10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Days of Being a Dad

At 1:00 a.m. on August 20, our son came into the world. He didn’t come exactly how we thought. In fact, he didn’t come how the doctors thought he would either. Somewhere between the ultrasound on Monday the 15th and Friday night when we checked my wife into the hospital to be induced our son decided to become part of the three percent of babies who flip from upside down (the right way to be) to right side up (the not right way to be). That meant getting him out (as he was nearly two weeks past his due date) a different way. This is where I started learning things. I’m not saying they’re all right. I’m not saying I know anything anyone else doesn’t, but these are 10 things that jumped out at me since our son arrived: 

  1. There’s nothing to prepare you for seeing your wife on an operating table. I know it was planned and I know it’s something that happens every day, but I was sick to my stomach seeing her there. I would’ve switched places with her if I could, but the only thing they’d take out of my abdomen would have been some Annie’s mac ‘n’ cheese.
  2. Meeting your kid for the first time is insane. Yeah, I knew what the end game here was… I had taken high school sex ed. However, things became incredibly real when I heard him cry and saw this little guy that was hanging out inside my wife’s stomach for 9+ months. He looked weird and was screaming at me… and I lost it. He was perfect. I just kept yelling to my wife, over the sounds of the O.R. over the nurses, and over the blue tarp that basically sectioned her off from everything going on down south.  
  3. Babies eat. A ton. Seriously, I’m not sure where he’s putting all this stuff, but the kid eats constantly. It’s amazing. I’d say he has a hollow leg, but honesty he’s so damn long and skinny I’m not sure if that would help.
  4. Babies poop. A ton. See above, then this makes a ton of sense. Oh, also if they have wieners they pee everywhere, so there’s that.
  5. People are horrible drivers. Seriously, everyone is really bad. Maybe it’s me… maybe I’m more acutely aware of this, especially considering it took me about 30mins. to drive the less-than-a-mile route from the hospital to our house.
  6. You can function pretty well while sleep deprived… to a point. Our kid actually sleeps pretty well at night so far, just waking up (usually we actually have to wake him up) to eat every 3 hours or so. That said, it was definitely an adjustment not getting that 7+ hours of solid sleep in. I went to lay down for “30 mins” the other day and woke up 2 hours later.
  7. Strangers will talk to you about your baby. Oh, and touch your baby. And ask really personal questions about the birthing process. And share their really personal info. Just smile and nod.
  8. Everyone has an opinion on your baby’s name. We’re not Brangelina or anything, but we didn’t tell anyone besides some close friends what our kid’s name would be. This was mostly because everyone’s a critic, but also because we just didn’t want to constantly talk about it. 
  9. Your wife/partner/whatever… They’re a freaking badass superhero. You wouldn’t know it looking at her – all 5’8″ and blonde haired with bright, kind eyes… but my wife is so badass. She’s 10 days removed from getting sliced open and is up doing things around the house (and literally has been since getting out of the hospital early). She just magically knows stuff and can calm our son down in a second, usually after I piss him off by changing him or getting too excited and waking him up. I heeded the advice of a coworker who said “there will be a ton of people focused on the baby – focus on your wife,” but honestly, she had this all in the bag.
  10. Every baby is different. “Oh he’s so small!!!” What? Really? He was just normal sized earlier, maybe I put him in the dryer on high heat. Oh shit. Seriously though, he’s skinny, but the doctors (who are presumably trained on this stuff) say he’s just fine. Sorry we didn’t have a fully-formed toddler at birth. There are about as many books about how to raise a kid as there are kids out there. Nothing is going to 100% work for you, especially when your kid is young. Heck, what works for us now might not tomorrow… that’s life. The best you can do is your best. At the end of the day we all get kids who grow up to resent us and slam their doors, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Like I said, I’m 10 days in… many more to go, but writing helps me relax and catalog thoughts that have been running around in my head.

Domino’s Pizza UK Gets Giphy

.GIFs, regardless of how you say the term, are easily some of the most visible pieces of digital content out there these days. They’re in Twitter, on Facebook, there are companies popping up that create .GIF keyboards. 

Domino’s Pizza UK, capitalizing on the move from Twitter to include a dedicated “add a .GIF” button in its mobile app, launched a series of .GIFs under the umbrella of “#Gifeelings” and let us all know with one tweet:

Once you search for “GIFEELINGS” in the app, you’re provided with a wealth of awesome pizza-centric .GIFs created by the brand.

The move from brands to pour dollars into creative that is pretty singular in use is interesting (such as emoji creation), but makes diving into ever-popular messaging apps, etc. Having their .GIFs on Giphy (and thus available on Twitter and via the .Giphy keyboard), Domino’s is setting themselves up as a brand that’s already ahead of others in these walled gardens.

SXSW: A Clever Targeted Ad

Being in Austin for SXSW means getting target with a ton of ads… Usually not great ones.

However, this PizzaDrone.info ad caught my eye. What happened after the click was even better… though disappointing for someone who wants to see a marriage of two of his favorite things.

And after the click…


The Next Creative Battleground: Video Captions?

With Facebook’s move to auto-displaying captions on videos in the Feed, the creative has a new place to flex their muscles – good old fashioned text.

The latest creative use of subtitles comes from Dos Equis as they bid farewell to “The Most Interesting Man in the World” as he presumably is bound to become “The Most Interesting Man in the Galaxy” or something else… That isn’t the point. The point is Dos Equis is using their captions in Facebook’s caption on default land of the Feed to drive people clicking to expand or unmuting: 

Now, admittedly, this isn’t the most ingenious use of captioning to drive home a point, but it’s a start. 

Hotels.com used their “Captain Obvious” character and their own captions to create a fun experience with sound off a while back, but now that Facebook allows the uploading of .SRT files for on-video captions, that means a similar experience for uses across videos.

Fun story about .SRT files + Facebook – they’re finicky. We just ran a global video campaign with 50+ .SRT language caption files – hard work but the campaign was awesome and a ton of fun.

When will Twitter jump on board the no sound + caption train? Has to be soon, right? 

BuzzFeed Invites Users to Binge On with new Video App

BuzzFeed’s videos have quickly become some of the company’s best performing content, with viewers coming back for episode after episode of videos from Tasty and the likes.

Capitalizing on this, BuzzFeed launched their own standalone video app at Mobile World Congress – the event that’s quickly becoming as important for product announcements and launches across verticals as CES once was.

The app, which is devoid of ads right now, is perfectly poised for regular ads (think pre-roll) and native content either created by brands or with BuzzFeed’s internal studio.

Users are met with a Trending view when entering the app, showing that BuzzFeed’s technology for picking up trending content is at the heart of everything they do. There’s also a “Shows” view where users can discover and subscribe to shows they’re into. Imagine all the binge watching and then binge eating you can do with Tasty videos now!

I’m pretty stoked on the Corgi in the icon, myself. 


Why We Should All be Rooting for Twitter

Everyone hates the Patriots. OK, not everyone, but a lot of people. They don t hate them because they’re bad, though, they hate them because they’re the best. It sucks watching Tom Brady somehow find a way (Excelt for losing to Denver tonight!) time and time again. We all want to root for the underdogs… we want to get behind those scrappy teams that don’t have all the flash and glitz. The teams that we grew up on that are fighting.

That’s how I think of Twitter.

 I sent my first Tweet from a classroom computer at the School of Visual Concepts where Clay McDaniel and Andy Boyer taught me more than I’d known before about the world of social marketing. After that class, I told myself I’d be doing that as part of my job… I started working for Clay and Andy 5 months later (and then returned to teach that same class for three years).

Facebook is, by all accounts, the leader in today’s Internet – and don’t get me wrong, I like Facebook a hell of a lot more than I like the Patriots – and they earned it. They took down MySpace. They grew even as Google was biting at their heels and making plays. 

Twitter, though, came up at roughly the same time and, for all intents and purposes, had the same chances Facebook had to be the biggest on the block, but they didn’t – for a number of reasons.

But instead of LOLing at Twitter’s continued attempts to keep growing and to make products that bring more value to its user base, we should be cheering them on. Twitter, after all, is still where many go for “breaking” information. It’s where you can learn about a trending topic in an unfiltered feed of people you follow – sans algorithm.

Facebook probably wouldn’t be the Facebook it is today without Twitter. Their pushing and competing between 2010 – 2014 brought us more advancements and features in the mobile world than we’d seen the previous 10 years before that. Competition in the social space is just as important as competition in the world economy — it keeps innovation flowing.
The people I’ve worked with at Twitter are incredibly smart and laser focused on users and the brands that help make Twitter what it is.

Is it weird I miss this guy? #failwhale

A photo posted by Ron Schott (@ronschott) on Jan 23, 2016 at 10:44pm PST


I made a joke the othe night about missing the #FailWhale — and I was only slightly kidding. The days when you’d get a #FailWhale were exciting because Twitter was growing so quickly and so many people were engaged around a single topic (usually) that the servers literally couldn’t keep up. It was kind of fun. I’m also a fan of the Robot who’s arm fell off.

As an advertiser, Twitter’s ability to target real-time conversations has always been an incredible draw for me. They’ve innovated quickly to bring new formats which aren’t just exciting for brands, but engaging and interesting for users. With the addition of Periscope, Twitter has an opportunity to tap into real-time conversations and situations that can put anyone from anywhere in the middle of the action.

So, I’m excited for what @jack and the team have in store. I’ve always been a fan, but I think more people have an incredible opportunity to see how awesome Twitter really can be.

Let’s root for the underdog.

Disclaimer: This post and the entirety of this blog are my personal opinions. Content included in no way is the opinion of my employer, Microsoft. I was not and will not be compensated for this post. I also like Facebook and Instagram — even YouTube… They just aren’t getting slammed right now. 

Advertisers’ Notes: Facebook Launches Sports Stadium in Bid to Win Live Sports Convo Battle Royale

Twitter gets a lot of credit for being the place for “live” social commentary, whether it’s about moments in time (elections, etc.) or sporting events. However, Facebook has been really keen the past few years to tell advertisers they have a much larger volume ofnconversation around events… the only problem is that Facebook’s security features and the nature of the algorithmically-curated News Feed mean that users are rarely seeing conversations about an event from outside their friend circle.

Facebook is taking a step toward creating a space to watch, participate in, and curate conversations around events — starting with the launch of Sports Stadium

With 650 million sports fans, Facebook is the world’s largest stadium. People already turn to Facebook to celebrate, commiserate, and talk trash with their friends and other fans. – Facebook Sports Stadium Press Release 

The What

Users will be able to see stats, clips, expert commentary, and posts from other fans in the experience, which is launching for “American Football” now.

The So What?

While this is relegated to sports right now, it’s easy to see how Facebook could easily port these moments-based conversation extravaganzas to things like the Academy Awards, political debates, and national events/holidays. 

Why Should Advertisers Care?

These new experiences provide the future opportunity for sponsorship of events (think Red Bull having Stadium-like events for their Soap Box Derby thing), ad inclusion via sponsored content within the experiences (think stats brought to you by Bing), and through more traditional display-type ads within the experience (think Click Here to Win an iPad).