Saturday, November 27, 2010

monica's wedding.

my (youngest) kid-cousin Monica is all grown up, as she got hitched yesterday in California. i had the honor of being asked to be the official pictcha-man (not to be confused with the Jigga-man), so naturally i took quite a bit of photography, at what was a great, small and intimate event (the best kind). please check out the slideshow below.

but fear not, i culled down some 1400 pics to ~600. sadly, i didn't have time to embed with music (so i recommend cuing up some the Shins). and if you're patient, you just might get to see a few of yours truly getting his groove on. enjoy, and congrats to Monica & Chris.

it was a great post-thanksgiving preamble to my impending road trip, which starts at midnight. next stop, Phoenix...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

selling soap. no more.

just a a few more things to wrap up before i close out the chapter of my life that was P&G. i've actually made it a point to never explicitly call them out on these posts (so no one could misconstrue this as a marketing blog, or an official POV from a P&G marketer), but i guess i can say whatever i want now (spoiler alert: it's all positive).

i worked for the Procter & Gamble company.

i remember back in grad school, when i heard i had gotten an interview for an internship with "Procter & Gamble," i thought they were a law firm. little did i know they made EVERYTHING, and were the biggest, and one of the best marketing companies in the world. having an engineering degree and working on an MBA in IS - i figured i just wanted to do IT/information security/consulting stuff. so naturally, i was a little annoyed when i saw the role description i was interviewing for was "Beauty Care Interactive Marketing." Beauty Care - WTF? despite lots of personal stuff going on that summer - i had a great time with the internship, actually having fun doing something i wound up being pretty good at. i eventually got an offer, so it was a no-brainer to accept and move my life up to Cincinnati.

7+ years later i'd worked across categories and regions on several "billion dollar brands", got to stand toe-to-toe with some amazing people (marketers and otherwise, internally and externally), helped define what digital marketing could and would be for the company, and get a glimpse for what REALLY goes on inside a big and mostly-not-evil corporation. "touching lives, improving life," indeed.

most importantly, i grew up. i got to travel the country and the world. i got to work and live abroad with people from all over. thru the company, i got to know some of my closest friends and mentors. i even met my eventually-to-be fiance there, later following her to NY, where "the company' found a way to make the most out of my professional skills and personal needs.

over the years, a lot of my friends moved on to bigger and better things (comedy, politics, marketing, startups, agencies, etc). i even started meeting quite a few ex-P&G'ers from whom i would learn a TON. the common denominator though was always that these were some of the smartest, best people i'd get the pleasure of knowing - right up until the very end.

so it's really weird to find myself finally leaving. probably a year or so later than i should have. but it was worth it - (almost) every step of the way. so yea, P&G has been a big part of my life, and i'm proud to say i had the pleasure of working there.

thanks "uncle Procter"

Thursday, November 18, 2010



as i'm sure some of you may have already heard yesterday's big news - Apple is finally offering the Beatles on iTunes (see my above spoof of Apple's current homepage takeover). about damned time. but frankly too little, too late - as i've my MP3 library was long-ago already filled with their entire catalog.

honestly, i didn't really become a Beatles fan until 2007, when i was living in the far east without in-person access to all my music buddies' recos (ie, going to shows with them or having them hand me albums to listen to). fortunately, years before my move, my good friend Rajiv had insisted that to be a true rock fan, i had to have a POV on the Beatles (all i had really known was the few albums like Help! that my parents had lying around the house, and Danger Mouse's the Grey Album). i soon became hooked (Revolver and the White Album being some of my favorite albums of all time). now if only i could get shipped off to another foreign country so i can spend some quality time with Bob Dylan and/or the Rolling Stones.

a few years later, i became addicted to the game Rock Band, and guess what, soonafter Beatles Rock Band followed. sadly, i had already moved to suburban NY, so the only true Beatles Rock Band celebrations was playing the entire game through the night  it came out (as i "happened" to be in Cincinnati for a business trip), and then our 2009 halloween party (where my fiance + i were aptly dressed as hippie John & Yoko).

a few observations i'd like to share about the Fab Four:

  • they're one of the few bands to transcend musical archetypes during their brief history: starting as a poppy boy band that the girls swooned for (minus the slick dance moves and earpiece microphones), they soon grew up to be hard rock icons (as seen above, as contemporaries of the Rolling Stones, etc), and would quickly transcended into weird trippy experimental music (a'la Radiohead) before finally breaking out into their own individual projects and movements (most notabley John).
  • most people are either John or Paul fans. and while i will gladly admit to their insane talent (the 1+1 of those 2's friendship + collaboration equaled 300), John was a bit dooshy, and Paul was (and continues to be) a bit of an immature, yet talented, sellout.
  • George Harrison was the coolest, and remains my favorite (above, on the far left). and my guitar gently weeps for him.
  • Ringo* was the ugliest. seriously. sure he's aged well (which is code for...he grew a beard to cover up his face), but man was that guy was ugly*. if you can't already tell by the picture above, he's the one on the far right.
  • i only recently realized that the band's name is a pun. their namesake bug is spelled "beEtle", while the band name is spelled "the BeAtles," as in "we got the beat." pretty neat, eh? and don't even pretend you already knew that (for the sake of my fragile ego).

that's all i got. the Beatles were awesome. they are (one of the) bars to which all rock-bands should be held over time. and Ringo* sure was ugly.

*(to be clear, this whole post was simply an excuse for me to share my graphical spoof ridiculing Ringo Starr's sub-optimal appearance. that fact that i could use a * as a poor typographical pun to also make this point only made it more worthwhile. you're welcome)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

from soap to yogurt. and America!

it's official. i'll soon be unemployed.

...though rest assured, loyal readers, it's not to the "America: what happened?" tunes of our current domestic woes, but rather the "America: it happened!" way that is moving our global economy (and allowing me to take a pretty awesome road trip*).

the gist: after 7+ years shilling some of the world's best personal care products via the wonders of in the interwebs (aka "digital marketing"), i've turned in my resignation notice, and will soon be jumping into a broader, more senior "integrated marketing" role - to sell yogurt. mo money, mo problems, indeed.  but i was able to negotiate the entire month of December off. but i promise, more on that in a bit*.

so you're probably asking yourself, "self, yogurt doesn't really seem that exciting? why would our good friend Raman choose to go that route (especially when he had a safe and stable job)?" to be clear - i didn't seek this out - it kinda found me, and was too good an opportunity to pass up. and while i was still doing well in my current career with the soap-company, my NY-based location (away from the corporate mothership) wasn't really helping with certainty and upward trajectory.

this new role, while a bit of a risk, is a calculated one. i'll be at the US headquarters of a European company (so yes, potential travel and relocation are in my future), but for the meantime i get to stay put in NY (minimal disruption to my personal life). the values of my soon-to-be new yogurt-making employers are a good fit with where i'm coming from and where i want to go, and i'm a big fan of the culture there (pun fully intended). all that being said, this was one of the tougher decisions of my personal and professional life - as i'm leaving behind a lot of great friends and colleagues, and a global network of rockstars that's hard to beat. but the future awaits, and i'm excited about the next 5-7 years of my career selling yogurt.

and frankly, between you and me - this is the real litmus test of IF marketing is the right fit for me long-term. i think it will be, as i'm getting on-board at the ground floor of something big - and the room for me to continue growing personally and professionally seems boundless.

*but enough grown-up talk. let's get to the real reason you're reading this: America.

(click above to see the latest and greatest itinerary of my upcoming trip)

that's right. America. while i did recently attend a rally in DC, that's not what sparked this interest. i effectively have a month off as i transition between my job of selling yogurt to my job of selling soap. i'm already out west for the Thanksgiving holidays with extended family, and have no commitments until the Christmas break - where i reunite with my immediate family in Cincinnati.

so in-between the two, i'm renting a car and hitting the hi-ways and by-ways of the American south/midwest (AKA - a bunch of states i've not yet been to - getting me closer to one of my many travel goals - 50 states by 40). i'll be starting in LA, and making my way to/thru Arizona and New Mexico - and then straight up to Denver, Colorado. from CO, i'll be flying over to Omaha, Nebraska, where i'll zig zag my way through Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas, before zooming down to Oklahoma and Arkansas. my final stop will be in Houston, Texas, where i'll hang for a few days with a close friend from my German-speaking days. and then i'm leaving on a jet-plane for Cincinnati for the holidays.

so my question to you, dear reader is this: got a place i can crash? while you may not live in my path of American exploration (and if you do, seriously, let's talk), i'm sure you've got a sibling and/or close friend along the way. if not, at least give me your recommendations of random sights to see (giant-sized baskets) and foods to try (giant-sized baskets of artichokes). otherwise it's just going to be me and the road. and i just might drive the road crazy.

so that's all (for now) folks. just keep buying soap to keep my current retirement savings going. start buying yogurt to ensure i have a job in the new year. and let me know what i should do along my route through America!

remember: soap, yogurt, America!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

welcome back Conan.

i never caught onto the whole "Coco" movement, but i have been a Conan fan for a long, long time (i'd share a video that illustrates said point, but a certain someone has issued a cease + desist of such interweb video tom-foolery)

sure i stopped watching "Late Night" once i finished grad school and got my first real job, but it was always reassuring to know he was putting up the good fight. then the Tonight Show debacle gave him a rise in prominence (and ratings). sadly, the double-edged sword that is living in NY kept me from seeing any of his live shows (we get everything, but it sells out in minutes).

his live show premiered last night. i'm a big fan of shows made for cable VS the networks. a built-in smaller audience allows for more great story-telling and conceptual risk-taking that the masses of America aren't willing to deal with. that's why you get lots of (mostly) inane stuff on the networks (Two & A Half Men, really?), and really brilliant stuff on cable (It's Always Sunny, Mad Men, etc). don't even get me started on HBO)

so, for those of you that missed it, i now share with you, the cold-open.

 your welcome.
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