Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Focus in

I've been having some thoughts lately, about my career goals. I've been doing something that college students do--jump from one major to another without really choosing one. I'm doing this with my skillset. I know some will say that it's nice to be a "jack-of-all-trades," but actually trying to become so makes you just that, a jack. First, people don't take you too seriously, and second, you waste a lot of time bouncing from one skillset to the next. Meanwhile, your peers become ever more qualified, marketable, smarter, etc. in their chosen field.

Everyone knows the that "guy" in every company who does everything. He'll design, write code, manage the server, do email marketing, online marketing. This guy is the "super soldier," and though he may be pretty good at most of those things, he'll inevitably fall behind in one or more areas. That "guy" was me at one company and in some respects, it was nice. I had people coming to me from every department asking me to do such and such.

It's time to focus. It's time to become a guru. That doesn't mean I'll leave my interest in other areas behind, I'll just have to turn them into hobbies.

Now for the hard part... deciding what I'm going to do. I'll get back to you on that.

... and this is me atop San Marino. The End. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What United Airlines Should Have Done

As we were looking at flights today, naturally, we noticed some flights by United Airlines. The first thing that came to my head was the catchy tune, "United breaks Guitars." Indeed, I doubt we'll ever fly with United--and I wonder how many potential customers share our opinion.

United failed in many respects. I learned that they eventually replaced Dave Carroll's Taylor Guitar. But how many people know that? Most only know his side of the story--the side that says that United Airlines breaks guitars.

How much money has United Airlines lost because of a youtube video? I wouldn't be surprised if that video has cost United millions of dollars.

Obviously, you can't put lipstick on a pig

First things first, United should have never broken the guitar. Second, United should have reimbursed Dave's money for the broken guitar after the first call. These are simple actions that could have saved the company lots of grief.

Had I been in charge of PR, this is what I would have done

The day is July 6, 2009. Dave Carroll has just posted his video to Youtube and I notice that it's getting social media traction.

First, I pick up the phone and call Dave. I offer him the deepest apologies I can muster and immediately offer to buy him a new Taylor guitar.

Then I offer Dave a free roundtrip flight to any vacation destination.

I also publicly apologize to Dave on United's Twitter account. I begin having meetings to get an outside consulting firm to help us improve customer service. I also meet about the baggage crew and how loading and unloading can be improved.

I publicly post that I'm performing these actions on the company blog. I even create a catchy infographic that shows how we're changing our baggage handling processes. I say "We're sorry, and we're fixing it."

If it makes sense, I ask him to visit the United Airlines headquarters in Chicago (a free flight to Chicago included, of course) and perform for the Chicago staff. I also offer to pay him somewhere around $20,000 to do the concert.

If he says yes and comes to Chicago, I then get an events team and a video team together. We shoot the entire concert and any conversations Dave has with the staff.

That video goes on Youtube. I tweet the video from United's twitter account.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Come to Salt Lake City, Mozcation!

Let me tell you a few reasons why Mozcation should come to Salt Lake City:
  • Salt Lake City houses some very large Search Marketing companies: BlueGlass, Adobe (Omniture),, MWI, 97th Floor.
  • Utah is a hotbed of smart people. With two world class universities (Univ. of Utah and Brigham Young Univ.) within a short distance of each other, the SLC area is full of many technology/marketing geniuses. Because of a lower cost of living in Utah, many large technology companies have moved offices and even headquarters to Utah: Microsoft, HP, Adobe, Mozy,,
  • Salt Lake City is the home of the urban outdoorsmen (and women). Because SLC is so close to the mountains it attracts people who seek a culturally diverse, urban home, coupled with the freedom of enjoying the outdoors. Activities within 30 minutes of downtown SLC include rock climbing, mountain biking, fishing, hiking, etc. I'm under the impression that many of you SEOMozzers love the dual lifestyle.
  • SEOMoz's SEO tools (there, I gave you a decent link) are loved by the SEO community in Utah.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Core Beliefs of an Ad Agency

We believe that art is the secret weapon of great business. It is what makes the deaf suddenly hear, what make the blind see. Notice, however that we are interested in making art that serves capitalism. We like keeping score. We like to win. We like the clarity of it. In the end, art combined with business is bigger art. Business combined with art is bigger business.

This was some copy I found on Goodby Silverstein & Partners' Website (not a very usability friendly website, I might add).

I like what they're saying here but I'm not so sure about the equation, "art + business = bigger art." Perhaps if the meaning of "bigger" is defined as "more accessible," I can see how business advertising can achieve this. I would assume that more of the world's population has seen the corporate artwork of Coca Cola and Disney than of Da Vinci's "Last Supper." However, if bigger is supposed to mean better, or more inspiring, well, then they are way off base.

The last sentence just makes me happy. I went into advertising because I love art and design, but I still wanted to make a decent living (not that one can't make a great living working purely as an artist, but I believe it's much more difficult to do so). Can you imagine a world in which business lacked art? It would be like living in a Communist community where all the architecture is stale and synonymous. Thank goodness for capitalism and that it rewards the artistic.

What did you think about the quote, "art combined with business is bigger art"?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

If Microsoft really wanted to come back, Steve Ballmer needs to go

Microsoft stock price in the last 5 years:;range=5y;compare=;indicator=volume;charttype=area;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=off;source=;

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Time to buy a Mac for a Designer

I'm finally making the jump from a PC to a Mac. The deciding factor? Money.

I'm a designer with a lot of focus on user experience. You may wonder why I haven't been using a mac all along. Well, Macs are expensive and I've always had a PC. I remember when my dad brought home our first real PC. It was a Dell and the computer box was almost the size of a microwave. Hard drive space? A whopping 4GB. Since then, I've built my own PCs--always getting a nice CPU with extra RAM.

Do I have any affinity for Microsoft? Not a shred. In fact, I've decided that Microsoft's pathetic excuse for a browser, Internet Explorer, is my mortal enemy. I will rejoice on the day that IE officially loses the dominant market share, and I will sing the "Hallelujah" chorus when IE officially dies...

I think a designer can get by on a PC, but a Mac just makes life so much easier--Faster, simpler functionality and interface; no sudden system crashes; no endless system upgrades; and the list goes on. Most importantly, with a Mac, I won't get the awkward looks from people who learned that I was a designer on a PC.

Macs are sleek, beautiful pieces of engineering finesse and artistic design combined into one. It's no wonder that Apple can ask a pretty penny for its products. Because it's Apple.