My recent stint back into the agency world has brought back a lot of the memories and pains that made me leave it. A lot of the times, technology is treated as the bastard red-headed step child in agency world. Creative usually takes the front seat while technology is in the back seat acting as the back seat driver. In the creative process, technology usually isn’t even involved unless it’s to act as a wet blanket (sorry, doing an interactive virtual world isn’t possible in 2 wks). The worst is probably that client-approved-timelines are usually just thrown at you without your consultation. “Hey this needs to get done in 2 wks. Go for it”.
So I just read “Do Agencies Need to Think Like Software Companies?” and I thought add my perspective as a technologist at a digital agency.
I think the major value that agencies offer brands is the ability to think outside the box and focus on strategy and creative vision to drive their product towards a specific message. A great example of this is the ‘Old Spice’ campaign that did very well. Wieden + Kennedy crafted a pinpoint message and delivered it in a very clever way that utilized social media perfectly with digital technology. Part of the art in delivering that message was the storytelling, wordsmith and crafting that was so apparent in the tv ads, youtube responses, and tweets.
It’s funny… looking back at all the failures i’ve had in the past three years, it’s definitely come clear to me that the single biggest contributing factor has been a poorly constructed team. This doesn’t mean that any individual on the team was a bad person. It just meant that several things were not in alignment. Read More…
One thing that Warren Buffet says is ‘just show up’. For an entrepreneur like myself, I think it really is important to just be where you say you’re going to be, or do what you say you’re going to do. You just need to show up.
So we finally launched Snpptz.com today. It was rough, but we finally made it. My co-founder and I had a small argument about whether or not to launch. Since he comes from the advertising space, I can see why he has this point of view. The advertising field is usually requires that everything is done perfectly. However, in the web startup world, you have the luxury or releasing as often as you like. So nothing is ever a truly finished product and is always in a state of flux. This is the true beauty and true advantage of developing something for the web – it’s a virtual product that can always be changed at any time you please.
I’ve written about this before, and I’ll probably write about it again since it’s something I’m still getting used to myself – You really do have to try and put yourself into uncomfortable situations on a daily basis. “Successful people do what everyone else is unwilling to do.” For introverted tech entrepreneurs, it’s really getting out there and getting your product in front of people and networking with as many people as possible. I’ve been working on this aspect for 5 years, and am finally starting to overcome my fear for it.
As I work on Snpptz.com, I always have to remind myself that it’s about more user engagement, not less. One thing I thought of today was the forgotten password feature several sites have. Typically it’s a form that asks for your username or email address, which after being filled out sends you an email with a link where you can change your password, or sometimes they just mail you a new password. Usually as a developer I build this feature without even really thinking about it. Today, I stopped and said, ‘Is this the best way to get more customer engagement?’ The answer is No.
Another approach would be to have the user email our support team rather than creating an automated process. After we help the user out, we can start a dialogue with the user about how their experience is going and why they are returning. What better way to get feedback from a user who’s using your site more than once!
I always have to remind myself that i’m no longer working for companies who want to avoid customer support calls as much as possible. I WANT SUPPORT CALLS. I WANT AS MANY CHANNELS AS POSSIBLE FOR CUSTOMER FEEDBACK! Helping a user change their password to the system is a perfect way to get to some of that feedback.
I like what Larry Ellison is doing. I like what Paul Allen is doing. I think they’re actually looking beyond these lawsuits. They’re forcing us to look at the software patent system as a whole, by bringing these lawsuits. They have the money and exposure to really force the issue.
Hopefully all the other billionaires out there will follow suit. Ideally all of them would sue every business for every patent infringement out there. Hopefully this will help the industry and congress come to the collective agreement that system is broken and that we finally need to DO something about it, instead of sitting around complaining about it!
So please, please, all the billionaires out there, continue to buy up patents, continue to troll, and continue to prove how silly this system really is.
One thing that my father ingrained in me was that I was always to keep learning. I probably never took it to heart, because school always bored me and the way the system was setup, never really motivated me to keep learning. But I see what he’s talking about now that I’ve found something that I truly am passionate about – building an internet startup.
I never had great grades in school (‘cept maybe math b/c im asian). I was an average student with average grades, but that never really spoke to what I want to achieve in this world. I never got A’s and always felt like a failure for it. I was never able to achieve those grades and eventually gave up trying, because I thought I was a failure.
People see this as a problem with the education system and argue to change the education system to fit this. I see it as an opportunity that startups can capitalize on. 10% of the world has succeed, yay for them. They’re most likely not on facebook not on social media. That’s a pretty small percentage. There’s 90% of the world WANTING to achieve something. As entrepreneurs (and as me, a product developer) our primary goal is to give them that sense of achievement. We need to give them that success. With the internet and our products, we can make them the most AWESOME people at whatever they want to be awesome at.