#15 Finding Inspiration with Rich Hackman

Updated: Jun 3


Content Discussed: Website | RichardHackman.com Podcast | Happy Hour With Friends 'Everything Is Figureoutable' (Marie Forleo)

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Amy Riordan:   0:00

"Never stop learning and trying new things." - Rich Hackman. 


Amy Riordan:   0:12

Welcome to the Amy Riordan Podcast. They say owning a business is a journey in self development, so I decided to explore just that. Whether you're an entrepreneur or looking for fulfillment in your day to day life, get inspired here through interviews, life stories and proven self help techniques. What you do with the information received in this podcast is completely up to you, but if you act, you will alter the course of your life in ways you never could have possibly imagined. I'm Amy Riordan. Let's do this. 


Amy Riordan:   0:40

This episode is brought to you by Lennox and Lucy, a collection of handcrafted greeting cards; a company created to assist in supporting the Lupus Foundation. Purchase your greeting cards today at LenoxAndLucy.com. This web address can also be found in the show notes of this podcast. 


Amy Riordan:   0:59

My most recent interview with Rich Hackman is one for the ages. Not only is he inspired by it seems like everything that he sees, but he has a devotion to art and design that is unlike any other. His a visual storyteller and content producer who's passionate about getting to know people just like myself. And you can find all of his work on his website. Richard Hackman dot com. We were also able to discuss the situation with Kobe today, and he lives in New York City, so he definitely had an opinion about it. I know that this interview is going to be one that really enlightens you and opens your eyes to not only digital creation, but also what's happening in the world right now. Let me know if you guys have any questions. Hi, Rich. Thank you so much for joining us. We're so excited to have you on. Please introduce yourself.


Rich Hackman:   1:50

Hi. So my name is rich Hackman. I'm a visual storyteller and content producer.


Amy Riordan:   1:56

We were just talking about the podcast and the overview of everything. And I want you to tell our audience about your proof of concepts and and how you've integrated all of your passions on your website into this beautiful experiment.


Rich Hackman:   2:10

Oh, man. Okay, So one thing about me is that I can be a bit of a perfectionist, and coincidentally, I know you recorded a podcast on perfectionism just recently, so I did listen to that. And I thought it was very, you know, very indicative of the kind of person I am, too. So I had a lot of fun with that, but, ah, yeah, I'm a perfectionist in many ways. And so I'm constantly thinking about how can I improve something and with in particular the things that I do being visual storytelling in the form of, you know, whether it's videos does graphic design, Web design, even other things like podcasting and, uh, song writing all those kinds of things. I'm always thinking, How can I make this better? Or how can I make it like, professional grade or like industry level? You know? I always want toe reach the best height it could reach. And so the podcast, The Happy Hour With Friends is an example of that sort of experimentation and constant, continuous reiteration of a particular idea that I'm working on. Um, it was just one of those things where I said, All right, enjoy the idea of podcasting and it's gotten so big and, you know, especially now where everybody's at home and you have undivided attention. Teoh, either stream stuff were Listen to stuff, you know, This medium is very powerful, so At the time, I challenged myself to go and record a couple of podcast episodes, and I said, What's something I could easily do that serve a ah, non conflict ing easy point of entry. And it was to kind of talk to my friends over drinks. And so that's how come called Happy Hour with Friends. And I really enjoy doing the first episode the second episode and after that was when I really started to go. Okay, I should probably like, tweet this a little bit more. I'm gonna find better equipment. I'm going to choose who I'm interviewing or talking to a little bit more seriously. I'm gonna choose my setting and location a little bit better so that there's not so much ambient noise in the locations we were at. So it was that kind of like, all right. With each episode, let me see what I could do better and then also thinking a bit about the production side. So, you know, tweaking the audio, making sure the soundtracks were, you know, flowed with the vibe of the podcast and everything like that. So there, so many variables and elements to it, and that's just the podcasting. That's not even like the photography and the video editing other stuff that I dio.


Amy Riordan:   4:57

I'd love to talk more about those things, too, because, honestly, I am also a perfectionist, and I'm also a multi, passionate entrepreneurs, as many people call it. Auras. Mainly Murray for Leah calls it, but But I really love what you've created here. It's just like your own world, and it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks of it or what you decide to dabble in next. It's beautiful. Quite frankly, I don't know another word for it. Tell us a little bit about how you experience experiment with photography, videos, stories and design. Give us like the overview.


Rich Hackman:   5:31

You know, it's interesting. I have toe pause and think and center myself a bit and really like channel like what motivates me, You know, to answer this question. In the last couple of years, it's been very interesting, you know, especially with social media. And, you know, just the abundant sharing that's going on to kind of ask myself, Why is it that I create the things that I do? Why is it that I produced the things that I dio, um And so I've had some time to kind of think about this question and you know, you typically I'll give some sort of just a surface level answer. But I feel like this time around I should really get into it. And so when I create, I'm really creating for myself, and that brings me joy. You know, there's a lot of passion in, you know, attempting to create something beautiful, whether it's a portrait of somebody, whether it's Ah, music video are even a marketing video from a really work standpoint and all these passions that I have. Yeah, I had some education experience from university, you know, developing these kinds of things. But I didn't feel like I had all the skill sets and tools after graduating from my undergrad to do these things. And so I spent hours and hours on YouTube and talking to people who do these things professionally. So, as an example, I really only got into photography because while I was at college, there was this history professor who, just for the sake of being passionate and enjoying it, he would photograph all the students on campus. Um, you know, just because he was picking up a new hobby and he would then share the photos with each student. And they loved it and he didn't ask anything for it. And I loved that sort of passion and that selflessness behind the art of it. And so it wasn't until later, when I graduated, that I was like, You know what? I should pick up my first camera, and I should just mess around with it and see if I can also channel and re create that same passion. And then, you know, there's, ah, long winded story of me moving to back home to Ghana in West Africa with this camera and, um, you know, ah, fashion designer for a global fashion Brands saying, Hey, you know what? I've seen some of those shots you do in your free time just having fun with it, and I love that, and I want to commission you to shoot my whole fashion line for this year and me going, Are you crazy? Are you insane? Why are you going to take a risk on someone like me who's not even sure of his art? You know, in his creativity and hasn't created that brand voice for himself of what his work is. Um, but the person took a risk with me. And that kind of instilled a greater confidence in me about my vision, my creative vision for the things that I want to dio. And so you know, photography was kind of the first photography and graphic design, or just designed in general, where the first passions that I picked up around that time with that inspiration and then after that, I was like, Well, you know what you know I want. I want to kind of see where this goes with my passion. But I want to do more with it, and I know that I'll be more marketable. I'll be able to get better jobs and stuff like that. So let me learn some video editing. So again got on YouTube, just streamed hours and hours of content about how to do it. Best software to do it. Best gear to do it. And then, you know, before I knew it, I was doing jobs with that, and also in my spare time, I was shooting short videos and films and stuff like that and, you know, from there it's like every single creative, you know, I guess tool in my tool belt has been Let me go back to the drawing board. Let me go back on YouTube. Let me stream hours of content and let me learn this new skill and then let me see how I could make it my own. And that's how each iteration has happened. So my website is kind of, you know, it's kind of an image Teoh that, you know, years of creation and continuous reiteration. Um, I can honestly tell you, I think my website is currently the 12th version of the website of my website I've created since 2000 and eight. So that gives you a little bit of an example of the cunt continuous. You re working and experimenting just to get the right format and right layout, the right content and everything. And it's very simple now, but, you know, it really helps like the actual things on their kind of shine. I think


Amy Riordan:   10:38

I think your website is also another creative outlet, so why not? Absolutely. Why not do the same thing with it? So I'm curious a little bit about what's going on as far as mentally with all these projects, Which one are you the most passionate about? Which one do you see yourself doing? I mean, do you see yourself doing all of these for all of this foreseeable future?


Rich Hackman:   11:02

You know, it's it's very interesting. And this a kind of ties back into the whole conversation we were having before about, you know, go setting and and you know, just what what what My process is in my mind. I know like, this is the conflict between my heart and my mind. I want to do all the things and I want to always do all the things. And it's a matter of Do I have enough time? And is it something that's just going to stress me out? Or will actually, you know, thrusting myself into this and being so immersed in home everything Will that actually give me more peace of mind and fulfillment? Right? And so when I really stop and think about it, there's a balance. I have to think about balance. You know, it's a balance between, you know, these kinds of projects, these kinds of works, they are particularly time consuming, right, And while I might want to just thrust myself into them and develop and create and just have that freedom. Um, you know, I have to be cognizant of the fact that, you know, I don't I can't be using all my time for that. You know, I have other priorities. I have actual, you know, a full time job. I have, ah, relationship I'm committed to, You know, like there there are all these other things. And so it's like the very logical practical side of myself, you know, combating the free spirited artists part of myself and, like trying to, you know, navigate the balance between those two things.


Amy Riordan:   12:38

I love the way you said that because and I don't think you realize how much we were relating right now because I feel the same way. There are so many things that I want to dio on, and I mean, I think that's a lot for for everyone. There's so many things they want to do, and it's not just about travels about self help and creativity. I think I think there's also a and acceptance inside your head as well that not everything that you create in do needs to be profitable. and and you know, it also comes out Teoh something Gary V actually said. And I'm gonna link both Marie for Leo and Gary V beneath this so that people understand what I'm talking about. But he didn't interview where someone asked him if he feels like he's wasting his time, because he's done all these different things that never amounted to anything. And I'm putting a little quotations for those of you can't see them. Um, but he said that it's not wasting your time if you're learning something and if you're enjoying it while it's happening. So I feel like I feel like we're both of us and and probably some of our listeners are very, very hard on ourselves. When it comes, start create creativity cause technically, you could do whatever the heck you want if you unless you want one particular thing and you have to choose which one to significantly amount to something and beat your life project or, you know,


Rich Hackman:   13:54

absolutely, it's it's incredible. Sorry, I think I could absolutely relate. It's you know, I actually had a note here in preparation, you know, for this that says, never stop learning and trying New things because that is so key. Teoh, Just who I am and my value set. Um, another thing that you know is ah, kind of constant reassurance for me in terms off. You're doing the right thing. Don't beat yourself up too hard about, like, wanting to spend all this time doing all these different things is, you know, I took a step back and I went, What motivates me? You know, what are the things that get me up in the morning that make me excited that I'm passionate about. And, you know, when I made that list, I go the search for truth and understanding, you know, a really good story. You know, my future Children, making others happy, you know, And And when I think about the the collective, you know, the collective work that I've created, not even necessarily for profit just for myself. You know, a lot of it is very deeply personal, and it's insightful, and it speaks to these motivators. And it's something that, you know, I don't need to share with the world. But in terms of like some of the motivators I have here, you know some of the videos that I make, They may make people really laugh and smile and, you know, they enjoy them. And then, you know, same thing with, like, the motivator of my future Children. I go, You know, one day my kids are gonna look at this and they're gonna get a little bit more insight into who their father was, you know, back in the day and why he is the way he is now kind of thing. Um and then just my personal deep growth in the search for truth and understanding and a really good story there key because I consider myself a communicator and, you know, in order to feel like I'm growing, developing and changing and learning new things I have to have really understanding. And you know, the way in which it's conveyed to me the best is in the form of a great story. So, you know, those made of motivators, just they necessitate me to even continue to doom or of the creative work and the experimental work that I want to dio.


Amy Riordan:   16:15

And all of that says so much about you. Because if you really think about it, you're not sitting on the couch watching reruns of Seinfeld. You're learning new things. It's and in no way could that ever be some sort of waste of time in any capacity. But But then there's also, you know, books that say that that is or resource is online that say that it is.


Rich Hackman:   16:38

Well, my two cents on the matter is because I have been known to binge watch a full season of something or other at one point or another. I think we're all guilty of that, exactly. But you know what? It's funny because I'm also very, very particular about what I'm watching. What I'm streaming, you know, And and maybe I'm over analysing this, But it's like there some days where yes, like I just binged, watched with Erica, my girlfriend, the whole season of you know, Tiger King. And like, honestly, I didn't learn anything from that. It was not, like, insightful. I did not grow from it. It was just, like mindless entertained. So there are those and you need those to kind of combat the you know, the mundanity of everything every once in a while, but yeah, no, I feel like typically I'm very particular about the kinds of things I'm watching because, you know, as a person who's interested in filmmaking or photography, you know, I'm looking at things like cinematography. I'm looking at how things air shot. I'm looking at the color. I'm looking at the mood. I'm listening to this script, you know, and how things are phrased and so like, There's it's it's ah, viewing experience that is a little bit different than most people. And so, you know, I don't You know, I like. This is probably not gonna make me have a lot of friends or fans, but, you know, it's hard for me to sit through, Ah, romantic comedy. I'm sorry. You know, it's It's like once you've seen one, it's kind of like you've seen them all, you know, unless something very interesting is done with it. So, you know, even even those kinds of acts, mindless activities, sometimes that can be really inspiring and can necessitate some sort of creative the inspiration and growth.


Amy Riordan:   18:27

So you guys live in New York, and before I go any further forward, I say you guys meaning you and Erica, your girlfriend and also episode number four. It's a really good one. It's been very popular. Tell me a little bit about how New York inspires you. What are some things that that really open your eyes


Rich Hackman:   18:44

there? Amanda. New York City is a love hate relationship. I think anybody who's been here long enough will tell you that, um, you know, New York City and I have, ah, very deep history and past. So I first, for those who don't know, um, I was born in Ghana, in West Africa and to a bit diplomatic family. So every 3 to 4 years or so, we traveled, you know, to a very different country. We lived there for another 3 to 4 years, or even sometimes a couple of months or so. Um And so when I first moved to the US with my family, it was to New York City. And so it's kind of like your you know, that the immigrant story that a lot of other people have, but in a very different in modern way. Um, and I first arrived when I was about 12 years old, and so, you know, I already was kind of formulating who I was at the time. And so I still feel very African and ah, good Nan at the root of you know, my personality, Um, but being exposed to New York City, it's like it's all the our words. Bigger, faster, brighter Leo. It's just like everything so intense and so in your face. And so coming from where I was living, which is a completely different landscape, it was, you know, it's so fascinating. And I think to this day I'm still learning so much more about in New York. I haven't figured out everything about it. And I think part of that is also because, um, I haven't lived in your consistently since, like, nineties. What is 96? I've gone to California. I've gone to Pennsylvania, gun to New Jersey and lived in those places and then come back intermittently. Um, and so it's always like when I leave New York, I go, I want to come back to New York, and then I come back to New York and I'm here. I'm like, I hate this place so much. I'm going to go for a while, you know? And it's that back and forth, back and forth. But then it's like every time I come back, I experienced and I see something new, whether it's just the people or just the exposure to like this melting pot of culture and artistic creativity. Um, like you should never really be bored in the city. To be honest, there's always something to see somewhere new to go, you know. Yes, it's pricey and expensive, but you know, like that's it. That's all experience that's colored by your lifestyle. Honestly, you know, from going to like New York and Poets Cafe, you know, periodically just to hear, like, some really great spoken word to going to something like the Met, you know, and listening to opera or even the Natural Museum Natural History Museum. There's so much going on, um, you know, and it's just about talking to a stranger and say, Hey, what did you do this weekend? And then, like finding something completely new to do for yourself the next weekend? You know, So New York is such an amazing place. Um, you know, and I I honestly, I talked to Eric about this all the time, like there are a few places in the world where I can see myself living. I could see us living, but new York City always has to be top of the list there for us because it's such, Ah, it's such a place where you can't get tired of anything. You know, that's my little two cents on that.


Amy Riordan:   22:23

It sounds very inspiring, and I get the love hate relationship. I think that everybody has a little bit of that to relate to, although most places aren't as overwhelming for sure. So we don't have a lot of time left. It's flown by. It's been a great conversation, but tell me a little bit about your goals and what's next for you. What do you have plans?


Rich Hackman:   22:44

So I've got this idea that I've been sharing with Erica and that I actually want us to develop together and, you know, again, it's in the same vein as everything else that I've been doing, which is storytelling, and, you know, for me, whenever I kind of hook on and latch onto a topic, I want to explore it as much as possible. So this time around, I'm really interested in relationships, and, um, you know what makes for great relationships and what makes for potentially ah, whole life love? And so that concept is something that I becoming very deeply passionate about, and I'd like to see how I could or how we could best explore it through various mediums, whether it's podcasting, whether it's video, whether it's ah, photography, whether it's blogging an editorial, you know, I I want to create something. Step is an immersive experience in this idea of a whole life love. And, um, I don't honestly know what form it's going to take, and I want to allow that flexibility and freedom for it to breathe and develop and grow into something powerful. And, you know, also, I love collaborating. So I'm sure Erica is going to infuse so much, you know into this that it's going to go in a completely different direction than I initially think it might go in. But I think that's the beauty in it, right? And it's something that will be more relatable because it's not just my point of view. It's, you know, more than one person's point of view, and also not just the guy's point of view, but a girl's point of view. And so there so many interesting elements there two X floor and to experiment on and to reiterate on. And so I think that's kind of where my mind's at right now.


Amy Riordan:   24:45

I think that's really cool, especially the way that your relationship will evolve because of this project. I think


Rich Hackman:   24:50

that


Amy Riordan:   24:50

I am definitely going to be bugging you guys about that later. So one more tiny little touch. I know that this is a sensitive subject for many, but we're in the middle of Kobe 19 and you're in the middle of New York, which, for the U. S is the heart of it. Tell us a little bit about what's going on there, and they all this is a big question for the last one. Uh, but what? What are you doing during this time to stay sane?


Rich Hackman:   25:16

Yeah, that's Ah, very heavy question. I should preface my response with the fact that there are so many more people in New York City currently who are less privileged than myself, who are really enduring the brunt of this virus. And, um, you know, the the health workers, the government officials that are, uh, you know, making everything happen, coordinating everything. You know, everybody who's volunteering, everybody who's like donating everybody who's out of work, you know? And so those people really have my heart and my empathy and my support. Um, and it's really difficult right now. I mean, the not to get too grim, but the death toll numbers has really risen. And, um, you know, you're starting to have the six degrees of separation where now almost every one of us knows someone, someone who's passed away because of this virus. And, you know, we have no sense of how far along we are in this process, you know, So it could potentially get so much worse. But to air on the side of optimism, you know, I've I feel very honored and privileged that Ah and Erica are in a place where, fortunately, proximity wise in New York City, where kind of remote we live on Roosevelt Island and Roosevelt Island is a little sliver of land between Manhattan, the borough and Queen's the Barrow. So if you look at it on a map, it's you might even miss it. And by virtue of that, you know, we have very little activity on this island, and the makeup of the people on the islands are also more like families and older people. And so it's, you know, it where I I feel like we're very low risk in terms of contracting it. Or, you know, even when we walk on the streets, it's like you barely have to try toe keep six feet between each other because you know there's barely anybody around. So, you know, we're very fortunate. You know, our grocery stores and all the facilities are kind of up and running and still stocked. And for the most part, the hardest thing that we've had to endure is, you know, being at home, not having much to dio aside from working consistently. So to that end, for me, probably the biggest struggle has just been to create or rather, to break routine, right, which means you get up, you take a shower, you sit in from your desk for your 9 to 5, you know, routine and then you like, are a 1,000,000 zoom calls, you know, and then it's like after that you like, you know, just so tired that you just want to sit it in front of a TV and binge, watch something and, you know, you get up the next day and you do it all over again. And, you know, the first couple of days, Maybe that was okay. But, you know, after a while you start Teoh, it just got it starts to play with your mind a little bit. It's one of those things where you want to. You want to be honest, and you want to be authentic in this In this predicament, it's, You know, there's a lot of stuff going on, and you need to give yourself a break. And sometimes you just need to tell your coworkers. Hey, you know what? I'm taking a personal day today. I'm not gonna be on my computer, and I need to do something different. I need Teoh write a journal entry. I need to take a longer walked in. I normally would. You know, I need to just sit with my partner and just have a conversation about you know what we what are we gonna dio? You know, thankfully for me in Eriko, we don't have kids yet. I can't imagine what that struggle must be like. You know? So we just have to worry about ourselves and all things considered, we've been doing pretty well and, um It's just that sometimes you get in a slump and you're just like, How do I get myself out of this? How do I break this routine? How do I do something that keeps me alert fresh and just like the best person for somebody else who might need me more? Or who might need that positive energy right now? So that's that's kind of what we're dealing with right now. But, you know, I I like to think of it. Ask. We're all going through this in are very different ways, but also together. And, you know, it's just about checking in and making sure that everyone is all right.


Amy Riordan:   30:02

Excellent. And that was a perfect overview. I just want to say again, Thank you so much for joining us, and I'm gonna make sure the link everything below for you guys, the website, social media, everything for you to connect with Rich. If you have questions, you can email me or him and again, thank you very, very much. It's been awesome.


Rich Hackman:   30:20

Thanks for having me.


Amy Riordan:   30:22

Amy Riordan is a weekly podcast brought to you by me, Amy Riordan. Love this podcast? Leave me review and share it with friends. You can also find me on social media. Subscribe to this podcast for all new episode notifications. With questions, topic requests or interviewee nominations, visit AmyRiordan.com Curious about specific content mentioned in each episode? Those details are linked below.

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