Happy Birthday: FWC Turns Three!
On screen text over black reads: “Three years later…”
<Camera Pans L-R across scene>
The scene is a simple and clean modern office in Silicon Valley. Several people work intently at their computers. An Air Hockey table sits in the background near a couch, television and several book shelves. The far wall has a door. It reads “Four Winds Creative” in reverse since we’re inside that office.
The door opens and three people walk in.
One says: What? Seriously? No wait… three years? Where’d it go? What happened? (The speaker turns to look directly at the other two with a baffled look.)
Time, it’s a funny thing. When you want it to pass, you kill it. When you want it to move slowly so you can savor every moment, you’re powerless as it races by. You’re left wondering where it went so quickly. Time is its own investment and its own reward. When we look back over the past three years, that’s how we’re feeling about it: a great investment with incredible rewards. Thank you all for joining us on our adventure; let’s recap how we got here today.
It was May 13th, 2014 at 10am PST when the first official Four Winds Creative meeting happened with our first client, Discovery Digital Network. “The Ask” was to act as production management and help produce some branded content for Discovery’s client and “America’s Finest Grill” was born. Did we mention that we love the unusual? It doesn’t get much more unusual than a Mount Rushmore condiment station on a rolling party platform.
Although our background was in high tech in 2014, we were off and running supporting online, corporate, experiential, and marketing efforts spread over a dozen different projects and industries. Liberating and challenging, exciting and terrifying, but most of all ours. Four Winds Creative was ours.
Through 2014 we focused on our customer service and learned to bring our unique view to the table. We learned that each project was still its own beast, but we found that clients loved and valued what we had to say. We learned that our collective experience was prized and that we really enjoyed the collaboration and fun we could inject into each project. You know what? Clients did too. Our friends grew and our network expanded. How could this get any better?
Enter 2015 where we had so many firsts. First real desk, first real office, first employee (Eva), first company computers, filing our first tax return as both the employer and employee. Ok that last one wasn’t the most fun, but we learned so much about running the business and found we were part of a ‘startup culture.’ We were boot strapped, not venture backed, but we all share similar challenges and business problems.
We found that we had friends in different industries that needed our help, too. High tech got exciting again with “over the top” video gear, robot doctors, and big data. We helped start-ups change the world, retail companies gather shopper opinions, financial companies connect with their investors and employees, broadcast networks celebrate the 4th of July, and even did some keynote work for old friends. All these companies needed Four Winds Creative. What made it even sweeter is they wanted Four Winds Creative: on their project, at their event, in their board room, and by their side. What a time to be alive. (Thanks for that line, Daphne.)
Amidst all this, we knew that we had our unbelievable network of friends and the awesome creative community to thank in so many ways. We’re so happy to have such incredibly talented people to work and play with. We decided to find a way to give a little back through the Bay Area Creative Freelancer Guild. So, in 2015 we jumped in with both feet and really embraced the MeetUp scene. You know what? We found out that we love hosting it and the people are awesome. We were able to connect some recruiters with talented freelancers. That felt good. More friends! More fun. Just plain more.
Whew! 2015 That’s a wrap.
BAM! 2016 started like a bang, or rather a clang. Our client asked for eye candy. OK. How about an explosion of metal sparks flying in super slow motion from the hammer and anvil of a real blacksmith? Add horses, historic garb and a formal carriage and you’ve got a great video that stops people in their tracks. Maybe you saw it at NAB?
That video was super fun to create, and made for an awesome project and a happy client. From there it was off to San Diego and later Mexico for some educational fun with drones and tablets. The pace picked up a lot and we had tripled our business in just two years. Wow!
What did we learn? We learned a lot, and I don’t mean just by attending NAB. We learned so much more. We learned we’d need a bigger office and more help. Enter employee two, Daphne, employee “two and a half”, Liz and employee “other half to make three”, May. Do two part-time employees equal one full-time employee? HR philosophers have argued that point for years. Either way, our family was growing.
Growth can be confusing to a young business. It’s body going through so many changes so quickly. 🙂 What is the Affordable Care Act? How’s this health insurance stuff work anyhow? How do you file a DE-542? W4 or 1099? Lot’s more to learn and lots to do to keep our growing team ready to rock it for our clients.
Very much like Roy Scheider’s Martin Brody “bigger boat” comment; we’re going to need a bigger office. In August of 2016 we moved to our current office. It’s nearly three times the size of our first office and it has a full-size Air Hockey table thanks to even more friends. (An Air-Hockey table that doesn’t fit in the elevator.) Come by for a game (or ten)!
MeetUps were strong all through 2016 with highlight events at Mac House Studios of Fremont and Beyond Pix in SF. We helped grow the creative community and provided a space to show their work, to get feedback and network, and to discuss the challenges of being a “creative.” So many friends, so much sharing, this is awesome. Everything is awesome!
The awesomeness kept rolling when we got to hang at Adobe MAX in San Diego with Quinten Tarantino in October. Then we paused and took a breath to reflect on how we are SO VERY THANKFUL in November. With 2016 coming to a close, it was time to celebrate Christmas In The Park with the first ever wedding held there and wrap up another awesome year at FWC.
Then came 2017. What was it likely to bring? Where would this year take us? (Hint: San Diego, Cleveland, Washington DC, Los Angeles, China, Poland, and Singapore so far. And it’s only May?) How would we be able to stretch our game to deliver even more awesome?
One way was by attending and learning so much at Social Media Marketing World in, you guessed it, San Diego. Between all the learning, we had a chance to do some kick ass projects. One for Shark Tank and the awesome PlantSnap App. We also served up some keynote videos for old friends. We found that there was hope for many more.
All this activity had us running hard when we got a call from another old friend that stopped us in our tracks.
He explained that the San Jose State University film department had a shortfall since a past sponsor could no longer help the advanced filmmaking class with their 35mm film project. What’s that, can we help? We’d love to!
So in mid-April we found ourselves in Metcalf Park with an awesome crew and incredibly talented professional motocross rider. Wait until you see the death defying outcome of three days of shooting on location and in a studio.
What came next? Birthday celebrations with Brazilian Barbeque and a challenge at a local escape room. What fun we had saving the world from a deadly plague. That was serious business that put us into the right frame of mind for some science. So, we finished the party just in time to jump into the prep for another awesome STEM competition in LA.
We’re three years into our adventure as Four Winds Creative. We’ve met so many new friends, been able to work with so many old friends, and focused a lot on growing and learning. We couldn’t be happier and more excited about the future. The countdown is on and we’re looking forward to whatever year 4 has to throw our way. Celebrate with us as we plunge headlong into the Fourth year of Four Winds Creative. It will certainly be the best one yet.
-Your Friends at Four Winds Creative
p.s. check out a sneak peek of what we’ve been up to over the past year or so: