Thursday, May 24, 2018

Joy. And missing joy.

Despite the gloom that pervades from our current Trumpocalypse, there is joy to be found in this world.

A lot of joy comes from seeing people you’ve brought up doing things on their own, and doing them with great success.

Just recently, my younger daughter returned from 17 months of journeying, where she literally traveled around the world.

Yesterday, my older daughter, who has a Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology held a webinar aimed at parents of ADHD children. 648 people attended.

I listened in for 15 minutes of the webinar. And I couldn’t be prouder.

In our business, one of the few remaining joys comes from working with young and receptive people who learn from you while they’re pushing you away. Sadly, some of our ability to nurture people has been waning.

We have fewer people doing more work faster. Which means, from a corporate point of view, it’s hard to find time to teach people. Often you get one chance and twenty minutes to do something, so a lot of us old guys (I’m very guilty here) cut to the chase and do things themselves.

By doing that not only are we denying young people the chance to learn, we are denying ourselves the pleasure of helping people along.

To be blunt about it, I’ve gotten more “nachas” from watching the continued ascent of a team who used to work for me than I get from a hundred awards.

When I was young in this business, I had sold a long-copy print campaign. The copy was really long, like 500 words on a spread. My boss sat with me for hours, questioning every word. 

It was excruciating. And I figured he was being so critical because he thought I was an idiot. It took me a while to figure out he was being so critical because he thought I was good.

There are a lot of things I wish I could change in our world. I wish I could make our industry focus more on big ideas than on little tactics. I wish I could reassert the notion that advertising is a craft—and demands time and training to do it well. And I wish the demands of the day slackened a bit and afforded us the time to help others as we were helped.

And then, we could enjoy more of the joy I’ve felt recently seeing my real kids, and my work kids as they begin to conquer their worlds.

BTW, these (fucking) days, you can't spit without hitting someone trumpeting a "New Agency Model." Here's some blather about that I just read moments ago in something called "The Drum."

"It’s clear that the model that has served the ad agency well for many years may no longer be tenable. Revenues are flat or declining, margins are shrinking and consultancies have their foot firmly in the advertising door. Meanwhile, brands are bypassing agencies to take their advertising in-house, while calling them out on hidden fees and demanding transparency throughout the digital advertising supply chain.
"The technology platforms, once hailed as oil for the wheels of digital advertising, now wield the power in the bloated ad tech landscape.
"While some demand side platforms (DSPs) do help agencies to use their in-depth knowledge to create new value and provide bespoke solutions for each client, many offer little in the way of flexibility and therefore cannot be customised for the needs of each advertiser, or individual campaign, or specific business goal."
Not only am I fed up with writing like the writing above, I am tired of people who forget what agencies--when they're working--do well. What agencies can do is have old people train young people. 
The bullshitters out there will deny training, deny expertise and deny craft, and claim it's to be had when they go in-house or go to consultancies. 
Call me arrogant. I call bullshit.



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