Are your goals clearly defined? Your next step is to collaborate with likeminded individuals. Work with practical, updated information. Record results and refine your process as you go. To master the practice of scrum, recognise when it is necessary to regroup and realign. Then do it.
The first iteration of this installation was a mass of crawling text that broke WordPress. Yay! But after it broke my phone’s browser, I decided to update this post with a collage of screen caps from Reader and the main site.
Thankfully, I had saved the screen caps for the tweet design below, so it was easy to make another pass with the two typography posters. I hope you enjoy them.
The dry paper hand is back with two small GIFs I made for you today. I am very happy because I welcomed my nephew over the weekend. It was also my birthday so the gif(t) bags are not random.
I find the TV scroll below oddly relaxing. It is also a great throwback to the good old days when people sat in front of square boxes. I hope you enjoy playing on Photo Mosh. I really enjoyed creating this installation.
On Sunday, I was experimenting with some design ideas and on Monday, I wondered what would happen if I glitched out some images. The software is stable but the file sizes are about 20MB for the GIFs. It’s necessary to compress them. The “Glitched TV” above is 7MB and “Warped thinking”, below, was shrunk to 10MB.
You will not get uniform results for every single kind of image. And though the video files are super heavy, the software I used doesn’t render jpg images large enough to print on a 16″ x 24″ poster. I need a workaround.
Hope you enjoyed the bursts of colour and the weird lines as much as I do.
Updated and edited: 2021.04.08. Thank you for viewing.
Does anyone remember who said, “Follow your joy”? I think this quote is popular because everyone can imagine feeling happy at the final stage of a project. Recently, I told Caring for Art that my nightmares have become work product. I was not exaggerating. Public speakers will never tell you that you must hard work to find the thing to which you can happily commit. If they told you to face reality, nobody would pay them $50,000 to talk about themselves for 30 minutes.
And because I know that the truth is hard to hear, I feel confident that no-one will copy my secret formula, which I am going to share in this post. This is my recipe for staying committed and focused on the way to finding joy. First read it, then scroll down for a taste test.
🧁 Commitment Cupcake 🧁
Ingredients Absolutely everything real about you right now.
Write down every idea you have but stay loosely attached.
Seek advice from qualified experts.
Listen to advice and evaluate for quality.
Search for useful ideas in negative feedback.
Be assertive but never argue, no matter what.
Lose fixation on irrelevant details.
Shut down anyone who attempts to devalue you.
Transfer your idea from a “hard” medium to a “soft” one.
Follow up on each new idea (see item 1).
Table, pin, or expunge unworkable ideas.
Shred your lists.
Keep at it.
The taste test – Covers only Item 8 became especially important this week when my plans came to a full stop. And though I was feeling isolated and trapped, I decided to shred everything and start over.
One of many ideas I had written down was “launch a magazine”. However, I threw it out because there are billions of writers, millions of magazines, and only a handful of subscribers.
From that, I imagined what it would be like for a young writer to dream of launching a magazine only to hit roadblock after roadblock. How would this writer solve these problems? The answers to that question became the treatment for a writing project. My preferred medium for presenting that story is a “hard” one, so I pinned it for later.
The transfer to a “soft” medium was a frictionless fusion of my interests. After careful research, I did some math: photography + fashion + world cultures + health + making stuff up + graphic design = a concept that I really like.
That is to say, I will only produce the covers. I’ve posted two test copies for you and I hope you like them.
If you’re an artist and you feel apprehensive about showing your work, don’t overthink it. Please take a good look at that page of a fashion magazine. I really like it because it shows you don’t need to have the best handwriting ever to use yours as art.
I had one of those days when I felt truly ****** over and it seemed appropriate to scratch something meta on the side. Then, in a different magazine, I found a monochrome photograph of a man’s left hand. I cut it out, dressed it up, and put it in a box. As I photographed it, I realised I had a fun throwback story for Thursday.
A few years ago, I was approached by a chocolatier out of the blue. Chocolate-making is profitable here, so they were adding a bistro to their shop. They needed a huge favour. They said, we heard that your handwriting is totally unreadable so we want to use it for our handwritten menu cards so that nobody can say we copied theirs. Plus, we don’t know how to translate katakana to French with proper spelling because we don’t know foreign languages.
And I was like, okay.
The bistro was a gorgeous, modern, stone structure with stained wood interiors and a sunken kitchen. While I sat there staring at the printed out pages of the menu, the chef brought out the first plate of the tasting menu.
One of my friends, who decided she was going to come along and watch, was the designated taster. And she was elated at the chance to eat gourmet food for two hours while I chicken-scratched on menu cards in two languages.
Presented with love and gratitude. Poem “Ascension/Bring me higher” was written by me. Big ups to my homey, the 9th century poet, Cynewulf. My poem is inspired by his awesome work, Christ II.Images are from Tokyo Fashion Edge Magazine Volume 35, September 2019, with an overlay of handwritten runic and English scripts in watercolour. Have a healing week ahead.
On Wednesday, I downloaded the app again and created a fresh new business account. My experience is much more pleasant because I’m not using captions or hashtags. Instead, my method for increasing my engagement has been to make demands and threats. This has worked so far.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I get asked daily why I am not on Instagram, so I created this business account to connect with professionals I meet through social audio.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to make friends with someone who works with Google to train business owners to use Instagram for marketing. Thus, I have a strong incentive to not toss my phone out the window.
Instagram’s smart tech is impressive, something Marvin Stone would have approved of. I’ve only been on there for three days, not scrolling or searching for anything, and it showed me my favourite dish: charcoal grilled eel on sticky rice. The person who posted the image also has his headquarters at Starbucks and like me, he has the same drink every time he goes there. I had better behave or that thing is going to publish all of my secrets.
So in one of the scenes for my upcoming novel, I wrote about a social media application that shows only one post at a time. One of the characters, Mimi Hollingsbrook, is preparing for her work day. Because she works in the Royal Household as Baby Pudding’s nanny, she has agreed to keep a low profile on social media. Against her better judgement, she decides to look at her feed, and notices something in a caption from a famous influencer. She has a meltdown after reading it. Within a few minutes, her response, which is full of expletives, gains 5 million likes. This prompts her to permanently archive her account. In a later scene, Mimi is given a taste of power when a quarter percenter asks her to decide about that influencer’s future.
When writing notes about the social media applications I would be using in the story, I thought about reactions from readers. I was convinced that this feature would never be adopted in the real world. However, at the moment, the trend is to be super minimalist on Instagram, with as few posts as possible. At this rate, if I don’t hurry up and finish drafting, I will be publishing historical fiction.
In further news, I have been sucked into the vortex and I am now managing my social audio apps on two phones. One for Clubhouse, Discord and Twitter, and the other one for Greenroom and Instagram. That’s because one of the apps keeps crashing if I’m in audio spaces on two others. (Don’t ask). Juggling two phones might look cool on TV but I’m an introvert, so it does not feel right.
Where two or more humans are gathered, there will be drama, and in this post, I will tell you how to avoid drama on Clubhouse. The app is now open to everyone and overnight, sellers of invites went out of business, while the bot and troll populations have exploded. As of Sunday, moderators are now challenging listeners before inviting them on stage to speak. As I edit this post, a moderator is ejecting a speaker who got on stage to ask, “Uhm… What’s the topic?” Read ahead and learn how you can avoid getting clubbed as a newbie.
First things first. You need a bio. The easiest way to get clubbed is to not have one. Your profile should explain your interests and tell everyone why you have joined Clubhouse. If you are registered and have no bio, stop reading this and update it right now. When I joined in mid-June, people were complaining about extra long profiles. Now, listeners without them might never get invited to speak due to the ongoing troll and bot problem.
Add a profile image, logo or something representing your objectives. Drama people like to do screen captures of avatars, so make sure that yours is something you would not mind seeing on Twitter. Mine is the cover of my novel The Quarter Percent and it is also my first minted NFT. The image prompts questions and because my answers match everything in my bio, people with shared interests feel comfortable contacting me.
The second thing you need is a linked, updated social media account, website, or email. Clubhouse is designed for drop in socialising, and communication is supposed to continue off the app. You may link Twitter and Instagram but almost everyone on Clubhouse is on Instagram. Every day, someone asks me why I do not use Instagram. Clubhousers prefer Instagram even though they get action blocked, hashtag banned, accounts suspended and posts smoked. If you choose not to get an Instagram account, be prepared to explain yourself all the time.
Third, recognise that drop-in audio allows speakers from all over the world to be in the same room and participate in a conversation. If a person says they are going to bed and you are starting lunch, “How dare you have lunch? I just woke up,” sounds weird, so stop.
People have been waking up as others were going to sleep every day since we crawled out of the mud and coughed up our gills. Because time zones. Remember that passport checks are only to be done by the police.
Many clubs are already scheduling rooms only for members, to avoid answering the same questions again and again. Unfortunately, this means that a lot of valuable information you might need for promoting your work is going to be reserved for people who are already comfortable using social audio. For more advice on social audio etiquette, please visit this post.
Fourth, focus on large rooms where you can listen, ask for advice, and share information. This will raise your engagement quickly and safely. The fastest way to get clubbed is to immediately align yourself with a person or small group. A person’s objectives might change, or they might be drama people. Scan your hallway and hop into a small room that looks interesting. But leave immediately if there is any hint of hostility. Be like water and flow where support and positive engagement take you.
Fifth, spend your first week following active clubs related to your specific interests. Use the calendar feature to manage your time. In these rooms which are topic-specific, you already have something in common with listeners. Speakers and listeners will read your profile and look at your social media feeds. Be equally discreet and read bios to find out more about your roommates. As mentioned above, the moderators are definitely reading yours.
Sixth, ignore pings. That is the software at work, and you are not receiving a cordial invitation. Nine out of ten people who ping you will not respond when you ping them, so do not play. Especially ignore pings that invite you into single-host private rooms unless an appointment is arranged in the backchannel. I wish I had received this advice before joining Clubhouse. Assume that you are being roped into a speed dating event without your consent. The hosts will vanish once they find out you are not living two houses away from them. Save yourself the irritation and avoid responding in the first place.
That should do for your first two weeks. Social audio is constantly evolving. One day you’re with a group of friendlies and the very next morning, you wake up in the middle of a shark tank. Use the application actively by knowing your purpose and staying on brand. Listen first, keep up with conversations, steer clear of controversial topics, and stay open to new experiences. Practice good etiquette at all times. You never know whose avatar is sitting next to yours on stage.
Postscript: Abstract paintings are from Sunday. I spent nine hours learning how to use Procreate, and I am slowly feeling my way through the features.
Where seconds before, castanets were rapping their clat-ta-tat-tat, a deafening silence fell on the host of avatars in the room. Friendly banter was interrupted, a question went unanswered, and earphones were unplugged from devices to broadcast the newest tirade over speakers. Someone in Brussels unwrapped a lunch sandwich and listened in.
Gloria was in the room. This morning, she presented with glossy grey locks, which billowed in a nonexistent breeze. Her flawless, peaches-and-cream skin was buffed to a high shine. But that was not why everyone was squinting at their screens. They were accustomed to seeing a dark-haired vixen in a slice of underwear, sat with her knees exactly fifty centimetres apart. (Someone attempted the pose at home.) Today, everything, including her shoulders and most of her neck, was covered.
A stream of pings followed. “Everyone, get in here. Gloria is wearing clothes.”
Master had stopped the castanets mid-clat to croak at the host of avatars, “Reverence! Gloria is having a bad day.”
“And today’s crisis is…?” thought everyone. And they waited to find out. In New York, a spoonful of breakfast cereal was returned to a bowl. “What… exactly?”
A summary was sent in a backchannel. It read, “Dental emergency at the dentist, who has Wi-Fi, so Gloria can be here with us shortly before receiving treatment for the dental emergency, and then stay here with us, in fact, during the entire procedure, so we can be there for her.”
“Surely,” went one dictated response, “the care and feeding of her children comma who materialised out of thin air only last week comma should be the focus of concern question mark.”
After that update, volume buttons were pushed all the way down. But unable to see this, Master squeaked again. “Praise Gloria. Genuflect, you peasant scum!” No-one heard him. The rebellion had started.
Three hours later, Master punished everyone by giving Gloria his proxy. “Lead us, will you? For your teeth, dear.” A dubious honour it was, to be the doyen of disenchantment, dueña to disconnected souls.
These posters are still in a work in progress but I wanted to dedicate the drafts to the German business owner who has left two advertisements for his keymaster business on my feedback form. That’s Schlüsselmeister in German.
I spent the weekend designing posters and video pins while also being professionally petty on social media. And one thought I had was about WordPress throttling my posts, so that I must display my artwork on a Pinterest board. The difference in engagement on both platforms should become a meme because it is so vast. Wow WordPress.
Though I am busy over there, I wanted to post some artwork here for you. I also wanted to say hello to the German business owner before pinning the final versions.
The keymaster’s website is well-presented, but I changed some of the identifying information in the poster. Sir, please be good enough to leave your real email on that form so I can send you the PDFs? You can print them out on your office printer and frame them.
It feels weird not posting weird art on here. Perhaps that is a Church versus State thing. Or, business art versus hobby art, though which one is which, I don’t quite know.
For everyone else, have a great Monday. Allen anderen einen schönen Montag.
Where two or more humans are gathered on a social media platform, there will be beef. And, on Tuesday morning, social audio delivered two servings of beef to me before I even got out of bed.
It started when I woke up at 1 AM to have some water. I checked my phone and noticed an invitation to join a Greenroom networking session. The room looked like an exploded space ship. Avatars were floating about, and all mics were muted. In the notifications was a hyperlink to an adjacent Clubhouse networking session, so I beamed myself in. After saying hello to the group, I bid everyone a good night and promised to visit again.
Five hours later, I was awake. Now, I checked new messages in a Discord server for creators. Almost all of the members were posting screen captures of notifications showing that they had been blocked from entering one particular room on Greenroom. These individuals were all button-down suburban types, and not ratchet gang-gang Crips v Blood folk. The person accused of starting the drama was a new member of the server. I thought that for sure, the server was under attack (!) so I sent a message to the administrator.
Seconds later, I was back in the Clubhouse room from earlier that morning because I wanted to see if the group was still active. I noticed that the room had a different title, and that the host was discussing the blocking incident. He explained how groups worked to “steal networks” from influencers. The app is only three weeks old, but Evil never rests. I turned off my phone, put it on my desk, and went to work.
As I reflected on the storm that was swirling in my phone, it occurred to me that burnout on social media is caused by emotional attachments to vanity metrics. In the end, these metrics are a rendering of specific data points in virtual space. Many of us do not have a clear purpose for using social media applications. Too often, we misuse them and then blame “social media” for dampening our creative spirit.
I reminded myself that I should focus on communicating with the smart technology that runs these platforms. And how do I define effective communication on each platform? Knowing that they have different functions, learning what they require for sustenance, and feeding them.
On Sunday, for example, I practised a focused detachment on Twitter. Applying a formula to composing my tweets, I noticed that each one was retweeted. Then, I focused on networking on Greenroom. In a short time, I got a dozen new follows. These individuals searched for my profile on Clubhouse and followed me there, too. Stress level? Zero.
Yesterday, I took a break from my tested formulae to whine about “rude people”. My tweet was ignored. I allowed myself to get irritated by a creepy person leering at an attractive woman posing in underwear. I was taking things personally, and not being purposeful about promoting my business. No-one followed me. I promised to manage my time better.
To be honest, Tuesday’s incidents were nonstarters and quite boring. But I could see how people get addicted to feelings and then lose sight of their objectives. On Wednesday morning, everyone had moved on, so Tuesday’s energy expenditure was nullifed.
There is nothing I can do to convince anyone to feel less possessive over imaginary fiefdoms populated by the digital imprints of purported people. Perhaps my scepticism is based on the understanding that anything existing in electronic form can be made up, invented, copied, duplicated, forged, faked and reproduced. And it goes without saying that given how easy it is to do all of that, beefing over vanity metrics means next to nothing if you cannot convince your followers to show up for you when and where it matters.
Are you a writer, artist or creative professional using social audio for marketing? Do you wonder if there is a chapter in Debrett’s Handbook on social audio etiquette? If you are networking on Greenroom, Twitter Spaces, and Clubhouse, you will need good conversation skills. And until they update the Handbook, I will offer you some tips. Put them into practice and reap the rewards of branding through social audio.
I have been on Clubhouse for two weeks, and just over a week on Greenroom. Occasionally, Spaces show up on my Twitter timeline, and I drop in to listen as often as I can. And as I observed conversations in each space, I noticed that branded influencers had excellent social audio etiquette.
Before I present my list, I should point out that boundaries are important online. Your conversations are public, and rooms may be recorded without your knowledge or consent. Refrain from sharing private information to satisfy a listener’s curiosity.
On Sunday, I dropped in on a Greenroom conversation with a well-known podcaster. A voice without an avatar started asking me personal questions. Imagine hearing your name called out over the PA system at a crowded coffee shop, as someone asks you to say your street address and read out details from your driver’s license. It felt like that to me.
This kind of nosy question-asking is quite common, unfortunately, even offline. It happens because many people do not realise that you can learn good conversation skills. Which is why, when you practice these skills, you will grow your audience in a relatively short time.
Interruption as strategy You may be surprised at how often people interrupt speakers on stage to ask an unrelated question. One reason for these kinds of questions is that the person wants to quickly form an opinion of you. Another reason is that they do not want to hear what you have to say. The distracting question serves to start a new topic or allow the person to become the focus of the conversation.
The polite response to this is silence. Mute your microphone, and allow some of the awkwardness to revert back to the speaker. It is polite to let the host start a new topic. Learn from my mistakes: You will never control another person’s inappropriate behaviour by raising an objection to it. They receive the attention they want by diverting you from the topic of discussion. And you may find that your response will irritate listeners.
For your part, be considerate by first observing the room dynamics (read the room), and then decide if you want to participate in the discussion. Focus on the topic of conversation and avoid questions that will start an unrelated topic thread. If you wish to do that, ask to connect with the speaker outside of the room, and continue your discussions there.
Even with the best of intentions, it is possible to say something that makes someone uncomfortable in your audio space. You can avoid this by limiting the meeting time, preparing open-ended questions, and having a list of topics ready before hosting a room.
Below, I have compiled five habits that will help you in social audio spaces. Your objective, as you practice them, is to maintain a positive atmosphere around yourself. When you send out invites to your own audio spaces in future, your guests should remember how they felt whenever they were on stage with you and be happy to support you.
Ask after objectives Take a cue from hosts with large followings. They ask fellow speakers why they are participating in the conversation. They do this because they want to know how best to include the person in discussions. If you must, must, must ask an off-topic question, explain why you need to know this information. Again, be mindful that you are in a recorded conversation in a public forum.
Ask about experiences If you want to play FBI, try asking someone to demonstrate their skills. They can do this by explaining something complex, or by rephrasing a statement. Be indirect and open-ended to elicit quality answers. Whereas, questions that require a one-word answer will leave the conversation dry. You will soon run out of things to talk about. Your audience will remember that.
Verbalise your offer to let someone speak first With some platforms, if you would like to speak, you may interrupt another speaker. After a few seconds of silence, say, “I would like someone else to go first,” or something similar, and wait. That usually breaks the deadlock and gives you time to prepare. Remember that you want to be the last person to offer an opinion.
Explain any interruptions At times, I am listening to a conversation while getting ready for work. For that reason, I may want to say something before the moderator moves on to the next topic. In that situation, I will say, “It’s six in the morning, and because I am getting ready for work, allow me to interject here so you can get on with the discussion?” Then, I speak for a very short time. Every time I do this, I get new follows and because of that, I will keep it up.
Follow through immediately Whenever you receive invitations to collaborate or converse privately, follow through immediately. This shows that you are interested in hearing what the other person has to say. Conversations disappear into the memory’s ether, which is why collaborations are more likely to happen when you are responsive. Here are seven ways to follow up:
1. Save, share or comment on social media posts. 2. Post conversation notes with mentions to Instagram stories. 3. Quote tweets with a thank-you note. 4. Retweet a post relevant to the topic. 5. Subscribe to newsletters. 6. Send direct messages. 7. Send email.
Then, it is up to the speaker to show that they are equally interested in collaborating with you. My preferred method of following up is to tweet out from the room immediately after the offer has been made. I am noticing engagement on these kinds of tweets, even from people not in the conversation, and I will continue doing that.
Summary It has only been two short weeks but so far, I can say that social audio feels like a casual chat at your local coffee shop. The connections you make tend to be fleeting. And because of that, you should work to build upon them so that your networking efforts become meaningful in retrospect.
When hosting, allow people to freely drop in and out of the room. But make them so comfortable they will apologise for leaving. Maybe you are not hoping to become a branded influencer, and that is okay. But if you cultivate good conversation skills for social audio, you will remain at the top of everyone’s VIP invitation list. And that is where you belong. Hang in there, and good luck with networking.
This post is a guide for readers who are curious about “gems” and “g-g-gem farming” on Spotify Greenroom. For the first two days, I have seen a number of people entering rooms to ask, “Hello hello. Where are you from? What is a gem? What are they for?” A very patient person was kind enough to explain, and I will summarise what that person said.
While Greenroom is in its early stages, users of the app are taking advantage of the beta stage to test out theories. Drop-in social audio is relatively new, and users of applications like Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces are learning as they go.
Gem rooms in Greenroom provide ambient music or casual conversation. These allow you to socialise in a warm and friendly atmosphere as you build up your following. In case you plan to host your own room in future, you will want to have followers you can invite to the room.
From the technical side, giving gems provides the software with information about how you are engaging with the app. Your time ‘on mic’, scrolling, search and other activities are also monitored and logged.
At this point, you should be aware that some people are saying that the Spotify Greenroom team is policing “gem rooms” in ghost mode. So far, hosts are adapting and making sure to keep everyone active and engaged. Below is a quote from one influencer who says she has received first hand accounts of conversations taking place behind the scenes.
@MissSuperNerd “Gem mining rooms are being watched and not in a good way, and one day you might wake up without an account” Hear more on Welcome Room / Future Social Audio!’ on Greenroom! #greenroom#gems#influencers
For some users of the app, gems serve as a form of social proof. Someone doing a cursory scan of your profile may assume that you have spent a lot of time in rooms interacting with a lot of people. Some users believe that gems should only be given to people with valuable and quality content. Others say that they are meaningless except to encourage addictive behaviour.
Other influencers on Greenroom have been complaining that users are collect gems as if they’re cryptocurrency. However, it’s still early days and people will need time to work out how to use the app. I was in a room on Sunday evening and the moderators spoke to each person on stage every 30 minutes. People who didn’t respond after a minute or so were sent down to the audience section.
Later, in the same room, someone did her very best at karaoke and then she was offered free singing lessons from a classically trained singer. This is a great example of networking via social audio. Given what we know so far, it is best to use the app to interact with people in real time.
If it’s not your turn to speak, use the chat section. How do you use the chat feature on Greenroom (iPhone users)?
1. Search for GIFs that resemble the mood of the music. Try to be awful.
2. Write comments during live conversations.
4. Respond to comments, provide links, or offer feedback.
5. Read social media feeds, follow accounts, and ask for follows back.
6. Thank the person who invited you, thank the hosts, and thank anyone else who supported you.
7. If you enjoyed your experience in a room, follow the host so they can invite you back.
The more active you are in each room, the more likely you are to be followed and invited to another room. The interesting thing about Greenroom is that you must follow people in order to be invited by them.
It’s also very important to mute your microphone whenever you join the stage, as ambient sounds will be heard by everyone in the room. While others were speaking, I have heard onions been chopped, a toilet being flushed and something that sounded like potato chips in a bag.
Remember that you can go ahead and host your own room and create your own custom session.
Finally, there are many cultures and ideas thriving on the same platform. Recognise that people will congregate where they feel welcome. They will also use the application in a way that makes sense to them.
Gem rooms were created to encourage users to cooperate with each other. It is a positive sign when people work out that it makes sense to grow together. If you plan to participate as an observer, then do that. Listen, pay attention to the atmosphere in the room, and participate while keeping the vibes positive. Enjoy drop-in social audio wherever you experience it.
I am still broadening my horizons and yesterday, my list came to the rescue again, thank goodness. The project in question started with an idea: “Make a super short film with one actor, in a single frame, with minimal monologue.”
The first attempt at production was binned due to technical issues. There was a recast but the second attempt got scrambled during two separate uploads to a cloud server. C’est la guerre.
Once upon a time, I would point my iPad camera at something, press record, and an interesting short film would pop out. Now that I am trying to show you something, I find myself living a scene from The Truman Show.
What confirmed this to me was that this evening, a UK-based filmmaker offered me producer credits on his two upcoming films. Have you seen The Truman Show? This is that scene in the bank.
Presently, an actor is filming a different mini micro super short story that I wrote. If we both like it, I will share it here.
They say that if you start nothing, there will be nothing. However, I have proven, over the past three months, that even with strong will and a positive attitude, this outcome can happen anyway.
Happy Sunday to everyone reading this. (You might want to grab some popcorn.)
A few weeks ago, I started what should have been a wonderful collaboration with a marketing specialist. I asked a lot of questions to minimise errors. But when the invoice arrived, it seemed someone had used their elbow on the “zero” on a keyboard.
They were asking for the equivalent of 1/3 of my annual salary to do niche research, marketing, and advertising. No samples had been produced, no dry runs executed, nor analytics presented. Which means that in exchange for absolutely nothing, I would be working to keep them in Burberry and Dolce.
One more test cover and two T-shirt designs
To end the negotiations, I sacrificed my catalog of designs. I told them to sell it all themselves. If they are good as they claim, they should be raking in the cash right now.
If you were me for the past month, you would have discovered some startling truths about advertising firms. Traffic, views and clicks can be purchased, and “stats” can be spun out of whole cloth. I now make sure that I negotiate for “my best outcomes” and ignore their “best efforts”.
If effort alone were enough, each person reading this would be worth billions. Based on effort alone, it might be easy for all of us to set up shop as advertisers. Simply collect fee$ and promise to show your clients’ work to everyone. Then, pack yourself a nice sandwich, a smoothie, a bottle of water, and a muffin. Drive yourself down to the bay and have a picnic. Then, when clients complain that they have no traffic or sales, gaslight them and say they need to spend more money.
I guarantee that with this work ethic, you too will become a successful advertising executive in no time at all.
Here’s hoping that you have a productive week ahead.
Today is the third day of the third month of the third year of the reign of the Emperor Reiwa. 3-3-3 is an auspicious day and as it was all over the news, I thought I would publish a post on this occasion for readers who love numerology.
Fun story. When His Imperial Majesty was Crown Prince (kou-taishi-denka) I was in the same banquet hall with him and that now disgraced CEO who was smuggled out of Tokyo into Beirut in a double bass case. I was, however, introduced to his brother and sister-in-law when I was an undergraduate. The mother of the future Emperor tripped and almost fell on top of me.
We were warned before the meeting not to touch them but had she fallen, she would’ve dinged her face very badly. Much to my relief, she caught her balance.
Oh yes, those were the days when people would ask me why in the holy muck was I studying a language with a writing system that looked like algebra and calculus got handsy with each other at a bar.
Perhaps I should stop being rebellious because I’m a grown-up now. But I feel inspired when someone tells me I can’t do something that’s lawful, perfectly doable and really fun to do. My ancestors martyred themselves to get shackles taken off and I am supposed to do what now? Be boring and bored. I cannot do it.
After the last of the farmers’ carts had left, Heracles summoned Themis to thank her. She had told him what to say to convince every farmer in Greece to use immortal bovine dung to improve soil quality and guarantee bountiful yields, even in times of drought. The best part? The dung was free, as long as they scooped it out of the stables themselves.
Kisshoutennyo, one of Lakshmi’s cousins, was visiting with Themis. She appeared when Heracles said he still had a decade’s worth of dung to clear out. She offered a solution. “Let’s do a night cream called, ‘Kissho Immortality Dung Mask.’”
“Who the $#!+ will use face cream made of $#!+?” asked a bewildered Heracles.
“Everyone,” replied Kisshoutennyo, not quite understanding what the problem was. “Ten minutes of this is going to snatch your face.”
“Are you seeing my office, though?” whined Heracles.
“Relax,” said Kisshoutennyo, “because I will help. But give me a second … Be right back.”
While they waited, Themis suggested mixing extra virgin olive oil (lamp fuel) and immortal bovine colostrum into the dung. These ingredients would prevent the cream from drying out. Two days later, the churning was turning into a new labour, and Heracles was not happy. They were well past the deadline and they had no packaging ready.
“I should have thought of packaging first,” Themis said. Then she got an idea. “Do you realise that we can use this mixture to make soap? No packaging necessary.”
“How?” asked Heracles.
“We have colostrum, which has water; olive oil, which is fat; and dung has lots of salt.”
Heracles’ eyes glazed over. He was, after all, just a guy with muscles who did stuff.
“We need a cauldron and some fire,” continued Themis.
Pointing to an urn containing lamp fuel, Heracles suggested, “Like, why don’t we use that and burn all the $#!+ in here?”
“That works better,” agreed Themis. By now, the noxious gasses in the stables were making her loopy. In spite of this, she put the cows out to pasture, and Heracles set the stables ablaze.
And as they chuckled to themselves, Kisshoutennyo appeared.
“Oooh, you’re done already?” she exclaimed. “You’re so hardworking.”
Themis glowered at her friend, flaring her nostrils. This prompted Heracles to stand between them.