Kerrigan Makes New Friends

My daughter turned 5 recently, and this year I wanted to give her a special one-of-a-kind present. So I slaved away at my computer for a couple of months, writing and illustrating a children’s book for her that features our favorite StarCraft character.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy with any project I’ve ever done. The look on her face when I surprised her was priceless, and watching her read it herself makes me so proud!

Anyway, since this book isn’t for sale or anything, I thought I’d share it with you guys in case you like StarCraft too!

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Writing without plotting

When I was 18 or 19, I read a Syd Field book and instantly fell in love with the concept of the 3-act structure and properly plotting out your story. Since then, this ideal has dominated all my creative endeavors.

My writing always follows a structured plan, be it a screenplay, press release or magazine article. Recently, my blog posts are now plotted out using headers as chapter guides*.

When I was young and copying out drawings from comics, I’d draw a character’s eyes first and then draw outwards from there. I’d frequently draw myself into a corner or edge of the page. Continue reading

The life changing magic of tidying your friends list

When I was working at Carousell, I did a lot of research into this tidying guru named Marie Kondo. You might have heard of her and the KonMari method of tidying before.

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KonMari might write a lot of weird stuff about talking to your clothes and touching stuff to see if they “spark joy” but there is a lot of truth in her method. If you keep your life tidy, you’re able to focus on the things you really want out of life.

And I’ve come to learn that this isn’t exclusive to clothes and old books; it works for your social media friends list too!

Continue reading

Millennial Aristotle teaches Social Content Marketing

Since the beginning of time, brands have been confounded by social content strategy. What do my customers want to read? How do I effectively market my products to a generation with no attention span?

Unfortunately, a lot of content strategists are young, cocky ex-journalists who love to spout buzzwords like virality, engagement potential, and the Internet of Things.

I get it: nobody likes being lectured by some smartass millennial who is barely past puberty and uses content creators like Taylor Swift, Gary Vee and Grumpy Cat as case studies, so here I am to explain the same concepts using the irrefutable wisdom of ancient Greece dressed up in millennial slang.

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I am Aristotle, and I was a student of Plato until he died in 347 BC. I’ve extensively researched the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and my bae Homer, and written a whole crap-ton of works that you might have heard of, like Poetics, The Art of Rhetoric, and Metaphysics.

So that pretty much makes me the ideal guide to show you how to engage the modern world’s content-thirsty audience. Continue reading

You’re never too old to learn

There’s a perception that older folks are stubborn and stuck in their old ways, refusing to acknowledge the shift towards cloud computing and emoji-based punctuation. While that stereotype exists for a reason (and you’re part of the reason, mom), I’ve worked with plenty of older people who are the complete opposite.

During my stint in visual effects over at Industrial Light and Magic, the veteran VFX artists were revered by the younger artists. Not just because they were the ones who built the original plastic models of the Death Star and the giant AT-AT walkers and figured out how to composite these creations onto live-action footage, but because they continually push VFX boundaries with new ideas.

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When I was in advertising, my boss was probably the oldest person on the team but she displayed a voracious appetite for learning matched only by my 4 year old daughter and her classmates in play school. I’ve never met anyone who spends so much time consuming information about new tools and consumer trends and figuring out ways to apply them to our campaigns.

I was as comfortable talking to her about Snapchat and Instagram demographics and user behavior as I was with my Gen Y peers; I didn’t have to downshift my vernacular or anything.

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Sure you’ll meet plenty of older workers who will use their “years of experience” and prior success as a defense mechanism to mask a complete drought of new ideas, but let’s be honest here: there are plenty of younger workers who display an equal level of inflexibility.

1msf4vCan anyone not name an intern or junior exec they’ve worked with who will tenaciously insist that their microscopic experience of life and insular world view somehow supersedes generations of learning and development?

Pro-tip: You can’t disrupt what you don’t understand just because you watched a few YouTube videos.

I’m constantly inspired by the humility displayed by my seniors who are constantly reinventing themselves and their work, and you should be too. If we don’t learn anything else from them, we should learn this: you should never stop learning and improving. As the founders in my current workplace love to say: “We’re always less than 1% done.”

So before you write off that older colleague as a has-been complaining about those rascals on their front lawn, talk to them. If you find that they’re open to new ideas, it will serve you well to put on your listening cap too.

In the meantime, here’s a song that’s only ever sung by really old people like my dad: The Young Ones by Cliff Richard and the Shadows.

 

Don’t taint someone’s achievement with your cynicism

Recently I saw an article on Kotaku about a World of Warcraft player who leveled their neutral Pandaren to the maximum level cap of 90. This means he never left the starting zone (meant to go up to level 15 only) and had to slowly gain xp from collecting plants; a tedious process that took him over half a year.

Now it’s not something I would’ve done myself, but I still found myself feeling really offended when all these people started giving him crap for wasting his time and not doing something more productive… As if shoving your hate at someone on the Internet is productive!

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Yes, this really achieved nothing of consequence, but this person had an idea and a goal, and he stuck to it. The regular game can get quite grindy and repetitive as it is, but he stuck to the same bottom level stuff for half a year to achieve his goal. He or she did something that made him/her happy, and it was something that was of no harm to anybody.

Besides, when was the last time you stuck to an ideal and didn’t give up?

As I write this, I freely admit that I missed a morning run that I set for myself because I slept in. How many goals have you given up on because you decided you had something else better to do or just plain wussed out on?

Achievement are personal. I don’t care if it’s unlocking all the achievements in Arkham City or stacking plastic cups really quickly; it doesn’t matter what you want to do as long as you set out to do it and see it to the end.

Don’t let some quitter on the Internet tell you otherwise. Haters gonna hate.

PS My infant daughter just figured out how to properly stack the rings on her toy stacker and would happily cheer after she does it. If anyone tries to downplay her joy with their negativity, I’ll shove the stacker in their ass and make them eat the rings until they solve it in their stomach.