The life force in the center of our universe

August 31, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @ NYCA

Reaching up, out, with purple arms soaring nine feet high, head back with spiraling metal hair, antennae picking up the vibes of the universe, she dances in the center of NYCA, pregnant and singing “seize the day, dream big.” We brought her home on our second anniversary and she has never asked for a name. She is a life force giver, charging us to live, dream, create, love, and believe in possibilities. She is a strong woman. We have strong women all over NYCA, thankfully.


Gifts to the kids of the gifted.

August 25, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @ NYCA


“You sure you want to work at NYCA?” I always ask, shove a bit, “There are many easier places to work.”

Though we are a wonderful place for some, we are not right for most. It’s my job to point out what we really have going on here with candidates to help them make the best decision for both of us.

I tell them we work long hours, including weekends now and again, we are meeting crazy (too crazy and we are adjusting that with the hope of keeping the collaboration strong), we are relentless, always searching for a better idea, even on the way to the meeting, in the meeting, after the meeting is over and the work is approved. It’s demanding. That’s why we always give birthday and holiday presents to the kids of the people who work here. It’s our way of thanking them for so generously sharing their loved ones with us and to let them know we love them, too.


The Grow Cigar

August 16, 2010

By Michael Mark, CEO/Creative Director @ NYCA

You have to point, stare, examine, reflect and dance before an act of greatness. The impossible, the risky, the functional, the true. Greatness sticks its hands down your throat and snatches the breath out of your lungs, tickles your toes, and encourages you to be great yourself. Sometimes it reaches out beyond the boundaries of reason, sometimes it merely sees what is so obvious it’s bewildering to think that this had been completely overlooked. The grow cigar celebrates the births of those straight, squiggly, brave new paths in 100% pure milk chocolate and sweet admiration.

At NYCA, we have serious issues with award shows. Our win comes when we achieve our goals in the marketplace for our clients. However we do honor acts of greatness within our company with something much sweeter than a gold plated statuette. You are invited to come by and meet the remarkable over achievers. Please excuse them if they have chocolate smudges on their faces.


What would Eldrick do? I am not Tiger Woods. Tiger, are you?

August 9, 2010

By Michael Mark, CEO/Creative Director @ NYCA

I am not Tiger Woods. Tiger, are you?

Tiger, this must sound weird to ask, considering you are the most famous person on the planet – but, do you know who you are?

Excuse me for this personal question, but I feel like we are connected somehow. And I have a bit of guilt with this “transgression” situation for having pressured you into being what I thought you should be. And the pressure was so extreme it forced you away from ever being who you might have always been. And to complicate the matter, I have been secretly pretending, like the commercial said, that “I am Tiger Woods.”

Every win of yours was ours. We all drove you hard, applying our mass will, pushing you further up the leaderboard, into the history books, away from us, so you could be better than us. And in pushing so hard, removing you from yourself. We never intended to lead you away from the rules of decency.

Like it or not, we’re all involved here. Yeah, you, me and two billion others. And yet, in the end, your transgressions are yours to live with. That’s the bad business of idol worship.

Now, for the record, and we know how we are attached to records: I am not asking whether you know what you have done on the course and off. It’s been documented.

Knowing yourself is not simple, especially with all the labels placed on the world’s most well-known person. You’ve got “world’s greatest golfer – ever,” “prodigy,” “elder statesman (Ryder Cup),” “celebrity at 2 years old,” “foundation owner,” “Asian,” “African-American,” “husband,” “father,” “son,” “hero,” “corporate endorser,” “adulterer,” “liar,” “billionaire,” “legend,” “friend,” “teacher,” and “role model” for starters.

It must be harder than any Sunday at a Major to live your life so publicly – so much so, maybe it wasn’t your life.

With all this, it’s tough to tell who is Tiger Woods.

But I come bearing an answer: change your name.

Take the name on your birth certificate. You can start over again, Eldrick. Maybe that original name switch started the whole series of events. Names are powerful mirrors, windows. Open yours.

It’s better than running off to board your yacht, Privacy, because as you know you’ll find no privacy there – big as that boat is. Sooner than later you’ll run into Tiger, the stowaway.

You’d still be somewhat famous, though, should that be something you want to keep. Google “Tiger Woods” and you get 56,700,000 searches. “Eldrick Woods” gets 429,000.

You might wonder would Eldrick have done the things Tiger did? Will he hit the shots that Tiger can? Can he fix the mess that Tiger has made?

Try this: “I am Eldrick Woods! I am Eldrick Woods.”

Well, it’s just an idea, a direction. And it’s not about erasing what was done like it never happened. That’s for the second coming. We know that’s not your role, now. This is just a second chance.

Might even turn your game around.

Best of luck. Whoever you are.


Process is liberating.

August 5, 2010

By Michael Mark, CEO/Creative Director @ NYCA

When I was a runt, my parents would put me in a playpen to 1) get a break for themselves, and 2) give me time to be with myself and toys. If you looked at it from the outside it seemed kind of like a jail with happy colors and clowns. But as I see it now, and I believe I understood it back then, it was a safe haven. In that confined space, I could let my mind wander, be carefree and be emotionally anywhere — as opposed to leaving me in an open field or a mall (another story) where I would feel self-conscious, vulnerable and, ironically, withdrawn and caged. The boundaries released me; nothing could get me as long as I physically stayed inside the four slated walls and on the bouncy, stain-free rainbow cushion. It’s kind of what Thoreau meant when he said, “I have traveled far in Concord.” It’s what we do when we sit on a cushion for long spells and meditate – we become expansive.

We are changing our process at NYCA again to harness our energies, fortify our structure and free ourselves to create faster, more effective and just plain more content.

I find process is liberating, strange for creativity perhaps. As long as it is a thoughtfully-built structure, it allows us to stretch. Sets the hard fundamentals down and so we play. The frame unlocks the painting.