Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Reading is fundamental.

When I was a kid in the business, "The New York Times" had a daily advertising column written by Phil Dougherty. Dougherty's column, if you wanted to move up in the business, was considered required reading. He'd report on what was going on where, who was getting ahead, and some of macro ins-and-outs of our business.

Reading Dougherty was like reading a tipsheet if you bet on the horses. It had everything you needed to stay on top of industry news.

I noticed, I was only 23 or 24 at a time, that the big wigs at the agency also read "The Wall Street Journal." So I started picking up the Journal. And I found I liked it. 

I also found through reading everything I could about my clients and the businesses they were in, I had a leg up on a lot of my peers. This was back in the early 80s, there were no planners. It was up to you to make yourself smart.

Around this time--the early 80s--the Journal ran an ad campaign that featured luminaries in our business. Little life stories, how they started, how they worked, who they learned from. And lastly, because it was an ad, why they read the Journal. I've pasted a few examples above. If you're a little diligent you can see the entire series here.

I waited for these ads like a Priest waits for a Little League game. I was always eager for the next one. They became, over time, an important part of my advertising education. 

Also, they gave me people to look up to, and I could learn their tricks. They also compelled me to keep reading the Journal. I still read it today. 

Then and now, I feel reading--the Journal and otherwise--gives me more than a bit of an edge. Because in many ways, I know more stuff than most other people, and I know it sooner. I've usually read four articles on the ins-and-outs of Blockchain while most people are rubbing the sleep out of their eyes.

I think now and again about all the people who entered the business around the same time I did. Many of those people were more creative than I am. Many worked harder. All of them were more social or convivial than I.

But I don't think anyone works harder than I do at being smart about my clients' business--about keeping up on the world we're in.

I don't know if this passes for advice in the Vaynerchuked-Godinesque-Sineked fortune-cookied homily era we live it.
But it probably does. Here it is in just a few words:

Make yourself smart.

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