I support freedom of choice





Creative Influence


Attend any award show and the majority of the recipient’s acceptance speech will focus on all of the people they want to thank for making their special moment possible. It sounds so banal and contrived. But it isn’t once you’ve seen how a fresh outside influence can dramatically change the course of the creative process, or product, in real time.


A few weeks ago I attended a concert at Massey Hall featuring Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. I went because I love Massey Hall and hoped that I’d like some of their music. “Well, it filled the hall” is about as effusive as I can be about the band’s first ½ hour.


Enter guest star, Tarra Lightfoot. A singer \ songwriter with a folk vibe that I wasn’t familiar with, but she has a great alto voice that complimented and rounded out their sound. 




Enter guest star Serena Ryder. Another singer \ songwriter. This one with a classic rock style. Her voice + style didn’t compliment the Rodeo Kings as much as it encouraged me to notice all of the different voices and instruments on stage.




Enter guest star Daniel Lanois. World renowned singer \ songwriter \ producer. He changed everything the moment he walked on the stage. 10 seconds in to their first collaboration and I was listening to Daniel Lanois and his back-up band; Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. The evening quickly went from a 5 / 10 to a 9 / 10, not because I knew all of Daniel Lanois’ music, but because of the broad range of experience that he brings to any stage.


Game changing.


A similar thing happened in the more progressive ad agencies that I worked for. 

Every few years they’d bring in a new creative director to “stir things up”. The first time I saw it happen I was young, ignorant and didn’t understand it. I thought the agency was messing with the status quo . . . which . . . it was. Along the way I learned that that’s what good ad agencies do and good brand stewards expect because it ensures the brand’s image reflects the times. 


Working with a pool of freelance strategists, copywriters, designers and media planners and buyers is a great way to bring fresh perspectives to a brand - ensuring the it remains relevant.


The greatest challenge you'll face: the gatekeepers in your shop who don’t like change.  



Does blogging have a positive ROI?

I’ve been blogging since 2008 – usually once a week. Sometimes less. My tracking data suggest that I have a small, loyal, unsolicited following. As such one could conclude that there's no direct, or obvious, ROI to this blog, and that it's a waste of time.

Q: so what’s the point if my blog is more like a personal diary than a published work?

A: practice, not popularity, makes the master.

On one of my dog-walking routes I pass by an old Chinese woman who does her Tai Chi routine alone and in silence every morning. No one greets her, interrupts her, or tells her that she’s doing great. She’s a study of meditation in motion. Incredibly graceful, focused and precise.

A master immersed in the moment.

I confuse many of the people I work with by appearing to have a good solid (creative) answer for every communications problem that they bring to me to sort out.

My guess is that they’ll know much more than I do now . . . if they stick with it for 35 more years.

Some will.

Most won't. 

Blogging is one of the mental exercises that I continue to use to hone my communication skills.

Because it forces me to think clearly and succinctly, it affects everything else that I do. 

Masters inspire others to become masters themselves.

To follow their hearts down a new, unknown path.




Laid off after working from home. Now what?


THEN . . . 

Long before the internet, computers, cell phones, (Motorola) mobile hand sets and pagers, sales organizations used weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual business meetings and (in-house) training sessions to help them instill a sense of loyalty in their field sales force. The meetings also helped all those not working in the head office to remain connected to their peers and to refresh their personal business network. Importantly, most of these people also spent a significant block of time working \ training with head-office managers before they were let loose in their “territory”. 

They knew the management team – and it knew them. 


TODAY . . .     

A recent study in the Economist suggests that the majority of people would quit their current job if they were “forced” to go back to the office “full time”. Given that most media are telling us that most organizations are looking for qualified staff, the employment prospects look pretty good for those who want to keep working remotely (F\T). Especially because working remotely allows them to earn big-city wages while working from a small-town home with zero clothing, lunch, parking or commuting expenses (car depreciation and insurance). 



Life in the small-town home you moved to a few years ago is great. Your work is challenging, the pay and benefits are great and the core hours are 9-5. There’s lots of time for family, friends and outside interests. While small town entertainment options and social attitudes are a pain sometimes, it’s nothing compared to how your friends describe the current big-city slog. 

Suddenly a major management change at head-office changes everything. The senior managers in charge of the business unit you work in, the business development and staff development teams don’t know you, don’t recall talking to, or zooming with you. Frankly they couldn’t pick you out of a crowded room if their lives depended on it. When they restructure, they decide that they no longer require your services.


Now what? The local warehouse jobs pay minimum wage – and you start at 6 a.m.


Your 500+ Linked In network is silent.

When you see an opening, it’s between 200 and 2,000 km. away, and your resume submission is number 150. 

"Thanks for your interest and your submission. We wish you all the best with your future endeavours. We’ll call you." 


Some of your friends were laid off too, but theose who had been going into the office either F\T or P\T have already landed elsewhere . . . often with management’s help. Looks like all of that commuting and in-management’s-face-time really does pay dividends. They have multiple leads for other interesting opportunities that they turned down, but they can’t really help you because their network doesn’t know you, your personality, style or work. They wish you all the best with your future endeavours. "Keep in touch!"


You’re on your own pal. 


This is the scenario that millions of short-sighted people who love working from home full time will experience in the next few years. Those who will do well in the future are the same people who did well before the COVID driven work-from home paradigm shift kicked in. Their priority is “Climbing the corporate (or economic) ladder better than their peers do” in order to achieve financial independence by a reasonable age. Let's say 55.


Their focus is not on “work-life balance”.


There’s no right or wrong here per-se; as long as you choose your path with your eyes wide open – fully aware of the repercussions


Enjoy your day and your journey.




McDonald's Free WiFi ad

Another wonderful example of simply great advertising. 





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