Thoughts From a Cloud

A painting and poem by Cameron Colan

Life ebbs and flows

Just as the wind blows

The good, the bad

The happy, the sad

It’s okay to be confused

Because here we’re all mad

Be calm young lad

Stop looking up and appreciate what is had

Time’s a myth, one you can make anything out of

Something beautiful if given enough love

Something that will never fit like a glove

Yet when treated right, gives you the freedom of a dove

It’s something none of us ever have enough of

But while we have it we must make the best of

So be one with the wind

And be good to anyone whose ever sinned

For you have too

And know that in most moments all that matters is what happens between me and you

Be curious, be courageous and don’t be blue

That’s all we can really do.

Washington’s Square Heart

It’s the perfect place to bear the founding father’s name.

A place where people come together to be themselves without a drop of shame. 


With the old man’s snare drums in motion, 

And children mesmerized by the fountain as if it were an ocean.


It’s a little oasis,

For all of us who stroll these streets on a daily basis.


Beneath Broadway’s light, 

Lady Liberty searches for her knight. 

Perpetually watching over her people with all her might. 

Because the way this place goes none of us know if tonight’s gona be our night.


But at least we’ve got this square, 

A sanctuary for all of us to share.

A relic of our past and an ode to a future where we all show her we still care.

Cause she’ll never stop preaching, “Together is the best way to prevent wear and tear.”


We all have a home, here in Washington’s Square.

Advertising Week New York ’16

Last week I had the privilege of getting a student ambassador pass to Advertising Week 2016 in New York City. For those for you who aren’t familiar with Advertising week imagine a TED talk conference showcasing the world’s most creative marketing minds breaking down the latest revelations and innovations within the industry. This convenient convergence minds meant only one thing for me- I was going to learn a lot, and learn I did.

Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL, summed up what I saw to be at the core of most of the week’s discussions, “The human dynamic with media has changed forever.” He asserted this sternly as he broke down the complexities the industry is facing stemming from increased competition for people’s attention. Not only are they competing with other marketers, but also with a billion people creating their own content.

Here are three big themes I heard in the sessions that I attended:

  1. Mobile, mobile, mobile.
    • Carolyn Everson, VP of Global Marketing Solutions at a little Internet company called Facebook deemed the smart phone as the single invention that has spawned the fourth and most disruptive industrial revolution. Her point was echoed by many others such as JP Morgan Chase’s CMO, Kristen Johnson, who said, “Mobile will eventually be the main hub of the brand and consumer relationship.”
    • There has never been a better time for story telling. Mobile allows advertisers to stretch the boundaries of what is thought to be possible. Innovations like Facebook’s canvas ads which people have already spent 150 years’ worth of time, are allowing advertisers to explore new avenues of creativity. The content created must aim to stop thumbs and then move the heart.


  1. Video is the king of content.
  • 3 of 4 posts shared on Facebook are videos.
  • 25% of all data traffic will be video this year.
  • Engage people with video by rewarding them (i.e., laughter, entertainment)
  • It is now a persimmon based ad world not an interruption.
  • Must use data to ensure your message is audience-specific, culturally- and brand-relevant
  • Make video content specifically for mobile. Do not use other platform’s content and repurpose it for mobile.


  1. Be Authentic
    • Let the consumers know not only what the company makes but what makes the company.
    • Make the brand a lighthouse for people to come to that are attracted to that kind of light.
    • Advertising’s new role in the digital world is not to sell things but to make them more sellable.
    • Don’t think of it as buying ads, but simply as purchasing a means for communication.
    • When it comes to data we must remember that the customer is giving us something very valuable, so we must always remember to give them something of value in return. Their data allows us the privilege of delivering the right message to the right crowd at the right time via the right platform.


Beautifully Alone

In today’s day and age, we are constantly connected. We now have the ability to communicate, connect and collaboration with nearly everyone and anyone whether we have crossed paths with them in our lifetimes or not. This is a gift that in the past would have been viewed as an almost supernatural power, but now we can command it from a small device that rests in our pocket.

This has led to a massive increase in access to knowledge, creation of information, a better understanding of the world and a dramatic increase in selfies per capita (SPC for short). Most of these are fantastic, but like Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, “with great power comes great responsibility”. Our hyper-connectivity has led each of us to learn so much more about others while consequently learning significantly less about ourselves. 

I had this realization after a chat with one of my favorite people in the world in a club blaring techno music in the heart of Zurich’s red light district at around 5:30 in the morning. She shared a concept that I had never paid much attention to – that being alone is not just enlightening but beautiful. This idea camped out in the fields of my mind for the next few days.

 Fate would have it that my next stop would be in the Austrian town of Innsbruck which gently rests in the valley of the alps. I traveled here alone, and for the first time in a very long time I was the only person I knew in a place I knew nothing about.  ​​

​​I rode the cable car up to a midway point on the mountain where it lets you off, then you make your own way to the top. You can hike, climb or simply sit. I made my way to the top where I found myself completely captivated and awe struck. I sat on a rock and simply was. There was an array of birds chirping in harmony as if they were in a choir. Other than that, just silence. The silence was the perfect pairing for the sight that laid before me. Monstrous mountains topped with intermittent snow caps at each peak that were caressed by the clouds. 

At that moment the words of my friend which had been marinating in my mind made total sense to me in my own way. In that moment it was just me, the scenery and the occasional passerby. I felt really alive and was overcome with a sense serenity that I am not sure if I’d felt before. Right there on that rock I think I found beauty in being alone. Alone, lonely or isolation are all terms that I believe get a bad rap. For when you really ponder it being alone is essential to finding out who you really are. With no outside distractions you can be at peace with your thoughts and look deeper into who, why and where you are in life. 

 I hope you can find the right moment to disconnect; be alone somewhere to see if it allows you to figure out who you are too. 

Paris: The City of Love and of War?

Ever since I first stepped foot in the Paris it stole my heart. I have always loved and admired the way this city and its people place such an emphasis on fine tuning the ascetics of life. I know what you are thinking “but isn’t that all the French care about?” And you know what I really don’t think so but even so does it really matter? Because when you eat here it is not just a meal it’s an edible artistic experience. When you walk the streets here you are in awe of the city’s immaculate presentation and the inspiration around every corner. When you shop here you find things you have never seen or maybe only dreamed of. The magic of the city is undeniable. In fact, the list of master creators that have been inspired by life in Paris reads like a best of all-time list – the same people every high schooler learns about in Humanities class. 

On this visit the streets were covered with a stifling amount of people who congregated around the French capital for very different reasons. First, you had the chic members of the high fashion world clad in all black and rarely seen with a smile. Second, you had soccer fans bursting with pride and gripping onto the hope of a Euro Cup 2016 victory. As fascinating as the stark contrast between these two groups was, the limelight was stolen by a third group – the military.

The military presence itself felt stifling. They traveled in packs of three or more and with their finger never too far away from their loaded automatic weapons. They were on street corners, every large public gathering and even on trains in the metro. Seeing the city of love living in fear and ripe for aggressive military actions was a hard pill to swallow. That said, the recent threats and the magnitude of the events being hosted by the city at this time seemed to justify the military presence.

Since I had visited several cities that have been recently been affected by acts of terror, I had a very tangible view of how terrorism is shaping the current political and cultural landscape in Europe. It’s sad that in a time when we need to work together many people’s reaction is to shun others that don’t believe, look or act like them.

French poet Victor Hugo once said “toleration is the best religion”. Now, more than ever we need to keep that at the forefront of daily lives. If we let fear control us, then the battle is already lost.