Once upon a time, many years ago, I sat at a conference table in the middle of the afternoon with a man named John. We were in the meeting room at the Hillsborough County, Florida chapter of the American Red Cross; I’d been volunteering as a Public Affairs correspondent for a number of months, writing pieces for their newsletter and generally supporting their local outreach programs.
Today I was sitting with John, interviewing him for the front page article of our quarterly, the glossy color version of the newsletter that went out to Red Cross donors, supporters, and various politically-connected folks. We had decided to start doing profiles of people who had gone through our First Aid and CPR programs.
Even over fifteen years later, I still remember talking to John like it was yesterday. He had a great story.
Please let me introduce myself.
My name is Rob Warren. My wife and I own Load Bearing Creative, and the voice you read here on this blog is generally (but not always) mine. I’m a technical writer and a tech marketing guy. Most of the time, I work in a home office, writing white papers and case studies, while watching our wiggly Lab out in the back yard chasing birds.
There are human beings on the other side of the keyboard. And they believe in stuff.
For most of us, I think, there’s a natural inclination when we write about our businesses to avoid injecting personal sentiment into our working words. Some of that falls under the category of “being professional”, I suppose, but the older I get and the longer I work in this field, the more I suspect it’s little more than risk aversion.
We’re all afraid that some incredible client is just waiting out there to shower us with riches, but will shun us at the last moment because – gasp – they have discovered some personal bone of contention. So we hedge and avoid and back away and stick to the bullets.
Thing is, I don’t think we can get away with that anymore. Not in the social media age.
I’ll confess to struggling with integrity.
No: I don’t steal from my clients, or mug little old ladies on the street, or cheat on either my taxes or my wife. For most of us at least, those aren’t the real integrity struggles. Staying on the straight and narrow with the major sins is fairly easy. The high hurdles – the real challenges to one’s integrity and self-respect – are much more subtle and nuanced, ever present, ever ready to knock you off the rails and into a place that you don’t want to be.
Everybody has a different idea of what design is – and that’s most of the problem. When you’re trying to wrangle the conflicting opinions and priorities of your creative team, your sales people, your product managers and your customer support staff, it’s only natural that consensus is going to be hard to find. We all agree that good design works. What we disagree on is how to make it work.
Most of us tend to notice design only when it fails, or when it suddenly meets all of our needs at once. Unfortunately, most projects have to aim for somewhere in the vast territory that exists between catastrophe and catharsis, and as a project manager your job will be to arrive at that destination safely and securely.
At Load Bearing Creative, we are committed to giving back. Whether it’s through services, expertise and advice or products, we are dedicated to contributing to our community.
As business owners, we know there’s more to philanthropy than just helping others – although that is our primary motive. Providing services to non-profits is a great way to build your business and promote employee morale and loyalty. Continue reading
“To be, or not to be. That is the question.” – Shakespeare, Hamlet
In most tech businesses today, life revolves around the Gadget.
The Gadget can be anything from toasters to next generation telecommunication satellites. Gadgets can be thrilling. They often make great media stories. They are steps forward and bold promises. For those of us in technology marketing, pushing the Gadget’s many virtues – faster, cheaper, more efficient, more strategically aligned – is what we do. We work to sell the better mousetrap.
But truly effective tech marketing today goes well beyond the Gadget, because as a society we are reaching a saturation point for innovation. Last year, Mike Elgan over at Forbes wrote something particularly profound that highlights this evolution, pointing specifically to the growing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement.
“The reason BYOD is here to stay is psychological. It’s less about technology and more about culture—or even anthropology. It’s about a belief of what is ‘me’ and what is ‘not me.’”
So in my travels this morning, I crossed paths with this article over at Indiewire about a professional conflict between Steven Spielberg and special effects master Rick Baker back in the early 1980s. It is an interesting story about never-before-seen photos of intricate alien creature sculptures that Baker designed for a dark Spielberg sci-fi film that never ended up being made. The long, weaving tale casts some light on Hollywood business dealings, professional mistrust and the various legal maneuvers behind some of the biggest films of that decade.
The part I found most fascinating, however, was the light it shed on the messy aspects of the creative process.
Some days it’s a long treatise on some esoteric marketing topic. Other days, it’s about getting down to the heart of the matter. Simple is often sweeter.
So today it’s just a thought about being an artist.
You may work to make things. You may be busy building motorized lifts. Or the next generation of high speed communication network. It’s easy to look at a musician or a painter or a novelist and say, “Those are artists.” But the truth is, if you care about what you make, you’re an artist.
You create in order to matter. And some of the most brilliant artists working today happen to use silicon, steel, plastics and technical ingenuity as their canvases. What matters is the joy you take in your work.
So today’s just a short reminder from us at Load Bearing to go forth and be creative, and to enjoy it. And go take a look at the great inspirational artwork being produced by Gavin Aung Than over at Zen Pencils.
While we’re waiting for him to release his recent Neil Gaiman quote piece as a framed print, we also highly recommend giving his Kurt Vonnegut one a look see.
It never hurts to remind yourself why you started creating in the first place.