Day 411

Throughout our journey, I’ve been visiting a different agency at each stop. Yet, this month I’m at the west coast branch of Red Tettemer, which I first visited back in March while in Philadelphia. It’s pretty surreal to actually be here because back then this office was still more of an idea than an actual place. So, it’s interesting to see the vision brought to life. Prior to this, I’d never been to multiple branches of the same agency and I’ve always wondered if a company’s culture could translate to another area of the country. That’s why I was overjoyed when RTO+P invited me back.

When I first arrived, I assumed it would feel like any other month—a new office with new people. Just because it shares the RTO+P name, doesn’t necessarily mean it will feel like RTO+P. Yet, here I am a few weeks into my tenure and I very much stand corrected. Rather than feel like a separate office on the other side of the country, this feels like a direct extension of HQ. Sure, the weather is much nicer here but if you told me I was on a new floor of the Philly office, I’d have a hard time arguing with you.

I’m not sure if every agency is capable of extending their culture to different branches, but RTO+P clearly put a lot of work into getting it right. From the décor to the conference room, you can instantly tell they were created and arranged by the same individuals. To me, that’s what makes all the difference—the thought behind it. Once you factor in the personalities of several former Philly crew members, you have an office that feels right at home, regardless of what coast it’s on.

Outside the office, I’m also very much enjoying the Santa Monica neighborhood (although it is a tad bit pricey). We’re located one block from the beach, which is something I could really get used to. The area is just so beautiful; you can’t help but feel happy. Of course, I could never afford to live here but that won’t stop me from enjoying it while I’m in town. You just won't see me sitting down for dinner anytime soon. 

-Steve-

Day 295

Ok… so last week, I tried my best to describe Austin’s culture. Well, I’m now ready to state—without a shadow of a doubt—that Austin is the party school equivalent of a city. Why? It could be the plethora of bars and liquor stores that encompass the area. Or perhaps it’s the ever-present food trucks and BBQ joints that scream ‘hangover food’. It just seems like everyone here is having a party and someone forgot to write in a closing time. Then again, I also think it says something about the type of people that live here. Austin is a young city filled with a vibrant culture and a colorful cast of characters.

Perhaps that’s why this place is known for its countless music venues and hundreds of great local acts. Everyone here seems to have a simple goal in mind: work hard and party hard. The people here just want to enjoy the city, while preserving the small, the local and the unique. It all seems rather wonderful to me and I'm certainly not the only one. I mean, given that close to 100 people are moving here every day, I’d have to assume they’re doing something right, after all.

But there’s something that interests me even more about Austin. It doesn’t really have a downtown area—at least not like those I’ve come across in other cities. Take a quick glance at the skyline and you’ll see that many of their skyscrapers are spread out from one another. Of course, based on the number of construction sites, I’d assume that’s going to change within the next few years. But for now, it's a string of small shops, eateries and parking lots that connect these more visible spaces.

In a way, it all harkens back to that 'party school' attitude. Locals just prefer small and casual over big and sterile. You won’t see many chains around the city and don’t even think about asking where the nearest Walmart is. Instead, you can’t help but take in the wares of resident artisans; dine amongst chefs who’ve spent decades perfecting their crafts; and move your feet to the sounds of Austin’s incredible indie bands. It’s all a big ol’ party indeed.

Yes, there truly is something awe-inspiring about this city. It changes you. It invites you in and with a southern drawl says, “Stay as long as you like.” There’s always something going on somewhere and even the most public of events will make you feel as if you’re ‘in the know’. I guess that’s what some people find so charming about Austin. It’s fun here and you’ll never hear a single soul try to make excuses for it.

-Steve-