“There’s always too much to do in advertising. If you’re willing to do anything that somebody asks, you’re going to wind up getting opportunities. And if you don’t mess up, they’ll give you more.” – Alex Bogusky
1. Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. (from Wired) 2. That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains. (from BusinessWeek) 3. When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. (from Newsweek) 4. Innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea. (from BusinessWeek) Props to Fuel Lines for compiling the full list.
I think the interviews coming out of Cannes are just as interesting as the winners. They might be more important, too.
Here’s an interview with Ali Ali, the CD at Elephant Cairo. You’ve probably seen his “Never Say No to Panda” work.
He’s got some interesting things to say on talent. Granted, it’s an Egyptian view. Not everything he says will translate to job markets in Chicago or New York or LA. Or will it? Here’s one of his more interesting quotes:
“Agencies need to downsize…You can’t have a creative department of 40 people. I think that immediately means that 30 of them are not good.”
This quote is from Mike Cooley, guitarist in one of my favorite bands, Drive-By Truckers. It originally appeared in an interview with the Toronto Sunhere.
How does the band function? As a democracy or with you and Patterson calling the shots?
There’s not a lot of effort to it. We’re all on the same page naturally. Most everybody’s genuinely happy with what we’re doing. And we’re all mature enough to just roll with it and not inject our egos into the decision-making process unless it really does matter. I’ve found the quickest way to screw something up is to be too hands-on. There are people in this business who are complete control freaks, who can’t stand for anything to go on without their presence and seal of approval. But I’ve never seen any evidence that being that way produces better results. Ever. In anything.
Conan O’Brien has some great tips on creativity in this article from Fast Company. Worth reading in its entirety, but here are some of the highlights:
“Rehearsal is really key, because rehearsal is where everything is put up… I can look at some things on paper and say it’s going to be great. But you see it on its feet and you just know it’s not there. … That’s the thing I can’t stress enough.”
“I’m very open to when things don’t work. That becomes the fun.”
“One of the qualities people like about what we’re doing is that it can feel very loose. That’s the biggest comment I get from everybody on this new show: You look like you’ve having so much fun. And the truth is you can’t fake it.”
“I do sympathize with how the batting average for writing good material is really tough, so at the very least I’m trying to create an atmosphere where failure is inevitable.”