The Soda Academy

Industry Insider

The Industry of a Thousand Faces


From apocalyptic metaphors comparing the volatile state of agency health to the Pacific Ocean’s Ring of Fire to examples of social media entrepreneurism in China, this Industry Insider will take you on a journey across sweeping changes taking place across our industry. Our contributing authors expose a cross-section of agencies teetering on the edge of organizational collapse, but also cast a spotlight on companies doing incredible things, transforming their agencies into product-based businesses and bringing their own IP to market.

As I read these great articles – authored by the brilliant Chelsea Perino of Big Spaceship, Cody Simmonds of Struck, Sei-Wook Kim of Barrel, Michael Polivka of JUXT and Sean McNamara of Omelet – the second thing that occurred to me was just how lucky we all are to work in such an open, challenging and creative industry where we’re forced to grapple with the never-ending and increasingly rapid-fire changes taking place in the world around us.

My first thought, however, was, “How did five separate articles observing patterns in our industry all align so perfectly with the archetypes in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey ?”

(And my third thought… “Do I really want to reference my high school English curriculum in this intro?”)

For those who don’t recall, The Hero’s Journey is a pattern in stories and mythology that repeats itself everywhere, from The Odyssey to Star Wars. It’s like the Fibonacci Sequence or fractals, but the repetition we’re talking about here is the pattern of human life (the call to adventure, the ordeals, the road back, etc.).

We’re lucky that our industry forces us to sit at the intersection of every imaginable cultural force – from changes in commerce and technology to shifts in generational values.

There will always be change. And truth be told, we’re quite adept at handling change. It’s our thing. It’s what we do.

What we’re starting to become good at – and will get better at – is pattern recognition. As much as things change, it’s important to remember that all of this has happened before. There were just fewer gizmos.

We’re not the heroes – those are our clients – we’re the ones who tell them where the magic swords are. We’re the ones who see the patterns.

It’s refreshing that we’re finally moving beyond the era of weekly “Death of…” clickbait headlines and are starting to surf the patterns. For fun, dig into The Hero with a Thousand Faces before reading through this section. You’ll see what I mean.

P.S. In the next issue, the “BS Buzzword Launcher” returns when we interview Chelsea Hardaway, Co-Author of Why Businesspeople Speak Like Idiots, and we’ll introduce you to some brand new horribly unnecessary buzzwords that we hope you’ll begin to use in everyday conversation. Nudge nudge, wink wink.