Tom Critchlow

Latest Writing

The Consultant's Grain

Why (their) culture eats (your) strategy for breakfast

18 Jul 2017 | Comments

You might think that being a consultant is easy. Clients hire you to help change their company in some way. You make some recommendations and provide some insights and then…

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Branding in the age of Content

How is branding different for a content-first business?

27 Jun 2017 | Comments

I’m in the middle of two projects right now to re-brand content businesses and I’m thinking through the nuances and differences vs branding a traditional business. Here’s some things I’m thinking about right now. I’d love to hear your thoughts. @tomcritchlow or comment below.

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The Beginner's Guide to Community Building

A roundup of links and guides for thinking about and building communities online.

05 Jun 2017 | Comments

This morning, fresh off a call with a client who’s building a new online community from scratch I wanted to find a good “beginner’s guide to community” or similar. I tweeted out this:

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Context Collapse, Brands & Content

Why so much content is mediocre and what to do about it.

20 Apr 2017 | Comments

Context collapse. The idea that the publish box on the internet is terrifyingly broad. With one action we’re sending content to people of a million different interests, intents and types.

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The State of Content

A survey of the landscape of the business of content in 2017

24 Feb 2017 | Comments

I just presented these slides at SearchLove in San Diego hosted by Distilled. It’s a summary of trends and insights into the business of content that I’ve seen. Tons of links and references to my favourite reading…

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Some Interesting Media Strategy Jobs

Shorter than a blog post, longer than a tweet...

14 Feb 2017 | Comments

A few interesting strategy roles for media companies have come across my feeds recently so I thought I’d post them all in one place in case anyone is looking.

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The Importance of Launching

Fuck yeah side projects!

26 Jan 2017 | Comments

This is the story of how a weekend project and 276 lines of Python got me a job at Google. But it’s also a lesson I often tell - that side projects should be art or poetry. To be useful for your life they don’t need to be businesses.

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Some Interesting Agencies

A few fresh approaches I've seen recently

16 Dec 2016 | Comments

As an independent consultant who has been thinking a lot about the concept of an agency or brand as a container for work (reference) I’m always on the eye out for fresh thinking in the agency world.

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A fieldguide for independent strategy consultants

Some collected thoughts

14 Dec 2016 | Comments

I’ve been enjoying writing posts recently that are more collections of half-formed thoughts than complete works and so I’m going to do it again with this post. What follows is an outline, or a collection of conversation starters, for digital strategy consulting.

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Every Blog Takes a Village

Communities, platforms and blogs

01 Dec 2016 | Comments

I’ve been mulling a post that my friend Arnold wrote all day so I’m just posting some thoughts here. He posted a piece Community - the soul of the machine talking about where and how community forms:

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On Conferences

Networked talking. Like blogging IRL.

22 Nov 2016 | Comments

I recently started working with a new client, though we’ve known each other for a while. In fact - we met at a conference in 2011!

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Starting an informal breakfast thing

Building community around content

01 Nov 2016 | Comments

Hi there. I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a semi-regular breakfast series for a while and I’m finally getting it off the ground. If you’re passionate about content, writing, CMSs, blogging or publishing for the web please come along!

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Two years on the road

Thoughts from two years being self-employed

24 Oct 2016 | Comments

Two years ago today I quit my job and headed out on my own as an independent. I’d like to talk about it a little. Maybe I can be helpful to those behind me, maybe those in front of me can add their wisdom. Maybe I just need to write.

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Indie Blogging & Distribution

You can't divorce content and distribution

21 Oct 2016 | Comments

I’ve been thinking a lot about indie blogging recently. The concept of writing on your own platform, or just writing in the fringes of other platforms. Writing with an independent voice.

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Where will the next Twitter come from?

Twitter the company is in trouble, but Twitter the platform I believe will live on

20 Oct 2016 | Comments

Twitter the company is in dire straits. They’ve raised too much money, floundered with product improvements, squandered their acquisitions, lost too much money and finally tried to sell themselves only to have no one want to buy them. Partly because of their spam/abuse problem and seeming complete lack of ability or desire to fix it.

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Death of the Industrial Advertising Complex

Two excellent videos on the future of media

09 Sep 2016 | Comments

I’ve been working in media and content for a long time - and I like to keep an eye on emerging trends. Two videos have really stuck with me recently:

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A Day In the Consultant's Life

What do I do all day long?

29 Aug 2016 | Comments

In my last post on Intentional Communities I got a request from Joshua Hardwick on what a “day in the life of a marketing consultant” looks like.

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Intentional Communities

There's a reason this whole post is written in the disqus comments

25 Aug 2016 | Comments

This entire blog post is written in the disqus comments. Enjoy ↓↓

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Blogging, Not Blogging

7 ways to get back into blogging

09 Aug 2016 | Comments

It’s late, I’m tired from a long day of consulting and I’m trying to blog. The baby is asleep, Erin’s out getting some laps at the pool. Blogging is hard but has given me so much over the years that I’m trying to get back into it.

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An alternative to the bullshit industrial complex

Keeping the web weird

03 Jun 2016 | Comments

I recently read The Creative World’s Bullshit Industrial Complex by Sean Blanda over at 99u. It’s a phenomenal piece on the current state of authority and fame on the web (especially in creative circles).

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Using Facebook Messenger as a Free Intercom Replacement

10 May 2016 | Comments

Up until yesterday I used Intercom to run a livechat experience on Fiercely Curious, an online art startup that I run. But it costs $50 / month and the mobile app for iOS was acting up not always delivering notifications so I decided to play around and see if I could replicate the functionality using Facebook Messenger.

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Intermodal Media

...or why Buzzfeed is dominating Facebook with silent square videos

21 Jan 2016 | Comments

The shipping container revolutionized global trade and modern capitalism. Why? Because it standardized infrastructure. This is called intermodalism:

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What does it mean to build a marketing team for your startup?

07 Jan 2016 | Comments

As an early or mid-stage startup, figuring out marketing (or growth1) is hard.

  1. Startups like to talk about growth instead of marketing. It’s usually the same kind of thing - though there is a growing trend to uncouple the two in which case growth handles acquisition and marketing handles brand. Most of this is semantics, though you will always need to think team structure through carefully. 

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You're Not Blogging, My Friend.

And That's a Problem.

03 Sep 2015 | Comments

I’m home after a long day’s work and the last thing I want to do is open up my laptop and write a blog post1. But this is week 1 of #NYCblogclub and so here we are.

  1. Before you worry about me, I firmly believe in work/life balance and I’m disconnecting for the upcoming long weekend :) 

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A Meander Into Architecture

24 Aug 2015 | Comments

After visiting the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal last month I’ve been swept away for hours in the process, history and mechanics of architecture. How fascinating the topic of constructing, designing, engineering and thinking about building the environments we live in?

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Google Photos for Work

A sketch of a hypothetical new product from Google

05 Jun 2015 | Comments

Did you know that Google has a version of Google Maps that a business can buy? It’s called Google Maps for Work - it let’s you use Google Maps in all kinds of ways, for example as a tool for tracking delivery vans across a city in real time. It’s pretty cool.

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Poetry & Markdown for What?

11 May 2015 | Comments

I’m a novice when it comes to poetry, but striving to learn more, read more and more thoughtfully consume text. Of course, the first thing I do is turn to code.

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Mediated Maps & Digital Blind Spots

An experiment in looking at the world around me through a new lens

05 May 2015 | Comments

What do we learn from looking at the world around us?

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Decentralized Brands & The Future of Content Marketing

15 Apr 2015 | Comments

We’re living in a world where National Geographic is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars advertising on Snapchat, BMW is sponsoring collections on Medium and Purina is buying native advertising from BuzzFeed.

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Links April 9th

09 Apr 2015 | Comments

The theme of the week is poetry.

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Links March 24th

24 Mar 2015 | Comments

The theme of the week is text. Here’s what I’ve read recently about text.

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Blog For The Young Things

23 Mar 2015 | Comments

Why do we blog? Let’s skirt around the question of what a blog is and focus on why we even do this stupid internet-writing in the first place.

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Back to Blogging

22 Mar 2015 | Comments

Hello blogging. It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other.

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Links Jan 26th

26 Jan 2015 | Comments

Here’s some links I’m noodling on this week:

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Random Acts of Algorithms

03 Dec 2014 | Comments

[This is a repost of an article that originally appeared on my Svbtle blog in June 2012. I’m reposting here for posterity]

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Predicting A Global Economic Crash in 2025

01 Dec 2014 | Comments

Before we dive into my theory of a world wide global economic crash in 2025 let’s first do a little background and prep work.

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Let Me Know How I Can Help

01 Apr 2014 | Comments

You’re buzzing, “partly from the free beer, partly from just meeting some awesome new connections at this hip Brooklyn meetup. You’re having a great chat with a bearded, plaid-shirt-wearing startup guy and just as you’re about to part ways he says:

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My Investment Thesis

01 Feb 2014 | Comments

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