Scribe SEO charges a lot of money for their service. It would be a reasonable car payment. Maybe I was projecting when I read this.
After missing every Account Planning conference (before it was put down like an injured horse), every Planning-ness (sorry Mark), and every SXSW (before advertising people ruined it), I finally have the chance to get to Austin this year. I'm incredibly excited ... ready to dive into some burritos, inspiration and maybe a couple cold ones. Also, it's almost been 10-years since the last time I pulled off a burrito-trifecta (breakfast, lunch and dinner), so It's probably time to renew my vows. Although it sounds like a Taco Trifecta might be more appropriate for Austin.
Wanna meet up?
Any recommended talks or panels that are off the beaten path?
I'm all ears.
Also, I promise to never forget to say the southwest part of the name.
Dave Grohl is one if the reasons why I bought a drum set in 5th grade, which means I can probably blame him for playing in bands, skipping class, not doing my math homework, and consequently working in advertising. I've loved pretty much everything he's ever done, and it turns out that I like the way he thinks.
He's just out out a movie about Sound City, a studio in LA where so much legendary music was recorded. From Fleetwood Mac to Nirvana's first album, the music that came through the mixing board there has pretty much remade the world. I haven't had a chance to see it yet, but one unexpected bonus from the movie has been Dave's press junket, including some podcasts that I really like. Which means beyond the 5-minutes on Letterman, there are a couple really good, hour long interviews floating around out there.
I like his outlook on irony and that punk rock mindset of there being rules about what is ok to like and what isn't. He thinks it's bullshit. That people should like what they like. That guilty pleasures don't need to be guilty. And I totally agree.
But that's my idealized-self speaking. I'm a recovering music and entertainment snob. It didn't just stop at music, movies and TV shows. If you had told me in college that I'd be on twitter and have a blog in 10-years, I'd still be punching myself in the face. Just ask my wife...I can be miserable to be around when I think I know better than whatever she is watching.
Though to be fair, she watches a lot of reality shows about terrible people.
I downloaded and got into a suite of apps called Day One sometime last year. It's a really great way to keep a journal. It looks nice and is somehow fun to write in. I used it for a little while before getting distracted by god knows what. Last week I got into it again when I realized that I was coming up on my 10-year anniversary of quitting smoking.
A lot has happened since then, but I found myself still feeling withdrawal from the benefits of stepping away from everything for a few minutes. It was a great way to process what was going on in my life and plan for the future.
I've tried to reclaim in in a couple different ways over the years, but there was something about the necessity of doing it (to prevent the shakes) and the automatically timed nature of it (you're not done until the cig is done) that I haven't been able to recapture.
So when I realized that I'm always jamming information into my brain but that I'm not really processing it anymore, I thought that journalling would probably act as a pressure valve in the same way. Maybe it would help to process stuff in a way that would keep me from whining to my wife and hopefully prevent any accidental emo-blogging or unfairly Twitter bombing any companies that might not actually deserve it.
What I've found so far is that it's not only a great way to get all of that stuff out, but it's a great place to think, because it makes thinking into doing. Something that you can schedule. Something that has an output. Something to keep this scattershot, over caffeinated brain focused on what it is I'm trying to untangle. I've started diving into assignments at work by just writing about them which has been really helpful in keeping me from spending a bunch of time futzing with Keynote templates or whatever else I could come up with when procrastinating.
It's also a great place to jot down any quotes, jokes or whatever else you come across throughout the insanity of the day. And rather than just taking a picture of something that happened, you can actually put it in context.
I think it's great and I recommend it. Sure you'll be brutally made fun of for it, but the benefits will (probably) outweigh the permanent psychological damage your friends and family will inflict on you.
I just found this in my drafts from August. I think I connected with it as someone who is constantly on the lookout for what's going to end us all. I can't help it. It's fascinating and terrifying to me. Sort of like fast food or the coffee creamer we have at the office that doesn't need to be refrigerated. Also, I really like the idea of using what you do for a living to be helpful. Advertising isn't always the best career for that. But it does afford the occasional opportunity to do some good. Neal Stephenson:
"It would be saying a lot to say that SF can save the world, but I do think that we've fallen into a habitual state of being depressed and pessimistic about the future. We are extremely conservative and fearful about how we deploy our resources. It contrasts pretty vividly with the way we worked in the first half of the 20th century. We are looking at a lot of challenges now that I do not think can be solved as long as we stay in that mindset. This is more of an 'if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail' kind of thing. My hammer is that I can write science fiction, so that's the thing I'm going to try to do. If I had billions of dollars sitting around, I could try to put my money where my mouth is and invest it. If I did something else for a living, I would be using my skills – whatever they were – to solve this problem, but since I'm a science fiction writer, I'm going to try to address it through the medium of science fiction."
One creative director's attempt to keep the planners from running amok.
Though I think Chinet is probably still safe...
It took about a year and a half to find a use for my first gen iPad. It was always great for nighttime reading on the Kindle App, but months would go by where it would stay buried under a pile of magazines or left in the freezer or something weird like that. Then I'd see someone using theirs at work and feel like I needed to give it another go. It was cross platform apps like Things and Evernote as well as the speed of RSS apps like Reeder and Mr. Reader that finally made it click. (The former needs a lot of service updating to keep up with the latter.)
Once it started getting long in the tooth at 23 months (!) I decided to pick up a new one. I had no intention of ever getting an iPad Mini as it seemed like a bad idea. But when I saw the price, and then read this article, I was pretty well sold. Needless to say, my wife was thrilled that I was heading to the Apple Store to buy another iPad. She's always bugging me about getting more devices. If I had a nickel for every time she nagged me with the tired old refrain of "We need more video game consoles!" I'd be a wealthy man.
The Mini is awesome. I usually have it with me all day now. I use it for RSS, for blogging, for reading, to control our Sonos, and it's lately made a really convenient portal for Satan to suck my soul via Candy Crush Saga. Also, it's really great for taking notes in meetings, which presents some problems.
- Typing notes makes it look like you're not paying attention. Maybe texting, sending an email, or playing Candy Crush Saga. It doesn't matter how actively you listen. You still come across as a condescending jerk.
- Using a stylus to handwrite notes instantly transforms you into a Palm Pilot slinging realtor from the 90s or someone's Farmville playing grandmother.
I first heard of goodreads when a friend from college sent me a link to his page in response to my fishing for book recommendations on Twitter. It's a great place to keep track of books you'd like to read and discover new books from your friends' collections. It's also a good place to develop a complex about your reading habits.
I used to think I was well read. I never thought much about what I read in the past. But goodreads has added an extra social layer on top of reading that wasn't there before. So now, rather than being bullied for traditional reading reasons ... like reading ... now it comes from the other side. Nerd on nerd violence. Or at least it does in my mind.
If I'm really good at anything, it's projecting onto other people. Which has been super useful in turning goodreads into the equivalent of an intellectual credit report. Get your score for just 7.95.
Using Goodreads, you can learn things like:
- You don't read nearly as much as you thought you did. Unless you're Allison.
- Burning through Michael Crichton's catalog in 7th grade, while impressive at the time, now just makes it look like you read a lot of shitty books.
- If they're all so bad, why do you keep reading Zombie books? Please. Someone. Help me.
- That meathead knows more about the literature of the enlightenment than most english teachers.
So, with all of that being said, come make fun of me or suggest some good books here.
I didn't expect to be wowed. But I did get to experience their local flavor of natural disaster.
You run a fine tornado warning, Arkansas. Almost as good as the earthquake hotel evacuation in LA back in 2008. Which wasn't an evacuation as much as a panicky east coaster running out of what seemed like a collapsing building to an audience of amused left coasters.
Though nothing will ever come close to Chicago's finest homeless spitting blood in my face in the Leo Burnett building back in the salad days of 2006. Not so natural, but it was a disaster.
I’m all for technological progress and making the world an easier place to live, but I'm starting to wonder if we've perhaps jumped the gun on this voice recognition automated phone system thing.
It's not because it doesn't really work, though one could easily make that argument. Neither is it because making phone calls around other people has become an exercise in minimizing the public shaming of sternly and repeatedly saying things like "billing question" and "representative" before breaking into very long streams of numbers or admitting that "I don't know it." People can tell when it's not going well and you're losing a battle of wits to a phone robot that doesn't have any.
Now, if you read enough Internet throughout the day, you might be aware of the forthcoming singularity. The point in which machines become smarter than us and potentially self-aware. This could happen soon. And I'd hate for their to be any kind of residual memory of a time gone by, when humans were literally cussing out the phone robots who weren't able to understand anything because other humans thought it would be so cool to try and talk our way through phone systems rather than just pressing buttons.
Look, IT folk. I know that you have to always be pushing things forward to give the appearance of doing your jobs, but voice recognition isn't ready yet. All you're accomplishing is making us look extra crushable to our future machine overlords.
As we make our way through the post-apocalyptic hell-scape of 2013, I've found myself in the middle of several personal endeavors that could be easily confused with New Years Resolutions. I’m not alone in this. The office refrigerator has been crammed full of tupperware full of salads for the past two weeks. The gym has transformed into some kind of bizarre observational tank. Hopeful overweight people in street clothes are given tours where they can watch the rest of us overweight people do rediculous things like burpees in badly fitting dryfit gear. It was the closest I’ll ever feel to being in an 80s training montage.
**Pro-tip:** It’s really hard to avoid looking like an asshole while doing hammercurls.
However, I don’t think of what I’m doing as correlating to the New Year. I tried to go through the whole resolutions thing a few years back, and I found that there’s no better way to give your hopes and ambitions a swirly than to stick them on some list of behavioral pipe-dreams at the beginning of the year. In my case, I’ve been slowly building up to this, and I happened to read some fairly motivational books towards the end of 2012. It’s not my fault that I realized just how badly I was sucking at some fairly important aspects of life when I did.
So here we are: I’m going through some kind of a self-improvement thing that’s easy to condescend to. I’m not afraid to admit it, even though I find myself rolling my eyes at half of what I’m reading nowadays. In fact, I’m resisting the urge to slam my fingers in my laptop as I’m writing this. But that’s the way of the world. Gotta move forward. Can’t just stay the same unorganized mess that barely squeaked through the first couple decades of life. Headway needs to be made! Wake needs to be created! Budgets need to be followed!
Indulge me while I make this blog about myself for a hot minute.
I've been trying to start a second blog lately over on Tumblr. The idea was to have a place to write without the burden of being right. Just a place to have some fun and some unimportant ideas. To scratch different kinds of writing itches.
This blog could then continue to serve as some sort of advertising/tech thing that would be impressive to people in the business. I've since run into three issues:
- I don't like having a site with some dumb name. I've had to endure some pretty terrible band names in my life and I don't want to have to deal with that sort of embarrassment anymore. Can't I just be me?
- This was started to as an advertising planning blog, but it gets sort of dull writing about that stuff all the time. The really good nuggets come from life. Also, I think the line between regular person and charlatan can look thin when blogging about strategy.
- I'm not sure that anyone would miss the sort of thing that I've been posting here. In my mind, it's been mostly boring and available elsewhere. I know I wouldn't miss it. Maybe I'll banish it to another platform. Isn't Posterous the blog version of Siberia since Twitter bought it and scared everyone away?
I keep thinking that the best thing to do would be to use this as a proper blog rather than a heap of links and block quotes. I told myself that I would give the Tumblr thing 3 months before turning on it, but my gut is telling me to scrap it now. The most difficult thing will be to look at this through a looser lens. To ignore the feeling of panic whenever I post something unrelated to transmedia so-and-so or social media yada. But if I could quit smoking cigarettes, surely I can quit the feeling of career self-importance that comes from posting about that sort of thing.
Answers are still unclear. Dig deeper...
I was told by Phil the other day that I think about blogging way more than any other topic. I'd like to think that it's because I'm interested in content creation because of my job.
But I think it's turned into a hobby. Maybe even some strange variant of OCD. An obsession that somehow creates the illusion of accomplishment out of constantly spinning wheels in the mud.
The problem is that this has become a tumblog. Something a bit like Daring Fireball, minus the consistency, interestingness or $500,000 per year income.
But it was WORKING! Posting was easy and ideas were free flowing from the pipes of the Internet. The only problem is that when I started to get the itch to actually start writing again, I didn't have anywhere to do it. So the solution, obviously, was to create a second blog. All I needed was a name. That should be easy enough, right? The only reason that naming bands and products is next to impossible is because of the other people that have to buy into it. Right? Surely a week would be enough time to come up with something great.
Well it's been over a month. I haven't found anything that feels right. I can't say for sure that I've figured anything out. All I am sure of is that I'm exhausted from trying so hard to make it work.
There was an old Kids in the Hall sketch about being a Doors fan that advised stealing a car, driving west until the 8-track of Morrison Hotel ends, and then getting into a fight.
I think my 8-track has just run out. So it's time to get out, take a look at where we are, and see if there's anyone out there to accuse of dubstep fandom.
Russell's blog is probably the blog I've been reading the longest out of all the blogs in the world. It used to be about account planning, but now seems to be mostly about robots and noises and projects that he's working on.
Here are his thoughts:
Oh God, I don't know.
A typical blog post, for me, is a conjunction of:
A. A thought that occurs to me and won't fit anywhere else.
B. Time to write and something else I'm trying to avoid doing.
C. Something I can point to in the world so it's not just about me.
Well, that's one sort of typical blog post. There are also:
1. Links to stuff I like
2. Apologies I need to make
3. Records of talks I've done
4. Stupid jokes
5. Felicitous phrases I want to get down
6. Things I'd like to remember later
7. Pictures that are slightly better than average
I hope that helps. I know it doesn't. Blogging isn't something you do well, it's something you just do.
Sure it sounds pornographic, but I think it's an interesting idea that can apply throughout experience design of almost any kind.
"Stated simply, the FPTP problem is an issue of discrepancy between the bandwidth a game uses to communicate to the player and the bandwidth the player has to communicate back. A game’s capacity to output rich, nuanced information exceeds that of film or television, yet a player’s capacity to reply with equivalently rich and nuanced statements is massively constrained by our input devices and our game designs. In a sense, from the perspective of a game, players would appear to suffer from some extreme form of autism; our inputs suggest that we take the game’s output at such a literal surface level that we appear to either not understand or not receive all the cues the game gives us."
(Via Edge Online )
I've spent probably way too much time in my life thinking about blogging and trying to make this blog into something interesting for myself and for people who read it. Even though I know that the answer is to post interesting content somewhat regularly, I've wasted countless hours thinking about it and sifting through all of the nonsense about blogging that's posted online. I've realized a couple things about those online blogging tips:
- None of it is as helpful as the author thinks it is.
- No one that writes about blogging touches on how to write interesting content.
- I like to make things difficult on myself.
Some have a process. Some don't. But I thought it would be interesting to start posting their answers. I'll post one every Friday. (if you want to participate, just shoot me a note…I'd love to have more…)
This week, I thought I'd start it off with a friend of mine who is surely the most widely read blogger I know. Her name is Alex, and she blogs at Lateenough.com.
How does your typical blog post come to life?
Luck and organization.
The luck is recognizing that I just experienced, read or watched a good blog post. If I don’t realize until the following day, the moment or the recollection can be lost.
The organization is how I document the experience. My iPhone is instrumental in my process. I take photos of the weird, wacky and beauty around me, which either serve as the foundation of a post or as a memory jog for when I can sit in front of my computer to write. I also use the voice memo app and recite the hilarious, interesting or pathetic conversation I just had with someone. I transcribe it days, weeks, months later to use as a blog post.
I also organize my writing time by first deciding what days I would post. Currently, I post Monday through Friday so I need to write Sunday through Thursday unless I’m having a writing bonanza day where I get multiple posts written for my blog.
This pretty much never happens because I also write 1-3 posts a week for other sites, I usually only have 1-4 hour time blocks to write, and I also can’t, by nature, write 8 posts in row. If I get 2 written in a single time block, I’m having a creatively awesome day. Otherwise, I write the day before the post is due on my blog and a few days before the post is due for other websites.
As I cut back on some work over the last year, I was able to schedule in flex times for writing, which has been huge. My stress level is lower and my writing quality higher because if I’m not feeling creative or have to shift around writing time to fit in my life, I can.
I rarely, if ever, have all my possible writing times open so each week or two, I sit down with my calendar and write out my work hours and what work need to be done so everything has a time and place.
The more I blog, write and organize, the more I see the world forming around stories. Thus, the luck of finding stories grows with practice. But I can’t always see my world in blog form because I miss out on living it.
I turn off my iPhone more today than ever. And I’m a better blogger for it.
343, the developers of the next Halo trilogy, are in an interesting position. There's almost no way that they'll be able to meet the hype and public expectations of a new Halo release, especially the first major release since the original developers at Bungie moved on.
They are doing some interesting things by smashing together the idea of DLC with the short burst storytelling expects of television episodes. Set six months after the main campaign, The Spartan Ops missions are 343’s attempt to create an ongoing narrative:
...giving gamers the chance to experience arc-based storytelling delivered in the sort of regular episodic chunks that have been most successfully executed on TV.
Phil Harrison, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business division, sees the move towards a model based on TV rather than film as an important one...
“[We’re] speaking the same language from a production methodology, a storytelling perspective. You’ll see [that] we’re basically entering the episodic television industry with Spartan Ops. There’s a linear piece of content, and an interactive piece of content, and I think that’s a pretty interesting direction.”
Especially interesting as gaming has become the poster child for other media to steal from when trying to evolve.
Framing has an impact on the purchasing (and voting) decisions people make. Studies have shown that people consistently prefer 75% lean meat to 25% fat, that an organization making a handbag will be perceived as warmer but less competent if a dot org label is attached to it, that the consumption of wine with a North Dakota label will be less enjoyable than the same wine with a California label, and that a risky decision framed as a potential gain will be preferred over one framed as a potential loss (Tversky and Kanneman's prospect theory, reported in their classic 1979 article).
Kind of a no-brainer, but reminds me of Frank Luntz's book "Words that Work." It seems a little bit evil, especially in the contexts presented in his book, but it's smart thinking.
I've been thinking this morning about how universally disappointing social media marketing has been. Even at its best, it's been utterly deplorable. Maybe it's because Facebook has given marketing people a lazy way to tell their boards that they are using social media without having to worry about things like "ideas" or "being social." Hiring a community manager to schedule a parade of banal questions and silly pictures makes for the perfect illusion of a brand behaving socially. The true value of it all, which lies in doing meaningful things and helping other people to connect with each other around a brand, is largely being wasted. Facebook is continually making it worse by introducing more "efficient" ways to help people attach the word engagement to lazy ideas:
"The ‘enhanced post targeting’ announced by Facebook will allow marketers to target posts that appear in fans' newsfeeds by gender, relationship status, education, workplace, language and geography. Previously, companies were not able to tailor posts beyond region and language.
‘This update gives marketers the ability to boost social engagement by crafting more detailed and sophisticated content calendars that are tailored to the nuances of their brand’s audience,’ states Matt Wurst, director of digital communities at interactive agency 360i,"