Friday, November 30, 2007

Dunbar’s Number – November 30, 2007

According to Wikipedia, Dunbar's number, which is 150, represents a theoretical maximum number of individuals with whom a set of people can maintain a social relationship, the kind of relationship that goes with knowing who each person is and how each person relates socially to every other person.

I buy this logic, but not really. My Facebook account has something like 140 friends, my old MySpace page was reaching something around 200, and my LinkedIn page is at 110. I’m not cheating either. I genuinely knew everyone that I became a friend or professional associate with. I also feel that I do have a pretty good understanding of how my friends know each other too! Most importantly though, these numbers are only a small representation of the amount of people that I actually know...I just happened to create public relationships with them online.

I don’t buy Dunbar’s argument that a person can only have 150 functioning relationships. My cell phone contact list is somewhere in the 300s. However, what I do agree with is that there is a reasonable amount of friendships and relationships an individual can have. This means that all those Facebook and LinkedIn pages with “friends” in the 1,000s is bogus.

I think the downfall of MySpace was the fact it turned into a popularity contest, not a true networking tool. It also turned itself into the most whored out online billboard ever. (note to self: get rid of MySpace page), and an easily hackable interface. Facebook is in quick pursuit. Can someone please stop adding all those worthless applications please?

The point of the post is that I feel people want/crave/need to create online social networks, but they are tired of having to bounce from site to site and recreate all the connections with friends, family, and colleagues. I think Facebook has a chance to save itself, but for how long? Zuckerberg wants to monetize the business, but will it come at a cost to the users? My guess…yes. So what’s the next social networking site going to be, or is social networking going to be renamed something else?

Visionary Beyond Vision – November 29, 2007

Maybe I’m a little bit biased, but Salvador Dali is clearly one of the most imaginative, intriguing, repulsive, flamboyant, peculiar, and inspired artists ever. Besides the fact he wore a cape and made highly distinguishable mustache, he worked with marketers. Since I happen to be a marketer, I wanted to look at what type of disruptive work he contributed to the world of advertising and marketing. Some of it is weird, other times just bizarre.

In 1968, DalĂ­ filmed a television advertisement for Lanvin chocolates, in 1969 he designed the Chupa Chups logo, he also was also in a commercial for Braniff Airlines, he painted a woman for an Alka Seltzer commercial in the 70s, and did another commercial for Veterano liquor.

Hey, Salvador's Braniff commercial is way better than Andy Warhol's one:

Likemind SF – November 30, 2007

I am constantly searching for inspiration, trying to remain on top of what’s cool/new/hot, and striving to maintain relevancy. It’s a job in itself. I read like 20+ blogs a day, email and IM with friends and colleagues constantly, and mine the Internet for the best and brightest. Sometimes I just want it to come easy.

Sound like you? Join my collective group of nerdly and intellectual buffoons. It’s called Likemind. We meet once a month and talk about lots of stuff. Conversations vary from why certain brands kicks ass to where the best coffee place is in the city to how/why consumers are utilizing the latest technologies. You don’t even have to be in SF to join, it’s worldwide people!

Its fun, the coffee is free, and you don’t have to talk if you don’t want to. The only rule is that you wear a name tag. Indie attire optional. Founders Noah Brier and Piers Fawkes want you!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Experiential Marketing – November 29, 2007

The best way to make a connection between consumers and brands is via a meaningful experience. Sure things like T.V. ads and online banners have their purpose, but nothing is more effective than a one-to-one interaction with a brand or product.

I think it’s pretty obvious as to why, but I’ll elaborate:

Suppose you were in the market for a raincoat, and you head to North Face to look at some. Outside North Face happens to be this crazy RV vehicle branded with Gortex logos. On closer inspection the vehicle has all types of different demonstration exhibits on it that show off the amazing functionality of GoreTex. There also happens to be a portable rain storm room on the back of the RV where you can test one of their jackets out. While you do all this, a GoreTex representative talks to you about the benefits of using their product versus others. Oh yeah, the GoreTex chick was pretty cute, and the whole brand seemed pretty cool and with it.

Finally, you’re done with the experience, and you walk into the store. Overall, it was a fun and non-intrusive experience.

Are you more likely to buy a product that has an official Gortex logo on it or a generic brand? Even if you don’t buy a raincoat that day, wouldn’t you be more inclined to buy a Goretex branded product based on your previous interaction with it?

My whole point is that an experience with a brand or product can influence your purchase decision far more so than a T.V. ad or billboard. Doesn’t that mean anything to marketers anymore? I so rarely see what I did today (see pics below).

Greenwashing Revisted - November 29, 2007

As you may or may not recall, depending on how often you read this blog, I recently posted about "greenwashing". It was essentially about how all sorts of companies claim to be "green" just so they can lure conscientious consumers to buy their products. It is actually a really huge and annoying trend right now.

Well...enter the Federal Trade Commission. As of now, they FTC will accelerate a review of how companies market environmental claims, including measures to offset carbon dioxide emissions.

Look out oil companies!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bzzzz – November 28, 2007

I’ve been noticing that there are some new buzz words out there in the sweet sweet world of web 2.0. I try to map these buzz words in context to what they mean to technology evangelists, budding start-ups, marketers, and everyday consumers. You might have seen a couple of my in-depth reports like this on my site before, but this time I’m going to keep it at a surface level. Here are some words that caught my eye:

Crowd Clout –

This is basically a sexy word for democracy. Lots of people converge to voice their views and ask for what they want. New idea no, but technology has really helped bring it to a different level. As pointed out by PSFK, companies such as Eventful and Threadless use this concept to promote favorite product lines. Also noted by PSFK, in China there is a practice called “tuangou” or “team purchase” where hundreds of flashmobbing people descend on a given retailer to get the price they want. Kinda sounds like from it’s beginning.

Like I said, nothing new, however, with technology helping people organize on the fly or in a premeditative fashion, this could be powerful. Really powerful. Calling all wanna be Naomi Kleins.

Zone/Geo Tagging –

This feature is prevalent on many photo and video sharing sites where users can geolocate where they took the picture or video such as Flickr or YouTube. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time to zone tag countless pictures and videos, and I’m not sure people are going to want to do it for all their shared media. However, if we can convince them to do it, the possibility to combine zone tagging and mobile alerts would be phenomenal. Essentially, you could set your mobile device to locate zone tagged stuff. That stuff could be categorized into topics like food, bars, cool things to see, hot girls, etc. You get to decided what types of zone tagged topics you want sent your phone. Maybe throw a little Twitter in there and we might be able to zone tag on the fly. Hmmm….now that’s an idea.

Fan Labor –

Essentially, this is asking fan bases of any types to create content for the brand/community/organization of which they are apart of. Does this type of user generated content adversely affecting the communities in which they come from. Does offering a reward for their work convert them into mass producers? Do they lose credibility? I’m not too sure this buzz word will stick, but I like it, because I do think companies are asking too much of their consumers in today’s 2.0 age.

More Secret Places – November 28, 2007

In a previous post I outlined some of my favorite secret places in San Francisco. Here are some more to chew on.

5. Molinari –Mana Park

This eensy tiny park is located close to the top of Union Street in North Beach towards Russian Hill between Taylor and Jones St. There is an interesting history behind the park, but you’ll have to go there to find out for yourself. Watch out for older Italian women stalking you!

4. Irish Bank
Want to get drunk downtown at a place where your boss will never find you? Off of Mark Lane between Kearny and Grant on Bush Street you can! It’s a great open and cozy alley atmosphere where the Guinness and Smithwicks flows like water.

3. Wave Organ
Created in 1986 by Peter Richards and George Gonzales, this sound sculpture is meant to bring life to the undulation of the waves against the surface of the sea wall. Sound is created by the movement of waves in and out of a series of pipes extending into the water. They also used old mauseleum stones and PVC piping in creating the wave organ. This unique piece is located just above the Sir Francis Yacht Club on a narrow strip of land protecting the boats.

2. Langdon Court Road
Want an incredible view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the massive Pacific? Want it without the traffic? If you can find it, it’s well worth it.

1. Clarion Alley
In the land of crackheads and drunks lives an alleyway between Mission and Valencia streets in the Mission that has been gleefully painted in a plethora of graffiti. It was established in 1992 by a volunteer collective of six North Mission residents: Aaron Noble, Michael O'Connor, Sebastiana Pastor, Rigo 92, Mary Gail Snyder, and Aracely Soriano.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

In the Spirit of Casting - November 27, 2007

I recently discovered that TAP plastics has videos on its website that educate laymen like me on how to make better molds, cut plastic sheets, apply window films, etc. I buy my all my equipment from Douglass and Sturgess, but I still think it's worth supplying this link to the makers out there.

Crystal Fair - November 27, 2007

I decided to head to the Crystal Fair in SF this past weekend.

One word….weird.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving - November 22, 2007

Made to Stick – November 22, 2007

I’m sure I’m like the 3 millionth person to recommend this book, but I’m going to anyways. However, I’m only giving this recommendation to people who need help better expressing their creative ideas…like yours truly. Having a plethora of nebulous thoughts can get frustrating if you have no way to contextualize them.

Enter Dan and Chip Heath. Two brothers, who claim they are not brilliant creatives, just your average run of the mill guys. The difference between me and them is that they spent a whole lot of time studying what makes stories and ideas stick.

Essentially, they broke apart all successful urban myths, ad campaigns, political stories, etc and outlined the key linking factors of success. Oh yeah, they put in a catchy/cheesy catch acronym. “Succes”

S – simplicity
U – unexpectedness
C – concreteness
C – credibility
E - emotional
S - stories

Check out the authors’ blog if you’re interested.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Spam Day - November 20, 2007

Spam. It pretty much sucks. It doesn’t really matter if you’re talking about electronic spam or Spam made by Hormel Foods. If you haven’t checked out Spam’s website, I suggest you do, it’s actually entertaining.

Because Spam remains on grocery store shelves and derelict alleyways around the world since 1937, I decided to live it up and eat some Spam. Check it out!

P.S. I really only wrote about this because SPAM is such a cultural phenomenon that it was worth sharing my experiences.
End Result:
- Really really salty
- Tastes just good enough to eat a tad more
- Mmmm…bacon like taste
- Oh god, should I have eaten four slices of that?
- Stomach ache

Monday, November 19, 2007

Viral Graffiti - November 19, 2007

About half a year ago I was walking to the Lower Haight and I stumbled upon an awesome stencil graffiti piece on the sidewalk. It was brilliant.

I happened to walk into my neighborhood coffee shop the other day, and they were handing out stickers with the same image on it. I was amazed that it had made its way from the sidewalk onto stickers, and now a website!

I guess it just reaffirms that a good idea goes a long way.

100 - November 19, 2007

It’s official, this is the 100th post I’ve created on my blog. Yippee, now onto business.

To celebrate this achievement, I’m rating my top 3 posts so far.

#3 – “Exclusivity

#2 – “Go Green For Green

#1 - “Inspiration in Consumer Empowerment

Friday, November 16, 2007

Be Different - November 16, 2007

and check this awesome site out. Roll over the bucket.

The Youth Vote - November 16, 2007

I’m not voicing any of my own political views here, nor will I.

I’m here to simply state that Hillary Clinton will undoubtedly grabbed the youth vote. Sure it’s not voting time, and maybe she gets battered in debates, but her team has a great communications platform. It’s vibrant, exciting, REAL, and engaging. However, it might be too geared for a youth audience. The self humility is funny in her viral videos, but how many people is it funny to?

The real deal that I love is that she is actively encouraging people to get involved in a way that is easy, self explanatory, and seemingly fun. Great way to get people on you side, especially since the average American thinks voting is a straining process. Check it out.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Get Style - November 15, 2007

First off, why didn't I ever have any of these products when I was in college? Secondly, why didn't I think of inventing these products? Such an easy and simple idea, and well, it passed me by. I guess I'll have to earn a million bucks the hard way.

Now with the help of these drinking devices, you can be a stay at home drunk any time of day!

Buy them here.

Europe in America? - November 15, 2007

Kansas City.

What does that make you think of? Big steaks, fat people, thick accents, cows, or nothingess? Surprisingly, after a brief trip to good ol’ KC, I came back with a much different opinion.

In 1922, a visionary named Jesse Clyde Nichols started construction on the United States’ first ever suburban shopping district. Damn him to hell, right? Actually, Nichols had the foresight to see the automobile having a major impact on life as we know it, and chose to prepare for just that. What did he do? Well, he built a place to spend money, what else? However, he did it in a way that was appealing, cozy, memorable, and had longevity.

Nichols built the plaza to resemble his memories from his travels in Europe. This meant the shopping center would have accents like red tiled roofs, beautiful courtyards, ornate towers, sculptures, and fountains. It also has a “river” (aka drainage) that runs through it.

Overall, I had a fantastic experience there. The food was great, the people were nice, and the shopping wasn’t too bad.

Visit Kansas City!

Accordion Hero - November 15, 2007

Didn’t get enough of the cult phenomenon Guitar Hero, then time to slap on your lederhosen, grab a pint, and strap on the accordion.

Here’s the original link.

Guitar Hero was certainly crafty enough to grab hold of a video game market entrenched in RPGs, 3rd and 1st person shooters, or some sort of racing. However, to even begin playing Guitar Hero, one had to but another control just to play the game. Fairly risky move, but incredibly insightful. It’s a 3.0 on the imaginary disruptive scale, because after all, this is an imaginary game.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Map of the Ethereal – November 14, 2007

I’m constantly asked why I enjoy the head splitting, repetitive, and almost nauseating sound of electronic music. My Dad has a theory that it has something to do with all the time I’ve spent in the water. Essentially, the rhythmic splashing and undulation of the waves against my head as it passes through the surface of the water has forced me to become accustomed and addicted to electronic music.

I’ll buy that logic.

Now onto the point of this article…Ever wonder type of techno music you are listening to? Want to chart the evolution of techno? Have a desire to figure out what “micro-house”, “stupid”, or “terrorcore” sounds like?

Simply check this awesome interactive and truly informative website.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

2 Husbands – November 13, 2007

Two bachelors (probably actors or some high school dropouts) are looking for their future wives. And GUESS WHAT? America picks the winners!!! Crazy idea huh? Well…..kind of.

From what I recall, this is the first ever of its kind. Sure there was The Bachelor, Joe Millionaire, etc, but this is the premiere contest taking part on the Internet. It's called The 2 Husbands.

Women can enter by creating a profile and uploading a 1-2 minute video, explaining why they'd make the best lady for either Zach or Tanner.

This duo (and the smarter people behind them) are truly leveraging the brute force of the Web. Great to see someone pushing the limits everyday!

Kissing Phone - November 13, 2007

Feel like making an awkward first move with a girl/guy you just met on the train? Try sending her/him a kiss via this new concept phone from PROinvention.

Apparently the phone is intended to measure things such as pressure, sucking force, duration, etc. The “kiss” is then sent to whomever you want to try to piss off.

Seriously!?!? 10 to 1 this product never hits the market. Disruptive…maybe. Culturally applicable…probably not.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sonoluminescence (WTF?!?!) - November 12, 2007

According to Wikipedia, Sonoluminescence is the emission of short bursts of light from imploding bubbles in a liquid when excited by sound.

Now, where do I buy a speaker that has sonoluminescent orbs attached to it?

Beer Me!! - November 12, 2007

How many times do you have to remind your friend that it’s his/her time to buy a beer?

Well, now you’ll never have to, Foamee will do it for you. However, it won’t promise that your friend will actually buy the beer for you, but it can guarantee it will definitely annoy them.

Skull Face

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Skin Deep - November 6, 2007

It's obviously no major surprise, but just to reaffirm my belief, I've found another example of empirical proof that the ad world is all about appearance.

This ad on craigslist for an Interactive Producer position, clearly calls out that they want someone with experience at a "name-recognized" agency. Seriously, what does that prove about someone's capabilities, motivation, career outlook, etc? Agencies are so concerned with image that they neglect to consider individuals who might make a great impact on their business.

Sure working for a big brand name company can help open the door at some places, but aren't those the same types of corporations that breed silo-ed, incestuous, stodgy, and uninspired employees?

I guess, just another reason not to trust advertisers.

Raw Inspiration Revisited – November 6, 2007

This past Sunday I checked out the Alameda Antique fair that happens once a month. Thousands of people come out to search for hidden treasures, worthless junk, and perhaps a decapitated baby doll head or two.

The Fair is the size of at least 3 football fields, and is conveniently located on an abandoned air field. However, it has incredible views of San Francisco, and the smell of ocean waifs in the air.

The place is completely random and unorganized, and there aren’t designate sections like, “Rocking Chairs Like the One Grandma Had” or “My Old Uncle Joe’s Vintage Body Shavers.” I’m a firm believer that a little bit of chaos and randomness can stimulate inspiration, and in fact it did. I walked away with a few new ideas for my product line, which is sweeter than honey.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Calling all Toys - November 4, 2007

Yesterday I took a jaunt to the Upper Haight in search of some miniature skulls. Long story, don’t ask. The Haight is littered with all sorts of novelty, retro, marijuana utensil, shoe, trinket, memento stores. I figured it was a safe bet to find a couple of things I liked. Well….here’s what I ended up with (check the video of the swimmer toy).

I bought the weird torso and bottom half of a woman at this shop called Giant Robot. They specialize in Indie art, ironic t-shirts, and incredibly peculiar Japanese toys. A lot of these toys have found their way into cubicles and offices around the U.S. I’m not quite sure why someone would want to spend so much money on a piece of plastic, but it seems to be quite popular. Anyways, here are some pictures of some more great bizarre Japanese toys/figurines, and check-out these specialty sites to buy some of you own: TokyoCube, YesAsia, or Ningyoushi)