I love what I do.
I really do. For the past 3 years, I have been doing web things that I am good at for a company I really enjoy working at in an industry that’s fun.
I hope there are AMC fans out there that have noticed the difference. If you have, you might be wondering, But WHY is he talking about this now? Sorry, but I’ve spent the last couple months exhaling…taking deep breaths and convincing myself that it’s really completed (and squashing bugs).
Coming off of a project that has been pretty much your sole focus for 18 months is a weird thing. I’ve got plenty of other responsibilities at AMC, but none of them was more important to me than improving the user experience to our guests and visitors to AMCTheatres.com.
A year ago, we completed a rewrite of our entire architecture, installing a new content management system and creating a whole bunch of new dynamic services to power a site that gets its information from sources across the United States. That was an accomplishment in itself and provided us with a platform to do what we did.
And then we redesigned it
I had the great pleasure to work with Greg Storey’s team at Happy Cog on the UX part of the project and that was a pleasure in and of itself. I’ve long been a fan of the Cog’s work and I’ve now worked with them on two separate projects at two separate companies. In the past, I didn’t get to see the project through to completion. I was determined not to let that happen.
It’s a strange experience when you become a client of a group of professionals whose work you have admired. Getting mired in the processes and the day-to-day can wear some of that internet shine off a little, but ultimately, I am extremely proud of the work that we’ve accomplished together. We provided AMC with a beautifully responsive web platform and design system that can now be built upon and extended. Thanks to the great concepting by Kevin Sharon and the technical execution by the talented Ryan Irelan and Stephen Caver, AMC now has a modern, functional site that can take us into the next several years.
I’m so proud of this work. After an 18-month engagement, it feels good to have something to finally show for it.
And now, a Pivot
Doing things on the web has been what my career has been about for a little over a decade. This is a good thing and a bad thing. Good, because I’m at the top of my game, a subject-matter-expert. I feel good about what I’ve accomplished and I have a good idea about what’s happening on the web and where it’s headed (#humblebrag). This is bad because I’ve pigeonholed myself into being only about one thing. While this allows me an immense amount of trust and understanding in my position, I run the risk of forever being branded as “The Web Guy.”
So that’s going to change.
As soon as I have the chance to update my email signature and my LinkedIn profile, it will really be official: effective immediately, I will be AMC’s new Loyalty Marketing Manager.
Not sure what a Loyalty Marketing Manager does? I’m glad you asked. Essentially, I’ll be leading one of AMC’s most important programs – AMC Stubs. I’m extremely excited about the next phase of my career. I’m expanding my worldview to include an important aspect of marketing and I get to work on making an already solid program even better. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be transitioning away from my existing responsibilities and getting up to speed on AMC’s loyalty program and all of its many moving parts.
I’m somewhat sad about putting aside my web life, but I’m so happy to start this new phase of my career. It’s going to make me a more well-rounded marketer and I get to take on yet another huge project.
So there it is. What do you think? (Feel free to share your ideas about AMC Stubs in the comments. I’ll be sure to implement ALL* of them.)
* probably not all of them
I get the opportunity to speak publicly on occasion. Usually at church. Today I must have public speaking on the brain because there are two links that have come in front of me today that I thought were worth sharing. Maybe it’s because one of my goals for 2013 is doing more professional public speaking…maybe it’s just a coincidence. Either way, I thought these were valuable.
First, Cameron Moll pointed me to this link from Idan Gazit on “Designing Presentations.” Giving a presentation at your place of employment vs. giving a talk to a professional group or a conference is a totally different thing. Oftentimes (probably detrimentally), when a PowerPoint or Keynote deck is created in the workplace, it is passed around sans context or in-person presentation. If this is the type of presenting you typically do, this article isn’t really for you. This is for those who want to give good talks to professional groups and conferences.
There are some great nuggets in this article, even though it is aimed mostly at developers.
Presenting is the art of directing attention. If you’ve done that skillfully, the transfer of ideas is almost automatic. If not, it doesn’t matter how good your ideas were, because nobody paid attention.
It’s a pretty long article, but a terrific one. Check it out.
Second, I was catching up on some back episodes of A Show with Ze Frank and came across this one:
how to public speaking
Ze is always compelling and what he has to say about public speaking is really insightful. In fact, there are a lot of things that he lists in there that I’m not doing that I need to incorporate to become a better speaker.
Since one of my goals for 2013 is to do more speaking at events, I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more stuff like this. In the meantime,
- What are your favorite tips for public speaking?
- If I gave a talk, what would you want me to talk about (the answer can’t be Oreos)?
- Who are some of your favorite public speakers?
The holiday season is upon us! This is a busy time at work and in that spirit, I thought I’d present to you my favorite movies of the year so far. Some are still in theatres, but most aren’t. And I still haven’t seen Lincoln yet, but I’ve heard amazing things about it. So many great movies begin coming out around this time of year…here’s the stuff I’ve really liked (in no particular order):
Zoe Kazan’s wonderful little movie about an author whose writer’s block leads him to manifest a character from his writings into real life. Paul Dano and Kazan (who date in real life, I believe) have terrific chemistry and Chris Messina provides terrific support as Dano’s brother.
I’m a sucker for good animated movies. They’re accessible to all ages and have more flexibility to be creative than most traditional films. Wreck-It Ralph fits that mold completely, telling the story of a “bad guy” from the video game Fix-It Felix, Jr., who decides he doesn’t want to be bad anymore. The adventure leads him to “game jump” trying to prove all of the people of his game wrong. Released by Disney Animation under the tutelage of John Lassiter, who was one of the co-creators of Pixar, this movie has all the things that we love about Pixar movies: originality, comedy and heart. The voice characterization of the main characters by John C. Reilly (Ralph) and Sarah Silverman (Vanellope von Schweetz) is nothing short of perfect. I loved this movie. And I haven’t talked to a single person yet who hasn’t felt the same way. Bonus points for the short film that precedes it, Paper Man. Just trust me on that one.
The Dark Knight Rises
There is no doubt that Christopher Nolan revolutionized not just the Batman franchise, but the approach of comic book movies into the future. Batman Begins was the reboot that all of these other comic book reboots have been based on and The Dark Knight Rises is the wonderful conclusion to his epic trilogy.
Ben Affleck has become one of the most talented and sought-after directors in Hollywood. So far, he hasn’t missed a step. Last year’s The Town was one of the best films of the year and should have garnered him his first Academy Award nomination since Good Will Hunting. This year, Affleck tackled a historical film about a CIA mission to get out several embassy workers from Iran in the late 1970′s. Affleck both stars and directs in this taut thriller that keeps you at the edge of your seat the whole movie long. He stays very faithful to the era and gets wonderful supporting performances from John Goodman and Alan Arkin.
Most people either love or hate Wes Anderson movies. He has a very specific style that people either like or dislike. There isn’t a lot in between. I actually kind of fall in between though. I’ve never been a huge fan (for example, I think Rushmore is extremely overrated), but he has his moments. This year’s Moonrise Kingdom was, to me, his best work to date. Creative and quirky, Moonrise Kingdom follows two kids who fall in love during a summer on an island off the coast of New England. The kids who play the main characters are perfectly weird and play their roles well and the adults provide a backdrop that shows people don’t stop being screwed up even into their adult years.
The Perks of Being a Walflower
I read this book way back in 2005. When I heard about the movie adaptation, I was nervous. I really loved the book and I thought it might be difficult to translate to screen. I was comforted by the fact that Stephen Chbosky, who wrote the book, was writing the screenplay and directing. I was not disappointed. Telling the story of a confused teenager named Charlie, Chbosky explores some pretty heavy subject material for teenagers, but gets a wonderful assist from his talented cast, led by Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller. This movie really succeeds in staying true to the challenging nature of the book, but keeping it accessible to many audiences.
It’s difficult for me to write a best-of list without the biggest blockbuster of the year, Marvel’s The Avengers. Anchored by the return of everyone’s favorite billionaire playboy philanthropist Tony Stark, played by the always terrific Robert Downey, Jr., The Avengers was arguably one of the biggest movies of the year, bringing together the last few years of work that Marvel has done with Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Hulk. What results is a really big, fun, entertaining ride that pits good vs. evil for the fate of the planet. When it comes to entertainment, I don’t know if there was another movie this year that could eclipse The Avengers.
There’s still a lot of great stuff yet to come this year. I’m looking forward to seeing Lincoln, Life of Pi, The Silver Linings Playbook, Django Unchained, The Hobbit, The Impossible and Promised Land.
So what have your favorite movies of the year been? And what are you most looking forward to seeing this holiday season?
This past year, Instagram reached a tipping point. Everyone now knows about it, thanks to a $1 billion purchase by Facebook and a strong, engaged community of photographers worldwide. Brands such as mine jumped on the bandwagon…quickly creating accounts and evaluating their visual storytelling style in order to connect with this broad, engaged community, despite the CEO’s admission that there was no revenue model on the horizon.
This weekend, I saw a couple of posts on Instagram that looked like this:
And were accompanied by something along the lines of:
It looks like [insert brand name here] is buying up Instagram followers…not sure if this is legit, but I’ll do it anyway!
First off, this is not an unrealistic behavior. People on the internet don’t just like their freebies. THEY LOVE THEM. But, let’s do the math. Let’s say that the example on the left is true. Retailer H&M promises their first 20,000 followers on Instagram a $75 gift card, just for following them on Instagram. That means that H&M has decided that each Instagram follower is worth not $75, but more than that. Otherwise, there is no way that their fraud/loss team agrees to that deal.
But let’s, for the sake of argument, say that they write that off as “acquisition fees” and somehow get their analysts to agree this is a great idea. The next part of that equation is getting someone to agree to writing a $1.5 million check for all those gift cards. To some people, that’s small potatoes…their media budget doesn’t even get dented by that number. But for most, that’s not a small amount.
And let’s not forget…Instagram offers absolutely ZERO way to track engagement for brands. You can’t click a link from the app unless it is in your profile and you have absolutely NO IDEA how many impressions any individual image receives. All of these things are a no go for marketers.
I think Colin may have said it best:
We can all stop falling for the fake Instagram “giveaways” any time now.
— Colin Burns (@TheCBurns) November 19, 2012
This may seem a bit judgmental, but a little common sense goes a long way here. And just in case you were wondering, H&M already has a gorgeous Instagram account.
Now, there are some viable solutions to how to keep people from falling for stuff like this besides common sense. Unfortunately, those all fall on Instagram actually adding some pieces of functionality to their popular application with their small team under Facebook’s direction. I doubt these are new ideas, but I believe that if Instagram were to add them to their roadmap, they’d see even more popularity and (gasp!) possible profitability.
This is something that was HUGE for Twitter. That blue checkmark next to someone’s name, especially for celebrities, became the new American Express Black Card for a while.
Sponsored Posts and Accounts
This is something that I think brands would actually pay for. It works really well for Twitter and it’s working extremely well for Facebook (despite how annoying it is to brands).
Algorithmic Tweaks for Popular Posts
If you’ve ever looked at the “Popular” tab on Instagram, the majority of posts are nonsensical madness that somehow have several thousand likes. Usually they are from overseas and rarely are they photos that were originally taken inside of the app. Maybe I’m out of touch with what is interesting and engaging to the Instagram community, but some big improvements could be made for discovering new content.
So those are my quick thoughts on ways to improve Instagram. What are yours?