Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Exposed!

I just published my website. Or should I say re-published? It is tough putting myself out there. But then, if the creator of The One & Only™ isn't prepared to put himself out there - speak in my own voice and expose myself to criticism, then why bother with the darned thing in the first place?

I've kept the site pretty straightforward. No artiface. No Flash. Mainly words. Funny, for someone who thinks in pictures I find it more compelling to use the web for words and ideas. Compared to the time developing some little graphic ditty writing content seems more productive.

Writing the content for the site I realised what a kick I get out of my clients. S'funny, when I was an agency creative it was all about me - the ads were my ads - not my clients. I guess in a sense that's easy to understand. There were usually so many layers of management - power and control - between me and the client. I was wheeled in and wheeled out like a performing seal (on wheels). Clever, amusing, leather jacket, sunglasses in windowless rooms - remote and Creative with a capital C. It turned me into an insecure, overpaid, needy little snot. Thin skinned and passive agressive when challenged. Didn't they realise they were MY ads, that this was MY career? MY Awards? What the hell is wrong with you people? Those were the days.

I guess, if we're lucky, time and experience smoothes us. Well, I think it smoothed me. Somewhere along the way I took my power and said: "Well these are my ideas. They are based on the truth (as I see it), but if you want to discuss it, lets go, I'm here for you baby. It's your story. When I'm gone, you'll still be here."

Being able to choose my clients - rather than having them imposed on me by a manager or by some enormously important global account alignment - being able to choose makes the difference. Sure it's important, but nothing is so important that I have to be dishonest with my clients or myself. Big theme: honesty and openness. It leads to genuine discovery and innovation. I mean, what is the point of pretending to be a great research lab or a great engineer if the work you are doing is actually inferior? How much effort does it take to fool ourselves?

This evening I went to the movies and watched Mike Nichols' Closer. Talk about everything laid bare? I read an article in the newspaper about the director. He made a point that I've integrated into The One & Only™ book - will I ever finish the text? - Nichols talked about characters being 'likeable' (they are not) - It's a Hollywood thing all this likeability. To tell an authentic human story there has to be flaws. Achilles - one of the greatest heroes of ancient mythology - drags the body of the fallen hero Paris behind his chariot around the city of Troy. A war crime f'cryingoutloud. We're all flawed. That's what makes us human. The head of Enron denies responsibility and evades the consequences of his choices - which were legion - while Martha Stewart - a woman in her 60's steps up and says "No appeal I want to begin my sentence now." Her crime? A sixty thousand dollar mistake over the sale of some shares. She'll probably spend more on flowers for a dinner party in her home (while she completes her sentence in home detention).

Here's to humanity.

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