Archive for February, 2009

What Is An RSS Feed?

February 28, 2009 2 comments


The most recent information that I’ve been able to find says that about 30% of American internet users read blogs. Although many Planners are tech savvy and write blogs themselves, I think there’s still lots of Planners out there who don’t know how to use certain tools on the web.

What is an RSS feed?

I’m going to skip the technical definition and explain it as simply as I can. RSS feeds are a faster, more simpler way of getting the information you want from websites and blogs. Instead of going to your favorite sites to check when they update, you can just use a simple tool called an RSS feed so that THEY send the info to YOU. Awesome, right?

rssdiagram via SearchEngineLand

Let’s say you have 10 websites you check every day, like Talent Imitates, Genius Steals. Now, instead of checking TIGS every day to see if Faris has updated his blog, you can just “subscribe” to his blog, so that whenever he posts something new, you’ll know through your RSS Reader. Think of it like a magazine subscription.

Why would you subscribe to someone’s blog instead of just going to the site and checking it every day? Quite simply, it saves tons  of time. I read about 50 different blogs on a consistent basis, so by using an RSS Reader I get my “feeds” sent to me in a central location. It’s super convenient and especially for a Planner who needs to scan through lots of information every day it’s a huge help.

How To Subscribe

There’s a bunch of different RSS Readers out there – I use Google Reader. GReader is great because it’s simple to use and you can scan the headlines of all your feeds quickly.

There’s basically two main ways to subscribe to a site’s feeds.

1) If you look at the TIGS blog you’ll see a little orange icon (like the one at the top of this blog post) where it says “Subscribe to my feed.” If you click on the link it’ll take you to this page, where it gives you the option of which RSS Reader you want to use. If you choose Google, just select “Subscribe Now.”

You will now be taken to another page that lets you add this feed to your Google Reader with one click. That’s it.

2) The other way to subscribe is to copy the site’s link: and entering it where it says “Add A Subscription” in Google Reader.

So that’s it. Depending on whether you use a Mac or PC, Firefox, Internet Explorer (or some other browser) you may want to use a different RSS Reader, but GReader is a great place to start. The video below from Common Craft also has an explanation for RSS feeds.

To subscribe to MY blog, just follow the steps above.

Categories: TECHNOLOGY Tags:


February 24, 2009 Leave a comment


I was in Midtown Miami today and I took a few minutes to check out the PEDESTRIART urban art project on display on the lawn across from the shops. It’s in kind of an odd location – no one that I know of walks across the area, nevertheless, it’s cool and different.

According to the artist it is,

“…a public art installation of a series of street signs utilizing the artist’s own iconography.”

I’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s an interesting collection of common street signs with assorted graphics on them.

Check out my Flickr set for “PEDESTRIART” for more pics.

The videos below have more info and an interview with Cuban artist Leonel Matheu

Categories: ART Tags:

The 6 Myths of Creativity

February 23, 2009 Leave a comment

keepitfresh via ffffound!

I recently read a Fast Company article from a couple years ago titled “The 6 Myths of Creativity.” Teresa Amabile, a professor at Harvard Business School, has been studying creativity for nearly 30 years. Her research found 6 “myths” that help us understand the thought processes that lead to creative breakthroughs.

1) Creativity comes from creative types

“The fact is, almost all of the research in this field shows that anyone with normal intelligence is capable of doing some degree of creative work. Creativity depends on a number of things: experience, including knowledge and technical skills; talent; an ability to think in new ways; and the capacity to push through uncreative dry spells. Intrinsic motivation — people who are turned on by their work often work creatively — is especially critical.”

One of the things we’ve been told at MAS is that everyone can contribute creative ideas. It’s not just Creative teams that come up with ideas – Planners should be unafraid to make suggestions. In my experience with creative teams, they appreciate ideas from their Planners. It makes for a more collaborative effort where everyone contributes and participates.

2) Money is a creativity motivator

“Bonuses and pay-for-performance plans can even be problematic when people believe that every move they make is going to affect their compensation. In those situations, people tend to get risk averse. Of course, people need to feel that they’re being compensated fairly. But our research shows that people put far more value on a work environment where creativity is supported, valued, and recognized. People want the opportunity to deeply engage in their work and make real progress. So it’s critical for leaders to match people to projects not only on the basis of their experience but also in terms of where their interests lie.

3) Time pressure fuels creativity

“Time pressure stifles creativity because people can’t deeply engage with the problem. Creativity requires an incubation period; people need time to soak in a problem and let the ideas bubble up.”

In my MAS experience, one of the biggest challenges we have on a weekly basis is ongoing multiple projects. Although getting things done is a whole other subject in and of itself, it mainly comes down to focusing on what’s most important. From that thought you can develop priorities, agendas, task lists, etc.

4) Fear forces breakthroughs

“…creativity is positively associated with joy and love and negatively associated with anger, fear, and anxiety…One day’s happiness often predicts the next day’s creativity.”

5) Competition beats collaboration

“In our surveys, we found that creativity takes a hit when people in a work group compete instead of collaborate. The most creative teams are those that have the confidence to share and debate ideas. But when people compete for recognition, they stop sharing information. And that’s destructive because nobody in an organization has all of the information required to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.”

I find the environment at MAS the perfect example. Although I wouldn’t share my actual strategy with another team, I don’t see anything wrong with sharing my ideas or information.

Why? Because everyone interprets information differently; whether it’s a client brief, a quote you found online, or an Annual Report, people will make different observations.

As Thomas Edison said,

Your idea needs to be original only in its adaptation to the problem you are currently working on.”

As Planners, especially with the ubiquitous nature of the web, we really do have access to a lot of the same information. It’s in how we interpret that information – our insights – that we are able to come up with unique recipes even though they’re based on a lot of the same ingredients.

6) A streamlined organization is a creative organization

“Of course, the opposite is true: Creativity suffers greatly during a downsizing…Anticipation of the downsizing was even worse than the downsizing itself — people’s fear of the unknown led them to basically disengage from the work. More troubling was the fact that even five months after the downsizing, creativity was still down significantly.”

Shout out to my Planner buddy Jody Taylor on this post!

Categories: CREATIVITY

Dancing Your Way To Viral

February 20, 2009 1 comment

People just LOVE to post videos of themselves dancing. Obviously, not everyone’s video gets viewed by millions of people, but these videos have the qualities that make them spread like wildfire:

1. They’re simple

2. They’re interesting

3. They’re easily shared

Here’s the newest one I discovered today followed by some classics:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “BOOMBOX – Chunnel“, posted with vodpod
Categories: DIGITAL Tags: ,

Miami Ad School: Richard Monturo on BRIC POP on Vimeo

February 17, 2009 1 comment

Last night we spent an incredible lecture session with Richard Montura, a Strategic Planner from La Comunidad in Miami. He didn’t come to us to specifically talk about Planning, but to discuss his observations from traveling all over the world for two years.

His story was fun, inspiring and entertaining. To paraphrase one of my Planner friends, “I thought I knew a lot about this stuff, but he made me feel like a child all over again.”

From the author’s website:

“Nearly 10 years into the 21st century, a new creative world is forming.

Very soon, a lot of the world’s best art, fashion, music, entertainment, media, design, and style will be coming to you from Brazil, Russia, India, and China. The BRICs have been tipped by Goldman Sachs (who coined the acronym) to become four of the six largest economies in the world by 2050. But it isn’t just about the money.

BRIC Pop reveals another side to these four countries: their rising creative and cultural power. It’s just as significant as their economic story, and has major implications for entertainment, media, creative and marketing industries in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Plus, it’s fun.

I spent two years traveling to 42 cities, from Ahmedabad to Yekaterinburg, discovering first-hand how the BRICs have shifted from exporters of products, services, and commodities to arbiters of pop cultural ‘cool’.”

Visit the BRIC POP site

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Miami Ad School: Richard Monturo on B…“, posted with vodpod
Categories: MIAMIADSCHOOL Tags: ,

Experiences Make Us Happier Than Possessions

February 17, 2009 Leave a comment

happinesspostitvia sciondriver

Interesting study from San Francisco State University says that,
“An experience may generate positive memories that outlast the allure of a new material possession. That’s in part because the initial joy of acquiring a new object, such as a new car, fades over time as people become accustomed to seeing it every day, experts said. Experiences, on the other hand, continue to provide happiness through memories long after the event occurred.”

What does this mean for brands? Although I believe the word “experience” is being tossed around a lot these days in strategy sessions, I think this study is further proof that brands can expand beyond products attributes to engage their consumers.

What’s the brand’s highest calling?” is something we had discussed in the first couple weeks at MAS. It’s the difference between Pepsi being about soda and Pepsi being a brand that “refreshes everything.”

Article via

Categories: MARKETING Tags:

Art + Design Night in Miami’s Design District

February 16, 2009 Leave a comment


This weekend some of the Planners got together for the Miami Design District’s Art + Design Night, a monthly event that takes place on the second Saturday of every month. The Design District’s website says,

“Visit the Design District and experience a gallery walk featuring inspiring art, design, music, cocktails, dining and shopping.”

It’s one of the cooler and better cultural events in Miami. Basically, you get to walk around participating art galleries and trendy furniture stores to check out their goods. Some of the venues provide free food, drinks and even music.

The art featured is predominantly from local artists and you even get the opportunity to meet many of the artists themselves.

Click the link below to check out my photos.

Dennis Demori’s Flickr Set – Art + Design Night in Miami’s Design District

Categories: ART, DESIGN Tags: , , ,
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