Don't Flatten Manhattan!: How Amigo Enables Agile Marketing

3rd July 2017

“Manhattan is the 20th century’s Rosetta Stone.” – Rem Koolhaas

In his classic 1978 work of architectural theory, Delirious New York, Rem Koolhaas eulogised Manhattan for its taxicab geometry, perpetual congestion, and iconic skyline. 

Manhattan skyscrapers

However if you had visited Manhattan in 1808, you would have found a natural landscape completely alien to Koolhaas’s vision. And if you had traversed this landscape, you would have crossed hills and valleys, navigated lakes and perhaps occasionally stopped to gaze out from an outcrop of the island’s unusually high bedrock.

Eventually you might have come across a busy young man with a bag stuffed full of charts, measuring equipment, and large iron bolts. This 20 year-old surveyor was John Randel Jr., who had been sent to the island of Manhattan by a commission of New York’s most influential politicians.

He was tasked with mapping the island in order to plan the “laying out of Streets… in such a manner as to unite regularity and order with the public convenience and benefit and in particular to promote the health of the City.”

Manhattan grid plan

His work was the origin of Manhattan’s now famous grid system, the germ of Koolhaas’s vision of a supremely rationalised city. Yet from 1808, 1978’s skyscrapers would have seemed at best a utopian dream, if not sheer madness.

For a start the island wasn’t empty. Randel was met with hostility from residents, frequently being sued or pelted with rotten fruit. Even after four years of this ordeal culminated in something like a plan, an incredible amount of work was required to force the landscape into conformity with the Commissioners’ Plan. The land had to be “opened,” i.e. bought from existing owners who were generally unwilling to sell, and “worked,” excavated or filled to create a regular surface for the imposition of the grid. 

Second Avenue Manhattan in 1861

Agile Architecture

Manhattan’s story illustrates something essential to Amigo.

We repeatedly hear from marketers about the obstacles to producing digital marketing campaigns: legacy technology, disorganised or dodgy data, disjointed tools that are restrictive or overly-complex, and too many demands being made of already over-worked developers.

It’s tempting to look at this terrain and determine that it cannot be built on without total demolition and restructuring. It might seem necessary for the landscape to be made to conform to a neat, flat grid: no matter how arduous the process, no matter how time-consuming and expensive it is, and no matter how many people’s toes need to be stepped on.

Sometimes it seems like for marketers to get anything done, they must first flatten Manhattan.

However, Amigo provides an alternative.

We believe marketers shouldn’t aspire to the sort of Earth-flattening effort embarked upon in 19th-century New York. It takes far too long, costs too much, and antagonises too many people.

Besides, the foundations of digital marketing shift far more often than the tectonic plates beneath New York, creating the added danger that anything achieved by a comprehensive reorganisation will be outmoded even before the process is finished.

Amigo avoids all these obstacles because it is, at every stage, designed to be agile.

Amigo’s implementation requires nothing more than the addition of a JavaScript tag. This can be done in Google Tag Manager and with one of our clients took only 20 minutes!

We also generate our own Amigo Data, therefore simplifying our legal relationship with our clients in order to prevent any conflict. This means campaigns can be built on a standardised base without laborious client-side reorganisation.

Amigo is also invisible to customers on the client’s site and doesn’t intrude upon existing technology. In other words, it works on the landscape you have, not the one you wish you had.

Thanks to this architecture, Amigo is an incredibly agile and powerful tool. It allows for seamless implementation and filters complexity into simplicity and back again. Amigo enables marketers to build their visions of the future, without requiring the obliteration of the past. Amigo is the key to agile marketing.

Amigo Subway Sign

Amigo is agile marketing’s Rosetta Stone.

If you have great marketing ideas but have trouble delivering them, find out how Amigo can help you here.

Or if you’re simply intrigued and want information about our development team’s decision to program in Go, check out this handy blog post.

Further reading

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