Expecting Entrepreneurs?


That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout. Via Edmittance. Usual rules apply.

I’ve got another confession to make. I got into advertising because I had it in my mind that, while it wasn’t going to be like Mad Men, it may well have been a bit more like the 80s. Not in the sense that I expected Ferraris and very long lunches, but more just in the potential out there.

The sort of work places I imagined were those people with big intellects, slightly addictive personalities and with ambition off the scales.

The sort of people who’d want to sell; to sell ideas, to sell new ways of thinking, to want to reach for the skies. Slight hyperbole, but that’s what I was after.

And, in truth, I find a lot of people who aren’t like this. A lot of people who like to do the job, however long it takes, and leave. Ideas are important, sure, but to be entrepreneurial? Nope.

It got me thinking – why are these people like this? Surely, the whole point about advertising is that really, it’s based on confidence. No amount of data will *wholly* prove a point, and it only tells you what’s gone before.

If we then have an environment where ideas and confidence are championed, why don’t we have more entrepreneurs? And more start ups?

Well, I can’t help but wonder if it’s got something to do with upbringing and education. I come from Generation Y, for my sins. We’re the most highly tested generation ever, a generation that is used to being able to publish whatever we like (as Russell and Lynette have said) and say what we want to say.

In short, we’ve never been this scrutinised. If we fuck up, we fuck up in public. We’re a generation acutely aware of our self image (who doesn’t have a friend or two who is militant about which photos of him/her go on Facebook, say?) that’s used to being tested and hitting targets.

I’d hypothesise that we’ve had a great deal of our creative thinking and ballsiness crushed out of us.

Advertising/comms used to be a place where you could rise through the post room. And to a great extent, it is still a meritocracy, assuming you can get in.

So we’re stifled, despite these tools in front of us. And it seems that a lot of places talk a lot, especially certain agencies which over rely on ‘social media’ tools; they’re are chock full of a lot of people who, in the words of James Brown, are ‘talkin’ loud and sayin’ nothing’.

Frankly, i’m sodding bored of that. Self referential (yes, i’m as guilty as anyone at this) bullshit which is obsessed with its own navel. Proclamations about ‘how we’re going to change the world’ – you know who you are – are found in those people who don’t do anything, just preach.

I want to create places where if someone has an idea which works well with a brand, they aren’t afraid to go and pitch it. We’re salesmen at the end of the day. We may be salesmen with more of a social conscience than the 1980’s, but we’re still in the business of making things happen, of bringing ideas to life.

So let’s start creating and stop fucking talking about it. Working in media, ‘social’ or otherwise, is in danger of powering hot air balloons and nothing more. I want more entrepreneurs in our business.

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