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Author Archives: Jesse

Video Director at Daily Grommet.

  • A good video doesn't just sell, it compells

    A great product video not only educates - it also entertains and inspires. Convincing people that a product is right for them is usually done in a heavy-handed, "but wait - there's more!" way, an approach I think people tune out almost immediately. There's something about being pushed to purchase that turns people off, no matter how brilliant or innovative a product happens to be.

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  • Stepping in front of the camera

    Last week was a first for me -- I was invited to be a guest on Pixability's webinar series featuring video & social media business professionals talking about their craft. The series is hosted by Bettina Hien, Pixability's Founder & CEO. Pixability itself is a fascinating company -- they help people create cost effective videos for distribution online. Most of the time they send Flip style cameras to their customers, along with a shot list & shooting recommendations.  They also have a network of producers who will show up at your doorstep prepared to make a video. There are obvious parallels to what we do here at Daily Grommet, so it felt like a spirited conversation. But I'm still not used to being in front of a camera!

    I'm also awed by Bettina for working on (in her words) "two start ups at once." The second start up is her infant child, quietly (while I was there)  absorbing all the energy and vitality that is in the DNA of a thriving enterprise.

    I really enjoyed meeting the entire extended team at Pixability. We share an appreciation for authentic videos produced from the heart.  The Q & A and "video makeovers" were also uplifting -- it made me remember just how daunting video can be when you're starting out, and how much fun it can be to explore the medium once you get started. It was also the most trafic I'd ever gotten on Twitter, and Tori did a fabulous job of keeping up with it during the show. Which reminds me, I have some @'s in my future...

    (Also, I sat down for a  few more questions after the webinar -- you can catch them here)

  • Citizen Commerce: Taking it to the classroom

    Jesse Buckley

    It feels busier than usual around here these days, but maybe that's because I've been getting out more. This past Tuesday I accompanied Jules to MIT where she presented Daily Grommet to a room full of undergraduates participating in an orientation week for the MIT Ideation Lab and their program, Discover Product Design. These are students entering college for the first time, and their enthusiasm was infectious. It made me want to go back to school myself.

    We met at 8 in the morning, and Jules kicked it off by having the students bring an object with them that was important to them. I tried to keep track of the objects, which fell into four categories: items of curiosity (1), items with sentimental value (5), personal fabrications (2), and what you might expect from MIT, items which were particularly functional (10). These are students interested in designing better objects, so to see what they valued and why was fascinating. When I looked up, Jules had drawn pictures of them on the blackboard:

    Jules then ran through her PowerPoint deck, telling the story behind Daily Grommet -- the ideas which have crystallized around Citizen Commerce, and the stories of the Finders & Founders which surround us. Seeing Jules present was fascinating -- she's a natural! But what was even more inspiring was the reaction from the students. They said things like:

    "Hearing about thoughtful creation and consumption was a good way to remind us as designers to think about both sides of the equation."

    "Daily Grommet is different, because although you're buying really interesting things, you actually feel good about doing so."


    "You're the kind of company we want to like."

    For some reason I was surprised that purchasing is such a conscious process even for people at that point in their lives. Of course it's not a fair sample -- this was the MIT Ideation Lab after all, and Jules certainly set the stage. But it made me realize that there are simple pleasures, an intuitive appeal to the "boutique on a mission" that is Daily Grommet. There were two points that I've continued to think about through the week. One was "don't get too big." There's an inherent mistrust in larger companies and the buy it and leave facility they promote. Of course we want to grow, but I wonder if there is a glass ceiling to the personal relevance we strive for. The other was Tweeted out by @MITIdeationLab :

    " It's been hard to keep up with our thoughts… but we're at least taking notes. Hopefully we can start to reflect and synthesize."

    I feel the same way, taking notes (ecosystem 'artist' book) and trying to make the time to reflect and synthesize. Is there an App for that?

    I encourage you to visit this article from Boston.com to learn more about MIT's Discover Product Design program, they are doing really inspiring things.

  • A view from behind the lens

    Jesse Buckley

    Jesse Buckley behind the camera

    With all that happens when we're shooting video here at Daily Grommet, the team suggested that I begin to chronicle the "cutting room floor," so to speak. Every day, we release a new story -- both written and in video form.  There's a catharsis to the process; collectively there is a tremendous effort to do justice to the Grommets, the founders, and the inventors, in addition to our own insights and experiences. The number of hours that go into each story is a calculation I don't even want to make.

    While editing the video from the studio (and those submitted by the people involved) I am acutely aware of just how much each Grommet means to the people behind it.  They care as much about their products as we do about Daily Grommet.  And my role is to grab relevant pieces of the video, weave it into the story we have to tell, and leave the rest behind. There are clips that are absolute gems: pieces that crystallize an attitude, or the reality of what surrounds the video that is being made.

    And yet, so many stories are left untold, or alluded to in a few seconds.  When creating Fish Aye Trading, there was so much I would have liked to include: details of John's Doherty's life, his communion with the fish and the sea...his nonchalant approach to his own creative process, and many other insights I've since forgotten. I felt ruthless cutting it down into a 2-3 minute video. And then a strange thing happens when the team has seen the video. It takes on a life of its own, becomes a new thing that is (ideally) more than the sum of its parts.

    Today's Grommet, Rickshaw Bagworks, was very similar -- layers of meaning and points of view. Jules' son, Dane, discovered the shop (and the crafts-people & ethos behind it) where the bags are made, just around the corner from where he's living for the summer.  He was so enthralled that he called Jules to share his find and submit it as a Grommet. And then he bought the bag, before Jules or the team here could even look into it.  Jules was stunned-- Dane buys so few things.  So when she traveled to San Francisco, they visited the factory together and she documented the tour. In the studio, we shot video  focusing on the core elements that seemed to make the bags meaningful and valuable. And the founder, Mark Dwight, submitted video too, illustrating even more of the dimensions behind Rickshaw Bags.

    The final video was long by our standards, more than 3 minutes. But we felt it was ready to set free, ready for your eyes and a life of its own in the wilds of cyberspace.  However, there was a clip that was orphaned on the cutting room floor, a micro story that is complete on its own and doesn't need the rest of the story -- it stands on its own:

    Mark was the CEO of Timbuk2, and his message is crafted and "on message," but the information reveals how deeply his Zero Waste vision permeates Rickshaw Bagworks. I'm happy to be able to share it with you today.

    I can't promise that everything I pull from the floor will be this articulate. But I can promise that it will bring a new perspective to the stories we tell, and hopefully make them even better. I feel a bit like a mother hen (?), tending her eggs in a nest made of scraps of virtual film. Luckily it’s not a responsibility that's mine alone -- everyone here is nurturing the Grommets in their own way; even you, our audience. Not to make it out to be a heavy burden--it's a great adventure, with some great out-takes. I'm looking forward to sharing more of them as time goes on.

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