still by marathon standards, I was fairly blowsy about how I went into it but by my standards, I was more focused and regimented.

[00:22:44] Adam: That’s interesting. Was there a specific area that you dialled in on.

[00:22:50] Ian: There were two things. There was nutrition, I just thought– I was more thoughtful about what I ate, how I ate, when I ate. Just not only on everyday basis but also before long runs and after long runs and how I recovered and what I put into my body. Nutrition was a big one and when it came to the runs themselves I was more purposeful about certain training rounds, for example, the first time around every run that I went out and did I basically run — I just run as fast as I could essentially for however that distance was. This time I actually was a lot more thoughtful about running certain runs really slowing them down which is a hard thing to do. Slowing them down to almost a jog and then running certain runs at race pace and doing a bit more of an interval approach may be on a 15mile run, doing 8miles at a super fast pace and the last 7 miles at race pace. Just a little bit more thoughtfulness about how I went about both eating and training but still trying not to obsess about too much the nitty-gritty or the details.

[00:24:13] Adam: Yes, but so again throwing back strategy it was picking your one of two areas that you wanted to focus on-

[00:24:22] Ian: Exactly.

[00:24:22] Ian:-and saying, “This is where I’m going concentrate because I cant do everything.”

[00:24:26] Ian: That’s exactly right. I have this colleague that I work with who — this is a rephrasing of something that has been said a million times but I always like how he says it, it’s so simple and he’s a strategist. Strategy is just prioritizing a series of choices to achieve a desired outcome and so I got a series of choices in my life. It was everything related to running but it was also work and parenting and watching baseball in summer and so I prioritized my choices to give me the outcome that I desired which was somewhere right around where I came in the first marathon at 3:31 a real stretch would have been 3:25 which would have qualified me for Boston marathon. I probably wouldn’t have run it but it was something to shoot for.

[00:25:17] Adam: I don’t know if you qualify, I think you would have to run. I would force you to. There would be runners all over the country that would be [unintelligible 00:25:23] .

[00:25:23] Ian: We can talk about one of the reasons why I didn’t but it’s unfortunately its something that I don’t have to worry about this year.

[00:25:31] Adam: Yes, whats that reason?

[00:25:34] Ian: The reason is, about three and a half weeks before the marathon on a run, I hadn’t yet picked my training runs so I still had a 20 mile to do or 22 mile. I was on-

[00:25:51] Adam: That’s 22 runs


[00:25:53] Ian: -I was just on a mid week throw away run and I was pretty close to finishing up. I was about half a mile from home and I slipped on a patch of gravel and I took a really, really bad fall. I landed on my face and I landed on my ribs and worst of all I broke the fore with my right hand and I ended up breaking a bone in my hand in two different places. Subsequently, I had to have surgery about two weeks after that and I’m still — I’m actually sitting here I have my splint is awesome, have seen you looking at my earlier scar on my hand and its still swollen, but yes.

[00:26:38] Adam: Sure, I didn’t realize it. You ran– you did tell me that you ran with a broken arm– a broken hand anyway.

[00:26:44] Ian: So I had been tracking from a time perspective, I felt strong. I felt stronger than I felt two years earlier and that’s — I had two years of age tucked on and I still felt stronger. I really kind of hit my stride and all of a sudden I had a hand that was in a cast and then subsequently had pretty major surgery on and a set of bruised ribs which is, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I still had not picked on training and I had a month to go so I literally didn’t know what to do. I didn’t even know if my doctor would let me run the race which-

[00:27:31] Adam: Did you keep running, did you keep training or did you stick to three weeks off running?

[00:27:35] Ian: I took the better part of about three weeks off to get through the pain of the broken hand and to let the pain on my ribs to subside a bit and to have surgery. I had to recover from surgery which was pretty [unintelligible 00:27:49]. I didn’t do anything for three weeks. I didn’t lift a finger and so again not being a runner one of disadvantages is I didn’t know how my body would react to that. I took three weeks off and then in a week before the marathon I did couple of short training runs. The longest I did was 10 miles and it was pretty slow it didn’t feel very good. My doctor said, “You can run it kind of– it’s not going to feel great just you going to be uncomfortable but you going to hurt your hand.” I had six screws and a plate on my hand so he said, “Your hand is screwed in tight there is nothing– but you not going to feel great” and so I thought “You know, I’m signed up I don’t know, worse case scenario I’ll run and walk, it’ll be a nice day.”

[00:28:45] Adam: You do it in five hours of walking.

[00:28:48] Ian: Exactly. I went out and I did it I ran it and I didn’t hit my time I didn’t hit 3:31 I didn’t hit 3:25 I came in at 3:37 was my time which-

[00:29:02] Adam: [inaudible 00:29:03]

[00:29:03] Ian: -Which by the way again was like trying to figure where I was going to come in with this injury, I was thinking, “Okay, well fine” I didn’t mean it like 4:00 4:15 that I feel good. I felt pretty good about that. I was thrilled after the race. I was actually happy after this race than I was the first one.

[00:29:22] Adam: Yes and it sounds like its all because you had it all organized the way you wanted it before you fell.

[00:29:28] Ian: That’s right. That’s exactly right and I had it organized, I had my act together. I also decided I was going take it in stride. I was thinking– I had this file that I have that I keep for new business pitches and meetings its got all these quotes that, we all use to death right there are all these other used quotes. There’s the one, the Mike Tyson one that says, “Everyone has got a plan until they get punched in the face.”l[unintelligible 00:30:00]

[00:30:02] Adam: Right, yes

[00:30:03] Ian: Like who knew Mike Tyson would become a kind of like a sage in the marketing world?

[00:30:07] Adam: I know it is a very it is a very compelling quote.

[00:30:09] Ian: It is and I got punched in the face big time and so I thought about it in a– After I stopped licking my wounds and feeling sorry for myself. I got intellectual actual and [unintelligible 00:30:20] about it. And I thought “Okay, well I got punched in the face, so what am I going to do now? I thought, “Okay, I’m not going to run because it hurts to much but I’m going to [unintelligible 00:30:29]. I’m going to continue to eat well. I am going to kind of not feel sorry for myself. I am going to– Mentally I’m going to keep preparing as if I’m running in a few weeks and-

[00:30:41] Adam: And you focus on the things you could control even while you weren’t running-

[00:30:44] Ian: A hundred percent. And so, its something that I talk to people about at work all the time. Its like, “Okay, we had a plan and like all plans it went to shit.” Right? You know and again the take on the Mike Tyson quote. I think its Eisenhower who said “Planning is everything, plans are nothing.” Right?

So, plans go to shit and then you got to figure out,” Okay, how are we going to course correct?” Whats the new landscape? Whats the new reality? And we do that a lot. Again, it goes back to my thinking about not being a big believer in dogma. Its like just because we wrote a plan and we said, “This is what were going to do doesn’t– When circumstances change lets look at how we are going to course correct on that plan.” That’s what I did and it turned out– Yes, I was really happy with my result.

[00:31:33] Adam: Very cool. I think people listening, you guys should be able to make a pretty straight translation for this to apply to strategy work. To me its really clear. I mean, its just thinking about flexibility and thinking about being, hate to use the word agile. Because I don’t mean the over years cascading waterfall, but just the idea that you can shift on the fly [unintelligible 00:31:58].

[00:31:58] Ian: I also think the other lessons, I think I’d love for people to take away. There’s two. One is you know, here’s another quote another sportsman Yogi Bear “If you don’t know where your going, you don’t know how to get there.” Just setting a goal and some people say, “We don’t even know where to set the goal.” Its just like, “Well, just set it somewhere. Then you can keep resetting it but start somewhere. Give yourself something to shoot for.” I think that’s one thing. And the other thing is just being instinctual, trusting your gut, being honest with yourself about your own strengths and weaknesses, your clients strengths and weaknesses, your teams. And so just you know trusting that kind of gut is something that is really important. You know this right. All we talk about these days are data decisions and big data, et cetera. I believe in that as much as anyone but I also believe there are times where you just have to sit in a room and look at the wall and go “Okay, this is what I think, this is what I am feeling about. I think-

[00:33:06] Adam: Yes, I totally agree. You cant just go just on numbers without having some intellectual comprehension of why its happening. Why is this number this way?This is really important to understand.

[00:33:18] Ian: I heard you interview a planner on this show. I listened to an episode. I don’t remember what is name was? Its escaping at the moment? You guys had a conversation– Let me think you guys were having a conversation about creative briefs. And your talking about it like sometimes the best briefs are when planners hypothesize? Right? And they say,”You know what, this feels like its the answer. All right and I am going to hypothesize it. We can go off and prove it or disapprove it when the time is right. But, “Hey creative team, this is where I think you should start exploring, kind of in this area or down this path.”I believe in that quite a bit too.

[00:34:00] Adam: Yes, we’ve seen that. I think that was maybe the John Burk episode, that you were referencing that guy is a smart dude.

I like it I’m proud of you kid.

[00:34:10] Ian: One more thing.

[00:34:11] Adam:  All right, well.

[00:34:12] Ian: Because I thin this is important.

[00:34:14] Adam: Oh, yes I love it.

[00:34:15] Ian: All right. A lot of times– You might have even said it– A lot of times I’ll say, “I ran a marathon.” and you will say, “Ugh, I could never do that.” Its like, “I have to tell you I ran my first one at 43 and like I said I wasn’t exactly like a deacon of fitness. Anybody can do it, I know it sounds so trite but anybody really can do it because when people say, “I can never run a marathon.” what they are saying is, “I could never imagine going out tomorrow and running 26.2 miles.” well, it’s like, “Well, of course, you cant. I cant either. But could you imagine going out tomorrow and run 3 miles, and the next week running five, and the next week running six and then seven.” I hope people get that because there’s a lot of people who actually want to do it who just feel overwhelmed by it and if you just break it down into the smallest pieces its actually incredibly achievable. It really is, I really do think its all about just-

[00:35:08] Adam:  Yes, I’m glad you added that because you could apply that to anything. Clients come and say, “We currently have one and a half percent of the market but we want 5%. God, we will never there.” and its like, “Well, could we get to 2%. Could we get to 3%, yes.”

[00:35:25] Ian: That’s my inspirational speech for the day.

[00:35:30] Adam: I like it, I’m very inspired. I’m going run through this wall right now. Ian, thank you so much. Hey, tell them where they can find you online.

[00:35:37] Ian: You could find me online, on twitter at @iansohn. It’s also my website which doesn’t really have anything interesting but if you want to read my bio iansohn.com and please introduce yourself. Say, “Hi” I would love it. Love to meet you guys.

[00:35:56] Adam: Awesome. I think @aperno. I am also at Instagram @instilstrategy please send more feed back. We’d love it. If you had an idea for a guest or a topic send it my way. I would love to make this as interactive as we can. Thanks again, Ian for being here, its been really awesome talking to you.

You’re still reading. You must really like this podcast. Hey – if you like the audio, you’d dig the book. Under Think It is the marketing strategy guidebook for everyone. Everyone. I mean it. It’s meant to be a reset button for planners or a new path forward for those looking to apply more strategy to their work. It’s been described as ‘inspiring’, ‘insightful’ and subversive.

Categories: Podcast