I first read about Boulder Digital Works while sitting in a condo on Maui overlooking a lagoon full of giant turtles. I was drawn into an article by the words Hyper Island, Bogusky and America.
As I read the article my eyes welled up and a chill went down my spine. It was as clear as the water outside my room that life was pointing me back to Boulder and I had to be a part of the first class at BDW.
The next day I stood on a beach watching the surf roll back and forth over my feet and said to my wife, “I feel like this is what I have to do. It’s going to expose me to rock stars in the industry and teach me a ton. It’s going to get me a shot at a major agency and it’s going to be written up in things like Fast Company and The New York Times. I’ve got to be a part of the first class.”
Ten months later and seven months after starting we’ve got our New York Times piece, I’ve met a list of people that looks like an interactive media fantasy team and I’m leaving Boulder to start work as a strategist at Goodby, Silverstein and Partners.
Game. Set. Match.
The program is by no means perfect. It is a startup in its infancy striving to find its way. Our New York Times piece was nice, but in my opinion missed what has been the program’s greatest success—its ability to draw the most passionate people in the interactive world to one place.
From the first two classes of 60 Weeks students currently enrolled to the visionaries who lead the three day workshops and the professionals enrolled in the workshops to our Board of Directors, our space in downtown Boulder has become a catalyst where people can share ideas, war stories, inspire and be inspired.
When you fill a room with interactive professionals from some the world’s most demanding shops, 20-something digital native students hungry to get to work, entrepreneurs, folks struggling to grasp the changing landscape and clients from some of the world’s biggest brands you create an amazing atmosphere where titles and salaries fade away. What’s left is an exciting collaboration that reflects the state of interactive media we are all striving to understand and cultivate.
There are some people who need to be recognized for helping to create and foster this atmosphere of exploration and collaboration. That list starts with Crispin Porter + Bogusky. It begins with Chuck Porter and Winston Binch and continues on down the line to many from the agency’s staff. At every turn CP+B has been incredibly generous with its time and knowledge. In addition their effort to bring other companies and professionals into the fold at BDW has been staggering. From Modernista to Mullen and Goodby to BBH we’ve been exposed to some of the best people at top agencies.
Local support has also been incredible highlighted by folks like Robert Reich from the startup community in Boulder and some great local shops like EffectiveUI and Moxie Sozo.
The people I would like to recognize the most are my fellow students in the 60 Weeks Program. Over the past seven months I have watched them struggle, thrive and grow immensely. As the staff at CU and BDW have worked to figure our how the program should actually function, the students have forged ahead seeking out expertise or additional work. The 16 people in the program are all very different. The one thing they have in common is they took a chance on an unproven program because of the passion they have for digital and interactive media.
That will never be true again. I’m leaving for Goodby and soon our other students will have internships lined up at some of the most innovative companies on the planet. BDW will soon transition from an unknown startup with limitless potential to a proven entity. With that will come a different type of student. Though I’m excited to meet the talented and hungry people in classes to come, I’m glad to have shared my time here with people who leapt from a cliff not knowing where they would land.
I will miss Boulder Digital Works. I believe I’ve left my mark. I’ll be back often to make sure that mark remains, but also to share, teach and learn with the best.