season 2 episode 19 – Creativity: the Need to Express | Jeffrey Madoff

In this episode, Jeffrey Madoff, the founder of Madoff Productions, fashion designer, film director, and educator speaks about creativity, entrepreneurship, and how to lead creative teams. Madoff is on the faculty at Parsons School for Design, teaching a course he developed called “Creativity: Making a Living With Your Ideas”.  Madoff published the book based on his course.

Nico Daswani The Artian Podcast


The transcript was produced by an AI, mistakes might appear. 

[00:00:00] Nir Hindi: Hey, Jeff. Welcome to the Artian podcast.

[00:00:03] Jeffrey Madoff: Thank you for having me on here.

[00:00:04] Nir Hindi: Excited about this conversation, because we’re going to speak about film and screenplays and, um, creativity and art fashion design. And in the last 30 years, you are a film director and you edited and directed award-winning commercials, documentaries, and web content around the globe.

Some of your clients are the biggest brands in the world from to Victoria secrets, Tiffany, the American academy of dramatic arts, Harvard university, et cetera. The list goes on and on and on and on, but you have an interesting story. How did you get into film.

[00:00:44] Jeffrey Madoff: Well, the way I got into film, uh, isn’t interesting story.

Thanks. I believe everything you do informs everything else you do. And I was had a clothing company and was designing and one of the companies that I bought fabric from, I dealt with the owner of the company and he said to me, do you know anything about the film before. And I said, well, I’d go to movies, I’ve read some books, but I don’t really know anything about the film business.

And he goes, well, look, you’ve got a good head on your shoulders. You’re smart about business. My son has gotten involved with some people. He’s your age. Would you mind just meeting him? Cause he’s doesn’t listen to me. Maybe he can hear her. And I I’d appreciate it instead of course, I’d be happy to meet him.

And his son was, had optioned the rights to a book called junkie by William Burroughs, who was one of the seminal writers of what was called the beat generation in the fifties and early sixties. And so that was my first professional. In quotation marks, uh, experience with film. And although that project didn’t really work out on a practical level, it worked out on an educational level and a career level because it exposed me to something that I really wanted to do, which was.

Tell stories and create entertainment. And that formed the bridge for me, because it just opened my eyes to the possibilities of what film could do and what I could do with it. So wait, there

[00:02:12] Nir Hindi: is also an element of entrepreneurship over here. If I understood it correctly, you are a fashion designer before you even became a film director.

How did you even start a business in the fashion industry?

[00:02:24] Jeffrey Madoff: Well, I have never let my lack of knowledge get in the way of me doing things and I’m seduced by ideas Nir. And so when there’s, when there’s something that interests me, I don’t think about. Oh, here’s all the reasons why I shouldn’t do it. Uh, and I have I’ve retained even as I’ve gotten older, a certain naivete that if I really like it, if I’m really passionate about it, I’m also practical enough to figure out a way to make it work.

So, uh, had graduated from college and went to the university of Wisconsin and I had a double major in psychology and philosophy. And I had been on the wrestling team. So what a wonderful combination for anything I chose to do, right. Fighting

[00:03:10] Nir Hindi: your way in the business world in a poetic way. So mixing the wrestling with the philosophy.

[00:03:16] Jeffrey Madoff: Yes. And the psychology, which I should have applied to myself too. And a guy that I grew up with. I don’t remember not knowing him, his mother and my mother grew up together and he had graduated from college a year before I did. And he said, look, I’ve saved up some money. Uh, can you think of something that would earn more than bank interest?

So I said, well, I work in this clothing store, which is a little boutique. And, uh, I see what we sell that I could always draw. So I said, I’ll start a clothing company. Totally ignorant to what that actually meant. And to give you an idea of how naive and ignorant I was when I saw fabric on the bolt in a store, I thought that was wholesale because it hadn’t been made into anything yet.

I really didn’t know much. Uh, and there is a difference though, between being ignorant than being stupid because ignorant, you can learn, which I did stupids forever. And fortunately I was ignorant, but not stupid. So I learned really quickly. Cause also my survival depends. Uh, and so I learned very fast and established what I think is critical for all entrepreneurs, which is a proof of concept.

You know, I sketch some clothes.

[00:04:32] Nir Hindi: How did you do it? I’m interested just get some clothes. And,

[00:04:35] Jeffrey Madoff: and so, uh, some of the people that did alterations for the store, you know, I asked them if they could, so my designs and I taught myself not how to sell or put it together, but the puzzle pieces that for. I took a shirt that I really liked that fit me well, and I cut it apart along the different seam line so I could see, oh, here’s all the pieces.

Here’s how a shirt is made because I had never paid attention to it. And, uh, I got about 10 garments made, put them into the store, and now this boutique, I can’t overstate what a little weird store it was. And the owner was only a few years older than I was. We were in the base of a rooming house and behind the cash register register was a show.

Where the stereo, where they played actual albums, you know, this is even before CDs and when somebody would Odie in the rooming house and fall down the stairs, the arm would skip across the record and we’d say, oh, there goes another one. And so it was quite an unusual place. I was the buyer for it. And I always found interesting and unusual stuff.

So like when rock bands would come into Madison, which was. Because it was a big campus, you know, that rock bands would come into the store and buy things. And, you know, we had cool stuff cause I always liked things that were unique. And, but it was the kind of store also that at checkout, we also sold hash pipes and rolling papers, you know?

So it’s not like, yes, it was this, you know, big store or anything. It was a little place, but it was cool. And I learned about business.

[00:06:13] Nir Hindi: How do you hide. Uh,

[00:06:15] Jeffrey Madoff: the fashion company I had for about four years.

[00:06:19] Nir Hindi: And then you moved into

[00:06:20] Jeffrey Madoff: film, then I moved into film and the transition into film was meeting these people who are doing film, who then introduced me to somebody else.

And that helped me transition into film.

[00:06:33] Nir Hindi: Jeffrey. You mentioned proof of concept. What does it

[00:06:36] Jeffrey Madoff: mean? So proof of concept is essential in any business venture that you enter into. In this case, I had, uh, some of the Sowers that did alterations for the store. So about a dozen of my designs and we put them in the store, they sold it.

Within a few hours. So I have them make them again. We sold out again. And what that told me is there were people that were actually willing to pay for what I was doing.

[00:07:05] Nir Hindi: You know, how is the feeling when you create something in someone buy it?

[00:07:09] Jeffrey Madoff: It’s cool. You know, it’s really cool. Uh, it was funny when I established a reputation in the fashion business, I was.

By one of the fashion magazines. And they said to me what would be successful? What would you consider being successful in your fashion career? And I said, if people were able to buy my clothes years from now in vintage clothing stores and then actually happened dear friend of mine, 30 years after I was out of that business, said, uh, he was coming into New York from California and he says, I’ve got a surprise for your.

I said, okay, great. What is it? And he said, you’ll see, when I get there, he was at a vintage clothing store in Philadelphia, found one of my women’s designs and bought it for my wife there. He had got what you wanted. 30 years later, I bought one of your garments. So that was very cool. You know, so there was a, I had a real kick out of, you know, seeing people walking down the street, wearing my.

Or there would be candid pictures of, of sometimes celebrities in the paper. And they were wearing a shirt that I designed or whatever it was neat. And you know, that first time in the store, when somebody wanted to buy what I had designed, I, it was just exciting, you know, it was cool. So, you know, I have

[00:08:29] Nir Hindi: a question for you, Jeff, you started it as efficient designer, entrepreneur kind of going into this world.

Then you switched into film, working in commercial documentaries, et cetera. And normally I focus on the world of art in this podcast. And you came from design into art and creativity. And, um, I wonder, what do you think is the difference between design and art or between designer and an artist?

[00:08:59] Jeffrey Madoff: Interesting question, a designer is doing something that is addressing a specific concern. Or a specific product, whether you’re designing a car or a chair, you’re designing a specific thing for a specific use. So that’s what a designer is where an artist is creating an expression and that expression doesn’t have the same boundaries.

It doesn’t have to be practical. It’s not against a specific task. So as a, an artist, you have a bigger world to deal with in terms of your expression, whereas a design. Let’s call it. It’s an applied art because it’s having to address a specific concern or a specific problem or challenge. Yeah.

[00:09:48] Nir Hindi: I always say that for me, design is about problem solving and art is about problem formulation.

I would just ask the questions and designers solve those questions. Then I like the way that you either the level of expression and needs or a not necessarily a practical need. And another thing that I think it’s kind of. Maybe basis for both of them is the aspect of creativity. And you deal a lot with a creativity and before we will discuss creativity and what you do, I’m interested to hear what is creativity for you?

For me,

[00:10:31] Jeffrey Madoff: creativity is the compelling need to express and bring about some kind of change. Whether it’s a change in how you look at things, a change in how you feel. Uh, a change in terms of adding something to the world through expression. I think that anyone who is creative is trying to bring about some kind of change, because if you’re not trying to bring about some kind of change, do I need to create anything?

Cause the stuff already exists. So creativity implies, you’re trying to bring something new.

[00:11:07] Nir Hindi: Yeah, I love it. Creativity is about change. It’s a different kind of perspective. So you mentioned that some people like creatives, they want to do something in the world, change something in the world they created, and I’m interested to hear it from your experience.

Do you think that creativity can be taught?

[00:11:23] Jeffrey Madoff: I think that creativity can be encouraged. And I think that one of the things that. Happens when we’re quite young is we learn shame and that your personal expression is oftentimes not encouraged. And you know, it’s much easier whether you’re a parent or a teacher to try to keep things very kind of organized.

If you will, this is acceptable. This is not acceptable. And I was really lucky because my parents very much, , encouraged. To be creative, whether reading the stories that I wrote or bringing stuff, they had a store and they’d bring home craft paper, you know, that they’d wrap packages in. So I had great big pieces of paper that I could draw on and do anything I wanted.

So they really encouraged it. And I think that encouraging creativity means, uh, and it’s very much like being a director is the main job that you have is to make the talent feel safe. So as a parent, I want my kids to feel safe so that they can express. If you’re a director and you’re directing talent, you want them to feel safe so they can express and not fall back on the things that they already feel safe doing, because you won’t get anything special out of it in terms of their performance.

So I think that you can encourage creativity and there’s a fine line between encouraging and teaching it. But I think that the encouragement of creativity can lead to the ability to. Learn or relearn how to be creative and to recapture that lack of fear you had when you were a kid that may have been stomped out by your parents may have been stopped out by your peers may have been stomped out by early teachers and people avoid things that they find shameful, and they don’t want to be humiliated or embarrassed in front of others, which means you’re at risk.

When you put out a new idea. And so it takes a particular kind of person that can go up against those odds and not let that stop them. So wait,

[00:13:29] Nir Hindi: I have over here, a question, how do you overcome this fear?

[00:13:33] Jeffrey Madoff: Well, I’m fortunate that this, despite my young experience or my young appearance, I’m not a kid anymore.

I think it’s because I was encouraged from the time I was very young to do that. So it wasn’t, uh, about some looming. It was more about put it out there and see what happens. I also learned from my parents how to stand up for me. So, you know, if people would try, you know, I had, I had an art teacher back in when I was in third or fourth grade, Mrs.

Turney. I don’t think you knew her. And we were doing what was called crayon resist, you know, Kranz and wax in them. And so you would do a watercolor over where cran was and where the cran was. It wouldn’t take the color and it always looked like crap. They weren’t an interesting projects at all. I was drawing a lot of stuff.

So she came over to me and looked at what I was doing. She said, you’re not doing the cram resist. And so I already did it. There’s that? She said, but there’s more time you could do more. And I said, but this is art class. I’m doing my art now. And she said, you’ll do what I tell you to do. Or you’ll sit there with your hands.

Folded know. So I sat there with my hands folded and, uh, did not do what she wanted me to do because I thought it was a waste of time. I had done it. She saw that I could do it. I wasn’t willing to do any more of it. And I’m thinking it’s this is our class. Why don’t you let me do what I’m doing? What difference does.

You know, but it was oftentimes what happens. I think with people in authority is, are more concerned with managing and exercising authority rather than creating a free space for.

[00:15:20] Nir Hindi: The daily and you just, you know, you just open the road for me to ask you the next question, because why do you describe now?

It’s basically the same situation I can see also in the business world, people that exercising authority, uh, you do what I tell you. Don’t ask questions, basically treating us like we are in the third or fourth. And one of the things that I do see is that there is kind of ambivalent. I would say attitude toward creativity in the business world.

You hear business managers standing on stages. We need creativity, we need creative people. We want creative talent, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But, you know, I kind of have my own reservation about it that, yes, they want creativity, but not really because, you know, creativity. Imply working maybe. Okay.

And I think it’s kind of maybe misconception working with no old, their lack of focus out of these that come in, spreading colos on the corporates walls. And when you think about creative people, it’s basically people that it’s difficult to manage them. What do you think about that? I mean, how the business world actually can understand better creative thinkers and actually work with them.

[00:16:40] Jeffrey Madoff: Well, I mean, that’s a really interesting question Nir, and there’s a lot to unpack from that. And I think that one of the things that’s really important is to understand the circumstances you’re in, when you’re working for other people. And, you know, I look at Stanislavski who was the great acting teacher and in defining who your character was that you were portraying, you had to understand given circumstance.

Okay. So if you’re playing Superman, then part of the given circumstances is you can jump out of the 30th floor, window, and fly. But if you’re playing a normal person, if you jump out the window, you’re going to be dead. So, so the given circumstances often defines behavior. Well, one of the things that you have to understand, and the given circumstances of any business environment is that it costs them money to enter.

It costs them money to go outside the grid and the lines, because it’s not. So, although there’s a lot of lip service being given to innovation, even though time and time again, the companies that innovate often demonstrate that they can be very profitable because they’re offering something new and giving people a reason to buy.

But you have to understand as an employee in one of those companies, and this also applies, if you’re trying to raise money for your own company, they’ve got to see it in the context that there’s going to be a return on it, you know, because ultimately it’s a business, right? So. Uh, so I think that that’s where the real conflict comes in, in business in two areas.

One is creativity or innovation costs them more. And because it hasn’t been done before, or hasn’t been proven, it puts them at greater risk, no businesses like things that cost them more and place them at greater risk know, that’s just not what they like. And there are companies. That do innovation and are hired for their innovation and, you know, and they’re strictly though about problem solving, but they do it brilliantly in terms of how they come up with these solutions. But they’re also being hired by companies that recognize the need to do something very. So I think it’s important to understand that you, every time you’re being creative in a business setting, you’re introducing risk.

And by the way, just to add this as a footnote, cause it might open up some other interesting areas that it’s like when I saw that, you know, Amazon just bought MGM that part of what they get with MGM is the James Bond franchise. So when they did the James Bond movies and Sean Connery being the first James Bond, he is an actor and he is very good actor and he didn’t want to just do James Bond.

And as a matter of fact, when he was not on camera, he didn’t even want to wear the two pay because his hair thinned out when he was young. And so he’d go on talk shows and you’d see that he was bald and, uh, still, I mean, an incredibly handsome man. But the point, all that was is that they wanted to try to keep him in that James Bond box.

And he took risks with his career by doing parts that weren’t action hero, James Bondish, but some very strong, wonderful, dramatic parts. And he ran the risk of not working, but he took the creative risk and he’d delivered. So it also happens in those kinds of creative fields all the time, too. That’s why there’s, what’s called typecasting.

And typecasting happens in business too, which is they expect you to do things in a certain way, just like they expect actors to play a certain kind of part. And I think that breaking out of that box is very liberating, but it takes it’s hard.

[00:20:25] Nir Hindi: Yeah, no, I really love this metaphor or the story that you mentioned about the James Bond and how to get outside of your cocktail to be someone else.

And often that’s exactly what happened in an organization that you have probably the phone desk assistant that he can be, or she can be a great community builder, but nobody gives them the opportunity to do it in the business because. The front desk assistant. It’s very interesting. And one of the questions that I have as a followup, as a film director, or you work quite often with very creative people, what is the, I would say the things that help you manage them better, or get the output you are looking for, how do you bring them together?

Because you know, creativity. Often everyone has their own idea and they want to do it that way, et cetera. As a film director, you’re there not only the kind of conducting and the acting, all these big group of people toward a creative vision. What are the things that work for you when you do it?

[00:21:29] Jeffrey Madoff: There’s a one word answer to that. Listen. If you have hired those people to work with you on a project, listen to their input. And so listening is essential to a successful collaboration and a successful collaboration is what you need to realize a project, whether it’s a film or, you know, I’m in the thick of what you’re talking about right now with my play.

And so it’s first of all, hiring the best talent. Not only based on their work, but it also has to be a personality that you can work with. I was hiring a cinematographer. This is some years ago. And one of the cinematographers who was work, I had tremendous respect for was Vilmos Zsigmond Jomo segment was nominated for more academy awards than any cinematographer.

He did. He did close encounters of the third kind. He did deliverance. He did McCabe and Mrs. Miller. He was an amazing Cinematheque. And I called one of the camera rental places. Cause I knew they had worked with him and I said, what kind of guys go mush? And they said, he’s a fucking legend. Why are you asking what kind of person he is?

And I said, because if he’s an asshole, I’ll hire a legend who isn’t because I never want to be around people that Rob the joy of the process in the work that I do and play writing or doing some of the film stuff that I do creating a fantasy. That’s an incredible privilege to be able to exercise your creativity and be paid for it.

So I don’t want anybody to ever Rob the joy of that process and part of what makes that process joyous is working with other talented people who can help execute a vision. You know, so I’m working with a set designer on my plate, David Gallo, who’s a multiple Tony award and Emmy award. I would be an absolute fool not to listen to how the story.

Resonated with him and how he visualizes the physical space. That, that story is going to live in on stage, same thing in film and show you listen to people, you respect their ideas. It doesn’t mean that you accept them necessarily, but everybody needs to feel heard and understood. And I know as a creative person, that’s important to me.

And I have to assume that’s important to every other creative person who is contributing to that job. So setting up a sense of community where people feel heard is critical, and then you find that you don’t have as much to manage in terms of the personality. Cause everyone is emotionally invested in putting the best piece of entertainment in front of that audience in the case of the play.

And it was an absolute joy working with these people. And, and one of the things, when I say robbing the joy of the process is people who are so concerned with their own authority and having the iron hand and doing those kinds of things. They have issues that I wish they would work out in therapy, not on

[00:24:30] Nir Hindi: set.

It’s kind of, it requires a lot of humility, I think, and kind of eliminating ego. You know, that to be able to step into this process as you just described,

[00:24:41] Jeffrey Madoff: you know, but to me, It’s about how do we’re all working together? How do we make the best, whatever that is, whether you’re designing a car, whether you’re doing a play, whatever it is.

And there’s different people who were contributing different aspects to that enterprise. It’s just about giving them the respect to listen to their ideas and you can intelligently and respectfully disagree. But, you know, uh, I think that if your ego is so tenuous, That anybody offering up something that you can’t put your thumb prints on and stamp, you’re going to kill that process.

And so I think that that process is way more productive and you’re going to end up with a better piece, cause you all agree with what the goal is. And so I seek from day one, I bring everybody together, welcome them and talk to them about, you know, how we’ll work together on this. And then I actually do.

I don’t believe in giving lip service to it, I believe in actually doing it. And the reason is it makes the final product. Even as a business person, I would be foolish to not give that credence to the people I’m working.

[00:25:55] Nir Hindi: No, I like it. I mean, it’s not only that you set the vision, you also kind of discuss it with them, how to get there and everyone can also contribute their own.

The only input into this process. Jeff, you have an entrepreneurial background, then you started companies and then, you know, even I think feeding production is by itself having a film it’s, it’s an entrepreneurial venture, but in previous conversations we had, you mentioned that pursuit of money should not be the goal.

What do you mean by that? I think

[00:26:26] Jeffrey Madoff: I said wasn’t that it shouldn’t be the goal. I said that it was not my primary. Because I’m seduced by ideas. I’m not telling anybody what their goal should be. But to me, you know, my goal is to have fun and be fulfilled by what I do and figure out how to get paid for that.

Because, you know, I live in New York city. I have a wife and two kids. There’s expenses. I just can’t be, oh, this would be great. You know, I have overhead, I have overhead as a business person and then there’s your family over at and everything else to me. If you do what you do well, and if you were successful in getting it out in the marketplace, and it’s validated by selling the proof of concept, what we talked about and so on, you will make money.

But if your pursuit is, how can I do the next thing that’s going to make money, then, you know, go into a hedge fund, you know, invest in a stock market and work in those areas. But I think if you’re trying to do a creative pursuit and your primary goal is making sure. I think that’s going to be a lot harder to achieve, but if you do something, you know, Steven Spielberg, when he made jaws, which had a lot of challenges in terms of doing it, he rose to the creative challenges and the storytelling excellence that he has.

And he’s made a fortune and I’m willing to bet that even at the beginning of his career, it’s not, how can I make a fortune it’s how can I make a successful enough that I get to do it again? Because. And that is kind of the path for me is I hope to do another play in another play when doing the film stuff, I’m looking, what’s going to be the next.

You know, so doing it well and profiting from it creates new kinds of opportunities. So to me, it’s, those opportunities will produce money. It’s a by-product, but if that’s the only thing that you’re after, I think you’re also going to do not very interesting.

[00:28:28] Nir Hindi: So one of the things that also, I would assume because you’re doing it for a long time, bring your joy is also teaching.

You are a faculty member at the Parsons school of design in New York. One of the leading, I think design school in the U S teaching, a course you developed and you called it creativity, making a living with your ideas. Can you tell me about the course? , first of all, why you decided to develop this course?

Second of all, what is this course?

[00:28:56] Jeffrey Madoff: Michelle? I’m like my mother. Oh, so what are you doing that for? Why you’re doing that? So I have a visual aid here, because this was an offshoot of the course, which it’s called creative careers, making a living with your

[00:29:13] Nir Hindi: idea. Yes. So for the listeners that don’t see the video yet, Jeffrey just showed me his book that is based on this course.

And we will make sure to add the link to the book in the show notes. So go and check it.

[00:29:28] Jeffrey Madoff: So I was approached by a guy after I was. Directing a Ralph Lauren fashion show many years ago. And he said, uh, I’m Dean stable. And I’m at Parsons school of design. And I said, oh, you’re the Dean? And he said, well, no, I mean, I’m Dean, but I’m not budding.

Dean’s my first name, like Dean Martin, you know, so it’s kind of funny that he wanted the academics with the first name Dean, uh, and he said, you know, what you’re doing is really interesting. I’d love to have you come and speak to my class. Would you be willing to do that? Sure. So I did. I had fun doing it and, I got invited back every semester for.

Three or four years. And then he said to me, there’s an opening for a teaching position. I think that you should go after it. And I said, well, you’re not, I don’t know that I can, because I get a phone call. I may be off to Paris or London or some Los Angeles, whatever. And I can’t turn down these jobs. And he said, well, I’m sure the school would work with you, try for a third of a semester.

And so what happened was I was. I didn’t realize that at the time that they were actually trying out three of us for this teaching position, I got offered the position and gave them the same concern before I accepted. And they said, they’d work with me. Well, it’s now 14 years later and I love it. And sort of like you, I bring in different guests that I think will, will bring some value to the students and challenge their thinking or open them up to new ideas or what.

And it gives me great license to approach anybody I think is interesting in doing something interesting and talking to the students and sharing those ideas with them. I love doing it because I’m always learning along with the students and I’ve interviewed Nobel prize winners and best-selling authors and act.

And designers and all kinds of people who make a living with their ideas and their creativity. So it’s great. Fun. And I, my guess is that I get some of the same satisfaction, fulfillment that you get from the guests that you invite. And who you get to talk to. Yeah.

[00:31:51] Nir Hindi: Accurate. Yeah, totally. I mean, you know, I think one of the biggest benefits of having this podcast is to speak with people like you from all around the world.

They’re doing creative stuff, doing interesting stuff, doing things that I think has value. And for me, yeah, it’s opened my eyes to see creativity and out because that’s my angle from very different aspects and kind of strengthened my belief. Why. Having artist and creative thinkers in the realm of business and technology is so important.

Not only when it comes to innovation, also posing hard questions for us to ask as a society. Which I think is very, very important and there is something that I’m interested because you know, I’m Jeff, I’m also teaching. And one of the things that I like about teaching is meeting this fresh.

And I’m interested. What surprised you the most from listening to all these say speakers or what surprised you the most about your students? Because you are already doing it 14 years. Basically. They grew up into the social media and you saw it.

[00:33:03] Jeffrey Madoff: I don’t know if anything surprised me. Uh, but I found things interesting because I have students from all over the world. It’s a very international class. And if anything, it reinforces the idea that I believe since I’ve traveled all over, which is fundamentally, people are people and, you know, we’re all after the same kinds of things.

And I think that’s kind of the human experience. So there are always students that are standing up. There’s always a core group of students that are really good. There’s a, certainly an equal number that sleep walk through college and will probably sleep, walk through life. And then there are the others that, you know, they’ve got to somehow feel safe enough to engage and take part.

So for me, the ongoing challenge. Is to create that safe space creatively. That’s fun and challenging because I also a big part of what I teach is critical thinking. Don’t accept ideas and things on face value. You need to think, and you need to think critically, if you believe something is true, why do you believe in be prepared to support it?

Don’t just mouth things that you don’t really know, which is one of the big problems with social media. As you can find whatever truth you’re looking for, but there’s only one truth for certain things. And so you need to vet for truth and find it out. So I think there’s a, there’s a huge challenge in terms of why people believe, what they believe and critical thinking is so important in terms of understanding how you get to the core issues and, and seek the truth.

And I think when you’re creative, you’re always seeking a particular kind of truth and a particular kind of expression, but I don’t have, there hasn’t been anything that has surprised me. It’s this just constant unfolding of experience and, and what happens and where sometimes somebody lights up in class who hasn’t spoken for a while.

And I don’t wait for the students to raise their hands. You know, I’ll say, oh, near, you know, we haven’t heard from you in a bit. How do you feel about this? Because I want them to find their voice. That’s part of my goal for them is to help them express and not feel afraid or reluctant to do.

[00:35:36] Nir Hindi: And I have a question.

I also contemplate with this question quite often, as you know, we are kind of living, especially this, this recent is in the job market. You have the boomers, you have a gen X, you have millennials, you have gen Z. And one of the things that keep coming back is that the younger generation, especially gen Z.

More creative or tend to be more elated to creativity. Now you obviously you teach in a design school that I think by nature, it’s people that are interested in this theme, but I wonder what is your perspective on that? Do you feel that. Differences between the generations, when it come to the application of creativity, in the ideas that they do, the project that they bring or something like that.


[00:36:28] Jeffrey Madoff: I don’t. Uh, and what I strongly believe, well, first of all, do you know the Genesis of boomers, gen Z millennials, all that? Do you know where that comes from? It’s a marketing construct. And there is really no such thing. I mean, it’s a, it’s a definition of this particular spread of years that you’re defined as a baby boomer or millennial or whatever, but that’s not like there’s science behind.

It’s just an arbitrary chunk of time that these people fit in. And the reason that they fit into that, and the reason that it’s cited the gen Z is, or this or that. Is what the economic power they have or will have as they get older. So who’s the biggest market out there. And you know, it’s not there aren’t psychological considerations that I’ve ever seen or any compelling evidence.

That separates them. There are people in all these different generations that are compelled to create, do new kinds of work. There are people in all those generations who are just looking for a stable job and you know, are opting for security and I’m, uh, from the baby boomer generation. And, you know, we were going to change the world and.

There were some things that were lit and some things that weren’t because you know, some of the worst people are also of my generation. But as I say to my kids, when you get older, you can fuck up the world too. You know? So it’s not, I don’t see it as anything that’s exclusive. To a particular group in terms of behaviors.

I don’t think they are more creative. I don’t think they’re more insightful. I think that each one of those groups has people that are insight full has people that are creative, has people that are dumb as stones have people that don’t apply themselves, have people that, you know, all of these different categories.

So I think there’s tremendous over.

[00:38:32] Nir Hindi: Great. So we are getting to the end of the podcast, and I think you kind of laid the ground for my last question. Let’s assume we have a baby boomer and gen Z or X or millennial or whatever we want to call them that is listening to us now and want to unlock their creativity.

But you know, they kind of frayed, they cannot attend your course. What is. The one thing that you can recommend doing, I think

[00:39:03] Jeffrey Madoff: that the most important character trait to have is curiosity that you want to understand what’s going on and why is it going on? And so you should go to movies, read books, go to conferences.

Talk to people who you’ve never talked to before, who have ideas that are different from yours, expose yourself to theater, to music, go down some rabbit holes on online and do research into things and see what that opens up and constantly be feeding your brain because your brain, even though it’s not formally a muscle, it does get flacid.

If you don’t use it. And so use it and engage by being curious. And, uh, the more curious you are and the more inputs you have, the more your neural firings can link up things and unique ways because you have more dots to connect

[00:40:02] Nir Hindi: Jeffrey. Thank you very much. I really like the conversation. I think there are many insights over here from trial and error or to feeling safe.

Do a curiosity. I think it’s such an important characteristics or attitude or skill. I don’t know how to define it that someone needs to have. Uh, but I definitely can relate to that. And I always say that for me, you know, The thing that I like to do the most is reading books. The thing that I, I hate the most is reading books.

Because every time I read a book, I discovered another 10 books that I need to read. And then I ended up, I ended up like just looking forward to have full years just to reading those books. Jeffrey Madoff. Thank you very, very

[00:40:47] Jeffrey Madoff: much. Thank you total pleasure. Really enjoyed talking with you this morning.


[00:40:53] Nir Hindi: Go check the show notes. We will add the links to a Jeffery website to the books so you can see more and see you on the next episode of the RDM podcast. Thanks.