Some of you may remember Dave Angel: Eco Warrior, the classic Fast Show character who fought the injustices of the general non-eco-ness of things. Well let me introduce you to another evangelical crusader, Richard Angel: Digital Warrior.
Having done his time in agencies, Richard decided go it alone and is now a freelance digital consultant, working on projects at in-house companies across a range of different verticals. This gives Richard a fairly unique vantage point and an unequivocal viewpoint. I was here to take advantage of this and discover the truth about in-house working culture, career progression, and job satisfaction.
Unequivocal opinion number one: “Agencies are more chilled.”
This was the first time I’d heard this point of view but Richard rationally outlined the reasons why. “When you know you are leaving at 5 o’clock, you don’t have time to muck about.” In-house, meetings are generally shorter and punchier and on top of that, there are “no table football tables, no long meetings for coffee, it’s more like a normal office.” Things tend to move more quickly in-house according to Richard. This is down to a number of reasons but it was time for unequivocal opinion number two.
Unequivocal opinion number two: “In-house, a project can move from start to finish quicker than an agency can ever dream of.”
Things were hotting up, this digital gun-slinger wasn’t pulling any punches but suddenly things started going the other way.
Since Richard started his consultancy he hasn’t looked back but suggests that in his line of work you can miss the stability of an agency, simple things such as “having a desk and a regular routine”. While this is mainly a consultant’s problem, Richard went on to say that you can “get lazy” in-house. You can lose the passion and “most people’s career and knowledge progression slows down”. As well as this, in-house it is more difficult to stay up to date with the market and ‘Google’s latest thingamabob‘ but in an agency 200 people will be talking about it so it’s almost difficult not to be at the cutting edge.
This was about to prompt another unequivocal opinion. Richard Angel: Digital Warrior had been ruminating frantically on the pros and cons of in-house vs agency but when I pushed him on the subject of whether, if hiring, he would hire from an agency or from in-house, the answer was this:
Unequivocal opinion number three: “If hiring, I would look for agency experience.”
Ok, maybe that one was slightly equivocal, agency experience doesn’t necessarily mean someone who has always worked for an agency. This was echoing what we have heard before from other interviews in this series. Agency experience means you have a good technical knowledge base and shows you can work long hours when you have to.
Without compromise, Richard had made strong points for each side of the argument. So why had he left an agency to essentially work in-house. One of the main reasons was job satisfaction. He likes to see the net effect on the company from the digital work that he does for them. “I like making changes in the morning and then seeing increased sales in the afternoon.” In an agency you are not embedded in the company and rarely see the real fruits of your labour or if you do it is in front end data not cold hard sales.
There was just time for another unequivocal opinion and this one was the best of the lot. Having been both scathing and praiseworthy of both sides, could I persuade Richard to ultimately choose a favourite? Yes I could.
Unequivocal opinion number four: “In an agency, the days are longer, the processes more complicated and the results are the same.”
I had loved Richard’s candid straight talking. Though the opinions were strong and unequivocal he clearly saw the pros and cons of both agency and in-house. Much like Dave Angel: Eco Warrior, Richard Angel: Digital Warrior was out there raising awareness with some big truths. Oh and guess what? His brother’s called Dave.