The excitement dust settled quickly. Last week was a time of low client prospecting and heavy work. I have been collaborating with a boutique agency located at Dubai's Business Central Towers, very close to the first place I worked at when I first moved into town. I have been dividing my time between this collaboration and Mecenato work at around 80%/20%.
Can't share much on the details of the project itself, other than it involved a bit of digital product benchmarking and enhancing (coming up with new functions, enhancing existing ones), writing three different user journeys for different stakeholders requiring very diverse functionalities, and coming up with new brand campaign ideas to get users aware of this platform.
I can definitely share more on what went on on the Mecenato side:
On the concept of "work networks"
I shared a thought regarding work on my Facebook feed earlier this week. It read like this:
"Here's a thought: as an individual, you can now choose to be part of several social networks. Let's say you are part of Facebook (where you meet and chat with your friends and relatives, where you read this post as well), but you are also part of Instagram (where you prefer to post/archive your pictures), and Twitter (where you go to when you want to drop little snippets of thought). During the course of a day, week or month, you have the freedom to decide how much time you want to spend on each of these networks based on your interests and aspirations on that given time period. So how come work can't be like that as well? Instead of being 100% "owned" by a company, you are instead part of a "work network". You can now decide to be part of other "work networks" too (following the same HR procedures of a normal company). During the course of the week or the month you just decide which network you want to share your available work time with, in exchange for money. How about that?"
Two valid points came out of the comments that came in: the first – the money trail. Where will it come from? How do you deal with taxation? Isn't this as same as just freelancing? The second point was: privacy. If you have workers participating freely in what could be competing networks, how do you ensure that sensitive information is not leaked? Will be thinking about these two points over the next days.
On creating and formalizing processes
As two other projects started to warm up (one in Cambodia and another in Scotland), I am faced with the pressure of putting down some processes in place for sales conversion and relationship management. I am still not finished with the sales deck/biz cards/website, to which I should dedicate a good bunch of time this weekend. I have been uploading content to a new CMS called SquareSpace (very happy with their quality) and just recently also registered the domain mecenato.org. Mecenato.com is still on the works.
On relationship owners and vision builders
Here's another thought: what two functions can't be automated or outsourced by a communication/creative agency? After thinking about this for a while, I distilled it down to this view: the only true core competencies of a creative agency are owning and nurturing the relationship and creating/shaping up a vision for the brands and products. In the times of the medieval guilds, these two competencies could exceptionally be found in the same person: the head artisan was the point of touch with patrons and also the one getting the chisels, paints and wrenches out to build something. He may or may not have had assistants or apprentices, but he was the relationship owner and the vision builder at the same time. Everything else I could think off could either be automated or outsourced.
On trying out Olark's chat system
Besides working on content for the upcoming Mecenato website, there's a web tool I have always been intrigued about: those little bottom right chat windows that offer website users a way of providing feedback or talking live to a sales agent. I've settled on a provider called Olark (olark.com) and set out to install it in my personal portfolio to give it a go. It's pretty simple to have it running, and you can get it hooked up to your Mac's iChat client, so whenever you are online the window is automatically made visible in the website. I managed to have a quick chat with a few visitors from Denmark, UK and the UAE. Liked the direct two-way connection and the tool's robustness for sales leads generation. Will definitely install it on Mecenato's product pages.
On running ads on Facebook
Just started running some ads for the Mecenato page on the Facebook platform. Will report on my findings soon. What I can tell already is that the system is indeed pretty simple to use. However, I think that if you want proper effectiveness from it, you need to put your head on creating good segmentations and variations of your creative. It's a mix of science and creativity to get those right.
Drop me a note or a comment here if you wish.