37 lessons in 37 years

bsbc-2.jpg

I started this annual reflection at the age of 31.  Each year I add a new lesson. In no particular order of importance…

1. It’s your life.  No two people are the same. Embrace the gifts, challenges, and opportunities given to you.

2. Nothing is ever as good or bad as it seems.  The bottom is not that low and the top is not that high.

3. Family matters. At least to me. Good, bad, and ugly, I know my family loves me and this gives me strength. Find strength in your family.

4. Find your passion. Branding, fly fishing….  Passions make life worth living and people with passions make the world go round.

5. Do what you love. This is generally the easiest thing for you to do. What you think about when you go to bed and what you think about when you get up? Do that.

6. Fill wasted time.  Road trip or long commute? Fill your iPhone with audio material you don’t have time to read.

7. Carpe Diem. I’ve heard for years: “you’re young.” Don’t wait for the perfect time, because it will never come.

8. Use your words. The brain is a powerful engine and words drive this motor. What you think and say is what you will become.

9. Stay on your feet. Sitting is bad for you. Run, walk, and stand as much as possible. 

10. Make lists. Simple “to do” lists have become my greatest productivity tool. Email, call, errands, projects, media, etc., all have their own weekly “to do” lists.

11. Buy tickets not toys. I have no shortage of toys, but reflecting back, it’s the trips I remember most, not the “things” I purchased.

12. Nobody is watching you. I’ve always thought people were watching me. What will they think if…? Don’t make decisions based on what other people will think, make decisions for your best interest.  (The 18-40-60 Rule)

13. Do your best. Win or lose you did your best, what more can you ask for? You gave your best.

14. You grow in the valleys not in the mountains.  Times get tough, that is inevitable. As bad as they may be, these experiences craft our character and build our strength.

15. Continuously learn. Read, listen, watch, write.  Never stop learning.

16. Everything is relative. Everything. A 15-inch trout is a great catch, until you land one that is 20.

17. Riches have nothing to do with money.  Today (2011), I'm going on a fishing trip with my dad.  At moments, it will be impossible to be richer than us.

18. Set Goals. I set about 50 goals a year each divided into six priorities in my life:  family, faith, fitness, finances, focus, freelance.

19. Tell someone the goals you set. This will increase accountability and likelihood of achievement.

20. Buy a dog. Health and happiness will follow. 

21. Eat right and sleep well. I used to think both were a waste of time and resources; I now realize they are two of the greatest inputs to energy and performance.

22. Be spiritual. Not offensive, wacky, sign-holding spiritual, spirituality that gives you peace and purpose. Spirituality that allows you to embrace your blessings.

23. Live where you want. If fly fishing, running, riding, recreation, craft beer, and community are important to you, live there. If they’re not, live somewhere else.

24.  Love. Marriage is my most prized possession.

25. Don’t be a critic.  It’s easier to be a critic than correct; respect the man in the arena.

26. Find your happy place. Go there when you need to calm the inner beast. 

27. Cheer for something. I always assumed I’d quit caring about sports when I hung up my high school cleats. I now relish the opportunity to cheer for my wife and cheer for the HOGS–Woo Pig Sooie!

28.  Keep a few friends. You don’t need a thousand friends, just a few really good ones.

29. You lose 100% of the races you don’t start. If you try, you’ll know. The “what-ifs” will haunt you, so you might as well try.

30. Measure. If you don’t determine metrics and measure, its impossible to gauge progress.

31. Have integrity. Without it, what do your really have?

32. Experiment.  “All of life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

33 . Go down the rabbit hole.  Follow a passion, thought, idea, feeling, etc. as far as it can possibly take you. Once you've arrived at this point. Keep digging.  

34. Focus on Right Now. Cue the Van Halen. Vision is great, but I've found my best work gets done when I'm focused on the the next task at hand. 

35. Meet in person. No other form of communication (message in a bottle, blogging, phone, skype, text, social, etc.) can compare to the experience of meeting in person.  This holds true for all relationships, professional and personal.

36. Nobody cares about your story. They only care about their story.  

37. Altruism wins. 

Revive Fly Fishing Journal

I'm lucky. I found a career I love. This took some time and many missteps along the way, including stints in water rights, and a trout & salmon genetics lab. 

Even with my love for the daily grind, I need my time out of the office. Time to think, reset the batteries, and play. 

This time is almost always spent fly fishing. 

Occasionally, my digital and fly fishing worlds collide. Like here, and here, and most recently in Revive Fly Fishing.* This photo essay is dedicated to my curiosity of why steelhead will take my fly. A question I'm not sure I'll ever know the answer to, that keeps me swinging flies time and time again.  

I don't see this obsession with fly fishing changing anytime soon. I enjoy the journey nearly as much as the catch. 

*This publication is always updating so you may have to search for Winter 2017 to find this edition. 

random thoughts

Oh yeah, that one time I opened my "Thoughts" page and typed my random thoughts.  Note, I reference zero data on many of my social media, user experience, and brand assumptions. This is just my random thoughts, today.  

  • Without conflict, there is no story. 
  • Social Media is half content creation and half community management. You need both. 
  • The Ned Kelly meat pie is delicious and will cause you to gain weight. 
  • The miracle of flight sure makes life fun. Travel.
  • Photos capture memories and inspire creativity. At least for me. 
  • Organically growing an Instagram audience comes through engagement.
  • Planning and process are foundations of success. 
  • Facebook is winning the "Brand" video war. Sorry YouTube.  
  • Iterative creative works. Idea. Create. Test. Repeat. Thanks Mario
  • Story is part of our DNA. 
  • Only famous faces perform well on Instagram. People digest content through their worldview and someone's face disrupts this worldview. Show their backs, hands, or feet instead. 
  • The goal of all brand content should be to entertain or create an emotional response. 
  • Define the brand and check brand continuity for all content. 
  • Selfies have replaced the autograph. 
  • I love dogs. We lost Madison in September and I cried for days. We picked up Chimehuin in November and I've laughed every day since. 
  • A team always beats an individual.
  • All decisions are trades in self-preservation.

That's it. 

36 Lessons in 36 Years.

pkg-1.jpg

 

I started this annual reflection at the age of 31.  Each year I add a new lesson. In no particular order of importance…

1. It’s your life.  No two people are the same. Embrace the gifts, challenges, and opportunities given to you.

2. Nothing is ever as good or bad as it seems.  The bottom is not that low and the top is not that high.

3. Family matters. At least to me. Good, bad, and ugly, I know my family loves me and this gives me strength. Find strength in your family.

4. Find your passion. Branding, fly fishing….  Passions make life worth living and people with passions make the world go round.

5. Do what you love. This is generally the easiest thing for you to do. What you think about when you go to bed and what you think about when you get up? Do that.

6. Fill wasted time.  Road trip or long commute? Fill your iPhone with audio material you don’t have time to read.

7. Carpe Diem. I’ve heard for years: “you’re young.” Don’t wait for the perfect time, because it will never come.

8. Use your words. The brain is a powerful engine and words drive this motor. What you think and say is what you will become.

9. Stay on your feet. Sitting is bad for you. Run, walk, and stand as much as possible. 

10. Make lists. Simple “to do” lists have become my greatest productivity tool. Email, call, errands, projects, media, etc., all have their own weekly “to do” lists.

11. Buy tickets not toys. I have no shortage of toys, but reflecting back, it’s the trips I remember most, not the “things” I purchased.

12. Nobody is watching you. I’ve always thought people were watching me. What will they think if…? Don’t make decisions based on what other people will think, make decisions for your best interest.  (The 18-40-60 Rule)

13. Do your best. Win or lose you did your best, what more can you ask for? You gave your best.

14. You grow in the valleys not in the mountains.  Times get tough, that is inevitable. As bad as they may be, these experiences craft our character and build our strength.

15. Continuously learn. Read, listen, watch, write.  Never stop learning.

16. Everything is relative. Everything. A 15-inch trout is a great catch, until you land one that is 20.

17. Riches have nothing to do with money.  Today (2011), I'm going on a fishing trip with my dad.  At moments, it will be impossible to be richer than us.

18. Set Goals. I set about 50 goals a year each divided into six priorities in my life:  family, faith, fitness, finances, focus, freelance.

19. Tell someone the goals you set. This will increase accountability and likelihood of achievement.

20. Buy a dog. Health and happiness will follow. 

21. Eat right and sleep well. I used to think both were a waste of time and resources; I now realize they are two of the greatest inputs to energy and performance.

22. Be spiritual. Not offensive, wacky, sign-holding spiritual, spirituality that gives you peace and purpose. Spirituality that allows you to embrace your blessings.

23. Live where you want. If fly fishing, running, riding, recreation, craft beer, and community are important to you, live there. If they’re not, live somewhere else.

24.  Love. Marriage is my most prized possession.

25. Don’t be a critic.  It’s easier to be a critic than correct; respect the man in the arena.

26. Find your happy place. Go there when you need to calm the inner beast. 

27. Cheer for something. I always assumed I’d quit caring about sports when I hung up my high school cleats. I now relish the opportunity to cheer for my wife and cheer for the HOGS–Woo Pig Sooie!

28.  Keep a few friends. You don’t need a thousand friends, just a few really good ones.

29. You lose 100% of the races you don’t start. If you try, you’ll know. The “what-ifs” will haunt you, so you might as well try.

30. Measure. If you don’t determine metrics and measure, its impossible to gauge progress.

31. Have integrity. Without it, what do your really have?

32. Experiment.  “All of life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

33 . Go down the rabbit hole.  Follow a passion, thought, idea, feeling, etc. as far as it can possibly take you. Once you've arrived at this point. Keep digging.  

34. Focus on Right Now. Cue the Van Halen. Vision is great, but I've found my best work gets done when I'm focused on the the next task at hand. 

35. Meet in person. No other form of communication (message in a bottle, blogging, phone, skype, text, social, etc.) can compare to the experience of meeting in person.  This holds true for all relationships, professional and personal.

36. Nobody cares about your story. They only care about their story.  

B&W

No thoughts here, only photos from the summer. Not sure why I'm on a black and white kick, but I am. Oh, and I still like to fish and fly my drone Dixie. 

Showcase the Product.

I'm a fan of story. I believe it's in our DNA and the root of every decision we make. So much so, that sometimes all you have to do is show the product and let the audience create their own story. Apple has been doing this for years (Insert any recent Apple Ad). When a product is right, the market will fill in the details, they will create their own story. Their garage, their man space, their happy place.

That's where we landed with Baldhead Cabinets: Showcase the Product and let the audience draft their story. 

Belize in Black & White

A special place.  

This is frequently the first description of the Turneffe Atoll. I agree. An abundance of wildlife that supports, both tourism and commercial fishing. A maze of mangroves that sequesters carbon and protects the mainland from hurricanes. And a diverse barrier reef ecosystem that we're only beginning to understand.

I just returned from 10 days in this special place, collecting digital assets for the Turneffe Atoll Trust and Turneffe Flats.   I'll be sharing video assets as they come to life. In the meantime, here's a look at some black and white photos from the trip. 


What #Donald taught me

Who is #Donald you ask? 

A drone. Yes, I purchased a drone last December and immediately named it Donald.  You can view photos and video captured by Donald here. Unfortunately, Donald's life was cut short this past Thursday as he swerved into an oncoming tree on the North Umpqua River and fell to the water below. The last moments of Donald's life are captured in this instagram tribute. 

 

A video posted by Chris Corbin (@corbinbrands) on

 

So sad. Donald and I had a good run of video projects, photography and flights.  I realize #Donald is a piece of plastic I gifted human qualities and personality, but that was half the fun. this Donald also taught me some things. 

1. Find a Unique Perspective. It probably won't be long before people get used to the view from above. In the meantime, it's this unique perspective that makes these images interesting. It doesn't take much elevation gain to provide a view that someone hasn't seen before. 

2. Look at the world differently. Donald literally changed the way I look at the world, instead of looking at the world from the bottom up, I started looking at the world from the top down. I'd drive past grain silo in the Oregon high plains and think. I wonder what that looks like from above. 

3. Take chances. Donald's dead, so some may disagree with this lesson. I launched Donald off of bridges and floating boats. I flew Donald threw factories and close quarters. I don't regret any of these decisions. These are photos that you don't always see, because they're a little risky to capture. 

On Wednesday a package will arrive with #Donald's replacement. I'll let Linsey do the honors of picking out a name. I'm already eager for the next chapter and future lessons learned.  

 

I'm not a photographer

A photographer is defined as "as a person who takes photographs especially as a job." I'm not a photographer. To prove this point, I've declined two photographer "job" offers in the last two weeks. Don't get me wrong, I take photographs, but I'm not photographer. 

The distinction is I never take photographs as a sole job. I take photos as part of a larger brand piece or story telling endeavor.  I appreciate photography, enjoy photography and I use photography professionally, but I'm not a photographer. 

I'm fascinated by photography's ability to capture a moment, elicit an emotional response, and tell an entire story. I study photography style, photography composition, photography market trends, and photography's role in building brands. I use photography daily with the brands I work with, but, I'm not a photographer.  

Trek Travel recently asked me to guest post on travel photography / videography and I was happy to share my thoughts and experiences. You can see the entire post here.  The take home message is the same for all my pursuits.  Follow your passions, have fun, work hard, ignore the critics, and know who you are. And I'm not a photographer. 

Here is some of my favorite photography from the last year of travel.  



35 lessons in 35 years.

I started this annual reflection at the age of 31.  Each year I add a new lesson and a new fly. You can see from the image, 31 is also the age I found my love for Steelhead. In no particular order of importance…

1. It’s your life.  No two people are the same. Embrace the gifts, challenges, and opportunities given to you.

2. Nothing is ever as good or bad as it seems.  The bottom is not that low and the top is not that high.

3. Family matters. At least to me. Good, bad, and ugly, I know my family loves me and this gives me strength. Find strength in your family.

4. Find your passion. Branding, fly fishing….  Passions make life worth living and people with passions make the world go round.

5. Do what you love. This is generally the easiest thing for you to do. What you think about when you go to bed and what you think about when you get up? Do that.

6. Fill wasted time.  Road trip or long commute? Fill your iPhone with audio material you don’t have time to read.

7. Carpe Diem. I’ve heard for years: “you’re young.” Don’t wait for the perfect time, because it will never come.

8. Use your words. The brain is a powerful engine and words drive this motor. What you think and say is what you will become.

9. Stay on your feet. Sitting is bad for you. Run, walk, and stand as much as possible. 

10. Make lists. Simple “to do” lists have become my greatest productivity tool. Email, call, errands, projects, media, etc., all have their own weekly “to do” lists.

11. Buy tickets not toys. I have no shortage of toys, but reflecting back, it’s the trips I remember most, not the “things” I purchased.

12. Nobody is watching you. I’ve always thought people were watching me. What will they think if…? Don’t make decisions based on what other people will think, make decisions for your best interest.  (The 18-40-60 Rule)

13. Do your best. Win or lose you did your best, what more can you ask for? You gave your best.

14. You grow in the valleys not in the mountains.  Times get tough, that is inevitable. As bad as they may be, these experiences craft our character and build our strength.

15. Continuously learn. Read, listen, watch, write.  Never stop learning.

16. Everything is relative. Everything. A 15-inch trout is a great catch, until you land one that is 20.

17. Riches have nothing to do with money.  Today (2011), I'm going on a fishing trip with my dad.  At moments, it will be impossible to be richer than us.

18. Set Goals. I set about 50 goals a year each divided into six priorities in my life:  family, faith, fitness, finances, focus, freelance.

19. Tell someone the goals you set. This will increase accountability and likelihood of achievement.

20. Buy a dog. Health and happiness will follow. 

21. Eat right and sleep well. I used to think both were a waste of time and resources; I now realize they are two of the greatest inputs to energy and performance.

22. Be spiritual. Not offensive, wacky, sign-holding spiritual, spirituality that gives you peace and purpose. Spirituality that allows you to embrace your blessings.

23. Live where you want.   If fly fishing, running, riding, recreation, craft beer, and community are important to you, live there. If they’re not, live somewhere else.

24.  Love. Marriage is my most prized possession.

25. Don’t be a critic.  It’s easier to be a critic than correct; respect the man in the arena.

26. Find your happy place. Go there when you need to calm the inner beast. 

27. Cheer for something. I always assumed I’d quit caring about sport when I hung up my high school cleats. I now relish the opportunity to cheer for my wife and cheer for the HOGS–Woo Pig Sooie!

28.  Keep a few friends. You don’t need a thousand friends, just a few really good ones.

29. You lose 100% of the races you don’t start. If you try, you’ll know. The “what-ifs” will haunt you, so you might as well try.

30. Measure. If you don’t determine metrics and measure, its impossible to gauge progress.

31. Have integrity. Without it, what do your really have?

32. Experiment.  “All of life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

33 . Go down the rabbit hole.  Follow a passion, thought, idea, feeling, etc. as far as it can possibly take you. Once you've arrived at this point. Keep digging.  

34. Focus on Right Now. Cue the Van Halen. Vision is great, but I've found my best work gets done when I'm focused on the the next task at hand. 

35. Meet in person. No other form of communication (message in a bottle, blogging, phone, skype, text, social, etc.) can compare to the experience of meeting in person.  This holds true for all relationships, professional and personal.  

video, powerful stuff

Let's face it, video is pretty powerful stuff. It's why a movie is still a luxury and a well crafted film will bring an emotional response other mediums can't match.  The creative opportunities to tell a brand story are endless. What I didn't fully realize was its power with regards to digital content and conversions, at least until I read this article last night. The article covers more than video, but here are the video statistics that reinforced my gut feeling of.... powerful stuff. 

  1. The average human attention span is 8 seconds.  The average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds. Source: Wikipedia
  2. Our brains process images 60x faster than text.  Change-up your text-to-image ratios and choose images that tell your story. Source: 3M Corporation
  3. 80% of your online visitors will watch a video while 20% will actually read content. Source: Digital Sherpa
  4. 75% Of Users Visit The Marketer’s Website After Viewing A Video. Source: Digital Sherpa
  5. 45% Of Viewers Will Stop Watching A Video After 1 Minute & 60% By 2 Minutes. Source: Insivia
  6. Videos Increase People’s Understanding Of Your Product Or Service by 74%. Source: Digital Sherpa
  7. Using video on landing pages can increase conversions by 86%. Source: Unbounce.com
  8. Up to 60% of all email recipients regularly turn off images. Source: MarketingLand.com
  9. Your Website Is 50 Times More Likely To Appear On The First Page Of A Search Engine Results Page If It Includes Video. Source: Digital Sherpa
  10. Adding video to your email campaigns can increase click rate by 300%.  Host your video online and create a thumbnail play button for your email. Source: Wistia
  11. Website visitors are 64% more likely to buy a product on an online retail site after watching a video. Source: Digital Sherpa

you can only use one

I've recently read multiple articles about how limitations can increase creativity (here's an example.) I agree with these findings and decided to set my own restrictions on the video above. It's probably not obvious at first glance, but the video above has boundaries I set at ONE. 

One camera: Go Pro Hero 4 
One camera mount: DJI Phantom 2
One sound track: Celestrial South, Marmoset 
One effect: Black and White 
One transition: Dip to black 
One composition: Rule of Thirds 

And then I stuck to my guns. Even to the extent of building my own composition grid in Photoshop and overlaying the video to make sure I met the Rule of Thirds (see example video frames below).  It's difficult to determine the relative creativity this process developed, but I do know limiting the parameters made it FUN, and this is the most important metric for me. 

 


A beer video without beer.

I've always claimed Big Sky Brewing Company was the first brewery to name a beer something that would taste bad: Moose Drool.  Big Sky Brewing Co.'s lack of fear and continuous drive to zig, when the industry zags, makes it one of my all time favorite brands. 

Knowing this,  I pitched, shot, edited, and published a video on this storyline. The video doesn't have a Big Sky Beer–or even the company name. All it has is a story of Sam Schultz, a Missoula hometown kid that shares the ideals of the brewery. Never give up and have as much fun as possible doing it. 


coffee shop photos, just for fun.

At about 2:00 p.m. today, I needed a break. I had been plowing through the to-do list since about 6:00 a.m. and wanted a creative outlet–from the creative work–I suppose. It sounds weird, but it's actually true. So, I grabbed a camera and ran down to Backporch Coffee Roasters, to take some pictures for fun. Besides, they're clients, and friends. The two usually go hand in hand. They didn't ask me to take pictures, or hire me to take pictures, I just felt like taking pictures of the finer details of an awesome coffee shop. Just for fun.  

   

Thoughts on building LinseyCorbin.com

I just finished a very special project: linseycorbin.com. Talk about a tough client.  My wife was my first BRAND and one that's still near and dear to my heart. Literally. As with all projects, there is more than meets the eye, so I wanted to share some thoughts and observations. 

Fancy is dead. The days of fancy frameworks are over. Most of these died with flash, but even today custom design elements, plugins, etc. cause more bad than good. They break in browser updates, and they're difficult to make responsive (responds to various screen sizes). It's the content (especially for athletes) and not the fancy framework that creates the differentiation keeps people coming back. Compare Google to Yahoo or Myspace to Facebook. In both cases, fancy died. 

Let analytics be your guide. The beauty of digital is you can see exactly how people use a site, what they care about and what they click on. It was a little disturbing to see the amount of time spent on photos of my wife, but I knew from the analytics the photo page was important.  The remainder of the site navigation was built accordingly. 

Establish a Hub and Spoke model. Linsey has hundreds of thousand brand impressions in various social media channels and media outlets. I call these touch points the spokes. Her website is the hub. The hub is always a richer brand experience than the spokes. It's also an experience you can measure and control.  In a dream world, the spokes are driving traffic to the hub, because the Hub is real estate you own. 

Don't build a Hub on real estate you don't own.  With the growth of social media, I've seen several athletes in this sport abandon their hubs. This is a big mistake as you lose reach and analytics to can monetize. You don't own social media channels. Thus, if Facebook issues a "pay to play policy" for brands – which they've done – you're at their mercy.  If you've build an audience on your own real estate, then you get to the call the shots. 

All design matters.  The framework of the website simple. (not by accident, see #1). As such, I knew the fonts and more subtle deign elements were critical to get right. I worked with Brian Lindstrom Trek Bikes and Newbaric to guide this journey. We also used some design he had created on cycling kits, and bikes to provide continuity of the site and other touch points.

One step at a time. Similar to winning an Ironman, the digital branding process is a grind. Nothing is built overnight and the ecosystems are constantly evolving. The latest version of linseycorbin.com is an improvement on many levels function and design.  What's more important is how we use this platform to create stories and unique brand experiences moving forward.  

Drone Video

I just completed my first video project using my Drone - which I've named Donald by the way. The objective of the video was to showcase the run course for next year's USATF Cross Country Championships in Bend, OR.  We made the video "course accurate" with hopes to capture the runner's experience. The two runners follow the course layout to the nearest kilometer. The distance overlays (0.5KM, 1.0KM, 1.5KM, 2.0KM - if you noticed) fall on drone shots at the corresponding distances. We also chose to sacrifice clarity (light shining through titles) for style points,  as the title of the video, press release, and video description provide the finer details.  

With that said, here's a look at the finished product.