NOTE: This post was originally made to reply to my friend Aaron Hockley’s Advertisers, Marketers, and the Portland “Tech” Scene, but contains a thought that I’ve been wanting to write for some time. Aaron’s post provided a good ‘push’ for me to get it out. My thanks to him for writing it.
I have a confession to make.
As a brand strategist by day and (secretly) a geek by night, who is very lucky to have the chance to hang around both communities, I often envy the latter.
I love both communities to death, and wish that they could comingle and share ideas (in events like Lunch 2.0), but I see an inherent problem. Now if you excuse me as I stereotype both folks to illustrate my point. No harm is meant.
Geeks may be inner-focused, but are also community-minded and are not averse to sharing. Creatives may be social and outgoing, but are really protective of their “secret sauce.”
Proof: go to a BarCamp meetup, then to an AIGA networking event. I can attest that almost everything, down to the atmosphere of the room, was different.
This is very apparent in my effort in co-planning Cre8camp after attending and being inspired by the last BarCamp Portland. Right from the start, there was thoughts that “making oneself vulnerable” by sharing knowledge—a factor that’s elemental to BarCamp’s success—must be approached differently for a creative audience.
Because code is objective, but design is subjective—so to speak.
Thought experiment: critique a page of HTML, then a piece of ad.
Here’s what you did wrong. You use deprecated tags and non standard compliant practices. Done.
Art Director: “Isn’t the type too dark?”
Account Executive: “But the client insist on using dark type.”
“Again, it depends on the eyes who see it.”
“Too big? Small? Strong? Weak?”
“What about the headline?”
“The choice of color?”
Code can’t lie, or be justified beyond what’s already written. Design and ad solutions, on the other hand, must be defended and justified. Code is firm. Creative is debatable. So geeks don’t mind sharing, because, hell, more knowledge is better, right? while creatives may be inhibited to share their “secret sauces.”
Again, it’s because code is objective, and design is subjective.
My ad side says: I envy the geeks, because you are inherently open and collaborative. My geek side says: I admire the creatives, but you are inherently in a position to judge anyone by a matter of taste.
I’m overly generalizing—pardon—but you get the idea. My point is: these approaches aren’t inherently right or wrong. They’re just different. And different is good. Because different viewpoints always makes for better end product and cutting edge solutions.
But “different” also don’t mix, and that’s what frustrates me.
Because I believe that folks from both industries can do great things by learning from each other’s strengths, weaknesses and experiences. Right now—and, again, to generalize—we are too different. Too separate. Too averse to communicate. And events like Lunch 2.0 (or maybe another event that will draw both crowds) could be pioneers that dare to bridge the gap.
“Mashups and Alchemists”, there’s your call to action.