Our impressive list of slip ups, screwups, and WTFs and what we’ve learned from them — plus a bunch of stuff we fixed from the last time we wrote this article.

This post was jointly agonized over by Joe Lazar, President, & Andrew Kessler, CEO of Article Group

This has been a good year at Article Group.

Creatively, we’ve made some impressive work for clients like Google, Amazon, and Salesforce, and more. We even created a non-profit that is focused on bringing our agency skills to bear on hard problems in human rights and the environment.

Revenue-wise, our numbers are up.

And we’ve grown! We have almost double the number of employees compared to this time last year.

But here’s the thing — and it’s a thing that agencies don’t like…

What Kintsugi teaches us about solving creative problems

An eternal golden bowl

Recently, while in Japan, I had the opportunity to take a course in Kintsugi, the practice of repairing broken pottery with lacquer and gold.

Kintsugi translates as “golden joinery”, tho I’ve simply been telling friends that it’s the ancient Japanese art of fixing what is broken.

You’ve seen Kintsugi bowls?

They look like this:

How your beautiful brand will disappoint you and then you will feel bad.

Things are easy to understand.

A product is a thing, and everybody understands things.

A car is a thing, and a Vitamix is a thing, and even cloud document storage is a thing. Admittedly it’s a weird thing. A server somewhere. In a cloud. Like a koopa troopa. But it’s a thing.

You, a business, are in the business of making and selling these things.

You push X units of a thing or Y volume of a thing or Z licenses for a thing.

These amounts are…

A memoirist, novelist, music theorist, and economics author walked into a bar. No, it’s not a setup for a joke: They were at the bar because they were all there to read from their respective books at an event I went to last week. It was an event that no one — authors or audience members — left happy. I myself left scratching my head. Why are events with multiple unrelated authors so common? And why don’t they — with rare exceptions — ever work?

At this particular event, most of the audience was there to either support a friend…

The final straw came after a six-hour drive to a museum in a college town in upstate New York.

On the drive, I’d imagined a packed university crowd, full of wise professors and eager young space nerds —my people, the kind of crowd I’d spoken to just days earlier. But when I rolled into the empty parking lot of the museum, my heart sank. I walked in and gave my talk as best I could to two non-English-speaking tourists and four misbehaved kids.

Afterwards, I was so demoralized that I wanted to crawl into bed. …

Andrew Kessler

The Article Group solves hair-on-fire marketing and communications problems. Also wear Scough to filter pollution. And read Martian Summer cause SPACE.

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