Friday Fun: Recycled Seamless Lightbox

I take an inordinate amount of joy in reusing projects in new and different ways. Way back in the winter, I built parallel light arrays for an indoor greenhouse. Obviously at the height of summer, such a device isn’t necessary. So what can you do with a little indoor greenhouse to make use of it?

The answer: a seamless lightbox for macro/closeup photography!

Parts

  • 1 sheet of poster board
  • 2-4 clothespins
  • Indoor greenhouse
  • 2 LED light ballasts
  • 30 feet of 1/2” or 3/4” PVC
  • 4 corner joints
  • 8 T joints
  • 2 plain white bed sheets

Tools

  • Power drill with 1/8” bit
  • Patience

Directions

Assemble a standing rig for the light array as shown below:

light_array.png

The yellow represents the LED light ballast. The black are PVC pipes. The red are the intersections where you place corner or T joints.

Once you have one, build a second.

After you have both, set them up on opposite sides of the greenhouse.

In the greenhouse, lay the poster board down on a middle shelf, then bend it slightly (without creasing it) to clip the top to the adjacent shelf.

IMG_7806.jpg

Finally, clip the sheets on the sides of the greenhouse.

When done, you should have a seamless backdrop, side-lit to showcase items for sale on sites like Etsy and eBay, or just a way to photograph objects close up:

IMG_7805.jpg

Above, this image was before the sheets were put on. You can see mild shadow effects in the image that went away after I installed sheets.

Try this out if you have leftover gardening structures!


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Marketing Technology is More Than Just Vendors and Tools

marketing_technology_landscape_2016.jpg

I love the field, the practice of marketing technology. However, marketing technology has been regarded largely as a collection of tools and vendors. From Scott Brinker’s outstanding MarTech landscape to marketing technology stacks, marketers have come to see marketing technology as simply a box of tools, a myriad of packaged solutions.

This is a dangerously wrong view.

Why? Marketing technology is a mindset, a way of thinking. It’s what I called the Plus Path in Leading Innovation. When we use the Plus Path, we add things together, combining things together in ways that make something better, something greater than the sum of its parts.

We combine peanut butter and jelly.
We mix art and science.
We blend marketing and technology.

When we think of marketing technology as a mindset – how can I do more in my marketing with the technologies I have – we become more capable. We indulge in curiosity, we build things for the sake of building them, we explore what’s possible.

Compare that to the vendor mindset, where we are encouraged to just buy more pre-packaged tools. Vendors certainly want to encourage that version of marketing technology, because it selfishly serves their needs.

The difference is akin to learning a love of cooking versus buying more and more processed foods. The former, a mindset of curiosity, exploration, and eventual delight, takes time. Learning to cook takes effort. We make a lot of mistakes along the way, but when we look back at our journey, we see how far we’ve come and what we’re capable of. The latter is a literal recipe for disastrous physical and financial health.

Don’t fall for the vendor mindset. Embrace a love of marketing and technology together, a love of exploration and creation. When you escape the vendor mindset, you’ll find a whole universe of amazing opportunities just waiting for you.


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Clarifying the Twitter App Family

Twitter made waves again recently with its launch of Dashboard, the latest app to join its already confusing app family. The intent of Dashboard and Engage appears to be to narrow down Twitter’s feature set for specific kinds of users. This is built on the premise that the platform overall is perceived as too difficult to use compared to Facebook.

The current app ecosystem looks like this:

twitterapps.jpg

plus Tweetdeck on the desktop.

How do we make sense of this? By intent. Here’s how we should be deploying these apps.

For Marketing Technologists

Fabric is a mobile app analytics platform. Use it with your app developers in the same way you use the Google Analytics Mobile SDK. Business users can give it a pass; developers should be deploying it as part of a standard operating procedure.

For Business Users

Dashboard is aimed at the small business owner, but it’s useful for any social media manager for a very top-level view of the brand’s Twitter account.

twitterdashboard.jpg

Throughout Dashboard are subtle hints to engage more, which are good for the business manager who doesn’t have a social media team. It’s bad if you do have a team, because spontaneous activity could disrupt an existing content calendar.

For Executives

Engage was built initially for “celebrities” and other prominent personalities, but its feature set is ideal for business executives and thought leaders, especially those who aren’t as familiar with Twitter.

twitterengage.jpg

Engage shows what’s happening in real-time, which is nice if an executive wants to see how their actions generate engagement from their audience.

For Marketers

The core Twitter app and its video companion, Periscope, are for us marketers. We’re familiar with them. We know them. We know what we’re doing with them (mostly). While business users and executives could get great benefit from Periscope, it’s not the first app I’d put on an executive’s phone, not without coaching and training.

Ignore Niche; apparently it was a failed attempt at a consolidated social dashboard that never went anywhere.

The Glaring Omission

While Periscope may need coaching, the omission of live video in Twitter’s app ecosystem is a glaring one. Video is top of mind for everyone today. Facebook integrates video into each of its apps, so that embarrassing yourself live is always just a touch away.

Twitter should have done the same, if it wanted to keep parity in the video arms race.

Why the Mess?

Why did Twitter make such a mess of its app ecosystem? It actually makes a great deal of sense. They’ve essentially repackaged their core features for different kinds of users, which is better than trying to make one app be all things to all people. Executives and celebrities need different emphasis than business owners. Business owners don’t necessarily want or need the entire timeline first and foremost.

Attempting to re-imagine the core app to do everything and be what everyone wants would likely result in people disengaging even further.

For us marketers, our role in our organizations is to help match the right app to the right person. Knowing the ecosystem as we do, we select who needs what, providing them with the optimal experience on Twitter.


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mautic is open source marketing automation