a real page turner

My posts have been few and far between the last few weeks as obligations mount and deadlines loom, but more faithful bloggers wanting another way to share their thoughts can now look to Blurb. For a relatively inexpensive price, Blurb will publish your online musings in a handsome, hardcover book that would make an excellent addition to anyone's coffee table. It could also be a way to show prospective employers how you think.


science + culture

I came across a brilliant site the other day called Phylotaxis. It was developed for Seed Magazine, as a space were science meets culture. Essentially, the site scours a host of science-oriented news sources and blogs and then presents the stories in a visually stunning fashion.

The site's creator Jonathan Harris explains it this way...

Phylotaxis illustrates the delicate balance between science and culture in our world. Without the randomness of culture, science becomes dry and predictable, imprisoned in a strict square grid. Without the rational thinking of science, culture quickly teeters towards chaos. Only when science and culture act as peers can harmony be achieved, expressed through the astonishing Phylotaxis shape.


small is good

This book review arrived in my inbox yesterday from Harvard Business School, and the book looks fascinating. It looks into case studies of brands like Anchor Brewing and Clif Bar that choose to remain small, and end up growing profits because of that decision. While reading the review, I'm immediately reminded of agencies like StrawberryFrog, W+K, and Modernista! that choose to remain independent to keep the great work flowing.

The small size adds an air of freedom to what the companies can do - there's more wiggle room. I pulled a quote from the review below that shows how these companies really don't want to consider advertising - it's already all about engagement for them, and has been for some time.

"[Clif Bar] CEO Gary Erickson’s marketing strategy has been to eschew advertising and instead focus on directly connecting with consumers, especially athletic consumers, at the grassroots level. Around 75 percent of Clif Bar’s promotion budget is spent on sponsoring events around the country and supporting amateur athletes. This tactic provides the company with personal contact and feedback from its customers, and such intimacy has been a major contributor to Clif Bar’s success: Its annual sales leapt from $39 million to $92 million between 1999 and 2004."


time capsules

Even as we become a more wired society and look at the Internet of years past with the Wayback Machine, and send ourselves email time capsules, there's still something special about an actual time capsule - the kind you bury under the sand. Or inside a bridge.

photo via Joey Harrison


breath power

Found this wonderful site for Winterfresh via Adrants:


It looks like it was done by the WTF/Nike Sphere guy, especially the videos. And of course, it's wildly entertaining, especially for a gum brand. It vaults them over Orbit for the "wacko" award in the gum category.


the element

I found these 2 ads for the Honda Element the other day, and think they are smart in speaking to a more low-key Xterra-type audience. The kind of guys and girls who are into surfing, snowboarding, kayaking, etc. but would rather chill on the beach strumming ukeleles than blast the artic monkeys from the car's sound system.

It's also nice to see great work for the brand outside of W+K's work for Honda in the UK.



I've been thinking about the new manliness since reading the Fallon planning post on the trend of the changing view of manhood, marked by more women than men attending universities, Moms attending their kids' sporting events solo, etc. I'm reminded of an AdAge cover story titled "Man vs. Man" that was loosely based on the Maxim campaign by CP+B last spring. I tried to find it online, but couldn't - use the "email us" link and we'll send a copy your way. The article discussed many reasons why manliness is changing, citing feminism, pop culture, the structure of families today, and marketing:
"And both [the metrosexual and the
Maxim reader] have been raised without fathers. 'Males are being raised more and more by single mothers-and corporate capitalism,' [British sociologist Mark Simpson, who coined the term 'metrosexual'] wrote. 'Boys are fathered by Nike, Sony, MTV. Boys are emulating their heroes, but their heroes are delivered to them by Madison Avenue, in a highly incestuous/eroticized package.'"

Today I came across this article on Harvey Mansfield, who is causing quite a stir with his polarizing views. And finally, Iconoculture must have known I was thinking about all this, as here's a related piece of research that was highlighted in their weekly newsletter. I wonder how these numbers change depending on current trends:
"An Internet survey asked adult men and women in the U.S. age 18-45 to indicate their preferences if they had several kids:
• Equal number of boys and girls: 50%
• No preference: 27%
• More boys than girls: 7%
• More girls than boys: 6%
• Only boys: 5%
• Only girls: 4%

Photo via Flickr user jachi


i love this job

on Friday afternoon:

peanuts + cupcakes + several smart people + a few good beers =

brainstorm session

photo via Flickr user filmbuf1



Here's a random story. I spent a large chunk of time today in a Verizon store. It took an eternity to get through the waiting line there, and I saw something that made me smile at one point. A little baby gave out a about a 2-second shriek, and then started laughing. In that instant I was smiling but also kind of jealous of babies, and how they can do that kind of thing - I would have felt loads better had I been able to shriek... and then, hello mr. security guard.

Here's an idea - rent out a small space in malls and put up soundproofing on all the walls, let people pay $1 or 2 and let them in for 15 seconds for a top-of-the-lungs yell to let out some frustration. Especially in November/December that kind of thing could work out well...


other intelligent life...

...is tiny. A recent study highlighted in Science found that hummingbirds have a type of memory that is more closely related to humans than any other species - one that can track where and when they last saw an item, something that to this point had not been discovered.

Kinda geeky, yes, but the excuse is that I'm really invovled in a couple of research projects at the moment so I'm all thinking about clever research design, and this caught my eye.

photo via Flickr user Steve Mariani



Here in DC there's a bakery called cakelove that makes amazing sugar-loaded treats and cakes, all from scratch. We had a going-away party on Friday for someone and that was my first exposure to their cakes. It won't be the last.

The founder's story is one that relates to how new generations are looking to get more out of life and work than in years past, and also serves as another great example of a brand supported by a meaningful story:

"I’m often asked, 'Why would you give up a promising career in law to bake cakes?' Some people kind of scratch their head when they think of what I have done. Others look at me like I’m crazy. Most totally understand what I’ve done—and smile."

The name cakelove is something I can learn from- it's concise and to the point, yet strikes emotional chords with the clever combination of two simple words.


great book -- the art of looking sideways

I received The art of looking sideways from amazon a couple of weeks ago, and I finally got some time this week to spend some time with it. The book is absolutely gorgeous, and contains 534 pages of inspirational stuff. It's a collection of designer Alan Fletcher's thoughts - various insights, quotes, images, doodles, optical illusions, etc. It's almost like he kept a journal for a few years and put it all into this book.

The book is not one to sit down and finish end-to-end like a novel or most all business books. The author states in the foreword that:
"Most books written on visual matters are authored by those who anlyse rather than experience. Many are hard work and littered with academic jargon... They are concerned with the mechanics rather than the thoughts, with the match rather than the fire.... This book has no thesis, is neither a whodunnit nor a how-to-do-it, has no beginning, middle or end. It's a journey without a destination."

I give it 5 stars, and it's just about the best $25 I've ever spent on a book. What a great source of inspiration for looking at the world differently.


in pursuit of happiness

Remember the old adage 'money can't buy happiness'? Well based on the findings of a report out last month, the folks over at Pew Research might take issue with that statement.

According to the report, of those who claimed an annual income in excess of $100,000, 49% say they are very happy. This is in stark contrast to those with an income level of less than $30,000 in which only 24% of respondents consider themselves very happy. The inquiry is not limited to income-- other variables are also explored, including marital status, religion, political affiliation, and even pet ownership.

It is important to note here that this study establishes correlation and not causation. For example, money could lead to happiness, happiness could be the precursor to money, or some other confounding factor could be involved. Nonetheless, it's good stuff...


APSW #4 - creating lifestyle

Here it is. My response to assignment 4 for the APSW. Balancing the school with the job is tough stuff, and sleep has definitely suffered in this instance.

I feel like in my dreary-eyed state I may have missed the mark, but we'll see what Grant has to say before I regret this. Hope you get something out of it...