It’s been in the works for over a year. But last week it actually happened:
I left the building. Or rather stayed at home, and didn’t log into Zoom. Anyway, I don’t work for Wieden+Kennedy anymore. (You might know that this isn’t the first time this has happened. And I love so much about that place and the people there I’m never going to say never – although they are probably terrified at the thought).
I’m not going to write a long soppy post now. I’ve still got a big emotional leaving party to get through later in the summer. But I felt like I had to update my sidebar at least.
I’m really excited about what’s coming next. I’ve been talking about doing things with some of my favourite people in the world. And it’s really clear to us that time is right to do something “new”.
There’s so much potential in the air right now. So many questions to answer. Things to try. And so much that needs fixing. And far too many brilliant creative and technological minds to rescue from drudgery and busywork.
And don’t get me started on how thrilling the current wave of technology is. I’ve not been this giddy since I first experienced the world wide web…
But first I’m going to take the summer off to recharge and refocus. And to spend some quality time with my kids who are about to go to ‘big school’ after the holidays, gulp!
In the book Mr Walker talks about how it’d be much better if students drank in the morning rather than the evening, from a sleep and memory retention point of view. We formed a pact to meet for a morning beer at the soonest opportunity. Mr Bingo, being a knowledgeable sort of chap suggested The Masque Haunt on Old Street (it opens at 8am for those who are interested in such things).
So this morning we met, we drank a single pint of beer, and we talked a very enjoyable hours worth of nonsense. We covered off a lot of things. From:
What kind of face is appropriate to make in a photograph whilst drinking a pint at 9am (our best attempt is above).
Who else frequents such a venue at such an hour? (Turns out all kinds of people. Most of them just having very reasonable breakfasts and coffee).
How do you start a naive and innocent movement when everything in culture is so pre-meditated?
Have you ever drunk a 9am beer when not at an airport?
We also reminisced about how, after the first job he’d done for me I took him out and told him he wasn’t charging us enough money. Apparently I used to have scruples, who knew?
There’s something very free about a Weatherspoons at 9am, especially on a sunny day.
We agreed to do it again in a month. And to bring a guest each. And the next month that guest could then bring another guest. And pretty soon there’d be a Weatherspoons full of nonsense, and affordable breakfasts…
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.
I think it’s about time I gave it a go. I’m reading Medium content more and more every month. And over the last couple of years I’ve started to feel like I’m missing out by not being a contributing participant in the Medium community.
It’s kind of like what blogging used to be back when I enjoyed it. There’s a genuine community of people engaging with each others’ content. And it seems to welcome longer-form content with ideas in it – not just click-baity pro-blogging nonsesne.
When Google Reader went away my blogging network almost disintegrated overnight. At it’s best Medium is like the best bits of blogging, with the essential bits of Google Reader plumbed-in round the back.
I’m working on a bunch of new stuff that I think might be interesting to share. There some things that I’d like to put out in the world and see how people react – to see if I can get smarter through sharing stuff with a community of good people.
Watch these spaces…
I also have a bunch of draft pieces that have been sitting there gathering dust in the Medium back-end for a couple of years. It’s time to wipe them down and put them out.
Is Crackunit over?
Far from it. I’m going to play around with different kinds of cross posting between Crackunit and Medium and see what happens. I’m interested in how the two things can co-exist. And to see where traffic and conversation happens. Who knows maybe I’ll even managed to eek some kind of post out of it…
Fundamentally I’m still a bit old-fashioned and I like having my own place on the web. A spot that I ‘own’ that can’t be messed up through corporate acquisition or whatever. So Crackunit is here to stay, for now.
I’ve had an amazing time at Google Creative Lab. It’s been like 10 years crammed into 2. I’ve learned more about more things than any human of my meagre capacity could ever have dreamed.
I’d worried that Google would be full of a certain type of person – but at the Creative Lab there are many kinds of people. Academically brilliant people, instinctively brilliant people, brilliant writers, brilliant designers, brilliant producers, brilliant hackers, brilliant filmmakers, brilliant people who I’m still not quite sure what they do but are brilliant nonetheless. Maybe you’re spotting a thread?
Every day I question how I managed to bluff my way into such great company.
I could single out specific people who’ve been amazing. Incredible collaborators, friends, supporters, and mentors. But I’d do that cack-handed thing of leaving someone really important out and spend 3 months waking up in the middle of the night feeling guilty. So I’m going to lame out and say; “You know who you are you wonderful people. I owe you more than you think”. And some of the people who might not suspect I mean them, really I do mean you.
Having said all that it feels odd to say I’m leaving. But leaving I am.
It’s time for the Taits to go / come back to the UK (to save this getting awkward I’ll talk about coming back to the UK as, today, I’m writing this from London). We’ve been away in the US for just over 4 years. And it’s time.
Our children’s excitement at eating the packet of Hula Hoops I bought Sophie for her birthday was the straw that broke the camel’s back. In that moment of salty ringed fingers it struck me – we’ve denied them too much for too long! That and the fact that they don’t get to see their grandparents enough. And they’re starting to develop really strange accents. And we won’t be able to help them with Math homework, the singular nature of it simply eludes us. And we miss people, specific actual people, as well as the general reassuring familiarity of wonderful miserable British folk. And we miss strange cultural things, British TV, music, and of course Hula Hoops, Monster Munch, Frazzles, and all of that junk.
We’d always set ourselves a break-point to our American adventure. When the girls went to ‘big school’ felt like a time to think about coming back – boy has that come around fast! And we’ve had a couple of other personal things that have made us think about what it means to be ‘home’.
So we’re coming back to the UK soon. Not just yet, but soon.
So what am I going to do? Well I’m excited to say that I’m going to be joining W+K London as ECD. Where I’ll get to partner with the wonderful Tony Davidson and Neil Christie. In many ways you couldn’t get three more different people, but that’s why I think it’s going to be amazingly fun and interesting.
I’m not someone who pays much attention to astrology and things like that, but I guess factually it is possible for stars to align. And this is one of those times when things just fell into place as if the universe meant it to be so. We were thinking about coming back to the UK and a dream job, working back at a place that I love became available at exactly the right moment in time. I don’t know if it’s luck or fate, or someone did an unspeakable deal with a dark underlord. All I know is that it’s almost too good to be true.
As anyone who’s ever worked there will tell you there’s nowhere quite like W+K, and the more I spoke with them the more I realized this is exactly the right thing for me to do right now. Especially in the London office which is full of great talent, exciting clients, and a load of positive momentum.
So that’s it, I’m coming back. Back to the UK and back to W+K. Never has going back felt like such a positive move forward. In all respects this feels like an awesome homecoming.
I’m not starting back at Wieden until September which means I’ve got the time and space to move back properly rather than rushing the whole thing. It means I get to take some time off and hopefully do some of the things I forgot to do because I was working. Things like getting a driving license. Learning how to play the lute. And just taking a summer to spend some quality time with the family. I watched Sagmeister’s TED talk about sabbaticals again the other day. And I don’t think I’ll be doing anything quite as productive, but I hope to be able to shut down enough to be able to open my eyes to some new things.
Of course I’ll be sad to leave Google, and Creative Lab, and all the great friends we’ve made in the US. But more than anything I’m excited to be on my way back.
And maybe I’ll also use this as a chance to get back to blogging too…