Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It's all about that perception

The Point: Good ideas should be shared.

Today while reading one of the blogs I follow,, I came across this very interesting video by Rory Sutherland:

The truth is before this, I had no idea who Rory Sutherland was, but I now think I'm going to find out more about him and his ideas. I urge you to spend the necessary time to listen to his ideas; I assure you you wont regret it.

His main points are (as summarized by Scott Monty on his blog post,
  • All value is subjective
  • Persuasion is better than compulsion
  • Create intangible value to replace material value - particularly when we can place a far higher value on things that already exist rather than creating new things
  • Change the interface to change the behavior
  • "We are perishing for want of wonder, not want of wonders" -- G.K. Chesterton
Also, like Scott Monty, I would encourage everyone to explore the TED Talks web site if they're not already familiar with it. The ideas expressed at this forum are really worth spreading.

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Night at the office...

Point: This is just a fun run down of the last couple of hours before the Central Park Challenge (CPC)... and other stuff.

Over the last almost-5 years, I have come to realize that few of my family, and even fewer of my friends (those who DO NOT work at YAI, because I have like, 5000 friends at YAI who kinda HAVE to know what I do as a requirement of their jobs. Kinda.) know what I really do for a living. And I don't think they really care to know... I know I could give a rats a$$ about the daily drudgery of their professional lives.

But I think you are a little curious about what I do, so I'll tell you. I am a Senior Fundraiser, Marketer (web & print), Event Planner, AV Consultant and Social Media Nerd for the YAI Network. Otherwise known as a Senior Development Associate.

After graduation from college, I started as an intern with the organization, and quickly became a fixture in the development department, as part of the three person team responsible for planning the organizations largest annual fundraiser. This fundraiser, called the Central Park Challenge is really just a VERY large party in Central Park with a guest list of over 10,000. The really remarkable thing about this event however is that though it's over in about 4 hours after it begins in Central Park, it actually takes a little over 8 months to plan and host every year!

I have occasionally toyed with the idea of keeping photo and video documentation of every week for the 8 months during which we plan the event, so I can one day share the wonder of creating this event with everyone... but that's nuts. Instead, I'm just going to tell you what the last few hours before the Central Park Challenge are like. This year, the CPC was held on Saturday, June 5.

At 5pm on Friday June 4, we (the three person team responsible for the organizing of this event, along with our web master and intern) said goodbye to the rest of the 200+ employees on the organization. As you can tell from my team mate's face, this was not the most exciting point in work history for her; she knew it all went down hill from there on.

At 5:30 pm, I documented how far along we were on our fundraising. I was rooting for us to hit our goal before we went to the park the next morning. Note, at this point, we were just prepping for the long night ahead. Just in case you can't make it out, we were at 99% or our goal of $1.5M. The exact amount was $1,495,919.27.

At 6pm, we shut down all online registration.-- you wont believe how many people decide that it's a great idea to wait till the last minute to register! And then the madness began: when they couldn't register online anymore, everyone and their grandmothers began an assault on our telephone lines and e-mails! It was insane! We couldn't respond to e-mails fast enough or hang up fast enough before another call or e-mail came through again. Somehow, we managed to survive that bit of the night.

Then 9:43pm hit and we were in the full swing of preparing registration lists, finalizing maps, updating blog and facebook posts, and tweeting. You probably won't believe this, but the bit about creating lists, year after year, has proven to be the piece that drives us up the wall. And every year we express that "up the wall" sentiment in different ways. This year, a few our us had our artistic tendencies awakened and we created this sometime between 10:30 and 11:16pm:
No babies were...ummm... injured in the creation of this work of art.

At about 12:30am on June 5, I realized I had to make it back to Jersey City, get a little sleep, and be up in time to get to the park by 6:45am. Lol. Yeah, that didn't happen. But that's another story for another time. I did leave the office at about 12:30am though since I live in another state. To my understanding, everyone else donated another 2 hours of sleep before they headed home that night/morning.

The thing about all this is, it happens almost the same way every year. And though we don't particularly look forward to it, it kinda signals the final countdown to the close of every year.

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