Age Matters, But Should It?

Age Matters, But Should It?

Steve Jobs has more experience than me, but if I have read up on every single lesson he has learned from all his experience, then does he actually know more? or do we know the same amount? or do I still know less?

I’m toying with the concept of age and why it matters so much. I’ve had a number of experiences where I could do something, but my age got in the way.

While still in high school I applied for a newspaper job, a job people go through four years of college to do and number of internships to get, but I knew I could do it well enough or at least learn fast enough to do it as well as anyone else.

No surprise, I didn’t get the job. I was too young.

I wanted to run a seminar on finances, but was told not enough people would come because what 40-year-old is going to believe anything a 19-year-old has to say, regardless of the fact I’ve written more than 200 articles on money management, started selling at age 6, bought a Corvette at the age of 15, and graduated without any debt and studied everything all the financial gurus put out there.

Even with the experience, I was still too young.

Knowledge is power…so long as you’re at an age people will believe that

I’m constantly blogging about business, startups, and public relations concepts. I’m spitting out things I know to be true, part from experience, part from obsessively studying others’ success and failures and learning from other people.

If I’m not talking to someone about the marketing industry or a business idea either of us have, I have buds in my ear listening to others share their stories via podcasts, if not that, I’m lifting weights while thinking about trends or talking to my girlfriend about the next thing I’m going to chase. I’m a carrot guy, not a stick guy, and I’m still not as trusted as Steve Jobs, Seth Godin or Chris Brogan because, well, they’re older than me.

Knowledge, wisdom, insight are all very subjective matters. I’ve worked heavily the last year and a half to convince others I have all the above despite my (in the grand scheme of things) minimum amount of experience. Through that process I’ve lost connection with a lot of my readers. After an email from a blunt friend and conversation with my girlfriend (likely to be posted on my blog tomorrow), I’ve realized I stopped doing what I preach others to do: be personal.

Age matters, and fighting the perception others have is an uphill battle I’m exhausted fighting. Instead of sharing what I know, I will again be sharing how I came to know it. I’ll show how I’ve become a 22-year-old with a 30-year-old brain and why I find myself saying “I’m such an old man” more often than I like.

I invite you to stop by GarthBox more often. There will be more about my suffering, anxiety, nervousness, uncertainty, risk-taking, and lying to myself, and, of course, how I’ve overcome it all.


Stay Positive & Stick Around For The Ride

*In lieu of this sort-of announcement blog post, In The Box Podcast will be available on iTunes beginning of March. My cohost Michael Langlois and I chat about 6 themes, which you’ll know about in advance of each podcast so you can listen to just what you want to hear. I hope you find them all interesting and…personal.

10 Ways To Make A Difference (Lessons From Cambodia & Thailand)

10 Ways To Make A Difference (Lessons From Cambodia & Thailand)


1) Smile at people until they smile back. Not much is more universal than a smile. And nothing so simple can change the day for someone.

2) Provide the most selfless service you can when you can. It’s one of the beauties about Cambodia. Unlike here where we have to work to be selfless, there it comes natural. Surely it’s something we can work toward and achieve.

3) Observe the little ways you can make the life of another easier. Sometimes carrying the luggage of someone else is all you need to do. It’s difficult to change someone’s life in a huge way. It’s quite easy to make a lot of people’s lives a bit easier. Let’s face it, we can all use a break with this or that.

4) Always suggest the scenic route. You won’t ever regret it. I mean that. They say let the fear of not doing something scare you more than it not going as planned.

5) Put yourself in a location where others are making a difference. It’s sometimes difficult to make a difference on your own, but if you go where the movers and shakers are, there’s no doubt you’ll make the impact you’ve dreamed of.

6) When in doubt, play. (Particularly with children) There’s not much explaining to this one. You’ll experience and learn why this is a way you can make a difference once you do it.

7) Give thanks to three things a day. If you’re thankful for something that involves someone else, let them know directly. Gratitude is the dictator of attitude.

8) Travel. Period. When you go out into the world, doors to making a difference open every minute.

9) Teach someone how to do something or fail at something new together. The deepest impact you can make with someone or yourself involves learning.

10) Keep an open mind while observing ways to give and receive love. Corny, yes, but ultimately underrated. Also, emphasis on the “receive” end of it. Those who only give and never receive deprive others the satisfaction of sharing an experience, of making a difference.


Stay Positive & Impact Others To Improve The World (And Your Own)

The Best Way To Secure Success For Tomorrow

The Best Way To Secure Success For Tomorrow

Stock For Today

…is to secure success today.

Instead of creating, writing, designing for those who may not arrive tomorrow, care for those who show up today.

Instead of spending time stocking the walls for tomorrow, figure out how you can create an experience people can’t help but remark about today.

We lose sight of success when we look at tomorrow at the expense of today.


Stay Positive & “I’m here now, give me a reason to bring someone back with me tomorrow.”

Photo credit



How Do You Want To Be Treated?

How Do You Want To Be Treated?

Treat Others The Way You Want To Be Treated

Give someone a great experience, something to talk about. Give them the impact you would want to be given.

When you treat people the way you want to be treated, you create a remarkable reputation for not only yourself, but who you’re doing work for. And their voices are the ones that matter when it comes to word-of-mouth.

When you send an email, think of what you would want to read if you were on the receiving end. When you’re writing your pitch and your crunched on time, just put yourself in the venture audience – what would you need to hear  and how would you need to hear it to invest?

Treat people the way you would want to be treated. In every interaction.


Stay Positive & It’s Easy To Make Income, Much More Difficult To Make Impact

Photo credit
One Thing Employees Want Most

One Thing Employees Want Most

Mopping Leader

is to know their leader understands them.

And the only way to understand them is to step in their shoes, to do the grunt work, to have experience doing what they’re doing.

The best place a leader can be for quick profits might be in the office, but the best place a leader can be for building a remarkable business, for increasing the chance of surviving longterm, for doing what really gets talked about is out on the floor.


Stay Positive & Same Can Be Said For His Target Audience

Photo credit
Build Talkability Into Your Design

Build Talkability Into Your Design

MillerCoors Rooftop View

Pumpkin patches and apple orchards do a wonderful job of adding talkability factors into their design. They have the picture of a farming couple that you can put your head into and take a photo or the turkey that’s begging you to stand behind and show your face where its face should be. They add simply interactive designs that a majority use to share and talk about their experience.

I went on a three and a half hour private tour of the MillerCoors facility in Milwaukee today with a friend. I was too busy listening to the guide and chatting about how to brew beer to take dozens of photos, but there was a moment that was irresistible. As seen above, we’re on the roof of a 12+ story building and it’s clear they’ve designed this rooftop experience as a talking point. You have the shipping carriers, miller park, the brewing facility and the giant Miller sign all in one photo. MillerCoors figured out a way they could add talkability into their design.

I’ve been guilty of trying to make an entire experience worth talking about instead of focusing on a few little points that tell the larger story, that are easily talked about, and that people can’t help but share.

Consider how you can design talkability points into the experience you’re providing people.


Stay Positive & Better To Guide The Points Than Have Others Decide What’s Worth Sharing

because in most instances, they’ll choose not to share.

A Bit On Voice

Without any legitimate training in the understanding of artistic material, you can tell good from bad.

You may not be a graphic design expert, but I trust you can look at a website and tell if it is designed really well.

You may never have touched an instrument other than the pots and pans of your mother’s cupboard, but I will bet you can tell when an orchestra is in harmony.

You may think you’re a terrible writer, but when you read something someone else has written, I just know you can tell if the writer has voice or not.

Everything in life speaks to us, but only if it’s given a voice.

A lot happens, rather, doesn’t happen when a writer fails to have voice in their writing. When there’s no voice, there’s also no humanity in the piece, no node for the reader to connect to, no electricity.

Peter Elbow refers to voice as juice. “’Juice’ combines the qualities of magic potion, mother’s milk, and electricity,” Elbow said.

By ‘magic potion’ he implies there is power in the words, power to change the reader’s emotions, power to produce an entire world in one’s imagination, power to turn someone’s worldview over in a pan and call it sunny side up.

In mother’s milk you receive the nutrients you need to grow. Voice is a way of using words to express how much you care about a subject, and, by extension, the reader. Words that nurture the reader, giving them all they need and more, those words have voice; you might even say your mother’s voice.

As for the electricity I have mentioned, it’s about conversation and establishing an experience. Do you know what I mean?

That, right there is a question I’ve posed to you through the written word. Your engagement level rose, perhaps you answered the question, perhaps not. If you did, that is because there is voice in my writing. Maybe you wanted me to explain more of what I meant or in your mind added to my side of the conversation.

Conversations have energy and develop experiences.

Voice, in a way, is energy. Words can touch a person, pat them on the back, tap them on the shoulder, and stroke fingers through their hair. If you type words the way you say them conversationally, that’s how to find your voice. Then you can proceed to clean up the flow, but not too much.

Elbow also disccusses the potential and often-occurring action of overcorrection. You may have voice in your writing and through editing, remove the voice. Making all the corrections you can, editing something so it reads and looks perfect, takes out the humanity of the writing, and humanity is what people connect with. Notice the spelling mistake at the beginning of this paragraph. It reminds you I am only human.

While removing all spelling errors doesn’t quite remove your voice, reworking sentences so they are completely grammatically accurate can. When you make writing flawless, the reader thinks a robot is talking to them. No one wants to be spoken to by a robot. Unless, of course, they are a robot.


Stay Positive & Everything You Do, Do With Voice