The desire to communicate continues to drive technology innovations

Recently, I attended the An Event Apart Conference (AEA) in Seattle, Washington.  AEA is a conference for digital practitioners to listen and learn about the constantly evolving world of digital design and development. While I learned a plethora of information about new technologies and advancements in the industry, one thing stood out to me the most, the resilience of the internet, a talk by  Jeremy Keith of Clearleft. In his talk, he discussed the origins of the internet, why it was created and what led to its creation.

What surprised me the most was the idea that the internet (or global connectivity) wasn’t a child of the technological revolution. However, it was an idea that had been planted in the 19th century and had evolved to the world wide web and the internet of things.

The internet is not a modern invention

It is arguable that the most impressive modern marvel ever created is the internet.  It has successfully connected the entire world, providing every man, woman & child access to any bit of information they can think of.  It is easy to believe that the Internet was the brainchild of modern tech wizards in the early 90’s; however, the idea of the internet was established and has continuously been iterated upon, from one century to the next.

In the early 19th century

Ireland built a tower signaling system during the Napoleonic era that would warn the coast and the mainland of invading forces. One person who identifies a threat lights up the tower with fire.

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In 1837

Ireland’s tower signaling system evolves to an electrical telegraph that sends morse code messages through telegraph lines

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In the mid-1850’s

The Atlantic Telegraph Company built the first transatlantic telegraph cable. A cable that ran from the UK across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas allowing for Queen Victoria of the UK and President of the United States James Buchanan to speak together at the same time.

In 1874

Alexander Graham Bell improved upon the telegraph technology and invented the telephone, liberating us from code based communications to personal communications using natural language.

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The basic principles of communication still exist.  The core functionality of the way we communicate hasn’t changed from Ireland’s tower signaling system to the iPhone 6plus S.  Back then they needed a way to pass the information along accurately, effectively and efficiently. Today, the internet and the devices for which we access it, are just an extension of the technology established in the early 19th century.

We have push notifications, email clients, apps, web interrupts and digital alert systems that give us critical information instantly

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We can send a text from a top Pikes Peak to someone in Japan in just a matter of seconds or FaceTime your family in Indiana from an Airplane over the pacific traveling hundreds of miles per hour.

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We have devices that not only make calls as Alexander Graham Bell’s invention was intended, but we can also take pictures, order pizza, plot travel routes, do math, and use apps that place puppy noses on our faces.

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So what’s the next step in the evolution of communication?  

Currently, we are in the middle of a new communication revolution that will further push the possibilities of instant information, the connectivity of information.  This connectivity is referred to as The Internet of Things, a network of physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data.  This data is gathered and aggregated for us through our devices. Allowing farmers to determine the health of their livestock from the comfort of their living room, a mother to view her baby cam from work by using her tablet,  and a business traveler to use his phone to turn on lights, the oven or the thermostat before he/she arrives home from a long trip.

Jeremy Keith’s talk opened my eyes to the world where people’s desired outcomes have never truly shifted.  The desire to communicate together in an efficient and effective manner was solved centuries ago with the technology that was available then.  Today, every new iPhone release or new messaging app or a new device is just an iteration of an ancient solution. The good news is that we keep evolving the solution with new technology to make communication more useful, usable and compelling.

-Trevor Glassman, Experience Planner


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Colorado takes over Chicago’s Union Station

Hundreds of thousands of people pass through Chicago’s Union Station on their way to work. We wanted to shake up their routine and invite them to think about where they could be instead.

Colorado took over Union Station with 167 ads featuring our new Come To Life campaign. We offered commuters a break from the expected across backlit displays, floor graphics, clock displays, stair and escalator wraps. To support the buy, we simultaneously executed a local mobile banner campaign, hyper-targeted to reach people in and around Union Station. The Colorado Tourism Office partnered with individual destinations to create a cohesive effort that covered the entire state.

The campaign imagery was captured across the state using Colorado talent. We wanted to photograph people experiencing uniquely Colorado moments that would leave them forever changed. Most photos showed a dramatic sense of scale, with talent set small against large backdrops.

The headlines invited people to think differently about their life and what they could get out of a vacation. The goal was to be inspirational and life-affirming—a friendly wake up call.

The result is an immersive experience that will inspire countless vacations to Colorado this summer.

Denver Business Journal Coverage 

-Dave Fymbo, Senior Copywriter

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The Road to Winehouse: The Hollywood Life of our HR Generalist


Toddy Walters, HR Generalist

Before Toddy Walters began working at Karsh Hagan, she had two stints in Hollywood. Some of us have heard her sing in one of her bands — Winehouse – but she is so quiet and humble, that most of us don’t know about her adventures on the West Coast. So we decided to share the intriguing stories of her time in show business.

The first time Toddy moved to Los Angeles, she was barely 18 and held several waitressing gigs (spilled hot butter on John Cusack, got a big tip from Alec Baldwin) as well as auditioned for terrible movies and sang backup in a band for the first time. She had dreamt of living in LA since her first episode of Charlie’s Angels.

After returning to Denver, attending CU and starting a relationship with the co-creator of South Park, she moved to Los Angeles again; she was 28 years old. She did voiceovers and wrote music for the first two seasons of the show, then played Winona Ryder in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.


Also, Toddy ended up on the editing room floor of The Thin Red Line, was a motion capture stand-in for the Korean martial arts team in The Matrix 2 and 3, and was the production office coordinator for an animated feature film called Lil’ Pimp.

She laughs as she remembers those moments, especially seeing her name in the credits of the South Park film set between Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran, and Stewart Copeland, the drummer for The Police. “When I saw that, I was like, ‘I have made it!’”

Despite Toddy’s talent, show business was not easy and rarely what it seemed to be. She recalls a premiere party for a film held at Hugh Heffner’s Playboy Mansion, which included a private performance by Metallica. There was a host of celebrities, and a menagerie of birds and monkeys, one of which peed on her. Other parties were more nefarious in nature.

While working for one studio, she learned that each occasion warranted two different parties: one for friends and family, and one for mistresses. “You always had to make sure that the guest lists were separated. It was this unspoken thing that there was the party, and the PARTY afterward. The money involved was just ridiculous.”

After her comedic role in the Trey Parker movie Orgazmo, she reached the wall that is built in front of most young women in Hollywood – the roles available reduce them to objects for the male gaze. Toddy decided to follow her heart to music, where she was the director of her brand. Here, she had creative control – and if she was going to be objectified, it would be on her terms.

Toddy is our Human Resources Generalist, a move she believes was a natural progression from office production coordination. While she is still interested in acting and has recently done singing and voiceovers for radio spots in Denver, her main love is music. She performs in the tribute band Winehouse, channeling the beautiful and haunting Amy Winehouse with her voice and acting talents. “It’s not a cover band,” she explained in our interview, “and that’s an important distinction I think, because what I endeavor to do is to embody her spirit truly. Her music is so timeless, and it appeals to so many people, and it marries the two things I love, acting and singing. So I’m able to perform as her and get into her mindset.”


Winehouse recreates the late singer’s shows with the same setlists and banter. After studying Amy’s live performances, Toddy is now able to improvise while playing Amy. “She was such a funny little creature. She said the funniest things, and sometimes I’ll just say funny things as her that I make up, and it’s fun too. Her music is still so alive, even if she’s not. It’s nice to be able to give an homage, and get something back because it’s fun.” Her favorite song to perform is ‘Back to Black’.

Toddy’s advice for young people pursuing dreams in singing or acting is to stay clean and sober, stay committed, and network. “Don’t be afraid to network,” she told me. “It’s the same thing I would tell interns – meet as many people as you can, pick their brain, and just do whatever it takes. Start wherever you have to start and just get in the business, and always keep your dignity.”

-Kt McVeigh, Copywriting Intern

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Recap: Discover Colorado Roadshow


1 bus. 5 days. 7 cities. 1,100 miles. 3 national parks. 1 national monument. Hundreds of informed engaged tourism industry partners.

To celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, the Colorado Tourism Office and vendor partners embarked on a whirlwind bus tour around the state. Our goal was to promote the message of how the CTO’s work is benefitting the tourism industry around the entire state and to educate partners as to how they can get involved in CTO’s programs and efforts, which range from social media co-op to heritage and agritourism mentoring to marketing matching grants.

Our transportation for the week was a Grey Line bus, fully wrapped in stunning Colorado imagery. After a total of 22 hours on the bus, we all still really enjoyed seeing people’s reactions to the bus as we drove through many Colorado communities.

The team presented in six cities, and in each location, our audience was highly engaged and energized. Tourism has a positive economic impact on the whole state, including contributing to job creation and growth and generating tax revenue – which saves residents money – and putting the state’s tourism spending/efforts in the context of financial gain for local communities was a great way to make people see how important tourism really is in Colorado. As local communities get involved with the CTO, the end result is a stronger, more cohesive message, which will only continue to benefit everyone.

Given the overwhelmingly positive reactions we received while on the road, the CTO decided to make this roadshow an annual event. As the bus rolled back into Denver on our fifth and final day, the team continued to discuss how to engage local communities – and which cities we’ll plan to visit on next year’s bus tour.

-Carol Quinn, Account Director 

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Joe Saperstein: Coder, Biker, and Secretly Larry David


Joe is an introspective coder who seeks variety in his day. He codes, designs, and chooses which technologies to use; at Karsh Hagan, he has input on the whole project. When asked what excites him, he answered that executing something as well as it can be done does the trick. He is pleased when he can say, “I couldn’t have done that any better.”

Saperstein has been living in Colorado since 2002. On the weekend, you can find him on his mountain bike, riding with a group of friends. His proudest achievement was the first time he hit a new, large jump on his mountain bike, and overcame the intimidation it first posed to him.

Joe views himself as a combination of Larry David, a Smiths song, this guy ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, and cookies and cream flavored ice cream. He likes to work rap quotes into his daily conversations. If he won the lottery, he would buy a lot of land and not let anyone cut down the trees there. He is humble, but his work and his sense of humor speak to what a talented and funny guy he truly is.

-Kt McVeigh, Copywriting Intern

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Earth Day Recycling Program with Blue Star Recyclers

In celebration of Earth Day, Karsh Hagan held an office E-Waste Recycle campaign with Blue Star Recyclers this month. We decided to fuse philanthropy with eco-friendliness and asked our staff to bring in old electronics to recycle.

Karsh Hagan sent 300 lbs. of e-waste including working computers that just need a little TLC to Blue Star Recyclers for them to either recycle OR refurbish.

Blue Star Recyclers is Colorado’s one and only not-for-profit electronics recycle organization. We wanted to work with them because of their mission: ‘recycling electronics and other materials to create local jobs for people with autism and other disAbilities‘. When we went to Blue Star Recyclers, we saw their mission in action and found a thriving warehouse environment full of electronics and hope. 

Karsh Hagan is proud to be a part of the solution by supporting Blue Star Recyclers.

-Toddy Walters, HR Generalist

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Meet Emi Rosa, Our Resident Artsy Optimist

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Emily (Emi) Rosa is our Junior Art Director and has been with us for six months. After graduating from Syracuse University last spring, she decided to make Colorado her home. Like most of us here, she finds herself hiking in the summer and snowboarding in the winter.

Emi is an optimist, who gets excited over the tiny details. Which tea will she drink today? Who will she talk to? To Emi, each day is an opportunity for a new adventure: “I know that something weird could happen, and that’s fun.”

An ardent cat-lover, Emi’s favorite local spot is the Denver Cat Company, where she can enjoy a coffee in a room full of adoptable cats. If she won the lottery, she would spend some time traveling the world – but she believes that her passion for art direction would keep her working. She would also buy a little house on a big plot of land, and raise goats and chickens.

Emi’s desk has a reputation for being ‘cleanest air in the office’, because of her eight desk plants. Swing by – she may be listening to her favorite band Modest Mouse, but she’ll take her headphones off to say hi.

-Kt McVeigh, Copywriting Intern 

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