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Time on Our Minds

From our friends and fellow contributors over at Moonshot. See the original article here.

The start of a new year, a leap year at that, seems like a good occasion to reflect on time and our relationship with it. In an era of time-shifting media consumption and smartwatches, of shortened attention spans and always-on, always-connected everything and everyone, is our sense of time shifting? In an on-demand economy, where people work gigs instead of jobs, where network orchestrators trigger surge pricing during peak hours and where pretty much nobody works 9-to-5 anymore, do traditional ideas of a workday and weekend still hold much meaning?

These questions aren’t just intellectually intriguing, they have implications for our industry. Agencies historically have been time-based businesses. Time estimates and hourly rates underlie most agency contracts, whether project-based or longer term retainers, and timesheets are the bane of just about everyone who works in an agency. Sure, a few agencies have done away with timesheets, but the industry mostly still runs on them, despite near universal acknowledgment that time-based billings are deeply flawed.

We began to delve into these kinds of questions last year, when we took on the challenge of redesigning how our agency tracks time. We explored fundamental questions like the value of time. Is some time more valuable than others, not just between different roles or people, but even within the same role, from hour to hour or day to day? How can time and its value be better tracked and more easily captured?

Although we explored some relatively far out solutions, we settled on a simple system to eliminate much of the friction of recording time. By reducing barriers to entry, our new timesheet tool seeks to make timesheets more timely, and in an era where businesses are carving competitive advantage out of real-time data, a real-time time-keeping system seems in order.

But we aren’t content to end our exploration of time there. The Moonshot team has decided to divide this year into a series of six thematic explorations, and in honor of the leap year, our first theme is time itself. In the coming weeks, we’ll publish our thoughts, findings and artifacts from this temporal exploration. More on this topic will follow. In time.

 

Ricky Catto

January 5, 2016

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