Introducing crayon

Posted on October 22, 2006 4:23 pm by | Business | General | Marketing | New Media | PR | Second Life | Social Media

I’ve been waiting and waiting to make this public, and the time has finally come. No more hints. No more teasing. This is the real thing. I’m leaving the world of sole practitionership and independent consulting to join a startup that features a killer team of communicators and a laser-like focus on New Marketing.

Shel HoltzThe company is called crayon. The name derives from an analogy employed frequently by Joseph Jaffe, crayon’s founder. The biggest boxes of crayons come chock-full of dozens of colors, Joe notes, but most communicators (marketers, advertisers, PR folk, corporate communications pros) seem always to start with red, green, and blue. crayon is ready to pull any color out of the box and we definitley will not start with red, green, and blue.

crayon is something of a mashup. We’re not an agency or a consulting firm, but we do bring the best of what those types of companies have to offer. We’ll approach our assignments with fresh eyes that see the new environment in which traditional marketing and advertising is failing so dismally. We understand that customers (in the broadest sense of the word) are fed up with being marketed to, communicated to, advertised to. Engagement, conversation, co-creation, involvement—these are the approaches that we are anxious to bring to our assignments. Not as an afterthought or add-on, mind you, but as the cornerstone of our work.

(Of course, if an assignment cries for a press release or a magazine ad, we can do that, too, and do it damned well. But it definitely won’t be the heart and soul of our approach.)

What makes us different is that Joseph assembled us based on our passion for new media and the fact that we already live and breathe it. We sleep it. We eat it for lunch. And ultimately, that’s what motivated me to accept Joe’s offer and join crayon: the opportunity to work exclusively on these types of projects and the opportunity to work with this particular collection of people.

In addition to Joe, team members you’ve probably heard of include Neville Hobson—my co-host on our long-running podcast, For Immediate Release—and C.C. Chapman, host of the award winning podsafe music podcast, “Accident Hash along with “U-Turn Cafe” and a new marketing podcast, “Managing the Gray.”

I’m in California, Joe’s in Connecticut, Neville’s in the U.K., and C.C. is in Boston. It should come as no surprise that we’ll manage this geographic spread by establishing our headquarters in Second Life. Dubbed Crayonville Island, our headquarters has office space, a theater, a presentation amphitheater, housing, and a variety of other elements that will all be unveiled at our launch party this Thursday, October 26. Below you’ll see the team—our avatars, anyway—in-life. Neville and I are just to the right of Joseph, who’s seated in the middle.

Shel Holtz

I’m reasonably sure we’re the first company to launch outright in Second Life. I wish I could be there but work commitments will keep me from doing more than quickly dropping in during a lunch break!

I want to emphasize that Crayonville Island is our HQ, not just a virtual extension of a bunch of brick-and-mortar buildings we already have in place. But that doesn’t mean you have to have an avatar and a SL account to work with us. We also have a traditional website launching Thursday:

I also want to introduce you to the rest of the team, all of whom are based in New York. These names will most likely be new to you, but I expect you’ll be hearing them a lot more in the months ahead: Gary Cohen (the company’s CEO), Chris Trela, Aaron Greenberger and Michael Denton.

The team will grow, too. We’re interested in talking to anyone who shares our passion for this new world of social computing, social media, and New Marketing.

We’re also interested in talking to you. I’m available, as are Joseph and the rest of the team, for interviews and conversations. Joe has cleared his calendar for this week, but of course we can talk whenever it’s convenient for you. Just leave a comment to this post or contact me directly if you’d like to chat.

In case you’re wondering, Neville and I will continue to produce FIR, just as C.C. will continue to produce his shows and Joseph will continue with “Across the Sound”—we’ll also all maintain our blogs. These will be independent of crayon and won’t (I swear) be used to hype the company.

Anyway, I can’t begin to express my excitement about finally rocking and rolling with crayon, and I’m looking forward to continued conversation with all of you.

Incidentally, Neville has already blogged this.

10/22/06 | 30 Comments | Introducing crayon



  • 1.Way to go Shel. Looks like a really dynamic group of people there at Crayon. Good luck with it all!

    Dave | October 2006 | UK

  • 2.Wow Shel! That's a huge move. Sounds like good timing and smart people. Best of luck. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

    B.L. Ochman | October 2006 | New York City

  • 3.Congrats Shel and all the best to the Crayon team. Looking forward to seeing what you guys do as a collective powerhouse of new media talent.

    Michael Seaton | October 2006 | Toronto

  • 4.This sounds great Shel - congrats. Looking forward to continuing our conversation...

    Chris Heuer | October 2006

  • 5. Joe Jaffe officialy announced his new "crayon" agency with Neville Hobson, Shel Holtz, CC Chapman and others. Good luck, guys!  ...

  • 6.Congrats! Good luck. You guys are leaders!

    Max Kalehoff | October 2006 | Brooklyn

  • 7.Wonderful news, congratulations!

    Andrea Weckerle | October 2006

  • 8.Hey Shel, congratulations on crayon! I had dinner with Joe and CC last Thursday, and they are obviously pumped about the new venture. Intriguing! We'll all be following the growth and success of crayon and we're all pulling for you. Once again, you're blazing the trail. Here's hoping we can work together...

    Terry Fallis | October 2006 | Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  • 9.Hi Shel, congratulations on the new venture! Looking forward to seeing you next week in Chicago and hearing more about Crayon. What a great group of individuals!

    Brian Kramer | October 2006 | Chicago, IL

  • 10.Indy is over. Phew, that was exhausting. I spent the day at home recuperating and??the time off??let me??catch up on my feeds and take??my first look at Second Life.
    I’ve been meaning to check out Second Life for some time - especially after my r...

  • 11.I got a message this weekend from Shel Holtz that he and Neville Hobson are joining Joe Jaffe to found a new type of marketing agency, called crayon. Their stated goal is to "integrate the best of the consulting, agency,...

  • 12.Shel: Congratulations, congratulations! So happy to see this has come together for you and look forward to getting to know your partners in Crayon...but for the loss of your independent consulting (and probably some of your massive speaking schedule)color me sad. You are my ABC idol. See you in New Orleans! Barbara

    Barbara Puffer ABC | October 2006 | Connecticut

  • 13.Congratulations, Shel (et al.)! - very much looking forward to hearing about your future successes.

    Todd Defren | October 2006 | Boston, SF

  • 14.Shel:

    Congrats on your very interesting news. Crayon sounds fascinating ... it will be interesting to see how the company progresses and what kinds of projects you get involved in.

    Personally, I would launch with a fake blog featuring two characters named Cray and On, but that's just me. :)

    John Wagner | October 2006

  • 15.Shel,

    Congrats to you and all the rest of the gang! I look forward to seeing what you all will create!

    Dan York | October 2006

  • 16.Very exciting news, Shel! Best of luck to you all. I'm actually helping launch a start-up company myself (software for small business). I will keep crayon in mind as we look to develop our marketing strategy.

    Michelle | October 2006

  • 17.Shel: Congrats on the official announcement. Best of luck!

    American Copywriter | October 2006 | U.S of A

  • 18.Joseph Jaffe never lacks for audacity. Truly one of the more innovative thinkers around in this day and age, I???m convinced Jaffe never stops thinking new media, even when cutting grass, playing with his kids or staring out the window...

  • 19.Ever since you came to San Antonio I just KNEW this is what you were up too. When I couldn't find the poscast booth in SL, it just cemented my feeling that something was afoot. Would love to have the December meetup of Communicators in SL at Crayon. Second Thursday in Second Life :-)

    Kami Huyse | October 2006

  • 20.Shel,
    congrats. Careful though...sounds like an agency. When I see you again, I'll shake your hand...but I won't deal with your avatar...just not going there. Good luck in SL land you floating freaks!

    Dee Rambeau | October 2006 | Denver

  • 21.Congrats! This is cool stuff! *8-)

    Phil Gomes | October 2006 | Los Angeles, Calif.

  • 22.Congrats guys - great stuff. Love the name.

    deb schultz | October 2006

  • 23.Thought I'd scribble a colourful congrats! Sounds like a great venture. Best of luck. I'll swing by sometime in SL.

    David Bradfield | October 2006 | New York, NY

  • 24.Shel (and all of you)-- congratylations-- this sounds like an exciting venture! I will be nosing around Thursday to learn more...

    Doug Haslam | October 2006 | Woburn, MA

  • 25.Shel (and all of you)-- congratulations-- this sounds like an exciting venture! I will be nosing around Thursday to learn more...

    Doug Haslam | October 2006 | Woburn, MA

  • 26.All the best with the colouring. Inside the lines, outside the lines, on the cover, on the client, on each other...whatever. I'm looking forward to your big client announcements, that will really put it in perspective for all of and all of the marketing/pr types who never even saw social media coming!

    David Jones | October 2006 | Toronto

  • 27.Parachute, my eye. I want to know what color your favorite social media, new marketing hero is.
    By now you’ve heard (unless you live under a blogosphere rock, i.e. are offline) that all our favorite podcasters have joined together to form an hone...

  • 28.Congratulations Shel, wishing you and your partners much success in this venture. This is the incentive I needed to finally jump into SL... I look forward to learn more about Crayon!

    Alex McKenzie | October 2006 | Washington DC

  • 29.Good luck with the launch Shel - I'll be checking out the site and SL presence when I return on Thursday evening.

    Am also looking forward to seeing more about Crayon's work and seeing some of your client work in public - the rest of us will undoubtedly continue to learn much from all four of you.

    Simon Wakeman | October 2006 | UK

  • 30.Good luck - sounds exciting!

    David Dalka | October 2006

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