40 at 40

I turned 40 earlier this week, which gave me cause to reflect on my life thus far – triumphs, failures, opportunities chosen and those not. I made a list of the 40 things that have defined my life. It was quite the exercise, but, all things considered, I’m a happy guy and think things have turned out pretty well.

When it came time to write this blog post, I decided to apply that same thinking to Curator. It, too, was quite the exercise, but doing it reminded me of all that makes this company so great. So, without further ado, I present my Top 40 Things that Have Helped (and Continue to) Define Curator.

1. Culture, culture, culture – The most important thing we have. Without it, we are nothing.
2. Our way of thinking – Programs over pitches. PR, social, digital. Never one-dimensional.
3. Friday happy hours – We rotate who picks the beer for the week. It allows our dark beer lovers to feel special.
4. Morning coffee conversation –Sometimes it’s a makeshift creative traffic meeting, other times it’s why Sean is an idiot for dumping Desiree and keeping AshLee.
5. Our people – They’re what makes the magic happen. We don’t manufacture anything. Our ideas are our currency.
6. Our hiring practices – Applicants hate it because we hire slowly. We like it because it makes us get it right and find exceptionally talented people who want to build a career here. See also: Jennifer, Maria.
7. Our passion for lifestyle brands – Our roster of clients mirrors our own personal favorite shopping destinations. And we like it that way. Our passion turns into better ideas and better results.
8. Practical jokes – We’ve moved people’s workspaces, created rap videos, and hired clowns to hide under Matthew’s desk (Shhh!! He doesn’t know that yet).
9. Sharing knowledge – Monthly training sessions, weekly blog posts and daily emails about the latest trends…gotta stay razor sharp.
10. Getting to know our clients – Responsiveness to email does not a relationship make. It makes a vendor. And that is not us.
11. Great vendor relationships – We don’t bring anyone to the table who we wouldn’t hire in an instant. If you work with us, you’ve got to bring it.
12. Our work – It speaks for itself. We’re very proud of our thinking and our results.
13. Moving to our current offices – I wasn’t here yet, but it was a defining moment. We became “real” that day.
14. Everyone chips in – From everyone staying late to put together desks for our new hires to joining brainstorming sessions for accounts we don’t individually work on, it’s all for one and one for all.
15. Walking the talk – We can’t expect clients to follow our advice if we don’t follow it ourselves. Everyone here is plugged in to everything. I just Facebooked a Twitter update about a video on Vine showing a disappearing Snapchat photo. #bam
16. Success is everybody’s job – The buck stops with each of us. And we like it that way.
17. Our dry-erase wall – White boards are so 2012. We draw and erase on our walls.
18. Katy Perry Fridays – Regardless of our own musical tastes, Megan forces us all to listen to the Katy Perry station on Pandora on Fridays…just like we did last Friday night.
19. Our wine fridge – Our favorite pop-in guest and wine connoisseur extraordinaire, Ron Elgin, gave us a gift of a wine fridge. He filled it with good stuff to start. We drank it all and now fill it with whatever is on sale at Costco. (Hint, hint, Ron…)
20. Fridge art – Steve Martin ironing a cat. Cow photo bomb. Shawn riding an ostrich. Cat memes. All have graced our fridge from time to time.
21. We bet on anything and everything – Super Bowl, The Oscars, baby weights, The Bachelor, March Madness…you name it, we’ll each shell out big bucks and give it to me. Because I always seem to win…and thus keep encouraging more betting.
22. We like each other outside the office – We’ve gone skiing together, seen movies together, spilled wine on one another…it’s all good. Liking the people we work with makes working something we like.
23. We’re willing to try new things – Not olives, though. Those are still gross according to our survey. (Sample size=1)
24. The Princess Bride – Annie and three other of our 13 staffers haven’t seen it. Inconceivable, you say! Well, we’re fixing that this week with a two-day lunch hour viewing of this classic.
25. Our conference room table – You can count the number of spills, scrapes, nicks and dings we’ve had on it on no hands. At least that’s what Scott thinks. (Next to his family, Scott’s favorite person on earth is the conference room table).
26. Our office décor – The place looks more like a well-appointed apartment or loft space than an office. Wouldn’t have it any other way.
27. Strong coffee – Sometimes we sneak in a few scoops of medium roast. Just don’t tell Scott.
28. Our heritage – Many of us knew each other in a previous life at DDB, which taught us the value of multi-discipline thinking. Others came from backgrounds in TV, fashion marketing, and more…and we mesh fantastically.
29. Our family dinners – Twice a year, we invite spouses and significant others to join us to celebrate our successes. And to show our spouses and significant others that our coworkers are as crazy as in our stories.
30. ThankYouChrisHansen.com and Voiceofthe12thMan.com – Look ‘em up. #proud
31. We all blog – Not only do we share the responsibility for maintaining the Curator blog, but many of us have our own blogs. Check out our newest addition’s at justbblog.com.
32. The color orange – It pops. And not everyone can rock it.
33. Our holiday gifts – It takes a while to figure this out each year. Because you can’t just order 100 of them online and call it good. Personal and meaningful is the key.
34. Gem – Our kidnapped gemsbock is our office mascot. She’s done things that would amaze even Dr. Drew.
35. We throw each other under the bus – Not literally and always in fun. P.S. Ann Marie was the one who left the Diet Coke in the freezer which exploded everywhere.
36. Our unique gifts to one another – These mainly come out on birthdays, anniversaries, at holiday parties and on Flag Day. Favorites include the Justin Bieber singing toothbrush (Chelsey), Curator-branded yoga pants (Julia), and an animatronic cat that got torn to shreds by a coworker’s dog when he brought it home (Paul).
37. Our pods – Most everyone sits in little pods of three. This helps with collaboration and brainstorming. But we’re starting to run out of room, so bunk desks might be in Curator’s future…
38.International thinking – Representing brands in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico gives us a unique perspective in the marketplace. And a lot of frequent flyer miles.
39. Our quote wall – Occasionally, some of us say things that are truly quote-worthy. They’re phrases that must be preserved for eternity. However, these are not for public consumption, but rather only for the initiated.

And, last but not least…

40. Our vision – To be the premier lifestyle brand agency in the nation. It starts with the focused attention to detail and the culture of empowering teams to drive initiatives and get results for our clients. We’re never satisfied with our last idea or position and are always pushing ourselves and each other for more. That’s what I love about this place.

Did I miss something and leave it off the list? Have a comment on any of these items? Leave them below; we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Dan