How smart is your watch?

Smart Watch1Gone are the days when we were satisfied with the ability to merely tell time, here is the age of the SmartWatch.  A smartwatch is a computerized wristwatch, complete with functionality that is often compared to a PDA.  Recent designs in smartwatches do much more than the basics of calculations, translations, and game-playing. Todays’ smartwatches are actually wearable computers. They run mobile apps and function as portable media players, offering playback of FM radio, audio, and video files to the user via a Bluetooth headset.  Why is that woman staring at her wrist … oh, she appears to be watching a video. Some smartphone models, (also called watch phones) feature full mobile phone capability, and can make or answer phone calls. Wait … that woman appears to be talking to her wrist … oh, *looks confused* is she on the phone?

Smartwatch devices may include additional features such as a camera, thermometer, calculator, cell phone, touch screen, GPS navigation, map display, graphical display, speaker, scheduler, watch, SDcards that are recognized as a mass storage device by a computer, etc. and a rechargeable battery. It may communicate with a wireless headset, heads-up display, insulin pump, microphone, modem, or other devices. Seems many companies are searching for the next best thing to the iphone … and all devices will be subject to push that envelope.

Some have “sport watch” functionality as seen in GPS watches made for Training, Diving, and Outdoor sports. Functions can include training programs (such as intervals), lap times, speed display, GPS tracking unit, route tracking, dive computer, heart rate monitor compatibility, cadence sensor compatibility, and compatibility with sport transitions (as in triathlons).

Smart Watch2So … I waited for the day my phone replaced my watch … now I will shop to see if my watch can replace my phone … lol

Well … now I’ve seen everything … Google Glass

google glassGoogle glass is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) that is being developed by Google in the Project Glass research and development project. The mission …. to produce a mass-market ubiquitous computer. Google Glass displays information in a Smartphone-like hands-free format, that can communicate with the Internet via natural language voice commands.

The Explorer Edition is available to testers and Google I/O developers in the United States for $1,500, while a consumer version will be available some time in 2014 for “significantly less” than the Explorer Edition. On July 2, 2013, Google launched an informational press site for Glass, which stated that the company’s goal “is to make Glass available to a wider group of Explorers later this year, with even broader availability next year.

check out the fashionable eye-wear … what will they think of next?

The Creative Habit

twyla tharp the creative habitI read a book written by a woman I greatly admire entitled “The Creative Habit” and it was nothing short of a validation of my own life. The woman is Twyla Tharp, one of America’s greatest choreographers. In the book she explains that being creative is not an occasional thing … it is not done every once in awhile, no… it’s a habit and a lifestyle.

I feel like am luckier than most. I have a studio that
I can walk into every day and be surrounded by other creatives and the creative tools of books, media and technology. Of course there is tons and tons of inspiration. It’s my creative place … my sanctuary
for allowing that creativity to flow and be recorded,
fine tuned, evaluated, validated and ultimately launched. I am lucky also that I never once dreaded the walk into this studio … it is truly my happy place.

I imagine I identify with this woman because in my young life I was a dancer. Early on I adapted the ritual of routinely taking dance class, a discipline that became a joyful habit. Dancers need to keep their instrument tuned and toned, fit, healthy and working smoothly. For this reason, they go through the ritual of class every day to insure that their bodies are ready for the expressions that will flow from them. To this day I take at least 3 dance classes a week … not that I am a dancer professionally … but it is a habit I adapted early in life and my body loves the feel of it.

Twila Tharp dancingIn the book, Twyla describes how a great chef spends every morning tending an urban garden that dominates a tiny terrace of his Brooklyn home. Obsessed with the idea of fresh ingredients, this creative environment allows him to think about blending flavors and creating new dishes. She also speaks of a painter friend who cannot accomplish anything in her studio without propulsive music pounding out of huge speakers. Another writer friend cannot work indoors because he feels he will miss something. This writer takes his morning coffee outside to the porch and begins his day in the warm sun of southern California. These are all creative habits.

So each day when I enter my studio and think “What I will create today?”, I know that the discipline of my creative habit … the fact that every day I deliberately and happily move into a space that will ignite inspiration and free creative thinking , insures my ultimate creative success.

My Cups Runneth Over

Recently while perusing YouTube I had the pleasure of watching the video of Anna Kendrick’s Cups from Perfect Pitch.  I thought how interesting to see how the manipulation of a few key ingredients: flour, cups, hands, a few hard surfaces and a cast of background “cuppers” can take a catchy song and make it more dimensional and exciting. Awesome!  But that’s not all…

Just when I thought I couldn’t be more entertained, I watched Christopher Rice’s tap dance interpretation of that song and I was even more excited (what with dance being one of my passions and all). So I got to thinking about the whole concept of re-purposing the things that we have created.  

And when we reinterpret things others have created that we enjoy and admire?  It’s flattering to them and inventive for us.  In the ad business, as in the musical arts, we often take successful creative and reinvent it to make it fresh, engaging and motivating.  Keeping people entertained, satisfied and coming back for more … that’s what makes my world go ‘round.  How about yours?

I’ve just seen a face

Last week I received an Outlook invitation confirming an appointment entitled “Live Meeting with Deborah Tirico” which was amusing and got me thinking.  So many of our meetings today are voice over IP, Go to Meeting or Webex that I literally live with a headset on.  I have a Skype account which I use for land lines as well as voice meetings (never use the cam … nope) and I love being able to look at visuals and discuss them from the comfort of my desk in the office or home.

I've just seen a faceBeing in the same town, state or country in order to conduct business is no longer an imperative and in fact, is hardly even relevant.  And while I do admit that being close to or in the same time zone is convenient, many times as a vendor I find that I can get more done for my client when I am not in the same time zone as my client [trust me … running three hours earlier than Cali can be a real gift!].

Today, business is all about digital and the opportunity to use fiber-optic networks for voice instead of the traditional voice lines offered up by the phone company.  When it comes to the quality of the communication, there is no comparison.  Cable is better shielded from the elements and has a higher bandwidth, which means it can transport larger amounts of data (like sound) per second than traditional phone cables which are comprised of twisted pairs of copper wire (Geez, that even sounds old).

And about that “Live meeting with Deborah Tirico” appointment?  It reminds me of the days when I’d look for email address to go with the face. Today the way we conduct business, it’s more likely that I look for the face that goes with the email address.

There are no statues of committees

I think David Ogilvy, ad guru of his time, hit the nail on the head with that observation.

Over the years I’ve had many occasions to witness and respond to the results of decision making by committee, both as a vendor and as a client.   I’ve witnessed that conducting business in this manner does not always make for the best outcomes and I wonder why then are so many decisions made and managed by a committee?  Two heads are not always better than one. And more than two heads?  That could make for a pretty scary monster with a bite that could ultimately be even worse than its bark. In fact, I read an interesting article recently about decision making by committee and how that can result in more extreme or less effectual choices than that of any one member of the committee.  Here are some reasons why:

group-think_thumb• When everyone is responsible, no one is responsible or ultimately accountable for a decision.  It’s the old adage too many cooks in the kitchen. Chef Ramsey forgive ‘em, but no one is actually seasoning the soup.

• Hey… we’ve got an actual expert here. Isn’t that awesome!?  Well, not so much when the model is consensus.  When decisions are made by committee, all members share thoughts but not necessarily the knowledge or experience that one or more people may actually possess to make the best choices.

• Is there a “commidiot” in the house? A commidiot is a committee member who has no idea what is going on but feels he/she has to say something of importance to justify their presence in the room.

• “We all agree… Group Hug…Isn’t it time for lunch?”  The desire for bonding dilutes the process. No one wants to be the rabble-rouser.

• “OMG this is so stressful…Isn’t it time for lunch?”  Group problem solving may relieve the pressure on an immediate basis, but does not necessarily make for the best choices.  And innovation?  Fugetaboutit.

Which brings me back to David Ogilvy and this little anecdote from his autobiography, “Confessions of an Advertising Man.”  In it, he tells how he was once invited to pitch a new major account. At the pitch, the chairman of the board of the company said: “Mr. Ogilvy, we are interviewing several agencies. You have exactly fifteen minutes to plead your case. Then I will ring this bell and the next agency waiting outside will follow you.”

David inquired “How many people will be involved in the decision?”

“The twelve members of the Committee here today,” replied the chairman.

“Ring the bell!” Ogilvy said, and walked out.

Now it’s time for lunch.