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I wrote this in 2007 (10th Grade):

I've always had a strong branding and marketing force behind me. I was always fascinated, even in Manoa Elementary School about corporations and marketing. My Nicknames tells more of that story. At Manoa I always had the M-Michael story and logo. In 6th Grade, I got the nickname "Plaz". In 9th Grade, I made a logo for it and started transitioning myself to that brand.

I put it everywhere. On stickers of all of my stuff, school reports, in my room. I have even made t-shirts with it on there. (I made them in Manufacturing class at Haverford High School) It identified and represents me.

Plaz is more then just a nickname. It represents me. Thus, I made it distinctive by placing it in a special font. I picked the font, Pristina, after much study and even surveys of my peers. I think the font represents me well. It serious and readable, but has a bit of fun in it too.

I always felt like I've exhibited a sort-of larger then life personality. I believe that my peers, both in honors and otherwise classes look up to me and respect me. I've never really figured it out, and if I had to start life over again, I wouldn't know how to replicate it. But I exhibit a sort of influence over others which people admire. Some kids think that I run the school and always ask me how I "pimp so good".

I always answer that I don't know. However, I do think that it has to do with the fact that I pay attention and try my best. If I need extra help, I'll stop by after school. I don't do stupid things which annoys people. I try to get to know my teachers and what they expect.

I tailor my response and personality to my audience. I usually start out very conservative in my manners, then expand if the situation allows. This lets me to talk to a wide audience without offending.

I learned much of this in theater class. In fact, I recommend for everyone to take beginning to intermediate theater classes. It taught me to be able to control myself and my actions. It taught me public speaking, being able to project, and even how to sing (which I have now forgotten). It taught me confidence and control in every situation, as well how to connect with people. It taught me storytelling and being able to connect with an audience. The best of the classes would be People's Light Youth Summerstage in Malvern, PA. One year I was even able to perform in the round theater at the National Constitution Center.

The key to success is to study, try, and understand. You have to take an active role in your education. I always try to understand everything, even if I "need" to or not. This is one of the key's of my success. Never stop learning or become complacent. I always look for a new adventure, something to read, to expand my horizon. You have to try hard to succeed. represents the extension of me onto the internet. For more see the website Mission Statement

Branding in General

Branding in general is a way people learn to recognize and associate a feeling with a particular product and service. As I said, I've always liked brands and having a strong, cohesive identity. Design plays a large part too. When I go into a new restaurant, I always notice the design. I feel "safe" when I notice cohesive features. I've always admired McDonalds for bringing a cohesive experience into hundreds of different locations around the world. I am a visual person and it shows in what I do. People have told me that they like GridView because they really like the design. I'm not too good at actually designing stuff, I am particularly good at recognizing what works. Thus I am taking my talents with branding and putting them to good use!

2012 Addendum

Looking back at what I wrote in 2008, I still think this is true. To me "Plaz" is a symbol of pride; of quality. It means doing the best in everything I do. Having pride in what I do. Wanting to do a good job. I don't think I get the same response from "Michael" - it's too common. Plaz is unique.