39: Unmistakable: Why Only is Better Than Best with Srinivas Rao

“Unmistakable art doesn’t require a signature. It is so infused with your heart and mind that no one else could have created it. It is immediately recognizable as something you made—nobody could have done it but you.”

—Srinivas Rao,
Unmistakable: Why Only Is Better Than Best

This week’s guest, long-time blog friend Srini Rao, raises the bar on creativity. Don’t just create art, he says, strive for unmistakable art—output so unique it doesn’t even require a signature, and by nature eliminates all competition. It is yours and yours alone. And of course, achieving this is not a simple, straightforward feat. Check out this week’s episode on what Srini has learned from his own lowest moments, and from interviewing over 600 guests for his Unmistakable Creative podcast over the last six years.


Srinivas Rao is the host of the Unmistakable Creative Podcast and founder of Unmistakable Media. Since starting the show as a podcast for bloggers at the beginning of 2010, he has interviewed over 600 ipeople from all walks of life, including entrepreneurs, authors, artists, performance psychologists and even bank robbers. Srini’s latest book hits stands this week: Unmistakable: Why Only Is Better Than Best. When he’s not using the internet to make things, he’s chasing waves.


  • What he has learned from interviewing 600+ people

  • How his lowest moments have led to the biggest breakthroughs

  • Resilience, unmistakability is developed through adversity

  • What defines unmistakable art

  • The need for validation (particularly from authority figures) is a bottomless pit; why it leads to ignorable art

  • The ingredients to creating unmistakable art

  • Mentor’s advice: “Problems don’t go away, but your capacity to handle them changes.”

  • How adversity reaffirms commitment, “too invested to quit”

  • The drop: “The liminal moment [when surfing] between paddling and standing” that determines what the entire ride will be like

  • Get creativity flowing with a 30-day project that has nothing to do with your work

  • Reflecting on mortality, we should ask ourselves:

“Have I created the most audacious and ambitious pieces of art and started the most daring projects that I want to see exist in the world?”


Listen below or on iTunesSoundCloudOvercastStitcher, or Google Play Music:


Check out other episodes of the Pivot Podcast here. Be sure to subscribe via iTunesAndroid or SoundCloud, and if you enjoy the show I would be very grateful for a rating and/or review! Sign-up for my weekly #PIVOTList newsletter to receive curated round-ups of what I’m reading, watching, listening to, and new tools I’m geeking out on.