The obligatory year end post

Ah, the year end post. Predictions. Retrospectives. Blabbity-blah-blah. Yes, I learned a lot this year. I made mistakes this year. But I also grew this year. This year ended a decade at a company that I loved and introduced me to a new company that I’m falling in love with. This year I found Austin. And a new bride. (Swoon.) Okay, okay, I’ll stick to the business stuff.

I think being ingrained in a boutique specialty company for a decade and then joining a international firm has been, well, eye-opening, to say the least. I used to despise the big agencies, thinking that they were stuck in the stone age and moved about as fast as the Titanic. I thought they were evil and filled with mediocre people cranking out mediocre work.

But I was wrong.

What I learned this year is that there are some companies and some projects that are better suited for small agencies. But I also learned that there are some things that a big agency can do that a small one just isn’t equipped for. (And that also goes the other way.) Yes, the atmosphere is different in each. But that doesn’t mean that big agencies can’t have a soul. It doesn’t mean that housing more specialties under one roof dilutes creative thinking. And, in fact, it is quite powerful as disciplines are able to learn from one another and feed off one another. Complacency equals certain failure in all of the agency worlds, but especially in the big agency realm, because we have to fight the preconceived notion that we are big and therefore we are slow.

The big agency world is changing – rapidly. And I’m honored to be a part of a team that is focused, professional, smart as Hell and yes – even likes to have fun.

This is my number one business takeaway for the year: Your company is what you make it – no matter how big it is or how small it is, you can ignite change within it. Help shape culture. Rally teammates. Learn from the giant brains around you in a hugely humbling way. (Seriously, these interns scare the crap outta me with their amazing ideas.) Small is the new big and big is the new small. And no matter what, one size does not fit all.

So go on with your social media predictions. I really could care less. As brother Covey said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” And the main thing for me is people. Not technology. Building great companies starts with the people – not only the people that you work with as an agency, but the people whose lives you get to touch outside of it, whether its client employee or client customer. It starts with people.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

2 Comments

  • December 31, 2010

    tracy

    Okay. I hesitate to write this, because, well, that will
    become evident. If I take this post (which I LOVE) and rewrite to
    reflect my work / my employer, it goes something like this (begging
    you in advance for forgiveness): But that doesn’t mean that
    government can’t have a soul. It doesn’t mean that housing more
    specialties under one roof dilutes creative thinking. And, in fact,
    it is quite powerful as disciplines are able to learn from one
    another and feed off one another. Complacency equals certain
    failure in all of the government agencies, but especially in the
    really big government realm, because we have to fight the
    preconceived notion that we are big and therefore we are slow. So,
    you see, it seems like we have suffered from the same perceptions
    and erroneous assumptions. And I like that you say this stuff and
    own it, too. This post makes me feel better about what I do and who
    I work for and how I get it done. It makes me feel better about
    2011. Thanks for that!

  • December 31, 2010

    Don Bartholomew

    Great post, Spike. Fully agree with you on people. I once
    worked for a guy who really struggled with the (bad) question of
    which is more important, clients or people. He finally had the
    epiphany that people was the right answer. Great people do great
    things. Great people attract great clients. Great people do amazing
    work for their clients. We’re fortunate to have you on our side.
    Here’s to great things in 2011. Stay snarky my friend, Don B
    @Donbart p.s. The interns scare me too! So young, so
    talented.

Leave a Reply