March 11, 2013 (4 weeks ago)
Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category
March 7, 2013 (5 weeks ago)
[One of the e-stickers…]
The big news for us this week was, we were part of the Path 3.0 launch that just happened at SXSW.
Basically, we designed a bunch of e-stickers for the new store they built inside the app. It was a fun gig that will hopefully get our work in a different, new context. From The Next Web link above:
The stickers have been put together in collections called ‘packs’ that run $1.99 and contain a dozen or more stickers. Two packs are free with the latest update and Path says that it has worked with artists like David Lanham, Hugh Macleod and Richard Perez to make more packs that you can snag via the shop.
Very cool. Jason and I visted the their offices in San Francisco last week for the first time, just before the launch.
What struck me was how the dining tables were the most architecturally dominant part of the space. By far the largest room in the office.
There’s a reason why families have always eaten together, down the ages (and you could call a startup a ‘family’, of sorts). Sharing food is one of most important and inclusive rituals.
The “friends gathered round” idea seems to be an apt metaphor for Path itself…
Congrats to the Path team for the new launch, very exciting!
[P.S. Dave Morin, the founder and CEO of Path is also a good friend and long-time customer of gapingvoid, he’s bought a ton of art from us over the years. We also met for the first time last year at Techcrunch Disrupt. Thanks for bringing us in, Dave!]
November 7, 2012
The gapingvoid Manifesto, Draft One.
[This is what we have so far. Jason (our CEO) wrote most of it. We feel we’re on the cusp of something, now we just need to make it more real for other people. Feedback welcome, thanks. Exciting!]
Business is language. Business is about communication.
Art is is the undiscovered UX of business.
We live in incredible times.
Every single person on this earth has the capacity to make a difference… the
ability to lead, and leave their mark.
Every business is driven by forces far more powerful and profound than money.
We help businesses discover and articulate their purpose,
We help people make a difference,
We help leaders inspire.
We help businesses kick ass.
We create social objects that transform organizations, start conversations,
and spread ideas at lightning speed.
We live in incredible times. And as long as there is one person on this earth who does not agree, there is still work to be done.
Any Company/Cause/Political Party/Religion that communicates more clearly and concisely stands a better chance at winning. Art bridges this communication gap.
It is perceived as more genuine, More honest, less varnished.
Well conceived art gets attention organically
Art allows you to have conversations that you couldn’t otherwise have.
Art is a lever for action.
Art creates connection.
Art is shorthand to communicate complex issues.
Art creates community.
Art connects with a different part of the brain.
Art is Visual. Visual communications are 10x more effective than written communication.
Give a gift basket and be remembered for a week, give a print and be remembered forever.
We want to transform the world of business by transforming the world of office art.
Most people believe that the act of decorating the walls of their office is seemingly one that is decided by taste: The colors of the art on the wall need not clash with the furniture, carpet or CEO’s aesthetic sensibilities.
In reality, act of decorating the walls of your office is a critical business and we believe, a moral decision. It can either set the stage for greatness and innovation, or set the stage for perpetuating the dreary, gloomy and monotonous world that is your business. It has nothing to do with aesthetics, and everything to do with purpose. The purpose and beliefs of your business.
If you could steer the course of your business by simply making a different decision about what hangs on the walls, why wouldn’t you?
Many business leaders do not realize that environment influences everything at work: Job satisfaction, problem solving, creativity, contentment and effectiveness.
You want positive outcomes? Then start with positive work spaces. Your office environment is the compass that guides how people view what they do and how they live their work life.
If you understand what your beliefs are, what your core values are, and how you want people to view why you do what you do, then you should shout those beliefs and values from every available space in your office.
Let the walls talk, guide and ground. Let inspiration hang in the air and have your people breathe and be surrounded by the bright glow of the goodness that your business represents.
The idea of deciding what wall coverings hang on your walls, isn’t about décor.
It is about purpose, culture, and values. Inform your culture, motivate your teams and send a message to the world that will have astounding impact every day of the year.
October 3, 2012
We’re doing more and more events these days. I call it “Live-Tooning”… It’s what I do instead of “Public Speaking”. A little bit more unique. Here’s what we wrote recently:
Here’s how to supercharge your event: The gapingvoid team was engaged by TechCrunch to create a range of content for the 2012 TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco. Gapingvoid produced original animations to launch each day’s programming, designed the official event T-Shirt, and cartoonist Hugh MacLeod was “live tooning” during the event, capturing the vibe and inspiration of speakers including Mark Zuckerberg, Mark Benioff (Salesforce.com), Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Twitter founders Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey, Path founder Dave Morin, and many more. This reel features highlights of the gapingvoid presence at TC Disrupt For more info contact email@example.com.
As part of the service, we also offer Merch– animations, t-shirts, all that fun stuff. See video for examples etc.
So if you have an interesting event come up, again, feel free to reach out etc: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks. Rock on.
October 1, 2012
Gape Into The Void — Episode 4: “DISRUPT:
Episode 4 of the Podcast is now live.
[Direct Link to listen to Episode 4 — “Disrupt”: http://traffic.libsyn.com/gapingvoid/Gape_Into_The_Void_Episode_4.mp3]
We’re back from San Francisco where we attended the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. In this episode we Gape Into The Void of disruption and share some of our impressions of the conference and speakers. Here are some of the topics and people mentioned in the show:
Hugh hates Sass’s Intros… what do you think?
Dave Morin, Path CEO
Marc Benioff or Mark Zuckerberg
Meet My New Boss Image:
The TC Disrupt Winner: YourMechanic
“Software Is Eating The World”
Pinterest For Cats:
gapingvoid wall at TechCrunch office:
We’re all in the Create or Die business…
If you have been enjoying the Gape Into The Void podcast please tell your friends and leave a review on iTunes.
- Jeff Sass
September 27, 2012
Earlier this month the team and I attended Techrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, a most awesome event for the tech and startup community, where I got some awesome “Live-Tooning” done… 75 cartoons in three days, or something like that. Phew!
Techcrunch kindly set me up in a front-row seat (in an live audience of three thousand), giving me a great view of all the action on stage– I was only a few feet away throughout.
We also had a booth in the trade show area, a nice focal point to meet and greet people, exchange business cards etc.
The Social Object Factory team put this video together– a slideshow of photos from the event, plus many of the cartoons that I drew live.
Thanks to Techcrunch for so graciously having me along… On a personal note, a few thoughts:
1. I’ve done a lot of public speaking for events over the years, but I much prefer “Live-Tooning”. There are a lot of internet-celebrity-rockstars out there doing the public speaking circuit already (including some very good friends of mine), but very few Live-Tooners. Gary Vee and Seth Godin might be masters at what they do, but they can’t do what I can do; it’s good to have one’s own niche that nobody can touch.
2. I heard a rumor while in San Francisco that Techcrunch is now making more money off their events than they are off their blog. That may or may not be true; that being said, it’s increasingly obvious to anyone paying attention that people are willing to pay real money to mix with real people, especially people that they inherently want to meet… far more than they are willing to pay for online content [Of course they are!].
In other words, EVENTS are a bigger and bigger deal in the marketing mix than they ever were. Give geeks a message in the pages of a magazine, they mostly ignore it. Give the geeks a good time and the opportunity to do some good business, they pay attention. Noe of this is rocket science…
3. It was great seeing the Techcrunch team doing so well. Transitioning from private ownership to being owned by AOL over the last year or two wasn’t easy (I’ll spare you the details), but it looked to me like they made it to the other side fine n’ dandy, and now have their new groove on. Rock and Roll.
4. We expect to see “Live-Tooning” becoming a bigger and bigger deal for gapingvoid over the next year or two, for the reasons just stated. Best of all, it’s something we really enjoy doing. It gets us out of the office meeting a ton of interesting people, and gets the team a ton of new inputs and interesting conversations. Plus we get to travel to fun cities and meet new people. Very cool. [Feel free to ping me at “hugh at gapingvoid dot com” if you’re interested in hiring us, Thanks].
September 16, 2012
I was sitting in Row Four at Techcrunch Disrupt SF last week, where my old friend Michael Arrington interviewed Mark Zuckerberg, the latter’s first since the Facebook IPO [Techcrunch video here].
For all the hype (and the security guards keeping everybody back), it wasn’t my favorite interview of the event, by any means. In spite of Arrington’s as-usual excellent questions (He’s pretty much my favorite “journalist” in the world these days, tech or otherwise), Zuckerberg obviously didn’t have a lot to say that he hadn’t said already.
Only one thing he said really stayed with me… and I thought it was quite good, actually:
Namely, that Facebook is a Mission-focused company. They have a mission, that is their priority. The actual business and the share price (and the money, even) are truly secondary.
“The Mission” being, in this case, “to connect the world”.
So even if, yeah, the post-IPO share price is disappointing to many investors, The Mission is alive and well and carrying on nicely. So it’s not like the investors weren’t told…
No argument there. The world is WAY more connected than it was even five years ago and yes, Facebook deserves a lot of the credit.
[The only other thing Zuckerberg said of any interest was that yeah, Facebook is going to get much more involved with mobile– just like the rest of the web. But again, no surprises there.]
I really liked Zuckerberg’s emphasis on “Mission”. Like Mark Earl’s Purpose-Idea, goals are easier to reach when you turn up to work, day-in-day-out, knowing what they actually are. Otherwise you just get lost in office politics and going to meetings.
So what’s the gapingvoid MISSION? To bring art to the business world, basically. Which is exactly what we’ve been doing these last few years. Compare our work to what you usually see when you google “Office Art”. All the latter seems to offer is REALLY bland stuff, with only massive discounts to differentiate themselves from the next guy.
Not fun or interesting. So we’re going to change that. Yes, we are.
Bring art to the business world. You heard it here first, People. Rock on.
August 14, 2012
Very cool. We just did this awesome little video for Techcrunch Disrupt, the great tech conference in NYC and SF. This is going to be huge…
N.B. The dinosaur’s name is “Thyroid”. I’ve been using him in cartoons on and off for over twenty years. He kinda sorta represents my mischievous/disruptive side, so he was a perfect fit for this assignment. Like I said, very cool.
Thanks to the team at Techcrunch for believing in us. Rock on.
April 18, 2012
Hot off the press, my old friends Loic and Geraldine Le Meur asked me to do the theming for the Le Web this year. I’m especially honored as it will include their first London LEWEB which they announced yesterday.
“FASTER THAN REAL TIME”. Le Web London, June 19th-20, the # 1 European tech conference. Join me, Loic and all the gang at http://leweb.net
Having attended the first LEWEB, then called Leblog in 2004, it’s been amazing to see the event grow into Europe’s most important tech conference. It’s one of my favorite conferences (the other one being SXSW), and I’m really excited to be going again. The lineup of speakers is incredible; every year it just gets bigger and bigger.
I’ll be doing a talk this year, and sketching on stage. It’ll be nice to be in London again.…
LEWEB has kindly offered a GBP 100 discount to our friends. If you’d like to buy a ticket, just enter GAPINGVOID at checkout to receive the discount.
March 19, 2012
Rackspace printed up 2,500 gapingvoid t-shirts to give away. When the doors opened at 10am, we had 50 people already waiting in line. We ran out of shirts by day’s end.
Get your awesome on, indeed…
We like creating schwag. Schwag is fun. The challenge is to actually create something that transmits REAL MEANING to people. Otherwise you’re just adding to the slush-pile.
And it’s the slush-pile that kills most businesses in the end, schwag or no schwag.
March 10, 2012
February 17, 2012
When I attended Ted Global last summer in Edinburgh, one of the people I ejoyed meeting the most was this English-Pakistani guy called Maajid. He did a really good TED talk on how to fight religious extremism, based on his own experience as a reformed member of radical Islamist groups, himself (How radical? Radical enough to have spent time in Egyptian prison for it…).
Fast forward to the present, the other day he emails me out of the blue. Terrific! He wanted to commission a Valentine’s Day gift for his sweetheart. Nice!
So I went with something fun and colorful to brighten up a dark, English February, taking my inspiration, on his suggestion, from Pakistani bus art, which is crazy-amazing stuff.
He’s a lovely, gracious guy, Maajid, and was a pleasure to work with. Go check out the extremism-fighting organisation, Quilliam that he’s head of– interesting stuff.
[Maajid’s Ted talk on YouTube…]
November 1, 2011
Very cool– I’m headed to Blogworld LA tomorrow (Wednesday). It’s the West Coast’s ginormous social media & podcsting shindig, and it’s always a blast to be there.
I was really excited when Dave Cynkin, co-founder of Blogworld asked me to draw a design for their first ever t-shirt. They’ve only printed a small number, and it will be for sale at the event, which starts on Thursday.
Me and Jason (my business partner, and CEO of gapingvoid) will both be at Blogworld through Saturday. We’ll be meeting old friends, and talking to companies who want to hire gapingvoid to help start “smarter conversations”, have kick ass content for social media and want their ideas spread like lightning.
Email me, email@example.com, if you want to meet up there. Rock on.
September 29, 2011
Innotribe happens every year at Sibos, the ENORMOUS international banking and financial conference put together by SWIFT. Chris Skinner wrote a nice overview here, with the gapingvoid photstream over here.
My job was to “live-toon” drawings over the four day event, trying to take it all in while cranking out drawings at the same time, not unlike what I did recently at TED Global in Edinburgh.
There was a guy at the event from McKinsey, towing his employer’s party line, namely, that Big Data is the next frontier of innovation, competition and productivity.
In other words, where is most of the wealth in the next fifty years going to be made? In the Big Data universe.
And what do banks do best? Handle vast oceans of Big Data on a daily basis, of course.
Pinky! Are you thinking what I’m thinking??!!
So, the future of banking will evolve, depending on how the movement of Big Data evolves… what we see as data.
And the people who can keep ahead of the curve will make a killing, of course they will.
This also falls into the interest sphere of Rackspace. They, and their competitors (Amazon, Microsoft, Google etc etc) are busy building all those new server farms for a reason.
Besides the reams and reams of new stuff to think about, I was delighted to see some of my old friends were attending Innotribe as well– Doc Searls, Stowe Boyd, Sean Park etc. Seriously smart people with interesting things to say.
On my last day there, I was talking to somebody about JUST how much more INTERESTING the Internet has made the world, for this cartoonist and a lot of friends of mine. Back when I was just a pup, the most interesting thing that could happen to a cartoonist would be, say, a gig at The New Yorker. Now here I am, hanging out with bankers, talking about Big Data, and drawing cartoons about it.
That’s what gapingvoid’s corporate work is always about– not to make people laugh per se, not for mere entertainment and decoration, but to start conversations. To disrupt. To move ideas forward. Even with a subject as “niche” as Big Data or whatever.
As I’ve always believed; Cartoons are one of the most efficient means of communication on earth. They have the power to transform businesses so elegantly, that ideally, the job is done before anyone even realizes. Rock on.
September 20, 2011
It’s always interesting to expand frontiers. The kind folks at SWIFT invited me to draw at their teeming SIBOS conference this week in Toronto. SWIFT has an amazingly interesting business. They have a network of data centers that manage secure messages between 9,500 member banks. These messages transfer 2 TRILLION dollars a day between members. As you can imagine, there are brilliant speakers talking about ‘Big Data’, ‘Digital Identity’, ‘New Economies’, ‘The Future of Money’, etc. Not my usual subject matter, so all very fascinating. Cartoons about banking. Whodathunk? We’ll start posting them tomorrow.
September 12, 2011
Hewlett Packard is kicking off its cybersecurity conference today, HP Protect 2011, and they kindly hired gapingvoid to design some posters for them.
Basically, I wanted to draw something kinda cool n’ fun, something that computer security people wouldn’t mind taking back home and hanging on their office walls.
To the uneducated, the cartoon might seem trivial, but actually, it’s not. Like Lennie Bruce famously said, “Humor is serious business”.
Fred Wilson is right, we are indeed in the middle of a major, long-term, global trasformation, and Obama (or anybody else who wants his job) is NOT, REPEAT NOT going to save us.
So what IS going to save us? The SAME DAMN THING that has ALWAYS saved us:
All serious work begins with serious play first. AND NOT the night before, but FIRST thing in the morning.You think Jony Ives works for a living? Hell, no, he plays for a living. So do I. So do my friends, Charles Hope, Seth Godin and others like us.
And YES, you can bring that sense of play anywhere– to a conference on cybersecurity, for example. Don’t get me wrong; cybersecurity is also serious business. Our collective safety and our livelihoods as citizens depend on it, and companies like HP work to help protect our culture’s critical infrastructure systems and generally keep us out of trouble.
It’s a nasty, dangerous world out there, after all…
That being said, security nerds are also people who like to play and get paid for it, more than most. They like to have FUN, at conferences and anywhere else, of course they do. Who says the good guys cannot be sweaty and unshaven? News to me. To PLAY means to HACK something. Hacking is INHERENTLY playful. Of course it frickin’ is.
[Note to non-Nerds: the reason that nerds don’t spend a lot of time on their personal appearance is because they’d rather spend their brief time here on Earth, working on something that actually matters to them, not spend it on something that matters to the usual crowd of clueless, superficial, hipster knuckleheads.]
Thanks to Hewlett Packard for giving gapingvoid the opportunity to live in a place it hasn’t yet i.e. the complex and mysterious world of cybersecurity i.e. the world where the hackers live and thrive happily. It’s good to know that some of them are on our side. So far, it’s been a blast. Rock on.
[Bonus Link: The ever-brilliant Ben Hammersley gave a great talk to a bunch of high-level UK cybersecurity nerds recently. A wonderful read.]
August 14, 2011
[One of the Dewars drawings I did while attending TED Global etc.]
[Today’s guest post is by Jason Korman, my business partner since 2005, and CEO of gapingvoid]
“The Market For a Scotch to believe in is Infinite”
There are millions of cases at stake for the guys who get the messaging right.
We’ve had Scotch on the brain lately. We’ve done wine, we’ve done suits and we’ve done tech, but Scotch has its own particular set of challenges.
What makes any bottle of scotch different? And, does anyone care, anyway? There are, what Hugh’s dad used to call, the “whiskey bores” who drone on and on about all things whisky, but I’m told there aren’t that many of them left. So, what matters to everyone else?
There is the realm of the single malts and high end scotches. But they seem to need to be marketed more like Congac or Champagne, a bit of bling, sexy packaging, and hyped up associations.
For more broad market Scotch, the opportunities are much greater and the challenge much more complex. Scotch is a distinctly masculine product. It is strong, it is interesting, is implies thought and intelligence. It s a product that wants to have meaning.
Given that, what we see mostly in Scotch marketing is a reliance on ‘authenticity’, with everyone trying to have the most authentic conversation grounded in centuries of history. The question is really: is this relevant? Once a consumer knows your Scotch is ‘for real’, do they care enough to want to know the details? I’d guess, probably not.
With alcoholic beverages, what you do have is a desire from the market to want to know: Why? What do you stand for? Why do you exist? And does your brand represent something that I believe in — does it share my world view.
J&B says, “Let’s Start a Party”. I know that they are trying to make an old brand younger and relevant. But, OMG, does it seem disingenuous. It comes across as a little inconsistent with what the product is about. It’s not tequila, its not vodka, it’s really NOT a party drink. It feels like granny dancing on the table at your cousin’s wedding – kinda cringeworthy and creepy. Oh, and in an acknowledgement that even they don’t buy into the party thing, they also tell the story about Mr. Justerini traveling from Bologna to London in 1749. Not sure what they’re thinking, but stream of consciousness brings me to paraphrase the Artist Formerly Known as Prince… “Let’s party like its 1749″.
Chivas goes with “Live with Chivalry”, and tells “The Story Behind the Legend”. It’s place centric, it’s a nice story about a Scotsman traveling to NY a hundred years ago. But, it sounds a lot like things we’ve heard before. More importantly, they seem unconcerned with relevance in 2011. Their ultra-produced videos are like Public Service Announcements, urging people to be nice. Yawn.
As with both of the above, Dewars goes with the place centric, authentic Scottish thing, so they cover that base. But it feels like a brand that wants more. Their messaging is really very ‘of the moment’ and involves people who are actually alive today — It focuses on the top bit of Maslow’s hierarchy. They want to find people and facilitate people being self– actualized. The message is, as beings we are happier doing things that we believe in.
A bright spark at Dewars had the idea of aligning with the TED conferences. After all, Ted’s speakers do, by definition, embody the qualities that Dewars represents.
Enter Hugh. They also hired Hugh to draw at TED Edinburgh and distill the speakers ideas into his style of illustration. Hugh likes to say that his goal is to draw a cartoon that rips your face off the first time you see it, and is still doing it and the tenth time.
One of those is posted above.
We ask ourselves: Is Hugh’s style too edgy, too disruptive, not art directed enough, to be used in main stream media? How can a brand like Dewars better communicate what it stands for than through one of Hugh’s cartoons?
In today’s world, where everyone is saying advertising is dead, what they are really saying that advertising the way it used to be done is dead. Giving people something they believe in, in a way that they can’t help but notice, is where the action really is. Getting noticed. Doing stuff that gets noticed, doing it smart, and in a way that your audience will think is cool, is where its at. Have beliefs that are strong enough to build a movement, not just a brand.
We’ve got Scotch on the brain, and we’re liking it. A category ripe for disruption.
July 16, 2011
This is one of my favorite drawings I did at TED Global.
A wee sketch, complete with the #DewarsTED hastag.
“Possibility”. A riff on the great Charles Schultz line, “I carry the burden of a great potential”.
I didn’t think too much about it at the time. But as the days progressed, the cartoon started to haunt me.
The burden of a great potential. Anyone with half a brain (or half a soul) will be able to relate.
Knowing that it might never happen. And knowing that even if you do manage to make a decent go of it, it will never be enough.
That there’s still something else you still haven’t done, that there’s still one more piece of Creation remaining, that you haven’t managed to download. AND THIS WILL NEVER CHANGE. Welcome to being alive. Welcome to the human condition. That’s what TED is REALLY about, at the end of the day.
Terrifying, isn’t it?
[Full disclosure: I was attending TED on behalf of my client. Dewar’s Whisky, who were a sponsor of the event.]
[The Dewar’s cartoon I did for Maajid’s talk etc.]
[View from my drawing tablet: Downstairs in the chill-out room.]
[I’m still in Edinburgh, and like everybody else, still recovering from a very intense week at TED Global. Here are some notes from an incredible event, in no particular order:]
1. “An idea is not something you HAVE, an idea is something you DO.”
I attended TED on behalf my client, Dewar’s Scotch. The idea was to create cartoons that gave justice to the Dewar’s idea, “Some things are just worth doing”.
Which ties in with the TED idea, “Ideas worth spreading.”
Which ties in with one of the great themes in my work these days, “The Unification of Work and Love”.
I’m currently running with the thought that, an idea is not something you HAVE, an idea is something you DO.
i.e. Ideas are all very well, but without some sort of action to follow, they’re not much use. Ideas don’t exist in a vacuum.
Nobody reading this, including me, want to spend their whole life, sitting on their ass, thinking big thoughts but actually doing nothing.
2. You’ve heard of live-blogging, yes? Well, I was “live-tooning”. Drawing cartoons on the spot, trying to capture all the ideas that were flying at me at 200 mph. Over four days, I drew dozens of them. The cartoon above was one I did for Maajid Nawaz. He gave a great talk on how to fight extremism on a global level:
Why do transnational extremist organizations succeed where democratic movements have a harder time taking hold? Maajid Nawaz, a former Islamist extremist, asks for new grassroots stories and global social activism to spread democracy in the face of nationalism and xenophobia.
One of the points Maajid made was how movements require four elements in order to be viable: Ideas, narratives, symbols and leaders. So I ran with that. Click on the link and watch the video to hear more.
At the event, I gave Maajid a hand-drawn copy of the work above, poster-sized. He was a very gracious man, I thought.
[Maajid’s TED video…]
3. Then there were the “Conversation Pieces”.
While talking to the polar explorer, Ben Saunders, I had the idea to make a drawing WHILE talking to him. A real-time conversational doodle. as it were. A “Coversation Piece”, as it were. Above is a picture of him holding the final result.
It’s a question that never gets old: Here you are, surrounded by all these amazing people and ideas, now how do you use what you do (in my case, my cartoons) in order to interface with them? Meaningful interaction with other people– THAT’S what makes work interesting, NOT the money.
4. Ow. I’ve got a TED-ache.
A TED-ache is what they call it: When your brain is so stuffed with all the ideas and stimuation and conversation flying around for four days nonstop, your brain can no longer keep up with it, your brain kinda wants to explode.
I came away with enough material to fill MONTHS of blogging, MONTHS of catooning. Like everybody else at TED, I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed yet supercharged.
It was an amazing experience: Hundreds of insanely bright and creative people, doing insanely interesting things. Quite a contrast to the usual mass-elevator-pitch that most conferences have become.
And now, somehow, I’ve got to do the event justice, both on behalf of myself and Dewars’. Like everybody else who attends, it’s not the event that matters, it’s what you take away and apply to your own life in a meaningful way that matters. I would be lying if I said I didn’t find it daunting.
I’ve said it before many times before on this blog: We are incredible beings living in incredible times, and as long as there is still one person alive on this planet who doesn’t believe this, then there’s still work to be done. TED re-affirmed this for me, in spades.
It’s four in the morning and I can’t sleep because of this. Thanks to TED for making this happen, thanks to Dewar’s for being such an awesome client.
5. This is only the beginning. You have my word. Rock on.
[Bonus Link:] The 23 Amazing TEDWomen Speakers Of TEDGlobal 2011. Yep. I met some of them. Yep. “Amazing” would be about right…
July 13, 2011
I’m drawing tons of cartoons, based on my experiences here.
To be honest, there’s so much fantastic stuff here, coming at me at 200 mph, it’s hard to keep up with it in real time. It’s a good problem to have, I would say…
2. This is my message from TED Global: “ALL ART IS SMALL ART”. Big, important stuff is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS preceded by small moments of genius. Watch all the TED videos if you don’t believe me. All the world’s great human-caused tragedies (not to mention, all failed expensive marketing campaigns) were caused when the people in charge tried to bypass the small stuff and go straight for the big stuff. Five Year Plan, Comrade? Great Leap Forward, Comrade?
3. And this is also my message fro Dewar’s: “ALL ART IS SMALL ART”. All great marketing starts that way. And more importantly, stays that way.
Rock and roll…
July 12, 2011
[A photo of whisky barrels taken yesterday at the Dewar’s distillery in Aberfeldy.]
I recently arrived in Edinburgh for the TED Global conference.
My client, Dewar’s Scotch Whisky, is sponsoring the event, so they got me along to live-draw some cartoons for them.
In my mind, the great task for humanity in the 21st Century is what I call “The Unification of Work and Love”.
In other words, learning how to make work MORE than just something to pay the bills with, but to turn it into something that expresses who we truly are.
That’s really what TED is all about, for the speakers on the stage, for the people in the audience, for sponsors like Dewar’s, and yes, the subject of a great many of my cartoons.
So I’m pretty excited. I hope to be blogging more about the event as the week continues. Obviously, there’s a lot here worth writing about.
The Unification of Work and Love. The Holy Grail for so many of us. Bring it on!
April 23, 2011
We had a lovely time at our second gapingvoid salon the other day. Thanks to Everybody for coming.
Thanks to the Internet, you can quite easily talk to thousands of people a day.
But as anyone who has spent far too much time on the Internet will know, there’s no substitution for face-to-face.
So I sent word out on the newsletter, Hey, there’s a party at gapingvoid Central on Friday. Downtown Miami, near the Miami Heat Arena. Why don’t y’all come along?
And so people came along. Some I knew well, some I hadn’t met before. We had wine, we had food, it was good times all round.
And people just talked and hung out. I gave a little two-minute speech (the photo is people watching me give it), but mostly is was just abut people meeting up.
All looking for the same things as me. Ideas. Purpose. Conversation. That kinda thing.
Thanks to blogging, I know a lot of people. A TON. So why not get them to meet each other? Why not hang out all together?
And so that is what we did. Exactly.
We’ll be having another one soon. I hope y’all can make it this time…
April 11, 2011
“Come and join Hugh & the gang for our gapingvoid salon in Miami on Friday April 15th Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for an invitation (space is limited!)”
Yep, we’re having another Salon on Friday evening. Downtown Miami at the gapingvoid world headquarters, Friday at 7.30. Hope to see you there!
March 17, 2011
[The #sxswCares logo I did at SXSW in aid of the Japanese Tsunami etc…].
“South-By” is pretty much over for the year. So what’s next?
gapingvoid is having its first “Evil Plans” salon on Wednesday evening, the 23rd of March at 7.30pm, just under a week from now. Downtown Miami.
It will be limited to 15 people. The theme of the evening will be “Unifying work and love”, a subject very dear to pretty much every gapingvoid reader alive.
If you’re in town that evening and want to attend, please RSVP my business partner, Jason Korman, for a slot: email@example.com. He’ll send you the details. Thanks.
This is going to be the start of something– something big, I hope. As much as I love SXSW, it’s gotten too big, Austin is too far away and it’s only on once a year.
I want to do something cool in Miami, about once a month. Something meaningful. Something where the cool kids can hang out and meet each other. A very miniature mini-conference, as it were, centered around our collective #EvilPlans. Rock on…
March 11, 2011
[The view of Trade Show Booth # 345 – 347 etc.]
[This is my official landing page for SXSW. I’ll be keeping it at the top of my homepage for the duration…]
I will be spending most of my time at the trade show booth. That’s the best place to find me. Booth # 345 – 347.
12.10 pm. Book singing at the Barnes & Noble stand.
4.00pm My old highschool buddy, the director, Dave Mackenzie has a film premier I’m going to.
Lunch. Barbecue with Scoble, Tony Hsieh and Rackspace…
NB. I’m writing this on the hoof, so if it all looks a wee but incomplete. Too busy running around, trying to see Everybody…
January 24, 2011
We have a basic idea what we’ll be doing– I know Scoble is involved– but that’s all still under wraps.
Nonetheless, I drew the cartoon above.
As with my usual approach, the message is less about, “This is what we do and this is how much it costs”, and more about, “We hold these truths to be self-evident”.
Think about it: Rackspace is a fast-growing company. It needs to hire really good people. Lots of them.
And to do that, it has to convince a lot these really good people to relocate to their main campus in San Antonio, Texas.
Have you ever been to San Antonio? Exactly.
Now, don’t get me wrong, San Antonio is a perfectly lovely Texas town, hugely underrated compared to say, Austin, 80 miles to the North.
But still, it isn’t one of those towns where “Everybody” goes to, like New York, Chicago, Austin or San Francisco. It’s not a capital.
So in order to get some of the best brains in the country to move there, you have to offer them something else. Affordable housing, good schools, high quality of life, high standard of living etc. etc.
But you also have to offer them, as Rackspace Chairman, Graham Weston said in 2010, the chance to be on “on a winning team, on an inspiring mission.”
People don’t go to South-By in order to buy stuff, to buy Rackspace hosting. They go there to see their friends, to commune with their tribe, and yes, to look for opportunities that allow them to play on the aforementioned winning team.
THAT is how Rackspace needs to talk to people at South-By.
Doing something that matters. On a winning team. That’s why I wrote the cartoon the way I did.
Life is short. Make it amazing.
And so there y’are…
January 11, 2011
c.e.s. postscript: “intel processors are smaller than a postage stamp. intel has 80,000 employees. how do you fit so many people into an object so tiny? that’s what amazes me.”
[Alan Weinkranz- an old Texas connection of mine– and myself at CES last Saturday etc.]
“Intel Processors are smaller than a postage stamp. Intel has 80,000 employees. How do you fit so many people into an object so tiny? That’s what amazes me.”
I am writing this from home in Miami Beach, a day after returning from the Consumer Electronic Show in Vegas. Here are some notes:
1. CES is big. Very, very big. We’re talking roughly TEN times the size of SXSW Interactive. To give you a sense of just how big CES is, my friend, Robert Scoble walked through the entire CES venue with a video camera running the who time. It took him 45 minutes just to get from one end to the other [I make a brief cameo appearance about 16’30″ into it].
2. Alan Weinkranz also made videos at CES. Here’s one he did of me. Excuse the sound quality etc:
3. My time at CES was spent pretty much exclusively at the Intel stand, signing prints. It was great. Just… great. I turned up in Vegas with over 500 of them. By day three we had run out. We took a lot of pictures– a couple of hundred of them. You can see them on Flickr here.
4. Intel was at CES, of course, to introduce their new 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ processor. It’s smaller than a postage stamp. Intel has 80,000 employees. How do you fit so many people into an object so tiny? That’s what amazes me. That’s what I kept thinking about the whole time I was there. We live in incredible times…
5. Yes, I’m exhausted. Yes, I’m a wreck. Yes, it was worth it. Intel was an fabulous client. A special thanks to Marcia Hansen for getting me involved.
January 5, 2011
Greetings from Las Vegas!
I just got in…
I’m here for CES, on behalf of my client, Intel, who are launching their new the 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ processor.
Like I said on my last post, I’m here to sign prints new Intel limited edition prints (suitable for framing yak, yak, yak). We editioned only 50 of each image for the show, and when they’re gone, they’re gone etc.
To kick things off, we’re going to offer you free CES swag! It’s not just a t-shirt, magnet, or coffee mug. It’s high quality artwork with key themes from Intel and CES. Check out the images we’ve got for you below. (click on any image for the full-size version).
Throughout CES this week, not only will we be showcasing the visibly smart technologies from Intel, we’re going to be working with GapingVoid, otherwise known as Hugh MacLeod. You probably already know Hugh. He’s famous for creating cartoons on the back of business cards. Plus, he authored Ignore Everybody, a book about creativity that was a Wall Street Journal best seller.
Hugh is going to be at the Intel booth several times each day creating live artwork and signing prints for you. If you’re at CES, stop by the Intel booth, look for Hugh, and you can get an autographed cartoon. If you miss him, or you’re just going digital this week, check back every day here at Inside Scoop for digital versions of Gapingvoid cartoons that speak to CES 2011 and Intel technology.
I’m excited about lot of things this week.
I’m excited to be at CES– I’ve never been before.
I’m excited to have Intel as a client. A huge company doing interesting, world-changing stuff from the very heart of Silicon Valley.
I’m excited about the idea I created for Intel- the idea of a processor being akin to a painter’s blank canvas (see the drawings above). I’m also excited about the line I wrote for them, “The processor is an expression of human potential”.
I’m excited by the idea of “human potential”, even if it is far too easy to be cynical about it. Far too easy to get all buzzword-y about it.
The hard part is being sincere.
The hard part is being human. The hard part is being mortal.
September 1, 2010
is your business co-dependent on external factors?… or, any startup who thinks success or failure depends on whether techcrunch covers them or not, deserves everything they get.
I just wrote the [very long] blog headline above just to give y’all something to chew on…
I’m guessing most of us here are familiar with Techcrunch, yes?
Like I said earlier, we’re incredible beings. So frickin’ go do something about it. Frickin’ go do something that matters. Exactly.
August 6, 2010
[That’s me in the armchair with the laptop, looking very serious etc.]
Thanks to Piers at PSFK for allowing me to speak at yesterday’s PSFK LA conference. I had lots of fun. You can see the pictures here at PSFK.com.
August 4, 2010
Also, for today only there’s a wee offer code that knocks 45% off the normal price etc.
I’m writing this from my hotel in West Hollywood. I’m in LA for the PSFK Conference tomorrow.
The title of my PSFK talk is, “How Culture Will Un-Break Itself”.
Culture? Broken? WTF?
August 2, 2010
Last week I was in Silicon Valley for the annual Techcrunch Party. As usual (this is my fifth year in a row doing it) I designed the commemorative poster for them, which I hand-signed at the event. I thought my “delusional” motif would be perfect for it.
I also attended the CrunchUp conference earlier that day. You can go read all about both events on Techcrunch here.
Congrats and Thanks to Mike, Heather and the whole Techcrunch team for putting on a great show!
[P.S. I’ve already added this design to the Cube Grenade main page…]
July 2, 2010
The headline is one of Andy’s two most famous Word-Of-Mouth mantras. As he says,
Advertising is the cost of being boring.
If people won’t talk about you for free, you have to pay them to do it.
There is a direct relationship between being buzzworthy — earning word of mouth — and how much you’ll have to pay to promote yourself through paid marketing.
Give people a reason to talk about you for free, or you’ll have to buy advertising to get the message out.
It’s easier, more fun, more rewarding, and more profitable to focus on being remarkable and earning the type of fans and followers who will promote you, for free, forever.
These big ideas should be taped to your computer monitor, stuck in your wallet, and hung in your conference room.
Thanks to Andy for a great commission– looking forward to being in New York again!
April 6, 2010
For the upcoming PSK conference this Friday, besides the PSFK event poster, I also designed these wee purple badges– a bunch of quirky designs that people wear to describe to other attendees what their shtick is– deluded, investor, guide, confused, maker, mayor, data, tech, art , advertising, pr, investor, etc.
[N.B. People get to pick their own buttons, they’re not assigned etc.]
[Bonus Link:] PSFK blog post about “Cube Grenades” etc.
March 16, 2010
To mark the occasion we created nine prints, “The SXSW 2010 Series”. We were showing them at the trade show booth and yeah, they were selling like hot cakes.
Anyway, if you had a great time at SXSW ’10 (like I did) this print series will make for great little souvenirs. Rock on.
March 13, 2010
Spent the first day talking to people and signing drawings. Feel free to stop by my trade show boot # 1302 and say “Hello”…
March 10, 2010
Tomorrow I head for Austin, for the annual 5-day drunken orgy that is South By South West Interactive. Here are some thoughts:
1. SXSW is the only “MUST ATTEND” event on my calendar. It’s the one show I never miss, ever. Unless you’ve already been, it’s hard to convey JUST HOW MUCH more fun, interesting and full of business opportunities it is, compared to other shows. I can’t emphasize enough, if you’re into the Internet, just how much you’re missing out if choose not to attend. Sure, the price of going [entry fee, plane fare, hotel bill, taxi rides etc] might be quite daunting for some of us, but compared to the business and networking you could EASILY end up doing there, that cost is minuscule.
2. So you thought last year was crazy? Last year had ten thousand attendees. I heard on good authority from somebody inside the org that this year’s numbers have doubled. Hope you got a good hotel booking.
3. I’m on a panel on Monday. I hope you’ll come see us. All the other panelists are good friends of mine, so it should be fun…
4. I’ll be signing books. Barnes & Noble will have a little micro store on the fourth floor of the convention center, selling books written by some of the attendees. I’ll be there to sign copies of “Ignore Everybody” on Monday, March 15th at 5.20pm. My signing will last for 30 minutes.
5. Free Booze! Free Sex! A lot of companies sponsor parties, so as long as you have a pass, it’s pretty easy to go the entire five days without ever paying for a single drink or meal. Plus with all the young singles everywhere, everybody’s trying to get laid. X-thousand geek twenty-somthings trying to hook up en masse is pretty entertaining to watch. By Sunday or Monday everybody’s a basket case.Which is why the veterans are always telling the newbies, “Pace Yourself”.
6. Creating an island of calm in a sea of bodies. It’s going to be a madhouse this year, so to make ourselves easier to find, gapingvoid has hired a trade show booth for the event. If you want to meet up, that’s where you can find me. I’ll be selling art, doing business, signing drawings and exchanging business cards. My focus this year will be much more about business, than my usual hallway wanderings.
7. I’m better organized, this time. Pretty much all the parties and events I’m planning to attend are already in my calendar. In past years I just turned up and went with the flow. It was exhausting after about three days. Never again.
9. SXSW makes me proud to be Texan. I’ve seen this a lot: People come to Texas for the first time to attend SXSW, and “fall in love with the barbecue”. Texas has always been a very misunderstood State, if you ask me. SXSW does a great job of helping to fix that, at least with my crowd.
December 9, 2009
[I’ll be debuting the “South Beach” print on the night, plus will have some other prints on display etc.]
You are invited to a combined Holiday Party for TECH TUESDAY, MiamiLink.org, friends and clients of GDB Miami (formerly Gordon Diaz Balart)
Featuring a presentation and art by Hugh MacLeod, Cartoonist, Blogger and Author of “Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity”.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
5:00– 9:00 PM
Where: Ecco Pizzateca
168 SE 1st Ave
Miami, FL 33131
Looking forward to seeing y’all in Miami. Hope you can make it!
November 24, 2009
[Buy the print here etc.]
To add some fun to the event, we made up 1000 signed, limited edition commemorative prints, which we handed out free to the guests.
Of all the Techcrunch Party prints we made over the last four years, I probably have the most affection for this one. The image is of a map of the San Francisco area, with a blue “X” marking the exact spot in Menlo, CA. where the party took place.
I’ve always like maps, I’ve always liked the relationship between a 2-D, visual representation and the actual terrain. Bear in mind up to that point– Summer, 2007, I had never ventured to Silicon Valley before, I could only imagine what it must be like to be there. It gave the piece a rather fanciful intensity, I reckon.
Though we gave most of the prints to Mike Arrington and the Techcrunch crew for the party, I hung on to a few of them, thinking they might be valuable one day, or failing that, they’d a great little momento to a most remarkable time in Internet history.
Turns out I was right on both counts. Rock on.
October 25, 2009
[Outside the venue, 6pm: John St., Toronto, 22nd October, 2008.]
Just got back from a brief, 2-night stay in Toronto. I was there for Mesh, where I gave the keynote. Here are some notes:
1. I talked a lot abut social objects, and the fact that I think “Passion Is Social”. It was a good crowd, with lot of corporate PR and advertising types. When dealing with corporate types, I always run up against the same question at least once or twice: “I work in a corporate environment, I get paid to pull levers on behalf of my client. Please show me where the lever is in the Web 2.0 space”. To which I always answer, “I can’t tell you where the lever is, because it doesn’t exist.” Then I tell them, “You don’t create social objects by pulling levers; you create social objects by creating social gestures.” Then I tell them, “Virals don’t start life out as virals, they start life out as gifts. And gifts are always in conflict with their own value.” Then I tell them, it’s a brand’s job to be interesting. And what makes a brand interesting is the human interaction around the brand, not the inherent qualities of the brand itself. Some people get it, some people don’t, some people kinda get it, even if they’d rather not.
I said a lot more than that, of course, but this is what I came away with. All in all, it was a lovely little conference, and I REALLY appreciate being invited.
3. I really like Toronto. Hard to believe a city that big, diverse and culturally vibrant could be that laid back.
4. On Friday I had breakfast in Toronto, lunch in Manhattan, dinner in DFW airport, and a nightcap in my hotel in El Paso, Texas. A long day, to say the least. I had to pop in to my printer’s in New York quickly to sign the Portfolio Number Two prints, which will be starting to ship out next week. Manhattan added an extra half-day to my travels, but it saved a lot of time and hassle in the long run.
5. October has been a very busy month for me for traveling. Drove back and forth from the airport three times this month already (a 440 mile round trip from Alpine, Texas). Now that’s the current traveling phase is pretty much over, I’m hunkering down to get on with the Cube Grenade project. That, and the second book to get finished. No rest for the wicked etc.
[Bonus Link:] A WONDERFUL slideshow re. The Internet & The Advertising Business from Toronto’s David Gillespie:
[Backstory: About Hugh. E-mail Hugh. Work with Hugh. Twitter. Cartoon Archive. Newsletter. Book. Interview One. Interview Two. EVIL PLANS. Limited Edition Prints. Essential Reading: “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About ‘Cube Grenades’ But Were Afraid To Ask.”]
October 9, 2009
[People having fun etc.]
[David Parmet: “When I saw this print last night, I knew I had to have it. And I knew exactly who it was for.”]
After weeks of preparation, some of it quite nerve-racking, the Purple Cow print party is finally over.
What can I say? It was a blast. Everybody seemed to have a great time. More than one person came up to me and said it was a lot more fun than any art opening they’d ever been to. You can see what people are saying on Twitter (for the time being, anyway) by following the #purplecow hashtag…
Thanks to Seth Godin for being such a gracious co-host, thanks to everybody who helped out, thanks to everybody who came along for it.
A special big thanks to Martha Burzynski, Carlo Balistrieri, and Cecilia Feret for volunteering their time to help us out at the door. That was so kind of you, seriously. Thanks to David Parmet and Sandi Bachom for the great photos and videos [posted above].
And a final thank-you to my business colleagues, Jason and Laura, who worked tirelessly for SO LONG behind the scenes to make sure the evening was nothing short of a massive success. You guys rock. Ok, I’m going to go off and sleep for a week…
[Backstory: About Hugh. E-mail Hugh. Work with Hugh. Twitter. Cartoon Archive. Newsletter. Book. Interview One. Interview Two. EVIL PLANS. Limited Edition Prints. Essential Reading: “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About ‘Cube Grenades’ But Were Afraid To Ask.”]
July 11, 2009
[The Techcrunch 2009 print. Click on image to enlarge etc. To purchase it, go here
[UPDATE: Techcrunch posts a nice round up of the day’s events here. Plus some photos here.]
Yesterday was a long one, but I had a blast just the same…
We headed over for breakfast over at the Little Fox Theater in Redwood City for the first annual Crunchup, organized by the groovy cats at Techcrunch.
Panels and demo’s, revolving around the theme, “The Live Web”, with Twitter taking the lion’s share of the conversation, which to anyone who knows this space well, would hardly come as a surprise.
It was a lot of fun, tons of people I knew were there, no shortage of interesting conversations etc.
Techcrunch allowed me to fill the lobby with framed prints, which I sold a few of. It was nice to let people see the work in real life, not just online.
At lunchtime Mike Arrington and I auctioned off a large, hand-pulled serigraph of the 2009 Techcrunch party poster, with proceeds going to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The winning bid was $1000. Wow. Thanks to Bantam Live, Web-based social CRM service, for buying it. Rock on.
[Me and Jackie Danicki standing in front of the big, auctioned print.]
I asked John Rourke, Bantam’s CEO why he decided to buy the print. To paraphrase, it was for a good cause, he knows and likes my work, and because he was launching his product here at Crunchup, it was a nice “social object” to commemorate a big day for his company.
Thanks, John, that was really kind…
[Mike Arrington and the print, during the auction, saying “Sold!” to John Rourke…]
[Signing the smaller 2009 Techcrunch print version, which I handed out at the party..]
Late afternoon we headed over to August Capital on Sandhill Road for the annual Techcrunch Party. Imagine 1,000 super smart, ambitious, relatively young folk in the Silicon Valley startup sector, throwing their business cards around like confetti and you kinda get the idea.
Again, Techcrunch (and August Capital– with special thanks to David Hornick) kindly allowed me to display my prints, so people could get a good look of them. Every print we had on display there, we sold, and more. It was a sell-out show. Wow.
My job for the evening was to sit at a table at the entrance of the event, and sign small commemorative Techcrunch Party prints that I had designed, for anyone who wanted one.
Instead of just adding my signature, I started drawing on them, just making it up as I went along. I must’ve signed at least 300 of them.
It was pretty intense, I have to say. Often the table was surrounded by 12 or 15 people, standing there, waiting for their turn to get something drawn by me. There I was, trying to be “creative” on the hoof. I was on fire.
The party ended at ten pm. I was exhausted. it was a big, but very, very fun day. I slept well last night night, to say the least.
As anyone who knows me will know, I love these kinds of events. Always great to hang out with so many smart, focused, passionate people. Always good to catch up with my old blogging buddies from the old days, like Mike Arrington, Loic Le Meur, Stowe Boyd, Steve Gillmor, Oren Michels and Ross Mayfield.
As an cartoonist who sells most of his work online, in absentia, it’s good for me to get out there and press the flesh– Hey Guys, I’m a real person, the stuff I make is real, and here and now is a great opportunity for me to prove it.
I suppose the most gratifying thing for me was so many people coming up to me and telling me JUST HOW MUCH BETTER the prints look in real life, compared to online. That’s not exactly news to me, but it’s edifying to hear it from other people.
Special Thanks to Heather Harde, CEO of Techcrunch, Mike Arrington and the rest of the team for putting on such a great show. I can’t wait to be back next year!
I’ve just checked out of my hotel room, I’m writing this down in the lobby, I’m now headed for the airport and a couple of days of hustle n’ bustle in New York City. Wish me luck…
[PS. For those of you who asked about buying a large Techcrunch print like the one sold at the auction, we’ll be making them available in a couple of days online. Watch this space etc. Thanks Again…]
July 9, 2009
In about twelve hours time I head for the airport, heading for SFO for the anual Techcrunch Party. Like I’ve done for the last four years, for the event I designed a signed, limited edition print, pictured above– a play on the “Dream Big” campaign I’m doing here in Alpine, Texas.
Then it’s off to New York, NY the following day to sign prints, including Purple Cow and Create or Die.
Hope to be back home, sleeping in my own bed by Wednesday night.
[NOTE TO SELF: Why is it, that the more internet-enabled the world becomes, the more time we all seem to have to spend on airplanes? Don’t get me started…]