Creatives 2009: David Droga

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David Droga
David Droga
The creative people I admire seem to share many characteristics: A fierce restlessness. Healthy cynicism. A real world perspective. An ability to simplify. Restraint. Patience. A genuine balance of confidence and insecurity. And most importantly, humanity.

For reasons that only a therapist could determine, I have always been attracted to the biggest, most intimidating challenges that came my way. In fact, I have chased them around the globe. From Australia to Asia, then on to London and now the U.S. The greater the pressure and expectation, the more I relish the opportunity. And while there is certainly no finishing line in this business, I need to keep myself in check by imposing personal goals on myself. One of the main ones is living up to my own expectations, not somebody else's, as I think I am harder on myself than anyone else could be. I spent the last 15 years building other people's companies around the world and then running to the next opportunity. That's one of the reasons I opened my own agency—I cannot run away from myself.

After leaving the protective creative bubble of my previous jobs and going out on my own, I felt more exposed and excited than I had ever before. I am very proud of the work we have done as an agency in our first three years, but know we can always do better. In fact, I really want to be the best and to be constantly getting better.

While I don't like to see anyone lose their job, I am pleased the industry is being forced to change. We need to be smarter, leaner, better, more accountable, more original and more relevant. By and large, we became an industry that sold process and generic tools to clients, not ideas and solutions. I am genuinely optimistic we will all come out the other end better.

A lot of people think we shouldn't call what we do advertising anymore. For my own sanity and pride I need to call it advertising. The principal of what we do and why clients hire us is still the same. Technology has changed, consumer behavior has changed, but the fundamentals remain the same.

Leadership is a funny thing. A lot of people ask what it takes to move from being a creative to a leader: Take everyone's career personally. People will work hard for you if you work hard for them. Any idiot can be a boss; all you need is a title. But to be a leader you need to earn respect and have an opinion you stand by.

I think perhaps people would say that my biggest public failure was HoneyShed. Although to be honest, it is still one of the things I am the proudest of. Proud because we didn't sit on the sidelines and just talk about trying something. We actually tried. It was an incredibly ambitious idea, an idea that someone will do again and probably get right.

I am still trying to figure out how to stay fresh. We're an industry that spends so much time celebrating the past and not enough time contributing to the future. Every age group that comes into my radar reminds me to stay open minded. Even the self-absorbed Millennials.

Today's biggest challenge is reminding clients that they have more chance of surviving the current environment with us than without us. Genuine creativity is not a luxury but rather a necessity.

Without a doubt I think my strongest asset is my ability to keep things simple and compelling. I am fascinated by our ability to influence and generate momentum with our thinking. I strive everyday to do things that make a difference. When all is said and done, I trust my creative judgment. Not just is it creative but more importantly, is it right.

I'm bad at responding to emails in a timely fashion. And staying focused in boring meetings. Almost any meeting could be condensed down to 20 minutes.

The last thing I saw that made me think, I wish I'd done that was from an advertising campaign. I would say the entire Halo campaign from last year and an eBay idea I saw in a student's book the other the day.

I eat Vegemite for breakfast everyday. I am obsessed with Chinese contemporary art. I can actually make Peking duck ( No link to previous fact). I have a phobia about dark cold water. I could kick anyone's ass in Pinball.

If I were starting over again, I would want to develop video games.

I'm inspired by art, film, photography, literature, music, architecture and my family. Anything creative that can manipulate my emotions. And people who put social and environmental causes ahead of personal gain.
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