Found on I Can Read.
Found on I Can Read.
Last week I was in Europe for a series of work sessions and meetings with the new agency I’m with. I’ll be honest. I’ve never really been to Europe before. Or at least not in a way that allowed me to explore and learn from the different creative and business culture that’s developed over there. When I was there, it was for Oktoberfest in Munich. Enough said. Anyways, here’s my list of the things I learned from my trip:
1. Do more with less (space).
When we arrived in Amsterdam, it was early on a Sunday morning and nothing was open. Also, our hotel rooms weren’t ready. This meant that I had the fortunate opportunity to be forced to wander around the city before anyone was awake. I was also a little lucid from a lack of sleep. But regardless, I noticed that places in Europe are really small. Living space. Office spaces. Restaurants. Everything. But all of the furniture and rooms are made to accommodate this. Things are kept multifunctional. Things are kept simple and basic. There was a distinct lack of clutter, despite a smaller square footage per person.
It made me think. Do you really need all of that crap? In your ad? In your product? In your life? If you don’t, toss it.
2. Act like the Irish
When I got off of the plane in Dublin, I was afraid. Why? Because Colin Farrel is from Ireland. I had a very real fear that the country would be populated by douche bags of the same calibre. I was wrong. In fact, every single person I met there was awesome. How often does that happen? Even the cab drivers! They didn’t try to rip you off. Everyone I met was polite, enthusiastic, appreciative and friendly. It made it a pleasure to do business with them. Also, the fresh Guinness was pretty sweet. But that’s another matter.
3. NDAs don’t mean shit
For all of the non-legal types (like me), an NDA is a non-disclosure agreement. It’s a piece of paper that you sign that legal binds you in a promise not to say anything to outside parties. The problem is that NDAs don’t mean shit. Trust does. I mean, when’s the last time that someone actually got sued on these? And when a leak happens, the damage is usually already done. An NDA is a way of scaring someone into respecting what’s discussed in your relationship. What you really need is trust. Trust is what keeps secrets. It’s not like when you spill a secret to your best friend that they need to be told to sign a legal document. Of course not. You told them because you trust them.
So breed trust with your partners. By sharing. By acting with poise and respect. By being honest. By conducting business with integrity and standing behind your reputation.
4. Value face time
With the global workplace, it’s easy to be in constant contact with people that you’ve never actually met in person. There’s email, conference calls, Skype … but it’s hard to build a real rapport that way. To build real relationships, you need real face-to-face contact. It gives you a true sense of the other person’s personality, thought process and perspective. It also allows them to get to know you better. Which is good, because chances are that you will have to ask them for a favour sometime in the future. And people do favours for friends, not strangers.
5. Sharing has value
So often we keep all of our ideas close to our chest. We’re afraid of people knowing what we’re doing. The problem is that then you only have one perspective … the one from within your organization. Sharing with key partners or experts in the field will add value. They have insights and experience that can add to your idea. Sometimes they can even offer new products that aren’t readily available to everyone because it applies to your idea. And that’s access that you wouldn’t be able to enjoy if you didn’t share.
You need to progress beyond the awkward interaction of “So, what do you want to buy?” and “What do you have?” Share real ideas and see if people can help you. Sharing strengthens relationships with a partner. So don’t be afraid of it.
The trip was a blur. I spent way too much time in transit and in meeting rooms. But in my free time, I was able to down a couple of beers, observe people and learn. Not necessarily in that order. Life is busy. It’s excited. And you can sleep when you’re dead.
This weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving. A family tradition that started a couple of years ago is to go around the table and say what you’re thankful for. This year, I’m thankful for all of the opportunities that life has thrown my way. In my career. In sports. In my personal life. It’s strange and amazing how momentum just seems to carry through from one aspect of your life to another. And this year has been a constant cascading waterfall of amazing choices.
I’m also thankful that I had the balls to say yes to a lot of these opportunities. And I want to take full advantage by living them to the fullest. By going all out at every chance I get. I think that holding back never helped anyone achieve something great. Restraint in boring. It’s pedestrian. It’s average.
Passion is contagious. It’s electrifying. It can spread from one small part of your life to make your entire daily routine amazing. I want to build an excitement army. Just groups of people that spread passion and excitement throughout their daily lives. And they spread it to themselves. To each other. To strangers in the street.
The sole goal of the excitement army is to ignite the passion of yourself and those around you. And encourage people to live life instead of sitting on their sofas watching 30 minute comedies on a Thursday night. Get people to create. Create art. Create ideas. Create connections with new people and old friends. Create memories.
Today is a new day. I invite you to live it hard and with no regrets.
This is a sick new spot for Converse that I stumbled upon while reading If It’s Hip, It’s Here. It features basketball legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Carlos Arroyo of the Miami Heat, Harlem streetball player Adrian “A-Butta” Walton, Kenny Anderson, Converse skaters, Sammy Baca, Eli Reed, Rune Glifberg and more.
The ad, called Join The Procession, was shot in Brooklyn by the director of “Training Day” Antoine Fuqua.
Click here if you can’t view the video.
The spot expresses such a sweet style and attitude. Good music. Good look. Good story. Good spot.
Sometimes it actually happens. You have down time at work – I know it’s a crazy concept. So what do you do? You sit and relax for a bit. But then you get fidgety. You feel guilty for not being productive. So you start creating meaningless tasks to fill your day. It keeps you occupied. It makes you look busy to anyone watching. Don’t do that.
Don’t fill your day with boring repetitive tasks. Instead, get inspired. Recharge.
1. Write a blog post.
2. Draw something.
3. Design a t-shirt.
4. Write a short story.
5. Learn how to say “hello” in 10 languages.
6. Invest the time to turn a coworker into a friend.
7. Create a cube grenade.
But do something interesting with your time. Don’t waste it looking busy. Create.
A couple of years ago there was a story in the San Francisco Chronicle about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth. A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help.
Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around as she was thanking them.
Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.
Just something cool to share on a Friday.