This is a release that I’ve been looking forward to announcing for quite some time. Please Feed The Animals, a site where out-of-work advertising agency professionals can open a free account and post their resumes, work experiences, and eventually, portfolios to connect with agencies that are hiring, has been released in Beta. The brain child of Erik Proulx, the site was designed and built by an all volunteer force of agency professionals. I provided project management and information architecture services as well as space on exUrban’s BaseCamp for the duration of the project. Through Erik’s connections, and mine, some of whom overlapped (unsurprising in a town as small as Boston) we pulled together Michael Durwin, Joe Morris, Liz DiPietro-Frazier, Amanda Talbott, Conor Feely, John Szalay, and Richard Haynie — rocking designers, all. Based in and around Boston, New York and Phoenix, AZ these folks designed and laid out the many pages that Skookum — who generously donated their staff’s time and is based in Concord, NC — needed to work their magic.
The designers went above and beyond and knocked the designs out of the park. From just a single, model template this geographically distributed team created 26 page designs (lots of forms and information presentation pages) that matched each other perfectly in terms of PFTA’s brand. This consistency is a true testament to their skill and their professionalism. As happens with a volunteer team of hustling ad-types the size and composition of the team ebbed and flowed as folks picked up paying gigs, but the design work was evenly distributed across team members and the bulk of the templates were completed in a few weeks — give or take some staffing ebbs.
The development and deployment of PFTA was a terrifically collaborative experience with plenty of spirited give and take, and a high level of trust that the pros on the team would make good decisions and do what was right for the job. The team did not disappoint. PFTA proved, yet again, the viability of social media as a connector (that’s how Erik and I met) and a tool that can be used to marshal resources and enable them to work together. Spread across the country, using email, cell phones, Twitter and a $25 per month, cloud-based-extranet/project management tool (two actually, Skookum has one as well) a talented bunch of folks brought to life a really cool idea. If I were a giant, publicly-traded-holding-company-owned-agency I’d look at PFTA as both a wonderful staffing resource but also a potential threat to my organization. The world’s biggest, most experienced agency is on the streets, and it has everything it needs to succeed and deliver value to customers. In a final, wonderful bit of meta-context, Please Feed The Animals was built by the people for whom it was intended: the talented, passionate, driven ad-pros who lost their jobs in the ad-biz blood-letting of 2008-9 (hopefully, it evolves into “just” a job site for talented ad folks, no more hemorrhages for a while, please). I am proud to have been a part of the genesis of PFTA, and completely thrilled at how well it turned out. May it be wildly successful.