Cluttered Desk Consulting is a digital-first consultancy with a passion for helping small businesses achieve their strategic, operational and financial goals.
Nearly every business today — whether a startup or an established company — must eagerly embrace digital to remain competitive.
At Cluttered Desk, we aim to help companies thrive, not just compete. That’s why we work almost exclusively with small businesses, where our experience and expertise can make the greatest impact.
Whether you’re a sole proprietor working from home, a mom-and-pop retailer or restaurant, or a 50-person organization operating beyond the local level, we invest the time to gain a deep understanding of your business. This enables us to identify specific opportunities to help you achieve your company’s digital, strategic, operational, and financial goals.
About the founder
Hi. I’m Craig Ettinger, the person behind Cluttered Desk.
I’m a strategic-minded and data-driven business leader with a proven track record of driving revenue and profitability, launching digital products, and growing audiences and customer bases across multiple platforms and marketing channels.
I’ve served as General Manager of TIME.com, Chief Digital Officer of Athlon/PARADE Media, and VP of Finance at Conde Nast. I also spent nearly three years working with a small team building my own mobile startup, Tastebud, that ultimately provided tens of thousands of consumers with a new way to discover and share recommendations on great entertainment content. Earlier in my career, I spent several years in investment banking.
This broad range of experiences enabled me to develop into a 5-tool business specialist, with expertise in financial management & analysis, business strategy, online marketing & branding, digital product development, and business operations & process improvement.
In my spare time, I’m an active member of the Board of Directors of LMC Media, a not-for-profit community media organization serving residents of Larchmont and Mamaroneck in Westchester. I have an MBA from Wharton and graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University.
So, where did the name “Cluttered Desk” come from?
My father, who passed away in 2021, was the smartest, hardest-working, and most genuine man I’ve ever known. His perpetually cluttered workspaces reached near-mythic status among the hundreds of colleagues and clients he worked with throughout his 50-year career as a CPA and business executive. And, like many people who thrive in a “cluttered” work environment, my dad always knew where every file, document, report or reference book was buried within the many stacks and piles stationed on his desk, floor, and other pieces of office furniture.
I like to imagine that a spiritual kinship existed between my father and Albert Einstein, who had a notoriously messy desk and is believed to have uttered this famous quote1:
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
Research performed by Kathleen Vohs at the University of Minnesota showed that people who work in clutter are not only just as productive as those who don’t, but they also tend to be more creative and able to develop more innovative ideas.
On the results of her study, Vohs said, “Being in a messy room led to something that firms, industries, and societies want more of: Creativity.” She then concluded, “Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights. Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe.”
Of course not everyone works best in a cluttered work environment. And surely, many highly creative people like to maintain a tidy workspace.
But much like my father, I’ve always operated in a cluttered workspace environment (that’s my home office desk in the background image at the top of this page). That’s what works best for me because I develop my own systems and processes that help me make sense of the clutter.
In the end, “Cluttered Desk” is both an homage to my father and a recognition that creativity and fresh thinking (“right brain”) are just as important as more tangible business skills (“left brain”) when it comes to running a successful company.
1. While Einstein may have referenced this quote when to responding to critics of his cluttered workspace, it is likely that he is not the original source.