What is The Gen Z Frequency?

I was selected by publisher Kogan Page to read an advance copy of one of their upcoming titles, The Gen Z Frequency (scheduled for release on September 28). Over the last few weeks, I’ve worked my way through the text with relative ease. It’s a well written, fun book.

In what I would now call the quintessential guide-book for marketing to Gen Z, authors Gregg Witt and Derek Baird explore everything from finding relevance with the cohort to the procedural steps needed to align with Gen Z’s culture and expectations. The book’s tips and frameworks are explored via well-known brands, but examples including Nike, Lego, Carhartt, Glossier aren’t the same stories you’re used to hearing. There are even some case studies from unnamed companies exposing how they’ve failed trying to implement tactics to reach Gen Z. It’s all incredibly insightful.

Here are some key take-aways about Gen Z that you’ll get to explore even further throughout the book.


  • is comprised of individuals born between 1996 and 2011 (approximately)
  • is estimated to be a little more than 1.9 billion, or 27% of the global population, with the most significant proportions being in South America and Sub-Saharan Africa
  • is estimated to be between 62-65 million people in the US
  • has a minimal tolerance for companies that don’t take the time to get to know them individually (you’re going to need better data)
  • expects brands to see and adapt to trends before they become cliched
  • rejects being called anything besides Gen-Z, as the notion of a cohesive generation is nonsense to them
  • is open to all ethnicities, races, genders and orientations; and expects that those values will be reflected in the brands they are loyal to
  • manage their social media profiles more like brands, having watched and learned from Millennials mistakes of over-sharing
  • tends to reject companies without a clear brand story that they can ascribe cogent values to, if they can’t find out who you are and what you stand for, they won’t risk buying from or working for you
  • seeks brands that connect with their passions and interests, and contribute to their lives (are you adding value, or selling stuff)
  • expects “unique”, hyper-individualism is the norm
  • wants to interact with companies who produce content that makes them feel cool and look unique, using all the digital assets available today like emoji, artificial and mixed reality, stickers, etc.

The latter half of the book is filled with deliberate examinations of and recommendations for building a marketing ecosystem that works for Gen Z. The authors expose you to their “youth culture engagement playbook”, which, by itself, is probably worth the price of the book. They also break down specific social strategies for each and every dominant digital platform, explain content strategies and appropriate brand voice development, and they explore how you can parlay engagement with your content into the creation of a vibrant community.

There’s a lot here, and the book doesn’t waste words. Gregg and Derek are the experts that have been working with the biggest brands in this space, and their experience and omniscience is clearly evident. It’s an engaging and illuminating look into the next big driver of our economy, and subsequently, your organization.

The Gen Z Frequency is a worthwhile way to start exploring the audience you’ll be working with, and the marketing operations you’ll need in place in the not-so-distant future.

My 2018 Personal Balanced Scorecard

Every year, I take a different approach to resolutions. Since 2013 I’ve crafted a personal balanced scorecard to guide my personal behaviour, and, hopefully, improve it. Most of this is pretty personal to me, but I’m happy to talk with anyone about it if you have questions.

For the last few years, I’ve broken my scorecard into four categories; mind, body, spirit, and wallet. Not every item fits perfectly into a category, but I’ve done my best to organize them in a way that seems most logical.

Mind / Learn 

  • Read books for 30 minutes a Day
    • Goal: Read 24 Books in 2018
      • New
        • Great at Work (Jan)
        • Empower: What happens when students own their learning (Jan)
        • Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus (Jan)
        • Blood, Sweat and Pixels
        • Slaughterhouse Five
        • In Praise of Slowness
        • Die Empty
        • Superbetter
      • Reread
        • Octalysis
        • Nonsense
        • Ready Player One
        • In the Line of Fire
  • Use Duolingo for 1 Lesson Per Day
    • Goal: Learn basic Mandarin
  • Spend an hour a week training w/ After Effects
    • Goal: Fluency in core skills
      • Organization
      • Masks
      • Animation Curves
      • Kinetic Text
      • Motion Titles
      • 2D to 3D images
      • Screen Replacement
      • Double Exposure


  • Workout every day
    • Goal: Weight – 250, BMI – <35
      • Walk 30 min or 1 mile or Leg/Arm/Core Sets
      • Daily back stretches
  • Zero soda intake
    • Goal: reduced heartburn and sleeplessness
      • Focus on 1 gallon of water daily
  • Visit physicians for ailments
    • Goal: Improved mobility/health
      • Left knee
      • Spine T7-T10 area


  • Meditate for 15 min a day
    • Goal: Relaxation/Mindfulness
  • Engage thoughtfully about how weekly church scripture applies to my life
    • Goal: Build habit of bringing message home
  • Volunteer 1x per quarter
    • Goal: Support orgs/missions I care about
      • Focused on core focus areas of hunger, shelter, or equality
      • Possible: Iowa Homeless Youth Shelters via Nationwide Volunteer Match


  • Pay off smallest fed student loan – $3k
    • Goal: Reduce monthly bill obligations
  • Do all 100k maintenance to Venza – $1.2k
    • Goal: Preserve condition
  • Do all 50k maintenance xB – $500
    • Goal: Preserve condition
  • Contribute to kids 529 plan
    • Goal: Double existing balances

Ankeny School Board Vote 2017 – Candidate Round Up

The Ankeny Community School District will vote the nominees to three School Board seats on September 12 (the second Tuesday in September per school policy). Since there’s only a couple of days left to do your homework, I thought I would collect some of the disparate resources for Ankenians to make it a little easier to review the nominees, and hopefully get you interested enough to get out to the polls (search for your address on the Secretary of State website since school vote polling locations could be different than where you normally go).

Meet the candidates.

I’ve pulled a short list of links together for you to get to know the candidates. I basically pulled each persons Des Moines Register interview, a link to their Facebook Page (if it exists), and their LinkedIn profile (if it exists). These are essentially the only resources out there for which you to base your opinion on, which seems lacking.

James F. Ford

Susan Gentz

Aaron Johnson

Lori Lovstad

George Tracy

What about endorsements?

A few local and/or state organizations recommend candidates, so here’s a roundup of what I could find on those:

ISEA Recommended Candidates

  • Jim Ford
  • Aaron Johnson
  • Lori Lovstad
  • George Tracy

Ankeny Education Association Recommended Candidates (sourced via FB posts from the candidates)

  • Jim Ford
  • Aaron Johnson
  • Lori Lovstad
  • George Tracy

AFSCME Iowa Council 61

  • Lori Lovstad

Iowa Women for Progressive Change Political Action Committee

  • Lori Lovstad

Hear them in their own words.

The Ankeny Area Chamber of Commerce (thanks Chamber!) held a public forum that allowed candidates to field a common set of questions, both planned and from the audience. The video is of the full session, so if you’re going to watch it’ll take 90 minutes.

When you’re ready to vote…

After digesting all of that info you feel like you’re ready to vote, review the sample ballot to make sure you understand the process (pick no more than three). The polls will be open from 7:00 AM until 8:00 PM and the polling places for this election are listed within this publication or you can visit the Secretary of State page to look up your School Election location.

But wait, there’s more.

This won’t be the last you hear about the Ankeny School board this month. On September 18 the existing board is scheduled to vote on how to handle more than $43,000 outstanding lunch debts, so stay tuned for that.

If you know of other links (endorsements are especially hard to find) that I’ve missed, drop them in below. And thanks for spending some time getting to know these candidates, and giving local elections the attention they deserve!

What Can Video Game Design Teach Marketers?

It’s more than the gamification buzz that’s been thrown around.

 I’m a total nerd. It took me a long time to realize how big of nerd I really am though. In high school, I was friends with people that played sports (when I did not). Being friends with “jocks” clouded my self-assessment accuracy, and drowned out all of the Pokemon I watched which would have normally allowed me to easily establish my nerditude. I also spent a lot of time playing video games, both with friends and alone. Video games offered a source of connection and camaraderie with jocks that I couldn’t fake on the court/field/pitch, and an escape into a more heroic self when I was alone.
College was a lot of the same. Other than my roommate, I didn’t socialize much. I spent most of my time studying, learning how to film and edit video, learning to do a little bit of coding, and re-watching movies pursuant to my film criticism courses. All of that learning led me down the marketing/communications route, which I fell in love with. Marketing, coupled with my newly found interest in criticism of movies (and in turn everything else I encountered) let me down the road of looking at all of those video games I’d played differently.

Fast forward a dozen years, and here I am. Sucked down a flooded rabbit hole of marketing, drowning in buzzwords and phrases preaching “starting with why”, “building the customer life-cycle experience journey round”, and “content and context and con-queso are kings”. As I’ve struggled to parse together the thought-leadership from a million different and disconnected applications of modern marketing theology, I think I’ve found a group of disciplined professionals building a framework for what modern marketers are trying to say.

That group of unwitting pioneers are video game designers. Game design is a complicated thing, grounded tightly in behavioral psychology. That obviously closely aligns it with marketing as a discipline, but game designers have been testing and perfecting their craft differently than marketers for the last 30 years. To that end, I think we have a lot to learn. And while I’m obviously not a video game designer, I feel confident enough that my understanding of the concepts will allow me to make the connections over to a marketing application far better than the standard analogy post we’d usually get from the idea.

I’ve spent some time researching and dissecting this already with the intention of putting together a blog post. Unfortunately, I’m already well over 5k words and feel like I could finish with 3x that. So, I’ve decided to turn it into a (small) book. I know nothing about writing a book, or getting it edited. I only know how to put words down on “paper”. So that’s where I’m starting. I’m excited about how it’s making me think differently, and I can’t wait to keep working on it.  I’ll keep you posted.


PC Upgrade

Last month I decided it was time to do a new custom PC build. It wasn’t much on the “budget” side, but I did already have a Nvidia GTX 1070 that I’d picked up last year, so I didn’t have to worry about a GPU.

Here’s a capture from CAM of the system upon completion:


Down the left-hand details pane you’ll see the basic stats.

It’s not an uncommon setup, so I’m not going to run any benchmarks. I’m not overclocked (obv. with the 7700), so no cool water cooler.

Eventually I’ll add in some LED strips to take advance of the jled port on the mobo, and some LED Corsair Vengeance RAM to brighten up the guts a bit. Oh, and the case is last year NZXT s340 (last year’s model, of which the new came out 10 days after I completed this build.)  Even for being last years model, I do love this case. The cabling options are choice, I’ve never had a box that looked this clean.

[picture incoming]

The primary reason for the build was handling HD video for editing in Premiere. As I seem to be doing more and more video worklately , both professionally and personally, my old rig just wasn’t keeping up. I picked up the GPU last year to help out my six year old i7-870, and it did its job for gaming, but the system still struggled to keep up on big video file renders.

Alas, new beefy desktop that should last another 6 years. Also, building a PC is so much more fun and rewarding that buying one. But if you’ve read this far, you already knew that.

Why I Believe Global Warming / Climate Change Science

It looks like the Iowa Legislature is heading towards a nice little discussion around science in the classroom, particularly around our two favorite areas; climate change and evolution. Since it’s a discussion we’re going to have, I thought I would take this month to explain not just what I believe, but why I believe it.

Part I – Climate Change, True or False

It is my opinion that climate change is real. My opinion however, is based upon the facts presented by scientists over the last 30 years. Everyone gets to look at the facts and decide if they believe it or not. My position is that the temperature of our planet has increased temperature faster in the last 117 years than it ever had in the last 150,000 years.

The factors I based my decision on vary, but there are simple facts to consider, like:

  • 2016 (and 2015 before that) were the hottest years on record across the majority of our planet. More importantly, 16 of the 17 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001.
  • Total global sea ice has shrunk an average of 13,500 sq miles (basically Maryland) every year since 1979. Hotter planet, less ice. Less ice, hotter planet.
  • Global sea levels have been measured rising faster in the last century than ever before.

And there are more complicated factors, that I don’t fully understand, but I put my trust in the conclusion of scientists. You know, the kind of experts we’ve trusted to create lasers that heal human vision, that have all but eradicated the majority of major diseases from first world countries, that have put a man on the moon, and put a camera the size of  car on a planet four hundred million miles away. Science and our methods are nearly flawless, because they’re rigorous, and built to be tested until we know with near-most certainty that our assumptions are proven.

So, anyway, some of the more complicated factors are:

  • Extreme weather events has increased. Living in Iowa, over the last few years at least it seems like we haven’t experienced much of this since the floods of ’93. But like I said, I trust the scientists that measure this stuff around the world.
  • Another measurable impact is ocean acidity. As CO2 is emitting into the atmosphere, it is absorbed into the ocean. When absorbed, it changes the pH balance of the water. If I remember right, a neutral pH is something like 6. It’s not a big scale. So even small changes impact living organisms ability to survive.

Increased weather events can also refer to an increase in the lack of weather events. A lack of rain. A lack of snow. And it’s not just me that’s concerned. Farmers across our state, and throughout the world have seen the impact and are trying to understand what’s next, and how we cope. You can read about that here, here, and here.

Now, there are some pretty common attempts made to try to debunk climate change, and instead of trying to make you read through them, my friend hank made a video you can watch that you’ll enjoy more than reading.

The most important thing I’ll call out from the video is an agreement that scientists are not stupid. Again, the methods they follow don’t allow them to be. They don’t have hidden agendas. If I were a scientist, I would guess that I would much rather spend my time inventing something that might make me rich, rather than spend my time trying to find some shred of evidence that might help more people understand. 97% of actual experts agree, which by all measures and means in a consensus.

But, even if I could convince you global warming was real, the next step is understanding how humans are contributing to it.

Part II – Man Made, True of False? Hint: Yes, it’s us.

I could point you to even more data and analysis, but those aren’t the things that actually really convinced me that it HAD to be us. What really sold me was an understanding of how inconsequential humans were on this planet until recently, both in volume and impact. A really great example is this video from the American History Museum:

You see, humans have gone off the rails in the last hundred years. The last HUNDRED years. Compared to other mammals, and arthropods, and whatever else had existed for the hundreds of millions of years before us. We have bent this planet to our will, but the volume of us and demand of our needs is now tipping the balance of the carbon cycle.

But that won’t make any sense unless you understand the carbon cycle. So here’s Hank again, but doing his thing on Crash Course:

So the Earth has carbon. And lots of it. And it can handle lots of it. But the carbon that all of us humans are pumping into the atmosphere are too much.

One final  thing to supplement the history of humans on the planet video above is this. It’s a fun graphic depicting the movement from -4 degrees Celsius in 20,000 BC to a center line (the 1961-1990 average temperature) in 8,500 BC and up through modern day. The temperature does increase and decrease, but only a couple of degrees Celsius over thousands of years. So you really only have to look at the bottom of the graphic to see that the increase in temperature has done in 116 years something that usually takes tens of thousands of years.

Humans. And a butt-load of us at that. Burning more fossil (carbon based) fuels into the atmosphere than ever before. That the planet isn’t able to “absorb” back into stored carbon quickly enough, so it hangs in the atmosphere.

It’s like putting an extra blanket over the Earth while it’s trying to break a fever.

My Homelessness Video Script

Dialogue(conscious thought dialogue)

Good Morning Iowa, welcome to November!

We’re digging in to fall, the holiday season is nearly upon us, and so as we take a break from plowing through the bucket of leftover Halloween candy, it’s a good time for chit-chat

I love Iowa. Were an amazing state, but even great states can always do better at a few things. 

So let’s channel that sugar energy … because its time to talk about something we’d rather not think about, especially this time of year.. homelessness. I know, I know. It’s not fun and it’s complicated, but it’s really important. 

Every individual person has some preconceived opinion about what homelessness is and what creates it, and how to fix… no, how to manage it. But, just, bear with me. Let mash the reset button on those preconceptions, and try to reconstruct how it is we think about homelessness. 

But before I can get into this, we’ve got to look at some definitions because it’s… complicated.


Homelessness is primarily documented by counting persons suffering at a point in time. To capture this, collective data is reported by various sources like shelter/nutrition/etc, on how many folks are trying being served by providers. Homeless individuals are defined in the social services space as being sheltered and unsheltered. But the point in time numbers only include people who are able to be counted. Unfortunately there are always individuals that aren’t able to be counted. 

Another measure, usually of service capacity is the number of “beds” available. Beds are important for understanding overnight occupancy, but in terms of need and movement throughout the shelter system. It lets you compare demand to supply. (You’ve maybe heard “beds” used in the hospitality or healthcare industries, which is pretty appropriate, but I’ll get into that in a minute. Like the fact that we only have 2 psychiatric beds for every 100,000 residents, which places us last in the country, compared to the national average of 12 beds per 100k residents. http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/editorials/2016/06/11/editorial-mentally-ill-locked-out-psychiatric-care/85550738/)

The final term to understand, and this one is important, mostly because of money, is the definition of Chronic Homelessness. You see, the federal government has a definition for chronic homelessness so that it can allocate funding to social service organizations. Anyway, to be chronically homeless, and I’m paraphrasing, you must: have a disabling condition AND either have been homeless for the last year or have had four episodes of homelessness in the prior three years.


Types of housing

 • Day Shelters 

 • Emergency Homeless Shelters 

 • Halfway Housing 

 • Permanent Affordable Housing 

 • Drug And Alcohol Rehab

 • Supportive Housing 

 • Shared Housing

 • Rooming House or Boarding House 


Cut scene to location 2

Open letter to homelessness – Why you gotta be so complicated? As humans, we have a hard time fixing complicated things. No no no, not even that, we even have a hard time just grasping the tenets of complicated problems, let alone fixing them. And here you go mixing economics and health and religion and interpersonal relationship into a drudge of confusion. 



OK, we’re done with definitions. Now for some Iowa stats. Here are basic numbers on Iowa that you probably already know:

 – 99 Counties [state map], 

 – 3.2 Million People 

 – and 1.1 Million Families – links to the last census data in the doobly-do (that’s the comments area). 

And then, here are some homeless statistics. According to the 2015 Point In Time assessment (which is done every year the last wed of January), in the state of Iowa we have: 

  • 12,918 individuals who were considered homeless and sough support from some type of organization

  • And 8,174 individuals who were at risk for homelessness and sough support from an organization

   § 21,092 Total

 – Included in those numbers are the 2,424 families made up of 5,800 people; including 3,392 children under the age of 18 years (who were served by shelters, transitional housing or permanent supportive housing.)

So 1.1 million families in Iowa, and 2,400 sought help for being homeless or at risk of it. That’s 0.22% of our population, which is incredibly manageable for a group of people who pride themselves on their “niceness”. But helping them happens one person, and one family at a time. No silver bullets here.

When those individuals receive services, they self report the cause of their situation. Those causes are aggregated into four buckets: 

 • 52% say economics caused their homelessness. 

 • 16% say disability, including mental health or an addiction 

 • 21% report a breakdown in their support network. and

 • 11% respond Jail or other causes

And while they may report one of those causes, a problem with one almost always snowballs into problems with the others. 

So we’re left with a complicated situation, where different forms for homelessness impacting individuals of different cultures, backgrounds, and family composition require different resources and funding. And the way we’ve traditionally handled this, at least in Iowa, is through an amalgamation of funding and service providers (all with noble intentions) that have to operate across a multi-year spectrum moving individuals through a train of housing providers, all the while trying to stabilize each individuals health, employability, income, and most importantly relationships. 

Wait, what? Relationships Seth? Yes. 

The relationship piece of this is really where most homeless starts and end. Most people have a certain aptitude in life and relationship skills, so that when economic or other troubles arise, they’re able to find social support through friends and family. When extraneous factors limit someone’s ability to turn to those individuals (maybe drugs or crime or plain old struggle with human courtesy), they’re left to find a way through the system we’ve established. And then, if they struggle with that, the slide from short term, to long term, to chronic homelessness happens. And the further someone wanders into the maze, the more difficult and most costly it is to help them back out. And all of that doesn’t even touch on the psychological consequences of being homeless, being both internally against yourself and stereotyped by others.

That’s a lot to take in. But the reason I wanted to do this video was to illustrate that even though the situation seems limited (20k people out of more than 3 million), it’s incredibly complicated for each individual facing homelessness, both in the personal obstacles they have to overcome, but also in the system that we’ve designed. But just because it’s challenging, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. If you’re interested in making a contribution, volunteering time or clothing or food items, I’m putting a list of links below for you check out.


A lot of this got edited out, but here’s the video if you want to watch: https://youtu.be/2WrBXNcvNgQ

2017 Personal Balanced Scorecard

# Mind / Professional

  • Read 1 book p/month (track at Goodreads.com)
  • Dedicate 30 minutes p/night to reading
  • January: What Is Not Yours is Not Yours
  • Write 1 long-form blog post per month (sethmsparks.com)
  • Dedicate 60 min p/week to research, draft, and/or proof.
  • Vlog 1x per month (YouTube.com/vlogwithseth)
  • Dedicate 60 min p/week to research, draft, and/or proof.
  • *Continue*:
  1. Reading Scott Monty and Chris Penn weekly newsletter
  2. Reading “gold marketing” RSS feed daily
  3. Reading DSM Register/Wash Post/Fox News/etc daily

# Body / Health (Track at twitter.com/healthyseth)

  • Lose 5 pounds per month (tracked at loseit.com)
  • Q1: Follow daily-do’s –Q2/3/4: Changes TBD based on success
  • Do not eat out for lunch
  • Maintain strict portion control at dinner when hungriest
  • Walk a 10 minute mile
  • Walk 30 minutes 3x p/week, address speed and difficulty and progress
  • Establish benchmark end of Q1
  • Sleep 8.5 hours p/night
  • *Continue* spine health regiment, focusing on pain management and flexibility
  1. 15 min routine each morning; simple back stretches, side-walks, hamstring stretches
  2. 30 min routine each night; advanced back stretches, squats, clamshells, & 10 min of icing

# Spirit / Religion

  • Prayer each morning and night
  • Meditate 10 minutes p/day
  • Reflect on weekly church message for 10 min 3x p/week
  • Read a spectate book concurrently on the topic of religion and spirituality for 30 min p/week
  • Contribute time for volunteer work monthly
  • Begin screenplay big board and draft
  • *Continue paying attention and being grateful for the little things

# Financial

  • *Credit*:
  1. Reduce credit to revolving monthly $0 balance
  2. Snowball excess payments in order until paid off
  • *Belongings*:
  1. Reduce volume of owned goods via sell/trade, replace with digital versions when applicable
  2. Collect unused items and donate monthly
  3. Observe 1 day p/$10 rule to assess transactions before buying

Leveling Up – Backyard Additions

This post was written on July 29, but went unpublished as I’d hoped that it could be edited in favor of our situation. It has not, so the original post is being published, along with a more recent update.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Hampton. Our new dog, as of May 2016.


Yes, he’s adorable, and fluffy, and a living creature that needs access to the outdoors, for.. well, his business. Naturally, that meant that we needed a fence to contain the little guy. We’d always talked down putting in a fence, but since 2 of 3 sides of our yard was already enclosed by neighbors fences, we decided it would be for the best to finish off the enclosure.

What we had forgotten to consider, was that if we were putting a fence in, we needed to move quickly on installing a concrete patio. It was something that we’d both wanted to put in eventually, but getting a fence for a dog would now speed that up. The space outside our walkout basement is ideal for hosting and lounging in the evenings. But as far as new construction goes, we didn’t have a lot to work with in it’s original state.

So, we reached out a few local contractors around Ankeny and Central Iowa to get bids for 396 sq ft of concrete patio, laid out in the design below:












The  bids varied, with the minimum being $3,500 (Fox Concrete) and the highest being $7,500 (Tom’s Concrete). We’re incredibly frugal, and after having read many positive reviews on our communities Facebook group about Fox Concrete being really reliable, we pulled the trigger.

The project started out as you’d expect, with Fox very roughly marking the layout of the patio.


We also did some quick landscaping prior to the work as well, since Fox said they would move the rock wherever we wanted. Bonus points for them.


On June 9 we left town on vacation and they began the work. By the end of the day 2, they had everything poured, and it looked really good based on the pictures. There was a lot of debris left at that point, but they had to come back to clean up so we weren’t worried.


On June 21 we returned home from vacation, and were excited to check out our new outdoor living space. We were so excited, and at first it looked great. But as we inspected more closely, we were alarmed at the volume and composition of the remaining debris (concrete bits, wood, nails, rebar chunks, dirt, and rock). It was heaped around the patio and left for us to clean up. Not cool. (And you might notice the cracks in the cement there too, which I’ll get to in a second.)


The mess of course prompted a call to Fox Concrete, and after a bit of complaining and the sending of photos, they were nice enough to come check it out. They hauled away THREE garbage bags of junk that was left from the original work and, honestly, could have taken another couple. But hey, they came back and cleaned up, so I was happy.

But that left us with the biggest problem of our brand new patio: hairline cracks across much of the concrete’s surface. At this point, we were both upset and worried that something was wrong. Was it still structurally sound? Would the cracks get worse over time, after rain or over winter with ice expansion? Even if we went with the cheapest option, even if the problem was purely cosmetic, it was incredibly frustrating to know that our $3,500 project had landed us a patio that we were embarrassed to show off.


This of course led to another call to Fox Concrete, who assured me at that point that they would come back out and remedy the “cosmetic flaws” with a concrete overlay. Our first assurance of a fix was during our conversation on on June 23, and on July 1 Fox provided a picture of this overlay as a recommendation (which is probably the cheapest and easiest option, which I said I was fine with).


I’m hopeful that they return to finish up the job, so that I can call this project complete, but as of now, July 29, I’ve not heard any confirmed day, week, or month that they plan to come back. I’m sitting tight, and hoping for the best out of the little contractor that could, but I’ll be honest, it seems like we’re getting strung along by Fox, which is sad since I live two blocks away from the owners house.


** Update – August 1, 2016 – We’ve been told that the work is scheduled to be completed at the end of the month. 



** Update – August 31, 2016: End of the month, with no word. Follow-up eluded to calling us on Friday September 2 to schedule completion.



** Update – Monday, September 19, 2016: Another follow-up, and blown off again. Now stretching the delivery window to sometime within 1 year “for warranty work”. It was, albeit, the nicest let down I’ve had from a contractor.


** Update – Wednesday, September 21, 2016: Two days later and nothing…


** Update – October 8: Still nothing from Fox, and I haven’t sent any more reminders.

Ok, so here’s a Spring ’17 update. 


March 31 – Texted Brant to ask about the fix. Response was that once it dried up and warmed up they’d be out.

May 12 – I followed up again. Brant responded that they would be back the first week of June.

June 13 – Another follow up. Reply was that “once a crew opens up” they’d be over.

June 19 – Brant texted me a request for my address.

June 20 – Crew showed up for work, and rather than being able to do an overlay (as he’d said last fall) they were going to have to rip out the cracked patio and install new in 3 of the six sections. He said they would return later to use a tint-able seal to make the concrete match old to new.


Here’s how the concrete replacement went:

Now, I’ll give them credit. The new slab looks a ton better than the old one. The guys that did the work did great work. I’m writing this on Aug 21, and two months later the new replaced portion has held up as expected.

July 25 – Inquired about the staining to match the grays.


August 21 – But as you may have expected since I’m writing this, we’re STILL not completely done. That bit about coming back to stain to match the old and new, still hasn’t happened. As you tell from the picture above of the dry patio, there’s some ugliness from with work. but when it rains like it has much of today, it looks like this:



So, we’re closer. But in a different predicament now waiting on another fix. But at least the patio should be stable right? :) At this point, I’m not sure if they’d even be able to stain the patio without damaging the landscaping.

I guess we’ll find out if they ever call me back…