Skip to main content

Articles By:

Joe Rinaldi

  1. Maximizing Mentorship

    Posted on 7/7/16

    At an Owner Camp a few years back Wil Reynolds, founder of SEER Interactive, mentioned he collected a personal board of directors who provide advice and mentorship across a spectrum of areas of his life, personal, professional, etc. Inspired by that idea I’ve made it a priority to cultivate a similar professional mentorship network.

  2. Thoughtful Communication

    Posted on 4/21/16

    Comedian/actor Eddie Izzard makes an interesting point in his 2011 stand up Dress To Kill about communication. Through a (famously misunderstood) historic example of JFK’s 1963 address in Berlin, he illustrates how what you say, is often overshadowed by how you say it. The literal translation of what JFK said could have been interpreted in one of two ways. It could have been interpreted to mean he called himself a jelly doughnut. Because of the powerful way he delivered his message however, and the connection he had crafted with the Berlin crowd, they properly understood his meaning and responded enthusiastically when he declared himself a Berliner at heart.

  3. A Tale of Two Launches

    Posted on 3/3/16

    We’ve launched two projects with NYIT and Philly.com in two weeks and it’s got me feeling reflective. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of a launch, especially when I’m so very pleased with the results, but a faithful launch isn’t always certain.

  4. Cautious collaboration

    Posted on 2/11/16

    I’m back in the office today with my head aswim with ideas after attending Owner Summit in Atlanta this past week. One of the topics on everyone’s mind was collaboration.

  5. The news from 2015

    Posted on 12/22/15

    It’s been a busy year for Happy Cog, but it’s never too busy to recognize the people you’ve been fortunate enough to work with, the work you’ve done together with great clients, and acknowledge a happy and healthy 2015.

  6. Where we’re going, we don’t need roads…

    Posted on 10/30/15

    Our work with SuperFriendly and Philly.com is well underway. We’ve shared some insights, and launched our work on a beta site starting with our templates for article pages. We’re receiving valuable feedback and some really positive initial reviews and reactions. I’m so proud of this work and its response, but I keep telling people “Just wait, there’s so much more on the way!”

  7. Show Your Work

    Posted on 7/30/15

    There is no Angie’s List for creative service companies. No IMDb for project credits. No peer review requirements for blog posts. Our industry is out here on its own, and left to act on our collective best behavior.

  8. Don’t Make Me Turn This Project Around...

    Posted on 7/10/15

    As I sit in my living room, laptop open and a Cognition column awaiting my two cent contribution, I listen to the sound of my three children shrieking upstairs. It’s bath time and they’ve been freed from the prisons of their clothing. They may or may not be careening into one another in a darkened second-floor hallway, laughing like maniacs. Parenting, like client services, is the management of the wackiest of variables, people.

  9. Little Wins: Monthly Invoicing

    Posted on 2/19/15

    When I joined Happy Cog there were whispers about the elusive holy grail called monthly billing. It was hardly a new concept, but it was new to us. In theory, monthly billing would keep a regimented stream of cash coming in the front doors, and steady cash flow is almost more important to running a business than overall revenue. But we’d never made the move. We structured contracts so that our deliverable-based invoicing occurred at reasonable intervals, but if deadlines shifted, our payments did too.

  10. Conf Hack

    Posted on 1/15/15

    I don’t attend a ton of large conferences each year. I attend local events, but when I dedicate a few consecutive days to a larger event, I want to make it count. You may do the same—feeling like you only get one shot to attend a conference and learn all you can. Here are some tips I’ve learned for how to make the most out of these unique opportunities.

  11. Taking the Local

    Posted on 6/12/14

    A prospective client recently raised the (periodic) concern that our team wasn’t in close proximity to their headquarters. My reply was thorough: “We have two locations ourselves; successfully working remotely is in our DNA.” “We have a track record of working with clients all over North America and abroad, and a laundry list of client testimonials and references.” “Even when we work with a client in Philadelphia or Austin (where we’re based), those projects behave the same way as when we work with a client in South Dakota. Our process is location-agnostic.” Etc. etc. etc.

    The client seemed to appreciate my response, but in the end, they chose a local firm instead. I missed my opportunity to win that particular project, but the next time our proximity to clients comes into question, I’ll have a different response. My answer should have been simple, concise.

  12. Recruit the Recruiters

    Posted on 2/6/14

    Business development in a client service organization is a complex responsibility. Each approach is different from the next, but good salespeople share core competencies. I’ve talked to dozens of agency owners at Owner Camp, where the importance and role of business development is a popular conversation topic. Salespeople can be found in all walks of life. But, more than a few great ones I know were formerly recruiters, and here’s why.

  13. War on Spec

    Posted on 12/5/13

    Some agencies adhere to the mantra “you get the clients you deserve.” If that’s the case, clients also get the results they deserve—especially when they hire based on spec. This past year, I watched two projects implode after they landed with other agencies who provided spec work in the sales process. I’m not typically a sore loser, but if you hire a partner based off of spec work, you’re digging your own grave.

  14. Thomas Bayes, Save Me From Statistics!

    Posted on 7/25/13

    The only class I’ve ever failed was Statistics. I mean I flat-out failed that class.

    Since then, I’ve been statistically impaired. I’ve never argued with the value of crunching collected data, but I’ve always struggled to see the value in statistically-predictive analysis. In my role in sales, however, I’m very interested in understanding the behavior and the alchemy behind our sales process. Many of our leads come in through our online planner, but discerning how they arrived at the gates of our form has always been a mystery.

  15. Win Some, Lose Some

    Posted on 2/14/13

    We work in a wonderfully open community where ideas and best practices are shared and implemented liberally. Well, except when it comes to sales.

  16. Shut It Down!

    Posted on 9/6/12

    While cruising the boardwalk with my family this weekend, I was struck by what the boardwalk has in common with web design and development: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

  17. Vendor Selection Advice From The Front Lines...

    Posted on 5/31/12

    Recently, I offered my suggestions regarding the RFP construction and management process, but I left my dear readers with a cliffhanger… Now that your RFP is complete and you’re evaluating responses and pitches, how do you select the right proposal?

  18. RFP Advice From The Front Lines

    Posted on 5/17/12

    Stop what you’re doing! John Conner sent me from the future to prevent you from authoring this RFP. I’ve seen the aftermath. Internal teams at odds over the redesigned site, users confused by an experience that somehow got more complicated, unreconciled technologies, hopes dashed, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.

  19. Buying Wins

    Posted on 12/8/11

    Investing in business development is like investing in anything else; you have a finite amount of resources to invest in a wide variety of options. In retail, the success of an enterprise often hinges entirely upon managing inventory. The difference between a successful and an unsuccessful venture often rests in the balance of ordering enough merchandise to meet demand, while subsequently avoiding over-ordering, and wasting money on overstock. In professional sports, a team’s success often rests in combining value among contracts, as much as in combining the right line up of athletes. In my role, the resource I invest is time. Money too, but man, it’s the time I miss.

  20. Fix Recruiting

    Posted on 9/1/11

    A recruiter emailed me recently. I was selected for a role because I had experience with the software “Adobe”… Recruiters. Such a disaster. AMIRITE?!?!?

    Hold on there, let’s pump the brakes on the generalizations a bit. Recruiters, like designers or developers or content strategists, hail from a variety of backgrounds, have a wide range of capabilities, and deliver varying degrees of value and results. For many people, a relationship with a recruiter is the catalyst for opportunities that reshape a career.

  21. 2011 SXSW Panel Picker

    Posted on 8/25/11

    The South By Southwest Panel Picker has launched for SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX from March 9-13, 2012! Happy Cog and our panelist partners are thrilled to offer nine panels for your consideration. From design to project management and client services to user experience, there are wonderful conversations across a broad range of topics waiting to be had.

    User voting has a tremendous impact on the panel selection process. Our panel proposals are outlined here for your consideration. If you see something you’d love to explore more with us and our panelist partners in March, please follow the links provided and let the Panel Picker know what you want! Voting ends 11:59 CDT on Friday, September 2.

  22. What's the ROI on Cool?

    Posted on 7/14/11

    Industry creative folks I’m friends with personally and respect professionally have uttered the following to me on multiple occasions:

    “I want to make cool shit.”

    I’ll be honest, I just don’t get it. To be fair, it’s safe to say I don’t get “cool” in general. I routinely dress like I’m headed to a corporate team-building ropes course, and I’m still waiting for Firefly to be picked up for season 2. So maybe it’s no surprise that the quest for cool escapes me. I don’t get the allure of making something cool for the sake of it being cool. Further, I don’t understand how you sell that to clients, or more importantly, why they would pay for it.

  23. Building Community

    Posted on 4/7/11

    I have the very great fortune to review and discuss some amazing client projects in my role with Happy Cog. In my short time here, I’ve seen some truly ambitious community-based initiatives proposed. Across the board, they each seem to identify an interesting need in the market; but the projects that stand out are those that have thought through cultivating the community they hope to build. A community without members is sad.

  1. Headshot of Rawle Anders Rawle Anders Browse all of Rawle’s articles »
  2. Headshot of Amanda Buck Amanda Buck Browse all of Amanda’s articles »
  3. Headshot of Ben Carr Ben Carr Browse all of Ben’s articles »
  4. Headshot of Sarah Carr Sarah Carr Browse all of Sarah’s articles »
  5. Headshot of Chris Cashdollar Chris Cashdollar Browse all of Chris’s articles »
  6. Headshot of Stephen Caver Stephen Caver Browse all of Stephen’s articles »
  7. Headshot of Anthony Colangelo Anthony Colangelo Browse all of Anthony’s articles »
  8. Headshot of Kyle Cotter Kyle Cotter Browse all of Kyle’s articles »
  9. Headshot of Courtney & Chelsea Courtney & Chelsea Courtney & Chelsea Courtney & Chelsea Browse all of Courtney & Chelsea’s articles »
  10. Headshot of Taylor Daughtry Taylor Daughtry Browse all of Taylor’s articles »
  11. Headshot of Dan Delauro Dan Delauro Browse all of Dan’s articles »
  12. Headshot of Dave DeRuchie Dave DeRuchie Browse all of Dave’s articles »
  13. Headshot of Jason Dziak Jason Dziak Browse all of Jason’s articles »
  14. Headshot of Cat Farman Cat Farman Browse all of Cat’s articles »
  15. Headshot of Abby Fretz Abby Fretz Browse all of Abby’s articles »
  16. Headshot of Helenita Frounfelkner Helenita Frounfelkner Browse all of Helenita’s articles »
  17. Headshot of Jeremy Gimbel Jeremy Gimbel Browse all of Jeremy’s articles »
  18. Headshot of Lee Goldberg Lee Goldberg Browse all of Lee’s articles »
  19. Headshot of Brett Harned Brett Harned Browse all of Brett’s articles »
  20. Headshot of Lauren Harris Lauren Harris Browse all of Lauren’s articles »
  21. Headshot of Alison Harshbarger Alison Harshbarger Browse all of Alison’s articles »
  22. Headshot of Brenna Heaps Brenna Heaps Browse all of Brenna’s articles »
  23. Headshot of Stuart Henry Stuart Henry Browse all of Stuart’s articles »
  24. Headshot of Sam Hernandez Sam Hernandez Browse all of Sam’s articles »
  25. Headshot of Katie High Katie High Browse all of Katie’s articles »
  26. Headshot of Kevin Hoffman Kevin Hoffman Browse all of Kevin’s articles »
  27. Headshot of Greg Hoy Greg Hoy Browse all of Greg’s articles »
  28. Headshot of Mark Huot Mark Huot Browse all of Mark’s articles »
  29. Headshot of Ryan Irelan Ryan Irelan Browse all of Ryan’s articles »
  30. Headshot of Jessica Ivins Jessica Ivins Browse all of Jessica’s articles »
  31. Headshot of Michael Johnson Michael Johnson Browse all of Michael’s articles »
  32. Headshot of Robert Jolly Robert Jolly Browse all of Robert’s articles »
  33. Headshot of Andrew Kaslick Andrew Kaslick Browse all of Andrew’s articles »
  34. Headshot of Alex Kendrick Alex Kendrick Browse all of Alex’s articles »
  35. Headshot of Keyboard Man Keyboard Man Keyboard Man Keyboard Man Browse all of Keyboard Man’s articles »
  36. Headshot of Saima Khan Saima Khan Browse all of Saima’s articles »
  37. Headshot of Katie Kovalcin Katie Kovalcin Browse all of Katie’s articles »
  38. Headshot of Kate Lechleiter Kate Lechleiter Browse all of Kate’s articles »
  39. Headshot of Alyse Lorber Alyse Lorber Browse all of Alyse’s articles »
  40. Headshot of Jenn Lukas Jenn Lukas Browse all of Jenn’s articles »
  41. Headshot of Sue Malomo Sue Malomo Browse all of Sue’s articles »
  42. Headshot of Patrick Marsceill Patrick Marsceill Browse all of Patrick’s articles »
  43. Headshot of Maria Martinez Maria Martinez Browse all of Maria’s articles »
  44. Headshot of Rob McFadden Rob McFadden Browse all of Rob’s articles »
  45. Headshot of Mica McPheeters Mica McPheeters Browse all of Mica’s articles »
  46. Headshot of Tom McQuaid Tom McQuaid Browse all of Tom’s articles »
  47. Headshot of Rene Merino Rene Merino Browse all of Rene’s articles »
  48. Headshot of Leigh Nash Leigh Nash Browse all of Leigh’s articles »
  49. Headshot of Amelia Pardieu Amelia Pardieu Browse all of Amelia’s articles »
  50. Headshot of Sabrina Patrizio Sabrina Patrizio Browse all of Sabrina’s articles »
  51. Headshot of Dana Pavlichko Dana Pavlichko Browse all of Dana’s articles »
  52. Headshot of Yesenia Perez-Cruz Yesenia Perez-Cruz Browse all of Yesenia’s articles »
  53. Headshot of Paul Phan Paul Phan Browse all of Paul’s articles »
  54. Headshot of Emaan Riaz Emaan Riaz Browse all of Emaan’s articles »
  55. Headshot of Joe Rinaldi Joe Rinaldi Browse all of Joe’s articles »
  56. Headshot of Brandon Rosage Brandon Rosage Browse all of Brandon’s articles »
  57. Headshot of Dre Ryan Dre Ryan Browse all of Dre’s articles »
  58. Headshot of Courtney Sabo Courtney Sabo Browse all of Courtney’s articles »
  59. Headshot of Rob Sanchez Rob Sanchez Browse all of Rob’s articles »
  60. Headshot of Aura Seltzer Aura Seltzer Browse all of Aura’s articles »
  61. Headshot of Kevin Sharon Kevin Sharon Browse all of Kevin’s articles »
  62. Headshot of Sophie Shepherd Sophie Shepherd Browse all of Sophie’s articles »
  63. Headshot of Ben Smith Ben Smith Browse all of Ben’s articles »
  64. Headshot of Zach Smith Zach Smith Browse all of Zach’s articles »
  65. Headshot of Greg Storey Greg Storey Browse all of Greg’s articles »
  66. Headshot of Jason Studstill Jason Studstill Browse all of Jason’s articles »
  67. Headshot of Oka Tai-Lee Oka Tai-Lee Browse all of Oka’s articles »
  68. Headshot of Russ Unger Russ Unger Browse all of Russ’s articles »
  69. Headshot of Eli Van Zoeren Eli Van Zoeren Browse all of Eli’s articles »
  70. Headshot of Allison Wagner Allison Wagner Browse all of Allison’s articles »
  71. Headshot of Drew Warkentin Drew Warkentin Browse all of Drew’s articles »
  72. Headshot of Brian Warren Brian Warren Browse all of Brian’s articles »
  73. Headshot of Faith Zaki Faith Zaki Browse all of Faith’s articles »
  74. Headshot of Jeffrey Zeldman Jeffrey Zeldman Browse all of Jeffrey’s articles »