This is the blog of Ant Miller, senior research manager and dilettante geek at large at the BBC.
I wail moan and cuss about the challenges and fun to be found here.
These are my personal opinions, and not those of my employer. Or anyone else here for that matter.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Leaving Auntie, Joining Clearleft

As of the 16th of November I shall be an ex-employee of the BBC.  After 11 and a half really rather fun years I'll be back out in the wild, doing 'commercial' things, and a member of the excellent Clearleft team.

I'm going to a team with a fantastic track record and reputation in delivering brilliant products and services to their clients, and also in sharing brilliant ideas with their peers in the local, national and international industry. With a new home on Middle Street in Brighton and room to grow the opportunity to take my experience back into the sector where I started out is a brilliant one- I've got very comfortable at the BBC (maybe too comfortable) but this feels a bit like coming home too.

Tracks. CC BY 2.0 Tobias Mandt

My time at the BBC has been incredible, full of interesting projects, challenges that really stretched me, and most of all it's been full of the most amazing and wonderful people.  However, it is now the right time for me to get out of this weird bubble and get back to the real world, or as real as a digital agency life can be.

I want to be pretty honest about this transition- I haven't blogged for a while, and part of the reason for that has been that this desire for a major change has been behind much of what I've been up to for the last year and a half.  Events like the Brighton Mini Maker Faire and our trip to Denmark probably deserved a post of their own, but it always felt like there was a bigger context, and this change is a part of it. I should be clear- it is only one part.  There is a very broad life context, and if you know me well I will tell you about it face to face, but it doesn't digitise well, so I'll leave that for analogue interfaces.

So, honestly, how do I feel about the BBC?  Grateful mostly. It's insane, divorced from reality in a profound way, mindbogglingly wasteful, and has a deeply ingrained institutional cynicism that has grown toxic in the last 9 years, but it is also the place were more amazing people do more amazing things than anywhere else I have ever hear of, let alone visited.  It's given me a very very long rope, and only occasionally let me hang myself with it, and just about everyone I have met here is motivated with a genuine passion for the best of Reithian principles.

And Clearleft?  I've known of Andy, Jeremy and Rich for years now- when I was at Victoria Real they were considered the 'cool guys' across town, always doing slightly more worthy, slightly cleverer projects. At the BBC they have continued to be on the edge of the radar, consistently setting the agenda and delivering outstanding work. It's been interesting to see them plough a very individual furrow too- so much of the very innovative work I have been close to in the UK has been displayed in the fierce cauldron the hackday scene, and Andy and team stand apart from that. They deliver based on an intimate engagement with clients, and the driveby randomness of the hackday environment is definitely a less enmeshed delivery framework.

I've very high hopes for the next few months. I'll be joining at a time of interesting change, as the team move into new purpose built offices and exhibition space right in the centre of Brighton. I've some ideas for markets and segments to explore, and ways to build on existing strengths for Clearleft, and by jumping straight in with the company for an intense week long retreat I doubt I'll be 'new boy' for very long.

And then after Christmas... well that's one to talk about over a beer....

1 comment:

@coldclimate said...

Wow - best of luck. Meeting you at the first UK Maker Faire years ago when you ran a session loosely titled "what's the equivalent of the BBC Micro and what should we be doing now" gave me great faith in so many things.