Professionals are Professionals

So I’ve been thinking about this Newsweek article, Revenge of the Experts, and some of the more solid responses to this article like The Experts vs. the Amateurs: A Tug of War over the Future of Media and Crowdsourcing vs Expertsourcing: A Misleading Comparison
Here’s a great piece of the Newsweek article:

In short, the expert is back. The revival comes amid mounting demand for a more reliable, bankable Web. “People are beginning to recognize that the world is too dangerous a place for faulty information,” says Charlotte Beal, a consumer strategist for the Minneapolis-based research firm Iconoculture. Beal adds that choice fatigue and fear of bad advice are creating a “perfect storm of demand for expert information.”

I’m not going to reiterate the articles I noted above (I just found more at BuzzFeed)
My response to this article is quite simple. In life, a small handful of people rise to the top in their selected fields. They rise to the top because a few key ingredients:
a) they’re driven
b) they’re talented
c) they have the right connections
d) any combination of the above
This equation applies to the world of blogging and online journalism as much as it does any other ‘professional’ field. Some people like to dismiss blogging because it has an amateur connotation associated with it. Fuck these people.
I read Daring Fireball daily. Jon Gruber is an excellent writer …and researcher …and thinker. I don’t distinguish him as any less professional than any of the news sources his routinely tears down even though it would be easy to regard him as just a blogger.
Ironically, he routinely points out all the inaccuracies and fallacies in the “real journalists'” articles (for a taste of his asshole-ripping, check out, How Leander Kahney Got Everything Wrong by Being an Irredeemable Jackass).
Robert Scoble is another great example. Even before he was associated with FastCompany he was a popular blogger. He personally drives me nuts and his head is waaaaay too big, but it’s very, very evident why he is where he is today – drive. Dismiss him as a jackass all you want, but he loves what he does (and he loves himself). Ego has a lot to do with where you end up in life.
So if we look at the Newsweek article in a different light, “Revenge of the Experts” is a correct title. In the early days there were a lot of poor blogs, but as blogging has matured, the professionals have risen to the surface – whether or not they’re associated with a professional publication or not.
The premise of the article is still very incorrect – as some of the other articles I mentioned above also note. User-generated content is not out and many of the examples the article gives as ‘professional’ examples

It’s All in Da Shoes!

I had to pitch to a prospective client today for Schematic.
I stayed up until 2AM this past Sunday preparing my designs. Our CTO integrated my designs into our Keynote presentation and everything came together perfectly. All in all it was a great pitch and the prospective client responded great to our work.
Then as we were getting ready to leave in the lobby we saw ‘the other agency’ that was pitching right after us.
They looked like a bunch of scrubs.
Their clothes weren’t horrible but they weren’t great either. Then I looked down – their shoes were even worse.
Let’s get this straight people – if you’re a client-facing person at your company you should own a pair of $300 dress beautiful shoes.
If this sounds snobby, you can take it deep, because it’s true. You don’t need 5 pair or 10 pair, just one pair of top-of-the-line shoes. Also throw in a pair of $200 quality jeans. If you take care of them, they’ll last you a long time.
What? That’s expensive? So fucking what. Maybe don’t blow $100 a weekend on drinks for a month. Or maybe wait on buying that $400 PS3 you were planning on getting. I’ll repeat myself – if you are a client-facing person good clothes are essential.
Let’s put it another way – if you’re pitching to client – your clothing should be as amazing as whatever designs, Keynote presentations or After Effects prototypes you’re showing.
Image is key. Consistency is essential.

It’s worth it.

I shoot photography because I love it. I think if I wasn’t an art director, my second career choice would be photographer.
Like any activity, photography takes practice. Many of my shots are not winners. That’s not to say that I snap away recklessly and hope for the best, but there’s definitely a level of experimentation I engage in.
A good part about this experimentation is due to the fact that for a while now, I shoot a lot of photos with my camera hanging around neck at around stomach-level. This lets me grab shots of people relaxed.
Many people are much more on guard when you’re aiming at them. Much like aiming a weapon, aiming a camera at someone without permission is threatening. With the camera at ease, I don’t have to worry about this. I get the shots I want. Well, I try my best to get the shots I think I’m getting from my waist.
Shooting like this sometimes results in some unexpected money shots, but many times they end up less-than-ideal. Underexposed, overexposed, out of focus.
Every now and then though, when the rare elements of photography are in alignment, I capture some great little moments. It makes all those duds worth it.
photo: In the ray
In the Ray, from the set 3.15.2008

Are You Sure?

Google Exec: Android Will Outsell iPhone
Is he sure? I’m not …and I wanted to burn this into database memory that someone at Google uttered these words.
Of course there’s a chance this could come to pass, especially considering it will/could show up on devices from Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and others.
Questions that have yet to be answered are:
Will all phones from Motorola, HTC, Samsung and others be using the Android OS?
How well will Android operate on the range of phones out there – from basic models to feature rich smart phones with QWERTY keyboards?
The reason Apple’s products work so well it because of the complete synchronization of hardware AND software. There’s a lot of benefits to a controlled environment.
Developers are bitching and moaning about how the iPhone can only run 1 program at a time – none can run in the ‘background’. I encourage these clowns to develop their own applications, jailbreak their iPhones and see how well their iPhone runs when they have disregarded the technical specs on memory and CPU.
There’s a chance Apple might know a little bit about performance optimization. Just a chance.
With Android, there isn’t a well-designed SDK and GUI to develop, test and troubleshoot applications with, so I can’t foresee it integrating seamlessly across the board on all the various phones it could end up on.
Call me crazy.

Not part of the equation

After yesterday’s post on the great ad-blocking Firefox plug-in, AdBlock, I kept thinking about advertising.
We’ll always have advertising in one form or another. To get interpretive for a moment, we all engage in advertising, when we get dressed to go on a date, or an interview – you’re selling yourself.
Anyway, I was thinking about how banner ads on websites suck so bad and I realized something that is very comparable – Green Peace sidewalk solicitors.
If you live in a big city like New York you know who these people are. I’ve even seen them outside large department stores in suburbs throughout the country.
The reason banner ads are like Green Peace solicitors is because both of them distract you from your objective. Many of you are conditioned to block out both of these distractions and continue on with your objective, but regardless if you do or don’t have this ability, they’re annoying as hell.
We’re already seeing advertising changing from distractions, to destinations – advertising experiences that people choose to view.
I’ll leave this idea for another post.


The other day I was trying to imagine an online world with no advertising. No advertising meaning, no Adobe Flash ads, no banner ads, no Eyeblaster roadblocks and no ad pages that pop up before I get to the page I clicked for.
Then I thought – couldn’t you write an add-on for Firefox that removes ads?
Turns out, such a thing already exists – has existed since 2006. I know, I’m late on this.
Is called AdBlock and has changed my online viewing experience completely allowed me to enjoy online content more. I think it also shows not only how ugly ads are to the online landscape. but also how outdated the current ad models are.
I don’t click on banner ads, but now I don’t have to deal with the noise that ads create on websites I visit.
In cheesy infomercial style, I’d just like to say,
“Thank you AdBlock – you’ve changed my life!”
How awesome is AdBlock? Look below for the below-and-after shots of some websites I frequent (note that none of these images have been edited in Photoshop):
screengrab: with ads
screengrab: with no ads
screengrab: with ads
screengrab: with ads

Apple Fanboys?

Full disclosure: I am an Apple shareholder, and have been using Apple computers for over 10 years. Microsoft can take it deep.

I’d like to squash all these false statements about how Apple ‘fanboys’ gloat over their precious iPhones.
I was out this weekend with some friends and friends-of-friends. They all had iPhones, and the interesting thing was – they were all PC users. Below is a shot I took with my iPhone of the other three.
I have to tell you, PC users seem to gloat just as much over their iPhones as Mac users do. So be sure you know who you’re talking about next time you want to hate on a Mac user, he just might be one of your own!
Stay vigilant.

Protect Yourself

I was at the flea market on 25th & 6th Ave last weekend, looking for graphic gems and I found a few. One item I found was Protection from Radioactive Fallout. It was published in 1959 and the gist of it is that if a nuclear bomb drops, you’re fucked no matter how way you slice it.
Here are the more interesting illustrations:
illustration: Survival = 2 Weeks on Your Own
illustration: Effects of Fallout Radiation
illustration: The Effects of Shielding