7 Reasons We Made It 7 Years

Written by Adam Schaffer

This week, we celebrate our 7th year in business as a Jacksonville creative agency. And despite all the cliche lines you can think of that a company would use in it’s anniversary blog, I’m going to give you 7 you never thought of. These are the reasons we are still here today:

1. We fight ALL the time.

If it’s not worth fighting over, it’s not good enough. Every concept our team brings to the table, each and every design round we have, the order of each word and phrase, the speed of each pan and cut, all have to survive our internal slug match of strategy, skepticism and ridicule before they go in front of a client or the public.

And I’m not talking about a peaceful, “I like your idea but…” I’m talking about, “Dude, did you even try?”

If our ideas are shit, our product is shit. And in order to have great ideas, we’ve got to think and iterate. And if it can live through a 30 minute round of discussion by competition, it’s not going to survive in a client meeting and more importantly, it won’t succeed when it goes live.

2. We consume ALL.

There isn’t a meme we haven’t seen. No, not just the trending posts on buzzfeed, gizmodo, or Facebook. Those are easy, and we saw that a week ago.

I’m talking about subreddits and discussions inside of discussions. #inceptionmemes. I’m also talking about technology, products, LPT, breaking news, geopolitics, and future thinking. We have to constantly be exposed to new things, new ways of thinking, new people, new everything.

We are the borg.

3. Coffee is LIFE.

There’s no way to maintain a constant state of engagement. Not online or IRL. And coming out of an ambien coma, trying to pull the sheets off after a long night of grinding quests, fighting an old nemesis in our dreams, or even hitting snooze 11 times may require a punch to the face.

A true stinger. A Burn-our-tastebuds-into-submission and stain-our-teeth-yellow type of punch to the face. And that’s how we get moving to consume all, to fight all the time, and to be ready for a curve ball.

4. There is ALWAYS a fire.

Always. And if there isn’t one, we’re doing something wrong. Or it’s a Saturday.

5. It’s okay to daydream.

Just don’t do it around the boss. Instead do all of the things.

But when we catch ourselves staring out the window or at an eyelash someone pulled out on the table, we know we’re in a place that’s ripe for thought and creativity. Now, how do we get from there to solving the problems set forth? Probably more coffee.

6. Be inappropriate, but not offensive.

In our creative agency, we have to be willing to step over the line, and possibly take one for the team. But let’s be clear about what stepping over the line is: it’s exposing ourselves, as long as everyone is over 18.

And I’m not saying its okay to discuss stereotypes like race, religion, gender, etc. I’m saying we need to. And yes, from the outside, this is an HR’s nightmare scenario. But how can you be PC if you’re a Mac? There has to be a “free space” where ideas can be completely inappropriate and way past the line.

If we sit around and think of ideas in the box all day, we’re going to bore the consumer… or worse, offend them. Think about Pepsi and their ad featuring a “diverse” group of people in a peaceful protest, ending with a Kendall Jenner handing a cop a Pepsi.

What were they thinking? The creative team and the client were living in HR’s eden where nothing bad happens and backlash doesn’t exist. A higher-up was too afraid to acknowledge that a black man would have been arrested, or a Muslim woman would have been attacked by a knife-wielding asshole from Seattle, or the cops would have been far more militarized. And also, no one likes Pepsi.

We want and need to avoid things like the Pepsi ad happening, and the only way to make sure that process works is with open and honest discussion.

7. Never third guess yourself. Sleep on it.

Sometimes we haven’t had enough coffee or we had a really tough, completely inappropriate internal meeting where your ideas got beat like Rodney King or Chris Brown’s ex girlfriends. It’s normal to be disappointed and to feel let down.

And some nights we’re not going to get a good nights sleep. Especially if you’ve got a bunch of things on your mind or you stay up late because of a significant other, Dungeons and Dragons, or stargazing.

Doubt everything. Doubt all of it. But find the courage to keep fighting it and power through. If you third guess yourself, you need to let it go. It wasn’t that good of an idea. And that’s fine. We can’t all be 5ivecanons.