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Who we are

As strategic marketers, we create value by delivering competitive advantage. That means understanding that the problem presented isn’t necessarily the whole problem. {Experience suggests it isn’t.} That success means more than “on time, on budget.” {The best solutions alter the competitive game in your favor.} That addressing the root problem is usually less costly than treating individual symptoms. {Every dollar invested in competitive advantage pays dividends over and over.}

Rick Scherle

Rick attended the birth of the digital age, and has been personally involved in many of the key technology advances of the last 35 years. His contributions include hardware and software design, distribution channels, public service, writing and speaking, and for the last 20 years, marketing strategy and execution.

Detailed bio

Rick built his first computer from telephone parts at the age of 12. In 1970, while working for Motorola Aerospace, he developed an early digital watch design. He was 16. As manager of Western Region Software Support for Digital, and later as CEO of Software Techniques, he helped drive the transition from mainframes to minicomputers. His pioneering work in the creation of the PC market includes helping design the floppy disk drive (Diablo Systems) and the daisywheel printer (Qume Corp.), as well as managing the hardware and software development for the award-winning Logitech handheld scanner. Moving from technology design to marketing and distribution, Rick built the first computer superstore in California (for ComputerCraft) in 1987.

His interest in 3D computer graphics led him to teach at Foothill College, where he wrote the class text-book, and later to a position at Silicon Graphics where he created their world-class developer program.

In 1992 Rick was appointed as Director of Technology Business Development by the Governor of Utah. His successes there included the creation of 23,000 jobs through the commercialization of university, research lab and private sector technology. This so-called “Utah Miracle” made it the “#1 state to start a technology business”, and resulted in cover stories in Time, Money, Inc., National Geographic and The New York Times. Rick earned the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Economic Development for his achievements.

Rick co-founded Bravo! Marketing in 1995, growing it to $20 million in billings, while launching some of the biggest Internet successes, including the world’s largest web hosting provider (Hiway Technologies), the world’s largest email provider (Critical Path), and the leading cost-per-action banner advertising network (ValueClick). In his role at Bravo!, and as a consultant, Rick’s clients have also included Apple, Claris, Cisco, Crescendo Ventures, Heidrick & Struggles, Hyundai, IDC, Logitech, MicroAge, NEC and Simple Technologies.

In addition to his role at Zoe Street, Rick is an instructor and faculty adviser for the American Management Association.

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AJ Herrera

Despite an outwardly normal appearance, AJ is in fact an incurable technology marketer. While sane people are debating the merits of the designated hitter rule over a round of Red Hook, AJ is secretly revising a client’s tagline on the back of a coaster, scheming about a product launch strategy, or mentally re-editing the copy for an ad he delivered weeks ago. Like many problem marketers, his disorder began at an early age, and has sadly consumed the better part of 20 years.

Detailed bio

Please be sensitive to his condition. Even an innocent “Hey AJ, what do you think of this headline?” can set off a bout of binge consulting that takes weeks to bring under control.

AJ’s tragic story includes executive level marketing positions at NetBooks and other technology firms, as well as a dozen years as the co-founder and president of Bravo! Marketing, which he and his
co-dependent enabler Rick Scherle grew from a two-person consultancy into one of the top 50 interactive agencies in the US.

The sordid consequences include two public offerings (ValueClick, the world’s largest pay-for-performance advertising network, and CriticalPath, the world’s largest email hosting provider), and the marketing programs that built Hiway Technologies (now NTT/Verio) into the world’s leading web hosting firm. Against the advice of concerned family and medical professionals, they went on to develop breakthrough communications for PeopleSoft, Cisco Systems, IDC, Heidrick & Struggles, Korn/Ferry and dozens of others. Make no mistake, these people have a sickness.

Some might think that technology is “cool”, that “everyone is using it”, that bringing new products to market is some kind of kick. Succumb not to this temptation, but gaze instead on the tangled wreckage of AJ’s existence. If that can prevent just one person from sketching logo concepts on their hand during the climax of Iron Man: The IMAX Experience, then his life has not been a total waste.

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