The Human Google. That’s what my first art director partner used to call me. She meant it as a compliment.

When I was a kid I used to sit for hours in the family library pouring over our set of Funk & Wagnall’s. I’d start with one article and from there I was led to another, and then another, increasing my curiosity with every turn of the page. It gave me a knack for research and analysis.

I fed my imagination with stories of mythological pasts and far-distant futures. Illustrated books sadly out of print about lost worlds and fantastic starships. Even music, having learned the words to “Stairway to Heaven” at age 5, thanks to the awesome tastes of Zep-obsessed older sibs. (I still have no idea what exactly a bustle in a hedgerow is, but knew it made me want to rock out.)

I’d scribble short stories about space pirates, gladiators and guillotined ghosts. Meticulously draw futuristic mountain fortresses. Bask in the spotlight of acting (my one real, secret love) in local community theater.

You could say I developed a love affair with experiencing the world through words. To me, it all connected. Past and future. History and story.

This brought me to an academic calling and my first career as a Washington, DC policy analyst. I got published. I worked for some seriously influential people who don’t just write books but have books written about them. I even got shot at driving through a war zone. Looking back, I think this prepared me very well for a career in advertising.

But because what I was doing just wasn’t setting my heart alight with inspiration or creativity, I did the switch.

Here’s the thing: I’m a word-guy. A storyteller. I think visually, sometimes irreverently, with my eye toward the big picture and my heart in the right places. I believe inspiration is wondrously contagious, and I get super-charged working with people who through some inexplicable and fundamentally human interaction hum at the same creative frequency.

Hard to find that when you’re scrambling to find a Ukrainian-language interpreter or meet a deadline for an encyclopedia article on the history of US-Danish relations. Sure, it might be be inspiring or funny (or both) to have someone take a shot at you. And believe me I tried many times to get myself into danger during those days of youthful exuberance. Luckily, that was my first professional failure.

So yeah, advertising. Sure, I can bullet point an email like the best of them. But what I really do well is make connections between what I write and what someone else wants. Financial freedom. Career guidance. Time well spent with the kids. Technology that's all full of awesome. Or simply a warm fuzzy feeling.

You get what you give.