How does that affect the creative? The clients? The culture?
My friend Brian (AD at the Martin Agency and author of stackingchairs.com) has a pretty cool project going on. (It's where I stole the quote for the last post.) Send pictures of your agency's walls to him at firstname.lastname@example.org to contribute.
He's got a few cool ones from W+K, Crispin and Creature up already.
When I walk into an agency and don't see any work on the walls, I suspect it's because their work is mediocre, and they're not really that proud of it. (And often, I'm right.) But this bit forwarded by stackingchairs is worth noting.
Although it’s not uncommon for agencies to have framed ads decorating their hallways and lobbies, we don’t have any. The reason is simple: by the time we got around to framing an ad, we would already have newer ads, and since you’re only as good as the most recent thing you’ve done, the framed ad would not represent our “best” work. And so, according to the law of infinite regression, our best work would, by definition, be impossible to display. If you want to see good work, don’t look in the hallway, look on your desk. Hopefully you’ll see some there. If not, look on a desk near you.
-From the Employee Handbook of Crispin Porter + Bogusky
Because there's a lot of upward pressure in our industry (or maybe it just has more to do with the American psyche) the perception is often that there is one path:
JR CW/AD >> CW/AD >> ACD >> CD >> GCD >> ECD >> CCO >> PRESIDENT >> JR DEITY >> DEITY
The truth, however, is that a CD job isn't a good fit for everyone, either because of skills or choice. A lot of creatives would prefer to stick to what they love--actually creating the ads--and avoid the meetings, politics and other B.S. that come with a management position. There's nothing wrong with this. Your boss won't see it as lack of ambition (or at least shouldn't).
The key for you is to figure out what your goals are and to let your boss know about them. Sometimes there are official channels for this, like annual evaluations. If not, find a good time to have a meeting. Let them know what your goals are and ask them what you need to do to get there. What do you need to work on and improve? And if it's not your goal to be promoted to the next level, cool. You just need to know where you want to be in a few years, because if your boss asks you, the worst answer you can give is "I don't know."
Hugh Mcleod drew this. It appears in Seth Godin's book The Dip. And it's very true.
Creative advertising really is a meritocracy. If you have the best ideas, you get recognized. And the more you're recognized, the more control you have over where you work, with whom, and on what accounts. That's not to say you get a blank check, and can call your clients idiots. But being in demand gives you a little more control over your destiny.
“He works fast.”
It had never occurred to me that working fast would be something to shoot for.
But think about it.
How often do you stare at your screen waiting for inspiration to arrive?
How long to you stare at your blank notepad, waiting for something to happen?
How many times have you idly surfed the web because the deadline was a couple weeks away?
My guess is Ryan doesn’t do any of those things. My guess is Ryan works fast because he works.
So get to work. Fast.