At Old Hat, we post a lot of videos of us doing stupid things around the office.  It's an expression of our personality.  We're stupid... or at least we like to do stupid things.  The funny thing though is that because of this outward display, people get the impression that the offices of Old Hat are a laugh-a-minute.  And as much as I'd like for us all to get paid to do stupid things all day, I haven't figured out a way to monetize our stupidity.  But I think people get the impression that when they come to work at Old Hat or come to visit us, it's going to be like a scene from Animal House.  When they actually see us at work though, the comment I get over and over is, "It's like a library in here!  I'm afraid to speak!"  That's because for the vast majority of every day, our staff is hard at work coming up with the most amazing creative in the sports marketing realm.  In order to do this, they have to CONCENTRATE.  So they put their headphones in, tune out the world and work.

Don't get me wrong.  We have fun here.  We have donuts and play a game every Monday morning.  The beer flows from the taps in our office bar every Friday at 4p.  We take breaks mid-day to take silly photos or shoot a video.  But for about 7.5 hours out of every day, it's like a library in here.  Our product... the thing we sell... is our time.  And we can only sell our time if that time is spent sitting at a computer editing, programming, animating, designing, etc.  But it would be really boring if we posted photos or videos of that.  To prove my point, here's a sample video of what we do most of the time:

 

See?  Boring. 

Old Hat is a really fun place to work.  And we hope you'll come visit us sometime.  Just please don't make any noise if you do.

Happy Monday!!! Hey, how's your bracket doing?? 

Yeah, me too. It's not looking good, but congrats to our clients in the Sweet Sixteen! We're quite proud of your accomplishment! As we continue on this week a good majority of schools are returning from Spring Break. It's obvious that that's the case here in Norman because the traffic has increased considerably. Gotta love those student drivers!

Anywho, I'm one of those weirdos who misses school. I don't miss the 20+page grad school research papers, but I do miss the learning. I've always said if I go back for a PhD someday it would be for the cool title (to make people call me Dr.), but in all honesty I dig the challenge of a classroom. I recently discovered an incredibly cool YouTube Channel called "Crash Course." It's an educational channel that covers History, Biology, Chemistry, Literature, Ecology and Psychology. The videos are totally engaging and informative. I'm a big fan of their humor and fantastic animations as well.

Now, I don't think you can learn everything about a subject in a ten-minute video, but that's not the point of these videos. I think it creates a foundation of interest in the subject matter and that's thanks in large part to the presentation of the material. I really got into history at K-State because of the faculty who presented their subjects with passion and unique and engaging presentations. To this day I still love history and enjoy reading and watching all things about that subject. On the other end of the learning spectrum, I absolutely disliked my trigonometry class because the professor was abysmal at presenting the information to the students. To this day I throw up a little when I hear anything about sines, cosines and tangents. 

That same basic principle can be applied to sports marketing campaigns and in-game entertainment. You want to create an interest in your team/school and the best way to do that is with a creative presentation of your team/school. Presenters (teachers, marketers) play a big role in how the fan/student connect to a subject and how you will continue to connect in the future. Anybody can throw some highlights in a timeline and set it to some epic music and have a video. Anybody can talk about an historic event and throw around dates and names and teach a class. But those things don't make a good video or a good teacher. I like to think that's why schools, teams and organizations come to Old Hat. We get that a poster is more that just photos, fonts and photoshop. We get that a website is more that just text, photos and clicks. We get that a video is more than just clips cut to music. We get that videography and photography is more that just pointing and shooting a camera. And we get that good customer service is more that just answering phone calls and emails. I think when you start to devalue these things you're devaluing your message or your product and you're devaluing your fans.

Now please excuse me as I learn about Taxes and Smuggling:

 

Every time my turn to blog comes up, I struggle to find something to write about.  I have no problem just sitting down and writing when I want to, but for some reason when I have that “assignment”, I struggle.  When I can’t think of anything, I start asking people for ideas.  

Today Kelby told me I could write about the Southland Conference.  Unfortunately, I have not worked on many of their projects and don’t have a great depth of knowledge about the conference.  This led me to Robert’s office to ask him about the work we did for them.  Robert asked why I was going to blog about Southland and that led to a conversation about why we have a blog. 

Old Hat had a blog before I got here.  It was something I inherited and was told to manage but it was not something that I brought to the table.  So why do we blog?  

If you look at Robert’s blogs you might think his purpose to blog is to show you what artistic project he has been working on over the weekends.  If you look at Zac’s blogs you think we blog so he can talk about how he has developed his management philosophy over the years.  If you look at my blogs you probably think our blogs are made for some one to aimlessly ramble.   

The more I think about this, the more I think that is the point.  We are Old Hat Creative.  We are a full service marketing agency.  We have six divisions and we have some personality.  That is the point of our blog.  We want you to get to know us.  We want you to trust us and we want you to understand the company that produces all of the work that we do.  Robert may blog about his kids, but that is who he is and who he is, is a VITAL part of Old Hat Creative.  Deb may only blog about video work we do, but that video work is one of the biggest reasons Old Hat is known in the industry.  

When you read our blog, I hope you enjoy it.  I hope it shows you the amazing work we do and the amazing people we have who produce that work.  

Think we should blog about something else? Let me know @kk13cball

Fortunately, it's not just in my MIND that I'm going to Carolina.  I'm actually going there.  I'm going there in my mind too.  I mean, my mind will be with me while I'm there.  But so will my body.  And my wife's body.  And her mind.  So just to recap, both the minds AND the bodies of Zac and Holli Logsdon are going to Carolina.

Now that we've established that, let's talk about why.  One thing I've learned in my time on this planet is that people in the Carolinas are more educated than anyone else in the country.  If you're not from this area, don't be insulted.  I'm not from North or South Carolina either.  And I've conducted no scientific study upon which to base this opinion.  This statement is based purely on the fact that there seem to be more major universities in this area than anywhere else in the country.  Again, ZERO research went into this but the fact is, I'm heading out to Charlotte, NC in a couple of weeks and I'm going to be able to visit 12 of our clients' campuses in a 7-span.

One of the great pleasures of having the job that I do is that I get to visit college campuses.  I absolutely love getting to meet the people we work with, see their campuses and facilities and also see the work we've done for them displayed around their offices.  It's rare that we actually get to see the billboards, posters, intro videos, etc. printed, hung and shown.  Over the past many years, Old Hat has just kept adding and adding clients from North and South Carolina.  With the latest additions of Clemson and ECU, my wife and I decided that it was time we get out there and see how many of them we could visit.

Here's the list of campuses we plan to hit during the trip, in the order we're going to visit them.  Make sure to follow me on twitter @zaclogsdon to see lots of photos from our #OHCarolina Tour.

1. UNC-Charlotte

2. Clemson

3. Presbyterian College

4. South Carolina

5. College of Charleston

6. UNC-Greensboro

7. Wake Forest

8. High Point

9. UNC

10. NC State

11. East Carolina

12. Duke

I was really hoping to be able to get up to App State as well but I don't think it's going to work out.  Still, 12 clients in 7 days is a lot.  Really looking forward to meeting the clients I've never met in person and seeing those that I've know for a long time.

If you saw my posting on Twitter or Facebook yesterday, you know that yesterday (February 16, 2004) was Old Hat's official 10-Year Anniversary.  We had our party a couple weeks ago but yesterday was the official date.  Ten years ago yesterday, yours truly was sitting alone in a tiny office at 763 Asp Avenue on Campus Corner in Norman wondering what the hell he had gotten himself into.  I remember spending about $150 on office supplies and worrying that I couldn't afford it.  I remember negotiating my $350/month rent and being sick to my stomach that I wouldn't be able to pay it.  And I remember having a LOT of free time.

It seems like forever ago and it seems like just yesterday.  We occupied about 100 square feet back then and now our office space is about 5,000 square feet.  One employee and now 28.  One Apple computer and now more than 30.  One client and now more than 90.  The only thing that has decreased in the past 10 years is the number of hairs on my head.  In celebration of our 10 years in business, I have decided to make a list of the Top Ten things I have learned over the past 10 years (about running a business, that is).

10. Don't be a flake - I feel like one of the primary reasons we have had success is because we actually do what we say we'll do.  So many creative agencies are known for missing deadlines, being unavaible, etc.  But our focus has always been on giving our clients what they want as quickly as possible.  

9. Always say yes - Sometimes a "yes" should be followed by a "but"... but we always try to start with "yes."  Yes, we can turn that project around in a less than desirable time, BUT here are the restrictions and/or it's going to cost more.  Yes, we know how to do a website that does that.  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.

8. Slow and steady wins the race - I think that some companies simply grow too fast and don't take the time to build a proper foundation that can handle their success.  Old Hat has definitely grown rapidly but we've always limited our growth to what we felt like we could handle without sacrificing the quality of our work and of our customer service.  

7. Give back - Take some time to do something to give back to the community that allowed you to prosper.  We have done an annual fundraiser every year for the past 5 years and it's not only the right thing to do, it's a great team-builder and gives your staff something to rally around.

6. Say Thank You - To everyone that does anything for you, say thank you.  Over and over and over again.  Thank your clients.  Thank your staff.  Thank your janitor.  Be grateful for what you have and you will have more of it.

5. Have fun - It's hard enought to get through a workday without also feeling like you can't have any fun.  Take some time out and do something fun during the day. I don't think we do this enough but we should.

4. Red and Black - If you're running a business, learn how to manage finances.  I've blogged about this before but I can't stress the importance of this enough.  For 7 years, I really didn't have anything to do with our day-to-day finances.  But I was finally forced to learn it and the past 3 years have been by far our most successful because of it.

3. Rotten Apples- The single most important factor in the success of any company is the people it employs.  Find good ones and do everything you can to keep them.  Identify the bad ones and allow them to find a different opportunity outside the company.  One bad apple can definitely spoil the bunch.

2. Read y'all - Another thing I've blogged a lot about.  Read!  Learn from other people that have been successful.  Learn from their mistakes.  There are hundreds and hundreds of books out there that tell you how to effectively run a business.  If you don't read them, you have no excuse for failure.

1. Be Ridiculous - Less than 4% of small businesses ever make it to 10 years.  That's because in order to succeed you have to be absolutely ridiculous about making yourself succeed.  Be ridiculous about customer service.  Be ridiculous about over-delivering on promises.  Be ridiculous about providing the best of whatever it is you sell.  Be ridiculous about how you market yourself.  For 10 years, Old Hat has been ridiculous.  And our goal for the next 10 is to make the first 10 look like child's play.  We were just getting warmed up for those first 10 years.  The next 10 are going to be ABSURD.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to all of you that have made the past 10 years possible.  I'd list out everyone that has contributed to our success but there are too many to name.  You know who you are.  And know that I'm looking at you when I say:

It is Friday January 31st.  Today, we are getting infected. 

As Zac put it, he spent all day yesterday getting infected and today he is going to infect us.  Staff infection is normally done sometime in May as we gear up for another busy season in college athletics.  This year we are doing an extra infection as we gear up for the Duey Does a Decade party.

Are you coming to the party? 

Don’t be that guy.  Don’t be the one that has to hear the stories about the party and only live vicariously through our twitter feed.  Come on, no one wants to be that guy. 

I will be there.  Duey will be there.  Gnorman will be there. Nick Lachey might be there.  Ashley and Jessica will ACTUALLY be here.  IN PERSON.  It’s a crazy world we are living in…

You do not want to miss this party.  Worried that you forgot to RSVP.  Don’t.  Just go here

 

See you Saturday!

The year 2013 has come and gone.  My lucky number has been 13 since I was nine years old.  I think I had it in my head that something big would happen in 2013.  Not that 2013 was a bad year, it just wasn’t what my head had worked up.  

This year should be interesting though.  Old Hat Creative is growing and changing (in a good way).  I am taking on different roles in the company and expanding my skill set.  We hired AGK, aka, Ashley Gloystein-Klatt as Director of Marketing and Sales. Unfortunately for her, AGK is sticking in my mind because we already have another Ashley.  Once it is your email, I tend to keep that in my mind.  We are having a party at the end of this month to celebrate 10 years as a company.  It could get interesting…

On a personal level 2014 will be a big year for me as well.  My best friend is getting married in June.  He wanted to have the ceremony in a slightly random place so I got ordained to officiate the ceremony.  I am not sure my mother ever expected me to come home with a certificate showing I was ordained.  Along with the wedding comes the bachelor party, which is shaping up to be an awesome trip down the Devil’s River in west Texas.     

Who knows what else will happen?  There are several things I have in my mind that I think will happen or that I hope to happen.    

That is the funny thing about life.  Whether it is your work life or personal life it is always difficult to predict.  I had expectations for 2013 and very few things turned out that way.  Now I am getting things set in my mind about 2014, knowing all along it will end up far from what I thought, but that’s what gets me out of bed in the morning… not knowing.   I would have never thought this industry would lead me to Norman, Oklahoma.  I never thought I would get to work projects like KyleField.com.  I got to know about a major event for my alma mater months before the other alumni because of this industry.  

That is why I enjoy what I do.  Every day is different.  I have no idea what kind of website we will get to do this year.  Clients bring us new ideas all the time and that is what makes it fun.  I love to challenge my developers to create the crazy idea I came up with the night before. It does not always turn out, but the challenge is enjoyable.  

Enjoy 2014.  Think of the craziest idea for a website you can and send it over.  Old Hat wants the challenge.  We want to do a website, poster, video, schedule card, or social contest that NO ONE HAS EVER DONE.  It challenges us as a company and it challenges our team to think outside the box.   Give us what you got, because I probably did not see that coming in 2014. 

We are not necessarily hungry or voluntold to take part in these games but for some reason the subject continues to come up in our office.  Who would win the office hunger games?  Below is a first hand account of how our simulator predicted the “games”, done Mad Lib style.  No Old Hatters were actually harmed for this simulation. Thanks to Tricia for completing the process. 

As the tributes stand _wiggly______ and  __proudly______ gaze at their competition as the announcer speaks about the  _______peaceful__________ challenge that lies ahead.  Tricia ____dances_______ before she _____sneaks___________ into action, much to the _____surprise________ of Deb who is just _____tripping over a fireplace____________.  

Dustin starts rambling about something being “good enough for __cats__________” but quickly trails off as Stevie cuts him down with _____a video cable_________.  As Stevie stands there ___laughing_________ Deb reminds her about her task list.  Only to distract her long enough to __lasso her _____________ .  Deb screams in triumph about being the only person left who knows how to work a ____margarita machine_________ but her victory is short lived as a malfunctioning video camera falls from the ______rainbow________ and quickly ends her victory dance. 

Meanwhile, Tanner and Richard are arguing about how to pronounce animated GIF.  Little did they know that Geoff was using his ___speedy__________ GIFFing skills to create a ___dancing duck_________ that takes them both out.   In a ___flash__________ Geoff disappears into the ____secret cave_______.   

On the other side of the stadium Ashley, Jessica, and Luke ___light sabor_______ at each other trying to ______fake________ what is going on.  Luke’s evil beard possesses him causing him to _jump______ directly at Ashley.  Jessica, realizing this is her opportunity to be the only _____human___ that does not work in Norman starts _____speed reading_______ RFPs at Ashley.  Luke’s beard _____grows at____ the interference and _____wraps around him____________ in Jessica’s direction.  All three end up in a ___furball____________ ball of hair, RFPs, and ____slime___________ that is _____rolled_________ up by a ___golden_______ gnome.   

Traci immediately goes for Robert with a ____ruler_________.  Distracted by his hair and a ____picture of Tom Selleck ________ he never sees her coming from _____a dog house_______, missing his chance to escape.  With Robert down, Traci turns to Zac in an attempt to ____play darts___________.  This ultimately fails as Zac asks her to _find him a new house___ and takes his opportunity  to ___electrocute________ while she ponders the question.  Zac, upon realizing what he has done, drinks a ___lemonade_______, says the Boy Scout code_________, and runs around in a  ____toga__________.   Confused by what Zac is doing, Justin runs into Zac causing them both to fall in a ___bear trap________, immediately _______taken to the center of the earth_________.  

Kelby, standing in the center of it all trying to communicate to everyone fails to notice the giant ____snowman_________ quickly approaching her.  At the last second Hannah ____does a handstand______ to get Kelby’s attention.  This only causes Kelby to ____laugh___________ and greet the giant ______snowman__________ with open arms in an attempt to diffuse the situation.  This fails miserably.   

Hannah, distraught with __the melted snowman___________ starts performing crossfit ___punches__________ for no apparent reason.  Bethany sees this and takes the opportunity to ____fly_________ up three stairs, power clean a _____bucket________, and then tosses the ___water________ directly onto Hannah.  

Kevin, realizing he has to narrate this in the third person stands gazing __lovingly_________ into the _____field of dreams_________.  Jared, wanting to be the only Texan left turns on  _____Kenny G_____________ music that scares Kevin so much he ___prances________ while ____picking flowers_______ only to meet his demise by ______picking a poison flower__________.  

Bethany, Tricia, and Jared believe they are the only __sane ones___________ left and begin to ___bake______ in celebration.  Tricia thinks wobbling(well, her version of it) is _____beautiful________ which quickly causes her to wobble off a _____stage__________ doing her best impression of Ron Prince air ______victory_________ as she falls to her demise.  

At this point in time Lil Duey, the Game Maker ____turns________ up a ____texas sized_______ chocolate chocolate donut, directly between Jared and Bethany.  They both ___jump___________ quickly and ___swim_________ at a full sprint towards the donut.  At the last second Lil Duey  ____evaporates _________ confusing both and causing them to ___trip____________ to meet an untimely end.  

All this time ___calm____________ Geoff has been  ____rapping__________ with the tracker jackers.  He has managed to become their ___bestie_____________ and they ______carry___ him to the center of the ________donut hole______________.   He ____celebrates________, saying this was all one big animated Geoff.  

 

If you would like to play our Mad Lib, check out the link below and show your results. 

Old_Hat_Mad_Lib.pdf

 

Here at Old Hat, there are times when our designers, developers, etc. don't have a lot on their plates.  Rather than spending that time posting photos of their lunch on facebook or tweeting about what they're thankful for, we ask that they spend that time working on Toy Cannon projects.  I could bore you with the story behind why it's called a Toy Cannon project but that would require that I remember why it's called that.  Something about how there was an old baseball player the called the Toy Cannon because he was small but hit a lot of homeruns.  

I feel like it's important to encourage our staff to challenge themselves with projects outside their daily routine.  We want them to learn new techniques, new skills and have as much professional development as possible.  It makes them better at their jobs and hopefully more fulfilled as well.  For the past year, our development team has been working on a side project to develop their skills in iPhone app development.  Set to launch this week, the Due You Know Sports app (which Kevin will talk about more tomorrow) not only offers Old Hat exposure as an application development firm and provides an additional revenue stream, should people decide to download this app, it ALSO has given our development team that ability to grow in their skill set.  Tanner led the programming charge and spent hours and hours and hours on this app.  Richard helped with programming at times, Dustin offered design assistance and Kevin oversaw the project and tested it.  Four members of our team now have valuable experience they would not otherwise have gotten.  And it was all done in between other projects so it didn't cost Old Hat anything.

Many companies do similar things to the Toy Cannon, challenging their teams to come up with new products while at the same time giving those employees the ability to learn new skills.  It's been something I've really enjoyed seeing our staff participate in as it gives us the chance to see what they can do if they have no limitations.  

Follow @OldHatCreative for this year's #OH12Days. Each day a new Old Hatter will take over Twitter to answer your questions about the given topic. Check the schedule below and get your questions ready! Be sure to use #OH12Days for your tweets to show up in the conversation. 

Monday, Dec. 9 - Mobile Apps & Websites - Kevin

Tuesday, Dec. 10 - Customer Service  - Robert

Wednesday, Dec. 11 - Print Design - Tricia

Thursday, Dec. 12 - Networking - Jessica

Friday, Dec. 13 - Logo Design - Jared

Saturday, Dec. 14 - Social Media - Kelby 

Sunday, Dec. 15 - Old Hatter Book Suggestions - All Old Hatters 

Monday, Dec. 16 - Running & Building a Business - Zac 

Tuesday, Dec. 17 -  Fan Engagement - Ashley

Wednesday, Dec. 18 - Sports Video Productions - Deb

Thursday, Dec. 19 - Working with Coaches - Bethany

Friday, Dec. 20 - Photography - Dustin 

 

 

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