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


2023: Trends …

A few weeks ago, I posted this on Twitter …

Quite a lot of people liked it for one reason …

It’s kinda true.

For all the shit people throw at the younger generation for chasing the next shiny thing, the same can be said for business.

Worse. In my experience, the younger generations are far more committed to what they think is the right thing and stick with it, even in the face of other things coming up.

OK, so there may be some subjects where they are quick to switch, but it’s not the stuff that costs tens of thousands of people their livelihood just because someone at the top wants to look like they have their finger on the pulse.

Seriously, the way some companies behave is like watching a massive game of Hot Or Not … just with billions of dollars riding on every decision.

Once upon a time, a planning colleague – Rodi – once said the biggest problem with business is they remain interested but never want to commit.

He was – as usual – bang on.

And while there are many schools-of-thought that suggest that because of the speed of change ‘those who commit, lose’ … they’re really missing the point.

Because while you have to know what is happening and shifting, it’s only those who commit to what they believe in who can create something that leads culture to them … rather than continually chasing where they’re going.

It doesn’t mean it will always work out, but we know the alternative achieves that even less.

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Is There Anything As Fast As Someone On LinkedIn Declaring Their Expertise On Their Ability To Monetise, Explain And Define An Emerging Technology Despite Them Never Having Worked In Tech Or Done Something That Defined Any Tech?

I’m all for people expressing their opinion.

I’m all for people being excited about things they see as having great possibilities.

I’m all for people trying to find new ways to evolve, grow and make money.

But come on …

It’s getting to the point where Linkedin should be renamed Disneyland given how much fiction and fantasy are going on.

What’s worse is among all the ‘consultants’ and ‘new business development people’ claiming expertise, are a bunch of strategists.

Now I know as a discipline we think we have the answer to everything … but we don’t.

Fuck, even the people who are developing the technology, don’t.

But what bothers me is the reason behind why so many people are claiming expertise.

OK, so I know some have a real understanding of the technology and its possible implications. And in that, I include certain strategists – we all know who those brilliant people are.

And I also appreciate some mistakenly believe that because they’ve used ChatGPT, they think they now know everything about the technology.

But others – and this is potentially the majority of them – are doing it because they see it as a chance to personally gain from it.

In essence, their perspective is that as long as a subject matter is highly topical and others – especially companies – don’t know about it, then they can profit from it because they can say anything because no one will know enough to tell them they’re wrong.

You can tell who this group are because they’re the one’s who are either the loudest to declare their knowledge or the first to say they had identified the trend … despite never doing anything with their ‘expertise’ or because of their ‘vision’.

Putting aside how this sort of behaviour can damage the reputation of real experts, disciplines and entire industries … the issue I have is how it is often justified as hustle culture.

I’ve written my issue with hustle culture in the past, but the fact is, this isn’t hustling … it’s grifting and the impact of it is not just damaging people and companies, but it killing the potential of technology before it has a chance to find it’s real possibility.

I appreciate this is quite a heavy post from what was just a piss-take image of Homer … but the best comedy is always based on a truth we often like to deny.

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Professional Is In The Eye Of The Beholder …
March 14, 2023, 8:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Brand, Brand Suicide, Comment, Corporate Evil, Culture

I recently saw this ad …

I must admit, when I first saw it I thought it was a spoof …

While my interaction with security guards is limited, the one in this image resembles the sort of ‘fancy dress’ version you see on a stag night. Or a shit Hollywood movie.

But no, apparently it’s a real ad.

Which means their definition of ‘professional’ is someone who wears sunglasses, has their finger in their ear and can’t do their tie up properly.

I appreciate I am the last person who should talk about professionalism … and I also accept where bodyguards are concerned, the focus should be on how they protect rather than how they look … but I suppose for an industry that wants to remove the stigma of being seen as thugs in suits, this approach seems to reinforce it rather than change it.

Mind you, given how many celebs are using ‘quantity of bodyguards’ to express their fame and fortune to society, maybe the real opportunity is just offering people who look the part – albeit a bad version of it – than actually being able to do the job their title suggests they’re there for.

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Why We Need To Remember You Can Be Relevant As Hell And Still Be Boring As Fuck …

In April, I have been asked to speak at a conference in Croatia.

Croatia! What a country … I cannot bloody wait.

I know … I know … I can hear you all from here, screaming ‘another holiday freebie’. And while I accept this is a terrible misjudgement on their part, does the fact I have to take 3 planes over 24 hours to get there from NZ make you feel any differently?

No … didn’t think so. Doesn’t for me to be honest.

Now this conference is apparently a big deal with some very big names appearing so when they asked what I would be talking about, I thought it best to honour the occasion while representing my abilities, which is why I told them this:

There are many ways I could describe this talk. I could say it’s an investigation into why so many brands fail to connect to audiences despite having more data, research and marketing investment than at any point in history. Or I could take a more controversial path with ‘What if the tools and processes of modern marketing are wrong?’ And while both of those questions will feature within this talk, the real narrative is if you want to be culturally, commercially and creatively powerful … please stop being so bloody boring.

And to double down on that premise, here is slide 2 from the upcoming preso …

While I fully appreciate this seems like I’m not taking things seriously, I am.

Very seriously.

Because the industry seems to only have 2 settings: serious or stupid.

Or said another way, purpose filled or sponsored comedy.

And while they can both work in the right context – and with real talent creating it – it’s all got so expected that it wins by relentless repetition, rather that intrigue and interest.

At least with agencies like Mischief – who I adore – they are painfully aware of who they are, what they do and how they do it.

They’re less ad agency of brand communications, and more meme agency of the internet. And they do it so, so well.

But even they run the risk of their approach ending up being expected. A bit like brands who ‘hijack culture’ … which has now got so common, you have to ask if it is hijacking anything.

Thank god in Mischief’s case they have the brilliant and irrepressible Greg Hahn at their helm – someone who not only is phenomenally creative, but also can read and play with the pulse of culture – so just when things get expected, he takes people somewhere new and interesting.

Or said another way, he kills boring before boring takes hold.

But the reality is what Mischief do is not new.

There are many brands – even industries – who have been doing this sort of thing for decades.

Fashion. Gaming. Hell, even certain TV shows have been doing it.

[Albeit, to different degrees]

And they do it in ways that builds their brands role and position in culture more than just gaining a moment of space for it to be seen and discussed in culture. [That sounds like a diss, it’s not meant to … it’s just my bad writing because Mischief already have achieved more than companies who have been around a century]

The real issue is that in our desperate need to be validated by business, we’ve forgotten what business we’re in.

Because to use creativity just for short-term sales goals robs creativity of it’s true commercial value and power for brands, products, tools and services.

To be intriguing … enticing … interesting and inviting.

Because as the title of this post, stolen from my beloved Martin Weigel so perfectly states …

“You can be relevant as hell and still be boring as fuck.”

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It Only Took 8 Years …
March 6, 2023, 8:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Australia, Brand, Jill, My Fatherhood, Otis, Parents, Technology

A few weeks ago I went to pick up Jill and Otis from the airport.

They’d been in Australia to see ‘granny’ and had a lovely time.

Anyway, when I saw Otis, he immediately told me about an “amazing cool giant robot face” he’d seen in Sydney and showed me a photo he’d taken.

As soon as I saw it, I realised it was part of project I did with the founder of Gentle Monster.

Telling him this resulted in Good and Bad news.

Good: I’m now [Finally, if temporarily] cool.

Bad: He wants me to bring it home.

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