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Does anyone else wish their life were like a Vimeo video?: 5 of my favorites

Or is it just me?

Sundrenched.  With lens flares here and there and saturated or overexposed color, with blur in the right places.  Clear skin and glowing eyes, “hip” musical accompaniment all around.

And I know this is heavily affected by my search queries, but all the free time, sense of adventure, dedication to making videos of yourself having fun in an attractive way.  Surf, sand, sea, not a care in the world and free-as-a-bird youth lifestyle.

Presenting, my favorite vimeo video: Taj Burrow’s Fiji Vignette Part 3

The best lookbook I’ve seen so far.  Pretty, pretty girl.  Cute storytelling.  And the coolest girlish swimsuit designs I’ve seen.  Granted, the model’s body is amazing, but besides that, the designs themselves are simple, but smart.

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Nike: Chosen

Ah, Nike.  I see you are starting to be more aggressive about pandering to the microtrend of individual sport.

In 2007, Mark Penn published the book Microtrends.

Apparently, he’s the man who coined the term “soccer moms”.

In the book, Penn discusses other emerging trends that were sparked by at least 1% of the American population, which, he proposes, could become significant in the next years.

In the field of sports, Penn noted the growing interest in niche and individualized sports, and the decreased involvement in the mainstream and more established team sports (e.g. football, basketball).

In this stunning video by Instrument, Nike shows its ready to beat, okay maybe match Vans, Converse, DC and Roxy at their games.

Nike “Chosen” by Instrument

Even if the niche sport “microtrend” may seem a bit dated (“discovered” 4 years ago), the Nike “Chosen” campaign still makes me proud of how Nike seems to have a good nose for youth culture.

Even the copy for the campaign tries to talk to a new audience — no longer the same market that their physical potency- and determination-centered communication used to target.

Instead, the campaign’s copy recognizes the present youth’s inclination towards uniqueness, flair and self-promotion.

“Take the stage and own the spot light. We’re looking for crews pushing the boundaries of style and creativity. Because the further you go, the further we all go.”

via fubiz

I have to correct myself now, though.  It apparently isn’t the first time that a Nike campaign featured skateboarding.  In my search for more old school testosterone-y Nike ads from the 1990’s (to feature in this post), I came across a blog entry which was a collection of Nike ad graphic design that the blogger was impressed with.

This particular ad was released in 2007 – the “This Is How I Fight” campaign.

I love you slightly more today because of this, Nike.  I have to find the agency or communications group that came up with this campaign.  I’m sorry, “Chosen”, but “This Is How I Fight” edged you out in my heart.

And, while I’m at it, I might as well post the very first Nike ads (from 1989) that sparked my liking for the Nike brand, and for copywriting and branding.

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Washington Post: Afghan sprinter Tahmina Kohistani’s 2012 Olympic Journey

Good piece on how meaningful and symbolic Tahmina Kohistani’s Olympic stint was for Afghanistan, and Muslim women:

“So she ran. And ran. Because no one could make her believe churning her legs as fast as she could possibly make them go was against Allah and the Muslim faith, which she remains so devoted to she refused to compete without the hijab, especially during the holy season of Ramadan.

‘There are a lot of bad comments about me in my country and there’s lots of people not ready to support me. But I think I will make the nation of Afghanistan proud of me and they are going to never forget me. I just opened a new window, a new door, for the next generation of my country.'”
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Career BAMFs: Huge

This is the first in my Career BAMFs series, (“idols” was a word with too much cultural baggage).  Here, I’ll talk about the individuals and groups that inspire me to pursue the stuff I want.  Note:  This isn’t in chronological order (the first people I looked up to, for work, were David and Tom Kelley, danah boyd and Mimi Ito).

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Huge

Tagline: Make something you love.

From their About page: What We Do — We create experiences that transform brands, grow businesses and make people’s lives better.

How my fangirl-ness formed:

I.  I think the first trigger was when I found out that Huge was behind the Think With GoogleNewsweek and the NYC.gov designs.  They were all clean, beautiful and functional.  That time we were auditing and keeping an eye out for different content publisher designs for our office projects.

I also loved their signature — the H that reflects the current project they want to feature.

II.  But there was this one Instagram picture (which I can no longer find) that made me literally follow Huge’s “career” developments.

It was a picture of a slide from an Aaron Shapiro (Huge’s CEO) talk – I’ve been trying to Google it, but the slide said something like “What would your business do if digital were your only channel?” (but probably better written).

That question got me.  For me, that question was exactly what business leaders to ask themselves, in a time where social media campaigns just keep popping up, which I don’t feel executives see as contrinuting to the bottomline.

And digital platforms have that power — of contributing ROI.  Otherwise, it’s just a fun waste of money.

III.  I also love how they organize and communicate their processes and culture.  Follow them on slideshare, and it’s like a crash course on UX and design process in an organization that makes money.

They have fun, meaty presentations on:

Introductions to a Design Community

The Importance of Usability Testing, especially for digital agencies

“The Pitfalls of Process”

Even portfolio tips for UX designers:

And the story of how they branched out and created their own UX school:

They just really put out great writing, and good design.  And their CEO is promoting a great lens for businessmen to look at digital

More, in the next days.

Inspiration: Craft out of Hometown love

I like this trend in creating and selling art out of place names and maps.

It reminds me of loyalty, and hometown comfort and pride. But in a simple, cute package.

All featured in The Bold Italic shop.

t Necklace - By Honey & Bloom

West Coast Necklace – By Honey & Bloom

San Francisco Map Scarf - by Jennifer Maravillas

San Francisco Map Scarf – by Jennifer Maravillas

Topography Letterpress Print - by  Western Editions and Melissa Small

Topography Letterpress Print – by Western Editions and Melissa Small

Not about space. But about color :) Which, I love too.

Color Wheel Pendant - by Yellow Owl Workshop

Color Wheel Pendant – by Yellow Owl Workshop

And, another extra: CinqPoints’ designer  minimalist architectural toys.

home - by CInqPoints

home – by CinqPoints

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Ev Williams: Different services create value in different ways

Morning inspiration for people who want smart KPIs.

Especially for digital, but also for other things: success is relative.

Ev Williams, CEO of Medium, expounds on how there is “God metric” (Jonah Peretti, 2014).

Read the whole thing.

If you’re in the business of convincing people to refine their objectives.

My many favorite points from the piece:

…If that’s happening, I frankly don’t give a shit if Instagram has more people looking at pretty pictures.

Of course, I am trivializing what Instagram is to many people. It’s a beautifully executed app that enables the creation and enjoyment of art, as well as human connection, which is often a good thing. But my rant had very little to do with it (or with Twitter). My rant was the result of increasing frustration with the one-dimensionality that those who report on, invest in, and build consumer Internet services talk about success.

…Will Oremus’s piece in Slate is the one I saw that didn’t just regurgitate the “bigger” headline. He does a great job of explaining why it’s not that simple. It’s worth a read, but the summary is this:

So is Instagram larger than Twitter? No — it’s different than Twitter. One is largely private, the other largely public. One focuses on photos, the other on ideas.

…our top-line metric is “TTR,” which stands for total time reading. It’s an imperfect measure of time people spend on story pages. We think this is a better estimate of whether people are actually getting value out of Medium…

…everyone is in a “war for attention.” But it uses unique visitors as the way to compare how different outlets are doing in this war…

We pay more attention to time spent reading than number of visitors at Medium because, in a world of infinite content — where there are a million shiny attention-grabbing objects a touch away and notifications coming in constantly — it’s meaningful when someone is actually spending time. After all, for a currency to be valuable, it has to be scarce.

Chartbeat’s Tony Haile has done a great job of promoting the idea of an “Attention Web” (as opposed to the “Click Web”). He’s hopeful a shift to measuring attention will improve the web:

For quality publishers, valuing ads not simply on clicks but on the time and attention they accrue might just be the lifeline they’ve been looking for. Time is a rare scarce resource on the web and we spend more of our time with good content than with bad.

The problem with time, though, is it’s not actually measuring value. It’s measuring cost as a proxy for value.

Advertisers don’t really want your time — they want to make an impression on your mind…

…As the writer of this piece, I don’t really want your time — I want to make an impression on how you think.

But taking people’s time isn’t really the goal. And people wasting time is actually the opposite of the goal.

This is the problem with any one-dimensional metric. As Jonah Peretti says, there’s no “God metric”:

I feel like what you see in the industry now is people jumping around and trying to find the God metric for content. It’s all about shares or it’s all about time spent or it’s all about pages or it’s all about uniques. The problem is you can only optimize one thing and you have to pick, otherwise all you’re doing is making a bunch of compromises if you try to optimize for multiple things.

Marketing Magazine: Things Marketers Can Learn From Candy Crush

Articles like these make me proud of being part of a Product Dev team, during my younger years at work.

With this article, I think Marketing Magazine is able to express how the older model of advertising needs to change.

People Like Us (by which I mean those who work in digital agencies) rarely congratulate Candy Crush developer King for this trick of turning a little puzzle into a massive load of money.

Making lines of four things isn’t new enough as a game idea to impress us. Which is not a problem for  King; its later launches use exactly the same “matching” gameplay. Indeed, King cites the repeatable nature of its game development as what makes the company’s value sustainable.

Perhaps it will one day spend its millions on a new game idea that People Like Us like, and it can enjoy the fleeting glory of our admiration….

This is what King has to teach us, if we will only put our critically acclaimed, animated adventures down and listen. It updates that game every two weeks. After the launch of your brilliant app or game or website or campaign idea, how often do you return to it to add more to it, really? It’s something the older folk in advertising may recognise in the development of long-running brand ideas…

Are there 73 episodes of your brand idea, app or content platform? And when you launch that innovative new ‘thing’, be it a campaign, a website or, perhaps, a small loveable wireless printer, have you committed yourself to 1075 levels of increasingly addictive interpretations and uses of it? Does it even momentarily cure low self-esteem, or might it inexorably distract someone’s attention wholly from whatever it is they are doing (and not just play in the background)?

In a world of thousands of ‘new things’, made by thousands of Imagineers and their ilk, we could probably stand for some ‘things’ to last a bit longer than their launch period. We could stand for some of them to hold our attention for longer than it takes to grasp the story the first time.

Hooked’s Eyal: 3 Steps to Hooking Users

Nir Eyal wrote “Hooked”, a book on developing strategies to hook users into products.

The first post from him that I came across talked about three (3) steps to make your users form a habit:

STEP 1 – IDENTIFY

Now that you have the requisite site and stats, you need to answer the first question of Habit Testing: “Who are the habitual users?” First, define what it means to be a devoted user. Ask yourself how often a user “should” use the site. That is to say, assuming that some day all the bugs are worked out…how often would you expect a habitual user to be on the site?

Be realistic and honest… you’re just looking for a realistic guess to calibrate how often users will interact with your site.

WHO’S GOT THE HABIT?

Now that you know how often a user “should” be using the site, it’s time to crunch through the numbers and identify how many of your users actually meet that bar. This is where hiring a stats wiz can prove exceedingly helpful. …The best practice here is to get create a cohort analysis to provide a baseline by which to measure future product iterations.

STEP 2 – CODIFY

Hopefully, you’ll have at least a few users who interact frequently enough for you to call them devotees. But how many devotees is enough? My rule of thumb is 5%. Though your rate of active users will need to be much higher to sustain your business, 5% is a good benchmark to being Habit Testing.

However, if at least 5% of your users don’t find your product valuable enough to use as much as you predicted they should, you have a problem.

…Even if you have a standard user flow, how users engage with your site creates a unique data fingerprint which can be analyzed to find patterns. Sift through the data to determine if there are similar behaviors that emerge. What you’ll hopefully discover is a “Habit Path”, a series of similar behaviors shared by your most loyal users.

STEP 3 – MODIFY

With new hypotheses in mind, it’s time to get back inside the build, measure, learn loop and take new users down the same Habit Path the devotees took. For example, leveraging their Habit Path, Twitter’s onboarding process now guides new users to start following others immediately.

Quicksprout’s Patel: On an actionable tip for improving Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics. (From his “About” page)

He writes about a straightforward tactic to improve search visits, by optimizing keywords you use, versus your competitors.

Great advice for anyone working on optimizing content sites (i.e. all websites).

He talks about gathering the URLs and keywords of your competitor sites:

…Delete the rows that contain the keywords for the homepage URL.

You are doing it because you want to go for long tail phrases as they will drive more total traffic, and they are easier to rank for. Typically, internal pages rank for more long tail phrases than a homepage, which is why you want to delete the rows that contain the homepage URL.

Now that you have a list of keywords your competitors are going after, you should look at their content.

Once you do, create your own content, incorporating similar keywords.The key to this process is to make sure your content is better than your competitor’s. If it isn’t, you won’t generate more social shares, links, or traffic.

Christine Outram: What Starbucks Gets that Architects Don’t

Christine Outram is a former architect, MIT research fellow and currently a designer at a brand strategy agency.

She talks about how architecture has focused on form without listening to consumers, to the people inhabiting the spaces they design.

Love what she says because it applies to any job that is supposed to serve people, but has grown self-referent (i.e. marketing, Dribbble design).

Dear architects,

You’re outdated. I know this because I once was one of you. But now I’ve moved on. I moved on because despite your love of a great curve, and your experimentation with form, you don’t understand people.

I correct myself. You don’t listen to people.

In legal terms, an architect is the all seeing, all knowing, building professional….

…But the truth is, most of you don’t try. You rely on rules of thumb and pattern books, but you rarely do in-depth ethnographic research. You might sit at the building site for an hour and watch people “use space” but do you speak to them? Do you find out their motivations? Do your attempts really make their way into your design process?

This really hit home for me when I read a recent article on the design of Starbucks stores. Now you might hate Starbucks. You might believe they are a soulless commercial entity with no architectural merit at all, but do you know what they are good at? Responding to people’s needs and desires.

The article reads:

Starbucks interviewed hundreds of coffee drinkers, seeking what it was that they wanted out of a coffee shop. The overwhelming consensus actually had nothing to do with coffee; what consumers sought was a place of relaxation, a place of belonging.

My dear architects. This is why Starbucks designed round tables in their stores. They were strategically created “in an effort to protect self-esteem for those coffee drinkers flying solo”. They were not round because the architect felt it looked better that way, they were not round because they were cheaper, they were round because as the article concludes “there are no empty seats at a round table”.

No wonder architecture has become a niche vocation. You don’t connect with people any more.

The problem is that architects seem to pray at the feet of the latest hyped-up formal language. I dare you. Flip through an architectural magazine today. Find any people in the photographs? I didn’t think so. Find plenty of pictures that worship obscure angles and the place where two materials meet? You betcha.

Upworthy: 10 Most Viral Things from their first year

Just like seeing the beginnings of one of the hottest topics in content publishing in 2013, because of its fast rise and almost “scientific” headline-writing process.

1. Bully Calls News Anchor Fat, News Anchor Destroys Him On Live TV

Curated by Kaye Toal
4.19M views

2. Bullies Called Him Pork Chop. He Took That Pain With Him And Then Cooked It Into This.

Curated by Adam Mordecai
3.44M views

3. Mitt Romney Accidentally Confronts A Gay Veteran; Awesomeness Ensues

Curated by Mansur Gidfar
2.87M views

4. A Tea Partier Decided To Pick A Fight With A Foreign President. It Didn’t Go So Well.

Curated by Mansur Gidfar
1.97M views

5. Move Over, Barbie — You’re Obsolete

Curated by Edwardo Jackson
1.59M views

6. 9 Out Of 10 Americans Are Completely Wrong About This Mind-Blowing Fact

Curated by Adam Mordecai
1.57M views

7. BOOM, ROASTED: Here’s Why You Don’t Ask A Feminist To Hawk Your Sexist Product

Curated by Rebecca Eisenberg
1.16M views

8. Some Strange Things Are Happening To Astronauts Returning To Earth

Curated by Adam Albright-Hanna
1.13M views

9. Elizabeth Warren Asks The Most Obvious Question Ever And Stumps A Bunch Of Bank Regulators

Curated by Adam Mordecai
1.13M views

10. If This Video Makes You Uncomfortable, Then You Make Me Uncomfortable

Curated by Rollie Williams
1.01M views