Quitters never win.  Winners never quit.  What a load of crap.  Sure, if you're running a race and you quit in the middle of it, you're not going to win.  But some people subscribe to the notion that quitting is a bad thing, in all situations.  "You can't just jump ship when things get tough or don't go the way you want."  Of course you can.  And thankfully, studies are now showing that you SHOULD.

"Learn to appreciate the upside of quitting.  Because you can't solve tomorrow's problem if you're not willing to abandon today's dud." - Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner in Think Like a Freak

Now I'm not advocating that anyone quit on something at the first sign of dissatisfaction.  That would be counterproductive.  But I do believe (and the people at Freakonomics agree) that we should all be more willing to pull the metaphorical plug a little earlier on things when we know we're unhappy.  There's this notion of "sunk cost" that keeps us fighting losing battles which ultimately end up causing even greater dissatisfaction and 6 months down the road, you wish you had just quit 6 months ago.  When we have sunk time, energy, money, etc. into something, we hold onto it hoping things will turn around.  And we SHOULD... to an extent.  But there's a point at which we know that we need to just call it quits but we continue with it because we've already invested so much time in it.

I've always subscribed to the philosophy that when faced with a decision, you should do what you'll regret the least... not necessarily what you want the most.  So before you go off and quit something, the first thing you wanna do is make sure you're not going to regret it later. So I'm definitely not advocating quitting something without giving it a LOT of thought and consideration.  But once you've figured out in your head that your future is not in that job, relationship, situation, etc., end it immediately.  You'll be glad you did.

Disagree?

When was the last time you quit something that didn't end up being a good decision?  If it's happened a lot, then maybe you're one of those people that makes decisions like this without giving it enough thought.  For me, I can't think of a single time that I quit anything where I regretted it for a single second.  Are there things I miss?  Sure.  Would I have loved to stay in that situation if it had been salvageable?  You bet your hiney.

When I was in eighth grade, I hated school.  Absolutely despised it.  And a lot of it had to do with the school I was in.  That school was fine for some people but for me, it was pure hell.  So I quit going there.  I transferred to a different school where I had a great experience, met lifelong friends and met the eventual mother of my children.

When I worked for the OU Athletics Department, I eventually got to the point where I knew I had reached my potential there.  I was not happy.  People told me I was absolutely NUTS for wanting to quit.  I had a good, reliable job working for a university, doing what I loved and getting to go on free Bowl trips every year.  But I quit.  And it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.  I now own the nation's premiere sports creative agency and am infinitely more satisfied with my career.  And when the time comes when I'm not, I'll probably quit this too.

I've quit other things, too.  Personal relationships... Professional relationships... I quit holding on to the idea that I can grow a nice head of hair and just decided to buzz it all off.  Point is, not only do I not regret anything I've ever quit, I'm much happier because of those things.

Think Like A Freak

Still don't believe me?  That's okay.  But you should read the latest book by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubnar, Think Like a Freak.  They spend an entire chapter on this and do it way more justice than I have.  The point they make (and the one I'm trying to make), is that quitting is okay.  And for the most part, it leads to greater satisfaction in life. 

Dear Old Hat Staff: Please don't quit.

I sincerely hope that this blog hasn't inspired anyone on my staff to quit.  That would suck.  But only because my assumption is that if I've inspired them to quit, they have to have been unhappy here for some time.  And THAT is what would bother me.  All I want for any of my staff is that they are as happy as they can possibly be.  And if quitting their job would lead to greater happiness, I would encourage them to rip the band-aid off and move on to the next phase of their lives.  

Sincerely,

Zac

P.S. But seriously, Old Hatters... don't quit your jobs.  This philosophy applies to everyone but you. 

 

It's my final day in the office before we depart (Sunday) for Orlando for what will be our 10th NACMA.  The photo above is from our first ever NACMA when I was the only employee at Old Hat and we only had about 4 clients.  I always get nostalgiac around NACMA time because I think back to where we started and how far we've come.  That first booth was a pop-up that took about 10 minutes to assemble.  It was made of carpet and I velcroed just about every decent project I had ever designed to it. I had to ask a friend of mine to come with me to Orlando to help out as I had no employees.  I didn't even pay him, I don't think.  Just offered him a free trip to Orlando.  Thanks Cory!  Now, we more than 25 employees and every year I have to decide who gets to/has to go.

That first booth and all our materials fit into two plastic cases on rollers.  Cory and I checked them on our flight and rolled them through the airports, onto the car rental shuttle and into the exhibit hall to set them up.  The booth space was 10' by 10' which was more than enough room to showcase our company.  Today, our booth is 20' by 20' and it takes a U-Haul to get it there.  It will take us a few hours to assemble it all and we spent months in preparation for it.

In year one, Old Hat Design Company was a print design shop.  We did posters, brochures, schedule cards... And I designed ever single thing we produced.  Today we have six divisions that will be marketed at NACMA.  Print Design, Interactive, Productions, Consulting, Branding and Capture.  And I don't design anything that any of those divisions produce.

NACMA is always a reminder of what we have accomplished in the past ten years and it's quite humbling to think about.  To say that I couldn't have done it alone is the understatement of the century.  The people, both internally and externally, that got us to where we are are too numerous to count.  But they know who they are and I offer a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you.  

Please stop by and say hello at the booth next week.  And take a mental picture of what it looks like.  If we do as well the next 10 years as we did in the first 10, we might be occupying the entire exhibit hall.

Last week, Dustin and I went on another adventure together.  We traveled to the University of Cincinnati to visit our friends Brad, Jaime, Leslie, Ronnie, Michelle, Shane, Tommy G, and Koz.  We were on location to capture footage for this year’s football intro video.  

Normally when we are on campus for a video shoot, we usually stay exactly that: ON CAMPUS.  Not this time…

Since October 2013, Brad’s mind was set on our next shoot being in a warehouse with FIRE (see blog title for exact quote).  While fire quickly became a very dangerous option, Deb and Dustin crafted a plan to keep this concept in line, just minus the fire.

Jaime stumbled upon a building perfect for us.  Roadtrippers, a start-up company, owns a building with a scary basement for us to borrow.  After venturing about 80 feet below ground, we set up our equipment and had our location for the shoot.  

Legend has it, this building used to be a brewery.  Around prohibition times, they brewed the beer where we were, and then took it down this long dark tunnel and bottled it across the street.  No one would ever know because it all stayed underground.  

Dark scary tunnel behind us:

I wonder if Dustin is related to any of the Schmidt Brothers Brewery...

The only way to accurately describe how awesome (and scary) this space looked is to show you photos.  Enjoy!

What the location looked like before we set up:

Coach Tuberville

If this isn’t fate, I don’t know what is…but we ran into Lil’ Duey’s great great grandparents!  They miss him very much and hope he comes to visit them soon.  

The boys...posing for an album cover?

Our 2nd annual trip to Graeter's Ice Cream!  Sooooo good!

 

Thank you to everyone at Cincinnati who helped out with this video shoot!  We couldn't have done it without you!  This is going to be an EPIC video, and I absolutely cannot wait to see it.




I wanted to send you off into your weekend with a few cool links/stuff/thoughts that I've been checking out lately. I've already been lots of places since my last blog and that work will be popping up all over soon. Stay tuned for that stuff.

• First up, cameras. This Leica camera will set you back $21,000. That's right, $21,000. Frankly I think Leica's are overpriced, but so are lots of things in life. Pick your vices. 


• We shot some photos for SMU football recently. Check out this very cool behind the scenes video of the shoot that their video department put together. 

• The photo industry has been in a state of flux for several years now. But the last couple of months have certainly brought some new challenges (opportunities?) to light. Interesting thoughts from the Thoughts of a Bohemian blog here

• We shot these photos for Tulsa football several weeks ago now, but I realized I never put anything about it on the blog. 

Shooting with holi powder is a messy affair and also a technical challenge. Although it does linger in the air for a long time, (we were finding it in every spot you can think of after the shoot) you do need to shoot a lot of frames to capture the right moment. It's only cool-looking and cloud-like for a couple of frames after you throw it, so you have to be ready. 

We had a blast shooting that job and we're looking forward to more crazy shoots in the coming months. 

 

Last week, Dustin and I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Laramie, Wyoming, to visit the University of Wyoming.

I have never been out that way, so I was very excited to go.  I knew it would be a little cooler up there than it was here in Oklahoma, but I was definitely not ready for 25 and snow!  When we left, it was 85 in Norman.  

We met up with our client Nick and captured some video for football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball.

The shoot went really well!  We had two set ups:  green screen and a practice gym.  The green screen was set up for the football intro and basketball player features.  The gym set up was for both basketball intro videos. 

I now have a better understanding as to why it is so tough to play in Wyoming.  I was out of breath just moving our equipment around at that altitude!

Thank you Nick for an amazing trip!  

Be on the look out for this season’s Wyoming videos!

Here are a few photos:

Our drive started out nicely from Denver...we were enjoying the view: 

...then as we kept climbing higher, we noticed the temperature kept dropping, and before we knew it, this is what it looked like:

They had the room ready for Dustin with a sign and everything!

 

 

 

 

My wife's car has been in the shop for the past few days.  A few weeks ago the entire suspension system had to be replaced.  That was awesome.  Problem is, the computer component that regulates said suspension system was bad and that's what was causing the suspension problems to begin with.  So a month later, it had to be replaced again.  Under warranty... no big deal.  BUT, that computer component had to be replaced as well so that was another sum of money I hadn't really planned on forking over.  Anyway, the fella at the auto shop told me that the dealership had to reprogram the thing.  They installed it and were to take it over to the dealership first thing Monday for reprogramming.  I'd have it back by end of day Monday.

So Monday comes and I hear nothing from them.  End of day Monday comes and I finally call to see what's up.  No one answers.  So I literally run to the place from work (as I have no automobile) to try to get there before they close.  I arrive and find the guy leaving the place.  I flag him down and give him some version of, "WTF, mate?"  He says, "Oh, man... I totally forgot to call the dealership."  Too late to get the car by this point, I'm another day without the car.  I've already been without it for 5 days and have made due.  But based on his promise that I'd have it back Monday, I made plans for Tuesday that required me AND my wife to have our own automobiles.  And all those plans were shot because dude "forgot" to call the dealership.  It's not like he just couldn't get the job done or that a new problem came up and the project was delayed.  He forgot.

And that made me mad.

Old Hat has many core principles and a brand promise that I've blogged about.  But man... none of that matters if you don't follow the one rule that should be common sense.  Do what you say you're going to do.  And if for some reason you can't, do anything you can do to make it right.  And that's another area that my auto shop failed.  He didn't do what he promised.  And made no attempt to make it right.

I run into so many businesses that stay afloat despite their inability to follow this rule.  They might not be Fortune 500 companies but they've been in business for many years.  But time and time again, they don't do what they say they're going to do. And it boggles my mind that they are still around.  But what that tells me is that if these people can stay in business, think about how successful they could be if they just did what they said they'd do.  

This blog seems like more than a rant than anything offering any real direction.  But I guess what I'm saying is that if you own a business... if you work in a business... if you want to be succesful in whatever it is you're doing... Do what you say you're going to do and your path to success will be a lot smoother.

Hello Old Hat blog readers! We're starting to get into what I call "Photo Season" here at Old Hat. This is the part of the year where we go around and capture the video footage and photographs that we'll use for clients throughout the fall sports season. The biggest one of these is obviously football materials. 

Once we get a little further along into the summer and things are humming along for football, we'll go out to schools and capture stuff for basketball and other sports. 

This year I've already had the opportunity to do some very cool and different things with some new schools that we may have worked with before, but not captured video or photos for. And that's definitely an awesome thing. 

 

This past weekend we were in Lubbock capturing photos for their football campaign at Texas Tech University. You can see a short Exposure story on that here

The week or so before that we were lucky enough to be on Tulsa's campus shooting photographs for their football campaign. Keep an eye out for those materials starting at their spring game this Saturday, the 19th. I think we did some very interesting stuff for them. 

We've got trips lined up in the next few weeks with the University of Wyoming, University of Cincinnati and the University of Utah. Stay on the look out for more Capture related info in the coming weeks. 

Have a great Easter weekend!

More tk...

 

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:

 

All of the gymnastics preparation started in June when I moved to Salt Lake City.

Within the first few weeks of moving, I snapped some photos of the team at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City for their "Great Gatsby"-themed posterThat look lasted the summer and started to generate hype for a strong Ute gymnastics team with all of its members returning from the previous season.

By the fall it was time to revamp the look. Gymnastics at Utah is a production. Deep down its core experience resonates with the classic feelings of "Showtime." After lots of dialouge trying to discern what is showtime and how it can be crafted into a campaign, we made this poster. This poster may be my favorite of the pieces I've produced for Old Hat. It went on to inspire some other campaigns for different schools and completely sold out before the last home meet.

With all of the work before the season, I feel we set the bar pretty high for the Utah gymnastics experience. We made some killer pieces for the campaign and, not too surprisingly, the team lived up to the expectation. 

Saturday was the final home meet against Georgia. The Utes won in what was a close meet for a while, finishing a successful season. It was so successful, in fact, it set a school and national attendance record.

When the campaign and the season come together and both show signs of success? I think that's what we Hatters enjoy the most.

 

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