Deep Work | Content Machine Ep. #14

There have only been a few books that have a big direct impact in my world as I am reading them. Deep Work by Cal Newport is one of them. 

I can sometimes struggle with focus. This is a trait that I have always had but that can be worsened by the environment created in running a small business. My phone rings regularly, friends, family, and customers try to reach out to me through text messages, my email box is constantly adding new messages, slack is loud and demands my attention, not to mention the pull of social media to catch up on what is happening in the world. I simultaneously have to do work and have to give my team members feedback so they can keep moving forward on project. 

I noticed this was taking a toll on me even more as my work has moved to from more action based work (i.e. edit this video, design this graphic) to more thought based work and planning (i.e. where are we going as a company, how do we grow well). So at the beginning of this year I set out to read Deep Work by Cal Newport. The general point of this book is that distractions are killing our ability to do good work. 

Here is the Thesis as Newport writes it: The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.

Embracing these thoughts, Cal has put out a prodigious amount of research. This book explores the why and how he has gone so counter cultural here. 

But here is how it has worked out here: 

Since this book here are some changes I have made: 

  1. I have given my team and myself to close Slack for a bit of time while working on a project. This helps keep the noise down but then gives us the chance to check back in and see how we can help. 
  2. I have severely restricted my social media access. I’ll check it briefly in the morning to make sure I am up to date, and again late in the afternoon. At first this was difficult, but now I have trained my mind to not need it as much. 
  3. When in work cycles, I keep my phone away from me. My phone is largely on so it does not disturb me except for close family and my team, but even then, my urge to pick it up and stare at it is strong. I will check every hour or two to make sure I have not missed anything urgent. 
  4. I have hidden, as best I can, the unread numbers on my email inbox, and hidden my inbox till I’m ready to work on it. In gmail you can do this with the Unread first format for inboxes. There is also a plugin I tried out called: Inbox when ready, but I worked around the need to subscribe with other crutches. 
  5. I work to block time together to work on the schedule so I have time to do the deep work I need to be successful. 

This has not been easy. It requires a bit of training for your brain to be ok without seeing your inbox all the time, you never know what fires have been started. But I would say my quality of work, thought, and life have improved since getting these things more in control. 


Nick Hall of Fredericksburg Nationals| Content Machine Ep. #13

Well, welcome to the Content Machine Podcast. This week, I’m joined by one of my old friends, nick Hall. Nick, how are you doing?

Good, man. Good. So glad to be here.

nick, for those of the listening audience that don’t know who you are and are unfortunate to not have met you before, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Heck, yeah. First of all, to start off, it is an honor to be on what will end up being the most listened to podcast in the entire series. That’s the part I’m probably most excited for. What an honor to be the featured guest speaker for everything, really. But no, guys, like Kevin just said, excited to be here. Name is nick Hall. Backround, Back When, the Jackson Generals in the West Tennessee Diamond Jax. Hate to date myself, but back in Jackson, Tennessee, that was my old stomping grounds back in the day. I was Jackson, Tennessee, a native for quite some time. Moved there in high school, went off to the University of Tennessee, Govalls for College, and have been primarily focused for my entire career in the sport and minor league baseball world. And it is a whirlwind of a world it is. So excited to be here and talk that through. But yeah.

So, nick, I’m a little older than you, and so I imagine you’ve got to be one of the younger general managers in minor League baseball.

I don’t want to just brag. It sounds weird, but I still hold the record for the youngest GM in Southern League history, which is double A at 27 years old back when it was actually in Jackson. But still, yeah, still holding that GM title. Right now, I am in Fredericksburg, Virginia with the Fredericksburg Nationals. We’re about 45 minutes south of Washington, DC. We have a single A affiliate and just built a brand new $35 million stadium in this community. And it has treated us very well since we’ve opened up.

Can you tell us how you get to be a 27 year old GM and what your career path has been like?

I would be lying if I said, hey, just a bunch of hard work is all that it took to get me there. A lot of stars aligned to do it as quickly as I did. I think sometimes it’s okay to understand that. To understand that there was luck involved in a few different spots. Some of that is actually because it was Jackson. Coming through Jackson, I did start as the mascot. I was R vb. For those listening that might remember the West Tennessee Diamond Jigs back in the day, my first job was R vb. But it was one thing led to another. Once I graduated fully from University of Tennessee, the role that I had was in the team store, which evolved into the team store and running the entertainment at the stadium, which transitioned over to partnerships and sponsorships inside the park. I say all of those big words that all happened within about a three year period. And so after that was the assistant general manager role. And then after some shifting, it was just a natural fit. It fell into that role a few different times and hit the ground running. It was there was, I have no problem saying there was help from the big man above to put me where I could make the biggest impact, which is super important to me.

And then I just… What’s that old phrase? You fake it until you make it? I was doing it for a good little bit, but I’d like to think that now I have a bit of a grasp over it.

You went from Jackson, you were the GM in Jackson, and then you went on to Texas, right?

I did. I went from Jackson, Tennessee, was the GM there, to the Director of Partnerships for Amarillo, Texas. Along with everything that I just said, it was a bit of a risk taking that step actually, because it was almost a step back in position. But I decided to go from big fish small pond to small fish big pond to try to grow that repertoire. One of the things I’ve always been just borderline obsessed with is looking at all new facilities. I have actually new builds of stadiums. It always gets me excited, whether it’s my team or somebody else’s, when I hear that I was reading article after article when Jerry World was being built down in Dallas for the Cowboys. That stuff actually… I’m weird, I’m a nerd, that stuff excited me. When I got the opportunity to move to Amarillo, Texas with a new construction build for a 7,000 person stadium for the San Diego Padres. That got me excited and then just went down there to try to put a new skill set under my belt. We had just an incredible inaugural season, an incredible build out process. It was just a beautiful, well ran facility down there.

I was there for nine months. I was there for nine months and then got a call. First of all, I say all this, there is no amount of practice that you can practice for the amount of work and hours that go into building a new stadium. I will definitely throw that out there. So it was a whirlwind of stuff to do constantly flying at you. Nine months into doing it, I got a call from Fredericksburg, Virginia, and they said, Hey, you want to do it again back to back? And I was like, You bet you.

So, nick, as a general manager of a minor league baseball team, what does a day look like in your life?

So this is actually the reason I love it so much is because there’s no two similar days. That is for me what keeps me engaged in not just this industry, but this position and this role so much is that I was just telling our assistant general manager, Robbie, who actually also from Jackson, Tennessee, or came through Jackson, Tennessee with the generals as well, I was just telling him the other day I had a one day period where my first meeting was with a prospective new client. My second meeting was a meeting about setting up a new style of broadcast that we’re going to be doing for the actual games themselves. I immediately had to cut that meeting short because I was late. In my next meeting was for a different facility in Fredericksburg that is trying to build a baseball field and wanted to know if the school system would be allowing their high school to possibly play games there. Then I turned that around and immediately was at a ribbon cutting for a civil rights trail here in Fredericksburg. I say all this because no day is set. That’s the great thing about it is that you are doing so many different things hour to hour that it’s impossible to really say what does a day look like?

But the most important thing that you can do is just surround yourself with just rock stars. That’s it. That comes from the hiring process, don’t get me wrong, but getting people on board that want to make what you’re going through bigger than life, that initiative, that ambition, having that throughout your entire organization, that’s when you don’t have to worry and get too caught up in the weeds because I couldn’t, with as much going on around here, I couldn’t imagine having to actually go to each of those departments and truly getting into the weeds of every single one of those departments. That’s just so important to have great people with you at all levels.

What is it then that you focus on as the general manager?

For the most part, the biggest picture of stuff. What I do mean by that is there’s always a renovation going on at the stadium. We are a three year old stadium and we have not gone probably a two month span without some project actually going on inside the stadium. First and foremost, that’s probably the main thing that I’m working on. The other thing, too, is actually having that relationship with the team and with minor league baseball, major league baseball themselves. Doing a lot of work with them, setting up their initiatives, and then being very community focused. That’s something that’s very important to us and a big part of this role is taking… You oversee all aspects of the business. That’s every revenue, every expense, you’re there to answer for that. You obviously have people that are doing those purchases, but when it boils down to it, you’re responsible for all that. It’s taking that business and translating it to the community to tell them the story of what is going on inside their stadium. That’s probably the main focus of me as a GM on what I’m doing on a day to day basis. Because one thing that somebody who’s not 100 % familiar with minor League baseball may not know is that the GM at the minor Leagues, nothing to do with baseball.

That can be surprising to some people. Sometimes when there’s 5,000 people in your stadium, you don’t have time to explain that to every single person. So sometimes you just like, I’ll never forget, they’ll come up to you and congratulate you on putting together a great roster, but they’re just saying it in passing. I don’t want to stop them because they’re trying to get home and they just were trying to be nice. I’m like, Oh, thanks. That’s the other thing, too, is that from this position, it’s not actually worried about the Xs and Os of baseball. You’re quite literally just going from the business perspective and most importantly, the community perspective.

When we talk about the community, I did notice when I was stalking you and catching up on Nicole’s life a little bit was that you’re on the board of the sunshine baseball League. Yeah. And so would you like to just take a second and talk about what that is?

I would love that. I would love that. Anytime I’m given an opportunity to be on a soapbox for that. That’s actually what I was talking about a little bit ago with building an extra field. So sunshine ballpark in Fredericksburg, Virginia. This is one of my passions is that sport is so important to kids. Sport is so important to kids. I’m not talking about baseball. I’m not trying to advocate specifically for baseball, but I’m talking about generally the act of getting kids involved in a team. It’s huge. Learning how to win is great. Learning how to lose is way more important. Learning how to bounce back, way more important. Learning how to do all that with other like minded people trying to achieve a goal, even if you’re on the same tee ball team is so big. One of my passions, though, is hearing that somebody doesn’t have access to sport because of a barrier that shouldn’t be there. That barrier, a lot of times, is just money. It’s purely money. So sunshine Ballpark, their entire initiative is to serve an underserved community and giving them access to sport. This is specifically baseball. That is the board that I am on.

What we do is we actually have our own League. It’s very cost efficient. The Fredericksburg Nationals, my organization, we sponsor the League by outfitting everybody with uniforms. We get the cost down real low for these kids. The kids that still can’t afford it, we also offer scholarships for them to be able to get in at no cost or even a lower cost on whatever they need. Because as heartbreaking as it is, you would be surprised at how many kids are not able to play a sport because they can’t afford the $15 to $20 T shirt. That does exist in all of our communities, not just in Fredericksburg, but in all of our communities. And sunshine ballpark and many other organizations across the country are doing things, trying to remove those type of barriers. And one of the more exciting things that sunshine ballpark has, also is another barrier we concentrate on is physical or special needs that are keeping kids away from being able to play sports. We actually have what they call a challenge or rated field at the sunshine ballpark facility, which is essentially a very thin turf that can handle walkers, wheelchairs, crutches, all that stuff.

You actually get out there, we have a few partnerships around the community where the high school team will come out and they’ll partner with a kid who has some a need, whether that’s physical, special needs, whatever that may be, and they play baseball. They give those kids the opportunity to swing a bat, go field a ball, and make a throw. Those are the things that we do at Sunshine Ballpark. As you can tell, just extremely important to me.

That’s awesome. Well, so let’s talk more about the Fredericksburg Nationals. Just for a little bit of context, because Fredericksburg is a good drive from Jackson in West Tennessee. Just give us a 30 second about the community there so we can have some background.

Yeah, for sure. So Fredericksburg, we’re about 45 minutes outside of Washington, DC. So Fredericksburg, really, if you had to do a very short and skinny of Fredericksburg, extremely historic. We are the hometown of George Washington. This is where he was born and raised. The community nowadays, mostly a commuter community. What that means is they will go take jobs in DC, and DC has a very high cost of living, so they pay very well in DC, and they bring that money that’s made from there back to the Frederburg community, which makes for actually really a very affluent community. But with that in mind, it’s an affluent community that pays for it, but because we spend 75 % of our day in a car. We are right along I 95, and I’ll tell you what, I didn’t understand what traffic was until I moved here. Being from Jackson, we all hated the 45 bypass traffic. You know nothing, John Snow. It is a ridiculous amount. We have a place that we would go often, and there are times where you can make it there in 45 minutes, but we have definitely been on the road for two and a half hours making the same drive before.

You just never know what you’re going to get with I 95 on the East Coast.

Nope. I’m going to stay here, nick. You can have that. Okay, so a big part of being a successful minor league team is getting butts in seats. Yeah, 100 %. As a GM and in the single A affiliate, how do you get butts in seats? What’s the marketing approach for marketing the team?

For sure. The number one thing is what you’re doing. I know that sounds weird and sounds obvious, but the thing you can’t concentrate on is the players. I know that sounds like the exact opposite of what you would think, but you just can’t. The reason why? The folks that would know the names of minor League baseball players, they’re already coming to the games. They are miss ing the game.

And there’s like 10 of them.

Exactly. So if you know the minor League baseball players that are on that team, you’re actually not who I’m marketing to because you’re out here. You’re out here. I need families to come out here. I need kids to come out here. I need the other 3,000 seats in my stadium full. What we do are what we do, or what we call promotions. We’re shooting off fireworks on Fridays. We are giving away bobbleheads jerseys and T shirts on Sundays. So we do all these different things throughout the week that try to give families a different reason to come each night of the week. So what you’ll also do with that is you’ll develop that, Hey, we like to see that Fridays are particularly our family nights. Because we’re shooting fireworks and it’s for $10, you can get in and see fireworks and have your entire evening of entertainment to cover. That’s the biggest thing that I think is surprising to some people is even when we were creating the brand, we quickly realized that we needed a face for the organization and it couldn’t be a player, so it became that mascot. That mascot became the face of our organization and not Albert P ulhoels for the Cardinals or Yaddy Armelino for the Cardinals or whoever that may be.

It has to be something else. It has to be a little bit more creative, which brings a layer of, I say, difficulty and a challenge, but a layer of fun. A layer of fun about that, because when you’re creating a brand, you’re creating a mascot to be your brand. You can truly make that whatever you want from the very beginning. It was an amazing experience creating the Fredericksburg Nationals brand. I’ve been so happy to be able to be along for that ride. What we have here is just truly special what it’s trying to do.

That was part one of a two part interview we did with nick Hall. So be sure to come back in a couple of weeks and check the second half of our interview with nick Hall.


Marketing in 2023 Pt.2 | Content Machine Ep. #12

Who knows who Mr. Beast is? Raise your hands. I do. Okay. If you don’t know who Mr. Beast is, you likely don’t have a child under the age of 20 or you live under a rock. One of those two. Mr. Beast is the fourth largest YouTube channel in the world. First person, largest YouTube person in the world. And I would bet every high schooler that we have walking through here would know who Mr. Beast is. You guys know who Mr. Beast is? Yes, sir. You don’t, but you do? Okay, cool. Mr. Beast does fun philanthropy things with his social media following. So literally, he will go… It’s super fun to watch, honestly. I enjoy watching him as a 34 year old male. He will go to a car dealership, buy every car on the lot, and then just whoever shows up to the lot through the day gets a free car. That stuff. Alex, did you watch the i video? Alex is on our team. He’s helping record this today. Did you watch the i video? I think it was a 1,000. I think it was 10,000. I think it was more than 1,000. It was a lot.

10,000 people who had cataracts and didn’t have the money all over the world that didn’t have the money to… Is it on here? Yeah, it’s a 1,000. Oh, it’s a thousand. I’m wrong. Alex, you are right. I’m sorry. A thousand people who needed a simple cataract operation, which is not all that expensive or all that technically difficult in the scope of medical procedures, but they didn’t have the money for it. And so he paid for a thousand people to get their cataracts fixed. And that’s the stuff he does. Anywho, why I’m bringing up Mr. Beast is because he is so popular. He’s using that fame in a business way that most people have never done before. He’s pivoting into direct consumer goods. So if you go to Walmart, you can buy Mr. Beast chocolate bars. Now, that sounds weird, right? But keep in mind, his last video had 105 million views. And so he’s using his star power to manipulate the market. He started in the pandemic, Mr. Beast Burger, which is a ghost kitchen. Who’s familiar with the concept of ghost kitchens? Okay, yeah. So he used ghost kitchens across the entire United States to produce burgers and sell them on delivery apps.

He didn’t have any physical infrastructure and his marketing is done by himself. That makes him very dangerous. So he opened a physical store in November and had 10,000 people show up to its opening. So like Amazon, you hope Mr. Beast doesn’t decide to go into the sign business. Because if Mr. Beast decides to go into the sign business, you’re going to have a bad time. So he is a trend that you should be aware of. What are some other things that are going to affect you? I’ve got like 10 minutes. So artificial intelligence is coming. I, just for the record on the mic here, I for one, welcome our robot overlords because if they’re listening to this in the future, they’ll know that I’m okay with them and they’re not going to kill me. That’s a little dystopian, but it’s also not too far off the base. Okay, so all of your businesses, and I don’t know what all of your businesses are because I had only met those two people in this room before this morning. All of your businesses will be rocked by artificial intelligence. Full stop, period. Things like taxes, writing copy for marketing, ad placement, ad buying, detecting fraudulent transactions at a bank are all things.

Graphic design, many of you have probably seen headlines about midjourney and diffusion making art that is all artific intelligence generated. All of these things are going to affect your business. It may not be directly. I would even go so far as medical diagnoses, medical diagnoses are things that will be done by artificial intelligence in the next 10 years. So how does that affect you? Some of you are like, Well, we’re special or whatever. No, you’re not. It’s going to affect you. So my advice is if your industry group or if you’re part of a franchise or your trade group is not talking about artificial intelligence, you need to tell them they need to start talking about and thinking about artificial intelligence. In 2019, in the Before Times, I went to a conference in marketing artificial intelligence, and I could already see how my job potentially is in danger. And it could become a society of have and have nots if you have the technology or not. I could do a whole dystopian talk about that as well. I’m not a conspiracy theorist either, it sounds like I am. But legitimately, if you’re not aware of how this is going to affect your industry, you should be.

And you should be thinking about, are these tools things that we can use to be better at what we do to give us more shelf life? This is a little bit more practical. Linkedin is still a hot platform. I know that sounds weird, but a couple, maybe a year and a half ago, two years ago, LinkedIn decided we’re going to be like Facebook used to be and give you organic reach on content before you had to start paying for everything. And so you can put content on LinkedIn and guess what? People will see it. Unlike your Facebook posts where nobody really sees it unless you put 10, 15, 15, 100, $200 on it, whatever. Linkedin still has some organic reach capability. So I would be investing in LinkedIn content if I’m you and I’d be putting content on LinkedIn. Spinnerization, which I don’t think is a real word, splenderization of media attention. Now, I think the last time, not counting Super Bowls because Super Bowls are the anomaly here. I think the last time our entire culture sat down to watch one thing was Kelly Clarkson winning American idol in 2002. Since then, and most of you probably are like, I’ve never watched that, so you’re wrong anyway.

But since then, the media has continued to splinter in our society. So what do I mean by that? In the last six months, I have watched these three things, and I want to know if anybody has heard of any of them. There’s a show called Shorzy that I’ve watched. So you may have heard of Shorzy? One. Okay. Welcome to R exum. A little bit more mainstream. One, two, three. Okay, four. Anybody watched it or just know that it exists? A lot of fun, right? It’s cool. And then I’ve watched a guy named Van Niestat on YouTube. Anybody heard of Van Niestat on YouTube? Okay, now, why am I saying that? Not just because I’m weird and like weird things. Okay, that’s just par for the course of my life. But you could probably do the same thing with things that you’ve watched or listened to podcasts, and I would also be in the dark on a lot of those things. So why is that important? Stay with me. Our media attention is splintered. While even when I was a child, most people watched the same couple of channels or listened to the same radio stations and got news from the same sources.

And some people haven’t quite grasped that that has changed. But just that TV example right there should be enough to point to you that that has changed significantly. Now, on the way here, how many of you listen to terrestrial radio on the way here? When I say terrestrial radio, I mean radio generated from a radio station within a 50 mile radius of here. in. Okay. How many of you listen to a podcast on the way here? How many of you listen to satellite radio on the way here? How many of you listened to a streaming station on your phone through your car on the way here? Okay. Did you see the diffusion of hands there? So what does that mean? That means that nobody’s watching all the same things, nobody’s listening to all the same things. And so we have a splinterization of media attention. So you have to think about multiple channels for marketing. It used to be you buy an ad on ABC, everybody’s going to see it. That is no longer the case. We work with one local services company, an HVAC company, and we use… Oh, I blew the Kelly Clarkson slide timing.

We work with 12 different channels of marketing for this one company. Not not and not including community sponsorship, like some of you guys are talking about. That’s something else that we advise them on and help them think through. But Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube ads, Google ads. We work on SEO for them. We have ads on Spotify. We also have ads on local radio, TV, newspaper. We’re working on getting started because after I mentioned Jackson, I’m not having any reporters. And we’re working on getting ads on Hulu. And you know what? I can pull this slide this way and there’d be a lot more options as well. So what do you do with splin erization? You need to really understand who your customers are and where their attention is. But then you also need to be in multiple places. And so you have to be thinking through that and budgeting for that and thinking, well, like one ad package on ABC, you could do almost all of these things for. And so you have to think through that priority wise. I’m going to go really fast here because I’ve basically run out of time. Another major theme is social responsibility is becoming more and more common.

Groups are looking for possibly ESG. Has anybody heard the term ESG? It’s Environmental and Social and Governance ruling. Companies are doing more of this. And I think that’s going to affect you because talent growth is still going to be hard and political polarization is more and more common. So this is politically polarizing. Companies are doing this and including companies like Black Rock, which is a massive, massive company that manages funds that affect a lot of your retirement accounts. Political polarization is hurting them and you could be on the front page of Twitter. Someone said once there’s a main character of Twitter every day and you don’t want to be that person. And then most of the time it has to do with political polarization. And so how can you prevent that? You need a diverse group of people helping you make marketing decisions. So people who think different ways and have different experiences to help you from making the mistakes that end you up on the front page of Twitter. But talent growth is going to remain hard because COVID broke a lot of things and people don’t want to work the way they used to work.

You can complain about it all day, which is the way it is. And so talent growth remains hard. But having a company identity is going to be super important to do that. And when I say company identity is like having a mission, having a vision, having something that your company cares about besides making profits are going to be key components to being successful in that. And maybe ESG is part of that, but you may not want to phrase it that way so you don’t piss off half the people. So for example, one of my goals is to build a company that people want to work at because that makes everything else a lot easier. So we have a mission, our creative work that grows clients businesses in a culture that values our team and community. So part of our mission is to take care of our people and to take care of the community that we’re in, which is Jackson. So predictions, more self service ads, Hulu self service is coming, YouTube self service is coming, Spotify self service is coming. That means you’re going to have less and less ad people coming and knocking on your door trying to get you to buy stuff, but you’ll also be able to do it yourself.

Okay, so that’s an advantage. Micro influencers, so everybody knows the term influencers, I’m sure, and it’s gross and nasty, but there’s also going to be like little local influencers. So there’s going to be the mom that’s real popular on Instagram and Bellevue. And you’re going to be like, hey, I’m going to give you 50 bucks and some free nutrition shakes. And you’ll come and talk about being at my nutrition place. Right. This guy is a cross section of running and in comartery. Okay. That is a niche influencer, but he’s got a following and he makes it work for him. Email is going to be cool again because social media is becoming more difficult to work with. And once you have an email list, it doesn’t die like social media reach. And YouTube’s relevance as a search engine is going to be really helpful. So if you’ve got videos, you should put them on YouTube so people can find you when they search for things on YouTube because it’s a search engine. Okay, that means I’m done and it’s 835. Thank you all for your attention and your time. And I hope it was worth your.

Marketing in 2023 Pt.1 | Content Machine Ep. #11

So without further ado, Kevin I hate to be the guy that asked to use the microphone, but do I need to use the microphone? Can you all hear me? Perfect. That’s way more preferable for me. So yeah, Kevin Adelsberg, we’ve been in business for about eight years now. We do digital marketing. We lead companies to conquer digital marketing. We work with a wide variety of businesses, everything from boring accountants to things that are a little bit more exciting, like churches. Well, that’s not fair. What else do we do, Alex? We did make a fun hype video for accounting. Did you know you can make a hype video for accounting? You should go to ATA’s LinkedIn page. You can see that. So we do a lot of different types of marketing. And what I’m going to do today is do a quick overview of the marketing landscape for 2023. And so if we’ve got time, I already know that I’m going to run out of time. And so I’m not going to be that person that keeps you from going to work. But if you have time for questions afterwards, we’d be happy to talk to you about that.

So what’s not hot in marketing right now? Vr and Augmented Reality. That was a big push last year. I think that was really a consequence of COVID, people being locked in their houses more or less. And so Facebook and Meta, or Meta as it’s known now, is really trying to push that. But I don’t think it’s going to take off for a couple of reasons. One, people are just not excited about it. A lot of people would rather go and do something in real life like this right here. And who’s had one too many Zoom meetings in the last three years. And so there’s something nice, even though it’s a hassle to like, well, I got up at 3 30 this morning to get here. But there’s something nice about being like, Hey, Mike, nice to meet you. There’s something nice about that in personness. For something like metaverse or VR or being able to work in the metaverse, you have to have a ubiquity. You have to have a critical mass of people using that thing. And that’s what makes social media work is because there’s a critical mass of people using it. And I don’t anticipate a critical mass of people hitting that.

And then also, we’re going to see less development in these spaces for a little bit because of FONG. Does anybody know what FONG stands for? Oh, let’s drop it. Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google. Very good. This guy, high five. So Facebook. Fong is an acronym for Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google. There’s a couple of different versions of that acronym, and it’s a way people in the tech world shorten naming all the big companies. They’re laying off people like crazy. Some of you have probably seen those business headlines. So this is an extra thing that’s not earning revenue right now. So I would imagine budget cuts are coming to those departments. So the other thing that’s not hot is NFTs. Anybody know what this is? Apeyachtc lub. The blockchain technology is not going anywhere. It’s very valuable. It’s going to be super helpful to our society as we move forward. But individual NFTs are probably, I think they may have had their heyday for the moment. And I think the pump and dump schemes are starting to fall off. And so less and less people are going to be using those. I think they will have a place in our community, but a lot of people are pushing them for marketing purposes.

And I think it was just a little bit ahead of that self. So that’s not as hot anymore either. Newspapers. There’s no newspaper reps in here, right? Go ahead. Okay. I live in Jackson, very involved in the Jackson community. And the Jackson Sun, which is owned by Gannett, is a joke. I don’t think they even have a reporter on staff. Jackson is a town of 60,000 people and 110,000 in the county, and we don’t have a reporter on the local newspaper staff. Gannett is a poorly run company and it’s going to continue to shrink. Even the Tennesseean is having less and less reporters on its staff. And so local newspapers are not hot right now. And some of the ones that are starting up to try to combat that, like we have a startup newspaper in Jackson called the Jackson Post, they don’t really have the technology back end to make it work. So I’m hopeful for it because I think as a culture, we need journalism deeply to help keep power and check. But I think there is some hope. The Daily Minfian, I know you guys are not really on the Memphis side of things, but there’s an organization called the Daily Minfian, which is an online only newspaper that is a nonprofit, and so they don’t have to worry about getting sold to a company like Gnette and then Gnette running it into the ground.

All right. What are some big headlines that you can use? And yes, I’m going really fast because David said I started at eight and I started at eight, ten. So big headlines. Tiktok demographics are continuing to change. And so 70 % of TikTok’s US audience are 19 plus. So what does that mean for you? That means it’s hard to ignore TikTok anymore if you are doing any advertising. And now on the flip side, TikTok keeps getting banned places. And so Texas, Tennessee, some other states have actually banned it on all government devices. So if you were to go to the University of Tennessee at Austin’s, which is the big UT, their sports accounts that have hundreds of thousands of followers stopped posting at the end of December because that’s when the ban took effect for Texas and Texas state employees. And so while TikTok is super popular, the federal government is also considering a ban, which I don’t think it’s going to happen. I don’t think that’s going to happen. But Tennessee has banned it on state devices, and so you can’t find the University of Tennessee on TikTok. So if you think about that, where all their target demographics attention is, they’re not allowed to be for marketing.

It’s a weird thing. Now, there are security concerns, but you notice nobody actually says what the security concerns are. They just say their security concerns, but they don’t get the details. Now, we go into a whole geopolitical discussion. We could do that later. But TikTok continues to get restricted in places. And some customers that we’ve had, like we work with a couple of financial institutions in the Jackson area, they don’t feel like they are safe enough to get on TikTok. So you might want to check with your industry things depending on what industry you’re in. But there’s a lot of opportunity there for TikTok. Also, big headline you need to know about is data protection, which is related. Does anybody know what GDPR is? Gdpr was enacted by the European Union a few years ago, and that’s why you get all those stupid pop ups on a website saying, Can I use cookies on this website? Surely you’ve all seen those, right? The reason you get all those is because of this law from the EU. Now, the European Union, for whatever its pluses and minuses are politically, are very data privacy conscious, and the US historically isn’t, except that that’s changing.

So California, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah, and Virginia have passed their own specific data privacy regulations, which is probably not a bad thing as a marketer, as a person, it’s not a bad thing. As a marketer, it’s slightly annoying because if you do business, if you are actively doing business with California, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah, or Virginia, and you have customers in those locations, I don’t know if that applies to anybody here, but you need to be aware of these data privacy restrictions because they’ll apply to you because you’re doing business in that state. I don’t anticipate that happening in Tennessee under the current governor. That’s not something that our legislature, they have other things they’re worried about. But I would definitely be in favor of a nationwide type of policy instead of someone trying to mishmash all the different rules from all the different states and then try to make sure that you follow everybody and not get fined. So data protection is super important and that’s changing. The availability of data and protecting people’s data is super important. So you need to start owning your own data. So who does Facebook ads in here? Anybody doing Facebook ads?

Two people. Okay, cool. Three? Okay. If you’ll notice, now we do a lot of Facebook ads and we do a lot of Facebook ads for a lot of different types of businesses. And one of the things that you may or may not have noticed is that the types of audiences that you can target have greatly reduced over the last several years. Some of that is because they’re getting sued by people for being able to target certain groups of people using those in bad ways. So you need to be thinking about how can you own your own data? That’s a big thing to think about. An easy way to own your own data is by building an email list of customers. If you have an email list of customers, when Facebook shuts it off, and I’ll talk more about email in a minute, you can still reach those people. And you own that data, you own that email list. I’m not suggesting spam people. Don’t buy an email list. Don’t do it. It’s not a good idea. Build your own or build an audience of people who interact with your website. Because if they come to your website, that’s your data, you own that.

So you have to figure out a way to build your own data and be less reliant on third party data. So stuff from Facebook or YouTube or things like that. In the same vein, who knew Google Analytics is sun setting? One, right? What’s your name? Debbie. Debbie, what do you do? How did you know that? I get alerts from them. That’s right. Good job. So we host like 50 or 60 websites or something like that, and we have Google Analytics on all of them because that’s a responsible thing to do as a marketer. And Google is killing off the Google Analytics we all have installed on our websites. So if you are a local company that has a website and your developer hasn’t talked to you about it, which I haven’t talked to my people about it yet because we’re still working on our plans and what to do with about it, they’re pushing everybody to GA4 or Google Analytics 4. On June 30th will be the last day that Google Analytics takes data. So if Google Analytics is important to how you run your business, you need to have this set up before June 30th.

Now, in the last two weeks, Google has announced that they’re going to start helping people migrate. But up until two weeks ago, they’re just like, you’re on your own, as Google is so prone to do. Some of this is because of data privacy. Google Analytics is going to have, in some ways more data, more specific data. Ga4 actually captures more data, but it anonymizes it more than GA Google Analytics. Google will still know all the data that is taking it in, but they just won’t share it with you because they’re so kind and helpful. So keep that in mind. Other things that are headlines that may affect you is Twitter drama. If you use Twitter as part of your business, just know that the drama is not over there. It’s just going to keep picking up and being exciting over there. I just love this exchange because sometimes you get what you ask for. But what that’s causing is, so I’m a Twitter addict. If I try, the less self discipline I have in the day, the more time I spend on Twitter. And so I was able to watch as masses of people that I follow start leaving Twitter because they have objections to Elon Musk buying it.

And so that’s moving people to other social media networks. So Facebook is not cool anymore. Tiktok has security concerns. Twitter has an owner that some people find objectionable. Instagram is owned by Facebook, so it’s toxic by relation. And so what are people to do? Because people still have this desire to be social. So there’s things like Mastodon. Has anybody heard of Mastodon? Okay, I feel like I’m making this worth your time this morning, so that’s great. Mastodon is a new social media platform that is way more complicated that you have to install your own server and things. That is way more complicated than any of this stuff. But people are thinking about moving there because they’re mad at Elon or whatever. So just know that that’s a headline you should know about.


Special Guest: Ricky Santos| Content Machine Ep. #10

Well, welcome to the Content Machine Podcast. This week, we are joined by Ricky Santos. Ricky was the first hire we made at Adelsberg Marketing, and we’ve been thankful to have him on the team ever since. It’s going on, what, five?

Five, no, almost six years.

Almost six years. And it’s amazing that he’s been able to put up with me for so long. But Ricky is one of our designers and our lead motion graphic artist. And so this week on the podcast, we’re just going to interview Ricky and talk about some design trends. So, Ricky, tell us about a design trend that you’re seeing.

Yeah. So I guess one of the thing we can think about first is when it comes to trends, it’s not something that everyone might be doing. Although we’re not selling all of me switching to using these things. It’s just something that I’ve seen around areas in graphic design, motion design, website design, that more people are starting picking it up. The one of the first things I’ve seen is a little bit more pulling in some vintage elements, but not necessarily copying designs from 1960s, 1970s. But maybe we’re just pulling in colors or fonts or some of the language that they were using at the time.

And we’re not just talking like putting distressed things on.

Stuff, right? Yeah, it’s not making it.

Look old. When you mean colors and fonts, what’s an example of that?

So for one of the things, you look at a home goods company called Pine Apple Collaborative. And one of the things they use a lot of is just pulling in mid century modern colors. A lot of mid century modern design was very busy in some areas. We have a lot of patterns and shapes, and I think a lot of that people don’t really like right now. But the colors and so they feel more homey. They look good on an olive oil bottle. They look good on… Your laundry detergent doesn’t just look like a tied laundry detergent. It looks more esthetically pleasing. Yeah, exactly. Then something else, another company that is doing some of that is CNET, the online electronic and lifestyle review website. They had this went through the recent redesign and from their old logo, which is a very… Not lifeless, it’s not good way to put it, but didn’t have much personality. But their new logo pulling in the older font, some of their illustrations that they use throughout the site have some of that retro cyber punk look to it as well. More 80s looks.

Looking at the logo here, it has extremely aggressive seriffs. Too much, in my opinion. The T almost looks like a Times New Roman T, but everything else is.

Out there. I think that’s one of the things that looks like something we see from the Art Deco style that happened around the ’70s and ’60s. All of the fonts were elongated, and each little element of the font was a design feature in itself. It wasn’t just a little addition to the font.

Yeah, that is a whole identity just in that font style for sure.

But compared to other text sites that is not. It’s very different. Yeah, that we see everywhere else.

So vintage, but then you also say that retro.

Is being seen. Yeah. So when I think of retro, I think of bolder lines, bolder colors, bolder fonts, really. And I think I’m thinking more of the hippie, trippy styles that we see some places, but also pulling in some of the maximumism style, which is having a lot of bright colors, a lot of patterns and taking up the visual space using all those elements. We can see one here. This is a designer’s heat. This is his profile. Gleb.

I’m going to get, sorry. Sabrin is enough.

That’s as close as anyone can get. But he’s using these old looking… I think of my Game Boy Advanced.

Yeah, very Game Boy original boxes and fonts and shading.

To create a very easy to read website that is more fun. That’s a lot of his styles is that he is… This is the thing he’s known for is doing this work.

His domain name is gleb. Sexy.

You got to have a very bold personality to have that as your domain name. Absolutely.

But very retro.

But also, it’s something we can look at is what Target is doing and the new styles that they’re putting up for their clothing and their interior design. One of the things right now is skinny jeans are gone. And same way I feel like in design, a lot of very structured grid systems, very structured print layouts where your header is always the largest thing. And then you have other little events that follow a very hierarchical… Hierarchical? Yeah. Words are hard today. Yeah. The big words. So you know the structure of everything is little bit, but I think the more retro design, it’s a little bit looser in terms of the rules that you can follow. So another example is, it’s a fan favorite and some of our team members is Olly Pop.

Alex on our team can’t help but drink Olly Pop. Olly Pop, if you’re listening, we got a brand deal for you.

But you can see there, it’s not just like a the Coca Cola logo or some bubbles on it. They’re using some of the little bit more retro illustration style to make that the center of attention. And then also on their website, the fonts they used are fonts that we see in old magazines instead of websites.

And there’s an interesting juxtaposition here with a new soda written in a very old font style. And then you mentioned here that black is taking over.

Our screens. Yeah. So once Apple finally started to implement dark modes on their phone, a lot of websites, a lot of apps started to have black as the main color instead of white. I think a lot of that has to do with our phones are better at showing black. Most people have iPhones. in America. I love that a lot of the screens can show the text on black is right now because of how good Apple has designed the screens. I think that has driven a lot of people to start designing in black. Instead of having white space, your main element is darker.

Well, because you’ve got the technology that shows the screen better, shows true black. That way you can have the contrast to read it. And then I think just big point about you bringing up about dark mode is dark mode makes it where everybody gets used to seeing that. So it’s not as weird to just see it all. It’s like not a goth website because it’s all black. It’s just like this is normal now.

And I think we also, from the pandemic, everybody started to watch content on their screens a lot more. Watching in a dark room, if you go out from your show and it’s a really bright screen, that’s going to be a bad experience. And so having a darker screen that helps your eyes not have that such stark change all of a sudden, I feel like that’s another big reason I live. When you go on Apple TV or Netflix, it’s mostly all black.

And then you had an example here with a Fay app?

Yeah. So they are a… I don’t know too much about the app itself, what they do. I think it’s more of an investing dashboard, but they have a very dark dashboard look. I mean, the whole website is basically black. It’s like probably 90 % black. It’s beautiful. Yeah. And then I think because of the darkness of it, it looks more premium as well. It’s got to have the black Lexus feel. You have to think of that. But also Apple, when you look at Apple, some of their products, like the AirP ods Pro, that’s all in black as well. They have some of the products in white. They have some of the products in black. I think they’re more premium products. They show in the black screen to make it look a bit more, make it feel more premium.

Absolutely. Now, the last thing that you had here was AI Art, which is a controversial subject and one that we should be thinking about. What are your thoughts on the AI Art?

I think there’s two branches of views on the AI Art. Right now, there’s a lot of people who are worried that people are just going to stop making art and just use AI to make everything. But then there’s another group of people who are looking into AI Art as another tool in their toolbox to help them quickly find… Maybe they have an idea in the end of their head and they’re having a hard time getting it out of their head into paper. And so it’s a quick way to push it onto the paper and just have different variations that they can jump off from. This is using Midjour AI, which is a really advanced AI system that does pretty realistic stuff.

Yeah, because that’s an AI image right there. Yeah, this is AI. So we’re looking at a Prata bag AI image that has a wine bottle holder in it and it looks real.

I do a lot of the work on the side. One of the things I’ve thought about doing is, if I was to make a new type of backpack, what might that look like? I know how to make all the hardware points for it, but having weird shapes or different ideas, that might be a little bit harder too.

And you might be able to test market it, too.

Another example is in architecture. It’s a lot easier to quickly change up shapes of a building than to actually build up a building and just see if.

It works on that. So we’re seeing an example of a Nike concept store and it looks like potentially Japan. I think so. That looks brilliant. Looks like a cross between Nike and Apple Store.

Then on the other end of it, there’s a couple of products, AI products that are built into Photoshop and illustrator where you can… Let’s say I’m designing something for a website and I need an icon of a tree. Instead of going out and spending some time designing that icon of a simple little tree or going out to another website to pull an icon off of that. You can quickly type in there and it’ll make a one out of one icon for you real quick. So you can pull that out real quick and start using that and then you maybe can change some elements of that to make it your own still or.

In Photoshop. Or if you’re making just a sample or a concept that saves a lot of time. I think that’s going to be something that we continually have to confront over the next couple of years. And it’ll be interesting to see where the legal ramifications fall out at, and ownership, because AI is just regurgitating other things that it finds. And there’s already been lawsuits filed. And then also the legal ramifications of… Some people are putting stuff into AI generators that the public doesn’t need to know. And so it’s going to be interesting to see how people, if their data is as safe as they think it is and all that things. But those are things that we don’t know the answer to for a few years, probably. Well, Ricky, thank you so much for sharing some design trends that we should be aware of. And where can we find you online?

Instagram? Instagram, yeah. I don’t have much on there, just @RickySantos955.

But you can find your leather working stuff.

Yeah, it’s on there.

Everyone’s got one. What’s it called?

It’s the same name. Ricky Santos.

So I’ve got some Ricky Santos leather stuff at my house. I approve and encourage people to go buy that. But thank you guys for checking out the Content Machine podcast. Thank you to Ricky for joining us this week. And be sure to subscribe. And if you found something in this episode helpful, share it with a friend, text it to him, send them an email, check it out. We’ll be putting these out weekly, and we look forward to being back in your feed soon. Thank you.