AWSC: How Many Mentions Are Too Many Mentions?


When you host a sponsored event with multiple partners everyone wants a piece of the glory. Generally a sponsorship package includes social media promotion and that’s totally fair, if you are going to give someone money you undoubtedly deserve a shout out. And so does everyone else who contributed the pie making.

But let’s look at the big picture, an average event has a minimum of 4 sponsors or partners, a standard tweet has 140 characters, so once we are done mentioning everyone who deserves a mention how much room would we have left to actually compose a message?

Most of the well organized events have some sort of cards or reminders with official hashtags and twitter handles of the people they want you to mention, which is all cool – I don’t have a problem thanking someone for an open bar on Twitter but there is a point at which it becomes plain confusing.


This one takes the cake for all of the ones I’ve seen in the last 6 months (and I’ve seen a lot). I guess where I’m going with this is:

People, pick your priorities!

I completely understand that everyone wants a spotlight but with that many handles there is no opportunity left to actually talk about the event.

The solution is simple; the main thing you should promote is your hashtag, then the main event Twitter handle. Everyone else gets the fine print.

If you are a sponsor of such an event making sure people know about it is as much your responsibility as it is the of the host so tell your followers which hashtag to follow.

Please stop the mention abuse.


Originally published on

AWSC: Is Apple’s “Metal Mastered” Golden or Just Creative Stock?

Recently Apple rolled out the new ad for the Gold iPhone 5s. The soundtrack for the said ad is Goldfrapp’s “Ooh La La.” The Verge saw it as “a music choice that shows that Apple isn’t afraid of puns.” 9to5 Mac pointed out that the song has already been used in a Motorola and an LG ad. “Apple will hope that the new ad campaign can silence dictators who say the company had lost its marketing groove” said the Business Insider.

What do you think?

Do you think Apple lost its marketing mojo?

I will admit I’m a fan of the recent set of general iPhone ads (more photos than ever are taken on iPhone type), even the the new 5C ads, they’re cute, they’re sentimental, they show the things I do with my phone in a more romantic way.

This new “Metal Mastered” spot, however, wound me up from inside out. Aside from the fact that it looks like a chocolate bar ad, there is a lot more to that cliche, pun driven, song choice than meets the eye (a pun deserves a pun).

In 1983 Apple unveiled the Apple Macintosh personal computer with “1984,” an ad so revolutionary, and intelligent it made advertising history books. Skip a few decades into the modern days, past the “Think Different” campaign, to 2010. In 2010 Apple introduced the new iPad with Chilly Gonzales’ “Never Stop,” a decision that was not only adventurous, forward, and quirky, but also made Gonzales famous. The important thing about this song choice is that Gonzales is a perfect fit for Apple because he is a multidisciplinary musician and a Grammy-nominated composer – a man who made classic music cool again. This barely heard before song became an unofficial Apple trademark, it was The Apple song.

Earlier this month Apple released a supposedly revolutionary new phone to a 2005 Goldfrapp track.

I’m not a Goldfrapp hater. In fact I’m a fan (not of the new album, that one’s a bust, sorry Alison) but in no way do I think it was a smart choice despite how fitting the band name and the song lyrics are fitting to this, unoriginal concept.

It might be just my opinion but it does not seem to be groundbreaking to unveil a new phone to an 8 year old track that has been previously used by competitor devices. The Beatles, maybe. Some new band, sure. Commission Lorde to write a song? Why not, but it has not been long enough for Goldfrapp to become memorably retro, especially not when they are promoting a new album.

I am confused about the voice and feel that Apple is heading into with these “sexy” new operating system designs, gold shadows, and poor music choices. I do not want them to return to the old ways, no, but hopefully it’s only a matter of time before Apple finds it’s new, “golden” focus point when it comes to marketing.


Originally published on

AWSC: Dear Jorge Cortell, Tweets Have Consequences

On October 22 during the “Reverse” Demo Day (investors were pitching to entrepreneurs) Jorge Cortell, the CEO of a healthcare startup, publicly shared a controversial opinion, described by people as a creepshot:


Not surprisingly, the tweet caused a storm of comments and articles and very quickly people accused him of sexisim.

One of the most interesting comment threads can be found on Valleywag, from both defenders and the offended alike (Cortell called the comment thread “knee-jerk reactions”).

As some commenters have brought up, the internet has allowed bullying and public shaming without facing the issue or consequences in real life. The ability to diss someone on Twitter is quite powerful but cowardly at the same time. I’m not sure what this tweet was exactly.


Opinion sharing?

A display of power?

The one thing it sure was not was display of professionalism.

This is a man who is the CEO of a worldwide leader in open source healthcare organization who thought that composing and sending that tweet into the world was OK.

Aside from sheer unprofessionalism of the tweet, there are a number of assumptions that come through in those 140 characters (feel free to disagree with them of course):

  • Assumption #1: Entrepreneurs could not possibly be seen in heels
  • Assumption #2: Women who wear heels are dumb
  • Assumption #3: Women who wear heels, therefore, cannot possibly be entrepreneurs

So here are my questions: Is Mr. Cortell basing this on his personal life experience, that women who wear heels are not very smart and do not need any brains to get ahead in life?

Does he hire only women in flats assuming that they are therefore smart?

The wildfire that the tweet caused did not lead Cortell to an apology. Instead his attempt at settling the argument was saying that it could have been a man wearing those, which would be equally “absurd” and stating that wearing heels is not good for your health and therefore wearing heels makes you “dumb.”

There will always be heel haters, men and women alike. But amid the Cortell supporters came through a parade of other health-related comments pointing out things that are not healthy, which Cortell might possibly, in fact, do. like eating pizza, drinking coffee, smoking, having an alcoholic drink, etc. Multiple people inquired if Cortell had a library of pictures of people doing those other unhealthy things to which he indirectly responded by saying he encourages a healthy lifestyle in all of his employees. I wonder if that involves policing of unhealthy habits or premiums for eating salad and wearing flat shoes.

With the “self-inflicted health hazard = dumb” logic, would that mean that every CEO who smokes fits into the “dumb” category? Probably not.

I found reading the tweet, some of the comments, and Cortell’s responses personally offensive — as it seems many other people did too.

So, here’s a little feedback for Jorge Cortell.

I will not go ahead and say that I am smarter than you are. And as someone who is very open about her shoe addiction, I will probably fall into your “not smart” category quite quickly.

But here is what my shoes will not tell you: I have a double major BA with honors and specialized post-grad education. I am also an entrepreneur (no, not in fashion).

High heels are a personal choice – I like them, they elevate my confidence level, improve my posture, and unlike ballerina flats, high heels do not give me knee joint pains.

The language with which you write lacks intelligence regardless of Twitter’s character limitations. And your points are archaic and very poorly defended. Heels are not a deathly health decision, nor are they in any way a signifier of intelligence.

Here are some very smart and very well off women who have been seen in heels (just to name a few):

  • Diane Sawyer, Anchor of World News, ABC, Walt Disney. The heels come with the job description.
  • Marissa Mayer, President and CEO of Yahoo!
  • Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
  • Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, President of Argentina, according to The Sun never leaves home without high heels.
  • Theresia Gouw Ranzetta, an investor at Accel Partners, a venture capital firm, who as the author of the Valleywag, Nitasha Tiku, points out was one of the investors pitching at the Demo Day.

I think it is safe to say that making assumptions based on someone’s footwear is prejudice. If you had a problem with that specific style of shoe you should have been clear about that.

The brave thing to do would have been to try to get to know the wearer, perhaps challenge your theory on her lack of intelligence (do you actually know what she does?).

If, on the other hand, you have a fear of women who are more successful than you are, as some other people opined, well, you’ll just have to learn how to live with that and, most importantly, how to keep it to yourself.

So, dear Mr. Cortell, tweeting such a statement was, in your own words, dumb.

I do hope that you will learn something from this experience and will, like many people have pointed out, issue an apology.

Not only to the woman who’s creepshot you took but women in general.
Originally published on

AWSC: Legal Issues For Creative Freelancers, Or: What I Learned During My First Lawsuit

Working on your own in a creative field comes with a basket of perks: flexible hours, control of your workload, comfortable work environment, ability to change your fees per project while picking and choosing clients, home-made lunch, the list could go on. The downside of this basket of perks is that you have to carry all of the weight yourself: banking, cash flow management, client outreach, client management, and my least favorite: contracts and legal issues.

A well-written contract is your shield from a tornado of bad situation scenarios but the thing is, no one teaches you how to build a contract in portfolio school and if your contract has a loophole things quickly cross over from bad client relations to legal issues. So here are two, simple but easily overlooked, pointers I gathered while working through the Internet full of legal jargon:

Put everything in writing: contract is what you should be able to go back to when your client’s demands becomes unreasonable and begin to stray away too far from the original project. All changes need to be logged in writing with a client’s go-ahead. If the project changes too much from the original description the right contract will allow you to turn this situation into a new project at a different fee so be detailed in your project description and make sure the client is on the same page during signing.

Payment: however you choose to bill the client make sure they understand what’s included and what isn’t. More importantly, be clear about how much additional hours cost (for example for extra revisions) and what would happen (read: how much it would cost them) if the project is on hold at no fault of yours for too long.

* For more info on contracts I’d recommend finding 40 minutes in your life to watch Mike Monteiros talk, titled **** You. Pay Me

That being said things can escalate very quickly before the project even becomes a project. What happens if you were in a cold-call pitch or some other meeting where you never actually got to discussing a contract – they just wanted to see some ideas before choosing an agency to decide on who’s the right fit.

Earlier this year a potential client of mine chose not to purchase the spec work because in their opinion the estimate was too high. No contract was drafted and with “We’ll think about this” as a parting comment we never spoke of it again. A few months later I came across the said overpriced creative on the Internet, on my own site – they chose to have it recreated by someone at a lower cost without my permission. Here comes the anger. Frustration. More anger. What now?

Know your rights: and by that I mean copyright. By law, the creator of an original work has exclusive rights to it, and this copyright exists automatically. If you can prove that the work is yours then you have the right to seek legal resolution. But to be safe assume stupidity and always put the copyright disclaimer in your leave-behind decks.

When do I need a lawyer? Law is confusing and lawyers are not cheap.  Put what you are fighting for against the cost of a lawyer: an entry-level lawyer can cost you as much as $250 per hour and hours add up very quickly when there is waiting involved so is it worth it? The rule of thumb is if your claim is under $10,000 you can deal with the claim without a lawyer. Familiarize yourself with your regional Small Claims Court system and deal with the claim yourself. It might sound daunting but it is not complicated and if you are in the right then the defense will come back with settlement.

In my case the stolen creative was a nearly exact replica of the leave-behind deck and came with a stockpile of correspondence. Within a month the creative came off the World Wide Web and with it came the settlement letter.

A food for thought precaution: Bad things happen to all kinds of people, companies go bankrupt and sometimes even when there is desire to pay there is no budget. As an extra precaution, especially with those big budget clients it is always healthy to insure your business. There are companies, such as Euler Hermes or Freelancers Union, that for a fairly reasonable rate specialize in or draft custom insurance packages for creatives to protect them from failure to pay, bankruptcy or bad karma, and offer protection on performance.

You may not be able to protect your actual ideas but there is a lot you can do to protect your created works and the time spent on these precautions is well worth it.