March 18, 2023

Bias in AI

I was playing around with the new version of Midjourney the other day and I noticed something interesting. If you didn't specify race, it would feedback stereotypes for certain prompts. For example, I had it imagine 40 iterations of what a creative director for an ad agency in NYC. It gave me 40 white men. I repeated this with a more general request for a portrait of a doctor and again, all white men.

The first thing people will (and did say) in the comments was that it was reflective of the industry. Which can be partially true, I won't dispute that the industry is heavily white/male, but there are a few problems with that. The first is that a simple google search for the same prompt brings up plenty of diverse results of all races and sexes. So the results are out there to scrape from. And secondly that when you do a prompt for Midjourney it spits out 4 images at a time. There is no reason it should spit out 4 similar looking people. Hell you get more diverse results when you do a general prompt for a cat.

The problem with and has been with AI is that it indirectly reflects the bias (or laziness) of its creators (see the problem automated driving cars have with recognizing dark skinned people). I don't know if the Midjourney creators have a bias, but I do suspect they were lazy with the images they used to train the platform. They probably weren't thinking about what they were doing and this was the result.

Some people tried to argue that all you had to do was to change the prompt to add "randomize" or "diverse" to get the desired results, but this actually reinforces my point. How many people will actually do that (if they even know you can) and not just go with the first thing that's spit back to them? When race and gender aren't specified, white/male (or whatever stereotype for a profession) shouldn't just be the default.

Anyway, I posted my findings to LinkedIn and it resonated with some people. Cindy Gallup even reposted it twice on her timeline (yes, THE Cindy Gallup).

February 15, 2023

Industry Tax

I spend a decent amount of time thinking about how we can make the advertising industry more accessible to people of all walks of life. Maybe it's my background in sociology, but it's become increasingly clear to me that the root of the problem is access. We work in an industry where to have the best shot at getting hired, you have to go to an expensive portfolio school.

That said, I don't regret going to Creative Circus. But opting not to go to ad school makes the path significantly harder. From networking to acquiring the skills you need and putting together a book that will get you hired, school just makes it easier by 1000%. While some people will opt not to go by choice, many others who'd like to go can't because the schools are just too expensive and being burdened for 20-30 years with student loans is not a great option.

To that end, I came up with a possible solution to level the playing field and wrote about it on LinkedIn. It's gotten almost 20k views at this point so the idea seems to resonate at least a little bit.

January 31, 2023

Money on the Table

I got annoyed with a post I saw on LinkedIn yesterday looking for a CD/ACD who was willing to work for $67/hour, an absurd rate considering the amount of work they probably wanted.

But despite that, I knew someone out there was going to try to take that gig not realizing it, so I decided to share some mental notes I had about pay ranges for full-time and freelance creatives in NY, LA and SF. Apparently it struck a chord because in under 24 hours I hit 50k views and 430+ likes.

January 24, 2023

The Big Game

The other day I was thinking about the chaos that would ensue if someone actually got a copyright on "The Big Game," the euphemism commonly used by advertisers during The Super Bowl because they don't want to pay to actually say "The Super Bowl."

Anyway, that evolved into the following which again resonate with some people and is continuing to collect likes.

January 4, 2023

Well that escalated quickly

This morning I was sitting on my couch and just started typing out a thought that entered my head and before I knew it I'd written a full column. My college opinions writing teacher, Conrad Fink, would have been proud.

Anyway, I guess it struck a cord cause it's already passed 200 likes and 13k views.

EDIT: The posted ended up with over 500 likes and 48k views. Pretty crazy.

December 8, 2022

Feed Donations

At the end of November LinkedIn was flooded with layoff announcements, and I wanted to help. Because of The Side Show my LinkedIn is connected to tons of creative leaders and recruiters throughout the advertising industry, so my holiday gift was access to my own feed.

Armed with a holiday themed logo and announcement, I offered to help any creative who had been affected by layoffs. My feed was there's for a day. I didn't get a ton of takers, but the ones who did saw results. The week I shared, the posts generated over 20k views. It was literally the least I could do and I was more than happy to do it.

November 14, 2022

Portfolio Tips

I wrote a post on LinkedIn with 5 things people should be doing based on analyzing the analytics of my site. Apparently people thought it was helpful.

September 27, 2022

Everyday Creativity

I wrote a post the other week about bringing creativity into your everyday life. Apparently it resonated and got 11k views on LinkedIn with over 100 likes.

August 19, 2022

Read about random shit

Another LinkedInfluencer success story.

August 19, 2022

The Elon Musk of it All

The other week I posted a joke on LinkedIn (as I'm one to do) and people seemed to appreciate it.

June 16, 2022

Old School/New School

Yesterday I went around town with copies of my partner Eddie Babaian's résumés and posted them outside some of the agencies here in LA. This morning I posted them to LinkedIn with the caption:

Eddie and I grew up hearing if we wanted a job, we just needed to walk in and ask for the hiring manager. COVID/WFH has made that more difficult, so we left our resumes where some agencies would find them.

Mother LA
Deutsch LA
TBWA\Chiat\Day LA

So far the post has over 160 likes and 14,000+ impressions. Thank you to all the agencies for having a sense of humor and not issuing cease and desists to us.

Update: Less than a week later we are up to 27k+ impressions. Crazy.

December 1, 2021

New Job!

Starting with The Many on January 3rd.