First of all, thank you to everyone that has been so gracious as to congratulate me on 40 Under 40. It’s always rewarding to see your hard work be recognized, and there are a lot of people that I have to thank for that…they’re to come shortly.
A few folks have asked me about what they should do to try to win 30 Under 30 or 40 Under 40, which I think is fantastic. It’s so great to set goals and have something to work for. At FWV, we approach every big project from the beginning of it asking the questions “what is the client going to call us about in 6 months and say, I can’t believe it came true”, “what is the case study going to be?”, “how will the award submission read?”, and I think it just makes it that much easier to succeed.
So here’s what I’m saying to the few people that have asked and hopefully a few others will find this helpful.
1. Don’t work for the award, work for the community.
When I first moved here, I just really needed to meet people and feel connected to this strange new city that was so different from Seattle, New York, Atlanta and LA. I was more or less unemployed and just needed to do something, and I could see that the community needed a few fun things to do, so I just started working to create them.
2. Don’t talk about doing something, just do it.
Pretty self explanatory. If you’re going to do something like host an event or launch a networking group or create a class for people, just do it, promote it, get people there and see how it works. Don’t spend months asking people if they think you should do it.
3. Surround yourself with the right people.
There’s a few people that I got to know immediately when I moved here. I can trace back every single big opportunity or success to just a few people. I’ll list them in detail below. You already know who you are if you’re even reading this.
4. Set big, hairy, audacious goals.
A lot of people will talk you down from doing something amazing with lines like “underpromise, overdeliver”. There’s a time and place for that, like in client service. But when it comes to your life and the impact you make on the people that you care about, I say “overpromise, with the understanding that we’re all human, and if you don’t make it this time you’ll never give up, and with the expectation from everyone that you’ll succeed and reach your goals”. It’s not as elegant, but that’s really how I approach things. People that hear me say stuff like “TIMA will be the interactive marketing capital of the US” or “Triangle Startup Weekend is going to set the standard for every Startup Weekend in the world” know what I’m talking about and we all work together to achieve it even if we know it’s a long uphill road. Don’t be afraid to overpromise if you know you’ll never give up.
5. Never give up.
It’s redundant but I’m just going to say it: Failure is just a learning opportunity. Look at it that way and you’ll always be moving forward. Most of what you’ll try to do will fail, and you learn that it fails really quickly, and then you smash it up with something else to test it a different way, until it’s badass.
That list of people that have made the TBJ 40 Under 40 possible, in random order based on who comes to mind and just thinking about the people that led me to stuff like the Viral Video Festival, Going Viral, Triangle Startup Weekend, FWV, TIMA, or other stuff that was in the application for 40 Under 40.
Joan Siefert Rose
Greg De Lima
…there’s so many other folks, I’ll keep adding as they come to mind, but for the people that are listed above, just know that something you did contributed to something that went into a couple pages about my time in the Triangle and thanks to you doing whatever you did, that’s why I was fortunate to receive the award.
The Bollywood Bounce is a Stop Motion Choreography video produced using 30 dance move photos from the Maharaja Palcace in Mysore India, which were then imported into Powerpoint and used to create a stop motion choreography sequence to the song Paper Planes by M.I.A.
The Making of The Bollywood Bounce
1. My photographer shot 30 photos of poses at the palace. We tried to vary the photos by being polar opposites. Like if one photo I stretched right, the other one I would stretch left.
2. I imported all of these photos, and then loaded the song Paper Planes into Camtasia for Mac.
3. I took key parts of the song and broke them down into 8-16 beat measures, then sequenced 4 or so photos in Powerpoint, to repeat in a pattern that matched the lyrics.
4. Using 86 BPM for the song (which I found by googling it), I set up each slide in Powerpoint to advance for either 0.35 seconds (for 8th notes) or 0.69 seconds (for longer quarter notes or pauses).
5. After exporting the movie from Powerpoint and syncing it to the song in Camtasia, I then copied and pasted it in other similar song segments.
6. I repeated this process over and over until the song was complete, and for reference, I did delete a whole verse and chorus from this version of the track so that the video would be more concise and easy to watch.
Below is an example of how I used Powerpoint to sequence 8 beats of the song “The Bollywood Bounce”, a stop motion animation video filmed at the Maharaja Palace in Mysore India, just outside of Bangalore, during the Bangalore Boon.Read More
Step 1: Find a stock photo on iStockPhoto.com.
Step 2: Make your own version of that photo and post it to StockingIsTheNewPlanking.com
Follow that simple two-step process and you’ve joined the latest participatory photo meme: Stocking.
Here’s an example that I thought was particularly funny from the site.
Meme-tracking is one of my favorite past times. I love seeing what the collective global consciousness can produce, and am always amazed when people willingly spend their precious time to submit user-generated content in the spirit of crowdsourced entertainment. Think of the effort marketers put in to trying to get people to do things like upload a photo of themselves with a product, or submit a comment. And then think about how all it takes for the guy above to upload his photo is a simple concept and social proof that other people are doing it.
Some co-workers and I were rattling off all the crazy photo memes that have come and gone recently: planking, owling, horse maning, leisure dives… and thankfully there’s a good post here with pictures and descriptions of all these photo memes and more.
2011 predictions are hot right now so it seems appropriate to take a guess at what creative trends we might see come to life in the near future. Below are my thoughts and observations. Enjoy!
1. We’re entering a new Romantic era
Creativity, like everything else in culture and nature, follows a cycle. It may be best understood as a Baroque to Romantic to Baroque to Romantic, and so on, model. The Baroque era in music was defined by an emphasis on structure and convention – Bach was a master of making amazingly intricate and mathematically precise music using traditional Western scales. Beethoven ushered in the Romantic era with new chord progressions and epic movements designed to evoke human emotion, rather than logical sensibility. Today this cycle continues in the arts, think Disco (Baroque) and Prog Rock (Romantic) of the 70s or the transition from Gangster Rap (Romantic) to top-40 Hip-Hop like the Black Eyed Peas or T-Pain (Baroque) in the last 20 years. The intention of the remaining predictions is to illustrate the coming of the latest Romantic era, and some of the technology that will help us get there in 2011.
2. Movies defy narrative logic and story convention, instead focusing on sensory and emotional experience
This is already playing out in a few ways. Think Inception, Avatar and 127 Hours. The success of these films in the last few years is setting the stage for more to follow in 2011. Look for movies that play with our perception of time and space, overwhelm us visually and aurally in theatres, and evoke tears, laughter and joy through the unconventional use of plot, narrative, characters, relationships and environment.
3. Blogazines go mainstream
If you haven’t yet seen what’s happening with “blogazines,” you’re not alone. I just came across this trend last weekend. Wow! Does this make more sense than anything I’ve seen on the web in a while. Until recently, blogging has been extremely standardized. Thanks to templates and conventions like posts, pages, headers and sidebars, it’s been super easy for anyone to become a blogger. As a result, most of them look the same. Like mine.
Enter the blogazine. Usually a full-screen visual experience, breaking through the unnecessary 500-600 pixel walls of regular blog posts, and totally overtaking your browser with classic magazine-like layouts, illustrations, images, multimedia and big vibrant fonts. They literally jump off the page. Since they seem like a perfect match for the iPad and other tablets, the timing is also in favor of widespread adoption.
4. Indie content producers become cross-platform publishers
Not too long ago, getting on TV was a big deal. Only the elite, the beautiful, the highly skilled or uniquely talented, could land a coveted spot on the tube. Now you can upload a video to Youtube and be on any TV that’s hooked up to an Apple or Google TV. The three-screen paradigm (TV, computer, mobile device) is moving towards a screen-agnostic paradigm where the same content can be consumed regardless of which device you’re using.
Savvy content producers will look to get in early on interactive TV, potentially with apps that will be accessible through the emerging devices. Just like you can access Netflix on the Apple TV now, you may be able to access your next door neighbor’s basement home repair show as an app too. This is not new to mobile, but the opportunity to be on TV will draw more creative-minded entertainers, educators and engage-ers into cross-platform distribution, landing them on your laptop, iPad and TV, with medium-appropriate content at each stop.
5. Creative learning goes virtual
Much of the creative learning process has traditionally required live, in-person interaction. You send your kids to your piano teacher’s house. You learn improv or painting or creative writing in a classroom. You have to do this because these creative skills require a high level of tactile and interpersonal resolution. Meaning you have to see the keys of the piano up close, or you have to stand face to face with the person you’re doing improv with.
Thanks to innovations like Cisco’s Umi, which allows people to interact real-time in high-resolution from anywhere in the world, the traditional constraints of creative skill-based learning will diminish. This opens doors for creatives with a teaching bug (like me) to offer their expertise to a global audience of students, following in-step with wide-spread adoption of new communication technologies.
Your creative plan for 2011
Look for opportunities to break traditional conventions and challenge the status quo. With new platforms for the distribution of your creative ideas – iPad, Google TV, Umi, etc. – comes a blue ocean of opportunity. Consider that many of today’s stars of Twitter or Youtube are no more talented or insightful than you, they just got there early. Be on the lookout for low-cost (dollar-wise, time-wise, learning-curve-wise) ways to get in front of a mass audience you haven’t had access to before, and research what that audience wants in terms of entertainment, education and engagement.Read More
Either way, do you look at their gameplay as something you have to have control over, something that requires moderation?
I was asked this question the other day: “Do you think we’ll let our kids play video games?” Well I don’t know if we have a choice. In the near future, being a savvy gamer may be a serious competitive advantage in the workplace. This paradigm isn’t true today for most businesses (excluding the obvious – game design, Mountain Dew marketing), but it won’t be long before our CEOs and VPs will have grown up interacting with their whole world through interfaces like that of Farmville.
Two Year Olds are Better with the iPad than You
Have you ever watched a toddler breeze through the iPad interface, playing videos, opening and interacting with apps from games to storybooks? Like phones, radios, tvs and computers before them, tablets and smartphones will be indispensable to the next generation. And this means the ubiquitous tools of the workforce like Word, Excel, email and so on will have to be redesigned for a quarter-millenial employee used to rich tactile and sensory experience. Between the rate of change we’re experiencing now in information technology and the pervasiveness in our schools of these new gadgets, I’d place a bet that this same generation is the one who will redesign it, leaving us in the dust if we don’t accept and embrace it first.
It’s Already Happening
Don’t believe it? Think Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. While some companies still don’t let employees access Facebook at work, others base their whole business on the site. It’s been three years since Coke entered the virtual reality space with advertisements in the online game Second Life. And when the next wave of innovation hits, not only will we be trying to figure how to reach our customers within whatever game or app-like context they’re familiar with, we’re going to need to relate internally to our employees in the same manner of communication.
Farmville as a Marketing Dashboard
About a year ago I was presenting a new marketing strategy for an online community-based start-up. And as I was looking for an analogy to explain the proposed growth model, the concept of farming came to mind. Every new community member was a seed, that required nurturing to take root and grow. We thought of member support, user experience and e-mail marketing as the essentials: sunlight, water, soil. But you can’t take individual engagement very far when you get into the tens of thousands of members.
To scale our growth, we had to turn over “the farm” to our early adopters: teach them how to plant their own seeds, reward them for nurturing their crops and constantly provide the tools and raw materials they needed to build and grow their own farms. The two processes – bringing in new members and then teaching them how to build their own communities – was largely automatable. Finding our audience online, delivering messaging, the conversion path to registration, each interaction in the user experience, user sharing functionality – supported with a database filled with links, user data, messages and search parameters, it all could easily have been replaced by a child playing Farmville and triggering automated marketing processes in the background.
Your Next New Hire
Next time you interview someone for a job, learn about the technology that they’re used to, the interactions they have on social networks, the games they play to kill time, the apps they use most. How do those interactive experiences translate into potential innovations in your organization? And instead of looking the other way when they log on to Facebook or bust out the iPhone at work, take notes.
Take a gander at some of the Farmville Youtube videos out there, with “farmers” delivering strategic and tactical advice to game players through tutorials. This guy would make a great corporate trainer, don’t you think?