Light Up Malawi

UPDATE: We’ve raised $6500 and secured a spot at the Unreasonable Institute! Thank you to all of our sponsors and tweeters that helped make us winners in the crowdfunding competition.

This is exciting news, because through the institute this idea hatched during a trip to India in November will get connected to some great advisors and fantastic funding. Light Up Malawi is indeed a very ambitious project, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We are determined to bring sustainable energy solutions to one entire country. That’s one nation completely off the grid – using solar, wind, biomass, and kinetic to achieve this. Malawi is where my mother grew up, and I have family there to this day. I grew up hearing her stories about the country and the people. We believe that Malawi is the best place to start on a mission of this magnitude. And we believe we can do it. I hope you’ll join me on what will be a remarkable journey to prove to the world that poverty can be solved with sustainable, strategic solutions.
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Project: Bordeaux Repositioning

How does a legacy brand like Bordeaux remake itself in the US market where California wine is king, and where Frenchness is both a boon and a liability?
Solution: While all the details can’t be exposed of this ongoing campaign, I identified several key factors along the purchase chain and in the perception of the word Bordeaux itself. I wasn’t rebranding a brand, but a region and at the most basic level a heavily associated word. By conducting focus groups from coast to coast as well as tons of research from online surveys I came up with a strategy that hits practical and socio-cultural needs and leverages social media activation in an organic way.
Results: The campaign is now in the hands of the talented people at Creativefeed for execution, and you’ll be sure to see the work out and about.
Role: Strategic Brand Planner, Digital Strategist, Scenario Planner, Researcher

Bing This, Google That

Different search engines are good for different things, and the belief that google is the be all, end all of search just doesn’t stand true anymore. I worked on the launch of Microsoft’s Bing search engine (before it had an official name) and I was very impressed with it.

It is hands down the best place to search for travel related things – as they have integrated the ‘farecast’ engine into Bing. The nice thing about that are the predictive fares display based on data from the past 3 years. Google is still great for general things, but for the most part when I need to find something specific to the design world, I end up looking into my own network on Delicious – and that’s where the more intricate search items are found faster. Twitter’s hash tagging is really holding it back from being a helpful tool for search, but perhaps there will be a twitter search engine that allows for community based search. I for one, know that there is nothing better than that especially when you’re searching for obscure art, technology and design references. Sometimes, the echo chamber really is the best place to find what you’re looking for.

UCLA Lecture @ Dept. Of Information Studies

I was asked by UCLA professor Ramesh Srinivasan to come share my thoughts on public space, public data and public content creation. I gave a talk starting with public space, and expanded the definition to eventually include public data and an analysis of how these elements effect our creativity. A dialogue about how much time we spend in our screen environments and ‘actual’ public space soon ensued. I haven’t given too much thought lately about how much time I spend on the screen and facebook and my other screenbased activities – but I have noticed how its truly affecting my creativity. In fact, after a hike or a swim, I feel back at the level of creativity where I was when I was a kid – so I highly encourage you to get outside before you delve too deep into the public ‘web’ spaces. Its just not the same thought creation process you’d get from the organic world.

Here are some slides from the lecture:

Adidas Originals

The Superstar shoe re-launch was a project brought to me by Jon Santos. In a very short turnaround-  we worked in tandem to discover the strategy, concepts and the creative. Jon designed all of the following creative,  as I did research, copywriting and trend forecasting. Here are some of the results for the conceptual pitch.

The goal was to celebrate originality without going too retro. Redefining original to mean now and breaking out of previously celebrated Superstar territory which always linked it to Run-D.M.C. and the world of rap and graffiti.