Drawing a new shape for a new year.

I’m writing this blog on a transatlantic flight from Portland, Oregon to London Heathrow. If you’d told me as I sat on this flight last year I’d be flying into Tier 4 lockdown Heathrow before having to kick-off a 10 day self-isolation period in Belfast, I’d be forgiven in thinking you’d been reading too much Chuck Palahniuk.

Yet here we are, another month gone, another change of rules, and another long-winded blog about it all. Go figure.

I’m kidding. What I’d like to do is take some time to dig into what we’re doing at Hundred Studio, what’s changed since we kicked off last summer and what we’ll be up to in the next few months.

Thankfully, we’ve been really busy. So busy we’ve had to close our calendar until March. 

We’ve got websites, brands, launches, campaigns, strategy and consultancy to deliver between now and then. No pressure. 

But what I’d like to think about right now is the importance of the last few weeks. 

We made a conscious decision to close on December 18th. 

After a year of working in another agency, then as a freelancer and now as a business owner, I’ve seen my fair share of late nights picking through my inbox. The Christmas break came at the perfect time for me. 

I usually spend Christmas each year with my wife’s family in Portland, which is one of my favourite places in the world. This was a trip that for months I had been hoping and praying wouldn’t be cancelled. We hadn’t been in Portland since last Christmas, and we’re usually there 2-3 times each year.

Of course, flying to the USA in the middle of this pandemic was a bit of a nightmare. Spending time in isolation both before leaving, when we landed and then again as we come home will be weird. I’m pretty outgoing, so it takes a toll. This whole year definitely has.

But what’s important is that we made an effort to turn things off for a while. Take some time to not work – interestingly I finally got around to watching The Last Dance on Netflix over the holidays. It’s amazing, so if you haven’t watched it yet give it a go.

As inspirational as Michael Jordan was, he wasn’t the player who captivated how I felt after a tough year. That honour fell upon Dennis Rodman. Not for his hair (you’ll be glad to know), but for his undying need for a few days off after he gave his all on the court. Frequently in the series, we see practices taking place with Rodman completely MIA. 

Of course, the standard narrative is that Dennis has been off misbehaving with Madonna, partying in Vegas, or taking part in the WWE with Steve Austin (all three are true). What’s struck me is how much he seems to have been regarded as foolish for taking this time off. 

We spend our time idolising someone like MJ, who was the most driven, direct, hard-working player in the world. But Rodman never got the plaudits for his consistency, for his ability to play no matter the odds, for doing the unglamorous job. 

I think there’s a valuable lesson in there. I’d also like to take a minute to assure our clients I’m not writing this as an op-ed before sticking my out-of-office on and heading on holiday. Everyone still strives for MJ – but let’s not over glorify that hustle-culture.

I think it’s worthwhile taking a minute to think about what’s important – at the end of the day in a sport like basketball what’s stood the test of time is the memories, the stories, the connection, the trophies, the records. 

Still, Dennis Rodman has five championship rings. 

We’re trying to make sure we take the right amount of time off as a business ensuring that our mental health is kept at the forefront. Taking regular rest, time off, and downtime is essential to staying mentally fit. We want to make sure we’re operating at the same level creatively as we are mentally, physically, and emotionally. 

Otherwise, we’re going to be half-assing something.

That’s not something we’re willing to do. When we take on new projects, we’re 100% behind the concepts, ideas and strategies in them. We want to work on projects which not only help us as a business but help us as creative people. We care about the work we do – wholeheartedly. 

So in saying that, we’re excited for 2021. If you are too, give us a shout.

—Gregg