Tom Fishburne: Founder & CEO of Marketoonist

Episode 242

How do you convey those difficult messages? With humor and the Marketoonist! Founder and CEO of the Marketoonist, here today to share more on this episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow

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Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be I want to be,

you just want to make sure you will get knocked down. But just make sure you don’t get knocked down knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you

can control control control. Hi, everyone and welcome to the Kara Goldin show. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go. Let’s go. Hi, everybody. It’s Kara Goldin from the Kara Goldin show. I’m super, super excited to have my next guest here. We have Tom Fishburne, who is founder and CEO of the market Tunis. And I would bet that you have seen some of the sketches out there that are so amazing sketches and actually cartoons, and that are not only entertaining, but also so informative. And Tom actually lives in Marin County, where I live as well. So we’re sort of neighbors and get to see each other every once in a while. But it’s really, really nice to be able to record him and share a little bit more about his story. So every time I see an email in my inbox, he is definitely one that I open. Just got an incredible, incredible newsletter or email group that I’m a part of that is just so good. And he’s got a marketing agency where lots of incredible companies hire him in to kind of help them think about how do we describe different types of kind of explanations that we’re trying to get out to customers or teams. He’s worked with amazing companies like Google Chronos, LinkedIn, and Hant, way back in in some of the early days. And he’s also the author of your ad ignored here, which is a compilation of nearly 200 workplace cartoons. And Tom is an advocate for using humor to convey difficult messages and I can’t wait to talk to him more and have him on the show. So thanks, Tom, for coming on.

Tom Fishburne 2:26
Thanks so much for having me. It’s so great to be here.

Kara Goldin 2:28
Let’s go way back to when you know Tom Jr. So did you always know that you were going to be a cartoonist

Tom Fishburne 2:36
I loved cartoons I dreamed about being a cartoonist. But I as I got older, I didn’t think it could actually be a real job. But I was always drawing cartoons. I was making flip books and making, you know, silly putty cartoons. Taken from the Sunday paper and erasing the words to make a new cartoons about my brothers, things like that. So I always loved cartoons. And then I got older and I, you know, I just I just didn’t see how you could get from here to there. Particularly when I started to hear cartoonist stories and learn that newspapers and magazines were declining and, and it just didn’t seem like, there. Let’s just say there was nobody on my college campus recruiting for cartoonists. Yeah. So it was one of those things that was kind of tons of fun, and I dreamed about it. But it became the type of thing that I would do nights and weekends as a hobby for a long time.

Kara Goldin 3:25
So what was your favorite cartoon growing up?

Tom Fishburne 3:28
So Calvin and Hobbes for sure. Definitely one of my favorites. farside Gary Larson, Berkeley breathin drew Bloom County. Those three cartoons were that were the biggest, kind of my favorite ones as far as the regular newspaper cartoons. And I’d love New Yorker cartoons. We always had a subscription to The New Yorker. So I started with those, even if I didn’t get all the references as a kid. Yeah, I had fun just looking at the artwork. And I could I could kind of get a sense of what was going on there. So I just grew up surrounded by cartoons.

Kara Goldin 3:58
So what was your first job out of college,

Tom Fishburne 4:01
I was trying to figure out what to do. And so I took a summer job working on a dude ranch in Wyoming. It’s a bit of have a pause and think about where to go next. And it was great fun. But when I finished up the summer, all of my friends were moving to Atlanta, and starting to get professional jobs. And there was part of me that just wanted to do something a bit more adventurous. So I bought a one way ticket to the Czech Republic and move there, not knowing anybody. And within a week, I’d gotten a job working for the first English language magazine in Prague. And I met my my wife, who was living there as well, Tally. That’s how we met and, and had a place to live. I ended up living in Prague for a year, which was a great adventure, and also taught me a little bit about business because it was a startup magazine, really on the frontier as Eastern Europe was was really shifting from from being being a communist economy to suddenly having all the startups everywhere which was is a tremendous amount of fun. What year

Kara Goldin 5:01
was this that you were making? 9595? So

Tom Fishburne 5:04
it was, Yes, amazing.

Kara Goldin 5:06
I think I was there I was in Prague, I think it was the end of 93. And it was the same and it was the same thing. It was like changing. And you could just feel the change I, I always share with people that it’s I was in Shanghai, actually, when Shanghai was going through that and going through changes of actually putting highway systems in, and the URL was 1996 1997. And whenever you can go into a country and actually see that shift, I mean, it’s really powerful, you can, really is eye opening. So So going back to the startup that you were at, was that kind of the first, like moment when you thought, okay, maybe I’m home, like maybe I’m actually seeing something that I can go and do, you can go hang a shingle and go and do something.

Tom Fishburne 5:58
It was it was so empowering to know that you could have a bunch of, you know, people figuring it out, you know, we were all everybody was figuring things out, just being in that environment. But then starting a business and figuring out all the aspects that go into that. And we, you know, is bootstrapping everything, we had to Power Mac computers, we’d lay out the whole magazine, and we had to run them in shifts right before production deadlines, and Max would get so hot, we take the hood off of it and have a fan directly on the Mac, because it would freeze up. And we would have to take shifts in the middle of night to lay out the magazine. And I had some design background. So I’d lay out ads, I was also selling ads, I was writing articles. So it was this idea of a real small bootstrap environment where you’re, you know, you know, the, you basically do everything from the sublime to the ridiculous, you’re selling ads, and you’re emptying out the trash cans, everything you have to do as an early stage startup, it taught me a lot. And you know, and we, you know, it was it was sometimes Rocky and bumpy. And it was in some ways a difficult first job out of college because you joined a large organization, they sort of teach you. It’s it’s it can be a learning environment where they teach you the right way to operate. But we were just figuring it all out. Yeah. Later on, I worked in bigger companies. I’m glad that I did. But having worked in Prague, I really missed the small stage. And so I wanted to find a way to get back to that at some point.

Kara Goldin 7:20
So after Prague, you came back to the US and what was the next step.

Tom Fishburne 7:25
So my wife is from California, and we, you know, spent a year dating in Prague and decided to move to San Francisco, and it was the late 90s. And the internet was starting to take off. And in some ways the environment felt similar as Eastern Europe and 95. Just all these businesses and opportunity, opportunities. And so I joined a small internet development company that ended up growing with the growth of everything in the late 90s. And we built a lot of websites for for big companies, a lot of the first websites for airlines and hotels and as well as dot coms at that time. And I did that for three and a half years, I guess, until applying to business school. And at the time, everybody was like, why would you be leaving this environment, you could have to go to business school. But as it turned out, the timing worked out pretty well. I was accepted, right before everything crashed in the spring of 2000.

Kara Goldin 8:15
Wow, that’s incredible. So you go to you go to business school, and I heard you were cartooning a little bit while you were there. And the back of case studies and and I read that you started sharing your cartoons back in 2002, I guess in your work environment. But what was the connection there that you actually thought okay, maybe I can start to do this and actually do this every single day?

Tom Fishburne 8:40
Yeah, the well, the the light bulb for me. And Business School was interesting, because I always drawn cartoons, but I never really showed them to anyone, certainly not people who weren’t my close friends instead of suddenly being a student newspaper, every week, in in business school was was a real rush, I had to experience the first cartoon I drew was making fun of a class we all took. And then I went into that class. And the professor started out by putting it on, on the screen for everybody. And I had a moment of panic. As you know, suddenly there, 90 people looking at something I’d created. And then they started laughing and to be in a room when they were all laughing collectively, it’s something I created was such a rush. And I realized I want to keep doing this. And so after two years of drawing this business school cartoon, I just I loved it. I wanted to keep it going. And when I graduated and didn’t have a student newspaper anymore, I thought I want to just find some way to draw a cartoon about something that people might appreciate. And because I went to work in marketing, that became the natural fit to draw cartoons about my day job, initially, just for I thought would just be for my co workers. I send an email to all the people I worked with General Mills, it could we sort of sort of start an organization like that in classes. So there were like 35 to 50 people because of who had just gotten out of business school who were starting at General Mills, and I just sent an email with my cartoon, and said, If you want to get more of these, here’s how you sign up, and if you know of any friends who might be interested forwarded along. And so that’s the only bit of outbound push I ever did. It started with those 35. And then within a few weeks, I had a few 100 than a few 1000 and 10s of 1000s. And now, it’s a few 100,000 people a week, who get my weekly marketing cartoon, and this October, week, 20 years,

Kara Goldin 10:19
that’s incredible. Now, it’s amazing how you have grown this so much. So you left your full time job. And that was at General Mills, right? Is that where you were at? Or where where were you when you left in 2010. To make this a full time,

Tom Fishburne 10:32
I had moved from General Mills, I was at Nestle. And then I was at method. So a smaller consumer products company, where I learned a lot. And it was a method that I finally made the jump in 2010 to do this full time.

Kara Goldin 10:44
That’s right, that you were at method. So I think like the idea of actually taking the marketing side of it too. And I mean, it’s it’s a real skill, it’s sort of like being able to write, and in shorter versus longer. I mean, it’s it for to get ideas across. That’s what I’ve noticed with what you do, and it’s just super, super inspiring. So where did you get the courage to finally just say, you know, okay, I’m finally gonna go do this, because method was still super, they hadn’t been sold, right? Like they were right. You know, where did you get that courage to just say, Okay, I’m gonna go and do this.

Tom Fishburne 11:23
It was, it was a series of things I kind of I was dreaming about it. But I basically from the time that I, I started this particular cartoon to the time that I left was eight years, and it was eight years of occasionally dreaming, maybe this could be something bigger, and then quickly thinking but I’m on a good place. Would What do you know? Is this the right time to make the leap? We had a young family, I always joke it’s the sitcom demographic, single income two kids oppressive mortgage, like it never seemed like the right time to make the jump. And I found myself we were living in England method sent me to London to help get method started in Europe. And it was a great job and a great experience, real entrepreneurial stuff. They’re just a few of us on the ground who are getting this brand going. And I got it. I heard about this, this. Another small brand that was a clothing brand based in Wales called Hyatt. And we’re actually sorry, called called, blanking on the name now. Anyway, it’ll come to Howie’s skin which is kind of like a timber kind of timberland for the UK. And there was a founder led company and they were they were organizing an event to bring bring people together to encourage entrepreneurs to take that leap. And they call it to do lectures. And I reached out to them and I said the story of method would be great for the two lectures. Yeah. And they got back to me, and they said method would be a great story. But it’s not your story. It would probably be the founder of methods story. Maybe maybe you could introduce us to them. And that little question that it’s not my story started to like, started to gnaw at me, it started making me wonder what’s my story. And they invited me to come just as an attendee, and the first year that I went, it was, it was the surreal environment, it was almost like a little TED Talk mixed with Burning Man that’s in the middle of a field in Wales. And it was all mostly Brits, the only other American strangely, was Tim Ferriss. He’d come over as a speaker, and we’re all staying in tents. And all day long, all these entrepreneurs are talking about these big, bold, entrepreneurial leap state taken. And at the end of that three days, I left there saying I gotta find a way to make cartoons my story. And so that was what lit the first fire. And then secondly, to your question about the leap, the same entrepreneurial couple, David and Claire Hyatt, they went on to start a company called Hyatt. He had this analogy that I found really useful that he called the V one marker, he said, when an airplanes going down a runway, and it’s getting to a place where it’s going to take off, there’s a point that it reaches v one speed, which is kind of the point of no return. And when you hit V, one v one speed, you’re either takeoff or your crash. And he said for entrepreneurs, it never seems like the right time to take the jump. So what you should do is imagine yourself on a runway, and then imagine what would be true for you to take that jump, what’s your own v one marker, what conditions would have to be true in order for you to take the jump and actually start a business. And so for me, I just kind of wrote a few things down on the back of a sheet of paper that I wanted to have. I wanted to have moonlighting income equal to half my salary, I wanted to have a business plan to get to the other half within within a calendar year. I wanted to have the support of my wife, and I wanted to have a home equity line of credit to those four things. And so I kind of headed off down the runway, and then suddenly, I found myself where those conditions happened. And it made it really clear to me, now’s the time to take the jump.

Kara Goldin 14:48
That’s awesome. And what was your first business that hired you to come in and kind of help them to explain something really difficult?

Tom Fishburne 14:55
I had been moonlighting for a little bit on this I didn’t initially plan I would start to get requests from people who are reading my cartoons and said, Hey, can you create something for our brand, the first one was actually the Asian Wall Street Journal, they contacted me saying that we have a business challenge that a lot of people are subscribed to the Asian Wall Street Journal, but people kind of read the front page, and then don’t really read the rest of it. And then their subscriptions are lapsing because they don’t realize all the good stuff that’s inside. So they had the idea of creating a little 20 Page cartoon book, to tuck into the front of every edition, about how to get the most out of the journal. So I created cartoons about all the different sections of the journal and, and and with a cartoon lens talked about all the things you’d be missing out on if you weren’t reading the paper regularly. And that was to get them to approach me was was a big moment for me, because they do have cartoons in the in the Wall Street Journal, but it’s kind of the size of a postage stamp. It’s super tiny. And they get tons of submissions just to get that tiny spot. And the fact that they reached out to me, it kind of it was a it was a it gave me a bit of an insight that what the value that I brought was not just that I was a cartoonist, but that I was a cartoonist with a marketing background. And this idea that there was something that I uniquely did that if I can really get a handle on what I uniquely do, that could actually be something that could that could turn into something bigger. So that was my first insight.

Kara Goldin 16:18
Hey, Kara, here, we are thrilled you’re listening with us. And I hope you’re enjoying this episode. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing so many amazing guests over the past few years, and there are so many more to come. I cannot wait. And my focus is on entrepreneurs and CEOs, real innovators and leaders who are making a difference. That’s what I’m looking forward to bringing you. One of the reasons I enjoy interviewing many of my guests is that I get to learn. We all need to hear stories that teach us to be better inspire us and help us get through those challenging moments. I can’t remember the last time I had to guess that didn’t leave me feeling like a major hurdle had been overcome. We just don’t hear these stories enough. And when we do, we learn to be smarter and stronger. Don’t you agree? Episodes are concise, but packed with amazing info that you will surely be inspired by, do me a favor and send me a DM and tell me what you think about each interview that you get a chance to be inspired by. And if you are so inclined, please leave one of those five star reviews for the Kara Goldin show on one of your favorite podcast platforms as well. Reviews really, really help. Now let’s get back to this episode. What do you think has been the toughest thing or most surprising thing that you’ve learned about starting your own business that maybe no one told you even in business school?

Tom Fishburne 17:51
I think that there’s there’s a moment after I’d made the leap. There was maybe there was maybe a kind of two months after that I had this panic moment of what have I done, like the buyer’s remorse. And a few people warned me about that. But I thought I had a pretty good plan. And then I found myself two months afterwards. And the original plan, you know, things just have evolved and changed and certain clients I thought would come through didn’t come through. And there was a moment of a real panic where I thought I’m going to have to call back my old boss and say, I’ve made a terrible mistake. Why? And I and I think it was also the idea, I started to imagine myself going to my next Harvard Business School Reunion, and seeing all of my successful former classmates and describing to them that I’ve left this high growth company to basically be a cartoonist, right. And so my own self worth on that I imagined that people would see what I was doing as equivalent to, you know, making balloon animals at a county fair, rather than creating something that was actually a business. And a lot of it had to do with my own self worth connected to the business. And I had to do it. As a result, it forced me to really think about what was really important to me, and to address some of the things that were going on, sort of in my own thinking about the business to define what my own metrics for success would be. And I’ve since come to find that it’s an it’s not an uncommon story that a lot of entrepreneurs, when they start things, are there tons of buyer’s remorse, and particularly when it’s something very personal, and you’re bootstrapping it, there, you’re going to hit these moments where, where you wonder if you’re making the right decisions. And so it’s it’s good to be surrounded by people who are supportive, who can remind you to keep going and remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing. And for me, I got through that, and eventually got to the you know, the other side and clients were coming in suddenly, doors that I never expected, would even be there started opening and they only opened because I’d made that initial leap. But when I made that initial initial leap, I had no idea they would be there. So if there was certainly like a leap it was it really was a leap of faith. And I started to get myself a little permission six months out that if I ever felt like, maybe this isn’t working, they are made a terrible mistake, I would I would say, okay, I can put a marker now, six months out from now if I still feel this way, maybe I can make a change. But I’m not going to suddenly make a rash decision just because I’m feeling uncomfortable in the moment.

Kara Goldin 20:17
So interesting. I would imagine, too, that sometimes you’re in a company and you’re, you’re helping people create these messages that they’ve been trying to figure out exactly how to articulate these messages. And then people want you to do more. Do you ever get to a point where you’re like, okay, like, this is what I do. And you know, versus actually being a marketing arm inside of a company where they want you to take on more. I mean, I know this has happened to you.

Tom Fishburne 20:45
It definitely has happened. And there there is it there are two sides to that. Because yes, it’s true that I needed to find boundaries. And I’ve gotten better over time and thinking about I want to stay with what I uniquely do well, and, and get over the fear. Sometimes I find that I’ve ever said yes to everything, because maybe tomorrow, nobody will want to hire me again, I’ve kind of it’s taken some time. But over time, I’ve gotten more confidence in what I do to know that, that, that you know that there’s value there, I can keep leaning on. But the other side of that is I do often learn from clients and projects where the scope goes broader than what I initially thought would be there. You know, I, I, you know, there have been a number of times where I thought maybe they’re asking me to do something I haven’t done before. But there’s a good chance to figure out if I know how to do that. One of the big shifts was, I often would be brought in to create cartoons for external marketing campaigns. But suddenly, somebody asks, Can you create cartoons for our own organization, you know, we’re going through a major transformation, we want to talk about these very difficult topics around transformation and how we can be more entrepreneurial and things like this, can you create cartoons about our culture, things that finding humor and things we want to move away from, so that they’re not taboo, so that we’re giving permission to the organization to laugh at ourselves of where we’re not living up to where you want to be. And that was definitely out of my wheelhouse. But as I experimented with that, it was great fun, I learned a lot. And now it’s about 1/3 of the projects that I take on are more for internal culture change purposes, using humor as a way to, to guide companies through difficult times, or to try to try to move from one place to another. And so I try to learn I try not to be too rigid. But I also try to have some boundaries to make sure I’m not stretching myself too thin over time,

Kara Goldin 22:35
what was one of the hardest assignments you’ve been given that you just couldn’t do? Or maybe you did, you were able to do it, but it was really, really tough. I’ve been

Tom Fishburne 22:45
to almost surprised on the opposite the areas where I thought would be least appropriate for humor, potentially, or the most card rails, you know, areas related, you know, HR areas, for instance, areas related to, you know, where I imagined that the client would be a stuffy conference room with all sorts of rigid rules and people saying, No, we can’t find any humor in this whatsoever. Surprisingly, those have been the ones that have been most effective, I think, because they haven’t traditionally had humor there. And I found that. So I’ve done a number of products related to HR related issues, a lot of legal related issues, things that tend to be very, very rigid and stuffy. And I find that even even in those organizations, even when you get to that sort of a place, everybody working, there are still people with their own human needs and, and things they find funny. And once I can talk on a human level with them. After a short conversation, I can very quickly get to a place where there are things that we can laugh collectively about. And it’s such a relief in those environments to do that. I’ll give one example. Just just trying to understand the culture and what can be funny. I worked with the largest bank and Asia DBS bank, they’re based in Singapore. I’ve never visited Singapore. I’ve been in Southeast Asia a few times. But I’ve I don’t know that environment very much. But what I knew about the bank from our initial conversations is that it was very hierarchical. And they were trying to be more. They’re trying to think a little bit more like a startup. And so they’re aware of some things they needed to change. But they wanted to create cartoons about their culture. And I thought, how can I create something that’s done in a sensitive way that will be relevant and understandable to everybody there that can find humor in the fact that there that can be kind of kind of rigid, and I just listened a lot and I interviewed a lot of employees and I took notes. And I noticed, I noticed I kept hearing the same word over and over again, and the Word was scolded. People were fearful of being scolded by their manager. I thought, hey, I’m not used to hearing that word in a business environment. That’s interesting. So maybe there’s something in the word scolded. And so I started playing with concepts involving somebody getting punished in the classroom. Like they did something and you know, and there’s the classic example of a teacher making his students sit in the corner with a paper dunce hat on their head. Like maybe there’s something there. But that paper dunce hat means nothing in Singapore, I found out, they just don’t know that reference. And so I had this funny exchange where I was presenting these concepts to a large room. And they very hierarchical in the room and I was sharing these concepts. They didn’t get that. And I was like, is there an example that comes to mind, if you’re a kid, and you get in trouble in class, something that a teacher makes you do to embarrass you in front of the students, and one of the most senior people in the room, kind of a vice president of the bank stands up and he walks in the corner, and he does this thing that I’d never seen before, where he crossed his arms, he holds on to his ear lobes and sort of squats in the corner. And everybody, it was the first time I heard the whole room laugh, like they all laughed, because that’s so recognizable for their growing up. Yeah, that was like, yeah, so if you’ve been in trouble, that’s exactly what you have to do. And they sent me a picture of this executive. And he’s, you know, it’s a serious environment. But he’s willing to go in the corner and hold his ear lobes and squat like that in the corner. And it was so funny. And it just was like, the air was let out of the balloon in the room. And I created a cartoon kind of on that edge, or somebody in the corner, posed like that, and somebody at a conference table saying, you know, anybody else have an idea they’d like to test or throw out there. And they, it really worked for them. And it was a lesson for me to just, if I go into a challenging situation, to listen, and look for human moments, and then find ways to use cartoons to bring those lines to life in a funny way. And I learned how much humor is just universal. How much

Kara Goldin 26:38
of your cartoons is just living, you know, just you record versus research.

Tom Fishburne 26:44
It there’s, there’s a lot of research to it. But it’s trying to trying to research and get it all kind of kind of baked in, so I have some domain knowledge. And then and then stepping away from it. And just trying to walk around with that and live and live my life and find connections to what I’ve just researched into what I’m seeing on a day to day basis. So it’s kind of both of if I’m in the weeds reading about an organization, their marketing strategy or their business culture, I’m, I’m almost too close to that close to it, I have to like, soak in it, and then have to go away and kind of just be playful and doodle scenarios until things start to come to me. So it’s a lot of how we usually have a sketchbook with me when I’m walking around. And often I’ll observe something. And that observation, I’m not quite sure how it will show up. It may show up in my weekly marketing cartoon, it may show up in a project I’m working on with a client and I kind of tailor it to fit their business. But I’m always it I’ve realized over time that drawing cartoons regularly has been a form of exercise for me to remind me to pay attention to what’s going on in the world. And it makes me makes me more observant over time.

Kara Goldin 27:51
That’s no so true. So can you share a story of a challenge or a failure you’ve had along the way where? You know, you learned a lot? Maybe it’s it’s something that you didn’t expect I, you know, share with you. I mean, definitely, my big story that I talked about in my book is Starbucks when we were in Starbucks, and then got booted and out of Starbucks and being able to sort of look back on what did I do wrong? But also like, how do I move forward? Because I think we all need to move forward, whenever we have challenges along the way. So I’d love to hear yours.

Tom Fishburne 28:32
Absolutely might, the one that comes to mind is one that’s probably that I think many entrepreneurs experienced around the same time. But at the start of early COVID. Suddenly, everything was thrown out the window, I drew a cartoon around that time imagining a bunch of executives in the conference room, and the visual had a huge wrecking ball coming from the side with COVID-19 written on it. And for me, within one week, we lost our biggest client and all of my speaking gigs. And so that was pretty scary. And the feedback from that client was was not only to freeze budgets, you know, for just to play it safe. But also the question, is it right? Is humor valid in a difficult time, basically better to serious than sorry. And so that was kind of scary, because my whole business model is built on humor. And and on the speaking side, you know, I don’t have a full schedule of things coming up and suddenly those were off the table. So it taught me a lot about about how to face a situation that seems really scary in the moment. I learned a lot about myself just when they’re when there’s a business threat. I can sometimes tend to go to a catastrophizing mindset where these things are happening, therefore it’s all over. Yeah. And then Therefore I do nothing. And so I found somebody shared with me around that time, this acronym for fear, false evidence appearing real. If you’re in a fear place, sometimes you can be you can you actually you can paint this picture that looks like it’s over. And I realized if I could just stay where my feet was, feet were and to think like, what’s the next right thing to do for me right now today? Do it serve 24 hours at a time, it kind of got me through it. And one of the things that I realized on that question of better to serious than sorry, around that same time, I started to get messages from people who are reading my regular cartoons. And they kept saying, I hope you keep doing this, we need moments of humor, now more than ever, yeah. And I realized, you know, there’s, I want to lean into that. And so I started drawing cartoons about exactly how I was feeling in that moment, and how I felt that many were feeling whether you’re in a big organization, and suddenly everything’s changing, or you’re a startup, I drew a lot of cartoons informed by that raw life experience. But I used to also start to really think about the role that humor could play in difficult times. And I ended up putting together a short online presentation for a publisher in the UK, specifically on this topic, why we need humor in challenging times. And it helps me to articulate the real, the real value that humor plays, because humor can be an act of empathy. Sometimes, it’s one of the best ways to connect with other people, or through simple ways to bond over humor. And a lot of organizations when they’re when they’re fearful of using humor. Sometimes they think humor can only take one form, you know, the form that could be seen as offensive, when in reality, there are many, many forms of humor. And there, there are a number of appropriate ways to find humor, even when things are really difficult. And it just developing this talk helped me articulate my own point of view on that. And ultimately, the talk was ended up being very well received, led to new clients coming in, who were were connecting on that message, it led to speaking invitations that were virtual, to figure out how to do do a good job at doing that. But through that period, it really taught me a lot. And at the end of it, the client that originally stepped away, they’ve ultimately come back, and we’re now doing work together again. And I now have a whole way of giving, giving conference talks that I never knew existed before, or I didn’t think you could do them well. And now I’m giving a combination of in person and virtual talks. And so it developed a whole new competency for me. But I the biggest thing was learning how to kind of take it step by step. And, and ultimately, the experience I think made. It certainly taught me a lot, but it made I think that the business a bit stronger, too, because I it really helped me get closer to what the purposes of what I’m trying to do, which is bringing, finding, you know, realizing that humor is an underappreciated skill in business, that there’s a power in humor in business. And then that can take many different forms. It realizing that helped me look for a whole new ways that I can do what I do in the world of cartoons and beyond. And it’s been it’s been a lot of a lot of fun over time to figure out what that looks like for me.

Kara Goldin 33:14
Well, and I think sometimes, you know, going back to your fear analogy, I mean, sometimes people just can’t, they can’t get there, right? And they need help, they need you to come in and show them how humor can come and help and I think definitely calm people down and many ways and and so I think everything about what you’re saying, including your story of going through what you’ve been through and your journey to get to this place where stuff is gonna happen along the way, but you just have to keep going and figure out exactly how you get through more than anything. And definitely I so much appreciate all of your talks. You have great talks on your website, too, and and also just on social media and your newsletter and everything. So thank you so much for coming on, Tom. I really, really appreciate it and everybody the market to NIST, definitely check it out and follow Tom on Tom Fishburne. And where’s the best? Do you want to let everybody know where the best place to find on social? Yes, it

Tom Fishburne 34:23
will. Yeah, actually my website market Has all 20 years of my cartoons there. And then I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, Tom Fishburne or marketing this and also on Instagram. So it’s always fun to connect with people and how the cartoons resonate with them.

Kara Goldin 34:39
That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much, Tom. And thanks, everybody, for listening. Definitely subscribe to the Kara Goldin show so that you’re not missing out on great stories and lessons from creators like Tom Fishburne and the market to NIST and definitely give this episode five stars. It makes a huge difference for the algorithm. So def initely please help us out by doing that and find me on all social platforms at Kara Goldin and definitely pick up a copy of my book undaunted, or also it’s available on Audible too. And we’re here every Monday, Wednesday, probably going to three days a week, very, very soon, and hopefully, you’ll be subscribing and you’ll learn all about that. So have a great rest of the week, everyone. Thanks again, Tom.

Tom Fishburne 35:24
Thank you.

Kara Goldin 35:25
Before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. Successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of Pentwater Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight send me a tweet at Kara Goldin and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara Goldin. Thanks for listening