2012 was a good year for me. I believe I've had a good run as 2010 was amazing, 2011 was pretty special for many reasons and at the risk of sounding like a lame dad, 2012 will be hard to top thanks to the birth of Mojo.
Why are ou doing this?
Part of the reason for doing these is for my own memory. I blog infrequently and when you're feeling down you struggle to remember the good things that have happened to you.
I also find a lot of the stuff I forgot even happened so this is also theraputic.
4.39am on Aug 3, 2012 my little boy Mojo was released from BETA.
Here's my blog post talking about it in more detail. It's been an amazing 5 months since the birth and I have learned a lot about being a dad and a husband. Still working on both.
I still havent exported the birth video yet.
Ervi has bought a new pram as the one we got is too heavy for the stairs.
I'm dissapointed I didnt take a photo of the first black tar poo.
Always need to spend more time with the little guy
Someone asked me "what was the thing that surprised you the most?" and honestly... I thought you fed babies 3 times a day and changed them around the same. I had no idea it was an every 2hrs deal.
Mojo also likes the feeling of my beard on his face/lips. So it's bad if I shave which is OK with me.
Mojo seems to laugh at anything which I hope is a good sign for things to come.
Upgraded The Kitchen!
As a gift to ourselves (well mainly for Ervi) for having Mojo we upgraded the kitchen. A new dishwasher, oven, stove and rangehood. We splurged and got a Scholtes induction cooktop (or hob as they call them) and self cleaning oven. It was the bottom of their range but still a 6 year warranty can't go wrong.
It did mean getting some new pots and pans but again Ervi had no complaints. It heats so much faster than our old electric cooktop, it's easier to clean and looks awesome.
If you need any more convincing that induction is awesome watch this video of an ice cube glowing red hot thanks to induction.
Visiting a new country is always awesome. Going there to present (free flights and accom) is amazing. The downside is I went by myself so the experience wasn't as full.
The hotel I stayed at was Hotel Bloom where every room has a different artwork. It wasn't until I left my room did I discover it was glow in the dark!
I made the most of the 4 days though. A day in Brussels, a day in Ghent and Brugge and a long trip to the Tin Tin (Herge) Museum. I recommend anyone who is even the smallest of Tin Tin fans to track this place down. It's a bit of a trek on the train but worth it. Oh and don't buy any souveniers from the store. It was cheaper in the airport! Oh and the museum has a no photo policy which is stupid.
I bought so many chocolates/trufffles for Ervi I gave myself a sore arm from carrying them. I ate more fries than I needed to and also visited a few castles like a real tourist.
Oh and I opted for the 1 euro (rubbery) waffle which was terrible. It was surprisingly hard to find a place that wasnt touristy selling waffles.
I did make a 1 hr trip to visit
the Atomium ended in fail when I arrived 5 minutes after the doors closed. It does look awesome though. It's Belgium's Eifel tower.
Brugge was nice (I need to watch "In Brugges" again) but Ghent was much more friendly.
I'm glad Belgium had other things to offer other than beer. As a non-drinker a lot of the tourist recommendations didn't interest me.
The biggest lesson? Travelling with just an iPhone for your travel photos sucks. So many photo opportunities missed because I opted to save space.
Went to the Most Epic Kids Party
Tom & Lindsey's little girl Shae had a "Welcome Party" at Tom's parents place. It was off the chain awesome. Pony ride, jumping castle, petting zoo, pinball machines, awesome food, a pool and 4-player Daytona.
Our Place Flooded
Well the neighbours flooded and we got dragged into it. I had to move everything we own from the ground floor up into the 2nd floor. Add to that Mojo and we were living like hoarders for 10 days while stuff dried out.
The good news is my carpet is now properly cleaned for the first time in 6 years. No wonder the water was so dirty.
Made Some Art
For the Soap Monster Art Show I got my art skills out and created this piece called Skulltastic. It's a carry on from my 100's of Dick and Balls piece from a few years ago.
The TV Show I Was On Aired
After filming in Dec 2011 the show aired in Sept 2012. Do or Die. We were episode 3 and one of the more organised and nice companies. If you're in Australia you can probably watch it on iView. I ended up coming across as "the reluctant boss" but that's much better than Episode's 1's Goldfish guys who came across as assholes. The show also helped me appreciate what I have, I can no drink tap water without worry and I realise I need to lead more in my currentl role. Seperating the "boss" from "friend" is hard sometimes.
No autographs please!
Was Interviewed for Good Game
Although I dont think it actualled aired. but I did get to see Hex's desk, sit on the RAGE couch
and visit the tiny Good Game set.
Scored 187 in Bowling
After talking up my skills for a week before the Bootcamp bowling sessions I was able to back up my skills with an equal PB (I scored 187 late last year in LA so this counts as my Southern hemisphere PB then).
It helps to also win with the mind games! It's the only sport I'm better than average at so I had to make it count.
My Two Year Long Junk Mail Experient Ends
Control year was 2011 with no junk mail sticker and I ended up with 15kgs of junk mail. 2012 had the no junk mail sticker and I got 1kg of junk mail. Clover Moore you need to do something about the junk mail in Sydney.
Bought a Kindle
After losing Brain Rules on the plane I decided to get a Kindle. The cheap $99 version so I could read books and that's it. It has been a fantastic purchase and one I regreat not doing earlier. I've read more books this year (2.5) than in many and bought several more (I bet most Kindle owners are like me buying more than they actually read)
Read in 2012
Superfreakanomics (half so far)
Baby Brain Rules
On the to read list:
Tales From Development Hell
Trust me, I'm Lying
Mud Sweat and Tears
The Architecture of Happiness
A bunch of Philip K Dick stories
Organised & Hosted a Movie Premiere
And raised $4025 dollars in the process. I reached out to the producers of Indie Game: The Movie and asked why they were not screening in Australia. I then offered to help organise purely out of the fact I wanted to see the film myself. 2 months and 50+ emails later I had a copy in my hands and was set to host the screening.
A very helpful contact at Adobe helped me pay for the screening and location fees and the free pizza so all the money raised was able to go to the Variety charity.
The first screening sold out in less than 5 hrs. So I put another screening on that was 3 times larger and it was 70% sold in the end. I can't recommend Eventbrite more as it is an amazing service. They even have a mobile app to help you with check-ins and ticket redemption. The event was a lot of work but paid off and the fact the film was amazing made it all the sweeter.
Game Jam 2012
I didn't really participate in Game Jam 2012, I just helped facilitate and I was up on stage at the end aswering questions as part of the judging panel. I did miss out on a Game Jam shirt which was probably the biggest dissapointment (This is due to the fact I also didn't get a lanyard). I met some great people (wil try and hire one or two), the soap teams (all 3 of them) kicked ass as usual
and the whole event was 5 times bigger than last year.
I look forward to Game Jam 2013 being closer to home and being part of it again in some capacity.
Let Bannerblog slowly die
A combination of less submissions, time poor and sponsorship ending meant I spent less time updating Bannerblog. All my other editors were even more MIA which meant the site has been in neglect. 2013 will be a year I pull my finger out and give it some love and a new focus.
Well not really :)
Bought a GoPro2
And like everyone with the big GoPro plans haven't done much. I was able to film Mojo's birth with the headmounted camera. I have first person footage of me cutting the umbilical cord!
Bought a new camera: Sony RX-100
I thought I'd be smart and get it in the USA and sent over. Not realising Kogan has it cheaper in AUD?! This was to ensure Ervi and I get good shots of Mojo without the hassle of the larger DSLR. So far it's been a solid point and shoot. The manual control helps a lot too even in video mode. Here's a video of Mojo playing the toy piano.
Got an Iphone 5
After 2 years with the 4 (well 1.5 years thanks to LZ keeping the phone when it was accidently delivered to him by mistake) I was due for an upgrade.
It's faster and lighter but was there really that much demand for an extra inch of screen? It' just makes it harder to hold with one hand and cover the screen's realestate with your thumb. I have yet to need or use Siri.
Watched Amon Tobin
Saw Shane Smith from Vice talk via skype
Saw the guys from Threadless and We Are Handsome talk
And generally walked around Vivid. For me Vivid has easily become a top 3 event each year for the Sydney scene.
Bought a Lot of Stuff on Kickstarter
14 projects backed and only 2 digital deliveries. I'm expecting all the 2012 orders to come in 2013 very late. I actually refunded out of the LIFX after reading this.
Won a pair of headphones!
They had a flash game to play and I used my flash knowledge to win these set of Urbanears from a Big M promo. I beat the previous 8 year old with the top score by 1!
See a full breakdown of my gameplay here on Raptr. But I was able to fit in a lot of gaming this year. Now with Mojo that will be cut down considerably.
Note: I get a LOT of free games through work and paid for about 3 of these games total.
Far Cry 3 (My Game of the Year)
May Payne 3
Spec Ops: The Line
Mark of the Ninja
Mass Effect 3
Journey (The only time I turned on my PS3)
Shadow of Colossus (OK, the second time)
Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD
Watched Some Movies
There needs to be a Raptr for movies!
The RAID (My movie of the year)
21 Jump St
Spoke in Belgium
I was invited to talk at an advertising event in Belgium, the UBA Trends Day. The theme for the day was Love, Laugh, Live so I themed my talk on play in advertising. The Power Of Play: How advertisers need to remember we were all kids once.
I've only been this nervous before when I spoke in NY but I was one of the last speakers and the crowd was small. This time I was right in the middle and one of only several speakers on the day. It went well although it was hard to compare against a professional speaker like Martin Lindstrom who was the headliner.
I also met Christophe and
Benoit from Innate Motion who were quite interesting as both people and the work they do.
A big thanks to Nathalie and the UBA team for inviting me.
Judged Adfest in Thailand
Had a great time (as you do in most judging trips) in Pattaya. We went down "Walking Street" with Justin from The Monkeys and Cam from Droga5. I was punched in the nuts from a "dancer" thanks to Cam. I think that joke cost him $30.
Went to SXSW!
I actually have no photos from the trip right now. This makes no sense. SXSW was great although I arrived a day late (United's flight left early and left us stranded) and then had to leave on the last day to make the flight to Adfest.
We won Agency of The Year. Third time in a row
It's hard not to feel special about this one. These awards which encompass the entire agency are special to us.
It's actually our 5th year in the finals for Adnews. Proud of that fact too and I feel we're getting better every year.
B&T Runner-Up for the 4th time!
Not sure what we did to B&T but hey finalist is still good right?
Thumbzilla on Amazon Store
Did you know there is a specific Android store just for people with Kindles? I didn't until mid last year. When we ported our little test game Thumbzilla over to Android we also decided to spend the extra few hours putting it on the Amazon store. Lucky we did as the game has been in the top 15 in the paid store since Sept 2012. We were "featured" once and it seems to have stuck around.
Then once Xmas hit we've been selling over 1,000 copies a day! It's addictive checking the stats each morning to see how you're going. The lesson here is to leverage every available avenue no matter how small it seems. We've sold 50x more copies on Amazon than on Google Play and 10x the copies on the iOS app store.
I can only imagine how it would have sold if the game was really good.
Our first AAA mobile game was released Feb 9, 2012. After many months of waiting and many more of development Diggin' Dogs was here. We had big dreams, we set up profit share agreements and got ready to become super stars.
So much so we even made a Diggin' Dogs cake to celebrate the launch!
But the game didn't take hold. The reviews were good, the ratings high and we were unfairly compared to "Where's My Water" but we didn't mind, it was the #1 app at the time. Yet the sales dropped and it's been trickling in ever since. We still made some money but nothing worse bragging about. I still say "we're one Kim Kardashian tweet away from fame"
which is that the game is good, it's just people don't know about it. We're looking to port to Android which may give it a second wind.
The upside is we learned a lot about how to release, craft and polish a mobile game. Chillingo had it's pros and cons but we're wiser now than we were before and have Chillingo to thank for that.
36 Faces of Facebook
I'm quite happy with how this one turned out and the reception. I consider these like "industry jokes" and Slideshare is the open mic. What I liked about this one was JV did the copy and it turned out better than I expected. I don't think people realise the amount of internal reviews we do for something like this or how hard it is to stay focused and actually put one out.
Got a 3d printer
And what did we print? 3d skulls of course. Lot's more experiments to go and linking it up with the Kinect for 3D scanning but the Makerbot was the ultimate boys toy last year.
Soap's 10th Birthday Party
On March 21, 2002 we walked in ASIC in the city, waited in line and registered the company. Well actually we didn't fill the form out properly and had to make adjustments at the counter but then after a few tweaks handed the paper over with the $120 and we had a company.
10 years later, we've evolved and thankfully stronger than ever.
We took all the staff through a very quick "history of Soap" which was more just a collection of funny photos and stories from the previous ten years.
From our first client, to the time we got paid in cash from an "escort agency" to do their site.
It was a very personal time for me as I have changed a lot in those 10 years and Soap has pretty much become who I am. I'm not Ashley Ringrose but "Ash from Soap". Which is probably why I take so much of the business personally. Separating myself from the business emotionally for decisions is almost impossible.
Working with 50 people is like having 50 best friends, 50 kids and 50 girlfriends at the same time. I am Bill Paxton in Big Love.
Client Wins ING Direct: Our first proper finance client and a client that has trusted us in so many ways that we're doing all sorts of work for them beyond digital.
2x Major wins in LA: We won two big clients in LA what, due to NDA's, we can't talk about. One of them we were pitching against the big guns and the end result will really boost the LA teams profile.
Lots of Memorable Work
A bumper year for work in terms of scale and consistency across Sydney and LA.We did this without killing the team with crazy hours, we released a lot of self initiated work too and produced everything from small social campaigns to filming a video content series around the world.
LIFE TODO UPDATE
Well only #39 was ticked off this year. Make a baby!
Considering I've had this list for almost 10 years I think it's time to start ticking more off!
I have booked in #15: Do a fun run already so that is going down!
#40: Finish a GTA can be ticked off with GTAV too!
1: Travel to Japan
2: Feature on Boingboing.net 3: Write an article for a magazine 4: Write an article for an online mag (Smashing Mag) 5: Speak at a conference in a foreign country IG Digital Day Sao Paulo 6: Do the Bridge climb
7: Bungee Jump
8: Sky Dive
9: Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef (I snorkelled in Bunaken Indonesia but doesn't count) 10: Shoot a gun
11: Write an article in a newspaper
12: Have a photo of mine published in print (The lady with helmet backwards in Who doesn't count as it was uncredited)
13: Design a CD cover that's sold in stores
14: A credit in a Hollywood film
15: Compete in a fun run 16: Own a house/unit
17: Surf a wave on a surfboard
18: Visit Easter Island
19: Visit Antarctica
20: Go bobsledding in a foreign country (ice) 21: Ski in snow
22: See a sumo match in Japan 23: Become a Muslim (what we do for love hey)
24: Learn Indonesian fluently
25: Be an extra in a film (this would knock off #14 too)
26: Swim with a dolphin
27: Learn to juggle
28: Visit Great Wall of China
29: Visit the Pyramids
30: Do a high dive (10mtrs will do)
31: Attend a Comic Festival in costume
32: Attend a Superbowl
33: Buy something at a big auction. One that requires me to hold one of those big numbers 34: Go white water rafting
35: Have a book published
36: Produce | Write | Create a TV show
37: Go water skiing
38: Ride an elephant (came very close to this one) 39: Make a baby
40: Finish one of the GTA's.
41: See a UFC fight live (sit in crowd)
42: Attend a Wrestling Match live. WWF, WWC any will do 43: Get married. I better add that one in case Ervi is reading :)
44: Visit Chernobyl
45: Visit Nth Korea before it opens up
46: Visit Cuba before it opens up
47: Create a Top 5 free or paid iOS app/game (USA Store)
48: Have a photo of Mojo become a Meme. (Success kid style)
49: Have a video of Mojo go viral (Charlie bit my finger style)
50: Make a billy cart with Mojo
I have now been a parent for 3.5 months and that pretty much makes me an expert right? Sadly no, but I have found that some items we bought have been used everyday while others have hardly been touched. Here's my must buy list for any new parent.
Cloth Nappies x 20
We don't actually use these as nappies. We tried for one nappy but it was just too much hassle. But we use them for everything else. They go under Mojo when he's sleeping to catch any spit and milk. I use them to wipe his face, they go on the change matt to catch any accidents (as it's easier to just throw a cloth nappy in the wash than to wipe down stuff)
We saw this wipe system at a Baby Show and have never looked back. We still use disposable wipes when traveling on longer trips but trust me when I saw that Cheeky Wipes make cleaning up a DEFCON 5 (all over the legs and feet) baby poop a breeze.
This is the easiest swaddle you'll find. When it's 3am and you're still half asleep the Woombie makes getting your little guy swaddled a breeze. In fact you'll start to appreciate zippers more than ever. Also the baby looks funny. It's like a caterpillar or baby body bag
How do you unblock a baby's nose?! You suck it out! If the idea of giving CPR to a snotty nose freaks you out like it does me then grab one of these Nose Frida snot suckers for $10.
Nappy Bin System
This is a recent purchase but has stopped Mojo's room smelling like a urinal. The Angelcare system we got was just $50. So far has stopped me from building up a massive bag of nappy's which ends up like a Santa sack of smells.
2 minutes and you're bottles are ready to go. Waiting for something to boil is for chump parents. We use this Avent one (Who new Philips also made baby products!?) but the basic idea of simple microwaveable device vs something more expensive is the way to go.
I had no idea a Thermos could keep water so hot for so long. 12-16 hrs later and it's still just as hot yet the bottle is cool to touch. A must have if you formula feed and are traveling. And make sure you get a real Thermos brand not some cheap knock off.
Jumbo Play Matt
Grab one of these jumbo rubber mats for each main room and you'll never have to worry about poop or vomit getting on the carpet again. These mats are quite soft too so kneeling down to play is actually easier too. Compare this to the mats that have puzzle pieces. You spill a drink on that and the liquid goes into the puzzle piece gaps.
Brain Rules for Baby
This baby book made me rethink a lot of things about how to raise a happy and smart baby. No TV, video games or computer screens for Mojo until he's at least 5 now. And trying to keep up 2100 words a day is tough but gives me a goal to make sure I speak to Mojo as much as possible. It's a very interesting read about the science on how baby's brains work and learn.
This book was given to me by the guys at work and they swear by it too. Some great tips for dads.
Our's is a Sponge Bob Square Pants lamp but you can mix it up. A portable night light is great for the feeds between 11pm and 5am when you need to see your way around but don't want to wake the baby. You can then carry it to the change area once feeding is done.
The coolest piece of clothing. I've spent a small fortune on funny prints from Threadless, funny nerd baby "creeper" items from Think Geek (my fav) or the zippable Wondersuit from Bonds. Three simple clips (or one zipper) and you're ready to change a nappy. The clothes that require you to clip several times or take off completely to change are a waste of time.
We call it the Super Suit and it's how mum can walk around the markets and go shopping without the major hassle of a pram in the way. Mojo also prefers to look outwards than be stuck lying down all day. We have the Stokke Baby Carrier which is a lot more complicated than it needs to be but will allow us to put Mojo on our back. The latest Baby Bjorn looks much simpler and softer material too so I suggest you test them both out.
Foldable / Flexi Bath
This is an awesome bath that lets us bathe Mojo where ever we want and it folds up to fit in the car for travel or cupboard for storage. Also it's green (it comes in haps of colours) which is awesome.
Rather than trust my elbow I let the Rubber Duck decide if the water is too hot for Mojo. It lights up green when it's OK. Mojo likes to play with it too.
You'll also need the basics (Cot, pram, change table, bassinet, nappy bag, toys) and there's literally hundreds of options for each. I just thought the items above were a little more obscure and might be missed on most "baby buy" lists.
4.39am on Aug 3, 2012 my little boy Mojo was released from BETA.
I filmed the entire thing on a head mounted GoPro Hero2 which is handy as it's kind of a blur now. I remember cutting the umbilical cord (it's very rubbery) and holding Ervi's hand and that's about it.
Mojo was chosen as a name as it's fun, original and if we have a girl Jojo will complete the awesomeness. Yes it's a Powerpuff Girls reference. As silly as the name is I can't see the little guy having a name like "Peter" or "Paul" or something regular like that. If we have another boy I'll go with choice two Milo (yes named after the drink but luckily also means other things like Apple or an ancient Greek wrestler. The name is gaining popularity too.
The best part about having a newborn is taking funny photos. Here's two of my favs
Newborns have no control over their arms or really anything so these are just flukes. Mojo has my wrinkly forehead!
I've also become one of those dads that post nothing but baby photos now. My desktop computer and phone has him as my wallpaper. But as nothing else is happening in my spare time besides feeding and pooping it makes sense.
I've also learnt a few baby hacks in my 7 weeks of being a dad.
Putting him on the washing machine is a simple way to get him to sleep.
Walking up and down stairs also works but is much more tiring :)
If he's being cranky I just crumple a packet of chips or his baby wipes and he goes quiet almost instantly. I can see him later in life at the cinemas being mesmerised when someone is eating a packet of chips behind in.
I've also spent a lot of money buying all the baby items on the list. One that I've really got good value out of is Cheeky Wipes. It makes changing a nappy a breeze.
Oh and a nose frida to suck the boogers out of his nose. Seriously the alternative is not even worth thinking about.
I also love the pram we got.
The Mima Kobi. It's a beast but been great so far. It's also less obvious than a Stokke Explory which every parent seems to have these days. It's the show off item for all parents. I haven't tried to get it in the car and I expect that to be... fun.
I can't wait till Mojo gets old enough to speak, smile, laugh or just respond to me. Right now he's on auto pilot and while rewarding it's when he can laugh at me farting near him (not the opposite) that we'll start to have real fun. I also hope to record some funny "viral" videos and retire on a "Mojo bit my finger" video.
Even though I earned less this year than previous years I was able to donate more than I ever have to charity. Luckily the$4025 I raised for Variety doing the Indie Game The Movie screening pushed me over the edge. It's kind of cheating as I was able to pay the money as my donation even though I only put in $500 or so of my own money. So in essence I cheated.
I'm still amazed by the amount of spam I receive from charities. It's as if they all share a database because I'm sent junk from charities I've never heard of nor would ever support. They waste a lot of paper too and I can only imagine how many others receive this junk.
Another interesting thing is you get the same message whether you donate $20 or $1000. I expected something like the following;
Donate $20: Thanks for your donation, blah blah Donate $1000+: Wholly SHIT! Here's a hand written note from someone who works here thanking you for being awesome. Donate $4000: SRLSY! Here's a photo of the entire office spelling out your first name. It took almost 15 minutes to organise but you're name had 6 characters and we had to pull in the cleaner.
Maybe I'm naive to the number of people who donate large figures and to get the response I'm expecting you have to drop corporate money like $100k. But if you got a scaled response to a scaled donation maybe more people would donate?
Before I go into my photos, emails and other ways to try and remember 2011 it feels like a small year. Looking back on 2010 2011 pales in comparison. It's also the first year I didn't take many photos so records of the year will be sketchy.
I was on a "reality" TV show.
Not strictly a reality TV show (more a doco type show) but they filmed Do or Die with me and 5 other Soapers in the middle of WA. It was "farking hot" but I learned a lot about myself and my team. I signed an NDA so can't reveal more but it'll air in 2012 in April on ABC2
Photos below from Matt who was part of the Soap team.
Had a proper holiday
Ervi and I travelled to Venice, Milan, Madrid and Barcelona Thanks to AirBNB and a strong AUD I had what I think was my best holiday yet. Barcelona blew me away as it wasn't even in my top 20 cities I wanted to visit. We were lucky that our trip to Venice coincided with the Biennale Arte festival.
After joining instagram I then realised that if you want more followers you just follow people. So then proceeded to follow everyone and anything. I grew my followers from 130 to 700 in a matter of days. I also started posting my old faves from Flickr as mydaily life wasn't as photogenic. The interactions with my photos went well, but then I lost interest as I had "gamed" the system and got sick of photos of cats, food and girls getting the most popular photos. I was no better, I posting photos from my zoo visits or kitten photos to bait for hearts.
I was able to post one of my fave photos I've ever taken. This chance find i titles "I SEE BATMAN"
I joined Costco
And tried to make the best of it. I think this is the Housing Commission kid still inside me. Saving money on stuff, counting the cost per 100g but driving 50k there and back to do so :)
I would best describe the situation at Costco in Sydney on the weekend as a "shit fight".
Started Another Blog
I had finally secured areawesome.com and kicked off my world domination with.... bananas!
I have plans to expand but time has been short and this is always a side project just to see if it takes off. Even my link bait women eating a banana hasn't been the click avalanche I was expecting.
Went to E3
I finally attended E3. It was amazing. Even though all the industry veterans I met said "not as good as previous years" it was still amazing to me. Having an exhibitor pass (thanks Activision) meant I got access to anything fast too. As a gamer since the 8bit days this is a dream come true.
I also made sure to "document" the Booth Babes of E3. I just realised I haven't posted any other photos from E3! How sad.
Stayed in Venice, CA with Mike and Nick
Part of this E3 trip was staying with Mike and Nick at their place in Venice. I rode a fixie for the first time down Venice Beach (Garmin stats here). I'm not sure about other people but my balls could not handle the ride on a fixie. I usually stand up to pedal and also roll. No can do on a fixie.
Attended a Transformers Conference
I went to BotCon 2011. Working on the marketing for Transformers: Dark the Moon for Activision and having a conference "near" you was enough reason. Alex drove both of us to Passadena and we rocked out what was a "small" conference to put it nicely. I did get some great photos but I don't think I'll be back for Botcon 2012.
WOW! This was an epic Transformers tattoo piece.
I got an iPhone
After a year of using an Android phone (and being very happy with it as a phone) I got an iPhone so I could raid the App Store. I actually ordered the phone in Oct, it was delivered in November but to the wrong person. Fast forward to April!! and I finally got my phone from this wrong person. It took 6 months, 8 phone calls, 12 emails and a trip to a police but I finally got it back. Hey "wrong person" if you're reading this, you really are a douche.
Also by luck the power button broke just 2 weeks before the warranty expired and got a replacement phone at the Apple store on the spot. So I've essentially got a new iPhone now. I also made sure to tell the Apple "genius" that it's lucky Apple doesn't make cars, because replacing something because of a broken power button just seems silly.
Game Jam 2011
After winning the Global Game Jam Sydney 2010 (no prizes BTW) Soap decided to send another batch of people to the 2011 event. I attended just as a "coach / busy bee" while 4 other Soapers did the 48 hrs. One of the Soap groups had their developer up and leave in the middle of the night while Hendrik and Derek finished their Zombie Sheep game early, with less arguments than my team in 2010 :)
I also helped get some prizes for the comp securing copies of Call of Duty: Black Ops Prestige Edition for all the team members of the winning team. Thanks Arbie & Activision.
Bought a BBQ!
After many years of waiting (for no reason) I went all out and got a Weber Q. I no longer feel jealous when the neighbours fire up their BBQ while I eat wheetbix for dinner. I ended up using the BBQ every day for a good 3 weeks.
This is me BBQing in the park...
Got a new mouse
Goodbye Logitech G5 and hello R.A.T 7. I bought a bunch of these for guys in the office. It's the most customisable mouse but I've hardly customised it. But I like knowing I can. And it looks bad ass
This year was a bumper year for lanyards. I also made my "laynyard collecting" fetish known to others and explained how I treated it like "game hunting". I want to collect them myself not have someone give me one.
Played some Poker
I played 2 matches in AU with the Soap team and came 2nd in my first match. This then set me off and I started playing on the Xbox constantly to skill up and then the next game I folded to death coming 4th but I never even really contended a hand. I then played in LA and came 3rd (I think)
Lee with his winnings from match #1
Ko with his winnings from match #1 in LA
Too many Games
2011 was a huge year for gaming and for the first time I had my games than I could play. I still have Dark Souls, MW3, Saints Row 3, Ace Combat, Rage and Assassins Creed Revelations to finish. Phew.
(Update: Since initially writing this in Dec I have finished Rage and ACR)
And that was it for 2011 on a personal level.
------------------- Professional ---------------------------
In terms of work this year it was actually a pretty strong year. Both on a business level and the individual projects I was able to have an influence on.
Adnews Agency of the Year & Finalist in the B&T Agency of the Year.
We're still Adnews Agency of the Year until Feb next year when the new winners are announced and we were also in the top 5 for B&T Agency of the Year. B&T also had us down for Employer of the Year too.
We didn't win anything "agency level" at B&T although we did pick up their Digital Campaign of the Year for Pac-Man and 5X picked up Media Campaign of the year. I guess the judges focussed on the other parts of the entry...?
We also won a bunch of other awards mainly for for PAC-MAN and 5X.
World's Biggest PAC-MAN
A combination of lucky brief and simple solution made this my fave project of the year. While no One Show or Cannes glory, I'm happy with the non industry response. Traffic is still solid with 3.4 million visitors in just under a year. Not bad for a campaign with no media spend at all.
We even got tweeted by Alyssa Milano (call me!)
Oh and our first Guinness World Record now! Woo
5X Mutant Gum 5X started in Nov 2010 and it all finished May 2011. It turned out better than I was expecting in some ways and not as good in others. Working with Alex Houghton at OMD on this (he came to us with the idea) was the best media agency experience I have ever had... by a long way. It was also great to see a client as excited by an idea as us.
This was another project we started in 2010 only to finish in 2011. A companion game for a AAA console release. Dream brief! We pitched and won with a multi-player version of Risk with a PVP tied to a AAA console release! Global Resistance was born.
While the game only reached 63% of our initial scope it turned out well. Working with (and not for) Insomniac Games was pretty amazing too. I think it's the most laughs we've had on a conference call. If I wasn't for Michael Kordahi at Microsoft I'd say they were the most "kindred spirits" Soap have as clients.
I remember in the pitch Insomniac Games asking if we "would be able to keep the enthusiasm up over the long development period" and I'm happy to say we did this with spades!
Diggin' Dogs Diggin' Dogs is finally finished. Soap's first real AAA iOS game. My hand in this has been minimal. When we wanted to change from steam punk styled worms digging into a brain (that was our original direction) I just said "make it POP CAP CUTE".
The game has been an R&D labour of love for over a year now and something that's been hanging around the office since the 2007 "game in a day" challenge I set! Here is the initial prototype.
Will we make a shed load of cash? I hope so
The reviews have been great so far and I hope we can continue to support the game with the revenue it brings in.
We launched another iOS game which had been in R&D for quite a while. Thumbzilla was released in Dec with a soft launch. No trailer, no reviews and the game is 80% there. We're working on a new update and we'll use that 100% game and a trailer to properly launch the game. We actually had the name "Fingerzilla" on the app store but then let that lapse. (you get 6 months) only to see another developer release a Fingerzilla game, which was a hit. The developers name was "Inert Soap" as if it was some cruel joke about procrastination on ideas.
The game is built in Unity 3D so we're looping to port it to android which is much harder for Diggin' Dogs.
Note: Do NOT Google/Bing Thumbzilla as it's also the name of a porn site. Just go direct to Thumbzilla in the App Store and buy it :) This can't be helping sales :)
Got a PB at bowling at the Soap Birthday Party
No more lawn bowls this year we went with Ten Pin to celebrate our 9th year anniversary.
I got a personal best (180) and was able to settle the who is better between myself and Dave. Vote in the poll here about my performance. I also beat Dave again 3 months later in the northern hemisphere when I was in LA with a new PB of 187.
So I'm appointing myself the best bowler at Soap. Brad Coen, the only person to beat me, if you're reading this I want a rematch!
Below is me getting the LA symbol wrong at the Midwown Bowling alley
Soap's Youtube Challenge
I had the idea that we'd create a Yotube challenge to get staff creating content to win cold hard cash.
First to 20,000 views = $500
First to 50,000 views = $1,000
First to 100,000 views = $2,000
Anyone could enter and my entry below had over 100,000 views in 2 days and it took the steam out of everyone else's sail. There were complaints but I scripted, cast, shot, edited and graded this video myself so was within the rules. Never under estimate the power of boobs.
I've donated the 1st and 2nd prize back for someone to win which currently is still up for grabs. Sam's UFO entry is close though!
Shared Our Secrets on Slideshare
Our Facebook Brand Pages for Dummies guide was launched on Ad Age and then took off. It's since received 89,000 views and we've seen the techniques used everywhere. We didn't coin "link bait" but we certainly made it a popular term. One downside to this has been we've had two clients take over a Facebook page we were running for them and use this as the bible.
What inspired us to share so much was that we had seen other agencies in Australia copying our "techniques" and we thought we'd share the secrets with everyone. Lame claim to fame: Before sharing this presentation there was very little use of "like this post/status if" but we changed that. "Like Baiting" is now a drug that most FB brand pages are addicted to.
Lynx Rules of Rugby
I had nothing to do with this piece but it was our first truly viral video. Yes it has babes but that's no different than having roller skating babies or singing cats. You play to what works for your target.
Spoke at ADMA Digital Days
Carlson Choi (client from Namco) and I spoke in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney about Gamification. I had originally suggested Rajat from Bunchball but he was busy.
This wasn't my most prepared talk and the first time I've had to share the stage with another talker so the flow wasn't great. We got an average rating of 3.5 / 5 in the reviews so some people got worth out of it.
Soap's New Site
Design started in 2009 and it was finally launched in 2011. It already needs to be destroyed and redone for many reasons but it's done. And true to predictions I'm still the one updating it the majority of the time. The agency website is an interesting beast.
Social, Social, Social!
After the success of 100 Days of Summer for Foxtel the social floodgates seemed to open. We grew the social team from 1 to 4 in that time and brought on several new brands through the social gate. Personally social (read: Facebook) is like pop corn. You aren't left very filled at the end of it and it can get stale quickly. But we have been able to do some interesting things and the social foot in the door has opened up clients to other digital work. View our Social Media campaigns here.
I really enjoy being Kronjob on Xbox Australia with Jonothan keeping up my alter ego. It's the one profile where I get to be me. Oh that and responding to posts as Bubble O' Bill. Always a great way to get a laugh.
We also billed over half a million on Facebook ads which has been a real learning experience unto itself. The biggest learning was how to sell it to clients. Media agencies don't focus on results (they can't as they are usually pretty bad) so they focus on the sell.
Note: the same amount of sell and reporting is needed for a $3000 spend as it is for a $100,000 spend. No wonder media agencies are lazy, doing a good job just doesn't matter.
We worked with a few celebs this year.
Ken Jeong reading my ADR scripts for the Hangover 2 iPhone game was funny even if only 2-3 lines made it into the final game. I need to put these up somewhere as they are LOL funny.
The "5 Gum voice over guy" did some extra Soap lines for us on the side. Oh and my voice mail message.
Kate Ritchie from Home and Away wished us a Happy Birthday
The Jacob's Creek team met Curtis Jobling who designed Bob The Builder! Here's Brad with the man below. Jealous
We Made a Billboard
To celebrate Bubble O Bill Facebook hitting 1 Million fans we created a bill-board (sic) that was just down the road from our office. It was meant to be up for 4 weeks and ended up staying for 3 months.
We made Grassy Street Art
I had little to do with this one but I was able to help it get on Wooster Collective and it's another interesting "non digital" project we did in 2011. Lots of photos here.
Soap Cross Fit
This has been the surprise of the year with the Cross Fit Personal Training becoming a huge success. Around 17 Soapers do this twice a week. After doing a few sessions of Your Shape Fitness and feeling totally knackered I have wisely decided to avoid killing myself at Cross Fit and will just do Your Shape via Kinect like the nerd I am.
Got a new Boardroom Table!
Gone with the old, water damaged table and in with the new custom built ping ping table. Even if you don't play Ping Pong it's a great looking table.
Pitches & New Biz
We capped off the last week of work with 2 new biz wins. We won ING Direct and the digital work for The Avengers for Disney Australia. I've been an ING customer since it first launched and it was surprising to them to see my customer ID # was so low. This wasn't agency BS I really did jump in fast.
2011 on a whole was a solid year for new biz with Ferrero coming on board with Tic Tac, Nutella and Kinder Surprise. Adding to the long list of brands that I use every day and happen to also work for. Seriously all we have to do is work for Milo again and there isn't a brand I use/eat/play regularly that we don't work for.
Jacob's Creek for Pernod Richard was the biggest win and has lead to a lot of interesting work. We've even done a fair amount of print work too! The big idea we won the pitch with will launch in 2012 and that is looking amazing.
This was the first full year in which the other Soap co-founder Rob wasn't here. It wasn't as hard as I expected but his presence was missed.
I have just finished my tax and reconciled all my expenses and earnings for the year and it's that time again to reflect on the money side of life. What's interesting is I spent a LOT of time thinking, talking and signing papers about money in 2011. Having two business partners leave a business is a very paperwork intensive situation. If you've ever bought property and think the paper work is overwhelming for a mortgage then never go into business.
So just over a year ago I shared some insight into my donations. This was partly to inspire people to donate more and partly narcissistic. But isn't blogging about yourself all about that?
Note: It's actually quite easy to donate when apply rules or siphon off money from you're usual spending.
2011 was a big year for donations for me. I think the combination of the usual guilt I feel (I stole $40 from the MS Read-A-Thon while a teen and still feel guilty), the whole Occupy Wall Street BS and the fact I had so many meetings with bank managers and lawyers on the business side had me feeling in need of a karma boost. Factor in I earned less last year than last year I jumped from donating 2% of my earnings to just over 6%. I was aiming for 5% but clients had a busy year with walks, fights,and moes that needed funding.
Break down from 2004 is below. I need to contact the ATO to get my data from 1995 onwards, although when I worked at McDonald's in '95 I don't remember giving to charity. But from '99 when at Kinkos I had regular donations.
One thing I did learn is that you need to be disciplined in keeping track of all your donations. Some charities are great and give you nice receipts for the end of year tax time while others you can easily miss their single, badly formatted email and that's it.
I'm doing my tax for last year (yes I'm 7 months late as usual) and realised I have not updated my donation chart since 2009.
I dropped in the 08/09 year but came back in 09/10. I was actually way down until I found a random receipt for Fred Hollows foundation for a one off donation I did. If you don't keep track them them it's so easy to forget.
When I look at these donations as a % of my overall earnings it's pretty sad. Here's the chart for the 09/10 year
It's around 2% which is insignificant. I'd feel worse if I had spent more on drugs or alcohol but no, the guilt I feel which fuels my donations is my vice. Which I believe stems from when I did the MS Read-A-Thon as a kid and kept $40 of the money I raised and spent it at Time Zone. This has weighed on me for many years.
So I'm looking to boost my donations for the 10/11 year and I want charity suggestions. Nothing religious please but suggestions. Or should I put it all into the micro funding sites like Kiva?
I currently donate to the following on a regular basis MSF
One thing I am annoyed about is the amount of emails and junk mail I receive from the charities I do donate to. Oxfam print a huge amount of stuff that I tossed into the bin every month. I've told all the charities that if I receive any junk mail they will stop receiving a donation. Only one has failed so far.
If you want to donate more to charity try looking at new ways to give. You'll be surprised how easy it can be.
I find these end of year wrap ups very therapeutic. These are more for me than anyone else so if you're expecting something insightful below don't read on. It's more of a diary entry with the facts laid out. No real reflections or insight.
Looking back on a year (like 2003) is strange and fun at the same time.
Here's the previous years for those interested.
2010 was probably the weirdest year I've had professionally. While 2009 was the biggest personally, as I got married, this year was definitely a year of professional.... upheaval. I spent a long time in meetings with lawyers and signing documents and generally frustrated at how the "system" works. My own laziness and gullibility cost me a lot of money because the "system" doesn't run on common sense but balogna.
But lets concentrate on the good stuff...
I Entered the Red Bull Flugtag
This is one of those "Oh wouldn't that be cool to do but I never will" things. Luckily this year I was the pilot of team Fail Whale in this year's Red Bull Flugtag, Sydney. A big thanks to Robbie, Mark and Aaron for building the craft. And Brad for being the Jelly fish on the day. We were the only entry without wings and we still came 15th! The only other agency that entered Visual Jazz Sydney came 38th!
That's my feet in the photo below. I highly recommend entering the comp if it's on in your area.
I didn't have a costume as I was in the whale.
A New Car
After surviving quite well without a car for 12 years in Sydney we now have a new car. A brand new VW Golf. It's officially my wife's car as I was content to just use the fantastic GoGet service but as Ervi only just got her licence they won't let P's use the cars.
This new car resulted in the need to clean out our garage. Which was filled with empty computer boxes, filing cabinets, tyres, and junk from years of hoarding and collecting for Soap. Lots of visits to the bins, a truck pick up for Soap junk and a shit load of sweeping resulted in a usable lock up garage.
Having driven just 5 times in the last 12 years I feel like a learner again. When we filled out the insurance policy it asked "how many accidents have you had in the last 5 years" I put 0. It never asked a more appropriate question of "How many times have you driven in the last 5 years" which I also would have answered 0. Even Youii who's whole campaign is about asking the right questions didn't ask this. Fools!
The VW Golf is great but I still secretly long for the GTI or R. But I've always been one to live under my means and the nice little Golf suited Ervi's budget.
This was the odometer after the Soap Boot Camp trip to hunter valley. It ended on this as I parked to drop people off at the office.
My Best Presentation Experience: Ignite Sydney
After posting a joke about Google Trends in 2007 I was able to convert this into a presentation for Ignite Sydney. Again I pandered to what I thought the audience would want to hear about with a crowd pleaser topic. This is as close as I'll get to doing stand up, which is another life dream.
The talk is now on Youtube. I bluffed a few screens by going off script but I did well with the audience laughing. If only my voice didn't sound so weird.
Ignite is one of the best nights for me, and it's pretty much free (I donated $5 at the entrance).
Below was my fav talk from the night. Again movies and psychology. You can't go wrong.
I probably wont be able to do another Ignite talk as they are trying to mix up the speakers and this was my 2nd talk. But I'll try to convince someone from the Soap team to talk in Feb 2011. The 15 seconds per slide and 20 slide limit is liberating.
Travel: USA Trip #7 was awesome
This time with Ervi. Most of my other trips have been partner free. Which is great for work but boring otherwise. The trip was for the Ad Age Digital conference talk and I added a personal holiday to the end of it.
This trip we visited Las Vegas. I had no idea it was so close to the Grand Canyon as I would have ventured there also had I of known.
Saw the LOVE show by Circ De Soleil
and the Blue Man Group.
Braved the crowds to see the Tim Burton show in MOMA NYC,
ate at Shake Shack,
stumbled into two art shows Mr Brainwash in NYC (we saw Exit Through the Gift Store that same night and the penny dropped who this artist was)
David Choe in LA
did the Top of the Rock
ventured to Brooklyn for the first time.
visited the Getty Center
and the Disney Concert Hall in dirty downtown LA.
Travel: Visited New Orleans!
I was voted onto the ANDY jury for 2010 (an awesome achievement unto itself) and like always met some amazing people and saw some great work. And as always was annoyed at how easily great work can miss out in awards due to political agendas or ignorance.
I even got to say hi to Shepard Fairey who was on the jury. His manager sent us all a hand pulled print. This hangs in the LA office now.
And got to go to a Jay Z concert and sit in a VIP area (fuck yeah!) and got very close to Beyonce
Yes, I seem much cooler than I really am.
Travel: Went to Brisvegas
I judged the Brisbane Art Directions club digital work. Didn't get to see much of Brisbane but did get to go to the video game Mana Bar. And saw Zero Punctuation guy at the door.
Travel: Went to Melbourne for an indie Games Conference
Also realized that indie devs need to suck it up and sell out more sometimes.
Made a good friend with a card carrying Mormon
Josh came over for a 3 month internship from the USA and we had a great time. He'll be joining the Soap LA crew in 2011 which is great. I say card carrying Mormon as I thought that was a figure of speech but it's true, all Mormons are required to carry a card.
Met Nathan from Deeplocal
Probably one of the nicest and most interesting people I have met
Bought an Investment Property
I became a landlord after buying a property in the same block as I live. So far it's been very easy as the real estate agent does everything and I can't be assed joining the body corporate. Oh and my first job as landlord.... was to up the rent $20 a week [evil laugh]
Did Movember properly
The previous years I have kept a beard and shaved at the end. This year I spent November with a full moe. It was itchy but we raised $1500 for charity
I didn't realize my old glasses were three years old until the paint started to peel off them. My new specs (see above) go for the big nerd look. They are also 5x heavier than my previous titanium glasses. My nose is slowly getting used to this.
Old glasses below:
Got a Valid Medicare Card
The new glasses prompted me to get a valid Medicare card (needed to bulk bill that eye test). The previous one expired in 2007. This also reminds me that I haven't been to the doctor in three years?!
Got a Smart Phone & used it like a dumbass We got a free Nexus One in the office (thanks to a Unity licence) and I snapped it up. This was after having a Nokia 6280 for 4 years. It still works but I got sick of not having a properly synced calendar and remote email access.
I then proceeded to be an idiot and rack up $700 in data charges in 2 months! My tears to the 3 operator got me a 50% discount.... luckily. I'm now still waiting for my iPhone 4 because as much as I like the Android platform I want access to all the apps and games the App store offers.
Discovered new music I liked
I didn't post that much to Sleevage this year but I was able to discover some new music (well new to me) over the last 12 months.
I put these guys on high rotation late in 2010.
I'm probably the last person on earth to discover the name of the singer of so many classic songs.
The Temper Trap
Ok this is borderline but the wife likes them so I'll play along. They are Aussie so that helps.
This has been played a lot in the office and I finally asked "who is this playing?"
This would be my karaoke song if it wasn't so embarrassing.
This really grew on me. Thanks to Rob for the tip.
As someone who is obsessed with work I find it hard to separate professional and personal life. I also find it hard to relax and not think about work. It's a hobby and a career. Here's some of the big events of the year outside of actual projects.
Won Digital Agency of the Year
After many years of being runners up or finalists in these agency awards we finally won Adnews Digital Agency of the Year. A huge win for the team who worked their asses off. We were runners up for B&T Awards also. I'm still confused how they judge these things and believe you really can't win by being honest. It's more about the grand story than reality. One agency will win B&T Awards but then not even be short listed for the Adnews awards. How that happens shows you the impact the jury has. We followed that up with not even being short listed for the 2010 B&T Awards this year :( I nice dose of reality.
Speaking of award blue balls we were shortlisted for 10 AIMIA awards this year and walked away with none. Luckily we called their bluff and didn't send anyone to the actual event. We spent that money towards dinners for the team.
Won the Sydney Global Game Jam
Hendrik and I spent 48 hrs locked in the Powerhouse Museum for the Global Game Jam. Our team (Hendrik & myself and a UNSW student Sash) actually made our game in 38 hrs for the Global Game Jam as we went home for a good sleep on the last night. The game was featured on Good Game and some other shows but I don't have video of that :(
Here's a video of the game play and you can play Tentacle Assassin yourself here. I did the majority of the code (AS2!) and audio and Hendrik did the art while Sash did support code.
And yes we chose a theme that would play to the audience as who doesn't love lots of blood.
Funny story: it was 1 hr before the final presentation when we were told out game could not be shown due to the small kids in the audience. After lots of protest (read: whining) we were allowed to display it with a warning to the kiddies.
It was a great event and I met Dan Graf from Dr D studios and Sash from Bit Battalion who I still talk to regularly. It got a little tense around 20 hrs in but we made it through.
Working 38hrs straight, after already doing a full day of work at Soap takes the wind out of you. Especially when Glenn is yelling at his computer every 5 minutes for his game Gnilley.
Ate a Shit Sandwich (but I ordered it) When I launched the Hot & Cold list early in the year I did not expect the large amount of poo thrown my way. Some of it my own fault for trying to make everyone happy but I don't think I deserved it all. I was also personally hurt by the lack of support from a few people. But lessons learned are valuable;
You will never make everyone happy, so don't try.
Be 100% clear about what is going to happen. Leave nothing for assumptions
Explain the decision process behind what's happening
Organizing anything by committee is a waste of time. Nothing will ever get done otherwise
Hypocrites don't like being told they are one, so don't bother alerting them to the fact
Had two business partners leave in < 3 months
Good things always come to an end but you are never prepared for it. Having two of my three business partners leave around the same time hurts a lot. Business is well but like in all breakups the financial and emotional burden of the departures will be felt for a few years to come.
I've delayed my platinum grillz for few more years. I also felt embarrassed that this happened. It feels like a failure to have this happen when in reality it's just part of business.
Spoke at Ad Age Digital 2010 I was one of the last speakers of the Ad Age Digital event so the crowd thinned out a little. I was happy with my performance and it was one of the first times I have rehearsed with a complete script (which is the only way to do this). I was happier when the presentation got picked up and viewed more than 40,000 times on Slideshare and Soap's #1 presentation (so far)
Soap White Papers: 10 Facebook Myths Busted
We made a big effort at Soap to knowledge share and raise our profile within the industry. The 10 Facebook Myths Busted was the first effort and it was received well. Other planned papers have been delayed until 2011 but they are shaping up nicely. Putting the time into these presentations, without the burden of a deadline, is tough. As there are multiple people who work on it without a proper owner it will never get done.
After so many years of being busy to the point of it being silly we had a couple of months where the work calmed down enough for us to develop some of the R&D projects we have had lying around and catch up on a elements like Iphone development which we had fallen behind on.
The Meeting Game
It felt like years because it was but The Meeting Game was completed in 2010. Born out of a few too many long meetings we decided to create a card game that you could play at any meeting. Selection, copy and illustrations all done by committee guaranteed this took much longer than it needed. Humor is a tough won to do by committee as what makes someone else laugh or a pop culture reference doesn't always translate. However it turned out better than I had hoped for and if you want a set send me an email, we still have a few hundred packs left.
Spin Da Wheel: Iphone
We actually had this as part of a pitch back in 2008, we wont the pitch and then the client disappeared. It was a nice simple app to test out our iPhone skills on. It's Spin Da Wheel and not Spin The Wheel as the latter gets cropped on the iPhone to Spin The Whe..
Lava Ball: Iphone
Our first game for the iPhone and Mark's idea which I remembered from a random conversation the year before. The game has had over 220,000 downloads due to it being featured by Apple. We also had a lot of hate on it with people calling it "racist", only in the US app store. I will admit when Joms did the first version of the character with bright red lips I made him change it. But no offence was meant.
Mower Race: Iphone
This is the nicest looking iPhone game we have made. Only problem is the game was way too hard. The game was a re-skin of The Chicken Race which we made for Ubisoft previously. I love the art style for this and hope we can do more like this in the future.
The iPhone app store is a funny beast and we learned a lot in 2010.
Projects lined up for R&D in 2011 are much stronger and a few have some real revenue potential. We have 3 iPhone games mid way through production, each of them completely different, and each I think could be winners. It will be interesting when one game/app does hit gold and we generate a wad of cash. Client work might not get the priority it does now.
We opened and closed an office
We counted those chickens before they hatched. But that's because we had a contract from the chicken's procurement department.... Soap briefly opened a Melbourne office and then then shut it. We're lucky the impact was minimal but it was one of those times when being a business owner sucked. A few lessons learned there also.
I Now Know Why Most Media People Are Lazy
Having now dabbled in media on a small level I understand now why media people are lazy. It's hard work optimizing a media plan mid campaign and clients care more about getting regular, easy to read reports than the actual results.
I'm sorry I didn't get that report done I spent all my time optimizing the media for better results. Oh you don't care...
It's must easier to give the standard template buy, so the results can be input into the standard template for standard results. Sad really.
Moved Desks into the "Management Area"
After sitting and working right next to everyone in the office for 8 years I finally moved to a new area of the office. I even made us of the whiteboard which sat outside to give myself a pseudo office wall. This protects me from the incoming ping pong balls (the ping pong room is also my new office area) and also I don't get distracted as much. I'm attracted to shiny things.
Previously I sat right in the middle of the office and I'd always try to answer other people's questions (even when not asked to me directly), check out other people's screens and basically keep distracted. This always reduced the actual amount of "work" I did during business hours.
What stopped me from moving earlier was I was afraid it would create an "us and them" mentality. This feeling subsided when I met Michael at the Firstborn NYC office. He has his own secret office on another level to get his shit done! The account management and other management staff have their own private office too.
Another reason was to make room for the new staff as we're running out of seats.
However the biggest reason was because I saw this 37 Signals talk on TED, saw Jason talk in NYC & read the book "REWORK".
He reminds me of Justin Timerlake meets Screech from Saved by the Bell. This really made me rethink how I work and I immediately sent this to all staff at Soap.
Unfortunately not everyone shares this simple idea. But for me it's worked. I regularly relapse and will walk around annoying people for no other reason than I want to say hi but I'm getting better.
Sharing my role
I promoted Mark Fennel to share my role with me and moved him away from the general production work. This has had the biggest impact on my daily work life. Mark has taken a lot of daily management of the dev team off my hands, he's taken charge on a lot of internal initiatives that I had let stagnate and also freed me up to think on projects in a deeper way, rather than skim across them.
I've known Mark since 1999 when he was running Flashkit. He was the guy who invited me for my first ever speaking event at Flashkit 2001. Mark not only has the skills to manage people and do the work himself he shares my attitude when it comes to getting things done.
Make it work,
then make it sexy,
then make it better.
It was hard to take him off production as he just gets shit done, fast. But it was the right move
The idea to share my role didn't come to me (arrogance I think) until I I initially interviewed someone for a general developer role. The way he described his experience at UK agencies had me excited that he could handle all the things that I was not good at and we could share the burden of overseeing the technical side so many projects. I then described to him my perfect role and how we'd share it. It would be awesome.
He took another job at a rival agency sighting "I want to have 100% of the responsibility and 100% of the success or failure". I then realized I had sold to him my perfect role, not his. Mark then approached me about the role and we went from there. Perfect timing.
Soap Got Broken Into
There seems to be a serial agency theft gang as Droga 5 and Design Royale also got hit less than 1 month apart. They took three crappy Dell laptops which we only got replaced this week. They wont be back again as we don't leave the good stuff in the office. If only they stole my old Mac laptop!
This was the one time I had my phone off for the weekend. And as I'm first on the security call list by the time the call got to me and I ran over to the office it was too late. I live 5 min (or 3 min when I run like a mofo) so if my phone was on I might have been there in time to see something.
Hey ladies... get funky [cow bell SFX]
We're not sure how it happened but Soap now has seven women working in the Sydney office. From the low of 2009 with two we have defiently ramped up the dosage of estrogen. The LA office has the token female Bianca who only joined last month so they still have a long way to go.
This male dominance is not by choice it's just how we have evolved.
New Soap Site!
Hahaha kidding, it's still not ready yet! After starting in May 2009 and then me finally saying "Fuck it there's an LOL cat on the site now lets get the new site up by March 21, 2010 fast to get rid of that dumb cat". Now after having that stupid cat sit there for 9 months Soap now has a new "holding site" which took exactly 10 hrs to put together by the LA office.
The actual site will launch Jan 7 after we took a knife and removed half the unfinished sections. I'm not sure whether I'm angry or disappointed it didn't get done earlier but I am still confused why the project was avoided. But that is the nature of internal projects, they seem insignificant and there are better things to do... like ping pong.
So that's basically 2010 for me.
A big year as always with highs and lows. I'm looking forward to 2011 as the major distractions for 2010 are all dealt with. There are still more challenges ahead but all seem small compared to 2010's.
Soap went from 3 people to 2, then to 3, then 4 then 5.
The first full year of working for myself.
We launched a new website in December which we started in January.
Had a client get arrested and go to jail for importing $100M+ of Ecstacy. We never saw our money.
We bought a heater, 3 Emacs, 2 PC's and 2 printers. And numerous software. We also bought numerous chairs which will all be obsolete in January 2004
Did our first eyeblaster banners with Syrup.
Completed our first commercial CDROM job for Contiki and HOST.
Built our first flash desktop app for Big Brother 03.
First mentioned in B&T for Moboy and Big Brother
Got the Flash Forward award we won last year from Leo
I retired my laptop to work on a Emac. The took my laptop out of retirement with OSX 10.3 to work occasionally at home.
Bought an IPOD. Converted all my CD's to MP4's. Realized Itunes was useful.
TOP Songs/Albums of 2003: According to Ipods Play Counts:
24 Doves: Lost Souls: Firesuite
22 Coldplay: A Rush of Blood: Clocks:
22 COldplay: Parachutes: Shiver
21 The Prodigy: The Fat of the Land: Climbatize
The Shins: Og Inverted World: Caring is Creepy:
AIR: Moon Safari: Sexy Boy
Cat Power: Moon Safari: Cross Bones Style
Eels: Novacaine for the Soul
Easy Me: Faith No More
Oh Yeah: Yellow
Faith No More is the only artist i own a CD off. The rest I burnt from friends. Weird they should make up the top 25 in my Top played songs:
Only Smashing Pumpkins with 1979 and the before-mentioned Faith No More are the lone artist's in my Top 40 of which I own CD's of. I guess my friends have good taste and I'm a stingy bastard.
Finally understood XML and it's worth
The first full year in sydney I have lived in the same apartment.
In December I finally bought a PS2 and tried to make up for lost time.
I raised $2,150 for Oxfam to travel to China only to have SARS and work interrupted plans.
I Visited Melbourne for the first time.
Visited QLD twice
>> Spoke at 2 conferences this year: Flashklt and Digit. Both ill-prepared but went down well. Also got asked to speak in Singapore (free flight) only to have a job due the same day. Then find out the job is delayed.
My little sister moved in to live with me for a while.
Still haven't got Private Health Cover, Insurance or Laser Eye Surgery.
We bought a new kettle.
Bought a DVD player to go with the DVD's i own.
Finally started paying for dialup after my free UUNET account stopped working.
Realised i can make good smoothies. Made and consumed around 50
Bought my first ever suit for Robs wedding.
Finally got a electric toothbrush
Realised i like Felafel Kebabs from Ali Baba. Bought and consumed about 15
Sworn off soft drink about 10 times
Got a new mobile phone (Siemens S55) and have hated it ever since.
Number of times vomited: 4
Number of Migraines: 3
Number of fights: 0
Distance i drove a car: 0km
Number of Weddings Attended: 1
Pairs of Shoes bought: 1
Pairs of Shoes worn: 3
Number of times rent paid late: 18
Number of times sunburnt: 1
Allnighters at work: 3
Number of times went to bed before 12am: 50
won ticket to premier of Matrix 2. 1 ticket!!!! I sat behind Jimmy Barnes and next to 2 suited people. I saw the president from 24 on the Red Carpet
i made a google #1
I have a serious case of Blog ADD. Here's my train of thought for a typical lazy raining Sunday. Part of getting over this problem is sharing the problem so here goes.
I'll get a list of posts I need to do for Sleevage (including ones that I have promised bands and designers sorry guys) and start researching a post. I'll then end up with 25 tabs open and then see something about an underground dance party and start to flag that for the underground blog. By this time I've forgotten about Sleevage. Either that or my tabs crash and I lose all the links.
I'll then see a banner on one of these sites that reminds me to audit the submissions for Bannerblog. I'll look through those which is also littered with viral videos and campaigns. While checking out them I'll see something which triggers a thought for this site.
It's usually a pet peeve or something stupid yet insightful so I open up the admin here. But opening up this admin reminds me of all my other posts I promised myself I'd do. I search for an old list I did somewhere. Google Docs or Toodloo.
I can't find that list but see another list of the collaborative posts/articles I have on the go for Soap Creative and my real job! Oh yeah that Community Post with Matt! I totally forgot. Oh the white paper on Micro Transactions. This is why we got the 2010 Digital Predictions doc done in <5 days because it would have dragged on otherwise.
Thinking about this then reminds me that I should tend to HeroHQ while we're in hiatus awaiting the new game to be announced (soon guys!). I'll check there and someone will link to a crazy X-Men related costume which reminds me that no only did I sell WTFcostumes too soon but my other 3 blog ideas (secret ideas right now) haven't even got off the ground.
The one blog that did get off the ground is the neglected Cool Shit You Can Buy. On official hold due to a blog embargo by my wife.
I then check my email to see another request for a custom Mr Potatohead. I look to my left and see a box of Mr Potatohead parts and piles of clay that have been untouched for almost 2 years now. I resist the urge to make a Predator potatohead yet again.
Looking at my Mr Potatohead photos reminds me that I still have thousands of travel photos to process. It makes me reminisce when I had a proper photoblog back in 2000-2004. Ahh Happy Snaps I miss you. I also find it funny I used to post images 320x320 size. I was worried when I went above 40k for a photo. That was dial up in 2001 I guess.
It's about this time I realise I've done nothing, I'm still in my underpants and I haven't eaten anything. Oh and it's time for bed.
The only saving grace is that Bannerblog has a solid team of editors who keep the site rolling along and Ross, Alex and Matt continue to hold the torch for Soap on the blogs even when I don't.
I hope others out there share the same problem. Maybe I just need a personal assistant?
Disclaimer: Facts may be exaggerated for dramatic effect.
I was away getting married when Man Week happened so I thought It's better to be late than never for the party of all things manly.
As usual I can't write a good story just lots of little tid bits so here they are. Anything man related I can think of.
1: My Dad's Name
It was at the signing ceremony during the wedding that I discovered what my dad's name was. Gerald Anthony. Not Brock Sampson as I was hoping :(
It was weird seeing his name as I have seen about 3 photos of him and never had any interest in catching up with him since becoming an adult.
The first thing that came to my head when I saw the name was "wonder what will come up if I Google him" but then realised it's a pretty generic name and thus nothing comes up if you try.
I guess my mum gave Ervi's family his name as when they asked me I said I didn't know and if not needed to get married then don't worry.
Update: I did have a father figure (my sisters dad) growing up (well say 50% of it) but this wasn't the best example. Ie he's a douche bag :)
2: Barber Shave
While in Indo (again for the wedding) I decided to get a shave at the Barber's. I've wanted to do this for ages and Indo is great as it's so cheap for this type of stuff. I went to the same place Ervi's dad has been going for 25 years. I'm not sure if it's just this place or what I had was the real deal but it fucking hurt. I was expecting a hot towel to start but the guy just cleaned me up then went into shaving balm/creme stuff. And then right into using the blade. My eyes watered it hurt so bad. The guy ended on a hot towel? Either way I'll be sticking to my Gillette Quatro with aloe vera blades from now.
Funny but this was the most painful experience next to having my blackheads cleaned while getting a facial. Which I also did in indo as again it's so cheap and Ervi was getting one too.
3: Dick and Balls
Being a man is being obsessed with dick and balls. No man can say he's never drawn a dick and balls on a photo of his friends. How detailed you draw the dick and balls is up to you but everone has a style which is similar to a hand writing style.
Here's the ones I've tagged with penis on my Flickr
I believe this might have been Rob's creation.
And here's Superbad talking about dicks
Update: Women don't seem to draw Vaginas so it's a MAN thing.
My most mainly features would be my ability to grow facial hair. Although now I hate shaving as it's a pain in the ass.
Here's me trying to think of more manly things
In addition to facial hair I now have Magnum PI chest hair in addition to other parts I wish didnt have hair. I remember when I just had hair around my nipples in primary school. Ahh those were the days.
This hair however did help me sneak into Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast and nudie bars when I was 16-17 as I looked older.
Additional 5: Man Stuff
In terms of checking off the items on "Being a Man in Australia" sadly I can't change a car tire, even a bike tire would confuse me. I don't own a tool set and only last year got a hammer to um... hammer stuff. Never owned a shed, was always bad at chucking a wheelie on my bike. I'm also shit at fighting and the last time I punched a punching bag I hurt my wrist. (I am a whiz on the speed ball though)
And that's about it for manly stuff and me. Here's a post from Mark P which covers everyone else's posts about man week. Which I haven't gone through in full as I'm lazy and skim read.
Also Mark P and Gavin are putting a book together for Man Week which you can contribute to. More info here.
The dirty one is the top one which I had no idea was so bad. Glad that's out.
I found there are quite a few photos of people's wisdom teeth on flickr. I only wish I took my camera with me and got a shot of the bloody tooth. These washed teeth have much less "character" I guess the dentist assistant wanted to make it all clean for me. Oh well.
It's funny how events like this are ones I want to capture. The dentist and the assistant seemed OK with me having the teeth but I got the feeling not everyone keeps the teeth they have extracted. Why not it's a great souvenir.
I wish I owned a camera when I sliced my finger open in highschool and when I was badly sun burt in primary school and had to go to hospital. Not having any record of these events annoys me now. Kids these days have camera phones and will be able to keep a record of pretty much everything that happens to them.
Here are my Google Reader trends which I'm disspointed in seeing that Google Reader only keeps the last 30 days. Very lame. I have made a huge effort lately to keep on top of my Google Reader as I used to let it just pile up and then "flag as read" but now I've made an effort to keep on top of a few of my sets of feeds.
I dont seem to read anything on Wednesdays and Sunday is my day to catch up before the start of the new week. 8-9am is a big time too as I read when I get in early to work and 3-5 is either catchign up on a few during the day or that's the time I read most on the weekends. Then you have the 11pm and 1am last minute reading before bed.
I'd like to see other people's trends and see if they match mine.
Also I have been sharing and starring heaps as I've used this as bookmarking and a way to share items with friends. I see this as the way I blog now. Rather than just reporting stuff I'll just "share" it on my reader. Check my shared items here. So much good stuff these days it's hard to keep track.
Ashley Ringrose is the co-founder of Soap Creative (soap.com.au), creator of Bannerblog (bannerblog.com.au) & has blogged at The Slippery Truffle since 2000. (theslipperytruffle.com/)
How to spot Ash in a crowd: Male, just under 6ft, Caucasian, fair complexion, blue eyes, glasses, deep voice, hairy arms, shaven hair while sporting the T-Shirt with a print on it. He is usually found unshaven with a DSLR camera taking photos of abandoned chairs.
Fact you wouldn’t know: Loves pinball machines.
Fact you don’t want to know: Got so badly sun burnt one once he had to go to hospital.
Fact people usually don’t believe: Doesn’t drink alcohol. Sorry just an OJ thanks.
Celebrity he most resembles: Moby
Favorite drink: Milk and Milo.
Favorite film: Back to the Future 2
But I thought after reading Julian's post I might expand on these further. So here's a few extra details and some weird stuff about me that you might not know.
This isn't one of those look how cool I am posts. This is more of me using this as therapy so i'm gonna go deep and share some stuff most people don't know. Not that deep though :) I got a few skeletons that have been locked away tight.
"this is like Facebook's 25 things" which I didn't know as I try to avoid Facebook. But now I read I guess it is. Too bad I have 30 now.
1: I love pinball machines.
I was in a pinball league when in high school. This basically meant I met once a week and played pinball with older people. I also have a "Billion Point Trophy" form Timezone awarded to Ashley Ringrove. This was for the Star Trek pinball. The funny thing is a pinball friend actually got 900,000,000 and I played the last ball. It lasted 30 seconds and the bonuses wrapped up to make 1 Billion. I got the trophy as the guy had already won previously
I used to go to Timezone and watch the Aussie champ play. I actually saw him get 1 Billion on the first ball on Getaway. It was the best 5 hrs I spent :)
Here's a tip he taught me. If you reach under a pinball machine to the left you'll find the off switch. Perfect for when you want to go for a smoke (or eat) and don't want other people to jump on the machine.
My fav Pinball machine? Adams Family by a long shot then Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom or Creature from the Black Lagoon.
I'm now in a financial position to own a pinball machine but have resisted. Sometimes it's good to not get everything you want. That and I have no room for it and a guy told me that becasue all the pinball companies have gone out of business it's hard to find parts and pinball machines require lots of maintance. And me I'm not a handy person.
2: I got so badly sun burnt one once I had to go to hospital.
Anyone who has met me in real life will realize I'm fair skinned. When I was in primary school on long holidays we went to wet and wild for the day and I got burnt. So badly that my entire back, shoulders and down to my elbows were covers in blisters. I went to hospital and they gave me burn cream. The same you get when you are burnt in a fire.
I then spent the rest of the school holidays (about 3-4 weeks) sleeping slouched over a bean bag with a spaghetti fork/spoon thing. I used that for scratching my face and reaching. As I could not bend my arms.
Sadly I have no photos of this at all. Lame, as it was pretty fucked up and now would make an awesome end to this story. So I have to tell you this disturbing fact to make sure it resonates.
While burnt we went through a car wash I had a massive blister on my chest that looked like a snake. It made no sense the shape but it went from my shoulder down to the middle of my chest. Half way through the car wash I complained that water was getting in and the windows should go up further. They were all the way up??! Oh my massive blister had burst and sprayed onto the windows.
3: I don't drink alcohol.
In the last 13 years of being of the legal age to drink I've had alcohol about 4 times and been drunk 3 times. On all 3 occasions it was to the enjoyment of friends rather than myself. I succumbed to peer pressure and made everyone happy by slurring my words.
I did drink in high school and have many memories of peeing off overpasses onto people, arriving home with a letterbox, not as many memories of pashing girls and the ones I do are all bad, many many memories of throwing up on the lawn of a friends house party and one of riding my bike into the bushes at full speed the next morning. Oh it's how I think I lost my virginity but I have no idea as I was so drunk. So I'll count that as a no.
Being a non drinker is great as everyone thinks you're smart (you can think fast when not drunk) + I have been able to keep Ervi happy by not making a fool of myself or being a hot blooded douche bag.
4: I like Milo
I used to eat that shit right from the tin. I would tear up the roof of my mouth eating that stuff. I still go through a 1KG tin of Milo every 2 months. I'm the eat it dry with the milk to wash it down. That's how I roll today too.
5: I almost drowned
One time during primary school I went to the the beach (that would be one of the 20 or so visits in my life) with a friend on the weekend and nearly drowned.
I was standing on a sand bank and then bamn it was gone. I was too embarrassed to wave my arms and was really struggling to keep my head up out of water. A surfer came past asked if I needed help and then took me to the shore. He then carried me like a baby to the Life Guard area thing. I was Ok by then.
I haven't even told my mum that as i was too freaked out by it.
6: I'm a shit swimmer
This is probably related to the one above but I skipped as much swimming lessons at school because of my white complexion. I am super white. I got called "Casper the hairy ghost" on the rare occasion I did actually swim. Oh I was hairy too earlier than most teens. Sure if looks great on Magnum PI but not me :) My only consolation was that the middle eastern guy had a hairy back and it was pretty thick.
Friends at highschool joked that if we ever crashed in a plane in the middle of the ocean I'd be first to drown.
7: I've seen Back to the Future 2 about 12 times
So I guess this is my fav film. It's the first movie I had on VHS tape which was a dodgy copy from an Aunti in Tasmania. I watch that movie back to back heaps of times and to be fair it does kick ass. Ask anyone about Back to the Future and all the scenes they remember are from 2. It's the best example of a sequel there is.
8: I grew up in housing commission
I grew up on the Gold Coast but was born in Tasmania. We moved to the Gold Coast when I was around 4 (I think). We did have a proper house for a while but that was sold and some stuff happened with my mum and we ended up in housing commission. I didn't even know what they meant at the time. It didn't dawn on me what it was until I moved to Sydney in 1998 and I heard the term "Westie".
I remember being made fun of from other kids in housing commission as our place didn't have lawn. I thought WhoTF wants lawn? We then stole newly laid lawn from the other houses at night (that shit's heavy!) to keep up with the Jones'.
9: My first job was picking up cigarette butts for ice creams
This is related to the housing commission but I also lived in a "caravan park/ mobile home" place in Tweed Heads. It's now a major motorway I think. I was asked by the guy who owned the store at Sunshine Caravan Park to fill a paper bag, to the top, with the cigarette butts that littered the park. If I did I was given an ice cream. I still remember there was one tent that I found that pretty much filled a paper bag by it's self.
My second job was a paper run which I used to do a pretty good job.
10: I was fired from McDonalds for "Bad Attitude"
After 2 years service I was fired for "Bad Attitude" at McDonalds Pacific Fair. That's after winning "Rookie of the Year" (still go the trophy for that) the year earlier. That was 1995.
But after 2 years of McDonalds how could you not have a bad attitude? But that 2 years taught me a lot about work. It also taught me how to fall on my ass, work will 1am and team work. I still remember going into the freezer and punching the boxes of fries in an effort to break them and lower the fry yield. Also I stole a heap of Hotcake Mix too.
I still use my "timer" knowledge to see if I'm getting an old burger although this freshly made stuff seems to have stopped most of that.
Oh back in 1996 a large drink used to cost 17c including cost for drink, lid, straw and cup. It sold for $1.80 back then. The only thing that's the same cost is a 30c cone. That's 14 years at the same price!
The day I got fired I was asked "you can either leave or fix your attitude" I said " OK I'll fix my attitude, i'll do good and they just kept repeating the options until I said "OK, i'll leave then". Seems like hardcore tatics for a 16 y/o if you ask me.
11: I've had one Xmas tree ever
While it didn't seem as lame as when we did it one Xmas tree that doesn't count was when we decorated pine cones. I used to think people who had xmas lights were "rich". The one tree I did have was at my sisters dads place. We also had a pool so at that time I guess we were rich!
12: I got no idea who my dad is
I didn't grow up without a dad I had my sister's father (read: douche bag) however I have no idea who my real dad is and that's cool with me. I only remembered this as my wedding in Indonesia later this year they stipulate you need your fathers name on the marriage certificate. I just said make something up!
13: I talk to my mum about 3 times a year
I'm just not that much of a family person and talking about the weather doesn't interest me. Sad I know but could be worse.
MrTruffle comes from Christian calling me that at KVB. I arrived in Sydney in 1998 and needed a nickname for online. I didn't know what email was back then. So I came up with Salvador Ghandi. It's like Marilyn Manson but only more positive. So I used that for 2 years until i got sick of being called Ghandi and then changed to TheSlipperyTruffle in 2000 when I started this blog. (which I used to hand update until Shib told me about Blogger.com)
15: I'm a Manga Video Freak
While toiling away at Maccas and then Target after that I used to spend all my money on Manga Videos. I used to buy them all on VHS. I still have a huge box of them that will just get thrown out now. It was the Manga video intro that got me into heavy metal. See this post for more info. Damn video is offline though.
16: I was a Video Game NERD. Capitalization needed.
The only thing I spent more money on than Manga videos was video games. I used to buy so many games magazines it was silly. Hyper, Gamestar, EGM and all the others. I was a Sega Mega Drive player, I had a Mega CD. The original $700 one. That's $700 in the 1990's on a paper boy salary!!! I had it on lay-by for fucking ages!
I used to rent video games very weekend. I would wake up early, ride down the local video store and rent a game. Streets of Rage or Earthworm Jim I remember fondly. I'd play it then rate it on paper on this game rating system. If I could find it now I would implode from nerdiness.
17: I used to enter competitions under false names
I was always a good at drawing when young. Better at copying though. And whenever there was a competition in a games mag I used to do a drawing and then put my age at 11 (I was 15 or so) so it looked like an awesome entry from an 11 year old. I also used to enter multiple times with different names. I ended up winning a $25 cheque for Barry Thomas which I was able to cash. Sometimes I'd win and forgot what names I put down then receive the prize a month later.
I still have all the clippings in a folder.
18: I almost didn't come to Sydney
I studied at KVB as I got a half scholarship (everyone did) but I originally almost didn't even go. On the day of the scholarship test I told my mum "i cant be bothered" as it was in Brisbane and that's 1 hr drive. Too far. But mum insisted (she wanted me out!) and we did the drive. She luckily had enough cash t pay the $14k for the 2 years school fees. I was able to cover my living expenses by working at Woolies and later Kinkos (as their youngest employee)
19: I think cats suck
Dogs > cats.
Snoopy > Garfield
Simple as that
20: I learnt Flash at Kinkos
I have good friend Andrew Bazar for telling me "Learn flash dude!! I'm working Spike and getting paid $50k That's crazy month biatch!" I'm paraphrasing but that was the gist. I was working at Kinkos and decided to uninstall Diablo and fire up flash.
I worked the Graveyeard shift at Kinkos Nth Sydney. That's 11pm - 7 am Friday and Saturday nights. This is Nth Sydney which is a Ghost town all weekend and Kinkos was new so I the nights doing flash tutorials and playing around. I still have the fruits of that labour here. And still ranking for Flashturbation as the search term!
And interesting story from working graveyeard shift during the holidays (5 days a week). I used to get home at 8am, eat a small snack then fall asleep. Then sleep all day and force myself to get up at 10pm to get ready for work. I was eating 1 meal a day and lost heaps of weight. But I did learn flash and that ended up starting my career and lead me to where I am today.
21: My first and only automobile
I was working at McDonalds while in highschool and bought my first car from another staff member.
It was a Holden VC (1980 model I think) and green. I didn’t know much about cars, and still
don’t, but $1100 seemed like a good price. I paid cash for the car and brought it home. I
then tried to get it registered but they told me it needed $1400 worth of work done on it before I could get it on the road. I’d then have to pay around $500 to get the plates and insurance.
now my $1100 car was looking very expensive. The previous owner didn’t want it back either. I parked the car out the front of my mum’s unit for months thinking of what to do. I then tried to sell it for anything but no one wanted to buy it (obviously knew more than me). The car sat outside our unit for
4 months before the council put a sticker saying the car is illegally parked and would be removed in 2 weeks. But after 3 days it was gone. Deciding to cut my losses, I forgot all about that little
Three months later I told a friend this story and they said they would buy it for $200
and ay to have it retrieved from the impound lot. Usually a $150 fee. I rang the council only to find that they never picked up my car, it was gone before the councils set pickup day. It was then I realised my car, my first car, had been stolen before I ever got to drive any where besides around the block. I didn’t bother calling the police. The removable tape deck for the stereo is still in
my mums garage somewhere.
Update: Oh here's couple more facts I forgot
22: I'm red and green color blind.
Not 100% but in science class in grade 11 we had one of those dot tests and I could not see 70% of the damn numbers. Everyone in the class thought I was talking shit and the teacher told me I'm red and green color blind. I can see red and I can see green I just cant see slight variations of them.
23: I've fainted quite a few times
When in highscool I passed out 2 times and 2 other times outside of school.
1: I got smapped on the back hard after I tripped a friend. I passed out in wood shop about 30 seconds later.
2: I got my arm twisted in a weird way (again by a friend) I passed out a few seconds later
3: I was buying a magazine in a newsgent and next thing I know I'm on the ground. I took out the chip stand on my way down.
4: I was at a friends house making a go kart (how cool am I) and next thing I know I'm on my ass. I landed right on my butt. This one I trace back to not eating anything for about 36hrs+ That's what you get from staying over a friends for the weekend and just playing Sega Mega Drive!
I'm not sure why I passed out. Low blood pressure or something. I was really thin in highschool. I hit my elbow/funny bone recently while playing squash and almost passed out too but that doesnt count.
The only time this matters is when you fill out medical forms. It asks "do you suffer from blackouts etc etc" I usually tick no :)
24: I got caught stealing toys
When I was in primary school I got caught stealing toys from a small toy store and had to apologise to the guy a week later. I got caught as the guy who did it with me blabbed to him mum. My teachers at school even found out which was even worse. I then proceeded to steal M.A.S.K fugurines by myself from a larger depeartment store. Much safer that way.
Right now though I'm a very honest person (no really I am). I haven't stolen anything in ages (not since I worked at Woolies in 1998 and used to steal frozen pizzas to eat on a student wage) and hate ripping people off. Although I realise now when I was younger I was a tad naughty.
Oh and I also stole a massive bag of cans from the local boy scouts hall and then sold it to the can erecycle man for money. I then blew that money on candy.
25: The last time I got stoned
The last time I got stoned was in 1997 and I had such a bad experience that I usually feel sick smelling pot or even ciggerate smoke even today. It was only a few cones but I took way too much as was throwing up in the bathroom into a bath. The thing I remember was that my sense of timing was way off as I'd hear people or the dog and then look up and no one would be there.
I was throwing up huge chunks of meat (i'm talking huge chunks that had me going WTF how did I even swallow that!) and other food (i dont think I chew my food that well) and a friend had to chop it up with a knife to get it down the drain. He remarked "it's like I'm eating a dinner of vomit"
I eventually got to outside to throw up like a normal person on the grass. I then got home late and there is mum on my computer, in my room, typing stuff! At 2am! I fell alsleep on the couch/futon thing we had.
I went to high school the next day and then during first class went to sick bay, went to doctor and faked a headache then took the day off. Lesson learnt. I almost gagged when I smelt smoke for the next few months.
26: I camped out for Pearl Jam tickets and put my side to sleep
I camped out for Pearl Jam tickets on the Gold Coast and slept on my side on concrete the whole night. The next day I could not feel my hip area, it was numb like a dead leg but without the pins and needles and that feeling lasted for 9 months!!
27: I have a obsessive compulsion with my pinkie finger hair
Anyone who works with me will see me plucking hairs from my hands and I have this weird obession with plucking the tiny hairs that pop out of my pinkie 2ns knuckle (i have no idea what to call that part of your finger.
28: I was a blonde haird blue eyed kid
I'm trackign down photos to proove this one
29: I had a rats tail hair cut
Until it was removed while I slept by mum.
30: When I was in primary school I went on a diet
Even though I was thin I thought I was fat. Which is ironic as I used to think girls with anorexia were idiots. I used to eat cheese and lettuce and suck on ice to try and lose weight. But luckily I wasn't any good at sticking to a diet so I never got sick
Phew that's my list done and I feel much better. Very therapeutic! If you read them all then you know me better than my mum :)
Also here's my Life TODO list from 2003. These are much more fun to share.
Oh and if you write your down list of things please send me or put in the comments below.
This is the first time I've watched these videos after being filmed almost 5 years ago.
The reason being was that I was so nervous that I had one of those paper bag moments (sans paper bag) and in my head this interview went so badly I wiped it from my memory. It became a repressed memory until I saw someone posted this last week.
So I finally watched all 20 min! of this interview from 2004 on social media. I have to thank Lara Stella who came to me with the question "what do you think of social media and can you talk about it" I was like WTF is social media. This was 2004 way before any of this was mainstream chatter. I had been blogging since 2000 but I had no idea what social media was. I was pimping blogs to clients but never used the term social media.
So here's me talking about it from the past. 5 years in Internet time is HUGE so I can now sleep without nightmares knowing that what I said still rings true. It's not that insightful or amazing now but when I was researching this back in 2004 after Lara's email I was excited about it.
Last piece of info. I thought this was going to be a text interview. Not a live web cast. So i wore a normal T-shirt and rocked up. Lara's first comment was "oh why are you wearing a crappy T-shirt we are going on live in 5 minutes"
I kid you not I almost fell over dizzy. You can see me swollow hard and touch my face many times. My Adams apple looks like an WIP prop from an Aliens film as I struggled with my words.
Anyway here's the talk and it's kinda funny that Social Media is so popular now and I guess I can consider myself OG as 2004 predates many people's interest in it let alone dedicating their career. I just didn't have the charisma to really sell myself as an expert back then and still dont.
I love the stats which at the time I think were correct. Gawker reached 70,000 a day! WOW
I might be making an appearance on TV this year (not live but live audience) and part of me is excited and part of me is scared of recreating that feeling back in 2004. Watching this was therapy for that fear and reading all the book recently on NLP, Body Language and the like have helped too. Oh and knowing to dress up a little helps :)
I'm much more confident (with myself and my career) than I was 5 years ago. I used to hate having my photo taken (check all my feet photos) and while I don't think I'm egotistical I do have an ego now which I try and keep in check. What I do have more is an opinion and this I've been much more vocal about. Not scared that someone will disagree and not scared to disagree with other people (or the statue quo)
So if you watch the video all the way through (only 100 or so have) let me know what you think.
It's been a hectic last few months. Make that a fucking hectic last few months. I'm the kind of guy that likes doing nothing on the weekends or just chilln playing video games. But I've been flying and being a jet setter lately and working I've had hardly any time to myself.
All this did lead me to tick off a bunch of things in my Life To Do list from 2003.
4: Write an article for an online mag (Smashing Magazine even though they massacred my selection by adding their own in.
5: Speak at a conference in a foreign countryIG's Digital Day. Thanks to Marcello and Neogama BBH for making it easy for me
34: Go white water rafting (Was scarier than I thought!)
And I did go snorkelling in Indonesia but my list says Great Barrier Reef so I won't tick that one off yet.
9: Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
So 3 things in 3 months. Not bad!
23: Become a Muslim: This is currently in progress. I gotta read my Muslim for dummies book first! I'm only at chapter 3
The one I really want to do is 15: Compete in a fun run so I better get the Nike+ strap and get fit.
I forgot that Halloween was just next month and that my costume blog would start receiving a lot more traffic. Ive been using Google Insights to see what tyoe of costumes people are searching for and creating posts just for that. Stuff like Yoda Costume and Burger King costume seem to be indexing high.
Adsense for the site has been 200% better in the last few weeks (originally it was very low) so hopefully the next 2 months will be mch better.
On Saturday I went to my highschool's 10 year reunion. I flew up to the Gold Coast for the event.
There was around 80 or so people which is a lot more than I expected. Initially it was all the guys which is weird I thought they would have been the least inclined to go.
I got to catch up with pretty much everyone. Even people I wouldn't donate blood for I had good chat to. My crew (the guys I ate lunch with everyday, talked about Simpsons with and played handball with) didn;t really turn up. Only one of them who was a newcomer to our click.
Peter, Daniel, Dale, Mark & the two Nathans (sounds like a Biblical role call) didn't turn up. The other guy who I can't remember his name (the amercian guy with glasses and always wore a hat) was one of the few who actually died. Hit in the head with a baseball. Which makes sense as he was a keen baseball player.
Even the girl I had a mad crush on was there alway the sparkle has worn off considerably. Nothing on her, she still looks cute as, I just have something better now.
That said many of the girls have aged well. Although we did have a pretty good line up of talent in our year to start with.
There were a few noticeable characters that didn't turn up (Robert Botkos, Kris Dolinko, Grant Hacket, Chad Walsh, Sam But, Azra, Sumi) which is a shame but there was enough there to make it a really interesting night. People seemed to recognize me more than I recognized them. There was a couple I would not have picked out in a police line that remembered me but I couldn't put a memory to the face or name.
There were three marriages that stemmed from highschool, two from relationships from highschool, which is pretty amazing. But I guess I've been with Ervi since 1998 so that's almost as long.
I'm not sure I'd be so interested in a 15 year reunion. 5 years just isn't long enough for much to change but we'll see. Thanks to facebook I'm able to contact a few more of my highschool friends. It's nice being able to throw a "hey" to people once in a while.
We've had a Rubiks Cube around the office for the last few months and I've gotten really good at solving them. I asked someone to mess it up in around 25 turns and I told them I could solve it in under a minute. It took me just under that.
I've finally booked all my hotels for my Europe trip. Yay.
I found the best site to be Worldby.com as the information and maps are quite good. Other sites either give you a map that has no relevance or the photos are tiny.
The only thing missing from Worldby.com is user reviews which would be good to have but you can usually google the hotel name and find them that way.
Most of my hotel accomodation is 2 star but I'd rather spend more time exploring than sitting in my room. Although I found (form my Australian experience) that a 5 star hotel puts you ina 2 or 3 star room unless you pay an huge fee so star ratings on hotels is useless unless you're loaded.
And I get my own bathroom rather than a share one just in case I feel the need for a 30+ minute poo.
I'm 5 days into my 10 day detox doing well. We didn't have a BBQ at work so that was good. Cause a salad instead of a burger would have been cruel punishment.
I don't smoke or drink or even drink coffee but the detox was to stop and cleanse my system from all the kebabbs, pizza, pides, chocolate I eat on a regular basis. Luckily I'm not a fat bastard!
I even bought a fresh juicer (a big ass one that destroys whole apples!) and it's great. You basically shuck anything in your fruit basket and it tastes good as a juice.
So 5 more days of tempe, tofu, vegies and corn crakers to go. Actually corn crakers, avacado and tomatoe is really nice. I was surprized. Normally I'd munch down a half pack a biscuits but these corn crackers are great.
2005 was one of the most exciting years for me. Not only did I turn 25 and can now easily hire a rental car but I moved out of Ashfield for an inner city apartment. I will not list in point form major events that happened to me during 2005 as I know I will forget what a great year this was. I'm a little hazy before August as my blog entries from OCt 04 - August 05 were deleted.
Moved to Chippendale and finally out of Ashfield. I don't miss the trains.
Attended Andy's wedding in Indonesia .
Soap moved into our own office in Ultimo deciding to purchase rather than rent after securing the deposit and a good position to continue our empire :)
Soap went from a staff of 6 to 11 with a few leaving or being asked to leave in between. Right now we have a very strong team with no "dead wood". Two more staff to join in January 2006
Attended the 2005 ARIA awards and got within 10mtrs of The Hoff
I was asked to be on the jury for D&AD 2006. Graciously accepted :)
Moved to a PC laptop after 7 years of MAC worship. I miss expose and that's about it.
Bought a PSP
Did a talk at Wagga Wagga on the importance of personal work/experimentation and your career.
Had my first viral photo with The Fly getting over 80,000 views in a month.
Had my blog deleted by my host in the USA. After 5 years he decided to do a runner with everyone's money and delete my files. That's why there is a 10 fucking month gap in my archives!
Started www.bannerblog.com.au which is just now reaching it's stride. The initial site was also deleted by the crazy web host in the USA.
Moved over to wearing underpants full time after many years of wearing boxers.
Soap won awards at Desktop Create Awards, AWARD, Internet Awards and was in the interactive annual for Communication Arts & D&AD.
Cashed in my years of Subway Stamps
Was nearly beaten up coming out of my favorite restaurant in Canterbury. Yay for the police.
Got back from my long trip in Indonesia during which the Tsunami hit (the other side of Indo luckily)
Visited Melbourne, Perth, Wagga Wagga, Singapore as well as Indonesia twice
Almost converted to Muslim. That's top of my list for 2006
Attended an Easter Royal show, Crusty Demons X, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Auto Salon and didn't hate them both. Although I don;t plan on ever going to one again.
Got violently sick from some dodgy food court food. Vomited on the bathroom marble that actually left a permanent mark on the marble!
Attended the launch of the new A-League (Australian soccer league)
I paid for less than half of the movies I saw this year. By having Fox as a client and also a friend who is the security guard at George St cinemas I managed to save a heap on cinema tickets. A big thanks to Julian and Fred!
Saw Into the Blue, Night Watch and In Her Shoes at the Fox Studios private screening room
Missed the media premier of Star Wars as I directed the guys to the wrong cinema!!! Saw it at the premier 11 days later.
Saw Mr & Mrs Smith and Fantastic Four at the media premier at George St. Margaret and David Stratton don't sit next to each other.