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  • Michael Krakovskiy 1:18 am on September 21, 2006 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Computer-animated films, , Entertainment, , , , Hymenoptera, PageRank algorithm, Paul Frank, Paul Frank Industries, Paul Frank Sunich, , Symbiosis, ,   

    Ze Paul Frank 

    In my career as a web development I’ve seen a lot of brilliant and competent people, as well as a lot of utter incompetents, on all levels of the corporate ladder and working at all levels of productivity. Basically, if I were to make a competence scale, it would look something like this:

    • <–10-9-8-7-6-4-5-4-3-2-1-0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10–> +

    Let’s say user data release by AOL would rate at negative 7; setting out to rewrite Netscape from scratch at negative 9; changing all the links of an established website in the name of SEO at negative 5; writing tons of spaghetti code that nevertheless functions and serves users at positive 1; coming up with PageRank algorithm and implementing it — at positive 10. There are also those who come into the office and do nothing at all – that’s 0. Ase we all seem to notice and remember negative things better than positive, sometimes corporate life seems like one big orgy of incompetence and bad ideas.

    I’ve long had a theory, why even with so many negative contributions, American companies mostly prosper and thrive, despite incompetency. To explain it, I usually use an ant metaphor. See, when ants are carrying a bug or a caterpillar back to the nest, they almost always succeed. But the thing is, they do not cooperate very well. They all have different ideas about which way to pull, and some, instead of helping, actually climb on the cargo or collide with other ants. Others just watch from the sidelines and generally mill about. But even though ants pull in different directions, the resulting force vector generally leads to the nest, and the caterpillar gets there eventually.

    Recently, an article about a designer Paul Frank caught my attention. He is fighting his former business partners who jettisoned him from the company bearing his name. He came up with the design ideas that made the company what it is, as well as lent it his name. The business partners accused him of not contributing to the daily business grind, bought out his shares and either fired him or drove him to resigning (depends on whose story you listen to). It’s getting nasty:

    ” “Those guys are saying Paul Frank is not a person,” says the designer, whose given name is Paul Frank Sunich. “I hear they’re all wearing T-shirts that say ‘We Are Paul Frank.’ Well, you’re Paul Frank Industries. You’re not Paul Frank.”

    I’ve seen the monkey design that Paul Frank is so famous for, but did not know that it was a multimillion dollar business. Apparently it’s very popular – and I definitely do believe that both the business partners that made this quirky brand into such a powerhouse and the guy who conceived it made positive contributions.

    What I have the issue with is the person who’s running their web department. It’s not even the unusable obnoxious flash-ridden websites that don’t work in Firefox. It’s the fact that this person apparently never did something very basic – typed in “Paul Frank” into Google. Because when you do, you get this as a first result:

    I don’t have a problem with the programmer who used a stock client detection script from somewhere. We all do that. But putting “Client Detection Script” as the title of the first page of your site is rather idiotic. And nobody at the company even searched for “Paul Frank” in Google, even if to see what other Paul Franks there are out there!

    Getting back to my ant theory, squabbles, badly designed websites and all those people who prolifically do bad things are balanced out by things done right. The website may suck, but the brand is so good that people will put up with it. Individual ants might be doing stupid and counterproductive things, but it all gets balanced out. The caterpillar gets dragged into the nest, whether it wants it or not.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 8:33 pm on August 18, 2006 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: .com, Anthropomorphism, Disney Corporation, Elro, Elro.com, Entertainment, Kingdom Hearts characters, Mickey Mouse, , The Walt Disney Company, , Walt Disney   

    Steamboat Scratchy 

    Hobo: I used to be rich. I owned Mickey Mouse massage parlors and those Disney sleazeballs shut me down. I said “Look, I’ll change the logo, put Mickey’s pants back on.” Some guys you just can’t reason with.

    The Sipmpsons, Episode [8F23] Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?

    Today my friend Elro of Elro.com sent me a promotional clip that his company made. A “Pixar” snuff cartoon. Yes, yes. Disney Corporation (which I think Pixar now owns) will be very glad to see this.

    While I am on the subject of pissing off big corporations that could easily have me disappeared, I keep hearing this joke about Disney employees. Apparently after they got a memo telling them to stop referring to the House of Mouse as “Mouseschwitz”, they quickly started calling it “Duckhau”. Does anyone know what the source of this is?

    Walt Disney is rumoured to be a secret Nazi.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 9:11 am on May 22, 2006 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Barnes & Noble Union Square, Bob Terwilliger, , Cape Feare, , Eastern Europe, Entertainment, , , , Newscorp headquarters, Sideshow Bob, , The Simpsons Archive, Zaum   

    Quotin’ 

    I am currently reading Douglas Coupland’s latest book, “Jpod” and absolutely loving it. My favorite quote so far:

    “Here’s my theory about meetings and life: the three things you can’t fake are erections, competence and creativity. That’s why meetings become toxic–they put uncreative people in a situation in which they have to be something they can never be. And the more effort they put into concealing their inabilities, the more toxic the meeting becomes. One of the most common creativity-faking tactics is when somebody put their hands in the prayer position and conceals their mouth while they nod at you and say, “Hmmmmm. Interesting.” If pressed, they’ll add, “I’ll have to get back to you on that.” Then they don’t say anything else”.

    By the way, according to his website, on 14th of June 2006 at 7 pm, Coupland is going to be at Barnes & Noble Union Square, apparently promoting “Jpod.”

    One of the running themes in the book is the never ending references to the Simpsons cartoons. By my estimation, probably good third of my posts have an Simpsons quote. And you know what, I feel rather pathetic while watching old episodes I stumble upon obscure references that are not even documented in very, very obsessive snpp.com.

    Here are two latest ones that I found. I’ll let you guess, and then announce the right answer. My hope is that some of you are at least as nerdy as I am for knowing this.

    What is the significance of Bob Terwilliger’s prisoner number, 1211 in episode [9F22] Cape Feare? (this one’s is too easy for some of my friends :)

    Answer: Newscorp headquarters are located at 1211 Avenue of the Americas

    In episode 9F19 Krusty Gets Kancelled what is “Eastern Europe’s favorite cat-and-mouse team” based on?

    Answer: They are based on Kazimir Malevich-designed costumes for a futurist opera “Victory Over the Sun”. This 1913 opera was written in Zaum, an artificial avant-garde language, similar to glossolalia or “speaking in tongues”. And I thought that Malevich only drew black squares

     
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