Questions on transparency.

July 22, 2009

By Michael Mark, creative director/ceo @NYCA

Will the combination of technology’s insatiable hunger and human beings’ relentless curiosity take away our individual privacy?

 Picture1Could it be replaced with freedom?

Will the constant spotlight on all companies and governments and people reveal the inherent goodness in mankind?

Will it cause us to behave better because we live in view of our neighbors and around the world?

Does it even matter whether it’s due to the desire to do right or the shame of being caught doing wrong?

Will it be liberating to be so deeply scrutinized because we will be seen for who we really are and we will see others for who they are?


Once we realize that regardless of our airbrushed wishes, we all have warts and scars, will we finally accept ourselves in the reflection of the multiplying screens seen everywhere?

In exposing our differences maybe they will not be feared but embraced, even cherished?

Will technology’s capacity to remember everything forever slow our ability to forgive?

Will the ability to have all questions answered so easily free us to invent in the open and to devalue secrets even in the competitive market?

Transparency breeds knowledge but will its greatest offering be to breed understanding?

Perhaps trust? 

And then peace?

We shall see, won’t we?

Our conference room table says everything

April 3, 2009

From Michael Mark, creative director/ceo @ NYCA


At NYCA we don’t have an elevator to the executive floor. In fact we only have one floor, the ground floor. Right on Main Street. This building used to be a grocery store and, before that, a bank. We chose this place for our agency for one reason above many: this is where people walk to the market, get their dry cleaning, stop to have a cup of coffee and a chat. Here we are part of the world with whom we engage every day on behalf our Clients.

We are a working class breed.ny-conference-room-table

So don’t expect a slick granite lobby or high end designer furniture. Our money is hard-earned and goes to the rare, deeply passionate and talented people that fill our agency with inspired ideas, each aimed at growing our Clients’ businesses.

We have something we say around here; more than say, its how we live – “Spirit of Water.” It means everything we do is clear and open, and all are treated fairly. Just the way water buoys us all up equally. It’s about integrity and trust. Big deal around here.

Which brings us to our $700 conference room table. Nothing fancy. Holds cups with coffee, laptops and the tins of late night dinners. Many a grow! idea has been conjured, tough-loved and shared on and around this table. And more than once, its trembled under the weight of an impassioned NYCAer pleading their case on behalf a potential grow! idea.

So when an inspired group of art directors and producers came to show their conference table design based on the Sprit of Water, we took a moment.

It was a magnificent sculpture of molded and burnished domestic woods and finely-etched glass with a fountain of spring water running under and through it. Art, truly.

More than a conference room table. This was a beautiful challenge to our creed!

And even, though water flowed freely to all ends of the table, we had to wonder: is this in the Spirit of Water? How is this fair to all when most of the agency won’t be able to enjoy the table? The production artists, programmers, and traffic staff who spend so much time over the critical details that build our work would rarely see it.

Plus this table was so fancy we likely wouldn’t feel at ease working on it, for fear of messing it up with our markers and various forms of caffeine. Now, any detraction to the creation of a grow! idea is an enemy of the state – lovely as the design is. Oh, and at $23,000 – well any Client would have to ask, “If you are so careless with your money, I hate to think what you are doing with mine.” Our controller would certainly ask that.

It simply isn’t how we do things on Main Street.

So when you visit you will see our $700 table at work. It may not inspire you at first glance but have a seat and be joined by some NYCAers with ideas focused on growing your business and you’ll soon know — just as any NYCA Client does – that this sturdy discount table is testimony to who we are and how we do things. And when we are around it together, pounding out and sketching and creating grow! ideas, it’s the best conference table in the world.

If this is how you want your agency to act, then we invite you jump deep and freely into The Spirit of Water.