Artist unknown ‘Ulysses 31 by Jean Chalopin & Nina Wolmark’

State of the Digital Nation 2020: Venture Road

Jules Ehrhardt
May 14, 2018 · 69 min read

Preface: This Time It’s Personal

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) Paramount
Nathan James Page ‘Walk the plank…

Harvesting Knowledge

Toshihiro Kawamoto ‘Cowboy Bebop’

Personal Reflections

Chapter V: Media Crusades & The Death Of Agency

Markus Heitz ‘The Dwarves’ by Jesse van Dijk

Ten Rounds On the Advertising Industry’s Malaise…

Number of Net Jobs Created Annually in Media and Advertising, in Thousands. Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Neil Leifer ‘Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman, 1974 WBC/ WBA World Heavyweight Title’’

Enter Marcel

Best In Show, Last In Class

Studio Lernert & Sander X de Volkskrant ‘Black Sheep

The Door Is Closing On The Chance For Change

‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ (1968) United Artists

The Necessary Death Of ‘Agency’

Ami Vitale for National Geographic Creative

The ‘Paid For Time’ Model Is The Primary Tumor

Join The Army, See The World… Then What?

Improving The Now

Baby Steps Or Giant Leap

Is Being Best Enough?

Casino Royale (2006) Columbia Pictures

Changing The Terms Of Business

Chapter VI: Venture Pathfinding

Ad Holding Group & Agency Venture Plays

Boom Boom Boom

My Precious…

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) Warner Bros. Pictures

“Fuck You Money” Required

The Gambler (2014) Paramount Pictures

The Agency & Startup Process Is Incompatible

Working Methods

Poor Dealflow & Evaluation

Incompatible Talent

Taken from John Maeda’s 2018 Design in Tech Report

The Trailblazers


Chapter VII: The Venture Ecosystem & The Startup Studio

A sea turtle hatchling about to head out to sea. Banco de Imagem/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
by Thibaud Elziere on Medium

In The Beginning, There Was Bill, And Bill Had A Groove

Illustration: Getty, Guardian Design Team
inside, you just know…

A Varied, Ever-evolving Model

insert image of ice-cream to flog ‘many flavours’ metaphor

The Startup For Enterprise Niche

The Diminishing Value Proposition

Bug Tracking The Startup Studio Model


The In-Vitro Founder CEO Paradox

Geek Art Prints by Olga Shvartsur ‘Picard Facepalm’

The Inside-Out/Outside-In* Model

Packing Cash For The Journey!

So, What The Hell Is A Startup Studio?

Seeking Creative DNA?

Chapter VIII: Blueprint: The Creative Capital Studio

Tatsuo Yoshida — Mach GoGoGo / Speed Racer

The Creative Capital Studio Blueprint

Step 1. The Stack

The Seven Critical Factors In Startup Success

Akira Kurosawa ‘Seven Samurai’

The Creative Capital Studio Stack

Andy Warhol ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans’ 1962
Takashi Murakami ‘Flowers & Skulls’

The Platform: Standalone and Complementary Services

Step 2. The Setup

Step 3. The Talent

Team Ghibli — Studio Ghibli by D Kaufman

Step 4. The Partners

Startups As Partners

VC Firms As Partners

Pig in Crown Embroidery Library Inc.

Diversity Alert!

Step 5. The Model



What about Luck?

All Together Now

Illustration by Liam Oscar Thurston, Creative Director at

The Wrap

Edmeads & Pine ‘Portrait of William Blake1802

“I MUST create a system or be enslaved by another man’s; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.” - William Blake, 1808

Please Pledge Parental Leave


Your Soundtrack (65m:51s) available on Soundcloud

Reference/Resource Table

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Thanks to Ben Tregoing, Eugeniu Clim, Thomas Petersen, and Joe Olsen.

Jules Ehrhardt

Written by

First Human @fctryio / former owner @ustwo / founder @pledgepl. Riffing on design / tech / startup / crypto / life.

The Startup

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