The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


We All Have A Responsibility …
October 18, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Parents

Writing this is complicated as it is easy to look like you’re pandering or trying to be sanctimonious but the #metoo campaign currently running on Facebook – referencing women who have experienced sexual abuse or harassment –  has affected me deeply.

My Facebook feed is literally full of ‘me too’s’.

While I was obviously aware of the problem that women face – and have stepped in on a couple of occasions where I’ve seen it happen in front of my eyes – reading about so many women I care deeply about, acknowledge they’ve gone through this makes me sad and angry.

Sad they have experienced it.

Angry they see it as a price they have to pay for being a woman.

There are many good men in the world, but sadly there is a shitload of opportunist, exploitative, entitled assholes – and I include those men who are good, supportive and protective fathers to their daughters and then are sexist pricks to other women – which is why it can only get better if men stand up against it as much as women.

Men wouldn’t let anyone do that to our children, so we must not let anyone do that to someone else’s child.

We have a lot to learn. A lot to do. A lot to discuss. 

I am so sorry this shit is still normality for women. 

I’m away till Monday, enjoy the peace.

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If More Proof Was Needed …
October 17, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: America, Attitude & Aptitude, Corporate Evil, Culture, Death, Social Divide

A few weeks ago I wrote about everything I thought was wrong in America.

For such an amazing country, it’s mind-blowing to me that there is resistance to dealing with the issues undermining it.

Worse, there’s resistance to even talking about the issues undermining it.

In the post, I highlighted one issue in particular.

Gun control.

Despite the mountains of evidence, the NRA continues to ignore the damage and dangers of gun ownership.

They fight aggressively against any challenge to it.

Any.

They use ‘government control’ as their reasoning behind their obstinance.

That if they give in to this, what else will the government want to take away.

It’s a fucking stupid argument made worse by the fact I received this in my letterbox recently.

Admittedly it was addressed to the person who used to own our house.

A cop.

But that doesn’t take away the fact an organization felt it was necessary to send out a pamphlet about how to deal with school violence – specifically violence that goes ‘beyond the active shooter’.

I don’t know about you, but this makes me ill.

School should be a place of safety.

I know that’s unrealistic, but there’s a massive difference between worrying about bullying and worrying about being shot.

And yet the NRA choose to ignore their role in this situation.

Preferring to blame the shooter rather than acknowledge any role the guns play in allowing people to kill on a mass scale.

The fact this pamphlet had to be sent out at all should be enough for America to realise the gun laws in their country need a major overhaul.

Sadly it won’t be.



A University Ad That Doesn’t Act Like A University Ad. Or At Least Not A Typical One …

University drives me nuts.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive fan of education but as I’ve written many times before [ie: here, here and here] they’ve gone from being a place for learning, debate and discussion, to being a place that – according to all their advertising – wants to be a production line for the rich and successful in business.

From we to me, as it were.

The only thing that is worse than this is universities focus on profit rather than learning.

I’ve said this many times, but I find this horrific.

Education is an investment in more than the individual, but the country as a whole.

Their knowledge helps countries grow and prosper, but by governments ignoring that and encouraging Universities to look at what they do in terms of ‘how much can you make out of people’, everyone suffers.

And I include universities in that statement because there will come a time where people realise the value of their degree – especially in comparison to the debt it means they incur – will ultimately make them question if it was worth the effort.

And yet the universities keep pumping out ads saying they’re for the elite.

The next generation of business leaders.

The entrepreneurs and power brokers.

Even though that’s obviously bollocks given how many people go to university versus become the next Zuckerberg etc etc.

Which is why I liked this ad for the University of Pheonix.

Yes it taps into my sentimental bullshit, but I like it because it’s not about supreme business success, but giving you choices.

In a World where working in one industry for the rest of your life is becoming obsolete, the idea of preparing people to be able to adapt is a good one.

Because we are entering a period where for the majority of people, success will be about survival – which is tragic but that’s what happens when Governments view the younger generation as a cost rather than an investment in everyone’s brighter future.



Successful People Can Tell Whatever Story They Want …

Whether you like him or hate him, Gary Vaynerchuk has made a very big impression in a very small period of time.

As with anyone in this position, he has attracted his unfair share of fans and haters.

A few weeks ago, there was an article that challenged the story he tells people.

Not just in terms of it’s message [Anyone can achieve their goals if they’re prepared to work hard for it] but his background.

As we all know, there are always 3 sides to any story – your side, their side and the truth – and while it is true many people who have dreams and work hard DON’T achieve their goals, I felt it was pretty harsh of the author to pick on that given that there’s literally no other way to achieve your goals … just some are lucky and some [most] aren’t.

But this is where I do agree with author of the article, because they correctly highlight ‘successful people get to tell any story they want’.

I find it amazing how many successful people reimagine history.

It’s not hard to work out that their goal is to ensure people view their achievements through the lens of their unique brilliance – whether that is attitudinal or through their acts.

Of course both of those elements would have had a part to play in their success, but to not acknowledge the luck they enjoyed is to create a narrative that is as deluded as most of the Linkedin write-ups I read.

That said, not everyone is like that …

Many, many years ago I met a very, very successful man.

He had made his fortune in air conditioning and when I asked him what he felt he owed his success to, he said, “1976”.

Basically, he had owned a small firm specialising in fans and air con. Business was OK but not setting the World alight until the summer of 1976, where the UK experienced it’s hottest summer on record.

In that summer, he created the foundation for his future fortune.

It wasn’t that people just wanted a way to immediately cool themselves down, it made companies realize they may need to have a solution for future summers in the office.

Yes, he had worked very, very hard during this time – and subsequent years – but as he said to me, he had always been working hard … it was the good fortune of extreme weather that made his efforts experience greater rewards.

In other words, luck.

And while he still downplayed the effort he put in to be successful, I remember even back then how refreshing it was to hear someone being humble about their success rather than claiming it was down to their unique abilities and vision.

Which is why I still follow the advice of my dad, which was always listen to the opinions/advice/experience of others but remember a good percentage of what they say – even if not intentional – is probably what they wish they did rather than what they actually did.



When You Stop Being Paranoid, You Stop Being Competitive …

Back in 2007, Forbes magazine ran this cover …

2007 is also the year Apple launched the iPhone, a product – lets not forget – that was ridiculed by Nokia executives.

While hindsight is 20:20, you can see why they were skeptical.

Here was a computer company entering a category they had absolutely no heritage or expertise in.

A computer company who only a few years ago, was on its knees after launching a plethora of badly thought-out products.

But while those are, on face value, two fair perspectives … they were blinkered to the changes that were going on both in tech and society.

Blinkered or arrogant.

The irony of business – especially our business – is that it needs a healthy dose of confidence and paranoia.

Confidence to be secure in what it believes in.

Paranoia to never let them feel settled with where they are.

The moment you think you’ve made it, you can be pretty sure you won’t be there for long.

When I was at Wieden, I could always tell who had the potential to be there for the long haul by their attitude.

In essence, those who thought getting the job was the achievement were not going to last.

Not always, but generally … because Wieden’s brilliance isn’t just about the work it produces, but the belief of what creativity can do and the ambition to see where it can be taken.

It’s similar to what I believe made Apple so powerful back in 2008.

Ambitious.

Tenacious.

Restless.

Relentless.

Stubborn.

Naive.

… and, of course, paranoid.

Not in terms of who gets there first – though that is always in the back of their mind – but who gets to do it best.

And that’s why I love hiring people who have a point to prove.

A chip on their shoulder.

A dirty little secret.

Because in a World where the smart people can perfect what we already have, it’s the freaks who change where we go.



Proof Amsterdam Is Full Of Drug Taking Loons …
October 11, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Agency Culture, Culture

A few weeks ago, the MD of Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam – the insanely smart, kind and horribly handsome – Blake Harrop sent me a cryptic note saying he needed my home address.

OK, it wasn’t that cryptic because he basically said, ‘can I have your home address’ … but it was still a bit weird. And lovely.

To be honest, I’d forgotten about it until I came home late and found a package marked “sculpture” on the dining table.

Despite thinking it was quite likely to be a letter bomb, I opened it up and found this …

Yes, I know it’s fucking hideous, but it’s also beautiful because it’s a clog that has been carved to look like a Birkenstock that is also an iPhone stand.

That’s right, if I was a one-legged weirdo, I could use it to hop outside ANNNNNNND store my iPhone in it.

But that’s not the total mad thing – though I accept the fact this this actually exists, is pretty bonkers – it’s the fact it was a present from the very lovely nutters at Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam, specifically planning amazeballs Maria and the wonderfully brilliant ECD, Eric.

Why?

Because they are beautiful people and have utterly alarming taste. Or should I say know I have utterly alarming taste.

Anyway I absolutely adore it and it is another reminder how special Wieden is as a company, partly because of who they have in the company …, even if to most folks out there, this would be a declaration of war or the most insulting way to say you didn’t get the job.

Thank you my beautiful fools over in the dam, I love it.



A Very Sad Day For The Planning Community & Society As A Whole …
October 10, 2017, 7:33 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Death, RoObin

I’ve just learnt my kind, caring, talented friend RoObin Golestan has passed away.

I saw him a few months ago in the horrible Jamaica Blue where we talked about our hopes and plans … me in LA, he in Germany.

It was one of those chats you remember because we shared the type of stories you only pass onto someone you trust and respect.

I knew be was ill but I told him how he looked better than me. He told me how good he felt and how excited he was to meet the doctor in Shanghai after we had finished our chat.

I am utterly devastated by his loss. He was much too young and my heart goes out to the family he loved so much.

RoObin, you were a generous soul.

Whether it was in person or through reading the excellent chapter about you in Heather’s book, I hope you know how much you impacted the people around you because you did – both in terms of your generosity and infectious spirit.

I am at a loss.

Shine bright matey with your wonderful wild hair. RIP.

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