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

You Know You’re Maturing When You Watch Others Achieve Success With A Sense Of Pride, Not Pettiness …
January 30, 2013, 6:12 am
Filed under: Comment

Once upon a time, I worked with a guy called Cass.

Cass was a ginger haired [despite trying to cover it up with dirty-blonde hair colouring] Scouser who was full of piss and vinegar.

He was also a Tranmere Rovers fan.

Despite all those deficiencies, he was fortunately blessed with a brilliant mind, good humour and a massive dollop of empathy which is why I not only put up with him, but ended up learning a hell of a lot from him.

To be honest, I have been trying to figure out a way for us to work together again for years, but every time I’ve got close to making it happen, he’s found a way to avoid it happening.

Told you he was smart.

Anyway, his latest attempt to build an obstacle to our partnership is to form his own company. The Station.

I’m not going to say how successful it will be because [1] that’s obvious and [2] it already is … but I will say how utterly proud I am of him.

I know this makes me sound like his Dad, but I don’t care.

When you’ve been doing what I do for as long as I’ve been doing it, you meet a whole host of people – some good, some bad, some ridiculous, some awesome – but literally from the moment I met Cass, you could tell he had something special.

Sure there was the odd issue or two [‘Mental Oriental Noodles’ and the ‘Paddle Pop Mit’ were particular highlights/lowlights] but that aside, his energy, passion, creativity and intelligence meant everyone he worked with – and for – ended up in a much better place creatively, commercially and professionally.

Yes, he’s that good.

The bastard.

I’ve always been a big believer in people starting their own company – if only so they can understand the bigger issues clients need to think about when making their decisions – however few people actually do anything about it.

There’s a load of reasons for that – some good, some bad … which is why anyone having a go should be be applauded.

However Cass has done something more.

He’s started a business with real purpose, passion and belief.

A business that stands a chance of actually changing something rather than simply claiming something.

To be honest, I think I can take credit for that.

Not because I taught Cass well, but because he was there at the start of cynic and probably learnt everything you shouldn’t do when starting a company.

I always told him he was too good [& too opinionated] to work for someone else, now everyone is going to learn why … and that excites me more than you would ever know.

29 Comments so far
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Cass! This is great news. Congratulations.

Comment by George

I never met Cass but I certainly heard of him. He sounds like he is a great guy with a lot of talent so I wish him well. But that’s not the reason I like this post. I like it because you can see how much you still care about him. I doubt you feel the same way about me but I know you always have and will watch out for me and that level of support means a lot.

I remember when I first met you and you said your job was to ensure my next job was better than I ever thought possible. That surprised me because I hadn’t started working for you and you were viewing my career growth as your responsibility. That was impressive and you stayed true to your word which is why this post reminded me how good you, George and Andy were as leaders and I’m sure Cass agrees.

Comment by Pete

So when did you work out that he only said your next job would be great because he was going to make your present one hell?

Comment by DH

When he said I was going to have to spend a week working at Best Buy. About day 4.

Comment by Pete

Hahaha, I had forgotten about that.

Sorry. But at least you didn’t have to work in a hotel like Bazza.

Comment by Rob

We were much milder by the time you joined us Pete.

Comment by George

You’re very kind Pete – though whether working for George at Pleasantville is a job that is ‘better than you ever thought possible’ is definitely debatable. Ha.

In all seriousness, that whole ‘help colleagues progress’ is hardly new or unique to me/us, it’s something I was taught both at home and at HHCL. But I do believe in it.

While there are many ways you can evaluate whether you are good at your job, I genuinely feel that the best way to see how good you are is [1] see how many of your people are approached by other companies … not because they have a job to fill, but because of who they are, how they think & what they do as an individual and [2] how many of them go on to do jobs that are much bigger, more important and more influential than they ever thought possible.

I’ve been very fortunate to have a bunch of very talented people in my life – both as bosses & colleagues – and knowing what they’ve done for me over the years, helping them in their career is the least I can do.

[Though it was mainly George & Andy who did it]

Comment by Rob

Well done Cass. The best proof of your smarts is making sure you didn’t make the same mistake with Rob and the boys again.

Comment by DH

This is nice to read. I agree with Peter that it says as much about your belief in your colleagues as it does their talent and desire to make their own future. Well done Cass.

Comment by Lee Hill

One of the great things about the Cynic lot is that everybody appears to learn from everybody else. Rather than the bitchy self-importance of many ad folks you respect each other and push for each other, which in the end helps you more as individuals.

I bet you and Andy both learnt a lot by working together. (Andy – I count learning never to work with Rob again as learning. Rob – Likewise with Andy)


Comment by Rob Mortimer

The reason cynic worked [in its own little way] was because it was a giant social experiment – where we hired people based on their talent & attitude rather than just having to fill a role – which meant we all worked together and learnt together.

Obviously that can happen at other places as well, but being small but with big clients meant we had a point to prove and that bonded us in a way more than just a quest to be profitable and/or creative … even though they were obviously key objectives as well.

It was an amazing time, especially the first 5 years and I have probably been trying to recreate it ever since.

Comment by Rob

It always sounds like something that was great fun. The parallels between that hiring policy and that you hear of W+K is notable.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I would hope W+K have a much more stringent hiring policy than the one we had at cynic.

Comment by George

Andy would say “Of they course the fuckint haven’t Auntie, they hired fucking Campbell didn’t they?”

Comment by northern

Alarmingly accurate but I hope to hear it from the man himself because that would signify all is well in his world again.

Comment by George

Here here

Comment by northern


Comment by Rob Mortimer

Oh and:

Never met Cass, but if his business is based around the following, then he sounds like a smart guy.

“A business with real purpose, passion and belief.

A business that stands a chance of actually changing something rather than simply claiming something.”

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Rob, you are far too kind and yes, credit is certainly due your way. And lots of it. It’s obviously great when anyone says good things about you but when that person is someone you hugely respect and admire, it’s all the sweeter. So thanks for everything Rob and I’d love one day to be able to give a little back your way. Now this is all getting a bit too ‘Dead Poets Society’ which is sure to stir Andy. So time to sign off.

Comment by Cass

We’re getting too lovey-dovey aren’t we.

But everything I said is true … you’re a special man and I’m very proud and happy [as is everyone else] with what you’re doing.

Comment by Rob

I now know what it is to resent someone who I’ve never seen before or heard of until 30 seconds ago.

Comment by kevin

Careful, you’ll make Andy cry!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Well done Cass. You always were teachers pet.

Comment by Bazza

Is this a love letter?

Comment by Charles Edward Frith (@charlesfrith)

Since there’s no point to adding to the above ‘Oh captain my captain’ stuff, I have only one question:
Does Cass like Morrisey?

Comment by northern

Ooh, good question.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Super news. Well done Cass.

Jemma x

Comment by Jemma King

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