Here & Making It

October 26, 2023

From 2017 to 2023, I had the privilege of playing a part in building a company called Rinard Media. Over the course of those years, I had the opportunity to meet incredible people, make priceless connections, and learn a ton of valuable life lessons that I will always hold close. The lessons below are an assortment of things I learned while working with that awesome team.

Lesson #001

If you’re starting a new company, one of the first things you should consider doing is installing a fresh couch in your office. A good couch can be the catalyst to make your brain bubble up with endless creativity. It can lure you into a zen state of productive flow. It can make your potential sugar-clients feel comfortable and at home. It places you side-by-side with your pal while you drive pedal to the metal towards endless possibilities. A good couch is worth every penny.

Zach and Eli test drive a fresh couch in the new big kid office.

Lesson #002

Don’t hoard your knowledge. Learning something new is a perfect opportunity to build up the people around you. Learn to teach someone to learn to teach someone to learn to teach someone… You get the point. It’s a contagious symbiotic cycle. Knowledge by itself is cheap, but connection is priceless.

Lesson #003

When you’re first starting something new, there’s a good chance you’ll make a mistake or two. Sure, it’s a bummer when it happens, but if you write with a dry-erase marker, you can easily start again. Experimentation and iteration are key to making worthwhile progress. It’s not a mistake to erase your lines or scribble something out, it’s just getting you closer to the next iteration.

Lesson #004

When you find something that you deeply believe in, make it permanent. Slap that sucker on a wall, make it a sticker, or a shirt, or a sign, or a tattoo. There is going to be a lot of shit that swirls around you, hits you in the teeth, and tries to change your mind. Over time you will iterate, you will grow, you will slip up, you will change, buts as long as you have decided what really deeply matters to you, there is always a way back up. A guiding light forward. It’s a way to keep skin in the game and stay committed to why you started all of this in the first place.

Lesson #005

When you embark on a huge project like building a company, remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Take a moment to sit back and reflect on the progress you have made, even if you are a long way from where you want to go.

Lesson #006

Never underestimate the power of changing your surroundings. If you are feeling stuck or unmotivated, mixing up where you physically are can help motivate where you mentally are.

Lesson #007

Everyone is on their very own crazy path, and it’s a miracle when your paths intersect. Deeply appreciate the time you get to spend with those people at those intersections.

Lesson #008

Don’t take yourself too seriously. When you are doing work that matters to you, it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of serious problems that mean serious business. You should take what you do seriously but don’t forget to zoom out, look at the people next to you, and make a stupid face. Laughing is therapeutic and it puts everything into perspective. Life is serious, but life is also really weird and silly.

Team photo goes as expected.

Lesson #009

Some of the most magical moments come when you combine a diverse set of ideas. Leveraging your team’s unique skillsets is how you will create something truly original. It takes extreme humility and candor but the results are worth it.

Lesson #010

Take time to celebrate your team, even if it feels inconvenient. The confetti and cake may not help you complete your projects, but it makes your team know they are valued. People that feel valued are going to do valuable things.

Lesson #011

Don’t forget about the little things. Remember to send your teammates little compliments, inside jokes, cool websites, and/or really awful websites. These little things build up over time and begin to form a special language shared by you and your team.

Lesson #012

When someone compliments you on a job well done, believe it. You are worth celebrating.

Lesson #013

If you want to build something big, bring your team into the nitty gritty parts of the process. Trust your team to wrestle and run with big hairy problems. It won’t always be easy or fun, but it’s incredibly rewarding to build something with a community of people who are all in.

Lesson #014

Constantly develop as a team. Learning something by yourself is good, but learning something as a team is even better. It allows you to challenge each other, to learn new perspectives, and to become galvanized around new ideas.

Lesson #015

It’s essential work to stew on a problem, but don’t forget to take a step. Giving adequate time to think through a problem is a vital part of the process but if the perfect solution continues to evade you, simply take a step forward see where it goes.

Lesson #016

Reserve a table and share a meal with your team. Food is something everyone has in common. It’s a quick way to connect and find common ground. You will most likely discover new and interesting things about them in the process.

Lesson #017

Embrace the season you are in. Whether you are in flow with things and having a lot of fun, or everything sucks, embrace it. Being present with what’s currently in front of you will always be more rewarding than being stuck imagining a different reality.

October 2020 | Kendall sells his soul to the pumpkin spice devil.

Lesson #018

Be proud of the work you do. If you have a big vision for yourself, it can be easy to be unsatisfied with your current work, especially if it doesn’t meet your expectations. Those feelings are normal, but do your best to enjoy the process of progress.

Lesson #019

Ask team members for input. It can be easy to get in a hurry and think that your idea is the best idea, but the truth is sometimes it isn’t. Having the humility to ask your team for feedback will almost always result in a stronger outcome.

Lesson #020

Communicate your ideas with passion. If you want to create buy-in and galvanize your team around an idea, remember that you need to sell it. People will almost always have a more significant response to how something is said than what is said.

Lesson #021

Get all of the ideas out. In the early stages of a project, let the ideas fly regardless of how good or bad you think they are. There’s a good chance that the idea you thought was aweful will spark the best idea.

Lesson #022

Discernment is a skill that can be learned and strengthened. Every day will be filled with piles of choices that must be made. Sometimes you will have an immediate visceral gut instinct about which choice is right, and sometimes it will be much more subtle and hidden. When faced with these not-so-obvious decisions, spend time discussing it with your team. Every hard decision that has to be made will strengthen your ability to spot the right decision in the future.

Lesson #023

Caring about the details is the thing that will determine whether your work will simply be good or whether it will cross the line into being great. There is never a shortcut to becoming an expert in your craft. It takes diligence, patience, and an unwillingness to settle for good enough.

Lesson #024

When you’ve agreed to help someone, bring your best regardless of the project. Every project may be different in size and have different expectations, but one thing that you should count on staying consistent is your approach to the work itself. Having a deep desire to create excellent work but choosing to cut corners for whatever reason will only create cognitive dissonance that doesn’t serve anyone. Stay consistent in your commitment to quality.

Lesson #025

Practice being curious about the person in front of you. Learn how to ask good questions and dig into their bank of knowledge and experiences. Trust and connection will begin to form when the other person feels like you genuinely understand them.

Lesson #026

Settle into the chaos. If you wait for your surroundings to be neat and tidy before you get started on your next thing, there is a good chance you will be waiting a long time. Work on finding peace with the things you can’t control and focus-in on the things you can.

Lesson #027

Don’t be alarmed if you find yourself tired and overwhelmed. Learn to give yourself grace in those moments. It’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to simplify.

Lesson #028

Make a big deal about little delights. It can be easy to feel like life has long dull gaps between crumbs of excitement, but the truth is that every day has moments to be joyful about. It just takes practice to see them, and a little effort to make them matter.

Lesson #029

Even if the customer’s budget is a pencil and some popcorn kernels, find a way to wow them. Maybe you can wow them with how beautiful the final product is, but it could also be through your awesome communication, your go-getter attitude, or your eagerness to hear them out. Making it pop can mean a lot of things.

Lesson #030

Reserve a longer table.

Lesson #031

A business is a multi-faceted engine, and It takes personalities and skills of all kinds to run it well. Maybe you feel like your position is behind the scenes but I promise you it’s not. Every single person has a crucial role when it comes to building something that has impact.

Lesson #032

Every situation is an opportunity to build up the people around you. Regardless of where you find yourself personally, you can choose to have a positive effect on someone else.

Lesson #033

Finding what makes your eyes shine is a worthwhile journey that you should relentlessly pursue. Life is too short to not chase the thing you can pour your entire effort into. Dive into it regardless of the challenges it brings. Bet on yourself.

Lesson #034

Fear is a nasty creepy-crawly worm that will wrap itself around your brain if you let it. It will try to keep you from so many cool things. You don’t have to fight your fear, you just have to surrender to it. When you let yourself come face-to-face with it, you will realize it’s just a silly little creepy-crawly worm.

Lesson #035

There will be times when the whole team needs to band together to tackle a big problem. Remember that your team is greater than the sum of its parts. You can have confidence that together, really amazing things can be accomplished. Don’t sell yourselves short.

February 2021 | The gang stares at sticky notes.

Lesson #036

Work is not always glamorous. It’s sometimes ugly. It sometimes stinks. You won’t always like it even if you love it. You just need to keep your eye on the end goal. The hard work and tenacity will pay off.

Lesson #037

When you are all in on pursuing your best self, there’s a really good chance it will take you to places you never imagined you would go. Be prepared for your surroundings to change dramatically.

Lesson #038

True leadership is more than an appointed title, it’s a commitment to constantly learning, growing, and being humbled. Take it seriously and remember that leadership is not a destination but a commitment to serving your team.

May 2021 | Entre-Leadership takes us to Cowboy Stadium.

Lesson #039

Your body and your brain are an inseparable team. Take care of them both.

Lesson #040

Be willing to look foolish. Sometimes the people around you will not fully understand your vision. They will poke and prod if it doesn’t make sense to them. If deep down you know it’s the right thing to be doing just trust your gut and do it. It doesn’t need to make sense to anyone else.

Lesson #041

Don’t cry over spilled miso. Mistakes are going to happen no matter what. Don’t let mistakes make you too cautious or discourage your ability to move with confidence. Learn to move on from mistakes with an opportunistic energy.

Lesson #042

Humility and confidence are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it’s a superpower when they are combined.

Lesson #043

Strive to be knowledgeable. Learning about a new subject or new skill is never a wasted venture. Even if it’s something you put in your back pocket, there is a chance that knowledge will come in handy soon.

Lesson #044

There is no substitute for genuinely caring about the people around you. People are complicated, but what we need from each other is pretty simple. People need someone to give them the time of day and to acknowledge the person behind the complexities.

Lesson #045

You’ve been hard at work. You’ve put in some sweat and tears. Remember to treat yourself to something delicious.

Lesson #046

That goliath project you’re working on is going to take patience. However much patience you think it’s going to take, double it or triple it. Take one day at a time and celebrate the small wins along the way.

February 2022 | The gang tours the “almost done” new home.

Lesson #047

Life is less like a bunch of perfectly organized boxes and more like an amorphous pile of experiences that all mix together. There is no such thing as a perfect work-life balance, it’s just life balance. Be willing to live life with each other through the ups and downs.

Lesson #048

Being transparent with those around you is scary. In the moment, it can feel like you are opening yourself up to danger and rejection. That feeling is temporary though. A willingness to be transparent is a fast track to building trust with people. If you are willing to drop your shield others will too.

Lesson #049

When you have your nose down in the day-to-day busyness it can be easy to not realize how fast you are moving. Schedule time to reflect on the new stuff you’ve learned this week, month, or year.

Lesson #050

Making an impact doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the result of showing up every day and bringing consistency and energy to the places it is missing.

Lesson #051

Things will change. Boxes will be packed, walls will be painted, and people will leave. Change is inevitable. The cool thing about change is we get to decide how we are going to receive that change. You can let it stomp you or you can let it launch you into something incredible.

Lesson #052

When it’s go-time, don’t hesitate. If you are at the top of a roller-coaster don’t sit and wonder if you made the right decision. Commit. LET’S GOO!

February 28, 2022 | Scott bids the big kid office farewell.

Lesson #053

Keep things in perspective. You’ve gotten pretty good at some stuff. That’s amazing and you should celebrate what you’ve learned. When you are done reflecting, It’s time to bring back that scrappy figure-it-out attitude. You still have a lot to learn.

Lesson #054

If you trust your team, you should be willing to have tough conversations. Learn to say the thing that is difficult to say and learn to receive difficult information. You’re not going to build momentum without some friction.

Lesson #055

“Well, you’re in your little room and you’re working on something good
But if it’s really good, you’re gonna need a bigger room
And when you’re in the bigger room, you might not know what to do
You might have to think of how you got started sitting in your little room”

The White Stripes

Lesson #056

You’re own tasks are important but remember we’re a team building this thing together. The whole ship needs to float. Check in with those around you and make sure you don’t have a teammate drowning.

Lesson #057

Settle into the season. There will be times when you have to hunker down and to get through a stormy phase. Like everything in life it’s temporary. Make the best of the current conditions.

Lesson #058

Settling into a process is great until it gets stale. If that happens, get crazy and experiment with new ways of doing things. Make up new recipes for your daily process. Flip it upside down and shake it around. The only rules that are set in stone are the ones you decide are set in stone.

Lesson #059

Have each others back. We are each going to face different challenges at different times. Sometimes we will need support from our team and sometimes we will need to be the one supporting our team.

Lesson #060

Healthy competition can be a good thing within a team. Not to crush each other but to energize each other. Hunger to be great shouldn’t be discouraged but challenged.

Lesson #061

Shining Eyes isn’t just about finding a moment of enjoyment but finding the kind of work that gets you hyped. The thing that can keep you thinking about it until late hours in the evening. When you find it, lean into it.

Lesson #062

Notice those who look up to you. Even if you don’t see yourself as influential, there is a good chance you are influencing someone around you. Treat everything you do as though you are teaching it.

Lesson #063

Get into good rhythms of stepping outside your business to work on the business itself. Regular maintenance is crucial.

Lesson #064

Remember that you will start acting and looking like the people that you spend the most time with. Be intentional about surrounding yourself with the kinds of people you want to be like.

Lesson #065

Stick-to-itiveness is an S-tier trait. Did you get a no? Stick to it. Did you hit a road bump? Stick to it. Did the rules change? Stick to it.

Lesson #066

Be open to learning something new depending on what is needed. When you are on a team, your first priority should be helping your team regardless of your job title.

Lesson #067

Countless things are going to fight for your attention, knocking you off track of the grand vision. Revisit your vision over and over and over again. It’s better to get sick of hearing it than to forget what it is.

Lesson #068

There are cup-half-full kinds of people, then there are cup-overflowing kinds of people. Challenge yourself to be the overflowing kind of person.

Lesson #069

Always keep your eyes open for the next big thing.

Lesson #070

Optimism isn’t about putting on rose-colored glasses and ignoring the harsh realities of life. It’s about choosing your response to those realities with care. It’s about choosing to make the best of the situation regardless of the challenges. Stay groovy Mr. Catapillar.

Lesson #071

When you’ve found something that works, run with it. Sometimes you will have to go back to the drawing board and come up with something new but until that time just keep going.

Lesson #072

Core values are not a long list of aspirational words written on a wall. Core values are the things you actually practice day in and day out. They are the things you actually believe deeply. If you don’t live by them, they are just words.

Lesson #073

Reserve an even longer table.

Lesson #074

Cheer your team on. They will return the favor when you need it.

Lesson #075

Framing and perspective matters. Practice seeing problems from various angles. Can’t find the right solution? Start by looking at it differently. Have a disagreement? Try a different approach.

Lesson #076

Be unapologetically yourself. Your unique personality is part of what makes us great.

Lesson #077

Make it fun. Maybe it’s a work session with a good playlist, maybe it’s starting an art wall, or moving your desk to a new spot. There’s no reason to be bored.

Lesson #078

The amount of things you can learn, make, and do with this team are endless. You get to help decide what those things are going to be. Now is the perfect time to start.

Lesson #079

A thriving company has two distinct but equal parts. There is the business side of your company, and there is the culture side of your company. The business side of your company takes hunger and diligence. Hunger to build something regardless of the challenges, to learn new skills every day, and to have the diligence to keep doing them over and over again. The culture side of your company takes patience, curiosity, and humility. Patience to teach people new skills, curiosity to hear about people’s weird interests or the names of their 9 cats, and humility to let those same people make really impactful choices. Fostering both sides takes time, and it takes courage. There will be days where the two sides feel directly in conflict with each other, and it may never feel like they are perfectly balanced. However, it’s in the pursuit of trying to find that balance where the truly awesome stuff will happen.

It all starts by taking a leap into the unknown and following that little voice that is telling you that you are capable of amazing things. You’ve planted a seed. It grows some roots. You give someone a chance to join in the vision. From there it spreads. One coffee turns into fifty coffees. It begins to branch out. Suddenly you realize the thing you planted has turned into a forest. It needs constant weeding and pruning but it’s beautiful, and far from done growing. You surround yourself with good people who are excited to help care for the forest. New forests start popping up. Over time you will look up and realize you’ve lost count of how many people have been changed, blessed, and empowered by what you started.

You are capable of incredible things. Keep going!

Lesson #080

One of my favorite lessons I have learned is to celebrate the wins. To look back on where we have been with gratitude and acknowledge all the cool stuff that we got to be a part of.

With that, my win is that I have had the privilege to work in a place where I could learn and grow every day. A place where we got to help small businesses and scrappy go-getters improve their city. A place where we got to make cool shit with cool people. A place where I was by faaaar the best foosball player and by far the worst at video games. A place that I would probably give a 5 star Google review. A place where the people truly became my friends. A place full of people that I know are going to keep doing incredible stuff regardless of where life takes them.

Shout out to you guys! Thanks for making it awesome.

Wins at 4:00