#8: Career switching, how to generate good ideas in groups, Roam Research

Also: Football and tequila

:::Why are you receiving this? You’re friends with Cam Houser. This is where I share atypical stories of creativity, entrepreneurship, and the ups and downs of Actionworks:::

🎟Welcome Jeffrey, Peter, Jarett, Kelly, Nick, Daniel, Regina, Sunny, Didier, Charlie, Aaron, Adam, Jen, Frankie, Mitchell  🎟

Greetings, Rulebreakers!

It’s a special time in Austin, TX. The summer is wrapping up, the unbearable heat is ending, and the holy season approaches.

The holy season, in Texas, refers to college football.

We’re in my favorite part of the season: the part where the University of Texas Longhorn football team is 1-0. Unblemished. No dashed hopes or failed expectations.

Every year—but especially in the surrealness of 2020—I relish this time.

What I’ve been up to:

  • 🎥 Teaching attendees at 3 Day Startup’s annual gathering (The Global Roundup) how to use video to accelerate their careers

  • 🌶️ Infusing tequila with serrano peppers (initial results: nuclear heat tequila. Gonna go a little more gentle subsequent batches)

  • ✉️ Reading my entrepreneurship students’ email newsletters, part of my ongoing push to teach pre-product audience building

  • 🏈 🤘 Revelling in the University of Texas football team’s dominance of UT-El Paso. Given the rockiness of the Longhorns over recent years, the team doing what they’re supposed to do is a tremendous relief

Cheat mode for career switching

Spencer Ingram, founder of Best Monday Ever, came up with the most original thinking I’ve seen around how to advance your career if you’re delving into a new area.

The typical advice is to conduct an informational interview.

But those are weak. And they can be a time suck for the advice-giver.

Spencer’s framework—he calls it the “cheat sheet”—creates value for the advice-giver and positions you as a capable, creative thinker and doer. Even better, it increases the amount of contacts you have in your field of interest.

The Cheat Sheet helps you think like a creator. In order to quickly collect career advice from experts, you need to create something they want to be a part of. Your intriguing proposition is to publish their advice alongside other experts as a digital mini-book. The simple magic here is that people will help you when you make it compelling and easy to help you. Best of all, you can do all this in under two weeks, regardless of where you live or the size of your network."

Video [22 min] here. In-depth example with step-by-step guide here

If group brainstorming isn’t effective, then what?

Research suggests that group brainstorming is ineffective. And it’s true. The benefit of group interaction is the feedback, not the de novo creation of an idea.

Nate Kadlac (who I’m a fan of) was exploring this topic and asked for my two cents, which led to me recording a guest video for his Plan Your Next newsletter.

In it, I recommend something I call the 1-2-3 model built for Zoom breakout rooms that starts with singleton ideation and segues into feedback:

  1. Solo brainstorming: Write down as many ideas as possible

  2. Breakout rooms: Small groups of 2-3 for everyone to share their ideas to get quick feedback.

  3. Large group share: Allow those who feel comfortable to share their idea to spark connections for post-session interactions

(Want a guest video for your newsletter? Tell me what’s on your mind and let’s talk.)

Roam Research gets funded


This is not the next great neo-folk band.

This is the team behind Roam Research, #1 on the list of startups I’m most excited about. Roam displaces Substack, the company that allows me to send you this newsletter, to #2.

As the information overwhelm rages on, the space that Roam occupies—Personal Knowledge Management—is going to explode. I’m bullish on the space and Roam. It’s changed way I think about how human beings relate to information and knowledge as they make their way in the world.


  • Real-time video creation workshop this Thursday at 5 pm EST. One of the attendees called it “Lights, Cam, Action” so that’s the name we’re going with. In this session, I give a 10-minute crash course on how to make an “About Me” video for your website or newsletter. The rest of the time, YOU will record a video and “screen” it to 1-2 others for feedback in Zoom rooms. We have 4-5 slots left so email me if you’re interested.

  • Some writing on how to get comfortable on camera and how to reframe your relationship to Youtube

Whew. This issue was too long. Next one will be shorter.

Until I see you beautiful people in gallery view,

Web: actionworks.co
Twitter: @cahouser
Have a question? Ask it here
For professional grade virtual courses and workshops, email cam@actionworks.co

Just for fun: slow motion bird footage from my balcony to your inbox…

Animated GIF

Just for fun: v2 of youtube intro animation. It’s getting closer…