Come With Me To Opal Creek

I took advantage of some time to get back out into the woods. If you think a few days detaching and being by yourself in the wilderness might be what you need, the feel free to come along. Here is my potentially boring, but accurate journal of 4 nights backpacking through Opal Creek Wilderness. The attentive reader may notice that day 1 is especially boring as the only important thing on my mind was getting away from the mosquitoes, and then around day 3 my writing kind of hilariously starts to mimic the writing style from the book I had been reading – The Way of Zen, by Alan Watts. Continue reading

Who Needs To Step Down In Oregon?

After a terrible rollout from which the .gov site is improving at last, the official in charge of the rollout is stepping down.

My only question is, who needs to step down in Oregon? Who was responsible in Oregon? Who can be held responsible for selecting Oracle instead of one of the myriad capable young and growing dev businesses right here in our own state?

And how can we make sure that IT management in the state government does not allow people without understanding of the process to make these decisions, or be tasked with these responsibilities in the future.

The roll of IT and infrastructure in government is only going to increase over time, and we cannot afford to squander state money that should be going to services. Nor can we afford to squander the time that is wasted as services are delayed or kept less accessible for citizens. This is why a stink needs to be made about this botched rollout. So get your pitchforks out. And sharpen them.

Original story >

Two Great Tastes (That Taste Great Together)

A bit of origin story for you… When the organizers of SXSW first contacted me and said, “Brad, you shall create a session about “Black People Marketing,” I thought it was an interesting, though ultimately misguided and potentially career-ending concept. But who am I to argue with ones so powerful and tall? Though I did wonder why they came to my door – I mean, I was going to submit a proposal for a talk anyway…

But I said to myself, “Brad…” (I said) “Brad, this is a terrible idea. You have no expertise whatsoever in this particular area of marketing. You should give up and go home and cry about this, as well as the many other tragic elements of your life.” But I didn’t do that. Instead, I called the pre-eminent worldwide expert in the field, Reggie Wideman, seen here threatening me over an unrelated matter.

Handsome Reggie

“Reggie” I said. “Reggie, I have another terrible idea.”

“Great!” he said, with an enthusiasm he reserves only for truly terrible ideas.

I told Reggie what the organizers commanded of me, and he said, with great class and elegance, “Screw that. SXSW is for everybody. Handsome black men like me, moderately good looking Jewish men like you, and even the often overlooked white anglo saxons. Let’s make a talk for everyone.”

So we did. Feature Based Marketing is for all people of all colors and all religions to come and learn about how creating a roadmap for your marketing department that merges features with the data acquisition and marketing activities that drive your business.

Please go vote for it now:
Register, vote for us, and please leave a comment. And if you have any questions, let us know. We’d love to tell you more, and we certainly will be doing so over the next few days. Here’s a visual aid in case it helps:


Brad Cohen and Reggie Wideman


Last night I attended SHARE #19, a creative night that occurs every couple of months here in PDX put on by friends. A prompt is given, and then you get two hours to make something – anything – inspired by that prompt. The prompt last night was “Manufactured,” but that only made me think of the negative aspects (for those two hours as least), and I ended up creating a Google Presentation as my work. As the name of the event indicates, it’s meant to be shared. So here it is – “MANUFRACTURED” (and here’s a link to it on Slideshare, in case that’s your poison).

With An Eye Toward Open Windows

Anyone who actually knows me or follows a profile of mine on some sort of interweb platform is already almost assuredly aware that I now work for Janrain. I’ve been here over a month, but it seems like even longer (in a good way!), and it’s pretty great so far. I’ll check in and leave an update after a few more months, but I am honestly enjoying the work, respecting the product, and digging the people.

It has come to my attention that JESS3 seems to be… well… or really to no longer be, or maybe to be, but I’m not really sure, and don’t feel the need to be honestly.

I thought this would be a good time to post a message for young aspiring leaders of teams out there; a few pro tips and thoughts from my tenure.

1. My teammates at JESS3 were, by and large, some of the most thoughtful, hardest working, and most talented creatives I’ve had the pleasure of working with. The diaspora of talent is something I could not be happier to be connected to. And as one of the ‘older’ members of the crew I hope to rely on the talents of my friends to support me in my old age when they’re all in charge of massive projects and budgets somewhere. ;) Don’t forget me when you’re famous, guys.

2. Small creative agencies are inherently volatile businesses. It is exceedingly difficult to maintain and grow this type of business – where you are tasked with creating the next big new thing, and your clients are incentivized to try new things from other sources.

3. A good leader can hold a team together. A good team will hold together in spite of a bad leader. But a good team that is ready to disband cannot be held together by a bad leader.


Ladies & Gentlemen, Your Linkedin Passwords

Ever since I read about the LinkedIn Password breach I couldn’t stop thinking that there was a blog post in it. Yesterday I figured it out and set the JESS3 team to help me with it. We dug through the tool for checking whether your password was in the set of compromised ones and sought out the goofiest, most inappropriate and funniest passwords we could find — that someone actually used. My favorite was “junkinthetrunk”. What’s yours?

Read the full list of our favorite LinkedIn passwords on the JESS3 blog >>

The Simple Web and the Late Majority Internet

I put together this deck for a presentation at WebVisions PDX last week and it turned out better than I had hoped. Take it for a spin – there are some great messages and images. Of course it’s lacking the dulcet tones of my voice slowly whispering the secrets of the internet into your good ear.