×

Once registered, you can:

  • - Read additional free articles each month
  • - Comment on articles and featured creative work
  • - Get our curated newsletters delivered to your inbox

By registering you agree to our privacy policy, terms & conditions and to receive occasional emails from Ad Age. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Are you a print subscriber? Activate your account.

Change Can Be Harder When You've Grown Up With the Shop

After 10 Years, It Was Time to Say Goodbye to an Old Friend

By Published on .

I won't forget the moment that my staff looked at me, about two months ago and, in not these exact words, gave it to me straight: Peter, it's time.

I knew what they were referring to. Our look no longer reflected the agency I had started 10 years ago with little more than a borrowed computer and whatever was left from my last paycheck at a crash-and-burn dot-com.

Back then, I was the agency. Any prospective meeting was held at La Colombe, a coffee shop near my row home. I'd advise the person I was meeting with that the offices were being cleaned, or that the staff was away on a retreat. I'm not sure if anyone ever bought it, but a shout out to those who played along to make me feel like a real business.

So as a gang of one, it was kind of cool to have this AgileCat mark.


The cat -- leaping into anything and everything, head-first always, not knowing where I would end up and only occasionally scared of what lay waiting for me between the leap and the landing.

In some ways, 10 years has gone by like a flash. In other ways, especially in the rough-and-tumble economic downturn, it's felt like a 100 years.

And the Cat's been with me through those times. Jumping into things. Over the years, more and more people joined me in the craziness of small-agency life, going head first, getting hurt and breaking figurative bones.

But getting up every time. Every time. It was, and is , always easier to do this when someone reaches out.

I introduced the new us at our 10th-Anniversary party on Cinco de Mayo, because May (the fifth month) plus the date (the fifth) = 10. Damn, I could have been in Da Vinci Code!

After the crowd viewed an animated video put together by our creative team, I had to give a brief speech on the old cat and the new cat. It came down to forward movement. I told the story of my first year in business, surely a lean and mean time. In one particularly embarrassing incident, I tried to check out $30 worth of groceries at a food store. The cashier gave me a look that told me one thing: no dice. Nothing in my account. So my humiliated 30-year-old self got on my bike (A car? Are you kidding?) and pedaled back to HQ, found a recently mailed Amoco gas credit card with the PIN number, went back to the store, got out some cash (at a 25% APR no doubt) and successfully bought the goods.

With the bag of food in my basket and a lump in my throat, I pedaled home. There were no clients, no prospects, just bills and bill collectors. My friends were in the middle of growing, successful careers and here I was, the CEO of one-man-ville with hardly the means to eat. But as I approached 318 Carson Street , something struck me. If this would not beat me, then what ever could?

So I just kept moving. Sometimes it felt like a bad limp, other times it was like flying. It always felt like I was doing what I was supposed to, though. Still does.

And one of the things I'm supposed to do is change. So this week, I -- we -- retired the old logo. It went the way of the old website. That old cat carried me through a lot of tough times and good times and I'm sad to see it go. But its spirit lives on in the new one.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Peter Madden is founder-president of AgileCat, Philadelphia
In this article:
Most Popular