is a dynamic new book, co-authored by AKQA
founder Ajaz Ahmed
and his client, Stefan Olander
, VP of Digital Sport at Nike
. The design - incorporating a superbly crafted bullet hole effect on the front cover - was overseen by AKQA's chief creative officer and co-founder, James Hilton.
Velocity presents seven new laws for businesses in a 'world dominated by rapid change and digital technology' and is written in the form of a conversation between the authors. The book feels like the gospel according to Contagious. (The best advertising isn't advertising; Be beta now and be better tomorrow; Digital is the means, not the end; Have a purpose bigger than yourself, and so on.) Stressing the inevitability of 'velocity' within the modern business environment, the authors champion the impact of speed, agility, service and optimism.
The lofty intention behind Ahmed and Olander's seven laws is to provide a set of tools to help 'create a better future' for the businesses of brands and the relationships they have with the people who interact with them. The authors have recognised that in uncertain times actionable, accessible ideas and sage counsel are a potent combination. Their laws can be boiled down to the following:
- Evolve immediately. Entitlement kills.
- Get going. Things get better.
- Make meaningful connections.
- Never have anything to apologise for.
- Make yourself proud by making people's lives easier, richer and more fun.
- Have the balls to make the calls.
- Do the right thing: play from your heart.
Ironically, given the title, I found Velocity to be a pretty relentless experience. I could only read it in bursts, otherwise my head felt like it was imploding as there was so much to take in and agree with. The combination of the edited conversational format and the wealth of ideas, stats, anecdotes and aphorisms all add to this breathless momentum. It feels more like a three hour PechaKucha festival than a book. There's no waste, no flowery prose - only an intelligent flow of insights, advice, stories and illumination. Yes, the heavily edited conversational flow can feel staged and a bit too pitch-perfect at times - but the duo have worked together for twelve years and it shows. In between the business observations lies a wealth of personal anecdotes and some nice tangents, such as a chef desperate to create the taste of sunshine, Olander using social media to choose a gardener whose English wasn't great and how his nine-year-old daughter deletes badly designed apps from his phone.
From a Contagious perspective, it's encouraging to see that Ahmed and Olander's ideas chime so well with many of the themes and trends that Contagious has concentrated on over the past few years - social business, service design, experience over innovation, advertising to people not robots, etc.
Velocity is like a road map for the future of advertising. I defy you to read it without a highlighter pen in your hand.
Velocity is published by Vermilion, an imprint of Ebury Publishing (Random House Group).
Win Velocity - on an iPad! To celebrate the launch of Velocity, Contagious has teamed up with AKQA to run a competition for followers of Contagious. We will be giving away a free iPad, pre-loaded with an iBook version of Velocity. To enter, go on to Twitter and send a message to @contagiousmag that completes the following sentence: Velocity is the future because...
Alternatively - email email@example.com and complete the sentence 'Velocity is the future because...' (No more than 140 characters in total)
Competition deadline: 4 May