I’m starting to get ‘recommended posts’ from Facebook targeting old men.

New Balance Men's 411 Trail Running Shoes

I guess that’s better than last week when I got bombarded with Facebook-generated invitations to play games.

I hate games.

I block people who invite me to join their games on Facebook.

But I don’t think I can block Facebook.

Y’know, and stay in touch with all my friends on Facebook (or let my curmudgeon self out in public once in awhile).

Also…

Every time I look up a book on Amazon, it starts being advertised on the right side of Facebook.

I already know about the book.

I was just there. 37 seconds ago. Often, I’ve already downloaded it.

Why would Amazon pay good money to make sure I know about a book I just downloaded from Amazon?

Maybe the same reason Academy advertises the shoe I just ordered from Academy.

Or Dick’s Sporting Goods advertises that same shoe moments after I returned it to them so I could order it for $10 less from Academy.

I recently created a homeowners quote on a certain insurer’s web site for a house we’re buying (moving day is April 27. You’re welcome to help.)

Minutes after I created the quote, ads for this company’s homeowners policies started showing up everywhere I went on the internet—not just Facebook.

I’m licensed to issue property policies in the state of Colorado.

I do it for a living.

At that very company.

I’m already familiar with their product.

Some day, I hope, we’ll all look back on this era as some pre-golden age of internet advertising. The developmental phase that made it possible for me to run across advertising for stuff I didn’t know I needed. Or I knew I needed, but didn’t know where to find.

Right now—contrary to the old man ad staring at me from my Facebook feed—I feel like a kid again

With older siblings constantly telling me stuff I already know.

Grrr…

Asked all around and no one answered (the people I asked probably didn’t know the answer).

Until I asked Shareaholic (the people whose plug-in I use for sharing my posts with social media):

So I just searched for “Twitter Cards” in the plug-in installs and, voila! Several choices.

I just picked one that a) was tested with the latest version of WordPress and b) had the most stars.

Turned out to be Twitter Cards Meta by WPDeveloper.net.

Twitter Cards screen cap

 

Installed and activated the plug-in, then headed over to the setup page, filled in the fields, and in a few minutes got Twitter’s blessing and we were on our way.

Thanks, Shareaholic!

I’m not much for the Oscars

Ellen mega selfieI mean, I root for my favorites and jeer the stinkers that win (which I’ve likely not actually, you know, seen).

But I don’t usually watch the show.

My impression is that it’s too precious by a mile, too self-indulgent, too ignorantly political, too hive-like.

Too unreal.

But my family talked me into it, so there we were.

Besides…

Who doesn’t love Ellen?

Right after Ellen took the mega selfie—and right before Twitter crashed—I snagged her tweet and posted it on Facebook:

Do you know what I liked about this picture?

It’s not filled with pampered, self-indulgent stars, but with real people. Ordinary, every day people.

There’s a sweetness to Ellen that permeates whatever crowd she’s hanging in.

I wonder if they like Ellen because hanging with her is a reminder of who they really are.

I loved the bit where she added the thousands of years of cumulative acting experience represented in the audience.

And the cumulative three years of college.

And they laughed. Even the ones with Yale Drama School degrees.

This was after she told them how “special” they all were.

Multi-layered greatness in these bits.

And then there was the pizza guy.

Who wouldn’t have wanted to be him?

Wasn’t it fun watching celebrities with access to unbelievable buffets this very night, grabbing pizza and chowing down in their fancy dresses and handmade tuxes?

Not for everybody, I guess

I couldn’t believe remarks from most of my Twitter friends (at least the ones who actually tweeted an opinion on Ellen).

“Self-indulgent,” “not her best night,” “mean,” “what ever happened to edginess?” “winging it,” “too much time in the audience.”

The best one was “self-indulgent.”

Second best was “too much time in the audience.”

To me, that was the best part. Making it about the audience, both the stars sitting in it (this was, after all, their night), and the real audience, the ordinary people at home who make nights like this possible.

I thought it was awesome, but as I headed to work the morning after, I seriously wondered why I had a different take from so many of my Twitter friends.

Shortly after I got to work, I passed by one of the managers’ desks.

A woman was asking the manager, “Did you watch the Oscars?”

“No…”

“It was so cool. Ellen Degeneres took this amazing picture, and she ordered pizza, and brought the pizza guy out into the audience and the stars all…”

The universe felt right again.

So did I. I felt ordinary. And it was a good feeling.

 

 

Yesterday, Carol and I were exploring some nearby neighborhoods when we drove past this intersection.

Artistic Inspiration

Was doing some harmless online trolling last July with a few of my Twitter pals when one of them, Ron Fournier, mentioned being on vacation. I’d remembered from an earlier conversation that he was in northern Michigan.

Continue Reading…

Deposits

CLIENT

Marquis | Plano, Texas
Jay Kassing

PROJECT

Brochure design, MCIF White Paper

Star Peg

Background

This was an illustration I quickly put together when I was competing for a design job.

Unfortunately, the project went to someone else.

Remember that Bruce Willis movie, The Kid? Where Mid-Life Crisis Bruce meets young Afraid of My Shadow Bruce?

The Kid PosterOlder Bruce gives Boy Bruce some advice at a key point in his life and changes the world.

Well…he changes the arc of his own life anyway.

If I could commandeer the Wayback Machine and give Young Me some advice, probably the most important wisdom I could impart is this:

Learn to listen.

  • Listen sooner.
  • Listen longer.
  • Listen deeper.
  • Listen again.
  • This time with feeling.

The other day one of my colleagues came to listen in on a couple of my calls. She said she wanted to “learn how to ask questions.”

It’s funny, because I don’t put as much focus as I probably should on asking questions. (Maybe I shouldn’t admit that here.)

However, whatever else is weak in my phone skills, I do end up asking lots of questions and they often do lead to really useful conversations with my customer about his/her needs, and that leads to what we might do to help.

As I listen to my own calls, I’m convinced the questions just flow from my curiosity about my customer. And that curiosity is birthed from one significant life skill:

Listening.

  • Listen sooner.
  • Listen longer.
  • Listen deeper.
  • Listen again.
  • This time with feeling.

Savannah

Client

Marquis | Plano, Texas
Robert Swafford, Todd Young

Background

The bulk of the pictures came from two places. The resort shot came from the conference center’s web site. Most of the rest came from the Georgia tourism people. Believe it or not, there are only two pictures on the piece that had to be purchased—the peach and leaf I used to dress up the Marquis logo.

The challenge was to pack an incredible amount of necessary verbiage into a relatively small space, and still have a visually attractive brochure.