Last Day in Advertising. First Day as a Founder.
After five years spending my days pretending to be an Art Director at an advertising agency and my nights pretending I’m a startup founder running an interactive shop, I’m going to be an actual something.
The last day at a job offers perspective I wasn’t expecting. So I’m using it to write a predictable “What I learned” post. I am doing this primarily for your attention. Maybe it’ll confirm some things you already know. Tomorrow things get real. Tomorrow we start narrowing down where we want to focus our energy and on who we want to work with going forward.
Here’s what I came up with:
1. Lists that oversimplify complexity get read.
Nobody reads the paragraph below the bold list item unless they have reason to believe the writer has real insight. The paragraph generally ends in disappointment.
2. If you are not a writer, you shouldn’t pretend to be. Unless you want to be a writer. Then pretend to be until you are.
Applies to everything.
3. Digital apathy won’t be defeated by digital heroes, it will reach retirement age.
The business model for agencies entices people to stagnate.
4. Giving out gold stars is a cheap shortcut to credibility. Nobody will ask you for a resume while they’re accepting your award.
They’ll call their parents.
5. If you surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, make sure they’re also handier than you.
Magic happens when you can come up with brilliant ideas and then make them.
6. Teaching people the secrets and simplicity of what you’re good at makes them appreciate it more, not less.
7. The advertising industry loves to hate itself.
8. The tech startup world needs advertising as much as advertising needs the tech startup world.
Used to believe only the second part but I’ve seen too many good ideas die before anybody knew they existed.
9. The secret to work/life balance is scheduling a meeting from five until midnight every night.
10. The grey areas between established things is a glorious place to play.
Also the most uncomfortable. This is where I work now.