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-- Howard W. Newton

Blog Posts for March 2007

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Slouching in That Direction


Recently, Tamara bought herself a couple of orchids for her birthday. I've found my pen and ink stuff and so I thought I would sketch one of them.

Been a while since I've done any art. This'll do for now. I'm anxious to get back to more of it. We'll see how time allows...

One thing I do know is that it felt good to just let go and scribble. Kindergarten is a good place to be sometimes. I had no expectations of myself here, and frankly I need more of this.


by Brett Rogers, 3/3/2007 5:32:51 PM

Me, the Web Guy


My good friend, Lisa, is opening a golf store for women. I've spent part of my weekend building her web site. It's still on my servers. I'll port it over when her hosting is ready.

When it's all said and done, I'll probably have less than 10 hours into this. The site comes with editing tools for her to manage the content herself on the news and events pages. And she'll be blogging, so I have to create a link to that.

It doesn't take much to have a custom site. For simple small business development, it should never cost more a thousand dollars, and up around that price, it ought to allow end-user control. That's easy to set-up.


by Brett Rogers, 3/4/2007 5:34:24 PM

Blogs and Influence


It's been said a lot of ways, and nothing that follows is news to anyone who knows blogging, but I was asked to do this for work, and here's what I wrote:

Blogging is word-of-mouth on a globally accessible scale. Any web site, whether it belongs to the New York Times or whether it belongs to someone in their pajamas in the basement, is just as accessible as the next web site. The web flattens the world by making a single person's voice available to 6 billion people.

If you remember nothing else, remember that blog = word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is the biggest influence in advertising and marketing today. What's your company's buzz? Are people talking about your company/product to their friends? Are they emailing each other to recommend you? Buzz is the coin of the age.

But most companies, while they know that word-of-mouth is the most important marketing vehicle they have, they don't spend their money to reflect that belief.

"Although marketers cite 'word-of-mouth,' 'customer service interaction,' 'Web & interactive' and 'public relations' as the most effective methods for communicating their brand, they spend over 60% of their marketing budget on traditional outreach mechanisms such as broadcast and print advertising, direct mail and corporate communications."
From the survey:
Question: How important are the following vehicles in communicating your brand?

(In Ranked Order)
Web & Interactive
Customer Service Interaction
Public Relations

Print Advertising
Internal Communications
Corporate Communications
Promotional Events
Communities & Affinity Groups
Direct Mail
Broadcast Advertising
Packaging & Point-of-Purchase
Outdoor & Environmental

Question: In which areas is most of your marketing budget spent?

(In Ranked Order)
Broadcast Advertising
Print Advertising

Web & Interactive
Direct Mail
Corporate Communications

Promotional Events / Public Relations
Packaging & Point-of-Purchase
Co-Marketing / Communities & Affinity Groups
Outdoor & Environmental / Internal Communications

All blogs, no matter how small, have an effect on influence and word-of-mouth. Take a look at this ripple effect...

Small blogs, even with a small base of readers, are high in trust value. The trust network, and its ripple effect on the purchasing decisions consumers make, is the most effective place to have brand impact. You can't get into those trust networks with traditional media.

Seth Godin wrote, rather influentially, that "small is the new big." In his book, Permission Marketing, Seth says

"Businesses can no longer rely solely on traditional forms of 'interruption advertising' in magazines, mailings, or radio and television commercials. Today, consumers are bombarded by marketing messages almost everywhere they go. If you want to grab someone's attention, you first need to get his or her permission with some kind of bait. Once a customer volunteers his or her time, you're on your way to establishing a long-term relationship and making a sale. By talking only to volunteers, Permission Marketing guarantees that consumers pay more attention to the marketing message. It serves both customers and marketers in a symbiotic exchange."
Blogs are friends talking to friends. It's what they want to do. They're not watching TV ads (they TiVo past those). They're not reading newspapers (readership is down in almost every market). They're spending their time with each other, and increasingly that's online.

To reach bloggers, a company needs a blog. Better if they have several. That's where links happen and something written goes viral and gets emailed and talked about.

Buzz is worth more than we think.


by Brett Rogers, 3/7/2007 10:44:28 AM

Two Friends of Mine


Two friends of mine have joined the blogosphere.

The first is Tony, and you can find him here blogging about loan origination. He's got a great voice!

The second is Jeff, who thinks deep thoughts about how to get stuff done and shows every day that no mountain is too large.

Welcome aboard guys!


1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 3/8/2007 5:20:37 PM

On the Road


I'll be back in a couple of days. I'm in Georgia with family and getting some great pictures. Lots of fun :)


by Brett Rogers, 3/11/2007 10:28:20 PM




I'm gonna take a break for a while.

My favorite blogs should keep you busy:

Take care, everyone!


by Brett Rogers, 3/14/2007 11:30:04 AM


Picture Parade


While I am rebooting personally and publically, I've decided to publish some pictures, one a day for the next week.

This is my new desktop - I just like the colors.


by Brett Rogers, 3/17/2007 5:17:03 PM




1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 3/18/2007 11:17:20 AM




by Brett Rogers, 3/19/2007 9:30:42 AM

Sneak Peek


I've been dissatisfied with my web site for a while now. Grumblings of this were evident a while back, and I spoke of a site redesign.

A friend of mine told me that bullets are more powerful than prose, and by that she meant that I should speak in bullets, not paragraphs. That simple statement, said a year ago, got me thinking a great deal. Other events and statements by others have attached themselves to that to create a new life, so to speak. My new life.

What I aim for is a succinct, well-designed model.

Sometime later next week, I'll unveil the new web site and the content of my posts will change dramatically.


by Brett Rogers, 3/19/2007 10:55:16 AM




by Brett Rogers, 3/20/2007 6:57:13 AM

Lunchtime Sketch


Me and pencils and a half an hour.


by Brett Rogers, 3/20/2007 6:42:11 PM

Lisa's Store is Open!


My friend, Lisa, has opened Golf Etc For Women and I took some pictures of it today to put on the web site.

Mighty exciting stuff. I love it when people live out their dreams :)


by Brett Rogers, 3/21/2007 5:36:49 PM




by Brett Rogers, 3/23/2007 8:41:08 AM




by Brett Rogers, 3/24/2007 9:50:41 AM



Painting is relatively easy. Color makes it so. It's not hard to select the hue that matches what I see and then put that spot down.

Drawing is harder. There is no color. The mind has to reduce everything to values and then capture the essence of the subject. I haven't really drawn for a while. I need to discipline myself to do so before I paint again.

Sitting on the couch with Tamara last night, I started drawing. The thing about drawing from life is that things often aren't what you think they are.

If I asked you to draw a foot, would the toes extend past the foot, or would they kind of float in the midst of it? I would have thought that they would extend past the foot, but that's not necessarily true.

And so I was reminded last night, as I often am, that the first step in drawing is to forget what I know and see it as for the first time. I can't draw a foot; I have to draw the contours and values that I see. They're not at all the same thing.

And I have to remember that it's okay to get it wrong, so to speak. I'm not a camera. I see with filters and biases and skewed points of view. Check out how the chair is tilted.

Our dog, Dochas, lay just long enough for me to outline her.

And then another take on Tamara's foot.

She has the most pretty feet. And yet, looking at my sketches, they looked too thick.

I'm back to learning anew how to draw. I'm okay with that. I think it got better and felt more relaxed as I went.

I think it's good - and healthy - to believe that we're not an expert despite our achievements and to tackle a task again with humility. Assumptions will always kill us.


1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 3/24/2007 10:03:35 AM




by Brett Rogers, 3/24/2007 3:21:19 PM

Different Worlds


I was going to title this post, "Exploring," but it's really more about the dad and the son being in two totally different places, near each other, but very far away.


by Brett Rogers, 3/25/2007 9:37:57 AM


Coming Soon


The redesign is getting closer. You can take a peek at the new look here.

There are a lot of reasons for the redesign. But chiefly, I felt that the look of the site was too busy. I wanted to make it more focused.

I also wanted it more airy and playful. This is, most of all, my playground. I screw around on this site, putting up melodies I hum, pictures I take, thoughts I ponder, and links I like.

I'll be writing more about this later, but I've found that I've been limited by constraints I placed around myself and it pisses me off that I've done that. I've been bound by my own definitions and it's amazing what limits come with that. In a week or so, the site redesign should be complete and when it is, I'll also take down Art By Brett. When I do, I'll tell you why.

Lots going on with me right now, and I feel very good about it. So, off for a bike ride with my beautiful wife on this most gorgeous of days :)

ETC: After the bike ride, some pictures - one of the new bike, a Gary Fisher Zebrano, one of the middle of the Farm Bureau "lake," and one of the north end. And then a quick pencil sketch of the south end.

Very, very windy for a ride, but for the first ride of the year, it felt great.


1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 3/25/2007 1:51:41 PM


The Best Cook in the World


This was dinner last night... chicken and ribs - grilled to perfection and smothered in homemade barbecue sauce.

It's a hell of a thing being married to the best cook in the world. Just sayin'...


by Brett Rogers, 3/26/2007 11:06:40 AM

A Slight Turn


Some people don't naturally see the good in life. It's not that it's not there for them to see; they're just looking in the wrong direction.

I was out on a walk with Tamara the other night and I noticed this.

The clouds were kind of drab. Kind of bluish-gray. It was an Eeyore sky.

If I turned slightly to the left, there was a dramatic difference...

Color and awe. It's amazing what a shift in position can do. It can "pink up" your whole outlook.

It's not why the idea can't work... it's how the idea can work.

A lot of people are familiar with Michelangelo's quote:

"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark."

He also said this:

"Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish."

Birth never happens unless you push.

Push hard.


1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 3/27/2007 6:43:43 AM



This is a post about expectations. It's about what we notice.

We go about our business. We go forward with the things that matter to us. We assemble the puzzle of our lives as best we can.

It's not easy to assemble a puzzle, just as life is not always easy. There are the pieces that nearly fit. The color seemed right. It looked right. But it wasn't. And so a new piece looks promising, and we try that too.

Assembling 499 pieces correctly is an astonishing task, in its own way. In life, you can get 499 pieces just right after much trial and error.

But that's not what gets noticed. It's the missing piece that draws your attention.

It's the missed expectation.

Success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success success oops success success success success success success.

And what do people remember? What do you remember? The successes and the good?

Or are you so very mindful of what went missing?


by Brett Rogers, 3/28/2007 10:01:34 AM



I've gotten into the habit of taking my camera with me everywhere I go now. I'm trying to increase my visual vocabulary, if you will. I'm absorbing more information in new ways to help me broaden how I communicate.

A picture's worth a thousand words. Why not make it like play?

I think every artist has to overcome shyness at some point to be bold enough to ask subjects to pose or stand still. Or be disinvested in the opinion of others enough that getting out of a car to take a picture of a stop sign is all that matters.

Tamara tolerates it all. She's great for me that way, allowing me my nerdiness and picture-taking. (I love her for that.)

Like today, when we went to lunch and I took a picture of our waitress.

She even helps me with shots, suggesting that I take advantage of this great tree near our home to have the younger boys pose for me.

Don't be afraid. Play. Experiment. Do it. Whatever it is that you wish you would do more of, do that.

Do it until it becomes habit.


by Brett Rogers, 3/28/2007 9:50:52 PM

Pillow and Plant


While waiting for our dinner guests to arrive, I trotted out my pen and ink and scribbled out a couple of things in the living room.

And this one:

Pen and ink are honest. There is no eraser. The point is clean. The ink is solid.

Drawing is good for the soul.


by Brett Rogers, 3/29/2007 1:08:05 AM



Consider the volume of choices we make in just a single day.

There are so many paths we can take... what drives those decisions?


by Brett Rogers, 3/29/2007 11:46:43 AM




by Brett Rogers, 3/29/2007 4:25:43 PM




by Brett Rogers, 3/30/2007 8:28:36 AM



All of us have a process. You know what I mean... it's the angst you go through on the way to solving a problem or deciding something.

Process is generally messy. It's rough.

Might have great potential, but it's not ready for presentation yet.

I tend to live my process out loud. For those who know and love me, you know this about me. I dress like I process. I talk like I process. I show my process in painting. You can hear me say one thing yesterday and hear me say something completely different the next day because I'm thinking through the possibilities.

"But I thought you wanted to do [fill in the blank]. That's what you said yesterday."

It's confusing. And it's because while I am good at presenting ideas, I have no sense of knowing when to present ideas because I'm always in a state of open process and collaboration.

But presentation matters, and the art of presentation matters.

I had one woman come to my web site looking for a painting on faith. She googled that and found me. And what she found was this:

And so her comment, upon finding my post, was:

"what is up with the faith picture i dont get it and it looks freaky too."
And that makes sense. She caught me in process when it looked nothing like "faith." The finished work came later:

Presentation. Oh, the difference between process and poresentation.

I met with a friend of mine for lunch today. Scott told me that he visits Presentation Zen daily. I'll be checking that out in the future. Cool.

And I was reading Blink more while at the doctor's office today. Malcolm Gladwell tells the story of two brands of brandy. One is better perceived in the marketplace, but is mysteriously losing marketshare. The other has a cheap reputation, and is gaining. Both taste roughly the same, but the one with the better brand image is losing the fight. Why?

Turns out it was the packaging. The bottle of the "better" brandy was simple and plain. The bottle of the "cheap" brandy was more ornate. Presentation increased the sale of the cheaper brandy.

That may seem rudimentary, but it also means that the timing of the presentation of our thinking, in professional and in personal environments, is important. We have to be careful with process. Process is of course necessary, but it can also lead to false expectations and wrong assumptions. It can diminish our personal branding.

Some of this leads to part of the rationale behind the re-packaging of my web site. Beatcanvas looks like process, not presentation. And I'm not sure where to draw the line yet, but it's got me thinking.

And just because I like the image, here's this, a picture I took last fall:


by Brett Rogers, 3/30/2007 3:56:08 PM

Three Bowls



by Brett Rogers, 3/31/2007 10:12:30 AM

A Few Pictures



1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 3/31/2007 1:25:07 PM