The Hupfer Christmas Dance-Off — Party Rock Shuffle Edition

While I was home for Christmas we had yet another Hupfer Dance-Off, which was awesome as usual. Instead of doing the normal dance-off which usually includes all of the Hupfer’s involved simply one-upping each other with ridiculous dance moves until a winner is declared, it was decided that we would all learn the LMFAO Party Rock Shuffle dance and see who can pull it off the best. I posted a video of when I first learned the Party Rock Shuffle over here in a post before I headed back to Indiana for vacation and I was looking pretty good.

When the time for the dance-off finally came I wasn’t really sure how I would end up doing, but after my sister (who was my only real competition) forgot some of the steps halfway through I was officially declared the winner. The dance-off was a lot of fun and even though most of my family didn’t know the entire dance that didn’t stop them from getting out on the dance floor and doing their thing (more video of that coming soon).

Here’s a side-by-side video of my entry into the Hupfer Party Rock Shuffle Dance-Off and the actual LMFAO video where they bust it out for real. Not too bad for a tall white guy, huh?

Can’t see the video? You can check it out over here on YouTube.


Hustling At Home For The Holidays

My body feels all out of whack and I think I just had my first good night’s sleep in about twelve days. No, I don’t have insomnia and I wasn’t forced to burn the midnight oil thanks to some tight deadline at work. Believe it or not, I was on vacation. Christmas vacation.

You see, when Stephanie and I head back to Indiana for Christmas and New Years it’s always an amazing time, but it’s also a marathon that starts when we get off the plane in Indianapolis and stops the night before we leave. It’s no surprise that it’s like this, it always has been since we’ve starting making the annual trip back to our home in the Midwest after moving to California nearly four years ago. We go, go, go and it doesn’t stop. To he honest there’s really no other way to do it and it’s something that we’ve just had to get used to.

During the days we’re focused on getting to see as many family members we can squeeze in. The amount of time we have to visit with them is usually dependent on how late we stayed out the night before with our friends. It’s all about family during the day and it’s all about friends at night. And when I say night I sometimes mean morning. I can remember at least three or four nights that didn’t end until four in the morning and those don’t make for very early mornings.

One packed day with the family went something like this:

  1. Waking up in Pendleton at my parents house after hanging out with our friends the night before.
  2. Meeting Stephanie’s parents at their church in Noblesville at 9:30am.
  3. After church we ended up driving to Greenfield to hang with my side of the family.
  4. After hanging in Greenfield for a few hours we drove to Greencastle and to hang with Stephanie’s side of the family.
  5. After hanging out in Greencastle for a few hours we then drove back to Noblesville to crash at Stephanie’s parents house.

Here’s what a full map of where all we drove that day looks like — it turned out being about four hours total round trip.

View Larger Map

Overall it was an awesome trip home and it was so good to see all of the family and friends that we were able to squeeze in while we were there. Was it exhausting? Oh yeah, but it’s always totally worth it.



Back Home In Indiana For The Holidays

After a four hour layover in Chicago, I made it home for my yearly holiday pilgrimage to Indiana. This year I’m home for about 10 days and just like previous years they’re going to fly by. When I’m home there’s a lot of people to see and a lot of things to do, which means that the days don’t tend to hang around for very long.

When it comes to vacations back home there are some things that I really look forward to like:

1. Getting to see my family and friends — I have lots of friends who still live in Indianapolis and tons of family (for example, I have 8 nieces and nephews) so it’s always great to see as many of them as I can while I’m home.

2. Eating at buffets — the midwest is the king of the buffets and I usually take full advantage of them.

3. White Castle and Hotbox Pizza — these two restaurants always make it into our agendas, usually around 3 in the morning.

4. Seeing my high school basketball team in action — it doesn’t always work out, but it’s always fun to sneak in a Pendleton Heights High School basketball game when I’m home.

5. Catching a Colts game — thanks to the fact that my brother has season tickets and that he’s actually nice to me now I usually get to catch the last Colt’s home game of the season when I’m home. Stephanie and I have done this for the last 3 years now and it’s always an awesome game (even if we ARE 2-13 this year)

6. Seeing snow on Christmas — you don’t see snow out in California unless you drive to Tahoe, so seeing some of the white stuff while in Indiana for Christmas is pretty cool.

7. Christmas decorations — most people in San Francisco don’t decorate a whole lot for Christmas, but all kinds of people do in Indiana. This makes it feel like a lot more like Christmas.

With all that being said, there are a few things that I don’t look forward to when heading back to Indiana, too.

1. It’s really cold — with the snow comes freeing weather, which I’m not used to anymore. Call me a wuss, but anything under 50 degrees feels freezing cold to me.

2. So much driving — out of the 10 days that I’ll be in Indiana I think that 4 of them are spent driving.

3. So much eating — I know I said that I like all of the food that I get to eat while being home, but there’s also a part of me that hates it. My problem is that when there’s food in front of me, I’m probably going to eat it. Yeah, that’s all my fault, but that doesn’t mean that I have to like it.

4. Working out indoors — I’ve gotten used to running outside whenever I want to and that’s just not going to happen when it’s 30 degrees out. This means that I’ll be hitting the treadmills, which I’m not a huge fan of (at least they have TVs I can watch).

5. Not having Frank around — the past couple of years we’ve brought Frank home with us to Indiana, but this year we decided to to leave the little guy at home with one of his buddies. It looks like he’s having fun without us, so I don’t feel too guilty about it.

No matter what I don’t like sometimes, I’ve realized just how blessed I am to be living in San Francisco and to be able to fly home with Stephanie back to Indiana for the holidays. I feel awesome this year and it’s always great to be able to spend so much time with my friends and family.

Everyday I’m Shufflin’

For some reason my sister told me that I need to learn the LMFAO Party Rock Shuffle dance before I come home for Christmas, so I took an hour or so and learned it today. It still needs some polish, but it’s only going to get better. You can watch the video below or over here on YouTube.

I learned the dance from this video if you’re interested in giving it a shot, too. It’s easy to learn and if nothing else it’s a great party trick.

Now, what dance move should I learn next?

Mac Lethal Covers Look At Me Now…I’m Making Pancakes

I was sent an awesome video this morning from my friend Bobby and it’s of a rapper Mac Lethal (a self-proclaimed “Nerdy White Kid”) covering Chris Brown’s Look At Me Now, which includes a ridiculously infamous verse that’s rapped by the one and only Busta Rhymes.

The cover by Mac Lethal takes an interesting approach by focusing the entire rap around making pancakes (don’t worry, it’ll make total sense once you see it).

This email was sent out by Bobby because he knows how much Stephanie loves to rap this same song, which I also happen to have on video. Have I mentioned how much Stephanie loves to rap?

Here’s the original if you want to check it out, too. It’s always worth a watch.

You’re Not Always Going To Feel Great: How To Deal With Having A Bad Day

You’re at work and you’re not feeling it. Or on a long run and your legs just don’t have the bounce they usually do. Somehow you managed to get two parking tickets in the same day. You’re feeling slow and there’s just not enough caffeine in the world to give you the energy you need. Sometimes things just don’t go your way or you’re not feeling the way you want. You’re having a bad day, you’re in a funk and there’s nothing you can do about it.

What happens to you when things don’t feel great? Do you start making excuses? Do you become someone who’s a little less appealing to be around? What happens to you when you’re not quite feeling up to par or at the top of your game? I know that I’m not always who I want to be when things aren’t going my way and it has to stop. I’ve been recognizing and working on this part of myself, but I have so far to go it’s not even funny.

How do I make myself step it up when I’m not feeling so hot? That’s the million dollar question and I think it starts with getting to know yourself more than you do now. I know it sounds easy, but the first step in not having a day when you feel worn out, tired, irritable or unproductive is making sure that you take care of yourself in the ways your mind and body requires. Here are some things you should think about:

Sleep: are you getting enough sleep at night? How much sleep do you need to feel rested? lack of sleep is a major cause of bad days, so get to know how much you need and make sure you get in the amount you need. I’m really bad at getting enough sleep and I have a feeling that a lot of other people are, too.

Emotional Stability: How are you feeling emotionally? Do you have something on your mind that’s been bothering you and that you need to get off your chest? If you do and you’re not doing anything about it (talking through it with someone, writing about it, dealing with it, etc.) then it could get you into a bad mood that’s hard to shake. Bite the bullet, get it off your chest and move on to bigger and better things. This is something I’m trying to get better at, but it’s a slow (and sometimes painful) process.

Physical Fitness: If you’re in terrible shape and not taking care of yourself physically you’re going to feel the consequences sooner or later. There’s no better way to keep your stress levels in check than by getting a good workout in. I don’t care if it’s a run, walk, swim, bike or yoga — getting out and getting moving is a great way to keep you in a better mood.

Being Honest With Yourself: You’re the only one who knows what you need in order to perform at the level you need to be, so it’s up to you to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself. Don’t become obsessed with what other people are doing — they’re not you and they don’t work like you do. Do what you need to do, be honest with yourself and put yourself in the best position you possibly can. This doesn’t mean that you’re always going to feel great, but you’ll have the best chance for being at the top of your game on a consistent basis.

Are you always going to feel great? Of course not. There are going to be days that you’re going to struggle through and that’s OK. It’s during those days that you need to recognize what’s going on, why and how you can make it though in a productive and positive way. Everyone can perform on the days that feel great, but it’s the bad days that show us what we’re really made of. With the right preparation and expectations we can make it though them without sacrificing too much productivity, sanity or positivity.


The 610 Stompers Make Their Way Into The Big Time

Another Thanksgiving and another Macy’s Day Parade. This time around however, there was something different. Something that stood out from the traditional cheesy performances that I’m used to seeing (like Nickelodeon stars or groups like this).

This year’s parade, however, showed the world what real entertainment is all about. This year’s parade was the year of the 610 Stompers. With the tagline of “Ordinary men with extraordinary moves” they made their way into the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day spotlight and made their presence known.

The 610 Stompers are a group of guys from New Orleans who want to show the world that it doesn’t take a Broadway show to entertain the masses — just a group of ordinary men with some sweet moves. Here’s how the 610 Stompers describe what they’re all about:

[quote]The 610 Stompers is a diverse group of ordinary men, from their 20s to their 60s. We are doctors, lawyers, professionals, laborers, students, teachers, and parents. We are different but we’re the same, and we’re brought together by our ongoing desire to entertain the world with our “Extraordinary Moves”, and in doing so, give back to the community that we love.[/quote]

I’m not sure how they made their way onto the big stage in the middle of New York City, but I have a feeling that the Macy’s Day Parade was their big break. We’re going to be hearing more about these dancing from here on out and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

Need some more 610 Stompers in your life? I can’t say I blame you. Here are a few more appearances they’ve made over the past couple years.

At the Hornets/Lakers game (they inspired the Hornets to a win)

Their debut performance in New Orleans

Here’s a great article about the 610 Stompers and their rise to Macy’s Day Parade fame. Awesome.

Big props to Brett Patron who’s the leader of the group and who also happens to have an amazing mustache.

Gettin’ It On At The San Francisco Writing Salon

I’ve thought about it for a long time, but I finally put my money (and time) where my mouth is and signed up for a writing class. The class is offered through The Writing Salon, which is a local Bay Area based group of writers and teachers who want to help others with their creative writing skills. They offer all types of classes that cover pretty much anything that an aspiring writer would need to add to their arsenal and the classes are given in a comfortable and intimate setting.

The goal of the class I’m taking is to write a personal essay about an important moment in my life, how it’s affected me and how it’s changed the way that I think about things now that it’s happened. The class is filled with all kinds of interesting people and I love when we go around the room to share the things that we’ve put down on paper.

The more I think about it the more I think the people in the class might be one of the main reasons why I like the class so much. There’s an opera singer, a world traveler and a county accountant and they all bring their own flair and interesting personalities to the table. I’m happy to be one of the more vocal members of the group, but I’m far from the most interesting.

I’m not quite sure what I’m going to write about yet, but I need to decide before our next class because our first rough draft is due when we get back. I’ve been toying around with the idea of writing about how Stephanie and I first met (which is a story we tell a lot), but there are other personal things that I’m thinking about getting out of my head as well.

If I have the balls to read what I end up writing to the class, then I might just do it. I honestly shouldn’t be that worried about it, telling your dirt to stangers is easy anyway.

No matter what I come up with I’m loving this class and it reminds me of college. It’s a good way to get my mind up and moving on Saturday morning and it’s helping me sharpen up my writing skills, which is never a bad thing. What will I end up writing about? Who knows, but I promise to post it here once I get something figured out.


Needing Someone In New York City

Last week I was in New York City (NYC) for an ad conference and it was the first time that I’d been there in a long time. If you’ve never been to NYC it’s pretty much just like you hear about — crazy, fast-paced and awesome. It also happens to be the epicenter for all things advertising since many of the largest advertising agencies call it home. Just like tech in Silicon Valley and entertainment in LA, advertising in NYC is where it’s at.

Over the past couple of years that I’ve been working at isocket we’ve talked a lot about how we need to have a team in NYC, but I never really knew why. I mean is it really that important?

After spending a few days in the Big Apple I can definitely say yes, we need someone in NYC, and we need it big time. With all of the ways that people can connect these days, we tend to forget the power of just being there and showing up. Simply being part of the NYC advertising community is so important for isocket that it’s worth it to have someone there literally 24/7. Things are happening, deals are being made and money is exchanging hands — and a lot of it is being driven by personal relationships that are built face-to-face.

Before I saw it firsthand I knew that having a full-time person representing us in NYC was important, but I never really knew just how important it really was. Things are moving faster than ever and we need to make sure to have someone there as much as possible, as soon as possible. If you think that you might be a fit for being the first person to represent isocket in NYC (or you know someone else who could be), then you should check our job posting over here and let us know.

Prepare, Relax and Rock Out: 3 Simple Rules For Conference Success

Even in the digital age of social networking, Tweeting and webinars there’s still an important place in the world for conferences and other events that allow people to meet face-to-face. It doesn’t matter if you’re in pre-cast concrete or a heart surgeon somewhere there’s a conference that’s made just for you. There are lots of benefits to going to a conference where you can meet and hang out with other people in your industry (or with similar interests), but they’re also a big commitment.

They can a lot of fun, but the time it takes to go to a multi-day conference and the money it costs you or your business means that you need to maximize your experience as much as you can — all without over-thinking it and trying too hard. I’m far from an expert, but after getting a handful of conferences under my belt and talking to other people who go to them a lot, I’ve come up with 3 rules to make sure that you get what you want from your next conference. The 3 rules are simple — Prepare, Relax and Rock Out and here’s what they mean.


Of the 3 rules, this is the most important and ironically enough the least followed. This is because it’s the one thing that’s time sensitive and requires some thought long before arriving at your conference of choice.

Preparing for the conference can mean different things depending on who you are and what conference you’re going to, but more times than not it includes setting up meetings and making sure that no matter what you have the chance to connect up with who you need to.

The first thing you need to figure out before you set up any meetings is what conferences you’re going to so that you can start reaching out to the right people. The earlier you can lock yourself into the conference, the better, so don’t wait around to buy your pass if you already know you need to be there. Another benefit of buying your pass earlier is that it’s usually cheaper and saving some cash never hurts.

A rule of thumb that I use is that you should have all of your meetings set up for your conference at least two weeks in advance. It won’t always happen this way, but if you can start reaching out to who you want to connect with 3-4 weeks beforehand it will greatly increase the chances of you getting the meetings you need. It’s going to take some time, but you need to make the time for it. Respect the process and make sure that you stay on top of everything so that you maximize your time while you’re there.

Once you start booking the meetings make sure to send a meeting request to all of the people involved so that you’re all on the same page. If someone doesn’t accept then it’s your job to send them a reminder so that they have it on their calendar.

The amount of meetings you need to set depends on how much time you have and how much of the conference you actually plan on going to. If you’re there more to learn than to network then leave yourself some time for going to panels, keynotes and workshops. If you’re there just to network then make that the priority and pack in the meetings as much as you can. Just be careful with the early mornings – odds are you’re going to be out late (see rule #3).


This rule is easy in theory, but hard in practice. It’s easy to think of conferences as an unending source of leads that you need to maximize as much as possible. Trying to meet/pitch as many people as you can sounds like an awesome idea, but it’s not something that you want to do from a personal networking perspective. If your goal is to maximize your exposure at the conference you either need to come up with an amazing PR stunt (be careful with these) or buy your way into it by becoming a sponsor (which can work out well).

Instead of spreading yourself too thin and risking becoming annoying in the process you should relax and focus on having deeper conversations with the people you meet. Not everyone is going to be exactly who you’re trying to connect with, but that’s why you set the meetings ahead of time. With the meetings you’ve already set up you already made it worth the trip to the conference, so relax and meet some other people who seem interesting to you.

This rule of relaxing is important because you can’t always expect an instant ROI form the people you meet — that’s just not how conferences work. Some of the people who have helped my business the most are the ones who I ran into randomly, so relax and have fun talking with the people you meet.

Rock Out

Yep, I saved the best for last. The last rule is the most fun, but it can also pay off for you big time. Every conference that I’ve ever gone to has had one thing in common — people are always ready to party. Whether it’s a cocktail hour, official conference get together or after party one thing that you need to be ready for is rocking out.

When it comes to conference parties there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. First, just show up. You’re going to be tired and your comfy bed might sound like a fabulous idea, but you need to take advantage of the party scene even if you don’t feel like it. I’m not saying that you need to stay out until 5am, but you do need to make an appearance and mingle for at least a little while. Don’t worry, once you have a couple drinks and start chatting you’ll be fine.

Here’s a video of me and my main man Jason Shen at a conference in Las Vegas. It never hurts to stand out a little bit, too.

Speaking of drinks — secondly you should feel free to drink, but don’t get too drunk. You know the difference and so does everyone else at the party. There’s nothing wrong with loosening up a bit with a couple drinks, but you still need to be on your game when it comes to talking about your business. Have fun, but don’t be that guy.

Last, but not least, you need to pace your partying according to whatever you can handle. If you’re not normally the party guy and you need 7-8 hours of sleep to function, then you should probably stay away from the party-till-the-sun-comes-up after party that you’re thinking about going to. Partying, like anything, is an acquired skill and rocking out too hard early on can make the rest of your conference miserable. If you have fun and pace yourself you should make it to the end with no problems.

If you follow these rules then you’re going to put yourself in the best position to get the most out of your conference. Just keep in mind that conferences are different than your normal day-to-day work, so they require a different kind of focus before and during the event. Preparing before you go, relaxing while you’re there and rocking out when you can will make sure that the conference is a success for you so just have some fun and the rest will fall into place.

If you have any other conference suggestions I’d love to hear them — let me know your thoughts in the comments below!