Finally a free moment!
Time to get back to expressing my curiosity through this blog too!
As i watched the world react to the historic election last night, I couldn't help but think about the impact on the iPhone on our daily coverage. You know the election.
Some have been in play for months, but everyone is touting this touchscreen business on their analysis.
Clearly an influence of the iphone? Do we really need this new interface, when its someone behind the screens pulling it up in most of the cases anyways? Or is it a sign of the times and our orientation towards visual user interfaces?
Either way it looks like they are playing with a giant iphone to me
score one for jobs...
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
A quick status...
At the urging of some new and old friends this blog is remaining open for business. Not that i ever considered it going away. But it really hasnt had its due course of attention or love. But that is forth coming, those who remain and shall remain nameless. Thanks for the support!
What has been taking up time?
new exposure to massive company vs teeny tiny startup....
new distractions like rockband2.....
Perspectives are certainly being altered and im finding a new appreciation, often where i havent expected. I cant get away with not posting much longer either...
Monday, September 15, 2008
A few of you may know that i finished my last day at Redscout about 2 weeks ago. Personally, i wasnt getting the internal fufillment i craved and ultimately needed to keep up the daily doings. While i was sad to leave all my close friends, i was quite excited to start exploring other opportunities on the horizon. Sometimes you have to know when to call it. Redscout has been one of the most rewarding opportunities of my life, but has also been one of the most challenging. The folks there are really sharp, and all top-notch, which made me so apprehensive about facing outwards. I cant thank Jonah or anyone else there enough, as the Redscout fundamentals are so strong, each project is incredibly robust and tight. Im quite proud to have contributed the shop's growth, and success such as its purchase by MDC last year. Can't say much more, but i will certainly be in touch with all of them in the near and distant future. Good luck Scouts!
Ok...so what's next?
I have taken quite a bit of time off for vacations, family, and mental clarity. I tend to think of NYC as a place where people come to find themselves. Having been in strategic branding for nearly 6 years now, i have found myself and dont necessarily need to build my book or work on a particular client. Not to say I don't have interest, but working on Apple isn't going to make or break my career. Ive been looking quite a bit at sharing my unique passions for culture and youth, and helping to cultivate strategists fresh to the scene. I have enjoyed leading projects, and have been looking for opportunities to flex my leadership skills. I have been involved with the Miami Ad School in the past and am looking to do more in the future.
I have also panned advertising quite a bit in my time there, fully drinking the innovation Koolaid. But sometimes viewing something from a different perspective, can change our mind. I am indeed going back to creative pastures, working at Young & Rubicam. I have an opportunity to help cultivate change, introduce some new philosophies and work on quite a few great brands in a large capacity. Im also helping with the introduction of innovation practices for existing clients. I'm really excited to have a new lease on strategy, and more importantl,y getting to work again with creative folks. The creative aspects of an idea, coupled with the vernacular of consumers led me to believe i would be better fulfilled outside of redscout. Its quite hard to take culture and stick it into a soda or skincare concept. It can certainly shape what goes into the product, but it doesnt necessarily help it move off the shelf.
This won't impact the blog one bit, but it will certainly infuse some perspectives on communication and creativity which were founding principles. Change is the only thing constant, and i'm enjoying the ride.
Monday, August 25, 2008
A bit of older news, but VitaminWater launched a 'pop-up' concept store in london. Featuring bright lights which change every 10 minutes in conjunction with six new products, it promotes a more lasting message of 24 hour hydration. It also has a thoughts wall to record consumer input and any terrible graffiti or slightly clever riffs you want to tag. Supposdly the store is designated as a hub for meetings, training, media events and sampling.
Putting a retail face on a brand seems to be hot at the moment, but generally speaking this is a great way to create an experience to engage consumers outside the product. While every product should be the brand, its not always true the brand gets to engage consumers on its own. The brand should be the bigger idea and be more leveragable. Pepsi could have used something like this to quell the Aquafina debacle. Retail creates meaningful consumer interactions in a place not often obtainable, in this case a bottle of sugar water. Excellent starting point to create brand equities.
The retail face is also a great starting point for innovation, in that consumers will engage with portions of the brand they like beyond the product. Determining these equities can eventually help dimensionalize how to stretch the brand into new products. Ok it can be communications too, but we digress. But it must be done right. Giving a place for tourists to use the bathroom and sample the latest from R&D really isn't adding value to the brand. But Glaceau and Coke are fairly smart. Somewhere a brand curator is probably devising some interesting psychology experiments to run on some unsuspecting visitors.
Monday, August 18, 2008
I just read an incredibly interesting and robust discussion on Freakonomics about the future of a uniquely American infrastructure, our suburbs.
Quite a few hot topics have made the out-dated infrastructure quite the conversation piece ranging from rising oil costs, to increased sourcing materials, to population shifts with over half of societies now living in urban areas. Lets not forget immigration nor the housing market either.
Freakonomics then asked a group of very smart folks "What will U.S. suburbs look like in 40 years?"
Granted these are projections and the answers ranged from apocalyptic to utopian:
James Kunstler - “The suburbs have three destinies, none of them exclusive: as materials salvage, as slums, and as ruins.” Our structure requires an infinite supply of cheap energy to function and is now in the middle of a global energy crisis. We have "poured a half-century of our national wealth into a living arrangement with no future". Our focus is too auto-laden, and we must realize that alternative fuels will ween us off the interstates and automobiles that dominate our culture.
Thomas E. Antus - “To pay for the expanded services taxes will also increase exponentially to the point where individual pay checks are made payable to the government and deposited directly in the general treasury.” Interesting notion on expansive role of government in basic utilities. I dont quite see things becoming so china-like but, he also touches on the notion of large mega-regions and NYC stretching from Philly and all of New Jersey. Richard Florida has touched on this in his new book.
Jan Brueckner - “If [gentrification] continues in a significant way, large numbers of suburban households looking for urban stimulation may end up switching places with minority central-city dwellers, stirring the ethnic pot in both places.” Not so sure about this one but, race is a big factor here. "Suburbanization has shown a white bias, with most minority households yet to acquire their nice house in the suburbs. Some of this difference may reflect a history of housing-market discrimination, but lower suburbanization by minorities is mainly a result of lower incomes. As the black and Hispanic middle classes continue to grow and get richer, they are likely to follow the same suburbanization path as white households before them, restrained somewhat by higher gas prices." Suburbs might continue to diversify as ethnic groups' clout continues to grow.
Gary J. Gates - “The Will and Grace version of gay America — urban, wealthy, and white — is starting to look a bit dated.” Very true. They look like each and everyone one of us and do they necessarily want to do the crowded city bit? They probably enjoy fences and yards like the rest of us. Alternative orientations are going to be more visible, more suburban, less likely to be white.
John Archer - “Suburbia will be flexible, it will be smarter, and it will be hybrid.” I found this one of the most optimistic, and true. The suburb is becoming a "hybrid place that melds desirable traits of city living (activity, diversity) while still maintaining allegiance to primary suburban ideals of selfhood and domesticity (and, one might add, consumption)". I see this most attainable given the investments already within the current infrastructure.
Alan Berube -“in 40 years perhaps we’ll get beyond our fixation with “the suburbs” (love them or hate them) and develop a richer vocabulary for what lies beyond the city limits.” I love this, maybe because much of strategic work is really context. And it pisses me off when we drive through connecticut and each town bleeds into the next. Cant we agree its really one big sprawling town? He too sees new hybrid forms in transportation structure, demographic influx, and governance.
Lawrence C. Levy - “It depends — on how smart and bold we are willing to be.” Oh smart, but he is author on here, maybe he gets the reservation. "A cycle of survival and renewal that will save the suburb from itself. If the federal government reduces incentives for sprawl (by shifting funds from highway building, for instance, to mass transit or to sewer construction necessary for “densifying” suburbs), the so-called “smart growth” movement will hasten and spread deeper into suburbia." Levy really hits the nail on the head, in that the largest challenge is our want and ability to be agents of change.
Our infrastructure encourages excess and sprawl, and until our collective consciousness is more omnipresent than its current reactionary state, we will continue to deal with the side-effects such as congestion and pollution. The conversation is exciting in that we seem to already be aware of the challenges and working towards solutions. Worth a read or two.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Sometimes innovation can be as simple as dialing up or dialing down a product trait.
This pair of Dutch jeans uses glue instead of the usual stitching. The glue comes in different colors and creates a rather brilliant contrast to the usual gold or dark stitching.
This isn't so surprising given the rise in the consumer's consciousness and importance of material sourcing. It seems everyone wants to know how something was manufactured these days. If people didnt enjoy process, things like Etsy wouldnt be around.
But this doesn't exactly demonstrate any hugely functional or emotional advantage for consumers. So for now its a simple process innovation with fanciful design. Just how motivating novel design is to consumers remains to be answered.
No word on if this is eco-friendly, but interesting to see where this lands.
Aaron Tang over @ DesignVerb points to a great article and accompanying graphic @PoetPainter exploring the differences between leaders and managers. While each has their own style, and purpose it goes to show the value of extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation.
Its a quick and concise exploration on why being a leader involves doing the correct things while a management centers more around doing things correctly. It also smartly explores that that being a leader involves creating a different type of environment, where one can rally and reach for a commonality instead of personal goals. It keeps running through my head how applicable this is to advertising and why some shops seem to fail so miserably despite oodles of talent.
I do tend to think though that everyone is required to do a bit of both managing and leading, when the time calls for it. Being aligned on objectives really shouldnt be an issue, or one shouldnt be in a leader/manager position in the first place.
Another rightly said point is that "much of what managers do is unnecessary when you have the right people. With the right people, self-management takes over for you. A good manager can accomplish only what has been defined and documented for him or her, yet a good leader constantly questions why things are done the way they are and is able to recognize the value and potential of doing things differently."
Next up its going to explore the qualities of a good leader. Should be an interesting discussion that will hopefully explore how people frame problems and objectives in the first place. Defining objectives in actionable ways should allow those providing solutions to structure deliverables that add value based on not only their leadership style but the strengths of the team as well.
Back from the vacay! Fresh and so ready to roll
Jeff Staple points to this great illustration done by the brooklyn shop Fogelson-Lubliner for the NYtimes.
Simply an elegant way of articulating the mess we created.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Heads up to Core77 for bringing this NYtimes article to my attention.
The NYtimes has a great article on the impact of rising resource costs and its subsequent influence on innovation. Walmart, wanted to change its milk system. It came up with a fantastic design solution to a mass-product/problem, is eco-friendly, and relies on smart design to impact both the consumer and the business.
Excerpt from Core77 & NYtimes: “Introduced by Sam's Club last November, the cardboard and plastic can be recycled, it eliminates the need to maintain and wash milk crates and reduces the typical number of weekly deliveries from 4-5 trips down to 2.
The redesign of the gallon milk jug, experts say, is an example of the changes likely to play out in the American economy over the next two decades. In an era of soaring global demand and higher costs for energy and materials, virtually every aspect of the economy needs to be re-examined, they say, and many products must be redesigned for greater efficiency.
Sam's Club who estimate this method of shipping has reduced labor by half and water usage by 60-70 percent. Sam's Club can now store 224 gallons of milk in a cooler that used to hold 80.”
This article got me thinking about what great innovation is. I think it can be broken into 3 more digestible areas, but i see this a fantastic example of what innovation should be. 1) the coming redesign of the American Economy and infrastructure due to the soaring costs of materials, 2) heightened importance of design, 3) impact of proper innovation
1)The Market (American Economy)
American Economy and other established nations face extraordinary challenges based on the current power and fuel infrastructure. This design solution has an instant impact that ripples across the broader market (the business, the transportation, the storage, the manpower). True innovation changes the market it plays in. There will be enormous opportunity to redesign the American Economy and its infrastructure due to the cost and availability of materials. Material sourcing could be HUGE!
2)The Consumer (Design impacts Consumption)
The consumer pretty much dictates trends, and developments these days. I would argue they brought about the whole design bit, given how they invest their values in the products they like, hoping they reflect emotions and beliefs they have. Sounds like the design is more family and fridge-friendly. Consumers are often slow to change, but this is where businesses and brands can lead. Plus the new design is a way to stand-out for those premium-mom types. Who wouldn't want to help the environment? Here design could potentially impact consumption habits, which is game-changing.
3)The Brand (Proper Innovation builds the brand too)
Lastly, proper innovation is one that encompasses the consumer, the business and the brand. Benefiting all groups, helps to establish the brand as a leader environmentally and fiscally. This is something unique to Walmart and there particular challenges. This reminds me a bit of Target and their pill holder redesign. Walmart really should try and play up the brand bit here, to get all they can from it. The more they can do to connect with the consumer, the more they can make consumers care about the behind-the-scene process/sourcing which seems to be a growing trend in the food world.
Very cool design solution to a business problem; It wasn't necessarily a consumer problem, but this innovation really stretched all three and when done right, looks to be spot on.
Ultimately this got me thinking about all the common everyday objects in need of efficient-design innovation.....
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Nau, a clothing company which mixed high-fashion with high sustainability and regard for the environment underwent a metamorphosis as of late. The products were highly tailored and often made of recycled goods. It was even dubbed "Prada meets Patagonia".
First it launched, wasn't that successful, but garnered much praise and following.
Then it folded.
Now it has been acquired and will be relaunched.
Treehugger, has an in-depth article looking at the rebirth of the beloved brand. Distribution will apparently be more widespreadm including wholesale. This was apparently severely limiting growth, by being too niche and relying on the brands few boutique outposts (brands usually get distribution wholesale before launching their own channels). Fatal mistake! The brand had a few sustainability and philanthropy programs which may or may not continue. Also apparently revenue was off the charts during the 50% off sales, even more so than regular sales. That might beg to a too high of a premium pricing. But the brand is widely known, or so it states, for its influence amongst the broader outdoor market.
Certainly acquisitions aren't new and Its nice that it is coming back, but it begs a few questions:
- Is Nau really being incarnated or is it a different brand?
Horny Toad apparently stepped in and purchased the assets. While the brand is different, they do share some ideals. Its quite interesting to see the brand acting in a "big brother" capacity. Could we see more like-minded brands operating together in the future? Probably not if they aren't connected financially, but its an interesting notion.
-Can a brand's philosophy be bigger than a "brand" itself?
Nau failed for a reason, but remained popular based on its innovative and blend of outdoor-urban sensibilities. While there is some baggage with the purchase, it seems that HT is in fact accepting the ideals of a more popular company. This is to interpret that a brand's essence can define a brand more so than the brand itself? It really beckons towards strictly the strengths of the emotional equities of the brand. Consumers are ultimately more motivated by emotional values than the functions of products themselves. Or are they? A brand encompasses everything facing-forward about a company from products, to image to dialect. So what are the consumers connecting with? In this case its outdoor activity or urban sensibility. And experiences are certain bigger than brands themselves, and lend themselves most to creating emotional equity. Its difficult to pinpoint, but Nau seems to be perfectly balanced to deliver on style and substance. It's an ideal situation for HT, to take on a brand whose emotional equities outweigh the pull of its actual products. But it still has to sell the products come sunset.
-Is it possible to be a brand "host"?
This is the question which first popped in my head upon hearing this. Can brands curate other brands (not in the sub-brand type of way)? Is HT taking Nau on as a separate entity? Only time will tell. Many brands have swallowed others over time, but have brands "presented" other brands? Collaborations in the streetwear scene come to mind, with one brands almost always living off the other's coattails. It's a somewhat parasitic relationship. But it begs me to look at the inter-brand relationships. Is the connection via consumer values? Or is it brand values? Which matters more?
Ultimately it may not matter. Consumers invest their values through the products they buy, and if a corporation doesn't reflect it, they simply go elsewhere. Nau is living due to the overwhelming resonance of consumer values. The true test will be if consumer's behaviors actually match their stated values. In this case it seems potentially that distribution was truly limiting this; but will the masses care? Almost as important is the manner in which HT presents Nau, being the new curator and torch bearer. Consumer behavior didnt match consumer values. HT bought a brand based on its values and must live up to consumer's expectations by allowing the values to breathe.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Nike is at it again. Nike has implemented a visual importation program utilizing your cellphone. Consumers can snap away with Nike PhotoID, as it "aims to tap into the habits of the digital generation and the growing expectations of consumers to customise their lives". It takes the dominant colors and makes them the primary colors for the kicks. Alas, its only 2 of the dominant colors, but you do get the nice canvas of the 1985 Dunk high-top. Maybe this is living off the b&w plus 1 dominant color thing popping up on cameras right now.
While Nike described the service as a "watershed moment in mobile campaign activity", its interesting use is that visualization. Consumers are probably more likely to find inspiration out in real-world experiences than just surfing on the web, so its great to implement technology that enables existing behaviors. I don't personally send MMS's, so i wonder if ian email would be sufficient. Also the two color bit, is somewhat limited. The big question is can it really force people to adopt mms as a long-term behavior on their phones? I could see people trying it as a novelty, but then heading back to id for their bread and butter ID designs. Why not meld it into ID and let people implement their 2 colors of choice with the standard ones on all the shoes?
I dont see it as that watershed of a moment, but maybe the euros really do use their phones differerently. Nike aims to have people use this longterm, but is this really going to change their behavior? I'm struggling to find the how, next to the cool factor. Feels a little one-off.
It was creaked by AKQA and is launching in nine European countries today. See it in video here
Monday, June 09, 2008
Ok so ive gone back into silent mode, as evident by the past few months. Work as you probably guessed it, takes up so much of my creative and rational thinking juice, its very hard to get my mind to continue to expunge thoughts when i get home at night. I sadly need time off, to recoup and reassemble myself. I have been busy though, putting thoughts into relevant topics that i will expand on soon. Flying across the country is weirdly an introspective opportunity to put some thoughts down. Anyways lots going on in the work field, but as soon as i get off fast forward i can finally put my thoughts down. Hope there are still some folks around to kick the thoughts about.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Wow its been too long, but i had a jaunt to the west coast and am finally back. I have been traveling quite a bit lately, and am finally settled at home for a little while. Now i;m brimming full of new ideas and inspirations. Hope to share soon!
Friday, May 16, 2008
Ok time to stop stalling about writing my review and get this off the shelf, especially since likemind gave out copies this morning.
Rob Walker of Murketing and the New York Times Magazine has taken his murketing theories and created a magnificent lens onto the perpetual roles of consumption and consumerism in America. Walker has an astonishing array of sources and background stories, each meticulously researched and hand picked for advancing an tactful ideology about brands, products and our behaviors
Ive always loved Rob's attention to tap the pulse of relevancy in terms of brands and cultural mavens, and this book is no slouch. From the humble beginnings of Red Bull and Ecko, he charts a path from idea to success, and you feel the optimism bristling quite like the entrepreneurs had themselves. Other brands include Hello Kitty, PBR, Tylenol, Axe, Scion and the Hundreds amongst many, many others. Each brand lends a building and steadying sense of credibility to a carefree consumption it seems that Americans, in particular enjoy engaging in.
Having heard Rob speak and read many of his articles, I can say this book in quite an extension of his murketing theories. In fact its the perfect culimination and forum to extend those thoughts, which often felt confined by the medium it appeared in every week. Walker has an incredible ability to break down how brands engage consumers, rather it be ambiguity, hyper-advocates, misnomers about perceptions, internal badge value, and commercialization of chitchat amongst others.
Walker believes we actually have a "good problem" on our hands where any product is pretty much a commodity and can be replicated cheaply, easily and found almost anywhere. This places the emphasis on the engagement and value placed by the consumer to the forefront of the consumption cycle. Most often consumers are buying products for the wrong reasons. We arent necessarily buying food for nutritional value but for taste instead. Examining it in that light, really puts the beauty in the eye of the beholder, a value we create for ourselves. Walker pulls in some fancy psychologists to explain this on a more scientific level, but it certainly sticks by that point.
It certainly leaves you with a new appreciation for products and for markets. It left me looking deeper into the actual and perceived value of objects. Its a fantastic read for anyone engaged in brands and looking for a deeper meaning to the role we play in influencing and creating behavior. Pick yours up today at your local bookstore or here.
[Ed. Note] Rob was kind enough to link my review to his site, though im sure it will get bumped when somone has something more eloquent. Thanks Rob!
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Being a bit of a videogame fan, i do love to play the latest and greatest. when they come. While we were lucky to get our hands on halo 3 early (thanks andrew) and getting exclusive access to Rockband, now comes another huge franchise. Grand Theft Auto IV, is the game of 2008. Its on level with the halos and the Wiis. Lots and lots has been said about it. Oh its got a cool music system with Amazon and games becoming are cinematic, oh its super violent and glorifies drunk driving, and lets stand up for the little guy.... blah blah. Yes this is true, but all of this (except for the music) was true about 10 years ago when the original came out. This is hardly an evolution and isnt really why the franchise has been so successful.
GTAIV is Rockstar's Opus. It its truly their most magnificent title to date, for its complexity, breadth of characters, vastness of game world, and attention to detail. I could wax poetic about detail, its innovative music sales model, or its open-ended gameplay, but really its better left to three areas that truly make this game great.
Rockstar has created contests out of the most mundane achievements. While stealing cars, shooting things, swimming, getting arrested are by-products of the game, they aren't necessarily a driver of in-game behavior. Until now. Rockstar has brillantly created a competitive system, for you and your friends, to see who can achieve ordinarily mundane achievements such as walking 400 miles, getting arrested 120 times, and doing 8000 stunts. No simple task, but it makes the ordinary extraordinary. Not to mention you can gauge your achievements on the social networking site for the brand at the Rockstar Social Club. Again this has great depth, with all types of contests and profiles. Each is sharable and adds a realistic type of depth to ordinary actions in-game.
Rockstar creates vivid worlds populated with realistic characters, products and brands better than anyone. Its ability to capture the nuances of culture and society, leave it a step ahead of the competition. Video Games are often the victims of their own creations, an alternative world based on a society we live in. Ultimately and almost always it falls short. Rockstar is quite cynical in its take on American society, but captures the essence to a minute detail. Probably easier being an outsider, but from reality TV to politics to mannerisms and slang, they have captured inherent truths in American culture. Rockster brands extremely well. Consumption and Consumerism are two American traits which might as well be apple pie. Rockstar has created literally hundreds of brands in the game, each with an identity that often lives on multiple media platforms. Those are accessible in the game too, on the radio, TV, Internet or even word of mouth. Rockstar intrepidly understands the role and power of brands in consumers lives, and use the power of brands to push its cultural ideology. You would be hard pressed to find another game that captures culture on a massive scale, and involves multiple brands. Quite often its confined to a niche such as skateboarding or music.
Videogames are in every sense very fabricated. Its coded bits and bytes, and doesn't necessarily take us away from our couch. Yet Rockstar has worked incessantly hard to create a living, breathing place. A world that seems to carry on if we dont leave the front door or not. Through its embedded media, stories are generated, characters interact and react to each other, and the world carries on. Here we see a crime rate report in the city. Do something especially heinous, and it could show up on the news. The crime rate report is based on players interactions, and where confrontations occur. Similar to a 3rd person shooter from MS, but with a layer of humanity on it. This only adds to the realism to establish a realistic world.
Rockstar have created one of the most layered and intricate games ever. Its no wonder it took years in the making. Experience for yourself a masterpiece in design, storytelling and culture all wrapped up in an outsider-looking-in commentary on American Culture.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
Lifefilter's Links for w/o April 14th:
Fiji Water to Go Carbon Negative
Fiji Water has just announced its going to not only reduce its environ-footprint, but through renewable energy products reduce carbon in the air. Finally a company gets it right!
The New News Process
Jeff Jarvis has a great article on the new ecosystem of news publishing; changing from a press-centric to proactive consumer model.
iPhone Gets a Visual Search Engine
Google may finally have a run for its money. A visual search (already available in Japan), is coming to the iPhone to let us track the things that dazzle us.
Can a package be virtuous? Ya know, like you and me? TheDieLine debates.
Wine by the Tube
I can’t help to think it looks like makeup, but apparently wine samples in tubes are the latest and greatest. First the cork, now this!
Sneaker Vending Machine
Onisuka Tiger has created the world’s first vending machine filled with shoes, and is taking it on a national tour of the UK. Hello Nike isn’t this your territory?
Remember the mixtape, the most perfect gift for anyone, anytime. Muxtape brings it back in a digitally friendly format.
The NYC Farm
New York Magazine asked 4 architects to create buildings for land on Canal and Varick. See their concepts.
Oakley’s Red Camera Prototypes
Oakley’s innovative Red Camera division continues to pump out HD pro-grade consumer cameras. Calling all movie directors.
A new artisan chocolate aims at preserving the raw vitality of things like electrolytes and anti-oxidants through a low-heat creation process.
The Endangered Record Store
This may come as no surprise, but everyone’s favorite aural curator is going the way of the dinosaur. Be afraid.
Accenture’s Television in Transition report
In an interesting consumer report asked consumers about TV, and surprise – they listed commercials as the worst part of Live TV. What can advertisers do before they lose their audience?
Best Margaritas in Midtown
Glorious weather means good times to be had outside. Gridskipper tells us about a few hotspots for sippin on Margaritas.
Today I received a really nice gift. An advance copy of Rob Walker's "Buying In", his latest book which explores the intersections of consumerism and identity. I have literally dipped my toes into the prologue, but it looks fantastic. For those of you living under a rock, Rob curates the insightful Murketing and writes for the New York Times Magazine. Will put a review up once i get through it.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Here is a little something that caught my eye this week:
What's Driving Innovation in Food Packaging
In a state-of-the-union view, it seems pack designers are thinking more laterally, but still need to think about challenges more holistically.
Japanese Gaming Vitamins
Interesting new vitamin development for gamers in the form of Listerine Strips, which gives you mental boosts during and after serious gaming sessions. Ignore Gizmodo’s juvenile humor.
11- The Beautiful Fooseball Table
Check out the world’s most beautiful fooseball table as part of Milan Design Week.
The Ikea Train
A train in Kobe has received an ultra-Ikea makeover, complete with sofas and curtains to announce the brand opening a new store in the city.
Color Changing Pavement
Cool Hunting shows us an interesting pavement concept that changes color to indicate freezing and other dangerous conditions. Color Rocks!
Nordaq Fresh Water Filtration System
A new Swedish water filtration system is changing how and where water is purified; eliminating the need for bottling, shipping and storage.
Patagonia’s Transparent Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Patagonia does things the right way. Their products raise awareness and contribute directly to needed regions, such as the 19 million acres on Alaska’s North Slope that’s under the eyes of hungry energy companies. Buy a shirt and fight back!
Plantable Greeting Cards now with Seeds Included
Recycled Ideas is selling greetings cards with seeds, so you can appreciate flowers after you appreciate the message. Available on Etsy.
The Mafia’s Seven Rules how to Run a Business Successfully
You don’t stay in power for centuries and have a global organization without picking up a few business tips. The Mafia shares what got them past Capo and onto Godfather.
Yes you read that correctly. It’s the science of looking to Nature’s design for inspiration. Mind blowing!
Urban Wineries exist in the city, where you can make a barrel of your own, foster cooperation between other winemakers, or help stomp some grapes.
Tribeca Festival Preview
Gothamist has a look at this year’s festival which runs from April 23rd to May 4th.
Karl Lagerfield does GTAIV
Everyone’s favorite crazy fashionista is making an appearance in Grand Theft Auto IV, where he will DJ on air for the K109 studio. This self proclaimed gta-fan, a music junkie in his own right and apparently always carries multiple ipods.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Nike's innovation group seems to be on fire! First Sparq and now this. Word and images are surfacing about a vitrual spray, that glows in the dark, and allows you to create your own lines for nightplay. You can color court outlines, the ball, players, anything and be ready to play. The paint disappears after two hours. No word if this is environmentally friendly or not. Apparently it was developed by Nike with designer Pierre Haulot. Very innovative way to take the game late at night. I for one can see some great beach games here.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
InquiringMind Magazine has a behind the scenes peek at one of the original NYC streetbrands, ALIFE. ALife has been a truly original brand, establishing itself through mainly footwear and growing the brand to a global conglomerate. Their followers are nothing short of rabid, as I can attest to standing for almost 3 hours with 60+ folks for a red/flourescent green t-shirt down on Rivington. InquiringMind has an extremely candid and open conversation with its founders, Rob, Arnaud & Matt. They let loose on their creative backgrounds in graffiti, professional deathshifts of business and advertising, and how their love of brands developed into Alife. The guys take the time to discuss their thoughts on the overplayed art/street movement, which brands can step to them, who else could do a worthy collabo with Levi's. Hint: Ego plays a big role in this discussion. With that being said, its great to see the mindset and motivations of major streetwear players. They even give us a hint of where the scene might go next. All you kids thinking of creating the next big hit, take a read and see what you are up against. It might make you think twice.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Where does inspiration strike you? Chances are you haven't invented Harry Potter or discovered the flaws of nano-physics on your commute home.....yet
Wired takes a look at the often neglected part of brillant ideas. Often they come from inspiration from the world around us, not necessarily just our neurons. Check out some of the most unlikely places for big ideas.
Oh and that house in the woods is the video store where the creator of Netflix owed $40 in late fees, inspiring him to create a better model.
I completely forgot about this till today. When out in CA, i saw this brilliant take on vending machines. Im not obsessed with them or anything like that, but i find some satisfaction in a machine servicing a product without having to ask a clerk to grab it or searching the aisles incessantly. And i haven't even been to Japan yet, where apparently you can buy anything next to a car in a machine.
Pro-Activ has these great vending machines scattered about (the country?). Super smart. This not only cuts out a frustrating over-the-phone experience, but also gives the consumer a chance to buy directly. This supercedes even something like the king of easy, web sales has owned. What better place to put this than at the mall, the habitual long-time hangout of teenagers and young folks? Very nice to see some smart thinking around consumer needs within their current lifestyle. I give this sales model a thumbs up on technology, thumbs up on placement, and a big high five on the direct to consumer distribution.
Lvhrd has a great post on the black market economy of Proactiv right here
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Im coming to the slow realization that my occupation allows for little time to blog...or anything else for that matter. So i will have to cede any thoughts of my own for some from other sources. A few things of interest on the intranets for your inspiration.
Magnetic Pushpin Cushin - Seems to turn magnets and pushpins on a sphere. Fix them to any surface and leave messages to your hearts content.
The future of web tech? - Seems Google may almost be dead in its tracks if new semantic web searches come to fruition. Semantics embed information in practically everything to make greater associations simpler and faster. Think Mash-ups without having to create some weird program...
Best of Lifehacker - Organize your life to actually be productive for once.
PSFK Conference - Will be in attendance with a co-worker. Anyone fancy a hello? Lineup looks good as always.
Krups Heineken Review - This is the future ladies and gents! Personalized brews and drinks in your own home. Probably will be one size fits all machine for coffee to soda to Gatorade. Dear Heineken, please send me one!
Facebook matches blood donors - Finally something worthy for social networking.
Apple's Design Process - Some insight into the process Apple's creators go through for new product concepts. HA! I know a company that does twice as many...
Japanese Schoolgirl Watch - Weird but futuristically advanced. The chart topping voice is synthesized yet grabs the kids like idol. Who knew Britney would be replaced by a robot?
Lenticular Clouds - Via Designverb - Cant forget mother nature can we? I sure do miss her in this jungle. These are just awesome.
Monday, March 03, 2008
I had no idea how fluid the box office is. You could have shown me numbers out the wazoo, but sometimes you need a little visual comm to put it all in perspective. The NYtimes gives us the impact of movies from 1986-2007, based on amount of money earned (height) and length of time (width). Imagine if ad campaigns could get this kind of life out of their ideas? Also a great lens on the mood of the american consumer.
There has been an issue that has been on mind for quite some time and I just keep seeing it everywhere. With that said I felt compelled to write a few words to articulate my thoughts. The issue at hand is the psychological, socio-economic and cultural implications of the effect of terror on our youth's lives.
A colleague sent this image to me, about a new book called I dont Want to Blow You up. The book is for kids and adults and attempts to counter the terrifying messages transmitted in the name of the “War on Terror.” In an age of yellow, orange, and red terror alerts, it aims to focus attention on different people, colors and cultures who are living harmoniously.
What got me the most, wasn't the subject but the image of the bandana covering faces. This ideal of "identity" has infiltrated fashion and is now omnipresent in much of american streetwear. Bandanas covering one's face conjures up the image of a bandit during the time of cowboys or more recently, a terrorist. Fashion has embraced the idea of masking one's identity, often in a notorious manner. Being notorious has always been somewhat embraced in america, since the time of gangsters. Streetwear has been built on insider status, a cult of likeminded individuals. Yet there has been a profound change from insider status to total protection of the identity. Streetwear has always been about identity protection, but now that acceptance of violence and mayhem has taken ahold, it is about vigilantism and struggle. Identity is used to keep motives secret.
Sadly we have been at war for nearly a decade. Today's children are accustomed to violence. The number of US domestic shootings has quintupled in the last decade. Is it because we are at war? we don't know. Is it because of video games? We dont know. Is it because of over-prescriptive doctors who push pills? We don't know. But we do know that violence has become a way of life. Strikingly worse, is how the violence is implemented. We are seeing violence for the purpose to draw attention. Jihad, is termed "holy war" under strict guidelines yet much what has been done in the name of jihad is pure hate and extremism. And the acts committed are done for maxmium exposure. Sadly it seems many of our school shooters commit atrocious acts of violence to draw attention to a cause, whatever it might be. The mindset of violence has changed from shock and horror to a terrible tool of attention.
While i started this article weeks ago, today was a sad reminder of how relevant my thoughts are. Just today there were shootings in West Palm Beach and Memphis . What does the future hold in store? What will the long-term impact be of the psyche of terror and war on today's and tomorrow's generations?
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
Gizmodo has a cool "innerds" shot of a Lenovo laptop. Love seeing what makes things tick and tock. Surprisingly less than you would assume to be capable of so much. Businessweek has a par-ish article on the struggle to create a contender. I find the picture worth a thousand words.
Friday, February 15, 2008
New York has always been an incredible source of inspiration. At times i struggle to think my former life outside of the city, not remembering life pre sensory-overload. Whenever i can, i arm myself with a camera and look for juxtapositions and flashes of inspiration. I love experiencing the city as a living organic creature, forever changing. The only consistency is change. Living here you just need to embrace things and go with the flow. Sure things can get overwhelming but you just need to know where to look.
Just a few photos from last weekend. Its been too long since the previous hunt
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I saw this product and absolutely loved it! Sometimes toys are the greatest source of inspiration and innovation.
Nerf has never been high on my list of innovators but this product does several things well. According to Kotaku, the product is "probably intended for EA's upcoming Nerf N-Strike title". This blast combines a fully functioning Nerf blaster with the ability to turn into a Wiimote for the game.
What makes this great is the ability to translate a real-life behavior into a virtual one. Nerf is a fun toy, but quite often lives within a fantasy world. The ability for a product that can stretch between real and virtual adds a tremendous amount of depth and meaning to the product. Giving it the ability to be a peripheral for other games adds even greater functionality. Peripherals have never been hotter (guitar hero, rock band), but this is a first giving it physical world benefits.
Given the change in the nature of kids behavior, catering to a virtual crowd isn't a bad step, in fact its probably better to face the music these days. This does a great job in bridging that gap, and it could even work in reverse and get some kids to get out and play. This creates more occasions for usage based on kid's current behaviors.
One of the biggest challenges of virtual worlds, software or sites is translating into real behaviors. In the future we can expect RFID chips and all sorts of E-hancements to mix the virtual and real seemlessly. I just never expected to it so soon in an foam toy for kids.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Wow...how late is this. Can you tell how much work i have going on? Thought i would weigh in better late than never
This year's Super Bowl was quite thrilling. Depending on where you come from, you were either ecstatic or distraught like half of my house. As always the Super Bowl is the showcase for the best ads of the year, or so the non-ad folks think. Heck there are even sites dedicated to it solely now.
Sadly though the ads have gone downhill since they started generating buzz, something indicative of ads in general these days. While Apple's 1984 set the bar high for ads, we have only watched their demise as the buzz has grown. Remember GoDaddy anyone? Still somewhat shameless and not doing anything to help themselves. Heck even the hamsters from cannon's dot.com era were funny, but lost in today's world. Were this year's any better?
Here is what we got:
Offensive Asian stereotyping
Dancing Lizards- Is this a soda ad or a new children's animated movie? The smoky, fiery farts are a bit much..
Toyota- Making no sense (for a change) with cannon's and badgers. A quiet ride sells a car?
CareerBuilder's downfall (those monkey's really portrayed the office better than we thought)
The usual BudLight schtick - funny but still vapid and lacking a sticking point. Ok so its a commodity, at least acknowledge the cheapness of it
Fedex- Giant pigeons. Possibly the best of the day, the most lasting certainly
T-Moible: Charles yapping, pretty funny if you follow him on TNT. This was one of the better ones...
Really what i saw out of this was....
Loss of storytellers, for lack of a better term.
Nothing that sticks, its all about splashes, but these days we are almost immune to advertising. We automatically click the pop-up off the screen or start talking when a commercial comes on. There is little to no added value coming from the spots next to a laugh and that creates little connection, functional or emotional. The rules of engagement have changed and no one seems to acknowledge it...My how the 30second looked so dinosaurish...
Surprisingly the movie trailers kept my attention the most, maybe thats because they were trying to tell a story
*Note: Will Ferrell knows how to tell a story and establish a character just by acting goofy so maybe he wins by default
See how they ranked
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Anyone living in a mega-city is painfully aware of the lack of space. It's quickly obvious to those who move that life is slightly different when space is removed from the equation. I have continually asked myself where do the musician's practice without the basement or garage?
Super interesting article in the NYtimes about the lack of affordable spaces for musicians. NYC is the one place that has largely ignored the real estate trend, with continual rising prices. NYC Performing Arts Spaces runs a site where musicians can book practice time in rehearsal studios, ranging from $10 to $50 an hour.
Famed historical club CBGB's was closed last year due to rent issues, now to return as a clothing brand. (Slight painful and certainly selling out.) It would seem that music is on the unfortunate side of a struggling economy. Raising rents are forcing musicans out like never before. But its a bit of a paradox situation. We live in an era of technology, where anyone with a computer can grab and mix samples to become the next Dangermouse. Music has seen a revolution of power, with independent artists creating their own fame and fortune (i.e. Merge's Arcade Fire). Radiohead just said F U to the labels, iTunes models by setting its own price. Music can be free. So the value must lie elsewhere.
While technology makes music easier to share (not necessarily achieve) it adds value most to what it eliminates. Physical space. Revenue leaves formats, it must reappear somewhere else. That means marketing, experiences, live events, art etc. Quite strange for an aural experience.
But for the garage band who whose physical space is merely to practice, and not to churn profits this is death. What was once free, is now the ultimate luxury and a point of emphasis to generate profit. What will the impact be of a loss of creative spaces? Is this a music revolution or evolution? Many would argue now is music's greatest age, an era of freedom and privateering. But what is the price? Interesting times ahead
Thursday, January 17, 2008
All hail Advergaming. Vans has created a nifty videogame for the iphone that is part advertising, part casual game, and all smart. Decorate your rider with real-life Van's Models. Participate in a worldwide leader board. It implements a touch screen to do tricks, think of the mini finger boards 2.0. Which makes for intuitive control. Great use of media here. Rumor has it, its from a Miami Ad School Grad. All you early adopting Mac-heads pick this one up.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Cool Hunting just reminded me about a Staple Design(ed) Limited Edition version of ths. Who needs sneaker cleaner? Well prepare to have your mind blown away sneakerheads. This product works and the design is top notch. Get yours if you want your kick game right.
Nike is usually on the brunt of environmentalists' attacks. Seems that are trying to make notice of when they play nice with Mother earth.
Saw this article on CNN that dives into Nike's slow to realization "Considered" line.
Nike is using, the year of the 23 to blow out its most important personality. Not just because he played bball at UNC. The Air Jordan XX3, is the first basketball shoe shaped by what Nike calls "e-Considered," "approach to design that favors environmentally-preferable materials, reduces toxic chemicals and curbs waste." Considered debuted in 2005, as a niche brand , with an god-awfully weird but happinesss-inducing leather boot. It used vegetable dyes, was bonded without chemical glues and had hemp laces. Being a sneakerhead, it caught me by surprise. Smart, but not necessarily a brand burner. Apparently , the "Considered" philosophy has umbrellaed over to more and more products.
This is a great step for Nike to take the lead. As the article points, "going green" often comes at a sacrifice of style and substance in the name of the environment. The real deal still exists if people will buy the shoe for this or for the style that has iconified Jordan and Nike over the last few decades. Will the shoe change the industry or is this a marketing ploy? It certainly feels good now, but time will tell if all shoes begin to be made this way. And will consumers sway to purchase this because its green or because its Jordan and looks damn good? I always say its about the product, not the marketing, but this might be a rare combination.
For a more interesting look, check out the designer who helped helped create the idea, Jeff Staple; with interesting perspective on this sole creation. He lists the criteria for a "Considered" product as is:
"To be qualified as CONSIDERED, is must maintain these benchmarks:
1. Must be made from recyclable materials. (i.e., 100% recyclable plastics or veg-tanned leathers.)
2. Zero Toxins. Zero chemical adhesives. (no glue.)
3. Mechanical vs Chemical. (using mechanics and engineering to put the shoe together instead of chemical solutions.)
4. Closed Loop Technology. (the shoe must be able to come back 100% as another shoe or something else. Nothing goes to waste.)"
[ed. note - Thanks JS for the link! Have to make it down to the store sometime soon]
Monday, January 14, 2008
Location based software has blown up recently. Going beyond GPS, the web has championed a whole new era of twitter's, Dopplr's and more.
Apple looks to change retail with a location-based Starbucks partnership. A quickpay system, allows consumers to customize and purchase their coffee from their iPhone, thanks to a special software system that recognizes when iPhones are in proximity.
Can it save Starbucks from being the neighborhood office? Probably not.. Can it save it from McDonald's coffee attack? Probably not either, but its a fancy way to up convenience while incorporating technology.
If the future has more of this sign me up!