Co-founder of Carrot Creative, design geek, practical hippie, music enthusiast and generally creative individual who finds inspiration through imagination.
Located in Park Slope & DUMBO, Brooklyn, NY.
Dreaming in a galaxy far, far away....
For the last three years (2009, 2010, 2011), I have taken time to document some reflection on the year prior - it’s a fulfilling and rare opportunity to reflect … This is a look back at a very eventful 2012.
I thought Carrot grew in 2011 - it is nothing to the growth we saw this year. Check out carrot.is/peopleto see the most (though not entirely) up-to-date list of staff! Incredibly, we doubled once again … the extended Carrot family (more on that in a bit) is over 50 people. Thankfully, even with this growth, we have maintained (and enhanced) all of the things that make the company great. Our culture is entirely owned by the staff as much as us as founders - for their enthusiasm and commitment to it, I am grateful :) We created Carrot as a place to house the manifestations of our imaginations, and it has - particularly this year - been fed by everyone who is apart of it now, exceeding even our expectations.
Among the enhancements to our culture and perks at the office, we introduced a partnership with Farmigo, and offer every employee $10/week towards Farm-fresh, local goods. We launched carrot.is/jamming, an internal, democratic music jukebox for the office that will be open to the public once it leaves our internal beta. Carrot is a season ticket holder to the Brooklyn Nets, who are enjoying a solid first season (and us enjoying some solid seats!). Our company was invited to the Clio Awards at AMoNH, where we abused their photo booth. We also travel in (#client) style these days. We toast our clients, friends and family while helping local business, and enjoy puns as much as ever. We had an AdWeek spotlight … and Mike and I got a bit silly for The Lab Magazine - don’t forget, we’re coming for you.
I was afforded the incredible opportunity to enjoy some scotch with a long-time hero of mine, Dave Matthews. My (and subsequently Carrot’s work) with Dave Matthews Band over the years have contributed to the momentum of the company into becoming what it is today, so to spend time having a great, casual conversation with Dave as a professional (not as a giddy college-age fan) was an incredible experience and one I will never forget. There have been some absolutely awesome backstage stories since then, but you’ll have to buy me a drink sometime to hear about the details of those fun times ;)
We executed our best work to date this past year, across the entire agency. 2012 client additions include Home Depot, Target, Kraken, Bravo, A&E and another brand that represents the pinnacle of achievement (both ours and in general ;). We continued work with some of our favorite brands, including Red Bull, Jaguar, Disney and Shinola. We also have a brand new client to announce in January - Wilson Sports! Mike and I enjoyed a short business trip to visit clients in Geneva and Salzburg, with stops in Munich and London for business too. Spending time out of the office and 100% immersed in Carrot with Mike, the person I started this AdVenture with, was incredibly healthy and productive, and something we will need to do more of moving forward.
We saw incredible growth with Digital DUMBO, now in 5 cities world-wide! One of my business partners, Bobby, formally left Carrot Creative to participate in CropUp, a funded tech-venture that we helped launch. We are in the process of launching some great stuff for Carrot, that will continue to broaden us beyond the agency world, and are thrilled to have our family expand across complimenting ventures.
What a year this was.
In March this year, I found myself in the E.R. and a short hospital stay with a chest tube to patch up a “spontaneous pneumothorax" - the cause of which (in my case), according to every single medical professional I spoke to, was simply being a tall, lanky, young male. After enjoying a burst of international travel or perhaps just for being extra lanky, I returned to the hospital in October to treat a recurrence, this time with surgery to fix things more definitively. While it seems to be a relatively simple procedure for modern medicine, it’s a fascinating realization that because this happened to me today, and not 100 years ago, I am alive… twice. I am grateful for that. Anyway, hospital food gets dull after 6 days, but I am also grateful to the staff of United Methodist- surgical to nursing - for their great care and entertainment.
If the nurses took care of me, it was nothing to the absolute dedication and loyalty of my Fiancée* Beth, who took several days off and spent countless hours with me … from E.R. to recovery, caring for me in states ranging from painful to spaced-out on IV drugs. She is a saint, and proved her loving loyalty again and again to me, through sickness and health, across this year. We moved in to a beautiful apartment that we have enjoyed decorating, on Prospect Park West (a personal dream of mine) in June. Prospect Park is literally across the street - it’s effectively my front yard. We have an incredible roof deck and enjoyed our evening and weekend down-time with some incredible afternoons and views. While we saw the very sad passing of Beth’s cat Oren, we happily adopted a kitten, Lady Mary, into our family over Thanksgiving, who Romeo quickly took to caring for.
We also enjoyed our first “full” vacation together, and my first vacation (more than a long weekend) since we started Carrot 7 years ago! Our adventure included a week and a half between Prague, Budapest and Graz & Vienna, Austria, after a few days in Bermuda over Labor Day for Bobby’s Wedding. There were a few small weekend trips here and there, including a nice getaway to the Hamptons in March.
Aside from the aforementioned backstage antics at DMB, I saw a good run of bands this year. Worth noting - the Rolling Stones, who are all somewhere near 70 years old, can still fucking rock. If I had half the energy today that they have at their age, I would consider myself to be doing pretty good.
My most listened to band in 2012 was Dave Matthews Band (new album this year), followed closely by my favorite ambient bands, Hammock and brooklyn-based The American Dollar. Top Artist, Top Album and Top Song stats provided by last.fm. Most of my listening, again this year, was done via rdio.
Other things worth noting:
Beth and I also got to see a taping of SNL, with a very rare and personal tour of the floor and set from a friend on the crew! We checked out Storm King on a beautiful fall day with our friends Jon and Cassy, and consistently enjoyed some actual relaxation on weekends for the first time since Carrot started. With help from the roof deck, I met my 2012 goal of reading more and enjoyed a range that included The Cloud Atlas, the A Song of Ice and Fire books and the Steve Jobs bio.
The people in my life made this year great, above all else. I mentioned a handful, but there are a few more worth highlighting specifically for 2012. Rianna, for helping me breathe. Tony and Bridget, for being incredibly thoughtful. We had a ton of fun with Maggie throughout the year, who is just a great person. Jason was an excellent host to us for a visit to Charlottesville, VA, and a great, loyal friend who we enjoyed having visit. It’s been a pleasure to see his music project Centric mature and fucking rock! My family and particularly my sister Marybeth, deserve thanks for their support and care when I needed help most.
2013 will be a brave new chapter for Carrot, and for my personal life. Looking forward to a healthy and happy new year :D Cheers!
*I realized when Beth and I casually found ourselves ring shopping this fall, that she is the woman I want to spend my life with. Well, that’s not true - I knew that a pretty good ways back, but I guess I just realized I was finally ready to actually ask her :) I bought the ring I picked out for her, and proposed last night under the cover of New Years fireworks, in Prospect Park where we met, with the witness and enthusiasm of our friends Wendy and Eric who introduced us 2.5 years ago :)
There has been so much growth for Carrot this year - I am so proud. Aside from moving into our lovely new office (with killer views: 1, 2, 3), we had a number of talented new folks join us: Daniela, Nick, Alexis, William, Will, Dan, Jeff, Juliette, Steven, Bob, Sunny, Darryl, Bonnie, Kathryn, Sean, and Lee. It was particularly big news to have Darryl announce his departure from Humongo, the agency he founded, for the position of Executive Creative Director at Carrot :)
We won some big clients and did some killer work this year - Internally and externally. New Clients included, notably: Burton Snowboards, Jaguar, Bloomberg, Redbull, and some skunk works for eBay. Continued work for Ford, DMB, Her Universe and Disney was, as usual, a pleasure.
We announced Carrot.is and Platlas: The Social Platform Atlas. We celebrated our 6th year anniversary in STYLE… and, the list goes on. Digital DUMBO enjoyed sponsorships from huge names like Microsoft, Google and AT&T.
For a better run down of work, press and some sweet client perks that were enjoyed, check the 2011 Carrot Creative Holiday Newsletter
This year I fell in love again :) Coming off of 2010 with my personal life flipping upside-down, I am thrilled to have grown in many ways, not the least of which is in my relationship with Beth. I’m a much happier and fulfilled person since she and I have begun to build a life together. If 2010 was about survival, 2011 was about recovery and regrowth. I’m excited for 2012 to continue this adventure we’ve started together :D
We had alot of fun this year traveling and attending events like Lebowski-fest and NY Comic Con. We visited Beth’s family in Florida earlier in the year, also checking out UF (her alma mater) and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal while down there. For Beth’s 30th Birthday, we visited San Francisco - my first time out there. We celebrated with dinner at “Foreign Cinema” on Day 1, while exploring the Academy of Sciences and Golden Gate Park on Day 2, and the Piers, Bridge and Pacific Beach on Day 3.
We also twice traveled to a state that has embedded itself in my heart: Colorado. The first trip was for my sister Sara-Jane's graduation from UCB in May, where we checked out Boulder on Day 1, Nederland on Day 2, and Red Rocks on Day 3. The second trip to Salida-area in October was for a weekend escape for hiking, nature and horseback-riding.
Some client perk-fun was had with my second-annual trip to The Gorge for DMB and camping in George, WA, and Burton’s Fall Bash for staff/ friends in Stowe, VT. We also were at F8 for Facebook’s announcement of Timeline and the unveiling of an app we helped build, by Mark Zuckerberg himself!
This year was also another big year for concert-going in general (If I’m being honest, most years are ;). I was thrilled to see the following in 2011, in no particular order:
I enjoyed new music by Washed Out, Bon Iver, Eddie Vedder, Hammock, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and Gary Clark Jr. Hammock was overwhelmingly my most-listened to band of 2011, with DMB and Pearl Jam coming in 2nd and 3rd. Top Artist and Top Song stats provided by last.fm. Much of my listening this year was through rdio.
The Holidays were spent between Brooklyn, Florida and Sparta. We checked out Prolific’s party, had a fantastic dinner with the staff on the Carrot side, and Beth and I attended her staff party for AC 360 at Anderson Cooper’s house.
I enter 2012 completely excited for what is to come personally and professionally. I’m sure I’ll be tumbl’n all 365 days of it, so see you there.
This has been a year of UP for me professionally (Carrot Creative) and a roller coaster ride for my personal life. What a year…
Carrot was started from nothing, in terms of how agencies are “supposed” to be born - we didn’t have funding, agency experience… but we had passion, talent and almost a blind motivation. We wanted to create the dream workplace and culture, for ourselves and staff, and change the agency world by doing things our way. 5.5 years later, I am happy to reflect on our best year to date!
Necessary growing pains is probably the best way to describe the last 12 months… while sometimes a challenge and difficult, they were integral to the continued learning and improvement of Carrot. We brought on some amazing new talent in 2010, who I want to thank personally for making this such a great year: Bridget, Mike P, Tom, Adam, Analee, Rianna, Jen and Billy. I’d also like to thank a few staff who have moved on from Carrot this year to new opportunities, most of them afforded by their time as Carrot employees. If Carrot greatly contributed to their value and made them ideal candidates for the agencies that they are now at, they also helped make Carrot the caliber of agency it is today. Thank you Jeff, Colin, Katy, Maury and Jacob for your time, love and hard work. And finally, our dedicated rockstars who have been with us for a bulk of the journey and whose digital blood, sweat and tears have continually provided Carrot with fuel to rock out at 100mph… I am grateful to our core four: Kyle, Steve, Kaitlin, Tony. To my business partners Mike and Bobby - what a brilliant year for Carrot. Cheers guys :)
We have been fortunate enough to work on some killer projects, with amazing, historical, and global brands to make true impacts for them this year. We started off 2010 with a relationship that has grown into a retainer for Disney Publishing. A major thank you to Digital Marketing Jedi Kieran Hawe for our continued relationship, and being a killer client. As a designer, it has been a thrill to drool over superbly high-res Disney Character artwork files to create and array of digital projects with my production team at Carrot. Projects included our own creative, Disney iPad/iPhone App promotion, and work on campaigns for Toy Story 3 and TRON.
We also worked on several Ford projects this year. The first, Fiesta Funnel, was a successful Ford Fiesta sponsored-project for Internet Week that aggregated social conversation. The project culminated with an exclusive rooftop party in Manhattan with live Dj and Band (Cobra Starship), to which Carrot Creative staff were VIP guests. Thanks to Greg Littley for his work with us on that! The next and by far most successful Carrot project of the year was the launch of the 2011 Ford Explorer on Facebook. We worked with Ogilvy and Team Detroit to bring about this launch that was a huge part in Ford being named “AdAge’s Marketer of the Year." It may been the most successful Facebook campaign to date for a brand. It received tons of press for the brand. Just a few examples here, here and here. Our next Ford project, working directly with Team Detroit, was a successful contest to name the V6 package for the 2011 Mustang. We are slated to do more work in 2011 with America’s #1 Auto Company, beginning with the Ford EV line :D
A personal favorite project this year was the launch of the Her Universe Website and the design of their brand/ identity. An opportunity presented by apparel company Araca, we were able to work closely with the truly amazing and talented Ashley Eckstein of Star Wars: The Clone Wars fame (she voices Ahsoka Tano). My nerdom was heavily satisfied, and Ashley even helped adorn my desk with toys of her character, and a limited edition item she got and saved for months until I saw her at NYCC!
We also worked with agency Anomaly on a “Grab Some Buds” Budweiser Campaign, a project for Comcast that launches soon, Android, iPhone & iPad apps for MTV’s “The Meter,” a Pepsi Refresh project, and many more.
2011 is looking to be incredible for Carrot - we will be hiring more, expanding to a beautiful new office (currently under construction) in NYDD, and continuing the success of Digital DUMBO, which wrapped up 2011 with an AOL-sponsored event!
I entered 2010 engaged to be married to my girlfriend of 5.5 years, a wedding planned for August 28, 2010. The end of that relationship in the spring of 2010 was THE hardest, most difficult event I have ever experienced. I am so, so grateful to have such caring, supportive friends and family. They helped me make it, gave me a place to stay, and kept me going past what seemed like the end of everything I knew. Mike and Victoria, two of my best friends in the world, took me in with every measure of caring and support possible. My sister Marybeth also provided an immense amount of local support, opening her apartment to me when I needed it. My best friends Ryan, Pat, Tina and Mike in Connecticut, who have known me since I was a kid, kept me going with calls and texts nearly everyday. I am so grateful. I am grateful to Matt for encouraging me to take time for myself, to travel and experience new things this summer… more on that in a minute. There are countless other people who stepped forward with genuine care as well… they include Jason, Kaitlin, Katy, Ellen, Jen, Christy, Wendy, Eric and Carla. This summer I also met my beautiful girlfriend Beth, who is probably THE most patient person I know, considering what she has been through with me. She has been dedicated, supportive, understanding and simply incredible, and I love her for it.
Before this major life event, I had decided to make 2010 another big concert year, and this theme continued through the fall, proving to be a very important series of experiences for me. This year the shows I saw, in no particular order, were:
Music has always made me happy. Experiencing it live is where I truly feel at home, and at peace. It’s a pure experience for me. For the last 10 years I have wanted to see DMB at The Gorge, arguably the most holy of pilgrimages for any fan of the band… but have had (legitimate) excuses for not doing so - largely money and time. This year, with the band announcing their first break from touring in 20 years to be in 2011, and with the aforementioned push from Matt, I decided to make it happen. My best friend Ryan was instantly in, so we booked flights and I requested tickets from the band’s management (who has generously taken care of me with lounge passes and tickets over the years). A new friend, introduced via Matt in a professionally capacity initially, immediately volunteered to transport us the 4.5 hours from the Portland airport to the venue. Jen and her husband Dan live in Oregon and without second thought incredibly offered their time during Labor Day Weekend, so I requested a few extra tickets and we had a caravan to what became one of the best weekends of my life. I won’t go heavily into detail, but the experience more than satisfied my soul :). The new friends we camped with and everyone we met are beyond my capacity to describe. Photos are here and here.
I would be remiss without mentioning a specific thanks to Jason- DMB’s project manager turned close friend- who invited me down to a killer show at Jones Beach Amphitheater for my 27th bithday, and the band’s epic, final 2 shows in Charlottesville, VA. So much fun, just what I needed :)
Also on the music front, I discovered some new music this year, largely via last.fm. Some ambient highlights include H.U.V.A. Network and Carbon-based Lifeforms. New releases by Hammock, Great Lake Swimmers and previously-discovered albums from favorites like Mumford & Sons, Sting, Edward Sharpe and lots of Pearl Jam and DMB were soundtracks to my year, particularly during difficult days. My officially-logged top artists of 2010 can be seen here.
This year I also attended NY Comic-Con for the first time, with Beth, and had an absolute blast! We saw panels for “The Thing” (2011), “The Women of Battlestar Galactica,” hungout with Star Wars/ Star Trek legend Dan Madsen, Ashley Eckstein, and had a blast immersed in nerdom overall. If you have interest, I highly recommend catching it next year in San Diego or NYC! The night previous, I was invited by my friend Christy to see The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers at Radio City Music Hall - a live symphony performed the soundtrack LIVE as we watched the film! Incredible.
I visited Zurich, Switzerland (and surrounding countryside) with my sister and dad for the wedding of a member of my extended family in Italy. It was an incredible 5 days - while a quick trip, being immersed in family and beautiful landscape was more than worth it. I hadn’t spoken Italian in 5 years yet quickly picked it back up! Photos here.
I am sure there is plenty I left out, for all the good things I experienced in 2010 it’s hard to know what I might have overlooked… I will be sure to edit /add if anything comes to me! Despite some personal hardship, I still managed to have quite a year, largely thanks to my company, dedicated friends, and family. I am thrilled that people actually read/ enjoy the content I post here and on twitter. Thank you :) Looking forward to 2011 and hopefully meeting more followers and friends. Feel free to continue to ask me anything- cheers!
Some of the personal highlights for me:
- Brought on some truly talented and awesome folks at Carrot Creative. In order (as far as I recall): Kaitlin Villanova, Jeff Brunelle, Katy Kelley, Colin Murphy. Shout outs to Tony Briceno and Jacob Cass (both joining us in January) and Asa Alger (summer intern).
- Finally did a good round of work for Dave Matthews Band (formerly it was sporadic projects) for their stellar 2009 release “Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King,” and enjoyed some great perks from their generous management including passes and tickets to Jones Beach on my birthday.
- Did CD Artwork for Tim Reynolds and his band (TR3).
- Moved to Brooklyn and finally enjoying life full-time with my fiancee, Lisa. 2+ years of intense travel between Rochester and Brooklyn on a near weekly basis = FIN. Enormous thanks is due to Mike & Victoria for opening their home to me for the better part of last year and the first half of this.
- Discovered loads of new music artists, including: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, Avett Brothers, Phoenix, Hammock, One EskimO, Mumford & Sons, Passion Pit, Kero One, CéU, City and Colour and more. Several of those thanks to Ellen.
- Enjoyed some excellent new albums by: DMB, TR3, Hammock, Pearl Jam, Zero 7, Tycho, Imogen Heap, Jay-Z, Sting, and more.
- Got to see some amazing live shows including: DMB, Zero 7, Edward Sharpe & Magnetic Zeroes, One EskimO, Liam Finn, David Byrne, Fool’s Gold, The NY Philharmonic, Tori Amos (I’m a good guy to my gal), Ani Difranco (ditto), Loudon Wainwright and others that will com to me, I’m sure.
- Made some new friends and met countless new people, many through the continued success of our Digital DUMBO event. A few particularly awesome new folks of 2009 include: Carla, Ellen, Katy, Matt, Rachit and others without links handy.
- Misc: Learned to enjoy Bourbon/ Scotch, Got rid of my TV and found more time to read, did 95% of gift shopping via online retailers (mainly Amazon), bought my first couch, got an iPhone (3GS), thought about planning our wedding and decided it was best left til 2010 to sort out (though we did book a place for the reception, at least), caught up with old friends, spent time with some great new ones, and didn’t kill our two cats (who do not extend the same courtesy to our apartment and nice things). My Macbook Pro somehow survived another year with me, as well.
That’s all I’ve got for now and I need to nap before we have fun tonight - but it was a good year, and I doubt these even begin to cover the full extent of it. I intend to do even better in 2010 :D