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The creative journey can often be challenging, filled with the endless pursuit of perfection and the pressure to produce work each day. But what if the key to unlocking true artistic growth actually lies in embracing the power of daily practice?

Creating something new every day may sound daunting, but for artists Noah Kalina, Jonathan Mann, and Justin Aversano, it has become a way of life. Each has committed to a daily practice — to an art project that they add to every day of the year. This daily practice has shaped their art as well as their relationship with themselves and their communities.

Through Kalina’s Everyday series, Mann’s Song a Day project, and Aversano’s Every Day is a Gift collection, these artists have learned valuable lessons that can be applied to every artist’s creative endeavor and daily life. We spoke with them to learn more about these lessons and the struggles and rewards they’ve faced since committing to these ongoing projects.

Noah Kalina‘s Everyday

Noah Kalina is a photographer and artist who is best known for Everyday, a self-portrait series that spans decades. Kalina began taking a daily photo of himself when he turned 19, on January 10, 2000. Now 42, his collection includes over 8,400 self-portraits.

Kalina first shared these images in a timelapse on YouTube six years after he began, on July 31, 2006. Since that time, he has shared three other videos. All-in-all, these pieces have more than 45.7 million views.

But growth doesn’t happen overnight, and it can take a long time to see the results of a daily practice.

Credit: Noah Kalina

For Kalina, it took years of dedicated work before the world responded. “Years before I put the YouTube video up, in 2006, a friend suggested I should make it a timelapse, and I thought: ‘that’s so dumb,’ he told nft now. “When I did post it, nothing happened for a week. Then it went viral. I had hundreds of emails, my website was down from the traffic, I was fielding calls from Oprah and Ellen, and The Simpsons even made a Homer version.”

Kalina says that he credits the project’s popularity to both his own dedication and the work’s relatability. “Doing something over and over again is inherently fascinating to others. When the idea is so simple, and all it takes is commitment, it’s easy for the viewer to put themself into the shoes of the artist and reflect upon their own life,” he explained. In this respect, Kalina argues that his commitment and persistence paid off.

On January 10, 2023, Kalina added a new dimension to the project with the launch of everyday.photo, an interactive gallery of his Everyday project. The site, an evolving capsule of Noah’s life, offers a new way to explore time’s subtle yet profound impact. Each day is tagged with identifying traits, such as Kalina’s location, clothing, accessories, and beard length. Visitors to the gallery can mint each self-portrait as an NFT.

Regarding what’s next for the Everyday project, Kalina shows no signs of stopping. In fact, it sounds like he’s in it until the very end. “There’s always the question with projects like this of ‘when does it end?’” he tells nft now. “I’m not really obsessed with doing it, and I’m not obsessed with myself. I just started it, and at this point, it makes no sense to stop. And I think we all know how this ultimately ends.”

Jonathan Mann’s Song a Day

Jonathan Mann is a singer-songwriter and internet sensation known for his 14-year commitment to daily work. He rose to prominence with his Song a Day project, for which he writes and records a new original song each and every day. The song is then minted as NFT, paired with an accompanying illustration, and auctioned over the following 24 hours.

Credit: Jonathan Mann

This unwavering dedication to his craft has earned Mann tens of thousands of followers and established him as a leading voice when it comes to daily practice and artistic self-expression. But Mann doesn’t believe his work and practice are necessarily unique. “Most people I know, who are artists of all kinds, have some kind of daily practice. It’s never as structured as my ‘One Song a Day,’ but everyone I know works on some piece of a project every day. I think it’s just what artists do,” he tells nft now.

While Mann’s consistency and commitment gave rise to his popularity, he partially credits his success to embracing the imperfections — to letting go and allowing the work to be whatever it will be. “You never know what will happen when you sit down to make something. But the key is giving myself leeway, giving myself space to just let the song be whatever it needs to be that day. Whatever there is room for. Not putting too much pressure on myself. There’s not really anything more to it,” he explains.

While others may see Mann entirely through the lens of this project, he tells nft now that it’s important for him to remember that what is is known for is not the same as what he is.

“It’s pretty much the only thing I’m known for, so I’d say that, in a wider sense, it defines me entirely. But also, I like to regularly remind myself, in a Ram Dass kind of way, that we are only ever playing a part. All the ambition, and creativity, and even our relationships, it’s all just stories we tell ourselves and each other,” he said. “If you strip everything away, somewhere in there is the true ‘me,’ and that has nothing to do with being a father, a son, a husband, a song-a-day guy, an NFT bro, a musician, a Bob Dylan fan, etc. The things we do define us only inasmuch as we live in a society. But there’s a deeper thing going on, and I try to remember that.”

Justin Aversano’s Every Day is a Gift

Justin Aversano is a photographer, curator, creative director, and social entrepreneur who is perhaps best known for his Twin Flames collection, the highest-selling photography NFT collection of all time. He also co-founded the digital art curation platform Quantum and the non-profit SaveArtSpace, which aims to bring community art into more public spaces.

Credit: Justin Aversano

In addition to these accolades, Aversano created Every Day is a Gift, a collection of polaroids taken each day over a year that show different people celebrating their birthdays. The pursuit often led to him wandering the streets holding an “Is it your birthday?” sign.

Reflecting on that time, Aversano tells nft now that the project ended up dominating his life and habits. “Every single day, my only focus and goal were to find someone and make art. When that comes before eating, showering, or anything, you become obsessed with the process and obsessed with the project,” he explained.

Ultimately, Aversano noted that the biggest lesson he took from his daily practice is to “learn to live with the things you hate, learn to live with the things you think make you fail, and when you look at them and confront them, that’s actually what makes you better, that’s actually what makes you more diligent in your craft.”

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The Difficulty Of Creating A Paperless Office

I used to have this annual discussion with the now ex-head of the HP Printer unit VJ. He thought it was funny that after we started moving to the “paperless office” in the 1980s, the effort seemed to accelerate, not decelerate, the use of printers. This continued until last decade, or nearly 30 years from the time we started working towards the goal of getting rid of all the paper.

I just finished hosting a talk with Ombud (a company that specializes in sharing best practices between IT shops and within companies) and DocuSign (the leader in digital signatures) on the Affordable Health Care Act. We discussed how going paperless with digital signatures could help assure compliance and save a ton of money. But shouldn’t we already be using digital signatures?

As a species, we hate change. Our current keyboard layout was designed to keep typewriter keys from jamming (a problem a huge number of people have never seen in their lives). We still use car controls that were outdated decades ago. And we build homes much the same way they did at the beginning of the century, even though we know how to build them to survive the many weather-related events we’ve been having.

But while this change aversion clearly contributed to the issue, the real problem is that we really didn’t have anything that replaced paper well. Tablets did emerge in the 1990s and again a decade later, but they were heavy, expensive things with relatively poor resolution. It wasn’t until the iPad and the Kindle that the market actually started to replace paper with something that was better—at least for consumption. Now companies are pulling back on their printing supplies as more and more folks shift to using their tablets and smartphones for reading reports and filling out documents.

The benefits of digital document management center on three areas: security, tracking and speed. With a paper document, you can’t really track the number of copies (yes there is special paper that can resist copying, but it is hardly foolproof). And if you want the document back, you have to go and get it physically. Once a paper document is out of your control, there really are no limits on who can read it.

As long as a document remains digital and within a document management system, you can track it. You can limit who views it (granted, someone else could be looking at the screen who isn’t authorized). You can reduce the chance of it being copied. And, most important, you can better track document approvals because they stay in system. If you need an approval from someone who is not on-site, they can approve from their cell phone or tablet, moving the process along more quickly.

So while not perfect, electronic documents improve dramatically on the security, tracking and speed surrounding what has traditionally been a highly manual process of shuffling and storing papers.

It has taken a long time to put a stake in paper, but it required that we develop a technology that could actually be as good as or potentially better than a paper document. Tablets, and to a lesser extent, ePaper have arrived to help drive us toward a nirvana of offices without huge filing cabinets and executives who don’t stay awake all night hoping a sensitive document doesn’t show up on the front page of The Wall Street Journal.

As we discovered with my panel, healthcare is aggressively moving to this new paperless model because they have no choice. Privacy regulations and revenue rules are making it critical that they better protect patent information and cut costs in order to survive. Going paperless is one of the many steps they are taking to assure that survival. It has taken us over 30 years, and we clearly aren’t there yet, but finally, I can say, the age of paper is behind us.

How Creating Visual Art Contributes To Sel

“Art,” a high school student told me, “has the ability to affect people in ways nothing else can. For me, I’ve found art as a way to express what I’m feeling without even knowing it at the time. Art helps me understand my own life.”

Several years ago I was the chair for a Gifted Education department at a large public high school. Our crowded resource room was the space where my students and I spent most of our school day. In particular, the students from a counseling group I ran for high-achieving young women often spent several hours a day in the room. Occasionally, these students wouldn’t show up during their open study time—they were free to study anywhere they liked in the building. When they weren’t in our room, I usually found them in the art studio.

I was surprised that these self-identified “math and science kids” were there, but they told me that art helped them “figure things out,” even though they weren’t sure why. So we decided to try to find out, spending the rest of the school year engaged in a youth participatory action research (YPAR) project. In a YPAR project, students are co-researchers with adults. They make decisions about methodology, process, and how to share their findings.

As a research team, we met for weekly dialogues and read about art, aesthetics, and social and emotional learning. We used art as both data and method in our sense-making process. The project culminated in an art show and a conversation with district counselors and administrators.

This was not an art education project, nor am I an art teacher. Yet, with each passing week we came closer to understanding why art felt useful to the students.

My students and I identified four essential social and emotional learning (SEL) areas that drew us to crafting visual arts: storytelling, growth mindset, self-reflection, and creativity. And this project transformed my beliefs about the importance of visual arts in school. Now as a middle and high school principal, I work hard to insure that all students and teachers in my school have access to and are encouraged to create visual arts.

How Crafting Visual Arts Contributes to SEL

Storytelling: Creating art is a practice in both communication and empathy that affects the storyteller (in this case, the student artist) and the person viewing the story (peers, teachers, and counselors). Art gave the students I worked with new ways to process and tease out meaning, and to share their lived experiences.

One student shared a painting with me that she had created while thinking about her dating relationship. She was confused about this relationship and noticed in her painting that she tended toward dark and “angry” colors, as she put it. Art gave her a different emotional vocabulary to process this relationship, and it gave me new tools to talk with her about healthy relationships.

Growth mindset: The students working on this project were potential valedictorians, Presidential Scholar nominees, and National Merit finalists. They knew their way around a standardized test and were mavens at finding the right answer.

These students’ perfectionism had been reinforced by the high-stakes nature of high school, and so they were drawn to the ways art invited them to take risks, test solutions that might not work, and play with possibility. This is a growth mindset arena, and students were so engaged that they lost track of time. This is why I would sometimes find these young women painting in the art studio, oblivious to how much time had passed.

Self-reflection: Through art, students often discovered inner monologues that had been drowned out by the busy and hyperacademic context of school. The art studio invited them to slow down, settle in with a canvas, and figure things out.

In our dialogues, we talked at length about process, story, and identity. Because this was a research project, the students wanted to “graph” their findings—but the fact that we were using the visual arts as data points led to some innovative graphs. For example, one week we drew a vertical axis from anticipation to trepediation and a horizontal axis from judgment to value.

A student named Shaina placed an intense new painting in the judgement/trepidation quadrant. The painting showed giant purple hands gripping, almost suffocating, miniature green hands that were attempting to break free. “The concept for this piece,” she explained, “is all the different forces that control us.”

While working on this painting, Shaina had realized how her feelings of value and judgment were exacerbated by the college application process. She used her painting as a reflective springboard to discuss these pressures with her parents and peers.

Creativity: “I was never really an ‘art kid,’” one of the students said. “In fact, I only seriously started spending time on art this year. What shocks me is how differently I think now. Struggling with these art projects taught me more about creativity and communication than any other class I’ve taken.”

Creating art asks that you consider multiple perspectives and imagine new possibilities. These abstract and divergent thinking skills are transferable across content areas. In fact, students shared that the lessons they learned in art helped them also see new solutions in science, math, and language arts.

Through this project, my students were able to pull half-formed sketches out of the quiet margins of their math books and bring them to light on big, bright canvases. Here they had space to develop their ideas into complete and interesting stories that caused their peers, educators, and administrators to pause, ask new questions about the lived experiences of the young people in our building, and pay attention.

The Art And Power Of Marketing With And Through Partners

The Art and Power of Marketing With and Through Partners Fiona O’Connor

Senior Content Marketing Manager

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In our many conversations with partner marketing teams, we’ve seen a wide range of approaches when it comes to marketing with partners and marketing through partners.

For a better understanding of how organizations utilize the two motions to drive success in their partner marketing programs, Michael Latchford, VP of Strategic Alliances and Partner Marketing Services, spoke with Partner Marketing executives Helen Kim (Red Hat), Mark Murphy (Cisco), Julie Malloy (Intel). Here are a few highlights from their conversation.

Differentiating marketing with and through partners

Marketing with a partner is when two or more organizations come together promotionally. In this approach, marketing efforts are typically executed as a combined effort, although weighting of tasks can vary significantly among the players.

Helen Kim of Red Hat describes their marketing with partners as a “co-sell, co-market motion” that enables them to “deliver that differentiated value proposition to our customers from a solution-point and answer questions around how to solve our customers’ problems together and building the right GTM capabilities to do that.”

“… we call [marketing with partners] our “better together” story,” says Intel’s Julie Malloy. “And with that with part we’re also sharing a lot more about our direct plans. So what is Intel going to be doing by themselves into the market, what are the partners putting into the market and then how do we take those two separate messages and make sure what we create in the middle is adding even more value than what we were doing separately.”

Marketing through partners is usually substantially less collaborative. In this approach, one partner is typically funded by the other and is expected to complete the promotional activity largely on their own.

Mark Murphy of Cisco, notes that when marketing through partners, although much of the marketing responsibility is removed from his team, they need to ensure that they’re providing the right resources to their partners to be successful. “How do we enable our partners? How do we drive our work through the partner to the end customer?”

Tapping into the potential of a giant partner ecosystem

The clear attraction of marketing with and through partners is the potential these approaches offer for scaling their market impact, both through expanding their core solutions’ marketing reach and relevance via different types of partners and by deepening their sales penetration capabilities via increased numbers of trained selling resources.

And Murphy emphasizes that partners also bring unique insights to the buyers we’re trying to reach and are often in a better position to influence those buyers.

“As we look at that customer journey, there are clearly spots on it where our partner’s voice is more needed, respected and trusted than we would be as an ingredient brand,” says Julie Malloy. “… we really need to lean into these partners in order to figure out what the problem is that the customers are trying to solve – what solutions they need – and that will lead them hopefully to a product that is built on our technologies.”

Evolving approaches to drive partner growth

Unsurprisingly, within these rapidly evolving ecosystems, our panelists highlighted the need for their programs to adapt quickly. They each pointed to the transformations their own organizations are going through in parallel with the market.

For Intel, it involves customizing their programs to diverse partner types. “In the past, it was a one-size fits-all, 50/50 match, put this logo on, here’s your rule book and off they went,” recalls Julie Malloy. “Now as we’re looking into all these kinds of partners … we’re looking at how we put a framework around the investments and messages that we have and co-design it for marketing and the program …”

Helen Kim is embracing the change – her team is in the middle of a partner marketing transformation that’s required a prioritization of partners within their organization and across the entire company. “[We’ve seen a] shift of mindset – from not always fully embracing partners and customers – to going full speed ahead …” she says. “And we’ve now come kind of full circle onto what as a company we want to focus on as far as the success of our three to ten-year strategy, and partners are at the center of that.”

While areas of improvement and transformation will vary from partner program to partner program, flexibility across thinking, your team and your partnerships are critical to continued success.

For more insights from partner marketing experts, watch TechTarget’s Partner Marketing Visionaries webinar series. To learn more about products and services to support your partner marketing efforts, contact Michael Latchford.

alliance marketing, Channel and Alliance Partnerships, channel marketing, partner marketing, partner marketing ecosystems

Telemedicine Reimbursement 2024: A Year Of New Promises And Challenges

This year promises to be a breakout year for telemedicine reimbursement.

We’re finally beginning to see the culmination of years of research and trials around telehealth solutions, and as a result, the emergence of new promises and challenges. As the environment changes, so will reimbursement from both government and private payers. It’s essential that all healthcare stakeholders stay on top of these moving forces if they want to respond in ways that will positively impact businesses and organizations.

New Promises

Telemedicine is a growing market, both fiscally and geographically, but one of the most interesting elements is its spread across the world. Because this growing technology platform eliminates the barriers of physician-patient contact, the globe is the limit. While reimbursement in this area might be more complex, it is also an opportunity for insurance providers to offer their clients a wider, more diverse selection of care options.

Most importantly, 2024 looks to be the year in which we conquer one of the biggest obstacles to telemedicine reimbursement — ethical use. The American Medical Association (AMA) recently announced its adoption of a set of ethical guidelines to be used in telemedicine to encourage effective and safe interactions between doctors and patients. The AMA has also adopted a policy for coverage and reimbursement of telemedicine services that encourages the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Sevices (CMS) and other stakeholders to treat them similarly to traditional consultations.

Evolving Challenges

Of course, challenges remain, and one of the greatest lies in navigating rural health.

While telehealth holds great potential for rural areas, it still faces challenges around Medicare coverage. Specifically, Medicare currently limits reimbursement to only a specific subset of live video encounters that are performed while the patient is at a clinic or facility in a rural area. This has contributed to multiple states (29) passing telemedicine parity laws mandating the reimbursement of telemedicine visits by commercial insurers. Still, there is no generally accepted reimbursement standard for private payers.

All of this is happening in an environment where telemedicine visits for Medicare beneficiaries in rural areas jumped from 7,015 in 2004 to 107,955 in 2013. A recent study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that the majority of those beneficiaries were under 65 and recipients of Medicare coverage due to disability. Use of telemedicine services was also found to be higher in the 12 states with parity laws as of 2011.

As it lags, the federal government is feeling additional pressure to bring Medicare reimbursement up to speed. In May, 22 health systems, in conjunction with other key healthcare individuals and organizations, addressed the Director of the Congressional Budget office in a letter that focused on the importance of the use of commercial data to evaluate the effectiveness of telehealth. As the letter explained, “The lack of Medicare data is understandable given the outdated statutory restrictions on telemedicine: since federal law prevents many providers from being paid when they use telemedicine to serve Medicare beneficiaries, obviously, little data is available.”

Learn more about how our healthcare technology solutions can help support an effective telehealth strategy here.

The Art And Science Of Shareability From The Publisher Of Buzzfeed #Sxswi 2024 Recap

This packed session featured the publisher of BuzzFeed, Dao Nguyen. She gave examples from actual BuzzFeed content (as well as sharing their own data and research) as to why BuzzFeed creates the content they do, and how to create content that resonates with audiences, thus prompting them to share with their social network.

BuzzFeed currently has 200M monthly user visits and over 1 billion monthly video views. Nguyen said they their video division is currently the largest sector of BuzzFeed, and also talked about how they have upped their game with BuzzFeed News, which has begun being used as a source by places like the New York Times.

Why Does Content Resonate?

Nguyen said that focusing on “viral” content works so well because they aren’t trying to con the audience. She states:

“No one can actually trick you into sharing content with someone.”

She then prompted the audience to think about why people actually share content. There are 5 reasons why BuzzFeed’s content works so well:

Content is Identity: “This post is

so me.” BuzzFed writes content to be appreciated by a very small slice of the population. This is why it’s shared so much, because people feel a connection with it.

Content is Emotion: Evoking emotion that inspires a genuine feeling in someone will highly promote them to share.

Content is Conversation: Nguyen gave the example of #TheDress for this reason. Within 12 hours since the piece was published, at least one person in every country in the world had seen it. She speculated this was because it became a point of discussion. People were texting their friends and family about it, sharing it on their screen at bars, and more.

Content is Aspirational: It can inspire people to be a better version of themselves.

Content is Global: It can create a feeling that we are all united; that there are common things that unite us all. BuzzFeed translates some posts into multiple languages and has success, proving that most of us as a whole follow the same trends.

Trends and Insights

Nguyen then went into how and why they create the type of content that they do. They often base their formulas and strategy on basic epidemiology, which is the study of infectious diseases (while joking that they, and us, shouldn’t think of content as a virus). BuzzFeed uses a measurement called Social Lift, which is the multiple of traffic that you get from sharing, to track and predict a post’s overall success.

[pullquote]“We don’t promote popular content. We promote content that will be popular.”[/pullquote]

She also touched on how genders share content. Nguyen stated that,

“On BuzzFeed, and in life, women share 4x as much as men.” 

which made the audience chuckle. But she said that has definitely played a role in their content strategy. They will often do more content or videos slanted toward women so it gets shared more.

Overall, BuzzFeed must be doing something right. They have grown 11 times over since the end of 2012 and have begun applying the same testing they do with written content to video and apps. When it comes to describing what BuzzFeed is, Nguyen stated,

BuzzFeed isn’t a website. It’s a process– people making content, publishing it all over the internet, getting data back about what works, and then doing it over again.

Key Takeaways from Dao Nguyen:

Social content needs both art and science

There is no one [measuring] metric that rules them all

The more we publish, the more we learn. The best machine learning is the human brain.

Data and tech are only as powerful as the company will allow

Photo taken by author.

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