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Thank you, Renato

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By Abby Breckenridge

Thank you, Renato

Renato is leaving 2A. This is a big deal for us and comes with so many emotions.  

There is no doubt we’ll miss him. Renato started 2A on his own back in 2010, then Daniel and I joined him a few years later. It’s that entrepreneurial spirit, the sauce that emboldened him to start 2A, that we’ll miss the most. He brings the guts it takes to break out on his own, paired with the vision to see how something can be made from nothing. That, his sunny sense of humor, and his deep commitment to caring for the people around him will leave the biggest legacy.  

I’ll always remember the first time Daniel, Renato, and I got together. It was a breezy summer dinner around a fiery grill in my backyard, after Renato and I had finished the MBA program at Foster and Daniel had moved to Seattle with his girlfriend (my childhood friend). It was a lot of fun, included a lot of wine, and set the stage for the fruitful relationship we now share.  

Since then, the three of us have led 2A through countless wins and humbling challenges—a journey that looks more like a doodle than a straight line. From a team of four to almost 40. From one amazing client to over 40. From a shared room in a to-be-torn-down house, to 6,000 square feet on Capitol Hill. And from the youthful idea that all the steps are laid out in front of us to a more seasoned view that plans are just that.   

What we do know is that 2A, the team, Daniel, and I are all stronger because of Renato. We also know this change is a great move for all of us. Daniel and I will get to flex our skills in new directions as Renato’s departure, even with all the planning, will surely leave gaps. There’s an ocean of new possibilities for Renato as he unleashes his entrepreneurial spirit toward new ventures. And while our partnership in 2A is over, breezy backyard dinners around a fire will surely continue.  


Renato named to PSBJ 40 Under 40

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By Theresa Howe

Renato Agrella, 2Adaptive

What do a wine distributor, senior program officer, and marketing consultant have in common? Brian Maletis started Fat Cork with the aim of getting the best bubbly from the vintner to your front door, Saara Romu is a Senior Program Officer with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation working to eradicate health crises around the world, and Renato Agrella is the founder and CEO of our very own 2A.

What they have in common is that all three are all graduates of the Michael G. Foster School of Business at the University of Washington, and all three have been named to this year’s Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. We could not be more proud.

Renato is thrilled for the opportunity to engage with such an intriguing and accomplished bunch. Check out the article and some pretty sweet pictures on the Puget Sound Business Journal, or learn more about the other 40 Under 40 honorees.


Back to the future, Part Lin

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By Forsyth Alexander

Back to the future, Part Lin

Image by Rachel Adams

2A embedded consultant Lin Martinez’s three favorite movies are Back to the Future, Parts 1, 2, and 3. How she ended up at 2A has an intriguingly similar storyline. Lin came to the U.S. from Colombia when she was 27. In 2008, she started working for a Microsoft vendor, happily collaborating with clients on clear scopes of work and then focusing on projects. In an interesting twist of fate, she met Renato Agrella, future 2A founder and partner. They bonded over their shared Latin American connection and established a friendly, professional relationship because they kept bumping into each other at events.

During this time, she also met Laura Templeton. Laura is now an ace 2A consultant, but in those days, she was a Microsoft consultant. Laura hired Lin for her contracts, and Lin switched projects. Little did Renato, Lin, or Laura know at the time what this would mean for Lin’s future.

Time for dancing in the streets—or the YMCA

Lin loves music, especially Juanes, Shakira, and Carlos Diva, and she also loves dancing. In a recent conversation, she told me about how, in Colombia, every holiday is celebrated with dancing and music. “In Colombia, we start the party in the day, and before long, everyone is dancing—sometimes in the street—and it doesn’t stop until very early in the next morning, after people run out of energy,” she told me.

So, when a move to California offered an opportunity to use her love of music and dancing in her career, she grabbed it. As a wellness coach in Redwood City, she learned Zumba, became an instructor, threw her heart and soul into healthy living, and began teaching senior fitness classes. This path led her to a role at the YMCA of Silicon Valley, which took her right back to Washington. There she became the Healthy Living supervisor in 2017 and the Director of Health and Wellness at the Greater Seattle YMCA in August 2020. Then, COVID-19 hit.

Making her way back to you, 2A

Running a health and wellness program during a pandemic became pretty much impossible, and the YMCA cut back on staff. But nothing keeps Lin down for long. Throughout her career changes, she had kept in touch with Renato. When he learned she was in the job market again, he offered her a position at 2A. That’s how she ended up back with Laura and back at Microsoft, helping its Dynamics 365 partner team tell stories through customer successes.

“It was amazing. I didn’t meet anyone in person, and I still haven’t, but we get things done anyway,” she says.

Her positive attitude: Es más fuerte, es más fuerte

In Juanes’s hit, Me Enamora, he sings, “Es más fuerte, es más fuerte,” which translates as “it’s much stronger, it’s much stronger.” This describes Lin’s positive attitude perfectly. When the pandemic kept her from her usual health and wellness routine, she found new joy in walking her dogs, Pinky and Hannah, on a trail near her house. Pinky and Hannah are never far from her side—sometimes you can see them in conference calls—and they keep her grounded and smiling.

“You never know what the future might hold. But if you work hard, help people, and enjoy what you do, something good will always be waiting around the corner,” Lin says. 2A couldn’t agree more—it was great that Lin was waiting around the corner to come “back to the future” and join us right when we needed her.


2A’s favorite albums of 2020

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By Kyle Luikart + the 2A Team

2A’s favorite albums of 2020

The beginning of the year had me slipping out of the office between meetings, spending what should have been my lunch money on tunes from our neighbor, Everyday Music. Digging through crates of musty cardboard sleeves and jewel cases was a wonderful way to come up for air after being submerged in the world of cloud data platforms and AI/ML. But round about March everything changed, and I no longer found myself next to the record store between meetings. And my commute was axed, so things like FM radio, and podcasts silently slipped out of rotation. My listening habits changed, and I began looking forward to old-music Mondays and new-music Fridays, unintentionally leaning into music recommended to me by algorithms at a time when human interaction had taken a most extreme decline.

Creating marketing materials for machine learning puts an optimistic glow on what technology can do for us, but there’s a lot that goes into how an individual connects with music—time, place, receptiveness, emotion—that’s harder to train into a machine learning model. Just like when your favorite DJ plays a new song on the radio, a good friend suggests an artist they love, or you uncover a gem in a bin after sinking countless hours sifting, discovering new music can bring a tiny thrill of connection.

We hope you connect with some of 2A’s human-selected favorites of 2020.

Adrianne Lenker – Songs (folk/indie) – “Recorded in a tiny Western Massachusetts cabin, Lenker’s songs capture the solitude of 2020 without making it the primary subject. Dreamy finger-picking, gripping vocals, and poetic lyrics make the Big Thief front-woman’s solo album a must listen.” – Mike Lahoda

Bad Bunny – YHLQMDLG (Latin trap/reggaeton) – “Not necessarily what we did this year since the pandemic kept us in and far from concerts, however this album fueled my running in 2020 with its Latin beats and overstimulating electronic arrangements.” – Renato Agrella

Becky and the Birds – Trasslig (R&B/pop) – “Becky and the Birds track “Paris” transports me to a lighter, sexier place, which I needed a lot this year. And those magical, fairly-like vibes carry over to other tracks, building an album that is both moody and uplifting.” – Abby Breckenridge

Chromatics – Faded now (electronic/indie) – “There are so few new albums that I dove into this year, but Chromatics Faded Now is the album that stood out the most to me and made its way into my rotation of regular music pretty easily. Chromatics is such a distinct sound—club bass beats, heavy synth, echoing vocals—and this album follows that legacy. It did really make me miss shows and cocktail bars where this music bleeds seamlessly into the background. Here’s hopin’ for new places to listen to this in 2021.” – Clinton Bowman

Khruangbin – Mordechai (psychedelic/funk) — “This trippy album has been our hypnotic soundtrack for the last several months. It’s been a welcome space to spend time in.” – Daniel Schmeichler

Left at London – Transgender Street Legend, Vol. 2 (alternative/indie) – “Since 2020 had meant staying local, I’ve been listening to KEXP all day long and came across Left at London’s Transgender Street Legend, Vol. 2, which I’ve kept on repeat.” – Annie Unruh

LOOK MUM NO COMPUTER – These Songs are Obsolete (electronic/rock) – “A one-man band and DIY superstar, Sam Battle does some outlandish circuit bending work and skirts using traditional software based production tools to create unique and deftly performed synth rock.” – Kyle Luikart

Neil Cicierega – Mouth Dreams (mash up/electronic) – “Internet titan Neil Cicierega strikes again with his latest ‘Mouth’ mashup album. This fourth installment features remixing and reworking everything from classical orchestra pieces to pop music to commercial jingles to create bizarre, idiosyncratic, and comedic songs. Dreams of a baby wishing it could be a train, a super psycho demanding not to touch his bed, bells ringing on the moon, and rocking Ewoks form a surreal tapestry of sound that had me laughing and baffled in equal measure.” – Thad Allen

Run the Jewels – RTJ4 (hip hop/electronic) – “Killer Mike and El-P released ‘RTJ4’ two days early in response to the protests against police brutality after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. This year has been hard, and this album beautifully captures this very raw moment we’re all living.” – Erin McCaul

Taylor Swift – Folklore (indie folk/alternative) – “Like many, I underestimated Taylor Swift. She released not one but two new albums during a global pandemic. “Folklore” is layered and sharp, and it is the album I find myself asking Alexa to play again and again. Taylor’s voice as a true storyteller, musician and songwriter only gets better.” – Laurie Krisman

Yves Tumor – Heaven to a Tortured Mind (electronic/pop) – “Yves Tumor creates funky experimental pop that feels like a romantic fusion of Prince and David Bowie. When I want to escape from 2020 on a psychedelic audio spaceship, I put on this album.” – Nick Dwyer


Flush with growth

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By Abby Breckenridge

2A on the Inc. 5000

I’m eight months pregnant, and if there’s any life event that’ll make you pause and think about growth, it’s building a human. Combine that with last week’s announcement that we’re 686th on the Inc 5000 fastest growing US companies list and you’ve got us reeling down a path of nostalgia, reflecting on all the ways we’ve grown as a business.

When I was pregnant with my now two and a half year old, 2A was renting desks in an old house, sharing space with a talented troupe of creatives. This week, we’re finishing up our second expansion in the Broadway Building. As I headed out on my last maternity leave, Renato and I strategized how to keep our team of 10 busy, happy and productive. This time around, we’re working with a talented line-up of over 30. Our client list has more than tripled, we’ve launched an animation practice, and have a new development team.

In addition to the obvious stats, we’ve grown up in a lot of ways too. We’ve expanded our benefits package to better reflect our values, including a new parental leave policy. We believe that doing great work requires being well, and that it’s the company’s job to be part of that wellness. We spent the summer hashing through and writing down what we’ve learned over the years and launched a consultant training program. And we’ve improved our hiring process, getting clearer about what it takes to be a successful member of our team and sharpening how to find it.

I’m pretty flush in growth right now—myself, my family, the 2A team—and I am feeling grateful for it. As Mark Zuckerberg recently posted on Facebook, it’s important to take time off for new children, and I am pretty sure the office will still be standing when I get back. At this rate, I’m sure it will have grown.


Getting to know Jonathan

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By Abby Breckenridge

Jonathan with Hololens

I remember Jonathan from graduate school at UW Foster School of Business, he was the president of the class behind me and Renato.

I knew then that he was friendly and charismatic—the kind of guy everyone wants to know, and who chooses to know them back. I knew he was curious, with lots of interests that made for good conversation. I knew he was ambitious, as all class presidents are, and devoted to his community.

I didn’t know then, that like me, he grew up in the northwest and would later raise a family here. Jonathan is a 4th-generation resident of Washington state. He attended tiny Nooksack High School, which is a few miles from the Canadian border and surrounded by dairy farms.

I didn’t know that he’d go on to build a rich and fruitful career in marketing, with work spanning retail, software, wireless, consumer electronics, and the emerging space of Internet of Things (IoT).  Nor did I know that Jonathan has also held a wide variety of jobs that he now refers to as “character-building”: security guard, delivery driver, barista, janitor, seafood processor, nurse’s assistant, postal service mail sorter, and produce salesperson at Pike Place Market.

And I certainly didn’t know that we’d work together at 2A, and that his thoughtfulness, creativity and domain expertise would become invaluable assets to our work.

With almost four months at 2A under his belt, we’re grateful to have Jonathan on the team. We’re learning that he’s unfailingly prepared, and that we all benefit from it. We’re getting to know that his seniority in our field spans both the subject matter of marketing as well as the life skill of understanding humans and how to work well with them. We’ve also gotten a taste of his passion for virtual reality and curiosity for disruptive technology.

You should get to know Jonathan too. Maybe he’ll help you with your launch strategy or make your messaging more customer-focused, or maybe you’ll grab a beer and talk about the possibilities of IoT. Drop us a line.


Back to school

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By Theresa Howe

Paccar Hall, Foster School of Business, UW

Recently, Renato, Abby and I returned to the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business for a “Meet the Firm” event, where we chatted about our work and aspirations to a group of graduating MBA students. We’re all Foster alumni, and remember attending many of these events during our time as students.

We hope to find some students who are interested in joining the 2A team as we continue to grow. The team building process is a careful journey, but returning to our roots at UW gives us the confidence that the people we’re talking to have great character and the excellent preparation afforded by the Foster experience.

Having graduated less than a year ago, the journey back to campus felt to me like a typical day from last year, albeit far more relaxing for me now than it was then. It was nice to run into friendly faculty and visit staff I worked with during my time in the MBA program.

Most exciting though, was to be able to share the experience of being part of the 2A team with people from this year’s graduating class. It’s great to see them interested in our work, asking excellent questions about our growth. The MBA program is an intense, stressful and rewarding process. I spent two years wondering what my next move would be, trying to land in a position where I could excel. I’m extremely happy I ended up as a member of the 2A team. I’ve learned a lot in my first five months, enjoy each work day, and look forward to continuing my growth as 2A expands into the future.

Interested in learning more about 2A? Let’s talk!


Giving a damn with Greendrinks

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By Tauschia Copeland

2Adaptive at Greendrinks Holiday Fair

Great showing last week at the Seattle Greendrinks Holiday Fair: Give like you give a damn, hosted at Tesla Motors in South Lake Union. Over 40 vendors were there to show off their local and sustainable goods and services.

We were excited to get the chance to talk with Seattle’s green business network about our new partnership with Triskele Collaborative. We’re teaming up to help companies gain the business benefit of sustainability through employee, building and business wellness.  2A brings our expertise in making the sustainability business case while Triskele specializes in developing healthy workplaces. We provide the communications strategy, track project metrics and help ensure sustainability efforts are seamlessly integrated with an organization’s overall strategy.

Renato and I met with heaps of interesting people working for companies from all over the city dedicated to creating thriving businesses and a thriving environment. This included our host, Tesla, which has been leading the charge (pun intended) with the highest performing car batteries in the world, and recently released their patents so anyone could leverage their research and replicate their work.

The Greendrinks Holiday Fair was created to give people the opportunity to buy gifts that provide the greatest positive impact.  Yes Magazine found that when you buy locally, your purchase has four times the economic impact through job creation, tax collection and re-spend within the community.

Thanks Greendrinks, for a great event and for the opportunity to make a difference


Thai cooking and meeting the 2A team

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By Tauschia Copeland

2Adaptive's Thai cooking team

A few weeks ago, the 2A team got together to chop, stir, skewer, and in the end, EAT! My first time meeting anyone at 2A, besides the delightful Renato and Abby, was an evening of Thai cooking at Sur La Table, and it was a great way to get to know the team.

The gathering got me excited about 2A, not only because I finally made a decent phad thai after many failed attempts, but also because I got to know the nuances of different team members without having to ask questions like “What is your working style?” or, “How do you engage with people?” Many of my questions were answered just by interacting at the kitchen counter, which is why I’d recommend a cooking class get-to-know-you for any group.

Those who enjoyed cooking asked questions and experimented while those who didn’t typically cook got to feel the glory of putting together a home meal without having to do the dishes. It was a great time for all involved: I gained some talented team members as well as a new dish in my dinner repertoire.