At a marketing event in Phoenix, a few people mentioned to me they sleep with their phone. They hug it at night, like my daughter hugs her “blankie”, check messages throughout the night. Shouldn’t come as a surprise when 11% of those under 25 and 6% over 25 would check emails and social networks during sex, according to this report.
Now, I know times are tough. And everybody is a bit paranoid about losing their job or not being a top performer. But I don’t know anyone who wants to work for a boss who expects an answer to an email at 3am. And I don’t want to hear from my employees at 3am. I want them to sleep and get rest.
Are we becoming voluntary slaves to technology? Metropolis 2.0 with us staring at screens hoping for the email/Facebook/Twitter drug to give us the next kick? Is this the future of just a miserable existence?
Maybe you can find 10 minutes to watch above video. Nigel Marsh talks about work life balance and makes 4 good points. Things have gotten a bit out of control (I include myself here) and it’s time for us take control of our lives again. On their deathbed, no one ever said they wish they had hugged their smartphone more. Hug your loved ones instead. They really need it.
My presentation at the iMedia Agency Summit at the beautiful Arizona Biltmore focused on the changing agency landscape and how everyone of us has to adapt and change to succeed in the future.
Jodi Harris wrote a comprehensive overview of the presentation and embedded slideshow should give you a better feel for the emotion that I wanted to convey.
A last thought:
Change is hard. Whole industries are relying on this insight: Weight Watchers, Nicorette, just to name two companies. We say we want to be fit, don’t go to the gym and watch that reality show instead. We want to learn everything there is but we never read that important book your best friend recommended.
Seth Godin calls this the lizard brain, some others the resistance, I call it the negative voice in your head. That voice tells you to be careful, to take it slow, to compromise. It tells you to focus on the easy things first, do the Twitter update, the Facebook interaction, another spreadsheet, another memo before you create something real valuable. The voice in your head is responsible for lengthy meetings, mediocre products, the constant rationalization of everything your company and you yourself produces.
This voice never goes away. It might be a combination of your parents, teachers, friends, books you read and other media you consumed. Your job is to quiet that voice down. And focus on the things you really believe in. It’s a daily effort. Because the voice wants to be heard. But it’s your choice to listen to it and stay in the comfort zone. Or tune it out and change the world.
Below a list of books I mentioned in my presentation (no affiliate links):
Everyone attending this week’s Breakthrough Summit heard Ray Kurzweil speak and admires his intellect. Now, do me a favor: Don’t imagine Ray Kurzweil in a bikini. Don’t think about the red-green floral pattern of his bathing suit. Don’t think about the black flip-flops with plastic flowers on top that fit his feet perfectly.
Oh boy, you really had to imagine it, did you? You couldn’t stay away from it.
When smokers don’t want to think about cigarettes, they think more about them. My point: The more you try not to think about a challenge, the more it occupies your mind.
That’s how I felt about the advertising industry in the last few years: Let’s pretend 0.1%CTR is okay (forgetting that 99.9 basically showed us the middle finger). Let’s pretend mass communication still works, we just need to add a layer of BT and top it with consumer segmentation. Let’s pretend the media world is not breaking apart amidst a consumer and technology revolution. Let’s pretend a beautiful Facebook page and a witty Twitter feed will fix everything, checks the social box off and keeps the consumer in check.
By pretending everything was okay or will be okay at one point, brands and agencies stressed out, blaming each other, trying to sneak advertising in new and innovative ways on consumer’s screens just to be rebuffed again and again. The future of the advertising looked very dim to me, since nobody wanted to admit that we need to change the paradigm of advertising or we’ll be doomed.
Until this week. Until I had numerous conversations with brand marketers and agency folks about the new marketing reality. Finally, the majority of us was open to admit that we have a problem. That the revenue models of yesterday will be the bankruptcy filings of tomorrow. That the business models of yesterday will be the graveyards of failed businesses tomorrow. That change is our only hope for the future.
And I felt an emotional swing from fear to resolve: Let’s change the paradigm. Let’s change this industry. Let’s change how we can converse with people. Make everybody a stakeholder of our brand.
Fear of change has ruled this industry for too long and led to incremental changes. That’s not good enough anymore. As Peter Horan said yesterday: “You can’t research the future, you have to be willing to jump into the dark.”
It’s not that dark anymore, I finally saw some light.