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November 29 2010

The Quick, 12-Step Guide to Quitting That @#$%ing Job You Hate

Guess what, it’s Monday! And you’re still at that job you hate. Nice.

1. 9am. Get to the office. Go straight to the coffee machine. Hang out there for 10 minutes before heading to your desk. Dread the workweek.

2. 9:10am. Check Facebook and email, despite having just done so on your iPhone 15 minutes prior. Delay the inevitable start of an empty, energy-draining day which will leave you uninterested in social interaction, learning, and sex.

3. 10am. Look around at your co-workers. Realize that they are all either a) mindless drones, b) shriveled, pathetic versions of their former, bright selves, or c) social-climbing douchebag sociopaths. Question the purpose of your existence as you stare at your reflection in your computer monitor circa 1995.

4. 10:05am. Realize how much longer you’ve been at this job than what you intended, awakening in you a horrible, hateful anger which had until now remained dormant like a sleeping dragon for longer than you thought was possible.

5. 10:10am. Begin shaking in rage. Pop a blood vessel in your eyeball. Briefly choke the telephone as if it were some unknown person’s neck before regaining your composure.

6. 10:30am. Analyze options. Consider that, perhaps, you could ask for a transfer to another department or another city. With horror, become conscious that everytime you’ve spoken to them on the phone, they seemed even more brain-dead than the mouth-breathing sycophants in Human Resources.

7. 10:45am. Think back to the time you were offered the cool job with the startup downtown. Have dark thoughts about the we-need-you guilt-tripping that was done to prevent you from quitting. Attempt and fail to slit your wrists with a stapler. Finally acknowledge that you will have to either quit, or throw yourself off the roof, this week. It’s a toss-up.

8. 11am. Awaken to the reality that you may still have much to live for. Recall that time you wanted to work on that documentary or be in that punk band. Realize the guitar is still in the basement, and that no one has yet tried out the website idea you had that your girlfriend was excited about.

9. 11:10am. Start a list of the worst things that could happen if you quit right now. Finally acknowledge the possibility that it wouldn’t actually be that bad, despite how anxious you are about it. Picture yourself on your deathbed.

10. 11:20am. Ask yourself if you can live without your daily soy non-fat latté, your gourmet BLT with aioli mayo, or your 100% pure fruit 2pm snack bar. Ask yourself if starving for a few months is better or worse than being here and simply starving on the inside.

11. 11:30am. Realize that, fuck it, you’re better than that. Walk into your boss’ office and quit with dignity.

12. Noon. Emerge from boss’ office, possibly glowing. Go to lunch. Begin your new life.

October 10 2010

Take Notes

How do you remember everything? Where do you keep those great ideas that pop into your brain at random moments?

Capturing ideas or bursts of genius is not as easy and/or obvious as one might think. Someone asked me where my ideas come from. It's hard not to laugh at a question like that (unless you take yourself too seriously). Like you, everything comes from my brain (be it conscience or unconscious). The challenge is in capturing and understanding (or deciphering) what it means and what it can be. Some stuff becomes a Blog post that you'll read here, other stuff is tweetable. Some things are perfect for clients, other ideas will be a part of my next business book. So, beyond the capturing and deciphering it's also about the final destination.

Capture your thoughts. Take notes.

Too many people think of taking notes... and they immediately think of school. They think of note taking as some kind of linear, clean and formulated process. It doesn't have to be. In fact, some of the best notes are the ones that would never make sense to anybody else, and they are the ones that you never look at again either. For years, I've taken notes in meetings. I hardly ever go back to them. In those instances, it's the act of writing them down that helps me to remember and focus. In other instances, I'll take notes to refer back to once (like ideas for a Blog post), but then there's no more need for them.

It's about how you capture them.

Here are my note taking tools...

  • Moleskine. I use two types of Moleskine notebooks. I use a super tiny one that fits in my back pocket and I use a soft-cover larger one for business meetings. Both of them are plain paper (no lines), have a black cover (the thin one). I don't get hung up on cleanliness... I get hung up on scribbling down the ideas.
  • iPhone. I use both the notebook application and Evernote. Admittedly, I am in purgatory here as I keep switching back and forth (not sure why, but it depends on my mood).
  • Text editor. If something requires more than a few lines, I'll use a simple text editor to let the ideas flow.
  • Windows Livewriter. I've tried them all and Windows Livewriter is the best Blog writing software. There are many times when I have ideas and I'm using the platform to just take notes. Sometimes it winds up as Blog content, but sometimes it doesn't.

Do you notice a trend?

My note taking is a mess (some trend!). It's all over the place. It's not simple. It's definitely not organized. No, that doesn't mean that I know where everything is (I don't). I'm looking for a better (more organized) system, but I know that when it comes down to it, it will have to be something that can be consistent and easy for me to adopt as a new habit. I am one of those people who can empty their pockets with napkins, business cards and random pieces of papers with ideas all over them (don't even open my briefcase where books, magazines and more random sheets of paper are all marked up). While you may see this as an unorganized nightmare, I'm fine with it. Why? Because I'm taking notes. I'm capturing everything. That's a whole lot better than most people, who don't capture anything because they see note taking as a task. It's a bad memory from school. It's a bad way to be if you really want to bring new ideas to life.

What's your take on taking notes?

Tags: blog blog writing software briefcase business book business card business meeting creativity education evernote ideation iphone magazine moleskine note note taking notebook text editor tweet twitter windows livewriter word processor

April 25 2010

Viral Videos Still Work

As the popularity of YouTube and other online video destinations grows, something made me think that the concept of a "viral video sensation" would dissipate. Boy, was I wrong.

If you think about it, YouTube continues to grow (both in terms of who is watching videos and how many people are uploading videos). It only reasons that the more people watching and the more people posting videos might lead to a weird moment when everything falls into the Long Tail, and it gets increasingly more complex to make a video breakthrough and achieve any semblance of a massive viral effect.

What makes a video go viral?

First off, it's important to remember that creating a viral video is not a strategy. It's an outcome of doing many things right, and then having that video really connect with an audience that cares enough to talk about it and share it. Videos that go viral tend to go to an edge. They also usually hit a very primal human emotion (humour, sadness, shock, awe, sexy, etc...). So, while we can't really explain what does go viral, it's amazingly obvious to all of us when we see a lame video that won't go viral. If we're going to get very raw here (and when do we not do that?), most brands are not willing or able to go that edge. Most brands think that it has to be borderline offensive (closer to the sex or humour on that primal human emotion side), but it doesn't... and here's the proof...

Watch this!

Inspired Bicycles filmed an amazing video collection of street trials riding (mountain bikes). The video was posted to YouTube on April 19th, 2009 and in under one year it has clocked over 17,000,000 videos (and growing). You can watch it here: YouTube - Inspired Bicycles - Danny MacAskill April 2009.

But wait, there's more...

In case you missed Blendtec's infamous video of Will It Blend? the iPhone edition (now sporting over 8,000,000 views), they launched their Will It Blend? the iPad edition on April 5th, 2010 and it is quickly approaching 6,000,000 views. Keep in mind that it took the iPhone version nearly three years to hit eight million views, while the iPad edition broke the five million mark only a few days after it was posted. YouTube - Will It Blend? - iPad.

You do realize we are just watching commercials here, right?

Sure, they're cool, fascinating and awesome videos, but they are still commercials. Commercials for bikes and blenders. Commercials that aren't 30-seconds in length, but anywhere between two to six minutes a pop.

Our time spent with brands is getting more intense (not less). So, while people complain about TV advertising, just watch their YouTube habits for a little bit more of the truth.

We live in the most branded generation ever.

Tags: blender blendtec brand commercial danny macaskill inspired bicycles ipad iphone mountain bike online video primal human emotion producing videos street trials the long tail. viral effect the most branded generation ever time spent tv ad tv advertising tv commercial uploading videos viral video viral video sensation viral video strategy watching videos will it blend youtube

February 24 2010

Au secours, mon agence de pub a perdu le sans fil

Au secours, mon agence de pub a perdu le sans fil

Quand on fait du marketing Internet, c’est bon d’aller voir au-delà de l’écran de son ordinateur. Après vérification, il semble que la majorité des agences de publicité au Canada soient passées à côté du mobile. Preuve à l’appui, voici le visage de ces agences qui ont perdu le sans fil de la communication.

Ça sert à quoi un mobile?

Si le Web est le parent pauvre des agences de publicité, le mobile est carrément au niveau de la misère. Demandez à réaliser une campagne média pour votre compagnie, et vous aurez une belle pub à la TV, radio, presse et sur les panneaux qui polluent le bord de nos routes.

Certains chiffrent font mal: 1,4 milliard de téléviseurs à travers la planète pour 4 milliards de téléphones cellulaires. Est-ce à dire que le mobile reçoit 3 fois plus d’investissement publicitaire que la télévision?

La consultation Internet sur mobile est grandissante grâce à des téléphones qui deviennent intelligents. L’Internet mobile représente 2,7 heures par jour aux États-Unis. En 2009, 25% des cellulaires étaient des smartphones, en 2010 ils représenteront une vente sur deux. iPhone ou Android, tout le monde s’y met, même Motorola et sa vingtaine de nouveaux téléphones cellulaires intelligents.

Comme il était inconcevable de ne pas avoir de présence Web dans les années 2000, être absent du mobile en 2010 devient quasiment suicidaire. Sans même parler d’application iPhone, les compagnies, et leurs agences, doivent prendre conscience qu’ils font de l’Internet, et par conséquent s’adapter à l’ensemble des écrans : ordinateur, mobile et bientôt TV.

Le talon d’Achille des branchés de la pub

Pour l’exercice, j’ai navigué avec mon iPhone sur 31 sites Web d’agences de publicité au Canada, certaines sont affiliées. Sur la page d’accueil, j’ai simplement fait une capture d’écran pour rendre compte de l’accessibilité mobile de ces compagnies. J’ai ensuite envoyé ces images sur mon compte Flickr dans mon dossier «Mobile Agence Pub Canada».

Quand j’ai diffusé il y a 2 semaines la première capture d’écran pour témoigner de ma découverte, l’ami Jean Julien s’est ému que j’en parle tout haut, comme si s’était un sujet tabou. En l’occurrence, SidLee n’était pas spécialement visé, puisque nombre de ses concurrents en sont au même point.

Je ne trouve pas si choquant qu’une agence de pub ne comprenne rien au mobile. On ne peut pas être bon partout. C’est pour cette raison que j’aime à travailler avec les meilleurs pour mes projets. Par exemple, il m’a paru évident de faire réaliser mon blogue par Laurent Lasalle et de référencer Sylvain Grand’Maison pour la production de podcast audio pour Deloitte.

Les bons points et les bonnets d’âne

Agence Touché!PHD en Web Mobile: Excellent!
Les BONS points reviennent à Touché ! PHD et Nurun qui offrent une version complète de son site pour mobile. Pour la première agence, j’ai reconnu le plugin WPTouch pour Wordpress qui facilite grandement la tâche. Nurun y est allé sur un développement plus personnel.

La deuxième catégorie est composée des agences qui offrent une alternative HTML à leur animation d’accueil en Flash, ou tout simplement un site entièrement en HTML. La plus réussie est sans conteste celle d’Ogilvy. Sur iPhone, on retrouve les mêmes effets que sur la version Flash. Je me demande même ce qu’apporte de plus le Flash dans ce cas précis. Cloudraker et Provokat se distinguent également par un site assez agréable à consulter sur son smartphone.

Les BONS derniers du classement sont toutes ces agences de pub qui ADORENT le Flash. À tel point qu’elles sont prêtent à s’aliéner une partie conséquente des internautes. Je préfère ne pas donner de noms pour vous laisser le plaisir de les découvrir par vous-même.

January 26 2010

Apple: 70% of Fortune 100 Companies Trying iPhones

Apple, as it is wont to do, blew the roof off with its first-quarter earnings results today. Some of the most interesting comments from the company’s results call concerned Apple’s emerging market of enterprise mobility.

It appears that early skepticism about the iPhone’s appeal beyond consumers may be falling by the wayside. Apple COO Tim Cook said corporate usage of the iPhone has doubled since this summer’s 3GS release, noting “This is a key focus of ours.” Some 70 percent of Fortune 100 companies are actively piloting or deploying iPhones, and 50 percent of the FTSE 100, according to Cook, who added, “Those are some pretty staggering numbers when you think that the time frame we’ve been in the business is only two and half years.” Corporate interest in the iPhone was driven by recent features adds (aka support for Microsoft Exchange) and the 3GS launch, said Cook. Apple has also added sales staff to assist carrier staff in selling into the enterprise.

Cook said it was too early to comment on whether corporate iPhone use was driving a halo effect for Macs.

Apple faces a huge uphill battle in the corporate market, where RIM’s BlackBerry is deeply entrenched. Though Apple now has a growing corporate app library on its side, the BlackBerry is still a much better email device, and of course offers the physical keyboard.

Cook also commented in some detail on iPhone use in Asia, another emerging market for the device. He said the company has activated more than 200,000 units in China, with the iPhone growing more than 500 percent in Asia Pacific overall. Apple’s revenues in greater China tripled in the last year, though Cook said the company is fine with moving more slowly in that market as it builds a long-term brand.

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