It’s August in DC and there’s not much else going on, so we thought this seemed like as good a time as any to have a super exciting announcement of extreme awesomeness.
The Nutgraf Brilliance Award
Because that thing you did was truly inspired.
Once in a while we see something that makes us say “Wow, that’s brilliant! They should get an award.” We believe that bold, smart and great acts that improve the world (or even a small corner of it) should be recognized. Some days, the Internet can seem like it’s made up of 98% criticism and lunacy and 2% sense. Online commenting communities most often skew toward the cranky and unbalanced. We wanted to create a new opportunity to simply congratulate a job exceedingly well done – and spread a little good will.
The Nutgraf Brilliance Award is given to an individual or organization that does something that inspired us. Winners may or may not know they’ve been nominated, and the award is given without strings – winners aren’t asked to do or say anything in return.
To kick this thing off, we selected two winners.
WINNER: The Oatmeal – Matthew Inman
You’ve either followed him forever and bowed to his incisive wit and spare drawings, or you haven’t heard of him and you’re a lesser being for it. His comics about religion, hot sauce, movie etiquette and technology are inspired. And his explanation of common grammar errors made us not a little bit faint with excitement. He’s pithy, incisive and just the right amount of naughty as he shares keen observations of people’s highest and lowest points.
In recent months, he was the target of an insane lawsuit, which he answered with an act of extreme philanthropy that generated more than $200,000 for the American Cancer Society and the World Wildlife Federation. We can’t put it better than one of his commenters who said, “You won the Internet. There is no next level.”
Even more recently, he launched a campaign to Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum. Check it out and throw a couple of bucks his way if the spirit moves you. Tesla > Edison.
It’s no surprise that he has a vast and enthusiastic following. He’s earned it, and we congratulate him. We think the world is a better place with him and his work in it.
We think the February 2012 issue should be in the textbook on How To Handle Crisis Communications. First, they totally owned a series of failures with humor and grace. No buck passing. No trying to minimize an error. By mentioning the nickname “nightmare host,” they illustrated that they pay attention their critics, and showed awareness of their responsibility and a desire to do better.
But you should know that even on a less dire month their newsletters and other communications are a work of art. People read very little of what ends up in their inboxes. As a jaded content developer, Thea reads perhaps less than most, and she reads this thing header to footer every month.
We recently met newsletter author Brett Dunst, Dreamhost’s vice president of Marketing and Corporate Communications, at a “Reach Out And Touch You” happy hour (I mean, come on – is that great?). He seems surprisingly low-key, and didn’t sport any visible tracking devices. Asked to supply links to a couple of recent newsletters for the purpose of evaluating his nomination, he sent the info in a surprisingly charming email at four the following morning. Consider us wowed. And a little bit frightened.
But in all seriousness – these newsletters energize us and inspire us to think outside the box. This makes our work better, and makes us feel better about our work.