Dec 19, 2023 - Justin Emond

Looking Back On the Year TAG Turned 10

gold number 10 balloons

Ten years ago, on a cold dark night… 

Well, it was during the day, it was summer, it wasn't cold, and it's a happy story but otherwise it was the same: Ten years ago I filed the paperwork to form Third and Grove LLC (then called Grove Street Studios), hired our first employee, and got to work on our first client.

Fast forward to 2023: Here's a glimpse at a few of the moments that defined our tenth year at TAG.

Third and Grove happy hours

Reconnecting in San Diego

We kicked off the year by gathering in sunny San Diego for our annual company retreat. It was a time to recharge and plan for a successful year ahead.

Third and Grove team hike
Third and Grove team retreat

Revamping the Boston office 

Arcade games. Ample seating. Exposed brick. Third and Grove revamped office in Boston’s Downtown Crossing has it all. Thanks to Trellis for capturing our office tour at a recent Managing an Agency Business (MAB) event. 

Third and Grove office tour

“Third and Groove” hits Spotify 

Third and Groove? It’s not a typo. It’s a perfectly curated playlist created to accompany TAG’s creative & strategy team quarterly newsletter. And it’s too good not to share. 

Turn it up: Volume 1’s throwback soundtrack journeys back to the raddest era of music and the get cozy playlist will get you into the holiday vibe. 

third and groove album

Frank talk

Our team debated the hottest topics of the year: AI's impact and the eternal question—is a hotdog a sandwich?

TAG's unsung heroes, the ops team, even surprised us with a special lunch delivery. Despite smoothly handling 50 doorstep deliveries across 25 states and multiple countries with varied dietary needs, the hotdog vs. sandwich mystery remains unsolved.

TAG team enjoys a hot dog lunch

The things we made 

We launched some amazing new websites for Benefit Cosmetics, Cross River Bank, Dansko, and The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). Plus, we scooped up C2A, Web Excellence, Muse and Acquia Engage awards for Cummins, UKG and Seventh Generation

In line with the 10 theme, we upgraded a handful of sites to Drupal 10, including King Arthur Baking Company and Hudson Institute.

Reflection and gratitude 

To the extent that our little agency has been successful it has been because of all of our team, of all the people who have worked here past and present, putting our client's needs first, spending a little more time to polish an email update, writing a slightly more efficient algorithm, researching further to find that perfect strategy for a page, rewriting that copy again, stressing about one more detail at the retreat, riffing that design concept just one more time.

To the TAG team, our clients, and partners: Thank you all for a decade of work of which we can be proud. A decade of patience, a decade of learning, a decade of fun. A decade of teaching me so much. But most of all, thank you for a decade of being able to tap dance to work. On the worst day, being the CEO of this agency is the best job I’ve ever had.

Looking ahead

Looking ahead to 2024 I'm excited by a few things.

Firstly, over the last three years TAG's capabilities have matured considerably beyond Drupal, the CMS we are most known for. We now have teams crafting award-winning work using a powerful mix of open source and market leading SaaS platforms: WordPress, Contentful, Next.js, and Shopify Plus. We need to do a better job communicating our established expertise to potential prospects, and we will next year.

I expect 2024 to be the year of AI reality, when the market begins to understand this innovation is a feature, not a revolution. The best marketing teams of 2024 will grasp this first, helping them see through the hype to how to apply AI selectively to their existing strategy and tactics to work a little faster.

This year I read a remarkable book called "How Big Things Get Done", a master class on why large projects fail. One part of the book ranks different kinds of projects in order of how bad they break bad, when they break bad. Worse than bridges, buildings, and trains, nearly the worst offender was IT projects. That was a sobering moment. I'm excited to take the lessons from this book into our work at TAG.

And finally, I'm excited about the clients, the projects, the people, the obstacles, the mistakes, and all of the learnings that are coming in 2024. There are eight million species of life on earth and yet we are the only form of life out of that eight million that can meaningfully learn anything (though, if you read the news, it hasn't always seemed that way this year).

One of the people I've learned most from is Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet's partner in crime at Berkshire Hathaway, who sadly passed this year. I want to end this note with one of my favorite Charlie nuggets, something I will continue to try to do into the new year:

It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.

I'll see you on the other side.

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