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I Don't Hate Hiking: A Lesson Learned On the Oregon Trails

indian beach

“I hate hiking!” is a story I’ve been telling myself for roughly 33 years. It was a stubborn, silly thing to claim, especially since — until this weekend — I’d never actually hiked.

What I really meant is that hiking makes me uncomfortable. It is a new experience. It’s something I’m not skilled at. It challenges me. It pushes me beyond my comfort zone. It falls outside my wheelhouse.

Last week, I spent several days trudging my way (literally) over the river and through the woods of Oregon. At first, an obstinate little voice inside my head was urging me to dig my heels in, refuse to go on and hitch a ride back to civilization. (Or at least craft a series of snarky Tweets to send once I returned to a reliable wifi signal.) Somewhere around the five-mile marker it occurred to me that by hunkering down in my head and focusing my energy on all the comforts I was missing, I was actually missing out on the amazing things right in front of me. As soon as I hit my internal mute button, I began to discover that I kind of love hiking.

Sure, I had to stop and wheeze-it-out at various points. My body was sore in places I didn’t know it was possible to hurt. I had to use an outhouse. But that was all okay, because there, in the middle of nowhere, with no cell phone signal and just about every modern convenience stripped away, I found myself living fully present in the moment. And that is a really, really good feeling. 

I realize I may never relish having my feet restricted to “real shoes.” I may never enjoy physical exertion in sweltering 90-degree heat. I’m definitely never going to love an outhouse. But I really liked the version of myself I met at the top of the hill, the base of the falls and the end of the path.

There’s no doubt it’s easier to write something off completely than it is to try and struggle, flail and fail. But a comfortable life is a life with blinders on. Sure, you can get ahead, but you’ll miss out on the things that matter most. When we settle for comfortable, we settle…period. We end up depriving ourselves of not only experiences, but of becoming the best version of who we are.

A wise person once told me if it doesn't scare you, it doesn't grow you. Get cranky. Get angry. Get frustrated. Work up a sweat. Work up worries and doubt. Then let go of that balloon of uselessness. You don’t have to take the world at someone else’s pace. You just have to put one foot in front of the other until you find your stride… then get on with the getting on.

Say yes more than you say no. You never know. It may take you someplace more beautiful than you ever imagined.




Brands: You're Only As Good As Your People

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 10.39.50 AM It all began with a man...a plan...a canal...PANAMA! No, wait. Wrong story.

I don't really remember it how it began, but I'm pretty sure it went something like this: really cool designer techie friend makes comment in passing about his awesome new bank. I recoil in horror because we know there is no such thing as an awesome bank. Five minutes later I find myself thinking ,"Is Nathan is drunk? He doesn't seem drunk. Could there really be such a thing as an awesome bank? Perhaps I shall try this so-called awesome bank."

I then proceed to Simple's site only to discover...NO. A nice little message pops up telling me THOU SHALT NOT PASS...for now. But someone will email me eventually. I immediately proceed from "curious potential customer" to "my life is going to end if I can't be part of this RIGHT NOW," thus becoming the living embodiment of why we marketers tell you brand people to dig deep and resist the temptation to let everyone into your party right away. The power of barrier to entry is strong! But that's a blog post for another day.

Months go by. Countless glasses of wine are consumed. I move across the country. And last week I get an email letting me know the secret password for the cool kids table bank.

One app download and passphrase later, I'm in and digging it. But now what? It's a bank app.

After several minutes of poking around on the app and site I come across some pretty serious customer service "mantrifesto." Alongside statements like "we're serious about good service," I find something that basically says (and I'm paraphrasing) "Contact us anytime about questions or problems or just to say hello."

"I will accept your customer service challenge," I think to myself, "I will email you just to say hello." And I did.

bank 1

Much to my surprise, a short while later I received this response from my new bank friend, Ryan O.


And then I said...


Which is when I met my new friend Bank Bruke...


So naturally I did what any person would do...


To which I received this gif as a response...


1. Your brand is only as good as your people. Your company will live and die by the people who make your company. Using the simple laws of attraction, we can deduce that if you develop a solid business plan you'll build a solidly awesome company which will attract amazingly wonderful people. Good draws good. Great draws great.

2. Give your people permission to be awesome. I'm willing to bet that Simple never covered "proper use of to use How I Met Your Mother gifs in customer service conversations," but there you have it. Hire people you trust. Hire people who get your brand. Then give them permission and freedom to love it, represent it and make it their own. Because in making it their own, they're making it awesome for your customer.

3. A little real human goes a long way. Sure, I recognize the irony  of my ways. I'm averse to real banks because I don't want to deal with a real person. (Truth: the day photo deposit was born I threw a mini-celebration.) Now I'm singing the praises of a brand that uses an technology to connect you with a real human.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that I didn't like going into real banks because the people seemed mostly miserable, standoffish and lukewarm. Even at their speediest, our interactions typically felt just like a business transaction and nothing more. My interactions with Simple have been a series of fun, quirky, personal moments of human engagement. And that has made all the difference.

4. You pretty much haven't lived until your bank #HIMYMs you.  Wherever you are, Ryan O. and Bruke, I hope you're enjoying a Pine State Biscuit. Thanks for being awesome. I don't know if I'll ever see a drawing of a narwhal playing ring toss with a unicorn, but please know if there were ever a bank I'd walk 500 miles would be you.


Truckin': 9 Delicious Examples of Food Truck Typography

We are about to begin work on a new project. This is one of my favorite things about working in a creative profession. The possibility phase. Possibilities are infinite. The world is your oyster. This is the point at which we have no real direction in mind, we just know that we're going on a proverbial creative road trip to somewhere. And just like planning a real trip, we begin gobbling down everything around us for inspiration. You never know where it will come from. Often (if not most of the time) it comes from the most unlikely places. A flash of genius is just as likely to strike while I'm reading an article on sea turtle rescue or perusing street interviews from middle America as it is while I'm sitting in a form brainstorming session. Creative inspiration has a mind of its own. It doesn't really play well sitting behind a desk, but it loves to strike out of nowhere while you're at the grocery store, in the shower or driving down the highway.

This is all to say, this morning I was lounging in bed letting serendipity work its magic when I stumbled upon a series of wedding photos set around a food truck. A food truck wedding? Be still my beating heart.

A recent visit from the Type Truck has renewed my love affair with all things truck. (A blog post about this adventure is coming soon.) What's better than a cool truck / office on wheels? Truck + typography + snacks. If you could figure out a way to integrate dogs and champagne into that equation, you would have pretty much defined my version of mecca. But I digress.

Anyway, I had fun perusing some of the loveliest trucks in the land. And now I'm sharing them with you. So with no further ado, cue the apropos tunes and get ready to experience ...


MIHO (San Diego, CA)

Click the image below for a closer peek...

DOGTOWN DOGS (Santa Monica, CA)


SWEETERY NYC(New York, New York)

Deluxe Street Food (Denver, CO)


PHYDOUGH (Los Angeles, CA)

WYOMING (Portland, OR)