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I want to clear something up. I take issue with this latest post stating Execution Eats Strategy for Lunch.

Good strategy is just as important as good execution. To achieve success, one can’t exist without the other.

Let me illustrate a very simple use case:
You develop a kick ass website. It looks gorgeous, look, there’s even parallax. Wow those colors are stunning! It’s even mobile optimized!

Anyway—how are your analytics looking?

Oh you don’t see much activity eh? Can’t get a sense of what type of people are visiting/navigating across your site because you have NO VISITORS.

Newsflash: an insight-based approach that included a few user personas and a basic engagement plan to drive & measure awareness, acquisition and advocacy may have added a little bit of insight to your awesomely executed website that you developed in a black hole. And look, I didn’t even use the word “strategy”!

That “strategy” included 4 simple steps. Not complex at all. And whether you are building a website, product or company strategy—the premise and rigor remain the same.

My POV: Think more about strategic execution

Don’t separate the deliverables from 2 camps both after the same end goal. It will help with collaboration across multiple disciplines. Insight-based decision making (aka strategy) is not a deliverable- it’s a mindset: before, during and after execution.

Yes, Jim, of course you should only develop plans you can successfully execute- (isn’t that strategy 101?) but honestly, they are only as strong as the people who developed them. Just sayin.

I’d love to co-author a post with you on how to simplify the complex, and highlight some frameworks that help keep strategy simple.


BK Museum 3 exhibitsNote to reader: this has very little to do with anything digital. It’s still cool though. ~10 min read

It’s not everyday a museum captures three things I love, all independent of one another; street art, sneakers and the intimate power of words. I ventured to the Brooklyn Museum today for a glimpse of all 3 and was not disappointed.

Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks
(because words)
The Rise of Sneaker Culture (because Adidas! Jordans! Vans!)
FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds (because LES street art, obvi)

Captured my day mostly through photos, I snapped things that touch my heart, inspired me and/or drew on nostalgic times.

BASQUIAT: The Unknown Notebooks

Today was the last day for the Basquiat exhibit. Better late than never. Which is kinda how I felt about seeing his work in person for the first time. God rest his soul, those who know Basquiat for his early graffiti art (I’m very familiar with) or later paintings (less familiar) both predominantly represented his inner angst as a “springboard to deeper truths” related to the the world of pop culture, politics and race. Today, insight into his creative process was highlighted (usually involving black and white composition notebooks full of words, phrases, wordplays, sketches) — over 160 pages of his lyrics of life brought to the forefront. I read 90% of the pages. Some of it was disturbing. Someone of it was emotional. Some of it was blank. But all of it was personal, for Basquiat, something I appreciate and respect of any artist. (sidenote: they didn’t teach this kind of stuff in art history in college.) Those notebook pages, along with a smattering of sketches on paper and a few large-scale paintings summed up the exhibit.


Basquiat and Language

basquiat 2


basquiat 1

Took this snap in Willamsburg in June. Still haven’t posted it. Waiting for the right moment. #Streetart by Eduardo Kobra

Basquiat vs warhol Kobra

The Rise of Sneaker Culture

I went to HS/college in the 90s. What you wore on your feet mattered, and still does. I grew up amongst a crew of  homeboys/ punk skaters / athletes who definitely loved their kicks. Sometimes I wonder what Insta would have been like back then at high school basketball games. “Check the feet, never mind that sic 3-pointer he sunk”. Jordans were the Mercedes of feet, today there were ~4M worth in walls of them. Just dedicated to JORDANS.

This exhibit explored the cultural significance that sneakers have had on the world to date– and it was my favorite of the day. I wish my brother Jeremy was with me, he would have loved this.

Some sneaker collectors have their retirement IRAs stacked in boxes at the top of their closet. The sheer number of aficionados at the exhibit made me smile. Dudes were lined up reading everything behind the glass. Most of them came in packs of 3/4s, exploring their passions together. A guy in his 40’s manically describing how “he scoured eBay and paid a months rent for these…” another reminisced back to 1994 “when he begged his mom to buy him the new Air Jordan Retros”. Only a few times did I observe girls with them– (girls that love sneakers and the guys too, of course).

Stan Smiths! The first ever leather tennis shoe! For some fun history check out the Stan Smith Wikipedia page, you’re sure to win Trivial Pursuit with that knowledge!

Original Stan Smith!


The Saucony Jazz! I have these in red and still love them. They are so dirty. Don’t care.

saucony jazz


Original Shelltoes baby! The Superstar from 1969. A classic that never goes out of style.

real shell toesshelltoes


Jeff Spicoli would be so proud. I’m a life-long lover of Vans (and all their ad campaigns with Dennis Hopper) and have scoured eBay many times for my sacred tie does ones that I wear only on special occasions. However, my everyday go-to Vans are actually snakeskin from the Madewell/Vans collab in 2014. Love, love love.

vansvans descrp



Nike Air Max were such a big part of my life in late 90s/2000’s. I still have 2 vintage pairs of them. And they totally remind me of my friend Amy’s husband Chris, I’m pretty sure he sleeps with 1 of his 100 pairs of Air Max’s on. For real.

nike air maxnike air max descrip


Who’s mom DIDN’T have these Reebok Freestyles??? Mine did. (ok, but her’s were white. And I used to steal them).

pink reebokreebok descr



What! What!

My Adidas and me, close as can be
we make a mean team, my Adidas and me
we get around together, rhyme forever
and we won’t be mad when worn in bad weather
My Adidas.
My Adidas.
My Adidas.

Great history on the RunDMC/Adidas collab on the Adidas blog here. Great interview.

adidasadidas rundmc


I know the high style tastemakers like Balmain, Lanvin and Yeezy have since invaded this sector but sorry guys, there’s just no room for you in my closet- I’m sticking with my classics.

my adidas



Make it to the exhibit before Oct. 1st (GO! now!) especially since Mr Porter already sold out of the book.


Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds

Patrick Miller and Patrick McNeil are Brooklyn natives and made their fame on the streets of the Lower East Side in Manhattan. I’m sure at some point, you have seen one of their wheat pastes. They are legendary. The exhibit was varied- neon wheat pastes you’d expect, a limestone & marble sculpture installation and a more psychedelic punk installation called The FAILE & BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade where the walls, floors and ceilings covered with neon wheat pastes, pin ball machine and video games– its enough to give anyone a panic attack. The 2 installations couldn’t be more polarizing. Most of their work is blend of high/low art with a combined play on pop culture, consumerism and mocks the perfect, ideal life. My favorite bit of trivia I learned today: Faile is an anagram of A Life. Makes so much more sense now.

faile 1


faile 3

faile 4


faile arcade

faile 2



Next level art history via text

Need to close with a hats off to the Brooklyn Museum for getting digitally connected with their guests. They have a great new app called ASK (and great/fast wifi in the building).

You can use the app to text any questions you have and someone from their team of art historians/educators will answer you immediately! Real-time info!  The app uses both location and bluetooth sensors to identify which pieces of the exhibits you are near so the staff can best recommend what you should look at next.  It works. Download it here. Well done.

bk app 3







That phrase can make you smile or cringe, depending on who says it.

Nothing makes me more frustrated than entering a room, tasked to think, with no structure behind it. That is not a brainstorm. That is a shitstorm.

For as long as I can remember I’ve always been a structured thinker. What is the problem we are solving/what do we want to achieve? What are the insights we can work from? What do we want to leave the room with?

I’ve always prided myself in setting a room up for success. I’ve read myriad books, observed others and honed different techniques and exercises to facilitate brainstorms that elicit seeds, nuggets and big ideas from people’s minds. Aligning ideas with a specific objective takes work and a lot of planning. It takes knowing who’ll be in the room, what their strengths are, what their attention span is. It takes the right depth of insights to drive the right type of thinking and ideation.

I’m pretty good at it.

However, sometimes even the biggest overachiever has to admit they can’t do everything themselves. (No really its true, we can’t).

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right brain left brainGone are the days when planners *just* research, analyze, theme and provide insights…and stop there. I’ve always had a very strong belief that the best planners & strategists who have made things (eg: digital products & experiences) have the best real world insight and experience.

I am the type of planner and creative strategist who loves to identify a need/problem and make something to solve it. I spent most of 2013-2014 solving my own need to scratch an entrepreneurial itch and I was able to work on some amazing initiatives & projects which included launching a startup called Birdi on Indiegogo, something I have never done before. So, like anyone interested in #DIY or #HowTo I started with the experts– Indiegogo themsleves; who have a seriously strategic playbook on crowdfunding. We were also extremely privileged to have access to Sonny Vu as a mentor and advisor (if you’ve even seen or heard about Misfit Shine, you’ll know why this was an absolute gift of knowledge).

Last September 2014, Planningness PDX focused on the entrepreneurial mindset, startups & the maker movement. I had a great opportunity to share what I had learned, and present best practices in a session titled:

How to Launch a Crowdfunded Product
– Crowdfunding Trends
– Crowdfunding 101
– Marketing Playbook
– Case Study: Birdi
– Breakouts (mock product campaigns)

Planningness PDX 2014 // How to Launch a Crowdfunded Product from Jess Seilheimer

I haven’t hacked anything major from inception to delivery in a few months and that itch has returned. I’m hoping Planningness 2015 (held May 14-15 in the awesome city of Toronto this year) will bring forth my favorite collection of creative strategists, planners and makers and provide me the inspiration I’m craving.

I believe in sharing what we learn amongst the open ideation community. Please use the comments section below to hit me up with any questions and I hope to see you in Toronto in a few months!


Aside from my love of documentaries focused on the creative industry…I LOVE conversations and commentary around the purpose and utility of the Creative Brief.

I always have.

People in advertising get stuck on “truths” and end up complicating briefs. Shocker. I have always approached the creative brief by simplifying the complex and igniting a customer desire through “flexible limitations & invitations” (also mentioned in this video). Not too prescriptive and not blue sky. Gives the creative team room to explore.

I invite you to watch Briefly. (video embed below) What makes this video special is the intersection of 3 industry perspectives: advertising, architecture and technology.


“The end goal of Briefly is to help inform and inspire future generations of collaborators to write better briefs and manage the briefing process differently in order to help lead to exceptional creative results.”

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