There is a Company in the middle of the country that I have grown to despise because their business practices are pure evil. They create spec work and underbid contracts to get their foot in the door. Once they're in, the Company find ways to go over budget and extend time lines like a pandemic in Asia. Despite having clawed more money and time from their clients, they produce work that would be considered subpar by third world standards. Nothing can be re-used and/or the Clients are eternally bound to horrible, proprietary off-the-shelf software.
I know this because we have been called in to provide relief to their haggard clients and attempt to fix the abominations they create.
This Company seeds distrust and their actions work to destroy the reputation of our industry. By the time we are brought in we have to provide an over abundance of assurances that Happy Cog is nothing like the Company. We have had to do this enough times now that during sales pitches and conversations, we go out of our way to position ourselves as anti-agency so as to be crystal clear that our modus operandi does not entail finding ways to issue change order after change order. As professionals it is not in our fabric to do so but who can blame the client after being burned so bad?
Yesterday, we lost a project to the Company. They pitched with spec work and underbid the effort. I'm willing to put cash money down in Vegas that the client will end up blowing past their deadline and forking over more money than originally proposed. What looked great to them this week will become high blood pressure a year from now. Somewhere North of where I am sitting right now a butterfly flaps its wings and a small disaster begins to build.
I'd love to call the client and try to talk them off the ledge but there's only so much you can do without coming across like an angry person who is pouting because they lost. Look, I don't mind losing work to people I know who share our passion for quality, devotion to creating great solutions and a high standard of professionalism. I'm happy to loose a project to our friends and peers, but when the Company (or anyone like them) takes one away from us, any of us, I'd like nothing more than to see them all leave their cubicles and find their way in front of a fast moving bus.
Maybe this project will be different and the good people we spoke to won't get the shaft as so many others have. And maybe I'll go home tonight and find twenty burros wearing sombreros making churros after eating a hoof-full of habaneros. Hey, it could happen.
GARB: BROOKLYN BETA
Time flies when you're being hip in Brooklyn. Recently described as "the new bohemia" by USA Today a good time can be had by all but only if you're ready to arrive in fashion that allows you to drop a kayak in a river and make a grilled cheese sandwich!
The American Kef ($24.00). Slim Fit Ten-Pleat Tennis Collar Formal Tuxedo Shirt ($135.00). Levi's Acid Wash Skinny Fit Jeans ($31.00). Motorola RAZR V3 ($43.00). Woodsman's Hatchet (ETSY) River Ferret (Free). The Hathaway, Eye Patch ($29.95). Fila Skele-Toes EZ Slide Shoes ($49.95).
Whatever your reason for being so rad in New York's East Bank, I'll see you all in October.
I have learned perhaps the most "Pro of Tips" for the iPhone. It comes from Mr. Nevin Lyne, whom I had the pleasure of introducing the "Rainey Street Pub Crawl" yesterday afternoon.
While enjoying a frosty cold beverage at Javelina, I noticed that his iPhone, placed face down, flashed occasionally like a mini strobe light. As I had never seen this happen before my left eye-brow naturally raised slightly tipping off Nevin that I was curious about what I had just seen.
Typically, when the iPhone receives a SMS message, it flashes on the screen for a few seconds. Long enough that if the phone is placed face-up, it draws the attention of everyone within range, not just the intended recipient. This is potentially awkward enough that most of us place our phones face down but this also prevents us from seeing said message. Unless you have the sound turned up, then it's difficult to know when a SMS has been received.
Until now, thanks to Nevin.
If you look at your iPhone when its face-down you'll notice that the camera and the flash face "up." Fortunately, Apple thought through how to use the flash to alert the user when a message has been received. You'll find this brilliant feature under Settings > General > Accessibility. Scroll down to "LED Flash for Alerts" and turn it "on." The camera flash will now blink when a message comes through but no where near as bright as when the flash is used while taking a photo.
It's quiet. You won't miss it. And it looks pretty cool.
That is all.
For the last six months the Rocket Scientist and I have had the privilege of living on the sixteenth floor of The Shore building in downtown Austin. Rented sight unseen, it was an unexpected surprise to discover the view this place has. Our unit in particular has unique perspective that allows us to see the five bridges (three motor, one pedestrian and one rail) over the Colorado River that lead into downtown Austin. While cars, trains and people head North and South, boats, crew teams, canoes and paddle boards scurry East and West on the water below. Activity everywhere. To cap it all off the sunset ties it all together in the perfect send-off to every day.
On Tuesday afternoon we closed title on our next home in the South Congress neighborhood. By the end of the month we'll have a completely different view of Austin but nothing quite so high as our deluxe apartment in the sky.
It's shortly after 8 AM and the plane is still climbing to reach cruising altitude. The flight attendants are up and taking drink orders but I can't hear them because of the Bose noise canceling headphones I have on and activated. When she gets here I'll order a bloody mary. It is Sunday morning after all.
Mr. Irelan is with me on the flight as well but sitting in another row and next to the aisle. I prefer the window so I can see what's going on if I want to while Ryan likes the option of moving about the cabin without interruption. Meanwhile, two time zones West of our position, Mr. Anders will take to the sky on his own flight.
The three of us are spending a good portion of our Sunday morning and afternoon to get to Philadelphia. As you may have heard, we have blocked out all of next week to completely redefine, rewrite, redesign, and redevelop our studio website. This is a project I have been waiting two years for and I'm very pleased that we're finally getting to this task.
We tried this before. After the merger there was a genuine effort to recreate our online home but the challenge was too great at the time. The relationship between two companies and three studios was too green to tackle a job that all of us had deep personal and professional attachment. Add in a very busy project roster to make the whole shebang more difficult. There were other mistakes that we made which I hope we'll document in some way in the near future. Happy Cog has a history and tradition of being open and honest, I don't see why we can't share that backstory, eventually.
Last December, Greg Hoy and I got together to talk through problems and opportunities that came up in 2011 and how to turn it all into positive actions in the new year. As it does each year, the topic of website redesign came up. Our biggest challenge in the past has been finding the time to get with all the people we needed to be involved. We have attempted in the past to schedule resources but time and distance always proved too much to manage around busy work schedules. So, we came up with a plan to get half of our team in one place, for one week, to completely overhaul our website into a proper foundation that we can use to progressively enhance over time.
The following week, right before Christmas, Greg and I blocked off the time on team calendars and met with project managers to inform them of an internal project that would require certain people to be unavailable for client work. We held ad hoc discussions to delegate preparatory tasks like content audit, requirements gathering, and writing new marketing objectives and strategy. By early January we were well on our way to a solid project plan. Two weeks ago jobs and responsibilities were delegated and assigned to each individual on the project team. Last week work started on creative direction and the formation of a technology/development plan. Meanwhile, the three principals met and made our final decision on the new brand in time for Helms Workshop to delivery the final brand package just in time for work to begin on Monday.
So far we've I'd say we've Hannibal Smith'd it.
The engines have just throttled back a bit and the nose has pitched forward ever so slightly which means we'll be landing soon. With each mile closer to Philly my excitement for next week climbs closer and closer to "off the charts." For so long, we have all wanted to make this happen and it's finally coming together like Legos. Next week we'll all be documenting this event in one form or another over blogs, Twitter, Cognition, and a variety of Path and Instagram accounts. Don't forget to check our new Tumblr site to keep up with our progress and group antics.
I am an impatient man. Perhaps no different than any other Y chromosome person but feedback from my immediate peer group suggests otherwise. I can see the forest through the trees. I see clearly the opportunity that is at our collective doorstep. I see the solution that will end client woes. I can see how money works in a way unfathomable just twelve months ago. I can see how you get from point A to point Z but I have little patience for the process and time it takes. I am no different than most people but that does little to settle the tide of frustration that ebbs and floes within my being.
My friends, my business partners, my co-workers often suggest that we are on a normal course but I see a sea to conquer, a divide to cross, a path to success so clear in my mind that it's already happened. It's possible this is my Achilles heel but I'll be damned if I let complacency set in.
Success favors those who take risks no matter how big or small. And while there are many, many steps between failure and success I see it all happen at once, ending only in total success. Of course failure is an option but to dwell on such thoughts is to give in. The loss is merely a form of surrender that we are all born and raised with but it doesn't have to be that way.
I am an impatient man and I know I am not alone.
There was a time when our employers, global markets, and credit ratings helped persuade a better path forward but enough is enough and we have to see past thirty, sixty, or ninety days. When we are older we'll talk to tomorrow's youth and encourage them to follow in our foot steps that, at this time, seemed like walking with anvils crashing on our heads.
Lets conquer 2012 together and make it a point in time when we can all look back and agree that's when it all really began.
In case you missed it, we are looking for a Sr. UX Designer to join the Happy Cog team in Austin, Texas. I'm going to give the application receiving phase till the end of this week. To date I've received a handful of really excellent applications and I'm anxious to see what turns up "last minute." The team and I are looking forward to finding a good compliment to our well-established group.
A personal thought about this position. The UX community seems to put an unnecessarily strong emphasis on quantity as it pertains to conferences and public speaking. At Happy Cog we like to see members of our team speak and teach others but we're looking for a designer, not a public speaker. I'm looking for someone who is more interested in creating solutions instead of delivering slide shows on stage. If you desire to work with a highly skilled, highly talented team that loves nothing more than an elegant, well crafted solution then please send me your resume, references and salary history.
Meanwhile, over at Authentic Jobs they are kicking off the New Year right with a special on job listings for the first half of January. Post a job before January 12th, 2012 and receive 50% off the fee (this promotion also includes the UK site). To take advantage of this special offer post a your listing and use promotional code TWELVESTOREY during the payment process. Let me know if you have any issues posting your job and I'll get someone to help. As an added bonus to you, dear Airbag reader, send me your listing and I'll personally promote it from this site and my Twitter account.
One last related thought in effort to score a Jobs Post Hat Trick. In case you missed it, Cameron posted a nice teaser for Authentic Crew, a service/application that has been in the works for a while. I have a lot of passion for this addition to the Authentic suite and I'm ecstatic to finally see it start to come alive. Crew is going to be a big asset to everyone's career path.