Monthly Archives: February 2014

To your health!

Dear President Bill Powers,

I would like to raise a glass and make a toast to you on this historical day. Starting on a trial basis, beer and wine will be available at UT Athletic events. Thanks to your support and tireless effort, our loyal fan’s experience will be enhanced in a way that only alcohol can achieve. That is unless someone abuses this new opportunity and screws it up for everyone. I’m hoping that at $8 per drink, most people that would make this mistake just can’t afford to do so.

Now I won’t have to binge (as hard) before football games, assuming the trial goes well. And don’t be surprised when this new measure has a positive impact in the win/loss column as well. I hypothesize  that by collectively raising the BAC of the entire crowd, we’ll be louder than ever, thus resulting in a better home record. I would like to see a critical peer-reviewed study done if possible.

It’s the dawn of a new era Mr. Powers. Cheers!

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Benn

Dear Jamie Benn,

Way to bring to home the gold Jamie. Dallas is sorta home right? Of course I was rooting for Team USA but after we lost to Canada in the semi’s, I was pulling for you. Not Canada mind you. Then you scored the big goal and Dallas hockey fans had a silver lining after our lame 4th place finish.

Tonight you’re back on the home ice (again, Dallas) as the Stars continue their hunt for a playoff birth. I haven’t ever followed hockey too closely, but I’m starting to get into it. Do you think your game will be a tighter than everyone who had 2.5 weeks off or will you be a step slow? My guess is the former, at least for now.

Well congrats again. Dallas is proud, if the rest of the country is a still a little bummed.

The BeanCast

Dear Bob Knorpp,

Long time listener, first time e-mailer.

I caught onto the BeanCast as an advertising graduate student University of Texas in Austin. One of my favorite professors had us listen to the show and discuss certain segments in class (his name is Mike Mackert and I think he’d be great on the show…). Now I tune in most every week for my dose of tech/advertising/media news and have found the info truly invaluable.

When I was interviewing with different agencies for my first real job out of school, I found myself continually referencing things I’d heard on the BeanCast. I had an informed opinion on the most current trends in the industry and actually sounded like I knew something.

Now I work for a “local store marketing” agency, a niche that didn’t mean anything to me before I took this job. Basically we execute any store-by-store promotional tactics that creative agencies are too expensive for and brands are too busy to organize. A decent place to start my career, but my goal is become an account planner. There don’t seem to be many early-career level jobs in these roles though. Any tips on working my way into planner position?

I know listening to the BeanCast is a good place to start!

Thanks Bob.

PS: I’ve used SquareSpace to build multiple website for people and they think I’m some web design pro. Cred to the BeanCast again.

RESPONSE: 

Thanks for the kind words and it makes me so happy to know the show has this much impact.

As for career trajectory, I was once told if you don’t have a wall completely covered with rejections, you aren’t doing it right. If you want to be a planner, pick the agencies you want to work for and start networking through the place identifying holes and needs along the way. then try to fill those needs. The cattle call that is the “job posting” is a race of inches. the only way to stand out and beat the odds is to be considered before the posting is made.
 
Good luck!
 
Bob
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When I’m Mayor…

Will Wright designed and developed the original SimCity games for Maxis. Now he runs the think-tank StupidFunClub

Dear Will Wright,

Kid’s these days. Ok, I’m only 25 but I feel like I can say it. With their “Call of Duty” and “Need for Speed” video games. I always loved city-building games like as SimCity and Caesar. SimCity is far from flashy. The whole format is governed by simple cost/benefit, supply/demand relationships. Heck, there isn’t even a defined end to the game and maybe that’s why SimCity has held my interest for a solid 15 years.

Every city ever built in SimCity is unique and ultimately an outward expression of the builder. My mayoral folly is to build too many baseball stadiums and over-funded the parks & rec department. I have a habit of taxing the wealthy businesses too heavily, another reflection of my morals. Ultimately it’s your city to make flourish or turn to into chaos, both of which are totally fun.

My interest in city planning and urbanization stems from the many hours playing SimCity. At the end of the day, there is something empowering about designing a “city” that enables people to thrive. I just wish more mayor’s had played Sim-City growing up.

Thanks Mr Wright.

P.S. I was excited to hear a new version was coming out last year, but avoided it after the miserable reviews. Apparently you agreed.

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‘Merica’s Most Patriot Band

Dear Madison Rising,

I did not watch the Daytona 500 on Sunday. I rank Nascar just below figure skating (not during the Olympics) on my hierarchy of “sports” to watch. However, I did to catch your spirited performance of the Star Spangled Banner, and that alone might be enough reason for  me to tune in occasionally.

Our nation was built on freedom of expression. People are calling your rendition of the national anthem a disgrace and a slap in the face to all veteran’s. I’ll call it a new twist on a old classic. Hey, Jimi Hendrix did it. He got crucified for it too. Certain classics are just untouchable.  Ketchup for example: it’s supposed to taste one way or…well then it’s not ketchup.

I personally thought it was massively amusing if nothing else, especially when the bass player starts banging on the strings with both hands. Heck, I might even come see ya’ll play in Dallas on March 7th, but only if i can shoot a semi-automatic shotgun in the air while you play Right To Bear.

Take Care.

Tinder-ized

Founder and CEO of Tinder

Dear Sean Rad,

How much can you tell about a person in a glance? According to Malcolm Gladwell, quite a bit in fact. Evolution has trained humans to infer tremendous amount of information in fractions of a second. Basic intuition is no accident and I’m definitely someone who “trusts their gut.”

So how much can you gather about a person from a selfie on a 3×4 inch screen in 1 second (probably less)? As Tinder has proven, apparently just enough. I legitimately think that Tinder is conducting the greatest social experiment of our generation, if unconsciously. There is something to be said about a gut reaction combined with a double-blind scenario. The data must be staggering, but somewhere in the numbers lays is the story of our generation’s 140 character mindset.

I’m a digital native through-and-through but have yet to venture into Tinder territory (or online dating, which Tinder certainly is not). I’ll gladly sleep on someone’s couch in Poland who I meet via the internet but have hesitations about chatting with and possibly meeting someone who think’s I’m attractive at a glance. I can’t quite explain it, maybe I’m just old fashion that way.

Take care Mr. Rad.

PS: Rad last name brah.

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DART Pumpkin

Capture

Dear Mr Gary C. Thomas,

I have a car because it is a basic necessity in Dallas. I use my car to go to work, go grocery shopping and do most things. I also live a 5 minute walk from the Forest Lane DART station. Weather permitting and when I’m not in a hurry, I’ll take the DART Rail to go out on the weekend. Especially in combination with my bicycle, I can get basically anywhere I want to go on the train and don’t have to worry about parking or driving drunk. Win Win.

Here’s the only problem with this plan. The train stops running at 12:15ish, even on the weekend, and I become a “DART pumpkin”.  But then it starts again around 3:30am? Come on now. Those three hours in between are really important for those of us who enjoy the nightlife in our fine city.

Help me avoid driving drunk or paying $40 for a taxi. Just one train an hour would do the trick, maybe a train 1:00am and at 2:30am. Please don’t tell me it’s a money issue. One train and one person could do the job.

Hope my suggestions are heard. Thanks!

PS: We NEED a East-West route on the North side of town but apparently the Cotton Belt line won’t start being built until 2025 (if at all)! I hope to see it in my lifetime then.

RESPONSE:

Mr. Bernstein, thank you for taking the time to send me your note.  Also, let me thank you for riding DART!

While there are some cost considerations, the primary reason that we don’t run train service during those early morning hours is so we can perform required maintenance tasks on the rail corridors.  As you are certainly aware, there is quite a bit of rail traffic throughout the day and the early morning time allows us to take care of the maintenance along the corridors without the concerns associated with an active rail.  
 
As our region continues to grow and develop, we will continue to evaluate our service and opportunities to serve people’s transportation needs in the most efficient and economic way.
 
Thanks again,
Gary Thomas
ME:
I really appreciate the you taking the time reply Gary. Glad to hear it’s not just about the $$. Looking forward to the Oak Cliff Trolley and the Orange line making it to the airport!
RESPONSE: 
Me too!  The orange line will be open to the airport later this year.  It is scheduled for December 2014, but we are trending early.  Stay tuned for the exact date.  The streetcar is also very exciting for multiple reasons.  It is a US manufactured vehicle and the first in the US that will dual mode, both battery and overhead  trolley wire.  Of course the “last mile” connectivity to Oak Cliff and Bishop Arts is critical as well.

 
Thanks for your comments and interest
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Power tools and ladies stockings

Sear’s Kit Home instruction manual

CEO of Sears Holding Company

Dear Edward Lampert,

Sears used to sell kit homes for people to build. You provided the American Dream for anyone who could follow 75 pages of instructions. To qualify for a Sears Mortgage Plan you only had to answer two questions:

Do you own the lot on which you intend to build?

Do you have a vocation?

It was a simpler time no doubt. Nowadays, Sears makes a half-hearted effort to sell everything that goes in a house. Have you been in a Sears lately Mr. Lampert? I know you are the CEO but it seems like a legitimate question. The brand has completely lost it’s identity. By trying to sell everything, you end up selling nothing. I just have my doubts that many people are buying power tools and ladies stockings in the same shopping cart…

I recently wrote a letter to some folks who built a house with plans from the open-source project WikiHouse. The project is being compared to a modern day Sear’s kit home. Maybe it’s time to get back in the home kit business. It would at least be newsworthy.

Good luck!

PS: According to your Wikipedia page you got kidnapped once but convinced your captors to let you go?! I guess you made a really compelling argument.

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Waddaya Know?

Dear Vice President Joe Biden,

Hello Joe, waddaya know?

Have you been watching the new season of House of Cards? I almost hope that you haven’t. I don’t want you getting any ideas from Frank Underwood about our buddy Barack. I can see Dick Cheney being that conniving, but not you. You’ve probably been too busy with all the unrest in the Ukraine to watch all 10.5 hours of Season 2 in 5 days like I did. Plus I’d imagine you’re pretty comfy as the VP.

So I have to know. What struck you so funny at the State of the Union this year? That face you made was my biggest takeaway from the evening (seriously, it’s burned into my mind) since the speech was pretty forgettable.

Well Joe, thanks for not being Dick Cheney. That guy was the WORST.

Take care.

PS: Here’s a song for you!

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FOUNDhouse

Dear Patrick Beseda and Lacy Graham,

I found my house on Craigslist. You two scavenged materials then used plans from the open-source project WikiHouse to built your house (all 150 square feet of it). That trumps all house-hunting stories from now until forever.

From what I heard on All Things Considered, you two built your “FOUNDhouse” to live in during a semester field study, a 5 months project to build homes on a Navajo Indian Reservation. The Billjohn Residence you and your team designed and built is absolutely gorgeous, but the real story ended up being your FOUNDhouse. It looks great too but how was it sharing the little place for 5 months? Honestly, it looks pretty darn cozy, especially if you’re sharing it with someone special.

The core concept of Wikihouse is somewhat analogous to the Sears kit homes of a century ago. In his TED talk, co-founder of the Wikihouse Project Alastair Parvin makes a really cool prediction for the coming century which he described as “the democratization of production.”  As open-source design and 3D printing continues to grow, do you foresee Creative Commons items (like houses) becoming as prominent as maybe the Sears kit home  was? Perhaps even more important?

I hope the project was rewarding and that it continues to grow. I also hope the house kept ya’ll warm through the Utah winter.

Thanks and good luck!

RESPONSE from Patrick Beseda:

Hayden, thanks for the letter, sorry for the slow response. Busy days finishing up our architecture schooling.

 
We had a great time designing and building our little house. It was an intense learning experience so it was very rewarding to be living in something we worked so hard on. We got a lot of experience on the CNC and then learned more about traditional construction methods to finish if off. In the end it was pretty comfy even though the Utah nights can get pretty chilly. I would definitely consider a second version for a more permanent place.
 
I think open source hardware is such a great movement to be involved in. It’s more than just allowing people to use the designs and adapt them; it’s about encouraging people to take action and take ownership of the things they have. It’s exciting to watch people pick up new technology and see it apply directly to their lives. I think the WikiHouse project is already a seminal work in the new era of distributed manufacturing and open source knowledge and hardware.
 
Thanks for checking out our project. You can stay up on any announcements by checking http://foundhouse.cc
 
Best of luck with your many letters! Great project.
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