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The Hard-Working, Beatboxing, Free-Spirit, Zen Maestro of Print Media

Posted Jun 25, 2024 | Views 251
# Edge Conference
# EdgeIndy
# Leadership
# Leading visionaries
# Publishing
# Transformation
# Unvarnished

Eric Vessels, the CEO and president of WhatTheyThink, is many, many things. And we're all better for it.

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Eric Vessels is a practicing Zen Buddhist and a singer in a hard-rock band called DIRT. He owns a few beard oils and waxes from Germany, and about 300 different bottles of bourbon, though he doesn't use or consume those products often. Het once met Muhammad Ali while working at a Kinko's in Louisville. He writes haiku poetry, beatboxes like a champ (listen to the first 12 seconds of the video) and plays a Japanese bamboo flute. To prove something to his mother and himself, he spent one and a half years at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Nowhere on that eclectic list is the main reason why printing professionals know Eric, which is from his success as CEO and president of WhatTheyThink, where he and a gifted team of industry thought leaders churn out articles, films and videos, commentary and daily news releases. Since 2002, Eric has played a key role in the development and growth of flagship news and analysis site WhatTheyThink.com, as has grown the media brand into a film house, magazine publisher, research lab and podcast studio.

"We want WhatTheyThink to be the place you go to find out what's happening in the industry," Eric says. "We want to be the only answer to that question, or at least the first."

But who, really, is the man behind that wonderful beard and amazing content?

It was a pleasure to dive into the heart and soul of someone so gifted at capturing moments, whether that means uncovering the crux of a print company's success for a WhatTheyThink Films script, or encapsulating the emotion of his child's birth for a line of poetry. To Eric, life is a constant gift that deserves to be studied, respected, challenged and celebrated.

Eric is used to interviewing others in front of the camera, but in this episode of "Unvarnished," Darin Painter and Chris Hyde turn the tables (and the blue couches) for a fun, introspective and wide-ranging discussion about his life and work.

Watch the interview to learn how he and his team have grown WhatTheyThink (as Eric point out, "the content game is a treadmill that doesn't have an off switch"), the deep healing he found in Zen, why haiku is "the most pure form of writing," how he feels when he's at a Dscoop event, where his mind is able to go anytime something seems insurmountable and much more.

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