Going Out West

RAM-Going Out WestNew York interactive agency R/GA is sick and tired of losing talent to the San Francisco lifestyle, so it's opening an office in Frisco's South of Market neighborhood, right in the back yard of rival AKQA. Both shops handle Nike, which is just a short flight away.

"We keep losing good people - more than 30 so far - who like our agency but decide to ditch New York for the land of wine, bicycles and the outdoors," also the home of Apple, Yahoo and the Google mothership, says R/GA CEO Bob Greenberg. In its new digs, R/GA will be able to troll for new hires among those tech icons. "Clearly, there are cultural differences in Northern California that matter to the kind of people we want for our agency," he says.

And exactly what kind of people are those? Lazy? Sure. But also "creative designers and conceptual thinkers who can see the big ideas and who really understand the user experience," says Greenberg. "Technologists in Silicon Valley and S.F." (hint: don't call them technologists) "often understand what many corporations and agencies don't: that tech is creative and all digital communications are becoming connected," he says. "It's not about managing the client anymore" (New York, are you listening?) "but about figuring out how to reach the consumer" (hint: call them people, not consumers) "and then finding a measurable way to show it to the client." Also, it will help to be in the same time zone as Nike, what with the cost of travel and all, but that seems to be secondary.

"Believe me, it's not easy to find people with the imagination for this work," Greenberg says. Suggestion: Start with coffee houses, sidewalk cafes and the Mission in the rain.

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