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

Raising Voices Against Rising Rents / MakeRoomUSA.org

/ Raising Voices Against Rising Rents / MakeRoomUSA.org

The rental crisis in this country isn’t something we hear our elected officials discuss very often. Rental housing, after all, isn’t part of the “American Dream” the way homeownership has always been. But in the wake of the Great Recession, more families have been forced into the rental market than ever before, pushing rents higher, while wages stagnate, and that dream of homeownership recedes farther and farther into the distance.

Today, in the United States, about 11 million families pay more than 50% of their income on rental housing, forcing them to make difficult tradeoffs for every other expenditure. These families pay on average 39 percent less on food and 65 percent less on healthcare than families who live in affordable housing.

The rental crisis is a crisis of this nation’s shrinking middle class, and our growing class of working poor. As a country, it’s crucial for us to learn more about it, and what we can do about it. MakeRoomUSA.org is working to make that happen.

I was fortunate enough to help friends at Matter Unlimited, New York develop the idea for this campaign for Make Room, and I’m deeply proud to watch as they’re bringing it to life.

The idea was inspired by rent parties thrown by friends in college. Each month, Make Room will introduce us to one of these real families struggling to make ends meet in the face of rising rents. And each month, a musical artist will come perform for these families, and an intimate group of their invited guests, in their rented homes. Carly Rae Jepsen and Grammy winner, Timothy Bloom were the first two with more to come each month. It’s a rent party with a reason.

#ConcertsForThe1st, presented by Make Room. Please visit MakeRoomUSA.org today. And let’s bring opportunity home.

Fashion Project / My Fashion Project

/ Fashion Project / My Fashion Project

On March 2, 2015 friends at Fashion Project announced their “My Fashion Project” functionality which allows users of the site to use Fashion Project to help power their own fundraising initiatives. The plan had been in the works for a very long time. This video is part of the online intro to the concept.

The Skoop 1-for-1 Pivot Project

/ The Skoop 1-for-1 Pivot Project

Skoop_Website_Macbook_Air

Skoop is a company that makes powdered, whole-foods-derived phytonutrient blends. They’re truly incredible products and recently, they found away to get incredibler.

Thanks to a partnership with Salad Bars 2 Schools, a non-profit that provides public school lunch programs with fresh fruits and veggies, Skoop is perhaps the first 1-for-1 nutritional company. Each serving of Skoop sold means a serving of free fresh fruits and veggies is donated to a public school system in this country. Each bag sold, means 30 servings donated. At a time when school lunch programs count things like ketchup, pizza sauce, and french fries as a legitimate vegetable serving, this mission is crucial to our nation’s health.

To introduce the new mission, Skoop launched a completely new website that also showcases their unique “crowd selling” model and fundraising functionality. And they created some fun content to spread the word about Skoop products, too.

I’m very happy and proud to have partnered with Human Design, The Lot, and my good friends at Skoop, on this effort. It’s exactly the kind of work I wanted Daughters & Howard to be involved with. Expect amazing things to happen.

Tracksmith / Launching a New Premium Running Brand

/ Tracksmith / Launching a New Premium Running Brand

“Imagine if Brooks Brothers or J. Crew did running apparel,” said Matt Taylor, a former Marketing Director for PUMA.

It was a simple pitch, and I was hooked. The Tracksmith brand, launched by Mr. Taylor and Luke Scheybeler (The Creative Director and co-founder of Rapha), combines classic, understated New England style, and an Ivy-League track & field aesthetic with the very best technical performance fabrics in the world. I’m so proud I could help them take over the running world. Look for more exciting things to come.

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Visit the site here.

Fashion Project

/ Fashion Project

Most people who donate to thrift don’t realize what happens to their items when they do. Often, they’re bundled indiscriminately and shipped overseas for dimes on the pound.

Boston-based startup, Fashion Project saw an opportunity to disrupt this model for the benefit of both donors and charitable organizations. Items donated to Fashion Project are assigned an accurate market value based on designer, brand, wear and other factors. On average, those items can earn about 100X more than they would at thrift stores, and 55% of the net proceeds go directly to the charity of your choice. Any charity of your choice.

They’re also partnering with retailers like Nordstrom to reward donors even more.

I’m so very proud to do work like this for social entrepreneurship. Doing well by doing good.

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.

Skoop B-Strong Packaging. A Copywriting Collab.

/ Skoop B-Strong Packaging. A Copywriting Collab.


Skoop B-Strong small for site copy Cropped
Click to enlarge.

My friend, Alex, helped create and launch this great product called, Skoop. Skoop is a surprisingly tasty superfood powder. Our family has been enjoying the first Skoop formula, “A Game” for several months, so when he was designing the packaging for “B Strong,” Skoop’s new plant protein powder, he was kind enough to ask me for some copy ideas. Truth be told, the stuff he’d already written was killer, but some of my suggestions made the final cut, and it was super fun working together.

Hoping it will lead to more team-ups in the future.

And of course, be sure to check out healthyskoop.com and give it a try.