NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - His name is Alain Sylvain, a super French name, he admits, but his family is from Haiti, and Sylvain is super proud to be a Haitian American, born in New York. His business, Sylvain Labs, a bold innovation and brand consultancy, was also born in New York, 7 years ago, in the height of the recession.
Sylvain says that a few years ago he saw that there weren't any companies servicing both creative needs and hardcore business needs. He saw it as an opportunity to help companies launch new products, work on marketing, and work on their brands.
Today, Sylvain Labs works with some impressive brands. They helped Chobani become a billion-dollar Greek yogurt business, developed Bud Light Platinum for Anheuser-Busch, and worked with GM on the future of connected driving. They count Google, Airbnb, Nike and PepsiCo among their clients.
Sylvain describes Sylvain Labs as an idea about creativity and collaboration and culture. He says they invest a lot of energy in their own tight culture.
A core part of their work is marrying ingenuity with timing, something they call Optimus Time. Sylvain says Optimus Time is a concept they use a lot in his office, and it means that timing is more important than ingenuity, that you can have a brilliant idea, but if the consumer appetite isn't right at a particular time, it's irrelevant.
To say Sylvain Labs is a unique business is an understatement, but to truly understand the culture, it's important to get to know The Side Hustle. Sylvain says they think it's important to make stuff, so Sylvain Labs is involved in a bunch of side hustles, which are their side projects.
They've partnered with Master & Dynamic on a line of luxury headphones. They shot two documentaries, "Instafame" and "Some Kind of Quest," and are releasing a new book called "The Dots" about human influence. They even created their own hot sauce to better understand packaged food products.
Most of the employees at Sylvain Labs have their own side hustles, too.
Sylvain has two passion projects.
One is homemade Halloween costumes. Every year he sees Halloween as an opportunity to self-indulge in the creative process. Last year he and his kids made the Millennium Falcon and storm troopers from Star Wars, and said it was super fun.
He is also obsessed with chess. Sylvain says he plays online for about an hour everyday with people from all over the world. He says, for him, that's what strategy really is and where creativity can play.
He also spends a lot of time thinking about the future of our business: television. Sylvain says he thinks about the TV experience, knowing that fewer people are watching TV and that young people don't pay for TV. He says the future of television is a really tough question that gets Sylvain Labs super energized.
So we invited Sylvain and strategist Joey Camire to Fox 5 to check out our creative process and give us some strategic advice. They sat in on our morning news meeting and took a tour. Camire noticed the diversity of our newsroom, with people coming from such different places and adding to each other's stories.
Sylvain talked about all of the content we're creating. The documentaries and interesting creative leaps like "After Empire" made him feel like there's something happening at Fox 5 that gives him hope for the future of local news.
Their advice is something they tell many of their clients: identify the one thing we do better than anyone else, and make sure that's our focus.