Updated: Feb 11, 2019

Being a startup means stepping away from one club and joining another. Go to any shared office space, and the people who broke away to forge their own identities are there, huddling together and becoming part of another group.

The startup crowd. The non-conformists spinning off and finding each other in the same whirlpool together.

There’s talk of disruption. Innovation. Elevator pitches. And niches. Gotta have one of those. What’s your deal? What do you do that’s different than everybody else? Does your company pass the toothbrush test? How do you attract investors?

These are all well-intentioned questions. Answering them makes you sharper, more viable. And maybe we’ll have great answers to those in the coming weeks. But for right now, we’re all about proving ourselves. Defining ourselves will come soon enough.

We’re asking questions about what we believe in. What kind of agency do we want to be? What kind of clients do we want to work with? What kind of co-workers do we want to be around? Should we get the cheap Ikea desks? Or the cheaper Ikea desks?

A sneak preview.

So far, we’ve come up with a handful of notions that we’ve learned, aspired to or always wanted for ourselves and the company we keep. Let us know what you think, and feel free to share your own thoughts with us. Idealism is more fun when shared.


THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A DULL ASSIGNMENT. In our past lives, we’ve worked on just about every kind of assignment imaginable. But we take special pride in turning the work that nobody else wants, or the brief with the tiny budget, or the impossible request into the Cinderella of the ball.

Take Peter’s work for rental reimbursement coverage at Rodgers Townsend.

Peter didn’t write the song, but I like to tell people he did.

The request was to gussy up a small segment of the business by building a presentation for insurance brokers to use as a sales tool. What’s rental reimbursement? You probably didn’t know (or had an errant guess) before you watched that video Peter created with Kay Cochran. Now, you’ll never forget.

And here’s a little experiment I took on with art director Steve Brumm to see if people would actually respond to something as mundane as a garage sale poster.

Turns out, they did, and I decided to stick around the advertising business.

RESPONSIVENESS MATTERS. This is a client service thing. And while we don’t hang our hats on being yes-people, we do put ourselves in a position to always be ready. Jeff Goodby referred to creativity as a constant state of readiness. We love that.

We work closely, in both physical space and communication. And when one of our clients has a need or a question, we aim to respond quickly and thoughtfully. We want them to think, “Wow. That was quick. How’d they do that?” We also want to show that we’re more than prepared to take the next leap with them.

STRONG WORK BEGETS MORE WORK. It doesn’t matter how fast you make something if you don’t make a difference. We need to stay focuse