The Best Thing We Have Created at Curator

Paul and Shawn, reenacting a pivotal scene from 'Titanic.'  

January marked our four-year anniversary. And in that time I could not be more proud of the clients we’ve been blessed to work with and the campaigns we’ve created. But neither – though extremely close – match the thing I think we’ve done best here.

Just last month we won Best of Show at the PRSA Totem Awards for the campaign we created for Domino’s Pizza.  That was wonderful and so fun to share with our client. We partnered with FOOD & WINE Magazine to create and produce their first Latin American food and wine festival; attracting some of the nation’s most celebrated chefs and sold out venues.  We got to go to Mexico every few weeks, eat incredible food and drink incredible wine and call it work. We get to create grassroots, social, PR, thought-leadership and advertising campaigns for a client with whom we enjoy personally and share their mission-based values: Whole Foods Market. I have had the pleasure of calling Simon Property Group a client for more than a decade and what a joy it is to work with a client that also becomes a long-term friend.  And the list goes on. But all those things stem out of the thing we placed the largest amount of focus at the start of the company.

Our culture.

The culture we have created at Curator is "the thing."  It binds us and guides us.  It’s predictable and egalitarian. Every year I write a Vision Document that I share with our team members. The overarching vision never changes, but the areas of focus each year, based on market and internal issues, change. For the first three years I made the number one priority of focus on culture. I believe you can’t create culture in reverse – meaning, you can’t place the focus of running your business all about the product or service, and then, once you create a critical mass of team members, attempt to enact a forced culture. When Curator was just two people, we were defining and living by the culture we were attempting to create for the long-term.  At times it was awkward, when we did things better suited for a team of people, but we knew it had to start early and be engrained in our DNA as a company. Now that we have a full team of wonderful people – here in Seattle and in San Diego – our culture permeates in all things. We have coffee together every morning with no agenda. We have happy hour together each Friday. We have a summer event each year with just our team members and a family holiday event each year with our significant others. But even more than just the fun overt culture things, our culture dictates our performance standards and the way we give feedback. The way we communicate with clients and the focus we put on creative and execution. Everything matters. And our culture defines it all.

We had Richard Tait, the creator of Cranium and now founder of Golazo, in our office recently. Richard is one of the most inspiring and talented people you’ll ever meet. And given his massive success for building incredible companies I asked him to share his take on culture with our team members. He said, incredible cultures act like families. They have traditions and rituals and they focus on something bigger than themselves.

I believe that is what we’ve created here. And because of that, everything else is possible. To our culture, Curators! Well done.