Archive for April, 2012



Job Advice to Young Creatives

I love artists. My parents owned an art gallery growing up in Brazil, my father is a plastic artist, and I have done a lot of graphic design in my past. My company is always looking for creatives in video, web, and print. I love meeting young talented people who bring fresh ideas and new sensitives to our portfolio. Good work from young creatives is like looking at the world through a fresh set of eyes. But often, managing creatives can be difficult and downright painful. I often get asked during the interview process at our company what I’m looking for in a creative hire. Here’s my wish list: Speak up. Don’t be afraid to bring your perspective into a project. That’s what we want from you–your youth and everything that comes with it. Be teachable. Your design video is not God-breathed and, believe it or not, it can be…

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You Can Cultivate Talent But Not Teach It

You can cultivate talent, but you cannot teach, coach, or even motivate people into developing skills they do not posses or are not naturally gifted. I used to believe that with enough effort, people could do anything they want. After all, I was told growing up that I could do anything I wanted to do as long as I set my mind to it and worked hard enough at it. Well, that’s a lie. A big fat lie. One of the reasons for whatever success we have seen at The A Group rests in our ability to hire talented people and challenge and resource them to continue to grow. I’m proud of the work of we do, but I’m mostly proud of the team that output so much quality. I have seen companies twice our size that are not able to accomplish as much. Here are some skills you cannot…

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We Should Age But Never Grow Old

Aging is a matter of the mind. And yet I tell my body everyday that and it still aches and hurts every time I go out on a run. The truth is that, for the most part, aging stinks. But you can live a long time and never get “old” a.k.a crabby, bitter and demanding. Well, by those standards there are days that I could be considered old, very, very old. We can’t stop gravity and time from slowing us down,but we can stop aging from robbing us of a full life. If you don’t think so, just take a look a this video. Question: How do you stay young?

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Work that Makes a Difference

I love the fact that what I do for a living matters.  I could make more money if the core of my business served more corporate clients instead of not-for-profits, churches, authors, and Christian publishers. But I know I wouldn’t be any more fulfilled than I am today. Walking side by side with men and women who have given their entire lives to serve others has been humbling and yet so rewarding. As I spend time in Europe with people who have given their lives to bring hope to the often called “dark continent,” I’m reminded that what I do and what my team does is making a difference. My prayer today is that you’ll look for ways to live out your dreams and find the courage to seize the moment when opportunity presents itself. If you were able to chose any profession or line of work you want, what…

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An Amazing Dinner Experience and Why Details Matter

It was perhaps one of the best meals I’ve ever had. And I have had a lot of good meals. Restaurante Casino is top rated by Zagat. I made reservations based only on the reviews I read on my phone, hours before flying into Madrid. I had high expectations, but was not sure what to expect. The experience exceeded my expectations by a mile. While the food tasted great (all 15 courses), what made the overall experience unforgettable was the attention to every detail from the moment I called them to the last goodby as a couple of the staff escorted us to the VIP elevator. “Just a reminder, jackets are required for gentlemen” said the voice over the phone on a courtesy call on the day of my reservation. In the sum total of my valuation of the night, I think about the food as much as I recall…

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In Business, Being Available is Often All You Need

Organizations are always looking for a competitive advantage that will get them more consumers, clients, or traffic. After all, times are difficult and most businesses, specially retail, are in survival mode. Often it is not the latest social media strategy or expensive marketing campaign that is the difference between winning or losing a sale, but making sure we do the basics well that will make the most difference. My traveling companion’s computer bag ripped. Yesterday afternoon we walked the streets of Madrid looking for a replacement. We had passed a store with a great selection and reasonable prices, even for Europe. After lunch we decided to purchase a bag there. We arrived at 4:30 pm and the store was closed for “lunch” (the Spaniards take lunch around 2:30). They were not set to open until 5:30. We walked a couple of blocks and bought a more expensive bag from their…

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Technology, Communication and Travel

I have been saying for a while now that technology and communication have fused into one discipline. I don’t think you can communicate effectively in our culture without using digital media. I was reminded of that Saturday night during my late dinner in a tiny Armenian restaurant in Madrid. Restaurant Vartan has been in business for over 33 years. It does not have a website and it is tucked away in a side street away from the city crowded streets. If you do not look for it diligently, you’ll miss it altogether. The fact that I have never been to Madrid and that there are over 3,000 sit-down restaurants in the city to choose from, and that I found my way into Vartan was a feat against all odds. While the establishment does not have a web presence, I found great reviews on the Trip Advisor app on my iPhone.…

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Visualcy and the New Language of Communication

The job of the innovator is to create a new culture. But the job of the communicator is to speak the language of the culture, or create a new language in order to communicate effectively. Recently, I heard David Kinamman, president of Barna Research, talk about visualcy. I immediately understood it and it gave name to a trend I have been aware of for quite some time. Content is moving from passive to interactive from literacy to visualcy The average American teenage consumes 34 gigs of information a day, mostly video games and television Printed words account for less than 0.1% of today’s total communication The average teen spends more than 10 hours a day looking at media What are the implication for communicators? How is this shift impacting how you communicate?

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Pete Wilson, Empty Promises, and a Book You Must Read

Sometimes a book comes along that hits you like a ton of bricks. “Empty Promises” is that kind of a read. My friend and pastor Pete Wilson’s new book is not only something I’m proud to be part of, but it truly is a powerful reminder of how easy it is for me to be trapped by the dangers of the empty promises. When asked about the book, Pete says, “I wrote this book because I see a natural drift in my life. It’s a drift toward things that do not satisfy me, have never satisfied me, and have no hope of ever satisfying me, but I still continue to pursue them anyway.” How ironic is it that although we’ve had gadgets, relationships, success, beauty and all these things that the world says, “This is what satisfies you,” we’ve had those things…and we’ve tasted them….and they didn’t satisfy. So much…

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Why You Should Start a Business During Down Times

On a recent flight, I sat next to a man who had just started a new business. Unless you’re in Brazil, India, or China, starting a business anywhere else in the world at this moment is a difficult proposition. The recession has not subsided and economic indicators are all over the place. My new friend, Mike, is creating incentive management software for auto sellers. Nissan is his first client. What a way to get started by landing a big fish…no, landing a whale. But then I thought about when I started my own business and decided that this is a perfect time to start a new venture. I started The A Group ten years ago this past November, a couple of months after 9/11.  I have learned big shifts in the economy, such as our current recession, create openings in opportunity because it often changes the rules of the game.…

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