“Hyper” local marketing goes old school

The Old SchoolLast week my better half and I took a short vacation to Austin. It’s one of our favorite cities, but it’s just too difficult to explore during the chaos that is SXSW (which is when we are normally there). So this year, we decided to skip SX, and instead we took a trip down south later in the spring to enjoy the weather and the city itself. Continue reading


looking back on SXSW 2013

Sunday I returned to Minneapolis after my annual trip to Austin for SXSW. Last week marked the second straight year I made it down to Texas for SXSW Interactive and my fifth consecutive year for SXSW Music. It’s becoming a bit of a tradition: part business trip where I can get inspired and meet with various agencies or vendors and part warm weather vacation where I can get away from the long Minnesota winters while getting to see TONS of live music.

Just like last year when I wrote about some highlights from the conference, I thought I’d share some highlights from this year’s trip. Continue reading

I found some inspiration in San Francisco


Man, my blog has been a ghost town the last few weeks. I haven’t posted in nearly five weeks? I do have some good reasons though. Between work being a bear due to the Holiday shopping season – I do work in retail after all – and some matters outside of work that have taken up a lot of my free time the last few weeks, it’s been hard to turn my attention back to this. But after a recent business trip I came back with a topic that will help me get back in swing of things.

San Francisco is one of my favorite cities in the U.S. and a couple weeks back my manager and I flew out there for a meeting with the folks at Twitter’s HQ. The only downside to the trip was that we were in town for nearly 24 hours. Less than a day in San Francisco? That is just plain cruel.

While on the trip I had a couple things happen that made me want to write about them. One of which is very old school and one is very new school but both had me thinking. Continue reading

why brands matter: thoughts from overseas travels


Recently Leslie and I made it back home after a vacation overseas. Every couple of years or so we try to take a big trip in conjunction with our wedding anniversary and this time around we made the trek to central and eastern Europe. Our itinerary consisted of 10 days abroad where we split our time between Prague, Krakow and Budapest.

Overall the trip was fantastic. We did the tourist thing a bit, we did our best to live like a local, and we did more than our fair share of walking around. All three cities were charming in their own way, but I became especially enamored with Budapest.

One of the things I kept noticing and pondering on this trip was brands: why they exist and what kind of value they provide. Looking back on it now, it may have been somewhat silly to be thinking about branding and marketing while on an overseas vacation — but sometimes things become a bit clearer when you’re in a foreign land.

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some post-vacation quick hitters


Last week was my first one back in the office after a vacation up north. The last few years we have rented a cabin in the Cross Lake area. Just me, Leslie and the dogs. It’s a nice break in the middle of the summer where we can just relax and unwind and get away from it all. Following this same trip a year ago, I wrote about the benefits of hitting refresh and getting back to the consumer mindset. This time around I wanted to take the less serious route share some quick thoughts.

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SXSW 2012: a retrospective

I’m finally starting to get my legs back underneath me after being home for a full week following my nine day marathon in Austin for the 2012 SXSW Interactive and Music conference.  As I mentioned in my previous post previewing the event, my plan was to attend SXSW Interactive in a work capacity and then take some vacation time for SXSW Music.



I’m not going to go on a deep dive on any one specific topic here nor will I write about my lessons learned should I go back next year (like the imperative to bring comfortable shoes or a portable battery charger for the iPhone).  There were some highlights, some lowlights and some just silly observations (like this or this or this).  It was a time for inspiration, networking, validation and just having fun.  All-in-all I had a fantastic time and as weird as it sounds I was a bit sad to leave Austin even after spending more than a week in the city during its most crowded time of the year. Continue reading

Getting primed for my SXSW marathon adventure


(In case you are wondering, this is some fool licking the pavement at SXSW.  Keep Austin Weird indeed.)

If you follow me on Twitter, then the last couple of months you may have caught some of my random tweets counting down the time until SXSW begins.  (I’m assuming that most music fans or digital marketing folks know about the conference, but if you are unfamiliar with SXSW then you can get the lowdown here.)  I’m big into music and have been making my way down to Austin every March the last few years for the annual music conference.  Leslie and I have a great time catching up with friends while completely over indulging in live music.  Plus, we just love Austin.
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