4:43 PM

The First Idea

Why should you never go with your first idea?

Because there isn't a doubt in the world that someone else has already had it. No matter how clever, interesting, and unique you feel that is, it's almost certainly not. Hell, somebody has probably had your second idea too.

We had a guest speaker come in from The Brand Factory this week, and he gave us some great tools for developing and/or re-developing brands. I was compelled by many of the things he said, but this most of all. It's a truly simple concept, but as soon as he said it, I was really struck with both how obvious it was and how dead on it was.

Recently, a promotion we'd been working on with a client and a few of their other agencies for months was cancelled. However, during the midst of our brilliant planning and scheming, we discovered that their competitor was about to launch a promo of their own a few months earlier -- with effectively the exact same name. Naturally, the agency that had done the initial planning came up with a quick change-over to get it all fresh and new again, but we were all kind of taken aback. Was there insider information being leaked? Had one of us accidentally spoken about the promotion at some busy restaurant and been overheard?

You know what? I doubt it. Because it was the first idea.

Last week, Jen emailed me at work with another related note -- while on Facebook, she had discovered that our client -- in another country -- had done a very similar promotion. Different name this time, but exceedingly similar concept.

Yep. Another first idea.

I was working on a promotional concept with a classmate last month, and we were all prepared for our presentation. I woke up ultra-early on the morning we were to do it, as it had occurred to me -- every idea we'd put together was an idea that had been done before. It was chock full of first ideas, but whatever had woken me up in my sleep was a second or third or fourth one. I rushed to my computer, revamped the presentation, et voila. Now that was an idea. I later presented it to a client -- she now has us scoping it, as it doesn't appear anything of the sort has been done before.

So yeah. I probably have about ten million actual examples of this happening over the years, but I won't bore you with any more -- as a professor of mine likes to call them -- war stories. I'll just tell you this: First ideas should from here on in be the first things to go.

4:37 PM

An Outsider by Instinct

I'm just at my hotel in Florida getting ready for the evening and watching Oprah. Sidney Poitier just said that he's always been an outsider by instinct, which really struck me as interesting.

A girl on Hitched recently mentioned that she's always felt like an outsider and that always made her sad. I responded that I too have always felt outsiderly, but have always enjoyed that fact. Not a single part of me has ever wanted to be on the inside.

I wonder what causes this difference in people.

(Side note: How effing cool is Sidney Poitier? He's so lovely and eloquent and just captivating. Sigh.)

6:35 PM

The Sunshine State

So the last time I was in Florida was about two and a half years ago when I had to book a flight at 7AM to deliver a video for a project we were doing with Usher through work. I got my ass to Miami by some miracle and spent the rest of the day enjoying food, drinks, the beach, and a show.

This time, I'm here for a conference. And there's no more Horatio Cain-isms, baby, because this is Orlando. Or Land O' Meh. (Sorry, that was bad, I know.)

In the day that I've been here, I've waited an hour for a cab at the airport, dealt with the craziest cab driver I've ever had, and found myself with no room at 1AM because the hotel overbooked. That's all well and good, but the place itself was even stranger in the day. It's beautiful out, sunny and breezy and nice, and the patios were closed! (I know. Wrong.) And there was hardly anyone on the street.

I only found one thing to take a picture of that wasn't me. And it wasn't pretty or particularly interesting, just a fake upside down building (this is a googled picture of it, not mine).

I don't know if I'm on the wrong side of town or what.

6:43 PM

Travels Through Space, Not Time

The good news is in: This May, I'm off to study at the European Business School! After a stressful application process and the most nerve-wracking interview of all time, I got an A for Acceptance Package today.

Wiesbaden (that's last May), Germany is my destination.

I am pumped.

7:54 PM

Facebook IS Addictive

Paige was not messing around in her recent "Facebook is Addictive" post.

My client sent me a join invite on Saturday.

I joined that night then got panicked about having to talk to way too many people I didn't want to talk to and didn't bother creating a profile.

Then Tuesday after work, I found that a friend from Dalhousie had magically found me.

Intrigued, I joined. I went through an hour of feeling like an utter luddite, trying to figure out networks and groups and preferences. And I've been on a mad friend-collecting mission since that point. I found high school classmates I haven't seen in about a dozen years. I found girls from undergrad residence. I found team mates. I found coworkers. I found people to whose photos I just wanted to give dirty looks. It has been good.

I am outraged that I ever spent my time on MySpace. Quelle sham! Dave claims that it's better because it allows the hosting of music, but other than that, I'm just not seeing the appeal. The design is horrific, it's next to impossible to find anyone, and it just feels too... connected. I don't want to pick my eight favourite people anymore.

I am also lamed out by my participation in LinkedIn. Sure, it plays in the professional plane, but yeesh. Would it hurt you to include profile pictures? As much as I'm loathe to admit it, I have a hell of a time with names. (Evidence: I already keep forgetting the name of my beloved negotiations professor from two months ago.) Throw me a bone, already.

There's no doubt about it -- other than user-generated content, social networks are definitely the biggest story in the marketing world these days. I've been imagining the possibilities of the theoretical with all these silly proposals and papers, but now... there I am in the best I've seen and there's so much more. Sure, it's tougher to get in, but it's also easier to set the wildfire. This is the real viral deal.

12:25 PM

Kiss Me, I'm Irish

Well, maybe not completely, but like half.

Anyway, happy St. Patrick's day, people.

9:51 PM

(You) Are-Free (To Be Violated)

So last night marked Virgin's second anniversary in Canada and we enjoyed quite a night at their celebratory party. The party featured much freedom-theming, as WNP (wireless number portability) became available today.

Sir Richard Branson introduced the evening, after doing over thirty interviews since six that morning. The man is a PR machine, I've never seen anything like it. (Holy charisma.) He was surrounded by a multitude of cage dancers and prison-costumed event people, with (You) Are-Free pretty much everywhere. The event was actually fabulously put together, the food and drinks flowed all night, and Jen and I had a far better time than we'd anticipated.

One sexy caged English beast.

Gin and tonic spilled all over me in this shot, which means things were definitely fun.

Jen takes this job very seriously.

The pole dancers stole the show.

We insisted on doing a photo shoot with Ron Jeremy. Yes, that Ron Jeremy.

Body-painting -- Virgin certainly doesn't skimp on sauciness!

Oh, the fun times we'll have...

Jen and I go back for seconds.

Things go horribly wrong.

I swear to you, I did not initiate this! Note Jen's arm in the right fram, strategically escaping only moments after Mr. Jeremy said "I also sign cleavage!" (She clearly got that this wasn't a quirky comment from a vaguely creepy old guy.) Within three seconds, the man had pulled out a Sharpie and grabbed a boob. What proceeded was a lot of shrieky whispering: "Please be careful! Don't expose me! There's nipple in there... ummm!"

Oh, the horror. Strangers took photos.

Of course, I was redeemed a little later, when a few of the people who'd been in the crowd notified me that, after witnessing said event, they asked for signings as well. Yes, we'd inadvertently started a little trend.

Good lord. Sometimes I wonder what the hell I do for a living.

4:02 PM

Hopped Up on Lattes and Sunshine

Patio weather is upon us! Okay, so maybe not "upon us", but it's as close as it can get.

It is fabulously sunny and warm out today. I spent the afternoon walking around my beloved, beloved Queen St. W. Not only did I buy the most adorable spring jacket of all time (SO.cute), I saw people on patios! Yes, it is four degrees celcius outside. But with the sun it feels warmer! Right? Meh, it's Canada. We're on patios the minute winter shows the slightest sign of subsiding. (Last year, Jen and I hit the Hemingway's patio by end of March. I'm thinking we may get away with the very same this year.)

In any case, while walking about town today, I was reminiscing. I've been living here for almost three years now, and I think today it finally just worked. I was all dreamy, loving the city, remembering how exciting it was when I first moved here.

The first month I lived in Toronto, I was staying with my much-adored cousins while I hunted out a place for Dave and I to live (he was finishing up a contract in Halifax). I used to get up in the morning, get ready for the day, sit on some College St. patio, sipping coffee and reading a local weekly. I was in love with everything about the whole shebang -- the constant flow of people around me, the chatter and giddiness of spring and people and friends and beer and just everything. I couldn't believe my luck, that I was going to finally get to live here and work here and be a part of the city. After my coffee, I would walk around town -- first just down College, and increasingly adventuresome with each new day. I walked everywhere, strangers gave me directions, and I would marvel at the buildings and the CN Tower and the lunches and the people and the flowers at convenience stores and the adorable little shops and neat artwork and, good lord, the whole thing just had me in a state of constant rapture.

Walking today on Queen, doing a little shopping and going to my neighbourhood butcher, all these little random memories came back. And it occurred to me that all that stuff I had romantical fantasies about when I first moved here? That actually came together. That's my life now. It's all very coming-of-age (hah) -- I'm no longer on the outside dreamily looking in. But it sure is nice having the perspective to see home with those eyes.

And, yeah, you'll find me continuing to remember this fantastic fact on a patio by the end of the month.

8:49 PM

Auntie x 2 (Pictures!)

For your viewing pleasure: here is Charlotte Lea.

And a second!

Um, I was convinced when we met her that she didn't look that much like Alex. The photos prove me very wrong.

7:21 AM

Auntie x 2

I am Auntie J all over again!

Dave's sister and her husband had their second little girl early this morning after much, much, much waiting. I have been dying with anticipation of her arrival (certainly not more than her mother, hah, but dying nonetheless) and was beyond thrilled to get up at 6:30 this morning to take the phone call from Dave's mum.

Charlotte was introduced to the world after a relatively decent labour, weighed in at 7 pounds/7 ounces, apparently looks just like her big sister (I have a very hard time getting my head around how she might not look identical to Alex), and will be meeting her sure-to-be-favourite aunt and uncle this afternoon.

Just for your reference, this is Alex (possibly the most perfect baby ever) when she was born. A comparison shot of her sister will come later today!

Nieces rule.