Philip VanDusen

04.des.2020 00:00:00 | Philip VanDusen

Philip is the Principal and CCO of Verhaal Brand Design, a consultancy specializing in strategic graphic design and brand development.

Philip is the Principal and CCO of Verhaal Brand Design, (verhaal means "story" in Dutch) a consultancy specializing in strategic graphic design and brand development. For over 20 years we have helped Fortune 100 companies and entrepreneurs by creating award-winning work, launching new products and establishing brand ecosystems.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:00:00] Hello again, and thank you so much for joining me on the Sparringpod. My name is Hallgeir Gustavsen and today I have, another international guest. Phillip is the principal and CCO of federal brand design, a consultancy specializing in strategic graphic design and brand development for over 20 years. He had helped fortune 100 companies entrepreneurs by creating award-winning work, launching new products and establishing brand ecosystems.

Thank you so much for joining me and welcome Philip.

Philip VanDusen: [00:02:04] Hey Hallgeir. It's great being here. Thanks for having me on your show.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:02:08] I have to say, I told you before we went live, but this is, I'm feeling a bit fanboy right now because I've been following you on YouTube for at least I think that, 2018 video where it said, what things will happen in 2018 was the first video I watched from you.

Philip VanDusen: [00:02:26] Wow. That was a long time ago.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:02:29] A lot of things have happened. How have you been.

Philip VanDusen: [00:02:33] I'm in. Great. Thanks a lot. it's been a wild ride and digital entrepreneur for the last four or five years as huge change from my, my past. So I'm sure we're going to get into that, but, yeah, it's been great.

It's been amazing. A lot of stuff has been happening, so I loved Cheryl about it. Cool.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:02:50] cause you haven't been, you have been working with, graphic design, designing in quite a while you started. It's 20, 20 plus years ago.

Philip VanDusen: [00:03:03] Yes, I, actually started as a painter. I have my master's degree in painting and, I went into the fashion industry, putting some of my artwork on t-shirts and came into graphic design through the back door of t-shirt design and, And then, discovered that, being a creative director was a lot like being a teacher, I had originally wanted to be a teacher.

And, and so I started working at t-shirt companies and became a graphic designer and then became a graphic design manager, and then worked my way up through the fashion industry for about 15 years. And then went over to the branding agency side. and then I came back to the corporate side.

So it's been a circuitous path pathway. Yes. But, yeah, it's been it's. I have, I've had a 25 plus year career.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:03:49] Yeah, because you have worked with some really big brands. if I had a gap old Navy Chevron Dockers at Levis, Microsoft C guys Coca-Cola Campbell Warner brothers. it's basically the who's who after the.

Biggest largest brands in the world, basically. What, w what is your main takeaway from working with the really big brands and how do you take that into working with entrepreneurs and,

Philip VanDusen: [00:04:19] Sure. the principles of branding and the principles of brand strategy, are, I learned it in these really large settings, Working with global agencies and global companies, on massive projects and brands. And then when I started my own agency, I started, I figured I'd done the big company thing and decided to start working with small to medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs and the principles of branding and brand strategy and marketing are exactly the same.

It's just a matter of scale, right? It's just a matter of the budgets. And it's a matter of the number of people who are involved and the number of people who have to have their thumb print on it, or the number of people who have to approve the work. it's and also the. the amount of revenue you get from, doing the work.

but it's really only, it's really a matter of scale. So when I started, working as a digital entrepreneur for myself, building my own brand, as well as building brands for other people, I essentially took those processes and methodologies that I used with these really large companies and scaled them down so they could be used by.

Smaller companies and they could receive the same kind of benefits from that thinking and that strategy, that these large companies pay hundreds and hundreds of thousands of not millions of dollars for, and that's been really rewarding. and I think, it was sorely needed as specifically in the kind of entrepreneur and solo preneur space for people to think about their brands in that sort of way.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:05:54] if we delve a bit deeper into that, can you tell me a bit about how you think around pricing? Because that's one of the main difficulties I have with understanding, or, not understanding, explaining to my clients, What's the difference between, because if you go to Fiverr, you can get a local design for $5.

And if you go to a big, design agency, you can get a logo for $250,000. No problem. I sometimes not all of the time, of course, but sometimes you can show me the signs and, Sometimes I wouldn't exactly know which was which, and that for me would be a big problem. How do you think about pricing?

Philip VanDusen: [00:06:45] the difference between, $250,000 logo and a $5 logo is generally pretty significant. And for the most, yeah, I can tell the difference between the two. but one of the things it's about working with the, the crowdsourcing and, companies in the world, the fibers 99 designs Upwork is you don't necessarily know where that work came from.

A lot. I've seen a lot of instances of pirated designs of, of designs that have been pulled out of logo books, stolen from other people's Pinterest pages. So you have no, Assurance that work is original. Number one. and number two, really what your, what separates the men from the boys in that situation is that when there's a difference between aesthetic design and strategic design, Aesthetic design is essentially picking a nice font, a color that the client likes and some sort of an icon or picture or something like that.

And it's completely a subjective decision around what the client likes. And as a designer, that's a completely subjective process, meaning the designer has no power and no say in that they can design what they designed. But if the client doesn't like it, there's nothing that they can say that will change that person's mind.

When you talk about strategic design is centered around, an objective decision process. it's centered around. Who the customer is, what the category of businesses, what does the competitive landscape look like? What are those competitors doing? Where are they moving in the competitive landscape?

What are, how are you trying to position yourself as a company within that competitive landscape? Are you premium? Are you value? Are you middle of the road somewhere? What are the semiotics? So the visual, the visual indicators of your visual branding. What is the tone of voice of your brand?

How do you come across in copy and how do you come across, when you speak or soap. So show up on social media. Those sorts of things are all driven by a core of a brand's strategy. All those decisions. That are made in developing those branding assets are based on that strategy. And so many of those decisions are very objective decisions.

They're not purely aesthetic decisions. So that's really the difference between those two and. very much the difference between a pretty picture and a brand that's going to perform for you in the marketplace, the way that you want it to.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:09:15] Yeah. Yeah. And I also, I normally, how have you heard about the guy who, who owns this big, factory and there's this machine that's broken and every time, every day that's, that machine is, is standing still the company's losing loads and loads of money.

So they get the specialist in, say, can you fix this machine? And he said, yes, of course I can fix it. And yeah, please fix the machine. And he takes out a small hammer and it blinks, the machine, and it works again. And, they're really happy about this and yes, please. That this was really good.

Thank you. And he sends them an invoice for a hundred K they're like. you just hit the machine with a small hammer. we, at least we will need like a detailed invoice. So he said, hitting the machine with a hammer, a hundred dollars, knowing where to hit it, $99,000 at $19,900. So I'm thinking it's a bit, it's a bit like that for, for the strategic designer.

Philip VanDusen: [00:10:23] It very much is. And there's a similar story in when people describe what they do. when you talk to a client, they say, Hey, it only took you a few hours or it took you a week to design that logo. why is it going to cost me $10,000 or. $25,000. She say, you're not paying for the hours.

It took to design the logo you're paying for the 20 years of experience. They have that I have that are going to make that logo perform for you in the marketplace the way you want it to.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:10:50] Yeah. Yeah. And I also say that, when you actually find, agency, or a designer that knows there. Croft and knows how to work.

You also, you pay for the process of getting there. That's one of the things, Peter, it says hi too, by the way. And let's see if we can add

Philip VanDusen: [00:11:09] this, Peter. Oh, can I see the chat here too? Let me see. Can I see the chat? Yes, I can get her Louis. Awesome. He is one of my most diehard, mastermind members.

He's a member of my brand design masters Guild, which is one of the masterminds.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:11:25] How do I be through nice to have you also on the broadcast? okay. If we, if we go into the space time continuum, where we take a look at the past the now and the future. How did you get to where you are today?

what was the most significant, thing that happened to you in the past that was most defining for you?

Philip VanDusen: [00:11:50] Wow, that's a really big question. I think one of the biggest was when I. When I went from being a fine artist to putting my stuff on t-shirts for sale. And that was, I went from creating artwork that was purely, for me in essentially an expression of what was in my head and creating an artwork that was supposed to speak to other people was supposed to, people were going to be willing to lay down their heart and cash to.

to buy a piece of my work. And this piece of work happened to be on a t-shirt, which they would do then put on their bodies and walk around the streets of New York with it on. And I think one of the most defining moments is when I was on my honeymoon actually in the British Virgin islands and I went to breakfast and we were going and down this big lovely buffet.

And I was working at old Navy at the time and the work that we were doing there had incredible exposure because we printed hundreds of thousands of shirts. And I went to breakfast and a guy was across from me going down the buffet line who had one of my t-shirts on and. I thought, wow, that's really cool.

I didn't say anything to them. And then the next morning I went to breakfast again, the same guy was there, but he had a different t-shirt on and it was another one of our shirts and different design in the same group. And that, seeing your work out there in the world and seeing people enjoy it and seeing it mean something to people's lives.

was, has always been one of those things that just really energizes and inspires me and the same, this, I get the same inspiration when I go to the pet food store and see a private label pet food brand that we designed on the shelf. I just love that stuff. So I love putting out inspiring and quality work into the world and, seeing it being enjoyed and be used and be a value to people's lives.

So that was one big one. I would say probably the other major one is when I went from. The fashion industry, which is, a very emotional, very fast moving type of industry into the strategic branding agency side, where I was working with, a lot of really large clients, like some of the ones that you listed at the beginning of the show and where it became a much less emotional and much more process driven, Branding and design and strategy driven, experience for the co working with clients.

And so that was also a big change too, because I'd spent 15 years in the fashion industry, which is not super strategic. They are based on what's hot, what's trending. What is, what's the competition doing? And you move very quickly. It's not super, cerebral. It's

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:14:32] very emotionally based. Yeah.

Worries that the presumption

Philip VanDusen: [00:14:36] it's still products. What in the world, people are gonna buy and it's, it's a lot of money and a lot of product and a lot of shipping and logistics and things like that. But it's building a, a fashion line is very, it's a, time-bound when you're building them.

A brand like Coca-Cola or PepsiCo or Chevron, it's a brand that's going to last decades. And so you have to put in a lot more thought into something that's going to be out there for decades than some things. And that's going to be out there on the shelf for a month.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:15:08] Yeah. And I. I'm guessing. That's why we can see the, both the season, the seasonal change and, the, like the nineties fashion and, fashion and eighties fashion.

It's very different. And you get this, very volatile, I think would be a correct word, movements in those, those kinds of industries. but if you went back, even for other two, 12 year old, Phillip, what would you, what would you say to him?

Philip VanDusen: [00:15:39] don't be so hard on yourself, just follow what, this is what I tell people a lot.

and I wish I could've told my 12 year old self this, which is, don't worry so much about what your passion is. Think about what you're curious about. And I've said this on other shows, but a lot of people, young designers in particular feel like they're not, they lack confidence in their decision-making and they lack confidence in choosing the thing that they think, they say, if you choose your work in your passion, you'll never work a day in your life.

But passion, the idea of passion, the idea of passion carries so much psychological weight that it freaks people out and it. Paralyzes them in not being able to make a decision about their lives. And so what I counsel people that I coach and people in my masterminds to follow what you're curious about, because if you follow what you're curious about, It will lead you down the same pathway, but it will lead you through a series of movements and changes and, different Securitas routes that is going to get you to where your passion is, but it's not going to, paralyze you or freeze you in your tracks.

so that's what I would tell myself. I would tell myself to, not be so hard on yourself and follow your curiosity.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:16:51] What kinds of things about the Philippines today? Do you think 12 year old you would be most impressed about?

Philip VanDusen: [00:16:59] Oh, wow. Probably all the cool tech that I have. when I was at 12 year old, I was as a guitar player, I still am a guitar player and I'm a musician and I, coveted recording equipment and guitars and amplifiers and microphones and all the stuff that I wanted to eventually buy.

And I have all that stuff. Now. I have it all in spades. I have the recording equipment. I have the cameras, I have the guitars and, to 12 year old me, I'm like really styling.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:17:31] thank you.

Philip VanDusen: [00:17:32] Hey Daniel, how are you? Good to see you, man.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:17:35] but is there anything about you today that you think 12 year old you would be embarrassed about?

Philip VanDusen: [00:17:44] Wow. Embarrassed about. That I've lost all my hair.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:17:49] I think that

Philip VanDusen: [00:17:51] you got me beat a millimeter, but I, I sent sometimes if I know people really well, I'll send them a picture of myself. When I was about 25 years old, I had long flowing Brown locks of hair for, until I was in my late.

Twenties and, I have really nice hair, but now when 12 year old self would be really freaked out, I think by looking at my head

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:18:18] and that's,

Philip VanDusen: [00:18:20] but that's, no, I don't think, I think my 12 year old self would be okay with who I turned out to be.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:18:26] Yeah. I liked that. because you shouldn't be how to put it, the only thing I think for me that I would be embarrassed about this, that the humor I've adapted, because my humor now is exactly like my father humor father's humor used to be, and I was so embarrassed about him and his, his dad humor.

So for me, it would be totally that because it's. yeah, I've basically turned into my father in the humor department.

Okay. but let's see. I think I have one look at this.

Philip VanDusen: [00:19:10] Nice. Wow. No, that is not you. That is amazing. Oh my goodness.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:19:17] I think

Philip VanDusen: [00:19:17] that's gotten a little more fit that's for sure.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:19:20] Yeah. that's 13, 14 years ago. and 60 kilos ago, maybe, me through, off heroin. Yeah.

Philip VanDusen: [00:19:31] A little bit of hair. Yeah.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:19:33] But, I just started to shave it so I can say it's by choice.

Okay, good. Peter says you and him have the same hairstyle. So

Philip VanDusen: [00:19:44] we did. That's good that I know is true,

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:19:48] but, okay. what things that you have right now, do you hope you could take with you into your future then? what do you hope to still possess when you get like really old.

Philip VanDusen: [00:20:03] I think my, I, I think being, energized by inspiration, I think that, I'm a rabid consumer of inspiration and, I'm always looking at imagery and looking at other, video and motion design and.

Product design, graphic design and every single day, even though I've been in this industry for 30 plus years, I am always excited, inspired, juiced by something that I see and inspired to, to try it, to explore how that person got to that particular piece or two. To try to recognize where that piece is living in the continuum of the history of design.

like you said, one of the ways that you came across me was a trend video I did on YouTube and I'm actually working on my 20, 21 trend video two right now. And one of the things I learned in the fashion industry is how to recognize nice trends, how to see trends as they're happening. Yeah. And, that is an outgrowth of my interest in being inspired is because I'm constantly looking.

I'm constantly making connections in my head in terms of, what I'm seeing and where it's falling in this kind of, I've see a visual, noise that we're always working, it's supposed to. and that's something I hope I never lose.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:21:31] So if we delve even deeper into your inspirations, could you go into what things that inspire you in everyday life?

Philip VanDusen: [00:21:43] Sure. the funny thing is that, and this is where I think my training as a fine artist comes into it is that I am inspired by anything I can. When I lived in New York city, I used to be inspired by. in some places in New York city, you can see the remnants of painted billboards on the side of brick buildings.

That date back hundreds of are over a hundred years. And sometimes those little ghosted images of designs are hand painted fonts or imagery or illustration you can see. And I would be incredibly inspired by it. Just again in that continuum of design, but then I can be just as inspired by, how a particular Coke can got smashed in the street by a taxi cab and embedded into a bunch of tar that was used to repair the street.

I can be inspired by the simplest and most bizarre and mundane things as I can, by something that was intentional. I'm incredibly inspired by product design. by visual design, both moving and static. I'm really inspired by, people who are great teachers or great inspiring speakers.

I listened to a lot of music, so I pull a lot of inspiration from the music I listened to. And so I gather it from everywhere and I think that is what makes a great creative is not drawing kind of boundaries and saying, I only get my. No creative inspiration from looking at communication, arts magazine, annuals, or whatever that is.

I really span the gamut and I think that's what, makes life interesting for creative people.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:23:23] W what qualities in people inspire you then?

Philip VanDusen: [00:23:29] what qualities in people, curious people. I like people who are willing to try and re willing to fail. One of my, one of my biggest sayings that I love to say is you have to dare to suck.

And the reason why I say that is because when you're just. There's a lot of times where people want to do something or they have an idea they want to try out. But if it's on social media, on a YouTube channel or a podcast or writing a blog post or hitting publish, they freeze and they get very frightened about how people are going to judge them or what people are going to say about them.

how good people are going to think it is. And whenever anyone does anything. The first time you do it, you're gonna suck right? The first 10 times you do it, you're going to suck. And in social media or any way in digital entrepreneurship, those sucking moments just happened to be a little more visible to the general public.

But you have to go through those steps. You have to get out there. You have to try, you have to start. And you have to suck. And then over time you get better and better. And at your 20th video or podcast, you're going to look back to that first. And you're going to say, Oh my God, I can't believe I put that out there, but you're also going to realize you're going to realize how far you've come and you can't progress until you start.

So I really admire in people, the guts to get out there and be bad. And. Hit publish and start that journey because it's a terrifying moment. going back to one of your earlier questions, how there is, what was one of those defining moments in my life about four or five years ago?

One of the defining moments in a life is when I hit publish on my first YouTube video. I came from. I was a very senior executive at, one of the top five companies in the world. I had a lot of visibility and I was putting myself out there as an individual without that company's name on my business card.

And I was terrified about being judged. whether people thought that I knew what I was talking about. Imposter syndrome, whether my old colleagues were going to see it, whether my old clients we're going to see it, what they would say, but they would think and making that leap. To hitting, publish and starting on a new journey and daring to suck, at something brand new for the guy who was pretty advanced in his career was terrifying, but I did it.

And now I have, probably over 250 videos on YouTube and a couple hundred thousand subscribers. And I'm in a very different place, but hitting that publish button at the first. Was, it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it now. And I wish that for anybody, I wish that experience for anybody.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:26:22] what things specifically do you do that you think and hope can inspire others?

Philip VanDusen: [00:26:30] Everything that I do right now is intended to inspire others. I'm literally everything that I do. I, I have my own agency, so I work with small and medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs to help build their strategic brands.

so I'm seeking to inspire them to greater Heights. I have a Facebook group, the brand design masters Facebook group, where. Creative professionals and entrepreneurs can join and mingle and communicate with each other, inspire each other. I obviously teach on YouTube and have been for years and years now.

I have my own podcast, as you may know, the brand design masters podcast. I also do webinars. I host, paid mastermind groups, a number of the viewers who are here right now are members of that. And, so I teach, I mentor, I help inspire and push people to greater Heights in what they want to do with their lives, whether that's in a creative, a creative professional mode, or whether that's an entrepreneurial mode in any range of categories.

that is what I love doing. I love helping people to get to another level. And that's what gets me up every morning. and to tell you the truth, I love I'm working harder than I ever have in my life. And, but I am enjoying what I'm doing more than I ever have in my life. I'm enjoying what I'm doing, who I'm helping, what I'm producing in my life more than I ever have in my previous, 20 years of my career in big corporate and in big agency

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:27:59] life.

And I think, I think that doing just that, working hard to inspire others, doing your best to influence people in a good way. I think that's one of the things that give you, or gives you the strength to actually work better than you have done. You have done before. Peter is still, commenting and best career propulsion, encouragement, mentor burning off the solar system.

I love that. what other people, have inspired you in these ways? I know you have on one of your podcasts, you have the Youpreneur,

Philip VanDusen: [00:28:42] Yeah. Chris Tucker

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:28:44] Tucker.

Philip VanDusen: [00:28:44] Yes. Yeah. Chris, I, and he's usually one of the first that I mentioned, he was one of the first people that I deeply engaged with when I went out on my own. I came across Chris Ducker's, name. On, Pat Flynn's podcast, the journey that people go through when they go into this sort of life, it's the same.

They either start off on, John Lee Dumas is, entrepreneur on fire or Pat Flynn's podcasts. And there is a very kind of closed system. I like to call it the social media mafia, where everyone knows each other and shares each other on each other's podcasts like you and I are doing right now.

And, And the name starts to become familiar. And so I heard about Chris Ducker. He said he was starting a mastermind group called Youpreneur. And so he happened to be coming to Philadelphia, which is, a couple of hours from where I live for a conference. And he, and he said, anyone who wants to come down and meet me do so I went down and I met him and he was just start, he was just starting a Youpreneur and he told me about it.

And I just was really impressed by his whole vibe and energy. And so I joined Youpreneur and, That mastermind experience was, did more to catapult my own development than probably anything I did in the first couple of years that I was out on my own. So I credited him, a lot with, Kind of setting me on a righteous path to growth.

and there's other people, right? that I'm really inspired by, Roberto Blake, who's a YouTuber, I'm a good friends with and super inspired by Chris DOE of course, another friend and incredible, mentor in the design industry. Amy Landino used to be named Amy Schmidt, our but, sexy savvy social.

She was a big influence on me in the very beginning. there's a lot of YouTubers who were as well as podcasters and, they taught me, they served as great examples for what to do to build, a content empire and a personal brand.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:30:41] Yeah, I think I've been doing that very well. The last couple of years.

w when you are trying to get to it, come up with these ideas. Do you have a process for doing that, or are you just one of these luck driven, guys that just wanders around and then suddenly, ah, I would echo.

Philip VanDusen: [00:31:02] Yeah. Eureka. Yeah. Yeah. It's no, I don't get struck by lightning inspiration, No, very few creatives or content producers that I know are struck by lightning struck by inspiration. You inspiration. Doesn't come to you. You have to go out and hunt it down. Yeah, that's what I like to say. And, I think about the people that I'm trying to help. And I listen to the people that I'm trying to help and what their struggles are, what they want to know about.

And I ask them, I say, what are you struggling with? What is it that's going to really help you? And then I try to develop content and, offer my opinion and give guidance to. Two people in the areas that they think that they're really going to need assistance. The other thing that I have to do as a kind of mentor or a design leader is I have to have my antenna up to what I think is important for them to know the kind of hurdles I'm experiencing, the kind of successes that I'm having, how I achieved those things and share them.

With them, to try to be looking a little farther down the road than where they're looking. For what new opportunities might be there for them or what kind of hurdles they might be coming up to face, and prepare them to handle those things better. And one of the things I've been doing for a couple of years now is trying to prepare creative professionals for, For the massive change that we're seeing in the design industry, which is, the large agencies are contracting and, the consultant.

Yeah, con economy is having a deep effect on them. And there's this rise of the consultant class and creative professionals and preparing people for what it takes to do that or to succeed in that kind of environment, has been something that I've been paying a whole lot of attention to because there's nothing worse.

And this has happened to me a few times in my life. There's nothing worse than getting laid off. With no warning because your agency lost a client or because there was a downturn in the economy and suddenly you're out on the street with two weeks severance and you're looking for another job having no control over your destiny really sucks.

Yeah. And so I try to prepare people to have as much control over their professional destiny as they possibly can. Yeah,

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:33:23] Danielle, is, on inspiration. Creativity is a blue collar job. Those Eureka moments don't exist in my humble opinion as creativity is the product of a lot of hard work. I totally agree, Daniel and, I'm sure Phillip also, is agreeing on this, cause I'm thinking that the actual.

Thinking and that the process around it is something you have to go through to craft an idea because good ideas are crafted.

Philip VanDusen: [00:33:56] Yeah. and not every idea, it was a good idea. The other thing, it's like when you're in developing design, you develop 40 designs and you come up with, six or eight that you're going to show.

And that's very much the same thing with inspiration, as you may have. 10 ideas and you may have to, sort through them and find the one or two that are really going to be a value to people or really being inspiring for you to create.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:34:23] Yeah. I recently came up with, the concept of, cause I'm, I F I feel that I get these Eureka moments all the time.

but, I have, some years ago I have realized that, Even, even if you get an idea, the idea most likely is raw. that's how I like to view it. it's a raw idea that needs to be worked on to even see if it can become something it's like a lump of dough and you can need it and you can stretch it out.

You can add some pizza sauce, you can add some cheese, then you can put it in the oven and then. You will figure out if it was a good idea or not, but if you just stand around eating dough, nobody will hire you and you won't get very far.

Philip VanDusen: [00:35:11] And then you'll look like that picture of alga

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:35:13] or when you that's correct.

But, okay. what is the best idea you ever had?

Philip VanDusen: [00:35:24] Is this the start of those 20 questions? Cause you said they were going to be hard and

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:35:27] that's a really hard question.

Philip VanDusen: [00:35:30] Wow. I think the best idea I ever had was to start a YouTube channel and to tell you the truth. I, because I, when I was just starting out, I was thinking podcasts, YouTube podcasts, YouTube, and I had to make the decision, between one of the two.

I now have both, but in the beginning it was like, design is a visual language. I have to show things that are visual in order to get things across that I want to talk about. Yeah. So I went with YouTube and, That has opened up an amazing audience for me, it's created, incredible amount of open doors for me.

and it's given me an outlet for my creativity and to share my knowledge with people, it's acted as an amazing business development tool for my agency. it's acted as amazing kind of audience builder for masterminds and groups that I run. and it's just. Incredibly gratifying. I want to tell you a very quick story.

I just recently in the last couple months been unable to keep up with the volume of comments that I got on my YouTube channel, but for a good four years, I answered every single comment that I got on every single video that I did. Tens of thousands of comments, because I really wanted to value my viewers and value them as my audience and give value back to them and to engage in a real conversation.

But the thing about the internet, that old new Yorker cartoon, where there's two dogs and they're sitting on a computer and one of the dogs is looking at the other one and he says, Hey, on the internet, no one knows you're a dog. It's the same, very much thing. you can position yourself, very opaquely on the internet.

And so I received this comment from someone that said I did a very popular video called, what does a creative director do? And I received a comment on it from someone who said, I'm thinking about becoming a creative director. And, one of the things I was curious about was, is it better to work in a company or an agency?

And what, what, how would you go about that? And so I gave them, a two or three sentence feedback on their question. I said, you might want to do blah, blah, blah, with your career, talk to your manager, develop a network of. subject matter experts are. I can't remember exactly what I said, but then when they responded back to me, they said, I'm only 12.

So I'm just really starting out. And I was like, Oh my God, responding to this person. Like they were 28 mid career. And they were like 12 years old. And I just love that. I love the fact that my creative director video inspired a 12 year old to think about what the next step is. I just thought that was awesome.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:38:12] Okay. On the other side of the aisle, then what's the worst idea have you ever

Philip VanDusen: [00:38:16] had? Oh boy. the worst idea I ever had,

I don't know. I really, I'm going to have to come back to that one. Okay.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:38:30] And then we start the 20 quick questions. It's okay.

Philip VanDusen: [00:38:34] It's a boy. All right. So then it's going to get really hard.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:38:37] Yeah. But it's inspired by Marcel Proust. most likely there's some nuggets of golden hair, hopefully. What is your most marked characteristic characteristics?

Philip VanDusen: [00:38:50] My what?

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:38:51] Your most marked cholesterol marked yeah. Marked, your most, how would people characterize here?

Philip VanDusen: [00:39:00] I think serious, I've gotten that a lot in my life. People have called me very serious, so I haven't, I come across as being serious. I'm not actually that serious a person, but I have that vibe or professorial that's.

The other one I get is that, I come across as a professor, which is. Good because that's what I am.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:39:21] I think really knowledgeable people often come off as serious because they know their shit. So it's a, it's easy to come off a serious then. What quality do you most like in

Philip VanDusen: [00:39:35] a person? creativity.


Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:39:40] What do you most value in your friends?

Philip VanDusen: [00:39:43] Honesty.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:39:46] What is your principal defect?

Philip VanDusen: [00:39:51] this is like such a classic link job interview question, but I think my biggest defect is that I'm a workaholic and sometimes I have a hard time turning off.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:40:02] What is your favorite or most admired occupation?

Philip VanDusen: [00:40:10] My most admired occupation would be. A professional scuba diver, because I love scuba diving.

And when I was a kid, when I was 12, I wanted it to be shot Cousteau, and I still want to be Jacques Cousteau. So if I had one calling that I missed, it was to be an oceanographer. So that I think is probably the coolest profession that there could be.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:40:35] what is your definition of happiness?

Philip VanDusen: [00:40:40] Feeling like you are enough

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:40:44] in your mind, what would be the greatest misfortune?

Philip VanDusen: [00:40:50] the greatest misfortune, I think being alone, Being entirely alone.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:40:59] Yeah. I would guess either that or, becoming blind or losing your, mental acuity would be my guest for you, since you're being inspired so much by what and take in, how would you like to be remembered,

Philip VanDusen: [00:41:16] as a teacher. That's a really good teacher.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:41:20] Yeah. That was a good teacher. That's even better,

Philip VanDusen: [00:41:23] not just a teacher as a favorite teacher.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:41:27] in one, what country would you like to live?

Philip VanDusen: [00:41:31] Oh, that's easy Switzerland. I visited Switzerland when I was in my, early thirties and, Took a train through Switzerland and it was probably one of the most amazing countries I've ever seen.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:41:46] did any of the trains ever not go on time for you in

Philip VanDusen: [00:41:51] Switzerland?

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:41:51] I've been there a couple of times. And once there was like, the time was one minute after it was supposed to leave the station and all the Swiss people were like, yeah, it does happen. There's so many people were almost having heart attacks because Japan's

Philip VanDusen: [00:42:10] pants like that too.

They'll make incredibly heartfelt apologies if the train doesn't come in 30 seconds on time.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:42:17] Yeah. what is your favorite

Philip VanDusen: [00:42:19] color? my favorite color is turquoise.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:42:24] who is your favorite writer?

Philip VanDusen: [00:42:31] Boy. That's really hard. all right. Me, let me think about this.

my favorite writer right now is Anne and. okay, I'm going to go back to that. One of my favorite writers is a guy named Richard and Richard Prentky wrote a book called one man's wilderness. He went up to Alaska in the sixties and built a cabin in the middle of the wilderness and kept a journal.

And published a book called one man's wilderness, which I bred probably 10 times. And it's one of the most amazing, books I've ever read, probably because it's such a romantic idea. Oh, but the funny thing is he was all alone. He was totally alone most of the time, but he lived in incredible full life and kept an amazing journal.

but if anyone's thinking about reading a really inspiring book, read one man's wilderness by Richard Prentky.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:43:28] Perfect. who are your favorite fictional heroes?

Philip VanDusen: [00:43:34] Oh, my favorite fictional heroes. man, and this was before all the movies, like I w you know, I'm old enough to know having watched, Batman on television in the sixties.

And the Batman, the Bruce Wayne, the alter ego, multimillionaire, but then real cool superhero. Like it doesn't get any better than that, right? Nope.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:43:58] who's your favorite musician?

Philip VanDusen: [00:44:01] that's easy. Jimi Hendrix.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:44:04] who S or R or was your favorite artist?

Philip VanDusen: [00:44:10] that's a toss up between auto dicks.

And max Beckman,

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:44:17] who are your heroes in real life?

Philip VanDusen: [00:44:21] my heroes in real life, one of my heroes was my dad who's passed, but, he was a huge influence on me. wow. People that I analyze I'm reading. the second, the first. book of Barack Obama's, a promised land. And I think that he personifies just about everything that I think I admire in a human being.

and, so he's definitely one.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:44:48] What do you most dislike?

Philip VanDusen: [00:44:53] I most dislike in general. arrogance.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:44:58] What historical figure do you most despise? I won't caveat. I don't think we're allowed to say Hitler because everyone goes there. So yeah.

Philip VanDusen: [00:45:12] Despise. Okay. Gingiss con Oh, you weren't it wasn't a nice dude.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:45:17] no. what natural gift would you most like to possess?

Philip VanDusen: [00:45:24] Oh, a natural gift. I would love to be able to be a really great singer. I've always wanted to be a really great singer. There's some people who are just natural, who can just sing unbelievably. and that's something I've always wanted to.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:45:38] How would you like to die?

Philip VanDusen: [00:45:43] Wow. painlessly.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:45:47] What vice do you have that you most liked to give into

Philip VanDusen: [00:45:50] it? What, that's an interesting question. What advice do I

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:45:56] have, yeah. That you like to give into? as you saw on the picture earlier, I really enjoyed gluttony. Yeah. Oh. What

Philip VanDusen: [00:46:04] advice? Sorry. Sorry. Okay. What advice do I give into?


Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I like to give into sloths. Like when I turned off, I really turned off. Like I can definitely do four hours of Netflix on a couch on a Sunday afternoon. Yeah. You can

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:46:25] definitely do that. And then we were back up the worst ID Phillip ever has had it.

Philip VanDusen: [00:46:32] Okay. Oh man. You brought it back.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:46:36] Bring it back.

Philip VanDusen: [00:46:38] Oh, man. Okay. I hadn't thought about it. The worst idea I ever had.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:46:45] let's see if, what Peter says, he's S I'm an excellent interviewer.

Philip VanDusen: [00:46:49] Okay. Okay. Here it is. I got it. All right. Now this is a real story of how again, okay. The worst idea I ever had, I was working on an archeological dig on Crete when I was in, grad school.

And it was an amazing experience. And, we worked all day on an uninhabited Island off the Northern coast of Crete. It was a hundred degrees, very hot. We sweat like crazy. And then we would come back. And to the little town, little coastal town in Crete, and we would, lunch, we drink a whole bunch of beers.

We'd get a little buzz on before. We'd have to do are we where we have to do our, are, kind of land-based work in archeology going, cataloging and drawing things and stuff like that. And one afternoon I, we didn't have to do that work. So I decided to Taiwan on it and I got pretty drunk and they happened to rent.

wind surfers in this little village. And so I decided to go wind surfing drunk, and that was a really bad idea. I ended up, I had not wind surf too much in my life, and I ended up falling off the wind server onto my side and cracking a couple of ribs. On the edge of the wind surfer. And so for the next two weeks of the dig, I had to work standing up with my middle wrapped by a gigantic ACE bandage and incredible drawing architectural drawings of ruins of a Minoan fishing village.

And that was excruciatingly painful. So going wind surfing while drunk. In Crete was the worst decision I made.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:48:38] How's that? Yes. Thank you so much. That's a good story. with that, I would, I'm thanking you so much for joining me. If you want to say anything to the Watchers, listeners, anyone out there, now's your time.

Philip VanDusen: [00:48:52] Sure. Absolutely. So if anyone is interested in learning more about who I am, what I teach, how I can help you as a creative professional or entrepreneur, you can join the brand design masters Facebook group on Facebook. You can look at my videos on YouTube. I'm under my name. Philip van Dusen. And I also have a podcast, the brand design masters podcast, which I'd love you to check out.

And that's my website on the screen. Thank you for doing that. Didn't even have to announce that. And, Helguera, it's been a pleasure. I really appreciate your having me on the show. And this is probably when, one of the most unique interviews I've had and I've had a lot in the last few years, so that's awesome.

Hallgeir Gustavsen: [00:49:30] If you can stick around to just after the outro, I'll see you guys later and have a awesome night.

Hallgeir Gustavsen

Written By: Hallgeir Gustavsen

Hallgeir Gustavsen er en utrolig kjekk kar, som også er verdens beste medierådgiver fra Gvarv, i Telemark. Med dette som utgangspunkt har han tatt steget ut i verden, og til deg som kunde, for å dele av sin fortreffelighet. Med 20 års erfaring innen rådgivning og digitale flater, har han den erfaringen du trenger. Uten skam og frykt går han løs på nye utfordringer, og bryter ned dine og andres barrierer for at du skal få mest mulig for pengene. Gamle måter å tenke på skal ut, og digitale tanker skal inn. Han har vært med å bygge opp en rekke virksomheter gjennom sitt engasjement der målbare resultater fra digitale flater har stått mer sentralt enn altertavla i kirka. Hallgeir er en travel mann, men som alt annet kan han kjøpes for penger.