Thank You Phoenix


Five years ago I moved to Phoenix. It seems like only yesterday when I packed my bags at UofA, loaded up my car and drove 100 miles north to a city I had never visited, save for the few job interviews the month or two previous.

I didn’t ever expect to feel like I was a part of this city. After all I had no roots here and Phoenix has a severe lack of that community feeling that I’d grown to love in Tucson and San Diego. I saw Phoenix as an easy place to start my life and save myself from having to crawl back to the comforts of my Mum and Dad in Southern California.

But something happened. I grew to love this city, and I hope in some small way it grew to love me.

Next week I’ll be calling Los Angeles my home for the most part (more on that later). It has been an incredible few years filled with not only enormous personal growth, but success for many of my friends, family, colleagues and employers. I would be remiss to not take a second and thank some of those people for their friendship and guidance.

Employers and Colleagues

My Sitewire Family – Bret Giles, Margie Traylor and the entire team at Sitewire were the best thing to happen to me in the early days of my Internet marketing career. I learned some of the most important life and business-related lessons there, and made lifetime friendships with many of my colleagues. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Emarketing/Nomadic/PrizeLogic – While I worked some of the longest hours in my career at Emk/Nomadic/PrizeLogic, I enjoyed every minute it. The team there are some of the smartest & most creative brains I’ve ever encountered, and I’m also lucky enough to still call many of them friends.

Mighty Interactive/Off Madison AveJay Baer and the folks over at Mighty/OMA gave me my first marketing internship. I talked about that internship experience in a previous post. It was a tremendous opportunity to learn from the ground up from many of the smartest digital minds in the space including Jay, Chris Sietsema, Chris Book, Maggie Young, Jenna Broadbent, Megan Sandidge and many more. Again, many of my colleagues there are still close friends and mentors in the own right.


I am forever indebted to my mentors including Bret Giles, Scott Kaufmann and Jay Feitlinger. These men were always there to point me in the right direction, lend a helping hand or tell me when I was flat out wrong. Many of them not only were sources of sage advice, but employed me and gave me the financial means to enjoy life.

The Ignite Phoenix Team

No words can describe my admiration for my fellow Ignite Phoenix Team members including Jeff Moriarty, Oden Hughes, Matthew Petro, Jana Knapp, Dannie Moriarty, Erika Delemarre, Alan Dayley, Brian Carson and Andy Woodward. This team has worked the butts off to bring one of the best community building programs the Valley has ever seen. I simply love the team and the platform we have helped to build.


Last, but by no means least. I am immensely lucky to have an incredible circle of great friends. You all know who you are, and I look forward to more laughs, beers, glasses of wine and dinners in the near future.

Thanks again, Phoenix. The last five years have been a great run, and I look forward to the next five.



  1. Leslie Jackson

    Save some time on one of your return trips for some Jackson family time. We never got to have our dinner…. we’d love to celebrate us some Barber!

  2. Michael –

    You will be missed. A lot. Our Ignite team meetings won’t have quite the same hipness.

    I’m excited for this next chapter in your life. Know that we’re here to support you as you take the next amazing steps in both your career and personal life. Just be sure you bring McDoogle with you when you visit!

  3. It was about 5 years ago when you showed up on the scene, decked in full suit, in 110 degree weather…I love that. Shortly following, Marti and I coined the now world-famous term “Barberoni”. Since then, time has sure passed fast. It’s crazy to see you moving off to LA. But you’re a good man to do it for Tammy, and i’m confident it’ll be a rewarding life adventure for you both. Brittney and I wish you all the best in this next chapter and are sure we’ll see you when you’re back in town…sometimes just being gone provides some motivation to stay in touch, perhaps even more so. And, in the most apropos sense of the word, Cheers!

  4. Lisa McDougal-Ludolph

    I’ve only know you for a short time but we have become fast friends, luckily I still get to work with you but the office won’t be the same without you here every day. Don’t worry I will take good care of your plants :)

    Best wishes to you and Tammy on your new adventure!!! And hopefully we can plan that dinner so you can finally meet Gary and the kids.

    Safe travels!

  5. Damn you LA – taking one of our most innovative, sharpest, way too smart for his age peeps away. Barber, you are going to be missed very much. Please stay in touch and would love to see you when you are back in town. I will be following you closely so I can continue to learn.

  6. Good luck with your new endeavors and new city home Michael! Thanks for all your contributions to Ignite Phoenix and our city!

  7. Man, I am sure going to miss you. Not only can I always count on you to lend a hand in sharing knowledge and helping others, you’re also just plain whip-smart. For the countless times you’ve helped ASU students even though you’re a Wildcat, for the pro bono time you took to impart wisdom to other agencies across the country and for simply making Phoenix a better place to be, I and others are indebted. I’m glad to hear you’ll be coming back with some frequency — hats off to Defero for making that happen. Best of luck in LA to you and Tammy!

    • Michael Barber (Author)

      Thanks, Bret. Your comments means so much, but I’m the one who is forever in your debt. I appreciate everything you have done and continue to do for Tammy and I. Look forward to more Sun Devil marketing classes in the near future. 😉

  8. Anonymous

    How did I miss this post for 6 days? I’ll blame SXSW and/or abject stupidity.

    Been an absolute pleasure working with you, and I sincerely mean it when I say the things we did together helped drive good change in Phoenix. It was a pleasure fighting alongside you to make stuff happen, and the few times we fought with each other I still always learned from you. We did it all with snark, coffee, and lots of donuts. It’s been a blast.

    All the best on your new adventure in California, and don’t hesitate to call me if you need a backup minister for the wedding! 😉