Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Ignore Everybody" : A plug for Hugh MacLeod

Next spring Hugh MacLeod from will publish, in book form, his manifesto, "Ignore Everybody" and it will not have been an overnight success. He has been working on parts of the ideas for well over 10 years. Following is a response I sent to Hugh on one of his posts a few months ago. It would do you well to read his post first, here:

"When your dreams become reality, they are no longer your dreams"

and then my response, second, here:

This smells charmingly like the last chapter in "How To Be Creative". Touche!

When you've realized your dreams the only thing to do is to come up with new dreams. (Screenplay?)

When I started in the advertising business the first thing I realized was that I had turned a hobby (writing and drawing) into a business. It was no longer fun.
Who said I had to "feel" creative at 9am in an office cubicle beside an expressway in Dallas? I didn't. But like all good working stiffs, at least I knew it wasn't a steel factory and that this job was better than a lot of people would ever have the chance to do – so I proceeded to churn out "product", today called "content" and then cherry-pick the best of it for my portfolio.

Who really thought that I had a deep creative desire to find the underlying meaning and subtleties in the Texas real estate and banking markets? No one, fuck all. I was doing a job and I knew it.

So I
set about developing other hobbies outside of the office. I learned to shoot dove in West Texas (very near to you). I picked up sailing on Cedar Creek lake from Pat Beckman and his 25ft Catalina. I became Tower Records best customer by weekly stoking my collection and I developed a serviceable reading jones at the hands of Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Robbins, Brautigan, Vonegut, John Irving and so on. And life balanced How-To-Be-Creative, Hugh MacLeod, artist, cartoonist, conceptualist, marketer, wildwildeastdailes, david-everitt-carlson, vietnam, marketing, west-texas, crude-but-effectiveout.

I never had any misconceptions that I was writing the great American novel aside from my work to hawk toothpaste, laundry powder or video games. I married, bought a few houses and became a weekend warrior on a 100 year-old money pit in Michigan.
Life was good. Yet, like you, it was all random.

The call to go top Korea was about as weird as I thought things were going to get – until two years later when I started my own company in that odd and foreboding land.
Random? But, not really. Over time I've just learned to accept the twists and turns as gifts from above and make them work for me. To stay a perpetual student and maybe, after time, to be able to teach others how to run the maze.

The trick, I've found is in being able to decide, quickly and decisively, what it is you "do not" want to do. That skill will keep you from wasting time on things that just aren't going to work out anyway.

Hugh, you say the business card cartoons have been going for ten years but I beg to differ with you on that count. I can remember as long as we have known each other, you working with this format. You really were doing it in the early 90s in Chicago, after UT. It's what has kept us in contact all these years. When you first put up Gapingvoid, I was on your mailing list.
And then, this last year, when I finally got a real chunk of my book Wild Wild East, on the net, you were one of the first to respond and link me in. And that fueled my current blog and got me into a weekly 3-post diet.

Now, I've got writing, drawing, blogging and marketing all working together in one of the oddest symphonies I ever could have imagined. This week, I met an American who works in the Internet industry and has moved to Vietnam, who found me because of my blog. Next month, a woman from Singapore will come to HCMC, who had also found me from my blog. Last Saturday I had a date with a woman who has been a loyal reader and this Friday I will attend an industry function and meet another woman who has been following the writing.

Niche, what niche?
Okay, it's not "Cartoons drawn on the back of business cards" but if "Smart-assed marketing guy in the bowels of a communist country" is a niche, I've got that baby sewn up!

The Internet has given us previously undefinable types the opportunity, to, if not go mainstream, go "slipstream" into sideways and previously uncharted social marketing and networking philosophies that have probably always existed, but never had a reachable platform.

Being paid to be exactly who we are has got to be the ultimate reward and measure of the word "success".
Million dollar checks don't often come with that, but million dollar smiles really do.

Rock on, Hugh.

And if you like what you've read from Hugh, you can download a PDF of the work from, or better yet, buy a copy of his book next spring. Only too bad it won't be available for Christmas shopping this year.

For more on digital marketing and social networking see:

Xing vs. LinkedIn: Round II
Trial and Error: The New Normal
What's Wrong With My Social Networking? Xing vs. LinkedIn I
Low Tech Germany. Who Knew?
Advertising People and Blogs
How to Write the Best Blog in the World
What If Gutenberg Had a Blog?
If Blogs Are Free Does That Make Them Worthless?
Detri-Viral Marketing II: The Top 10 Social Media Blunders
Bright Lights, Big Internet and the WWED
Saigon Digital Marketing Conference Successfully Avoids Plumbers Convention
A Tale of Many Marketing Conferences
Detri-Viral Marketing I: How Web 2.0 Can Go Against A Brand
Marketing Predictions for 2009
Barcamp Saigon 2008
"Ignore Everybody" is Born: A Plug for Hugh MacLeod
Are the Bloggerati Missing the Market? Asia has Risen,
Into the Gapinvoid - Web 2.0 Social Networking Born 20 Years Ago

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