The Cannes Q&A: Jeff Goodby, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners

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True fact: Jeff Goodby once pitched a perfect game in the San Francisco ad softball league. Andy Berlin caught. Here, Goodby (left) talks over the secrets of the universe with Press/TV jury president Bob Scarpelli (center) and Lance Jensen, CCO at Modernista!
True fact: Jeff Goodby once pitched a perfect game in the San Francisco ad softball league. Andy Berlin caught. Here, Goodby (left) talks over the secrets of the universe with Press/TV jury president Bob Scarpelli (center) and Lance Jensen, CCO at Modernista!
The new business has been won—are things settling in to a cycle of work now?

JG: No; it's still horrifying. We're really reinventing the place to accommodate all this. I think the important thing is to keep the spirit of what made the place great in a large amount of people. People like these guys get what we're trying to do, they really run pieces of this place. I don't know how [ACD/art director] Goldblatt does it all. I play tennis with him; he doesn't ask me for a thing. I think that you have to have people that you trust to do it this way. We've been able to bring in people that we've been dying to get in this place. Every day we meet exciting people that in the past we would have said Make a note to hire that guy. Now we say Hire him immediately. We could remake the place.

But you also have to struggle to keep people, yes? Blood in the water for headhunting and recruiting sharks seems to be a theme this week.

You have to have a constant amount of good work for the people to do, and opportunity. One of the nice things is we don't have any shortage of that right now. We've doubled the billings; half the company is in a phase where everything's sweetness and light, the relationships are great with the clients, and the opportunities are there. It's given me a chance to meet people around the world that otherwise we haven't had a chance to meet. I'm getting to meet the best creative people in the world, and in many cases we're getting to hire them. We're going to go to 300-500 people. it's a pretty big jump in size. i don't know how to run a company that big, we're learning .

300-500? Did you think five years ago the agency would get that big?

You don't think that an opportunity like this is going to hit you in the head, It's so rare. Really, three wonderful clients came in at once, obviously Sprint and Hyundai, but Commonwealth Bank, a much bigger client than everybody knows, it's great, a really exciting account. It's a real honor that they came to America and are working with us. It's pretty cool. The other great thing about it was it was just a few meetings, it wasn't a pitch. I personally did the Sprint and Hyundai pitch, and those are as big as pitches get, big major league sized pitches.
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