Me Myself and I

Many years ago, I worked for my parents who own a video production company. Because it is a family business, you inevitably end up wearing many hats and being the czar of many different jobs. I mainly managed projects and worked as a video editor. On production, there were times that I was called on to work as an audio tech and was made to wear headphones on long production days. In those days, having a really good set of headphones that picked up every nuance of sound was essential to making sure the client got what they needed.

First impressions.

Naturally, my first impression of these headphones is based off of the look of them. They have a classic over-the-ear style that is highlighted by a blue LED light that indicates the power for the noise canceling. The padding on the ear pieces seems adequate for extended usage periods.
They are wired headphones, but the 3.5mm stereo mini-plug cable is detachable. Something else I noticed right of the bat was the very nice carrying case that comes with them. It has a hard plastic exterior with a soft cloth interior that helps to protect the surface of the headphones from scratches. I never truly appreciated cases for headphones until I started carrying them from place-to-place. Now I can’t imagine not having a case.

A perfect fit.

Once I gave the headphones a thorough once-over exam, I tried them on. As I mentioned, they have a classic over-the-ear style and just looking at them, the padding on the ear pieces seem adequate and the peak of the headband seemed to be a bit lacking, but you don’t really know comfort unless you try on the product. So, I slipped the headphones on and found them to be exquisitely comfortable.

It’s safe to say that because of my unique professional experiences, I’ve tested out a lot of headphones.

Quality.

Now that I had the headphones on my head, I was finally ready to plug and play some music. I plugged the provided cable into the jack on the headphones and then the one on my iPhone 6. Then I called up Pandora. I tend to have a very eclectic music purview and have many stations set up for different moods. From John Williams to Fallout Boy, the sound quality of these headphones was remarkable. There is an amazing depth of sound and incredible highs and lows that make listening to music a truly breathtaking experience.

In order to test how voices sounded, and the overall art of sound mixing, I pulled up Netflix on my iPad Air 2 and watched a few minutes of a movie to hear all the nuances of the film. None of them were lost. In fact, I ended up hearing sounds that I hadn’t heard before. Echoes…birds chirping…wind blowing through trees…breathing of the characters…it was very impressive what the headphones ended up bringing out for me.

I would highly recommend these to any sound mixing specialist.


My tech travel setup

MacBook Pro

Robert Capa, a famous photojournalist once said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” It’s not just about zooming in with your lens, either. It’s about getting physically closer to people and getting to know them better. It’s also about spending a little time with a stranger before taking their photo. That helps build the trust and comfort that’ll come through in your pictures. Walk up to your subject with a simple wave and a smile to help communicate that you mean no harm.

Ask permission to take a photo if they speak the same language as you. If you don’t share a language, try learning some basic phrases ahead of time, gesture at your camera and ask through expression. Of course if someone doesn’t want their picture taken, it’s imperative to respect their wishes and move on — people are always more important than photographs. National Geographic writes that “making great pictures is primarily a mental process.” What makes you want to photograph the person or place? How might you describe it to a friend, and what adjectives would you use? Are there details you can focus on that tell a story?

iPad/iPhone

Maybe it’s a dry, arid desert, captured by focusing on the patterns of cracked earth. Or a prairie that’s photographed with the horizon at the bottom of the frame, to help create a sense of the open sky and tranquility. Or maybe it’s the story of a deft artisan, fingernails covered in wet clay as she molds a pot. When you’re on the road it can be tough to eat right and make sure you get all the right nutrients. I started taking daily supplements of Multi-Vitamin, Fish Oil capsules and Vitamin D and it helps a lot. Especially the Vitamin D since I don’t get to see the sun a lot during the winter in Sweden.

Sennheiser HD-25 Headphones

It’s difficult to recreate the grandeur of a vast landscape in the confines of a picture frame. But one way to add a sense of depth to your photos is to compose them with objects in the foreground that support the scene. It can be as simple as a winding road through a national park, or some rocks to show off the local geology.

If you’re taking photos of people during normal daylight hours, a quick way to get more flattering light is to move the person out of direct sunlight. The light is much “softer” and doesn’t cast stark, unflattering shadows across their facial features. Even better, have someone stand next to an open door or window as the single source of light.


Optimizing your media strategy can generate a significant budget release, either for growth reinvestment or return to bottom line.

As your company’s content strategy becomes more sophisticated, your marketing budgets become bigger and more complex, demanding top-notch planning efficiency. Global marketing spend exceeds $1 trillion, around 1 to 2 percent of global GDP and keeps growing faster.
beforehand, this requires stepping back to evaluate priorities and best practices to achieve that, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each type of planning. When blended together, you end up with a highly effective strategy that moves your business forward much more quickly than focusing on a single tactic alone, allowing the investment to be effective. The goal is to be more efficient and by experience, it can be achieved. The key is to progressively incorporate certain practices into your daily planning.

TEST YOUR BUDGET “USABILITY”: FROM CARD SORTING TO JOURNEY MAPPING…ALL YOU CAN EAT UX BUFFET

1-Create a visual spent landscape I used this technique from my storyboarding days and now is a must-use tool in UX design. It’s like pitching the budget to yourself! Take a wall and use as many post-its until you see the full budget ecosystem. It really works.

2-Ensure alignment across units: create an objective analysis of economic, strategic, and marketing-oriented criteria for each brand. Better marketing return of investment (MROI) starts with better and clear objectives.

3-Align your targets: clarify and align mismatched marketing and sales targets, it will bring light into your budget allocation efforts.

4-Consolidate your brand spending: sort your spent in relation to your growth goals and forecast: grow aggressively, grow, sustain, etc.

5-Find relevant drivers of value: made your mission to constantly find new ways to engage and guide customers. New experiences, new channels, research, communications or content, your brand should bring innovation and expertise.

6-Identify the most effective media and channels: spending in the right places will reach more priority customers, whether is online or in-store -or your partner venue- it will most likely to be a hit. Find out where consumers make their decisions. Data-driven media spent is an extremely efficient way to advertise.

7-Country-based budget: Consider the particulars of each country’s multicultural context and shift spending from lower- to higher-priority markets.

8-Generate internal communications: demonstrate to the rest of the organization how the new allocations would benefit the company overall. Every successful planning needs everyone in the company to be involved and supportive.

9-Identify your consumer's journey: use digital analytics, social media management, in-store initiatives, and post-purchase online service. Understanding the consumer path from research and consideration to purchase and brand loyalty.

10-Focus on your consumers experience: deliver consistent high-quality content for use across touch-points both online and in-store. This also applies to your partners’ experience, think of them as your ambassadors and evangelist. Create a workshop or a learning event. An online channel exclusively for your partners could be a hit -and a relatively inexpensive- way to get where your audience is.

CONCLUSION:

You can mix and match these UX practices like colors on a palette to create the right vision of your media budget into a successful work of art.

Let me know what you think. Thank you!