Get uncomfortable with your tools

This seems so obvious but it’s one of those things, like healthy habits, that we forget to do in the rush of daily responsibility.

We spend a lot of time getting systems and tools together that work seamlessly for us. Now, get uncomfortable. Get splinters.

Spend a day, preferably more, dependent on a platform/product that’s not your daily go-to.

Hide your laptop and only use your phone. For everything. Like most of your audience.

If that phone’s an iPhone, get an Android device. Like most of the world.

Go on a trip with only one device.

Use only Internet Explorer for a few days (I know, I know, ow, I said uncomfortable).

“I can’t use IE, I only have a Mac and the simulators don’t work.” USE A PC FOR A WHILE. USE WINDOWS. Apple is fifth or sixth globally in desktop market share this month, depending on whom you listen to.  (I am 1000% guilty as charged on this one.)

Do all your designs/approvals on a triple Thunderbolt display? (I’m guilty of this, too.) Don’t look at them in a big, glossy, pricey format for a few days.

What’s important is to do this not only in product testing (“does it work on IE?”) but in daily life, to understand the real experiences of your real consumers.



I’ve been asked to explain programmatic buying.

So….remember when you, or someone on your team, would review (hopefully on a daily basis at least) your digital ad performance, and re-allocate the buys immediately to optimize your spend? Requiring six calls to one or more agencies and probably a few arguments along the way.

Most tasks like this are better when machines do ’em.

Programmatic buying is part of marketing automation. Set your parameters and you can optimize in real time.

You’ll still be reviewing constantly, but you’ll be far more efficient, and you’ll learn a lot from the patterns that emerge.


Why Online's Unbeatable; or, why the Grateful Dead legacy has more life than newspapers

Bring Out Your Dead
It’s accepted wisdom by now that newsprint as it has existed for centuries is headed towards extinction. The Web is more immediate; TV seems more personal. But stepping away from the newsroom towards the cultural beat, here’s a lifestyle example of why printed matter cannot compete with the Internet. .
This article, about the vast world of Dead recordings and the band’s living legacy,
is a great story and we enjoyed reading it in our Sunday NYT. A few days later, our friend Channon brought up the article to us. A great story, yes, he said – but the best part? The best part to him was the hundreds of reader photos of Dead shows over the years that had since been submitted to the Times online.
This user-generated photo collection, which amounts to a very personal history of the Dead
, gives context, community, and excitement to the original story. The Times has also made available online audio excerpts and a link to a Dead roundtable moderated by the NYT.
Really, this says it all. The online piece is interactive and multimedia. It is alive, evolves and grows via user interaction. The print piece can only live in its moment, and quickly becomes irrelevant.