Monday, November 17, 2008

A good idea.

I will be the first to admit that there have been times in the past few weeks when I was hesitant about Chicago. As I sorted through all the details that moving threw in my direction, I found myself stopping every step of the way to ask: is this a good idea? My family, my friends, even my former coworkers reassured me that yes, of course this was a good idea! How could I not think this was a good idea? And, I didn't know!

It occurred to me today that perhaps I had been asking the wrong question. While Chicago and a big fancy agency job seemed exciting and glamorous and attainable and real, I am not exactly known for my spontaneity. Good idea or not, I think what I really wanted to know, was: is this going to work?

In the first minutes of the 6-hour train-a-thon that made the up majority of my first day at my new post, Howard Draft, Jonathan Harries, and Laurence Boschetto were delivered in glittering high-def to welcome new hires to the business they had built. After a simple and powerful (who better than admen to deliver simple and powerful, eh?) introduction to their philosophy, the three men faded out as the following words flashed across the screen, searing themselves into the back of my brain.

There is no such thing as a good idea that didn't work.

The quote illustrates an interdependent relationship between good ideas and things that work; I saw it as stemming from good ideas. At which point I realized: holy shit, yes, this was a good idea, and as such, it was going to work.

Technically, that brief orientation clip was just a little agency branding. But, I love branding, and therefore, I am inspired.

Here are some work- and life-related reasons that this is going to work:

1. I love this city. It is beautiful, it is fun, there are a million things to do, and there are a million people here who I would love to do those things with. Not being a loner in a place I can fall in love with is a good idea.

2. I love advertising, and from what I got out of today, these Draftfcb people do too. From the wheel model to Return on Ideas to Insight to Incite, I was more or less sold on everything they had to say, and I am thrilled to be part of it. Sharing a passion with some really smart people; so far, it smells like a good idea.

3. I met not one, not two, but three people today who informed me that they were gluten-intolerant. Two of which were on my planning team. Seriously?? Awesome. Dietary buddies = good idea.

4. In my orientation packet was a notice encouraging team members to use their voices, and stretch their interactive wings, via blogging. Weird. What a good idea!

5. My friend Josh from college is on my team. Instant friend on the 13th floor, who immediately sent me the link to the cafeteria menu. Thanks, Josh. Making a new (old) friend on the first day, really a very good idea.

6. I actually really enjoyed the walk home. A good opportunity to reflect on the day, and check out the lights on Michigan avenue. A little time alone in my head is always a good idea.

Good ideas, all.

There is no such thing as a good idea that didn't work. This new life was definitely a good idea. And I will make it work.


  1. Communism is a good idea that didn't work.

    The Apple Newton was a good idea that failed, miserably.


    Advertising is a penalty for mediocrity.

  2. Thank you, sir Clay. I knew I could count on you for a little literalism and rain on my Chicago parade. ;)

    Was quoting not so much as fact, but more as a little pick-me-up that made me feel better about everything happening around me right now.

    But yes, fine, there are good ideas that did not play out. Like, such as - the Colonel Caper. Snap!