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Design Consultant at Visual Duration Studio, Eric Tsai an Interview Visual Duration Studio.


Tell me about your Company?

Visual Duration Studio (www.visualduration.com ) is a design consultancy dedicated to providing strategic solutions for branding, marketing and design services. I was a creative director for an apparel brand then advanced into product development and eventually had landed some side contracts to help other brands with products and branding.

What was your first experience of social media?

I would have to say designdamage (www.designdamage.com ) was my first experience with social media. In 2001 I created designdamage as an outlet for my creativity while fostering relationships with other creative individuals on the internet. Back then there were no free and easy content management system like WordPress or Blogger, everything was hand coded. I had to constantly upload and replace existing files to update the content.

I started posting sites I check regularly during that time because I was creating some experimental design with my artwork using designdamage as the platform and information repository to document my work.

Not long after I launched the first version, I got request for other designers to post their links and when I launched version two and version three I was doing a lot of collaborative work and posting links and news constantly. It wasn’t even called social media back then, it was just a hobby turned into a community.

What is the biggest tip you would give to a newbie in social media?

Use the right social media tool for your niche, learn them well and know what you’re trying to get out of it. Don’t go and sign up on every social media website just because it’s popular or you feel the need to be part of a community.

What do advertisers do that you wish they wouldn’t?

Spam the crap out of everything and abuse relationships to their own benefits.

What do bloggers do that you wish they wouldn’t?

Having no personality the “me too” blogs or posts, and blogs that just focus on making money. Covering similar content is fine but many blogs lack style and true substance, take a stance and don’t do it just for money. It’s like watching CNN, NBC, or Bloomberg, people tune in to watch the anchors even though they may be covering the same news.

Where do you see growth in the social media field?

I see growth in the mobility aspect of social media because technology will reduce the cost of connectivity (to the internet) so it’ll be easier to access people, knowledge, and brands. The “instant access” to all things we do everyday without geographic restrictions.

For example, if you go to the grocery store, you could instantly access opinions on products from local shoppers, rating from experts, or recipes ideas for a meal. It won’t be limited to only mobile devices, it could be a display in store aggregating the information or a device attached to your shopping cart streaming audio as you walk. Imagine the entire Amazon.com business model in a real physical store that interacts with you.

What new ideas are advertisers coming up with to take advantage of new trends?

Distributing marketing messages by leveraging key opinion leaders on social network without spending a lot of money. I think most people gravitate towards strong personal brands, and as authority figures, celebrity-status people have a lot of influence on regular people. As a result what’s been advertised will gain rapid social proof without spending the kind of money you do with traditional TV, radio, print advertising. If the person like what you’re saying, they can easily retweet, reblog, comment, or share.

What do you do to improve the world?

I try to help everyone I met in any way possible. It may sound like what everyone does, but most of my clients I started to help them out for free and some stayed as free client while others insists on paying me for my time.

What do you do that is green?

Funny you say that, I am working with one of my client to build a green product in the personal care sector. I can’t get into too much detail but it’s something that will help the conservation of water. I live in California and we have severe drought for years now (http://drought.unl.edu/DM/DM_state.htm?CA,W ) but everyone still waste water like crazy because we can get it from elsewhere. I hope to change that with this brand’s product and the owner is very passionate about sustainability and eco-green initiatives.

What is one thing about you that not many people know?

That I love to eat! I used to travel to Europe and Asia and there wouldn’t be anything I won’t put in my mouth.

What’s your favorite book?

Agony and Ecstasy, a novel about Michelangelo.

What is on your iPod?

Air, Al Green, Beastie Boys, Bob Sinclar, Daft Punk, Dimitri from Paris, DJ Shadow, Esthero, Fila Brazillia, Grover Washington Jr, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Nas, Radiohead, lots of jazz and Chinese music.

What are your contact details (email, company, blog, facebook, myspace, forums, etc)?

Email: [email protected]
blog: www.designdamage.com 
twitter: www.twitter.com/designdamage
linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/erictsai
facebook: www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Tsai/588665759
work: www.visualduration.com

What events do you go to?

ET: If I get time I’d like to go to technology events, it’s a good place to meet people and get ideas. I attend Web 2.0 Conference last year it was great to hear what everyone has to say. I am also interested in attending marketing events to learn what everyone is doing, what’s working, and what’s next. I was going to attend the CMO Leadership Forum (www.argyleconferences.com/cmosf2009registration) last week but something came up and I wasn’t able to go.

I am also planning to start a MeetUp event locally here in Southern California, specifically Orange County, focusing on “Branding and Social Media for business owners and entrepreneurs.”

If anyone’s interested and is in the area get in touch with me.

How do you prefer to communicate?

Email is probably the best, I don’t mind talking if I get a chance.

Who would you recommend, and why?
Yaro Starak from http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com
– Expert blogger, all things about business of blog, lots of resource and currently my mentor

David Armano and the crew at Dachis Corp from http://darmano.typepad.com
– David knows exactly what his blog title says, logic + emotion. Authentic media and marketing content.

Brian Clark from http://www.copyblogger.com
– The art of copywriting and blog marketing all in one place, if you need tips on copywriting there isn’t a second place I recommend.

Eben Pagan – just Google his name you’ll know why he is on my list.

Darren Rowse from http://www.problogger.net
– The Godfather of professional blogging, if you’re serious about blogging and you don’t know Darren, you will.

Dan Schawbel from http://personalbrandingblog.com
– Dan is the up and coming personal branding expert that knows his way around social networking and provide great advice for young professionals.

David Carson from http://www.davidcarsondesign.com
– If you’re a designer and you know a thing or two about typography, you know DC.

Mat Mejia from http://www.droppod.com
– Mat is my personal favorite creative director, he was one of my main inspiration from my old designdamage days, he used to have a site called h73 which is just ahead of his time.

Nancy Duarte from http://blog.duarte.com
– The queen in slide:ology, her company did Al Gore’s movie’s slides, she’s got the secrets to the art of presentation.

Everyone at K10K http://www.k10k.net
– The ultimate portal for designer inspirations from when I first learn about in late 90s, you’ll never know what great links and ideas you’ll find check it out.

What is one thing people can do for you?

Read my blog and get in touch with me, like you Murray! I am always open to learn and help.

Thanks to Eric Tsai, Design Consultant at Visual Duration Studio!

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