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Dan Wieden and The Imitation Game.

dbs81270:

For the creatives. A piece about what is true in our business and what is not.

Originally posted on Damon's Brain:

Sometimes the Universe helps you out. I was going to see Dan Wieden speak in Sydney. On the plane, I watched The Imitation Game. it is the story of Alan Turing and how he broke Enigma. It was seen as impossible to break.It had 150 000 000 000 000 possible combinations. Turing did it by building Christopher. A machine that today we would call a computer.

What was fascinating was how Turing, who was clearly a troubled genius was all about doing. The others at Bletchley Park were about talking or career or ego. They wanted to be seen to be doing things, instead of actually doing them. Turing didn’t care about talk and posturing. He succeeded because he had the ability but more importantly had the balls to try and do something impossible. He was not about the wrapping paper. He was all about the gift.

A couple of…

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Dan Wieden and The Imitation Game.

Sometimes the Universe helps you out. I was going to see Dan Wieden speak in Sydney. On the plane, I watched The Imitation Game. it is the story of Alan Turing and how he broke Enigma. It was seen as impossible to break.It had 150 000 000 000 000 possible combinations. Turing did it by building Christopher. A machine that today we would call a computer.

What was fascinating was how Turing, who was clearly a troubled genius was all about doing. The others at Bletchley Park were about talking or career or ego. They wanted to be seen to be doing things, instead of actually doing them. Turing didn’t care about talk and posturing. He succeeded because he had the ability but more importantly had the balls to try and do something impossible. He was not about the wrapping paper. He was all about the gift.

A couple of hours later I am in the presence of Dan Wieden. His speech is inspirational. It is about bravery and caring about creativity. He speaks about his love for chaos and not selling out. In fact, in his will he has inserted the clause that Wieden and Kennedy cannot be sold even when he dies. I would say that is walking the talk.

Great talks in advertising are not always about new ideas. Sometimes they are about the truth. A truth you may have forgotten or have been trying to forget. We all know what we should be doing. Dan Wieden simply reminded us of what that is. He has spent 30 years figuring it out so I would say he is worth listening to.

So far, so good. Then we have question time. And somebody asks what Wieden’s formula for success is. Formula? There were a few bullshit look at me corporate questions like that. Wieden’s answer was something along the lines of there is no fucking formula for chaos. Fantastic.

I suddenly had this strange merging of the film and the speech. In both, people want greatness to be easy. They want the 5 steps to success. They want to appear like they are doing something, when in reality they are not. I have often said our business wants the results of creativity without having to deal with creativity itself. They want it to be neat and tidy.

The problem with that is we are creating a business with very similar perspectives and opinions. We speak about innovation and taking risks constantly at millions of seminars. We talk about how important glitches in the Matrix are. But does advertising still want them? Is it just us bullshitting ourselves?

What I took out of that speech was Dan Wieden is a man who has been passionate about ideas for 30 years. He is comfortable with chaos and risk. He has experienced his fair share of failures and setbacks. Nevertheless, he has always been excited by things that have never been done. He does not have a formula. Because a formula would imply replication. And replication is not what a creative business is about. He also isn’t that interested in the packaging of creativity. He is interested in creativity. And most importantly he has an iron clad belief in the chaotic process of having ideas.

There’s that word again. Belief. It is a word you don’t hear in our industry very much anymore. Dan Wieden was on that stage because he believes in what he is doing. It is that simple. Belief is not a formula, a list or a whole lot of bullet points you put on posters around your agency.

Belief is something, however, that helps you take risks to do something that has not been done.

And there is no formula for that. Or, to put it in Mr Weiden’s own words.

Just Do It.

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The Wisdom of Insecurity.

dbs81270:

For the creatives. A piece about uncertainty and why it matters.

Originally posted on Damon's Brain:

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For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.

Vincent Van Gogh

The Wisdom of Insecurity is a book by Alan Watts I read when I was just starting out in advertising. The simple message is that certainty is an illusion and change is constant. So, becoming comfortable with change and not knowing can teach you many things. It shows you there is no end point or pattern. Which of course works really well in a business full of deadlines.

Being comfortable with uncertainty in an industry that demands certainty is a strange place for a creative to be.The truth is nobody really knows anything, absolutely. And even if they do, it isn’t necessarily interesting or inspiring.

Inspiration.There it is. The world’s most overused word. It is used constantly and there is so little of it.The stars make me dream. I…

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The red clogs Hamish made.

dbs81270:

For the creatives. A piece about a good friend who taught me something that will always stay with me.

Originally posted on Damon's Brain:

Twenty years ago I was seriously broke. I used to count coins to go to the corner store. I would walk in and begin the negotiation Tango with a very kind Portuguese mama who owned the store. She would smile when I told her I would pay her the rest next week. She knew I would never pay her back.

I lived in Yeoville in Johannesburg. It was a suburb full of hustlers with vague potential and no money. It was full of people like me.

People who were sure they were supposed to go and do something important. They just needed to borrow some bus fare to go and do it.

We all had nothing. It united us. We knew we would have to figure it out for ourselves.

This is where I met Hamish. Hamish might have been one of the few people in Yeoville who was more…

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