Monthly Archives: March 2012

26. Running

A short piece I made for my Gateway class. I hope you guys like it.

Running from Ryan Buick on Vimeo.

24. Company Culture

From hearing guest speakers to hearing Deb on a daily basis, I feel that I have begun to understand an industry I couldn’t tell you one coherent thought about a few months ago. It’s an entirely unique industry full of people you would never see in any other occupation. Creatives, planners, directors, and clients are thrown into this sandbox where they have to abandon all their egos while still communicating what it is they’d like to see in this project. The teamwork aspect of the industry is something that I could really see myself diving into.

I just finished Delivering Happiness, the book about Zappos and their extremely unique company culture. In the book, the founder talks about the moment where he realized that he had to step away from the company he started in his apartment and watched grown to a hundred million dollar venture. After a couple years of working in a deteriorating company culture, he realized one morning that he simply did not want to get out of bed. How does one get to the point where a company that they birthed is one that they no longer want to be a part of?

Reading his book terrifies me in a way. My biggest fear is to wake up every morning for a job that I don’t love going to. I love technology. I love working for technology companies. I love being able to slay the dragon that is a shitty user experience. I love the fact that my grandpa can actually interact with an iPad. That’s what going to get me out of bed for work each morning – knowing that the better I do my job, the easier the user’s life may be for a few minutes of the day. That being said, I can see how a tech company can cannibalize its own culture with loading up on talent fits – not culture fits. I hope to someday be a part of a company that holds culture in an equal regard with talent because it knows that teamwork and creative collaboration leads to success.

I know I’m on a bit of a rant here but after reading this book, learning in this class, and listening to these speakers, I’ve come to understand just how important company culture is to success and I’m excited to someday be a part of a company that gets me out of bed for the right reasons.

23. Creative Quotes

Just two simple quotes that I found that help remind me to step back every once in a while (yes, they are on my “fancy’d” list). It’s tough to remember the matrix we live in. Sometimes the rat race of school, work, relationships, you name it sucks us up and chews us to the point we forget where we’re really going – or if that’s anywhere at all. We all wish we could go back to the days of the playground where nothing mattered but the bounce of a ball. But that isn’t life. Life is grabbing something head on when its charging at you and there’s no solution on google to fix it. Life is about solving problems, however big or small, and feeling the success or failure that can accompany these problems.

I really am grateful for this class and making me sit down and think about what makes me creative. What makes me react differently or scratch my head until I feverishly begin to type? I actually believe I’m coming closer to these catalyst points than I have in a very long time. Part of me wishes I never stopped drawing – That I still wanted to have the final say at Crayola on why the hell Sea Turtle Green should be in the 48 pack of crayons. Hopefully, that kid in me is coming back.

22. Final Words: From Bedside to Random Tweet

Andrew Breitbart’s tweeting in his final moments before his death this past week inspired an interesting article in GOOD about the weird, anticlimactic auora surrounding the use of social media right before death. Social media sprays a snapshot of our life, however mundane or intriguing, across the media landscape for all to see. So what happens when that random thought is the last thing people will hear from you?

In the case of Andrew Breitbart, his last tweet was not an uncommon one but just a mere sample from his vast archive of twitter insults. Is that how he will be remembered. In this day and age, we are more capable of creating our personal brand than ever before. We can spread, joy, criticism, disgust – you name it by the hour with hundreds or even thousands of people. Yet, do we ever consider how these are amounted into a story of who we are in the digital landscape? Just some food for thought.

If you were to die today, what would the social media you’ve left behind say about you?

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21. The Mind’s Ability to Recognize

What the hell is wrong with us? How do I know what the black and white thing is? Regardless of the physics and science behind it, I believe the recognition we instantly experience in these pixelated images can tell us a great deal about brand recognition. The mind can be instantly attracted or turned of by an image no matter how blurred or obscured it may be. Familiarity with worldwide brands is inescapable and must be quality must be assured by these brands on a massive scale.

If we see something good or bad, chances are we can tell what it is within seconds. And opinions can be made almost faster. So no matter the medium, no matter the distance, brands must be concise, responsible, and flawless in their exposure.

 

 

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20. Leave the Cans on Top

I believe in separating the cans from the trash.  Yes, that’s it. I don’t do it to save the polar bears or to feed some obsessive-compulsive sickness.  I just want to make life a little bit easier for the malt liquor and urine soaked man digging through our dumpster in the middle of the night.

Life has never given him a break.  My uncle who slept in alleyways for the last half of his life never got a break either. I was lucky enough to have the chance of spending time with him growing up in San Francisco, where the sight of living skeletons lining the walls of luxurious hotels and corporate offices is an accepted way of life.  Passersby saw him curled up against the gate in front of Glide Memorial as a leech of society.  They saw him as just another fiend whose bloodshot eyes lit up as he watched their hard-earned money fall into his outstretched Big-Gulp cup.  I saw him as Uncle Pete.

I know I can’t do much for the homeless and I don’t expect anyone else to feel bad for them. All I ask of myself and of others is to leave the cans on top and imagine the momentary peace this man can have knowing he doesn’t have to claw his way through used tissues and rotten food scraps and to make a of couple bucks.  It’s a small victory in a cold world that doesn’t give two shits about them.  Hell, it might even make them smile.

This whole concept of leaving the cans on top isn’t just solely applicable to homelessness.  It’s a guiding principle for how I would like to live my life. It’s similar to the movie Pay It Forward, but Kevin Spacey creeps me out too much so I would rather use my own slogan.  It’s no secret that everyone in life has those moments where they need something to keep them from bottoming out.   Yet we don’t always make the smallest of efforts to show them that someone cares. Leaving the cans on top and keeping them out of the literal and proverbial dumpster gives everyone the ability to make a stranger’s life better.  And for that brief, anonymous gift of temporary relief, I believe the world is a better place.

19. Google Goggles

This is the world in which I want to live. MVS is the future of what I hope can be a instantly connected, educated society. And the craziest thing about it – I just downloaded it. And it works. I cannot wait to show this to my grandpa over spring break and make him crack up with the latest piece of geekery I’ve acquired.

All joking aside, I adamantly believe this technology will be a mainstay of our mobile lives within a matter of years. As the technology progresses, soon all pieces of media in our physical world will be interactive. Imagine walking down the street and being able to read an entire Wikipedia entry on a statue or engraving you’d never seen before.

Yes, QR codes are everywhere but they are not being used. (Our project will show that) However, this platform of completely open-ended google search based on something in our physical world will be revolutionary.

It is innovation like this that truly makes me giddy to live in today’s world.

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18. Trunk Club Putting a Spin on the Personalized Shopper

Came across Trunk Club the other day while looking at subscription gift services – an increasingly popular trend for the trendy with money to spend. Based out of Chicago, Trunk Club begins with a remote interview between the stylist and the user where they get a feel for the customer’s need and taste. Before you know it, a trunk is delivered at your door full of designer brands which you can then respectively keep or return.

I think it’s an innovative and fun concept that rewards even the most hopelessly unhip guys. Someday, I can see girlfriends and mothers everywhere sitting down on the couch and sipping Chardonnay as the men in their life uncomfortably squirm in their soon-to-be favorite J. Crew Cardigan.

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17. Madeon’s “Pop Culture”

This is the Mozart of Dance. This kid is 17 years old is touring in America for the first time after years of denied requests by his parents. Yes, you read that right. I can’t wait to see Madeon perform in two weeks and it’s a joy to see such ridiculous skill and hard work. This is everything I aspire to when I mix songs and DJ so I hope you all like it as well.

15. The Gamification of Advertising

Nice article in Ad Age Digital this week about the pros and cons of gamification and what it means for your company. I personally love the potential of gamification and the interactivity it creates with the user base over something so arbitrary as a badge or level up. Something about collecting items digs into our human need to hoard goods and other worthless crap.

While gamfiication may not be the most important thing for brands to jump on during this avalanche of new platforms, it represents just one area that stagnant brands may fall behind in. Brands that work to create something simple yet engaging in areas like this will dictate the course of advertising innovation in the coming years. While it may seem juvenile, campaigns like the one Best Buy is undertaking with CityVille are absolutely steps in the right direction for what many consider to be a dying business.

And according to the Ad Age article, it looks like many brands are taking steps in the right direction.

“EMarketer projects that social-gaming ad revenue was $368.9 million in 2011, with about 46% of that coming from the U.S. It forecasts that the market will grow to $672.2 million by 2014.”

 

 

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16. Craft Brews and The Thank You Economy

The craft brew industry is a prime example of a 21st century customer-brand dynamic. As you may know if you’ve been reading my blog, I am a bit obsessed with the philosophy of Gary Vaynerchuk and his views on what social media means to the present and future of branding. Microbrews and their cult-like support from many walks of life is a perfect example of the power of word of mouth in the 21st century. The village ecosystem of commerce is returning with the powerful viral capability of the passionate few.

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14. Tracy Wong and The Democracy of Good Ideas

Tracy Wong of Wong Doody Crandall Weiner spoke to our Creative Strategist class this week about the creative process and the democracy of a good idea.

He spoke about the failures that can occur if:

  • Creatives are assholes
  • The agency thinks the clients are assholes
  • No one listens to eachother because of aforementioned factors interfere with strategy

People in the agency must not have open minds but empty minds to truly let external ideas seep in and be accepted. It’s the idea that matters – not the author. If everyone can leave their ego at the door and truly come ready to work collaboratively with the client, greatness like the “Dear Me” campaign can occur. I was particularly interested by his description of the revelation that can happen if both sides can make sacrifices. The client wanted testimonials and the agency cringed at the staleness of the idea. Yet, everyone worked together to come up with a truly effective campaign.

Tracy’s talk was engaging in its frankness on how the industry works. It is an industry where teamwork is paramount to the success of just about anything and I’m excited to someday be a part of it.

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13. The Fancy and the Future of Social Commerce

There was a wonderful TechCrunch article I read last week talking about my favorite new site on the web, The Fancy. I can only describe The Fancy as a Pinterest for hipster guys. Gone are the vast expanses of cupcakes, babies, and “Keep Calm” memes. In their place is an elegant layout of watches, gadgets, tailored suits, sleek rides and other shit guys like. “Fancy’s users are currently 60 percent male, and are more often posting consumer goods of the Fab.com variety; high-fashion clothes and accessories and photos of exotic locales.”

As someone who has been secretly waiting for a Pinterest like platform for the cool things I see across the interwebs, this was an inner sigh of relief. However, my excitement doesn’t just end there. It turns out that The Fancy is doing something much better than Pinterest – Social Commerce. Buy links and discount promotions from The Fancy itself is helping to propel an exciting new space in e-commerce. “Fancy” something and get rewarded for it. As I have blogged about previously with Gary  Vaynerchuk, this sort of village marketing is bringing us back to the days of old when word of mouth led to direct profits.

I love this website and I’m extremely excited to see how social commerce in this form or another can help propel the spread of cool shit.

But don’t take my word for it:

From TechCrunch:

Fancy, whose parent company is thingsd, already has some impressive supporters (hello, Kanye), as well as board members like Jack Dorsey (Twitter, Square), Chris Hughes (Facebook), Jim Pallotta, and LeRoy Kim (partner at Allen & Co.).

The startup’s investor line-up also includes top VCs Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, Allen & Co., General Catalyst, Esther Dyson, Celtics owner Jim Pallotta, MTV creator Bob Pittman, former eBay COO Maynard Webb, Eric Eisner, Jeff Samberg, oh, and Ashton Kutcher.
Yup.

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