27 December 2007


Designed by Rachel Landry

Quote for Thought

"It's upon us to dig deeper every time and if you're not getting better, you deserve a lashing. If you can't do it, let someone else step in." Sean Penn, Vogue, October 2007

Mom's Words To Live By

GROWTH Just as when we were children and grew out of favorite toys and clothes, we sometimes grow out of things as adults - people, jobs, and homes. This can be confusing. We may wonder why someone or something that was so special and important to us last year doesn't fit the same way in our life today. We may wonder why our feelings have changed. When we were children, we may have tried to fit an outgrown article of clothing on to our body. Now, as adults, we may go through a time of trying to force fit attitudes that we have outgrown. We may need to do this to give ourselves time to realize the truth. What worked last year, what was so important and special to us in times past, doesn't work anymore because we've changed. We've grown. We can accept this as a valid and important part of growth. We can let ourselves go through experimentation and grief as we struggle to make something fit, trying to figure out if indeed it no longer fits, and why. We can explore our feelings and thoughts around what has happened. Then, we can put last year's toys away and make room for the new. Today, I will let last year's toys be what they were: last year's toys. I will remember them with fondness for the part they played in my life. Then, I will put them away and make room for the new.

21 December 2007

Holiday Thought from Howard Tullman

"Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A Happiness weapon. A Beauty Bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one first--before we tried anything else. It would explode high in the air--explode softly--and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth--boxes of Crayolas. And we shouldn't go cheap either--not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination instead of death."

19 December 2007

DVD Cover for Hillary Clinton - A Friends' Perspective

Designed by Rachel Landry

18 December 2007

Signal Vs. Noise (Jason Fried's Blog)

Neil Wilson asks:
"Get Ink is the fundamental marketing mantra. You guys are natural self-promoters. What do you find is the best way of getting your name in the frame?"
10 ideas that come to mind when I think about ways to get people to notice you/your product: 1. Provide something of value. The first step is recognizing that marketing is asking for someone else’s time and attention. You need to provide something worthy of those valuable commodities. So keep your message brief and interesting. When you educate or entertain other people, they’ll pay attention. If you bore them, they won’t. 2. Know your hook. Imagine you are a reporter who wants to write an article about your company. What’s the hook? What’s the angle that will be interesting to someone who normally wouldn’t care about your software? We’ve got a lot of mileage in the press out of staying small and focusing on “less.” What’s unique about your story? 3. Stand for something. Know and expose your company’s philosophy and mantras. 37signals started with a manifesto back when we launched as a design firm. Even though it’s from 1999 and our company has evolved a ton since then, you can see the seeds of many of our current ideas there. That sort of belief foundation will help guide you (and others) to your story. 4. Get your face out there. It’s tempting to think you can do it all from a keyboard. But emails are a poor substitute for real, face-to-face interactions. Go to conferences and meetups, take someone you admire out to lunch, etc. It’s ok to “network” — just don’t be a douche about it. Which leads to… 5. Try to build real, sustained relationships. Actually be a friend instead of a guy trying to get something. Keep your interactions human (a sincere, honest note will go a lot further than a buzzwordy press release). Seek out ways to help others. It’ll all come back to you. 6. It’s the message, not the amount you spend on it. Companies that spend tons of ad/PR dollars to convince people their products are worthwhile are like guys who spend lots of money on gifts and dinners to woo a woman. What kind of relationship are they really building? Successful customer relationships are like any other long-term relationship: They start with a foundation of communication and showing you care about the other person. 7. Give stuff away for free. (I don’t think this contradicts the previous point but maybe?) People love free. Offer a free version of your product, provide coupon codes, etc. Whenever we include a coupon code in a newsletter, there’s a big uptick in upgrades. 8. Ride the wave. Seek momentum and ride it. Is everyone buzzing about the iPhone? Then make an iPhone app. Are people interested in rapid development processes? Then blog about building your app in, say, under a month. Find out what people are talking about already and then figure out a way to get in the picture. 9. Be in it for the long haul. Recognize that promotion, like other aspects of building a company, takes time and effort. If you’re starting from scratch, you have to claw your way up. It’s uncanny how many “overnight success stories” you hear about are actually people who busted their asses for years to get into the position where something might take off. Don’t expect instant recognition. 10. Be undeniably good. Steve Martin was on Charlie Rose last week. At the very end, he gave his advice to someone who’s trying to make it in any field: “Be undeniably good.” When people ask me how do you make it in show business or whatever, what I always tell them — And nobody ever takes note of it ‘cuz it’s not the answer they wanted to hear. What they want to hear is here’s how you get an agent, here’s how you write a script, here’s how you do this — But I always say, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” If somebody’s thinking, “How can I be really good?”, people are going to come to you. It’s much easier doing it that way than going to cocktail parties.That’s some good advice. Go out and make something that kicks ass and people will notice. From Signal Vs. Noise (a weblog from 37Signals)

10 December 2007

05 December 2007

Flashpoint Holiday Party

Mary Owczarski Is Flying South (to Nashville, that is!)

Grace is Gone

Saw a screening of the new movie "Grace Is Gone," starring John Cusack last night at the Midwest Film Festival (held every month at the Landmark Century Theatre in Chicago). It is a very touching story about a father who cannot bear to tell his two young daughters that their mother has been killed in the Iraq war. The storyline is simple and there is a slow quality about the movie but it does a great job of depicting the everyday man dealing with the grievances that come with war. Although the mother was killed in the war, the movie is not about war, but rather the lives back home and the whole concept of life and death in general. Tear jerker indeed.
Synopsis: Grace Is Gone is a film starring John Cusack as a father who does not want to tell his two daughters that their sergeant mother has died in Iraq. Desperate to delay telling the children they embark on a spontaneous road trip. The farther they drive the closer they become yet Stanley knows he must face the inevitable task of changing their lives forever.

Flashpoint Poster for Chevy Chase

created by Rachel Landry for Flashpoint Academy