So, a while ago I popped a post eagerly awaiting the arrival of my new read: Velocity – a conversational styled creative business book, that tracks the thoughts, observations and reflections of AKQA’s Ajaz Ahmed and Nike’s Stefan Olander.
The first thing to say about the book is that if you’re a designer looking for ‘creative inspiration’ then this isn’t the book for you (try: AKQA Ideas: Vol 1). Or if you’re a digital marketeer looking for a templated process workflow, this book isn’t going to help (try: Digital Marketing: Strategies for Online Success). Okay, that’s who it’s not for – although if you are the above I’d still recommend a read.
So who is it for? Well, if you’re interested in how the essence of great business should be done in today’s digital world, then you’re in luck – you have some great insights to absorb in the seven laws.
The second thing to say is it’s well worth the read. And that’s not just me saying it, of the 12 customer reviews it has on Amazon today, eleven have committed to the full 5 stars, with one 4 stars. Already the book is following the path of its laws!
The next thing to comment on is the book’s written format. It’s been crafted as a conversation between the two digital experts. They point out themselves that this is a little unusual, and I guess it is, but it certainly doesn’t get in the way of the massages. I found it made the whole experience a lot more personal that the typical business book.
I’m sure some might comment that the style of the book is simply a chance for the two to showboat their digital greatness, a self indulgent pat-on-the-back, but I’d disagree. Yes, some of the conversations seem a little self congratulatory, but you can’t really argue with the facts – Nike+ and Fiat eco:Drive have been sector, digital, possibly even life changing ideas.
Ok, not everyone is working on groundbreaking global digital accounts, but there is plenty in there for you, whatever your standing. Learning from and translating their lessons is the real power of this book.
Then there’s the Seven Laws themselves. From ‘A Smith & Wesson beats four aces’ to ‘Have a purpose larger then yourself’, they’re all both inspirational and practical. And they’re not just laws for digital communications either, they’re more like laws for life. Following them would be more akin to making you a fully rounded person, that a great digital leader – again, one of the powers of the book.
For me, it’s as easy to translate “Make meaningful connections” into having a true respect for others, as it is to fully understanding you client and their audience’s digital requirements. In that way the book seems to transcend any specific media, and position itself as a source of vision-shaping richness. Inspirational stuff!
And as well as inspiration within its pages, by reading Velocity you’re going to get a wealth of eminently repeatable quotes. From “Digital is the means, not the end”, to “…at the far side of an app, a Tweet, an anything, there’s a person”, to “Never have anything to apologise for”, to “Get going. Then get better”, there’s plenty of fodder there for pitches, proposals or simple client conversations.
So, overall, in a landscape awash with ‘how to’ books, Velocity is a refreshing change in its ambition to set a ‘tone’ rather that simply dictate a process. Velocity isn’t a reference book, and the two author aren’t pedagogic in their musings, but the book does position a clear vision of the future, and looks to inspire its readers into truly thinking about their digital actions.
Have a purpose larger then yourself – the seventh law, certainly seems to be a guiding principal for the two digital trailblazers. Velocity isn’t just an inspiring read, it’s a positive guiding light into the best ways to think, feel and act in world gone digital.