Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Dinner With Andre: My Meeting With Michael

(Please pause the Podcast in the sidebar before playing the video)

The 1981 Louise Malle film, "My Dinner With Andre" has long been one of my favorites in that one can enjoy it, simply by listening to the dialogue because, essentially, nothing happens in the film. It's just two guys having dinner, yet discussing everything that matters to them in life.

As the story goes, Wallace and Andre are old friends who have not seen each other for many years and have scheduled a dinner to catch up. Wallace has continued to live his simple, uncluttered life in a small apartment in New York, whilst Andre has traveled the globe, lived with gypsies in an eastern European forest, meditated in a commune in Scotland and even tried, unsuccessfully, to stage a play based on "The Little Prince" in the Sahara. Their lives are a study in contrast, conflict and convolution. The clip here is the end of the film with Wallace's thoughts, illuminated by Andre's spirited tales, giving new meaning to things he has seen for years but forgotten their true significance. The soundtrack, Erik Satie's "Trois Gymnopédies", is quite possibly my favorite piece of piano composition and haunting and lonely in its simplicity.

All of this describes how I felt going home after meeting Michael Conrad at the DLD conference last month, after having seen him last, fifteen years ago. But in my story, I couldn't decide who was Andre and who was Wallace in terms of Michael's and my characters. Michael begins my book, Wild Wild East.

Chicago, April 1995: I'm sitting in my office on the 26th floor of the Leo Burnett building, watching the sailboats go by, when the telephone rings; it's Michael Conrad, our Worldwide Creative Director, and he has a question: "What do you know about Korea", he asks. "Nothing", I said - and that's how I got the job.

And that would be the last I saw of Michael for the remainder of my time at Burnett, save for a couple of brief meetings in Malaysia and New Orleans the following year. He was not part of my management chain and wasn't even involved in any of my company reviews or evaluations. He was my recruiter and superior, but in the end, not my boss.

Michael would go on to be the Jury Chair at the Cannes Advertising Festival in 1996 and I would go on to start Korea's first 100% foreign invested advertising agency in 1997. Leo Burnett would be eventually absorbed by Publicis Groupe in 2002, and Michael would retire in 2003. The price paid for Burnett at the time of 3 billion US, in light of sales of 1.8 billion that year, now seems tiny in comparison to Google's price for YouTube of 1.6 billion with no projected sales in the year of that purchase - but maybe just a harbinger of things to come.

Michael Conrad and Leo Burnett, Leo Burnett, Louis Malle, My Dinner With Andre, Andre Gregory, Wallace Shawn, DLD, Our conversation at DLD was brief, but knowing. Seeing him after the last speaker had left the podium, in the crowd talking with a woman in German, I approached and said, "Fifteen years ago...", I began... "I know that smile", he interjected. We then shook hands and each did a quick synopsis of the time that had passed between us. Michael is now President of the Berlin School of Creative Leadership at Steinbeis University, and I am now, still me, but without a big organization attached. We spoke of the conference, , and he told me - in the same way he might have told me as a superior many years earlier, that this digital thing was where the world was going. I nodded in agreement, thinking to myself that I wish I had heard that coming from him fifteen years ago when it would have been truly visionary, instead of now, when the representation at this creative conference of advertising people was surely in the itty-bitty minority. Oh how things had changed. Oh how Michael and my trajectories had been decidedly different.

And so I found myself, on a solitary subway ride home, with my schwag-bag full of goodies from the event, shuffling through the snow on a more than frozen Bavarian winter and wondering in my meeting with Michael who had been Wallace and who had been Andre from My Dinner With Andre. Michael had ended a high profile creative career gracefully with his matriculation to a university program presidency in his country of birth and I, had founded a Korean company, sold it, written a book, moved to Vietnam, started a blog and then followed a starry-eyed girl to France, Africa and finally Munich to stake my claim on this new digital planet.

All I knew is that I could not have possibly been Wallace. I must have been the Andre of my own meeting after many years. My meeting with Michael.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Who am I? What am I? A stream of subconsciousness IV by those who may know - or not...

Advertising, Blogging, Marketing, David Everitt-Carlson, Personal Branding"you ARE an artist, and not a BS one, which is the best part, exactly, A BUSINESS artist", - Friend, Author/CNN regular, New York. "My take is that you are being authentic and taking charge of your own destiny ... by putting it out there and not being attached to the outcome." - friend, Marketing Director,Advertising, Blogging, Marketing, David Everitt-Carlson, Personal Branding Wisconsin. "I am no intellectual are, so you keep to the blog writing LOL! - another friend, New York. "You have the most interesting adventures!" - an old friend, Illinois. "the Kinzo Air copy you wrote was very good, I have recommended you for further business", - Business associate, Berlin. "the thing that makes your blog addictive is the fact that you write (most of the time) what others think and (I am willing to bet) write them before others think them, or write them the way they would think them if they could think. " - Author, SEO professional, London. "By chance through a friend I got in touch with your YouTube presentation. I find it very different and interesting. Sometimes coincidences help to bring projects forward." - Potential Business Partner, Munich.

All in
Advertising, Blogging, Marketing, David Everitt-Carlson, Personal Brandingteresting and positive but they bring to mind another not so positive comment recently that criticized me for selling myself, as opposed to my talents or what I do tacitly in business - and this is where many people choose to disagree. What is valuable about me or anyone? Am I personally the value in a job or relationship? Or is it a particular product I produce? Recalling the words of a headhunteAdvertising, Blogging, Marketing, David Everitt-Carlson, Personal Brandingr back in the 80s, upon meeting me she said, "David, never send your portfolio without you being there. You are the product, you are interesting. Many people can do the work, but you, yourself are something special." And I think that many times, many people, forget that. We are our own personal products. It is said often, that aside from just being able to do brilliant work, that we must be nice to work with. We must do more than just cross the "T"s and dot the "I"s and give more than 100%. We must do that, and do it all gracefully. So that people will want to work with us again - and I'm afraid that I have not always understood that as much as I could have. Sometimes we think the product is so important, that people don't matter - when in fact, it is almost the opposite.

Anyone in business who thinks that just doing the best job is really doing the best job is missing a huge opportunity. I realized a long time ago that there were other people who could do something that I did, technically much better, but what I could bring to the party was in making that work, accessible, salable and even enjoyable. This is the one quality I have cherished most in my most successful business relationships - to have a job or a project not only reach and exceed its goals - but to also have had everyone involved feel good about that when it was time to move on to the next challenge.

Figure out that trick, and life's a dream.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Return From Paradiso: The Amsterdam Diary, Part II

As I have mentioned before, I have started a subscription service to the Wild Wild East Monthly, a monthly archive of adventures, thoughts, impressions and back stories to many of the entries here on the Wild Wild East Dailies. Our suggested contribution to be included for one year of the Wild Wild East Monthly is $25 but we won't argue if you send more. Many people did for my travel to see Todd Rundgren in Amsterdam last week. That story has now been sent to the members and they will be seeing it before you see this. To subscribe to WWEM just click the PayPal button the the sidebar and follow the instructions. This story will be continued today so come back later if you're reading this on a feed. Thank you. Following is the continuation...

11:00pm 02.08.10

Greg Hawks (former Cars keyboard player) comes out to get his Mac and some cables and a guy goes up to him with maybe 20 Cars albums, CDs and whatnot to sign. Greg sits down on the stage and is happy to do it. Michele Rundgren comes out to talk with some fans waiting at the stage, sees me and says, "Hey you!" recognizing me from our Facebook conversations. I'm pleased enough with that.

I have a beer, as the bar is still open and the place still a party. I go back out to the lobby and buy the USB stick from the show. You can get your own, here, if you like.

A number of us wait at the stage left side door as instructed by Michele but it is cold as fuck. Really cold - yet there stands a guy from Scotland in a full kilt and fans from Mexico (this guy flew in from Mexico!) , Denmark, The UK, Germany, America, Finland, Holland - my, what a diverse and odd mix, yet there is something we all share and some sense of calm out there in the cold, some sense of common purpose. Parts of the band come out, Jesse Gresse, Bobby Strickland and Ralph Shuckett. They sign a few things and pose for a quick photo or two, and then off to a cab.

A roadie comes out swinging the door with the call, "Hello! It's me!", and we all laugh at that. But no Todd. After a while, the English promoter comes up behind us and says that it's just to damn cold and Todd won't be coming out for any signings or photo opps. We wonder if this is standard bullshit or true, decide on bullshit, wait for five more minutes, and then figure it's true. Time to disperse.

11:15pm 02.08.10

On my walk around the front of the building I talk with the guy who got the 20 albums signed by Greg Hawks and ask him if there are any after-parties or anything. He says not really, but he knows what hotel the band has been booked in and suggests we simply go there and hang at the bar. It's called the American Hotel so that's where we go.

As we walk in looking of course for Todd with his skunk-like hairdoo, we spot Greg Hawks, Prairie Prince and another guy sitting in a corner. Greg immediately recognizes the 20-album guy and motions for us to come and sit down - and so for the first time all day, I am able to take off my backpack, coat, other small bag and sit the fuck down. Hitching involves mostly standing you understand.

We order a beer, chat and the guys are more than happy to sign the USB stick I bought in its nice little black gift box. It's all just nice and normal. Prairie is also the drummer for The Tubes and I tell him that I saw Utopia Open for The Tubes at the Universal Studios Ampitheatre sometime in the early 80s. He's pretty impressed by that.

One of their handlers comes up and tells them that their cab is waiting to take them to dinner and they all beg off immediately. "Can't we just hang and finish our beer?" says Greg with half a glass left.
"Yeah", says Prairie, "it's just five minutes away, we'll walk and meet you all there". And so it's decided and we all hang out for another 10 minutes. Greg tags the waiter, pays for our beers and we all wish each other well for the evening. Just nice guys.

And another day comes...
12:00am 02.09.10

Walking around downtown Amsterdam is absolutely charming and it doesn't take the sharpest tool in the shed to find the streets with all the pubs, brothels and pot joints - all of which would have been interesting to me, had I not just have hitchhiked for 22 hours and felt more like just chilling out with a beer and deflating a bit. And so I found a jazz bar with a trio onstage, beers for €2.50 and a real low-key atmosphere.

Sitting there, listening to live music and just enjoying that simple groove, I realized that that was something I had not done in six months. Sucked actually. And I had to come all this way just to realize that. To be continued, again...

For more on Todd Rundgren See:

1)Happy Birthday Todd

2) "Professor" Todd Rundgren will see you now

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Management Consulting Partner Needed

I N F I N I T E.. W I S D O M .. C O N S U L T I N G .. is currently taking applications for a
Partner position in Management Consulting. If you have a business mind with a love of applied creativity,
please review our request, here and contact me to begin discussions.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Grace: The Loose Canon Manifesto I

I love the grace of a silk line on a sharp hip
or a wide-brimmed hat on a fair skinned lass.

I love the grace that comes with age making pale the brashness of youth
or the grace of gentle breeding that allows a person to know more than others
yet not behave that way.
I love the grace that rewards substance over style
because making that decision can sometimes be very unpopular.

And I love the grace that grows between couples
when attraction has grown into adoration
has grown into comfort has grown into fulfillment
has grown into unspoken and complete confidence.
Grace can be acquired but not taught.
It can be given but not taken.

Grace can dry tears and calm fears.

Grace is the only virtue that spreads itself evenly
throughout the generations
choosing only to reside in those pure of mind and spirit
oblivious to past sins.

For more in the Loose Canon Manifesto see:

Grace: The Loose Canon Manifesto I
Hope: The Loose Canon Manifesto II
Dreams: The Loose Canon Manifesto III

Soulmates: The Loose Canon Manifesto IV

Dreams: The loose canon manifesto III

Dreams are persnickety and fickle things
living totally in space, untethered to anyone
And if no one shares them with us, they go away
Dreams take confidence
Dreams take planning
Dreams exist
Dreams keep us going
Dreams pervade our waking hours
but without trying to realize them, are worthless
Dreams have no use for the conflicted
Without love, dreams die
Dreams are not selfish
they invite us all

For more in the Loose Canon Manifesto see:

Grace: The Loose Canon Manifesto I
Hope: The Loose Canon Manifesto II
Dreams: The Loose Canon Manifesto III

Soulmates: The Loose Canon Manifesto IV

I Made It but I haven't made It back

For anyone following the previous post regarding AWATS in Amsterdam - I made it. 416 miles or 669.34 Kilometers. But not without significant damage. In the end it became all about making something come true, and a lot less about seeing the concert - and I'm not sure that is necessarily a good thing.

It became
about following the positive encouragement of some and disregarding the negative influences of others - and about inspiring some, in maybe some greater endeavor. And there's got to be something good come from that. It began six months ago with just an artistic wish, and became something much, much more. I learned a lot on this journey, but I can't tell you exactly what yet. As I mentioned before, I will be telling the detailed story of the trip in a private newsletter to those who joined me in this quest. I'm afraid the blog will just have to live with this final thought: That I was able to see Todd onstage at all was a sheer miracle - and I felt it in my heart at the end of the show. My heart swelled with warmth over just being there, and not having given up.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

WILL WORK FOR TODD! Help Me See AWATS in Amsterdam!

Amsterdam, AWATS, Relief Fund, Todd RundgrenHere's the deal: Trains booked, time reserved, money coming in and money doesn't come in. I'm screwed - or my much loved concert is screwed, so I'm asking for work. $400 worth in three days. Because that's how long I've got before my train leaves from Munich to Amsterdam.

For those who want to help, here's how to do it: This is not a charity. Read more below.

Is there such a thing as a Rock & Roll emergency? Well, I believe there is. Is this immature, selfish and should I feel bad? Hell no! Explanation: Many of you will know what AWATS means, but for those who don't, here's the short version: "Todd Rundgren's A Wizard, A True Star is simply the greatest album ever made" - Bob Hoskyns, Mojo Magazine - and it's being performed live for the last time ever in Amsterdam this Monday, Feb. 8th. I decided months ago that I needed to be there.

People didn't pay their bills on time and I can't do anything about that - but I can get more work can't I?

Todd, for me, has been an adult-lifelong inspiration having listened to him first in high school and then finally, in 1977, seeing him with Utopia live in Davenport, Iowa on the "Ra" tour. Fast forward through Dallas, Baltimore, Chicago, Michigan, California and ending up in Tokyo in 2004, I've seen him more than 20 times and now hopefully, with a little help, again on Monday, in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam, AWATS, Relief Fund, Todd RundgrenAnd of course, I want to work for this help. This is not a charity. For anyone who contributes, I'm happy to write copy for your business, website or whatever. If you've been a reader around here, you'll know I can write or know my history in the advertising business. Also, this spring I'll be starting a subscription only newsletter - and the first installment of course, will be a full review of this show along with photos and hopefully a few interviews and person to person perspective from people in the show - and none of that will hit the blog at all. After that I'll be putting out the newsletter on a monthly basis and it will all be inside, backstory and candid work that also will not be on the blog - ever. A number of you have already contributed to the WWED so don't worry, you're on that list already. For new supporters, just let me know how I can help you. I want to work for the money.

Method: ...Western
Name: ......David E. Carlson
Address: ..Munich Germany

(PayPal is not an option unfortunately as banks will be closed by Saturday)

And so thank you all. Thank you for reading. Thank you for helping if you can. But thank you most for just being there. Sometimes the people close to you are more far away than you'd like them to be, and in those cases I'm always amazed at how some other people far away can come in more closer to fill that gap.

Email me at for more info.

Do notice the picture on the computer screen behind me. That's in honor of "Dave" the Australian banker who was busted looking at lingerie models on his computer while a TV station was filming a report in his bank. Save Dave!

Tally of Todd Partners as of 6:34am - Sunday, 02.07.10: CRUNCH TIME!
1) $25 (Cheryl)
2) $50 (Katie)
3) $100 (Rich)
4) $50 (Freya)
5) $75 (Joan)

$100 to go! ($400 is the total of trains: $200, ticket: $50, hotel 1 night: $75, food, misc.: $75


23:43 Sunday: I'm hitchen' it. On the road in minutes. Scared pissless. Please leave comments and bon mots below! I'll be okay once I'm on the road...See you in AWATSTERDAM!

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