Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Collective wisdom.

Man, I'm beat.

We've had two straight days of clients in town, which means two straight days of meetings. Two straight days of airless conference rooms with too-bright lighting. Two straight days of bad sandwiches made by low-wage workers.

It's enough to put me in a worse mood than usual. Two straight days.

Nine days out of 10, I'm the first one in in my office. The motion-sensors sense my presence and the lights flicker on. At the hour I get in, the conference rooms that gird the floor I work on are empty. But in an hour or so, when most other people get in, they're full, and they'll be full until the agency empties out in the evening.

Conference rooms are a relatively new thing.

When I look back on earlier jobs, jobs I had in the 80s and 90s, what I remember is each floor had maybe one or two conference rooms. These were for meeting when clients were in. Otherwise, you found a way to meet without going into a sterile environment.

Of course, we live in an age in which it takes literally twelve people to do a banner ad. So we have to bring all those people together. Art directors, copywriters, analytics people, media people, technology people, a gaggle of account people.

We have become like the Chinese army during the Korean War, there are more of us just over the next hill.

We "deploy" teams and set them loose in conference rooms. Wave after wave of us keep coming.

And then we wonder--

Why can't we make a profit?

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