The Off Season

Advertising, like sports, has seasons. It depends on your specific client mix, but you’ll likely have trade show season, quarterly retail seasons, end-of-budget season, and all sorts of publication seasons. One thing tends to be true for everyone though; at the end of the year things die down. The advertising budgets are spent, the big retail season is already prepared for. Clients begin to think more about winding the year down than starting new projects.

This is the off-season for advertising and design, and after the last few months we’ve had, it’s a much needed break. We take off the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s every year, and like to make sure that our job list is sufficiently wrapped up heading into the holidays. As we try to finish things up, -here’s a few of the things we’re doing to get ready for the upcoming busy time when new projects and budgets get approved after the first of the year.

  • Paper. We just recently got a cool scanner/fax/printer that creates PDFs on the fly. We’re going to concentrate on eliminating some of the paper we’ve accumulated over the last 12 months. Filing cabinets are soo 2008.
  • Fonts, and serial numbers. We’ve got a couple of machines with font problems, and weird warnings about system fonts that are going to get some needed attention. Serial Numbers? aah yes, it’s finally time to gather up all those upgrades, install discs, and emails and get them organized into a digital file to keep track of.
  • Backup. Also on the list is a RAID array that’s starting to run out of space. We’re generating more files now than ever, and we need room for a new year.
  • Supplies. At the end of the year we try to stock up on supplies. It saves trips, saves time, and make sure we’re prepared when needed. Not to mention, we might as well spend the money now, before the tax year end. Last year we made it through more than 4 months without a single needed printer cartridge, X-acto blade, or mat board.
  • Portfolio. We make a huge effort during the year to keep our portfolio up to date. We make it part of our work process to create thumbnails for our printed, and our online portfolio as jobs are finished. But… We always end up with a backlog at the end of the year. It’s finally time to get to the ones that have slipped through.
  • Blog Articles. We try to update our blog several times a week. One of the ways we’re able to do this is that we stockpile articles when we can. At any time, we usually have several articles tucked up our sleeve to use when we’re too busy to write something new. End of December is always a time we look forward to to rebuild our surplus.
  • Phones. With most of us working remotely on a daily basis, phones are always a hassle. We do a lot of correspondence through email, -but calls are a part of the business. We’re working on a new voip system that lets us transfer calls out of the office, and follow wherever we go, -making us more reachable when needed.
  • Remote File Sharing. Because of our remote working, – sharing files is also a hassle. We’re working on a system for sharing files from the office remotely that’s better than our current practice of moving files to remote FTP servers. It should speed up turn times, and make it even easier to pull backups.

Here’s to an even better, more efficient, and successful ‘09! We’re excited to have worked with all of our clients for the last 12 months, and are looking forward to being even better for you in the next 12.


    Jarrett Green 12/11/2008

    This may be more information than you wanted, but we’ve been backing up/archiving our project RAID with a Startech DUAL sata drive enclosure. Not really an enclosure though, it looks like half of a toaster. Just pop in bare harddrives and enjoy some e-sata speedy goodness. Two 1.5TB 7200rpm drives just came from compusa for $129 each. We double them up and keep a copy of each drive here and at the house. And we use a cheap app called "Media Catalog" to index the drives when they are offline. Again…. more than you wanted, but it’s damn quick and works for us 😉


  2. Entermotion 12/11/2008

    Jarrett, We’ve been toying with the idea of getting a Drobo, – but we might just end up getting more space for the raid. Right now it’s nothing elaborate, – just an old tower on the network…


  3. Jarrett Green 12/11/2008

    Ahh the drobo. We use a ReadyNAS NV as our primary working RAID. Like it a lot, but we run out quickly hence having to archive old projects all of the time.

    Here’s where we got the idea for our system:

    Here and here.

    BTW, thought I’d introduce myself, seeing as how we are literally some Entermotion/Paste fanboys over here. I own Blink Media Group in Delano. We have mutual friends 🙂


  4. Entermotion 12/11/2008

    Jarrett, I knew who you were. Thanks for making the blog more lively, and offering some suggestions. Backup is such an important, and sometimes overwhelming undertaking, – we’ll take any advice people care to give. If we don’t comment back-and-forth before then, – have a wonderful holidays… – Joe


  5. Jarrett Green 12/11/2008

    Lol. No worries. I must say, when you guys posted a developer position, I was half tempted to come up with a fake persona and work on stuff at home ;). We really respect you guys and enjoy your work.

    I’ve been focusing more and more on Rails dev and giving print over to Andrew, so it’s exciting to watch another company in town and their love of RoR. I’ve got a SAAS app I’m working on currently for creatives. Not many rails developers locally, in fact, you’re the only one I know. That’s why we need to be friends. 😉


  6. Entermotion 12/11/2008

    Too small of a town not to make friends… btw. Most of our stuff is written in PHP, although our code is starting to become its own framework of sorts… We work with our apps in a very ROR kind of way, – but it’s not actually ROR. Sorry to disappoint, – but we can still be friends! I’m excited to see your app when it gets to that point. We’re getting to be pretty good beta testers over here, – and we would be happy to help out.


  7. Jarrett Green 12/11/2008

    WHAT?! Friendship off the table. I could have sworn you guys were using RoR. I don’t know what gave me that impression, but I’ve had it for, no kidding, probably 2 years. Well.. Guess I’m the lone wolf… 😉

    I could spend the rest of this comment proselytizing the beauty of RoR, but that would probably not make you want to shoot me an email sometime to do lunch… I promise to keep it to myself.


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