Stars on the Ground

DSCN3005I did get a chance to view the Perseids from atop Mulholland Drive, but the five or so shooting stars were ultimately not worth the loss of sleep. What did make the evening entirely worthwhile was quality time over dinner at Chin Chin with my good friend Amy Seidman, spontaneously seeing our mutual friend DJ Loomer perform at the House of Blues and meeting his Bass Ritual partner DJ Saadhu. Reminding me once again that the most impressive stars of all are the ones right here on the ground whom I’m fortunate to call my friends.

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Perseids and embedding video

perseids_stardateWho knew there was a connection between the Perseids meteor shower and JW Player? I was hoping to embed this cool animation of where to look for the Perseids meteor shower late Tuesday night  (thanks Stardate.org). But while I’m still getting the hang of how best to embed video in WordPress (suggestions welcome), better to put the information out there than worry about perfectly nailing the aesthetics. Besides, it gave me a chance to experiment with a quick post about something I find interesting yet non-industry related. Does this fit here? I hope I’m able to stay up late and may drive to an inland valley or mountaintop to see the shower. What about you?

http://stardate.org/nightsky/meteors/

Perseids Stardate

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Plugged In, Charging Up

la_skylineThe Los Angeles Business Journal article referenced in my last post came out yesterday and I thought Charles Proctor did a superb job profiling the current state of the technology industry in Los Angeles. The article, entitled “Special Report: Plugged In, Charging Up” goes into great detail comparing employment trends in the technology sector in Los Angeles with that of Silicon Valley, including how our diversified market helped LA recover faster from the dot-com crash and the way aerospace engineers transfered their expertise to industries like computer science and medical devices in the post-Cold War era.

Carrying the technology industry in 2009 is a robust games industry, alternative fuel vehicles and renewable energy and digital media and marketing. I’m quoted as saying “This is a major media location and it has a big, big talent pool,” said Tony Winders, a vice president at Westlake Village-based ValueClick Inc., a publicly traded Internet advertising company. “So the tech community settled in here as a hub for the digital advertising business.”

It was fun being asked to contribute to this piece, but even more encouraging to read an article with some quantifiable details about how well our local technology community is faring these days. Hats off to Mr. Proctor for his thoughtful, quantitative analysis, and A BIG THANK YOU to Nicole Jordan for the introduction.

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Marketing Evolution in Los Angeles

onlyinla2Preparing for an interview yesterday with a prominent Los Angeles business journal, I didn’t have to walk more than five feet from my office to get some great insight on the evolution of marketing in Los Angeles, reminding me once again what an amazing and experienced team of digital media professionals I get the pleasure of working with each day. The reporter was interested in my thoughts about why LA has increasingly become a hub for marketing companies in recent years, and my colleagues Matt Boyd and Brian Stone had plenty to add to my understanding of the topic. Thanks guys!

The short answer is that LA has always been a hub for marketing activity because it’s a major media market and home to the largest and most diverse creative community in the world. Digging a bit deeper, at least from a digital perspective, in the mid 9os, smaller marketing agencies were building out online advertising expertise that today is now dominated by large agencies like OMD, Initiative, Carat, Starcom and Mediavest — in many cases as a result of acquiring those smaller, more specialized shops.

Another reason marketing has  found success here in recent years is that the Internet is no longer the exclusive domain of technologists, as was the case for the Silicon Valley during the dot-com boom years. The tools are now fully in the hands of creative and media professionals all over the world. Also, unlike the financial and tech focus of San Francisco, LA is home to some fairly recession proof industries, including entertainment, games and (at least compared to domestic manufacturers) some innovative foreign automotive brands.

Another thing LA has going for it is a thriving marketing community which frequently circles its wagons around the popular thinkLA organization. The Los Angeles Advertising Agencies Association, the Ad Club of Los Angeles and the Magazine Representatives Association merged to create thinkLA in 2006. Since then, it has successfully brought us together as an industry and I’m particularly impressed by its “Only in LA” campaign to promote Los Angeles as a center for creative thinking and innovation in marketing and media.

We’ll see how much of these thoughts make their way into an article and I will report back when it’s published next month.

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The Importance of Downtime

dsc_0819bOf what value is a good work ethic if it is not held in balance with a healthy lifestyle, quality relationships and putting family first? While I’m far from reaching such a balance, it doesn’t mean I don’t strive for it. I was reminded of the importance of downtime during our family vacation to Eau Claire, Wisconsin last week. It was one of the few times in my career I’ve taken 10 consecutive days off and the vacation served its purpose. Being [mostly] unplugged and away from the daily routine, made me more grateful than ever for family and close friends.

The highlight of our trip was distant cousins hitting it off as though they lived next door, followed closely by spending time with my sister and experiencing firsthand how she and her family live. Water skiing, a nighttime thunderstorm and seeing Night Ranger perform at the Northern Wisconsin State Fair were my personal highlights.

But a more salient point that stuck with me was something Don Grainger said as we sat on Lesley’s front porch. As he relayed a story about someone who taught him the importance of leaving one’s work at work, I was reminded of people  I’ve known who appear to do that well, and more importantly how much I need to get into that good habit because ultimately it’s better for business and better for life. 

That includes turning off the computer at a reasonable time and getting enough sleep, so with that I will take my own advice and head off to bed!

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