About 3 years ago, I was pretty early in signing someone off YouTube. At the time, the kid I represented had one of the top 20 channels and I thought we’d be able to turn it into something. I remember putting together this whole plan for where I thought it could go. Unfortunately, after a big rush of excitement, it limped to a close on both end – the agency kept stalling investing resources in some 16 year old kid and the kid himself eventually had a melt down. I left the whole thing feeling like my balls had been cut off.
Cut to many many months later, and the company pulls in someone else from online. His manager put together a strategy for his career and they asked me to look at it. Shockingly, it was a familiar sight. Two years had passed and someone is feeling out ideas I’d been begging them to try back then. I wanted to get angry. After all, what kind of fucking bullshit business is it where you’re getting pitched your own pitches and asked if you think they’ll work?
Then I realized that the real awful thing was the notion that I apparently only liked my ideas when I thought I was going to get credit for them. And my instincts were more inclined to let everyone know I’d been there first than to relish an opportunity to put them into action.
Here’s the thing I’ve learned about ideas. It’s your job to have them. It’s your fate that they’ll sometimes be ignored or unappreciated. It’s beneath you to throw a tantrum when this is exactly what happens. Finally, don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s enough to simply not mind getting credit. If you really want to get something done, go around looking for people for the credit to go to and work your execution backwards from there.
Wow, really well said, and so true.
My favorite thing about your blog is that you don’t pretend to be better than the readers. Surely we’ve all been in this situation, but you happened to learn a valuable lesson from it and now you’re passing that along to the rest of us. The fact that you don’t pontificate from an elevated pulpit, like far too many wanna-be Aristotles, means that your message resonates even deeper.
Excellent as always.
I too dig the use of the 2nd person.
“It’s beneath you to throw a tantrum when this is exactly what happens.”
Sadly I learned a lot from this sentence of yours and it couldn’t have come at a better time. A few weeks ago I finally – after three or so plus years- parted with a group that I’d been basically trying to- unsuccessfully- help out with social media, or with exploring new ways of getting important information on city programs and local commerce and such out there. This group uses taxpayer dollars and decides how to spend money in this fund which is not theirs, but belongs to the taxpayer’s.
My ideas were all about saving money and using less money to get more of a message across, and a lot of my “tantrums” (best word to describe them, I wish I were more mature) probably fell on deaf ears because I wasn’t “doing my job” in the correct way.
In this case, while I care less about having the credit, what I was ultimately seeking was a contract or their business. And while that didn’t happen, they prefer to just give contracts to those with city clout, or who look the fancy part and can impress with powerpints and billing $125/hr for “social media services” while knowing very little about social media, what I did learn was that sometimes it’s better to just back off and put energies into other things. By executing backwards and allowing other people to do some of the work I was trying explain I can do, it gives my ideas more power because more people are buying into the ideas by implementing them than just myself. Also, I have way more support now from a lot of little people, which has now made the larger group come back and ask for my assistance in the form of smaller contracts.
Ideas are a terrible obligation. -jerry seinfeld
Hey Ryan, Do you still go running?
Yes. But not as much, I started swimming to even it out.
regarding seinfeld, so true, they are…
so jealous, wish i could run again, jogged on average at least three or four days each week for maybe 15 years, in my obsessive phase much more, and then had back surgery four years ago. i miss it, was therapeutic. walking isn’t the same, and swimming is too much of a pain to do in chicago and i hate chlorine. my body has turned to mush.