Money Isn’t Everything

Keep your cash. A lot of people my age would rather swim in a Scrooge McDuck-sized pool of our own passion. It’s a fact many of us have worn on our sleeve: just give us the facilities and opportunities we want, and you’ll never have seen such a cheerful, hard-working person in your life.

According to Dan Pink, TED Conference Speaker and author of the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, this is not just a Gen-Y attitude, but something much more fundamental to human motivation as a whole.

Watch the video below for the full description of Pink’s theory. Since it’s more about the journey, I have no qualms ruining the ending for you: In a society where complicated tasks now require more conceptual, creative thinking, money does not motivate better results. In fact, if you want to produce more innovative thinking in your employees, you’re better off focusing less on promises of a higher salary and more on providing them control over their passion.

So money is a bad motivator for the kind of work many of us do today. If you promise me a higher salary, it won’t always equal greater work. But Dan phrased something about initial salary very well in his video: “If you don’t pay enough, people won’t be motivated…The best use of money as a motivator is to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table. Pay people enough so they’re not thinking about money; they’re thinking about the work.

Makes sense, right? It’s as basic as when you first learned Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If I’m worried about how I’m going to keep a roof over my head or pay for groceries, then work isn’t my greatest concern in life, is it? Instead, I would be more focused on getting more money from the job than being motivated to do the kind of quality work that earns more money for everyone.

After watching Dan’s video, how does your organization structure compare? Do you see potential weak points where you’re paying people less for mechanical tasks where they would be motivated with the promise of more pay? Do you see opportunities in areas of creative thinking where you could be giving people the “innovation bonus”? What ideas does this talk spark for you? Let’s start sharing those ideas and produce for each other better work and better lives.

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Where To Begin

This blog was never abandoned; just prioritized to the point of not being a priority.

In the course of time since my last post one might imagine much has taken place. One would be right.

First, I was working full-time freelance, copywriting for the boutique NYC ad agency, Fly Communications. While there, I handled web work for books under the Scholastic brand, dabbled in some new business pitches for Israel Tourism and the Harry Potter Book Series, and wrote some direct marketing pieces for American Express OPEN.

Commuting between New Jersey and New York, the basic gist of my life at that time was: eat, train, work, eat, work, train, eat, sleep, repeat. I used my weekends to enter a short story contest (I didn’t win) and act as a contributing writer to a Gen-Y blog project known as The Next Great Generation, or TNGG. This lifestyle carried on for around four months when a copywriter position opened up at Mullen Boston. “We’d like you to interview.” And so I did.

Now I’ve been in Boston since the beginning of February, working as a junior copywriter in Mullen’s digital creative department. It’s a great office filled with great folks and great thinking. I talk just as freely to people with a C in their title as I do with the interns. And don’t let the moniker “digital creative department” fool you, my position has me work equally on both digital and traditional media.

Once at Mullen, I first faced the matter of settling in and getting into the groove of all the separate brands I would work on. Then it became a matter of our new business pitch for the airline jetBlue. Being involved on that–working through four weekends in a row–it was a challenge that affirmed why I love what I do. The fact that we won their business didn’t hurt, either.

Now I’m all settled in, working hard and have my weekends back (sort of). That brings us back to this blog. Admittedly, I could have rebooted it sooner, but paralysis set in when I saw the date of my last post. I was a bit embarrassed. It was the internet equivalent of a bookshelf covered in dust and cobwebs.

So what was I to do? How would I overcome this anxious feeling? Where to begin? I thought today, and this post, would be a good start.

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Filed under Marketing/Advertising, Uncategorized

Hired to Wired

Tip 1: THIS. ISN'T. SPARTAA!!Exciting news. Last month, I picked up the opportunity to work freelance projects for Wired.com. After arriving in the office for a brainstorming session, I was assigned my first major project. The brief? Create a hookup guide for halloween, make it digg-worthy. Off I went and three hours later I had crafted Halloween Hookup Guide: 31 Tips for the 31st. Even though Halloween is over, like the candy, the memories remain. Check it out for some laughs, I hope you enjoy it.

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Merry Halloween

The Season

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Who Notices The Tadpole?

Picture 9 23-29-18StrawberryFrog is an agency I respect for both its personal branding and client work. When I first clicked on their site and browsed through the case studies, I was pretty impressed. Their philosophy revolves around the idea of creating a “cultural movement,” finding the ground on which a brand can equally stand and resonate with its intended audience. It’s supposed to be more than messaging–it’s about creating an idea where people want to be involved, hence, a movement. To better illustrate this, I highly recommend viewing the case studies on their site for Scion and Microsoft.

Although I’ve been a freelance copywriter for over a year, my dream job has been, and continues to be, obtaining a full-time position within an ad agency. Times are tough and I knew for a fact that StrawberryFrog had laid off seven of its junior level staff this past Summer. It’s clear they wouldn’t be hiring me, but maybe an internship was still possible. Ignoring the financial strain behind the prospect, I submitted my resume, portfolio, and cover letter to the email address specified by their secretary. There was no response and I’m not surprised. I’ve seen HR departments, they receive hundreds of resumes on a daily basis, nowadays even more, and the method I took wouldn’t help me stand out from any of them.

That’s when I had an idea.

Among all the collateral on StrawberryFrog’s site they feature an interactive booklet titled, frog versus dinosaur. In a children’s story format, it details how the big established agencies are “dinosaurs” and why StrawberryFrog is the next evolution in advertising. It’s fun, cheeky, and gives me a sense of their personality. Look through it first otherwise my next step is going to seem crazy, although that might be true regardless.

I decided to write and illustrate my own interactive booklet. Taking cues from their art style, I crafted a story about a StrawberryTadpole who one day dreamt of becoming a StrawberryFrog. For those slow on the metaphors, StrawberryTadpole is me. Once I created a gmail account for the occasion, I sent this booklet to the original address as well as the direct email of the Chief Executive, Scott Goodson, and, his second-in-command, Tiffany. But I didn’t stop there. I also created a twitter account @strawberrytpole, writing tweets from the character’s voice and @ing the Chief Executive when appropriate. All of this took place on October 7th and continued forward from that date–I waited, I tweeted, and hoped for the start of a conversation.

Picture 8

After all the time since October 7th, I received two responses. One was from a guy looking for work at StrawberryFrog, he read my booklet and thought I already worked there (at least I look the part). The other was on twitter from the Chief Executive himself, stating, “Cool.” In fact, due to the timing of the @ reply, his response likely wasn’t directed at the story I made, rather a tweet I sent him about a great pumpkin carving.

Picture 11-1

That’s the end of it. I couldn’t get a basic conversation, let alone discuss working for free. So, why post this failure at all? I could have kept it a secret and saved myself the shame. It’s because there’s no shame in taking a risk. I refused to sit idly and hope to get noticed–I got off my ass and tried to make things happen for myself. And, like a lot of good risks, it failed. I’m proud of the booklet I made. I’m proud of myself for taking a chance, dedicating hours to a project I knew full well might have zero return. And, the best part is, I’ll just keep moving on to the next thing, taking another risk. If StrawberryFrog ever decides to talk to me, they’re welcome to do so. The door is always open, I’m just not waiting by it anymore.

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Filed under Ideas, Marketing/Advertising, Shameless Self Promo

Phillies Game: The Phinal Mission

baseballI was never much of a baseball player growing up, the positions I was assigned are proof of that. Far left field and catcher–both required little movement on my part, especially left field (honestly, how many kids do you think were hitting out that far?). Still, who could pass on all the lemon-lime gatorade and big league chew that came with dawning a recreational league uniform? Not me. Skilled or not, I saw it through and can thank baseball for some of my best memories, the fondest of which resides in Shea stadium.

When you’re ten years old, it’s one thing to play in little league, but it’s another to visit a major league stadium with your Dad. Can you imagine the first time? The sheer scale of the structure. The tremendous roar of the crowd. A magical world where items as basic as water are sold for five times their regular value. Ahh yes, the ball park is a wonderful place to be. So when Ford told me that this month was my opportunity to see a live baseball game, my second one ever, I was sold.

Truth be told, even with television available, I hadn’t really watched baseball or many other traditional sports since that trip with my Dad. If I do watch any sports on TV, they’re always more obscure, stuff like World’s Strongest Man, Sumo, Lumberjacking, and Competitive Eating–basically anything that would air on ESPN2. However, my lack of “game-watching experience” wouldn’t damper my excitement because this wasn’t just any live game, but Game 4 of the playoffs for the title-defending Phillies. This game was part of a bigger story, and, after thirteen years since my last live game, I was going to be a part of it.

You can watch the video at the bottom of the post for a glimpse into the Fiesta shenanigans. My friend, Angel, and I were seated in the 32nd row by the third base side. They were awesome seats (Thanks Ford!). Before you jump to the video, there were three things which I consider highlights from the game that weren’t included in the footage:

1) We were seated in a section with the only two visible Dodger’s fans in full fan garb. They seemed like nice enough guys, but fan tensions wouldn’t allow something like good-nature get in the way. Their presence definitely stirred the sea of red jerseys and led to many hilarious/tense moments when they cheered their visiting team.

2) The Kiss Cam is something they do in stadiums to rouse the crowd. If it lands on you, you’ll see yourself on the big screen, and that means it’s smooching time. Of course, this can usually lead to some funny moments where they accidentally picked a brother and sister, causing them to feel incredibly out of place. However, this Kiss Cam segment was punctuated by the operator focusing on a lone visitor in the stadium. He was way up in the corner, talking on his cell phone, oblivious to his presence on the giant screen. The tune All By Myself began to play, and that, my friends, is comedy.

3) It got a lot colder toward the end of the game so I was in the mood for some hot chocolate. My friend, Angel, was already leaving to get himself a soda and asked if I wanted anything. I told him “hot chocolate.” He asked if I wanted anything on it. I thought to myself, maybe whipped cream or marshmellows, but then shook my head ‘no’ deciding the stadium might charge extra for such a luxury. He then returned, placing a hot dog in my lap. He swears I said, “hot dog.” I swear I said, “hot chocolate.” We both swear it was hilarious.

Well, in the words of Michael Jackson’s World Tour: this is it. This was my final mission of six and my time with the Fiesta will wind down along with the month of October. You can view the full extent of my adventures at the fiestamovement site. What else can I say after an experience like this? Even long roads end.

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Filed under Ford Fiesta

Black Tie Unfair

Formalities

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