Wednesday, September 12, 2007

First ever Digital Crayfish Party

We caught up with Patrick Gardner, one of the Perfect Fools who staged the Digital Crayfish Party at Restaurant J Gåshaga in Lidingö last weekend.

Who is Patrick Gardner, really?
- Just a working fool. I started out in digital at EF Education in Stockholm, where we were launching multimedia language labs in developing countries in 1994. One of our suppliers was Reference Interactive. I really liked their approach, which was unusual in those days - much more focused on the work and craftsmanship than world domination.
In 1998 I switched sides and went to work for them as a project leader and interactive scriptwriter. Towards the end of 1999 my current partner Tony Högqvist and I, along with several others, left Reference to start our own agency within A-Com: Houdini Digital Creations. Houdini lives on today, but eventually Tony and I decided we wanted to try our own wings in a fully independent agency.
On April 1, 2002, we joined forces with our old colleague from Reference, Tony Sajdak, to launch Perfect Fools. Today we have offices in Stockholm and New York, and our clients include companies like Samsung and AEG-Electrolux, as well as a long list of the world's top advertising agencies.

What is the Digital Crayfish Party?
- It's an attempt to get a small, informal and fun forum going for the Swedish digital industry.

But why do we need it?
- This is a great group of people - honestly quite admired around the world for their collective work. Up until now there hasn't been a small forum that brings leaders from these agencies together to share experiences in a relaxed and informal environment. We have Guldägget and other parties - but they're not quite the same thing.
We can learn a lot from each other, and have more to gain than lose by being open. This seemed to us like the right opportunity to create a setting where that can happen.

Will it be back?
- Yes! We are already talking about getting year two rolling. My hope is to attract other agencies into the organizing process - so it can be an even better event next year and feel like something the whole industry owns, rather than something just put out there by one group.

Who can attend?
- The event is primarily for Presidents, managing directors and creative directors. Within traditional agencies who work a lot with digital we generally invited their top digital people. And then there are a number of folks with unique and long-standing profiles within the industry who were there as well. So it's a mix but the focus is on people who are setting the tone within digital.

What is the next big digital thing to happen?
- The 2nd annual Digital Crayfish Party - at the end of the summer 2008!

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