Arena vs. Couch- SXSW Session WriteUp

March 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

Arena vs. Couch- SXSW Session WriteUp


“Special Treatment from the Chef.” A quick post about our founders. #mrsxsw

March 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

You know that “I’m special” feeling you get when a 5-star chef comes out to your table to ask you about a meal? That’s how our clients feel when one of our founders jumps into an impromptu meeting to answer their questions. #teamswork #agilispeed #mrsxsw


Global Marketing Inefficiencies

October 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

I came across this Heineken banner ad on Puerto  Rico’s main newspaper’s web site today. As usual, I was reading the news from my iPhone. As an advertising geek and former creative director on the Heineken business I was curious to see what the brand was up to these days.

photo 2

Unfortunately, I have no idea. I clicked on the banner and got this.

photo 1


I’m curious but not that curious.

I’m an adwhore, I love advertising and marketing. If I don’t want log in to Facebook to see the promotion, then no one will. This banner ad doesn’t ad any value. By forcing me to go to Facebook the experience isn’t optimized for mobile. This means a huge chunk of the spend is being completely wasted.

So who’s to blame?

From experience, my guess is that global marketing bureaucracy is the culprit. It’s not the agency’s fault, not even the local marketing team’s fault. It’s the global brand.

Heineken restricts local marketing groups, like Heineken in Puerto Rico and forces them to stick to Facebook for its promotions. All in an effort to have more control on what smaller markets publish and to unify it’s global message. The result: A crappy mobile experience that in no way amplifies the promotion beyond Heineken’s current fan base.

This is an inefficiency of global marketing structures and the centralization of content strategies. In 2009-2010 I saw brands like Ford and Heineken push for one global message, controlled at headquarters that stripped local agencies of their power to produce content.

Can they afford to keep these structures?

Crappy mobile experience aside, what is more valuable consistency or relevancy? What are you more likely to share, something relevant, or something consistent?

Is there a mobile-optimized way to promote a branded contest that lives only on Facebook?

I would love to hear your thoughts

Stop giving away 50% of your company for fifty bucks

October 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

I have validated several startup ideas over the past two years. In almost every case, I handed over close to 50% of the value of these ideas to a technical co-founder.

In July, tired of being so generous, I asked Ulysses S. Grant for some help. Mr. Grant is the president who graces the fifty-dollar bill, which happens to be the amount of money I had to spend to build an Minimum Viable Product to validate my app.

My new CTO/Co-Founder

The Idea:  Employee Notification System for banks. A mobile app that would allow managers to create notifications, chose distribution groups, send messages to groups via SMS, push notifications and email. The app would also help managers keep their contacts updated and allow them to post schedules.

The Generous Way:

Hey technical guy, please help me! I have an awesome idea, can you develop it? Pretty please? I will give you 50% of anything that comes of it.

The Lean Way:

Build a mobile site with a service like ShoutEm.

Chose a bank logo. (In this case, my sister-in-law’s bank)

Make that logo the icon and background for the mobile site you build.

This is like Geico, even a Caveman can do it.

This is like Geico, even a Caveman can do it.

Build forms for each feature of your app with Wufoo Forms.

Ex. Create a Notification, Upload Schedule

WuFoo is a life-saver!

WuFoo is a life-saver!

Customize the forms by adding the bank logo to their header.

Zero Tech Skills Needed

Zero Tech Skills Needed

Set the forms to be distributed to an email list when filled.   For ex. Manually enter the 10 employee emails

Add Emails Manually

Add Emails Manually

Add buttons to your mobile site and set each button to link out to the different Wufoo Forms you created. (This is as simple as grabbing the link to each form and dropping it in the settings of each button)

If you've ever shared a YouTube Video you can handle this.

Open a Twilio, Tropo or Nexmo Account- these are cloud based services that can power SMS delivery.

Use to integrate the Wufoo Forms to Nexmo.

It is as simple as dragging and dropping.

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 7.38.48 PM

In this case, I told ItDuzzIT to send whatever was entered into the WuFoo Form “Create a Notification” to a list of ten phone numbers using Nexmo.

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 7.43.56 PM

Download a shortcut of your mobile site to your iPhone.

Pitch Away.

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 8.30.12 PM


Shoutem $19.90

Wufoo $14

ItDuzzIt $14



3 days of work to get it right.

0% equity lost

The Experiment

I put my app in the hands of my sister-in-law a branch manager at WoodForrest National Bank. I observed as she used it to communicate with her employees. I built a presentation with screenshots of the app. I included real examples of the notifications she created and conducted dozens of customer interviews using my app as a demo.

What did I learn?

1-  Banks managers don’t need an app to communicate with there employees.

2-  Entrepreneurs don’t need to give away 50% of their company to a developer to find this out.

Both are absolutely terrible ideas.

It may be lonely to start a company by yourself, but loneliness isn’t worth 50% of your company.

Next time you’re about to start something, make Ulysses S. Grant your CTO. He can get you pretty far. Once you have an order, you can pitch your idea to a developer. You can be polite about it, but there’s no need to beg or say “pretty-please” when you have done most of the legwork on your own.

Thank you Mr. President. It’s a shame it took me so long to reach out to you.

Blogging Best Practices

May 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

Blogging Best Practices

My guest post on WordCamp ATX blog reporting on a great panel I attending this morning.

Planning your blog

May 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

Planning your blog

My guest post on WordCamp ATX blog about Brandon Krafts talk at WordCamp.

Find Your Stadium

May 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

For years conference rooms were my stadium. I would walk through hallways of cubicles as if marching out of a tunnel to meet my clients. I would enter my stadium flanked by colleagues and visualize scores of fans cheering for me on the dry erase walls. With a storyboard under my arm I drove down the field for a score. Post game interviews were granted in the elevator and parking lot.

The famous sign at the end of the tunnel at Notre Dame Stadium.

The famous sign at the end of the tunnel at Notre Dame Stadium.

Where is your stadium? That place where months and months of work are faced with a make or break moment?

I’ve had several memorable ones.

  • A Hotel in Manhattan, where I pitched Tecate’s Hispanic account for my agency as a rookie copywriter.
  • A ballroom in Las Vegas presenting a year’s worth of commercials to the Nissan National Dealers Convention. (Picture a room full of Boss Hog’s from the Dukes of Hazard.)
  • A conference room at Banco Popular, presenting what felt like the new business pitch of the century.
  • A beautiful farm, trying to get a trained pig to hold still enough for a trick shot that would just make our Heineken commercial that much funnier.

I can distinctly remember how I felt the morning I woke up to undertake each of these challenges. I can remember the excitement of my commute, the feeling that I was headed into the big leagues.

Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 4.24.12 PM

My view of my ex-JWT colleagues marching in for a presentation at Walgreens Headquarters.

It is worth analyzing how you feel when you approach your stadium.

How has that feeling changed across the years?

Is your stadium as fulfilling as it once was?

For the past year I have launched several tech products, perhaps too many at one time, but my main venture has been Community Patrol, a service that allows neighbors to share crime alerts via SMS, mobile applications and email.

The stadiums of my journey at Community Patrol have been drastically different from those of my former life as a Creative Director.

Board rooms and production sets where replaced by Community Centers. Executives where replaced by worried housewives and security guards. Fortune 500 brands were replaced by family-owned businesses like security companies. (Think “Armed and Dangerous”)

My first sale came in August at the cry room of a local church. My presentation, full of mobile app demos, shared the wall with a poster of Jesus, his hands clutching his sacred heart. Somehow, it all felt like I was presenting at the biggest stadium in the world.

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How do you feel in your stadium?

If you don’t hear Michael Buffer announcing your name as you walk into that room. If you don’t hear Howard Cosell call the play by play as you present. If you don’t feel like Chris Berman when you share the highlights of the day with your spouse, “Back, back, back.” It might be time for a change.

If so, check out meetups, classes or a conference. They are great ways to experiment with new challenges. Here’s a few that have helped me across they years.

Check out my Social CV at

I happen to be searching for a new stadium. Let me know if you think my skills might help you march downfield.