I was looking at photos on flickr for no good reason tonight and came across an incredible photoset called Pencil vs. Camera. An artist living in Belgium named Ben Heine (@benheine on twitter) came up with this great mixed-media artwork that’s part drawing, part photo, part collage. It’s a unique, creative and inspiring style.
As a designer/marketer/word-of-mouther, I find that building a strong brand can be hard work. But all this hard work on a brand means nothing when the company behind the brand actually stinks. If the company you’re branding it for can’t back it up, people are going to find out, and sometimes in insanely dramatic fashion.
Take everyone’s favorite punching bag these days, British Petroleum.
When their green “helios” branding came out, I thought that BP maybe started trending towards greening their business. Obviously, this is all a crock of shit, especially seeing how the BP oil disaster has become the worst oil spill in US history (suck it, Exxon!).
There is a finite amount of oil in the world, and as the concept of peak oil explains, once we’ve found all the easy-to-find oil, the remaining oil will become harder and costlier to find and extract. Predicting when we’re going to peak is tough, but it sounds to me that it has already happened or is close to happening. I predict that as oil becomes harder to get to, we’re at an increased risk of further destroying our world, all in the name of Texas Tea (oil, that is).
If BP wants to sincerely apologize to us, they should immediately start transitioning to developing renewable energy sources. Their branding is a huge lie, because the company can’t back up the “green” strength of their brand identity. Fast Company has a great article with some amazing visuals about what BP’s logo should actually look like, given that they’re still an oil company destroying the world, all in the name for a bigger annual profit.
My brother sent me an email about how some funny jokes can teach you about being a better manager, and I thought it was both funny and informative. One of the aspects I don’t like about corporate atmospheres is the whole “office politics” game, and this quick read is a good overview of how office politics works. Someone made this into a slideshare presentation:
I’ve often found office politics to be a waste of time. Unfortunately for me, however, office politics exist in most offices. You always have to worry about stepping on people’s toes (even when you have valid rationale), overstepping your boundaries (and risking upstaging the person whose job you’re bounding upon). Often people who work under such conditions end up becoming yes men, which is also something I’ve never been comfortable doing. One one hand, it’s detestable what these yes men do. On the other hand, they’re probably just doing it to keep their job. Which is a perfectly fine rationale, just not one I think I would generally like to live beneath.
I will tell you that yes men are pretty bad employees in my book. I think that when you kiss your manager/owner/higher-up’s ass, you are doing a disservice to your company by not offering up your thoughts based on your expertise (which is often what employers see when they hire you). When I’m running my company and I find someone who kisses my ass, I’m going to give them one chance to stop this irrational behavior. If it doesn’t stop, I think it will be best for that person to find another employment opportunity. I will probably even refer them to this very blog entry.
My nephew is learning the piano and here’s some footage from his 2nd ever piano recital this past weekend.
(if the video is choppy, try watching it in 720p instead of 1080p – not sure why that’s happening)
One of the great things about being an uncle is that I get to watch my nephews grow up. Seeing them go through similar experiences is a way for me to relive my childhood, too. Especially when I took lessons from Peggy, the same woman who is teaching Aidan how to play the piano. We both started when we were about 7. My dad has also taken lessons from her, but not when he was a kid.
So music must run in my family.
My roommate and I had a few people over for a LOST series finale get-together last night. I told people to bring one of their “desert island” or “death row” meals – something they couldn’t live without. And bonus points if they tied it into LOST. People played along. I channeled my beer label design skills into some Dharma Initiative beer (which was really a lot of Oskar Blues and Ska canned craft beer).
Other people brought some tasty and very creative stuff! I really enjoy spending time with other creative people:
- Jin and Suns – Gin & tonic + Sunny D (my favorite Sunny D ad)
- Little Smoke Monsters – Smokey Franks
- eClaires – pretty obviously eclairs (which we didn’t eat)
- Michael’s Traitor Tots – Tater Tots (flavored with the mouthwatering flavor of redeeming oneself after committing a few horrific murders)
- CupKates – like 3 dozen cupcakes (they were oh so delicious!)
My house doesn’t hold that many people, but we crammed out small group in and watched the finale. I thought it started out really strong, but by the end we were reduced to something akin to the Battlestar Galactica finale*. Don’t get me wrong, I loved BSG, but the last 30 minutes of the series finale was beyond terrible. When you look at series finale episodes, they’re often pretty bad. Seinfeld, BSG, and the Sopranos are among my most notable shows that ended in a less-than-stellar fashion.
Given the evidence, tying up these shows is a really tough thing to do.
My question is this: wouldn’t you want to figure out the ending pretty much first? And all the while work towards this ending to achieve your vision? That’s how I’d probably do it.