From BDW to Interactive Director on Nike at W+K

Student Success Story

Written by Graduate Dan Viens

I feel kind of uncomfortable every day when I wake up.

It’s because of The Internet.

How good I am at my job depends on how well I can navigate that thing to make something interesting out of what it offers. Something compelling enough to get its attention for a short while. Something useful enough for its cynical citizens. Something innovative enough to turn people’s heads as it cruises by in the torrent of all our feeds.

But what was true yesterday on the Internet is not true today. The people have changed. The purpose has changed. The devices have crept further into our lives.

DanViens_ImageOne day Twitter is Twitter and the next day it’s Facebook. Kids love Facebook then they don’t. They text a ton, but they do it on Snapchat. Mini sites are everywhere. Mini sites are​ space junk for the Internet. FWA still has some cool stuff, but it’s gotta be HTML 5. Nope now it’s WebGL. Now there are ​no sites,​ only Oculus Rift experiences. Drones are everywhere. What’s my drone strategy? Truth be told I don’t have one, but I might have to by noon. Singularity is here!

It’s easy to get lost in all of this, but what I learned at BDW helps me every day to navigate the constantly changing tech and media landscape that our world has become. The key for me is starting with people. Put all the technology aside for a moment and start with humanity.

BDW focused my brain on user-centered design and taught me to always start from a person’s life when trying to bring a new product into the world or create provocative communication. Knowing that person will make certain your work is based in truth. It will help you create utilities that solve their problems. It will help you create communications and experiences that surprise them.

BDW gave me a year to immerse myself in the world of technology, design and high intensity group dynamics. That is the world I work in now at Wieden+Kennedy.

At W+K I’ve led the creation of interactive experiences that have changed the relationship between people and the brands I work for, I’ve helped develop social media effort that galvanized a nation behind its athletes and I’ve developed campaigns that have inspired athletes around the world.

W+K is a place where you are required to walk in stupid everyday. To never assume that what you thought yesterday holds water today. It’s a perfect mindset for working in the interactive world.

It’s a mindset I learned and explored for a year at BDW and one I couldn’t have learned better anywhere else.

Dan Viens is the Interactive Director on Nike at Wieden+Kennedy. He attended BDW’s inaugural class from 2009-2010.