Picking A Fight You Can Win: How The President Of K-Swiss Built a Brand That Can Compete With Nike & Adidas

On this episode of the Marketing Swipe File, DG sits down with Barney Waters, President of K-Swiss. They discuss the overlap between B2B and B2C marketing. (Is there still a difference?) Plus the key to understanding people, what makes for great writing, Barney’s favorite books and how he resurrected the K-Swiss brand to compete with the likes of Nike and Adidas.

Books recommended in this episode:

  • Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity
  • Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
  • The ONE Thing
  • The Power of Now

Get the Swipe File on Apple PodcastsSoundCloudSpotifyStitcherGoogle Play Music or wherever you get your podcasts. Or listen to the full audio version ?

Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the pod with your friends! You can connect with Dave Gerhardt and Barney Waters on Twitter @davegerhardt @barneywaters.

Subscribe & Tune In

Apple Podcasts Spotify SoundCloud

Full Transcript

Dave Gerhardt: Hey. What’s up everybody? Thanks for listening to another episode of The Swipe File. Barney, what do you think of the name, The Swipe File, by the way? Do you like that name?
Barney: Yeah. I’m down with it. You’ve given me no time to really think of a snappy answer, so I’m just going to agree with you and nod.

All right, so The Swipe File, okay. Thanks for coming back for another episode of The Swipe File. I’m super excited today because I have one of my … It’s crazy how the internet and marketing works, because this guy has become one of my favorite people, so much so that I have asked him to be a mentor and then just keep dropping the ball on a bunch of other stuff, and he’s busy and I’m busy, but it’s okay. I figured that one way we could do it was through the show. He spoke at HYPERGROWTH last yeah, we actually just published his talk on Drift Insider earlier this week. I don’t know when this episode’s going to go out.

Barney Waters is, I think, one of the greatest brand marketers out there. The cool part is here at Drift and Seeking Wisdom and The Swipe File, we’re in B2B. We do B2B sales and marketing technology. My whole thing with this podcast is we want to bring you the best marketers in the world, and Barney has nothing to do with sales and marketing technology. He runs marketing today at K-Swiss, and we’ll dig into his background and everything. Barney, I’m going to shut up. Thanks for coming on, man, I appreciate it.

Barney Waters: Yeah no, thank you so much for having me. You know, I have been a fan of Drift through the podcasts. Again, you know, B2B software, it makes me want to fall asleep at the wheel, being in the sneaker business, so I love the podcasts and I learned a ton from you two. You guys inspired me, and I was reading the books that you guys talked about, and all sorts of things. That’s how this sort of relationship develops, so I end up getting as much from you guys as you mentioned you were getting from me.

DG: I think like, to me, that lesson, like and I’ve already told … It’s humbling to hear you say that because it’s amazing, but like, the change for me has been like, I think you can find marketing inspiration everywhere. I think the biggest mistake that I see a lot of marketers make is, “Oh, I am this type of marketer, therefore I’m only going to look,” where like, my favorite thing is following you and, actually, a couple people on your team on Instagram and seeing like, “Oh, man. They did an exclusive release with this person,” like what would be the equivalent of that for us, and try to take that into the B2B world, which is so much fun.

Barney: You know why? Because the triggers and people’s buying motivations and things of that nature, it’s all the same stuff. You know, and you mentioned earlier about, you know, “Hey, B2B software,” I used to be in the software business. I worked for Lotus in Boston, in Cambridge, right there by the Cambridge Site Galleria, so I was in software marketing. That’s what I moved to America to do, so I was in the software business, so I learned a ton through Lotus. A lot of what I learned was about understanding job functions and the function or the role of the person you’re marketing to, and to custom fit your value proposition based on who you’re talking to. In other words, one size doesn’t always fit all.

All of those lessons I learned in the software business from really great people I work with apply exactly to sneakers. People often ask me, “How did you go from software to sneakers?” Well, the reason I was able to do it is because the skillset is the same and the principles are the same, you know, it’s not a whole different set of skills you need to have. You need to flip your head in terms of the industry, but the underpinnings of the approach can be the same.

DG: This always happens to me, there’s 100 things I want to unpack from that, but like what you said was actually a lesson that I learned really when I started at Drift. I don’t know if I shared this with you, but I’ll share it for the show, which is, when I had joined Drift, I was hired as the first full time marketing person. I think I was, I don’t know, that was three, four, years ago, and 28 years old, where I thought I knew a bunch of stuff, right? And specifically like me, I had only worked in SAAS, in technology, and so I was following all these VC blogs and reading about SAAS metrics and LTV to CAC and all this other stuff.

I thought that that’s what I needed to learn if I wanted to be good at marketing, and then I got connected with David, DC, our CEO and my boss here at Drift. Literally the first week on the job, he was like, “I want you to forget everything you know about marketing,” because he saw an opportunity to basically like kind of rewire my brain. He’s like, “I don’t care if you ever get good at math, at LTV to CAC, at all the SAAS stuff, I want you to focus on understanding people. Because if you can understand what motivates and moves people, you will be able to do anything in your career.”

I’ve always considered myself a writer, words have always been my thing, like you know, people in my family have asked me to be the one that sends the email or whatever, but I never gave that credit in marketing. Like I always was just like, “Oh, it’s just words, somebody else can do words,” but now I’ve realized that words are everything. What I learned through David is he put me on all these classic copywriting and direct response marketers, like David Ogilvy, [Gary Halberg 00:04:57], Claude Hopkins, Eugene Schwartz, more of that Robert Collier letter book, like there’s more books than I can mention.

That was so eye-opening for me, because a similar, that lesson that you just mentioned, what I had learned was … The book that really did it for me was, because the book was written in 1924, it was called “Scientific Advertising” by Claude Hopkins. The book was written in 1924, and this guy wrote a book almost 100 years ago, and every line in that book you could apply to marketing today.

Barney: Right, yeah, amazing.

DG: That was the thing for me that changed, like it really is just about understanding people.

Barney: Well, yeah, and when you talk about software, and you know, from my experience in the software industry, it’s quite often, and this was the old days, but the technologists ran those companies. They had the power with the programmers and whoever was the most techy, and they had no respect for the marketers. When you sell software solutions, in the old days you would sell it to the CIO, so you would need to talk to features and functions, but more and more you’re actually a person who’s driving the need is a head of marketing or head of sales. If you can’t speak in that language, you’re going to miss out.

If you go and talk features and functions to them, you’re going to go right over their heads. You absolutely need the marketers to bridge that gap.

DG: Take me like inside of your world. Well first, you went from Lotus … Did you join Puma right after Lotus?

Barney: Yeah, I went to Puma in Boston, yeah.

DG: Sorry, I have so many questions that I want to ask you there. Number one is, how did you go from Lotus to Puma? Did you know you wanted to get out of tech, or were you sitting there one day and you’re like, “I love sneakers, I want to go do this”?

Barney: No, I’d always been into youth culture and all the fun stuff, but I’d fallen into Lotus in the UK and it was an amazing company, still probably one of my best work experiences, and I moved over to headquarters in Cambridge. Then we got bought by IBM, by the way, so working for IBM is like working for the government, and it’s like just [crosstalk 00:06:42]-

DG: I’ve heard that.

Barney: This was a cool yarn company, successful, and IBM was the government, so it kind of killed all the culture and the vibes. I knew some people who worked at Puma, and it was just a dream of mine, but visa-wise, because I was English, I was sponsored by IBM, so I couldn’t work anywhere else. Until I got my green card, I became a free agent, and that’s how I managed to get to Puma. Now, when I interviewed at Puma, the people I know got my foot in the door, when I interviewed I was almost saying, “Look, don’t look at the IBM stuff because that’s not really who I am, I’m really this cool guy who likes sneakers.” They’re like, “No no, we like you because of that stuff, because we’ve got lots of people who love sneakers, but we need some people who know how to grow brands and do it the right way.”

DG: It’s like all the things you thought made you uncool at one company made you the cool guy at the other company.

Barney: Exactly. They’re like, “No, we want some people with some form of …” You know, I said … You know, because I’d been to IBM management training in [Armonk 00:07:38], New York, you know I’d been on the IBM campus and done the management training, and they loved that. Puma was like, “We need some of that, because right now we’re growing like wildfire and we need to put some formality behind the things we’re doing.” It was really just a unique time for me to be able to kind of apply that and switch industries, and you know looking back, it’s just, I was so lucky.

There was a guy called Tony Batone who was the CMO of Puma at the time, and I think he was 30 years old. He was just this sort of genius creative, and he’s really the one that kind of championed me to get my foot in the door, and I’ll always appreciate him giving me that opportunity.

DG: This is such a funny question to ask you. Can you tell me about, what is marketing at Puma, at K-Swiss? I want to get into later some of the amazing stuff you’ve done at K-Swiss, but like in my world today, it’s website traffic, it’s leads, it’s meetings, it’s pipeline, it’s close one, right? It’s like even though we do all this brand stuff, ultimately like what we’re looking at is, like the senior leadership team is looking at how many leads and revenue is marketing generating, [crosstalk 00:08:42] sales reps, how do we feed them?

Barney: I lived that same world. In my Lotus marketing days, it was all about lead generation through seminars and events, and it was like keeping the pipeline filled for the sales agents, absolutely, that was the world I lived in. When I went to Puma, as the North American marketing leader, I would take the global strategy that Tony Batone would create and I’d execute that locally, so there I was now looking at the whole marketing, it’s PR and a lot of advertising. Back then it was a lot of magazine advertising, a lot of outdoor, some TV, and sponsorships, and in-store, things like that, so definitely a wider swath of marketing there.

Then coming to K-Swiss, or actually first of all, it was a brand called Palladium which K-Swiss had acquired, this old French boot brand. That was a brand rebuild, was really from everything, that was brand ID, that was the shoe box, the website, the brand positioning. Then coming to K-Swiss has really been primarily, I think, about brand repositioning to kind of bring an old brand back from the dead to modern relevance again. I think branding and brand positioning and giving a brand a purpose has been the focus.

As my career’s gone on, I’ve gotten from hyper-tactical all the way to really 30,000 feet, but I will tell you that even when I’m doing 30,000 feet, I’m still also, you know, very involved down at the tactical level, because I think these days you have to be.

DG: What does that mean, like are you still … Give me an example of something tactical you’ve done today, or this week.

Barney: Yeah, I mean, everything. You know, Instagram posting, I’ll go onto the social channels and reply to people, and people say, “You know, is this available in men’s?” If I see it, I’ll be the one to answer, you know I’m down to carry shoe boxes around and set shoe display walls up in the office.

DG: Love it.

Barney: Yeah, I just don’t have it any other way.

DG: I love that, that’s what I love about it. The thing I was going to ask you is, how do you know … Okay, so in that role, like you kind of shift from a lead gen to very much on the branding side of things. How does somebody know that you’re doing a good job? Like we hire somebody new at Drift in a demand gen role, you can basically be like, “Okay, well they’ve been here for three months, like how are leads doing?” How do you set yourself up to show the management team and whoever else that what you’re doing is working, or what does that even mean?

Barney: Well, you know ultimately now, my KPI is really the revenue number and the profit goal. That really gets a lot simpler the higher you get, because now I’m running the brand. As the president of the company, that’s all that really matters. It doesn’t matter how you make it, it’s how [crosstalk 00:11:19]-

DG: It’s like you can have one chart. It’s like, “Are we selling more sneakers or not?”

Barney: Yeah, did you hit the number or not? I mean, that is the truth, I’ll bet. It gets a lot more simple, in some ways, when you get higher up. You either made the number or you didn’t, you either were profitable or you lost money, and that’s how you’re judged, that’s the harsh reality of it. In the old days when we would do magazine advertising, that was always the dilemma, is how do you measure the effect of a beautiful ad or a double-page spread in a magazine that looks killer and has someone great in it wearing your sneakers? How do you know if … There was no way to measure direct response then.

The beauty of it now is, with all the digital technologies, is you really can. It’s very tangible that you could look at engage rates, response rates, selling online, you can measure it to the minute based off of what you do, has there been a response. All of those measurements in marketing still apply, and we do measure those in terms of success, and then ultimately the key gauge for us is sell through, which is, when you sell shoes there’s two elements of selling in the sneaker business. Sell in, which is a retailer buying shoes from us, and sell through, which is a consumer buying it from the retailer.

Sell in is only half the battle, it’s got to then sell through, and so sell through is by far the more important gauge of success, as someone going into that store and pick the shoe off the shelf.

DG: Do you have other metrics that you measure, as far as the reach and the voice of your brand, do you care about … There’s so many different ways that people do it, which is bringing in focus groups and unaided awareness and all that stuff, like are you measuring brand from that perspective too?

Barney: Yeah, I mean I think you can do that. We don’t do it very often. You’ll do that on, like those are far apart, but when we took over, we did that initially, and-

DG: Sorry to interrupt, but why? Is it expensive? I’ve never done any yet, so I’m just fascinated by it.

Barney: I think it’s a lot of effort and a lot of money to give you a few keywords that … In other words, let me give you an example. We went out when I first took over K-Swiss, and asked people, you know, we went to people in Germany, Japan, the UK, America, and thousands of people and spent a lot of money, and, “What is the words that you associate with K-Swiss?” Number one was “white”, because we were always a white leather shoe, you know we were known for white sneakers, and the number two word was “don’t know”.

DG: Oh, good.

Barney: Yeah, exactly, which means … That actually does say something, which is they know K-Swiss, but they don’t know what it means, they can’t come up with anything.

DG: They don’t have an opinion on it.

Barney: Right, you don’t stand for anything, is what it tells you. In other words, those are really big conclusions. Like okay, people think you’re white sneakers, or they don’t know anything about you. It takes a lot of time and energy to get those two little nuggets. That can have a big effect on how you steer the ship, but you don’t need to do that every month.

DG: All right, so you’ve been in the sneaker world, and I think, some days I go home and I’m like, “Man, I have a tough job. There’s literally 7,000 other software vendors in this space.” Like I think you have the toughest job, which is like sneakers. Sneakers are basically a commodity, so what … I know some of these answers, but I want you to tell them on this podcast for me, which is, what did you do to come in and make people care about K-Swiss, and from that, are there some evergreen lessons that you could apply to any industry that have helped you think about how to make something stand out? Like if I said to you, “Hey Barney, make a sexy campaign out of this water bottle,” are there some elements to that?

Barney: Yeah. Number one is, you know, why should anybody care? Why does the world need you if there’s already Nike and Adidas? You have to answer that question, and the reason is, is you have to be the only someone that does something. Otherwise … Why you need it. We’re in an industry with some massive successful competitors that make amazing shoes, so what am I bringing to the table? That is true of any business or any industry.

When we looked at it, Nike was an athlete brand and really owned this idea of, if you want to run fast, if you want to jump high, then Nike’s the brand for you. In fact, Puma used, still I think, sponsors Usain Bolt, fastest man in the world, Jamaican sprinter, and nine out of 10 people would always tell you that he’s sponsored by Nike, because they just assume that he’s the fastest guy in the world, he must, right?

DG: Wait, was that, were you at Puma when that was happening?

Barney: Yeah, probably, or just afterwards.

DG: That’d be the most frustrating thing in the world, you’re like, “He’s with us!”

Barney: Yes, I’m dead serious though, why? Because you assume it, right? If you see a car that’s red and it’s like the fastest car on the highway, it must be a Ferrari. In other words, don’t make a fast red car and expect to be first-

DG: So true.

Barney: [crosstalk 00:16:02] something different. I think Adidas had struggled a long time as the perennial number two in sports branded sneakers, and so they sort of drifted towards rappers, and they did Pharrell and Kanye, and said, “Hey look, the youth culture heroes are shifted, and they’re no longer just the athletes, they’re now the entertainers and the rappers. Kids aren’t just thinking, ‘I want to grow up and play for Man United or the Yankees,’ they want to be Kanye.” I also couldn’t win at that, because Puma and Adidas are competing of who can sign the rappers for the most money, and these are multi, multi, multi-million-dollar deals, you know I think Adidas just signed Beyonce, little K-Swiss has no chance.

At that time, we also realized that there was another shift, which was that young people were aspiring now to be entrepreneurs and to be CEOs, and to be bosses and to create their own companies, and to take their own future in their hands. This is all because social media and the internet have empowered them and enabled them to do this. Whereas Michael Jordan used to be the ultimate male superhero, sort of suddenly it became Steve Jobs. You know, it was like, “Wait a minute, how did that happen?”

What was it about Steve Jobs? Well, because he was smart, he was successful, he was confident. Elon Musk is the cool guy now, and Mark Zuckerberg. We figured, “Shit, this is who the young people are trying to be,” and if you talk to young people, no one’s trying to run the fastest mile or be a rapper. Most people you speak to nowadays who are young are trying to be like DG.

DG: Yeah right.

Barney: They want to be entrepreneurial, successes in business, they want to be smart, they want to earn money, they want all of this. I’m thinking, “Why are we all still talking about who can run the fastest with sneakers?” We created this platform, Sneakers for CEOs, or Sneakers for Entrepreneurs, and that is how we kind of approached this almost impossible market and found an open lane for ourselves and said, “We could potentially be the best at this, and let’s just start there.” That’s kind of what we’ve done.

DG: That story is like, just bottle that up, that’s why we do this podcast, because that is a story … That’s like the time-tested lesson, right? You could apply the way that you flipped that problem on its head to any product, any business, right?

Barney: Yes, absolutely.

DG: The limiting belief is like, “Oh, sneakers, okay, people use sneakers to jump and run and walk.” It’s like, “Well no, it says a lot more about you as a person.” I think that the clothes that I wear and the things I do speak about who I am, and I think that feels like the campaign that you cracked the code on.

Barney: Yeah, I mean it’s picking a fight you can win, is what it comes down to. I’ll give you another quick one. Before this, I worked at a brand called Palladium, and it was an old heritage boot brand, and it was a chunky boot with a rubber bottom and a canvas upper, great boots. Again, it was this idea of the principle of contrast. I can’t remember what book that came out of, it was … I don’t remember, but this idea of, take your biggest competitor and apply the principle of contrast against what they do best. Okay, so in the boot business, Timberland is the biggest, strongest, best boot brand.

They were our competition, and Timberland, their strength is the outdoors, hiking, the outdoors. Their logo is a tree, and the guy’s getting out of a kayak in the White Mountains in New Hampshire, and he’s camping and he’s got the Timberland boots on and the plaid shirt. We positioned Palladium around city exploring, okay, so concrete. We said, “Okay, most people actually live nearer a city than they do a forest, and most people when they wear boots are wearing them in the city.” We said, “Palladium is engineered for city terrain.”

It was taking Timberland’s strength of the forest and applying a principle of contrast, and saying, “Hey, if you want to go and be a woodsman, then Timberland’s the brand for you, but if you’re actually spending your days in the city, we’re engineering our boots for city terrain.” Everything around our brand was concrete, and in fact, we had this thing called the no-tree rule, where no one was allowed to put a tree in any of our advertising imagery, nothing, to really cleanly differentiate us against our biggest competitor.

It crushed, it was great, and in fact, Timberland ended up doing a lot of stuff, and even to this day you’ll see them doing urban exploring, city exploring, and really taking a leaf from that book.

DG: The principle of contrast is such a good example of, that is a … I don’t know if it comes from Robert Cialdini’s book “Influence”, but like any of these guys that have talked about this, “Thinking Fast and Slow”, that’s a psychological principle that everybody has, and it’s the reason why price anchoring and all that stuff works. It’s amazing to see how that actually plays out from a marketing perspective, and the famous example of that from like an old school nerdy copywriting book, is Doyle Dayne Birnbauch’s campaign which was Avis number two, and Hertz was number one.

Hertz was the number one rental car company in the world, and Avis was like, “Okay, well what are we going to do? We’re going to say we make a faster rental car experience?” They embraced the fact that they were number two, and so they came out with this whole campaign that told the world, “Hey, why should you go with us if we’re only number two? Well, because we’re number two, we have to try harder. Our cars will never be dirty, they’ll always have a full tank of gas, you’ll always have amazing service, because we can’t afford to do anything but treat you best because we’re not winning.” That campaign was amazing.

Barney: Yeah, there you go. Sometimes what you don’t do is as powerful as what you do do, and in terms of putting a fence around who you are to give yourself the correct positioning, to be in an open lane, and to sort of position yourself against a stronger competitor. You know actually, we took some influence from you guys on podcasting, and we run our own podcast here now. In fact, I’m sitting in our podcast studio, we turned one of our offices into a podcast studio. Well again, you know, our biggest competitor now is Nike, and how do you compete against this massive company?

Well, you could do some things that a massive company couldn’t do, so transparency to who we are is an advantage we can play by being a small company, so having access to us and by us podcasting and bringing you inside K-Swiss is something that would be very hard for Nike’s team to probably do with all the management layers and rules and regulations. Again, we’ve used our small size as an advantage versus a disadvantage by leaning into this idea of, “Well, we could be more transparent than our competition, and let you learn who we are by bringing you inside K-Swiss.”

We created a YouTube show called “Inside K-Swiss”, and we created our podcast called “CEOs Wear Sneakers”, where you get to know who we are and who our team is and get access to us, as one of our advantages.

DG: It’s a way of, like you have this big brand, Nike, which is obviously an amazing brand, but they kind of have to be anonymous, right? Like the fact that you run this brand and you’re responding to people on Instagram, and then you’re the person that they see on the podcast and on YouTube, people are going to give your brand actually a chance because they start to like you and know you, and know the story behind things.

Barney: Yeah. I think there’s like an expectation these days, that consumers want to know who they’re doing business with and who they’re giving their money to. “Who are you, what are your values, who’s working there, where do you make your shoes?” All these kind of things are way more important now than they used to be, so I think transparency is becoming a bit of an expectation. Drift, you’re leading the way in this, for sure.

DG: I think of it as like, transparency is the one way to disarm anybody. That is true at home with your family, at work with people on your team, like if you can be real and authentic and be human, that just levels the playing field. The easiest way to sell something is to actually show your face and be real, and let people know, “This is me, like I do stutter, I do make mistakes, and I do have typos in sometimes my writing and stuff, but that’s because I’m a real person just like you, so hey, can I get a chance to talk to you about that?”

Barney: Yeah, yeah. I think it’s important, but again, why we’re doing it is somewhat strategic too, in that it can be taking a competitive disadvantage and making it a competitive advantage, which is the lesson underneath it, I suppose.

DG: All right, so let’s wrap up, and I want to do a new little … I just came up with this idea. Okay, I want to do this with all the guests in the future, but since this is The Swipe File podcast, I want to talk about what is in your swipe file. Where do you get inspiration from? You’ve talked about listening to our podcast or whatever, but outside of that, who are the people that you follow and listen to that you get ideas from?

Barney: Well, I have a crazy commute, so I take the train for most of it, so I do listen to a lot of podcasts. I can certainly talk a little bit about what I listen to there. A couple of tips for you, first of all, I think “Business Wars” on Wondery is really good, and they do a great job about sort of two big brands competing against each other, and they do a series, it’s a Wondery series called “Business Wars”, I love that. I think the “30 For 30” podcasts are fantastic, I love those. If you’re into the streetwear industry, “The Business of Hype” by Hype Beast is really good. Obviously my podcast, “CEOs Wear Sneakers”, where I interview young entrepreneurs, is inspiring because of the great people we get to come through here.

Then I also listen to sort of sports and politics, I like politics, although it frustrates the hell out of me. I’ll listen to the Daily, Colin Cowherd I listen to. I think I try and get as wide a swath of input as I can, and I think that’s the key, is I’m trying to bridge sports, some fashion, some business, politics, and I think the wider and the more you have your ear to the ground of what’s going on, the better you can pick and have a feel for how to tweak your messaging to resonate.

I mean, we’re in a world now where it’s all about storytelling and getting attention, and the way you get attention is by doing great storytelling that isn’t about features and functions, and trying to find these like moments, and blow those moments up to be as conversational as you can in a social world. That’s kind of what it’s all boiling down to now, and so I think you can equip yourself to do that by really understanding everything that’s going on with your consumer and your industry.

DG: The more you know about everything, the more hooks you’ll have and the more creativity you’ll get, because you’re not just inspired by what other sneaker companies are doing or what other software companies are doing, you can find inspiration from everything, right? Okay, last question, you have a young DG, joins your team, and you have to give me one book that you want me to treat as my kind of inspiration sheet of music, whatever. What book would you give me?

Barney: Oh, goodness. Well, I’ll tell you, the ones I’ve read recently, I’ve read “Radical Candor”, I think is a really great one, especially for me, it’s something that I’ve not been good at and it’s definitely a weakness, so I think that’s really important. I think grit is a good one in terms of my philosophy of what I look for in people. There’s another one called “The One Thing”, this pretty simple book about just if you chase two rabbits, you won’t catch either. It probably comes down to like focus on things that’ll make the biggest difference, let’s be open and really honest with each other about what’s going on, and you know, grit is appreciated more than smarts in this environment, and I’d say that.

I would say the most influential book I’ve read recently is “The Power of Now”. Just on a personal note, I think that’s the most transformative book I’ve probably ever read, and it’s really just about focusing on the moment versus worrying about the future, or concerning yourself with the past.

DG: You’re the second marketing leader-type person that I look up to that has recommended that book, and I’ve never kind of … I think I’m going to have to get it. Easy to read?

Barney: Easy to read, I mean it’s definitely in-depth. I did the audiobook, and he’s a spiritual leader with a German accent, so probably should’ve got someone else to do the reading. I think if you’re highly driven, want to be successful, you’re in a space like we’re in, you’re probably a certain type, you know what I mean? Which means you’re probably overthinking, overworking, your head’s spinning. This book’s about, how do you calm it down, and sort of addresses a little bit of mental health.

I’ve always struggled with anxiety, which means I’m always thinking about worrying about what’s coming next, which I think has made me very driven and made me very good, but it comes at a price. You know, it’s just like your mind’s always whirring, and I think “The Power of Now” is really about tuning that down and living more in the moment, which I think has been personally really helpful for me.

DG: I need all those things. I’m on Audible right now, I’m going to [crosstalk 00:28:38]-

Barney: Yeah, there’s a whole nother conversation between me and you on this, because I love this book.

DG: Yeah. I like what you said about, like I think the same way, and I do think it’s a gift and a curse. The gift is like my mind is always going and I’m like, “Ooh, new idea, next, next, next,” but like I do have a hard time being like, “I’m just, I’m here.”

Barney: Well, and listen, everything you just described was positive stuff. The truth is, the human brain will usually, if it starts worrying about things, it usually tweaks towards negative stuff. When you start worrying, that’s when you’ve got to take a look at it.

DG: All right, well Barney, look, I could talk to you for hours, but I’m going to go jump because I’ve got to go pick up my daughter on time, which is always good. Look, Barney, like I said, you’ve been a huge inspiration to me, and I’m just excited to have had you on the podcast. You’re @barneywaters on Instagram, which is where I follow you and a bunch of other places. If you liked this episode, go holler at Barney, and by the way, if you’re not in Drift Insider yet, you should be, because we actually just published Barney’s talk from HYPERGROWTH, which is like kind of a joke, because Drift Insider is free and we charge tickets for HYPERGROWTH, and now it’s free for you.

If you missed Barney’s talk at HYPERGROWTH, or just want to go see it again, if you go to drift.com/insider, you can go and check it out and it’s 100% free to you. It’s a killer talk that our team has been buzzing about, I got a bunch of good tweets about it today, so definitely go check it out if you liked this conversation. Barney, you’re the man.

Barney: Thank you so much. HYPERGROWTH was amazing, by the way, and I’m equally as inspired by you and DC and what you do on the podcast. I appreciate it, keep it going.

DG: Thank you, man. Hey, thanks for listening to another episode of The Swipe File. I’m having a lot of fun doing this podcast, and so because it’s fun for me, I hope it’s fun for you, and it would mean the world if you could leave a review. Reviews really help, and so to leave a review, go to Apple Podcasts, leave a review, let me know what you liked about the show, didn’t like, want to hear more of. Also if you’re not already subscribed, make sure you go subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, this show is everywhere that you get your podcasts, probably where you’re listening right now.

If you want more content like this, if you want to go a layer deeper, join me on Drift Insider. It’s drift.com/insider, we’re teaching courses, we’re sharing videos, and we have exclusive content for people just like you in marketing that we do not share publicly. Go and check it out, drift.com/insider.