Ghost Town

This Tumblr has been going on strong since 2009, but over the past five years I’ve slowly given in to the convenience of retweets and 140 character posts on Twitter. If you are looking for creative inspiration, dig through the archives. I guarantee you’ll find some interesting stuff in here. If you want something fresher, feel free to check out my Twitter: @ShonNotSean. Thanks to everyone who read and shared over the years. It was a lot of fun.

Rap Genius & Groupon: An Unlikely Duo

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In October of last year, venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz invested $15 million dollars into the crowd-sourced rap lyrics site, Rap Genius.

If you’re not familiar with the site, Rap Genius lets users annotate specific parts of lyrics to any rap song with definitions that explain the meaning behind the words. Andreessen Horowitz explains their investment as, "embracing the potential in the site’s ability to annotate things beyond rap music such as poetry, political speeches, science papers, etc."

Yesterday, Groupon laid off their CEO and co-founder, Andrew Mason. Mason released a heart-felt goodbye letter online shortly after that was full of quirky phrases and references. Andreessen Horowitz saw this as the perfect opportunity to showcase Rap Genius’s ability to annotate beyond music and annotated the former CEO’s entire goodbye letter. The result is surprisingly informational and entertaining.

Above is my favorite explanation of Mason’s Battletoads reference. You can check out the full letter with all the annotations here on Rap Genius.

Red Bull Parkour Series: Part Sport, Part Travel Guide

I’m always impressed with how creative Red Bull gets with their money. Every piece of content stays on brand, and they always add a nice little twist.

They recently started a new series with Ryan Doyle, a free runner and parkour practitioner. The series takes Ryan to places like Greece, India, Jordan, and China to free-run on the most iconic landmarks around the world. Each episode is a perfect blend of sport and culture: Ryan explains the sport, assimilates himself with the local culture and cuisine, and even shares historical context on the places he visists.

Above is one of my favorites: Ryan explores the historical district of Bastakiya, the lesser seen parts of modern day Dubai. See some more amazing photos from his travels here: Red Bull Stories

Why You Shouldn’t Copy Oreo’s Superbowl “Success”
Cultivora: A New Way To Discover Music Festivals

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Cultivora is more than just a carefully curated list of the best musical festivals across the US. The New York Times likes to think of it as a destination guide for music lovers. Each festival listing has tips such as best ways to get to and from concert grounds, places to stay, top restaurant options, shopping, nearby attractions, and where to find the best after parties. I definitely recommend the site for first-timers or people looking to get a quick snapshot of what each festival has to offer.

What exactly Is Potato & What in the world does it have to do with Skrillex, Atrak, and Diplo?

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It kind of makes sense that Diplo, Skrillex, and Atrak would get together and create a music channel on YouTube called Potato. While no one has cared to shed any light on why they chose that name, they did explain that this channel is an attempt to, “bring back the spirit of early music telivision for the digital and mobile era.” 

The YouTube channel will work just like YouTube’s current collection of curated channels: high quality content and a reuglar programming schedule. The channel will also be getting some help from IconicTV, the company that also runs Jay-Z’s Life+Times YouTube Channel.

Above is a trailer for Diplo’s show, Blow Your Head, one of the 5 shows that Potato is currently producing. The trailer looks amazing, and I can’t wait to see this channel take off. You can check out the other episodes and shows here: PotatoWillEatYou

Netflix Wants At Least 5 New Shows A Year

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It always makes me happy to see companies make bold moves and shake things up a little. Back in February, I posted about Netflix debuting its show, Lilyhammer, and embracing the concept of “all-at-once watching.”   Their next flagship show, House of Cards, debuted yesterday under the same model. No premiere, no wait for episodes, just everything all at once. GQ did a great interview with Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos, to shed some light onto the thinking behind this new take on original programming.

Sarandos describes the company’s pitch as being one that is particularly alluring to filmmakers and show creators. Netflix doesn’t require TV pilots — a single, introductory episode intended as a proof-of-concept — for creatives to prove the viability of their wares, it commits to full seasons upfront, and it offers a real budget for show creators to play with (House of Cards itself had a $100 million budget). “The goal,” says Sarandos, “is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.”

You can read the entire interview over at GQ.

Bonus: Netflix and Dreamworks developing kids TV show: AdAge

Google Consumer Surveys

I’m a little late on this one, but I just stumbled onto Google Consumer Surveys. It’s a pretty nifty survey model that utilizes content providers and people trying to access the content. At a glance, it seems like an smart, affordable option for businesses who can’t afford traditional focus groups in multiple markets.

650 Copies of The Beatles’ White Album In One Place

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The pictures above are from a current exhibit hosted at an open gallery space in Soho called Recess. I’ve passed by it hundreds of times on my way to lunch, but today was my first time stepping inside.

Rutherford Chang is currently hosting his exhibit, We Buy White Albums, inside the space. In this exhibit, Chang explores the idea of exhaustive cataloguing through his collection of over 650 first-pressings of the Beatles’ iconic White Album.

Chang essentially created a record store that only stocks the White Album. People can come in and listen to the records and even sell Chang a copy if they have one, but nothing is for sale.

Each copy played will be digitally recorded and photographed. At the end of the exhibit, Chang will layer the recordings and photographs of the album covers to create a composite that contains all the unique wear and tear of each individual record. 

Can’t wait to see and hear the final result. You can visit Rutheford Chang and his record collection from now until March 9th

Work Smart.

Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is already home because he/she figured out a faster way to get things done.

– Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson, Rework

3D Lighting In Nature

Love these projections by Javier Riera. via Culture of Me

Don’t Be A Douchebag

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Karina, a member of the strategy department at Big Spaceship, spoke about the abundance of advertising jargon and how to avoid it at an AAF luncheon in November. Below are three tips she shared. You can see the entire deck she presented on Slideshare.

1. Pretend like you’re talking to your mom: Don’t make assumptions. Your mom doesn’t know what CPG stands for. She doesn’t know about transmedia storytelling or propagation planning. And it’s not because she’s not a smart lady. She’s just not entrenched in industry BS. It’s good practice to talk to people from other agencies and even disciplines in plain language that someone like your mom would understand. A great example of this are the recent conversations about the word “user” and “consumer.” Sometimes, people are just people. Not “momfluencials” or “citysumers.” Just people. Stripping out jargon according to this rule will result in more than just better words. Think of how helpful a segmentation or persona document would be if we stripped out the cheesy Getty Images and fake “quotes” and embraced the blurriness and bad grammar of real photos and tweets.

2. Ask the tough questions: If you’re holding yourself accountable for avoiding jargon, you might want to do the same with the people your are working with. Don’t be afraid to ask what things mean rather than secretly looking them up on Wikipedia later. When a meeting is going around in circles, it might be time to stop and ask the room to define what exactly “a big idea” or “responsive design” means to them. While there may technically be a correct definition for terms like this, many times it’s unclear or subjective.

3. Get on the same page: Getting rid of buzzwords completely may be an impossible task. Especially working on big projects with hundreds of stakeholders. Sometimes, the words don’t matter. As long as everyone’s speaking the same language. A good place to start is to acknowledge when words are getting in the way and do a little something about it, like making a glossary for the front of a big presentation or spending the first 5 minutes of a meeting agreeing to semantics.

Future of Club Invites

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About time someone took it to the next level. These flyers with embedded links and interactive content really add some context to the event. Just scroll your mouse over the flyer onto the icons to see the interactive content. via NYNightlife

Life in the Woods 2.0

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Haha. Thoreau’s Walden re-imagined. See whole strip at Incidental Comics

Elevator Pitch Misconceptions

"If your elevator pitch is a hyper-compressed two-minute overview of your hopes, dreams and the thing you’ve been building for the last three years, you’re doing everyone a disservice.

I’ll never be able to see the future through your eyes this quickly, and worse, if you’ve told me what I need to know to be able to easily say no, I’ll say no.

The best elevator pitch doesn’t pitch your project. It pitches the meeting about your project. The best elevator pitch is true, stunning, brief and it leaves the listener eager (no, desperate) to hear the rest of it.

It’s not a practiced, polished turd of prose that pleases everyone on the board and your marketing team, it’s a little fractal of the entire story, something real.”

-S. Godin

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Themed by: Hunson