What I learned in 2014: MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER

By Egotist / /

Scaling is fun.

This year marks one of the biggest transitions we’ve made as an agency. We grew from 30-something to 40-something, and it’s made a world of difference.

When people talk about the ideal size for an agency, the usual considerations are along the lines of what’s fun, what’s efficient, what’s effective, what’s culturally ideal. The number most people throw out is 100. This always struck me as a false modesty; “I don’t want to grow past 100… too many names to remember… chuckle.” Annoying, but in any case, the conversation typically assumes a linear progression, and misses the step changes along the way.

Matt and I have noticed this phase of our growth has been anything but linear. We’ve been able to hire key leaders who significantly expand what we can do.

We added Dean Casalena, Director of Technology. This is a role we’ve always debated having in-house. On one hand, if we outsource dev, we can always use best-in-class production partners. On the other, by having it in-house, we’ll be quicker and more efficient. We finally took the leap and got the best of both worlds. We’ve gone from biding, scoping, and negotiating, along with all the time that takes, to making. We were able to make the Netflix Spoilers site in-house, fast and great. It served 9 million video views in the first week, and had two spots on the front page of Reddit.

We added Todd Bois, Creative Director with deep digital chops. Todd is too well-rounded to simply refer to him as “Digital Creative Director,” but the depth of his digital experience, along with Dean, has allowed us to develop extremely extensive digital experiences, even for one of the largest corporate websites in the world, HP.

We added Eric Perko, Director of Media. We’ve never been short on media smarts, with our previous awesome, albeit part-time, director. Now with Eric full-time though, he’s infusing inventive media thinking throughout the osmosis that is the agency process. He’s in the early meetings, he’s guiding the thinking of the agency.

We’ve also added Mark Campbell as a dedicated Senior Digital Producer, with somewhere around 100 custom websites under his belt. Add to that Adam Ledbury and Guy Lemberg, Sr. creative team from Sydney, and the linear growth chugs along as well.

The anchor leaders who brought us to this stage have of course been able to strengthen and expand their roles, in particular with Michelle Spear rising to Associate Partner and Head of Production. This year, though, I’ve learned that each stage of an agency’s life takes on very different forms.