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

Don’t Blame The Insight, Blame The Person Claiming It …

So a few weeks ago, the very lovely Neil – of Only Dead Fish fame – invited me to talk at Google Firestarters on insights.

This is a subject I’ve written and talked about for years, so it was right up my alley … and yet, despite that, I ended up writing a presentation where the underlying insight appears to be, ‘don’t ask Rob to write presentations on insights’.

For reasons I’m unsure of [though I think ‘fill this blog with something before the end of the year’] I thought it might be good to put it up here for others to look at/abuse. However, as it’s my usual ‘picture, no words’ presentation style, it probably will make little sense … but if it’s any consolation, that’s how the people who heard me give it, thought too.

If you want the general theme of the deck, it’s insights are important because culture is important … and if you know how the culture around categories think, act, operate and interact, then you have information that not only lets you create work that feels born from inside the culture, but can open doors to new possibilities.

Oh, and the bit about the Titanic is that I’m amazed this discussion is still going on because we all know insights matter, it’s where we’re getting them from and how we’re using them that is key. And yet – as an industry – we like to debate the things that we know matter and ignore the fact the majority of the work that’s being put out is an exercise in how to bore the fuck out of everyone with insanely and inanely rational communication.

And yes, I blame clients as much as planners and agencies for this.

It’s like they have forgotten that no one cares about what they care about and the job is to make them give a damn – and the most powerful way to do that is to use creativity in wonderfully mad and chaotic ways because [as Mr Weigel says, both in public and in my presentation] you can be as relevant as hell and still be boring as fuck.

The Henry Ford slag off is simply that he is well known for saying that if he’d asked people what they wanted they’d say a faster horse and my point is, if someone said that, any half decent planner should be able to workout they’re trying to say they want to get from point A to point B quicker than they currently are able.

And if that isn’t an amazing brief, then I don’t know what is.

Anyway, if you want to see the deck, including one of my favorite ever slides – the pic at the top of this post – click here: Firestarters

Enjoy … if that is the right word. Ahem.

13 Comments so far
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These kind of decks are normally quite hollow because they never really work without the words or the performance of the speaker (and the vibe in the room). But because I’ve been hanging around here for about ten years (is that a life sentence?) I get a sense of what you said and how you said it.

Well done. GET OUT OF MY HEAD.

Comment by Marcus

call the cops. thats violation.

Comment by andy@cynic

You do have a brilliant way to make your point.

I can almost hear you presenting as I read the slides.

Comment by Pete

so can i. thats the fucking problem.

Comment by andy@cynic

at least its not in fucking impact. little mercies.

Comment by andy@cynic

As many others have stated, I can hear you present this as I read it. But that does not mean I would refuse the opportunity to hear you take me through it in your unique style.

As usual, a smart opinion delivered in your usual take no prisoners style.

Comment by Lee Hill

Some of us had to hear him present it in real life. My summary – too short and very sweary. The presentation that is, not Rob.

Marcus is right that familiarity with this blog would help you imagine how and what was said. Or indeed predict it.

But he certainly shook up the audience of indoor planners that attended.

Would view again.

Comment by John

you went.
you almost compliment the prick.
you say youd go again.
youre a sick fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

Ask him about the envelope I gave him.

Comment by John

What I like about your presentations, is that I can flick through them in two minutes during my lunch break, and still feel like I’ve learned or been reminded of something valuable.

I also like the heart of the family photos. In my distant web based experience at least, that feels like the reason your words matter to so many people, despite all the reasons Andy mentions.

Comment by Rob (Other one)

Genuinely curious about the point you make about Singapore.

Comment by A Singaporean

I think Lee Kuan Yew was a master of insight … it’s what led to making Singapore so successful, though current leadership there doesn’t seem to come close to his understanding of people.

Comment by Rob

[…] to infect, infiltrate and shape culture, the best way to do it is to offer them something they find interesting and resonant, rather than right and […]

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