Media: Russell Davies

There's a scene from Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town by Cory Doctorow, where a couple of net-heads are telling a kid reporter about their scheme for supplying free WiFi to everyone. He's nonplussed by their enthusiasm, waves his mobile phone at them and then says: "The internet is great, but it's not the last great thing we'll ever invent."

I think of this when I meet one of those digital agencies sitting there waiting for traditional agencies to die so they can inherit the earth. They're like some sort of proto-mammal gazing at the dinosaurs and listening out for meteorites. They'll probably get lucky, but they haven't realised quite how much evolving they're going to have to do.

I think of this whenever I meet one of those traditional agencies who've decided this internet thing might actually be popular and profitable, and that maybe they should get serious about it. As if this would act as a one-time inoculation against the future and they can just add a department like they did with IT or HR.

I think of this whenever I meet an old-school creative team who has recently discovered the YouTube website. This is OK, they say, I understand this, it's like telly, except I can do longer than a 60 if I want.

Oh boy, I think, just you wait.

To reiterate, the internet will not be the last great thing we'll ever invent. And the pace of invention won't slow down. The world won't settle down in a few years. The landscape won't clear, allowing holding companies and media organisations and agencies to brush themselves down, have a look around and work out where to rebuild their village. There won't be a single moment where everyone will agree again on what time-lengths make sense or what tools to use, or whether or not a jingle is a good idea.

This is exciting. We're at the front edge of a permanent revolution, not halfway through a blip, and the chaotic world that we're entering will be positively drenched in opportunity. But only two kinds of people will thrive in this new world; the quick and the crafty.

The crafty will be able to make an excellent living at those traditional skills which never go away; we'll always need people who can light a car and make it look sexy, or nudge some type and make it sing.

The quick will be the rest of us; the creative generalists who will have to learn a new set of tools and rules every five years or so for the rest of our careers. Why? Because the internet is not the last great thing we'll ever invent. And neither will be the next thing after that.


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