Chris Petescia

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....

 

My 2013 in Review

For the last four years (2012201120102009), I’ve documented a bit of life and times at the end of each year. This is a look at life in 2013.


2013 Professional

Well, we did not quite double this year… but we got close :). We have never been big on awards and outside validation (a lot of it is pretty much crap), but we decided to submit ourselves to a handful of them for the first time this year, because the staff at Carrot is incredibly talented and deserves to be recognized formally. Carrot was recognized by Inc 500 as one of the “Fastest growing companies in the US in 2013.” We also won numerous awards, including “Best Mid-Sized Social Media Agency" from the Shorty Awards. Mike was also recognized by PR Week in their 40 Under 40 for 2013. 

We redesigned our website this year, which was way overdue for an update to reflect modern Carrot :) Highlighting that Carrot has always been more than just a digital agency, both in practice and spirit, we adopted carrot.is for our primary domain. I am proud of the site revamp, front to back - and there is still more in development. Among the brand efforts this year was also a love letter to NYC: Carrot is (proudly) Made in NY. We refreshed our tumblr, and focused a LOT on our new employee experience… some of which involved an app that we hope to make public early in 2014, and the construction of a pretty awesome kit (you’ll have to join us or watch tweets from new hires to learn more ;). We got a corporate apartment (decorated by Beth) to help out new hires landing in NYC, as well as family of Carrot staff visiting, since many people are not originally from the city. We also used the apartment roof for Carrot yoga. We sent a care package to the hard-working New Media kids at RIT, to get them excited ahead of our annual recruiting trip. Mike, Steve, Kyle and I invested in Fornino Pizza, which the Carrot Crew enjoyed from the nearby Pier 6 location in DUMBO. Aside from personal interest in owning part of Brooklyn’s finest pizza brand and a rooftop bar, we wanted a place where Carrots could get a little VIP treatment and show off to friends, family and clients :). 

Of course, the biggest news of the year for Carrot was our sale to VICE Media. We never seriously considered any of the numerous offers we’ve received from larger companies within “our industry” (read: Ad / PR) over the years, because we’ve seen what happens to company culture and how detached the founders/ partners become. We did not work for 8.5 years on Carrot for an ending like that, no matter how good the offers were financially: It just wasn’t why we started this journey. However, VICE’s offer was different. It allows us to stay true to Carrot, to the point where not taking it would honestly contradict our own principles. Not only did they somehow fit exactly our culture and mission, they actually wanted us specifically for our scattered DNA… The tech development and agency sides of Carrot were both attractive to them, something we have never experienced previously. They offered us not an ending but a greater future: The chance to do more important work, the type of work we are great at, and the opportunity to make an impact in the world while doing it. With this, I honestly feel like our best work is still ahead of us, and that may not have been the case otherwise.

Not only has this sparked a new level of excitement around Carrot, it has reinvigorated Mike and myself, whose careers have been solely defined by what we have built here. We are not the same kids 8.5 years ago with $800 and a few dilapidated computers in a mildewing basement running off of bulk easy-mac and hopes and dreams… we have grown up, a lot. We have other stakeholders in our personal lives now, and for the first time have had to look at what we want and actually need from life in leu of changing circumstances (more on that below :). Good things, but real things. Before moving on, it’s worth highlighting a few client items. New clients included Wilson (across several different sports verticals), Barilla, Lord & Taylor, Blue Chair Bay (which replaced Kraken), Oakley and, of course, VICE Media. We continued work with Target, CMT, Red Bull and MTV. We celebrated the launch of one of the world’s most iconic luxury brands into Social Media. We were thrilled to see some of our strategy and pre-launch efforts with Shinola succeed with an incredible launch of the brand. Their limited-edition Runwell watch (pre-sale) sold out quickly and their other products have been selling like crazy. Stay tuned for some new clients to be announced in early 2014!

Misc notes:


2013 Personal

No collapsed lungs this year!

This past year had some enormous milestones for me… obviously the VICE deal was huge, but I also (literally) started off the year engaged to Beth, and we got married on October 12 in Prospect Park. The wedding was perfect: beautifulnerdy, unconventional, intimate and the most fun I have ever had at any wedding… which means we did it right. 100% us :) I even got to design a wedding brand for us, and came up with some pretty cool print collateral! Photo sets of our big day: Getting ready & “First look” at BethDUMBO photoshootThe Ceremony, and Tour Bus ride & Reception (feat: lightsaber dance party). Check #bethvschris on instagram for guest photos!

The next day we managed to slip in an afternoon at NY Comic Con! Then, we honeymoon’d in Costa Rica for 2 weeks, and it was incredible. The food, the animals (monkeyssloths!), the junglethe beachesthe cloudsthe volcanoes…unreal. Photos: part 1part 2part 3part 4 … or just check out my instagram from mid to late October for highlights. We returned JUST in time to catch a few days of autumn, my favorite season in New York. 

This year we had a few losses in our family… Beth’s nearly 97 year old grandfather, a veteran of three wars, was laid to rest. I am glad that I got to know him and hear a little bit of his incredible life. I also lost Romeo this year, my cat and companion of 5 years. It’s hard to explain the relationship I had with him … but it feels more accurate to call him a close friend rather than just a “pet.” We drove hundreds of miles together, lived in several different apartments, and he was by my side through some of the biggest ups and downs of my life. It is still very hard for me to think of him unfortunately, but I hope that someday my memories of him will make me smile instead. Poor Lady Mary was traumatized by Romeo’s sudden passing, and suffered another loss when, after only 3 months, we had to put her new kitten friend Jack to sleep. He was suffering from FIP and while our time with him was very brief, it was heartbreaking to see a baby suffering, so we made the tough (but ultimately right) call.

Thankfully, right after we lost Romeo, we had a trip to Disney (previously booked). As an early celebration of my 30th Birthday from Beth, I was able to forget my sorrow for a bit and be a kid for a few days at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios (trip album here). It was my first visit in 20 years, and we had an absolute blast! I highly recommending staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. On my actual birthday in July, we escaped to Connecticut and enjoyed delicious food prepared by my best friend Ryan, followed by camping at Falls Village. I woke up to being 30 with a bit of a stiff back from the sleeping on rock slabs (and becoming an old man), but enjoyed a sunrise at the falls. Full album here.

In the circle of life, death is offset by new life, and this year we welcomed Michael Germano III into the world! It was an incredible thing to see your best friends become parents. I am so happy for them, and MG3 is an awesome kid so far. We also attended Ryan Mack, Jason Beckerman, and Joey Corcoran’s weddings this year, which were all a great time.

At home in Park Slope, we enjoyed our second summer on our roof deck, grilling, drinking and lounging and successfully growing an incredible garden with incredible views. We attended GoogaMooga, and over-indulged in the brand new Dinosaur BBQ (starting with opening day) that opened, dangerously close by. We frequented our front yard, Prospect Park. We caught a few “Movies with a View" at Pier 1, a Mets game with Jon, Opening Day at Yankee Stadium, and another Yankee game for Rick’s Birthday. We saw Book of Mormon, finally (it was fantastic). And, last but not least, got to check out an incredible Game of Thrones exhibit!

Concerts have traditionally been my escape and a source of pure joy for me, and I am happy to say that I managed to get out to a bunch this year again. This is also the first time I also missed a lot of shows, which resulted in friends, family and in some cases followers on twitter getting some pretty great treats. Given everything going on this year between work and wedding, I missed Paul McCartney, The National, Emancipator, Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam John Mayer and Tedeschi Trucks Band. However, here is what I did catch:

My most listened to band in 2013 was The American Dollar, followed by Alt-J and Pearl Jam. Shout-out to Macklemore and Lana Del Ray, whose albums I surprised myself by enjoying frequently this year.  Top ArtistTop Album and Top Song stats provided by last.fm. Most of my listening, again this year, was done via rdio


There were a lot of people who made this year great, particularly with the wedding… So, thank you to all of our friends and family for a wonderful 2013, which saw some of the biggest life events I will experience. It was a truly incredible year. I look forward to working for VICE, continuing to make Carrot a place where people are proud to work, and more good times in 2014. Cheers!

My 2012 in review

For the last three years (20092010, 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.


2012 Professional

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.


2012 Personal

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 :)

James Bond: Skyfall screening! (at AMC Loews Kips Bay 15)

As a long-time fan, I enjoyed the film’s references and nostalgic nods. The action was great. It wasn’t as grandly-plotted as many films, including CR & QoS… But what disappointed a bit was the backstory points revealed regarding Bond’s life. Without spoiling it, I will say that the mystery and vaguely-dark and unclarified past was part of the charm. As someone who generally gets off on character development and roots, I think 007 is an instance where it is unnecessary and beneficial to not delve too deep.

Let me know what you think :)

James Bond: Skyfall screening! (at AMC Loews Kips Bay 15)


As a long-time fan, I enjoyed the film’s references and nostalgic nods. The action was great. It wasn’t as grandly-plotted as many films, including CR & QoS… But what disappointed a bit was the backstory points revealed regarding Bond’s life. Without spoiling it, I will say that the mystery and vaguely-dark and unclarified past was part of the charm. As someone who generally gets off on character development and roots, I think 007 is an instance where it is unnecessary and beneficial to not delve too deep. Let me know what you think :)
I really wanted to like this movie, to believe that Lucas can still make compelling films…
But alas, no.
I think I could write a novel on why this movie was poorly done, but a few bullets will suffice:
Awkward cuts and short scenes that start and end abruptly
Horrendous acting and writing for (specifically) every white person in the film. The rest of the cast did a solid job, but I can almost guess who Lucas might have personally written dialogue for, himself. If you see it, just plug your ears when the bomber pilots speak. It’s worse than battle droids as “comic relief.” 
If you thought the Amidala/ Anakin love affair of the Star Wars Prequels was awkward, brace for another round.
Awkward sub stories and side threads (awkward is a big theme in general)
Unfinished threads in the story - the climactic mission ends anti-climatically… what happened with the mission? Did they succeed? Was the fuel concern actually a concern?
CG paper airplane. Yes, really.
One thing I did get a kick out of was the apparent homage to the Cantina scene in Star Wars: A New Hope. Black Pilot “Lightning” walks into a white pilots’ bar whose entrance way actually looks just like the Mos Eisley Cantina, and he is told “we don’t serve your kind here” essentially. Are directors allowed to nod to their own movies? Or was Lucas trying to explain the droid-prejudices (droidism?) that C3PO faced?
It seems like a great story of American heroism against prejudice in war time, but I don’t think it was properly told in this instance.

I really wanted to like this movie, to believe that Lucas can still make compelling films…

But alas, no.

I think I could write a novel on why this movie was poorly done, but a few bullets will suffice:

  • Awkward cuts and short scenes that start and end abruptly
  • Horrendous acting and writing for (specifically) every white person in the film. The rest of the cast did a solid job, but I can almost guess who Lucas might have personally written dialogue for, himself. If you see it, just plug your ears when the bomber pilots speak. It’s worse than battle droids as “comic relief.”
  • If you thought the Amidala/ Anakin love affair of the Star Wars Prequels was awkward, brace for another round.
  • Awkward sub stories and side threads (awkward is a big theme in general)
  • Unfinished threads in the story - the climactic mission ends anti-climatically… what happened with the mission? Did they succeed? Was the fuel concern actually a concern?
  • CG paper airplane. Yes, really.

One thing I did get a kick out of was the apparent homage to the Cantina scene in Star Wars: A New Hope. Black Pilot “Lightning” walks into a white pilots’ bar whose entrance way actually looks just like the Mos Eisley Cantina, and he is told “we don’t serve your kind here” essentially. Are directors allowed to nod to their own movies? Or was Lucas trying to explain the droid-prejudices (droidism?) that C3PO faced?

It seems like a great story of American heroism against prejudice in war time, but I don’t think it was properly told in this instance.

My 2011 in review

For the last two years (2009, 2010), I have taken time to document some reflection on the year prior. This is my reflection on 2011 :)


2011 Professional

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


2011 Personal

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.

My long-time best friends Mike Germano and Victoria Iacobazza tied the knot in style, with most of our staff attending what was a fantastic celebration :)

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 VedderHammock, 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.


2012

Professional Goals:

  • Expand Carrot to new location(s)
  • Expand offerings past those of a typical agency
  • Hire more staff: with care and enthusiasm
  • Keep Calm And Carrot On.

Personal Goals:

  • Reconnect and spend more time with friends
  • Read 2-3 books a month (facilitated by my new kindle :)
  • Maintain healthier lifestyle
  • Be more conscious of personal down-time an soul restoration

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.

My 2010 in review

This has been a year of UP for me professionally (Carrot Creative) and a roller coaster ride for my personal life. What a year…

2010 Professional

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!

2010 Personal

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:

  • Kaki King (Bowery Ballroom)
  • Pearl Jam (Madison Square Garden, both nights)
  • Mumford & Sons (Webster Hall in March, Terminal 5 in November)
  • Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes (Webster Hall, my second time seeing them- previous show was in summer 2009)
  • Sting and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Camden, NJ)
  • Peter Gabriel (Radiocity Music Hall)
  • The Album Leaf (The Bowery Ballroom)
  • The Black Crowes (Nikon Theater)
  • The Black Keys (Summer Stage in Central Park)
  • The Avett Brothers (Radio City Music Hall)
  • The New York Philharmonic (Central Park)
  • The 21st Century Orchestra performing LOTR: The Two Towers score (Radio City Music Hall)
  • My Morning Jacket (Terminal 5)
  • Dave Matthews Band (Virginia Beach, Citi Field, The Gorge, MSG, and JPJ Arena in the band’s hometown of Charlottesville, VA)

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.

Thank you…

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!

My 2009 in review

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 VillanovaJeff 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