Why do we start things? Should we realise our ideas? Do we need to justify why we choose to start certain things? Should we focus more on the journey rather than the end result? Why do people not start something?
Starting something new can be difficult for some and easy for others. Matt, Steph, Andy and Jared explore the thoughts behind why people start new projects and the mental barriers they face why it comes to realising new ideas.
The OneSixOne Podcast
Co-founders of OneSixOne, Matt, Steph, Andy and Jared share their thoughts and conversations amidst the everyday madness of running a diverse creative agency. Recorded at The Qube, London. Produced by Tim Steemson. Theme music- ‘Lights Camera Action’ by meganeko. To keep up-to-date with the OneSixOne podcast, signup and subscribe via Spotify or Apple Music.
Matt Miller (00:00):
Hi listeners. Welcome to the OneSixOne podcast where we share stuff we've been chatting about in the studio, because we want to chat about it more. I'm Matt Miller and creative director at OneSixOne. This is episode number two. Thank you guys for tuning in again, it's miraculous in the room. To the left of me. We have.
Jared Saar (00:37):
Jared and I'm operations director.
Matt Miller (00:45):
No, in fact let's just scrap titles last week, if you want to know what we do listen to the last day [inaudible]. Yup. Okay. And to the left of Jared, we've got Mitch, the plant. Welcome back, Mitch. You were very quite last episode, and to the left of Mitch.
Stephanie Alcaino (01:02):
He wanted to leaf us alone.
Matt Miller (01:03):
Oh gosh. How many seconds are we? To the left of mitch, we've got...
Andy Khatouli (01:11):
Matt Miller (01:14):
And to the left of Andy. We've got...
Stephanie Alcaino (01:15):
Matt Miller (01:17):
And then we're back around to me. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome. So guys, what we're saying, how are we all doing?
Jared Saar (01:26):
Why do you guys, everyone looks at me. So just to clarify before I'm operations director. So I run all the meetings and agendas. So everyone is waiting for me to give them the green light. You say, you can speak now, I've allotted two minutes to you. I am good. I was everyone else doing?
Stephanie Alcaino (01:46):
Yeh, not bad.
Andy Khatouli (01:46):
Yeah, I'm good. I'm all right. Do you know what actually, I had a funny moment on the tube today? Okay. So, um, obviously I got the tube.
Matt Miller (02:02):
[Laughter] Oh nice!
Andy Khatouli (02:02):
And I looked down at my jacket and I had this streak of like a white stain on it. Oh. And I was like, I'm not sure if that's my toothpaste. That's like drip of my toothbrush or when my son threw up on me.
Matt Miller (02:18):
Neither of those you want, but the first seems better than...
Andy Khatouli (02:22):
Do you know what the funny thing is? I completely forgot about it. So I haven't even cleaned if off.
Matt Miller (02:25):
[Laughter] Why did the intro to this podcast remind you of a stain on your jacket.
Andy Khatouli (02:33):
I don't know. Cause you said, how are we doing and I just remembered.
Jared Saar (02:37):
Matt Miller (02:37):
Steph how are you?
Stephanie Alcaino (02:39):
Yeh not bad.
Matt Miller (02:40):
Andy Khatouli (02:41):
She is very relaxed. She's got foot up on the table.
Jared Saar (02:46):
Is that allowed?
Matt Miller (02:46):
Who care's it's our podcasts we can do what we want.
Jared Saar (02:48):
Stephanie Alcaino (02:48):
It means I've got soul.
Jared Saar (02:50):
On the shoe there's a sole. Just to clarify that joke for those that didn't know.
Matt Miller (02:54):
Today, the theme of this podcast is 'why start anything', right? Why start something? Yeah. Why start anything. Why start anything. It's interesting because I feel like right now, as we're filming this podcast is still lockdown. We're here in London, where in our homes, in our, whatever, bubbles we're locked down, it's locked down and it seems like everyone is starting something. And I don't mean that figuratively, like everyone's fighting or like starting a beef with someone.
I mean, there's loads of new things that people do. Like, I don't know what the thought process is, but just one day maybe algorithms, maybe I'm being like manipulated subliminally, but I just started to get really about sourdough, which is an experience I didn't really want to do that. I felt like your options for baking was like banana bread or sourdough back in like March. Right? That's all anyone was doing on Instagram anyway that I could see. So because I'm kind of that all or nothing person. I love reading the instructions for building things in Ikea. Like even with, I've got the new PS5, little plug there, shoutout to Sony, please send us a headset and a charging dock. If you've got any, we would love that.
Andy Khatouli (04:04):
Do you read also like the publishing information in a book?
Matt Miller (04:07):
So I was going to say, eventually I get round to that. I have no idea. Right. Because I can't retain that information. Um, but I love reading the ins and outs of stuff. So I'm like, okay. I feel like I've got a good enough grasp of that to speak about it confidently or to use it confidently. So I got really into sourdough, like more than any normal person probably should where I was like looking at methods of folding the dough and like what intervals you should do a certain type of fold, like a coil fold. If you didn't know what that is, which is where you like insert your fingers and you use the weight of it to stretch itself and then flip it away from you over. Anyway. So going into sourdough, I ordered like flour from Italy. Cause I couldn't get it in the supermarket cause I'm the extra. And that was like a period of time. I'll go into sourdough. My Instagram started feeding me stuff about sourdough.
So I started getting really inspired by seeing people's rise. I was just thinking about like, why did you let do that? I started, why did I enjoy it? You know, I'm like over 30, I feel like that's the bracket is just over 30 when you hit 30, but why did I start making bread? And It got me kind of thinking a little bit about again, why do we start these bigger projects? And in our society, that seems to be like a sell by date for starting certain things. So another thing that I've started guys is a really big backstory, but I think it's fine to do this. Right.
Jared Saar (05:20):
Do you want us to answer the question or is it just...
Matt Miller (05:22):
No no, I'm going to get there. I'm going to get there. You guys wait, you guys wait. Cause I just want to talk about all the things I've started.
Jared Saar (05:28):
Matt Miller (05:28):
So another thing I started right is because I wanted to do this for so long and it's all your guys' fault because like I've just been building the playlist for OneSixOne. Shout out to OneSixOne playlists. If you don't know what those are, go on Spotify type in OneSixOne, you'll find playlist on there for stuff that we'll listen to in the office. In fact, the best one that's been put together as one of that Steph put together. That one's an absolute rave, like fluency.
Stephanie Alcaino (05:48):
Matt Miller (05:48):
Yeah. It's sick. That's my favourite one. Anyway, I love building playlists. Love music, always loved compiling music and burning CDs and all that kind of stuff. So I thought actually I did want to, at one point learn how to DJ, like at one point I had an MPC and would make beats and stuff. And then I was like, I want to become a DJ. My mom was just like, if you become a DJ you'll die. That was kind of the ultimatum. So I was like, I better not become a DJ.
Jared Saar (06:11):
Is it a threat from her?
Matt Miller (06:12):
Yeah yeah. She decided she was going to kill it. I think she just knows I was irresponsible ...
Andy Khatouli (06:16):
Thats the seven commandment, thou shall not spin deck. [Laughter]
Jared Saar (06:23):
Yeah. It wasn't two tablets. It was two decks.
Andy Khatouli (06:30):
[Laughter] Moses dropped the records...
Matt Miller (06:32):
Whoa, that's a sick DJ name. Moses. Maybe I should just... anyway. So I was like over lockdown, someone, lent me some decks, started learning how to, you know, mix and all that kind of stuff. And we're fortunate that our studio is in an environment where there's loads of musicians and DJs and producers around. Right. So I was like, do you know if there's any, a time to get good at this it's now? And I like starting stuff and getting to like a level where I come good enough to enjoy it. So I don't really like to start things that I know I'm not ever going to be good at. I want to be like to a level. I can actually enjoy it. But thinking about all these things like DJ, so random... Making bread, like why start something like that? Is it important that you can be the best at it or be incredible at it? Like I look around, I'm like, I'm never going to be like these guys who are like 20 years ahead or 10 years ahead. And for me it's not important. I just always want to get to a point where I can enjoy it. Like I want to enjoy good bread. So I want to get to a point where I'm really good at making bread. I want to enjoy good music. And maybe like if I was having a party that I'd be able to put on good music the whole time, like, that's the thing, that's the goal. Why do we start things? Cause we've all in this room started stuff during lockdown. Right? Like Jared, you've started some stuff?
Jared Saar (07:33):
Yeah. Yeah. I've been trying to get into some 3D work on a program called Blender. And actually I was inspired by Andy. He was starting his own thing as well, which he's been doing for a few years, but he was doing some 3D work and I was like, that looks cool.
You mean like 3D design work?
Jared Saar (07:46):
Yeah, yeah like 3d design modelling.
Andy Khatouli (07:50):
You're not just talking about 3D ordinary objects.
Jared Saar (07:53):
Yeah. On the computer. So I basically tried to get into that, watching tutorials. It's been fun.
Matt Miller (07:57):
But you've got really, really good at like you saying, like you've just been like watching some YouTube videos. You can probably earn some P yeah.
Jared Saar (08:05):
Well that's the goal, the goal is to get some side money.
Matt Miller (08:07):
So did you start that because you were like, I want to just earn money or was it something that you were interested in and then you were like, I'm going to start that because I'm just interested regardless of the money or value or...
Jared Saar (08:18):
Yeah, I think it was a combination, you know, starting a business is not easy. So as much as you hope from day one that the income would be there for the business. It's not always the case, certainly not for us. And so I think when you start a business and you don't have that income coming in, I'm very grateful that Steph is a photographer, she was able to earn some side money for us over the years. It has kind of kept us afloat at various times. So I wanted to contribute to something. But I think for me, there was always a block in going like, well, what's the point of whatever I do. Like, is it going to take me somewhere? So I think I had that kind of, Oh, I could do this. Oh, but no, that's, that's boring. I don't really want to be doing that long term. And so for me, I've been over the years trying to probably start a whole bunch of different things ever since I was like 18 left school. I didn't know what I wanted to do, when I left school kind of was thrown straight into work and I've been trying to find like, what do I enjoy? What do I want to do?
So I think for a long time, I probably started many things, but not completed a lot of things just due to the fact that I got over it or I was trying to fight for someone else's dream, I think. And so I saw someone else doing something really well. And I was like, Oh, that would be sick if I could do that as well. And you get a few months into it and you're like, I really don't enjoy doing this. I think an example for that is, you know, I tried to do some stuff in music at one point and some of my friends are producers and watching them in studio. I think, you know, if they get a hit, it's amazing, glamorous, but then you actually look at them day in, day out in the studio, sitting there trying to work something out. I personally was like, yeah, this is not for me. I can't hack it. I don't want to grind away at something, you know, props to them, but I can't do it myself. But then I found, I think Blender, for me, it was almost like that, Oh, I enjoy this. And it kind of had the right amount of creativity, but it also had the right amount of follow the formula. So for me, it kind of had the right things for my brain to be like, okay, if I do this and move it there, it's going to produce this. So at this point I felt like I improved quite quickly cause I did a lot of courses, but also it's cause that was like the first thing I'm like, Oh yes, I'm excited about something that I can do. And it just so happens that if I get good enough at this, I can bring in some money for the family. So kind of was the best of both worlds for me.
Matt Miller (10:24):
How do you stumble on that stuff? Cause Blender is quite random. It's not like you were like surrounded by 3D designers. I know you spoke about like seeing Andy do stuff. What was it that you saw that that was different to like the music, the music you were seeing other people and you're like, I could do that. And you kind of saw that in Andy, but there was something different about this thing.
Jared Saar (10:45):
For me, it's the idea of like, look, I came from Australia, I thought I knew what I was going to do with my life. And then getting married to someone who has a much bigger vision than you for what they want to be and for what their life is. It's really actually quite exciting because they take you on this adventure and you end up discovering more about yourself that you didn't realise was there and things start going, Oh wait, I actually really enjoy this. And I think being exposed to different people actually helps you discover what maybe you're passionate about. So over the years, I think I've just been exposed to a whole different number of people in different fields. You know, you start to almost daydream a little bit and go, Oh, I could do that. Or I could do that. And so I think the idea of stumbling onto something, I don't think I stumbled on to 3D Blender stuff because Andy kind of showed it to me. I think it was more, I've been looking for so long for something to do where I could invest my time and energy even on a weekend and just side, because I think Steph went home, she'll be like, Oh, I just feel like painting. And I'll be like, that's so cool. I want something like that. So I think I've been saying that for a while.
So as much as I stumbled on the Blender, I think it was more that I had tried so many other things. And then finally Blender was like, ah, this could work. And it just so happened. That was the one thing that the more I dove into it, the more excited I became rather than after three months being like, Oh actually it's not that great. Yeah. So that's what I was saying. I think it was more self discovery through everything. And then I think Blender just so happened to be there at that point, for me to see and be like, I could do this. That's what I feel and it's brought life for me I think. It's given me joy on the weekends. I think even Steph she's quite artistic. And so she's been helping me art direct a little bit of the direction for some of the pieces that I make. And that's exciting as well.
Matt Miller (12:23):
That's cool that you can collaborate just the two of you as well.
Jared Saar (12:25):
Stephanie Alcaino (12:26):
Yeah, no, it's good. I think we both picked up on a few new things this year, which has been quite fun to just be able to progress. I restarted painting as Jared said, which is nice. It's been about a decade since I picked up an oil paint brush.
Matt Miller (12:41):
Which is also, just to interject like, I know, this is really bad. Just jumping in on people's conversations. But for everyone, the paintings are ridiculous. If I didn't play guitar and if in 10 years and tried to do it again, I'd be like embarrassed. Like the stuff that Steph has done. Like literally we've shown as like, we've gallerised if that's even a word, because like, I don't know who can stop painting for 10 years and then just re paint, redraw, like real people. And they look like real people. And what, like my three-year-old daughter's outline sketch of a person.
Stephanie Alcaino (13:11):
Yeah. Well it took a bit of readjusting to see colours again, cause you're so used to like a format, particularly with doing photography that you're looking for composition the entire time and I guess colour takes a back seat to it. But with painting colour is what creates the image and unlike drawing with pencil or charcoal, it's a lot easier cause you are looking for form, but it's this beautiful marriage between form and colour that you have to understand. And it took me a while to get back into seeing colours again and seeing the small little transitions between a shade and a hue and a highlight. So I found that quite interesting. And then on top of that, I started reading a lot this year, but I think different to Jared I'm very goal orientated. So if I want to achieve something, I set myself a goal and I'll keep hacking at it until I hit that goal. And for reading, I set myself a goal to read 50 books this year, that just came from the fact that we started business. We realised that we had to learn a lot and learn fast. And then I started reading a few books and then a lot of the books were talking about how CEOs read 60 books, I think on average a year. And I was like, okay, if I were to read 50 books this year, don't know whether I can do 60, but I'll try 50 first, what it would do to my mind and how I do strategy creatively within the business and on projects. So I've just been hacking in that. And I finally hit my 50 book goal this year.
Matt Miller (14:44):
Which is insane.
Jared Saar (14:44):
Stephanie Alcaino (14:44):
Fantastic. So those are the things that I started and I really appreciated just even having the time and the space for it. I think for myself during this pandemic, it's just been having that breathing space to go, Oh, I can consider doing this. This might be fun. And a lot of that was born out of just having that mental capacity and that space to think about what I want to pursue, particularly in a time where we have been given a little bit of extra time. So for me, it is having some clarity to think about projects I want to pursue. And then on top of that, I set hard goals and deadlines to try and get myself.
Andy Khatouli (15:26):
Yeah. I think for me, I've kind of shared with a lot of what has been said already, you know, in terms of speaking as a creative in general, like why do I start things? And so it's kind of was a question I often have with my wife. My wife is a printer textile designer, so she's creative as well. She will often question why I start many projects on the side or maybe larger projects and often where it leads to is trying to explain a vision for an idea. It's the excitement behind an idea. And I think that's something I take great pride in if I have an idea for something, whether that's realistic or not. I try to note that down, keep sort of a mental log of it, but also quite often I'll try and chase that particular idea, see if I can bring it into reality. And I think for me, it's not always the case of what the end product is.
What I really enjoy is the journey of the creative process. So some of the things that we'll have to learn are new things that I'll discover as a means of exploring this idea, whether my process is refined as, as a result of trying something new and also just having fun, you know, sometimes it's just being able to use the energy and the thoughts and you know, the drive that you've got inside of you because of this spark of an idea that's come to mind. So for me, it's not always the case of, can I finish this thing, but it's also just being able to have fun with it, even if it doesn't lead to anything in particular. And, um, I'm a passionate professional wrestling fan. No, I think everyone in here knows that already. I've kept watching it for those who are wondering why, but you know, it's obviously a great passion of mine in life, I love watching it. I love, I love the culture behind it. I love the entertainment to it and storytelling. And you know, one of my dreams in life is to do something that merges that with my creative work. And so, about two years ago or maybe three years or so, I had this idea of making a game of some sort that incorporated that love for wrestling. I think that was actually spurred by an original idea, which was to write a story that involves wrestling characters and, you know, promotion or whatever it is. And then that eventually merged into this concept of creating a card game.
So for the last sort of two, three years, I've been developing this children's card game, I've tested prototypes on people, then learnt how to design in 3D and create characters and, you know, tested the game, the mechanics of it, trying to understand how to finish a game and make sure that it always ends. And that's been really exciting, but I remember walking through Regent's park with my wife and, um, you know, prior to this walk, she had always questioned why I was "wasting my time" with this game. I think she couldn't see the vision behind it. And then I think it was probably about, you know, a year or two into it as we're walking through the park that she turned to me and she apologised and it probably one of the sweetest moments in our marriage to be honest, because she suddenly realised what I was passionate about. And she got the vision to it, and I think I remember her saying that one of the things that she really respects about me is that if I have an idea, I do something about it. I don't sit on them. So that's been really exciting to be on that journey. And, you know, hopefully soon the game will be finished and can put it out then and let others enjoy it. But you know, for me, it really is about the journey and whether you finish that journey or not, there's always something to take from it. And I think that feeds really well into, into life in general, just as, just as a principal, you know, being able to experience and try new things and maybe it's not to your taste and maybe it takes flight, but you know, it's part of that process of trying and experiencing and learning new things.
Jared Saar (19:15):
I think what's most interesting about what you said and quite inspiring for me is, um, and this was when I kind of got into Blender because I was, we were kind of meeting for the first time and you were coming on to the business and things like that. And I was discovering a little bit more about you and this whole Blender game and everything like that. It was just blowing my mind. But I think for me, it was actually, it's quite confronting when you see people that don't need validation to start something. And I think for me growing up and it's not like I needed my parents to tell me, go for it. I mean, they would encourage me to do anything. I just don't think I had to think for myself in a way sometimes to start something and have nobody tell me yeah, go for it. So when I saw that and I think with Steph she's, you know, I've known him for about 10 years now or 11 years and even yourself, Matt, I think it's interesting. It would be great to your perspective because I don't think some people can start something sometimes if other people are saying you shouldn't do that. And it'd be interesting, cause we all have these great stories of no, that person encouraged me, blah, blah, blah. But you're saying in this story, like for the first few moments, your wife didn't understand. So I'd love to hear your thought patterns. What's going through your head when you want to start something. And people are like, come on, that's stupid. You've tried something already. And that doesn't work or something. Cause I, I think that's probably for me, one of the most, like how did they do that? How did they just pick it up and go for it? I was reading a book and it was saying that in children, if a child is playing with the Legos and they're like two years old, there's something that you can do as a parent. That's really great. And there's something you can do that actually doesn't set them up well for life. And they were talking about this idea and I think Lego actually, when they release Lego, they would have this encouragement to the parents, which was let your child just build whatever they want to build and don't necessarily criticise it or make suggestions. Cause they were saying, when a child is playing with a Lego and you're there next to them going, Oh, maybe we should try the red bricks here. Maybe we should put that one in. You're actually teaching the child that when things come up in life, they can expect someone else to solve the problem. And I found that really interesting. And I think for me, it was kind of like I found it really hard to start something, unless someone said to me, Oh Jared, by the way, I think you're really good at this. You should give it a go. So my question was how do you break out of that cycle?
Matt Miller (22:56):
Interesting, because I feel like, so we've had conversations around this before kind of thing. And I think, I feel like I'm quite aware, not with like a lot of hindsight, but actually like quite close to things happening, and post things happening like, for some reason I have this mechanism, which is like, regardless I will do this. So my story, I think that kind of latches onto the point that you're making is, um, you know, growing up, we didn't have like a ton of money or anything. And there's a load of times where it was my parents. And at the time myself and my little sister where like, we just didn't have much, like, all we'd have is like all like, I dunno, child benefit or whatever to buy food. And a bit loads of times they'd be like nothing in the house. It's like, okay, we're having like tin tuna and rice for dinner or something. Not, that this is like meant to be some kind of violin sob story. But that was just the reality. At times at the time my parents didn't have great jobs and there's loads of situations which are disappointing, which meant that we just didn't have very much. And I remember at the time I was like 14, 15. I was 15, it was my little sister and then my little brother who was like five years old. And obviously like as the baby, he's the priority. And I remember there was just a time where for like a few days we didn't have anything. And I remember this moment so much because we were sat at the dinner table and like my mum put like the food down. And like we all said grace. And then it was like, everyone got into the food. And I remember, cause it was like tuna and rice and sweet corn or whatever. And just, in that moment I had, which is kind of crazy when I think about it, like this thought, which is like, if I want to break this cycle, I have to do something about it. Which I don't know many, 15 years... I didn't have many friends that thought that way.
So I remember like, so this isn't like, what time do you get home from school? Half three. So we're having dinner at like 4.00, 4.30, whatever. And usually you just eat your dinner. Someone would knock at the door, and then you'd go play out and play football until like the lights went off. Um, cause if you're not allowed to like play outside, when the lights go off, basically it wasn't the weird thing, which is why the summer was so great. He played until like 11 o'clock. But I remember like after that, so, I was just like, I have to get a job because like, if I want the things that I want, if I want to do the things, I didn't even know what dreams I had. I just knew that if I want to do something, I can't be in survival mode. I can't rely on anyone. And I can't wait for someone to tell me and I don't need to be good at it. I just need to go and do something for myself to provide an opportunity for myself. So it's strange. Cause its not like my parents ever pressured us to make money, to contribute, but something in me. And I have those moments sometimes I'm like, if I want to change this, I need to do something about it. Um, and so I remember like literally I ate my dinner, I got changed. And I said, "yo mom, I'm going out", and I rode my bike to the only place I could think of that would give me a job, which was this, this restaurant in Horsforth called The Outside In. And the only reason I remembered it was because chefs used to always stand out the back smoking. So I was like, I'm going to go there and ask them to give me a job. So I cycled to this restaurant, five minutes down the road, went to the chefs and said, Hey, can I work here? Can I get a job? We're all like, how old are you? And I'm like, 15? And they were like, Oh, okay. Um, so I'm like, no, I'm serious. Like I want a job now. Like, can I have a job? And one guy, one of the chefs guy called Al, he was like, I'll give you a job. Yeh, i'll give you a job. Let's go get the manager. So then they went and got the manager/ the front of house, and he came out and was like what can you do? I was like, I will do anything. They were like, do you want to wash dishes? I was like, yes. And they're like, come back tomorrow your washing dishes.
Jared Saar (26:32):
Matt Miller (26:32):
So then I would wash dishes two nights a week, sometimes three nights a week. I think I earned like £20ish cash in hand. So each week I was earning 50, 50 quid or something. It was like a lot for a 15 year old. I'd give some money to my parents, not because they have asked just because I was like, I don't want to see my little brother eating tuna and rice. That was all I could see was tuna and rice. The good thing is if I went to the restaurant, I got dinner. Cause the chefs would cook. Like if you were in the kitchen. But I just think like I have these moments, I think, you know, it's part of, even now that I'm saying, that's why we start at OneSixOne, but like, there's definitely a moment. I was like, okay, I've been in far too many situations where someone higher than me in the hierarchy of this system or this job or occupation doesn't value me as much as I value me and my family. They're not looking out for me as much as I'm looking out for me and my family. So that means I'm either not being paid enough, being taken advantage or the culture's not treating me. Like not actually respecting me. There's loads of different things. And sometimes it's all those things. So I'm like, I have to now make a decision onto how I'm going to improve this for myself because I'm not willing to continue the cycle or be a part of it.
Stephanie & Jared (27:46):
Matt Miller (27:46):
And so, you know, it got to a point where I've done enough jobs where that's far too common. So I have to set something up that looks different, which is why, you know, gathered people like yourselves, I respect, that have the high caliber that I trust to do this thing to create an agency. So I don't know what it is like, but there comes a point where you have blind rage, you're so angry, don't see who's in front of you. You're just like, I will do this. I'm not saying like things we enjoy. Like I didn't start DJing cause I was raging to become a DJ.
Matt Miller (28:27):
But I think there's things we just enjoy. We're I'm like, I'm to give that a go. But I think there are things that mean something, right? Yeah. And you have a reason, like you have an obligation, whether it's providing for your family, whether it's changing the world, Kanye West style, I will do this because the world needs it. Some people have those visions and it pays off. But yeah. And I think that's different, isn't it. I don't know if that translates the same way. If you want to create music or you want to just be expressive because you feel that you have to express, some people literally feel like they have to create music to survive. I don't have that mechanism. I think we all have different mechanisms where we know this is going to make me come alive.
Stephanie Alcaino (29:09):
No, I find that quite interesting. I think for myself, I find that there's two elements that are involved to start something. One of them is exposure and the other one's experience. And I always have a question for myself every year. And the question for myself this year is where am I getting my education from? And that really stems or speaks into why I've picked up so many books this year, because when we leave school or university or college, wherever you got your primary education from. It's like you enter into the world as if you've just graduated and you know, everything. And then we tend to only find new information through either our algorithms or what we choose to do with our downtime. So whether, if we're watching Netflix all day long, then that's as far as our education goes. So there really is a need to evolve our exposure to different things, to different ways of thinking to different people. And that can be either through reading, it can be meeting new people. It can be having friends that think very differently in a part of different walks of life or challenging yourself to put yourself into new cultures, new situations. And I find for myself, my parents brought me up to travel quite a bit. So I've got quite a decent amount of exposure of different cultures. And I think that really helped emphasize my need and desire to learn more from other people. I also find that with experience, I think similar to you, Matt, like with working in the kitchens, I've had good and bad experiences through my walk of life. And I think both of them, particularly the bad ones where I felt like I failed actually taught me that failure is not the dead end. It's just the next platform to the next thing that you can continue to build on. I've utilized that in the small things that I want to start where I'm like, I'm just going to give it a go. If I don't like it, then that's okay. But if I do like it, I'm going to start to set strategic goals, to get myself to where I want to go with this project. And I think definitely it was a good amount of bad experiences.
I think very similar to you, Matt, where I had been on set, been screamed at, and just had poor leaders above me that really taught me that I don't want this to be the norm within the creative industry, particularly from my past experiences. And also everyone haggling trying to get you at your lowest rate that you can't survive on in London. I really wanted to offer a space where people got paid a decent wage for what they're able to bring to the table, their ideas, their talents, etc. So I definitely found that those were the two elements that really played into my capacity to just go, I'm going to give this a go, I'm going to try this or this wasn't working in the past from my past experiences. So I'm just going to find ways to enter into new experiences that will teach me the right way to go about doing things.
Jared Saar (32:06):
Andy Khatouli (32:06):
Yeah. I think, you know, something that has always surprised me and also, you know, you kind of expect is that to kind of follow from your question Jared, about, you know, what'd you do in those situations where people might not catch the vision or be as enthusiastic about what you're doing, what to do in those situations. And you know, what I've found generally as I've had that similar walk to how you describe Matt, you know, just pushing forward, wanting better for where you're at, is that often you will find that people won't see things the way that you see them. And that's ok, you've got to accept that sometimes you will cross paths with people who just don't catch the vision and who don't understand, and that shouldn't be a discouragement to you in terms of, you know, what you're trying to achieve.
Not going into questions of morality of what's the motive behind it. But often we hear these stories of these great leaders, the sort of Steve jobs and the Michael Jordans and the whoever we want to put in that blank space. And very often they were met with opposition, with adversary, with close family members who didn't quite understand what they were doing with, friends who just couldn't catch the vision and through perseverance, they've come out on the other side and it always surprises me. I've experienced this myself and I've heard stories of it in friends and other people, who've come through this experiences that they come out on the other side and those who formerly didn't catch the vision were not enthusiastic where suddenly are, because they see the reality of that small idea coming to birth. So I'd probably encourage anyone in that position who would be feeling like, what do I do when no one else sees this? Is that very often you will probably be lonely on that path. And the way to move forward is to hear these other stories of people who've traveled the same journey and who've pushed through and seen the idea come to reality. And ironically they share the stories of how those who were in their own lives, who were probably a little bit more skeptical, suddenly won. And I think that's a hard journey and we shouldn't overlook that. We have to be realistic about what it's going to take from us to be able to see those things come to light. And it's all the more rewarding when it does happen.
Jared Saar (34:17):
Stephanie Alcaino (34:17):
It's like being on a highway versus being in the jungle with a machete, trying to create your new path in life. One that hadn't been walked before requires a lot more effort.
Andy Khatouli (34:28):
Yeah, absolutely. And I think the world needs people like us, the world needs people who are going to go against the grain, who we're going to try something different. And here we're going to succeed in that so that you can then give an alternate narrative for other people in their lives to realise actually, for me, I'm talking on my behalf, I don't know of any Iraqi heritage creative directors. I don't know if the, if there are any that exist maybe on the only one. But I do realise that in 20, 30 years time, there'll be a lot of young Arab men and women growing up in the UK who wants to be the next professional designer that is recognised globally. And I will be their reference point because it's like, Oh wait, there was someone who looks like me, who came from my background, who said, you know what, I'm not going to accept the conditions that are laid out before me. I'm not going to just sort of abide by whatever anyone else says, but actually push forward and really persevered and made a difference and now has set a precedence for me.
So, yeah. I was watching, the recent series of The Crown, the one with Margaret Thatcher in it and as controversial as she was in terms of her politics, there's a great scene where she's with the queen. I don't know if this is real script, obviously. I don't know if this real, but I mean, the script kind of alluded to this concept where Margaret Thatcher is talking to the Queen and the Queen's questioning her ability as a woman leader and, you know, opposing certain people who are in the party and some of the ideologies and their traditions and just to paraphrase her. But she, you know, she says, you know, when you're a leader, you, you will receive opposition. You, you will upset people. You will find, people will disagree with you. Leaders are the first to get criticism because they're the ones who rise above the ranks and decide I'm going to try something new. And it's not to be discouraged by that because you will always face that.
Stephanie Alcaino (36:29):
I wonder whether it's worth flipping it on his head is, why do people not start something? What are the blockers of starting something new?
Matt Miller (36:39):
This is a great question because I was just thinking about this as well, Steph. So the context for this question or this thought, sorry, of the back of that question is, part of what we're doing is that we want to see our friends succeed. Like I've said it already, I said it in the previous episode. The challenge of that is when you have friends that are super talented and whether they acknowledge it or not, you see them being stuck in a rut or that they're almost content not fulfilling their potential. Now it's probably not your place as their friend to constantly make all your friends strive for some imaginary level of excellence that you have for them. But at the same time, there are those people that are like, actually, if you were just here, or actually, if you tried rather than settling, or, you talk about this dream that you have expecting it to just arrive in your life, but you've never, as far as I've seen tried, like you're waiting for someone else, what you were saying, Jared, the validation from someone else to say, "Hey man, here's an opportunity to do this," rather than, Oh, I want to try and realise my dream. Or I want to try and make that difference rather than just complain about all the time and so I think with that question, you know, why do people not start something it's like, how would you encourage those people to start something? How do you do that? Like, I mean, you [Jared] and I have had these conversations.
Jared Saar (38:00):
All three of you, are self-starters. I'd probably say I'm only new to the self-starting kind of journey. That's why, when we talk about Blender, let me say, Oh, wow, like you started to learn it. It's the first time I've been encouraging myself. Like this is fun. But previous to this, there was so much weight around, what is that thing I'm good at? What is that one thing in life that I'm going to master? You know? And we talk about Michael Jordan, stuff like that. It's like, I'm just waiting for like the basketball to hit my hand and then realised like, Oh, flip I'm incredible at Basketball. I think I just realised, through more observing and I think as well, that whole idea of waiting, and Steph can tell you, I thought by waiting an opportunity would come. I think I'm a pretty decent guy. Like I'll probably just meet the right person and blah, blah, blah. And now looking back on that, I'm slightly embarrassed by that thought pattern. But I think for me, I needed to start something in this case with OneSixOne, I felt like I did need some support from people to say, you can do this. I think starting OneSixOne, the support I got was from Steph and Matt at that point. And then eventually Andy, when we, when we met, because that kind of teamwork of people saying, you can do this when things go hard is what I needed. But I think what I also had to learn in that process was also the ability to not get caught up in the people that were, when you're trying to explain, like we're trying really hard, but they can't see the results at that point. And I realised I didn't have expend that energy. It's so tiring trying to convince people of what you're doing, but it was when I started to see the little wins, I think. And when I say little wins, I'm not talking about big money in the bank and all this kind of thing. It's just like that first pay-check that you, like, we paid ourselves, we started something and we paid ourselves, that's mad. And then you're like, okay, I know I can do that now. Okay. What's the next thing. And then it's like, Oh, I just wrote up a contract and they signed it. That's weird. It worked, you know, and I think for me, it was actually a progression of little wins that led me to the big win. I can't remember who said this thing.
It was a Japanese artist, but I could be completely wrong here, but he was talking about too many of the younger generation are looking at the top of the mountain and their eyes are fixed on it. And he's like, we should be looking at every step we're taking and eventually you'll get there. And I think it was like, I was so lost in like, Oh man, I would love to be doing that one day, but it's so big. There's no way I'm going to get there. When I really need to look down and just go to get there, I have to start on Udemy, with the course to teach me what is Blender like. And so I think for me, for someone who wasn't a self-starter, who now is on that journey, it's super exciting. And if you're not a self-starter at home, I think it is small steps and what everyone else has been saying, you've got to follow your gut as well.
Stephanie Alcaino (41:06):
Yeah, definitely. It seems like perseverance is a muscle and it requires a few tries before you start to build on your ability to go through the grit, to get to where you need to be. And that there's no shortcuts to success. It requires time. It requires your ability to endure when things aren't going well to then see the end result.
Andy Khatouli (41:30):
Just to speak on those who would say, you know, I'm not naturally wired like that. Like I'm not, I'm a person who gives up quite easily. I would say to that is maybe you're a bit like me, you know, you've got that melancholy, kind of vibe in the background, what you often need is people around you encouraging you. So find a few people who are like-minded and, in the case with me and Jared, all it needed was just some affirmation and encouragement. And to have that little input here and there really does make a big difference in terms of how people move forward in whatever they're passionate about.
Jared Saar (42:06):
Can I just back on what you're saying? Because I think it's a really good point. I think what Andy is saying as well is really important is sometimes though, you do have to actually go out and find those people. A lot of the times they may be in your circles already. But if you're trying a new thing, there's a good chance that other people never heard of it. And so whilst nobody around you at that point might support you. I think that's what we're saying before. Sometimes people won't support you, but actively I think what Andy is saying is like, yeah, you do have to find people that will support you. And sometimes it is about finding someone who's a self-starter who understands the journey.
Matt Miller (42:45):
I think this is interesting as well, because I feel like you've given the counter to it. Cause I feel like for me, I know we're talking about like having the motivation to be self-starting and things like that. And I feel like my thing probably feels like it's more, my stories are much more about like when your back's against the wall, it's when you like push forward. But the downside to that is for me anyway, and I think this is something that if you are wired, like me to be aware of is like, then you can get comfortable when you're back is not against the wall. I like really relax. So there's a really hard balance for me because all you guys know, like I can be a complete workaholic if I really wanted to...as much as I love everything like PlayStation and making bread and DJ and whatever, if I felt like my back was against the wall, I would work every single day, like every single day. It's taken me like a real discipline, especially when we started this to be like, weekends are family time. So I've not actually worked like a Saturday, like doing anything, like a shoot or anything for whatever, like couple of years, probably really. But if you are wired, like me it's acknowledging that like, okay, the moment when you know, you talk about those little wins that come or the boredom, for me I just fight for the big wins, more than the little ones, which is another problem that celebrating the little wins that we've all been working on. I felt like this is a counselling session for me. And just me opening up all of my little insecurities and issues that I have., You don't have to wait or position yourself for you to feel like you're the underdog all the time. Cause that's an exhausting and dangerous place is to like wait for your back to be against the wall and be like, right, I'm going to go all out, like gung ho for everything. You almost have to have a perseverance as well. That has that sustainable pace. And so perseverance for me, sometimes it looks like it's not the opposite, but it's like, how do I persevere in a place where it doesn't feel like, I have to like lash out to get to break out of whatever or change or circumstance or pursue a new idea or whatever.
Andy Khatouli (44:36):
I think with perseverance as well is we see the analogy in the sportsman and woman, the motivation is the prize. Isn't it, it's the thing at the end of the road or whatever it is you're gunning for that. That's what you want. And so I think for creatives, you've got to figure out what's the motivation, what's the goal? Like why is it that you want? And sometimes it might just be that very specific thing. Like I just want to finish this project and that's the end of the goal, but sometimes it can be a lot more deeper. There could be, you know, bigger kind of philosophical ideas or it might be just like a motivation to like provide for a family or, you know, be able to make enough money to go on holiday, whatever it is. There needs to be a set goal in place. Otherwise you might quickly lose your footing and you'll feel discouraged and move away. But one of the things I kind of want to quickly mention, and it's probably going to be something that we should talk about later on in a different podcast is fear around creativity. Fear around starting something and what those fears are. And so I know that's a big one and we'll probably need some time to think about that. That's something that, you will have to reflect on personally, ask yourself, like, what are you afraid of in this process and to address that. But one of the things I've always found helpful in those situations where maybe you want to encourage someone else to try something new, or you need to encourage yourself and speak to yourself about those things. It's just changing your perspective on the issue. Often you need to take a break, have a little think, go for a wander, refresh your mind, get someone else to speak to you, share your ideas, talk about it. And before you know it, you might find that extra boost that you need to be able to chase after it. I really like this little poem that Dale Carnegie who says "Two men looked out from prison bars once all the mud, the other saw stars." I really love that. It's just simple. Two people in the same situation, same circumstances, one saw one completely differently. Yeah. If that's of any encouragement to anyone, feel free to invite other people into your, into your thinking and get a fresh perspective.
Matt Miller (46:55):
As usual, at the end of the podcasts, we like to share things that are going on that we find really interesting. We're all from diverse backgrounds and there's things about us that we're individually interested in. So we'd like to give a bit of an opportunity for us to share things that we've experienced either this week or since the last podcast, that people may find interesting. I said interesting a lot of times in that sentence.
Stephanie Alcaino (47:16):
Maybe you are very interested.
Jared Saar (47:19):
Matt Miller (47:19):
So Steph, what's on your radar?
Stephanie Alcaino (47:24):
To be honest, like it's not one thing, but I have been brought up learning different languages. Spanish was my first language and French, I learned at university for good amount of years and then moved to France. But haven't kept up those languages for a long time. So I've restarted, polishing them up and learning new skills within those languages. But I've been reading a book called "How the World Thinks" by Julian Baggini. And he was talking about, when you start to learn different languages, you start to gain a better understanding of how a different culture thinks and then how that allows you to gain a better perspective on how people from different cultures will just go about thinking about things in life and their point of view, which helps expand and move you away from just a single story perspective. Usually that's dictated by philosophy. So us being brought up in the Western world, we think in a certain manner and that's just history has dictated how we go about doing life. So for me, I find it quite interesting that re-picking up these languages has allowed me to dip into those cultures again, particularly my South American culture and the French culture that haven't participated or been a part of for probably seven years now. And it's allowed me to open up my mind again and find, I guess what we're saying before, reestablish some exposure in different societies, away from our Anglophone culture that we are just a part of on a day to day basis. So languages on my part. So if you wanting to start language, now is the time.
Matt Miller (49:07):
Andy Khatouli (49:09):
Well, me and my wife just had a baby. A little boy, I won't say his name. Yeah. Namely for legal reasons in case anyone's listening. Unnamed dot JPEG. The second one will be _2.
Jared Saar (49:32):
Andy Khatouli (49:40):
He just turned four months. It's been really nice because I met with a friends and, um, we were walking near the sort of wetlands near Stoke Newingtown. And he was just like, how's fatherhood? What's it like being a dad? I was like, to be honest, I don't really have an answer for it. I'm just really enjoying it as it comes along. I think in many ways, not having a father at home growing up means that I've sort of looked forward to this day for a long time. Having a boy makes it especially special, because of that relationship. That means a lot more to me. And, just seeing him grow up and just even seeing him develop like day to day, week to week, it's surprising. Like it's things just appear. Like he learned how to lean forward this week. It's like, okay, you can some crunches now. And you'll just find himself sliding down the sofa, you know, almost headfirst and you've got to catch him and you know, he started to laugh this week. And so it's, yeah, it's been really special. Just, I guess what I said to my wife the other day is that everything he experiences for the first time we experience too. That's been really special.
Jared Saar (50:50):
Yeah. So I'm really getting into Korean dramas. I've been getting into it, uh, probably for the last year. They're just, they're so good. Ultimate television. I have to say like, everyone can cry on cue. It's incredible. It doesn't matter how old they are. I mean, looking back at Narnia, are you looking at the little, the youngest one Lucy, who couldn't cry to save a life. In this one... they've just got like these child actors is so convincing and crying. At the moment there's one, called Startup. If you're watching, you'll know what I'm talking about. If you're not watching it, you have to start. It is about starting a business. It's, it's actually on trend for this podcast, which is starting something, everyone coming from their different backgrounds. But I'll tell you what, there's just some characters in that show that are incredible. The grandma is just like, you want to keep her. She's so sweet. But what you've got to know is, you're not sure who the main lead is going to get with.
Andy Khatouli (52:34):
Is it a romcom?
Jared Saar (52:35):
Yeah. Yeah. So they're starting a business. There's two guys, and every Saturday and Sunday, they release two episode. So every weekend you get two episodes and we're kind of at episode 12 now. So we're very close to the end, but man, it's been a roller coaster. And some of the sounds that come out of my mouth when watching this show is incredible and I'm weeping, I'm laughing. It's just so good. But it's honestly, it's such a good show. And to the point where like, don't want to cry. So Steph and I keep trying to catch each other with the tears. Oh my gosh. And this last episode, he properly weeps.
Matt Miller (53:44):
I actually don't know what to make of this because it's rare that I've ever cried at a TV show. I feel like you'd be disappointed with me being there. I would let it down for you.
Andy Khatouli (53:53):
Matts nickname is the robot.
Jared Saar (53:58):
Yeah, but if you get that latest software update, you might feel something.
Matt Miller (54:01):
Yeah maybe I just need an upgrade. Because I keep skipping. And I say like, remind me tomorrow on my update. Yeah. Anyway, that's another discussion, on my radar this week. I mean, I dunno when we're actually going to release this podcast. It's probably old news, but uh, it's nowhere near as steep as what you guys are sharing, but um, PlayStation5. Yeah. Got it. It's incredible. Already complete Spiderman. It's been a long time since I got a games console and I felt like a child when I got it. Like that child excitement. I just, something about this console where you boot it up, you download your games. Cause I've got obviously the no desk version and it's sick PlayStation smashed it. They've sold every console. There's no more consoles to buy. It's crazy. It's, it's been a crazy launch. But anyway, I am really into the PlayStation5. I've got no time to play it, but that's not the point. The point is that I have one and when I will get to play it, it's a great experience.
Andy Khatouli (55:03):
One thing I've just realised, you know how Kim Kardashian broke the internet? Yes. PlayStation broke loads of websites.
Matt Miller (55:09):
Yeah. They broke everything.
Andy Khatouli (55:11):
They broke like... A lot.
Jared Saar (55:22):
Wait, is that from the latest scientific report? Scientists just said, "PlayStation breaks a lot." [Laughter].
Matt Miller (55:29):
Guys, thanks for listening this is the OneSixOne Podcast, we'll see you on the next one.