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Mike Rowe – May 4, 2016

Mike Rowe – May 4, 2016
TV host, writer, director, producer. Worked graveyard shift on QVC for three years until he was fired.
  • Ended up on QVC after a bet and crashing an audition. Got job offer on site.
  • He learned more at three AM selling meaningless chockees on QVC then he did at any other point in his career. It was honest, unscripted, and with large night callersive on air, unpredictable.
  • Freelance – a mercenary, a night without a Lord.
  • Rowe wanted to to a freelancer as his trade. Managed to get good at auditioning, freelancing for many companies at a time.
  • American Airlines On Air gig let him fly around the world with a D3 clearance – giving him executive privileges to go around security, fly first class & have guaranteed last second flights.
  • As a freelancer, started every month with 30 blank squares and some anxiety. At the end, he looked back and filled half to 2/3rds
  • His grandmother was a craftsman and handyman. When he got sick, Rowe realized that he never did anything that would impress him on TV.
    • This led to a TV segment called somebody’s gotta do it. The segment failed, but he cobbled the segments and sold them to Discovery.
  • Dirty Jobs failed on every single network. Eventually landed on Discovery, and became their de facto narrator.
    • Sold them as someone who wasn’t an expert, who was a fan.
    • Dirty Jobs was initially told it was off brand. He convinced them to show one episode, and it immediately resonated with the working class worker.
  • Book – A curious mind
  • Wanted to work for Discovery, but it was a landscape covered by experts. He never wanted to master a thing.
  • How could he be genuine and authentic to get on Discovery, while still embracing his inner ignorance? Aggressive transparency was what made him stand out for Discovery.
  • After a successful freelance career, he was worn out because he had insincerity and disdain for the field he was in. It was time for a change, which led to his Discovery move.
  • He would get attention not for being good, for being different.
  • He was always weary of shallow platitudes, like “follow your passion.”
    • Why was he seeing that people on dirty Jobs were often happier than the people in his daily life?
    • They all said – people who watched where everyone was going, and went the opposite way.
      1. Do what no one else is doing
      2. Keep doing it, be hardheaded
      3. Figure out how to love something you couldn’t figure out how to love.
  • Always follow your passion? No. Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you.
  • Bring passion to what you do, no matter what you do.
  • Be suspicious of your routines. Know when you’re distracting and bullshitting yourself. “virtuous procrastination.”
  • Don’t be your own fan.
  • Books – the sunburn gland, at home, the lost continent, the deep blue goodbye.
  • TF books – motherless Brooklyn, levels of the game, brigade de cuisine, about face, stranger in a strange land, the baron in the trees.
  • On Bruno Mars – how does a genius mimic wind up becoming someone completely original?
  • Pressuring a 17 year old to declare a major and borrow a ton of money is wrong.
  • Suggests that kids work one year before going to college.
  • College debt is a conspiracy. Debt is mindless.
  • Restarted his career at 42.
  • College is sending kids into a debt that they will never pay back, chasing jobs that do t exist.
  • Advice is the thing you ask for when you secretly know the answer and with you didn’t.
  • There is time to change your journey, no matter what step you’re on.