A Time For Thanks

December 22, 2015 by Dave Haynes


Unless something pretty big happens, this will be it for posts for a few days. The kids are coming home, and it’s time to slow down and enjoy all the trappings and indulgences of Christmas.

It’s also a good time to say some Thank Yous as the year winds down.

Thank You to all the little start-ups who contact me, year-round, looking for advice and sanity checks. The great majority of them respect that there’s no business model for me in dishing out piles of free advice, so they ask for just a few minutes of time by email or phone … and they usually get more. I like doing that – particularly talking people off strategy ledges and pointing them in better directions. When you’ve done this for a long time, it’s energizing talking to people who’ve not yet been beat up by the day to day of this business, or really any business.

Thank You to the established companies, big and small, that have pulled Preset, or just me, into their business. It’s endlessly interesting to get inside the doors of different types of companies to see what they do. My favourite, lately, has been a very large printing company, whose building in New York City is an ant farm of activity. So much of what we all see day to day are offices, cubicles and meeting rooms, where the most physical work in view is someone tapping a keyboard. It’s been cool to see a place printing, cutting, taping, shipping and generally getting it done – in a century building in the middle of Manhattan.

Thank You to the frank talkers in our industry – some I agree with, others I often don’t, but still respect. This industry is hyper-competitive, and so much of what is said or written is framed in subtle or overt salesmanship. It’s refreshing to just get it straight from people.

Thank You to the straight talking PR and marketing people who make my writing work much easier. I’m not interested in boasting, or puffery, or ego-stroking pronouncements. I just want to know what the product does, what the service offers, or what was done … and then why I should care. If you wonder why I don’t pick up your PR, there’s your clue …

Thank You to the people who always include pictures. If you don’t get that, think about it …

Thank You to the innovators – the people and companies who aren’t just trying to nominally improve on what they have, but are instead either tearing things up and starting over, or going at an idea or challenge differently. I love those times when I read about, hear about or stumble into something that makes me think, “OH, THAT’S CLEVER!” This guy got that out of me earlier this year, and he needs a hug about now (his Mom passed recently).

Thank You to the kind and generous technical people who I tap here and there – usually without credit – to help me decode some technology announcement that I can’t … quite … figure out. I have zero background in computer hardware or writing code, so I have operatives who by email now and then explain for me what something is, and why everyone should care. Or they shoot holes in big announcements that really aren’t big at all. They help me convert Martian to English.

Thank You to clients who have sent me to places I’d probably never otherwise get to, and to clients who I’ve shared time with off the clock. There was golf (or something vaguely like it) with Bil Trainor of Capital Networks – quite arguably the nicest man in signage. Amazing and unique meals with clients who’ve become friends. And goofy, totally memorable stuff like walking into a Whole Foods in Austin one evening with a client, just out stretching our legs, and discovering the place had a bar – IN THE STORE! – with 49 craft beers on tap. Oh My!

Thank You to the companies that sponsor this blog. It is closing in on 10 years that I’ve been doing this thing, and while I didn’t start it as an advertising vehicle and revenue stream, Sixteen:Nine has ended up with a lot of sponsoring advertisers. I’m gratified that I often hear from sponsors that they’re involved not so much because of the media opportunity, but because they want to help ensure Sixteen:Nine keeps going. Certainly, there are other resources on this industry, but I like to think I go at it with my own twist … or warped perspective. So thank you to Capital Networks, Screenfeed, Ce Labs, inLighten, MVIX, VIA TechnologiesArmodilo, BroadSign, Datacall Technologies, Freshwater Digital, Digichief, Milestone, SignStix, Watchfire, Wovenmedia and ScreenScape (as well as those I will inevitably have forgotten here).

Finally, Thank You to readers. Web stats are very hard to sort out, as they can vary wildly from service to service, even when they are logging the same things. But I generally know there are a lot of readers and subscribers, and the numbers are growing. I do this to filter the BS, clear the technical fog, point out bad ideas and efforts, and celebrate good work. The numbers tell me people are reading, but I always enjoy the emails from people who say they’re readers, or the introductions to people who already – through Sixteen:Nine – kinda sorta know me.

This is Christmas for many readers. Enjoy the downtime and however you celebrate. If Christmas is not part of your life, enjoy your own traditions, or what’s probably something of a break in the action and pace.

And here’s to a great 2016. I think 2015 was the BIG YEAR this industry has long waited for, and hopefully, it was just a hint at things to come.

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