David Rickles


My random place to store insights, musings, and amusements about the industry of creative. Oh, and the occasional tutorial as well.

Flexibility vs Consistency

I read an interesting article on valedictorians yesterday. The article studied those that graduated first in their class through the next 20 years that followed. Many were by the standard norms “successful”. They had good jobs. They were generally in power positions. They made good incomes.

But they also weren’t the leaders we might perceive. They were unlikely to be entrepreneurs. Unlikely to be millionaires. Unlikely to found companies based on innovation. By contrast, the successful people in these respects were more likely to have a 2.9 GPA.

There was a quantitative deduction done on this study to analyze this trend. And frankly it makes sense. Those that were valedictorians proved they could be consistent in their executions. Consistent in their thinking. Consistent in following a laid-out process.

But those who had the lower GPA’s tended to forget traditional learning. They were more commonly disruptors. They were less likely to go with the flow — preferring their way to the mainstream way. Their approach was flexible — worrying less about grades, and choosing to go real-world experience instead. They took an entrepreneurial approach to learning.

Think about this as it relates to your brand. Is your brand consistent? Is it checking boxes? Is it following a path laid in front of it?

Or is it flexible? Is it choosing to disrupt space and make the world a bit more unique?

Maybe asked differently: How successful is your brand? No, really?

REFERENCED ARTICLE: http://time.com/money/4779223/valedictorian-success-research-barking-up-wrong/

David Rickles
The Masses are the Media

It wasn't so long ago that brands held dominant sway over the media. Television, movies, radio, print... all of them were things the masses engaged with primarily as a result of there not being anything else. Our stories were implanted through those mediums, sometimes as adverts, other times through the work of our public relations teams.

Then the internet came of age. And more specifically, then Social Media came of age.

Now, the masses are the media.

Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, et al have all re-written the act of what 'media' means. The masses are constantly connected, both with each other, and with media from everywhere. Everyone is now a content publisher. Every platform is accessible. And this has fundamentally changed the way we need to market our brands.

The adverts that used to work are passed by as distraction. Just look at the declining success of display ads. Commercials are neutralized in the on-demand culture that surrounds television. Conventional product placement has been replaced by the concept of influencers. And marketing teams have whole new divisions to create content.

This drastic shift is a byproduct of the masses choosing what's worthy. If it's great, they share it. If it's not, it's smothered. Now, more than ever, the emphasis behind our brands must fall not only on being authentic to the mission and vision, but how we can best tell the stories of success and impact the brand has.

Further, this increased dichotomy between risk and reward has leveled the playing field. Well-known brands are forced to compete on the same playing field with the lesser-knowns. Quality, not caliber is placed at a premium. Half-efforts, which maybe once were easy to mask, are now immediately called out and shunned. But when brands succeed at creating quality stories that resonate, the reward is the masses spread the content viral.

This control means the Masses have now taken over as the media. We must turn our stories over to them, and they will be the final judge.

David RicklesComment
About Authenticity….It’s Dead.

With regard to branding, Authenticity is dead. And as the branders, marketers and creatives, we’re to blame.

Okay, maybe it didn’t die…but it’s at least on life support.

So what happened? We all strive to bring authenticity to our work and our brands. And further, we all know that being authentic is what fundamentally shapes the approach to our brands (or at least should). So again I ask, how did we get here?

One word: buzz. We stopped trying to do the hard work — or at least the honest work — of really figuring out what the heart of our brands are. And we allowed ourselves to say we’re being authentic without any effort to back the assertion up.

Think about it… how many times have we sat in rooms where a series of buzz words will be said in rapid succession, only for the summation being something along the lines of “this is what keeps us authentic to our brand”? If the best way to describe the unique, only-you offering of our brands is to use buzz words, then we’re merely talking in sales-speak. It’s not true. It’s not honest. It’s not authentic.

Make no mistake, figuring out how to be authentic is the hardest part of being a brander. Today’s world is so accessible that it’s easy to see something you like, and try to assimilate it. Or to skip the articulation of your brand, in favor of generic words that may resonate socially within the field.

We do this because we don’t want to make the effort to put things into our own voice. And because its easier to say it “feels” connected than come up with something truly original. But make no mistake, that is no better than theft. And worse, it dilutes the brand to being nothing more than a patchwork quilt of other, potentially though not always, more thought out brands. And worst of all, this could end up guiding important decisions our brands make.

Maybe you can fool your boss. Maybe you can fool your peers. Maybe you can get away with it on the short term. But your audience will always call you to the carpet. They know what your are or are not. And they are the final jury.

It’s time to stop buzzing about being authentic, and to start figuring out what that means uniquely to our brands. Looking in the mirror is terrifying…but only then will you truly elevate your brand beyond the crap.

David Rickles
Location. Location. Location.

It’s the business idiom of idioms…”The three rules of success in business are Location, Location, Location.” Traditionally this meant finding a structure located in an area. Ensuring it was surrounded by an audience likely to have interest and/or consideration of your product. And that your product was offered within the store.

Oh how life has changed in the 2nd era of tech. We all know we’re in a global economy. Our addresses are transposed with a URL. Your product may only require a link to deliver — and is more likely a product of thought than true labor. And your potential audience is now limited only by the ability to find them. Entire industries have been created by this…jobs like Demand Gen, Data Analysts, etc.

So the easy question is does Location matter anymore? As should be obvious, in the literal sense: no.

But let’s say for a minute that we suspend the colloquial meaning of location. Your new location is your url. Your proximity is the extent of your outreach on every platform imaginable. Your consumers are more likely than ever to share and impact the opinions of future customers.

Put differently, location means voice. Location means social and content marketing. Location means the stance your company takes, and the impact it hopes to have. Location is redefined to mean the micro and macro of how your consumers interact with your product.

So let’s stop with the idiom as it was…and let’s re-write it to what the idiom should be for today’s world:

“The first three rules of success in business are Brand, Brand, Brand.”

David Rickles
The Value of Emotional Intelligence

The world we live in now is more is interconnected than ever. How many times have we heard this? It’s too easy of a statement to make. And it, in general, is never backed up with an explanation of why this matters to your brand.

But it matters because we’re under a microscope. Always.

It matters because your brand will be openly exposed in ways you never thought possible.

It matters because your audience is equally openly exposed to you.

It matters because the success of a brand now relies more on your ability to recognize the difference between feelings, and use that information to guide behavior.

It matters because the more exposure we have, the more we must develop our Emotional Intelligence to connect with one another.

David Rickles
What is your distinction?

Unique is a term every company tries to own. Their values will surround creating new and disrupting productions. Their maxim’s will surround being influential, leading innovation, and risking all to find excellence. Sound familiar?

Everyone wants to claim territory using snappy buzz terms. But that doesn’t build a brand. What builds a brand is what truly makes your company distinct.

David Rickles
Offsetting Cloth Simulations

In this tutorial from MoGraphTuts.com, we show you how to create a banner drop style cloth simulation, cache it and back it into a motion system so the banners can be cloned and offset using a step effector.

David Rickles
Effectors and Dynamics

In this quick tutorial, we'll show you a quick work-around on how to use effectors after running a dynamic simulation. This requires baking the simulation, and collapsing the Cloner Object into geometry (or primatives).

David Rickles