I’m joining Lilipip as Director of Business Development

Posted by bryanzug - 2009/08/03

Most of the web sites I’ve worked on over the last 13 years face a small set of common challenges –

  1. How do you get the attention of an audience already fatigued with information overload?
  2. If you do manage to grab attention, how do you compellingly connect people with your product, service, or concept?
  3. Finally, how do you keep it simple enough to not lose folks along the way – all while avoiding the pitfalls of boring and forgettable?

If you’ve been in a strategic web session with me anytime in the last 24 months, you’re probably sick of what I’m about to say.

But I’m gonna say it anyway.

Short, well-written, visually-memorable web videos are a stunningly smart thing to do on most web sites – they’re an effective way to deal with every one of the strategic communication killers I’ve listed above.

A bit about how I became convinced of this (and where it’s leading me).

Through my work producing Ignite Seattle video and capturing events like BarCamp, MindCamp, Presentation Camp, and Jackson Fish Market’s Small and Special conference, I’ve seen, time and again, how web video is much more than “TV on the internet”.

When done well, it enables people to teach things to other people – to spread knowledge and understanding where it needs to go – in ways that those of us who originate content rarely imagine as we create it.

Seeing friends like Lee and Sachi LeFever at Common Craft demonstrate how thoughtful visual explanations really can help people worlwide has been eye opening.

Beyond being all manner of cool, their “In Plain English” series has inspired me to examine how I can not only become a better “shedder of light” in my daily life – it’s also inspired me to consider how I can help other people do the same.

Which leads me to the title announcement of this post – as of today, I am joining Lilipip Studios as Director of Business Development.

For those of you unfamiliar with Lilipip and its founder, Ksenia Oustiougova, they are a Seattle startup that specializes in creating animated web videos about your product, service, or concept.

The best way to explain what we do is to show you – so I’ve pasted a video Lilipip did for Zappos above. Take a look at it to get an idea of the kinds of things I’ll be helping folks develop.

Also noteworthy is that Lilipip works with independent writers, illustrators, animators, voice-over artists, and musicians worldwide to produce this work.

As Ksenia and I became friends, it was clear that we share the same belief in the power of these sorts of videos. We also share a deep appreciation of small, special, sustainable approaches to business.

When Lilipip began to take off and it was obvious they needed to grow the team, my wife Jen and I began to seriously discuss re-configuring our lives to join a startup.

After much reflection, we decided to take a leap of faith and do it.

So, watch that Zappos video – And ping me if you know of anyone who could use one of these. We’ve got a great team and a proven process – with transparent pricing!

P.S. I’m not saying there’s a direct correlation between Amazon’s recent purchase of Zappos and the Lilipip video, because causal inference is hard – but casual inference, on the other hand, is quite easy.



Video: Scott Berkun on “Why Your Presentation Sucks (and what to do about it)”

Posted by bryanzug - 2009/04/13

The best presentation I saw at Presentation Camp Seattle a couple of weeks ago over at UW was Scott Berkun‘s “Why Your Presentation Sucks (and what to do about it).

Was able to grab some nice video of it — here’s parts 1, 2, & 3. Enjoy!


Why Your Presentation Sucks (and what to do about it) – pt 1
by Scott Berkun
from Bryan Zug on Vimeo.


Why Your Presentation Sucks (and what to do about it) pt 2
by Scott Berkun
from Bryan Zug on Vimeo.


Why Your Presentation Sucks (and what to do about it) – pt 3
by Scott Berkun
from Bryan Zug on Vimeo.



Fostering Cross Tribal Community in Seattle (parts 1 & 2) – Mind Camp 5

Posted by bryanzug - 2009/04/12

Here’s video I produced of a great discussion my pal Brian Dorsey facilitated on “Fostering Cross Tribal Community in Seattle” at Mind Camp 5 on November 22, 2008. We were gathered at Synapse Product Development in downtown Seattle (an incredible location). I’ve embedded parts 1 & 2 below.


Fostering Cross Tribal Community in Seattle (part 1)
From Mind Camp 5
from Bryan Zug on Vimeo.


Fostering Cross Tribal Community in Seattle (part 2)
From Mind Camp 5
from Bryan Zug on Vimeo.



Build around Facebook because their friends have liked X

Posted by bryanzug - 2009/03/23

Scoble had a great article on Saturday describing how Facebook is positioned to serve higher quality information to people and, in doing so, why it will continue to grow into the center of attention for the majority of web users (and a target for effective marketing).

He offers this foodie example —

You pull out your iPhone or Palm Pre or Android or Blackberry or Windows Mobile doohickey and click open the Facebook application. Then you type “sushi near me.”

It answers back “within walking distance are two sushi restaurants that more than 20 of your friends have liked.”

Wait a second. “Friends have liked?”

And that is a great summary of the emerging power of Facebook in an easy to understand story.

A friend’s recommendation (when it’s easy to find and is contextually relevant) will always trump other forms of marketing / advertising — it’s the easiest way to find a good restaurant, the hot spot of the hour, or that “today only” deal we’ve all been on the lookout for.

Because Facebook is built around these relationships from the ground up, it will continue to trump Twitter (and may even best Google eventually) as the most effective place to focus many marketing efforts.



Attencion! Camp — Starbuck vs. Samwise in a Fight (and what does that have to do with the Attention Economy?)

Posted by bryanzug - 2009/02/27

As I’m getting around to documenting some of the fun things I’ve gotten to do over the last year, this one was quite the blast. I updated my (Geek Fight * Attention Economy) talk with a new character — this time a woman who kicks serious ass.

At the very first BarCamp Seattle last June, we had a great turnout for “Starbuck vs. Samwise in a Fight (and what does that have to do with the attention economy)”. Here’s the session poster:

BarCampSeattle: Starbuck vs. Samwise in a fight (and what does that have to do with the attention economy?)

I’m not going to give away the thread of the discussion, because that makes it less fun if you ever get to drop in on one of these discussions — but I’ll tell you this, they are lively, fun, and get everyone to think.

I learn a ton every time I facilitate it.

Wanted to take a bit of time to note it because this theme of attention keeps coming up.

While at the Seattle Drupal User Group’s MiniCamp this last Saturday, Gregory Heller, Scott Falconer, Larry Swanson, and I began talking about how we need a camp about content that is tool independent and all about “signaling through the noise”.

Since “content” is such a boring word, I suggested an “Attention Camp“, which seemed to strike a chord.

Looking around for a domain, “attentioncamp.com” is being squatted — so I went with the next best things —

  • attencioncamp.com (we could all use a little revolucion! no?)
  • attncamp.com (140 char headline writing seems to be seeping into my thinking)

So we’ll see — I’m pinging possible partners in crime to see if this thing has legs. If you are interested, tweet me and join the discussion.



10 Best Intranets of 2008

Posted by bryanzug - 2008/01/10

Had coffee with Drupal aficionado Gregory Heller over at Top Pot in downtown Seattle on Tuesday and he pointed me to Jakob Neilson’s new article on the 10 Best Intranets of 2008.

Design seemed to figure directly into business results. Here’s a short money quote —

The productivity gains from polishing the user experience are well worth the cost of going beyond the first design that comes to mind.



Fake Steve Jobs is Dead, Long Live Fake Steve Jobs

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/08/06

My favorite anonymous blogger of all time has been unmasked. Yesterday the New York Times revealed that Fake Steve Jobs, author of the witty and sarcastically insightful Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, is actually Daniel Lyons, a senior editor at Forbes magazine.

Scoble points to a cool insight from Scott Karp over at Publishing 2.0 on lessons to be learned by the whole thing —

Fake Steve proves that big media companies have the talent in house — they just can’t get out of their own way to experiment with disruptive innovations.

Couldn’t agree more, and to take it a bit further, I think there really is a place for anonymous posting sometimes.

The first time I ever began to appreciate the idea that there could be a place for anonymous internet posting was back in 2000 — when I participated in a lively online community for the first time. We got into a fun experiment where a pastor friend of mine used an anonymous character on a public church bulletin board to “spur on” some folks in his congregation.

It was the first time that I saw someone in a reserved organization say things that needed to be said with an over the top sarcastic wit that signaled through the noise.

It went well beyond the “nice” conversations you were “supposed” to have at church, and, funny enough, it captured a lot of attention (especially in a sub-culture where hyperbole seems to have been dropped from everyone’s literary toolkit).

The more I think about these experiences the more that I firmly believe that, while there are clearly dangers of anonymous postings (where people do not own their words), there are also clearly situations where anonymity can breed a level of honesty that can be, shall we say, quite fruitful at times.

FSB is dead — Long live FSB.



Mike Wesch discussing “Web 2.0… The Machine is Us/ing Us” video at Web2Open 4:00

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/04/17

So when I saw this video, I just about peed my pants. It’s a Ken Burn’s-esque animated screenshot/text/typography video that tells the story of the web up to today.

Just found out that the guy who made it, Michael Wesch, will be discussing the video at the Web 2.0 Expo today today at 4:00 pm.

It all takes place at the Web2Open gathering that is an unconference running in parallel (and in conjunction) with the main conference.

This is the kind of loosely coupled teaching/training that is going to take us into the next “age”.



Barr on Twitter Pitches

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/03/20

Jeff Barr has an interesting post from the other day on Twitter Pitches

Earlier today I coined the phrase TwitterPitching to describe the act of encapsulating an entire business plan within the 140 character limit of a Twitter post.

Nice ‘trim the fat’ communication exercise in an age where attention is the scarce asset.



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