A reality check

Images Living in NYC, in many ways, is out of touch with what is happening in the rest of the universe.  Restaurants are generally full, even hopping but again many people in NYC don't cook.  They don't need to cook and they don't need to drive.  NYC is a public place, a public community.  Where other places around our country, people live in their homes, get in their cars and go to where they need to with seeing only a few people or without seeing anybody.  In NYC, people want to get out of their small living spaces, be out in public and take it all in.  A different way to living, one I love, but again, tends to be a little out of touch with what is happening around the country or the world.

I have been thinking, as many of us have, about the state of the union.  Not so much of how we got here but how do we get out and how do make changes in the businesses that make this country tick.  I drill down to how do we change the education system.  Everyone has different interests, different ways that they process information.  How can we figure out earlier on different avenues for students to take.  How do we create life long thinkers vs rote memorization?  How do we teach leadership?

Today, at lunch, I sat next to a couple and over heard their conversation which made me think about this post.  She was telling him what she saw herself doing over time.  She wanted to start a small boutique ad agency and that was her dream.  She was probably in her mid-20's.  All I could think about is how old school her thinking was but how it was nice to hear her dream big too.  Advertising agencies might be a thing of the past as branding is taking on a completely different form.  Agencies are getting killed, production companies that have fed agencies their talent and ideas are making ways into ad companies territories as the entire industry is going under a transformation.  The industry is shrinking daily.

So, as the day progressed, I kept thinking about what this woman said.  Perhaps living in NYC she was out of touch with the realities of her business, which I would guess to be advertising or she is just out of touch with where the world is going.   I wanted her to tell her lunch companion how she wanted to start a new boutique advertising agency that was going to break all the rules because this was how agencies were going to look in 10 years.  But, she didn't.  She was thinking old school and she is not that old.

My brother went to a conference last week, with all the players in the Advertising arena and even the leaders were screaming gloom and doom.  Nobody was talking about how can we transform this industry.  How can we be leaders.  Let's throw a few ideas on the wall and see what sticks.  No, they were just hoping that they could continue to do the same thing as they have done over past decades and hope for a different outcome instead of the one they are in.  Not happening.  Depressing.

I guess I am going back to how do we move this country forward in to new businesses, new ideas and new revenue generated opportunities that infuse our economy with cash.  How do we teach our kids to be the thought leaders of tomorrow?  How do we teach our kids that if an industry is dying, how to think creatively about making changes?  Can that be taught or is it just innate?

I don't know the answer, all I know that after hearing the young woman dream the same thing that somebody else dreamed about 25 years ago knowing that everything has changed and the people with the new ideas are going to be the ones to transform industries, not the ones who just continue down the same path, kind of depressed me. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. Name

    One positive…25 years ago how many young WOMEN were dreaming about starting their own ad firms?

    1. Gotham Gal

      Fair enough.

  2. Sandira

    There are many ways to break the rules, and it’s not always about coming up with NEW processes or NEW thinking. Her dream may not sound unique to you or revolutionary, but she – as a unique person with her unique take on the world – may bring a unique perspective. A great agency is not just about cool and new this and new that but is a lot about reliable people committed to providing their clients with the best collaborating experience and value.Most often companies that are “getting killed” are the ones (in which partners killed each others first and/or) who forgot their purpose and who they’re doing it for, focusing too much on the what and the push of matter vs. adapting to what the market wants. Think about Nokia going from toilet paper and rain boots manifacturer to holistic provider of mobile experience.Also, to resonate on the restaurant observation, why do we as a customer pick this restaurant over another one? Most important, why do we go back?Or, why do people buy old school, vintage clothes?Often time, we – especially in the media/tech industry – tend to obsess with the latest, newest tech or buzz word, when in fact successful things or transactions are rarely ‘new school’. No reason to be jadded though ;)Maybe that woman via her boutique agency will be able to provide that missing piece for her clients in a way that no other agency can… For every client, there’s an agency out there… ;)”To you I am nothing morethan a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes.But if you tame me, then we shall need each other.To me, you will be unique in all the world.To you, I shall be unique in all the world. . .”The Little Prince, Saint Exupery