One thought behind P.T. Barnum

A new role… Creative Technologist

Published by Robi | Filed under General, Professional

Where to Find Tech-Focused Advertising Talent?

NEW YORK ( — As demand rises for digital campaigns and branded apps, shops are scouring for creative technologists: a rare breed familiar with technology and conversant with new forms of media, but also able to translate that know-how into compelling digital-branding vehicles.

Think of it as the Flash developer who understands branding, said Kat Egan, founder of digital and design boutique Exopolis. Or, as Allison Mooney of Mobile Behavior recently quipped in Ad Age, a technologist is part man, part tech nerd. For Conor Brady, chief creative officer of Omnicom-owned digital agency Organic, the technologist-and-brand-designer pairing needs to be the new art-director-and-copywriter creative team standard.

As they’re charged with creating tools, services and software such as NikePlus, iPhone apps and even interactive touch-screen retail displays, shops are scrambling to bulk up on this new kind of agency creative. Ad Age checked in with digital agency folks and dug up five suggestions for where to look for this combination of web-head and brand steward.

Comment now » . October 13th, 2009

SpoolCast: Information Architecture Essentials

Published by Robi | Filed under General, Professional

Three times today in discussions on the web  and web presences I felt that I was compromising my beliefs on the best way to either begin to structure a web presence or revamp an existing one. So for self sanity (a.k.a. therapy) I went and sought out others thoughts. As usual Jared Spool found his way to the center of my research. Below is an excerpt from an October 6th 2009 publication, its entirety can be found at

“Donna Spencer is our long-time, go-to expert on the topic of Information Architecture. We’re happy to bring her stateside again for the upcoming User Interface 14 conference. Recently, I spoke with her, all the way from Australia, in advance of her trip to Boston.

I asked Donna, what happens when, one day, you’re asked into the boss’s office and they drop “the web site” and “information architecture” into your lap? Regardless of your experience, where do you begin? Donna says your first question should be, “Why do we bother to have a web site in the first place?” “What’s its purpose?” She says if you don’t get this out of the way first, you’ll run up against it when you’re further along the trail and it won’t be easy to deal with.

One strategy Donna likes is to work backwards. Start with what should not be on the site. Sometimes pruning your unnecessary or no longer timely content is an effective way of honing the site. You should ask, “What’s the value of this content? Is this still relevant?” Before you can answer this for certain, you need to research your users’ needs thoroughly. Along with establishing the site’s purpose, knowing your users is the most important step to begin with. These two items will work hand in hand.”

Comment now » . October 8th, 2009

Digsby and Ubertwitter

Published by Robi | Filed under Uncategorized

In the famous words of mvarre “Digsby and Ubertwitter – People just love to complain about free stuff.” My additional two cents to mvarre’s thoughts start with it is disappointing that Ubertwitter is the best client for the Blackberry (which I agree with). As a capitalist at heart, hopefully their advertising is succesful that they gain the resources necessary to improve the client experience and extend their reach. In regards to Digsby, got to love it. Especially since they are located in my hometown of Rochester NY. Cheers to the Rock.

Comment now » . September 25th, 2009

How will the internet help the “people”?

Published by Robi | Filed under Professional

There is a lively debate in progress about what some call Gov 2.0. One camp sees in the Internet an unprecedented opportunity to bring back Athenian-style direct democracy. The vision is captured in a recent British documentary, “Us Now,” which paints a future in which every citizen is connected to the state as easily as to Facebook, choosing policies, questioning politicians, collaborating with neighbors. - New York Times 9/13/2009

Comment now » . September 13th, 2009

Innovation – technology capabilities enabling business

Published by Robi | Filed under Professional

IdeasA thought provoking WSJ article by Dr. Brynjolfsson. My main comment is in the world of retail all changes need to be well thought through before a “trigger” is pulled across an entire portfolio. The negative outcomes of can far outweigh the innovative research benefits.

Call it innovation on steroids. Or innovation at warp speed. Or just the innovation of rapid innovation

But the essential point remains: Technology is transforming innovation at its core, allowing companies to test new ideas at speeds—and prices—that were unimaginable even a decade ago. They can stick features on Web sites and tell within hours how customers respond. They can see results from in-store promotions, or efforts to boost process productivity, almost as quickly.

The result? Innovation initiatives that used to take months and megabucks to coordinate and launch can often be started in seconds for cents.

And that makes innovation, the lifeblood of growth, more efficient and cheaper. Companies are able to get a much better idea of how their customers behave and what they want. This gives new offerings and marketing efforts a better shot at success.

Companies will also be willing to try new things, because the price of failure is so much lower. That will bring big changes for corporate culture—making it easier to challenge accepted wisdom, for instance, and forcing managers to give more employees a say in the innovation process.

There will be even better payoffs for customers: Their likes and dislikes will have much more impact on companies’ decisions. In globally competitive markets, they will ultimately end up getting products and services better tailored to their needs.

Comment now » . August 19th, 2009

A form of technology enabled forgetting – David Allen

Published by Robi | Filed under Brain Buster, Professional

Excerpt from Wired magazine, October 2007, p. 174, article “The Guru of Getting Things Done – David Allen”

Many readers of Getting Thing Done – The art of Stress Free Productivity (best seller since 2001) apply one ore two of the book’s tricks, like the process Allen recommends for emptying an overstuffed email inbox, and then they stall. Some of them come to seminars like this. Allen himself is unsure if it helps. He realizes that his system can be difficult and that he’s often accused of going overboard with elaborate schemes. He responds with a shrug. “Look, the workings of an automatic transmission are more complicated than manual transmission,” he says. “To simplify a complex event, you need a complex system.”

While the instructions in Getting Things Done are baroque, the underlying ideas can be summarized in an axiom and three rules:


Humans have a problem with stuff. Allen defines stuff as anything we want or need to do. A tax form has the same status as a marriage proposal; a book to write is no different than a grocery list. It’s all stuff.


1. Collect and describe all the stuff. Everything must be inventoried without distinction or prejudice. Errands, emails, a problem with a friend: It all must be noted for processing. Small objects, such as an invitation or a receipt, go into a pile. Everything else can be represented with a few words on a piece of paper (“find keys,” “change jobs”). Once the stuff is collected, processing begins. Anything that requires two minutes or less is handled on the spot. The remainder is governed by the second rule.

2. All stuff must be handled in a precise way. Allen offers dozens of clever tricks for classifying, labeling, and retrieving stuff. Expert users of GTD never leave old emails cluttering their inbox, for instance. Nor do they have to rifle through a bunch of paper to see if there’s anything crucial they’ve left undone. Emails to be answered are in a separate folder from emails that merely have to be read; there’s a file for every colleague and friend; stuff that must be done has been identified and placed on one of several kinds of to-do lists. Allen calls his to-do lists next-action lists, which are subject to the third rule.

3. Items on next-action lists should be described as concretely possible. Breaking down stuff into physical actions, Allen says, is the key to getting things done.

Comment now » . August 10th, 2009

Microsoft Store – We shall wait and see

Published by Robi | Filed under General, Professional

A delayed post (for a variety of reasons)

We’ve been wondering what the Microsoft’s retail shops are going to be like. Well, according to a Powerpoint presentation leaked to us, it’s going to make the Apple Store look downright boring. UPDATE: Microsoft comments.

The presentation is by Lippicott, a “design and brand strategy” consultant firm with extensive retail experience that it appears Microsoft has hired to help develop the store’s concept, principles, and design. It looks pretty legit to us–if it’s a fake, it’s fairly elaborate, with detailed graphics, research, plans and even rough store layouts.

Essentially, Microsoft is taking the best elements from the Apple Store, Sony Style and other “flagship” stores. The main focuses are going to be Windows 7, Xbox, PCTV (Windows Media Center) Surface and Windows Mobile, revolving around this concept customer they call “Emily,” who’s basically a younger version of your mom, since they make all the buying decisions.

Frank Shaw w/ Waggener Edstrom, left a comment below on behalf of Microsoft, implying that many of these concepts are merely that and not final plans:

“As a part of our process in briefing creative agencies, we shared some early prototypes and concepts of our retail store plans. No final decisions have been made. As we previously announced, we are on track to open retail stores this Fall”

Comment now » . August 10th, 2009

Microsoft Outlook 2010

Published by Robi | Filed under Uncategorized

This is my attempt to kill two birds with one stone (post). The first bird a recommendation to all outlook users to give Mike Varre (MV)’s Office 2010 Technical Preview of Outlook Day 1 a read. As I told him, it was informative, engaging and left me wanting more. The second bird is addressing a new philosphical concept I have been challenged to explore. This being said I can confirm that despite MVs need to aplogize for many things, he usually practices rational thought and is / was a Christian (depending on the day)… he is not a presuppositionalist and it is his birthday.

1 Comment » . July 17th, 2009

Passions of the Soul

Published by Robi | Filed under General, Ramble

RDFor well over a decade I have admired the work of Rene Descartes. His work in the early 1600s, especially the cartesian plane, is fascinating to me. Especially because of the tools he had to work with, his surroundings and the society he lived with in. It is very humbling to imagine what he would of been able to do with the power of the internet or a couple of grant dollars.

Recently,  I have found myself reading more of his philosophical work. It is much too early and would be presumptuous to say that I have a solidified view. However, in one of his last published works he described “Passions of the Soul.” It sounds even better in French “Les passions de l’âme.”  It is readily accepted that what he was identifying / describing were emotions. We all have had emotions, good and bad. And in my recent reflections I continue to try to boil things down to their essence. This has lead me to sharing Descartes’s definition of the phenomena of the Passions of the Soul as “Perceptions or sensations or excitations of the soul which are referred to it in particular and which are caused, maintained, and strengthened by some movement of the spirits.”

Simply said in my words, Passions of the Soul or emotions are the experiences in life that are caused by the interactions with other living things. To answer the question of what makes this relevant in the rambles of a Robi… If living things (people only… currently ignoring animals) have interactions that cause emotions which might be positive then the interactions are of value. And, if interactions can be enhanced through an understood dialogue that has context. Then defined contextual dialogue can improve the lives of people.

Comment now » . July 12th, 2009

The Internet: Like an elementary school during a fire drill

Published by Robi | Filed under General, Ramble

About a month ago I drove past an elementary school that was having a fire drill. You could see the look on the kid’s faces of excitement, the look of teachers trying to coordinate and the combined feeling of chaos (where are the fire trucks). I have been having the same feeling recently when I have been contemplating the purpose and use of the internet. A wonderfully chaotic feeling of empowerment. How does one make sense out of “new” web 2.0 philosophies and tools, the powerful reaching arms of MS, Google and others, creating metrics and measuring success, changing trends and adoption patterns, consumer privacy and business goals?


Well, as I continue to ponder this very real dilemma, I decided to flag one topic for immediate discussion. As Google has become the giant of consumer search and Bing tries to establish market share as a decision engine they both share the same immediate forms of establishing relevance. This has bothered me for several weeks now. When you type a query into either you have the ability to further establish relevance by additionally selecting images, videos, news, shopping, maps or more. Implying this is what you wanted to find or do?


It is my opinion that the first way to establish relevance is by deciding the context of the relationship you would like to have. Would you like to see the query result as provided by a company, a University, an organization (for profit or non for profit), a group, an individual, a friend or colleague? Clearly that is to many choices. My point is to establish and understand the dialogue you are about to have and with whom. Many self proclaimed experts (myself included) seem to believe that a superior outcome of search / decision making will come from the credibility of the source your are listening / talking to. It only seems logical that we start and filter with that same understanding.

Comment now » . July 4th, 2009

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