Today I got the unique experience of leading a group of second graders around the refuge during a field trip. One of our naturalists who was suppsoed to take them became ill, and the only other person available was not fully trained and supposed to be a shadpw. Having accompanied two field trips already, we partnered up and took on the kids.
I was very nervous, because, although I new enough about the animals and goal of the refuge to handle short encounters with visitors, I found quickly it was not enough for the enquisitive minds of grade schoolers. I leaned heavily on what I'd heard from my field trip mentor and deftly changed my plan of action upon relaizing how these children undertsood and processed information.
Watching someone else handle children and actually working with themyourself are two very different things. For one thing, they talk. A lot. And they talk over you and each other. Quickly, I had to learn how to ignore off topic questions and comments while still giving attention to every child so that they would not become disinterested. Focus on the question of a child who's off topic and suddenly all kids are unfocused and shouting. Ignore them completely and suddenly they've become little satalites being thrown out of the earths gravitational pull.
Keeping their focus proved difficult in multiple ways. When watching an older, retired man teach the kids, I could see they respected him and knew no to be too disobedient. With me, they saw a younger girl, and took that as an opprotunity to run and not listen, especially the little boys. I couldn't talk to them like my mentor. Instead, I ended up trying to be a cool kid, talking to them like they were older. My talks became more playful, such as when I was teaching them about what to do when faced with a predator. Guiding them through the actions I told them to scare me away and then screamed in terror when they yanked up their coats and growled, "GO AWAY MOUNTAIN LION! GO AWAY COYOTE!"
I was fun to work with them and become more playfull. Sort of like acting.
Going into my second week here at FAIS, I was looking forward to the chaos of week one coming to a close. Dealing with issues on the fly when everything is moving fast had me pulling at my hairs, so to speak, so I thought it would be nice to be able to take things relatively easy. What ended up happening, though, is that I swapped fast-paced but easily fixable problems with slow and incredibly tedious and frustrating problems. Filming is one thing, but editing the video together is a whole mess of issues in and of itself.
I got Mark's footage on Monday, which is fantastic considering how many technical difficulties I had with my setup/equipment/stuff last week when I was filming the performance. That's the good news. The bad news is that Adobe Premiere Pro, the editing software I've been using for the last year, doesn't want to ready the file format that Mark's camera filmed in. The file type, blahblahblah.MTS, is basically raw footage that hasn't been compressed or anything, and since the clips are roughly thirty minutes long, the files are huge. File size doesn't really matter, though, when you don't get audio when you import the file into the editing software, which is what happened to me (and according to google literally every other person who uses .MTS format and premiere pro). I spent about a day trying to figure out what was going wrong and if it was possible to fix, and after the IT office took a look and told me that they didn't know what was wrong or how to fix it (just needed to convert the file type to something actually usable unlike .MTS), I decided to use the school's computers to edit instead. However, the school uses Premiere Elements 10, which can use .MTS but is an incredibly diluted version of Premiere Pro. For the next two days, I tried to learn how to use the program and figure out where all the tools were and stuff. I did eventually figure it out, but all of that is useless if the video you've edited won't render (the video needs to render before you can export it as a finished video file), which is exactly what happened. Somehow, the "render" button was linked to the "play" button, so instead of rendering it would just start the video from the beginning. I realized this after I'd already edited a good deal of the video and wanted to finalize some of my progress up to that point, since rendering the whole video at once would take an insaneeeee amount of time (like 8 hours straight). My dad offered to help me out since he has a program that can convert video files, so I spend most of Thursday with him trying to wrestle with .MTS, and fortunately it worked out and I now have usable files that I can work with on my laptop. I then spent Friday trying to get back to the same spot I was at at the end of the day on Wednesday, and I'm making progress! It's slow going though, and tedious.
I feel like I've spent a lot of time talking/complaining about issues that I've been having and that it might be giving the wrong impression. I'm having a good time. I promise. All the kids say hi to me when they see me and it's actually super cool.
Also, Greg (the english teacher) is going to have me work with some of the less advanced kids in the next couple of weeks in one-on-one reading sessions, and I'm excited to have something real to do besides the editing. To be completely honest, the overriding impression I'm getting is that there's really not much for me to do, and I totally understand (I can't remember if I talked about this in the last post but whatevs). They've been doing this for the whole year and they've got an efficient system and together they've got the kids covered. I'm an inefficiency, and putting me into the machine, so to speak, isn't exactly easy to do. I also really don't want to put them in a position where they're inventing work for me to do. At the same time, though, I'd love to have something to do that didn't just involve sitting in front of a computer screen for hours at a time and feeling generally useless. I'm looking forward to the one-on-ones.
There are a couple things that I was going to talk about last week, too. First, it's a little weird being back in the same place I went to elementary and middle school. When I'm walking around, I'll run into people or see things that I haven't seen in ten or eleven years, sometimes more. It feels like how I'd imagine coming home after twenty years and finding that the things in your room haven't been moved in any way whatsoever would feel like. Things have changed at the school, definitely, but the feel of it all is very much the same. Sometimes the experience is legitimately surreal. For example, I was taking some papers to the English Office, which is in a hall with a couple bathrooms and a chemical closet, and as I was walking through the hall the smell of the bleach/cleaner that they use was floating around and it was almost an out-of-body-experience (the smells are what really get me, for whatever reason). I actually had to stop for a couple seconds and pull myself out of it.
As for the Middle School part of campus, I've managed to avoid it entirely. That's not somewhere I'm very interested in going back to at all. I might go and visit at the end of the project, but to be honest I've spent enought time putting it behind me that it almost feels like it would be a disservice to myself to revisit it. Maybe that's not the way I should look at it, but so far I haven't been able to see it any other way. (I'm also terrified of running into Mme. Jourdan, my 8th grade math teacher, who is actually the most intimidating person I've ever met and ever will meet, but that's neither here nor there and will happen eventually no matter what).
On my way back to my car at the end of the day on one of the days during the first week, I ran into a pair of middle schoolers (I want to say 8th graders?), a small middle-eastern kid who is the brother of a girl who was in my class, and this tall blond kid with a bowl cut. As I was passing by, the small kid is trying to ask me "did you know that nothing was the same??" (like the drake song) and I'm playing along or whatever and then he throws leaves at my face, which I kind of expected because he had his hands behind his back. I was like "dude, what are you doing" and he was like "ha ha got you" and I was like "what" and then the blond kid with the bowl cut cuts in and says "hey, are you JEWISH?" and at this point I'm thoroughly weirded out so I say "What?" and then the small kid, who is jewish, also says "what?" The blond kid with the bowl cut, who clearly thinks he's super tight or clever or funny or all of the above, says "HEY is it true that all jewish people know eachother????!?!?!?!?!?! ahahahahaha." I'm rolling my eyes 'cause the whole thing is beyond ridiculous, and ask him where he got the idea that I was jewish, to which he replies "well you have a big nose!" Like it's supposed to HURT me. I then did the only acceptable thing that anyone could do in such a situation, which was to put my sunglasses on, turn around, walk away, and say "thank you" like the whole thing was a compliment. Why waste my time on someone whose opinion is beyond meaningless to me and is clearly a bad person?
I forgot to take a picture, but honestly there wasn't anything to take a picture of, so I'll try to make up for it next week.
This week I was able to branch out a bit more in my work projects. I’m still working on the spreadsheet of faculty contacts for PICA. This week I focused on branching out to California schools like UC Berkeley and Mills and appending addresses to the faculties. Pretty much every school has a different way of managing postage. Some campuses are small enough that you can address it to the main address. Other schools require that you add department or office. The project has proved pretty challenging in this way. The list is getting pretty comprehensive at this point with 169 contacts, all including focuses, email addresses, departments, and schools.
This week I also got to help sort out merchandise! PICA ran a kickstarter recently and sold tshirts, tote bags and hoodies as part of it. We realized pretty recently that we had run out of tote bags so it was a good time to check what we had left. Jamie the graphic designer, Noelle the marketing and communications manager and I pulled out all of the shirts, hoodies and tote bags from the supply closet and counted them all. I got a pretty interesting history of PICA merchandise in the process and a little bit of retail experience. Oh and I scored a PICA hoodie out of the deal.
Funny enough, we found two recent tote bags in the process of reorganizing and cataloging. Later that day a man came in with a tote bag coupon. He got the choice of a solid black pica bag and a beige pica bag with larger lettering. After consulting his wife he ran with the black bag. Lots of smiles all around.
After digging through multiple databases (JSTOR, EBSCOHOST, and this one cool site full of New York Times scans) I finished the artist visa project with enough print sources! Thank you to PSU for library access. The foreign artists are going to be incredible for TBA this year.
I’m also working my way into the graphic design part of PICA! I opened up Adobe InDesign CS5 for the first time at work to make some well formatted labels for press archives. The routine was pretty straightforward but I got to use the official PICA fonts and practice their style.
Later in the week Jamie showed me the PICA redesign style guide. The whole thing is contained in a gorgeous 30+ page pdf including detailed descriptions of logo usage and reasoning and process to changes from the old style. Seeing design so well thought out was incredibly inspiring. If you’re interested in new PICA look you should totally check out the website. Definitely a high point in my week.
I missed Friday of this week to fly out to Space X and TieCon but I made it up on Sunday.
Today (Sunday) I got to help put together a Field Guide event. Field guide is an exploration of performance work from an insider view. Instead of simply viewing a performance then leaving, in a Field Guide event participants engage with the artist, the work and each other. In this case, I got to FLOCK, a dance space in the same building as Disjecta and helped set up then participated in CONTEMPORARY CHOREOGRAPHY & CREATIVE PROCESS Tonya Lockyer on Tahni Holt.
I got to FLOCK around 6 and helped Roya lay out chairs, tables and helped sign people in for the event. As a Field Guide group we discussed what dance could be, what lenses we bring to dance and examined the medium as a whole. We then developed our own dances based off a series of images, similar to the work of Tahni Holt, and performed them in different spaces around the building for one another. Afterwards we watched pieces from Tahni’s work in progress, then engaged in a Q/A session. Afterwards we all ate together and talked about the work and made other chat. As someone who doesn’t use dance as a medium the whole experience was an eye opener to process and the culture of dance.
For all who don't know my senior project involves working at EQ, a small swimwear manufacturer based in Portland. The reason why I chose this project was to experience the process in which clothes are made and help me better understand it. Next year I am attending the University of Oregon and pursuing a major in product design so I thought this experience would benefit me later on. Because of EQ's small size I can easily view every step of the process, which goes into creating a finished product unlike large companies such as Nike or Adidas. On my first day, I arrived at the address my mentor Ellen had sent me not truly knowing what to expect. The building, pictured below, was surrounded by barbed wire and coated in a crumbling brown paint. As I approached the door I realized the building was covered by signs for the an animal charity know as PAW, so I figured I must of gone to the wrong address. I got back in my car and drove around in circle for twenty minutes until I came to the conclusion I had already reached the correct destination. When I finally entered the building I was greeted by Ellen who later revealed they shared the building with the animal charity advertised on the front of the building. Following Ellen through two sets of doors I came to my second surprise, a room stacked to the ceiling with lamps of all shapes and sizes. What appeared an old decaying building, actually turned out to be the home of a swim wear manufacturer, animal charity, and lamp warehouse. The entire building is owned by the lamp dealership but because the owner is a swimmer he was more than happy to allow Ellen to use his space. He additionally uses the fabric scraps from the swimsuits for transporting his lamps. After these strange occurrences, the day was quite peaceful. Through the course of the day I spent my time learning numerous techniques involved in the process of manufacturing finished pieces. Overall I have cut fabric, performed heat transfers, tagged, and thread, burned and tied draw cords. My first task while on the job was to burn and tie about fifty draw cords for bikini bottoms purchased by a group of lifeguards out on the east coast. EQ manufactures bikinis, one pieces, and speedos. Ellen’s main idea for the company was to create comfortable swimwear that was protective and well made. Being relatively small the company receives individuals orders from its website but most pieces are sold through swim outlet. The timing of this project was perfect because spring is Ellen’s busiest season as most people buy new suits for summer. Most orders are from individuals, swim teams, or lifeguard groups but EQ also created the suits for the US national under water hockey team, a sport I had never heard of before working for Ellen. Its played much like hockey but underwater inside a pool, players wear snorkels and fins while hitting a puck with small sticks. Overall this first week has been great and I’ve already learned more than I initial expected.
Wow, I don't even know where to start with this week. I guess I will break down how I have been spending my time, before moving into a specific experience I had this week, then I will end off by looking forward at the weeks to come and what my senior project has in store. Unfortunately, this week included a lot of time away from my senior project courtesy of the AP Chemistry and AP BC Calculus tests, however that did not deter me from spending as much time possible by Dr. Gupta's (my mentor) side. While with Dr. Gupta, my days were evenly divided this week between Marquam Hill and the Center for Health and Healing on the waterfront.
Ultimate regret: I never did purchase a pantsuit or a briefcase. (Sorry Hillary!)
I'll see if I can swing a pitcure of the office staff on Monday.
Despite all the rumors, I don't actually just sit around in my office all day taking naps on the thoughtfully provided couch (can you tell I'm still excited about the office?). No no, I type furiously fast and keep open more tabs than Peter Shulman (didn't think it was humanly possibly - but computers are pretty darn impressive - and not human, so I guess that makes sense). I've spent the last week continuing my research, and delving deeper into the realm of property development. Taking the outline of topics that I created last week, I tried to flesh out topics and to further expand my knowledge.
Below I've attached a PDF of my last presentation for Brad.
I am now trying to install a gallery wall in my room. See picture gallery for an example. This specific project isn’t going so well seeing that I am an art snob and will only buy original pieces that cost a fortune (if anybody has any abstract artwork or block prints they’d like to sell me, please let me know! Warning: do not be offended if I’m too snobby for them/if I am impossible to please). I gave up trying to buy an original abstract piece today and decided to painted my own piece instead. Think the documentary "My Kid Could Paint That!" but with a 17/almost 18 year old. Less cute and more starving artist. This is not really a solution to my problem of finding art because I'm already insanely critical of art overall, which makes me even more critical of my own (victory number this is not a victory somebody please help me) (I have been researching gallery walls all week) (I still don’t have one) (help) (how am I going to be able to live in a dorm after this internship) (I am going to stop typing right now and find more artwork that I will probably not buy because it will be too expensive) (See you on the flipside… hopefully)
I had a very busy second week working with GLIDER. Between juggling the two projects I've had to work on that I described in my last blog post, Eli was in and out meeting with investors, on the phone with potential business clients, etc. (he even added over two more hours to his work day.) Meanwhile, Justin and Cameron are as busy as I've ever seen them. So I'm glad to be of any sort of help, and I'm learning a lot observing Eli managing this company.
The first project I worked on was helping Eli research and compile a list of businesses with over 100 employees that have been seeded by venture firms that Eli is connected with. I had to find out the names of their CEO, COO, VP of Sales, VP of BD, and their sales operations managers are (which wasn't easy, the information on linkedin often differed with the information on databases like crunchbase and on the company websites.) I think that next week either Eli or I will be reaching out to some of these people to try to pitch GLIDER to them so they can use it in their actual businesses, as an alternative to having to manage their contracts and sign deals the way they currently do.
The second project I've been working on has been helping Justin with content for his blog, The Future Of Work (http://futureofwork.glider.com/). The blog is meant to be a stand-alone project that discusses how "smart enterprise" tools are disrupting enterprise as usual. The premise is that, today, because of how seamless and successful consumer tools like Facebook and Twitter are, workers expect the same quality of performance from the tools they have to use at work. Often times, the IT departments of their work give workers tools that they'd prefer to substitute for technology they are more familiar with, so when workers bring in their own technology to be more efficient to work (BYOD = bring your own device), the IT departments and CIOs can be the last to know. Services like GLIDER that are making work much easier and far more efficient are disrupting entire industries. I spent the majority of last week working on a blog post that discussed this (it'll get published next week), with links to various articles and a big shout out to one of my all time favorite comedies, Office Space. I also helped on a running series called "The Business Setup" that showcases the different technologies that modern businesses use to be more efficient, like Github or Hipchat. I've learned a lot of interesting things by managing this blog, like the "Flesch-Kinkaid Readability Test," which uses a formula that involves ratios between words in a sentence and syllables in a word throughout the text to indicate how comprehensive and difficult the reading is. For example, on a 1-100 scale, a blog post should score above a 50 (fairly easy to read or skim). The text in blog posts can't be like text from Dickens or in Heart of Darkness, which would probably score close to 0, if not in the negatives.
Next week should be a little less busy. Besides the senior/first grade trip to the zoo, the GLIDER team is going down to San Francisco for another tech conference that would introduce them to more VCs and angel investors called "Under the Radar," so I'll be working from home those days. We also move into the new office in the Pearl next week, which I'm excited about (more food options for lunch), so I suppose I'm helping Eli move furniture on Monday.
A quick anecdote about the week: on the second floor of my building, there's a modeling agency and I always see the two women who scout potential models walking out of the building at the same time as me whenever I'm on my lunch break. So they invite me into their office one day after work to have my picture taken and meet their boss, and when I come in to see the open casting call, I literally see some of the cutest girls ever, who aren't even that much older than me. So I come in, everyone's all smiles, I'm making nice conversation with this blond girl on the couch waiting to have my picture taken, when they tell me that I'm too short. (Really hurt my pride with that one.) It's not like I've ever felt any desire to model, but I feel like it would be funny to have girls see my face going into an Abercrombie. Knowing me, the whole thing would be very ironic. Anyway, this story has made for some funny jokes in the GLIDER office, and hopefully I get into more funny encounters in the new building in the Pearl.
Here's a video featuring GLIDER from the Wall Street Journal: http://live.wsj.com/video/what-does-it-take-to-be-the-next-hot-start-up/B800F8EB-BBAC-4262-A09C-8B9F7316F78F.html#!B800F8EB-BBAC-4262-A09C-8B9F7316F78F
Here's an article about GLIDER from Tech Crunch about GLIDER's launch at Disrupt in NY: http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/29/glider-launches-at-disrupt-ny-with-saas-that-automates-approving-and-signing-contracts-adds-intelligence-to-deal-flow/
In the picture below, Eli is writing something up on the whiteboard and Cameron looks super engaged.
"There seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war, as the Romans did, in pludering their conquered neighbors. This is robbery. The second by commerce, which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favor, as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry"
If you reader, were to ever find yourself in a life or death situation where your very survival depended on the pure wit and intellect of either a Turkey or Chicken, Don't get cute, pick the chicken. This is just one of the countless pearls of wisdom I have gathered in my first four days working at La Finquita Del Buho, a CSA organic farm in Hillsboro.
My mentors, wife and husband Lyn and Juvencio have run La Finquita Del Buho (Little Farm of the Owl) since 2000. The farm follows the CSA or Community Shared Agriculture model, meaning people within their community buy shares of the farm in exchange for regular shares of the harvest. Currently La Finquita Del Buho has over 65 members and they continue to grow. The CSA is an interesting model of farming, one with many benefits. For one, the virtue of having consistent members means the demand will always be predictable, allowing for maximum efficiency. However the noticeable drawback is that the farm has to always meet a certain number for their output to satisfy their customer base. This pressure forces Juvencio and Lyn to work extremely hard and efficiently, an act which I have seen plenty of this week.
I arrived at the farm on Monday Morning around 8:00. Pulling up the winding gravel driveway I was greeted by the seemingly always cheerful face of Juvencio, the farm’s co-owner. The best way to describe my co-mentor is that he’s a man’s man. He’s the type of guy who has an unrelenting energy that never succumbs to weariness. He’ll do about any job, no matter the difficulty, and always with the same steady endurance. When he’s not head down in work, we’ll shoot the breeze and talk about life. He has made for a great mentor these past few days, and I’m fortunate to learn from him. Anyways descriptions aside, Juvencio and I first drove to see his new pigs. We fed them cow milk and grain, both of which were quickly demolished by the animals. We next turned to harvesting Bok Choy and Chinese Broccoli, which was quite a fun task. The rest of the day and by extension the rest of the week (Farming is certainly a repetitive job) saw me watering, seeding, harvesting, transplanting, among other things. A noticeable highlight came when we installed a new pipe system for a bed of recently planted crops. The pipes are fairly easy to install, and they make life much easier, as they eliminate the need to hand water plants, which is as Juvencio puts it, “A full time job”. Working my way back to the cryptic title of this post ( There is a method to the insanity) , on Thursday Lyn and I drove to pick up 17 week old Turkey chicks, that she plans to raise for Thanksgiving. She told me that Turkeys are extremely fragile, and that out of the 17 she expects to raise less than half of them to full maturity. Upon getting them out of the box I understood why. Lyn and I spent upwards of twenty minutes training the Turkeys to drink water. This basically consisted of picking up the chicks and dipping their beaks in water. Without us, I’m sure they would have died right beside the water dispenser.
On Saturday I met Lyn and her partner Polly at the Saturday Market in Beaverton at 5:30 in the morning. Lyn and Polly have sold plants at the market for years now. When I arrived to the market, various merchants were frenetically setting up their booths. With the help of Lyn’s son Diego, we quickly set our booth up with little issue. We (Rightfully) expected a huge turnout because it was the opening day of the market. I manned the cash register for the day, and I saw hundreds of faces. I had no idea that plants could be so popular. Needless to say the booth saw a lot of business.
Before they became their current job, most politicians started off as lawyers or executives. But what about the people who started off as doctors?
I am starting my second week of working at MandateMedia, a small Portland-based company that conducts research on how technology can be better used to assist political campaigns. That sounds counterintuitive- when somebody says political campaigns to me, I think of knocking on doors, speeches, and debates. Since when is technology important?
It turns out that, in the 21st century, technology can be extremely useful. Facebook and Twitter are cost-effective ways of reaching large groups of people. More importantly, they give ordinary people an outlet to voice their opinions and organize, meaning almost anyone can participate in the political process now. MandateMedia spends a lot of resources on learning about how to write the best Tweets or Facebook posts. For instance, I have learned that the best Facebook posts are posted in the late afternoon on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, contain a photo, and start off with an incendiary sentence. There is actually a great deal of social science involved in message delivery, and when political power is on the line, people will want to find ways to optimize their messages.
MandateMedia also sends the mass emails that almost all political campaigns rely on nowadays. If you have ever signed up to receive emails from a campaign in Oregon, then you have likely received one of MandateMedia’s emails. About half of MandateMedia’s clients are from Oregon: big names like Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden, Peter DeFazio, and Sam Adams. The other half is national clients, such as the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
There are five “real” employees at the office. We work in a small space in the basement of a house. Kari is the lead guy, and he brings a lifetime of experience to the company. Kari has spent most of his life in politics. He managed his first major campaign when he was a student the University of Southern California, successfully managing the campaign of his roommate to become student body president. He also happened to have a side interest in technology developed when he worked several summers at Intel as a high school student. The other employees- Carrie, Meaghan, Suvi, and Ben work on managing the advertising and social media uses of campaigns, fundraising, and political strategy. The workplace is pretty laid-back, and the team feels like a family. Everyone has an interest in politics, so there is constant debate about major issues such as red light cameras.
This has been a really cool opportunity for me, because it combines my two primary interests in computer science and political science. My work so far has actually been in computer science. I have been working on a program that reads the statistics for different mailing groups of the mass emails that campaigns send out. These emails are sent to various groups, such as “environmentalists” or “abortion activists.” I am writing this program in a programming language called Python. My job is to record and analyze the statistics of response rates of different groups to different emails. Things have been going pretty well so far, as I have a basic version of the program done already. However, it will clearly take a few weeks to finish this project. Fortunately, on Friday I managed to find a bug in the email server code that was slowing my program down. I wrote to the company that manages that code, and they have responded and rewritten their coding!
Of course, the coolest part of this experience for me has been being around people with so much real-world political experience. Kari told me a neat story on Friday about John Kitzhaber. Kari was at a governor’s debate in 2010 at Oregon State University between Kitzhaber and Bill Bradbury. It was a pretty uneventful debate, there were maybe 30 people there, and nobody was really killing it in the debate. There was a homeless man with a long beard and wearing rags sitting in the back. Suddenly, the homeless man started coughing up blood. One person in the crowd saw him, and shouted “is there a doctor in the house?”
While Bradbury was still delivering one of his statements, Kitzhaber looks up, without even changing his own facial expression, and starts running. He runs up to the man, kneels down, and starts pumping his chest. He directs somebody to call 911 and asks for a wet towel. At that moment, Bradbury knew he was not going to be governor.
I am looking forward to the next few weeks here. It has been fun so far, and I am sure I will have more great stories to tell.
"All the elements of business: market research, strategic PR, profit and loss - I'll have that report to you on monday!"
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Pyramid Communications is a strategic communications firm that works strictly with non-profit organizations and charity foundations. I am shadowing on a new project with United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, but some of their other clients include: KEXP 90.3FM, Northwest Evaluation Association, Northwest Health Foundation, Sierra Club, Seattle Foundation, and many, many more. A lot of the clients are from Seattle since that is where the firm is originally based. Besides Seattle and Portland, they also have an office in San Francisco. Pyramid focuses on five pillars: education, conservation, native, health and wellbeing, and culture. To sum up their work their stated cause is to: “We integrate strategy and creative services with our fluency in arts and culture, conservation, education, health, and issues facing tribes and Native communities. We help organizations nourish communities with sustainable food systems, foster early learning opportunities today for a stronger workforce tomorrow, and invigorate local economies by supporting small business.”
While I'm at Pyramid, I will be working on three different projects. One of my projects (and I think the most interesting) is shadowing the Portland team as they work with United Way of the Columbia-Willamette. This is not the first time they have worked with United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, but this is a new project that is based around fundraising. (I’m not actually sure if I'm allowed to talk about it, so I will leave it vague). The second of my three projects is to interview employees of Pyramid to get them excited to start blogging. Here is the overview of the project that I wrote in the project brief: “The project is to interview a selected group of Pyramid employees, hopefully a person from each branch of the company. The challenge is to build excitement and identify opportunities for staff engagement with the blog. Pyramid wants its employees to contribute to Pyramid’s blog in order to demonstrate the distinctive nature of the firm, and to display their in-house expertise and experience. The goal of this project is twofold: firstly, for Koby to speak with people that are involved in every aspect of a projects completion, and secondly to hit upon themes that employees can blog about later.” The third mini-project I will be working on is looking at other firms in order to get a firmer grasp of how Pyramid is different from the rest.
Pyramid is very different from other PR/advertising firms around. First of all as I mentioned they work specifically with non-profits. As Sarah (one of my co-workers) put it: We make the world a better place through strategic communications.” When I was talking with Tripp (the head of the Portland firm, and the man I contacted to get the internship) he said that there is a very intentional environment at Pyramid. He encourages his employees to ask questions because it helps them think as a team, and when a wider base of knowledge is used, they produce greater results. When you walk into the office, this environment is very evident: there are no cubicles or dividers and there is a seating area for casual meetings. It is very evident that everyone that works there does so because they really believe in a cause to strengthen our community.