Don’t Quit Your Day Job: This week, Paul Ford and Gina Trapani sit down with Rick Webb, COO of Timehop, to discuss his 2015 book Agency: Starting a Creative Firm in the Age of Digital Marketing. Rick lays out how anybody — even someone born in a ditch in Topeka — can start an agency. He also leads a discussion about the legacy of viral marketing in his own career, and the history of the advertising mega-structure.
Rick — 5:55: “I think that at any moment in marketing there is some technology, craft, or medium that is the new emerging thing that’s very good for agencies to be able to make their mark in.”
Rick — 7:20: “The book is really written like you came to this business as a craftsperson.”
Rick — 7:50: “In the old days, an agency operated as an agent on behalf of their clients and the reason they’re operating as an agency is because they’re going to buy media… this is the classic definition.”
Rick — 9:10: “That’s why they really want video ads to be a thing and they have since the early 2000s. They could just take the model they had and use them again — and they are winning. It is slowly becoming that.”
Gina — 9:50: “Timehop is a great product. When it first launched […] it was something my company took a lot of inspiration from. It just let you kind of appreciate your social content in a perspective that you wouldn’t have had.”
Rick — 11:15: “[Timehop uses] programmatic advertising. We don’t do data-driven advertising. Your data isn’t in your advertising.”
Rick — 12:55: “There’s a business case for Timehop that’s out there, but really we took it because I believe in nostalgia. I always have. That’s why I wrote the first cheque for them. I like little simple things that are just a couple minutes of your day.”
Paul — 17:40: “So we’re living in this world of giants. We scamper around in the shadows of dinosaurs as a little mouse with our firm, but a lot of the people listening to this show are people who are doing a reset of some kind in their career. If somebody wants to get into your world, what do they do?”
Rick — 18:00: “I think one thing that really confounds everyone is the compensation structure of start-ups. Like there’s this widely pervasive belief you can get rich in start-ups.”
Rick — 18:50: “Right now, hundreds of companies are being planned in New York. Maybe one or two will become a unicorn. […] The minute you can tell they’re going to go anywhere, everyone else can too. It’s just a waste of time.”
Paul — 19:10: “Going to a late-stage start-up is just a job.”
Gina — 22:18: “In the beginning, though, you have to have some resilience for feast and famine. You know, when you’re first starting out, you have to be able to take a couple of months where you’re not getting paid or getting paid very little.”
Rick — 24:15: “You don’t have to quit your day job until you make enough to quit your day job.”
Rick — 29:20: “Advertising is a very, very, very big part of our world and people don’t think about it. […] Mass media and technology are both primarily funded by advertising.