Thursday, May 7, 2009

It's all happening at your local Starbuck's

This spring I find it particularly difficult to concentrate in the afternoons if I am working from home, so I usually head out to one of my local Starbucks for one of those Green tea Arnold Palmer's (refreshing). During these outings I bring my laptop and cell phone to stay connected and actually get tons of work done, by work I mean freelance writing and web design projects, and my full time job of finding a job. What I have observed is an amazing cross section of business and dating going on. I have overheard people discussing new business ventures, meeting with recruiters, advertisers, sales reps, you name it, and I have also overheard at least a dozen "scratch & sniffs" (that's what I call those first coffee dates), I even overheard a breakup..... Coming from LA, this is how business was done in that town, people would joke that many deals got done over a latte, perhaps this is a trend that is spreading across America as we deconstruct the traditional corporate world? I wonder.....I also wonder why doesn't Starbucks capitalize on this? Can you imagine the product extensions and possibilities? I can, and often do on my outings.....maybe I'm just a natural born marketer and can't help it.....

OK I gotta get back to re-writing my resume for the 100th time this year......

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Totally Tuned in to doing good via Social Networks

Recently I have been learning a great deal about the Social Media environment and am totally tuned in to the amazing posibilities that it can offer marketers, organizations and people alike. One of the best things about these Social Media Networks  is that it can propel grassroots efforts, and that unlike traditional grassroots, these network are not limited by geography.  

One of the best efforts to date has been Mashable's "This Week, Tweat to Beat Leukemia!", an idea hatched at SXSW.  They are Tweeting and using their Facebook audience to raise money, I have posted this on my Facebook page and I'm re-tweeting. Besides the initial messages, there are updates on the funds raised, and lots of comments from all over the world.  I initially was hooked by this effort because it is  a cause near and dear to my heart,  my sister in-law passed away from Leukemia just 2 and a half years ago, but it obviously has touched many more people all over the world because they are almost at their fundraising goal.  I can see how all kinds of Charities and other organizations can use this effectively to raise funds and awareness of the work that they are doing - it's a new fundraising model for the new economy, and with fundraising significantly down, this is an amazing tool. 

I recently got involved in a campaign for Share our Strength but it was not as effective or as interactive as this effort. Another good story was Magianos restaurants recent drive to build their Twitter community,  they offered a chance to win gift certificates to their restaurants for those that started following them on Twitter - not sure how many they where able to add, but very clever tactic, they got me to follow them.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bartering in the new economy

A friend of mine, Maria Rita Caso has performed a career reinvention, she has become a very successful life and relationship coach, In one of our recent exchanges she turned me on to some sites that are working on the premise of barter - I absolutely loved this idea, and started thinking that this may be a way that the "new" economy may work - going back to basics, why not? You may not be flush with cash right now, but you will always have marketable skills that are worth something - if you can exchange them for what you need, fantastic! We still need cash to pay the bills - I don't think that my utilities are interested in my marketing or production skills .... but still I may be able to find a hairdresser, a vacation rental or masseuse that may need my skills...

Here are some sites that I have come across - I do not endorse any of them... judge for yourself....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

CMO's and Advertising Agencies

A recent report by Jupiter Research cites that corporate CMO's are experiencing greater pressure for ROI, and are increasingly dissatisfied with their advertising agencies and overall performance. Of course the pressure is on, and as the economy continues to slip this trend will continue and only get worse. Corporations, are seeking answers on survival, and what it will take to make it in the new economy, what's the shift that will be necessary in order to make it? great business for consultants....not for advertising agencies.

Bad news always tends to roll downhill, so as CMO's continue to experience pressure from their Boards, the trend of dissatisfaction will no doubt continue, perhaps it will mean some great opportunities for new "hybrid" agencies, or an all together different model for doing business. Another trend we might see is one where Corporations would absorb some of the traditionally outsourced marketing/advertising roles internally. This would make sense because of the deep pool of great talent that has been displaced, it would offer Corporations more control and cut out a significant expense.

It will be interesting to see where the new opportunities will exist.

The Cult of Done - Manifesto

James Provost - poster for the Cult of Done Manifesto.

When I found The Cult of Done Manifesto I just loved it! How could this thinking not have been laid down in words before? Wish I had been the one to do it.... because it's so relevant to how we live today. Here it is...... words to live by today and tomorrow.....

The Cult of Done Manifesto - by Bre Pettis and Kio Stark

The Cult of Done Manifesto

  1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
  2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
  3. There is no editing stage.
  4. Pretending you know what you're doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you're doing even if you don't and do it.
  5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
  6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
  7. Once you're done you can throw it away.
  8. Laugh at perfection. It's boring and keeps you from being done.
  9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
  10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
  11. Destruction is a variant of done.
  12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
  13. Done is the engine of more.
OK I am a self admitted "Geek Girl" and nerd, so I printed this up and posted it right in front of me...... will you do the same?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

An advertising agency called "Nothing" launches in Amsterdam - yeap "Nothing"

An advertising agency called "Nothing" launches in Amsterdam - yeah "Nothing" and their gimmick is to make everything in the office out of cardboard boxes......uhhhh - why? The founders Michael Jansen and Bas Korsten (ex-DDB Executive CD')s wanted the Nothing office to reflect -
"an independent entrepreneurial agency that delivers innovation and commercial creativity for local and international clients out of a cardboard box".
Check out a time lapse video of how they built this office on Adland. Personally, I HATE the smell of cardboard boxes (ewww), and they are too utilitarian and ugly for my interior decorating taste - so I would hate to work amongst all that, but I really like the whole integrated marketing approach behind the agency, which is to create brand experiences, and services that range from product innovation, store design, employee training programs and TV campaigns.

Monday, March 9, 2009

New Agency Production Contracts ? Re-examine the agency role as "agent" for their clients

I have been following the "buzz" regarding this latest move by Omnicom.......While this has been a "practice" by agencies for many years, (norm in the US Hispanic market). I have often heard, "we haven't gotten paid by the client, therefore we can't pay you yet", and this has happened to me with BIG clients, no one except the agency is supposed to bankroll their clients - frankly I never had deep enough pockets to do so.....

If agencies that are part of well bankrolled Groups such as Omnicom will not assume liability, then the role of the agency when it comes to production needs to be re-examined. Perhaps the
AICP should propose that the client hire the production company directly, therefore eliminating the agencies exposure, and therefore their role as an agent on behalf of their client. Many agencies don't get a mark-up when it comes to production anyway, and frankly with "hybrid" Producer's like myself (adept & able to work both sides), who needs to hire both a traditional Agency Producer or Line Producer..... And if the client hires the Production Company directly, it would at least ensures a collection "position" if the worst case scenario where to occur - a bankruptcy.
Agencies like to have good relationships with their vendors, it benefits everyone in the end, and I don't believe that anyone wants to leave anyone "holding the bag" - but that is exactly what this verbiage allows for....... time to rethink this....

Check out the article that started all of this buzz Omnicom Enforces production Contracts

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Developing entrepreneurship among the world’s poorest

If you are feeling crappy about the economy or mad at Wall Street I recommend you see this extremely compelling and uplifting interview with Acumen Fund founder and CEO Jacqueline Novogratz in the McKinsey Quarterly. She is a passionate speaker, I don't understand why the McKinsey Quarterly Editor - Bill Javetski interviewed her (he's a dud)..... but she more than makes up for it.

The Acumen Fund is a non-profit global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of global poverty
"We seek to prove that small amounts of philanthropic capital, combined with large doses of business acumen, can build thriving enterprises that serve vast numbers of the poor. Our investments focus on delivering affordable, critical goods and services – like health, water, housing and energy – through innovative, market-oriented approaches."

The article and interview center on the publication of her newly released book The Blue Sweater, Bridging the Gap between Rich and Poor in an interconnected world.

The traditional Advertising Agency model - RIP?

Besides "my career reinvention & the great job hunt of '09" , writing this blog and other ordinary stuff.... I have been reading and learning, my field of interest has been focused on new media, interactive/digital, personal branding & social media marketing etc.... this is not only the future, but the present of advertising.

Recently I had a conversation with an old friend from college, he basically confirmed what I had been feeling for the past 5 years, the traditional advertising agency model is dead (don't feel sad, it had a loooooong life). What will replace these monoliths ? Swifter smaller shops, will clients still insist on a "one stop shop" mentality? Will it be segmented and niched? My early professional roots are in the US Hispanic side of the business, and this "time" reminds me of the early days in that business, where we where in the midst of defining ourselves and doing it at the same time, there where few rules to play by, and it all emerged quickly. What will define the leaders of this next era? Who are the leaders leading the charge? And what will the shop of the future look like?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Women 2.0 Start-Up Competition

Ladies with ideas...... I came across this and am totally fascinated by the is NOT limited to women, but there has to be one woman in a lead function. This is a competition geared towards entrepreneurs, and finding the next great idea.

Women 2.0 is a San Francisco based organization devoted to increasing the number of start-ups led by women.

Amongst their many sponsors - here are some of my personal favorites: "Girls in Tech", "Girl Geek Dinner" , "Ladies who Launch", "invinicibelle"

The third-annual Women 2.0 Pitch 2009: Startup Competition is open to early-stage ventures around the world, from high growth business ventures in web 2.0 to mobile and biotech, consumer clean tech to consumer hardware. Applying companies must be in beta-stage and have not received significant funding. Teams with at least ONE FEMALE in the founding team are invited to compete for a chance to win:

One-on-one meeting with Michael Moritz from Sequoia Capital

3 months of office space and mentoring
from Plug and Play Tech Center

PR strategy from JonesPR

Marketing strategy from MWW Group

Legal support from Pillsbury

What do Disney, HP, and Microsoft have in common? These iconic American companies started in tough economic times. Despite the downturn in the economy, many entrepreneurs and VCs are saying that now is a great time to start a

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Your Google Results & your job search

Your personal Google search results, are extremely important during your job search... and even in every day life. For example, I Google people all the time to get to know more about them.

Dan Schawbel , the author of Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success, makes the point that your Google results are your "resume" professionally and personally, HOW TO: Take Control of Your Google Search Results . If you think of yourself as a brand, and you should, then you have to take control of the information that is easily available about you. It takes a bit of work, and being "creative" but it's very important to make sure that there is information about you, and most importantly, that its accurate.

I have started to think of myself more as a "brand", and am think of how to successfully "brand myself" - now that is trickier......

Monday, February 23, 2009

“Reinventing Innovation.”

Recently, I read some excerpts from a fascinating book on success and innovation "Outliers, The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell was invited to speak at a conference in Canada on "Reinventing Innovation". The transcript of his speech is published in "I have an Idea" Advertising's Intellectual Archive.

One of the premises of the book is that, innovators can be divide into two broad groups. The first group called ‘conceptual innovators’, are the people who have the big, bold, breakthrough ideas, and they execute them very quickly. The second group is 'experimental innovators', those who do not have one big bold central idea. Experimental innovators may never have a big, bold, breakthrough idea. By virtue they are experimental and open to trying new things and learn from failure - using failure to launch their next move.This process is not "efficient" by business standards but can lead to great success and genius. After all part of success is learning from your past experiences..... especially your failures.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The basics of the new job search......

Amy Hoover from the TalentZoo, lays out the fundamentals you will need in order to get the job search going, Job Search 101.

I would also add, that networking is still your best resource for finding work, reach out to everyone and anyone you think can help you find a job, or recommend you to someone who can help you find a job - do NOT be shy. Pursue informational interviews, promise to keep them brief - 15 minutes on the phone, people who actually have jobs are very busy these days often wearing "multiple hats", but if you can score one of these, be well prepared with questions and ask for insights, and finally, don't forget to follow-up.

Amy Hoover is considered an industry expert in employment practices and trends. She can be reached at,, and wants you to friend her on Facebook, too.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What will shape the next era in advertising - The best ideas

This article reminded of something I witnessed first hand - the great economic crisis in Argentina and the tremendous creativity that ensued. No matter what financial crisis, these Argentine agencies kept wining awards for their creativity. During that time, when the Argentine dollar was totally devalued, I had the opportunity to work there quite often, producing commercials with some of the most creative and talented people I have ever had the pleasure of working with.... it was an amazing time.......and proved to me that great ideas don't need exorbitant budgets, just carefully crafted messages and executions.

The truth is that smart marketers understand that there is never a time to let their guard down, and that investment in advertising is a necessity in order to keep their brands alive, and their consumers engaged and buying their products - how they deploy those budget will change dramatically. I don't believe that the :30 message in traditional broadcast will be the medium of choice. Instead, I see that advertisers are looking at more creative and targeted ways of communicating their message to their potential consumers - both conceptually and in their placement. No doubt, digital is the standout medium, others are mobile and targeted social networking. Creatively, we will also begin to see more comedy, because who doesn't need to laugh during these times? Testimonials will also be big, because they are simple and generally easy and cheap to produce.

Todd TilfordSo what will shape the next era, as best put by Todd Tilford, ECD, Grey/N.Y " Ideas will shape the next economic era just as they always have. May the best ideas win. "

Check out this article in Creativity - by the top creative minds in the advertising industry - Upside Downturn

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Digital Evolution/Revolution

Lately, many people I know have been laid off, joining the swelling ranks of the "underemployed". Last week alone, 3 people I know in advertising got laid off, well actually in one case the company is closing it's doors completely after millions of dollars went "bye bye".....

When I got laid off last month, instead of going to commiserate with my fellow "underemployed", I went home took out my email address book, crafted a little email explaining the situation and sent it to over 300 contacts. I got busy "networking" because it's better to put that energy into finding work. The responses I got back have been incredibly varied, but the most interesting have been from recruiters.

It is clear that the ONLY segment of the industry that is growing and currently hiring is the digital/interactive realm. My difficulty has been to help recruiters and their clients understand how my skill set translates into that realm. Many (not all) recruiters, like their clients continue to think inside the "box" - perhaps that is why I have never gotten a job from my resume or a recruiter, my career and experience just do not fit neatly in that box.....but according to many of the leading thinkers in this new digital age, that is exactly the type of experience and thinking that will help move the industry forward.

I have read dozens of articles recently about the digital world and how it has changed the industry, here is one written by Alan Wolk, who is considered to be one of the most distinctive voices to come out of the creative side of the ad business "Advertising After The Real Digital Revolution"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Putting on your best face

Maybe it's because I am the daughter of Cuban immigrants that I refuse to let this recent turn of the economy get me down, but am instead looking for the opportunities... my parents came here with nothing except their wits and their education and made a good life for our family. They taught me never to be afraid, and to be resourceful during hard times. I have to remember that they had nothing when they got here and that you have to work hard and persevere in even the toughest times. This is still after all the US, and eventually it will again return to being the land of opportunity - it's just going to be different opportunities. As they say in Spanish "A mal tiempo buena cara" that means during hard times put on your best face!

Here is an article about people in the mid-west who are doing just that.

Ex-G.M. Workers Try to Reboot Their Lives

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How to think like a Market Rebel and not a boring bureauocrat

Since I am always trying to think like an innovator.......this piece in The McKinsey Quarterly really struck a chord......... plus the title is really fun "Market rebels and radical innovation" . The author Hayagreeva Rao is the Atholl McBean Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.

If you can get past the fact that this man (looks like Jabba The Hut) should never be in front of the camera, what he says is fascinating, and makes so much sense. He briefly cites some case studies - like Nike and Personal Computing, and the enormous impact that these 2 have had.

Innovation and "rebels" will lead the way into the next big money making opportunities, both in specific niches and in the overall economy. I guarantee you these opportunities will NOT come from anywhere in corporate America, where even in the most creative environments - creativity has been sucked dry.......

It's not about thinking of the next trend but identifying with it, I believe this happens through your peer groups and grassroots just have to "listen" to what's happening amongst the people you know, etc And when you figure it out - please let me know!

The Lemonade Makers

Yesterday, while doing my daily "cruise" of job boards & industry news, I came across - Recession Wire - the upside of the downturn
These ladies validated my belief that there is always an opportunity to make money in any economy.... you just have to figure out where and how. All 3 of the founders of RW have lost their jobs due to lay-offs and put in their own words - they "decided to turn misfortune into opportunity. Inspired to capture the stories and improve the lives of urban professionals who, like them, were getting effed by the economy, they founded a website in early 2009. And that’s how Recessionwire was born–as a pop-up site™, ready and willing to die.

This is truly making lemonade out of lemons!

I'm only sorry I didn't come up with this concept myself..... hmmm perhaps there is an opportunity for some other kind of related site...... I will be thinking about it all day today, while I work at searching high and low for potential career opportunities and reinventing myself - and that's work!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's a brand new day!

This has been a really amazing time in my life - both equally good and bad, dark and light! So much has happened that I have rarely had a moment to reflect about it over the last 24 months..... But recently, along with so many other Americans, I lost my job due to "layoffs".

So I'm taking on this "underemployment" (yes thats what my new term is going to be for my current situation) and I am going to write about life.... and my random observations.... and experiences, as a woman who is facing some major crossroads and reinvention, just like so many other people are.....

So watch out world, here goes lots of random thoughts.... and maybe a little wisdom......