2016 was a year that promised a lot of changes. After 3 years of struggling to manage THU financially, for the first time, we had the support we needed and the opportunity to do things differently, to make sure we could have a stronger impact on our community. And, in my honest opinion, we failed.
In the process of making THU, I have set one rule for myself and that is that every year should be different – an evolution. THU is very different from everything I worked on before, and it's a real challenge to adapt so quickly to all the enormous changes we make every month, hoping to improve the experience. And if in theory it makes sense, applying this rule is a whole different story.
I spent the last 2 months receiving and analysing all the feedback the THU Tribe sent me and I divided my focus in the three main projects that I believe are important for the Tribe: Gatherings, TV and Main Event.
Gatherings - (Chapter 4: Building a Tribe )
Berlin and Helsinki hosted the first two Gatherings, the new generation of Meetups, in a completely different way – this time we managed the experience at 360º, taking care of the food, location, speakers, and technical details. This made all the difference.
The Gatherings are something that really consume a lot of time and energy. For my small team, this was a big change and of course the amount of work increased a lot, but it was necessary. Now more than ever, I realize how important these events are for the Tribe – the people who are fighting with us to change something in the digital artists’ community.
I learned that the Gatherings are a safe place for the digital artists to meet and break free from their regular routines.The Tribe members were into the art talks, but they weren’t there just for those. I was surprised to realize that they were curious to know more about THU and why we do what we do. Only 8% of the attendees that signed up didn’t turn up. People showed to really care about the community.
Of course this doesn’t mean that everything was perfect. In Berlin, the space was too small and became noisy when the talks were happening. In Helsinki, we had to leave the venue earlier, but besides that I think we found a balance.
In 2017 I want to improve the experience, choose the venues better, and more importantly create or bring activities that will make these events a really unique experience. It goes without saying that food will continue being a big part of it.
TV - (Chapter 5 : Breaking Barriers)
The biggest project besides the Main Event and, in my opinion, the most ambitious one I ever worked on.
We continue our process to bring the stories and content that is missing in the art community. The stuff we really think can make the difference.
For a long time and still now, artists can easily find tutorials and interviews online, but none of the kind of stuff we offer on THU TV, the kind of stuff we believe is the missing piece.
In this second edition we really tried to improve the TV experience – the sets of the shows, the way we filmed, and of course the type of content. Even the graphics of each show were improved!
2016 allowed me to finally understand better what the long-term goal of THU TV is and we will inevitably make a lot of changes in 2017 in order to get closer to achieving that.
THU TV is like a “psychology lab”. It’s becoming a TOOL that will allow artists to find the information that our “normal “ education system lacks. Time management? Team management? Legal issues? How do other people think? How can you be inspired in a different way? THU TV is about marketing, psychology, entrepreneurship, and much more. It’s about those things that will allow artists to go further in their careers and we will work hard to make this content accessible to as many people as possible next year.
Main Event - (Chapter 6: The Experience)
When I decided that each THU should be different I knew that I will make some mistakes every year and nothing will be perfect.
The tribe knows that this year the Main Event wasn’t the best one so far, from the THU Money to the barbecue, the opening and closing ceremonies, and that moment in which they suddenly had to decide if the Tribe should grow or not (the famous inclusive vs exclusive). A lot of things didn’t go the way we wanted them to, but that’s only natural in an ever-evolving process.
The overall feedback we received was positive, but it’s not focusing on the good that we will get better, it’s by looking at what we did wrong and what we can do better. For me, THU should be more than a positive experience, it should be transformative. You should leave feeling a new person, a better artist, a stronger individual.
The most important thing is that we know what went wrong and WHY, so we can fix it. We will change everything we need to, but this time I truly believe the final result will be different.
The Tribe is evolving with us. We see more and more digital artists stepping outside their comfort zones and becoming entrepreneurs. We see the courage to be creators in many of you and we want to help in that process.
Everyone is looking for different things, whether it’s a job, a career change, a partnership or a collaboration, or just improving one’s art, THU wants to offer solutions. It wants to be a global experience for creative minds. But most importantly, it wants to be a place where you can make friends for life.
The plan is set, we are listening to the Tribe, and now it’s time to work and make the magic happen once again.
2017 – my resolution
It will be the most important year of my career and not only because of THU, even my other companies have ambitious plans.
We will have a new office and new team members joining us, but because I don’t like to have an easy life, I added one more challenge to my life: a baby. My wife is expecting our first child in June and I couldn’t be more happy or prepared for this.
It’s time to have faith in us, in our family, our friends and in the Tribe.
Welcome, 2017. I’m ready.