Top benefits of a job in new media, number one: spending all day surfing
the Internet is, technically, research, and may be charged at an hourly
rate. Second benefit: because I’m so busy researching, I leave the hard
work to a bunch of 23-year-old graduates. Who, in a crazy twist of fate,
I call my researchers. Go figure.
You’ll never get closer to a sweatshop than the young creatives of an
interactive product. With luck, you won’t get that close to my design
group either. Sweat is just one of the problems in there. It’s not a
pretty sight: pale, anonymous twentynothings, strutting biker lads,
sincere pierced artists. All of that breed that the 70s spawned: irony,
irony, irony, an ignorance of health and safety legislation and the
ideal of a contract that is longer than a week.
My fear is that they’ll realise they can do without me. I’ve been
setting a LANwide filter on all e-mail that mentions Delphi Creative,
for instance. Delphi is the perfect example of what happens when you lop
off the hype layer of a new-media start-up. Before its director and
mentor, Jonathan Miller, left for the US, the young company was known
for its great big noise (provided by Miller) and its disappointing sites
(provided by its Website design team). Post-Miller, the young team went
rogue - and have begun to do some really great stuff. When working to a
tight client brief, like www.thetimes.com, they work to a clean, clear
style; their creative.delphi.co.uk site shows a wilder side.
Miller, on the other hand, got stuck in the US trying to grapple with
the exploding MCI-NewsCorp deal. How embarrassing to hear the song carry
on after you’ve stopped lip-synching. What it boils down to is that some
of us are here to hype and some to work. And rather than follow the
hypers around - and even, in the case of some agencies I could name,
hire them - we might be better off getting to know the workers round the
back. But who knows the names of the programmers on your latest project?
I know I don’t, and I’m the one who’s paying them.
Well, sometimes I pay them. If they remember to ask.
Dan O’Brien is a new-media consultant. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org