January 1, 2010 marked my departure from Firebelly, a studio I’d dedicated my life to for nearly 5 years. Transitioning from strategic director to consulting strategist has proven disruptive and bewildering but at the same time, it’s been really empowering. My closest confidants and cohorts knew for months and supported me in so many ways, but the unexpected congratulations and cajoling from my extended network has been really heartening. Old associates, colleagues and friends (people I haven’t talked to in years) have been in touch to check in, send me inspiration and prod me for details on my next move.
But I really didn’t want this post to be about me and my plans because in all these conversations there’s been a common thread: 2010 is going to be major for almost everyone I know. This post is about a few people in my life whose positive actions to change things up and push things forward have got me really excited.
what’s good: getting smarter
My technophile friend TJ McCutcheon just applied to the University of Texas at Austin to pursue an Executive Masters of Science degree in Technology Commercialization. Talking to him last night, I could tell how amped he is for the geographical change and the chance to focus and refine his knowledge of something he finds truly important and innovative. He was also enthusiastically and proudly explaining how his 2-year-old daughter has completely mastered her iPod Touch. When transhumanism goes full-swing, TJ and his family will be first in line for the upgrades!
what’s good: shifting focus
A key collaborator in my life these days is Jason Schwartz of Bright Bright Great. From the sound of it, he’s on the cusp of pushing BBG into the spotlight and shifting focus from the daily grind to a personal hustle. I know he can do it too. I’m super stoked for him.
what’s good: settling in
On the flip-slide, sometimes joining a team you really love is the best move. For the dozen years I’ve known him, Charlie Smith has always been a freelance motion designer, so I was pretty surprised when he told me was going full-time with Closerlook, a strategic marketing firm here in Chicago. As my best friend, former roommate and long-time creative partner, I have to admit the thought of Charlie working regular hours and being out of reach was a bummer. But while I can no longer pull him into my crazy schemes and last-minute projects, I’m super happy his career has stabilized and he’s surrounded by great people everyday.
what’s good: going gold
I’ve been a fan of Rubbish since they uploaded this video in 2007. But to see these guys now—man, they’ve stepped their game up! With an official selection in last year’s Cannes Film Festival, multiple music videos for The Cool Kids and continuing documentary work for Flow Snowboards, the collective is primed for big things. Snag ’em for your next project before they get all famous and move to L.A.!
what’s good: building up
Doug Toney was senior designer at the first agency I worked at out of school. He was a dedicated workhorse and a really down-to-earth guy. Evidently he also had a secret talent for illustration and caricature he never told me about! Doug got in touch recently and sent me a link to his MegaPixels blog. His message on Facebook inspired me to get back to running this winter and finally go out and buy myself a Wacom tablet. Thanks, man!
what’s good: discovering worlds
Photographer Molly Probst and I have known each other since junior high. We reconnected this fall just as she was making plans to move to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Although she had some loose connections there, it was pretty much about going somewhere far away, all on her own to experience a new culture and perfect her Spanish. I love the big step she’s taken and have been following along on her blog, Ida y Vuelta (aka There & Back or Round Trip).
Surrounding yourself with people who take positive, progressive action to improving their lives is completely contagious. I’m really proud of the people in this list and really thankful I can call them my friends.