Dyske Suematsu

When I was in middle school, our teacher asked us to come up with a name for the magazine we were to publish. A bunch of us pitched in our ideas, and the teacher wrote them down on the blackboard. She then asked us which ones we liked. Everyone converged on about five of them. Mine was ignored. She told us that she would officially take our votes after a short break. During the break, I went up to the blackboard and neatly redrew mine to how I would design it. When she took the votes, mine won by a wide margin. This incident taught me the power of presentation and foreshadowed my career.

I love existing in between things: areas of expertise, cultures, domains of knowledge, etc.. Given that our culture is organized by specialties, I’ve always felt that there are more opportunities to be creative in between them. For instance, I’ve always put equal emphasis on art and engineering, working as a designer as well as a programmer. I’m not happy when I focus too much on one side or the other; it feels alienating to think that I’m only about my taste or logical competence. I believe that, to be human, we have to be able to embrace ambivalence. I find marketing to have a great balance between art and engineering.

Marketing is not a field most people respect, but everyone has to market themselves in one way or another. At the core, marketing is about saying, “I’m here.” If you let others know who you are, you are marketing. I would challenge any critics of marketing to choose the best product in any category based purely on merits without relying on any marketing materials. If perfect meritocracy were possible, we wouldn’t need online dating sites. We wouldn’t need to go out and meet people. Mr. or Ms. Perfect would suddenly show up at our doors. But we don’t live in such a world. Whether we like it or not, we have to market ourselves. If we have to do it, we should do it well.

I’m not a charming person, so, throughout my life, I’ve had to figure out how to create things to communicate who I am. That is, inadvertently I’ve trained myself to be a marketer instead of a salesperson. Couple that with my interest in psychology, it just makes sense for me to be in marketing.

Contact dyske@cycleia.com

Manny Kivowitz

I was that kid – the AV geek who took pride in running the film projector at school assemblies, volunteering for the AV department so I could get my hands on “professional” video equipment and becoming a yearbook photographer after acquiring my first SLR camera at age 14. I simply loved capturing and telling stories through film and video and have been pursuing this passion ever since. I’m still that kid today, just a lot more experienced.

My first industry break was an opportunity to work for an up and coming commercial director in 1985, followed by a series of gigs working for photographers, commercial production companies and corporate communication groups. I was on a roll. Before long I felt confident enough to take a shot at setting up my own shop, KSK:STUDIOS, it’s still running today.

KSK was a simple start up, myself, a state of the art broadcast camera package and a short client list. Over the years, the company grew and I shifted my focus from being a director of photography to developing my budding skills producing and directing, “real people” interviews became a specialty.

The company grew and a talented team of people including Dyske Suematsu joined KSK, helping build it into a full service, cross platform, production company. We built a reputation for tackling challenging projects, an ability to effectively communicate complex ideas and for maintaining high aesthetic standards on every job.

I’ve worked with a broad mix of clients including top names from Madison Avenue, Wall Street and Main Street and I’ve co-developed and produced original content projects including; a 17 episode series for MTVN’s VH1 & Logo networks titled “Can’t Get a Date”, a children’s creative movement series titled “Move ‘N Groove Kids” and a wide variety of web based projects together with Dyske Suematsu.

Today, I’m focused on working more intimately on communication projects with clients both large and small, a feat that requires me to operate on a simpler level. Less overhead management has meant more time to focus on the project and allows more time to be creative. Joining Cycle extends my ability to confidently offer top tier design services to my clients knowing that they will receive the attention they deserve and the quality they expect.

Contact manny@cycleia.com

Michael Kay

I first learned about visual communication as a young photojournalist, but from working at a newspaper was drawn to graphic design. After a few years of producing and designing publications, including one of my own, along came the emergence of the Internet in the mid-1990’s. The potential of web sites to communicate and innovate was too compelling to resist.

Eager to learn from experience and my talented peers, I cut my teeth at companies which broke a lot ground in defining this new medium. As a staff member at Hotwired (of Wired magazine), CondeNet, and Phoenix-Pop I saw how critical my common-sense approach was to this medium. The approach of creating stuff that puts the audience (users) first, to give them something of value, no matter what the day’s trend brings. Since then, I have integrated the more formal practices of Usability and Information Architecture into everything I do.

After growing within these organizations, it was time to set out on my own, designing and building Web-based solutions for small to medium businesses and organizations. Dyske has been a close friend since the days when we were roommates while studying at the School of Visual Arts in New York. We have always maintained a connection, sharing what we have discovered from our distinct perspectives.

In late 2006, I moved from New York City to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Though just a few years ago, at the time it was not common to be so far away geographically from one’s clients. However, it worked out, even better than I had imagined, and since then I have developed strong working relationships with clients and colleagues in many places (a few of whom I have never even met face-to-face).

I’m now back in New York City, but what I learned in Argentina informs the work I do both professionally and creatively, and I still work with some clients in the southern hemisphere.

Contact mike@cycleia.com