Thursday, June 10, 2021

Trade secrets.

About eight years ago when I joined Ogilvy for the second time, my therapist of nearly 40 years, Owen, scowled at me. If you've never been scowled at by a Mittel-European psycho therapist (two words) you haven't really lived. The scowl is a terrifying mixture of termagant with liberal doses of harridan and virago mixed in. It's enough to scare the pants off you, whether or not you're wearing any.

"George," Owen said, "it's time you worked for yourself."

"Naw," I replied with my usual Cro-Magnon eloquence. 

"If you had to have your own company," Owen continued at his ten-dollars-a-minute tirade, "what would you name it?"

As I do best, I answered without thinking.

"I'd name it GeorgeCo., because clients would be getting me. I realize for all the things agencies hate about having individuals on staff--their contentiousness, their moods, their mania, their disdain for petty bureaucracy--it's those things that have made every agency that's ever been successful in building clients' business while doing good work, possible."

"That's right," Owen said handing me yet another exorbitant bill.

I'm rounding into the start of my second year of GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware Company, and while I don't love the "loneliness of the long-copy writer," I do love doing things my own way. 

Not my own way to be difficult. My own way because I know how my brain works and I've set up GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware Company to optimize my brain. 

Accordingly, I don't have long sets of rules, lengthy protocols and hordes of people watching over the one or two people who actually do the work. No. That's not how I work best. 

Not too long ago I had a brilliant CCO who rubbed a lot of people the wrong way because he didn't stand in the front of big rooms late at night and harangue people, ostensibly with ersatz 'win this one for the Gipper' speeches. He quietly set a very high standard. That's it.

Your job was to meet that standard--to surpass that standard. If you could do that, you were in clover. If you couldn't you were Gulag'd. Most people couldn't.

The point in all this is pretty simple.

For communication to succeed, it has to first get your attention. If it doesn't, it has no chance of ever working. 

To get your attention something has to be unique, startling, unusual. It has to be different and unexpected.

Different and unexpected.

Most agencies try to create processes to create different and unexpected. The modern ones hire dozens and dozens of people and legislate thousands of pages of strictures and protocols to make you conform to their way of doing things. 

They try to regularize the irregular. They try to Frederick Winslow Taylorize serendipity.

That's the opposite of what I'm trying to do.

I know being different comes from being yourself--if you yourself are different--and letting yourself work.

That's what I'm trying to do here.

GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware Company, is not rules for fools.

No. It's me, listening to the smart people I work with and for. Then thinking. Usually while I walk Whiskey and sleep. Then writing. Usually 10,000 words to get ten or twenty I like.

That's it.

That's GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware Company. 

Not scalable. And built to stay that way.™

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