I get obsessed with peculiar things. I like to read books about computer history. I like 70's movies; the cheesier, the better. I collect Adobe Flash books. And now with my kid I'm carrying on the tradition: vintage children books, superhero toys, glow-in-the-dark stuff, famous buildings replicas, toy batmobiles, etc.
Upon reflecting why I like so much working with Flash projects I came up with the following:
Short tiny projects
Banner work might be seen by some as production work; PSDs come in, banners come out. They might be very stressful because of the timelines and deadlines. But in the end when you have master the art of working under pressure and come out with a workflow that works for you the projects are manageable and less stressful than regular big old projects. With such short timelines for me is difficult to get burnt out.
Easy projects with a big payoff
Once in while (specially if you have a lot going on in your personal life at the moment) is nice not to worry about work issues and knowing how big internet marketing is, not to worry about the bills. Banners are profitable and keep the shop running.
Big developer boys (and gals) out there have their frameworks for doing practically everything (3D, animation, particle system, image manipulation, form processing and validation, video, MVC). Banner devs usually need to come up with solutions on their own. I have learnt more about programming, game logic, traditional animation, physics and math from banner work than from big old regular projects. Also trying to come up with those solutions in less than 80k make you go deep into solutions and discover hacks and tips than wouldn't make sense in other development environments.
Perfect for the renaissance man
You truly need to be a renaissance man to work on banner work: computer science, graphic design, video game development, storyteller, marketer, UX developer. You do not need to be great at everything but you do need to understand a bit of everything.
Something new to learn
With so many media vendors out there (DoubleClick, Pointroll, FlashTalking, Eyeblaster) there is always something new to learn. Cross pollination allows us to bring ideas from one vendor to the other.
I get to create my own tools!
Like an artisan who come up with a different craft and creates her own tools and set up her own shop; I get to create my own set of tools and workflows. I love not having anyone dictate how I should work.
Forget the standards! Experiment! Research! Develop standards!
The few banner-loving devs that I know are terrible at programming but very efficient. The clients love them. I've seen hacky code that works way better than MVC, OOP code. In my own experience sometimes you have to forget the "standards" just to get to the deadline. I have also invested a lot of time on creating pristine code libraries full of tiny utilities that make my work (and my teammates') easier. Once I have used a hack, I research it and distill it just to incorporate it as part of my workflow.