Sunday, December 30, 2012

FC Bayern vs Manchester City - FIFA XBOX

My housemate is being dominated by one of his friends playing FIFA on the XBOX.

To further shame his Host, The Opponent then proceeded to tweak a new player profile with 99% perfection on every profile detail.

We thought that sounded like some brilliant messiah baby newborn business. DNA perfection, strand by strand.

To spite The Opponent, the player profile he created was not properly saved, resulting in all that time being spent in vain.

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 1:2 KJV)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Prayer for the Chaste

A prayer for the chaste, in the common language and understanding that psychological guidance provides, upon reading two books: “Conscious Loving: The Journey to Co-Commitment” by Gay Hendricks, PhD, and Kathlyn Hendricks, PhD,

and "Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity" by Lauren F. Winner. I must also mention a renewal of my faith in Christ Jesus, the Living Son of God, through Whom I pray with the Holy Spirit to Our Father in Heaven. May my words be pleasing to God, and the message of Christ Jesus be sanctified.

There is no premarital sex in my current relationship.  God has seized control of my life. Everything I am learning and experiencing draws me closer to a spiritual tradition that comforts me. I wish the same thing for everyone on Earth.  From where I stand that sounds like spreading the Gospel. I have the utmost respect for where other people are coming from, and thank anyone for sharing with me what that is. My advice to the reader, please leverage your passion as much as you can.  You will be a role model for the rest of your life.  Remember that. When you encounter problems, address them swiftly. Don’t avoid them. Celebrate your connections. They will respect you in return.

I pray this message helps you in any way it can.  Contact me if you’d like to make a connection and I will pray for you directly. If you are lonely, pray on that. God will speak to you through what you perceive and you will know they way. You will be on the right path when you find yourself to be the valuable jewel that you are, empowered by your service in a higher purpose. We are in a spiritual battle, and we are on the front lines.

Your experience of life is valuable. Move confidently forward. Pray for what you want.  Ask God.  Be specific. Use the resources out there to make it easier for God to work for you, and you will surely be blessed. I love you as a sibling in the Love that Christ has died for us.  Now and always.  Alpha and Omega. Be protected, be encouraged, and be yourself with the confidence that you are being looked after. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Notes on How to Run a Successful Branding Studio

After attending the AGDA (Australian Graphic Design Association) event with Damian Borchok, CEO of Interbrand for the Australia and New Zealand markets, I'd like to share my notes on "How to Run a Successful Branding Studio".

Damian kicked off the talk with a poignant subject that I returned to with a question at the end. He used the comparison of the Design industry to that of Law, pointing out that Design is a relatively small market. He questioned the size of the design market when the value of the service and thinking that surrounds it is proven now by firms like Apple, and given that there are so many lawyers competing with each other in a robust market.

By doing some research of my own to prove Damian's assumptions, the Law Council of Australia released figure from an LCA Brief in 2009 showing that, at the end of June 2008, the legal profession employed just under 100,000 people (99,696) and generated $18 Billion during the 2007-2008 financial year, contributing $10.9 Billion to the Australian economy.

The same information for designers can be found as a paying member of DIA, the Design Institute of Australia or directly accessed through the Australian Government Job Outlook. As recently as November 2011, the number of Web Designers and Illustrators in Australia was 45,500, almost exactly half that of legal professionals. The average salary has been hovering around $45,000 p/a depending on where you look, in this case the Payscale Australia website. There are other figures with My Career here. These 45,500 designers generated just over $2B in Salaries.

Here's the fun part, getting a figure of gross profit from the salary figures we have. Based on a 50% business efficiency ratio, each designer is worth about $90,000 in profit per annum. So $2B worth of salary industry wide gives us $4 Billion of design revenue produced in Australia in 2011.

With these rough numbers, we get the idea that for 1/2 the workforce of the legal profession, Australian graphic designers produce less than 1/4 of the revenue legal professionals produce. As for their contribution to the Australian economy, Graphic Designers can argue that their visual contribution yields a larger percentage of value to the average consumer than that of lawyers and barristers.

So here's where we get into the question I had to ask Damian at the end of his talk. Given the numbers that we now know, (and yes, possibly fudged), what can the 45,500 designers out there do to convince our clients and customers that we are worth twice as much as we are now, to be on par with our friends in the legal profession?

Damian's response was brilliant. He reminded us how young our profession is, relative to law and even medicine. His first point was that doctors were considered charlatans in the 19th century, and only in the last hundred years have they gained the level of respect they now deserve in the community. No comment on the amount of respect lawyers deserve in the community. They can afford to be the butt of all jokes.

Regarding the last hundred years, Damian gave another example. What was the global value of management consultanting in the 1920's? Truth is it hardly existed. The profession began with "time and motion studies" of business efficiency, basic mechanics of improving a system that has now ballooned to include all kinds of applications, software, and training of hard and soft skills to better manage people. There's an industry to crunch some numbers.

By comparison, a report on IBIS World says that Australia has roughly 35,000 management consultants that gross an average of $8 Billion in revenue. That report also points out that the industry is experiencing about 2% in annual growth. What I failed to mention from the Australian Government Job Outlook porthole on graphic designers is the 6-8% growth figures they project. If we are invited to slice that growth anyway we want it, we could exercise a few options:

1. We could plan to hire 6-8% more designers making the same average of $45-48K.

2. We could keep the number of designers static and earn more like $55K on average.

3. We can secure Australian contracts and move to India, living like it's $200K.

Short of outsourcing ourselves to India, I'd advise fellow designers in Australia to follow the example of the management consulting profession, which has been around even less than graphic design if you look at the work of Toulouse Lautrec as modern design from the 1800's. If Design can be raised to the same business value as management consulting the way Blair Enns in his Manifesto and others have outlined, we should have no problem accounting for $8 Billion of revenue with 10,000 more people to produce it than the 35,000 consultants out there proving their business relevance.

It's not hard to do, either. Sit down with your clients and talk them through everything they have going on. Write it all down. If you are a designer I'm sure you will draw some pictures. This is the beginning of your scope of work that adds true business value to the big ticket items that are first from your clients' lips. If you can put a dollar figure on achieving those goals, and can lay out a plan to achieve them in a design campaign, you both may be suprised at how quickly that broad conversation takes your relationship to new heights.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Artists & MBAs - Interview with Business Because

Below is a brief interview I received from Jessica Bradley at Business Because, the online community for business schools. I had received another BB interview from Kirti Dhingra back in 2009 when I was in the AGSM MBA program: When Right Meets Left: An Artist at B School

Hi Jonathan

Hope you are well!

I'm a journalist at and I'm getting in touch with a small request.

I'm working on a story about the dreaded business school interview and would love to hear your advice for candidates who are preparing for their interviews now.

Specifically, was there a question that you found particularly tough in your interview for IE Business School? How did you answer at the time? And how would you answer it now, having done your MBA?

It would be great to hear about your experience, so that others can benefit from your wisdom!

I'm sure you're very busy so a brief response is fine!

Thanks in advance for your help and look forward to hearing from you!


Jessica Bradley

Business Because

Dear Jessica,

Regarding the interview for business school, let me first tell you that I was a visual art major in undergraduate at Duke University and came at the whole MBA experience from a much different perspective than most applicants.

The most challenging preparation for my application was not the interview but studying for and passing the GMAT. I'm very proud to this day of that accomplishment, and honestly find the grammar and syntax training useful to this day.

Now on to the interview. My interview was with Sharyn Roberts, who was then the director of the AGSM MBA Program at the newly formed Australian School of Business.

Sharyn was the kindest, most motherly figure I could have imagined, and the interview was in New York. I had taken the Amtrak train from my home at the time in Durham, North Carolina with my girlfriend at the time, and the whole trip was really fun.

Sitting across from Sharyn, I simply presented my interests, my passions, and my character as accurately as I could, not knowing what to say or even how to prepare for something like this.

She filled me with more confidence than I had going in, and encouraged me that I would "be one of the new leaders they are looking for". This could have simply been an excellent sales tactic, but I'd like to believe her and feel that I am living into that; my highest potential.

So, to fully answer your question. She was not the "grilling" type of person in her interview style. There was no question I couldn't answer, only experiences I didn't have yet and would not have until I'd completed the degree.

If I were sitting in that chair again, I would have stated just as much that I know the MBA would be a humbling experience, I just had no idea how much and to what extent it would have an impact on my psychological constitution.

I agree with Roger Martin in his book "The Design of Business" that more people looking to do an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) should get an MBA, so our Masters of Business Administration are leading from our own collective future of highest potential.

With creative business leaders, we will see more of our problems being solved through businesses in the free market that are not afraid to lead with a positive intuition based on the creative spirit that keeps artists feeling truly alive.

It is my calling in life to show that artists, when given business knowledge, can truly lead if not simply add value to the otherwise intimidating world of business that has driven the global economy to where we are today.

As we start using more of our right brains to match the traditional left brains in business, we also open up the creative and feminine energies that we all posses. The more creative our business leaders, the more women and minorities will also have a seat at the table.

I'm infinitely glad that I completed the MBA, and the interview was one small part that I'm glad was not a source of discouragement. If you want a story about discouraging interviews, ask me about case interviews for management consulting firms!

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Design Thinking Approach to the Universe

I believe the higher intelligence in the Universe is looking down on us now with the anticipatory affection of a parent watching a child as it learns to walk. In this case we are wobbling through a conversation of which we can hardly understand the meaning. The ultimate order, symmetry and beauty of intergalactic systems leaves us all reaching to understand how to mimic such natural streamlined processes humbly into our daily lives. We are a part of everything on the macro level, and everything is a part of us on the micro level.

As someone who works in the management consulting space for multi-project environments, we approach new ways of managing work that try to monitor the highest levels of complexity that have ever been controlled by one system of humans. The ultimate attractor in management is order and discipline, and as we tackle the biggest problems humans can face, we approach the event horizon where all those entities in the Universe currently beyond our understanding will eventually come into full view and open communication.

We must continue to tackle an understanding of our own lives in their interconnected complexity, eventually coming to a point of natural equilibrium that allows us to take on more information and a deeper, more profound understanding of the next system that lies beyond. As we currently working through one system at a time in the business world, we should find the system boundary crossing over into another company, another industry, another market, another region, until the whole planet becomes one global system.

I feel that the global system of commerce, combined with the social fabric that holds it all together, is the closest opportunity to encapsulate in one idea the system that shows us who we are as the human race. In that relative equilibrium that comes from doing business with one another, once all the opportunities for microfinance are in place and global energy resources are renewable, we may reach the edge of the ultimate system boundary on Earth when we can look to incorporate the next level of awareness beyond this planet.

I'll never see it happen in my lifetime, and I don't have kids yet. Before I get distracted by trying to manage that chaos myself I hope to offer this insight to existing parents. That's what it's all about to me: preparing our children for another lifetime of working dutifully to close the gaps between the human race and give us the opportunity to work with the greater intelligence in the cosmos. They are all out there (hi guys!), just waiting patiently for us to get it together one generation at a time. Lots of examples of how to get there in scripture and otherwise, but it seems like commerce is the most easily managed path. And even that, as we all know, is not easy!