- What gets measured, gets manufactured.
- What Makes a Manifesto
- Are you working like an entrepreneur?
- The “You Don’t Need Us Awards” Round 7 – Penzey’s Spices
- A Beautiful Space
- Being ‘Wholehearted’
- Diving into to life.
- When someone responds
- Focus on what’s right in front of you
- Overheard in the Brains on Firesphere 8 years and 16 days ago.
_Geno and Libby goofing off. _ Today's headline wisdom is straight from John Moore's head. Seems it's actually pretty easy _(and cheap)_ to manufacturer friends and followers on social media these days. The other day my friend Steven and I had a silly twitter conversation _(yes, I am admitting that out loud)_ that went like this: ME: If you have someone who follows you and they have a lot of followers do you tend to follow them back? Steven (faking interest): What? I'd just gotten a string of people following me on Twitter that had 20,000+ followers. Who were all these odd people with such massive followings? So. Steven did an interesting little experiment. He paid five dollars to get 15,000 twitter followers on a site called Fivver. _Been there yet? _ Well. If you want more twitter followers or Facebook likes -- Fivver is just one of many places you can go these days. Steven signed up for the 15,000 followers deal and in less than 24 hours, there they were. Suddenly he was a social media maven. He went from 500 "real" _(I suppose)_ followers to over 15,000 "make believe" followers. Overnight. For five bucks. CRAZY, RIGHT? I'm happy to report Steven's life didn’t change at all. He's not dressing or talking differently. Nothing changed. Well, except that those followers are slowly going away. SO, I HAVE TO ASK. IF YOU HAVE SOMEONE WHO FOLLOWS YOU AND THEY HAVE A LOT OF FOLLOWERS DO YOU TEND TO FOLLOW THEM BACK? WHY? ARE WE WIRED TO THINK MORE IS MORE? The post What gets measured, gets manufactured. appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.
_This cool piece of work is from one of our newest design interns, Joy_. A while back, a friend helped me stumble upon this cool little manifesto from design company (and man behind it all) Jonathan Adler. Please read it. It's cool. The manifesto is honest, brave, fun, and so very Jonathan Adler. How do I know this? The proof is in the pudding. The company starts from the ground up, building on their own foundation and no one else's. What is important to them guides their decisions, their process, and their final product. Everything circles back to their manifesto. Do you have a manifesto for yourself? What guides you, inspires you, helps you make tough calls? I'm working on my own manifesto, and let me tell you, it's going to be honest, brave, and so very Katie Scully. State your motives, your guiding light, your point of view. Make it your own. The post What Makes a Manifesto appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.
_This illustration for the cover of this month's TOWN magazine is from my shiny talented niece Alice Ratterree._ Okay. I have question for you this morning. How long has it been since you were so excited about an idea you couldn’t sleep? _Hmmmm. _ I’ve started having some quiet conversations with the Brains on Fire tribe about what excites us. I really haven’t had an agenda, I’m just curious. So I've been asking and observing and listening. HERE’S WHAT I’VE DISCOVERED: We love and value great design. All of us. We love smart ideas and often send brilliant ones we stumble upon to each other by email. We love people and truly believe the world is full of amazing human beings. We get down right emotional about the things humans will do for each other. We love dogs and kids and cooking and books and fashion and flower arranging and music. Collectively we celebrate and believe in excellence. We defend the right to pursue it at all costs. We believe marketing has the power to change lives in a positive and meaningful way. We don’t celebrate working late or overtime, but I’ll often come in first thing in the morning to be surprise and delighted when someone “just felt they could make something even better.” And so they stayed late to make that happen. HERE'S SOMETHING ELSE I'VE DISCOVERED: If you find yourself a part our tribe, you are an entrepreneur. Yup. As I've been asking and listening and learning it dawned on me with a fierce certainty; I'm speaking with, observing and working alongside of an amy of entrepreneurs who drive my passion even further every single day. Yesterday I got an email from a young friend of mine. She’s thinking of starting her own business. The email she wrote, asking for a little networking help and some simple advice, almost CRACKLED with passion and excitement. I caught it. And Jumped right into trying to help her. That's what people who are driven by strong desire and passion do, they spark their desire and passion in others. They trail little bits and pieces of desire and passion in their wake. _All day long._ So, how about you? Are you only living for the weekend? Or are you excited about the possibilities each day brings? Do wake up with excitement? Do you work hard to make things "even better"? ARE YOU WORKING WITH THE DESIRE AND PASSION OF AN ENTREPRENEUR? If not, what can you do to change that? COME ON. LET'S TALK THIS MORNING… The post Are you working like an entrepreneur? appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.
So this is a little something that we haven’t done in a while over here at the Brains on Fire Blog. The “You don’t Need Us Awards” celebrate the brands and businesses that are doing such an great job already connecting with their customers and advocates that, well, they they don’t need us. I’m happy to say that Penzey’s Spices is one of those brands. Penzey’s is an purveyor of fine herbs and spices that is based out of the U.S. My mom is a bit of a gourmet, and I grew up with their catalog always within reach in and around the kitchen area of our house. She still uses them exclusively to purchase all of her spices and spice mixes from. There is bound to be someone that asks about them at any given dinner party, and you can count on Mom to create one or two new customers for Penzey’s that night. With that said, here are the reasons that they don’t need us. 1. THEY HAVE A FANTASTIC PRODUCT: They are the place that you can look that obscure spice that Julia Child requires for that duck recipe that she wrote in the 70’s. Not only will they have it, they’ll have four varieties of it. On top of that, each spice jar or bag will have serving suggestions printed right on it. I know, this isn’t a new idea or anything, but it definiteely keeps you from having that obscure herb sitting in your spice rack for two years because that Julia recipe was too much of a pain to make again. Having a great product is the foundation, nothing else would really matter that much if that weren’t the case, right? 2. THEY CARE ABOUT THEIR CUSTOMERS, AND HAVE CUSTOMERS THAT HAVE GROWN TO CARE ABOUT THEM: Look at what they say on their job openings page on their website:
“We are currently looking for people who believe that cooking is kindness, and that kindness can change the world”I think that spells it out plain as day. One of the things that I’ve always been enamored with about Penzey’s is that they always put their customer on a pedestal. I don’t think of a high end spice dealer being really that down to earth, but they pay attention to the fact that their customers aren’t all like Thomas Keller. Their catalogs always feature real people, making real recipes with their products. They focus on making it easy to use the obscure ingredients, and celebrate the adventure of cooking something new. 3. THEY EXTEND THE IDEA OF COOKING IS KINDNESS THOUGHOUT EVERYTHING THEY DO. Here's an example. Every box of herbs and spices that they send out also includes a little extra something. Whether it is packaged with Turkish Bay leaves, or Cinnamon sticks, there’s always something other that what you ordered that gets you excited about cooking. It’s funny, I never knew that there was a difference between Turkish Bay Leaves and Regular Bay Leaves until I recieved them randomly in a box of spices. Now I ONLY use Turkish Bay Leaves, not because I’m a snob, but becasue Penzey’s was right in the fact that they ARE better. Not to mention the fact that if my mom saw regular bay leaves in our kitchen, you’d better believe I wouldn’t hear the end of it. Love you Mom. That’s it for award number seven. Check out the others we’ve previously given away: USAA, Arborwear, The New Glarus Brewery, Chick-Fil-A, Patagonia, and Johnny Cupcakes. Any companies or products that you can't stop talking about and want the world to know? Sounds like they don't need us. Let us know about them in the comments. -------------------------------
Nathan Spainhour is a Designer + Interactive Director at Brains on Fire. Meet him here.The post The "You Don't Need Us Awards" Round 7 - Penzey's Spices appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.
I feel fortunate to have grown up in a beautiful place. When I was younger, my family and I would take the train from the suburbs and head north to the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago. I was surrounded by beauty. Even in the dead of winter, the snow gently fell on hundred-year-old buildings, historic landmarks, and bridges over icy water. The city was, and still is, beautiful. At first it seemed trivial, just another silly way to boast why you, or your city, is better than another. In some cases that might be true. Florence, Italy came from a place of arrogant opulence. So much money spent on all this _stuff_. This _stuff_, I learned, does not need to be cocky. It needs to be beautiful. Now look around you. Where are you sitting, or standing, or scurrying? Do you reside in a beautiful space? Do you create a place for yourself, your team, your family to enjoy? Or are you dreading the clutter, dust, and endless post-it notes scattered about your space? That flickering overhead light sure doesn't help. BE GOOD TO YOURSELF. Beautification is important, not pompous. It's exciting, inviting, and worthwhile. Today, I live in a truly beautiful city (and it's not Chicago). Half the time I talk about where I live, I'm describing the scenery, the vibrance, the energy… the beauty. I paint the picture. Wherever you spend your time… whether it's in front of your computer, in the bathroom, or in your comfy bed, make it beautiful. There is enough grey in our world, don't let it seep into your space. The post A Beautiful Space appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.
I regularly get lost down a proverbial rabbit hole on the Internet. I start Googling a restaurant’s hours of operation and end up watching 40 dogs-running-in-their-sleep videos YouTube (meet Bizkit here), then ordering new glasses. Sometimes these ‘trips’ are expensive and sometimes they are incredibly valuable. Today was the latter. This TED Talk dates back to 2010 and you may have already seen it, but it's one I’ve never come across before and is now my favorite. The featured speaker Brené Brown is a researcher of HUMAN CONNECTION. What a fascinating thing to consider from a scientific perspective. Her whole video is included and you should watch every charming minute, but I just wanted to share what leaped out of it for me. Her research path (not without blood, sweat and tears) led to this concept about human connection: _Vulnerability is the core of shame, fear and our struggle of worthiness, but it also appears to be the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging and love._ The two ways people treat their vulnerability relate to whether or not they have a sense of worthiness. Those who believe they deserve to belong…well, they do. Our fear that we do not deserve connection is the one thing that keeps us from making connections. What a self-fulfilling prophecy. Those without the sense of worthiness referred to their vulnerability as ‘excruciating’ and worked hard to suppress it through food, alcohol and the like. The dilemma in trying to suppress feelings of vulnerability is that you can’t selectively numb emotions. With quieting your fears and shame, you lose your joy and gratitude. You lose your purpose. On the other hand, she calls those who have the sense of worthiness the ‘wholehearted’ (I just love that!). They embrace their vulnerability as a beautiful and necessary attribute. They are courageous. Courage is defined by its good ole Latin origin (in so many words): _telling the story of who you are with your whole heart_. So what do we do with this besides emphatically nod our heads? Have the courage to be your imperfect authentic self…as a brand, as a community and as a human being. You will find human connection there. The post Being 'Wholehearted' appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.
_Photo from my friend Libby Williams_ _I've been struggling a bit lately. _ Having just come off a long stretch of helping craft and co-author a book called _The Passion Conversation_, I have that sort of post angst that comes from hitting a huge milestone and finishing a fun project. It was remarkable to be able to think so intently about something I care so deeply about. Writing for this new book actually caused me to stop and really think about my own passions, my own calling. Am I really following my passions? Oh, I have plenty that I'm passionate about. Seeking happiness and bringing it to myself and others. Simplifying life. Living peacefully. Somehow over the years I have learned that those pursuits make me happiest. _But sometimes I still wonder. Am I really following my passions? Is there more?_ My kids are college and shortly after college age. If you have kids that age _(and therefore know a bunch of kids that age)_ you know they get told often to follow their passions. At graduation time that's often the advice some very wise and wonderful people hand out freely and with certainty. I've most likely given that same advice myself a time or two. _But what if you don’t have a passion? Yet…_ I heard this NPR interview on the way in to work last week and I sat in my car in the sunshine and listened to the entire thing.: It’s worth a listen. But it honestly left me wondering what I would tell the young man in the story _(Max)_ who felt he didn't have a passion to follow. My lack of a real good answer bugged me all morning. Especially in light of the book we just wrote. Cordell and I started talking about Max and his question. Here's the gist of what Cordell shared with me: I’ve met many recent college graduates who have no idea what they want to do. We’ve screwed them up by telling them to follow their passion. Passion is like love. Love is not a feeling. Love comes from doing. We have to apologize to these bright young minds and encourage them to just _do something_. Passion is what you discover about yourself along the way. It’s not something you just magically have. It comes from experiences. People don't share passions. They share experiences. Stories are about something that happened to you. The passion conversations do not come from your heart first. _They come from a collision with life._ Maybe that yearning for more that puzzles me at times is what keeps me excited and embracing life and all it's many changes. Maybe they're even more passions I have yet to unearth. That knowledge is pretty damn wonderful and magical. And for businesses that insight is magical too. Passion conversations, not product conversations, come from your collision with life and the stories and experiences you share with those you serve. _What do you think?_ The post Diving into to life. appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.
I have to brag. I feel loved. On three separate occasions, I "spoke" with four different people from Crate&Barrel. Five if you include the supervisor. I'm in wedding registry mode. It's been _interesting_. BUT THIS IS NOT A RANT, I PROMISE. IT'S A REMINDER THAT PEOPLE ARE AWESOME. First impression: if you call the customer service number and there is a wait, they offer to call you back. They recognize your time is valuable. How considerate. Anthony, my first C&B friend, was incredibly kind. He even called me back, twice, after he spoke with his IT team. "We have been dealing with issues online, but there's a solve. We will try this first." Unfortunately, the issue arose again. The issue: can't log into my account. So I went the IM chat route. Immediate response from Laura. She reset my password and asked me to wait 15 minutes. Back to Sherri via IM, who looked back through the call/chat log, and noted my issue would be best served by the registry team. She gave me the phone number and I called. One minute later, JoReen answers. She, as well as everyone else I've communicated with, apologies for all the issues I'm experiencing. But together, we're fixing this. New security features, questions, passwords, blah blah blah… she didn't care about telling me the details. She was focused on a happy camper at Crate&Barrel. Of note: I have not purchased ANYTHING here. I'm registering for gifts I hope other people will purchase for me. I'm not a customer. I'm a prospect. But they made me feel like family. After the kind words, pleasant conversations, and effort to rectify my IT issues, I just had to chat with the supervisor. Marty graciously accepted my compliments, and he told me that each team member would receive a certificate for going the extra mile. My praise will be a part of each team member's annual performance reviews. I am so happy because of these people. Whenever I have the chance, I will talk about, shop at and praise C&B. The people behind the brand are the reason for that. Have our expectations been managed to anticipate shitty customer service? Should be we as surprised and delighted by awesome experiences like this? The least we can do is embrace them. The best thing we can do is take note and follow their awesome lead.
Katie Scully is a Community Manager at Brains on Fire. Meet her here.The post When someone responds appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.
For the past couple of weeks I’ve been watching the tech world go back and forth about Google’s latest creation, Google Glass. It’s been announced for a while, but the product has actually been shipped out to the lottery winners who wanted to pay 1500 bucks to test it out. If you’re not familiar with the product, it’s essentially a computer that you wear on your face like a pair of glasses. It projects a heads up display in the corner of your vision that enables you to see the weather, get directions, take video or pictures, you get the idea. Once you look past the privacy issues and the dork factor of the design itself, as shown here, the possibilities of potential uses seems pretty interesting. I can imagine recipes being displayed while cooking, or breaking news headlines showing up as the stories happen. It’s making information even easier to access than our smartphones do. This can be good, as well as unnerving. I've been thinking about all of the people now who bury themselves in their pocket computers as if there is nothing else that can possibly be more interesting going on around them (myself included). There are a bunch of reasons we do this that range from being neurotic about the possibility that you might miss replying to an @reply on your twitter feed within 5 seconds, or just using it as a distraction to avoid feeling uncomfortable in a crowded elevator. I think the biggest drawback to this phenomenon is our growing avoidance of human to human interaction, and heaven forbid making eye contact with the person in front of you. Can you imagine how this would grow exponentially if everyone had a computer feeding them information in the corner of their vision 100% of the time? Saturday Night Live commented on this pretty hilariously last weekend, but there is a lot of truth to the comedy. Anyway, I understand that this is technology and cranky commentators (I don't include myself in this bunch - usually I'm drooling over the shiny objects like everyone else) will whine every time a new gadget comes out - think tv. But I am a bit concerned about the reliance we have on these devices to feel connected to others. In some ways I imagine that in order to experience true empathy, people need people. With that said, I leave you with this incredible video that I ran across while researching this post. A lot of cars in Russia are now equipped with dash cams, think police cars over here in the states, and someone compiled this video of people just being awesome. Anyway, let me know what you think. -------------------------------
Nathan Spainhour is a Designer + Interactive Director at Brains on Fire. Meet him here.The post Focus on what's right in front of you appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.
_I couldn't find a photo of Cordell from 2005 to go with this post, so this one from 2007 will have to do. It was taken at a Brains on Fire pajama party. I love that word pajama, don't you?_ I was trying to remember the very first day we posted on this site. So I took a trip down to memory land and found this post from April 23, 2005. What I am about to share wasn’t the first post. It was the second, but I love it and we live it and it's worth repeating: Want to know what we love about people with their Brains on Fire? Courage. When you're excited and inspired, fear disappears. - Greg Cordell Yup. That tiny little post still rings true today. When you're fueled with passion, excitment and inspiration, FEAR disappears. I remember when I was first approached about the idea of a Brains on Fire blog _(remember it was 2005 now -- don't judge)_. My first reaction was _"Um, why? Tell me what and why again?"_ I'm glad that Geno and Spike were so passionate about pushing the idea of us thinking out loud forward. I'm glad we did it in spite of my initial fears. So many things we do that are worth doing, we do because of passion. We ask our clients to go forward and trust passion every single day. And we don't take their courage lightly. SO. HOW WILL YOU PUSH YOURSELF WITH PASSION TODAY? HOW ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE THIS DAY A FEARLESS ONE? _Come on. Share. _ The post Overheard in the Brains on Firesphere 8 years and 16 days ago. appeared first on Brains On Fire Blog.