As you may have read elsewhere, I accepted an offer this week to join Latitude, the world’s largest and most successful search engine marketing company, as their head of marketing.
It is not the case, though, that I left the Big Blog Company for Latitude. In fact, I told Perry and Adriana about a month ago that I felt the time had come for me to move on from our shared mission of teaching companies how to converse with their customers, potential customers, and industry peers. (Actually, we were doing a lot more than just that, but for brevity’s sake, I won’t detail every single way in which we’ve been trying to change the world.)
I have been itching to do something that would let me affect the big picture of which blogging is only one very integral part. I had no idea what that something would be, but I knew I had to try to find it. But it found me, in the form of the offer from Latitude, within a very short time of my decision to leave full-time work with tBBC. (To those who were horrified when I replied, “I don’t know” when you asked me what I was going to do next, and who thought I was insane not to have a ten year plan or whatever other rigid schemes you think people need in order to live well: The way this is working out is a good example of what we at tBBC refer to as the benefits of the emergent.)
But as I have written previously, I wouldn’t have the expertise to do what I’ll be doing at Latitude if I had not spent the last year soaking in tBBC. Most businesses pay lip service to ‘company values,’ but it’s no exaggeration to say that the values I cultivated thanks to Adriana and Perry (and our good friends like Alan Moore at SMLXL) are ones over which I’ve become obsessive in my wish to honour. Engagement not interruption. Pull not push. Individuals not ‘consumers’. Value for value. The benefit of the emergent. Your behaviour is your brand. Sneer at the Cluetrain purity of it all, but don’t doubt our sincerity. All of us from tBBC, and the people we gravitate to (and who gravitate to us), are individuals who do not like to be pushed around, who reject attempts to control our behaviour, and who resent few things more than a company that thinks it can get money out of us by pushing us around and attempting to control our behaviour.
Those are the values I’m taking to Latitude, and which will be core to my efforts there. The opportunity to bring those values to an established, highly successful company that is surrounded by the stalwarts of traditional, intrusive, push marketing is very exciting to me. Just as tBBC has been instrumental in me landing such a great gig, I hope to be instrumental in making the mentality of marketing in the UK (and beyond - if that’s not too much to hope for) one that is much more receptive to the values I learned with tBBC.
And when I say tBBC, I mean Adriana and Perry, the two people with whom I have been immersed in this stuff for at least three thousand hours over the past year. After logging that kind of time, there’s no way I can completely extract myself from what they are trying to do. Plus, we’re still friends and I still talk to Adriana on pretty much a daily basis. So you’ll probably continue to spot the occasional post from me on this blog.
So thanks, Adriana and Perry, for changing my life. Not only do I now know exactly what I want to accomplish in life, but I also have a finer appreciation for the humble hippo than I did before I met you. I could not pay you a higher compliment if I tried.