Sunday, March 16, 2014

Continuing the conversation

So here is the video that continues the conversation we started last week. I actually received a request to expand what I did and that was very gratifying, so here it is.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Fostering Creativity Where-ever, When-ever.

bold ideas, the muse that
drives innovation.

But wait, this is not a true Haiku. A haiku by definition is not just a collection of syllables but also a requisite theme. That theme…is nature the Japanese revere it, and often juxtaposing two ideas or images.

Maybe this one is more traditional:

Shadows dance with light
Wind makes music in the leaves
Rolling down the road

If you look at the rest of this blog you will see that I am making an attempt to explore creativity and inspiration (spotty though my efforts may be) I do believe that the first Haiku distills it admirably.

Now I went ahead and created a fresh video post in answer to your request and I believe it also help to illuminate the theme of this blog while showcasing my unique suitability for a position with 87AM, heck even my usename m8qlaff (google it I dare you) has a certain resemblance to your firms name.


I am also including a video I created a few years ago that I feel gives insight to my design process. This is a furniture piece that I conceived, designed and built.


 The third video I am including here is something that I had nothing to do with other than a little encouragement and technical support of the young filmmaker that I believe is really going places. It is a compelling short that is worth the 10 minutes it takes to watch. Enjoy


If you would like to learn more, please check out my online portfolio where you will see my advertising and graphic design, my dabbling in animation and a whole lot more furniture. 

Ok now allow me just a little cover letter style plug (old habits die hard) My creativity, a proven track record building businesses and training teams, coupled with stellar experience developing client relationships and managing client expectations in all aspects of sales, advertising, and marketing makes me a strong candidate for this senior position. The diversity of my background and an affinity for emerging technology makes me unique among applicants. 


Sunday, December 15, 2013

I was asked to consider how we could use social media better and maximize the growing benefits at our shows. First, I think “doing social” goes beyond live tweeting at a shows and rolling content from some third party to the facebook page. “Being social” is a corporate culture shift that must be embraced. Truly social businesses are already reaping the benefits: Sixty-two percent of CMO respondents said their social efforts have led to better access to strategic marketing data, and 54 percent said they’re seeing a faster time to innovation as a result of using social technology.
For our purposes, what we could be doing and what we should be doing are similar. But there are some absolute shoulds that we could start with. First, I think we ought to take charge of the media and the message by promoting and “owning” a hashtag. Using either one for each show or one for all. I suggest #MFVExpo because A. it is our web domain, B. it is simple and C. it conveys the message of who we are.  Also, I think everyone should do it. Perhaps not all the time but certainly while at the shows, this creates a document of our show experiences.
I.e. “look at this cool ____ at the #MFVexpo” include a pic
Or a short video clip of someone enjoying a good sample of something at a food franchise
Or a short video clip of someone taking part in seminar
Or a 6 second “How is the show going” man in the street type interview
All this and more can be done with the device in most of our pockets. This is going to provoke more interaction with the attendees which will prompt them to engage with other perspective attendees, generating some of the elusive free buzz we all crave and provoking a positive reaction at the show.
We should also be encouraging our exhibitors to participate as well, promoting their presentations with advance twitter buzz using the hashtag from the show. They should also use this to pump up the interest by “broadcasting” images and video of their booth as things are happening, when the booth is particularly full, etc.
And we should be paying it forward after the show as well by trickling out photos from the show, and keeping the “buzz” around the hashtag vibrant in-between the events.
It also seems that crowd sourcing ideas and themes for the symposia and seminar topics would be a novel way to keep the participants engaged as well as keep the subject matter topical and current. Obviously outsourcing these duties is not conducive to an attentive adaptive social media presence. By soliciting ideas from the attendees and the exhibitors it will be possible to determine what topics are most appealing and marketable. In this way we may achieve greater attendance and reap higher admission fees.
Notes for improving performance and return on our Email campaigns; study’s have shown that maximizing open rates could be as easy as managing the schedule. More emails are opened between 3pm and 8pm on a business day that at other busier times of day.  Also it is proven that a higher percentage of messages from the educational services sector are opened than almost any other business type. The business products and services sector rank among the lowest in open rate. Adding a strong call to action in the subject line increases the likelihood of opening by a significant amount. Now, given that 44% of emails are viewed on a mobile device optimizing for this type of viewing seems key to success. In addition, based on personal experience I can say that I am far more likely to open an email that comes from a named individual before I will open one from a business name. So finding a way to personalize messages may contribute to an increased open rate. The higher the open percentage the greater of click through.
The above are the shoulds and are some things that strike me as easy to accomplish with minimal expense. Below are the coulds and are a few ideas that might be considered a bit more extravagant.
First I think we could be utilizing some of the great new mobile technology by offering an app that places the attendee’s location in the event center. This offers exhibitors the ability to push messages to attendees that have opted in by downloading the app. It also allows exhibitors the ability to zero in on the attendees that are interested in their type of franchise and help the attendee narrow their focus (thus streamlining their visit to the show and generating a positive experience) if the app requires input from the downloader.
Adding an element of gamification is a great way to engage attendees and offer another way for exhibitors to reach out to them in novel ways. Gamification techniques strive to leverage people's natural desires for competition, achievement, status, self-expression, altruism, and closure. A core gamification strategy is rewards for players who accomplish desired tasks. Types of rewards include points, achievement badges or levels, the filling of a progress bar, and providing the user with virtual currency. But studys have shown that simply providing access as a reward work quite and more than 70% of Forbes Global 2000 companies plan to use gamification for the purposes of marketing and customer retention. Making use of the promotional programs already available could be repurposed for gamification. For example, the footprints, if they were printed to include certain QR codes an attendee could “collect” the codes thus making a game of the “hunt”. Rewards could be as easy as granting “VIP” access to a given seminar.
There are many many existing and emerging technologies that could and should be used by MFV to augment the reality of the Expos and bolster the experience for the attendees and exhibitors. Add these ideas to the pantheon of available promotions offered at the shows and it will increase the attendance, garner more participation, and increase MFV’s bottom line.
Making use of programs that incorporate geo-fencing allow an administrator to set up triggers so when a device enters (or exits) the boundaries defined by the administrator, a text message or email alert is sent. We could geo-fence certain areas within the expo floor, which would allow exhibitors to pull message an attendee when they are in proximity of the booth. Picture this: Attendee comes to the show, downloads the app and “opts-in” for interest in “yogurt franchises” Exhibitor Yogurt Zone purchases geo-fencing promotion package and when said attendee passes within proximity of Yogurt Zone booth is alerted with a pull notification “you are near Yogurt Zone stop in for you free promotional give away, or sample, or swag, or what have you” At the same time the staff at the booth get an alert that “John C Do’h is within 15 feet of the booth, has X level of interest in yogurt franchises, his personal information is as follows…” At that point the staff can put out the proverbial red carpet for Mr. Do’h and offer “premier VIP treatment” being ready for him before he even walks in. This is a win win because Mr Do’h feels extra special and Yogurt Zone just strengthened their chances of securing the prospective franchisee. And both of them love MFV for providing a top level experience and both will communicate that experience to others. WIN WIN WIN WIN
Another “could” may include the use the latest augmented reality technology I have included a video that shows how the technology is being used to “collect” virtual butterflies. The user chases them around town, “captures” them and stores them for later use as a coupon in the local retail establishments. This is a great way to add an element of fun to the clipping of coupons. Adding an element of gamification is a great way to engage attendees and offer another way for exhibitors to reach out to them in novel ways. Gamification techniques strive to leverage people's natural desires for competition, achievement, status, self-expression, altruism, and closure. A core gamification strategy is rewards for players who accomplish desired tasks. Types of rewards include points, achievement badges or levels, the filling of a progress bar, and providing the user with virtual currency. But study’s have shown that simply providing access as a reward work quite and more than 70% of Forbes Global 2000 companies plan to use gamification for the purposes of marketing and customer retention.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Creative Cabinet Design for a Special Needs Couple

Well, not long ago an interesting couple asked me to help them sort out their audio video equipment. Now to be sure the need of this couple was very special. You see the couple is blind and wanted to have their audio equipment easily accessible, they wanted a lot of storage (well organized) for their CDs and they wanted to be able to manage it all by feel.

Fox cabinet with access for the blind

So I put my creative prowess to work. I came up with a two-piece design that allowed the cabinets to be easily managed and moved around. The lowers have three drawers each holding 67 CDs apiece. One side has a specifically designed unit for accommodating the stereo components. It was important to provide open access to the back of the equipment. Being blind they wanted to be able to reach inside and feel the hook ups and wiring. So I left the back open and put the whole thing on roller bearings so that the whole thing could rotate.
Also, for my conservation and sustainability friends, I used reclaimed locally sourced pine, water borne low VOC stain and gloss top coat. So it was sustainably produce and specifically designed to meet the special needs of a blind couple.

cabinet for audio enjoyment

creative design for the blind

furniture design that solves a special need

Overall the execution proved a little problematic, but the functionality suited the needs of this couple quite well.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Design Obsolescence this Ain't

So I have noticed that Verizon is really at the top of it’s game, marking wise. I saw an ad for the new Nokia, the 1020, you know the one with great Carl Zeiss camera, yeah that’s right the one that isn’t even supported by the Verizon network. That did not stop them from putting a branding tag onto the end. They also tagged the end of the iPhone commercial as well as the Samsung ad. In a very shrewd way they are co-oping the brand loyalty and letting us know that they are all welcome at Verizon.

iPhone5c, colors on Apple phone

Nokia flagship camera phone for Windows 8

Samsung Galaxy for verizon

That said, what if Verizon were to get behind a creative and sustainable idea like that from Phonebloks.

This would be such a boon to the consumer that I am sure industry would be reluctant to consider it as a real possibility, but as an industrial designer I never subscribed to the tenants of planned obsolescence. It seems to me that if a product is worth owning, is worth building, it is worth building well, it is worth keeping. I love this idea of modular design, and I would love it if all my peeps got behind this and helped to spread the idea, because it really is an idea that could/should be adapted across so many industries today.

A worthy concept and an creative idea for a sustainable future.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Microsoft putting money where its mouth is.

So I was asked to comment yesterday on the Nokia / Microsoft synergy, big surprise. But this is seriously a WIN for both companies as they continue to carve out their niche from both Android and Apple. They can slowly nibble away at the foundations of both while creating a strong third alternative in the process. With the ability to control both sides of the equation, device and operating system, as does Apple, while allowing the flexibility of third party development Microsoft can take the best from both philosophies.
I am very happy with my Nokia Windows 8 phone the screen is phenomenal and the camera with its Carl Zeiss lens is as good as advertized (and I a 928 not even a 1020) Here are some thoughts about the phone from when I got it. I have found a shortage of useful apps but the offerings are growing and the native functions work quite well. The augmented reality feature on the HERE maps app was a little disconcerting a first but once I realized what it was doing I was jazzed. I like the versatility of the UI and the device itself. I will say it is a bit hefty but the square corner fits comfortably in the crotch of my pinkie and it balances quite well there. Also it is a “right –hand” design and being a lefty it is some times a little awkward which is something I never noticed with the iPhones or Galaxies. It is always my hope that the industrial designers will take a close look at the ergonomics. Over all I give it high marks and I enjoy the UX as well.

I think it is great deal for both of them and insures growth and encourages diversity, always a good thing.

Here is a comprehensive third party review, by Android Authority, so he wasn't likely to like it.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Great Works of Art Documenting this Outstanding Achievement

Super excited about the completion of the new bay bridge far too long in the making and far over budget, but it is a marvelous thing to behold. Here are some photos from Joe Blum’s “Bridge Builders” project. A great artist with a great eye, I can see his images of the constructions workers lasting as long and the bridge its self. 

Joe Blum on bridge


 Look at him, he is like a famous photographer and if he ain’t he should be.