Day 425

WE DID IT! As of tomorrow evening, we've officially completed The Great Agency Adventure and although it took 14 months to get here, a part of me wishes it could continue for another 14.

For the past few months, I’ve constantly found myself wondering how best to close out this unbelievable journey. I’d write down some ideas here and there, but they were all deleted out of frustration. I just couldn't come up with a summary that gives this tremendous experience the curtain call it deserves. There’s too much to discuss; too many people to thank.

I’ve met so many wonderful individuals across this great nation of ours and connected with thousands more via social media. I’ve found friends in places I’d only read about in books. I’ve seen sights that some only experience through pictures. This project has been a dream come true and I hope everyone enjoyed taking part in it. That’s why I’ve decided to use this blog to highlight the individuals that helped make #TGAA not only possible, but incredible. If there’s one thing I learned time and time again, it’s that friends make all the difference. Friends are a constant that transcend boundaries, borders and state lines. Friends open up your world, introduce you to new things and stand by you regardless of where you are.

So, while I know this list is available on the “Great People” page of the site, I wanted to include it in my final #TGAA blog as well. Everyone below deserves an endless amount of praise, because they helped make this entire thing happen and I’ll never forget that.

Connie Taylor — John E. Taylor — Louis Maldarelli — Peter Gargiulo — Tim Horak — Andrew Brienza — Tom Albrighton — Shawn Webster — Joe Meadows — The lovely individuals at Kreative.com — Birch Norton — Brittany Birkett — Chris Jungjohann — David Oakley — Dion Hughes — Jason Schwartz — Jim Harper — Kim Berndt — Laura Kubinski — Leila Thabet — Maureen Morrison — Rufina Chang — Steve O'Connell — Tim Dyer — Tim Zeller — Vera Fischer — Alison Strickland — Barbara Levy — Dave McMurray — Monica Saylor — Kelly White — John R. Taylor — Tom Lix — Jillian Kurvers — Mark Gross — Juan Sanchez — Theresa and Dennis Balogh — Kyle Klein — Becky Gorman —Orlando Rosas — Holly Jee — Bria Topper —Alison Murphy — Zack Kinslow — Allan Kneale — Kristina Jansons — Jared Scott — June Leddy — Dave Batista — Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Smith — Jared Wicker — Ben Whitla — Jeremy Borthwick — Andy Primeau — Josh Sims — Richard Shideler — Josh Teixeira — Scott Niejadlik — Marita Stapleton — Josh Deane— Tim T. at This Advertising Life — Levi Patterson — Scott Huber — Davis Cox — Stephen Swift — Ryan Work — Ashley Riehlin — Miranda Fung — Rebecca Gibson — Ceci Menchetti — Grace Gordon — Luke Carrell — Jillian Pavsner — Melanie Hope — Nicole Ghobrial — Jacob Wilson —Alexandra Skae — Melanie Niklas — Fiona Callaghan — Jay Newell — Garrett Close — Kristen DiLandro — Kristen DiLandro — Benjamin Arnold — Connor Rose — Roxanne Oliver — Charlie Glover — Dan Kleinman — Daniel Stein — Todd Taylor — Woodbine — Ben McCool — The great people at DesignTaxi.com — Allison Berger — Dan Orlando — Jillian Wong — Pete Norwood — Rafael Oliveira — Meg Dibley — Andy Joos — Bryan McGee — Vic Carreno — Doug Keith — Allison Berger — Steve Red — Kelsey Kovalcik — Annie Heckenberger — Mark Likosky at the Philly Egotist — Farheen Aqueel — Jason Sicilliano — Abbas Naqvi — Ray Bartkus — Daniel Harris at IWG — Gordon Young at TheDrum.com — Philip Di Salvo at Wired.it — Jason Schoch — Drew Shaman — Cristen Capron — Mike Borell — Nick Nemeth — Danny Gassaway — Ashley Reker — Mary Gross — Maggie Deininger — Emily Haney — David Hamrick — Fran Taylor — Curtis Petraglia — Matt Mroczka — Ben Santoriello — Matt Rubel — Jennifer Faull — Kenya Madyun — Eliza Carney — Lindsey King — Adam Oldfield — Claire Oakley — Geri Holmes — Ben Couvillion — Mandy Young — Kelsey Taylor — Blaine Loyd — Hallie Miller — Laura Drangmeister — Martin Wilford — Ben Colar — Warner Russell — Michael Phillips — Andrew Lebowitz — Casey Latiolais — Sara Latiolais — Jeff Rifkin — Sarah Rockwell — Holly Whitfield — Jake Houvenagle — Dave Scott — Parker Gibson — Rick Hecke — Monica Castello — Darrick Hays — Wesley Hoffman — Javier Leiva — Kevin Kelly — Matt Reedy — Joe Stephens — Archie McKinlay — Claire Wasserman — Jon Copp — Tony Biaggne — Heather Durham — Craig Miller — Ben Ruggiero — Aleksa Westwater — Gary Hudson — Amado Carrasco — Louis Feider — Kyle Goethals — Jeff Canzona — Angela Vitzthum — Luke Hausman — Eric Guth — Aleksa Westwater — Bob Berg — Judy Oskam — Eric Fawcett — Kevin Hughes — Eric Fawcett — Lotti Anderson — Danielle Fullerton — Bill Roden — Debbie Fischer — Heath Rudduck — Dustin Naugle – Matt Thompson — Elyse Ash — Sam Johnsrud — Russ LeBlanc — Perry Morris — Maria Roepke — Heather McCollum — Brian Skalak — Chris Spong — Andy Sims — Tim Letscher — Eric Husband — Victoria Sullivan — Russ LeBlanc — Mary Funk — Briana Chenkin — Olivia Claypool — Zoe Cooper — Kristen Humphrey — Daniel Alvarez — Carson Barker — E. Gigi Taylor Ph.D. — Larry Coffman — Amanda Wood — Jim Haven — Phil Shigo — Matt Peterson — Elise Drake — Hilary Lee — Gage Mitchell — Michelle Taraba —  Alison Tintle — Jaclyn Hardgrove — Chelsea Nybo — Jaime Diskin — Benj Burke — David Alkire — Nicole Gleadle — Chet Ford — Ryan Hammill — Ryan Mitchell — Jake Ferrigno — M'Elena Holder — Anna Taylor — Maria Scheleen — Lauren Willoughby — Erin Leach-Kemon — Ben Waldron — Rob Rosenthal — Maschell Cha — Josh Schield — Barry Amundson — Travis Fulton — Katelyn Kerns — Ann Kaleshnik — Craig Schommer — Dave Becker — Lenny Self — Chad Wallace — Duncan Alexander — Scott Carver — Adam Shaylor —  Simeon Roane — Buck Wise — Jesus Cameron — Ursula Tran — Christine Hurty — David Bird — Miranda Maney — Patrick Maravi — Alex Grinton — Steve Babcock — Lee McKenna — Shane Ginsberg — James Gassel — Michelle Sjöberg — Michelle Maben — Jacqui Abel — Karin Djelaj — Matt Dimmer — Ryan Scott — Joanna Mostov — Aaron Thompson 

As for my blog, I’ll continue to update it once I’ve had some time to reconnect with my family (I haven’t seen them in over a year after all). I’m not sure what’s next for me or where I’ll end up, but until I figure all of that out I can’t consider the project over. So, be sure to stay tuned as we begin the next chapter.

I hope to see you again soon,

-Steve-

Day 422

Well folks, we've officially entered into the final week of #TGAA. I'm currently on my way back from a weekend trip to Las Vegas and I have to admit that I had a stellar time. I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy it, since I didn't plan on spending any money, but those buffets really sold me. I don't even want to know how many calories I consumed in the past 48 hours. Yeesh! 

Anyway, I wanted to post my final 'helpful website' blog today, because I think it makes for a good segue into my final 'project' blog on Thursday. Not to mention, I always get a lot of good feedback on them. So, before I start rambling on about crab cakes and salad bars, let's take a look at some of the sites I frequented over the past 5 months. 

Austin

Do512.com  — A list of all the wonderful events going on—in and around Austin. What’s cool and different about this calendar is that they regularly offer free tickets to shows, which is a very useful tool for the vast nightlife of the city.

Austin360.com — A more traditional site, Austin360 offers everything from sports standings and classifieds to concert photos and games.

C3Concerts.com — These folks have their hands in some of Austin’s biggest festivals, which means you’ll find the latest and greatest concerts here before anywhere else. An excellent site to bookmark, if you love live shows.

Seattle

The Stranger — City news with a twist. The Stranger is Seattle’s go-to site for all things music, art and culture. But they also have a rambunctious staff running the show and they know how to bring the fun into everything they do.

City Arts — Art is alive and well in the city of Seattle and if that’s your scene this is a site you’ll absolutely love. From lectures and comedy to openings and movies, they cover just about every creative endeavor you can image.

Seattle MET — This is a great site for new restaurant openings, the latest fashion tips and a lot of local giveaways. Personally, I found it extremely useful when trying to decide where to eat. They have some really great reviews over there.

Portland

Willamette Weekly — Arts & Culture, Food & Drink, Willamette Weekly is the city’s authority on everything happening in and around the city. Their print version can also be found just about everywhere too.

Eleven PDX — This one is all about the music. You can learn about upcoming concerts and even read up on the local and national acts who are making their mark on the scene.

Artslandia — Portland has a lot of stage performances going on almost every single night. This site brings you the good, the bad and the ugly of what’s going on and where.

San Francisco

Fun Cheap SF — If you’re living on a budget (and let’s face it, most people in SF are) this website is Internet gold. I had an extremely tight budget in December and this site provided me with a slew of free and cheap events to attend.

The Bay Bridged — If you love music, this site is for you. San Francisco has an incredible indie music scene and The Bay Bridged brings them all together for your concert-going pleasure. If it’s happening on a stage in the bay area, you’ll find out about it here.

AD2SF.org — This site is much different than any of the others I’ve posted about. AD2SF is dedicated to bringing young ad professionals together through networking events, learning seminars and mixers. If you’re under 35 and in SF, I highly recommend you check out some of their events.

Los Angeles

Art Scene CalLA has an incredible art scene, which shouldn’t really come as a surprise. This site is constantly updated with the latest openings, shows and news from the art world. It’s a great way to take in some culture any day of the week.

Buzz Bands LA — Have you always wondered how people hear about the ‘next big thing’ before anyone else? They probably frequent this site. It’s dedicated to highlighting the newest groups and letting you know where and when they’re taking the stage.

LA Weekly Calendar — I feel bad about putting this one on the list, but I’ll be damned if LA Weekly doesn’t get it right. They’ve got nearly every upcoming event listed and catalogued to help you make plans for the week ahead. 

I hope these sites help you as much as they helped me. It's nice to look back and remember how much I used them. As for now though, I'm going to take a nap and hopefully wake up back in LA.

See you soon!

-Steve-

 

Day 418

I don’t think I’ll ever get used to LA traffic. After 13 months of walking and biking to the office, I just feel so lazy sitting in the backseat of a car—especially for an hour at a time. The whole situation bums me out, because they’re actually extending a subway line down here but it doesn’t open until 2016. If only I had waited another year! 

Traffic aside; the one thing that’s always puzzled me about LA is why I couldn’t grab the attention of more local agencies while scouring for our final stop. Back in 2013 when #TGAA was in its initial planning stages; I spent most of my time convincing the first batch of agencies to come on board. Thankfully, once Recess Creative joined, it showed others I wasn’t some sort of nutcase. So, when I reached out to other agencies I had past relationships with, several of them were already eager to take part (Red Tettemer included). After that it was much easier to sell the project in our remaining cities and by the time February rolled around I had every stop accounted for—except LA.

The months came and went and the next thing I knew it was already August and I still had no clue where the project would wrap up. I’d always had my heart set on LA, because it seemed rather appropriate to go coast-to-coast. Yet, months and months of using the same tactics and selling points that brought 13 other agencies on board just weren’t enough for most of the shops here. Toward the end of summer, I was finally able to get a few call backs, but they never did amount to much.

Why the gigantic disconnect? I’m still not 100% sure, but I think it has something to do with the isolated nature of the communities here. I’ve learned that just because you live in LA doesn’t mean you’ve been around the area. In fact, the friends I’m crashing with say there are actually people in town they rarely see, because their commutes are just too much—even though it's often only a few miles in length. I think that mindset may have fueled many of my interactions and caused some to never truly understand the point or purpose of the project.

That’s the best explanation I can come up with. So, for anyone out there who wants to land a job in LA, just keep in mind that you have to utilize a whole different set of tactics if you want to get noticed here. Then again, you should strive to never use a "generalized" approach. If you really want to work somewhere, present a highly customized offering and it'll definitely get you noticed. Either that or befriend some super rad people from Philly. They just might swoop in and save the day.

Although an important lesson was learned, I do think everything worked out for the best. I'm thrilled to be back at RTO+P. I'm having an incredible time at the office and the people here are downright stellar. Plus, being at a different branch of an agency I've already visited allows me to bring a brand new perspective to the month. Honestly, I couldn't ask for anything more and I'm overjoyed with how it all worked out. 

-Steve-