Welcome to the Join Up Dots Podcast with Rick Kantor
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Introducing Rick Kantor
Rick Kantor is today’s guest joining us on the Join Up Dots podcast is a huge delight for me, as he is a second time guest on the show and quite simply has flourished since last appearing.
Rick Kantor does things his way, even to at the age of 61 going back to graduate school and getting a Masters in Creativity and Innovation, when to be honest the majority of us are glad that education finished in our teens.
What makes this even more unusual is that this is a guy who has started and run several successful companies, ranging from a novelty manufacturing company, to Terrasanti a natural wall product made from American Clay, which has won many awards over the last few years
He classes himself as a life term entrepreneur, but its the fascination for continued education that is so inspiring, as 10 years ago when he sold his novelty manufacturing company moved to a new town in California and spent the next 3 years getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and mixed media from Sonoma State.
But now since our first recording he really seems to have stepped into the person that he wanted to be all along.
The person that walked boldly into every situation and makes a difference to who he meets.
How The Dots Joined Up For Rick
As he says “I’m all about every person in the workplace profoundly recognizing that their next creative thought– whoever they are and wherever they work in whatever job position–might be the ‘Jenga’ moment that topples the wall of ordinary to provoke an extraordinary disruptive innovation.
I ignite this capacity in others through teaching the skills of creativity (yes, teachable!), individual and team coaching, dynamic highly energized and humorous presentations, speaking and keynotes.
I draw on a lifetime of creative success, companies and products.
As a serial entrepreneur, my businesses have been at the intersection of novelty, art, satire and consumer products that balance on the societal edge.
We all need catalysts to make new creative connections that are tomorrow’s disruptive ideas, services and products.
That’s what I bring to my audiences to provoke their capacity for finding the best unexpected ideas.
Teaching the skills of creative thinking to organizations builds creative leadership and culture that is systematic and systemic.
So would he say that since our last recording the person that he is, is night and day different to what he was?
And where is his sweet-spot now in business and life? What is igniting him to greater and greater achievements.
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Rick Kantor.
During the show we discussed such deep weighty subjects with Rick Kantor such as:
Why it is so important to find the enjoyment in any task no matter how boring. Look deep and you can find the fun believe me.
Rick shares the battle that he has with getting his name out there, by tooting his own horn to create clients. A battle that most entrepreneurs have daily
Rick talks openly about his belief that there is no such thing as originality anymore, all the clues to our own success are already waiting for us to pick up.
We talk about the creation of the Join UP Dots branding and why looking at the big picture isnt always the best way to success.
How To Connect With Rick Kantor
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Interview Transcription For Rick Kantor
David Ralph [0:01]
Once upon a time, there was a guy with a dream, a dream to teach jobs for himself online and have a kick ass life working when he wanted him where he wanted across the world. Little did he know that dream would lead him into a world of struggle, burnout and debt, until he found the magic ingredient and nose struggles became a thing of the past. Of course, what’s bad person? And now My dream is to make things happen to you. Welcome to Join Up Dots.
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be but somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:56]
Yes, hello there. Well, good morning to you. Good morning to you. Welcome to another episode of a Join Up Dots. Now, this is one of those joining up the dots. You know, at the end of the show, I say, you know, come back when you have more dots to join up. Well, this guest has and I believe he first appeared around about five years ago on episode 169. When basically I didn’t really know what I was doing. So it’s a huge deadline for me as he’s quite simply, he’s flourished, I think, since last appearing. He does things his way even to the age of 61. Going back to graduate school and getting a master’s in creativity and innovation, when To be honest, the majority of us are glad the education finished in our teens. And what makes this even more unusual is that this is a guy who has started and run several successful companies ranging from a novelty manufacturing company to a natural war product made from American clay, which is my one many awards over the last few years. He sees himself as a lifetime entrepreneur, but it’s the fascination for continued education. so inspiring. As 10 years ago, when he sold his novelty manufacturing company moved to a new town in California and spent the next three years getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and mixed media from Sonoma State, you wouldn’t think he’s going to be where he is. Now, since our first recording, he really seems to have stepped into the person that he wanted to be all along the person that walked boldly into every situation and makes a difference to who he meets. As he says, I’m all about every person in the workplace, profoundly recognising that their next creative forward, whoever they are, and wherever they work, in whatever job position might be the Jenga moment that topples the wall of ordinary to provoke an extraordinary disruptive innovation. I ignite this capacity and others reteaching the skills of creativity. Yes, it’s teachable. He says individual and team coaching dynamic, highly energised and humorous presentations. Speaking and keynotes. We The only catalysts to make new creative connections but tomorrow’s disruptive ideas, services and products so what do you say but since our last recording the person that he is is night and day different to what he was and where is his sweet spot now in business and life what is igniting him to greater and great achievements? Well that’s fine down as we bring on to the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Rick Kantor. Morning. How are you?
Rick Kantor [3:32]
Oh, David, you’re the most enthusiastic person I ever met. I love it.
David Ralph [3:37]
I try to be enthusiastic because, you know, paint me the what is the bloody point Greg?
Rick Kantor [3:44]
Well, you can make life boring or you can make it exciting and enthusiastic. Actually, you know the word enthusiasm comes from two routes. Een is energy and H you is Sanskrit for God. So if you wonder why enthusiasm and stuff So infectious, and you can get anything you want when you’re enthusiastic. That’s why it’s the energy of the gods.
David Ralph [4:07]
Now let’s jump straight into it. Because I’ve always been enthusiastic about things. And even when I didn’t like doing something, I tried to find a way of having fun and making it enjoyable to me. And a lot of people that I used to work with, used to see me as a loose cannon or a maverick, or there was always sort of negative connotations linked to the fact that I was trying to have a good time in a situation that wasn’t good. Why do you think people do that?
Rick Kantor [4:36]
They’re threatened. Because if you can make it a good time and you’re having a good time, and they’re not, something’s wrong, they want the collective norm to be life is tough, same old, same old will never get anywhere. And that’s just the way it is. And everybody buys into that except for the Mavericks who say like you who say we A second, I don’t care if I’m scrubbing floors, or or whatever task I’m needing to do, there’s got to be something in this that I can learn from that I can make my own that I can have a good time with.
David Ralph [5:13]
Did you know The other day I clean the flat for somebody or an apartment, and my wife, my wife is great. But being offered jobs and just saying yes to everything. And yeah, it’s good for her. She’s got work ethic, but I say to her, you don’t need to do this. And she went out. I couldn’t say no to this person. So this person that we know, he’s got an apartment, but he was renting out and he needed it cleaned. And I said to my wife, I’ll come on, we’re both do it. We’re both do it. You keep all the money, but we’re both do it. I really enjoyed it. And I really enjoyed it for two reasons. One, there was a satisfaction in the job. And two, I’m going to make three reasons actually. And into it was a job that I didn’t have to really think about where most of the things I’m thinking about is always So brain tiring, but it wasn’t I just put up a music on, got me home with me vacuum out and started doing over. And the third thing was the guy was really pleased It was like instant gratification because we made it good for him. Does that make sense?
Rick Kantor [6:18]
It makes perfect sense. And and you’ve captured the secret of life. You know, if you have to spend an hour doing that apartment, do you want to make it a half to or choose to. And if you’re making it a choose to, you could put on the music, you could clean naked with your wife. There are 1000 things you could do to make it be a fun experience if you choose to do that. And that’s the secret of life. The secret of creativity is what else could we do here? What else might make this more fun? How else can I achieve a greater level of satisfaction and and you look at that situation and found three great things that A takeaway from it, David, that’s great.
David Ralph [7:02]
I don’t think I could have claimed it naked vo Rick, I have to be honest, that I had quite a powerful suck. I could have caused myself an injury is not something that I want to go with. Now let’s turn it on you because as I say in the introduction, when you first came on the show before, I remember distinctly, not being overly aware of what you were doing before you came on the show. I think he was introduced to me by somebody. And then once we actually interviewed each other, I bought this this is a great guy. This is a great guy, but you seem to be kind of secret squirrel. You seem to be sort of hidden. There wasn’t a lot of online profile about you. I had to sort of really dig around. Now. I see you all over the place. Is it really a day? Is it confidence? Have you changed?
Rick Kantor [7:59]
It’s a great question. No, actually, I still consider myself to be under the radar. I’m not good in this age of self promotion where everybody’s job is to shout out their life and their dinner on Facebook and Instagram and any place else. And and particularly in the job of promoting yourself as a public speaker, keynote or any of those kinds of things. You’ve got to really have a market presence. And it’s just, it’s still something that’s difficult for me. I was brought up with enough of an attitude of as the Japanese say, the nail that sticks up gets hammered down. And so it’s hard for me to stand there with a megaphone and toot my own horn. I know increasingly that I have a huge amount to offer, deliver, inspire people take them to the next level and more than anything, probably kids high school kids, is a sweet spot of mine and college kids. But But putting myself out there in a big way in the Ethernet and the internet. And all of that still is something I rub against. And I think all of us have that thing we rub against that thing that we never quite do as well as we want or have those secret little barriers. And that’s where we learn from and that’s what we keep pushing against to expand ourselves.
David Ralph [9:22]
Now, I dispute that a bit because I’ve seen you with silly hats on. I’ve seen you with loads of sort of creative from presentation style, that you just looked like you were lit up and I thought good old Rick, good old baby is being totally authentic and looking like I’m having a laugh. I’m enjoying myself and hopefully getting paid for it at the same time.
Rick Kantor [9:50]
It’s it’s totally true David and plant me on any stage or in any situation and I’ll do that. But doing the work behind the scenes to make that happen is where I struggle. And in the theories of creativity, there’s there’s one called. So in one theory of creativity by a company called foresight, we talked about creative thinking profiles that there is the clarifier, the ideator, the developer and the implementer. Not everybody comes up with great ideas, some people’s genius is they’ll grab that idea from you, and they’ll put it into practice, and ship it out the door and make you a million dollars. Those are different skill sets in the field of creativity. So if you’re an ideator, who can implement, you should hire an implementer. If you’re an ideator, who doesn’t want to spend the time really developing every little nuance of that product. For instance, Steve Jobs turning an mp3 player into an iPod and having it be something everybody had to have because it was developed to be such a beautiful jack, if you’re not that developer personality hire developer, because there are different ways we’re all creative.
David Ralph [11:08]
Now, my favourite Steve Jobs story, and I courseware probably hear from him later on in the show, is the fact when he went round to a local computer company, I think it might be IBM or whatever. And he was going to have a business meeting. And then when he walked in, he saw basically what was a mouse, but somebody was controlling the screen with a mouse. And he instantly knew that that was the next big thing. And he rushed back, cancel the meeting and said, Look, this is what we got to do. It’s got to work on your genes. It’s got to work on a table, we’ve got to be able to control it. Now, back for me is genius because he saw something and knew that he could translate his vision or somebody else’s vision into success so quickly, but it doesn’t mean by is any less important when somebody sees something out there, but Rick’s doing or I am Doing and things, I can do that too and copies it. Do you think so many people get stuck on thinking that they’ve got to come up with the new, sexy big thing? Well, actually, there’s enough money going around, there’s a know enough customers to just basically copy what’s already out there, put your own spin on it, and do it in your own way.
Rick Kantor [12:19]
This brings up the whole concept of originality, right? The original idea, if you’re creative, you’ve come up with an original idea, I would suggest that there’s no such thing. If you look at any great innovation products or services that are happening. They’re a combination of two or more things that somebody has put together. Somebody’s taken a mouse attached it to a computer and say, Look, we can make things move this way. Somebody who’s taken a telephone and a computer, put them together and said, Oh my gosh, it’s an iPhone. Everything in creativity is basically connection. Making connections when you go outside. Because you’re thinking about a problem you can’t solve. So if you’re smart, you say, let me take a break, let my brain just incubate on this problem, put it in the backseat. And let me go in nature, a great restore of creativity. So you go out in nature and you look and there’s a bird that’s pecking at the trunk of a tree, and you suddenly look and go, that’s it. That’s the solution to get a sharp object and poke it repeatedly at this thing, and it will make it me you know, whatever it is you’re trying to do. And it’s a connection, you see things. It’s also why diversity of experience, whether it’s in a team with different people, or whether it’s yourself and your own experience in life and on the planet, is crucial to expanding your encyclopaedia possibilities because you have so much more to draw.
David Ralph [13:59]
I always talk on my podcast and other people’s podcast how my business always becomes more profitable when I walk away from it when I go off on vacation, and I just allow the thoughts to pop into my mind, and some of them are stupid, but every now and again, oh my god, that’s a great one. Why aren’t i doing it? Do you think with the concept of there’s no such thing as originality. There is also no such thing as actually thinking nowadays, everything is whizzing past people not giving themselves time to really just allow that that creative spark to come into their minds.
Rick Kantor [14:39]
Yes, I think I think you have to force yourself to make that time. Now there is so much that will keep you busy at every moment. From the time you wake up to the time you set your alarm, hopefully not your phone, to go to bed unless you carve out that creative time or that relaxation time. It’s not going to happen in my favourite story about this. I don’t know if you’ve gone see the musical Hamilton yet now and if you or your listeners haven’t go, it’s about the best thing that’s been produced artistically in decades. Lin Manuel Miranda is the creator of it. And he had just finished doing his first Broadway show called in the heights and after a long run, he was taking a break and he went on vacation. And in the airport, he happened to pick up a book called Hamilton. And he gets to his Caribbean destination. He lives on a hammock starts reading it and goes, Oh my gosh, this is a hip hop story. I’m gonna make Hamilton into a hip hop musical. How did that happen? Because he had downtime because he took time off. He sat and let his brain just relax and imagine and create possibility. Had he not cleared his plate and sat there and imagined It never would have happened. And of course, it’s made him if you care about money, he’s made him a multi millionaire for live for sure. But he’s changed people’s vision of American history and opened up the world of musical theatre to a whole new generation. So that’s a great example of he, I give yourself space free time to let your mind wander.
David Ralph [16:24]
When I take this conversation further, let’s hear some words. And we’ll be back with Eric,
Jim Carrey [16:29]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [16:56]
Now, I’ve realised recently, Rick, but I actually like being slightly scared slightly out of my comfort zone. And that’s the kind of thing that really sparks me. I remember the last time that we kind of vaguely connected. This was probably about three years ago. I don’t know, probably four years ago, I was asked to do a presentation. For some speakers conference in California, I can’t remember who it was now. And you happen to be in the audience. And they sort of been coming in from Skype. And they say, right, there’s going to be half hours half hour presentation. And just before I went live, they said, Can you make it 15 minutes now, but anybody that’s doing public speaking, where you’re just speaking into, like the air, and you’re not sure the audience is actually responding because you’re not live on the stage, and you’re suddenly trying to compress 30 minutes into 15 minutes and still make it sensible, is a bit of a nightmare. And afterwards, I thought to myself, I said last time, I’m going to do that for a while, but that was just dreadful, but I look back on it now. And I realised that all those dreadful moments when I was slightly out of my comfort zone and thinking, oh my god, how am I going to do this? These are the real growth periods. Do you see the same in your own life?
Rick Kantor [18:13]
You know, it’s the reason people don’t put themselves out there, why they don’t want to be creative, you can fail. things can go wrong, you can lose money, you can do lose sleep, you can lose friends. You know, on the other hand, you can make the next big disruptive item you can meet new friends you can find the love of your life you can so yeah, do you want to live in fear? That Jim Carrey little clip that you played is one of my all time favourites I I love the way he tells that story, the heart of it, and and the message is so profound. You know, why not? Try believing in yourself in the field of Creativity. There’s this, this phrase that the CS E, everybody CS E, you know, every industry likes to have their little buzzwords, it’s your creative self efficacy score. And what we find about creativity is people are creative to the extent that they believe they are creative. So you take all those kids who are taught not to be creative, taught to conform, taught to sit in rows and aisles in school and only raise their hand to speak and all of that you’re lowering their creative self efficacy score. On the other hand, if we boost kids, if we boost adults and say, of course, you’re creative, and this is actually my my platform in life, it’s taken me a long time to figure out my mission. My my reason and it’s really, to convince people that every single person, by virtue of your DNA is creative. It’s given to you You it’s there’s a reason in the Bible. The first chapter is Genesis creation. It’s all about creation as human beings. How did we survive against a terrifying world of dinosaurs and all kinds of things that could have taken us out? Clearly, it’s creativity that
David Ralph [20:18]
I’m gonna jump in there. Go ahead, please. Humans and dinosaurs were bad unless you’re watching the Flintstones. They were about 4 million years different. So So where
Unknown Speaker [20:30]
do you live?
Rick Kantor [20:32]
I live in the Flintstone world. There’s no question about it.
David Ralph [20:37]
Yes, I’ll be perfectly all right dealing with Dinosaurs because I don’t died out about 4 million years before I came along.
Rick Kantor [20:44]
Okay, you’re right. Actually, though, there’s a story in public speaking, which of course, terrifies people and people say it’s the number one fear over death and all of this and in public speaking, there’s a reason you’re so terrified and there’s a part of your brain called the amygdala, which is the fight or flight part of your brain. And that lives in us. It’s our caveman brain. And what they tell you is, if you think about a caveman standing in the dark, and you look out, and you see all these eyeballs staring at you who were thinking, dinner, all these animals ready to jump on you, you’re terrified and you should be. So the story goes that our animal brain or prehistoric brain is still in touch. So when you stand on the stage, in front of 40 people or 800 people and see all those eyeballs, you feel like you’re about to be eaten alive. And that’s why people are so terrified. So if you get on a stage and you have to do that, just tell yourself that all those eyeballs are friendly people. These are people who are there to support you in the world.
David Ralph [21:51]
Yeah, I agree with that. Yeah, I agree. Totally. I used to do a lot of public speaking, and, and sort of training and stuff and I used to come alive on the stage I used to love it. And it was just like a warm comfort. Now I’m gonna throw back back that that presentation that I did with you, Rick. Now I don’t know if you actually remember when I beamed into a conference hall somewhere in California, because it’s back in my the midst of my time,
Rick Kantor [22:17]
but I was mortified that you’ve got shorted on your time and we didn’t get all of your creative genius. So I apologise again for them doing that too. You
David Ralph [22:26]
know, it was no problem at all. But I beat myself up and this is the human trait as well. I beat myself up for about three or four weeks after that thinking to myself, it wasn’t as good as it should have been. It wasn’t it wasn’t bad, but ultimately I did as good as I could in the situation that I was given. I’ve always wondered, it It looked like I was struggling because literally I was trying to compress half hour into 15 minutes and for anybody out there. I always say to them is easy to do a three hour speech and it is Three minutes, making sales in three minutes when you’ve got a start middle and finish, when you’ve got no ramble moved at all, that’s very, very difficult. Did I? Did I look like I was out of my depth?
Rick Kantor [23:13]
No, you didn’t it reflected really badly on the people who were putting on that event. And that’s what the people in the room were talking about. It’s like, Well, why did they do that? If they were going to short him time? And why didn’t we have more time to ask questions and get the benefit of that? You came off perfectly fine. It was clearly you are a product of the circumstance. But you did just in your comment about it’s much harder to do three minutes and three hours, or however you phrase that there’s a famous Mark Twain quote, where he writes a letter to somebody that’s very long, and he says, excuse me for writing a long letter. I didn’t have the time to write a short one. Yeah.
David Ralph [23:55]
Yeah, that that is that is so true. Now. Let’s take back as well. So you’ve already said that there’s no such thing as originality. We’ve already spoken about the fact that people haven’t got the time for thinking everything is super fast. And we’re also saying that it’s much harder to do something short and brief, Van long and lengthy. How do we find the quality Ben that we should be aiming for you alluded as well but it’s taking you all your life really tough out, find your thing out, we actually do that if everything is doubly difficult nowadays.
Rick Kantor [24:34]
I you can schedule time for yourself, whether that’s daily, weekly, or on a weekend to do something that you want to do and and what I encourage people to do is find time where you don’t know what you’re going to do. I’m a huge believer in not knowing, in in America, particularly I think as a huge individualistic culture where we’re all Supposed to be pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and be in control of our lives and all of this. There’s this thing like you have to know you should always know the answer to say, I don’t know, is a kind of failing. And I take the opposite view. When you say I don’t know you open yourself up to the possibility of knowing. So at that point, you’re a receptacle you’re open and available to see what is around me that might help me know who is around me that might help me know how else can I find out what I want to know here, embrace that. It’s it’s like the word. This was a huge epiphany in my life when I understood the word surrender for the first time and and a lot of people look at surrender as failure, whether that’s an army on a battlefield where probably it starts or in their own life or Having to give up? Well, if you look at give up in a different way, and you think of up as heaven, God higher purpose, give it up, give it up, let go of it. And if you can see surrender in that way, then you empower it. You take back your power to choose to surrender. And in that place you can be content and happy with it. It’s a it goes back to what we said about you cleaning that apartment, right? surrender to the fact that you’re not going to be going to Disneyland today you’re going to be cleaning toilets. Okay, great. Make that the best thing you could do today.
Unknown Speaker [26:40]
If you paint.
David Ralph [26:42]
Now, if you’ve been to Disneyland recently, and students of all those queues of miserable kids and stress parents toilet every now and again that be a blessing.
Rick Kantor [26:54]
I know you want to flush it down.
David Ralph [26:57]
Sometimes you wonder why we drag ourselves into those places. And anyhow. Now, with that, of course, let’s talk about Disney. Right? This is a perfect segue. He was the master of creativity. He was the master at finding the magic. He was the master. But if you know anything about the Disney story, and I did a podcast on it, he had so many ups and downs. There was no reason why he continued. Now, I often wonder people say to me, oh, David, you’ve done so well, you’ve done this, you’ve done that. And I say to them, it’s only the ability to get up again at the next morning and go again. And little by little you chip away That is until you see how this is what I’m aiming for. And then it speeds forward a little bit. Once again, coming back to this kind of repeat theme on the show about everything’s instant everything is without fault. We’re losing persistence as well. Did you think when losing persistence was that just my so a point of view from it?
Rick Kantor [28:05]
Some people are I just wrote down the word persistence as you were saying that because and I’ll reference it with an Englishman Mr. James Dyson and his bagless vacuum cleaner Do you know how many prototypes he made before he got the patent for that? property? 150 100 you can you imagine I mean, imagine day after day after day and all the money you’re investing to still make it better and better 5100 it most people and I’m a college professor now amongst other other things that I do. Most people if you ask them for an idea for their final project, they’ll give you one to ask them to do for six is unheard of. Right people just rush to the first solution. It’s nonsense. You have to be persistent and what you as a creative what you initially go after thinking it’s going To be where you make your money may end up having nothing to do with where you actually succeed. Somebody else in a different industry sees your idea. Perfect example Ed catmull, who wrote a brilliant book on management and creativity. He’s he started Pixar, a fairly successful company speaking of Disney because they own it now. He had no interest in starting that company. He was a hardware geek, he loved computers. And he all he cared about was seeing if there was a way to do animation on a computer. And in the course of things started, Pixar and in the course of that, of course, started becoming the manager of Pixar. So instead of doing the creative work, was managing creative, something he never had any interested in. But in the course of the book, you get to hear how he comes to realise that management is an art form. To be able to manage Creative People and build a culture of creativity, and be aware of every tiny thing that affects the creative culture is an art in itself. And it’s I recommend the book or the audio book to everybody because it’s so profound and rich, on the topic of creativity and management is also the story of persistence. He tells you, you know, you think there’s a formula for Pixar, completely not true. Every single movie is different. We never know where we’re going to hit the weeds. And we never know why something’s not working, and we just have to keep knocking at it, knocking at it knocking at it. Persistence,
David Ralph [30:42]
is when I started Join Up Dots. I was very naive because I’d never done it before. So I literally fought and what you do, you launch a podcast, you grow an audience and you put some advert adverts front end and then then that’s fine. And then you can just walk around having a lovely life. Just really holding out and talking to people. And as I proceeded into it, I realised that that was a very stupid business model because the ultimately putting all your income into the control of somebody else who could quite easily when one day say I don’t want to advertise with you, I want to go on to somebody else. And every single thing that I do now through Join Up Dots just wasn’t on my radar. The beginning I just didn’t have any idea. And the beauty of Join Up Dots and I realised this yesterday, Rick, right. I’m getting excited now, but I feel bad. The first three years I thought Join Up Dots was a stupid branding. I just bought it it reference to Steve Jobs speech, and it was something on the actual sort of podcast, the hook. And I used to say to people, you know, it’s not really a branding, but as I proceeded through, I’ve had epiphany after epiphany, but life is a picture that once you get really close up to it, you see all the dots By joining those dots, not only can you make a million pound, not only can you create life changing events for people, it all comes down to always $1 being added to another dollar to another or one person’s experience being added. Everything is a dot everything is a single point of reaction somehow. And it just struck me the other day when I was talking about it, I thought I finally understand what I do for Join Up Dots. I look at it from the granular and then work it outwards to make it into something. And that’s been applied to probably I don’t know, I’m losing count of how many different businesses that we’ve created. And it all goes to that point. How can we make the smallest business possible and then grow from that point until we don’t want to grow anymore?
Rick Kantor [32:52]
Yeah, boy, I love that visual image. I’m very visual. So as you’re saying that, I’m picturing your website, and seeing that These tiny little dots that as you pan out and pan out and pan out, suddenly become a picture and you realise exactly what you’re saying that everything is made up of tiny little dots. And of course, if you look at your doc that you just made, and instead of making the next time you look at that one and go, Oh, I don’t like that, God, I’m bad at making dots. I can’t do this, which is what most people seem to do with being creative. And it’s a waste of time. Move on to the next, and the next and the next and the next. And then when you create you create that picture of success for yourself. But that’s a beautiful image. David,
David Ralph [33:43]
I I was doing a jigsaw the other day and isn’t really it’s been a really hard jigsaw. And I like doing jigsaw because it just takes my mind off of things. And as I completed it, and I said to the family, come and have a look. Come up and look I’ve completed the jigsaw. I was thinking myself What a waste of time pixels are. All we do is you build them up and you put it, put it to pieces, we business, effectively we do the same over time, every time it gets to a point where we think that we’ve hit the home run. If you’re like me and everybody else is that that moment, we actually start putting it to pieces and wondering whether we can rearrange those dots and make it bigger again, it referencing you right at the very beginning before we started recording. You said to me, ah, baby we haven’t spoken for for nearly five years now. You’ve made such a big success of it. What did I say to you?
Rick Kantor [34:41]
You said no, I have a modest living and I like what I do, and that’s the way I want it.
David Ralph [34:47]
Yeah, I said I made a very small company very profitable. Yeah. And I think that nowadays is the key. Do you think people don’t care about stress don’t don’t really want over I actually want to just have a comfortable living.
Rick Kantor [35:04]
You know, there’s a trend out here I live just north of Silicon Valley. And, of course, that ethos infiltrates everything around here. But in Silicon Valley, one of the trends is called early retirement, where young kids are busting their chops, realising they don’t want to be taking those black buses every morning to from San Francisco out to Silicon Valley, working too late at night, and then being on their laptop on the drive home. And doing that six days a week that it’s a rat race, and if they can just do it for long enough that by the age of 32, they can cash in their stock options and retire to Utah or Iowa, or someplace off the grid and lead a simple, quiet life and not have to work that that’s the answer. That’s their new view of success. So did you
David Ralph [35:57]
agree with that because you’ve got you know, you’ve done yourself but you’ve got quite a simple lifestyle as well.
Rick Kantor [36:05]
I don’t know how simple it is. I live on six acres on top of a mountain and try and manage all of that. And yes, I’m far enough away from it all but I do have that kind of peace. But but it’s it’s not my lifestyle. I don’t choose to have that lifestyle I’m much too involved in projects, things I want to be doing. Teaching, going out and speaking to people about creativity getting people excited about their lives again. I mean if I can do it at this age, and and by the way, in the course of time since we last spoke, I was told that I needed to have open heart surgery out of the blue Obama there I was there he was doing intense CrossFit exercise every day and and all of this couldn’t have been healthier and went to the doctor, purely on Intuition purely on intuition. I made a connection between two little events that happened. And I went Wait a second, maybe I’m supposed to get a stress test went to the doctor and they found out mostly through genetics I have clogged had clogged arteries and I needed to have open heart surgery. Well, this was hit me like a tonne of bricks. It was the last thing I could have expected because life’s funny that way you just never know. So that was a huge wake up call. Not to my mortality. I knew I was mortal. But it just it really infused me with the idea of there’s things to be doing. There’s so much out there and so much experience to share with people the older you get, the richer you get, the wiser you get. And my favourite thing is people between the ages of 30 and 40 right now, who needs somebody to mentor them who needs Somebody to give them a hand up to need somebody to say you’ll be fine keep going be creative. And so that’s a sweet spot I’m moving into my grandfather years
David Ralph [38:13]
I’m already a grandfather I’m triple grant well double grandfather we’ve been number one on the way
Rick Kantor [38:19]
oh how lucky for you isn’t it the best?
David Ralph [38:21]
Not at the moment I haven’t seen that the the positives in it to be honest. My maybe I will warm to the grandchildren. I don’t really like me, Rick, for some reason. Maybe they haven’t warm words to me as a granddad. I’m lovable. I’m nice. I like to play with them, but they just don’t seem to respond to me for some reason.
Unknown Speaker [38:43]
Do you love children?
David Ralph [38:45]
Yes, I do. Yes. I love my I love my own children. And more often than not, I like my kids or my younger daughter bringing other kids around to my house because I realised I don’t like them as much as I like my own.
Rick Kantor [39:00]
No, that’s nice. That’s beautiful thing to say. I hope they hear this episode to hear you say that,
David Ralph [39:06]
but I’ll say all the time to them but um, yeah, some of their mates are horrible. Really, really horrible. Right? Okay, so if we break back to yourself, right you’re living in this six acre mansion on top of a mountain. I can I can only imagine how beautiful it is. It’s beautiful. It’s not a mansion. Oh come on Mr. Cantor. We know we know what you’re like. Yeah, yo, yo one pound behind Trump. I’m sure you are. But anyhow, your top of this mountain and you’re looking down over life. When you say but you like be unknowing. You like that ability to just go with the flow. Certainly with business there takes a kind of reactive attitude to actually make people believe in you to buy your stuff. It’s quite obvious people until you actually put yourself out there. People do not buy your services. How do you find the people that want to hire you and get you up on stages and and give you the lifestyle that you deserve?
Rick Kantor [40:10]
It’s a good question. This goes back to my comment that it’s not my strong suit. It’s not what I do best. Yeah. You know, putting myself out there in that way. contacts in my life people I know who have asked me to do keynotes come to their conferences, because I’ve had a wide range of experience and I don’t know for some reason met incredible people in my life, including tonnes of celebrities and, you know, I serve dinner to Andy Warhol and, and kicked this the straggly man out of a store because I thought it was a shoplifter. It turned out to be Mick Jagger. So many bizarre and funny experiences, particularly when I lived in New York City.
Unknown Speaker [40:55]
Rick Kantor [40:58]
I don’t know tell me your question again. I just went off track I got
David Ralph [41:03]
to be creative and inspirational. More often than not the people that I speak to, who had that vibe in them are actually rubbish actually making a living. They seemed that desire to do wonders for people, but people don’t actually buy into, and I’ve seen some other people, but I thought they were rubbish. And they just seem to get clients left, right and centre. So I’m interested in how you do it.
Rick Kantor [41:29]
Yeah, it’s it’s very true. David, it’s the people who rise to the top are not necessarily the ones who are best at what they do. You know, people always used to say, in the rivalry back in the days between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs that Bill Gates was the master connector and businessman and Steve Jobs had a much better product, side by side Apple compared to the PC, there was no question but why was it Bill Gates who succeeded at a much more massive scale And then Steve Jobs you know, today’s world is different than the past because digital connections social media, all those ways to get connected to people and have 6000 people who follow you are a million on Twitter is a lot of the game these days. I’m, I don’t succeed very well with that because I, I just I cherish my time and I don’t want to feel like I have to post every day and respond and do all of that. And my business suffers because of it. I have as much as I need to have. As I say, I love being a professor. That’s something new since we last spoke at the time I was in grad school, getting my masters in creativity and innovation. And before I graduated, they asked me to become a professor at Drexel University and so I get to teach creativity in the workplace online. And, and I just love this. I just love being able to have that platform and work with people for 10 weeks and watch them transform and build their own creative self efficacy and their creative belief in themselves. The This is off track, but one of the biggest things I find is the word creativity is so completely misunderstood. When people find out I teach creativity, the number one response I get David is, oh, I’m not at all creative. Yeah, yeah. You know, and then the second response is, Oh, I can’t even draw a straight line as if creativity is art. And this is like 95% of people. It’s epidemic. So So how can you be creative if you live life with that view? someplace inside you there was this belief that I can do this. And I think as as a young entrepreneur and like you were you said, I didn’t know anything. What did I know? I thought I get a microphone, I’m going to make some money. Same with me. When we started the hat company, I thought, wow, this is a great product. It’s a big success. It’s a gift item of the year, we’re going to make lots of money and retire. doesn’t work that way. You make money and then you have a factory and then you have employees, and then you have inventory. And then you have to keep building. If we had any clue, any clue of how difficult it would be or how much money we would have to find investors to give us. We never would have done it. It’s it’s the pure stupidity of the entrepreneur and the willingness and persistence to say, you know what, I’m doing this Don’t tell me no, it’s like actors and actresses. If, if you look on paper of why they shouldn’t become an actress, Or an actor in the weight is heavily in favour of go become an accountant. It’s safe, you can get a job you’ll never succeed as an actor or an actress. You’ll never get your name out there as a public speaker. You’ll never build a podcasting business. It’s just listen to negativity or listen to possibility, which do you want to do with your life and the I will always choose possibility
David Ralph [45:26]
is that guy on mentoring at the moment called Jose Jose via here bear spaces to you. And he’s the most inspirational guy I had met in the last 10 probably in my life, because this guy is just ploughing through to create this business like you wouldn’t believe. And one minute he’s flying to India, the next minute he’s flying back. And no matter what obstacles I see thrown in front of him, he just finds a way to plough through it. He’s like water, you know, and it’s just amazing to see How quickly he’s got this fledgling business idea up and running, and how many obstacles that he’s hit. But he hasn’t blinked, you know, and when I first connected with him, I actually said to him, you need to have a break. You need, I could see it. He was so that creative drug of making things happen. But he forgot that he wasn’t making it happen for himself and he needed to recharge himself. truly inspirational when people are so creative, but there’s nothing they can’t do.
Rick Kantor [46:33]
That’s right. And you have to watch yourself because you get in that zone, that flow state, and you become oblivious to other things in that. Ed catmull book creativity Inc, about Pixar. There’s a story of one particular crazy deadline, there was no way they could make but of course they were committed to I think it was maybe Toy Story two, or some film they were working on and everybody was at such a feat. pitch that one of the guys who was on the team realised at 10 in the morning or something like that, when his wife called and said, Did you drop the kid at daycare? He realised the kid was in the backseat of the car. You know, yeah. terrifying. It’s California, the cars get hot here. Fortunately, everything was fine. But, but But truly, you get completely overtaken by the zeal, thrill of creation. And and you do need to balance that Otherwise, you’ll burn out or you’ll you’ll stop seeing and getting those new connections that may be just what you need that incubation time to let new things filter in.
David Ralph [47:50]
So just before we send you back in time, coming to the end of the conversation, right, where is your creativity focus, long term. You talk about very much in the moment, but what are you aiming for for the next 510 1520 years.
Rick Kantor [48:09]
The more stages I can be on to assist people, the more workshops I can be in to work with people. I, I’ve moved into my extrovert phase after being a self proclaimed introvert. I love being around people and sharing what I’ve learned in these years of life. I’ve had a very peripatetic life. It’s been all over the place. I’ve done more things and more jobs than anybody I know. And that’s built me into this very unusual mosaic or tapestry of things and somehow my enthusiasm and my joy of living has stayed intact. So if I can continue to give that to other people and boost them through Coaching through speaking through keynotes, through workshops, any form, I get one on one, you know, starting with one on one because I really believe in any day, at any time, you have the ability to change somebody’s life just by being who you are. And and that’s really a cardinal principle for me. And that’s my creative goal, and I’ll die happy.
David Ralph [49:23]
I was going to say and so, at the moment, you are a happy man, are you?
Rick Kantor [49:29]
I am very happy. I’m very happy and I’m satisfied for where the journey has taken me. And yeah, there’s nothing more I need.
David Ralph [49:42]
Blessed, blessed position. Well, this is the part of the show that we’ve been building up to. This is the part that we call the Sermon on the mic when we send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. But as we always do with people that appear on the show multiple times. This time, I’d like to play the theme and send you back in time to speak to the Rick Cantor five years ago, would you give him any advice that sets him to where you are now? We’re going to find out because I’m going to play the music. And when it beats you up, this is the Sermon on the mic.
Rick Kantor [50:37]
Rick, there’s only one of you with your unique experiences in your education. And at this point in your career, as you take your master’s degree and have studied creativity and innovation and a lifetime of doing that. The journey now is really about spreading that. It’s like They’re seeds. And you have the unique ability to be the bridge between that education that learning about creativity and planting that seed in others so that it can grow and they can reclaim their lives. There’s a part of people that has died because of the pace of living, the uncertain world we live in. And they need to rekindle it because the world needs creativity. Creativity is the survival skill that’s either going to keep this planet afloat, or is is not going to actualize and we could well see the demise of planet Earth. So you owe it to the world, not to yourself, you owe it to the world to be the best. And the biggest microphone you can be to inspire that in other people. It’s your job. To get out there and get those people rallied to do the hard work, the hard creative work that’s in front of all of us. And we never know where creativity comes from, you never know who you will be speaking to. So we assume that in that audience, you see, one of them is the next Steve Jobs. One of them is the next Bill Gates, one of them on and on and on, they’re all there. And if creativity is anything, it’s a spark, and your job is to take that match at the sandpaper and light that spark and people so that they can take it where they need to. Anything that holds you back from that is doing a disservice to the world. So you owe it to everybody to make yourself the biggest, most amplified voice for creativity.
David Ralph [52:57]
stuff and Rick, you’re going to learn those less So Mr. Kantor that Mr. Kantor nowadays, what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you?
Rick Kantor [53:07]
Certainly by my email is is great Rick at Rick Cantor calm? Hi, I’m on Facebook, you can find me there if you want to. I’m on LinkedIn, you can find me there. But really Google me or just email me. I have a website, www dot Rick cantor.com. You can find me there and click on the Contact Us button.
David Ralph [53:35]
Right We will have over links on the show notes, of course to make it as easy as possible. Rick, thank you so much for spending time with us today and joining those dots again, and please come back again when you got even more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Mr. Rick Kantor.
Rick Kantor [53:54]
Thank you so much. Thanks is all mine, David great privilege.
David Ralph [54:00]
Mr. Rick Kantor. So finding the creative spark finding the fun, we could be saying, finding a different way of doing it. Every single one of us are in a world where our inner spark can make a difference to someone or a thing and you get trapped. You see, I used to remember in offices I used to go in and I used to say to him, what are we doing it this way, always, because we’ve always done it that way. And I go, Well, why don’t No, no, you don’t want to change it. They won’t like it. If you change it. That thought process kills. inspiration, it kills the dream, it kills whatever because you stop thinking about how to make improvements. And we’ve all business is more often than not about improvements. How can you bring a person from pain to pleasure? How can you make something easier for them? How can you make something whatever it’s always about taking somebody on a transformation and that starts with in your mind, and then you translate On to the page. Oh, I like doing this job. Until next time, thank you so much for listening to us. drop us an email. I always respond, love to know where you’re listening. If you can jump on and give iTunes ratings or reviews, you know what it’s like, makes it a lot easier for us. But until next time, I will be here again. See you later. Bye bye.
David doesn’t want you to become a fated version of the brilliant self you or wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.