Kiccup: The Birth of a Baby…Product

site backdrop 2 - no arrows - footer croppedAs any new dad will tell you, that first year is a tough one.  Lots of changes, lots of compromises, not a lot of payback and even less sleep.  But then the walking starts, you get those first few words, a little personality and things get better….until you have another one and you’re right back in the soup.

So that’s where I was in February of 2012.  My oldest was about 2 ½ and my youngest was about 7 months.  It had been a long time since I was conscious of having much “fun”.  I was at a birthday party for the son of some good friends.  Their son was 2 and there were a bunch of other kids around the same age for my oldest to play with.  He was off entertaining himself with the other kids.  1 down.

The 7-month-old was strapped to my chest in a BabyBjörn®1.

(A quick aside:  Both of our boys loved the ‘Björn…once they could face outward.  Facing inward not so much, but as soon as they were old enough to turn around and see what was going on they were happy.   I loved the ‘Björn also; it kept me mobile, my hands free, the baby happy and I am big enough that the weight of the little one wasn’t uncomfortable even for long stretches.  There was just one little problem…)

I was talking with a few friends I hadn’t seen in a while, hearing some great stories.  I had a beer in my hand.  Both kids were taken care of so I could actually focus on the conversation.  For the first time in as long as I could remember, I was actually having fun!  My little one was having a great time also.  Each time someone laughed, he giggled, waved his arms and kicked his legs vigorously…pounding me in the balls with his feet.  Aaaaah, fatherhood.

This happened often, unfortunately, and I am far from the only one so afflicted.  It’s a major problem with the ‘Björn; the forward-facing body position keeps the little one entertained for long periods, but for too many dads it’s really rough on the old “family jewels”.  I did a quick straw poll at the party and about half the dads there had shared the same painful experience.  I knew a bunch of other dads who had as well.  Many had actually stopped using the ‘Björn because of it.

After I left the party, I Googled for a solution and came up empty.  I was pretty surprised.  With a problem this acute and widely experienced, I expected that someone would have solved it already.  Not so.  As it happened, I had left my job a couple weeks before the birthday party so had some free time.   Opportunity was knocking and I had the bandwidth to answer.

I got connected with David Gonzalez and Bruce Eng at Sozo Design and within a few months we had a design that was simple, effective and unobtrusive.  After a focused project with Master-McNeil, the new product had a name and The Kiccup was born!   It took a while to iron out sourcing and distribution logistics, but now we’re ready to go.  We couldn’t be more excited to officially launch the product and our new online store!

The Kiccup is the perfect solution to a painful problem – and the perfect gift for a new dad.  We hope you enjoy the product and that it works as well for you as it did for me.

Here’s to more hands-free, pain-free, happy baby time for dad!

1 BabyBjörn is a registered trademark of BabyBjörn AB, which is unaffiliated with Kiccup, Inc.


Don’t be cute

Wholeheartedly agree with Jonathan Mendez in yesterday’s Digiday.

Kirk McDonald’s WSJ op-ed reminded me of my abortive attempt to land a finance job in my early 20s. Someone told me I should read the Wall Street Journal and pick up the lingo. I read the C section dutifully for a couple months, but still had no idea what was going on. So in my interview to become a bond trader, when I was asked what most interested me about the bond market, I said “I’m really interested in LIBOR”.  Which I am sure to the interviewer sounded as cute as when I asked my 3-year-old son Alex what he dreamed about last night and he said “a cheese sandwich”.

Cute doesn’t get you the job.  Nor should it.

If This Process Is So Broken, Why Hasn’t Anyone Fixed It?

For those of you who found Part 1 in my AdExchanger series on Programmatic Reserve interesting, here’s Part 2.


Programmatic Reserve: Let’s Solve The Right Problem

Just a quick post today, to steer readers of this page to AdExchanger for some thoughts on programmatic reserve.


Google: “Programmatic” is all about the buy-side

Did anyone else think yesterday’s virtual “hang out” with Google’s Scott Spencer was fascinating?

First of all, where was he?  Was that a jungle or a conference room?

More importantly though (much more importantly), did anyone else find Google’s definition of programmatic a little lopsided?  According to Scott:

  • “We define [programmatic buying] based on the fact that the buyer gets to define the targeting”
  • “The ability to not buy is a critical attribute to programmatic buying”

This is a fair characterization of RTB as it exists today, but defining the entire Programmatic market this way isn’t exactly seller-friendly.  The real eye-opener for me though was the response to a question from the audience on delivery guarantees (good question, Tom!).  Scott made it clear that in the context of Programmatic Reserve, any delivery guarantees should only go one way.  So for Google, a programmatic delivery guarantee means that the seller guarantees they will provide the inventory, but the buyer doesn’t guarantee they will buy it.

Huh?  You have to admire the frankness, but if I was a publisher I’d be very concerned about that perspective.  I think for programmatic reserve to “really happen” it’s going to take a much more balanced approach that addresses both buy-side and sell-side needs.

What do you think?

Great Creative from Merrill

I just saw this campm2aign on Y! Finance and it caught my eye, half as a consumer and half as an ad guy.  Clicks through to microsite here.

As I have mentioned before, the creative really matters and this is a great example of what’s possible when creative is designed around an online, 2-way experience.  Fantastic way to ingrain the brand impact and the social sharing feature at the end of the process is a great earned media idea (although I personally am too vain to broadcast my 80-year old face).  Great campaign, and I bet they will see great response.

Banners don’t work?  BS.

How do we make Programmatic Reserve really “happen”?

Interesting article last week on Programmatic Reserve by Jay Sears in Ad Age (call it “‘guaranteed” if you want – just don’t call it “premium”).  Jay’s a smart guy and right on the money with respect to the potential for a broader definition of “programmatic” to fundamentally change the online ad landscape and dramatically expand the pie.  So from that angle I was in violent agreement, but two things still kind of grated on me as I read.

First was the shifting tense and implied timing.

Seemed to me that we went freely back and forth between present and future tense as the article unfolded.  We were talking about a ripe opportunity for Programmatic Reserve, then something that was happening now, then sorting out the technology to make it happen.  Those of you who know me (and/or read this page) know this is a topic near and dear to my heart.  It’s most certainly a ripe opportunity.  But it isn’t happening now to any meaningful degree.  Lots of talk.  Maybe almost that much work going on too, but not a lot of real money moving yet.  Perhaps what he means is that this is the year that the work bears fruit and Programmatic Reserve becomes real.  Possible, but we really have our work cut out for us.

Which brings me to my next issue – what needs to happen to make it real?

Jay outlined a vision including structured electronic RFPs on the buy side, structured electronic catalogs on the sell-side, even index funds.  This was a good synthesis of many of the ideas that have been discussed over the years.  So I love the aspirations, but I think the harder part is how to get there.  That’s what folks haven’t been able to figure out yet (yes, that includes me when I was at

Exactly what problem are we trying to solve?  Are we (as this article’s subheader suggests) trying to get up front budgets running through RTB?  Not really.  Are we trying to compete with excel as some others have suggested?   I’m not sure that’s exactly right either.  Is this primarily a buy-side problem or a sell-side problem?  Seems to depend on who you talk to.

I think we’d be most productive as an industry to answer these questions once and for all, rather than spilling more (virtual) ink on the high-level vision for the future. So I am going to do my best this year to do just that.  I.e. figure out what’s the right path to get us to this future we all see and frankly must create to keep growing long term.

I’ll keep you posted, and I’m very much looking forward to your input!


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