Deep expertise in marketing and communications strategy.
Broad curiosity about practically everything.
Research-driven strategy and collaborative execution at the intersection of what's on offer and what customers are interested to hear.
Who are we speaking to, what are we saying to them, and how will they hear it — from packaging and in-product promos, to press and events.
Writing that remains true to product and brand while speaking to the priorities of carefully defined audiences.
From dry-farming to airline routing, etymology to Census methodology, I know just enough about a lot of things to make novel connections.
Some of what I can do for you
Review a pitch
Draft a blog post (here's a sample)
Edit copy for clarity, consistency, and grammar
Unstick your creative process
Cobble together a printed document
Get something done
Assess your needs and write an RFP
Audit and improve your digital presence
Plan a strategy for an upcoming campaign or launch
Triage a firedrill of a project
Consult on translation and international strategy
Research and recommend a full marketing strategy
Manage the design and launch of a website or event
Keep a creative team pointed toward client goals
Freelance with an agency (like my buddy Sandy's)
Fill in for a marketer on parental leave
Months and years
Part of the crew
Instill your team with optimism and collaboration
Play well with creatives, techies, dealmakers, and idealists
Share snacks from cuisines you've barely heard of
A few examples of work exhibiting some of my strengths.
Way of a Warrant
Most users don’t know that Google often pushes back against court orders for private user information, while government agents are frustrated that they don’t always get what they ask for. I worked closely with Legal, Policy, and our creative agency to tell our perspective clearly and memorably, using a completely unconventional but wildly successful approach. At 2 million views and counting, “Way of a Warrant” is surely the most popular stop-animation video about legal process in the history of the world.
Santa Tracker is full of whimsy and joy, but it serves a real purpose as a driver of brand love for Google. As marketer, strategist and program manager, I guided engineers, a design agency, and several Google products to keep the focus. From drafting pun-packed blog posts to shepherding a major design overhaul, I ensured we hit overarching brand themes as well as a sensitivity to regional needs for a highly global product. I also once had to settle a debate over whether "artisan candy-cane moulding" made a gingerbread house sound unapproachably bougey, so, yeah, it was pretty fun, too.
For Google Translate’s 10th anniversary and 100-language milestone, our creative team assembled a head-turning pop-up restaurant with Michelin-starred chefs, where you had to use the apps to read the menu and order your food. As a linguist and the app’s lead marketer, I made it clear from the very start that every single word had to be manually vetted by native speakers, and that nothing in the experience was faked — we even changed some of the dishes to ones with names that translated properly with the product as it was.
I help Portland's fledgling progressive business organization refine complex topics into clear and persuasive speech. I pay attention to what people say with too many words, and find the thread connecting them. I helped the board articulate the value of membership in one-sentence nuggets, and drafted a member's four-minute testimony to a state legislative committee on the complex topic of minority business owners' limited access to funding. As the ED put it, "Jesse, you're not only good at listening, but you also hear."
Hurricanes and earthquakes don’t follow working hours, and the needs often don’t follow the playbook. As a member of Google's Crisis Response team, I supported and often managed components of the communication and product efforts across continents and time zones. My before-and-after screenshots were seen by millions on TV (that's Haiti at left), the translations I hunted down greatly expanded our reach, and I even brokered an arrangement to enable one-cent calling to Nepal. With tenacity and execution, I gained a reputation as an effective communicator and trustworthy decision-maker under pressure.
One of Google’s Legal teams wanted to meaningfully help seniors by highlighting how to avoid scams, a multi-billion-dollar scourge. I brought in my friends at Sandy Russell Creative, took on the role as senior strategist, and we researched the heck out of how scams operate, what info is already out there, and how seniors consume media and use websites. We found existing info to generally be patronizing and hard to follow. So with huge text and retro-inspired graphics, we used three golden rules to convey a simple yet empowering framework for seniors to preserve their money and their self-image in the face of pesky scammers.
I'm from Oakland, graduated with a degree in linguistics from the University of Chicago, and lived in San Francisco and Brooklyn for most of my eleven years at Google.
I now live in Portland, Oregon. Outside of work, when we're not tending to our hilarious and strong-willed daughter, my wife Laura and I run United Noshes. It's a series of 194 dinner parties, one per UN member. It's a stimulating culinary challenge, a deep dive into the ingredients and cultures of the world, a fantastic community builder, and a successful fundraiser. I'm also a passionate home gardener, mildly enthusiastic cyclist, and studious travel planner. My two dogs and two cats are adorable, but useless as interns.
For the business side of things, please reference LinkedIn.