Why it’s time for something new

During the summer of 2013, I came to the conclusion that it was time for something new.
After ten successful years of running a creative event agency I had to let it all go.
Let me answer the question that has been on everyone's mind - Why?


Amsterdam, Monday – January the 6th, 2014

Last summer I drew a definitive line. On the final day of 2013 I would close the doors of our agency. I informed my employees, called our trusted partners and brought our clients up to speed with the upcoming changes. Our hectic fall schedule gave us little time to stand still with what was ahead, so it wasn’t until our final production in December that the full scope of this decision sank in.

It’s interesting how a seemingly counter intuitive decision like ‘closing down your business’ is received by colleagues, partners, clients and the industry. Surprise and respect and at the same time a fair amount of scepticism. Why would you close down a successful agency and take a leap into the unknown? (are you completely out of your mind?). As a New Year slowly unfolds, I have tried to recapture some of my thoughts and feelings. Let me share these with you.

I believe a lot of us don’t exactly know why we’re doing what we’re doing. We imitate others, go with the flow and follow paths without making our own. And to be perfectly honest: I’m guilty of this as well. It’s by mere chance that I got into this field (heck, I studied Social Psychology). When starting out I had no clue either. You try, fail and try again. ‘You fake it till you make it’ and slowly but surely you start figuring out how things work and become quite successful at it. The size and scope of the projects increase and so do the subsequent rewards. The rush of success can be quite intoxicating. For a while that is… success brings comfort, but comfort limits success.

Slowly but surely I found that my daily routine had come to a point where I was at the mercy of everyone and everything around me. Something that is not quite unfamiliar for many creative entrepreneurs. So how do you learn to say ‘no’ to most things, leaving room in your life to throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes your heart beat faster?

I remember watching the first TED Talks in 2007; it was thoroughly invigorating. One distinctive and provoking talk stayed with me over the years. In his 18 minute talk about the ‘Power of Time Off’ prolific designer Stefan Sagmeister, explained how every seven year he closed his New York studio for a yearlong sabbatical to rejuvenate and refresh his creative outlook.

‘Wow – can you actually do that?’ I thought.

Stefan continued that pretty much everyone is too busy doing stuff to take a pause, reflect and make changes. The value of time off is often overlooked and severely underrated. The difficulty of always feeling that you ought to be doing something is that you tend to undervalue the times when you’re apparently doing nothing, and those are very important times.

When running an agency you are consistently working on many different projects at the same time. As we take great pride in our work and are genuinely in the business of helping our clients I calculated it would take approximately six months to elegantly bring all productions to a halt. In the last two months alone we delivered seven high profile productions. Words cannot express how proud I was of our team.

It is with a tear and a smile that this adventure comes to an halt. However, I truly believe that turning everything off is like hitting the ‘reset’ button on your mind – it gives you a fresh start. It’s time refocus, rethink and walk to the beat of a different drum. I have given my family and myself the best present one can imagine: time.

2014 is a year to explore different ideas, skills and skill sets. Dive into areas that have fascinated me for years and finally sit down for that cup of coffee I promised so many people.

The last decade was a thrill and I thoroughly enjoyed my work, the projects and the people that made it possible. I am confident our paths will cross again and again and it’s with great excitement I look forward to the next 10 years. Don’t worry I’m not gone.

I’m around working on some exciting new things.

Please feel free to reach out, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Xander Kranenburg
Founder & Creative Director – Live Solutions

Mobile: 06-16038942
Email: xander[at]livesolutions.nl
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/xanderkranenburg
Twitter: @xankra