Before all you vegetarians, vegans, and animal rights’ activists go off to the races and get all emotional, up in arms about me boiling frog for breakfast, this idea is merely to make a point and nothing more. For your information, I had eggs for breakfast today and until an egg has been fertilized by a cock (or cockerel), there is only half of the genetic material that goes into making a chicken. It was a delicious hard-boiled egg.
If you are still feeling emotional about the idea of boiled frog, I suggest you take three deep breaths and exhale slowly. This will activate your parasympathetic nervous system. A tiny but powerful neurotransmitter called; acetylcholine will flood your spinal column and relax you. 😀
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This tid-bit of knowledge about the parasympathetic nervous system is one of the things I apply to advertising, branding and communications design. I continually refer to this system as: Neurochemical. It has been evolving for many years now.
It is an interesting blend of scientific and math principles specifically superimposed over advanced principles used in modern day Advertising, Branding, Communication and Design. Here’s a little bit about how this came to be.
1992 – 1994 – 2000
This inquiry all started at an advertising agency in Soho in 1992 currently called KBS+. Back then it was just called just Kirshenbaum & Bond (or K&B for short). The agency was very young and already had: Family Circle, Chase Manhattan Bank, Coach, and Kenneth Cole.
K&B was nicknamed The Brat Pack in the media and for good reason. That year, with our help, we split Snapple stocks twice in a six month period with a ‘Reality TV’-based campaign. We picked and filmed Snapple fans based on actual letters they mailed in.
I also worked alongside Andy Spade who was still Kate Spade’s fiancé. It was there I may have adopted a fully realized drinking problem. 😀
A couple of years later, in 1994, I started my own design firm called: DisciplinedBeauty.com. (< this website has remained unchanged since 2006 and still works and looks great). We won a bunch of design awards and through blessings from heaven above, I landed accounts with two of the largest NYC law firms. Shortly thereafter, we had new accounts that were great financial firms composed of portfolio managers and investment advisors and all this all happened while I was, starting a design firm, working full time and studying at School of Visual Arts (SVA).
In 2000, after graduating and having served 150+ clients from the design firm, 11211 Magazine was started. I was getting bored working on clients accounts that wanted the same imagery, same fonts, same sizes, same colors, year after year.
Six years passed and I had never been a fan of marketing or creative directors saying things in a sheepishly, meek voice, “Well, we feel that this just isn’t right for what we are doing.” or “This isn’t the message we want to convey.” I’ve also heard: “Well, we want to use Hunter Green instead of Reflex Blue this time,” as though this was some ‘radical’ idea and proof that they were ready to hop outside of the box.
I’ve simply recognized these responses as vanity/ego pieces and pissing contests by senior level managers/officers and entrepreneurs seeking to mark their territories with their own ‘ideas’.
Did it make the annual report, brochure or campaign work or result better or stronger? Absolutely not.
If I had my way and occasionally got to throw in some interesting graphics, great photos and cool fonts, would it have made a difference in the finances? The answers were ‘yeah, sometimes’ and ‘not really’.
I wanted to know “How To Properly Boil Frog.”
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Fast Forward to 2006
All the components that a graphic designer needs to know: printing, concepts, clear graphic communication, images, color theory, shapes, contrast, typefaces (fonts), halos and postscripts, and their history and all the expertise one needs to know regarding the design field, I know.
I purposely obsessed about everything a great designer would need to know and continually pushed my edge and did this primarily to prove something to myself, family and friends. You could say I’m an obsessive overachiever.
As graphic designers and AdMen, we are generalists. This means we know a lot about a lot of things which also happens makes us good conversationalists at parties. We thrive among the infinitely curious and knowledge hungry.
As a designer, you are expected to know the difference between CMYK and RGB and what the hell a Hex color is, HTML code, and the differences between; picas and points, tracking vs. leading, Picasso and Pissarro, Manet and Monet.
As a graphic designer and through a diverse range of projects over the years, I have an intimate knowledge and know the difference between a herringbone and blanket stitch (fashion), blinoplasy and otoplasty (plastic surgery), perigee and apogee (satellite orbiting), cane sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, a vegan and vegetarians, raw and live foodist, the thread differentiation between wood and metal screws, absorption and adsorption (engineering), acupuncture and acupressure (healing arts), astrology and astronomy, a quantum, molecule and atom (physics), bear and bull market rallies (financial), dessous and dessus (ballet), Freud and Jung, Brahms and Bach, Joyce and Beckett, Wright and Gehry, and about 2,000 other things which may bore the eyes out of your sockets.
For me, to know something means to “Know what something is and what it is not.” It’s a holistic approach to understanding.
Admittedly, it was actually tens of thousands of dollars in mistakes that have brought this knowledge to be. My ability to fail has been fully developed into a hardened, refined and a more accurate process has emerged.
Perhaps I succeed more
because I failed more.
The odds weigh heavily in favor
of this being a truth.
I figured that if you want to be paid like a professional, you had better perform like one. As a pro, you are expected to KNOW what you are doing but, some clients, including myself, were still mystified why some things worked better than others.
I’ve asked many experts, professionals, and even novices about something, a system or method, that would achieve predictable results—making order out of this chaos. There are 1000s of techniques out there but, knowing if a campaign will work or not has seemed to have eluded even the most profound of industry professionals.
Sometimes I would do an amazingly, successful ad or design campaign and other times I could completely strike out. It was a hit or miss. Deeper research was definitely in order and I wanted a more predictable system. Something business owners could count on. I wanted this expertise.
How can this gap between knowing and guessing be closed? How can campaigns be made more predictable, more reliable and show clients a safe and sure road to their “Return On Investment” (ROI)?
I searched high and low and couldn’t find a predictable system that existed for administering products and services like a real pro, on point, at least 70-80% of the time. I wanted a something that was a predictable system based on science and math.
This system would have to be found because one does not exist. This would required a great deal of research. So I started with the customer: who they are not as a consumer but as a sensitive, thoughtful human being.
The presupposition is that if you have a service or product that is USEFUL to someone beside yourself, it can be sold. Clients are happy if they get a 5-10% return from their efforts. For me, this return is dismal.
I was pretty well-versed in the human body and how it works from the Egyptian, Vedic, and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective. These are still the most widely used forms of medicine in the world today and have survived an exhaustive trial and error period.
For instance, Emperors in China have commissioned scores of herbalist to find a combination for health, healing and immortality. If you can imagine every conceivable combination of shit, rocks, dirt, sand, fish scale, bird feather, leaf, root, animal part, human part and even tiger balls have been clashed and combined, heated, frozen, roasted, cooled, and melted looking for THE right combination for immortality.
They have tremendous volumes of books, written material and have kept and updated thorough records of their findings. They’ve also killed hundreds of thousands of people in this query to serve the Emperor’s quest via prisoners and handsomely paid subjects and once thought mercury was the wonder drug because of it’s metallic and liquid quality.
Now that’s what I call Neurochemical!
Care to take a guess as to how many years they conducted this survey? The answer is at the end of this entry. It has a dark red background with blue type and is upside down.
I spent from 2004-2008 looking in-depth into spirituality, mysticism and both the ancient and modern mystery schools in NYC and abroad. Two of these years was spent on the telephone every day with a powerful spiritual teacher. She spent the larger part of her life traveling the world, with a full purse, allowing her access to every major mystic on Planet Earth from China to South America to California, traveling from east to west.
She did this over a 40 year period before returning to her husband in Long Island.
I’ve seen some amazing things.
I was missing one component or the body, mind and spirit portion of the human puzzle: The Mind. I began a thorough inquiry and started taking on smaller clients to test what I’ve learned.
I originally called this study Neurochemical Testing. The inquiry has been enroute and in development since late 2005, early 2006. I wanted to know how the knowledge and integration about the mind, body and spirit could be applied to clients’ businesses with measurable results. The search was to understand how brain functions and this was the last part of the voyage.
What happens when you superimpose a healthy psychology into sociological environments developing a culture instead of just generating sales? What is perception? Can this knowledge be addressed and re-applied to my professional pursuits?
Humans’ basic needs are to have shelter against the elements, food and drink. So beginning with these primal needs seemed like a good place to start. I would work outward and up-to-date from there.
Questions worth knowing the answers to:
Why does someone smile? Why does a baby know how to smile even though they were never taught how to do it? Why does someone cry? Why does a baby cry without learning this first? What is hunger? Why does our stomach grumble when we are hungry? What is depression and what is happiness?
I started with dozens of white papers and grey literature, research and reports. Perhaps I could find connectivity between the facts presented by thousands of studies and apply this knowledge to ads, brands, communication and design solution which view the company as secondary to the human needs and market they seek to address.
Since 2006, I have read and pulled critical info about the human brain, neuropeptides, biological and behavioral patterns, applied psychology and sociology conditioning. This Neurochemical is built from well over 400 of these white papers from the best universities England and the US has to offer.
You may have a burning question:
What does all of this have to do with boiling frog?
How does one properly boil frog?
You can boil the proverbial frog by dropping them in a pot of lukewarm water. The heat must be raised at 0.002°C per second. This will take over 2.5-3 hours.
Ingredients: 1 mid-sized adult frog, 2 leaves of a water lily, one mid-sized pre-prepared ball of sturdy bread dough (sourdough is recommended), two raisins.
1. In a 2 quart pot, fill it with fresh water, 2/3 to capacity (no salt, please)
2. Heat over medium flame until it is lukewarm.
3. Immediately place frog in, covering it with one of the lily pads.
4. Very slowly bring the water to a boil.
The frog won’t jump out and get boiled alive. Their minds will mentally adjust to the change of heat. They are amphibians with amphibian brains.
5. After an hour, cover frog fully in bread dough
Baking Directions: Preheat oven to 350° F.
What would happen if you boiled the water first and added the frog?
If you boiled the water first and then drop the frog in, they will immediately jump from the water at a calculated average force of (F(av)=0.10+/-0.04 N). 
A frog can jump 6-9 feet.
Some questions you may have are:
What does my business have to do with boiling frog?
It may have took your business a 1-10 years to realize you need help with publicizing it, like a frog in slowly boiling water. It’s probably okay but you know it can be doing much better.
What are you waiting for?
Perhaps you expect someone else to perform miracles with moving your products or services in a just a couple of weeks or months. Let us know how that works out. We’d love to know and see your success story.
What the hell will this cost?
This depends on where we see potential improvements and how much work is entailed. We can start with a $5 frog and take leaps from there.
We’re not kidding. Give us $5 and we can guarantee you a Return On Investment (ROI) of $15. That’s a 300% ROI and hardly anyone else can get this for you.
Other may shiver when you mention an ROI.
We perform miracles using both a 20+ year experience, 1000s of examples and the game-changing; Neurochemical data.
So, what’s your magic number?
What’s the magic time?