Every year, unlike most people, I make only one resolution – to not make any. Jokes apart, on a personal and professional level, the New Year is usually a time when people feel the need to fix what is wrong in their lives or achieve some sort of growth or milestone. Be it fitness or skill development or a career benchmark.
Thanks to the internet, people looking for tips to effect change or growth are exposed to a wide array of speakers, motivators and thought leaders (for want of a better word). But how does one discern who is worth following? Who is worth their salt and has a well thought out and practical process or method to follow? Answering this question can seem problematic, but a rule of thumb is to see whether the person is using fancy words or actually teaching concepts and sharing knowledge. Another way is whether they are telling you all your goals are easily within reach - if that is the case, you may be following a false guru.
Since we are well into the New Year, by now most people have given up on their resolutions. However if they are still looking to reinvent themselves, here are four individuals whose talks, videos, articles and tweets I enjoy, and which might help with their wisdom and relevance.
Satell is a leader in the world of innovation. He has been working in marketing, and media and has written articles and opinion pieces on a variety of topics - media, technology, innovation and even common sense. He has also published two books: Mapping Innovation and Cascades. Both have been widely acclaimed for their content and ideas. Mapping Innovation divides innovation into four areas and provides a practical framework for innovation. Satell’s ideas can be found on his website www.digitaltonto.com
Those who attended AdAsia 2019 may remember Goodwin who was a speaker there. He works at PublicisGroupe as head of Futures and Insights. He mainly uses LinkedIn as his place to express his ideas; his main train of thought relates to questioning the status quo and expressing his scepticism about new fangled ideas that are overhyped (such as AI and how data is the new water). Goodwin is the man credited with creating the slide (now used ad nauseam) about how Facebook does not create media and AirBnB do not own hotels, etc. As he has had to explain again and again, he was talking about platforms not about the fact that these entities are selling things they do not own.
I have a confession to make. I have never watched a single episode of Mad Men. And I am not a fan of Don Draper. In the library of my department at KU, I came across the autobiography of Lester Wundermann, the father of interactive advertising. He is an advertising legend and the best known direct response marketer the world has ever seen. Having been exposed to his thoughts and later learning about David Ogilvy and hearing Rory Sutherland talk, Mr. Draper holds no charm for me. I am, however, an ardent fan of Ryan Wallman, who goes by the Twitter handle of @Dr_Draper. Like Goodwin, Wallman is cynical about things like purpose driven brands, highly critical of the way copy is written and how advertising is reduced to mindless formula trying to ‘target’ Millennials (who by the way do not exist). He has published a book, aptly titled Delusions of Brandeur, which challenges industry norms as well as mindsets and methods that are regressing advertising.
Nichols identifies herself not as a motivational speaker but as a transformational coach. Listening to and watching her videos, you would not believe that as a child she was discouraged from public speaking and writing. Her words have a flow and power that does not only win you over, they pierce your soul. Her approach is raw and powerful. No glossing over the hard stuff, no self-glorification and what appeals to me most, she factors in the presence of a higher power. If you are really serious about making changes in your life in order to attain your potential, forget resolutions and embrace the transformation Nichols offers. One of her most potent talks was when she introduced a concept that is close to me, but might be alien to many. She said that we are perfect in our imperfections. Many people spend their lives chasing perfection or fighting their imperfections. According to Nichols, this is the wrong way to live a life. Tuay Gan Hin in his interview in Aurora (January - February 2020) mentioned how ads are chasing perfection and we need to embrace imperfections.
I hope that you will look up these people and if possible interact with them. And good luck with the self transformation.
Tyrone Tellis is a marketing professional working in Pakistan. firstname.lastname@example.org