The podium is being dismantled and the Engine building is buzzing from our two-hour visit from former Vice President Al Gore.
Change has been at the heart of what Engine does since it started in 2004. We’ve worn that passion on our sleeve for the past two years, and in that time we’ve worked with clients and industries not only to cope with change, but to embrace it.
Al Gore, arguably one of the world’s greatest change agents, came to speak and take questions from a small audience at Engine.
As you’d expect he covered an extraordinary range of subjects, including brain science (we watch TV because it reminds our brain of shimmering leaves), the conflicting roles of politics and governance (politicking wastes a lot of time better spent doing good stuff), and environmental targets in China (they are more concerned about the issue than we are in the West).
What stands out for me, though, is the capacity of the man to remain passionate and optimistic at a time when so many people are putting up with “good enough”.
Throughout the 80s and 90s he fostered the legislation that created the modern internet. In the next 15 years he’s focused on bringing climate change to the awareness of most people on our planet. And five years ago he started a TV channel, when the last thing anyone was thinking about starting was another TV channel.
None of those were popular subjects at the time.
So of course, Current TV is slightly different. It assumes that someone else can make the content, and that what is most valuable to them is a combination of peer validation and hard cash. Its business model is still developing, but it has an audience of 70m people.
It struck me that there’s a new content model in there – growing a producer audience, giving them rarified access to advertiser brands, and finding a win-win deal that stretches into syndication and multi-platform libraries. TV, in a sense, is just the start.
But that’s a discussion for another time.
In his career through politics and the environment he has seen opportunity where most have seen, at best, a conventional outlook. He has made a career out of taking what we assume to be too difficult and making it real.
Who couldn’t be inspired by that?