I haven't been too busy to blog; I've been out of the office.
Truth is, after I got done with my work at the orgnaization that I shall not discuss publically (hereafter refered to as the OTISHDP), I took a vacation with my family.
We did that thing. You did it with your familiy. I did it with mine when I was little. Now Gaia's done it with hers. We drove to Devil's Tower and back.
It was a crazy trip. And I'm busy writing about it. I love traveling with my family. I have stories and pictures and drawings. But in the itnerim, here's some great videos that Google Photos made automatically.
Becuase, as much as I rage against robots, sometimes they do cool things for you.
I'll post a few more to hold you over while I write my travelogue.
I made this little video at work yesterday to celebrate my final day there.
Please enjoy it.
This. Forever yes.
Hey, everybody. Gabe here. I just wanted to start this piece off with an important note. This post has nothing to do with "Conversations with Phil," the incredible podcast made by my old buddy Phil Gerbyshak.
Phil Gerbyshak is a human being that I know, and he is entertaining and thoughtful. This post is about my ongoing passive-aggressive battle with robots.
I am currently "on the market" for jobs, so to speak. And as a result, I get a lot of email from recruiters. But one particular recruiter is very special to me. And I want to tell you more about him.
On Feb. 24, Phil, who is a recruiter with a primary placement agency sent me a job so new that not many people had applied for it yet. I dutifully clicked on the link, and sadly, the job was so new that there was no job there at all, just an ugly 404 Page Not Found error.
So I shot Phil back a message. "Hey Phil, your Robot sent me a garbage link."
"Talk Soon!" Phil wrote. Seriously. The email message says "Talk Soon!" Phil, whose email signature implies he's located in Santa Monica, Californa, thinks that he and I are going to "talk." And "soon."
"Phil, your robot wasn't super helpful," I said.
Phill did not reply. It would not be the first time I would be disappointed in my conversations with Phil.
Phil writes to let me know that "he wanted to reach out" and let me know that he's aware of a job I applied for and that there are other jobs that are kind-of vaguely like that one, and if I click the 1-click apply button he'll go ahead and submit my application. That's super thoughtful Phil. Thanks, buddy.
And the tone of this email is so different than his previous emails. He might actually be a person.
Phil does not respond.
Phill writes again. I get a lot of email from Phil. I've received 27 emails from Phil in the past 25 days. This email, though, This email is different. This email is to an obviously scammy multi-level marketing company that has little to nothing to do with the kind of jobs I would consider.
I've had it. I'm sorry, Phil. But I have to say something. "Stop sending me multi-level marketing jobs. We both know you're a better recruiter than that, Phil."
Now I feel bad; I don't mean to chastise Phil. He's probably a real person; he's got a quota to meet. "Send me your picture,"]I add. See! I'm not a jerk. I should add more. "Are you human? Let's be friends."
Phil responds almost immediately. I've seen it all before. Blah blah blah, "Talk Soon."
Talk soon, buddy.
Phill found a job that he thinks lines up with my resume. "It's new, so they don't have many candidates yet..." I can't take it anymore. I know Phil is a human being, in my heart, I know this. But as I man of science, I must know for sure. I MUST DETERMINE FOR ONCE AND FOR ALL! ARE YOU A MAN OR A MACHINE, PHIL? WHICH IS IT?
That message was sent 38 minutes ago. And Phil has not yet responded.
Have I gone too far? Did my casual application of the Liars Paradox break the Phil robot? Have I killed him? Phil? Are you still out there buddy?
What have I done?
Your firm needs a voice and tone guide, a collection of technique, positioning, and words and phrases that anyone in your company can use to create work that is on-brand.
This is you: > Voice and Tone Guide!!? I’m not going to sing anything!
This is me: > Not with that attitude you're not.
But the fact is, your company's brand is stronger when everyone has agreement on how they speak and react to the outside world, and to each other. That's what the voice and tone guide is for. Trust me. This isn’t one of those wonky “marketing is everyone’s responsibility” tools. This is ground zero of controlling your brand and ensuring that your staff knows how to represent your company's brand.
This is you: > No. You should just write my letters for me.
This is me: > I can’t. I’m too drunk.
Why am I so drunk? Because I read your letter to the pheasant hunters who want to use your company’s property on the weekends. It drove me to drink. You can’t call people with guns names like that. And as a rule, you should avoid describing the company’s property as a “valued real estate asset” to anyone.
See, if you’d had a Voice and Tone Guide, you would have known what words, phrasings, and positioning to use when you wrote your letter. You would have known to position the response to the hunters around the safety and support of our clients. You would have known to offer the hunters alternative solutions because we’re well known as collaborators and supporters of the hunting arts. You could have used one or two of our stock letter templates to get you started, and most of the work would have been done for you. You would have known to use “hunter-first” language.
You would have known. You could have known. But you didn’t. And now there is a group of angry pheasant hunters running around town telling people that your company “kicked them off the land” because you told them “they are not safe people” and that they would damage the "real estate."
I’m not the only one who thinks you should have a voice and tone guide. Here is a list of five links that are almost literally the first five links that Google give you:
- Mailchimp’s vaunted Voice and Tone Guide
- Buffer pays homage to Mailchimp’s Voice and Tone Guide
- A simple tool to guide tone of voice
- Rocket Media complains about the popularity of Mailchimp’s guide, kind of.
- Harriet Cummings ‘Finding Your Brand’s Voice’ is the best of these articles.
Enjoy those links. I’m going to make some coffee and try to sober up. I have a make-good letter to the local Pheasant Hunters Society that I have to come up with now.
Hey: Just so you guys know, I'm not really drunk-- but I do really write voice and tone guides for companies. Hit up PrettyGoodContent.com for details.
I used the phrase "thinking with my fingers" today.
What I meant when I said that was that I find that I use my "editing" brain best when I have some text in front of me, and a can move it around and format it easily. I enjoy taking someone else's written ideas and working with it as plaintext. Mashing it and moving it around, rewriting bits and copy-pasting it. Fold, spindle and mutilate.
Because at the end of the day, its easy to believe that all you are is words. An expression of a jumbled pile of ideas brought into reality based on the arrangement of phonemic representations.
To that end, I think I understand my hostility toward overbearing word processors now.
Anyway, my best ideas come to me while my fingers are flipping around on the keyboard. When I have to stop to mouse, I lose focus and move along to other things. That's what I mean by "thinking with my fingers."
I wanting to show you guys a little bit of code I inserted into an online job application I filled out this morning:
<style="font-size:0px" Hey, if you see this text, you should know that I'm a pretty special candidate. Can you make sure you let the hiring manager know? Anyway, shoot me an email if you see this, ok?>
I was surprised that I could edit the source code of the system's paste-in resume block-- but when I reloaded the page, the text was still in there. I'm hopeful that someone will at least see it and get a good chuckle.
Or, and more importantly, I also hope it will make the site's administrator aware of the potential security concern this creates. A few choice SQL commands dropped into this form would really mess up his day. And probably a lot of other people's. I did't do that because I'm not a jerk. But trust me, there are a lot of jerks out there.
I'll let update this post if I get an email from anyone about this. But I know I won't. Trust me, I've been on corporate teams that built this kind of garbage, and even if (and that's usually a pretty big if) someone on the team was well aware of the potential security risk, the rest of the team either downplayed it, didn't believe it, or blew it off.
There is a particularly terrible episode of Star Trek the Next Generation titled: "The Game"
If you haven't seen it, it doesn't matter. You can watch this trailer and try not to cringe yourself to death.
Turns out, after years and years and years of searching, I have finally found my game.
You need to stop what you're doing and play Dino Polo Club's Mini Metro. It's described as "a minimalist subway route layout game. But I call it the greatest timesuck that man has ever invented.
It has that special thing, you know? Where you look down at your phone and trace a quick line between a circle and a triangle and the next thing you know nine hours have gone by and you've crashed your car into that house at the bottom of Water Tower Hill. (Not the one by the barrier, the one next to it. Great job!)
Seriouslly, though. I am in love with this little game. It's so soothing to watch the little trains running around, taking the little dots, squares, triangles and even stars to and from one location to the other. And I imagine all the cool stuff that is happening to those little dots, squares and triangles and even stars as they travel around real world cities. They cross bridges and move from imaginary downtowns to imaginary suburbs and take transfers betweent the blue and green line to get over to the tunnel that takes them to that one record store they like.
Look, I'm making it too complicated.
Look at these screenshots of my little railines instead. They are beautiful little works of urban art.
We liked it so much, we bought it on IOS, too. So now my whole family just sits around looking at little tiny metros thinking about all the cool ways to get the triangle people back to their little triangle stops.
Gotta go, there's congestion at one of the squares downtown. Seems the football people can't' figure it out.