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I Should Have Tried Harder In Art Class.

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Lessons in Art from Facebook.

In elementary and junior high, art classes were never my favorite. Truth of the matter is that I had little talent and gave up easily. However, I admired those who were creative. Later in life as an ad agency CEO, we were blessed with many talent art directors and graphic designers on staff. I learned that powerful imagery along with crisp communication builds brands. As one of our art directors once told me, “Everyone tries to be a writer (even yours truly right now), but you can’t fake art direction”. He was right. Sometimes art ability pays off in unexpected ways as I recently learned.

Last week I was fortunate to have been part of a YPO-WPO (Young Presidents Organization) group that met with senior executives at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. I am grateful for the behind the scenes access and knowledge that one gains as being part of the group. I was blown away by the brain power in Silicon Valley. The bus mural pictured here is in the lobby of one of the buildings. I’ll be writing more about parts of the trip in the weeks to come.

Facebook is in their IPO “quiet period” right now, so I have no inside info to dish from our visit. In fact the Non-Disclosure Agreement they appropriately required us to sign would have prohibited sharing any confidential info, of which I have none. (Bet the Winklevoss brothers wished that Mark Zuckerberg signed an NDA back at Harvard).

choeThe Facebook offices are very cool and the graffiti murals painted by artist David Choe will soon make him an incredibly wealthy man. Choe was hired back in 2005 to spray paint murals at the Facebook’s first Silicon Valley Headquarters. In lieu of payment, he took stock in Facebook, then a fledgling company which he called a “ridiculous and pointless” venture.

His stock in this “pointless venture” will soon be worth $200 Million! Pays for a lot of art supplies.

Facebook for all its success is still trying to figure how to evolve. On a user basis, most individuals think of Facebook as a communications tool to share info, photos, etc to their friends. In fact that is true, which has led to its 850 Million worldwide users.

That audience has now led to success of its Business pages and Advertising opportunities which fuels the company. As noted in Facebook: The Social Network Cash Register, in  2011 Facebook generated more than $3Billion in advertising revenue, almost ½ of which from outside the U.S.

David Choe paints well but makes better financial decisions. A credit to him.

Lastly, I enjoyed learning that all Facebook employees have unlimited access to free food throughout their buildings. That’s why new employees have discovered the “Facebook 15”.

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