Very valuable read if you’re interested in the future of the web… time to rethink “Big Internet”

“Big Twitter was great — for a while,” says Jacobs. “But now it’s over, and it’s time to move on.”

These trends, if they are actually trends, seem related. I sense that they both stem from a sense of exhaustion with what I’m calling Big Internet. By Big Internet, I mean the platform- and plantation-based internet, the one centered around giants like Google and Facebook and Twitter and Amazon and Apple.”

Nicholas Carr at http://www.roughtype.com/?p=5010

We were talking about this way back in 2006 (and probably before, but that’s when I started taking notice as the social web started accelerating) and it’s good to see that guardians of the web like Dave Winer are still hard at work thinking and talking (and making apps) about this:

Create systems that are ambivalent about the open or closed web. If I create a tool that’s good at posting content to Facebook and Twitter, it should also post to RSS feeds, which exist outside the context of any corporation. Now other generous and innovative people can build systems that work differently from Facebook and Twitter, using these feeds as the basis, and the investors will have another pile of technology they can monetize.

via How to stimulate the open web.

Go read and use RSS.

I’ve been using a Nexus 4 then the Nexus 5 as my daily mobile device for the last two years as I wanted to learn Android.

I enjoyed the experience for the most part (especially Google Now and apps integration) but I’ve missed the reliability and stability of Apple hardware.

So, I’m back on an iPhone 5s (until the 6 or whatever it’s called next month) for hardware and Google etc for software for now.

Airbnb Belo

Airbnb has released a revision of its site, which is very 2014 modern in its flatness and active card based structure. It’s interesting, but nothing revolutionary or forward looking inside the Silicon Valley bubble. The best aspect is that we’re finally seeing the transition of the cards interface from services to actual physical interactions / products.

The more exceptional part of Airbnb’s visual revision is how they are treating their otherwise lukewarm logo. Airbnb is a confederation of hosts and potential users. While it has to be centralized in terms of the service, listings, etc the very nature of the business is to be democratized. It’s interesting to see their logo embracing that and making the decentralized nature of the business part of its core identity:

“The most revolutionary thing about this brand evolution is we are giving it away to the community,” Mr Conley says. “We are moving from an era of mass production to more individualised production… This is an extension to that. A host with a singular listing in Notting Hill could create their own logo and now we’ve created a micro-entrepreneur with their own brand.”

via Airbnb says its new logo belongs to everyone | Tech blog.

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I’m ending Harrelson Agency as an entity. It doesn’t make much sense on the surface given that Harrelson Agency is healthier than ever.

But, this does not mean I’m leaving the marketing, design, or consulting business. It means I’m “doubling down” on those areas, actually.

I’m using my own name for my “Marketing and Identity Consulting” business and samharrelson.com as the hub for that. It’s a blog, because a blog is still the best way to communicate knowledge on the web.

So why the transition?

I’m over the idea that I want to create an advertising or marketing agency with a full compliment of staff, support staff, creatives, and all that entails. In fact, I never really bought into that idea. Plus, I’ve never wanted to hire people or have people work “for” me in the sense of an employer. Instead, I much more enjoy working “with” people and having the benefits driven by that sort of working relationship. It’s not all the extra paperwork and “business work” associated with running a corporate entity that I don’t like (it’s actually fun on a sadistic level), but I want to add clarity.

I also have learned so much over the years about the type of expectations made explicit by using “agency” in the title of my company. To be honest, I don’t always enjoy those assumptions and expectations. I most enjoy my work when I’m able to have the type of direct client relationship that is more direct and personal than what is assumed when using the term agency. Added to that is that by using the term agency, I’m implying we compete with similar marketing agencies both regionally and nationally that are intentionally larger and less personal. I didn’t risk my entire financial stability and future on starting down this path to end up in that sort of a position.

I love the idea of following in the steps of people like Paul Rand who didn’t hide behind an agency name or artifice to do the type of work they most enjoyed with the type of clients they most enjoyed working with.

This move frees me up to do the quality work that I’ve always enjoyed doing the most over the years as a member of Harrelson Agency. I get to focus on marketing ideas, products, and groups with great clients as well as helping them to sculpt their identity with new logos and branding materials.

For my current clients, this doesn’t change anything but names on paperwork. I’ve been operating this way for a while with our longstanding (and amazing) clients as well as current short term clients. For future clients, this means a commitment to the type of quality and authentic marketing and identity consulting I’ve always done without the unnecessary overhead or burden that working with an agency can bring (even if in just name only).

Typically, I work with companies, religious organizations, non-profits, and community groups in a very simple set of terms. I provide a handcrafted logo / marketing plan / website / logo or identity material for a set fee based on 20 or 25 hours of work using my expertise. With that final product, I make a custom (never from a template) final report of 30-50 pages minimum on decisions that were made at each step of the process of creation outlining both time spent, resources used, and design considerations made. I love doing these reports, and I’m excited to have more time and focus to be able to do them.

I’m excited about this next iteration of my own career as it allows me to continue to focus on what I really enjoy doing while clarifying what I do.