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Justin Bolognino wears a lot of hats, among them, founder and creative director of Learned Evolution and The Meta Agency, organizer of the annual #FEED powered by Twitter event at SXSW, and as his Twitter bio testifies, he's an all-around "Synchronicity Architect." The synchronicity comes in handy when running two separate yet associated businesses—Learned Evolution is the creative digital agency arm and The Meta Agency represents top-notch visual artists who create experiences using installation art, projections, LED design, and visual design.
He convinced Brooklyn Bowl, who he still counts a client, to ditch traditional advertising in favor of social media. While that may have been a bold marketing plan in 2007, he was prescient, and it paid off in making Brooklyn Bowl a celebrated, respected brand and venue. As you may or may not know, Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas opens in 2014, a mere five years after its original location opened, and it will have 32 lanes.
While his projects clearly yield big results, his creative and business philosophies don't necessarily reflect the idea that "bigger is better." In fact, his agency has a staff of eight doing projects that are more effective and well-planned than work by agencies three times their size. When he started working with Brooklyn Bowl, Learned Evolution was a side project in his living room. They now have fully functioning offices (office dog included) in Brooklyn's Greenpoint neighborhood.
Bolognino has a lot to share in terms of maintaining balance and planning carefully project to project. He says, "One of my life's missions is to destroy the word, 'or.'" He dislikes when someone begins a conversation with, "Can I ask you a question?" Time and relevancy are important, and asking a question to ask another question or asking whether something is "good" or "bad" fall under what he considers archaic ways of thinking and doing.
While he would ask you to define "successful" (he doesn't use that word to describe his companies just yet), he's given us 10 Steps to Building a Successful Creative Agency from his six years of experience. At a time where art and technology are more closely intertwined than they've ever been, entrepreneurship and efficiency are invaluable. We were curious how he's (successfully) built brands, including his own, and we're thankful that he delivered these valuable words of advice.