Day 200!

Collaboration is a big part of what #TGAA is all about. That’s why, as we celebrate Day 200(!) of the project, I encourage everyone to keep spreading the word about what we're doing here. I realize some might believe it selfish that I want to promote my own project; but I see this as an opportunity to expand my capability to connect individuals across the country—something I've been doing since Day 1. 

For instance, while in Memphis I met the guys behind the Creative Memphis podcast. With one simple—and minute— detail about their need for stickers, I was able to tell them about the great work Jakprints does. Sure, it’s nothing earth shattering, but I view every new relationship I can help create as a victory for #TGAA. Another example is when I discovered Boxing Clever Records has plans to ramp up their offerings very soon. That news got me thinking of Honeybucket, a band from Cleveland that features former Recess Creative Web Developer, Adam Reifsnyder. I, again, was able to help introduce the two parties. 

Going on a book tour? Let me tell you about this creative festival I know. Need a new way to translate your social efforts? I have a sponsor you might want to hear about. These are just a few examples of what I've been able to accomplish so far. In each new city I visit, I do my best to think of those I’ve already met, so I can support their talents, services and abilities by letting others know about them. Not only is it personally rewarding, but my hope is that in turn, both individuals will pass the good will along to help bring more and more people together.

As this project progresses, I’m finding these opportunities are growing more frequent by the stop. I know that I could use this project to my advantage and spend my days and nights trying to land a job, but that isn’t the purpose of any of this. It is—and always has been—about connecting people around the world to new ideas, opportunities and views on where they want to be or go. So, as I reach the halfway point of this whole crazy adventure, I just want to thank everyone I’ve met over the past 7 months. Without any of you, this would be one hell of a boring story.

Keep spreading the word. Keep being yourself. Keep connecting the world. Always. 

-Steve-

Day Fifty Seven

Boston's Theater District

Here in Boston, collaboration is the name of the game. Even the hostel has a section devoted to it. Ascend the spiral staircase in the lobby and you’ll be transported to Collaboratory 4.0, an area dedicated to the creation of new ideas and collective thinking. Adorned with dry erase paint, the walls are filled with scribbles, equations and evidence of past projects. Most of the words are illegible, but you can see many minds have been hard at work in the space. It’s a very inspiring thing to see.

Once I exit the hostel, a quick trip east takes me by the Berkeley Community Garden. Although closed for the season, the space extends an entire block, filled edge-to-edge with fenced off sections of soil. I can’t even begin to image how lively this area must be in the warmer months. I’d estimate there are nearly 300 different gardens, each one complimenting the personality of its owner with trinkets, ornaments and decorations. It’s a testament to what a neighborhood can truly accomplish when they come together for a unified purpose.

Taking a stroll north on Tremont, you can’t help but notice the various installations, murals and art that line the streets of downtown Boston—even the electrical boxes are used as canvas. It’s a beautiful sight to not only see artists working together for recognition, but also that the city continues to inspire and encourage these endeavors. I know such a mindset varies city by city; some view graffiti artists as vandals, while others look to them for identity. I think Boston has found that great balance of historical preservation and artistic innovation.

Then, when I enter the BEAM office each and everyday, I know the space will be filled with chatter—from the desks and offices, to the conference rooms and beyond. Everyone here is working together toward a common goal. I felt the same vibe at Recess. There are no lone wolves within these walls. Each and every member of BEAM is working in unison with his or her team. It's creative collaboration at its finest—at least in my opinion.

Collaboration breeds better results, no matter what the goal may be. 

-Steve-

Day Ten

The Recess Team posing by the tree with some Cleveland Whiskey. 

Throughout all the agencies I’ve worked at in my career, I can honestly say that Recess has the best team structure I’ve experienced thus far. That isn’t to say other agencies are structured wrong, just that I feel most comfortable within this one. I know there are some agencies that falsely claim to blend fun and creativity with hard work and expertise, but Recess is the real deal. They own it. They live it. With Recess, what you see is what you get and that's truly magical.

Some agencies segment their departments, others break into teams and many don’t have a structure at all. At Recess, I’m finding that everyone here is on the same page at all times. The structure is one of a group mentality. We all work together toward a common goal. Sure, we might be working on different projects now, but chances are we'll all touch it before it leaves the door. I think that leads to increased collaboration, which in turn leads to a better product.

That’s the thing I really like about Recess. It feels as if everyone here has a say. Even last week, when we were discussing the upcoming Christmas party, everyone was able to share their ideas openly. In the past, I’ve worked at agencies that felt more like a dictatorship than a democracy and I just don’t think I fit into the mold. When I write a batch of copy, I want to know any missteps I have, so I can correct and learn from them. I don’t want to send my copy to a supervisor, only to later find out that they changed it. That doesn’t help me become a better writer and it doesn’t help the agency foster their talents or create quality creative.

However, since everyone at Recess has a say in what we’re creating, we have the benefit of shaping it through our collective styles, experiences and personalities. So, instead of pushing creative through the cookie cutter mold of one person’s vision, we’re capable of shaping every project differently. In the end, I think it benefits everyone involved and elevates our belief in the agency itself. 

That's what I think everyone looks for in an agency—to feel like a valued member of a tight knit and creative family. 

-Steve-