Career Evolution in Advertising

Career Evolution

I couldn’t agree more. I learned a long time ago the higher up you go in any organization, the less technically-savvy the people become. I love how the Executive Creative Director only knows how to do email. (That’s the Microsoft Entourage (Mac) icon for all you PC people)

There’s actually another lesson i learned many years ago that directly relates to this… the higher up you go in any organization, the crappier their computers become.

I remember several years ago I was working for a company that was doing a big pitch to The person behind the project was convinced that the Amazon Executives we would be dealing with were very “sophisticated” people, who would have all the latest equipment, and well-versed in how to use it. He decided that our web component should be built at 1024×768, which at the time was considered high resolution. After we sent everything off, we got a call from an Amazon VP who was having trouble viewing the site. It turned out he was using a 640×480 16bit display. Of course, he had no idea that’s what he was using. We had to guide him though checking his monitor resolution over the phone.

I remember another time where we sent a CD-based presentation to the owner of a medium-large size company. When we got him on the phone he said he hadn’t looked at the CD because he didn’t know how to put it into his computer. His secretary normally took care of “computer stuff”, and she was on vacation.

Lessons learned. :)

via Swissmiss

YouTube Down?

It looks like internet-video giant, YouTube, is offline this morning. None of my embedded videos are showing up, and the YouTube site itself is inaccessible.

I’m sure the site will be back up soon, but this did make me think about what would happen if something as big as YouTube actually went under. It would instantly have a dramatic impact on the face of the internet. A tremendous amount of content would suddenly be lost… possibly forever.

I guess this is one of those, don’t put all your eggs in one basket kind of lessons.

UPDATE: As expected, YouTube is back up. It looks like they were implementing a new search bar that gets laid over every embedded video. But, the question remains, what would happen if YouTube disappeared tomorrow?

Sprout Builder: Drag-and-drop WYSIWYG Flash Widget Builder

[ YouTube Link ]

I recently finished some work for a new startup here in San Francisco called, Sprout. I built this movie for them (above).

Their product is called Sprout Builder. It’s an easy to use drag-and-drop, WYSIWYG Flash interface for building live, interactive multimedia content that can easily be added to any web page. Basically, they’re widgets… or as they call them, Sprouts. They introduced the Sprout Builder at the DEMO conference on January 29th.

I have to admit, when they first approached me to make the movie, I thought to myself… another widget maker, big woop. But, when I started to play around with the Sprout Builder I realized that they’ve actually made a pretty cool tool, with a lot of power, that is easy for just about anyone to use. It’s way ahead of anything else out there right now.

With Sprout Builder you can build relatively simple things like rss feed readers or countdown Sprouts (widgets), but you can also build very complex multi-page, interactive micro-sites, using just the pre-built components that they give you. The Sprout Builder has its own drawing and text tools, but you can also upload (or link to) your own images, video, audio, etc… The Sprout Builder has an intuitive interface, that will be familiar to anyone who has used tools like Photoshop, or Powerpoint.

Unfortunately, the Sprout Builder is currently in Closed Beta, so not everyone can get their hands on it just yet. But, you can sign up on the site to be notified when it’s opened up to everyone. If you have a website, it’s worth checking out.

Check out these reviews to see what others are saying about Sprout…


Oh, and as long as I’m talking about this, I might as well through out some shameless self-promotion. After all, from what I hear the movie has been pretty well received. If you’re interested in having me produce some marketing material for you, feel free to contact me through my online portfolio site.

iPod Recycling Speaker

Speaker made from iPod packaging

The Bird-Electron EZ17-B iPod Recycling Speaker is a clever little speaker system that uses the plastic packaging your iPod came in as the enclosure for the speaker. What a great way to reuse something that would more than likely end up in the trash.

“Bird-Electron presents this one and only Recycling Speaker for iPod. The dimension is exactly the same as the plastic package for iPod Nano (1st & 2nd Gen.) and iPod Shuffle (2nd & 3rd Gen.). Simply just place the speaker panel on top of the open box, and plug it into the iPod and play. Bird-Electron’s recycling speaker does not require any power source. You can also customize your own recycling speaker with any small container like a water bottle. Easy to install. Available only from Bird-Electron.”

via Geek Alerts

Emeryville Ikea will recycle your electronics for free on Jan. 19th and 20th

I meant to write about this earlier but it totally snuck up on me.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and you have some electronics you’ve been meaning to get rid of, here’s your chance to do it responsibly. This weekend (January 19th and 20th, 2008) the Ikea store in Emeryville will be taking in electronic waste and recycling it for free…

“Bring your Electronic Waste to IKEA Emeryville on January 19th & 20th from 9am – 3pm and Recycle it for FREE!

Don’t let these items clutter up your home or end up in the land fill…

Televisions Monitors, Computer systems, Copy machines, Fax Machines, Printers, MP3 Players, Scanners, Video Game Consoles, Video Games, Cellular Phones (batteries can be included), Household phones, Stereo Equipment, Miscellaneous wiring, CD’s (players and discs), DVD’s (players and discs), Computer components ( i.e. keyboards, mice, internet devices etc.)”

If you live near an Ikea you should check to see if your store is doing the same thing.

Plan your next website with WriteMaps

Write Maps website sitemaps

Whenever I start a new website, one of the first tasks to be done is to create a flowchart, often referred to as a sitemap. A flowchart (or sitemap) outlines the navigation through the entire site, so I know how many pages I’ll be building and what pages link to what other pages.

I’ve tried various tools over the years for building flowcharts. The one I’ve used the longest is, Inspiration. Although it’s not specifically tailored for web designers, it actually does a very good job, and is relatively inexpensive ($69).

One problem with using a tool like Inspiration, is none of my clients use it. The only way to review and revise my flowchart is to export a PDF, email it to my client, discuss it over the phone, and then make any revisions we come up with. It’s not uncommon for this process to go through several rounds before we get the final version. It can be very time consuming.

I recently came across an excellent alternative to this process. It’s called WriteMaps. WriteMaps is a free online sitemap creation and collaboration tool. It’s only been recently released as a 1.0 product, but it’s looking pretty sweet!

WriteMaps is extremely easy to use to quickly generate your sitemap. Once complete, you can send a link to your client allowing them to view and edit the sitemap, significantly cutting down the time it takes to hammer out the final version. As a bonus, once you finish building the actual site, you can export your WriteMaps sitemap as a Google sitemap (XML) file.

WriteMaps is the brain child of Boston-based graphic designer, Scott Jehl. Frustrated with the cost and/or limitations of other sitemap creation software, Scott decided to make his own. And, he’s nice enough to share it with all of us. Thanks Scott, you rock!

While WriteMaps is free, Scott does accept donations to cover hosting costs, etc… If you find it useful, consider slipping Scott a few bucks via the donations link on the site.

via Ajaxian

Media Temple issues credit to (gs) customers

If you’re using Media Temple’s Grid Service (gs), you probably already know that they’ve had a few hiccups with the service over the last few months. For me, it hasn’t been anything too terrible, but it has been fairly annoying at times.

This morning, Media Temple CEO, Demian Sellfors, made a public apology on the company’s blog. And, he announced that they would be giving all (gs) customers a two month credit for their troubles.

The credit should automatically show up in the billing section of you MT Account Center. As of this afternoon, mine hadn’t been posted, so I left a comment on their blog post about it. Shortly after leaving my comment, they posted the credit to my account, and emailed me to let me know it was there (Thanks guys!). If you’re a (gs) customer, you may want to check your Account Center to make sure you got the credit.

Although I haven’t been very happy with the downtime Media Temple has had lately, I still think they’re a good company. I’m willing to stick with them for a while longer. And, I would even still recommend them. Sometimes, shit just happens. It’s how the company deals with that shit that determines their commitment to their customers.

There is one side-note to this that I think is a little strange. I subscribe to the rss feed for Media Temple’s blog so I can keep track of any incidents they post. There has been a continual stream of posts coming in over the last few days about some trouble they were having with upgrades, which ultimately lead to the apology I mentioned. But, as far as I can tell, when you visit the blog in your browser, none of those posts are shown. They appear to only be available via the feed. Maybe I’m missing something, but this seems strange to me.

If you’re a Media Temple customer, you may want to subscribe to their feed, and not just visit the blog. Otherwise you may not get the whole story.

VMware Fusion for $36

I don’t even have an intel mac (yet), but I have my solution for running Windows under virtualization. I chose VMware Fusion over Parallels Desktop. Everything I’ve read says that there is no comparison when it comes to performance. Fusion wins hands down.

I was planning on buying it after I upgraded my machine (when Leopard is released), but then I saw this post on TUAW, that talked about $30 in discounts from through a mail-in rebate and a special offer from Google Checkout. When I first saw it the final price for Fusion was $31.99, but I didn’t act quickly enough and the price went up to $35.99. It was still an excellent price, so I went ahead and grabbed it. offers free shipping too.

If you’re still on the fence about which one you’re going to use, check out this post on It has videos and links to various comparisons of the two products. Make sure to check out the comments left on that post too, as they have some additional helpful info/links.

Now I just need Apple to release Leopard so I can buy my new machine.