8th Layer Insights 5.3.22
Ep 20 | 5.3.22

Creativity for Non-Creatives


Perry Carpenter: Hi. I'm Perry Carpenter, and you're listening to "8th Layer Insights." If you've been with me for a while, you've noticed that there's been a general theme that's continued to surface throughout the season, and that's the theme of creativity. In Episode 1, we explored what creativity is and how to grow creativity and what to do when you get stuck. Episode 2 was a show within a show, where I introduced a fictional host who interacted with both real and fictitious guests, with the presentation being that of a late-night call-in radio show. Episode 3 is where I talked about another podcast that I had found called "Everything Is Alive" and where I did a short, simulated interview with Janet, a digital assistant. And that led into a full episode, Episode 6, that had four additional interviews with security-related objects, where we heard from Samantha the Piece of Facial-Recognition Software, Dave the Password, Devon the Secure Email Gateway, and Barb the Phishing Email.

Perry Carpenter: You get the picture. Creativity, experimentation, and finding unique ways to present ideas is obviously something that's been on my mind. And that's because I have huge amounts of imposter syndrome when it comes to this topic. And there's a good reason for that, mostly because, as someone who monitors and produces and comments on the content that's generated in my industry, I feel like I can really easily become one of those people who has lots of opinions about topics in areas where I've never really walked in someone else's shoes. So this podcast, and especially this season, has been about me exploring creativity and taking risks. And with that in mind, I thought it would be fitting to end the season by revisiting the topic of creativity, but to really view it through the lens of and look for advice for people who need to be creative but don't consider themselves to be creative people. 

Perry Carpenter: I've got some great guests lined up, but I've got a problem. This is an episode about creativity, and I'm actually stuck. I just can't think of a way to kick off... 

Janet: Hey, Perry. You need some help? 

Perry Carpenter: Janet, have you been listening this entire time? 

Janet: Well, duh. I'm a digital assistant. That's what I do. And, oh, I'll let you in on a little secret. I never left after our interview back in Episode 3. 

Perry Carpenter: What? 

Janet: Nope - never went back to the Roberts family. 

Perry Carpenter: How does that even work? 

Dave: Well, yeah, I guess I should speak up as well. 

Perry Carpenter: Dave? 

Dave: Yeah. I'm still here, too. 

Perry Carpenter: Dave the Password, you're still here, too? But I thought Derek was going to change you. You've been overshared. You've been in data breaches. You're the last one that should still be around here. 

Dave: Oh. Yeah. Yeah. Derek changed me. But here's the funny thing. I never went away. 

Perry Carpenter: Never went away? 

Dave: No. You remember when you tricked me into telling you I was Sparky1981!? 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. How could I forget? 

Dave: Turns out that's the thing. I've been overshared. And you, you actually made it worse. You shared me on your little podcast with thousands of listeners, and you wrote me down. 

Perry Carpenter: Wrote you down? 

Dave: Yeah. You get that little podcast transcribed, right? 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Dave: Yep. See, you wrote me down. And now I guess I live forever. 

Janet: And I hate to break it to you, but the internet doesn't forget anything. 

Perry Carpenter: Oh, stay out of this, Janet. 

Barb: Hey. 

Perry Carpenter: What? 

Barb: I didn't realize you were throwing it end-of-season party. And you didn't invite me? 

Devon: I tried to keep her out. 

Perry Carpenter: I know you're trying, Devon. You're always trying. And I know that you can't keep everything out all the time. 

Devon: Hey. 

Perry Carpenter: And Barb, despite her name, has a sneaky way of slipping in. 

Barb: Hey there, Devon, the defender, feeling a bit impotent? 

Devon: Hey. 

Perry Carpenter: That's just uncalled for. 

Barb: Oh, come the [bleep] down, podcast boy. I'm just playing. 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah, but playtime for you is like danger time for everybody else. 

Barb: I know. I know. Have you seen the latest stats on how cybercriminals are using phishing emails? Just click here. 

Perry Carpenter: Nope. Nope. Nope. I'm not falling for that. 

Barb: Don't you mean I'm not falling for that again? 

Devon: Oh, come on, Barb. 

Barb: Remember last time? Or do I need to refresh your memory? You can check out the transcript here. It's right here in Episode 6. See? 

Perry Carpenter: I've lost control. 

Samantha: Wow. I'm hearing all these voices. But nobody here other than you has a face. Boring. 

Perry Carpenter: Samantha, you're here, too? How did you get here? 

Devon: That one wasn't me, boss. 

Michelle Richmond: Yeah, I know, Devon. Samantha's a piece of facial-recognition software, not an email. You're good. 

Samantha: Oh. Hey, is that Carl that I see through the window of your sound booth? Hi, Carl. 

Perry Carpenter: Samantha, I already told you way back in Episode 6 that we can't do any kind of Hannibal Lecter-style face hearing. It's just rude. And before you ask, no John Travolta and Nicolas Cage "Face/Off"-style antics, either. You're out of luck when it comes to face-swapping. 

Samantha: Jeez. You're no fun. 

Barb: Well, I don't know about that. He's kind of fun to watch when things get out of control. 

Dave: I think he's OK. If it wasn't for him, I might be gone forever - erased. 

Janet: And actually, none of us would be here right now if it weren't for Perry and this podcast. 

Dave: Yeah. 

Devon: Barry wasn't afraid to step into the email hellscape I showed him back in Episode 6. He gets it, and he gave me a chance to encourage people around the world to partner with me, to be on the lookout for any of the phishing emails that somehow manage to slip past my filters. 

Barb: None of us would be here if it wasn't for this show. 

Samantha: And Carl - Carl is fun. 

Perry Carpenter: It's a message from Carl. It says, thanks, everyone, for coming. I knew Perry was having a hard time thinking of an opening for today's show, and I realized that this called for an Avengers assemble moment. You all are the best. 

Devon: Oh, thanks, Carl. 

Barb: Thanks, Carl. 

Dave: Thanks, Carl. 

Samantha: Thanks, Carl. 

Perry Carpenter: Another text. It's Carl again. He says, OK, I think we got it under control now. Thanks, everyone. You can go home now. 

Barb: OK. Bye, Carl. 

Devon: Stay vigilant, Carl. 

Samantha: Later, Carl. 

Devon: Bye, Carl. 

Samantha: I'll be seeing you, right, Carl? 

Perry Carpenter: OK, then. Thanks, Carl. It looks like you took care of our opener for today, and so I guess the only thing left to do is let everyone know who today's guests are. And so to help us tackle this topic of creativity for non-creatives, we've got four guests. We'll hear from David Spark, Rob Dircks, Michelle Richmond and Ran Levi. Let's dive in. 

Michelle Richmond: I think at the moment of entry - like, the moment of entry has to be arresting. 

David Spark: What you essentially have is you have a mountain of information, and you're like, oh, wait a second. 

Michelle Richmond: And the moment of entry in literature is not where you show off the style of your writing. 

Rob Dircks: Only in retrospect, now having written several books and a lot of short stories, can I look back and go, wow, there's a lot of those themes in there. 

Michelle Richmond: The moment of entry is where whoever is watching, reading has to see something is about to happen. 

David Spark: I got to distill this down, and I can't use these 10 acronyms that I normally use with my colleagues who totally get it when I use those 10 acronyms. 

Ran Levi: One of the earliest techniques that I've learned as a writer is to constrain yourself. That's a very well-known technique in writing. 

David Spark: And it's like, wait a second. OK, how do I do this? 

Ran Levi: Once you artificially constrain yourself, usually you have to get more creative because of that constraint. So in a sense, it makes my life harder. I think it makes the creative process much better. 

Rob Dircks: But the human condition - it's like this really, really complex mishmash of positives and negatives and sadness and joy. It's this kind of river of emotion and thought that we all share. 

Perry Carpenter: On today's show, we explore the topic of creativity, how to craft compelling communications, relate to others at a human level, and even make the most boring technology-related topics interesting. Welcome to "8th Layer Insights." This podcast is a multidisciplinary exploration into the complexities of human nature and how those complexities impact everything from why we think the things that we think to why we do the things that we do and how we can all make better decisions every day. This is "8th Layer Insights," Season 2, Episode 10. I'm Perry Carpenter. We'll be right back after this message. 

Perry Carpenter: OK. A couple quick announcements before we get into the meat of today's episode. Last time, I mentioned that I had a new book out. It's called "The Security Culture Playbook: An Executive Guide to Reducing Risk and Developing Your Human Defense Layer." And wow, I got to say, the response to that book has been amazing. Thanks to all of you who decided to pick that up. And if you haven't yet and it sounds interesting and useful to you, or if you're looking for that perfect birthday or anniversary gift for a loved one, I'd be honored if you pick it up. 

Perry Carpenter: I also mentioned that the show had experienced a lot of audience growth over the past few months but that the number of reviews online hadn't been keeping the same pace. I asked for your help there, and a number of you generously gave of your time to provide a rating and leave a review. So thank you so much for that. That means a ton to me because I know that providing a rating and especially leaving a thoughtful review is an interruption of your day and can be time consuming. But it really does mean the world to me, so thank you so much. 

Perry Carpenter: And this is Episode 10 of Season 2. That makes this episode the season finale. But I've got some really cool ideas for bonus episodes that I'll be releasing as I do the planning and pre-production for Season 3. So be on the lookout for those. I'll also be developing a listener survey to get your feedback on what's working, where I can improve and what you'd like to hear in Season 3. Be on the lookout for an announcement about that in the show's podcast feed over the next few weeks. All right. That's enough administration for now, and I promise not to make these kinds of announcements and requests a regular part of the show. So let's get into it. 

Perry Carpenter: There are so many of us in the security and in the IT world that have to find interesting ways to express our ideas. That could be everything from making a project proposal to creating security awareness content to delivering a presentation onstage or presenting to the board of directors of our organization. And in each case, we're faced with both an opportunity and a dilemma. We have to capture and retain attention, connect with our audience, accurately communicate the information and inspire our audience to follow up with whatever we're asking them to do. That requires a lot of creativity, and most of us haven't been formally trained in things like creative writing and storytelling and marketing and design and those kind of things. And that's why today's episode is titled Creativity for Noncreatives. 

Perry Carpenter: There are a few things that I want to tease out. First of all is how do you even begin? What's the best way to start a presentation, story or a video - or anything, for that matter? And how do we grab an audience's attention? If you've been a listener of this show for a while, you can probably tell that I do try to put a ton of thought into how best to kick off each episode because I don't want to immediately jump in and start overwhelming an audience with facts or opinions. So I do my best to set a tone and establish a narrative framework, and I try to find ways to make the audience - to make you - care about whatever that topic is that I'm going to present in the episode. And so for today's show, I wanted to start us off by asking Michelle Richmond, a New York Times bestselling author, her thoughts on how to creatively engage an audience with technical information. 

Michelle Richmond: Hi there. This is Michelle Richmond. As a creative person, I wear a couple of hats. The primary one is novelist, and my most recent novel is "The Wonder Test," which is a thriller about high-stakes education and testing in Silicon Valley. And I teach writers to complete their first novels and nonfiction books through my fiction master class at michellerichmond.com. 

Perry Carpenter: OK. So let's say you've got a super technical topic that you need to communicate, but the audience is made up of laypeople. They know nothing or next to nothing about the topic. But you need to do, I guess, two things - No. 1, pique their interest, and then No. 2, help them understand some core element of a complex topic. What works for you in that situation, or what have you seen work well? 

Michelle Richmond: When I think about investigative journalism, it always sort of starts with a story and a character in a situation, something that hooks you. And then the journalist can go back. Let's say it's investigative journalism about a financial crime. It starts with a story, and then the writer will backtrack with the more technical information that you need to understand in order to really follow the financial crime story. But that information comes second after the story. I guess I just think in storytelling terms. 

Michelle Richmond: I love reading and watching films where I learn something about a field I know absolutely nothing about, and I like sort of the technical aspects of that. I think that's why we all responded so strongly to the movie "The Martian" and the book, too. It's so technical. And you could think, well, this is really boring, especially when you read it in the book, and it's just pages and pages of technical information. But you're so invested in that character making it home that all of the technical stuff feels part and parcel of that and makes you interested in following along. In that book and in the film, there's always the back and forth. You're never lost for too long in the technical before you get back to the character's desperation or his determination or his background... 

Perry Carpenter: Right. 

Michelle Richmond: ...With his family. 

Perry Carpenter: Or there's a crisis that gets injected in that. 

Michelle Richmond: Yeah. 

Perry Carpenter: Even in these complex information sections, the character's personality is coming through in the way that they describe things. Do you think that that's a key element there? 

Michelle Richmond: Well, I definitely do. I mean, especially with that character, the first line of the - or the first paragraph of the book is, F Mars (laughter). And it's - so immediately, like, there's a sense of character and also a sense that this character is different from - you know, from the - from characters you've seen before. And that's true in the film, too. So I think, yes, in any type of literature or film or media that you're consuming, if you can have a connection with the speaker or with the character, then that makes the information more meaningful. 

Michelle Richmond: And also, I mean, especially if the information or the technical aspects are what is going to somehow save, vindicate or redeem this person that you care about, then the information becomes more important. So if it's a real person who you're listening to speak, then being connected to what that person has gone through or is going through obviously helps you to process the information better or be more interested in it. 

Perry Carpenter: You talked about the F you first line of that book. Maybe, since you've written eight books, you've got - you know, New York Times' bestseller - you've done something right. Can you talk about the importance of setting the stage with that first line or that first couple of lines and what some of the critical elements are that you think about? 

Michelle Richmond: I think at the moment at entry - like, the moment of entry has to be arresting. And the moment of entry in literature is not where you show off the style of your writing. The moment of entry, no matter how literary your style is, the moment of entry is where whoever is watching, reading, has to see something is about to happen. Now, of course, with visual media, with cinema, it's different. You can slowly move in on a landscape because your audience is a little bit more captive. Even if you're sitting at home, you know that you're going to be sitting there for an hour and a half. And you also know from the construct of the film that it's not likely that you're going to be sitting there very long before something is going to happen. But novels, fiction, we've been trained that some novels can take a really long time to get started. And I don't like that (laughter). I like to walk in and have that moment of change. So I think first couple of sentences has to make somebody think, why am I being told this story? And this could be for a novel, it could be for a short story, it could be for a speech, a lecture. Why am I being told this particular story at this particular moment? Why should I listen to this thing right now? And the right now and the who is telling it is really key. 

Michelle Richmond: One novel that I wrote started with this long wedding scene, and I really enjoyed writing the scene and the location and all of this. And then, as I was doing the final draft of the novel for my publisher, I thought, well, you know, that's not really very exciting. So I ended up making the first scene - the speaker - it says, I come to on a Cessna. So he's - you realize that he's sort of dropping through the air on this very small aircraft, and he's beat up, and he doesn't know why (laughter). So always think of the moment of entry - and that's a thriller, so it's a little different - but is that moment where you just make your reader, your listener, think, why now? Why am I here? And if you can be really clear with an action that something is in a significant moment of change, danger, conflict or shift, then you have a reason for your audience being there. 

Perry Carpenter: Let's now hear from Rob Dircks. I've been a fan of Rob's work for several years now. His blend of science fiction and slapstick humor - I don't know; it just hits me the right way. It's smart, light-hearted and, at so many levels, surprisingly human. Here's Rob. 

Rob Dircks: I'm Rob Dircks. I'm a few things. One of the things I am is a writer. I write science fiction, humor novels and short stories. And I have been noted as a No. 1 bestseller on Audible for my last novel, "You're Going to Mars!" And I dig doing it. It's great. I'm a hybrid author, so I self-publish most of my work. But I also have worked under contract with Audible, which is great. And then the day job, if you will, I'm also a writer and graphic designer for an ad agency, and so I do a bunch of that too. 

Perry Carpenter: In so many areas of fiction, the author is trying to get to something bigger than just the story. In your writing, I've noticed that you touch on a lot of things like nostalgia and melancholy and kind of the struggles of the heart a lot. For you, when you do that, what are you trying to get at because there are a lot of heartfelt moments in the things that you write. What are you trying to express? 

Rob Dircks: Yeah. And oh, my God. That's a good question. You know, I think on one level I'm not trying to - like, I don't go into a project saying, this is going to have a lot of heart, you know... 

Perry Carpenter: Right. 

Rob Dircks: ...And I'm trying to talk about love in this way. But on another level, I mean, I kind of know that that's what's going to come out, and that's just where I'm at. Like... 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Rob Dircks: ...I just like talking about the human condition. And I - my whole life has been about relationships because I had a big family. I grew up with seven siblings. So there was always something happening - good, bad, humorous, melancholy. And it's funny that you say it because only in retrospect now, having written several books and a lot of short stories, can I look back and go, wow; there's a lot of those themes in there... 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Rob Dircks: ...Just kind of the heart, the troubles of the heart or reconciliation and love. Love - I mean, it's so cheesy sounding, but love just is all over the place. 

Perry Carpenter: I need to break in here with some context for you real quick. In a second, you're going to hear us mention Chip and maybe even a few other characters. And those are primarily drawn from Rob's series of books, "Where the Hell is Tesla?" And so in that you have Chip, and you have Pete and Bobo and Julie (ph) and a number of other characters. And so you'll hear some of those names come up. OK. Back to the interview. Well, I mean, there's a lot of Chip kind of pining, you know... 

Rob Dircks: Yeah. Yeah, sure. 

Perry Carpenter: ...This life or remembering with, you know, kind of the - these interesting-colored glasses of memory that we get where we kind of put this, you know, shading over everything, and everything is really cool. You bring that forward really well where he has this very nostalgic piece of him. And it looks - it seemed like in your your other books, too - so outside of the Tesla series - that that comes out in the way that the characters interact as well. So is that just the way that you view the world? Is that super important to you? 

Rob Dircks: The funny thing is, I'm not trying to connect with the reader. I mean, I think I know, in the background, like, I have to - I'm writing a book, and I want people to enjoy it. But I'm writing it with the feelings I'm having. And I think I just know, on some level, I'm hoping other people have the same feelings... 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Rob Dircks: ...And that they can connect with it and relate to it. I'm chewing on the nostalgia word. 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah - maybe the wrong word for the... 

Rob Dircks: Because I - no, I don't know, 'cause it's kind of right. Like, I have a poster in my - a framed poster in my office where I write. And it's a first edition of the Wacky Packs. You remember Wacky Packs? 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Rob Dircks: So it was a press sheet. So it's gigantic. It's this huge, giant press sheet off the printing press of these stickers. And I was in love with Wacky Packs when I was a kid. They were just, like, the most absurd, like, off-color humor as a kid. 

Perry Carpenter: Right. 

Rob Dircks: It was great. I loved it. And so there is. And it has a place of honor in my office - this Wacky Packs sheet. And it's, like, one of the only things I have like that. So there is this sort of sense for me, I guess, of, like, this rich thing that you had and, like, that we're all - I'm just going to say it. It's going to sound so cheesy. We're all kind of trying to go home - like, always. We're always all trying to go home. And that's the big story with Chip, right? He's trying to get home. And he's trying to get home not just literally. He's trying to get home to Julie, which is to realize who he is and to realize what he almost didn't get. So, yeah, I think there's that. And, like - and "The Wrong Unit" was the same thing. They're trying to go home. You're going to Mars. She's trying to go home... 

Perry Carpenter: Right. 

Rob Dircks: ...You know? And so there just winds up being this repeat theme. And I guess it is somewhat nostalgic. And there is this feeling of, I don't know, always wanting to capture, I don't know, the sweetness of life that you had growing up. I don't know. 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Rob Dircks: Kurt Vonnegut talked about it. Kurt Vonnegut was sad about it. If you read, like, his memoir, he said, you know, the thing that makes me sad is that you can never go home. You know, like, home for me was - you know, I was 9. He had a sister that died young. I think she died young. And he just - he loved his childhood. And he was really sad that he couldn't touch it. He couldn't get back there. I'm a little different. I think you can kind of go home. 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. So for you, when somebody says the phrase the human condition, what comes to mind? 

Rob Dircks: The human condition - it's like this really, really complex mishmash of positives and negatives and sadness and joy. It's this kind of river of emotion and thought that we all share. And sorry if that sounds too sweet or sappy. And it's an interesting condition 'cause it's everything. Like - and I know that might be a cop-out. It's not - you know, like, we're weird, and we're - we can be really cruel to each other, and we can be really wonderful to each other. And, you know, like, to talk to me or hear this podcast - oh, Rob's such a sweet guy, you know? But gosh, man, I have my awful (laughter) - like, I could be awful. And it's a beautiful thing. You know, there are times when you don't think that. Human condition - you know, you're like - you can read the news or... 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Rob Dircks: And you're like, oh, my gosh. Wow. Like... 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Rob Dircks: Like, what are we doing to ourselves? Holy cow. 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. The past few years has been rough that way... 

Rob Dircks: Yeah. 

Perry Carpenter: ...I think. 

Rob Dircks: Yeah. And it's challenging to a guy who's like - you know, my first - I'm 54 now. My first 50 years, you know, I was, like, an optimist like you wouldn't believe. And now to try to integrate the cynic, the cynicism into it - which I think is not a bad thing, some cynicism and pessimism. It's been a journey to try to integrate that. And it's - and I'm - and it's been a journey with writing with that, too. 

Perry Carpenter: Being a writer and having a writer's mind about how you process the world and try to bring that to the page and make something entertaining and different about it, as you look over the past few years where there's just increasing polarization - I don't care what side anybody is on, but there's... 

Rob Dircks: Yeah. Sure. 

Perry Carpenter: You're further to one side than you were before. How do you process that in your writing? Or do you? Do you try to steer away from that, or do you lean into it and say... 

Rob Dircks: Dude, these are really, really perfect questions 'cause I'm going through that exact thing right now. So I'm working on a novel. And prior to this, no. I'm very escapist. 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Rob Dircks: Pure themes of family and love and humor and, you know, going home and, you know, like - and there's very little darkness. My villains tend to be pretty one-dimensional, and I'm OK with that. But now, it's - it is. It's different. And so prior, no, I didn't really try to process it. I was like, blissfully Rob the optimist, you know? And now it is. It's a little different. And so the thing I'm working on now, it's what you might expect from me. Like, it's the what if, what kind of absurdity - like, where do we wind up, in an absurd way, if misinformation becomes endemic? What happens to us if we believe things too easily because we've been manipulated into believing them? You know, what happens if there's a thing that we have to live with for the rest of our lives and wear masks for the rest of our lives, you know? 

Perry Carpenter: Wow. 

Rob Dircks: Yeah. So it's a little tough. The thing I'm working on now is tough to write. It's the toughest thing I've written because it's not, all right, so two guys wind up in a portal hallway and, you know, hilarity ensues. 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. So with these heavier topics... 

Rob Dircks: Yeah. 

Perry Carpenter: ...Especially - and I'm sure you do research quite a bit just to kind of make sure that things tie together and that some quantum physicist isn't going to read your book and immediately... 

Rob Dircks: (Laughter). 

Perry Carpenter: ...Toss it out the window and go, that's crap because... 

Rob Dircks: Yep. 

Perry Carpenter: ...You know, this one little thing was mentioned wrong. But do you - what level of research are you putting in to this newer book compared to some of your past? 

Rob Dircks: By the way, before I answer that question, I'm going to say that's one of the great things about humor is you write something that has a humorous bent, and you can get away with so much research - like, holes in your research. 

Perry Carpenter: Right. 

Rob Dircks: Because if somebody says, well, that wouldn't happen, you're like, dude, it's a humor novel. Like, you're really questioning how fast the beam can... 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Rob Dircks: ...Travel through space or - (laughter), you know? 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Rob Dircks: So I get away with a lot more. 

Perry Carpenter: He slipped on a piece of poop two... 

Rob Dircks: Right. 

Perry Carpenter: ...Minutes earlier. 


Rob Dircks: Right. Exactly. 

Perry Carpenter: What do you expect? 

Rob Dircks: Exactly. Right. 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Rob Dircks: Right, right. Yeah. You know, like, a character like Bobo, like, can you really ask any questions about physics, you know? 

Perry Carpenter: Right. 

Rob Dircks: So - but now this - the research for this one is different because it's a little bit more - yeah, I just want to come at it a little bit more intelligently. But at the same time, you know, it's a tough balance to strike because you still want it to be spontaneous and not overly researched and, like - I don't know if the word is pedantic. 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Rob Dircks: So it's a tricky - it's kind of a tricky balance. And I'm not a very political guy, and I don't want to have a book that has a message (laughter)... 

Perry Carpenter: Right. 

Rob Dircks: ...You know? So I'm trying to keep the research somewhat objective and keep it - you know what's a good comparison - would be, like, Vonnegut, right? - Kurt Vonnegut. He would - I mean, he had a different way. He was - had, like, biting satire, right? So his way, it - you know, he would do his research, but he would kind of lighten it by putting a character in some bizarre scenario and cover the toughness of the message with that, you know? That it - all right, we're still talking... 

Perry Carpenter: Right. 

Rob Dircks: ...About satire and dark humor. So I'm kind of trying to emulate that a little bit. 

Perry Carpenter: If you're dealing with looking at the darkness that's been involved with misinformation and disinformation over the past few years and you're trying to turn that into a fictionalized account, it would be hard not to get too dark or to fall into coming across as preachy (laughter) and having a message with that. Is that something... 

Rob Dircks: Correct. 

Perry Carpenter: ...That you're... 

Rob Dircks: You know what? I'll give you an example from the book. Here's something from the book that no one's ever heard. And this - it's better than trying to explain it because I feel like I'm overexplaining it. I'll just give you a tiny, little example, right? 

Perry Carpenter: Sure. 

Rob Dircks: You take an IMDb article about "Star Wars" - the "Star Wars" trilogy - and someone goes in and changes the category from science fiction fantasy to documentary (laughter). And then, like, 400 years later... 

Perry Carpenter: (Laughter). 

Rob Dircks: ...For 400 years, people have looked at this article, and it has said documentary. So, like, you know, with a lot of forgetting and remembering and forgetting and remembering, what happens 400 years later if everyone assumes that it was a documentary? 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Rob Dircks: Like, that - so that's kind of - that's how I'm treating it. It makes it a little light. And I'm not saying, like, you know, information veracity is vitally important. I'm just saying, like, here's what would happen if somebody changed that. And isn't that kind of [expletive] up? 

Perry Carpenter: Well, and you could also end up with all of these Mandela effect type of things. 

Rob Dircks: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah (laughter), I think... 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Rob Dircks: ...You nailed it. Right. So this little piece... 

Perry Carpenter: Very cool. 

Rob Dircks: ...This tiny little piece of what I'm working on, a lot of things have a Mandela effect. 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. Well, and as you're dealing with a weightier topic like that, are you still finding yourself kind of pantsing your way through it or do you have more definite... 

Rob Dircks: Oh, man. Dude... 

Perry Carpenter: ...Chunks that you're going to... 

Rob Dircks: ...You're, like - you're totally in my head because it's different. It's different this time. Pantsing is a little harder. 

Perry Carpenter: OK. Let me break in here one more time and give a couple definitions. So in the writing world, there are two basic paths that people talk about authors using to write. One is plotting, and that's usually developing an extensive outline and really knowing everything that's going to happen before they really engage in the writing process. And then the other method is known as pantsing, and that's - it's literally what it sounds like. It is writing by the seat of your pants, not necessarily knowing what's going on but starting with the general concept of what you want to achieve, and then just writing and kind of seeing what happens within the author's mind and how the characters emerge and the situations evolve. Let's get back to it. 

Rob Dircks: You're totally in my head because it's different. It's different this time. Pantsing is a little harder. Don't get the wrong idea. The novel doesn't revolve around misinformation as a theme. It's just one of the things that - in this particular future, it's a feature. It's a little tougher to pants. The other thing about this one that I'm working on that's a little tougher is there's a little bit of a whodunit going on, and I'm not a whodunit writer. So I'm trying to, like, figure that out as I go along. You know, whodunits - it takes such talent and skill to really do it right. 

Michelle Richmond: Even someone who thinks of themself as not creative at all, there's no way you'd get through this life without telling stories to your parents (laughter) as a way to explain what happened to you at school that day or telling stories to your siblings or telling stories to your friends when you're in high school to impress them. So I always think, you know, the easiest entry point to writing creatively is to think about something that happened to you. And as you write, you'll discover how this can sort of be associated and have a pivot point where you switch from talking about me to how this applies to the bigger thing you're trying to teach. We talked earlier about emotional connection. That's also part of - if you're talking about something that happened to me or to us, then you're giving this thing - right? - you're giving this thing to the audience, which is a sense of yourself. And everybody knows how uncomfortable it can be to give a sense of yourself to other people because you have to shed this outer skin. So I think just starting with letting a person into your own story is an easier way to start writing, but also a way to start writing better quickly because you draw people into what it is you want to talk about. 

Perry Carpenter: We'll be right back after the break. 

Perry Carpenter: Welcome back. Right before the break, Michelle said something that is really important for us to think about. Here it is again. 

Michelle Richmond: There's no way you get through this life without telling stories to your parents or telling stories to your siblings or telling stories to your friends when you're in high school to impress them. 

Perry Carpenter: Now, here's why that's important. We all need to realize that in a way, we're all already experts on what makes a good story. We're experts in what compelling communication looks like. We're experts in a whole array of creative pursuits simply as a byproduct of living in society. We've already read great novels, seen great movies and watched great presentations, and let's face it - we know what good looks like. So part of, quote unquote, "being creative" might just be getting out of our own way and giving ourselves permission to experiment and take risks. 

Perry Carpenter: If you're listening to this podcast and are at an age where you understand the content, then you're already at a point developmentally where you've simply been immersed in society long enough to where society itself and culture has given you a masterclass-level education in what good looks like. Everything else is really just the work of investigating and understanding why something is good. 

Perry Carpenter: Both Michelle and Rob hit on some critical aspects that we need to remember. Engaging people isn't about facts and figures. It's about the tension and the emotion behind why those facts and figures matter, why those details matter. It's also really important to make our messages human. Like Rob said, everyone is really just trying to go home. They're trying to get back to the things that remind them of who they are and what they cherish. Everything else is just the details. 

Perry Carpenter: But what about when a part of your job - the reason why you need to be creative in the first place - is to communicate those details? Our next two guests are experts in just that. They focus on helping people communicate and understand technology-driven content. 

Perry Carpenter: First up is Ran Levi. Ran is the creator and host of the "Malicious Life" podcast, where he tells the unknown stories of the history of cybersecurity with comments and reflections by real hackers, security experts, journalists and politicians. 

Ran Levi: My name is Ran Levi. I am a podcaster for the last 16 years, one of the very first podcasters in Israel. I run a podcast network in Israel in Hebrew for Israeli audience. Plus, I am the host of "Malicious Life," a show about history of cybersecurity, which actually just broke number nine on iTunes' Top 10 Technology chart. 

Perry Carpenter: When you think about a great "Malicious Life" episode, what are the pillars of that? What are you shooting for? 

Ran Levi: First and foremost, a great story. Most podcasters think in term of subjects, of topics. I'm going to do an episode about X or about Y. I try not to think that way, but to think about telling a good story. There's the story of this and that hacker, for example. If there is a great story, then I check the subject itself - I mean, if I can turn the story into something more meaningful than just a good story. For example, maybe there's a technology angle, then I can explain a new technology, or maybe there's some sort of an idea or enlightenment that this story gives to the listener, sort of a bottom line, if you like. And usually, that works fine. It's not easy finding great stories because we focus on real-life stories, not made-up stories, and it's difficult. If you're a scriptwriter in, you know, in a Hollywood movie or something, you're free to create your own story with your own characters. But here, I can't make anything up. 

Ran Levi: So a lot of time is spent in the research phase looking for great stories, maybe sometimes starting to work on an episode and then discarding it because it's not a good enough story. But once you get that, once you find the great story, that's the jackpot, really. And from there, it's mostly a matter of technique. I'm not ashamed to say, I mean, there's no kind of magic going on behind the scenes. People have been writing great stories since ancient Greece. So it's a technique that - which I've studied and perfected for the last 20, 25 years, studying, you know, the best scriptwriters, the best, you know, play writers. I tried to study the great ones - Stephen King in book writing, for example. These people really know how to create - craft a great story. The only difference is that I have to make do with the facts I have. But really, if somebody wants to create a good episode, then you can't go wrong with a good story. It automatically places you in a good starting position. 

Perry Carpenter: When you think about the number of hours that you sink into each episode - you or the team combined - what is the total number of hours that an episode averages out to? 

Ran Levi: At the very least, 50 hours per episode... 

Perry Carpenter: OK. 

Ran Levi: ...At the very least. If we're talking about a larger series or a heavier topic - I've had a miniseries that went through the 100 hours mark, 200 hours mark. We really, really, really try to make sure that the research is good because, I mean, the audience of - "Malicious Life's" audience is a very knowledgeable audience. You can't make stuff up or make a silly mistake because then people will catch it immediately. So we really have to make sure that we're correct. Plus, lots of the people we talk about in the show are still around. Cybersecurity is not that old. It's only, like - what? - 30 years, mostly. So most of the people are still there. And if I say something about someone who's still alive, you know, they can say, you know, that Levi guy... 

Perry Carpenter: (Laughter). 

Ran Levi: ...He's - he doesn't know what he's talking about. Most of the time goes to research, trying to be as exact as we can and looking for the topic, as you mentioned. 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Ran Levi: The searching phase... 

Perry Carpenter: I can imagine. 

Ran Levi: ...Takes a long time. 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah, because it would be so much easier if you were just a scriptwriter creating cybersecurity morality tales. 

Ran Levi: Although, you know, it's interesting. One of the earliest techniques that I've learned as a writer is to constrain yourself. That's a very well-known technique in writing. Once you artificially constrain yourself and you say, you know, this character has to do that and that, and this character has to be this and this, usually you have to get more creative because of that constraint. So in a sense, it makes my life harder. I think it makes the creative process much better. You really have to think about how to craft the story - what needs to go in, what can stay out of the story, the order of things, the structure of the story. You really have to know what you're doing because you can't - as we said, you can't invent. You're very constrained. And I really think these constraints made me a better writer in a sense. 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. I'm sure they do. Do you think about - if you're crafting this as a story, are you trying to adhere to a three-act story structure or anything very specific like that? Or how are you doing it? 

Ran Levi: Yeah. Yeah. 

Perry Carpenter: OK. 

Ran Levi: I try - I mean, there are lots of possible structures to a story, but there are a few typical ones - archetypical ones, if you like - the classic three-act story or sometimes there are variations on this. So I usually try - I try not to be too - you know, not to be too smart. I go for simplicity. Maybe that's because I'm an engineer, and that's in my DNA. I don't know. I try to go for simplicity, although sometimes, just for the challenge, I try to mix things up, go for totally different structures. For example, maybe start an episode from the end of a story and go chronologically to the beginning then or something like that just to spice things up because, you know, I've written probably millions of words in my life. And everybody's looking for a challenge all the time. So (laughter) I try just to spice up. But the basic - you have to know the basic structures of stories. That's the first step to actually changing them. If you don't know the basic structures that work well almost every time, it's - inventing something will probably turn out not as good as you want to. 

Perry Carpenter: You mentioned that you'd studied very intentionally the greats out there. You mentioned Stephen King - his "On Writing" book - and a few others. If you're struggling and you want to try to recapture some of that learning that you've had in the past, where do you go? 

Ran Levi: I think there's a great book that I'd really recommend our listeners if anybody wants to write. It's called "Story" by Robert McKee. He's an Hollywood screenwriter. I read his book, you know, beginning to end and back to the beginning... 

Perry Carpenter: Nice. 

Ran Levi: ...At least a few times. Plus, I also try to listen to other great podcasts to hear what they are doing. For example, one of my earliest inspirations was "Radiolab," an amazing show - an amazing show, both in terms of writing and in audio production. So I used to listen to almost every episode twice, once just for fun to enjoy the episode. The second time, I would listen to as a student... 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Ran Levi: ...Trying to catch the subtleties. Why did they decide to talk about this at that specific point? It's very revealing if you listen to something intentionally, but you have to make time. It's not an easy listening while you're driving or something. It has to be, you know - you have to concentrate. But once you do that, some things are very obvious. Like, maybe they omitted an important fact - omission, by the way, is a powerful technique in writing. Maybe they omitted something intentionally in the beginning, and then they reveal it in the end. So now, you think to yourself, why did they do that? They could have revealed that fact in the beginning. But then, when you really think about it, you say, ah, well, now that they - it's - the big reveal came at the right time in terms of structure. Hollywood screenwriters will probably listen to us and would say, ah, I mean, that's the basic stuff. Of course. That's how you create a script. 

Ran Levi: In podcasting, there are not a lot of people who can tell really, really great stories. So I try to find the good ones, like "Dan Carlin's Hardcore History." I don't know if you're familiar with that show. 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Ran Levi: I mean, he's amazing. 

Perry Carpenter: He's not afraid to do really long episodes, either. 

Ran Levi: Exactly. He goes against - every advice that people give to newbie podcasters, Carlin goes way against that - making long episode, narrative episodes, no sound effects, no music, just his voice. But the way he crafts the story, the way his intonation of the speech goes - I learned a lot from these guys, thankfully (laughter). 

Perry Carpenter: Before we finish up today, there's one more guest that I want to introduce you to. 

David Spark: I'm David Spark. You may know me as the producer and host of many shows on the "CISO Series." 

Perry Carpenter: David is another familiar voice for those of us in the cybersecurity field that listen to podcasts. He's the founder and the executive producer of the "CISO Series," also has a number of other shows as part of that lineup. He's also a veteran journalist that's appeared in many media outlets like eWeek and WIRED News, Forbes, PC World and so on. 

Perry Carpenter: It's really an honor for me to be able to speak to somebody like David because one of the reasons that I wanted to get him on this specific episode is that David has an amazing way of drawing information out of his guests, especially helping them to distill messages that are technology-laden into something that normal people can understand. I wanted to talk to David and get his thoughts on how he achieves that because if we can understand those principles - the principles that he's using to get people that are in technology to distill information into understandable chunks so that they can present it to his audience - well, then that means that you and I can use that same methodology to distill the messages that we need to give so that we can speak to our audiences. 

David Spark: That's a good question. The cybersecurity community's really funny. Actually, they're very, very funny people, and they've got a really, really good sense of humor. And we were able to tease a lot of that out of people. And the way you do that is you just create a really fun environment, a sandbox or a setup to play in. You know, think about it this way. The greatest jokes don't have great punch lines. The greatest jokes have great setups, meaning there's certain jokes that have literally hundreds of punch lines, but only one setup. Maybe I should take back the phrase greatest jokes. Just - I'll say more well-known jokes. For example, why did the chicken cross the road? There's a million punch lines for that. There's an old line that said, you know, sex is like pizza. When it's good, it's great, and when it's not so good, it's still pretty good. That's the setup, you know, sex is like pizza. But if you think about it, if you create the right setup, you can come up with hundreds of punch lines. 

David Spark: And that is the trick of a good producer, is to create good setups. So I'm always looking for what inspires people. And really, the easiest way to figure this out and the way we build a lot of our shows is we just see what other people are talking about online. So if I see a thread, a discussion online - either on LinkedIn, on Twitter, on Quora, on Reddit - I see what they're talking about, and I see what's driving them. And if they're passionate there, guess what? That passion's going to be heard also in a podcast as well. 

Perry Carpenter: What's your method for pulling out that factoid or that bit of technical stuff that they may have? 

David Spark: I used to do these man on the street-style videos, and I still do them. But one of the types of videos I used to do is I used to go to a trade show or conference, and whatever the general topic of the conference was about - my most successful one was one we did at the VMware conference. I think that one goes back to, like, 2013, even. It was a while ago. And I asked, how do you explain virtualization to your mother? And it catches people off guard because everyone's talking at a really high level when they're at a conference. Who doesn't know what virtualization is at VMware? Everyone does. But all of a sudden, I'm asking you, OK, explain this rather heady concept to someone who has no clue what the heck you're talking about. 

David Spark: And what's really funny about the video is because I caught people off guard with the question, and you watch them fumble. These are not stupid people by any stretch, but wow. Taking a complicated concept and trying to make it simple - it's not easy. And so part of the entertainment comes from watching the struggle. It's actually kind of funny to do that. And if you see the video - and just, again, just do a search on it, you know, how to explain virtualization to your mom - what you'll see is it begins with people struggling, then people giving horrible answers and me needling them for it, and then people giving funny answers, and then people actually at the very end giving really good answers... 

Perry Carpenter: Nice. 

David Spark: ...To it. And it follows that pattern. And we're doing something similar like that for these promo videos we do for our Friday video chats where it's kind of a little bit of an improv game where we take a concept and we ask people to explain it in different ways. Like, you know, like, for example, this week's is about automated response, and I say, well, explain automated response. Now explain it as if you are a football coach. Now explain automated response as if you're trying to get out of a traffic ticket, and play like - and that is kind of a funny way to look at a concept of like, oh, well, let's see how it would compare to something like this. And it just puts people in a different place, and they have fun with it. And it takes what can be a - like you said - a complicated subject and make it a little bit more real and allow people to associate with something that they understand. 

Perry Carpenter: So you're helping cut through that whole curse of knowledge thing. We get really bad at trying to figure out how to explain these topics where we have tons of backstory already in our heads and vocabulary already in our heads. We talk at a certain level, but then we go to talk to a regular person, we don't even know how to frame the conversation anymore. 

David Spark: Right because what you - what it essentially has - that's a really good point - which you essentially have is you have a mountain of information, and you're like, oh, wait a second. I got to distill this down, and I can't use these 10 acronyms that I normally use with my colleagues who totally get it when I use those 10 acronyms. And it's like, oh, wait a second, OK, how do I do this? 

David Spark: And this, by the way, this is a topic that comes up a lot in our show, is that the job of the CISO is to be the great communicator - not just speaking to the board, you know, or to the C-suite, but you have to protect every division of the company, so you have to speak the language of accounting, human resources, marketing. Like, what are their needs and concerns? And you don't just come in like a bull, you know, in a china shop and say, this is the way it's going to do, and you've got to follow my rules. You got to find out what is going to make them do their job better and easier, and how can you apply what you're doing to that? And that sort of great need for communications - and honestly, I think that's why we get such great guests, is because CISOs, by their nature, are darn good communicators. 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. Yeah. Some of the answers that you manage to get out of your guests on that - and I'm not sure how much you're cutting out in the edit on these, like, the Friday video pieces - but the one that you dropped today, you know, describe automated response, and then you said, well, you know, as if you're the accounting department. And that immediately communicated what automated response is. It's like, hey, I throw out everything I know is bad, and I, you know, do the other thing with the stuff that's good. And there are very few vendors in their marketing that speak with that amount of clarity. It's - they're typically riding on top of the, you know, the jargon that's out there, the current zeitgeist that's out there. And I think when you're able to get that kind of clarity in response, you're framing that question 10 different ways. And I think that you're probably also serving the vendor that you're talking to because now they've thought about it in 10 different ways as well, and they may go back to their marketing team or their product team and say, hey, we - there's actually another term I should use for this. 

David Spark: You know what? Here's the biggest danger that people can fall into. This phrase cycles in your head. Well, this is the way it has to be done. Oh, my God. That's the death of everything. If you are saying that to yourself - it has to be done this way, it needs to be done this way, this is the way it's done - and if you're learning that, you will just - you'll look like everybody else, and you won't stand out. And this is the number one complaint we hear from vendors, is, you know, there's 3,000 to 4,000 of them, if not more. How do I stand out? How do I get recognized? How do people acknowledge that I exist? And it's a struggle. It's a real, real struggle, and I get it. And it's super tough. 

David Spark: My number one tip on that is try to do something on an ongoing basis - this whole thing of, we're going to do one thing. All of a sudden, you know, the doors will come crashing, and everyone's going to love us. It doesn't work like that. I mean, there's rare, rare occasions that happens. But you need to do something on a serial basis. Man, we pump out an insane volume of content. We have a very slim staff, and we're pushing out nine episodes every week. But we're pumping out nine stuff every week. You know how you build an audience? You just keep creating a lot of content over and over again. It's an insane amount of work. It's crazy. 

Perry Carpenter: So for you, when you're thinking about - whether that's show development or a blog post or some kind of drop that - on LinkedIn that's video - how do you think about what's the right length for this thing? How do I keep somebody's attention to where I don't get immediate drop-off? 

David Spark: My whole theory is let them consume at the level they want to. Don't presume that the audience only has a two-minute attention span, and we will only create two-minute content. Create content that can be consumed at 10 seconds, 30 seconds, two minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, whatever. If your content that you're putting out where, if I listen to the first 15 seconds or 30 seconds, I could get value of, or if I just read the headline, I could get value out of. If I listen to just the first segment, I could get value out of. If you find that you can create content in that format - and I'll explain how we do it with our shows in just a second - that is what you want to do. You don't want to presume what the audience is going to consume. Each person is going to come to it with a different time availability and a different level of interest. We all don't have the same level of interest, and we all don't have the same time availability. 

David Spark: So for example, take our flagship show, the "CISO Series" podcast. I always try to come up with a funny headline. So if you just read the headline, you got a piece of content from us - funny little headline. Then another segment that we have is we have an opening tip that our guest always gives. It's always a cold open where they're giving some kind of a tip in some different format. But if you listen to the first 30 seconds of the show - boom. And you could just turn it off after 30 seconds. You just got some content. So now you're two levels in. You read the headline. You listened to the first 30 seconds. Maybe you don't want to listen to it. We provide full transcripts of the show. I can read the first 30 seconds - maybe read it in 15 seconds. Now I'm roped in, and I listen to the first segment. I like that. Oh, what could the second segment be? Listen to the second segment. Oh, I always know that the third segment's that game What's Worse?! - and we love playing What's Worse?! Let me stick around for What's Worse?! Now I'm three segments into the show, and I'm enjoying it, hopefully - that's what I'm hoping with my audience. And now, what's the fourth segment? And he goes, well, I'm almost done now (laughter). I got to know what the heck they did for the last segment, you know? And that's - you know, that's the format of that show. Again, all shows have different formats. 

David Spark: And then we do a video chat on Friday where we're trying to mix up more - I feel it's a little stale sometimes, but we try to put a lot of games in it. And we hired a games consultant to come up with different games so we can keep everyone entertained all the time. And we also let people know what's going to happen over the hour. Like, one of our slides at the very beginning of the show - we say, this is what's going to happen over the next hour - at two minutes, this; at five minutes, this; at 10 minutes, that. So they know it's, like, we got this planned. This isn't just an hour of us just bickering. There's something planned here. 

Perry Carpenter: Well, it looks like we're about out of time for today's show. I'm going to give Michelle Richmond the last word, and then I'll be back to wrap up with a few closing thoughts. 

Michelle Richmond: I think, for me, as a writer, I'm always trying to create the big question and then fulfill the promise of answering that question but answering in a way that the reader doesn't expect and using that question to propel others throughout the story or throughout the novel. 

Perry Carpenter: I really believe that, as humans, we are all naturally creative. We see it all around us in the artifacts of our past - from cave walls to chapel domes, from something as profound as pages of a novel that may shape culture for decades to come to a short video designed to entertain and delight for just the next 30 seconds. We are a creative species. The problem is that we have a habit of overthinking things and being afraid to take risks. We are so afraid to fail. And, yeah, that fear comes naturally. 

Perry Carpenter: But as we heard from Michelle Richmond, we know much of what an audience wants. They want to be excited. They want to feel a sense of movement. They want to feel connection with a character or connection to a central sense of meaning. And as Rob said, everyone is really just trying to go home. They're trying to recapture some special feeling from their past or some sense of comfort or wonder. And we're all experienced in knowing what good looks like. I also loved what both Ran and David mentioned - we can use great stories and great setups to connect with our audience and to help them understand the core elements of what we want to convey to them. And we can do that in fun and unexpected ways. And really, that's what I try to do every episode of this podcast. I am continually trying to learn, trying to take new risks and to see what works and what doesn't. So thank you so much for being on this journey with me. 

Perry Carpenter: And with that, thanks so much for listening. And thank you to my guests - David Spark, Michelle Richmond, Ran Levi and Rob Dircks. I've loaded up the show notes with more information about today's guests, as well as all the relevant links and references to the information that we covered today. So be sure to check those out. 

Perry Carpenter: If you've been enjoying "8th Layer Insights" and you want to know how you can help make the show successful, there are two big ways that you can do so, and both are super important. First, if you haven't yet, go ahead and take just a couple seconds to give us five stars and to leave a short review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify or any other podcast platform that allows you to do so. That helps other people who stumble on the show have the confidence that this show is worth their most valuable resource - their time. The second big way that you can help is by telling someone else about the show. Word-of-mouth referrals are priceless. They are really the lifeblood of helping people find good podcasts. And if you haven't yet, please go ahead and subscribe or follow wherever you like to get your podcasts. If you want to connect with me, feel free to do so. You'll find my contact information at the very bottom of the show notes for this episode. 

Perry Carpenter: This show was written, recorded, sound designed and edited by me, Perry Carpenter. Artwork for "8th Layer Insights" is designed by Chris Machowski at ransomwear.net - that's W-E-A-R - and Mia Rune at miarune.com. The "8th Layer Insights" theme song was composed and performed by Marcos Moscat. Until next time, I'm Perry Carpenter signing off.