Wading Through the Dark

We often know what we want, but getting there is the path less known. Today, Dava Guthmiller joins us to talk about the creative process.

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What IS the creative process? How do we move through that exploration time into an outcome with grace, grit, and acceptance of what our path shows us?

Dava Guthmiller is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Noise 13, a brand strategy and design firm based in San Francisco since 2000. From sustainability to diversity, to empathy & humanity, we want to continue to craft more brands that are doing good for people and for the planet. She is also the Co-Founder of In/Visible Projects. This includes In/Visible Ventures and In/Visual Talks, a conference, a collection of events that bring people together over the process, inspiration, and challenges for design & creative professionals. In addition to all of the above, Dava is a mentor & advisor, design & food judge, speaker & moderator. She has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, San Francisco Mag, HOW, Communication Arts, and Print Magazines.

As you can see, Dava Guthmiller knows a thing or two about wading into the space between coming up with an idea and making it a reality. In this episode of the podcast, we’ll be discussing how to embrace all that beautiful mess in between; and she will share her strategies to get through times when you don’t know if what you’re working on and how you're working on it--is working!

Also, Dia wants to throw a phrase we all too often use when we’re forging a new path for ourselves. She hates it and makes it clear in this episode. 

Check out Noise13 and In/Visible Talks

Learn more about Dia Bondi and what she’s been up to.

Follow Dia on LinkedIn

 Dava Guthmiller 00:02

Whether they're your clients, your teammates, or whoever you're getting feedback from, or


Dia Bondi 00:06

your boss for that matter,


Dava Guthmiller 00:07

or your boss, if you're not putting all that feedback through the lens of the strategy and the creative brief or the why it becomes personal, it becomes a personal opinion. And you can have 100 personal opinions, but that doesn't make any one of them the right answer.


Dia Bondi 00:47

Hello, everyone, welcome to the Dr. Bondi show a big podcast for women with goals. I'm Dia Bondi, and I'm here for you on a mission to help you ask for more and getit resource your dreams so you can get to your goals faster and have a blast doing it and I'm so thrilled to have with me today. Arthur Leon Adams the third I wasI didn't know where I was gonna go. You almost


Arthur  01:10

sound like you forgot my name for a second.


Dia Bondi 01:13

I was like, which way do I go? Do I go baby? Or do I go Arthur Leon Adams, I get a little stuck sometimes. Right? Right.


Arthur  01:18

Nice to see you. Good to see you. And I see that you're from the zoom. You know, we record these over the Internet that you're in a different spot. today.


Dia Bondi  01:26

I am on my studio and Berkeley is being used for a sheet space for somebody recording a TED talk. And so I'm actually coming to you from my bedroom. Which is great.Although I have to say like I'm kind of edgy today because it's like a new setup. I don't know if it's gonna be good. I'm kind of mad about it. But Ican't tell right before we started recording I was telling you how edgy I kind of feel even though I tried to handle my business clean up my room make it kindof cozy, set up my deal, go for a walk all the things but I still feel edgy, because it's just like, it's not right. Like my pants don't fit. Right. Right. Right. Right. kind of uncomfortable in a new context.


Arthur  01:58

Well, you should maybe change your mindset about it and think of it like you're on MTV Cribs. Do you remember that show? And you can show the bedroom like this is where the magic happens?


Dia Bondi 02:08

Yeah, it's it's more like here's where I fold clothes. Yeah, it's more like that.


Arthur  02:13

Well, it's been a little bit since we've recorded one of these.


Dia Bondi 02:16

That's right. So happy I am even though I'm kind of edgy and mad about it. Whatever the it is just kind of mad today. I'm glad to be doing this. It's nice to hearyour voice.


Arthur  02:25

Yeah, you too. So what else we got going on today?


Dia Bondi 02:29

Well,we're gonna have a we're gonna have a guest today, which is super awesome.That's right, David, Gus Miller, just a second. But before we get into ourconversation with her, I wanted to kind of throw a phrase under the bus thatI'm really sick of hearing and I don't like


Arthur  02:42

Allright, go off queen.


Dia Bondi 02:43

Okay,that for me, here's the here's the thing. Fake it till you make it is bullshit.I don't like this phrase. You know why? Because all y'all who are listeningright now are trying to do something new. You're trying to move your way toyour toward your goals. You're trying to work it out. You're making decisions,you're feeling your way through, you're planning, you're trying stuff. And insome cases, you might be on shaky ground. And it's easy for us to say I don'tknow, I'm just faking it till I make it. But you know what, you're not fakingit. You're not you're not faking, you're actually doing it. And I'm really sickof like, under hearing women, and folks, you throw around this phrase, like,like we're faking it, like it's not real. And you know what, whatever you'redoing even if you're doing it on shaky ground, even if you're even if you're wadingyour way through something brand new, even if you're doing it while you'reunsure. You are doing it. So I just want to flip that thing on its head and sayit's not faking it till you make it. It's doing it until you make it. Yeah.


Arthur  03:41

Andmaybe we can even come up with a rhyming version, like, do it till you breakthrough it or something.


Dia Bondi 03:47

Yeah,exactly. That's perfect. I just want to like, we all just need to giveourselves a little bit of credit for doing stuff that we don't know how to do,but we're doing it. It's not faking it, right. So anyway, that that's my teeny,tiny mini micro rant today. And it's actually kind of interesting, because it'sgoing to tie to what we're going to talk about with David Guf, milliner today,around sort of that wading through the dark, you know, that space between whenwe have an idea about what we want, or we've identified it a goal forourselves, or, you know, we have an outcome in mind and getting from here tothere can feel like a dark zone, but it's also it also can be a beautifulexploration. So


Arthur  04:29

yeah,before we get to our guest, I just wanted to remind everyone that if you likethe show, and if you want other people to hear the show, you should subscriberate and review. You can follow us on social media on Instagram at the DiaBondi show, and you can you know, tell your friends about it and just help theDIA body show reach more people.


Dia Bondi 04:51

Tellyour friends about it, tell your friends


Arthur  04:52

aboutit, your friends. And you can also if you have a question, you can call us at341333299 Evan and leave a message and maybe we will play your question on afuture episode.


Dia Bondi 05:04

So good.We'd love to hear from you all. And you know what in I've probably said this inother episodes, but when I give talks or my keynotes and my workshops, youknow, I hear from folks all the time that the most valuable thing that they getout of it, of course, the ideas that I shares super valuable, but what really mattersis when folks have a chance to listen to other people, you know, workshop,their big questions around how to make their big moves, that, that opportunityto see yourself in someone else's challenge someone else's opportunity, someoneelse's journey is wildly powerful. So when you call in the show with yourquestion, we are going to address it, we're going to workshop it on the showwith love and curiosity, and you know, and care, and you are making it possiblefor someone else to see themselves in your journey and to learn from you.


Arthur  05:54

Yeah, soI mean, I think what we're saying is share the podcast save a life, that thereit is. So today, our guest is David Guf. Miller, She is the founder and chiefcreative officer at noise 13, which is a brand strategy and design firm basedin San Francisco since 2000.


Dia Bondi 06:11

Yes, andDeva is also the co founder of invisible projects, which is both the invisibleventures and invisible talks, which I had the privilege of being one of theirinaugural speakers at their inaugural event in San Francisco, pre COVID. Andthe invisible projects is a conference and a collection of events that bringtogether people over the process, inspiration and challenges for design andcreative professionals. So we're really happy to have her with us today. She'salso a mentor and advisor, a design and food judge, because he doesn't want todo that. And she's a speaker and moderator and she's been featured in Forbes,Huffington Post, San Francisco magazine, how and communications arts and printmagazines. And she's just, she's somebody that I always look to for not justcreative inspiration, but like she does a lot of things, you know, she's alwaysout exploring and making something new and involved with a lot of differentthings that, that, that touch a broad range of interest. And I just, I'vealways respected since I met her maybe six or eight years ago, respected evenfrom afar the work that she does, and the way she does her work. So so happy tohave her today.


Arthur  07:24

Yeah,another heavy hitter on the podcast. Come on now. Dave, I'm


Dia Bondi 07:30

so gladto have you here today. Hello,


Dava Guthmiller 07:32

hello.Oh, my goodness,


Dia Bondi 07:35

it's sogreat. So listen, I would let folks understand. So two things you sort of, youknow, I see you having I mean, you do so much different stuff. Yeah, you're soinvolved in the world of both the creative process and the outcomes of that, inthe world of design. And I helped me help the world understand a little bitabout what your life is, is as a creative officer, and what had you found inthe invisible project.


Dava Guthmiller 08:04

So as acreative officer, I mean, I run nois 13, which is a branding and strategy,design agency. And I have been doing that for 21 years, Oh, my God. And my roleas noise 13 has changed hugely over that period of time. I mean, I went toschool for design. You know, I graduated as a graphic designer. So I was one ofthose designers in the beginning. So even as I was running the company,originally, I was also a designer. I was also, you know, creative director, Iwas also sales. And over time, my role has changed pretty significantly, I nolonger get to spend the majority of my day designing, unfortunately. So I haveto use my creative brain in new ways. Most of that is in this space betweencreative strategy for brands and sort of really helping our clients understandthe difference that brand will make in their company in the long term, andsupporting my designers and the design team that I have, you know, to help themgrow, right? Honestly, I'm always a little bit more split than that, becauseI'm still doing sales, and I'm still doing, you know, all of these things. I'mcurrently looking for an office, you know, so in a small agency, I think thatyou always have many, many hats, and you have to be prepared for you know, theultimate multitasking challenge


Dia Bondi 09:38

and Whathad you What had you bring invisible projects into the world?


Dava Guthmiller 09:40

Yeah. Somy business partner in in invisible is aryana aurland. And she and I were bothpart of the IGA Design Week, she was on the board and she had asked me to helpout with the, like the main launch event and we went through And it was a greatexperience when we realized that we needed something deeper and more meaningfulfor ourselves. And we also realize that, you know, we have 40 plus yearsexperience between the two of us. And we're always behind the scenes, we'realways the one supporting everyone else versus being out in front. And I thinklater on to that, really wanting to spend more time to meet other creativepeers, and be inspired by people who are different than us. Made us reallyrealize like, Well, you know, what, just do it ourselves. Right? Like, we cantotally do this. The first time was a completely an experiment, right? Soeverything down to the branding, where we were inspired by literally dippingstuff from the dollar store in paint, which is how we came. I remember that Iremember that. Yep. It was so cool. Yes. And you were one of our speakers thatyear. And, you know, so the first year was an experiment. And it's, it was sofantastic that we decided to kind of keep it up. And we did smaller events. Andwe did that conference annually. So we have now done that for four years. Sofour annual conferences, and this January we did that virtually, do you


Dia Bondi 11:21

stillperceive it as an experiment? Or is it changed this year was


Dava Guthmiller 11:25

anexperiment again, because we went from an in person 300 person event here inSan Francisco to virtual, so we had to re learn and rethink how that processwent.


Dia Bondi 11:37

I lovethat. So I remember when aryana. First, she approached me your first year andinvited me to speak and she talked about the words that really stuck in myheart was about you know, invisible talks being a place where we can talkabout, you know, what it means to forge our own ideas into the world in a waythat is uniquely ours. And I just, you know, that feels like such a powerfuland vulnerable place at the very same time, I couldn't not say no toparticipating in whatever level I could. And I just, I love this idea thatthings, you know, it continue, even though you know what it is, and you knowwhat impact you want it to have, it continues to be an experiment, because, youknow, we're always in a state that we're always in a state of change andforging forward. And that's really what I wanted to talk to you about today wasyou know, to start a conversation talking about what I'm thinking about is likethe the dark zone that that space between an idea, and it's made state and forour, you know, listeners for our audience, it's a goal, whether it's, you know,in a traditionally achievement style goal, or an experiential goal or anexpertise goal. And you know, the time between the idea that that's the thing Iwant and getting there, you know, that can feel like the Dark Zone, but it canalso feel it can also be a beautiful experience if we let it be. And if we Ithink that if we invest in it and you know, when I was thinking about how thatconnects to maybe the creative process is a place where you are youintentionally go into the I'm calling it the Dark Zone, maybe you have adifferent term for it. But I'd like to start by asking like, what do you lookfor when you go from the idea, the idea to creation of a design that you shipin the world? Like what? what do you look for as you move through that processas a longtime designer, and somebody who facilitates other people's creativeprocesses? Well,


Dava Guthmiller 13:31

yeah, Imean, with invisible we call that process inspiration and challenge, right? Isthat messy middle stuff that gets you to the outcome? But yeah, I mean, on fornoise 13. I mean, we are creating brand systems and graphic design executionalpieces. And every project and every deliverable is different. But I think thething that really ties them together. And the thing that I look for as a leaderof that is, how many times and how many ways can we go back to the strategy orthe core of what that idea was? You know, when you're thinking about a brand,your brand strategy is the why, like, why are you even doing this in the firstplace? What is the, you know, the How are you different from everyone else?What is your brand personality? What is your goal, and every execution? If youkeep coming back to that, it helps you through that messy middle piece, right.So I look for ways that we can continually go back to what we call the brandstrategy or creative brief or your why statement, right? With the conference.It's the first time it was like, we want to talk about process inspiration andchallenge and we want a mix of people and backgrounds. We want a mix ofexperience levels. And those were sort of our guiding principles. And everytime we wanted to add new shit, because we add a lot of stuff, we have a hardtime saying no, both of us going back and saying, does this meet our criteriaof why we're even doing this in the first place?


Dia Bondi 15:15

I lovethis as I think about the women who the women and you know, everyone who'slistening to this podcast, you know, as they move into that messy middle, youknow, between an idea of something and it being born into the world, like whenwe get when when you listener get stuck, when we get stuck to go back to ourown why and, and who we actually are. And I think of brands, you know, I'm nota brand strategist, but I think of brands as like, it is an entity it is a itis a it is a person and a personality, a set of values, a set of beliefs, it islike its own, it is its own self, right. I think about you know, when we getstuck in our journey between an idea and it being born into the world go backto go back to like our why and who we actually are so that we can go forward ina way that is actually aligned to who we are. And we're not, we're not steppinginto or adopting a self that isn't actually true to us. Oh, yeah. Which is agreat a great way to lose and have Things Fall Apart later.


Dava Guthmiller 16:14

Yeah,not Oh, yeah. And values are super key to that. I mean, we talk about values alot in branding. But as a person, you know, knowing what your non negotiablesare, really helps you, you know, in reaching those goals, but then also, whenyou are doing those big asks that you tell people to do all of the time, ithelps you validate why you're even asking, right? It's the same as if you're abrand and you're asking somebody to buy your product or use your service. Likewhy should they care? You know, if you don't know why they should care, and youdon't know who you are, before you walk out the door? How do you expect otherpeople to react to that or understand?


Dia Bondi 16:54

So inthe creative process, you know, when I was when I came to invisible talks thatfirst year, you know, we had folks that talked about so many different things,you know, as you said, you had a really broad set of folks who practice thecreative or or engage in them in the messiness of the creative process acrosshardware design, you know, in Fine Arts in writing, as designers like justacross the board, you know, what happens to do you observe teams, orindividuals as they go to build a brand? Or does in their design in the in theprocess of creating a design lose themselves in it? And how do you find yourway back? Yeah, I


Dava Guthmiller 17:34

mean,losing yourselves in any design or creative process? I mean, I think you'veeven mentioned it as like those pitfalls. I think, as creatives, we want thingsto be perfect, right? We want there to be an answer. And I think that there'sthat one of the biggest Falls is pitfalls or challenges that we run into isoverthinking it, or over testing, or, you know, you There is something aboutthe creative process, even in a professional creative environment, not art. Youknow, not all design is an artistic endeavor, you know, you are solving aproblem. There is this crossover of research and understanding and testing thatyou can do, and just trusting your gut. Like, you know, if, if you wantsomething to be new and unique, and really push the boundaries, you have to letgo of the testing at some point and just say, this is different. And I have totrust the fact that if I want this, and I feel that this is right, like, youknow, if you build it, they will come and there's a little I mean, withinvisible, we definitely had that, right. Like, we needed that connection topeople, we needed that deeper conversation. And we're like, okay, we need this,other people might need this. So you have to just trust sometimes what you'refeeling, use all your research and all of your expertise as part of the system.But in order to take chances and make something new, you have to trustyourself, and how do you know it's working? The feedback. I mean, you know, forme, feedback is key. You know, putting it out there and world and invisible isdefinitely one of those big wins of my life. But one of the things that, youknow, I would recommend to everybody is that when you are getting positivefeedback on your project, that you or on the work that you're doing, write itdown, remember what was working, remember why, you know, your ideas are good. Imean, we have this thing with invisible. I don't know if we've ever shared thiswith you. But every year after we start getting feedback and text messages andyou emails from people, we save all the good stuff we we listen to, and we taketo heart and we make changes based on the critical feedback. But the good stuffwe put into a document called the ball of love, so that every year, we can kindof go back to it. And remember, like, all this hard work, all this stuff thatwe went through, we did something great, because look at this fantasticfeedback. How do you use your ball of love? I'm


Dia Bondi 20:25

supercurious, do you use it as a kickoff document at the beginning of the nextcycle? Like how do you like does it doesn't just die in some digital filesomewhere? What


Dava Guthmiller 20:34

do youdo with it? Yeah, I think there's a couple of reasons why we do it. One, we doit at the end with our team, like the people who've supported us, ourvolunteers, partners, whatever. It's this great way to get quotes and like,say, look at all the amazing work that we did. But it's also really fantasticwhen we get into that messy middle part of remembering, you know why we'redoing it remembering why people need it, right? So it's the same as if you havea product or service with a client where, you know, you need to keep that goodfeedback in mind, like, what is it that you're doing that serving your clientor serving your customer that they need? And that they appreciate? Like, don'tlose track of that piece of the puzzle? Right? So


Dia Bondi 21:21

what'sreally Yeah, yeah, it goes back to that, like, when you get lost in the middleor you lose yourself, you can't find what's resonant, having your ball of loveavailable to you can maybe be a reinvigoration point when you're in that, likethat messy and difficult middle, what I what's interesting about that, as well,as we think about getting from here to there, and we maybe we you know, westart out on our journey, whether it's an event that you're producing, or youknow, a career change you're making, or whatever the journey is, how do we knowwe're on track? How do we know what we're doing is working, the strategieswe've identified are working, you said as feedback, right. But in that process,pretty soon we can get feedback, we can get feedback to the point where we canbe all of a sudden pulling ourselves off track. So all of a sudden, we've beengiven so much feedback that what we want isn't what we we've been talked out ofwhat we want anymore. We've been all of a sudden, we're on a trajectory thatdoesn't lead us to the outcome that we're after. So as we go on our journey,what do we hold on to? And what do we let go have in the face of the feedbackthat we might get from the world? Like the the experience of getting into thatmessy middle?


Dava Guthmiller 22:30

Yeah, Imean, I think holding on to the original why or the original strategy. Andusing that as sort of this coming back point, I mean, you sort of brought it upright with, especially with client feedback and a creative process, I love myclient, I love them. And they, I think about them as partners, but whetherthey're your clients, your teammates, or whoever you're getting feedback from,or your boss, for that matter, or your boss, if you're not putting all thatfeedback through the lens of the strategy and the creative brief, or the why itbecomes personal, it becomes a personal opinion, and you can have 100 personalopinions, but that doesn't make any one of them the right answer. So, you know,holding on to that core, why holding on to what you're doing, you know, it mightshift a little bit. But I think that's something that, especially in design anda creative process, you have to hold on to that strategy, and that thatcreative brief that you agreed on in the beginning. And I think the things thatyou need to let go of as, especially as a creative person is, and I hate to saythis, but you have to let go of control sometimes. You know, yes, you're theexpert. And yes, you have this expertise, and you want it to be somethingfantastic and beautiful. And especially if you're an independent person, butpart of the creative process is collaborative, you're collaborating with theaudience you're speaking to, with the client that you're working with, withyour team, with your boss, you know, whatever it is, and I think that all ofthose people bring insight and expertise to the playground, right? And if wedon't work together, so letting go of like, my way or the highway, becausethose outside pieces of collaboration and insight are also where we find sparksof inspiration or, you know, something that maybe you didn't think of, so youhave to let go just a little bit in that control aspect. And, you know, I thinkmost designers have this problem.


Dia Bondi 24:52

Yeah, Ithink of that, you know, I'm not I'm not an artist, although I you know, I Isort of identify as a writer type, you know, creative mind where were my ideasthat need to make their way into the world often show up in curriculumdevelopment and in and in writing. And as I think about, as I think aboutletting go, I use the language I think to myself, I whisper to myself, likeletting go means letting something new in, you know, when it opens a gate forsomething new to come in, that I couldn't see. So this sort of act of always,you know, opening to what else could be included, also, to your point holdingon to the lens of your wise so that you're not letting things in that take youoff your pathway in a way that doesn't get you where you want to go, is reallycritical. So, you know, I I'm really interested to and you know, there is aprocess that you engage in as you develop I'm sure a brand identity or youknow, the the system that supports a brand in the world. And there are alsopeople who move through that process who bring themselves to the table. So howdo you think about the difference between here's how it's done. And here's howI do it.


Dava Guthmiller 26:05

Yeah,the, for me, the here's how I do it is a starting point. It, that sentence inof itself leaves it open to change, to new ideas to building upon or improvement.It also says, I'm open to collaborating with you, like this is how I do it, howdo you do it? Right. So it's, uh, I love that statement. That's definitely howI work at noise. You know, this is my company, and I'm responsible for it. Buteverybody here implements and changes and affects our processes. And, you know,ways that we can improve. This is how it's done to me should mean that this issomething that's been tested and proven, and is the most efficient when there'slike safety and protocols and regulations that you have to think about. But itcan also close off those ideas for improvement and change. So if there is a,this is how it's done, mentality, make sure that that's because there's areason that it has to be done that way. Otherwise, you could be stuck, right,and you're not leaving it open to doing it a better way.


Dia Bondi 27:36

I thinkabout it as like, this is how is done is the protocol. And this is how I do itis the personalization of that protocol is like a conscious breaking of therules that don't apply this time or a, you know, the the way in which youremain open as you move through the protocols. I mean that, you know, I have alot of women come through my workshops, and through this content where you know,I really want to help women resource their dreams that they can get to theirgoal faster. And one of the questions always is, how should I do it? And myanswer is, well, are there other known ways in which it is done? And then howdo you do it? They can be related, unrelated or exactly the same, but there isno ultimate, you know, there's just, there's like a framework, and then there'san adoption and an adaptation of that, that we can personalize so that we canbring our own meaning, our own worldview, our own lens, our own desires, ourown, you know, way we see things our own creative spirit, our own the things wesee in the world to it. No, that's a,


Dava Guthmiller 28:37

that's agood way to think about as well. I mean, I think, for me, I'm taking on thatlens of, you know, I'm in the middle of onboarding new employees, right. Sothere's, this is our process, or this is how I do it. But please, if you haveimprovements, please make them right. So right, I think it's that choice oflanguage as well, when you're, especially when you're talking to, you know, newhires. Right. And also, I


Dia Bondi 29:01

thinkabout so I grew up in a in a dance studio, and like, there is there is a waythat you do bar work and a ballet class before you go to the center, here'swhat it is it's always play. And then it's tonda, isn't it? You know, it's likethat. And how I do it is, you know, what I pay attention to, as I move throughthe bar work to get to the center is different. You know, some some folks arelike, you know, they're going to use the plays in this way, I'm going to usethe plays and that way, we're still doing the same process, but how we're doingit to get to the center work is uniquely ours. So what do you think, you know,Dave, as you as you continue to constantly both be super strategic and, youknow, building brands that are tied to business outcomes, but also engaging insort of the mass of the creative process to develop that thing, you know, tobring it into the world. What is the most rewarding thing you've produced inyour life and career and what makes it so well invisible?


Dava Guthmiller 29:54

Forsure, you know, and I would say the ball of love every time that feeling thatwe Get, right. It's a, I mean, that is something we do on the nights andweekends, and it is a bear and we don't get paid for it and it a passionproject 100%. So for sure, invisible is one of those things, but thinking backabout projects, you know, and specifically with clients that we've done throughnoise 13 I think one of the most rewarding projects that we ever did, or that Iever did, I'm not gonna say we because I'm not, I'm not, I'm gonna step back towhen I used to be part of the design process a little bit more. We had thisclient personality hotels, and, you know, they needed to rebrand they had sixhotels at the time, they were all boutique, totally different different names,different styles, different everything. And we had been hired to do a rebrandfor the parent company. And part of that process was a touch point audit. And Idon't know if anyone else has done this, but it's where you just kind of yet,you go to the place you pick up the materials, yes, see what's out there? Whatdoes it feel like? What are they doing? What are they saying? And, and this wasthe first time that we had done this, but we literally wallpapered ourconference room with all of their stuff, from pictures of the hotels to all oftheir materials, and we literally wallpaper the whole place. So for the kickoffmeeting with the client, they came into this room of themselves. mess, it wasawful, it was like every brochure was a different size on a different kind ofpaper, there was maps on the back of thing, 17 different maps, like theexperience to the customer was that every single one of those held hotels weretheir own thing. And they were not a family, and it was not pulled together.And, you know, whatever, we named one of the hotels, we rebranded a few ofthem, we brought them all into a system. At the end of that project, we did thesame exact exercise where we put all the new stuff in a room. And seeing all ofthose hotels have their own identity, but being part of a family. And part of asystem that brought them together like that was so rewarding, because one we itwas the biggest project we had taken on at the time. And it was a ton of work.And it was beautiful. But it was really successful. And we had, you know, inthe rooms, they have like those little feedback forms, right. And part of whatwe had done was added a few questions to that feedback form. Because brand isthis thing you can't it's very hard to quantify. But we added a few questionsto make it like Do you know the other hotels in our group? Like, would you saythat, you know, blah, blah, blah. And through that, we were able to actuallyquantify the work that we had done that people were more aware of the rest ofthe family than they were before. But I think it was just that before and afterwas so dramatic, and it was so complete, that it was just a very, very good feelingand very rewarding. Thinking back to the ask like an auctioneer, I could tellyou right now, we did not charge enough money for that


Dia Bondi 33:15

brand.Beautiful. So what what that story reminds me of and folks who have listened toearlier earlier episodes, will know that when I think about you know, since Ilaunched project as like an auctioneer, what I've seen is that we asked forthings that fall into four and actually sort of a fifth bonus cap category,it's, you know, we ask for things that help grow around money, we ask for morearound authority, being the author of our own destiny, or owning decisions andinfluence. You know, we ask for things that give us more influence in ournetworks, on stages, etc. So we can reach out, we can use that influence toreach our goals faster. And then the fourth one is balanced. And you know, whenwe think about balance, especially in the world of you know, women in work, weautomatically it really easy to default to like work life balance. And what Ithink of in balance is a lot more about bringing our internal selves and ourexternal context more into alignment and imbalance with one another. So who weare and the way we live, who we are and the things we do who we are. And, youknow, the context in which we work and play and love and live are more inalignment. And what I hear in that project is that you brought that brand moreinto balance with it with itself that it was expressing itself maybe in a waythat was consistent with who it actually was, and that there was a recognizableinternal experience of what it was to be there and an external expression of itso that it could live in the world as a unified, coherent self. Yeah, yeah. And


Dava Guthmiller 34:44

I thinkit was. Yeah, it absolutely brought balance to them. But it's, it's also thosetypes of projects that allow you to prove that you know what the hell you'redoing. Oh, yeah, right. cuz it was it was the biggest project we had done. Andit was like the fact that somebody had trusted us to do it. Obviously, we overdelivered and we undercharged, but I think it was proving to myself that wewere capable to do a project on such a large scale, and so successfully, thatwas just super rewarding. So


Dia Bondi 35:19

that's,that's beautiful. Yeah, having something concrete you can point to that says,See, we can do this. It worked. Beautiful. All right. Well, I love having youhaving you here. And my last question is, what is your wish for women who areforging their own ideas into the world,


Dava Guthmiller 35:37

this isprobably advice that I need to listen to, even more often than I already do.But I would say be open to receiving support. I think women do not ask forenough help. And I mean, that not like, not that we need help. But the world,especially in business is there to support you, whether it's money from thebank, or investors, whether it's, you know, delegating more to your team,whether it's asking your partner at home for, you know, to make the dinner, youknow, whatever it is, I feel like women are better multitaskers. And we havethis thing of just like, Oh, yeah, I can just do it all. And I can do more.And, you know, I have this problem all the time myself where I just keepstacking it on and being open to support and open to asking for the supportthat you need, so that you have the energy to give back to everybody else.Beautiful,


Dia Bondi 36:40

beautiful.David, thank you so much for being with us today. I'm so glad that you said yesto coming on to the Dr. Bondi show a big podcast for women and everybody withgoals. So we can help them get there faster with the beautiful creativecontributions that you and invisible toxis and the invisible projects isbringing into the world. And for you to share time with us today is greatlygreatly appreciated. Super fun.


Dava Guthmiller 37:03

Thankyou so much for having me.


Dia Bondi 37:11

Allright, that was great. So glad to have so glad to have David today. Like forme, the things that really stood out were two things one was, you know, I loveher story about the about the hotel branding exercise, or the hotel brandingproject that they did, but the thing that really stood out for me was when shetalked about doing this doing an audit. And I think so many of us can do anaudit, you know, in our in our lives and careers and businesses and just take alook around and see what's working, what belongs what doesn't belong any more.So that we can also have a more cohesive, more aligned more, you know, I don'tknow, recognizable entity around the thing that we're trying to build in theworld, it's really easy to drag what we did five years ago forward, when itdoesn't serve us anymore. It's really easy to like, get feedback from somebodyat some point that we've attached to what we think we should do, or what weshould pursue that actually we've maybe outgrown or outlived, or is just notrelevant to us anymore. So I love the idea of doing an audit. And I don't knowhow you would put it in a room for yourself, I could imagine that just like anyother, you know, vision board or, you know, some kind of visual representationof you know, of how we take stock in our lives in our careers could be couldbe, could be, could serve. And then the second big idea for me was this notionof like, asking for things that are off the menu when she shared that, youknow, one of the important investments she made was to take a risk and not takecash, but to take part cash and part stock in an early project that she did.And and I think that's true, it's really easy for us to, you know, not coloroutside the lines or just not even see what else we might ask for to help usreach our long term goals. So I love both of those things.


Arthur  39:05

Nice.Yeah, what got me thinking was you you were talking a little bit aboutsomething we talked about a couple episodes ago, which is the differencebetween, you know, the way it's done and how you do it, or I can't what was theexact phrasing?


Dia Bondi 39:20

That'sright, like, what's the difference between Oh, this is how it's done, which isfair, like, there are things where, like, this is how it's done. And here's howI do it.


Arthur  39:29

Right.And you guys had slightly different definitions of that, which I thought wasinteresting. And I, I was thinking about her definition of it, which I thinkapplies for me a lot when I'm doing filmmaking stuff, which is there's there isa way that certain things are done, and most of them have to do with like,safety and, you know, just time constraints and just practical things aboutfilmmaking. But then all the other things that people might say this is howit's done. I disagree with Yeah, like, I don't I don't necessarily not followthem sometimes, but I don't think that they're necessarily hard and fast rulessure about how something that's done, how you set up a shot, how you framesomething. I mean, the coolest stuff is when people break those rules, I thinkyou just you have to know them to break them.


Dia Bondi 40:14

100%they're some of the most intriguing stories that we hear about people, youknow, building beautiful things in the world or achieving, you know,recognizable things that we care about, you know, writing a best selling novel,you know, living a life that is unconventional, whatever the thing is, is likethe the path to getting there is often quote unquote, not the way you do it.It's the way they did it. Yeah. So when, you know, if you're listening to thisepisode right now, and thinking to yourself, I have a goal this year, or I wantto make a thing, I want to change my life, I want to make a thing in the world,I want to produce something, I want to change careers, I want to build abusiness I want to whatever it is, you know, we can ask, we can find out how isit done? And then we can ask ourselves, okay, good. And how do I do it? Yeah.How does it make sense in my worldview, and based on what my sensibilities are,where my courage lies within me where you know, the existing skills that I havethe skills that are easily acquirable, my network, etc. That is exactly what Imean, when I say like, we can get what we want. And often our greatest power isin leading with who we truly are, right?


Arthur  41:24

Yeah.Cool. All right. All right. All right, people so nine done


Dia Bondi 41:28

Nice tosee you. Nice to hear you.



Yeah.Bye, everyone. Bye, everyone.


Arthur  41:35

ThisPodcast is a production of Dia Bondi Communications and it's produced andscored by me are thoroughly on Adams the third, you can like share rate andsubscribe at Apple podcast, Google podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever youget your favorite podcasts. Find us at dia body calm or follow us on Instagramat the Deobandi show. Want to shoot us a question for the show. Call us at341-333-2997 and maybe you'll hear your question answered on a future episode.

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