Cous Cous t-shirt

I spotted a fellow from WeTransfer wearing a rather snazzy ‘Cous Cous’ tshirt last night. I liked it. He told me it was from Tastees (tastees.nl I’ve removed the link because their site appears to have been hacked and is redirecting people to odd websites on a mobile browser).

They’re cool. They make typographic tees with dishes on them. If you buy one, they donate a dish to someone who needs it. Which is nice. Check them out (again link to tastees.nl removed to avoid dodgy redirects).

I don’t remember saying this

Thank you to someone at the Webbys for paying attention!

I might be wrong, but I have a real belief you can feel when things have been made by people who are passionate / having fun / on a mission. Things that have been made by people who are just logging the hours feel bland and crappy in comparison.

Couldn't have said it better ourselves. True words from Webby judge, @iaintait! ????????

A photo posted by The Webby Awards (@thewebbyawards) on

Slides Q&A from Ravensbourne

Last night Tony and I did a talk for a bunch of wonderful students at Ravensbourne. In order to get the damn thing prepared in time, in a collaborative fashion, we used Google Slides.

Whilst nerding around trying to get the thing sorted I noticed a feature I hadn’t noticed before. “Audience Tools”. Being a fiddler I turned it on.

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Turns out it adds a handy promo bar to the top of your slides giving people a URL where they can ask questions.

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The questions can then be voted on so that the hottest topics end up at the top.

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It’s bloody ace. Especially for less cocky audiences that might be less confident about asking big questions in front of their peers (like students).

Some of my favourite questions from last night (along with edited versions of the answers):

For all those studying Digital Advertising here at Ravenbourne – are we doomed? We hope not :)

Depends what you’re studying on the course. Hopefully you’re learning how to acquire new skills and adapt as the digital landscape changes. And you’re learning to have fun with the unique bits of digital culture that make it a special place to do advertising-like things. If you’re learning that, you’re not doomed. I hope.

I saw just one black person in that office photo… That a thing?

Unfortunately yes. Not just for us, as an industry we’re too monocultural. Along with many other good people we’re working hard to address the issue. And we welcome any thoughts on how we can be better and do more to attract a more diverse pool of talent.

Would you rather be ignorant or know it all?

Our whole ‘Walk in Stupid’ thing probably answers this. It’s always safest to assume that you’re entirely ignorant. But I’m not sure I want to be regarded by others as totally ignorant.

What value do you place on a degree in a creative subject at Wieden and Kennedy? I.e. Is it a requirement for all of the employees?

It’s not a requirement. If you’re lucky enough to be on a creative degree course don’t squander the opportunity, milk it for all it’s worth. You’ll never have that much time and space to experiment again (said like a proper bitter old dude).

What types of activities do you do to feed the unconscious creative process?

Blah blah time off, etc.

Should young people be depressed because of Global Warming?

No, you should be angry, figure out the bit of the issue you’re passionate about and try and do something.

How have product designer contributed to the company & it’s advertising projects?

We love product designers, and anyone else who’s excited to solve problems in interesting ways. We’ve had a few great ones, and they’ve always broght fresh thinking.

Who would win in a fight Mike Tyson or Bruce lee?

Bruce Lee.

Thanks to Ravensbourne for having us. To Google for the Q&A functionality. And to the students of Ravensbourne for the attention and questions.

F&@K! I’m emotionally middle-aged

The yoot have tagged up North Dulwich station. And for the first time I heard my inner-fogey loud and clear. An unmistakable “Tut!” uttered silently, but forcefully, to no-one in particular.

My appreciation of youthful self-expression, mischief and spraycan handling completely vanished. Probably hanging out somewhere shabby (but wildly exciting) with my long-lost ability to stay up all night being an idiot.

Obviously I’m not condoning vandalising property in any form, merely self-reflecting on the nature of attitudes and ageing.

Slack: Work This Way

Great piece in The Guardian this morning by @jemimakiss. It’s all about Slack and the culture behind the company.

Reading through the piece it struck me how similar the cultures of Advertising Agencies and Tech Start-Ups are. And how similar bits need to change – namely the dudely hierarchical nonsense driven by outdated motives.

And it’s reassuring to see lots of the things that they’ve done and are doing at Slack are similar to things we’ve got going on at Wieden+Kennedy in London.

The piece is really worth a read, there’s tons of great stuff on diversity, openness, collaboration and culture. But I’ve pulled out a few quotes that relate to the work-life drum I’m lightly beating at the moment:

Those ideals inform how management makes decisions every day, from prioritizing broken code (craftsmanship) to making sure everyone leaves work on time (thriving).

So the important hard work bit – making the product – is still a priority. But I’m guessing they feel, like we do, that people who’ve left on time (and have a life) are better at doing the work thing.

“Just because your ass is on a seat doesn’t mean you’re working. If you’re brain dead after 6pm, go home. You can work like that for only so long.”

Couldn’t agree more.

Slack’s director of customer experience, points out that Slack’s “work hard and go home” culture is also better for women. “It allows them to say, ‘I can do this job. I can emulate the founders in the way I work and not get punished for it. And I can take care of my family.’ When people come here, we expect them to have a life.”

In other words: Work hard. Go Home.

But the most important thing the article does is make me like the people behind Slack. The fact that they work this way, makes me want to get behind their platform even more. They’re designing organisation-shaping software from the point of view of an organisation I’d like business to be shaped-by.