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June 22, 2003

Jay/Day 2003

Group portrait of 2003 Jay/Day reunion at Dia:Beacon
From left, Bill Nobody, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Absent, A. Wol, and Meredith Missing
(Not shown: Vicki Blucher and Steve Alburty)

Well, that was exciting.

I got to the Dia:Beacon museum around 3 pm, wearing my Jay/Day t-shirt. I spent about an hour-and-a-half rambling around the space. I didn't run into anyone I recognized.

As I left, I called Vicki Blucher, who lives in Beacon and who had volunteered to host a barbecue. She wasn't home, but about one minute later, she *69'd my cell phone. She'd been out running errands. I was already on the Interstate headed to New York.

She had been at the museum earlier in the day and had not run into anyone. She also said that no one had RSVP'd to her BBQ invitation. So I do believe that she and I may have been the sole attendees of this year's Jay/Day festivities. (If I'm incorrect in that assumption, add a comment to this entry and let us know if you were there.)

So I'm afraid Jay/Day, at least for this reporter, was a let-down.

This website was an experiment to discover if a group of people, united in their history by a truly unique work experience, could stay in touch with each other. I was hoping that all of you would be posting interesting articles you'd encountered about the world of business, art, architecture, or philanthropy. Or that you'd post personal stories and photos about your exciting new lives. But with the exception of Eve, Adelaide, Susan Goodman, and Heather Harris, no one has submitted any entries.

Perhaps you're shy, perhaps you prefer being a voyeur rather than a participant; or perhaps you have better things to do than reminisce about days gone by.

Regardless of the reasons, I am left with the awkward feeling that I am playing to an empty digital house. And so, I think I will just let this website float quietly off into the silent sunset of cyberspace.

It was really fun to create this website, but one should never ignore unpopular demand. All one can do is go with the flow (or the trickle, as the case may be.) To paraphrase Doris Day, "Jay sera, sera."


June 21, 2003

Eulogy for a Whiner


Since this is Jay/Day, I thought I'd simply put a link to what was perhaps the most moving tribute to appear following Jay's death. It's from the April 29, 2002 issue of AdAge. Of particular interest are the links in the yellow box. which contain excerpts from the last speech Jay ever gave.

Read the AdAge article

Remind yourself of the purpose of Jay/Day.

Happy Birthday, Lexy!

It's not only Jay/Day, it's Lexy Tanner's birthday!

June 20, 2003

Marcel Varela

Photo by Marcel Varela

Part of the Jay/Day manifesto is to support young artists. Here's my effort for the year:

Marcel Varela works behind the front counter at Republic on Union Square. (He's the one with the huge smile and the most amazing head of hair you've ever seen in your life.)

I was in the other day and discovered that he's a budding commercial photographer. I mentioned the Jay/Day website and he is thrilled to meet all of you. I told him that you were all movers and shakers within the industry and that several of you are art directors for major agencies. So, as your Jay/Day contribution, please read his bio below, visit his website, and then invite him to come show you his portfolio. (I'm absolutely serious about this. Remember how hard it was to get inside the door of your first agency!)

You can write to him at marcelsphoto@yahoo.com. Or stop by Republic. He's
the very personable young man behind the front counter at lunch time.

Marcel Varela:

Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, I was surrounded by natural beauty and physical beauty--beaches, bright blue skies, and the beautiful people in my life. My mother's modeling career influenced my interest in photography, as I was absolutely enthralled with the photo-shoots that she took me to.

I decided to move to New York after high school in order to pursue photography. I attended Laguardia Community College for two years and then I continued on to the School of Visual Arts for my bachelors in photography.

While I was at S.V.A. I had a rare and especially interesting (and often trying) internship with Mr. David LaChapelle. This was a tremendous experience for me--it opened my eyes to a whole different style of fashion photography and celebrity personalities. David really captured the personality of his models, something that was inspirational to me.

After David I worked for several other photographers, including Eva Mueller, Rodrick Angle, Steven Gross, and Robert Currant, among others-- each of whom I learned a lot from. So now, after school, after internships, after being at the whim of other very talented people, I am hoping to get my own work out there (and bartending to keep living!)

June 19, 2003

Fix your life in time for Jay/Day

BULLETIN! This just in from Heather Harris:

"Former planner Heather Harris (C/D NY Jan '87-Nov '89) now a Life Coach is making the following offer in honor of Jay Day 2003. A FREE 1 Hour Coaching session anytime during July to the first 5 people to respond. Get clarity about what it is you REALLY want, who you REALLY want to be, the life you REALLY want to live. Get a sense of what being your BEST self could look like and the inspiration to get from where you are to where you want to be. Session will take place via the phone unless in New York where it will be in-person ... turns out that altho she's a Brit, who SHE really wants to be (right now) is a New Yorker again! Contact : coachhh@aol.com. Responders beyond the first 5 will receive info & rate card!"

[As for me, I think my BEST self would be to look like Jude Law, but I suppose that's beyond even Heather's skills.]

June 18, 2003

Old Phone List Found

I happened to find this old New York office phone list on my hard drive. Can you identify the year? I can't. It looks as if it might be from the later years at 79 Fifth. Adelaide? Eve? Your memories are better than mine. What do you think?

And needless to say, this discovery has greatly increased the number of people for whom I'm missing email addresses. (See "Lost and Found" link on right side of page.)

Alburty, Steve
Amico, Tom
Arado, Lorraine
Atkinson, Leslie
Ayrton, Kate
Beach, Beverly
Bennett, Linda
Berrong, Carrie
Bland, Steve
Borzon, Cathy
Bronston, Kira
Butler, Betty
Calabrese, Joe
Carastro, Deborah
Castillo, Robin
Cerbone, Annette
Chestnut, Colette
Chiat, Jay
Chinich, Andrew
Choi, Sylvia
Clifford, Graham
Cogan, Pamela
Colgate, Ted
Cooke, Marty
Coscia, Denise
Demogenes, Lisa di Armas
Dennis, Jessica
Dolan, Kelly
Doran, Cat
Eng, Lisa
Fasano, Gia
Fleming, Rob
Frei, Christina
Gallic, Mike
Garcia, Gerry
Geller, Mark
Giordano, Nicole
Glass, Oksana
Goldstein, Bruce
Greenberg, Paul
Hernandez, Peter
Hershfield, Robert
Horton, Adelaide
Hyman, Kevin
Ibelli, Trish
Isabelle, Darren
Kantor, Bob Karsch, Roxanne
King, Mary
Klimathianos, Stephen
Knopper, Doug
Konno, Kris
Koza, David
Krasznai, Zoltan
LaGuerre, Edwin
Lanotte, Annette
Lauffer, Robin
Lea, Keisha
Leach, Julia
Lee, Annie
Lee, Jonathan
Leung, Ben
Li, Yu-Ling
Lippman, Stacey
Luppert, Eve
Maroun, Mary
Matathia, Ira
McCaffrey, Jen
McIntosh-Warner, Leslie-Ann
McNulty, Roseann
McOwen, Bill
McPhillips, Jay
Meeks, Elaine
Metzger, Scott
Munz, Scott
Murphy, Marion
Nelson, Gary
O'Neal, Bridgette
O'Regan, Eamonn
Pappas, Stephanie
Pearcey, Caroline
Pellecchia, Melissa
Pellizzi, Rob
Perez, Wanda
Perkins, Jill T
Pierre-Jean, Guy
Pinkney, Tracey
Ploscowe, Lauren
Pyros, Thalia
Reedy, Jim
Rosen, Mike
Rothfarb, Marla
Rubin, Fred
Schiller, Lauren
Schnall, Erica
Schwartz, Kristi
Singer, Matt
Skipper, Jenny
Spade, Andy
Stamm, Laura
Sumner, Maggie
Sutner, Adam
Sweeney, Mike
Szakacs, Maria
Tallman, Chris
Tashkoff, Tony
Thomas, Kendall
Townes, Debra Ann (Debbie)
Traub, David
Van Brooke, Trevor
Van Dorpe, Paul
Vuto, Jeanine
Wales, Jerry
Walker, Stephen
Walters, Merritt
Warner, Leslie-Ann
Weir, Drew
Weldon, Tim
Wellington, Lisa
White, Desiree
Wilson, Nordessa
Yeranossian, Bob
Zimmerman, Craig

June 17, 2003

Mystery Alum Revealed!

See entry for June 10th.

Salmon spawns!


Many of you may remember the irrepressibly peppy Scott Salmon, who worked for me in print production at Chiat/Day NY when it was at 666 Fifth Avenue. (He later married Judy Zell, who was in traffic and print production at C/D at 79 Fifth.)

Scott is now the head of Manhattan Plaza Health Club, the swank fitness center at 42nd St. and 10th Ave. This is a photo of Scott, his new wife Suzan, and their son, Shayne Aydin, taken shortly after his birth on Nov. 15, 2001. I never fail to amuse myself (and embarrass Scott) by telling the story of the time I had to fire him....

It was back in the early days of the New York office and we had just lost a big account. (New York Air, as I recall.) I had to lay off somebody and I had two great people working for me: Peter Franke and Scott Salmon. It was a decision that would have given Solomon a migraine. Who to lay off? It would have been so easy if one of them had been a loser, but they were both terrific.

Peter had a wife and a baby to support, while Scott was single, so I decided it would be easier for him to rebound. Since the office was small and "open plan," we only had one private, enclosed room in the whole joint, which happened to be the light booth where we checked color proofs. That room got a big workout that day, as we had to let about a third of the staff go. If you went into the light room, you knew you were toast.

I eventually took Scott into the light room and gave him the bad news. He was fine; I was the one who burst into tears.

I felt so terrible about laying him off that I took out a classified ad in Ad Age with the headline "Canned Salmon." The ad went on to say that layoffs had forced me to get rid of my right-hand man and wouldn't SOMEBODY out there give this great guy a job? I'm not sure if he ever got any leads because of the ad, but regardless, he had a job within about two weeks for more money than I was paying him.

To this day, whenever I am around Scott and he introduces me to a friend or a member of his family, he knows what's coming: The "Canned Salmon" story.

I stopped by to visit Scott at the Manhattan Plaza Health Club a couple of weeks ago and Scott made the mistake of introducing me to his boss, the owner of the corporation. I promptly said, as I always do, "Let me tell you the story of how I had to fire Scott ..."

I can hardly wait for Shayne to grow up so I can tell him the story.

Why Johnnie Can't Shop


Adbusters, the "in-your-face" anti-almost-everything magazine, takes a look at the campaign by Corporate America to subtly introduce commercials into the classroom. Representatives of the drug Prozac will come to your school to "teach" you about depression. McGraw-Hill prints a six-grade math text book that includes brand names in it's math equations. Want more examples?


June 16, 2003

Business Dads

Only 364 days until next Father's Day! To that end, we present a book about how businessmen can be better Dads.



After you've spell-checked your presentation deck, you might want to run it through "Bullfighter," a piece of software developed by Deloitte Consulting which scrubs your document jargon-free.

Offenders? Words like`leverage,' `bandwidth,' `touch base,' `incentivize,' `inoculate,' `bleeding edge,' `robust,' `synergize' and `envisioneer.' "

Before you say, "oh, those silly consultants, they're always using buzzwords," read the handout you give clients which tells them what differentiates your agency from your competitors! ("Brand stewardship," anyone?)

Deloitte website
New York Times article (free registration required)

June 13, 2003

jayday life tune-ups


As jayday approaches, I've been thinking about my life direction and wondering if it might be a good time to take on some exciting new challenge. This morning, I looked at myself in the mirror as I was shaving and said, "Hey pal, looks to me like you need to take up gladiator training!" But then I remembered that chain mail always tends of make my butt look fat.

I know! Bagpiping! Nah, my co-op neighbors are still mad at me over the steel drums I took up last year.

A cattle drive! That's the ticket! Get along l'il doggies! Hold on, I'm allergic to cows. And beans don't agree with my digestion. (I'm no fool, I saw "Blazing Saddles.")

The point is to use this time of year to take on some challenge to reinvigorate your sense of engagement with the world, whether it be taking up sailing, sushi-making, or that old favorite, skydiving.

Remember what Jay used to say: "No lateral moves!"

June 12, 2003

Trains to Beacon

If you're thinking of taking the train to the Dia:Beacon on jayday, here's the schedule for Metro North on Sat., June 21st. (The museum is adjacent to the train station and the museum is open from 11 am until 6pm.)

leaves Grand Central 8:53AM ; arrives Beacon 10:21AM
leaves Grand Central 9:53AM ; arrives Beacon 11:17AM
leaves Grand Central 10:53AM ; arrives Beacon 12:17PM
leaves Grand Central 11:53AM ; arrives Beacon 1:17PM
leaves Grand Central 12:53PM ; arrives Beacon 2:17PM

leaves Beacon 1:55PM ; arrives Grand Central 3:27PM
leaves Beacon 2:55PM ; arrives Grand Central 4:28PM
leaves Beacon 3:55PM ; arrives Grand Central 5:27PM
leaves Beacon 4:50PM ; arrives Grand Central 6:27PM
leaves Beacon 5:50PM ; arrives Grand Central 7:19PM
leaves Beacon 6:50PM ; arrives Grand Central 8:24PM
leaves Beacon 7:50PM ; arrives Grand Central 9:19PM
leaves Beacon 8:50PM ; arrives Grand Central 10:19PM

Here is the website for the museum, which has additional travel information.

June 11, 2003

The first email Jay ever sent me


The date was 3/9/91. We had just installed the Quickmail email system across the country. (The first ad agency to ever do so, thank you very much. Remember, the first browser for the World Wide Web wasn't even released until 1993, a full two years later!)

Here, ladies and gentlemen, is the first email Jay Chiat ever sent to me (or probably to anyone, for that matter.) I took a picture of it and tucked it away in a safe place, as I knew it would prove useful some day. I think that day is now.

Don't get excited, it isn't anything spectacular. In typical Jay-fashion, it was short and to the point. I believe he had just given me a paper memo (yes, paper!) and asked me to distribute it to everyone in the office via Quickmail. It may have been the infamous "no more paper memos" memo. Whatever; here it is, as if preserved in electronic amber. I believe I had printed this out and posted it to my office wall to record the moment for posterity, and to bully you, by his example, into using email. (Remember when I banned the use of pink While-You-Were-Out slips and made you get your messages through Quickmail?)


Ad Humor

Being ad people and ex-ad people, you will find this "holiday card" from Rodgers Townsend extremely funny.

Click here

June 10, 2003

Mystery Alum Contest #2


June 17th update: Well, I'm ashamed of all of you! Not one person even suspected that our mystery alum was Denzil Meyers!
June 10th: Let's all play "Name That Alum!" This clown actually worked for Chiat/Day. Who is it? Put on those thinking caps! Click on the "Comments" link to post your entry ....

Denzil is living in San Francisco and is now running a brand consulting company called widgetwonder, which offers assessment services, strategic planning, and facilitation of internal brand communications and training.

Denzil has also designed and delivered Account Planner training programs, and facilitates improvisation training and storytelling workshops for corporate clients. (Hence the clown costume.) He believes improv experience has the power to transform organizational dynamics, change people's lives, and help evolve the emotional intelligence of the human race. He hopes its not too late.

His wife, Pamela Holm, is the author of "The Toaster Broke, So We Got Married." The New York Times Book Review said, "The smell of burning toast inspired Pamela Holm's boyfriend to suggest marriage; surely they could count on a new toaster as a wedding present." (That's our Denzil!)

In his spare time, Denzil can be heard twice a week drumming in a Brazilian Samba dance class, or practicing his rock chops on a drum kit at home. Occasionally, he makes his own wine from the fine grapes of Sonoma County.

He is also in the process of writing his own book, called "Beyond Branding: How the New Values of Transparency & Trust are Changing the World of Brands".

How far we've come


Enter the "Wayback Machine" and revisit 1983. The Chiat/Day New York office had been open for three years. The Mac was a year away from its debut. And in 1983, Motorola introduced the first commercial portable cellular phone. It only weighed two pounds, had enough battery life for a whole 30 minutes of talk time! The cost? A bargain at $3,995 (calling plan not included.)

The Tofte Project


This beautifully designed website is devoted to the concept of "sustainable architecture. " It builds a story around the idea of connecting and respecting all who are touched by an architectural project before, during, and after construction.

Best viewed with a high-speed connection and a fairly current version of a web browser.


June 09, 2003

Voting the President off the island


People under 45 watch almost no politics on television. A new study by Oxford University has concluded that the only way to interest the electorate in democracy is through the model of reality TV.


June 07, 2003

Dia Beacon Quiz?

Which piece at Dia Beacon hung in Jay 38th Street house?

June 06, 2003

Richard O'Connell found!


Yet another lost alum has been found thanks to this website!

Richard O'Connell, an account executive in the NY office, has been leaving his heart all over that city by the bay ...

According to Richard ....

"After 14 years in NY, I moved out to SF about 4 years ago to work for Chiat/Day-like Internet start up, Quokka Sports. The company's goal was to revolutionalize the way people experience sport online After 2 years of really exciting work on the Sydney Summer Olympics, America's Cup, NCAA Basketball and a whole bunch of other sports, the company joined the dust-heap of many other SF internet start ups.

"Following this adventure, I took some time off and began to look for a new job. About a year ago, I landed at a company called Weathernews. We are the largest weather services company in the world. Although the company is headquartered in Japan, I work out of our US headquarters in SF. My role is head of marketing and new media. I am currently very involved in getting our weather content on cell phones. Later this summer you should be able to see out content on Verizon and AT&T phones."

Here is a link to Richard's very spiffy corporate bio on the Weathernews website.

And thanks to Gwen Lipsky, who forwarded this website's address to Richard. And to Leslie Atkinson, who provided a half-dozen just yesterday - Alex Lyus, Ariane Herrera, Bruce Richards, Doug Knopper, Doug Watson, Mary Tetlow, Stephanie Stephens, and Theresa Babington.

How many lost alums can you locate??

Me and Phil


Since I built this website, I may be permitted the occassional personal plug. If you live in New York and like great theatre, go to the Union Square Theatre to see "Our Lady of 121st St.", starring a truly gifted ensemble directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. And when you look in the Playbill, notice that there is a thank you to one 'Stevan Alburty.'


Some of the cast of "Our Lady of 121st St."

Before coming to Chiat/Day in the late 1970s, I had spent ten years doing community theatre in Spokane, Washington. I directed C/D alum Eve Luppert, who is also from Spokane, in several of her greatest roles. (Eve, would you please post a comment and tell everyone about the dead cat?)

Where was I? Oh, yes ...

I have always loved the theatre. Recently, when a friend of mine told me he was producing his first off-Broadway show, I talked another friend of mine into investing in it.

I suddenly realized that I now had leverage; that this was my big chance to do something I’ve always wanted to do: to see how a professional production in New York actually gets put together, from rehearsal through opening night. The fact that Philip Seymour Hoffman ("The Talented Mr. Ripley," "Magnolia," "Boogie Nights") was directing only added to that desire.

I wasn't going to be content to just sit and watch a few rehearsals. I wanted to participate. I volunteered to be an unpaid 'go-fer.' But Phil (he prefers to be called Phil) was apparently a little reluctant to have a stranger attend rehearsal, which is a very intimate process between actors and the director. Nonetheless, one day I got the call that I had been approved to attend the first joint meeting of the cast and the entire crew, including the designers and producers.

When I arrived at the rehearsal hall at noon, I met the show’s stage manager, Monica, who said that my first job was to stand in the door and keep Phil from entering the rehearsal room. Why? Because the first rehearsal of any professional show always begins with a one-hour meeting between the actors and a representative from Actors' Equity. No one who is not a member of the cast is permitted to attend. No one. And Monica had forgotten to tell Phil not to show up until 1 pm with the rest of the production staff. So it fell on me to bar his entrance.

This was not exactly my idea of how I wanted to meet Philip Seymour Hoffman. But I stood in front of the closed door, only slightly terrified, and thought, "Hey, I worked for Jay Chiat. How hard can this be?" About five minutes later, up the stairs comes Phil. "How do you do, Mr. Hoffman. My name is Steve Alburty and I'm the production assistant. And my first job is to keep you from going through that door.”

I explained the Equity rules and he said, "But I’m a member of Actors' Equity."

"That is true," I said, "but right now, you're the director, which means you’re the enemy."

He looked a little confused, then said, "I'm sure it will be ok." And in he went. Two minutes later, out he came. I said, "They kicked your butt out, didn’t they?" He mumbled "yeah" rather sheepishly, sat down in the hallway and proceeded to read the paper.

An hour later, the rest of the producers showed up, the rehearsal door was opened, and we all had a "meet and greet,” after which Phil closed the rehearsal to everyone except him and the actors so they could read through the play in private. I was not quite sure when I would be permitted to attend a real rehearsal, but Monica promised to bring it up with Phil when she felt the time was right.

I discovered, through Monica, that Phil loves Starbucks. In particular, Phil likes iced coffee with milk. Three days later, Monica called to say that Phil had agreed to let me attend my first real rehearsal. I showed up with an iced coffee from Starbucks, walked over to the director’s table, and placed it in front of Phil.

"What’s this?” he asked.

"A bribe,” I said. "Every day you let me attend rehearsal, you get an iced coffee.” He laughed.

"Yeah, like that’ll last about two days.”

Well, actually, it lasted about four weeks. I soon ingratiated myself with Phil and the cast by bringing in free coffees, granola bars, and sodas. The only things actors love better than applause is free food.

It was a fantastic experience to see the respect the cast, the crew, and Phil had for each other. He couldn’t have been more gracious and patient and kind to everyone. He always looked at me a little warily, like "Who is this guy? Is he like the world’s oldest production assistant or what?” But he liked the iced coffees, so I was permitted to stay.

I helped shuttle scripts and props and costumes all over town. Once we actually began to rehearse in the theatre, I held book and prompted the actors.

And then one day, a routine skin test at my dermatologist revealed that I had cancer, which would require surgery and a four-week recovery period. I continued attending final tech rehearsals, which were now grueling for one and all, running from noon to midnight. I had to keep my eye on the script at all times in case an actor called for his or her line. This helped me more than it helped them, for I was able to focus and keep from obsessing about the fact that I’d just been diagnosed with cancer.

I finally had to leave the show about two days before the first preview in order to have my surgery. But as I left, the cast gave me a round of applause, a 'get well’ card and a $20 Starbucks gift certificate, which I will carry in my wallet forever.

I’m now completely healthy and the show has been a big hit. (I’m sure it was my coffee.) They are selling tickets through June 29, so if you have a chance to see it, please do.

Here's the show’s website.

P.S. Phil is currently appearing on Broadway in "Long Day's Journey Into Night," starring Vanessa Redgrave, Brian Dennehy, and Robert Sean Leonard. It is, perhaps, the definitive production of one of America's greatest plays. Don't miss it. It's four hours long, though, so take coffee ... for you and for Phil.

June 05, 2003

Whatever happened to the Paperless Office?

Here's a fine article on the perpetual promise of a paperless world. (I must print it out and read it later.)


I Wonder

Do you supposed Ken Lay watched Martha Stewarts "perp walk" yesterday from the comfort of his living room in Aspen or by his pool in Palm Beach?

June 04, 2003

Inside the Box Factory


Here's an article (with lots of photos) about the new Dia:Beacon museum.


Aye carumba!

A federal jury Wednesday ordered Taco Bell Corp. to pay $30.1 million to two men who claimed the fast-food chain stole their idea for the advertising campaign featuring a talking Chihuahua.


We Know Where You Are


The widespread use of surveillance cameras has broad privacy implications. In a study by Hull University, 1 out of 10 women were targeted for voyeuristic reasons" by male camera operators. Minorities, the homeless, and activists are obvious targets for interested eyes. The "isee" project lets you chart a course through Manhattan which skirts all surveillance cameras.

Go to the website and click ONCE on a map location and wait. (Be patient and don't start clicking wildly. Click ONCE.) A yellow stick figure will appear. It represents you. Now click ONCE somewhere else on the map and wait. (Again, be patient.) The website will draw a map showing you a route which avoids all camera.


For a broader explanation of the project, click here.


Meetup.com is a free service that allows people with a common interest to form a spontaneous gathering. (Supporters of Howard Dean's campaign for President have been using this service to create highly successful grassroots rallies.) There are groups for Buddhists, the deaf, graphic designers, vegans, Jehovah Witnesses, EX-Jehovah Witnesses ... the cities, interests, and possibilities are infinite.


June 03, 2003

Lost and Found

Check the new "Lost and Found" link on the right-hand side of this web-page to help locate people who worked for Chiat/Day during the Jay years. Or, just click here.

Still the same sweat kid I always was.

eve.jpg rules.jpg

Uh. Sweet. I mean sweet kid.

I got this note from the Jayday editor. I thought you could post an entry that began 'The editor of jayday berated me into posting a brief recap of what I've been doing since I left Chiat/Day. Tell the whole story of your book, your move to Seattle and Charlotte, your drug addiction, your marriage to the Ecuadorian banana magnet ...'"

I do happen to be among my favorite subjects and since Id like to hear from some of you, I thought Id start.

After running away from CD, I messed around awhile, drove across country, landed in Seattle and sponged off my family for awhile. As one did in Seattle in the 1990s I went to work for a start-up high tech firm as the HR goddess. In fact, during my career Ive been called personnel, Human Resources, People Development and my favorite Chief Knowledge Officer. Thats the one where I would look earnest and say I know, I know when ever anyone said anything to me. I was good at it. Eventually I added Phew, dont I know it and duh Sherlock to my CKO tool kit.

I had been working on a book my last few months in NY called Rules for the Road: Surviving Your First Job Out Of School. The book is a guide to how not to get fired after youve worked so hard to get a job. Not long after I arrived in Seattle, I found a publisher (Perigee/Puntman). .The book came out to almost no reviews whatsoever, but did respectably. This lead to many book readings on campuses and free t-shirts. If you were ever an admin while I was in HR, I encourage you to read it. Some of it might seem familiar. Im not naming names but.

As one did in Seattle in the later 1990s I over saw the death of a dot.com or two. In between mass layoffs I wrote and published articles on the workplace, saw the entire presidential impeachment hearings gavel to gavel and created poor watercolor paintings. Dont tell my current employer, but it is now my policy to work for a couple of years then just mess around for a year and go back to work when I run out of money. There are lots of us doing ityoull see us having long lunches on Tuesday afternoons.

Somehow during one of my oops, out of money better find a job phases, I sent an application to a Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Civil Engineering firm in Charlotte North Carolina. They hired me. Since theyve never had HR here, I always tell them that any of the nasty stuff I dont like to do is really part of Finance and not HR. Its going very well. I moved here about a year ago. I dont say yall yet, but I am starting to dig the sweet tea.

"Advertising has come a long way ....


... or not," says former C/D-er Susan Wands, who provides us with a link to a website that demonstrates just how far advertising (and the art of food photography and presentation) has come. Celery log, anyone?

What dish of today will be tomorrow's joke?


Susan, by the way, is an accomplished actress and just returned from San Diego, where she starred in the world premiere of "Knowing Cairo" at the Globe Theatre. Her husband, Robert Petkoff, also an actor, recently starred in the lead role in a critically-acclaimed production of "Sunday in the Park with George" at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.

Nairobi Jane

Jane Newman is living in Nairobi and doing good works. After traveling for several years in Africa, Jane has returned to Nairobi. She has been helping traveling teachers buy donkeys and school supplies so that the teachers can go to the students. Teachers are able to set up their blackboards under a tree in the veld and conduct classes for the children of the nomadic people.

Since all of this information is second hand, I hope Jane will soon have email and be able to update us herself on her wonderful life.

The RemoteHome

One apartment, two cities. How can this be? Oh my God, it's the Virtual Apartment!


June 02, 2003

Steve Hancock, Adbeast


I seem to recall former Chiat/Day-er Steve Hancock as being very soft-spoken and exquistely well-mannered. Well, an article in the Financial Post, Canada's Wall Street Journal, has disclosed the truth of what's happened to Steve since he left Chiat/Day. The man has become an adbeast.

Taming the beast: A former agency executive says his new Web site makes lost dubs, irate clients, missed deadlines and other catastrophes a thing of the past

Susan Heinrich
Financial Post 05/12/2003

Adbeast, a Web site for the advertising business, appears to have found a way to pull that industry's somewhat antiquated way of producing and storing ads into the 21st century.

Adbeast (www.adbeast.com) or "the beast" as it's affectionately known by its client members, is making the production of ads and pitching business faster, cheaper and more efficient, something that participants say has been a long time coming.

"That old adage, 'You can't have it fast, cheap and good,' I don't believe that," said Steve Hancock, co-founder and chief executive of adbeast in Toronto.
Gone are tape rooms, lost dubs, couriers, impatient clients, inconvenient meetings and missed deadlines, according to adbeast. "The way that we do advertising hasn't changed in decades. No one's really come up with a way to make the process more efficient."

But adbeast is changing that. It acts both as a virtual library and a virtual studio for the agencies that pay subscription fees to use it. In Mr. Hancock's digital world, there is no longer a need for agencies to keep a physical library filled with 3/4-inch tapes stored in black boxes: It can all be moved online. Using the adbeast server, agencies set up virtual libraries of their work at the site. Access is strictly controlled by each agency member, but is available from around the globe.

"It's their own private secure world," explains Mr. Hancock.

When it comes to producing expensive television ads, much of the process can now be managed online, he said.

When Molson Inc. began a challenging shoot in Brazil last month for its newly launched A Marca Bavaria beer, adbeast enabled the players in Toronto and Rio to stay connected, with little delay.

"Adbeast was very helpful for us ... not only in Brazil, but once we were back here," said Gino Cantolini, vice-president of new business marketing with Molson in Toronto.

In one situation, Mr. Cantolini was in Brazil during the three-week shoot and wanted to make a casting change. From Brazil, he was able to download footage of a proposed actor to the adbeast site, and then asked his boss in Toronto to go online, have a look and offer up his opinion. And that all happened in a matter of minutes.

Mr. Hancock knows well of the frustrations of ad agencies trying to do more with shrinking budgets. While president of TBWA\Chiat\Day for five years, he spent both time and money trying to establish a proprietary Internet-based system to do the kinds of things adbeast is now doing. He left the agency in December, 1999, to start his own company.

And ironically, he confesses to not being a techie at all, a fact to which he credits some of the success of the system.

"I'm not a computer, technical sort of person at all, so to me it had to look nice and be easy to use. If people are going to use it, I felt we had to make it turnkey," he said. "Part of the vision is that everyone should be able to use the same platform and have access to the same tools."

And agencies large and small seem to be buying in. Adbeast now has 50 dedicated clients -- some ad agencies, some production houses -- and more who are using it on a trial basis.

Dan Pawych, creative director with Downtown Partners in Toronto, was one of the early users and has been a client for two years. "To me it's very much a breakthrough," said Mr. Pawych. "Especially given some of the timelines and deadline pressure we're under these days."

Mr. Pawych has found it most useful when his team is spread around the world and must meet virtually to make decisions that keep things moving.

Agencies are also using it to pitch their services to prospective clients, explains Mr. Hancock. Traditionally, making a new reel of ads to show a client meant lining up studio time, a technician and then physically dubbing several spots onto a tape, which could then be sent to a client or used in a presentation. With adbeast, creating a reel is as simple as moving existing electronic files onto an electronic reel, says Mr. Hancock, who can create a demo reel of five favourite ads in about 30 seconds. This can then be e-mailed or played during a presentation.

With some 4,000 to 5,000 ads already stored on the site, there does exist an opportunity to create some sort of advertising site for public consumption that could critique ads, for example. But Mr. Hancock is not interested in pursuing that: The business model that makes sense is about creating efficiencies for the ad agencies that pay to use the site.

"We're like Switzerland," laughs Mr. Hancock. "We're a [neutral] communication platform."

Black & White Photo: Glenn Lowson, National Post / Steve Hancock is co-founder and CEO of adbeast Inc., which provides ad industry clients with their own secure virtual library and studio.



Arcspace is a stunning online collection of photos and articles about some of the greatest architects in the world. (The photo above is a cultural center in New Caledonia designed by Renzo Piano.)





June 01, 2003

Reel Teens

Last night, I went to "Reel Teens," an annual film festival in Hunter Mountain, NY, which airs short films produced by teenagers around the world. (My favorite: "Holla Back Dubai" in which kids from Washington Heights sent footage of their apartments and neighborhood to Dubai and kids from Dubai did the same. Typical interview question? "What kind of candy bars do you have?")

The man who started the festival about five years ago did so because of his concern about cuts in arts funding in schools. This year's festival had 280 entries (inc. India and Finland) and several of the young filmmakers were present to receive their awards.

It was tremendously exciting to see kids ranging in ages from 10 to 18 shooting documentaries, public service announcements, and short fiction. (I went with a neighbor who directs a TV series and he was so stunned by the kids' invention and sophistication, he kept moaning "I'm out of a job.")

These types of festivals need support, since government cut-backs are decimating arts programs in schools.

Here are some links to websites aobut teen film festivals. Go to one, help fund one, or talk a teen you know into entering their own work.

Kid Filmakers
Bay Area and West Coast Regional Film Festivals for Kids
Angelus Awards (Hollywood)
American Alien Entertainment

Mystery Alum

mysteryalum1.JPG tomcarroll.jpg

WE HAVE A WINNER! Eve Luppert was the first to correctly identify our mystery alum. It is indeed Tom Carroll.

Introducing a new feature called "Mystery Alum." Here is a fragment of a photo, taken in April of 2003, of one of Chiat/Day's alums. Can you guess who it is? Add your guesses to the "comment" list and when somebody comes up with the right answer, I'll post the entire photo.