"Show me a publisher who can survive without any form of advertising and I’ll show you a cat riding atop a unicorn through a rainbow." -Josh Sternberg

Content for the win - Vol. 1, No. 3

August 2012 

Agility Equals Ability
Earlier this summer, a software exec from Chicago suggested I look into lean and agile development. Seeing a parallel between our work processes, he thought it might help me improve the way I make work. Given that the first tenet of this framework is “Eliminate waste,” it’s productive advice for people in any business rife with meetings, email back-and-forth and the like. Creatively speaking, I'd say some degree of "waste" is good becuase it is advisable to wander, veer from the path and get lost. That’s where discoveries and breakthroughs happen. At the same time, the demands of deadlines and budgets require an intense focus that lean and agile development practices can aid.

Winston Binch, Partner/Chief Digital Officer at Deutsch/LA, says, “Culture changes at Internet speed. Agencies must as well. They need to be able to make content in days, not weeks.” Ergo, Deutsch uses “agile jam sessions,” where small groups of 4-5 people, consisting of traditional creative teams, technologists, UXdesigners, invention and media strategists, planners, producers, and account people take one to two hours to come up with ideas that answer the brief's central question. The trick, I believe, is to maintain a high level of craft while moving projects through the system at a steady, efficient pace.

Buy American Gets Boulder Boost
In July, while on a family vacation in Boulder, I was invited to meet with the guys behind Made Movement, a new ad agency dedicated to helping brands that manufacture in America. I wrote about it on AdPulp, and I’d love for you to click over
and learn more. The agency is also unique in that they operate a flash sales site that introduces a new line of American-made gear once a week. I just purchased a walnut iPhone case from them for $22, plus shipping.

Spotlight on Small Biz: Native Grounds Nursery, Brownsville, OR
Close friends Mike Nehls and Keli Gunning started their wholesale nursery business in 1999. Recently, Native Grounds has been getting a fair amount of press attention for being the first nursery to pursue sustainability certification from Portland-based Food Alliance. The environmental group’s Sustainability Standard for Nursery and Greenhouse Production covers resource conservation, integrated pest management, safe and fair working conditions, wildlife habitat and biodiversity conservation, along with operational efficiencies like energy use, recycling and waste disposal.

Oregon Association of Nurseries is also on the story--their August newsletter features an interview with Mike and several photos, as well. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

“Although Native Grounds Nursery is not a huge nursery, we have always considered ourselves progressive and aggressive, so being one of the first nurseries to be certified enhances and continues this tradition...The growing consumer demand for eco-friendly products is just beginning a migration from food and consumer goods to ornamental plants, and this category should experience significant growth. We feel that our sustainability certification will enhance our ability to take advantage of all these opportunities as they develop.” -Mike “Chief” Nehls

Seeking Energy Saviors
I’ve been busy working for Liquid Agency this summer. I’m writing copy for their new client, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, a non-profit organization that promotes energy efficiency via a broad range of mostly business-to-business programs. For example, NEEA provides occupational training for operators of commercial buildings, so they’re better able to spot energy waste and move to fix problem areas. I must say, I do enjoy going to bat for companies doing good work in the world.

Signposts To New Space
It’s interesting to me how Grateful Dead, the band I once followed from Philadelphia to San Francisco and many points beyond, is now the subject of much academic inquiry. The epicenter for this academic inquiry is at UC Santa Cruz, where the library staff is busy organizing the Grateful Dead Archive Online. One of the things they’re archiving digitally is the mail fans used to send to San Rafael requesting tickets. There was no requirement to decorate the #10 envelopes containing our postal money orders inside, but crafty Deadheads did their orders up right.

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Words That Mean Something
"The cruel reality is that traditional advertising, with its banners and popups and site takeovers and other eye-grabbing tricks, is fundamentally irritating — and it becomes even more so when it interrupts a conversation or a social activity. " -Matthew Ingram