Insights from Nebo

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March 13, 2013

Agency Life: An Indictment of the Hire & Fire Culture

Most people know what it's like to get fired. It's happened to nearly everyone, even if it was just from a part-time job in college. And for those who don't know what it's like directly, you can probably imagine.

Getting fired sucks. It's a direct hit—to your self-esteem, to your self-worth, and to your ego. It's not just the loss of income, but also a loss of dignity. It hurts—even if you deserved it, even if you didn't want the job anymore, and even if your boss was a monster.

On the flip side, if you're a good person, being the one responsible for firing someone sucks as well. I usually can't sleep for weeks before someone gets fired, and the weeks after aren't much better. Firing someone is one of the most impactful things you can do to a person and should never be taken lightly or without due cause.

With that said, you can only imagine how I feel about the hiring and firing mentality that dominates digital agency culture. Not only is it disheartening, but the fact that this is the norm in the industry aggravates and confounds me.

Below are a few reasons why I disagree with this culture and how I think it can be changed for the better.

March 6, 2013

Misconceptions of Responsive Design

We are no longer anticipating a post desktop world. We're living in it. Day by day, the number of devices, platforms and browsers we have to design for is growing and changing. We now have to think about how our sites will look on a desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, Google Glass, iWatch and whatever comes next.

Now many companies are scrambling to find solutions for their five, ten or even three-year-old sites to quickly adapt their web presence to meet the “in the moment” needs and expectations of mobile users.

Here comes responsive design with its unrestricted screen size approach as the savior to our mobile ills. Easily found, easily shared, easier to maintain and build and cheaper in the long run, it offers the best of both desktop and mobile experiences with greater consistency of brand experience across all devices.

However, does responsive design truly live up to the legend that has been built up about it in the industry?

February 27, 2013

Why Socks Matter

In the ancient city of Rome, behind the Pantheon, sits a tiny tailor shop that has crafted the Pope’s garments since 1798. Six generations of the Gammarelli family have been charged with fabricating his hats, robes and even his socks—socks made from the finest wool or cotton lisle, hand-linked and reinforced in the heels and toes, worn only once before being discarded.

Why such a laborious task for such an insignificant article of clothing? Why so much effort for a pair of hosiery that can barely be seen? Why not just get a pair of Gold Toes or any other generic sock and be done with the whole arduous ordeal?

Because socks matter, damn it.

Socks, like any fine detail, possibly reveal more about someone than anything else. Though the more popular idiom is that the, “Devil is in the Details,” the phrase, “God is in the Details,” is just as true. If you’re willing to embrace the small things, you will be better prepared to achieve the bigger and greater ones. Here are a few reasons why we should take it easy on the Birkenstocks and flip-flops and embrace socks as a secret weapon in our march toward victory.

February 22, 2013

Even Superman Needs a Hug

They can be seen in every office. Early in the morning. Late at night. Sending emails at 3:30 a.m. when the rest of us are sleeping peacefully in our beds. They are the office super people, taking on tremendous challenges and working harder, longer and smarter than anyone else to ensure the greatness of all, often without thanks.

We think it's time to change this.


February 19, 2013

Coca-Cola & Happiness: A Love Story

Millennia from now, an alien archaeologist will sift through the sepulchral remains of Earth’s greatest cities, from Jakarta to Istanbul to New York, and see the same red and white banner emblazoned on the sides of buildings, in gas station windows and on tractor trailers. He will have no choice but to assume the people of Earth lived and died united under a single world government—an empire, as benevolent as it was far-reaching, intent on bringing happiness to its citizens. And, in a way, he’d be right. More than any government or religion, Coca-Cola is the world’s biggest empire.

Warren Buffett, the largest stakeholder in the company, put it best: it’s the most powerful brand in the world, universally liked, moderately priced and per capita consumption goes up almost every year in almost every country. There’s no other product like it. It is indeed staggering to consider that, while the world’s best brands are technological, industrial or business (IBM, Microsoft, Google, GE), a beverage company tops them all.

So, imagine you have the most powerful brand in history, your name is recognized in every language, you have a product that not only doesn’t need to change but can’t, and your target market is planet Earth. You can pretty much just coast, right?

No way.

For Coke, the quest for brand power is never over, and, after over a century of dominance, there isn’t a single entity in the world more powerful. In fact, the only things bigger than Coke are universal, abstract concepts like hope and love and happiness—oh wait. Coke cornered the market on that, too.