Automation is the future.

I’ve been thinking about the purpose of having a self-hosted blog and a Tumblr.

Part of me wants to just write on Tumblr and forget the hassle of having another blog. Sure would be cheaper, and there are few other platforms that make it so easy to get writing up on the Internet.

Maybe they can work together.

This post is to test that theory.

Everyone say hello to August.

For a few years, Undercurrent was one of my favorite companies. Not to say that I knew what they actually did, but a lot of people that I’ve respected have worked there, and they talked a mean game online as individuals and an organization. In fact, one of my professional regrets, not involving holiday parties or fantasy football, is having not had the chance to work with them.

Naturally, I was taken aback when it was announced that Undercurrent was no longer a company.

That wasn’t too long ago. Maybe a few weeks. And there’s already good news coming out of a seemingly bad situation … it looks like at least some of the team is rising from the ashes with a new vision and a new company: August.

From their website:
> August was founded with the belief that today’s most valuable work depends on teams of people who work well together.
> Unfortunately, the way most organizations operate today gets in the way of good teamwork, instead of supporting it.
> All around us are missions with the potential to change our world for the better. Some are incremental and are struggling to survive the next status meeting. Some are massive and require the coordinated resources of global institutions. Some will fix our biggest problems. Some will invent our future.
> Each of these missions needs a team that is capable of learning and adapting fast enough to get it done.
> August helps teams meet this challenge.

Sounds good to me, and not just because I’ve become obsessed, to a fault, with how great work is done, personal, organizational, and otherwise.

There are incredibly interesting problems to be solved within the companies that make up the brands that agencies service.

That is where changing to meet the future is going to come from…it radiates from within.

Congrats guys, looking forward to seeing where you take this thing…

Back to the Brandcenter

After 5-and-a-half amazing years with The Martin Agency, I’ve taken a full time position as strategy professor at my graduate alma mater: VCU Brandcenter.

This isn’t about slowing down. This is about going back to a school that I love, where I learned skills that helped me transform my life, and working closely with graduate students who are hoping to set off on their own careers in ~~the dark arts~~ the creative industries.

I’ll also be working on building my own consulting practice, writing more, getting some podcasts off the ground, and plugging-in with the creative community here in Richmond and beyond.

It’s a radical new direction that should make for a really interesting second act.

The Crossroads of Should and Must

Patrick Rhone’s review of a book that looks like a worthy companion to this one:

Unlike a lot of the “quit your job and follow your dreams” books, this one is rational, reasonable, and readily admits that jumping off such a cliff is not wise. Instead, it argues that if you can make the time to do the things you should do, and we all seem to find the time to do those things that the world expects from us, you can make the time to do the things you must do.

Disclosure: I might be biased towards these kinds of books right now, given that I’ve just quit my job.  

Source: patrickrhone / journal » Blog Archive » The Crossroads of Should and Must — A Brief Review

You are responsible for what you put into the world

From Mike Monteiro’s answer to a student’s question about whether designers should be able to appreciate an object’s design on a purely aesthetic level, specifically, the AK-47:

Your role as a designer is to leave the world in a better state than you found it. You have a responsibility to design work that helps move humanity forward and helps us, as a species, to not only enjoy our time on Earth, but to evolve.

And to design is to take purpose into account — as my friend Jared Spool says: design is the rendering of intent. You can’t separate an object’s function from its intent. You cannot critique it, you cannot understand it, and you cannot appreciate something without thinking about its intent.

A couple thoughts come to mind:

Roger Ebert’s thinking that evaluating a movie requires consideration of whether or not it achieved what it set out to do.

In his review of The Manson Family, Ebert gave the film three stars for achieving what it set out to do, but admitted that did not count as a recommendation per se.

Steve Jobs on design:

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

Nick Cave’s Weather Notebook

So I started to write the Weather Diaries. When I would go into the office every day, I would document what was happening with the weather. I got really into it. I would carry a pad around with me. Any little change I would jot down. I started to see the weather in a different way. It became very exciting when there was really bad weather because I would get to write about it. It led to all sorts of things. But my one responsibility to the project was to document the weather every day. It was looking good, it was looking publishable: the world’s most tedious book. But then I had twins, and I started going to the hospital instead of the office. So it never got finished—it was going to be one solid year. And of course, springtime was rather lovely in London this year, and I think it’s because I paid it some attention last year. I think the weather needs people to pay attention.

I’ve been fighting with myself over whether or not to use analog or digital in everything from work projects to thinking through ideas to just keeping an everyday journal.

The truth is that there is magic to the analog. Putting pen to paper forces a bit more thoughtfulness. It also just feels nice to pull a halfway decent pen across some nice paper. Not to mention the permanence. Something that might be valuable to my kids down the road.

The problem comes later, when you need to find something. Some people take pictures of notebooks or otherwise scan them into digital formats. That seems like too much work.

But, something like this, a daily weather journal, is a perfect use for a good notebook. Because it’s about the present. Mindfulness. All of that. Sure it could be done in digital, but why would you?

Via Austin Kleon

Welcome to the New Site. Same as the Old Site.

I like to keep Phil on his toes by changing blogging platforms every few months.

Actually, he’s the only person I know that gives me grief about doing so. And I deserve it.

Usually my changing of blog platforms is symptomatic of something else going on in my life, almost always it happens during a time of high stress.

When the going gets tough, the tough fiddle around with to-do list apps and blogging platforms.

This time isn’t much different. Though it has come along with a few realizations about my own struggles with writing regularly.

  1. When I look back at my very first posts from 2005, they were mostly things that would have gone into some sort of social media platform nowaways. It seems obvious, but it’s a realization that’s come with clarity.
  2. Squarespace is a really, really great service for hosting a website. The only issue I’ve had with it is the friction inherent in their writing tools. How many clicks does it take to get to the text input field on a new post in Squarespace 7? It seems like a lot. And while that is certainly an excuse, it was also adding friction to a task that I don’t need any help avoiding. I want to post more frequently, and I want to post smaller bits, and I don’t feel like wading into the depths of their CMS to do so.
  3. The reasons that I’ve been avoiding using WordPress are largely irrelevent. In fact, the reasons to use it vastly outweigh the negatives. Just about everything that you could possibly want to do with a blog or a website is right there. It just works, as they say.
  4. I don’t like writing in web forms. This is related to a few of the other bullets on this list, but if I never have to copy and paste from a native text editor into a web form again, I’ll be a happy guy.

So that’s that. I’ve broken the seal on the new site. Same as the old site, but hopefully a better place to write.

Fuzzy Time

The watch has a Swiss Made Ronda Caliber 505.24H GMT Quartz movement that originally has 4 hands plus the date. We only use one hand that shows the 24 hour time in order to create a true slow watch that is reduced to only one necessary component. But we think it’s pretty cool to know that there actually is quite a complex movement happening inside of your watch.

The great thing is that the 24-hour dial allows you to see the entire day in one view. This fundamentally changes the way you look at your watch and it will give you a much better consciousness about the progression of your day. You will realize that the dial does not show a logo as we believe a great product does not need to show any visible branding to be recognized. A unique design language should do the job. The slow logo appears only on the back of the case.