Drawing Straws

6 04 2009


Learning new software can definitely be a challenge. Right now, our guys are working around the clock trying to become proficient in 3 particular platforms/applications/programs. The funny thing about it is, whenever it comes time for us to take on a new skill set, it’s like drawing straws! There are pros and cons to it. For example, the downside is that the team member has to spend hours and hours and HOURS watching tutorials and becoming familiar with the uses of the new tool. But the upside is — the member doesn’t have to work so hard to translate the concepts to the rest of the team, because we’re all pretty knowledgable — (esp. since we all had an equal chance of pulling the “short straw”). In the end, we work hard to pick up these newbies and add them to our repertoire. Straws anyone?

The Art of Risky Business

6 01 2009

As young entrepreneurs, one of the most difficult things to come to grips with is the concept of “risk”. In one hand, we see everything we have worked for, everything we have built, the reputation which we have commanded — essentially, the calculated components of worth. In the other hand, we see our youth, our life experiences (knowing that we all have beat the odds, purely off taking risks), and an underlying fearlessness. Needless to say, knowledge of both sides only complicates the notion of risk-taking.

But what provides us with the confidence to engage is not the countless testimonies of moguls, the “how-to” literature, or the direct advice from mentors. For us, risk is mediated by whether or not the end-product will affect our bond. And frankly, it won’t — up or down, we are still (and always will be) brothers.

So, once that principle is fully understood, we view the fork in the road a little differently.

“You know, there’s one thing I learned in all my years. Sometimes you just gotta say, “What the ****, make your move.”  – Tom Cruise, as Joel Goodson in ‘Risky Business’.


Our Residence: New Bosticago, GA

10 12 2008

It’s late. Brennan is in New Orleans, raking his brain trying to develop Summer ’09 u|T|o designs, texting back and forth with Brandon — in Atlanta — who is looking over his calendar for upcoming events to bring the Great8 Presence to.  Also in Atlanta, Ron, weary from staring at computer screens and invoices, revises yet another partnership contract, and adds finishing touches to a holiday email to be sent to our previous clients and contacts. Joe, in cold windy Chicago, prepares the year-end-review financial summary — still in full business attire. About 1,000 miles away in Boston, there sits Hannibal, mulling over the backend coding for an iSteptoo.com facelift — Bryan, right there across the table, making Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop do the type of Gymnastics that  Bela Karolyi would approve of. Approximately 8 minutes driving time due South, there’s Italo — working on the viral marketing strategy for next year.

Distance….is only a barrier if you let it. Here, everyone operates on the same plane of thought; so essentially those 4 locations (New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago, and Boston) become one — New Bosticago, GA.

We Are Fathers…

12 11 2008

Yes, every staff member of this company has a daughter. Her name is Great 8 Productions (we call her GREAT 8 for short). Our goal was and still is to fuse our different experiences, approaches, and proclivities in order to make sure she is raised right. She has always been anxious and full of potential. We can’t wait to see how our collective efforts continue to manifest through her. I remember back when she just filmed step shows and authored DVDs so that people could have a keepsake of the their freshman and homecoming experience. Then she threw a step show and filmed a yard show or two oh and then a play and worked with Johnson Publishing-twice (Jet Magazine & Essence)…we are so proud of her. Not to mention expanding her skill set by delving into graphic and web design as well as logo branding. Once she became an Urban Graduate and got into customized clothing we as fathers had to make a decision because she was running all over the place and loving it. We told her “Ok, you can do these things but only if you separate and organize them so that you can be more focused and efficient.”  She agreed and created Gr8 Media, iStep, and Urban Takeout (uTo for short). We are amazed at how well she has crafted the three entities and soon you will be too. We are fathers and this parenting thing is hard but so worth it.


We are open to any parenting tips you may havesleeping-beauty

Coming Home: Part I

14 10 2008

For months, we’ve been striking out days on our calender. Finally….it’s about that time. Morehouse Homecoming 2008 is less than two weeks away, and for Gr8, this only means one thing — SET THE BAR.

This year marks the 4th homecoming that we will be capturing events. In the past, we’ve filmed EVERY aspect of homecoming (i.e Coronation, the Halftime Show, Fashion Show, Concerts, and of course…the Stepshow). But what makes this year so special is that we are officially establishing ourselves as THE filmographers of the most attended event, The Greek Stepshow. We have developed some very nice viral and guerilla marketing approaches that will explode onto the scene during those 3 days (and we will be sure to snap a few pics to post).

Stay tuned as we update throughout homecoming.

Going Global

19 09 2008

A few months back we were invited to a networking dinner by a close college mentor to get our company some international exposure. That’s where we randomly met our new friend, Ed from Japan. Ed is an interesting man, very inspirational even. When we approached him as Great 8 Productions, the relatively small fish in a huuuuuuge digital pond, he didn’t look down upon us — he humbly bowed and presented his business card to us (“a show of respect”, as he called it). Here we were, a handful of young black guys being presented a business card by someone whose financial assets alone could make you believe he played ball, had a top 10 pop song, and invented face-space — all at the once. That night we left an improbable dinner meeting as equals, not as newcomers or neophytes. And, being recognized and respected by an international entrepreneur like Ed, is better than having a terrific quarter; it’s downright proof that you can have a terrific quarter anywhere in the world. 

(Sidebar: UTO is going to Japan next March to develop our product concepts. Ed insisted we stay with him during our travels.)

“You Ain’t Grindin’ Til You Tired”

11 08 2008

Lil Wayne may be the best rapper alive…to some. One thing I can say is that his work ethic is RESPECTABLE. Over here at Great 8, we’re working hard to demonstrate to our family, friends, audience, and future fans that we have the same brand of work ethic — Tireless, Focused, and Committed to Excellence.

This past weekend, we invested alot of time into developing UTO. I mean, we did everything from working on the broad components (i.e. launch dates and marketing) all the way down to minute details (i.e. the product packaging). The funny thing is, when you are working with guys you trust and believe in, creativity seems to flow unrestricted. One minute we’re shouting out ideas, the next — we’re on the floor laughing at somebody’s joke. It’s great to be in an environment that breeds GENIUS!