30 Aug 2006

beam me up, scotty

Following an older recommendation from W&K, i finally got my hands on and read "All i really need to know I learned from watching Star Trek", by creative Dave Marinaccio. A great read, which offered, as i expected, useful advice and, obviously, entertainment. I mostly appreciated the sharp power of observation that Dave Marinaccio proved to have, which made me quite envious (i'm not sure that's the word, but still), cause it would feel so great for me to work with such creatives.

And, most important, this book reminded me about why i started a blog in the first place: to have a place where i can store all sorts of quotations and bits of funny or intriguing news and stuff, in a safer manner than on my computer whose hard disk used to selfdestruct too frequently (and the motto was supposed to be Emerson's "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."). Of course, this initial intention was dilluted by the need to mumble my own stupidites. On the other hand, i started a brand new column on the right side of the page, which will add each new book that i read.

the following words particularly drew my attention (and i've already used some of them in presentations these days):
  • "the unknown is not to be feared, it is to be examined, understood and accepted."
  • "you can observe a lot, just by watching" - by the way, i tend to think that just like listening, watching is something "modern" people do less and less nowadays. and i don't mean watching as in gazing into the void, mind somewhere else, or watching tv as in zapping, i mean that sort of watching carefully, paying attention to details and trying to make something out of them. in fact, people nowadays seem don't even seem to "watch where they're going", damn it.
  • "in advertising, the last person you need to be is yourself. in fact, being a schizophrenic is a definite advantage."
  • "what is our greatest imperfection ? i think it is this. we are attracted to the very things that harm us the most."
  • "God grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change, courage to change the things i can, and wisdom to know the difference." - i knew this one, but it's still nice to remember it once in a while.
  • "to say any episode of Star Trek was the best is to take away from the others."
  • "my mind tends to wander, but being a small mind, it never wanders very far."
  • "a person who understands a rule knows when to break it."
  • "when everyone is responsible, ultimately no one is responsible."
  • "great people talk about ideas. average people talk about things. small people talk about people."
  • "a gift that is useful in any age: it allows him to use technology without being subservient to it."
  • "when i look at digital clocks and push-button phones, i remember when the world was rounder. " - this inspired me the exact type of observations that i love in people.
And my personal favourites (also among my guiding principles :)) ):
  • "possessions are not the way to judge if a life is full. people don't need to fill their lives with things. What the humans on the Enterprise have are full lives, interesting lives."
  • "although i may not get to go where no man has gone before, i'll happily settle for going someplace where i've never gone before. and living a fuller and more interesting life."
  • "when faced with a no-win scenario, try something new. Reprogram the situation. Find a way out. Don't stop trying. And maybe, with original thinking, you too can win the no-win scenario."
  • "the more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play."
  • "never, ever, ever wear a red shirt - not under any circumstances. Don't do it."
  • "i read once that a hunter shot a cow because he mistook it for a squirrel. This is our species i'm talking about." - i think i'm going to use this as a motto for the target description section in each creative brief. and write it down and hang it somewhere around my desk.
  • "i'm beginning to believe i could cure a rainy day." - isn't this image simply brilliant?
But by far, one of the best points in the book is the one also discussed on "welcome to optimism", namely mission statements (and i'm sorry i repeat the quotes, but i just think they're so great). Marinaccio quotes the Enterprise mission statement as the best he's ever heard.

"These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Her five year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Suppose you are the dumbest person on the ship. How long do you think the mission will last? Five years? Very good. And suppose you encountered a strange new world? What should you do? Explore it, perhaps. There is even an emotion telling you how you should go about exploring it. Boldly.
Now try a simple test. Ask a number of colleagues at your place of work, 'What is the single most important thing our company is trying to accomplish?' I've done this myself. Chances are you will receive many different answers...Now ask yourself, if your company encounters a strange new opportunity? Without a basic philosophy even a business's smartest employees have to improvise when they meet a new or challenging situation. We could do worse than rewriting the Star Trek mission statement for whatever venture we are on. A simple statement. One that spells out who we are, what we are doing, and how we would like to go about doing it. Maybe even deal with the question of why we are doing it. Make the language exact, the goal specific, and even your worst employee will make you proud."

Now, you see, maybe these words wouldn't have appealed so much to me if this entire mission statement thing hadn't been bothering me for a long time now. cause i'm not sure about other agencies, but the place where i work is more than fuzzy when it comes to our goal. there are people in the agency who know that "we take advertising personally", cause that's what our website says we do. and there are people in the agency who know that they work for an advertising agency, thus they work in advertising and that's that - they don't have a clue when it comes to saying why they do it here of all agencies, or why this particular agency is different from others, or what are the goals of this particular agency. what's even worse (especially for a person like myself, who strongly believes in working harder and in things like "winners never quit, quitters never win") is that sometimes i have the feeling that some people here act according to some "we're only number 2, so why try harder?" weird mentality. But maybe it's just me, cause i've always had a strong thing about definitions and so on (ever since i've started learning about and for logics and philosophy). beam me up, scotty :D


Bogdana said...

vreau si eu cartea. se poate? ca nu am apucat sa o iau de la londra


diana said...

sigur ca se poate :). ba chiar cu mare placere.