Posts filed under Entertainment Branding

Corporate FTE? No, Thank You.


The very first thing I did as I drove out of the parking garage after getting fired from my position as the Vice President of Social Media at Live Nation was -- exhale. And I mean, the longest, deepest exhale of my life. It was so deep, it struck me. And in that moment, I realized this experience was a very, very good thing for me.

I was getting a clean slate, a chance to hit the reset button. I didn't owe anyone my time, ideas, or lifeblood. It was all mine again. 

After a brief stint partying my face-off in Miami-stylee (as one does in these situations), I came home and began a four-day digital detox and cleanse -- no phone, no internet, no TV, no alcohol, strict diet, etc. It was my intention to discover exactly what I wanted to do with my life next. I focused on meditation, listening to the universe, walking and appreciating beauty and grace, and writing volumes. I also painted. It was the second night of intense quiet, when I painted a bolt of lightening. And out of that bolt of lightening, sprang a  bird. A beautiful bird. A blue bird. And that bird flew confidently away from a city skyline and towards a giant heart. And, so then, I knew, looking at that painting -- there would be no corporate full time employment for me. I would use this lightening-bolt of a catalyst to fly into new territory -- and only work with companies with a heart. Let me explain.

It doesn't make sense for me to plug into an infrastructure designed 100 years ago. The silos and power struggles as a way of doing business is a broken and outdated model. Most importantly, I don't believe the full vision of social can be reached within it.

The full vision (described in this post)  requires an entirely different business architecture -- one that either requires a complete reconfiguration of a traditional business or one built from scratch in the case of a startup. Both are only possible as a top-down initiative. Without exception.

The architecture of a social organization requires social to be at the heart of the organization -- not tacked onto the side like a sad little tail pinned onto a donkey at a four-year-old's birthday party.

Because of social  media, every company has a voice. Which means, it has a mouth. Which means, it is expected to talk. And when it does talk, it is expected to do so with honesty and compassion -- or it is distrusted and resented. It is, therefore, expected to have a heart. Having a heart means authentically valuing and caring for your customers, employees, and partners. And displaying that value and concern through every single action, every communication -- every experience with the company.

Any company that has not figured this out, will at some point. Up until that point, it is not possible to reach the full opportunity of social. And I have no inclination to work within a system where I know I can't help the company reach the full opportunity of social before I even start. Half-ass is not in my DNA.

Don't get me wrong -- I am more than happy to audit, consult, and do project work for these companies. I just refuse to get mired in the political battles of the world of silos -- this effort does not create real change, IMHO. 

Cut to:

Startups are being launched in LA every 40 hours right now. And so many entrepreneurs get it. I mean really! Recently, I had a CEO draw me a diagram of the org chart he is designing with a hub-and-spoke model and he carefully wrote "social" in the middle circle -- Yes! Thank You.

And then I have a 20something CEO of a startup client who understands social is so important to his business that he rolls his eyes so hard I think they're going to bounce off onto the floor whenever I say anything about social being important. I can tell he is thinking, "I know, I know, just tell me how to do it." Beautiful!!

So, no ... I won't come tuck under your digital marketing "guy" in your big corporation so I can make a bunch of PowerPoint decks to convince him he needs to be doing more social. No more convincing. I'm over it. It's been too many years and if you don't get it by now, I'm not your woman. I only want to work with people who are ready to transform their business into the living, breathing, talking, participatory community member it can be. The type of business that wants to be head-and-shoulders above the competition -- in every way -- not just financially. A well-rounded company. A company that looks to create value constantly and is eager to explore the richness the social experience can provide.

I love lighting up the creative, inventive, and driven minds of people who already have their values in place. Those who are primed to take the orb and run. These are my dream clients and I've decided these are the only ones I'll be accepting.

So, unless your major corporation has the CEO call me him or herself to explain he/she understands social is the future of the entire business -- the answer is No. Thank you. I'm ready to make magic.

By Gretchen Fox, Social Architect at grtchnfx


#BAMF Award 2 -- Lenny Mesina

With film credits only a guy that can be described as an award-winning "Film Doctor" at Therapy, a monster of style, and *the guy with his finger on the pulse of street culture could manifest, please, meet our BAMF Awardee #2.

Our BAMF Q&A with Lenny:

gf - Facebook or Instagram?
lm - Instagram

gf - Twitter or Text?
lm - Text.

gf - Your favorite person to follow online?
lm - Tie: Steve "ESPO" Powers and his "Daily Metaltations" blog and Trustocorp and their subversive shenanigans.

gf - Biggest risk you have ever taken?
lm - Moving to SF from LA on a whim in 1995 where I eventually fell in love, studied film, then reluctantly, but wisely, moved back to LA in 2000.

gf - Next event you are attending?
lm - Personal-friend's wedding in Palm Springs. Professional-premiere of Plimpton! the doc on renaissance man George Plimpton.

gf - Best burger joint? 
LM - With apologies to Umami and In-N-Out, it's Shake Shack in NYC.

gf - Truth or Dare? 
lm - Dare.

gf - What is the strangest thing you own?
lm - Possibly this.

gf - What do you think Smurf meat tastes like?
lm - Rancid beef and gummy bears.


Examples of Lenny's brilliant editing work: 

IBM Think Exhibit - A stunning multi-platform, immersive exhibit with real-time data visualized within three experiences including a 12' high and 123' long video wall. Watch the video here.

Beautiful Losers - An award-winning documentary about the influential cultural movements and art of the 90s that reflected the subcultures of skateboarding, surf, punk, hip hop & graffiti. The film includes interviews and footage of artists: Barry McGee, Shepard Fairey, Ed Templeton, Margaret Killgallen, and Harmony Korine with music by Money Mark. Watch the trailer.

Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest  - Directed by Michael Rapaport, this film documents the inner workings and behind the scenes drama that follows this innovative and influential band to this day. The film includes interviews and footage of biggest artists in hip-hop: Ad-Rock, MCA, Questlove, Q-Tip, Ludacris, Pharrell Williams, Common, De La Soul and the list goes on-and-on. Check out the trailer here.  

You can follow Lenny on Twitter here.

By Gretchen Fox, Social Architect at grtchnfx



#BAMF Award 1 -- Aaron Koblin


Brilliant artist, designer, and technologist. There's a reason Aaron gets our 1st  BAMF Award -- barely over 30, Aaron has already achieved two GRAMMY nominations, has what seems like the best job at Google, and is a fixture at the bleeding-edge GAFFTA art gallery (not to mention the MoMA in New York City).

Our BAMF Q&A with Aaron:

gf: Facebook or Instagram:
ak:  Gmail
gf: Twitter or Text?
ak:  Gmail
gf: Your favorite person to follow online:
ak:  Mr.doob
gf: Biggest risk you have ever taken:
ak:  Getting a degree in Fine Art
gf: Most exciting thing you are working on:
ak:  Top secret
gf: Next event you are attending:
ak:  Eyeo
gf: Best burger joint:
ak:  Umami Burger
gf: Truth or Dare:
ak:  Truth
gf: What is the strangest thing you own?
ak:  A 23andMe account
gf: What do you think Smurf meat tastes like?
ak:  Heaven

Examples of Aaron's amazing work:

This Exquisite Forest

An online collaborative art project that lets users create short animations which build off one another as they explore a specific theme. The result is a collection of branching narratives. A collaboration with Chris Milk, The Tate Modern, and Google Creative Lab. On display at the Tate Modern in London through 2012.  

 The Wilderness Downtown

An interactive HTML5 short created with data and images  around   the neighborhood you grew up in. Set to Arcade Fire's song "We Used to Wait," the experience takes place through choreographed browser windows and utilizes many modern browser features. A collaborative effort with Google Creative Lab and Chris Milk.


A dynamic sculpture inspired by the volume and behavior of an idealized cloud. Made from polycarbonate tiles that can fade between transparent and opaque states, its patterns are transformed periodically by real time weather data from around the world. An installation in the San José International Airport with collaborators Dan Goods of NASA's JPL, and Nik Hafermaas of Art Center College of Design.

See more of Aaron's work.

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By Gretchen Fox, Social Architect at grtchnfx