Squeezing the fish

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Growing up in Northern Utah, my family vacations consisted of throwing an old canvas tent, fishing gear, and us kids in the back of the 1971 Chevy pick-up for a 3-hour drive to Lyman Lake in the High Uintas.

The summer right before I turned 10, I caught my biggest trout. That trip, my dad hooked me up with a spinner rod and reel with about four feet of leader and a dry fly the locals call a Renegade — a fairly effective set-up for a kid casting from the shore.

The rain started to fall at sunset and rings lightly danced across the glassy lake surface.

I grabbed my pole and hiked the grassy shore to my favorite place, near an old beaver lodge. The rain brought the insects low, and the trout were jumping. About ten casts in, the fish struck, and I set the hook. My Shakespeare rod did that extreme bendy thing just like the ads in Outdoor Life promised.

The Rainbow trout fought a good fight, but in the end, I prevailed. I lifted the flopping fish into the air and stepped away from the bank. Before me was my largest fish, and no one was there to witness it. I needed to bring proof back to camp, so I quickly dropped my pole and retrieved the flopping fish from the tall grass. Instantly, it flung itself out of my hands. As I picked it up for the second time, it did it again. With two strikes against me, I was not going to allow a third. This time I grabbed the fish and squeezed harder, then harder. But as I upped my game, the fish seemed to match it with staggering strength. After long moments of exhausting fish wrestling, a realization came to me: stop squeezing the fish. Voila.

Four-plus decades later, I look at Bondir, the company that I’ve helped land and lead. Bondir isn’t my first time fishing in creative waters, but from where I stand, Bondir seems to be the perfect catch — a highly capable branding studio supporting productive talent with truly creative culture. We are building a solid track record and increased momentum. However, sometimes I get a glimpse of that kid, standing on the grassy shores, unknowingly squeezing too hard. Then realization returns: Don’t strangle what you’ve already landed.


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