Unthinkable with Jay Acunzo

Stories of work that seems crazy, until you hear their side of it. This is a show for people bothered by average work, who aspire to do something exceptional. Join host Jay Acunzo as he fights against best practices and conventional thinking and journeys to the far corners of the business world to dig up stories you've never heard and ideas you've never considered. It's Unthinkable.
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Unthinkable with Jay Acunzo



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Jun 11, 2018

Anthony Bourdain inspired much of this very show. Though my style is a bit different than his, I've learned from his method, watched him work with my mouth hanging open and my eyes wide, and aspire to be the Anthony Bourdain of the business world. His window into the human experience was food. Mine is careers.

In this episode, a tribute, pulled from my newsletter "Damn the Best Practices." Subscribe to that weekly email at

Thank you, Anthony Bourdain, for sharing your art with the world. Rest in power...

May 29, 2018

As I work on Season 4 of Unthinkable, I wanted to share with you one of the most popular episodes from the backlogs: The Bias to Act. Two incredible stories and some inspiring-yet-weird-yet-warm commentary (yanno ... like every episode). Hope you enjoy!

In the meantime, be sure to subscribe to the Maker Channel wherever you get your podcasts. TMC is where we release experimental episodes for shows still in development, plus go behind the scenes making great podcasts. 

Apple Podcasts:

Google Play:




May 15, 2018

I'm hard at work making Unthinkable Season 4 AND writing my first book, Break the Wheel, due out this fall (2018). The book is inspired by and pulls from the first three seasons of Unthinkable!

For now, here's an oldie but a goodie -- a sneaky-good episode from the archives. Enjoy!

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May 1, 2018

As I work on Unthinkable Season 4 and the book relating to this show, called Break the Wheel (Fall 2018), I wanted to dip into the archives and resurface a sneaky-good episode. Enjoy!

Subscribe to get one new story or idea for being better than best practices every Monday morning:

Apr 20, 2018

A new addition to the Unthinkable Media team, plus a big new announcement.

Feedback on this episode to or @jayacunzo on Twitter.

Subscribe to The Maker Channel wherever you get your podcasts: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, etc.

Feb 12, 2018

A welcome note to all those new to the Unthinkable Media website (launching later this week!) and community, and an explanation of why I'm starting this company in the first place.

Email me anytime at

Or say hi on Twitter @jayacunzo or Instagram @jacunzo

Thanks for your support!

Feb 9, 2018

What do you think of All But Certain episodes?
Link to poll:
Number to text: (505) 208-0620
- Text 1 if you DISLIKE it
- Text 2 if you're INDIFFERENT
- Text 3 if you LIKE it.

Episode 3 of my tell-all on building my company, Unthinkable Media. Each episode follows a similar structure: I'll lay out a struggle or challenge or question I'm facing, then weigh a bunch of options -- all of which could possibly work. By the end, I'll pick one I feel good about, and let you know how it goes later.

I'm confident about a lot of possibilities, but certain, I am not. Sounds like a great time to try!

As always, feedback to:

@jayacunzo on Twitter

@jacunzo on Instagram

Jan 23, 2018

Episode 2 of my tell-all on building my company, Unthinkable Media. Each episode follows a similar structure: I'll lay out a struggle or challenge or question I'm facing, then weigh a bunch of options -- all of which could possibly work. By the end, I'll pick one I feel good about, and let you know how it goes later. 

I'm confident about a lot of possibilities, but certain, I am not. Sounds like a great time to try!

As always, feedback to:

@jayacunzo on Twitter

@jacunzo on Instagram

Jan 12, 2018

Episode 1 of my new tell-all on building my company, Unthinkable Media. Each episode follows a similar structure: I'll lay out a struggle or challenge or question I'm facing, then weigh a bunch of options -- all of which could possibly work. By the end, I'll pick one I feel good about, and let you know how it goes later. 

I'm confident about a lot of possibilities, but certain, I am not. Sounds like a great time to try!


TEXT YOUR FEEDBACK TO (502) 219-3873

Text 1 if you LIKE All But Certain.

Text 2 if you DISLIKE All But Certain.



@jayacunzo on Twitter

Jan 4, 2018

Introducing a new audio log of stuff I'm working on, when I have all kinds of ideas ... and I'm certain about none of them. I'll be making decisions and reasoning them out with you, and building EVERYTHING I'm working on in public: my show, my book, and something brand new I'm excited to share.

Please, please, please send feedback now and in the future to or tweet @jayacunzo 

Thanks, as always, for listening and supporting my work!

Dec 21, 2017

A final treat and sign-off until next season. Thank you SO. FREAKING. MUCH. for supporting for my work, from speaking to podcasting and beyond! So much in store for 2018, and I'm grateful to you for your time, feedback, and love.

If you haven't yet, be sure to subscribe to get my regular Monday emails:

Dec 18, 2017

In the Season 3 finale of Unthinkable, it's time for a story and a battle -- a story about a runaway creative success that flies in the face of conventional thinking and a battle that all of us face whenever we aspire to be better than average in our careers.

Finally, at long last, we blame one dastardly demon for our nasty habit of always taking the easy way out, the accepted route forward. Finally, we enter the battle within, and things get hairy. Luckily, Tim Urban from Wait But Why is here to help. Well. Kinda.

It's Unthinkable.



Wait But Why

Tim Urban on Twitter

Tim's TED Talk

The original post, Why Procrastinators Procrastinate

Dec 11, 2017

How does your intent for your work change your results? If your goal is to build something big, does that increase the odds? Why, then, do so many stories about huge successes start out the same way: with a shrug, and a quick, "I just wanted to brew some beer." ? Today, we explore the story of The Alchemist, makers of the industry sensation, Heady Topper. 



The Alchemist brewery

Dec 3, 2017

Most brand-created podcasts are -- how shall I put this? -- IMPRESSIVELY terrible. So, naturally, Steve Pratt finds total creative fulfillment in that industry. Obviously. See, to invent the future of an entire industry and collaborate with some of the world's top brands, Steve gets to crash through one barrier after another. And as he excitedly does so, his weapon of choice isn't massive budget, a bestselling book, or a big "personal brand." No, instead, Steve calmly walks to the board and draws a simple graph for his clients to see. 

From the outside looking in, his work is just so unlikely that you MIGHT call it ... Unthinkable.


Steve Pratt on Twitter

Pacific Content

Slack's podcast, Work In Progress

SUBSCRIBE to Unthinkable via email at

Nov 27, 2017

Suzy Batiz had sworn off starting companies. NEVER AGAIN, she thought. But one sniff and one conversation later, she was obsessed. Her curiosity took over, and a decade later, she's built a 300-million-dollar empire. And all of it started by trying to solve a problem none of us care to even think about, let alone build a career around.

It's Unthinkable.


Viral video link

Company website

Nov 19, 2017

Nobody actually takes risks, especially in business, so what if the key to doing better work is making unconventional paths seem SAFER than the best practice? That's exactly what Clair Byrd, Clark Valberg, and the team behind Design Disruptors did. They took a massive project in scope and found a way to make each step seem safer than the last. They built a refreshing, eye-opening project without ever changing their team's goals. They did everything we aspire to do in our work in a way that seems, well, anything BUT Unthinkable.


Design Disruptors site

Clair Byrd on Twitter

Clark Valberg on Twitter

The original Design Disruptors movie trailer

Nov 13, 2017

Looking for the video link? Scroll down! For now, a blurb on the episode:

Unsurprisingly, one of the catchiest songs ever created topped the iTunes charts. It beat epic songs by Rhianna and Drake, and narrowly missed topping Adele and even Gangnam Style. Away from the charts, this song sparked a global movement -- merchandise and microsites, mobile games and parodies galore. One song and one video, going crazy viral, and snowballing into something much larger than itself. And while none of that seems all that surprising in our digital world today, when you learn about who created this song -- and the insanity that ensued -- it'll seem like pure insanity. 

You might even call it ... Unthinkable.


The original DWTD video: 

The DWTD website: 

DWTD on YouTube: 

Nov 6, 2017

Scott Stratten looks every part a blacksmith. He's mastered a rare craft in our digital world today, but make no mistake -- he's a master craftsman. And while he may not work with any type of metal, he still forges his work with red hot fire.

It’s Unthinkable.


Scott on Twitter: 

Scott's website: 

Scott's podcast: 

Sep 1, 2017

If there was a Yelp listing for every industry niche, "Headphone Brand" would appear with the most possible dollar signs.

Big brands use bigger celebrities and spend some of the biggest ad budgets around to promote their products and, really, the emotion they want you to feel when you buy their products. Artists like Kendrick Lamar and Nicki Minaj, athletes like LeBron James, and brands like Apple, Sony, Bose, and more, all slug it out to deliver the same message in increasingly expensive ways: "These headphones are the best."

This is a flashy, fast-paced industry niche.

So what in the heck do we make of Grado Labs?

In 1918, a Sicilian immigrant purchased a small building on a nondescript block in Brooklyn. Over nearly a century, while the world around this building changed at breakneck speed, the world inside plodded along. It was one kind of business, and then, gradually, another. It was led by one generation of Grado, and then, gradually, another.

They don't advertise, not one cent. They don't upgrade much, using the same old equipment in the same old building. And they even make their headphones by hand.

So why are they such a success in the digital age?

It's Unthinkable.

Get behind-the-scenes photos and videos, host commentary, plus this week's "email antipasto" by subscribing to the newsletter:

Follow Jay on Twitter or Instagram: //

Hire Jay to speak:

Calmant - Calming by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (

Jul 31, 2017

We call the show "Unthinkable" because anytime someone uses their intuition, it feels like they did something crazy. Maybe they broke from conventional thinking -- that alone feels pretty unthinkable in many jobs and industries. Maybe they came up with an incredible idea in an instant -- that can be tough to understand from the outside looking in. Or maybe they did work that was exceptional, i.e., an exception, from all the average, familiar, safe, down-the-fairway, just-so-basic-I-could-punch-a-watermelon junk.

But here's the catch: When you do that kind of great work, it rarely feels crazy TO YOU. So maybe ... it's not unthinkable at all.




Jul 24, 2017

What if intuition was actually the same as the kind of thinking we value in the business world, but it reaches full potential quicker? Wouldn't that be an insanely valuable skill? If you could instantly skip ahead of your peers by seven, 17, or 77 steps or pull from seven, or 17, or 77 sources of ideas ... wouldn't you want to figure out how that stuff works?! Wouldn't you cultivate it? Practice it? Get to the point where you could actually RELY on it?

Intuition. Your unfair advantage. It's Unthinkable.



Jul 17, 2017

The information age has a downside: Advice Overload. In the face of ubiquitous experts and never-ending best practices and how-tos and secrets, what if you trusted your intuition? Well, for starters, you'd need to focus more on your own context than all that advice.

Luckily, today, we explore one question you can ask yourself to instantly make sense of all the advice in this Information Age. And we revisit one of our most popular stories EVER to see how this question affects our ability to create exceptional work.



Jul 10, 2017

We use our intuition every single day to make decisions. So why does it still feel like a leap to trust it when it comes to the more meaningful stuff in our work? The answer is more complicated than you think. But your response can be a lot simpler than you image, too -- and that's great news if you want to do meaningful work.






Jun 25, 2017

Last we spoke, we wondered why we don't trust our intuition more. I mean, it's with us at all times, telling us things. But we often feel like it's a LEAP to listen to our intuition. This week, we wonder: How do we cross that chasm?

To help make sense of this, we revisit the story of Alec Brownstein, the Executive Creative Director at Dollar Shave Club, and his incredible side project, viewed by billions: The Google Job Experiment



Jun 11, 2017

Technically supposed to be taking a week off but ... I won't tell if you don't!

Send your examples of conventional wisdom, pithy quotes-as-gospel, or popular best practices to -- we might use them in a future show!

Subscribe to the Monday AM newsletter at

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