Monday, August 30, 2010

I am the same as you. No better.

I've got Prada baby! ($5) And Dockers ($5), Polo ($5) and Calvin Klein ($2.50) too! Oh, and there's my new Breitling watch ($12.50) and the Northface bag ($4). I just blew a hole in my budget and went on this huge shopping spree. Now I'll need a therapeutic call to the Suzy Orman show and maybe even some Oprah couch counseling. But I'm no different, no better for it. In a Vietnamese reality, I'm just like you. Just like everybody else. Even the farmers wear Prada here. Why? Because they can. Now I can too. But I'm just like you - because you do too.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

America: The illusion continues

Jonathan Harris, John Wayne, The Duke, DLD, Munich, Chinese, Davos, America, Iceland, Italy,  New Mexico, Germany, I've been a fan of Jonathan Harris' work since long before I met him at the DLD conference in Munich this year. This year he's been on a quest to post one photo a day, every day, from everywhere he has been from Munich to Davos to New Mexico, Iceland, Italy and more. Today's post is about America and I like his take on New York, after his having been in Iceland for the past long few months. "Because when an illusion gets too big, the damage it would cause by collapsing is far more terrible than the damage of keeping it going. It's a simple and sensible trade-off — kind of like trading a car crash for cancer." - Jonathan Harris. That's America alright.

Will the illusion survive for our children - or be passed to the Chinese? Rich over at RCNevada reports that the official unemployment rate in Las Vegas is 14.8%. Wonder what the Chairman of the Board would think of that?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Joy, shit, art and inspiration: How much of one not to take to get the others.

After almost two weeks of work straight, say 12 hrs a day+ with just short breaks, I finally came up for air. I got to a point at the end of the stint where I wouldn't even have the TV on or listen to music because I was so concerned with getting everything I needed to get done for a publication that had a rotating deadline and a constantly shifting list of "things to do". In a world where change is the only constant, this work played true and the only thing that wasn't changing was my fee.

As an employee one can do little about this syndrome and when one's employer guarantees a certain level of security and hopefully fair pay it is really our responsibility to just suffer the work and get it done with as few complaints as possible. But as an independent contractor the rules change a bit. We do our best to estimate the time involved, the work to be done, our competence at said work and a reasonable rate of pay. And then the nose goes to the grindstone. If one has been briefed relatively well by the client, then one's estimate should be fairly close. But if not, one of two things will be true: Either you've estimated poorly, or the client has not been completely honest with you. In my case recently, it turned out to be the latter - and that doesn't necessarily mean the client was not honest - more logically it seemed as if the client was not particularly good at estimating himself. In any case, the job swung wildly out of control in a way that I hadn't seen since the very beginning of my career. Nothing at my company in Korea had ever become this far gone, nor at Leo Burnett or any of the major agencies I have ever worked for, so it fell back to my early career experience to figure out what to do.

Concern, issue, problem.

In order to let people know what level of severity a job might be it, the above diplomatic language was explained to me to describe just how deep the shit is in any crucial work situation. It works like this: When the boss says he has a 'concern', that's the first red flag - something has been brought up and it's your job to address it. But concerns, if not addressed becomes 'issues', the second red flag - And issues, if not resolved become 'problems', usually the third and final red flag, - and that usually means that something is now costing somebody money - maybe a lot of money.

When you're an employee this system needs to be understood from the top down - meaning that if your boss uses this graduating scale of severity to impress upon you, your responsibilities, you better hop to it. But if you're working as an independent contractor and the client requests become well outside the original agreement, this scale can be reversed, and used to let the client know that things are getting squirrely. 'Concern, issue, problem'. Don't use it at your own peril and you'll loose a ton of sleep and money.

I used it for a week this last week and made sure that people were aware of a situation getting worse. It didn't effect their behavior much, they were still late and disorganized, but at least it made me feel better and put me in a position to say, "I told-ja-so", later. CYA. It reminded me how much I dislike a lot of the defense mechanisms I learned in a corporate culture

Having finished a bit of a 'a few weeks in hell', I set about understanding my home again - not the bunker I has established for my month-long+ writing war. The place with a full ashtray everyday, a grimy computer, tons of magazines and books and notes and rubbish all around. The place that looks like a war room. So I cleaned the fridge.

There's something so thrillingly liberating about remedial tasks. I remember having a job at Avis Rent-A-Car when I was paid to sweep a large garage every week on Saturday. It took four hours. And took all my cares away. In four hours, sweeping mostly in one direction, around antique cars under shrouds, with one rolling garage door up and the sunlight shafting through and casting a wide dusty widening stripe across the oil stained concrete floor, I was able to daydream and think and create and put my problems into the background for the afternoon. I loved it. And that's what cleaning the fridge, washing the dishes, cleaning nasty surfaces and making an actual meal did for me today. It helped me think. It helped me clear out my email. It helped me remember what is important in life - and that, I remembered, was balance. And I seem to have been out of balance for quite some time now. Out of understanding that the reason we work is not just to pay the bills, but to get to spend our money in a way that is enjoyable and meaningful to us every day. Isn't that why you work? Having music around makes me feel this way.

And so, in my shuffley, scroungy, no program cleaning day, I stumbled across this illustration by Seth Godin. (above) This illustration that juxtaposes graphs on joy, hassle (shit) and the inverse reaction one has on the other. Going through Seth Godin's stuff is sometimes difficult because he explains things too much. But this one is simple. The less shit you get, the happier you will be. And this, I needed to remember. The thing that told me that when the stress of the job outweighed the joy that job gave me, that maybe it was time to do another job. Or simplify the one I had and let the client know that things had become, a problem.And so I did, and tomorrow I will find out if that argument hit any paydirt with the client.

Joy, Shit, Hassle, Art, Inspiration, Passion, Concern, Issue, Problem, Seth Godin,  Hugh MacLeod,  Gapingvoid, In Seth's writings I also found the following quote, which I like very much. is says: "A is for Artist: An artist is someone who brings humanity to a problem, who changes someone else for the better, who does work that can't be written down in a manual. Art is not about oil painting, it's about bringing creativity and insight to work, instead of choosing to be a compliant cog." (from Linchpin). And I accompany this quote with a drawing from Hugh MacLeod. A drawing that exemplifies what we all should be working towards. Inspiration. - In my life I have gone above and beyond the call of duty for different reasons at different times but always in pursuit of something that was well above average. Yes, I have done it for money, and certainly I have done it for love but it's far more important to do it for art and inspiration. Stan Richards said to me once, "Do what you love, and the money will follow." I just keep believing that every day, and that way, I do something I love every day, and sometimes, get paid very well for it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I Got Friends In Azerbaijan!

Azerbaijan, Ganja, wild wild east dailies, Russia, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Georgia, mapHoly shit? Who would have seen that coming - but on my little bloggie radar, which happens to be, Azerbaijan has been making a strong showing over the last month or so. Not Azerbaijan, Ganja, wild wild east dailies, Russia, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Georgiahuge, maybe 10 hits a day, but WhoTF would have thought we were making waves in Azerbaijan? There are 10 million people there. Hold on. Where the hell is Azerbaijan?

Check. Azerbaijan is located west of the Caspian Sea, south of Russia and Georgia, east of Turkey, Armenia and the Black Sea, and just north of Iran and Iraq. So WhereTF is that? Well, that seems to be right smack-dab in the middle of nowhere. It's that little green speck on the map, southeast of Europe. But somebody there likes us!

That's right kiddies, it's The Wild Wild East Dailies coming to you direct from Radio Free Azerbaijan, tellin' you, Azerbaijanis they would they be called, just WTF is up and WhereTF it's all coming from. We're All the news that nobody knows (c), and we're here for your reading and listening pleasure. Welcome Azerbaijanis. We're pleased you stopped by. Got any good drugs there? They do have a city named Ganja.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Infinite Wisdom announces new Partner/Friends

Today Infinite Wisdom is proud to announce two new Partner/Friends. These additions help us extend our services in telecommunications and technology with a focus on market and brand value in emerging markets. Curious thing about IW, you'll notice that we all have the same title - Partner/Friend. That's because we need to be both to those we work with in the office and to our clients as well. A partner and a friend. What could be more valuable, or more simple? Please click above and meet our new people.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Regrets: The Travis Diaries XXXIX

"We never live in regret for things we tried for and lost. We only live in regret for things we never tried for at all."- Travis

For more in the Travis Diaries, check here:

Sex: The Travis Diaries I

I'm a man, DAMMIT: The Travis Diaries II
Love: The Travis Diaries III
Tiger: The Travis Diaries IV
Ambivelence: The Travis Diaries V
Advertising People & Blogs: The Travis Diaries VI
What's Left?: The Travis Diaries VII
Year of the Tiger: The Travis Diaries VIII
She said: The Travis Diaries IX
Dreams: The Travis Diaries X

A Bad Day: The Travis Diaries XI
Svengali? The Travis Diaries XII
My Way: The Travis Diaries XIII

WWED Radio is Back!

And we're back. After a week down and the unfortunate closing of our beloved GarageBand site of yesteryear, WWED Radio is back and as much as I'd like to say, "New and Improved" let's just say different as there have been a few changes in operation. The first is that now to activate the music, you'll need to click on the play button and it will fire right up. The second change is that, unfortunately, podcasts will only be able to be downloaded using third-party Freeware. I recommend Orbit Downloader and have tested it here and it works just fine.

This second change is due to copyright law being more strictly enforced and while the previous cast was fun and free, it was essentially illegal. This new format allows copyright holders to benefit from residuals by counting the number of plays on Mixcloud but does not yet allow downloads. So please, suffer through the extra step of the Orbit download option. Yes, there was a day the music died, but it's back again, and we'll do our best to make sure it gets better and better. Enjoy.

The Wild Wild East Dailies

D a v i d E v e r i t t - C a r l s o n
Find me on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Read my blog: The Wild Wild East Dailies and keep up on our efforts with aSaigon/CreativeMorning.