Monday, June 26, 2023

Nu? Business.

On Friday afternoon, someone I didn't know, a CMO at a company I never heard of commented on one of my LinkedIn posts and then sent me a message on LinkedIn.

This isn't unusual for me.

Half my business I get from ex-Ogilvy people or clients who prefer my brand to Ogilvy's.

Half I get from my industry-wide reputation for excellent brand-and-business-building work.

And half I get from my ads on LinkedIn.

(I realized that's 150%. But like most well-run businesses, GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware Company is over-subscribed.)

Our conversation continued like this:

Starting my own business after getting fired from Ogilby at the age of 62 for being old and for "harkening back to the 80s," was not easy. I was brought up with an abusive and borderline mother and an absent father. My life has not been a tip-toe through the tulips. In fact, I don't know anyone whose life has been.

Often, I say about the last four years that I've had to reinvent myself.

That's not exactly true.

I've had to rediscover myself.

I've had to expunge the intellectual and performative detritus that accumulates over the course of 35 years of working for others. The acceptance of Soviet-style protocols like patented processes for doing work. The technocratic hogwash and language of our corporatist advertising state. The purported efficacy of creating 98-page decks with less than half-a-paragraph of real thinking contained within. The gravestone seriousness of small-dicked pomposity. And maybe worse of all, the cockamamie notion that everything can and should scale.

Work comes and goes for GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware Company. 

I just wrapped a couple months with a Fortune 50 client. I had a phone call late Friday with a $10 Billion Market Cap client who I've worked for since I opened my doors. I just sent work through to a retainer client who came to me via Steve Hayden. And my account director in San Francisco is dotting the i's on various NDAs and corporate crapola from another client in the UK who also found me on LinkedIn.

Is this how I wanted to go gentle into my goodnight?


I wanted to be an eminence gris. Helping out on troubled clients and pitches and training young people. 

Instead I'm working more than I ever have.

But I've rediscovered my craft.

I've rediscovered the simplicity advertising's technocracy has un-done.

And I've rediscovered friends who work with me and help me and make me better.

Like everyone else, I have my dark moments. Sometimes my brain has all the luminosity of a Hasidic's closet. 

But like a batter who is mired in a slump, I had the wisdom to go back to the swing that allowed me for many years to hit the ball hard. 

I didn't change.

I went back.

You can hit the ball hard and right at someone.

You're just as out as if you whiffed badly.

But hit it hard, be you, and sooner than later the hits get through.

That is what I've learned so far.

No comments: