“You’re a writer!”

You're a writer!

The British don’t go in for the whole High School Reunion thing.

Sure, there may be the occasional get together here and there, but ritualized gatherings at five, ten, fifteen and twenty-year intervals? Not going to happen.

I was mulling over this fact recently and got to thinking: What would my former schoolmates say if they found out I made a living as a Creative Director and more to the point, as a writer and wordsmith?

Answer: They would say, “Ian David? A Writer? Are you freaking sh*$ng me!”

To be fair, I think the 16-year old me would have agreed.

Truth be told, I was a bit of a dunce back then. I lolled and gagged, drifted aimlessly between classes, and showed little or no interest in learning about anything. I was particularly useless and inattentive in the two subjects that with hindsight I really wished I’d pull my finger out in: English and French.

My only saving grace was that I was good at Art. Not great at Art. Just better than most of my peers – a top 3 sketcher and doodler in any given class from the age of 6.

Looking back it was a lifeline to something different, an opportunity to stagger towards some kind of vocation, and to my credit, I took it. Not actively or with full consciousness but with all the vagueness that you’d expect of a 16-year-old preoccupied with football, Deep Purple and this strange new phenomenon called girls.

At the time, I only knew what I didn’t want to do – I didn’t want to work in a factory, bank, or shop or anything frankly that reeked of sweat, dirt, and physical labor.

And when the results of my exams came in I knew another thing: I had to improve my grades. 

College required 5 Ordinary Level Grades and 1 Advanced Level Grade. I had one O Level. And that was it. I had two years to get an A-Level in Art and find 4 more O Levels from somewhere.

So it was that I took an elective English class filled to the brim with reformed dullards like me.  Benefiting from the fact that everyone in the class was there for a reason and actually wanted to learn, the kindly teacher introduced myself and the class to “To Kill A Mockingbird”

It was a watershed moment. Light bulbs went on, clouds parted, vistas appeared. Suddenly I got this whole reading thing. Really got it. The second book she plonked in front of us was “Catcher In The Rye.” I was off.

This would be the conversation I would have if my school ever had a reunion.

It never will, of course.

But on the slim chance that any of my old classmates from Greenford High School follow my blog and are reading this, my name is Ian David and I’m a Creative Director, Writer, and Blogger. 

I love what I do and people seem to think I’m okay at it.

I know it sounds crazy but it’s true.

The Office

O'Henry's 2

This is my office.

Well, it’s one of them.

I have several stashed all over the country.

New York, Chicago, Austin, Denver, San Francisco, wherever I lay my creative hat I’ve got a coffee house to call home.

Because that’s the great thing about being a creative partner in a virtual agency: you can work anywhere and the coffee is WAAAAY better.

No more agency Keurig pods of dubious pedigree.

Just a double shot cappuccino, fresh roasted from Columbia’s finest in a spot where the vibe is always good and the ambiance invariably conducive to creativity.

These are attributes of a typical morning at the office.

They also constitute the only overhead to running a 40+ network of professional advertising talent.

From the bean infused environs chronicled above, I can write, create, oversee, strategize, pull together the teams, review work, produce, direct and generally run the whole shebang from a single soft backed chair.

It works and it works well.

Moreover, it seems to me that this decentralized creative set up thingy is increasingly becoming the model-de-jour.

The ongoing quest for better and smarter work, more provocative strategic thinking, and greater freedom to pick and choose partners is leading brands to increasingly ditch the traditional agency in favor of a more diverse and flexible pool of creative talent.

Ford recently announced it was ending its 75-year-old, $4bn relationship with WPP,  the latest major client to feel the need to walk away from the horizontal, monolithic “team” agency approach. https://bit.ly/2OjBxYz

Bad news for dinosaurs, good news for nimble networks like mine and many others. 

As the CD of a fluid entity founded on the principles of straight-talking strategy and no-holds-barred creative this should afford us opportunities.

In agency days of yore, I’d beat a path to the bean house when I absolutely, totally and emphatically needed “20 minutes to get some shit done!”

Now I get 8 hours to do it

With a break for coffee, of course.