Ten Lessons From a New Small Agency

The Newbie Manifesto

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Ten things that helped me grow in my first year.
  1. Be as easy to work with as possible. One of the things that we heard this year from the advertising industry is that radio can be difficult to work with. The unspoken rule I have adopted is to be as flexible and easy to work with as possible. It can be a challenge at times, but it seems to make life much easier.

  2. Challenge the wisdom of the many. Summed up best by journalist Walter Lippmann: "When all think alike, no one thinks very much." Change comes from the profound courage to think on your own terms while impacting the industry overall.

  3. Be proud of home. Though a majority of my work happens around the country, I am fiercely loyal to Portland and the Pacific Northwest. Oregon shaped me personally and professionally, and I have a greater appreciation for it now that I'm a free agent. Plus, it doesn't hurt that some of the best work I have ever seen comes from W+K and Leopold Ketel in Portland and Wong Doody in Seattle. It's nice inspiration close to home.

  4. Honor the opportunity. Two of the greatest projects I have ever worked on were the 2007 RAB/CBS pop-up stations: WADV for Advertising Week and KANA for the ANA in Phoenix. I worked with some of the most talented and honest people I have ever met. I was also exposed to a vibrant, exciting side of the business thanks in large part to Katie Kempner at CP+B and the RAB. Opportunities like this don't happen every day and it's vital to be grateful for the chance.

  5. Talent is everywhere. I am always reminded that my industry can benefit from great minds and different perspectives. I also love the thrill of the hunt in finding and motivating talented people. (For those of you looking for a good soon-to-be-graduate, there's a kid named Justin Via from Creative Circus I'm happy to vouch for.)

  6. Stay true to what and who you are. As most of you can surmise, I really don't take myself too seriously. I take my work very seriously, but I am generally the chucklehead at the party. (Pete Madden is a close 2nd) It has served me well up to this point and I don't plan on changing anytime soon.

  7. Let 'er rip and let it breathe. I just finished a screenplay and am into the second one. I am working on some comedy shorts and some websites that may or not become tangible entertainment/businesses. I also like writing and composing music. Some may look at that as a waste of time. I prefer to call it the oxygen that keeps it all fresh.

  8. Don't be a weasel. You need everyone on the way up. You really need everyone on slide back down.

  9. Accept the past, but don't let it get in the way. Xhang Creative is deeply rooted in the simple messages my late mentor, Gordie Miller, taught me. I respect what I was told and use it as a catalyst for the present and future. I don't get overly nostalgic because if Gordie were alive today, he'd tell me to get my head out of my ass and get out there and do the best work possible.

  10. It really is all about the work. Mike Byrne from Anomaly made this point years ago. Linus Karlsson and Rob DeFlorio from Mother did the same. It's pretty simple, great work begets a rewarding and enjoyable ride on this crazy thing.
Happy Holidays and Happy 2008. Hope to see you out there sometime.
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