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One definition of creativity is bringing together two seemingly (or truly) different, pre-existing items or concepts. Reese's Peanut Butter Cup® showed us with the old, if a bit cheesy, TV commercial. Reese's used several different versions of the same storyline: One person is walking down the street enjoying a chocolate bar, another (oddly, if you think about it) is eating peanut butter from a jar.

They bump into each other, and the chocolate bar breaks in two and into the jar. "Hey!" the two say almost at once, "You got peanut butter on my chocolate" and "You got chocolate in my peanut butter." Then they each take a bite and say how much they like it. Cut to the narrator: "Reese's Peanut Butter Cup®. Two great tastes that taste great together."

That's a very literal (and as I said, cheesy) "collaboration" between two already existing products. But a lot of creativity, especially in marketing, is like that. I own a t-shirt that combines logos of the San Francisco Giants baseball team and the music group the Grateful Dead. I use "Thin Optics," reading glasses that attach with a case directly to my cell phone. The portability and access to readers whenever I need them is their creative advantage over other similar glasses.

But how about with people? I've had my share of both successful and unsuccessful collaborations over the years. The most successful, so far, have been when the collaborators share a common goal, a common approach to the Big Picture, and yet bring very different perspectives that complement each other. After all, the kid with the peanut butter wouldn't be smiling if someone dropped some raw salmon eggs into it.....or would he? I'm not going to try, but I won't stop you. Let me know how it goes.

Speaking of collaboration, I want to cut this blog entry short in order to introduce you to my latest collaboration with Dan "The Hammer" Nestle. He earned that nickname "The Hammer" when he was the editor of my very first set of Andrew's Ax newsletters. He would "take the hammer to the Ax." Painful as it sometimes was to see my words or even whole paragraphs take the hammer, it's how we first collaborated, in the early 2000s. And it made us both better at what we do.

Our current collaboration is the podcast "Remote Work Companion," and we are having a blast with it. The trailer and first 2 episodes have already dropped. Episode 1 is "Remote," where we discuss 3 S's of successful remote work: Setting, Schedule, and (reducing) Stress. Episode 2, "Distract," is all about managing distractions. Long-time readers of my blog, and readers of my second book, Get a G.R.I.P. on Remote Work, will find the topics very familiar, and yet it's the dialogue, the different "takes" on the topic, that truly power this podcast. Dan wanted the podcast to be a true "companion" to any and all who are working remotely.

A first-time listener wrote, "I want to be a remote work warrior!" The podcast will help you be one too. So let me invite you to please give it a listen, and let us know what you think. We'd love to add new topics, and your input will help us all become better at working in this remote, hybrid "new normal" even as it's getting beyond "new" and yet still far from "normal." Dan's been working remotely for over 5 years, and our podcast brought us (and can bring you) companionship that helps. Oh, and it's got a lot fewer calories than a Peanut Butter Cup®.

Here's where you can find (and hopefully listen to, subscribe, rate, and comment):

Happy Listening!

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