29 May 2007

House of Naked

Even though I am up to my ears (or higher) in work, I want to take a minute or two to point everyone in the direction of House of Naked, the official Naked NY site. We've been building and contributing to it for months, but haven't (unofficially) launched until now. Stop by, look around, leave some comments. We'd love to have you. Here's the little thing that Noah wrote on the site (and on his own) about it (sums it up pretty well):
Well, it seems the cat's out of the bag. We've been putting together this site for a few months now and I guess it's just about ready for the prime time (or as just about ready as it will ever be). Part of the point of House of Naked is to continually refine and iterate, so I can't imagine it will ever actually be done.

With that said, we're pretty happy with what we've got at the moment and think it's worth doing a bit of explaining. You see, this site is a bit of an experiment in transparency. The aggregator (on the right side of the homepage) is actually pulling in links from across the web (blogs, del.icio.us, twitter and flickr). The basic idea is that the people who work here already do lots of blogging elsewhere. They post pictures and save links on other sites, so why not use that for our own site? This does two things I think, one it allows people to add content to the site without thinking about it and two, it gives this site some real personality. For the most part these are not run through some 'Naked filter', it's just us being us.

It's always struck me as slightly odd that companies try to make group blogs that have a single, 'corporate', voice. A large part of what makes a business run is the people who are part of it and those people don't all have the same personality (at least I hope not). Anyway, what I hope this will become is a place for people to bring their own thoughts, ideas and insights. To be honest, it's probably most interesting for us, but that's cool. If all this site turns out to be is a great tool for Naked, then we've accomplished something.

Anyway, that's enough from me. Welcome to the site. Feel free to poke around. If you find anything broken, please let us know. Thanks for coming by.

Oh, and big ups to Joe, Fangohr and Uncommon Projects for making this happen.

24 May 2007

self reporting bias, or reality?

Are those-who-Twitter hungrier than they are horny?

TweetVolume uses Twitter and Google to allow you to compare the frequency of words or phrases that are Twittered. Type in five words /phrases and you get a pretty little bar chart that compares them all. In my search, "food" outnumbered "sex" by 6,470 tweets. It's a fun little site to spend a little bit of time on. Get creative with the words you put in. Let me know what you find.

Thanks to Russell for Twittering about this. ooo, meta.

17 May 2007


I can't stop watching this video for Girls by Calvin Harris.

Was it American Apparel's thing with blocks of solid-colored merchandise to start this trend? I recently saw a Feist video with a similar concept, too.

16 May 2007

narrower audience = greater significance

A forward of a forward of a forward. It's short and sweet and wonderful and made me tear up as I read it from my E62, standing in front of Babeland in the Lower East Side. How's that for a juxtaposition.

In 1985 Kurt Vonnegut gave a talk at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor and I got to see him for the first and only time in my life. After the talk he walked offstage, and I walked up the auditorium aisle to a doorway that opened to a backstage hallway.

When I went through the door, Vonnegut was standing right there, alone in the hallway, looking a little unsure of where he was supposed to go next. I walked up and said hello, and told him that I enjoyed his talk and reading his books. I had a new copy of his novel Galápagos and asked if he would sign it, and he did. It's a really great signature.

I really don't remember exactly what he might have said to me in the few moments we chatted, but I remember he was friendly and pleasant. Just as he finished signing my book, we both heard a noise and looked down the hall at the same time. About 50 feet away was a herd of college students heading right for us, waving tattered paperback copies of Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat's Cradle and yelping stuff at Vonnegut.

Vonnegut handed my book back to me, looked me right in the face, gave me kind of a half-smile and said, "Gotta go."
He walked off at a brisk pace in the opposite direction of the approaching herd, though a doorway, and he was gone.

If you read Kurt Vonnegut with care you can find some wonderful quotes on almost any page, and usually they all add up to a pretty great book.

But "Gotta go" is my favorite Kurt Vonnegut quote, because he said it to me.

15 May 2007

That's what I like to hear.

Continuing on with the Young Minds theme. I have a friend who is an undergraduate studying at the New School... we met through my blog several months ago and became fast friends. I just got this email from her:

OH MY GOD, JOHANNA, I AM GOING INSANE --- here's the thing:

I interviewed for three jobs this week. Okay? Three.

One --- working as a nanny for this kick ass family in Southampton for $8,000 for the summer. (can we say yes please?)
Two --- working as a nanny for this slightly more down-to-earth family with less kids and cooler political tirades in Brooklyn Heights for the summer (again..... i'm okay with this)
Three --- working as a paid intern at [NY office of a small hot shop based in Europe] (snuck into the One Show Interactive last Friday and met some people... interviewed the next Monday)

Okay so today I was just walking along, minding my business, and I get a call. Offered job one, I'm super psyched, I say I'll think about it and call her back tonight but really I'm just thinking "Um, YES". One hour later, the woman I met from [NY office of a small hot shop based in Europe] calls (granted, I interviewed the DAY before) and she wants to offer me a full-time internship there this summer. And all the sudden I have a choice to make, and I'm so happy/confused I could kick a wall on accident and not feel my broken toes. (ever get that feeling?) Okay, so just about a half hour ago I get a call from the Brooklyn family and not only do they want to offer me the nannying job, but they wonder if I would mind extending it into the fall (working around my class schedule of course) which is amazing and means I wouldn't have to look for a paid gig come Fall semester. And WAIT there's more. WHILE i'm on the phone with Brooklyn guy, a call beeps in that I ignore. I check my voicemail after we're done and it is (who else?) [big, big global ad agency] calling to say that they actually discovered they have enough extra room in the budget to give me a spot and that they would love to hire me. HIRE. I heard the word YES about four times in two hours.

Man, I love it when this kind of thing happens. I'm so psyched for her. Congrats, love.

02 May 2007

both ways

I have been on a tiny hiatus, although I'm thinking nobody might have noticed, since my blogging is erratic anyway.

So, I'm on holiday on the West Coast. Right now I'm in a coffee shop called Simple Pleasures somewhere in San Francisco.

Yesterday I met up with my former professor, Charlie, who now teaches at the Academy of Art advertising school here. It was really spur of the moment, and I was a little nervous. I wondered what I could possibly say that was interesting, and what a room full of students could possibly learn from me.

So I just talked about what I knew. I told my story. How I found planning, what I went through at the Adcenter, my meeting with two Naked offices, etc. I talked about what Naked does, what I do there, some random plannery stuff, etc.

About a quarter of the way through talking, I noticed something. People were giggling at some things I said. They were intently listening. They started asking questions. Towards the end, they REALLY started asking questions. They were genuinely interested (I think), really wanting to know things. They seemed like sponges. This was no huge surprise, since they're young, curious, and at an art school that provokes thought and encourages ideas. But I was not used to this kind of energy being directed at me. I am like this, but am used to looking to other people and places. People I look up to and consider smarter and greater than I. This was different. It was disorienting and gives me optimism. It reassures me that perhaps I'm doing the right thing in my life. Man, I love young minds. Oh! Speaking of, here is my most recent New Next article. I interviewed Heron, who is brilliant and inspiring.

If any of Charlie's current students happen to come across this silly blog: Hello, thank you, and you truly made my entire trip.

EDIT | I was just alerted to the fact that you need a login to read the article. Here is the body, until I can scan a PDF.

We’ve probably all experienced life as an intern so that we could gain more practical knowledge of our industries. Depending on where you worked, though, your experience was either richly rewarding or very deeply tedious. If you are an employer and relish internship season, ask yourself why that is. Is it because you are finally approaching that time of year when you can pay somebody next to nothing to get your dry cleaning picked up, articles scanned and copies made?

If yes, then shame on you. You should relish it because you would be tapping into the minds of an emerging generation of potential employees. Interns and first-time hires (although they may lack experience) often know more about culture, trends and the new digital world than the corner-office suit - because they viscerally live it. To show this, I have interviewed Heron Preston, one of our part-time collaborators. He hails from San Francisco and currently studies design and management at Parsons.

>>Heron, how did you get into this industry?

When I first moved to New York City, I was a curious sponge. New to the design and management field, I attended lectures given by industry leaders. My tipping point was one given by Darrel Rhea, CEO of market research/consulting firm Cheskin. He was describing the different roles of CEOs in the innovation process. What really did me in was when he described a job he was working on that involved redesigning Australia’s tax system. My prior knowledge of design disciplines was typical: graphics, interiors, fashion. I never knew design could be considered a form of organization, a way of thinking, or a process.

>>What changes in this industry are you most excited about?

What I am most excited about right now are the creatively-thinking youth (DIYs) and the platforms that foster their inspiration, and crowdsourcing. What’s so cool about these two changes in the market occurring at the same time is that when they work together, they can produce some meaningful value.

Web 2.0-supported Web sites such as YouTube, Flickr and Wikipedia continue to inspire kids everywhere to create content for themselves in hopes that their content will reach an audience. We show off our lives and work, and now we can network and share. At the same time, we have Web sites like psfk.com that keep us in touch with marketing and business.

Tapping into the talents of the world is a pretty hot concept to me. Could this threaten traditional models? When you look at sites like Opened.net and Coroflot.com, you have to think about what this means for the future of the business. Our industry is moving so quickly that it’s created a culture of experimentation.

>>What do you want to do when you graduate from Parsons?

I want to focus on how I can turn my passions for people and culture, creativity, networking, travel and skateboarding into a lucrative service. I’d love to continue learning from Naked because of the entrepreneurial spirit it has, and the different talents on the team.

The hiring is very strategic here - Naked celebrates diversity of experience in a calculated way. Another intern is from Luxembourg and speaks six languages; we have youth culture and entertainment marketing experts; we have digital jacks-of-all-trades; we have management and research veterans; we have creative strategists, and lots more. With all of us coming from interesting places and having strengths in interlinked areas, we can pool resources to develop more well-rounded (and less generic) solutions to our clients’ business issues.

Whether you’re hiring an intern, a junior or anybody else, always keep your eyes open for the brilliant misfits. You might find them straight out of school, breaking out of a traditional agency or at a recording studio. The key is to look for good people rather than a skill set. Young people are eager to consume and produce stimuli; they have unrestrained and untainted views on the changes that happen every day in our industry. This new generation has fast-forward futures ahead. If you ignore them, you surely will have a future behind you.
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