Casey Neistat: lessons for the communications industry

maxresdefaultAbout a year ago I wrote an article on YouTubers. In it, I referenced Casey Neistat, famous YouTuber and entrepreneur and “knowing when to stop” – exactly what he did back then.

I have long been a follower of his, I love his editing and story telling style and his background: starting from nothing and working really hard until he got to where he is today. I like his messages around creativity and content, most of which are summed up in his “Do what you can’t” video.

Of course I was also fed up with his self indulgent ways and his preachy manners, but nevertheless his trajectory is interesting and I believe a lot can be learned from how he handles his career. Some of this, can also be applied to the communications/creative industry. 

Early April, he released a new video “What’s next for me on YouTube“. In it, he talks about:

  1. The importance of taking a step back and seeing the bigger picture
  2. How failure helps you to grow and learn
  3. The importance of bringing passion to work/doing the things you love
  4. The importance of collaboration
  5. Reinvent yourself constantly

Working in an agency and the creative industry, I feel these 5 points are highly applicable to us. Here is how I seem them translated:

  1. All too often on projects and with clients we get in so deep we can’t see the wood for the trees. This inhibits our ability to provide better counsel, and do better work for them. It’s vital to schedule time to either: take a break to clear your mind and come back with fresh thoughts, or regularly take a step back on purpose and look at the bigger picture. Even exchanging thoughts & ideas with a colleague who knows nothing about your project can help put you above the treetops.
  2. Often failure is perceived as bad. There is a fear of doing something wrong, to the extent that people feel terrible about not getting things right immediately. The reality is, people rarely do and it’s ok to fail. Failing is learning, we all grow throughout our careers, and we wouldn’t learn otherwise. Try to accept failures and use them as development opportunities. What would you do differently next time?
  3. Over the past year I have been inspired by many people, be it from live speeches, to podcasts or articles. The common trait they all share is passion. They are so in love with what they do, have a true desire to commit themselves, and are naturally drawn to it. That’s what makes the difference! It helps them put in more time, more energy and makes them pumped about what they do. Faking that, or working without the passion makes everything a lot harder
  4. Not only does every one have different talents, but everyone has a different opinion, a way of seeing things, and ideas. Bringing all those together can be powerful and help to create something much bigger than the sum of its parts. And let’s face it, trying to be creative all by yourself is really hard.. But being creative by bouncing ideas off others and building on each person’s contribution is better!
  5. This one I already touched upon in my previous article. Casey could have contented himself with pumping out the usual videos which many people would have been fine with. A lot of YouTubers and content creators do this, publishing the usual “hauls”, “look books” etc. but where’s the excitement in that? Thinking of ways to push yourself creatively, about what you could do better, asking yourself what’s outside of your comfort zone… is how you stay relevant and keep your audience with you. I also believe it’s how you continue to feel excited about what you do.

What do you think, do you agree with these lessons from Casey? What do you think of how he manages his career? Let me know!

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