Once upon a time, before COVID, I used to go back and forth between The Village (Sydney) and The Show (LA), and The City (New York) for work, inspiration, and a decent taco.
Eran Thomson – The Shoutout LA interview
I’m not saying those days are over, but nothing about getting on a plane sounds good right now, except getting off it in a new city.
Covid has kept many of us trapped in place for years now. So it was nice to mind-travel a bit with ShoutOut LA during this interview.
Especially since I’m pretty much stuck on “The Island” (Australia) for the next little while.
The beaches here are arguably nicer than those in LA, but I’d trade the fires and floods for an army of taco trucks in a heartbeat.
Click below to read the entire interview.
We had the good fortune of connecting with Eran Thomson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eran, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I used to work in New York City, in advertising. There, the work-life-ometer was all the way to the right – and in the red. We came into the office early and we stayed late. Dinner at 10 pm was the norm.
Then I worked in Sydney, in advertising and almost none of my team got to the office before 10 am. If the surf was good, most of them were gone by 3 pm. Pub lunches that extended into dinner were the norm. The work-life-ometer was well and truly in the black.
Things have changed a lot since then. One big reason is what I call the employee vs employer mindset. I often joke about how you can tell who has a job and who has staff by how fast they walk. Employees walk slow. Entrepreneurs move fast.
When I was an employee I went surfing nearly every day. Now that I have multiple businesses and projects I might get in the water once a month. I have to constantly remind myself to take breaks, exercise, meditate, do yoga, or go catch the occasional wave.
Clearly, I have more to learn.
One of my favorite things about LA is that here, the needle on the work-life-ometer feels like it’s pretty much straight up and down. People hustle, but they aren’t killing themselves. You can be ambitious and have a social life.
And great tacos.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve always been interested in lots of things and my career reflects this, but at my core, I’ve consistently been about writing, ideas, and creativity.
The throughline for everything I’ve done is joy. This is how I earned The Joy Pusher moniker.
A while back I was reexamining my personal brand and reflecting on all the roles I’ve had, projects I’ve been involved with, and businesses I’ve founded.
At first, I couldn’t see a clear connection between them all. Initially, they felt like disparate endeavors that had no relation other than perhaps creativity, storytelling, or marketing.
It was actually my wife who pointed out that all the things I’ve devoted time and energy to over the years have helped bring joy to people.
This was certainly true with Laugh Masters Academy – the improv and sketch comedy school I founded in 2012 which has brought joy to thousands of people.
And PowerProv, the corporate training business I set up helps teams communicate, collaborate, and innovate more effectively and joyfully.
My entire career in advertising and marketing has always led to work that was engaging and entertaining. And whenever appropriate, comedic, so again, joy.
Even the fintech I founded, Zuper superannuation, was designed to help people have more money which can sometimes be a cause for joy.
The game I invented, Song Saga is intentionally designed to bring about joyful connection and recollection.
And right now I’m writing a book about all the silly and dumb things I’ve done that almost got me killed. It’s called “A Laugh Threatening Situation”
If you giggled even a little at the title, then it’s already brought you a tiny bit of joy – and you haven’t even read it yet.
So yeah, I’m the Joy Pusher, and (sticking with the drug dealer analogy) my product is high-grade moments of meaningful connection.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If I had an out-of-town friend visiting me in LA I guess we’d start in Venice, but mostly so I can explain to them how much cooler it used to be.
Maybe a quick breakfast at Flake. For lunch, I can’t go past the turkey burger at Hinano. If we’re on Abbot Kenny then a meal at Gjelina is a must. While we’re in the hood, I’d take them to the 3rd Street Promenade because that’s where I’ve consistently seen celebs, and for first-timers that can be a thrill.
Then maybe we’d head over to visit my friends who own the Westside Comedy Theater and see a show. The Grove and Farmers Market seem like touristy but obligatory stops. LACMA and The Getty for sure. Hollywood Bowl if someone great is playing. But the main thing I’d show someone new to LA is all the amazing taco joints around town – Cactus Taqueria #1 and Guisados are a couple of faves.
Once we’d stuffed our faces, I’d suggest burning off the queso calories with a hike in Runyon Canyon or the Charlie Turner Trail to Griffith Park. That or a surf in Malibu. For nighttime antics perhaps some blues at Harvelle’s, or drinks downtown at The Wolves.
But most of all I’d try and be spontaneous and let the good times unfold naturally.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Nope. I did it all myself.
Joke. My wife of course. She’s been a great classmate in the school of life and we keep learning, growing, and changing together. Her, faster than me, but I keep up. Barely.
The book A NEW EARTH by Eckhardt Tolle helped me reframe my relationship with life and put me on a transformational path that I’m still on to this day.
And all the funny writers, comedians, improvisers, and collaborators I’ve been lucky and unlucky enough to work with. I learned from you all.