What Really Happened with Texture-media?

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We don’t know the answer. What we do know is that they were purchased by Boulder’s Crispin Porter + Bogusky in June of last year with much excitement, and today, six months later, very few of the original people who moved over in the deal still work at CP+B. What happened? If you still work at CP+B after the merge, you worked there and have moved on, or you know someone who has lived through it, shed some light for the rest of us.


Texture had something really special and in hindsight a lot of us former employees are still baffled as to why the partners decided to sell. Three of the partners are still with CP+B (probably with a little help from their lawyers) but with Dave’s leaving I think it’s obvious there is regret. Most of us tried to keep positive attitudes when the acquisition was announced but once we moved into their space it was obvious that we had just been assimilated by the corporate Satan.

I honestly think that CP+B thought their industry clout was enough to win over the texture staff. They do great work and for some people that’s enough. It’s the methods in which they achieve that work that conflicted with so many Texture people.

Quick story – there is a top secret excel spreadsheet that is maintained by a former Texturite. About a month after we moved into CP+B’s space the spreadsheet was showing over half of TM’s employees had either quit or where planning to in the near future. The mass exodus was never addressed by upper CP+B’s, we were never asked how we where doing, it took a Texture employee coming back from a two week vacation to finally go “holy %^$#^@, where did everyone go!?”. Now I get it, we’re all professional adults and shouldn’t expect to be coddled like babies. It was how detached and arrogant CP+B was with the happiness of their employees that shocked me. For some, free bus rides and cool clients might be enough for them to justify working 80 hour weeks. However, for me it’s simple. I can only respect my employer when they respect me.

You know, this is a very complicated case, Maude. Lotta ins, lotta outs. Fortunately, I’m adhering to a pretty strict, drug regiment to keep my mind limber.

My opinion is that Texture and CP+B are two very different places that appeal to two very different kinds of people. Texture was a laid back shop that really knew how to take care of it’s employees and preached the work/life balance – On the other hand, Crispin is essentially a very trendy sweat shop – and they make no apologies for that. Good work? Sure, but you’re signing up for a tour of duty, not accepting a job offer. They go through a lot of trouble in their interviewing process to make sure the candidate is a willing coolaid drinker. They want to make sure that you understand, THIS IS YOUR LIFE NOW… CAN YOU HANDLE THAT? They warn you, they’re very fair about it.

Now, remember, the Texture people bypassed this process. They were forced into this situation. And we’re wondering why they didn’t last? CP+B people are a special breed. They are the kind of ad folks that define themselves via their career – and the shop at which they work. It’s their lives. Contrarily, Texture people were fun lovin’ Boulder types that just couldn’t get on that train.

Crispy doesn’t have any software development process, which for a developer is about as fun as going to a dentist. They claim to practice agile, but that’s it…a claim. In reality, it’s chaos. Lots and lots of “prototyping” goes on, though.

Although I wasn’t forced to work with CPB, I am continuing to enjoy working with many Texturemedians that have decided they enjoy it here. I miss working with those who have decided to move on. But when change happens it forces us to look beyond our comfort zone to do something new. I am glad to see that everyone is finding their happy place outside of Texture, Whether that be at CPB or any other shop.

Sorry for the mishaps, but, just the same, we are looking for a killer developer over here.

Texturemedia, though certainly not perfect in its own right, at least made hefty efforts to moderate each employee’s workload so that they weren’t required to sleep at the office each night.

There was a culture of respect for one another, both professionally and personally. They understood that life does not revolve solely around advertising, and that we all work to live, not live to work. They had families, interests and passions that they pursued with enthusiasm outside of the confines of work.

Texture had a solid, tried-and-true process in place to ensure that the work they produced was effective and engaging. They may not have had multi-million dollar projects, but they certainly made the most of their budgets and provided their clients with exceptional results. CP+B obviously thought so, too, or they never would’ve acquired Texture.

Simply put, Texture employees are far too smart to stay put in an organization that is so callous, condescending, and arrogantly proud of their inefficiencies. They’ve been around the block and won’t tolerate being taken advantage of and held hostage away from their families and the activities that they enjoy. Who gives a s**t if you have an extreme concierge on staff unless you can actually get off work on a weekend to go skiing? Not everyone can be duped by glitter and noise.

The Texturites know firsthand that there’s a better way. And, moreover, they know that their souls cannot simply be bought by the mega-machine of CP+B. We all know an award won’t keep you warm at night, especially one that will be forgotten and washed up tomorrow. And life’s simply too short to waste it sleeping on the floor of a cold warehouse with a Crackberry glued to your palm.

I highly doubt Dave Schell can touch this one. The CP+B law team would be in his living room in a quick second.

working at CP+B blows, trust me.

That’s your answer right there:
“Not everyone can be duped by glitter and noise”

Nuff said.

So I guess the claims that CP+B made about why they were moving to Boulder for the lifestyle (mt biking, paddling, climbing, riding, skiing etc.) was just that…claims, as it seems, from the comments above, there’s no time for anyone to do any of those things.

I figured that from the first news 2 or 3 years ago that CP+B was moving to Boulder, that if you’re a sweat shop how do you do all of those things?

The Truth…has come out.

p.s. I had a conversation with Alison Fahey, the Publisher/Editorial Director at AdWeek, about this topic (2 yrs ago) and she told me personally they were going to be “doing a story on ‘the transition’ of CP+B to Boulder”…sounds like she needs nudging.

First of all, a big shout out to the ex-turemedians, close and far. We had a good thing going and you never really know what you had until it gone. Still thinking fondly about the days of yore.

To the original author, first off a majority of texture people are still at CPB. If you mean by ‘very few’ 27 out of 50, then it’s a good thing you’re not in economics. If you look at studies of acquisitions it is very normal to lose 50% of the workforce inthe first 6 months so there is very little surprises here.

There were many employees that were ready to leave T|M for a multitude of reasons, one of the biggest was the commute from denver. We lost many of those ‘already on the fence’ fairly quickly. Next to go were people with kids. For obvious reasons. Some people with kids stayed, maybe because it’s more relaxing at work for them. Who knows? Some where overwhelmed by the rumors, others were put on poorly run accounts and the rumors came true.

That leaves the rest of us. ‘Spouse’ would make it seem that the remaining t|m’ers are not ‘smart enough’ realize how bad it is at CPB, although that’s probably not what she meant to imply. Truth is there are many reasons why we would want to stay without overdosing on Koodaid. Pride of working on some great accounts, opportunity for advancement, free orange juice, Firm mattresses(concrete floors) to ‘sleep’ on, Alex’s hair…

Anyway, there are good and bad things about many companies. When it comes down to it, you might as well work at the ‘best agency in the country’ if it’s right outside your door and you can make what you want out of it.

‘she’ = they.

Justsayin – you can call me by my name (Miles Fenn) as “the original author” is a pretty weak attempt to pretend we don’t know each other. I could write a lengthy response and pick apart your points as you did ours but I honestly don’t think that’s necessary. Your choice to remain anonymous speaks volumes to your character and the type of person it takes to work at “the best agency country”. I may be wrong about a lot of things I say and believe but at least I have the spine and self-respect to put my name next to them.

And FYI – kissing your employers ass only works if they (and their lawyers) know who you are. If you want a new guitar next xmas you better step up your game.

By no means were my comments meant to imply that the Texture employees remaining at CP+B were any less intelligent. Apologies if my opinions came across in that manner.

I have a great amount of respect for all and wish everyone nothing but the best. I’m happy for anyone who has successfully managed to adapt, and happy also for those that have moved on to other opportunities. Kudos to all.

“Best”, however, is a subjective term. Perhaps they do the best work. Bottomless budgets can buy some big ideas. Personally, I believe being the “best agency” requires more corporate responsibility when it comes to the people who make you look good. I expect more.

miles, by ‘original author’ I meant whoever posted the original thread on the egotist. You had the first response, you are not the original author of this thread. I’m sorry if that wasn’t clear enough.

Spouse, please re-read my post. I know it wasn’t your intention to call us stupid but you say things like that it discounts what the remaining people are doing with their lives which is carrying on and making the best out of the situation.

none of my comments were meant to pick apart any of the comments posted by the readers of TDE, only to correct the original statement made by TDE. 27 out of 50 employees does not equal ‘very few’. pretty nit picky, I know, but an incorrect statement.

As for kissing ass. hardly. Please take note, quotes used on the internet often imply a disagreement with a stated opinion. quote unquote.

from someone at cpb, just let me just say, you can make it work and enjoy it without staying late and working weekends all the time. the smart folks are the ones who stay long enough to figure out how to do it. and it doesnt take that long

I agree with Todd. Plus, it does take a special kind of person to work at CP+B. Apparently those from Texture Media were unwilling participants in a merger and the CP+B culture hit them blindsided. They weren’t able to figure out how to make it work. I worked at CP+B and loved it. I built a great award-winning book and left to get three times the salary I had before I worked for CP+B. Hard work pays off, if you are willing to put in the time with a good attitude.

I agree with the intent of what Todd is saying, though I might quibble with his choice of the word “smart” to describe those who chose to stay at CP+B and by inverse un-smart those who did not stay. It’s not a question of whether or not individuals who left were smart enough to understand what they were being asked to sacrifice to succeed at Crispy. Never was, and never will be.

And let me be clear, I have the utmost respect for those TMers who have chosen Crispy as their path. Texture gave us a unique opportunity to geek out on how best to build Web applications, and for that I give a big thank you to Andrew, Ivan, and my TM colleagues. I learned a lot and made some small contributions. Most of the responses written previously are expressions of that loss…what was and is no more.

As for MINIapolis’s claim that I just don’t understand that hard work pays off, gee, I never realized that. And that, dear readers, is sarcasm.

My point about hard work was more apropos to the second half of the sentence: “if you’re willing to put in the time with a good attitude.” That is really what the employee interview/screening process is about at CP+B. The culture. Nothing sucks more than working with a bunch of whiners and nay-sayers. It’s like a cancer. ugh

Just face it. The CP+B employee and the TM employee are just cut from different cloths. Stop villianizing CPB. To each his own.

Right. What I said.

The work week might shorten to 65-70hrs if they stopped riding tricycles in that LDS-style fortress.

Texture was almost certainly not profitable before the acquisition. They were probably willing to sell to just about anyone… and that makes perfect sense. Because running a business is about BUSINESS before culture. Not all acquisitions happen because the leadership envisions changing the world. Sometimes it’s just about changing their financial predicament. Sorry for the dose of reality.

Yeah, thanks for the inside info. None of us realized that mergers are all about business.

You’re welcome, snootbogie. Maybe you should read the comments so that you realize how many readers aren’t as in-the-know as yourself. What’s that? You’re not a very strong reader? Let me help… here’s the FIRST sentence from the FIRST comment: “Texture had something really special and in hindsight a lot of us former employees are still baffled as to why the partners decided to sell. “

two words

shit happens

Whoa, easy there tiger. I assumed Miles was being rhetorical. Thanks for enlightening me though. Really appreciate it.

I was – I just didn’t know how to spell rhetorical. It’s the cloth I’m cut from.

All you CP+B and Texture folks, can’t we all just get a bong? Oh no he di-int…. All the comments in this post echo the Denver/Boulder mid-sized agency market dichotomy to a tee:

We pride ourselves on living balanced lives. Most of us have stinted in NY, LA, SF, Chicago, but we value our laid-back environments and the community of people we work with equally alongside opportunities to enjoy life outside of work in Colorado. Duh, right?

On the other hand we find ourselves muttering “Denver is tiny” ten times a day. There are more sexual predators in Capitol Hill than there are people in our industry. We’re a cow-town — work is not limitless, competition is small, clients are not A-list $1m+ 100% of the time (no not you, My Client. You are the best evar), pay is not tremendous, profits are not huge. The business of our business is hard work and requires extra effort here.

In any merger/acquisition there will usually be cultural fallout from that value intersection no matter how synergistic the cultures and business plans. It seriously sucks for all parties when a hard-working passionate guy who has (deservingly earned) the respect of the community like Schell becomes martyred by the community. But I know Dave & The Ex-tures will go on to do great things, and I know there are Texture people at CP+B still who understand how to lead shops and projects successfully as well as anyone in the country, and I hope CP+B can mine and nurture the talent they’ve retained.

In the year ahead we all know we will see more compression — more mergers, more fallout, more layoffs, more freelancers, more new agencies arising from the ashes. No matter on whose windshield you end up grasshopper, just remember it’s all a natural business cycle … in a small town. Put yourself where you want to be with your work/life balance, put yourself in an environment that matches your values, and give it your all.

If you can’t, don’t worry, life will end in 2012. Ok love you bye-bye.

I don’t know what all the whining is about. CP&G who I so admire for the sacrifices and brilliance it took to build, has created a vision of mass appeal to those who treat there work like a career. I hate victims and if you stay employed by them and bitch then get the &%$* out.

As an owner of my own shop, the last thing I ever want is someone walking my halls that is not happy. Finger pointing is only a disfunction and last I heard CP&B does not have locks on there front doors, lock anyone to there computer and or super glue your eyes open . I do hope the whiners find peace and someone dumb enough to pay them well and let them have every sunny day off.

One possible explanation is that Andrew Davison, then CEO of texturemedia, sold the company to avoid the backlash of this particular scandal that surfaced in August 2011. Part of the reason that this was not made public sooner was because texturemedia and the boulder county court were in bed to suppress this incident, and holding the victim hostage so he could not speak publicly about it. Amazing that half the world interested in corporate compliance and white collar criminal activity know about texture and their acquisition, but largely very few texturemedia employees knew about the scandal. In this video, Todd Lilienthal, who was behind the scandal actually sold out his fellow texturemedia coworkers in an interview with Boulder Police. Curious who wrote this editorial back in 2009...they likely knew but kept quiet...also likely worried about gov't backlash. Texturemedia employees still have grounds for a suit against their coworker Lilienthal and Davison for their criminal conspiracy and coverup that cost over 50% of them their jobs. Here is the video that was released in 2011 with all factual content from the source.


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