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

Progress Is Never Easy, But It’s Worth It …

Many years ago, I spoke at a conference in Australia called, Circus.

At the end of my presentation, I made a point that the things I’d talked about weren’t new and weren’t even from Wieden+Kennedy, but views I had held for many years.

I did this because when people from Wieden speak at conferences, audiences tend to think anything said is gold and I wanted to ensure they knew the presentation had come from my mind, not Dan and Dave’s.

I didn’t do this – as you may think – because I’m an egomaniac [OK, I am an egomaniac, but on this occasion, this wasn’t the motivation] but because my presentation had gone down a storm and I wanted to highlight that 7 years earlier, despite saying pretty much the exact same things that got me a job at Wieden – and had got a rousing applause – no agency in Australia would hire me.

Not one.

I was regarded as idealistic.

Or daft.

But whatever it was, no one was hiring me and in the end, I left Australia.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying Australia is bad – far from it, there’s a whole host of amazingly talented people there – but at the time I was looking for a job, they seemed to only want people who followed their rules not someone who wanted to challenge them.

At the end of my speech, I said to the audience that if there was anyone out there who had thoughts/ideas that had been knocked or mocked, to either find someone who will listen to them or try it on their own.

Now I know not every idea is a good idea … but I get very frustrated when something that someone has obviously put a huge amount of objective thought into, is immediately met with distain, for no other reason than people don’t actually like new as much as they claim.

Especially in adland.

The reason I say this is that I recently came across a clip I wrote about years ago.

It’s about a scientist who – after 30 years – was finally proved right.

Of course science and advertising is about as different as Birkenstocks and fashion, but the point is he persisted because he believed. Not because he was a fool. Not because he was blind to the facts. But because he saw something others didn’t and just kept looking to find ways to prove his theory.

Fortunately, he was backed in his belief by an amazing University, but you can tell by the look on his wife’s face when she realises her husbands 30 years of work was not in vain, that proving this was more important than just having people support your theory.

Watch it and remember we’re all just winging it until we’re not.

17 Comments so far
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Great post Robert, though perhaps comparing your journey to acceptance with a Stanford professors is a bit much.

Comment by George

To be fair, most planners think they are scientists.

Comment by DH

now thats a fucking burn. nice work.

Comment by andy@cynic

I agree with you Dave, but as much as you can throw at me, you know I’m not that sort. Remember the interview where – in your words – I destroyed that planner that said they were at the intersection of creativity and science?

Comment by Rob

how does anyone tell the difference between you being an interviewing prick and your normal self?

Comment by andy@cynic

It was interview violence.

Comment by DH

Acceptance is a bit much too.

Comment by John

he means acceptance into the wankers club. they thought he was more of a fucktard but after years of perseverance, he made it.

Comment by andy@cynic

Australian agencies were on to something back then.

Comment by DH

except they invited him to the talk so they werent that fucking smart.

Comment by andy@cynic

Though they didn’t make that mistake again … which is more than can be said for Wieden, ha.

Comment by Rob

thats why dan has to fucking retire. hiring you once was stupid. hiring you twice would be insanity.

Comment by andy@cynic

So its come to this, rehashing old posts. The most impressive part is it means there may actually be a limit to the amount of shit swirling in your head. Who knew.

Comment by DH

hell find another well of untapped bollocks. dont start celebting yet.

Comment by andy@cynic

It’s not hard when the ad World keeps making so many mistakes.

Comment by Rob

On the upside, I did enjoy reading the old post.

Comment by John

An excellent read Robert. I think people who challenge convention will always be met with resistance. It is those who maintain their belief while looking for additional ways to prove their view that are worthy of the highest respect.

Comment by Lee Hill

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