A tale of the little tree…

June 22, 2010

By Mark Graham, Traffic Director @ NYCA

When I started work at NYCA three years ago, the philosophy of “grow” was what drew me here. The grove was the physical representation of that philosophy. The grove had plants associated with each of our clients and with agency anniversaries and other milestones. The grove was dominated by a large tree. It shaded our meetings. It sheltered us in the rain. It provided a feeling of tranquility as you walked in and out of the office.

Then one day the tree was gone. The building owners had it chopped down. All that was left was some bark and a few stumps. Michael tried to save some pieces to remember that tree, but that tree was gone. Where was our shade, where was the shelter?

Not too long after, I planted a seed. A seed of a sago palm. Most people don’t realize that it is not a palm at all, but rather a Cycad, a totally different type of plant. Cycads are a group of plants that are very primitive in their origins. Fossils have been found on almost every continent on the planet. What better representation of keeping the history of the old tree alive with than this! I watered the spot. I made sure it was free of weeds. There wasn’t anything there, but I knew where the seed was planted.

As the new tree sprouted this spring, I began to think back on that old tree. It was being replaced right before my eyes. With a tree that was going to be just as inspiring. Just as good at providing shade. Just as good at sheltering. Just as good at everything we valued the old tree for.

Then it dawned on me. The old tree was like an old employee. An employee that we thought was always going to be a part of the agency. She was the go-to person — but then she was gone. Guess what?! The “small trees” are being nurtured and growing to be even stronger. Would my sago palm have grown in the shade of the old tree that we found so fantastic? No. They prefer direct sunlight. Growing the sago palm in the shade typically gives one lanky, stretched-out leaves that are weak. If in too much shade, this species can actually just stall and do nothing. Just as the employees are thriving now that they are in the direct light of their own – they will be strong!


They killed my great big idea – I should give them a raise!

January 25, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @NYCA

I had a great idea – no really, a big, rare, juicy one. It was clear, unique – it was an app for cripes sakes! And for a client who is innovation focused!

I ran to the digital producers, “Get your heads out of your cloud computing and get on this faster than now!”

They did their wireframes. Had some questions – actually doubts: cost, timing.

“I don’t care how much money,” I said, “This is a great idea – do it, now!”

They brought it to strategy and they did some research on the target and had reservations. Actually they thought it was a good idea but not in coordination enough with the rest of the work we were doing.

“Go renegade with me!” I called, charging in no one direction.

They brought in media and they did some data digging – interesting idea as it was the target would be insignificant.

Dead. They killed the idea because it wasn’t a grow! idea.

Lucky me, lucky clients.