Workshops! – Content Strategy & More

*image from In Good Company website announcing the workshop this week.

I just gave my first workshop since returning to NY in October of last year and I’m revved up now to give more.

What is it?

What’s Your Story? Content Strategy for Brands and People 

Course Description:

Brands are like people – with personalities, values, interests, and a unique manner of communicating. In this workshop we will start to identify who you are as a brand (whether an individual or company) and chart a course of communicating those values to the world through content. You will come away with a better handle on how to best use powerful socialnetworking tools from Facebook to Twitter to Flickr to Linkedin to blogging software. Start making your audience pay attention to what you have to say. Build dialogue, build trust, build business.

A Few Testimonials:

“Our meeting left me walking away with a totally new perspective of what I do and how I do…the story aspect is a very enriching take, which I really had not taken the time to fully realize and explore its value.   The bike story and execution is a great example.”

-Sharon Gray, Fashikon

“The attendees got a lot out of the experience – they can’t wait to have you back!”

- Victoria Clark, Event Manager, IGC

“The only consistent comment we got was MORE PLEASE!”

-Adelaide Lancaster,  Partner, IGC

The feeling is mutual.

It’s been a fantastic year getting Show Love up and off the ground. My partner and I produce social content for lovable companies that consists of documentary-style visually arresting video stories, text and creative direction. In full-scale projects, we work with illustrators, graphic designers, and web designers to create an optimal setting and tone for a brand’s continued narrative throughout the social universe. We’re like a creative team in an ad agency but for a specific kind of progressive, ethical business.

But I absolutely love to teach and give workshops. Workshops range from large to small, from lecture to facilitating brain storming sessions and mind mapping exercises that solve challenges of communication and narrative intent.

I taught Brand Strategy to 2nd year advertising students and a course on Trend Research and Insights to 2nd year Fashion Marketing Students at the Istituto Europeo de Design in Barcelona, Ethnography to corporate clients in Barcelona, Social Content in Paris, and so on. That was Europe. Now back in the states, and invigorated by the reception from this week’s workshop, I would like to do more.

If you’re interested and think I can help you, please get in touch. I will be posting updates on making this available to more people but I am available for one-on-ones which are the most effective way to dive deep. To make it cost effective, I can do small groups where we can focus on everyone and have everyone learn from each others input.

Here’s my bio.

Check out Show Love LLC including our biggest victory yet, a short story about a unique bike shop that has surpassed 280k views.

Check out In Good Company for co-working space and more. I couldn’t recommend them more.




I Think Pinterest Is the Best Social Media Platform Ever Invented: Here’s Why

Pinterest has become my favorite way to curate, communicate, consume, and categorize.  Along with Instagram which satisfies my mobile documenting impulses, it replaces traditional blogging software for me. When I’m sitting at my desk and not doing project-specific research or writing, but still being productive, (i.e. not looking up haircuts, why my ankles hurt so much after yoga, how to do a ‘burpee’, if Army Wives is right wing propaganda, the acting career of Zosia Mamet, etc.) my preference is to be on Pinterest.

This is why I find Pinterest such a revelation:

  1. A picture’s worth a thousand words. The trend sites will have you believe that everyone’s wearing mint green and buying tufted chairs but people’s tastes are really, really different. People just ‘have to have’ all kinds of things. They build a world of what interests them, what compels them, in a visceral intuitive way and it is so much easier to decipher when it’s visually laid out in a grid with just short notes if any, attached to them.
  2. Even though I’m a writer, I’m definitely a visual person. I make mind maps with clients and for myself. I pin up images of projects I’m working on in my office so I can see what I’m dealing with. Pinterest helps me to see what I like, see what I’m doing, and visually organize current projects as well as the future I want to have. It’s a digital visualization tool - another reason why I find Pinterest so effective.
  3. Blogging sucks up hours of my time. In the past, when I used to have girlonthestreet.com, I would be at my computer for 8 hours writing, rewriting, finding accompanying images, coding in html, formatting, reformatting, etc. I don’t have time or the desire to do that anymore because there is so much more I want to accomplish in my life (and so much more real world adventure and learning to be had!) When I started blogging again with What Women Make, it’s the thing I dreaded the most and it did eat away a lot of time for, to be honest, not the kind of pay-off I would really want.
  4. Pinterest is meditative. It doesn’t stop and start. It is not process heavy. Sometimes blogging began to feel like a smoking habit. you had to stop to smoke and it would weigh you down and zap your energy and your time. But I still like to share, curate, illustrate for myself and for others and I like to leave my writing for bigger ideas I’m developing both in fiction and in my work as half of Show Love. I find Pinterest the least taxing tool to use and the one with the most immediate gratification.

I’m on WordPress right now and know it’s the most robust, best blogging software but this post has taken me a lot longer than I want it to take and I’m busy running a company and can’t blog my day away anymore. I now have a What Women Make board on Pinterest which is so much more efficient and visually compelling than laboriously adding images to a post that take 30 seconds to load. Visit me on Pinterest and visit the (fledgling) Show Love Pinterest board.




Screen shot 2012-02-26 at 10.25.40 PM

If I Had Ten Million Dollars

Here’s what I’d invest in:

Digital Publishing  - New platforms that offer immersive media experiences for literary fiction lovers

The literary fiction part is due to my own personal interests (and my fear of the death of imaginative work in a dumbed down world) – but this model could be applied to all fiction and non-fiction. The innovation and technology put into gaming could be applied to merging documentary, non-fiction writing, photojournalism as well as literature, independent cinema, the best in illustration, cinematography, music composition to create rich multi-lateral access to imagination, knowledge and story. Hell it could work for low culture too, that’s the low hanging fruit after all.

Pinterest Retail

I read on Fast Company that this already exists as The Fancy so I signed up – but Pinterest still gets my vote because it builds context with such fluidity as a visualization board for all kinds of planning and creativity. By placing objects or experiences that would lead to acquisition next to the the stuff of life that thankfully does not – plants, a cityscape, a curled up cat – buying becomes more of an act of careful consideration than blind consumption. Organic self-directed retail. Facilitated by a platform that takes the whole spectrum of your life and imagination into account.

Farm-to-Table Fast Food

A farm fresh menu with crops chosen by ease and season. The company would work in cooperation with various local producers. It would mimic the fast food experience in some useful and familiar ways but act as a teaching tool for change in the food system. Done right, it could be replicated anywhere (along the sidelines of the football field? On a corporate campus or at a university? In lower income or subsidized housing estates?) I haven’t worked out the kinks, but I’d invest in this. Jamie? Where are you?

Open Education and Other New Education Business Models

Browsing articles on the rise of  homeschooling, statistics in online learning, and the movement against traditional degree programs, nothing on the horizon is due for such a complete overhaul as education. I’m appalled by the idea of the 40,000 dollar Manhattan preschool. (Nobody wins.) Nonetheless, I think progressive dynamic and creative education is invaluable. I look back to my fondness for Montessori and Bennington (no grades) and the New School (essays instead of tests) and know this approach, and ones that incorporate working in a natural environment, is applicable to the future. I’d love to sign on to a new model of education which balances real world social interaction and problem solving with democratic access to the best possible learning tools from top educators.


Skip the middleman. Think. Plan. Make. Sell. I love the 3D printer and I can’t wait until prototypes can be passed onto small factories that can afford to make small batches putting the designer / maker / entrepreneur in the drivers seat. A mini version of this idea exists in Spoonflower.

Data-Mining For Good: Customer Service 3.0

Ignoring the spook factor of privacy concerns, I’d defer to someone else on that one – if you could know enough about your customer to serve them as well as they expect to be served, remembered, listened to, customized for, well I find that very exciting. Innovations in customer experience that really put the customer first could extend to healthcare and safety, travel, home buying, and finance. It could be a good thing put in the right hands. -Chauncey Zalkin



Show Love Is Here!!


For Lovable Companies, A New Generation of Businesses Brings A New Way to Tell A Story:
Introducing Show Love

Incubated in Paris and Barcelona neighborhoods known for creativity, craftsmanship and the personal touch and nurtured by the lessons of 11 years in advertising brand strategy and communications, Show Love arrives in time for a new year and new era.

NEW YORK – December 10, 2011 – The digitalization of nearly everything has brought unprecedented democratization in media and business. Where shouting, screaming, and false claims for generic products once pummeled customers, the power has finally shifted to consumers. This offers an opportunity for heart-felt companies with intrinsic value to win on quality, transparency, and good old-fashioned storytelling.

Enter Show Love, a social content company offering storytelling services produced incrementally and strategically to engage consumers and involve them in the process, experience, and discovery of new ideas. For lovable companies, this means documentary-style high quality video, text, and photographs disseminated digitally, along with customized events, and next generation PR.

Show Love is built on the premise that with the proliferation of social media and the fall of the old guard gatekeepers, all companies can and must double as media companies. Instead of seeing this as a burden – extra proficiencies added to the budget, lost hours committed to manning Facebook and Twitter, all in ‘measurable’ yet uncharted territory where it’s easy to get lost in the clutter – there’s an opportunity to produce high quality content that let people in on the story of a business while publicizing a company in realtime.

Show Love exclusively pursues companies they call ‘lovable’ working with partners to produce content that will have the most value and impact. Their services involve packages of content strategy, production, and social media distribution catered to a company’s specific needs and their distinct story.

Lovable companies as defined by Show Love have one or more of the following traits: driven by strong ethics; propelled by business models that benefit the local or global community; environmentally sustainable; soulful, driven by passion and purpose that stem from the personal and heartfelt dreams of individuals; whimsical and unique, offering a fresh perspective; demonstrating aesthetic excellence and superb craftsmanship; solving a problem through innovation.

About the founders: In 2007, Chauncey Zalkin left the world of New York advertising brand strategy and cultural trend analysis to write a novel in Paris. There she met Peter Crosby, a videographer, writer, and photographer with an eye for light, detail and storytelling. While Peter went on a path of cultural and architectural discovery with his Canon 5D unearthing the best small business stories, Chauncey developed a website and showcase dedicated to design and innovation reporting from the Salone del Mobile, the London Design Festival, Barcelona, Paris, Kyoto and Tokyo culminating in the curating of a group show of 10 award winning designers and artists from 6 countries and 3 continents at the 2010 London Design Festival featured in Vogue Living Australia in 2011.

After 5 years in Europe, Chauncey and Peter are taking Show Love to the city best suited for an innovative approach to marketing and media, back to New York – to share their love of the stories that tie together the visual and human aspects of business.

For More Info, Packages, & Rates, Contact Co-Founders:
Chauncey Zalkin & Peter Crosby: showlove@showloveworld.com

Show Love LLC
51 3rd Street, Ste. 2L
Brooklyn 11231
Tel. 347.977.1829



She Occupies (with an SL video exclusive)

Have you seen this? This clears it up for anyone who isn’t completely sure of the agenda at OWS. One of the injustices represented is gender discrimination. WWM doesn’t overtly address discrimination but rather points out the incredible pool of outstanding women around the world that add to our culture and our lives through leadership, creative talent, innovation, personality, perseverance and spirit. But the fact is that WWM and girlonthestreet before it were born out of the experience of discrimination and lack of voice in the workplace, watching young women like myself get shot down for exuberance and ideas early in their creative careers then deciding to seek alternatives to conventional media and corporate life.

In the spirit of collective individualism, let’s add our own personal wishlists, value, talent, and actions to the cry for change. How can we do this? Women are doing it all over but the voice is not quite loud enough.

I admit it’s been a shock coming back to the U.S. – the convoluted world of ‘organic’, the 24/7 marketing messages, the giddy vapid representation of women. Join What Women Make and let me know your thoughts, your feelings, and your plans..

I’m interested in starting a WWM Meet-up in NY. If you’d like to join, email me at chauncey at whatwomenmake dot com and let me know your project and if you think there’s an interest out there in representing female creative leadership.

Here is the video my partner and I put together from our time there – an immersive walk through of Occupy Wall Street (together we are Show Love):



Friday Diary: Celebrating & Reflecting on Dieter Rams

- August 24, 2011
“Good Design Is Long Lasting” Exhibition
Phaidon Flagship NY

Core77 and Phaidon held a contest to celebrate iconic German industrial designer Dieter Rams work and his ‘less is more’ design principles. Rams was the head of product design at Braun from 1961 to 1995 and has been described as the yoda of design. His designs are commonly considered to have influenced the designs of Apple, Nokia, Muji and more – that clean rounded nonfussy most modern of aesthetics). The drawings are on display in a product timeline at the flagship store for the next two weeks.

Here is a reposting of Ram’s principles (color) with some of my own thoughts (grey/black) ; Their essence resonates far beyond the confines of design.
1. Good Design is innovative
It does not copy existing product forms, nor does it produce any kind of novelty for the sake of it. The essence of innovation must be clearly seen in all functions of a product. The possibilities in this respect are by no means exhausted. Technological development keeps offering new chances for innovative solutions.

I wrote an article a while back entitled “new lessons from ancient Japan”. In it, i refer to the term “kaizen,” continuous improvement (process focus) which Toyota embraces as a core value. Their motto: ‘the right process, the right result.’

I want to look at the word innovation. I like to check in regularly with words that become buzzwords to make sure they still mean something to me. So why do we need continuous innovation? Did we always need it?

There is no more ‘the way things have always been done’. Has iterative, motivated ($$, survival) change always existed at this urgent alarm-shrieking level? It seems like we can break history down into 3 phases where innovation changes from being a base ‘Maslow’ style need to a self-actualizing ‘nice to have’ Maslow style need. I’d say it goes something like this:

A. The dawn of man, -history, ancient Egypt, Rome, through to industrial revolution: continuous improvement, better tools, better solutions – all the time. Base impulse of humankind. Gets increasingly less urgent once we start lying around talking about philosophy through to committing mass genocide on several continents.

B. Next phase: 40′s on – years of trying to find solutions that last (excepting planned obsolescence of course) so we could rest and be happy fat cats. No need to innovate to survive.

C. Where we are now. Screw ‘innovate and stop, innovate and stop’. Back to the most urgent of loop to loop innovation in every day life.

Is continuous innovation a fact of modern life as well as a fact of primitive life? Is life now mimicking primitive life?

Mandate: how can we continuously improve and reassess, stay objective, keep questioning meaning?

2. Good Design makes a product useful
A product is bought in order to be used. It must serve a defined purpose – in both primary and additional functions. The most important task of design is to optimise the utility of a product.

I used to tutor a 6th grade kid with anger issues and I always said ‘use your resources’. I don’t know where i got it form but it was the way to get him on track when he began to get frustrated with a lesson.

Then I realized that I don’t always use my resources. I forget my resources and seek new ones to the detriment of what I’ve already gathered.

Sometimes things are just easy. Don’t make them hard. What do you already have?

3. Good Design is aesthetic
The aesthetic quality of a product – and the fascination it inspires – is an integral part of the its utility. Without doubt, it is uncomfortable and tiring to have to put up with products that are confusing, that get on your nerves, that you are unable to relate to. However, it has always been a hard task to argue about aesthetic quality, for two reasons.

Firstly, it is difficult to talk about anything visual, since words have a different meaning for different people.

Some designers I speak to don’t feel comfortable with words. My job is sense making in this arena. In others, my words are more essence than organization. Words are my output. On the other hand, i can barely draw a straight line.

Secondly, aesthetic quality deals with details, subtle shades, harmony and the equilibrium of a whole variety of visual elements. A good eye is required, schooled by years and years of experience, in order to be able to draw the right conclusion.

4. Good Design helps a product be understood
It clarifies the structure of the product. Better still, it can make the product talk. At best, it is self-explanatory and saves you the long, tedious perusal of the operating manual.

Every practical interaction should be so easy so we can leave the talking and words for literature, criticism, love, and debate.

5. Good Design is unobtrusive
Products that satisfy this criterion are tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained leaving room for the user’s self-ex ssion.

6. Good Design is honest
An honestly-designed product must not claim features it does not have – being more innovative, more efficient, of higher value. It must not influence or manipulate buyers and users.

7. Good Design is durable
It is nothing trendy that might be out-of-date tomorrow. This is one of the major differences between well-designed products and trivial objects for a waste-producing society. Waste must no longer be tolerated.

8. Good Design is thorough to the last detail
Thoroughness and accuracy of design are synonymous with the product and its functions, as seen through the eyes of the user

9. Good Design is concerned with environment
Design must contribute towards a stable environment and a sensible use of raw materials. This means considering not only actual pollution, but also the visual pollution and destruction of our environment.

10. Good Design is as little design as possible
Back to purity, back to simplicity.

What becomes of the baroque? (it certainly shows up in contemporary television but where else does the baroque make sense?)

That’s all for now. (not the most graceful exit but it’s time to rest and after all this is a blog.)



Motivatation Monday: Is a Social Media Expert What You Really Need?

In the height of social media madness where everybody’s looking for an expert to jump start their businesses’ online fame, articles keep popping up decrying the validity of such a new practice. Though I don’t agree, I do sympathize with the sentiments shared. When I interviewed Amir Kassaei, Chief Creative Officer of DDB Worldwide at the ADC*E Awards last month, he cautioned the industry against their folly of calling ‘social media’ a medium at all.

The crux of this backlash is like any other when a new denomination enters the vocabulary and starts to lose meaning as everyone jumps on board with blinders on. The people who’ve been doing it all along give those who haven’t been a wake up call. The reasons companies are going gaga over social media is because the herd is all going there and they think they need some SEO, social media, hashtag loving guru to help them catch eyeballs. They do need help but not that kind. At least not beyond the initial catch up phase.

People panic. They know everyone wants to get a piece of this here social media pie and they just don’t know how. The fear comes from knowing we have to communicate more than they ever have before and that is scary as hell. A few years ago companies could just throw money (in the form of retaining an agency) at a carefully tailored message and leave it alone – the ‘big idea’ remember? But now you need to have constant communication with other people – your customers, your peers, the world at large. You have to be an entertainment, media, technology, and service company all rolled up into one Agencies have scurried in every direction trying to keep up with their client’s fears to varying affect.

So you need new proficiencies at play but you don’t know what exactly. There are some things to keep in mind when considering ‘social media experts’

  1. Be honest and clear about your business needs the old fashioned way. Problems occur when you reach out for the shiny mysterious toy without forethought.
  2. Nobody is an expert.  The word ‘expert’ is antithetical to this environment of constant evolution. Leave that word to doctors, tax attorneys, programmers, and the people below:
  3. Knowing tricks is not enough. (see #2). If you want to invest in someone in house or on retainer, find someone who is a strong writer, communicator and editor – as well as someone with a strong visual sensibility.
  4. More on visual sensibility – There are just too many ugly communications out there. The visual does not stop with your web designer.
  5. The division between the online and offline worlds is on the cusp of disappearing. Soon they’ll seem as quaint as this video on how to type a letter on a computer from the early 90s. So hire someone to show you the ropes and train you if you don’t know the basics but start developing new habits now. The world is not going backwards.

I think the people who call themselves social media experts are probably amazing tinkerers and investigators. They are the kind of people who consider it second nature to play in the digital universe and they are not afraid. In fact, they can’t get enough. The core systems of human interaction are changing and it takes an advocate who is curious and insightful, exploratory and clever, and has the time to be, to get it right. But if you’re going to allot part of your budget to this person/people, they should also be strong writers, strategists, and communicator on many levels.

Now here’s my ‘call to action’. Let Show Love know if you need someone who respects and appreciates your story to help you tell it.



August: London Design Festival 2010 Preparation Update

Help! I am trapped by my WordPress template! I have been afraid to just simply blog because I have a magazine style site where I forgo my writerly urges to post the result of my endless female creativity talent search. Women who I find through my endless trolling for the best of the best in all manners of creative entrepreneurship, innovation, problem solving, and fresh cultural expression. But I want to be able to do both. I want to be a regular blogger too. I’m seeking a web developer to help me get there. Consider this a RFP.

I am researching the various ways to go to market, communicate, and stay simple. I love the possibilities available through QR codes, any way to bring a story to life and integrate story with the things we make. Also, not that this is my domain but I think how can these women with these ingenious ideas and amazing designs produce in small quantities so the fog of supply chain doesn’t wary them from getting down to business.

Got Future of Manufacturing On The Brain

From Makerbot to Ponoko to all the myriad of personal manufacturing possibilities championed by Thingiverse, the dream is there but the access to tools have not caught up. And when they do, what will that even look like? Dreaming and communicating ideas ad infinitum is one thing but materializing ad infinitum is quite another. But back to brass tacks..

It’s August now so everything moves slower but the fact is I can’t. I have a 9 amazing designers to show off before the big day when Designers Block opens on September 22nd, I have an event to prepare for at the Sense Loft on the 23rd of September and then the rest of the London Design Festival with Tiffany, Edyta, Ai, Chisato, Natsuki, Shuyu, Tiffany and Lynn (and now possibly 1-2 more, we’ll see) up through the 26th. Then two days later I fly to New York to get ready for my wedding in October. I’m also tending to my secret other project that takes up a bundle of editing time. (No its not a book about women or design or anything like that, it truly is ‘other’.)

Anyway, that’s me in a nutshell right now. I just had a nightmarish trip to Andalucia, a slight diversion a bit like a horror movie short if you will, but I’m back in hot as hell Barcelona sitting in my Borne apartment with Peter while he edits photographs and I write.  I’ll end this now and I’ll be back with more in the next few days.

Please stay with us as we unfold the What Women Make exhibit at DesignersBlock during the London Design Festival. I’m very excited. I couldn’t have asked for more talented people to showcase.



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