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Candor and Manners: How We Nurture Creative Genius

Candor ensures your message is clear, honest, and direct. A lighthouse guiding your words through the foggy sea of ambiguity, ensuring that your intentions are illuminated and your meaning is unmistakable. Manners delivers the truth in a way that is respectful, considerate, and ultimately, more likely to be heard and acted upon. It’s the difference between a blunt instrument and a surgical tool — both can be effective, but the latter is far more precise and less likely to cause unintended damage.

Like a Dealer on the Playground

I lived on the lookout for parents getting rid of childhoods in bulk, cleaning out the rooms of their college-bound boys. The same $5 action figure at Target was never more than a dollar at Vet’s Stadium. And from the right vendors, comics were practically sold by the pound.
Halfway through my third grade year, I was turning into quite the junior entrepreneur, and was feeling less bitter about the broken promise of a better school experience.

Terms of Service  

Terms of Service was inspired by the antics of David Thorne, whose audacious attempt to pay off a debt with his drawing of a seven-legged spider led to a hilarious volley of emails. The absurdity and wit in Thorne’s recounting of this tale is a study in master-trolling from an ingeniously off-kilter mind.

How Moneyball Swings For the Storytelling Fences

Moneyball could have been drier than a dissertation on the molecular structure of boredom, considering that it’s about the use of statistical analysis in baseball. Instead it’s an emotionally-resonant narrative focused on the human stories in the heart of that data. Great storytelling, like a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth, has the power to strike a chord inside us, even if we don’t know the difference between a squeeze play and a sacrificial bunt.

Plotting Success

Starting next week, we’ll dive deep into each of these flywheels, with actionable strategies I encourage you to steal. By focusing on one or two of these areas, you can maximize your results and tailor the takeaways to your own talent, ambition, and level of experience.

Growing Toward Being a Better Collaborator

Increasing your level of self-awareness can also help you to take a step back and choose a different behavior in the moment. Meditation, journaling, therapy, and getting others’ feedback about when you’re falling into a negative pattern are all ways of becoming more self-aware of your behavior.


Whether you’re naming a startup or a protagonist, a product or a fantasy realm, take the time to explore, brainstorm, and refine. Consider meaning, sound, and cultural context. Above all, choose a name that captures the essence of what you’re trying to communicate to the world.