Turn the Page – A New (York) Chapter

Posted: August 26th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Today is the last day of my unintentional summer vacation. Admittedly I thought I’d have spent this time writing a lot more, but I’m here now, so let’s get into it, eh?

Some things hardly change

As I’m writing this post, I’m sitting in an indie coffee shop.  This shop makes a good almond milk latte and plays deep cuts of underground hip-hop.  Even with all the options around me, I keep coming back to this place just as much for the coffee they make as for the location that serves as both a good space and a good launching pad for pedestrian exploration.

Some things change a f*ck ton

Oh yeah, this coffee shop is in Manhattan’s West Village, just a few blocks from our apartment in Chelsea.

And Monday I start the first “new job” I’ve had since Dec 1999.

What the what ?!

How did we get to this

I told my old boss years ago that he didn’t have to worry about me leaving the company so much as worry about me not wanting to live in Phoenix my whole life.  This isn’t an attempt to trash Phoenix, there are a lot of great things about the city, especially if you live in Central Phoenix and not a suburb. Nonetheless, once I got my passport in 2010 and Anie exposed me to the world of travel, at some level I always knew that we would live in another place.

Between completing my degree at W.P. Carey School of Business, committing to follow my career goals even if it meant leaving my employer, and a fantastic offer from Anie’s company, it was the perfect storm of opportunity and “if not now, when?” that led us to NYC just before the 4th of July.

So we decided to move, now what?

I’m sure that any of you who’ve made such big leaps would agree.  It felt like we were working towards a goal(s) for so long, and then everything started triggering at once and the actual transition was an intense, whirlwind experience. I’ll probably explore it in more depth when I have more separation from it, but in the space of just a few weeks we had to:

  • Decide between a handful of cities to move to
  • Figure out what to do with all our stuff*
  • Fly out and find an apartment in NYC
  • Say all our good-byes to friends, relatives and co-workers
  • Wrap-up our PHX jobs, including me giving notice and trying to help find my replacement
  • Actually get ourselves, our dog and our stuff across the country

Thankfully for that last one we had the massive help of my brother for the 3,000 mile drive; teachers getting summers off FTW!

Oh yeah, while all this was happening I still had two accelerated five-week courses at ASU to finish the last few credits I needed, so every day was split between work, school work, apartment hunting, packing, move preparations, good-bye functions and lots of purging.

Over the last ~7 weeks we’ve gotten pretty well settled in.  Bought all the furniture, got the art hung up on our walls**, and even Dewey is getting used to being a city dog again.

More to come

In my naivety, I thought that as soon as I became a free agent on the open market, I’d have my choice of opportunities and all the great industry thought leaders would be fighting to recruit me.  Ha ha!

In the end, I did have my choice of some great offers, but it took a few deliberate steps and a bit more time than I would have liked. I actually think that discussing that process can be helpful as a post(s) of it’s own, so I’ll hopefully get those penned here in the next couple of weeks.  Needless to say, there’s no lack of opportunities here in New York for digital marketing and it would be great if sharing the lessons I learned can help someone else be less discouraged and stay hungry to find the right place, not the first place.




* We thought we were living a minimalist style but man did we have so much stuff to sell, donate or give away.  Shifting from a 1500 square foot house to an apartment that’s ~1/5th that size and realizing that moving stuff costs almost as much as buying all new at the other end was a rough experience even for someone who’s spent 16 years working for “the moving experts”.  Too much stuff!

**At our last home in Phoenix it was probably about a year before we got all the walls covered, and some stuff never went up.

Blame it on Mattingly

Posted: August 10th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Recently I was asked to write a couple hundred words about something non-work related that I’m passionate about.  For someone like me who considers digital marketing both my career and my hobby, this was a welcome challenge, and I figured I’d share it here as well.

Don Mattingly Topps Baseball Card

Baseball in the desert?

A lot of folks ask me how it is that growing up in Phoenix I turned out to be a Yankees fan.

For years, anyone else who grew up in Phoenix wondered why someone would like baseball at all before the D-Backs came along, and since the 2001 World Series, it’s been viewed as a near betrayal to not be a fan of the home team. (Except of course for the huge amount of Dodgers or Cubs fans who relocated to the Valley.)

Admittedly, though, Phoenix sometimes feels like the Fair Weather Fan capital, and it’s tough to believe anyone who says they’re a D-Backs fan from May thru September.

Summer of ’91

The real story starts in 1991, when I was 9 years old and went to spend summer break with my Grandma and Aunt and Uncles in Toledo.  That summer they took me to my first baseball game, to watch the Toledo Mudhens.

Admittedly I was most immediately enthralled with the peripheral stuff, the souvenir batting helmet and bag of Big League Chew I got, and I still remember getting really antsy in the seat around the 6th inning.  The clincher though, the thing that made me a fan for life, was the pack of baseball cards my Aunt bought me on the way home.  I tossed aside the stale bit of chewing gum and right there on top, Donnie Baseball himself.

A couple days later, the Yankees were on tv and I was hooked. Even once summer ended, the Yankees were the team most often on national tv, I could spot the guy that was on my baseball card.  That afternoon kicked off several years of card collecting (until game memorabilia cards blew up the hobby), and a life-time of loving baseball.

I’ve been a supporter ever since.


Things I’m Digging – January ’15

Posted: January 26th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Derrick Lin’s tiny office workers instagram – A charming and funny look into what he bills as “agency life”, but much of it applies to us all.

Nom Nom Paleo – Even though it is for some reason hosted on Tumblr, this blog has been a life-saving resource during the round of Whole 30 that Anie & I are currently doing. Truly, everything I had attempted from her recipes this month has turned out great.

My Mozinar – Whoa, this is crazy, exciting and intimidating.  Tomorrow I will be speaking in front of an audience who expects top-quality expertise and actionable take-aways provided by a respected brand in the industry.  That’s a lot of trust being put in me, I really hope I live up to it.  If you’re reading this anytime before Tuesday late-morning, there still a chance to sign-up.

Never Eat Alone – Usually I don’t find myself enjoying books that are assigned reading, but this one has been a constant companion for me during my train commutes this month, and it a much more engaging read than the typical business book. Maybe I’m biased because I also want to be a CMO someday, and there is a ton I need to learn about networking better, and demonstrating how I can provide value to people I’ve never engaged with.

Hank Green on Interviewing the President and Legacy Media – I narrowly missed the live-stream of the White House YouTube interviews, but watched the VOD the next day.  While initially skeptical of the chosen interviewers, I found that I was on-board with nearly everything that was going on, and enjoyed the diversity of interviewers, opinions, and the cajones Hank Green had to start off with telling the President that his proposed policies were not politically viable.  Since I don’t watch any American televised news (BBC & France24 YouTube subs), I didn’t catch the hate-storm that sprung forth from the interviews, until I was linked to Green’s recent post on Medium.  It’s a good that spends more time discussing the viewing habits and tendencies of American youth than it does trying to defend Green as a presenter, and for that I give him a high-five.

Things I’m Digging: Fall 2014

Posted: November 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

1.) I’m incredibly late to the party on this one, but huge amounts of fun and inspiration when I got turned on to Humans of New York this week.  When you look at several days worth of updates at a glance, you get an appreciation for the full spectrum of the human condition. (Some folks are telling a love story or chatting about their latest argument while two days ago someone else was talking about their struggle to conquer addiction and provide for their children.

Malcolm Gladwell (photo courtesy of HONY)


“If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?”
“Change your mind about something significant every day.”


2.) This 540 square-foot “All I Own House“. While admittedly impractical for any household of more than 1 person, it’s still a great design and responsible use of space.

3.) Just got around to starting Outliers (written by that guy above) in earnest this month. About 100 pages in and it’s awesome, typical Gladwell mix of narrative and statistical insights. I may view it more favorably because I think it reinforces some of the “it takes aptitude AND opportunity” philosophy I’ve had brewing for a long time.

4.) Rogue Pepper, our recently-launched blog about food (eating better, Phoenix food culture, difficulties, etc) is picking up readership.  I really need to redouble my commitment to that project and schedule my blog posts in advance though, so I don’t get slammed like I did these last few weeks with exams and travel eliminating my writing time.

5.) Another study confirms the trend towards living in reinvigorated urban cores is continuing. I know this comes with some concerns about the ethics of potentially displacing the working class (such as the protests against tech companies busing employees from San Francisco’s Mission District), but as a long-time urban resident, I have to say that the benefits of propinquity are too huge to keep trying to force all the money to the outer fringes of our cities.

Things I’m Digging: September

Posted: September 2nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Will McAvoy on Twitter

We have to wait until November for Season 3 of Newsroom, but until then enjoy some amazingly motivated ghost-writing.  I especially love the times he takes people to task on their misconceptions, contradictions and blatant newsjacking for press.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

If this show isn’t on your radar yet, it may be for one of two reasons

  1. You don’t have HBO and have the technological saavy of Col Klink, so anytime someone mentions a show that’s not on basic cable, you think “oh, I’ll ask my kids about that when they come home for Thanksgiving”.
  2. You, like many Americans, cannot stand the abomination that local news and CNN have turned into, so anytime something resembling the news comes on, your eyes glaze over and you don’t take the time to see if it’s something you can get behind.

If you don’t fall into one of those two groups, I’m sure you’ve already seen John Oliver, either on HBOgo or on the great YouTube clips that his show puts out each week. (Really amazing for HBO to have a show that is so temporal they are totally cool with publishing on YouTube. This is pretty much what Bill Maher should have been doing years ago.)

Maybe it’s because of Oliver’s accent that I think there is an added element of credibility I don’t give to network newscasters, but I’m sure it’s more likely because being freed from the need to maintain advertisers has allowed the show to actually stake an opinion. I imagine that Last Week Tonight is what Newsroom would be like with a different host but the same agenda.

Art of Manliness

Particularly evident in their article on Lessons in Manliness from Fight Club, this site is not a tribute to machismo and bro-vado, but rather a discourse in being a modern gentleman.

There is a fighter inside you waiting to burst out as soon as you let it. Don’t squelch him with Candy Crush and Family Guy; enable him by reading more, working out more, and maybe even starting your own fight club.


I never anticipated this.  I was fighting the hype when he was featured on Jay-Z albums and remixes in the past. And then sometime last year I started being able to quote Drake lyrics in memes and gifs to be sent around the office and realized that more than being a joke, there was actually a lot to enjoy from the Canadian rapper.

Science Getting It Right

After the previous administration let religion set-back scientific advancement for 8 years, I’m glad to see we are continuing to make progress in medical science that can actually save lives and cure awful diseases (like diabetes, blindness, and other problems related to organ failure) instead of merely finding ways to manage the pain and keep people dependent on drugs for years on end.

This recent study showing the ability to grow complete, mature, functional organs in mice makes me hopeful that in the future there will be no need for anyone to go through what I watched my late Grandmother suffer with last year.

Things I’m digging: August 2014

Posted: August 20th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

A quick run down of things I’ve enjoyed around the web this month.

The Starving Fish: an aesthetically pleasing blog celebrating great food memories. Headphones highly recommended.

Mark Bustos: Helping his fellow humans with something so basic but so transformative.  In the linked image, that guy on the right looks like someone I’d give a job to.

ABUS frame locks: picked one up in Copenhagen after I’d seen them everyone around town. Phoenix isn’t ready for me to use it exactly the same way they do in Denmark, but it’ll be a great added layer of security at the ASU bike racks this fall. Downside, they don’t have installation videos on their website or YouTube, but they promptly replied to my email asking for help.

– Monsoons: Heck yeah, rain in the desert. Especially when it doesn’t require an afternoon ruined by a haboob. Added bonus: being able to turn off the sprinklers for a few days. Summer in AZ is killer on the wallet because of high power bills as it is. Add “lawn maintenance” and I might as well be paying in blood money.

Rouge Pepper: Speaking of food blogs, I’d be remiss if I didn’t announce that the long mentioned “food blog” I’ve included on my goals lists for the last few years is finally off the ground.  Shifting from a Phoenix dining guide, we’ve focused it as “our love letter to eating well”. I’m sure most readers of Relevant Wit will enjoy @AniePHX’s updates more than my own, so give it a look.

Related articles

Tweet 140 – CoxGIGLife and Spam Hype

Posted: August 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Ed note: This post is the first of a new feature I’ve had rattling around in my brain for a bit. The idea is to take a recent tweet and expand upon it, but keep in place a length restriction, in hopes that this makes me care about each word I use. Keeping the posts under 140 may mean that I cannot fully examine the topic, and 140 words isn’t even supposed to be long enough for search engines to crawl and index the page, but nonetheless I feel like this will be a good experiment and hopefully a fun lesson in expressing ideas quickly. I hope you enjoy.

I’ve been patiently waiting for Google Fiber to make it to Phoenix.  I was excited when I got the email update a few weeks ago that the City of Phoenix and Google were making solid progress on this front, and I even had a colleague tell me that her decision to stay in Phoenix/Tempe was predicated on the lack of planned availability for Fiber in the ‘burbs.

To be fair, though, I have no problems with my data service from Cox, and they have been increasing my speeds for years at no extra charge. So when I started seeing them advertise for #CoxGIGLife around town, I was cheerful. Then I ran into the wall of tweets from their event this week. In the end, they got up to 25,000,000 impressions, but nearly all of them were selfies with hashtags and no content, facts or reasons to actually read the tweet.

I don’t get it.

I’ve been lazy, but it will pay off

Posted: August 9th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

I think I spend a lot of time starting blog posts with a mea culpa of sorts. This one won’t be much different, but it also won’t be an empty promise in the end.

I wanted to write this, or another post very much like this, each of the last two weeks, but I lacked the focus to put more than a few sentences together before my mind wandered.

I started the summer with a list of goals, or at least a set of ideas that I wanted to work towards. I thought I’d picked out the ones that were reasonably within reach and could use the work ethic I’d culminated during the school year to spur on my accomplishments.

By this point, you’ve probably guessed that I haven’t made much progress on any of the things I laid out months ago.  I spent almost two weeks brushing up on my HTML, but not to the point that I’d be confident showing it off. Typically I’d sit down with the books or tutorials I had available after dinner and begin to study.  I’d get about 30-60 minutes into that before I’d get antsy and want to move around. Then the dog would want to go outside, or I’d start to doze off staring at the screen, or I’d just decide to load up Mumble and see if any of my friends were gaming and maybe I could squeeze in just one match before it’s back to studying… I could be really good at writing recipes for unsuccessfully doing something, but I don’t think that’s a best-seller in the works. (But DO get back to me if you’re a literary agent who wants to see me flesh that idea out.)

A promotional image distributed by Ogilvy & Ma...

A promotional image distributed by Ogilvy & Mather and used on their own website to illustrate the seventy-five-second commercial Evolution (2006) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But that’s not to say that I’ve wasted all my time.

Sure, I did spend good hour or two most nights relaxing on the couch, watching Netflix or YouTube and hanging out with the dog. I’ll file that under stress-relief and decompressing, as well as expanding my library of things I’ve been exposed to for future creativity.  Even with my new title/position at work and the faster pace we’ve been pushing work out, the level of stress that I carry around this month compared to Nov – April is a drastic decrease.

While I intended to spend my summer working on my technical chops, I ended up working on the human side of my profession instead. On our trip I read Ogilvy‘s Confessions while riding trains across Belgium and France. I also dug deep into the psychology-centric articles written by folks I respect in our industry, and spent a lot of time with podcasts, youtube channels and game shows, paying attention to how successful hosting works. The art of captivating an audience while progressing along an expected path is certainly something that resonates with the work I’m doing (or should be doing) every day.

I’d also like to think I’ve been able to level up my leadership/mentoring over the summer, engaging with a broader group of people and taking away many different sources of inspiration that are continuing to trickle into our workday conversations and helping us push towards better goals as a team. Yes, I’ve been lazy on my own goals, but I’ve somehow found ways to help others find motivation to go beyond what they thought they could do.

TL;DR – I didn’t find great success on the goals I started with, but I ended up with valuable skills and inspiration that is propelling me forward all the same.

Travel Insights – 7-19-14

Posted: July 19th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Seattle was a bit of a whirlwind, so I didn’t have much downtime in the hotel/airport to wrap up this series until now.


26.) The Paris Metro is the only subway I’ve been on with a reliable ventilation system. Say what you want about deodorant usage, this was the only place that acknowledged we were cramming people into an underground metal tube and breathing might be required.

27.) The Louvre is the only museum I’ve ever been in that did NOT have ventilation. I’d read Everywhereist’s post about the Louvre and what a frat party it was, but I was skeptical and wholly unprepared for the realities of thousands of people in a Renaissance Era building. Frat party, pfft.  I would have thanked the lord if someone offered me a cold Natty Ice while we were in there.

28.) Since I’ve been using the gamer tag “Viktory” for about 7 years now, I was more than a little disappointed that the Athena Nike was not on display the day we were there. So much for the epic “my head on a winged god” selfie I’d imagined.

29.) Seeing the Rijksmuseum was cool, but maybe I’ve been spoiled by great museums like The Met and The V & A. Going to see what is mostly a national collection left me sorta deflated. Kudos, though, for the ballsy “Art is Therapy” currently on display. These signs absolutely multiplied my enjoyment of the place, and resonated with the conversations we’d had at Noma earlier that week.

30.) Underestimating distances in Copenhagen: adds a few minutes to your exploratory walk. Underestimating distances in Seattle: potentially fatal. Glanced at a map and thought the pub crawl for MozCon was “just around the corner”, ended up trudging up a hill for and crossing in front of traffic that couldn’t really see us as they drove into the setting sun. Next time, in Siri we trust.

31.) Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, Seattle: great weather to walk in, and have a rail connections practically inside the airport. Phoenix: Pretty much walking on the surface of the sun, and rail use requires that you wait outside twice before you even get on the train. Great planning, hometown!

32.) In Brussels it honestly never stopped raining. Sometimes it slowed to a mist and made walking around completely do-able, but it never fully stopped. It actually rained on us at some point in every city we went to, but only Brussels had the chutzpah to keep it up. Sure made those jackets we bought at REI a key investment.

33.) Airport security is totally suspicious of bike locks. Had to get it checked off by no less than three people each in Brussels and Heathrow. I’ve tried to think up a joke about this, but it’s escaping me right now.

34.) Yes, it’s 2014 and some folks still have no idea how to travel. (OH: “Nobody ever told me you have to take the liquids out of your bag”.) It’s up to you to decide whether this makes you laugh or lament.


Final Stats

Days away: 18 out of 19

Cities visited: 7

Miles walked: calculating

Different beds slept in: 7

FourSquare checkins: 21 unique (only had wifi through most of Europe)

Pairs of shoes left in Denmark: 1


Travel Insights – 7-10-14

Posted: July 9th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Dateline Brussels – Didn’t get to post an update from Amsterdam or Paris due to wi-fi issues, but it’s 1am and our flat is located just above a club that does all night on Wednesdays it seems.


17.) Not having AC is totally manageable when the over-night temps drop into the 50s.

18.) …except when mosquito net curtains are not 100% effective. I’m looking at you, Amsterdam. Probably the last city where I wanted a blood-sucking parasite to make it’s way into my room.

19.) Having a list of “must-sees” is helpful when adventuring in a new city, but be sure to give yourself time to really explore a place and live in it. When I travel, I like to know one thing that I want to do in a given area, and then be open to whatever else I might find nearby. In Copenhagen, I had friends nearly paralyzed when trying to figure out which place on their lengthy lists we should go to for after-dinner drinks. Meanwhile, there were plenty of local bars nearby where we could have certainly had a memorable time. Moral of the story, pick fewer things you need to do, and allow more time for the universe to surprise you.

20.) In Paris, hit Rue Montorgueil; you’ll find anything you could want on that street. We went here because a friend recommended Stohrer, but I wish we’d gotten that recommendation 12 hours earlier. We could have picked up all the supplies for our picnic that day on one block. Instead, we ended up wandering around the blocks near the Champ du Mars and sorta made-do. 

21.) Speaking of wandering, sometimes you’ll go into a shop and the workers/owners will have no desire to help you, and the very next time you’ll find someone who not only helps you pick out a product, but gives you recommendations on picnic sites and places to avoid the rain/grifters.

22.) I’m pretty sure someone needs to redraw Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to include wifi now. I managed to not use my international data until we got to Brussels, but there was plenty of screen-shotting maps and missed messages/connections along the way. Plus how am I supposed to correctly tag my instagram shots if I don’t get wifi until I’m in the next city? Dang!

23.) World Cup in Europe – This is the way I imagine sports should be experienced.  In Holland for the Quarter-Finals, folks were decked out on the streets, party boats going all day, and the plaza outside the hotel was packed for the full duration of the match, and then the place went nuts! In Brussels just now, after Argentina won, a random group of Argentinians just passed by, parading through the streets with drums, two hours after the game was over.

24.) By the way, Copenhagen must be the easiest place to see celebrities.  Normally I don’t go in for “who was spotted where” sort of thing, but walking pass Andre 3000 and Julianne Moore within 12 hours was a pretty cool day.

25.) Sometimes you come this close to eating at the world’s best restaurant. But even though I didn’t get on the booking, my friends treated me to a once-in-a-lifetime tour of the kitchens and test areas. Amazing stuff, such great work ethic and so much commitment to serving the customer and the food, without any place for ego. When you’re in the kitchen of Noma and the first thing Rene does is recommend breakfast places to you, you know it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced.


I’ll wrap up this one on a high note.  I’m down to two more days on this trip, then I get to spend one day at home before I’m off to Seattle for Mozcon.