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Life After the Big Agency

The first question to ask is, ‘is there a career and life after working at an agency, other than working at another agency’?

This is a difficult come-to-terms for people that have been jaded, wounded, and battle trodden by the rigors of agencydom. Very few industries have the same daily pace. This can be said with confidence because agency people see it all. We have had an inside look into hundreds of businesses and learned their quirks.

There’s a luster maintained on the exterior of a big agency that covers a dingy surface far from the reaches of client vision.

Digital agencies are a haven for young guns that believe they are at the center of the universe. Attitudes and confidences swollen larger than lofty titles. Suddenly, everyone believes they are on the set of Mad Men, and their decisions should be documented forever in reality TV. I assure you shows about Agencies have not hampered the ideas of grandeur that run rampant.

I’m proud to say that two local partners that I know very well have launched a brand to peel the thick coat of smelly paint off of Digital Agencies and let it be known that going ’boutique’ is going ‘beautiful’. Two former digital agency pro’s Ricardo Figueiredo and Steve Peron have found a way to persevere on the other-side. They have dedicated their new search boutique brand to becoming a true anti-agency.

Check out this case-building for going boutique versus ‘big agency’:
Elevated Search Comparison

Spend just a few minutes on the Elevated Search site and you’ll find it obvious what gap in this world Steve and Ricardo intend to fill. Knowing them as I do, smart money is that you’ll hear about this company quite often over the next few years.


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Building A Case for the Workship

Work on a boat
The Work-Ship Project is a crazy idea, let’s call a spade a spade.

But, here’s the reason why it’s warranted and not just a pipedream by a bunch of web idiots:

1. High unemployment rates have prompted many people to start off on their own. The number of firms that launched with one person rose to 340 per 100,000 per month in 2010, compared with 300 per 100,000 per month in 2007, according to a study released in March by the Kauffman Foundation.

2. Work is changing–

70% of new jobs are in knowledge-based services
60% of new jobs require high skills
50% of jobs involve use of a PC
40% involve use of the Internet

As a result, the growth of remote-work has increased by several hundred percent since 2005. We are moving towards a largely commute free, non-restricted office environment where people can live more of a normal life as they conduct business. Think this is impossible? Wait until the generations of entitlement rise through the ranks and establish a new world order of operation. Nobody likes unpleasant commutes, traffic congestion, and stress-laden workplaces. Technology advancement is allowing us to have ‘virtually’ everything.

3. Higher job satisfaction and lower intention to change career paths are found to strongly correlate with work environments that complement creativity.

4. Collaboration improves creativity and job satisfaction, but it also improves quality of life. There is a common thread among centenarians; it’s human interaction. People that live over 100 commonly have circles of friends and family around them.

5. The fresh ocean air offers a number of health benefits.

6. YOLO! Who wants to sit and stare at a wall all day. Screw that!

If you would like to learn more about the Work-Ship Project and join the revolution of office-busters, go here and read more.


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Does a Website Make the Man or Woman?

I’ve recently been challenged to determine whether or not a website is a suitable means of judging someones character or talent level. Of course industry has a lot to do with the potential perception, but I seem to think that knowledge can supersede design in a lot of cases. Anybody can pay a great designer to make a great website; but knowledge, intuition, confidence, and dedication are skills completely autonomous from anything you could ever portray in code. Good talent should always rise to the top regardless of their website quality. In that regards, a great website might be an overrated luxury for a startup or personal brand. Then again, if such resources were free to all startups, it would certainly make for easier sales processes and lubricated lead generation.

After asking a group of bloggers, designers, and digital marketers the same question, I compiled some of their best feedback:

That’s pretty broad, but because it’s broad, I would say Yes. If it’s crap, there are probably many areas in their life that is crap and I would wait until they got their act together before I dealt with them. In reality, they might just be busy, but clearly I would not be a priority when dealing with them.

Wes Chyrchel | Crowded Sites
Wes Chyrchel

As busy as one may be, your site should reflect you and your work. Practice what you preach!

Steve Peron | imnotadoctor
Steve Peron

I think it depends on the industy… I.E. some accountant’s website might not be visually appealing, but they could be great accountants

Eric Brandt | Restaurant Promotion Ideas
Eric Brandt

Good design = good business. That’s my motto… unfortunately, many people don’t understand how design translates to better business, but that’s part of why I’m a designer though… Helping businesses/individuals appreciate good design & reach their potential is rewarding. That said, it’s definitely more important to certain sectors than others.

Greg Gibson | 12Tone Creative
Greg Gibson

Ugly websites don’t go on dates. They stay home and play with themselves.

Tyler Jordan | TheArtofTylerJordan
Tyler Jordan

Do you have a different take on this topic? Let’s hear it!


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10 Learnings About Bad Startup Ideas & Good Startup Ideas

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, that is way great spiritual giants are produced.” -Swami Vivekananda

 

Good ideas

I’m the kind of person that can conceptualize Internet-based business ideas with predictable regularity.


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Why I Might Win Your Marketing Budget

I spend an inordinate amount of time in preparing new marketing presentations. I’ve caught some flack for it, actually. With an industry built on speed and efficiency, you can understand the impasse it creates for a prospect that is told to wait 7 business days or so before I have a strategy put together.

I don’t care. I will continue to push out and even risk losing first presentation opportunities strictly to realize the complete value in creating nothing from a can; wiping the slate clean each and every-time.

This isn’t a means of slapping the snooze button on a sales pitch. Everyday in my 7 business days is critical.

Day 1
I use this as immersion day. I pilfer my deep notes from the past discovery session and understand the unique business intel I can get my hands on. I seek being humbled on Day 1. Though I’ve done well over 100 strategy sessions, I’ve come to learn that consumers respond to every single business and brand differently. Even if they are cut from the very some cloth (industry). I have to learn something new, or I’ve failed myself in immersing.

Day 2
It’s time to refresh my Internet trends: The basics.
What do people like this month?
What are they NOT into anymore?
How are behaviors shifting for a particular industry?
What types of content distribution methods are relevant?
What seasonal ideas are other marketers experimenting with?

Day 3
I realize this is kinda weird, but I swear it always ends up being the thing I point to later and say, ‘that really showed the client that I got it!’
On day 3, I seek a theme or inspiration for the presentation/campaign. This ends being an obscure historical fact about the associated industry or a sentiment shared by people that’s relevant. As inspiration comes in strange ways, it’s a matter of experiencing things and lots of different content to discover this.

Day 4
With the intel and inspiration in place, I seek to create what I call ‘the bridge’. What is it that can connect modern user behavior, client needs, and the presentation theme? What this theory becomes ends up being the core strategy for the campaign and I usually present it with supporting factors (data or case studies).

Day 5
Since the strategy has been determined, it’s time to fill out the tactics. These are also consequentially aligned to the time and place of the campaign. This quarter, most everything involves mobile at some level because of how users interacted on smartphones over the holidays.

Pro tip: Groundhog’s day will be your friend this year. If we have an atypically warm spring/summer, I’d expect a major tipping point in mCommerce to coincide.

This is the point when I’ll at times not give the prospect exactly what they are expecting. 90% of the time, a business owner or marketing exec wont have completed 5 consecutive days of immersion and study, as I have. I’m not playing a trump card, just presenting what my research and instincts tell me is the right path. Tactics should be in 4D. Not confined to SEO or Display or even the Internet for that matter. I believe this should be the most honest and direct thing presented.

Day 6
I spend almost an entire days worth of hours on formatting. Unfortunately the Microsoft Gods have yet to make Powerpoint as strapping with efficiency as you would like. Sometimes I just want things to line up properly and they choose to do something else. I expect this when starting from scratch and plan for it.

Day 7
The day of rest? Not quite. On day 7 I rehearse, refine, polish, and then add in proposed quantities of each tactic. The quantities end up turning into my contract/proposals so that consistency remains. I also brainstorm future applications of the created presentation. Who else could this work for if the immediate prospect goes in another direction? Let’s be honest, it happens; nobody wins every deal, but there’s no reason to let a good thought extinguish.

The most important development in a 7 business day immersion is that I grow completely passionate for my own project. Radiating this belief and detailing a case that is completely relevant to a businesses needs have been the strengths of my continued existence as a marketing consultant in an extremely competitive environment.


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The Revestor Review | Making Dividends Meet

Late last evening, relatively under the radar (San Diego BETA), a new web tool Revestor launched with tons of ambition.

Founded by Bill Lyons, who has put on a lot of miles in Mortgage & Real Estate for his young age, Revestor is being positioned as a Real Estate investors dream allowing a simple yet complex matchup of Zillow values to key investment queues (cap rate and cash flow).

Revestor has a very straightforward interface, making it ideal for new entrants in the Real Estate investment game or experienced non-web savvy investors.

After picking around at the dash and investigating the different looks at profiles and geo-locations, there are a few things that standout to me that I hope make their way into future rollouts.

1. Property Portfolio: As I’m someone that rents out 1 property and lives in another, I’d like the ability to review estimates for my current investments. This could be a baseline check for investors that want to ensure that when rental agreements are up for renewal tenants are priced appropriate. Not to mention, if I’m estimated more cash flow positivity in my live-in property, I may decide that I need to change my primary residence. All in all I believe that a few tweaks could allow for portfolio management within Revestor.

2. Trends: The new investor want’s to know that they are making the right decisions, the pro wants discretion. The question is, my need for information as a new investor requires more regional data to assist in my search. Zip code gets you close, but I may want to open the search up further and look at state trends or even citywide estimates. Perhaps an opt-in to a data share could allow discretion to the advanced users but give the new investment seekers some looks at ‘highly searched areas’ or ‘highest cash-flow regions’ without having to do much digging.

In it’s current state of BETA, Revestor is a really interesting tool for slightly more experienced Real Estate investors. I imagine that the total balance of this tool to be not necessarily as a static site-at-home search and find tool, but that it will likely be more powerful used on mobile devices for agents and investors alike.

Though I haven’t been debriefed on the monetization model of this platform, I expect that a direct portal to Real Estate listings will provide advertising channels and sponsorship opportunities. Zillow has become disgustingly cluttered with ads and promoted Realtor listings, anyway that Revestor can avoid that mess would be a major win for platform usage.

If you have access to the platform, what excites you about this start-up? Where will they run into snags?


Life After the Big Agency

The first question to ask is, ‘is there a career and life after working at an...
article post

Building A Case for the Workship

The Work-Ship Project is a crazy idea, let’s call a spade a spade. But,...
article post

Does a Website Make the Man or Woman?

I’ve recently been challenged to determine whether or not a website is a suitable...
article post

10 Learnings About Bad Startup Ideas & Good Startup Ideas

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live...
article post

Why I Might Win Your Marketing Budget

I spend an inordinate amount of time in preparing new marketing presentations. ...
article post

The Revestor Review | Making Dividends Meet

Late last evening, relatively under the radar (San Diego BETA), a new web tool Revestor...
article post