isn’t the same as always being nice, or always feeling happy, or faking either one. Relentless enthusiasm is a choice, especially when you’re tired, especially when your team is beat up, especially when something hasn’t worked. When members of the 101st Airborne pass one their teammates during a run, they tap them on the shoulder and […]

LinkedIn Rejections

Does anyone get their LinkedIn Friend, er, Connection Request rejected? It must happen. Perhaps it’s done in a passive aggressive way, where the recipient of the request kind of curls up into a ball, shrinks back from the desk, and powers-down their laptop with one curled finger rather than saying “no.” Is there even a […]


Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.


Your final product is what people see. They don’t get to see all the hard work behind it: your research, analysis, brainstorming, testing, corrections, management, organization, worry, and passion. Nope. Your work is just suddenly there. Ready to be judged. Oh no. I once threw a rooftop birthday party for a friend. It was glorious! […]


What would this look like if it was easy and fun? Someone once told me this as I struggled to build a document in Excel – one of my many nemeses. My blood pressure elevates just when I read or hear the word “Excel.” I sweat more than usual, my chest gets tight, the whole […]


Have you ever read an online article chock-full of backlinks? It’s super fun. You know, say you’re looking up a way to oh, smoke meat. Or apologize to your wife for forgetting to roll the recycling bin to the curb and the truck that dumps it all into the ocean has already come and gone. […]


What we’re afraid of doing may be exactly what we need to do. If we’re indoctrinated from an early age through the educational system to memorize, conform and play the notes as written, it’s no wonder that’s what we’re doing. But it doesn’t feel right. Great organizations seek creativity, innovation and clean, crisp thought by […]

Smooth Operator

There’s a sign on this huge asphalt construction dump truck in front of my house that says: Keep social distance Stay 6-feet back Do not touch truck Wait. Do not touch truck? I’m happy about it. At first because it’s hilarious, then later because it shows so much care on a very unusual canvas. “Do […]

Your Why

There’s a business/emotional intelligence (I don’t know what the latter one is) writer person (Simon Sinek) who talks about looking internally to find your “why” in terms of what you do, in general. Sounds pretty broad, and you may think the process involves scented candles, talismans, wispy clothing and body odor but it’s actually legit. […]


You know what I think is annoying? Suitcases. And/or fancy leather weekender bags that cool people like Keanu Reeves probably have.  Because in an effort to avoid the chaos of not having enough stuff, I create entropy in the form of packing too much stuff. Plus I look like an exhausted middle aged father grumpily […]


A peer of mine named Robert Boyle observed: “Customer chaos means they need us more, not less.” If change breeds fear because we’re all so desperate for control, perhaps serving others is the antidote. “…need us more…” Because they believe. What happens when we choose to believe as well?


This comes from an Akimbo workshop – so it’s a little bit of my material, a lot of Seth Godin’s and other great folks. There’s research out there that shows a great mechanism to develop resilience to stress is human connection. Maybe the practical step to transform stress from a bad thing to a good […]


I’m swinging for the fences here, they can’t all be home runs. Come on, how do you want to live your life.  It’s cool if you want to bat percentages.  I once knew a guy in college who was the de facto coach of our lame intramural softball team.  He said, and I quoteth: “You […]

KEYS Aren’t That RAre

I really enjoy Simon Sinek. I’m guessing I’m not the only one. To summarize my take on his view of what makes an organization or company or mission great, here’s a brief list: Psychological safety. Trusting teams. Fulfillment. Supporting others. Happiness. Worthy cause. I read and hear about organizations where this form of “great” exists. […]

Power up

Do you think everyone is scared? Scared to lose their job? Scared of their boss? Scared of their “direct report?” Scared of their teammates? Imagine a posture of no fear.  We can get there, but a few things have to happen first. Nothing’s perfect. But if your leadership is toxic, you will always live in […]

Stop Listening

What if we stopped listening to the voice that tells us: We can’t do what we really want to do because it’s too hard or it might not work. We might fail, be humiliated. We have all these shortcomings and flaws. Those people over there who do what we do are so much better, we’re […]

build your own special forces

Some of the highest-performing teams in the world value trust over performance.  Navy Seals equate high performers with LOW trust to be toxic team members. United States Marines Officer Candidate School evaluates leaders as they work through obstacle courses. There’s no check box for whether they overcame the obstacles, only boxes for levels of trust […]

Sasha fierce

Sometimes when we look at challenges we think the others have an abundance of confidence, bravery, motivation, and skill to overcome the challenge and reach their goal.  That they’re not like us. Not scared, worried, unconfident, hesitant. But this is rarely the case.  Even Beyonce relies on her alter-ego Sasha Fierce to protect herself when […]

Angry Chair

I’m watching a podcast…er, well, it’s a video so I guess a talk show, about marketing and adapting to change.  The two hosts are independent marketers with previous experience. Although I haven’t verified this by asking for references.   They make money through marketing consulting, writing, coaching, possibly team building…and advising in general.   Which is great. […]

PSA’s are so unbelievably lame

I’m stuck in the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) but now it’s called Capital Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) and now there’s been three shootings in about four days so it may be going back to normal.  Super conservative people in the Midwest think it’s Mad Max meets Lord of the Flies. So does Fox News. […]

Tell yourself a good Story

What do you tell yourself about possibility every day? The narrative that runs in your mind, the flowing, seamless story you tell yourself about who you are, where you are, what you’re doing and (unfortunately) where you “stack up” relative to other people (the world of measurement is truly a messy place to live – […]

Three Kinds of Empathy

Cognitive – I can see from your perspective. Emotional – I feel your emotions with you. Empathic Concern – I see you are in trouble, I take action to help. To make change, within organizations, for our customers or for our society, we need all three.  If we don’t have all three, we need to […]

Helpful Observations For your Day as a human

When I’m on vacation I like to call different people in the office to tell them real quick I’m worried about this-or-that project but now I have to go because my Pina Colada arrived. That way they know I take the “be a team player” thing seriously.

You’ll Be In this story

This is territory heavily plowed, as it should be. I’m cautious – I don’t want to add to the noise, even if it’s important noise. So I’ll just add a little. Like most history, the events (pandemic, racism, murder) of 2020, approximately January through today June 3rd, happened, but will be defined by what we […]

airwar Vii

We do this to push our abilities as an artist collective. We do this to create art. We do this to champion original thought and make positive change in the world by spreading ideas we believe in through story creation.  We want the better clients. The smart clients, the ones who hear the words “status-quo” […]

airwar VI

Of course, you play an important role in creating your story, but we’re not for the faint of heart. It’s very likely we don’t want to work with you, because you likely think the fact you have a marketing budget means you know best and can tell us what to do. This is exactly why […]

Bloom County and Unruly youth

“He that is without sin among you…let him cast a stone… So I cast that mutha.” I distinctly remember this from a Bloom County cartoon, although I can’t remember who specifically said it. I bring it up in reference to my judgy-ness. Judge judge judge. Don’t judge me I only judge you k? The best […]

Yes is an Un-popped Popcorn Kernel of Space Time

A stern look, or high-pitched voice, tends to get me to give up the kernels of my time by saying “yes.” “Yes” manager-type or other de-facto leader, I will do what you say, particularly after I give you my input and you ignore it. After all, you are the leader. “Yes,” whomever, I will help […]

Gangster (Long form blog post damn the conventions)

Oftentimes I’m reminded of the scene from Goodfellas where, at the end of all the sex and violence and bloodletting, the main handsome gangster is standing on the doorstep of his new suburban (government sponsored, witness protection provided) home, picking up a newspaper the paper boy just lobbed on his front porch, and his voiceover […]

Airwar V

Marketing is about getting your idea to your smallest viable audience (the one that will actually listen to you) by telling them a story.  The story has to be interesting, otherwise people won’t listen.  Interesting is relative of course; and it always involves an original thought.  We’re about determining the best way to tell your […]


Let the big companies with the big coffers and gargantuan ad budgets blow their dough on SEO campaigns, AdWords, popups, Instagram Stories and anything else they think (or are told) is appropriate.  Let them add to the clutter and noise. Even if you could scream the loudest, why would you want to?  Your idea is […]


How quick can you be on that platform? Can you hack the feed, stay on top? Are your Facebook and Instagram ads streaming fast enough, staying prominent enough, maintaining relevance? Instagram Stories offers 500,000,000.00 (not made up) connections through advertising.  How valuable is that supply, and how unique to you is it? Once you figure […]

Duck Fly By

If I chose to be more weird I may have even fewer friends and more enemies. Completely untrue, I don’t have any enemies which may mean I’m doing things wrong. I do believe my life would be much busier if I chose to be weird in my particular version of weird. I’d be filming little […]

Airwar II

What does digital marketing mean?  Is it the popup ad that appears on your phone? The one you frantically mash to close quickly, desperately? Can you bear even a microsecond of an intrusive popup ad that some organization likely paid tens and tens of thousands of dollars for?  Why do you think they bought it? […]


What does SEO mean to you?  In real terms, not the terms an SEO Specialist told you. Think about it.  It probably doesn’t mean a lot.  How about a description? What does it do, what’s it made of, what does it look like?  Can you describe it?   Yet you and your organization like to think […]


I remember living in West Seattle, going to the gym, running home and eating a sandwich, then going to Bank of America to make a deposit. The teller laughed at everything I said. I was charming. I was vibrant. I was unstoppable. I distinctly remember jumping in my car, high on my ability to communicate […]


I love those little wooden sake cubes. I’ve only experienced one, once. It was refilled several times during our meal to the point it resembled the Trevi Fountain minus the coins although at one point I tried to throw a quarter in over my shoulder after which the rest of the night gets kind of […]

gopher holes

How hard will you fight for your idea? Do you only fight for things that improve your status? Do you only fight for things that financially benefit you the most? Have you ever thought about fighting for something that benefits someone else, benefits another person, or better yet a group, in any way?  It has […]

I’ve never had a hot italian beef sandwich

Idiosyncratic – I wish it just meant being weird and rocking it, and in a way it does, but I guess there are larger implications to the word. Idiosyncrasy is for breaking through the static, the buzzing, the noise, the pace, the clutter. To get attention, to stand out. But again, not by joining the […]