Nothing ventured, nothing gained

I ran across this post in Google Reader and I was about to re-share it, but I think the link warrants its own post…

The basic premise revolves around ad/creative/media agencies adapting to the changing landscape of communication (most unsuccessfully). I’ve seen a lot of these types of posts recently (either due to New Year’s resolutions or the economy), but this particular post really stood out to me.

Basically, I think you can take two approaches to radical shifts in the way the world works: think/discuss/worry about it or jump right in—just try something, learn what does and doesn’t work and go from there.

Wait for it…

With the wait and see approach, you probably won’t fail (immediately); you continue doing what you’ve done so well, maybe jump in when the time is right and if your timing is good, you’ll continue doing well. On the flip-side, you could jump in too late (or not at all) and when the balance shifts, you’ll be left in the dust.

Just Do It

With the latter, jump right it approach, the odds are you’re more likely to fail than succeed, but you’re likely to learn a lot more in the process. Your assumptions will change. You’ll have a clearer picture of what your audience actually wants. You could make money offering consulting services to the Waiters : )

In the projects I’ve been involved in recently, I’ve been better served by diving in—I tend to procrastinate, so the time I normally spend thinking about what I need to do (aka putting it off) is better spent just working on the problem and iterating as needed.

Which camp are you in?

Staying Creative

I recently started a group for Creative Directors over on LinkedIn (the group is a precursor to yet-to-be unveiled project I’m developing) and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the discussions. A recent discussion started with the question of how to maintain your creative spark when you’re pulled out of a creative environment and dealing with left-brained folks all day.

I won’t include anyone else’s comments (although they’re welcome to comment here), but here’s my $.02 on the subject (slightly modified from my original comment on LinkedIn):

1) I can’t picture a day when I’d want to step away from designing and the creative process. BUT the thing that’s constantly kicking my butt is the fact that I get pulled in so many different directions — meetings, emails, hallway meetings, mediation/counseling—the fun never ends. Don’t get me wrong, I truly enjoy what I do, but the trade-off is I can’t always give my projects as much attention as I’d like. I haven’t found (and don’t see) a design/management/leadership balance yet. 

2) The first (and best) piece of advice I received when I was starting my career in the design world was to ‘hire people better than you’. Coming from the guy who just hired me, that sounded like really smart advice. : ) It’s something that I’ve tried to do since I put on a hiring hat (7 years ago—time flies), and it’s served me well. To earlier point(s), it’s humbling to get your butt kicked by a creative dyamo, but the good part is I learn a lot in the process and it pushes me to do better work.

This is either a cautionary tale or good advice (I hope) for those looking to grow in their careers. What do you think? If you manage people, how do you maintain balance? If you’re a creative, how do keep your spark sparkin’?

All Kinds of Awesome

Here’s some of the stuff that’s caught my eye recently that may be worth your time, too:

The Price is Right (Isn’t It?) Why shouldn’t made-for-web productions should have budget as big as their televised counterparts? This article aims to lay the groundwork putting a fair price on your digital blood, sweat and tears.

Springwise – This is a recent addition to the Review category in my RSS feed. Basically, it’s a steady stream of new business ideas—some new interesting, some stuff that’s been in the market for a while. Kind of a Trend Hunter with a business focus. Worth a look. recently relaunched as mobiForge. I hadn’t really spent a lot of time exploring this site before the refresh; there’s a ton of content available. They have resources for developers, designers, marketers and more. It looks like a great resource for anyone who’s involved in the mobile space.

And if your mindset is more design thinking/trend hunting/cool data, mobiForge has a sister site, mobiThinking. The content’s not as deep as the main site, but it’s worth an add to the ‘ol feedreader.

Wecome to the social (media) revolt – the gist: by its very nature, the web is in a constant state of change and its always been about making connections, so why is social media seen as a new, groundbreaking idea?

I have to agree with Joshua’s angle; the fundamentals haven’t changed, but the tools we all use to connect/socialize/etc. are getting easier and easier for non-geeks to use, which allows more people to participate and brings the “social” bit of social media to the fore.

A simple idea that provided hours of entertainment this summer is popping up again: John McCain Is Your Jalopy and Sarah Palin Is Your New Bicycle’s Flat Tire. I think the web will be a little less entertaining once the elections are over.

Urban Photo Safari 2008

Urban Photo Safari 2008 t-shirt
2008 Urban Photo Safari official t-shirt

Urban Photo Safari 2008 is right around the corner! (Saturday, May 17th from 9am – 1pm, to be exact.)

Urban Photo Safari is a free event created to encourage you explore KC, get creative with your digital camera and—most of all—have fun (friends, family and non-creatives are welcome, too).

You can find the location, rules, tips and more at Hope to see you there!

Good Ideas Have Legs

Since discovering the barbarian group’s website a scant four days ago, I’ve become completely hooked. As my feed reader inches closer to 500 unread items and my attention span dwindles accordingly, I cringe at their rapid succession of long form posts (4 of ’em so far today). However, each time I’ve taken the time to actually read the full posts, I’ve been rewarded by well-crafted ideas and a little rush of inspiration.

One today’s posts really hit home:

Agnosticism, media and otherwise touches on a subject that has been raised many, many times in my office the past few weeks. Quoting:

“… agnostic ideas, ideas that solve client’s problems without filtering them against a pre-set media vehicle or creative skill set […] sometimes that’s a television ad, sometimes a website, sometimes an LED display on a blimp, sometimes all three. But, who the hell knows ahead of time?

The gist (to me) being: don’t cut the legs off your ideas by defaulting to traditional/tested/comfortable forms of communication — if an idea is good, it will shine anywhere.

The Producer of the Future

Creativity Online has posted a nice video tour of CP+B’s Boulder office. Normally, I would have posted this as a link dump kind of post, but the first half of the video is interesting enough to warrant a post of its own.

The folks at CP+B are talking integrated producers — meaning they pair specialists in web, video and interactive on projects. As they work together, those specialists push projects to new places with the added benefit of learning new skills along the way. As they begin to see projects from different perspectives, you end up with a video producer who could excel at creating (or overseeing the creation of) a website, web pros shooting videos for online spots, etc.

This kind of idea has been knocking around in my head for the past year or so, but this video does a great job of putting the disparate ideas in my head down on pixels. I think this approach is a natural evolution of online media and those who create it.

Watch it ASAP — I think Creativity locks their content behind a subscription page after 7 days or so.