What it’s really like to work for Vlad

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Warning: This is really how our creative process works.

Sometimes the Vlad from Vladville spawns off it’s entire fantasy land of what it’s really like to work for the real me. We’re cool. It took like 50 attempts to write something about how the office is a constant insult festival but I can’t put it in the terms that won’t get us sued. We have both public “Yo momma” jokes for one another as well as hidden stuff that the staff maintains in my absence.. There is the book of Valdisms and the Wiki site titled S#%@ My Vlad Says. I love the people I work with so hopefully it puts this post in proper context.

Few days ago Stephanie asked me to review a few suggestions for a new display board:

“I’ve been playing with a few designs since we’re going to Autotask and ConnectWise and I don’t want to ghettomask the Shockey Monkey section. Can you look over these and give me an idea of what you’d like?”

Now if I had something important to do, I’d probably just defer to her expertise and carry on.

But since I’m stuck on a plane for 5 hours I got nothing better to do than be creative and call out Alex Rogers for locking up a bunch of dudes in a small room and servicing them until they pay to escape.

Rule #1: Always provide more questions than answers..

I know what I like and what I don’t like. I just lack the capability to describe it.

So what I do is stumble around different ideas and hope that the more creative people will come up with what I’m actually after. In this case, the tagline for the trade show display. If you haven’t heard about ExchangeDefender by now you’ve probably been under a rock. What I need to do is give people that know us another reason to come and talk to us at a show.

So I came up with two terrible taglines. They are a mix of jargon and rejected Obama campaign slogans. I almost wrote “Cloud you can believe in.”


Rule #2: Always give them more work

This was supposed to be a simple headline for a trade show display.

But while I was brainstorming about it I thought of the next step (see rule #3) of what I would do once someone actually came to talk to me. How does this message transition me into making my pitch. I need to hand someone something, people don’t listen as effectively without holding something in their hands and I don’t want them to grab their cell phone or another distraction immediately after leaving my booth. I want you fumbling with crap for a while until you figure out where to stick all the useless junk that you’ll likely throw out once you get back to your room anyhow. But for that brief moment, you are formulating why you should consider my idea and what to do with it.

So here I am suggesting a flyer. After all, trade show is just a small component of it, there needs to be an explanation and a teaser as well. So she thought she was working on a trade show booth, now she’s working on a flyer as well.

Rule #3: Never make it easy for them to quit

If you just spell out what you want it leaves a lot to interpretation. It also leaves the door wide open to Excuseland – it’s too complex, too expensive and it will take too long to get it done.

Oh yeah?

Well let me draw it for you! I want this to look like this, that like that and oh can you also shoot a f’n rainbow through it?

Rule #4: Prevent Future Assignments

Whenever possible, include a highly inappropriate rap song verse. Today I went with Snoop Dog.

This accomplishes two things. 1) Sigh. I am not asking him anything else. 2) God help me translate this to something that everyone won’t find objectionable.


We’re hiring. Seriously, could you think of a cooler place to work? Smile

Creative process is more an act of negotiating the result than design. You don’t really know what you need to build, you just know the result you wish to accomplish. It’s where talentless people that can’t explain what they want work with talented people that have no idea what the product/service/customer needs and they somehow drunkenly (yes, it’s a word) stumble to a masterpiece.

You should see how we design software.

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