Posted in web business, z personal

Looking for a job?

Starting to look for a really good interactive designer to work on the web site and games for our Chuggington property (and more as it develops). I already spammed many of you if we are connected on LinkedIn, but I thought this would be a good a place as any to post that we are looking. Please forward this link to anyone you know in Chicago that’s looking.

Thanks! – Joi
Company: Ludorum

Job Title: Interactive Designer

We are looking for a full time Interactive Designer for our children’s entertainment company.

Ideal candidate would:

  • live in Chicago,
  • have a fabulous and diverse portfolio online,
  • have successful experiences with working remotely some of the time and
  • really dig the idea of working with kids brands.

This person’s primary responsibilities would be working with
pre-existing and in-development assets and translating the brands into
various multimedia formats.

We need you to:

  • have a strong UI design background,
  • be able to work on Macs with Adobe products,
  • have a deep interest in online game design, and
  • have a skill set that includes extensive experience in HTML, XML, CSS, Javascript, and Flash.

Our small team has a start-up feel and requires a rock-star who is
inspired by new developments in our industry and driven to innovate
whenever and wherever possible.

If interested in more info (and there is tons more info), please
send an email telling me about yourself with a link to your work online
Sorry, but we need you to live in Chicago, at least initially.

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Posted in web business, z friends

Random SXSW bits

Couple more notes for posterity:

Celebrities (big and small) seen:

  • Robert Scoble
  • Hugh McLeod
  • Tom Merritt
  • Kent Nichols
  • Kevin Rose
  • Billy Bob Thorton
  • Steven Speilberg
  • Violet Blue
  • Henry Jenkins
  • iJustine
  • Jonathan Coulton

Fav bars:

  • Club Deville – red river and 7th? – cool rock formations on patio.  We saw a fun DIgital DJ contest and I won at the Dorkbot cell hone game.
  • Six – red river and 6th? – chill club and fun party for Moo/Etsy/Threadless, Timbuk2
  • Emos – red river and 6th? – great music venue, tons of indoor outdoor space and I got to see Jonathan Coulton play 😀
  • Headhunters – red river and 8th? – head banger music and tiki drinks.  Cool bar
  • The Side bar – red river and 6th?-  great patio

Fav foods:

  • Stubbs – Red River and 8th? – mmmm…. ribs and spicy cheesy spinach and mashed potatoes and fried okra and… also a big music venue
  • Salt lick – far away, like 30 minutes, but worth it for the bbq
  • Robbinos or something – trailer on the side of the road with GREAT late nite pizza
  • Hickory Street – Congress and 4th? – all you can eat salad, soup and baked potatoes for cheap
  • Star seeds – I35 and 25th? – Breakfast – chicken migas were AMAZING.  old punk hangout – new owners tho
  • Gueros – South Congress – Awesome tacos and STRONG margaritas
  • Star light – trinity and 6th? – fancy appetizers + fancy drinks + beautiful servers = good
  • Iron Cactus – 6th and trinity? – sit upstairs on the patio for lunch and/or beers.  good people watching and nice sun.
  • Alice’s ice cream – didn’t go, but i hear it’s awesome
  • Wiki Wiki Teriyaki – congress and 5th? – good chinese food – beef noodle soup and bento boxes
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Posted in kids, web business, z friends, z personal

Edgar & Ellen get twin 2007 Elans

Edgar & Ellen, Bardel Entertainment: Delna Bhesania, Barry Ward, Trish Lindsay, Barbara Ferro

Edgar & Ellen: Crushed, Bardel Entertainment: Greg Huculak and Zoe Evamy

Gamine Expedition: Barbie as Island Princess Rakes in the Awards at the 2007 Elans

Congrats to my old crew. You deserve a big ole professional hug like this for all of your hard work, blood, sweat and tears on that project. Go Farmers!

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Posted in z personal

Tag, I’m it

So I was tagged. Twice. So I will respond, finally. Oh, how hard it is to blog lately. Thanks goodness for ma.gnolia’s feed. 🙂

Community Guy – Jake McKee » The Things I Can’t Travel Without

What can I not travel without. Hmm… my ticket, clothes, 😛 Ok for real.

  1. A laptop. I have a Macbook and a Macbook Pro. I don’t really go anywhere without them when I am not traveling. When I am traveling, they are almost always on me.
  2. My Ellington “Vertical Multi-Tasker” backpack. Quite possibly the best bag I have ever bought. And I have bought alot of back. Thin, but holds tons of stuff. Professional, but still a functional backpack. This bag has been around the world this year with me. When it dies, I will buy another immediately.
  3. My ipod packed wth podcasts. I can’t go anywhere without my podcasts. Buzz out loud and Cynopsis for news and Best Week Ever and Ask A Ninja for fun are current traveling favs.
  4. Airbourne. I get sick alot. This stuff helps.
  5. Skype. The more people I can talk to when I am traveling, especially overseas, the better. I was gone for a great deal of Sept-Nov last year and will be gone most of March this time. Skype helps homesickness, especially being able to see a loved one’s face.
  6. Space bag – I am so getting one of these before my next trip. It totally saves space and is a perfect place for dirty clothes in a tiny suitcase.
  7. Blackberry. I just got the world edition, but my blackberry is nice to have around when I dont want to lug my computer around town. I WISH I had an iphone, but until they are on verizon, I will have to wait (possibly forever).
  8. Offline google reader. LOVE reading my backlog of feeds and then re-syncing when I get back to an internet connection off the flight. I will never catch up, but at least when it’s offline, it LOOKS as if I am making progress
  9. I remembered another one – graph paper notebooks.  For work, I like the multi-colored, tabbed, spiral bound Clairefontaine notebooks, that I can only find at Container Store (yet not online 😦 ).  For personal, I use the black Moleskin version.  Something about the graph paper tho…

Game Time: 8 things you didn’t know… « Izzy Neis

Little late on the reply… or am I early? Regardless, here are more:

  1. Lately pop and R&B songs have tons of meaning to me. That is a bad thing, in case you didn’t know.
  2. My dog’s name is Linus, he is a black pug and he is amazing, even with all the snoring and farting.
  3. I can’t watch TV passively unless I am sick. I have to be on my computer, knitting, folding clothes or otherwise multi-tasking.
  4. I love evangelizing for products/services that I love (See my blog and multiple twitter posts). I live WOMM. 🙂
  5. I collect indie toys, like those at Rotofugi.
  6. I can cross-stitch, quilt, knit, crochet, make clothes, spin pottery, craft and do tons of other handi-craft.
  7. I could eat Indian buffet everyday.
  8. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Because its about food and family.

I tag Chris, Brian, Shea, Amy, Lizzie, Sara, Colleen, and Jerry. Pick one or both (or neither) of the memes to reply to.

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Posted in marketing, online advertising, traveling

Events this month

So I was out of the country on various business trips for the past 3 months. Fun, tiring, informative, and cool.

But now it’s time to get back into my Chicago networking circles again. I thought I would share some of the events I want to go to (or at least try to). Please let me know if you want to go with me to any of them. Always nice to not walk into a room of strangers alone. 🙂

11/29 – Mashable Meetup, Fulton Lounge
12/1 – StarShaped Press Open House
12/6 – MediaBistro Holiday Party
12/6 – KEXP’s Equalizer
12/6 – CIMA holiday Party
12/7 – our holiday party 😀
12/8-9 – Bucktown Holiday Arts Fest
12/11 – I-Go Holiday Party
12/18 – Type A Meetup

Wish me luck on getting to any/all of them, as there are also many friends and family holiday parties littered throughout this time as well.

Also, let me know about any other Chicago events. I am always up for meeting more Chicago peeps in or adjacent to my industry.

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Apologies for my absence

I have been traveling internationally for months now and very much so the past few weeks and therefore have been very busy.  I have been writing volumes (or facsimiles for volumes) on my personal blog the past couple weeks, but haven’t been transcribing my professional observations as much as I would like.  I promise to at least “try” to do so on my flights tomorrow.

But for those of you interested, here is my personal blog:

Promise to reenter this prof blog world asap.


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Posted in Club Penguin, Disney, gaming, kids, marketing, mobile, MySpace, Nick, online advertising, online community, television, trends, tween, virtual worlds, web business, Webkinz, z friends

Proactive online content for kids

Those of us who understand the positive aspects of online play need to help shape the climate online in the next couple years. Gone are the days of bragging about how your child knows so much more about technology/computers/internet than you do. More and more of our lives are being spent online. Let’s treat that sea change with a bit more respect than simple awe/wonder.

If we don’t want EVERY brand space online to be blatant consumerism with no message or goal, we have to be proactive about preventing that from happening. We must work toward not just calling out the bad sites, but creating and commending the good sites. And not just ones that give lip-service to more holistic goals – ones that actually step up and do it.

I ducked out of the Kids and Teens talk at the Virtual Worlds conference last week in order to see a young girl doll brand case study. Oy vey, was that a hard one to sit through. The developer giving the talk continually talked sarcastically about the girly brand that he developed, which showed me that he didn’t respect the audience and community the site was trying to develop. How can you create a great community if you don’t care about them?

Through his talk, he talked a couple times about the core values of “Empowerment” etc that the site’s founders wanted to convey in the virtual world. But almost in the same breath, he would reiterate multiple times that the only purpose for the site was to “sell more dolls.” Makes you wonder if the brand managers of those dolls know and care how their brand is being conveyed to conference audiences and their online community.

If “to sell more dolls” is truly the reason that the parent company wanted to launch this world, fine. They certainly are not alone. But that doesn’t mean all the other sites that will be developed in this category have to be like that.

Sesame Street’s Panwapa world is a cool approach to get into a space that is bound to be crowded in the next 2 years – preschool to early readers, 4-7 year olds. Kudos to them for being there before anyone else with a solid idea for a world (and not just the mindless wandering and silly games that make up almost every world in this space).

Whether we like it or not, a child is assimilated into the tech space earlier and earlier as the years go by. To pretend that this isn’t happening or block the kids from sites on a micro level is not the way to improve the situation. It’s the ostrich effect and doesn’t improve anything for anyone, especially the kids.

People who grew up with technology are now having kids. These younger generation parents have less or no aversion to introducing their kids to the online/tech coolness that they have grown up with. As producers of content (be it for a marketing purpose or pure creative), we have to develop for the parents AND the kids. These younger parents will still want the educational aspects that the past decade of attentive parents wanted, but the younger parents understand all of this on another level. Many of them understand that you can have fun, build relationships, and develop as a human online. They also understand the importance of design, navigation and user interface in your online experience. AND they will, directly or indirectly, teach these concepts to their kids.

Hopefully the content will start to catch up with paradigm shift that is happening world-wide as I type. Is your content up to the task?

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Posted in Club Penguin, Disney, gaming, kids, marketing, mobile, MySpace, Nick, online community, television, traveling, trends, tween, web business, Webkinz

Unedited YPulse Mashup notes

ypulse mashup

Kyra Reppen, SVP and GM Neopets

5 keys to tweendom
– control
– social
– safety
– self expresion
– fun

JAX is toy partner with special codes that unlock things

trends to watch for
– media convergence
– hybrid business
– mobile is everything
– shared entertainment experiences

expanding into neo studios
– developing new vws

Question re: where did learning go from neopets now that viacom bought
– handled well – talked about how the games are more covert learning – web design, html, critical thinking, etc


Old School to New School

Byron Cahill, Editor, read Mag


Tweens Online: Permission is Key

Denise Tayloe, CEO, Privo, Privacy Vaults Online

YAY!  I Love her



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Cell Phone Observations form London

First, apologies for my hiatus.  As I have shown in the past, I do not travel and blog well.  I have an crazy travel schedule for the next few weeks, so hopefully I can keep up blogging.  We will see.

I wanted to write a blog about my observations while in London this past week.  Trying to think back at what sort of interactive themes I saw, the same topic hit me in London as it did in Argentina – Cell Phones.

The states, as “crackberry” obsessed as we are made out to be, are SO far behind in cell phone usage from other countries.  Sure, we have the strange new text-speak commercials that introduce old school acronym talk to the masses.  (Which, frankly, bugs me, as I don’t know that many kids/young adults who still use these. I am sure they still sub for “u” or “r” for “you” and “are” but I doubt the use of sentence acronyms prevalence on texts is as much as it was in chat rooms.  But I digress…)  By in large, our US cells are still used for phone calls, storing grainy pictures and as horrible, chirping walkie talkies.

In London, SMS codes are an everyday part of life.  Americans may see them on sketchy commercials for free ringtones, cell phone wallpapers, or jokes of the day.  But they are incorporated into almost all marketing campaigns in the UK; they seem as ubiquitous as the URL. 

There are a variety of core differences in the way the US and most of the rest of the world handle cell networks.  Texting packages are handled differently than here, for example.  Sending and recieving sms messages at $.10 a pop can get pricey.  US plans are starting to more widely offer unlimited plans.  And sms’ing in general is becoming less of a techie or teen thing and more of something anyone can do.

Another cool use of cells in the UK is accepting credit cards.  Most of the establishments I went to had their staff carrying mobile credit card terminals.  During my undergrad, I worked on tech support for the old credit card terminals, so I noticed and silently applauded those manufacturers for making a portable version.  Also, when I went to a local market in Greenwich, one of the booth owners told me that he could accept credit cards through his mobile phone now.  The integration of different technologies seems more fluid in Europe in general.  Even if we could accept credit cards through our phones here in the US, can you imagine the charges?

Which leads me to another pet-peeve that I have.  Cell phones, and almost everything having to do with them, are dictated by the networks here in the states.  Because of that, as a loyal Verizon customer, I can’t get, say, a Nokia N95 unless Verizon decides to add that phone to their repetoire.  Whereas in Europe, they can (for the most art) pick whatever phone they want and buy a SIM card for the network that makes the most sense for them.  This leads to a lack of inspiration to innovate on the part of cell phone designers selling to US companies, as the action stops being B2C and is only B2B.  AND most of the phone in Europe are tri-mode, so they can switch between different network coverage without much hassle.  (please, if I have any or all of this wrong, let me know as it seems so backwards here to me).

Just interesting to travel and see the innovation we do not seem to be taking advantage of.  I guess the optimistic version of that is, at least we can learn from their mistakes, right?

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Posted in traveling, web business, z friends

Just got a Dopplr Invite

Actually, they just opened it up to everyone.  I think this is a great idea, as I travel a bunch and knowing if other people re in the same city to connect with is what I do manually.  A more automated method is just my style.

Add me as a fellow traveller:

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