“Agency Model in Chaos. What’s Your Next Move?” Real Talk Recap

On Wednesday, we had a wildly energizing discussion with Jules Ehrhardt, author of State of the Digital Nation 2020: Venture Road and First Human at Creative Capital Studio FKTRY. It was equal parts provocative and therapeutic. No one cried, but Jules did meet another Jules and they hugged. It was cute.

Here’s the gist of what we learned, ways to dive deeper and how to run with it.

Best Bites

  • The primary tumor of agencies is the pay-for-time client service model. Jules talked about how creativity is being ground up and sold like sausage; we need to break the link between time and money.
  • “If you mix all the colors of a palate together you get a neutral.” 
    The perfect metaphor for what Jules framed as the biggest threat of design and creative capital becoming centralized and homogenized.
  • “The only thing you can’t bring in-house is an objective point-of-view.” Fellow STRTGST Chuck Welsh dropped this wisdom bomb on us in our discussion on the value of agencies vs. in-house services.
  • Agencies = bootcamp. Jules reinforced agencies aren’t a bad place to develop your skills, but the most motivating thing is to ask what are we going to do with that?
  • Quote to steal: “You’re either a revolutionary or you’re not.” –Travesties

Go Deeper

  • As Jules said, “up-and-coming agencies should have the same respect as underdog boxers do for champions- complete respect, but none at all.” Start thinking like a boxer. Jules referenced the Muhammad Ali documentary, “When We Were Kings.” Watch it. (Well the first half because that’s all we could find streaming).
  • Jules is convinced there’s only 5 hours of creativity in a person a day, and while that is a convenient excuse to roll into work at noon, there’s also a lot of interesting shit to back it up.

Run With It

  • Whether you’re thinking of starting your own agency or just figuring out your life path, ask yourself the same question Jules does:
“What work would you do if you were fully funded for 2 years? What choices would you make? What would you invest in?”*

*And make your journey open source. Share what works and what doesn’t, frameworks and business models. We have to build paths for each other.