Built on product vs people

Someone wise once told me that you either build your future based on the work you do, or by knowing the right people.

In a previous life in a different agency, there was a person there who knew everyone.

They were in a very senior role and literally seemed to know everyone. If there was a problem, they knew the person who would fix it.

They were earning silly money and was always knew the latest thing to hit the market.

The problem was, that the people they knew were the people that also wanted to just know everyone.

And one by one, they started disappearing from the market place, taking away this person’s base.

Eventually they moved away from media, because there was nothing left.

However the people that build based on work are leading people, departments and businesses.

You can’t do work without people, but you can’t build a future on relationships alone.


David & Goliath by Malcom Gladwell


“When the income of parents gets high enough, then parenting starts to become harder again.”

“Wealth contains the seeds of its own destruction”

“In other words, if you are a student – particularly a poor student – what you need is to have people around you asking the same questions, wrestling with the same issues, and worrying about the same things you are, so you feel a little less isolated and a little more normal.”

“But the better answer is that Hotchkiss has simply fallen into the trap that wealthy people and wealthy institutions and wealthy countries – all Goliaths – too often fall into: the school assumes that the kind of things wealth can buy always translate into real world advantages.”

“The inverted U-curve reminds us that there is a point in which money and resource stop making our lives better and start making them worse.”

“The best students from mediocre schools were always a better bet than the good students from the very best schools.”

“Psychologist measure personality through what is called the Five Factor Model, or “Big Five” inventory, which assesses who we are across the following dimensions:

  • Neuroticism – sensetive/nervous versus secure/confident
  • Extraversion – energetic versus solitary/reserved
  • Openness – inventive/curious versus consistent/cautious
  • Conscientiousness – orderly/industrious versus easygoing/careless
  • Agreeableness – cooperative/empathy versus self-interested/antagonistic”


The War of Art by Steven Pressfield


“Most of us have two lives. The Life we live and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”

“Henry Fonda was still throwing up before each stage performance, even when he was seventy-five. In other words, fear doesn’t go away.”

“Resistance has no strength of its own. Every ounce of juice it possesses comes from within us. We feed it with power by our fear of it.”

“The best and only thing one artist can do for another is to be an example and inspiration.”

“The paradox seems to be, as Socrates demonstrated long ago, that the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his self-mastery.”

“The amateur believes that first he must overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows fear can never be overcome.”

The Bhagavad-Gita tells us we have a right to labour, not to the fruits of our labour.”

“The professional learns to recognise envy driven criticism and to take it for what it is; the supreme compliment.”


I am slowly coming to the realisation that practically all decisions are fundamentally based on emotion rather than logic.

People don’t want to think have the right solution, answer or plan, they want to feel they have the right solution , answer or plan.

They have an idea of what this is already, and so deviating from this will elicit a reaction and an emotion.

Therefore they always start with:

  1. WHAT – I want to do it this way (i.e. digital first). Then…
  2. HOW – I want it to look like this (i.e. big formats). Then…
  3. WHY – Because I want to drive growth and feel good

This will only cause problems, especially when the correct answer is not their What.

Therefore you need to start with Why and work down:

  1. WHY – I want to drive growth
  2. HOW – Getting people to spend time with the brand
  3. HOW – Via an executional plan

Then the challenge is on you to communicate this in a way that makes them feel this is the right answer and solves their problem.

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight


“Possibly, the main reason for my father’s respectability fixation was his fear of inner chaos.”

“Everyone around me thought the ad was bold, fresh.” It didn’t focus on the product, but on the spirit behind the product, which was something you never saw in the 1970’s.”

“The cowards never started and the weak died along the way. That leaves us, ladies and gentlemen. Us.”

Discipline = Freedom


You lose a lot when you have a baby.

Time, space, selfish priorities.

However in being forced into personal austerity, you gain so much in appreciation.

45 mins you may have wasted watching junk TV before is now 45 blissful minutes where the baby is asleep and you can rest or get stuff done.

One jaffa cake in a diet is tastier and far more fulfilling than the fat you eating the tube of jaffas.

That commute where before you were annoyed at the temperature and small seats is now your cocoon of invisibility to the world.

The discipline of doing more with a scheduled time makes you appreciate the new economy you have.

Discipline is simply planning to do something you probably don;t want to do in the short term but will benefit from in the long term – and then doing it.

Through discipline you create freedom in guilt free, selfish down time.

I promise you will get more out of 30 mins scheduled down time in a day of work than a weekend of doing nothing.