My roommate is getting his MBA at the University of Washington Foster School of Business. For a while he's been asking me to do a presentation on Sports Marketing for the MBA Marketing Association students. I finally obliged and gave an hour long presentation at the new PACCAR Hall.
First I have to mention how nice PACCAR Hall is. It's a state of the art building with pretty cool architecture, a soaring atrium and is equipped with the latest presentation technology. A huge step up from what I experienced at Montana State University. Granted I was in college some time ago.
It was fun to get up and give a presentation. It had been a few years, probably since my days at K2 Sports and some sales meeting. This may sound weird, but I actually enjoy laying out presentations, making custom slide backgrounds, inserting images and linking up videos. I used to do everything with Powerpoint, but since the switch to Mac, I'm all about Keynote these days.
I found the biggest challenge was what aspects of Sports Marketing to talk about in just an hour. I could talk for weeks on end about Sports Marketing. Actually it wasn't on mainstream sports like football, basketball, golf or soccer; but action sports like snowboarding, skiing, skateboarding, surfing and mountain biking.
So I decided to focus on: sport vs. business, communication tools, creative briefs, athletes, photo shoots, movie sponsorships and product development. Even that was a lot to go over in just an hour, but I ended right on time with about five minutes for questions. It was fun. I'd like to do the presentation more, switch it up a little and touch on other subjects. Who knows, maybe I'll be called on again sometime in the future?
My old ski buddy, Conrad Snover, came to Seattle over the holidays and we went skiing at Crystal a couple days. He tried out his new GoPro Hero POV camera and I tried out my Contour HD POV camera. The difference was he had his camera mounted to a helmet and I didn't. His footage turned out pretty well while mine was complete shaky cam. Having a POV camera on your goggle strap just doesn't cut it. Looks like I'm finally going to have to wear a helmet.
So I wanted to edit a little something and get it out there. The following video will be the first of many as the season goes on. It's been a pretty good early season with one dump after the other and some untracked BC powder runs. I gotta say that skiing with Conrad was a lot of fun. We are about the same ability level and like to charge. Felt like we were in high school again. The footage is from two different days. So here we go...
I have one more video I have to share. A friend of mine who I used to work with at PBP, Jeff Thomas, put together this cool tilt-shift video for Whistler/Blackcomb. Tilt-shift is when you make images look miniature. Jeff recently started working for Switchback Entertainment with Mike Douglas. Look for more cool stuff from Switchback. Enjoy.
I love destination style weddings. Where you and a bunch of close friends have to travel to some remote destination to celebrate and vacation together. It's not often that one goes on vacation with 10 or so good friends.
So when my friend Matt Brown sent out the wedding Evite to Zipolite, Mexico, I was excited. But wait, where the hell is Zipolite? It's the southern most tip of Mexico on the western side. I'd go as far as call it the end of the road, but in a good way. It's a beach about a mile in length, with a few yoga instruction and meditation centers. If you look it up online, it says it's sort of a hippie town, but I didn't necessarily find that to be true. It is a nude beach, which did enhance the already epic view.
So I jumped on a flight with Joel, met up with Trevor in Houston, and the three of us got picked up by Matt upon arrival. We drove for an hour and arrived in Zipolite. We checked into the San Cristobal Hotel and met up with Jeff, Andrea and Jen at the beach restaurant. We tossed a few back and enjoyed our first amazing sunset.
Zipolite doesn't have all the comforts of home, which made for part of the experience. No hot water (not that you needed it) and no flushing toilet paper. You wipe and toss it in the trash. Couldn't drink the water and had to be wary of the mosquitoes. The grocery stores only have packaged goods, which brings me to our first day and going to the market.
Our crew gathered in the morning and took taxi's to the market where we bought fresh veggies, beef and some seafood to last us the week. It was cool, this is a real market where everything is negotiated. Later that evening we went to Matt's house, which he built, had dinner and took in another incredible sunset.
Not only were the sunsets impressive, but every morning around 6am, the sunrises woke me up. This was due to how hot it was and me leaving the doors to my deck wide open. I'd get up, watch the sunrise for a half hour to an hour, then go back to bed.
Except one morning when our group went fishing. Now I'm not a huge fan of fishing, their just isn't enough consistent action for me. But our friend Jeff is a big fisherman, brought his own gear and reeled in a big ol' Durado. What a beautiful fish. It came out of the water looking green and blue, then turns silver once it's dead. Impressive to see Jeff fight the fish and reel it in. My turn consisted of standing by the fishing pole for 45 minutes and getting nothing. But seeing the landscape and floating turtles everywhere was cool.
After getting back, we went to Julio and Mara's house. They are friends of Matt's who live just on the edge of town. Amazing house, with turkeys, chickens, cats and dogs running around. Mara makes fresh pasta for most of the restaurants in Zipolite. She made us some, we cooked some pork and had a long meal. It was a great touch of local flair.
We also went to neighboring beaches, body surfed, boogie boarder and tried to surf. Not always successfully but always fun. A lot of walking the beach. A lot of great, fresh food at local restaurants or cooking dinner for ourselves at Matt's. We had Thanksgiving dinner at Matt's, with Jeff making sushi from his Durado.
Oh, and of course their was a wonderful wedding on the last night. Matt and Jen got married at a friends bar called El Chocolate Invencible. His name was Crazy Horse and his bar is named after his famous cocktail. The wedding was beautiful, Jen looked radiant, Matt had a smile from ear to ear. There were friends from out of town, friends for Zipolite, we ate, drank and danced the night away. It was a picture perfect sunset wedding.
And then, like so many great trips, it was over just as fast as it begun. Truly an amazing place and adventure. Not for those looking for a resort type of vacation, more of an authentic Mexican cultural experience. Congratulations to Matt and Jen. If you'd like to see an entire slideshow of the trip, I have one posted in my photo gallery. You should really check it out, as this is a super quick summary of what happened and doesn't do the trip justice.
I've been on a good streak of music concerts. My friend Ryan and I found a bunch of good shows coming to Seattle and bought tickets to: Miike Snow, Ghostland Observatory and Built To Spill. Then we've also consistently been hitting up Marmalade at Tost in Fremont. Gotta love Marmalade for great tunes, an intimate setting and dance workout.
So the first show we saw was Miike Snow. He's a Scando DJ with great dance beats. The show was at the Showbox Sodo, of which I'm not a big fan. The venue is just weird, especially when it's an all ages show. The sound sucks when you're in the back too. But, I don't want to sound like a Debbie downer, it's still better than nothing. He had a pretty cool light show going and played his 12 main tracks. It was a good crowd, packed with peeps dancing all the way to the back. I know I left a sweaty mess.
Next up was Ghostland Observatory at the same venue. Even better than Miike Snow. Those two have crazy good stage presence and their light show is one of the best in the business. Love the ripping on guitar with the wah-wah pedal.
Then it was some jam band action at the Market Showbox with Built To Spill. I think this is one of my favorite venues in all of Seattle. Lots of good spots to watch the band and you can still get a drink in under 5 minutes.
Lastly, caught a couple shows of Marmalade at Tost on Thursday nights. It's a little hard for some folks to make it, as they don't get started until about 10-10:30pm and rock until 2:00am. Marmalade is a group of artists from different bands that come together once a week to jam out. It's everything from blues, hip-hop, house, rock, to jam band style. Just depends on whose on stage at any given time. It's only $5 bucks and one of the best shows in town. Good crowds with lots of dancing. Some serious music heads show up from time to time too.
Seattle 100 //
I hate to miss a good party. Unfortunately I was hit by the flu so I could not attend the Seattle 100 event. What is the Seattle 100 you ask? It's a project by Chase Jarvis that showcases more than 100 people who are driving culture in/around Seattle. The two-year project is a photo, video and ethnographic study resulting in a coffee table book, gallery show(party), a website and a live broadcast.
Seattle 100 shares-via more than 300 stunning black-and-white portraits and biographies of each subject-a curated collection of leading artists, musicians, writers, scientists, restaurateurs, DJs, developers, activists, entrepreneurs, filmmakers, and more, all of whom are defining and driving culture in Seattle.
The private party was held Thursday, October 21 at Chase's new space. I really wanted to attend, as some of my friends were featured in the project. As well as how cool it would be to mingle and talk with Seattle folk making a creative difference. There were also public gallery showings on the following Friday and Saturday. I talked to a number of friends who attended and of course they told me it was a wonderful event.
If you want to buy the book, it's a 10x10", 240 page, hardback book available for sale on Amazon for just $26 bucks. The Seattle 100 isn't a finished product, but I believe an ongoing project that will continue to evolve and include more people. If you don't buy the book or didn't make it to the gallery events, check out the cool-and substantial-extension of the project via the website.
A friend of mine, Shawn "Smiley" Nebitt, passed through Seattle last weekend. He was here for a cycle-cross event at Marymoor Park. Smiley is the Sports Marketing Manager for Kona Bikes. He and I became friends while I was working for Helly Hansen and he was a pro ski athlete.
It was fun to hear his stories about work, as he now does what I used to do for him. He has successfully made the transition from professional athlete to the business side of sports. Not all athletes can accomplish this, though many try. It's only those that pay attention as athletes and learn how the business side of things work. I was proud to hear how passionate he was about Kona and his job.
While he crashed on my couch, Smiley shared a couple of Kona videos that I thought are worthy of sharing. This first one is about biking in Amsterdam. It made me feel lazy that I don't bike more.
The next video really blew my mind. It's called Life Cycles and it's a mountain bike film about the life of a mountain bike, from purchase to the last few rides before it breaks. The cinematography will blow your mind. They take a sport and make it more of an art form with their camera angles. Check this out!
Great Design //
In our consumer driven society, we've been taught that buying and acquiring things should make us happy. This can prove true, but that feeling of happiness is often fleeting. The act of shopping and buying can bring a rush of short-term fulfillment, but only some purchases provide value and a return on our money over time. I've found the items I continue to enjoy are those of great design and high quality, regardless of what I paid for them.
As the economy has taken a downturn and financial resources become more scarce, smart purchases become more important. I think another result of the state of our economy means people will look for higher quality life experiences, instead of trying to find joy in having more stuff. But this post is about a couple purchases I made that have continued to deliver a great value, because they work and are designed well.
Most people sit in front of a computer all day. I know in my career that I've spent much of my time either sitting in front of my computer at work or at home. I have a bad back, so some chairs become uncomfortable fast. I've gone through a lot of office chairs, but at one job I had a Herman Miller office chair that was extremely comfortable. The last few years I've bought cheap chairs from Office Depot, each only lasting a year or so before they broke.
So I decided to purchase a Herman Miller Aeron Chair for my home office. It's been everything that I remembered. It's so well designed that I don't think I'll ever need to buy another one. I don't believe it's going to wear out, become "less cool", or loose its' comfort. It's the standard that all other chairs are measured by. I could buy 15-20 office chairs during my life, or just this one.
As I dug deeper researching what chair I wanted, I was pleased to learn what a great company Herman Miller is. Here's a video about the company and their design philosophy:
The next item of great design that I want to share is the Dyson vacuum. I have allergies so when my house gets dusty and dirty I begin to sneeze. The place I live has hard wood floors on which I've laid area rugs. Lots of dust gets pumped up through the gas heating vents.
I have had small and large vacuums, that only lasted a year or maybe more. Rarely did they pick up everything off the rugs. I would vacuum for extended periods of time and all the dirt wouldn't get picked up. Sometimes I would get so frustrated with the rug in my office, I would take a lint brush (the one with the sticky tape on it) and roll it over the entire surface area.
When my most recent vacuum stopped picking up dirt, kept getting jammed, and I constantly had to try and fix it, I had had enough. An old roommate of mine had a Dyson vacuum which was amazing to use. It just worked really well. So when I got so frustrated with my last one, I decided to step up and buy a Dyson.
Dyson and the family of products the company creates are of impressive design. Now that I have my new vacuum, I feel just like the office chair, it will be the only vacuum I ever need. Instead of buying a poorly designed vacuum, every couple of years, I will have my Dyson for the next 20. It works that well.
Again, I find the company story also amazing. James Dyson, the inventor, created 5,127 prototypes over five years to perfect his vacuum technology, but was still rejected by manufacturers who where more interested in defending their own products and technologies than adapting and accepting a better one. So he started his own vacuum company that is very successful. Now he works to defend his invention from being copied by all those companies that initially turned him down.
The Dyson vacuum is not the only amazing product they design, the bladeless fans and hand driers are also impressive. To learn more about James Dyson, his company and their great design, check out the website.
There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. It's funny to think about really. Some people crave attention and being social while others value more time alone, at peace with their thoughts.
I was looking at Molly Hawkins Facebook Wall when I came across this video she posted. Like any good person who partakes in social media, if you see something you like, you repost it.
The video explores the multi-faced definition of "alone"; the relationship between solitude and loneliness; and the multitude of ways we can embrace being alone while negating the associated stigmas.
The video is by Andrea Dorfman, a filmmaker/poet/singer/songwriter. Tanya Davis wrote the beautiful poem and performs in the video which Dorfman directed, shot, animated by hand and edited. The film was shot in Halifax, Nove Scotia.
I think if you watch it, you'll see similarities in your own life.
Art Works //
A very cool thing is happening near where I live. There are a bunch of young men and women creating public artwork. I noticed it the first time, exiting off of I-99, when I saw a grey outline with numbers. The project is located under and along the I-99 overpass and 46th Street. It's hard not to notice when you pass by.
Now that the piece has progressed, I decided to walk down, snap a few photo's and ask a couple questions. Turns out that there is an organization called ARTWORKS that takes at-risk youths and works with them to create public art. The group has created over 350 murals for schools, businesses and parks throughout Seattle. The program was developed in 1995 by the SODO Business Association to clean up trash and graffiti along the busway in Seattle's industrial zone.
The project by my house is awesome. It was commissioned to a local artist, who then outlines the piece and places color numbers inside the lines. Then a team of youth comes out and paints it, using color by number. The artist comes out every so often to touch it up and art direct. Very cool.
It brightens up an otherwise grey overpass and should help keep graffiti tagging to a minimum. I'm a big fan of street art and this program needs our support.
I'm not the only person who noticed. Check out the Cool Hunter which features some professional photos of the finished street art and a short write up.
How I've missed my friends. This weekend I took Trevor Ault, his wife Paige, their baby daughter Parker, Trevor Harp and his wife Kim up to my cabin on Hat Island. I never realize how much I miss spending time with them, until I do.
I used to live with Trevor Harp in college. We were roommates in our fraternity and at a couple other places, he was the President and I was the VP. Trevor Ault was also in the same fraternity and I lived with him for a few great years in Seattle. Great history with both of them. Kim was a sorority girl that we partied with in college as well and I got to know Paige while living with Ault. Good people.
Unfortunately the Harps live in San Francisco and the Aults in Portland, so I don't see them as much as I should. Honestly, I'm not real good at keeping in touch with friends that live outside of Seattle, but when we are together, it's like we just saw each other yesterday.
I'm going to try to make this an annual event.
So we drove from Seattle to Everett to go grocery shopping at QFC before catching the boat, as there are no stores on the island. The traffic was brutal so we were pressed for time. Harp took down a grocery list, texted it to Ault in the other car, he combined it with their list, and emailed each person in the group a shopping list based on store layout. One person had fruits and vegetables, another meats, liquids/sauces, etc. We bought about $250 worth of food in about 10 minutes and were at the ferry in plenty of time.
While riding the ferry over, we were informed that the water was tested and E-Coli was found. Therefore we were going to have to boil our water for everything: drinking water, brushing our teeth, washing the dishes, etc. A small inconvenience, but better that than cramps, nausea, headaches and diarrhea. Only side effect was burning our hands washing the dishes. Luckily this only lasted one evening, as the water ban was lifted the next day.
We spent the weekend eating like kings and queens, reading, sitting on the deck, walking the beach, crabbing, eating crab, barbecuing, drinking beer and wine, playing golf, and watching the bald eagles that live behind the cabin. Oh, we were also entertained by Parker. She is a delightful baby girl with beautiful blue eyes. She already has a strong sense of family, helping her Mom by making sputtering noises during my back swing. But I'd have to say the most fun was just being together.
We took the ferry back to Everett and enjoyed another dinner at Anthony's Homeport. Harp impressed us one more time, by ordering "all you can eat" crab.
When I compile all the images from the weekend, I'll embed a little slide show. Here's a quick little video that Ault made of the weekend. You can also check out more images of Hat Island in my gallery.
Good Read //
I just got done reading a great book called REWORK, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the founders of 37 Signals. 37 Signals is a small company with huge profits that develop web based apps to make your business more efficient like: Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack, Campfire and Ruby on Rails.
I once was a workaholic, who put in 80 hour work weeks. I thought the harder I worked the more I would get done. Not always the case. Now I'm all about working smarter, not harder. This book reinforced that notion.
This is a good read if you're one of those people constantly in meetings, talking about doing, but not actually getting things done because your always in those planning meetings. Or for the overly detailed person who feels like everything has to be written out in a business plan. Yes, there are certain aspects of a business plan that have to be well documented, but it's the concept or idea that's most important. The plan will continue to change and evolve, more often today than in the past, due to how fast technology and business environments are changing.
As I burned through its' pages, it was like a breath of fresh air. It reinforced many of my ideas about work, I just hadn't voiced them. I highly recommend it. It's a quick and entertaining read. It may not represent your current work atmosphere, but it's something we should all strive for.
Here's a little teaser video about the book.
They also have a great blog that I visit weekly called Signal vs. Noise.
I'm A SOTA //
When I was in college, I never could see myself as a SOTA. That grey haired, old person sitting in the front row asking lots of questions and sharing too much personal information. Wishing, that they would just be quiet so the professor could get on with the lecture. But here I am, and I can tell from the vibe I get from younger students, that I'm a SOTA. Did you have SOTA's at your college or university? Did you wish they'd shut-up?
Do you even know what a SOTA is? Well, it's a Student Over the Traditional Age. Yep, it's a person who's gone out into the world, worked for at least ten years, then gone back to school. Crazy thing is, this time I signed up for classes being seriously interested in the subject matter. I mean I don't have to go back to school, I WANT to.
I wanted to go to college and study marketing, don't get me wrong. But the classes I wasn't interested in were like torture. I didn't care to know statistics. I wanted to only know about subjects I was passionate about ,that I would actively be doing upon graduation. The goal was to get a education or degree that would lead to a career. It was a gateway. Once you've got experience, you go back to school to learn what you KNOW will help you further your career.
When you're in college, you sort of know what you want to do, but not the exact job when you graduate. You kind of wonder where each job will lead. There is doubt that comes with the first few jobs. Is this what's going to make me happy? Is this the career I should be doing to maximize my potential? I was very lucky where every job I've had, every promotion I've gotten, has lead me in the right direction. Each step was a confirmation that I was doing the best job for who I was as a person.
So this time, going to school feels different. I'm more interested, engaged. I want to ask questions, be sure that I understand the concepts being communicated. I want to share my experience and hear if what I did was done well. I'm paying for it myself and I know that if I learn what's being taught I will enjoy myself and my job that much more. I have no doubt about it. Where in college I think I lacked some drive because I wasn't 110% certain that what I was being taught was something I'd use.
So here I am after a decade of working in action sports, doing business planning, marketing, putting on events and running my own consulting business, that I find myself back in school. Part of it has to do with following a passion. I love the creative process and would like to be a "creative." That's the person that comes up with the "big idea" or is a "problem solver." In the past, I've been the planner, manager, and executor of programs, but at the same time come up with the ideas and creative. I think it will be a hard path to attain an official creative position at an agency. That's what has brought me to enroll in the Summer Boot Camp at the School of Visual Concepts.
In another life, I'd love to have been an art director with graphic design skills. I love Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Final Cut, Keynote and any creative layout type of software. It might not be too late, but that's what the classes are for. The Summer Boot Camp consists of a bunch of different classes crammed in a five week period. I'm taking Creative Thinking & Concepting, Photoshop, Copywriting, and HTML/CSS. Since my graphic design skills are ammeter, I'm going the route of Copywriter. Help come up with the idea and then work with a partner to bring it to life visually.
It's funny. Part of what makes the classes worth while is the experience of other students. Unfortunately there is an overflow of WSU graduates, fairly fresh out of college. They don't have personal experiences that they can share to add to class discussions. Well, time to get back to my homework.
Summer seems to be coming late to the Pacific Northwest, which means there is still a lot of snow in the mountains. All the rain also makes it less attractive to go hiking. My parents and I planned to go on one hike, but pulled the plug in the morning due to rain. But this last Friday, my Mom and I decided to go regardless of the weather.
The forecast was for party cloudy skies, chance of rain with clearing in the afternoon. My Mom needs to break in her new hiking boots for when she and my father go hiking through Switzerland and Austria in July. So we headed out early and drove North.
I was a little worried about my injury. I have a torn calf muscle, but my physical therapist did an impressive tape job the day before. I didn't know you could tape a calf like you do an ankle. Check it out.
We went to hike Lake Twenty Two. To say the surroundings were lush and green would be an understatement. The ferns are budding and everything seems to be growing forth. We did not however escape the rain. The majority of the hike up was in a drizzle, which turned to a pounding rain as we reached the lake. We didn't linger long, grabbed a quick bite under a tree and turned right back around. As we descended, the rain let up and the clouds began to burn off.
Truthfully, I didn't mind the rain. Hiking in the old growth forest provided some cover and the rivers were over flowing. Some of the meadows were even flooded. At times the trail was a small stream. It's just another experience and it makes you appreciate the sunny days more.
Upon returning to the car, it was still early so we decided to do a second, short hike. We drove up the road another 12 or so miles to Four Mountain Peaks(I think) where we hiked to some snow caves. The mountains here jut straight up and have multiple waterfalls coming from a big snow shelf up above. Another beautiful hike with slightly better weather. I was also very impressed with the trail maintenance.
Looking forward to going on more hikes this summer as the weather improves.
The world is blessed with intelligent, bright people. These people have great ideas worth spreading. Lucky for us, TED is a forum for those ideas to be communicated. Often when I'm bored or need a new concept to occupy my brain, I turn to TED.
Recently I found a talk by Sir Ken Robinson about a revolution in learning. He feels that "we are educating people out of their creativity." Ken discusses how we as people and a society should nurture passion and our kids interests that make them happy, instead of manufacturing them in a standardized system. To stay true to what you wanted to be when you were a kid. So that when people grow up, more of them follow and realize their dreams.
Too often today people ask each other, "What do you do for work?" Since many people do not have jobs in which they are passionate about, that they chose, their work does not reflect who they are. What many people do for work is a way to pass time that generates money, so that they might enjoy themselves on the weekend spending their "hard earned" money.
The speaker uses a great analogy, that standardized education is to our mind as fast food is to our health. Watch this video and be enlightened, educated and well entertained. Thanks be to TED, for helping educate the world.
I hate it when I struggle to resize an embedded video like this one. I look forward to when all embedded video functionality has proper resizing. So if you enjoyed this video and would like to see another one by Sir Ken on the same subject, click here.
Everybody is talking about it, but what are they saying really? It's the worst natural disaster in the history on the US. It's President Obama's Katrina. BP is corrupt and cut corners. All the different safe guards failed. The fishing/seafood industry in the South is in a state of crisis. BP blames Transocean for the accident. The people blame the government for lack of oversight. We are waging a "war" on a new natural disaster.
I think this accident or "natural" disaster is a symptom of a bigger problem. The fact that profits have become more important than general well-being and doing what's right. The responsibility or accountability for a problem like this seems to have been structured so that nobody can be held accountable. BP can blame Transocean, Transocean can blame the workers and citizens can blame the Minerals Management Service for lack of regulation. Sounds similar to the financial crisis or Enron. The problem lies with none of those organizations, but with our way of life.
Oil has allowed for many societal advances and made the industrial revolution possible over the last 100 years. We would not be where we are today without sucking oil from the earth. But oil is not a renewable resource and will continue to prove harder to acquire and process. Easy to acquire oil is running out. So what does that mean? Getting oil will become more expensive, difficult and possibilities for natural disasters will increase. We are drilling down through 5,000 feet of water and another 13,000 feet of seabed. That's a long way down. Deep drilling is expensive and can cost as much as $800,000 a day, or up to $100,000 million dollars to establish a single well.
People and industry don't want to pay more for gas/oil, so corporations like BP will continue to try and cut costs to keep margins high. It's just business. Although many people are complaining right now, I'm sure folks in Louisiana will still be pro-oil after it's all said and done. Oil and fishing are their two biggest industries. They need both. This spill is one of the costs we incur for our dependance on oil. Accidents happen, we can only try our best to prevent them. Where the anger comes from is that we did not try our best in prevention, we tried our best to be profitable instead.
Watching this media spectacle is rather entertaining. I feel for BP, as a company's brand is expensive to create, establish and maintain. In 2000, they rebranded themselves as "Beyond Petroleum" that sees a future past dependence on fossil fuels. They came out with a nice green logo that looks more environmentally friendly. Even then, Greenpeace came out with a print ad that mocked the rebranding.
With the oil spill, Greenpeace is at it again with a competition to recreate the BP logo in a negative light called "Behind the Logo." It's a brilliant negative PR campaign that should have all the oil companies motivated to start looking seriously at alternative energy. There are over 300 designs submitted so far and available to view on flickr. Here's one of my favorite redesigns.
Another entertaining negative PR campaign is the Twitter feed parody called "BP Global PR." Although it appears somewhat official, it's really not from BP Corporate. More than anything, it has become like open mic night at a comedy club with tons of funny one-liners about BP and the oil spill. Here's a couple of my favorites:
The last thing I'm going to touch on is the media trying to say this might be Obama's Katrina. Man this irritates me. Yes there are similarities, but two big differences in my mind. Katrina was a natural disaster that nobody could control. The BP Oil Spill was not a natural disaster that we couldn't control, it is a manmade disaster that negatively effects nature. It could have been prevented.
Bush was judged on how he responded to the disaster, which was slow and unorganized. In Katrina there was loss of life. It was a disaster we had faced before, just on a larger scale. It was a problem that the US Government had the tools and expertise to assist with. The BP Oil Spill did have some loss of life, but that was immediate. A slow reaction will not result in more loss of life, as it did with Katrina. The US Government does not have the expertise to stop the oil spill, nor does it have the resources to clean up or prevent the environmental disaster. It shows that both the oil industry and US Government has not advanced their clean up techniques since the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Just like Obama's overall presidency, it's too soon to judge. Time will tell.
I don't recall President George Bush Senior being blamed for the Exxon Valdez oil spill, nor held accountable for it's clean up. But this is my frustration with mass media. They are in a similar position as the oil companies, in an ever increasing difficult market, they need to generate revenue and profits. Controversy, crisis, disasters, corruption, and turmoil generates more web views, hits, comments, discussion and interaction with its audience, driving their sales. If they reported that Obama was doing a good job, that BP was doing everything in their power to stop and clean up the oil spill, then they would not make as much money either. Greed is the real story here.
My family owns the Bassi Jones building over on Mercer Island. Recently we've been updating it with new windows, paint, bathroom fixtures, signage, and still have a ways to go with replacing some stairs, walkway and dry rot. It's come a long ways over the last couple months, since my grandparents managed it. My Dad likes good quality, as do I.
When the opportunity to join the Mercer Island Art Walk came up, we decided it would be a good way to meet our neighbors and feature my sisters and my Moms good friend Judy West's photography. My sister is an artist, who recently began expressing herself through photography. She mostly chose images of flowers and a couple scenics of walking trails.
Judy West goes hiking or cross country skiing with my Mom most Thursdays. She takes pictures on these trips, then creates some nice cards that she sells at Kattermans Pharmacy. The Bassi Jones building is two floors with two hallways. For the first art walk of the summer, we just used the upstairs, with one wall featuring my sisters pictures and the other featuring Judy's. Depending on how the foot traffic goes, we may extend to both floors.
Part of the fun, beside serving attendees wine, was walking around to the other businesses and meeting different business owners. Some of these businesses are participating in the art walk solely to get new business. I went into a beauty salon and each room had a different art piece. So you get a tour, you view a piece of art and then learn about the full body spray tan you can get. Or in the next room, I could have gotten my back hair removed (not that I have much).
Overall the Mercer Island Art Walk could use more press. There was not much foot traffic. Most of the people who came were people we knew and invited. Maybe it was because this was the first one, or maybe it was the poor weather, I don't know. Hopefully as summer gets underway, more people will come out. It's every third Thursday of month, come out and I'll serve you a free glass of wine.
Professional soccer has come to Seattle. It's been a beautiful experience to watch the team, management and fan base establish itself. I can't think of a better roll out to a professional sports team. There was a build up, a successful launch and an inaugural season that couldn't have been much better.
It all starts with the ownership group, management, staff, coaches and the alliance. From the beginning, a strong Sounders foundation was laid with the new business structure. Sounders FC is a Democracy in Sports, giving the teams supporters a voice. Each season ticket holder can vote on the direction of the franchise, including the fate of the general manager. That ownership by fans will be crucial to its' success and I think will become a new business model for professional sports. I could go in-depth into my understanding of their business model, but that's not what this post is about. I would however recommend that you do some investigating. To learn more about how Seattle Sounders FC's Official Members Association is structured, click HERE.
I was impressed that the Sounders built the brand without a head couch, team or star player in the first year. Instead they marketed a community built around a sport using a scarf. Would have been fun to be in the room for that pitch. Yep, we're going to launch your marketing and brand using a scarf! But the idea and execution was brilliant. It worked and now every MLS team is selling scarfs.
Loyal, passionate fans are one of the keys to continued success for a professional sports team, regardless of whether the team wins or loses. The Sounders have five official support groups: Emerald City Supporters, Immortal Fury, Gorilla FC, Legion of Xtreme Soccer Fans and the North End Supporters. These support groups have created sub-communities based around the team, making the Sounders about more than just a game. They need to continue to grow the support groups. It's also impressive to note that out of 36,000 available seats, 30,000 are season ticket holders. That's a lot of sales revenue up front at the beginning of a season and a good way to measure fan base/loyalty.
The Sounders understand that the sport and community comes first. That giving back to the surrounding Seattle area through soccer academies, regional training centers, clinics, and camps help grow the sport. For soccer to be successful in the United States, the number of people who play and understand the sport has to grow. We are lucky to have such a knowledgeable and smart management team who understand both sport and business in Joe Roth, Adrian Hanauer, Drew Carey and Chris Henderson. Theres more to the dream team, but thats the core. Then you have to look at the coaching staff, we're also lucky to have Sigi Schmid and Brain Schmetzer.
The Sounders have the potential to become the largest market for soccer in the United States and the flagship organization of the MLS. They got off to the perfect start last season by putting a very competitive team on the field, winning and reaching the playoffs in their first season. But for Sounders to become a premier team and organization they have to win consistently and be in the playoffs every year.
I have to mention that I love the style of soccer the Sounders play. They posses the ball, passing it around and work the entire field instead of playing "boom ball" or kick and run. The defense is our strength with Riley, Hurtado, Marshall, and Gonzalez. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado is a bull in the center, shutting strikers down. Tyrone Marshall has passion, emotional toughness and seems to be the more vocal leader. Then on the wings, you have to love James Riley and Leonardo Gonzalez, probably the two best outside defensive players in the MLS. Not only do they shut people down, they are great at bringing the ball up and playing offense. The Sounders also have good depth with Patrick Ianni coming off the bench. He could start on any other team. The defense is so good I think the rest of the team takes it for granted, slacking off in the midfield and forward positions.
Then there is Osvaldo Alonso holding it down as our defensive central midfielder. Without his effort in midfield stealing the ball, I doubt our mids would ever win the ball. He shuts people down and works extremely hard. Hopefully he can stay healthy and keep those quads loose. Next on my list of praise is Peter Vagenas. He has come out this season and been the best distributor of the ball. He settles play down, when the ball is at his feet you know he'll make the best decision and start an offensive attack. To me, the players I just listed are the best and most consistent on our team. The rest have an up side, but have elements of their game they must work on for the Sounders to be more successful.
Steve Zakuani has been a great attacking winger that opponents have to account for. His speed and ability to dribble the ball down the wing, into the penalty box is something every team yearns for. Zakuani is one of our few players who can take defenders on one-on-one and beat them. Unfortunately he doesn't play much defense. He'll jog back and play zone, but rarely wins the ball back. He leans too heavily on Leo and the rest of the defense and needs to help out more, both winning the ball back in the midfield and putting pressure on opposing defenses to force errors. He has so much skill and just needs to put forth better effort. He's a good passer but needs to become a more consistent finisher.
Let's talk about Brad Evans, you gotta love this guy, he is the definition of team player. Whatever Sigi asks of him, he does. He's played defense, midfield and lately forward. He gives great effort and has an impressive soccer intellect. He makes great runs off the ball, into space, as well as shows for the ball well from a forward position. I think he plays best as a midfielder, distributing the ball. He has great passing ability, good crosses and sees the field well. If utilized right I think he could be an assist leader for the team. He's also one of the few members of the team that wins 50/50 balls. Alas, he's not a natural goal scorer, as the coaches have been putting pressure on him to be. Evans will get goals off of his effort, cleaning up on deflections and crashing the goal. Brad needs to be in the game, the Sounders just need to find a more consistent role for him to play. He does lose the ball from time to time and isn't the most skilled, but his consistent effort inspires the rest of the team.
I'm also a fan of Sanna Nyassi, for similar reasons I'm a fan of Brad Evans, he puts in a good effort. He may lose the ball, but he'll win it back. He may be smaller than other players, but he'll sacrifice his body and he's fast. He could be as dangerous as Zakuani with a little better dribbling to beat defenders and ball handling skills to settle the ball. It's hard to find him playing time, but until other players with more skill start putting out more effort, I think he deserves a few starts and definitely should come off the bench consistently.
So far it sounds as if I like the whole team, which I mostly do, but the next two players frustrate the hell out of me. Yep, Fredy and Freddie are probably the two most skilled and gifted players on the Sounders team, but are also the issue keeping the Sounders from being a great team. Let's start with our Euro star, Freddie Ljungberg.
At first Ljungberg was my favorite player on the Sounders. This lasted 3/4's of last season, until I noticed a negative trend in his mind set. The press and attention started to make him feel like he should get more "star" calls. He began playing with less effort, passion and energy and started just putting effort in when the ball is passed to his feet. He no longer seems to make runs, play defense or stay on his feet. At the slightest bit of contact he takes a dive, then complains most of the game about not getting calls. Rarely does he win a 50/50 ball, doesn't win the ball in midfield nor puts adequate pressure on opposing defenses to force errors. It's frustrating to see a player with so much talent, waste it due to poor mental focus. I'd like to see more effort, him stay on his feet fighting through contact and more leadership through his actions. Mostly, I'd like to see him shut and play the game.
Freddie is not a great goal scorer, he's a good attacking midfielder, similar to Zakuani. He can press and create quick counter attacks. He is a good passer and takes free kicks well. He too should be one of the teams assist leaders. He needs to come back to the ball better, becoming a one-two punch with Peter Vagenas. Ljunberg has found good chemistry with Zakuani but in his second year needs to get on the same page with other midfielders and forwards. For being the third highest paid player in the MLS, he needs to do more.
The same affliction seems to have found Fredy Montero. Another skilled player who stopped playing the game, except for when the ball is played to his feet on offense. He's lazy. Once again, the early attention seemed to get to him. Fredy needs to find his motivation again. I think it would be wise for Sigi to keep him coming in off the bench, like he did in the game against the Red Bulls, until Montero plays hard consistently, where it becomes habit. We need him to get back to his scoring ways. We need the offense to start closing the deal, connecting the dots.
The biggest difference I see from the play last year to this year is the pressure and effort our midfielders and forwards put on opposing teams. Last year the Sounders swarmed opposing players, not giving them room to breath and forced a ton of turnovers. They might not always get the ball, but they forced errant kicks, traps and passes. They forced mistakes up higher on the field. This year the team seems to sit back and wait for our defense to win the ball back before pushing forward again.
I love the Sounders and look forward to every game more than any other team I've ever cheered for. They are extremely close to being a great team, they just need to fix a few things. A few more suggestions or things that I notice when I watch are: they never win the ball on goal kicks, free kicks and set plays. Next time you watch a game, look at how many times the midfield or forwards win the ball off a goal kick or drop kick from Keller. If any? They might get a couple headers or flick-on's but hardly ever win the ball and take possession. Then how about our set plays? How often do we connect on corner kicks? Practically never. Not even make contact to get the ball on goal. Same goes for defensive set plays, the only players that win the ball are our defenders.
The biggest problem for the Sounders has been scoring goals. They seem to dominate time of possession and have a lot of opportunities, they just don't close the deal. So many wasted chances. Hopefully the addition of Blaise Nkufo will be the answer to this problem. He is tall and physically what the Sounders need in what is a rather small offense. We just need to win enough games to get us into the playoffs or stay towards the top of the Western Conference until he arrives after the World Cup.
If I don't make it to the game, my next favorite spot to watch the match is at The George & Dragon in Fremont. That place is packed with rave green on game day. Plus if you want to go to the match, they have a bus that will take you there and bring you back. It's awesome.
I wish the Seattle Sounders FC all the success in the world. I think they are great for the city and have the best opportunity to bring home our first championship. Go Sounders!!!
I recently had the pleasure of seeing the play, Paradise Lost at the Intiman Theatre. Although the play was written in the 1930's by Clifford Odets as a response to the Great Depression, it proved relevant today with the state of our economy and unemployment being as high as it is. While sitting there, certain sections of the play were so fresh it was as if the play was written a few months ago.
Many people have been affected by the downturn in our economy. Either you or somebody you know may have fallen on hard times, trying to make mortgage payments, losing a job, their company going out of business, trying to find new employment, losing money in the stock market, stress from supporting a family or hearing about peoples struggles reported nightly on the news. I think you'd be hard pressed to find somebody who's been totally isolated.
Paradise Lost addresses all these situations through the eyes of one family. It showcases the torment a father feels, trying to keep his business going, hoping for the success and well being of his children, maintaining a marriage, helping friends less fortunate while holding onto his humor and hope for a better future. Against all odds, as pressure and circumstances continue to mount, can the family prevail while waiting for a new dawn of prosperity?
That's a question many families are facing today. Can they hold out for a better tomorrow? Many films and plays conclude with a happy ending. Paradise Lost does as well, but not how one might think. You don't know if the family makes it, actually you know much of the family doesn't.
The daughter finds love, but her man breaks it off due to lack of financial resources and the ability to provide. The prodigal son, who won gold medals running in the Olympics, a go-getter with a personality larger than life, who marries the beautiful woman, can no longer run, can't find meaningful work, is so ashamed he falls to a life of crime and jumps in front of bullets during a confrontation, killing himself. The other son has a terminal illness and is going to die. The father goes out of business when his partner steals money and the family loses their home.
Nope, that is not your typical happy ending. What you are left with, is a man who has lost just about everything. Yet is left standing with his integrity, passion for life and a continued hope for the future. The father is never broken. Instead he stands fast in his belief that the world and life is beautiful.
The play itself has a lot of narrative and a large cast, which makes an audience have to engage to follow the story. It may not be for everybody, but I enjoyed it. It made me think. It made me realize how fortunate I am.
The Intiman Theatre is a great venue by the way. It's rather small and has a great personal feel. I would highly recommend checking it out and going to a show. Prices aren't all that high, considering what you get compared to other entertainment in Seattle. Go to their website to learn more. Here's a list of shows for the 2010 Season: Paradise Lost, The Thin Place, Ruined, A Doctor In Spite Of Himself and The Scarlet Letter.
I love good movies. I love good music. So you'd think I'd really like movies about music? But more often than not, documentaries about rock bands or musicians fall short. They're usually about conflicting personalities, drama between band members and the most played out sex, drugs and rock n' roll ideal.
I was pleasantly surprised when I came across Under Great White Northern Lights on iTunes. It's a great rockumentary about Jack and Meg White of The White Stripes as they tour across Canada. It's not just big venues, but more down home style theaters and impromptu shows in town squares, music stores, coffee shops or even riding the bus. There's no sex or drugs, just a well thought out film that does a great job implementing The White Stripes mythology. It blends black and white footage with color that often times over saturates reds.
There's not a ton of dialog or interviews, just enough to learn a little something but yearn for more. More situational shots that showcase interaction with people and fans as they're en route from show to show, which I liked because it feels more natural and less contrived. Then it's all about the power of their music.
If you are unfamiliar with The White Stripes music, branding and mythology I'll try to fill you in a little. The White Stripes began as part of a late-nineties garage-rock revival, but the duo's music and concept - a once married couple who pretended to be siblings and wore alternating red and white outfits - was always bigger than the lo-fi rock and roll of a typical garage band.
The White Stripes played their first show in July 1997, about nine months after bartender Meg White and upholsterer John Anthony Gillis married and began making music together. Gillis took his wife's last name and a dynamic duo was born. Since then the two have put out six albums, winning several grammy's and now have added a great film to their body of work.
I think one of the reasons why I enjoyed the movie so much is in its' simplicity. Both how it was shot and in the music. Two people, one on drums and the other on guitar. Yet they still bring a powerful energy you can feel. They are great musicians and entertainers. Both Meg and Jack have a captivating presence. Meg with her quiet and shy persona, yet impressive curves. And Jack, who seems more complex and thoughtful. Although you get a sense of who they are as people, the film focuses more on the music and what the band/concept is.
If you too like music and movies, I think you'll find Under Great White Norther Lights enjoyable. Check out the trailer:
As a person of Scandinavian heritage, orange isn't my best color. Especially in the winter when I'm bright white, but it does get better during the summer when my burn fades to tan. For the last four years I have had one "go to" orange t-shirt that I've loved. The DDC Anvil Strength Torso Cover.
It has traveled with me on fun adventures from Mexico to Alaska, getting well-worn and washed repeatedly. It stood the test of time, only fading ever so slightly. After realizing it was the oldest, most worn tee in my wardrobe, I came to the conclusion it was time to put it down. But I just couldn't come to throw it out. Then I went on Draplin's website to order a new one, only to be saddened to see it was SOLD OUT! I don't think I've ever tried to buy the same clothing item twice?
I emailed Aaron to see if he had one laying around, but no. Aaron was however nice enough to send me a new DDC torso cover along with an assortment of DDC merchandise. DDC will continue to hold down the orange color spot in my t-shirt collection for years to come.
Along with my new orange torso cover, I received:
It's kind of hard to see, but look at the tooth brush around the neck line. It's an orange tooth brush with black bristles. How cool is that? A big thanks to Mr. Daplin for keeping me looking good.
SPRING STORM //
This winter hasn't produced many powder days. Yet every year, I'm happily surprised by the late spring storms that roll through and drop copious amounts of snow. The perfect spring storm arrived last week and I took full advantage.
It had been snowing hard up at Crystal with high winds, keeping the upper mountain lifts closed. My friend Ryan emailed me inquiring about going skiing the next day. There was 26" inches of new snow, some lifts hadn't been open and another foot of snow was in the forecast. We agreed that the following day could be the best powder skiing of the season and decided to get up early to be on the first few chairs.
We departed at 6:30am and drove to Crystal Mountain with purpose. Upon hiking up from the second parking lot, we discovered that other people had the same idea. Can't say I've ever seen such a long lift line at the end of March. The line went all the way back to the concrete. Check it out for yourself.
After riding two lifts to the top, we unleashed on the mountain, taking the second gate down the frontside, ripping knee deep powder turns all the way back down to the lift. I had a nice perma-grin to go with my morning quad burn. These were the best powder conditions I experienced all year.
Right before lunch, Ryan and I ran into another friend, Kyle. Kyle owns the local ski shop, Alpine Hut . He was up skiing with some friends: McKenzie, Drew, and Medley. For those of you who know me, I can get impatient skiing and I don't like too big of a group, especially on powder days. But I've been working on this, trying to become a more "social" skier in my old age. So Ryan and I joined their group for the rest of the day, making laps and slapping high fives.
Here's a pick of Kyle, McKenzie and Medley.
There were a lot of young rippers up at the hill due to spring break. Here's some happy kids in line in front of me.
A ritual after a good day of skiing at Crystal is getting a few pitchers at The Snorting Elk. The Elk was packed with the smiling faces of people sharing adventure stories. I love the Elk, it has great charm or character like a good community bar. Ryan, Kyle, McKenzie and I grabbed a table and ordered a few pitchers and some nachos. We ordered pitchers as if we were loading the ark, two by two, by two... It was hard not too, with the party atmosphere. The shot ski was getting lots of use.
Once we were feeling pretty loose, Ryan suggested we stay the night and ski more deep powder the next day. Hmm, Crystal was planning to open the Northway lift for the first time in three days, which would yield more great untracked powder. We were in. Ryan called and found a place for the four of us to sleep.
We checkied into our place and Ryan was set on soaking our tired legs in the hot pool. Since this overnight was not planned, none of us brought a change of clothes, not to mention swim suits. Not a big deal, we grabbed some towels and jumped in wearing our underwear. After achieving solid prune status, we jumped out of the pool, got dressed and went back to the room. We needed our underwear to dry by the next morning, so we cooked them in the oven.
It was getting late and we still hadn't eaten dinner. Ryan called around and everything was closed. Luckily the lady at the front desk had a couple frozen pizzas. We scarfed them down. We couldn't taste the underwear we'd just cooked. At least I couldn't tell.
We went to sleep but the only person who got much rest was Ryan. The rest of us laid in bed and listened to Ryan snore. I think I only slept a couple hours the whole night. We awoke to blue skies and more new snow. It was going to be another epic day.
We got started a little late, so skipped breakfast minus coffee and a breakfast bar. Got in the lift line at 8:30 and started skiing more knee deep powder. The difference today was that it was colder, pulling some of the moisture out of the snow. The snow was deeper and lighter than the previous day, with surface hoar sparkling in the sun. Absolutely beautiful.
By 9:30, they had the Northway chair open and crowds attacked like an army. Everywhere you went, it was a race to get first tracks. The four of us lapped the Northway lift, getting untracked turns until one o'clock. By then our legs lacked sufficient energy to keep going. We had gotten the best turns in of the season. It was time to grab some lunch and hit the road.
I can't think of a better way to close out the month of March. Deep powder turns at Crystal with friends. I love it up there.
I can be kind of a dork, where in my spare time I like to read business strategy books and view marketing/advertising sites. This post is about some of the interesting things I've come across in my latest readings and web surfing.
First off, I'm intrigued by what industries are doing, consumer behavior and business trends. One of the best sources of information on this topic is Trendhunter.com. They are great at making quick, entertaining and educational videos. Here's one on the Top 20 Trends in 2010:
Another couple of sites I like to visit regularly are Cool Hunting and The Cool Hunter. Both are similar in content and do a great job stimulating my mind. They both follow trends in design, art, architecture, furniture, travel, music, gadgets, fashion, ads, bars, food and events. If you're into those things, you'll want to bookmark these sites. Here's a couple shots of what you'd find there.
I'm a big fan of digital media and utilizing it as a marketing tool. I'm constantly trying to find the latest information on the subject. I believe the most successful companies in the future will have a mastery of marketing with digital media (I know, huge revelation huh). Flash in the Can put out this video to promote their upcoming technology + art + advertising event called, "The Last Advertising Agency on Earth." The film asks what will the future of advertising look like? The answer depends on whether or not traditional advertising agencies truly embrace the power of digital to reach consumers and build brands in new, exciting ways.
It's super wide format, so best viewed on vimeo or click on the video link in the paragraph above. My blog is kind of skinny for embedding vid's.
Another one of my monthly web visits is to the Razorfish site called "The Feed." I think it's mostly written by an employee named Garrick Schmitt. At least he's the only person who seems to post anything. Razorfish is an agency in Seattle that specializes in the digital arena. The other thing I think is cool is that you can embed a Keynote or Powerpoint presentation. Man I wished I had utilized this functionality in my past work. Check out this first presentation, "The 2009 Razorfish Digital Brand Experience Report."
When a lot of people think about digital media, they just think about online and forget about mobile. Mobile phones or devices, or more accurately smart phones, are an ever increasing communication vehicle to reach the masses. It's still evolving, but there's no debating the value of creating a good mobile application if their are enough users. Here is another presentation by Garrick Schmitt on whether "App-vertising Is The Answer."
I was recently cruising around Barnes & Noble in the business section and found a bunch of new reading material. The first you should check out is Futuretainment by Mike Walsh. Have you ever had a strategy or vision that you've thought about and put down on paper? Well, after doing the Nimbus business plan I found this book, which pretty much touched on the Nimbus business plan. Reading it just reinforced my theory. If you are interested in the future of media, be sure to click on the books website and order a copy. It's an easy read with pretty cool layout.
I actually stocked up at Barnes & Noble. I also bought: "The Art of Client Service", by Robert Solomon; the classic, "Marketing Warfare" by Al Ries and Jack Trout; "Ogilvy On Advertising," and "Ad Land" by Mark Tungate. I also got the magazines "Archive" and "CMYK." Lastly, I ordered a book online called "How to Get the Advertising Job You Want" by Dave Hollaway. For inspirational purposes, I'm reading "The Alchemist" for about the 10th time. Love that book. Hmm, there was a lot of punctuation in that paragraph that I'm not sure if I got right...
Another oddity of mine is that I like to read like I eat. I enjoy mixing up the material. It's kind of like changing channels on the TV. I read a couple chapters of one book, then I grab another and read a couple more chapters before I go back to the first one. I'll read up to four books at one time. Is that weird?
Besides what I bought at Barnes & Noble and my online viewing habits, I have subscriptions to: Newsweek, Dwell, Wired, Details, Esquire, Entrepreneur, Inc., and I like to skim the Seattle Times every morning. I also get a bunch of wintersports mags as promo, but I don't read them much, just The Ski Journal. Anyway, this is the info I've been consuming in my spare time. I think it's all real interesting stuff, but then again, I am kind of a dork.
Have you ever been driving south on I-99 and as you come into downtown Seattle, wondered what the building on the left with the big SVC sign was? I did, but just recently found out it's a school for graphic design, web design, ad art direction and copywriting. It's called the School of Visual Concepts. After checking the school out online, I decided to take a couple courses. They have ten, five and one day classes available. What drew me in is that it's taught by people who are actively working in advertising and design, not regular full-time professors.
I just finished my first course, called Project Management for Design, which was taught by Matt Diefenbach of Turnstyle. Matt was a cool dude, both very knowledgeable and personable. Proving once again that it's a small world, upon chatting we discovered we had mutual friends. His presentation included a lot of work from Turnstyle, which seems like a great up and coming firm. Afterward I checked out their website and really love their design aesthetic/style.
The following are topics Matt covered:
> Writing great scope-of-work documents for design and advertising projects
> Getting buy-ins from project sponsors
> Writing creative briefs that are actually useful for designers and writers
> Setting up communication expectations for clients and co-workers
> Maintaining production schedules
> Successful client and team meetings
> Building relationships that lead to satisfied clients and more buisness
An interesting component was class participation and interaction. We had case studies where we worked in groups and shared our thoughts. I enjoyed the group activities, but in retrospect realize the quality of the course somewhat depends on the skill level of students in attendance. We had a good group that ranged from people working at agencies or internal creative and marketing teams at manufacturers.
Another highlight was finding out about Onehub.com. Be sure to check it out when you have time. It's a great alternative to using an FTP site to share files. I wish I would have used something like it with Nimbus. I could have just uploaded the webisode communication tools: banner ads, imagery, editorial, videos, link graphics, etc to Onehub.com and provided all the media and sponsors with their own login info. Would have saved me so much time. There are a lot of similar applications out there like Basecamp, but I really like the Onehub UI. Will be using it in the future.
Now that I've found my first course beneficial, it's time to sign up for more. Next will be Design and Build HTML Emails and Brand Strategy for Creatives. Eventually I may step up from one day classes to multiple, maybe some Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign stuff. I know the basics but am self taught and would love to be better. In another life I could be a graphic designer. Overall, I would highly recommend SVC. Maybe I'll see you there...
Have you seen the videos on Vimeo? Wow. I was just creating an account and uploading a bunch of videos for my portfolio, when I started having a look around. I could spend hours watching their content. Made me question if what I was uploading was worthy. I would compare MySpace to Facebook and YouTube to Vimeo. Vimeo is just such higher quality.
So this first video I'm embedding caught my eye because a lot of advertising right now is using the same effect. Where you shoot imagery so that it appears miniature. This is one of the coolest time lapses, shot in Brooklyn and Manhattan, New York. Be sure to go full-screen, it's that much better. This is called The Sandpit.
This next video is for us nature lovers. It's an amazing film shot from May to November of 2009 in this guys fathers garden. Have some patience and watch the entire thing, as it builds throughout. Also be sure to go full-screen, it really does improve the viewing experience. Enjoy this film called My Fathers Garden.
I found one more video I have to share with you. Remember the band OK Go? They did that viral YouTube music video on treadmills. Well, whether you like their music or not, you have to give it to them for their creativity. Apparently they had some sort of blockage from their record label, EMI, that wouldn't allow them to post the video on more sites than google. Some sort of profit sharing deal. Then State Farm came in and sponsored the video so the rest of the world could see it. State Farm really picked a good one. Check it out!
While the rest of the country may be experiencing a blustery winter, springtime has hit the Pacific Northwest early. I could wear shorts if I didn't mind blinding bystanders with my pasty white legs. I mean it's well above normal winter temperatures. Even nature is confused, as it's mid-February and the flowers and trees are beginning to bloom. The bulbs in the flowerbed in my front yard have sprouted forth a good six inches.
I find it humorous how the term "global warming" is taken so literally by people. How they argue that because 3/4's of the country is getting snow that there can't be global warming. Wasn't it just last year that the East Coast experienced one of it's warmest winters? I remember news stories around christmas where New Yorkers were in their shorts, sunning themselves. They forget about they global warming symptom of wide temperature swings in either direction.
Anyway, before I get sidetracked on global warming, I have two little stories. First, upon driving home from the gym today, I was noticing the cherry trees starting to blossom. I parked on the side street and a nice woman said "hello." She asked if I would like a bouquet of cherry blossoms. I figured why not.
We got to chatting, I found out she was from the Netherlands, then moved to Canada and finally to Seattle. She's lived in my neighborhood for about a year and is trying to build the community. Apparently the area I live in is called ZooZoo? I always just tell people I live at the top of Fremont, sort of the Phinney Ridge neighborhood, but I'm guessing we get that name because we're right next to the Woodland Park Zoo. She is trying to get our community to interact more, sharing tools, services or something to that effect.
Not until later, did I recall her saying something about the fact she is going to try and generate income off of this service. At the time I was passively listening, while thinking about something else. I remember ending the conversation short, taking the cherry blossoms, saying "nice to meet you" and not offering any money. Crap, was the service of trimming the cherry tree, making bouquet's and offering them to people passing by, a way to "generate income" or a nice gesture? I'm hoping it was a nice gesture on a beautiful day, otherwise I must have looked like an ass. But don't they look nice by my bedside table?
I'm going to use the excuse that a kid came to the door this morning to sell magazines, then I gave money to the lady pan handling outside of the grocery store. Maybe by the time I got home and was offered the cherry blossoms, I just didn't think it would be for money? Getting hit up for money all the time in this poor economy may have desensitized me. When she offered, I just thought how nice this woman was to being doing this.
So the other story. I used to live with this wonderful woman named Sarah. She had an orchid that bloomed when we were roommates. She moved out a little more than two years ago and the orchid hasn't bloomed since. But wait! For the first time since she left, it's finally blossomed. The orchid flower is amazing. Have you ever looked at one closely? It is what people call, "a gift from nature."
I'm glad all those times when I thought maybe it was dead, that I should toss it, that I didn't. I think I'll try to take better care of it.