Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Hedgehog and the Fox.

Many decades ago Isaiah Berlin wrote an essay called "The Hedgehog and The Fox." In it, he divided writers and thinkers into two categories: hedgehogs, who view the world through the lens of a single defining idea. And foxes who draw on a wide variety of experiences and for whom the world cannot be boiled down to a single idea.

Hedgehogs keep their heads down and move relentlessly forward. Foxes are more peripatetic and curious. They flit about.

To succeed in our business, to last--really last, you need to be both a hedgehog and a fox. You need to be an animal, single-minded, focused and tireless to fight through the stupidity and lassitude of the modern work place and so many naysayers in clientville. You need the stamina of a glacier to see work through the vicissitudes it faces to get it produced. It's that simple. You need to be as stubborn as my mother. Focused on nothing but getting it done and done right.

You also need to have some fox in you. You need to be insatiable. Curious, fast-moving and voraciously learning. You can't become the old guy, you need to be ahead of the game. Always moving, always a step ahead.

I'm on the cusp of selling what would be for my client a big TV campaign. I've been working on it almost exclusively for eight months. I've probably presented 50 boards to them. It takes a hedgehog.

I also need to do new, cool work for them. Things they haven't seen and haven't done before. That takes a fox.

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