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IAM2159 – Creative Strategist Helps Businesses Compete with the Big Brands

Podcast Interview with Andy Brenits

IAM2159 - Creative Strategist Helps Businesses Compete with the Big BrandsAndy Brenits is a sought-after branding and creative strategy expert, widely recognized for his award-winning work as a corporate creative leader and as a creative consultant. As the principal and chief branding officer at Brennan's Creative, he has helped countless growing businesses compete with the big brands by creating a consistent way to look, communicate, and act.

Andy shares his experience and insights on branding, technology tools, and the importance of being open to new ideas and flexibility.

Moreover, he highlights that being open to everything and filtering out good ideas from bad ones is essential for success.

Website: Brenits Creative
LinkedIn: Andy Brenits

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Transcription:

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Andy Brenits Teaser 00:00

There's no one tool that works for everything. You have to find the suite of tools, the tech stack, if you will, of things that will help you reach your end result. So Photoshop is not the only tool Adobe makes. There's Adobe Illustrator, there's Adobe InDesign. I use all three when I'm doing actual design work.

Intro 00:23

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:50

Hello, Hello, Hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO Podcast. I have a very special guest back on the show today, Andy Brenits. Andy.

Andy Brenits 00:57

Hey man, good to see you. Good to see you again, I'm happy to be here.

Gresham Harkless 01:00

Yes, super excited to have you, happy to have you on as well too. And of course, before I jump in, I want to read a little bit more about Andy so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's working on. And Andy is a sought after branding and creative strategy expert, widely recognized for his award winning work as a corporate creative leader and as a creative consultant. As the principal and chief branding officer at Brennan's Creative, he has helped countless growing businesses compete with the big brands by creating a consistent way to look, communicate and to act. He advises individuals and business owners on brand strategy, creative management, and what it takes to differentiate oneself in a crowded market.

And Andy is a former guest. He was on episode number 978 of our I AM CEO Podcast. And we had a phenomenal conversation, just opening up people's eyes to branding his story, all the awesome things that he's doing. And one of the things that I read before preparing for this is that when he's not working on brand strategy, you can find him in the kitchen, grill, or potentially a smoker cooking for his family, taking care of photos of the cactus flowers in his desert garden or potentially of his family and or pets. So Andy, excited to have you on the show. You're a renaissance man, a man of many talents. Are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Andy Brenits 02:09

I am ready to speak. And it's funny, my kids were recently looking at my phone and I guess they figured out the feature on the iPhone where you can actually look up a person. It does facial recognition now. Everything is about AI. And they can see how many pictures I have. So my son was looking at the number of pictures. It's like a thousand pictures of my son. He's 14. And then he went and looked at my daughter and it's a little bit less.

[restrict paid=”true”]

And of course she's younger. And then they looked at the dogs because iPhone can now distinguish between your pets from your family. It's like 50,000 pictures of my dogs and not quite as many of all the weird flowers growing in my garden. Now there's a little competition for who's got the most photos in the family. And yes, the selfies are way low. I don't do a whole lot of selfies so I don't have a lot of pictures of myself. The dogs are up there. I've got one of them behind me right here.

Gresham Harkless 02:57

Yeah, there you go.

Andy Brenits 02:58

There you go.

Gresham Harkless 02:59

Come on, kids, wake up. Your phone's a lot like mine and way to go iPhone, baking up a happy home with all the AI features and all those things, so you've got to love it.

Andy Brenits 03:08

That's not exactly a useful, helpful tool to let the kids know what they're taking more pictures of.

Gresham Harkless 03:16

Exactly, but I would say probably for most families, the dogs might come in pretty close to the top, if not at the top. So I absolutely love it. So what I wanted to do was kick off everything by Rwanda Clark a little bit. Here a little bit more on what you've been working on, what I like to call your CEO story.

Andy Brenits 03:30

Sure, sure. So since last time, I'm still running my business, which is an agency, the agency is me, I'm the CEO. I wear like 27 hats, not just 17. My background is in graphic design, but my focus with my clients is on brand positioning, naming, visual identity, things like that. And then for my long-term clients, I'm also helping with marketing strategy and some marketing tactics. But my love is brand strategy. So, I put a lot of focus into running my own business, being a solopreneur, which I'm sure you can sympathize with. We wear all those hats, but we don't do it alone.

So since the last time we spoke, and actually very recently, I started a little experiment on LinkedIn, which is a LinkedIn newsletter. I do for my agency, I have a newsletter that I do through email and LinkedIn. I don't know if you've tried the LinkedIn newsletter feature, but it's really pretty cool. And I thought, you know what? I'm gonna try a little experiment. I'm gonna do a LinkedIn only newsletter just for solopreneurs, because it seems I actually have a lot of clients since the pandemic, people who went out on their own, whether they were pushed or forced, whatever it is, a lot of new clients came my way because they needed consulting and coaching about, how do I talk about myself, my brand, being a one-person business.

And over the years, that's turned into just how to be self-employed. It has nothing to do with marketing and branding, which is a big part about being your own business, but things like productivity and being efficient and what are the right tools for me? So I had all these ideas. I didn't know what to do with it. Didn't seem right to publish under the agency. Here's productivity tips. It doesn't really make sense. So taking my own branding advice, I started a separate newsletter. It's on LinkedIn only. It's called Soloish because we're not really solo. We kind of work by ourselves.

We always have other people helping us, whether they're contractors, friends. I run things by my wife all the time, so I'm really not working by myself. And that seems to have hit a chord. I've only published one. I have the next one coming out soon, but it was pretty amazing. I just did it on a lark. I thought, I'm just going to put this out there, see what happens. And the nice thing about LinkedIn, all your followers see it and people can opt in if they want and it resonated with enough people that I have enough subscribers that it made me think, okay, now I have to do a second one. I made that promise so I'm gonna keep it and I'll see how well it goes.

Gresham Harkless 06:04

Nice. I absolutely love that. And as you mentioned, so many solopreneurs or soloishpreneurs that are out there and trying to figure out how to navigate those things. And I love that you've been able to pay attention to that, of course, be able to provide expertise and knowledge for you being able to have so much success because to see so much further standing on the shoulders of giants and you being a giant and being able to do that, people can learn so much from you.

Andy Brenits 06:24

Oh, thank you. I don't know if I'm a giant, but I'm experienced. I've been around for the hard number to say actually, 30 years I've been working as a professional. This is the second time I've been out on my own. When I was not on my own, I was fortunate enough to work for big brands. So I learned how to do what it takes to be a professional from my past experience, Gap and Banana Republic, KPMG. I was very lucky that I worked for name brands with good training programs and good mentors and all the things that really I think everybody needs to learn how to be professional.

So much so that this second time, it's almost 9 years that I've been on my own this time, I look back on the first time I was self-employed and I think, oh, if I only knew, if I only knew then, maybe I would never have gone back in-house, right? I'd still be, I would have been self-employed through the financial crisis, through the tech bubble bursting, through all kinds of things, if I only knew then what I do now about how to run a business. Back then, I was just a graphic designer, just a freelance designer, building a design studio, but I didn't know anything about business. I didn't know how to lead for sure. I might have had some innate talent, which proved itself a little bit when I was in the corporate world, but I didn't know what to do.

There certainly was no training for it in design school. Design school to teach you how to be a designer, how to be creative, how to come up with ideas. And I'm old enough to go right when the computer was just about publishing took hold. When I started, the Macs weren't around. By the time I graduated, I went to School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. So by the time I graduated, there were like four Mac labs, each one had ninety computers in it. When I started, there were two Mac classics in the one lab. Big, big difference. So I've been learning and growing. I think that's what I like about doing my own thing. Being my own CEO is the flexibility to work with the kind of people that I like to work with, to do different kinds of work. There's some days I'm doing production. There's some days I'm running a brainstorming workshop. Two totally different skills. In-house, they tell you to wear one hat. But I like to wear lots of different hats. No, just wear the one we hired you for, thank you. Okay.

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Gresham Harkless 08:41

Yeah, that makes so much sense. I absolutely love it. And I think that's so powerful. I almost wonder if that is the hack. I almost think that can also maybe be extended into understanding what are the superpowers of technology tools that are out there as well, too. We sometimes don't want to take that in, don't have that abundant kind of outlook and focus on that because we're looking at saying, oh, if this person is hired or if we use this technology or this AI or whatever it might be, it's going to take something from me. But if we look at it from a more of an abundant mindset, I think we can see that there is not either or both in better opportunity that ultimately can come from that.

Andy Brenits 09:20

Absolutely. And every time there's a big technological advance, people get worried about whether a job is going to disappear. And truthfully, it might. When I started out in design, everything was done by hand, type setting was done in the slowest possible, you can't imagine it was, you put film in a machine and you rolled the film to get the letter and then you expose that on film. And once you set your 500 characters on this giant, you had to cut it up, take it to a stat camera, reduce it. The process of doing things was laborious. It could take days to set a paragraph of text properly.

Now if you want to lay out an ad, you had to take the ad, and you were masking it out. We used a lot of tools. Desktop publishing meant one person could do all of that at their desk. So you just eliminated potentially three jobs. The typesetter as a career was gone. A person who ran a photo stat camera was gone. These things just don't exist anymore. So is that a good thing? Not for the people who lost their jobs. But if they are flexible enough to go and learn that new skill, they could have become desktop publishing experts and do all that great production work that creative people don't really want to do. I just want to come up with the ideas. I'm going to take that if I think the key will be if people learn the difference between all the tools.

Even with Chat GPT, there's a use case for Chat GPT that's different from perplexity. Google has a really cool tool, Notebook LM, I think it's called. And I recently was telling a friend, they were trying to figure out how to use Chat GPT to do a certain thing, prepare for something. And I said, why don't you use Notebook LM, upload a few documents, ask it a question to review everything and come up with a list. Then once it's sifted through that information, which is what Notebook LM is really good at, sifting your local information, whereas the other two are good at looking at the entire web and stored information of the world. Then you could take that list, then go to Perplexly or Chat GPT to ask it the next step.

There's no one tool that works for everything. You have to find the suite of tools, the tech stack, if you will, of things that will help you reach your end result. So Photoshop is not the only tool Adobe makes. There's Adobe Illustrator, there's Adobe InDesign. I use all three when I'm doing actual design work. When I'm brainstorming, I'm using old-fashioned pen and paper, and maybe sigma or some other whiteboarding tool. Once I'm done with that, I'll bring it into another tool to help me take all the information and organize it for me. Recordings like this, you can run the transcript through a tool to help it pull out salient points or the highlight and then write a summary for you.

These are time savers. Are they perfect as soon as they're done? Nope. You got to do a little bit of tweaking. You got to add a human touch to it. You got to make corrections, but there's no one tool that can do everything. I think that's the saving grace to all this is people will need to learn multiple tools, but we've always had to learn and use multiple tools. The tools are just changing and evolving.

Gresham Harkless 12:37

Yeah, I absolutely love that. And I almost wonder if that's like part of the nugget that you would recommend. This could be something you would tell your younger business self, if you were to hop into a time machine or even a piece of device, I wonder if it's that flexibility piece of not necessarily of walking into technology, walking into the diversity of thoughts, the experiences of the evolution of different industries, being able to walk in there with a learning mindset and being open to flexibility. Do you feel like that's part of what you would consider to be a CEO nugget?

Andy Brenits 13:07

Yeah, and I think that comes from my creative background too, is be open to everything. Be open to all kinds of ideas, but have the ability to filter out the good ideas from the bad ideas, how to take good ones, make them better, how to take bad ideas and make them good, right? And that would be the same for any kind of tool or app. There's so many. Somebody invented an app because they thought it would be a helpful tool for someone. If you're aware of what they can do and what's available, then it gives you a broader context of, hey, maybe these are things that can help my business grow.

Maybe I won't use them as the CEO, but if you have people working for you, maybe those are tools for them to use. And so not only do you have to be open to having a broader view of what is even available, being able to share that excitement or that openness with people you work with or who work for you, however you want to define it, and say, listen, I want you to be successful at your job. There's a whole lot of tools out there that can make that happen. I'm not trying to replace you. I'm trying to help you do your job, try to help you to do your job more efficiently and effectively. And who knows, maybe even fun, right?

We should enjoy work a little bit too. If you do have a team of people reporting to you, part of your responsibility as a leader, managing is one thing, leading is another. As a leader, you want people to learn and grow in their own right, not just a stagnant at work. So if that means saying, hey, there's a whole suite of new tools, why don't we try some of them? If they help, great. If not, if you tell me these things won't help us, okay, we won't use them, but at least we took a look at it. Got to be open to that.

Gresham Harkless 14:53

Yeah, absolutely. So now I want to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And you might have already touched on this, but we're hoping to have different quote unquote CEOs on the show. So Andy, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Andy Brenits 15:04

Considering the conversation we just had, I would say being a great CEO means being a great leader, which means inspiring your people, whoever those people are. If you have full-time employees, part-time employees, or you just hire contractors, inspire people to do great work and want to work with you, don't put up roadblocks. Open that road up and give people opportunities. And you'd be amazed at what they can do when you provide that to them.

Gresham Harkless 15:35

Nice, Andy, I truly appreciate that definition. Of course, I appreciate your time even more. So what I wanted to do now was pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best people can get a hold of you. Subscribe to the LinkedIn newsletter, visit your site, find out about all the awesome things that you're working on.

Andy Brenits 15:52

Yeah the best way to find me is on LinkedIn. Luckily there are only a few Brenits's and they're all related to me so I'm the one that has Andy as a first name. And you can please subscribe to one of the newsletters if you work for yourself subscribe to soloish you'll find it insightful and if you're interested in branding and marketing the other one is the creative brief otherwise, I'm keeping everything on LinkedIn these days.

Gresham Harkless 16:14

Nice truly appreciate that Andy and of course to make it even easier we'll have the links and information in the show notes as well too, so that everybody can follow up with you. So thank you so much for taking that lead and of course, inspiring so many people. And I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Andy Brenits 16:25

Thank you for inviting me back. This has been fun.

Outro 16:28

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by CBNation and Blue16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless Jr. Thank you for listening.

00:00 - 00:21

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Andy Brenits: There's no 1 tool that works for everything. You have to find the suite of tools, the tech stack, if you will, of things that will help you reach your end result. So Photoshop is not the only tool Adobe makes. There's Adobe Illustrator, there's Adobe InDesign. I use all 3 when I'm doing actual design work.

00:23 - 00:50

Intro: Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview. If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of. This is the I Am CEO podcast.

00:50 - 00:57

Gresham Harkless: Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I Am CEO podcast. I have a very special guest back on the show today, Andy Brennitz. Andy.

00:57 - 01:00

Andy Brenits: Hey man, good to see you. Good to see you again, I'm happy to be here.

01:00 - 01:25

Gresham Harkless: Yes, super excited to have you, happy to have you on as well too. And of course, before I jump in, I want to read a little bit more about Andy so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's working on. And Andy is a sought after branding and creative strategy expert, widely recognized for his award winning work as a corporate creative leader and as a creative consultant. As the principal and chief branding officer at Brennan's Creative, he has helped countless growing businesses compete with the big brands by creating a consistent way to look, communicate,

01:25 - 01:55

Gresham Harkless: and to act. He advises individuals and business owners on brand strategy, creative management, and what it takes to differentiate oneself in a crowded market. And Andy is a former guest. He was on episode number 978 of our IMCO podcast. And we had a phenomenal conversation, just opening up people's eyes to branding his story, all the awesome things that he's doing. And 1 of the things that I read before preparing for this is that when he's not working on brand strategy, you can find him in the kitchen, grill, or potentially a smoker cooking for his family, taking

01:55 - 02:08

Gresham Harkless: care of photos of the cactus flowers in his desert garden or potentially of his family and or pets. So Andy, excited to have you on the show. You're a renaissance man, a man of many talents. Are you ready to speak to the IMCO community?

02:09 - 02:34

Andy Brenits: I am ready to speak. And it's funny, my kids were recently looking at my phone and I guess they figured out the feature on the iPhone where you can actually look up a person. It does facial recognition now. Everything is about AI. And they can see how many pictures I have. So my son was looking at the number of pictures. It's like a thousand pictures of my son. He's 14. And then he went and looked at my daughter and it's a little bit less. And of course she's younger. And then they looked at the dogs because

02:34 - 02:57

Andy Brenits: iPhone can now distinguish between your pets from your family. It's like 50, 000 pictures of my dogs and not quite as many of all the weird flowers growing in my garden. Now there's a little competition for who's got the most photos in the family. And yes, the selfies are way low. I don't do a whole lot of selfies so I don't have a lot of pictures of myself. The dogs are up there. I've got 1 of them behind me right

02:57 - 02:58

Gresham Harkless: here. Yeah, there you go.

02:58 - 02:59

Andy Brenits: There you go.

02:59 - 03:08

Gresham Harkless: Come on, kids, wake up. Your phone's a lot like mine and way to go iPhone, baking up a happy home with all the AI features and all those things, so you've got to love it.

03:08 - 03:14

Andy Brenits: That's not exactly a useful, helpful tool to let the kids know what they're taking more pictures of.

03:16 - 03:30

Gresham Harkless: Exactly, But I would say probably for most families, the dogs might come in pretty close to the top, if not at the top. So I absolutely love it. So what I wanted to do was kick off everything by Rwanda Clark a little bit. Here a little bit more on what you've been working on, what I like to

03:30 - 04:06

Andy Brenits: call your CEO story. Sure, sure. So since last time, I'm still running my business, which is an agency, the agency is me, I'm the CEO. I wear like 27 hats, not just 17. My background is in graphic design, but my focus with my clients is on brand positioning, naming, visual identity, things like that. And then for my long-term clients, I'm also helping with marketing strategy and some marketing tactics. But my love is brand strategy. So, you know, I put a lot of focus into running my own business, being a solopreneur, which I'm sure you can sympathize

04:06 - 04:37

Andy Brenits: with. We wear all those hats, but we don't do it alone. So since the last time we spoke, and actually very recently, I started a little experiment on LinkedIn, which is a LinkedIn newsletter. I do for my agency, I have a newsletter that I do through email and LinkedIn. I don't know if you've tried the LinkedIn newsletter feature, but it's really pretty cool. And I thought, you know what? I'm gonna try a little experiment. I'm gonna do a LinkedIn only newsletter just for solopreneurs, because it seems I actually have a lot of clients since the pandemic,

04:37 - 05:08

Andy Brenits: people who went out on their own, whether they were pushed or forced, whatever it is, a lot of new clients came my way because they needed consulting and coaching about, how do I talk about myself, my brand, being a one-person business. And over the years, that's turned into just how to be self-employed. It has nothing to do with marketing and branding, which is a big part about being your own business, But things like productivity and being efficient and what are the right tools for me? So I had all these ideas. I didn't know what to do

05:08 - 05:42

Andy Brenits: with it. Didn't seem right to publish under the agency. Here's productivity tips. It doesn't really make sense. So taking my own branding advice, I started a separate newsletter. It's on LinkedIn only. It's called Soloish because we're not really solo. We kind of work by ourselves. We always have other people helping us, whether they're contractors, friends. I run things by my wife all the time, so I'm really not working by myself. And that seems to have hit a chord. I've only published 1. I have the next 1 coming out soon, but it was pretty amazing. I just

05:42 - 06:04

Andy Brenits: did it on a lark. I thought, I'm just going to Put this out there, see what happens. And the nice thing about LinkedIn, all your followers see it and people can opt in if they want and it resonated with enough people that I have enough subscribers that it made me think, okay, now I have to do a second 1. I made that promise so I'm gonna keep it and I'll see how well it goes.

06:04 - 06:24

Gresham Harkless: Nice. I absolutely love that. And as you mentioned, so many solopreneurs or soloishpreneurs that are out there and trying to figure out how to navigate those things. And I love that you've been able to pay attention to that, of course, be able to provide expertise and knowledge for you being able to have so much success because to see so much further standing on the shoulders of giants and you being a giant and being able to do that, people can learn so much from you.

06:24 - 06:57

Andy Brenits: Oh, thank you. I don't know if I'm a giant, but I'm experienced. I've been around for the hard number to say actually, 30 years I've been working as a professional. This is the second time I've been out on my own. When I was not on my own, I was fortunate enough to work for big brands. So I learned how to do what it takes to be a professional from my past experience, Gap and Banana Republic, KPMG. I was very lucky that I worked for name brands with good training programs and good mentors and all the things

06:57 - 07:27

Andy Brenits: that really I think everybody needs to learn how to be professional. So much so that this second time, it's almost 9 years that I've been on my own this time, I look back on the first time I was self-employed and I think, oh, if I only knew, if I only knew then, maybe I would never have gone back in-house, right? I'd still be, I would have been self-employed through the financial crisis, through the tech bubble bursting, through all kinds of things, if I only knew then what I do now about how to run a business. Back

07:27 - 07:56

Andy Brenits: then, I was just a graphic designer, just a freelance designer, building a design studio, but I didn't know anything about business. I didn't know how to lead for sure. I might have had some innate talent, which proved itself a little bit when I was in the corporate world, but I didn't know what to do. There certainly was no training for it in design school. Design school to teach you how to be a designer, how to be creative, how to come up with ideas. And I'm old enough to go right when the computer was just about publishing

07:57 - 08:27

Andy Brenits: took hold. When I started, the Macs weren't around. By the time I graduated, I went to School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. So by the time I graduated, there were like 4 Mac labs, each 1 had 90 computers in it. When I started, there were 2 Mac classics in the 1 lab. Big, big difference. So I've been learning and growing. I think that's what I like about doing my own thing. Being my own CEO is the flexibility to work with the kind of people that I like to work with, to do different kinds of work. There's

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08:27 - 08:40

Andy Brenits: some days I'm doing production. There's some days I'm running a brainstorming workshop. 2 totally different skills. In-house, they tell you to wear 1 hat. But I like to wear lots of different hats. No, just wear the 1 we hired you for, thank you. Okay.

08:41 - 09:11

Gresham Harkless: Yeah, that makes so much sense. I absolutely love it. And I think that's so powerful. I almost wonder if that is the hack. I almost think that can also maybe be extended into understanding what are the superpowers of technology tools that are out there as well, too. We sometimes don't want to take that in, don't have that abundant kind of outlook and focus on that because we're looking at saying, oh, if this person is hired or if we use this technology or this AI or whatever it might be, it's going to take something from me. But

09:11 - 09:20

Gresham Harkless: if we look at it from a more of an abundant mindset, I think we can see that there is not either or both in better opportunity that ultimately can come from that.

09:20 - 09:54

Andy Brenits: Absolutely. And every time there's a big technological advance, people get worried about whether a job is going to disappear. And truthfully, it might. When I started out in design, everything was done by hand, type setting was done in the slowest possible, you can't imagine it was, you put film in a machine and you rolled the film to get the letter and then you expose that on film. And once you set your 500 characters on this giant, you had to cut it up, take it to a stat camera, reduce it. The process of doing things was laborious.

09:54 - 10:29

Andy Brenits: It could take days to set a paragraph of text properly. Now if you want to lay out an ad, you had to take the ad, and you were masking it out. We used a lot of tools. Desktop publishing meant 1 person could do all of that at their desk. So you just eliminated potentially 3 jobs. The typesetter as a career was gone. A person who ran a photo stat camera was gone. These things just don't exist anymore. So is that a good thing? Not for the people who lost their jobs. But if they are flexible enough

10:29 - 10:59

Andy Brenits: to go and learn that new skill, they could have become desktop publishing experts and do all that great production work that creative people don't really want to do. I just want to come up with the ideas. I'm going to take that if I think the key will be if people learn the difference between all the tools. Even with Chat GPT, there's a use case for Chat GPT that's different from perplexity. Google has a really cool tool, Notebook LM, I think it's called. And I recently was telling a friend, they were trying to figure out how to

10:59 - 11:33

Andy Brenits: use Chat GPT to do a certain thing, prepare for something. And I said, why don't you use Notebook LM, upload a few documents, ask it a question to review everything and come up with a list. Then once it's sifted through that information, which is what Notebook LM is really good at, sifting your local information, whereas the other 2 are good at looking at the entire web and stored information of the world. Then you could take that list, then go to Perplexly or Chat GPT to ask it the next step. There's no 1 tool that works for

11:33 - 12:09

Andy Brenits: everything. You have to find the suite of tools, the tech stack, if you will, of things that will help you reach your end result. So Photoshop is not the only tool Adobe makes. There's Adobe Illustrator, there's Adobe InDesign. I use all 3 when I'm doing actual design work. When I'm brainstorming, I'm using old-fashioned pen and paper, and maybe Sigma or some other whiteboarding tool. Once I'm done with that, I'll bring it into another tool to help me take all the information and organize it for me. Recordings like this, you can run the transcript through a tool

12:09 - 12:36

Andy Brenits: to help it pull out salient points or the highlight and then write a summary for you. These are time savers. Are they perfect as soon as they're done? Nope. You got to do a little bit of tweaking. You got to add a human touch to it. You got to make corrections, but there's no 1 tool that can do everything. I think that's the saving grace to all this is people will need to learn multiple tools, but we've always had to learn and use multiple tools. The tools are just changing and evolving.

12:37 - 13:06

Gresham Harkless: Yeah, I absolutely love that. And I almost wonder if that's like part of the nugget that you would recommend. This could be something you would tell your younger business self, if you were to hop into a time machine or even a piece of device, I wonder if it's that flexibility piece of not necessarily of walking into technology, walking into the diversity of thoughts, the experiences of the evolution of different industries, being able to walk in there with a learning mindset and being open to flexibility. Do you feel like that's part of what you would consider to

13:06 - 13:07

Gresham Harkless: be a CEO nugget?

13:07 - 13:40

Andy Brenits: Yeah, and I think that comes from my creative background too, is be open to everything. Be open to all kinds of ideas, but have the ability to filter out the good ideas from the bad ideas, how to take good ones, make them better, how to take bad ideas and make them good, right? And that would be the same for any kind of tool or app. There's so many. Somebody invented an app because they thought it would be a helpful tool for someone. If you're aware of what they can do and what's available, then it gives you

13:40 - 14:08

Andy Brenits: a broader context of, hey, maybe these are things that can help my business grow. Maybe I won't use them as the CEO, but if you have people working for you, maybe those are tools for them to use. And so not only do you have to be open to having a broader view of what is even available, being able to share that excitement or that openness with people you work with or who work for you, however you want to define it, and say, listen, I want you to be successful at your job. There's a whole lot of

14:08 - 14:41

Andy Brenits: tools out there that can make that happen. I'm not trying to replace you. I'm trying to help you do your job, try to help you to do your job more efficiently and effectively. And who knows, maybe even fun, right? We should enjoy work a little bit too. If you do have a team of people reporting to you, part of your responsibility as a leader, Managing is 1 thing, leading is another. As a leader, you want people to learn and grow in their own right, not just a stagnant at work. So if that means saying, hey, there's

14:41 - 14:52

Andy Brenits: a whole suite of new tools, why don't we try some of them? If they help, great. If not, if you tell me these things won't help us, okay, we won't use them, but at least we took a look at it. Got to be open to that. Yeah, absolutely.

14:53 - 15:04

Gresham Harkless: So now I want to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And you might have already touched on this, but we're hoping to have different quote unquote CEOs on the show. So Andy, what does being a CEO mean to you?

15:04 - 15:35

Andy Brenits: Considering the conversation we just had, I would say being a great CEO means being a great leader, which means inspiring your people, whoever those people are. If you have full-time employees, part-time employees, or you just hire contractors, inspire people to do great work and want to work with you, don't put up roadblocks. Open that road up and give people opportunities. And you'd be amazed at what they can do when you provide that to them.

15:35 - 15:52

Gresham Harkless: Nice, Andy, I truly appreciate that definition. Of course, I appreciate your time even more. So what I wanted to do now was pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best people can get a hold of you. Subscribe to the LinkedIn newsletter, visit your site, find out about all the awesome things that you're working on.

15:52 - 16:13

Andy Brenits: Yeah the best way to find me is on LinkedIn. Luckily there are only a few Brennitz's and they're all related to me so I'm the 1 that has Andy as a first name. And you can please subscribe to 1 of the newsletters if you work for yourself subscribe to soloish You'll find it insightful and if you're interested in branding and marketing the other 1 is the creative brief Otherwise, I'm keeping everything on LinkedIn these days.

16:14 - 16:25

Gresham Harkless: Nice truly appreciate that Andy and of course to make it even easier we'll have the links and information in the show notes as well too, so that everybody can follow up with you. So thank you so much for taking that lead and of course, inspiring so many people. And I hope you have a phenomenal rest of

16:25 - 16:28

Andy Brenits: the day. Thank you for inviting me back. This has been fun.

16:28 - 16:57

Intro: Thank you for listening to the I Am CEO podcast powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at imceo.co. This has been the IMCEO Podcast with Gresham Harkness Jr. Thank you for listening.

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Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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