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One day his life just changed

Saul Colt
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Saul Colt has been doing the unconventional in marketing for years…and then one day he fell ill and everything changed.

TAMAR: Hey, everybody, I am so super excited to be introducing my old friend. I’ve known him for over a decade-and-a-half maybe, Saul Colt. I think you’re in Toronto, but maybe you’re not anymore. I don’t know where you are. So yeah, you could introduce yourself, and thank you for coming. Tell us where you are right now, what you’re up to.

SAUL COLT: Tamar, thank you so much for having me on the show. This is exciting. It’s always nice to chat with you. I am in Toronto right now. I’m sitting in my home office basement. And, you know, talking to you. As far as what I’m up to right now, you know, many people know me for running the Idea Integration Company, my non-traditional marketing company. But I’m also the CMO right now, of a new company as yet, sort of (to be) announced, but it’s called Autozen. It’s still a little on the secret side, but we’ll be announcing it in a couple months. And hopefully, it’ll take the world by storm.

TAMAR: Cool. Don’t worry. I’m glad you’re not too worried that this is a massive distribution, and everyone will find it. The cat will be out of the pack beforehand.

SAUL COLT: So, I’m going to share this with everybody I know. So, you’re gonna see your numbers triple.

TAMAR: Yeah. I’m so excited about that. Yeah, you know, podcasts in general. These days, everybody’s on a podcast. I have a podcast, recording every single day. It’s insane. It’s hard because it’s the harder platform, it’s the harder medium to use, because you really have to have undivided attention to really be focused on it. So, reading, I have a million tabs open and I know I’m eventually going to get through everything. But when it comes to a podcast, you have to listen to this one, and this one, and this one.  I’m like, how do you have time because you really have to. You can’t read like 15 articles a day; you cannot listen to 15 podcasts.

SAUL COLT: But I do love the idea of podcasts from a marketing standpoint, even just like a human standpoint, because, it really is the most intimate medium I can think of.  I listen to podcasts, with headphones directly inside my ears. I listen to them in bed, I listen to them in my car, I listen to them exercising. So, for the most part, when I do carve out time for podcasts, I’m completely focused and I’m not using it as a second screen. I’m not listening to a podcast and watching TV or scrolling through Instagram. And you know, I listen to the stuff I want to listen to. I’m not being forced to, you know, consume ads or anything like that. So, I love the medium of podcasting. But man, is it hard to create a podcast and promote a podcast and hit schedules. You know, I’ve been doing my own podcast for about two years, I’ve done over 50 episodes. You know, I literally got three recorded podcasts that I haven’t edited or shared just because the kind of work has taken over my life. So, as far as sending out a tweet as you know takes 30 seconds; when you think of podcasts, all the work you have to do editing, promoting, you know, it’s, demanding, but it’s rewarding at the same time.

TAMAR: Yeah, I know and I’ve always felt this way since I was a young child, and I was being tested on those achievement tests. I never had the ability to be able to focus and listen the way I wanted to. I think it takes more mental capacity for myself to kind of focus. Therefore, podcasts are never my perfect medium. Sometimes I struggle, even just watching the TV show. In my mind, I don’t know if it’s an ADHD mind but I do not have ADHD. But I do have the inability to have that focus level that I want. It’s like I want to join Reddit, I want to learn and see what advice people would have asked them, “Hey, I want to learn how to focus better, I want to learn how to listen better.” And they’re going to “Really you need to take, some sort of medication like Adderall.” I’ve taken it, but it hasn’t done anything for me. And again, I don’t have any ADHD. So, I might add, I don’t think so because that didn’t help. So, I don’t know. But it’s hard and I admire you to be able to do that because I don’t know. Maybe it’s just that we have only 24 hours in the day. There’s just so much you can do. The only time I listen to podcasts is when I take walks and outside. And we’re minimizing on that right now because of the weather and everything. So, it makes it difficult. But I agree with you, I think it’s a great platform. You know, if nothing else, it’s the fact that we can intimately connect with each other while at the moment of recording. So, there’s some merits to that as well.

SAUL COLT: I agree.

TAMAR: Yeah. So, I don’t know if you have some crazy career trajectory going that you’ve like. You’ve been in the marketing space since I’ve known you. I mean, I know you from that world, my marketing world going from marketing, to fragrance. Do you have like a story? That is, an interesting story that ties into that. What does that look like for you? What was your story?

SAUL COLT: So, I would say that I’ve had a career that I probably would not wish on anyone.

TAMAR: Okay.

SAUL COLT: And what I mean by that is it has been, you know, I’ve had incredible successes, and many, many highs, but I’ve also had many lows. So, you know, my career trajectory has been like a roller coaster. You know, it has not been smooth, it hasn’t been consistent or that’s not true it’s been consistent. But, you know, for people that don’t know me, some of my sort of resume credits: I was the first international employee of Zipcar and launched Zipcar into Canada. I was the first marketing person at FreshBooks, and you know took them from 240,000 users when I started to a million, and then 4.5 million before I left.

TAMAR: I’m still on FreshBooks, because of you, by the way. Thank you so much.

SAUL COLT: I’m not.

TAMAR: I’m actually potentially interested in what they’ve changed. They migrated in and out, it’s not the same starboard field that they used to have.

SAUL COLT: I haven’t looked at it in a while. So, I can’t comment. But you know, I’ve launched, I’ve been entrepreneur in residence for a $14 billion company. I’m CMO now of a company called Autozen that has every indication that it’s this huge, huge thing, as long as, I can figure it out. And sort of put some pieces together but along the way I’m not a classically trained marketer. I sort of grew up in a family business. I went to the best business school in the world, which was working beside my dad for 15 years. It’s funny I’ve spoken at NYU and Stanford, and the biggest Canadian B School and I always tell people, “It’s hilarious to me that you guys invite me to speak and share my wisdom at places that would have never accepted me as a student.” It’s sort of funny that way, but because I’m not a classically trained marketer, and I’m reasonably self-taught, I do things a little differently. And I may not know all the acronyms to hang out in a fancy meeting and room and the way I do things people stare and either think I’m stupid or whatever. But I figured a lot of stuff out on my own. And there has been some trial and error, like, I’ve been thrown out of companies I’ve done great work, but I usually end up wearing out my welcome after 24 to 36 months. You know, I don’t have very long stays at places, and when I say long stays, it’s like 2 years, 2 and 1/2 years, which nowadays could be a lifetime for some people. Everybody switches every 10 to 15 months and stuff like that, but being a little older and working next to my dad for so long, I’m one of these guys who want to work at the same place and be happy for 15 years. But I don’t think that even happens anymore because companies get sold or they die, or stuff like that. But like I said, I’ve had great highs and great lows. I sometimes wonder, and also part of the reason I’ve had this roller coaster career is I’ve always believed in being very public about my professional sort of endeavors and being very public on social media and sort of being larger than life character. And what happens is you end up putting a target on your back and I tend to thrive in that environment. But it’s also exhausting and you can only take so much grief and abuse of people for so long before you have to scale things back and stuff like that. So, I think all the time, “I wish this on anybody else?” Probably not. And when I do speak at B schools and other places and conferences about personal branding and careers, I always tell people, “You know, you have to figure out what’s best for you and don’t copy me.” I never want anyone to copy me. I’m hoping people will be inspired by me and my stories and things. You know, to mirror everything I’ve done, I don’t think would even work anymore. I’m reasonably inappropriate by choice. You know, the world changed a little bit more politically.   I’ve started censoring myself, much more than I ever did at the beginning of my career. It’s like, the things I think are funny, maybe are what the mainstream thinks is funny.

(barking dog in the background)

TAMAR: The dog is funny though.

SAUL COLT: Yeah, dog. That’s right.

SAUL COLT: I become far more conscious of the things I say and how it affects other people. It’s funny if you ask me about career trajectory. I believe, over the last 10 years, I become twice as smart as I was when I started. I’ve become twice as evolved as when I started. And, I in the beginning of my career was all about like, “I’m the greatest, get on my shoulders, and I’ll carry you to success.” And now, I still think I’m the greatest, but I want to teach people around me where before I hid my secrets as best as I could because I was so afraid of being not needed. And now I want to teach everybody what I know so I can either have this weird legacy thing or just I like the fact that I know s*** that nobody else knows. And I like to share it with people. So, I think my career trajectory has changed. My personality has changed. My viewpoint on the world has changed. You know, I’m still generally inappropriate. I still do things for myself that I think is funny. And sometimes I’m reckless with my own personal brand, but I’m never reckless with the brands of people around me or corporate brands or things like that.

TAMAR: Yeah. So first, I want to say that I see some parallels with you and me. Like, you don’t necessarily want people to follow your trajectory. My world has been a little less established than yours. So, you worked with companies that ultimately become huge. And I have worked with companies that are generally very fickle. So, my LinkedIn is only representative of, just part of that picture. I’ve worked with so many startups where I was not given any visibility like,” Oh, we only have a four- month runway.” You know, I’m not going to put that on my resume because what that means is that they are there for four months, or two, and they don’t even tell you that, and you’re basically meant to write this, you know, sinking ship, and it’s super difficult. So, you know, it’s just extraordinarily difficult. In that context, it’s challenging. But I do want to say that, first of all, when you talk about educating, I’m always willing to be a willing student of yours. I don’t remember what event it was called but I remember that you and I were synced up. I don’t know when this was, maybe 2010, something like that. Went to Chelsea Piers. And there was an Andy Sernovitz event. I forget what he called it. I think you keynoted or you spoke that day, and I was just so blown away by your creativity and everything like that. So, I am always keen to participate and just say that I’ve been a huge fan. Since the beginning, that was like   sealed the deal for me. So yeah, you’re a creative dude. You like to do things a little bit offbeat? And, I’m disappointed in the way that you have to kind of shy away from that because that to me is what I feel launched their brands. They recently launched Liquid Death, which is basically canned water. I feel that could have had your trademark on it. Like you’re just like that creative dude who just does things set up completely off the beaten path, but read, they resonate so well. And I’m blown away by you.

SAUL COLT: So, first of all, thank you. I appreciate that. I remember that event. I haven’t talked to Andy in a long time, but he’s a really good guy. And he was very, very helpful for me, sort of getting my speaking career going. He would always invite me to his events. I’m very grateful for Andy. It’s funny when I say I censor myself a little bit more. I still want to push the envelope. I still want to do stuff that knocks people on their ass and I always pitch those to clients. But you know, it’s not just COVID and 2020, and things like that. I just find brands in general are becoming a lot safer, and people don’t want to take chances. You know, when I talk about my career, and even just my personality, I find that part of the reason I tend to wear my welcome at companies is because I’m just not a good personality fit in a lot of places, and that doesn’t make me a bad person. It doesn’t make them a bad person. Just like, I want to do things, I want to be great. I want everything. I want to make the people around me great. And sometimes companies just don’t want to do that. And, are they right? Are they wrong? I don’t know if I have enough information at that  time to say, but I can tell you that customers want to be touched by brands, and they want to see cool stuff, and they want to have things to talk about, and they want distractions and the reason that I’ve talked myself into whether I’m right or wrong here is that, for the most part, companies are run by people. And senior management sometimes are hesitant to do really risky things, because ultimately, their jobs are on the line. And there’s so much career uncertainty, even at the highest positions that it’s like, “Well, why would I bother?  Why would I bother taking a giant risk?” There’s a great chapter in a book by Bill Carter, on the Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien, of ‘The Tonight Show‘ debacle.  In it they talk about the president of NBC; actually, now I’m getting it wrong. There’s a great chapter in the oral history of Saturday Night Live again, my late-night talk show books, or a late- night pop culture books mixed up, where Lorne Michaels goes to the president of NBC and he threatens to quit if they don’t do something they want to do. And the guy goes, quit, and he goes, “Well, you’re going to let me quit.” And he goes, absolutely, you’re never wrong by saying no. And I’m saying no to you, you don’t like it. But you know, if I say yes, and it blows up in my face, I’ve got to deal with it. But I’m never wrong by saying no. And that always stuck with me and I might be internalizing it and I might be making excuses why people don’t love what I do or want to take chances. But I do think a lot of senior people have the mentality that they’re never wrong by saying no. Because you know, you can’t be measured by something that never happened. And man, wouldn’t marketing be way more fun if everybody kind of like KFC, so like Kentucky Fried Chicken is a brand I never eat. It’s just not my thing. But man are they like in the hall of fame of doing edgy stuff with getting a different celebrity for every commercial to play the colonel, they’ve got that crazy romance movie with Mario Lopez coming out the guy, KFC scented fire logs you could buy in stores, they take every edge and every chance and they get rewarded for it every time but people just don’t see that, or they’re too afraid to do it.  But man, like every brand did 2 or 3 edgy things a year, and even if one didn’t connect with people, they would still be considered like heroes and champions to the people that use their product because I think we’re all looking for people to do cool stuff. We’re all looking for something to talk about. You know, we’re all stuck at home. I’ve got friends of mine who I talk to every day like the closest people in my life and I don’t even ask how you do it anymore? Because I know what, how they’re doing like we’re not doing anything. So instead of asking how are you or what are you up to? I asked what TV are you watching or things like that because we don’t have that much to talk about. But we need that human connection. It’s a really, really weird time right now. And brands could be taking advantage of this, but they’re not.

TAMAR: Yeah, it’s unfortunate. But it’s tricky because I feel everybody comes from a particular beginning, and maybe that’s where they’re edgy. You know, it’s representative of a couple people in the company. Like, for me, I’m not edgy but I’m very raw and vulnerable. If this thing blows up, which I like to think it will, will my story be the thing that they’re going to hear? Most people don’t really follow brands for their stories, they follow brands for their products. Simon Sinek, wrote the book that starts with “why”. Like, Apple is huge because they had a story. He talks about Apple repeatedly throughout the book and their commercials. It’s all about approachability of that particular storyline, that they made things easier, and whatever it was. But eventually, everybody follows suit, because there’s a couple of people who basically try it out. That’s eventually when things get so big. It’s not about the story anymore. It’s more about the products. And, you know, there’s eventually that tipping point. And then what happens? Are people like KFC, I don’t know,

SAUL COLT: I think to a lot of people, it’s still about the story. You look at companies like Columbia Sportswear, who do so much for the environment and donate so much money and you look at companies like Nike, who take a stand on things like Black Lives Matter and supporting athletes and invest so much money into programs to work on childhood obesity and stuff like that.  I think that the story is still important to a lot of people. The product, I think will create loyalty. But the story is what makes that identification point for you, like for your fragrance. I think the story is going to be absolutely what draws people in. Obviously, the fragrance has to be great for people to stay, but for people to like, you think of Calvin Klein fragrances, it was all about inspirationally looking like the models. Your fragrances are the complete opposite of that, part of the sexualization of fragrances and things like that. That is the reason people will give you a try. So, I think stories are still the thing that wins mindshare.

TAMAR: Yeah, I guess I’m gonna hope that happens for me. It’s a matter of time to kind of figure it all out. I mean, people tell me this story is amazing. But its only me right now. And I’m bootstrapping in a way that I’m doing things really unconventional. It’s very difficult. But I do have a story. And I knew that and I believed in it. So, I like hearing that from you. Thanks. So, let’s move into the story. I guess, the adversity side of this podcast. You know, my story obviously comes from adversity. So that’s a big component of the Common Scents podcast. Tell me a little bit about your story. And by the way, everybody, I have no idea what he’s about to say.

SAUL COLT: So, I’ll tell you. I got 100 work adversity stories told to me before we hit record that you want kind of like a real-life personal adversity story. This is something I don’t talk about very often, but I have been open about it. So, it’s not like a world exclusive if you’re friends with me on Facebook. You know when you paid attention when it happened to you, you would have known about it. But you know, I’d say the biggest thing in my life that is sort of caused me adversity and changed everything about the way I think sounds so stupid. This is like the biggest thing that’s ever happened in my life and I couldn’t tell you the date because I’m just bad with timelines. It’s said your brain doesn’t follow along with podcasts and TVs. My brain doesn’t remember like years and dates, everything just melts together but I think around 2010, 2012 something around there. I spent 13 days in intensive care and my parents were told that I was going to die like 3 times over that time. I went to the hospital with just a fever and thought as having flu-like symptoms. I was just sitting in the emergency room and 2 days later I woke up on a breathing machine and heart monitor. It’s such a weird thing people say they almost die all the time and they’re feeling bad or whatever, but I was in a coma for like 5 days and 13 days total of being in the intensive care unit and stuff like that. It was just this weird kind of reaction to something I don’t know, never fully determined what was wrong. That almost dying sort of changed everything and a lot of the things that people think of me and know about me and the fact that I speak my mind, and I’m very strongly opinionated. It’s like, if you’re bad to me, I fight to save friendships and relationships. But  if they’re not working, I just sort of move on and don’t look back. Always forward. Because it’s just one of those things where, when you’re lying in a hospital bed, and getting your diaper changed every day, because you can’t leave the machine, it changes your perspective on everything in the world, and what you want to do and you understand how much time you have left. I am the most laid back person. I am not aggressive, I’m not confrontational. So, if you’re not good to me, I’m not gonna let you in. And if you’re good to me, I’m gonna give you every inch of me and every ounce of me and try to make your life better. I’d say, from an adversity standpoint, up until that point, I was probably a lot more arrogant than I am now. And I was probably less concerned with other people’s feelings and things like that. And just quiet time strapped to a breathing machine sort of gives you a time to not think about work and changes you want to make. I don’t think I’ve made all the changes, and I’m not fully evolved. I still accidentally hurt people and stuff like that, but that sort of changed the way I look at everything. We had a conversation, I don’t remember when, maybe 7 months ago, a year ago, probably, could have been a while when you just want to pick my brain about your fragrance. I gave you an hour, and like, I would have given you that time anyways, because we’re friends. But I tried to do more things like that because I kind of realized that I have things I can offer to people and I should be sharing them and I shouldn’t be trying to take over the world in this solitary environment. So, when I talk about I want to teach and I want to share and I want to do all those things, it’s probably a little bit of just getting older, and it’s a little bit how my whole view of the world changed from just a weird freak, accidental thing that happen and for all you people try to fill in the blanks. It wasn’t drugs. I don’t drink or do drugs, and I never really have. I don’t have any sort of addiction sort of things. It’s just one of those weird things that happens and your body just doesn’t agree with it. And that’s kind of where I am now. So, it changed everything and I’m not gonna say it made me a better person or anything like that, but it certainly changed the way I tried to be in the world.

TAMAR: Yeah. Wow. I think I remember that. I mean I didn’t realize that would be your defining things story. But it makes sense. Like, 1 day everything’s okay. And 1 day you just blow it like it’s crazy. Like I I’d never identified with that, like when your world is turned upside down in that way. And I know this is weird, and I’m just going to give you this correlation here, like when Coronavirus hit. We didn’t know that might be New York. And there was one patient in the United States, at least one patient in New York City who had it. And the next day, my kids are on the way to school. And I get a call saying the buses are being turned around. There’s something potentially Coronavirus. And that was the beginning of the end for us, basically. And the beginning because we were part of this. They call the containment zone, there was one-mile radius where the governor pulled up without the National Guard and kind of protected the community. Because there were 1000 of us who had this exposure, about 10% of us, I would say, if not more, had ended up getting Coronavirus to some degree. And because a lot of us were tested, so that’s why we have I guess a higher than usual precedent of how many people got sick. But I remember just saying to myself, “It’s akin to like having been in a car accident and your world is turned upside down, and everything changes and the world basically stops spinning for you.” But like it’s moving for everyone else. So, a little jealous that everybody else was out and about, and we were kind of confined to our homes. And then two weeks later, the rest of the world kind of caught up. And I kind of felt a little bit better that I wasn’t all alone. It sounds selfish to say that, but at the same time, it was for you. I imagine just being tied, all these things coming out of you, and tubes, and all these things are just like crap. Like, I can’t identify with that in the same way. Because the whole world kind of changed. But I’m just grateful that you’re here and that you’re able to share and educate because there’s so much that you have to bring to the world. And I always said, you’re one of the coolest people that I know. And I’ve always been honored to know people really need to realize this unconventional dude is just effing amazing. That’s all I have to say. I mean, there’s very little else I can say about that, to just talk about the caliber of the kind of person you are in your creativity. You just see the guy. He has cool glasses; he dresses the part. I mean he’s just a dude. And like you superimpose your head on different bodies. I remember those things that you’ve done. Those videos, those pictures, you just got to go on and on and on. Going back to what you said before, I just wish more people would embrace that. These to be a little edgy and different.

SAUL COLT: You know, it’s interesting you said you felt selfish. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable thing. Everyone has been affected by COVID, obviously, to different degrees. And there’s some people who don’t take it seriously. I take it very seriously because I have a compromised immune system and things like that. And so, I basically only leave my house to go to the grocery store and to check in on my parents. My mom passed away in September, but before she passed away, I was her primary caregiver taking her to doctor’s appointments. But other than that, like it was never leaving the house. But we’re 10, 11 months into this thing for people who’ve been taking it seriously. And there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon. But I still think it’s going to be 3, 4 months until anything sort of resumes to normal. I haven’t looked to see what it’s like in New York right now. But in Toronto, where I am, our numbers are going crazy again, and with the holidays and everything, it’s probably only going to get worse.

TAMAR: I have a child in zoom school right now, because the teacher has Coronavirus So.

SAUL COLT: Yeah, it’s crazy.

TAMAR: But close to home.

SAUL COLT: I think that feeling a little selfish is completely acceptable under these circumstances, because we’re humans, and we need other human interaction. So, let’s talk about my professional life. I’ve been speaking at conferences and traveling for work, pretty much 100,000 miles a year for the last decade. So, the fact that I haven’t been to the airport since February is a weird thing. Like, I’m used to it now, but it was really weird to put my suitcases away. I used to always just keep them out because I was always just sort of packing, unpacking and the fact that because I’ve traveled so much for so long. Usually my really dear close friends are in other cities because I tend to spend more time on the road than I do at home. Yeah, so there’s people who I love with all my heart who I have not seen, since February. FaceTime is wonderful and Skype is wonderful, but there’s nothing like sharing a meal with somebody, a real meal, not zoom meal or something like that. It’s Hanukkah right now and we’re recording this, been lighting candles over zoom with family and stuff like that. It’s cool, but it’s certainly not the same. I think feeling a little worn out by all of this is completely understandable. And anyone who says they’re not, I don’t know if they’re being honest with themselves. I hope we never get comfortable in this way. Like, I want us to resume back to being as much as normal as we can once everything’s kind of put behind us because, man, you know, it’s just not the same.

TAMAR: Yeah, I remember when it first happened. I was going to the gym, literally, like 5 days a week. Going Orangetheory, I was going to plan fitness, I always had F45. I went to all these things. And obviously, I had to stop doing that immediately. And then afterwards, I felt like I don’t even know if I have the physical strength to do it. And I could never possibly workout in that, to that degree with the mask on. Believe it or not. I’m a huge mask advocate. I wear masks in my house. Sometimes people are like, “Why are you wearing a mask?” Oh, I don’t know. I’m not comfortable in it. But I couldn’t like running outside. I feel like it’s just very difficult because like you, I obviously think everybody has to do what they need to do, but I can’t physically go back to the gym. So, I set up a gym at home. And it’s good. But I would say I’m homebody- ish. Like when I was especially in the throes of my depression, I pick my kids up from school and go home. And obviously, that’s evolved in such a way that I go to the gym and it was very difficult for me to readjust back to that. I remember when I first stopped working in an office and then working from home. It was a super, super difficult adjustment. Now it’s just like, this is my life. And this is normal for me. I think for me and to some degree I don’t know if everybody eventually gets used to it. But I understand for some people this is their lives, and this is what they need to do. And they need to be socially connected. And I definitely empathize with them. I feel that there is some struggle. Like, I haven’t seen my parents for a year. And that’s hard, with the exception of FaceTime and sometimes we try Alexa. We tried Alexa and sometimes she doesn’t even make the freakin phone call. And I don’t even have an iOS device. We use Alexa, FaceTime just to see my parents. You know that types of things that we need to do. We used to do Skype, but Skype sort of evolves away. So, my point is that I get it, but at the same time, you’re right. We all have to kind of make the sacrifices and with the expectation that things are going to change. And for me being a homebody, like ebbing and flowing out of that. I feel that it has been easier for me, but at the same time, it’s never for anybody. It’s not easy. Like, there’s still struggles that I have to make all the time and decisions that I have to make, like, “Do I want to patronize these gyms who are likely failing? Yeah, healthy. But I don’t even know if I physically can do that anymore.

SAUL COLT: Yeah.

TAMAR: And people are saying life is never going to be the same. And it’s such a sad, sad thing. But in a way, it’s unfortunately true. But we do hope that we get back to reconnecting with the people we love because it’s so important for humans, for our human selves for coping.

SAUL COLT: Even for myself, I’ve mentioned a couple times, there’s so many people that love to be close to, but as a creative person, I find that I don’t have that regular source of inspiration that I used to. When I would travel, I would take 1000 pictures of beautiful art and interesting buildings and all sorts of different things. Just anything that caught my eyes, graffiti, anything. And just being at home, I’m consuming television and reading books and consuming a lot of content online, but it’s not the same as sitting in a park and people watching or something like that or eating a great meal from somewhere that you’ve never been before. I think inspiration is the thing that is really suffering. For me, I’m still creative, I’m still good at what I do. But instead of 100 ideas a day, I’m down to 50.

TAMAR: Yeah. That’s good. At least you can always throw any ideas for fragrance to me. Just so you know, I will take any ideas, you can just pump them into my messenger box or something like that. I’ll take 49 you can give 50 to somebody else? I don’t know. Yeah, but I get it. I totally I feel you. And there are difficulties with that. Like, just looking back at my previous life, and I’m looking at it now I’m zoomed out. I don’t even know. Anyway, let’s talk about something a little different. Talk about self-care. How are you staying sane? What are you doing right now to keep yourself in your psyche and your physical self?

SAUL COLT: So, like you, I set up a home gym. I exercise almost every day, and it’s gonna sound stupid. I do it at a board, I’m just sort of made it a routine, but I have an exercise bike and I watch a movie. I sort of got into this routine, or I can’t watch TV unless I’m on the bike. And that way, I get fit, the thing I want. I ride my bike for 90 minutes, 5 times a week, and it’s weird. I’m probably in the best shape I’ve ever been in my life, and nobody can see me or touch me. But besides that, I’m kind of big on self-care. And it’s only probably the last few years that I’ve taken it seriously because I found myself burning out quicker and getting more agitated quicker by stupid things I can’t control. I love spending time in my bathtub and just turn the lights off and sitting there in the quiet and the dark and sort of just, being in bubbles. I exercise maybe the best dog in the world that I take for walks and spend time with. So, I’ve definitely had to change what self-care meant to me because self-care used to be, go to an art gallery or turn off my computer and spend some time with friends and things like that. So now it’s really more. Inward facing I guess is the right word, but I hope the end of this is to sort of find the balance between the two. But, you know, I don’t do meditation or any of that stuff. Not that I don’t think it’s great. I just never made it part of my routine, but I certainly have, like a real necessity to like not work 18 hours a day and make sure I’m kind of feeding my soul a little bit and make sure I eat properly and everybody was baking bread and stuff like this at the beginning of COVID. I got really into cooking. And because I used to just order food all the time or eat out in restaurants I prayed and now I only order food on Saturday night. And that’s kind of takeout night. Otherwise, I’m making 6 meals a week and stuff like that and try to make different things all the time and experiment. So, I’d say this10 months have been awful. But there are some good things that have come from it.

TAMAR: Yeah, I’m proud of you. I like that you discipline yourself to only watch television when you’re on the bike because yeah, I hear you. I totally get that.

SAUL COLT: I love TV. I would watch 9 hours a day of TV and unless I put some boundaries on it no work would be getting done.

TAMAR:  Yeah, I get it. That’s like my husband. He sits and watches TV and I hear Schitt’s Creek running in the background.  Then just like that, that noise of the horn is so annoying. They haven’t watched it yet, because I don’t have time these days to watch too much TV. Only the few shows that we’ve started watching the other week, catch up together, but it’s very difficult to kind of make that time. So, you’ve consolidated. It’s basically the same thing. When I exercise, I have to listen to a podcast or something. And I do have Netflix and have all this stuff set up in front of my treadmill. When I do that, it’s just I have been a little delinquent. Otherwise, I do a workout in front of the television with some sort of Beachbody or something like that. You know, it’s so driven. And it’s so same idea. Alright, so let me ask you a wrap up question that I haven’t had you prepared for. So hopefully, you’ll give me a long pause as everybody does. And think about this. If you can give an earlier version of Saul Colt some advice, what would you tell him?

 SAUL COLT: It’s funny, it’s contradictory to everything I’ve said already. But I would tell myself to even be edgier. And to push the envelope even further. When I was younger, it took me a little sort of midway through my career before I figured out how I wanted to brand myself. And you know, I was trying to be everything to everybody and be your “you got a problem, I can fix it no matter what the problem is.” And about halfway through my career, I realized that I wanted to be the best in the world at one thing. So, if anyone needed that one thing, I was the only person they thought of, and that one thing was kind of memorable, irreverent and edgy marketing stunts and marketing campaigns and sort of branded myself around that, because I think it took me way too long to realize that I didn’t want to be the owner of like, 100 persons agency. I wanted to have 2, 3 people doing work we’re really proud of, and the amount of money you need, and the number of clients you need to support. Two, 3 people is very different than 100 people. So, I think I played it safe for too long. And I would have taken greater risks earlier to really establish my brand and things. So, it’s amazing I’ve been pretty quiet over the last 6, 7 months, have been heads down on a lot of work and things, but I still get inbound requests to speak at things and all sorts of stuff. So, my brand does have some power behind it. And I wish I learned that earlier in my career to sort of build that up or spend more time on it. But even now, with everybody being home and working virtually, that maybe carries forward. Like having a really strong brand is going to be more important than ever because everything that ever happened great in my career came from having the right conversation being in the right room or someone seeing me speak. Those opportunities are gone for people in their career, you’re going to have to create a lot of content, share a lot of content, build your brand a lot stronger, and take it more seriously. And I kind of wish I’d worked on that much earlier.

TAMAR: Yeah. Well, it’s never too late, to be perfectly honest. I obviously want to do for you. It’s not about me, it’s about you. And you’re still memorable for those earlier things. But you have your head down, we can’t see it. And unfortunately, thanks to COVID it’s difficult. I take the opportunity to speak and do those things if you can because it’s not much of a commitment when it’s virtual. Hopefully you’re being compensated for your expertise, though because you have tremendous amount of that. And I think especially if they’re profiting off of that, it’s only wise, it’s totally fair. And I think it’s great and I love it and I think it still ties into who you are. Because you are that guy that I know that are completely like a little offbeat but in a way that is memorable, in a way that’s positive and in a way that doesn’t scare people away. So, kudos to you for that. I’ve always admired you from the sidelines and now I can articulate that. So, it’s nice to be able to appreciate it.

SAUL COLT: Yeah, I appreciate that. I’ve always been a big fan of yours, too.

TAMAR: Thank you. So, tell me, tell everybody, where can we find you.

SAUL COLT:  Can find me pretty much anywhere on the internet. My handle is saulcolt, all one word, and no spaces or dots. Check out my work at theideaintegration.com and check out Autozen.com. It’s just sort of a teaser right now. But check it out. Hopefully pay attention to it when we launch.

TAMAR: I’m excited about that. I probably edit this part out but what exactly is it?

SAUL COLT: I can’t tell you.

TAMAR: Okay. All right. Maybe I should get out then. I don’t know. All right. We’ll see about that. Okay, cool. Thank you so much. Really, it’s been fun, and I really appreciate our time together.

SAUL COLT: Awesome. Thank you.

 

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TAMAR.