I love my job. I love it because I get to think about what incidents like last night’s might mean. Maybe this one is meaningless, but my hunch is that my friend Grant McCracken would see something interesting in it. Here’s what happened:
My 14-year old son was excitedly showing off a new t-shirt he just acquired:
So, kind of an odd shirt, right? Some dude with a full beard and glasses, and the semi-cryptic, pseudo-aspirational ‘achieve.’ The image is a representation of Jack Pattillo, Editor of Achievement Hunter at Rooster Teeth Productions. Yes, I recognize that ‘Editor of Achievement Hunter at Rooster Teeth Productions’ means absolutely nothing to you. Rooster Teeth are one of those companies that didn’t, couldn’t, exist in the previous century. Their YouTube channel boasts over 3 million subscribers and over 1 billion views!
Rooster Teeth are one of those 21st century companies that is shaping our culture in stealth mode – at least as far as the mainstream understanding of culture goes. But here’s the thing that I really found amazing in talking with my son. As I did a Google search for Jack Patillo his LinkedIn page came up so I clicked on it. As I was looking at it my son noticed the “People Also Viewed” group on the right hand side of Jack’s page. My son pointed to every single person on the list, all Rooster Teeth employee’s, and said, “I know who that is.”
Producers, web designers, VPs, show creators, you name it, my son could have told me all about them. What sort of advantages does this give Rooster Teeth? In building a relationship with their fans, in recruiting talent, in building a larger audience? I’m not sure but when I was my son’s age the only employee at a company that I would have known was Tinker Hatfield, the shoe designer from Nike. Yeah, I was that much of a Nike nut then.
From a marketing perspective I see the vast, yawning cultural chasm between the current C-Suiters and the kids that are my son’s age. Next time you are talking to a brand manager ask them about companies/people like Rooster Teeth, Valve, Tobuscus, Minecraft or Freddie W. My guess is you’ll get blank stares. In the next couple of years you’re going to see an explosion of brands and media companies (there’s a difference?) that will catch those in charge by complete surprise. It’s going to be fun to watch if you’re on the right side of things, but very messy if you’re not.