Listen to the Episode!

I have read and agreed to your Privacy Policy

Powered by the Simple Podcast Press Player

In this episode, we get to speak with Kirk Westwood. He’s an upcoming author for a new book that’s coming out. But he’s an award-winning creative director, content strategist and a business communications consultant. When I got to speak with him and get to work with him on some of the projects back in the past. I thought to myself, what better way to learn than to interview them for the podcast so here we are, learning the journey of Kirk Westwood.

His book is coming soon and can be pre-ordered here: The Very Best Bad Idea

Our Guest

Kirk Westwood

Hacks to take Away

  • If you bought more ad time you made more sales because more people knew about you.
  • Earned media was easier because getting in front of people’s faces was easier.
  • Trying to be as a middle-market as possible if you’re American.
  • How to channel approach works.
  • What you consider to be that starting moment
  • The content strategy came first.
  • We learn to build because of our ability and work together,

Read Full Transcript

Junaid Ahmed 0:10
Thank you for tuning into hacks and hobbies with your host Janae. In Season Two of hacks and hobbies were visited by our amazing guests coming from all walks of life want to learn their story, their struggles and their journey on how they got to where they are today. So stick around.

This episode we get to speak with Kirk Westwood. He's an upcoming author for a new book that's coming out. But he's an award award winning creative director, content strategist and a business communications consultant.

Kirk Westwood 1:04
Me. Thank you so much for having me. This is this is great.

Junaid Ahmed 1:40
Awesome. And you are so used to being a host and you are a daily talk show host on your twitch channel, which is super amazing. I've always been, you know, what's that word? blown away. Like how is somebody able to do this on a daily basis. I can't wrap my head around it, but I kind of do. But then like all the pre production that goes into Okay, this is what we're going to talk about. It's just mind blowing so

Kirk Westwood 2:11
well I mean to be absolutely fair I don't do that alone. So when we first decided I'm going to the show is called Kirk and Corey and it's on which TV as you mentioned, and and when we first started doing it, there was no pre production. It literally was my my, my coworker Corey and I, we would, we would turn on our iPad. We turn on the iPad during lunch, and it literally just started with us arguing about movies and it was there was no pre planning it was we were shooting on an iPad and it was just we're both talking to then arguments did people we just yeah, we would sit and argue as as the viewership became a thing and we made affiliate very quickly and as long as that became a thing. Um, I you know, I run this company. And I am Emily and I have things. You know, I, I'm lucky enough that Corey is. Corey is a little younger and that doesn't quite have a family yet. And she was she was the one who was like, I want to do this more. And I was like, Look, I am in. Yeah, I can't do anything more than I'm doing. I can. I can. She's like, what if I didn't ask you, but if you could commit to me that you from like, 1130 to 130 like two hours a day? Yeah. Could you give me that? I'm like, you know? Yes. And so we, we, for when we were doing daily, we've gone to a weekly stream now for, I'll get to but so every single day at 1130 she'd come in and we I opened my lunch and we'd sit down and she'd walked me through all the things she wanted to talk about. So I kind of wasn't surprised by anything. And we we'd go live at noon. And really, the show consisted of she had prepared in her time and on her at her desk, the topics and her opinions and then Just love them at me and I, I need very little prompts to, to being critical and or supportive of things. And yeah, we would talk about video games or comics or whatever she wanted to talk about the shows and alerting us at noon, and both of us are nerds. And so we would just talk about it and then around an hour to an hour and 20 minutes later, I would have my next call and next appointment and we would, we would wrap it up and be done. The daily thing of my business at glass river media started picking up enough to where daily became not from a production not from a production or preparation standpoint, but literally not being able to do anything because two hours of the middle of the day was blocked, became unattainable. And we found that because such a huge portion of Twitch is in the evening viewership in the West Coast. us being from noon to one was really setting ourselves up for failure. So we asked a few weeks ago, if we could try From every day at noon instead, could we do from six to 10? Six to 9pm every Monday night and do like a weekly report? Yeah. You know, I talked to my wife about giving one night a week and that way it takes it out of the work day, but it also it makes us more primed for better viewership it makes for better timezone. Because unlike a lot of things, it's not pre recorded. It's 100% live. Yeah, a lot of its

Junaid Ahmed 5:25
audience engagement. So, yeah, that was probably a longer answer than you were prepared for, you know, that was that was perfect. Because, you know, as you're telling me these things I keep thinking about, okay, that's really interesting. And given Twitch, being a platform where you're streaming games and streaming, other type of content, people are watching it because they're interested, like purely interested in in the commentary and the gaming and how a game is played. Like I've gone on Twitch or I've gone on YouTube and watched gameplays because I couldn't figure out something while I'm playing my video game, like, Okay, oh, that's how they did it.

Kirk Westwood 6:09
Right. And the great thing is like, you know, I can go on, you know, a game review site. Yeah. And I can read like this report Dean for four stars. But and the thing is that in this day and age, you either know you can't trust it or worse, you don't know if you can trust it. Exactly. What's awesome is you go on Twitch and you type in you know, Hitman two, or you type in your favorite game and, and you might have a couple of times because like I said, it's all live, but you jumped into someone's chat and you say, Hey, I see you're playing Borderlands three or four Far Cry sick are crying daughter, you threw in whatever the video game is. What do you think of it? That person who's anywhere between 16 to 60 is going to give you an unedited, unrehearsed, very honest response. Yeah, it's Okay, except, or, you know, no, I really love that, you know, you'll get a an actual live. And then the cool thing is, is that it's instantly self reporting because then other people in their channel coming you're like really? I thought that game sucked or whatever. Yeah, it's a multi tiered review. It's so honest and it's a group thing in a very positive usually groupthink is thought of as a negative thing. Yeah, it's a very positive group thing.

Junaid Ahmed 7:27
Yeah. No, that's really that's really, really cool because and that's something that and I'm not sure who started the live streaming first was a twitch was it you know, who was it but then now it's on all these other platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn just jumped in and instead of got an Instagram has had it and YouTube also recently, so it's really interesting how it engages with an already established audience, like people that I've known and Go kind of going off topic. But people that have known, they're like, you know, they'll just jump on live. And there's like four viewers or five viewers, but then the video is still available for later on. So it's really interesting, like how people are using content to bring people or bring their audience to what they think about. And then there's like, all this other social media strategy. So I don't know where you stand. But let's, let's get into that, and then we can go back to getting your journey.

Kirk Westwood 8:33
No, absolutely. I mean, and I love it was actually fairly good setup for my journey is that, that that's the name of the game is that, you know, in the era of above the line media, which is, you know, that's an industry term, but, you know, for those who are uninitiated, any more than that is communication. above the line media. It was, you know, back in the 90s. And everywhere before you had radio, you had television, you had Print. And that that was it like that the winner was the one with the with the most zeros in their paycheck if you bought, if you bought more, if you bought more ad time you made more sales because more people knew about you if you bought more of you bought more column inches more ad space, you know, earned media was easier because getting in front of people's faces was easier. All of the forms of the page shared earned own all media was was just I'm not saying easy, but less complex. It was there was more or less for channels. I mean, outside of bake sales. You could you could buy an ad in a newspaper, you could buy an ad in the mag. So all there was was kind of guessing, if you will, where does your audience watch or consume media. So when you'd watch Fox News, you'd watch one get one kind of commercial, if you'd watch CNN, you'd watch one commercial. If you read the Wall Street Journal, you got one type of ad and if you read rollingstone, you got a different type of that it was it wasn't complex, it was fairly fairly standard and easy and then then the variability became in what was the ad and what was the but the channel approach channel approach was super solid super simple. Yeah, that an all of the all of the variability came into content approach. However now as you just said, If I want to do gaming if I want to do if I'm in gaming if I EA or if I'm bethesda, or if I am, if I am one of these game producers, I notice it. Am I going to buy ads on twitch? Am I going to pay a streamer on twitch to play my game? Am I going to use YouTube or am I going to go to a mixer which is Microsoft's new entrance into the game yeah, mixer for example. Just recently, you know until very recently, Ninja I forgot his real name or I would say it here but ninja was the number one streamer on, on on Twitch playing their number one game Which was Fortnite and he was making an estimated $4 million a week for it month for the month now that is a an internet number that is not I don't have his bank statements and some correction saying it was way less or way more, I don't know. But that's the number that that I saw $4 million a month. And that's between subscriptions and endorsements and everything. Then through some controversies that I'll skip because they're not the point and some other things is worked out a little bit, not tons, I will eat and mixer entered the picture and set and they paid him to leave twitch where he was like the captain of the football team. Yeah. And come and and stream exclusively on mixer. And so that was Microsoft, you know, you know, not personally but Microsoft. They needed to relaunch mixer. I'm sure they had a room of marketing and an advertising people and that was their channel path. We are going To pull the number one guy from Twitch, we're going to offer him this money and controversies aside. If we put him here, he will bring his audience for the record from what I understand. Yeah. at current, I don't know, you know,

Junaid Ahmed 12:14
but did that work?

Kirk Westwood 12:17
but to my knowledge and again, I don't know what their KPIs were. I don't know what success was was, was based on but from my understanding, not particularly the best of moves, but no, um, if that but that's if you're a gaming or streaming company, or if your ponds face wash, like I'm trying to be as middle market as possible if you're American. You're American Eagle or ponds face wash or in your in the that that kind of general space. Okay. Do you go to Facebook? Do you go to Twitter? Do you go to twitch? Do you go to do you go to YouTube? Do you go to Instagram do you pay for ads or do you pay for influencer? Do you do a micro influencer Major influencer what is when hiring Kylie Jenner or Kim Kardashian? Are they the same thing? Or aren't they they're not, by the way. I mean, so all of a sudden, what used to 15 years ago, what 15 years ago was as simple as as, hey, do I buy Wall Street Journal? Good, you know, good housekeeping, Cosmo or or Rolling Stone

Junaid Ahmed 13:22

Kirk Westwood 13:22
now is near infinite item. And now it it has never been more important to do channel alignment, content alignment, brand alignment. I mean, what used to be relatively straightforward and albeit complex, is the complexities are the same. But now the channel approach is, is infinitely more complex.

Junaid Ahmed 13:48
Yeah, absolutely. You, you, you. You're on the dot on that one. Because there are they're just like, I don't know, just start just like there was a Hundreds and thousands of channels that you would get on cable TV. Yeah. And you're like, Oh, I am selling to blah, blah, blah, audience, and this global audience is going to be watching ESPN or they're going to be watching Fox News. So I'm gonna put my ad over here. So you kind of have an understanding, okay, where's my peeps going to be at?

Kirk Westwood 14:25

Junaid Ahmed 14:25
And one of the things that these different channels offer is that, okay, each channel or each platform becomes a search engine for you. Google is no longer the only search engine. Right?

Kirk Westwood 14:42

Junaid Ahmed 14:43
And you can then you can then design your ad design your and figure out okay, this is the people who want my ad to be shown because they're going to be and then there's several other tactics or tactics, but things marketers do. They're putting you know, cookies and whatnot tracking good. Where are you going? Like you you're going out there and searching for a mountian bike and now all of a sudden you're seeing mountain bikes everywhere.

Kirk Westwood 15:11
And now you know now they live more or less proven this it's no longer the tinfoil hat conspiracy. Now, your phone and Alexa is listening to you. So yes, you and I, you know, you and I sitting on my couch, have a you know, I don't know cat, you don't own a cat. And we we sit and we mentioned cats a couple times or something. Now I log on and my Facebook is selling the kitty litter. You're like, Oh, come on, guys. I don't even know.

Junaid Ahmed 15:33
Like so. One one. Sorry to cut you off.

Kirk Westwood 15:37
No not at all, go ahead.

Junaid Ahmed 15:37
So one thing that I just watched as Gary Vaynerchuk's video and he was he was like, all right. People talk about privacy. And we were, you know, talking about how privacy is bad and blah, blah, blah, or good. Or we have a lack of privacy because everybody's tracking what we're doing.

Kirk Westwood 15:57

Junaid Ahmed 15:58
It's kind of a great thing for For a, a product company or let's say, you purchased, you know, you purchase some kind of gifts or you purchase some kind of product, and then what you're able to do because people are giving away your, what they like, freely, right? I like Pepsi I like blah blah. So this So the example he gave me like, you know, he's like okay, there's there's this one guy he is he buys a 10 crate of wine from from from their wine store. They paid me $117 for like 10 whatever.

Kirk Westwood 16:39

Junaid Ahmed 16:40
But so then they went checked his Twitter Okay, what is he tweeting about and he's like, I love you jack Dorsey or, or some quarterback from Chicago Bears. So what he did, he's like, all right. He called his point person. He's like, all right, find a jack. I don't remember. Name, find a signed jersey buy this quarterback and send it as a gift, right to this person who just bought our wine. Right? Three weeks later, nothing happens, right? And then all of a sudden, this other, this other person comes in and orders, like 4800 dollars worth of wine and is saying, and there's a note in there and it says, I got this. I got it. I heard about you from this guy who got the Chicago Bears jersey, and you guys got premo content, really good pricing. And psps I'm a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen.

Kirk Westwood 17:43
Yeah, so it's brilliant. It's, it's, if you want to make it creepy. Yeah, exactly. I can't remember the company and I feel bad to plug something that was so amazing. And it actually it almost proves that it didn't work as well as they'd like, but there was a thing of it. Was Johnson and Johnson are things that they went online to Twitter and Facebook and and they searched. They searched people online that were talking online about feeling sick and sent them like goodwill. Like Get well soon packages, like based on public Nick says like if you went online and said oh my gosh, I'm had to stay home from work. I feel so sick. Yeah, hopefully the next day, you know, like I said I feel terrible because the company did all this so they'd have name recognition and I don't but and all of them the next day, Campbell's Soup again now Campbell's is getting free ads. Um all of a sudden you get this get well soon package. I was like, you know, that is both creepy. Yeah. Awesome.

Junaid Ahmed 18:46
Yeah, exactly. I mean, they're proactively reaching out. Yeah, and not being reactive. But then what, what Gary did or is like you know, you know, we know what you like and based on what you Like we're gonna send you something like that. And the example that he was giving is like, you know, it's really cool when you go to these conferences as a speaker, you get you know, these wine baskets or fruit baskets or whatever and your hotel room is great because it's normal thing but if you get if you got me a Jets hat a New York Jets Hat, that would be more valuable because you know who I am. You know what I like?

Kirk Westwood 19:26
heard the name Gary Vaynerchuk. more than twice, you know, that I know.

Junaid Ahmed 19:29
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Cool. Well, this brings us down to, you know, how did you get started in this in this area of expertise or in this area of what you're doing as a content marketer as a as a business owner and bringing media with glass river media and what, what brought you to this point? What's your journey

Kirk Westwood 19:55
that really depends on how far back you want to and and What you consider to be that starting moment? Um,

Junaid Ahmed 20:03
well, well said, so I like to focus on, you know, what was your hobby? And how did you make that hobby into a full time gig? Or, you know, how did you find success?

Kirk Westwood 20:16
I was 12 years old, okay. When I went to my mom and said, I want a camera, and she said, For what? And I was like, well, I want to take pictures. And she said, cool. For what? And I was like, for pictures, I don't understand the question. I'm like, I wanted to, and then as well, she's like, you know, we weren't particularly well off that we were by no means for I mean, by no means, but we were very middle class and we don't have $30 for a camera and even if we did a roll of film was $5. And were you $5 and, and then to process the film is $7. And where, you know, you can't you know, digital photography didn't exist. No, no camera for you. And I was bummed, you know, I was 12 and But just through the process of being a little kid that wanted to make movies, I just I loved watching movies, I decided that, that telling stories and making movies was, was what I was going to do. And at 12 years old, I wrote my first book, it was awful. I do not have a copy of it anymore. True, terrible. It was called the key and it was a novella about a boy that fell through space and time. It was very john Carter of Mars. It was this kid woke up on this planet and had to solve a riddle. Anyway. Yeah, um, and I was, but I wanted to, I wanted to tell stories and that, at 12 years old that wanting to tell stories never went away. It just didn't die. I got into high school and I told my dad that I wanted to go to film school and as a military Colonel, he was just thrilled with that, please, as I'm just thrilled that his son was going to go to film school. Yeah, and then spent many years trying to talk me out of it and fail they did in fact, go to film school. School in Florida called fools. Full Sail University. It's kind of an accelerated vocational school that focuses on entertainment. And, and I mean to skip large huge chunks of this. Yeah, that wanting to tell a story never went away and I went to LA and I, I was really very successful very fast. I was, I was working with some of the top names. There's this story that I tell that there was one evening that I was looking around the table and I realized that with other than myself where who was a guest, I realized that there was no one at the table that wasn't a Golden Globe or Academy Award winner and I'm like, that's humbling that I'm in I'm in this this circle of people and then the writers strike of 2007 happened and me like the rest of the I have children by this point and i was i was a single earner I my wife is a stay at home mom and she's amazing and, and so so in the course of about a year of not making any money with the rest of the industry. I found myself like So many others having to leave just because LA is not the place to live if you don't have a job

Junaid Ahmed 23:04
yeah no way

Kirk Westwood 23:06
so I moved back to the east coast where I'm from to the the the cutthroat Never Say Die world of government contracting. And, and, and that is where I learned that government contracting in DC is where creativity goes to die. I spent three years on a government contract and not just wanting to pull my hair out but literally the hair of every human being I spoke to about their approach to things and it was just frustrating. So when the at the end of that contract, I, I stepped out and I started freelancing and started doing kind of my own thing. In 2015, I incorporated glass river media as a, you know, I did not call us a marketing agency. I just called us a a concierge video production agency. If you need it will make it and People would in the very early days, me and my business partner who I've known since high school, actually, we start week people would show up and say, cool, come to this event and make a thing and we'd go and we do and cool. Come make a music video for me. I'm trying to make it big, and we'd go and we would do and we would, we were just, we were just hired guns. And all of a sudden, again, this is 2015. I started noticing this trend where I would follow up with people because I'm naturally inquisitive. And I would follow up and I'd say, hey, that video like how to do or that that video that? That commercial, we made how to do and, and they'd be like, yeah, it didn't work. And I, I found that statement to be a little weird as well. What do you mean, it didn't work? I thought you really liked it like, well, we loved it. Oh my gosh, thank you so much. We're not unhappy at all. It just, it just didn't work. And I'm like, I need you to be more clear here. What do you didn't work? And they're like, Well, I mean, I wanted to put that video online. I was gonna post it on my Facebook, and I was gonna go crazy viral, and I was going to be the next Justin Bieber. I mean, Justin Bieber made it on YouTube. Why did my music video not become huge? And yeah. And I'm like, Well, okay, well, what else did you do? Like what else? And I wasn't trying to be snarky. I was really I just wanted to know, I was like, What else did you like? What do you mean? Well, I made the video for you. What else? What else did you? What else did you do? And then like, I put the video online, and I waited to get famous. Are you somewhat being funny, but that was more or less their response. I mean, they less ridiculous words. But that was the answer. Yeah. And so I realized, so I changed my first question. I stopped asking, what do you want us to make? And I said, I really hate cool. So what do we make, like people who hires and the cool what are we making? And we get excited and we get we throw ourselves in the project. And I did. All I did was change the first question. They called me up, they're like, Cool. So I want to make this video and I go great. So what are we trying to do? And they're like, and all of a sudden, instead of them jumping into this, well, it's going to be this music video, and there's going to be these girls, or there's going to be this cat, or there's going to be lightsabers. They'd be like, cool. I want it just by changing the question. Yeah, they would launch into this. Well, I want to be a rock star. And I want to build. So now instead of my second question, being great, you know, how many people should we hire? Now? My second question is, well, great. What's your release strategy? And then they'd say, Well, I was going to put it on Facebook, or I was gonna put it on YouTube, or I have my own website, or I have instagrammer. And now by asking a few different questions at the beginning,

Junaid Ahmed 26:44

Kirk Westwood 26:45
I was able to completely reframe things. And that led to some very, very quick and very early success. So my business partner and I put our heads together. And very quickly, this isn't the first year of our company. We kind of flipped things around where we were no longer a video Production Company. We were a content strategy and production company. But content strategy came first. Because now, all of a sudden, what we found is we started having kids with their own cameras reaching out to us and saying, hey, look, I'm going to do my own thing. And I want to do my own thing. But like, when I'm done, what should I do? And we started instead of focusing on content production, which is still what we love, and is telling stories again, since I was 12 years old has been my love and joy. Yeah. But I started realizing that where you tell the story is part of the story. And people's people are very, very incorrectly using their social media platform like a megaphone, and sometimes they're people rather like I have a loud speaker and I will blast the world I have the ability to, to blast the world with social media. And that's true. You do. Every human being has a loudspeaker at their fingertips, and here's the problem. Every human being has a loudspeaker at their fingertips. And that creates a lot of noise. Yes. But the cool thing is, is that if you know what you're doing, and you know who you're talking to, you shouldn't be using your your social media like a loudspeaker. Using your you lose, like, like headphones. You shouldn't scream at your user, you should walk up and whisper to them. Because if you are in a crowd, if you're downtown DC, where you know where we live on Inauguration Day, or or on a big on Fourth of July, and everyone is screaming, you don't scream louder. You put your head closer to theirs. Yeah, the way you let your kid hear you, your wife, hear you your friend, hear you. Yes, you might speak up a little but you put your face next to theirs and go, Hey, I'm gonna go grab a drink or a churro. Do you want one? You don't just scream. Yeah. When you want Connection when you want a response, you get closer. And so today instead of well, I put it on Facebook and I. So the number like the number of clients I have that by the time they find me, I go cool, what has been your release strategy to go? Yeah, I use Facebook. And I spend ads promoting it. And this one client of mine whom I adore and is a genius, and I love him. So anything that sounds like an insult, it's just not meant to be one. He I jumped into his analytics and his content and he was spent in the course of four years of his company, he had spent over $48,000 in online marketing well, and his average cost per conversion was $36. And his average his average purchase price was 28. So he so when you break those down for people who are less, you know, quite initiated, he was spending 36 bucks to make 28 bucks. Doing that he'd spent $40,000 over four years. So $12,000 a year $1,000 a month to make less than that. But the thing is that Dr. digging into his numbers, it was actually it was, it was hard to it wasn't as clear cut as when I showed him those metrics, and so he was literally losing money, john, and his purchases that were not from his marketing, were actually being subsidized by his marketing, because his whole strategy was to get louder. And so what we work, we help you find your strategy. And for him specifically, he was pouring money into the pockets of you know of Mark Zuckerberg. Yeah. And when I drove in and did some analytics, it turned out that a massive amount of his traffic that he wasn't getting credit for or add was it was actually coming from Pinterest. Interesting. He didn't know that. He's like, What my market isn't women, it's men. And my market isn't that age group like I market to 18 to 30 year old men and 90% of his referral traffic was Pinterest not

Junaid Ahmed 31:11
face Facebook.

Kirk Westwood 31:12
And and he didn't know that he was he was he was screaming on one channel when all we did was pivot to very casual posting on Pinterest. Yeah. Exponential growth. And it's because don't screen men find your guy and put your face close to his Yeah, and, and that just as much as what you're saying that storytelling and and that is how I turned a a 12 year olds desire for a camera and an 18 year olds desire to go to film school into a near 40 year olds love of telling stories by finding your audience and just whispering it to them.

Junaid Ahmed 31:53
That's beautiful. I love it to death. That's that's the story. That's the journey that you're like to hear, man. That's, that's beautiful. That's awesome. That's really powerful because you summed it up in a very, very tight package that if you want to attract somebody, number one, you got to know what you're selling. You gotta know what they want, what they want. Yeah. And then tell them hey, check this out. Right? And there's, yeah, there's Yeah, I mean, that's, that's,there's 1000 tricks inside of that.


Kirk Westwood 32:30
I mean, but it I mean, and I, like call me I'm not even like it you gotta pay me I'm happy to. I am the worst capitalist on the planet. Because all you have to find out my secrets is asked me. Like, it's not difficult to do and all of this information is so available. Yeah. If you ask your website or ask Facebook the right question. It'll tell you

Junaid Ahmed 32:51
exactly what the Yeah,

Kirk Westwood 32:53
yeah. And so it's it's super easy.

Junaid Ahmed 32:56
You know, I was I just had the opportunity to Seth Godin. Right? Yeah, he is, like he's been. He says that he was born on the right day at the right time, right to be able to be that inventor behind the internet marketing and marketing in itself. His recent interview with Jonathan Stark and Rochelle Moulton, the business of authority, and he talks about how being generous is the one way you can get people to know about who you are and what you can offer. Right? And what we're doing with a podcast what we do with blogs where we do it, creating videos, sharing our insights and secret because there's no secret. Everything that's need to be done. It's already been done. Right, it's all about application execution. And people once once they know who you are and what you're about and how authentic and information that you're sharing, they will get come to you and ask you the questions that they have in their minds. And that's that's how we have sites like Quora and and other sites where people are just asking questions and other people are answering these questions because we have this innate nature of storytelling and helping each other.

Kirk Westwood 34:35
Absolutely. No, I mean, we are at our core, I mean, depending on where you are, from a from a science versus religion standpoint, we are at our core, evolutionarily, or otherwise a social being and reaching out like if you think about it, humans are like not the fastest, nor the smartest, nor the smartest. I guess it's debatable. We're not the fastest nor the fiercest, nor the first. The strongest we like we actually excel in remarkably few metrics in the wild. Only the only reason we were able to end up on the top of the food chain as we so clearly are in certain contexts, is, is because we are so social and engineer and and we are ingenious and innovative, not innovative. In there's a word I'm looking for ingenuity, we have ingenuity, we, we create and we build we learned to build walls we learn to build societies, we learn to build weapons, we learn to build and and because of our ability to build and work together, that is where we are and then we get it's funny, we get there and then we're like no I did this by myself. It's like you really didn't know. evolutionarily Personally, I mean, your mother held you as you got nowhere on your own and I think they did. are are are crazy. They're crazy.

Junaid Ahmed 35:58
Exactly. We are shoulders of giants

Kirk Westwood 36:01
100% of the

Junaid Ahmed 36:02
hundred percent right and because all the luxuries that we have somebody else did yeah longer using somebody else created chair that we're sitting right it's because of that I mean you you did not grow up in an island by yourself

Kirk Westwood 36:21
well no way I mean like you didn't build your first house you didn't you have not paid every bill that has has benefited you that like you know I did this on my own I built it from nothing is and I mean don't get me wrong I'm not trying to overly you know, criticize those who really did start something and they really you know, but there there is no one no one is an island and and not someone helped you I don't really I genuinely well I grew up in the foster system and I did it by this and I've had no one I had no support. That doesn't it's a monumental achievement. Still wasn't a lot Yeah, wasn't without the trail being blazed by those that came before you.

Junaid Ahmed 37:06
Yeah, it's amazing. Wow. So on a daily basis, what are some of your motivation? What motivations to keep going? Of course, you've got a company running you've got people coming in, you've got projects coming in. How do you do a? What's a Dana life?

Kirk Westwood 37:26
Um, well right now, like, like we talked about, kind of very the very start of it is I have a book coming out in April. So right now, we're doing back and forth through drafts and publishers and and covers and synopsis and marketing. And so my day at the moment, and for the last few weeks, has months has been has been finishing writing, polishing and researching. You know, I will make an assertion and realize it up and so, I will, I will, I will set to the internet to find an expert of the thing and I will only expert and I will get an interview and I will beg for a few minutes of their time and I will I will tell them my assertion and then I will get a Master's class and either what I'm missing or how I was actually correcting didn't know it or my favorite or when I find out that I'm absolutely wrong and there's this huge thing that I'm missing because it forces me to go back and restructure my argument or change my argument and, and it it so for the last probably six months, my the day in the life has been wake up write, read, write, read, write, call someone Listen, write rewrite, interview, right. But generally speaking, and this plays into that, like I said, I love stories, and I love stories. So I wake up with whatever story I have to tell that day. And if I don't have something on my desk, I turn in, you know, I guess a cynical person would call it sales. I revert and start looking out to what story can i Tell it whose story tell and, and what I just I love the storytelling process and whether it applies to marketing or PR or entertainment. It's all stories.

Junaid Ahmed 39:10
Nice. That's awesome. And that's something that I'm struggling with is reaching out and Well, I do reach out to a close few people like hey, what would you up to today? What's going on? What are you going to do? Then reaching out to people that I've known for a while, and like hey, this or I'm working on how can I help you? I haven't done that yet. And it's like, Okay, how do I get started? And I keep looking at my list, my email list and I keep looking at Okay, looking at Facebook and LinkedIn, okay, what's the strategy and like you said, you know, you made a really good point. What am I trying to achieve? And that's what I I keep Stumbling on my own. I guess on my own thoughts and me like okay, what am I trying to achieve with a podcast when I trying to achieve with my business what am I trying to achieve? And, and I keep coming blank. I'm like, why am I keep coming blank? I know there is something there that I'm that I'm wanting to do and and get out of it. Get out of that. Or how would I get out of that?

Kirk Westwood 40:22
So I invented an acronym because I just I'm that guy apparently. There, there's this word. There's this word that people use, and they use it everyday you used 1000 times yesterday and 1000 times important. And the word is do Do you know, what are you doing? Like? So what do I need to do today? And you know, you look at your schedule, and you're like, what do I need to do today? And, and if you ask someone, hey, if you were to walk down the street and say Hey, could you please define the word do everyone go Oh, it means and then their eyes go wide and they get they have a look of terror, because everyone knows what do means, right? Okay, cool. define it. And you're like, um, it's the thing you're doing. No, no, no. You You can't use the word to define it was do what is the verb to do or to be me. And so and, and so I came up with an acronym to answer the question. Yeah. And I mean, I so narcissistic, it's ridiculous. Um, so do is an acronym do its developmental outcome. What do I want the developmental outcome to be like, Hey, what are you doing? I'm eating do developmental outcome. I'm not going to die today. I'm like, do like cool. So what do I have to do today? Well, I need to work on my email list. Great. What is the developmental outcome of that task? Well, the outcome is it too. Wouldn't it be great if they were in these great categories and things and they were had red tabs and I'm not mocking organizational structures but yeah, I'm going to spend the day organizing my my context. Great. That's amazing. What is the developmental outcome? What are you doing with that task? Well, the developmental outcome is I want to be able to more quickly, X or Y will now. Now instead of, Hey, you know, what did you do yesterday? Hey, you know, I spent the day answering emails. Great. Why? Oh, because it was my email about the email box and there was 1000 emails. And that was just really bothering me. And I needed to get that off my plate. Okay, that was a super valid answer. Like, yeah, super valid. But what was the developmental outcome? Okay, well, the No, I don't was it Bye, bye. Now maybe the action was the exact same but the developmental outcome would you change it to? I was going through my emails, to make sure that there was no business that I've been missing or no out. Like I went through my outstanding emails. So That I could better know what what was on my plate? Because frankly, I'm, frankly the answer of I just really need to get that that that that that marker saying that I had 1000 emails that could have been accomplished by turning your notifications off that can be accomplished by deleting all of your emails, the development Broadcom wasn't I needed to get rid of the banner, maybe that was the trigger outcome was I needed to know if there was anything important to me. And

Junaid Ahmed 43:35
it was to attention.

Kirk Westwood 43:36
Yeah, sorry. Yeah, I apologize.

So the developmental outcome by restructuring, what are you doing? Okay, so what are you going to do today? I came on this podcast, what's the development outcome? Well, first off, I like you. You've asked a couple of times. It's, it's podcasts are fun, and I enjoy these. It's a good break from writing with development. Obviously, I'm, I want someone else to have heard about this. And when they need help telling their story they'll call like, that's my developmental outcome.

if you restructure your ideas with, you look at your schedule, what is the development and instead of just saying, Okay, what did I do yesterday? What am I doing today? What do I'm going to do tomorrow? Instead of thinking that by the action, I'm going to answer emails, actually answer it with what is this going to accomplish? And literally, this is actually what the book My book is about. It's called my very best bad idea. I'm course the very best about idea. Um, it's literally about by changing the way you look at something by changing the way you structure something, just like instead of using the word to do to be a a description of your actions, use it as a description of your desired outcome. Then now Everything you do has purpose. If you if you retrain your brain to think of do not about your actions, but about your intense, then then all of a sudden, everything you do has purpose. And so now Hey, you know what, I haven't talked to my mom in a while. Cool. I'm not saying that everything has to have a business application, I'm going to help mom, great. What am I going to do? I'm going to call my mom because she needs to hear from me. I've been a bad son, whatever. Like, it's it all of a sudden, you restructure that. So the very best Bad idea is about solving your problems not by you know, if I built this thing up, and if I bought this thing off Amazon, it would solve my problem. Or as seen on TV, I need that organizer. It will do my things. No, no, what you need to do is restructure the way you think about the hands. Um, and and by doing very little other than just restructuring the way you look at the problem. You can actually have drastically different outcomes because even though to someone else that walks in the room they see the same things they experienced the same experience same feedback from you, their your your intent your outcomes, the way that you are structuring the information is different and therefore everything downstream with it is different as well.

Junaid Ahmed 46:22
Very nicely put. I'm going to be newly honest and thinking on this for a while I written it down my development outcome.

Kirk Westwood 46:34
Yeah, I mean or desired outcome with the

Junaid Ahmed 46:36
desired outcome don't Yeah,

Kirk Westwood 46:38
developmental because I like big words. But

Junaid Ahmed 46:41
when I say desired outcome

Kirk Westwood 46:43
Yeah, when I taught my daughter's this same concept to the oldest is 12. The youngest is five. And then I have a son who's five as well, when I when I taught them this I said, You know what, what's your desired outcome? Like? Hey, we're playing a game cool. What do you want why done like, if you Everything by what you're trying to accomplish, as opposed to what the action looks like, these little semantical changes, people go semantics, you know, some semantics matter. They matter so much more than people think. Oh, yeah, your brain is a runner of programs. And if you change the script in the program, the program runs differently. Yes.

Junaid Ahmed 47:23
So true. Awesome, man. This was this was really great. I've got a few questions for you. We'll go wrap it up. Cool. Now you mentioned that you love creating you telling stories through photos or videos. So in this beautiful love yours, what is the one hobby that you wish you got into in just never got the chance?

Kirk Westwood 47:46
Oh, wow. Wow. Um,

well, so if I were to keep it, keep it within my core competency was really really funny that I never got that camera and I'd always gotten through film school and I bought a video camera. And I was, I was in my late, late, late 20s, before I finally bought a camera. And so now, I mean, I have certainly taken some pictures and people would certainly call me a photographer, but I, I when I get into the technical side, I still feel like very much a novice when it gets to the, the real photographic, you know, the depth of fields and the irises and the F stops. And when it gets into the real minutiae of photography, I I to this day kind of regret that I didn't, not with my mom when I was 12. But, you know, on my own when I was 22, like that, I never, that I never really, actually sufficiently got into photography, because I think there's just so the way just like I love words and how our bodies and our minds respond to wording. We really do respond to imaging as well and I wish that from a younger age. I had spent more Time and paid more attention in the, the art history, the the, the technical of photography, the, the actual association with with how we respond to the image itself. That is if I'm being like if I'm keeping things, you know, super duper in in line with things, but I'm out of that everything I ever created in my life has been remarkably intangible. I mean yeah, you can create a picture and hang it on the wall, but that's still it's two dimensional younger. It's in my older life I have I have played around with really, really top level and very, somewhat unsuccessfully. I've played with a crafting and creating and cosplaying and blacksmithing and I'm dead serious. I have a little for jibo Nice. I wish that wish that I had had you know, or that from a younger age, I am the least mechanical or or Craftsman Leah Klein person like on on the planet. I wish that from a younger age or even even at a middle age. I had learned more about creating in the physical realm like whether that was woodworking and like so I go to people's houses like yeah, I built this table and I'm like, that's the coolest thing I've ever seen. Yeah, it's a table. I can put my drink on it. You made a thing. It's useful and kids are like, what does your dad do? He makes people laugh. And don't get me wrong. Yes, I love it and there's value but to so I Love You know, I've gone to someone's house and he handed me a glass that he blew himself like blew his you know, glass blowing and woodworking and carpentry and I go to someone He's like, yeah, I refinished my I refinished my basement by myself in my spare time and like I would burn the house down.

Junaid Ahmed 50:58
Yeah. That.

Kirk Westwood 51:01
I don't even know how I would approach that. Yeah. And because none of my skills nor time has ever been spent doing anything in the real world, and I regret that a little bit.

Junaid Ahmed 51:15
Okay, we can fix that for sure. Sure. Sorry. The row. Yeah. I just got few more questions. We'll do a quick chat. No. All right. What is your favorite movie or TV show?

Kirk Westwood 51:27
Oh, man asking a storyteller that question.

Junaid Ahmed 51:31
You should have started me to show you the two hour show.

Kirk Westwood 51:35
Record had you asked me that like at the first we'd still be talking.

Junaid Ahmed 51:38
I know. Right.

Kirk Westwood 51:40
So first off, my actual answer is there's no answer to that question. All right. My favorite my favorite what kind my favorite comedy, my favorite horror, my favorite TV show. But when we really really pressed my Nalan you know, I really love the classics. My actual answer. There is a show that was the the runaway classic of the 2007 Sundance Film Festival at one the jury, the Audience Award. It is still somewhat lesser known. It's an independent film called brick Asia. It stars Joseph Gordon Levitt of who is somewhat of a star in his own right. You know, I mean, he's, he's certainly not unknown. He's certainly not an unknown. And then the director who was an unknown at the time, his name was Ryan Johnson. Now that's still not a household name, but he went on to do a few other things. He was a reoccurring director on Breaking Bad. He's done a few more movies that were equally kind of not Low, low under the radar, you know, looper and brothers bloom and such. But everyone more or less knows and hates him, because he is the director of the most recent Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. I love Ryan Johnson. I think that everything he's done Is is a is inspired and incredible and I am willing to forgive and overlook overlook the, the the clear, clear objective mistakes made the Force Awakens.

Junaid Ahmed 53:13
Got it? Well, you gotta love this next question. Sure. What movie would you choose if you got to play a character in it?

Kirk Westwood 53:19
Oh geez.

Junaid Ahmed 53:23
Right. It is like a separate podcast just like

Kirk Westwood 53:28
this awful if you ever seen the movie mallrats for those of you there is a big narrative I am in the movie mallrats in the air at the end, they're doing a remake of the dating show and the character booty played by Jason Lee is is on the on the main character and and they're the the woman that on the blind other side of the blind screen kind of figures out who it is. And he's a comic nerd. And to trap him says, says, you know, it's supposed to be like, what's your favorite date and what's your this which it's the dating game. She asked him if you could be a special superhero, what would it be? And he goes off. And like, I feel like this is the end of mallrats. Kevin Smith classic of the 90s. Anyway, um, so you're asking to better understand the question. Yeah, a film made in the past, if I could be in that movie is one of the characters or it will be in the future.

Junaid Ahmed 54:22
It's it's like in the past just like the movie just like in the book. I'm game Ready Player One. He had to to pass the test. He had to play in war games. And you had to know every single line to get to the next level to get find that key. So in the movie, they did it a little differently. They they put everybody in the shining row, some like that.

Kirk Westwood 54:50
Interesting, interesting. Interesting. So I'm going through my favorite characters in fiction real quick. And what's fun is that I hate most of them. And then I'll be like, I do like one of my favorite pieces of fiction of all times is Peter Pan by Jan Berry. And I, I despise Peter Pan and i think that i think not the book I love the book and I love the but I think that that Peter Pan is actually one of the most underrated villains of all time and, and and be like no, he's the hero and I'm like I guess if that's the way you want to read that book. Um I so I know I wouldn't want to play Peter Pan per se and and I love Brendan and brick because I just said that now I'm thinking about it.

I love the tragically flawed. Yeah, I love the tread. I I despise the Superman characters because Superman is too perfect. And his paws are too too dumb.

I love I mean come on. Oh no, she recognized me.

Just this little What's she going to do? Step on my toe. I get his water so more on it. Um, yeah, I love the complex. I love the the. So my answer is going to I'm going to cheat. I'm going to check

Junaid Ahmed 56:05
that's fine

Kirk Westwood 56:08
um because all of the people that I love in past films and TV I love too much and they are so a complete package played by that person. For me to say they that's why I want to play I feel like I'm saying I could do it better and I just don't feel that way. So what I'd say is, I wish that I was a character of myself in the universe or in the universe is of either house by David shore

Junaid Ahmed 56:36

Kirk Westwood 56:38
or us as suits. I love those two shows house in suits. I think your comedies despite the fact that everyone else on the planet we call them dramas.

Junaid Ahmed 56:48

Kirk Westwood 56:50
I think the characters are universally so flawed in ways that makes me love them like they're so approachable and correctly fly but like I would love to see my flaws as as reflected in suits and I'd love to see my flaws, as reflected in house like, would house beat the crap out of me. We he and I get along because we're both, you know, you know just misanthropes. Yeah, I would I would I fit in with Mike Ross and Harvey specter, or would I be the guy that they just beat the crap out? Like, I would love to interact in those universes? I can't say that. I would want to be Mike Ross or Harvey specter, because both of those actors just crushed that. Yeah, perfectly. And Hugh Laurie man I couldn't be house no one is that

Junaid Ahmed 57:40
no one is notice that Yeah,

Kirk Westwood 57:42
no one could do that. But I wish that I could be in those universes as they just they, in my opinion, are the perfect microscope at the human condition.

Junaid Ahmed 57:52
Nice. Well, we're run out of time. I've got some someone else lined up in Two minutes. Sorry, had two more questions and I want to get quickly. It's very quickly. Okay. Who's your favorite superhero?

Kirk Westwood 58:11
I hate you so much. I

Junaid Ahmed 58:12
know right? Okay, let's get back. All right, yes. Yeah. Batman if you're a board game, or would it be

Kirk Westwood 58:22
Hmm, um you know

I don't know the answer to that question. So

Junaid Ahmed 58:31

Kirk Westwood 58:32
Just, I, I'm going to say monopoly because I tend to bring the worst out of people.

And because and because I'm hell bent on on world domination. And I

Junaid Ahmed 58:48
will have to do a part two of this man.

Kirk Westwood 58:51
This was amazingly fun and I I'd love to help you tell some stories in the future. So let's

Junaid Ahmed 58:57
slowly working my audience. Find you

Kirk Westwood 59:01
So my website is glass rubber I'm on LinkedIn all the time at just Kirk Westwood kr k Kirk Kirk Westwood on LinkedIn

Junaid Ahmed 59:11
perfect thanks so much Kirk. This was this was fantastically amazing I love talking to you and just the just the level of experience between the both of us you having a lot more in the executive and I'm having like being working in with somebody else but yeah, absolutely amazing.

Kirk Westwood 59:34
No, I'd love to let's let's keep the conversation going man.

Junaid Ahmed 59:37
you got it. talk to you later! bye

Transcribed by

Send in a voice message:
Support this podcast:

Junaid Ahmed has been a user experience designer for over 15 years. As a UX professional, he uses the user-centered design philosophy to come up with solutions. Trust the system, it works!

“People say that we only live once, but I believe in living every day!”

Junaid has been interviewing people from all walks of life on his podcast Hacks and Hobbies.