The Pirate Code






One good thing about being in lockdown over the last eight months has meant that I’ve had more time to read. I used to eat out and go to bars. Now I stay home and read. #sad Once upon a time I was an avid business book reader. I’ve read books by Jim Collins and Malcolm Gladwell and Seth Godin and Ken Blanchard and lots of other authors whose names I can’t recall right now. The last book I read, however, entitled Be More Pirate: Or How to Take on the World and Win by Sam Conniff ranks as one of my favorites. This is a classic, must-read, business book. If you believe that Bold Brands Win, you should read Be More Pirate. In fact, I was so impressed with the 290-page treatise of the Golden Age of pirates that I bought a copy for everyone at Madison+Main. Unlike other books I’ve forced them to read in the past, they actually liked this one. The book and our recent discussions have started a rebellion of sorts.


In our first week of discussion, we all talked about the book. In our second week, I gave them a task to complete — identify one silly rule and break it. This was fascinating and liberating. This week, I asked them to give me their #1 rule in their personal Pirate Code. For those of you who are not familiar with the Pirate Code, many of the Golden Age pirates such as Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts, Edward “Blackbeard” Teach, and buccaneer Henry Morgan wrote simple and effective articles which were the rules pirate captains and their crews lived by. Although many of the 18th-century pirates never met each other, it is fascinating that their different Pirate Codes contained many of the same rules. For example, rule #1 aboard a pirate ship was a variation of “no plunder, no pay.” In the business world this is akin to saying “without sales, we don’t eat.” The Pirate Codes were simple, straightforward, and effective.


Author Conniff suggests organizations create their own Pirate Codes to “shake things up” and simplify complicated policies and procedures. In true piratical fashion, my crew of hearty Madison+Main-iacs surprised and delighted me with their rules. Some were practical and some were sentimental. Others were wise and worldly. A few were downright rebellious. But all in all, there are some good pieces of advice here, worth more than 800 pieces of eight.





  • Mollie Banks: “Trust your instincts.”
  • Leanne Ferry: “Kill them with kindness.”
  • Derek Fair: “Don’t sail with something you’re willing to lose.”
  • Kent Brockwell: “Observe, Process, Speak — Do things in.that.order.”
  • Katie Rossberg: “Don’t give a f#&k.”
  • Allison Nida: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
  • Carissa Ghaffari: “Do no harm, but take no s%@t.”
  • Jenna Farley: “Be the nail that sticks out.”
  • Erin Rebmann: “Do everything with a purpose, so you never have to say you’re sorry.” 
  • Molly Whitfield: “Practice mindfulness.”
  • Art Webb: “Half the battle is showing up — the other half is being early.”
  • Andrew Simpson: “Be open to new ideas and challenges.”
  • Kaitlin Thomas: “Be kinder to myself and others.”
  • Mine: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”


Monday, October 19 — Never Losing Focus



To kick off the week, Creative Director Art Webb and Account Executive Andrew Simpson met at WindsorMeade to snap some shots of their Assisted Living and Memory Care floor plans, fitness center, and much more. As always, special thanks to photographer Cade Martin for working hard and delivering a great work product for our client. 





Tuesday, October 20 — New Logo Alert!



On Tuesday we unveiled a new brand identity for the Virginia Association of School Nurses, as part of our ongoing work for this great organization. VASN is fighting to get a school nurse in every public school in Virginia. You can join their fight here on Facebook or by contacting your local state legislator and letting them know the health of our school children is important to you, especially in these times.


Wednesday, October 21 — Lights, Camera, Action!



M+M President Molly Whitfield was recently interviewed by Richmond BizSense for an upcoming article about her new role in our agency’s captain’s seat and her creative vision for our future. On Wednesday, we welcomed senior reporter Jonathan Spiers for a physically distanced tour of the Madison+Main Worldwide HQ. Molly spent two hours working on her hair before the photoshoot.




Thursday, October 22 — A Peak Experience



Art Webb and Andrew Simpson were back at it again on Thursday. They made the big drive over the mountain to visit our clients at Hermitage Roanoke, where they shot an interactive virtual tour video with J&D Photo, similar to an indoor Google map. It was a productive day, phenomenal shoot, and we’re excited to share the final product soon.







Friday, October 23 — Arrgh You Ready For The Weekend?



A. Smith Bowman Distillery, my favorite craft distillery in Fredericksburg, Virginia, continues to get great press, this time in Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine. This wonderfully written article explains how Fredericksburg is a great road trip for foodies and whiskey lovers. And the best news of the week? I found a bottle of Bowman Brothers Bourbon at the ABC Store in Urbanna. Who says pirates drink rum? Captain Dave drinks good bourbon. 


Earlier this week, I created a Facebook page for my new-to-me tug boat. I’ve never owned a boat. I don’t know what I’m doing. Follow me and my adventures aboard the Tug Life. My naivety and inexperience should provide you with top-notch social media content. Let the LOLs begin. #goingoverboardonsocialmedia








A Few of Our Favorite Events


Go Forward Team Ride

4308 Hermitage Road | Richmond, VA

October 24, 2020 | TBD


Our good friend, Bobby Kelland from Aflac, is gearing up for his second non-profit bike ride this year on behalf of Andrea Starr and the Forward Foundation. This time, it’s a 50-mile ride from Bryan Park to Ashland and back. The ride will raise money to support single mothers and provide them financial assistance for quality childcare, as well as educational workshops. Donate today online or text “Donate” and the amount to 804-352-2820 (ex: Donate $5) to help him reach his $15,000 goal by October 24.


VAEEC & Virginia Energy Sense Chat

Virtually join in on Twitter

October 28, 2020 | 1-2 p.m.


Hop onto Twitter on Wednesday, October 28 to see a live chat between the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council and Virginia Energy Sense. Log on to get energy-saving tips, learn about available incentives, and get recommendations from energy-efficiency experts. Click here to follow VAEEC on Twitter and click here to follow Virginia Energy Sense on Twitter.


Master Distiller’s Dinner at A. Smith Bowman Distillery

1 Bowman Drive | Fredericksburg, VA

November 14, 2020 | 6-9 p.m.


A. Smith Bowman Distillery and Earth Apple LLC have partnered to bring you a unique bourbon experience! Master Distiller Brian Prewitt will start the evening off with a guided tasting of rare Abraham Bowman Limited Edition Whiskies, accompanied by delectable small bites specially selected by Chef Jessica Wilkins. Following the tasting, Chef Jessica will treat guests to a 3-course dinner served with carefully crafted bourbon cocktails. Tickets will cost $125 per person and go on sale October 14 at 10 a.m. via Eventbrite.


Got an upcoming event you want to share? Can we come? Send us the deets!




I’d rather be a pirate than join the Navy.

Steve Jobs