• Fuck Yeah Made in USA

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    Fuck Yeah Made in USA, is a pretty cool blog dedicated to showing off small companies and manufacturers who have chosen to make their products in the United States. We love the stories and were really impressed with the camera work and editing on a lot of these videos. Here are a few of our favorites:

    Imogene + Willie

    Imogene & Willie from John Moessner on Vimeo.

    Tellason

    Tellason from Vertical Online on Vimeo.

    Soulcraft

    FROM STEEL: The Making of a Soulcraft from michael evans on Vimeo.

    Billykirk

    Billykirk from The Scout on Vimeo.

    The Brooklyn Circus

    The Brooklyn Circus - Fall 2011 Varsity from The Work on Vimeo.

    Optimo Hats

    OPTIMO HAT COMPANY from samuel j macon on Vimeo.

  • YouTube Space Lab

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    Awesome find of the day: The YouTube Space Lab. YouTube is working in conjunction with NASA, ESA and JAXA to hold the most amazing science fair ever...in SPACE. We absolutely love the promo video too. Now we just have to find a 14-18 year old who will let us "help" with their project...

  • Abandoned

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    Chipotle is on a roll with their somber, yet inspiring ads. This time they are raising awareness through their Chipotle Cultivate Foundation about the economic hardships of America's farmers. Beautifully shot and set to a haunting version of Willie Nelson's "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys" by Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, it's a sobering way to start the day, but so wonderful, we had to share.

    Via

  • Kern Me

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    For those of you who dream about typography, have letterpress wood blocks and various letters and/or ampersands lining your shelves, and have more than one photo on you phone of some signage that just had great typographic design, we have the perfect game for you: Kerntype. The idea of the game is to see if you can space the letters (adjust the kerning) of a word like a designer would, then you get a score based on how well you matched the designer. Warning, if you're OCD, this game can be slightly addictive.

  • Portraits in Dramatic Time

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    Whitehouse Post editor John Luisi composed a trailer from 40 video portraits of renowned film and theater actors including Alan Rickman, William H. Macy, Lily Taylor and Liev Schreiber — shot by artist and director David Michalek for an exhibit entitled Portraits in Dramatic Time, which premiered as part of the 2011 Lincoln Center Festival.

    The forty shorts of Portraits in Dramatic Time featured actors in character in the process of working a scene. The portraits were shot using an innovative slow motion technique involving a fixed high speed, high definition camera recording several thousand frames per second at 10 to 15 second intervals — resulting in videos of 8 or more minutes each.

    The resulting videos can undeniably be described as moving portraits. Subtle details of the actors' process within the characters become powerfully evident in the scenes. The installation was displayed on an 85 ft by 45 ft screen that hung in front of the David H. Koch Theater for passersby to view.

    Portraits in Dramatic Time, Lincoln Center Festival 2011 from johnny luisi on Vimeo.

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  • Not Your Average Jack-O-Lantern

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    'Tis the season of Jack-O-Lanterns and pumpkin carving contests. And as such, we give you the coolest (and most functional) carved gourds you've ever laid eyes on:




  • Think Different

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    When Steve Jobs developed this ad, it was to define his brand. But in a very real way, he defined himself. Thank you for thinking different, Steve.

    Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

    “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify and vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as crazy, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

    Apple has invited fans of Jobs to pay their respects through the email address rememberingsteve@apple.com.

  • The Firefly Guide to Producing Creative Content

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    We can't ever pass up a good Firefly analogy, and this one happens to be a pretty good one. Reblogged from copyblogger.

    I was reading Jonathan Fields’ new book Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance this weekend, and one of the insights that struck me the most was his breakdown of the two types of creativity.

    Because analogies help us learn, and because Firefly is the best show that has ever been on television, I’m going to call the two types of creativity Mal Reynolds creativity (insight, vision, and brave new ideas) and Zoe Washburne creativity (actually getting something done).

    If you’re not a Firefly fan, don’t worry, because these archetypes are present in just about any epic story you can imagine. They’re also present in your business right now.

    You can call them Kirk and Spock creativity, Jobs and Wozniak creativity, or Phineas and Ferb creativity.

    Essentially, part of the creative process involves having brilliant vision and breakthrough insights. And part involves refining, expanding, and producing that vision — in other words, actually buckling down and making something.

    One of these probably comes easier to you than the other, but chances are that you’re going to need to be able to handle both, at least at first. So let’s talk about how to do that a little less painfully.

    Mal Reynolds creativity

    The Firefly character Captain Mal Reynolds is the archetype of creative leadership.

    He’s brave. He’s smart. He can sum up a tricky situation in an instant, knowing when to fight off the bad guys and when to turn tail and run.

    Mal is a classic entrepreneurial leader. (And a classic action hero.) He comes up with the plan that’s so crazy it just might work, and his crew works together to make it happen.

    Mal is perceptive, decisive, romantic (despite every attempt to be cynical), impractical, impulsive, and brilliant.

    You’ll find Captain Mal creatives at the top of virtually every really cool company. For real life Captain Mals, look to Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, and David Ogilvy.

    The idea terrorist

    But this type of creativity has a dark side. In Jonathan’s book, he talks about being an “idea terrorist” in his own companies.

    "Every two seconds, I’d have a new idea about what we were going to do, how we’d define the brand, whom we’d serve, what kind of lighting we’d have, the type of music we’d create, the people we’d hire, what they’d wear, the tiles in the bathrooms."

    It’s impossible to execute when you’re facing a firehose of ideas. And whether you have staff or you’re on your own, you’ll burn your organization out if you try.

    Part of the difficulty of the creative process is to sift through the thousand possible wonderful ideas, and find one to execute on.

    It may not be “the” right idea. It probably won’t be. It just has to be a right idea.

    Zoe Washburne creativity

    Zoe Washburne is Mal’s second in command. She’s a well-trained soldier, intensely practical, and steeped in tactics and strategy. She’s also brave and smart, but her skill lies in following orders.
    Zoe makes things happen.

    Some people don’t recognize Zoe’s style as being creative, but it is. It’s the Zoes of the world who literally create something, by taking ideas and vision and applying “REP” (refining, expansion, process) to them.

    Zoe is pragmatic, tactical, effective, skilled, energetic, and realistic. She neither makes nor accepts excuses. For real-life Zoes, see Paul Allen, Derek Halpern, and Warren Buffett.

    If nothing is created, there is no creativity

    Part of what makes a creative life (and every bootstrap business is a creative project) so hard is that Captain Mals are the ones who tend to be drawn to this kind of life, but then we have to turn ourselves into Zoes to actually build something.

    We have to write the content. We have to get the site built. We have to figure out the shopping cart. We have to record the audio, build the slide show, write the sales page.

    Vision is nothing without execution — which is why so many brilliant visionaries have a history of being shot down by “practical” thinkers before they finally make their mark.

    What to do if you’re a Mal

    If you’re a Mal and you don’t have a Zoe yet, you’ll need to be able to uncover your pragmatic side, at least until you can create enough success to build an organization.
    The first thing you should do is pick up Jonathan’s book, because he has a lot of practical ideas about how Mals can adapt from pure thinkers to doers.

    It’s very likely that you’ll take the lead on creating your content — at least until you can communicate your vision to a few Zoes who can create it for you. So construct rituals that let your brain know it’s time to be productive.

    Work in focused bursts, giving yourself recovery time to recharge your creative batteries.

    You’ll also want to draw clear boundaries between your “insight time” and “implementation time.” There’s a time to dream and a time to write, and you need to define which is which.

    When you’re in productive mode, look for clear, step by step instruction for how to do the task you’ve assigned yourself. Keep yourself on track with roadmaps, checklists, or other linear tools that let you know you’ve done all the steps.

    If you’re a Zoe

    If you’re more a Zoe than a Mal, you may not think of yourself as creative at all.

    Realize that your implementation of an idea is one of the most valuable forms of creativity. Ideas are cheap; implementation is priceless, so don’t sell yourself short.

    Your insights may not immediately brand you as a “thought leader,” but if you focus relentlessly on what your audience wants and needs, you’ll find you can go surprisingly far.

    Zoe isn’t showy like Mal is, but she has a strong, appealing personality. And you do too — so don’t be afraid to let that shine through in your content. Because you’re a Zoe, you’ll be less tempted to showboat or turn your content into an ego-fest — and your readers will be grateful for it.

    You may decide you feel more comfortable joining forces with a visionary. If so, you won’t have much trouble finding brilliant minds who can’t seem to get anything done.

    Again, don’t undermine yourself — your skill set is rare and valuable, so don’t think of yourself as the hired help. Instead, consider yourself the valued producer who can harness the creative “talent” and make things happen.

    And don’t assume you’ll never have a breakthrough insight of your own. Look for proven ways to generate more insights — by approaching a crossroads topic, by applying an old insight to a new market, or simply by giving yourself some creative downtime for new ideas to bubble up. Again, Jonathan’s book has a lot of ideas for you.

    If you’re in the teaching business

    (And by “the teaching business,” I mean content marketing, online education, or any form of sales … as well as a host of other ways the digital age has made us both teachers and students.)

    As we all remember from grade school, really great teachers are creative … and they respect the creativity and individuality of their students.

    Your Mal students already have the vision and the drive, but when it’s time for them to put the details together, they need help. Give them lots of step-by-step tutorials. Even better, give them checklists and manuals they can hand off to someone else when they finally give up trying to do it all alone.

    Your Zoe students know how to work and they know how to make things happen, but they may not have confidence that they can create something really new. Give them reassurance, frameworks for creativity, and tools to develop their ideas from blah to breakthrough.

    Best of all is if you can create an environment in which your Zoes and Mals can interact, ask each other questions, brainstorm, and possibly team up to form amazing partnerships.

    Make your students and customer Big Damn Heroes, and they’ll love you forever.

    by Sonia Simone

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