Don’t be bitter, be better

I wrote a post last night about my frustrations with a trend I have seen in local digital agencies. The post is the result of something that has been on my mind for months and, last night, I decided to get it out. This morning, I took that post offline because of a conversation I had with someone who reached out to me.

I didn’t take the post down because it didn’t reflect what I believe to be true, I took it down because I realised, during the course of my conversation, that it reflects a bitterness and frustration I have increasingly felt for some time.

We have a choice how to experience our life each moment we are awake. The big question is how awake we really are, how conscious we are of our choices from moment to moment? What struck me this morning is that my choices have not been as constructive as they could be.

When I think about why I do the work I do (even as that morphs), I keep coming back to working to support innovation and creative expression through smarter ways to manage digital risk. I’ve been involved in the digital marketing space in SA since it essentially began. I saw the high end agencies we have today being formed and growing.

Although my post probably gave the impression of an industry that is largely derivative, I don’t see it that way. I see tremendous innovation and potential to do even more creative work. As usual, I am probably getting ahead of the industry and the market it serves. I seem to have a knack for that – being so far ahead of the curve that my ideas seem ridiculous until they’re not (well, some never quite catch on).

I remember the dotcom boom. I was at Wits back then and I kept thinking about some Web thing I could do to tap into that new wave of innovation (this was when the big thing on the Web was probably having images in pages) and I couldn’t come up with anything before it all came crashing down. Even then, it was clear that this Web thing wasn’t done yet and it wasn’t.

Its easy to take what we have now for granted because it is so prevalent but this is so new, still. 7 or 8 years ago the social Web was mostly about blogs and RSS feeds. Twitter and Facebook were still a year or 2 away and still pioneers like Mike Stopforth, Angus Robinson, Carl Spies, Rob Stokes and others were almost willing a new digital model into existence, which they did and, boy, they have done a remarkable job.

Despite my criticisms, they still inspire me because they succeeded where I just couldn’t get my head around the value proposition with an agency I hoped to start with a friend at the same time (so much for being ahead of the curve – I missed that one big time).

The reason I chose to leave active legal practice and wind down Jacobson Attorneys, a business law firm I started in 2005, is because I can see the tremendous potential in the digital space. My fundamental belief in this potential to dramatically improve our lives and our relationships underpins Web•Tech•Law although I clearly haven’t done a terrific job expressing that particularly well. Last night’s blog post definitely doesn’t reflect that belief. It doesn’t reflect what excites me about going back to work on a Monday morning and leaves me buzzing when I tap into that innovation and creativity. That is why I took the post down.

I owe the person who reached out to me a big “thank you” for his intervention. He also said something which I appropriated and changed a little:

Don’t be bitter, be better

Paul
Enthusiast, marketing strategist, writer, and photographer. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad. Allergic to stupid

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