Just For Fun/ My Bike Commute in 2 minutes.

/ Just For Fun/ My Bike Commute in 2 minutes.

In 2009, in the midst of the Great Recession, the company I was working for announced a plan for implementing pay cuts across the entire staff as a way to stem the layoffs they’d been forced to make. The plan was genuinely well-conceived, but it would definitely require some belt-cinching.

It was spring, and I’d just finished the Boston Marathon, so I was feeling some good fitness momentum. And as it so happened, one of our two car leases was about to expire. I texted my wife, just after the company announcement, and told her I didn’t want to get another car. I wanted to get a bike and ride it until the Boston weather prevented it.

And so I rode all spring and summer, 11.1 miles each way from my home in Lexington, Massachusetts into Boston’s Back Bay. And I completely fell in love with it. Fresh air. Great exercise. No sitting in traffic. No fossil fuel emissions. Not to mention no car payment, gas costs, parking fees, insurance – there are countless reasons to commute by bicycle, and I loved them all.

Then one day in October, while riding in, I met another rider named Bill. Bill pulled up alongside me and asked if I knew how to get to Longwood Medical Center. I noticed he had a cast on his left arm, and he told me he was headed to get it removed. Ironically, he’d broken it when his bike hit a pothole. I told him he could follow me to Harvard Square, and I could show him the way from there.

So we rode for several more miles. He had an old Fuji single-speed, and he was a really strong rider. He was also chatty, and forced me to keep up with his conversation while hammering all the way. Turns out we had a weird amount in common. He was in marketing, I was in advertising. He lived for years in Mill Valley, California, the town from which my family and I had most recently moved. He also worked for the Coors company during a short period when my agency had them as a client. And while working for them, had lived in Boulder, which is the town to which my former agency, CP+B, had re-located.

Then at some point he asked if I’d ever ridden all through the winter. I told him I’d just started riding, and he proceeded to tell me how to go about doing it, should I choose to – what gear, what tires, what routes, etc.

I thought about it all day, and that evening, announced my intentions to my wife: I was going to gear up and take on the winter with two wheels. It would be an adventure! Like training for the Marathon had been. Maybe I’d blog about it!

The following morning, in the middle of October, it snowed. It was as if nature was reminding me what I’d signed on for. Undeterred, I set out, and I haven’t stopped yet. Six years later, we’re still a suburban family with only one car – a statistical oddity to be certain. And if can be avoided, I’ll never own a second car again.

Granted, I’ve worked primarily from home since January of 2014, but since ‘09, I reckon I’ve ridden well over 40,000 miles just commuting alone. My bicycle is still how I get almost everywhere I need to go. I have some clients who’ve never even seen me without bike tights on!

My ride always offers something new. Twice a day, every day, It gives me some funny, interesting, or death-defying story to share, but what I don’t share about it is what I love most. Twice a day, every day, my ride is all mine.

Music: Flogging Molly

Connie Cycling Foundation / If You Give A Kid A Bicycle.

/ Connie Cycling Foundation / If You Give A Kid A Bicycle.

The Connie Cycling Foundationis an organization in the Los Angeles area that introduces children from a variety of backgrounds to the sport of cycling, and particularly track cycling. Started and operated by 5-time Olympian, Connie Paraskevin, CCF is all about helping kids find their sport, and realize their full potential, while instilling lessons of discipline, resilience, and hard work they can apply to the rest of their lives as well.

It’s a fantastic organization, and I was proud to help.

My Wife Doesn’t ‘Get How It Is In Advertising.’ (And Maybe Yours Shouldn’t Either.)

/ My Wife Doesn’t ‘Get How It Is In Advertising.’ (And Maybe Yours Shouldn’t Either.)

Adweek Magnolia Cover

I didn’t write this essay to get attention. I wrote it because I wanted to start writing more. Not for clients, but for my own enjoyment. After exploring blog platforms of all sorts, it suddenly occurred to me that the platform wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference without something to post. So I spent a few days writing this true story about cupcakes, love, career goals, and finding happiness.

I posted the original on Medium, and my wife really loved it, so, on a whim, I posted the link on Facebook, where lots of friends liked it and shared it and tweeted it themselves. Adweek tweeted me late that evening and asked if they could run it online, and once they did, it kinda took off.

On Medium, it’s received about 27K views, and was among their top 100 most-read posts for January 2014. On Adweek.com, it received 5.6K re-posts to Facebook, it was tweeted 487 times, and spent a solid week as the most viewed article.

I even got a spot on Huffington Post Live where I got the chance to babble about it some more. If you actually care enough to click through the link below and watch the rest of the interview (If you are my mom, for example), it picks up again at about 16:30 on the HuffPost site.


Sending a #seaoflove to LGBT Russia: tosochiwithlove.com

/ Sending a #seaoflove to LGBT Russia: tosochiwithlove.com

Front Page

With the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi approaching, Russian President, Vladimir Putin pushed through a vaguely-stated prohibition of so-called “homosexualist propaganda” under the hateful and prejudiced pretense of protecting the children of his country.

The legislation represented the latest step by the Russian government to codify policies denying human rights to the LGBT community, and it put both athletes and visitors to the Games at risk of imprisonment for any demonstration authorities deemed to be gay “propaganda.”

Tosochiwithlove.com was our response to this hate. We asked people to flood Sochi with messages of love on twitter. Those who tagged tweets #seaoflove could then visit tosochiwithlove.com and watch the tide rise against fear and prejudice – a #seaoflove to drown a world of hate.

HeartswTweets

Using Google Maps API to visualize the tweets, our goal was to transform the Black Sea into a #seaoflove in support of LGBT rights in Russia and everywhere.

By that standard, and by every analytic measure, the effort was a failure. It garnered only 1,856 visits in its two weeks live. Only 1,457 of them unique.

But in so many other ways, it represented an amazing victory. Thanks to the hard work of a very small team of friends from Arnold in Boston, tosochiwithlove.com went from initial concept to completion in just under five days. We launched the effort just in time for the Games, on a Saturday night, without a client, a sponsor, or a single media dollar, just loads of heart and the power of our own social networks.

We made phone calls and emails in pursuit of the last-minute support of the Human Rights Campaign with the enthusiastic support of their man Paul Mataras in Boston, but ultimately couldn’t secure it on time.

We direct-messaged Australian snowboarder and outspoken gay Olympian, Belle Brockhoff, and in response, she RT’d us four times – including a pair on Valentine’s Day.

We hustled for every tweet we got, and we got a few. Even a few from within Russia. In the end, while it didn’t catch fire, it never once felt like anything less than a 100% worthwhile expenditure of time and effort.

Today, February 25, 2014 we took down tosochiwithlove.com. But the struggle for basic human rights continues around the world.

Dave Cliff, Cass Taylor, Alicia Foor, Ebbey Mathew, Pawel Micolajczyk, Liz Kavanaugh, Deb Grant, Wade Devers and Pete Johnson: a #seaoflove to you all.

Daughters & Howard, LLC. The start of something new.

/ Daughters & Howard, LLC. The start of something new.

D&H_560

What is Daughters & Howard, LLC? I’m not exactly sure yet, to be honest.

Right now, it means I’m actively seeking freelance employment, while carving out time to pursue other passion projects I can bring to life with the help of my talented friends. I’d like to see where destiny leads things.

Meanwhile, I’ve been describing it like this:

Daughters & Howard, LLC is a creative undertaking of wild ambition, foolish optimism, and intentionally vague definition. And it’s all mine. Muahahaha!