People have been weighing the pros and cons of Current TV's twitter-fueled agency search. Cons seems to center around the chaos of it all, the over-publicity and the limits of 140 characters.
The pros are more interesting to me. As my friend Leah put it, they're using Twitter as quality control. Agencies who respond have to:
1) Be using the medium - not just talking about it
2) Be nimble - slow and steady need not apply
3) Be experimental - no set of best practices here
4) Be hungry - willing to dive in head first
5) Be transparent - it's out there
Most importantly, the process matches up the DNA of the brand with the DNA of the agency. Definitely not the right way to go for everyone, but this seems like a pretty natural fit. And isn't a pitch all about finding the right fit anyhow?
There's also the recurring Baconnaise cameo on The Daily Show, the ever-popular bacon mints (not good) and the new bacon business cards. Oh, and sales of actual bacon are up too - it's now a 2 billion dollar business. Remember the Baconator? Wendy's sold 68 million in the first eight months. A quick search on vegetarianism shows signs of a slow-down. Very interesting. Wonder how Obama's healthcare plan is coming along...
The slow trickle of sxswi blog posts are still coming - even though it's all starting to feel like ages ago.
But like I said, certain things have stuck with me and our agency visit from Rick Webb is one of them. Rick's a founding partner at The Barbarian Group, one of the most talked about shops over the last few years - really, ever since the launch of the chicken (now over 5 years ago, time flies). A few of my recent favorites: the CNN headlines t-shirts & the Unicef Tap Project collaboration.
Anyhow, one of our producers knows Rick and asked him to come in and talk to us about... interactive stuff. And he said yes. So we had a room full of creatives & designers that asked questions, aired frustrations and just talked. Rick listened, offered suggestions, even complimented the agency & offered Scottish rock recommendations.
Here are some highlights for me:
1) Try everything
Someone made the comment that it's impossible to keep up with all of the latest social media/ technology, not to mention predict what's going to be the next big thing. True. So Rick just signs up for everything - meebo, friendfeed, etc. It only takes 15 minutes and then he knows what's out there and has already played around with it in case it does take off. Oh, and he takes every call from vendors too (in case any of you are reading).
2) Accept unpredictability
Just like you can't predict what technology will take off, you don't know if a piece of creative is going to take hold virally. Even if it's really amazing and definitely should. Everyone talks about TBG successes, but there a handful of things that didn't take off before. And after. Yes, still.
3) Fail faster
Okay that's from W+K, but we talked about failure and what to make of it. Things that don't take off aren't failures, they help you get to the things that do take off faster. Fear of failure can be stifling in offline work, but absolutely debilitating online. Things just move too quickly for that, better to have a culture of experimentation/innovation. Especially given said unpredictability.
This image does a great job of summing up the insane amount of stimulus we all have and how hard it is to actually get things done. I originally came across it on Ed's blog months ago and it really stuck with me.
Then last month at sxswi, it came up again. I was standing in line for a nonprofit social media thing at Stubbs next to this girl with really cool boots - Janette, from Kansas City, author of this awesome eco-fashion blog. Anyhow, the nonprofit thing filled up, we decided to grab lunch, and she brought up this post and how hard it is to focus lately. This tells me that 1) a lot of people read Ed's blog, and 2) we see ourselves in this whiteboard. Two strangers, one random photo, complete recognition of life overload.
Been back from vacation for about a week, though just now re-emerging from general work/life catch-up mode. Been meaning to share a travel highlight:
I know it's hard to tell, but this is a latte with ice cream in it. Apparently it's pretty common over in Australia and in other parts of the world. Not a crappy frappucino or coolatta or anything like that. Real ice cream. For breakfast. Thanks to Tim for encouraging this order.
So, every Friday morning a good portion of Sydney's creative folk get together at Single Origin, a charming indoor/outdoor coffeehouse in Surry Hills. Gavin Heaton, aka @servantofchaos, is one of the original members of the gathering, one that's been going on for years now.
Sydney coffee mornings put all other coffee mornings to shame. First off, they meet every Friday (vs. our typical once/month). Second, loads of people come. Third, they get food not just drinks and sometimes ice cream. Great conversation too, as you can imagine from the action shot below.
It was great fun to meet the Aussie crew and hear about life on the other side of the pond. Good to talk politics with Tim, new Sydney jobs with Katie, Sydney job needs with Tom (nurses & hair stylists are in high demand for those looking for a visa) and the language barrier with Jye:
cell = mobile
double espresso = short black
cappuccino = flat white
appetizer = entree
quay = pronounced key (bus driver corrected me on that one)
An enormous thank you to Gavin for setting up a Thursday coffee morning in addition to the regular Friday one. The morning flew by and there were a bunch of people that I didn't get to talk to that I would've liked to (including hologram @juliancole), but I guess that just means I have to go back.
And I hope it goes without saying that you all can count on a personal Austin tour guide should you ever make it over this way. Again, thanks for a fantastic start to the trip.