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postcards from the beach October 7, 2016

Posted by nicholas gill in thought leadership, Uncategorized.
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I haven’t been to any conferences or networking events for some time. Partly because of agency learning and development starvation but also partly because I had become tired of them becoming endless sales pitches or regurgitation of statistics or campaigns. I also detest networking events.

Silicon Beach is unlike any of this. Curated by Matt Desmier in an unashamedly selfish manner of people he thinks would be interesting and has spent the last year – or more – stalking on twitter and in real life to speak. And you know what, there was no filler – it was all killer. The boy done good.

For two days we had no idea who was next, what they were speaking about and pretty much no wi-fi. Which sounds ironic it being a an event with digital at heart but you know what, it was brilliant. It made you focus rather than trying to capture that oh so perfect tweetable quote.

It’s a week later and I’m still reeling from the inspiration, passion and the hypodermic needle of thoughts that we were subjected to.

It feels like what happened at the beach should stay at the beach because I don’t know how I could do Phil Adams’ ‘guns’ any justice beyond saying what a most incredible piece of storytelling it was.

Or how Pete Trainor made us all well up and make ‘big data’ feel real and powerful but also so incredibly ineffective when it comes to anything other than make giant corporates even more giant and corporate.

Or how Marcus Brown gave a piece of performance art that just blew my tiny mind but made us question everything.

If I were to write some seaside postcard thank you notes, it would be these:

Dear Phil,

Thank you for making me think about the importance of language and that caring about this will have impact on the overall quality of thinking and output. Your point about sharable versus share-worthy shall forever be at my beckon call. And for reminding me that ’Cashmore’ and his ‘guns’ have a place. But it’s not every place.

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Dear Lauren & Jody,

I’m still gawping at the work The Unseen do. Technology, fashion, biology, creativity. And black clothes. None of this is easy. It’s constant experimentation. Thanks, Jody, for the reminder to stop chasing the next big thing and focus on the problem, not the solution. That experimentation and pivoting is good. And they ‘how do we fix things?’ top tip that was super useful but so super simple: what’s the problem and how can you fix it? And then just go for it.

Dear Mark,

What would David do? Shamelessly copy, adapt and pivot. His whole life. And he was a genius. So why do we think we have to start with a blank sheet of paper every single time? Work out who has done it already. And copy. But copy with a degree of error. Because that’s where the magic lies.

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Hey, Hey Human!

Get out of the deep end with consumer relationships and spend more time with the shallow moments. The moments that really matter. A bit of friction for the right reasons can be good. In our attention deficit world, creative primers that act as brain jolts are supremely important; fragments that consistently prime our reactions, our resonance and our relevancy to consumers.

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Dear Glyn,

We get bombarded with the next big thing, the shiny new trend. You reminded us to look beyond this. Even though you couldn’t prove your bundling/unbundling theory, the provocation and the thought process reminded me to lift my head up and look at the wider world and what’s happening at the macro level.

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Dear Marcus,

Getting off the grid is good for the mind, body and soul. A chance to breathe, to think, to escape. That by leaving the traditional agency world liberates you to do the things that make you happy but also that you would never be allowed to do in that world. And I’m never going to ingest any pill you give me. And thank you, Marcus for our conversation, it was very humbling and helpful. I look forward to walking with you when I’ve had my knee fixed.

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See you by the beach next year.

the future is from… Volvo July 23, 2012

Posted by nicholas gill in automotive, brand experience, innovation, volvo.
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Volvo has changed. No longer just a brick to protect your family. Today, their cars look pretty cool. But today is yesterday in automotive terms so Volvo, like all manufacturers are looking to the future. But where most manufacturers jealously guard their knowledge stocks, the Swedes are opening theirs up. Well, I’m sure these are just a few of the full range of R&D projects underway but it’s a smart move to open up the idea process. Simple website layout and navigation and simple, easy to understand projects. I really like this and the mix of what’s happening today and a glimpse of what’s coming tomorrow.

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