They say moving from one place to another – the packing of boxes, clearing of storerooms, throwing out of things you forgot you even had – is one of the most stressful things you get to do in the course of your life. I don’t agree.
CliffCentral.com moved from 18 Wessel Road – our home for eight and a half years (and our first home) to new premises in Sandhurst, and while the move was expensive and complicated, I’m thrilled that January wasn’t just more of the same. The new year started at 200km/h… and it shows no sign of slowing down! Moving gave me a chance to take stock, to put away things that are no longer useful and to shed sentimental, but ultimately outdated narratives. In some ways, it’s like breaking up or shedding your old skin like an adder would.
Our business set out to revolutionise media and launch the idea of streaming and podcasting at scale – and since 2014 we’ve largely achieved it. We’ve established a new medium, grown an audience from scratch, created new value propositions for our clients, and launched media careers we never expected to. It’s something I’m proud of having a hand in, and I’ll never forget some of the stories, but I’m ready to move on. I find too much nostalgia and dwelling in the past tedious – like old men who tell the same boring stories over and over. A change of venue, a new playground, will hopefully usher in a new era of excitement for all of us.
The marketing and distribution businesses of the future won’t be like the media and advertising businesses that ruled the roost from the sixties until quite recently – they served their purpose, but most died out because they never moved on. There are a few kids doing unboxing videos on YouTube that have more viewers than the most successful recording artist in a stadium today.
TikTok stars, rogue royal princes, OnlyFans ‘content’ creators and micro-influencers have made traditional celebrities seem like quaint artefacts of ’90s and 2000s culture; and the smart money is following the former, rather than the latter – albeit in less generous quantities. The barrier to entry for being “famous” is truly lower than at any stage in history – and whether that is a good or bad thing has yet to be discovered. Perhaps it will unlock hitherto unexplored talent, genius and creativity, or deliver the most banal, self-absorbed and vapid nonsense ever spawned. The jury is still out on which is the likeliest outcome, and which will still be celebrated in twenty years’ time.
Our move gives us a new canvas to paint on – and it’s up to us and our partners in business to decide what we’ll paint. Some of it will be in brand-building, creating communities and affinity, repairing reputation, moving products or explaining new ideas to engaged and enlightened audiences. Some of it will be in telling stories, empowering buyers and sellers, connecting businesses to each other, and entertaining and informing the thought leaders. One thing it won’t be is predictable.
Whatever lies ahead for your business, you’ll need a strategic partner who can hold your hand as you jump off the cliff into the unknown. What lies in the fog might lead us into great prosperity or it might bruise and test us – but take it from me, if you stay in the same place hoping things will change, you’ll just watch the world (and the opportunities) pass you by. Let’s collaborate!