Winter in the Grand Tetons

Frank and I (and Finn, of course!) spent two beautiful winter vacations in the Grand Tetons. We stayed at a ranch in Swan Valley, skied in Jackson Hole, visited Yellowstone National Park and snowshoe-ed and cross-country skied wherever the snow conditions would let us. (And a lot of times also where they didn’t…) Go visit if you ever get the chance. It’s a magical place.


Dear “Hampton Inn and Suites:”

Hotel Sign on a White Facade
I’ve been traveling for the last couple of weeks. In Maryland, I chose to stay at the “Hampton Inn and Suites.” It’s a hotel I was prepared to like. I would call it upper middle class; rooms run at about $170 a night.

The service underwhelmed me with each interaction: Staff members were bored, inattentive and impersonal, going through scripted motions in their conversations. They also fell short on the few services I asked: A toilet that kept flushing every 3 minutes never saw a handy man in 4 days. (I ended up disabling it myself by strapping up the float valve with the cord of the (complementary!) hair dryer.) A door key that kept locking me out of my room, room service that made one attempt at cleaning and then never came back, a laundry service I needed to be returned slightly sooner than their standard 1½ days declined with a shrug…

On the road the next day, we passed a series of massive billboard ads on the freeway for… the “Hampton Inn and Suites”. Promising, you guessed it, heaven and earth. And the moon.

Here is the thing about Marketing: It does not stop once you get people in your door. That’s when it STARTS. That‘s when you have your opportunity to show off: Overwhelm people with your greatness, delight them, enchant them. Make them life-long, enthusiastic customers who go out of their way to stay at your place. And bring their friends.

If you already have the infrastructure of a hotel chain empire in place, the difference between underwhelming and awesome comes down to your people. The effort is minimal compared to what you have already invested:

Hire outstanding human beings and pay them outstanding money. Find a way to make them fall in love with their job. Make sure they are happy about the way they are treated. Make sure they are being heard, and their needs are being met. THEN ask them to pass that level of care on to your guests, and give them the guidance and education how to do it. Make sure they know how you want your guests to FEEL instead of giving them a soul-less script of what to say and do. Give them authority to do the right thing. Trust them to know what the right thing is. Allow them to be human beings.

Give them a way to communicate. Let them share their experiences with one-another, so they can share their pride and learn from each other. Take part in that conversation so they can learn from you. Take that opportunity to instill your culture. Social enterprise platforms make it so easy.

If you need additional funding to do it, here’s a tip: Skip the billboards. Make fewer promises, keep more.

3D Animation: PUC Building in San Francisco

3D Visualization: Key sustainability features of the PUC building in downtown San Francisco.

Our video below was used to present the building’s sustainability features to the Obama administration to apply for -and ultimately secure- the national funding needed to finance construction.

After completion in 2012, the building is slated to achieve a LEED Platinum certification by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

Equestrian Photography

“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”  ~Winston Churchill

Back in 2004 when Frank and I first moved to California, I started a business called “Bay Area Equestrian Photography.” Moving thousands of miles away from home was an exciting adventure, but America was also a new world whose differences I didn’t fully understand. Far away from everybody I knew, a language I didn’t speak fluently… I’m eternally thankful to the people who, at the very beginning of this journey of building a company, gave me a chance and went out of their way to support me in this dream. Because of their belief in me, their generosity and kindness, I had the courage to keep going. I will never forget or take for granted how strong they made me.

These pictures are my favorite ones from that very beginning:

2D- and 3D Animations

Modeling services based on your 2D documents.
High-end video showing your photo-realistically rendered, animated 3D models and their environment, enhanced with animated 3D people and -equipment, professionally edited and cut, integrated with titles, traditional video, type, animated 2D graphics, charts and drawings, and composed with voice-over, music and narration.

Brainstorming session: Story, audience, goals, idea.
Storyboard development.
Design- and animation process with mockup presentations for input and feedback.
Rendering, cut, edit, composition.
Modeling- and animation workflow integrates seamlessly with 3D design- and engineering software like AutoCAD and Revit for maximized efficiency and flexibility.

Simplified explanation of complex messages:
Visualization of concepts, ideas and developments | Product- or service explanations
Presentation of design options | Visualization of building- or construction sequence

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