Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Look Inside

One of our esteemed creatives, Evan Davis, Director of Strategy is fond of saying that "Everybody likes sausage... but nobody wants to see how it's made." I find it hard to disagree, but none-the-less, here's a sneak peek into the meat grinder that is ADG. And yes, that's a real cow brain... Enjoy (if you dare.)

Filtering Through the Noise.

I had an opportunity to hang out in a music store for a few hours this weekend while shopping for new audio gear to fuel ADG's expanding production facility. The retail venue is huge, and sells everything from guitars (hundreds of them) to stage lighting and fog machines. For some reason, the sea of musical instruments and amplifiers (big, loud amplifiers) are like a pied piper for unskilled 15 year old musicians, and I use the term "musician" loosely. Not only were these pre-pubescent rock-n-rollers far from capable of pulling off their favorite Metallica song, but they seem to believe -- like so many of us when speaking to someone who doesn't speak English -- that being louder somehow bridges the gap. No surprise, it does not.

All of this to say that in the midst of the audio-rich experience, I worked with an associate manager named Chris who was very knowledgeable, helpful, and glad to advise me on my purchases. As a show of empathy, I said "man, I don't know how you deal with all this noise all day long." His response surprised me.

St. Chris (as I now think of him) said "it's the sound of business being done." Sweet and simple... "this is why we're here." His reply cut me to the quick -- I work in a service industry... I should have seen this right away. But now I'm thinking (and blogging) about this. Everyone has things in their job that cause them to want to scream and pull their hair out -- but often, the things that irritate us the most boil down to just being the cost of doing business. These things distract us from the very reasons we get into the fields that we're in to begin with. I love customer service. I love overcoming difficult challenges. I love pulling things off that many other firms cannot. But sometimes I forget that's why we're here. Remembering just requires a little "filtering through the noise."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Smoke On The Water...

OK, there's no shortage of opinions about the recent events surrounding Michael Phelps and his illegal drug usage. Is it fair? Was he careless? Are the rulings from USA Swimming just? My perspective on the matter will add no additional value or clarity -- but I would like to comment on the forgotten victims in this ordeal; his sponsors.

Who hasn't purchased something, only to get it home and find out that the picture on the box didn't represent the product within? And when this happens we're ticked, right? Without any attack on the amphibious athlete's character whatsoever, the packaging simply no longer resembles what corporate America purchased. High cost endorsements are, perhaps, a blog for another time... but celebrity beware: as Yoda once said, "...with much power comes much responsibility."

Once you sign on the multi-million dollar dotted line, you are no longer person -- but product. Mr. Phelps, you've been found defective, and have been returned. We'll wait to see if you end up on the bargain table.