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309. Returning to the Firehouse.

2010 has been a crazy adventure so far. It brought a rather quick and unexpected exit from Dubai. (I now know what it's like to be an illegal worker in a foreign country, so check that box. Ha.) It also brought an opportunity to team up with longtime friend and writing funny guy, Jon Runkle, in Los Angeles for freelance gigs. As a team we worked on a lot of interesting projects with great agencies and were blessed with being truly busy this spring/summer. (Amazingly enough, we're still friends.) But 2010 also brought with it an almost nonstop contemplation of my future in advertising and design. What do I want to be doing? Where do I want to do it? How can I challenge myself while also using my strengths to their fullest? I was definitely at a crossroads and had serious discussions with industrial design firms, production companies, design studios, in-house teams, portfolio schools and traditional universities, digital shops, non-profit marketing firms and many ad agencies of course. I was exploring every possibility and figuring out what I wanted in my career. Most of the time, it felt like I was the one doing the interviewing.

Some people think advertising is dying. I think advertising is fun again. The rules not only have changed, they've evaporated. There is a chance to do work that defies definition but is also more personal and interesting for consumers and producers of media alike. I knew that I wanted to be in a place that is looking to do both cutting-edge and heartfelt work. A place that is as passionate about ethics as it is about advertising. A place that wants to tell good stories. And most importantly I wanted to surround myself with the smartest and nicest people I could find. That old adage about aspiring to be the dumbest person in the room works. So, I tried to find smart people.

And boy did I; most notably the cool guys starting High, Wide & Handsome in LA, the wonderful folks at Echo::Factory, the amazing people at Lunar, the gang at Current, a few gracious CDs at TBWA, Stephen at Savannah College of Art & Design, Jocelyn at T3 in Austin, Lauren at W+K (even though she lost my hardbound 200 page creative process book — just kidding Lauren), my new contact at Sapient Nitro, and the whole group doing good at Free Range Studios amongst many, many, many others. I'm not trying to drop names here - I am simply thankful for the time and consideration each of these companies gave to my possible employment. I am always humbled when someone calls back and says, "Hey, we like your stuff. Let's talk." Especially companies such as these.

After many months, I did finally find the perfect place, an opportunity fraught with more serendipity than usual, as I never was formally interviewed. We just talked about possibilities. Talked about the business. Talked about their business. Talked about what I was looking for. Met with some of the gang. And it just sort of happened, which is hilarious given all the time and effort I was putting into finding the perfect job while freelancing. This one found me.

On September first, I will be joining Engine Company 1 in San Francisco. A great little place full of talent, experience, heart and potential to be an increasingly mighty player in this crazy ever-changing industry. I will be working with two former Creative Directors of mine plus another partner I am just getting to know. As a matter of fact I feel like I am rewinding four years before I decided to leave Grant, Scott & Hurley as well as San Francisco in 2006. Few people get a chance to do things over and I feel like this is definitely one such chance. I am coming back with a lot more experience, a little bit more wisdom, some lessons learned and victories won and even a few awards to throw into the trash bin at EC1. (All of their creative awards are tossed into a bin. Yes, you can see them but the point is made: those are yesterday's awards.)

EC1's Introduction Video:

I've had the pleasure of driving around the country the last four weeks before the new job begins, making time to visit family and friends - an embarrassingly long overdue trip. It was a joy telling them about my new creative home and knowing that at the end of the journey was another journey; which will make the rest of 2010 just as crazy and exciting as the first part. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

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