Commenter on that God-damned mother*%^*ing Frozen article: Okay, I’m losing my patience with this article at this point. You seem to have little respect for people who have mental health issues, such as Elsa. You call them both “idiots,” which is not only disrespectful in…

The Medium article that wouldn’t die. Love me some directordanic.

What Working With A Unicorn Feels Like

  • Soon-To-Be Delighted Client: Hi Randy, I have a little job I need done today. Are you available?
  • Me: Yeah, email me the details. I will be available to talk after 6:30pm
  • (I go and meet at the client's location to discuss the project. Then I come home and beat on it as only a Unicorn can. After the project is finished...)
  • Me: Hey Soon-To-Be Delighted Client, it looks like I have something that meets the criteria you gave me
  • Me: Okay, uploading it to the website, gonna take a while. But let me know in the AM if you'd rather I drive it over to you.
  • (I go to sleep, and sleep the dreams of unicorns)
  • Imminently Delighted Client: Hi, Just got up and can't wait to see what you did. Gonna start downloading right away. I'll keep you posted
  • (20 minutes later)
  • Absolutely Delighted Client: HOLY SMOKES!!! YOU KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK!!!!!!!!! GREAT JOB. It is exactly what I needed. The most surprising thing was that there was zero miscommunication. You not only followed my instructions, but also went above and beyond at finessing the piece. Sometimes with these things I would have to basically rework what people give me because there was a communication breakdown. But you did it PERFECTLY!!!!! I love everything about it. THANKS, RANDY!!! I'm super impressed with the transaction and your level of skill

Why Urban Dictionary Doesn’t Define Me

Oh man, when you reveal your true nature to an unsuspecting public, there are all manner of people who stand ready to tell you, “don’t do it!”

For instance, when telling people that I am a Unicorn, they instantly start laughing and mentioning a certain Urban Dictionary entry.


I will say this much: in my 20’s, I might have been referred to as a “hot bi babe”, though never to my face (stop laughing). And casual sexual relations were never a strong suit for me, as I was always at least as interested in the person as the activity. However, I digress.

I get the feeling the term was coined in UD because finding a person like that was damn near impossible, and that if you did manage to find someone like that, it was like touching the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. You know it’s special and you should enjoy it, because it’s rare that it happens at all.

What makes this UD kerfuffle (as it is) interesting is that even though this entry is topmost for the search term, it’s not the only entry for “unicorn”. In fact, just a few spots down, there’s this:

That’s more like it. And while the first definition has more upvotes, this one is also trending positive in the up/down category. I’ll take it as a sign I’m doing just fine.

So, you’ll forgive me if I disregard one definition in favor of another. That said, if you’re looking for a “hot bi babe”, I’ll talk it over with my spouse and let you know if we can work something out. :)

In the meantime, The Unicorn’s gotta make a living. Excelsior!

Ingredients for project success: just add Unicorn.

I know this is remarkably vague in its approach. Seriously, what the hell is “project success”? Why aren’t you talking about a specific industry, Randy? You need to FOCUS, dude!

Here’s the thing: a unicorn is a bit like a honey badger when it comes to the projects they work on, in that I don’t give a shit about the obstacles, as I make them irrelevant or at least mitigate them. I also have little concern about the problem domain, mostly because I’ve worked in many of the verticals available in the SF North Bay. Perhaps more importantly, I get that business problems, with few exceptions, tend to be universal in nature.

Yes, of course, there are specific challenges for verticals, like alcohol regulations and compliance for breweries and wineries, things you can and cannot say online or in print or video ads, and so on. And while critics say “the Devil’s in the details,” it doesn’t take away from the fact that most problems (especially marketing problems) have little to do with specific vertical industry challenges, and have a lot more to do with lack of competent storytelling and narrative vision.

And yes, for technology problems, knowing the problem domain and being a subject-matter expert always helps. I know this. That’s why I have friends who have been working technological solutions of all scales.

Remember, a Unicorn has Friends.

Why a Unicorn?

  • Open-Minded Guy: So, Randy, you call yourself a unicorn.
  • Randy: Yup, mostly because Randy The Helpful Pineapple was already taken.
  • OMG: But unicorns are effeminate, aren't they? I mean, here you have a pink unicorn with a rainbow background (and waitaminit, isn't that the Gay Pride flag?)
  • Randy: One thing at a time, dude. Unicorns, in case you didn't know, are bad-ass. And they have the most phallic of foreheads, so I don't get any feminine vibe necessarily.
  • OMG: But the flag... what about the rainbow?
  • Randy: You know, the gay pride banner is a horizontal rainbow (kinda like it was taken from the middle of the rainbow, way up in the sky). The banner I'm using is vertical stripes, kinda like where the rainbow meets the land! Besides, unicorns have lots of gay friends, and it is rather crass to make a big deal about rainbows.
  • OMG: It still doesn't explain why you chose a unicorn.
  • Randy: As I said earlier, unicorns are bad-ass. They are unique and valuable and magical, all in varying degrees. And while Arthur C. Clarke said that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," I would state that "any sufficiently advanced talent and/or skill is indistinguishable from magic" in exactly the same way.
  • OMG: Arthur C. Clarke? Where do you get this stuff?
  • Randy: Trust me, dude, I pull my material from all over the place.

Why “& Friends”? Because unicorns don’t have “& Company” or “& Associates”. Unicorns do what they do, and they do it with Friends.

A North Bay Unicorn?

u•ni•corn [yoo-ni-kawrn]

  1. a mythical creature resembling a horse, with a single horn in the center of its forehead.
  2. technology companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion.
  3. a powerfully talented individual capable of solving seemingly intractable problems across a wide spectrum of domains. see also Randy Hall.

Have you ever known all the way to your bones that you were different and that there was something uniquely epic and awesome about you? That under certain circumstances, this might appear to be a super power?

I’ve recently had this epiphany.

For an individual, being a unicorn means being impossibly valuable, being able to walk into a situation and bring order from chaos. Being able to look at a problem and quickly see not only the causes, but a variety of solutions, complete with the drawbacks and limitations of each solution. Being able to translate difficult and complicated subjects in simple, easy to understand language.

And more. Oh so much more.

Stay tuned, this is going to be fun.

No sooner do I get done ranting about how Zach Braff deserves to be left alone about his Kickstarter campaign for Wish I Was Here, and then the Potato Salad Kickstarter scandal has landed.

Again, with emphasis (on the wrong syllable), if dumb people want to give thousands of dollars to someone to make potato salad on the internet, then somehow they’ve hit on some viral zeitgeist that was apparently perfectly timed for that day and age.

I mean, potato salad as a Kickstarter might not have worked a month ago, and I’m pretty sure that now that it has been done, it will never work again. So let this person who devised a clever (if rather banal) campaign make potato salad for thousands of dollars. Then, once it’s all done, they will pat themselves on the back for having been the first to do it, and then very likely they will never think of another clever thing again.

I’m trying to be in the business of being clever all of the time (or at least, more than just once). And I don’t like potato salad that much anyway.

His Kickstarter-funded second film is done. But getting there left marks.

You know, crowd-funding is hard for anyone, whether you’re Joe Nobody or your Zach Braff. More importantly, he shouldn’t be faulted for turning to Kickstarter to help fund his latest film. He wanted (and honestly, deserved) full creative control over his sophomore effort. The only way he’d get it is by not letting a studio sink their meathooks into it, whether in advance or by selling after the fact to someone like The Weinstein Company.

Crowd funding is not a zero-sum game, people. The money that was going to fund Wish I Was Here was never going to be available to some other, undoubtedly earnest, but otherwise mediocre Kickstarter project. The sooner you realize that his pitch was superbly produced and put together, and yes, he was Zach Braff, the sooner you understand that the answer to your question, “how did he do it”, is out there to see on that campaign page. You can pick it apart, figure out some tips for your own campaign and be successful at whatever it is you’re setting out to do. It’s not his fault he kicked ass and blew past his goal. It was that he had something that people wanted to see happen. He sold it to them, and now he’s delivered it.

Get over yourselves, Internet.

“And the wine sold like crack in Compton with him at the helm of marketing efforts.”

Christian Lane, author of the e-book Simple Math: Deconstructing How We Talk About Wine, referring to the “late great heavyweight Joshua Krupp”

I know Christian just a little bit, and love his involvement in our little WIMP community. But after reading that sentence in his book, I like him even more than I did before I read it. Anyone with the stones to write that in a book has got something to say, goddamn it.