We met Cristian through friends in common in a bar, one drunken night. After many beers and a long conversation, I was amazed by his story so I asked him for an audio interview to share with all of you.
He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and due to a family crisis, he moved with his mom to Los Angeles, California to start a new life. He was 5 years old.
They have lived there illegally for more than 20 years. The whole fear of deportation hit him when he turned 16. This is his story.
What is the result of combining a pizza lover and an avid entrepreneur? After ten years working in the gastronomy business: nine restaurant branches in San Francisco, three in Denver and more soon to come in Seattle and Santa Barbara.
Francisco Azpiroz was born in East Bay, California. His family is from the Basque Country in Spain, and is influenced by its culture and food. One of Francisco’s passions has always been food and cooking, and after meeting Bill Freeman they decided to start a business together. In 2002, Patxi’s opened its first restaurant in Palo Alto. (more…)
1) It is amazingly difficult to start/have a family if you make “normal” salaries here (you know, only in the $100k range). The amount of wealth in the area has driven up home prices near the places where the jobs are to astronomical levels. I own a home in San Jose that I’m able to afford, in a neighborhood described by my Realtor as “a first time buyer’s neighborhood”, because both my wife and I work. She recently gave birth to our first child and we’re preparing her to go into day care. It is going to cost me more in one year to put my baby in day care than I spent putting myself through 5 years of college. Having my wife not work, however, would put an extremely significant dent in our finances to where it would be very hard to pay bills on just my salary. We literally can not afford another child. Additionally, I have to establish my schedule based on commute traffic which typically has me out of the house well before 7 am and many times back home by about 8pm. Leaving work at 5pm simply doesn’t make sense, because I would get home at the exact same time if I left at 7pm. I have the benefit of sometimes having flexible working locations. I can’t imagine it for people who don’t.
2) While you tend to hear a lot about the awesomeness of companies like Google and Facebook, the fact is that the vast majority of companies in the Silicon Valley are just as slow moving and driven by petty personal politics as companies anywhere else. The difference is that many of these companies produce products with high margins (like software) that are in high demand. I’ve worked at places here that feel like a Dilbert cartoon. Pointless meetings, decision makers who either make horrible decisions or no decisions at all, inept co-workers, etc. One major difference here is that people do tend to be willing to work longer hours, albeit with mixed results.
3) As others have said, there is still plenty of poverty in the area. East San Jose, East Palo Alto, parts of Fremont and Milpitas are very undesirable places. Which to a lot of people is puzzling especially when every other car on the freeway is a Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, or Tesla. Also see a fair number of Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martins, Maserati, and even a Bugatti Veyron (OMG IT WAS SO AWESOME) as well. Every major metropolitan area has this problem and I personally don’t know of any good solutions to fixing it (and anyone who claims to doesn’t either!).
4) I’ve heard the argument made, and it isn’t entirely without merit, that solutions that come out of the Silicon Valley can actually be detrimental to the economy because the efficiency and automation that companies are able to achieve using these products effectively lowers demand for labor. Basically, I’ve heard it argued that we destroy jobs here. And people here know this. It’s something that’s hard to measure, and I’d say in some cases its true (I once worked on a project where literally one of the goals was to eliminate a 900 person global department). I believe in the long run what we do in the Silicon Valley creates more jobs but with different skill sets.
With all of that said, this is the place I choose to live and work. I am surrounded by the smartest people in the world who are from all over the world and getting to experience first hand the companies that change the world.
I remember seeing Paul Newman win an Oscar and he said “Oscar-winning roles aren’t acted, they’re written.” And that struck me. I was a young actor watching with wide eyes and I thought, “What does he mean by that? He acted it. It was him. Why would he say it’s written?” Then over the years I realized that you’re only as good as the material.
So I believe the best actor in the world, say Meryl Streep, if she was handed C-level material, she could bring that up to a solid B. But that’s it. When I read Breaking Bad cover to cover and I read it because my agent says “You worked with him onX-Files many years ago, he remembers you and wants to see you for this.” Okay. Usually the majority of pilot scripts are pretty predictable. “She’s in love with him but he’s going to fool around. Yep. Yep. Yep.” You’re not invested. But with Breaking Bad, it was immediate. That first page:
A pair of trousers fall through the sky, bright blue billowy clouds, red rock, dirt, tires roll over them. A runaway RV in the middle of the desert. Cut to the inside you see a man wearing only tighty-whitey underwear and a respirator driving madly. There’s another man passed out with a respirator next to him. Behind him, two men dead, sliding up and back in a sea of glass and chemicals.
Not highly scientific, right? That may not be the case for Facebook, but there are some amazing examples of how colors actually affect our purchasing decisions. After all, sight is the strongest developed sense in most human beings. It’s only natural that 90% of an assessment for trying out a product is made by color alone.
So how do colors really affect us, and what is the science of colors in marketing, really? As we strive to make improvements to our product at Buffer, studying this phenomenon is key. Let’s dig into some of the latest, most interesting research on it.
First: Can you recognize the online brands just based on color?
Before we dive into the research, here are some awesome experiments that show you how powerful color alone really is. Based on just the colors of the buttons, can you guess which company belongs to each of them?
Example 1 (easy):
Example 2 (easy):
Example 3 (medium):
Example 4 (hard):
These awesome examples from YouTube designer Marc Hemeon, I think, show the real power of color more than any study could.
How many were you able to guess? (All the answers are at the bottom of this post!)
Which colors trigger which feeling for us?
Being completely conscious about what color triggers us to think in which way isn’t always obvious. The Logo Company has come up with an amazing breakdown that shows which colors are best for which companies and why. Here are 4 great examples:
Clearly, every one of these companies is seeking to trigger a very specific emotion:
When we feel compelled to buy something, color can play a major role. Analytics company KISSmetrics created an amazing infographic on the science of how colors affect our purchases.
Green stands out to me as the most relaxing color we can use to make buying easier. We didn’t intentionally choose this as the main color for Buffer–although it seems to have worked very well so far.
At second look, I also realized how frequently black is used for luxury products. Here is the full infographic:
How to improve your marketing with better use of colors:
This all might be fairly entertaining, but what are some actual decisions we can apply today to our website or app? The answer comes yet again from some great research done by the good folks over at KISSmetrics.
If you are building an app that mainly targets women, KISSmetrics suggests that women love blue, purple, and green, and dislike orange, brown, and gray.
In case your app is strictly targeting men, the rules of the game are slightly different. Men love blue, green, and black, but can do without brown, orange, and purple.
In another experiment, Performable (now HubSpot) wanted to find out whether simply changing the color of a button would make a difference in conversion rates.
They started out by trying to guess the outcome of a simple choice between two colors (green and red) and trying to guess what would happen.
“Green connotes ideas like “natural” and “environment,” and given its wide use in traffic lights, suggests the idea of “go” or forward movement. The color red, on the other hand, is often thought to communicate excitement, passion, blood, and warning. It is also used as the color for stopping at traffic lights. Red is also known to be eye-catching.”
So, clearly an A/B test between green and red would result in green, the more friendly color. At least that was their guess. Here is what their experiment looked like:
So how did that experiment turn out? The answer was surprising: The red button outperformed the green button by 21%.
What’s most important to consider is that nothing else was changed at all: 21% more people clicked on the red button than on the green button. Everything else on the pages was the same, so it was only the button color that made this difference.
This definitely made me wonder: If we were to read all the research before this experiment and ask every researcher which version they would guess would perform better, I’m sure green would be the answer in nearly all cases. Not so much.
At my company, we’ve also conducted dozens of experiments to improve our conversion rates using changes of colors. While the results weren’t as clear, we still saw a huge change. One hypothesis is that for a social media sharing tool, there is less of a barrier to signup, which makes the differences less significant.
Despite all the studies, generalizations are extremely hard to make. Whatever change you make, treat it first as a hypothesis, and see if the actual experiment supports your ideas. Personally, I’m always very prone to go with opinion based on research I’ve come across. Yet, data always beats opinion, no matter what.
Quick last fact: Why are hyperlinks blue?
This is something that always interested me and is actually a fun story. In short, it’s offers the highest contrast between the colors used on early websites.
Here is the full explanation: “Tim Berners-Lee, the main inventor of the web, is believed to be the man who first made hyperlinks blue. Mosaic, a very early web browser, displayed webpages with a (ugly) gray background and black text. The darkest color available at the time that was not the same as the black text was that blue color. Therefore, to make links stand apart from plain text, but still be readable, the color blue was selected.”
I think it’s fascinating that tweaking something as small as the color can completely change an outcome. What have been your findings in terms of colors and marketing? Tell me about it in the comments.
Solution to the riddle: Example 1: Facebook, Example 2: Google, Example 3: Flickr, Example 4: LinkedIn
By Gil Yehuda In response to a job offer, I said no. As a result, I got the job. This goes back a few years: I was interested in a particular job, and read the description carefully. I saw it had 5 job specifications, covering a wide range of skills in my field. I thought they might need two people to do the job they described. After some good phone interviews, I was invited to a full day of on-site interviews. I first met with the hiring manager, and then with a few people related to the group. The last interview was with the recruiter.
First interview with the hiring manager (CTO-ish role) went well, but it had a strange moment near the end. We spoke about the job and then he asked if I had questions. I asked about the five items; they were diverse, so which was the most important part of the job? He looked at the job spec sheet and answered that #5 was the essential job, the other four were much less relevant. I asked, why is the most important part of the job listed last? Usually a list like this would have the most important item listed first. Moreover, #1 and #5 implied a very different skill profile. He seemed annoyed at me for asking the question, and reiterated that #5 was the job, the rest was not as important.
The next five interviews went very smoothly, and things were looking promising. When each interviewer asked if I had questions, I asked the same question, out of curiosity: “If you and I asked the CTO which of these 5 items are most important for this job, what do you think he’d say?” Each one answered #1 is the primary job. Then I said “I actually asked the CTO, he said #5 was the essential part of the job. What do you think that means?” Their reactions were very interesting. One said “No, I meant #5…” Another said “Oh that’s not right, I need to meet with him and correct this.” Fascinating indeed! Seemingly, I revealed a disconnect between the CTO and the team about the job.
The last interview was with the recruiter. We clicked. We had a frank conversation about the company and about the issues I uncovered. She told me that feedback on my interviews was positive. But she did not have a good answer about the role clarity. Yet they still wanted to make me an offer. The truth is, I really wanted (needed) this job. But I said: I’m sorry, I don’t think I can take the job if the company doesn’t know what the job is. You need to figure out what you want before you make an offer. I don’t think anyone could succeed in a job where the very role is in dispute.
She responded. The reason they wanted to make me the offer was that I was the only person to see what was going on. It was a new role and they didn’t fully understand the requirements themselves — but apparently I read the situation in a way they were unable to see themselves, and that’s what they needed. They want me to take the job in order to help figure out what the job should be.
She asked me what salary range I was looking for. I thought, this makes no sense. Yes, I want the job, but the risk of failure is high since the job was ill defined. Given the risk, how would I know if they are serious about having me figure this out for them? So I said “If you make me an offer I can’t refuse, then I won’t be able to refuse it.“ She came back 15 minutes later with an offer I could not, and did not refuse. No regrets either.
I live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York City. I decided to photograph myself in 2002. I started with self portraits during my last semester in undergrad at Columbia College (ed. note: BFA Photography). I felt like it was time to turn the camera on myself. Prior to this I was making portraits of one person over a long period of time.
This project is about my place in society and the judgment I felt from men and women and how I felt that I did not fit into this mold of beauty. It was time to articulate my insecurities through photographs, and from the moment I started, I have not stopped.
I was born in Akron, Ohio in 1978. Two years later me and my family moved. We landed then in Illinois. A lot of moving in my life. From Illinois to New York, then back to Illinois till ‘93. At that point my family moved to Arizona. When I was done with high school, I packed my belongings and headed to Chicago. I stayed there the longest, 9 years, then New Haven for graduate school and now in NYC. (more…)
*By Deb I discovered Linda’s music from reading an article in a magazine. The story kind of struck me… a 60 year old dentist who used to be this trippy folk singer in the 1970s. She had recorded the album Parallelograms back then. The label did nothing to promote it and she went back to dentistry. 30 years after, the phone rings. She found out she had fans all over the globe. She had no idea.
I found Linda’s e-mail and we met for lunch. It was January 2009, grey ultra rainy day. Probably one of the absolute sweetest, most marvelous people I’ve ever met. I decided to make a film about her. The first stuff I shot were those scenes in the dentist office, where she spent the day keeping routinely scheduled appointments as I filmed inside her tiny office with my noisy camera. I am looking for sponsorship to finish the film now. Jeff Mc Carty. Filmmaker.
My name is Linda Perhacs and I was born in California. In the mid-1960s I went to University to focus on a dental hygiene career. It was a healing profession that allowed me to work flexible hours, and I wanted time to explore life. I felt that the sphere in which I existed was too small. I noticed some people all around, dressed kinda funny, and I wanted to know what they were up to! So I began to talk to them, I started to read, to buy different music, and creativity just exploded within me.
Having earned my bachelor’s degree, I went to work for a periodontist. I hadn’t done any music at all in college, but that changed when I moved to Topanga Canyon with my husband at that time. We were both fans of nature. We never went to a public park. We would go to the wildest country you could find and then I began writing songs.
Through my work as a Dental Hygienist, I became friends with film Composer, Leonard Rosenman. When he asked me to come to his studio after hearing a demo tape I made in my kitchen, I considered it quite an honor. He said he wanted to produce my first album, Parallelograms.
When the album was finished, I was surprised that the label did absolutely nothing to promote it. They sequenced it, not in the order I had chosen, and then pressed it so badly I could only bear to listen to it once, and I threw the copy of my record away. I only listened to my private tapes because they had the depth and sound quality that we had worked so hard to create.
I asked for a new pressing and was ignored. I was never asked to do any publicity of any kind. I heard nothing of reviews, good or bad. Except for one distributor, who admitted he loved the album himself, but had to prioritize the AM pop material.
I remember being told that it was selling the most in places with natural outdoor beauty like Hawaii, Canada and Colorado, Alaska, but not Los Angeles. LA was more into harder, noisier sounds. I felt it best not to ‘give up my day job’ under those circumstances!
In 1999, 30 years later, through an exhausting search, Michael Piper finally found me and told me how popular Parallelograms had become, I had a following of people from all over the world and he showed me emails from them, and some music magazines wanted to interview me. I was stunned! Finally people like Devendra Banhart http://www.myspace.com/devendrabanhart and others around me, encouraged me to return and put out new music. And because of the good that can be added to a world, so in need, I am doing so now.
Daft Punk is a wonderful group who I really admire and have a great deal of love and respect for! I met them thru their producer, right after their film, “Electroma” came out in 2008. They had used my song, “If You Were My Man” in their film. I was totally honored that they did so!
I now live in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. It’s a very crowded and busy city with lots of people from all walks of life which makes it interesting. My days are really filled up with work, performing live and trying to get new material out.
*By Victoria Béguet Day Alluring, beautiful, enigmatic, vaguely disturbing and definitely thought-provoking, Brazilian photographer Gustavo Lacerda´s award-winning Albinos series seems to capture our fascination with the unusual and unconventional perfectly and manages to raise some interesting questions about perception and difference along the way.
There is no doubt that Lacerda makes some bold choices; except for some rare exceptions (a brightly colored scarf, red fingernails), everything in these portraits, not only the subjects´ skin, hair and eyes, seems to lack pigmentation. From the pale walls in front of which the subjects stand, in unforced poses, to their washed-out clothes, all of the elements in this stunning series contribute to a kind of all-encompassing pallor which, instead of causing the subjects to fade discretely into the background, blending uniformly into their dull surroundings, makes them stand out in an almost unapologetic way. They are unique, intriguing individuals and have our full attention.
The subjects look into or away from the camera. Their stares are focused, distracted or pensive, as if they know something that we don´t, which adds to their appeal. In certain cultures, albinos are simultaneously revered and discriminated against. In the wild, animals that possess this genetic disorder seem to face a similar fate because of their lack of the necessary camouflage needed to increase their chances of survival. There is a definite vulnerability in Lacerda´s subjects. For whatever reason, we can´t seem to take our eyes off them. Honest, engaging, intelligent, Gustavo Lacerda´s Albinos raises interesting questions about beauty and difference.
I was born in Kenya and moved to England when I was 5 years old. My memories of Kenya are mixed with the super 8 footage that my Dad took of us on safari.
I live in a small apartment in Venice and have made a bed amongst the beams, it’s like sleeping in a nest, and best when raining outside.
Your are going to see now 3 different photography projects. The Disciples, where I photographed fans outside different concerts. I was fascinated by the different tribes of people that attended them, and how people emulated celebrity to form their identity.
James & Other Apes, portraits of gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans using the aesthetic of the passport photograph, and Where Children Sleep, stories of diverse children around the world, told through portraits and pictures of their bedrooms.
*By Daniel Rolnik I’m based in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. We have a pretty cool and vibrant art scene going on here, but not so much photo realistic stuff yet – at least not that I’m aware of. People are still a bit hesitant about this art form around here, but I have a feeling there will be more of it in the near future.
A sad thing is the politician’s decision to ban all sorts of graffiti and/or graffiti inspiring movements in town. At the same time, there’s a fancy auction where they sell pieces by Banksy and other street artists for large amounts of money. I just find that incredibly ironic and disturbing.
I make photo realistic paintings and usually work on one piece at the time. I don’t like to split my attention and focus, but I’ve got a lot of pieces ‘in the making’ going on inside my head. I’m always planning ahead and thinking of what I’d like to paint next.
So far, I’ve made oil paintings showing graffiti, but I’ve never made photo-realism with spray cans. I don’t have too much experience painting graffiti, I made a painting of Ice-T like six years ago and let’s just say it didn’t turn out exactly how I expected it to, haha! Graffiti is extremely difficult to master – I think I’ll just stick with my small brushes.
In Sweden we have short summers and long winters. We have to go to a special place to buy alcohol, which is not open at all occasions. We have a king who is called Carl Gustaf and a prime minister who is called Fredrik Reinfeldt.
Most of the feature films produced in Sweden are pretty bad and boring, although there are exceptions of course; Roy Andersson and Thomas Alfredsson to mention a few. Our music scene, on the contrary, is very vivid and successful, I think. Lots of great bands in very different areas and genres. We drink lots of coffee, I think Finland is the only country to beat us on that. It’s a quite multi cultural country which is great. We don’t dub foreign films and TV, which is great too, we get lots of free English lessons at a daily basis.
Today I had a conversation with a friend about our first film and TV memories, as a child, and I remember that I was totally hooked on the TV-show ‘MacGyver’. That was the first show I actually looked for in the paper, to see what time it was on. One summer when I was about 9 maybe, I got hit in the cheek by a dart arrow. That hurt. Another “bad” memory, was when my first house pet, a cat, disappeared for about two weeks. I think that was the first time I ever was depressed and felt down. It came back, though, which was great, but it got hit by a car eventually and died.
Other than that, I had a great childhood. I was raised by my parents, who were very loving and caring, and still are. I had lots of fights with my two years younger brother when we were kids but that stopped sometime in our teenage. Now, he is one of my best friends and he is actually also going to help me with some administration related business of mine, to clear up some time for me. He is pretty much like me, but he’s got a moustache.
To get inspiration I listen to lots of music, I’m addicted to hearing new music all the time, trying to keep up with all the new releases. I’m a great fan of movies too so I guess everything just melts down in this big pot and then something completely else comes out.
Usually, when I start doing a poster or illustration, I just sit and look at lots of images and figures, and sometimes I see something that I could do with it, remix it or combine it with something else. I rarely draw pictures just out of my head, I guess most of my work is a result of consuming lots of pop culture, remixing and tweaking already existing imagery. Often, I sit up at night with my headphones and play around, and sometimes I happen to stumble upon a good idea and make something good, and sometimes it just becomes shit. I guess it’s quite normal.
When I am not working, I love going to the movies (alone or with friends), hanging out with friends and drink a beer or two and just do silly things, playing the piano (although I don’t own one at the moment, hoping to change that soon), travel and walk new streets and have a coffee at a random café and just look at people, sleep ‘til I wake up without setting an alarm, clean the house and do dishes with my mp3-player set on shuffle.
Currently, I have ideas for a couple of projects, some are even half finished, so I really hope to be able to share some of those in a near future. It’s been a while now, since I shared anything, not too happy about that. I just haven’t had the time to complete them and focus, although I’m very happy for all the freelance work I have got recently. Those jobs give me the opportunity to keep doing what I’m doing, without having to work at a daytime job. For that, I’m very grateful.