Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to spot a blowhard.

Blowhards (fulminatus fulminata) are rife within agencies and at the helm of small consultancies with names like Lavender Ingot. They leap off the pages of trade magazines and they can also be found in the sanctum sanctorum of advertising holding companies.

These tell-tale signs will help you spot them.

1. Blowhards cannot modulate their volume. Their voices are loud, consistent and utterly baseless. To that end, blowhards
2. Issue proclamations without evidence. The most common of these proclamations goes like this, "______________ is fundamentally broken." They won't say how ________ is broken or what being broken means. Just that ________ is broken.
3. They don't have enough time to fix what is broken. What's broken is so fundamentally broken that it will take three years and seven million dollars to fix it, and fixing things part-way is useless because what is broken is so badly broken.
4. Blowhards have a lot to say when a project kicks off but they are absent once the work begins. In short, blowhards can identify problems but are too busy and too valuable elsewhere to actually fix problems.
5. "That's not how I would do it." Blowhards don't like anything that's been done but don't actually do anything themselves.
6. Blowhards assert that a small agency in Brooklyn with less than a million dollars in revenue (and who has done great data viz on this) has more to teach us than an multi-national agency with $1 billion in revenue.
7. Blowhards are better than you at powerpoint.
8. Blowhards are always 12 minutes late for 30-minute meetings.
9. Blowhards believe that most marketing problems can be solved through data visualization. (See #6.)
10. Blowhards don't believe in data that doesn't support their world view that "_________ is broken."

1 comment:

Tim said...

Out here in the provinces, we call them piss ants. One of the first guys I worked for had a great homily on them:

When you're fighting the bear, the piss ant is that little guy standing behind you, telling you how to fight it.