Roger Baldowski has returned to his Atlanta roots to become the new Creative Director here at FortyFour. His addition to the team ensures that the office will never be bereft of creative vision nor banjo music. Here’s a peek at the man behind the myth.
Where are you from?
What’s your favorite part of Atlanta?
I will be rediscovering the city I left nearly 10 years ago. This city has changed so much, I’m very excited to get to know it all over again.
What brought you to FortyFour?
My desire to move back South and work at a small, independent agency again.
Give us the elevator pitch you have ready when someone asks you to explain what a creative director does at a digital agency.
Creative Cheerleading. I work closely with the creatives to build beautiful and intuitive digital experiences, getting clients excited about new ideas and innovative approaches.
Tell us one of your secret talents.
Music. I play banjo and drums.
Cats or dogs?
Is this even a question? #doglife
Pineapple on pizza: yes or no?
If you were a professional wrestler, what song would play as you walk out into the ring?
Putting People on the Moon – Drive By Truckers
What do you like most about 44?
So far, the people. Coming from NYC, it’s very refreshing to meet and work with so many kind, humble and talented folks.
What career advice would you give to someone starting out in your role/industry?
Be smart, be nice. This industry is chaotic and can eat you for lunch. Have a POV but with keen self-awareness. Know your audience and know the opportunity at hand. Also, just pay attention. The best insights and solutions come from personal experiences. Find a pain point and use technology to solve it.
If you could meet anyone (fictional, historical, alive, whatever…), who would it be and why? Bill Murray. If I die, I want to come back as Bill Murray. The guy is famous for being himself and doesn’t care what anyone thinks. My dream day would consist of a cold beer and a round of golf with Bill Murray.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like inside the mind of a UX Designer, take a glimpse into the world of Witt Langstaff’s life. From his secret talents to his penchant for dad jokes, read all about our South Carolina-born Solutions Lead!
Where are you from?
Hartsville, South Carolina, USA, Planet Earth. It’s in Darlington County, which has a huge NASCAR speedway – You can do Daytona, you can tackle Talladega, but you can’t tame Darlington (at least that’s what they say.) I was born in a hospital not far from the track.
What brought you to FortyFour?
I was working for a startup, and my good buddy Graydon is the Director of Content here – he mentioned 44 needing some help on the UX team so we made it happen. I really like the folks who work here, and saw it as a good opportunity to learn and grow. It’s been great so far!
Is it a real holiday? We’re not the arbiters of real holidays here at FortyFour. We just build great websites and read great books. Here are some books beloved by the folks who work here building those aforementioned great websites.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
I first played the text-based game when I was 14, and instantly fell in love with the quirky British humor and space escapades. Finding out that it was a book series, BBC radio and TV series was a pleasant surprise!
-Adam Darby, Developer
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
It encompasses the use of how language can be used to paint pictures of very specific actions vividly, while also making light of incredibly serious topics. That, and the fact that the entire story is a jigsaw puzzle that needs to be read entirely to come close to understanding it as a whole.
-Bret Ausura, Project Manager
Where We Want to Live by Ryan Gravel
Because what kind of Atlantan are you, really, if you haven’t read this?
-Ryan Anderson, Director of Marketing
Tenth of December by George Saunders
I love reading Saunders for his zaniness, humor, and ear for internal dialogue, but in this collection you can tell his writing has become much more humane. It’s great.
-Brian “Bryan” Zirbes, Business Analyst
Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver
Really amazing to read *while* in the western states. I read this during a backpacking trip in Utah and I felt like I was right there with the main character (the book is based in Arizona). #BestSummerReadEver
-Kelsey O’Manion, Project Manager
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
This was the first novel I read with strong latina characters! This novel follows 3 generations of Chilean women through their trials and triumphs after WWI. It has magical realism elements as well and is a beautifully written novel!
-Karla Fleming, Business Analyst
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
I love how it encapsulates the practice of architecture in the 1920s and 30s. Howard Roark is a polarizing protagonist who stirs healthy debate about the ethics of design, the role of individual ego, and deviation from collective design values. I also just really appreciate Rand’s command of language.
-Paul Landon, UX Designer
Dune by Frank Herbert
Who knew west vs middle east politics and the world’s utter dependence on oil could be so entertaining when rewritten as the best science fiction novel ever?! Frank Herbert, that’s who.
-Hadi Seyfi, Designer
The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend by Bob Drury
I first read it a few years ago, but it has stuck with me–especially since I recently went to the Powder River Valley in Wyoming and saw some of the battle sites. The way we teach US history glosses over Native American history and culture, so it was an eye-opening read; I learned a ton. I don’t usually love histories but the writing in this book was really engaging.
-Liz Simms, Copywriter
A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava
A Naked Singularity broke every rule regarding a first novel: It was long, dense, and weird. That’s why it was originally relegated to being self-published. But over time its genius shined through, and it’s now regarded as a classic of early 21st century literature because of its piercing look at the harsh realities of the New York City criminal justice system, its hyper-literate but playful style, and its unexpected use of pulp and noir elements.
-Graydon Gordian, Director of Content
Bluets by Maggie Nelson It feels a bit odd to call a book of poems my favorite, but there’s no book I’ve returned to as many times in my life as many times as I’ve picked “Bluets” back up, like an old friend. Besides, I’m not even sure I think of it as poetry to begin with so much as I think of it as… a meditation. Nelson begins with, “Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color.” From there, “Bluets” falls into a pool of itself, lyrically exploring themes of love and grief and the volatile ways the two coexist in our lives. Nelson’s writing feels like a revelation every time I return to it.
-Rachel Perkins, Copywriter
Have you ever wondered what a business analyst does on a day to day basis at a digital agency? Our resident BA, Karla Fleming, is here to explain it to you, while also sharing her thoughts on podcasts, latino food, and the always raging debate here at FortyFour—pineapple on pizza.
Where are you from?
Give us the elevator pitch you have ready when someone asks you to explain what a business analyst does at a digital agency.
As a business analyst, my job is to retrieve business and technical requirements from the client and verify that the solutions we are delivering are in line with the client’s needs. To do this, I am writing user stories and I stay in contact with the developers to make sure that they have all of the information and tools that they need to deliver the solution needed.
What has been your favorite client project so far and why are you proud of it?
Phobio has been one of my favorite projects so far because I have been able to see the project develop and change from the time we won the business until we launched the site.
What’s something you’re really, really good at cooking?
I never enjoyed cooking until just a few years ago. I’m still working to specialize in good everyday meals. But desserts are my favorite type of food to prepare! My specialty is a cranberry apple pie recipe that was passed down from my mother-in-law!