by Joe Tancula
To answer that question, we had to drill down to the most basic question pertaining to content. Why do we create? It’s difficult to put into words the fulfillment you get from creating. When I think about all the things we’ve ever created, I’d argue that over 99% of it was the result of obligation: for a grade, for a client, for an employer– whatever. If even 5% of my creations are for myself, I’m doing pretty well. But when you set out to create, you find yourself in a bit of a loop. It’s difficult to begin, so you take inspiration from something else, or you copy. And creating something that’s been done before doesn’t pack the same power as creating something new, and so you stop creating or you lose inspiration. This was the basis for our development of the media lab. To delight others, you first have to delight yourself. We looked at blogs in our industry versus the content creators we really loved. It turned out company blogs are almost all the same. How To’s and Commentary that were purely meant to develop one more marketing channel. What if we created something entirely new? Something personal and fun, but ambitious and innovative.
The overwhelming majority of blogs are cautious, impersonal, or just plain bland. It’s tough because most people struggle with one of two things, either they’re not given the creative license they need to create something great or their company simply doesn’t invest in their creativity. And usually the result of those two things is a mess of a blog that looks like it’s built to serve the company’s bottom line more than anyone creating or consuming the content.
But every once in a while as you’re walking through the desert of the internet, you come across a treasure chest, where the articles are insightful and fun, the videos are interesting and beautiful, and there is genuine care in every detail, whether that’s a company blog, a YouTube channel, or a funny Twitter account. The best content engages, delights, and teaches. It’s rare, but it’s out there. The problem is that most blogs give the genre a bad a name. We want to push past what it means to have a blog, to create media that shows genuine care and creative agency, like it was carefully, beautifully crafted.
That means bringing three decades worth of expertise to a generation that prizes the new. This is what’s fun about creating something new. You get to experiment and enjoy the journey. The Media Lab is a lens to marry our creative spirit with our industry expertise. And it’s the most fun thing I’ve ever worked on.