It’s the season of annual reflections and predictions. For me, the slower pace of December and January offers the opportunity to sit down and reflect on the year that passed.
This time, though, it felt a bit weird.
I have the impression that every time I’ve opened LinkedIn or Instagram, I’ve been bombarded with posts announcing 2023 as a “thrilling,” “remarkable,” and “best ever” year. While I hope that is true and am happy for these individuals and companies, I can’t agree with the sentiment that 2023 was the “thrillingly magnificent” year everyone seems to proclaim.
From my perspective, 2023 was not an amazing year—frankly, it wasn’t even a good year.
It was a year.
The economy was slow, putting it mildly. Mass layoffs was real in the “year of efficiency.” The world saw increased geopolitical tensions, new wars, millions of people getting displaced, and a series of global-warming-related disasters. Not what I had on my epic-year-checklist.
And for Your Majesty, it was a tough year too.
I won't sugarcoat it. We felt the market slowdown early. Many of our clients underwent sweeping reorganizations, leading to project deprioritization, budget cuts, and longer lead times—all things that spell “kryptonite” for independent firms like ours.
The knockout punch came in the first quarter when we unexpectedly lost one of our largest accounts. The loss forced us to bid farewell to some incredibly talented individuals much too soon.
The remainder of the year was spent in recovery, getting back on our feet, and ready to build again.
AI is pushing our curiosity capacity to the limits.
I wrote about the advent of Generative AI in last year’s review, however 2023 was the year it went from theory to practice.
With what seemed like an average of three AI breakthroughs per week, we felt overwhelmed for the first time in a long while.
Daily, we had to rapidly pick up, examine, experiment with, and apply new AI developments—filtering out the hyperbolic noise and sussing out the gems that can benefit our team members, clients, and collaborators. We share the best stuff in our newsletter, 10 Things.
We also compiled our learnings into our own AI Masterclass, which I’m proud to say has trained over 50 functional leaders and equipped them with state-of-the-art strategies and tactics, getting them ready 2024.
I love teaching and seeing the positive feedback has been so rewarding. We look forward to hosting many more—if you or someone you know are curious, you can learn more here.
Looking ahead to new beginnings The rapid changes in the market and technical landscape have also led us to rethink our offerings, our positioning and how we create and deliver value to our clients—the outcomes of that are something we’ll start rolling out in the first half of the year.
Camaraderie and continuous learning is what keeps us going, whether it comes from hardship or success. And although there was a bit more hardship in 2023 than I would like, it was our pursuit of better and the remarkable work done with equally remarkable people that got us through it.
Thank you to our team members, clients, and collaborators. To celebrate your support throughout the year here are the highlights that kept us optimistic, motivated and in support of one another, no matter which one of these challenges came our way.
We helped BBH NYC bring SquidGame back to the top 10 most-watched with a quirky campaign for SquidGame: The Challenge.
We also published an article about the massive brand opportunity of CSRD reporting…
And we laughed together
During VR gaming, defeating zombies, oil-painting and whilst making flower crowns at Midsummer.
Thanks to everyone who made it special
To our valued clients, our teams, alums, advisors, friends and family, and supporters - big thanks for your support and for the “year that was just a year” with us.
We’re looking forward to seeing what 2024 has to offer.