Category: Work

You Don’t Mess around on the quiet car!

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I sit in the quiet car sometimes on the way home and to be perfectly honest…the “quiet” car i.e. – the place that is supposed to be quiet and relaxing as a train car could be on a commute home ….STRESSES. ME. OUT. Bro!

Every single time, without fail, there are people who don’t abide by the rules of the quiet car. Whether these people honestly don’t care to be quiet or they just aren’t aware of the rules of the first and last car  of the train during rush hour… there are always people not following the rules. The rules are simple. BE FREAKING QUIET. But again, all the time, there are people who just aren’t.

Now…when someone is breaking the rules I brace for impact. I think “T-minus….5….4….3….” and the countdown continues until someone YELLS at the rule breaker, “QUIET CAR, THANK YOU!”. Consider this your warning shot rule breaker and I advise you to kindly shut the f up because the next time it’s not going to be so pretty. Mother of 3, business man trying to finish up a call, tourist lost in transit land…Doesn’t matter.

Sometimes the offender laughs it off and other times he/she/they try their luck and continue the bad behavior. Oh boy…in-coming……… “Excuse me!!!! QUIET CAR!!!!!! THIS IS THE QUIET CAR!!!!!” Yells at least one other person in addition to the original person who fired the warning shot. Everyone roles their eyes and now…it’s on.

People get mad at the people who are yelling for the people to get quiet. Imagine that!? A crazy chain reaction to it all. People yelling at the people yelling at the people to be quiet leads to even more ridiculous noise and now everyone is angry and there is crazy tension because everyone almost got in a fist fight because someone’s cell phone rang. Sheesh! So much for my nice quiet ride home.

Frankly the non-quiet cars end up to be more relaxing. There, in the “non-quiet” cars, if someone happens to be chatting on their cell phone for a few minutes you don’t have to ride in fear of the violent backlash from those nasty quiet car militants and can avoid intense tension while getting home to your family after a busy, stressful day. Mind you…I believe in the rules and hope they can be followed. However do we need make matters worse when someone first steps ever-so-slightly out of line by erupting and compiling the problems while causing a big ol’ scene? I think not. The quiet car is really a microcosm of LIFE and can teach us a lot about society if you let it. I say…Look to the quiet car!!! There are lessons everywhere  – even on a stinky commute home on NJ Transit.

Life Lessons brought to you by Chris….you’re welcome.

May your commutes be quiet, friendly and tension-less.

Business Lingos and what they really mean…

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Ahhh Yes. Business Lingo. Somewhere inbetween all the POVs, FYIs, ROIs and OOOs. When used correctly…one can talk for several consecutive minutes…without really saying or commiting to a single thing. When misused…one can completely expose themselves as not really knowing anything at all…other than business lingo. Either way – it’s fasinating and some of the actual translations are pretty clear when you think about it.

Let’s take a look at some of the phrases most of use almost every day and what we are really trying to say when we say it, shall we?

“Let us circle back and let you know of any next steps.”
– I have nothing for you right now and probably wont, ever.

In an email that got no first/timely response – “Following up here…”
– ummmm HELLO?! Are you ignoring me?

Starting off a call – “So to make the best use of everyone’s time…”
– Let’s cut through the BS and talk about only the important stuff please.

“I’ll loop you in as needed”
– You’re not important enough to be involved nor would you really help the process

“I don’t think that can scale…”
– That’s a horrible idea.

“To set expectations…”
– This is probably not going to be as big/important/crazy as you originally thought

“I can see some synergies here”
– There is nothing immediately actionable or quantifiable here…but I like you.

“I have a hard stop.”
– I want to make sure I have an excuse to get off this call/meeting because I don’t think it warrants my full attention and time anyway.

“Let’s take a step back.”
– BEEP BEEP BEEP….back it up.

“I think we should put a pin in this…”
– This has nothing to do with anything so please stop talking about it.

“As previously discussed…”
– Dude…I told you that already!

“You can take that off-line.”
– That’s NOT. MY. PROBLEM.

22 year old me is so mad at me right now

I’ll never forget it…I was 22 years old, interning/kinda working at Island Def Jam records, really diving into digital music (Itunes had just launched and Napster was a household name) and I had the best idea ever. It was really simple…but brilliant.

I was really in to A R – the department where a bunch of music snobs and trendsetters decide who gets a deal and who doesn’t – I was totally plugged into new/up and coming bands. Not only did I now what we were signing I knew what other labels were signing and would occasionally make some fantastic predictions. I was say “this band is going to be huge…” “they stink but someone will sign them”…”They ROCK, but i think everyone will stay away” etc…

A few of the bands/artists that I saw/heard that I 100% knew would blow up…did. I remember early My Chemical romance, All American reject demos, seeing Fallout Boy play their first NJ show at Skate and Surf , The Used first songs recorded before they even played live, the killers as they were just signed, The White Stripes, The Strokes and more. Other people got SUPER excited about stuff that I knew would fizzle out and never do anything. Oh, and they did too.

“Wow, this is cool – they pay people for this? I can do this all day.” I thought. But you see…I didn’t think I was that special – I thought…”A lot of kids like me could do this – they should”. Hence…my brilliant idea came in to shape.

I envisioned a music service – like itunes – where people could download (and or stream music) and “invest” points in artists they were digging. There would be different levels of success and for each level achieved there would be rewards that came in the form of real stuff (tickets, merch etc) and or more points. Points could be earned based on overal usage/engagement on the site and redeemed for more music and even real money (and the time I didn’t know this was impossible but it was not crucial to the model). I thought…”This makes ever kid their own A R person…everyone will get to “get in early” on bands they love, be encouraged to consume more music and get rewarded for when good stuff happens”.

On the other end of the equation…bands would sign up for the service (for a small fee) so that their points that were invested could be turned into real money to be used for production/touring/tacos/anything else they wanted. People would pay to have the ability to invest and be rewarded and artists would pay to be a part of the fund raising. I didn’t know it…but I invented crowd sourcing!!!! Not only that…I was “gamifying” Music before “Gamification” was a thing!

Now – I considered diving in full force…I made some inquiries about legal stuff/patents and seeing if anyone had thought of this before. But…that’s pretty much where is ended. I was finishing school…looking forward to a full job and moving to NYC. Then life took over and I never launched my idea. I talked about it with some folks and everyone agreed…brilliant. BUT…I didn’t do anything with it.

Now – there is a little (not so little if you know the space) company, ran by really smart people in NYC, called Kickstarter. These guys are doing exactly what I didn’t do (i.e. – only thought of)…and… they are worth several hundred million dollars (conservatively). WHAMMY! You win Kickstarter – well done. They are raising money, via crowd sourcing, for artists, bands, movies, individuals and anything else you can think. Really amazing stuff, very well designed, marketed and executed… and I’m glad I thought of it. http://www.kickstarter.com/
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It’s Ok guys dont fret…I did ok. I love my job and my career path has been wonderfully exciting thus far and I don’t really have any regrets. However a little piece of me wishes that I took the plunge and started that company. Let it be a lesson…don’t sit around on greatness because someone else will do it if you don’t!

Google Glass – not for the masses

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Ok, so I’m about to say it…and I apologize in advance if this offends any of my people in the Ad Tech/Digital Media world…but Google has to be freaking kidding me with this, right?

Look at these things. I don’t care if they give you super human nerd power…these are the most offensive looking thing that you could possible wear out in public. Not only do they look absolutely pretentious and absurd on your face…you are creeping out every single person that you come in contact with. When someone, who is wearing these monstrosities, looks at you (or anyone in their line of sight) they are potentially pulling up Internet information about you (via pictures) in real time. With these jams on their faces people are so clearly and certainly not paying attention to anything happening in real life. Are we really saying that we can no longer look down at our phones to be connected to cyber space and that we need a mini screen implanted an inch from our eye ball at all times? This is just too much for me.

From what I’ve heard the battery stinks, it hurts your eyes, you can’t turn it off, voice command is shotty, you can’t see the screen in bright lights…and…the kicker is there is really no good use case for it at all. Question I’m asking constantly is…”What do they really even do?”

From my friendly POV – not only are you not getting any real functionality at all, you look like a criminally insane/super elitist type while also scaring those around you. Real quick way to end up with no real life human friends.

What I find, particularly, strange is that to date – GOOGLE has done a wonderful job and providing software and digital products for the masses and HUGE scale across the world. Search, Maps, Email, Chat, documents, cloud products, Andriod IOS…They kill it in those areas and those products are for everyone. Even more complex b2b products like ad tech including ad servers, targeting tools, network solutions, measurement and analytics…again KILLING IT for online businesses everywhere. But Hardware? And strange-looking, confusing uses case, not supremely functional hardware at that. This is just clearly not for the masses and seems as odd as they look as far as a strategic move/product for Google.

Innovative? That is up for debate. Just because something is possible doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

If this doesn't say "punch me right in the face, please!" I don't know what does

If this doesn’t say “please help me.” I don’t know what does.

PS- I could be wrong (typical Chris disclaimer) – Google could fix the kinks and these things could be the next big thing. This would not be the first time I’m wrong. BUT – I can say with 100% certainty that you won’t be catching me rocking these nerd spectacles anytime soon/ever.

A little more fuel for the fire from the good people at BI.
http://www.businessinsider.com/google-glass-business-insider-2013-5

-all opinions are my own. Copywrite @chris signore 2013

City vs. The Suburbs

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Suburbs win. Let’s get that out-of-the-way right now. Living in the city is like being in college…totally awesome (!!!) for a certain period of time but after which it’s time to grow up, move out of your dorm room and get a real job. Sure it’s great to walk out of your door, turn in any direction, and walk about 30 feet to your nearest deli/bodega where you find all the splendors a hungry human being could want…BUT you know what’s not great? NOT being in the suburbs.

Took me a minute to adjust and truly admit this when I first left the cozy womb of NYC…but the suburbs are AWESOME. I lived in the city for around 6 years and I was sooooo into it. I was that Manhattanite that never left the city really for any reason and wouldn’t even go to Brooklyn because it was too far away. Once I swallowed the pill of adulthood and took the plunge in moving outside the city…I was actually surprised as to just how awesome it is. Some may call me a boring old dude but I’d ask those people to face some facts…

More space to live in, fresh air, power tools, lawn mowers, bicycles, not crowded restaurants, lawn furniture, proper outside grills, Ice Cream trucks, parks, local bars, garages, basements, fresh air and friendly neighbors…what’s not to love? OK…so you need to commute. BIG deal – if the first thing on your list as to why the city is awesome and or why you could “never, ever, ever imagine leaving the city” is convenience then I just might say you should re-evaluate your situation as adults.

Notice, before everyone gets all up in arms here, that I said “adult“. If you are young, some kind of artist and or single you don’t fall in this group…You all are free to live in city as long as you like. Live it up PETER PANS! But everyone else….time to pack it up and move to the burbs. Don’t be scared I’ll show you around.

Obvioulsy the city is great to work in, no doubt. That’s where the action is…big companies, big jobs, big money, lots of action -but I have to go back to my reference about college. Living in the city is like living on campus…Sure, it’s easy to get to class in the morning after a late night out and the cafeteria is less then a few blocks away BUT do you really want to put up with high tuitions (RENT), smelly roommates (everyone, everywhere) and overcrowded bars forever?
Disagree? I respect that…and I invite you to come to my house, we can sit in the back yard and discuss. We’ll grill some burgers, drink some beers while sitting on my lawn furniture, listen to the birds and if you’re lucky I might even let you ride my bicycle.

Pick Your Poison

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Popcorn, McDonald’s, pork rinds, ice cream, beer, pizza. What do all these things have in common you ask? All are on the long list of items that can be found in the hands and being consumed by folks commuting each and every day.

I love checking out people’s choice of unhealthy vices on the way home. I always wonder what, if any, reason is to blame for their choice…
Hard day? Grab a Big Mac. Feeling stressed out? Pound a Bud light pounder in a brown bad. Boss was being a jerk? Stuff your face with some popcorn.

Or is it a race?
Wife won’t let you have pork rinds at home? Better get your fill now. Kids will keep you busy from the moment you enter the door to the moment you go to sleep? Grab that ice cream and take it down.

Or maybe you are just an alcoholic and need your fix? A diabetic needing some sugar in their veins? It’s really anyone’s guess.

I don’t judge. I hope that’s clear. I just find it fascinating. Maybe one day ill write a book and each chapter will entail an in-depth look and a NJ transit passengers and their picking of poisons. I can see it now! Who are you and why do you do the things you do? A real human interest piece. File that under…brilliant ideas. One day ill get around to that…but first let me finish my coors light pounder while I wipe the popcorn off my tie.