Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Where do you stand?

Jeff Risley, a veep at our shop, found a great Web site: Standpoint. Standpoint seems like the child of Wikipedia and MySpace, with a little Friendster in the genes. Whatever the genetic composition, it's darn cool. Add one more addictive Web site to my favorites list.

Standpoint lets you state your beliefs, make your case for them and find others who agree or disagree. From God to Iraq to Google, it's a place for people to take a stand - that's a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Wish I was there...

...at the WOMMA Conference. I wasn't. But now I can enjoy the resources from the Basic Training conference here. Check it out. Great stuff. Here's something cool.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Alright Apple, you're pissing me off.

I'm not sure whether to eat crow yet or stick to my guns regarding Apple's brand ripoffery streak. The shenanigans. I'm talking about the new Intel ad, which turns out, is a carbon copy of the Postal Service's "Such Great Heights" video. Even created by the same folks responsible for PS's music video. Lugz ad part 2? Another rip off? A reason for me to steam off another blog post? One half of the Postal Service, Ben Gibbard, is not happy. Or is he?

I read the American Copywriter blog today and was at first pleased to see they showed similar angst (even wrote an earlier post about the Lugz commercial). Then I kept reading and realized Seth might be on to something. Maybe Apple meant to do it. Maybe Apple pulled something over on me, the seemingly astute consumer. But what about me, the marketer? I should have seen this one coming. I should have called Apple's bluff long ago, as American Copywriter did.

After all, trouble breeds publicity and publicity breeds awareness and awareness makes you want to buy a docking station for your brand new iPod. Or something like that....

I was duped into getting all fired up. Maybe that's exactly what Apple wanted me to do. Get pissed and blog about the commercials. Tell people about the nerve Apple must carry to so blatantly rip off another commercial - and now twice! The consumer in me is mad at the possibility. And you know what? The marketer in me isn't too impressed. Lying doesn't get you friends. It gets you attention, sure, but not friends.

Way to go, Apple. You coordinated controversy. But who did you lose in the process? Ben Gibbard? Or is he in on it? Me? Or will I continue to pursue the purchase of a new PowerBook with Intel?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Go the extra inch

Hell of a concept from a smart man. "Going the extra inch." Olivier Blanchard nails it in his post on consumer experience. Read it. Do something with it. Tell your clients/friends/children about it. We all - from clients to communicators - spend way too much time on the longview, the mileage that comes with "going the extra mile" instead of finding ways to go the extra inch. Fix the now. Change the immediate experience. Ensure the blink factor is positive.

I'm honored to be one of his links. He's a new member of the Corante Network. Congrats, keep up the inspiration.

Recommendations for a snow-filled weekend.

We're supposed to get a heap-o-snow this weekend. I'm looking forward to it, as this is my first weekend back on my marathon training schedule after being sidelined by the doc. This is me being optimistic. So, how does one best the elements after weeks of unseasonably mild weather? Other than putting on the winter-weather gear and hitting the pavement? One listens to hot music. One does not mistake "hot music" for "Fiddy" or "Black Eyed Peas" or crap like that. One takes Woolard's female-artist-themed advice to warm up in any climate.

Listen to:
Gillian Welch's album, Soul Journey. Nothing like a southpaw drawl to melt the porch steps.
Cat Power: check out You Are Free. This girl's got undiscovered soul, and it took a New York Times article to convince me of her merit. It's all I've listened to this week.
Emmylou Harris: Wrecking Ball. Old album, amazing songwriting.

Find your inner female folk singer. Like chicken soup. But prettier.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Throw a blog at the problem

I was inspired by Hugh MacLeod's post today. He notes "two immutable laws of blogging."
1. "Nobody's going to read your blog unless there's something in it for them." -Seth Godin.
2. "Nobody's going to link to your blog unless there's something in it for them." -Hugh MacLeod

Well said during a time when blogs are being thrown into every darn brainstorm, strategy, plan, cocktail conversation, middle name, etc. Every client wants one. Every junior high kid has one. They are not special - unless someone other than the author believes the words on the screen are special. Blogs are not "successful" unless they communicate with a specific audience.

Yes, we've found a wonderful new communications tool. No, it is not a cure-all bandage. Find your voice and find your audience. As the fortune cookie says, Success will find your blog.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Good day

One of my best friends, Sara, is in Kansas City this weekend to hang out with me. She's a resident of Chicago, and she's currently watching the Bears game. She's the type of person everyone should have in their friendship portfolio.

As usual, we've had a wonderful time together. Much eating, drinking, talking. We also tend to think big, discuss life-changing things, make enormous decisions, etc. when we hang out. We've launched multiple new companies in our minds and justified moving to the sticks or abroad with no plan. She's my big-idea enabler. We're each other's mind muses.

If you don't have such a person in your life, get one.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Leadership, inspiration

Our company had its monthly staff meeting this morning and in addition to a recap of incredible work and client additions in the past year, we were treated to the talents of and inspired by Mark Logan, our director of interactive. He heard the following poem at a poetry slam in Chicago and not only read it to our group of 350+, but performed it. Amazing doesn't give him credit. He memorized the poem and presented it in a way that did the words justice, reminding us that we are each other's most important resources in the quest for the top.

Pull the Next One Up
By Marc Kelly Smith

When you get to the top of the mountain
Pull the next one up.
Then there'll be two of you
Roped together at the waist
Tired and proud, knowing the mountain,
Knowing the human force it took
To bring both of you there.

And when the second one has finished
Taking in the view,
Satisfied by the heat and perspiration under the wool,
Let her pull the next one up;
Man or woman, climber of mountains.
Pull the next hand over
The last jagged rock
To become three.
Two showing what they've already seen.
And one knowing now the well-being with being
Finished with one mountain,
With being able to look out a long way
Toward other mountains.
Feeling a temptation to claim victory
As if mountains were human toys to own.

When you ask how high is this mountain
With a compulsion to know
Where you stand in relationship to other peaks,
Look down to wherefrom you came up

And see the rope that's tied to your waist
Tied to the next man's waist,
Tied to the next woman's waist,
Tied to the first man's waist,
To first woman's waist ... and pull the rope!

Never mind the flags you see flapping on conquered pinnacles.
Don't waste time scratching inscriptions into the monolith.
You are the stone itself.
And each man, each woman up the mountain,
Each breath exhaled at the peak,
Each glad-I-made-it ... here's-my-hand,
Each heartbeat wrapped around the hot skin of the sun-bright sky,
Each noise panted or cracked with laughter,
Each embrace, each cloud that holds everyone
in momentary doubt ...

All these are inscriptions of a human force that can
Conquer conquering hand over hand pulling the rope
Next man up, next woman up.
Sharing a place, sharing a vision.
Room enough for all on all the mountain peaks.
Force enough for all
To hold all the hanging bodies
Dangling in the deep recesses of the mountain's belly
Steady ... until they have the courage ...
Until they know the courage ...
Until they understand
That the only courage there is is
To pull the next man up
Pull the next woman up
Pull the next up



Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Dissin' me

I was inspired today by Tom Asacker’s post on dissent. Seemed to fit well into what I believe is a huge problem in corporate culture as well as personal relationships: the lack of vocalizing disagreement. Creating an environment that prohibits or frowns upon dissent is not just a corporate communications issue, as Asacker relates, but a cultural problem. No one fights right anymore. I don't remember the last time I was vehemently disagreed with and that's certainly not because I'm always right. I can, however, recount multiple times people have disagreed in passive ways.

Maybe we’ve bought into the negative connotation that’s so frequently assigned to disagreement. Maybe the “You’re either with us or you’re against us” stance is making headway into our mores. Wherever the blame resides, our understanding of dissent is not accurate or healthy.

I also think mainstream communication has a lot to do with the dilution of conflict. We enjoy tools of passivity such as e-mail, cell phones, text messaging, etc. E-mail is a chickenshoot way of dealing with a disagreement. We don’t do a lot of face to face anymore.

Communication isn't always easy, and it shouldn't be. Disagreement is even harder to voice. But it's good pain, to fight right, and a worthy risk.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Gallery opening

What a wonderful night. I looked forward to showing my art for years and Friday's opening was better than I imagined. In addition to actually selling pieces (not just to my mother) the opening was a chance for family, friends, co-workers and random art lovers to get together, look at art and have some adult beverages.

Big thanks go to my family. Much love to my co-workers at Barkley Evergreen and Partners. They showed up en masse and provided great support.

Here are some pics to illustrate the evening. The show is up all month, so stop by during the week to view.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Me on a wall

I just finished mounting and cutting the price placards and artist's statement for my first gallery show, which opens this Friday. I've painted (acrylic on wood) for years, and in the past six months or so began to get more serious about showing my work. I even included "show my paintings" on my 26th-year-on-earth to-do list. On Friday, at the Grand Gallery (1815 Grand) in the Crossroads Arts District, that goal will become a reality.

I'm equal parts excited and nervous. Excited that I have the opportunity to show my work, work that is very personal and important to me. Nervous that I have the opportunity to show my work, work that is very personal and important to me. Though both sides of my stomach are fighting one and other, my gut (the more spiritual part of one's stomach) is pretty chill. Risks such as these - these gut decisions - end up being exactly what you hoped they'd be...or so I hope.

William James said: Seize the very first opportunity to act on every resolution you make, and on every emotional prompting you may experience in the direction of the habits you aspire to gain.

I did that, and I'm looking forward to the outcome. Photos of the opening coming soon.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

This week's recommendations

If you do not download/purchase/play at least one of the following albums, I will come out of this blogosphere and make ugly.

The Album Leaf - Seal Beach (EP)
Karen Ann - Nolita
Sigur Ros - ( )
matt pond PA - Several Arrows Later
The Perishers - Let There Be Morning