Goldie Blox, the Beastie Boys, Fischli & Weiss, and Fair Use

The recent lawsuit between the Beastie Boys and the toy company Goldie Blox has gotten some attention as of late. See the Gothamist article here.

About this ad that went viral

There are so many ways lawsuits could be avoided and people given credit where credit is due.

Goldie Blox, with all good intentions wants to inspire young girls to build things—that’s super. But actually they are inspiring girls—and all of us—to violate fair use when it comes to art and inventions. And to take it one step further: they teach us all to plagiarize others’ work. At least give credit where credit is due.

Yes, it’s a great commercial, and what good media and creative should be - but shame on you! 

The lawsuit with the Beastie Boys song that they have blatantly used is a “remake” and not the parody that the company claims. But another aspect of it not mentioned, is the engineering feat of a Rube Goldberg machine that is pictured. Actually, one could make an argument that it is a rip-off of the artist team Peter Fischli and David Weiss who made this beautiful video, The Way Things Go, in 1987.
(I’m gonna make a guess that most of the creatives at the agency who made the commercial watched this in art school.)

So what is the remedy? Or what would have been proper practices in this matter?

Goldie Blox should have gotten permission from the Beastie Boys as well as Peter Fischli and David Weiss and made an arrangement with them for fair royalties contingent upon success of the advertisements. Wouldn’t that have all been cheaper than the law suits? 

One of the prime reasons why the video is so successful, is because of the iconic nature of the song–it was a popular anthem during the formative years of current parents. We all know how strong music for our memory and emotions, and that is the magic secret sauce of viral media. And my generation, who loved the song are the ones holding the purse strings for those toys.

On the subject of the original song not having the most uplifting and empowering lyrics for women? C’est la vie. Even with my feminist eye, I didn’t notice it then and to remake it now is even better.

DNA Discount Culture

In my inbox this morning there were 2–yes, two– daily deals for DNA testing kits. Does that mean that home DNA testing is very “last year’?

What is Arts Thinking?


In answer to the essential question: “What does OpenInvo do?”, I hear myself trying to say the same thing over and over in slightly different ways. I say, “OpenInvo brings the methodologies of people in the arts and creative fields to business.” or “OpenInvo is a bridge between the right brainers and left brainers of the world.” or even “We believe that people in the arts are trained to think in a unique way, and these skills are valuable in business.”  But we here at OpenInvo had never given a name to the methodology that we use. Until now.

Welcome to Arts Thinking. 

What is Arts Thinking?

Many elements make up Arts Thinking, and as we approach the upcoming OpenInvo event, The Vibrant Future: Real World Value of Arts Thinking, on May 3rd, now is a great time to start the introduction.  Let’s start with what it isn’t.

Although, we recognize the importance of “design thinking” both as a practice and in the context of the history of design… and although Arts Thinking is related to design thinking, it is not the same.


Let’s start with something familiar :

Q.: How many _____ does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A.: Answer: __________.


In design thinking:

Q.: How many designers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A.: Does it have to be a lightbulb?

In Arts Thinking: 

Q.: How many artists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A.: Why would you want to do something like that?


Asking the right questions and making meaning are our starting point. 

Find out more on May 3rd at our first big giant event: 
The Vibrant Future of the Creative Economy: Real World Value of Arts Thinking



The Buddy System

I’ve been thinking about this idea that everyone has something to teach. You may not agree with their occupation, their religion, their lifestyle or their use of money, BUT there may be some sliver of an opportunity to learn something valuable from your most reviled enemy….

My blog post on Aging 2.0 about older adults in advertising.

6 Principles of Storytelling from IDEO


If you are in NYC and you haven’t been to the 3DEA pop-up store in NYC, it is worth getting there. You can see 3D printing in action. If you are interested in knowing more about how 3D printing is changing our world, as well as the potential pitfalls of it, chat with Arthur Young-Spivey who is an industrial designer and digital fabrication specialist who is the on-site expert. The store has plans to close in mid-February, so get there while you can.

Last night 3DEA hosted an informational event for the Next Top Makers Challenge – a contest run by the NYCEDC and Challengepost. You can find more information about it here.  

One of the gems of the evening was a talk by Ashley and Ingrid (sorry, ladies, I didn’t get your last names!) from IDEO who gave some great tips for any maker who is presenting their ideas. These are mostly marketing points, but keep in mind, any presentation is a marketing opportunity!

A recap of what they presented:
6 principles of storytelling

1. story trumps facts
Make your viewers curious. Highlight the oddity. Put a human face on data.

2. invoke empathy
Create an experience first with your presentation, you will have your audience engaged from the start.

3. write like you talk
Story is conversation. Formal language and business speak have their place, but they won’t help you “sell” your idea.

4. editing is power
As Nora Ephron said:  don’t bury the lead. Put the point of your story in the beginning.

5. design for the retelling.
If you are lucky, the story gets retold, so design a talkable moment.

6. show how the world could be
Everything that you present is a future where your idea exists. What would the world like, and who would you be in this future perfect? Paint a picture of an ideal.
(Just like Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see.”)

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Boston Wiki Meetup

(Some will say this is not the time. I disagree. This is the time when every mixed emotion needs to find voice.)

Since his arrest in January, 2011, I have known more about the events that began this spiral than I have wanted to know. Aaron consulted me as a friend and lawyer. He…

The Strangest Daily Deal Yet

I’m not even sure what to say about this one— pay $12, get $30 to spend at the Goodwill stores from Amazon Local. Sure, thrift stores have sales too (I have surely made an extra trip for the “blue-tag Thursdays” for those vintage shoes). But I wasn’t expecting this.


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Keeping underground #dance alive! The Stanley Love Performance Group at the Gershwin Hotel (Taken with Instagram)

Keeping underground #dance alive! The Stanley Love Performance Group at the Gershwin Hotel (Taken with Instagram)

Tags: dance

Want More Women in Tech Startups? Put Tampons in the Bathroom.


I learned many things in my time working in film production that translate into the business, tech and entrepreneurship world. Anyone who knows how to work on a massively coordinated team on location or on set, with long hours, strange conditions, wacko deadlines and rhythms that range from non-stop overdrive to hurry-up-and-wait to extreme boredom, are a-ok in my book, and trained for just about anything. The film industry realized pretty quickly that under these conditions one of the most important things you can do to keep people working towards the common goal is to give them an abundance of creature comforts.

Even in the most low-budget productions, there is at the very least an endless supply of coffee, and even on a zero budget student film I was the chef for the cast and crew on location - 3 meals a day, paid for by the director’s hours working at the bookstore. On the other extreme, I have worked in studios where the mid-afternoon cheese spread came compete with explainer cards on the origins of each cheese. I remember thinking that the cost of it was at least equal to my utility bill that month. Do I need to mention the lotions and potions that the bathrooms were stocked with?  Now I don’t recall if I’ve been in the bathroom of some of the “Best Places to Work” list, but I have been in some swanky corporate spots with shoe shiners and masseurs. Never should any employee be without a lint brush when one was needed. 

Cut to the tech startup scene.

Whether it’s NY or the Bay area, we hear stories of ping pong tables, swimming pools, kegs, foosball tables, game setups and pinball machines in common areas.  And, hey, I love the TRON pinball machine at We Work Labs as much as any of the 20-something guys in their hoodies, but yet something is missing. Not one tech startup space I have been in has a full length mirror in the bathroom. No hand lotion, no hair spray, and certainly no tampons. Not even a fem-product vending machine.

Tight budgets? I don’t think that’s the problem. The ladies haven’t asked for such luxuries? Asked whom? Actually, quite a few of them have mentioned it to me. 

Yes, gentlemen of the tech world who are getting flack for not being gal friendly, I do propose that you embrace your feminine side and cater to the needs of the gals in the office! But better yet, I have another idea— if RedBull and the like, can be a sponsor for the tech scene, why isn’t TampaxO.B. , Playtex or Avon? How about Target or Sephora? Do you think there won’t be a return on the marketing spend? I can’t give you the projected numbers, but have the ladies in tech look good and feel good with your products, you will become brands that we want to support, be loyal to and do business with. Considering how the scales are tipping towards women being the earners and workers of the future, can you afford not to support us? If I haven’t made enough of an argument, consider the publicity opportunity, “Tech-Awesome Organization, sponsored by Fem-Care Product.” Breaking the glass ceiling one bathroom at a time. Period.

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