Wisdom from the Academy – July 2014

A few Insights from your Tribe

You are fascinating!

I don’t mean that in a lets-blow-smoke-up way. As a Wizard Academy graduate you are imaginative, creative, and ambitious. You are now a part of a group that includes Nobel Prize winners, NASA space shuttle engineers, executives of Fortune 500 companies, musicians who’ve opened for Aerosmith, painters whose works hang in museums all over the world, business owners, and NYT bestselling authors. They are among the most interesting group of people I’ve ever met, and there’s not a handful of you there are a whole bunch. A whole bunch of like-minded people may constitute a tribe, but it’s also what I hear from graduates. I never tire of hearing graduates say that when they stumbled on to Wizard Academy they thought to themselves – “I’ve found my tribe”.

More than a decade ago, Roy and Pennie Williams planted the first seeds of what would become the Academy you know and love. Those seeds were then nurtured by hundreds of others as they grew from small seedlings into solid oaks towering on the hills of South Austin. Since then it has become more than anyone could have first imagined. It may have started as their vision, but it has grown into a home for the misfits and creatives who’ve made their way here from the various edges of the earth.

We’re starting the most fascinating newsletter in the world

Don’t worry! You’ll love the newsletter and if you don’t you’ll simply let us know and we’ll stop sending it. Nevertheless, you will never receive a newsletter more than once a month.

It’s time that we start shining the light on the voices in our own community and reminding you of the resources that surround you as an Academy Alumni.

Welcome to a new kind of newsletter from the Wizard Academy. Once a month, we will curate a list of articles written by fellow members of your tribe. This will not be only for faculty or instructors. We will also highlight fellow Alumni with unique perspectives on the world around them.

Below is the first collection of writings, music, and art that we chose as great examples of current thoughts from our illustrious gathering of friends. If you’re alumni and you have any interest in submitting an article for the next one, drop me a line: daniel@wizardacademy.org


-VC Daniel Whittington

Disney’s Four Keys To Shareworthy Service

Tim Miles interviewed a Disney Cast Member, and it led him down the rabbit hole into the secrets of Disney’s success. Learn how to create Disney-level experiences for your customers that will turn them into evangelists.

Estimated time to read: 2 minutes, 46 seconds.

Advertising with Heart (and balls)

Jeff Sexton writes about how good advertising takes guts. Read about the lessons he’s learned in decades of ad writing and working with independent business owners.

Estimated time to read: 8 minutes, 15 seconds.

Tom Bluemlein is an extremely talented painter. In 2013, he brought a painting that he created especially as a gift for Roy and Pennie, and it’s beautiful. Next time you’re on the campus, you can find it in the Welcome Center hanging above the entrance to Pennie’s office.

Estimated time to browse: as long as you like

Everett Joseph Smith Was A Real Boy

Don’t read this story in public. It will rock your foundations. Gordon Atkinson started one of the first blogs on the Internet and used it to voice his anonymous thoughts and fictional stories. Gordon is a recent alumnus of WA, and this is one of my favorite stories from his early blog days.

Estimated time to read: 8 minutes and 27 seconds

Branding with Distinction

Gair Maxwell teaches businesses all over the world how to be remarkable with their branding. And he used to be a pro wrestler. Gair is also one of the instructors in a class called “The Branding Highway” at WA in October.

Estimated time to read: 6 minutes, 58 seconds.

Peter Nevland – No One Told Me

Peter Nevland teaches the “Young Writers” Workshop at WA with Scott Fraser. This is one of my favorite spoken word performances that he’s done.

Estimated time to watch: 3 minutes, 38 seconds.


Melodies and vibe and presence reminiscent of Bjork or Frou-Frou. These two sisters, Kelly and Kamile, have been rocking and rolling in 2013, and here’s a video to wet your appetite.

Estimated time to listen: limitless.

The One Technique You Can Use Tomorrow To Get Amazon Results

Bryan Eisenberg talks about the use of narrative in Amazon’s success story. Learn how to make use of the same techniques to create a legendary brand in your marketplace.

This is an essential theme to the special one-time-only class the Eisenbros will teach at the Wizard Academy in August.

Estimated time to watch: 3 minutes, 6 seconds.


Inside the VC’s Office

It’s a busy few months at Wizard Academy.

We’re just finishing the only two kid-focused classes, Young Writers and Common C$ents.

In a few weeks, Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg will be teaching their first class at the Academy in several years. This special event is almost sold out!

To finish August, we’ll be holding our first Online Video class to walk through the world of online media with Roy Williams, Tom Wanek, Rex Williams, and a few guest speakers.

Check out the class listing to get signed up before we run out of rooms!