Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

I was at Game Stop today.

A dude was at the Guitar Hero station, playing. He decided to hold and play the guitar from behind his head – you know, all rock star and such.

It made me think about who I am.

Am I judging him? Should I cheer him on? Or do I want to be him?

I decided that Guitar Hero can teach us about who we are. This guy risked looking like an idiot. After all, he’s playing a plastic guitar in the middle of a video game store. But he took a chance to do something that felt right.

If you were watching him, would you judge him, cheer him on, or want to take his place? The answer says a lot about your personality.

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I like that Vimeo always signs its messages “love, Vimeo.” It’s a very personal touch to a mass produced message.

It’s a small gesture that the company wants to make these messages as personal as possible. Unless I’m in direct contact with a team member, these messages will never be personal.

But that’s not what matters. It matters more that the company says, “We hate boring messages. So we’re going to try something different.”

Flickr greets me in a different language each day. Squidoo calls me Sugarpie. My wordpress page has snow on it. And I can’t help but appreciate these little hints of life.

If your company is about to mass message its clients or users, consider giving the message some personality. It may be overlooked, it may not matter to every single user, but it counts for something.

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A lot of good TV shows got canceled (Eli Stone, Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money.) Not just any good shows. Shows with a fan base.

Why? Because we’re the worst customers.

And I don’t mean we’re not faithful to our product. I mean, we’re the worst in the sense that we don’t fund the show. Doesn’t that suck? Our demand for a show isn’t directly related to the success of the product.

An advertiser’s demand, on the other hand, is the only demand that matters.

Nielson ratings crunch numbers and statistics that are supposed to represent the whole viewing population, and then the advert men decide whether they want to purchase the product.

And that to me is absolutely crazy.

Hollywood has started to give TV stations exclusivity to movies over iTunes and Netflix. You can’t download it, but you can catch it on NBC… and that again takes the purchasing power out of our hands. Instead of hoping for good sales from the fans, the purchasing power is given to advertisers. UGH! I want to spend my money, but I’m being told to save it for Viagra and Coca-Cola.

As a potential up-and-comer, my goal will be to sell shows to producers that will make exclusivity contracts with companies like Hulu. Sure, the advertisers are still in the equation. But they don’t have the damn power. We do. A viewer decides whether they’ll add the show to their queue or not. They fuel a production, not Pepsi.

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December 5th is the Day of the Ninja.





Silent ninja deaths

Awesome kicking feet of doom

Pirates, f*** yo’selves!

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Why niche social networks will become more lucrative.

There is a group of people that despise mainstream ventures. People that despise the Miley Cyrus/Jonas Bros. of the moment. People that despise the Hollywood blockbuster (or to theatre folk, those that despise film’s popularity over performance art.) This group instead prides itself in being part of a smaller group.

If you think about it, we’re all part of this group. Our social nature is not to be a part of the largest mass, but of a niche. Most of the time it’s easier to buy the mass produced product, but our social interactions are different.

Out of my friends, I can name a niche for each of them. They’re not iconoclasts — they don’t pride themselves in going against the grain — but each finds themselves part of a very exclusive group that shares their passions (even some you or I would find silly.)

Singer, politico, actor, photographer, they can each interact with others from their niche on social networks. The thing is that there’s a difference between being on a mainstream network and a niche network.

We have social networks like Facebook and MySpace, sites that allow users to accomplish interactions similar to Twitter, Flickr, and even community forums. It’s the mainstream, not the niche. They’re popular because they allow the easiest interactions. The primary use of a social site is to communicate, and no one does it better than these two sites.

Websites like Broadway Space, Flickr, DeviantArt are social network services for specific niches. Less users, but everyone on them has a more common thread. There is passion shared amongst users.

Most social network users will, in addition to their Facebook account, also have an account with one of these niche sites, despite the fact that Facebook can do it, and despite the integration of third party applications.

Everyone can upload photos to Facebook, and photographers can surely share their work with friends. Flickr enables the photographer niche to be a community. Suddenly, when the interactions become about photography Flickr makes it easier to interact with other photographers.

People can start groups on Facebook about Broadway and performance art, but Broadway Space enables them to be a community. So the users find themselves on Broadways Space instead of Facebook.

If you’re looking to create a social network, do not look to compete with Facebook and MySpace. Start a niche site. Yes, by nature you’ll never be as popular as a mainstream site. That’s okay. Your users will be more faithful and more active than Facebook users.

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I consider being one with nature.

Many people love nature or feeling natural – something like that. I’m not so green. Mostly, if I can help it, I resist being outdoors, especially since I live in Texas.

I mean I love nature. I’ve included it as one of the items on zen page. But…it’s kind of a treat in my life. You know, the occasional picnic or football game.

It’s not the same experience as Thoreau’s Walden. In fact…it’s noting like that at all…and that’s always been ok.

But as a person who does a lot of work on my computer, I’ve become concerned with my poor relationship with nature. In an increasingly technological world, it’s hard to think of nature as an important part of our lives beyond the climate crisis.

We mostly talk about nature as abused and doomed. Or we associate it with exercise: during the summer, I chose to jog in my local park’s trails because it was cool beneath the trees.

I don’t want to hug a tree or lay in the grass, but I want the park/woods/lake to be a common locale in the story of my life. I want to make sure that the desk in my office isn’t the most common wood in my life…That’d be ashame.

I found some Flickr pics of my local park, River Legacy, and I thought I would share them with you. (Man, you can find anything on Flickr.)




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Mr. Wehrli rethinks modern art.

I just watched this TED talk on tidying up art. In the video, we see that Ursus Wehrli takes abstract art and tidies up the abstract shapes and colors into something orderly, as you can see in the pics below.



Brilliant. It’s wonderfully satirical and playful in every aspect – and it ignites our imaginations.

It got me to thinking how sometimes we forget the most creative path is just rethinking something that exists.

My theatre friends will understand my reference to Tim Stoppard’s play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. What is that? It’s a rethinking of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Mr. Stoppard did what Mr. Werhli does with modern art: he said, hm, there’s a different way to tell that story.

It’s the same thing we can do in our own lives.

We must take the occasional break from innovation in order to reinvent. Mess up someone’s brilliance – or clean it up. The product will at least be interesting.


Garfield Minus Garfield

Dan Walsh made a brilliant body of work by erasing Jim Davis’ beloved cat Garfield from his own comics, leaving own Jon Arbuckle to his own devices.


The result is this existential work of art. Jump to read the comics, or else>>

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