Where We Work – the book

Last year I wrote about ‘This Aint No Disco‘, a website where creative (ad) agencies can show their often amazing offices. In 2010 their first book will come out! Check it out here.

Where We Work book - Ian McCallam

by Ian McCallam

Uxus Office Amsterdam



Memories 1999-2009

I’m not a collector at all (I actually enjoy throwing things away as I hate clutter) but the one thing I have always kept diligently since I was 15 are tickets of things I have visited and done. Think tickets from concerts, theatre, opera, movies, restaurants cards, boarding passes etc. Earlier this year I decided to give them a better place than an old box so I bought a Moleskine book. Had to work today (yes, I know it’s Sunday) but as a little distraction I put  all tickets in the book . Few more pages to be filled before it’s full, making it a great overview of all the cool things I have seen and done the past 10 years.

Moleskine book 1999-2009

Moleskine book 1999-2009 (here tickets from last three months)

Highlights: Pinkpop in 2000 (my very first festival), ISH Skate Event in 2001 (a ramp in a theatre, that’s cool), all my boarding passes to Copenhagen and back since 2005 (did an exchange there twice and it feels like home), Lux Debate U.S. ’04 elections with Maarten van Rossem (very exciting times), my BahnCards 50 since 2005 (studied in and love Germany and went there numerous times with this travel card), Tina Dickow in 2008 (brilliant concert in New York City) and Kings of Leon in 2009 (first time seeing them live). Hope my next Moleskine book will fill itself with great memories as well!

Good advice for hard times

Last week I finally went to London again. Shopping was of course on my list and a visit to my favourite bookstore Waterstones was on it too. I came across a little book with a well-known cover (see picture below) with the famous quote: “Keep Calm and Carry On”. The history of this brilliant quote is pretty cool: it was originally designed as a motivational poster during World War II but never used, only to be discovered 60 years later it turned into an icon.

Lieke 054

The book is full with similarly motivational and cheering quotes, proverbs, mantras and wry truths to help us through the recession (instead of WW II). I wanted to share some quotes yesterday already, but then I took one advise to heart (“If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live” – Lin Yutang). Some others worth sharing:

“There is more to  life than increasing its speed” –  Mahatma Gandhi – I’m sometimes guilty of wanting too much too quickly, often blame it on my enthusiasm and getting things done NOW. Some patience never hurt anyone though.

“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how” – Friedrich Nietzsche – Luckily I have a lot of things going for me so I never had to ask the question ‘why?’ yet.

“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it” – John Steinbeck – True all the way.

“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy” – Guillaume Apollinaire – Have been getting better at this lately, feels good. Hope you do too!

Savvy – the magazine I’ve been waiting for

Last week I read on Dutch Cowgirls, a fairly new (May ’08) blog which quickly has become one of my favourites, that a new magazine will be launched in the Netherlands this week. Since I work in PR, I read about new launches every week. While reading the description though, I immediately wanted to have it! Savvy Magazine tag-off is “a Women’s Guide to Gadgets”.  It will focus on electronic wanna-haves, such as the latest phones, netbooks, cameras etc. Let’s just hope they won’t only focus on the ‘typical female’ pink/glittery products manufacturers like to think we’re interested in…  This magazine sounds like a perfect combination of Bright and DCG, so I’m very curious to read the first edition on Thursday!

Cover of the first edition of Savvy Magazine

First edition's cover of Savvy Magazine

Seth Godin & Malcolm Gladwell on SUCCESS

This week I’ve read two interesting pieces about one topic from two very successful people, namely the New York bestseller author Malcolm Gladwell and marketing guru Seth Godin.They talked about something that interests me greatly: what is it that makes people stand out and be successful?

Malcolm Gladwell´s new book Outliers

Malcolm Gladwell´s new book Outliers

First, let’s talk about Malcolm Gladwell (writer of one of my favourite books called Blink). His new book Outliers, which will be released November 18th, is a book about success. “It starts with a very simple question: what is the difference between those who do something special with their lives and everyone else?” According to Social Capital Blog, “Gladwell thinks success in the 21st century is going to be less about sheer intelligence and more about collaboration and hard work to get to the level of mastery in a topic (which he says typically takes 10,000 hours)”.

Seth Godin discusses the relationship between effort and success on his blog. He states the following: “Delete the outliers–the people who are hit by a bus or win the lottery, the people who luck out in a big way, and we’re left with everyone else. And for everyone else, effort is directly related to success.” He continues with statements that I couldn´t agree more with:

Effort takes many forms. Showing up, certainly. Knowing stuff (being smart might be luck of the draw, but knowing stuff is the result of effort). Being kind when it’s more fun not to. Paying forward when there’s no hope of tangible reward. Doing the right thing.

Although Seth and Malcolm discuss the topic from a different perspective, they come to a similar conclusion: reaching success is merely hard work. Although this can be hopeful for some people (success is in reach for all of us), it also implies that the less successful just haven´t worked hard enough. That one is a tougher cookie than just blaming it on others or circumstances. For the latter, just don´t read Malcolm Gladwell´s new book :-)

Magnum Photos

I absolutely can’t sing but I can enjoy and admire people who are brilliant at it. The same goes for photography: I am a great fan of it, although I realise my talent is limited. Therefore I was even more amazed by the wonderful exhibition ‘Magnum 60 years’ in Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

This exhibition contained the work of the 83 photographers of the photo agency Magnum. This agency was founded by the following photographers; Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, George Rodger and David Seymour. They saw photography as the means to not only capture world events but also to make people think about it. The way they ran their agency was quite different at that time, ensuring full independency of the photographer by keeping the copyrights, deciding theirselves which pictures were used and how many etc.

Many of the pictures have become icons trough out the years, attributing to the almost heroic status of Magnum. Who for example doesn’t know the picture of the student standing in front of the tanks on Tiananmen Square (Stuart Franklin)? Or the picture by one of my favourites, Robert Capa, taken on D-Day?

Tianamen Square by Stuart FranklinRobert Capa, D-Day shot

If you want to enjoy more pictures you can either go to their website, it showcases a lot of work and make sure you check out their in motion part of the website. Given their 60th birthday, Magnum decided to bring out a 7 kg (!) weighing book called Magnum Magnum with a selection of their best and most important pictures throughout those 60 years of great photography. I received the book for my graduation, and it’s a journey to go through those pictures and history. Get it before it’s sold out!

Secrets, don’t we have them all?

PostSecret Book CoverAnd if you want to remain it to be a secret, you are not supposed to tell about it to anyone. But now there is a way  to tell your secret without anyone finding out… Today I was walking in The Hague, and I couldn’t resist entering the American Book Store. My eye was caught by a really cool looking book called PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives by Frank Warren.

“The idea of the project is simple: completely anonymous people decorate a postcard and portray a secret that they have never before revealed. There is no restriction on what the content of the secret must be, only that it must be completely truthful and must never have been spoken before. Entries range from admissions of sexual misconduct and criminal activity to confessions of secret desires, embarrassing habits, hopes and dreams.” (Wikipedia) This book is a result of postcards people have sent in from all over the world. What started out as an art project, became a blog and now the third book is being published. The confessions were serious, funny, recognisable and even heartbreaking. But not only the confessions are interesting: most postcards have a really cool design too. If you’re wondering about the confessions and what they’re like: Frank Warren’s blog updates new secrets every Sunday.