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


Was He A Genius Or A Joker …
September 21, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Apple, Attitude & Aptitude, Authenticity

A lot has been written about Steve Jobs.

Hell, I’ve done a lot of it myself … however generally, everything said about the man is always about his genius.

That makes sense, because he was one, but rarely do you hear the human side of Jobs.

Sure, there’s his university speeches and occasionally his corporate ones, but there’s not often anything that reveals a sense of humour.

Now I’ve been told there were occasions where he definitely had one, but all I ever found ‘on record’ was his view on working with the designer, Paul Rand – and that’s more respectful dig than laugh out loud.

And then someone sent me a letter he wrote in the early days of Apple.

A letter that reveals his real sense of humour.

Smart. Dry. Slightly self-depreciating. Self aware.

Or at least I hope it is, because the alternative isn’t funny but terrifying.

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Peak Planner Cat Lady Who Is A Bloke …

As you know, I love my cat Rosie.

I have written A LOT about her over the years.

Like this.

And this.

Or this.

And this.

To name but a very, very few.

But recently, I got the opportunity to give a presentation about her to senior members of our clients.

Better yet, it was about what they could learn from her.

Yep … an entire presentation about my cats superior brand building capabilities.

Of course it went down well …

By ‘well’, I mean they didn’t report me to my bosses or the Police.

Which is why I am of the opinion I’ve achieved all there is to achieve and can now bask in the glow of having just achieved the top level of the classic planner game ‘things you can learn about brands from _________’.

And I can tell you, that is better than winning any Cannes, Effies or WARC Grand Prix.

Oh, have to go, there’s a knock on the door and I can Doctors and Nurses outside holding a jacket that has no arms in just my size …

Have a great day.

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A Great Big Cup Of Shite …
September 19, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: Colenso, Colleagues, Culture, Jill, Management, Otis

A few weeks ago, Otis told me I was wasting my money.

I asked him if he meant the breakfast I’d just bought him but he said it was everything I spent my money on.

I don’t know what brought on that exclamation – and he was laughing as he said it – but I looked him dead in the eye and told him I was much better than I used to be.

And I am.

Oh my god, the shit I’ve spent my cash on.

From remote control balls and robot dogs – lots of robot dogs – through to … well, stuff that cost a lot more than either of those gadget stupidity.

Even Jill told Otis I was much better, which I consider one of my life’s true achievements.

And that would be the end of the story had my colleague not had the shittest weekend ever recently.

Without going into too much detail, they discovered their toilet plumbing had decided to impersonate a fountain underneath their entire house.

A fountain of shit.

It was so disgusting and deplorable that even the professional shit specialist plumber announced, “For fuck’s sake mate” when he saw the photos sent to him.

I don’t mind admitting that I found this hilarious.

Please don’t mistake my laughter for revenge – I really, really like this colleague – but it was so horrific, that you had to laugh.

And laugh I did … everytime I told someone about it.

My family.

My friends.

They even walked in on me telling a client who had just flown in from Australia.

But I appreciate that while I found it funny … for them, it was no laughing matter.

Which is why I decided to make it up to them by buying them a present.

This …

Yep, they’re very own ‘shit cup’.

Not – as Jill first thought – a cup made from the shit in my colleagues garden [what sort of psychopath does she think I am] but a cup featuring photos of the shit in his garden.

Which is far more hygienic and thoughtful.

But as horrified as my colleague is, I’ve given them an even better gift.

Because the next time they see Otis, they can show him their present and tell him:

“Hey Otis, you’re right. Your Daddy does spends his money on shit. Literally.”

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Happy Birthday Dad …
September 16, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Dad, Daddyhood, Family, Love, Mum, Mum & Dad, My Fatherhood

Tomorrow would be my Dad’s 84th birthday.

That means he’s been gone 24 years, approaching half my life.

How is that possible?

But of course it is … demonstrated by the fact that I’ve been using the same photos of him on birthday posts for entire time this blog has been going.

Which is over 16 years.

They’re the things that reinforce the time he has been gone.

And yet he’s still here.

Maybe not as much as he was in the past, but where it matters.

Mum and Dad … this seminal duo in my life.

There for the big things in the first and second chapters of my life.

The good and the bad.

Of course I’d love them to still be here.

As I’ve written many times, the fact I have not been able to talk to my Dad about the life I’ve found myself living is one of the great sad parts of my life.

He’d have been thrilled.

And full of questions.

Which I would have absolutely loved to have answered for him.

I sometimes try to think of all the things he would have asked.

Some would be obvious, but his brain was so wonderful he would have thrown out some very unique questions. Questions that would make me think as much as he would be considering the answer.

Wanting to understand.

Wanting to connect.

Wanting to grow because of it.

That’s the kind of man he was. He deserved so much more than he ended up getting … but what he offered as a father was unsurpassed.

Even with the bits that used to drive me nuts.

Like the love of his sweet pea flowers, which were treated like new born children.

I still remember the time I ran in the house from the garden and trampled on them – as he’d left them in boxes by the windows to care for.

That was NOT a good conversation … hahahaha.

But I never doubted his love for me – and hopefully he felt the same – which for a parent, must be one of the greatest accolades a kid can give.

Hopefully Otis will think that about his old man.

Because I definitely think that about his grandpa.

Happy birthday Dad. Give Mum a big kiss from me.

Rx

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If You Want Sustainable Success, Don’t Hold On Too Tightly …

Brands love to say they know their customers.

They love to go on about the research they do to ‘get’ the needs of the people who use them.

And some genuinely do. Looking to understand how people live not just how they use, choose or buy their brand or a competitive product.

But sadly this group seem far more in the minority these days … with the preference being to outsource research needs to a ‘for profit’ external partner, who are asked to provide answers to drive immediate sales rather than to build long-term understanding.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive fan of research, but I’m reading far too much that seems to be about telling the client what they want to hear rather than what they need to understand.

To be fair, that is also true of agencies as well, and so much of that is because a lot of companies have already decided what they want to do and say and they expect everyone else to fall in line with it. And I get it, in a quest to streamline process and maximise productivity, that makes perfect sense.

Except it doesn’t.

Because as George used to say ALL THE TIME, it’s like going to the doctor and prescribing your own medicine. And as much as people/brands may think they know what’s wrong, that doesn’t mean they know how to fix it …

Agencies and research companies should be paid for their independent thinking and approach to solving problems NOT paid to execute what someone else wants the solution to be. The great tragedy of brand communication these days is that somehow, independent thinking has been labelled as dangerous when the real danger is when there isn’t any.

When solutions are decided by financial hierarchy rather than expertise – and by expertise, I mean that in terms of what an organisation is actually an expert on, rather than what they think they are – you tend to end up with a pile of shit that then ignites a game of blame storming.

Here’s a perfect example of it …

Now I appreciate printer, photocopier, fax [?!!!] sales must be very difficult.

I get companies may only give them a second thought when they go wrong or run out of ink.

But … but … who the fuck approved this shit?

I mean, it’s bad enough they say they know what we need – which makes them sound like some sleazy office colleague – but then they come out with this gem of bollocks.

“Like twins who understand each other completely”.

What??? WHAT???

Apart from the fact it’s utterly, utterly pants. if they really had a telepathic understanding of ‘what we need’, surely they wouldn’t have to pay to have this shit printed in a magazine and they’d just turn up at their customers office with the requirements of their machine – even before their customer knew they needed it.

But that’s not the case because they don’t know their customers, they don’t know what they need and they sure as shit don’t know how to communicate to them.

I get people think communication and creativity is easy.

I get people think they know their customers better than anyone else.

I get they want everything to be as efficient as is physically possible.

But if anything should tell them what they think and what is true are very different, it’s rubbish ads like this. And while I appreciate this is especially bad, there’s a whole lot more expensive versions of this wherever you look.

Great creativity and research is born from independent thinking.

A desire to create value by giving you what you need not what you want.

Which is why companies who place greater value on what they can make their agency partners do – including how they do the job, how many people can do involved in job and how long they’re allowed to do if for – the more complicit they are when things are less effective than they could be.

I’m not saying agencies and research companies are perfect.

And they sure-as-hell aren’t all the same standard and quality.

But they’re much better when they can give you truth and possibilities than blind complicity.

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