Archive for January, 2008

the statesman

January 29, 2008


from obey giant.

scoot-a-que 11 design

January 28, 2008

how do you get from this


to this?


check out jeremy slagle’s flickr page for a look at the design process.


January 25, 2008

here’s a great piece from this week’s new yorker about the clinton-obama battle and ‘two very different ideas of the presidency.’

“these rival conceptions of the presidency — clinton as executive, obama as visionary — reflect a deeper difference in how the two candidates analyze what ails the country. obama’s diagnosis is more fundamental: for him, the illness precedes the bush years and the partisan deadlock in washington, originating in a basic failure of politicians to bring americans together. a strong hand on the wheel won’t make a difference if your car is stuck in the mud; a good leader has to persuade enough people to get out and push. whereas clinton echoes churchill, who prolaimed, ‘give us the tools and we will finish the job,’ obama invokes lincoln, who said, ‘as our case is new, so we mush think anew, and act anew. we must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”

i also like robert reich’s conception of political inspiration:

“the legitimizing of social movements and social change, the empowering of all sorts of people and groups to act as remarkable change agents.”

that resonates with me. deeply.

here’s 34 obama shirts from skreened.

and here’s obama on letterman last night:


January 24, 2008

music. dance. clock.

kinda like momo². except minus the karaoke bowling.

good things

January 22, 2008


arguably better than this blog.


January 21, 2008

back when i just got out of school after four and a half years with a creative writing degree (a choice fueled by the notion that i didn’t think i could ever handle a proper ‘desk’ job (i know now what i really meant was ‘corporate’ job)) — i read infinite jest for the first time and it totally ripped to shreds my conception of what i thought writing had to be.

either it’d been a failure of my own imagination or a failure of the university faculty — both, probably — and i couldn’t figure out why the book hadn’t been required reading. this was waaaaay different than everything that’d been drilled into me for the past couple years. broke all the rules. it was great. (probably had something to do with the notion that you really should know all the rules before you go about breaking them.)

book changed my life. and i’ve been reading it at a pace of about once every other year since. tracking down every single piece david foster wallace has published in the meantime.

lately i’m having the same experience. only now it’s about business. and life. and meaning. throw everything out the window i used to think about business, because it doesn’t have to suck. you don’t have to surrender your soul. it doesn’t have to be bureaucratic. the old rules no longer have to apply. in fact, turns out the quicker you disregard them, the better off you are. how’s that for irony?

so take a guy like me who shirks convention and then put me in a traditional industry. but then also have the balls to let go and trust yourself to trust me — relinquish control — and see what happens. yes, everybody’s going left and we’re going right. and that’s bound to make you nervous. and it should. but don’t you also feel a little twinge of excitement? like maybe something’s happening here. like maybe this thing’s not going to quite fit in with the rest and that’s a damned good thing. like maybe we can choose exactly who we want to work with and we can it all by just being ourselves. and everyone else can go…well. that, even though on the surface it may look like this is about insurance, in the end, what it’s really about is what we’ve been interested in all along: remarkable people.

why can’t an insurance agency be remarkable, too?

one of my friends who doesn’t live around here read that last post about passion and said this:

It is clear you have no regard for the cynics; nor should you. Well done.

true, i suppose. never thought of it that way.

i’m building brilliant myself from inside a traditional agency — innovating from within — and the other day somebody here basically told me you can’t do anything remarkable with insurance — nobody’s going to care; it’s insurance. yeah? now, that’s cynicism, yes, but also limited thought. this was somebody who i used to think ‘got it.’ i said f@#% you. watch.

art & conversation

January 18, 2008


couchfire collective open house.

saturday, february 9th.

6 – 9 pm.

junctionview (here’s a map).

see what’s up with the couchfire crew.

too nice to recycle

January 13, 2008


prepared, bottled, and designed by element.

consumed by me.

passion, exemplified

January 10, 2008


hany baransi of narazeth.

a true columbus character, with the best middle-eastern cuisine in town — and a great host.

(sorry — scaling issues with the pic. i need a photographer.)

chatty fruit

January 10, 2008

rules to live by

January 9, 2008


passion from tim at royal.

el santo: uno

January 9, 2008


from trent’s oal show circa ’05 by way of our home-office wall.

from the

January 8, 2008


ok, here’s the thing.

i don’t, like, love insurance or the insurance industry, no. (if you think that’s the case, we obviously haven’t met or talked yet, and we should.)

BUT… i’m passionate about people who are passionate about what they do. that’s inspiring to me: people who love what they’re doing. it’s hard to fake that.¹

and what i love, more than almost everything else except my wife, is helping those people. they’re so ‘in’ to what they do, i can’t help be ‘in’ to them — it’s an attraction, of sorts — and all i want to do is get behind them.

and the way i’m best equipped to do that right now — to have the most impact — is through insurance. through, not with.

let me explain.

before, it simply meant we offered all the traditional stuff: proper coverage, a fair price, nothing-is-too-much-trouble service, etc. plus a personal and professional investment from me. and, odds were, if i was compelled to seek you out in the first place, it was because i believed in you, so at some point i probably ended up writing about you here (or here), too.

for me, though, that’s never really been enough.

see, the people i want to work with, they’re not average folk. they might be unassuming, self-deprecating, and humble — yes. but they’re truly exceptional people. doing truly exceptional things. rooted in passion. people like jeni and john and liz and artie, who, each, in their own way, were the inspiration for what i’m getting ready to do now.

so why not, i thought, why not do something exceptional to better serve the people who inspire us? because we’re in the position to do so. and then, maybe, if we do it right, maybe at the same time we’ll inspire others to do exceptional things, too?

so we take the traditional stuff — everything you’d expect from a top-25 independent agency — and keep it standard. but we create a new-model agency specifically for helping those who inspire us so they can hopefully continue to inspire you. that’s where our mission starts. and we tailor our services — shoot, maybe we create new services — for them. just tell me what you need. but, again, that’s still the traditional stuff; we’re just doing it in a nontraditional way.

no, where the rubber meets the road (this is the through part), is that, far as i can tell, the other 3,999 insurance agencies in central ohio are about one thing and one thing only: profit. for me — us — that’s not enough. especially when you consider the position we’re in: insurance is an inherently social business. and by the sheer volume of people we’re in contact with, it puts us in position of influence.

so maybe if we’re public and open about our principles, aren’t shy about mentioning them, and — most important — continue to act on them, leading by example, using insurance not as a tool for profit, but rather as a tool for making things better, for making a difference, as agents of change, maybe by leading our efforts will in turn help inspire OTHERS to find their own way to do the same. just like jeni and john and liz and artie — and most recently daniel — did for me.

just maybe.

¹it also helps, too, if what you’re passionate about is, in some way, interesting. i.e. worth thinking about. and ethical. i.e. not solely about $. and relevant. i.e. of social or cultural meaning. maybe it’s part of a solution? e.g. the local cycling community is interesting to me because (a) die-hard folks were out commuting last week in 15° degree weather and because (b) it’s part of a solution to a number of different problems. likewise, the local crafting community is interesting to me because (a) crafters are so damn creative and because (b) handmade products are part of the solution to a number of different problems. etc. so the five-way intersection of passion and interestingness and ethics and creativity and relevance.

burn k-doe burn

January 4, 2008

just in from wwoz.

ernie k-doe’s 1970 classic ‘here come the girls’ has apparently caught fire in the uk after being featured in a boots commercial over the holidays.

don’t know much about cosmetics, but i know nola music and i know nola characters. and you don’t claim to be the ’emperor of the universe’ for nothing.


January 4, 2008

one thing i’ve always strove for is complete transparency. all the cards out on the table. leveling the playing field. clients making informed decisions. no surprises.

another thing that’s been clear from the get is part of what sets me — now us — apart is the company we keep. i’ve always worked with a certain type of client. why? great clients inspire great service. not exactly a secret, i don’t think.

now, when i go back and read the prescient copy on the scoot-a-que 10 gift card i have to chuckle.


and because treefort are conceptual thinkers and ‘get’ me plus all this, they say how about white-on-white — something transparent, almost — that’ll recede into the background on the website and make full-color pics of clients real prominent right in front. because this is about them, right, not you?


keep the period or no?