Dear TAG Team,
As the TAG Team continues to grow, I’ve been discovering that running a small, but thriving company brings about a shared sense of purpose and I am now more convinced than ever that as a collective we can achieve, to quote the renowned philosopher Borat Margaret Sagdiyev, ‘Great Success’ together.
What does ‘great success’ look like to TAG Media? To answer that, you’ll no doubt be glad to see this feature length open letter, so pour yourself a drink and humour me.
When I started the company, I had it in my head that I would build something that I could sell and then leave the industry to do something more meaningful, purposeful and environmentally game changing than marketing online gambling companies with the rest of my life.
As the TAG Team continues to grow, I’m learning that we are creating a shared sense of purpose and direction that is extremely exciting and rewarding. We are growing the business on several fronts and doing so with clear strategy and a vision that is being mutually conceived and delivered by everyone across the business, no matter their role.
Several years ago, I assigned three guiding principles to our company’s branding. They feature on all of our brand material.
Effecting Change. Delivering Results. Raising Standards.
These befitted what we did and what we were seeking to achieve at TAG Media. Delivering results is what an agency or consultancy is paid to do. You guys in the Client Services team continue to do just that every day.
We’ve championed the responsible progression of iGaming affiliate marketing for a long time now, investing money, headspace and time into the establishment of an effective trade association. Personally I’ve trained over 100 affiliate managers to do the job better to deliver both growth through results and raising standards of responsibility.
In many respects, as a business, we’ve delivered on those slogans time and time again.
Yet, somehow I never truly stopped to acknowledge these successes – and I will actually be open enough with you to say that’s because I’ve been left unfulfilled by them.
Fortunately, we’ve recently made great strides and invested heavily in the team – and that I am absolutely loving.
TAG Media & First Look Games has a brilliant team of over 30 exceptionally capable and profoundly decent human beings, all of who I am immensely proud to sit alongside. The bulk of this pride is not derived from our work – to be honest, I expect the highest of quality from you all – it’s why you were hired.
Instead much of it comes from the camaraderie that we are managing to foster despite the thousands of miles that separate us all. It comes from the support & humanity we have shown each other as we’ve faced personal challenges in and outside of the workplace and seeing this echoed with your care for our clients and partners. You are all wonderful TAG Team mates and superstar humans.
When I’ve not been knee deep in building projects and US bureaucracy, I’ve spent my time bringing more focus to the business and shaping the way we all collaborate within it in the short, medium and long term.
And so, over the past year, my thoughts on success have changed. We will seek investment to grow the business across the board. And whilst some part of the investment pitch will obviously have to include financials, I’m determined that our growth plan be tracked by an alternative projection – that of a purposeful and enjoyable pathway to growth, defined and refined by the culture that we are already developing at TAG Media & First Look Games.
As we look ahead to the next financial year, the business is financially stable and I can’t help but reflect on where we were shortly after the pandemic hit, when the outlook was considerably bleaker. I thank you all for your hard work that has brought me this comfort – you have no idea how welcome it is.
It is with from this position that we can further map out our goals and focus in on what we need to do to allow us to continue to develop our company culture and grow our business. My own personal goal within TAG Media & First Look Games is for each of us to find (or increase) genuine purpose both at and away from our desks. This is from where I will derive my working fulfilment – and the key component as to how we will measure the success of TAG Media.
Reflecting on how our business effects change, delivers results and raises standards, we are exceptional at doing it for our clients and partners, but being perfectly honest with each of you – it’s just not enough.
“If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”
The civil rights movement was driven by this call to action by the lion-hearted John R Lewis and the quote is one that has struck the most perfect of chords for me.
I want us all to believe in being the change we wish to see in the world and we must not delay a moment longer.
This cannot be found purely in the work that we do – it’s sports betting and online gambling for fuck’s sake, so to help each of us achieve this goal, we’re introducing a new way of working for all employees and contractors at TAG Media called #ThisYearsRule.
What is #ThisYearsRule?
Starting in Q4 2022, TAG Media staff will give 20-22% (get it?) of their contracted time to the World!
For full time staff that means that for more than 1 full day a week, you will not be sat at your desk doing deals for your clients, working with affiliate software providers, generating content, improving our tech, or running payments. For everyone else, this will be calculated pro-rata based on your contracted hours with the company.
It means you will be working on something else outside of and completely unrelated to work – something to deliver the change you wish to see in the world. This is time for you to give to the world around you, increasing in range by a full percentage point each year until at least 2035 and, if we get it really right, beyond.
As a remote team that stretches across five continents, we have the unique ability to deliver this change individually locally… but collectively globally. That’s a pretty awesome opportunity that we must grasp.
We will be deliberately non-prescriptive about this and there will be no requirement to report back on what you’re doing with this time, but I’m damn well hoping you want to talk about it.
This initiative will not see any wage deductions or prohibit you from salary or rate increases and it will sit outside of any existing holiday entitlement and mental health day allowances.
So what will you do with your time?
If you want to work on a long term conservation project, wonderful. If you want to take your kids on an educational conservation trip, amazing. If you want to pick up litter in your neighbourhood, well done. If you want to plant some trees, happy digging.
All I ask is that your time is spent purposely with a view to improving the world around you – you can think as big or as small as you like and I encourage you to try different things.
Before you panic about how you’re going to fit in everything in less time, we’ve already been busy laying the groundwork to accommodate this.
This will not need to be a fixed day or time in the week and you’ll obviously need to liaise with your line manager to ensure everyone in your department is not away from their desk at the same time to keep things ticking over.
We will continue to further develop the processes we’ve already started to hone, which are allowing us to work with greater productivity and then further define this initiative so that it is workable for everyone and continues to serve to grow our business, rather than restrict it.
As we kick things off, we will talk about #ThisYearsRule regularly to ensure we all remain prepared to fully enjoy the benefits I know this change in our working lives will bring to each us individually, us collectively as a company, our clients, partners, families and the world beyond.
Crazy right? Absolutely!
But as our team has grown to all corners of the world, I’ve learned that my mission is to help every one of you and your future colleagues who come through our culture at TAG Media find something inside that they wouldn’t have found working somewhere else.
We’re a small team right now, but we have a responsibility to ensure that as we grow to something much bigger, we have set out on a pathway for hundreds to follow.
So what DOES success really mean at TAG Media?
Our success is measured not by financial growth, but by what our current team and future alumni do in the world. TAG Media will set you up to deliver the change you wish to see in the world.
We will be building further initiatives to support your causes too, so stay tuned to find out more as we look to support you in your chosen endeavour to change the world. Think on what that might be, if you haven’t already…
I can’t wait to see what you do with your time in 2022 and beyond.
If you didn’t know it already, time is the most precious thing any of us have to enjoy and to give.
Welcome to #ThisYearsRule.