Michael Mark featured in Direct Marketing News blog

January 11, 2011

Michael’s perspective, “Creative director is the title, but not the job” ran in Direct Marketing News’ Direct by Design blog today. Read the full article here.


What’s your coachability score?

January 6, 2011

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @ NYCA

The world is moving faster, powered by information.

Keep up by being coachable.

I know the U.S. has education issues. See Waiting for “Superman.”

But there have never been more quality teachers available.

On YouTube, on Twitter, we can take courses at the best institutions in the world.

One suggestion is to concern yourself not with how many are following you, but who you are following.

When I’m reading and notice a smart comment, I follow the source on Twitter and read what he or she is reading.

We can learn from everyone and we can now learn from the best.

And don’t forget to thank your teachers.

What’s your coachability score?


Do something insanely joyous today.

December 15, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @ NYCA

I make lists, helps me remember, helps me act, helps me feel worthwhile.

I check the item off and feel that sense of accomplishment until the next item I need to do challenges that feeling and round-and-round I go.

Human doing.

But sometimes, the instant act, no planning, no thought, is wonderful, too.

What inspires it? Hopefully a good thing – love, generosity, beauty, gratitude.

You become inspired and you act, no to-do list, just pure offering.  And the energy is big and true!

You know it could be a high-five, a “thank you,” a “you got a minute – how’s your life?” (this works best with people you know), a dance in the middle of a meeting when someone says something great!

When you feel moved – let the feeling take over – show it!

We have some people at NYCA who are just human bolts of natural positive love – they inspire good feelings with their actions every day with their high voltage power. I know for sure everyone can be that way to some extent. And we all should be for ourselves.

I notice sometimes people smiling at me when I take my walks, not only because I’m funny looking, because I am smiling and they are smiling back at me. They think I’m smiling at them – I am, but I am smiling at all, at myself. I like walking very much and it makes me smile. The energy goes round-and-round!

Do this at work. And work instantly is more enjoyable. I dare say, more productive (though that’s not the main point).

When we are inspired to act out, we feel good and make others feel good. That’s the point.

Take action, accountability, take charge of your energy and be a charge!

It takes conviction to break from the inner sanctum of safety and self.

Try it. It’s addictive.

Inspire your life today and the world in a happy, mindless, thoughtful, crazy positive act.


Change is hard. Wait, no it’s not.

November 9, 2010

By Michael Mark, CEO/Creative Director @ NYCA

At NYCA we have a criteria that our work is only good if it grows the business. We say, “Nothing Matters But grow!” Of course, many other things in life matter but this is a mantra to help us focus and steer clear of the staticky small stuff that can get in the way. Like noise cancelling headphones. It works, but extreme focus can cause rigidity, fear, burnout or repeating a method because it is known, or merely time efficient. We want consistent production of grow! ideas and the benefits and joy that comes with them.

It’s easy to get stuck, trapped emotionally, creatively and fall into a pattern (a pitfall in consistency). This is bad for new ideas, bad for the soul, bad for business.

That’s why change is not only good, it’s a must. They say change is the only constant thing in life and I have heard and know personally how hard it is. But it beats the same every day. So I’m going to try to convince you and myself to stop resisting the inevitable and learn to embrace change, flow with it, even push it along.

1- Change requires deep introspection. That means learning about yourself. Who can be more interesting? So we gotta love that!

2- Change causes internal shifts. Shifts remind you that you’re alive; you can’t argue with life!

3- Change is giving up the known. I love pizza but how many times can I eat it? I discovered sushi many years ago when someone pushed me to it and it’s my favorite now!

4- Change challenges our self-image. I hope I’m better tomorrow than I was today, so thanks, change, for the opportunity!

If I haven’t convinced you of the joy of change think of this: what does it cost you to constantly stay the same? Talk about tense! How does it feel when you have to shut down your own natural energy and desire to stretch, to explore? That’s one person with two mega- forces inside them going against each other! Pepto anyone? How does staying in a rut, going over the same spot, again and again, affect your heart, your mind, your sense of self? I think it’s against the Geneva Convention.

So as we say in the NYCA Seed book each NYCAer gets when they drink the grow! juice (paraphrased to protect the ancient secret code of the NYCAer): Try new things, fail, fall, learn, take a new route to work, go out to a new place to eat, sit in a different spot at the conference table. Reinvent yourself in part and find your authenticity. And never ever be boring! Oh yeah, and grow!


Why I have the children and pets of NYCAers on my wall.

September 17, 2010

By Michael Mark, CEO/Creative Director @ NYCA

I have been told to take the cute pictures of the children and pets down, it’s too emotional.  And emotion can blur the ability to see and execute with great accuracy.  I can see that.

I keep the pictures of family members up because they remind me that decisions we all make affect more than what is right in front of us. When we are so focused on one thing we lose the concept of inter-being and the truth that we are all, and everything we do is, deeply connected. We must consider that our actions and words have an effect, often lasting. We must hold ourselves accountable. This is a way of living, thinking and acting mindfully. And that will keep us all on task with accuracy and compassion.

So the cuties stay.


The Harvester

September 14, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @ NYCA

He stands tall outside of our NY conference room offering his last food. His hand extending a bronze apple is a reminder of the power of generosity and the strength of our servant mentality. When the collective ego is in the goal of growing the business, this is not a sacrifice but a show of power. NYCAers are generous in spirit. Each fully offers their experience, their talents and passion to growing our clients businesses, growing each other, themselves, and the world around us. Hungry to succeed. Full of optimism. Always giving.


Giving voice to the silent

September 8, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @ NYCA

On our walls we display the artwork of the people of St. Madeline’s Sophie Center. Those who created the paintings are gifted artists and developmentally challenged people.

They are never listed as one of our target audiences on our briefs. These people have little discretionary budgets. We don’t do research on them; don’t obsess over what will make them change their behavior, what their media intake is. We don’t create our stimuli to engage them and so we don’t listen to them.

And that is why we have their art all over our offices and why we have had these artists in our offices. Their work is beautiful regardless of who created it but it’s important work because of who created it.

It teaches us to hear all, to learn from all, to be there for all. We are transformed when we accept all the gifts we are offered.

To do that we must hear what is out of reach of our ears.

As you pass by the artwork on the walls, a plaque reads: The wonderful art you are enjoying comes to us from the gifted residents of St. Madeline’s Sophie Center whose mission is to empower adults with developmental disabilities so they can discover, experience and realize their potential as members of the greater community. Feel free to be inspired.