Today marked my first full week of being employed.  First of all, I feel exceedingly lucky to be getting paid to a) do something within spitting distance of the field I want to be in and 2) not cut up animals with a chainsaw.

I had dinner tonight with three friends from my honors business class, two of whom are in temporarily bunking in the PSU dorms like me and the other of whom is temporarily bunking in Vancouver, WA (which apparently has an adult version of Chuck E. Cheese and also lower property taxes).

We count among us…

The marketer turned nerd: Working 30-40 hours at a technical marketing firm with a PR/media relations gig with a food cart (go KOi Fusion PDX) on the side.

The accountant: Doing the same internship I had last year (with a different firm) and we all know how well THAT went for everyone.  Granted he’s approximately 10x smarter and 3x more devoted to accounting than I, so I have vast amounts of hope for this as a viable career path.  He spends 2 hours wrestling with printers and mailing labels and goes on jaunts at Lloyd Center around 3:00 PM when the team runs out of work since apparently even accountants don’t want to account when it’s 90 degrees and the Nord’s half yearly sale is on.

The downfall of number crunchers everywhere

The downfall of number crunchers everywhere

The aspiring accountant: Working at a health insurance company for the second summer in a row, this time in internal audit.  She’s headed back to UO for a Masters of Accounting in the fall, but for now she passes the days hunting down supervisors to edit work papers that are #104 on the top 50 ToDo’s of any boss she set her sights on.

...I need real work.

...I need real work.

The “corporate” retail goddess: She interned at a large retail chain last summer and was hired on to work at corporate.  Unfortunately, no one at the company bears resemblance to the two friends profiled above and had trouble with the basic math of open positions (0) + jobs offered (15) = salaried college graduate “supervising” management in store locations.  She passes the time asking 10-year retail veterans about the basics of inventory tracking that she’ll never use in a true calling position.

Maybe she’ll have a chance in the virtual corporate word.

So here’s the basic lesson: we’re all working jobs that aren’t great, living day to day in temporary situations that may or may not involved game tokens and frequent karoke nights at bar named for gleeful reptiles.  But we’re happy as clams and thrilled to pieces to have any kind of income at all and be in a city as awesome as Portland.  Even if we have to fight the meanest of photocopiers to stay here.

ALSO…I got a bike and I think I’m in love.

Yep, love affair.

Yep, love affair.


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about value.  And not just getting more bang for your food buck at happy hour.

Everything in advertising and marketing needs a purpose.  In an ideal world, every dollar spent of client money would translate into more than a dollar in return.  Call it ROI or just good business, but agencies won’t last long without making a return for clients.  The good agencies find the ways to infuse creativity into every step of the process, despite the fact that thinking strategically can often constipate any semblance of creative flow during your average brainstorming meeting.

Mantras and buzzwords are flying through my brain: no idea is a bad idea in brainstorming…strategic brand alignment…landing above the fold…it’s enough to make an intern throw up her hands, right?

However, crowd sourcing is still one of my favorite topics.  Tasks that used to cost tens of thousands of dollars, such as approving a promotional video, can now be handed off to the discerning filters of the internet for a fraction of the cost.  The value of popular opinion as a tool is so up for debate, it’s practically impossible to pin it down.  Sites like the Eternal Moonwalk have made crowd sourcing into a novelty, and engines like the one at Threadless have turned popular opinion into profit.

Crowdsourcing can also mean finding commonalities in the disjointed, such as this YouTube case study:

So in the spirit of crowd sourcing, have you stumbled upon any innovative and (nay I say it) profitable uses of public sentiment lately?

She’s bound to ask for more.

After two days of bed ridden sickness, I was ready to get back to work and back to the romp and fantasm of Portland. I traisped into work 20 minutes late (thanks a lot, Streetcar, for not running late when I’M running late) to find both my supervisors on early vacay/working from home.  After a quick permission email to leave early for the day, I promptly made like an obidient intern and GTFO’d.

I had my interview with the awesome folks at KOi Fusion, the awesome Korean taco stand I hope to be marketing/PRing for very soon.  I’ve also got another interview tomorrow morning with a marketing agency called 500 lb Marketing Solutions.  Multiple experience points, FTW!

After the interview, the beau met me (serendipitously) at the food carts on 9th and Alder.  There we discovered Spella Caffe, which Yelp was just loving ALL over.  The espresso truly was heaven, and the blended drink we went back for in the afternoon was heaven redux.

It spells delicious.

It spells delicious.

Next we headed to ye olde city of books (Powell’s) for an afternoon of time warp.  I managed to make it out with only one cycling book (I AM in Portland now) and a new sketchbook.  We headed over to Powell’s technical to help me bone up on my HTML skills, but I think we all know who had more fun perusing the tech-savvy shelves.

He's a voracious little reader.

He's a voracious little reader.

Heading back to the streetcar, we (okay, I) was drawn to a little knitting shop I’ve had my eye on for a while.  The ambiance was perfect but the prices were…a bit pricey.  At least for this station in life.

Yes.  Please.

Yes. Please.

Finally, we spent some quality time at First Thursday in the Pearl drinking some free wine and looking at modern art that, in the words of someone famous (and Max), “You could have done, but you didn’t.” (pictures to come on Facebook)

So that’s the story of a day in Portland.  Everyone reading this has either done everything I did today or should try everything I did today.

So I have been a bit under the weather the past two days.  By under the weather, I mean at home, in bed, chugging OJ and swabbing my nose with zinc-covered Q-tips in the futile hope that I’ll be well enough to go back to work tomorrow.

In my sickly internet wanderings, I happened upon, a natural medicine blog that has – among other natural intelligence for your health – a few posts on the prevention and treatment of colds.  One article promotes the use of ginseng to prevent and treat cold symptoms.  The author conducted a study that concluded ginseng users had a lower incidence of colds AND their colds lasted fewer days than the placebo users.

Note to sick self #1: Buy some ginseng.

A bit of shameless self promotion of things I’ve been up to lately.

1. Applying for this a PR/Executive Assistant position with an awesome PDX food cart called KOi Fusion (that’s Korean Oregon infusion).

2. Attending the Online Marketing Summit stop in PDX.  Enjoyed the speakers, the free lunch, and learned more about search engine optimization than my poor little intern brain could handle.  Thanks to eROI for the hookup.

3. Starring in moderate drinking videos as a puppet (I start at 3:45 – not my voice, BTW):

4. Generally loving being in Portland and rooming with the beau.  City livin’ all the way.

I’ve spent three glorious days at eROI, an interactive ad agency here in PDX.  The work and the culture here in Portland are simply fantastic, and I’ve been enjoying some busy intern time ’round the interactive agency.

Sorry it’s jerky, not sure why the internet all of a sudden hates Photo Booth movies.

Like I said, go see Food, Inc. – it’s SO worth seeing.  And check out Slow Food Portland (they’re having a picnic in Sept!).

Keep an eye out for more updates and more AWESOME intern projects like this user guide I’m making for Radian6, a useful social media aggregate tool.

It’s a cardinal sin to call oneself an expert (see prior blog post) without being named as such by someone else.  But I’m willing to bet my mom would call me an expert on sloughing it through college, so here’s my expert advice to anyone trying to make it through the drunked cesspool of higher education.

Call it a Top Ten of not totally screwing up.

10. Spend as much time outside as possible: I’m not saying you need to go all Cali girl and break out the bikini top every time GoogWeather tops 60, but really.  Just get out of the library whenever possible.  Your future children with thank you.

9. Go to office hours: Just talk to your professors.  They’re real people with real biases and will think kindly on your 2 extra absences if you listened to them regale the story of how they courted their hot younger wife.

8. Get something pierced: It’s less expensive and far less permanent than a tatoo and you’ll feel like a grown up darn quick.

7. Pick something to love: Music, model ships, making garb, riding motorcycles, whatever!  Just pick something that you love and find other people who love it.  Your sanity will thank you later.

6. Buy bulk cold medicine: You’re literally always going to need it.

5. Be the best friend possible: Everyone will get busy and friends will come and go as you get involved with different activities.  Take the time to support firends so they’ll support you when it matters (i.e. take you to the airport/emergency room/7-11 at 4:00 AM or let you mooch their Sailor Jerry’s).

4. Don’t believe your email: Spam.  You’ll get it.  Trust no one.

3. Read your student publications: They’re paid for with your money and give you something to aspire to/mock openly depending on the quality of your student body.

2. Make friends outside your major: You’ll just be a better person for it.

1. MAJOR IN SOMETHING YOU LOVE: The job and usefulness will come later.  Promise.

And here’s how Kristin spent her evening yesterday: