Change (Part II)


Well, folks… I’m quite pleased to announce, it’s time for a change!

In December of 1993 I graduated from UWM with a BFA in Graphic Design. Now, nearly 21 years later, I’m returning. I’ll be pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in a new program focused on Digital Fabrication and Design at UW-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts. Yes, I’m going to Graduate School.

I’ve had quite a bit of variety in the last two decades of my career, and the list of things I’ve done is getting lengthy, including design, software & web development, project management, photography, video, and audio production, system administration, model/actor, prop maker, technical editor, communications director, product development, writer, robot builder, race car driver… (OK, that last one is only slightly true.)

The one thing I’ve been surprised by when telling people about this change is that nearly everyone has been extremely supportive and excited about it. Their excitement may be due to my own excitement being reflected back, but I’ll take it!

Anyway, you can expect more changes in the coming months, but I’m pretty sure that no matter what the change brings, it’ll be exciting.



Change (Part I)


“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”


Change and Reputation

Contemplating the Vortex

I keep hearing about how Facebook and Twitter are changing the way things are done. From drafting a constitution to fixing Summerfest, these “new” sites are making new things possible… sort of.

But really, this is nothing new as far as the web is concerned. A typical web site from 2002 could easily have solicited feedback on how to improve things within a country, or a festival, or your own home town. In fact, some did, but there were some crucial elements missing, including critical mass, and reputation.

Critical mass in that there’s more people online now, being more engaged, thanks to sites like Twitter and Facebook. For the typical non-nerdy type, Facebook is the simple way to be online and connect with friends, and family, and brands. Twitter is pretty similar nowadays, though maybe slight nerdier, and even that is debatable now.

When I talk about reputation, I’m talking about the fact that with Twitter, and Facebook, you very often have a well formulated idea of who someone is. It’s typically built by looking at what the person has to say, and to who, and who has things to say to them. Their reputation. Their identity.

In the olden days (1997-200?) reputation was often tied to your blog, where you did your talking and where people talked back to you. (I’m sure similar things could be said of forums, etc. but I’m not convinced it’s the same thing.) I know there have been anonymous bloggers, but if I look back at the people who were blogging at the same time I started, I knew those people, and I trusted those people. I read their blogs daily, and they read mine, and we commented on each others posts, and we had conversations. It may have been a fixed point in time which created this situation, and perhaps it is an illusion… I don’t know for sure.

But the point is, I think what Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, and other sites have going for them nowadays is this element of trust and reputation they give to the users. These elements (should) allow a conversation to happen without the doubt that can often exist online, where you don’t know if a dog is a dog or a guy pretending to be a dog.

I’m still thinking through this whole idea… but would love some feedback on it.


Pepsi… a World Changer?

Pepsi Refresh

Pepsi does a lot of good in the world… For instance, their Refresh Everything project states:

Pepsi is giving away millions each month to fund refreshing ideas that change the world. The ideas with the most votes will receive grants, so vote for your favorites. Do you have an idea that needs support? Learn how Pepsi can help.

And hey, Milwaukee’s own Teecycle was even awarded a $4,500 grant from Pepsi to assist in the development of (Disclaimer: Teecycle Tim is a friend, and I’m a fan of what Teecycle is doing.)

And right now, Pepsi is “Doing good for the Gulf” by committing an “additional $1.3 million” towards ideas that refresh the Gulf.

Don’t get me wrong, this is all good stuff. Pepsi makes billions and they should be a good corporate citizen and give something back. I’m all for that.

But then I wonder to myself… If Pepsi is making billions selling sugar water to people, does it seem like things are out of whack?

I have two friends who are teachers that just got laid off. Those are just two people I know, out of the many layoffs that are happening in schools around my own state. It seems pretty sad that education gets cut while executives at Pepsi, a company that sells sugar water, are making excessive salaries.

I could say that people like Pepsi better than education, but I’m getting pretty close to crackpot territory. I mean, I pretty much quit all soda drinking many years ago in favor of water, which, you know, is better for you, and cheaper, and… also probably sold in many places by Pepsi. I also work with a guy who loves drinking soda and he says it makes him happy, so who am I to mess with someone’s happiness?

If you buy Pepsi products, all this “do-goodery” might make you feel good… but I wonder, would you feel better if you quit drinking soda, started drinking water, and donated all the money you’d save directly to the causes you care about? What if one million people did that? Take Pepsi out of the loop, take their cut out of the loop, and donate directly to the causes that need it, without a corporate middle-man taking a slice of the pie.

In 1983, Steve Jobs lured John Sculley away from Pepsi-Cola to serve as Apple’s CEO, asking, “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”

Maybe someone at Pepsi got really bothered by this, and decided they could change the world. Or, maybe it’s more likely a lesson someone told me long ago… If you really want to change the world, start a business, and make lots of money.

I’m not sure that was always the path towards changing the world, but it seems like nowadays, it’s the easiest path.



Things are gonna change I can feel it…

This is the first election I’ve really felt that things are going to change. For so many years I was convinced that voting was always the choice between the lesser of two evils, and that no matter who won, it would always be the old rich white guy.

I’ve never really been loyal to my sorrowful country, Blind patriotism always leaves me feeling ill, and after years of buying American made cars and seeing them fall apart, I got sick of it, and started to buy Japanese cars. But in the past few months, I started to turn… I’d actually like to see the U.S. build better cars, and I’d like to someday own one.

I still like to think of myself as a citizen of the world, and not some mindless flag waving fool, but maybe it’s OK to be a bit proud of this country. Sure, the U.S. has done a lot of evil things, but I like to think we’ve done some good things as well, and can do better thing in the future.

Anyway, I’m feeling very strange right now… sort of happy, sort of anxious, and sort of in a state of confusion.

I continue to hope for a better tomorrow…