Donald Robertson on Why Your Biggest Ideas Aren’t Big Enough | Leave Your Mark with Aliza Licht

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Key Takeaways

  • “Anybody can draw, what you want to have is a great idea” Donald Robertson’s Grandfather
  • Great ideas always sound crazy and should be scary to pitch
  • Donald’s principles to come with ideas
    • Keep your childish instincts
    • Be pure
    • Don’t try to please people
    • Don’t bury the crazy (ideas)
  • “Get out there! Set up a table, I don’t care if you’re doing makeup or hair, or even if you’re selling books” Donald Robertson
  • Be a warrior, not a worrier
    • Don’t hide in your cave, worrying, get out there and leave your mark
    • Go after what you really want

Intro

  • Donald Robertson (IG: @drawbertson) went from Art School failure to Fashion’s favorite artist. Known as the Andy Warhol of Instagram
    • Check out Donald’s website
    • Donald recently released a coloring book, Donald
  • Host: Aliza Licht (@AlizaLicht)
  • In this episode, Donald tells his life story as an artist and discusses some of the most important lessons he learned

From Art School Failure to Fashion’s Favorite Artist

  • As a kid who liked to draw, Donald was affected by his grandfather’s feedback
    • “Anybody can draw, what you want to have is a great idea” Donald Robertson’s Grandfather
    • Donald doesn’t see himself as an artist but an “Idea Guy” who can draw
  • In Art School, a teacher told Donald that his priorities were all wrong and that he should re-think his path in the art world
    • Today he sees that as the best thing that could have happened to him
  • He left for Paris and immersed himself in the local art scene
  • A make-up artist in Paris introduced him to two guys who were starting a small makeup company and needed creative help
  • Later Donald started working for a magazine in the US to obtain his green card
  • From there, he started working with many popular magazines such as Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan

Lessons Learned Working at Cosmopolitan

  • People don’t know what they want
    • If you ask them what they want, they’ll tell you something they don’t want
    • You have to tell them what they want
  • A powerful tagline can help to turn a business around
    • “Fun, fearless, female” was critical to Cosmopolitan Magazine’s turnaround

Coming Up with Crazy Ideas

  • Donald’s principles to come with ideas
    • Keep your childish instincts
    • Be pure
    • Don’t try to please people
    • Don’t bury the crazy (ideas)
  • Being close to his children, Donald is always updated on the latest trends in social media
    • As a creative director, this gives him a considerable advantage
  • Great ideas always sound crazy and should be scary to pitch
    • “If you’re going to pitch an idea and you’re very comfortable, and it sounds like a very clever idea, and you’re not sick to your stomach about pitching it, don’t pitch it” Donald Robertson
    • An example of a crazy idea Donald had was a Sonic Hedgehog inspired face mask
  • Not all crazy ideas will hit, and they will often face resistance
    • Crazy ideas are like babies, you have to nurture them and you have to fight to keep them alive

The Lemonade Stand Model

  • Daniel is a believer in the lemonade stand model
    • Whatever you do, set up a table with your product and talking to people 
    • M.A.C. was launched by setting up tables at fashion events
  • “Get out there! Set up a table, I don’t care if you’re doing makeup or hair, or even if you’re selling books” Donald Robertson
    • When Alec Baldwin releases a book he sets up a table and talks to people about it
  • It is very different from doing focus groups
    • You have to drop your ego to stand there trying to sell

Donald’s Main Advice to People 

  • Be a warrior, not a worrier
    • Don’t hide in your cave, worrying; get out there and leave your mark
    • Go after what you really want
LEAVE YOUR MARK : ,
Notes By Giorgio Parlato

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