The Creatives Shall Inherit the Earth

The Creatives Shall Inherit the Earth

Back in the day, success was driven by widget sales.  Ever since the industrial age, companies have mass produced all sorts of products–from cars to light bulbs to tvs–and then sold the hell out of them.  The goal was simple: sell as many widgets as possible.  This also spawned drastic changes in the way we work and live. Advertising widget sales centered around the attributes of products.  Product photos accompanied bullet call-outs of the widget’s features and consumers were enticed by the one-up-manship of product ingenuity.  That seems so simple–just make it function better than the other.  Or at least make it easy to claim that.  This doesn’t happen as much anymore. Today, we are firmly entrenched in an era of creativity.  It is undeniable.  Brands like Apple have supplanted tech behemoths like Microsoft (although the Redmond, WA company is far from done) as the corporate titans.  Why?  Because they relied on creative design and creative motivations for fairly banal solutions.  The world had phones and computers (not tablets yet, I suppose) and hardly needed new ones.  Until, that is, they saw a much more creative and elegant version. I share a cubicle wall with my company’s Director of Design.  I honestly believe him to be one of the most important people in our business, because he is the person who is charged with delivering the product in such a way that is distances us from competition.  To take business goals and make them creative.  To make another few margin points used to the call of the day with spreadsheets dictating product lines.  Today, Adobe Illustrator dictates product lines...
The Life Lesson of Robert Plant

The Life Lesson of Robert Plant

Sometimes we never know when enough is enough. We iterate and we iterate further and we delay launches and we worry. What are we worried about? Well, I think the fear is from the fear of failing and the fear that once you release something it is gone forever. That it can never come back. Like a kid leaving home for college — change is in the air. That is precisely why letting something go into the marketplace sooner is the right idea.  You let it go and move on.  You can now move on to bigger and better things.  And the preparation starts now. What does this have to do with Robert Plant (doesn’t everything relate to Led Zeppelin?) you ask?  Well Robert Plant is the perfect example of moving on. Of all of the rock stars of the past 50 years, Robert Plant is the best example of a star who didn’t focus on the past, but moved on to the future.  The bands initial album, the self-titled Led Zeppelin, was released in January 1969…and they didn’t play again after the 1980 death of drummer Jon Bonham (although it was nearly two years later that their last album, Coda, was released in 1982).  In between those dates, they owned the rock scene and inspired so many bands who followed them it is hard to count. But it is a lot. The decline and break-up of Led Zeppelin was not a foregone conclusion once Jon Bonham died.  Sure, he is arguably the best rock drummer of all time.  But several bands have continued on after such a fate.  Hell, the Grateful...
Throwing Your Customers Under the Bus (OR…What Was Jeb Bush Thinking?)

Throwing Your Customers Under the Bus (OR…What Was Jeb Bush Thinking?)

Disclaimer: this is not intended to be a partisan political battle.  This is written as a critique of public policy and not a weigh-in on the 2016 Presidential race. As the old saying goes,”Did that just happen?”  This time it comes from the State of Florida and it centers on Jeb Bush when he served as the state’s Governor.  The presumed front runner for the GOP in the 2016 race for the White House reportedly (allegedly!) released all of the emails from his term in office.  Actually he did it and to prove it, he even built a webpage and put them on the internet! All of them. Now, I am sure Mr. Bush used to get a lot of emails as Governor of the great state of Florida (reportedly, the list is over 250,000 – I don’t because I couldn’t carve out the time to read them all).  Lord knows, I get a lot of emails and I am not even the governor of any great state.  I am just a dude in Montana who works at a pretty rad company that makes very rad fishing gear. So I can only imagine his inbox load and quest for Zero Inbox might be daunting. What could possibly have been the reason Jeb cited for releasing thousands of emails?  Transparency.  (Side note: the TV show Transparency on Amazon Prime is quite good – check it out).  You know that lovely word that your estranged girlfriend uses when releases all of those compromising pictures of you under the guise of “the world should know…I believe in transparency.”  What you believe in, above all else, is throwing someone under the...
You Can’t Handle the Truth

You Can’t Handle the Truth

I don’t watch much network news, but Brian Williams always seemed like the guy I would watch if I was forced.  He had this “dude you could talk to in a bar,” feel to him.  And Mr. Williams might be the last of the old school journalists to ever man the desk of a major network.  He always seemed like Brokaw part deux–or perhaps the descendant of Brokaw.  Maybe that’s why he replaced the statesman. He was elegant and refined but still a seeker.  A seeker of truth and not sensation. Well, that seems to have ended.  Even Mr. Williams seems to have been caught up in the race for headlines.  It has been uncovered that he numerous times misinterpreted the time he has spent in helicopters in Iraq.  So much, in fact, that he has asserted that his helicopter was shot.  Like “I was actually shot in a helicopter” when he wasn’t.  Seemingly an easy thing that could get you caught in a lie, but he went with it for years. And not only that, Brian decided to “elevate” his experience in Hurricane Katrina.  He reportedly saw a dead body float by and now that is being held as an alleged lie.  I have to hand this to Mr. Williams: at least he picked two of the biggest stories of the past 15 years to embellish.  Events that had so much press (aided by himself) that finding the truth should be a piece of cake.  It’s like juggling with chainsaws knowing you are going to get your hand cut off.  Maybe that is why the New Yorker describes this as Brian Williams’ “God Complex.” Which leads...
Some Fear

Some Fear

Years ago, I was in-between flights in an airport somewhere on this continent and I saw my favorite hat of all time.  I like hats…I wear them often and like a good sticker, a good hat can portray your favorite brand, hobby, interest, band, etc. or, more interestingly, something witty or ironic.  A good hat is rarely achieved in my opinion (as most often lousy hats win out), but my wife may not believe me when I say this because I have a bin that overloaded with hats–so I somehow have found a few. Back to the airport.  So I am walking through this airport and I see a very old gentleman.  I am not saying elderly or aged.  I mean old.  Super old.  Maybe one of the oldest people I have ever seen.  Back crooked in a c-shape.  Walking (but still walking!) with the assist of a family member or friend.  This guy had lived…and for a long while. What was most interesting about this elderly gentleman wasn’t his age (although that is what made me first recognize hit), but his hat.  What did it say…simply “Some Fear” in the script of the early 2000s (or late 20th century) iconic brand “No Fear”.  Brilliant!  Simply said, this hat summed up all I needed to know about this gentleman.  He was on his way out, but he still had the honesty to admit that he might fear a few things. I was recalling this “hat incident” the other day after I listened to a podcast that has really stuck with me.  I have been listening to a lot of...