Friday, 16 September 2011

Facebook London hack day

I spent yesterday at the first Facebook London Hack Day @ the Truman Brewery, Brick Lane.

It was a very interesting day from multiple perspectives but a huge shout out for a super seamless event to whoever organised it and the staff making it happen @ the Truman Brewery, Brick Lane. Brilliantly done.

There were reportedly well over 400 agency folk from various disciplines in attendance which made for a buzzy atmosphere, not to mention the chance to catch up with a lot of familiar faces from around the industry, some whom I hadn't seen for yonks. Welcoming everyone with coffee and breakfast (or M&Ms for the most sugar-needy) was always going to start the day off well.

It was great to see the Facebook commitment to the event with a speaker line-up of senior Facebook staff, many having flown in from California.  I was quite surprised to see so many people around me taking notes of every word though. There are still clearly an awful amount of otherwise quite smart and sociable folk out there that can't quite make the mental leap between their own personal use / experience of Facebook and what works and moving that into a work headspace, evolving the shouting at, advertising, burst lead approach.  Worrying.

I did have to laugh a little at the hack brief which was all about getting commuters off the tube network during the Olympics. Almost to the word the same brief I worked on for the TfL pitch when the Congestion Charge came in nearly 10 years ago.  The barriers remain the same, the context is now madly different. 10 years ago there was no Facebook, no smartphones, no Oyster cards.  I am sure there were lots of great ideas generated, I just wonder whether LOCOG and TfL etc have the real ability or influence to implement them in the time available. We'll see what happens - the winning idea will be posted to the Facebook Studio showcase site in a few weeks time.

The closing keynote was delivered by Mark D'Arcy, 4 months in to his new role as Director of Global Creative Solutions.  For a man fresh off a 14 hour flight he did a fantastic job, delivering a tight presentation with a strong call to action to agencies to stop thinking about Facebook as the "condiment", the salt, sprinkled on other activity and think more about the power of social  at the heart of your brand activity. I'll leave you with a slide from his deck that nicely sums up an ethos I have been banging on about for years now.  The world is moving so fast you can't sit around waiting for someone to write the instruction book.

Dive in, fail fast and move on.

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