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
So today is my two year anniversary at Old Hat Creative. Much like my very first blog, this one will touch on a few things. A lot has changed for me in the last few years, though it seems to be settling down with much of the change coming in the first few months of that stretch two years ago.
The NBA Finals wrapped up last night with Golden State winning their first title in 40 years, finishing off one of the great seasons in NBA history. The Warriors are classy group with a likable cast including Steph Curry, Andre Iguodala and Steve Kerr. Kerr was one of my favorite Bulls back in the day (other than Michael and Scottie) and Kerr has enjoyed success at many of his career stops including playing, coaching or broadcasting. The Warriors also held off a spectacular series performance by one of the great players in history in LeBron James. I've been a LeBron fan for a long time but continue to be amazed / disappointed by all of the hate that's slung his way in spite of his on-court performance. Granted LeBron brings some of it on himself with actions like "The Decision" and "Not one, not two, not three, etc", but he is already one of the top 10 of all-time with several good years left. LeBron and MJ are often compared, many times unfairly because they are different types of players. Can't we be fans of both? I know I am. Jordan won four of his six titles in his 30s and LeBron, who just turned 30, already has two championships under his belt. Even though LeBron is just 2-4 in the Finals, that still holds up when compared to other legends such as Jerry West (1-8 Finals record), Wilt Chamberlain (2-5) or Karl Malone (0-3). Imagine what it would be like if Jordan, West or Chamberlain played in the social media era?
The New York Times reported yesterday that the St. Louis Cardinals were being investigated by the FBI for hacking the Houston Astros player evaluation computer database. We will see how this turns out, but the Internet has already had fun with this one and will call into question the accomplishments of the Cardinals over the last decade. I'm not condoning the hacking/cheating, but this has to be a lesson to create stronger passwords and don't re-use old ones. Especially if you're moving from one organization to a rival one!
Old Hat goes to 11 …. NACMAs. Another successful convention is wrapping up. A time to meet old friends and make some new ones. If you liked what you saw at NACMA or maybe weren't able to attend, check out the ways we use our experience and expertise to make you look good. Like Old Hat Sports Branding. Or court projection videos. Or Fanswers and Fangage. Maybe a print piece, large or small, is what you need. We will make you look good.
So Jared blogged about instagram a couple days ago, and then Robert was all like “let me hop on that bus cause I like to use instagram too” and so now I am like “HEY-is there room for me?!”
I have started using instagram not only as a place to post my super cool pictures, but also a place to stalk weddings that go on every weekend. This is when I am SO HAPPY hashtags are a thing, because you can see all these pictures from weddings or other events and not even have to try! A lot of my followers have been attending weddings over the weekends, so I have been enjoying not only their pictures but all the other pictures linked to the wedding hashtag. I look forward to be able to click my wedding hashtag and seeing everyones pictures from the night. But, like the other two posts before this, here are some of my recent pictures.
Every failure is a lesson. Honestly, the blog could stop here. I know better than to start a blog or a presentation with the final point, but it is how I am going to roll today. If you want to stop reading, just click here.
Thanks for staying with me to this point, I will do my best to make it worth your time. Failure. It sucks, but we all go through it. I am a firm believer that you should constantly be learning and I have said as much in quite a few blogs. Every interaction and every experience is an opportunity to learn. I wish I could say that I always keep that in my mind, but I am human and prone to forget. However, when it comes to failure, I make a point to think back of the situation to see what lessons could be learned.
Recently, we failed on a bid for a project. It happens. We get to do a lot of amazing work, but we also do not always have the winning bid. It is a part of the business and always will be, but what we learn from those failures goes a long way toward us not failing the next time we place a bid. Based on what you have read so far, it is fair to be wondering what the lesson from this failure was and that is the reason I asked you to keep reading. Unfortunately, there has not been a clear lesson from this failure. We obviously failed because we are not doing the project, but the reasoning behind that is something that was entirely out of our control and I HATE IT. I want to learn and improve so I can blog about the amazing project we are working on, not my failure. I want to be better the next time we put out a bid.
As an important person in my life told me, maybe that is the lesson. You cannot control every aspect and you cannot always fix what went wrong. This is not a new lesson, but it is a lesson nonetheless.
Meow, if we wanted to talk about lessons I have learned recently from failures, we could discuss my garden or in all honesty, my pile of dirt, but that is a blog for another day.
I saw the graphic above yesterday on my Twitter feed. 47%, The average amount of life spent lost in tought.
This statistic came from Headspace, an online community dedicated to teaching the world how to meditate. If you've ever been courious of meditation, I encourage you to check out their website, read their blog, and follow them on Twitter at @Get_Headspace for the latest updates.
Here are some of my favorite posts about what meditation is:
The third annual Old Hat Super Fan 5K took place this past Saturday to once again benefit the Mary Abbott Children's House and the Norman Public School Foundation. Big thanks to all who participated or helped - runners, volunteers, sponsors, police, medical and those who showed up in support of the race to cheer on the runners. Congratulations to our winners, both of the Super Fan 5K and the Lil' Duey Fun Run. Shout outs to our sponsors - Accent Glass Services, BancFirst, The Railhouse, Koskie & Eulberg CPAs, CVW Media, Abbey Road Catering, OU Alumni and Academy Sports & Outdoors. Thanks also to Kelby Weiter, Michael Wilson and others at Old Hat for all of their hard work.
Here's a few photo highlights from the day:
Former OU and Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer started things off...
Some serious runners even in the Lil' Duey Fun Run
Congrats to our male and female top finishers, Al and Jan...
Did you hear about the latest Jordan-v-LeBron debate? Public Policy Polling surveyed Americans about a number of sports-related topics, and one of the questions asked NBA fans if they thought Michael Jordan could beat LeBron James in a game of one-on-one today. "LeBron is favored in such a contest 54/34, though a plurality (48/41) of voters aged 30 to 45—those who grew up watching M.J.’s on-court brilliance—think the Charlotte Hornets owner could deliver one last performance worthy of his six Finals MVPs and dethrone King James."
Speaking as somebody in that 30-45 age range, I would without a doubt vote for Jordan. I don't care if it makes me sound like a clueless moron. I could make a long argument stating my case, but I don't see the point because Michael Jordan was, is and will always be the greatest in everything basketball (we'll temporarily forget that he's an NBA owner...). These are facts. I saw greatness. I don't care that he's 52-years-old. MJ is the best and if you disagree with me you're wrong.
The poll also found that, "NBA fans hold a near-unanimous opinion that Jordan is the greatest player of all time over LeBron, 77/14."
When I was in school we had classes that “taught” us how to brainstorm and come up with ideas. For some reason that firmly placed in my mind the idea that good ideas came to you like a bolt of lightning. All of sudden you had this amazing idea, like a lightning bolt in the night.
Turns out, my young mind could not be more inaccurate to what I experience now.
Most of the time a good idea takes time. It involves back and forth between people and getting through a lot of bad ideas. It is definitely a process and it is a process that is almost always going on at Old Hat in one way or another.
It is interesting to me that my mood can dictate the best way for me to come up with ideas at the time. There are three ways I typically brainstorm. Each produces results, but which prefer varies.
The normal method of getting a group together and discussing it. This is probably my favorite and one that I think produces some of the best results. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by so many creative and talented people. Surrounding myself with those same people while brainstorming can be incredibly beneficial. It allows me to borrow some of their genius and feed off of the creativity they bring to the table. It produces results and can be fun.
Another method I use a lot is more isolated. I will meet with the involved parties and get an idea for what they are looking to accomplish. If there is copy that needs to be written or a template, I make sure to get that information. Then I typically lock myself to my desk, put the head phones in, and start typing. I type a lot of crap, but eventually I find my way to something that is worth sharing with others. This method works great if you work alone and then take your findings to a group like above.
This is probably the most natural brainstorming for me and it is pretty much in complete isolation. It is not something that I view as direct brainstorming, but it works. In fact, this is probably more inspiration than it is brainstorming. Sometimes ideas come that can be built upon and this results in brainstorming. For me, I need to be completely relaxed and not thinking about a problem. That is when good ideas tend to come. Interestingly enough this never happens for me at a convenient time. In the shower. Fishing. Hiking. Working in the garden. On vacation. It seems that I have better (or more useful) ideas the more relaxed I am.
All of these instances are places when good ideas come, but not a place where it is easy to record the notes. My girlfriend hates when she sees me walk off talking to my phone when we are on vacation, but I have to record my thoughts. Siri is a great help for this and while I may seem like a crazy person, I usually have her take my notes. I have also been given some waterproof writing pads. I can take these in the shower or out in the rain and write anything without worry about the water.
Brainstorming can be hard. Coming up with new ideas is hard. However, I have found that the more I learn about myself the easier it becomes. Finding that right balance of focus and relaxation is key for me.
Lately I've been thinking about writing a blog, separate from the Old Hat Blog. I'm not sure what about though, which would be an issue because after all, content is king. I've thought about baking. I'm not great at it, but I do enjoy it when I have the time.
Well, last week I received an email from Jones Design Company. If you like nice prints/illustrations, stationary, or anything paper, check out her website. I've printed some of her pieces to frame and have given as gifts. But back to the email. In it was an article titled The Big Collection of 50+ Blog Post Ideas. I won't list them all, but you can view the complete list here. I wanted to pull out 10 post ideas that I thought would be useful.
1. Create a list - Gather a list of reasons, resources, links, quotes, tools, books, or anything in a common category and compile them into a post.
2. Post a How-To - The How-To blog post is often something that draws readers in especially if it's about a challenging topic or skill.
3. Craft a Checklist - Checklists are some of the most highly shared posts on the internet.
4. Host a Q&A - Have your readers ask questions in the comments section of your blog. You can reply directly in the comments, or compile the questions to answer in a later post.
5. Show Your Process - Show the process of a specific product/project you've completed.
6. Compile Helpful Resources - Compile a list of tools or resources for a particular subject or topic.
7. Tell Stories - Personal stories make the best entertainment especially if there's a life lesson, main point, or punchline at the end.
8. Share Favorites - Roundup a collection of your favorite pins or Instagram photos and share them.
9. Before & After - Print magazines have been using before and after photos for years to draw in readers.
10. Conduct a Survey & Share Results - Use a short survey to poll readers. This is a great way to gain insight into what your readers think and possible product or service ideas. Use Google forms or Survey Monkey to create an easy survey.
Sunday I met up with a group of friends at Whiskey Cake in Oklahoma City. I had never been before, but was wanting to try it. It's a farm-to-table restaurant, meaning no freezers and no microwaves, everything is made from scratch daily. I love eating at unique restaurants in every city I live in and visit. If you're heading to Louisville (KY), Murray (KY), Normal (IL), or Norman or Oklahoma City anytime soon, let me know and I can tell you some great places to eat!
It was brunch time, so mimosas and bloody marys were on our menu for us, as well as an assortment of other unique food items including deviled eggs with cole slaw, french toast with mint whip cream and Oreos, and candy bacon that was marinated for two hours before it was cooked! It was all delcious. At the end, our waiter talked us into trying their famous Whiskey Cake. He sold us when he said people traveled outside of the state for their Whiskey Cake. We decided to give it a try and split one piece among the whole table. It was to die for!
Later that night I decided to search on Pinterest for a whiskey cake recipe. I found a few and think each would be pretty amazing. Click the images to view the recipe and let me know if you get a chance to try it!
And just for fun, if you're looking for a really easy and delicious blackberry cobbler, try this recipe! It's yummy.