Today is July 11th. Also known as 7/11 (or 11/7 if you're non-American) but we're talking about 7/11 because of the convenience store 7 Eleven, ok? OK. So, as you probably know, 7 Eleven gives out free Slurpees on 7/11 because they're awesome, right?! WRONG! They don't do that here in Oklahoma. Or at least, not anywhere in the OKC metro. It's the worst. So if you hear someone scream-crying today, it's probably me. If you pass a 7 Eleven today, please go enjoy a delicious frozen drink in my honor.
Another reason you may hear me crying is because the World Cup is coming to an end this weekend. :((((( It always goes by so quickly. And now we have to wait another FOUR years. Do you know how much happens in 4 years? We'll have seen 2 Olympics, 4 Super Bowls, a new president and so many other things. It's so far away. At least we have the Women's World Cup next year in Canada to hold us over, among other regional tournaments. Sigh.
I was impressed by the performance of the USMNT this year. Sure, we only won 1 game, but it was against a team that sent us home in the last 2 World Cups. Also, do you realize that we held Germany to ONE goal? You should understand how amazing that is after seeing Brazil give up SEVEN against them IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY. Yeah. We did really well. And we fought til the bitter end - thanks Julian Green. And another thing, Germany is probably going to win the World Cup (or at least I hope so because Kevin picked Argentina to win in our office pool). You can't not be impressed by our guys after taking such blows - literally and figuratively - with Jozy going down in the first match, two broken noses and a few other injuries. Hopefully, we'll make a good run in Copa America Centenario which we will be hosting in 2016. And after the impressive showing that CONCACAF and CONMEBOL had in this World Cup, it's going to be a great tournament.
I'm also crying because Deb has been gone on vacation all week and it gets lonely over in the video corner. Come home, Deb. Come home.
I'm so thankful to be working in the sports industry. It's fun. It's fast-paced. It's entertaining. It's something different every day. And it's a challenge. Chances are if you're reading this, you're working in the sports industry yourself, and you share these sentiments.
From time to time, I forget what makes us a great company, what it is that sets us apart from other creative agencies and freelancers. I forget how good our people are at what they do. I forget how difficult it must be to produce new materials each and every day, yet give each project its own unique identity. But it's the experience of creating new projects each day that makes us the experts at what we do. If you look at popular theory (Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers and others), expertise comes through repetition. Basically, by the time you put in 10,000 hours doing any one thing, you've become an expert in that field. That equates to roughly five years of doing 40-hour work weeks to become an expert.
Old Hat has experts on staff. We've got print designers, developers, animators and (don't forget) client service reps with that kind of experience. It goes beyond that though. Our designers, developers and animators aren't just simply putting in hours to gain expertise. It starts with talented people that push themselves, which in turn causes those around them to work harder (iron sharpens iron). That's a benefit we have that you won't get from freelancers and in-house designers. That's not to say they can't create great work and aren't experts themselves, but I'd put our team of experts against an individual any day.
If you look at the sheer volume of work Old Hat produced in 2013, you might realize what I've realized: 1) how difficult it must be to constantly push ourselves to greatness and 2) how our experience continues to keep us the best at what we do.
So what is that volume of work? Let's see what we did in 2013, and this is by no means an exhaustive list, just some of the common projects we work on daily.
Posters - 353
Schedule cards - 146
Tickets - 49
Billboards - 25
Magnets - 34
WEB projects (some full sites, some updates to existing sites): 64
Intro Videos - 73
Commercials - 54
Animations - 63
Photo/Video Shoots: 19 full day shoots, 7 half days
I think the evidence speaks for itself. So if you ever wonder if we're truly equipped to handle your next project, just trust us, we know what we're doing.
As I mark six months into my job here at Old Hat, I've been doing a lot of evaluating and planning for the next several months. So much of my time was spent preparing for NACMA and now it's nice to turn my attention to organization and brainstorming ways to make our business even better. But as I turn my attention to all things "big picture", I'm trying to make sure I also remember the little things that are just as important.
One of my projects I tasked myself with today was to write notes and send with them a brochure of our work to colleges in our surrounding area. We have many clients all across the country, but actually only a handful here in Oklahoma. So, I wanted to let more people locally know about Old Hat in general and show some examples of some of the work we've been especially proud of in the last year. I sat at my desk with a stack of notecards and slowly wrote 50 notes. It took awhile. And my hand hurt a little afterwards. And my handwriting was definitely not as nice at the end of my stack as it was in the beginning.
Sending 50 emails definitely would have taken me far less time. It would've taken far less effort. But, I don't want Old Hat to be the kind of place where the shortcut or the easy way is habit. I want to make sure we are doing the little things that I know make us great. I want to make sure that personal communication and giving the extra, and sometimes, unexpected effort, are top of mind for us. A note may seem like a small thing, but I know personally that they get attention.
Last week, I received a note from someone I met at the NACMA conference. It was a really nice surprise. It was quite thoughtful of the person who sent it to me. Considering we were the vendor there, you'd expect us to be writing the notes (which we did), but not that potential clients would be sending notes telling us how nice it was to speak with us. We do not even currently work with the person who sent me the note. It really captured my attention. It left me with a great impression of the person who sent it.
I want to make sure that all Old Hat clients know how much we appreciate them and the pride we take in the work we do for them. I want to make sure that our clients know that we are willing to go the extra mile to make their projects great. And I want them to know us and for us to know them on a more personal level. We feel that our customer service is what sets us apart from others who do what we do. Sometimes the seemingly small tasks and extra effort can make a big difference!