Ah, but if only we could go back! (No offense, office.)
Recently, the BuzzFarmers crew – minus Napa, of course, who was off attending GoldooCon (the annual Goldendoodle Convention) in Minneapolis as its keynote speaker – ascended the White Mountains of North Conway, N.H., for our inaugural company retreat.
Cloistered in a well-appointed condominium on the grounds of the sprawling Stonehurst Manor, we forsook the typical garden-variety trust falls and three-legged-egg-toss/ropes-course-relay challenges in favor of deep conversation, card games, cooking, Heads Up, and marathon rounds of living-room karaoke. (Who knew Mary could out-Bublé Bublé, for instance, or that Pat can perform Bruce Springsteen’s “Blinded by the Light” in the voice of a valley girl?)
Meanwhile, we ventured out often for tubing expeditions, invigorating hikes, team meals at the town’s finest restaurants, and trips to the hardware store in search of reasonably priced replacement shower heads.
Hey, what can I say? We know how to cut loose. Things got a little crazy. But those are stories for another day. Don’t worry: Amanda captured every waking moment on a GoPro. We’ll show you the footage when you’re older.
Illustrated by Patrick Yurick
Leave a comment: If you shopped local, did you find what you were looking for? How did it compare to getting trampled at a Walmart Black Friday sale?
Every year, we boycott Black Friday and spend all of our holiday dollars on Small Business Saturday, instead.
Small Business Saturday is a campaign started by American Express that helps small businesses stake a public claim in between the madness of Black Friday and the online deals of Cyber Monday. Last year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, more than 100 million people walked through the doors of small businesses nationwide.
There’s this little thing called work/life balance we’re trying to figure out here at BuzzFarmers. So, in an effort to take some mandatory breaks, we’ve instituted R.I. Weiners + Ice Cream Fridays.
There were absolutely zero catchy names I could think of, so let’s just go with it.
If you’re not a Rhode Islander, you might not understand our love for R.I. weiners, which aren’t just hot dogs with a sexy name and represented by hilarious neon signs that say “hot weiners.”
No – they’re so much more. Wikipedia says it best, although they’re the only ones spelling it with an i before the e around here:
One of the things we like to do, as you might have seen from our Small Business Saturday post, is support local businesses. On the business side of things, our services are so all-inclusive and hand-crafted that it’s not economical for most small businesses to hire us on a monthly basis. They also don’t really need the level of management and research that we provide.
And I know it doesn’t seem fair that we write for Swipely’s Small Business Blog, research the hell out of small business marketing tactics, and don’t offer a service specifically for small businesses. While we are working on that, we also spend a lot of time exchanging an exorbitant amount of emails with small business owners who are just looking for advice. I never understood charging by the hour for things like that, anyway.
As you might know from our past videos, we sometimes like to challenge ourselves with turning a fun event into a sixty second story through video. So far it’s turned out that we’re never prepared when the opportunity presents itself and our minute-long stories are shot on an iPhone, but that’s fun, right? Vintage, eh? We’ve got the Canon 5D at home, but an iPhone is cool, yeah?
Try not to sense the disdain, but instead how much fun we had this past weekend at a chili-chowder cookoff in the backyard of my hometown. I’m not ashamed to say that some of the chowder was better than anything I’ve gotten right here in the Ocean State! Competition is on, guys!
Illustrated by David Flanagan
Amanda & Patrick: Ready for some grape stomping.
“Bringing Napa Home” at the Jonathan Edwards Vineyard/Winery Harvest Festival
If you’ve ever vacationed in Napa, Calif., you’re probably like the rest of us suckers, trying to “bring Napa home” and re-create the experience wherever it is that you live. You start by paying more attention to wine tastings at your local liquor stores, then you find wineries in your state that are a reasonable distance to drive.
If you’re like Patrick and me, you might start hopping on your local “wine trail” and make a weekend out of it. In fact, Patrick and I drove from Rhode Island to Colorado and paved our own wine trail.
Sadly, it’s hard to bring a place like Napa home. A town and area where you can drive down a single road, in valleys and between mountains, to stop at big beautiful wineries every five minutes or so. Some are small and quaint where you might spend three hours making friends with the owners and trying secret barrels in the back. And others are big with incredibly landscaped grounds where you can picnic and take in the fresh air.
Of course, everything is made better with a sip of wine here and there, which you remember based half on your experience and half what it tastes like.
Wine tasting is an emotional hobby. Every glass you drink and bottle you buy reminds you of a day, time, and a place. Speaking of which …
Illustrated by David Flanagan
I’ve been attending, speaking at, and teaching workshops for the Mequoda Summit since 2007-ish. If you’re unfamiliar with Mequoda, it’s probably because you’re not a magazine, newspaper, or newsletter publisher. If you are, then you’re likely one of tens of thousands of publishing professionals who look to them for new research and guidance on what’s working in online publishing.
My marketing roots didn’t begin in publishing, but they certainly flourished once I got there, and I’ve been working intimately with publishers on their social media, SEO, design and email strategies ever since.
So, the Mequoda Summit is a guilty pleasure for me. Guilty because it’s fun, and because even I don’t think you should have that much fun at work. Or should you? And even after attending for several years, I’m still excitedly surprised at the quality of people who attend.
Video, Tips, Tricks, and Takeaways from this New Media & Social Media Conference in Boston
This weekend, Patrick and I left the BuzzFarm for the big city and stayed in Cambridge, Mass., for Podcamp Boston 5. We have a combined total of having attended 7 PodCamps in both Boston and New York and wholeheartedly agreed that this event was the best one yet.
It wasn’t as big as recent PodCamps due to the lack of room in the facility (Microsoft NERD Center), but the intimacy of the crowd and quality of the people who attended was just remarkable.
We’ve got a whole big breakdown for you below, but let’s start with a kick-butt video intro, cause you know we love video!