Posts by: Kristin Thompson
Sadly, my time at Myjive is up. I am looking forward to my new job and team, but there are certain things you learn in a digital shop with a heart of gold. Certain things you take with you for life. Here’s my list:
- Your worth as an individual is not determined by your foosball skills. However, you will be mocked mercilessly once your name is associated with a certain score-on-oneself maneuver.
- iWork Numbers is a wizard. It can do just about anything in the way of organizing. You can spend a whole day submerged in formulas and rules. And it will be fulfilling if you are as “Type-A” as I am.
- Process is ever-changing. Especially in the digital realm where there are new technologies every week. Don’t get bogged down. Choose to evolve.
- You’ve heard it before: content is indeed king. A good website is not only user friendly, it is actually interesting and worthwhile to said user.
- Exclamation points are not beloved by all. Don’t let the haters bring you down!
- Versions and Beanstalk will save your life (and your files) at least once every three months.
- If you are the only chick in the office, expect hair, outfit, and shoe compliments to be few and far between.
- Pandora will play Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros‘ break-out song “Home” regardless of your station.
- Cognitive dissonance is a pain. In this office, I am easily in the bottom of the ranks for digital know-how. I can only partially speak in the highly technical nature of our well-equipped and expert developers and interactive designers. And yet, in the real world, it would seem that I am actually quite far ahead of the curve. Remember: don’t take your digital know-how for granted.
- Taylor Swift is the ultimate punishment for getting to meetings late. I have put “22″ on repeat enough to make even the biggest teenage fangirl a little tired of the beat.
- 10,000ft is the best time tracking tool in the industry. Period.
- When you are leaving a place as close to your heart as the amazing shop that is Myjive, try not to cry too much. It’s bad for your eye liner and it’s dehydrating.
There are a ton more lessons wrapped in my year and a half here. Enough to write blog posts for ages. Last Thursday was my last day and I have an adventure lunch to attend and a foosball game to lose.
When I first uprooted from Richmond for my new home in Charlotte, I got a ton of questions. Here is a transcript of a conversation I had about a trillion times in the weeks leading up and following my big move to the Queen City.
Them: Why Charlotte?
Me: To be closer to my precious baby nephew and (less importantly) big sister.
Them: Do you know anyone in Charlotte?
Me: Not a soul.
Them: Where are you going to live?
Me: I found a roommate on Craigslist.
Them: Where are you working? My-what?
Me: Myjive. No capital J. No space. A brilliant digital shop that does amazing things for the likes of Regal Boats and NAPA.
Them: And what exactly will you be doing?
Me: I am joining Myjive as a Digital Producer.
Them: A what?
Me: A producer. Just like Timbaland.
It was mostly a joke. Partly because they were still afraid for my life after finding out that I signed up for a Craigslist roommate and I needed to lighten the mood. Partly because explaining all the roles and responsibilities would take ages. But mostly because I didn’t fully know what I was getting myself into.
The term Project Manager, Interactive Producer and Digital Producer seem to be popping up all over the digital (and now even traditional) advertising world.
So what does the ambiguous title mean?
Turns out, it means a lot.
Producers run projects from start to finish working with clients, internal teams and vendors. It is a diverse and engaging job that will always keep you on your toes and sometimes make you pull out your hair. It’s a fulfilling, exciting, and stressful role for Type-A personalities who work well in teams and strive constantly to improve process and product.
So what’s the day-to-day? Producers keep an eye on budget, timelines and big-picture strategy. Producers are risk managers who work across disciplines to make sure the final product, whether it be an iPad game or a new website, meets client expectations. Unlike an Account Manager or Executive at a traditional agency (see: Pete Campbell on Mad Men), producers can handle all aspects of a project from client communication to keeping the team on task and under budget. The difference depends on the project. Digital projects — because of the ever changing nature and many-faceted options — are typically more complex. As Joe Burton, EVP, Chief Operating Officer for McCann Worldgroup’s San Francisco operations put it: “Digital projects typically do not provide the same level of predictability as found in traditional productions. To a large extent, digital lacks the repetitive development that can exist in a print or TV production where known inputs can generally provide an expected output at a consistent and predictable price. Interactive producers are handling significantly higher volumes of assets that require cross-disciplinary collaboration ranging from the highly standardized to the highly complex.”
So, yes, producers are sometimes cat wranglers, sometimes babysitters and sometimes decision makers. A producer is a catch-all who knows a little bit about a lot of topics and clearly communicates from one team to another. Producers set deadlines and expectations. They are diplomats with a keen social IQ who can figure out how to motivate a diverse team of designers, copywriters and developers.
So, yeah. I am a producer who leads a team of artists to work collaboratively to the beat of a single drummer and create an amazing product. A lot like Timbaland, actually.
I’m a bit of what you might call a type-A personality. I make my bed every morning and can go through a new canitser of Clorox wipes in 4 days flat. And while it might drive my roommate crazy, it has it’s advantages as a Traffic Manager.
At traditional agencies, there are folders of proofs and notes sealed and packaged with a job jacket that gets passed from desk to desk. At Myjive, we avoid paper like the rhinovirus. So how do we stay digitally organized? Here are few of my favorite tools that keep me on point professionally and personally.
You might have already heard the hype. Mailbox is a new, super intuitive app built for the iPhone. According to organizational mastermind David Allen, the most efficient way to deal with email is to read it only once and decide in that moment to act: save or delete. This is where Mailbox is so handy. It allows you to swipe to archive, delete, add to a folder or set a reminder. It’s so simple yet brilliant. The ultimate goal is a empty inbox. And it works — an email from friends about a winery tour this weekend? Remind me after 5:30. My Mint.com monthly financial summary? Save it to the Money folder. Immediate client need? Respond now and delete. It is powerful and so easy to use and I am smitten, just like the rest of iPhone owners.
Warning: There is a bit of a queue to get this free app so download now. It is worth the wait.
This remarkably simple yet beautiful to-do list app is a long-time favorite for yours truly. Clear allows you to create simple lists, add to do items, and swipe to check off or delete tasks. The user interface is gorgeous and there is a touch of gamifcation built in that lets you add new themes and colors. There isn’t much to it and that’s what makes it powerful. From grocery lists to packing lists, I use this app on a daily basis to keep me on track.
Paperless offices are wonderfully eco-friendly and my desk has never been less cluttered. But archiving digital files can be a pain. doo, a new file management app, connects to laptop file folders, DropBox and email. The intelligent tagging system allows you to easily describe and automatically sort files into the appropriate folder. I keep my desk clean, doo keeps my desktop clean, and I am panic attack free for the foreseeable future.
Saying I go to a lot of meetings is like saying Taylor Swift goes through a lot of breakup songs. It’s a bit of an understatement. So, what keeps me on track? Tempo, another newly released app, pulls all pertinent meeting information into a single app. From phone numbers to email attachments to time and date to contact details, Tempo grabs from every source so you don’t have to.
• • •
That’s it for now. A new app pops up every 3 months or so that I am certain I never lived without. And when that happens, I will be sure to keep you in the loop. I have it on a checklist on Clear. So, don’t worry.
Ever played two truths and a lie? You say three statements about yourself – two of them are true and one is a lie. Let’s try it:
1. I did not know the price of a stamp without looking it up online.
2. I buy my paper towels online.
3. I do not have a check book.
1. True. I did not know the price of a stamp. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the feel of an actual paper card, it’s just that I only use them for special occasions. I send birthday cards. I went all out for Christmas this year with eco-friendly recycled cheeky holiday puns. When it comes to gifts, I don’t even consider the cost. I just do it.
2. True. Why? Because Amazon has everything. And Soap.com automatically refills my medicine cabinet without me having to keep track. Plus, the deals are outrageous. I can usually get a better price online in half the time without the need for printed paper (thanks PaperKarma).
3. Lie! I do have a checkbook. Somewhere. I think. I just haven’t used it since 2008. I use my bank’s paperless statements feature and elected to receive eBills whenever possibly. With services like PopMoney and Taxi Magic, I have no need for cash, let alone checks. And if you have a check, you need a pen. And that is just asking a little too much in my humble opinion.
So why do these facts about me matter? I’m just one of many. And my generation is changing the methods of consumer communication.
Outgoing? I rarely send a letter or notecard unless the personal touch is required. I never use it for bills or boring adult stuff. Instead, mail is a way for me to be personal with my besties, nephew and far-away chums.
Incoming? I get about as many packages as I do envelopes. No bills, no junk bail, no fliers. Just half-birthday cards from my mom and mix CDs from my girls in Virginia. And yet, there is something new on its way to me from 1800PetMeds or JCrew as often as not.
Mail is changing as online interaction continues to affect the young consumer.
With ease and growth of texting and online chatting, I still prefer a personalized greeting card. Even if it is printed from SomeEcards. Anyone can tell you: I love social media and live for my iPhone, but there’s something that just says “I Love You” about a postmarked card.
With a small attention span and a smaller budget, I get my deals with little effort online. I auto-sort my email and use my banking app to deposit checks without ever setting foot outside of my office. Shopping online has become as much a utility as it is fun. I use my browser like my parents use a stamp.
Boiled down: What does this mean? Function over form, guys. Making apps with super-duper functionality or online tools with options that make my life easier? You just won the oft-coveted millennial generation. And my heart. Lucky dog.
Image source: someecards.com
I love socializing. And if you ask anyone, they will tell you my favorite holiday is my college Homecoming. But a close second is the winter extravaganza that is Hanukah/Winter Solstice/Christmas/New Years. I love the festivities, the parties, the outfits, the champagne. I bake, cook and host with the best of them. And I have undoubtedly brought that mentality to our Myjive office in Charlotte.
But why? Well, there are a few reasons.
1. Self Preservation: According to Psychology Today, employees who do not feel a sense of friendship and mutual reliance are more prone to feelings of job dissatisfaction. We have a great team. And we want to keep them. A dissatisfied coworker won’t be around for too long.
2. Inspiration: It’s like coming up with a great idea in the shower. Sometimes, you need to take your mind off of a problem to come up with a new solution. It’s a creative pause that gives those little synapses time to refresh.
3. Productivity: Doctoral candidates at M.I.T. conducted a study to find out the effects of workplace socializing. Dr. Pentland and Dr. Waber found that employees with more interactions with coworkers in their social network had the highest productivity. Whether they were talking about work or Xbox, social connections increased overall productivity in the long term.
4. Food: Food makes people happy. Usually. In fact, food is so powerful it may change blood flow in the brain as supported by research conducted by neuroscientists at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.
5. Fun: OK. I am rationalizing. Yes, all of the above is true. Workplace socializing may be good for our mental health and employee satisfaction. But in all honesty, we just like to have a good time. And sometimes, Wednesday afternoon is the perfect time to let lose at the office with a beer and some Wii Tennis.
I think we all learned this in elementary school, but it holds true into adulthood: We are all individuals with our own personalities (and baggage). As unique as snowflakes hand-cut with safety scissors.
Most everyone has heard of the Briggs Myers’ Personality Types — the four-letter strings that cast you into a single role. ESFJ. INTP. You’ve heard of them. They’re abound in Psychology 101 and corporate human resources offices across the world.
But what do they mean?
Let’s break it down.
The first letter in your personality DNA stands for either Extrovert or Introvert. Note: this isn’t the widely accepted meaning of those two words. An outgoing, gregarious person is not necessarily an E (extrovert). It is not about how you act in social situations but rather where you get energy from — being around others or spending time alone. Extroverts are action oriented, while introverts are thought oriented. Extroverts seek breadth of knowledge and influence, while introverts seek depth of knowledge and influence. Extroverts often prefer more frequent interaction, while introverts prefer more substantial interaction. Extroverts recharge and get their energy from spending time with people, while introverts recharge and get their energy from spending time alone.
Next up is Sensing or Intuition. Individuals who prefer sensing tend to trust information that is in the present, tangible, and concrete, while those who prefer intuition tend to trust information that is more abstract or theoretical. Individuals who prefer sensing gather information as understood by the five senses, while those who favor intuition seek a wider context or pattern. Sensing individuals seek meaning in details and facts. Intuitive individuals seek meaning is in the underlying theory and principles. For the sensing, the meaning is in the data, while for the intuitive, the meaning is in the future possibilities.
Now we move onto our third personality trait — Thinking or Feeling. Those who prefer thinking tend to decide things from a more detached standpoint, while those who prefer feeling tend to come to decisions by associating or empathizing with the situation. Those who prefer thinking measure a decision by what seems reasonable, logical, causal, consistent, and matching a given set of rules, while those who prefer feeling measure a decision by looking at it from the inside and weighing the situation to achieve the greatest harmony, consensus and fit. Thinkers usually have trouble interacting with people who are inconsistent or illogical, and tend to give very direct feedback to others. Feelers make the best decisions by weighing what people care about and the points-of-view of persons involved in a situation. Thinkers are more concerned with the truth and view it as more important than being tactful. Feelers are more concerned with relationships, internal harmony, and affirmation.
Last up — Judging or Perceiving. Judgers extravert when making decisions, while perceivers extravert when taking in information. Judgers prefer a more structured and decided lifestyle, while perceivers a more flexible and adaptable lifestyle. Judgers interact with the outside world when they are taking in information. Whether they use the Sensing preference or the Intuitive preference, they are still interacting in the outside world. Perceivers do their interacting when they are making decisions. It doesn’t matter whether they are using a Thinking preference or a Feeling preference; they are still interacting in the outside world.
Why? In the workplace, it helps to recognize that other personalities may deal with the same situation in an opposite way. While an Extrovert may work well in a group ideation session, an Introvert may prefer time to internally process and think through ideas before sharing. At work, extroverts tend to prefer verbal communication, and many are great extemporaneous speakers. Introverts, however, generally prefer written communication, which allows them time to gather their thoughts before presenting them to an audience.
Sensors are the quintessential “Just the Facts” personality types, whereas Intuitives thrive on connecting the dots and considering possibilities. The key is mutual understanding. In the workplace, Sensors and Intuitives can make a fabulous team, since the two preferences complement each other. Sensors trust their first-hand experiences and five senses, whereas Intuitives trust their gut feelings and their sense of what is possible.
When giving feedback or criticism, Thinkers and Feelers should be approached in different ways. Thinkers prefer direct, objective feedback. Feelers can become discouraged if feedback is not given in as constructive, personal and compassionate. Thinkers tend to be seen as cold or lacking empathy. Feelers like a work environment that is free of conflict, with warm and supportive colleagues.
Judgers tend to like clear, unambiguous statements on which they can act. Perceivers, on the other hand, have a higher comfort level with ambiguity. For office politics, Judgers and Perceivers must strive to understand each other’s diverse communication styles and not assume the worst based on their differences. For example, a Judger, when relating a task to a Perceiver, could try leaving an open-ended element that conveys trust in the Perceiver’s ability to perform the task. Likewise, a Perceiver, when relating a task to a Judger, could make an effort to be as clear, concise and direct as possible.
The best takeaway advice: Recognize those who think differently than you and suspect the best rather than the worst.
You are wondering about me? I am an ESTJ: The Supervisor who likes to be in charge. and exceptionally capable in organizing and running activities. Obviously.
Image source: Endlesslyinspiredonline
Let’s face it: ads can be subjective. What might be funny to one demographic, can easily offend another. And sure, some ads may cross the line.
There’s no argument that Ashton Kutcher playing a “brown-face” Bollywood producer in an ad touches sensitive stereotypes. Or that the “Got Milk?’s” milk-for-PMS campaign might be offensive to women. But why do we have a roundup of the “most offensive ads” year after year when some of these ads draw huge results?
We ask: what’s the fine line between a provocative ad and an offensive one? When Kenny Powers starred in a series of K-Swiss ads, it was vulgar and demeaning and hugely successful. Odds are that you laughed at him because you may have seen the ad as entertaining rather than advertising.
Perhaps, if advertisers provide entertainment as a value, people would find edgy ads less controversial. Unless, of course, an ad truly is offensive.
Image from Business Insider.
We’ll admit it: we’ve been enjoying “Gangam Style” since July. Andy, our Interactive Designer, was the first to share it with the Myjive team. Since then, we have dropped the occasional dance move or nonchalant reference. We’ve even done some research into its cultural significance. But it was so obscure, it felt like our own inside joke. Our own little Myjive fun.
And then, it went mainstream. I was sent the link by a friend in August, Facebook started blowing up, Twitter went Gangam crazy, and it was no longer our own little joke. It was a cultural phenomena.
So how does a meme make it? How does an obscure song by a Canadian pop star become the hit song of the summer? We’ve all seen Internet fads make the jump from computer screen to traditional media, but what really makes a viral video more than just a few hits on YouTube?
Well, when it comes to Carly Rae Jepsen, a little Justin Bieber love went a long way. For “Ganagam Style,” it was Saturday Night Live’s parody and Britney Spears. For these little girls, it was an Ellen deGeneres spotlight.
Here at Myjive, we can sometimes take our own digital savviness for granted. Constanlty immersed in the latest and greatest of the Web, we forget that many do not have the skills, access or time to explore the Internet at a depth to which we have grown accustomed. An example, you ask? I work at a digital shop and have a roommate who has never heard of Hulu, a service that I take for granted on a daily basis. Facts like that remind me to ground myself in the everyday experience of those who don’t spend their whole day surrounded by developers and tech geeks.
So what does this teach us? A thing or two. While we like to think of the digital world as democratizing the cultural world (for better or for worse), a celebrity endorsement is still a slam dunk. Crossing over from internet fame to actual recognition in mainstream society is not the norm, but with one tweet from a teenage heart throb, things can change in a jiffy. Don’t rule out the use of traditional media to take digital media from the computer screen to the streets.
Let’s assume the rumors are true and today is the big day. Why will I be buying in?
1. My iPhone 4 looks like the guy above. One little 4-foot fall onto asphalt and my precious iPhone desperately needs a little TLC. And this time, I swear I am getting an Otterbox.
2. The team will tell you, I am in desperate need of a personal assistant. I have been jealous of Siri since October 2011, but I just couldn’t justify a new phone just for an “s”. From 4 to 5? Now, that’s worthwhile.
3. Did someone say turn-by-turn directions? The developers on our team have the beta version of the iOS 6 and the new maps app is beautiful and fantastic. It also should keep my eyes on the road. . . assuming I am not texting.
4. I need a clean slate for apps. I tend to download fad apps without over-thinking. And I am not good at letting go and deleting them. Two hundred and thirty one apps later and I am missing my clean Apple aesthetic.
5. “Nobody needs flash.“
6. With all of my family and college best friends in far, far away places, I am a bit of a FaceTime addict. I spend quality digital time with my sister and perfect baby nephew weekly. Ok, that is a lie. It is closer to daily. The rumored improved HD-quality front-facing camera is a major selling point for this doting aunt.
Is is 9.12.2012 yet?