October 30, 2008: October 30, 2008
Popularity can kill you
My funny Halloween costume blog finally went viral yesterday with a heap of traffic coming from all over the world. Only problem. I was on a shared server and basically gave that a right royal ass rogering. So there was some late night shifts to another server. Which I also bend over :( So then it was moved to another server and my includes are all screwed which meant no navigation, no ads and no tracking.
This is a site I usually spend 3 hrs a week tending to now I've spent 6 hrs just fussing about with no good solution. The site has also been moved from my blog server to a virgin server so I cant update it until I export my database and templates and install Moveable Type. Yay there's half a day gone. And all 2 days before Halloween. After this i was expecting not to have to touch it much at all.
So make sure that if you are doing a project which has the potential to go nuts (50,000 people in a few hours) then make sure you're host is ready.
October 27, 2008: October 27, 2008
Soap Creative USA
This is just a brain dump on my thoughts about our new LA office. It's probably the most exciting time at Soap that it has ever been, business has never been better and the type of projects we're working on has never been more varied.
While it was actually official a week ago lets call today the first day of Soap USA. We've gone and opened an office in LA. Century City (the Nth Sydney of LA) to be precise which is a temporary solution. It's both a scary and exciting prospect for many reasons. Only once did I really lose sleep over the decision.
As an independent agency we've been self funded from the start. So opening an office is quite a hurdle. But it was actually easier than buying our office and the subsequent purchase of the place next door.
Luckily we have a business focussed partner who looked after the majority of this "paper work". There's much more to these things that you first imagine. Lots of things to sign and decisions to make. The easiest decision we had was who to get to run the office. For me there was only one choice and that was our current client Matt Griswold. He was one of those rare clients that really pushed us to do better. He also got just as excited (if not more) by our ideas. He was also a client I could send over ideas for other clients and get a good honest opinion.
The plans for the LA office have been in the works for over a year. My first trip to LA was part of that plan. Secure more US work and then use that as a base to expand. We went from 5% revenue to around 20% revenue from Uncle Sam. All this as the Aussie dollar climbed to 97c to the USD.
But within the year the financial systems have changed considerably. Right now it's at 60c to the USD which means the budgets for us just went up 30%-35%. From good to great.
While things seem bad, people are still going to the movies, watching TV and playing video games, the two markets our clients over there are in. They aren't buying property, investing or buying SUVs and luxury products.
They will also be buying more alcohol too. Also a new president and a new year should see some changes too.
For the last 6.5 years Soap has been my hobby and job. Myself and the other partners aren't savvy businessmen and we're not entrepreneurs we just like what we do and tried to do our best. If we were those things I probably would be living in a penthouse apartment on the Gold Coast. Funny thing is after 6.5 years we've only just hit our stride. The projects we're being offered, the clients we're working for and the budgets to work with have finally matured. The team we have has never been stronger too.
This reminds me of one digital CD telling me he had a "5 year plan" for his agency which ended in fail. If you plan to get out in 5 years then you don't really make to make a difference you make decisions to pad your pockets.
Funnily enough the actual cost itself to set up the office hasn't been huge. In fact the full outlay is less than some agencies spend on their Xmas party.
The most exciting prospect for me is a personal one. Running a business has its ups and downs. A few times in the last 6 years I have felt trapped, wanting to take a year off and travel or work over seas was not an option. But now that is possible (well the work overseas bit is). It also allows us to offer the option to the staff to work in the US office.
It will be an interesting 12 months as the office grows into it's own entity.
I also wonder what other people think about this move. We could have as easily just sold and then looked to exit in 3 years with earn outs. But I think we've now secured more potential growth and worth than we ever could have earlier.
Funnily enough while trying to grow the US side of things we've also had huge growth locally after just being awarded the digital accounts for two major brands. We're also nominated for B&T's Digital agency of the year 2008.
Phew lot's of stuff to process over the next few months for us and many more decisions to be made. We're in hiring mode now and seeing some pretty talented people this week which is a tough part of the job trying to hire people.
October 25, 2008: October 25, 2008
Real Life Tower Defence
Here's an idea I would actually put into practice if I could get an arts grant to fun it.
Take the popular Tower Defence game idea and turn it into a real life game. This is like the Pac Manhattan thing a few years back.
Now I'm going to propose the idea that would work in a 1980's action/sci fi movie. You can swap out people actually dying for water based weapons and turn it into a "Wipeout" type show. Up to you. I prefer guns and chain saws. And if you want swap real people out for zombies. As no one cares that zombies die
Prison Tower Defence:
It's a reality show set in a country with very relaxed civil rights. Prison guards have 1 week to set up their towers with a limited budget. Chain saws, guns, flame throwers they are all available. Guards work day and night until the countdown reaches zero and the gates open. Criminals race through and try and get past. Guards get money for each criminal they kill and the game start over again in a week once the first wave is done.
The way you turn this into a movie is that one of the criminals is an innocent man who was framed for the murder of his girlfriend by a corrupt cop who wanted her. This guy was the creator of the TV show Wipeout and Takeshi's Castle. He built the contraptions and is determined to escape the "Prison Tower Defence".
He escapes in the end only to find it all a dream.
So after actually writing it it seems morbid. Maybe a better way is to set up a park and have people run through the park trying to avoid getting ping-pong balls knocked off them by water balloons and hoses.
October 12, 2008: October 12, 2008
Who has killed more? Aliens or Predator
October 10, 2008: October 10, 2008
October 09, 2008: October 9, 2008
October 06, 2008: October 6, 2008
Muppet Pulp Fiction
This is fantastic! I love the Muppets and it looks like Disney is ramping up the Muppet viral videos on Youtube to potentially launch a new Muppet movie.
October 04, 2008: October 4, 2008
Google Adsense Visualized
Please excuse the terrible design elements I really just wanted to graph my Adsense account rather than create something worth hanging on a wall.
I've been playing with Adsense since March 2007 and have found it a great way to earn pocket money. I don't put much effort into making money from it and for the first 6 months I donated 100% to Oxfam.
Here's the key figures charted against each other.
Some sites earn almost nothing with Adsense while others regularly pull in lunch money daily. WTFcostumes my sexy costume blog has recently become a major earner due to the fact that Halloween is closing in. It's SEO isn't perfect but I'm relaying on Google for all my traffic right now. I'm hoping that search traffic will triple soon with Halloween getting closer. But after that it'll soon go back to being a quiet site.
Notice that Clicks vs Earnings is not a perfect mirror. The cost of the click varies greatly day to day and the location of the clicker. Also this is runnign across multiple sites and some sites get much more per click as the content of the site is more advertiser friendly. Or it's more relevant. Ads on this blog due to the word truffle being in the title are all recipe based?! Even If I post about movies and DVD's.
You are forbidden to disclose how much you earn through Adsense so I will say that you could not quit your day job with my Adsense earnings but you could support a smokers habit.
Aussie vs USD
Lots of talk about how doomed the USD is but check it against the Aussie dollar. It's clawing its way back. This is over the last 3 months
If it sits at this level for a while I'll be happy. If it goes even higher yay for us as we spent very little USD but receive quite a bit from clients. Even my adsense is feeling the 25% boost!
Soap Creative Showreel 2008
Trying to squeeze in 6.5 years of work into 2 minutes is hard. (well the earliest project in here is from 2005) There's still lots of projects I love that didn't make it but you cant put everything in. We also do a lot of work that doesn't fit into show reels well. Applications, banners and social media stuff. But this is more of a HYPE reel to get people excited and to show off.
I'm still hoping we can change the music as the current track is different (which is good) but it doesn't suit the work or say much about Soap in terms of attitude. It just feels old. It's also a very flat track. A few hit points here and there but there's probably a good reason this type of track isn't used in showreels.