Archive for September, 2009


Monday, September 28th, 2009

References FITC and Influxis

VIP Ticket Winners of #whymax contest (updated daily for 10 days)

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Having awarded the free admission ticket for my contest  now I begin awarding one VIP seating “voucher” meaning you get a reserved seat up close at the Adobe MAX keynotes!  For non-geeks this may seem uninteresting–but based on past MAXs this is really nice.

Reminder: Adobe employees may enter this  contest .  Also consider the fact that in past MAXs such employees were relegated to a closed-circuit feed (and I was once stopped because my badge was misprinted as an Adobe employee).

Anyway, I’ll add one new one every day until all 10 are awarded:

Final update: 10th place mesh2325 (  )

29 September 9th place radleymarx ( )

28 September: 8th place  wadearnoldt8 ( )

25 September: 7th place brimelow ( )

24 September:
6th  abdulqabiz ( )

23 September:
5th  airdeck ( )
4th  flashbum ( )

21 September:
3rd place:  WeAreAjar  ( )

Tied for 1st and 2nd:


#whymax Video Contest Winner!

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Congratulations to Scott Ysebert @endoplasmic for his winning entry:
I always hate it when I hear a judge say how hard it was to judge–but it’s true.  I’m still very surprised how few entries I received–just realize, all those who did enter put in effort ranging from WAY MORE to WAY WAY MORE than those who didn’t even bother.  Compared to many contests, this one had one of the best ratios of investment to payoff.Keep in mind that for the next 10 days (starting tomorrow) I’ll pick another winner from those currently posted to award a VIP seat (for attendees to sit very close at the keynotes).  (Believe me when I say this is more valuable than most non-MAX-goers understand.)

I carefully stuck to my original criteria–you can see the results of the top 5 finalists here:

contest results

Next time I might add some categories, like “funniest” or “most views”, “most ratings”, most twitter votes, or just my personal favorite.   In any event, I hope everyone had fun and will consider entering a for the VIP tickets.

Free Ticket Finalists

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

For the contest, today I get to decide who wins the free pass!  Then, every new day I’ll award one VIP seat.  This means, if you don’t win today, you can still enter a new video up until I’m done giving out VIP seats (about 10 days from now).  (See contest details including the fact the VIP seat can only be used if you’re already in the conference.)

Anyway, I’ve narrowed down the finalists to my favorite 5.  Note, these are not my videos. And, note they are in reverse chronological order:






Lee’s Office Space

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Here we’re given a rare glimpse at Adobe evangelist Lee Brimelow actually working!

Portland Creative Conference 2009–it’s back!

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

Having attended this year’s Portland Creative Conference I can confidently say, it’s back–really back.  For all I know, last year’s event was awesome too.  I attended the years 1995-2001 and always found it rejuvenating and inspiring.  (Sure, I could criticize things here and there–but it was a great conference and I was sad when it went away.)  This year’s event indicates there’s so much potential that I can’t imagine it’s not back for good.

I have lots of constructive criticism which I’ll save to the end–first, let me say a word or two about each of the presentations:

On Your Feet:
I tend to hate these “get up and mingle with your neighbor” things.  I didn’t hate this one, but –luckily–the later oyf stuff made up for the slightly uncomfortable morning presentation.  For instance, I LOVED the song (about The Artist’s Way) and the end-of-the-show recap/improv thing.  I am totally going to steal that somehow.

Dan Wieden: big message “you have to fail to learn”. I already knew this of course–but hearing it from him and hearing how it integrates into his agency was nice.  Plus, his comfort level presenting made it very personal. With humility, he both explained that he knows “everything’s changing” at the same time admitting that he doesn’t really know anything.  (Which was another message: you should come to work every day realizing there are game-changers that have taken place while you slept.)  I love the one question he got regarding where have they failed (and he brought up that Nike ad–I think it was Nike–where the woman out runs a crazed killer).

Jen Jako:
Inspiring and very sincere person–but, with all due respect, I have to say that she didn’t fully receive the message (that I personally believe is the point of the conference) that she should talk about how she finds creativity or gets unblocked.  It wasn’t a terrible presentation by any means and I think I learned something but it just didn’t reach me personally.

Flash Choir: I feel totally bad for them because they were probably scheduled (though not on the schedule) but they performed AFTER the scheduled noon break.  Their thing was cool.  But, when they went on to the second song I felt it was more a “flash hostage situation” than a “flash choir”.

Jerry Ketel:
Super effort and very good message but slightly rocky delivery.  He had some hilarious jokes but a huge flaw was that he (nor any presenter) seemed to be in control of the slides.  This affected the timing on his jokes.  Whatever–it wasn’t bad and you have to give him props for cross dressing!

Teresa Drilling: Go RIT Tigers!  She was awesome.  At first I was turned off by some of her biography stuff–sort of hard not to sound like you’re bragging when you have such a record as she does.  And, really, it’s nice to hear a bit about her background as I hadn’t done my homework.  Still, she got into some really great insights sharing what she does and how… and she focused on creativity.  Also, she did an excellent job explaining the time-shift you go into while animating.  (Something very similar to programming–as you program in such tiny steps–but something I’ve never seen explained so well.)  She was perhaps the best communicator–though, Larry Brooks has such a presence… –wait a second–this isn’t a competitive sport.

Emek: By far the most inspiring for me.  What’s interesting is my skills and specific interests aren’t even close to what he does–but still–wow!  I had never seen his work but that totally blew me away.  Then hearing about the process and his research was a great treat.  It was an excellent mix of showing his stuff, with his craft process, with his art process, plus stories about various projects.  It also enjoyed the satire in so much of his work.  And, I like the whole artifact aspect (300 prints per project).  Later I learned that Portland is a bit of a rock poster capital–that’s cool.  One interesting take-away for me was that I actually am into making posters too!  I have been handing out my newsletter for years… and more recently made a wanted poster and a handbill.  (I don’t think I’ll link to the handbill because my rule is I only hand it out in person.)

Larry Brooks: What’s amazing to me is I totally don’t remember meeting him when I interned at CMD in 1988 nor when I did contract work in the mid 90s.  I just think I would have remembered him as I’m pretty sure I met him.  He was an excellent communicator and I think he may have really found his calling by teaching people how to write.  I thought his message about how if you want to go pro with writing it’s equivalent to going pro in golf might be taken as a downer–like “give it up if you aren’t going to be the best” but I don’t think that was his point.  I really enjoyed it and think I learned a lot from his presentation… the big thing I can say is that no one could have been in that audience and not been listening to him.

Bill Oakley: I feel like a bit of a boob because I met him in advance of his presentation and didn’t recognize his name.  Not like I’d bow to him but I’d give him well deserved props and probably point him to my recent Simpsons/39th street parody.  But, as a presentation it was very very good. It was just shy of excellent for reasons I can’t really identify.  I think I learned a lot about his process but maybe not so much about “creativity”.  Maybe I’m nitpicking.  Maybe the intro montage of his work freaked me out too much as it didn’t have clear delineations between the different samples.

Conference overall: Like I said above: great job and great conference.  I think the biggest thing is how they seem to communicate to the speakers that the presentations should be about creativity and process–not “how to” or just showing off their work.  This aspect should continue.

So, for the constructive criticisms (in no particular order):

Make the presenters operate laptops directly… or, if they’re going to have an offstage assistant advancing the slides, do some major rehearsing.  As it was, it was awkward and affected timing and such–plus it messed up some of the presenters.  (Way more than if they had had to monkey with their own laptops.)

Get a real projector–is that the best the Newmark Theatre has to offer?  Geez–not to be a projector snob but that thing was dark.

Get a decent playback computer or figure out why the videos were lurching.  Not a huge issue compared to my other criticisms.

Find a system to communicate elapsed time to the presenters–like hold up a card that says “10″ when they have 10 minutes remaining.  In fact, you stayed on time pretty well–but it’s actually possible to stay on time perfectly.  I think returning to a two-day format would be better for this… plus you could include more networking time.

Consider moving to a weekday
.  I think it makes for a more professional crowd.  Not saying the crowd was a bunch of yahoos–but, especially if it’s going to be a one-day conference, I’d personally prefer a weekday.  Just my preference.

Lose the “no video recording” rule.  What’s up with that?  Don’t you know, it’s the you-tube-ic age? Please don’t explain how there’s copyright issues because unless someone shows up with a tripod and heavy duty video equipment it’s not like anyone’s going to steal anything.  I could go on–but the bottom line is that I know most speakers would like the exposure as should the conference itself.  Exposure that can only be achieved by a bunch of people posting clips of what happened.  In fact, I think it’s valid to question whether the whole event actually took place if there’s no video of it online 24 hours after the fact.  If there are truly some difficult issues that lead you to this policy please consider finding a nice alternative–I’m sure you can.

Consider a bigger auditorium if you need to resort to taping off special seats for the VIPs.  Geez–how many seats did you have taped off anyway?  Maybe a reminder that this is Portland is in order.

Finally, the following is hard to say, but maybe don’t have so many (in this case I think all) presenters from Portland.  The problem saying this is that none of the presenters this year were anything less than industry leading luminaries.  Seriously, they all deserved to be there.  But, still, I think it’s worth getting some perspective from outside Portland.  It turns out, if every year you could have the same quality lineup then I’d say don’t change it.  But, just as you shouldn’t require the speakers come from outside Portland, please don’t require they come from here.

Don’t anyone hate me for this or my other suggestions.  First off, most people know to say thank you for any sincere criticism… plus, I’ve been wrong–so I could be wrong on many of the points I made here.

mr. Monk and the Dead Drop

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Amazing how fast something as seemingly innocuous as Lee Brimelow’s “Dead Drop” can get so out of hand:

Naturally, this video is not an entry into the #whymax contest.

Make a Video, Win a free pass to Adobe MAX!

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

This is awesome… in addition to making a few videos of my own, I get to manage and judge a contest where you can win a FREE conference pass to the Adobe MAX 2009 conference (~$1300).  Plus the grand prize winner gets preferred seating at the keynotes.  In addition, 10 runners-up will be selected to receive just the preferred seating (they have to get their own pass to the conference).  The preferred seating is more valuable than it might seem–I know several Adobe employees who are going to try to win this contest for just those seats!

Anyway, here are the official rules (subject to change if I made a glowing error… though I had this stuff checked out by several people… and it’s official):


Make a video that answers the question “is Adobe MAX for developers or designers?” or somehow relates to the upcoming Adobe MAX conference.


There will be 11 winners! 

There will be one grand prize winner.  They get one free full conference pass to Adobe MAX 2009 plus preferred seating at the keynotes.  If you’ve already registered for the conference, Adobe will refund the base price (that is, exactly what you paid for the conference–not any extras such as pre-conference sessions or hotel) .

There will be 10 runners-up.  They will receive preferred seating at the keynotes.  Runners-up must already be attending MAX to take advantage of the preferred seating–that is, you must have your own conference pass. (See for conference details.) 

Winners will be announced on as well as  If you’re following me on twitter I’ll attempt to also make send a direct message. The grand-prize winner will have 5 days to reply.  If no reply is received I will attempt to award the grand prize to one of the runners-up. 


To qualify for the grand prize (the conference pass) your video must be posted no later than September 15th 2009 at midnight Pacific time (GMT -7:00).    The runners up (preferred keynote seating) will be awarded on the days that follow the 15th until all are awarded–approximately one per day.  This means, you can still post videos after the 15th and have a chance to win the preferred keynote seating (until all the runners-up prizes have been awarded).


All videos are subjectively judged by Phillip Kerman from LLC using the criteria listed below.


Void where prohibited by law.  Adobe employees may participate but can only win a runners-up prize (preferred keynote seating).  The main requirement is that you post a video (no longer than 200 seconds) on and that you tag it with: #whymax.  Also, please post an update to with a link and include the same tag “#whymax”.  Ideally, you also follow me on twitter ( to make it easier for me to contact you if you win.

Judging Criteria:

30% Originality and sincerity.  Try to exploit your own personal voice.  You’re welcome to leverage familiar themes, but try to be original as possible.

30% Message quality.  Your video should make a point and as clearly and effectively as possible.

15% Clarity and conciseness. Respect your audience’s time and invest the work necessary to make your message concise. Also, strongly consider editing your video. Note, videos longer than 200 seconds will be disqualified unless they’re so captivating I can’t not watch them.

15% Technical: Audio and video quality and technical ability with tools.

10% Accuracy and timeliness. Try to make something contemporary to what’s hot now.

Humor is not required, but I’ll probably be more impressed if you use humor effectively.  In addition, entries may be disqualified out of hand if they contain blatantly offensive or objectionable content such as racism or pornography.  Also, all entries should relate to MAX, Adobe, and developers and designers who use Adobe products.  Sincere and honest criticisms of Adobe products are acceptable but not required.  Overly patronizing and blatant brown nosing is also not required.


Feel free to contact me via with questions or comment below.  Also, check out my videos at