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Claude Shade

As much as I struggle with what social feeds have become, yesterday was an example of when I love them.

Striking portraits that he captured of others and heartfelt testimonies of Claude Shade overtook my Facebook feed. It was the most beautiful tribute to our dear friend.

I started my advertising career behind the curve. And to step into GSP during its agency of the years/decade run, it was incredibly intimidating. Claude cut through all of that and was a big part of helping me feel like I could make an impact. As a then seemingly fish out of water visual maker in the strategy department, Claude helped me understand and believe that I didn’t need to do things the traditional way— as he was anything and everything but traditional himself. Claude was a role model, a mentor from afar, not one that I leaned on or was very close to but someone to aspire to become— a hero.

We didn’t work closely together, but after reading everyone’s stories about him it makes sense as to why he always wanted to help me and everyone around him. He didn’t care about your title, what you did before or where you came from. Claude just cared about wanting you to put your best and most authentic self out there to the world, be it something you made or how you were connecting with him through his lens. He had the magic of being able to extract the grace in all of us. And with swift wizardry, preserve that perfect moment in time. It has become more evident than ever that his spirit and ability is what united and still unites us all of us that had known him. May he rest in peace and may we always find the courage to be more like Claude.

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Hitting Reset

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, almost Medium– too many channels I’m way more active in than the one I actually own.

In an effort to generally be thoughtful rather than impulsive, I’ve hit the reset/delete button on all but one of my posts. When I looked at my site’s content, it all seemed too random and hollow, and that’s what I’m committing to change.

The only post I didn’t take down was the recap of my employee of the year trip from GSP. Not only is it a profound memory, but the post also has so many comments from people I care very much about that I couldn’t part with it. Plus, it represents the type of content I want to be posting more.

So, with one post saved and a blank slate moving forward, this will become a less messy, more deliberate, yet still often cryptic public place of my thoughts, discoveries, inspirations and moments I want to preserve and put out into the world.

This is more for me than anyone, but I hope you come by and visit now and then. It’s going to take a bit more effort than me randomly showing up in your feeds, but effort’s what I’m going for.

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My Goodby, Silverstein & Partners Employee of the Year Trip

My open letter to GSP

It’s been almost a year to the day that my former agency, Goodby Silverstein + Partners, gave me the honor of being named their Employee of the Year for 2010.

It was a truly meaningful honor for me, because I got to work with my family everyday. And when you can say that, when you can believe that, you do everything you can to bring your very best to the table.Reflecting on a year ago with another ex-GSPer who was there at last years holiday party, they reminded me of something I said that stuck with them. And although I’m no longer at GSP, I still believe it more now than ever because in the face of everything, it’s what makes that place special.

“This place [GSP] expects the best out of us, and in turn we expect the best out of each other”.

I was proud, no matter the circumstances, to bring my very best to the table every single day for the handful of years I was there. 2010 was one heck of a year for me at GSP and I’m humbled by every second of it, the highs and the lows.

I’m grateful for having the opportunity to be a part of one of the best agencies in the world, working alongside some of the finest people anywhere.

With all my heart, thank you to every single person, my family at GSP, for bestowing me with such a great honor last year and for a truly priceless gift. GSP will always be part of my family.

You all were with us on this trip.

Warmest regards… happy holidays…

I miss you all,

– Nam

Update: For those of you who have asked, the music is The Fear by Ben Howard.