Computer programming jobs are growing by twice the national average. Play-i is hoping to help the next generation catch up.
A while back, now-former Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats tweeted a series of pearls of narrative wisdom she had gleaned from working at the studio. This list of 22 rules of storytelling was widely embraced as it was applicable to any writer or anyone who was in the business of communicating (which is pretty much everyone, including software developers). And much of its advice (e.g. “You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different”) is still as applicable as ever. Thanks to the efforts of one fan, though, the rules may now become even more eminently shareable.
Last week, Dino Ignacio, a UX Director at a subsidiary of Electronic Arts, created a series of image macros of the 22 rules, posting them to Imgur. Now, those rules that helped make Pixar synonymous with quality storytelling (we’re pretending Cars 2 never happened) are broken into meme-like chunks, free to spread around the Internet. Each of the rules is illustrated with a corresponding scene from a Pixar movie, making for what look like motivational posters for making timeless entertainment.
Curiosity is key. We find that directly developing this skill in class and through extraordinary projects opens doors to bigger thinking and investment. There’s also a direct connection between curiosity and building hybrid skills in students. When they are curious about the world and how it functions (how does that work? who does this affect? why why why?), they will work to understand people, technology, and culture. To be honest, I want them to be dedicating more time to understanding the world than to making a slick campaigns book. Both can be important, but the first builds a way of thinking for a lifetime.
I know this philosophy works in our classes. Learning should be all about finding the golden tension of interdisciplinarity, the joy of connection. And that happens when we build from curiosity. And I’m watching it come alive in 72andSunny’s newest version of 72U under the directorship of Maria Scileppi. (Transparency alert: I helped shape this new version and I’m proud of the outcome.) Maria and her cohort are jumping into 12 weeks of psychogeography, quantified living, Arduino projects, and days spent thinking how to make the world a better and smarter place, as they learn agency culture. They’re studying the world and how it lives.
Will they be ready to land in a fast creative agency? Absolutely. Their ability to provoke and connect culture to their chosen profession becomes ownable. Compare that to multiple “training programs” in the industry that train only for agency process and tired, entrenched versions of creative thinking or agency bureaucracy.
"Invisible intruders – the voices in my head" How do you deal with the voices in your head? We all hear them – but for some it’s terrifying. What happens in the brain and why engaging with them can actually help to heal.
'Tis the season to be thankful. This sentiment nearly always only applies to family and friends. Considering how much time you spend with your staff and co-workers, why not allow it to manifest at work? Show thankfulness for their hard work, for having your back, for their loyalty, and you will be repaid, in kind, over and over.
But how do you show your staff how thankful you are for them? Sure you can give them a canned ham or tin of turkey-shaped cookies, but why not go all out this year to let them know just how special they really are? Some may require an expenditure, but some are things that don’t necessarily cost a penny. Let’s take a look at ten ways you can show your thanks.
1. Short work day (or extra vacation day)
If this is something in your power to grant (and you’re not bound by a corporate policy), this one is easy. Nothing is appreciated more than a bit of extra R&R. This could be either before or after the holiday – but anything to give a bit of extra time with family and loved ones. It will be important to make sure all work is complete before this is allowed – but don’t turn this into “You get X if you get Y done” because that dilutes the whole meaning behind the “gift”.
2. Go the extra mile
If you’re looking for the best way to show your co-workers and staff how thankful you are, especially at holiday crunch-time, work even harder than usual or volunteer to help out with a project that needs a boost. Naturally, the concern with this is that it could set a precedent you might not be able to live up to year ‘round – and you can’t really say, “This is just for the holiday!” But if you really want to show your co-workers how thankful you are to be a part of “the team,” you’ll go the extra mile year ‘round. Sorry, for the added pressure.
3. Buying power
If your company has the ability to offer discounted purchasing on various goods, open that buying power up to the staff during the holiday. Everyone is looking for ways to cut costs at this time of year, and being able to purchase a few extra items through a company account would certainly fit that bill. Just use discretion when doing this to make sure you aren’t breaking any rules with your accounts.
4. Catered lunch
Everyone likes a free lunch – literally. So much of this holiday centers around eating, why not show your staff how much you appreciate them by having a catered lunch brought into the office. Just make sure to go the extra mile (hint) and not have pizza or wings delivered. Do this up right and you’ll have a very happy staff returning from the holiday (barring drama at home).
5. Group gift
During my long career as an actor, one of the traditions was for the cast to get the director an opening night gift. This was a great way to show a collective appreciation. This gifting goes both ways – all of management could get together and offer gifts to the staff as well.
6. Industry trade advertisement
This may seem a bit grandiose, but purchasing an ad in an industry trade magazine showing your appreciation for your team not only helps you and management, but the company as well. Yes, this might be a costly endeavor, but the payoff will far outweigh the investment. You can extend this (or transfer the idea) to a billboard or mass transportation ad. Either way, you’ll get a lot of mileage out of the thought and execution.
7. Telecommute pass
Even if it isn’t your standard operating procedure, if your staff can work from home, let them – at least for the days surrounding the holiday. Make sure they are aware all duties must be performed to standards – but be flexible with the time frame. You’ll find allowing staff to be close to family, even if they are working at home, will show appreciation in ways gifts cannot. And if you cannot allow them to take the days surrounding the holiday off, this is the best compromise.
8. Company email
It’s not nearly as powerful as the spoken word, but sending out a mass email to your company helps to make everyone know you are thankful for such a hard working, dedicated, and thoughtful staff. This should only be done by higher ups in the company.
Although this singles people out, so long as you can spread the love across the staff, awards not only show your appreciation, it also shows you actually see the work your staff is doing and can serve as a motivational tool to help nudge them forward. Doing this around the holiday season also allows you the flexibility to roll sillier awards into the serious ones.
10. Tell them
Nothing shows thanks like words. It’s easy to jot a note in an email or card, but speaking face to face shows and proves meaning behind the words. When you speak the words face to face, it shows you not only mean them, but the relationship you have between your staff is strong and trusting.
There are countless ways to show your staff or your management how thankful you are for the quality of their work, the care they put into their jobs, and their dedication to the company. Take the time to show your appreciation…you’ll get it back in more ways than you can imagine.
Instagram isn’t going anywhere.
In just three years, they have grown to 150 million users. This is a faster growth trajectory than Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. And with 60% of users outside of the US, the global reach of Instagram is growing.
Beyond just the popularity and rapid expansion of Instagram, there are a number of reasons why it is beneficial to use this platform as a part of your social media strategy.
Instagram, and other visual content sites like Pinterest, are gaining popularity for a reason. We’ve heard the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” countless times since we were children. As marketers and content creators, why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of images as part of your content marketing strategy? Just think how much less typing you’d have to do!
“Visual marketing” is one of the latest buzz words, and for good reason. Consumers want images and content marketers need to provide them. Think about your Facebook feed, do you read every post? Likely not. What about photos? You may not stop on every one, but you stop and look at a good majority of them. And what about Pinterest? Think about how much more content you consume when each post is a well crafted image.
Instagram is just the same. It’s an entire feed of visual stimulation encouraging interaction at its highest levels. If you’re seeing any success with visual marketing on the other platforms you use, imagine the capabilities you have on a site dedicated solely to visual marketing.
High Levels of Engagement
While I don’t have scientific studies from Pew or Mashable to substantiate this claim, I have read other blogs and I ran my own studies that validate Instagram engagement is typically higher than any other site. The ratio and number of likes and comments on Instagram posts significantly surpasses the ratio and number of likes and comments on any other social media site.
High Visibility of Posts
One of the reasons Instagram posts receive such high levels of engagement is that posts are highly visible. There’s no Edgerank or other algorithm that selectively showcases your posts. Every single one of your posts will appear in the feeds of every single one of your followers!
Strategic use of hashtags can also significantly boost the exposure of your posts to new users who will like and comment on your posts and who may even follow you as a result.
Your posts also live on forever. They don’t disappear or get archived like old tweets. And they don’t get buried so far down your stream, like Facebook, that they get lost. A quick scroll through your profile showcases every single post you have ever shared. This is a great way for new followers to connect with your brand!
Connect With a Targeted Audience
I promise that your audience is using Instagram. With 150 million users and growing, your customers are on there. There may be a smaller number of your customers and it may take a while to grow your community to significant levels. But take advantage of the smaller community now to cultivate real brand advocates and loyal customers. Instagram users are passionate and active – they want to interact with you and get to know you.
Photos immediately convey emotional responses. You can easily use your posts to evoke powerful emotions in your audience in order to produce the reactions you desire. If you want people to donate to your non-profit, use images that elicit the desire to participate and donate. If you want to celebrate a milestone or achievement with your audience, use posts that stimulate those emotions. Using the right emotional connection through your posts will drastically increase your engagement and help you reach your goals.
Drive Traffic to your Site
One of the most important things we all want is more traffic to our websites. And, yes, you can drive traffic from Instagram! Make sure you post a link to your site in your bio – this is the only place you can put an active hyperlink on Instagram. Mentioning your website or using calls to action (CTA’s) in your post comments are great ways to generate traffic to your site. I also recommend using a specific landing page from your website as the link in your bio in order to capitalize on visitors coming from Instagram.
One of the best things about Instagram is that it’s just plain fun! The posts make you laugh, you get to stage awesome photo shoots, and you see the beauty in the simplest things. Instagram will change the way you think of content marketing – because when you’re having fun creating your content, it really isn’t all that much “work”!
The growth and expansion that we’re seeing on Instagram is only the beginning for this powerful site. Instagram is the latest site to grow into a permanent position within the big social media giants. As this site gains more traction and more users, the more powerful it will become for businesses and marketers. The solutions and long term benefits that are provided by Instagram for business are inescapable. Be prepared – if you’re not on Instagram now, you will be in the near future.
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
Google Reveals Its 9 Principles Of Innovation
Sometimes of the usual creativity exercises are a bit boring – I keep reading about that tiresome exercise with the candle, the cup, the matches – but these exercises by Snyder, meant to jump-start ideas for movies, are very amusing. They might even make a fun game to play with friends.
1. Funny _____
Pick a drama, thriller, or horror film and turn it into a comedy. Take The Fugitive, make it funny.
2. Serious _____
Likewise, pick a comedy and make it into a drama. Serious Animal House – Drama about cheating scandal at a small university ends in A Few Good Men-like showdown.
3. FBI out of water.
This works for comedy or drama. Name five places that a FBI agent in the movies has never been sent to solve a crime. Example: Slob FI agent is sent undercover to a Provence Cooking School.
4. _____ School
Works for both drama and comedy. Name five examples of an unusual type of school, camp, or classroom. Example: “Wife School.”
Drama or comedy. Name several pairs of people to be on opposite sides of a burning issue.
6. My ______ Is a Serial Killer
Drama or comedy. Name an unusual person, animal, or thing that a paranoid can suspect of being a murderer.
Seeing this exercise showed me how screenwriters got the ideas for several very famous movies! Can you think of examples?
Feeling creative helps boost happiness. While people often associate brooding melancholy as the spirit most appropriate to creative outpourings, research shows that people tend to be more creative when they’re feeling happy.