Work where you do your best work.

November 16, 2010

By Michael Mark, CEO/Creative Director @ NYCA

I work at Carl’s Jr. and in my car.

Where do you work? Is it the place you do your best work? Shaking your head, aren’t ya? That’s why we try to stimulate NYCA – with art, flowers, junk food, painting parties, quotes, a grove of trees, questions on the walls. The place is an idea prodder.

I work best in the morning. I tend to wake up before 6 and go hard at it while still in the dream state before the socializing takes over – the daily hygiene, the dressing, and the conversation. By that time, I am normal and less able creativity-wise.

Personally, I love Carl’s Jr. to work. I’m here right now, 6:45pm on Monday. They have great ‘60’s music playing – “Wooly Bully” is on now — and I am tapping with my foot and with my fingers on the keyboard. And there’s electricity here. And carbs and fat. Idea generators.

They have big windows so I can see the world, get the late sun, and be sparked by the people in adjacent booths and t-shirts that say funny things. And I’ve got a big ol’ desk with all the napkins, salt and pepper I could need. And I think, ‘cause of its macho advertising, it doesn’t attract pesky little kids: Paris sliding over a soapy car in a jeweled thong eating a burger is not everyone’s idea of a happy meal. Ooh, “Midnight Train to Georgia” just came on! Love the Pips! That just drives me to come up with something – whoo-oooh!

Which reminds that I also like transportation when I’m working: movement works for me – trains, planes, buses, cars. Maybe I love windows — they help you see outside and in. Maybe because if I can’t get out of my seat, it forces my mind outwards. Maybe it’s the motion that moves me.

Sometimes when I run low on energy, having sucked the place dry, I will move from a Denny’s to Burger King or a McDonald’s to a Panera to tap into a current. Keeps the thinking going.

Anywhere you work best – that doesn’t mean just for yourself but for your team — is the best place to work. Find out what time of day and where and go at it.

Try the fast food joints – they’re full of positive energy – will work even if you’re vegan. Just being near a Happy Meal makes you feel like a kid again. And kids always have ideas.

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.

Creativity can cure everything.

June 18, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @ NYCA

The story is about a person with a serious heart condition who envisioned a way to live his dream.

Erik Compton, a two-time heart transplant survivor who is getting a shot at this week's U.S. Open

In the hospital, after being told he’d never play at the professional level again, he watched TV and imagined his own head on the bodies of those pros. On his back with the third heart just in his body, he created his future.

This week he is playing in the U.S. Open.

We have this power. Let us be inspired to use it to solve our issues and see and build our futures.

What goes into an idea?

February 23, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @ NYCA

Every idea has its creator in it. The uninspired idea has nothing more.

A good idea has its own self in it as well; its voice, mission.

A great idea has other voices in it. The client’s, the consumer’s, the brand’s, the product’s. They all have to be attached to it, to hear themselves in it, and deeply want to, since it is a great idea.

The grow! idea has all these voices in it plus it has the power to make people act.

It guides, changes, improves, breeds.

If you have one of those, know two things: it’s not yours alone and you should celebrate all for having it come to life.

Find time to be inspired by each other

July 7, 2009

By Dan Henry, Senior Business Manager @NYCA 

In a prior life, I was in a band.  We worked hard, had fun, and at times made decent music.  Unfortunately, our regular practices weren’t always as productive as we’d have liked.  The stress of staying up all night getting ready for the next show, or trying to put the finishing touches on the new song before a recording session made us crazy.  Once, when we were at each other’s throats and things were close to a breaking point, we decided to try somethfriendsing new – spending time together outside of the garage.  It had an amazing affect.  We got to know each other outside of the instruments we played and when we sat down to prepare for the next show we did it with more patience and passion.  We even came up with ideas for some of our best music when we weren’t plugged in.  

Naturally all of us buy into this idea – we make sure to have lunch with friends or catch a dinner and a movie with our significant others when we can to stay close. But what about our clients?  

Today we are lucky to offer instantaneous service to clients who are located 1700 miles away and beyond.  Our relatively small agency can coordinate with far-off branches and vendors to launch global campaigns. Even more important, brands can work with the right agency team without having to worry about their office locations.  

But email, or cell phone video, or 140 character segments can’t replace the need for real human connection.  

Yesterday, while our distant clients were in town, we shared assets and ideas and org charts, but we also shared good food and pictures of our kids. In all the rush to meet launch deadlines, there was a short pause where I remembered that business relationships, like our personal relationships, can grow stronger and richer when we don’t just share spreadsheets and text messages, but also time.  It is well understood that time is rare and valuable.  But so are the ideas and learnings that naturally bubble to the surface over a drink.  Ideas like how to communicate more effectively or how to better utilize the skill set of a particular team member. It doesn’t have to happen every day, but once in a while there’s nothing like a good ol’ fashioned handshake or high five at the end of the day.  It’s good for the soul, and it’s good for business. 

It’s a busy business we’re in and too many issues begging for time.  While I’m not making music anymore, I still see the value of getting outside of the garage with your team when you can.  I’m reminded of all the good people I work with and for, and that invigorates me and makes me ready to face the next impossible deadline.