And So On: The Karma Interview

Posted By Andrew Nelson & Matt Singer on June 02, 2015

At Karma we can finish each other's sentences, but we never run out of questions which is why we paired two colleagues from separate departments and challenged them to an interview. We wanted to learn more about them, their jobs, their hobbies and what makes them tick.

What’s your role at Karma?
andrew nelson: I am a Designer and the unofficial cornhole champion.
matt singer: Oh wow, we haven’t played yet.
an: Don’t let me just jump to conclusions, but as far as the studio goes …
ms: Oh. Ok. We’re gonna have to do it. We’ll have an Olympics Day or something.
an: Let’s do it! So what’s your role at Karma?
ms: I am an Account Supervisor here. And I have yet to be the cornhole champion.
an: Did you work at an ad agency prior to this?
ms: I did. Actually before this job, I was the custodian for this office. And then one day I came across a whiteboard that had a brand strategy question on it, so I filled it out and somebody caught me filling it out. I ran away and the next day they were so impressed with my whiteboard answer that they offered me a job here.
an: So you’re basically the guy from Good Will Hunting.
ms: No. I was really at a pharmaceutical marketing firm before this, not nearly as fun as all the other stuff we work on here. What about you? What was your background?
an: I got into graphic design through fine art. I painted in high school and college, but towards the end of college I was actually making paintings with letterforms – things based on typography. I started to pursue it in earnest my senior year.

Why Karma?
an: I did a pretty extensive search of places in the Philadelphia area. The website gave a good first impression, and I appreciated how the work was rationalized in a concise but poetic way. More practically, I like how Karma addresses the consumer in ways big and small – no matter the media. It’s not just about what a particular brochure looks like, but about how a person experiences a brand or event.

What makes a successful team?
an: It’s a tough one because it depends on the team. But no matter what, you have to be selfless and generous. If you put an idea out there, you can't think of it as your own idea – it is an idea that the team shares. You can’t be too attached to something just because you thought about it.
ms: So it’s more like the best idea wins, even if it’s not my idea.
an: Yeah. The whole team should be working toward the same goal; not against each other.
ms: I think trust is probably the biggest thing for me. Being able to trust that your teammates will do what they need to do, do it well, and that everyone gives 100% every time they do something. When you can really trust your team, amazing things happen. It helps you focus on your own work, dive deeper and do a better quality job. To me that’s huge.

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What is your guiltiest pleasure?
an: I would not consider myself a gamer, but I’ve played most of the Zelda games.
ms: On what systems?
an: First it was Game Boy. Then Nintendo 64 …
ms: Zelda 64 is probably one of my favorite games. My guiltiest pleasure is nonsensical pop songs. For some reason, I just like stupid terrible pop songs. Anything like Nicki Minaj, Carly Rae Jepsen, Iggy Azalea, that kind of stuff.
an: Just totally catchy.
ms: So catchy. Carly Rae Jepsen’s song that she just came out with, “I Really Like You.” I can’t. I love that song. And it’s so embarrassing. But it’s so good.
an: And now the whole world knows.

What is your go-to spotify search?
ms: “Please load my Pandora App” because I don’t have Spotify.
an: I think the one I’ve searched the most is Ratatat. That’s my go-to thing. Something with a beat keeps me energized.

Stewart or Colbert?
ms: Colbert. Hands down. That man is a genius.
an: I said the exact same thing.
ms: I think it’s the right answer.
an: He’s also a little more easy to relax to. Stewart can be challenging for my 21st-Century attention span.

What are your favorite blogs?
an: A lot of them are design-based, like AIGA Eye on Design. And in the non-design world, I read FiveThirtyEight, which Nate Silver started and which ESPN now owns. It looks at a variety of topics from a data-oriented perspective.
ms: Mashable I love just because they have many different kinds of stories. I really like to hear about the latest tech and digital things coming out. It does a great job of product reviews but they also cover the latest digital advertising. And it’s not really a blog, but New York Times is my go-to for pretty much anything.

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