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

If Timing Is Everything, Planning Timing Is Nothing …

Despite being in this industry for 7,000 years, I still seem to get a couple of things wrong on a pretty consistent basis.

+ Creative briefs.

+ Estimating the time needed to do things.

OK, with the creative briefs, it’s less that I get them wrong … it’s just I end up writing so many different versions of them in an attempt to find the one that I think is the , most intriguing, infectious, provocative and sharp, that I end up feeling like I’ve just gone 12 rounds with a 50 foot robot octopus by the time I’ve finally finished them.

But in terms of estimating time … I remain, utterly rubbish.

I’m not saying I think something will take a day and it takes a year [though this one wasn’t that far off], it just means that I under-estimate the time needed for stuff by a day or two.

Is this because I over-estimate my capabilities?


But the real reason is that I tend to either find myself tumbling down rabbit holes that I find interesting or simply thinking there’s a better way to approach things and need to explore it rather than let it go.

While I appreciate this can be fucking annoying to my colleagues, I am a firm believer that rabbit holes have real value and nothing should be so set in stone that if something better comes along, you just dismiss it out-of-hand.

But all that said, it continually surprises me that I fall into this trap over and over again which is why I loved reading this:

66 years late!!!


When I read that, I immediately felt I had the precision of a German engineering company.

The efficiency of the Singaporean government.

And if I really wanted to feel better about myself, I could blame that 66 year delay on the creative team because the brief was written and accepted without hassle.

The thing is, while timing is vital, doing something well is even more important.

And while the evaluation of ‘well’ can be very subjective, I always feel that has to be judged by the person doing their work, the person they work into and the people who need to do something with it – ie: the creatives.

It’s not the client.
It’s not the producers.
It’s not the managing director.

That doesn’t mean you can take the piss or just blindly ignore their needs and wants, it just means the people who are doing the work need to feel the work they’re doing is the work they want to do.

And while they may never be 100% happy … and while they may face all manner of frustration from the people around them … the one thing I learnt from Dan Wieden, is when the work is great, all problems disappear..

13 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Didn’t you once put off writing a deck for 2 years?

Comment by Bazza

Yes. I’m so glad you have such a good memory.

Comment by Rob

wasnt worth the wait.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by Bazza

And you always had an opinion on everyones deck.

Comment by Bazza

Everyone had an opinion on everything … don’t narrow it down to your decks. Have you forgotten how painful organising any lunch was???

Comment by Rob

so youre admitting planners dont know how to fucking plan. about fucking time.

Comment by andy@cynic

66 years? That is almost as long as it took Ford to tell us we hadn’t won the focus pitch.

Comment by Pete

Only beaten by a pitch I did for Cadilac at Wieden and we’re still actually waiting to be told if we did or did not win.

Comment by Rob

It’s not the client.
It’s not the producers.
It’s not the managing director.

And yet they all think it’s about them and their specific wishes.

Comment by DH

Yep. In many cases it’s not even about the work – just their own individual ego.

Comment by Rob

This reminded me of your story about the client who said they obviously hadn’t asked you the right question if you could answer it in two days.

In other words, doesn’t the solution lie in finding ways to buy more time for the whole process?

Comment by John

To be fair they were the exception – especially as they were musicians.

Comment by Rob

Leave a Reply