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Thoughts from DiMassimo Goldstein

LOVE YOUR BRAND

People want to commit to things that give their lives meaning, but of course people fear committing to things that will fail to return the love. Many institutions have done just that, leaving people with a lack of faith in any organization. So today, the dream seems to be of “passive income,” “the 4-hour Work Week”, the billion-dollar exit, freelancing, personal branding, trading in and out to make money.

In other words, the current popular dream is all about Freedom. Freedom from commitment. Freedom from sacrifice. Freedom from geographical limitations. Freedom from work. Freedom from want.

Yet, most people either fail to achieve this freedom and therefore exist in a dissatisfied purgatory of long hours and no love, or they achieve their detachment and feel a lack of meaningful connection in their lives. They realize they want to be part of something.

Look at it from the customer’s point of view. Do you want to do business with something that is just good enough to be easy money for the owner, or do you want to interact with something that represents a core commitment of the people who are involved? Do you want to work for someone who just wants “envelope money” or do you want to be part of something that is incredibly meaningful to the owner.

Love for one’s company strikes the post-modern ear as almost completely ridiculous, a total anachronism. Yet, I will argue that this sort of love is both more needed and more effective today than ever, and that love for company alone has separated many of the super-performing organizations of our era from the also-rans and failures that are all too common. This love that I speak of is not a “strategy” or “tactic.” It’s not an MBA lesson that can be trained into managers in some sort of executive finishing school. It represents a very real, deep, often painful level of commitment, a level of commitment that can ultimately create great success, great wealth, but much more than that, great fellowship and a great sense of significance and achievement.

Listen to Howard Schultz of Starbucks:
“One of the questions that I’ve been asked throughout the tour last couple of weeks is, “Why did you come back to Starbucks? It didn’t seem like this is something you had to do.  Or, what motivated you to come back?”  And when I answer that question it is with a word that generally is not used to describe people in business, or for that matter a word that is used in business schools, and it is ‘love.’  And the only way I can say it, is that besides from my family, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do to preserve and enhance the company, and our relationship with our customers, our shareholders, and doing everything that I can to exceed the expectations of our own people.  But it is love and devotion, and when you love something as much as I love Starbucks, there is a great responsibility that goes with it.”

Read Steve Jobs email to Apple employees on the occasion of his second medical leave in three years from the company:
“Team,
 At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.
I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Apple’s day to day operations. I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011.
I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.
Steve”

I’ve begun work on a small book on this subject, tentatively titled LOVE YOUR BRAND. I welcome your input and anecdotes, and I’ll post updates here.

— Mark DiMassimo

DIGO Brands Surfing

By Jeff Pundyk

Back before search, there was browse.

When I first started goofing around with the Internet in the early ‘90s, there was no directed search, no search engine optimization, no organic search, no paid search. We browsed. We looked for directories of links and followed them wherever they took us. We wandered. Often aimlessly. It was the thing that hooked me on the Internet – the idea that I could skip across the globe from computer to computer, driven by my curiosity and by serendipity, until I discovered something. Serendipity was the key. Serendipity meant unexpected outcomes.

Lycos and Yahoo turned up in 1994, providing centralized directories. The term of art was “drill down.” We’d start at the broadest level and with each click “drill down” deeper and deeper into more specialized categories. But we weren’t really drilling down. We were drilling sideways and backwards, up and down, driven by those unexpected outcomes and delighted by them. Think of it as guided curiosity.

Now we search. It’s directed. Not only do we search, but we each get personalized answers to our queries based on our previous searching habits. We get “search results” that are cooked just for us based on our search history. Personalization is everywhere – Netflix, Amazon, Google, ad servers. Our social networks are personalized too, filled with people who think just like we do, and offer an echo chamber of links that ricochet around our networks. And each of our “likes,” “RTs” and “checkins” simply serve to reinforce our borders. Eli Pariser calls it “The Filter Bubble”, the idea that personalization by algorithm and cloistered social networks are fencing us in.

The promise of the Internet is still its ability to connect, whether it be people to people or people to ideas. “The Filter Bubble” warns that we risk only connecting to the people and ideas that we already like. We say it’s not too late. The personalization algorithms are just responding to our own actions. So let’s get out of our bubbles. Visit bloggers with whom you do not agree; expand your network to include some dissonant views. “Like” something unexpected; follow someone unfamiliar. Do not simply accept search results; browse the Internet.

After all, the ingredients for growth are not usually found within our familiar borders. There is little to be learned from reinforcing what we already believe. Rather, growth comes from testing our beliefs against new ideas. Often, growth is found where we least expect it. Seek out serendipity.

 

Help us fix up the Internet

We are looking to extend our network of Flash Developers, Web Designers and Web Developers to help us make the Internet a better, more beautiful place.

We’ve got a lot of work to do and need an army of creative contractors to help us out. Join our network of interactive talent.

Flash Developers

  • resizes based on existing banner ads
  • turn static concepts into engaging animations and interactive experiences
  • solid knowledge of Flash, Photoshop and AS2/AS3 programming
  • knowledge of best practices and ways to keep file size down
  • experience with rich media applications, or additional web development is a plus
  • please provide examples of banners you have animated

Web Designers

  • engaging front end development for dynamic, interactive websites, microsites, apps and content management systems
  • create and flesh out wireframes and design user interface
  • extensive knowledge of Dreamweaver, Flash and PhotoShop
  • familiarity with HTML, CSS, JavaScript
  • please include links to websites you have designed

Web Developers

  • manage website development team of designers and external programmers from conceptualizing and creating graphic and user interface solutions to implementation of back end development/coding.
  • develop projects plans, schedules and SOWs, prepare estimates and manage costs throughout project
  • proven understanding of User Experience and Information Architecture
  • responsible for QA testing across system and browser platforms throughout development.
  • excellent communication and client facing skills and maintaining a positive and solution-oriented attitude at all times.
  • Technical Skill Requirements: working knowledge of PHP, MySQL, HTML/CSS, XML, JavaScript, experience with WordPress.

 

Send resumes, urls, apps or any other way we can get a feel for your work to careers@digobrands.com

 

DIGO Offlines Father’s Day

This Father’s Day, we’re looking for an artist who can give the song that made a million dads cry a refresh for the Facebook generation. Are you talented enough to do the job? Visit Offlining.com to enter the contest and find out.

The winning songwriter will get an aggressive P.R. push from one of NYC’s premier public relations agencies. We’ll get your music heard by all the right people (labels, press, blogs, etc). It’s a great way to make connections and get your career going. And maybe even make a difference while you’re at it.

 

DIGO Brands A Boom

We never owned one of these. While CEO Joseph Park was kind enough to offer us shares of Kozmo, now worthless, back then we said, “we’re still figuring out how to make our clients successful, and we don’t have time to figure out how to be successful investors at the same time.” So, we value invested the first internet boom. We decided that the value we’d get out of it would be opportunity, experience and learning. We didn’t trouble ourselves about “upsides” we might be missing. Living well is the best revenge, we thought, and we were living well.

Now that talk of a new digital boom (or bubble) is in the air, and the line at our door is once again lengthening, it’s interesting to note how we at DIGO played the first dot com boom and what we learned in the process. If the story of Kozmo.com tells us anything, it’s that boom time decisions can kill otherwise prescient and viable growth businesses. When people manage toward the changing whims of investors, fundamental business values can suffer, and sometimes the wounds are mortal. It’s hard-won wisdom that our clients — today often our partners and fellow shareholders — can rely on. No extra charge.

 

DIGO Brands The Rapture


Nothing good ever seems to happen without a deadline. So we at DIGO, who build brands and businesses, are grateful to the crackpots out there who periodically predict the end of the world. This way, we get all the benefits of the deadline of deadlines, without having to take the inevitable hit to our brand credibility when it once again turns out that Annie was the better prognosticator, and the sun comes out tomorrow. We well know that there is something in the human heart that does seem to quicken at the thought of a good apocalypse. Of all brands, the U.S. Govenment has mined this insight masterfully and has achieved extreme viral and social marketing success with their new Zombie Invasion Preparedness campaign. The parties. The memes. The jokes. The videos. The tweets. As a marketer and creative person, you can’t not be inspired by the global creativity that arises out of what in the Dark Ages would have just been some pretty bad news. So we thank the misguided zealots who stepped forward and took the extreme brand hit in order to set the deadline. Heck, it even got me to deliver this post!