Blog - November 4th, 2019

Inspirational ideas and where to find them

Marketing | Communication | Fun stuff | Reading list

We’re always on the look-out for inspirational ideas that will change the way we think about marketing, work and our lives in general - and when we find something that influences us, we like to share it with the world.

The Infinite Game - Simon Sinek

Sinek influences us a great deal here at Rusty Monkey, and we’re always showing our clients his videos to help them think differently about how they market and run their business. In this talk, he introduces the concept of ‘the infinite game’, a way of thinking about business that can help you to overcome petty market competition and fulfil your dreams to make your business transcendentally great.

Sinek argues that most ‘traditional’ business models are built on a finite game model. That is, a game that will one day end, that has a goal, and is played between a series of competitors. But, he argues, this doesn’t describe how business actually works. There is no end to this game, there is no single goal, and your competition with others isn’t as important as you think it is.

Instead, business actually takes place in an infinite game. There is no end point, and there are no set metrics by which you can recognise ‘victory’ or ‘loss’. You can say that you want to ‘be the best’, but by what metric do you measure that? Any metrics we use to measure our ‘success’ in business are arbitrary and artificial.

The only true measure of success in an infinite game is how well you are doing now compared to how well you were doing before. And that progression is infinite, because you can never reach ‘peak perfection’.

Watch the full talk here.

MAYA - Derek Thompson

MAYA stands for Most Advanced Yet Acceptable. Studies have consistently shown that consumers are attracted to things that are ‘new’, but are put off by things that are ‘too new’. They like things to feel fresh and interesting, but they don’t like them to be alien and strange. Finding the balance between ‘new enough’ and ‘too new’ is key to communicating effectively with your audience and getting them on board with what you’re selling - whether that be a product or an idea.

In order to have a successful product or idea, you need to take your audience with you on your journey. You can’t deliver something completely left-field and expect them to accept it, because they haven’t seen the processes and thinking and design that’s gone into that result. For you, maybe the idea doesn’t feel so radical. But for them, seeing it for the first time and out of context, it could be too daunting, too weird or too different for them to accept.

If you want to deliver something truly ‘new’, you need to drip-feed this concept over time. Look at the way that Apple’s technology has evolved. First they took away the floppy drive. Then, a few generations later, they took away the CD drive. Then, a few generations later, they took away the headphone jack. First they made an iPod. Then the iPod Touch. Then the iPhone. And so on. If they’d done all this at once, people would have thought they’d gone mad. But by gradually making these changes over time, they have fundamentally transformed the way we use technology in every aspect of our lives - and we all totally accept it (well, most of us).

Watch the full talk here.


These are just a couple of the cool ideas we’ve come across lately. We like to keep up with thought-leaders by reading and watching as much as we can. But we’re busy people, and reading a whole book can take a while. Which is why we’re big fans of Blinkist, a service that condenses the core argument of a book into around 15 minutes that you can read or listen to.

Check it out.

Who wrote this?



She / her; red / blue. Mel is a writer, editor and designer. Equally happy hiking a muddy trail as playing tabletop roleplay games by candlelight. Will seize any opportunity for a party, as long as said party features copious food, prosecco and hits from the 1980s. Her true passion lies in words. A student of literature, she is fascinated by enduring myths, etymology and science fiction. Kurt Vonnegut is her hero. “We are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.”

View all their content

Do you think we're cool?

Is your inbox boring?

Subscribe to our newsletter for unique content, marketing insights and good times.