Michael stressed that Big Spaceship is not a 'web design shop", not a full service interactive agency, not an ad agency and not a production company. Michael defines Big Spaceship as a digital creative agency, that creates engaging experiences for brands.
Some of Michael's philosophies in running his company:
- everyone's creative! He despise the term 'the creatives'.
- small is good. (but it's hard not to grow) scale can be the enemy of quality. creative is about culture.
- don't hire assholes! No amount of talent can compensate for the negativity that a Ass* brings to a work environment.
- stay flat.
- hire to be the dumbest person in the room. surround yourself with people that are smarter than you. somebody who is of excellence and passion.
- experiment constantly
- focus on culture
- give autonomy. manage by exception. They are in a team system and they exist as autonomous units within the company. This creates ownership of the work they're doing. Their teams names such as : "cheapie's playhaus', flash 'merica, cobra kai and the special bears.
What I absolutely loved is when Michael spoke about how he set up his office, physically. They have these huge tables where he places teams in aisles, so that when they need to discuss something, all they have to do is turn 180 degrees and they have an instant team meeting. This makes conference room meetings unecessary. Fantastic! (BS's teams consist usually of 7 people: 2 producers, 2 designers, 3 developers.)
This presentation was my definite highlight so far. This is why I come to conferences: To hear people passionately speak about their personal experiences in our industry, to hear them talk about what they've learned. I am so incredibly tired of looking at slideshows of work that people have done. Thank you Michael, this was inspiring!