Friday, July 15, 2011

Setting Expectations

For years I labored under the impression that, in order to create great work, you needed a proper budget. In fact, frequently my first question, after being delivered a brief was "Why isn't there a budget on this brief?" After all, budget defines scale. Right? And often that fact was sheepishly explained away with that classic dodge: "They don't have much money, but if we come up with a really great idea, the client will find the money."

And no matter how good we thought the idea was, how breakthrough, how strategically sound, how oh-so-right for their brand, the fact is, I can count on one hand the number of times a client dug deeper to fund a great idea. Out of around 2000 briefs over 14 years. And one of them was three months ago.

Gradually the realization emerged that the limits of an idea aren't defined by the budget. In fact, most truly great ideas inherently have scale. They work, somehow, at every size. As a single tweet and as a full length feature. Expectations should be set on how to spend any budget in a way that delivers a well executed idea to an appropriate number of consumers at the right time and for the right reason. Budget doesn't define the idea. Just, perhaps the scale and the expectations.

Ever seen the NPR tiny desk series? These are bands who typically take command of a stage with amps, effects, roadies, and seething throngs of supporters. But instead, they are taking command of a room the size of my kitchen for a group of about 25. The result? Well, as long as the artist is worth a damn (think, the idea) it works at any scale. Is it different than the full-blown stage experience? Hell yeah. Is it as good or better? Certainly to the 25 people in the room it's better. Their expectations have been set for exclusive. intimate. Lo-Fi. And for the rest of us, watching at home, it's still pretty killer – thanks to NPR's broadcasting expertise.

Witness. A great idea. At a fully manageable scale.

You can see this artist on a slightly larger scale here in Dallas at Club Dada on July 22nd.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


It's so hard to say goodbye.
It's so much easier to just quietly slip out. Like after you realize you've had one too many at your friends' wedding and you just walk straight to the door and up to your room and crash. no warning. No friendly goodbye. Just a stiff-legged lurch to the elevator before trying to open your hotel door with your driver's license.

It's hard for me to say goodbye -- on my last day of a job. On my last day visiting my parents. When I drop my son off at school. When I leave my wife on a business trip.

But I'm saying goodbye. To Facebook.
And it's both harder and easier than I thought it would be.

Deleting Farmville? I didn't give it a second thought.
Deleting "Your year in Facebook statuses"? Easy.

Hiding (you can't truly delete) 150 pictures of France?
Harder. You have to do it one at a time.

Turning all my privacy settings to zero?
Kind of hard.

Listening to my Mom lament that she won't be able to find me.
A little hard.

Giving up statuses from 30 restaurants, 20 liquor brands, 15 causes, 5 airlines, Groupon and living social, and "Dallas Mavericks re the World Champions"?
Easy. I follow them all on twitter anyway - and they all pretty much repeat themselves if it's worth saying.

No longer following the daily statuses of 410 relatives, coworkers, former coworkers, vendors, clients, high school and college friends. As easy and as hard as it sounds.

No longer sharing things with those people? REALLY EASY, actually.

Remembering the actual passwords for 30 apps that have an option to sign in with facebook instead?
Severely fucking difficult.

Finding other things to do?

Will google+ replace facebook for me?
Lord, I hope not.

While it's my job to be up on all this stuff,
I'd like to think I can do my job better with fewer distractions and more actual personal contact.
But we'll see.
Maybe I was right?
Or maybe I'm a fool.

But I'm getting the F outta here.