From my newsletter:
The last time I sent out SpiersList, I was working on a new site with Flavorpill called Everup, and quite a lot has happened since then. (See here. Or listen to Dan Maccarone’s Story in a Bottle podcast.)
And now I’m starting something new. It’s partly a continuation of what I’ve been doing for over a decade: launching new digital products and helping them grow, with a couple of new twists.
This week we’re launching The Insurrection, an agency and media lab we’re describing as a creative and research shop for revolutionary brands. (There’s an unwritten rule that boutique agencies have to sound like ominously named indie bands, and besides, who doesn’t want to co-opt The Insurrection?) Our [very, very temporary] site is at www.theinsurrection.com.
WHAT WE DO
Our specialities are branded content and research, broadly. And we’ll be incubating our own digital products internally both for our own use and as prototypes of what we can do for clients.
On the branded creative side, we offer A to Z execution for new launches, from ideation and hiring to product development and monetization. We also help with audience development, SEO, and where applicable, one-off custom publishing. And the process doesn’t stop after launch. We also work with clients to develop ancillary channels and products, from video, to custom bots and social products, to offline integrations.
Philosophically, we believe in both quantitative and qualitative approaches, and our research unit ensures that everything we do is backed by data as well as what we’ve learned from experience working with a wide variety of clients, from Fortune 500 companies to seed stage startups. On the more traditional side, we offer standard research services: focus groups, surveys, polling, IDIs, and even (*GASP*) dial testing. But our sweet spot is digital, so we’re particularly excited about launch/prototype research, native ad effectiveness measurement, online reader panels and newly emergent methodologies and technologies in the neuromeasurement space.
Our Laboratory, Autonomous Microventures
Lastly, we’ll be incubating some new things ourselves to ensure that what we’re producing for clients exceeds expectations and give us the opportunity to leverage our internal knowledge to develop products that are exciting and sustainable even outside of branded executions. We believe this model works particularly well because our agency business creates a pipeline for scalable products we develop in house while the lab feeds the agency side by functioning as a prototyping mechanism for experimental products we’d make available to brands.
Secret Menu Items
Lastly: There are some things we’ve offered historically that we’d continue to offer on an as-requested basis, but probably won’t advertise–among them, executive branding. This includes content strategy for individuals and ghostwriting, as well as coaching and early stage-startup advisory.
We also do recruiting, hiring, and training for existing clients as part of our execution strategy. If you don’t have in-house talent for projects we’re working on together, we can help with that.
My two primary partners are people I’ve worked with for over a decade, at multiple companies. Michael Woodsmall is The Insurrection’s Chief of Staff, and is a former managing editor of The New York Observer, co-creator of Thrillist’s Supercompressor, and co-founder of The Inertia Mountain, an adventure sports site. Michael and I have worked together on several new launches, and his versatility and adaptability continue to impress me.
The Insurrection’s Director of Research is Peter Feld, PhD, a veteran of both Condé Nast (where he was the Director of Custom Research) and many, many political campaigns as a pollster for Peter Hart, Celinda Lake, and Global Strategy Group. (Ask him about Dukakis ‘88. Or Tsongas ‘92. Or Teen Vogue‘03.) Peter also has extensive writing and editorial experience—he was also one of the editors I hired at The New York Observer—plus a long history of helping brands, publishers, and politicians strategize using actionable data, and he’ll be doing that for us, too.
WHERE WE ARE
Physically: our offices are in the Flatiron/Nomad area: 1140 Broadway, 10th floor. We’re sharing space with Alley Interactive, a development firm for publishers that I worked with at the Observer.
In terms of process: I’m currently raising a small friends and family round (a rolling convertible) to give us a bit of runway and cash to prototype a specific research product. There’s still some room, and interested parties can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll also be doing a newsletter for The Insurrection that covers developments in our areas of expertise. It won’t launch for a few weeks, but if you want to go ahead and sign up, you can subscribe at the bottom of the site.