September 8, 2012
“So” is to 21st century professionals as “like” was to valley girls.
So… have you noticed how everyone starts their sentences with “so” these days. This is not soley the purview of sloppy speakers. EVERYONE is doing it. Including me. Which ticks me off. But I can’t seem to break the habit.
June 5, 2011
I missed the debut of the Sunday Magazine’s latest makeover, so I didn’t realize till this week that Bill Keller, Executive Editor of the NYT, is apparently on tap to open each issue. What a gift.
If you enjoy good writing, check out his essay this week: A Theory of Conspiracy Theories
My favorite turn of phrase (after his quoting from an email whose author is sure that Kennedy wasn’t killed by Oswald!!)
… even if you regard the liberal use of exclamation points as a symptom of emotional instability….
And it just gets better from there. Here’s a taste, but you really need to read the whole thing.
Humans live along a continuum from doubt to faith. Wander far enough in the direction of faith and you reach the land of Nostradamus and of the Rapture (recently postponed). Wander too far in the other direction, past cynicism, through misanthropy, and you get to more or less the same zone of credulity: Osama bin Laden isn’t dead, President Obama isn’t American, global warming is a hoax.
June 6, 2008
The news was announced today that I’ve joined Naverus as Chief Marketing Officer. Naverus designs and deploys high-precision, highly efficient flight paths for airlines. It’s a little hard to explain the business to those not in the airline industry (I’m working on that) but suffice it to say that Naverus saves airlines fuel on every flight. With oil hitting almost $139 per barrel today, that’s an exciting place to be.
This blog has been quiet for awhile, but I plan to re-activate it as I begin the journey at Naverus.
March 20, 2008
My mom Ella Hall died of lymphoma in 1975. She was 53, the age I will reach this year. So on Sunday, to honor her memory, I did the Big Climb here in Seattle, which is a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and involves climbing the stairwell in Columbia Center, Seattle’s tallest building – 69 flights, 1311 stairs. My time was 20 minutes, 6 seconds, which is by no means a record breaker but very satisfying to me. More importantly, through sponsorships, my climb has thus far raised $3,990 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. My great thanks to those of you I hit up for this cause; you have been exceedingly generous. Now I’d love to break through the $4,000 mark by the April 4 deadline. If you’d like to contribute, you can do it very easily online at my personal Big Climb sponsorship site.
February 27, 2008
A couple of weeks ago I signed up to receive The Official SAT Question of the Day via email. It’s a lot of fun. And it has confirmed what I pretty much knew to be true already – if you don’t use it, you lose it. When I took the SATs in high school my score was pretty decent. Most pertinently, my math and verbal scores were almost identical.
Now most of the math questions seem impossibly difficult. Two recent examples:
What is the volume of a cube with surface area 54x2?
A woman drove to work at an average speed of 40 miles per hour and returned along the same route at 30 miles per hour. If her total traveling time was 1 hour, what was the total number of miles in the round trip?
(didn’t I learn how to solve that second one in 6th grade?)
In contrast, the language ones seem exceedingly simple. I haven’t missed one yet. Two recent examples:
Part of the following sentence is underlined; beneath the sentence are five ways of phrasing the underlined material. Select the option that produces the best sentence. If you think the original phrasing produces a better sentence than any of the alternatives, select choice A.
Since William the Conqueror in 1066, every British sovereign has been crowned in Westminster Abbey except Edward V and Edward VIII, neither of them were crowned.
A. neither of them were
B. neither were
C. neither of whom was
D. with neither being
E. with neither who had been
The alarm voiced by the committee investigating the incident had a ——- effect, for its dire predictions motivated people to take precautions that ——- an ecological disaster.
A. trivial . . prompted
B. salutary . . averted
C. conciliatory . . supported
D. beneficial . . exacerbated
E. perverse . . vanquished
So some days I feel really smart and other days not so. But it’s fun to compare my performance against others and also to track my cumulative score. I recommend it.
February 1, 2008
As a group, ad agencies and design firms have among the worst web sites of any category of company. I realize that’s a gross generalization but it is true much more often than not. I know because I visit a lot of agency web sites in search of resources for my clients.
The most egregious missed opportunity: The number one thing a prospective client wants to see at an agency’s web site is examples of their work. Yet, way too often the portfolio is unorganized and hard to view. Check out Publicis’ web site to see just one example — what I think of as the “filmstrip approach.” You have to scroll sequentially through the myriad panels of individual images, most of which do not make sense out of context. Yes, you can click on any frame to see more but the individual images don’t tell you enough to even know who the client is most of the time.
The problem, I’ve concluded, is that when agencies develop their own web sites there is one essential piece of the equation that’s missing – the client. The client is the one who insists that the creative work serve a purpose, the one who measures each creative concept against an articulated strategy. What I too often see in these sites is creativity run amok, cleverness for its own sake that makes me think less of the agency instead of more, even from agencies that otherwise do great work.
I used to use a creative firm’s web site as a litmus test for the quality of their work, but I’ve abandoned that notion because I’ve found there isn’t a strong correlation. And I’ve resisted the temptation to link to many of these sites for the exact reason that I do work or will work with lots of these folks. What I do, is point out to my clients that they play as critical a role in creative work as their agencies do. To get great work, you need both.