2014 was a pretty fantastic year in the Snyder house. In lieu of the Christmas letter of old or Facebook “Year in Review”, here is our Buzzfeed-style list of the top 17 reasons 2014 was the best year. Ever.
17. Viva Vienna
Viva Vienna is a Memorial Day Weekend festival held every year in Anne’s hometown. Anne and I went to Viva Vienna when we first started dating in 2007 and somehow had missed it every year since. This year we finally made it back, gorging ourselves on funnel cake, fried oreos, and bacon-wrapped turkey legs.
We embraced the full carny experience, from various competition-based events to win stuffed animals valued at approximately $0.11 apiece to ignoring the stares while a 6’4″ dude gets strapped into to a pop-up roller coaster (all for a mere 8 tickets!)
16. Real WAFC Season
When we first moved back to D.C. in September 2013, one of the things I was most excited about was joining the local Ultimate league. Unfortunately due to work, travel, and wedding planning I only got to play 3 games over the first 2 seasons. In 2014, our schedules finally calmed down enough that I got to play Ultimate consistently again, something I had sorely missed.
15. Conference Speaking
One of my goals for 2014 was to speak at more digital marketing conferences. This year, I presented at SMX West (San Jose) and East (New York City), Search Exchange in Charlotte and State of Search in Dallas.
These were fantastic experiences and I gained a lot from the opportunities to hone my presentation skills, improve my public speaking, and network with some very smart folks. I’m excited to keep presenting in 2015, first up SMX West March 3-5!
14. Group of Death CONQUERED
The FIFA World Cup is Leap Year Santa: It comes but once every 4 years. The US Men’s National Team put up a helluva performance, advancing out of the Group of Death even when our own Alexi Lalas didn’t even think we had a shot. Although the team didn’t make it as far as we ultimately would have liked, Tim Howard put on a show with the single-greatest performance by any goalkeeper in the history of the World Cup with a tournament-record 16 saves in the Round of 16 Match against Belgium.
13. 8 Years of Wildwood
2014 marked my 8th consecutive year playing Wildwood and the inaugural year of Taylor Swift or Die storming the beaches of the Jersey Shore and refusing to apologize for party rockin’.
TJ, Ashley, and I maintained our 5 (6?) year tradition toasting a shot of bourbon to the old Amity days.
Taylor Swift or Die mercifully broke our 2-year unvictorious streak on Sunday morning, capping off another year where our Ultimate play paled in comparison to our overall “Wildwood performance.”
12. 3rd Annual Bros Weekend in St. Augustine
For the third year in a row the Phillya Gang trekked it down to St. Augustine for some golf, some Beer Quadrathlon, and some late night Wagon Wheel on the beach.
11. Phillies Road Trip to Pittsburgh
After a few years off, we took advantage of America’s Birthday to revive the Phillies Road Trip, our long-term goal to follow the Phils to to every ballpark in the country. This year our crew of 6 made our way out to Pittsburgh and PNC Park, which is an absolutely gorgeous ballpark right alongside the Allegheny River.
Pittsburgh itself left something to be desired (no offense to any natives out there), although we did have some fun sharing our hotel with a large contingent of Anthrocon, the Furry convention.
This summer we’ll be making our longest trip yet, cross-country to see the Phils take on the World Champion San Francisco Giants on July 11th.
10. BS Productions
Video projects have always been a passion of mine since high school when I first learned how to use Final Cut Pro. As perennial Master of Ceremonies for our Fantasy Football league, my standard each year is to put together an Opening Ceremonies more epic than the last. In 2011, I made a 122-slide PowerPoint. In 2012, a 30-minute movie. In 2013, an interactive performance featuring everything from live music to party games.
2014 will be my last year hosting Opening Ceremonies, so I had to go out with a bang. I wrote, filmed, and edited a 92-minute feature film documenting Brad Snyder’s journey to discover the origin of our trophy: The Golden Banana (think like The Shiva from The League).
I poured my heart and soul into this project and could not have felt more accomplished with the final product. It was a cool challenge to act both roles of the same scene and shoot it in a way that feels natural…or at least natural-ish. I got to experiment with all sorts of creative concepts: Game of Thrones parody, hip hop music video, Drunk History, and a Let it Go musical. I even got to pay tribute to one of the best Disney films of all time while simultaneously welcoming baby Joey to the league (fast forward to 1:20 if you’re impatient):
9. Bamboo Chalupa
I’ve been interested in starting a podcast for a while. Hosting a podcast appeals to me because a podcast is like a blog post you don’t have to write down, making it a lot more fluid process and one that suits my particular style. Kevin Phillips and his Verbal Tap MMA podcast gave me the inspiration I needed to finally give it a shot. I had been talking to Nate Shivar, a good friend and former colleague, about the lack of solid digital marketing podcasts and we ended up launching Bamboo Chalupa in September. We put out 10 episodes in 2014, our most popular an interview with the ever-impressive Aaron Levy.
We plan to keep Bamboo Chalupa going in 2015, if you’re interested in learning more about digital marketing we’re putting out a new episode every 2 weeks and they typically run between 25-30 minutes. Check us out on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.
8. Villanova 5-Year Reunion
Pretty crazy to realize it’s been 5 years since our Villanova Commencement. The Class of 2009 made a strong showing at the Reunion this year, reliving the Novafest days of old with an epic afternoon tailgate party capped off by dinner and dancing on Mendel Field.
7. Bachelor Party
One of the first major activities of 2014, our crew invaded the Tropicana in Atlantic City and sent me our of bachelorhood in style with stand-up comedy, craps, and a not-insignificant number of bourbon toasts.
6. Friendsgiving & Brettgammon 3.0
Mr. and (soon-to-be) Mrs. Gropp hosted a fantastic Friendsgiving that showcased the extraordinary culinary talents of Jorge and Garbanzo and more food than we could possibly ever eat (did we really need that second turkey, Merola?). After the meal, we embarked on “2 hours” of Brettgammon, the greatest party game you’ve never heard of.
Firefly was something of a “bucket list” event for me and even with impossibly high expectations, I was still blown away. 4 of us crammed an ungodly amount of camping and tailgate gear into my Jetta and hoofed it out to Dover, DE for the 3-day music festival that goes down as one of my favorite weekends of all time (which is a testament to how great 2014 was that this comes in at #5).
In all, we saw 20 different bands over 3 days, some of which I don’t know when I’ll ever have the opportunity to see again (and certainly not in such an electric atmosphere). Highlights included Childish Gambino, Foo Fighters, Outkast, Imagine Dragons, Arctic Monkeys, Weezer, White Panda, KONGOS, Cage the Elephant, Third Eye Blind, Pretty Lights, and New Politics.
Prior to this year, Anne and I had never taken a vacation just the two of us, not even a long weekend. For our honeymoon, we wanted somewhere that neither of us had ever been and somewhere that gave us the opportunity to do both active and relaxing activities. When Anne suggested Peru, it took us about 4 seconds to realize this was a perfect destination. Neither of us had ever been to South America, the time difference was only 1 hour so no jetlag, and flights were insanely cheap allowing us to save money for more exciting events.
We spent the first week in Cusco and our schedule was packed with outdoor and adventure activities. We went horseback riding and ziplining through the Sacred Valley, whitewater rafting down the Urubamba River, and hiking through the Sacsayhuaman ruins. We visited the Cochahuasi Animal Shelter and went shopping at the outdoor Pisac Market. We rounded out the first leg of the trip with a 2-day trip to Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
After an exhilarating albeit exhausting week in Cusco, we were ready to take it easy as we flew back to Lima. Even a pretty intense bout with food poisoning couldn’t ruin the end of the greatest trip of our lives.
This June, I took the largest step of my professional career leaving my agency job as Director of SEO to start my own digital marketing agency. After some early stumbles, Knucklepuck has started to hit it’s stride as we look forward to 2015. We move into our office space on January 1 and I’ve hired my first employee to begin January 12th. I have the sincere privilege to work with a number of fantastic clients from Philadelphia to Orlando and beyond and while the company’s growth must remain deliberate to maintain the quality of service these clients deserve, 2015 already shows tremendous promise to become another banner year for Knucklepuck.
When Anne and I lost Braveheart in December 2013, we were devastated. A dog instantly becomes a part of your family and we were heartbroken to lose a member of ours. When Anne came across a litter of Staffordshire/Hound puppies at Homeward Trails Animal Shelter, we instantly fell in love with the little fuzzball that would immediately become the center of our family. We couldn’t be happier to have Lemon in our lives and look forward to many more years with her trolling along at our sides.
18 months after my Villanova proposal, we returned to our alma mater to officially cement the relationship that was originally forged on that same campus 7 years earlier. Words cannot express how amazing it felt to say “I Do” to the love of my life in front of all our friends and family and I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with the most extraordinary woman I’ve ever met.
I also have to give major props to Anne and her idea to buy a polaroid camera for our guestbook…we got some amazing shots at the after party!
Here’s to an incredible year and many more to come!
Welcome! My name is Brett Snyder and I am the owner of Knucklepuck, a digital marketing agency based outside Washington D.C.
When I'm not studying and practicing SEO, you can find me hanging out with our dogs Lemon and Hippo, going to concerts, catching up with friends, exploring new hobbies, or spending time with my son Colin.