May 31, 2009

How Does "Up" Rank with other Pixar Movies

We just saw the latest Pixar film, "Up." I am amazed at how they consistently produce such compelling stories. There isn't a bad film among the ten that they have created.

I was curious about how my children viewed Up in relation to the other Pixar films, so in traditional Chandler fashion, I overdid it by creating an Excel spreadsheet with all 10 films listed as rows, and each of the kids names as column headers.

Then one-by-one, I had each child rank order the movies (1 being their favorite, 10 being their least favorite). I averaged the scores for each movie and here is the collective Chandler children rank order of the 10 Pixar major motion pictures, with the correct answer (my ranking) in parenthesis and a quick tweetable quote from each to add a little color to the list.
  1. Ratatoulle (2) Welcome to Hell.
  2. Cars (4) I create feelings in others that they themselves don't understand.
  3. Wall-E (6) Computer, define "dancing."
  4. Up (5) You got a "run away in terror" badge?
  5. Toy Story (7) "Extremely dangerous. Keep out of reach of children." Cool!
  6. The Incredibles (1) Hi, this is Kari, sorry for freakin' out but your baby has "special needs."
  7. Monsters, Inc. (9) Kids these days. They just don't get scared like they used to.
  8. Finding Nemo (8) You think you can do these things, but you just can't, Nemo.
  9. A Bug's Life (3) Here, pretend - pretend that that's a seed.
  10. Toy Story 2 (10) Excuse me, ma'am, but I believe you're on the wrong flight.
Being the best at something is all relative to your reference group. In the film Leatherheads, Lexie drives this point home when she humbles Dodge by saying:
You think you're the slickest operator in Duluth, and maybe you are, but being the slickest operator in Duluth is kinda like being the world's tallest midget, if you ask me.
This Pixar reference group is just the opposite. To be the best of this group is a true honor, and to be the shortest of these giants, well that ain't so bad either.

May 30, 2009

Just Following Orders

I was told to take my "stubby little human fingers" and share this on my "bliggety blogs, facey spaces and tweety pages."

May 26, 2009

All Thumbs!

Today at the eye doctor, the young guy who was going over the cost of my contacts was using his thumbs to punch numbers into the calculator. It stuck me as odd, because it looked like he was texting someone for the answer to his calculation.

Then I came home and was harshly beaten by my own son on Flight Control (an excellent iTouch app). As I watched the patricide take place, I noticed that he was using his thumb to maneuver the planes to safety, while I use my index finger.

In trying to defend of my index finger, I vaguely remembered something about Ken Jennings attributing at least part of his Jeopardy winning streak to using his index finger instead of his thumb. So I fired up my Google search engine only to find this article where Bob Harris interviews Bradford Rutter, biggest winner in the history of Jeopardy. Bob asks Brad the very question I'm pondering:
Bob: Thumb or index finger?
Brad: I'm a thumb guy. I know a lot of people like yourself swear by the index, but I'm a thumb loyalist.
Being a digital imigrant, versus my son, the young guy at my eye doctor's office, and Bradford Rutter, who are all digital natives, I can't help but wonder if the texting, calculating, flight controlling, buzzing-in thumb is the new opposable thumb. And if so, I better learn how to use it, before I become extinct.

May 22, 2009

What Did You Learn Today?

I'm a big fan of the show Morning Joe. The show is on MSNBC, and since we don't have cable, the only time I get to watch it is when I'm traveling. Recently, I caught the end of the show and loved how they wrapped it up by having everyone share what they learned.

I brought that idea back to the office, and for the last couple of weeks at the end of the day we each share what we learned. This week, someone on the team googled "What did you learn today" and discovered Rick Segel's blog post with that exact title. It's an excellent story about how his parents asked him and his sister that question every day. So good, in fact, that you should stop reading this and go read it right now.

Go on, I'll wait.

Wasn't that worth the extra two clicks?

For a brief moment in time, my grandfather answered the question "How you doing" by simply responding "better." See, he believed that everyday he learned a little more and was constantly getting better. Unfortunately, most people misunderstood his comment and thought he was recently ill and was just now getting better. After spending too much time having to explain his clever response, he eventually gave up on this subtle, daily sharing of his philosophy.

Like the way Segel's parents influenced his life, my grandfather instilled in me his "better" philosophy, and with this basic, little question I've discovered a great tool to get a little better every day. End it with, "What did I learn today?"

May 17, 2009

Brand Alignment | Part II Some Examples

Here are a few follow-up examples to the recent Observation Paper on Brand Alignment. First, examples that are in perfect alignment:
And now a couple of examples of behaviors that are out of alignment with the represented brand:
  • Air Force One flyover in New York City - in fact it was so out of alignment, it resulted in the resignation of White House Military Office Director Louis Caldera.
  • Carrie Prejean represents the brand of Miss California. As John Tantillo argues in his article, whether you agree with her or not, her strong political stance is not in alignment with the Miss California brand that stands for diplomacy and leadership.
  • Jamie Lee Curtis (the winner of TWO Golden Globes) has become The Activia Lady.
  • And according to The Onion, the new Star Trek movie which is fun and watchable and totally out of alignment with the Star Trek brand of dated and cornball.

May 15, 2009

How to Grab Someone's Attention

I just started reading The Lean Forward Moment by Norman Hollyn (thanks to Karyn Johnson for recommending it). It's all about how visual storytellers can create moments that get the audience on the edge of their seats. Straind's music video For You, illustrates one of those moments:

Find more videos like this on STAIND

Hollyn explains:
Let's look at the third verse of the song, where there is a strong Lean Forward Moment, as the band sings, "All your insults and your curses, make me feel like I'm not a person." If this song's story is about how teenagers cannot get their true feelings across to their parents, then this lyric in the song is the most direct statement of it. The lyrics speak to their alienation and the music pounds those thoughts home at this point. (p. 308)
I may never watch another music video the same way again.

May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

I love this Mother's Day data visualization from What really makes this humorous graphic special for me is that the number of flowers has more to do the length of the phrase than percentage listed. Classic!

And here's one more fun Mother's Day treat from JibJab:

May 9, 2009

What Makes a Great Monologue?

Last night we watched Ratatouille for "Family Movie Night." I like that movie more every time I see it. One of my favorite scenes is where Anton Ego reads his review of eating the dish of Ratatouille, created by a kitchen filled with rats. It has to be the greatest monologue in an animated film and perhaps one of the greatest monologues ever. Here, read it for yourself:
In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.

But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core.

In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.
So it got me thinking. What makes a great monologue? The delivery is clearly important. I once saw Vincent Price speak live, and his stage presence was so strong I would have been captivated to hear him read obituaries out of the paper. But I think it's the content that makes the real difference. I like Anton's review because it eloquently ties together three universal and very relevant truths:
  1. It's easy for any of us to become critical.
  2. There's risk in defending new things.
  3. Great things can come from anywhere (and do).
Here are a few other answers to what makes a great monologue. What's one of your favorite monologues and why?

May 4, 2009

Brand Alignment

Two weeks ago I got stuck in Atlanta when the airport got shut down after the control tower was struck by lighting. It was a zoo. Lots of tired, angry people were being told to stand in line and remain calm. After reserving a seat on the next flight in the morning, I secured a hotel room. I made it to the shuttle where I was the next to the last person to squeeze on and away we went.

At the hotel a new line of tired, angry people formed to check in for a few hours of sleep. That's when a group of pilots from Express Jet strolled off the shuttle from their seats in the back, bypassed the line of weary travelers, and stood at one end of the desk. Once the kid waiting on the customer at the front of the line finished, he turned his attention to the pilots.

I've never flown on Express Jet, so now my primary brand impression of them is based on the arrogant display of entitlement I saw those pilots display that night, making twelve passengers wait while they exercised their special privilege of checking in first.

That's one of those situations that probably wasn't covered in new pilot orientation, but my guess is that's not how Express Jet wants their brand to be portrayed. The important lesson I took away is to remember that your behaviors assume a role that is larger than you as an individual. You are linked to your company's brand. It was fairly blatant with these young hotshots thanks to their uniforms and badges, but we all represent the companies we work for (or the groups we belong to) whether we plan to or not.

To play it safe, act as if anything you do or say could appear on the front page of the local newspaper with your company logo as the headline. That applies to blogging, tweeting, and even cutting in line.