Gettin’ Real in the Whole Foods Parking Lot

June 14, 2011 at 10:28 pm (advertising, social media, Uncategorized)

Congratulations to the Guerrilla Marketing Liaison, Greg Rappaport, from the “Hella Foggish, Slightly Smogish” creative collective Fogandsmog.com for a job well done!

…Does anyone else find it odd that the Web Designer and Guerrilla Marketing Liaison are the only ones without a website?

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Refresh South Florida

July 29, 2010 at 11:14 pm (Florida, Fort Lauderdale, free, marketing, networking, social event, Social Events & Networking, social media, South Florida, technology, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

Tonight was Refresh South Florida, that’s right Refresh Miami and Refresh Lauderdale are playing nice together. This time around it was a joint venture between neighboring and symbiotic social media clubs.  The event was also different in that it followed the format of IgniteShow.com where presenters are only given 5 minutes and 20 slides, auto advancing every 15 seconds, to get their point across.

First to the platform was Jonathan Bradley of Afzet, Inc, home of Studdr.com. Studdr.com is a social networking site that allows you to post quotes, pictures and video of funny or interesting things that you witness or hear. He said that it is the kind of the site many people might use as bathroom reading material because of it’s short snippets of entertainment. I think the site has interesting potential, especially because a lot of my social media use is intended to entertain me in times when I need to see a funny comment or some content that allows me to get my geek on.

Mike Cuesta of Carecloud.com presented his company’s software that allows professional in the medical field the opportunity for a turn-key clinical, financial and administrative software manager.  Carecloud allows medical companies to streamline practices and move into a more lean of way handling all the data they collect on patients and their billing needs. Carecloud.com seemed to have the most practical and put together plan for profitability and company growth out of all the presenters. The software looks to have strong development and the potential to allow medical professionals to do more medical work and spend less time and money in secretarial duties.

Flavors.me, presented by Jonathan Marcus, is a site that allows users to build “an elegant website using content from around the Internet.” Flavors.me looks to be a good outlet for anyone who wants to put up a quick vanity page without needing much knowledge in programming. It sets itself apart from many theme driven design skins by allowing users to upload photos as backgrounds and adjust content along various paths – like Myspace, but less rigid in content structure.

After all of the companies presented individually they were invited for a short panel style question and answer session. Most of the questions centered around profitability, scalability, financial acquisition, and a few discussions about frameworks and development softwares and their role in creating an Internet based start-up.

All three companies are worthy of note and look to have a future online. The whole night was broadcast via socialchats.net to those who were not able to attend in their carbon-based form. For upcoming events, check out OEcalendar.com

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Analog Computing

July 29, 2010 at 9:12 am (advertising, Design, marketing, movies, social media) (, , , , )

Find out the story, see the behind the scenes, and learn about Meltmedia.

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Social Media in Advertising – Know When to Hold, Know When to Fold.

October 21, 2009 at 11:41 pm (advertising, commercials, marketing, social media, TV advertising, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Is your company cool? Is it cool enough to try to work social media lexicon into it’s advertising. Apparently two companies thought they were. I’m sorry to report they were wrong.

The first advertisement in question is part one of the multiple-part Twix Get The Girl series. In this delightful ad we have two people conversing at what appears to be a party of some sort – I don’t know if it’s a college party in a big room, or if a bunch of people broke into the local ZGallerie and decided to throw a party. Our “hero” character, who bears a resemblance to Bluto from Animal House, is listening to a cute, way-out-of-his-league, girl rant on about some political issue that, in his current state of inebriation, he obviously doesn’t care about. As soon as he stumbles upon a nearly cohesive response to her banter the inevitable “…I know, right? You want to go to my apartment?” comment slips out. Then the announcer comes on in a “meanwhile, at the hall of justice” moment and our hero discretely sucks down an apparently sobering Twix in order to shoot back with some half-witted comment about “blogging about our ideals, but…” And of course our female friend “loves blogging.” as if it were an activity one would perform at a regular social gathering. In this context it sounds more like she would be saying “oh, bowling, I love bowling” or “oh, pie I love pie!” instead of an online publishing tool.

The next commercial is even more awkward in its attempted use of pop-culture name-dropping. Bud Light’s The Breakup is a great commercial. It puts a couple driving in a car with the girl breaking up with boy. The first pass she’s too nice with the comment “we’ll just be together a lot less, like separate” as a means of breaking up. On the second go round when he asks, “are you breaking up with me” she shoves him out of the moving car. This commercial is great! Fantastic, move on, cut to the product shot – sold. But wait there’s more! As our recently discarded guy pulls himself upright he yells, “I’ll Facebook you.” Really. Really! If this couple were dating would they not already be connected, if not “in a relationship with” each other on Facebook. Even in the context of a Facebook Message this does not make since to me. If they broke up in such a violent manner I think she would unfriend him, thus making him unable to “Facebook her.”

Both of these ads had potential until they started trying to be cool. It reminds me of Dr. Evil in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery when he tries to do the Macarena to show Scott that he’s “Hip” (minute 6:50). One of the best commercials for dropping the fashionable lingo of today’s youth was the Palm Pre Now Network ad series (especially the first one). Why was it so good – because it was relevant and didn’t try to be anything that it was not. It had up-to-date topics, and was ahead of the curve by citing “26% of you viewing this have no idea what [twitter] means.

Here’s some advice to our advertising execs out there: Don’t drop in some awkward attempt at connect to a demographic that you don’t understand. If you want to appeal to a new demographic do your research, hire some competent consultants, and don’t just throw around buzzwords to make yourself feel better. It just makes you look distant and out of touch.

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Social Media Never Tasted So Good

October 18, 2009 at 2:13 pm (Florida, Fort Lauderdale, marketing, networking, social event, Social Events & Networking, social media, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Twineup2

Last night’s Himmarshee Twineup Take 2 at Himmarshee’s Side Bar in Downtown Ft. Lauderdale was a “pairing-and-pouring adventure!” The event featured three wine flights paired with passed appetizers, and was sponsored by Matthew Horbund, @mmwine, and Jan Idelman, @janIdelman.

If you’re looking for a classy alternative to the normal tweetup setting, this is an idea for you – wine, food, friends. There were prizes given away sponsored by PokenGirl and Pickchur, and along with the price of the tasting everyone received a coupon for $20 off of a $60 food or wine purchase at the venue.

To start the evening we had a 2008 Murphy-Goode Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma County. This light, crisp wine paired well with the petit crab cakes with pickled habenero tartart and island spiced shrimp and yucca croquettes with drunken mango salsa.

The second flight was an Australian born 2005 Hope Shiraz. This Shiraz was more fruity and less peppery than most tend be. The pairing for this was amazing! It was a duck confit & sweet potato empanada with vanilla-shiraz macerated cherries.

The final tasting was a 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Tahuantinsuyu from Mendoza, Argentina – one of my favorite regions, especially for Malbec! This was paired with mushroom & cambazola toasts with oil cured campari tomatoes.

The evening had a mix of good food, good wine, and good conversations – what more could you ask for? It was nice to meet @PamRockSoFl @enzobalc, @stacykinney, @SisterMary, and thanks to @mmWine and @jidelman for hosting the event! If you missed this twineup, information on the November one will be posted at A Good Time With Wine.

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Cool Beans – A Tale of the Coffee Tasting Tweetup

October 15, 2009 at 12:05 am (Florida, Fort Lauderdale, networking, social event, Social Events & Networking, social media, South Florida, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Caffe_Rustica

Are you tired of attending tweetups for the masses? Here’s a new spin on the twitter universe – a coffee tasting tweetup. Think of a wine and cheese paring party, but with coffee and cookies. And what overworked designer, developer, geek, or business maven doesn’t like a good cup of coffee? The best part of an event like this is that there is a smaller turnout than many other social media events allowing for more chances to meet and converse with new people.

If you don’t follow what I’m saying, imagine this: you’re a social media newbie, maybe more introverted than some, and decide to go to a social media event. You stand in a corner doing your best wallflower impression and don’t know how to break the ice with people who are part of the “in crowd.” I mean you don’t want to linger like an awkward stalker outside of an ongoing conversation, and busting into someone’s chitchat that you don’t know can come off wrong or just seem rude. An event in a more intimate setting with a small group is a great way to expand your social circle and your comfort zone in unison. So why not hold smaller gatherings to help welcome newbies and make new friends

Tonight’s event was held at Caffe Rustica next to the Gateway Theater in Ft. Lauderdale. The coffee shop was like the Cheers bar, Wings café counter, and Central Perk from Friends all combined into a charming little spot with less drama and better coffee. If they didn’t know your name when you came in, they knew your twitter handle when you left.

We were a little late, so we had some catching up to do. The tasting had started with India Mneb it was like a strong tea, more refreshing than you get from your get-out-of-bed in the morning variety joe. Next up was Brazil Morenhina Formosa made with the Raisin Process – Jim the owner/barista is very knowledgeable in the art of beverage preparation and shared a little about the history, roasting style, and background of each brew. Third tasting was Guatemala Acatenenango Gesha a little stronger than the others, but still very good. The final flight was the strongest (and favorite of mine – the 3 cup-a-day drinker) Ethiopa Bonko made with a Wet Process. This coffee was much more robust than the others, some might say it’ll get you up in the morning and give you a shave, but I just think it was a good strong coffee.

Between flights and after all the rounds had been finished the small group of coffee lovers sat around discussing a variety of interesting topics from camera equipment to anecdotes of everyday life. My favorite conversation centered around Starbucks’ new instant coffee. The most insightful part of the discussion came when someone quipped that they didn’t know what Starbucks’ taste testing ads were supposed to prove. Are they raising the bar for instant coffee or lowering the standard by which we hold our $8 sugar infused creation of fast food-like coffee? If you think about it it’s either one or the other. It’s like up-selling your product while simultaneously devaluing it.

I’d like to thank @CaffeRustica for hosting the event and @MoreWillie for organizing it. It was nice to meet @DavideDiCillo, @ggadventures, and @stefaniwhylie, and apologies to those who I didn’t get your handle. I look forward to the next foray into the world of the caffeinated arts, whenever that may be.

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Can’t Email That Important Client? Facebook Them!

October 7, 2009 at 10:19 pm (marketing, networking, News, social media) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Rose Brand's Crystal Series at the University of Tampa

Rose Brand's Crystal Series of stretch fabric at the University of Tampa

Through my blog and twitter updates I have cited many case studies of social media as a networking and branding tool, way to maintain community involvement and policing, and even a case or two of how it can make you unemployed or put in jail. But I saw a tweet on September 25 that gave social media a true business-to-business validation. The tweet came from @Rosebrand and simply stated,  “Just used facebook to communicate with a client regarding an emergency order. Was not able to connect via phone or e-mail but FB worked!” This got my attention.

Here’s the back story – who is Rose Brand: “Rose Brand is the leader in flame retardant fabric, theatrical draperies and production supplies for entertainment, schools, events, exhibitions and houses of worship.” If you have attended a concert, corporate event, tradeshow, or theatrical performance, chances are you’ve seen their work.

…And now for the story: Toward the end of the day on a Friday a member of the Rose Brand West sales staff received a call from a major scene shop in Las Vegas. They had ordered a large amount of NeoFlex, which can be considered a specialty item due to the specific parts and pieces needed. Unfortunately the contact information on the order, and the contact for the project were not one in the same. Thus conventional communication methods – phone, fax, email, smoke signals, semaphore, etc – were rendered moot. Due to the time difference the East Coast office was closed, and the original sales person was unable to be reached. In addition to these communication problems, the item in question was only available from the New Jersey warehouse. Rose Brand operates two warehouses, one on each coast, but they have a vast inventory so some items are only available through one warehouse.

So how does social media come through and save the day? The client contact in this case is a “friend” on Rose Brand’s Facebook Page, and happened to be online at the time. A quick message was sent via Facebook that explained the predicament. That message led to the acquisition of the proper contact information and then a call from the client – 5 minutes later, problem solved. As a Rose Brand representative stated: “In this case Facebook proved to be invaluable. As the end customer was on location and time was running short, it might have been impossible for the client to be reached during normal business hours.”

Social media for the win!

In early 2009 Rose Brand created a Facebook page and Fan page. The company, and members of its staff, are connected to TheatreFace, ProLightingSpace, LinkedIn, and other social media forums. Like many other companies Rose Brand is finding that there is no exact science to the way social media is used, but the real-time learning and conversations that it provides proves invaluable in the day-to-day, business-to-business world.

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RefreshMiami

October 1, 2009 at 1:37 am (Design Events, free, marketing, Miami, networking, social event, Social Events & Networking, social media, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

refreshmiami

Tonight’s RefreshMiami was a little different. Apparently the hotel it is normally held at is under new management, and ill informed of the tech community’s monthly meeting. Luckily Windisch-Hunt Fine Art Gallery stepped in and allowed the group to use their beautiful art gallery for the evening.

The goal of tonight’s event was to answer three questions:

  1. I’ve got an idea, now what?
  2. I’ve got a company, who can fund it?
  3. I’m up and running, now what?

So in the adaptive spirit of our newfound meeting place we all sat around for story time.

First up was Startup 101 with attorneys Gaida Zirkelbach, Esq. and Nicholas Robbins, Esq. of Gunster, Florida’s Law Firm for Business. Together they discussed what is needed to start and protect a business and other intellectual property. We discovered the difference between ©, ® and ™, the different types of investors, and parts of contracts, privacy statements, etc.

After the legal discussion the guys from Worsterer.com took the reigns and told us about their company, and how three former Yahoo employees formed it. They dispelled some good tips about defining a business plan, checking your software, and testing your product.

It was a good and informative meeting. Thank you to all the presenters, and especially Windisch-Hunt Gallery for letting us use their space. Hope to see you at one the next events: Southwest Florida Code Camp, Wodpress Meetup, and Twineup Take 2

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Facebook May Cost Man 10 Years in Prison

September 22, 2009 at 12:58 am (News, social media) (, , , , , , , , , , )

facebook

Back on August 31 I blogged about the Boca Police Department using the twitter handle @BocaPolice to dispense information to the general public in real time, and joked that social media could cost you your freedom. Well, kids guess what happened to one West Virginia fellow?

19-year-old Jonathan Parker likes burglarizing people, turns out he likes facebook, too. He enjoys these two activities so much that he decided to do them in tandem. In all his excitement he remembered to take the $3500 worth of diamonds, but forgot to log out of his facebook account from the victim’s computer – I wonder if his status was “excited about my new bling!”?

The burglary happened on August 28, and Jonathan is being held in the Eastern Regional Jail in lieu of $10,000 bond, if convicted he could get up to ten years in prison.

I guess the lesson here is: always steal the computer …or earn your money like the rest of us.

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5 Ways to Stay Current as a Creative

September 2, 2009 at 12:08 pm (Art Event, Design, Design Events, economy, Education, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, marketing, Miami, networking, News, social event, Social Events & Networking, social media, South Florida, Uncategorized, unemployment) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

gaping1You’ve been downsized, laid-off, or decided it was time to strike out on your own and try the world of full-time freelancing and consulting…Now what? In school we’re taught that “no one designs in a vacuum”, but lets face it, when your whole company consists of you, your computer, and maybe a pet, you are not constantly surrounding by other creatives that provide inspiring stimuli. Have no fear, here are five ways I’ve found to keep myself  out of the vacuum and up to date while working as a design consultant:

1. Stay in the loop through social media
Social media can mean different things to different people, but what it comes down to is forging relationships with people online who you may not have otherwise met or stayed in contact with. Though reluctant to it at first, I have found Twitter to be one of the most informational and beneficial social media hubs. The reason for this is because I follow other professionals, media outlets, and design related companies and websites through Twitter. Here’s an example of a tweet from Smashing Magazine:

“@SmashingMag: 30 Amazing Retro Posters and Flyers – http://bit.ly/nG9i4#retro #inspiration

If I’m interested in the topic I don’t have to search through the website, because the link is right there. Other good online networking and portfolio sites are: Facebook, LinkedIn, Behance, and Coroflot.

2. Socialize and network in real face-to-face situations.
If you are on Twitter or Tumblr you might want to attend a local tweetup, where twitter members gather to have real conversations. Refresh and barcamp activities are usually free and informative. The open platform allows for a wide variety of topics to be covered by several presenters. Meetup.com is another great resource. You can find social groups for just about anything. I’ve written several posts about the Shoot Miami photography group that I belong to, but there are groups for WordPress, photoshop, young professionals, etc.

You can also go to art galleries, design events, museum openings, and other social events. Mix with a new demographic, tell them what you do, and maybe you’ll generate some new business contacts.

3. Read industry (and non-industry) related publications:
You don’t have to subscribe to the publications because most of them are online. Some of my favorites for inspiration are: Smashing Magazine, Inspired Magazine, Freelance Switch, Web Designer Depot, and Wired Magazine, and I still receive printed versions of Event Design Magazine. Computer Arts Magazine is a great resource that I check out when I go to book stores, and Smithsonian Magazine and Reader’s Digest are a great resources for escaping from all the creative stimulus when you want a well written and engaging story.

4. Start a blog:
Having a blog and actually trying to write interesting, topical, and engaging information everyday really helps to change your thinking. You start looking for new technologies, techniques, events, and anything else worthy of note to add to your blog. Pick a general topic you are interested in and write about it. As our good friend Benjamin Franklin said: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

5. Expand your creative horizons:
While working full-time you probably hit a comfortable stride. You knew what your boss wanted to see, how things should be done, and what type of clientele you were dealing with, so shake it up a little bit! Do projects outside of your comfort zone; this helps you expand your design reach. Be careful not to over extend yourself, but look for a project that is in a different style than what you are used to, or a new industry that you haven’t explored. E.g. I recently created a logo for a cake decorator. Most of the concepts I did were feminine with script fonts. This is not my usual style at all, but it expanded my design style a little further.

Another great thing you can do is volunteer. Find a museum or charitable organization within your field to help support with your time. You’ll feel better about yourself, have access to industry developments, and make valuable contacts all while doing some good in your community.

Hopefully these 5 little tips will help to keep you out of that design vacuum. Good luck in this new phase of your life, and remember to enjoy the journey.

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