I jokingly like to refer to myself as Old Man Slutzky. While I in no way feel old, 2017 will — terrifyingly — be my 20th year of working in advertising. With this, I have had a number of jobs over the course of my career. Independent of various freelance gigs, Nebo is my seventh full-time agency job.
And while I have only been here a little over three months, I feel like I have found something profoundly different. And in turn, quite meaningful.
The topic of artificial intelligence and machine learning is making headlines across the world. While everything you know about AI may have come from Westworld, it’s a market that’s growing and being adopted by multiple industries. Right now, the AI market is estimated to reach $5 billion by 2020 (up from a mere $5 million in 2014).
With examples of machine learning like Facebook’s chat bots, Amazon’s Echo, Tesla’s self-driving car and IBM’s Watson gaining in popularity, companies in many fields are trying to figure out how they can use new AI tools to their advantage and to get ahead of competitors.
But what does all this mean? The way some marketing and news outlets tell it, if you’re a student right now studying web design, graphic design, journalism, advertising, or even fields outside of marketing and communication, you’ll likely be out of a job before you graduate. In fact, we all may be out of a job.
And it’s easy to see where that depiction of the future comes from.
I’m Dutch. I lived in the Netherlands my whole life, went to school there, the whole nine, until coming to college in America. Right at the top of my list of FAQs is “Why don’t you have an accent?” and then “So what are the differences between Holland and America?” Most of the differences are immersive rather than things you can just explain. But one hard difference stands out: the commercials.
When it comes to controlling search results, SEO specialists walk a fine line. Many consider SEO to be the process of “manipulating” search results by making methodical edits to websites so they will rank higher. “Manipulate” is such a negative word though. Yes, Google instructs SEO specialists on how to “manipulate” its search results, but that doesn’t mean we should falsify or misrepresent our websites. We aren’t trying to deceive search engines into ranking us higher.
However, in the wild west of the internet, there are parties out there with less admirable intentions. After both the Brexit and the US election, a hot topic emerged: fake news.
This time, the public was being manipulated.
I count my blessings every day that I work somewhere that values fun. Here at Nebo, we’ve got a Ping-Pong table, a championship-winning kickball team, Beer Fridays and Slack channels that range from The Bachelor to Soylent (though no one is in the Soylent channel, so maybe it's not that fun after all).
Nebo has more “distractions” than anywhere I’ve ever worked. But it’s also the most productive and efficient place I’ve ever worked. We work hard here at Nebo to make cool shit and make it right — and having fun plays a crucial role. According to Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, “when employees have the opportunity to play, they actually increase their productivity, engagement and morale.” It’s been proven that employees who report having more fun at work are more engaged, have higher attendance and are less likely to take sick days.
But having fun goes beyond the candy drawer and the office dogs. To be successful marketers and advertisers, it needs to emanate from our work.
Here’s why having fun is the most powerful tool an agency can have.