I originally wrote this article in early 2018. We were about to start work on an IPO roadshow video for Adaptive Insights and a series of more than 70 pieces of content for the QuickBooks team at Intuit. I had just written two long emails in response to questions from both clients asking about backups, business continuity and internal policies impacting our ability to hit firm deadlines.
I think this article is as relevant now as it was the day I wrote it, so it’s worth reposting here. Hope you enjoy…
Understanding the Question
We are hearing a common question from more and more clients recently, and it sounds like this: “Our deadline for this project is mission critical. What measures do you have in place to make sure our project isn’t delayed?”
Before we get to the answer, let’s make sure we understand the question. More often than not, the question comes up because the video we are creating is part of a larger project or event, like a product launch, trade show or company all hands, or other major event, like a company IPO.
Projects like this genuinely do have immoveable deadlines, and no reason from us – no matter how legitimate or serious – is an acceptable excuse for not delivering a project on time.
First, let’s address the
elephant gorilla in the room: yes, we are creative people, and making videos is a creative process. Building an environment that fosters creativity and attracts talented staff is not only important, but necessary for our success. But we’re also a business with responsibilities to serve the needs of our clients, and we take this responsibility every bit as serious as we do the creative process.
In fact, Gorilla Creative was founded with stability as a priority. It’s common in creative industries to have a single person running a team of freelance contractors. Projects are often saved to portable hard drives and passed between freelancers working on the project.
Running a business like this is certainly easier for the business owner, but over the long haul, it does more to serve themselves than the client.
Dependability, Consistency, and Stability
When we founded Gorilla Creative, our mission was to create a company that attracts high calibur creatives and gives them a place to work on meaningful projects for growing brands that demand dependability, consistency, and stability.
It Starts With the People
We studied great brands throughout history, and a common lesson is that creativity and vision happens more naturally when people are in the same space together.
Coincidentally, having a centralized space where our entire team works on projects, from start to finish, also allows us to have tight control over the physical and electronic security of projects.
To directly address the concern for business and project continuity, we looked at other industries that have to operate with minimal to zero disruption. Two common practices emerged: deep cross training among teams and consistently shared knowledge that doesn’t live in silos. We have adopted similar processes to ensure that our projects run smoothly and are completed on time even if a key member of any project has an unforeseen absence.
Gettin’ Nerdy with IT
One of the largest areas of risk for companies today is data security. Our company is no different. For most companies, cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Amazon AWS have made backing up data routine and cost efficient.
The challenge is a bit harder to solve, however, when a day’s work can produce many terabytes worth of data that cannot be backed up to the cloud.
Storage With a Purpose
Everything about our post production storage system is built around speed, redundancy, and security. Our post production server runs an operating system and file system from IX Systems, built from the ground up for storage, which means it has minimal attack surface for malware, ransomware and viruses, and is more stable than larger computer operating systems like Windows or Mac OS.
A popular saying in the IT world is that it’s not a matter of IF your hard drive will fail, it’s a matter of WHEN your hard drive will fail. To prepare for this inevitability, we have built a robust storage solution that allows us to continue working at full speed without data loss even when up to four hard drives fail simultaneously.
While the chances of four hard drives failing simultaneously is extremely low, it’s theoretically possible, so we even accounted for this event by building in hourly backups and by having data stored in multiple places.
Check out this fancy diagram:
Versions and Even More Backups
On a dedicated RAID set, we store hourly, incremental, and versioned backups of all of our project files and project assets. This gives us the ability to go back in time to previous versions of projects in case a file on our primary edit servers gets corrupted or accidentally deleted.
What if the Office Burns Down?
We even planned for a complete loss of our entire server in the event of a fire, flood, or theft. Immediately after a shoot, after all of the raw footage is copied to our server, we make two additional copies on LTO. LTO is an incredibly stable tape format that is perfect for archiving data for long periods of time. One of these LTOs is stored in a secure off-premise location, along with a daily backup of our project files.
The Bottom Line
We take deadlines seriously and have implemented robust systems, policies, and procedures to ensure that we deliver projects on time. We continue to monitor and evaluate these, and when necessary, make changes and updates to our systems and procedures. If you have any questions, give us a call. We’d love to chat!