I'm a sole-proprietor now and have been since I was booted from Ogilvy for having grey hair. I was making them money--way more than my salary. Clients liked me. Dozens of people within the agency looked up to me. And often, in a pinch (and agencies are always in a pinch) I was the one the higher-ups turned to.
I can only conclude that the mean-beans, the counter-counters who know price only and no value, those legume larcenists in charge had concluded that no one who had journeyed around the sun more than 45 times could possibly be worth having around. The holding company denied that, of course. Driveling on about harkening back. But as the Bible claimed it's easier to ride a camel through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into heaven, I would imagine it's easier to ride a blue whale through a button-hole than to hear the truth from a corporate spokesperson.
In any event, I've been a sole-proprietor for almost three years now. In the wake of my TEDxLisbon talk last Sunday, I've been thinking how asinine the sole is in sole-proprietor.
First, there's Marta Gonzaga, the lovely, brilliant woman who coaxed me to Lisbon and advised me on what to do and what to expect. Then, my long-time friend and current business manager and advisor, Hilary. Hilary liked my first draft, hated my second and forced me into writing a third--which is what I went with. It's good to have friends who don't lower their standards, just because they're your friends.
Then there's my long-time and some-time partner, Sid. Sid not only clarified my thinking, he designed--about a dozen-times-over, my slides. My long-suffering wife, Laura, also a creative director advised on my script and helped me rehearse--something I hate doing. As did my two daughters, Sarah and Hannah. They gave me their approval--which isn't easy to get and is important.
Rob Schwartz gave me some valuable feedback, confidence and wardrobe advice. When you're as innately Oscar Madison as I am, you need all the assurance you can get. As always, Rob was there.
Finally, my friend Debra Fried was a one-person cheerleading squad. Reading and advising and encouraging.
All that, and probably some people I'm forgetting, for a solo job.
I love going it completely and utterly alone.
Especially when I have so many friends and loved ones who come along with me.