work


Well, my first week on my own is behind me.  It was a strange sensation.  Exciting. Scary.  And a little out of sorts, honestly.  We were plenty busy in week 1, and for that I count my lucky stars.  I hope it continues as we move into our new office shortly. (Blog tour to come).   In the meantime, I look back on my time with TPN very fondly.  The last couple of weeks were very difficult.  I’ve never been good at goodbye; perhaps that’s a reason I don’t say it very often. I never wrote much about work on this blog, but anyone that knows me knows TPN was a big part of my life for more than 8 years.  It all has to do with the people, who were each inspiring and special in his/her own way.  All of the teams at TPN were very special to me. I consider myself lucky to have friends across the country.  2232285986_339febe44c.jpg  The people really made it for me.  Everything from the after-work happy hours like the one above…  to daily lunches in office… 2246851551_0f762f7e6e.jpg to those fun and creative brainstorms… 2246852003_3d0bac7b1c.jpgto making marketing magic happen night in and night out.  (check out that view from the Dallas office).2189846419_047d179227_m.jpg  Hopefully Tripp and I can create a dynamic atmosphere of our own over time with Ignite Studios.  We know it takes balls.  I’m hoping for a little luck, too.2231493485_ef69e1c8ff.jpg 

Well, Super Bowl Sunday is back again. I’m usually pretty into it. And being in the marketing industry, it’s a must-see whether the Patriots win by 40+ or not. (FYI: For those that care, I predict a closer game – Pats by 7).

It’s all about the commercials. I found this great illustration on Adrants.

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It really is true, not just of marketers, but viewers in general. The last few parties I recall silence during commercials and bathroom breaks during the game.

I personally like all parts and wait for my personal missions at halftime. Tom Petty may keep me interested, especially with the possibility of a wardrobe malfunction.

Happy New Year everyone. Sadly, my blog entries in 2008 have been few and far between. (Or none). It doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. Quite the opposite. I resolve to do better at keeping the posts coming. But maybe now you’ll understand where my mind’s been of late.

Last year at this time, we were winding down our big adventure in Australia, looking forward to the year ahead and optimistic for opportunities yet to be unveiled. And 2007 did not disappoint. I don’t talk much about work on Life’s a Trip, but let’s roll that way for a second. Erin kick started her journalism career with her hands on blog, the Dallas Morning News and the Home Improvement Zone as a regular radio contributor. Very cool. My career at TPN became more exciting too, as I graduated from leading the Frito Lay business to 100% new business development and an official creative role at the agency. Every day was a new challenge: learning different businesses and industries, brainstorming countless ideas, managing crazy deadlines, working with new teams, traveling all over the place and of course, experiencing the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. (More victory, I’m happy to say.)

What a way to cap off my many years at TPN, for which I am very thankful and have deep affection.

Yes, I said cap off. After much deliberation and soul searching the past couple of months, we have decided to make 2008 a new beginning and a chance to follow my dream. In just a couple of weeks, I will officially open Ignite Studios in Dallas as agency owner with my partner and friend, Tripp.

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The sign is up. The office is almost finished. And we’re working on the rest!

It’s all very exciting and at times bittersweet, as I’m leaving a great company and good friends to try my hand at this.

None of this would be possible without the support of Erin and my parents. Thank you so much.

Good things to come in 2008. Look for updates here. I wish each of you the best.

(And if you know anyone who needs some creative marketing and brand building, I know this good little agency in Dallas…)

Last week I flew coast to coast, from Oakland to New York, with a brief stop in Dallas and back home again. Yes, lots of flights in a few day period.

What amazed me is the amount of time I spent just hanging around at airports. I chalked up about 12 hours of my life last week in wait mode. That’s a long time – like almost a full waking day.

Sure, I do it to myself a little bit – anyone who’s ever missed a flight probably errs on the side of caution by showing up a little earlier. And I’m not one to add stress to my life by cutting it close in the first place. But, seriously, I think the reliability of flights has gone way down. I’m now shocked if a flight actually takes off on time, and I don’t mean the leave-the-gate-but-sit-on-the-tarmac type of airline “on time.”

So we wait.

And we…

look at strange sculptures like this castle at the new international terminal in DFW.
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get some shut-eye, like this business traveler in Newark (top right)561168875_bb5a485998.jpg.

grab a beer, like Jason and me at Newark.
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people watch, except in the wee morning hours at Oakland. Nobody’s home…
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(click on the pic and check out the “Laptop Lane” – yes, you can rent a private laptop station in the airport to conduct business… while you wait of course)

try and locate missing bags (that never come), like at Newark baggage claim.
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arrange transpo to NYC at 3am, like with our guy Smiley, my new favorite New Jersey limo.
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All the while breaking out the work laptop, firing up the iTunes, thumbing on the blackberry and checking voicemail. One thing’s for certain: work doesn’t wait.

There’s nothing like sushi fresh off the “boat!”
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My crazy week of business travel took me to the left coast in Oakland, CA. Our crew, including Meg and Tripp, had about 30 minutes before our meeting. We needed lunch. Luckily, we stumbled across this little sushi place. Granted, it seemed a little dusty from the outside, but some seats were filled. Good sign, right? So we pulled on up to the sushi bar.

And the sushi came to us…
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What a great way to eat sushi – by conveyor belt. And this one was extra special, floating by on little boats. What could say “fresh” better?

For those who have not enjoyed this kind of sushi experience, let me bring it to life for you. I hope I do it justice. You’re sitting there as a range of rolls, sushi and sashimi float by. Survey – ponder – strike! When the urge hits you, simply reach out and grab it. Each plate is color coded to one of four different price levels. It’s that easy. You can always grab the sushi chef and request something custom, too.

The only other conveyor belt operation I’ve visited was in Hong Kong at a place called Dozo. We liked the sushi and the experience so much, we ate there twice.

Why hasn’t this conveyor belt operation caught on more? Turns lunch into greatness.

It’s not everyday that one visits the hometown of the world’s most important retailer and economic juggernaut.

So, you can imagine I might have had some lofty expectations for my quick 24-hour trip to Bentonville, Arkansas.

It was my first journey to northwest Arkansas and the location made famous by Mr. Walton. And aside from the sushi restaurant that also sells gas…

…the most amazing thing about my trip was how un-amazing everything seemed. Typical. Non-descript. I believe this town is epitome of vanilla. Seemed like everything was a strip mall. When it comes to stores and restaurants, this city has more chains than Alice. (But not quite as many as Plano, TX.) Even the airport – which has several names including Northwest Arkansas Regional and Fayetteville – is what you’d expect from small town America: 4 gates, a generic diner, one bar and general store. Can the suits get a flyer lounge in here?

Even the headquarters was unassuming. Just some red brick, a few stories high – several buildings all looking just like the next. With a full parking lot by 7:30am, I might add.

Maybe Bentonville is still the perfect setting Sam’s vision. No excess, no frills – just America hard at work.

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Yeah, you know who I’m talking about. He rolls into New York City and rolls out the same day. He’s got, you know, “meetings” with important people about important things. He means business. He’s big time.

Yesterday, he was me.
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Another week and a different coast. My business travel has picked up recently. This time it was New York City, my home for almost two years and one of the truly unique places in the world. I love New York. Really, it’s not just cliche. Even better, I love visiting New York. This trip was my first in-and-out, same day boomerang.

So, I did my best to channel the persona of a “big time” business guy.
(please suspend your disbelief; all in good fun).

It all started at 6:00am. Dressing for success, I broke out my suit. Ditched the tie, though, because that’s the way I roll. Watch out Sartorialist – here I come. Big time.

Checked in First Class – is there any other way for big timers to travel? (Yeah, not going to pretend it’s typical, but works well into my one-day big timer experience. Gotta love last minute business trips with full fare automatic upgrades.) Did my best big time business consultant impression:
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The midday sky was clear for our approach into LGA. Perfect view of Manhattan from above, which I still think is the most impressive sight going in air travel – stirred my inner Iacocca. A sensation somewhat like Dwight and his sales ritual from The Office

Arrived in midtown right on time for meeting #1.
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From one conference room to another, rolled on to meeting #2 an hour later just up Madison. Our hosts had a cool lobby and a nice conference room view. They are big time.
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Hopped into the car and headed off to Newark. Took the Sopranos route to Jersey from midtown. This is what Radio City Music Hall looks like when you’re moving at the speed of the city. Going big time.
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Got to the airport and relaxed over a brew. Regional favorite – taste of the big time.
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Boarded our flight and contemplated my fellow biz traveler’s relaxation technique: Remove dress shoes and prop your feet up high above head level off the bulk head. For all to enjoy. Nice work. Clearly, he really does think he’s big time.

Pulled in around midnight. It’s hard work trying to be big time. Back to being me. Bed time.

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