My wife and I recently headed west for a trip to California. It was part vacation, and part honeymoon that we never really took two years ago when we were married. We each had things we wanted to see. For me, it was Alcatraz and AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. My wife wanted to see Yosemite, Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf and other San Fran landmarks. We were able to see just about everything we wanted in a week, even after losing a day because of delayed flights and luggage mishaps at the start of the trip.

Much like several of my co-workers, I'm on Instagram, though my use has been minimal. Now that have plenty of content, maybe I should post more. If I find the time...

I took over 2500 photos, so picking from them was tough. It didn't really matter which direction you pointed the camera - you were going to find a great shot. Anyway here's a few highlights from our trip. 

 

Yosemite (Mariposa Grove, Half Dome, Glacier Point, Yosemite Valley)


Alcatraz

The floor of a hallway in the cell area after Marines dropped grenades to end a prisoner riot and hostage crisis in 1946.

Fortunately we were able to escape the island


Various sites from open air bus tour and around San Francisco

Painted Ladies (Cue Full House theme)


AT&T Park - game was entertaining (Giants won 13-8 over Padres) with a view unlike I've ever had for a baseball game

Splash down in McCovey Cove, though it was a foul ball.


Other San Francisco sites (Madame Tussauds wax museum, Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco fog, Lombard Street, Coit Tower, cable car ride)



Another year and another successful NACMA in the books for us. We had a great time catching up with current clients and connecting with potential new clients. Overall, the trip was a blast and here are the top nine things we learned:

 

1. Stuckey's is an American Tradition - Anyone ever heard of Stuckey's? It's a chain of gas stations that I thought had gone the way of the dodo bird. There used to be multiple Stuckey's locations dotting I-35 in Oklahoma but I haven't seen one in years. As luck would have it, there's one right outside Pensacola, FL and we stopped there TWICE on this trip. Stuckey's is a great place to stop if you want really cheaply made chachkis, ugly t-shirts, alligator claw back-scratchers, etc. We decided to pick up surprises for all the staff that couldn't make the trip with us. See below.

 

2. The back seat of a Suburban is not meant for adults - Six adults in one suburban in a 45 hour (total) road trip is tough. Josie and Hannah are the smallest so we forced them into the third seat for a good portion of the trip. I gave them a hard time for complaining about it but the fact of the matter is, that seat wasn't meant for adults. Holli and I rode back there for a while on the way down there and then started the trip back with a solid 6 hours back there. It was not enjoyable. Here's a photo of me and Holli asleep in the back while everyone else is enjoying their spacious seating.

 

3. There's Only One Place Left in the World That Still Allows Smoking Indoors... And We Had Our Party There - For all of our clients that are chain-smokers, I'm sure you were delighted to see that the bar we chose for our party allowed smoking. For all of you that DON'T want lung cancer, I'm sure the cloud of smoke was a bit of a shock when you arrive. On the upside, the bar's vending machine DID offer condoms. So we had that going for us... which was nice.

 

4. Make Sure to Bring $1.25 to Pensacola Beach - Pensacola Beach is a pretty nice beach. Crowded... but the sand is white and the water is clear. But if you have any desire to walk out on the pier, you better have some cash with you. Pensacola must be very proud of their pier as they charge $1.25 to walk on it. It's like a toll road for your feet. We walked over to it but hadn't brought any methods of payment with us so we opted out of the walk on the pier. Oh well.

 

5. The Lighting is Better in the Suburban than in My Shower - So apparently sunlight through the back windows of a Suburband does a better job of showing missed spots on shaven legs than the lighting in my shower at home. Holli noticed a few spots on the drive out there that she had missed so she hollered at whoever was in the front seat to fetch her the razor she keeps in the glove compartment for this very reason. I'm thinking about installing a shower in the Suburban so she can kill two birds with one stone from here on out.

 

6. 500 Square Feet is a LOT of Awesomeness - The past few years, we've had a 20 x 20 foot booth space in the tradeshow. This year, we decided to go with a 10 x 40 foot space to mix it up a little. It was a little experiment. Well, due to a longer story than you care to hear, we expanded that to 10 x 50 feet. It was nice to have all that space but I think we'll go back down to 10 x 40 next year. 

 

7. Robert and I have Similar Tastes in Swimwear - I've known Robert a long time... since we were juniors in college, to be exact. And we've worked together for many years. So I know him pretty well. But I have to admit that I was surprised when we got ready to leave for the beach and discovered that our swimsuits were nearly identical. 

 

8. Just Like the Seminoles, My Diet Dr Pepper Record will Forever be Unconquered - FSU was the latest in my trek to have the record for the most Division 1 college campuses upon which a person has been photographed drinking a Diet Dr Pepper. This was number 26 for me.

 

9. People Would Rather See My Wife Hula Hoop than See Me Do ANYTHING - It all started as a joke. Last year we had a hula hoop at the booth because we wrapped a sign around it. Holli hula hooped with it, I video'd it, uploaded it to facebook and she became a hula hooping sensation. So I decided it would be funny to make this year's t-shirt giveaway an Old Hat University Hula Hooping Team t-shirt and to promote it, I'd have her hula hoop at landmarks all the way to Orlando AND at the booth. Well what I discovered is that videos of her hula hooping are far more popular than anything I've ever done on camera. So far, her videos have been viewed 3,201 times. The most popular was the one of her hula hooping with Nicole Imbrogno. You can view that on the Old Hat facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/oldhat

 

That's all! See you next year!

 

Great staff photo, huh? Only, that's not us. And that will never be us. We don't wear power suits or ties. We wear jeans, t-shirts, ballcaps, athletic shorts... pretty much whatever we want. 

I was looking at our "About Us" page the other day and I couldn't believe how corporate looking I had allowed it to become. All our staff photos looked like we belonged in a photo like the one above. But that's not us. So I decided to spend my morning getting US back into our about us page. There are no major changes here but it's a much better representation of who we are than it was before. This page doesn't include our entire staff, by the way. Just the people you're likely to come into contact with when you deal with us. Though after spending some time working on this page, I think we probably need to get our entire staff on here.

Anyway, take a look at the revised About Us page.

It's not every day that a coach reaches the 1,000 career victories milestone. That's why it was exciting to get to work with Duke on some projects to commemorate Coach K's 1000th career win. 

Commemorative Ticket: This was given away to fans at the first home game after Coach K's 1000th win. A larger version was also framed and signed by the Duke Athletic department and presented to Coach K as a gift.

Photo Gift: This sentimental piece highlighted Coach K's early years and was framed and presented to Coach K as a gift.

 

Newspaper Ads: These ran in multiple newspapers in North Carolina as well as in a digital magazine.

Billboard: A billboard to congratulate Coach K

Web Ads

We've been fortunate to work on some other Coach K projects in the past. 

Coach K's 900th Win Newspaper Ad

America's Best Coach Video

Coach K Team USA Video

We're looking forward to helping celebrate Coach K's milestones in the years to come!

 


 

I don't want to overstate the difficulty or importance of my job but man, art is hard.

Sure, I'm not slaving away in the hot summer sun working construction. Nor am I tasked with making decisions that will ultimately affect the lives of others. Once, I came home and told my wife what a hard day I'd had and without missing a beat my daughter asked "Why? Did someone try to kill you?". Well, no. Not exactly. It's not "hard" in that sense. I mean, there are varying degrees of difficulty right?

I'm lucky enough to work in an air conditioned office, sit in a comfortable chair and be surrounded by a fun and creatively stimulating environment. However, this job, at times, can be mentally exhausting. 

Everyday I'm asked to created something new. Something that up until I start working on it, has never existed… ever.  Often times, it's something I've never even thought about. And the thing is, these things have to be created out of thin air, on the spot. Every time I sit down to design something, my goal is to come up with something better than whatever it was I did last time.

BUT, art is a purely subjective form of expression...

Even though art is subjective, there are a hand full of rules designers try to stick to. You know that old saying "You need to know the rules before you go and break them"? Yeah, that applies here. But because of its subjectivity, what looks good, what "pops" or what looks cool to one person may not look cut it for another. The problem is, not everyone understands art or design. They don't understand "the rules", the thought and considerations that go into a design. They don't understand why certain decisions were made or why things need look the way they do. This can make things very difficult. Things get compounded when you introduce more people into the equation, each with their own idea about what good art/design is and how to achieve it… and somehow, I have to figure out a way to please everybody all while trying to break as few design rules as possible and that, my friends, is why ART IS HARD...

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. 

 

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.

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:

 

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:

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