I recently climbed the circular steps heading to the lobby of one of the most respected advertising agencies in our industry. It had been three and a half years since my last visit to 720 California Street in San Francisco. The security guard downstairs and the lobby with a modern-museum feel above him were exactly the same. But something felt different.
This traditional brick and mortar agency (the building is literally red brick) which has made its name creating television ads equally enjoyed by clients and consumers, was buzzing like a dot-com. My suspicion was immediately confirmed, when after checking in for my appointment, I was able to open up my laptop and log online wirelessly with ease.
"Goodby"--short for Goodby Silverstein & Partners--has figured out "getting online" starts with making sure their employees (and guests) can do so wherever they are inside their building.
How easy is it to get online inside your building and away from your desk?
If you answered "really easy," you work for an online agency or a really good dot-com publisher and you can now wipe your eyes in disbelief. Yes, the most obvious difference between you and those chasing you starts with this simple and often overlooked step of making it easy for employees to get online anywhere, anytime.
I am no longer surprised when I meet with publishers at their offices, with no chance to get online when doing so. I understand setting up a wireless network is an investment, but what I have difficulty understanding is how a publisher plans to transform itself in this digital age without being able to get online wirelessly in a conference room. How many times have you been in a meeting, and you or someone in the room asks, "can we get online?," everyone in the room collectively panics in an attempt to do so, and then deflates when unable to connect? Once is too much.
There was a celebrated idea back in the early '90s here in New York City called "The Broken Windows Theory." It pertained to the Mayor's focus at the time, to clean up the outside of the city. The theory was that if you get rid of the graffiti and panhandlers, and fix the "broken windows," the exterior appearance of the city would make its residents feel better inside it, and would draw in more visitors who in turn would say wonderful things about their stay.
If your company is effortlessly wireless, it will "feel online." In turn, vendors who visit will talk about how progressive you are, and the collective creativity of your employees will gravitate toward online-centric solutions--the ones clients keep shelling out money to purchase these days.
Running a successful online publishing business starts with this simple step. What's stopping you from taking it?