The Boy in the Bubble..
No, not the Paul Simon song. Though that is a corker. Today’s diatribe is more concerned with the nature of my working environment.
It is very very easy for people who work in this business to live in a dream world. We work, let’s face it, in a niche environment, populated by people who deal in business building ideas.
Even after little over a year and a half in this environment, I remain amazed at who knows who. And, being honest, it’s very easy to get into a pattern of gossiping, or speculating about things. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t have much of a problem of the ‘garden fence’ type of discussions that go on – it’s what the entire industry, to an extent, is founded upon.
I do worry about blogging to some extent, that the tendancy is to reject what has made this industry great – to slag off big agencies without much knowledge of what goes on within them, for example. And too much navel gazing isn’t good for the soul, I’m finding – goodness knows, I tend to find myself self-referencing every now and again, which is pretty odd, let me tell you.
This, if left unchecked, would result in me never actually DOING work (one of the primary concerns about blogging, which is a fair point), and using borrowed opinions to make a career, which really isn’t on (what is blogging if not the misappropriation of a mish-mash of influences/blogposts/thoughts?).
Breaking out of this self-imposed bubble is oh so important, whether it’s a blogging bubble, or industry related, or over-focus on a particular brand. Though I’ve not read the Perfect Pitch, it is, I believe, partly what Jon Steel infers when he talks about disliking Blackberrys and so forth, as they chain you to a rigid way of thinking.
And it is particularly necessary within the creative industries. A too focused approach on rigid ‘accountability’ means people can’t do their jobs properly (obviously, a degree is necessary, otherwise we’d end up navel gazing again), and don’t work to the best of their abilities. Additionally, I’ve always distrusted the requirement to ‘say the right things’ in graduate interviews, for example. Load of cobblers. That won’t find the innovators, the people who change how the business works, who’ll lead by example.
It also encourages agencies to not hire those people who spend their time doing things; moreover, people who can think, but not do. To use an analogy – I can read you chapter and verse about certain historical periods if I’ve revised them, but could I live the life of a historian? Hell no.
Now, I’m very culpable of not doing enough (especially during this bout of freelance, when I’ve had a bit more time), but I’d like to hope that’s changing, because too much thinking, like too much doing, isn’t necessarily useful. And I’d like to see the business recognising that it needs thinkers and doers (because there will be always people who trend towards one side or the other) from outside the bubble.
If you get trapped in it, you start thinking brand onions and pretesting is the be all and end all of a successful piece of your employment. God help us all if that happens.