"We gather knowledge faster than we gather wisdom." - William Bell

All Roads (Should) Lead To Happiness

Posted: December 16th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Thought Starters | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Why are you doing what you’re doing now? Maybe you’re doing it for fun. Or for the experience. Or because there’s nothing better to do.

There is a host of reasons for being in the job that you’re in. When starting out, the answer is often experience – you value real world experience in an industry to act as a foundation before you start building your career. You grow your book. You prove to people that you know what you’re doing and learn the on-the-job lessons.

The easiest answer is money – the job pays you what you need to get by and live your life the way you want it. Some people value free time over money – the job allows you to leave at an appropriate time so you can spend time with your family or skateboarding or travelling.

But there’s also power – the ability to reign over others and have your opinions heard. And then there’s recognition and celebrity – it’s nice to have your ego stroked and be known as one of the “leaders” in your field. To wield that star power has an intoxicating allure.

And the list goes on and on. But reasons all have something in common – they lead to happiness. Money gives you cash to buy the stuff to make you happy. Experience gives you leverage to create a happy career. Free time gives you the opportunity to spend time doing the things that make you the happiest.

There can be a lot of reasons why you work at your job right now. But they should all lead to happiness.

If what you do everyday isn’t enabling happiness in your life, then what will?

- Christian

Dreaming Right

Posted: December 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Thought Starters | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

I don’t spend enough time day dreaming with my imagination going wild. I spend most of the time thinking about places I’d rather be. Places like a sunny beach. Or my bed. Or on the top of a mountain.

Instead, I want to get the creative juices flowing. I want to dream about things that don’t exist yet. Or are impossible.

I want to stretch my imagination to day dream like a kid. Where you invent animals. Or a language. Or places. And they only exist in your imagination.

I want to dream of things that aren’t real yet.  Instead of real things that already exist that I’m not doing right now.

Like flying.

- Christian

Take Aim

Posted: April 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Thought Starters | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Give people something to aim at and their marksmanship improves by 80%.

If you can’t view the video, click here.

Even something as simple as a sticker of a pesky fly in a urinal motivates people to point-and-shoot, dramatically reducing ‘human spillage’ and thus maintenance costs.

People want to hit goals. It’s human instinct to aim for a target. It focuses your efforts, makes you more efficient with your time and more satisfied with the outcome.

There are two people. One decides, “I’m going to make good beer.” The other says, “My beer is going to win a medal in a brewing competition in one year.”

The first person will probably make decent beer. They could develop a following and become a sustainable brand. Or they could struggle. Trying to tweak their recipe over and over again. Gauging different reactions. Reformulating over the years until their satisfied. But it will take a long time. And it might never work.

But the second person has a specific goal. They have something to bust their ass to work towards under time pressure. They study the past winners of beer competitions. They figure out what it takes to win. They understand the intricacies of brewing competitions and what it takes to make great beer. And … they do it all in one year. If they don’t achieve their goal, then they re-evaluate.

Do they walk away? Do they try brewing a different type of beer? Do they distill whiskey instead? Either way, they’re in a better place than the first person. If they weren’t cut out to brew beer, then they can exit quickly and cut their losses.

Remember, it’s better to fail quickly than fail slowly.

- Christian

Inspired by this post on Capital C’s blog.

Christian … What Do You Actually Do?

Posted: November 25th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Thought Starters | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

This post is for my Dad.
I don’t think he understands my job.
I work in advertising.
On the account side.
A lot of times people ask me what I do.
Here’s what I tell them:

When Churchill retired from politics he tried painting.
He set up his easel in his garden.
He got just the right size canvas.
He organized all his paints and brushes.
He’d chosen a perfectly comfortable stool.
He made sure everything was absolutely right.
Then he tried to decide where to start on the painting.
He stared at the pristine, white canvas.

Should he start in one area and work his way across?
Or should he sketch in the rough outline first?
Should he try to include the whole landscape?
Or should he pick one particular part to concentrate on?
How to begin exactly?

Two hours later his wife came out with a cup of tea.
He hadn’t painted a thing.
He was still sitting there thinking.
The canvas was still perfectly white.

His wife asked him why he hadn’t painted anything.
He said he couldn’t decide where to start.
So she picked up a brush and painted a huge squiggle in the middle of the canvas.
Churchill went ballistic.

What are you doing, you’ve ruined a perfectly good canvas.
She said, “Well now you’ll just have to fix it won’t you.
And he started to fix the mess.
Scraping off the paint, and painting over it.
And pretty soon he’d painted his first landscape.

See what was stopping Churchill was knowing how to start.
What his wife did was take the start-point away.
She gave him a problem to fix instead.
The man who could lead Britain in a world war didn’t know what to do with a blank canvas.
Give him a problem to fix, a massive mess that no one else could sort out.

But how do you start when there is no problem?
Creative people are good at fixing problems.
Good at responding.
Not so good at creating from nothing.
With no brief, no direction, no ideas, nothing to get hold of.

So that’s what I do. I draw squiggles on a blank canvas.

- Christian

What Your Beer Tells People About You

Posted: November 5th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Thought Starters | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »


I came across a fascinating study here from Ad Age that more or less confirms your prejudices about different beer brands.  Over 2,000 (American) beer drinkers were polled about their lifestyles. Now, it due to note that American pallets skew to favour lighter beers, but the lifestyle information that accompanies each brand is interesting.

I’m an addict for this type of information. Check it out:


True to form, Bud drinkers are grounded and practical. They are the polar opposite of daydreamers and don’t easily get carried away. These beer drinkers also don’t like authority — can anyone say union?

Budweiser drinkers are 42% more likely to drive a truck than the average person, 68% more likely to choose a credit card with flexible payment terms and 42% more likely to use breath-freshening strips every day.

BudLight Logo

Are Bud Light drinkers just Bud guzzlers on a diet? Nope. Bud Light personalities actually skew quite different from their more-caloric sibling. They lack in carefulness. In regard to others, these good-time guys and gals are accepting of most everyone and generally easy to get along with.

Bud Light drinkers are also 48% more likely than the average person to play the lottery every day and 34% more likely to never buy organic products.


“Where’s the party?” is probably an oft-asked question by Corona drinkers. They are busy and energetic people who are also extremely extroverted. Corona drinkers do more and see more people in one day than most people see in a week. But the life-of-the-party drinkers also have a caring side; they care deeply about other people and see themselves as giving and warm.

Corona drinkers are 91% more likely than average to buy recycled products and 38% more likely to own three or more flat-screen TVs.


There’s a slang term that could sum up Heineken drinkers: posers. These self-assured people believe they are exceptional, get low scores on modesty and high scores on self-esteem. (Wow, so I guess this website thinks that it’s pretty good looking … with all of those pretty green bottles at the top and stuff.) They love their brand badges and this group is attracted to luxury products in general.

People who choose Heineken as their favourite beer are 58% more likely to have American Express cards, 45% more likely to be early adopters of new mobile phones, and 29% more likely to drive sports cars.

Crest Liquor_Beer_Blue Moon

5. BLUE MOON (Or Rickard’s White in Canada)
Blue Moon is actually branded as Rickard’s White here in Canada. The personality traits of people who prefer Blue Moon, tracked similarly to the same type of people who prefer craft beers—which means Blue Moon drinkers probably don’t know it’s a Molson Coors Brewing product.

They are socially liberal and usually quite willing to go against convention. They really hate moral authorities, and believe children should be exposed to moral dilemmas and allowed to come to their own conclusions.

People who drink Blue Moon/Rickard’s beer are 105% more likely than the average person to drive hybrid cars, 77% more likely to own Apple Mac laptops, 65% more likely to purchase five pairs or more of sneakers every year, and 32% more likely to not be registered voters.

All in all, this is interesting information, but not overly scientific. It’s kind of like a beer horoscope. But what it does do is reflect back to you what type of people are attracted to certain types of marketing. And as an Idea Drunk, it’s interesting.

- Christian


Posted: July 1st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Thought Starters | Tags: , , , | No Comments »


When was the last time you were in a library? It feels like when you’re in school you are there constantly. But that’s because you HAVE to study and you HAVE to learn. When was the last time that you were curious about something, so you went to the library? That you relied on a book instead of Google?

Just a thought.

- Christian

Napkin Notes – How People View Media

Posted: May 26th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Thought Starters | Tags: , , | No Comments »


- Christian

Advice From Microsoft

Posted: July 31st, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Thought Starters | No Comments »

For all of the hate and criticism of Microsoft, they are bringing in people who know what they’re doing. I was reading this post on Hugh MacLeod’s blog and it brought me to some thoughts from Microsoft’s Chief Architect Ray Ozzie.

1. Constraints are empowering

2. Accept threats as resignations

3. Never follow; either leapfrog or stop

4. Diversity means survival

5. Don’t tolerate intolerance

6. Strategy and architecture are inseparable

7. Short and direct earns respect

8. Delaying the inevitable inevitably backfires

9. A re-org will never cure what ails you

10. You needn’t be an #%@hole to get things done

    Good brain food. Especially “Constraints are empowering”. If you’re given a huge white canvas and told to paint anything you want, it’s intimidating. Where do you start? What’s the goal? What are you trying to achieve?

    If you are given a pencil, a 4×6 piece of paper and told to draw “Immortality”, you have a greater chance of creating something awesome. Having boundaries and goals focuses your work. Like the White Stripes. Look at the breakthrough music they create with one guitar and one drum set.

    - Christian

    3 Quotes That Make You Think

    Posted: June 20th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Thought Starters | No Comments »

    Quote #1 – Google

    “Google is making us all stupid.”
    Inspired by Nicholas Carr, The Atlantic Monthly

    Quote #2 – Airlines

    “If airlines really want to cut costs and be fair, they should start charging people based on body weight — not just on how much”
    Inspired by Dana Kozlov, cbs2chicago.com

    Quote #3 – Housing

    “The American housing bust has become responsible for a substantial portion of the world’s problems. “
    Inspired by Mark Landler, New York Times.

    - Christian
    Source: Fast Company

    Think About It

    Posted: May 14th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Thought Starters | No Comments »

    Here are some statistics that will blow your mind:

    1. Nike launches a new sneaker every seven hours.

    2. Coke puts out a new product every 21 days in Japan alone.

    3. Grand Theft Auto IV took in $500 million globally in its first week.

    4. Hillary Clinton has spent $157,384,855 in an attempt to become president.

    The scale of everything is growing exponentially.

    - Christian