Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Do Day: Live with Aki

Do Day is back again with a profile of a super-doer. He's a dude I've talked about before (and thanked) as the founder of Fallon's planning blog (he is AKI SYSTEMS 2600), a web-maven (who put me onto netvibes and many a YouTube video), a mentor and friend in MN (and still). So of course I was planning on interviewing him at some point in the future but when I realized it was already Wednesday (that 3-day weekend fooled me)—and another week was in danger of passing without featuring someone who has personally inspired me to stop talking about it and be about it—I hollered at Aki. And unsurprisingly, I found him doing something new.

I caught him on his Yahoo! Live Channel (which I encourage you to check out), and I got him chatting for 40 minutes (as you can see by the time-stamps below). Unfortunately there's no way record a video conversation, so we kicked it old school and IMed with our live images up on screen. As you'll see, he didn't even need my "questions" (I'm still learning how to interview); rather, he just riffed some great stuff off the dome. And I've got it here for you to feast on...

What's your philosophy when it comes to doing?

[ 4:30] akispicer I'll quote yoda: "Do. Or do not. There is no try."
[ 4:30] akispicer Can't think this stuff to paralysis.
[ 4:31] akispicer Fast to beta...stick and move. And honestly, I dunno if the agency/client pace can afford that kind of speed.

What's on the web have you been interested in lately?
[ 4:32] akispicer Lately? It can shift every week, I have a short attention span with web toys.
[ 4:32] akispicer This for sure. (POST INTERVIEW INSERT: HE'S TALKING ABOUT YAHOO! LIVE.)
[ 4:32] akispicer I've noted that we spent some thousands on a vid conference room here...
[ 4:33] akispicer Noone knows how to turn the damn room on.
[ 4:33] akispicer And suddenly all that is felled by democratic technologies like this.
[ 4:33] akispicer No learning manual.
[ 4:34] akispicer Just click and things work right out of the box.
[ 4:36] akispicer Other than this tech...Slideshare...
[ 4:36] akispicer I like how Slideshare is pooling thinking...
[ 4:37] akispicer I am using Slideshare like a Google...looking up topics and seeing how other people are thinking and
[ 4:37] akispicer responding to the same topic.

What have you been doing outside of Fallon?
[ 4:37] akispicer Outside Fallon...Planning For Good.
[ 4:37] akispicer 1500 of the brightest minds in advertising want to collaborate with good causes and make a difference.
[ 4:38] akispicer Ed Cotton has been taking the lead...others of us chip in
[ 4:38] akispicer I am trying to harness the same model for local solutions.
[ 4:39] akispicer We've been learning alot about actually DOING what we push in all our decks to clients.

How do you not get overwhelmed by all the new online technologies ("toys")?

[ 4:45] akispicer It can take a long minute to check emails, check RSS feeds, click on "time waster" links I get IM'd...

How do you make that minute matter (everything you put into, and on the blog, and that you read)?

[ 4:46] akispicer I definitely notice my attention span shortening...but I try to provide value to clients and others thru
[ 4:46] akispicer client blog posting, trends presentations, and day-to-day strategy decks
[ 4:47] akispicer The time suck pays back when you have to deliver an answer to a complex problem and you have all the refs
[ 4:47] akispicer ready.
[ 4:47] akispicer More of my time is being spent with FILING AND LIBRARY RECALL SYSTEMS
[ 4:47] akispicer tagging, using consistent names and redistributing info to parties that could use it
[ 4:48] akispicer Facebook and blogs serve as a broadcast system so that I don't have to find the people in my networks, I just
[ 4:48] akispicer have to order and organize for their digestion. Its all about connecting the dots for others.
[ 4:49] akispicer My main issue with newspapers, magazines and TV is that I cannot tag and file and forward insightful info.

How does all this impact your role as a planner (POST INTERVIEW INSERT: Planning Director)?
[ 4:50] akispicer I see my role here and with clients as a reporter, or guide.
[ 4:51] akispicer I like immersing myself into these nets and coming back to "report"
[ 4:51] akispicer Clients and agencies are intimidated by these technologies...and often, they just need a Virgil to guide them
[ 4:52] akispicer I like the process of experimentation and synthesis - simplifying it into language that is universal, really.

So everyone gets up to speed and things don't get lost in translation (like from acct to creative or marketing to operations)?
[ 4:57] akispicer Well, I think social computing holds the potential to get back to communicating, actually.
[ 4:57] akispicer Take today with Y! Live...the designer hit me up on my channel and we chatted.
[ 4:58] akispicer He answered my questions, he asked me a few.
[ 4:58] akispicer When is the last time the head of a major brand "communicated" directly with a customer/user/prospect/person?
[ 4:59] akispicer Social computing FORCES brands and creators to get out here and talk. It is forcing politicians to do the same
[ 5:00] akispicer It is forcing agencies to learn a new approach...
[ 5:00] akispicer Yeah, I think you and I and many others are digital natives so it is not so awkward to imagine getting on our
[ 5:01] akispicer websites and blogs and talking back. Or risking questions from open web.

[ 5:02] akispicer We are a bit more improvisational and free form...that is considered a "risk" by most clientele and brands and
[ 5:02] akispicer politicians.
[ 5:03] akispicer Most brands could never do what Y! Live just did, which is open up the windows and let me and you peek behind
[ 5:03] akispicer the curtain and just hold a one-to-one conversation.
[ 5:03] akispicer And that simple tactic makes me a believer and evangelist...

What other brands are bringing people in like this?
[ 5:05] akispicer Much of the innovation is happening out here, amongst people, not necessarily among the big brands.
[ 5:06] akispicer I liked Virgin America's recent appeal to the masses to get the DOT to greenlight VA to fly.

And what about Brainfood? That seems like an example of you putting it (all) out there for people (including the competition) to see.

[ 5:10] akispicer I have a fundamental issue with hiding information.
[ 5:11] akispicer We all do so much research and info gathering...only to present to 6 people and store/hide the insights away.
[ 5:11] akispicer Brainfood is really about making what we do open and present before the whole agency.
[ 5:12] akispicer Its also about getting creativity and ideas out of the ghetto of "creative departments".
[ 5:12] akispicer Everyone at the agency contributes. Everyone is important. Let's share ideas together. And eat free lunch, too
[ 5:13] akispicer I have found that agencies are packed with pockets of innovators in the interactive basements, in the
[ 5:13] akispicer coordinator desks, in the production offices.
[ 5:14] akispicer And these pockets of energy and passion and insight often go untapped
[ 5:15] akispicer So I view my role as trying to source and direct these pockets to make sparks happen.

Hopefully you all will agree, this seemed like a perfect way to end. Thanks Aki. See you soon...without any travel!


Retro Gamer said...

i can't believe i'm reading this blog. i've got issues.

had to point out that there are a ton of ways to record a video chat. snaps pro v2 for one.

love stafford.

p.s. i've started at D5 Sydney. i expect to be fired promptly.

El Gaffney said...

ha. thanks stafford. is this you rapping?

i also just got a flip video so will have no excuse for the local interviews at least.

good luck "mate."

Clay said...

Sweet interview, excellent "do day".

El Gaffney said...

gracias clay. go say hi to aki sometime on his channel. he'll appreciate it.

Retro Gamer said...

that's why youtube is awesome. it gives me a creative outlet for my niche-genre rhyming.