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 354

As I close out my last full week here at Pollinate, I still find myself impressed with their endless enthusiasm. Even when dealing with stubborn clients and ridiculous requests, they’ve managed to get the job done every time—all without batting an eyelash. Every person comes into the office with a smile on his or her face and they always leave the exact same way. Perhaps there’s something in the water here in Portland. After all, it’s pretty much an accepted fact that we all hate some of our clients from time to time. How else do you think the advertising industry continues to prop up the liquor market, year after year?

I guess what it comes down to is that Pollinate believes in the work they're doing. It’s a trait they share with the likes of Recess, Red TettemerBooneOakley and most of the other shops I’ve visited in the past year. If only every agency could be so upbeat; I think a lot more people would enjoy their workdays. Then again, perhaps their jolliness comes from the amount of sugared goods that make their way through the door on any given day. Last week alone, I was subjected to waffles, crepes and donuts—and by subjected, I mean placed in the vicinity of.

All in all, I’ve had an amazing month here at Pollinate. They’ve kept me busy with a lot of great projects and introduced me to some of the most wonderful things Portland has to offer. It’s kind of funny, because prior to my arrival I hadn’t had much communication with anyone in the office. Yet, once I got here everyone opened right up. If San Francisco and LA continue the trend, I guess I’ll finally have to admit the west coast really is as great as everyone said it would be.

Finally, while today might seem like an ordinary day to most, it’s actually a very special one for me. This afternoon, I finally get the chance to Scott Huber and the Postano team. For those who don’t know, Postano is one of the project’s great sponsors and the company behind the amazing ‘social wall’ you’ll find on the #TGAA homepage. They signed on back in January and have been incredibly supportive ever since. In fact, they’ve been kind enough to go the extra mile and sponsor all of the Q&As I’ve been doing. I cannot begin to thank them enough and I do hope everyone out there will check out the services they offer; I know I’m a fan! I’ll be sure to send out a photo or two after I tour their office later today.

That’s all I have for today. I did want to mention that I’ll be posting on my normal blogging days next week. So, be sure to check out the site in-between your meals. As for my Turkey Day plans, I’ll be dining at BlueHour. I was told they have an amazing Thanksgiving menu and if I’m going to be dining alone, I might as well do it in style (The price ain't bad either). 

-Steve-

Day 298

Let’s hear it for numbers!

I wanted to begin by mentioning that this is the 100th blog I've written since I started #TGAA. Hooray for that! But, more importantly, today seems like the confluence of a lot of different factors—and they all have to do with the number 3. Not only are we about to reach the new milestone of Day 300, but over the weekend I also received my 300th question via the site. To top it all off, the question itself has the number 3 in it! It’s all a bit too coincidental if you ask me. Perhaps the universe is sending me a message that I need to play the lotto this week? Well, before I get carried away with my picks, let’s get to answering that inquiry.

Hey Steve, I’ve been following your journey ever since your stop in Charlotte. I know you’re getting pretty close to the end and I was curious—how would you describe each of the cities you’ve visited in just three words or less?” — Jeff K.

First off, thanks for the question Jeff and kudos on being #300. It’s true that we’re nearing the final months of the project. That’s still a really crazy thing to try and wrap my head around. But as for answering your question, I think I’d go with these:

Cleveland: Hard-working, Ambitious, Sincere

Boston: Cozy, Passionate, Neighborly

New York City: Energetic, Fun, Purposeful

Philadelphia: Honest, Comfortable, Supportive

Charlotte: Warm, Devoted, Relaxed

Memphis: Humble, Muddled, Spirited

St. Louis: Independent, Electrifying, Youthful

Chicago: Spry, Enthusiastic, Gracious

Minneapolis: Breathtaking, Active, Purposeful

Austin: Lively, Impulsive, Loud

When I think back to my personal experiences in each city, these are the words that come to mind. But, if anyone out there is ever truly curious about what a city is like, I highly recommend you make a point to visit it. In the past 10 months, I’ve learned so much and while I’m doing my best to share it with each and every one of you, I'm discovering there's no substitute for seeing things first hand. As always, if you have any questions—especially about budgeting a trip or money-saving tips—just drop me a line. I’m more than happy to extend my newfound knowledge of such things. It's the least I can do, since I couldn't physically bring you with me. 

On a side note, I want to thank Daniel Alvarez and Trademark Media for the great lunch n’ chat on Wednesday, and also E. Gigi Taylor, Ph.D. for inviting me to talk with her students at Texas State this morning. It was a great time all around! Oh, and let's not forget Postano, who continues to sponsor my chats and Q&A events! They're awesome for doing it. 

Well, that’s it from me today. I’ll see you all on the other side of 300!

-Steve-