Thursday, November 30, 2006

Risk is the new black

Risk is everythinng.

Communication was once argued to me to be the most fundamental part of being human.

Yea, sure. Maybe.

I wasn't really convinced at the time - I mean, if this were true then why do so many of us suck at it? Why do major brands and people with lots of money and power need help doing it? Why can't most of us get the simplest of ideas across to someone of the opposite sex without confusing everything and ending up inn/out of bed with eachother.

I think communication is one of the riskiest things we do.

When we communicate, we open ourselves up to the world.

Shit. What if they don't like my ideas. What if I am not as right as I think I am. What if they don't get me.


The Actress is right, Risk is scary.

Thats why there are people like us, Ad People. People who take riskes, even when they are scared.

Ad People do so everyday - we present ideas... ideas that people can crush. We do so on behalf of brands.. if we mess up our clients can be sued, we could be fired, our clients brand could crash and burn.

Thats risky.

It's much easier to just stay quiet, then no one gets hurt.


(So I know this picture doesn't make sense here, but look, it's funny. Shit.)

*PS in the end the moral is that risk is Human.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

How to be creative # 6

6. Everyone is born creative.

Everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten and then when you hit puberty, they take the crayons away and replace it with an algebra book or an english book. With lots of rules.

Rules are for assholes. But you've been forced to adhere to these rules your entire life, because assholes rule the world.

So, years later when you get the creative itch again you start to hear a little voice say "May I have my crayons back, please?"

Go ahead and make something; make something really special. Even if no one will ever see it. Even if no one will ever buy it.

"If you try to make something just to fit your uninformed view of some hypothetical market, you will fail. If you make something special and powerful and honest and true, you will succeed."

You have to listen to the wee voice or it will surely die... you don't want to be a murderer, DO YOU?

Don't be afraid. They are only crayons. You didn't fear them in kindergarten. why would you fear them now, you are much SO bigger now.

Why yes, I do hate children.

I hate kids. That's a given, but I didn't know this was an industry norm. Check out this post I just read on Copyranter. Art is cool!

The Post:


(click image)
Not YOUR kids, of course. Other people's. So, I've been laughing at this photo for, like, a week straight. It is fucking brilliant. And guess what? The photog, Tierney Gearon, is a women and a mother! And you wanna know something else? That's her mother in the mask—who's a schizophrenic manic-depressive!

No, this is not quite as existential or philosophical as I am prone to get on this blog, but it made me laugh and I thought I'd probably pass the hilarity along to you. But really, I am probably the only person that reads my blog, and even that may be just optimistic speculation. Anywho, I hope I got a good laugh out of this.


What comes first, the motivation or the inspiration?

(This is not rhetorical, what do you think?)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Where do brands go when they die?

Monday, November 27, 2006

People often resist good ideas: Postal Vault Case study

Because good ideas often involve change and change scares people.

Fear is the enemy of creativity.

Why is it that people feel it is a risk to change when i feel it is an even bigger risk to choose not to change.

What if things are a 6, but a little change could make them an 8 but you are too scared to try something different and so you are stuck in your 6 world for eternity.

Boo. not for me.

But I did just go check out the POSTAL VAULT website.

Not much has changed over there. In fact, nothing has changed over there.

Can't say I'm suprised by that and I can't say I'm suprised that their one size fits all campaign didn't work out for them.

Haven't they heard, one size fits all doesn't fit anybody.

Have you thought about that lately, POSTAL VAULT.

How to be creative #5

5. You are responsible for your own experience.

Nobody can tell you if what you are doing is good, meaningful or worthwile. The more compelling the path, the more lonely it is.

But luckily when you start to spend a lot of time alone, you start to develope mulitple personalities. Which is awesome!

How to be creative # 4

4. If your plan for greatness depends on you being suddenly discovered...your plan will probably fail.

-also, in regard to my last post, Perception vs. Reality, please refer to How to be creative #1

Please note, that in the perception vs. reality scenerio, the biggest factor is whose opinion of reality is more important to you. yours or theirs, whoever theirs may be.

If you are a artist. yours.
If you are a business. theirs.

Gosh that is a deep post. I may write a book. It may have pictures. hmmm...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Perception vs. Reality

If all transactions with others, whether they be business or personal, are relationships, then all relationships suffer from a Perception vs. Reality conundrum.

There is no such thing as reality.

Well, there is, but it goes by the alias perception.

What DOOO I mean?

Precisely this:

Relationships involve two or more people. People, businesses, brands, messages, communication are all very complex beings. Very, very complex. Within these relationships there is a little monster called interpretation. This is all that matters. This is why, at least a "shared", reality cannot exist.

Its all dependent on one's interpretation of the relationship. So where you may think that you are giving your consumer or significant other everything they could ever desire, they may feel the exact opposite.

This is the perception. This is the REALITY. And it is more important than your own.

So watch and LISTEN. Shut up for a minute and observe their perception, because in truth, their perception is your reality.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

How to be creative #3

3. Put the hours in.

f somebody in your industry is more successful than you, it's probably because he works harder at it than you do. Sure, maybe he's more inherently talented, more adept at networking etc, but I don't consider that an excuse. Over time, that advantage counts for less and less. Which is why the world is full of highly talented, network-savvy, failed mediocrities.

So yeah, success means you've got a long road ahead of you, regardless. How do you best manage it?

Well, as I've written elsewhere, don't quit your day job. I didn't. I work every day at the office, same as any other regular schmoe. I have a long commute on the train, ergo that's when I do most of my drawing. When I was younger I drew mostly while sitting at a bar, but that got old.

The point is; an hour or two on the train is very managable for me. The fact I have a job means I don't feel pressured to do something market-friendly. Instead, I get to do whatever the hell I want. I get to do it for my own satisfaction. And I think that makes the work more powerful in the long run. It also makes it easier to carry on with it in a calm fashion, day-in-day out, and not go crazy in insane creative bursts brought on by money worries.

The day job, which I really like, gives me something productive and interesting to do among fellow adults. It gets me out of the house in the day time. If I were a professional cartoonist I'd just be chained to a drawing table at home all day, scribbling out a living in silence, interrupted only by freqent trips to the coffee shop. No, thank you.

Simply put, my method allows me to pace myself over the long haul, which is important.

Stamina is utterly important. And stamina is only possible if it's managed well. People think all they need to do is endure one crazy, intense, job-free creative burst and their dreams will come true. They are wrong, they are stupidly wrong.

Being good at anything is like figure skating- the definition of being good at it is being able to make it look easy. But it never is easy. Ever. That's what the stupidly wrong people coveniently forget.

If I was just starting out writing, say, a novel or a screenplay, or maybe starting up a new software company, I wouldn't try to quit my job in order to make this big, dramatic heroic-quest thing about it.

I would do something far simpler: I would find that extra hour or two in the day that belongs to nobody else but me, and I would make it productive. Put the hours in, do it for long enough and magical, life-transforming things happen eventually. Sure, that means less time watching TV, internet surfing, going out or whatever.

But who cares?

How to be creative #2

2. The idea doesn't have to be big. It just has to change the world.

The two are not the same thing.
We all spend a lot of time being impressed by folk we've never met. Somebody featured in the media who's got a big company, a big product, a big movie, a big bestseller. Whatever.
And we spend even more time trying unsuccessfully to keep up with them. Trying to start up our own companies, our own products, our own film projects, books and whatnot.

I'm as guilty as anyone. I tried lots of different things over the years, trying desperately to pry my career out of the jaws of mediocrity. Some to do with business, some to do with art etc.

One evening, after one false start too many, I just gave up. Sitting at a bar, feeling a bit burned out by work and life in general, I just started drawing on the back of business cards for no reason. I didn't really need a reason. I just did it because it was there, because it amused me in a kind of random, arbitrary way.

Of course it was stupid. Of course it was uncommercial. Of course it wasn't going to go anywhere. Of course it was a complete and utter waste of time. But in retrospect, it was this built-in futility that gave it its edge. Because it was the exact opposite of all the "Big Plans" my peers and I were used to making. It was so liberating not to have to be thinking about all that, for a change.

It was so liberating to be doing something that didn't have to impress anybody, for a change.

It was so liberating to have something that belonged just to me and no one else, for a change.

It was so liberating to feel complete sovereignty, for a change. To feel complete freedom, for a change.

And of course, it was then, and only then, that the outside world started paying attention.

The sovereignty you have over your work will inspire far more people than the actual content ever will. How your own sovereignty inspires other people to find their own sovereignty, their own sense of freedom and possibility, will change the world far more than the the work's objective merits ever will.

Your idea doesn't have to be big. It just has to be yours alone. The more the idea is yours alone, the more freedom you have to do something really amazing.

The more amazing, the more people will click with your idea. The more people click with your idea, the more it will change the world.

How to be Creative #1

1. Ignore everybody.

The more original your idea is, the less good advice other people will be able to give you. When I first started with the cartoon-on-back-of-bizcard format, people thought I was nuts. Why wasn't I trying to do something more easy for markets to digest i.e. cutey-pie greeting cards or whatever?
You don't know if your idea is any good the moment it's created. Neither does anyone else. The most you can hope for is a strong gut feeling that it is. And trusting your feelings is not as easy as the optimists say it is. There's a reason why feelings scare us.
And asking close friends never works quite as well as you hope, either. It's not that they deliberately want to be unhelpful. It's just they don't know your world one millionth as well as you know your world, no matter how hard they try, no matter how hard you try to explain.

Plus a big idea will change you. Your friends may love you, but they don't want you to change. If you change, then their dynamic with you also changes. They like things the way they are, that's how they love you- the way you are, not the way you may become.

Ergo, they have no incentive to see you change. And they will be resistant to anything that catalyzes it. That's human nature. And you would do the same, if the shoe was on the other foot.

With business colleagues it's even worse. They're used to dealing with you in a certain way. They're used to having a certain level of control over the relationship. And they want whatever makes them more prosperous. Sure, they might prefer it if you prosper as well, but that's not their top priority.

If your idea is so good that it changes your dynamic enough to where you need them less, or God forbid, THE MARKET needs them less, then they're going to resist your idea every chance they can.

Again, that's human nature.


Good ideas come with a heavy burden. Which is why so few people have them. So few people can handle it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

It's always sunny cont.

There are muffins in Advertising!

It's always sunny in advertising

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

excuses, excuses: Don't Fear

The best time to start is when you've got enough money in the bank to support all contingencies.
The best time to start is when the competition is far behind in technology, sophistication and market acceptance.
The best time to start is when the competition isn't too far behind, because then you'll spend too long educating the market.
The best time to start is when everything at home is stable and you can really focus.
The best time to start is when you're out of debt.
The best time to start is when no one is already working on your idea.
The best time to start is when your patent comes through.
The best time to start is after you've got all your VC funding.
The best time to start is when the political environment is more friendly than it is now.
The best time to start is after you've got your degree.
The best time to start is after you've worked all the kinks out of your plan.
The best time to start is when you're sure it's going to work.
The best time to start is after you've hired the key marketing person for the new division.
The best time to start was last year. The best opportunities are already gone.
The best time to start is before some pundit declares your segment passe. Too late.
The best time to start is when the new generation of processors is shipping.
The best time to start is when the geopolitical environment settles down.
Actually, as you've probably guessed, the best time to start was last year. The second best time to start is right now.

Nothing is ever going to be perfect and you can't waiting around for that day.

as I am often quoted saying,


Take a hint from a brand that knows : Just Do It.