AMA with Jay AcunzoLast week, we launched our first official Spin Sucks Community AMA session featuring Jay Acunzo.

Let’s unpack that a bit.

First, if you haven’t heard of, or joined, the Spin Sucks Community yet, it’s our free global community made up mostly of communicators—agency, in-house, non-profit, universities, and more.

We also have SEO specialists, web developers, content marketers, journalists, professors, videographers, photographers, and small business owners.

It’s more than 1,000 members strong.

There are several channels you can join—or ignore, and your level of participation is up to you.

Furthermore, the community is currently hosted on Slack, so you can set notifications to get only what you want… and lurk in other spots until you decide it’s valuable.

The Spin Sucks Community: There’s a Channel for That

Want to get feedback on something you’re working on? There is a channel for that.

Want to join the virtual water cooler? There is a channel for that.

Have a video for Gin & Topics? There is a channel for that.

Want to discuss important trends or news? Yep! There’s a channel for that.

Want to find out how great it is to work with me? It’s in there!

Above all, you can customize your experience based on what’s most important to and relevant for you.

The Spin Sucks Community AMA

However, because our community is so strong and engaged, we are constantly thinking of new ways to engage with them. New formats to offer.

Enter Jay Acunzo.

If you’re not familiar with Jay, he’s the founder of Unthinkable Media. You can also check out the Fireside Chat he’s featured in earlier this year.

And he’s an author (he just launched his first book, Break the Wheel, on October 1st), podcast host, keynote speaker and all-around nice guy.


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Break the Wheel is now available! I’m dance-awkwardly-in-my-office-level excited to publish my first book TODAY ??♥️?? Link in bio. . . . Break the Wheel is a book about thinking for yourself in the face of endless conventional thinking at work. We obsess over “best practices” in the workplace, but finding best practices isn’t the goal. Finding the best approach for YOU is. So how do we do that? We’re never taught how to make the best possible decisions FOR US, regardless of the generalized wisdom or buzzy new trends around us. . . . Through science and story, this book dives into: – the psychological barriers blocking good decision-making (and why we prefer the notion of a “right” answer in every situation, when reality is far messier) – the 1 skill we all possess but overlook when making decisions, and how to hone that skill like a concrete tool, more practical and powerful than any expert’s list of tips – the 3 pieces you must understand in any situation at work to make decisions with clarity – and the 6 most fundamental questions to ask to make better decisions, faster, in a given situation . . . In the end, I can’t stand all the commodity, redundant, settle-for-average work being created today. If you’re fine with the status quo, this book is NOT for you. But if you’re also bothered by suck … I hope you’ll purchase a copy. Thanks for your support! Find the link in my bio. #amwriting #businessbook #newbook #authorsofinstagram #reading #bookclub #entrepreneur #makersgonnamake #makermovement #creativity #creativityfound #author #authorlife

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Don’t Follow Best Practices?

His book discusses best practices.

Specifically, why we shouldn’t follow them.

Really? We shouldn’t? What should we follow instead? Why do they even exist??

Jay clarified a little bit: ultimately, it’s not that best practices suck or that you should 100 percent NOT follow them.

They do have their place. But they’re typically incomplete. Starting points at best.

Jay says he (and his new book) can add the most value by helping people understand:

  • What prevents us from making good decisions,
  • Why best practices aren’t those good decisions we seek, and
  • How to find clarity and develop self and situational awareness to make better decisions based on your situation, not the best practice.

Cool, right?

As a result, we threw him to the proverbial lions. We had questions. He has answers.

The Spin Sucks Community AMA with Jay Acunzo

The AMA itself (note, this link will bring you directly to the AMA thread in Slack, but you’ll have to join the free community to access it) lasted approximately one hour.

It was fun, engaging, and, serendipitously, fell on the same day as National Taco Day, National Vodka Day, and National Poetry Day.

Really, what more could you ask for?

Note: If you’re really asking, Jay did gift participants with a free chapter of his new book. (Well played, Jay. Well played.)

Interestingly, one of my favorite parts of the discussion actually came BEFORE the AMA even started.

We were reminding community members about the start time, provided a link to the free chapter of Jay’s book, and the group just started talking.

The trigger? One of Jay’s most compelling questions: who aspires to be a five out of 10?

Do You Want To Be a Five out of 10?

(Spoiler: the answer is no. Not a single person aspires to be a five out of 10. That may be where they are, but it’s not where we strive to be).

Community Member: I love his line about people aspiring to be a five out of 10, because it’s exactly the point of best practices. Best practices help people who are a two get to a five.

When you’re at two, five looks damn good—and there’s no shortcut that lets you skip five on the way to 10.

Jay:Man, I love that. I didn’t write this book for people exactly like me aside from one trait: we see five as table stakes today, so what does the rest of the journey look like to 10?

Community Member:Five is table stakes if you’re at five. If you’re at two, five IS your stretch goal, because you know you’re probably struggling to get to three.

Jay:Yes! That’s why the change I’m asking people to make in the book isn’t to act like a rebel who decries best practices entirely, any more than they should cling to them for dear life forever.

What I hope people take away is the ability they have to contextualize any idea or answer, whether theirs or others’, to make better decisions for their own situations… regardless of the best practice.

We are taught (in school, but also in business, even for creative tasks) that there’s a “right” answer. The truth? It’s dangerous to rely on generalities or assumptions.

That’s what leads to commodity work. Anyhoo, more at 12:30!

The rest of the AMA conversation unfolded similarly and we reserved some of the more personal questions for a lighting round during the final five minutes.

FYI: Jay is pretty nervous about the impending birth of his baby girl.

The Spin Sucks Community: More AMAs to Come

Consequently, if you’re already a Spin Sucks Community member and didn’t participate, then check out the rest of the AMA with Jay Acunzo (and get your free first chapter of his book).

If you’re not, please join the community! What are you waiting for?

So with a successful AMA under our belt (thanks, Jay!), and looking ahead, we will be scheduling additional guests in the near future.

Finally, please feel free to submit AMA candidates in the comments below. You can also join the community and connect with me there (@mikeconnell).

Mike Connell

Mike Connell is the director of client services at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. He is also a contributor to the award-winning PR blog, Spin Sucks, the leading source for modern PR training, trends, and insights. Find more of Mike's musings on his blog, Communative. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

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