Author: Kindling Spirits

Follow Your Procrastination: A Bittersweet Farewell from Eric Dodds

I’ll get the news out of the way quick like a bandaid: my incredible journey as a pirate in the Brains on Fire crew will be coming to a bittersweet end this month. Today I want to tell you two things: first, the story of where I’m going and why. Second, why I am forever …

Apology Accepted

My wife, Jess, had a meeting with a client in downtown Greenville last week. Since she had never visited their office, she fired up her iPhone, opened up the Maps app, and drove off with full confidence that her iPhone would lead her where she needed to go. Unfortunately, the app led her to the …

The Motivation of Popularity

I wonder how many people live under the weight of their oppressive personal inboxes. Work provides enough email to deal with in one day, and ‘going home’ to another mountain of messages creates digital exhaustion, at least for me. The truth is, though, I do it to myself. I can’t count the number of online …

When Things go Wrong

My dad has a good friend who is a veterinarian. He once told a story about something his assistant said during a standard neutering job on an animal: I’ve seen you perform that operation hundreds of times. I know it backwards and forwards. I’m positive I could perform it by myself. The doctor understood that …

Don’t Forget the Basics

For the last year my client work has been overwhelmingly digital. Aside from occasional on-site meetings, my day-to-day has consisted of creating content for the web and fostering online community.The content and communities have an offline end in strategy, but my role has been primarily in the digital startup phase. Over the next few months, …

When is the last time you used the product you’re selling?

For the past 6 months I’ve had the privilege of working with the team at Liquid Wrench (1). If you’re unfamiliar with the brand, they manufacture a line of specialty lubrication products ranging from high-heat wheel bearing grease to rusty-bolt-fighting penetrating oil. Their products are chemically engineered to work unbelievably well, and this past weekend …

All of That (Visual) Noise, Part 2

A few articles ago, I wrote about the famed ‘noise’ that so many marketers and businesses dread. (1) Not too long after I had written the article, I noticed another type of noise as I walked down the aisle at my local grocery store: Yikes. There’s a ton of noise online, but visual noise can …

I Hired the Last Person who Cold-called Me

Every so often Brains on Fire gets a ring from a bright young mind who wants career advice, and where possible I field those calls because my age puts me a bit closer to the desperate job-searching stage of life than other people on our ship. Most people have the same agenda when they call …

On Waffles, Comfort Food and Community

This blog post is from the amazing Shannon Kohn. As a community manager she’s helped to grow the National Center for Family Literacy’s Wonderopolis to be one of the most highly esteemed learning websites of the past year. When she’s not on the clock, she’s a professional recipe developer. (Yes, she’s superwoman.) Today we get …

Uncomfortably Simple

An internal email sparked an interesting conversation among a few of the technophiles and designers here. A short comment about the Microsoft Surface (there’s my post SEO) started it all: Interesting concept from Microsoft. They completely ripped off the iPad’s smart cover – but it’s nice that they’re bringing it to another level by integrating …

On Channels and the Life of Content

This past holiday weekend I had the chance to spend time with my younger brother and a cousin who are about the same age (sophomores in college). Bits of their conversation I overheard were typical of their age, but one subject caught my attention: television commercials. The first bit of their joking I noticed was …

Word of Mouth via Toaster

My wife and I live in a small mill house, and storage space is a valuable commodity. Our kitchen is actually larger than many of the galley-style builds in similar houses, but the layout still leaves us with very little counter space. Which means we have to make choices. Microwave or toaster oven on the …

Is All of That ‘Noise’ a Bad Thing?

How many times have you heard talk about the dreaded ‘noise’? The other day a friend of mine lamented about how digital camera prices have dropped to a point where ‘everyone’ is calling themselves a ‘professional photographer’ and its creating so much ‘noise’ in the industry. But it seems to be everywhere – from startups …

The End User is Not the Only User

I am not a product designer. I’m not even a designer. But I noticed something recently that made me think hard about the process of developing products and experiences. My wife and I were eating at a burrito chain where one of the new Coca-Cola “Freestyle” drink machines was installed (1). I’m not a soda …

Dreaming Cow: Great Story, Great Brand, Great Packaging, Great Yogurt

Isn’t it wonderful when you run across a product that breaks through the flood of commodity-mediocrity and makes you smile? (I’ve written before about how a company called FieldCandy accomplished this with tents.(1)) I was in a regional grocery store recently, and a package of yogurt jumped off of the shelf and did just that. …

Digital Path to Purchase

“Digital path to purchase” is a really popular topic these days. Rightly so: businesses are working hard to navigate a world who’s information and (increasingly) commerce happen through the internet. I’m not going to pontificate or predict on the subject – there’s plenty of both out there. What brought the topic to the front of …

Word of Mouth: A Small Example

My fiancée and I recently had a conversation about some of our experiences working retail jobs. The scenario was simple: “If you had to work front-line retail at any store in the Mall [in Greenville, SC], where would you work?” Her only caveat was that I was barred from choosing the Apple Store so that …

It’s Alive! It’s Dead!

I ran across two statistics recently that made me stop and think about predicting either success or failure too soon. First, I read that last month The Daily iPad app celebrated having 100,000 subscribers in its first year of operation (1). “Interesting,” I thought, “didn’t people proclaim that The Daily was doomed to fail?” A …

Guest Post: When You Rock, The World Pays Attention

This is a guest post from Steve Jones, author of Brand Like A Rockstar. I wrote a post after seeing the title of his book, and the article sparked a great conversation between us, which eventually led to this post. Thanks for the conversation and the post, Steve! A few months ago, Eric Dodds of …

Missed Opportunity by Nokia

Today’s post will be short and to the point. I have a bandaid on my index finger, and it makes typing laborious and error-laden. Not too long ago I ran across a unique feature length film called Olive (1). While the storyline seems intriguing, what drew many people’s attention was the fact that the makers …