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Why I Hate ‘Employees’

I hate employees. And I feel like I can never escape them. I was recently at dinner with friends, and someone asked me, “How many employees do you have?” Earlier that day, I had to answer the same question a couple of different times, once for a survey and again for a site registration. Each …

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Brands should think like a 7 year old.

I hate employees. And I feel like I can never escape them. I was recently at dinner with friends, and someone asked me, “How many employees do you have?” Earlier that day, I had to answer the same question a couple of different times, once for a survey and again for a site registration. Each …

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The rise of social shopping

Many years ago, I was part of a team who had an opportunity to revolutionalize e-commerce through leveraging social influencers. But we didn’t, because we were too focused on efficiency and less interested in experience. Here’s the set up: back in the early days of digital marketing I was part of a team that created …

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What's your brand's time to value?

Many years ago, I was part of a team who had an opportunity to revolutionalize e-commerce through leveraging social influencers. But we didn’t, because we were too focused on efficiency and less interested in experience. Here’s the set up: back in the early days of digital marketing I was part of a team that created …

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Improve your Zoom by zooming out

There are five levels of self-awareness. Zoom makes the fifth absolutely painful. But luckily, there is a solution. Researchers have defined the levels of awareness by using a mirror and seeing how babies and others react to it. The research shows there are distinct stages of awareness: that’s a mirror (Level 1); there’s a person …

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Four fintech imperatives for established brands

There are five levels of self-awareness. Zoom makes the fifth absolutely painful. But luckily, there is a solution. Researchers have defined the levels of awareness by using a mirror and seeing how babies and others react to it. The research shows there are distinct stages of awareness: that’s a mirror (Level 1); there’s a person …

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Back to the Future

The question many people are asking right now is, “what is the role of an office?” This question feels urgent and recent but reality is that the advertising community (at least) has been wondering the same thing for over 20 years, when Jay Chiat created what was then called “the virtual office.” In 2000 Chiat …

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When reality is too real for its own good.

The question many people are asking right now is, “what is the role of an office?” This question feels urgent and recent but reality is that the advertising community (at least) has been wondering the same thing for over 20 years, when Jay Chiat created what was then called “the virtual office.” In 2000 Chiat …

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Why does everything look and act the same?

I kept coming back to that question as I re-read the Accenture Fjords Digital Trends 2021 report. In it they shared an overall theme about the need for businesses to map out new territory in the digital arena. The central idea is that the people who create digital experiences have relied too heavily on tried-and-true …

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We get to do this

I kept coming back to that question as I re-read the Accenture Fjords Digital Trends 2021 report. In it they shared an overall theme about the need for businesses to map out new territory in the digital arena. The central idea is that the people who create digital experiences have relied too heavily on tried-and-true …

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How do you measure what's working?

No doubt you’ve heard the quote famously attributed to the noted retail giant and marketing pioneer John Wanamaker back in the early 1900’s, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” Late into the 20th Century the answer to this conundrum was barely improved. Marketers relied …

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My biggest lesson.

No doubt you’ve heard the quote famously attributed to the noted retail giant and marketing pioneer John Wanamaker back in the early 1900’s, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” Late into the 20th Century the answer to this conundrum was barely improved. Marketers relied …

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"Forget everything."

That was the advice we recently gave one of our clients who is looking to undertake a seismic re-imagining of their digital experience. An experience they’ve been improving in increments for several years, using a traditional test-and-learn approach both in lab and in the real world. An approach that got them to a point where …

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How much is convenience worth to you?

That was the advice we recently gave one of our clients who is looking to undertake a seismic re-imagining of their digital experience. An experience they’ve been improving in increments for several years, using a traditional test-and-learn approach both in lab and in the real world. An approach that got them to a point where …

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Don't just spend. Fix.

The other day I was talking with a marketer in the financial services space who was sharing that they weren’t getting enough people through their online application. He described their app as like something from the 1990’s, which was causing significant drop off issues. Then, almost in the same breath, he said they wanted to …

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When being wrong is so very right.

The other day I was talking with a marketer in the financial services space who was sharing that they weren’t getting enough people through their online application. He described their app as like something from the 1990’s, which was causing significant drop off issues. Then, almost in the same breath, he said they wanted to …

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The hidden superpower

Early in my advertising career I remember hearing the saying that “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”  I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, but as a life-long runner I thought to myself, “great, I will go alone. I like going fast.” I was recently …

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“You can do whatever you want.”

Early in my advertising career I remember hearing the saying that “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”  I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, but as a life-long runner I thought to myself, “great, I will go alone. I like going fast.” I was recently …

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What makes some brands last so long?

Recently our team got into a debate about the relative value of a brand’s heritage. Some believed the longevity and endurance of a brand brought intrinsic and positive value; others argued that a brand with a long and storied history might have overstayed its welcome in a modern market filled with innovation. We happened to …

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When a few weeks becomes a full year.

Recently our team got into a debate about the relative value of a brand’s heritage. Some believed the longevity and endurance of a brand brought intrinsic and positive value; others argued that a brand with a long and storied history might have overstayed its welcome in a modern market filled with innovation. We happened to …

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Brands should think like a 7 year old.

Brands should think like Corn Kid. I don’t mean all brands should be jumping on the latest trends to try and make hay with whatever clip/meme/story is capturing the public’s interest (though that’s not a bad thing to do for many brands.) What I mean is that brands should embrace the inherent positivity and joy …

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What's your brand's time to value?

We frequently talk to our financial services clients about time to value. The concept of time to value is fairly simple. What is the elapsed time between when a customer makes a decision to purchase/apply/engage with your brand and when the customer receives value from your brand? If you want to keep the competition behind …

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Four fintech imperatives for established brands

Plaid recently released its second annual report on fintech usage, dubbed The Fintech Effect: Fintech’s Mass Adoption Moment. Plaid defines fintech as “…any digital service that a consumer engages with in order to manage their money, including online banking, payments, investing, savings, budgeting, borrowing, and goal-setting.” So, the study is really about customer adoption of …

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When reality is too real for its own good.

Ever wonder if all those characters used in insurance marketing work? Ad Age did some research recently on the most liked and remembered ad insurance spokes-characters. The rankings* themselves didn’t really interest me as much as this sentence from the article: “According to the poll, one reason they (spokes-characters) work is that they make intangible …

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We get to do this

After college I was one of the lucky kids to snag an extremely low-paying job at a massive Madison Avenue ad agency. While most of my friends got jobs on Wall Street trading stocks and bonds and stacking up piles of cash into their savings accounts, I went the creative route and chose a career …

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My biggest lesson.

There I was, working in my window-less office in the middle of a high rise in Philadelphia, when my boss’s boss stopped by my office. This was circa 1993 and at the time I was an account manager on The Wall, a new line of record stores owned by WH Smith that we had launched …

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How much is convenience worth to you?

I remember the first time the concept of Personally Identifiable Information, aka PII, was introduced to me. It was 2003, and I worked for an agency that had just been acquired by Avenue A, a leading digital media shop. On our first trip to their office the legal team dragged us into a large conference …

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When being wrong is so very right.

There we were, observing remote user testing, and a prototype we had created for one of our clients was failing. Spectacularly. And repeatedly. We have worked with this client, a large financial services institution, for years and have a lot of familiarity with their digital properties and how people use them. One of the insights …

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“You can do whatever you want.”

What could you do with your digital property if you discarded all those strict brand guidelines, publishing templates, back end requirements – never mind those pesky budgets? How easy could you make it for your customers to accomplish a task? What’s that big problem you could finally solve? Here’s a suggestion: go through that hypothetical …

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When a few weeks becomes a full year.

“Our plan for the coming weeks.” That was the subject line of the email I sent to the Shiny team on March 15, 2020 outlining our plan to pivot to working from home as a result of the growth in Covid-19 cases. Those anticipated weeks have stretched into our working fully remote for a year. …

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