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


Be Careful Of Goals, You May Realize They Weren’t Worth Achieving …

As you know, I spoke at Cannes last month with the wonderful Martin Weigel.

While the talk seemed to have gone down very well, the best news was when an old colleague of mine [hello Maria] pointed me towards this …

Yes … that’s a picture of me and Martin ON GETTY IMAGES!!!

Better yet, there’s more than one of these online … there’s a whole range of them, all taken from our WARC presentation at Cannes.

Now as fun as appearing on getty images is – even if they called me the head of stratefy, rather than strategy – that’s not why I’m so happy.

As some of you know, there is a guy who appears in a whole host of stock photos who looks rather like me.

This is him …

If you still question whether we look alike, have a look at this …

See …

In other words, this guy is literally profiting off my – errrrm – looks.

Well, now I am appearing on Getty myself, I get to fight back.

Well I say that, but the idiot who thought it was a good idea to put me on Getty has shown just how mad they are by having the audacity to try and charge €475 for the pic.

EACH PIC!

Hahahahahahahahaha.

Even my Mum wouldn’t pay more than a fiver – and that would be for both and she would still expect change – so while I’m pleased I’m finally giving my doppelganger a taste of his own medicine, it’s disappointing to know even the most insane billionaire in all of billionaireverseville would never buy these so I’m not robbing him off anything.

Damnit.

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Nothing Makes You Feel Old Like This Chart …

Given my age, I remember when the internet went from a university thing to a public thing.

Because of that, I remember when so many of these companies launched.

What’s slightly concerning is that I worked on many of them and in the main, they’ve either disappeared or just fallen away which means the biggest threat to these companies is not data breaches or government interference, but me.

The human virus.

Now that’s an accolade. Or so I keep telling myself.



Groundhog Day …

Happy 2019!

I hope you had a fantastic time with loved ones.

I also hope 2019 is a very special year for you all, for all the right reasons.

While I’ve been back at work for 3 days already – which were spent in bloody Miami – I have to say I had a wonderful time, even if I didn’t get as many gadgets as I hoped I would.

That said, I’m not making any plans for the year ahead.

I’ve seen too many best intentions get ruined before the end of the first week of a new year to fall into that trap.

But it’s fair to say I do have some hopes for 2019.

Some are professional, but most are mainly personal.

More than that, they’re personal because it involves people I love rather than for myself.

I know … I know … who the hell am I?

The reality is I’m doing OK.

That doesn’t mean I don’t still have a huge drive to go further, but right now, my hopes are for others for the year ahead.

Of course the main people I’m focused on is Jill and Otis.

In September Otis will start ‘proper school’ and we just hope he gets into one that follows the values his Mum and I believe in. We never realized finding a school for him would be so hard … but when you don’t want to go private, don’t want religious associations and don’t want the focus to be so academic his creativity is impacted, I guess it was never going to be easy.

So we have our fingers crossed and will deal with whatever happens.

Which is why I am also focused on Jill.

As much as Otis has impacted my life in so many wonderful ways, it’s Jill who will experience the biggest change once he goes to school.

It’s Jill who has stayed with him throughout his formative years.

It’s Jill who has spent the days with him every week, playing and educating and just generally looking after him.

Their bond is a beautiful thing to witness and I know she feels being a mother has been the most fulfilling thing she has done in her life.

So now what does she do when she leads him to the next stage of his life?

Of course there will still be loads they do together, but I want to give her the backing to find something that fulfills her, whatever that may be.

I know it won’t be the same as helping raise our bundle of energetic joy 24/7, but I am excited to see what she will do.

She is extremely talented, creative and compassionate – and while I know she doesn’t want to start her amazing cake company again – we have discussed some things that she is excited by and I’ll be backing her all the way for whatever she chooses.

I say this because I recently saw the photo at the top of this post.

It’s a photo of Queen drummer, Roger Taylor, looking at the Freddie Mercury statue he has at the bottom of his garden.

The statue that was on top of the London theatre when their musical, We Will Rock You, was performing.

I have to say, I found the photo very poignant.

Apart from the fact it’s wonderful he wanted to keep the statue of his old friend – I can’t imagine what it must be like to see it every day.

Does he look at it and think about all the amazing things they did together?

Does he look at it and mourn the loss of someone he loved like a brother?

Does he look at it and feel the sadness of memories he will never experience again?

Growing old has many benefits – including not giving a damn what others think of you – but it can also act as a bitter pill when the things around you … the things you brought into this world … start taking on a life of their own.

At these points you can either sit back and focus on the change or lean in and explore the possibilities.

For the past 30 years of my professional life, I’ve been fortunate to always embrace leaning in to the possibilities – possibilities that has seen me live around the World and meet an endless stream of wonderful, creative individuals.

While I have no intention of stopping that approach to living, I do want to make sure that in 2019, Jill gets the drivers seat because apart from her generosity in letting me do so much of the steering, the reality is she was the one who helped us navigate to where we currently are so I know by handing over the driving to her, she will go to somewhere wonderful and fulfilling and no one I know deserves it more.

She’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.

So happy 2019 to all … I’m excited to see where we all end up in the next 12 months, even if my blog posts will continue to bring the excitement of possibility down to a slow, painful crawl.



Money Changes How You Look But Reflects Who You Are …
November 6, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Before Fame, Confidence

Remember last month I showed that photo of the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his metamorphosis from nerd in 1998 to Terminator in 2017?

Well it’s obviously not an isolated incident because here’s Elon Musk … though unlike Mr Bezos, it appears he spent some of his billions on a hair transplant. But then, when you read what his ex-wife said about him, he might be a genius but he’s also a vain, little prick.

Something it appears the first Mrs Bezos would agree with.



Money Makes You Badass …
October 9, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Before Fame, Confidence

A long held belief is that money makes you more attractive.

Not because you can afford cosmetic surgery, but because for some people, the prospect of wealth makes you look past the outer ugliness of the person who currently has it.

Well I recently saw a photo of Jeff Bezos and he proves wealth doesn’t just make you better looking, it makes you The Terminator.

I’m now going to spend the week trying to ignore the fact I look more like Jeff the book seller.



Everything Wonderful Starts From Somewhere …
February 13, 2015, 6:25 am
Filed under: Before Fame, Chopin, Comment

One of my favourite pieces of music is this …

No, it’s not Queen, nor is it Def Leppard … it’s Chopin’s Nocturne op.9 No.2.

I love it.

I love the melody.

The gentleness.

The emotion.

Whenever I listen to it I find my eyes close and my head gently swinging side-to-side … literally lost in the music.

It makes me wish I could play the piano more than any other piece of music … even Van Halen’s Jump.

But what gets me is this piece of music once never existed.

It was just something that sat inside Chopin’s head … waiting for him to let it out.

Did it come quickly or slowly?

Did it have many iterations or could he hear it before he played it?

I remember Paul McCartney being interviewed about his song ‘Yesterday’ – apparently the most recorded song in history – and he said he wrote it aged 15 on his bed, in his bedroom.

Put aside the obvious talent and maturity it would require to write a song like that at 15, just think about that for a second.

A kid, in Liverpool, is sitting on his bed strumming a guitar and out of his head comes one of the most iconic – and recorded – songs in history.

What did he think at the time?

Did he know he’d written something that would outlive him?

Did he know he’d just created something that would change the course of his life?

[And yes, I do know he has now changed the story behind the song, but he said this on Michael Parkinson and no one is allowed to question what is said on Parky]

It’s like Sir Ken Robinson said in his speech that talks about Shakespeare.

We all imagine Shakespeare as this entity who created things that became pivotal stories of our lives … but once upon a time he was just a kid who went to school and took English lessons. ENGLISH LESSONS!!!

That’s mental even though it shouldn’t be.

We have all this stuff around us that seems to have been there forever.

Of course, a lot of that is because it has been there throughout our life hence we can never remember a time without it – but somewhere in our minds, we forget there was a time when they didn’t exist … when these things we either take for granted or just simply love were nothing.

Literally nothing.

And that’s what blows my mind about that piece by Chopin.

Because while I wonder how he created the piece and what he thought when he wrote it, the fact is, if I could travel back in time to 1829 and ask him to play Nocturne op.9 No.2 … he would look at me and wonder what the hell I was talking about.

Because it didn’t exist. Not even in his mind. Not for another year.

And that fills me with wonder and excitement because it means there are people walking around who may one day write or create or think of something that could evolve to something incredible … something that people will still love 200 years from now or maybe just end up viewing as their new normal … and that is why I think we should stop pissing on the dreams and hopes of those who have ideas, because without them, we might not have half the wonderful things that make up the tapestry of our lives.