Five things on Friday #291

Things of note for the week ending Friday April 4th, 2019. 


Well, hello there you.

How have you beeeeeeen? 

Me? I’m super chill, thanks for asking. I spent the first few days of this week (well, Sunday through Tuesday) in the Cotswolds, at Whatley Manor (no joke and no relation) and it was everything we needed.

Utter. Bliss. 

Returning to real life on Wednesday, I was grateful to attend the (formerly Spredfast + Lithium but now called) Khoros Engage event in London – and it was genuinely great. Seeing such quality keynote speakers as Dr Hannah Fry (amazing – buy her book) and Danny Wallace (he has a book also – more on that shortly) is easily one of the better ways to bring yourself back into working routine, this much I can tell you. 

If you’ve never heard of the former, Dr Fry is a mathematician, writer, author, and speaker. When the initial intro sessions were over and the good doctor was introduced, there was an audible collective sigh at the first keynote being announced as being about MATHEMATICS… but how wrong we all were.

Witty, intelligent, and impeccably presented, Dr Fry’s talk was easily the best of the day. I’ve just bought her book – you should too

The latter, Danny Wallace, gave a talk specifically about ‘Understanding the culture of rudeness’ and it’s part of Danny’s talk that makes up part of first thing this week. Something I will get to imminently. 

Before I do that I should say a big fatthank you to the team at Khoros for a) the invite and b) putting on such a fantastic event. It was definitely one of the better ‘tech platforms doing decent stuff for their customers’ events I’ve been to in recent years and thematically, the right and correct strategy of not pinning themselves too rigidly to their product suite played out well. Good job and I look forward to attending the next one. Oh, and top networking afterward also (not something I say that often/ever/if at all). So yeah, good job team. 

If you’re interested in what you missed, you can read more about the event on the hashtag, #KhorosEngage

Right enough of that now, shall we get onto the things?



So yes. Danny Wallace.

Three things I know to be true about Danny Wallace. 

1. Danny Wallace first rose to fame as the chap that Dave Gorman bet he couldn’t meet other Dave Gormans. I read the book, ‘Are you Dave Gorman?’ – that they both wrote together. And it was funny. There was also a TV show. Late 90s thing. It was great. Pioneers of PowerPoint comedy. 

2. Danny Wallace is known in video game circles for voicing the character of Shaun Hastings in a whole bunch of Assassin’s Creed games. If you can remember the tech guy who chats to Desmond in the (arguably quite poor) ‘real world’ sections of the AC games, then you can remember Danny Wallace. He also did the narrator’s voice in the CRIMINALLY underrated and underplayed ‘Thomas Was Alone‘ (it’s probably available on mobile these days – you should all try it). 

3. Danny Wallace is a nice guy. I once met him. Almost exactly 11 years ago in fact, in April 2008. Back when flash mobs were a thing and several hundred people decided to rickroll Liverpool Street station. Here we are. I was there. Danny was there. My mate Abul was there. 

Here we are. 

All of this is off point. 

As I mentioned at the top. Danny Wallace gave the mid-afternoon keynote at the Khoros Engage event on Wednesday. In a talk written specifically for the day, Wallace spoke about the problems that arise from rudeness. Covering everything from an aggressive hotdog transaction to the rise of rudeness in social media through to the very real life and death implications of rudeness in the workplace – especially if that workplace is a hospital. 

But back to the social media thing, DW said this –‘We are reacting more, thinking less’. 

And fire-truck me did that resonate.

Something I talk about when I’m coaching or mentoring is about how do you go the extra click. What’s the [minimum of] one extra thing that you can do that literally no one else will think to do? 

When Danny said about reacting more thinking less, my brain immediately inverted them and pushed me into a new mantra for modern living (yes, I know).


If I did tattoos, I would probably add this to the shopping list. 

And then, perhaps more interestingly, on the way home that evening I spotted this: 

If you missed it, footage leaked of this huge Amazon delivery drone blimp – a mothership of deliveries with drones whizzing in and out of it, taking its innards to the consumers that have orders waiting. There’s even a video and everything

I was on the train on the way home from the event and the Twitters was FILLED with explosive commentary all about how the world was ending and that Jeff Bezos has overtaken the world etc. You can imagine. 

Except there was one teeny tiny little problem.

The whole thing was a fake (Thanks Snopes).

Which is all great and amazing and super dystopian EXCEPT ONE THING. 

The whole story is a fake. The video. The imagery. All of it.


And that was/is just ONE example. 

I guess my point is here, Danny Wallace gave a talk about rudeness. Told us what we all do. And he’s right. There’s proof. In this blimp story alone. But also everywhere around us. 

So go the extra click. 

Think more. React less. 


An interesting item to consider publishing, this one.

And what I mean by that is: if you self-identify as a gamer then you’ve probably, possibly already read this one already.

If you don’t self-identify as a gamer then this may not be of any interest to you at all.

But whatever.

Jason Schreier’s ‘How BioWare’s ANTHEM went wrong‘ is a) a great piece of investigative journalism and b) a really interesting look at the way a whole ‘AAA’ game can be pulled apart by apparent internal politics/bad management. 

A thoroughly insightful read. 

– If you liked that, you might enjoy the accompanying podcast
– And you might also like the author’s most recent article in The NY Times

As a side note, as I’ve mentioned before, Jason Schreier has made a name for himself on getting the inside scoop on the development story of some of the biggest games ever launched (and some of the smaller ones too). If you’re a gamer and or working in gaming in any way, shape, or form, and you’ve NOT read Blood Sweat and Pixels, you should probably fix that


What, you thought I’d miss it? 

Already I’m sold.

Well, to be clear, I follow the director on Instagram (you should too) and I was sold AGES ago. BUT, the trailer that dropped this week? Put this in your eyes.


I’m in.

So in.

Dark AF? Yes.

It’s just a trailer… I know.



In a deal that has apparently been in the works for over a year, this yet-another-agency-purchase (after Fjord and Karmarama) by the consulting firm, Accenture, is crazy.

Update: the image above links to the large NYT piece but Katie Deighton’s write up for The Drum is worth a look also.

For a few reasons.  

One, from the few people I’ve spoken to, the fact that *it’s Droga*. The famously and fiercely independent agency of fantastic work — has sold up… to a consultancy. Like, if it was anyone (literally anyone) else it would’ve been OK (I’m not entirely convinced on this but I take the point). 

Three schools of thought: 

School one:
Creative industry folk kick back and complain. Accenture? Purveyors of such wang as ‘Now is client based and R&Done’ (an actual thing). What has our industry come to? Etc etc. Collective disowning of the creative heroes they all looked up and general disappointment all round. 

School two: 
This is JUST ANOTHER sign of the times. Of the consultancies parking tanks on the creative agency lawns and going after another piece of the marketing budget that they’ve traditionally not been able to deliver against. You could argue that Accenture is aiming trying to get to where WPP is aiming for without having the M&A legacy. And good luck to them. But I mean, if you think this is bad? Wait ’til they start buying media agencies…

School three: 
Fair play David Droga. Great building and selling of an indie for a truckload of cash and that’s the retirement fund double seven times over. Things are only just starting to get interesting. And the agency models will actually be forced to change (vs reshuffling the same deck and announcing to the world ‘We have a new agency model’ – when you really don’t). 

One thing is for sure: we live in interesting times. 

Related reading: ‘Why we are all consultants‘ by Alex Hesz.


So I’ve written about this before (as a bonus thing a couple of weeks ago, and then again last week when I gave it credit, again as a bonus thing) but now that I’ve finished the process I feel like it needs mentioning again). 

First: PROOF!

So let’s talk about this for a bit.

First up, this is a great service! If, like me, you feel/felt like you follow too many people. Tokimeki Unfollow is about Marie Kondo-ing YOUR TWITTER FEED. 

Here are a few observations:Everyone should do this. It is SO cathartic. People die.And this last one is the thing that got me.

People I knew that had passed away – yes, I still followed them and that’s OK. But others? Others I didn’t know. I found final tweets from loved ones, updated profiles saying ‘RIP’, and more. It made me think about an after-life plan for my own social media accounts. What would I want on them, how would I want them handled? I’m yet to put any of this into action – but I should, and I will.

Something to consider. 

And speaking of consideration. At Digitas we’ve been talking a lot about how friction, in a customer experience, can be a GOOD THING. This process, the Tokimeki Unfollow, is all about that friction. It took me several weeks to work through the four thousand or so accounts that I followed (it saves your progress). But I assessed each and every individual one of them and know why it is that I follow them. This is not a rush/batch job.

And rightly so. 

Also, the graphics are cute af


The Essentials are the weekly links to the #MeToo movement. Any article. Any press. Any story. Any white male firing. If it happens, it’s here. Suzanne Moore on Joe Biden.Woody Allen.




Congratulations on reaching the end of the newsletter!

It’s just gone 7am on a Friday morning (I KNOW!!!) and I’ve got an AI-based thing/meeting I need to get to. I hope you a delicious weekend and, as I learnt earlier this week, rudeness is contagious. I believe the opposite to be true.

Do the world a favour: try and compliment three people today. 

See what happens. 

Go on. I dare ya. 

Until next time,

Whatley out. 

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Author: James Whatley

Chief Strategy Officer in adland. I got ❤️ for writing, gaming, and figuring stuff out. I'm @whatleydude pretty much everywhere that matters. Nice to meet you x