Dan Wieden: An inspiration after our own hearts

Posted: March 3, 2015

Design Indaba 2015 saw an entire camp of 34’ers walk through their Simulcast doors over three days of extraordinary talks. For us, importance lay in not only exposing our creative team to inspiration, but allowing our strat, client service, traffic, front-of-house, and internship teams to be exposed as well.

All of the speakers blew us away and provided 34’ers with many hours of discussion over beers and glasses of wine. The speakers were interesting, thought-provoking and inspiring in the ways they approached creativity.

Enter Dan Wieden, who spoke about culture underpinning the success of his agency. It was at this point that we sat up that little bit straighter in our seats and listened… hard.

Dan Wieden – of the wildly successful independent advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy – spoke about the importance of never selling out, of agency culture and the necessity of chaos in this process-driven world.

At 34, our culture is as important to us as the air we breathe, so you can understand why, by this stage, we were on the edge of our seats! Wieden, so natural in his ways, held nothing back. He spoke about how in his early days he started losing talent to “the big guys” and realised that he would never be able to pay what they were offering. That’s when he knew he would have to build a “fucking awesome place for people to want to come and work and to want to stay at”.

By this point, us 34’ers were nearly on our feet in applause. We couldn’t have agreed more. You see, we speak the same language. Wieden taught us that the best times of his life, and his career, had been when things were a little off balance… when there was a little chaos in the air. Why? Because chaos is able to do this amazing thing that order can’t – it engages you and forces you to grow.

Wieden is a lover of all things creative and a believer that the culture is what makes the work, work. As a culture-driven, furiously independent agency ourselves, it was music to our ears. Such wise, resonating words from a legend like Dan Wieden means a lot to a young(ish), ever-aspiring agency like ours.

Thank you Dan and Design Indaba 2015.


34 Naughty Nautical