Most people are risk averse. I’m not. In fact, I think I am turning into an adrenaline junkie. I love the idea of risk. I embrace it. Not knowing is one of the most exciting states to be in. Because before you take the leap, anything is possible. It’s actually stepping off the cliff that’s challenging.
Lately, I have been in a frisky mood where I want to take a big risk. The only problem is that I don’t know what the risk is. But I want to jump.
Lillian before jumping.
I came across this article I was reading David Trott’s blog. I think it provides myself and my fellow risk-junkies with the validation we need to pull the trigger.
Ron Collins was a one man team.
He was a great art director who was also a terrific writer.
He told me, when he was at CDP, he was working on a TV campaign.
Suddenly he had a great idea and he wrote it up on the spot.
Now when you do something on your own, you’re never quite sure if it’s really a great idea.
So he walked out of his office looking for someone to show it to.
Coming down the corridor was Frank Lowe, the CEO.
Frank said, “Hello Ron, what are you working on?”
Ron said, “I’ve just written this script. I think it’s good, but I’m not sure.”
Frank said, “Let me see.”
He read it through and said, “It’s brilliant. Who should we get to direct it, Alan, or Ridley?”
Ron said, “We’ve got research it first Frank.”
Frank said, “I’ve just done that. Now who should we get to direct it, Alan or Ridley?”
Frank didn’t need permission.
He was having it his way and that was that.
Ross Cramer was telling me about when he worked with Charlie Saatchi.
They had an agency together called Cramer Saatchi.
Ross was the art director and Charlie was the writer.
They’d just done a Health Education Council ad about what happens when a fly lands on your food.
For me, it’s one of the all-time best ever ads.
Ross said he knew it was a great ad when they did it.
So he was desperate to get it to run.
The client liked it a lot, but just wanted to change a full stop to a comma.
Ross said “Yes, okay.”
Charlie said, “No.”
The client said, “Come on, surely that isn’t such a big issue?”
Ross was thinking, “No it isn’t, and I don’t want to lose the ad over a full stop.”
Charlie said to the client, “You do your job, and I’ll do mine.”
And the ad ran exactly as Charlie had written it.
Ross didn’t want to risk it.
For Charlie it wasn’t a risk.
He was having it his way and that was that.
Nowadays I see a lot of people moaning that you can’t do that anymore.
That no one lets you be really creative and exciting.
But the truth is nothing’s changed.
No one ever let you be creative and exciting.
No one ever gave you permission.
If you had to wait for permission you probably weren’t creative and exciting in the first place.
Frank and Charlie didn’t wait for permission.
They were having it their way and that was that.
It could have gone badly wrong.
And probably for a lot of people it did go badly wrong.
They ignored the rules, had the rows, and lost their jobs.
Paul Arden got fired from at least two jobs before he ended up at Saatchi & Saatchi.
Then he became the creative director of the biggest agency in the world.
These are people who would rather go out with a bang than a whimper.
People who would rather fail big than succeed small.
People who will not compromise.
Other people want to do the same thing but without any risks.
They want the success that the risk-takers had.
But they don’t want to take a chance of losing their job.
I can understand that.
But it doesn’t work that way.
The freedom to succeed includes the freedom to fail.
Food for thought. Still trying to figure out what to jump off of (or jump to). Thoughts?
This is an awesome video of the Kiroshio Sea – the second largest aquarium in the world. I guess nobody has bothered to tape the largest aquarium in the world in HD. Meh.
Anyways, the tank holds 7,500-cubic meters (1,981,290 gallons) of water and features the world’s second largest acrylic glass panel, measuring 8.2 meters by 22.5 meters with a thickness of 60 centimeters. Whale sharks and manta rays are kept amongst many other fish species in the main tank.
I highly recommend that you give yourself five minutes of reprieve to watch and be inspired.
A new spot from Microsoft for their new release of Microsoft Office. A really good farce. It’s good to see that they’re able to make fun of themselves. I guess it’s easy to do when the only product you’re really competing against is older versions of your own software.
I like the fact that they have been able to weave their product around an entertaining idea – a film. People want to watch it and pass it along because it’s actually enjoyable to watch. I think a lot of the time, companies forget that people just want have fun and be entertained. It’s a simple as that. Enjoy.
4th and Long is a show where Michael Irvin gives football hopefuls a shot at making the Dallas Cowboys.
It’s the fourth quarter of the game where the final four players are competing.
Two wide receivers and two defensive backs.
The worst performer gets cut.
One of the coaches is screaming at the defensive backs, “Just don’t make any big f*ck ups out there”.
Because that’s their role.
Their role is to contain the offense.
Not to be the hero.
But then Michael Irvin goes up to one of the defensive backs.
He says, “I need to see a big play from you. Make the big play.”
So the DB steps up and makes a play.
He strips a receiver of the ball and it ends up getting scored for a touchdown.
They win the game.
At the end of the episode, the other DB gets cut.
Why? He was on the winning team.
He played well and contained his man.
But he wasn’t amazing.
He was too busy playing the role we all expected him to play.
He didn’t take a risk.
He didn’t surprise.
He didn’t do anything amazing.
So he got cut.
Companies do the same thing.
They want to be great, but foster a culture of risk aversion.
To make the cut, you have to take risks.
You can’t just sit back and not fuck up.
You can’t remain comfortable in your role.
You have to play to win.
If you don’t, your company will grow complacent.
Your competitors will leapfrog over you.
Your customers will think you’re irrelevant.
Remember Altavista? Or Lycos?
It’s undeniable. Michael Jackson was a creative genius. And the mark of a true genius is the ability to inspire other people through their work. To push boundaries and show everyone that the impossible is indeed achievable. The passing of the King of Pop has prompted me to reflect on how MJ can still inspire us and our creativity.
There’s a lot of things that we can learn from his example, but here are the top 5:
1. It All Starts With THE MAN IN THE MIRROR.
Whenever you have an idea, a goal or a project, you have to remember that it all starts with you. If you see something wrong with your world, don’t complain about it. Fix it. Think about how you could change things to make it better. And then do it. Some of the best ideas are born out of the fact that people decide to fix a problem.
2. It Doesn’t Matter If You’re BLACK OR WHITE.
Or a high school dropout. Or an investment banker. Good ideas can come from anywhere. Don’t get caught up in the prejudices put on by stereotypes. Just because someone wears a suit and a tie to work doesn’t mean that they don’t have an artistically brilliant mind. Always be open to hearing what insights people can offer. Everyone has different life experiences, which lead to different ideas. One of them might be the right one for your brand.
3. If You Hit A Creative Wall, Just BEAT IT.
Run! Get out of there. The best thing to do if you get writer’s block or hit the “wall” is to change your surroundings. Don’t be afraid to call it quits on a creative area. Because to be creative, you have to be inspired. And you get inspired by experiencing different things. Most of those things aren’t in a boardroom, or an office. So, beat it. Get out to a park or a coffee shop, and try it again.
4. Stay The Hell Away From DIRTY DIANA.
There are people in all creative industries aren’t here to create. They are in it for the image. They saw Mad Men and want to hang out in advertising for the daytime drinking, sexual harassment and cocaine. Or they got into film to rub shoulders with celebrities and drive a Porsche. What they don’t do is help you creatively. They distract your focus from the work and the thinking to all of the frivolous perks. So ignore the Dirty Diana’s and concentrate on developing great ideas.
5. Whenever You Feel Lost, Remember That YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
People are friendly. They like to help. Don’t be afraid to ask for it. Often, the barrier between the success and failure of a pitch is that people are too nervous to ask for help. So whenever you are unsure of a strategy or looking for fresh perspectives, flex your network and involve as many smart people as possible.
And one final thought. Take the time to listen to these songs and hear the lyrics. They might be smarter than you may have originally thought.
Click here for The Man In The Mirror.
Click here for Black Or White.
Click here for Beat It.
Click here for Dirty Diana.
Click here for You Are Not Alone.
I stumbled across these pictures while reading Fast Company. They are from the Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna. This summer its animals share their pens with an installation created by artists Christoph Steinbrener and Rainer Dempf that reflects the degradation of animal habitats.
It flies in the face of the conventional way that we view animal habitats. It will influence the children that come to visit the zoo. It serves as a startling argument for change.
I like it. It goes against the norm to deliver a message that breaks through. It’s a good educational tool, it’s great art, but it’s also great advertising.
When was the last time you were in a library? It feels like when you’re in school you are there constantly. But that’s because you HAVE to study and you HAVE to learn. When was the last time that you were curious about something, so you went to the library? That you relied on a book instead of Google?