The Marketoonist

Tom Fishburne left a dream job to follow his lifelong dream of being a cartoonist. A Harvard Business School grad, it didn’t take him long to realise that the cartooning industry was broken, with thousands of cartoonists clamouring for a tiny number of commissions. Take the New Yorker; apparently to even have your work considered you need to submit one cartoon a day, for a year. Then your submission will be one of 1000 that get considered every week, only 18 are chosen. In response, Tom developed the Marketoonist, a thriving business that develops cartoon-based marketing campaigns. Now he’s on a mission to reform the entire industry, by both developing new markets for cartoons, and by developing tech platforms (cartoon banks) that will enable cartoonists to license their back catalogue.

Tom taught me how to doodle and has seriously transformed my note-taking, but that’s another story. He literally put down his paints to chat on a freezing afternoon.

THE LESSON: The power of the tribe. I spent 10 years building my community. Anyone can build a tribe, even if you don’t think you have a reason for it.

THE QUESTION: Why do so many things launch that are mediocre? How do we close the gap between aims and reality? Why, so often, does the dream becomes watered down into the equivalent of apple sauce?

THE INSPIRATION: The Republic of Tea


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