.

Be hungry and stay inspired. Don’t get frustrated. There’s no wrong way to do something. And make sure you have fun, if you're not, go travel somewhere you’ve never been before.

Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

I spent almost my entire childhood traveling, experiencing an ever-changing environment and adapting as quickly as I could figure out how to. I find myself doing the same in advertising starting off as a traditional creative then taking a plunge to an all-digital agency and learning the ropes. I find myself lucky to be living in NYC and to have had such diverse set of experiences which have led me to hone my skills, remain constantly challenged and improved my creative process. I’m currently an Integrated Associate Creative director at Saatchi NY.

What do you do for inspiration?

Music is my muse. That sounds a bit cheesy, but I can’t think of any other form of expression that leaves me with awe. I taught myself to play guitar at 8 years old by listening to cassette tapes I’d get as gifts. I get the same thrill to this day when I teach myself to play a new song or write a new song for one of my many music projects.

What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

Seeing my work make an impact in the social space. I did a TV spot for Trident gum in 2009 that had over a thousand spoof’s on YouTube. I remember thinking, wow this is amazing… people spent their own time filming their own versions of a silly spot, Unsolicited!

How many hours do you work each week?

It depends on the scope and number of projects on my plate. I feel like my brain never stops. A typical  good work week is at least 50+ hours plus the 30 hours or so spent outside the office thinking about work.

How do you relax or unwind?

Hang out at home and cook a meal from scratch with my beautiful wife Jen Hays and my dog Lola.

If you weren't working on the internet what would you be doing?

Reading a real book, snowboarding, or laying on a beach somewhere.

What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?

My favorite is the thrill of thinking up the wildest ideas, and not knowing if any of them will pan out. The hardest is refusing to let go of the idea that I know doesn’t work.  And when stuck,  I go for a walk and try to forget it all together.

If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?

I've always moved on from a gig whenever i felt like i stopped learning or got too comfortable. That's been my ammo.

What software could you not live without?

Adobe Creative Suite.

Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?

IDEO, Apple, Nike

Who is your target audience?

My peers. Not only is this the most cynical target, but also the toughest to crack.

What area of web design lacks the most?

Mobile.

Are there any websites that have shone through as being pioneering in the last 5 years or so?

Most recently the site, Take This Lollipop. A site a programmed by a friend of mine Jason Nickel.  And Facebook – yep, that’s not a typo. After 5 years I’m more hooked now than I was when I signed on.

Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?

It's great to be recognized. I'm thrilled to be included in the network.

When dealing with major clients, how difficult is it to meet the needs of such wide target audiences?

It's a juggling act. On one hand research & analytic tools have gotten more precise to provide specific insights to a small target & their habits. On the other hand clients have a tendency to ask for a single digital solution that can satiate beyond the intended target. So it can get tricky but it forces us to develop smarter creative.

What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?

First site I built was in junior college, in the late 90’s.  I worked at the computer lab, and went overboard with gif animations.  Remember the blinking eye gif? Now picture 100’s of those gif’s.  Luckily, it’s not live anymore.

Are there things you do OUTSIDE of work to ensure that you are in the right mindset to be creative and/or successful in whatever you are doing?

Yes. Travel is an amazing neutralizer. I try to take one major international trip each year. Getting myself out of the daily routine and exploring a new place, sights, sounds, smells helps keep me sharp.

What was the last digital effort you saw (or were a part of) that used social media in a way that really made sense. Why?

The last project I developed and oversaw was The Fun audit for Trident Gum. A dynamic Facebook scrape, augmented with over 300 personalized responses to your photos, comments, events, tags, friends, un-friended friends, etc. A relevant respite for the stress of tax season. www.thefunaudit.com

The web is getting out of the web. Do you find that thinking in digital solutions alone hinders you? Do you feel the urge to solve the problem using all mediums necessary?

Knowing digital and staying current with technology is a huge asset to finding unique solutions to apply to all mediums. The web, now more so than ever, is about providing entertainment. The solution lies in great ideas that create momentum across all mediums; the web is central to that.

Do you think Flash is here to stay?

Like all things I'm sure Flash will mutate into something more magnificent.

What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?

Absolutely. Passion, skill, an inquisitive mind, and willingness to work hard are the only tools necessary. Of course practice makes perfect and a design/trade school helps focus those tools for some.  I graduated from the VCU AdCenter (now Brand Center) and my experience there most certainly taught me to focus my talents, challenge preconceived norms and to work hard.

If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?

Be hungry and stay inspired. Don’t get frustrated. There’s no wrong way to do something. And make sure you have fun, if you're not, go travel somewhere you’ve never been before.

How do you keep up with the latest capabilities of Flash or do you rely on other members of you team to do this?

I try to surround myself with people who are smarter than I am.

What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?

A magic carpet.

What does the future hold for your company, or you as a person?

Seeing all the hard work pay off. I'm looking forward to getting into a lot more web based branded content.

What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?

Drinks for my creative & strategy team.

Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Kill it!

It has been a privilege, thanks very much

Thanks Rob. Cheers!


Links

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The Fun Audit Facebook Connect Experience. www.thefunaudit.com
The Fun Audit Facebook Connect Experience. www.thefunaudit.com

The nerve center of The Bureau of Fun - the Audit room.
The nerve center of The Bureau of Fun - the Audit room.

The Fun Audit's algorithm doesn't miss a single detail. State of the art stuff.
The Fun Audit's algorithm doesn't miss a single detail. State of the art stuff.

On set @ the Bureau of Fun.
On set @ the Bureau of Fun.

Behind the Scenes - The Bureau of Fun has a bowling alley
Behind the Scenes - The Bureau of Fun has a bowling alley

The Bureau of Fun also has a Mariachi band.
The Bureau of Fun also has a Mariachi band.


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